"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 9th Nov 2021

Isolation Tips
Denmark Will Bring Back Some Restrictions as Covid-19 Cases Soar
Denmark, which has one of Europe’s highest vaccination rates, plans to re-introduce some restrictions to halt a recent spike in Covid-19 contamination cases. Danes will have to again present so-called corona passports to attend public events, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference late on Monday. The move follows a recommendation from health authorities that the country reclassifies the virus as a disease that poses a critical threat to society.
Russia ends workplace shutdown but COVID numbers stay high
Most Russians went back to work on Monday for the first time in more than a week as a nationwide workplace shutdown was lifted across most regions, even though the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and deaths are hovering near record daily highs. President Vladimir Putin announced last month that Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 would be paid "non-working days" - an attempt to slow the surge in cases by imposing the strictest nationwide restrictions since the early months of the pandemic last year.
Hygiene Helpers
Indonesia to start COVID-19 boosters after 50% of public vaccinated
Indonesia plans to give booster shots to the general public after 50% of its population has been fully vaccinated, its health minister said on Monday, which he expects to happen at the end of next month. Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and once Asia's COVID-19 epicenter, has inoculated 29% of its population of 270 million people, using a variety of vaccine brands. Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told a parliamentary hearing the government decided on boosters at the 50% mark due to vaccine inequity concerns at home or abroad.
Chinese city orders COVID tests for visitors to sprawling commercial centre
China's southwestern city of Chengdu on Monday required visitors at a mega entertainment centre to undergo COVID tests, in the country's second mass screening for the coronavirus at a large venue in days. Those who were tested for COVID-19 were required to return home to await their results and not venture outdoors until advised, local authorities in Chengdu said in a notice. It was unclear how many visitors were at the New Century Global Center, which houses numerous shops, offices, a massive water park, and a university.
Proof of vax required as strict mandate takes effect in LA
Yoga studio owner David Gross felt relieved after Los Angeles passed a vaccine mandate that is among the strictest in the country, a measure taking effect Monday that requires proof of shots for everyone entering a wide variety of businesses from restaurants to shopping malls and theaters to nail and hair salons. For Gross, the relief came from knowing he and his co-owner don’t have to unilaterally decide whether to verify their customers are vaccinated. In another part of town, the manager of a struggling nail salon feels trepidation and expects to lose customers. “This is going to be hard for us,” Lucila Vazquez said.
Feds urge schools to provide COVID-19 shots, info for kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host clinics to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to kids — and information to parents on the benefits of the shots — as the White House looks to speedily provide vaccines to those ages 5 to 11. First lady Jill Biden and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy are set to visit the Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, on Monday to launch a nationwide campaign to promote child vaccinations. The school was the first to administer the polio vaccine in 1954. The visit comes just days after federal regulators recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for the age group. The White House says Biden will visit pediatric vaccination clinics across the country over the coming weeks to encourage the shots.
Community Activities
Eager travellers line up for U.S. flights as COVID travel curbs are lifted
Paul Campbell had waited nearly two years to reunite with his German fiancée at Boston's Logan airport on Monday, the day the United States eased travel restrictions imposed on much of the world since the COVID-19 pandemic began. "I'm just ecstatic that she's here, I'm happy," said Campbell, 63, a retired firefighter from Vermont who greeted her with a heart-shaped balloon. "Our relationship is still thriving even though we've been apart for two years." At John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, a child held a sign reading, "Do I look bigger?" as he waited for the first British Airways flight from London's Heathrow. "730 days missed u! Aunty Jill + Uncle Mark," his sign said.
N. Ireland official suing Van Morrison over COVID criticism
Northern Ireland’s health minister is suing Van Morrison after the singer called him “very dangerous” for his handling of coronavirus restrictions. The Belfast-born singer opposes restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, and has released several songs criticizing lockdowns. He denounced Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann during a gathering at Belfast’s Europa Hotel in June after a Morrison concert was canceled at the last minute because of virus restrictions. The defamation suit relates to three incidents in which Morrison criticized Swann, calling him “a fraud” and “very dangerous.”
Working Remotely
The Importance of Unplugging in a Remote-Work World
Thanks to technology, many people are able to work anywhere, anytime. And thanks to COVID-19, the shift to remote work has accelerated dramatically. A 2020 report from McKinsey & Company asserts that hybrid work models are likely to persist even after the pandemic wanes, and an additional survey from Upwork projects that the number of people working remotely will increase 87% by 2025 from pre-pandemic levels. As working from home is normalized, unplugging is more important than ever.
Portugal makes it illegal for your boss to text you after work in 'game changer' remote work law
Remote workers in Portugal could see a healthier work-life balance under new labour laws approved by the country's parliament. The new rules are a response to the explosion of home working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Portugal's ruling Socialist Party said. Under the new rules, employers could face penalties for contacting workers outside of office hours. Companies will also have to help pay for expenses incurred by remote working, such as higher electricity and internet bills.
Why remote working in Spain is once again a thing of the future
Now that a certain degree of normality has returned, many staff in Spain are back in the office. There are a number of reasons for this, and they vary from case to case. However, sources consulted by EL PAÍS all agree on one thing: the law that was passed by the Spanish government in September 2020 to regulate home working has limited the flexibility available to firms and obliges them to cover costs that not all are prepared to assume. The result is that remote working is losing momentum after months in the spotlight, and has once again receded into the distance as a future goal.
Virtual Classrooms
The big idea: Should we leave the classroom behind?
