"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 6th Jun 2022

Isolation Tips
S.Korea to lift quarantine requirement for non-vaccinated foreign arrivals
South Korea's prime minister on Friday said the country will lift its quarantine requirement for foreign arrivals without vaccination from June 8 and also start lifting aviation regulations imposed for international flights. However, the government will maintain the requirement of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result prior to entry and a PCR test within 72 hours after arrival.
Shanghai neighborhoods return to lockdown a day after restrictions eased
Multiple neighborhoods in Shanghai were placed back under lockdown only a day after city-wide restrictions were lifted, as China's stringent zero-Covid strategy continues to haunt the financial hub. Shanghai lifted its two-month lockdown on Wednesday, allowing most of its 25 million residents to leave their communities. But nearly 2 million people were still confined to their homes in areas designated as "high risk" by the government. At a news conference Thursday, Shanghai officials said seven new Covid cases were detected in the city's Jing'an and Pudong districts, resulting in four neighborhoods being swiftly sealed off and designated as "medium-risk areas" -- meaning residents will be confined to their homes for 14 days. Their 26 close contacts and 106 secondary contacts had been placed in government quarantine, and more than 470,000 people had been tested, according to officials.
Hygiene Helpers
Pfizer Submits Covid Shot for Kids Under 5 for FDA Authorization
Pfizer Inc. asked U.S. regulators to clear its Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in children under age 5, an effort to extend protection against the virus to the country’s youngest. The drugmaker and BioNTech SE finalized their rolling application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency-use authorization of their vaccine in kids ages 6 months through 4 years old, the companies said in a statement on Wednesday. The vaccine partners began the submission process in February. Pfizer and BioNTech announced in late May that a three-shot regimen was highly effective and prompted a strong immune response in children under age 5, based on early results from a highly anticipated trial that is likely to pave the way for infants and toddlers to get immunized.
White House: 1st shots for kids under 5 possible by June 21
The Biden administration said Thursday that children under 5 may be able to get their first COVID-19 vaccination doses as soon as June 21, if federal regulators authorize shots for the age group, as expected. White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha outlined the administration’s planning for the last remaining ineligible age group to get shots. He said the Food and Drug Administration’s outside panel of advisers will meet on June 14-15 to evaluate the Pfizer and Moderna shots for younger kids. Shipments to doctors’ offices and pediatric care facilities would begin soon after FDA authorization, with the first shots possible the following week. Jha said states can begin placing orders for pediatric vaccines on Friday, and said the administration has an initial supply of 10 million doses available. He said it may take a few days for the vaccines to arrive across the country and vaccine appointments to be widespread.
UAE achieves 100% COVID vaccination target -state news agency
The United Arab Emirates has vaccinated all those who must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the oil-rich Gulf Arab state, state news agency WAM reported on Thursday. The UAE "announces that 100% of the targeted categories have been vaccinated," it said.
China Plans for Years of Covid Zero Strategy With Tests on Every Corner
After a bruising lockdown in Shanghai and severe curbs in Beijing were needed to halt the spread of Covid-19, China is doubling down on mass-testing in a move that’s dashing hopes for a shift away from its costly Covid Zero strategy. A network of tens of thousands of lab testing booths are being set up across the country’s largest and most economically vital cities, with the goal of having residents always just a 15 minute walk away from a swabbing point. The infrastructure will allow cities like Beijing, Shanghai, tech hub Shenzhen and e-commerce heartland Hangzhou to require tests as often as every 48 hours, with negative results needed to get on the subway or even enter a store.
Community Activities
Shanghai Residents Revel in Outdoor Walks, Haircuts and More of the Mundane
Residents gathered at the gates of some housing compounds in Shanghai late Tuesday to stage a countdown to midnight, when the city’s government lifted anti-Covid-19 restrictions that had kept them holed up inside their apartments—in many cases for more than two months. Shortly after the deadline passed, a convoy of cars emerged from the gates of one complex, sounding their horns and with national flags draped over their hoods, videos circulating on social media showed. Passengers could be seen standing with their heads out of sunroofs. Firecrackers sparkled in the night sky as a festive mood entered the city after weeks of chaos, frustration and mounting despair. From midnight, the Shanghai authorities said most of the city’s 25 million residents were free to leave their apartments and residential compounds to go to work, with all businesses cleared to resume normal operations. Officials are eager to get China’s most economically important city running again.
Working Remotely
No more remote working? Then I quit, say 30% of employees
Almost one third of Irish workers would move jobs if their remote working requests were not facilitated, according to a government-backed survey. The research by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission highlighted demand for remote working and indicated that employers’ flexibility in this area — or lack of it — was playing a role in people deciding to quit their jobs. Twenty-seven per cent of 8,400 respondents said they had changed employer since 2020 with 47 per cent of these indicating that remote working was a key factor in their decision as their new employer offered better opportunities in this area.
Out of office? How working from home has divided Britain
More than a third of the UK’s office-based workforce is still working from home to the anger of some bosses – and politicians. Is hybrid working the new normal, or can firms tempt employees back full-time?
Virtual Classrooms
Virtual Learning Made Persistent Problems Worse for English-Learners
Bit by bit researchers continue to piece together how virtual learning impacted English-language learners’ education, from limiting vital in-person interactions with teachers and peers to leaving some without a robust support system at home. A new report from the Government Accountability Office released in May found that teachers who were teaching in a virtual environment with at least 20 percent English-learners reported that their students “struggled with understanding lessons and completing assignments, having an appropriate workspace, accessing school meals, and getting assistance at their workspace.”
