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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 10th Jun 2020

News Highlights

Rural America sees steep rise in corona cases

New York and Chicago were some of the first U.S. hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic, but as the country relaxed restrictions, hot spots seem to have moved to parts that had previously avoided being hard hit. Since June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest seven-day average of new coronavirus cases and health experts are now worrying how these areas, already short of resources, will cope with the sudden rise.

As the coronavirus count reduces in Spain, air pollution rises

After months of lockdown, Spain has started to relax restictions, which has led to increased traffic on the streeets and higher nitrogen dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The average concentration of nitrogen dioxide was 32% less than the average from the same period over the last four years in the first week of June, but it is now rising again.

Japan's coronavirus success story may be tied to mask wearing culture

While mask-wearing has become a controversial and oft debated topic, especially in the U.S. and parts of Europe, the same practice has also been credited with the relative success of Japan, and several other countries, in keeping mortality rates low. In Japan, strong awareness of public hygiene and past experience with epidemics seems to have kept the population disciplined and infection numbers relatively low, despite the country not enforcing a lockdown.

WHO urges more tests and extended lockdown for Pakistan

The WHO expressed concern about Pakistan's lifting of restrictions in certain regions, pointing out the high positivity rate and the continuing threat of new Covid-19 infections, and recommended a two-week-on and two-week-off strategy, with lockdowns and more testing, as a way to continue to battle the virus.

Lockdown Exit
Spain sees rise in air pollution as coronavirus lockdown eases
As Spain began to deescalate the confinement measures, more traffic has returned to the roads, and nitrogen dioxide levels are once again on the rise. This increase was calculated by EL PAÍS based on the data from air-monitoring centers from the 15 most populous cities in Spain, which are home to more than 10.7 million people, or around one fourth of the total population. Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has been compiling and sharing the weekly evolution of several pollutants as recorded by around 3,000 air-monitoring centers in the European Union. Thanks to the work of the EEA, it is possible to follow the changes in air-pollution levels during the crisis.
Moscow's lockdown ends as coronavirus cases in Russia pass 485,000
Sobyanin's critics accuse him of rushing to ease the lockdown in time to allow a Red Square military parade later this month and a July 1 nationwide vote that could extend President Vladimir Putin's rule until 2036. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters he did not think the decision to lift Moscow's lockdown was hasty because some restrictions would remain in place until later in June. Sobyanin has cited a steady fall in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks, an easing of strains on the health system and Muscovites' responsible behaviour as reasons for lifting the lockdown. Most commuters wore masks on Tuesday while using Moscow's metro system, which was still less busy than before the outbreak.
Chinese businesses adapt to post-lockdown reality
China’s big cities have started to come back to life but worries remain about a potential second wave and businesses are struggling with a shortage of customers. Most urban centres are free from the virus yet companies are implementing disease control measures, ranging from checking guests’ temperatures and having staff and customers wear masks to conducting regular deep cleans of facilities. To understand how China’s service industry is adapting to the post-virus environment, the Financial Times spoke to three representative businesses in Beijing and Shanghai.
NY emerges from lockdown today
New York will begin reopening today after 78 days of stay-home-orders due to the coronavirus pandemic which claimed the lives of nearly 22,000 New York residents and infected more than 205,000. Non-essential construction and manufacturing workers will return to work sites and retail stores will reopen to instore pickups. Hair salons, offices and indoor seating at bars and restaurants will be permitted in the next phase of reopening.
New Zealand ends its lockdown after eradicating Covid-19
New Zealand has completely eliminated coronavirus from within its borders. A woman in her 50s recovered in St Margaret's Hospital Auckland on Monday. The country had been battling the COVID-19 pandemic since February 28. The country will now end social distancing restrictions as it moves to level 1. Under the level 1 alert daily life resume to normal, borders remain closed. NZ had 1,154 cases of COVID-19 but has had no new cases in the last 17 days.
New Zealand has lifted most of its lockdown restrictions after reporting it has no more active cases of coronavirus
New Zealand has lifted most of its lockdown restrictions after reporting it has no more active cases of coronavirus
New Zealand lifts lockdown as Jacinda Ardern declares it free of coronavirus
New Zealanders breathed easy yesterday as the government announced it was ending all coronavirus restrictions after the last known patient recovered and the country was free of active cases. The authorities lifted the last internal containment measures at midnight (1pm BST) yesterday following one of the world’s toughest lockdowns that was from the outset designed to eliminate the virus. However, border controls remain and all travellers entering the country are required to isolate for 14 days. Shops, restaurants, cafés, bars and public transport will resume almost normal operations, limits on public gatherings have been removed and social distancing will no longer be required although it will still be encouraged. Weddings and funerals will also be allowed to go ahead. New Zealanders will be the first
In New Zealand, shopping, parties and big hugs mark start of 'COVID-free' life
New Zealanders hugged and kissed, shopped, and planned parties on Tuesday as the country took off all coronavirus restrictions for the first time in more than three months, while much of the rest of the world is still grappling with the pandemic.
