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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 27th Oct 2020

News Highlights

China tests entire city as Covid-19 cases resurface

An outbreak of 138 asymptomatic cases in Xinjiang province has prompted Chinese authorities to test the 4.7 million people in the city of Kashgar for the coronavirus. The new cases, linked to workers in a garment factory , marked China's first local infections since the discovery of a cluster of cases in Urumqi in August, which had led to a 'wartime state' of lockdown in the region.

Melbourne finally exits from 112-day coronavirus lockdown

With no new daily Covid-19 cases reported for the first time since June, Melbourne will finally end lockdown restrictions imposed 112 days ago amd the city's five million residents will be allowed to visit restaurants, beauty salons and retail stories once again. Cases had surged to 700 per day at the peak of the second wave beginning in July, but stringent stay-at-home rules and a curfew helped bring the numbers down steadily.

U.S. cancels plans to offer early coronavirus vaccine to Santa Claus performers

U.S. health authorities have cancelled plans to offer early access to a coronavirus vaccine to Santa Claus performers in advance of the festive season. The $250 million government advertising campaign was designed to gather celebrity endorsements of vaccinations once approved and the vaccine was to be offered to performers playing Santa Claus, Mrs Claus and elves.

Covid-19 vaccine human trials to begin soon in Israel

After receiving regulatory approval from the Health Ministry, Israel is set to commence human trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by the Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR). IIBR commenced animal trials for its 'BriLife' vaccine in March and now will move on to human trials, where eighty volunteers aged between 18 and 55 will be monitored for three weeks to see if virus antibodies develop.

Lockdown Exit
Coronavirus: Officials address 'leaked' lockdown plans after social media rumours speculate an alert level move 'planned' for November
Rumours that New Zealand will enter a "planned" lockdown in early November have been squashed by All-of-Government COVID-19 response group after the "leaked" proposal circulated social media. One person claiming to work in education said their superior was at the Ministry of Education during the school holidays and was told: "The Ministry of Health is preparing for a third wave that they have predicted will hit November 6 or 8". "They used the word 'preparing'. I'm cynical when it comes to COVID and the government and what info they pass out," they said in a Facebook message.
Duterte wants government-to-government deal for COVID-19 vaccines
President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would favour a government-to-government deal for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines in the Philippines to prevent the risk of corruption. Duterte made his latest pronouncement even as his Science and Technology Department secretary admitted that in the “most optimistic” scenario, a vaccine would not be available until mid-2021. “Let me tell everybody that we will not beg, we will pay,” Duterte said in a prerecorded address that aired on Tuesday morning. “To the Chinese government, you need not look for partners, we can make it government to government,” added Duterte, who repeatedly said that he received assurance from Beijing that the Philippines would be a priority when a vaccine is available.
Can Fashion Photography Survive the Pandemic?
Now Covid-19 has led to an “acceleration of what was going on before the pandemic,” said Sølve Sundsbø, the Norwegian photographer whose work has appeared in Love magazine and international editions of Vogue. Namely that even established magazines expect photographers to contribute editorial work for free. Glen Luchford, who recently shot campaigns for Gucci and Rag & Bone, and whose 1990s campaigns for Prada are beloved by the art world, agreed. He recalled looking around the set at Gucci — the rare client with a big photography budget — and saying to his crew: “This is the last hurrah. This is the end. There is not going to be another period where we get to take over Universal Studios and build these massive sound stages and do these incredible things. “I’m not even sure that quality is required anymore,” he continued. “Those kids out there, looking at TikTok, are way more interested in someone appearing in 10 or 20 seconds and doing something really interesting on their telephone than in something that is really beautifully lit.”
Sri Lanka shuts parliament after coronavirus case detected
Sri Lanka’s parliament has been closed after a police officer at the complex tested positive for the coronavirus amid a new surge of cases in the country. Parliament will be closed for two days as a precautionary measure so the premises can be disinfected, said Narendra Fernando, the parliament’s sergeant at arms.
