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"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 28th Jul 2022

Isolation Tips
Wuhan Locks Down 1 Million Residents in Echo of Pandemic’s Start
A district on the outskirts of Wuhan has been locked down, the first time the Chinese city that saw the world’s first Covid-19 lockdown has imposed such a measure since 2020, underscoring how far the country is from post-pandemic normalcy. More than two years since the city was sealed off to contain what was then a mysterious pneumonia, almost 1 million residents of Wuhan’s Jiangxia district have been told to stay in their homes and not go out unless necessary. All public transport has been stopped and entertainment venues shut for three days after four asymptomatic cases were found in the district on Tuesday.
Shanghai's Baoshan district orders Covid-19 lockdown on some steel warehouses
A district in China's financial hub of Shanghai has ordered a three-day lockdown of some of its steel warehouses from July 26 after a residential neighbourhood in the district was classified as high risk following the detection of a coronavirus case there. Three out of six warehouses in the Baoshan district that Reuters contacted said they were required to enter a "closed-loop" system with no staff or materials allowed in or out of the warehouses. Operations inside the warehouses, however, are running normally. "It's like quarantine, we are not allowed to leave the warehouses. Steel can't be transported in or out, but we still work and we have food stored in advance," a worker at one of the warehouses in Baoshan district told Reuters, who did not identify himself as he was not authorised to speak to the press.
Austria ends COVID-19 quarantine for those with no symptoms
People infected with COVID-19 will no longer have to quarantine themselves in Austria if they don't exhibit any symptoms, the country's health minister announced Tuesday.
Hygiene Helpers
How Much Rest Do You Really Need When You Get Covid-19?
Many people feel the urge to power through after testing positive for Covid-19. President Biden recently told Americans he was “getting a lot of work done” after testing positive and tweeted a photo of himself signing a bill at his desk. Doctors say it is important to rest, even for people with mild to moderate cases of the virus. Some doctors worry that as we get more inured to the pandemic, some people with symptoms aren’t taking enough down time. Pushing yourself too hard can lengthen your recovery, they say, adding that the healing trajectory for Covid-19 is less predictable than for other respiratory illnesses.
The Future of COVID Vaccines: will you need constant boosters or is a single "forever" shot possible?
Most Australians over 30 are now eligible for their fourth COVID vaccine booster shot. But will there ever be a "forever" vaccine, that removes the need for boosters? Or a vaccine that stops you contracting COVID in the first place? Royal Melbourne Hospital's Dr Kudza Kanhutu specialises in infectious diseases and has a background in immunology. Hear her discuss what the future of COVID vaccines might look like with Nadia on Mornings
Almost 9% have received second Covid-19 vaccine booster
The average percentage of people who have received a second Covid-19 vaccine booster is almost 9% across the country’s Local Electoral Areas (LEAs), new figures show. Data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveals that the average rate for a second booster shot was 8.7%, with individual areas ranging from 2% to 15%. The LEAs with the lowest second booster levels are Blanchardstow, Mulhuddart, Tallaght South and Ongar.
Queensland COVID-19 surge sparks calls for improved PCR access amid RAT accuracy fears
Mass testing clinics and removing barriers to PCR testing could speed up access to antiviral medication, experts say. They are urging people who still feel sick despite having tested negative using a RAT to get a PCR swab. Pathology Technology Australia says people with false negative results may not be using RATs properly
There's fresh focus on using masks to slow COVID-19. So can you reuse masks? And if so, what's the best way?
As Omicron variants of COVID-19 continue to fuel a rise in cases across Australia, there is renewed focus on masks as a simple way to prevent the spread of the virus. Australia's COVID-19 cases and death rates are now some of the highest in the world per capita, and the numbers are getting worse. It has led National Cabinet to strongly encourage the wearing of masks indoors, when appropriate, and authorities have warned Australia's current COVID-19 wave will likely peak in August. So with masks back in focus again, let's take a look at reusing them.
Community Activities
MPs criticise government award of £777mn Covid contracts to medical group Randox
The UK government’s “woefully inadequate record-keeping” means it is “impossible to have confidence” that £777mn of contracts won by medical diagnostics company Randox as part of the country’s Covid-19 testing programme were awarded properly, according to a new report. The House of Commons public accounts committee on Wednesday accused the Department of Health and Social Care of failing to “show any evidence of taking any care” over potential conflicts of interest, despite officials being aware of contacts between former Conservative minister Owen Paterson, a paid consultant to Randox, and the then health secretary Matt Hancock.
Report: NBA will not have vaccination mandate in 2022-23
After some high-profile vaccine-related absences from games last season, the NBA will not have a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for players in 2022-23, Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday, citing a memo from the league office it had obtained. The league will "strongly suggest" team personnel stay up-to-date with vaccinations, per the report. Discussions between the league and the NBA Players Association remain ongoing about whether unvaccinated players will be subject to periodic COVID-19 testing during the upcoming season.
Working Remotely
Digital nomads seek sun, sea and sustainability as remote work booms
Remote and flexible working has boomed since coronavirus lockdowns lifted globally, backed by major companies from AirBnB to Twitter and a rising number of nations issuing digital nomad visas which allow people to stay and work for up to two years. The typical profile of a digital nomad is shifting, as island-hopping 20-somethings are joined by online workers in their 30s and 40s travelling with partners and children, experts and researchers say. But concerns are growing over their environmental impact.
