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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 16th Sep 2020

News Highlights

WHO warns Europe on Covid-19

The World Health Organization has warned that countries have to make tough decisions as infections surge in multiple countries. Despite an uptick in cases, much of Europe has reopened with children returning to school and businesses reopening. WHO emergencies director Dr Mike Ryan said 'there's a time for decision-making coming.'

CDC knew it could not track the spread of Covid-19, report says

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials privately admitted that the U.S. failed to adequately track the spread of Covid-19, even as it offered guidance to officials on how to reopen the economy. Tracing systems were not sufficient to provide 'critical data for the CDC to inform and guide public health in response to Covid-19,' the organisation said.

Top Indian official touts effectiveness of national lockdown

Indian Council of Medical Research Director Dr Balram Bhargava touted the national lockdown the country undertook in March as 'effective,' stating 'we distributed the Covid-19 curve in a way that we did not have many deaths...we did not have a huge peak at all.' He said the country 'learnt' from the experience of the U.S. and Europe.

Argentina: half of tests positive

More than half of all tests for the novel coronavirus in Argentina came back positive on Sunday. Of 17,955 tests carried out, there were 9,056 positive results - a positivity rate of 50.4%. This is one of the world's highest positivity rates in terms of Covid-19 testing. The country is witnessing cases soar, as Covid-19 continues to batter Latin America.

Lockdown Exit
Decision time for Europe as virus surges, WHO warns
The World Health Organization said Tuesday that Europe was facing decision time about tackling Covid-19 as case numbers hit record highs, children return to school and summer recedes. WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said it was time to “stop looking for unicorns” and instead take hard decisions to protect those most vulnerable and keep youngsters in education — but inevitably see others lose out. “Europe is facing that moment as Europe enters into a season in which people will begin to come back indoors. The pressure of infection will grow, no question,” Ryan told a virtual press conference.
U.K. unemployment rose in July despite lockdown lifting, with more job losses likely
Unemployment in the U.K. has risen in the three months to July, the latest official data published Tuesday showed, despite this period marking the beginning of looser restrictions. The headline unemployment rate for May to July stood at 4.1%, up from the 3.9% figure seen in the previous three month period, which covered the start of the U.K.‘s lockdown that began in late March, the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Estimates indicated that 32.98 million people aged 16 years and over were in employment between May and July, 202,000 more than a year earlier, but down 12,000 from the previous quarter. The annual increase was mainly driven by more women in employment, the ONS noted.
ANALYSIS: Has crime in France spiralled out of control since lockdown?
As a ferocious debate over whether French society has descended towards "savagery" and gang culture has dominated headlines in France the past weeks, we look at whether crime rates really are on the rise since lockdown ended. The word ensauvagement has dominated news headlines in France the past weeks. The term, which could be translated as "a descent into savagery", is not new. It has been a favourite of France’s far-right for years and in 2002, then Front National (now Rassemblement National) party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen used it repeatedly during his presidential campaign. This time it was not a far-right party member, but Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin who brought it back into public discourse. “We need to stop the ensauvagement (descent into savagery) of a certain part of society," Darmanin told Le Figaro in late July.
Relief and fear as Portuguese students go back to school
Wearing masks and trying to keep a safe distance, more than a million pupils returned to schools across Portugal on Monday, a long-awaited moment for many after students were forced in March to learn remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the Maria Amalia high school in Lisbon teenagers were called into the classroom one by one and asked to disinfect their hands, while windows were left open. Standing next to her son as they waited outside, Alexandra Borges said she feared there would be new infections at school but going back to in-person classes was essential for pupils of all ages, including her son Pedro, who brought hand sanitizer inside his backpack.
UPDATE 1-Fuel demand rises as schools open, commuters shun public transport
Traffic picked up in cities across the globe as the summer season ended and schools opened, giving a boost to fuel demand, but the prospect of recovery remained weak as many commuters still worked from home and vehicle sales were down. The reliance on isolated forms of travel including private cars seemed to be the main factor boosting demand, analysts and traders said, as most people avoided public transport for fear of the coronavirus. Road traffic in New York, London and Paris was on a slow but steady recovery, data provided to Reuters by location technology company TomTom showed.
