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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 28th Oct 2020

News Highlights

France, Germany mull returning to lockdowns as cases surge

French and German media have reported that the countries are planning to re-impose lockdown restrictions on their citizens to control a steep rise in coronavirus cases. France's BFM TV reported that the French government may announce a month-long national lockdown which would not be as strict as the one imposed in March. The Bild newspaper in Germany also reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to impose a 'lockdown light,' which would focus on closing bars, restaurants and public events to slow the spread.

Covid-19 risk on planes lower than grocery shopping, study says

Harvard researchers have concluded that the risk of Covid-19 transmission on board flights is minimal because of the onboard ventilation system as well as measures such as masks, frequent cabin cleansing and social distancing. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, claims that taking a plane may be safer in terms of Covid-19 transmission compared to activities such as grocery shopping or eating out.

Hopes for the elderly as Oxford trial produces encouraging results

The pandemic has shown that elderly people are particularly susceptible to Covid-19 and its associated health issues, but results coming from the University of Oxford vaccine trial have shown that there is hope for them yet. Preliminary results show that the vaccine triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in elderly people that may protect them from serious illness or death from the virus.

Belgium may return to lockdown yet again as cases rise exponentially

The Belgian government may take a decision as early as this weekend on whether to return to lockdown, as the country struggles with a severe second wave of infections. Health authorities registered almost 18,000 cases of Covid-19 last week, close to a 10-fold increase in numbers since the first wave of the pandemic and officials have warned of the possibility of the country's hospitals running of beds.

Lockdown Exit
How New Zealand beat Covid: Why early lockdown and stringent quarantine kept cases down to fewer than 2,000
New Zealand has been held up as an example by the World Health Organisation of how to effectively tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The remote Pacific island has less than 2,000 Covid-19 cases and 25 deaths, from a population of about five million. That is roughly the same size as Scotland, which for comparison has recorded more than 59,000 cases and above 2,700 deaths. So what is New Zealand’s secret to success? In short, locking down early and keeping the virus stamped out.
Long COVID-19 Lockdown Ends In Australia’s Second Most Populous City
SYDNEY - One of the world's longest COVID-19 lockdowns is coming to an end in the Australian city of Melbourne. Beginning Tuesday, all shops, cafes and restaurants can re-open, and strict-stay-at home orders will be lifted. The lockdown was imposed in ...
Covid-19 lockdown lifts for Melbourne
Melbourne's five million citizens will be able to leave their homes from midnight and all cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and hotels will be allowed to reopen. Australia's second largest city has been under strict Covid-19 restrictions for the past 15 weeks, but after the state recorded its first 24 hour period without any new coronavirus infections since 9 June, authorities say its time for the city to open up.
Covid 19 coronavirus: One new case in managed isolation - health chief Ashley Bloomfield
There is one new Covid-19 case in managed isolation, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield says. The new case, a young boy aged between 1-4, arrived in New Zealand from the UK. There have been no new community cases for six days in a row and the cluster connected to the Sofrana Surville ship and a marine engineer who worked on it has so far been contained to three people. Seven more cases have now recovered so the active cases are 68, Bloomfield said today
Covid: Melbourne's hard-won success after a marathon lockdown
Melbourne's grinding second coronavirus lockdown began in the chill of winter. In early July, the nights were long and dark, and Australia's cultural capital was confronting the terrifying reality of another deadly wave of infections. More than 110 days later, experts say it is emerging as a world leader in disease suppression alongside places including Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Raina McIntyre, a biosecurity professor at the University of New South Wales' Kirby Institute, told the BBC that Australia's response had been "light years ahead" of the US and the UK. "It is just thoroughly shocking. When we think of pandemics we don't think that well-resourced, high-income countries are going to fall apart at the seams, but that is exactly what we have seen," she said.
