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

News Highlights

New Covid-19 strain suspected in Vietnam as country battles outbreak

Vietnam, which had won accolades with its swift and effective handling of the initial coronavirus outbreak, is battling a spike in new infections in the cities of Da Nang, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc warned that the current strain is highly contagious, has not been seen in the country before and that every city was at risk.

Study indicates Covid-19 can spread over 26 feet in cold, moving air

Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany, who recreated a coronavirus outbreak at a food factory, have suggested that Covid-19 can travel more than 25 feet in cold, constantly circulating air. Abattoirs and food factories around the world have been particularly susceptible to coronavirus outbreaks, with more than 1,500 people testing positive in one single slaughterhouse in Germany alone.

Survey suggests more than half of Mumbai's slum population had coronavirus

According to a survey, more than half the residents of three large slum clusters in Mumbai tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies while only 16% of people living outside the slums in the same areas had been exposed to the virus. Mumbai carries a heavy share of India's Covid-19 burden, with over 110,000 cases and more than 6,000 deaths in the city alone.

Russia to approve Covid-19 vaccine soon, says source

According to an anonymous source, Russia is fast-tracking a coronavirus vaccine that will likely win regulatory approval in early August and be adminstered to health workers soon after. Regulatory approval will be provided on the basis of successful early human trials despite large-scale trials still not having started, indicating Russia's eagerness to be the first nation to approve a coronavirus vaccine, said the source

No sign of coronavirus respite in Brazil, U.S.

The U.S. and Brazil are two of the countries worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic that shows no signs of slowing down yet. On Wednesday, Brazil recorded a daily high of more than 69,000 new infections and 1,595 deaths, taking its death toll past 90,000. The U.S. continues to lead the world with more than 150,000 deaths, with 1,461 new deaths on Wednesday, an average of almost one death a minute.

Lockdown Exit
Brazil hits record 69,000 daily coronavirus cases as restrictions eased
Brazil set daily records on Wednesday for new COVID-19 cases and related fatalities, as the world’s second-worst outbreak hurtles toward the milestone of 100,000 dead amid easing lockdowns. Brazil is the country worst hit by COVID-19 outside of the United States in both its death toll and case count. The 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 additional deaths reported by the Health Ministry pushed the country past 2.5 million infections and 90,000 killed. President Jair Bolsonaro has fought against restrictions on economic activity, and the disease has advanced as governors and mayors have yielded to the pressure. In some cases, Brazilians have packed into bars and crowded public squares without masks, often in defiance of local rules.
U.S. records a coronavirus death every minute as total surpasses 150,000
One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday as the national death toll surpassed 150,000, the highest in the world The United States recorded 1,461 new deaths on Wednesday, the highest one-day increase since 1,484 on May 27, according to a Reuters tally. U.S. coronavirus deaths are rising at their fastest rate in two months and have increased by 10,000 in the past 11 days.
Coronavirus: Rotorua hotel in 'lockdown' after potential Covid-19 result
A Rotorua managed isolation centre went into lockdown on Wednesday after a potential new Covid-19 case was detected. Government officials confirmed restrictions were imposed at Rydges Rotorua. “Standard procedures were followed after the detection,” a Managed Isolation and Quarantine spokesman told Stuff. “In such cases, when regional isolation and quarantine teams are notified by health staff of a potential or confirmed case, the person is isolated to their room, and all relevant staff are informed,” he added.
Germany begins mass coronavirus testing at airports
Berlin's Tegel airport began large scale coronavirus testing on Wednesday, as airports across Germany prepared for the advent of free, compulsory testing for many passengers from next week. Two rooms were set aside for tests, but an airport spokeswoman said a larger space was being prepared, indicating that authorities are preparing for testing to remain a fixture for a long time to come. "These rooms are of course a bit small, as you can see," said spokeswoman Sabine Deckwerth. "That is why the large Terminal D in Tegel is being prepared to host a bigger one."