New Zealand gears up for 1st rugby match with spectators post lockdown
New Zealand will host the inaugural match of the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa competition on June 13 at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. This decision comes as the New Zealand government confirmed that the country will proceed to Alert Level 1, lifting all restrictions and allowing the first major sporting event with a live mass audience at the stadiums in the country, a statement said. Pulse Energy Highlanders CEO, Roger Clark, said he is delighted that level 1 has arrived in time for crowds to attend their first home game. "No one can ever underestimate the sacrifices New Zealanders have made to allow this special event to take place. In many ways the staging of this game in front of a crowd represents our country''s success in fighting the pandemic, and while we appreciate there is still some work to do, it''s certainly a good time to celebrate what we have achieved so far.
The Latest: SKorea Requires QR Codes at ‘high-risk’ Venues
South Korea has reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 as officials begin requiring nightclubs, karaoke rooms and gyms to register their customers with smartphone QR codes so they could be easily located when needed. The figures from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday brought national totals to 11,902 cases and 276 deaths. At least 41 of the cases were reported from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have struggled to trace transmissions linked to entertainment venues, church gatherings and low-income workers who couldn’t afford to stay home. Since late May, the country has been reporting around 30 to 50 new cases per day, a resurgence that has threatened to erase some of the hard-won gains against the virus as people begin to ease on distancing.
New Zealand Declares Coronavirus Eliminated, Lifting Lockdown
Crowds will gather again in New Zealand’s restaurants. Weddings will include as many hugs and guests as the happy couple wants — and even social distancing will not be needed. New Zealand has no active coronavirus cases and no new cases, officials said on Monday, declaring that life could return to a form of pre-pandemic normal. Since the pandemic began, the country has reported 1,504 cases and 22 deaths nationally, and has been widely praised for its stringent approach to combating the virus. “While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, adding: “Thank you, New Zealand.”
With China's Economy Battered By Pandemic, Millions Return To The Land For Work
Seasonal agricultural workers plant peanuts next to wheat fields in China's Henan province. With tens of millions of urban and factory jobs lost, many of the newly unemployed have returned to their rural villages.
Exit Strategies
Five things that could change in Phase Two of easing lockdown restrictions in Scotland
The Scottish Government is reviewing what lockdown restrictions could be eased from the end of next week - with more businesses likely to reopen.
When will pubs and restaurants reopen? The new UK lockdown rules explained
After nearly two months in lockdown, the UK started to ease certain restrictions on travelling to work, exercise and going outside. New rules allow people to exercise outside more than once a day and spend time in parks and outdoor spaces – sunbathing and having picnics – even if they’re not exercising. But what does this all mean for the hospitality industry? Not only are pub and restaurant owners wondering about the future of their business but people are asking when they might be able to start drinking or eating out again, especially as the weather gets warmer.
Scotland's lockdown could be eased soon after deaths diminish
Nicola Sturgeon has signalled that Scotland’s strict lockdown regulations could be eased more quickly after the country recorded no Covid-19 deaths in the last two days. The first minister is under growing pressure to relax the lockdown rules and allow more businesses to reopen, with prominent hoteliers and retailers warning that their businesses could fold, causing heavy job losses. Sturgeon announced on Monday that no deaths had been recorded overnight for the second day running. Before then, the previous time none had been reported was 13 March. There were only 18 confirmed new Covid-19 infections on Sunday, and the seven-day average was at its lowest since mid-March. Sturgeon said new fatalities were expected, partly since recorded cases were generally lower at weekends, but she said she agreed there was now “very encouraging” evidence “of real and sustained suppression of this virus”
Johnson Continues U.K. Lockdown Easing But Retreats on Schools
Johnson Continues U.K. Lockdown Easing But Retreats on Schools
Italy’s launches new Immuni contact tracing App to combat the spread coronavirus
The Italian government has released its new contact tracing App for Covid-19 called ‘Immuni’. Testing of the App begins this week in four Italian regions: Liguria, Abruzzo, Marche and Puglia and will then be extended nationwide, although Italians are already able to download the App to their phones now if they want. . The Italian government’s official exposure notification app was developed by Italy’s Extraordinary Commissioner for the Covid-19 emergency in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Innovation Technology and Digitalization.
