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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 30th Sep 2020

News Highlights

Germany to limit size of crowds to control surge in cases

As coronavirus cases rise in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to ask her regional premiers to restrict private meetings to 25 people and public gatherings to 50 people in areas with more than 35 infections per 100,000 people. Since July, vacationers returning to Germany are thought to have spiked the infection rate and now with winter and the flu season around the corner, individuals disregarding distancing rules are a primary concern.

Covid-19 reproduction rate falls in Denmark despite rise in cases

In Denmark, new daily cases rose more than nine-fold over the last month to reach a record of 652 infections on September 23, even as the country's Covid-19 reproduction rate fell to its lowest level in weeks. The reproduction rate, which indicates how many people one infected person transmits the virus to, fell to 1.1 on Tuesday, down from 1.3 a week ago and 1.5 a fortnight ago.

Spain extends Covid-19 furlough scheme to January after weeks of uncertainty

Hours before the furlough scheme in Spain was scheduled to expire, the government sealed a last-minute deal to extend the scheme until January 31, providing much needed relief to businesses and workers who have faced hardships with the economic devastation caused by the pandemic and resultant lockdowns. Spain has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe and its economy is in its deepest recession on record.

Common cold may provide protection against Covid-19, study says

A new study has indicated that previous exposure to the common cold may provide some protection against the coronavirus and that Covid-19 immunity may last for quite a long time. The study, authored by infectious disease experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is the first to report that antibodies that once attacked cold-causing viruses may also recognise and attack SARS-Cov-2, or Covid-19, which means almost everyone that has ever had a cold may have some form of immunity against Covid-19.

Lockdown Exit
In Wuhan, once Covid-19 ‘Ground Zero’, a new battle has began
Since Covid-19 first emerged at a Wuhan wet market nearly ten months ago, more than 1 million people have died and life has been irrevocably changed the world over. Healthcare services have been pushed to the brink, global unemployment has soared, and families torn apart. But back in Wuhan, once the “ground zero” of the pandemic, a new fight has emerged. A group of citizens are now suing the government for what they say was the fatal decision to hide the true danger of the virus in its earliest days.
Millions in Chile capital emerge from lockdown
Chile on Monday lifted strict coronavirus lockdown measures for millions of people in the capital Santiago, a month ahead of a key referendum to amend the dictatorship-era constitution. Most of the capital's seven million population moved to phase three of a five-step deconfinement plan, allowing the reopening of bars and restaurants as well as regional transport links. However, fears are widespread that a new outbreak in infections could drive parts of the capital back into confinement.
First cruise ship to sail to Greek islands since coronavirus lockdown is forced to dock after 12 crew members test positive for Covid-19
The German-operated Mein Schiff 6 has docked with 1,588 passengers and crew Nobody can leave the ship in Piraeus as testers board the ship for screening 12 crew members tested positive although follow-up tests have been negative
New York City to impose mask fines as COVID-19 cases climb
New York City will impose fines on people who refuse to wear a face-covering as the rate of positive tests for the novel coronavirus climbed above 3 percent for the first time in months, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said. Officials will first offer free masks to those caught not wearing one. If the person refuses, they will face an unspecified fine, de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday.
With no end in sight to the crisis – where do we go from here?
After coronavirus emerged in a market in Wuhan, China, it has affected every single part of the planet. In efforts to stem the spread, economies have been crippled. This is a global crisis – but it is deeply personal for those affected. With the World Health Organisation warning it could be the middle of next year before a vaccine is ready, how many more lives will be lost?
Scientist behind Sputnik V vaccine defends Russian strategy
Russia plans to share preliminary results of its COVID-19 vaccine trial based on the first six weeks of monitoring participants, raising the tempo in an already frenzied global race to end the pandemic. Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya Institute that produced the Sputnik V vaccine, told Reuters that the pace of its development was necessary under the “wartime” conditions of a pandemic but no corners were being cut. Russia has pushed ahead with its potential COVID-19 vaccine at top speed, with mass public vaccinations alongside the main human trial, raising concerns among some observers that it was prioritising national prestige over solid science and safety. “People are dying just like during a war,” said Gintsburg, holding a crystal model of a coronavirus in his hand. “But this fast-tracked pace is not synonymous, as some media have suggested, with corners being cut. No way.” Sitting in his wood-panelled office at the institute in Moscow, Gintsburg said his team had been set a tight deadline to produce a vaccine but that all guidelines for testing Sputnik V’s safety and efficacy had been followed. The plan to publish interim results based on the first 42 days of monitoring volunteers means Russia has a high chance of becoming the first worldwide to announce any data from a final-stage, or phase-three, trial.
