| |

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 5th Sep 2022

News Highlights

Dear All

After 737 newsletters and 30,000 articles shared over the last 29 months, Lockdown Exit tracking global media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, will shift to a once-a-week newsletter delivered to your mailbox on Monday mornings GMT.  

We invite you to send comments on your experience with this newsletter over these many months and for enquiries on using our database of COVID-19 coverage for research purposes please contact us at admin@nfind.uk

Please pass this on to your friends, families, and networks.

Our website: https://nfind.uk/lockdown_exit



Lockdown Exit
Coronavirus: Hong Kong health minister slams report suggesting internal conflict on quarantine, city logs 10,683 cases
Hong Kong Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau does not name news outlet but says report had cost the media its integrity, three days after Bloomberg piece. Meanwhile, city logs highest daily tally since March 24
Look Who’s Rushing Covid Vaccines Now
Democrats and the public-health clerisy denounced President Trump for rushing Covid vaccines. They’ve been curiously quiet about the Food and Drug Administration’s gunshot approval last week of revamped booster shots with no trials showing they are safe or effective. The FDA granted emergency-use authorization to mRNA shots by Pfizer and Moderna that are bivalent, targeting the initial Wuhan variant as well as the currently predominant BA.4 and BA.5 strains. The Biden administration ordered 171 million doses earlier this summer, so FDA authorization seems to have been a fait accompli. The FDA probably should have made the reconfigured vaccines available to high-risk and elderly patients. But the case is weak for young people, given the limited benefit and uncertain risks.
Ex-minister Liam Fox gets donation from Covid test firm he recommended
Tory MP Liam Fox received a £20,000 donation in June from a Covid testing firm on whose behalf he had contacted the then health secretary Matt Hancock. Mr Fox recommended SureScreen Diagnostics to Mr Hancock in 2020, an email seen by campaign group Good Law Project and the BBC shows. The company went on to win a £500m contract to provide tests without facing competition. A spokesperson for Mr Fox said the story was a "baseless smear". It was "concocted by the political activist Jolyon Maugham and the Good Law Project", the spokesman said, and Mr Fox would be making a complaint. "It is appalling that this should be propagated by the BBC," the statement issued after publication, added.
China's tech hub Shenzhen goes into COVID lockdown
Six districts within Shenzen will remain in lockdown for seven days as they are considered at high-risk for COVID-19 transmission, Reuters reports. Shenzhen will suspend bus and train services for the lockdown.
Jacinda Ardern is losing support in NZ, but can the PM's international star power save her?
NZ's Opposition says Kiwis are facing a cost-of-living crisis, and analysts say it is impacting support for the PM. Ms Ardern's government now has less support than the National Party, according to recent polling. Analysts say the key issues at next year's election will be the economy and inequality
China's Covid Spread Persists After Mega-City Lockdown
New coronavirus cases in China stayed at elevated levels on Friday following the lockdown of a mega-city of 21 million, as the nation pursues its rigid Covid-zero policy with dogged determination. The country reported 1,819 new local Covid-19 infections on Friday in 25 out of its 32 provinces and municipalities, according to a statement of National Health Commission. That compares with 1,885 reported Thursday. Chengdu, the nation’s sixth-largest city which was ordered to lock down on Thursday, reported 155 new local Covid-19 cases on Friday, edging up from the 150 the previous day.
Shenzhen districts locked down as China battles COVID outbreaks
Most residents of the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen went into a weekend lockdown on Saturday as mass COVID-19 testing kicked off in much of the city of 18 million people. The lockdown, and the suspension of bus and subway services, came into effect two days after city authorities said rumours about a lockdown were based on a "misinterpretation" of the latest COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
Covid: Millions invited for booster jabs from Monday
Millions of people will be invited for their autumn Covid booster jab in England and Scotland next week, with care home residents the first to receive them. Although infections are falling, health bosses are predicting a resurgence of Covid and flu this autumn and winter. They are urging those eligible to protect themselves from serious illness by getting vaccines against both. A recently approved vaccine against the Omicron variant will be used first.
Denmark expects winter without COVID restrictions - health minister