Italy's cultural cities strategize after tourism losses post-lockdown
Italians become tourists at home and embrace 'slow tourism' as the country reopens. As pandemic restrictions were lifted this past week, with Italy opening its borders to EU travellers and allowing inter-regional travel, the country's world-renowned museums and cultural sites also reopened. With only a trickle of EU tourists arriving, Italians have a historic opportunity: the chance to see their own masterpieces free from throngs of tourists and by booking just days in advance, rather than weeks or months.
Spain says it is 'not discussing travel corridor with UK' despite reports
Spain has said it is not discussing a possible “travel corridor” which would allow UK tourists to enter the country on holiday without needing to self-isolate. A Spanish foreign ministry source told news agency Reuters that British tourists would receive the same treatment as EU nationals once the Iberian nation decides to reopen its borders. Government ministers have publicly said they are considering travel corridors, or so-called "air bridges" with countries with low infection rates, but there have not been any formal deals so far. “Spain has called for a common (European Union-wide) approach to opening the borders. If this is not done, it will establish its own criteria,” the source said.
Spain makes masks mandatory until coronavirus defeated
Wearing masks in public will remain mandatory in Spain after the country’s state of emergency ends on June 21 until a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus is found, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Tuesday. Spaniards must continue to wear masks indoors and outdoors if they cannot guarantee a 1.5 metre distance from other people as part of a decree to govern conditions after the lockdown is lifted, Illa told a news conference. The obligation to wear masks will remain until “we definitively defeat the virus, which will be when we have an efficient therapy or an effective vaccine,” Illa said.
Covid-19 patients most infectious when first showing symptoms - WHO
Maria van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist, is the WHO's technical lead on the pandemic. In a briefing today, she said that a sub-set of people do not develop symptoms, but can still infect others, and as many as 40% of transmissions maybe by asymptomatic cases. Yesterday Ms van Kerkhove said that on the basis of studies carried out in several countries, transmission of the virus by an asymptomatic person seemed "very rare". Her remarks, which were widely relayed on social media networks, sparked a reaction from part of the scientific community.
Summer Season in Spain is Back On as UK Government Replaces Quarantine with Air Bridges
Bosses of the travel and hospitality industry have been privately assured by the government that ‘air bridges’ will be introduced for foreign summer holidays from June 29 to replace blanket quarantine. The ‘Quash Quarantine’ group made up of more than 500 of the biggest names in the industry said that as a result of the news they would suspend their threatened legal action to overturn quarantine. This is great news for Spain’s tourism industry, still trying to shake off the shackles as the country emerges from its almost three-month lockdown. “There’s a desire by the group to take action and we are not ruling it out in the future but we have had these assurances from senior government sources that travel corridors will be in place from June 29,” said Paul Charles, a spokesman for the group whose businesses turn over £10 billion a year.
Regional airports reopen in France as lockdown eases
Airports in France that were closed during the lockdown are reopening as the country continues to ease restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19. Nantes airport in the west of France and Biarritz on the southwest coast opened on Monday, with Lille in the north slated to restart flights on 15 June and Bordeaux on 6 July. The airport in Nantes is seen as the gateway to the western Atlantic region.
Moscow lifts Coronavvirus lockdown as Russian death toll tops 6,000
Moscow on Tuesday lifted a strict anti-coronavirus lockdown after more than two months of restrictions as Russia reported over 6,000 deaths. Traffic jams returned to Moscow’s notoriously congested roads as residents spilled out onto the streets on a warm late spring day in the Russian capital. Many Muscovites were in good spirits after spending weeks cooped up at home, and most were not wearing the obligatory masks.
Moscow lifts coronavirus lockdown as Russia partially reopens borders
Moscow is lifting its months-long coronavirus lockdown, mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Monday, declaring that the pandemic was on the wane and it was possible to resume normal life during the course of June.
UK PM Boris Johnson to set out further lockdown easing as COVID-19 deaths fall
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will talk his cabinet through his plans for easing the country’s lockdown on Tuesday after officials reported the lowest number of daily deaths since restrictions were imposed. Last month, PM Johnson had said that non-essential retailers would be able to reopen on June 15 if the threat of the virus continued to recede, On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that positive data means the government can press on with its plans.
