"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 6th Jul 2020

Isolation Tips
Health Ministry issues revised guidelines for home isolation as COVID-19 cases cross 6 lakh-mark
Asymptomatic positive patients will now be included in the list of mild or pre-symptomatic coronavirus infection cases. Patients suffering from immune-compromised status (like HIV, transplant recipients, cancer therapy) will not be eligible for home isolation. Elderly patients aged more than 60 years and those with co-morbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung/liver/kidney disease and cerebrovascular disease among others shall only be allowed home isolation after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer Patients under home isolation will stand discharged after 10 days of onset of symptoms and no fever for three days...
CDC study reinforces COVID-19 cautions with pregnancy
Federal health officials last month cited new study results when adding pregnancy to their list of conditions that might put people at greater risk of serious illness from the pandemic virus. Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health similarly updated online information for pregnant women while adding prevention tips. Pregnant women shouldn't be alarmed, doctors say, but the study underscores the wisdom of following guidance on avoiding the coronavirus.
CDC Expands List of Those with Higher COVID-19 Risks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added new underlying conditions to its list of conditions that can lead to more serious COVID-19 cases. Among the conditions added are diabetes and pregnancy. The agency also has amended its guidelines on aging, now saying people are more vulnerable to serious cases as they get older instead of just people over the age of 65.
Hygiene Helpers
How Fauci, 5 other health specialists deal with covid-19 risks in their everyday lives
As Americans learn to live with the coronavirus, many are struggling with decisions about which practices are safe or risky for them. The Washington Post asked six public health/infectious diseases specialists about their own behavior choices.
WHO urges countries to 'wake up' and halt virus
The World Health Organization on Friday urged countries hit by serious coronavirus outbreaks to “wake up” to the realities on the ground instead of bickering, and to “take control”. “People need to wake up. The data is not lying. The situation on the ground is not lying,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told journalists at a briefing hosted by the UN correspondents’ association in Geneva. Touching almost every country on Earth since it emerged in China late last year, the coronavirus has hit at least 10.8 million people and killed 521,000 worldwide. The Americas are the hardest-hit region, with most cases and deaths registered in the United States, and with numbers skyrocketing in a several countries in Latin America.
Coronavirus: Why Singapore turned to wearable contact-tracing tech
Singapore's TraceTogether Tokens are the latest effort to tackle Covid-19 with tech. But they have also reignited a privacy debate. The wearable devices complement the island's existing contact-tracing app, to identify people who might have been infected by those who have tested positive for the virus. All users have to do is carry one, and the battery lasts up to nine months without needing a recharge - something one expert said had "stunned" him. The government agency which developed the devices acknowledges that the Tokens - and technology in general - aren't "a silver bullet", but should augment human contact-tracers' efforts
Coronavirus: Popular Spanish beaches ‘forced to close due to overcrowding’
Popular tourist beaches in Spain were forced to temporarily close over the weekend due to concerns of overcrowding amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Closures were reported along the Costa del Sol, on the southern coast, and elsewhere in Spain’s Andalusian region. According to regional government figures, around 55 beaches were shut at some point on Sunday, the Malaga-based paper Sur reported.
Coronavirus: 'Crystal clear' drunk people will not socially distance
It is "crystal clear" that drunk people are unable to socially distance, the chair of the Police Federation said as pubs reopened on Saturday. Ministers had urged caution ahead of hospitality venues reopening in England after three months of lockdown. John Apter dealt with "naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks" on shift in Southampton. But police thanked the majority of people for acting responsibly as they enjoyed the night out.
GP appointments by phone and video surge during coronavirus lockdown
The number of GP appointments over the phone or via video call have surged during lockdown, figures reveal, with the practice likely to continue after restrictions are fully lifted. NHS figures reveal that 48% of GP appointments in May were carried out over the telephone, compared with 14% in February. Despite appointment numbers dropping during lockdown, from 25m in February to 17m in May, the figures suggest many GPs have turned to “telemedicine” to interact with patients.
Fever checks and perspex: Inside a Covid-proof gym
Temperature checking device at reception, perspex screens fitted to exercise bikes placed 2m apart, face masks on sale among the protein shakes: welcome to the gym, Covid-style. Well, not just yet. For while the doors of restaurants, pubs and hairdressers swung open on Saturday, health establishments are shuttered still. “It’s ridiculous that you can go to McDonald’s or have 10 pints before you can go to a gym,” rails James Balfour, co-founder of boutique studio 1Rebel. Continued closure amid government promises to combat Britain’s obesity crisis “is laughable right now.”