Denmark is preparing to go through the coming winter without any coronavirus restrictions even with an expected rise in infections, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Friday. The Nordic country expects to be able to avoid lockdown measures due to new improved booster vaccines, greater immunity in the population and being able to better track the spread of the virus through measures such as waste-water testing.
Deadline looming, White House sees spike in demand for at-home virus tests
The White House on Thursday said Americans have increased requests for at-home COVID-19 tests as the federal government prepares to stop providing free tests on Friday. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that "we're going to do everything we can to get people their tests."
Omicron-Targeting Covid Booster Shots Offer Only Slight Advantage
How much better will an omicron-specific Covid-19 booster be? Research that models the protective effect of variant-modified shots found they’ll probably offer a slight advantage over existing immunizations. Antibodies that neutralize the virus jump about 11-fold after a booster targeting the original “Wuhan” strain of the coronavirus, and are increased a further 1.5-fold when a variant-modified shot is used, researchers at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute found. “A variant-modified booster does provide at least a marginal improvement,” said Deborah Cromer, head of the institute’s infection epidemiology and policy analytics group in Sydney, who led the study.
Exit Strategies
Locked-down Chengdu apologises after Covid testing system crashes
Chengdu authorities say sorry for long delays that forced people to wait in the rain late into the night. Transport hub ordered residents to test daily to try to keep a lid on coronavirus cases
China's Shenzhen to adopt tiered COVID measures; Chengdu extends lockdown
China's southern tech hub of Shenzhen said it will adopt tiered anti-virus restriction measures starting on Monday, while the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu announced an extension of lockdown curbs, as the country grapples with fresh outbreaks. Shenzhen, which went into a weekend lockdown on Saturday, announced a new round of COVID-19 testing, and vowed to "marshal all available resources, mobilise all forces, and take all possible measures" to stamp out the pandemic.
‘Peak of Hong Kong Covid surge in sight,’ says top pandemic adviser
Professor David Hui urges parents to get their children inoculated, citing studies overseas indicating doses are safe. He suggests possibility of ‘3+4’ quarantine scheme for overseas arrivals to be eased to ‘0+7’ format in November if conditions are ideal
Shenzhen districts locked down as China battles COVID outbreaks
Most residents of the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen went into a weekend lockdown on Saturday as mass COVID-19 testing kicked off in much of the city of 18 million people. The lockdown, and the suspension of bus and subway services, came into effect two days after city authorities said rumours about a lockdown were based on a "misinterpretation" of the latest COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
Covid pandemic may be causing more deaths than Australia’s daily numbers suggest
Behind the daily death figures, there is a more complicated picture of the impact of Covid-19 in Australia that raises questions about whether Covid could be causing more deaths from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and dementia. As cases exploded after the emergence of the Omicron variant, the number of Covid deaths similarly rose, with more than 80% of Australia’s total Covid deaths occurring in 2022.
National health agency apologises over Covid vaccine ads it was ordered to remove
The nation's newly branded health authority has been ordered to remove or fix a misleading advertisement about vaccination against Covid-19 that ran across multiple media platforms. The Advertising Standards Authority complaints board received 44 complaints against Te Whatu Ora/Health New Zealand's Vaccinate for Life advertisements which ran across television, print and on billboards and mobile phones. In a statement to Open Justice, the health agency's National Immunisation Programme has apologised for any confusion or concern caused by the advertisements, which concluded in July. The programme's director, Astrid Koornneef, said while it was disappointed with the decision it accepted the authority's ruling, which related to one element of a wider vaccination campaign.
Walgreens Now Offering Appointments for Updated COVID-19 Pfizer and Moderna Boosters
Walgreens now offers updated COVID-19 Pfizer and Moderna boosters to eligible individuals aged 12 years and older following authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Scheduling an appointment is preferred and is available via the Walgreens app, 1-800-WALGREENS, or online at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine starting today for vaccinations. Additional appointments will be added daily as select Walgreens stores begin to receive the updated COVID-19 boosters.
North Korea COVID rules put pressure on women providing food - U.N. expert
