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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 29th Sep 2020

News Highlights

Nasal spray could hold key to Covid-19 protection, new study finds

According to a new study led by Public Health England (PHE), a weekly nasal spray initially developed to fight colds and flu by Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory may offer protection against the coronavirus. Human trials are set to commence shortly after studies on ferrets indicated that the spray boosted immune response prior to infection and reduced Covid-19 replication rate by up to 96%

Jakarta gravediggers see spike in burials as Covid-19 cases increase drastically

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage in Indonesia, gravediggers at a cemetery in the capital, Jakarta, are reporting three times as many burials a day now compared to before the pandemic. Indonesia has reported more than 275,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths due to Covid-19, the highest numbers in southeast Asia

Melbourne eases lockdown restrictions, on track to return to 'normal' by Christmas

Melbourne, the Australian hotspot in the second wave of coronavirus infections, which has been under a new lockdown since July, has eased some of its toughest restrictions including a night-time curfew. Daily cases have dropped from 700 in July to just five on Monday, raising hopes that sporting events can be carried out during the Australian summer around the corner which may herals a general economic revival during Christmas

Protests in Madrid as lockdowns hit low-income areas

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Madrid to protest against what they say are unfair lockdowns targeting low-income areas of the city and are demanding more funds for the health sector as well as improvements in tracking the infection. Spain has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks and localised lockdowns in parts of Madrid were an effort to counter the rise, but the protestors are criticising the conservative regional government's measures as discriminatory

Lockdown Exit
Africa has held off the worst of the coronavirus. Researchers are working to figure out how.
When the coronavirus first began spreading around the world, there was near-universal concern among experts that countries in Africa could be hit particularly hard, with high rates of transmission that could quickly overwhelm health care systems. But roughly nine months into the pandemic, which has sickened over 31 million people and caused more than 950,000 deaths around the world, most African countries have fared significantly better than other parts of the world. The reasons are still something of a mystery — more research is needed, and some studies that aim to answer the questions are only just beginning — but scientists said the success of many African countries so far offers crucial lessons for the rest of the world and shine a light on how inherent biases can distort scientific research.
Second Covid-19 wave could turn cracks in the hospital system into 'earthquakes'
When Dr. Shereef Elnahal walked through his New Jersey hospital in April, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. There were 300 patients being treated for Covid-19, filling hospital rooms and spilling out into the halls of the emergency room. The trauma center, once used for gunshot wounds and car crash victims, was now filled with people on ventilators. “It was really like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital in Newark. “I have memories of walking around and I would look inside the rooms where that was possible. Almost every person was a person of color,” he told NBC News.
Covid cases climbing again in U.S. while Fauci warns 'we're not in a good place'
Juror in Breonna Taylor case files suit for release of grand jury… Los Angeles Clippers coaching candidates: Ty Lue, Jeff Van Gundy… NBC News logo Covid cases climbing again in U.S. while Fauci warns 'we're not in a good place' Covid-19 cases are on the rise again across the United States as more and more states have loosened restrictions put into place to slow the spread of the killer virus, NBC News figures showed Monday.
Covid: Adults without A-levels to be offered free college courses
Adults in England without an A-level or equivalent qualification will be offered a fully funded college course, the government has announced. The offer will be available from April and applies to courses offering "skills valued by employers". In a speech on Tuesday, the PM will say that, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government cannot "save every job" but wants to help people find new work. Labour said the plans would not reverse the impact of "a decade of cuts". The government decision comes amid fears that unemployment is set to grow sharply.
Covid-19 twice as likely in teens than in younger kids
Teenagers are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 than younger kids, according to a report released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings could have implications for educators as they wrestle with how to reopen schools safely, as well as for public health officials charged with figuring out how to prioritize Covid-19 vaccine distribution.
Global coronavirus death toll exceeds one million
The US has reported a fifth of all deaths from COVID-19, which first emerged in China late last year. The global death toll from COVID-19 has crossed one million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says that number is probably an underestimate and the actual toll is likely to be much higher. Some 1,000,555 people across the world have now died from the virus, data from JHU showed on Tuesday.
WHO COVID Debrief on kids going back to school
Is it safe to send your children back to school? WHO’s Dr Abdi Mahamud explains. The role of children in transmitting the disease is not yet fully understood and scientists are working to understand more, says WHO’s Dr Abdi Mahamud in this episode of the WHO COVID Debrief. To date, few outbreaks have been reported in children in schools. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 190 countries have closed their schools, affecting some 1.6 billion students as per data released by UNESCO after surveying 94 percent of the world’s students.
Burials surge as COVID-19 cases spike in Indonesia’s capital
Gravediggers at a cemetery in Jakarta say they’re burying three times as many bodies as they did before coronavirus. Jakarta has been the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia, where authorities have struggled for months to contain the virus. The country has reported more than 275,000 cases and at least 10,380 deaths, the highest levels in southeast Asia. Jakarta alone has buried some 5,000 bodies under COVID-19 protocols since the virus was detected in Indonesia in March, the city administration has reported. The city now averages between 26 and 28 COVID-19 burials a day, a significant surge since the beginning of August.
