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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 25th Aug 2020

News Highlights

Scientists report first human being reinfected with coronavirus

Researchers at Hong Kong University's department of microbiology have claimed to have discovered the world's first case of a human being being reinfected with Covid-19, a discovery that could have major implications for any virus vaccine development. According to the study, tests showed that a Hong Kong man was twice infected by different strains of Covid-19 months apart.

New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown as cases continue to rise

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden extended the lockdown imposed on the city of Auckland by four days and introduced mandatory mask wearing on public transport across the nation as coronavirus cases continued to trickle in. The Auckland lockdown was imposed on August 11 and was scheduled to end on Wednesday, but will now end Sunday night, a move that Arden said would enable the country to reduce its scale of emergency restrictions.

Cases in India cross three million even as economy opens up

With the addition of 69,239 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, India crossed the unwanted milestone of three million total cases, even as the government slowly continued to open up the battered economy. Members of the billion-dollar Bollywood industry, on which tens of thousands of jobs are dependent, breathed a sigh of relief as the country issued guidelines to open up the industry with social distancing norms, crowd management and sanitisation.

Young people socialising in cardiff leads to Covid-19 increase

Public health officials in Wales have blamed the increase in coronavirus cases in the country on young people socialising in the capital and spreading the disease. Officials said more than 37% of all recent positive cases were in Cardiff, that most of the new cases were among people between the age of 20 and 30 and that clusters of new infections were linked to people moving between workplaces and social establishments.

Lockdown Exit
India hits grim milestone of 3,000,000 coronavirus cases
The number of coronavirus cases in India has crossed the 3 million mark. More than 10,000 new cases and 912 deaths were reported today, bringing the total to 3,044,940. India is the third country in the world hardest-hit by the pandemic, after the United States and Brazil. Health officials are hoping scientists will be able to develop a vaccine by the end of the year, with clinical trials said to be underway.
Care homes 'ordered not to resuscitate' at height of pandemic, report claims
Care homes were told to introduce “do not resuscitate” orders for residents at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, a report has claimed. The Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) report also found that care home residents were regularly refused treatment in April and May. One carer reported being told to change the status of all the home’s residents to “do not resuscitate” but said staff had refused to comply. Homes were told hospitals had a blanket “no admissions” policy at the height of the Covid-19 crisis. The survey of nurses and managers in 163 care homes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland found 56 per cent said their physical and mental health had suffered due to the stress of the pandemic.
People acting like Covid-19 isn't out there, says West Midlands police chief
A police chief has warned that people are acting like “the virus isn’t out there” after a weekend of illegal gatherings in the West Midlands, despite Birmingham edging closer to a local lockdown. Waheed Saleem, the deputy police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands, welcomed new police powers that allow fines of up to £10,000 for organisers of unlawful raves from Friday. Police forces across the country have been dealing with a rise in unlicensed music events as the weather has improved. The increased fine comes into force ahead of the August bank holiday weekend, when senior officers expect many illegal gatherings to take place.
India coronavirus cases cross 3 million mark as economy opens up
The number of coronavirus infections in India crossed the 3 million mark with 69,239 new cases reported on Sunday even as the country opened up various sectors from a lockdown that ground businesses to a halt and hurt economic growth. With the fifth straight day of more than 60,000 new cases, India's tally stands at 3.04 million, federal health ministry data showed, behind only the United States and Brazil. Deaths in India from COVID-19 rose by 912 to 56,706. India on Sunday issued guidelines to open up its media production industry with norms for social distancing, crowd management and sanitisation. "The general principles behind the SOP will help create a safe working environment for cast and crew in the industry," Prakash Javadekar, India's union minister for information and broadcasting said in a tweet. Top producers, distributors and actors from Bollywood, the movie industry in India's financial capital of Mumbai, had said in May it would take at least two years for them to recover financially from the pandemic, putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs.
