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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 21st Aug 2020

News Highlights

Sweden records 150 year high in number of deaths over six month period

Sweden, which went against established global practice and did not enforce mandatory lockdowns on its citizens, has recorded its highest death toll in a six-month period for 150 years. The country reported 51,405 total fatalities from January to the end of June, with 4,500 being Covid-19 related, which represented the highest number of deaths over the same period since 1869, when Sweden had a population of just 4.1 million compared to 10.3 million today.

High Court rules New Zealand lockdown unlawful for the first nine days

The High Court of New Zealand has ruled that the order imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden requiring citizens to stay at home for a nine-day period between March 26 and April 3 was justified, but unlawful. The court found that the legislation allowing authorities to enforce the lockdown was not written into law until April 3.

Large percentage of Covid-19 hospital patients suffer symptons for months, study says

Researchers at the North Bristol NHS Trust's Discover Project have found that almost three quarters of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital continue to suffer symptoms three months after being discharged. Patients complained of breathlessness, fatigue and muscle soreness and struggled to do daily tasks and neglected returning to work due to the unusually long period of the symptoms

Morocco considers reimposing lockdown to counter coronavirus case spike

Moroccan King Mohammed VI said on Thursday that the country could be returned to a complete lockdown to counter the recent surge in coronavirus cases. Since the country lifted a three-month lockdown in June, cases have surged to a daily average of more than 1,000 a day, with a record high of 1,766 on August 15. The King said that another lockdown would be imminent if cases continued to increase and warned of severe economic repercussions.

Lockdown Exit
World Bank chief warns extreme poverty could surge by 100 million - The Jakarta Post
David Malpass, the president of the World Bank, warned that the coronavirus pandemic may drive as many as 100 million people back into extreme poverty. The Washington-based development lender previously estimated that 60 million people would fall into extreme poverty due to COVID-19, but the new estimate puts the deterioration at 70 to 100 million, and Malpass told the AFP news agency "that number could go higher" if the pandemic worsens or drags on. The situation makes it "imperative" that creditors reduce the amount of debt held by poor countries at risk, going beyond the commitment to suspend debt payments, he added.
New Zealand defers lockdown decision as it reports new COVID-19 cases
New Zealand on Friday reported 11 new cases of coronavirus, and put off a decision about easing restrictions in its biggest city of Auckland to next week. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would announce on Monday whether the government would ease alert level 3 restrictions enforced in Auckland, and level 2 measures in the rest of the country. Of the new COVID-19 cases, nine were in the community while two were imported.
Lockdown-free Sweden records its highest number of deaths in a six-month period for 150 years
Lockdown-free Sweden has recorded its highest death toll in a six-month period for 150 years - with 4,500 of its 51,405 fatalities being Covid-19 related. Its the highest tally from January to the end of June since 1869 when 55,431 people died, largely because of a famine. The population of Sweden then was just 4.1million, compared to 10.3million today. It should also be noted that Sweden remained neutral during the two world wars, whereas most European countries were experiencing the equivalent of a six-month coronavirus death toll in the course of a single battle 75 years ago.
'Distanced aperitivo and no hugs: How we're hosting house guests in Italy after lockdown'
But it has been a relief to be able to invite people to our house again. This has, however, required adopting some measures to keep everyone safe. There have been no decrees or lists made available to guide this accommodation, so we have had to cobble together our own. In some ways, we have learned from what we have experienced with lodging and restaurants. But then have added a domestic twist. One event that got our attention early-on was the covid-caused death of the village pharmacist and the infection of several members of his family. It seems the family had a large get-together and a few weeks later, the effects were dramatic. Given that he was a kind of town patriarch and friend of everyone, Patrizio’s sudden passing got everyone’s attention. One week he was his affable self, standing by the entrance to his shop and chatting people up; the next week he was gone. Thereafter, people diligently wore masks and maintained proper separation.
