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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 17th Nov 2020

News Highlights

First case of Covid-19 reported in Mongolia as country imposes lockdown

A 29-year-old Mongolian transport driver who returned home from Russia and infected his wife with Covid-19 has become the country's first reported case of the novel coronavirus transmission. In response, Mongolia has imposed a nationwide lockdown until December 1 and is conducting a contact tracing exercise to identifiy all people who had contact with the infected person.

UK orders five million doses as Moderna reports 95% effective rate of its Covid-19 vaccine

A few days after Pfizer announced an over 90% success rate of its potential coronavirus vaccine, Moderna has said its own Covid-19 vaccine appeared to be about 95% effective, boosting hopes globally that a successful vaccine will be out soon. Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said that the UK had ordered five million doses of the Moderna vaccine already and that the vaccine can be rolled out across the nation by spring 2021, if proven safe.

Spike in cases sees Sweden sharply limiting gatherings

A second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe has seen cases surge across the continent with lockdowns imposed in France, Germany and several other countries. Sweden, which never imposed a lockdown and kept schools and colleges open, has also been seeing a sharp spike in cases lately, leading the government to reduce the size of public gatherings from 300 to just eight.

Third wave of pandemic past its peak in Delhi, minister says

Coronavirus cases have surged sharply in the Indian capital of New Delhi over the last few weeks, even as cases around the country have declined. Satyendar Jain, the city's top health official, pointed to a decline in the city's positivity rate and expressed optimism, saying that the peak of the third wave, which has swamped the city's health wards and killed hundreds lately, has passed and that cases would come down slowly.

Lockdown Exit
COVID-19 vaccine: UK orders five million doses of new Moderna jab by spring next year
Five million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine have been ordered by the UK, the health secretary has announced. Matt Hancock said preliminary trials showing it to be 94.5% effective were "excellent news" and that, if it proves safe, the jabs can start to be rolled out across the country by spring 2021. "We can see the candle of hope," he declared, but cautioned that people must keep following COVID-19 restrictions.
'There is no money left': southern Italy's poor pummelled by Covid
For the past 30 years, Grazia Santangelo has made a living selling books and jewellery from a stall at the Ballarò street market in Palermo. It is one of the oldest and liveliest markets in southern Italy — but now it is almost deserted. Because of the coronavirus crisis, 62-year-old Ms Santangelo has lost almost all of her clients and is struggling to pay for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Now that a second round of restrictions has come into force, she says she is lucky to earn €3 a day.
Morrison government looks at allowing extra flights home as Australians locked out due to COVID-19
Australians trying to flee coronavirus-riddled Europe struggling to secure flights Demand outstripping supply despite overseas arrival cap rising to 6,000 a week Government looking at more flights for citizens and then international students Education Minister Dan Tehan said country becoming 'victim of its own success' States and territories are asked to make a plan to allow in more overseas arrivals
Using contact tracing app 'strongest form of defence' against another lockdown - Shaun Hendy
Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast the University of Auckland data modelling expert warned a potential two week period of new community cases of the coronavirus, which authorities can't get on top of, could put New Zealand into lockdown. Hendy said he believed Auckland particularly had become complacent before a woman who lives, studies and works in the central city was confirmed as having Covid-19 last week - a case of community transmission. The woman has been linked to the Defence Force cluster and one of her close contacts was confirmed as having contracted the virus yesterday.
Israel economy strikes back in third-quarter after first lockdown lifted
Israel’s economy put on a blistering burst of growth in the third quarter, expanding an annualised 37.9% as consumer spending, exports and investment took off after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of the year. The preliminary gross domestic product (GDP) growth figure for July-September over the previous three months issued by the Central Bureau of Statistics was well above the 24% consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. “The Israeli economy has been resilient due to strong hi-tech sectors and lack of flights, which pushed private spending up sharply,” said Leader Capital Markets Chief Economist Jonathan Katz, who expects a return to contraction in the fourth quarter.
Packed crowds and euphoric leaders: Australia revels in Covid-free days
When the premier of Queensland held her regular Covid-19 update on Friday she couldn’t help letting a smile creep across her face. “Now, here’s a good one,” Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters. “I think all Queenslanders are going to be happy about it.” She went on to announce that Brisbane’s Suncorp stadium would host a capacity 52,500 crowd for the forthcoming State of Origin rugby league decider against New South Wales next week. “The cauldron can be filled to 100% capacity,” she said.
Japan’s Economy Surges as Covid-19 Limits Ease
Japan became the latest major economy to bounce back from the devastation of the coronavirus, as lockdowns eased and pent-up demand led to surging domestic consumption and a rebound in exports. But the recovery is unlikely to be long-lived, analysts warn, as a surge in new virus cases has led to a second round of lockdowns in the United States and Europe and threatens to dampen sentiment at home. Japan’s economy, the world’s third largest, surged 5 percent during the July-to-September period, for an annualized growth rate of 21.4 percent, after three straight quarters of contraction.
