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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 1st Jul 2020

News Highlights

Lockdown reimposed in parts of Britain, Australia after COVID-19 cases rise

Britain has placed the city of Leicester under a stringent lockdown after the city alone accounted for 10% of all national coronavirus cases in the past week. This comes just as many restrictions were set to be lifted across England from Saturday. Health authorities in Australia also announced a lockdown of 36 suburbs in Melbourne after a spike in cases, a move that will affect more than 320,000 people who will not be allowed to venture out for four weeks except for essentials, work, healthcare, exercise or school.

New virus spotted in China with pandemic potential

Even as the world struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic, health authorities have spotted a new strain of flu carried by pigs in China that has the characteristics of both the 2009 H1N1 virus and the 1918 Spanish flu. Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House coronavirus advisor said that while it was not an immediate threat, the strain had 'all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus.'

In Italian town, 40% of virus carriers asymptomatic

According to a research study published in the journal Nature, more than 40% of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in the Italian town of Vo were asymptomatic, raising concerns that such carriers could be significant spreaders of the disease. Researchers tested more than 85% of the population of Vo and succeeded in curbing the spread of the virus by rapid case isolation and mass testing.

EU prepares to reopen borders but Americans barred from entering

Starting July 1, the EU will allow citizens from 15 countries to enter its borders, including South Korea, Canada and Australia. However, people from the U.S. and several other countries will not be allowed to enter as they are still battling high rates of Covid-19 infections in their countries.

Lockdown Exit
Toronto makes masks mandatory, citing US problems
Canada’s largest city has made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces. “You have told us you don’t want to see a repeat of what you see when you turn on your TV and see reports from the United States," Toronto Mayor John Tory said. Toronto city council approved a bylaw and it will come into effect July 7. Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, said there is growing evidence that shows non-medical masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and noted many cities in the U.S. are seeing a resurgence in cases since reopening. De Villa said she made the recommendation to help Toronto move from Stage 2 of the Ontario’s reopening plan to Stage 3.
The Covid-19 changes that could last long-term
From the extinction of the daily commute to transforming our relationship with food, Covid-19 is changing our world already – and in some ways, it looks set to get better.
Jacinda Ardern decries 'dangerous' calls to reopen New Zealand borders
The prime minister appeared to be responding to the opposition leader, who has said keeping the borders closed for months or years is ‘untenable’
EU agrees 'safe' list of 14 countries for travel resumption
European Union governments have agreed an initial “safe list” of 14 countries from which they will allow non-essential travel from July, with the United States among the most notable of absences. The “safe” countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, the European Council said on Tuesday. In addition, China would be included if it reciprocated by allowing in EU travellers.
U.S. coronavirus cases double in 14 states during June
Coronavirus cases more than doubled in at least 10 U.S. states, including Florida and Texas in the month of June, a Reuters analysis on Tuesday showed. Arizona recorded the biggest jump in cases for the month at 294%, followed by South Carolina and Arkansas. Cases also more than doubled in Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah. Nationally cases rose by at least 43% and deaths increased by 20%. Several states have yet to report cases on Tuesday.
Latin America COVID-19 Deaths Could Rise to 438000 by October, Says WHO Director
The Americas is the world epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic and the toll for the whole region could almost treble to 637,000 by Oct. 1, the WHO official said, though she cautioned that mathematical model projections should not be taken literally but only as planning guides. Under current conditions, the pandemic is expected to peak in Chile and Colombia by mid-July, but in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru not until August, and Costa Rica will not flatten its curve of infection until October, she said.
Exit Strategies
Indigenous peoples of South America face 'genocide' as coronavirus pandemic exposes historic inequalities
Berlin Diques oversees the well-being of some of the most vulnerable peoples in the world. As a regional president of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP), he supervises three regions of remote Amazonia, at the Peruvian borders of Colombia and Brazil, territories that are home to 15 different indigenous groups. Managing their well-being during the pandemic, he says, is harder than ever. “We are in danger of extinction,” he told ABC News. “If one of us got the virus in a remote community and starts the contagion it will be the death of us . . . it will be a genocide. This is my biggest fear.”