How the Pandemic Is Reshaping India
With a white handkerchief covering his mouth and nose, only Rajkumar Prajapati’s tired eyes were visible as he stood in line. It was before sunrise on Aug. 5, but there were already hundreds of others waiting with him under fluorescent lights at the main railway station in Pune, an industrial city not far from Mumbai, where they had just disembarked from a train. Each person carried something: a cloth bundle, a backpack, a sack of grain. Every face was obscured by a mask, a towel or the edge of a sari. Like Prajapati, most in the line were workers returning to Pune from their families’ villages, where they had fled during the lockdown. Now, with mounting debts, they were back to look for work. When Prajapati got to the front of the line, officials took his details and stamped his hand with ink, signaling the need to self-isolate for seven days.
China state papers back Wuhan park after viral pool party
Chinese state newspapers threw their support behind an amusement park in the central city of Wuhan on Thursday after pictures of a densely packed pool party at the park went viral overseas amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Chinese state media dismisses attacks on Wuhan's huge pool party as 'sour grapes'
Chinese state media has defended Wuhan residents after photos and video of a huge pool party went viral this week, saying complaints by foreigners were “sour grapes” . Thousands of people celebrated at a water park music festival in Wuhan this week, crowded in front of the stage, shoulder to shoulder. An AFP photo of the dance party drew some negative responses at Wuhan’s apparent return to normal life. A newspaper front page in Australia headlined the story as “China’s big party”, and “life’s a beach in Wuhan as world pays virus price”. Chinese authorities have faced persistent criticisms over early attempts to cover up the coronavirus outbreak, with some world leaders saying they could have stopped its spread to other countries.
Exit Strategies
Demand for community Covid-19 tests soars by 210%
Demand for community Covid-19 swab tests has soared by 210% in the last few weeks, it has emerged. HSE boss Paul Reid said a “complex set of demands” have emerged for workplace settings, close contacts and people whose first language is not English. He told the HSE briefing that demand for testing doubled in one week. “That is putting a different challenge on us in terms of the increased volume but also increased complexity,” Mr Reid added.
4 In 10 People Tested For Covid-19 Are Still Not Getting Results Within 24 Hours
Boris Johnson’s government is still failing to return Covid-19 test results within 24 hours, despite the prime minister pledging all would be done within a day by the end of June. NHS Test and Trace data covering the week ending August 11, released on Thursday, showed that the service is in fact getting worse at carrying out quick checks. Just 60% of in-person tests were returned within 24 hours and 14% of home tests within 48 hours, marking huge drops from the previous week, when the figures were 70% and 33% respectively. Swift testing is key to the government’s strategy of stamping out outbreaks in the months ahead, but the new figures mean that as many as four in 10 are still not getting results within 24 hours.
Covid-19 face masks call as Ireland's main churches 'recommend' use
The four main churches in Ireland have issued a joint statement in which they are “formally recommending and encouraging the use of face coverings at all services of worship”. The move comes amid growing concerns about rising Covid-19 infection rates across the island. The Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church have issued the statement. They say: "At this time, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland, the governments have not formally made mandatory the wearing of face coverings at services of worship. "This is, in part, due to the fact that as churches we are committed to maintaining 2 metre physical distancing between household groups and strict adherence to all government guidance on hand hygiene, cleaning, ventilation etc.
Portugal set to be added to UK Covid-19 safe travel list
Portugal is being added to the UK’s travel corridor list, meaning arrivals from the country will no longer have to quarantine, but Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago are being removed, it has been confirmed. As revealed earlier by the Guardian, UK government ministers including the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, agreed on Wednesday to changes affecting Portugal, Croatia, and Trinidad and Tobago. But, after final discussions and the agreement of the UK’s devolved administrations on Thursday afternoon, Austria is also being taken off the travel corridor due to concern over its coronavirus infections. In a sign of diverging approaches between the devolved nations, Scotland is also moving separately to remove Switzerland from its own travel corridor list.
UK ‘not considering’ face masks in offices after France makes them mandatory
Health secretary Matt Hancock has said that the government does not intend to follow France’s decision to make face coverings a requirement in offices. His comments came after France’s Ministry of Labour announced on Tuesday that face masks would be mandatory from the beginning of September in the workplace, with the exception of private offices. In response to a question about France’s move, Mr Hancock told the BBC: “We constantly look at the scientific advice and the answer here is we’re not currently considering doing that.” The health secretary said that evidence from the test and trace programme suggests that most infections in the UK have been passed on from one household to another.