Stretched to the limit, Spanish medics demand better conditions
Dressed in white lab coats, medical scrubs and face masks, hundreds of junior Spanish doctors took to the streets of Barcelona on Tuesday to demand better working conditions as they struggle against a second wave of coronavirus infections. “We’re working up to 80 hours a week and clocking shifts of 24 hours,” protester Clara Boter, a 28-year-old medical resident intern, told Reuters. “Our contract is for 40 hours a week and we’re on a basic salary.” Doctors in her position earn around 960 euros a month, she said. Between chants, the young doctors put down blankets around Barcelona’s busy Plaza de Espana roundabout to stage a sleep-in, highlighting the long hours they have to work. One protester lay next to a sign that read: “I haven’t slept in 24 hours. Can I take care of you?”
Denmark's COVID-19 reproduction rate falls despite spike in new infections
Denmark said on Tuesday that coronavirus is still on the rise in Denmark albeit at a slower pace after the country imposed new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. The reproduction rate, which indicates how many people one infected person on average transmits the virus to, fell to 1.1 on Tuesday, down from 1.3 a week ago and 1.5 two weeks ago, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday. The lower infection rate came despite the number of new daily infections rising more nine-fold in the past month to a reach a daily record of 652 on Sept. 23.
Exit Strategies
Covid-19: End of term isolation will ensure students can go home for Christmas, Williamson announces
Two weeks of self-isolation at the end of term will allow university students to go home at Christmas, the education secretary has announced. Gavin Williamson told MPs that in-person classes could be cancelled at the end of term and replaced with online learning, so that students can carry out a two week quarantine before heading home. With thousands currently in self-isolation at education centres around the country, there have been huge concerns that the coronavirus pandemic could force some students to spend the festive period alone at their university residence. Mr Williamson, acknowledging "anxiety" about the impact of coronavirus restrictions on the Christmas holidays, said the government will work with universities to make sure all students are supported to return home if they choose to do so.
COVID-19: The Most Complicated Vaccine Campaign Ever
On the day that a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, a vast logistics operation will need to awaken. Millions of doses must travel hundreds of miles from manufacturers to hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies, which in turn must store, track, and eventually get the vaccines to people all across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local health departments, coordinates this process. These agencies distributed flu vaccines during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic this way, and they manage childhood vaccines every day. But the COVID-19 vaccine will be a whole new challenge.
Children 'must be the priority' in Covid-19 planning
Children must be the priority at this stage of the Covid-19 crisis, says England's Children Commissioner. Anne Longfield calls for a recovery package to tackle a "rising tide of childhood vulnerability". She warns of an "inter-generational crisis", with the impact of the economic fall-out of the pandemic on parents determining the future prospects of their children. The government said the wellbeing of children was central to its response. Ms Longfield says the nation's efforts to "build back better" must begin with a focus on children, "sometimes sadly lacking during the pandemic".
French ministers in spotlight over poor take-up of 'centralised' Covid app
France is looking across the Channel with rare admiration after the NHS Covid-19 test-and-trace app was downloaded 12.4m times in four days – a much greater take-up than its French equivalent. An estimated 3 million people have downloaded the French app, called StopCovid, since its launch in June. In August it was revealed that the app had sent only 72 alerts. France’s minister for digital transition, Cédric O, admitted on Tuesday that more work was needed to convince the French population to download the app, which he said could help avert a new nationwide lockdown. O said he was surprised to learn that the prime minister, Jean Castex, had not downloaded StopCovid, and nor had the justice minister, Éric Dupond-Moretti, the foreign affairs minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, or the junior interior minister, Marlène Schiappa.
Unlock 5.0 guidelines: More relaxations expected in October
Unlock 5.0 Guidelines & Rules: It remains to be seen if cinema halls are given the nod to reopen from October. Only open-air theatres were allowed to kickstart operations from September 21.
Philippines placing southern city in lockdown
One southern Philippine province and its war-battered capital will be placed under a mild lockdown starting Thursday and the rest of the country will be under more relaxed restrictions to boost the battered economy of the country counting the most coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia.
Melbourne lifts curfew after nearly two months of lockdown as coronavirus cases fall
Five million residents in Melbourne, Australia, emerged from a long lockdown on Monday, with stringent restrictions loosening after nearly two months as the state continues to see a drop in coronavirus cases. Victoria state's Premier Daniel Andrews announced late Sunday night that the city would enter "the second step toward reopening," which included lifting a nightly curfew that had mandated residents stay home from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. "Seven weeks ago, our average case numbers were peaking at more than 400 every single day," Andrews said in a statement on Sunday. "Today, Melbourne's rolling case average is 22.1. It's a remarkable thing -- and an achievement that belongs to every single Victorian."