No10 urges workers to tell bosses if they want to come back to the office amid home working surge
No10 said businesses had a obligation to offer staff 'Covid-secure workplaces' NatWest is among banks telling staff they will not return to offices this year The rise in home working sparked fears for ancillary service industries
Coronavirus home test kits 'run out' in England and Scotland
England and Scotland appeared to run out of coronavirus home testing kits within hours on Monday, amid a backlog in laboratories. People were advised to travel long distances to test centres after being told that the daily allowance of home tests had run out. Callers to the NHS 119 number for Covid-19 were told: “We’re very sorry – the available allocation has already been issued at this time.” The reason behind the apparent shortage is unclear, but laboratories have been struggling to clear a backlog of tests since the end of July. The health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, announced on 28 April that his department was increasing the number of home testing kits available from 5,000 a day to 25,000 a day by the end of that week.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: Partial lifting of Aberdeen lockdown restrictions
Some of Aberdeen's lockdown restrictions have been lifted from midnight. Pubs and restaurants were shut 18 days ago, and restrictions were placed on travel and visits to other households, after a spike in Covid-19 cases linked to bars and nightlife in the city. The five-mile restriction on non-essential travel and the ban on indoor gatherings ended at midnight. Hospitality businesses will be able to reopen from Wednesday. However, the reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants will be subject to environmental health checks. Talks have been going on throughout Sunday involving the Scottish government, Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland.
Why some workforces are returning to the office and others are staying away
In some parts of the northern hemisphere, it feels almost like a normal summer: city centres are quiet, schools are on holiday, offices closed. But this illusion conceals deeper uncertainty about what happens next. Assuming those offices reopen next month, will workers return? If not, why not?  The answers so far seem to depend where you live. Polls struggle to keep up with the pandemic but two recent surveys suggest a difference of opinion between the US and UK, and other countries. The ManpowerGroup What Workers Want survey of eight countries, published this week but carried out in June, suggests staff in the US and UK were more negative then about returning to the workplace than their counterparts in Germany, France, Italy, Mexico, Singapore and Spain. That nervousness is reflected in the number who have returned to work, according to another poll by AlphaWise last month for Morgan Stanley. At that stage, only 34 per cent of UK office workers said they had gone back to their usual workplace, compared with 83 per cent in France.
Analysis | Did Europe Make a Mistake Reopening Its Borders?
The hope was that we could relax travel and social restrictions this summer because people are much less likely to catch the virus when they’re outside enjoying the warm weather. European economies depend on tourism and couldn’t afford a season of empty sun loungers and restaurants. Airlines and hotels would collapse without new bookings, and they implemented new hygiene measures to reassure customers. People were desperate to see friends and families again. The experiment has backfired. We’re not even through August and cases are surging in western Europe, while south-eastern Europe, which avoided the worst of the initial virus wave, is up against it too. Germany won plaudits for its handling of the spring outbreak, but it recorded more than 2,000 new cases on Saturday — the biggest daily jump since April.
The latest FCO travel guidance to Spain, as UK orders 14-day quarantine for returning visitors
Spain has been reintroduced to the UK Government’s so-called ‘red list’, meaning travellers returning to Britain from the country will once again have to self-isolate for 14 days. One of the most popular holiday destinations among British tourists, Spain had been included on the travel corridors list since the roster of countries was first made public early in July.
Russia may resume flights to seven more countries this week
Russian authorities may this week announce the resumption of international flights to France, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Jordan and China’s Shanghai, the Izvestia newspaper cited unnamed airport and airline sources as saying on Monday. Russia grounded international commercial flights during the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year and has so far only resumed flights to London, Turkey, Tanzania and Switzerland. Russia has confirmed the world’s fourth largest tally of coronavirus cases. It has recorded close to 5,000 new cases of the virus on a daily basis for the last several weeks.
Maharashtra set to lift curbs on inter-district travel, discontinue e-pass
Sources also said that the state government is considering easing more lockdown restrictions, such as increasing the attendance in government offices to 50 per cent from the current 15 per cent and opening indoor gymnasiums among others.
Aberdeen lockdown to be partially lifted at midnight, it is understood
Crunch talks have been ongoing today as council bosses tried to convince the government to lift the locally-imposed lockdown. This evening the first minister also announced cafes, pubs and restaurants would be allowed to reopen on Wednesday. But – they will only be allowed to welcome customers back once an environmental health check has been completed. Visiting restrictions at city hospitals and care homes will no longer be in force tomorrow either. Other businesses will now open in line with the rest of Scotland, meaning gyms and leisure facilities are in line to open a week today.
Partisan Exits
Nicola Sturgeon responds to concerns that targets reducing delayed discharges led to Covid-19 finding its way into care homes
A letter published in the Sunday Post showed reportedly revealed the pressure placed on health boards to move patients out of hospital.