Exit Strategies
Many thousands suffering from long COVID, UK health minister says
Many thousands of people in Britain are suffering from “long COVID”, ongoing illness after contracting the coronavirus, health minister Matt Hancock said on Monday. “We’ve already seen the serious impact that long COVID can have on people’s quality of life, even the fit and the young, symptoms like fatigue and breathlessness, muscle pain and neurological problems, long after they first had the virus,” Hancock told a media conference. “And we know that long COVID affects thousands of people, many thousands of people,” he added, saying England would have a network of 40 clinics to deal with long COVID by the end of the month.
'More people may die,' Biden says, if Trump goes on blocking pandemic cooperation
President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday “more people may die” if outgoing President Donald Trump continues blocking a U.S. transition of power as the coronavirus pandemic worsens, and he urged Congress to pass new relief legislation. Biden said business and labor leaders had signaled willingness to work together to bolster the pandemic-battered U.S. economy but stressed COVID-19 first must be brought under control. The Democratic president-elect delivered a speech and took questions from reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, after consulting jointly with the CEOs of top U.S. companies and labor leaders on Monday. He welcomed further progress in COVID-19 vaccine development.
Visitor Covid-19 testing launched in care homes under pilot
A pilot to provide Covid-19 tests to designated friends and family of those living in care homes has today been launched across Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon. The move, which aims to help facilitate indoor visits and even physical contact between care home residents and their patients
Covid-19: New 'mega labs' in early 2021 to speed up testing
Two new "mega labs" will open in early 2021 with the aim of doubling the UK's daily coronavirus testing capacity, the government has said. The sites - at Leamington Spa in the Midlands and another at an unconfirmed site in Scotland - will increase testing capacity by 600,000. The latest data shows current capacity is around 519,000 - although the number of tests actually processed is lower. Meanwhile, Labour is calling for a national plan to roll out the vaccine. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the vaccination programme will probably be the largest logistical operation since World War Two - and called for a plan setting out who will be eligible for a jab and when.
Northern MPs to demand 'clear route out of lockdown' during virtual PM meeting
Northern MPs will ask for a “clear route out of lockdown” during a virtual meeting with the Prime Minister on Monday, an ex-minister has confirmed. Jake Berry, who leads the Northern Research Group (NRG) of more than 50 Tory backbenchers representing north of England constituencies, said he would be seeking answers from Boris Johnson about lifting the current measures, with some areas seeing little reprieve from restrictions designed to control the spread of coronavirus. The meeting between Mr Johnson and MPs representing so-called “blue wall” seats across the North, many of them taken from Labour at last year’s election, will take place via online video conference.
Sweden sharply limits gatherings as second COVID-19 wave swells
The Swedish government has moved to sharply reduce the size of public gatherings, as it sought to come to grips with a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen record daily numbers of new cases and growing pressure on hospitals. Swedes have not been adhering to coronavirus recommendations and public gatherings will now be limited from a previous upper threshold of 300 to eight people, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said at a news conference on Monday.
Insurers cannot provide unlimited cover in pandemic - UK Supreme Court told
Major insurance companies told the UK Supreme Court on Monday that thousands of small companies battered by the coronavirus pandemic were not eligible for business interruption payouts and to suggest differently was “reverse engineering”. On the first day of a four-day appeal of a test case brought by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) against insurers, industry lawyers told top judges that businesses could not claim for losses stemming from nationwide lockdowns to curb the virus. Gavin Kealey, a lawyer for insurer MS Amlin, said that only business losses related to COVID-19 infections within a 25-mile radius of insured properties were covered.
Partisan Exits
Covid-19 contracts smell of cronyism – so I'm taking the government to court
There is an England of my mind. And in it those who have made their fortunes offer their time and talents in service of the public good, modelling self-sacrifice and respect for good governance to ensure the nation thrives. But that England is no longer this England. Take the story of Kate Bingham. She is wife to a Treasury minister and cousin by marriage to Boris Johnson’s sister. Despite having – by her own admission – no vaccines experience, she was appointed by the prime minister, as far as we know without competition, to head up the “vaccines taskforce”. With this role came responsibility for investing billions of pounds of public money, a task she performed while remaining managing director of a private equity firm specialising in health investments. While in post she gave, again apparently without competition, a £670,000 contract to a tiny PR firm, whose last accounts show net assets of less than a third of that sum. Its directors include Collingwood Cameron, a longstanding business associate of Humphry Wakefield (better known as Dominic Cummings’ father-in-law).