Guatemala health workers face retaliation over COVID-19 concerns
Paty Chavez has had a rough few weeks. A nurse at a regional hospital in the Indigenous highlands of Guatemala, she tested positive for COVID-19, recovered, protested against the hospital’s response to the virus, and then was fired – all in the span of 15 days. “My colleagues are all scared. They say, ‘look what happened to the person who most spoke out’,” said Chavez, an Indigenous Maya K’iche mother of three who worked for four years at the El Quiche Regional Hospital, 137km (85 miles) northwest of the capital. But as is the case with so many public health workers in Guatemala, basic labour rights eluded Chavez because she works on a contract basis, a problem that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
Exit Strategies
Can Pre-Flight COVID-19 Testing Get Travelers Back On Planes?
In hopes of jumpstarting a business decimated by the pandemic, airlines and airports are offering pre-flight, on the spot testing for COVID-19, with some test results back in 15 minutes.
‘Emotional day’ as Melbourne welcomes exit from Covid-19 lockdown
Melbourne, Australia's second-biggest city, will exit its coronavirus lockdown after nearly four months under onerous restrictions, authorities announced Monday, with no new daily cases or deaths recorded. Lockdown orders for Melbourne's residents will be lifted from midnight Tuesday into Wednesday while restaurants, beauty salons and retail stores will be permitted to throw open their doors to customers. Home to 5 million people, Australia's second-biggest city has been in lockdown since early July after a spike of Covid-19 infections that began in hotels where people were in quarantine after arriving from abroad.
China's top leaders meet to plan next five years as coronavirus rebuilding begins
China's top leaders are meeting behind closed doors in Beijing on Monday to map out their economic and political agenda for the next five years, as the ruling Communist Party looks to capitalize on its containment of the coronavirus epidemic. President Xi Jinping, who also heads the Party, will join the members of the Central Committee, the Party's top decision-making body, to formulate the 14th Five-Year Plan, the vast policy framework by which China will be governed from 2021 to 2025. In an unusual step, the committee will also be drawing up a "vision" for 2035, a long-term plan for the year which Xi has set as a deadline for China to "basically achieve socialist modernization."
As Europe And The U.S. Struggle To Contain Covid-19 Surge, Australia Lifts Its Strictest Lockdown
The Australian city of Melbourne, recently a coronavirus hotspot in the country, is the latest to announce it will lift restrictions after going 24 hours without a single new infection or death for the first time in four months, in sharp contrast to the other side of the world where new infections are spiking in the U.S. and in Europe, where fresh lockdowns are being introduced.
Melbourne will finally exit lockdown this week after nearly four months as the Australian city records zero new infections or deaths
October 26 was the first time Victoria state recorded zero cases since June 8 From Tuesday night pubs and shops will re-open and residents can leave home There will be more restrictions relaxed on 8 November if numbers stay low In total, Victoria has seen 20,341 total Covid-19 cases and 817 related deaths
Australia’s Second-Largest City to Begin Emerging from Strict COVID-19 Lockdown
After more than three months under stifling restrictions imposed in response to a second wave of COVID-19 cases, life in Australia’s second-largest city is slowly about to return to normal. Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews announced Monday that Melbourne’s five million citizens will be able to leave their homes effective Tuesday at midnight, and that all cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and hotels will be allowed to reopen. The announcement comes as Melbourne and the surrounding Victoria state recorded its first 24-hour period without any new coronavirus infections since June 9. The state had been plagued by a dramatic spike of new COVID-19 cases, peaking in August when daily new cases rose above 700. The resurgence of new cases has been blamed on security lapses at hotels where travelers were being quarantined after traveling overseas.
Boxing Day Test crowd allowed at MCG after Melbourne lockdown ends
A crowd at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test has been all but guaranteed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews as the state’s coronavirus restrictions were significantly eased. Melbourne will start to open up following more than four months in hard lockdown, after no Covid-19 cases were recorded in Victoria on Monday. Cricket Australia is yet to lock in its international schedule for a summer highlighted by a blockbuster four-Test series against India. Premier Andrews said the lifting of restrictions meant it was too late for crowds to attend next month’s Melbourne Cup, but not the biggest day in Australian cricket.