End of Melbourne lockdown paves way for crowds at cricket, tennis
Melbourne’s liberation from its COVID-19 lockdown has boosted hopes of crowds attending some of Australia’s major sporting events in the country’s second-biggest city. The Australian men’s cricket team is slated to host India in the traditional Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from Dec. 26, while the world’s top tennis players are due to play the Australian Open, 2021’s first Grand Slam, in January. Restaurants, pubs and retail businesses in Melbourne, home to 5 million people, will reopen from Wednesday after more than three months under a stringent lockdown. Authorities will also allow limited social visits to houses.
Exit Strategies
Covid-19: Scotland to ease pub and restaurant restrictions
Nicola Sturgeon said the move would allow licensed premises in level two of the country's new five-tier system to serve alcohol with a meal until 20:00. In level three areas - likely to be much of the central belt - they can reopen until 18:00 but cannot serve alcohol. The new rules will start on Monday. The level that each of the 32 council areas in Scotland will fall under is expected to be confirmed on Thursday. The new system will add two levels to the three-tier system currently in use in England, adding a "level zero" at the bottom - where life can return almost to normal - and strict measures similar to a full lockdown in level four.
'It’s better than having the doors closed': strict rules pose reopening challenge for Melbourne businesses
Melbourne’s hospitality industry begins its transition from a long slumber to welcoming customers, but strict density limits may delay the opening of some businesses as they adjust to the new rules. Roughly half of cafes and restaurants on Melbourne’s famous Chapel Street shopping strip will be able to open their doors on Wednesday, as businesses hurriedly rework their premises to allow outdoor dining. Chrissie Maus, general manager of the Chapel Street Precinct Association, was “extraordinarily relieved and excited” when premier Daniel Andrews announced hospitality could reopen, but said “it’s an absolute pipe dream to think that the majority of our businesses will just be able to transition to outdoor dining”.
Where's lockdown exit plan, Boris? London echoes demand for clear strategy to leave Covid tiers
Boris Johnson faced growing pressure today to set out a clearer exit strategy from the coronavirus pandemic. A call by more than 50 Conservative MPs for a route map out of the lockdowns clamped on Northern cities was echoed by pleas in the south and London for more clarity. More regions woke up today to find themselves being put into the toughest level of restrictions, Tier 3, meaning 8.2 million people in England face complete bans on households mixing.
Safe and sound: How New Zealand musicians have been able to return to the stage
It's early October, and Elizabeth Stokes and Jonathan Pearce of New Zealand indie-rock band the Beths are in Raglan, a small surf town on the west coast of the country's north island. In an empty Sprinter van sitting snugly side-by-side so as to better squeeze in the laptop's camera frame, they flip the camera to show off their view: a mountain-ringed suburban neighbourhood on a lovely, quiet, sunny afternoon. It's their second day on the road in support of new album Jump Rope Gazers. The night before they played Raglan's Yot Club and ended up hanging with inebriated members of the New Zealand national cricket team. The batsman Martin Guptill and the bowler Kyle Jamieson just happened to be at the venue and the proprietor of the place – “an absolutely classic New Zealand bloke,” Pearce explains, “shaggy hair, shorts, so loose” – made all parties hang out.
Cities reboot: Adapting to a pandemic world
Downtown is deserted and happy hour is history - the pandemic has upended urban life for billions and futurologists expect a changed cityscape to emerge in the post-viral world. From home to office, park to pub - all corners of city life have undergone some sort of reboot during COVID-19. More than 43 million people have been infected by the virus and the death toll tops 1.1 million, according to a global tally by Johns Hopkins University. After months in lockdown, second waves of the novel coronavirus have forced new travel curbs and a messy mosaic of lockdown laws from Madrid to Melbourne. Experts agree cities will never look the same.
Covid: Post-furlough unemployment 'hits young and ethnic minorities'
Young and ethnic minority workers were more likely to be made unemployed post-furlough, according to a new report. A survey of about 6,000 adults by the Resolution Foundation found 19% of 18-24 year olds who were furloughed during lockdown were unemployed in September. For black, Asian and minority ethnic workers the figure was 22%, compared to 9% for the general population. The Treasury said its wage support schemes had helped to protect millions of jobs. The government's Job Retention Scheme initially covered up to 80% of an individual's wages if they were placed on furlough and unable to work.