Trump's coronavirus advisor urges Michigan to 'rise up' against new COVID lockdown but insists he was NOT talking about violence
Dr Scott Atlas criticized the new coronavirus measures in Michigan yesterday The White House advisor told people 'you get what you accept' on social media Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she would not be bullied by the White House
Germany postpones decision on further lockdown measures until next week
German federal and state leaders agreed to postpone until November 25 a decision on further lockdown measures to slow a second wave of coronavirus infections, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday. Merkel said a majority of state leaders did not want to see a tightening of restrictions before next week, but, she added: “I could have imagined imposing further contact restrictions today, but there was no majority for that.”
Merkel forced to postpone plans to tighten lockdown rules
Angela Merkel has said she does not have backing among state leaders for new restrictions to give Germany’s “soft” lockdown a harder bite, postponing any decision until a further meeting between the chancellor and 16 state premiers next week. The chancellor had been in favour of people limiting social interactions in private to only one set second household, and forgo any kind of party until Christmas Eve, according to a draft proposal cited by several news outlets including Der Spiegel. The plans were also reported to include advising citizens to quarantine at home for up to seven days, even if they display only the symptoms of an ordinary cold, and tightening hygiene requirements at schools, with teachers and students of all year groups asked to wear face masks throughout lessons.
Anti-lockdown demonstrators clash with police in Italy and French Catholics demand right to worship
Protest organised by ultra-right Forza Nuova and the No Mask movement took place in Piazza Venezia, Rome. Demonstration saw protesters face off with riot police as they shouted and tried to barge through barricade. In France, several Catholic protests organised across country demanding the return of religious services
French Catholics protest for end to lockdown on Mass
With banners reading “Let us Pray” and “We Want Mass,” Catholic protesters held scattered demonstrations around France on Sunday to demand that authorities relax virus lockdown measures to allow religious services. In the western city of Nantes, hundreds gathered in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary, some kneeling on the rain-soaked pavement, according to local broadcaster France Bleu. Similar gatherings were reported or planned in the eastern city of Strasbourg, Bordeaux in the southwest, and outside the Saint-Louis Cathedral in Versailles.
Biden says he ‘wouldn’t hesitate’ to get Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines
President-elect Joe Biden said he “wouldn’t hesitate to get the vaccine” during a press conference on Monday while demanding cooperation from President Donald Trump’s White House in coordinating Covid-19 recovery efforts. “I wouldn't hesitate to get the vaccine,” Mr Biden told reporters, saying: “If Fauci, Moderna and Pfizer conclude it's safe and able to be done.” He added: "The only reason people question the vaccine now is because of Donald Trump." The president-elect also said “it’s going to take a while … for the vaccine to get to people” while condemning the “irresponsible” behavior of the Trump administration not to comply with transitional recovery efforts.
Continued Lockdown
Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland's lockdown could get even TOUGHER to save Christmas as she warns coronavirus hot-spots they could be plunged into top Level 4 in a bid to rescue ...
She said areas where cases remain 'stubbornly high' could be placed in Level 4 Told press conference step would be a short, sharp hit to get cases decreasing The First Minister said her Cabinet will make decisions tomorrow morning
Matt Hancock suggests England’s lockdown may not end on December 2
Matt Hancock has said it is “too early” to determine whether England’s lockdown should end as planned in just over two weeks’ time. Under current plans, the national shutdown is due to expire on December 2, after which the country is set to return to a tiered system of coronavirus restrictions. However, asked on Monday morning whether the lockdown will simply be “rebadged” after next month’s deadline, the Health Secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is still too early to say I’m afraid.” Mr Hancock continued: “We’ve seen in the last week that there is still a very high number of cases but we do absolutely want to come out of this national lockdown.
New restrictions less damaging to UK economy than spring lockdown, data show
The latest Covid-19 restrictions across the UK are affecting the economy less severely than the nationwide lockdown in the spring, unofficial data suggest. A new lockdown in England, firebreak restrictions in Wales and travel curbs in Scotland and Northern Ireland resulted in sharp contractions across many measures of consumer services activity in early November. However, so-called high-frequency indicators of the broader economy, including volumes of people travelling to workplaces and heavy goods vehicle traffic, remained largely unchanged compared with before the restrictions were imposed, reflecting that most factories and building sites remained open.
Coronavirus: ‘Too early’ to say if lockdown can be lifted in England on 2 December, says Matt Hancock
Current lockdown measures in England could continue beyond their planned end date of 2 December, health secretary Matt Hancock has suggested. Mr Hancock said it was “too early” to determine whether the restrictions, including the closure of pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops, can be lifted on the planned date. His comments were far more pessimistic than projections made by Boris Johnson, who has previously told MPs that he has “no doubt” that the restrictions will be eased after the planned four-week second lockdown
Schools and parties in spotlight as Germany weighs new Covid rules
Angela Merkel has said she does not have backing among state leaders for new restrictions to give Germany’s “soft” lockdown a harder bite, postponing any decision until a further meeting between the chancellor and 16 state premiers next week. The chancellor had been in favour of people limiting social interactions in private to only one set second household, and forgo any kind of party until Christmas Eve, according to a draft proposal cited by several news outlets including Der Spiegel. The plans were also reported to include advising citizens to quarantine at home for up to seven days, even if they display only the symptoms of an ordinary cold, and tightening hygiene requirements at schools, with teachers and students of all year groups asked to wear face masks throughout lessons.