Finally at zero new cases, Victoria is on top of the world after unprecedented lockdown effort
If the past few months have been like a long-haul flight, Victorians are now standing in the aisles waiting for the cabin door to open, a little groggy and disoriented but relieved. They have every right to be. No other place in the world has tamed a second wave this large. Few have even come close.
Covid in Australia: Melbourne to exit 112-day lockdown
The Australian city of Melbourne will exit lockdown from Wednesday after recording no new Covid-19 cases for the first time since June. Victoria state was the epicentre of Australia's second wave, accounting for more than 90% of its 905 deaths. The state capital, Melbourne, went into lockdown 111 days ago - enforcing home confinement, travel restrictions and and closing stores and restaurants. However on Monday, authorities said the city was ready to re-open. "With zero cases and so much testing over the weekend... we are able to say that now is the time to open up," said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. In July, Victoria saw cases surge to more than 700 per day but the severe stay-at-home rules and a curfew have brought the numbers down. Mr Andrews praised the state's six million residents, saying: "Fundamentally, this belongs to every single Victorian who has followed the rules, stayed the course, worked with me and my team, to bring this second wave to an end."
Australia's COVID-19 epicentre delays decision on lifting lockdown restrictions
Victoria state, Australia’s COVID-19 epicentre, on Sunday delayed an expected announcement on the easing of lockdown restrictions due to an outbreak in Melbourne, prompting warnings that residents were at a “financial and mental breaking point”. The restrictions have limited most retail businesses in the state’s capital to providing online services only since early August, and 5 million people living under stay-at-home orders were expecting an announcement on Sunday. State premier Daniel Andrews told a media conference the outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs threatened to push the reopening date of retail and hospitality businesses closer to Nov. 1.
Partisan Exits
Vice President Mike Pence's top aides test positive for COVID-19, but he continues to work
Mike Pence plans to preside over the Senate floor during a vote on Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation despite several of his top aides contracting COVID-19.
Covid: Trump's chief of staff admits US cannot control pandemic
A senior aide to President Donald Trump has conceded that the US is "not going to control the pandemic". Instead White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Covid-19 could only be defeated by "mitigation areas" like vaccines and therapeutics. His remarks come as coronavirus cases surge in the US, nine days before the presidential election. Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden said the White House was waving "the white flag of defeat". He added that Mr Meadows' comments showed that the Trump administration had "given up on their basic duty to protect the American people". In an interview with CNN, Mr Meadows said control of the virus was not a realistic goal because "it is a contagious virus just like the flu".
Being Herded into Disaster in a Post-Science World
COVID-19 has caused more than 41 million confirmed cases and more than a million deaths worldwide, with more than 220,000 deaths in the US alone and more than 58,000 registered COVID-19 deaths in the UK so far. A second wave of transmission is sweeping across much of Europe and many parts of the world. In the UK, case numbers have been rising since early August, with more than 20,000 daily confirmed cases currently. These numbers are likely to be under-estimates, give our limited testing capacity and, according to the Office for National Statistics, we may be closer to 35,000 daily cases in England alone. Deaths have been rising since September with around a total of 2,600 deaths so far in the second wave, and 200 daily deaths currently. While case numbers may not seem to be rising as sharply in the south of England compared to the north, they are actually just lagging by three to four weeks.
Hancock added to anti-Muslim hate with distancing claims, says government adviser
The government has been criticised by its own Islamophobia adviser for refusing to publish the evidence behind Matt Hancock’s claim that people were “not abiding to social distancing” as he imposed a lockdown on 4.6 million people in northern England at the start of the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha. Qari Asim, the deputy chair of a government taskforce on anti-Muslim hatred, said the health secretary’s claim on Twitter added to “hateful narratives” and “gave the impression that Muslim communities were not social distancing and were ignoring the government guidelines”. Hancock made the remark in a late-night Twitter thread on 30 July, when Eid al-Adha started, announcing with three hours’ notice that strict restrictions would be imposed on Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Leicester from midnight.