Why India should worry about post-Covid-19 care
When 60-year-old Milind Ketkar returned home after spending nearly a month in hospital battling Covid-19, he thought the worst was over. People had to carry him to his third-floor flat as his building didn't have a lift. He spent the next few days feeling constantly breathless and weak. When he didn't start to feel better, he contacted Dr Lancelot Pinto at Mumbai's PD Hinduja hospital, where he had been treated. Mr Ketkar, who thought he had recovered from the virus, was in for a shock. Dr Pinto told him inflammation in the lungs, caused by Covid-19, had given him deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when blood clots form in the body, often in the legs.
Back-to-School Season in Italy
As an American pediatrician who has spent a lot of time in Italy, where the pandemic began in February and the whole country was in lockdown by early March, I’m interested in how children and families in Italy are responding to the current phase of reopening schools. While the back-to-school situation varies across the United States, with many districts still offering remote lessons, in Italy, where I am right now, most children are going back to their classrooms in person this fall.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: Care leavers are facing 'digital poverty' with no online access to education or work, campaigners say.
Care leavers are facing "digital poverty" without laptops or access to the internet, campaigners say. A government scheme to provide digital devices and internet access to vulnerable young people in England during the pandemic is set to end in November. Charities say it risks leaving up to 80,000 18-25 year-old care leavers isolated and unable to access education and work or to keep in touch with friends and family. In an open letter to ministers, leading charities and youth organisations including Barnardo's and The Children's Society have called on the government to extend the scheme and ensure every care leaver gets internet access for at least 12 months when they first live independently.
Pharmacy teams unable to get COVID-19 tests despite priority status
Some community pharmacy workers are struggling to get a COVID-19 test, despite their “essential workers” status, C+D has learned from pharmacy bodies. A Twitter poll of 79 respondents, posted earlier this month (September 15) by Royal Pharmaceutical Society director of England Ravi Sharma, found that 76% of pharmacy workers had experienced difficulties in accessing tests for COVID-19. Other pharmacy bodies have reported similar problems. Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), confirmed that the organisation has received “many concerns about this issue”. It is something Ms Hannbeck has raised with NHS England and asked them to look into, she told C+D last week (September 25). While there have been reports of shortages of COVID-19 tests for the general public, pharmacy team members are classed as “essential workers” who are prioritised for testing.
Covid-19: Up to £10,000 fine for failure to self-isolate in England
Refusing to self-isolate when told to is now illegal in England, with fines of up to £10,000. Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19, or has been told they have been in contact with someone who has, now has a legal duty to quarantine. It comes as a study commissioned by the government found just 18% of people who had symptoms went into isolation. Meanwhile, the government has promised an "uninterrupted supply" of PPE for front-line workers over the winter. Four-month stockpiles of PPE - personal protective equipment such as masks, visors and gowns - will be available from November, the Department of Health has said.
Police told not to download NHS Covid-19 app
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has confirmed officers are being told not to install the NHS Covid-19 app on their work smartphones. The app detects when users have been in proximity to someone with the virus. Some officers have also been told they may not need to obey self-isolate alerts generated by the app when downloaded to their personal phones. Lancashire Constabulary has told staff to call the force's own Covid-19 helpline instead. The BBC contacted the North-West of England force after a source claimed the advice had been given because of "security reasons". The source also said officers had been told not to carry their personal phones while on duty if they had activated the app.
Unlock 5.0 guidelines: What further relaxations we could see in October
While several restrictions have been eased in different phases of ‘Unlock’ since June, the Union Home Ministry is slated to come out with fresh guidelines for October — which holds significance since it marks the beginning of the long festive season. Last month, the Home Ministry had said more relaxations and opening up of more activities would be gradually allowed in areas outside the containment zones. With industries hoping for a strong rebound in consumer demand this festive season, further easing of restrictions is expected.
How does Australia's coronavirus welfare response compare to the rest of the world?
According to the International Monetary Fund’s policy tracker, which summarises the key economic responses governments have taken to limit the impacts of the pandemic, Australia’s fiscal response ranks among the highest in the developed world. As a proportion of its GDP, Australia’s domestic coronavirus aid sits well above that of countries in western Europe and China, but is lower than that of the United States, Canada and Japan. Experts said Australia's response represents the fact that, in terms of our coronavirus cases, we were less affected by the virus than many other developed nations.
Open for Christmas: Australia's virus hotspot could be near normal by summer
Australia’s city of Melbourne, its hotspot in the second wave of coronavirus infections, is on track to return to near normal by Christmas, strengthening hopes for major summer sporting events to go ahead amid a general economic revival. Southeastern Victoria state recorded a single digit rise in new cases for the first time in three months on Monday, with the lifting of some of the toughest curbs its capital of Melbourne, such as a night-time curfew, Premier Daniel Andrews said. “That is a very, very significant set of numbers. We are well ahead of schedule,” Andrews told a daily news conference, anticipating a move to “COVID normal”, with most curbs eased.