French authors offer to pay bookshops' Covid lockdown fines
A group of French authors has promised to pay fines imposed on the country’s bookshops that remain open in defiance of coronavirus lockdown rules. The pledge was made by the bestselling writer Alexandre Jardin, who said authors were getting together to support booksellers during the crisis. Under France’s lockdown rules, which are in force until at least 1 December, only essential shops and businesses can remain open. Bookshops are not deemed “essential”. Jardin, who lost a close relative to coronavirus last month, said he was not taking the health threat lightly, but feared for the future of independent bookshops. “We will not let our bookshops close,” he told BFMTV. “We can’t be having the cops descending on them.”
UK shopper numbers plunge as English lockdown makes impact
Total shopper numbers across British retail destinations plummeted 57.7% in the week to Nov. 14 year-on-year, reflecting the impact of England’s second national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland enacted new COVID-19 health restrictions last month and England began a one-month lockdown on Nov. 5 to curb a second wave of the pandemic that has left the United Kingdom with Europe’s highest death toll.
Teenage pregnancies rise in parts of Kenya as lockdown shuts schools
Jackline Bosibori wept when she found out she was pregnant. The 17-year-old’s mother, who is raising six kids alone, collapsed in their one-room home. They had been repeatedly threatened with eviction and couldn’t afford another mouth to feed. “If I was in school, this could have not happened,” said Bosibori, who wants to become a lawyer. With school closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and her mother out selling vegetables on the roadside, Bosibori got involved with a man in his twenties. When she told him she was pregnant, he stopped answering her calls.
Merkel, German states consider tougher pre-Christmas COVID curbs
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday leaders of the country’s 16 federal states were resisting her efforts to agree stricter measures to fight a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, two weeks into a partial nationwide lockdown. Merkel had pushed for tougher measures at a meeting in Berlin, but state leaders wanted to wait and see the effects of current restrictions, she told a news conference. “The majority of states declined to change legal measures roughly one week ahead of the next meeting... I could have imagined imposing further contact restrictions today,” she said.
'There's nothing to keep a lid on it': is lockdown making us eccentric?
“Not sure if it’s because of recent times of lockdown etc but Christ I talk to myself a lot these days.” So tweeted the actor and presenter Emily Atack – and she is not alone. Confined to our homes and freed from the judgments of others – perceived or otherwise – growing numbers of us are admitting to quirky behaviours, from talking to ourselves to singing more loudly in the shower or living out the fashion eccentricities we’d never have dreamed of in the office. Psychologists told the Guardian that people are likely to become more eccentric over lockdown, displaying new or accentuated behaviours ranging from unusual mannerisms and daily routines to discovering unconventional interests.
Scientific Viewpoint
We can stop COVID-19: Moderna vaccine success gives world more hope
Moderna Inc's experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, the company said on Monday, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker to report results that far exceed expectations.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine boasts a nearly 95% effective rate
Moderna said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was proving to be highly effective in a major trial, a second dash of hope in the global race for a shot to tame a resurgent coronavirus that is now killing more than 8,000 people a day worldwide. Moderna said its vaccine appeared to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from the company’s ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared similarly effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S. Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, welcomed the “really important milestone” and said that having similar results from two different companies was what was most reassuring.
COVID-19 forced at least 11 US patients to undergo DOUBLE lung transplants with 7 at one hospital
At least 11 double lung transplants have been performed across the country including in Florida, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin. Seven of those 11 operations have been done at Northwestern Medicine in Illinois between June and October. The first-ever patient was Mayra Ramirez, a 28-year-old Chicago native who spent six weeks on a ventilator before receiving a new set of lungs. Other patients have included healthcare professionals such as Kari Wegg, a 48-year-old NICU nurse, from Indiana. Andrew Lawrence, 54, from Texas, contracted the virus in July while treating patients and was the fifth patient to undergo a transplant at Northwestern
'Truly striking': Covid-19 vaccine candidate 94.5 percent effective, Moderna says
Moderna said Monday that early analysis from its Phase 3 trial shows its Covid-19 vaccine is 94.5 percent effective at preventing the illness, offering hope of a second breakthrough in as many weeks. The news comes a week after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said early analysis showed its vaccine candidate was more than 90 percent effective.