Arsonists throw petrol bombs at Germany's Robert Koch Institute
A window was destroyed and walls discoloured during Sunday's arson attack Berlin police are now investigating whether the attack was politically motivated The German capital has seen some angry protests against the lockdown rules
Anger over Italy virus rules as curfews enforced around Europe
Anger was growing in Italy Monday over harsh new coronavirus restrictions brought in to "save Christmas", while other hard-hit countries enforced curfews in a bid to avoid fresh national lockdowns. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's decision to close restaurants and bars from 6:00 pm and shut all theatres, cinemas and gyms for a month was widely criticised, even as scientists questioned whether it would be enough to stop the virus. "These restrictions will be the end of us," said Giuseppe Tonon, 70, the owner of a restaurant in Oderzo, a small village in northeastern Italy.
Continued Lockdown
Coronavirus: Local lockdowns 'stifling jobs recovery'
Deserted High Streets and home working are stifling the British job market's recovery, new research suggests. Urban areas in Scotland and southern England have seen the biggest declines in job postings, according to the Centre for Cities (CfC) think tank. Vacancies have failed to return to pre-pandemic levels across all 63 towns and cities it analysed across the UK. CfC boss Andrew Carter said local lockdowns, while necessary, will exacerbate the situation over winter. The slow jobs recovery is linked to a "collapse" in the number of jobs in services being advertised, CfC said.
Two Scots areas are the UK hotspots for slumps in job vacancies during the Covid lockdown
Aberdeen and Edinburgh have become worst in a UK-wide cities study revealing a slump in job vacancies during lockdown as the areas are more reliant on industries hit hardest by the economic fallout. Urban areas in Scotland and south England are bearing the steepest declines in vacancies, the Centre for Cities found. The think tank, and jobs site Indeed, found that seven months after the nationwide lockdown was imposed, job vacancies have failed to return to pre-Covid levels in all 63 towns and cities analysed.
How Australian renters have suffered through the lockdowns
Australians stuck living in share houses during pandemic share their struggles Many renters faced relationship break-ups, tough landlords and fears of eviction At least 20 per cent of Australian renters chose to move back with their parents
Australia's COVID-19 lockdown also prevented about 400 deaths from other illnesses - research paper
Social distancing and lockdowns in Australia not only slowed the spread of COVID-19, they saved the lives of about 400 people who would have been expected to died in June from respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, a research paper published on Monday showed. Examining Australia’s most recent official fatality data, the Actuaries Institute said there was a shortfall between verified deaths and the number expected during the mid-winter month, which it concluded was due to a decline in respiratory illnesses.
Scientific Viewpoint
Coronavirus immunity may only last a few months after an infection, study warns
The proportion of the public testing positive for antibodies fell from six per cent to 4.4 per cent in three months, according to a major study commissioned in England by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Heart inflammation in athletes who survive COVID-19 is NOT a major concern, say US doctors
A team of cardiologists say increased rates of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart, particularly among college athletes in the US diagnosed with COVID-19, is not a cause for concern.
C+D joins with COVID-19 trial pharmacy lead to find community recruits
C+D and Professor Mahendra Patel are campaigning together to find 1,000 pharmacies to contribute to an Oxford University COVID-19 clinical trial by signposting suitable patients. In September, Professor Patel was appointed as national black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community and pharmacy lead for the PRINCIPLE COVID-19 clinical trial, run by Oxford University. The trial is evaluating whether the use of two common antibiotics, azithromycin and doxycycline can help people with COVID-19 symptoms recover at home, thereby reducing the need for hospital admissions. It is open to people who are aged over 50 with certain underlying health conditions, and to anyone over the age of 65.
