"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 21st Jun 2022

Isolation Tips
China Covid News: Shanghai Testing Blitz Shows Cases Contained
Shanghai’s weekend Covid-testing blitz found the virus seemingly contained, after a spike in cases last week had fanned concern the city would be plunged back into lockdown. The financial hub added 2 local cases on Monday, both outside government-mandated quarantine centers. The city reported 13 Covid cases on Sunday and nine on Saturday, with just one case each of the two days outside the quarantine sites. It was the first weekend of a mass-testing drive designed to stamp out the virus after community cases rose in the days after the city emerged from a punishing two-month lockdown.
Hygiene Helpers
How common is long COVID? Why studies give different answers
Clinical epidemiologist Ziyad Al-Aly has access to a treasure trove that many researchers can only dream of: millions of sets of electronic medical records from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which provides health care for the country’s military veterans. With this data in hand, Al-Aly, who is based at the VA St. Louis Healthcare System in Missouri, and his colleagues have delved into the long-term effects of COVID-19, from cardiovascular illness1 to diabetes2. They have also undertaken the challenge of studying long COVID — a condition in which people experience symptoms months after an acute SARS-CoV-2 infection seems to have resolved — and recently published findings3 that surprised some researchers.
Singapore Urges Elderly to Take Boosters as New Covid Wave Looms
Singapore is expecting a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases in the next one to two months, its health minister reiterated, urging thousands of elderly to get their booster shots to avoid the risk of serious illness. About 80,000 people aged 60 years and above had not yet taken their boosters, Ong Ye Kung said in a video posted on Facebook Monday, adding that the third shot drastically reduced the chances of needing intensive care or dying among seniors. “You need to take your boosters. So don’t delay anymore,” Ong said.
Over-75s urged to get Covid booster jab as cases rise
Over-75s and people at high risk have been urged to get a Covid booster vaccine, amid warnings of a new wave of infections in Scotland. The spring booster jab is available until 30 June to everyone in the older age group and people over 12 if they have a weakened immune system. About a third of Scots in the immunosuppressed group have not yet come forward for an additional vaccine.
Community Activities
Canada's latest travel restrictions as Covid-19 vaccine mandate lifted for domestic and outbound travel
Passengers boarding planes or trains in Canada will no longer be required to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus from June 20. The government in Ottawa has lifted the vaccine mandate for domestic and outbound travel as infection rates continue to fall. Rules about inbound travel remain unchanged and mean that non-Canadians must be vaccinated to enter freely. Those who are unvaccinated are required to take tests before and after arrival as well as self-isolate for two weeks. Face masks remain compulsory for all travellers, unless exempt, including in certain indoor public settings. Those travelling by air are expected to get an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter the country.
Saudi lifts COVID-19 travel restrictions to Turkey, India, Ethiopia and Vietnam
Saudi Arabia lifted coronavirus travel restrictions on Monday on its citizens travelling to Turkey, India, Ethiopia and Vietnam, state news agency SPA reported. Earlier this month, the kingdom lifted measures imposed to prevent the spread of the virus, including a requirement to wears face masks indoors.
Working Remotely
People working from home feel less sense of belonging to work culture
Almost half of workers feel working from home has diminished their feeling of ‘belonging’ to an organisation, according to the Employee Job Satisfaction Report [registration] from recruitment firm Morgan Phillips. According to the poll, UK workers feel they are treated well by their employer (58 percent quite well and 27 percent very well), but half are still considering changing their jobs, with 17 percent looking for a change in 2022.
The new workplace: what young starters need to know
Leaving education and joining the world of work is a “jolt” for graduates. “They don’t know what employment is about,” says Chris Hirst, chief executive of the advertising agency Havas Creative. The challenge, he says — both for employers and the new employees themselves — is how quickly graduates can become “really useful” without the same level of “nurturing and structured learning” they received at university. Graduates whose university education was disrupted by the pandemic, and whose only work experience might have been a remote “placement”, are about to enter workplaces that are grappling with hybrid work, as well as squeezed training budgets. The benefits of online learning for graduates are that they can learn at their own pace and replay lessons. Now, employers are exploring how to bring their latest recruits up to speed with new working patterns and organisational culture, as well as developing their soft skills
Virtual Classrooms
The Peculiar Case of Space and its Relationship with Equity in Asynchronous Online Learning
For the asynchronous online student, there’s no true equivalent of a physical classroom—though we mostly operate with the idea that a virtual course in a learning management system replaces the common space of a physical classroom. The discussion board, for example, is the space for discourse, the lesson page is a space for lecture, and so on, but this is only that which appears at the surface level. The space that directly and most immediately affects learning is the combination of the mental and physical space a student is in when accessing the lessons of a course.
Public Policies
FDA grants Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorisation for infants
Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine has been given emergency use authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for children aged six months through to four years old. The authorisation was based on data from a phase 2/3 randomised, controlled trial involving 4,526 children aged six months to four years. Participants were given the third 3µg dose at least two months after the second dose, during a time when Omicron was the prevailing variant. After a third dose in this particular age group, the vaccine elicited a strong immune response, alongside a favourable safety profile similar to placebo. In both age groups, the antibody responses were comparable to people aged 16 to 25 years who had received two doses of the vaccine. “Tens of millions of older children across the globe have already been vaccinated with our COVID-19 vaccine, helping to prevent symptomatic, severe disease and hospitalisation.