Is Mark McGowan about to go soft on WA's hard border lockdown?
A social media post by Premier Mark McGowan congratulating Victoria for recording zero new cases of COVID-19 has prompted speculation WA could be preparing to relax its strict border lockdown. "Well done Victoria – thanks to you, Australia's future looks bright," Mr McGowan wrote on Facebook after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced a loosening of Melbourne's pandemic restrictions, which have been in place since June.
Partisan Exits
Russian ambassador informs Greek health ministry about Russian coronavirus vaccine
Russian Ambassador to Greece Andrey Maslov has informed the Greek Health Ministry’s expert committee about the Russian vaccine against the novel coronavirus, a senior Greek health official told reporters late on Tuesday. "Today we had a meeting with the Russian ambassador here, at the Health Ministry. He told us about the hope for a Russian vaccine, developed by a major vaccine research institution. There is hope," said Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases Sotiris Tsiodras, who is in charge of Greece's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Protests Erupt in Italy Over New Virus Lockdown Restrictions
Hundreds of demonstrators in several Italian cities protested new government coronavirus restrictions on Monday.
Coronavirus: Lockdown protesters in Italy throw bottles and smoke bombs as stricter rules come in
Italy's government is facing a backlash against the latest measures put in place to tackle COVID-19. In the last 24 hours, thousands of protestors turned out in Italian cities and towns to object ...
See the aftermath of violent anti-lockdown protests in Italy
Protesters have clashed with police in northern Italy, as demonstrations erupted across the country over government restrictions aimed at quelling a second wave of Covid-19. CNN's Ben Wedeman
Mafia stokes violent anti-lockdown protests in Italy
The Italian mafia are doing all they can to prevent coronavirus from harming their business — including orchestrating violence at anti-lockdown protests. According to Italian authorities, the mob planned and directed demonstrations in Naples that descended into violence and attacks on police on Friday. Similar protests have taken place across the country for the past four days, with bar and restaurant owners expressing concerns that tighter measures, brought in by the government to counter a surge in coronavirus cases in the country, will destroy their businesses. While the economic turmoil caused by the crisis has presented opportunities for the mafia to snap up stricken firms, curfews and lockdown restrictions are bad news, because increased police checks curtail the mob’s freedom to operate. Police estimate that with the closure of nightlife in Italy, the Camorra mafia’s drugs revenue will be hit by as much as 60 percent.
Italy to unveil lockdown relief package as protests continue
The Italian government is preparing to unveil a funding package for businesses penalised by the latest coronavirus restrictions as it scrambles to quell growing unrest. The prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, is under pressure to act quickly after hundreds of people protested in towns and cities across the country on Monday night against measures that include the 6pm closure of bars and restaurants and the complete closure of gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theatres.
Protests against new coronavirus measures in Italy turn violent
Protests against new restrictions designed to stem the coronavirus have broken out across Italy, with violence reported in Turin and Milan, in the country’s north. On Monday night, some protesters in Turin broke away from a peaceful demonstration, smashing shop windows, ransacking luxury shops, and clashing with police, who fired tear gas in return.
Three Western states join California in screening any FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine
Washington, Oregon and Nevada will join California to independently review any coronavirus vaccine before distributing it to the public. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that the three states would identify their own public health experts to participate in the scientific review committee he announced last week, which was charged with ensuring that any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is safe and effective. California has also formed a second committee to develop guidelines for the ethical distribution of vaccines, Newsom said, addressing questions about who should receive the first doses and how to allocate potentially limited supplies.
Continued Lockdown
Quebec to stay in partial lockdown for another four weeks
The partial pandemic lockdown that has closed bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, museums, libraries and casinos in Quebec’s “red zones,” mainly in and around Montreal and Quebec City, will continue until Nov. 23. Premier François Legault announced on Monday that the closures, which were supposed to be lifted on Oct. 29, will remain in effect. This is because, after nearly four weeks, Quebec has reached a plateau of 800 to 1,000 new COVID-19 cases daily, but has still failed to slow the virus’s spread. “We have 10 deaths today,” the premier said. “I’m not used to that. Our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, our sisters. “One (death) is one too many,” he added. “We have to stick together, more than ever.”