Elderly people given Oxford University's vaccine DO get protection from Covid-19
Suggests group at highest risk of serious illness and death could be protected Study found jab prompted release of antibodies and T-cells in people over 55 Findings not made public yet but Oxford released statement to build excitement
Covid-19: US pulls plan to give early vaccine to Santa Claus
The US has cancelled plans to offer Santa Claus performers early access to a coronavirus vaccine in exchange for their help in promoting it publicly. Those who perform as Mrs Claus and elves would also have been eligible for the jabs. The festive collaboration was part of a $250m (£192m) government campaign to garner celebrity endorsements of vaccinations once they are approved. But health authorities confirmed the advertising campaign had been scrapped. Ric Erwin, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, called the news "extremely disappointing."
Covid-19: How the Czech Republic's response went wrong
The Czech Republic was praised for its swift initial response to the coronavirus crisis, but seven months on it's now recording 15,000 new cases a day and has the second highest per capita death rate over seven days in the world. So what went wrong? Letnany Exhibition Grounds on the northern outskirts of Prague is usually where you go to check out the latest caravans or fitted kitchens. But its cavernous halls are now home to a ghostly field hospital, built by the army in just over seven days. On Sunday it was formally handed over to Prague's main infectious diseases hospital. "Our task is to enhance the capacity of civilian hospitals," said Colonel Ladislav Slechta, commander of the Czech Army's Military Medical Agency which built the facility.
Johnson & Johnson sees covid-19 vaccine available as soon as January
Johnson & Johnson’s first batches of its Covid-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use as soon as January, Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, the company’s head of public health research and development, said in a presentation at the World Health Summit.
Of all the places that have seen off a second coronavirus wave, only Vietnam and Hong Kong have done as well as Victorians
Of the 215 nations and territories that have reported COVID-19 cases, 120 have experienced clear second waves or late first waves that began in July or later. That’s according to the Worldometer global database, which sources data from national ministries of health and the World Health Organisation. Of these 120, only six have definitively emerged from their second wave: Australia, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore. I am not including New Zealand, as the series of clusters that arose in Auckland in mid-August never evolved into a clear second wave.
Covid 19 coronavirus: World Health Organisation highlights New Zealand's pandemic success
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted the steps New Zealand took to eliminate Covid-19 within its community. In a four-minute video posted on social media, the WHO details how the country went from its first case of coronavirus, on February 28, to the peak of daily new cases at 89, to successfully eliminating the virus within a matter of months. The video singles out New Zealand's plan, including the strict lockdown measures, the isolation of any positive cases and close contacts, as well as the country's contact tracing method. It features footage from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's addresses to the nation, including the level 4 lockdown announcement, as well as interviews with some of the country's top experts, including Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Israel to start COVID-19 vaccine human trials on Nov. 1
Israel will begin human trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by a research institute overseen by the Defence Ministry on Nov. 1 after receiving regulatory approval, the ministry said on Sunday. The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) began animal trials for its “BriLife” vaccine in March. The Health Ministry and an oversight committee have now given the green light to take it to the next stage. Eighty volunteers aged between 18 and 55 will be monitored for three weeks to see if virus antibodies develop, the ministry said in a statement. A second phase, expected to begin in December, will involve 960 people over the age of 18.
Celltrion nabs emergency use for rapid COVID-19 test from FDA
Celltrion has nabbed a speedy preapproval for its quick pandemic virus test as it forecasts high demand. This comes three months after asking the FDA for an emergency use authorization, which has been giving COVID-19 tests and drugs the ability to be used in the U.S. but is not a full approval.
Covid 19 coronavirus: The strange ways virus can affect the brain
On March 17 this year, a man was taken to hospital in Israel suffering from a dry cough and a loss of sense of smell. He developed a fever and felt tired but, after three days as an in-patient, was released to quarantine. Then something strange started happening. His handwriting changed. It became smaller, crabbed and unreadable. Not just that, but he struggled to speak clearly or write texts on his phone. His right hand began to tremble. Eventually, symptoms became so bad that he returned to hospital, this time to the department of neurology, dealing in disorders of the brain and nervous system.
