"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 7th Jul 2020

Isolation Tips
Online counselling for home isolation +ve patients
In a new initiative, a counselling session has been started by the Health Department Gurugram under the supervision of psychiatrists for corona patients undergoing home isolation in the city. So far the Gurugram district has 706 home isolation patients and they have all been counselled by the team of doctors. During the counselling session the psychiatrists gave them tips to deal with depression and cleared their doubts about the coronavirus disease and precautions about home isolation. These patients are divided into different groups according to age. Their counselling is being done according to the prescribed time. “A panel of doctors has been prepared for Corona infected patients in the district. During the session, the doctors are motivating patients to remain stress free along with the prevention of doubts living in home isolation,” said Dr. Virender Yadav Civil Surgeon, Gurugram.
"Hope and faith pulled me through" - Nurse shares Covid-19 experience
Sister Brenda Joshua, a professional nurse at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital says faith and hope pulled her through her ICU Covid-19 experience. Joshua recalled how she spent 10 days in hospital fighting the coronavirus. Three of those days were in ICU.
Coronavirus lockdown lifts: how to take care of your mental health as we enter a ‘new normal’
Whether you’re feeling anxious about returning to the office or want to learn more about setting boundaries in your friendships, here’s how to manage your mental health as lockdown eases.
Hygiene Helpers
How Dr. Fauci protects himself against the coronavirus
Dr. Anthony Fauci offered various coronavirus prevention tips in a new interview, explaining how he has been reducing his own risk of infection. The nation’s top infectious disease expert addressed testing, the use of face masks, shopping, meeting with other family members, as well as other activities of everyday life that have been altered by the pandemic. The advice Fauci gives can be followed by anyone looking to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19. The only thing Fauci does that other people cannot is get tested frequently, which is mandated by his close proximity to Trump.
Coronavirus: Disease detectives track an invisible culprit
As a public-health director in Savannah, Georgia, Cristina Pasa Gibson spent her time in an office filled with calorie counters and yoga mats and the scent of jasmine tea. Then she started working on contact tracing, a no-holds-barred effort to stop the pandemic, and her office and her life were turned upside down. "I felt like I was in a Vegas casino," she says. "I didn't know what time it was, what day it was, who I was." She and her colleagues in Savannah and her counterparts in other cities across the country have been working frantically to trace the path of the infection and to find those who may have been exposed to the virus. They talk to patients, asking for names of individuals they have spent time with, and chase down those individuals and to tell them to remain isolated so they do not infect others. The pressure on investigators and contact tracers has been intense. "I basically lived in my office," says Gibson, describing the early days. "It was Groundhog Day over and over."
Saudi Arabia makes masks mandatory, bans gatherings during Hajj
Saudi Arabia on Monday said all the intending pilgrims in 2020 Hajj must wear face masks at all times, while workers would ensure no overcrowding or gatherings take place during the pilgrimage. The kingdom has drastically curtailed the pilgrimage amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying that only the few thousands who reside in the country could perform the Hajj, scheduled for July ending. Saudi Arabia’s Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (SaudiCDC) released a list of instructions for pilgrims and workers to follow.
Community Activities
The North Korean refugees supplying PPE to care homes
Jihyun Park and Timothy Chow understand the meaning of hardship. Both suffered under the brutal North Korean regime, enduring famine, the deaths of family members and imprisonment in forced labour camps - before fleeing and eventually receiving asylum in the UK. Wanting to give something back to the country that gave them safe haven, the pair have teamed up with other members of the North Korean community to donate a total of 7,000 sets of personal protective equipment to seven care homes in the north of England. "I escaped North Korea two times," says Jihyun, who lives in Manchester. "The first time I only escaped as far as China where I was married off to a farmer and effectively became his slave. I was later sent back to North Korea and forced to work in a labour camp in the mountains."
British consortium ends after making over 13,000 ventilators
A British consortium formed by a group of aerospace, automotive and engineering firms to build ventilators for the country’s health service said on Sunday it would end after delivering over 13,000 devices. VentilatorChallengeUK said its production had more than doubled the stock of ventilators available for use in the National Health Service. The consortium, which was formed on a not-for-profit basis by the likes of Ford, McLaren, Rolls-Royce and Airbus, said in May it was ramping up production in case of a second peak in infections. But Dick Elsy, Chairman of VentilatorChallengeUK, said the NHS was now well-placed for the future.
