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

News Highlights

U.S. reports more than 80,000 Covid-19 cases for second day running

According to data from John Hopkins University, daily coronavirus infections in the U.S. crossed 80,000 for the second day in a row with infections rising in rural areas, only weeks after they had fallen below 50,000 cases a day. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, warned that the U.S. could face a lot more challenges in the coming months as the cold weather was likely to further the spread of the virus.

Britain resists national lockdown despite cases surging all over the country

Robert Jenrick, UK housing minister, said that the country would do all it can to avoid another national lockdown, the likes of which have been reimposed in France and Germany, as the second wave of the pandemic surges through Europe. Every region in Britain has been seeing rising cases of the virus, with more than 10,000 people being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals, about half the number being treated in hospitals during the spring wave of the pandemic.

Coronavirus cases top 100,000 as daily infections cross 800 mark

More than 100,000 cases of Covid-19 have now been reported in Japan with a recent spike in infections being attributed to the resumption of economic activity in the country. Health authorities reported 809 cases on Thursday, the first time daily infections crossed the 800 mark since August 29. About 1,700 people have died in Japan due to Covid-19, with the mortality rate far lower than that of other countries.

New Covid-19 strain identified originating in Spain and spreading throughout Europe

Researchers backed by Swiss and Spanish public-sector science institutions have identified a new coronavirus strain that emerged in Spain in June and is spreading throughout Europe, making up a large proportion of new infections in several countries. Scientists say the variant was first identified among farm workers in the eastern Spanish regions and is not inherently more dangerous than the regular strain.

Lockdown Exit
Coronavirus: Europe is 'epicentre of pandemic once again', WHO chief warns after deaths rise by 35%
Paris has seen hundreds of miles of traffic jams as people tried to leave the city ahead of France's new national lockdown. Crowded scenes on the roads and railways came as the World Health Organisation warned that Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic once again. The region accounted for nearly half of the 2.8 million new COVID-19 cases reported worldwide last week, WHO said.
Australia's COVID-19 hotspot state reports one case after four month city lockdown lifted
Australia's COVID-19 hotspot state Victoria reported only one new infection on Thursday, a day after it lifted a four month lockdown in the city of Melbourne. Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said that while there were three positive cases of COVID-19 detected in the past 24 hours, two may be old infections. "This is another good day," Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. Victoria, which accounts for more than 90% of the 905 deaths nationally, did not record any new deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours. Melbourne, a city of some five million people, on Wednesday emerged from a stringent lockdown credited with ending a COVID second wave, allowing restaurants, cafes and shops to reopen.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: Eat Out to Help Out 'accelerated second wave of COVID-19', study says
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme caused a "significant" rise in new coronavirus infections, a new study suggests. According to the University of Warwick, the sharp increase in COVID-19 infection clusters emerged a week after the scheme began. The government's initiative was designed to boost the economy after the national lockdown, and allowed pubs and restaurants to offer heavily discounted meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
Partisan Exits
US Election 2020: Trump slams lockdowns, Biden accuses him of insulting victims
President Donald Trump has urged states to shun lockdowns as his Democratic rival Joe Biden said the pandemic could not be stopped by "flipping a switch". Continuing a whirlwind schedule of rallies in battleground states, Mr Trump also mocked mask mandates. Mr Biden said Mr Trump's handling of America's worsening coronavirus crisis was an "insult" to its victims. The Democrat has a solid national lead over the Republican president six days before the 3 November election. But Mr Biden's advantage is narrower in the handful of US states that could vote either way and ultimately decide who wins the White House.
Pret founder says UK should not lock down to save few thousand people
The founder of Pret a Manger and Itsu has said society will “not recover” if the UK enters a second lockdown “for the sake of a few thousand lives of old and very vulnerable people”. Julian Metcalfe, whose fortune is estimated at £215m, said a lockdown would be “impossible”. He told the Daily Mail: “The young people of this country will be paying for this for the next 20 to 30 years. It's terrible what's happening. “Just because France does this with its socialist government, doesn't mean we have to.”
Merkel heckled by German MPs as she defends second 'soft' Covid lockdown
Angela Merkel said Germans had the chance to show Covid-19 “you have chosen the wrong host” as she defended her government’s second “soft” lockdown, to shouts and heckles in parliament. Citing an interview with the German science writer Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim, which she said reflected her own attitude towards the pandemic, the chancellor said: “If the virus could think, it would think … ‘I’ve got the perfect host here. These people live all over the planet. They are globally networked and are social creatures, they can’t live without social contacts. They have a hedonistic inclination, they like to party, it couldn’t be any better.’”