Covid-19: Australian state of Victoria has three virus deaths, only five new cases as Melbourne's lockdown ends
The Australian state of Victoria has had another three coronavirus deaths as new case numbers dropped to their lowest since June 12. The latest fatalities take the state toll to 787 and Australia’s national figure to 875. But there were only five new cases, the first time since June that number has been below 10.
COVID-19 cases in Australia’s Victoria fall as lockdown eases
New coronavirus cases in the Australian state of Victoria fell to single digits for the first time in more than three months on Monday, as officials began winding down some restrictions brought in to control the outbreak. Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, placed nearly five million residents of its capital Melbourne into a hard lockdown in early August as it emerged as the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, but lifted a night curfew on Sunday thanks to a steady fall in new daily case numbers.
Australia Gradually Eases Its Toughest COVID-19 Lockdown in Melbourne
A curfew imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus has been lifted in the Australian city of Melbourne. The Victorian state government has said that a fall in the number of infections is allowing them to gradually relax other restrictions. Melbourne was placed into a second lockdown in July because of a spike in COVID-19 cases. New cases of COVID-19 in Melbourne have fallen enough that officials are talking about re-opening the city. In late July, authorities had reported more than 700 new daily infections. On Monday, they recorded just five cases. Infections have fallen sufficiently for Australia’s second-biggest city to move to the second of a four-step recovery plan.
UK wants students to be able to go home for Christmas despite COVID
The British government wants university students to be able to return home for Christmas, culture minister Oliver Dowden said on Sunday, amid concerns that restrictions on movement may be needed to curb the rising number of coronavirus cases. Outbreaks have forced some institutions to ask students - many of whom are far from home and paying thousands of pounds for accommodation and teaching - to self-isolate in their rooms and follow lectures online. Health minister Matt Hancock had said on Thursday he could not rule out asking students to stay on campus over Christmas to prevent the virus from spreading. “I very much want students to be able to go home at Christmas,” Dowden told Sky News.
Chile's president launches $2 billion plan to bring back jobs lost during pandemic
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on Sunday the launch of $2 billion in subsidies aimed at creating new jobs or recovering those lost during months of lockdown aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic in the globe’s top copper producer. Pinera said the government would pay private businesses up to 50%, or as much as $317 of the salaries of any newly hired employee for the next six months. A similar program will cover up to around $200 of the salaries of employees who return to work after a furlough period during the coronavirus crisis.
Modi offers India’s COVID-19 vaccine capacity to ‘all humanity’
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged at the United Nations that his country’s vaccine production capacity would be made available globally to fight the coronavirus crisis. “As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today,” Modi said in a prerecorded speech to the UN General Assembly.
Australia-New Zealand travel bubble could happen before Christmas
A travel bubble with New Zealand could be in place before Christmas, New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister says. Winston Peters told Today the country was "raring to go", and said it would be a welcome boost for tourism on both sides of the Tasman. However, he said it depends on establishing coronavirus tracing protocols and other systems, especially given Melbourne's second COVID-19 outbreak.
Partisan Exits
Italy's government showed the world how to take responsibility in a pandemic
If there ever was an unlikely country to be designated a model of collective civility, that’s Italy. My native land is usually depicted as a beautiful place whose abundance of natural and cultural treasures is entrusted, alas, to its disorganised, corrupt, unruly inhabitants. And yet everybody these days seems to be lavishing praise on us: the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal are all describing as exemplary the way in which we Italians have clawed ourselves out of the tragic pit we were in this spring, as coronavirus raged and convoys of military trucks had to be deployed to carry the coffins – they were so many.
Spanish lockdown protests flare again
Thousands in Madrid have marched in protest against local lockdowns targeting mainly low-income areas in an effort to stem one of Europe's biggest surges in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. For a second straight week, demonstrators took to city streets on Sunday, criticising the conservative regional government's measures as discriminatory segregation and demanding more money for the health sector and an improvement in how infections are tracked. Left-wing parties, trade unions, citizens' initiatives and student associations had called for protests in various districts and municipalities in the greater area of the Spanish capital and demanded the resignation of regional president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.
Morrison Pleads for Lockdown End in Australia’s Virus Hot-Spot
The leader of Australia’s second-largest state has announced the end of a nightly curfew in Melbourne sooner than originally expected as the pace of new coronavirus infections in the city slows. That’s not enough for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is urgently seeking to reboot the stalled national economy and is pleading for Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews to quickly remove more lockdown curbs implemented almost two months ago. “As it stands this lockdown is already longer than that faced by residents in many cities around the world,” Morrison said in a statement late Sunday. “We remain deeply concerned about the mental health impacts of a prolonged lock down on Melbourne residents.”
