"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 2nd Nov 2021

Isolation Tips
COVID-19: Walk-in sites now offering coronavirus booster jabs across England without appointment
The move comes as the government announces that Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and Suffolk will become 'Enhanced Response Areas' for tackling the COVID pandemic - sparked by a rise in cases in older populations and growing pressure on local health and education services.
Hygiene Helpers
Netherlands to impose new coronavirus curbs as infections jump
The Netherlands will impose new coronavirus restrictions this week in a bid to curb a recent surge in infections, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Monday. "We can't escape having to take new measures", De Jonge said. "The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is rising fast." De Jonge did not give details of the new measures, which he said would be decided on Tuesday. Broadcaster NOS said the government was likely to require face masks in many public places and broaden the use of a "corona pass" showing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or recent negative coronavirus test.
Mariners Can Now Get Covid-19 Vaccines at Port After Months Stranded at Sea
Health workers and humanitarian groups at more than 200 ports around the world are making a push to vaccinate thousands of mariners, a population of essential workers that has been largely neglected in the fight against Covid-19. Many of the thousands of global mariners that are unvaccinated have been unable to disembark from their ships and have been stuck aboard, not seeing their families or standing on land for several months. In addition, infections at ports or on ships have disrupted global shipping at a time when bottlenecks are already slowing the world’s economic recovery from Covid-19. Port authorities and nonprofits at some of the world’s busiest ports, including Los Angeles, Rotterdam and Singapore, now offer Covid vaccines to international seafarers. For many of the sailors, it is the first time since the pandemic began that they have been able to get access to vaccines.
Mayor: 9 in 10 NYC workers vaccinated as deadline nears
Nine in 10 New York City municipal workers received COVID-19 vaccinations as a Monday deadline loomed under a city mandate, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio tweeted Saturday night that 91% of city workers had received the vaccine, which represented a jump from about 83% as of Friday night. Under a city mandate, those who haven’t received at least one dose of the vaccine will be put on unpaid leave starting Monday, raising the possibility of shortages of police, fire and EMS workers. New York has more than 300,000 employees.
Community Activities
Thailand, Australia, Israel ease travel curbs as lockdowns bite elsewhere
Thailand, Australia and Israel eased international border restrictions significantly on Monday for the first time in 18 months, offering a broad test of demand for travel worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic. The relaxation contrasts with tightening lockdowns elsewhere, notably in eastern Europe where infections have hit record numbers, and in parts of China, which has taken a zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 despite relatively few cases. Hundreds of vaccinated foreign tourists arrived in the Thai capital for quarantine-free travel after the Southeast Asian nation approved visitors from more than 60 countries, including China and the United States.
Eleven states sue U.S. government over vaccine mandate for federal contractors
Eleven U.S. states with Republican governors sued the Biden administration on Friday seeking to block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, arguing it is unconstitutional and violates federal procurement law. Saying they were necessary to fight COVID-19, President Joe Biden issued a pair of executive orders on Sept. 9 requiring all executive branch federal employees and federal contractors be vaccinated
Cambodia reopens to 'new way of life' after beating COVID-19 vaccine target
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen declared his country reopen and ready for a new way of life on Monday, having surpassed its COVID-19 vaccination target and recorded one of Asia's highest inoculation rates. Cambodia has vaccinated nearly 86% if its more than 16 million people, with two million given booster shots already and 300,000 school children age 5 set to be inoculated on Monday alone. The ratio is similar to that of Singapore.
COVID-19: Tears, hugs and laughter at Sydney airport as Australia reopens border
There have been tears, laughter and warm embraces at Sydney's international airport after Australia's border opened for the first time in 20 months. Travellers tore off their face masks as they saw their loved ones for the first time in almost two years. The airport, Australia's busiest international hub, has been almost deserted during the pandemic, but now the country is hoping its vaccination rates are high enough to mitigate the danger of allowing international visitors again
Northern Ireland: Reopening of nightclubs part of ‘return to normality’
The reopening of nightclubs in Northern Ireland represents part of the return to normality that many young people have been craving, a leading promoter has said. For the first time in a year and a half, nightclubs opened their doors on Halloween night across Northern Ireland after some Covid-19 restrictions were eased. A Stormont minister repeated her concerns about the nightclub sector reopening without a mandatory Covid vaccination certification system. Nightclubs had been the last remaining part of the hospitality sector which had been prevented from opening due to public health regulations.
Working Remotely
New Research Shows Remote And Hybrid Workers Suffering Physical And Mental Health Dilemmas
The ramifications of the extreme lifestyle shift in 2020 through early 2021 resulting from the pandemic are far-reaching, likely to have ripple effects for many years to come. While mental health has been an undisputed health consequence for many, physical health challenges—given the significant decline in mobility for workers across the country—is an issue which may have long term consequences of which we’ve only just scratched the surface. To explore this topic further, the team at Upright Pose conducted a new survey of 2,000 remote and hybrid workers in the United States to glean insight into how mobility has changed during working hours and how these changes have impacted workers’ physical wellness.
Flexible working, four-day weeks and working remotely most popular work perks Brits want
Office Furniture Online reveal that 65% of working Brit’s want their bosses to invest in its employees as opposed to infrastructure in the form of perks and benefits. The top three career priorities Briton’s want include salary, promotion, and perks. But what are perks, how do these differ from benefits and why do employees yearn for them? Since the COVID-19 pandemic, British workers and their employers have recognised the benefits of working remotely – a standout perk which has been offered out to baby boomers, Gen Z and millennials over the last 18 months. On top of this, employee discount, flexible working hours, four-day working weeks and free tea and coffee are amongst the favourite current benefits across all age groups.