Italy 'walking a fine line' on coronavirus infections
Italy was the first European nation to be engulfed by coronavirus, but as the prospect of another lockdown looms in some of its neighbours, the country has managed to avoid a resurgence of infections. At least so far. Three experts who spoke to the Guardian put this down to good surveillance and contact-tracing, as well as most of the population diligently following safety rules, with many people wearing face masks outside even though it is not mandatory. On 4 May, when Italy began easing lockdown restrictions, more than 1,200 new cases were reported in a day. Since 1 July, the daily increase has been relatively static, reaching a high of 306 on 23 July, and falling to 181 on Tuesday. Several coronavirus clusters have emerged across the country, but this has mostly been due to infections imported from abroad.
Germany's Covid-19 fears grow over ‘reckless’ partygoers
Lothar Wieler, of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the government’s main advisory body on public health, called the partygoers “irresponsible”. “It is reckless and careless to take part in wild parties,” he said during his latest update of the virus’s progress. “Young people can carry the illness back to their families, especially their grandparents.”
Exit Strategies
Ireland likely to move to final phase of lockdown next week - deputy PM
Ireland looks set to enter the fourth and final phase of its COVID-19 lockdown next week, which will allow all bars and nightclubs to open and gatherings of up to 100 people indoors, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday. "There has been an uptick in the number of new COVID cases in the last week or two ... (but) I don't think that the increase has been so enormous that at this stage it should prevent us moving to stage 4," Varadkar said. He said he was hopeful that non-essential office workers, who have been working from home since March, might begin to return to their workplaces on a part-time basis in the coming weeks.
Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia may join Spain on England’s Covid-19 quarantine list
Travellers returning to England from Belgium and Luxembourg could have quarantine restrictions reimposed in the next two days, as ministers grapple to contain any fresh threat from a potential second wave of coronavirus in some European countries. Ministers are understood to be closely monitoring spikes in the number of cases in Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as in Croatia, a more popular holiday destination for British tourists. The Covid-19 rate has almost tripled in Belgium this month, from 5.3 to 15.1 per 100,000 of the population, with the number of cases up from 615 to 1,751, leading to a crackdown on numbers of people allowed to socialise. Luxembourg’s rate of infection is 15 times higher per capita than in the UK.
Coronavirus testing urged over pub outbreak in Stone
Pub customers are being urged to get tested for Covid-19 after 10 cases of coronavirus were confirmed at a bar. Health officials said anyone who was at the Crown and Anchor in Stone, Staffordshire, between 16-18 July should get tested. One person who tested positive after being at the pub also held a private gathering, causing a further spread, Staffordshire County Council said.
Outbreaks highlight disparities in UK test and trace regimes
Prime minister Boris Johnson promised a “world-beating” test and trace programme to stop the spread of coronavirus by June. Carlisle — and the rest of England — is still waiting. Public health officials in the northern city have been fighting a rise in cases for four weeks. But efforts to manage the outbreak have been hampered by incomplete data, overstretched local officials and a lack of testing facilities.
Partisan Exits
Trump 'owes us an apology.' Chinese scientist at the center of COVID-19 origin theories speaks out
The coronavirus pandemic has thrust virologist Shi Zhengli into a fierce spotlight. Shi, who’s been nicknamed “Bat Woman,” heads a group that studies bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), in the city in China where the pandemic began, and many have speculated that the virus that causes COVID-19 accidentally escaped from her lab—a theory promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump. Some have even suggested it could have been engineered there. China has forcefully rejected such claims, but Shi (pronounced SHIH) herself has said very little publicly. Now, Shi has broken her silence about the details of her work. On 15 July, she emailed Science answers to a series of written questions about the virus’ origin and the research at her institute. In them, Shi hit back at speculation that the virus leaked from WIV. She and her colleagues discovered the virus in late 2019, she says, in samples from patients who had a pneumonia of unknown origin. “Before that, we had never been in contact with or studied this virus, nor did we know of its existence,” Shi wrote.
No, Australia should not follow Sweden's approach to coronavirus
The costs of preventing the spread of COVID-19 must always be compared to the health, social and economic costs of viable alternatives. Countries across the globe have dealt with this balancing act differently. One country in particular that has attracted attention for its lighter approach to lockdown is Sweden. Some people have regarded Sweden as an example for Australia to follow. But Sweden shouldn’t be seen as a model for Australia when it comes to COVID-19. The virus has spread rapidly, they’ve had more deaths, and the economy is suffering just as badly as their neighbours with heavier lockdowns.