Oxford vaccine prompts immune response in elderly: AstraZeneca
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom produces an immune response in both younger and older adults, triggering lower adverse responses among the elderly, British drugmaker says.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Covid case record: The US had more daily Covid-19 cases in the past week than ever before. And no, it's not just due to more testing
This time, the seven-day average of daily new cases reached an all-time high of 68,767 on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The previous record of 67,293 was set July 22. "Unfortunately, I think the statement about 'new record' is going to be repeated over and over again in the days and weeks to come," said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. "I expect that those numbers will continue to climb. Hospitalizations are going to continue to climb." The abysmal week was marked by the two worst days of daily new cases reported since the pandemic began. More than 83,000 new cases were reported both Friday and Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins.
NHS short of over £1bn for Covid second wave and onset of winter
The NHS has been given in excess of £1bn less than it needs to tackle the second wave of Covid-19, deal with the coming winter and restart routine operations, the Guardian has learned. The disclosure raises questions about the pledge from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, at the start of the pandemic to give the NHS “whatever resources it needs” to cope with the pandemic. Hospitals across England face holes in their budget for the rest of the year of up to £20m, which they say is hampering their efforts to prepare properly for the service’s annual winter crisis and get back to pre-pandemic levels of surgery.
Merkel, German state leaders to decide on new COVID measures: spokesman
Chancellor Angela Merkel in planning a “lockdown light” that will focus on closing bars, restaurants and public events to slow a second wave of COVID-19 infections in Germany, Bild newspaper reported on Monday. Shops will stay open, with some restrictions, under the plan and schools will keep operating, apart from in areas with particularly high numbers of cases, the mass-selling daily reported. A government spokesman neither confirmed nor denied the report and said no final decisions had been made. Infections have almost doubled in the past week in Germany and cases are also rising across Europe and large parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
Australia's coronavirus epicenter records no new cases as the US and Western Europe struggle to contain the pandemic
Melbourne, the city at the epicenter of Australia's coronavirus epidemic, will move out of lockdown this week after the Victoria state health department on Sunday reported no new cases and no deaths due to the virus for the first time in more than four months. Announcing the relaxation of restrictions at a news conference on Monday, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said starting on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., Melbourne residents will be allowed to leave their homes and most businesses in the state can reopen with restrictions on the number of people. "With 0 cases and so much testing, we are able to say that now is the time to open up. Now is the time to congratulate every single Victorian who has stayed the course," Andrews said. The remarkable milestone of no new cases comes just months after Andrews declared a "state of disaster" to stem an outbreak that saw as many as 725 people in the state test positive for the virus in a single day.
The U.S. and Europe are losing the coronavirus battle
European leaders are bracing for disaster, too. After a summer of reopenings and revived travel and tourism, a second wave is ravaging countries that both evaded and suffered from the first. France reported a daily record in cases on Sunday. Cases in Poland doubled in less than three weeks (and the country’s president now has the virus). In the Czech Republic, more than 250,000 people in a country of 10.7 million are infected.
China battles new Covid-19 cluster in Xinjiang
More than 100 asymptomatic coronavirus cases have been discovered in Xinjiang, one of China’s most heavily monitored and policed regions. It is the biggest cluster detected in the country since July. On Saturday, a 17-year-old girl tested positive for Covid-19 in Kashgar, sparking a citywide testing drive and strict restrictions on movement. A further 137 infections were discovered on Sunday, each linked to a factory in Shufu county where the teenager’s parents work, according to local health officials.
China’s Kashgar had a covid-19 outbreak. Now all 4.5 million residents are being tested.
Just two days after announcing the discovery of a single asymptomatic case of the novel coronavirus, authorities in China's Kashgar area said they have tested 4.5 million residents, nearly the entire population. By Monday evening, 164 asymptomatic cases had been found in the area. The swift response by health authorities in Kashgar, a trade hub of 4.7 million people in China's far-western Xinjiang region, reflects the heavy pressures on local officials to quash the outbreak, the country's largest since the summer. Central government officials flew there during the weekend to monitor the testing.