As COVID-19 surges, European leaders impose new lockdowns and curfews. Trump does not
European leaders are ratcheting up pandemic restrictions as a second wave of COVID-19 cases batters Italy, Spain and other countries. French President Emmanuel Macron announced a full, nationwide lockdown starting Thursday and lasting until Dec. 1, though he said schools would remain open. In Germany, officials imposed a partial four-week lockdown Wednesday. “We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
'Terrifying new response': US host's bizarre take on NZ's Covid strategy
A right-wing television host in the US has spread misinformation about New Zealand's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing an old clip of Jacinda Ardern and claiming the Government is "throwing people into quarantine camps". Laura Ingraham, host of Fox News' The Ingraham Angle, made the claims on her show yesterday, joining a growing number of right-wing pundits overseas who are casting New Zealand's response as a threat to freedom.
Mexican president slams European coronavirus lockdown measures
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday blasted European countries for adopting strict lockdowns to stem the spread of coronavirus, suggesting they smacked of authoritarianism. Germany and France were on Wednesday preparing to announce restrictions approaching the level of spring’s blanket lockdowns as COVID deaths across Europe surged. National or local authorities have already imposed nighttime curfews in several European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic. Speaking at a regular news conference, Lopez Obrador voiced regret at the measures being taken in Europe and urged governments to show more faith in their populations.
Continued Lockdown
Maharashtra extends ongoing Covid-19 lockdown till November 30
The Maharashtra government on Thursday extended the ongoing lockdown by another month as cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continue to rise in the state. It will now remain in effect till November 30, officials said. While nationwide tally is witnessing a drop in daily cases, Maharashtra continues to be the worst-affected state by the Covid-19 in the country with 130,286 active cases. As of Wednesday morning, the death toll in the state stood at 14,86,926.
Australia's lockdown paid off: coronavirus cases hit zero in Victoria
Australia recorded zero new coronavirus cases in Victoria, the epicenter of its outbreak, on Monday and Tuesday. Victoria imposed aggressive lockdown measures in July as cases began to climb. For 111 days, Melbourne residents were only allowed to leave home for essential purposes like exercising or grocery shopping. The city also imposed fines on people who held large gatherings, traveled to and from work without a permit, and didn't wear a mask in public. Many of those restrictions were lifted on Wednesday.
Covid-19 coronavirus: Lockdown blamed for immunisation rate drop
A drop in infant immunisation rates during the Covid-19 lockdown has health workers scrambling to catch up. They fear "fake news" about vaccinations during the election campaign could add to the problem. The rate of vaccination among 6 month olds dropped 2.4 per cent to 76.2 per cent in the April to June quarter, which captured most of the level 4 lockdown and gradual lowering of restrictions, compared to the same time last year. The latest Ministry of Health data showed there was also a 4.4 per cent drop in those with the greatest socio-economic deprivation and a 5.6 per cent decline in Maori infants.
Scientific Viewpoint
Pfizer says no COVID-19 vaccine data yet, could be week or more before it reports
Drugmaker Pfizer Inc 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, 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. Chief Executive Albert Bourla said after it has enough data for the analysis, it typically takes 5 to 7 days before the company can publicly release the data, meaning it is likely to happen after the election.
States say they lack federal funds to distribute coronavirus vaccine as CDC tells them to be ready by Nov. 15
State health officials are expressing frustration about a lack of federal financial support as they face orders to prepare to receive and distribute the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 15, even though one is not likely to be approved until later this year. The officials say they don’t have enough money to pay for the enormous and complicated undertaking. State officials have been planning in earnest in recent weeks to get shots into arms even though no one knows which vaccine will be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, what special storage and handling may be required and how many doses each state will receive.
Scientists identify prolific COVID-19 strain which started in Spain and spread across Europe
A coronavirus strain that emerged in Spain in June has spread across Europe and now makes up a large proportion of infections in several countries, researchers said, highlighting the role of travel in the pandemic and the need to track mutations. The variant, which has not been found to be inherently more dangerous, was first identified among farm workers in the eastern Spanish regions of Aragon and Catalonia. Over the last two months, it has accounted for close to 90 per cent of new infections in Spain, according to the research paper, authored by seven researchers with backing by Swiss and Spanish public-sector science institutions. It was posted on a so-called preprint server and is yet to be peer reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.