'Beautiful' to have a pint, 'brilliant' to get a haircut - England reopens after lockdown
People relished their first pub drinks in more than three months, went to restaurants and finally got haircuts on Saturday as England took its biggest steps yet towards resumption of normal life after the coronavirus lockdown. Some pubs started serving from 6 a.m., sparking worries of over-indulgence on what the media dubbed a “Super Saturday” of restrictions being eased. Some hairdressers were reported to have opened at the stroke of midnight. “It’s beautiful just to get back and have a pint,” said Jim Martin, a 56-year old carpenter enjoying a beer at The Holland Tringham pub in south London, part of the JD Wetherspoon (JDW.L) chain. It opened at 8 a.m. and was about three quarters full by 11.20 a.m.
Coronavirus: Pubs close after positive tests
A number of pubs in England have closed after customers tested positive for coronavirus. At least three establishments announced they had shut their doors again just days after reopening at the weekend. They were among hundreds of venues that welcomed customers for the first time in three months as lockdown measures were eased. Crowds descended in some towns and cities, prompting fears social distancing was being disregarded. The affected pubs announced their closures via Facebook. The Lighthouse Kitchen and Carvery in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, said it was "slowly" working through a list of customers who had left details at the weekend. In Batley, West Yorkshire, the Fox and Hounds said a customer had phoned to say they had tested positive for coronavirus. The pub said staff had taken tests and the venue would be deep-cleaned prior to reopening.
Spain forced to shut 55 beaches in Costa Del Sol and turn away British tourists amid social distancing fears
Scores of popular tourist beaches were forced to turn away visitors over the weekend after crowds defied social distancing rules. Some 29 beaches reached full capacity in Malaga, Costa del Sol - just as thousands of Brits were planning to jet out for long-awaited holidays. Another 26 beaches had to restrict access elsewhere in Andalusia, in the districts of Cádiz, Huelva, Almería and Granada, local newspaper Sur reported. Around 55 Spanish beaches were reportedly shut due to overcrowding at some point on Sunday. It came as 280,000 Spanairds were plunged back into full lockdown at the weekend after a surge in coronavirus cases.
Working Remotely
Two Thirds of UK Firms to Retain Remote Working Models Post Covid-19
A survey of 280 CHROs reveals more than two thirds (67%) of organisations plan to encourage employees to work remotely more often after lockdown, with 26% planning to significantly increase remote working. For most, the long-term plan is to introduce some form of dual working, where time is split between working from the office and an alternative location such as home, with 42% envisioning employees spending a minimum of two days per week out of the office. Just 7% of organisations expressed that remote working was not a feasible option.
Spain – One in four feel they are unable to work remotely, Randstad finds
A quarter, or 23%, of professionals in Spain say they are unable to work remotely due to not having the technology or the knowledge to do so, according to research from Randstad Spain. Randstad’s data found this number was higher for women (26%) than for men (20%). Working remotely has become essential amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Among sectors, workers in the healthcare sector ranked the highest among those who said they are unable to do teleworking (34.3%), this was followed by the distribution sector (29.6%), food and chemical industries (28.6%), education (27.7%), administration (24.5%) and construction (23.1%). Four out of ten workers in Spain said their company is not providing them with the necessary technological equipment to carry out their work remotely.
Ferry port implements terminal operation system remotely
The new Tilbury2 freight terminal on the Thames has implemented an operating system from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), with the supplier carrying out all of its work remotely.
The return of housecalls: How Covid-19 will change healthcare forever
Housecalls may not arrive in the form of a horse and buggy, but after experiencing the convenience and value of receiving care on the channel that they prefer and exactly when they need it, consumers will expect this level of care from here on out.
Virtual Classrooms
Coronavirus: Dayton schools will switch to online learning if necessary
Dayton Public Schools will be prepared to switch to online learning if a student or staff member is diagnosed with the coronavirus. In the event of a COVID-19 diagnosis, parents and guardians would be notified immediately and beginning the next school day students in that school building would be working online from home for 14 to 28 days, according to a release from the district Monday afternoon about its Safe School Restart Plan.
Harvard Business School Decides Against Starting Fully Online
After considering a fully online MBA program this fall, Harvard Business School has decided to bring all of its MBA students back to campus for a hybrid blend of in-person and online classes. That policy stands in contrast to the university’s plans for undergraduates in which only 40% of undergraduate students will be allowed on campus for the fall semester.