Uruguay’s Covid success: ‘We cannot cry victory just yet’
In contrast, in far smaller Uruguay — which is also favoured by a low population density and much lower inequality and poverty — only 25 people have died of coronavirus, with just two deaths in the last month. “We cannot cry victory just yet. We have to stay alert,” said Daniel Salinas, Uruguay’s health minister. Last month, President Luis Lacalle Pou was briefly quarantined before testing negative for Covid-19 after meeting with an infected official from the town of Rivera on the border with Brazil, where the death toll has spiralled above 50,000. Most agree that Uruguay’s strong public health system has helped it combat the pandemic. After 15 years of rule by the centre-left Broad Front coalition that invested heavily in the health sector, Uruguay has one of the highest numbers of hospital beds per inhabitant in Latin America.
European Union says it will bar Americans when bloc reopens to international visitors July 1
Americans will not be allowed to travel to European Union countries when the bloc opens up to international visitors July 1, the European Council announced Tuesday. Travelers from 14 countries will be welcomed to the EU, including Canada, South Korea and Australia. But those from the U.S. and many other nations will be barred as too risky because of spiking coronavirus cases in their home countries. Chinese travelers will be allowed to visit if that country's government confirms a policy of reciprocity, the council's announcement said.
UK's mental health has deteriorated during lockdown, says Mind
Lockdown has been devastating for mental health and the worst could be yet to come, a leading charity has said. The mental health charity Mind says a survey has revealed that lockdown has had a dramatic impact on the nation’s mental health, warning that unless action is taken now, the problem could grow. “Overall there has been a deterioration in people’s mental health, regardless of whether they had the mental health problem before [lockdown],” said Megan Pennell, the parliamentary and campaigns manager at Mind. The charity said the government must take urgent action not just to address immediate need but to invest in services and put safety nets in place for the future, noting stressors including unemployment and housing problems were set to worsen.
As EU prepares to reopen borders, Spanish experts stress importance of coronavirus safety measures
The European Union agreed on Monday to open its borders to a list of 15 countries, which have reciprocal deals with the EU and are considered safe due to their epidemiological situation. Under the agreement, which needs to be approved by a majority of the 27-member bloc, travel to and from the following countries will be permitted from July 1: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. The list also includes China, but only if visitors from the EU receive reciprocal treatment, given that is one of the conditions for reopening. We should not be guided by whether there are active outbreaks, but rather whether they are controlled
No countrywide lockdown but concentrated confinements to deal with new Covid-19 outbreaks, says Spain’s Health Minister
Concetrated confinements rather than another countrywide lockdown is the way to deal with new Covid-19 outbreaks, believes Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa. The minister said he is inclined towards “surgical” lockdowns of specific localities, buildings or companies, assuming the relevant regional governments are of the same opinion. According to Illa a second wave of the virus in Spain is avoidable if society acts responsibly. If it does happen, he believes it will be “less intense and smaller scale,” mainly because the country’s health system is, in his view, better prepared. At the same time, he said it was necessary to work on the basis of the worst possible scenario occurring.
Jacinda Ardern says opening New Zealand border too quickly would be ‘dangerous’
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has responded forcefully after copping criticism of her government’s coronavirus border policies from both sides. The country’s Opposition leader Todd Muller says keeping its current border restrictions in place over the long term is “simply untenable” and will leave New Zealand “on its knees”. “The New Zealand strategy cannot be that we stay locked up until everybody else gets to zero or we have a vaccine. This country would be on its knees if that was the case,” Mr Muller said during a speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce yesterday. “Just because (the virus) is present in a country shouldn’t mean that nobody from that country has the capacity to visit this country. “We’ve got to be able to imagine a different engagement with the world than that.” Meanwhile, some parts of the New Zealand media, foremost among them Newshub host Duncan Garner, actually want restrictions tightened.
Coronavirus: EU to allow in visitors from 14 'safe' countries
The EU has decided that from Wednesday EU borders will be reopened to citizens from 15 non-EU countries, including Canada, Morocco and Australia, but not the US, Brazil and Russia. China is on the list, but subject to a reciprocal agreement, still pending. The unanimous decision by the European Council is not legally binding, so states can choose not to open up to all those countries. Diplomats spent five days debating the list, amid varying pandemic concerns. The so-called "safe travel destinations" are, besides China: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. The UK and four other non-EU states - Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway - are automatically included as "safe".