TRIPS waiver deal in WTO to help countries make Covid vaccines: Goyal
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said intellectual property rights (TRIPS) waiver for five years agreed in the recently concluded WTO meet will help developing countries manufacture patented Covid vaccines to deal with the pandemic. Goyal said that India already has a number of Covid vaccines and can help other developing countries to make vaccines. Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last week agreed to grant a temporary patent waiver for manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for five years. Under this, a country will be able to issue a compulsory licence to its domestic pharma firms to make that vaccine without taking approval from the original maker. Besides, it was also decided to permit export of those vaccines.
CDC recommends Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for young children
Pediatricians are preparing to administer the nation’s first coronavirus vaccines for children under 5 in coming days, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday signed off on giving the shots to as many as 19 million children across the United States. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed the agency’s advisory panel’s unanimous recommendation to vaccinate all children as young as 6 months old with one of two vaccines — one by Moderna and the other by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech. “Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” Walensky said in a statement. “We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can.”
N. Korea abruptly stops importing COVID containment goods from China
North Korea abruptly stopped importing COVID-19 prevention and control products from China in May, trade data released by Beijing showed, after the country bought face masks and ventilators from its neighbour in previous months. Daily new cases of fever in North Korea, as reported by its state news agency, KCNA, have been declining since the reclusive country first acknowledged in mid-May that it was fighting an COVID-19 outbreak. But it has yet to reveal how many of those cases tested positive for the coronavirus
Maintaining Services
Europe looks to next wave of COVID with coordinated supply plan
Following the adoption of a critical list of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, European Union member states and pharma companies will communicate to ensure sufficient supply to meet evolving demand.
China Outbreaks Shift to South With Shenzhen, Macau on Alert
China’s Covid-19 outbreak is shifting to its south coast, with a flareup in technology hub Shenzhen triggering mass testing and a lockdown of some neighborhoods, while gambling enclave Macau -- an hour’s drive away -- is racing to stop its first outbreak in eight months. The new cases come as China’s two most important cities, Beijing and Shanghai, look to be subduing the virus after months of strict curbs and repeated testing. Shanghai reported nine local cases on Tuesday, while Beijing reported five. Nationwide, China posted 34 new infections on Tuesday.
Covid Cases Surge, but Deaths Stay Near Lows
For two years, the coronavirus killed Americans on a brutal, predictable schedule: A few weeks after infections climbed so did deaths, cutting an unforgiving path across the country. But that pattern appears to have changed. Nearly three months since an ultra-contagious set of new Omicron variants launched a springtime resurgence of cases, people are nonetheless dying from Covid at a rate close to the lowest of the pandemic. The spread of the virus and the number of deaths in its wake, two measures that were once yoked together, have diverged more than ever before, epidemiologists said. Deaths have ticked up slowly in the northeastern United States, where the latest wave began, and are likely to do the same nationally as the surge pushes across the South and West.
New Omicron wave growing fast: 'We were wrong to think Covid was over and vaccination is not enough'
Covid-19 inflection rates in the UK and hospitalisations across Europe are on the rise. Meanwhile, new omicron sub-variants are growing more prevalent. Therefore, the Government’s panglossian messaging has undermined the public health response to a potential new Covid-19 wave, experts warn today. Dr Chris Papadopoulos, Principal Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire told City A.M. this morning that “in recent months the government has pushed the idea that we are past Covid-19 and that it isn’t something to be concerned about anymore, especially if we have been vaccinated.
British Ryanair pilots accept post-COVID pay restoration deal- union
In July 2020 BALPA members voted overwhelmingly to accept temporary pay cuts in order to avoid jobs losses due to COVID-19 groundings. Chief Executive Michael O'Leary in January then said that management had begun discussions with unions across its network about accelerating pay restoration in a deal he said might result in the extension pay agreements by a year or two. Asked how many pilots had accepted deals covering post-COVID pay restoration, a Ryanair spokesperson said over 70% of its pilots are covered by "newly renegotiated agreements". There are pay agreements in place for all pilots, the airline said.
Healthcare Innovations
Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 nasal vaccine phase III trials completed
The clinical phase III trials of the COVID-19 nasal vaccine have been completed and the Bharat Biotech will submit its data with Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) next month. Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech said, "We just completed a clinical trial, a data analysis is going on. Next month, we will submit the data to the regulatory agency. If everything is okay, then we will get permission to launch and it will be the world's first clinically proven nasal COVID-19 vaccine."
Omicron less likely to cause long COVID, UK study says
The Omicron variant of coronavirus is less likely to cause long COVID than previous variants, according to the first peer-reviewed study of its kind from the United Kingdom. Researchers at King's College London, using data from the ZOE COVID Symptom study app, found the odds of developing long COVID after infection were 20% to 50% lower during the Omicron wave in the UK compared to Delta. The figure varied depending on the patient's age and the timing of their last vaccination.
Comparing the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines for young children
You have a child under age 5. You’ve been waiting anxiously to get said child vaccinated against Covid. Now, finally, this is an option available to you. But there are two vaccines. Which do you choose? We can’t tell you which is best for your child. But we can tell you that in this age group, the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines probably differ more than they do in any other age group on the vaccination spectrum.