Latino artists pay tribute to the theater amid coronavirus' impact through 'Viva Broadway'
Acclaimed Broadway Latino star Caesar Samayoa remembers the theater before coronavirus. Like many Americans, Samayoa noticed small changes occurring at his job beginning last March. Performing in the Broadway musical, “Come From Away,” Samayoa recalled that, one day, hand sanitizers appeared backstage, “Then we were told that we couldn’t have any backstage visitors,” he said. “Then it was announced that we couldn’t greet people at the stage door.” One Wednesday matinee, Samayoa was shocked to see a half-empty theater, since “Come From Away” usually played to full houses. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City hard and his show—along with all of Broadway—was shut down. It's remained dark ever since. “New York is Broadway, and it feels like a part of our heart is gone," said Samayoa.
Partisan Exits
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.
WTO should play role in COVID-19 medicine access: candidate
A key contender to head the World Trade Organization told Reuters on Tuesday she thinks the body should play a role in helping poorer countries access COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, and this topic should be part of negotiations if she wins. Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, seen by delegates as a top candidate to lead the WTO, currently chairs the GAVI vaccine alliance board and stressed her credentials among five remaining candidates “at the intersection between public health and trade”. “Trade can contribute to public health - seeing that connection, invoking those (WTO) rules, actively discussing COVID-19 issues and how WTO can help,” the former finance minister and World Bank managing-director said. “For me, that would be a priority.”
Continued Lockdown
Spain Ends Furlough Uncertainty With Last-Minute Extension
The Spanish government reached a last-minute deal to extend its furlough program after weeks of negotiations that left businesses and workers on edge in a country suffering one of Europe’s deepest economic shocks this year. The Spanish government reached a last-minute deal to extend its furlough program after weeks of negotiations that left businesses and workers on edge in a country suffering one of Europe’s deepest economic shocks this year. The program is extended until Jan. 31, Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz said on Tuesday.
Spain extends COVID furlough scheme to January
Spain on Tuesday agreed a last-minute extension of a scheme supporting hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed due to COVID-19, as part of a broader social protection package. Spain is the European country with the highest number of coronavirus cases and its economy, the euro zone’s fourth-largest, is in its deepest recession on record. In a deal reached hours before the ERTE furlough scheme was due to expire, the government agreed with unions and businesses to extend it until Jan. 31. “It’s a day of hope for our country’s businesses and workers,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz told a news conference after a weekly cabinet meeting. “If we can make it through the autumn and the winter, then we will definitively be entering a recovery.”
Israel minister says ‘no way’ virus lockdown will end soon
Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Tuesday that there was “no way” the country’s second nationwide coronavirus lockdown would be lifted after three weeks as originally planned. “There’s no way that in 10 days we’ll be lifting all the restrictions and saying it’s all over, everything is fine,” he told public broadcaster Kan. Israel imposed its second lockdown on September 18 after the coronavirus infection rate soared. It was originally scheduled to end on October 10.
Scientific Viewpoint
China's Kangtai gets approval for clinical trial of coronavirus vaccine candidate
China’s Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products said on Tuesday it planned to launch a clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate as soon as possible after it had obtained regulatory approval from the Chinese medical products regulator. Kangtai’s candidate triggered antibodies when tested in mice and monkeys, and vaccinated monkeys tolerated high levels of the coronavirus, the company said in a filing. The firm also said the manufacturing facility to produce its vaccine candidate was complete, pending tests and regulatory certification.
Can the common cold help protect you from COVID-19?
Seasonal colds are by all accounts no fun, but new research suggests the colds you've had in the past may provide some protection from COVID-19. The study, authored by infectious disease experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also suggests that immunity to COVID-19 is likely to last a long time - maybe even a lifetime. The study, published in mBio, is the first to show that the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2, induces memory B cells, long-lived immune cells that detect pathogens, create antibodies to destroy them and remember them for the future. The next time that pathogen tries to enter the body, those memory B cells can hop into action even faster to clear the infection before it starts. Because memory B cells can survive for decades, they could protect COVID-19 survivors from subsequent infections for a long time, but further research will have to bear that out. The study is also the first to report cross-reactivity of memory B cells - meaning B cells that once attacked cold-causing coronaviruses appeared to also recognize SARS-CoV-2. Study authors believe this could mean that anyone who has been infected by a common coronavirus - which is nearly everyone - may have some degree of pre-existing immunity to COVID-19.
