"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 15th Oct 2020

Isolation Tips
WHO Warning About Covid-19 Coronavirus Lockdowns Is Taken Out Of Context
As you can see, Nabarro said, “We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus.” Note the word “primary” here. He did not say, “do not advocate lockdowns as a means of control of this virus.” Nabarro continued by saying, “The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.” Note the words “rather not do it” as opposed to “should not do it” or “will not do it.” Nabarro went on to describe how “lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.” He added, “Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.” So basically, Nabarro was pointing out the potentially serious negative consequences of lockdowns. That, of course, makes sense. So, where exactly was the “reversal” of the WHO’s position? Did Nabarro actually “admit” something new? Not really. Again, pay attention to the words “primary” and “rather not do it.” Nabarro really never said that lockdowns should not be used at all and that everything should be opened now and kept open forever.
Hygiene Helpers
More masks, less play: Europe tightens rules as virus surges
Governments across Europe are ratcheting up restrictions to try to beat back a resurgence of the coronavirus that has sent new confirmed infections on the continent to their highest weekly level since the start of the pandemic. The World Health Organization said Tuesday there were more than 700,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in Europe last week, a jump of 34% from the previous week. Britain, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of the new infections. The increasing caseload is partly the result of more testing, but the U.N. health agency noted that deaths were also up 16% last week from the week before. Doctors are warning that while many of the new cases are in younger people, who tend to have milder symptoms, the virus could again start spreading widely among older people, resulting in more serious illnesses.
A 'circuit breaker' in England will work only if test and trace is urgently reformed
In July, it all looked possible. England’s 12-week lockdown had reduced the number of positive cases. We could have continued to crush the R value, and built the infrastructure capable of snuffing out local outbreaks. But instead the government chose privatised call centres over community contact tracers. Our testing system, divorced from primary care, was too slow to identify cases. Those who did test positive were often uncertain about what should happen next. And in the absence of financial support, many households did not comply with isolation.
Countries turn to rapid antigen tests to contain second wave of COVID-19
Countries struggling to contain a second wave of COVID-19 are turning to faster, cheaper, but less accurate tests to avoid delays and shortages that have hampered efforts to quickly diagnose and trace those infected.Germany, where infections jumped by 4,122 on Tuesday to a total of 329,453 cases, has gotten nine million so-called antigen tests a month that can give a result in minutes and cost around $ 7.75 each. This would, in theory, cover more than 10% of the population. The United States and Canada also buy millions of tests, as does Italy, whose recent tender for five million tests attracted bids from 35 companies. Switzerland, where new cases of COVID-19 are at record levels, is considering adding the tests to its national screening strategy. The German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) now recommends antigen testing to supplement existing molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which have become the standard for the assessment of active infections, but which have also suffered from shortages because the pandemic has overwhelmed laboratories and exceeded the production capacity of manufacturers.
Community Activities
Emergency coronavirus recovery grants issued to West Sussex arts, culture and heritage sites
Theatres, museums, music venues and heritage sites across West Sussex have received thousands of pounds worth of emergency funding to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Americans tend to think children should be allowed to trick-or-treat despite COVID-19
Halloween may look different this year, but many Americans still intend to celebrate. Data from YouGov finds that 33% of US adults intend to celebrate Halloween by watching a spooky movie, while 28% say they’ll decorate their house and/or carve a pumpkin. About one-quarter (26%) of Americans plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters this year, while slightly fewer intend to wear a costume (19%), go to a party (12%), or go trick-or-treating (11%) themselves. About three in 10 (31%) don’t intend to do any of the above activities, and 4% aren’t sure of their Halloween plans.
Tell us how COVID-19 is affecting your commute in new survey series
How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting your commute? The Division of Administration is conducting a series of surveys designed to gain a better understanding of commuter attitudes and behaviors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey results will inform mobility and transportation efforts on campus and scholarly research at the university. The surveys are for members of the Vanderbilt University community who currently commute to campus for work or study, as well as those currently working or studying remotely. The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.
Working Remotely
A psychiatrist explains how to handle difficult colleagues while working from home | 5 Questions
Every office has at least one, it seems. And with the pandemic, the pest factor has only increased, researchers have learned. Here to explain difficult colleagues — what to do about them and how to avoid becoming one yourself — is Jody Foster, chair of the department of psychiatry at Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Medicine’s first assistant dean for professionalism at the Perelman School of Medicine. In that position, she is responsible for shepherding initiatives to foster professionalism in the workplace and in schools.