Covid: toddlers from UK's poorest families 'hit hardest by lockdown'
Babies and toddlers from poorer backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with less access to books and outdoor space during lockdown than children growing up in wealthier families, research has found. The developmental impact of the coronavirus crisis on children aged 0-3 has been largely undocumented, but early findings from the new study suggest young children from disadvantaged backgrounds have missed out on activities during lockdown which play a vital part in child development. The study, conducted by researchers at five UK universities and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, surveyed more than 500 parents of children under three about the sort of activities they enjoyed with their child before and during lockdown.
England and Wales Covid lockdown for children in custody 'cruel and inhumane'
The UK government’s policy of allowing children in detention in England and Wales to be locked alone in their cells for up to 23 hours a day under emergency Covid-19 measures is “extreme and inhumane” and could lead to lifelong mental health damage, according to the UN special rapporteur on torture and leading child health experts. Since March, facilities have been able to keep children as young as 12 confined alone in their cells for all but around 40 minutes a day. The measures, which were put in place to stop potential Covid-19 outbreaks, affect around 500 under 18-year-olds in youth detention and another 4,000 18-21-year-olds held in adult prisons.
Coronavirus: Guidelines for 'reopening' from lockdown extended till November 30
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday extended the guidelines for reopening from the coronavirus lockdown until November 30. The guidelines were issued last month on September 30 and were meant to be applicable until October 31.
You're Not Welcome Here: How Social Distancing Can Destroy The Global Economy
"Nobody wants to see more restrictions, but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners' lives," London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the London Assembly. Taking away the welcome mat is key to cutting off the path of the coronavirus. From the beginning of the pandemic, cities, states and countries have banned each other. And now, eight months into lockdowns that have led to immense stress and fatigue among people, some places around the world are introducing even more draconian measures. The path toward recovery continues to be inherently antisocial and runs counter to how humans interact, live lives and conduct their business. This unwelcome policy — which has already harmed families, societies and economies — has the potential to lead to a tectonic shift in how the world functions in the foreseeable future.
Scientific Viewpoint
UK Vaccine Taskforce Chair says early COVID-19 vaccines may be imperfect - The Lancet
UK Vaccine Taskforce Chair Kate Bingham said on Tuesday that the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines “is likely to be imperfect” and that they “might not work for everyone”. “However, we do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all. It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism”, Bingham wrote in a piece published in The Lancet medical journal. “The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long,” she added.
Russia applies for WHO emergency use tag for its COVID-19 vaccine
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has submitted applications to the World Health Organization for an Emergency Use Listing and prequalification of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, Russia's sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday. Russia was the first country to grant regulatory approval for a novel coronavirus vaccine, and did so before large-scale trials were complete, stirring concerns among scientists and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the shot. An Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is meant to make a vaccine available globally faster, while a WHO prequalification is a global quality tag that ensures vaccines are safe and effective.
Production of Covid-19 vaccine could top 16 billion doses, but delivery is still a challenge
Manufacturing limits, a nation’s health care system and intellectual property rights could all affect which countries receive vaccines and how quickly. Of 16 billion doses manufacturers expect to make next year, over 8 billion have already been committed to countries
US experts urge caution on giving Covid vaccine to children
Children should not be given a Covid-19 vaccine until there is more data to ensure it is safe, experts have warned the US regulator, as the first group of American teenagers were dosed with a potential treatment for the disease. Top vaccine scientists on an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration said the disease develops so differently in children that any approval should not rely on data from adults. Most children get no or only mild symptoms, so the risk-benefit calculations of giving them a vaccine are different from those for adults. Yet a small proportion develop a serious condition called multi-inflammatory syndrome, which can be fatal.