Coronavirus tracked: As we reach 1m Covid-19 deaths – how does that compare to other diseases?
When the World Health Organisation officially declared the Covid-19 coronavirus a pandemic on 11 March, it became only the second disease of the 21st century to earn this ignominious status. At the time, there were just over 100,000 cases and less than 5,000 deaths worldwide, but outside of China its spread remained largely unchecked. Within three months, Covid-19 deaths had overtaken the roughly 360,000 lives claimed by the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu – the only other disease of the last 20 years to be labelled a pandemic by WHO. Just over eight months after the first death was recorded, the coronavirus death toll has now passed 1 million.
One million dead: How Covid-19 tore us apart
A Chinese doctor who tried to sound the alarm. A father of six who emigrated from Pakistan to the United States to give his family a better life. A 15-year-old boy who left his remote home in the Amazon to study. They all died from Covid-19. In eight months, more than 33 million people have been diagnosed with coronavirus, across nearly every country. The disease has taken lives on every continent except Antarctica -- and more than one million people have died. That’s four times as many people who died in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, 16 times as many people killed by the common flu in the US last winter, and more than 335 times the number of people who perished in the 9/11 attacks. But the tragedy of coronavirus isn’t just in the death toll. It’s also in the grim truths it has revealed about who we are and how we treat our most vulnerable. The pandemic has exposed shocking failures of governance, worsened deep-rooted inequalities in access to healthcare, and inflamed a long-waged war on facts preventing scientists from conveying information that could save lives. Almost every person in the world has been affected by the pandemic. But it hasn’t drawn us closer -- in many ways, it’s tearing us further apart.
Ireland should prepare itself for subsequent waves of Covid-19, HSE chief warns
Ireland will be dealing with Covid-19 for a long time even if a vaccine is developed, the country’s health chief has said. Paul Reid warned that the country should plan for subsequent waves of the pandemic. “Even with a vaccine, the reality is that we will be dealing with Covid-19 for a long time yet,” he said. “We must all adapt our way of life through a combination of behavioural, societal, and healthcare delivery changes.” The chief executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE) made the comments as he appeared before the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response on Tuesday.
Covid-19 deaths hit one million worldwide, with USA, Brazil and India now the worst affected countries
It took just three months for Covid-19 deaths to double from half a million – an accelerating rate of fatalities since the first death was recorded in China in early January
US teens are twice as likely to catch coronavirus as younger kids, CDC finds
More than 277,000 children have caught coronavirus since May, new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows - Older children - between 12 and 17 - are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 as younger kids, ages five to 11 - Rates of coronavirus are also about twice as high among Hispanic children compared to white kids - Children with one or more underlying health conditions are at greater risk of being hospitalized, admitted to ICUs or dying of coronavirus - Cases among children climbed between late May and mid-July, fell and plateaued through August and early September, but may now be rising -
Talk of a scientific rift is a dangerous distraction in the fight against Covid-19
The cardinal rule of coronavirus policy is that you must follow “the science”. Or, at the very least, you must say that you are. After the US’s disastrous response to the pandemic, Donald Trump still insists he is “guided by science”. In the UK, Boris Johnson and his ministers always claimed that our own bumbling response was either “led by the science” or “following the science”, even as Britain’s infection rate soared above other countries that were also, in their own words, following the science. Sometimes it is easy for us to separate out false claims about science from real ones. Early in the crisis, the majority of mainstream scientists, and institutions such as the World Health Organization, supported swift lockdown measures. Trump resisted this approach, instead putting his faith in quack cures that his closest scientific advisers clearly opposed. Johnson has tended to drag his heels, taking the right scientific advice too late, as with lockdown, or making a mess of the execution, as with testing and tracing. Their departures from the sanctified path of science are obvious.
Merkel seeks tougher virus rules to see Germany through winter
Chancellor Angela Merkel will push Tuesday for Germany's 16 states to agree to tougher measures including alcohol bans or stricter mask requirements should coronavirus cases soar beyond a threshold as winter approaches. With infection rates rising again since the summer, Merkel will stress at a meeting with state premiers later Tuesday the importance of not risking another full-fledged lockdown across Germany like in mid-March.
One million lives lost: How have key nations fared during the coronavirus pandemic?
The coronavirus has now claimed one million lives, but as the crisis developed, countries’ paths have greatly diverged. Many countries worldwide imposed lockdowns, curfews and other previously unthinkable curbs on personal freedoms. Although on the surface the measures taken may have appeared broadly similar, minor tweaks and delays have proven to be the potential difference between tens of thousands of infections. Here we take a snapshot look at how key nations across the world have dealt with the pandemic so far, and the impact this has had upon the lives and health of their populaces.