WHO: Europe now has more than 10 million COVID-19 cases
The World Health Organization’s Europe director said Thursday that the 53-country region has again reached a new weekly record for confirmed cases, with more than 1.5 million confirmed last week and more than 10 million since the start of the pandemic. During a meeting with European health ministers, WHO European regional director Dr. Hans Kluge said, “hospitalizations have risen to levels unseen since the spring” and that deaths have risen by more than 30% in the last week. “Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” Kluge said. “At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern.”
Protect nature or face deadlier pandemics than COVID-19, scientists warn
Pandemics will emerge more often, spread faster, cost more and kill more people than COVID-19 without bold action to halt the habitat destruction that helps viruses hop from wildlife to humans, according to a study published on Thursday. The findings www.ipbes.net/pandemics suggest that moves to protect tropical forests and other rich ecosystems to help slow climate change and save animal, bird and plant species could also prevent pandemics. “It turns out that by doing something about pandemics we are also doing something about climate change and biodiversity, and that’s a good thing,” Peter Daszak, a zoologist who chaired the study by 22 international experts, told Reuters. The group found that about half of an estimated 1.7 million undiscovered viruses in nature might be able to infect people.
Exclusive: Russia's COVID-19 vaccine trial slows as focus shifts to second dose
Russia has temporarily paused the vaccination of new volunteers in its COVID-19 vaccine trial, staff at eight of 25 trial clinics said, with some citing high demand and a shortage of doses. However, the vaccine’s developer said the uptake of new participants had only slowed. At eight of the 25 Moscow clinics hosting the trial and inoculating volunteers, staff told Reuters the vaccination of new participants was temporarily on hold, and several said they had used up the doses allocated to their clinics, referencing a large influx of volunteers.
New coronavirus symptom found by Covid-19 scientists - and it can develop a month after being infected
A new coronavirus symptom has been discovered by Covid-19 researchers. Typically, the three symptoms carried by experts and health services are a sudden loss of taste or smell, persistent, new cough and high temperature or fever. But over the course of the year, more and more telling signs of coronavirus have emerged - especially among 'Long Covid' sufferers. Analysts who are conducting studies on the signs and symptoms of the deadly bug continue to unearth new findings. And now a new 'Covid toes' symptom has been discovered in research by the International League of Dlogical Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology. They found some patients had chilblain-like inflammation on their feet, sometimes lasting for months at a time.
India's COVID-19 cases have declined rapidly—but herd immunity is still far away, scientists say
Last week, a panel of leading scientists appointed by the Indian government delivered a startlingly optimistic message: The world’s second largest COVID-19 epidemic has rounded a corner. India’s daily number of daily new cases has almost halved the past six weeks, and a new mathematical model suggests “we may have reached herd immunity,” some members of the panel wrote in a paper published online by The Indian Journal of Medical Research. Assuming measures such as social distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing remain in place, the group said the pandemic could be “controlled by early next year.”
A new coronavirus variant is seen spreading across Europe, research says
A new variant of the coronavirus, identified as 20A.EU1 by researchers from Switzerland and Spain, was first observed in Spain in June. It has been recorded in Spain at frequencies of above 40% since July, the study said. Elsewhere, the new variant of the coronavirus has increased from “very low” values prior to July 15 to 40% to 70% in Switzerland, Ireland, and the U.K. in September. It was also found to be prevalent in Norway, Latvia, the Netherlands, and France.
UK COVID researcher says any lockdown should come sooner not later
Britain should act sooner rather than later if it is going to follow Germany and France and take nationwide steps to slow a second wave of the coronavirus, said Steven Riley, author of an Imperial College study into the spread of the disease. “I think we need decide to if we’re going to end up using those restrictions that have been brought in elsewhere in Europe today and yesterday. And if we’re if we’re going to do that, then we should think about timing. And sooner is better than later for these,” Riley, a professor of infectious disease dynamics, told the BBC. The spread of the coronavirus continues to increase across all parts of England with cases doubling every nine days, according to the new study by Imperial College.
Moderna on track to report late-stage COVID-19 vaccine data next month
Moderna Inc on Thursday said it is on track to report early data from a late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine next month, offering the clearest timeline yet for when the world will know whether it is effective. The company, one of the front-runners in the global race to produce vaccines to protect against COVID-19, said an independent data monitoring committee is expected to conduct an interim review of its ongoing 30,000-person trial in November. Its shares rose 3%. The company said it is preparing to distribute the vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, and expects to be able to produce 20 million doses by the end of the year, and between 500 million and 1 billion in 2021.