Oxford Covid vaccine works in all ages, trials suggest
One of the world’s leading Covid-19 experimental vaccines produces an immune response in older adults as well as the young, its developers say, raising hopes of protection for those most vulnerable to the coronavirus that has caused social and economic chaos around the world. Neither Oxford University nor its commercial partner AstraZeneca would release the data from the early trials showing the positive effects, which are being submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. But AstraZeneca confirmed the basic findings about the vaccine it calls AZD1222, which were shared at a closed academic meeting.
Covid vaccine made by US pharma giant Moderna could be fast-tracked through approval process in UK
Means health officials will review data as it becomes available in real time Normally takes years for vaccines to be green-lit for approval by the MHRA Moderna's jab candidate - called mRNA-1273 - one of the global frontrunners
Covid-19 herd immunity theory dealt blow by UK research
The proportion of people in Britain with antibodies that protect against Covid-19 declined over the summer, according to research that adds to evidence that natural immunity can wane in a matter of months. The number of people with antibodies fell by a quarter, from 6 per cent of the population in June to 4.4 per cent in September, according to a study of hundreds of thousands of people, one of the largest of its kind to date. The results, from researchers at Imperial College London, are the latest sign that immunity to Covid-19 may be shortlived and cast further doubt on the idea that any population could develop herd immunity naturally. The study suggests that the immune system’s response to the virus is similar to its reaction to influenza and other coronaviruses such as the common cold, which can be contracted annually.
COVID-19 risk on planes 'very low' with proper measures, Harvard review says
The risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard a plane is "reduced to very low levels," Harvard researchers concluded. The onboard ventilation systems coupled with measures such as masks, frequent cabin cleaning, and distancing during boarding and deplaning help keep the virus from spreading. "This layered approach reduces the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission onboard aircraft below that of other routine activities during the pandemic, such as grocery shopping or eating out," the report stated. The Aviation Public Health Initiative (APHI), comprised of faculty and scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published its Phase One report Tuesday, analyzing "gate-to-gate travel" onboard planes. It has not been peer-reviewed.
Eight in 10 Covid-19 hospital patients are vitamin D deficient, study
Further proof that vitamin D could protect people from coronavirus emerged today after a study found deficiencies in the sunshine nutrient are four times as common among hospitalised patients. A mountain of research from around the world has painted a clear picture — infected patients who do not have enough vitamin D are more likely to end up in hospital.
Pfizer urges patience in ‘last mile’ of Covid-19 vaccine process
Pfizer’s chief executive has urged patience in the “last mile” of Covid-19 vaccine development, after the timeline for an early look at whether a late-stage trial shows its vaccine works was poised to slip into November. Albert Bourla said on Tuesday that he was still “cautiously optimistic” about the vaccine, which could be the first submitted for US emergency approval. He noted that “stress levels” around the world were rising as the “worst fears” come true, with Covid-19 spreading in Europe, the US and around the globe. But the trial — which has enrolled over 42,000 participants, with 36,000 having received their second dose — has not yet hit the threshold at which it is allowed to do an initial analysis on whether the vaccine works.
Simple breath test that 'can diagnose Covid-19 within one minute' without the need for swabs is being developed by UK scientists
A breath test can rapidly distinguish Covid-19 from other respiratory conditions Covid-infected patients have an abundance of certain chemicals in their breath Scientists say their breath tests could replace more invasive methods like PCR
Fauci says early Covid vaccines will prevent symptoms, not block virus
Dr Anthony Fauci cautioned that early COVID-19 vaccines are aimed at preventing symptoms during Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit on Monday 'If the vaccine allows you to prevent initial infection, that would be great,' he said. '[But] the primary endpoint [is] to prevent clinically recognizable disease' At least four vaccine candidates are currently in late-stage clinical trials Fauci has said he is cautiously optimistic that a vaccine will arrive by year end But he warned that early vaccines may only be 50 to 60 percent effective
Breath test 'can diagnose Covid-19 within one minute'
A non-invasive Covid-19 breath test that could deliver results “within one minute” is being developed by UK scientists. The technology, which was originally developed as part of a project known as TOXI-Triage, would use “breath signatures” to “rapidly distinguish Covid-19 from other respiratory conditions”. The researchers said their findings, published in The Lancet’s EclinicalMedicine journal, could dramatically improve the experience of taking a coronavirus test as well as “play a part in restarting the economy”.