Texas college students weigh the value of online classes
Universities are moving forward with reopening plans for the fall semester, anxious to bring students back. But faced with online classes and an altered campus, students are questioning if college is still worth what they're paying.
Miami-Dade Schools Announce Flexible Reopening Plan, Invite Parents to Vote
Miami-Dade County Public schools now have a tentative plan in place to guide their reopening in the fall, but whether or not students actually return to classes full-time will depend on how Florida's coronavirus outbreak progresses. "M-DCPS strives to safely return students to the physical schoolhouse but recognizes that doing so will not be possible while Miami-Dade County remains in Phase 1 of The Plan for Florida’s Recovery," education officials said in a press release. As a result, Miami-Dade schools' plan for the 2020-2021 academic year outlines three models designed to help schools "rapidly pivot" between phases if necessary.
Fresno teachers open up about online classes. ‘I was not prepared for how hard it really is’
Thousands of Fresno Unified School District teachers whose work life changed drastically on March 13, 2020, when the district shut down schools to help slow the spread of COVID-19, moved classes exclusively online. School work was not mandatory.
Home schooling plans to be used as back-up in Moray if classrooms cannot open after holidays
The Scottish Government announced that all students were expected to be able to return to class at the same time after the break if the rate of Covid-19 cases continued to decrease. Moray Council, however, has confirmed it is continuing to draw up contingency plans for some children remaining at home in the event of progress against the virus being less speedy than hoped. Head of education, Vivienne Cross, said: “None of us would wish children to be away from school for any additional period of time, but we must be assured it is safe for they and our staff to return. “Schools have developed their recovery plans and these will continue to be finalised as a contingency for August, should full-time schooling not return at the start of term.
Public Policies
New Rules: Foreign Pupils Must Leave US if Classes Go Online
International students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools offer classes entirely online this fall, under new guidelines issued Monday by federal immigration authorities.
Australia closes state border for first time in 100 years after COVID-19 spike
The border between Australia’s two most populous states will close from Tuesday for an indefinite period as authorities scramble to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Melbourne. The decision announced on Monday marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years. Officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic. “It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. The move will, however, likely be a blow to Australia’s economic recovery as it heads into its first recession in nearly three decades.
Coronavirus Australia: AMA recommends pause on lifting restrictions
The head of the Australian Medical Association has called for a pause on the lifting of restrictions after Victoria's surge in cases.
Premier of Australia's Victoria defends hard COVID-19 lockdown
The premier of Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, defended on Sunday his decision to put nine public housing towers in a complete lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Melbourne’s suburbs. The state recorded 74 cases new cases on Sunday, after Saturday’s 108 cases prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to order about 3,000 people not to leave their homes for at least five days and to place police to guard the buildings. “This is not going to be a pleasant experience for those residents, but I have a message for those residents: this is not about punishment but protection,” Andrews said in a televised conference. Promising two weeks of free rent and hardship payments to the residents, Andrews said public health workers would test every resident of the buildings, except those who have previously tested positive.
Australians could soon be allowed to travel to New Zealand
Travel-bubble between Australia and New Zealand has been on table since May But the plan is being held back by a massive coronavirus outbreak in Victoria Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said is prepared to restart trans-Tasman flights But it would be on a state-by-state basis meaning Victorians are banned
Israel reimposes restrictions after COVID-19 spike
Israel on Monday reimposed a series of restrictions to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, including the immediate closure of bars, gyms and event halls. In public remarks at a special cabinet session on the health crisis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had to reverse course to avoid a wider lockdown that could paralyse its economy, where unemployment is just above 20%. The Bank of Israel on Monday forecast a 6% economic contraction in 2020. “The pandemic is spreading - that’s as clear as day. It is rising steeply daily and it is dragging with it, contrary to what we had been told, a trail of critically ill patients,” Netanyahu said.
Lockdown easing in England threatens cautious approach of devolved nations
With new coronavirus infections falling fast, Scotland now seems to have a real chance to effectively eliminate Covid-19 transmission among the general public. But some experts warn that one big obstacle stands in its way: England. Despite much higher levels of infection and hospitalisation, the UK government has since May been easing England’s lockdown restrictions more rapidly than the devolved governments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Stormont.