Novavax Sells 60 Million Doses of Its Coronavirus Vaccine to the U.K. Government
As part of the agreement, Novavax agreed to create a dedicated supply chain in the U.K. for the production of that country's order. The company will be required to deliver those 60 million doses to the U.K. government before using that supply chain to fulfill orders for any other parties unless the U.K. government gives it permission. Once the initial order is fulfilled, Novavax will be able to take orders from other parties using that portion of its production capacity, but the U.K. government will retain the right to request additional batches to match the third-party sales on a pro-rata basis.
Inside the Mexican factory preparing to produce Covid-19 vaccine
CNN's Matt Rivers visits Neolpharma, a Mexican pharmaceutical company that says it plans to eventually produce millions of coronavirus vaccine doses.
Israeli COVID vaccine starts human trials: ‘I’m giving my body, but no big deal’
Israel has started producing its new coronavirus vaccine. Will it work? Boaz Kolodner and 80 other Israelis have volunteered their immune systems to find out
Exclusive: Brazil will have a COVID-19 vaccine by June 2021, says regulator
Brazil expects to have a vaccine against COVID-19 approved and ready for use in a national inoculation program by June, the head of the country's health regulator Anvisa, Antonio Barra Torres, said on Thursday. With the world's worst outbreak of coronavirus after the United States and India, Brazil has become a key testing ground and has approved late stage clinical trials for four vaccines that are under development. Torres told Reuters that Anvisa has not decided on the minimum efficacy to require but he said the agency has approved vaccines in the past with less than 50% effectiveness. Health authorities in Europe are debating whether to accept a so-called efficacy rate of less than 50% to be able to deliver a vaccine sooner, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.
Sanofi and GSK to provide COVID-19 vaccine doses to COVAX Facility
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have signed a statement of intent with Gavi to provide 200 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine available to the COVAX Facility. The COVAX Facility is a global risk-sharing mechanism aim at securing COVID-19 vaccines for equitable distribution. The doses of Sanofi and GSK’s adjuvanted recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine will be used to support COVAX’s ambition to ensure successful shots reach those in need, once they obtain the appropriate approvals. “To address a global health crisis of this magnitude, it takes unique partnerships. The commitment we are announcing today for the COVAX Facility can help us together stand a better chance of bringing the pandemic under control,” said Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and global head of Sanofi Pasteur.
Moderna says Covid-19 vaccine trial data 'on track' for November
One of the front-runners in the global efforts to acquire a vaccine against Covid-19 said it was on track to report on the preliminary results of its clinical studies in November. Moderna said early-stage data on the clinical trial was expected during the following month and that two months of safety data would be available in the second half of November. The latter was the minimum required to file for emergency use authorisation wit the top US health regulator, the Food and Drug Administration. The US biotechnology outfit also said that it was working with the World Health Organisation on a tiered pricing model for access to its vaccine.
Verdict on coronavirus vaccine expected by Christmas as UK stocks up on 20 million doses
Britain has already stocked up on 20 million doses from six different candidate vaccines, but senior government officials reportedly claim Downing Street is confident Pfizer-Biontech will win the race
Moderna rakes in over $1bn in deposits for potential Covid vaccine
Moderna has received more than $1bn in deposits from governments for its potential Covid-19 vaccine, highlighting how the pandemic has transformed the fortunes of the lossmaking US biotech. Contracts from countries for its vaccine candidate helped Moderna to turn cash flow positive in the third quarter for the first time in its 10-year history. The Boston-based company now expects net cash of between $100m and $300m in the fourth quarter. Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive, said 2021 would be the “most important inflection year” in the company’s history, proving that its platform technology could deliver other vaccines and treatments.
Russia 'temporarily' stops COVID-19 vaccine phase III trial, says report
In a set back to Vladimir Putin's mega plan to roll out shots by the end of the year, Russia has temporarily stopped coronavirus vaccine trial due to shortage of doses, news agency Reuters said. "It's related to the fact that there's colossal demand for the vaccine and they are not producing enough to keep up," said the representative of Crocus Medical, the contract research organisation that is helping run the trial in Moscow together with Russia's health ministry, Reuters reported. Staff in eight of the 25 Moscow clinics hosting the trial told Reuters the vaccination of new participants in the Phase III study had been temporarily paused
Hope riding high for AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine breakthrough
The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest. Few people cannot have heard of AstraZeneca (AZN). It’s the pharmaceuticals company whose name is fast-becoming synonymous with the Coronavirus and is probably destined to either forever be known as the company that created The Vaccine - or for failing to. With the latest talk of a vaccine possibly being made available to healthcare workers possibly at the end of this year and the potential for a nationwide roll out in the second or third quarter of 2021, there is a lot riding on AstraZeneca’s shoulders right now. Assuming it is the AstraZeneca vaccine that’s being talked about.