People returning to UK from Spain decry 'unfair' coronavirus quarantine
People returning to the UK from Spain have spoken out about how they are facing a shortfall in income after the government introduced a 14-day quarantine period, as they cannot work and do not receive occupational sick pay. “The government’s decision is ridiculously unfair,” said Alejandro Castrillo, 29, who works at a hotel in London and had been visiting family in Asturias, northern Spain. “I don’t have the option to work from home and having to quarantine will mean unpaid leave or enforced holiday. Quarantine is not remunerated and I do not get sick pay. This is only generating higher levels of uncertainty.”
Continued Lockdown
Another escape from managed isolation in Auckland
The Minister in charge of isolation facilities Megan Woods says another person managed to escape from the Crowne Plaza in Auckland after tailgating a staff member. She said the man was apprehended by police after only making it 50 metres from the hotel. "They didn't even make 50 metres. Security and the police were on to it and it really does show the work of having the police on site. "They could be immediately brought back into the facility. This is an example of the systems working as they should.
North Korea tells foreigners in capital to follow rules amid coronavirus crackdown
Following the announcement that North Korea is investigating its first possible coronavirus case, authorities reminded foreigners living in Pyongyang to abide by anti-coronavirus measures, the Russian embassy there said on Wednesday. North Korea’s foreign ministry circulated a notice on Tuesday telling foreigners not to leave the city, hold large meetings, and to wear masks, among other rules, the embassy said in a post on its Facebook page. North Korea declared a state of emergency and introduced tougher curbs against the coronavirus, state media reported, after it locked down the town of Kaesong, on the border with the South, to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed infection.
International students turn to food banks in lockdown
Hundreds of international students in the UK have turned to food banks after part-time work and funding from families dried up during lockdown. Some have been unable to pay their course fees and have been threatened with suspension by their universities which would result in their visas being cancelled. The Newham Community Project in east London, volunteers are feeding up to 600 students, most in their early 20s. "They're going through a lot of hardship," says organiser Elyas Ismail. "This is their first time abroad," he adds. "They're in a bad way."
Kazakhstan extends coronavirus lockdown until mid-August
Kazakhstan has extended its lockdown over the novel coronavirus for two more weeks until mid-August and the restrictions will then be eased gradually, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Wednesday.
Colombia coronavirus quarantine to be extended until Aug 30
Colombia’s national lockdown to curb infections of the new coronavirus will be extended by one month until the end of August, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday. The Andean country has reported more than 267,300 coronavirus cases and 9,074 deaths. “Obligatory preventative isolation, as the general concept, will continue until August 30,” Duque said in his nightly broadcast. This is the eighth time the lockdown has been extended. Duque declared a national lockdown in late March to slow the spread of coronavirus across the Andean country.
Victoria announces more than 700 new Covid-19 cases, 13 deaths
The 723 cases mark the highest daily tally of the pandemic in the Australian state, shattering the previous single-day total by almost 200 cases. Today, 13 new deaths were announced, another daily high. They were three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s. From midnight Sunday, face coverings will be mandatory throughout Victoria. The government will also impose restrictions on face-to-face gatherings in some regional local government areas from midnight tonight. "It's inconvenient, it's challenging, but it's essentially stage four for Melbourne, and it's something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but getting a really significant public health benefit," Premier Daniel Andrews said at a media briefing.
Covid-19: New Victoria cases to be 'doorknocked' by military - Premier
The 723 cases mark the highest daily tally of the pandemic in the Australian state, shattering the previous single-day total by almost 200 cases. Today, 13 new deaths were announced, another daily high. They were three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s. From midnight Sunday, face coverings will be mandatory throughout Victoria. The government will also impose restrictions on face-to-face gatherings in some regional local government areas from midnight tonight. "It's inconvenient, it's challenging, but it's essentially stage four for Melbourne, and it's something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but getting a really significant public health benefit," Premier Daniel Andrews said at a media briefing.
Leicester lockdown decision deadline changed by Government
The deadline for a decision to be made on future of the Leicester lockdown has been moved forward to July 30. The original date the Government said it would review restrictions in the city and Oadby and Wigston by was Saturday, August 1. The last review also took place on a Thursday, which could explain why the date has been changed.
