"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 6th Oct 2020

Isolation Tips
Most Covid infections are mild - so what if you're infected? Some 'common-sense' tips for recovery
There's no magic bullet for recovering from Covid-19. If you have a mild case and can recover at home, it's best to treat it like you would the flu. Professor Christine Jenkins, a respiratory disease expert from UNSW Medicine, says you should apply "common-sense rules" to your recovery. Here are some of them:
Do you have a self isolation plan sorted? ask Isle of Wight council
Be prepared in case you need to self-isolate. That’s the message from the Isle of Wight Council in the week it became law for people to self-isolate if they test positive for Coronavirus or are contacted by the test and trace service — otherwise risk being fined. To support the community through this difficult time, the council has produced a helpful self-isolation guide — an online toolkit containing advice, support and signposting information to ensure residents are well prepared.
Hygiene Helpers
'Major questions unanswered' about effectiveness of NHS Covid-19 App
There are “major questions unanswered” about the effectiveness of the NHS Covid-19 App, a charity has said. The app was officially launched in England and Wales on 24 September, after months of setbacks and multiple trials. But the Health Foundation has raised concerns about the lack of published evidence from the app’s pilots, which it says could put public trust at risk.
India's new paper Covid-19 test could be a ‘game changer’
A team of scientists in India has developed an inexpensive paper-based test for coronavirus that could give fast results similar to a pregnancy test. The test, named after a famous Indian fictional detective, is based on a gene-editing technology called Crispr. Scientists estimate that the kit - called Feluda - would return results in under an hour and cost 500 rupees (about $6.75; £5.25). Feluda will be made by a leading Indian conglomerate, Tata, and could be the world's first paper-based Covid-19 test available in the market.
Did early focus on hand washing and not masks aid spread of Covid-19?
From the moment coronavirus reached UK shores, public health advice stressed the importance of washing hands and deep-cleaning surfaces to reduce the risk of becoming infected. The advice was informed by mountains of research into the transmission of other respiratory viruses: it was the best scientists could do with such a new pathogen. But as the pandemic spread and data rolled in, some scientists began to question whether the focus on hand hygiene was as crucial as it seemed. Contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs and light switches – “fomites”, to use the scientific terminology – may not be such a big deal, they claimed.
French minister: colleagues who didn’t download Covid app being ‘very French’
France’s technology minister has blamed the poor take-up of the country’s Covid-19 contact alert app on “timing and culture” and says colleagues in government who failed to download it were being “very French”. Cédric O, the minister for digital transition, said that using the app, StopCovid, was essential if the French wanted to avoid further restrictions. Paris and several other cities have been put on red “maximum alert” after a rise in the spread of the virus in recent days.
Australia's Victoria state to boost testing on path to easing restrictions
Australia’s coronavirus hotspot of Victoria will look into ways to increase testing for the disease to control its spread in anticipation of easing of the state’s stringent lockdown restrictions, officials said on Monday. New daily coronavirus infections in Victoria, Australia’s second most-populous state, fell to nine cases on Monday, down from 12 in the previous days. No deaths were reported.
In full: GP letter warns Hancock against new Covid lockdown
In England, a group of GPs has written to Matt Hancock, warning him against a new lockdown: "As a group of expert medical generalists, we urgently wish you to consider non-Covid harms and deaths with equal standing as the reported deaths from Covid. Restrictions and lockdown have recognised value in pandemic control and we fully supported the first lockdown when little was known about the virus. The position now is transformationally different: after the short, initial lockdown phase, the harms to long term health and wellbeing begin to outweigh the benefits. Now is a critical pivotal point: we must recognise our duty to do no harm. We are concerned due to mounting data and real-world experience, that the one-track response threatens more lives and livelihoods than Covid-lives saved."
Community Activities
4,000 people from Bradford volunteer for 'world's first' COVID vaccine trials
An incredible 4,000 people from Bradford have volunteered to take part in the world's first Covid-19 vaccine trials, starting in the city tomorrow. Bradford Institute for Health Research, at Bradford Royal Infirmary, is one of 20 UK centres testing the efficacy of the Novavax drug on human subjects. Researchers have selected around 500 people from the 4,000 Bradford volunteers to be vaccinated. The expert leading the groundbreaking research, Consultant Respiratory Physician Professor Dinesh Saralaya, said it has been a "very good response" from people in Bradford, but more volunteers are needed from BAME groups. "This is where we are lacking," he explained.