UK jobless rate rises for first time since COVID-19 lockdown
Britain’s unemployment rate rose for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown began in March, prompting fresh calls for finance minister Rishi Sunak to extend a job subsidy programme which is due to expire next month. The unemployment rate increased to 4.1% in the three months to July from the 3.9% level it had clung to since early 2020, in line with the average forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. Sunak’s coronavirus job subsidy scheme has shielded millions of workers, and the number of people in employment fell less than feared in the figures published on Tuesday.
Greece tightens restrictions in Athens as COVID-19 spreads
Greek authorities on Tuesday tightened restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the greater Athens area, saying the pandemic was showing “worrying signs of resilience”. Health authorities reported 310 new confirmed COVID-19 infections on Tuesday and three deaths, bringing the total number since the first coronavirus case was detected on Feb. 25 to 13,730 and deaths to 313. “The prefecture of Attica is now between a moderate to high epidemiological risk. There is an increase in the occupancy of intensive care beds,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias told reporters
U.S. COVID-19 death analysis shows greater toll on Black, Hispanic youth: CDC
A disproportionate percentage of U.S. COVID-19 deaths have been recorded among Black and Hispanic people younger than 21, according to a U.S. study, a reflection of the racial and ethnic make-up of essential workers who have more exposure to COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from Feb. 12 through July 31, there were 121 deaths among people younger than the age of 21 in 27 states. Hispanic, Black, and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native people accounted for about 75% of the deaths in that age group, even though they represent 41% of the U.S. population aged under 21.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: Matt Hancock admits 'challenges' with COVID-19 testing after 'sharp rise' in demand
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted there are "challenges" with the coronavirus testing system following a "sharp rise" in demand. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hancock said the government was "working hard" to fix issues with COVID-19 testing availability but admitted it could take a "matter of weeks". He revealed tests were now having to be prioritised and also hinted at a possible future further rationing of tests.
UK's creaking COVID-19 test system puts health services at risk
Britain’s testing system for COVID-19 was creaking on Tuesday as a bottleneck prevented people including medics from getting a test in a potential threat to key health services, health sector organisations said. In an attempt to slow one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the West, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised in May to create a “world beating” system to test and trace people exposed to the virus. “Our members are telling us that lack of access to testing for staff is a major barrier to them delivering services,” said Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector.
EXCLUSIVE: CDC’s Confession That America’s Covid-19 Tracking Failed
In mid-June, the post-coronavirus reopening of America was in full swing, even as the number of new cases was rising fast. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was key to President Trump’s grand reopening, providing local officials with guidance on how to open up safely. But in private officials admitted the country had failed to track the spread of the deadly virus and that the agency thus lacked the vital information it needed to offer such guidance, Forbes can now reveal.
'Just a matter of time': nurses die as US hospitals fail to contain Covid-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had advised hospitals to isolate Covid-19 patients to limit staff exposure and help conserve high-level personal protective equipment in short supply. Yet Covid patients continued to be scattered through the Oakland hospital, according to complaints to California’s division of occupational safety and health (Cal/Osha). Areas of concern included the sixth-floor medical unit where veteran nurse Janine Paiste-Ponder worked. Covid patients on that floor were not staying in their rooms, either because they were confused or uninterested in the rules, according to Mike Hill, a nurse in the hospital intensive care unit. Hill, who is also the hospital’s chief representative for the California Nurses Association, said that staff was not provided highly protective N95 respirators.
Ireland’s COVID-19 plan to limit social events and Dublin pub reopenings
Ireland introduced new coronavirus measures Tuesday including special restrictions on social gatherings and pub reopenings in Dublin as part of a national "Plan for living with COVID-19." The plan, which comes into effect at midnight, aims to provide a flexible framework for reducing infection risk over the next six months. It details five risk levels with the lowest corresponding to minimal restrictions and level five equating to a return to full lockdown. Currently the country as a whole is at level two, meaning that most parts of the economy and society — such as schools, restaurants, pubs and gyms — are open.
Chinese citizens can receive COVID-19 vaccines as early as November
Wu Guifen, chief biosafety expert of China's CDC, announced the news Monday She said the clinical trials for the unnamed vaccines were 'proceeding smoothly' China launched an emergency COVID-19 vaccine scheme for key workers in July It has four of the world's eight vaccines that are being tested in the final stage
Irish Government announces blueprint for living with Covid-19
The Irish Government has unveiled its blueprint for living with Covid-19. The Cabinet signed off on the medium-term plan for living with coronavirus, which includes different levels of restrictions, ranging from one to five. Tighter restrictions have also been announced for Dublin, which has seen a continuous rise of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.