India lifts lockdown measures despite COVID-19 surge
The number of reported cases of coronavirus worldwide has topped seven million. In India, malls, restaurants and places of worship have re-opened despite a surge in new infections. There are more than a quarter of a million cases and over 7,000 people are reported to have died. Al Jazeera's Elizabeth Puranam reports from New Delhi.
Moscow lifts virus lockdown as Russian death toll tops 6,000
Many Muscovites were in good spirits after spending weeks cooped up at home, and most were not wearing the obligatory masks. "It's nice out and there are a lot of people on the streets. It's a beautiful day, in every sense of the word," Olga Ivanova, a 33-year-old marketing manager, told AFP in central Moscow. The easing of restrictions was announced Monday and comes as the Kremlin is gearing up for a crucial July 1 vote that could extend President Vladimir Putin's grip on power until 2036. The 67-year-old leader also wants to stage a major World War II military parade which was postponed because of the epidemic and rescheduled for June 24.
COVID-19 travel bans separate families even as lockdowns ease
When Julie Sergent's father died, she faced an agonising decision: If she travelled from her home in Japan to attend the funeral in France, she wouldn't be allowed back. Across Asia, domestic lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus are easing, but international travel restrictions in the region remain tight. Many countries have banned non-citizens from entry or even closed their borders altogether, with devastating consequences for some living far from family. In Japan, citizens can leave and re-enter the country. Those coming from designated high-risk areas are tested for the virus on arrival and asked to observe a quarantine. But foreign residents, even those with long-term ties or married to Japanese citizens, cannot do the same
Moscow to start easing lockdown on Tuesday
The mayor of Moscow says the city will ease its two-month-long coronavirus lockdown restrictions, starting on Tuesday. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Monday said residents of the capital can move around without restrictions, and some service sector businesses, including beauty parlors and photo studios, can reopen. He said from June 16, libraries and art museums will be allowed to resume operations, and restaurants and cafes can reopen their terraces. He said he expects all restaurants, swimming pools, and gyms can return to normal operations from June 23.
Australian state lets sports fans back in stadiums as COVID-19 cases slow
As Australia moves ahead with relaxing a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a state government gave the all clear for more than 2,000 fans to attend an Australian Rules Football game at a stadium in Adelaide this weekend. “Football and crowds are back in South Australia,” Steven Marshall, South Australia’s premier told reporters in the state capital on Tuesday, heralding the match between the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide. Professional sport was allowed to resume in Australia last month after a two-month hiatus, but it will become one of the first nations to admit spectators to stadiums as lockdowns begin to be relaxed in many countries.
Coronavirus: NSW looking to further ease restrictions
New South Wales is looking to further ease its coronavirus restrictions despite health authorities remaining on high alert for new outbreaks. Australia recorded two new cases in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Greg Hunt said, taking the national figure to 7265. There have been only 62 cases in the past week.
Partisan Exits
Cornflakes for lunch! German parents say open school before mum goes nuts
Women are bearing the brunt of home schooling and extra housework, according to surveys. That hurts efforts to promote diversity and narrow Germany’s gender pay gap. Job satisfaction of mothers has fallen by 5 percentage points more than that of fathers during the crisis, and they are more likely to have cut their hours or stopped working, according to a survey by the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). “Just as before the crisis, it is often the women who are putting back their careers to be there for the children,” said WZB’s social science Professor Lena Hipp, herself trying to fit in work around caring for three young children. At SAP, co-CEO Jennifer Morgan, a mother of two, stepped down in April after only six months as the first female head of a German blue-chip company, leaving Christian Klein in charge.
Continued Lockdown
WHO urges two-week lockdown, more tests
While expressing concern over the hasty lifting of restrictions, the WHO in a letter to the four provinces stated Pakistan did not meet any of the prerequisites for opening of the lockdown. It also alerted Pakistan to its high positivity rate, underlining seriousness of the Covid-19 situation and poor efforts of the government in this regard. As a strategy to help contain the massive transmission of coronavirus, the WHO recommended to the provinces to impose two-week lockdown. “WHO strongly recommends the two weeks off and two weeks on strategy as it offers the smallest curve,” the letter said
Lockdown has changed the parameters of personal space – so where do we go from here?