Thailand to ease nightlife lockdown, allow some entry to foreigners
Thailand's nightlife will restart with some restrictions this week, the kingdom announced Monday, part of a return to normalcy as it prepares to welcome business travellers and medical tourists after a ban on foreign entry. So far Thailand has 3,169 cases and 58 deaths from the coronavirus -- a low toll considering the kingdom in mid-January became was the first country outside China to register a case. But the country's tourism-reliant economy has been hit hard by the border closures, while a halt to its infamous nightlife has left the kingdom's informal workers -- in bars, massage parlours, and karaoke lounges -- adrift. Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said the "most at-risk businesses" will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday, as there has been no local transmission of the virus for more than a month.
Partisan Exits
American Lockdown Exceptionalism
As the number of Covid-19 cases starts to rise again in many states, the question is whether residents of those states will tolerate another lockdown. I used to think so, but it is increasingly clear that Americans have become comfortable with a remarkably high number of casualties. There is a mechanism of social conformity at work here. Most people will not tolerate a small risk to their lives to dine out, for instance — but they might if all their friends are doing the same. The appeal of a restaurant isn’t just the food, it’s the shared experience and the sense that others are doing it, too. The danger lies in the potential for ratchet effects. If hardly anyone is eating out or going to bars, you might be able to endure the deprivation. But once others have started doing something, you will probably feel compelled to join them, even at greater risk to your life. Consider that in the 1920s, the chance of catching a disease or infection from dining out was pretty high, but people still went out. Accepting that level of risk was simply considered to be part of life, because everyone saw that everyone else was doing it. In similar fashion, members of an infantry brigade are usually willing to charge an enemy position so long as they can be assured that all their comrades are, too.
Facebook launches initiative to crackdown on covid 'misinformation', all the times UK health chiefs sowed confusion with U-turns over ibuprofen, the two-metre rule and face masks
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said 'clarity is in short supply' in the UK. Officials have flipped stances on essential travel and international quarantine. One Leicester MP said messaging on social distancing is 'at best confusing.'
No 10 accused of sowing confusion over Leicester lockdown
Downing Street has been accused of sowing confusion and anxiety in Leicester after imposing the first local lockdown to combat a surge in Covid-19 cases in the city, amid growing concern about how the measures will work. As part of hardened restrictions, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced on Monday night that schools would shut to most children and reopened non-essential shops would be forced to close for at least two weeks in Leicester. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats backed the lockdown, but criticised the government’s handling of it and called for clarity over the details.
Bavaria's free COVID-19 test for all splits Germany
The state of Bavaria approved plans on Tuesday for universal testing for COVID-19, prompting debate elsewhere in Germany about whether to follow suit or stick with the current targeted approach to prevent a possible second wave of infections. Germany has successfully managed to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control with far fewer deaths than most other large European nations despite relatively softer lockdown measures that allowed some social and economic life to continue. But an outbreak this month at an abattoir in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia affecting more than 1,500 workers has forced a lockdown for 600,000 people and raised fears that Germany remains vulnerable despite its early success. Under current rules, free tests are available for people who have symptoms such as fever and Germany’s 16 states carry out frequent tests among high-risk groups in, for example, retirement homes, hospitals and daycare centres.
'Don't relax': NSW's biggest threat is not Victoria, it's bravado, Premier says
Melbourne's coronavirus hotspots will be put back into lockdown from Wednesday in a desperate effort to contain an outbreak of the deadly disease as Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned NSW's biggest threat was not Victoria but increasing complacency within its own borders. The extraordinary steps taken in Victoria, which include a request to divert all international flights from Melbourne for the next fortnight, came on the same day Queensland announced it would reopen its borders to the rest of the country with the exception of Victoria, and the next phase of COVID-19 restrictions were eased in NSW.