Scientific Viewpoint
Kodak shares rise nearly 1,500% on Covid drug loan deal
Kodak, which is based in Rochester, New York, and the US International Development Finance Corporation, announced on Tuesday that the company had secured a $765m loan to produce drug ingredients under the Defense Production Act. Kodak shares began climbing on Monday. On that day, a Rochester television station published — and then deleted — a report saying an announcement was forthcoming from the company on Tuesday, news anchor Adam Chodak of CBS-affiliate WROC told the Financial Times. The WROC report did not include details on what the two organisations would reveal, beyond a manufacturing agreement related to Covid-19.
EU readies up to $53 million to boost collection of plasma to fight COVID-19
The European Union has made available up to 45 million euros ($53 million/£40 million) to increase the collection of plasma from COVID-19 survivors for the treatment of people who contract the disease, a spokesman told Reuters. The move confirms the EU's growing confidence in experimental therapies based on so-called convalescent plasma, which is currently used in hospitals for direct transfusions to critically ill patients and is being tested to develop possible medicines against COVID-19. Money is coming from an emergency fund that the European Union has so far used only for highly sensitive issues throughout the pandemic, including the purchase of another COVID-19 treatment and potential vaccines. Grants will be distributed to blood collection centres to help them buy new equipment, such as testing kits and machines that separate plasma from blood, the EU spokesman said.
New survey finds large racial divide in concern over ability to pay for COVID-19 treatment
People of color are far more likely to worry about their ability to pay for healthcare if diagnosed with COVID-19 than their White counterparts, according to a new survey from nonprofit West Health and Gallup. By a margin of almost two to one (58% vs. 32%), non-White adults report that they are either "extremely concerned" or "concerned" about the potential cost of care. That concern is three times higher among lower-income versus higher-income households (60% vs. 20%). The data come from the West Health/Gallup U.S. Healthcare Study, an ongoing survey about Americans' experiences with and attitudes about the healthcare system. The latest findings are based on a nationally representative sample of 1,017 U.S. adults interviewed between June 8 and June 30.
Russian COVID-19 vaccine approval imminent, source says
Russia's first potential COVID-19 vaccine will win local regulatory approval in the first half of August and be administered to frontline health workers soon afterwards, a development source close to the matter told Reuters. A state research facility in Moscow - the Gamaleya Institute - completed early human trials of the adenovirus-based vaccine this month and expects to begin large-scale trials in August. The vaccine will win regulatory approval from authorities in Russia while that large-scale trial continues, the source said, highlighting Moscow's determination to be the first country in the world to approve a vaccine. The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out the vaccine has prompted some Western media to question whether Moscow is putting national prestige before solid science and safety. "(Regulatory) approval will be in the first two weeks of August," the development source said. "August 10 is the expected date, but it will definitely be before August 15. All (trial) results so far are highly positive."
Intravacc and Celonic to Develop and Produce a Novel COVID-19 Vaccine
Intravacc, a global leader in translational research and development of viral and bacterial vaccines, and Celonic Group, a premium biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), specialized in development and production of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) and mammalian cell lines expressed bio-therapeutics, today announced that they have signed a research agreement to further design, develop and produce a Covid-19 vaccine based on an immunogenic Spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 combined with Intravacc's prorietary Outer Membrane Vesicle (OMV) technology.