UBS Doubts There Will Ever Be Coronavirus Lockdowns Again
There’s no real consensus on how to stop, cure or treat SARS-CoV-2. But if there is one place to go to make sense of it all, it’s market research provided by massive and global wealth managers. Undoubtedly, knowing where the virus is heading, and what can be done to cut it off at the pass, is as important to big picture investors as the U.S.-China trade war.
Coronavirus vaccine: Australia rules out mandatory immunisations
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has back-tracked after suggesting vaccinations against the coronavirus could become mandatory. Announcing a deal that could provide free doses to Australia's entire population, Mr Morrison had said there should only be medical exemptions. But after concerns raised by health experts, he clarified: "There are no compulsory vaccines in Australia." Meanwhile, visitors to Australia may also be required to have immunisation. Health Minister Greg Hunt said he "wouldn't rule out" making it mandatory for anyone travelling to Australia - including Australians returning to the country - if that was the advice from medical experts.
Australia to kick off trial in September to allow foreign students to return amid Covid-19 pandemic
Australia plans to start allowing foreign students to return from next month as part of a trial that will aim to reboot the country's lucrative international education sector. The first batch of students will be brought to the state of South Australia, which has effectively curbed its Covid-19 outbreak. As of Wednesday, the state had recorded 23 cases since the beginning of June and had not had a locally-transmitted case in 13 days. The trial will involve bringing 300 university students - reportedly mainly from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore - on a flight in early September from Singapore to Adelaide. The students, like Australian citizens and residents arriving from abroad, will undergo 14 days of quarantine at a hotel, to be paid for by the universities.
Could the coronavirus vaccine be mandatory in Australia? Experts say it's possible
News this week that Australia could have 25 million doses of the so-called "Oxford vaccine" available by early 2021 raises hope that a way to control COVID-19's spread may not be far away. But it also raises some serious ethical questions about how the vaccine would be distributed — including whether it should be mandatory. Prime Minister Scott Morrison — who originally declared on Wednesday the vaccine would be "mandatory" before revising his language to "encouraged" — added to speculation by suggesting that the "no jab, no play" framework used to compel uptake of childhood immunisation could offer a model for coronavirus vaccination too. So, in practice, what does that mean? Can those reluctant to receive a new vaccine be forced to accept it? And how would that affect the human rights of those who don't want to receive it?
Partisan Exits
Russia to send 2,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico for testing
Mexico will receive 2,000 doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine from Russia for the third stage of clinical trials, according to Foreign Secretary of Mexico Marcelo Ebrard. According to Ebrard, Moscow offered at least 2,000 doses of the vaccine to Mexico to start testing it, El Universal newspaper wrote. The testing is expected to begin in September. On Wednesday, Ebrard met with Russian Ambassador to Mexico Viktor Koronelli and the parties discussed the Sputnik V vaccine.
Biden’s pandemic challenge: A unified plan for a divided country
Joe Biden is preparing to take office in January with a unified national plan to defeat Covid-19, but he won't have a unified nation ready to follow it. The former vice president and Democratic nominee is putting together a centralized federal strategy for testing, contact tracing, and shoring up the medical supply chain that would replace the patchwork of state plans that enabled the virus to spread widely under President Donald Trump.
As coronavirus surges, Spain's back-to-school plans sow confusion, anger
With coronavirus cases surging and less than two weeks of the school holidays left, parents, teachers and opposition politicians in Spain are angry at the government’s plans for reopening classrooms. Latest government data showed daily infections peaked at 7,609 on Friday - their highest since late March - before dropping to 3,349 on Thursday. However, the fall may not represent a trend as similar declines have been followed by new peaks in recent weeks. “Don’t be confused: things are not going well,” health emergency chief Fernando Simon told reporters. Pablo Casado, leader of the conservative opposition People’s Party, accused Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s leftist government of keeping the country guessing on the reopening of schools.