Lockdowners v libertarians: Britain’s coronavirus divide
Britain has reached a Covid crossroads – and its leaders are being pressed to pick one of two stark options. Are they going to return to the lockdown days that brought life to a standstill six months ago, but succeeded in halting the rapid spread of the disease? Or are they going to turn their backs on “an authoritarian nightmare” that is preventing the nation from getting on with “the business of living”? This is the basic division that has emerged over the summer in an increasingly heated debate between two unlikely groupings of scientists, columnists, campaigners and politicians
Many anti-lockdown protesters believe the government is illegitimate. Their legal arguments don't stand up
Lockdown has been particularly hard in Victoria and some dissent against restrictions is to be expected. While it might be easy to dismiss the anti-lockdown protesters by calling them selfish or deluded, we should not lose sight of just how far beyond our normal expectations of civic responsibility the last six months have taken us. By and large, most Victorians have been exceptionally responsible and stoic. And while police enforcement has been problematic at times, regulatory requirements often unclear and emergency powers unlike anything we’ve seen in a century, the vast majority of Victorians, indeed all Australians, continue to trust the actions of governments are reasonable and constitutionally valid.
PM scrapped second UK lockdown 'over fears Rishi Sunak would quit'
Prime Minister Boris Johnson abandoned plans for a second national lockdown over fears Rishi Sunak might quit, a senior MP has said. Mr Sunak reportedly warned that a second national lockdown would be a disaster for the economy and make his job near impossible. Despite medical and scientific experts calling for tougher restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, he argued that Britain must be kept open to protect millions of jobs and businesses, The Sun reported. A senior MP told the publication: ‘Rishi simply wouldn’t wear it. His stance was so firm. There were even fears he would find it difficult to carry on if he was ignored.’
Britain will seek coronavirus ‘herd immunity’ covertly or by default - thanks to the failure of lockdown
The dynamics of epidemics, their lethal ebbs and flows, are unpredictable and complicated involving more than a fixed proportion of people getting the illness. Yet six months from “herd immunity” being pilloried worldwide as the equivalent of poisoning the wells, Britain may covertly or by default may be adopting just such a policy. The reason for this creeping volte-face is that while “herd immunity” may or may not be achievable, the alternative policy of lockdown looks more and more like a bad bargain, bringing economic devastation in return for a temporary retreat of the epidemic. It only really works in countries where the state and society are so organised, China or Germany being prime examples, so that they can largely return to normality while at the same time suppressing new outbreaks. It helps if they are islands like New Zealand and Taiwan, but this advantage wanes as soon as full travel links are re-established.
Continued Lockdown
Coronavirus in Argentina: Cases continue to soar despite strict lockdown
#Argentina´s novel #coronavirus infections were poised to top 700,000 on Saturday as new daily infections and deaths hit the top five globally, despite seven months of #quarantine that have ravaged the frail economy.
Scottish police break up 300 house parties over weekend as revellers snub hospitality lockdown
Police Scotland handed out 101 fines and made 14 arrests while responding to complaints of house parties between Friday night and Sunday. It comes amid widespread criticism of 10pm curfew.
Wales lockdown: Businesses affected by Covid offered grants
Businesses in Wales hit by coronavirus will be offered £140m in grants, Economy Minister Ken Skates has said. Nearly two-thirds of Wales' population are now living under lockdown after new measures were brought in at 18:00 BST. Neath Port Talbot (NPT), Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan have joined eight other areas in lockdown, affecting almost two million people in total. The country's two biggest cities - Cardiff and Swansea - had restrictions applied on Sunday evening. The new rules mean no travel outside council boundaries other than for work, education or medical emergencies, with no indoor mixing allowed and no alcohol sales after 22:00. Conwy, Denbighshire, Wrexham, Flintshire, Anglesey and Carmarthenshire are being "closely monitored" by Public Health Wales, meaning if cases continue to rise they could also face lockdowns.
Sudanese and Aboriginal people overrepresented in fines from Victoria police during first lockdown
As the Victorian government ramps up penalties to $5,000 for breaching Covid-19 gathering rules, statistics show young people received almost half of all fines dished out during the state’s first wave, while the South Sudanese and Aboriginal communities received an outsize number of fines. Data released by the Crime Statistics Agency last week shows there were 6,062 breaches of Covid-19 rules associated with 5,474 people during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Victoria. The average age was 29.5 years, and just one in four of those fined were women. Approximately 42% of those were under the age of 24.
COVID-19: Auckland job losses not as bad as predicted - figures
New figures show Auckland's job losses have been far fewer than predicted, despite the city going into lockdown last month. The council forecast 250 jobs a day would go during level 3 but the latest Jobseeker figures show an average of 93 people a day have gone on the benefit in Auckland since 7 August - days before level 3 was reimposed. Nationally, an average of 219 people have accessed the Jobseeker benefit each day. Westpac chief economist Dominic Stephens said the cost of lockdown has not been as severe as first thought. "I've been stunned at the resilience of the economy to lockdowns. The number of job losses has been less than expected and the impact on GDP has been at the more moderate end of estimates. What that indicates is that the cost of a lockdown is not what we thought," he said
Israel doubly deserted on Yom Kippur during holiday and COVID-19 lockdown
In ordinary times Yom Kippur brings much of Israel to a standstill, as businesses close and roads empty for the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. But the world has looked very different this year, so deserted highways in city centres have become something of a familiar sight, even on days other than religious holidays when. Israel entered its second-wave lockdown on Sept. 18 after a surge of new cases had hospitals worrying about the strain on admissions. The country of nine million people has logged at least 1,441 deaths from COVID-19.