New Covid Variants Will Fuel Fully Remote Work This Fall
The battle over fully remote work is heating up this summer as more traditionalist business leaders are demanding that their employees come to the office much or all of the time. The same struggles are happening at smaller US companies, as well as across the globe. Yet what these traditionalist executives are failing to realize is that the drama, stress, and tensions caused by their demands won’t matter. Fully remote work will win this fall.
From Bali to Bermuda: 6 tropical destinations that make it easy to live and work remotely
Many “digital nomads” can do their jobs from anywhere — and they take advantage. These workers have no set business location and earn their livings by working remotely from anywhere in the world. In response to the growing trend, more and more countries are making it easier than ever to work remotely. That includes a number of tropical locations that can make your job feel like a vacation year-round.
Virtual Classrooms
Online Learning, From the Margins to the Center
For some years after its inception, online enrollments were not tracked formally by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Distance learning was considered the poor stepchild of the traditional campus-based experience. However, with slow, steady growth, by 2014 the NCES reported that more than five million students out of a total of more than 21 million in college were enrolled in at least one online class. That amounted to some 25 percent of all students.
Public Policies
Novavax Covid-19 vaccine gets Australian TGA approval for adolescents
Novavax has received expanded approval for provisional registration from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Agency (TGA) for its Covid-19 vaccine, Nuvaxovid (NVX-CoV2373), for use in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. Nuvaxovid is indicated for active immunisation for the prevention of Covid-19 in individuals of this age group. It is the first protein-based vaccine to be offered in Australia for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. The approval is based on findings from the paediatric expansion of the Phase III PREVENT-19 clinical trial of 2,247 adolescents of this age group at 73 sites in the US.
FDA Clears Danish Monkeypox Vaccine Plant, Paving Way for Use of Doses in U.S.
The Food and Drug Administration signed off on a Bavarian Nordic A/S monkeypox vaccine plant, a move that allows use in the U.S. of 786,000 doses made at the facility in Denmark. The FDA said Wednesday it had validated the quality of the shots made at the plant and they met the agency’s standards. “This action by the FDA is a critical step forward in our plans to strengthen and accelerate our monkeypox response, which includes distributing a safe and effective vaccine to those at highest risk of exposure to monkeypox,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. Health authorities seeking to vaccinate people at high risk of monkeypox have been waiting for the shots. The federal government had allowed the 786,000 doses to be shipped to the U.S. in advance to speed their availability once the FDA cleared the plant.
CDC to make monkeypox nationally notifiable condition
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday it plans to make the rapidly spreading monkeypox disease a nationally notifiable condition. The designation, which is set to take effect on Aug. 1, updates criteria for reporting of data on cases by states to the agency and would allow the agency to monitor and respond to monkeypox even after the current outbreak recedes, the CDC said.
Maintaining Services
Millions of US children remain unvaccinated as BA.5 spreads and new school year looms
Millions of school-age children in the United States are still unvaccinated against Covid-19 as many prepare for a return to school. A new CNN analysis finds that less than half of children and teens are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and only a tenth have been boosted. Many of the nation's largest school systems -- including Los Angeles Unified, City of Chicago, Miami-Dade County and Clark County in Nevada -- start school next month.
A global effort to stop COVID-19 in Africa is underway–and it starts with health care workers
The latest wave of infections across the world provides us with yet another reminder the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. For many in developing countries, this will come as no surprise. While three in four people living in high-income countries have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccination rate falls to just one in six in low-income countries. This is particularly true in Africa, where less than a fifth of the continent’s population has been fully vaccinated. Africa’s vaccine rollout is lagging compared to wealthier regions even though there is an overabundance of supply across the globe. We need to recognize COVID-19 vaccine supply is not the only barrier to tackling the pandemic. For many African countries, the bigger issue is having enough trained health workers able to deliver life-saving vaccines into the arms of patients.
Healthcare Innovations
Pfizer and BioNTech Advance COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy With Study Start of Next-Generation Vaccine Candidate Based on Enhanced Spike Protein Design
This is the first of multiple vaccine candidates with an enhanced design which the companies plan to evaluate as part of a long-term scientific COVID-19 vaccine strategy to potentially generate more robust,
New studies bolster theory coronavirus emerged from the wild
Two new studies provide more evidence that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Wuhan, China market where live animals were sold – further bolstering the theory that the virus emerged in the wild rather than escaping from a Chinese lab. The research, published online Tuesday by the journal Science, shows that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was likely the early epicenter of the scourge that has now killed nearly 6.4 million people around the world. Scientists conclude that the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, likely spilled from animals into people two separate times. “All this evidence tells us the same thing: It points right to this particular market in the middle of Wuhan,” said Kristian Andersen a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research and coauthor of one of the studies.
Does the Covid vaccine really affect your period? Here’s what our study found
In January 2021, my colleagues at the hospital were among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Comparing the side-effects afterwards, most of us had a sore arm, some of us felt feverish and generally under the weather, but one comment stood out. “My period was heavier than usual,” said one of the midwives. “But that happens to me every year after we get our flu vaccines, too. It’s just another of those vaccine side-effects, isn’t it?” Was it? I’m an immunologist working in female reproduction and this was the first time I had heard of such an effect, but it didn’t strike me as implausible. We know that various stressors, physical and psychological, can influence the menstrual cycle and vaccination is certainly a physical stressor; those of us who were complaining of feeling under the weather could attest to that. And yet I wondered why, if this effect was as run of the mill as my colleague seemed to think, it wasn’t something I had heard before.