New Zealand lockdown was unlawful for first nine days, High Court rules
The first nine days of New Zealand's coronavirus lockdown were unlawful, the High Court has ruled. Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale had sought a judicial review in relation to three matters relating to the New Zealand government’s initial response to the pandemic. The judges ruled in his favour on one matter, finding that the requirement for New Zealanders to stay at home for the nine-day period between March 26 and April 3 was justified, but unlawful. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered residents to stay at home from March 26 and the court found that legislation allowing authorities to enforce the lockdown measures was not written into law April 3.
Coronavirus: Female leaders do better job of saving lives in pandemic
Countries led by women fared “systematically and significantly better” in the battle against coronavirus, locking down earlier and suffering half as many deaths as those led by men, according to a new study of country-by-country responses. The analysis of 194 countries confirms the early anecdotal observations that female leaders appeared to be doing a better job at containing the pandemic than their male counterparts, crediting the difference to “the proactive and co-ordinated policy responses” favoured by the women. Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, Sanna Marin, prime minister of Finland, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan, are among the women leaders praised for their early successes against the pandemic. The authors, developmental economists from the universities of Liverpool and Reading, set out to examine all the available country datasets to see if the trend was real.
Former Attorney General reacts to unlawful lockdown ruling
The Attorney-General could appeal against a ruling that the first nine days of the lockdown was unlawful. The High Court says it was justified but that people weren't legally required to stay home until April 3. Former Attorney General and barrister, Chris Finlayson, told Mike Hosking the Attorney-General would want to have a good look at the judgement. “David Parker has 20 working days to decide whether he'll lodge an appeal. But I consider it to be a very solid judgement.” Tim Stephens, from the New Zealand Law Society, says there probably won't be any practical implications. He says the most important thing about the ruling was vindication of the rule of law. Stephens says it's a declaration about the fact that government statements about what the law was -- were incorrect.
Continued Lockdown
Parents reveal challenges of caring for disabled children during lockdown
During the past five months, many parents of children with special educational needs have not had a moment’s respite. Despite the Government advising that schools should remain open for vulnerable children. Four parents of disabled children tell Susannah Butter and Katie Strick how school closures and the withdrawal of support in the Covid crisis left them with a battle to cope with children whose routines were turned upside down
Melbourne's public housing tenants suffering in coronavirus lockdown
Nearly 150 complaints have been lodged with the Victorian ombudsman from residents of Melbourne’s public housing towers, with many reporting ongoing distress after last month’s hard lockdown to contain spread of COVID-19. Paramedics and COVID testing staff remain onsite at the commission flats in north Melbourne, a month after Victoria’s public housing towers became the epicentre of the state’s pandemic. Achol Aluier contracted the virus in the first wave, but with seven people living in her three bedroom flat, there was no way to contain the spread.
How Victoria could be a victim of its own lockdown success
An infectious disease expert has warned Victoria could be a victim of its own success after Premier Daniel Andrews said Stage 4 lockdown would not be lifted if testing rates continue to drop. While Victoria has recorded a decline in new daily coronavirus cases, showing signs Stage 4 is making an impact, Mr Andrews revealed this week testing had dropped 17 per cent in comparison to the previous week. Mr Andrews said on Wednesday there were 17,695 tests in the prior 24-hour period, while the state was recording more than 40,000 daily tests at the peak of the second wave. Mr Andrews said the state needed to be in a position where they were confident of knowing the levels of community transmission before they could enter a “new phase”. “The test numbers are too low for us to have clarity about just how much virus is out there,” he said.
How Victoria's Covid-19 lockdown is devastating its economy
Before coronavirus, Victoria’s economy was powering ahead, but the tough lockdown as it endures a second wave has hit businesses hard. As companies close their doors and staff numbers are savagely cut, the state’s shutdown threatens to drag the rest of Australia even further into economic peril. Business correspondent Ben Butler explains how Victoria’s prosperity was dealt a succession of blows
Colombia passes half a million coronavirus cases as deaths approach 16,000
Coronavirus cases in Colombia surpassed 500,000 on Wednesday as deaths from the virus approach 16,000 and the country nears the end of five months of lockdown. The Andean country has 502,178 confirmed cases of the virus according to the health ministry, with 15,979 reported deaths. Active cases number 158,893.