Fauci says first U.S. COVID-19 vaccines could ship late December or early January
If all goes well, the first doses of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine will likely become available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, said on Thursday. Based on current projections from vaccine front-runners Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, Americans will likely know “sometime in December whether or not we have a safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a live chat on Twitter and Facebook. “The first interim look (at trial results) should be, we hope, within the next few weeks,” he said.
The world’s first coronavirus vaccine is already available in one country – but it might not work at all
The coronavirus is spreading like wildfire across dozens of states in the U.S. And with colder weather already settling in, not to mention the impending arrival of flu season, experts warn that a massive spike in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths may be inevitable. The U.S., however, isn’t the only country currently dealing with a resurgence of coronavirus infections. Several countries across Europe — including France, Poland, Germany, Portugal, and the Netherlands — now find themselves in a similar predicament. Indeed, some countries in Europe — similar to some states in the U.S. — have already started implementing tighter restrictions in an effort to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further.
Merck CEO says Covid vaccine won't be a 'silver bullet,' predicts mask use for the 'foreseeable future'
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier told CNBC on Thursday that drugs to treat or prevent Covid-19 aren’t a “silver bullet” solution to the pandemic. People will need to wear masks and practice social distancing measures well into 2021, he predicted. Frazier said “he’s very optimistic that in the near future” there will be positive results coming from late-stage clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics.
Instant Salvation?: The Challenges We Face Once a Coronavirus Vaccine Is Found
Several coronavirus vaccine candidates could soon be approved and German Health Minister Jens Spahn has begun making plans to inoculate millions of people. But the challenges remain immense and the virus will be with us for quite some time to come.
The 'very, very bad look' of remdesivir, the first FDA-approved COVID-19 drug
On 8 October, the company inked an agreement to supply the European Union with its drug remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19—a deal potentially worth more than $1 billion. Two weeks later, on 22 October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved remdesivir for use against the pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the United States—the first drug to receive that status. The EU and U.S. decisions pave the way for Gilead’s drug into two major markets, both with soaring COVID-19 cases. But both decisions baffled scientists who have closely watched the clinical trials of remdesivir unfold over the past 6 months—and who have many questions about remdesivir’s worth. At best, one large, well-designed study found remdesivir modestly reduced the time to recover from COVID-19 in hospitalized patients with severe illness. A few smaller studies found no impact of treatment on the disease whatsoever. Then, on 15 October—in this month’s decidedly unfavorable news for Gilead—the fourth and largest controlled study delivered what some believed was a coup de grâce: The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Solidarity trial showed that remdesivir does not reduce mortality or the time COVID-19 patients take to recover.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Covid-19: Nicola Sturgeon unveils Scotland's restriction levels
No areas of Scotland are to be placed in the highest level of the country's new five-tier coronavirus restrictions system. The Scottish government had been considering putting both North and South Lanarkshire in level four. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has now confirmed they will both be placed in level three instead, along with the rest of the central belt and Dundee. Much of the rest of the country has been put in level two. But the Highlands, Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and Moray, which have far fewer cases of the virus, have been moved down to level one.
Covid-19: Number of patients in hospital grows again
The number of patients in hospital with coronavirus in Wales has grown again - up nearly a quarter on last week. Latest NHS Wales figures show 1,110 Covid-19 patients in hospital beds, which is more than 80% of the level at the pandemic's peak in April. Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board has nearly 100 more patients in its hospitals compared with last week. There have been rises elsewhere, with numbers doubling in Hywel Dda, which had only 33 Covid patients a week ago.
As Coronavirus Surges, Chastened Dutch Wonder, ‘What Happened to Us?’
As coronavirus cases have shot through the roof, waiting times for tests and results have grown so lengthy that the health authorities have considered sending samples to labs in Abu Dhabi. Contact tracing, divided among 25 competing contractors, has never gotten off the ground. After months of discouraging the use of masks, saying they promote a false sense of security, the government just did an about face, calling for them to be worn in all public spaces. And topping it all off, the royal family, ignoring the government’s advice to travel as little as possible, flew off to their luxurious holiday home in Greece, adding to growing mistrust and resentment at home.