Covid-19: China tests entire city of Kashgar in Xinjiang
China is once again mass testing an entire city for the coronavirus amid a regional outbreak in Xinjiang province. Around 4.7m people in Kashgar are being tested, with 138 asymptomatic cases found so far. China has been largely successful in bringing infection rates down, but there continue to be small outbreaks. Xinjiang is home to China's mostly-Muslim Uighur minority which rights groups say is being persecuted by the government in Beijing. Schools in Kashgar have been closed and residents are not allowed to leave the city unless they have a negative test report.
China: new coronavirus outbreak detected in Xinjiang city of Kashgar
China has detected 137 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases in Kashgar in the north-western region of Xinjiang after one person was found to have the virus the previous day – the first new local cases for 10 days in mainland China. All the cases detected on Sunday were linked to a garment factory where the parents of a 17-year-old girl who was found on Saturday to have the virus – but showed no symptoms – worked, a Xinjiang health commission official told a press briefing. The new cases marked mainland China’s first local infections since 14 October, when one was detected in Qingdao. Xinjiang was the site of a local cluster in August, which prompted a “wartime state” of lockdown in the capital Urumqi, but no new cases had been found in the region since 15 August.
Belgium tightens COVID-19 measures, hopes to avoid lockdown
Belgium, one of the European countries worst hit by COVID-19, has tightened curbs on social contacts by banning fans from sports matches and limiting numbers in cultural spaces, while officials in Wallonia imposed a stricter night curfew on residents, write Robin Emmott, Marine Strauss and Kate Abnett. The local government in the French-speaking region, among the hardest-hit parts of the country, has told people to stay at home from 10pm to 6am and made remote working mandatory for students until Nov. 19. Belgium, which has Europe’s second highest infection rate per capita after the Czech Republic, had already closed cafes, bars and restaurants and imposed a shorter night curfew. New infections hit a peak of 10,500 on Thursday. But the government has resisted calls from medical experts to order a new lockdown to avoid causing more economic pain.
German business sentiment falls on coronavirus angst
German business morale fell for the first time in six months in October, weighed down by companies’ concerns about rising coronavirus infection rates that are making them more sceptical about the coming months, a survey showed on Monday. The Ifo institute said its business climate index fell to 92.7 from a downwardly revised 93.2 in September. A Reuters poll had foreseen a decline to 93.0. “Companies are considerably more sceptical regarding developments over the coming months,” Ifo President Clemens Fuest said in a statement. “In view of rising infection numbers, German business is becoming increasingly worried.” The German economy contracted by 9.7% in the second quarter as household spending, company investments and trade collapsed at the height of the pandemic.
New Lockdown
Groundhog day in Wales as country enters second-wave lockdown
Like the groundhog that peeks out and then retreats until winter is over, Wales has been forced back underground by the shadow of the coronavirus. Friday nights are usually heady and vibrant in the Welsh capital; its people are famous for being fiercely proud and incredibly hospitable. Cardiff, then, is a good place to welcome the weekend. At least, it was, until Friday, October 23, when Wales rolled back the clock to March 2020 to start a second national lockdown.
‘Mini-lockdown’ enforced in Italy
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte detailed on Sunday (25 October) the new measures to be enforced from Monday (26 October) to 24 November. “The analysis of the current situation shows a worrying increase of positive cases,
Spain enters COVID state of emergency to much dismay
The Spanish government faced a backlash on Monday over its plans to put the country, one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 hotspots, under a state of emergency for six months. Opposition parties said that was too long, epidemiologists said the move may be too little too late, and some citizens balked at nightly curfews. “The curfew doesn’t make much sense. Does the virus only infect people between 2300 and 0600? No,” said Marta Aragoneses, a 36-year old schoolteacher, enjoying a cigarette outside a cafe in Madrid’s historic La Latina neighbourhood.