Royal Free joins government-backed 'Human Challenge' study to find Covid-19 treatments and vaccines
The Royal Free NHS Trust has joined a cutting-edge, government-backed project to speed-up the development of treatments and vaccines for Covid-19. The trust is now part of the Human Challenge Programme, which will investigate how transmission of the coronavirus works –by looking at exposing healthy volunteers to small amounts of the virus.
South Korea begins preliminary review of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate
South Korea's food and drug ministry said on Tuesday it had begun a preliminary review of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC for potential fast-track approval. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a statement that it had formed a screening team to review the vaccine candidate, with an application for formal approval expected in 90 days under its rapid approval programme for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.
Novavax delays U.S. trial of Covid-19 vaccine candidate to November
Novavax on Tuesday delayed the start of a late-stage U.S. trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by roughly a month to the end of November, citing delays in scaling up the manufacturing process. Data from an early-to-mid stage or phase 2 trial of the vaccine is now expected on Friday, the company said. Early-stage data had showed the vaccine produced high levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus.
Novavax Will Launch U.S. Phase 3 Trials Of Coronavirus Vaccine By End Of November
Novavax, one of the biotech firms that received funding from the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed to produce a coronavirus vaccine, announced Tuesday it plans to begin phase 3 clinical trials in the United States and Mexico by the end of November.
Reality bites for Putin's much-hyped Covid-19 vaccine, as concerns over efficacy and safety linger
In August, Russian state media rolled out the red carpet for a bombshell announcement -- President Vladimir Putin, from his residence outside Moscow, unveiled what he said was the world's first registered coronavirus vaccine, meant to bring Russia closer to the end of a devastating pandemic. Putin, who is famously secretive about his family, said one of his daughters had already been inoculated as part of the early-stage trials and felt "well," to bulk up the vaccine's safety claims. Now, as the second wave of Covid-19 hits the country -- with record numbers of new infections and deaths -- the vaccine, named Sputnik V, is far from being widely available to the general public.
Black participation in covid-19 vaccine trials is key to Black economic recovery
Vaccine trials need Black people. And the Black economic recovery needs a vaccine. The economic downturn from the novel coronavirus has had a staggering financial impact on Blacks. Job losses from the pandemic have overwhelmingly affected low-wage, minority workers. Black men and women are among those taking the longest time to regain their employment. Black Americans account for about 13 percent of the U.S. population but 24 percent of coronavirus deaths, the Pew Research Center reported in June. But when I ask the Black folks I know if they’re going to take a coronavirus vaccine, most without hesitation say, “No, I will not.”
Pfizer says no COVID-19 vaccine data yet, could be week or more before it reports
Drugmaker Pfizer Inc PFE.N said on Tuesday it does not yet have data from the late-stage trial of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Germany's BioNTech SE 22UAy.F, and provided a timeline that makes its release unlikely ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.Pfizer said there had not yet been enough infections in the 44,000-volunteer trial to trigger an analysis of whether or not the vaccine works. An independent panel will conduct the first analysis when it reaches 32 infections.
Eli Lilly ends one of its COVID-19 antibody drug trials: A timeline
Eli Lilly has ended a trial of its COVID-19 antibody drug, bamlanivimab, that tested the drug's effectiveness in treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients, a month after an interim analysis suggested the drug helped the virus leave patients' systems sooner. The drug was shown to have no effect on recovery times or survival rates for patients hospitalized with advanced COVID-19, but it will continue to be tested for other COVID-19 patients. A timeline of Eli Lilly's development of bamlanivimab:
Oxford Covid vaccine trials offer hope for elderly
A vaccine considered a frontrunner in the race to protect the global population from Covid-19 has produced a robust immune response in elderly people, the group at highest risk from the disease, according to two people familiar with the finding. The discovery that the vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups has encouraged researchers as they seek evidence that it will spare those in later life from serious illness or death from the virus.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Coronavirus: Daughter of nurse who died after contracting COVID-19 warns second wave 'is very real'
The grieving daughter of a nurse who died three weeks after being diagnosed with coronavirus is urging people to act responsibly saying "the second wave must be taken seriously". Denilee Vianzon's mother Emma was only 57 when she lost her life two weeks ago in intensive care in the Nightingale Hospital in Belfast. "I'm furious and angry that people think that this is non-existent, when it very much is," said Denilee, who is 28 and lives in London.