Why the true coronavirus death toll may be way over 1 million
The world has officially recorded 1 million deaths from COVID-19 in one of the most sobering milestones of the pandemic, but the real tally might be almost double that. Actual fatalities from the worst outbreak in a century may be closer to 1.8 million — a toll that could grow to as high as 3 million by the end of the year, according to Alan Lopez, a laureate professor and director of the University of Melbourne’s global burden of disease group. The coronavirus’s rapid spread and ability to transmit in people who show no signs of the disease have enabled it to outrun measures to accurately quantify cases through widespread diagnostic testing. “One million deaths has meaning by itself, but the question is whether it’s true,” Lopez said in an interview before the tally was reached. “It’s fair to say that the 1 million deaths, as shocking as it sounds, is probably an underestimate — a significant underestimate.”
Coronavirus has now killed more than 1,000,000 people worldwide
More than 1,000,000 people have now died after catching coronavirus, less than a year after the disease began to spread across the globe. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been a total of 33,353,615 cases, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Last week the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that it is ‘certainly unimaginable’ but ‘not impossible’ that the global death toll could hit 2 million, even with a vaccine, unless countries work together to stop the spread of the disease.
Covid-19: Princeton University study dissects New Zealand's pandemic response
Social capital has been hailed as one of the reasons behind New Zealand's successful response to the Covid-19 pandemic, new Princeton University research suggests. Stuff reports were among the bodies of work drawn upon in the Innovations for Successful Societies research centre analysis which examined the response from March to June by Princeton researchers including New Zealand-born Blair Cameron. The research said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her response team “always acted quickly” throughout the pandemic, opting to make “pivotal decisions that sometimes were based on limited information”.
China firm claims faster COVID-19 tests, targets global sales
A Chinese company claims its coronavirus testing machine will return results faster than a lab and more reliably than at-home screening kits. The Flash 20 “is currently the fastest machine in the world for PCR tests for the new coronavirus,” Sabrina Li, founder of the company Coyote, said on Tuesday. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are the industry standard and a major weapon against a pandemic that has now killed more than a million people and eviscerated the global economy. As governments scramble to develop adequate response systems, Li is targeting global sales. Already used at hospitals and airports in China, the device can process four samples at a time and deliver results in half an hour, the company says. Coyote said its testing machine has been certified by the European Union and Australia, and it is seeking similar status from the United States and the World Health Organization.
Florida Getting 6.4 Million Rapid COVID Tests From Feds: Gov. DeSantis
Florida is receiving 6.4 million rapid coronavirus tests from the federal government, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday. DeSantis said the tests will come from the approximately 150 million that were acquired by the federal government and in addition to the tests that were already being sent to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears safe, shows signs of working in older adults - study
Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc's coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of the vaccine's safety in older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19. The findings are reassuring because immunity tends to weaken with age, Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the study's lead researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, said in a phone interview. The study was an extension of Moderna's Phase I safety trial, first conducted in individuals aged 18-55. It tested two doses of Moderna's vaccine - 25 micrograms and 100 micrograms - in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older.
CureVac to start global late-stage trial for COVID-19 vaccine in fourth quarter
Germany’s CureVac NV said on Tuesday it has started a mid-stage study testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine and plans to begin a much larger trial in the fourth quarter.
Regeneron says its COVID-19 treatment reduces viral levels, improves symptoms
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday said its experimental two-antibody cocktail reduced viral levels and improved symptoms in non-hospitalized patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. When asked whether the company would apply for emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company said it plans to “rapidly” discuss the early trial results with regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Lonza confident of 2020 target for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine supply
Lonza is confident that U.S. and Swiss plants it is building to help make Moderna's MRNA.O COVID-19 vaccine candidate will be ready for commercial production this year, executives at the Swiss company said on Tuesday. New production lines at Lonza’s site in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, aim to start making vaccine ingredients in November, while three lines in Visp, deep in a valley in the Swiss Alps - to supply 300 million vaccine doses annually - should begin delivering by December. There is no approved COVID-19 vaccine yet, but several are in advanced trials, including from Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, whose candidate relies on technology never previously approved that enlists human cells to help trigger an immune response.