Europe Steps Closer to Lockdown-Level Curbs in Italy and Spain
Europe took a step closer to the stringent restrictions imposed during the initial wave of the coronavirus pandemic as leaders struggle regain control of the spread. Italy introduced its strongest virus restrictions since the end of a lockdown in May, and Spain will impose new measures, including a nationwide curfew. Germany will discuss its next steps on Monday, when Chancellor Angela Merkel convenes her crisis task force.
Spain's Catalonia mulls weekend virus lockdowns
Spain's Catalonia region said Monday it was studying imposing a lockdown on weekends to fight the spread of the coronavirus, a day after a nighttime curfew came into effect across the country. "It is a scenario which is on the table because it is during the weekend that there are more social interactions," the spokeswoman for the regional government, Meritxell Budo, told Catalan public radio.
Second German district to enter lockdown after spike in coronavirus cases
Chancellor Angela Merkel in planning a "lockdown light" that will focus on closing bars, restaurants and public events to slow a second wave of COVID-19 infections in Germany, Bild newspaper reported on Monday. Shops will stay open, with some restrictions, under the plan and schools will keep operating, apart from in areas with particularly high numbers of cases, the mass-selling daily reported. A government spokesman neither confirmed nor denied the report and said no final decisions had been made.
France 'must impose a second coronavirus lockdown'
France has lost control of the coronavirus pandemic and should follow the examples of Ireland and Wales by heading back into lockdown, a leading expert on infectious diseases has warned. Professor Eric Caumes on France Info - "The virus is so present among us that I think that today we have no choice but to reconfine," Professor Eric Caumes (right) head of the infectious diseases department at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, said in an interview with Franceinfo on Monday.
Austria's Kurz sees second lockdown as "ultimate measure" to curb COVID-19
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday that a second lockdown might be the "ultimate measure" to contain the sharp rise of coronavirus infections. "The higher the infection rates, the more restrictive measures are needed," said Kurz on the Austrian National Day. "The ultimate measure is a second lockdown." He emphasized that the Alpine country is facing an "extreme challenge" with the "exponential growth" of infections. "Even for those who still do not want to believe it, the situation is very, very serious," said Kurz. The key is to prevent the intensive care units from being overwhelmed, added the chancellor.
Malaysia extends partial lockdown in capital amid COVID-19 surge
Malaysia on Monday extended a partial lockdown on its capital Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding state of Selangor for another two weeks, as the country recorded the biggest jump in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. The Southeast Asian nation has seen a resurgence in infections, with the total number of cases more than doubling in the past month. The health ministry reported 1,240 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest daily rise on record.
Second German district to enter lockdown after spike in coronavirus cases
Chancellor Angela Merkel in planning a “lockdown light” that will focus on closing bars, restaurants and public events to slow a second wave of COVID-19 infections in Germany, Bild newspaper reported on Monday.
Italy imposes harshest coronavirus restrictions since spring lockdown as second wave sweeps Europe
Italy became the latest European country to announce new restrictions to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus on Sunday as countries across the continent continue to report surging infections. France on Sunday announced more than 50,000 new infections, a new record for the fourth day running. Germany, widely lauded for its initial handling of the virus, reported a surge of its own. The number of coronavirus cases in Poland has doubled in less than three weeks. And Spain has also imposed new restrictions.
Europe Imposes New Covid-19 Restrictions as Second Wave Accelerates
Europe’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, forcing countries to impose ever-more social-distancing rules in a bid to avoid a return to full-blown lockdowns. France announced a daily record for coronavirus infections, with confirmed infections reaching over 52,000 on Sunday, compared with nearly 84,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. on Saturday, whose population is around five times bigger. Italy, struggling with an explosive rise in infections, imposed the toughest restrictions on its population since ending its lockdown, including the closure of all bars and restaurants at 6 p.m. In Spain, the government announced a state of emergency, as it did in March, giving national authorities greater powers to impose social-distancing and emergency health-care policies.