'A chaotic mess': The UK's Covid-19 testing programme is falling apart
“I’m feeling worse,” says Ryan Gladwell, a barman at a pub in Derbyshire who is currently off work with Covid-19 symptoms. “I’ve still been unable to get a test. Day five of trying now.” That’s day five of heading to the government’s website to book a test only to be told that none are available – either at drive-in satellite testing centres or via at-home testing kits. Gladwell has also called 119 several times to no avail. He’s worried about his own health but also that of his young son, who has a serious heart condition.
Australia's COVID-19 epicenter reports no deaths from the virus for first time in two months
Australia on Tuesday recorded its first day without a COVID-19 death in two months, as states began to lift restrictions amid growing confidence that a second wave of infections has been contained. While officials said there were 50 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a small increase from a day earlier, Australia reported no fresh fatalities for the first time since July 13. Most of the new cases were in Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, which has accounted for about 75% of the country’s COVID-19 infections. Still, with infections falling in regional areas of Victoria, state Premier Daniel Andrews announced social distancing restrictions in those areas would be eased late on Wednesday.
Partisan Exits
Israelis angered by nationwide coronavirus lockdown: "They are punishing us"
Israelis reacted with anger and dismay Monday at an imminent nationwide lockdown aimed at curbing one of the world's highest novel coronavirus infection rates. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced a new countrywide lockdown will be imposed amid a stubborn surge in coronavirus cases, with schools and parts of the economy expected to shut down in a bid to bring down infection rates. "It's unfair!" lamented Eti Avishai, a 64-year-old seamstress, hours after Netanyahu announced a three-week lockdown will start on Friday. "They didn't stop the big gatherings in synagogues, the weddings and the other events, and now I can't be with my children and grandchildren during the holidays?" she added.
Victoria police officer appears to stomp on man's head during arrest
An Australian policeman has been suspended over the arrest of a man who was allegedly hit by a police car and then kicked in the head by an officer. The man, 32, was put in an induced coma and admitted to intensive care after the arrest in Melbourne on Sunday. His family has called for an independent investigation, after footage of the incident went viral. Victoria Police said an internal unit was investigating. Melbourne has been under a strict coronavirus lockdown for the past two months. Police have been given unprecedented powers, under public health orders, to fine and detain people, but it does not appear that Sunday's arrest was related to a lockdown breach.
Trump celebrates federal judge's decision to strike down Pennsylavnia Democrat governor's coronavirus lockdown measures as 'unconstitutional'
Federal judge rules Governor Tom Wolf's lockdown measures 'unconstitutional' US District Judge William Stickman IV said COVID-19 restrictions were arbitrary Stickman, a conservative jurist, was appointed to the bench by President Trump Trump was in a celebrational mood on Twitter, retweeting twelve different news stories about the decision At start of pandemic, Wolf imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the country In May, businesses were allowed to reopen and stay-at-home order was lifted But there are still limitations on capacity in restaurants and alcohol sales in bars
UK's creaking COVID-19 test system puts health services at risk
Britain's testing system for COVID-19 was creaking on Tuesday as a bottleneck prevented people including medics from getting a test, with the government saying it may take weeks to resolve the problem. In an attempt to slow one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the West, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised in May to create a "world beating" system to test and trace people exposed to the virus.
Fear of more corona-like pandemics as land rights 'under siege'
Governments' failure to recognise the land rights of indigenous communities and their role in protecting biodiversity could lead to more coronavirus-like pandemics, researchers said on Tuesday. A study of more than 40 countries found many local people's land claims were being ignored, amid increasing deforestation and wildlife exploitation, which may be contributing to a rise in diseases, like COVID-19, that pass from animals to humans. "Despite compelling evidence that indigenous peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendants protect most of the world's remaining biodiversity, they are under siege from all sides," said Andy White of the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
Teachers, medics rally in Spain over poor COVID planning, infections stable
Teachers in the Spanish city of Bilbao staged a one-day strike on Tuesday to protest against their regional government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, while health workers in Madrid took to the streets to demand better working conditions. Protesters are demanding more staff and support from authorities as the recent surge in cases, at a time when pupils are returning to schools, prompted concerns about further infections.