Canada expects to approve new COVID-19 tests soon, government official says
Canada’s federal authorities and its two biggest provinces on Tuesday promised new measures to combat a second COVID-19 wave that is notching up as many cases as during the pandemic’s peak in April. Canada reported new 2,176 infections on Monday, taking the total to 155,301. The death toll rose by 10 to 9,278. Government minister Dominic LeBlanc, who chairs the cabinet’s coronavirus committee, called the surge “very worrying”. Ontario, the most populous of the 10 provinces, said it would limit visitors to long-term care homes for the elderly in areas with high community spread. Most deaths in Canada have taken place in homes for seniors.
Coronavirus Resurgence
320 more Covid-19 cases in NI in the last 24 hours
There have been 320 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Northern Ireland in the last 24-hour reporting period, the Department of Health has said. It brings the total number of infections to 11,269, including 1,702 notified within the last seven days. There were no further deaths recorded by the department, leaving the toll at 578.
Major spike in new Covid-19 cases continues in Manchester
The number of new Covid-19 cases in Manchester is continuing to spiral in known hotspots while more cases are being reported in student areas. Hundreds of Covid-positive tests were recorded across the city in the week to September 24, with five areas reporting 50 or more. There were more than 100 cases every day between September 15 and September 25, reaching a single-day high of 205. The middle super output area (MSOA) of University North & Whitworth Street recorded 59 cases over the week - the highest across all of Manchester and second highest in all of Greater Manchester. Another 56 cases were reported in Hulme & University and another 52 in Fallowfield Central. The figures coincide with an outbreak at Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) Birley campus and Cambridge halls of residence.
Should We Have Corona Lockdowns Just for the Old?
The mayor of Moscow just ordered all Muscovites older than 65 to stay at home. This idea of restrictions imposed on just one category of citizens — those most at risk of dying from Covid-19, which mainly means the elderly — will come up a lot more now that the second wave is here. To put it bluntly: Should we lock down the old, or is that like locking them up, and thus unethical? This isn’t meant to be a “modest proposal” in the tradition of Swiftian satire. We need to discuss our options, because going back into general lockdowns isn’t one. Renewed shutdowns wouldn’t be accepted by the population. They’d crush our traumatized economies and cause so much second-order suffering that an honest accounting against the relative harm from Covid-19 would become elusive.
NYC warns several neighborhoods could be put on strict lockdown TODAY amid 'troubling' COVID surge
Eight neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens have been identified as potential targets for new lockdowns - The average positivity rate across all eight neighborhoods - which have large Orthodox Jewish communities - is 3.3 percent higher than the city's overall rate - Officials said they could announce new restrictions for specific zip codes as of early Tuesday morning - It comes as New York state recorded a positivity rate of 1.5 percent on Sunday - the highest since mid-July - Gov Andrew Cuomo on Monday said spikes in the Big Apple are a 'big contributor' in the state's climbing rate
Covid: Tackling coronavirus 'down to every one of us'
One of Wales's most eminent doctors has said we are in "a precarious position" with almost two million people subject to new Covid restrictions. Baroness Ilora Finlay said people needed to take personal responsibility to stop the spread of the virus. She told BBC Wales that without quick action the NHS would become "completely overwhelmed". Eleven of Wales' 22 council areas, including Cardiff and Swansea, are in local lockdown with tighter rules. "I think that the Welsh Government have got a very difficult job," said Baroness Finlay, who is a Bevan Commissioner, a member of a group of independent experts that provides advice on health and care in Wales.
Germany May Limit Gatherings to Fight Coronavirus Spread
Germany may join other European nations in limiting the number of people at private and public gatherings in areas with high coronavirus infection rates, as officials across the continent labor to reverse a recent uptick in cases. Chancellor Angela Merkel will recommend restricting private meetings to 25 people and public gatherings to 50 people when she holds talks with regional premiers via video conference on Tuesday, according to a draft proposal obtained by Bloomberg News. The rules would apply to areas with more than 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, according to the paper. While the infection rate since late July was initially fueled by returning vacationers, individuals disregarding distancing rules are now the main concern. “Given the dropping temperatures, the increased time spent indoors during the fall and winter, and the pending flu season, we must now be particularly careful,” the paper says.
Cases are rising in Ontario. Will another lockdown follow? Stay tuned to the Doug Ford plan
Ford acknowledged on Monday that the second wave of COVID-19 is here. But he said he isn’t ready to shut anything down. Not yet, anyway
Rule of six and other COVID-19 measures announced for Spain’s Andalucia
Andalucia has revealed a series of measures for the towns most affected by COVID-19. Only one town, Casariche, in Sevilla, will be closed down after registering a coronavirus incidence rate of 4,582.1 over the past two weeks.