Hospitals approaching capacity as Miami closes restaurants
Hospitals rapidly approached capacity across the Sunbelt, and the Miami area closed restaurants and gyms again because of the surging coronavirus Monday, as the U.S. emerged from a Fourth of July weekend of picnics, pool parties and beach outings that health officials fear could fuel the rapidly worsening outbreak.
White House rejects national strategy on masks
The White House is again rejecting calls for a national mask-wearing mandate. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows says in an appearance on “Fox and Friends” Monday morning that the president sees the issue as a “state-to-state” matter. He says that, “certainly a national mandate is not in order” and that “we’re allowing our local governors and our local mayors to weigh in on that.”
Spain Announces Second Local Lockdown In 24 Hours After Spike In Coronavirus Cases
La Marina is the second region in the country to re-enter lockdown, after a fresh outbreak saw more than 100 people test positive for coronavirus.
COVID-19: Spain's Catalonia region reimposes lockdown amid spike
Spain's Catalonia region reimposed a strict lockdown on 210,000 people in one area Saturday after COVID-19 infections spiked. Catalan President Quim Torra said residents were not allowed to enter or leave Segria, an agricultural area west of Barcelona, including Lleida, a city in the west of Catalonia.
Maintaining Services
What is the guidance for vulnerable staff in September?
Since March, teachers who are vulnerable, extremely vulnerable or share households with those who are vulnerable, have been protected by the shielding guidelines. But with the new guidance released on Thursday, it is clear that this will change when all students return in September.
Lessons from China: Agency execs discuss impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and its aftermath on pharma
The COVID-19 pandemic placed China in the spotlight, not only because it had the first cases of the disease but because it had some of the earliest reopenings. It’s an unenviable position, but one that can give insight into the impact on the pharma industry across issues such as digital engagement, healthcare access and communications. WPP Health's Claire Gillis, international CEO, and Yi Han, executive vice president of WG Market Access, have had front-row seats to COVID-19 in China. Gillis travels frequently to China for WPP, while Han splits his time between Shanghai and the U.S. Both worked throughout the pandemic with pharma clients and agency teams in China, and more recently have tackled reopening issues. The two spoke to Fierce Pharma about what they’ve learned and how the pharma industry will permanently change—and in some ways already has—because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
German restaurants still hungry for customers post-lockdown
For now the glass remains half full for many businesses. "The situation is dramatic," the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) summarised, noting that restaurant owners expect June revenues on average to be 60 percent lower than last year. "Sure, customers are coming back but very, very slowly," said Sahin Ciftci, the owner of Zeus pizzeria in Berlin's trendy Friedrichshain district. "People are still afraid to come and sit inside," he sighed, surveying his empty dining room at midday.
Colleges Plan to Reopen Campuses, but for Just Some Students at a Time
To provide some semblance of the campus experience during a pandemic, colleges say large chunks of the student body will have to stay away and study remotely for all or part of the year.
13 UK universities on brink of collapse without COVID-19 bailout: Report
An estimated 13 UK universities, educating around 5 per cent of students in the country, would not be able to survive the coronavirus pandemic lockdown without a government bailout support. The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimates that long-term losses for the UK's higher education sector could come in anywhere between 3 billion pounds and 19 billion pounds, with the biggest losses stemming from a fall in international student enrolments including those from India who make up a large chunk of that segment.
Coronavirus: Scotland reopens beer gardens and outdoor cafes as lockdown eases
People in Scotland are now able to return to beer gardens and pavement cafes after they opened 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 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to confirm on Thursday.
France's Louvre reopens after 16-week virus shutdown
The world's most visited museum, the Louvre in Paris, reopened Monday after nearly four months of coronavirus closure, with a restricted number of visitors enjoying a rare chance to view the "Mona Lisa" without the usual throngs. Several dozen visitors queued outside the vast former palace of France's kings, eagerly awaiting the opening as the famed museum hopes to start recuperating losses estimated at more than 40 million euros (US$45 million) due to the lockdown. The museum's most popular draws, including Leonardo's Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the Louvre's vast antiquities collection will be accessible.
Arrests as revelers defy distancing rules after pubs reopen in England
Lockdown restrictions were eased, the pubs opened and crowds flocked onto the streets of English cities Saturday, many ignoring social distancing rules and prompting complaints from the police. A number of arrests were made. John Apter, chair of the Police Federation for England and Wales, warned that it was "crystal clear" that drunk people cannot observe social distancing. Apter, who was on patrol in Southampton, a city on England's south coast, wrote on Twitter that officers dealt with "anti-social behavior, naked men, possession of class 'A' drugs, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights, more angry drunks."