Moderna's Coronavirus Vaccine Nearly 95% Effective, Analysis Finds : Shots - Health News
A second COVID-19 vaccine now also appears highly effective in preventing illness following exposure to the virus that causes the disease. The biotech company Moderna Inc. said Monday that its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing disease, according to an analysis of its clinical trial. The news comes a week after Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine was more than 90% effective. The results for both vaccines come from interim analyses of large clinical studies. In the Moderna study there were 30,000 volunteers. Half got two doses of the vaccine 28 days apart; half got two shots of a placebo on the same schedule.
UK plans temporary aid cut to pay for coronavirus crisis - The Times
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering a temporary cut to the aid spending to help the country's Covid-ravaged public finances, The Times reported. Ministers have drawn up plans to reduce the proportion of Britain's gross national income spent on aid from 0.7% to 0.5%, saving billions, the report published in the newspaper said. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak is pushing for the cut to be announced in next week's comprehensive spending review, the report said, adding Johnson insisted that the spending should return to the 0.7% total as soon as 2022. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab opposed the move amid concerns about the impact on Britain's global standing, according to the report.
Coronavirus: New UK vaccine trial starts crucial next stage
A global pharmaceutical company is set to begin clinical trials of its potential vaccine in the UK. Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, part of Johnson & Johnson, will start the next stage of its vaccine testing on Monday with 6,000 volunteers from across the country. Theirs is the third potential jab about to enter clinical trials in the UK, alongside US biotech company Novavax and the University of Oxford’s vaccine with AstraZeneca, whose trials are ongoing. The Janssen vaccine is jointly funded by the government’s vaccine taskforce. The latest trial is designed to test its safety and efficacy.
Covid vaccine: Major new trial starts in UK
A major trial of a vaccine to protect against Covid-19 has launched in the UK - the third such trial in the country. The jab - designed by the Belgian company Janssen - uses a genetically modified common cold virus to train the immune system. It comes a week after preliminary results showed another vaccine offered 90% protection. However, many types of vaccine are likely to be needed to end the pandemic. The success of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has caused global excitement. However, it has not yet been approved for use and we still do not know how well it works in the elderly or how long immunity lasts. The hunt for Covid vaccines continues as a different approach may yet be better, or better in some age groups, and one company will struggle to immunise the planet.
Covid: Final-stage vaccine trial begins in the UK
The UK will be the first country to run final-stage trials of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by a company owned by Johnson and Johnson. The phase-three trial of the vaccine from pharmaceutical company Janssen starts on Monday and will be the first of its two-dose study. The jab has already undergone phase one and two trials, and interim analysis of the single-dose study suggests the Covid-19 vaccine candidate induces a robust immune response and is generally well-tolerated. For the two-dose study, researchers are aiming to recruit around 6,000 UK participants – from a total of 30,000 people globally – at 17 sites across the country.
Tempus and Yale Announce Research Collaboration to Accelerate COVID-19 Test Development
Tempus, a leader in artificial intelligence and precision medicine, and the Yale School of Public Health announced a research collaboration to accelerate the development of COVID-19 diagnostic tests in the U.S. This partnership will leverage SalivaDirectTM, a saliva-based laboratory diagnostic test that has been developed by researchers at Yale. Tempus and Yale will further develop SalivaDirectTM to enable home sample collection and to combine COVID-19 and influenza testing of saliva samples. Simple and affordable at-home sample collection is seen as instrumental to providing Americans with more testing options to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Testing for both the novel coronavirus and influenza from the same sample has been described as a key priority to reduce the impact of both diseases during winter months.
WHO sees limited COVID-19 vaccine doses in early 2021
The World Health Organization’s chief scientist said on Monday she expected there to be “very limited” COVID-19 vaccine doses available in the first half of 2021. Soumya Swaminathan said that she remained optimistic that the body would be able to work with many manufacturers to have a wide selection of vaccines as part of its global distribution scheme.
How does Moderna coronavirus vaccine work and which countries are first in line for it?
US spent $1bn on vaccine and is promised 20million doses by the end of year. UK ministers were concerned would take too long to get jab from Switzerland. Was tested on 95 people with Covid - five were given jab, rest given placebo
UK orders five million doses of Moderna vaccine, eyes spring arrival
Britain has secured 5 million doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc MRNA.O after it reported positive trial results, health minister Matt Hancock said on Monday, with the earliest doses expected for delivery in spring. Interim data from a late-stage trial indicated Moderna’s vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19. “We have today secured an initial agreement for 5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine,” Hancock said at a news conference. Britain had previously secured supply deals for a total of 350 million vaccine doses from six different suppliers, including Pfizer Inc PFE.N, whose vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective, and 100 million doses of an AstraZeneca/Oxford AZN.L candidate expected to report late-stage results in coming weeks.