'One big wave' – why the Covid-19 second wave may not exist
The Covid-19 pandemic is currently unfolding in “one big wave” with no evidence that it follows seasonal variations common to influenza and other coronaviruses, such as the common cold, the World Health Organization has warned. Amid continued debates over what constitutes a second wave, a resurgence or seasonal return of the disease, Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, insisted that these discussions are not a helpful way to understand the spread of the disease. “People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and this one is behaving differently,” Harris told a virtual briefing in Geneva, urging vigilance in applying measures to slow transmission that appears to be accelerated by mass gatherings
UK studies exploring Covid-19 links with ethnicity awarded £4m
Specially tailored public health messaging, the impact of structural racism and whether healthcare workers should be redeployed are among research projects that have been given funding to explore the link between Covid-19 and ethnicity. More than £4m has been awarded to six projects that will help researchers explain and mitigate the disproportionate death rates from coronavirus among people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. The grants are from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
Coronavirus: Trump sticks by unproven hydroxychloroquine
US President Donald Trump has again defended the use of hydroxychloroquine to ward off coronavirus, contradicting his own public health officials. He said the malaria medication was only rejected as a Covid-19 treatment because he had recommended its use. His remarks come after Twitter banned his eldest son for posting a clip promoting hydroxychloroquine. There is no evidence the drug can fight the virus, and regulators warn it may cause heart problems. On Wednesday Dr Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, told the BBC that hydroxychloroquine was not effective against the virus
Average BAME Covid-19 patient decades younger than white Britons in study
People of south Asian heritage admitted to hospital with coronavirus are on average 31 years younger than white British Covid-19 patients, according to a study of inpatients in a town with one of England’s highest infection rates. Doctors at the Royal Oldham hospital in Greater Manchester found that black and minority ethnic coronavirus patients were mostly far younger than their white counterparts. The average age of those being treated was 71. The research, which was published this week but has not yet been peer-reviewed, also found that more than two-thirds of the 470 patients with Covid-19 lived in the most deprived parts of Oldham.
India coronavirus: 'More than half of Mumbai slum-dwellers had Covid-19'
More than half the residents of slums in three areas in India's commercial capital, Mumbai, tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, a new survey has found. Only 16% of people living outside slums in the same areas were found to be exposed to the infection. The results are from random testing of some 7,000 people in three densely-packed areas in early July. Mumbai has reported more than 110,000 cases and 6,187 deaths as of 28 July. The survey was carried out by the city's municipality, the government think-tank Niti Aayog and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. It found that 57% of the people tested in slum areas of Chembur, Matunga and Dahisar had been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
Virus curbs tightened over fears of a second wave
Spain and Germany were among the countries tightening restrictions on Tuesday in a bid to cool coronavirus hotspots that have sparked fears of a second wave. The World Health Organization warned that the virus did not appear to be affected by seasonality, as the global death toll from the pandemic passed 654,000 Tuesday—nearly a third of the dead in Europe, according to an AFP tally. More than 100,000 deaths have been recorded since July 9 and the global toll has doubled in just over two months.
Case characteristics, resource use, and outcomes of 10 021 patients with COVID-19 admitted to 920 German hospitals: an observational study
In the German health-care system, in which hospital capacities have not been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, mortality has been high for patients receiving mechanical ventilation, particularly for patients aged 80 years or older and those requiring dialysis, and has been considerably lower for patients younger than 60 years.
Germany: Coronavirus vaccine unlikely to be widely available before mid-2021
German Research Minister Anja Karliczek said on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine was unlikely to be widely available before the middle of next year. “We must continue to assume that vaccines for the broader population will only be available from the middle of next year at the earliest,” she told a news conference.
Germany 'won't be able to avoid' a new lockdown when second wave hits, virologist warns as outbreaks spread around the country
Germany will not be able to avoid a second lockdown if it is hit by a second wave of coronavirus cases, a leading virologist has warned. Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit said 'drastic measures' would be back on the table if Germany's health system is overwhelmed by virus cases - a nightmare scenario which Germany has so far avoided. Fears of a second wave are mounting in Germany after an increase of 4,127 new cases in the last week, up from 2,385 two weeks ago. Experts are worried because the virus is spreading across the country and is not confined to a handful of local clusters, with the R rate now regularly above 1.0.
Russia Plans to Register First Covid-19 Vaccine by Aug. 12
Russia plans to register a coronavirus vaccine by Aug. 10-12, clearing the way for what its backers say would be the world’s first official approval of an inoculation against the epidemic. The drug developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund may be approved for civilian use within three to seven days of registration by regulators, according to a person familiar with the process, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
Japan Shows It’s Defying Covid-19 Damage With Falling Death Rate
Japan avoided a surge in overall fatalities during its deadliest month of the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting the government’s testing methods aren’t resulting in a large number of uncounted deaths linked to Covid-19. Mortality across the nation dropped by 3.5% in May from a year earlier, with Japan recording a total of 108,380 deaths from any cause, data released Tuesday by the nation’s Health Ministry show. The month, during which much of the country was under a state of emergency, saw the most confirmed deaths so far from Covid-19. Japan officially recorded 468 coronavirus-related fatalities in May, almost half its total to date of 1,001.