Scientific Viewpoint
Why Some People Get Terribly Sick from COVID-19
You might have a sniffle and be done. You might run a fever with a cough and unshakable fatigue for five days—or 10. Or you might end up in a hospital, gasping air into congested lungs, an immunological storm raging in your body. And you might not make it through COVID-19 alive. What determines if someone gets desperately ill from the disease that is ripping its way across the planet? You are likely familiar with the broad categories of people who face greater risk: older individuals, men, those who have certain chronic conditions, and—notably in the U.S. and England—people of color. But researchers are looking deeper into these groups to determine the underlying roots, both biological and social, for their vulnerability. Investigators are relating age-related risk to the ways that the immune system changes over the years, for example, and examining male-female differences in immune responses. Some scientists are probing for genetic variations that might raise susceptibility. Others are highlighting the social, environmental and economic factors that elevate risk, including racism.
Russia's 'Sputnik V' COVID-19 vaccine to be tested on 40,000 people - TASS cites developer
Mass testing of Russia’s first potential COVID-19 vaccine to get domestic regulatory approval will involve more than 40,000 people, the TASS news agency cited the vaccine’s developer as saying on Thursday. The vaccine, called “Sputnik V” in homage to the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union, has been hailed as safe and effective by Russian authorities and scientists following two months of small-scale human trials, the results of which have not been made public yet.
Almost 75% of hospital Covid-19 patients still suffer symptoms three months later, study claims
Almost three quarters of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital still suffer symptoms three months later, a study has claimed. Researchers found that 81 out of 110 patients had breathlessness, fatigue and muscle aches long after their battle with the disease. Many also struggled to carry out daily tasks such as washing, dressing or going back to work because of their 'long Covid', scientists claimed.
Figures unveil impact COVID-19 has had on NHS
The impact of COVID-19 is still taking its toll on Britain’s health system with hospital routine treatment waiting lists backed up, NHS England figures have shown. In June, there was more than 1.85 million people having to wait more than 18 weeks for treatment number, the highest since records began. In addition, the number of people going to accident and emergency units and being referred to cancer specialist have fallen by 30 per cent when compared to the same time period last year. Worryingly, rates for breast cancer referrals have dropped by 43 per cent, with figures down from 14,885 in June 2019 to 8,495 in June 2020. Sara Bainbridge, head of policy and influence at Macmillan Cancer Support, said the figures “worryingly low” and suggest “an alarming backlog of undiagnosed cancer”.
Barts clinicians develop programme for long-lasting Covid-19 symptoms
A digital programme to treat the lasting symptoms of Covid-19 has been developed by clinicians from Barts Health in collaboration with UCL researchers and UCL Partners. A team led by Barts Health clinicians and UCL health researchers have developed a rehabilitation tool with app developers Living With that can be delivered completely remotely. The tool combines evidence-based methods from physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians and respiratory physicians to create bespoke treatment plans for each patient. It targets three primary on-going symptoms being reported – fatigue, anxiety and breathing problems. The tool is an additional aid that complements the existing rehab pathway and patients who do not have access to a smart device will continue to receive traditional printed rehab plans and follow-up. Dr Paul Pfeffer, respiratory physician at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Queen Mary University of London, said: “The proportion of people needing further help is really high. We’re finding that half of the patients we discharge from hospital, are still experiencing significant symptoms after three months.
Coronavirus: Robin Swann set to recommend new Covid-19 measures
The PSNI will focus enforcement action in so-called "hotspot areas" to curb the spread of coronavirus, Robin Swann has said. Stormont's health minister made the announcement as he outlined new restrictions in response to a rise in cases. From next week, indoor gatherings will drop from 10 to six people and outdoor meetings from 30 to 15. Fifty-one new cases were reported on Thursday, with NI's total now at 6,556. No further deaths have been recorded by the department, meaning its death toll remains at 559. Meanwhile, two medics who work in the Respiratory Emergency Department (ED) at Craigavon Area Hospital have tested positive for Covid-19.
Concerns grow over Croatia's safe status as WHO warns Balkans is 'hotspot' | ITV News
There are growing concerns that Croatia is about to be added to the UK's quarantine list, with a government source suggesting to ITV News that the number of coronavirus cases there are rising. Government sources would not confirm or deny whether Croatia would be the next country added to the quarantine list, but when asked, one source said: "The numbers are all in public." Earlier the WHO warned the Balkan region is a "hotspot" for coronavirus. Political Correspondent Paul Brand said anyone planning to book a trip to Croatia should "standby".