Continued Lockdown
Nicola Sturgeon coronavirus update RECAP as lockdown restrictions continue in west central Scotland
A new law has come into force across Scotland today limiting social gatherings to a maximum of six people from two different households. It comes as the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to rise. Over the last 24-hour period a total of 70 people tested for the deadly virus, but Nicola Sturgeon said the figure was likely incomplete. She raised concern over a serious backlog of lab tests in the UK-wide system. The new rules apply to both indoor and outdoor setting, including in pubs, restaurants, homes and gardens. Kids under the age of 12 will not count. Across Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire people are restricted from meeting anyone from other households. The restrictions were today ordered to continue until another review on September 22.
Coronavirus in Germany: American ‘superspreader’ could face €2,000 fine for pub crawl in Bavaria
An American woman who became a “superspreader” by heading out on a pub crawl in Bavaria, despite being told to self-isolate, has been identified but not yet reprimanded, local authorities in Germany have said. Despite showing symptoms of coronavirus, a 26-year-old US citizen allegedly went out partying in the Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, kick-starting more than 40 infections in the town. Local media report that the woman, who works at a hotel for US soldiers and their families, was tested for the virus after suffering from a sore throat. She was told to quarantine herself for 14 days while awaiting the result, but ignored the order and went on a pub crawl. She reportedly visited a number of bars and restaurants and was told the following morning that she had tested positive.
Teachers in India carry on with lessons outdoors during lockdown
Out on a street in an Indian village, half a dozen children gather around their teacher who points a stick at the diagrams on a wall, one of many murals in the neighbourhood being used to help poor students keep up with their education during the coronavirus pandemic. With schools shut since March in a virus lockdown, teachers in Nilamnagar, western India, became concerned that some youngsters would fall behind because their families cannot afford an Internet subscription for online classes. So they came up with a workaround – children like playing on the streets, so they would take their lessons outside. “Since most of the families lack resources to educate their kids digitally, we had to come up with an innovative method to keep children invested in education, ” said Ram Gaikwad, a teacher at Asha Marathi Vidyalaya school.
India's economic activity almost at pre-lockdown levels but Covid looms: Nomura
Economic activity accelerated further in the week ended September 13, returning almost to pre-lockdown levels, a private tracker released on Monday showed. The Nomura India Business Resumption Index, which monitors economic activity normalisation, rose to 81.6 from 79 in the week ended September 6.
Filmmakers capture horror and humanity of Wuhan’s coronavirus lockdown
Documentary shows life inside the city’s hospitals during the 76 days it was locked down in early fight against virus. Toronto film festival screens harrowing account which stays out of politics and focuses on human suffering.
Australia records first day without COVID-19 death in two months
Australia on Tuesday recorded its first day without a COVID-19 death in two months, as states began to lift restrictions amid growing confidence that a second wave of infections has been contained. While officials said there were 50 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a small increase from a day earlier, Australia reported no fresh fatalities for the first time since July 13. Most of the new cases were in Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, which has accounted for about 75% of the country’s COVID-19 infections. Still, with infections falling in regional areas of Victoria, state Premier Daniel Andrews announced social distancing restrictions in those areas would be eased late on Wednesday.
Regional Victoria ‘step 3’ roadmap restrictions and lockdown rules explained
The state government has announced that regional Victoria will now move to step three of the state’s roadmap out of lockdown from midnight on Wednesday 16 September. Stage three restrictions were previously in effect across all of regional Victoria from Thursday 6 August. Metropolitan Melbourne entered stage four restrictions from Sunday 2 August and you can find out all about stage 4 restrictions here. A statewide mandatory mask policy has also been in effect since Monday 3 August. The Victorian government has released a roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions, with the government expecting to move into the final step from 23 November if the entire state has recorded zero new cases for 14 days. Until then, here are some of the main things you need to know about the step three restrictions in regional Victoria:
Australia’s coronavirus ‘dictator’ enforces a drastic lockdown. He’s still popular.