Covid-19 news: Young people may be driving spikes in cases, says WHO
Rising coronavirus infections among young people could be driving recent spikes in cases across Europe, said Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s Europe regional director, in a BBC report today. Kluge said he has two daughters and understands that young people “do not want to miss a summer,” but added that they have a responsibility toward themselves, their family members and their communities. The Netherlands is among countries which have reported higher infection rates among younger people, with about a quarter of people who tested positive there last week aged 20 to 29. Earlier this week, officials in Brittany, France ordered curfews on beaches, parks and gardens in an attempt to prevent large gatherings of young people in particular, according to local leaders. Officials in Spain have also imposed similar curfews, with bars and nightclubs in Catalonia required to close by midnight since Friday.
'Vaccine nationalism' threatens global plan to distribute COVID-19 shots fairly
To avoid such a scenario, the World Health Organization and other international organizations have set up a system to accelerate and equitably distribute vaccines, the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, which seeks to entice rich countries to sign on by reducing their own risk that they’re betting on the wrong vaccine candidates. But the idea has been put together on the fly, and it’s unclear how many rich countries will join.
Coronavirus can infect people 26 FEET away in cold moving air, finds study that recreated an outbreak in a German food factory
Coronavirus is able to travel more than 26 feet (eight metres) in cold environments with moving air, according to a study that recreated an outbreak in a food factory. Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research focused on an outbreak of Covid-19 at a slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, Germany, that infected 1,500 workers. They found a single person in the plant appeared to have infected several others within a 26 feet radius, made possible because of the cold conditions and the constantly circulating air inside the plant.
Coronavirus Resurgence
'I cannot save everybody': Houston doctor fights newest COVID-19 surge
Dr. Joseph Varon, the chief medical officer of United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC), said he is afraid he will soon face a dilemma many doctors elsewhere said they confronted earlier in the pandemic: deciding who to save. “I’m afraid that at some point in time I’m going to have to make some very serious decisions,” he told Reuters in an interview. “I’m starting to get the idea that I cannot save everybody.” Varon, 58, is overseeing the hospital’s unit dedicated to COVID-19 patients, where he said he tends to an average of 40 people a day. He said he signed more death certificates in the last week than at any point in his career.
Coronavirus: Vietnam battles COVID-19 strain not seen in country before
Every province and city in Vietnam is at risk of a new wave of COVID-19, its prime minister has warned, as territories across Asia suffer a spike in new infections. Vietnam had been coronavirus-free for months before the recent outbreak in Da Nang, a city in the centre of the country. Cases have now also been reported in other cities, including Ho Chi Minh city and the capital Hanoi. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that this coronavirus strain had not been seen in the country before, and some local media reported that the new strain was more contagious than previous ones.
Study: COVID-19 outbreaks worse at nursing homes with more complaints
Nursing homes reporting cases of COVID-19 had nearly 1.5-times as many substantiated complaints about the care services they provide than those without confirmed infections, according to an analysis in JAMA Network Open.
Florida reports record increase in COVID-19 deaths for second day in a row
Florida and Texas reported a record increase in COVID-19 deaths for a second day in a row on Wednesday, as total deaths surpassed 150,000, according to a Reuters tally. Florida had 217 fatalities in the last 24 hours and Texas had at least 302 with some counties yet to report. Only two other states, New York and New Jersey, have ever reported more than 300 deaths in a single day. Florida also reported 9,446 new cases, bringing its total infections to over 451,000, the second highest in the country behind California. Florida’s total death toll rose to 6,457, eighth highest in the nation, according to a Reuters tally.
The graph that shows a worrying and steep rise in Oldham's Covid-19 cases
This graph charts the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in Oldham over the last week. In the week leading up to July 25, confirmed incidences of the virus increased 'dramatically' with 119 new positive cases being recorded across the borough.