Ross: NZ needs a new strategy to combat Covid-19
Auckland will remain at Alert Level 3 until 11.59 pm on Sunday, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at 3pm today. The ultimate goal, she said, is managing this cluster from Level Two as soon as we feel confident we can do that. Restrictions were due to be lifted on Wednesday which would have marked two weeks at Alert Level 3. Reacting to the extension of Level Three restrictions in Auckland until 11.59pm this Sunday 30 August, Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross says, “The Prime Minister’s insistence that New Zealand does not need a new Covid-19 strategy is wrong. The decision today to extend the Level 3 lockdown in Auckland, and Level 2 elsewhere shows that the Government has no other strategy than continued rolling lockdowns. “The active case rate in New Zealand is not slowing, meaning this is unlikely to be the last of increased Covid-19 Level restrictions,” Ross, Advance NZ co-leader says.
Anti-lockdown mums opposing vaccine and face masks join forces with convicted racist
Anti-lockdown mums who oppose the use of masks and vaccines to tackle ­coronavirus have joined forces with a boxing coach convicted of a bizarre racist rant. The Saving Perth group – who also protest against social distancing – have held ­demonstrations in the town in recent weeks. But after counter-protestors turned up to rubbish their stance, they recruited several men to their ranks.
Chandigarh shopkeepers protest weekend lockdown
City traders today held a protest against the decision of the UT Administration to close all shops on weekends, except those selling essential items, on weekends. Anil Vohra, president, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said it was unfortunate that the UT Administration announced the weekend lockdown for shopkeepers only. This despite the fact that most cases were being reported from residential areas, villages and government offices in the city, he added. “The Administration has adopted a pick-and-choose policy. How will we survive and pay rent, employees’ salary, electricity and water bills and other taxes?” Vohra asked.
Xinjiang residents protest online against virus lockdown
Residents in China's northwestern Xinjiang region have complained on social media about what they say are harsh coronavirus lockdown measures in the sensitive region after a local outbreak. China -- where the disease first emerged -- had largely brought domestic transmission under control through lockdowns, travel restrictions and testing, but sporadic regional outbreaks have emerged. A new cluster in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi in mid-July prompted fresh restrictions, with 902 cases officially reported. Officials said this month they had "effectively contained" the spread of the Urumqi cluster, and there have been no new cases reported in the past eight days. But hundreds of local residents have gone on to local social media forums in recent days to complain about harsh conditions.
Xinjiang residents protest online after China imposed 'harsh coronavirus measures'
The Muslim-inhabited Chinese region was erupted by a COVID-19 crisis in July Officials ordered strict lockdowns and mass-testing to battle Xinjiang's outbreak Hundreds of residents protested online against the alleged harsh lockdown rules People claim that they are trapped in their homes and forced to take medicine
Continued Lockdown
Latin American women are disappearing and dying under lockdown
It’s a pandemic within the pandemic. Across Latin America, gender-based violence has spiked since COVID-19 broke out. Almost 1,200 women disappeared in Peru between March 11 and June 30, the Ministry of Women reported. In Brazil, 143 women in 12 states were murdered in March and April – a 22% increase over the same period in 2019. Reports of rape, murder and domestic violence are also way up in Mexico. In Guatemala, they’re down significantly – a likely sign that women are too afraid to call the police on the partners they’re locked down with. The pandemic worsened but did not create this problem: Latin America has long been among the world’s deadliest places to be a woman.
13 die in stampede at Peru disco after police raid building due to coronavirus concerns
Thirteen people died in a stampede at a disco in Peru after a police raid to enforce the country’s lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Sunday. The stampede happened at the Thomas disco in Lima, where about 120 people had gathered for a party on Saturday night, the Interior Ministry said. People tried to escape through the only door of the second-floor disco, trampling one another and becoming trapped in the confined space, according to authorities. After the stampede, police had to force open the door.
Coronavirus lockdown forces Aussie Rules final out of Melbourne for first time
One of the most iconic fixtures on the Australian sporting calendar, the AFL “Grand Final”, will be played outside Melbourne for the first time in its history this year, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Monday. Melbourne remains in a strict lockdown after a second wave of COVID-19 cases and Andrews said an exception would not be made even for an event so important to Victorians that a public holiday is observed the day before it. “For the sake of one event — as important, as religious almost, as it is — the notion that you would take a holiday from the coronavirus for the day so we could have the grand final for a day and a dose of normal, that doesn’t make any sense,” he told a news conference in Melbourne.