Top workplaces 2020: Work-life balance while working from home
At work while at home: The new paradigm - A look at changes in the effort to bring harmony to the work-life balance
Coronavirus Silver Lining: A Better Work-Life Balance?
Many people want to both have and raise children. And just as many also understand that a job is necessary to help support this family. The problem is that family and professional obligations often pull workers in opposite directions. One way to help alleviate this struggle for a work-life balance is with remote work. Once the Internet and technology reached a certain level of ubiquity and affordability, telecommuting became far more common and accepted. But for whatever reason, working from home didn’t quite reach its potential prior to 2020. However, the coronavirus pandemic might be changing that.
Atlassian study reveals the impact of working remotely
The results of an Atlassian study examining how working remotely has impacted knowledge workers during the COVID-19 pandemic provides valuable insights into how to lead a fragmented workforce. The three-monthly long global study, which surveyed over 5,0000 employees, found an employee’s readiness for remote work was based on three key factors: Household Complexity – the level of care duties a person has responsibility for and the density of the household both impact a person’s remote working experience. Role Complexity – the complexity of an employee’s workflow and the level of social interaction required to perform the role successfully influences his or her performance and satisfaction. Network Quality – access to personal and workplace networks contributes to a person’s sense of belonging and support.
Working Remotely Has Become A Norm In A Lot Of Countries
A total of 24 days – that’s the minimum amount of time that a German employee could soon be entitled to work remotely each year. In Germany, a bill is currently being prepared that may well introduce a new labour standard. While the country may be among the first to legislate telework, other countries have not waited for the global health crisis to entrench the rights of teleworkers. The European Union has already encouraged its member states to increasingly secure the status of employees working from home or remotely. A historic agreement was in fact reached in 2002, signed by European social partners so that each country could have its own legislation on telework. Rather than a uniform text establishing the same teleworking conditions for a Dutch, Polish or Greek employee, it is a European legal framework that aims to ensure, for the citizens concerned, the same rights for employees working from home as those working in the office.
Virtual Classrooms
Liverpool's museums launch virtual classroom for schools
National Museums Liverpool’s brand new virtual classroom workshops are now available to book online for the first time ever. Created for schools for the new academic year, NML’s interactive curriculum-linked workshops – led by museum experts – bring learning to life and inspire the imaginations of your pupils by engaging them in activities based on real artefacts.  Mummification, Greek gods and transatlantic slavery are some of the subject’s school children can learn about in the comfort of their classrooms, thanks to virtual workshops developed by National Museums Liverpool.
Managing students in online classes
The tectonic shift in the education sector from the traditional form of teaching to online teaching has left not just students and parents but also teachers in dire straits. Teachers were suddenly forced to adopt a whole new way of teaching, practically overnight.
Philadelphia School District To Start Phasing Students Back Into Classrooms On Nov. 30 As Part Of Hybrid Learning Plan
The School District of Philadelphia unveiled its plan Wednesday to offer hybrid learning to students in pre-kindergarten through second grade starting after the Thanksgiving holiday. Parents have between Monday, Oct. 26 and Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. to choose between the hybrid model or continuing all-virtual learning.
Public Policies
Kids may not be recommended for COVID-19 vaccination initially, U.S. CDC says
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that COVID-19 vaccines may not be initially recommended for children, when they become available. Children, who rarely have severe COVID-19 symptoms, have not yet been tested for any experimental coronavirus vaccine. The CDC said so far early clinical trials have only included non-pregnant adults, noting the recommended groups could change in the future as clinical trials expand to recruit more people. Pfizer has said it will enroll children, who are capable of passing on the virus to high-risk groups, as young as 12 in its large, late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial, while AstraZeneca has said a sub-group of patients in a large trial will test children between five to 12.
Will Zambia be first African nation to default during pandemic?
Zambia moved closer to becoming the first African nation to default on its dollar bonds since the onset of the coronavirus, making it a test case for nations worldwide battling to meet obligations to a range of lenders from bondholders to Chinese state banks. Holders of Zambia’s $3 billion of Eurobonds will vote next week on the country’s request for a six-month interest-payment holiday. A core croup of creditors have already rejected the proposal, prompting Zambia to say Tuesday it won’t be able to service its $3 billion of Eurobonds unless it gets the relief.