Detractors call him "Dictator Dan." Supporters declare, on social media, #IStandWithAndrews. To residents of Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, he is Daniel Andrews, the premier, or governor, of Victoria state and the politician responsible for inflicting upon them some of the most stringent pandemic control measures on Earth. The city named repeatedly over recent years as the “world’s most livable” has been locked down since July 9. A week ago, Andrews declared that a citywide curfew will not be lifted until Oct. 26 — and then only if the coronavirus is almost eliminated.
New Zealand faces another week of Covid restrictions as Ardern defends cautious approach
New Zealand will remain at its current level of Covid-19 restrictions for another week, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said on Monday as she urged the public to stay the course on the county’s “cautious” approach to quashing the virus. “New Zealand has followed a plan that has worked,” she said, referring to her government’s strict, early lockdown of the country in March as New Zealand’s coronavirus cases started to rise. “This has both saved lives, but also meant our economy has been able to be more open in a more sustained way than nearly any other country in the world.”
Coronavirus: Alert level 2 extension cancels school formal in Marlborough
An extension of alert level 2 has “gutted” year 13 students in Marlborough, after having to cancel their school formal four days out from the event. On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland would remain in alert level 2.5, while the rest of New Zealand would remain in level 2 until at least 11.59pm on Monday. With a date set down for September 19, restrictions of 100 people per event meant the combined Marlborough Girls’ and Marlborough Boys’ College formal could not go ahead. Formal committee co-chair and Marlborough Boys’ College student Jono Poswillo said he and fellow co-chair Taryn Breen, of Marlborough Girls’ College, started organising the event during New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown earlier this year.
Singapore grapples with coronavirus in migrant workers' dormitories
Singapore is battling new clusters of coronavirus infections in migrant dormitories that had won the all-clear from authorities, highlighting the difficulty of stamping out the disease, even in a closely monitored population. As the wealthy city-state tumbled into recession, officials facing intense pressure to revive the economy are opting for limited isolation measures rather than the wide clampdowns earlier, but most low-wage workers are still penned in. “There is little choice,” said Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases expert at the city’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital. “We need to be realistic. We need the economy to go on.” The dormitories, home to more than 300,000 workers in industries such as construction and shipbuilding, with several allocated to a room, contribute nearly 95% of Singapore’s tally of more than 57,000 infections.
Scientific Viewpoint
Some volunteers quit J&J COVID-19 trial in Spain after AstraZeneca scare, investigator says
Some volunteers have quit Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine trial in Spain after news of side effects in a participant in AstraZeneca’s trial, the Spanish programme’s lead investigator told Reuters on Tuesday. The investigator, Alberto Borobia, said there were enough reserve volunteers for the trial to continue as normal, however. “Many have called to ask us some more detail about the risk of the vaccine, whether what happened with that vaccine had anything to do with the one we are studying, these types of questions,” Borobia said. He did not say how many people had dropped out.
Long-term health effects of Covid-19 could cause a ‘cycle of illness,’ scientists warn
The long-term health effects of Covid-19 could cause a "cycle of illness" and strain care systems, researchers have warned. Many coronavirus patients have reported debilitating symptoms months after initially falling ill, with common "long Covid" symptoms including breathlessness, chronic fatigue and brain fog. The reasons behind them are still unknown, scientists said. Dr Rachael Evans, a co-investigator on a UK-wide investigation into the long-term effects of Covid-19 for patients admitted to hospital, said: "At the moment it is just so unknown.
Aurobindo Pharma ties up with BIRAC to develop COVID-19 vaccine
Aurobindo Pharma on Tuesday announced collaboration with the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), set up by the Department of Biotechnology for the development of COVID-19 vaccine. BIRAC has facilitated the establishment of 'the r-VSV vaccine' manufacturing platform for the first time in India by supporting Aurobindo Pharma’s COVID-19 vaccine development, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Germany grants BioNTech, CureVac $745 million to speed up COVID-19 vaccine work
Germany awarded $745 million (577.79 million pounds) in funding to biotech firms BioNTech and CureVac on Tuesday to speed up work on COVID-19 vaccines and expand German production capacity. In a warning against political pressure to rush the process, Research Minister Anja Karliczek stressed that safety should remain the utmost priority to ensure vaccines will be accepted by the broader population. “Even when the world is waiting for a vaccine - we won’t take risky short-cuts here,” she told a news conference in Berlin. Concerns have grown that safety and efficacy standards might slip in the race to find a vaccine against the virus which has so far infected more than 29 million people and claimed over 926,000 lives globally.