Border reopening must be priority - Business NZ
The business community pinned its hopes on the border reopening as soon as possible and says the government's failed to hold up its end of the deal. Business leaders say billions of dollars of opportunities are on hold while the government and the army fix up mistakes most New Zealanders thought were being managed. The government is frantically trying to plug those gaps, while at the same time the Opposition ramps up pressure for the border to open. Almost four million international tourists typically cross New Zealand shores each year and BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said livelihoods depend on that window opening again. But for now, the government isn't even resuming compassionate exemptions let alone allowing international visitors in, because there isn't enough confidence in quarantine and managed isolation facilities.
Fake contact tracing part of 'rapidly evolving' coronavirus fraud, U.S. DOJ warns
Scammers are posing as COVID-19 contact tracers as a way to steal personal information, three major U.S. government agencies said on Tuesday, describing “rapidly evolving” fraud related to the pandemic. The U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services and Federal Trade Commission warned that fake contact tracers were asking for money and trying to collect social security numbers, bank and credit card information from individuals.
Continued Lockdown
Venezuela Tightens Quarantine in COVID-19 Hotspots amid Record Daily Case Count
The Venezuelan government has toughened lockdown measures in hotspot localities as the COVID-19 pandemic picks up. Starting Monday, 30 percent of the country will return to a strict quarantine after a month of easing restrictions , in which a range of enterprises were allowed to reopen across the country on a week-on-week-off basis, including banks, hardware stores and dentists.
Coronavirus crisis deepens in US as restrictions return and cities go back into lockdown
The US state of Arizona has shut down bars, movie theatres, gyms and water parks, while leaders in several US states have ordered residents to wear masks in public. The moves are a dramatic policy shift amid an alarming resurgence of coronavirus cases nationwide. California has ordered bars in Los Angeles and six other counties to close as the city emerges as a new epicentre in the pandemic.
India's Modi warns of coronavirus 'negligence' as some cities extend lockdowns
India’s prime minister on Tuesday warned citizens against flouting rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, as he extended a vast social security scheme until November. Several Indian cities prepared to extend their lockdowns to combat the spread of the infection on Tuesday, with daily new cases in the country remaining close to 20,000. “Ever since (easing of restrictions) started in the country, negligence in personal and social behaviour has been increasing,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address, adding citizens were ignoring guidelines on social distancing and hand washing. Under pressure for leaving the poor to fend for themselves early in a stringent lockdown that began in March, Modi also announced the extension of a scheme providing free food grains to 800 million Indians, at a cost of around $12 billion.
German lockdown extended after abattoir outbreak | News
Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state extended its coronavirus lockdown on a district hit hard by an outbreak at a slaughterhouse, but lifted the restrictions on a neighbouring area. The districts of Gütersloh and Warendorf last Tuesday became the first in Germany to go back into lockdown since the coronavirus shutdowns began easing in May, affecting more than 600,000 people. It was the country’s first big setback in tackling the pandemic. Armin Laschet, the state’s premier, said that Gütersloh would remain on lockdown until July 7 “as a precaution”, even if testing showed only a limited spread of the virus from the slaughterhouse to the wider population.
Covid-19 lockdown sees many young Kiwi children fall behind on vaccine schedule
Doctors' clinics in New Zealand are struggling to get children their routine vaccinations after Covid-19 lockdown saw many missing appointments and falling behind in their immunisation schedule. Some GP clinics still haven’t been able to get in touch with families who missed out, leaving doctors around the country worried about the potential fallout. Vicky Maiave, a Turuki Healthcare nurse in South Auckland, says her clinic had a lot of phone calls from families asking if they could bring their babies to get vaccinated, and despite them saying yes, they all chose not to. Home visit offers have also been turned down. “Mums who have had babies over the Covid period have chosen not to come in and get their babies vaccinated because of the fear of bringing their baby out." Children in New Zealand get injections for diseases such as chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough as early as six weeks old to four years.
Daily coronavirus cases in India near 20,000 as Mumbai extends lockdown
India reported close to 20,000 fresh novel coronavirus cases for the second day running on Monday, as the financial hub of Mumbai extended its lockdown by a month. There were 19,459 new cases reported in the previous 24 hours, according to data from India’s federal Health Ministry released on Monday. That is down slightly from Sunday’s record of 19,906, but still sign cases in the country are yet to subside. India lags only the United States, Brazil and Russia in total cases. More than 16,000 have now died from the disease caused by the virus since the first case in India in January — low when compared to countries with similar numbers of cases. But experts fear its hospitals will be unable to cope with a steep rise in cases.