Healthcare Innovations
Regeneron starts Phase 3 trial of Covid antibody drug that might treat and prevent infection, company says
An antibody cocktail is now beginning late-stage clinical trials to evaluate the drug's ability to prevent and treat coronavirus infection. The biotechnology company Regeneron announced the late-stage clinical trials of REGN-COV2, its investigational double antibody cocktail for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19, in a news release on Monday. Specifically the release noted that a Phase 3 trial of the drug will assess its ability to prevent coronavirus infection among uninfected people who have had close contact to an infected person, such as a patient's housemate. The Phase 3 prevention trial is happening at around 100 sites and expected to include 2,000 patients across the United States, according to Regeneron
COVID-19 imperils AIDS progress, UN warns
COVID-19 could cause an additional half a million AIDS deaths if treatment is disrupted long term, the United Nations said Monday in a warning that the pandemic was jeopardising years of progress against HIV. At the start of a week of virtual International AIDS Conferences, the UN said the world was already way off course in its plan to end the public health threat even before COVID-19. Although AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 60 percent since the peak of the HIV epidemic in 2004, in 2019 around 690,000 still died from the illness.
One in 20 people in Spain have had coronavirus, national survey finds
More than one in 20 people in Spain have had coronavirus, a national survey has found. The nationwide antibody study discovered that 5.2% of Spanish people have been exposed to COVID-19. The study has tested almost 70,000 people across Spain every month for the past three months, and the number of infected has held firm around the 5% mark since May. The figures are backed up by those from Johns Hopkins University, which reports more than 250,000 coronavirus cases out of a population of 47 million people. It says there have been more than 28,385 COVID-19 deaths in Spain, one of the worst-hit countries.
Spain's coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity
Spain's large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is "unachievable," the medical journal the Lancet reported
Counting the Lives Saved by Lockdowns—and Lost to Slow Action
On May 20, disease modelers at Columbia University posted a preprint that concluded the US could have prevented 36,000 of the 65,300 deaths that the country had suffered as a result of COVID-19 by May 3 if states had instituted social distancing measures a week earlier. In early June, Imperial College London epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, one of the UK government’s key advisers in the early stages of the pandemic, came to a similar conclusion about the UK. In evidence he presented to a parliamentary committee inquiry, Ferguson said that if the country had introduced restrictions on movement and socializing a week sooner than it did, Britain’s official death toll of 40,000 could have been halved.
Brazil trials of potential Chinese COVID-19 vaccine to begin July 20
João Doria, governor of Brazil’s richest and most populous state São Paulo, said on Monday that trials of a new potential vaccine against COVID-19, developed by China’s SinoVac, will start on July 20. The trials, to be done in partnership with the Instituto Butantan, will involve 9,000 volunteers spread across 12 research centers located in Sao Paulo and four other states as well as the federal district Brasília.
UK launches study of Covid-19's long-term health effects
The Department of Health today announced an £8.4million study will be carried out on people who were hospitalised with coronavirus in the UK and it will begin at the end of this month.
CDC study reinforces COVID-19 cautions with pregnancy
As more young people test positive for COVID-19, doctors are reiterating the importance of social distancing for a subset of younger Minnesotans — expectant mothers. 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.
Study confirms new version of coronavirus spreads faster, but doesn't make people sicker
A global study has found strong evidence that a new form of the coronavirus has spread from Europe to the US. The new mutation makes the virus more likely to infect people but does not seem to make them any sicker than earlier variations of the virus, an international team of researchers reported Thursday. "It is now the dominant form infecting people," Erica Ollmann Saphire of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology and the Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium, who worked on the study, told CNN. "This is now the virus."
How China's CanSino Biologics jumped to the front of the coronavirus vaccine race
In May, CanSino became the first globally to publish a full scientific study on its early human trials, an important step because it allows researchers worldwide to assess a vaccine’s potential. The company — which is yet to generate revenue and logged a $22 million loss last year — has so far kept up with, and occasionally even outpaced, Western pharmaceutical giants with the speed of its initial coronavirus vaccine trials. The research is still too nascent to know if the shot from CanSino, or indeed any company, will provide the magic bullet countries are seeking to open up while the pandemic rages. But CanSino’s inroads show China’s young biotechnology industry is becoming a global contender, and a powerful tool for President Xi Jinping.