Mana, last village on India-China border, to continue with its own lockdown
In India, even though the entire country is in Unlock mode, the 500-odd residents of Mana – the last Indian village before China border adjoining Uttarakhand – have unanimously decided to continue with their self-imposed lockdown and isolation. Not a single case of Covid-19 has been reported in the village with over 150 families, and the locals do not want to spot their track record. It was a unanimous decision by all the families.
CEPI establishes global network to compare COVID-19 vaccines
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) has established a global network to reliably assess and compare COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The centralised lab network has initially selected five laboratories across the globe,
Virtual reality program helps Fort Collins seniors battle social isolation amid COVID-19
With a virtual reality headset securely strapped to her face, Burr — a resident at Fort Collins memory care facility Aspyre Rock Creek — skydived virtually with images of the alps whirling around her. "It looks like your parachute just opened," said Carina Vargas, Aspyre Rock Creek's life enrichment coordinator, as she sat — iPad in hand — next to a beaming Burr. On the tablet, images of the alps sped by, showing Vargas what Burr was experiencing. The skydiving scenario is just one of 200 virtual travel, recreation, music and arts experiences Vargas can take Aspyre Rock Creek residents through thanks to a newly-formed partnership between the Fort Collins facility and MyndVR, a virtual reality company that provides virtual reality services for older adults.
Madrid's fearful residents head for the hills | News
Madrid residents fearful of another strict lockdown are moving in droves to the Sierra de Guadarrama, the mountain range 30 miles north of the Spanish capital. Estate agents say that demand to buy or rent a home in the area is 40 per cent higher than before the three-month lockdown in March and that almost all customers are Madrileños. Prices are rising in the mountains in contrast with the city, where they are falling.
Six months since lockdown lifted in Wuhan
It has been almost six months since the Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, emerged from a lockdown on April 8. The city in Hubei Province is bustling with tourists as China observes its eight-day National Day holiday. Meanwhile, bereaved families want the government to take responsibility for its initial response to the outbreak. The lockdown was lifted in April following a decline in the pace of infections. Local authorities say they have carried out tests on nearly 10 million residents and have contained the virus. They say no new cases have been confirmed since June, except for visitors from abroad.
Working Remotely
Covid-19 has changed working patterns for good, UK survey finds
Most office workers do not intend to spend five days a week in the workplace once the Covid-19 crisis is over, with both bosses and employees seeing home working as a long-term trend. The pandemic has changed working patterns for good, a survey from the British Council for Offices (BCO) has found. In future white-collar workers will adopt a mixed approach, combining remote working with several days a week in the office. The Institute of Directors agrees that more firms are taking a mixed approach to where their employees work.
Second phase of remote working survey to be carried out
The experience of remote working is to be the subject of a second national survey carried out by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission. The first phase of the survey was carried out in April, in the immediate aftermath of the national lockdown. It revealed that 83% of the 7,200 employees who responded wanted to continue working from home either fully or part of the time. Professor Alma McCarthy of NUIG's JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics noted that when the first research was carried out in April, it was an "emergency" situation where many employees still did not have fully equipped work stations at home.
Zoom with a view: The number of Scots heading overseas is expected to rocket as pandemic changes the way we work
The CIPD survey of more than 1,000 employers shows they believe 37% of staff will be working from home once the coronavirus crisis is over compared to just 16% who did so before lockdown, with 30% of employers stating increased homeworking has boosted productivity or efficiency. The organisation’s head in Scotland, Lee Ann Panglea, believes this greater commitment to flexible working could pave the way for more workations overseas. She said: “The pandemic is going to have a long-lasting effect on how we work, with a step change in the proportion of people who work from home on a much more regular basis. “While our research did not cover remote working outside the UK, we can see anecdotally that this more flexible approach could open doors to more people working overseas. As an organisation we have colleagues working all over the world. It is very much something that we support.”