Portugal imposes tougher COVID-19 measures as virus spreads
Tougher measures will be imposed in Portugal from Thursday onwards to contain record levels of coronavirus cases, including stricter limits on gatherings and heavier penalties for rule-breaking establishments. Prime Minister Antonio Costa will also submit a proposal to parliament to make face masks compulsory in crowded outdoor spaces, and use of the government’s tracing app compulsory for some workforces. “I know many people are tired of the restrictions,” Costa told a news conference on Wednesday.
IMF urges governments to maintain Covid-19 support, as restrictions tighten - business live
International Monetary Fund says it’s too early to end government support scheme, as pandemic drives up to 90m people into extreme poverty - Britain’s economy faces a double risk to recovery from a disorderly Brexit as the coronavirus pandemic drags down growth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned. On the eve of a critical EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, the influential Paris-based thinktank said the Covid crisis would further complicate a disorderly Brexit as companies were less prepared for the end of the transition period, having diverted attention away from leaving the EU. It warned that failure to secure a free trade agreement before the UK leaves the Brexit transition period at the end of December would leave the economy 6.5% lower in the next few years than would have been the case if existing arrangements with the EU had been maintained.
White House Embraces Covid-19 ‘Herd Immunity’ Declaration
The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine. Many experts say “herd immunity” is still very far-off. Leading experts have concluded, using different scientific methods, that about 85 to 90 percent of the American population is still susceptible to the coronavirus. The declaration’s architects include Sunetra Gupta and Gabriela Gomes, two scientists who have proposed that societies may achieve herd immunity when 10 to 20 percent of their populations have been infected with the virus, a position most epidemiologists disagree with.
Scientists Are Slamming The Great Barrington Declaration’s Call For “Herd Immunity”
As the Trump administration signals a willingness to build “herd immunity” by purposely allowing the coronavirus to spread, major scientific organizations are denouncing a plan they say would be life-threatening and practically impossible. That plan, laid out by three scientists in a controversial document called the "Great Barrington Declaration," calls for only protecting “vulnerable” people and letting everyone else get infected with COVID-19. The authors discussed the strategy in a meeting with two top White House officials last week. This week, the head of the World Health Organization and more than a dozen groups representing thousands of infectious disease and public health experts fiercely pushed back in a series of formal denouncements. “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
Two-week UK circuit-breaker lockdown ‘will be considered’ if strict tier system fails
The prime minister is reportedly considering a short ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown if his three-tier system fails, as pressure mounts on him to take drastic action over the half-term break. Sir Keir Starmer and experts are urging Boris Johnson to go further than his latest measures by introducing a fortnight of nationwide curbs, with scientists estimating the move could save around 7,800 lives by the end of the year. The temporary lockdown would see most businesses, including pubs and restaurants close, if the three-tier restrictions coming into effect today fail to bring down the spiralling infection rate, a Government source told The Telegraph.
Liverpool becomes first city to be placed under UK's tightest restrictions
The city of Liverpool in northern England is part of the first area to go under the UK's new strictest set of Covid-19 restrictions. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz reports
Coronavirus: Northern Ireland to go into four-week partial lockdown
Northern Ireland is to close schools, pubs and restaurants as part of new restrictions to try to contain exploding rates of Covid-19 infection. Arlene Foster, the first minister, announced the partial lockdown on Wednesday at a special sitting of the Stormont assembly in response to what has become a pandemic hotspot. The new rules take effect from Friday and are to last four weeks with the exception of schools, which will shut for two weeks. The hospitality sector will close apart from deliveries and takeaways. Off-licences and supermarkets cannot sell alcohol after 8pm. There will be no indoor sport or organised contact sport involving mixing of households, other than at elite level.
Newly reported coronavirus cases in Germany reach April's level
The number of newly reported coronavirus cases in Germany has passed 5,000 for the first time since mid-April as officials weigh the possible rollout of new measures to contain the pandemic. The country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said on Wednesday that a further 5,132 infections and 43 deaths from Covid-19 were recorded over the past day. The development came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel was set to meet with the governors of the country's 16 states to discuss which measures to take in response to the growing case load.