Coronavirus: 'Significant concerns' about Leicester clothing factories, says Matt Hancock
There are "quite significant concerns" about employment practices within clothing factories in freshly locked-down Leicester, the health secretary has told Sky News. Matt Hancock warned the government has the power to shut down businesses if they do not follow coronavirus guidelines. It follows allegations that clothing factories in Leicester, many of whom supply major online retailers, have risked spreading COVID-19 by failing to implement additional hygiene or social distancing measures.
Community Activities
Lockdown Legend: the volunteer who started a scheme to donate iPads to care homes
When the country went into lockdown in March, Eleanor Sutton had been volunteering for Helpforce, a charity that works with the NHS. Along with three other volunteers, Sutton came up with a new initiative called Connect Force. The scheme aimed to keep older generations connected to their relatives by donating iPads to care homes so that elderly residents could virtually ‘see’ their families when visits were no longer allowed. The project has been up and running since April and is primarily focused on care homes in London, but it’s already started expanding across the country.
NHS honoured in moving tributes as BBC, ITV and Channel 4 air footage from around UK
Britain's National Health Service was celebrated this evening on its 72nd birthday as people up and down the country gathered to pay tribute
Lockdown heroes: couriers get Moscow monument
A group of Russian e-commerce companies said Friday they had erected a monument in Moscow thanking couriers for helping people through the coronavirus lockdown. The tribute comes after some delivery workers, many of whom are impoverished migrants from Central Asia, protested against conditions they said were unfair. Online shopping company Ozon, sometimes called the Russian Amazon, as well as several supermarkets and food delivery services said they clubbed together to put up the sculptural tribute in the south of the capital.
Working Remotely
Coronavirus: Fujitsu announces permanent work-from-home plan
Technology firm Fujitsu has said it will halve its office space in Japan as it adapts to the "new normal" of the coronavirus pandemic. It says the "Work Life Shift" programme will offer unprecedented flexibility to its 80,000 workers in the country. Staff will be able to work flexible hours, and working from home will be standard wherever possible. The announcement follows a similar move in May by social media platform Twitter. In a statement sent to the BBC, Fujitsu said it "will introduce a new way of working that promises a more empowering, productive, and creative experience for employees that will boost innovation and deliver new value to its customers and society".
Remote working is not going away: who wins and loses when workers stay home?
Australians have embraced remote working, and so have big businesses, but work-life balance for some is ‘a prison’ for others
The case for going all-in on remote work
I want to highlight a different option, one that’s received far less attention: going all-in on remote. InVision, where I’m the chief marketing officer, has been a fully remote company since its founding in 2011. (We call it “fully distributed.”) Our 700 employees are scattered from Seattle to Singapore with no offices anywhere, save for a smattering of coworking spaces, dinghies in a sea of home offices. The lack of a central office and the fact that the entire staff works from anywhere are defining traits of InVision, a digital product design and development software company.
Get ready to say goodbye to 5-day work week; post-Covid future will be split between office and home
Most American office workers are in no hurry to return to the office full time, even after the coronavirus is under control. But that does not mean they want to work from home forever. The future for them, a variety of new data shows, is likely to be workweeks split between office and home. Recent surveys show that both employees and employers support this arrangement. And research suggests that a couple of days a week at each location is the magic number to cancel out the negatives of of each arrangement while reaping the benefits of both. “You should never be thinking about full time or zero time,” said Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University whose research has identified causal links between remote work and employee performance. “I’m a firm believer in post-COVID half time in the office.”
Virtual Classrooms
E- learning in rural India: Parents, teacher scrambles for innovative ways to teach students amid C...
“I have arranged for a loudspeaker system on a cart. The teachers are asked to turn-wise go with the cart and park it at a feasible location and impart lessons from there. It cannot match up to classroom learning but will ensure some learning,” he said. This strange new way of educating school students is not uncommon in the country’s rural parts. The lockdown induced by COVID-19 in March prompted schools and colleges to move to the virtual world for teaching and learning activities. But weak internet penetration has turned e-education into a distant dream for many children in the rural areas.
This Year’s Summer Campground: Our Bedrooms and Living Rooms
Children at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan are doing all the usual this summer. They are taking dance and acting classes, learning to tie knots and weaving friendship bracelets. On some days, they sing campfire songs.