India's daily coronavirus cases at about 20,000 as some cities extend lockdowns
India’s prime minister on Tuesday warned citizens against flouting rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, as he extended a vast social security scheme until November.
Eight states added to New York governor's quarantine order
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday ordered people arriving from any of an additional eight states to quarantine for 14 days amid the coronavirus pandemic. The eight new states are California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee, all of which are contending with growing caseloads, Cuomo said in a statement. The order has been in place for eight other states since June 24. The order applies both to visitors and New Yorkers returning home from one of the states. Those found breaching the quarantine order could face fines, Cuomo has said.
Coronavirus case in refugee camp on US-Mexico border raises alarm
An asylum seeker has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in a sprawling encampment just steps from the US-Mexico border in Matamoros, underscoring the challenges migrants face in protecting themselves from the pandemic. After showing symptoms of the virus last Thursday, the migrant and three family members were placed in isolation and tested, Global Response Management (GRM), a nonprofit providing medical services in the camp, said in a statement. When results came back on Monday, the migrant who had displayed symptoms tested positive and the relatives had negative results.
Scientific Viewpoint
If Americans keep ignoring COVID-19 safety precautions, we'll have to shut down. Again.
As I was riding my bicycle around Manhattan last weekend, I encountered too many disturbing examples of people in denial, and not just against COVID-19. While almost all the cyclists wore masks, few wore helmets — as though to say they were only capable of one health safety action at a time. Most of the pedestrians did not wear masks at all and, worse, were huddling close together. At the outdoor restaurants I passed, the waiters wore cloth masks but none of the customers did, as though they believed the myth that this virus could not be spread outside. This was not a city with a consistent protective response against the potential resurgence of COVID-19, but rather one rejoicing in the good weather and having broken free of the restrictions of the past three months. Unfortunately, the viral storm could return here at any time. We are doing well in New York, with only 1% of those tested coming back positive, but things are far worse in the South and West, with almost 15% of Texans and nearly 16% of Floridians who are tested receiving positive results.
Coronavirus lockdown 'avoided thousands of deaths' in Scotland
A study has suggested between 7,000 and 40,000 people could have died from coronavirus in Scotland if the country had not gone into lockdown. Scientists have tried to estimate would have happened if Scotland had copied the approach taken in Sweden, where a lockdown was not imposed. Rowland Kao, a professor of epidemiology and data science at Edinburgh University, led the team which carried out the research for BBC Scotland. He said: "An obvious question to ask is if Scotland had done something similar to Sweden, would we have had a similar outcome without all the restrictions." Although there was no lockdown, Sweden relied on voluntary social distancing, banning gatherings of more than 50 people and halting visits to elderly care homes. "We took the relative amount of transmission going on in Sweden, translated that over to Scotland and looked at what the resultant number of deaths would have been had we taken that approach."
40% of virus carriers in Italian town show no symptoms: study
More than 40 percent of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in one Italian town showed no signs of being ill, according to research published Tuesday indicating that asymptomatic carriers may be significant spreaders of the virus. The authors said their research showed how important mass testing and isolating carriers was in containing clusters of the virus. The town of Vo, population 3,200, registered Italy's first death from the disease in late February. It was immediately placed in a two-week lockdown, during which researchers were able to test more than 85 percent of the population for COVID-19. They found that 2.3 percent of Vo was infected at the beginning of quarantine, compared with 1.2 percent at the end of lockdown, and that more than 40 percent of those who tested positive showed no symptoms. The authors of the research, published in the journal Nature, said their findings showed how rapid case isolation and mass testing was able to effectively eliminate the virus from Vo.