COVID-19's Other Unnecessary Death Toll
“We need to learn to live with it.” That, essentially, is the current response being put forward by the United States government and many state governments, as COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, continues to wreak devastation around the country. At the time of this writing, the U.S. has over six million cases of COVID-19, with over 180,000 deaths. My institution, the University of Michigan, and my state, had a relatively successful response to COVID-19. Our medical center’s incident command center was opened on January 24, within days of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the U.S. Our Regional Infectious Containment Unit (RICU), a unit specially designed for highly transmissible infectious diseases, opened within five days of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the state on March 10. This rapid mobilization saved lives, and allowed even the sickest with COVID-19 a fighting chance. After peaking at close to 250 inpatients (about 25 percent of our total hospital capacity) battling COVID-19 in April, our numbers rapidly declined by the beginning of June. However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story.
NHS Highland looks to tech to help reduce Covid-19 spread in care homes
NHS Highland is looking to deploy technology in care homes which aims to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. The Scottish health board together with Highland Health Ventures and Wyld Networks are hoping to instal the technology which uses an app on smartphones and geozones, software-based virtual walls surrounding the care home. The software decides whether visitors and staff can or cannot enter the facility based on peoples’ health status and level of risk. Once inside the care home, the technology monitors and alerts social distancing between staff, visitors and residents. Also, heat maps are generated in real-time to visualise areas where social distancing is being inadvertently broken. Changes can then be made to the building layouts, routines and room occupancy numbers. In the case of an outbreak of the virus, those at risk can be informed and scheduled for testing within the NHS.
Covid-19 ethics: Should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? (part 1)
Would you be willing to have a dose of Sars-CoV-2 sprayed up your nose for medical research? For thousands around the world, the answer is yes. Eager volunteers have already signed up to take part in human challenge trials, where participants would be deliberately infected with the virus in order to better understand the disease, and rapidly develop a treatment or vaccine. But should such studies go ahead with a dangerous and relatively new virus? In the first of two episodes, alongside a panel of experts Ian Sample delves into some of the ethical questions of human challenge trials and asks where the balance of risks and benefits currently lies
Coronavirus UK: 3,600 died from preventable conditions in lockdown
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan stressed patients should not fear straining the NHS. She said messaging should be clearer, after months of a 'Protect the NHS' slogan. Patients were also reluctant to seek hospital care in case they caught Covid-19 Dr Babu-Narayan said this caused some 3,600 unexpected deaths
Feeling in Germany is that war on virus is being won
Germany's top virologist, Christian Drosten, is back with his popular podcast after his summer holiday - essential listening wherever you are, although it's in the German language. He is causing quite a stir, calling for shorter quarantine periods and saying how wearing a mask can not only save your life, it can also reduce comments about halitosis, which is more commonly known as bad breath. "With bad breath, these are aerosols. If two co-workers meet at a buffet without a mask, the other one notices the bad breath. But they don't notice if they are wearing a mask," Prof Drosten said on the podcast. His good looks and irascible charm have made him a rock star in Germany. Not too many virologists can lay claim to that, although our own Dr Ronan Glynn has a swelling fanbase. Germany has had relatively low Covid-19 infection and death rates - 249,000 confirmed cases and 9,322 fatalities.
Analysis of COVID-19 spread from China, Italy and Iran
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over nine hundred thousand lives around the world and infected over 29 million individuals. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019, from where it rapidly spread around the world. SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious and rapidly spreads from one person to another. In this new study, the researchers looked at exported COVID-19 cases by country and the time taken between entry until case confirmation for the exported cases using publicly available data.
No data on migrants' deaths during lockdown, says govt
Even as visuals of hundreds of migrant labourers walking towards their hometowns in searing heat continue to haunt collective public memory, the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Monday told the Parliament that it does not have any information on how many of these daily wagers lost their lives during the nationwide lockdown announced on March 25.