Remote working brings rich opportunities for Russia’s recruiters
Until last month, the chief executive of Russia’s Alfa-Bank had always assumed he was the only person employed at the lender who hailed from Tarusa, a small town of just 9,000 people. Now he knows of three others; all hired in the bank’s IT development department over the summer as part of a major pan-national recruitment spree that, as a result of Covid-19, no longer relies on the talent pool in Moscow and a handful of other big cities. The pandemic’s enforced shift to remote working has unlocked the opportunity for many Russian recruiters to tap far more of the country’s 145m strong population, the majority of whom are based thousands of miles from businesses in Moscow or St Petersburg, across a vast country spanning 11 time zones.
Working from home? Slow broadband, remote security remain top issues
Unreliable home broadband connectivity is the primary technical challenge businesses are having to deal with as remote working continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's one takeaway from a survey of 100 C-level executives and IT professionals in the US by Navisite designed to highlight the biggest headaches for organizations providing IT services to workers since offices began to close in March.
You could work remotely in the Caribbean with a new 2 year visa - here’s how to get one
Homeworking is now the norm for many due to the coronavirus pandemic, but for those dreaming of the beach, there may be a way you can do both at once. The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has launched a new visa, which is specifically for remote workers.
Virtual Classrooms
DC Schools to Start Limited In-Person Learning, Virtual Learning Inside Schools
A limited number of D.C. Public Schools students can return to in-person learning starting in November, the chancellor announced Monday. Twice as many students will do virtual learning inside schools as will be in typical classrooms. Starting on Nov. 9, some families will have the option to return to schools in person, Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said at a news conference. Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade as well as students with “known opportunity gaps” will have the option to return. Families will continue to have the option to continue learning from home. “Learning at home is not working for every student. We particularly know that our youngest children are most challenged,” Ferebee said.
What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in 2020 America
Teachers find themselves at the heart of the national crisis — responsible not just for children’s education and well-being, but also for essential child care as parents struggle to get back to work.
Positive reviews for Virtual Learning in Bradford
From Kindergarten to high school, most virtual learners in Bradford report positive experiences so far since the return to “school” schedules. While many students returned to the classrooms for face-to-face learning in September, a large percentage of students stayed home due to the unpredictable ongoing pandemic. Virtual students and teachers were left in the dark right up until a few days before online schooling began. Those who required technology for at home learning were distributed throughout the first week of online class. There were expected hiccups during the first week – failed login attempts to online education portals, frozen screens, and dropped internet – but teachers pushed through this first-time experience while students embraced the new wave of learning.
How can students learn online if they don’t know the language? This city tackled the issue
Meet the Reyes Acosta family. Gabriela Acosta and her husband, Rodrigo Reyes, moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, from Central Mexico in 2013. Before a pandemic burst onto the scene, life was hard enough: Six kids. Navigating a world whose dominant language isn’t theirs. Now, Gabriela isn’t working. Her husband’s job is unstable. Add to that a new complication to maneuver: An unexpectedly online school system. Though the effect is hard to quantify, experts and educators say that distance learning likely worsened existing educational disparities. They worry that the country’s already disadvantaged students, including those who are learning to speak English, have fallen further behind. To Gabriela Acosta, 29, the campus closures and the financial stress “felt like a sudden, overwhelming loss of control,” she said in Spanish.
Surprising outcomes as schooling goes ‘virtual’ in COVID times
Right through the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been hearing people cribbing and moaning about the deteriorating education scene after the schools were forced to shut down in March. Online schooling was generally vilified, and it was felt that the already poor state of school education in India was now in shambles. Memes, cartoons and jokes abound about the ineffectiveness of distance teaching, but even teachers need humour to endure hard times.
What South Africa's teachers brought to the virtual classroom during COVID-19
While celebrating this year's World Teachers Day, we should recognize how the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the key role that teachers already play in South Africa's schools. Before the pandemic, many teachers in the country had not received substantive formal technology training, either to support blended teaching and learning or to fully apply online learning. The decision by the Ministry of Basic Education to shut down schools in response to the pandemic forced teachers to adapt and innovate to ensure that learning continued despite the challenges faced.