Researchers search for SARS-CoV-2 fomites on an operational Italian bus
All surface and air samples proved negative for viral genes. If this is true, this means that the current cleaning and sanitization requirements – alcohol-based sanitizer use at the door of entrance, and wearing gloves - are adequate to keep the surfaces and air inside the bus virus-free. Meanwhile, the use of a facial mask and keeping the windows open during the ride allows free ventilation and prevents the virus from spreading to other passengers through the air. This finding also agrees with earlier studies that show facial masks prevent viral spread by aerosols and droplets emitted by asymptomatic people, as does free ventilation of confined spaces such as within a city bus. The end of a lockdown imposed to combat a viral pandemic is always a tension-fraught period, as growing numbers of individuals re-enter the travel mainstream, among other activities. The current study shows that public buses can be safely used to convey passengers even in the presence of about 30% asymptomatic but infected individuals if safety requirements are observed.
WHO warns coronavirus pandemic is speeding up as countries ease lockdown rules: 'The worst is yet to come'
“Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a virtual news conference. The virus has infected more than 10.1 million people around the world and killed at least 502,634 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. “The single most important intervention is ... tracing and quarantine contacts,” he said. “Six months since the virus started, it could be like a broken record to say exactly the same thing, but the same thing works. Test, test, isolate, quarantine cases.”
China imposes lockdowns as new coronavirus cases surge
China proposes the use of six traditional medicines as treatments for COVID-19. The country reports that 91.6 percent of patients in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak in China, and 92.4 percent across the country have been treated with TCM. The country’s COVID-19 TCM used include three formulas and three medicines, which were claimed to be effective in treating infection. These include the Jinhua Qinggan granule, which was developed during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, the Lianhua Qingwen capsule, a common treatment for flu and colds, the Xuebijing injection, which was developed during the SARS epidemic, the Lung cleansing and detoxifying decoction, which has 21 herbal components to improve fever, cough, and fatigue, the Huashi Baidu formula, a core recipe developed by Chinese herbal experts, and the Xuanfei Baidu granule, which contains 13 potent herbal components.
Global report: WHO to send team to China to investigate Covid-19 origins
The World Health Organization is planning to send a team to China to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in the hope of being better able to fight the spread of coronavirus. “Knowing the source of the virus is very, very important,” the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference on Monday. “We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” he said. “We will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that and we hope that that will lead into understanding how the virus started.”
Coronavirus: Australia's health experts 'very concerned' about Victorian COVID-19 outbreak
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd has said Victoria's outbreak is a "national problem", and the Commonwealth will supply 800 additional people to help conduct a testing blitz in the state's hotspots. The additional force will be comprised of 200 clinical staff to carry out testing, 100 people for door knocking and community engagement and 500 people who will assist with contact tracing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says new virus in China has traits of 2009 swine flu and 1918 pandemic flu
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said U.S. health officials are keeping an eye on a new strain of flu carried by pigs in China that has characteristics of the 2009 H1N1 virus and 1918 pandemic flu. The virus, which scientists are calling “G4 EA H1N1,” has not yet been shown to infect humans but it is exhibiting “reassortment capabilities,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing Tuesday. The H1N1 swine flu emerged in Mexico in April 2009, infecting 60.8 million people in the U.S. and at least 700 million worldwide. An estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people died from the virus across the globe, according to the CDC.
Fauci says 'no guarantee' US will have effective COVID-19 vaccine
Scores of vaccine candidates using a variety of approaches are being developed and tested at unprecedented speed. Fauci, however, cautioned that "there is no guarantee ... we'll have a safe and effective vaccine," and he urged Americans to work together to contain the virus.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Derbyshire among areas in England at risk of 'local lockdown' as coronavirus cases spike
Derbyshire is one of 36 areas in the England experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases as ‘local lockdowns’ are discussed in parliament to target locations where the disease appears to be most prevalent.
Lockdown easing: why the UK is better prepared for a second wave
This Saturday, lockdown measures in England will ease further, with people able to get a pint in a pub, have a haircut and see another household indoors. The Guardian’s heath editor, Sarah Boseley, looks at whether another lifting of restrictions might result in a second wave, and if it does, why we are better prepared this time round
Will there be a second wave of coronavirus? If cases of Covid-19 could surge again as Leicester extends lockdown
Lockdown restrictions around the world have begun to lift and the UK hospitality industry is set to restart on 4th July, but could a second wave of the virus hit the UK? This is everything you need to know about a potential second wave of coronavirus infections as lockdown restrictions begin to lift around the world.