EU tries to avoid lockdowns as global death toll reaches 1m
The global death toll from the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China late last year and has swept across the world, reached the one million mark on Monday (28 September) . The United States has the highest death toll with over 200,000 fatalities, followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK - while Spain, France and Italy are also among the deadliest countries for Covid-19. However, the chief of emergencies at the World Health Organization, Michael Ryan, said last Friday that the global coronavirus death toll could hit two million - even with an effective vaccine in place. "Are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number?" he said, calling on governments to do everything to halt the surge of Covid-19 infections worldwide. "Unless we do it all, the number [two million deaths] is not only imaginable but unfortunately and sadly, very likely," he added.
Coronavirus: New rules in Netherlands to cope with virus surge
Many residents in the Netherlands will, for the first time, be advised to wear a face mask in shops as the country introduces a range of measures to control a second coronavirus wave. Compared to its neighbours, the Netherlands had largely avoided strict restrictions until now. This week nearly 3,000 infections daily are being recorded in the nation of 17 million people. The new measures will start on Tuesday and last for at least three weeks. "We are doing our best, but the virus is doing better," Health Minister Hugo de Jong admitted on Monday.
Pre-Christmas lockdown not right for France
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.
Coronavirus second wave: Will there be another lockdown in India
Several countries have allayed fears of a second wave of coronavirus. On Saturday, Maharashtra Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray expressed apprehensions of a "second wave" of coronavirus transmission as more people are moving out for work, and called for stricter compliance with norms. Speaking at a virtual meeting with ministers and officials of Marathwada and Nashik divisions on the COVID-19 situation, the CM expressed concerns over asymptomatic patients, allowed to remain at home, stepping out without proper precautions and infecting others.
Australia sends troops to help contain coronavirus on cargo ship
Australian soldiers are being deployed to Port Hedland, one of the world’s largest iron ore loading ports, to help contain a coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier that last changed crews in the seafaring city of Manila. Seventeen of the 21-crew members on the ship have tested positive for the virus, ship owner Oldendorff Carriers said in a statement.
Moscow extends school holiday over coronavirus
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Tuesday extended an upcoming school holiday by a week to limit the spread of the coronavirus, days after sources told Reuters that the capital’s hospitals had been told to free up hundreds of beds. COVID-19 infections have been rising across Europe in the weeks since the start of the new academic year and some other countries have also considered extending October school holidays to try to slow the spread. The Kremlin said last week it did not plan to impose severe lockdown restrictions despite a growing number of new cases of COVID-19, but Sobyanin advised anyone with chronic health problems or those older than 65 to stay home. On Tuesday, Sobyanin said students would be off school from Oct. 5-18, and urged parents to keep their children at home.
France's new COVID-19 cases slow down, but hospitalisations up
France’s increase of new COVID-19 cases sharply decelerated on Monday, as is always the case on that day given there are fewer tests conducted on Sundays, but hospitalisations and deaths linked to the disease shot up again. The government has recently ramped up measures aimed at containing the resurgence of the virus and avoiding a second national lockdown, with bars ordered to close at 2000 GMT (10 p.m. local time) in Paris and several other big cities starting from this Monday. French health authorities reported 4,070 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from Saturday's third-highest ever tally of 14,412 and Sunday's 11,123.
Dutch may restrict travel to Amsterdam, close bars early: NOS
The Dutch government on Monday announced a raft of new restrictions to slow a second wave of coronavirus infections, including earlier closing times for bars and restaurants and limited travel between major cities. The measures, which also include wider use of cloth masks for the public in Amsterdam and other big cities, came as daily new infection rates have passed their earlier peak in April. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the steps were unavoidable due to the speed of the virus’s spread.
UK eyes tougher COVID-19 restrictions for England as outbreak spreads
The British government is mulling tougher restrictions in England to tackle a swiftly accelerating second wave of the novel coronavirus outbreak, possibly outlawing more inter-household socialising, a junior health minister said on Monday. “We don’t want to bring on new restrictions but of course we keep a constant eye on what is going on with the COVID rate,” Junior Health Minister Helen Whately told Sky News. “We were looking at what we might be able to do.”
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.
France says number of confirmed coronavirus cases up by 8051 over 24 hours
French health authorities on Tuesday reported 8,051 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, up sharply from Monday’s 4,070, while intensive care admissions were also on the rise. The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 85 to 31,893, versus 81 on Monday. The cumulative number of cases now totals 550,690. As of Tuesday a total of 6,500 people were hospitalised for a COVID-19 infection in France, 85 more over 24 hours. This included 1,204 patients in intensive care units, a rise of 40 since Monday.