Scientific Viewpoint
Italian firm developing AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine might go public -CEO
Italian biotech firm IRBM, which is cooperating with British drugmaker AstraZeneca AZN.L in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, could be listed on the stock exchange, its chief executive said on Monday. “Why not?”, Piero Di Lorenzo told Italian newspaper Il Riformista, answering a question on whether the stock exchange could be in the company’s future. “Many big companies would like to enter our capital. We are receiving interest from all over the world and I don’t rule out any option,” he said, adding however that such a decision was not currently a priority, given the focus on the vaccine. Italy could have its first shots of the vaccine by the end of November, IRBM said earlier this month. The group has already produced tens of thousands of vaccine doses for the trial stage and has the potential to produce up to 10 million doses a year. However, it does not have a production contract with AstraZeneca yet “but it is likely to, in the future”, Di Lorenzo said.
Weekly nasal spray could offer protection from Covid-19, research finds
A nasal spray given once or twice a week could offer protection against coronavirus, according to new research. Human trials could start within four months after studies on ferrets, led by an expert from Public Health England (PHE), found the spray could reduce infection and prevent transmission. The therapy, developed by Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory, was originally developed to boost the natural immune system to fight colds and flu. ut trials showed that INNA-051 could reduce Covid-19 replication by up to 96% after it managed to boost the immune response prior to infection.
COVID 19: The strained relationship between science and politics
In the scientific world researchers tread a slow and methodical path in the search for truth. But for some politicians, the rush to deliver quick and easy answers to the complex challenges of the COVID-19 crisis is creating new challenges of its own.
Coronavirus: Children half as likely to catch COVID-19 than adults, analysis suggests
Children are 44% less likely to catch coronavirus than adults, according to an analysis led by the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Preliminary evidence suggests children younger than 10 to 14 years old are less likely to catch the virus than adults over 20 years old. They are also more likely to be asymptomatic, meaning they have very few - if any - symptoms.
Coronavirus: Manchester man first in UK to be given arthritis drug in trial to treat COVID-19
A coronavirus patient from Manchester has become the first in the UK to be given an experimental arthritis drug to counter the severe effects of the virus. Farhan Hamid, 41, from south Manchester, has been given a dose of otilimab - a drug currently under investigation as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. He is currently in intensive care at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and was recruited to take part in the trial on 11 September.
Could Exposure to the Common Cold Reduce the Severity of COVID-19 Infection?
The ongoing tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic afflicts every corner of the world. Vaccines may be our best hope for a safe return to workplaces, parties, stores and schools, but even if all leading vaccine candidates are protective, the British charity Oxfam estimates that nearly two thirds of the world’s population will not have access until at least 2022. We suggest a scalable alternative that may prevent morbidity and mortality from Covid-19 in the meantime: the common cold. Many different studies have shown that infection with one of the seasonal human coronaviruses (shCoVs) responsible for common colds confers a cross-reactive T-cell immune response to SARS-CoV-2, and on September 17, the British Medical Journal published an editorial speculating that “preexisting immunity” to SARS-Cov-2 may result from T cell cross-reactivity.
Plastic face shields 'are not effective in stopping COVID-19 spread'
Plastic face shields now commonly worn by hairdressers, barbers and beauty salon workers are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, researchers have said. Technology in Japan involving the world’s fastest supercomputer found that nearly 100% airborne tiny droplets escaped through the plastic. The technology used in the research is called Fugaku and it can perform more than 415 quadrillion computations a second. It has also found that non-woven fabric face masks are the most effective at trapping airborne droplets of the virus.
Christian Drosten, Germany's Dr. Fauci, Worries About Second Wave of Covid
As Germany cleared away spent fireworks and slept off its hangovers on New Year’s Day, Christian Drosten got a sobering wake-up call: A member of his team—he heads the virology department at Berlin’s Charité hospital—reported that a strange pneumonia was spreading in the Chinese city of Wuhan. For Drosten, a leading developer of tests for emerging viruses, there was an element of déjà vu. As a doctoral student in Hamburg in 2003, he’d discovered that the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, then terrifying Asia was caused by a coronavirus. Although it was unclear whether a coronavirus was responsible for the Wuhan outbreak, Drosten fully understood the danger. While the viruses are common pathogens known to cause colds, some discovered in recent decades are highly lethal.