COVID-19 Victoria: What 116 cases means for lockdown stage 4
Victorians desperate for good news, for an end to the daily grind of home schooling and curfew and empty shops and deserted cities will look at today’s numbers with some optimism. There are 116 new coronavirus cases in the state, marking the lowest daily total in nearly two months. There are also, sadly, 15 more deaths. As the September 13 deadline looms for easing stage 4 lockdown, the Premier and the chief health officer are under pressure to give some certainty that businesses can reopen and that workers furloughed for three weeks already can go back to providing for their families.
Australia's Victoria reports lowest rise in COVID-19 cases in seven weeks
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended a coronavirus lockdown in the country’s largest city until the end of the week and introduced mandatory mask wearing on public transport across the nation. Ardern said the four-day extension in the city of Auckland was critical to enable the country to step down its scale of emergency restrictions - and remain at less restrictive levels. “We want both confidence, and certainty for everyone,” Ardern said during a televised media conference. The Auckland lockdown, imposed on Aug. 11 after officials detected the country’s first locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in more than three months, had been scheduled to end on Wednesday. It will now end on Sunday night. The city’s step down from Level 3 to Level 2 restrictions will be made gradually from Monday, Ardern said.
Scientific Viewpoint
Exclusive: Fauci says rushing out a vaccine could jeopardize testing of others
The top U.S. infectious diseases expert is warning that distributing a COVID-19 vaccine under special emergency use guidelines before it has been proved safe and effective in large trials is a bad idea that could have a chilling effect on the testing of other vaccines.
Novavax starts enrollment for phase two of COVID-19 vaccine trial
Novavax Inc said on Monday it has begun enrolling volunteers for the second phase of an ongoing clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with interim data expected in the fourth quarter of 2020. In the new phase, the age range has been expanded, with adults between 60 and 84 years accounting for nearly 50% of the trial’s population. Early-stage data from a small clinical trial of the vaccine has shown it produced high levels of virus-fighting antibodies, and the company aims to begin larger studies to obtain regulatory approvals as early as December. The vaccine candidate is one of nearly 30 being tested in human clinical trials globally and lags candidates from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna that are in late-stage studies.
Australian official dismisses Catholic bishop's objections to Covid-19 vaccine
The deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth, has downplayed concerns from prominent church figures in Australia that some Christians could refuse a Covid-19 vaccine on ethical grounds. Coatsworth’s defence of the University of Oxford vaccine follows a warning from Catholic archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher,that Catholics would be presented with an “ethical dilemma” if the vaccine was proved successful as it relies on cell lines from an electively aborted fetus. Fisher called on the government to “pursue similar arrangements for alternate vaccines that do not raise the same ethical concerns” about the formulation of the vaccine. The warning, contained in a letter to prime minister Scott Morrison, was also co-signed by the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, and the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Australia, Makarios Griniezakis. It noted there are 167 Covid-19 vaccines being researched, with several that don’t use fetal cells in their development.
Hong Kong scientists report 1st case of COVID-19 reinfection
- Researchers in Hong Kong said Monday they have confirmed the world's first documented case of a patient becoming reinfected with COVID-19 following recovery. Scientists at the University of Hong Kong said the coronavirus disease was found in a 33-year-old man who'd initially tested positive in April, and was subsequently cleared.
Covid-19 is becoming less deadly in Europe but we don't know why
Fresh data has made it increasingly clear people are less likely to die if they get covid-19 now compared to earlier in the pandemic, at least in Europe, but the reasons why are still shrouded in unce
Defeating Covid-19 requires a common global approach
The virus is winning. Global cases of coronavirus continue to climb as the disease spreads into poorer nations with fragile health systems. The lessons from the world’s previous pandemic are sobering. During the H1N1, or swine flu, outbreak in 2009, rich countries bought up virtually all available supplies of vaccine, leaving poorer nations high and dry. This time, the stakes are far higher. New treatments and vaccines could provide humanity with an escape route — but this requires resources to go where they are needed most, since Covid-19 recognises no borders. The disease can only be defeated at a global level. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that medical products are available to rich and poor alike. Wealthy countries racing to secure early access to vaccines, drugs, diagnostic tests and protective equipment for their own populations must wake up to this reality.