North Korean women and girls face increased pressure in providing food for their families and the state under coronavirus measures even as closed border hamper market activity and push up prices, a U.N. expert said on Friday. Elizabeth Salmon, the new U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, expressed concern about the "disproportionate impact" of the isolated country's COVID-19 rules on women and girls as she wrapped up her first visit to South Korea since taking office last month.
EU states urged to roll out COVID booster shots to fend off winter infections
EU countries should start offering COVID boosters to their populations now to contain a fresh wave of infections expected this autumn and winter, the bloc's executive said in a document seen by Reuters on Friday ahead of its official release. The Brussels-based European Commission said more than 2,300 people still die of COVID in the bloc every week, while other negative health consequences of the disease include long-COVID symptoms and mental problems.
Explainer: Updated COVID vaccines are coming to U.S. Should you get one?
Updated COVID-19 booster shots for people aged 12 years and above to target the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants of the coronavirus are on the way after receiving the go-ahead from U.S. regulators. The green light for the use of Omicron COVID boosters from Pfizer Inc with German partner BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc will enable millions of the retooled shots to roll out by the end of the weekend
Partisan Exits
North Korea repression grows with anti-Covid measures: UN
Human rights violations in North Korea have increased further due to the reclusive country’s “harsh” anti-Covid measures, the UN chief said in a report that warns the situation could be referred to the International Criminal Court. “Information received confirmed that the State had further increased its repression of the rights and freedoms of the people” of North Korea, and that the downturn “occurred in the context of the maintenance and subsequent increase of strict Covid-19 restrictions,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres wrote in the assessment released this week.
Viral claims are blaming a surge in excess deaths in Europe on vaccines. But experts say that's not the case
This week, CheckMate investigates whether excess deaths among children have increased by more than 1,000 per cent in Europe, which some have linked to COVID-19 vaccines. We also debunk claims that AstraZeneca's vaccine causes monkeypox, and ask: is there really ‘no one in the world’ making electric utes?
Covid boosters: surge of dangerous vaccine misinformation emerges online ahead of new jab programme
Anti-vaxxers are ramping up up their campaigns of misinformation as medics prepare to launch the autumn booster jabs against covid. Pregnant women and the overall safety of two of the most common jabs have already been targeted in recent days and experts expect further misinformation to be posted on social media through the autumn. The authors of a paper published this week in the journal Vaccine claim that the risk of serious adverse events following a Pfizer or Moderna jab, compared to those in a placebo group, “points to the need for formal harm-benefit analyses”.
Scientific Viewpoint
CanSino's inhaled COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency use approval in China
China's CanSino Biologics Inc said on Sunday that its recently developed COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the country's drug regulator for emergency use as a booster, potentially benefiting its business.
Livzon Pharma's COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency use approval in China
China granted emergency use authorisation to Livzon Pharmaceutical Group Inc's COVID-19 vaccine as a booster, the company said on Friday, one of just two new products against the disease the country has cleared in more than a year. Livzon's vaccine, based on the original coronavirus, if rolled out to the general public would widen booster options for China's 1.4 billion population, of which 90% have been vaccinated and nearly 60% have received a booster dose.
EMA panel backs COVID-19 vaccines targeting Omicron BA.1
The EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) has recommended authorisation of two COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech that include sequences coding for Omicron spike protein as booster shots. The European Commission said it will move ahead with an accelerated authorisation of the bivalent shots, which include mRNA for the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, as well as the original BA.1 subvariant of Omicron, in a divergence from the approach taken by the authorities in the US. The FDA has just authorised vaccines from the two companies that will specifically target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron, which have now displaced the earlier forms and, for now, are expected to remain dominant through the coming autumn and winter.
CDC vaccine advisers vote to recommend updated Covid-19 boosters
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signed off Thursday on the recommendation of the agency's independent vaccine advisers in favor of updated Covid-19 vaccine boosters from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13 to 1 earlier in the day to recommend updated mRNA boosters for Americans this fall.