Lubbock ISD virtual teacher shares lessons he’s learned this school year
Lubbock ISD says they will continue virtual learning for the rest of the school year, as other surrounding districts such as Lubbock-Cooper and Roosevelt ISD announced they would no longer provide online education. The last day for parents to decide how their child will learn was Friday. At this time, Lubbock ISD has not released how many students will go virtual or transition back to the classrooms. Fifth grade teacher Andrew Campama has six years of experience, but nothing like virtual learning before. He has 120 students from six different campuses
Public Policies
Covid-19 updates: One in 10 worldwide may have had virus, WHO says
One in 10 people around the world may have contracted Covid-19, the World Health Organization said, at a special meeting of WHO leaders. A top official said the estimate meant "the vast majority of the world remains at risk". Just over 35m people have been confirmed as being infected with coronavirus - the WHO's estimate puts the true figure at closer to 800m. The estimate that 10% of the world's population has contracted the virus came from Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme. "This varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies between different groups," he said.
World Bank proposes a $12 billion fund for COVID vaccine dispersal to poor and developing countries
The World Bank is seeking approval from its board for a $12 billion fund that would help poor and developing countries get access to a COVID-19 vaccine in the future. “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio spoke with World Bank President David Malpass about how the fund would work and how the global financial institution is uniquely positioned to help facilitate a future international distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.
Rich countries are total vaccine hogs. Covid-19 must change that
When swine flu hit, poor countries missed out on vaccines. Public health experts are trying to stop that happening again with Covid-19. This time around, there’s another way to buy vaccines: the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, set up by the WHO and vaccine organisations including Gavi, the vaccine alliance started by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI). Wealthier countries can donate directly to COVAX to fund vaccines for less well off nations — and the UK has chucked in £500m — but they can also opt to buy vaccines themselves, giving COVAX the capital to make necessary deals.
UK's Sunak warns of economic and social impact of lockdowns
British finance minister Rishi Sunak warned that a further lockdown would cripple both the economy and society, stating that lockdowns have a very strong economic and social impact. Sunak spoke about his dissatisfaction with the 10 pm curfew on pubs and restaurants saying that, “Of course it’s frustrating. I know it’s difficult and wish we didn’t have to do these things.” He added that ministers were divided on the issue but encouraged Brits to abide by the rules. He said that he would not remain silent in his fight against future lockdowns and implored his fellow ministers to strive for normality in the face of COVID-19
New three-tier lockdown planned for England: The Guardian
A new three-tier lockdown is being planned for England, The Guardian reported, citing leaked government documents which revealed tougher measures that could be implemented locally or nationally if the government fails to get COVID-19 cases under control. The new lockdown would potentially entail harsher restrictions including the closure of pubs and a ban on all social contact outside household groups, the newspaper said. According to the documents seen by The Guardian, the draft plan called the ‘COVID-19 Proposed Social Distancing Framework’ is designed to simplify the existing localized restrictions.
NYC mayor seeks to lockdown coronavirus hotspots
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday he is moving to shut non-essential businesses as well as schools in nine neighborhoods identified as coronavirus clusters, starting on Wednesday. This report produced by Yahaira Jacquez.
Coronavirus: Pandemic 'will be bumpy through to Christmas and maybe beyond', Boris Johnson warns
The coronavirus pandemic "will be bumpy through to Christmas" and potentially beyond that, Boris Johnson has warned, as he said it is "too early to say" whether local lockdowns are working. The prime minister acknowledged there will be some members of the public who are "furious at me" and "furious at the government" amid the continuing COVID-19 restrictions. "I've got to tell you in all candour it's going to continue to be bumpy through to Christmas, it may even be bumpy beyond," he said in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.
Welsh Government 'actively considering' quarantine rule for people travelling from UK lockdown areas
The Welsh Government is "actively considering" imposing quarantine restrictions on people travelling into Wales from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus. First Minister Mark Drakeford had previously called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce travel restrictions for people in areas of England under local lockdown. People living in parts of Wales subject to local restrictions must not enter or leave that area without a reasonable excuse - which does not include travelling for a holiday. Health minister Vaughan Gething told a press conference: "We're actively considering what we should do and I've discussed it this morning with the First Minister. "We have quarantine regulations for international travel.
Covid in Scotland: Sturgeon to meet advisers over further restrictions
Further restrictions could be introduced "in the near future" to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said. The first minister is to meet advisers and ministers on Monday and Tuesday to discuss fresh measures. She said it was "vital that we do everything we can" to slow the virus and that "not acting costs lives". Some advisers have backed the idea of a "circuit breaker" lockdown as "short, sharp shock" to the spread of Covid-19. National Clinical Director Jason Leitch told BBC Scotland that two weeks of heightened restrictions could push the course of the pandemic back by 28 days and "buy time" ahead of winter.