Europe can fight coronavirus without lockdowns - WHO
Europe can combat Covid-19 without full lockdowns now that authorities are better prepared and have gained knowledge about how to fight it in recent months, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. "With the basic nationwide and additional targeted measures, we are in a much better position to stamp out these localised virus flare-ups," the head of the WHO's European branch, Hans Kluge, told reporters. "We can manage the virus and keep the economy running and an education system in operation," he added. Europe has seen a steady rise in the number of cases for the past two months, he said. In the first week of August, 40,000 more cases were reported than in the first week of June when cases were at their lowest.
Cases Rise in Europe Where Restrictions Eased
Worrying numbers of new coronavirus infections are being reported in Spain, France, Germany, and Italy - European nations that appeared to have brought the pandemic under control with recently eased restrictions. The Spanish Health Ministry said Wednesday that 3,715 new COVID-19 infections were reported over a 24-hour period, the highest number since the country emerged from its lockdown in late June, according to Reuters. Fourteen people died during that period, and 21 died in the 24-hour period before. Authorities are imposing restrictions on nightclubs and public transportation. The health ministry said the country is not seeing a second wave of cases and that the increase may be attributed to increased testing. In France, health officials reported 3,776 cases in the past 24 hours, France 24 reported.
Melbourne University head says restrictions could do more harm than virus
The University of Melbourne's vice-chancellor says Australia's "lockdown mindset" in response to COVID-19 risks doing more damage than the virus itself, particularly to the lives of young people. Professor Duncan Maskell, an expert in infectious diseases and the head of Australia’s wealthiest university, said Australia had to move beyond the lockdown phase of its response or risk experiencing even greater loss of life from poverty and suicide. "At what point do the measures that we take to suppress the infectious disease rate actually start to do more damage than the disease itself?" Professor Maskell said. "I’m very concerned actually that if we carry on in this kind of lockdown mindset for too long, we will seriously damage young people's lives.
Coronavirus: Is elimination still the best strategy?
A variety of strategies were put into use around the world to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus– but just how effective they have been is now one of the biggest questions for scientists and politicians. New Zealand was trumpeted around the globe when it passed 100 days without any known spread within its borders, after following the elimination strategy. However, scientists warned further outbreaks were likely, despite lockdown and quarantine measures. As the pandemic continues to spread, and countries grapple with new outbreaks, people are questioning their governments’ responses.
Turkey in talks with Germany, China, Russia on vaccine trials
Turkey is in talks with Russia, Germany and China about conducting Phase 3 trials for coronavirus vaccines developed in those countries, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday. Germany and China have applied to conduct the Phase 3 trials in Turkey and have presented pre-clinical trial results, while Ankara wants to see pre-clinical results from Russia before the trials, Koca said. Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, he said there were 13 vaccines being developed in Turkey, three of which have gone beyond the animal testing phase.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Coronavirus: Nearly 600 suspected Scotland workplace cases
Nearly 600 people in Scotland are thought to have caught coronavirus at their place of work, new figures show. The data includes eight people who died from the virus since April. Care home workers account for nearly two thirds of the suspected occupational exposures, according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) data. But hairdressers, funeral directors, beauty therapists and NHS workers are among those who are also thought to have been exposed to the virus at work. Gary Smith, secretary of the GMB Scotland union, said there is likely to be significant under-reporting of the suspected workplace coronavirus cases. He said: "The events of the last six months simply do not give any confidence in these figure. "In sectors which predominately employ women, such as social care and food manufacturing, we are talking about industries notorious for the under-reporting of workplace incident and injury pre-Covid.
Swindon coronavirus lockdown fears are allayed by top public health official
Swindonians are doing all they can to prevent a local Covid-19 lockdown, says the town's most senior public health official. A spike in coronavirus cases saw the borough placed on the government's watchlist this month and sparked fears that local restrictions – such as those seen in Leicester and Blackburn – might be put in place. Reports in the national media fanned the flames yesterday but director of public health Steve Maddern insists there is no reason to be alarmed – as long as the people of the town keep the outbreak under control.