Coronavirus: Hospital staff prepare for possible second wave
Staff at a north Wales hospital have appealed to patients and visitors to "carry on listening and keeping to the the guidelines" as they prepare for a possible second wave of Covid-19. The latest figures show Betsi Cadwaladr health board has seen a spike in deaths compared to other health boards. But staff at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor said some people "seem to think the pandemic is over". The health board said it was slowly resuming normal services for patients. It has seen a high number of cases in Wrexham, which had the highest weekly number of coronavirus-related deaths. Interim chief executive Simon Dean said the health board was "well prepared for an increase in cases", having increased bed capacity in hospitals, recruiting staff and established the three Ysbyty Enfys field hospitals.
Majority of care homes nurses felt mistreated during Covid-19 peak
Four-fifths of care home nurses would assess their experience of working during the coronavirus pandemic as "very negative", according to a new snapshot survey. During May and June 2020, the Queen's Nursing Institute polled members of its UK Care Home Nurses Network to find out how they were coping with the crisis.
Swedish COVID-19 response chief predicts local outbreaks, no big second wave
Sweden is likely to see local outbreaks but no big second wave of COVID-19 cases in the autumn, such as inundated hospitals a few months ago, the country’s top epidemiologist and architect if its unorthodox pandemic strategy said on Monday. Sweden has been an outlier in Europe’s fight against the novel coronavirus, keeping businesses, restaurants and most schools open throughout the pandemic, while not recommending the use of face masks, which remain a rare sight on city streets. Per capita, Sweden has suffered many times more COVID-19 deaths than its Nordic neighbours, though not quite as many as Europe’s worst-hit countries such as Belgium, Spain and Britain. New cases, hospitalisations and mortality have fallen sharply over the past couple of months. With most Swedes having returned from summer vacations and schools reopening last week for the new semester, there are concerns the country could see a second wave of infections.
Ten countries kept out Covid. But did they win?
The Palau Hotel opened in 1982, before mass tourism but since then, this tiny nation, surrounded by the sky-blue Pacific Ocean, has enjoyed something of a boom. In 2019, 90,000 tourists came to Palau, five times the total population. In 2017, IMF figures showed, tourism made up 40% of the country’s GDP. But that was pre-Covid. Palau's borders have been, in effect, closed since late March. It is one of the only 10 countries in the world with no confirmed cases (counting only countries that are full UN members, and excluding North Korea and Turkmenistan). Yet, without infecting a single person, the virus has ravaged the country. The Palau Hotel has been closed since March, and it’s not alone. The restaurants are empty, the souvenir shops are shut, and the only hotel guests are returning residents in quarantine.
Coronavirus: Scientists report 'first confirmed re-infection'
Hong Kong scientists report the first confirmed case of an apparently healthy patient being re-infected with Covid-19, four months after the first infection
Coronavirus: Scientists claim first human reinfected with Covid-19
Scientists have reported the world’s first case of a human being reinfected with the coronavirus in a discovery that could have significant implications for the development of vaccines, and hopes of natural immunity against the virus. Researchers at Hong Kong University’s department of microbiology said genetic sequencing of the virus showed that a Hong Kong man was infected twice by different versions of the coronavirus months apart. According to the study, the patient was a 33-year-old man who was in good health. When he was first infected, he suffered a cough, sore throat, fever and headache for three days. He had a test that confirmed Covid-19 and he was hospitalised on 29 March.
In the Brazilian Amazon, a sharp drop in coronavirus sparks questions over collective immunity
The hospital system was coming apart. Coronavirus patients were being turned away. Basic necessities — beds, stretchers, oxygen — had run out. Ambulances had nowhere to take patients. People were dying at home. Gravediggers couldn’t keep up. The human destruction in the Brazilian city of Manaus would be “catastrophic,” physician Geraldo Felipe Barbosa feared. But then, unexpectedly, it started to let up ­— without the interventions seen elsewhere.
COVID-19: How the lockdown has affected the health of the poor in South Africa
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked substantial damage on human lives and the economy in South Africa. But the impact of the measures used to combat the pandemic, such as lockdowns, have not been even. The pandemic has likely worsened the income inequalities that characterize the country's economy. We recently conducted a study to estimate how closely health was related to income, in the context of COVID-19 in South Africa. We used data from the National Income Dynamics Study-Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey, a nationally representative survey collected in May/June 2020. The survey collected information on health, income and other relevant factors during the higher levels of the lockdown. We compared these findings to data collected from the same individuals in 2017.