Covid-19 skin rash website criticised for lack of BAME examples
A website dedicated to sharing images of Covid-19-related skin rashes to help doctors and patients identify whether an unusual rash might be a sign of coronavirus infection has been criticised for containing just two images of black or brown skin. The British Association of Dermatologists’ (BAD) Covid-19 Skin Patterns website features 400 images of Covid-associated rashes, from prickly heat and chickenpox-type rashes to raised itchy hives and chilblain-like “Covid fingers and toes”. They were gathered by the Covid Symptom Study app in response to growing evidence that skin rashes are a key feature of the disease, present in around 9% of app users testing positive for Covid-19. In children they may be even more predictive, with a sixth of children experiencing a rash and no other symptoms.
UK could face third wave of coronavirus, Sage scientist says as he warns lockdown 'doesn't solve the problem'
Britain could face a third wave of coronavirus and lockdown restrictions will not solve the problem, a Government scientific advisor has warned. Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of the Sage scientific advisory group, said a third wave of Covid-19 was "entirely possible". Asked about the potential scenario on BBC's Andrew Marr show, the epidemiologist said: “That’s entirely possible... a scenario I mentioned earlier does actually include this possibility.
India's confirmed coronavirus tally reaches 6 million cases
India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million on Monday, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases. The Health Ministry reported 82,170 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the overall total to 6,074,703. At least 1,039 deaths were recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542. New infections in India are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world. The world’s second-most populous country is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country in coming weeks, surpassing the U.S., where more than 7.1 million infections have been reported.
Global coronavirus death toll passes one million
The global death toll from the new coronavirus, which emerged less than a year ago in China and has swept across the world, passed one million on Sunday. The pandemic has ravaged the global economy, inflamed geopolitical tensions and upended lives, from Indian slums and Brazil's jungles to America's biggest city New York. World sports, live entertainment and international travel ground to a halt as fans, audiences and tourists were forced to stay at home, kept inside by strict measures imposed to curb the virus spread. Drastic controls that put half of humanity -- more than four billion people -- under some form of lockdown by April at first slowed its pace, but since restrictions were eased cases have soared again. On Sunday at 10:30 p.m. (GMT), the disease had claimed 1,000,009 victims from 33,018,877 recorded infections, according to an AFP tally using official sources. The United States has the highest death toll with more than 200,000 fatalities followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and Britain.
Russia's COVID-19 infections to rise until reaching plateau in October: RIA cites scientist
The number of new coronavirus infections in Russia will reach a plateau at the beginning of October before a small decline, the RIA news agency cited a scientific adviser to consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor as saying on Monday. The number of COVID-19 infections has been steadily rising in recent weeks and surged past 8,000 on Monday, the highest daily increase since June 16. Russia exited lockdown in early June. “I think that infections are going to rise now and we will approach a plateau, and then a gradual decline will begin, there is unlikely to be a peak,” said Victor Maleev from the Russian Academy of Sciences. “The plateau will probably be at the start of October.”
Covid-19 twice as likely in teens than in younger kids
Teenagers are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 than younger kids, according to a report released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings could have implications for educators as they wrestle with how to reopen schools safely, as well as for public health officials charged with figuring out how to prioritize Covid-19 vaccine distribution.
Coronavirus: New global test will give results 'in minutes'
A test that can diagnose Covid-19 in minutes will dramatically expand the capacity to detect cases in low- and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The $5 (£3.80) test could transform tracking of Covid-19 in less wealthy countries, which have shortages of healthcare workers and laboratories. A deal with manufacturers will provide 120 million tests over six months. The WHO's head called it a major milestone. Lengthy gaps between taking a test and receiving a result have hampered many countries' attempts to control the spread of coronavirus. In some countries with high infection rates, including India and Mexico, experts have said that low testing rates are disguising the true spread of their outbreaks. The "new, highly portable and easy-to-use test" will provide results in 15-30 minutes instead of hours or days, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Monday.
Until there's a Covid vaccine, we need to focus on treating longer-term health consequences
As Covid-19 infection numbers show a welcome downward trend in Melbourne and the city’s residents look forward to some easing of restrictions, it’s time to consider the longer-term health consequences of the pandemic. More than 27,000 Australians – including some 20,000 Victorians – have been infected with the virus, with almost 900 deaths to date. Many countries are now in the grip of a second wave as the pandemic continues to take a toll on millions of lives around the globe – not only in terms of death, but also in the lingering, debilitating symptoms arising from severe, damaging inflammation.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Positive COVID-19 test rates top 25 percent in some Midwest states
The number of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 is topping 25 percent in several states in the US Midwest as cases and hospitalizations also surge in the region, according to a Reuters analysis. North Dakota’s positive test rate has averaged 30 percent over the past seven days compared with 6 percent the prior week. The positivity rate has risen to 26 percent in South Dakota, up from 17 percent the previous week, according to the analysis using testing data from The COVID Tracking Project.