UK coronavirus death toll rises by 5 - but no new deaths in Birmingham with city in race to avoid lockdown
The UK’s coronavirus hospital death count has increased by five, with Scotland recording a spike in cases. England has recorded five new fatalities, although there have not been any in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland over the past day. It is the lowest Thursday rise in hospital deaths since lockdown was announced in March. There were no further deaths in Birmingham despite the city being poised to join a "national watchlist" in a bid to avoid a local lockdown. Another 51 people in Northern Ireland have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Department of Health. Some 298 people have tested positive for the virus in the last seven days, bringing the total in the region to 6,556. No further deaths with Covid-19 have been reported leaving the tally in the region, according to the department, at 559.
Is Germany on the verge of a second wave - and what could the UK learn from its response?
The German government has ruled out the further easing of coronavirus lockdown measures after recording 1,707 new cases on Wednesday, the highest number of new daily infections since 18 April. The sudden spike in cases takes the total number of infections in the country to 228,621, according to data from public health agency the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which said the situation is “very concerning”. However, with a death toll of just 9,253, Germany has been praised for its overall response to the pandemic, and has fared better than many European neighbours in suppressing the virus so far.
Spain reports 3,715 new coronavirus cases in post-lockdown record
Spain reported 3,715 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday, marking a new daily record since the country came out of a strict lockdown in late June. Madrid bore the brunt of the increase, logging 1,535 new cases, followed by the Basque Country and Aragon regions with around 470 new infections each. Fourteen people died across Spain in the same period, down from 21 the previous day. In the past seven days, 131 people have died from the virus, the ministry said. Cumulative cases, which include antibody tests on patients who may have already recovered, rose to 370,867. Despite mandatory use of masks across the country, EU data show Spain has the highest total tally of cases in western Europe as well as the highest incidence of cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days.
Merkel, Macron Convene With Europe’s Virus Battle Unraveling
French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the escalating coronavirus crisis with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a medieval island fortress Thursday as Europe struggles with a resurgence of the disease that threatens its recovery. With Spain’s government appearing rudderless during the latest uptick in infections, Merkel and Macron will face pressure to craft a convincing response to the public-health crisis, while not delivering another blow to economies decimated by lockdown measures. France on Wednesday reported 3,776 new infections, the largest daily increase in three months, while Spain -- which has re-emerged as an epicenter of the pandemic on the continent -- recorded 3,715 new cases, the most since April 23. German infections increased by more than 1,000 for a third straight day on Thursday
Macron says France 'cannot be put on hold' despite rapidly rising number of Covid-19 cases
In an interview that seems to signal that France will not be returning to lockdown, president Emmanuel Macron says that the country 'cannot be put on hold' by coronavirus. While at the presidential holiday home in Brégançon on the French Riviera, Macron gave an interview to magazine Paris Match - complete with traditional 'at home' style photos of himself and his wife Brigitte in their holiday attire. Macron said he understands the "legitimate anxiety, linked to the virus" but said he believed that the public health policy of "testing, tracing, isolating, organising our emergencies, preventing, generalising the wearing of masks when necessary" should make it possible to contain the epidemic.
Coronavirus bounces back to threaten South Korea's health system
Just five days after South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared that the nation had "surmounted" the coronavirus crisis, new cases of the illness are once again spiking to five-month highs. Epidemiologists have warned that the nation's healthcare system — particularly in Seoul and the surrounding region — is in danger of collapsing. Addressing the nation on Saturday, the 75th anniversary of Korea's liberation at the end of World War II, Moon said, "We have also overcome the COVID-19 crisis through the government, individuals, medical professionals and business leaders trusting and relying on each other." He added that Korea's response to the crisis had been "lauded by the entire world."