U.S. Authorizes Plasma Treatment for Virus, but the Big Prize for the White House Is a Vaccine
Trump administration officials met with congressional leaders last month and told them they would probably give emergency approval to a coronavirus vaccine before the end of Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States, perhaps as early as late September, according to two people briefed on the discussion. The move would be highly unusual and would most likely prompt concerns about whether the administration is cutting corners on approvals for political purposes.
Coronavirus: Teens' anxiety levels dropped during pandemic, study finds
Anxiety levels among young teenagers dropped during the coronavirus pandemic, a study has suggested. Thirteen to 14-year-olds were less anxious during lockdown than they had been last October, according to the University of Bristol survey. Researchers surveyed 1,000 secondary school children in south west England. They said the results were a "big surprise" and it raised questions about the impact of the school environment on teenagers' mental health. The findings come after Prof Chris Whitty, the UK's chief medical adviser, said children were more likely to be harmed by not returning to school than they were if they caught coronavirus. The UK's four chief medical officers have sought to allay parents' concerns ahead of schools reopening in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the coming days. Schools in Scotland have already returned.
An epidemic of depression and anxiety among young adults
Of COVID-19’s many side effects, perhaps the least appreciated are psychological. Those who have had a bad case and survived, like people who’ve been in war or accidents, may suffer post-traumatic stress for years. And even people in the as-yet-healthy majority are hurting. Young adults, in particular, are getting more depressed and anxious as the pandemic uproots whatever budding life plans they had been nursing. It’s long been clear that COVID-19, like any major disaster, is causing an increase in mental health disorders and their accompanying evils. Those range from alcoholism and drug addiction to wife beating and child abuse. In the Americas, the world’s most afflicted region with hot spots from the the United States to Brazil, this psycho-social crisis has become its own epidemic, according to the World Health Organization’s regional branch.
Seven new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, all linked to cluster - Bloomfield
There are seven new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, all linked to the latest Auckland cluster, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says. He says two of the cases are linked to a church and two are household contacts. One previously reported case has recovered, so the total number of active cases in New Zealand is 129, he says. There are 2446 close contacts associated with the cluster, he says, of which 2390 had been contacted and were self-isolating. The remaining 56 were being contacted, he said. He says there are 160 people linked to the cluster in a quarantine facility, including 89 who tested positive. Eight people are in hospital, with three people in a critical condition and in intensive care.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Further Covid-19 curbs possible for Spanish tourist resorts as infections start to climb again
New lockdown restrictions could soon be imposed in some Spanish tourist resorts with coronavirus infections continuing to rise in many areas of the country. The government has so far ruled out a return to a nationwide lockdown and has left decisions to regional authorities which recently unanimously agreed measures such as the closure of all nightclubs and a ban on smoking in the street unless social distancing can be guaranteed.
Coronavirus: Cardiff socialising 'behind Covid-19 case rise'
More people out socialising in Cardiff is believed to be behind a rise in coronavirus cases in the capital. There have been 47 positive tests in the last week - which is 37% of all cases in Wales. Public health officials said many of the new cases were among people between the ages of 20 and 30. But the infection rate is still well below some areas in northern England and the Midlands, which have seen local measures introduced. Fiona Kinghorn, director of public health at Cardiff and Vale health board, said they did not have a particular source in mind for the new cases, but they were believed to be more to do with people moving around between workplaces and social establishments. "We've experienced a small number of clusters - that's led to a rise in the number of cases in Cardiff," she said.
'No more lockdowns!' Italy to stay open despite rise in cases
A better-prepared health service means that even as the number of new coronavirus cases continues to soar, Italy will not bring back the lockdown measures it imposed this spring, its health minister said on Sunday, “We will not have a new lockdown,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza told the La Stampa newspaper in an interview published on Sunday, arguing that the situation Italy faces today is different from that it faced in February and March, when the disease was spreading out of control. "I am optimistic, although prudent. Our national health service has become much stronger." He said that Italy has doubled the number of beds in intensive care since March. The message was reinforced by Sandra Zampa, undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, who explaimed "No more lockdowns!", in an interview with Corriere della Sera.
Why is Spain being hit again by the coronavirus pandemic?