COVID restriction tiers in England may need strengthening, adviser says
The government will have to consider strengthening the three-tier system of restrictions used to control the spread of COVID-19 when the full lockdown in England ends, a medical adviser said on Monday. “We see very little effect from tier one. And I think when we look at what tiers may be there in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine’s available for everyone,” Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, told a news conference. “We expect if the lockdown is working, and we’re all doing the best we can to have reduced or no social contact with other people that we will start to see cases decline over the next week.
South Korea to tighten social distancing, warns of new COVID-19 crisis
South Korea will impose stricter social distancing rules for the greater Seoul area a month after easing them, officials said on Tuesday, warning of an even bigger crisis if anti-COVID-19 efforts fail to dampen a spike in new cases. Starting Tuesday midnight, tighter curbs will ban public gatherings of 100 people or more, limit religious services and audiences at sporting events to 30% capacity, and require high-risk facilities including clubs and karaoke bars to broaden distance among guests. South Korea has been one of the world’s coronavirus mitigation success stories after tackling the first major COVID-19 epidemic outside China with aggressive tracing and testing, but continues to battle persistent rises in infections. The tougher restrictions came as the daily case tally hovered above 200 for a fourth consecutive day, with a series of cluster outbreaks emerging from offices, medical facilities and small gatherings in Seoul and surrounding regions where around half of the country’s 52 million population live.
COVID-19 lockdown tier system 'not very well thought out' warns SAGE scientist
The coronavirus lockdown tier system being used in England "was not very well thought out", a government scientific adviser has said. Under current plans, a regional tiered system is set to replace the national lockdown when it ends on 2 December. However, professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has warned a return to the lowest alert level of the regional tier system, Tier 1, when the lockdown ends would be "very unwise".
Arthritis drug 'cuts elderly Covid-19 deaths by two-thirds', say researchers
Daily drug reduces deaths by 71 per cent in those with moderate or severe illness Drug baricitinib, marketed as Olumiant, has only been available for three years Medics hope the arthritis drug could help save most vulnerable to coronavirus
Coronavirus Resurgence
St. Louis Is So Overwhelmed With Covid-19 It’s Asking People To Do Their Own Contact Tracing
As health officials across the country struggle with dwindling resources amid a third resurgence of the coronavirus, St. Louis said Monday the county is so overwhelmed with Covid-19 it no longer has enough capacity for contact tracing.
Covid-19 Northern Ireland: 14 further Covid-19 deaths recorded by Department of Health
There have been 14 further Covid-19 deaths recorded in Northern Ireland, with 10 of these taking place in the past 24 hours, according to the Department of Health. The department's daily dashboard says there have been 331 positive tests in the past day, with 3,831 people contracting the virus in the past week. The Northern Ireland death toll from the virus now stands at 869, says the DoH. Since the outbreak began, 47,162 individuals have tested positive for Covid-19. Belfast has seen the largest number of new infections in the past seven days, with 696, followed by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon with 544, and Causeway, Coast and Glens with 451. Those aged 20 to 39 have had the most positive tests in the past week, with 1,267, followed by those aged 40 to 59 with 1,199.
Covid-19: Boris Johnson and six Tory MPs self-isolating after No 10 meeting
Boris Johnson, six Tory MPs and two political aides are self-isolating after a breakfast meeting inside Downing Street last Thursday. One of the MPs, Lee Anderson, later tested positive for Covid-19, and on Sunday the prime minister was told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. In a video from No 10, Mr Johnson urged others to "follow the rules" if contacted by the system. The PM's official spokesman insisted that Downing Street is "Covid-secure". He said "social distancing did happen" but factors such as the length of the meeting were considered by Test and Trace. Mr Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care with coronavirus seven months ago, spent about 35 minutes with Mr Anderson - who lost his sense of taste the day after the meeting.
States enact more Covid-19 rules as the US hits 11 million cases
The United States surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as states across the country moved to enact restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. The latest milestone comes just six days after the US recorded 10 million cases, per Johns Hopkins data. It was the fastest the US has added one million new cases since the pandemic began. At least 45 states have reported more new infections this past week compared to the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins University. "We have this firestorm of coronavirus all across the country," emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen said. "It's not one or two hotspots, the entire country is a hotspot of coronavirus infection."
Coronavirus: US rules out lockdown as daily cases near 200000
America’s top infectious diseases experts have ruled out a national lockdown against the coronavirus even as the country heads for a record of 200,000 new cases a day. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that it would fall to local and regional leaders to instigate mitigation measures even after Joe Biden, the president-elect, assumes power, and called on President Trump to stop stonewalling efforts by the new administration to get a plan in place. “We’re not going to get a national lockdown. I think that’s very clear,” Dr Fauci said.