Oldham overtakes lockdown-Leicester to have the highest second coronavirus infection rate in England
Oldham has overtaken Leicester to have the second highest Covid-19 infection rate in England, official figures revealed today. NHS statistics today showed Oldham recorded 54.3 coronavirus cases for every 100,000 people between July 20 and 26. The weekly infection rate for the Greater Manchester town has risen by 191 per cent. In comparison, Leicester's outbreak has dropped slightly to 53.2.
Europe battles to contain surge in Covid-19 cases
Public health officials are sounding the alarm over a resurgence of coronavirus cases in Europe as countries ease lockdowns and international travel ramps up with some experts warning citizens have become too complacent. The increase is marked in countries such as Spain, while eastern Europe and the Balkans, which were largely spared the worst of the early pandemic, are seeing a steep increase in recorded cases. Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, warned of a looming “second wave” of Covid-19 across Europe on Tuesday, while the head of Germany’s public health authority said: “We’ve let our guard down”. Some governments are already taking measures to slow the spread. The UK has imposed quarantine on people returning from Spain, while Germany and France have ordered mandatory testing for travellers from high-risk areas.
Is Europe seeing a second wave? What WHO says about spike in Covid-19 cases in Spain and other countries - and where cases are rising fastest
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed concerns that Europe is showing signs of a “second wave” of coronavirus, following a recent spike in cases in Spain. Mr Johnson defended the government’s decision to impose a 14-day quarantine restriction on travellers who return from Spain, including the Balearics and Canary Islands, and warned the UK must be “vigilant” over the threat of a second wave here.
French health minister says observing social distancing 'vital' to avoid new lockdown
France reported 14 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, a figure twice as high as the daily average increase of seven seen over the previous week. A total of 30,223 people have now died of COVID-19 in France, health authorities said. "We are not facing a second wave, the epidemic is continuing... Some people do not respect the rules. We must not let down our guard," Health Minister Olivier Véran told LCI television.
Vietnam's PM calls for urgent action on virus
Vietnam's prime minister has ordered officials across the country to ramp up efforts to curb coronavirus infections. State-run media say Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made the remarks at a meeting on Wednesday. His intervention comes as the central city of Da Nang has been hit by a surge in infections. He said, "I repeat, all provinces are facing high risks, all provinces should raise their alert level. The top officials in each province should take action, as well as those at every level of government. The public should be careful and alert, and follow the instructions given to them." The prime minister also said authorities have not yet identified the source of infection in Da Nang, saying route of transmission is complicated.
Hong Kong faces worst wave of virus, but tiny apartments mean it can't just lock down
Once a coronavirus success story, Hong Kong is facing its worst outbreak yet, and policymakers are realizing how little they can do without making a bad situation worse. New infections have broken records on nine of the last 20 days. But unlike other global cities, Hong Kong has been reluctant to impose stay-at-home restrictions or close nonessential businesses. Instead, the rules have gotten incrementally tighter, changing by the week. Public gatherings were limited to four people, then two. Dining-in was banned for dinner, then lunch. Masks were required on public transport, then all indoor public spaces, now everywhere outdoors as well.
The World’s Covid Resurgence
Well, flare-ups are now occurring in several countries that recently eased their lockdowns and travel restrictions. Victory declarations anywhere are premature. New cases doubled in Spain over the weekend and are up six-fold in a month. Government officials have tied cases to migrant farm workers, tourists, family gatherings and young people partying. Catalonia, a tourist region known for vineyards and beaches, this weekend ordered the closure of night clubs and late-night bars. “Certain generations haven’t remained vigilant,” Spain Ministry of Health emergency director Fernando Simón said. Governors Doug Ducey of Arizona and Greg Abbott of Texas can sympathize.
What Spain is telling us about the coronavirus' second wave
Last week’s €750 billion ($877 billion) COVID-19 rescue fund marked a high point in the European Union’s plan to tackle the economic fallout of the virus. But a new flare-up in infections on the continent is a grim reminder of the more immediate epidemiological threat. While it’s not a second wave yet, it’s a serious test of government strategies intended to avoid one. Cases are rising across the region at the highest pace since tough lockdown measures were lifted, although overall infections remain much lower than the outbreak’s April peak. In Spain, new daily cases hit almost 1,000 last week, driven by local spikes in areas such as Aragon and Catalonia, where nightclubs are now being closed and curfews applied on bars. In Belgium, an increase in infections has forced the government to roll out tougher social-distancing measures, such as limiting face-to-face interactions.