Russia, Poland and Iran each hit new coronavirus records
European nations are closing schools, cancelling operations and enlisting legions of student medics as overwhelmed authorities face the nightmare scenario of a COVID-19 resurgence at the onset of winter. With new cases hitting about 100,000 a day, Europe has by a wide margin overtaken the United States, where more than 51,000 COVID-19 infections are reported on average every day. Most European governments eased lockdowns over the summer to start reviving economies already battered by the pandemic's first wave, but the return of normal activity – from packed restaurants to new university terms – has fuelled a sharp spike in cases all over the continent. Bars and pubs were among the first to shut or face earlier closing in the new lockdowns, but now the surging infection rates are also testing governments' resolve to keep schools and non-COVID medical care going.
Switzerland calls 'crisis summit' in bid to avoid second lockdown
The Swiss government will hold a ‘crisis summit’ on Thursday to discuss what steps can be taken to avoid a second lockdown. The Swiss government has called a ‘crisis meeting’ to determine how a second lockdown can be avoided. President Simonetta Sommaruga, Health Minister Alain Berset, Economics Minister Guy Parmelin, President of the Conference of the Cantonal Governments Christian Rathgeb, Lukas Engelberger and Christoph Brutschin, top health and economics directors, will attend the meeting. In calling for the 'crisis summit', Sommaruga is hoping to avoid an economically and socially destructive second lockdown, reports Swiss tabloid Blick.
Covid-19: Health experts suggest Christmas lockdown as Italy reports record rise in new cases
Italy has reported over 7,000 new cases of coronavirus in a day for the first time ever, as scientific experts warned of pressure on hospitals and said a "circuit breaker" lockdown may be necessary by Christmas. Italy's health authorities on Wednesday reported 7,332 new cases within the past 24 hours, a figure that exceeds the record high of 6,557 seen on March 21st.
COVID-19 lockdown in Israel extended till October 18
The period of the general quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Israel has been extended until October 18, the prime minister and the health minister said in a joint statement. Earlier, Israel imposed strict norms of nationwide quarantine until the end of the fall holidays - October 11, and then the period was extended until October 14. According to these norms, many workplaces are closed, with the exception of vital and continuous production lines, only grocery stores and pharmacies continue to work.
Netherlands goes into partial lockdown to contain coronavirus spread
The Netherlands returned to a "partial lockdown" on Wednesday (October 14, 2020) following Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's announcement on Tuesday evening to close bars and restaurants in order to control the coronavirus in one of Europe's major hotspots. "Today we are announcing new and sturdy measures and in fact we are going to a partial lockdown," Rutte said in a televised news conference. He said public gatherings of more than four people would be prohibited and alcohol sales in the evening would also be banned. Schools were to remain open and public transport would keep running, in contrast to measures imposed during a partial lockdown earlier this year.
COVID 2nd wave drives more European countries back into lockdown
More European countries have decided to reimpose nationwide lockdown measures to counter fast-rising coronavirus infection rates. Northern Ireland announced Wednesday that it would become the first among the United Kingdom's four nations to try a so-called circuit breaker lockdown. The tactic will see pubs and restaurants closed for all but takeout service, all schools closed and many other businesses greatly restricted for a short, defined period to try and break the cycle of spiraling infections.
Coronavirus: Which countries have tried circuit-breaker lockdowns and have they worked?
Sir Keir Starmer has called for a two- to three-week national lockdown, accusing the prime minister of "no longer following the scientific advice". The Labour leader's intervention came after it emerged Boris Johnson dismissed a recommendation for the measure from government scientists three weeks ago. Here’s a look at how other countries have attempted a so-called "circuit-breaker" in their fight against Covid-19.
Here's how circuit breaker lockdowns worked in Israel, New Zealand and Singapore
Just 24 hours after Boris Johnson unveiled his latest plans to crub the spread of coronavirus, the Labour Party has called for 'circuit breaker' lockdown. Sir Keir Starmer called for a two to three-week national lockdown on Tuesday that, accusing the Prime Minister of "no longer following the scientific advice". His comments come after it emerged on Monday evening that scientists advising the government recommended the country be put into a two-week 'circuit break' lockdown three weeks ago. Documents released on Monday night - prior to the PM appearing from Downing Street for his press conference - show that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) were urging the Prime Minister to go further than the three-tiered system.