Britain resists COVID lockdown as Europe counts cost
Europe began counting the cost of sweeping restrictions on social life imposed to contain a surge in coronavirus infections while Britain continued to hold out against following Germany and France in ordering a second lockdown. As the pandemic raced ahead across the continent, Europe has moved back to being an epicentre of the global pandemic, facing the prospect of a prolonged economic slump alongside a public health crisis which has so far seen more than 44 million infections and 1.1 million deaths worldwide. “The total number of confirmed cases has moved from 7 to 9 million in just 14 days, and, today, Europe exceeded the 10-million-case milestone,” Hans Kluge, regional director for Europe at the World Health Organization (WHO), told an emergency meeting of European health ministers on Thursday.
Minister rejects calls for lockdown in England as Covid infections soar
A government minister on Thursday rejected calls for a national lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus even as a new report indicated that the rate of infections in England was in excess of government targets. Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said broad differences in infection rates across the country meant that a “one size fits all” approach was not appropriate. His comments came after one of the largest studies into the prevalence of Covid-19 in England found the R rate — the average number of new cases generated by an infected individual — was 1.6. The government has set a goal to keep it below 1.
Italy Weighs New Curbs as Cases Rise and Neighbors Lock Down
Italy could tighten restrictions on movement including targeted lockdowns as virus cases spiral and European peers take more stringent measures. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wants to use next week to assess the efficacy of the most recent set of curbs before taking further decisions, government officials said. The country could go into a near-full lockdown as soon as Nov. 9 if infection figures continue spiking, according to daily Il Messaggero. The next wave of curbs could include a new series of “red zones” in the country, ring-fencing some of the most-affected cities and their surrounding areas, one of the officials said. Milan, the country’s financial center, and Naples have been hit hardest.
Nearly all of Spain’s regions set to close their borders ahead of long weekend
Eleven of Spain’s regions, as well as the North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla, have announced that they will be closing their borders ahead of the All Saints holiday on Monday, thus limiting the usual travel of some Spaniards across the country on such a long weekend. The move comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the country, with new cases having grown 71% in 15 days, according to the latest report from the Health Ministry, with the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants at 453, another record high during this second wave. Asturias, Aragón, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre, La Rioja and Andalucia have all confirmed that they will be implementing a perimetral confinement, something that they can do under the state of alarm that was declared on Sunday by the central government and was being debated on Thursday in the Congress of Deputies. Catalonia and the Valencia region are also considering the same restrictions.
Is Spain heading toward a repeat of March’s total lockdown?
Spain, like most of Western Europe, has been introducing increasingly tough restrictions in a bid to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. But the Spanish government has stopped short of ordering all residents to remain at home, as it did when it introduced a total lockdown during the first wave in March. As cases continue to rise and hospitals come under growing pressure, authorities instead are considering a range of solutions – from the recently declared national curfew to weekend home confinement, which has been proposed by the Catalan government. These are intermediate measures that reduce mobility without stopping it completely, and it is not clear how effective they are nor when they will start to reduce contagions. This has prompted a debate in Europe over whether short but total lockdowns are more effective than long-term and staggered restrictions.
Spain’s Pedro Sánchez adopts more hands-off approach to second coronavirus wave
The Spanish prime minister is pushing for a six-month state of alarm to fight coronavirus, but unlike during the first wave, he wants regional leaders to make the hard choices. The number of new confirmed daily cases in Spain has shot up from around 8,000 at the beginning of September to over 18,000 and health experts warn that the targeted restrictions taken in recent weeks, including shutting down bars and restaurants in parts of the country and limiting gatherings, are having minimal impact. Political tensions are rising too. There was a furious public reaction to pictures of four ministers attending a glamorous awards ceremony in Madrid on Monday just as the country re-entered the state of alarm. Many on social media saw it as evidence of a political class out of touch with ordinary people struggling under strict anti-coronavirus measures, even though the event organizers said they had followed the rules.
Spain regions seal off perimeter to avoid new lockdown
One by one, Spain's regions have announced regional border closures in the hope of avoiding a new lockdown like in France, but the move may not be enough. On Sunday, the government unveiled a state of emergency to give regional authorities the tools to impose curfews and to close their borders to anyone moving without just cause. Most of the country's 17 regions, including Madrid, Catalonia and Andalusia, have taken advantage of the measure to impose a so-called perimetral or inter-regional lockdown affecting three-quarters of Spain's 47 million citizens.
India coronavirus cases cross 8 million amid fears of second wave
Coronavirus cases in India have crossed the eight million mark with the world’s second-worst hit country now bracing for a possible second wave ahead of winter. With 49,881 new reported infections on Thursday, India now has 8,040,203 COVID-19 cases and 120,527 deaths, according to the latest government figures.