The coronavirus pandemic caught Spain unawares back in March, with insufficient personal protective equipment in hospitals and a lack of resources in senior residences. But now, five months later, the country is the European Union state with the worst figures in what already can be classed as a second wave. According to the European Center for Disease Protection and Control, the cumulative incidence of the virus over the last 14 days is now at 152 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, ahead of Malta (119), Romania (88) and France (54). A month ago, the positive cases being detected in Spain were mostly among young people, and they were asymptomatic. But the spread of the virus has seen a recent rise in hospitalizations and deaths. The concern among health chiefs has risen greatly. “Fernando Simón [the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts] made it clear,” explained an attendee at a meeting of regional health chiefs last week. “The ministry did not think that we would see these rates of infection until the fall.”
Stoke-on-Trent at risk of becoming next local lockdown city as cases double
Authorities fear Stoke-on-Trent could could be the latest city to be forced into local lockdown after coronavirus cases nearly doubled in a week. Public Health England figures show the city suffered 79 new cases in the week to last Thursday. The infection rate rose from 15.6 to 30.8 cases per 100,000 thousand of the population, the data said. It comes after city council leader Abi Brown warned lockdown was on the cards if the trend continued.
Moon calls for cooperation in anti-virus fight to avoid de-facto lockdown
President Moon Jae-in on Monday called for cooperation in the government’s anti-coronavirus efforts to avoid going into a de-facto lockdown as South Korea faces a second wave of COVID-19 infections. The country reported 266 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours ending midnight Sunday. “We are facing the greatest crisis since COVID-19 outbreak began,” Moon said at a weekly meeting with his chief secretaries Monday. “We are in much more serious emergency situation than during the early outbreak linked to Shincheonji (Church of Jesus).” It would be inevitable to raise the level of social distancing campaign to the highest level unless the virus is contained at this stage, which Moon said would amount to everyday lives coming to a halt, jobs lost and economy seriously damaged.
S. Korea faces hard choices of near-lockdown as coronavirus resurges
South Korea now stands at a coronavirus crossroads. It must quickly decide whether reintroducing intense physical distancing is necessary, as infection numbers rise again to initial levels seen nearly half a year ago. With public health authorities anticipating a worse trajectory this time, talks of mitigation actions akin to a lockdown are being floated. The anti-virus scheme of an unprecedented intensity will come at heavy economic costs, according to some forecasts. The Bank of Korea’s Aug. 18 report said “a job crisis of a significant magnitude” may be on the horizon if the country were to withstand a lockdown. The report said about 35 percent of all jobs are “nonessential, low-skilled positions” or in a sector that cannot telecommute.
French Covid cases hit new post-lockdown high, but hospitalisations remain stable
France’s public health service has reported 4,867 new Covid-19 cases in an increasing daily trend that has officials concerned. However, so far the rising number of infections has not translated into a rise in hospitalisations. The 4,897 new cases reported on Sunday marked France’s largest single-day tally of new Covid-19 cases since the height of the epidemic in April, and continues a trend seen in recent weeks. While day-to-day fluctuations vary, the weekly average number of new cases has climbed from less than a thousand in late July to 3,480 as of Sunday.
Local virus outbreak in Myanmar sparks fears for Rohingya camps
Rohingya in Myanmar's conflict-wracked Rakhine state expressed fears Sunday of a coronavirus outbreak reaching their overcrowded camps, after a spate of infections sent the state capital into lockdown. Nearly 130,000 Rohingya Muslims live in what Amnesty International describes as "apartheid" conditions in camps around Sittwe. The city has recorded 48 cases in the past week, making up more than 10 percent of the about 400 cases so far registered in Myanmar. "We are extremely worried about the virus because we are living in limbo and it won't be easy to control," said Rohingya Kyaw Kyaw. Authorities visited the Thae Chaung camp this week to talk about social distancing — an impossibility as 10 families typically squeeze into a single house — and gave out hand sanitizer and face masks.
France reports new post-lockdown coronavirus case record
France has reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since the nation’s two-month lockdown in May. Just more than 4,800 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours. The infection rate soared in the past week but authorities said hospitalisation rates have remained stable. Just one fatality was recorded overnight, taking the country's total number of deaths to 30,513.
Russia's coronavirus tally passes 960,000
Russia reported 4,744 new coronavirus cases on Monday, pushing its confirmed infection tally to 961,493, the fourth largest in the world. Authorities said 65 people had died over the past 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 16,448.