Covid: Michigan and Washington State clamp down as US cases pass 11 million mark
Michigan, Washington and California are the latest US states to bring in strict measures to try to curb the spread of Covid-19, as cases top 11 million. High schools and colleges are to halt on-site teaching while restaurants are prohibited from offering indoor dining in Michigan from Wednesday. Indoor restaurant dining is also banned in Washington State, and gyms, cinemas, theatres and museums will close. And much of California will return to its most severe restriction level. On average, more than 1,000 people a day are dying with the virus, and the overall death toll is close to 250,000. Hospital admissions have also reached record levels.
Sweden limits public gatherings to eight people amid Covid surge
Sweden has cut its limit on attendance at public gatherings to eight people, as its light-touch approach to the coronavirus pandemic continues to be tested by a surge in new infections and hospitalisations. Public gatherings have until now had to adhere to limits of between 50 and 300 people depending on the type of event. The prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said the stricter limit would come into force from 24 November. “This is the new norm for the entire society,” Lofven said, adding that Swedes were not observing coronavirus recommendations as well they had in the spring. “Don’t go to gyms, don’t go to libraries, don’t host dinners. Cancel,” he said.
Covid figures suggest France has passed peak of second wave: health minister
With more tests being carried out and fewer people admitted to intensive care, French Health Minister Olivier Véran says there is every reason to believe the country has passed the peak of the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic. But the battle is a long way from over, the minister warned. Health Minister Véran said the epidemic is being brought under control. "Thanks to the lockdown, just as in March, the virus is spreading less quickly," Véran told journalists from a group of regional newspapers at the weekend.
"Delhi Has Crossed Peak Of Third Covid Wave, No Lockdown": Minister
Delhi will not be put under another lockdown in the wake of the third wave of COVID-19 since it has already peaked out, state Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today, dismissing all speculation. "There is no chance of a lockdown," Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today. "I can tell you today that the peak of Delhi's third wave is gone," Mr Jain said. When asked about markets being shut down, he said, "It has not even been considered. The festival is over, the crowds will get thinner now on." However, he said people ought to be cautious and wear masks. "The lockdown was a learning exercise...What we learnt was that the gains from a lockdown were the same as those from wearing masks." Delhi on Sunday recorded 3,235 new COVID-19 cases and 95 deaths due to coronavirus, state government data shows.
Japan looks to avert Covid-19 lockdowns and keep economy open
Japan can make it through the winter without lockdowns or mass screening for Covid-19 but the public will have to socialise — and drink — with care, according to the doctor leading the country’s response. Dr Shigeru Omi, chair of the government’s expert committee on the virus, told the Financial Times in an interview that Japan was determined to keep the economy open even as case numbers were rising. Japan has been relatively successful in living with the virus — rather than seeking near elimination as has been pursued in Australia, New Zealand, China and Taiwan — making it a potential model for Europe and the US.
Asia at a crossroads in fight against coronavirus as cases surge
Countries across the Asia-Pacific region reported record new coronavirus numbers and fresh outbreaks on Monday, with Japan facing mounting pressure to reimpose a state of emergency and South Korea warning it was at a “critical crossroads”. The resurgence of the virus in Asia comes as travel restrictions are gradually being eased in the region and it will dampen prospects for broader reopening that would boost the recovery underway in economies such as Japan. New daily cases in Japan reached a record 1,722 on Saturday, with hot spots in the northern island of Hokkaido and the western prefectures of Hyogo and Osaka. In Tokyo, cases have neared 400 in recent days, levels not seen since early August.
Japan looks to avert Covid-19 lockdowns and keep economy open
Japan can make it through the winter without lockdowns or mass screening for Covid-19 but the public will have to socialise — and drink — with care, according to the doctor leading the country’s response. Dr Shigeru Omi, chair of the government’s expert committee on the virus, told the Financial Times in an interview that Japan was determined to keep the economy open even as case numbers were rising. Japan has been relatively successful in living with the virus — rather than seeking near elimination as has been pursued in Australia, New Zealand, China and Taiwan — making it a potential model for Europe and the US.
Covid: South Australia goes on high alert after first outbreak in months
South Australian authorities say they are facing a "dangerous situation" after reporting 18 coronavirus cases in the state's first outbreak since April. Up to 13 infections were linked to a hotel quarantine worker in Adelaide who spread the virus to a family in the local community, officials said. The state has ramped up testing and brought in new restrictions. Australia had seen cases drop to near zero after beating a second wave that was largely confined to Victoria. Victoria's capital, Melbourne, spent almost four months in a stringent lockdown before re-opening last month.
Australia back on outbreak alert as state virus infections spike
South Australia reported 14 new coronavirus cases on Monday, a rapid spike in the state’s first outbreak since April, prompting officials to impose social distancing restrictions. The cluster also prompted some other Australian states to reimpose strict quarantine measures on anybody arriving from South Australia - just days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he expected all internal borders to be open by Christmas. South Australia authorities first reported three locally-acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, saying the outbreak was caused by a worker from a quarantine hotel infecting family members. By Monday, case numbers had jumped to 17.
