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Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Oct 2021

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New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown in battle on Delta variant

New Zealand's biggest city of Auckland will retain its lockdown for two more weeks in the battle on the Delta variant of coronavirus, as the country pushes to step up vaccinations, Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Oct 2021

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Kingdom 'ready' for reopening

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday urged the public, businesses and government to cooperate in preparing for the country's reopening to fully vaccinated tourists next month. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has also eased additional virus curbs, including shortening nighttime curfew hours starting on Saturday
16th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 4th Oct 2021

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Japan's Takeda says 'human error' caused contamination of Moderna vaccines

Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd said on Friday that "human error" caused metal contaminants to get into Moderna Inc COVID-19 vaccine doses, leading to a recall. Takeda, which imports and distributes the vaccine in Japan, and Moderna said in a new report that a Spanish manufacturer discovered contaminants in some vials in July, but supplies from the same production were allowed to be shipped to Japan. Japanese authorities in August suspended the use of three batches of Moderna shots containing 1.63 million doses after being notified of the contamination.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 30th Sep 2021

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Women followed lockdown rules more closely than men, study shows

The first Covid lockdown showed that women followed rules more closely than men, according to a new study which branded the restrictions a ‘live social experiment’. Researchers looking at 15% of the Austrian population’s behaviour said that everyone tended to make significantly longer phone calls during the crisis. Men were found to be less likely to accept having their movements restricted by lockdown measures and tended to return to normal more quickly, along with younger people. Scientists looked at anonymised mobile phone data from 1.2 million Austrians between February and June 2020, to study the impact of the first lockdown on behaviour in the central European country.
29th Sep 2021 - Metro


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th Sep 2021

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Vietnam delays reopening resort island over low vaccination rate

Vietnam has pushed back a plan to re-open the resort island of Phu Quoc to foreign tourists until November, after failing to meet targets for inoculating residents due to insufficient vaccine supplies, state media reported. The Southeast Asian nation, which is currently shut to all visitors apart from returning citizens and investors, has been struggling to speed up inoculations to help contain a spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant in recent months.
24th Sep 2021 - Reuters

‘It breaks my heart’: Australian parents say mental health strain on their children is worsening

New analysis from the Australian National University published on Friday shows like Amy, many parents or caregivers are struggling to find support for their children. In August, the university surveyed 3,135 Australians age 18 and older, 763 of whom were parents or caregivers with children age 18 and under living in their household from the time the pandemic hit. The sample had 1,368 children between them. Parents and carers were asked about the mental health of their children, and reported they had seen the largest negative impact on the mental health of those aged five to 18 years, while there were fewer concerns for children aged two to four. Co-author of the study, Prof. Nicholas Biddle, said 71% of parents and carers of young people aged 15 to 18 reported worsening mental health conditions for their children.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Guardian


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Sep 2021

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Ukraine tightens coronavirus lockdown curbs

Ukraine tightened coronavirus lockdown curbs on Thursday, restricting large events and occupancy at gyms, cinemas and cultural sites, after a recent steady increase in new infections. Ukraine imposed a nationwide "yellow" code after cases dropped over the summer, allowing it to lift lockdown restrictions. This week, however, the government extended a state of emergency that allows authorities to impose curbs until year-end to rein in infections. The health ministry has said it plans compulsory coronavirus vaccinations for those in occupations such as teaching and employment in state institutions and local governments.
23rd Sep 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Australians find silver lining in lockdowns as wealth booms

Australians are finding a silver lining to lockdowns as super-cheap credit lifts the value of homes and shares to record highs, a windfall of wealth that gives consumers the means to spend big once restrictions ease. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Thursday showed net household wealth surged A$735 billion ($531.48 billion) in the June quarter to A$13.3 trillion, or A$522,032 for every man, woman and child. "Aussie households have never been wealthier," said Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at CommSec.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Sep 2021

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New Zealand says it may not get to zero COVID-19 cases again

Its biggest city Auckland is still in lockdown with a small number of new cases being reported everyday. "We may not get back to zero but the important thing is we are going to keep finding any infections and basically continue to contact trace, test and isolate people so that we stop the virus circulating in the community... that's the aim," Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health told Radio New Zealand. Bloomfield said the aim now was to try and get on top of the outbreak while also ramping up vaccination rates.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Sep 2021

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China keeps virus at bay at high cost ahead of Olympics

The Beizhong International Travel Agency in the eastern city of Tianjin has had only one customer since coronavirus outbreaks that began in July prompted Chinese leaders to renew city lockdowns and travel controls. Most of China is virus-free, but the abrupt, severe response to outbreaks has left would-be tourists jittery about traveling to places they might be barred from leaving. That has hit consumer spending, hindering efforts to keep the economic recovery on track. China’s “zero tolerance” strategy of trying to isolate every case and stop transmission has helped keep the country where the virus first was detected in late 2019 largely free of disease. But the public and businesses are paying a steep price.
21st Sep 2021 - The Associated Press