COVID-19: Lockdown was effective, didn't have a huge peak in India, says ICMR DG
Applauding the nationwide lockdown to curb COVID-19 spread in the country, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general Balram Bhargava on Tuesday said, "We distributed the COVID-19 curve in a way that we didn't have many deaths. It was because we had an effective lockdown. We didn't have a huge peak at all," according to news agency ANI. Bhargava further added, "US and European countries had a peak, then they came down and there is a second wave occurring there. We took learning from that."
Brazil authorises additional 5,000 volunteers for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa on Tuesday authorised AstraZeneca PLC to test its COVID-19 vaccine on an additional 5,000 volunteers in the country for clinical Phase III trials, the Sao Paulo university coordinating the test said. The increase, in addition to 5,000 volunteers already recruited and being vaccinated, will help provide more solid results on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, the Federal University of Sao Paulo said in a statement. It said volunteers over the age of 18 were being sought in the states of Rio Grande do Norte and Rio Grande do Sul, at opposite ends of Brazil. Anvisa has waived the age limit that was 69 years previously, so older volunteers can be vaccinated.
First vaccine approval could come at end of 2020: German vaccine regulator
The first approvals for a vaccine against COVID-19 could be granted at the end of 2020 or in early 2021, the head of Germany's vaccine regulator said on Tuesday. Klaus Cichutek, head of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, said regulators would not be less thorough than usual when evaluating applications for approval for COVID-19 vaccines
Coronavirus Resurgence
Rise in COVID-19 cases 'very well might be' start of second wave, doctor says
Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in multiple provinces are stoking fears of a potential second wave, and one infectious disease expert says this surge in infections might 'very well' be the start of that next phase in the pandemic. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says that current upward trends in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec may be fuelling Canada’s second wave of coronavirus infections. "It might be, it very well might be. We're certainly seeing these cases rumble up in the wrong direction, and quite frankly what happens over the next few weeks and then over the next month or two ahead really depends on us. If we let our guard down as citizens, if we let our guard down for example as businesses and organizations, then we'll see a spike in cases," Bogoch told CTV's Your Morning on Tuesday.
Coronavirus: Mini lockdowns called for as Covid-19 cases mount
Wales should use micro-quarantines to avoid a second national lockdown in the winter, Plaid Cymru has said. It came before the Welsh Government outlined how it will tackle coronavirus in the NHS during the winter months. Plaid said small areas could be locked down around clusters where there has been a higher rate of infection, rather than entire council area. Caerphilly county became the first place in Wales to go into local lockdown last week.
WHO reports highest one-day increase in global coronavirus cases since pandemic began
The World Health Organization on Sunday reported the highest one-day increase in coronavirus infections since the pandemic began: more than 308,000 new cases. India, the United States and Brazil logged the largest numbers of new infections on Sunday. The WHO also warned that Europe will see a surge in coronavirus-linked deaths in the fall as new infections have been soaring over the past weeks to levels not seen since the spring.
9pm curfew and 4.5million in lockdown - what could happen next
Tough new measures could be brought in to stop the rise of coronavirus, if the current legislation fails, according to reports. On Monday the Government introduced the rule of six - meaning no more than six people can meet either in private or in public. At the end of this week hospitality and leisure businesses will be forced to take contact details of all their customers - something that has been voluntary until now. And it is feared that Italy and Greece could this week be added to the growing list of places people in the UK cannot travel to. The measures come as just 17 places in England show a falling rate of coronavirus and almost 50 are on the watchlist meaning they are of concern.
A second COVID-19 wave in Spain holds a warning for U.S.
Forget Spain’s stringent and painful three-month lockdown that started in March, crushing the economy, killing tourism and frustrating residents. Never mind the praise the country received as a model for dealing with the coronavirus, which through the spring had raged out of control, overwhelming hospitals and killing at least 28,000. All it took was a short summer — of jovial parties, barhopping and vacation jaunts to coastal towns and neighboring countries — to return to something approaching the depths of the pandemic.
Increase Of 26560 In Spanish Covid Case Total Across The Weekend
As there are no totals published over the weekend the rise is usually quite pronounced. On Friday the Spanish Ministry of Health reported 566,326 cases of Covid-19.