Keir Starmer calls for 'circuit breaker' lockdown for England – video
Keir Starmer called for a two-to three-week national 'circuit breaker' lockdown across England to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed, urging Boris Johnson to act in a dramatic escalation of his criticism of the government’s approach. Starmer pushed the PM to heed the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) after it was revealed late on Monday that the government’s scientific advisers called for a fortnight-long lockdown as long ago as 21 September, warning that a failure to do so risked a 'very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences'
Coronavirus spikes in two Australian states; easing restrictions delayed
Several coronavirus clusters have emerged in Australia’s two most populous states, officials said on Wednesday, prompting the biggest, New South Wales (NSW), to delay easing some restrictions. The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was concerned the state was on the cusp of another major community transmission, after 11 new cases were locally acquired and a cluster appeared in the southwest Sydney suburb of Lakemba. She said the easing of some social restrictions involving restaurants and weddings would now be put on hold.
Dutch to impose social restrictions to curb COVID-19 surge
The Netherlands will return to a “partial lockdown” on Wednesday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, closing bars and restaurants as it battles to control the coronavirus in one of Europe’s major hotspots. “Today we are announcing new and sturdy measures and in fact we are going to a partial lockdown,” Rutte said in a televised news conference. He said public gatherings of more than four people would be prohibited and alcohol sales in the evening would also be banned. Schools were to remain open and public transport would keep running, in contrast to measures imposed during a partial lockdown earlier this year.
‘We have to act’: France’s Macron orders curfews to contain COVID
President Emmanuel Macron has ordered a nighttime curfew for Paris and eight other French cities to contain the rising spread of the coronavirus in the country. In a televised interview on Wednesday, Macron said residents of those cities would not be allowed outdoors between 9pm (19:00 GMT) and 6am (04:00 GMT) from Saturday, for at least four weeks, except for essential reasons.
World Bank approves $12bn to increase COVID vaccine accessibility
The World Bank has approved $12bn in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments. The $12bn “envelope” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160bn to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late on Tuesday. Its implementation will be in support of efforts being led by the World Health Organization and COVAX, and will offer recipient countries a number of options with regards to acquiring and delivering vaccines. The World Bank said its new funding would help “signal to the research and pharmaceutical industry that citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines”.
G20 agrees to additional 6-month debt suspension for poor nations
The Group of 20 nations, representing the world’s biggest economies, have agreed to extend the suspension of debt payments by an additional six months to support the most vulnerable countries in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The G-20 says the extension will provide ongoing relief for the $14bn in debt payments that would have come due at the end of the year otherwise. Wednesday’s decision gives developing nations until the end of June 2021 to focus spending on health care and emergency stimulus programs rather than debt repayments.
Maintaining Services
NHS Wales boss reveals pressure on hospitals as coronavirus admissions leap and ICU beds full
The amount of people being treated for coronavirus in Wales' hospitals has shot up in the last seven days, the head of NHS Wales has revealed. Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales, told Wednesday's Welsh Government coronavirus briefing how the recent spike in cases is not being felt in Wales' hospitals. He said that the nation's intensive care beds were all now full, although mainly not with Covid patients, and that health boards were already looking to use alternative field hospital capacity. "Today, there are just over 700 people being treated for coronavirus in Welsh hospitals," he said. "This is 49% more than last week. This is the highest number since late June."
Qatar extends quarantine rules for travellers to December 31
Qatar has extended strict quarantine rules requiring travellers to isolate for up to 14 days upon their arrival in the country, local media reported on Tuesday. “For all arrivals – including nationals, residents and visa holders – quarantine requirements are now extended for all arrival dates up to 31 December 2020,” The Peninsula newspaper reported, quoting the Discover Qatar website.
Coronavirus: YouTube bans misleading Covid-19 vaccine videos
YouTube has pledged to delete misleading claims about coronavirus vaccines as part of a fresh effort to tackle Covid-19 misinformation. It said any videos that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities, such as the NHS or World Health Organization, will be removed. It follows an announcement by Facebook that it would ban ads that discourage people from getting vaccinated. However, that restriction will not apply to unpaid posts or comments. YouTube had already banned "medically unsubstantiated" claims relating to coronavirus on its platform. But it is now explicitly expanding the policy to include content relating to vaccines.
Germany's economic recovery loses momentum as daily cases spike above 5,000
Germany’s growth prospects for 2020 are looking increasingly bleak, with the country’s leading economic research institutes downgrading GDP forecasts for 2020 and beyond. Publishing a joint economic forecast Wednesday, Germany’s leading economists warned that the coronavirus pandemic is leaving what they called “substantial marks” on the German economy. The impact of the virus “is more persistent than assumed in spring.”