Coronavirus infection rate rising in India but scope for more, survey shows
Coronavirus infection rates among adults in India have risen sharply, a survey showed on Tuesday, although a large percentage of the population has not yet been exposed, suggesting there is scope for cases to rise much further. In the serological survey conducted in August and September, blood samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. If a person tests positive for the antibodies, it means they were infected with the virus at some point. Blood samples collected from more than 29,000 adults between Aug. 17 and Sept. 22 showed that the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies increased to 7.1% compared to 0.73% in a previous survey between May 11 and June 4, the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Balram Bhargava, told a press briefing. “However, a large percentage of the population is still unexposed and the susceptibility of a considerable section of people getting infected exists,” he added.
New Lockdown
Coronavirus: 'Unenforceable' rules to trigger hospitality sector collapse, lockdown city leaders warn
Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester face mass redundancies and "boarded-up high streets" amid a collapse of the hospitality sector unless coronavirus restrictions are reviewed, the cities' leaders have warned the government. A letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Business Secretary Alok Sharma from the leaders and chief executives of the three city councils said restrictions in place in the regions were threatening a "huge, disproportionate" economic impact. They said hotel occupancy was down to 30% and footfall had dropped by up to 70%.
Covid lockdowns in north-east England: new rules explained
What are the rules? - Residents are not allowed to socialise with people outside their household or support bubbles in private homes or gardens. - Leisure and entertainment venues – including restaurants, pubs and cinemas – must close between 10pm and 5am. Restaurants, pubs and bars will be restricted to table service only. - Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential trips, such as travelling to work or school. - They are also advised to avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
UK coronavirus news: Boris Johnson apologises for 'misspeaking' on lockdown rules in north-east England
Boris Johnson has apologised for muddling up his own coronavirus rules on social gatherings. The prime minister was questioned about the latest COVID-19 restrictions coming into force for northeast England from midnight on Wednesday. At first, he said people could meet indoors and outdoors in groups of six in areas where no additional coronavirus restrictions are in place. But speaking during a news conference in Exeter, he claimed: "In the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities. "It's six in a home or six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside."
Lockdown tightened in north-east England as Covid-19 infections rise
Nearly 2 million people in north-east England face being fined up to £6,400 if they mix with other households indoors in a significant extension of the government’s lockdown powers. For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, it will be illegal for people in parts of the UK to meet people they do not live with in pubs, bars or restaurants. The measure comes into force on Wednesday in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland. Previously, people in these areas were only advised not to meet others indoors. Breaches of the new regulation, which is yet to be laid down in law, will result in a £200 fine for a first offence, doubling each time up to a maximum of £6,400.
Coronavirus lockdown in Spain's capital affects about a million people
About a million people in the Spanish capital of Madrid are under a coronavirus lockdown enforced by police checkpoints. The country's health minster said even stricter measures might be needed.
Is Paris heading towards new lockdown? The figures say that it is
Surging coronavirus numbers in Paris are fuelling speculation the French capital may headed for “maximum alert” – following in the footsteps of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence with total bar and restaurant closures. Covid-19 infections in Paris are already two and a half times the national average and exceed the government’s own maximum alert threshold of more than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. While the incidence rate in the Île-de-France suburban region surrounding Paris as now 156.8 cases per 100,000, that number skyrockets to 254 cases once inside the Paris postcode. Covid-19 patients in Paris hospitals now account for more than 30 percent of intensive care beds – another threshold the government says qualifies an area for maximum alert.
Coronavirus: Northern Ireland students in lockdown at Great Britain universities left angry and confused
Students from Northern Ireland who travelled to universities in Great Britain over the last week have expressed anger at the chaos and confusion caused by last minute lockdowns and 11th hour decisions to switch to online learning. Mass lockdowns are in place at Glasgow and Manchester Metropolitan Universities, while outbreaks were reported elsewhere as tens of thousands of students from across the UK and beyond were encouraged to return to campus. One student from Northern Ireland, who waited until as late as possible before deciding to return to a university in Wales, was stunned to be told at 11.30pm on Sunday that classes would be conducted entirely online from Tuesday.
Philippines placing southern city in lockdown
One southern Philippine province and its war-battered capital will be placed under a mild lockdown next month and the rest of the country will be under more relaxed restrictions to boost the battered economy of the country counting the most coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia. President Rodrigo Duterte announced the quarantine restrictions for October in televised remarks Monday night. Lanao del Sur province and its capital, Marawi city, will fall under a lockdown starting Thursday due to infection spikes in recent weeks.