We have never been more aware of personal space; the houses we are confined to, the two-metre-distance we maintain, the proximity of urban living. Zoe Beaty asks what this will mean long-term
Schools reopening: Why primary schools in England may not open fully until September under new UK lockdown plans
Schools have said classroom sizes, social distancing regulations and inadequate staff numbers mean they cannot accommodate all pupils
Excess deaths in UK under coronavirus lockdown pass 63,000
ONS figures show fewest weekly coronavirus deaths in England and Wales for eight weeks. Hundreds more deaths from Covid-19 in the north-west of England and in care homes have driven up the number of excess fatalities since the UK went into lockdown to more than 63,000, a toll believed to be greater than those anywhere else except the US. The number of deaths from the virus in England and Wales fell to 1,822 in the last week of May, the fewest for eight weeks, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). But the numbers remain relatively high in the north-west, where there have been fears of a resurgence of the virus.
Nine million UK children off school for six months will be 'lost generation'
Union leaders tonight warned that a return to school in September could not be taken for granted. Education Secretary Mr Williamson admitted the disruption could leave kids needing “a year or more” of support to catch up. It came as the UK death toll rose by 286 to 40,883. Children’s Commissioner for England, Ms Longfield warned “the education divide is broadening... almost a decade of catching up on that gap may be lost”. She said: “The risk I am most concerned about is that of a generation of children losing over six months of formal education, socialising with friends and structured routine... The Government need to face up to the scale of damage this is doing to children and scale-up their response.”
Scientific Viewpoint
'More than 3 million lives saved' by European lockdown
The British study by researchers at Imperial College London, was published in the journal Nature on June 8. It found that major measures taken in 11 European countries - including the banning of public events, stopping travel, and closing shops and schools - had enabled 3.1 million lives to be saved. The countries studied were: France, the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The researchers compared the number of deaths - based on official figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) - with the number of deaths that there would have been without these measures, according to mathematical modelling. They concluded that the measures had saved 3.1 million lives.
Coronavirus Test And Trace Scheme 'Not Fit' To Help UK Out Of Lockdown, Say Scientists
The UK’s Test and Trace system is “not fit for purpose”, scientists critical of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic have said. The group of 12 experts – led by former government chief scientific adviser Sir David King – has urged ministers to overhaul the system designed to help the UK out of the coronavirus lockdown. King said this is the “critical moment for the government to act now or risk further spikes” and the group believe a tracing and isolating system led by local health bodies would be more effective. The scientists say that Covid-19 will only be contained if 80% of the contacts of infected people are traced and contacted, but they think this is “impossible” under the current centralised system using 25,000 contact tracers.
Covid-19 lockdown has negatively impacted kids’ diet, sleep and physical activity: Study
“The tragic COVID-19 pandemic has collateral effects extending beyond direct viral infection,” said Myles Faith, PhD, childhood obesity expert and co-author of the study.
Covid-19 lockdowns saved millions of lives and easing curbs risky, studies find
The Imperial team estimated that by early May, between 12 and 15 million people in total in Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland - around 4% of their combined population - had been infected with COVID-19. By comparing the number of deaths counted with deaths predicted by their model if no lockdown measures had been introduced, they found some 3.1 million deaths were averted.
'We could have waves of infection, waves of lockdown' says professor of genetics
A professor of genetics has warned that there is every possibility of a resurge in Covid-19 and that Ireland could be facing waves of infection and waves of lockdown. Professor David McConnell of Trinity College, Dublin called for a vigorous, centralised testing system on a massive scale similar to that employed in South Korea. Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Sarah McInerney show he said: “People think we're out of the woods, it's really quite dangerous. Today we are in the same position as we were on 12th March. What happened on that date - we went into an epidemic. Everything is there for us to resurge to have an equally vigorous epidemic. We could have waves of infection, waves of lockdown.”
Coronavirus destroys jobs and worsens inequality, with or without full lockdown
Coronavirus plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many governments are trying to revitalise their economies by gradually lifting lockdown measures, including the UK. But reopening may not rescue their economies to the degree they hope. Evidence from South Korea, which never shut private businesses, tells a cautionary tale. Rushing to reopen without the proper measures in place may not only jeopardise public health, but economic recovery may also be limited. UK consumer spending has already stalled since the gradual lifting of lockdown measures in May. And earlier evidence from other countries shows people spend less in the midst of a pandemic – lockdown or no lockdown. For example, Sweden decided against a severe lockdown, but still experienced economic contractions of similar magnitudes to its European neighbours.