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th Sep 2021

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New Zealand, Australia travel bubble suspended for longer amid Delta outbreaks

New Zealand suspended quarantine-free travel with Australia for a further 8 weeks on Friday, extending a halt in the so-called travel bubble between both countries, as they deal with fresh outbreaks of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
17th Sep 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th Sep 2021

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New Zealand PM Ardern extends lockdown in Auckland to Sept 21

New Zealand's largest city Auckland will remain in lockdown to beat the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam's biggest city to keep virus curbs, flight resumption sought

Vietnam's coronavirus outbreak epicentre Ho Chi Minh City will extend its restrictions, state media reported on Monday, as the capital Hanoi and several provinces sought an easing of curbs and the aviation authority proposed domestic flights resume.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand keeps Auckland in strict lockdown to beat Delta

New Zealand extended a strict lockdown in its largest city on Monday, requiring 1.7 million people living in Auckland to remain indoors for at least another week to snuff out small outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant of coronavirus. Health authorities recorded 33 new cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 on Monday, all in Auckland, which was higher than 23 and 20 cases reported over the weekend.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 13th Sep 2021

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Auckland COVID cases drop again as New Zealand presses on with Delta curbs

New Zealand reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, all in locked down Auckland, its biggest city, as the country looks to limit the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
10th Sep 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th Sep 2021

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Philippines defers new COVID-19 plan, maintains capital curbs

The Philippines capital region will remain under the second strictest coronavirus containment measures, a senior official said on Tuesday, despite a day earlier announcing a relaxation of curbs to spur business activity. Imposition of the more relaxed "general community quarantine" in Metro Manila has been deferred, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, without giving a reason.
7th Sep 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th Sep 2021

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Vietnam's capital ramps up testing after extending COVID-19 curbs

Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, extended COVID-19 restrictions on Monday for a further two weeks, as authorities launched a plan to conduct tests on the city's 8 million people to try to curb a climb in infections that started in late April. The Southeast Asian country dealt successfully with the virus for much of the pandemic, but the virulent Delta variant has proved more challenging in recent months.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: India school closures 'catastrophic' for poor students

The prolonged closure of schools in India has led to "catastrophic consequences" for poor children, according to a recent survey. Only 8% of the children sampled were studying online regularly and 37% were not studying at all, the survey found. Primary and upper-primary schools in India have been closed for 17 month to curb the spread of coronavirus. The survey, supervised by leading economists, spoke to 1,400 children across India in August. Researchers focused on households in relatively deprived villages and slums, where children generally attend government-run schools.
6th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Philippines plans new COVID-19 lockdown strategy to help economy

The Philippines will relax some COVID-19 restrictions in the Manila region from Wednesday and also intends to outline plans to shift to smaller, localised lockdowns to support the economy, the presidential spokesperson said. The moves come despite the Southeast Asian country reporting record infection numbers as it battles the Delta variant. The government believed localised COVID-19 restrictions would be more effective in controlling outbreaks without constraining mobility and business activity too much, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told a briefing.
6th Sep 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Feb 2021

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COVID-19: New ad campaign urges people to keep staying at home despite coronavirus transmission rates declining

An advertising blitz has been launched to encourage people to keep staying at home until COVID-19 restrictions can be lifted. The campaign also urges them to continue with mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing. And it appeals to people to understand the importance of remaining in lockdown, despite declining coronavirus transmission rates, the success of the vaccine rollout and the launch of the roadmap out of lockdown.
25th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Adverts urge people to 'keep going' and remain at home

An advertising campaign has been launched to encourage people across the UK to "keep going" and remain at home. The government adverts come amid falling infection rates, the success of the vaccine rollout and the launch of the roadmap out of lockdown. People are also being urged to continue behavioural changes, including social distancing, hand washing and wearing face masks. The TV advert is being shown for the first time on Wednesday night on ITV.
25th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Coronavirus in Austria: Viennese cafés open their doors to students despite lockdown

Only a little jazz tune disturbs the studious atmosphere. In a downtown café, young Viennese residents enjoy the calm, space and comfort of the red benches, escaping from the closed doors to which the Covid-19 lockdown is forcing them. The city has launched an initiative to allow students to reserve time slots to study at cafes. Drinks are not allowed, but bottled water, small snacks and internet access are available.
25th Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24

Aussie expats who've had COVID-19 jab amidst long UK lockdown: 'I feel privileged, I feel honoured'