Virtual Classrooms
Leveraging the best of remote learning, communication and collaboration
While parents are rightfully concerned about missed learning opportunities from remote schooling, they are also more in tune than ever with their child's education. In many ways, this period has closed gaps in parent engagement through increased virtual communication channels and digital delivery of instructional materials. While we still have a long way to go to ensure that all students have the digital skills to succeed in a changing economy, remote schooling has encouraged some gains in technological availability and digital literacy. According to one educator survey, 54 percent of educators reported that access and knowledge of technology among students improved during the pandemic. Recognizing this silver lining, we also have to acknowledge that these digital systems are far from perfect, even after more than a year of continuous classroom use.
In return to campuses, students with disabilities fear they’re being ‘left behind’
Many students welcomed the return to in-person learning, but the change has revived pre-pandemic difficulties and created new ones for some students with disabilities. Some lamented the reduction of online instruction, which allowed them to read closed captions during lectures in real time, turn their cameras off when needed, and watch recorded lectures at home and at their own pace, among its benefits. Experts estimate that 1 in 8 U.S. college students have at least one disability, according to Scott Lissner, the public policy committee chair at the Association on Higher Education and Disability. Some of those students, including those with attention-deficit-related disabilities, say they found online learning harder. But overall, the return to in-person learning presents a pervasive challenge for students with disabilities as well as for every college across the country
Public Policies
US prepares to roll out COVID vaccines for children aged 5 to 11
The United States’s COVID-19 vaccination programme for children between the ages of five and 11 will be “running at full strength” as of next week, the White House has announced, a significant milestone in the country’s fight against the virus. Children in the age group will be able to get Pfizer-BioNTech jabs at paediatricians’ offices, medical clinics, pharmacies and community health centres, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a news briefing on Monday.
COVID-19 News: Indonesia Grants Emergency Use To Novavax Vaccine
Indonesia granted emergency use authorization to Novavax Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, paving the way for other countries to allow the vaccine for emergency use as well.
NYC Vaccine Mandate Kicks In With Little Disruption, Mayor Says
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the vast majority of municipal employees are complying with the Covid-19 vaccine mandate, resulting in little disruption to services as the requirement kicked in for police, firefighters and sanitation workers. De Blasio said Monday that about 9,000 employees have been placed on unpaid leave for not receiving the shot while another 12,000 will keep working as requests for exemptions are reviewed. That amounts to a small share of the city’s workforce of nearly 400,000.
Maintaining Services
Latvia gets ventilators, other aid from EU countries amid COVID spike
Latvia has received shipments of emergency medical equipment from the Netherlands, Finland, Hungary and Sweden as it fights the worst surge in new COVID-19 cases in the European Union amid a low take-up of vaccinations. The Baltic country of 1.9 million people filed a request last week to the European Union for more than 130 ventilators and hundreds of vital signs monitors, BNS news agency said. Latvian hospitals were treating 1,526 coronavirus patients on Sunday, their highest number ever, the public broadcaster said. One large Riga hospital, the PSKUS, converted its hallway into a makeshift ward on Monday to treat patients, news portal Delfi reported.
Healthcare Innovations
Moderna Confirms FDA Delayed Covid-19 Vaccine in Adolescents to Review Myocarditis Risk
The Food and Drug Administration is delaying a decision on Moderna Inc.’s MRNA application to authorize use of its Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents to assess whether the shot leads to a heightened risk of myocarditis, the company said. The FDA notified Moderna on Friday evening that an analysis may not be completed until January of next year while the agency reviews recent international data on the risk of myocarditis after vaccination, the company said Sunday. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the FDA was delaying a decision on Moderna’s application for authorization in 12- to 17-year-olds after several Nordic countries limited use due to myocarditis reports.
Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine Gets First Authorization, in Indonesia
Indonesia became the first country to authorize the use of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Novavax Inc. and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.Novavax said Monday that Indonesia’s drug regulator cleared use of the new vaccine, called Covovax, in adults 18 years and older. The decision shows that, despite receiving substantial financial support from the U.S. government, the Novavax vaccine will be used in other countries first. Novavax said it expected additional countries to authorize the vaccine in coming weeks and months.
Infertility is not a risk with Covid-19 vaccines for kids
It's among parents' top worries around kids getting vaccinated against Covid-19: Could the vaccine somehow impair their child's future fertility? A survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation last week found that 66% of parents of 5- to 11-year-olds worried that vaccines might negatively impact children's fertility later on. Doctors and public health officials are united in assuring parents this is not a concern. "Unfounded claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility have been scientifically disproven," the American Academy of Pediatrics -- which represents doctors who specialize in treating children -- says in a statement on its website.
Risk of Covid-19 death '32 times greater' if unvaccinated than if double-jabbed
The risk of death involving Covid-19 is 32 times greater in unvaccinated people than in people who have received both doses, new research suggests. Mortality rates for coronavirus deaths were found to be “consistently lower” for those who had had both jabs compared with those who had had one or no vaccinations, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The research used age-standardised mortality rates, which take into account differences in age structure and population size, to allow comparisons between vaccination groups.
Breast milk shown to protect newborn babies against Covid-19
Newborn babies could have extra protection against Covid-19 by drinking their mother's breast milk, a new study has shown. Researchers at Swansea University and the University of Aberdeen found the ACE2 protein, which is commonly found in breast milk, acts as a "decoy" for the virus, trapping it in biological fluids and preventing it from infecting cells. The study may go some way to understanding why newborn babies are relatively protected against coronavirus and its harms when compared to older age groups.