E-learning is a burden for the deaf and hard of hearing
When considering deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) population, research recognizes that fatigue due to communication challenges and multi-focal attention allocation is a significant concern. Given the putative heightened demands of distance learning on deaf and hard of hearing students, we investigate how an online environment might differently affect deaf and hard of hearing participants, compared to hearing participants, Portuguese Sign Language (PSL) users and non-users. Our findings show that the deaf and hard of hearing group present higher values in the post-task fatigue rates with significant differences from the hearing group (non-PSL users).
How the pandemic and remote learning have impacted teens
In many ways, the switch to virtual learning was an unexpected, unplanned experiment that was conducted on millions of school-age children. More than two years on, there’s new information about the impact that switch has had on teens between 13 and 17 years old and their parents. In a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, there are signs that some things are returning to the way they were before the pandemic, but some teenagers feel left behind. The survey found that most kids have kept close relationships with friends and families over the pandemic and that they prefer going to school in person more than remotely. However, there are notable differences in how the pandemic, specifically remote learning, has affected Black and Hispanic teenagers and lower-income families.
Public Policies
India approves Biological E. COVID shot as a booster
India has approved Hyderabad-based drugmaker Biological E's COVID-19 vaccine as the first mix-and-match booster dose in the country, the company said on Saturday. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave the nod for the Corbevax vaccine to be administerd as a booster shot to people age 18 years and over who have already received two doses of either AstraZeneca Plc's Covishield or Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
U.S. doctors urged to test for monkeypox, CDC says risk to public low
U.S. health officials on Friday urged doctors to test for monkeypox if they suspect cases, saying there may be community-level spread but that the overall public health risk remained low. So far, there have been 21 cases of the disease in at least 11 states. Affected patients are isolating to help prevent spreading the virus, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials told reporters in a conference call. The CDC said it was aware of 700 cases of monkeypox that have been reported globally outside of parts of Africa, where the disease is endemic. No deaths have been reported so far.
Moderna delays COVID vaccine deliveries to EU by several months
Moderna Inc said on Thursday it has agreed to push back some COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to the European Union by several months to later in 2022 or early next year. Shares of Moderna fell nearly 2% before the bell over the delay, even though the company stuck to its vaccine sales forecast of $21 billion for 2022. Delivery of the doses were originally planned in the second quarter, the European Commission said in a statement.
Maintaining Services
Beijing to allow indoor dining, further easing COVID curbs
Beijing will further relax COVID-19 curbs by allowing indoor dining, as China's capital steadily returns to normal with inflections falling, state media said on Sunday. Beijing and the commercial hub Shanghai have been returning to normal in recent days after two months of painful lockdowns to crush outbreaks of the Omicron variant. Dine-in service in Beijing will resume on Monday, except for the Fengtai district and some parts of the Changping district, the Beijing Daily said. Restaurants and bars have been restricted to takeaway since early May.
Airlines step up push to get U.S. to drop international COVID-19 testing rule
American Airlines Chief Executive Robert Isom said on Friday at a conference the testing requirements were "nonsensical" and were "depressing" leisure and business travel. Airlines say many Americans are not traveling internationally because of concerns they will test positive and be stranded abroad. International U.S. air travel remains down about 14% from pre-pandemic levels. Isom, who met with politicians in Washington on Thursday to discuss the issue, said 75% of countries American serves do not have testing requirements. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires travelers to test negative within one day before flights to the United States.
Special Olympics Lifts Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate After Facing Fine
Special Olympics Inc. reversed course and dropped its Covid-19 vaccine requirement for staff and athletes attending the coming games in Orlando, Fla., after state officials there threatened the nonprofit with a $27.5 million fine. Florida’s health department said SOI would be fined $5,000 for every individual asked to provide proof of vaccination as a condition of attending, a Special Olympics spokeswoman said. The group had previously required proof. Its USA Games kick off Sunday and run through June 12. Roughly 5,500 people are expected to attend. Florida passed legislation last year banning businesses and agencies from mandating vaccines. Last October, the health department fined Leon County $3.57 million for requiring county staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Healthcare Innovations
Japan study shows women more likely to get skin rash from Moderna shot
A study in Japan found that women were significantly more likely than men to develop rash-like side effects after a first dose of Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine. The study of 5,893 participants between May and November last year showed that 22.4% of women developed delayed skin reactions after the first shot, compared to 5.1% of men. The symptoms were mild and not considered a contraindication of the mRNA-based vaccine, according to the June 1 report in JAMA Dermatology.
Vaccination during pregnancy cuts infant infections; vaccines only modestly reduce long COVID risk
Article reports that the following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Vaccines in pregnancy reduce infants' COVID-19 risk COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy appears to lower newborns' risk of coronavirus infection, according to a study conducted in Norway.
Pfizer's Paxlovid reduces COVID risk in seniors regardless of vaccine status -study
Pfizer Inc's antiviral treatment Paxlovid reduces COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated patients 65 years and older, according to a new study in Israel conducted during the rise of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
U.S. FDA flags risk of heart inflammation after Novavax COVID vaccine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasraised concerns about a possible risk of heart inflammation from Novavax Inc's (NVAX.O)COVID-19 vaccine, even as the company's data showed it could reduce the chances of mild-to-severe disease. In Novavax's nearly 30,000 patient trial, conducted between December 2020 and September 2021, there were four cases of a type of heart inflammation calledmyocarditis detected within 20 days of taking the protein-based shot. "These events raise the concern for a causal association with this vaccine, similar to the association documented with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines," FDA staff wrote in briefing documents released on Friday.