China puts 500,000 in Wuhan-style lockdown after spike in coronavirus cases
China has once again implemented tough restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19 after cases suddenly rose. The nation, where the virus originated, had largely brought the pandemic under control but hundreds have now been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighbouring Hebei province in recent weeks. Health officials said Sunday Anxin county – about 90 miles from Beijing – will be ‘fully enclosed and controlled’, the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family will be allowed to go out once a day to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county’s epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.
New Lockdown
Bogota mayor insists on second lockdown in Colombia's capital
Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez on Monday insisted on a second lockdown in Colombia’s capital, effectively ending the economic reactivation promoted by President Ivan Duque. The city’s health authorities will raise its alert level to red once Bogota’s intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy rate has reached 75% as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. At that point Lopez wants to impose a second lockdown to prevent the collapse of the healthcare system, the mayor has said on several occasions. On Tuesday morning, hours before the mayor was set to meet with national government officials, the ICU occupancy rate had risen to 73.4% from 71.4% the night before.
Lockdown restrictions reimposed in some US states as COVID-19 infection rate soars
Lockdown restrictions have been reimposed in some US states as COVID-19 infection rates across the country soar. A tally taken by John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, has shown that some 42,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported in the US in the last 24 hours, bringing the national total of positive diagnoses to nearly 2.6 million. Although US President Donald Trump’s White House administration has continued to blame expanded testing regimes for the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases, governors in several states have reimposed lockdown restrictions in an attempt to curb coronavirus transmission.
Stay away from us, Nottingham police tell people from lockdown Leicester
Nottinghamshire Police have said they will issue fines as a last resort for those who breach the lockdown measures and travel from Leicester to Nottingham this weekend. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a coronavirus spike in Leicester will mean all non-essential shops and schools will close again to all but key worker children. He also said pubs, bars, restaurants, and hairdressers will not be able to open from July 4 in Leicester and some of the surrounding areas. People from Leicester now need to avoid all non-essential travel. The restrictions will be in place for at least the next two weeks.
Leicester put in tighter lockdown after rise in coronavirus cases
Leicester is to be put under a tighter lockdown than the rest of country from Tuesday after the English city reported an increase in coronavirus cases, confronting the government with the first test of its ability to control the virus while opening up the economy. Health secretary Matt Hancock said non-essential shops had been told to close on Tuesday and schools asked to shut their doors to the majority of their pupils from Thursday. Classes will remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. But the city’s mayor and a local senior doctor criticised the way the testing system was working, complaining about the lack of data at local level and efficacy of the track and trace system. A spike of more than 900 cases since mid-June, which local officials were only made aware of late last week, had led Public Health England (PHE) to support the first big “local lockdown”.
Expert on what Nottingham should do after local lockdown begins in Leicester
An expert on infectious diseases has spoken of the importance of social distancing in Nottingham following the extension of lockdown imposed in nearby Leicester. Keith Neal, emeritus professor of the epidemiology of infectious diseases at the University of Nottingham, has weighed in after it was revealed on Monday (June 29) evening Leicester would be placed in a local lockdown. Following an announcement by Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, the East Midlands city is set to remain in lockdown for a further two weeks after a significant increase in coronavirus cases in the city - which is just 40 minutes drive from Nottingham. Non-essential shops will be shut from Tuesday, June 30 and schools are set to close after Mr Hancock said Leicester’s seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000 – three times that of the next highest city. Concerns were raised as to exactly where the lockdown would be enforced, with parts of Leicestershire crossing over Nottinghamshire's border.
Leicester lockdown: 'Shocked' residents prepare for new restrictions
Non-essential shops in Leicester have closed suddenly as the government imposed the first local lockdown in the UK. Pubs and restaurants hoping to reopen at the weekend also have to delay plans for at least two weeks, while schools will be shut for most pupils. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the city had "10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week", while the city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby urged people to "stick together" as Leicester tackles a rise in confirmed coronavirus cases. Shoppers in the city centre had been enjoying a brief return to a sense of normality before the announcement and many were anticipating a visit to a pub or restaurant this weekend.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reimposes lockdown measures in hotspots
Victoria has reintroduced stay-at-home orders for a number of Melbourne suburbs in a bid to contain a surge in new coronavirus cases.