CDC recommends Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine to be used as primary series option for adolescents
COVID-19 may provoke IgA-associated vasculitis. The prevalence and risk factors for delirium in older patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Risk factors among pregnant and postpartum women with COVID-19
South Africa Wastewater May Indicate 'Impending' Covid-19 Wave
An increase in Covid-19 virus fragments in wastewater samples “may indicate an impending wave” of infections, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said. Increases in the frequency of samples in the week ended Aug. 23 were found at water treatment plants near the capital, Pretoria, as well as in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, an industrial and residential area that lies between the two cities, the NICD said in a report on Friday. Increased numbers of fragments were also found in the cities of Durban and Bloemfontein, it said.
Pfizer, BioNTech seek to revoke CureVac's patent infringement claims
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have filed proceedings at the High Court of England and Wales, seeking a judgment that their COVID-19 vaccine, based on mRNA technology, does not infringe on CureVac's European patents, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. In July, CureVac had filed a patent lawsuit against BioNTech over its use of mRNA technology, seeking fair compensation from the company and two subsidiaries for infringement of its intellectual properly rights.
Taiwan approves Omicron-targeted Moderna COVID vaccine
Taiwan on Friday approved the use of Moderna Inc's Omicron-targeted COVID-19 vaccine as a booster shot for people aged 18 and over. The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration said it gave approval after an overall assessment of the vaccine's effectiveness and safety as well as the "urgent domestic public health needs". The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorised updated Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster shots that target the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants of the virus.
CDC Panel Backs Moderna, Pfizer Covid Omicron Boosters
Covid booster shots that target the most common new variants of the virus should become available in the US within days, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the rollout of updated vaccines Thursday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed the use of the new shots after, in two 13-1 votes, outside vaccine and health experts gave their backing to the booster shots from Moderna Inc. and from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Shenzhen Tells Most Residents to Stay Home, as Covid-19 Controls Tighten Across China
China’s southern technology hub of Shenzhen is shutting down the city center over the weekend, as more parts of the country tighten Covid-19 controls to battle a new wave of infections just weeks ahead of a high-profile Communist Party congress.
‘70 per cent of hospital beds for children with Covid already full in Hong Kong’
Some children have been admitted to adult wards instead, Hospital Authority Chief Manager Dr Lau Ka-hin says. Professor Lau Yu-lung also predicts more transmissible Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants may account for 90 per cent of city’s caseload.
'Uncertain trend' of Covid-19 infections in Northern Ireland as positive cases rise
The Office for National Statistics has said there is an “uncertain trend” in Covid-19 infections in Northern Ireland after around one in 50 people tested positive last month. It's despite falling levels in the rest of the UK, with England dropping below one million for the first time since the start of June. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the uncertain trend here comes after 35,800 people were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to August 23, the equivalent of around one in 50. This is up from 26,400, or one in 70, in the week to August 16.
Russia reports most daily COVID-19 cases since March
Russia recorded 50,952 new COVID-19 infections over the last 24 hours, the government's coronavirus task force said on Friday, the highest daily tally in almost six months. Case numbers have climbed across Russia over the last six weeks, fuelled by the spread of new highly-transmissible variants of the coronavirus. Friday's tally was the highest number of new cases reported in a 24-hour period since March 10.
New Lockdown
Shenzhen shuts most public transport as China battles multiple outbreaks
The main districts of Chinese tech hub Shenzhen shut down public transport andextended curbs on public activities on Friday as cities across China battled COVID-19 outbreaks that have dampened the outlook for economic recovery. Six districts comprising the majority of the city's population of almost 18 million announced that all residents would be tested twice for COVID-19 over the weekend as subway and bus services were suspended.