Global report: South Korea fears fresh nationwide outbreak
South Korea has recorded seven straight days of new cases in triple figures, as authorities warn of a grave situation, with infections seeding across the country. It comes as Australia’s Qantas airline reported a 91% drop in profit and says travel to the US was unlikely to happen before there’s a vaccine. On Thursday, South Korea recorded 288 new cases, taking the total over the past week to 1,500. Many cases are linked to the cluster at the Sarang Jeil church in northern Seoul, which has grown to 623, according to the Yonhap news agency. The church is run by a radical conservative preacher whose followers have also attended anti-government protests in central Seoul in recent weeks, seeding infections there too, it’s believed. “The reason we take the recent situation seriously is because this transmission, which began to spread around a specific religious facility, is appearing nationwide through certain rallies,” vice health minister, Kim Gang-lip, told a briefing.
Spain coronavirus cases at new high since end of lockdown
Spain recorded its highest single daily increase in the number of new post-lockdown Covid-19 cases yesterday, with 3,715 confirmed positives in the past 24 hours. The country’s total of Covid-19 cases is the highest in Europe, with an average of 130.8 per 100,000 for the past fortnight, more than six times that of the UK. In an attempt to reduce the number of cases, Spain’s health minister has announced the closure of all nightclubs and discos. Restaurants will not be able to admit customers after midnight and there will be a nationwide de facto ban on smoking in public. On a local level, Madrid — together with the Basque country and Aragon — is one of the hardest hit regions, recording 1,535 cases.
France's COVID-19 infections again hit fresh post-lockdown peak
France registered 3,776 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, marking another post-lockdown peak and bringing the total to 225,043, but President Emmanuel Macron again ruled out imposing another national lockdown. “All the indicators keep going up and the transmission of the virus is getting stronger among all ages groups affected, young adults in particular”, the health ministry said in a statement. It said the virus was especially active in and around Paris and Marseille, France’s two biggest cities. Some medical experts are worried about the impact of Paris St Germain fans’ wild, mask-less celebrations on the Champs Elysees avenue in central Paris after their soccer club reached the Champions League final on Tuesday.
Spain reports 3,715 new coronavirus cases in post-lockdown record
Spain reported 3,715 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday, marking a new daily record since the country came out of a strict lockdown in late June. Madrid bore the brunt of the increase, logging 1,535 new cases, followed by the Basque Country and Aragon regions with around 470 new infections each. Fourteen people died across Spain in the same period, down from 21 the previous day. In the past seven days, 131 people have died from the virus, the ministry said. Cumulative cases, which include antibody tests on patients who may have already recovered, rose to 370,867. Despite mandatory use of masks across the country, EU data show Spain has the highest total tally of cases in western Europe as well as the highest incidence of cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days.
Coronavirus: NI health minister warns of new restrictions
Northern Ireland's health minister has said he will be recommending Covid-19 restrictions to the executive to curb the increasing spread of the disease. Robin Swann said "we have to step in now" to deal with a rise in new cases. On Wednesday, 34 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed by the Department of Health. No deaths were announced so its death toll remains at 559. Mr Swann said he will make recommendations to help "arrest" the spread when ministers meet on Thursday. He suggested these may include reducing the number of people who can meet in a household.
New Lockdown
Is Oldham going into lockdown? Why people are worried about potentially ‘catastrophic’ new local coronavirus rules
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said an Oldham lockdown wasn’t ruled out, and the government would do ‘whatever is necessary to make sure we keep this virus under control.’ Oldham could be on the brink of a local lockdown as cases continue to spike in the Greater Manchester town. Matt Hancock said a local lockdown was not ruled out for Oldham, which has the highest rates of new infections in England, and topped Public Health England’s (PHE) red alert list of areas to watch. As a whole, Greater Manchester is seeing a concerning rise in cases, with experts saying “household transmission” is driving these new infections.
Morocco may reimpose full lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge: King
Morocco could return to a complete coronavirus lockdown as cases continue to spike, Moroccan King Mohammed VI said on Thursday, warning of severe economic repercussions. The warning came as a jump in infections in the once bustling tourist hub of Marrakech strained health services and led to protests by medical staff in recent days. New cases nationally have surged to more than 1,000 a day since Morocco lifted a strict three-month long lockdown in late June and hit a record high of 1,766 on Aug. 15. “If figures continue to increase, the COVID-19 Scientific Committee may recommend another lockdown, perhaps with even tighter restrictions,” the King said in a speech. The deterioration of the health situation “does not leave much room for optimism,” he said.