Italian research shows low transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within schools
A team of scientists from Italy has recently conducted a study to investigate the incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among students attending Italian schools after reopening after COVID-19 lockdown. The findings reveal that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is low among younger students. The study is published on the medRxiv* preprint server.
Spain's Catalonia region orders bars and restaurants to shutdown for 15 days
The Spanish region of Catalonia, which includes the city of Barcelona, ordered bars and restaurants to close for 15 days from Thursday night onwards and limited the numbers of people allowed in shops to try to curb a surge in coronavirus cases. With close to 900,000 registered cases and more than 33,000 deaths, Spain has become the pandemic’s hotspot in Western Europe. The capital Madrid and nearby suburbs were put on partial lockdown last week.
Why complacency and lifting restrictions could be driving India's high COVID-19 numbers
Megha Mogare, a chauffeur in Mumbai, has been out of work since March, when the Indian government introduced one of the world's strictest lockdowns in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. Mogare lives in the poor neighbourhood of Dharavi. Often described as one of Asia's largest slums, it is a labyrinth of small, cramped lanes and home to one million residents. Earning just 15,000 rupees ($268 Cdn) a month before the pandemic struck, it was always a struggle for the 56-year-old to make ends meet, let alone build up enough savings to see him through a crisis. "The situation now is so bad I can't run my own house," he said. "I've had to take out loans."
Melbourne beauty salons devastated, urge easing of lockdown
Melbourne beauty salons have lost 80 to 95 per cent of their income in sweeping devastation to the sector since the COVID-19 pandemic started, industry experts say. Salon owners are now pleading with the Victorian government to reopen from Sunday, saying changes are needed “for the sake of all of our wellbeing”. “We understood when we were asked to close down on the 25th of March, however to still be closed down is now destroying the lives of over 45,000 team members – it is obliterating our industry,” Australian Hair and Beauty Association board member Sia Psicharis said.
Malaysian royal palace postpones meetings due to coronavirus curbs
Malaysia’s royal palace postponed from Wednesday all meetings for two weeks because of new coronavirus curbs, a palace official said, likely putting off a decision on a bid by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to form a new government. Anwar had on Tuesday met King Al-Sultan Abdullah to try to prove he had a “convincing” parliamentary majority to form a government, sparking a fresh bout of political wrangling just months after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin took office. The king was scheduled to meet leaders of main political parties to verify Anwar’s claim but a two-week partial lockdown took effect from Wednesday in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and neighbouring state of Selangor.
Northern Ireland to shut restaurants and suspend school in strictest UK lockdown
Northern Ireland announced the strictest COVID-19 restrictions seen in the United Kingdom since early summer on Wednesday, closing schools for two weeks, restaurants for four weeks and leading Ireland to respond by tightening curbs in bordering counties. The British-ruled region of Northern Ireland has become one of Europe’s biggest COVID-19 hotspots in recent weeks. Its health minister described the situation last Friday as becoming graver by the hour.
Countries Rush to Hoard Food as Prices Rise and Covid Worsens
Jordan has built up record wheat reserves while Egypt, the world’s top buyer of the grain, took the unusual step of tapping international markets during its local harvest and has boosted purchases by more than 50% since April. Taiwan said it will boost strategic food stockpiles and China has been buying to feed its growing hog herd. The early purchases underscore how nations are trying to protect themselves on concerns the coronavirus will disrupt port operations and wreak havoc on global trade. The pandemic has already upset domestic farm-to-fork supply chains that provided just enough inventory to meet demand, with empty store shelves across the world leading consumers to change their shopping habits. “Covid-19 has forced consumers to shift from just-in-time inventory management to a more conservative approach which was labeled just-in-case,” said Bank of America Corp. analysts led by Francsico Blanch, head of global commodities. “The result is that consumers are holding more inventory as a precaution against future supply disruptions.”
Healthcare Innovations
Global Covid report: young and healthy may not get vaccine until 2022, WHO says
Healthy, young people may have to wait until 2022 to be vaccinated against coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, who says health workers and those at highest risks be prioritised. It comes as Germany recorded its highest daily number of infections since the start of the pandemic. Soumya Swaminathan indicated that, despite the many vaccine trials being undertaken, speedy, mass shots were unlikely, and organising who would given access first in the event of a safe vaccine being discovered was still being worked on. “Most people agree, it’s starting with healthcare workers, and frontline workers, but even there, you need to define which of them are at highest risk, and then the elderly, and so on,” Swaminathan said.