US COVID-19 infection numbers grow by one million in just six days
The US surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as states across the country moved to enact restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. The latest milestone comes just six days after the US recorded 10 million cases, per Johns Hopkins data. It is the fastest the US has added one million new cases since the pandemic began.
How Adelaide could go into a Melbourne-style lockdown because of hotel quarantine worker
South Australia outbreak has echoes of Melbourne's COVID-19 situation in June Adelaide now has 17 active cases with 15 of them linked to one large family SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said next 24 to 48 hours were crucial
Indian capital's third coronavirus wave has peaked: minister
The latest surge of coronavirus infections in the Indian capital, that has swamped its intensive care wards and killed hundreds of people, has passed its peak, the city’s top health official said on Monday, dismissing fears of another lockdown. “I can definitely tell you that the peak is gone and cases will slowly come down now,” Satyendar Jain, minister of health in the city government, told Reuters partner ANI, pointing to a decline in the city’s positivity rate. New Delhi has seen a surge in novel coronavirus infections this month, what authorities have called a third wave that has killed more than 600 people dead in the past week, even as cases in other parts of the country have declined.
PM Johnson self-isolating after COVID-19 contact
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, a fresh setback after infighting among his top advisers plunged Downing Street into chaos last week. Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care in a London hospital earlier this year with the novel coronavirus, is well and does not have any symptoms, a spokesman for the prime minister said on Sunday. “He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” the spokesman said. “The prime minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating.” Johnson met lawmakers in Downing Street on Thursday, including Lee Anderson, a Conservative Party member who subsequently developed COVID-19 symptoms and tested positive.
Spain's hard-pressed millennials move out of the city amid COVID
Thirty-one-year-old Ines Alcolea ditched the bustling life of Madrid in October for a village near the much quieter medieval town of Toledo, unable to face the prospect of more COVID-19 restrictions in her small flat in the Spanish capital. “At least here, if there’s another lockdown we’ll have more space, a garden. It’ll be lighter,” Alcolea said, sitting in her new home surrounded by boxes and her two cats. She is paying half the rent she used to for nearly twice the space, and has a rooftop terrace thrown in.
French virus data encouraging but too soon claim victory: minister
France’s health minister said on Monday it was too early to claim victory over a resurgence in coronavirus infections even if recent data showed some encouraging signs during a second national lockdown. Olivier Veran said that authorities were in the process of gradually regaining control over the COVID-19 pandemic but warned that it was too soon to let up. “We have not defeated the virus yet,” Veran told reporters in Lyon, adding that that as long as daily infection numbers did not drop significantly and the hospital system remained under pressure, lockdown measures must continue.
France records 27,228 new COVID-19 cases, 302 more deaths
France has registered 27,228 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a further 302 deaths from the disease in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Sunday, although there were signs of a fall in the rate of new cases. France has now recorded 1,981,827 confirmed COVID-19 cases in all, while 44,548 people have died from the virus - the seventh-highest death toll in the world. Nevertheless, the data marked a slight decrease compared with the previous day’s COVID-19 figures in terms of new confirmed cases and deaths.
Malaysia's Top Glove workers under stricter COVID lockdown: government
The Malaysian government tightened movement curbs in an area where Top Glove Corp Bhd worker dormitories are located, to enable targeted coronavirus screenings on workers and residents as infections rise, the security ministry said on Monday. The curbs, in effect from Tuesday until the end of the month, will affect 13,190 workers and close to 1,200 residents in Klang, about 40km west of Kuala Lumpur, Senior Minister of Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at a media conference. “(This enforcement) will allow the Health Ministry to continue targeted screenings on workers and residents in the area,” he said.
New Lockdown
Most Spaniards support a second home lockdown, according to new poll
The majority of Spaniards (six in 10) would support a second home lockdown if it was needed to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s according to a survey by pollster 40dB commissioned by EL PAÍS. During the first wave of the pandemic, the Spanish government introduced one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, with residents confined to their homes and only allowed out for essential business. In the past few weeks, with infections rising in some territories, several regional authorities called on the central government to authorize home lockdowns in areas with dangerously high incidence rates of the virus
Mongolia imposes national lockdown after first Covid case reported
The Mongolian government on Sunday extended a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic by two weeks until December 1. Mongolia imposed a national lockdown effective from 6 a.m. on Thursday after the country confirmed its first Covid-19 case of local transmission, involving a woman who is the wife of a 29-year-old infected Mongolian transport driver, the Xinhua news agency reported. The driver returned home from Russia via Altanbulag border point and tested positive for the virus four days after he was released from the 21-day mandatory isolation on November 6. The extension is part of the efforts to identify all people who have had contact with cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 infection, Yangu Sodbaatar, the country’s deputy prime minister, said at a press conference.