Fairfax County schools could go virtual again if coronavirus resurges
Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand has sent an enrollment letter to families detailing the County’s two return-to-school options for students in the 2020-21 school year, which includes full-time virtual or socially distanced part-time in-person learning. The school system had to finish the 2019-20 school year virtually due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and there are enduring concerns about a second wave of infections as Virginia reopens. Brabrand will discuss those alternatives at a Monday, July 6 town meeting, which will be streamed online from 6:30 p.m. at fcps.edu/tv/ch99. Fairfax County is offering students either full-time online instruction or in-person classes at 50 percent capacity with social distancing. Families are asked to choose from the two options by Friday, July 10.
Public Policies
The Government needs to step up to end hygiene poverty – here's how
Today, I would like to draw attention to an often undiscussed and ignored issue: hygiene poverty. Some people think this is a made up problem, but it hugely impacts many across the country. Those affected can often feel ashamed, but it really isn’t their fault. It occurs when you are unable to afford everyday cleaning and personal grooming products. These are items that most of us take for granted, like soap, toilet roll and toothpaste. I remember when I sat as a magistrate from 2011 to 2015 until I was elected (and I am still a dormant magistrate) being surprised and confused because people would steal handbags and wallets, and then when Universal Credit was introduced in 2013 they started stealing deodorant and basic food and hygiene necessities.
Brazil set to pass 1.5 million coronavirus cases, cities reopen anyway
Brazil was set to pass 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, as the virus continues to ravage Latin America’s largest country even as cities reopen bars, restaurants and gyms sparking fears infections will keep rising. Brazil has the world’s second largest outbreak after the United States and the virus has killed over 60,000 people in the country. In Rio de Janeiro, crowds gathered to drink on the sidewalk of an upscale beach-side neighborhood on Thursday night, the first evening bars in the city were allowed to reopen. Pictures of the revelry in Leblon, where few were wearing face masks and people were huddled close together, went viral on social media drawing condemnation and concern.
Brazil dilutes mask law as its coronavirus cases top 1.5 million
President Jair Bolsonaro waters down law requiring face masks in public places as country's cases surpass 1.5 million. Bolsonaro on Friday used his veto power to dilute a law aimed at preventing the spread of the virus. The law mandates masks in public spaces, but the president removed provisions that mandate face coverings in shops and churches.
India’s Coronavirus Epidemic Overtakes Russia to Become World’s Third Biggest
India’s coronavirus epidemic became the third biggest in the world as infections surged after the nation eased containment measures to reverse an economic collapse that has left millions destitute.
Coronavirus: Spain imposes local lockdown in Galicia
Officials in Spain's north-western region of Galicia have re-imposed restrictions on an area of 70,000 people following a Covid-19 outbreak. Only those travelling for work will be allowed to leave or enter the coastal district of A Marina from midnight on Sunday to Friday. The move comes a day after the north-eastern region of Catalonia imposed a similar local lockdown. Nationally, Spain's outbreak has been essentially brought under control. The country has recorded more than a quarter of a million cases and at least 28,385 deaths. But daily fatalities have been in the single figures for most of the past three weeks
Coronavirus: No quarantine checks carried out on passengers arriving in Scotland
Officials have carried out no quarantine checks on visitors arriving in Scotland from overseas, the Scottish health secretary has admitted. Jeane Freeman said staff did not have security clearance to access passenger details so they were unable to check arrivals were sticking to the rules. However she added that the security checks were now complete and passenger checks would begin this week. The quarantine measures have been in place for four weeks. Under the rules introduced on 8 June to prevent the spread of coronavirus, anyone entering Scotland from abroad must isolate for two weeks or face a £480 fine.
Kazakhstan Back Under Lockdown After Coronavirus Spike
Kazakh authorities have reimposed lockdown in what is Central Asia’s largest country after a rapid increase in coronavirus cases, as more than 42,000 people have been affected. The country’s government announced Thursday the second lockdown as part of an online joint briefing chaired by the country’s prime minister, Askar Mamin, saying the ‘‘preventative measures’’ in Kazakhstan will last until July 19. Authorities banned the use of public transport operating between regions and limited public transport activities in the cities. Any interactive events, such as entertainment, sports and other public events, as well as family and commemorative events are banned. Around 80 percent of employees should continue working from home, except for essential workers, according to the new order.
Iran imposes new curbs as coronavirus toll rises
Iranians who do not wear masks will be denied state services and workplaces that fail to comply with health protocols will be shut for a week, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday as he launched new measures to try to curb the coronavirus. Iran has been battling the spread of the coronavirus, with the total number of cases hitting 237,878 on Saturday and a further 148 deaths bringing the country's toll to 11,408, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state television. Wearing masks becomes mandatory from Sunday in covered public places, Rouhani said on state television after tougher curbs were imposed in cities and towns in five provinces where the outbreak is rising after an easing of lockdowns from mid-April.