Confusion but no chaos, as Madrid sees new coronavirus restrictions implemented in 10 cities
There was widespread confusion and doubts among the public in Madrid this weekend as new restrictions came into force on Friday night in 10 cities in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus in the region, which was described last week by the Health Minister Salvador Illa as being at the “community transmission” stage.
Coronavirus: Jason Leitch says ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown could ‘buy Scotland time’
Professor Jason Leitch told BBC Scotland that a two-week-long lockdown would deliver a “short, sharp shock to the R number.” He said such a move was about "buying yourself more time", but added that officials were still weighing up whether the economic cost of a “circuit breaker” was a price “worth paying”.
Japan might reopen its borders to all travellers early next year
Countries all over the world have come out of lockdown and reopened their borders over the summer. Now Japan has started to welcome back at least some international travellers too. The Japanese government announced last month that it will lower the travel warning level for around ten countries around the world from ‘3’ (meaning ‘avoid travelling for any reason’) to ‘2’ (‘avoid non-essential travel’). A two-week quarantine will still be required for anyone flying into Japan, but it is hoped the move will encourage these nations to allow Japanese travellers in too – paving the way, eventually, for mutual leisure travel arrangements.
Coronavirus state border restrictions are easing but these Australians still have no idea when they'll see their loved ones
Across Australia, coronavirus measures are being wound back. Queensland on Friday announced it would reopen its border to New South Wales by next month, so long as there are 28 days of no community transmission, and last week relaxed measures to allow entry to people from the ACT. Tasmania is due to reopen its borders to most states and territories at the end of the month. But there are still plenty of border restrictions in place across the country. Western Australia has been clear it is in no rush to end its hard border, and that's just one example.
New Zealand ‘Beat The Virus Again’ Prime Minister Declares, As Nation Lifts Second Wave Restrictions
New Zealand, the first country hit by Covid-19 to declare it was free of the virus before going into lockdown again, is set to declare that it has overcome a second wave of the illness, cementing its position as one of the countries with the most successful response to the virus. Most of the country, with a population of 4.8 million, is at an alert level of 1, the lowest level that indicates the virus is contained, while capital Auckland will move down from level 2 to level 1 by Wednesday. The changes mean that the 100-person cap on gatherings will be lifted, and social distancing will be done away with in bars and restaurants
Italian government set to impose new curbs to tackle COVID-19 resurgence
The Italian government will likely impose new restrictions on the country in the coming week to try to beat back rising numbers of coronavirus cases, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Sunday. The cabinet is due to meet on Tuesday to decide how to respond to an increase in infections, with southern Italian regions for the first time looking vulnerable to the disease. “The battle isn’t over. We don’t have the numbers seen in other European countries ... but we are in a phase of significant growth and I hope the country finds a spirit of unity,” Speranza told state broadcaster RAI. The measures under review include making the wearing of masks obligatory outdoors across the whole country and re-introducing curbs on social gatherings.
Moscow authorities consider return to tough COVID- 19 lockdown - Vedomosti
Moscow authorities are considering imposing a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus and are looking at several possible scenarios, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Monday, citing sources. * “It’s particularly important to understand how to take steps that don’t finish off businesses,” one Vedomosti source said. * Russia reported 10,499 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest number of daily infections since May 15, when the outbreak was at its peak and lockdowns were in place.
The race inside Russia's coronavirus vaccine laboratory
Russia powered through with developing a coronavirus vaccine to give people hope and not because of political pressure, the nation's top virologist told CNN in a rare interview. All other work at the Gamaleya Institute was suspended and scientists and researchers were tasked with developing an effective vaccine, said the institute's director, Alexander Gintsburg. Promising results led to the vaccine being approved even before widespread human testing, Gintsburg insisted. That's testing that experts say is required before any vaccine is widely used. "It gave people a choice to either protect themselves or play roulette with a pathogen -- will you get infected or not, will you die or not?" he said. Critics across the globe say the breakneck speed of the vaccine development points to political pressure from the Kremlin, which is keen to portray Russia as a global scientific force. It was President Vladimir Putin himself who announced the approval of the vaccine amid much fanfare on Russian state television.