Putin says no plans for lockdown despite record cases
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday there were no plans to introduce a nationwide lockdown in Russia as the country set a record for new coronavirus infections and fatalities.
Japan's total coronavirus cases top 100,000
Japan's cumulative total of confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 100,000 on Thursday, according to a tally based on official data, amid a recent uptick in the number of new infections coinciding with a resumption of economic activity. The single-day number of new cases across the country reported Thursday was 809, eclipsing the 800 mark for the first time since Aug. 29, as some clusters of infections have been detected since early this month. The total figure includes about 700 cases aboard the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February. There have been more than 1,700 deaths in the country attributed to the virus.
Large Covid outbreak in China linked to Xinjiang forced labour
China’s largest coronavirus outbreak in months appears to have emerged in a factory in Xinjiang linked to forced labour and the government’s controversial policies towards Uighur residents. More than 180 cases of Covid-19 documented in the past week in Shufu county, in southern Xinjiang, can be traced back to a factory that was built in 2018 as part of government “poverty alleviation” efforts, a campaign that researchers and rights advocates describe as coercive. Under the initiative, Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western region are tracked and given work placements that they have little choice but to take up. An official in nearby Kashgar told Caixin that the plant, Shuchang Garment, was a “satellite factory” for producing clothing, curtains and bedding. Previous state media reports about the factory said it employed about 300 villagers, mostly women, who could earn as much as 90 yuan (about £10) a day.
Poland's PM says wants to avoid full lockdown
Poland wants to avoid a full lockdown as it fights the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday, as the country reported a fresh record in COVID-19 cases and deaths. The country of 38 million reported 20,156 news cases and 301 deaths related to COVID-19.
Coronavirus: U.S. records more than 80,000 new daily cases
The U.S. reported 83,718 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, marking the second day in a row that the country topped 80,000 daily infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Why it matters: The coronavirus is surging across the U.S. and threatening to overwhelm hospitals, especially in rural areas. The government's top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci told MSNBC earlier this month the U.S. is "facing a whole lot of trouble" as it heads into the winter, with cold weather likely to contribute to further spread of the virus.
Britain says it is doing everything it can to avoid national lockdown
Britain will do everything it can to avoid ordering a second national COVID-19 lockdown because it believes it will do more harm than good to the country, a minister said on Thursday. Coronavirus cases are surging in every region of Britain, which suffered the worst death toll in Europe and the deepest contraction of any G7 leading economy after it delayed a lockdown when the first wave of the pandemic hit in March. But as France and Germany ordered new national closures, housing minister Robert Jenrick said the British government’s clear policy was to use the tough local restrictions that were recently imposed on swathes of northern England. “The judgement of the government today is that a blanket national lockdown is not appropriate, would do more harm than good,” he told Times Radio.
Britain pressed to follow French and German lockdowns as COVID rates surge
Europe began counting the cost of sweeping restrictions on social life imposed to contain a surge in coronavirus infections while Britain continued to hold out against following Germany and France in ordering a second lockdown. As the pandemic raced ahead across the continent, Europe has moved back to being an epicentre of the global pandemic, facing the prospect of a prolonged economic slump alongside a public health crisis which has so far seen more than 44 million infections and 1.1 million deaths worldwide. “The total number of confirmed cases has moved from 7 to 9 million in just 14 days, and, today, Europe exceeded the 10-million-case milestone,” Hans Kluge, regional director for Europe at the World Health Organization (WHO), told an emergency meeting of European health ministers on Thursday.
Coronavirus: 10,000 UK patients now in hospital with Covid-19
More than 10,000 Covid-19 patients are now being treated in UK hospitals — nearly 1,000 of them ventilators — according to latest daily figures from the government. The number has risen in recent days, but has yet to reach the 20,000 seen at the height of the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year. However figures have continued to grow beyond those seen during the first peak in isolated regions. Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust had the highest number of beds occupied by coronavirus patients in England on Tuesday at 450, according to new NHS England data - followed by Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust in Greater Manchester which had 290.