Australia sets up suburban checkpoints to contain Melbourne virus hotspots - The Jakarta Post
Australian police set up suburban checkpoints in new coronavirus hotspots in Melbourne on Thursday as authorities struggled to contain new outbreaks in the country's second-largest city, even as travel restrictions eased elsewhere. Images published by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday showed police flagging down cars in suburban streets after 36 suburbs in Melbourne in Victoria state went into lockdown following a spike in new infections there. The state reported 77 new cases on Thursday, up slightly from the previous day and in line with two weeks of double-digit daily increases.
Leicester lockdown map: What areas are included, and what are the rules?
Leicester has become the first city in Britain to be placed in a local lockdown after public health officials voiced concern at the city’s alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday night, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that from Tuesday 30 June, non-essential shops in the city will be forced to close, and starting from Thursday 2 July, schools will be shut to all but the most vulnerable children, as well as the children of key workers. Residents have been advised to "stay at home as much as you can", while members of the public outside of the city have been told to avoid all non-essential travel to the region. The lockdown, which was signed off by Boris Johnson, was a difficult decision to make, the Health Secretary said.
Coronavirus cases spike in Serbia with 359 new infections | Daily Sabah
Serbia on Thursday reported 359 new coronavirus infections and six deaths, marking a new spike within a persistent upward trend which has forced the return of some restrictions on public life. The country had seemed to be on the verge of bringing the COVID-19 epidemic to a close, with the number of new cases in the low double-digits in late May and early June. But since then, new outbreaks have hit Belgrade and the town of Novi Pazar, where local health services were quickly overwhelmed. Infection numbers began to rise after the government fully relaxed restrictions, even becoming the first European country to allow spectators at football matches, with one game drawing a crowd of more than 20,000 people.
Several U.S. states post record COVID cases, curfew ordered in Miami
Alabama and six other U.S. states reported record increases in coronavirus cases on Friday as Florida’s most populous county imposed a curfew ahead of the Independence Day weekend and Arkansas joined a push toward mandating mask-wearing in public. North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alaska, Missouri, Idaho and Alabama all registered new daily highs in cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Texas hit a new peak for hospitalizations, with one doctor calling for a “complete lockdown” in the state to get the virus under control.
Switzerland publishes list of ‘high risk’ travel quarantine countries
The Federal Office of Public Health published the list on Thursday as part of new measures taken by the Swiss authorities to prevent a second wave of the pandemic. After flattening the peak in March, infection rates have been creeping up over the past two weeks, sometimes rising to above 100 on certain days. The authorities fear that the rise in infections may in part be explained by people arriving from abroad or Swiss people travelling to high risk countries and bringing the virus back when they return.
France to launch inquiry into ex-PM, ministers over coronavirus
A French court will open an inquiry into former prime minister Edouard Philippe and two cabinet ministers over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, a prosecutor said Friday. The inquiry will be led by the Law Court of the Republic (CJR), which deals with claims of ministerial misconduct, said senior prosecutor Francois Molins. Along with Philippe, who was replaced Friday in the first stage of a government reshuffle, the ministers under investigation are former health minister Agnes Buzyn -- who stepped down in February for an unsuccessful bid to become mayor of Paris -- and her successor Olivier Veran.
Spain locks down an area with 400,000 people after spike in coronavirus cases
Spain's Catalonia region has locked down an area of more than 400,000 residents from midday today. Comes as Britons prepare to make the most of 'air bridges' to visit Spain without having to quarantine. The regional president Quim Torra said this morning that no one could leave the area from 12pm. Western Catalan city of Lleida and the rest of Segrià county has been locked down after rise in cases
No new state of emergency as nightlife drives Tokyo's coronavirus spread
Japan will not reintroduce a state of emergency to tackle the novel coronavirus, a government spokesman said on Friday, as cases in Tokyo rose to a two-month high driven by the spread of the virus in the capital's night spots. Tokyo reported 124 new cases on Friday, up from 107 the day before, partly due to increased testing among nightlife workers in the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro districts. Of all new infections confirmed in Tokyo in the week through Wednesday, 44% were traced to establishments where "food and drinks are provided along with company", chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said -- an oblique reference to spots such as "host bars" where male hosts are paid to flirt with female patrons over drinks. But despite the spike, the number of serious cases is declining and there was no need to reinstate the state of emergency that was lifted on May 25, Suga said.
Maintaining Services
Italy’s problem with working women made worse by coronavirus
Italy has never been a country for working women. And as it's done for so many things, the coronavirus has only made things worse. With few options for affordable public child care, many new mothers find that they can’t return to work after taking maternity leave. Or that when they do, a male-dominated work culture that doesn’t allow for flexible hours means they can’t keep up with their employer’s demands.