Lockdown ‘prevented nearly half a million deaths in the UK’
Britain’s coronavirus lockdown prevented almost half a million deaths, according to researchers warning that precautions are ‘necessary’ to prevent a second wave of coronavirus. The researchers from Imperial College London forecasted that from the beginning of the pandemic up until May 4 there would be 29,
Coronavirus: Satellite traffic images may suggest virus hit Wuhan earlier
The BBC's John Sudworth in Beijing says there were limits on the data set used by researchers - for example, they could not always compare satellite images taken on the same day in consecutive years due to cloud cover in some of the photos. But if the infection was present - undetected perhaps - some people could have been leaving Wuhan and travelling abroad and that fits with some of the other evidence we have begun to see in other parts of the world suggesting early cases of Covid-19, our correspondent says. The mystery of early 'Covid' cases However it may be unfair to use the study as evidence of a cover-up or delay in China's response, because with a previously unknown illness taking root in a community it is quite possible that there was some undetected spread before it was noticed officially, our correspondent adds.
US coronavirus lockdowns prevented millions of infections: study
New research from the University of California at Berkeley estimated that the US's coronavirus lockdowns and other measures prevented about 60 million infections from March 3 to April 6. China's preventive measures helped avoid an estimated 285 million infections, based on data from January 16 to March 5. At the same time, researchers at Imperial College London estimate that coronavirus measures averted 3.1 million deaths in 11 European countries from March to May.
Face masks helped Japan avoid a coronavirus disaster
Mask-wearing has become an anathema to many parts of the US (and some parts of Europe) — but it may be a good part of why Japan and several other Asian countries are faring so well comparatively. When you look at the coronavirus mortality rate, it is substantially lower in several Asian countries than the US or many countries in Europe. Japan is a particularly striking example. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended the national state of emergency last week as Japan has by far the lowest coronavirus figures in the group of seven major economies. Even as Japan wobbled as it took a hit from a second wave of infections, it is still standing.
New Zealand hits zero active coronavirus cases. Here are 5 measures to keep it that way
Today, for the first time since February 28, New Zealand has no active cases of COVID-19. According to our modelling, it is now very likely (well above a 95% chance) New Zealand has completely eliminated the virus. This is in line with our Te Pūnaha Matatini colleagues’ modelling. Today is also the 17th day since the last new case was reported. New Zealand has a total of 1,154 confirmed cases (combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 1,504) and 22 people have died. This is an important milestone and a time to celebrate. But as we continue to rebuild the economy, there are several challenges ahead if New Zealand wants to retain its COVID-19-free status while the pandemic continues elsewhere.
New Study Shows The Effectiveness Of Lockdown Measures On Preventing COVID-19 Spread
A New Zealand economist joined an international team of researchers to produce the first peer-reviewed analysis of local, regional and national policies implemented in six countries in efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research economist Dr Kendon Bell says the study, which appeared this week in the journal Nature, showed non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as travel restrictions, business and school closures, and lockdown orders, averted roughly 530 million COVID-19 infections across the six countries in the study, China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States, for the period ending April 6. Of these infections, 62 million would likely have been “confirmed cases,” given limited testing in each country.
WHO Expert Walks Back Remarks on Asymptomatic Transmission of Coronavirus
Van Kerkhove's remarks on Monday raised confusion and questions among outside experts and health officials who have recommended and in some places required that people wear masks to try to prevent the virus from spreading
Coronavirus Resurgence
Covid-19 increase detected in some US states as restrictions wind down
According to data tracked by the Washington Post, since the start of June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have experienced their highest seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. The surge in cases, which public health experts have described as worrying, and had warned about repeatedly, shows that while Covid-19 is now in retreat in New York City and other major urban centres, it is sweeping across rural areas, infecting smaller towns. Figures from the Texas department of state health services showed that 1,935 people were hospitalized for coronavirus-related reasons on Monday, up from a previous record of 1,888 on 5 May. Officials in Dallas said the city hit its highest ever one-day total for new infections on Thursday, at 285, while Houston has also recorded climbing numbers.
14 states and Puerto Rico hit highest seven-day average of new coronavirus infections
As rates of coronavirus infections ease in places such as New York and Illinois and onetime hot spots move into new phases of reopening, parts of the country that had previously avoided being hit hard by the outbreak are now tallying record-high new infections. Since the start of June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data tracked by The Washington Post: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
New Lockdown
The UK may need local lockdowns. But can it make them work?
To keep on top of local outbreaks, the government is setting up a Joint Biosecurity Centre, an independent body made up of civil servants that will sit alongside the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). The group will monitor the spread of coronavirus across the country and run an alert system, advising the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who in turn will advise ministers on how to deal with regional spikes in infection. How exactly the alert system will work has not yet been outlined.