Blood test could help predict which Covid-19 patients are at greatest risk of critical illness
A blood test could help to pinpoint which coronavirus patients are most susceptible to falling critically ill, a new study has suggested. Researchers at the University of Southampton found that patients who have high levels of some cytokines, a group of proteins released into the blood in response to an infection, are at an increased risk of serious illness. This is because cytokines can, if they are overproduced, lead to hyper-inflammation, an immune system response that sometimes proves fatal. If scientists conclusively work out which proteins are responsible for hyper-inflammation among coronavirus patients, drugs could be used to block them, according to the study’s researchers.
Your Blood Type May Predict Your Risk For Severe COVID-19
There's more evidence that blood type may affect a person's risk for COVID-19 and severe illness from the disease. The findings are reported in a pair of studies published Oct. 14 in the journal Blood Advances. The findings suggest that people with A, B or AB blood may be more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than people with type O blood. Infection rates were similar among people with types A, B and AB blood.
Russia approves second COVID-19 vaccine after preliminary trials
Russia has granted regulatory approval to a second COVID-19 vaccine, according to its register of authorised medicines. A delighted President Vladimir Putin announced the news at a government meeting on Wednesday. The jab was developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia and completed early-stage human trials last month. However, results have not been published yet and a large-scale trial, known as Phase III, has not yet begun. "We need to increase production of the first and second vaccine," Putin said in comments broadcast on state TV. "We are continuing to cooperate with our foreign partners and will promote our vaccine abroad." The peptide-based vaccine, named EpiVacCorona, is the second to be licensed for use in Russia. There has been a placebo-controlled trial on 100 volunteers between 18 and 60 in Novosibirsk.
Eli Lilly says other COVID-19 antibody drug trials ongoing after study halted for safety concern
Eli Lilly & Co LLY.N on Wednesday said other trials of its experimental coronavirus antibody therapy remain on track after a government-run study testing the treatment in hospitalized COVID-19 patients was paused due to safety concerns. Lilly said on Tuesday that an independent safety monitoring board requested a pause in the trial, called ACTIV-3, due to a potential safety issue. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is collaborating with Lilly on the trial, said the advisory board paused the trial after seeing a “difference in clinical status” between patients on Lilly’s drug on those who received a placebo, without providing further detail.
Spain, England and Wales top the list for coronavirus deaths in new study
A new study from Imperial College London looking at both the direct and indirect deaths caused by the pandemic puts England and Wales at the top of the ranks for per capita mortality, along with Spain. The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Nature Medicine, studied the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 21 industrialized countries, mainly in central and western Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand.
COVID-19 in New Zealand and the impact of the national response: a descriptive epidemiological study
1503 cases were detected over the study period, including 95 (6·3%) hospital admissions and 22 (1·5%) COVID-19 deaths. The estimated case infection rate per million people per day peaked at 8·5 (95% CI 7·6–9·4) during the 10-day period of rapid response escalation, declining to 3·2 (2·8–3·7) in the start of lockdown and progressively thereafter. 1034 (69%) cases were imported or import related, tending to be younger adults, of European ethnicity, and of higher socioeconomic status. 702 (47%) cases were linked to 34 outbreaks. Severe outcomes were associated with locally acquired infection (crude odds ratio [OR] 2·32 [95% CI 1·40–3·82] compared with imported), older age (adjusted OR ranging from 2·72 [1·40–5·30] for 50–64 year olds to 8·25 [2·59–26·31] for people aged ≥80 years compared with 20–34 year olds), aged residential care residency (adjusted OR 3·86 [1·59–9·35]), and Pacific peoples (adjusted OR 2·76 [1·14–6·68]) and Asian (2·15 [1·10–4·20]) ethnicities relative to European or other. Times from illness onset to notification and isolation progressively decreased and testing increased over the study period, with few disparities and increasing coverage of females, Māori, Pacific peoples, and lower socioeconomic groups.
Long Covid sufferers left almost bed-ridden for months, study shows
People suffering from so-called "long-Covid" have told how they were left almost bed-ridden with fatigue months after their coronavirus infection. New research in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP Open) studied people with persistent and long-lasting symptoms following a Covid-19 infection. They were then interviewed by researchers and asked to share their experiences. The wife of one 67-year-old man, who had coronavirus in March, told the study team that her husband was sleeping "20 hours-a-day" at one point in his recovery.