Covid-19 deaths pass 1,000 in Birmingham hospitals
The UK's first hospital trust to record 1,000 Covid-19 deaths says the toll is the "terrible reality" of the virus. University Hospitals Birmingham, which has four hospitals and is the biggest trust in England, reported there had been 1,002 deaths since 14 March as of Monday. The number of coronavirus cases in Birmingham is 153.2 per 100,000 people, in the seven days to 24 September. The hospital trust confirmed the figure with "great sadness". "Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with the families and friends of those who have suffered losses," a trust spokesman said.
Russian businesses prepare for fresh lockdowns as Covid-19 cases soar
Russian businesses are braced for a reimposition of lockdown measures after a surge in new coronavirus cases over the past week dashed hopes that the country had successfully contained the pandemic. Russia has the world’s fourth-highest number of Covid-19 infections but government data had shown a steady decrease in new cases since they peaked in mid-May. That decline had encouraged the Kremlin to lift almost all quarantine measures imposed in March in an effort to limit the damage to the country’s already struggling economy, but a sharp increase in new infections over the past fortnight has raised fears that a new lockdown will be necessary.
Government considering near-total lockdown for parts of UK
Boris Johnson is reported to be considering a near-total lockdown on parts of the UK in a bid to bring coronavirus under control. 17.8million people are now living under some form of lockdown measures in the north of England, south Wales, the Midlands and parts of Scotland. All administrations in the four parts of the UK have brought in a ban on gatherings of more than six people while hospitality venues have to close at 10pm. The Government is now reported to be considering tougher measures which would close all pubs, restaurants and bars for at least two weeks. Any tougher measures would only apply in England unless also adopted by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Ministers 'preparing total social lockdown plan' for north with pubs shut
Much of the north could face a 'total social lockdown' which would see pubs and restaurants ordered to close for a fortnight. The new emergency coronavirus measures are being considered by the government following spikes in the number of cases across northern Britain, The Times reports. London could also face the same restrictions. Households would be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location. People in Greater Manchester are already barred from visiting friends and family in their homes or gardens and are advised not to socialise with anyone from outside their household or bubble in any public place, under measures introduced in late August.
Coronavirus UK: 'Total social lockdown' possible for London and North
A senior Government source told The Times the country ‘wasn’t ready’ to hear the plans last week, but they have been suggested to help stop the second wave in its tracks. Under the emergency plan, pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues would be forced to shut for at least two weeks and households would be banned from meeting each other in any indoor location. Schools, essential shops and offices where people cannot work from home would be left open.
Coronavirus: Merkel worried Germany could face significant case surge
Chancellor Angela Merkel is deeply worried about sharply rising coronavirus infections in Germany, her spokesman said Monday. "The development of infection numbers is of great concern to us," Steffen Seibert said. "We should not permit the virus to spread exponentially in certain places," he added. Merkel warned top officials from her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) during a video meeting earlier on Monday that daily new infection numbers could reach 19,200 if the trend for rising cases continues, reported news agency AFP and German daily national newspaper Bild, citing unnamed party sources. Infections have been rising across Europe for weeks, with France and Spain reporting the sharpest increases of over 10,000 a day.
London faces emergency two-week lockdown as coronavirus cases spike
Ministers are drawing up plans to enforce sweeping lockdown measures across the country including a ban on household mixing in London, as new coronavirus infections continue to rise. Pubs, restaurants and bars may be forced to shutter for two weeks in both the North of England and in London, marking a return to so-called circuit breaker plans which were abandoned last week, the Times today reported.
A 2 week emergency lockdown could be on the cards for the North and London
An emergency plan to introduce a total social lockdown across large parts of the north of England and London could be put into place at any time, according to The Times. The outlet reports that this was one of the options put forward at the strategy meetings which took place in Downing Street prior to the announcement of last week’s new restrictions, but a handful of senior figures including the Prime Minister rejected them at the time
France’s Covid epidemic worsens as new restrictive measures take effect
Health agency figures showed France’s Covid-19 epidemic continued to accelerate as new restrictive measures were to come into effect in large cities including Paris on Monday. Government ministers said the priority was to avoid a new general lockdown. With Covid-19 cases, infection rates and hospital admissions continuing an upward trend in France on Monday, public officials expressed hope a new slate of restrictive measures would keep the epidemic from reaching first-wave levels. “We are doing everything we can to prevent a new general confinement,” even though “with this virus, we are ruling nothing out,” Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne said Monday. Official figures posted Sunday reported 11,123 new cases within the previous 24 hours, slightly down from the previous day’s number but consistant with a trend that has seen the average number of new Covid cases per day climb from 10,000 to more than 12,000 in a week.
‘Too early to say’ if France needs pre-Christmas lockdown
A proposed generalised lockdown in the first weeks of December to “save Christmas” from Covid-19, is not the right solution the French health minister has said.
Rapid rise in hospitalisations in France and Spain behind No10's Covid crackdown
Downing Street and its scientific advisers had only just announced national restrictions on the population last week, when rumours began swirling that yet more could be imposed in the coming days. The “rule of six” was barely a week old when the Prime Minister announced a curfew of 10pm on all pubs, bars and restaurants, and now ministers are considering a complete lockdown on socialising in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. Unlike in March, when Boris Johnson was chastised for failing to lockdown the country sooner, now the PM is facing severe criticism, particularly from his own party, for moving too fast with additional measures.