Italy rules out new lockdown as coronavirus cases rise
The Italian government is not considering new lockdown to curb coronavirus infections, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a newspaper interview on Sunday, despite a steady rise in new cases over the past month. Italy, one of Europe’s worst-hit countries with more than 35,000 deaths, on Saturday reported 1,071 new coronavirus infections, exceeding 1,000 cases in a day for the first time since the government eased its rigid lockdown measures in May. “We will not have a new lockdown,” Speranza told daily newspaper La Stampa, saying the current situation cannot be compared to February and March, when the disease was spreading out of control and it was difficult to track and isolate infected people. “I am optimistic, although prudent. Our national health service has become much stronger.”
France reports post-lockdown daily record of 4,897 new COVID-19 cases
France reported 4,897 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours on Sunday, the highest daily level since the end of a two-month lockdown in May. Health Minister Olivier Veran warned earlier that the situation was risky, and said infections were essentially happening among 20 to 40 year-olds at parties. Cases among older people were starting to rise too, Veran said, but he ruled out another total lockdown in France. Sunday’s health ministry figures showed the number of people in hospital edged down by two to 4,709 from the previous day, however. Three more people were registered in intensive care, taking that total to 383.
New Lockdown
Gran Canaria goes into voluntary lockdown and cancels all events amidst coronavirus fears
New regions of Spain, including tourists destinations, are going into new "auto confinements" as coronavirus outbreaks continue to escalate across the country and in the holiday islands. Tielmes in Madrid, La Barquilla in Cáceres and Valleseco in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria are all back on voluntary lockdown and, within the next few hours, major new measures are to be announced for Catalonia. The tourist resort of Valleseco in Gran Canaria has only seen THREE positive cases of coronavirus but the local mayor says he doesn't want to take any chance given the high number of positives elsewhere on the island. He has asked 4,000 residents to confine themselves on a voluntary basis and not to leave their homes if possible to avoid outbreaks of coronavirus. Gran Canaria has registered the most coronavirus outbreaks of all the Canary Islands, mainly connected to nightlife
NZ extends lockdown amid 'frankly terrible year'
Hong Kong scientists report the first confirmed case of an apparently healthy patient being re-infected with Covid-19, four months after the first infection. However, the WHO urges people not to jump to any conclusions based on the experience of one patient. New Zealand extends lockdown measures in its largest city, Auckland, as the PM calls 2020 a "frankly terrible year." The US Food and Drug Administration gives emergency authorisation for the use of plasma to treat coronavirus patients
Lithuania adds Germany to virus isolation list
The Baltic country of Lithuania is as of Monday ordering a 14-day isolation for travelers from Germany because the number of infected people there is high. Germany was added to the Lithuanian Health Ministry’s list of coronavirus-affected countries because the COVID-19 infection rate on Friday reached 16.5 cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks.
New Zealand's COVID-19 lockdown is extended by four days
New Zealand's lockdown has been extended by four days as cases still appear Aucklanders were expecting level three restrictions to be eased on Wednesday The city will now be placed under level two restriction on Sunday night instead Nation will be under level two restrictions for a week before alert level reviewed Face masks will now be mandatory on public transport to limit the risk of spread Jacinda Ardern said '2020 has frankly been terrible' but 'we're doing really well'
New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown, Australian COVID-19 cases fall to seven-week low
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended a coronavirus lockdown in the country’s largest city until the end of the week and introduced mandatory mask wearing on public transport across the nation. Ardern said the four-day extension in the city of Auckland was critical to enable the country to step down its scale of emergency restrictions - and remain at less restrictive levels. “We want both confidence, and certainty for everyone,” Ardern said during a televised media conference. The Auckland lockdown, imposed on Aug. 11 after officials detected the country’s first locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in more than three months, had been scheduled to end on Wednesday. It will now end on Sunday night. The city’s step down from Level 3 to Level 2 restrictions will be made gradually from Monday, Ardern said.
Weekend lockdown observed in many cities across India to control COVID-19 spread
In view of rising coronavirus cases, several state governments have imposed a weekend lockdown in cities. Weekend lockdown is being observed in Assam’s Guwahati on August 23. Fancy Bazaar was deserted as all shops were shut. Lockdown is also being observed in Chennai to control the spread of COVID-19. Restrictions are in place in Lucknow. Total cases in India surpassed 30-lakh mark today.