China records biggest one-day rise in coronavirus cases since March
A record number of coronavirus infections in Xinjiang, the Chinese region where authorities have been accused of widespread human rights abuses, has prompted concerns the country faces another wave of the pandemic. China’s National Health Commission on Tuesday announced 64 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, marking the country’s biggest one-day rise since March. Of those, 57 were found in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital. In the past two weeks, 280 cases have been confirmed nationwide. The latest outbreak in China — where Covid-19 was first reported earlier this year — comes as countries across the region suffer resurgences in infections.
Coronavirus Australia: Sydney’s ‘best chance to avoid lockdown’
The Committee for Sydney has called on the NSW government to introduce mandatory mask wearing in the metropolitan area. The group said following Victoria’s lead and making masks mandatory in Sydney was our “best chance to avoid a second lockdown”. “People in Sydney are still not wearing masks,” the committee wrote in a statement. “Even as COVID-19 cases in Melbourne remain intractably high, and even as we see the increase in community transmission in Sydney that may foretell a true ‘second wave’, a deeply ingrained cultural resistance to mask-wearing has not budged.” The recent advice from NSW health authorities is to wear a mask if you are in a situation where you can’t practice social distancing, like on busy public transport.
Papua New Guinea outbreak spreads beyond capital
Papua New Guinea ramped up coronavirus testing and rushed to build field hospitals on Wednesday after an outbreak was found to have spread beyond its locked-down capital. More than 70 people have been isolated and contact tracing was underway at four hotels in the second city of Lae, after a health conference attendee tested positive for COVID-19, the provincial health authority said. It was the first infection detected in the city.
Coronavirus: Two infected Brisbane women didn't self isolate after returning from Melbourne
Queensland Health has confirmed a third positive case of COVID-19 has been recorded in the state's south-east. This morning health authorities revealed two 19-year-old women who returned to Queensland from Melbourne via Sydney and failed to self-isolate tested positive to COVID-19. Health Minister Steven Miles said the women's close contacts were now being thoroughly traced and the women would be facing a criminal investigation.
French Health Minister - We want to avoid another coronavirus lockdown
France’s health minister urged the country on Wednesday not to drop its guard against COVID-19, saying it faced a long battle and that observing social distancing rules was vital to avoiding a new national lockdown. France reported 14 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, a figure twice as high as the daily average increase of seven seen over the previous week. A total of 30,223 have now died of COVID-19 in France, health authorities said. “We are not facing a second wave, the epidemic is continuing... Some people do not respect the rules. We must not let down our guard,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told LCI television.
New Lockdown
Catalonia orders local lockdown as Spain battles new virus surges
Authorities also recommended that people stay at home in a suburb of Barcelona, capital of the northeastern region of 7.5 million people where there has been an acrimonious push for independence in recent years. Having suffered more than 28,400 deaths, tourism-dependent Spain brought the epidemic largely under control through a tough national lockdown that was lifted on June 21. However, since then, more than 170 local outbreaks have been detected, with 120 still active - including a worrying one around the Catalan city of Lleida. The order for residents of Lleida, and seven nearby towns, to stay at home still needs to be approved by a judge amid tensions over how to handle local outbreaks.
Coronavirus: Spain travel row and a local lockdown
Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Tuesday evening. We'll have another update for you tomorrow morning.
Covid 19 coronavirus: 'No way' Victorian lockdown will end within three weeks, expert says
An expert says there is "no way" Victoria's lockdown will end within three weeks as initially announced. Victorians were expected to emerge from a six-week lockdown on August 16 but Melbourne University epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely believes authorities will need at least two extra weeks beyond that to get coronavirus cases down. Blakely told news.com.au that outbreaks in the aged-care sector have contributed to continuing high numbers and said there was "no way" lockdown would end within three weeks. "Things have not gone the way we hoped," he said. "Numbers are still high because of essential workers. It will take longer to pull the numbers back because there are cases in so many different segments."