Coronavirus: Europe's daily deaths rise by nearly 40% compared with last week - WHO
Europe's daily Covid deaths rose by nearly 40% compared with the previous week, the World Health Organization (WHO) has told the BBC. WHO spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris said France, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and Russia accounted for the majority of cases which increased by a third. "The concern... is that intensive care units in hospitals are now beginning to fill with very ill people," she warned. Russia reported a daily record of 320 deaths, pushing the tally to 26,589. There has been a sharp increase in Italy too, with 221 fatalities announced in the past 24 hours. The total number of fatalities in Austria went above 1,000 on Tuesday.
Italy, resisting another coronavirus lockdown, shows peril of piecemeal restrictions
The team of city police officers had been assigned to look for coronavirus rule-breakers, so one evening last week, they parked their cars in the middle of one of Rome's liveliest neighborhoods and walked from one restaurant to the next. In 90 minutes on patrol, they didn’t find a single violator. What they found, instead, was nightlife that conformed to the rules but nonetheless posed risks for spreading the novel coronavirus. Italy had imposed a mandate for mask-wearing outdoors — but it didn’t apply to the people eating at packed alfresco tables. The country had banned dining in groups of seven or more, but there were plenty of tables of four, five and six under mood lighting on the cobblestone streets.
Argentina locked down early and hard. Now cases are exploding.
When the novel coronavirus first reached Argentina, Andrés Bonicalzi steeled himself for the sacrifices to come. A lawyer in Buenos Aires, he started working from home, canceled his weekly visits with his parents and vowed to keep his son inside. The government announced one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. The next few weeks would be difficult. But those hard weeks have turned into seven months, and much of Argentina’s lockdown, believed to be the world’s longest, is still dragging on. So much sacrifice, Bonicalzi sometimes thinks, and for what? The South American country has become one of the coronavirus’s most explosive breeding grounds. In early August, fewer than 200,000 Argentines had contracted the virus. That number has since surged to 1.1 million — 1 out of every 44 people — and 28,000 are dead.
German minister warns of 20,000 new daily virus cases within days
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany’s health system could hit breaking point if coronavirus infections continue to spiral, after bringing forward high-level talks to decide on new restrictions to break the second wave of the pandemic. Mass-selling daily Bild reported that Merkel told party colleagues that the number of new cases is doubling every seven to eight days, while the number of occupied intensive care beds is doubling every 10 days. “It just needs to double again four more times and the system will be at a breaking point,” Bild quoted Merkel as saying, adding that she wanted to reduce the number of contacts people had.
Global survey shows widespread disapproval of Covid response
People in most of 25 countries around the world think governments and leaders failed to respond either well or fast enough to the coronavirus crisis, a new global survey shows. YouGov’s globalism survey of about 26,000 people in countries from Australia to Sweden, designed with the Guardian and carried out by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project between July and August, before the second wave hit in Europe and elsewhere, showed striking variations in approval for governments’ handling of the pandemic, which has killed nearly 1.1 million people. A record four in five respondents in Denmark, which locked down very early in March as the first wave hit and has managed to limit Covid deaths to 119 per million inhabitants, thought their government had done very or fairly well.
Wave of new COVID-19 cases crashes across U.S. and Europe as winter looms
The United States, Russia, France and many other countries are setting records for coronavirus infections as a tidal wave of cases washes over parts of the Northern Hemisphere, forcing some countries to impose new curbs.