Australian State Imposes 4-Week Lockdown in Hotspot Suburbs
Australia’s second-most populous state is imposing a four-week lockdown across parts of Melbourne, attempting to contain a spike in coronavirus infections that’s jeopardizing its economic recovery. From late Wednesday night, people across 10 areas will face fines if they leave their homes other than for work or school, for care or care-giving, for daily exercise, or to buy food and other essentials, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters. Government grants will be awarded to Victorian businesses forced to close during the lockdown.
Covid 19 coronavirus: Decision due on return to lockdown for parts of Victoria
A decision on whether parts of Victoria will be thrown back into lockdown is likely today as the state's hot spot testing blitz comes to an end. Calls are growing for a localised lockdown – focusing on the hot spots in Melbourne – rather than statewide restrictions coming back.
Leicester: how have you been affected by the local lockdown?
Leicester is the first city to experience a local lockdown with non-essential shops and schools closed from Tuesday. Restrictions are set to be in place for two weeks after infections rose, with Leicester accounting for around one in 10 of all coronavirus cases in the past week. We want to hear from local people, schools and business about their experiences. We’re interested in hearing from those who are working directly with the pandemic, whether it’s with the NHS or local test and trace. How do you feel about the local lockdown?
Uzbekistan imposes new restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise again
Uzbekistan has imposed an overnight curfew in some parts of the country, including the capital Tashkent, as it seeks to curb a fresh rise in COVID-19 infections following the gradual lifting of a two-month lockdown. The Central Asian nation had been cautiously lifting a nationwide lockdown that had been in place in April and May. However, after a decline in COVID-19 cases between mid-April and mid-May, it has once again seen a steady rise. The new restrictions will see residents of “red” and “yellow” areas deemed at higher risk barred from leaving their homes between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. except for medical emergencies, the government said on Tuesday. Large shopping malls and markets will also be closed on weekends across the country.
Britain locks down city of Leicester after COVID-19 flare-up
Britain has imposed a stringent lockdown on the English city of Leicester following a local flare-up of the novel coronavirus, overshadowing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempts to nudge the country back to normality. The United Kingdom has been one of the world’s worst-hit areas, with more than 54,000 deaths in confirmed or suspected cases, though infections have waned and many restrictions are to be lifted across England from Saturday to revive the economy. But the authorities were forced to take action in Leicester, a city of around 330,000 people, where the seven-day infection rate was three times higher than the next-worst city. Leicester, in England’s eastern Midlands, accounted for 10% of all positive cases in England in the past week, the government said. “It’s depressing,” Stuart Towers, landlord of the Market Tavern pub told Reuters. “We were all looking forward to opening Saturday and the next thing you know that’s it. What do we do now?”
Australia's Victoria state introduces suburban lockdowns to curb new outbreaks
Authorities on Tuesday ordered the lockdown of 36 suburbs in Australia’s second biggest city Melbourne in an attempt to stop a spike in coronavius cases, a dramatic departure from the relaxation of restrictions elsewhere in the country. From midnight on Wednesday the first suburb-specific stay-home order will be imposed on some 320,000 people, the Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews told a news conference on Tuesday. Residents in the suburbs must stay home unless travelling for work, school, healthcare, exercise or food for a period of four weeks.
Canada extends COVID-19 international border closures, mandatory quarantine order
Canada is extending a global travel ban and mandatory quarantine measures that require most travelers to Canada, including citizens returning home, to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, the Canadian government said on Tuesday. The mandatory quarantine order is now in effect until at least Aug. 31, while the travel ban for most other foreign travelers is extended to at least July 31, according to federal documents. The measures, designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, were set to expire on June 30. Travel by U.S. citizens are covered under a separate agreement, which was extended earlier this month to keep the U.S.-Canada border closed to all non-essential travel until at least July 21. U.S. citizens who are not deemed essential are still subject to the quarantine.