Education was adapting to the digital world long before Covid but, as with so many other human activities, the pandemic has given learning a huge shove towards the virtual. Overnight, schools and universities closed and teachers and students had to find ways to do what they do exclusively via the internet. Naturally there were problems, but as Professor Diana Laurillard of University College London’s Knowledge Lab explains, they essentially pulled off an extraordinary – and global – experiment. “It can’t return to the way it was,” she says. “The cat is out of the bag.”
Some districts plan for new full-time virtual schools to outlast the coronavirus pandemic
A Rand Corporation survey conducted in June found 26 percent of districts said they would run a virtual school this year, compared with just 3 percent before the pandemic. The school systems that served primarily families of color reported particularly high demand from parents for a virtual option. Yet it remains unclear how many students will remain in virtual learning when the pandemic subsides and whether they should. Research before the pandemic often showed poorer outcomes for students in virtual schools versus brick-and-mortar ones. Only 3 percent of parents, in another Rand survey conducted in July, said they would send their youngest school-age child to full-time virtual school if the pandemic were over.
Public Policies
PM urges people to take booster vaccine with more than 10 million having extra jab
Boris Johnson has urged people to get their booster vaccine as it emerged more than 10 million people have had the top-up jab. Government figures showed a combined total of 10,062,704 booster and third doses have been delivered with a day-on-day rise of 409,663. The Prime Minister tweeted : “An amazing 10 million people across the UK have already come forward for their booster. “We know vaccine immunity wanes over time, so boosters are vital in keeping you and your loved ones protected through the winter.
Australia pledges three million COVID-19 vaccines to Cambodia
Australia has pledged more than three million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday, which would help the Southeast nation give booster shots to its people. The assurance came during a visit by Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne aimed at expanding bilateral ties. Cambodia has vaccinated 87% of its more than 16 million people, one of Asia's highest inoculation rates. "The Australian government has decided to provide Cambodia with 3,250,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, of which 1 million will be delivered to Cambodia before the end of this year," Hun Sen said on his official Facebook page.
Maintaining Services
'This is far worse than January – the vaccine hasn't saved us this time'
“We should all be rated inadequate.” The call HSJ received on Sunday lunchtime from one of the most respected chief executives in the NHS carried an air of desperation.
Australia begins vaccine booster rollout as more curbs ease in Sydney
Australia began administering booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as millions of people in its largest city, Sydney, woke up to more freedom amid an accelerating immunisation drive. Australia's vaccination rate has picked up pace since July, after widely missing its initial targets, when its southeast was hit by a third wave of infections triggered by the highly infectious Delta variant forcing months-long lockdowns. Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities and worst hit by the Delta wave, have been racing through their inoculations before gradually relaxing restrictions. Life returned close to normal on Monday in New South Wales, home to Sydney, as the state nears its 90% dual-dose vaccinations in people above 16.
Japan has zero daily COVID-19 deaths for first time in 15 months - media
Japan recorded no daily deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in more than a year on Sunday, local media said. Prior to Sunday, there had not been a day without a COVID-19 death since Aug. 2, 2020, according to a tally by national broadcaster NHK. COVID-19 cases and deaths have fallen dramatically throughout Japan as vaccinations have increased to cover more than 70% of the population.
Navajo Nation reports 60 more COVID-19 cases, no deaths
The Navajo Nation has reported 60 more COVID-19 cases but no new deaths. The latest numbers released Sunday pushed the tribe’s totals to 37,411 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The known death toll remains at 1,498. The tribe reported no COVID-related deaths 23 times in a 35-day span before reporting five deaths on Thursday and one death on Friday along with 88 new cases. Based on cases from Oct. 15-28, the Navajo Department of Health issued an advisory for 58 communities due to uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.Tribal officials still are urging people to get vaccinated, wear masks while in public and minimize their travel.
China’s Army Furnishes Foreign Militaries With Covid-19 Vaccines
In Zimbabwe, where just 18% of the population are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the armed forces have a surplus of shots thanks to a gift from a powerful benefactor: China’s People’s Liberation Army. In the Philippines, another PLA donation has helped the majority of service members get vaccinated. In Ethiopia, where the Biden administration is levying fresh sanctions over alleged atrocities committed in an offensive against Tigray rebels, the PLA has delivered 300,000 Covid-19 vaccines to government troops. The People’s Liberation Army has rapidly expanded vaccine donations to military forces this year across four continents. Chinese Defense Ministry figures show that as of September, it had made more than 30 deliveries to about two dozen countries.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla urges South Africans to vaccinate before 'imminent' fourth wave
Health Minister Joe Phaahla has urged South Africans to vaccinated against Covid-19 pandemic “ahead of the imminent fourth wave that could hit the country soon.” Speaking at the Gomora Informal Settlement in Pretoria over the weekend, Phaahla described the life-saving vaccines as the only hope of long-term success in eradicating the coronavirus. “We are not oblivious to the fact that we are not yet out of trouble. The virus is still in our midst and every day we record a number of infections,” the minister said. He added: “We have all learned over the last 20 months that it is not over. There is going to be another resurgence of the infection and, therefore, we must be ready and protect all our people.” While South Africa had sufficient stock to inoculate citizens, Phaahla said the government was still struggling to reach people.
Healthcare Innovations
Regeneron says antibody cocktail reduces risk of contracting Covid by 80% for at least 8 MONTHS
Regeneron says its antibody cocktail REGEN-COV reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 by 81.6% two to eight months after it is administered. During this period, seven people in the treatment group developed Covid compared to 38 in the placebo group. None of the people given the cocktail were hospitalized with the virus compared to five who received a placebo. The drug was authorized last year as a treatment for COVID-19 but has since been expanded so it can be used as a prophylactic