'Don’t be afraid' of virus, Trump says as he prepares to leave hospital
President Donald Trump said he will leave a military hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19 later on Monday, and urged people not to be afraid of the disease, which has killed more than a million people worldwide and wreaked economic havoc. Even if discharged, he will need to continue treatment as he is still undergoing a five-day course of an intravenous antiviral drug, remdesivir. The normal quarantine period for anyone testing positive for the novel coronavirus is 14 days. Trump has frequently downplayed the threat of the pandemic which has infected 7.4 million Americans. In recent days, he released a series of videos to reassure the public he is recovering from the disease caused by the virus.
White House Blocks New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines
Top White House officials are blocking strict new federal guidelines for the emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine, objecting to a provision that would almost certainly guarantee that no vaccine could be authorized before the election on Nov. 3, according to people familiar with the approval process. Facing a White House blockade, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking other avenues to ensure that vaccines meet the guidelines. That includes sharing the standards with an outside advisory committee of experts — perhaps as soon as this week — that is supposed to meet publicly before any vaccine is authorized for emergency use. The hope is that the committee will enforce the guidelines, regardless of the White House’s reaction.
Coronavirus: The entire nation is going to Level 3 - here's what that means
Taoiseach Michael Martin has announced that the whole country is to go under Level 3 restrictions as cases of Covid-19 continue to increase. Despite a recommendation from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to move the country into Level 5, the Government rejected the advice today and instead opted to bring the rest of the counties in line with Donegal and Dublin. Martin said it is “important to understand that we are in a very different situation to last March”. “The virus is spreading because people are allowing it to spread,” he said.
Israel's Lockdown Feels Pretty Different the Second Time Around
When Israel imposed a coronavirus lockdown in March, I walked home after raiding the supermarket and was able to hear the birds chirping on Dizengoff Street, one of the busiest arteries here. The next day I spoke to my father in Jerusalem, where the country’s first death from coronavirus had just been recorded. We both danced around the fact that, since his age made him more susceptible to complications from the virus, it would probably be a long time before we could see each other. Movement was restricted to within 100 meters (about 330 feet) from one’s home. I taped to our fridge a “schedule” for my children, who were 3½ and 1½, which included assembling puzzles in the living room, coloring on our tiny porch and tent-building in their room. Five days later, I scrapped the “schedule” because every unfilled task felt like a personal failure. When my husband got off work (our dining table became his home office), I would lock myself on the porch with the shutters down to write.
Maintaining Services
Cobra Biologics steps up work to develop Covid-19 vaccine with new manufacturing agreement
A North Staffordshire biologics business has entered a collaboration which will see it manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine for an Oxford-based medical firm. Keele-based Cobra Biologics has signed a good manufacturing practice (GMP) agreement with Scancell for the production of a new vaccine which has the potential to provide long-lasting immunity against Covid-19 - by generating protection not only against this strain, but also against new strains of coronavirus that may arise in the future. The project – which is being funded by an Innovate UK grant – represents a crucial development in the production of a Covid-19 vaccine for use in the Phase 1 clinical trial, COVIDITY.
Why a second lockdown could turn the lights out on the UK economy
James Reed is chairman and chief executive of recruitment firm REED. He writes about a second wave of Covid-19: "While I agree that extra measures might be needed to combat the spread of this disease, a blanket second full lockdown will certainly drive a coach and horses through the early signs of economic recovery" "A lockdown is a short-term fix based upon the hope that a vaccine for Covid-19 is just around the corner, which it may or may not be. It’s something that should only be considered as an absolute last resort, after all other options have been exhausted."
Point of view of the Italians pediatric scientific societies about the pediatric care during the COVID-19 lockdown: what has changed and future prospects for restarting
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is currently rare in children and they seem to have a milder disease course and better prognosis than adults. However, SARS-Cov-2 pandemic has indirectly caused problems in pediatric medical assistance. In view of this we wanted to draw a picture of what happened during health emergency and analyze future prospects for restarting. We involved the Italian pediatric scientific societies institutionally collected in the Italian Federation of Associations and Scientific Societies of the Pediatric Area (FIARPED); We sent a questionnaire to all scientific societies about the pediatric care activity during the COVID-19 emergency and future perspectives for the phase of post-containment.