New Lockdown
Coronavirus France: Gridlock as people flee Paris before lockdown
Thousands of Parisians caused massive traffic jams as they tried to flee the French capital for the country. Huge numbers of locals attempted a mass exodus in a bid to avoid the start of the second national lockdown. Many were enjoying their final night of freedom in France ahead of new lockdown restrictions from Friday Draconian measures will see people needing documents to show their reasonable excuse for leaving home. Europe has seen rising infections, with France recording 47,637 new infections in 24 hours and 235 deaths
Greece introduces regional lockdown in north after COVID-19 spike
Greece will impose regional lockdowns on its second-largest city of Thessaloniki and two other regions from Friday after a spike in cases of COVID-19, the government said. The country has recorded significantly lower numbers of COVID-19 than other countries in Europe but cases have been rising rapidly since early October. Testing has also increased.
Europe and US facing new round of shutdowns amid virus surge
A new wave of lockdowns and business closings swept across France, Germany and other places in Europe on Wednesday as surging coronavirus infections there and in the U.S. wipe out months of progress against the scourge on two continents. The resurgence and the resulting clampdown sent a shudder through Wall Street. The S&P 500 fell 3.5%, its biggest drop since June, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 943 points, or 3.4%. French President Emmanuel Macron declared a new nationwide lockdown starting Friday, saying the country has been “overpowered by a second wave.” Many doctors had urged the move, given that 58% of the nation’s intensive care units are now taken up by COVID-19 patients. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a four-week shutdown of bars, restaurants and theaters. “We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency,” she said.
France and Germany thrust into lockdown as second COVID-19 wave sweeps Europe
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered their countries back into lockdown on Wednesday, as a massive second wave of coronavirus infections threatened to overwhelm Europe before the winter. World stock markets went into a dive in response to the news that Europe’s biggest economies were imposing nationwide restrictions almost as severe as the ones that drove the global economy this year into its deepest recession in generations. “The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” Macron said in a televised address. “Like all our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus.”
Germany faces 'a difficult winter', Angela Merkel admits while defending new lockdown measures
Merkel told the Bundestag today that Germany faces a 'difficult winter' ahead Comments come a day after Germany rolled out a series of lockdown measures These included the closure of bars and restaurants and limits on social contacts In the past day, Germany reported 16,744 new confirmed cases of coronavirus In the same time period the Robert Koch Institute said 89 Germans had died
Some European countries are reinstating a national lockdown - could the UK follow?
Covid cases and deaths continue to surge in Europe, forcing France and Germany to reinstate some form of national lockdown in an effort to bring infection rates back under control. The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that European governments are “well behind” in the fight against Covid-19, with the continent becoming an epicentre for the disease. However, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, Dr Michael Ryan, said that if tougher measures were imposed, it should be possible to stay ahead of transmission rates providing public health surveillance is in place.
France Braces for Economic Suffering as Lockdown Returns
Bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses will be forced to close, but unlike during the two-month lockdown imposed last spring, students will continue to go to school, Macron said during a televised address. French President Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday a new lockdown aimed at halting an alarming acceleration of Covid-19 cases, to take effect from Thursday night until “at least December 1.”
French bookshops ask to be treated as essential services during new lockdown
French authors, booksellers and publishers are imploring the French government to allow bookshops to stay open because reading is “essential”, as the country enters a national four-week lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. France’s second lockdown, announced on Wednesday evening by president Emmanuel Macron, begins at midnight on Thursday. Macron said he hoped it would put a “brutal brake” on the infection rate, as France is “submerged by the acceleration of the spread of the virus”. All non-essential businesses, including bars and restaurants, are to close, while individuals will require sworn declarations to leave home.
Kashgar in lockdown after completion of 4.7 million Covid-19 tests
Neighbourhoods cordoned off, shops closed after 100 infections confirmed in village on outskirts of city. Local woman says situation not as bad as in July, as people have learned to cope the restrictions
New French COVID lockdown may have to go beyond December 1 - government adviser
France’s new national lockdown, aimed at curbing the resurgence of COVID-19, may have to be extended beyond its initial deadline of Dec. 1, government scentific adviser Professor Jean-François Delfraissy said on Thursday. President Emmanuel Macron said late on Wednesday that France might start to ease back lockdown measures once COVID infections fell back to about 5,000 per day from around 40,000 per day at present. But Delfraissy said he did not think that could be achieved by Dec. 1.
Toilet paper and pasta: France girds for second virus lockdown
Stores and businesses across France were filled Thursday by people racing to get supplies -- and maybe a last-minute haircut -- ahead of a new coronavirus lockdown coming into effect at midnight. Essentials like pasta and toilet paper were in high demand, as were printer ink and electronics for working from home, while yoga mats were no longer to be found at many sporting goods stores. "I'm stocking up, since we don't know when this will end," said Catherine Debeaupuis while shopping at an electronics retailer in central Paris.