New Lockdown
Belgium faces decision on possible new lockdown by weekend: official
The Belgian government will convene on Friday to decide on a potential new national lockdown with the country now suffering the highest rate of coronavirus infections per 100,000 citizens, according to official data. The nation of 11 million people had 1,390 new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks, data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control showed on Tuesday.
Germany braces for 'lockdown light' as virus cases surge
Germans were preparing themselves Tuesday for tough new measures to tame a surge in coronavirus infections, with media reporting that a concerned Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for a "lockdown light". Merkel is due to hold crisis talks on Wednesday with the leaders of Germany's 16 states, where she is expected to warn of a dire winter ahead as case numbers climb to record highs and hospital beds fill up.
Spain's Rioja wine region bans wining, dining as pandemic curbs grow
The wine-producing region of La Rioja on Tuesday ordered the closure of restaurants and bars in its two largest towns for a month as part of widening restrictions across Spain to curb the coronavirus outbreak. The number of cumulative infections rose by 18,418 to nearly 1.12 million and the health ministry added 267 deaths from Monday, the highest toll in the second wave of the pandemic, bringing the total to 35,298. Daily deaths during the first wave in late March peaked at almost 900. A nationwide curfew has been in place since Sunday, while a growing number of regions have banned people from entering or exiting their territory. Deputy head of the Madrid regional government, Ignacio Aguado, said on Tuesday he backed such a lockdown for his central region.
Spain’s new state of alarm: more regions close their borders
Aragón, Asturias and the Basque Country join Navarre and La Rioja in sealing their territory, while Catalonia is considering weekend home confinements
Coronavirus: France faces lockdown amid surging cases
The French government is holding emergency meetings on Tuesday over the growing coronavirus crisis. Officials are warning of potential new lockdowns as the country sees soaring case numbers and hospitalizations. "We must expect difficult decisions," Interior Minister Darmanin told France Inter radio ahead of the meetings. President Emmanuel Macron is holding a Cabinet meeting to address the pandemic, while Prime Minister Jean Castex is meeting with lawmakers, unions and business lobbies.
Slovakia's blanket COVID-19 testing may prevent tighter lockdown, PM says
Slovakia may be able to avoid harsher anti-coronavirus measures as a result of its plans for nationwide testing scheduled to start this weekend, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Monday. Authorities conducted pilot testing in four badly hit regions over the weekend with more than 90% of people participating, producing an infection rate just below 4% of those tested. The country will conduct wide-ranging testing over the next two weekends.
Belgium faces decision on possible new lockdown by weekend: official
Belgium’s federal government should decide by this weekend whether a return to a nationwide lockdown is required, as the country grapples with a resurgence in novel coronavirus cases and hospitals risk running out of beds, an official said. New infections in Belgium, among the hardest-hit countries in Europe, hit a peak of more than 18,000 on Oct. 20, almost a 10-fold increase from the high of a spring wave of the pandemic. Health Ministry spokesman Yves Van Laethem told Belgian broadcaster RTBF on Monday evening that a decision on returning to lockdown would need to be taken by the end of the week.
Leading French medic Pialoux calls for new national lockdown to tackle COVID
Gilles Pialoux, an infectious diseases specialist at the Tenon hospital in Paris, urged the government on Tuesday to impose a new national lockdown to tackle a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. “I think we clearly need to lock down the country,” he told BFM TV, as President Emmanuel Macron’s government prepares to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss new measures to tackle the virus.
More English cities face tightest COVID lockdown rules
Britain announced wider coronavirus restrictions on Monday which will take the number of people under England’s highest category of alert to nearly 8 million, as the government battles a sharp rise in cases.
Merkel plans 'lockdown light' to slow infection wave in Germany - Bild
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.
France mulling month-long national lockdown to combat COVID-19 crisis: BFM TV
The French government is envisaging a month-long national lockdown to combat a rise in coronavirus infections which could take effect from midnight on Thursday, France’s BFM TV reported on Tuesday. French President Emmanuel Macron is due to make a televised address on Wednesday. His office did not comment on whether Macron would announce such a measure then. BFM TV added the lockdown under consideration would be “more flexible” than the strict restrictions on movement imposed in France in March this year.