Business as usual? Scant enforcement of Madrid's new lockdown
Madrid residents were largely coming and going as normal on Monday despite a prohibition on non-essential travel in the first European capital to return to a coronavirus lockdown due to resurgent infections, which rose above 800,000 nationally. Police said 300 officers were manning 60 checkpoints, but commuters poured into the Spanish capital as usual and few said they had noticed extra controls. With 850 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people, the Madrid area has Europe’s highest rate, so 4.8 million people in the city and nine satellite towns came under new restrictions from Friday night.
Coronavirus: Paris to shut bars and raise alert to maximum
Paris will shut all bars completely from Tuesday after the French government raised the city's coronavirus alert to maximum following a period of high infection rates. Bars, gyms and swimming pools will all be closed for two weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, the city's police chief said. But restaurants will remain open if strict hygiene rules are in place. On Sunday France reported 12,565 cases of Covid-19. "These are braking measures because the epidemic is moving too fast," police chief Didier Lallement said during a press conference on Monday.
The Uneven Decline of Health Services Across States During Lockdown
In India, the national lockdown in April-May 2020 had devastating effects on people’s employment and earnings. About half of urban workers, for instance, did not earn any income during that period according to a recent survey by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. For good measure, many public services were also reduced or discontinued. This includes routine health services. Clear evidence of the massive disruption of health services during the lockdown is available from the Indian government’s Health Management Information System (HMIS).
Mumbai restaurants, bars to open today after months of lockdown
Restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen in Mumbai from Monday after over six months of lockdown restrictions because of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. The dine-in facility will be reopened at 50% capacity and will adhere to several restrictions by following guidelines of the Maharashtra government that were issued last week. However, because of an acute crunch in staff several restaurant owners have asked their workers to return to Mumbai at the earliest and many are booking their flights in a bid to ensure employees could resume their duties at the earliest
'Heavy-handed' cops slammed after new COVID-19 fines data emerges
Victorians have been hit with far more COVID-19 fines than any other state in Australia, an economist's numbers show. Data released by economist Saul Eslake on coronavirus breaches during the state's first lockdown showed a huge imbalance between Victoria and the rest of Australia. COVID-19 fines in Victoria averaged out to $90 per 100,000 people. For all other states and territories it was about $20 – and just $16 for New South Wales. Community lawyer Lloyd Murphy claimed police had been "heavy handed", with young people disproportionately affected. "And now here's even more data to suggest people from migrant backgrounds and people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds are being targeted even further."
Bali's exploding coronavirus death rate could make island last place Aussies return to
The coronavirus death rate is exploding in Bali, sparking fears it'll be among the last places to welcome Aussie visitors again. Business is suffering so severely even major chains are permanently closing, including McDonald's in the centre of usual-hotspot Kuta.
Aussies defy COVID limits and crowd Victoria’s beaches, parks
The premier of Australia’s Victoria state has called on citizens to “stay the course” after large groups flooded beaches and parks at the weekend in defiance of lockdown regulations. Victoria, emerging from a major winter spike in coronavirus cases, relaxed lockdown regulations last weekend but still allowed only five people from up to two households to congregate outside.
'Enormous' planning to distribute coronavirus vaccine in UK
An "enormous amount of planning" is currently going into distributing a coronavirus vaccine, Downing Street has said. A spokesman said that a huge amount of planning and preparation is in place to make sure an eventual vaccine could be sent across the country. “The priority will be the most vulnerable groups and we take advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on which groups should get the vaccine, based on these factors and we keep it under review,” the prime minister’s official spokesman said.
Coronavirus vaccine will be given to less than half the UK population, taskforce chief says
The head of the UK's vaccine taskforce has warned that less than half of the British population should expect to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Kate Bingham said it is "misguided" to expect that every UK citizen will get a Covid-19 vaccine injection when it is widely released, as they will initially be reserved for at-risk groups only. The priority groups top of the list for the vaccine will include the over-50s and health and social care workers.
NHS calls in Armed Forces to help distribute coronavirus vaccine
The British armed forces will be involved in distributing a coronavirus vaccine across the UK ‘according to priority’, the Health Secretary has said. Speaking at the Conservative Party conference on Sunday, Matt Hancock confirmed that a ‘combination of the NHS and the armed forces’ are already working on ‘making the rollout happen’. He said the doses would be distributed based on a prioritisation list, noting that it was important to ‘get the vaccine to the people who are most likely to be badly affected by coronavirus first’. Calling the vaccine a ‘great hope’, he told the conference: ‘The Prime Minister said this morning there will be some bumpy months ahead but we are working as hard as we can to get a vaccine as fast as is safely possible.