France and Spain Fail the Coronavirus Test
If Europe has a strategy to stop the spread of Covid-19, it’s keeping it well hidden. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has vowed not to go back to the dark days of national lockdown, preferring instead to “live” with the coronavirus disease, but his government is struggling to halt a jump in cases. France reported more than 10,000 new cases in 24 hours over the weekend, a grim postscript to its decision to cut the required quarantine for positive cases in half to seven days. It’s a similar story in Spain, the country with the most cases in Europe and the first to cross the barrier of more than half a million in total. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has also ruled out national lockdowns, but messy public-health disagreements between Madrid and regions such as Catalonia — and an initially lax approach to nightlife — have worsened a post-lockdown surge in cases. Taking population into account, the seven-day average rate of new cases in France and Spain is above the U.S.’s.
Coronavirus in France: Bordeaux and Marseille announce tougher constraints
Two of France’s biggest cities with COVID-19 infection rates gathering speed even faster than the national surge in new cases are tightening limits on public activities as the French government seeks to ward off a new nationwide lockdown. The stricter restrictions announced Monday in Marseille and Bordeaux were responses to a demand from France’s prime minister that both cities take additional steps to stem their growing numbers of infections, which were putting pressure on regional health services. In Bordeaux, the top government official for the region announced a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people in public parks, along the city’s picturesque river and on beaches.
Testing positive: half of Argentina's coronavirus checks yield infection
Argentina’s coronavirus “positive rate,” the number of daily infections to the number of tests carried out, has topped 50%, underscoring how much work the South American country has to do to bring the virus under control. Health ministry data on Monday showed the country carried out 17,955 tests the day before, when it recorded 9,056 confirmed COVID-19 cases. That indicates a positive rate of 50.4%, one of the highest in the world.
Jordan closes schools in new curbs after spike in COVID-19
Jordan will suspend schools for two weeks from Thursday and close places of worship, restaurants and public markets as part of renewed restrictions after a record spike in coronavirus cases in the last few days. The decision taken after a cabinet meeting came as the kingdom struggles to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the pandemic, government spokesman Amjad Adailah said. “We are living through exceptional circumstances,” Adailah said. Health Minister Saad Jaber said the government was seeking to avoid the kind of tight nationwide lockdown imposed in the spring that brought the virus under control with low daily case numbers among a population of 10 million.
If Manchester's farcical lockdown is any clue, the second wave will hit us all hard
The rule of six will just add more confusion. It’s starting to feel like March all over again, except solidarity has given way to resentment
New Lockdown
Coronavirus: New restrictions in force for parts of West Midlands
New lockdown measures have come into force in the West Midlands after the number of coronavirus cases rose. People in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull are banned from meeting others who are not part of their household or support bubble, in homes or gardens. The restrictions affect about 1.6 million people and run alongside wider rules that came into force on Monday. The council is asking the government for an exemption to rules around child care after parents raised the issue. Michelle McDaid, from Solihull, who relies on her parents to help with childcare, said the rules were "frustrating". Dr Justin Varney, from Birmingham City Council's public health department, said: "This... prevents family members providing childcare, and that is having significant impact on lots and lots of families."
Deputy minister: If lockdown ignored, we’ll see dead in streets like NY, Italy
Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch said on Tuesday that if the Israeli populace does not abide by the sweeping lockdown regulations due to come into effect on Friday, infection rates will be so high that there will be dead in the streets, “like in New York and Italy.” Kisch said there were many people, particularly the young, who appeared not to be concerned about the coronavirus and may be considering ignoring the regulations.
Chinese city bordering Myanmar enters coronavirus 'wartime mode' as official impose strict lockdown
Chinese authorities have locked down a city on the border with Myanmar and declared entering ‘wartime mode’ after detecting two cases imported from the neighbouring country. Ruili, a city with over 200,000 residents in southwestern Chinese province Yunnan, Monday reported the new COVID-19 infections, two Myanmar nationals who were said to have illegally crossed the land border. All residents of the city will be tested for the coronavirus as authorities pledge to crack down on the area's notorious cross-border smuggling trade.
China Locks Down City, Plans to Test 200000 After Two Covid-19 Cases Found Along Myanmar Border
A Chinese border city has gone back into lockdown and is testing all 200,000 residents after two people who illegally entered from neighbouring Myanmar were diagnosed with Covid-19. The government of Ruili in the southwestern province of Yunnan began mass testing on Tuesday morning to "thoroughly investigate the coronavirus outbreak and ensure the health and safety of people of all nationalities in the city"