Madrid refuses to lock down despite mounting coronavirus crisis
Madrid leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso said 'the solution is not a total confinement' Protesters have hit the streets as eight more districts go into partial lockdown The Spanish capital is seeing ICU wards fill up with Spain's highest infection rate
France has no plan to order a new coronavirus lockdown: minister
France’s government has no plan to order a new nationwide lockdown to contain a resurgence in coronavirus cases in the country, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday. Le Maire was speaking at a news conference after a cabinet meeting.
In Brazil's Amazon a COVID-19 resurgence dashes herd immunity hopes
The largest city in Brazil’s Amazon has closed bars and river beaches to contain a fresh surge of coronavirus cases, a trend that may dash theories that Manaus was one of the world’s first places to reach collective, or herd, immunity. When a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, its spread becomes unlikely. University of Sao Paulo researchers suggested that a drastic fall in COVID-19 deaths in Manaus pointed to collective immunity at work, but they also believe that antibodies to the disease after infection may not last more than a few months.
New Lockdown
Pubs and restaurants 'responsible for just 3.2% of Covid-19 outbreaks' in week 10pm curfew was announced
Pubs, bars and restaurants were responsible for just 3.2 per cent of confirmed coronavirus outbreaks in the week the Prime Minister introduced a 10pm curfew, new data suggests. Public Health England publishes a weekly update of data on how coronavirus and respiratory infections are spreading around the country. According to the latest figures that were published on Friday, a total of 772 respiratory infections were reported in the week leading up to September 20, and 69 per cent of these were linked to Covid-19 infections.
Madrid widens restrictions, 1mn people now under partial lockdown
A million Madrid residents were under partial lockdown Monday as the region moved to slow the spread of new infections, drawing fire from the Spanish government for not going far enough. The city and the surrounding region is at the epicentre of a second wave of coronavirus that is sweeping Spain, which has claimed more than 31,000 lives and infected over 700,000 in the highest infection rate in the European Union.
Discontent simmers as Spanish authorities spar over Madrid lockdown
A clash between Madrid’s regional authorities and the Spanish government over how to contain the city’s surging coronavirus caseload is provoking growing discontent among residents in poorer areas who say they have been unfairly targeted. The region extended a partial lockdown on Friday to 45 districts with high infection rates, the majority of which are in low-income neighbourhoods, prompting accusations of class discrimination from residents and concern from the national government, which wants even wider restrictions. “The politicians can’t agree among themselves and the poor are always the worst affected,” said Daisy Mencia, a resident of the working-class Vallecas neighbourhood, which is entering its second week of confinement measures.
Manchester students warned to remove 'let us out' signs from windows
University bosses have reportedly warned students to remove protest signs from their accommodation windows. Some 1,700 students at Manchester Metropolitan were put into a lockdown on Friday without any warning, after 127 students tested positive for Covid-19. Even if they showed no symptoms, students at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls were told to self-isolate for 14 days, leaving many left wondering how they would get food and essential supplies. The handling of the situation has been heavily criticised by the students, who claim they received no warning of the stringent measures and hit back by sticking posters to their windows.
Madrid in standoff with government over Covid-19 lockdown
The Spanish government and authorities in Madrid are locked in a standoff over how to tackle the second wave of Covid-19 in and around the capital, where more than a third of the country’s 716,481 cases have been diagnosed. As the number of infections continues to surge in Spain – by far the worst hit western European country – Madrid is at the centre of a medical, political and economic row. The conservative regional government has placed 45 areas into a partial lockdown that affects just over a million people in Madrid, but it has rejected calls from Spain’s socialist-led coalition government for the whole of the capital to be placed in limited confinement. On Saturday, the national health minister, Salvador Illa, issued another call for a city-wide lockdown and urged the Madrid authorities to “listen to the science” and put aside politics.
Covid: Cardiff and Swansea go into local lockdown
Wales' two biggest cities have gone into lockdown, which started at 18:00. The changed status of Swansea and Cardiff took the number of Welsh local authority areas under heightened Covid restrictions to eight. It follows the first localised lockdown in Wales, in the town of Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, which came into force on Saturday evening. It means 1.5 million people - about half of Wales' population -are now under lockdown. Earlier on Sunday, it was confirmed that three other council areas - Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan - will face the same measures from 18:00 BST on Monday. The restrictions are the same as those affecting people living in Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Caerphilly, which were already in lockdown.
British ministers prepare for social lockdown in northern Britain, London: The Times
The British government is planning to enforce a total social lockdown across a majority of northern Britain and potentially London, to combat a second wave of COVID-19, The Times reported late on Sunday. Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially, the report said. Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said any new national lockdown would threaten jobs, livelihoods and human contact. The report added that households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order.