Coronavirus: Arts venues welcome £1.57bn government support
The government has unveiled a £1.57bn support package to help protect the futures of UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues. It follows several weeks of pressure, with industry leaders warning that many venues were on the brink of collapse. Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will also be eligible for the new emergency grants and loans. Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts is expected to be published by the government shortly. A string of theatres have announced plans to make staff redundant in recent weeks, after being closed since the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year. The announcement of the new funding comes just two days after theatres across the UK were covered in colourful messages of support.
'How the hell are we going to do this?' The panic over reopening schools
Pediatricians say schools should strive to bring kids back to classrooms. Teachers unions are on the verge of revolt, in fear of infections. Local school districts are struggling with everything from technology to staging schools for socially distanced learning. And Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is largely on the sidelines, saying the coronavirus back-to-school planning is a state and local issue.
Coronavirus: Scotland reopens beer gardens and outdoor cafes as lockdown eases
People in Scotland will be able to return to beer gardens and pavement cafes as they open for the first time in 15 weeks. But customers are being warned that al fresco eating and drinking will not be the same as it was before the lockdown. As well as following strict distancing and hygiene rules, they will have to leave their contact details so they can be traced in the event of an outbreak. Pubs and restaurants should be able to welcome customers indoors from 15 July. That will be part of phase three of the Scottish government's route map out of lockdown, which Nicola Sturgeon is expected to confirm on Thursday.
Former WHO director Anthony Costello: 'Opening pubs before schools says something about our priorities'
The paediatrician and member of Independent Sage on Matt Hancock, the likelihood of a vaccine and why 50,000 deaths were preventable
Will covid-19 be the catalyst for a "new deal" for the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents?
This week, I joined online with over 1700 delegates from 120 countries for Lives in the Balance: A covid-19 summit to explore ways of improving and increasing investment in health systems and social protection policies for women, children, and adolescents as the world rebuilds in the wake of the pandemic. As we came together, we reflected on the fact that the world had recently hit the grim milestone, of over 500,000 deaths from covid-19. Yet the World Health Organisation warns us that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, and we see the deepening global public health crisis compounded by full blown social and economic crises with implications for global peace and security.
We Returned to Normal
My wife, kids, and I left our apartment in Brooklyn for my wife’s home country of Iceland, where the coronavirus is mostly under control. What we found is what Americans will not have for a long time: ordinary life.
Healthcare Innovations
The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus
New federal data provides the most comprehensive view to date of how Black and Latino people have been likelier than their white peers to contract the virus and die from it.
Coronavirus mortality in Italy is highest among poor, study shows
Poor Italians are significantly more likely to die of the coronavirus than higher-income groups, the country’s first significant study into the disease’s disproportionate social impact showed on Friday. Italy is one of the world’s worst-hit countries with almost 35,000 COVID-19 deaths since its outbreak emerged on Feb. 21 and it was the first European nation to report large-scale infections. In its annual report, national statistics bureau ISTAT studied mortality rates for each month from January 2019 to March 2020, when the outbreak took off, focusing on the education levels of those who died. On average, Italians who leave school early with few qualifications have lower life-expectancy than those who study for longer, ISTAT said, and this “excess mortality” remained roughly constant through February this year.
Hundreds of scientists say coronavirus is airborne, ask WHO to revise recommendations: NYT
Hundreds of scientists say there is evidence that novel coronavirus in smaller particles in the air can infect people and are calling for the World Health Organization to revise recommendations, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The WHO has said the coronavirus disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks. In an open letter to the agency, which the researchers plan to publish in a scientific journal next week, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined the evidence showing smaller particles can infect people, the NYT said
WHO expects to see first results from coronavirus drug trials within two weeks
The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) says it should soon get results from the clinical trials of drugs that might be effective in treating COVID-19 patients. The Solidarity Trial started in five parts looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19: standard care; remdesivir; the anti-malaria drug touted by US President Donald Trump, hydroxychloroquine; the HIV drugs lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopinavir/ritonavir combined with interferon.
Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in Belgian long-term care facilities
Belgium was the worst-hit country per capita in Europe. They did systematic testing for #SARSCoV2 in long-term care facilities, just reported @TheLancetInfDis No symptoms were reported in 6,244 *(74.8%)* of 8,343 people who tested positive
Stroke More Likely in COVID-19 Than Flu Patients
Ischemic stroke rate appears more than seven times higher with coronavirus