Cargo airlines face challenges shipping coronavirus vaccine: report
Even if a coronavirus vaccine is approved soon, it will likely be years until it can be distributed around the world, according to cargo airline and logistics executives. Challenging storage and shipping requirements, combined with reduced cargo availability and higher demand, are likely to delay distribution, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. Although cargo airlines are trying to prepare, a host of unknowns — including where the vaccine will be made, how many doses are needed, and how it will need to be stored — means there's only so much that can be organized in advance.
Overtaking China in number of COVID-19 cases, carefree Nepalese now worry about possible lockdown
The coronavirus barometer of the Himalayan Nation has surged high in recent days with the number of cases reaching 86,823 on October 4. Nepal on Sunday overtook China in the number of infections which has reported 85,450 cases amid speculation that the toll could be higher. Nepal on Sunday alone logged 2,253 new cases with 1,329 cases of recoveries and seven deaths. Out of new cases, Kathmandu Valley alone contributed 1,373 new cases while Lalitpur registered 187 and Bhaktapur 39 new cases of coronavirus. Despite the increasing number of cases, the buzz in the market and roads in Kathmandu is as normal as before. Social distancing, sanitisation and other basic health protocols issued by the government are flaunted by shoppers who are all in a festive mood to celebrate the upcoming festival of Dashain
Healthcare Innovations
CDC says airborne transmission plays a role in coronavirus spread in a long-awaited update after a website error last month
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that people can sometimes become infected with the novel coronavirus through airborne transmission, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation. The long-awaited update to the agency Web page explaining how the virus spreads represents an official acknowledgment of growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic.
Pfizer, BioNTech, and Regeneron Hit With Patent Lawsuits Over COVID-19 Drugs and Vaccines
The three companies are accused of using a fluorescent protein in their research without paying royalties for it.
Pfizer and BioNTech Have Enrolled 83% of Their Up-Sized Coronavirus Vaccine Trial
Pfizer has now enrolled 36,576 participants in the late-stage clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, which it's developing with BioNTech. Last month, the companies increased their planned enrollment in the study from 30,000 to approximately 44,000, meaning that it is currently 83% enrolled. Pfizer and BioNTech have signed up more participants than Moderna, which had 28,043 people in the clinical trial of its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, as of Friday evening. Moderna's phase 3 trial still has a target of 30,000 participants, so it'll likely reach full enrollment first. But the amount of time it will take the companies to reach complete enrollment shouldn't much affect when they release their initial efficacy data, because those preliminary results will come from analyses of data generated by the participants inoculated earliest in the studies.
People who contract both flu and Covid-19 are more likely to die, research suggests
Public Health England research suggests that people people infected with both flu and COVID-19 between January and April were more at risk of severe illness and death. This year, 30 million people will be offered the free flu vaccine. Three of the nation’s senior medics – Dr Yvonne Doyle, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, and Dr Nikita Kanani – are calling on all eligible people to get vaccinated against flu, as the new research suggests that the risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and COVID-19, compared to those with COVID-19 alone.
NPIs reduced SARS-CoV-2 transmission in South Korea
In South Korea, the first cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were identified in January 2020. By April 2020, the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases went up to 10,683 infections, and 237 people had died of the disease. A large percentage of the cases and deaths were a result of superspreader events in the Daegu-Gyeongsangbuk province. Although some studies examined how public health interventions can help contain COVID-19 outbreaks, not much information was available on public health measures against SARS-CoV-2 transmission, specifically in South Korea. Researchers from the Konyang University College of Medicine, South Korea, and The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, analyzed the transmission of COVID-19 outside of the Daegu-Gyeongsangbuk provincial region in South Korea, in a recent study published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.
Study of 'excess deaths' finds there may be another 75,000 unconfirmed COVID-19 fatalities
Researchers looked at the number of 'excess' deaths between February and September compared to years prior. An analysis of more than 1,000 counties revealed at least 183,000 deaths with COVID-19 assigned as the direct cause of death. What's more, for every 100 deaths directly attributed to the virus, there were an additional 36 deaths. This means the death toll of 209,000 could actually be undercounted by up to 36% and around 284,000