Thousands of Australians have lined up this week as the coronavirus vaccine rollout finally commenced. But half a world away, many Australians have already rolled up their sleeves to be some of the first in the world fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In the UK almost 18 million people have been inoculated since its vaccine drive began in mid-December, which includes many Australian expats. England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said on Wednesday the government didn't expect the vaccine uptake to be as high as it has been, though it is pushing to stay as close to the 90 per cent or higher it has already achieved in priority groups.
25th Feb 2021 - 9News

Hungary extends lockdown, sees 'exceptionally difficult' two weeks ahead as infections rise

Hungary is entering its toughest period since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and over the next two weeks hospitals will come under strain like never before, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday. "I have only bad news," Orban said in a Facebook video. "We are facing the hardest two weeks since the start of the pandemic. The number of infections is rising sharply and will continue to rise due to the new mutations." On Thursday, Hungary reported 4,385 new infections, the highest number this year.
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Feb 2021

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Italy's health minister rules out loosening of COVID-19 curbs

Italy's government will extend coronavirus restrictions already in place until after Easter, the health minister said on Wednesday, as Rome plans to speed up vaccination efforts to try to beat the pandemic. Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, has seen its daily cases fall from a high of around 40,000 in November to under 15,000 at present, but officials fear loosening restrictions may lead to a surge in infections driven by new, highly contagious variants. "The epidemiological conditions do not allow us to relax the curbs," Health Minister Roberto Speranza told parliament, adding that strains first discovered in Britain, South Africa and Brazil are increasingly being detected in Italy.
24th Feb 2021 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

Italian mafia tightens grip on small businesses during lockdown

The provision of Mafia “welfare” to Italy’s struggling small businesses sharply increased during the first months of the Covid-19 lockdown according to the first comprehensive report by the country’s interior ministry on organised crime since the pandemic began. The report by the anti-mafia investigation directorate (DIA) said there was a significant threat that organised criminals would take advantage of the country’s economic crisis to take over small businesses after initially providing them with assistance.
24th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

Greece to continue Athens lockdown as COVID cases rise

Greece will not be able to lift lockdown restrictions in the wider Athens area on March 1 as previously planned, following a sharp increase in coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday. Athens metropolitan area, where half of Greece’s population lives, has been under strict lockdown restrictions that were set to expire on Feb. 28. On Tuesday, authorities reported 2,147 new cases, around half of them in the Attica region around Athens, and 22 deaths
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Britain's lockdown is one of the toughest in the world, study claims

Britons are living under the sixth strictest lockdown in the world – and the second harshest in Europe – according to an analysis by the University of Oxford. Researchers have ranked the pandemic responses of 180 countries on a 'stringency map' by looking at how Covid restrictions have affected schools, offices, social gatherings, international travel and freedom to leave home. Each country was scored on a scale of one to 100, with a higher figure indicating the most severe virus-controlling curbs. The numbers represented an average since the start of the pandemic.
23rd Feb 2021 - Daily Mail


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Feb 2021

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Portugal's COVID-19 nightmare eases but end of lockdown still out of sight

Health experts warned that lifting the lockdown too soon could lead to a rise in cases caused by the variant initially discovered in Britain, currently responsible for almost half of the country’s cases. Another surge would be catastrophic for a fragile health system. Germany sent on Tuesday a replacement team of military doctors and nurses to take over from the first deployment sent three weeks ago to prop up Lisbon’s underresourced hospitals.
23rd Feb 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Feb 2021

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Italy Extends Ban on Movement Between Regions Until Late March

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has extended a ban on movement between the country’s 20 regions for another month -- until late March -- as his new government tries to step up a vaccination campaign to counter the pandemic. A cabinet meeting chaired by Draghi prolonged travel curbs between regions until March 27 and maintained a 10 p.m. curfew, according to a statement. The government also introduced a ban on visits between households in the highest-risk areas.
22nd Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Residents in Chinese city vent frustration after more than 40 days in lockdown

Gaocheng, a district of the Hebei capital Shijiazhuang, went into lockdown in early January after a spike in cases. Many complain that they are still unable to leave their houses despite a fall in cases and an easing of restrictions earlier this month
22nd Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post

UK shopper numbers rise for fifth straight week despite lockdown

The number of people heading out to shops across Britain increased by 6.8% last week versus the previous week, a fifth straight week of uplift despite the national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. It said shopper numbers, or footfall, in the week to Feb. 20 was up 10.5% in high streets, 4.5% in shopping centres and 1.2% in retail parks. “You could be fooled into thinking that last week was a normal (school) half term week rather than the eighth week of a national lockdown, as footfall continued to rise for the fifth consecutive week,” said Springboard director Diane Wehrle.
22nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Don't ignore 'lockdown fatigue', UK watchdog tells finance bosses

Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday. Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists. “During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”
22nd Feb 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Feb 2021

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Toronto's lockdown extended until at least March 8

A lockdown and stay at home order is being extended in Canada's largest city until at least March 8. The shutdown in Toronto began on Nov 23 after a second novel coronavirus wave hit the province. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said it was a difficult but necessary decision. Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, asked the provincial government this week to extend the lockdown, saying she has never been more worried about the future because of new coronavirus variants.
20th Feb 2021 - Japan Today

City residents vent frustration after spending over 40 days in lockdown

Gaocheng, a district of the Hebei capital Shijiazhuang, went into lockdown in early January after a spike in cases. Many complain that they are still unable to leave their houses despite a fall in cases and an easing of restrictions earlier this month
20th Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Feb 2021

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Covid-19: NI lockdown extended until 1 April

Lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland will be extended until 1 April, the Stormont Executive has agreed. But children in primary 1 to primary 3 (aged four to seven) will go back to school in Northern Ireland on 8 March. Restrictions were imposed on 26 December to manage the spread of Covid-19. Health officials have said they want to avoid a possible rise in cases around St Patrick's Day on 17 March. Another review of the measures will take place on 18 March. First Minister Arlene Foster said Northern Ireland knew "from experience what looks like success is hard-won, but also fragile". "We need decisions to be safe and sustainable, with a proper sequencing of actions."
18th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Parents who lost teenagers to suicide in lockdown issue warning - 'there's going to be a lot of PTSD'

As authorities wrestle with how to safely reopen schools, there is evidence in the US that closures have taken a huge mental health toll on students and their families. "450,000 people and counting in the US have died of COVID, and that's a terrible thing," said Dylan's father Chris. "I'm fortunate in that I don't know any of those people. But I do know one person who committed suicide.
18th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid crisis: 1.9m people in UK 'have not worked for more than six months'

Almost 2 million people in Britain have not worked for more than six months during the coronavirus pandemic, amid growing risk to workers from long-term economic damage caused by the crisis. The Resolution Foundation said up to 1.9 million people in January had either been out of a job or on full furlough for more than six months, revealing the lasting impact on employment caused by Covid and multiple lockdowns. Highlighting the risks to workers from long-term unemployment, it called on the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to use next month’s budget to extend targeted support for sectors of the economy hardest hit by the crisis. The report warned that while the outlook for the economy was steadily improving thanks to the vaccination programme and as the government prepares to roll back Covid restrictions, many workers remained concerned about their job prospects.
18th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Covid: NI schools set to return but lockdown extended

Northern Ireland's lockdown restrictions will be extended until the start of April, First Minister Arlene Foster announces. But some primary school children will return to classes on 8 March under the plans and there will be another review of measures on 18 March. Covid has exposed deep inequalities and injustices in society, Labour leader Sir Keir says as he unveils a plan for a British Recovery Bond scheme
18th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Dad says Covid lockdown was behind 12-year-old son’s suicide

Brad Hunstable lost his 12-year-old son Hayden to suicide four days before his 13th birthday in April 2020. Hayden hung himself after a battle with depression that his father says was brought on by the lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Hunstable's youngest daughter Kinlee found Hayden in his room on April 17, 2020, in Aledo, west of Dallas, Texas. Mr Hunstable told Metro UK: "Covid killed my son. I think Hayden would still be alive today if Covid had never happened. "I had no idea he was struggling or depressed, he was such a happy kid and loved his friends and family. But Covid is a perfect storm for suicide and depression. I think everything just got on top of him, he felt overwhelmed and he made a tragic decision."
18th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Canada's largest city, Toronto, wants lockdown extended

Canada’s largest city asked the Ontario provincial government on Wednesday to extend a lockdown order to at least March 9. Restrictions placed on Toronto by Ontario’s government are currently scheduled to be removed on Feb 22. But Dr Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, said she has never been more worried about the future because of new coronavirus variants. She has written the province's top health official to request the lockdown last at least two weeks longer. She said there are 345 confirmed variant cases in Toronto and said the city is facing exponential growth. She noted the experience of Germany, whose health minister said Wednesday the virus variant first detected in Britain last year now accounts for more than a fifth of all positive tests in his country, rising from 6% in just two weeks. “By the time the confirmed counts are big enough to shock us, it will be too late to do anything; we will be in a third wave as bad as anything we’ve been through thus far,” she said.
18th Feb 2021 - Japan Today

Danish supermarket to help small, shuttered businesses survive lockdown

Danish supermarket cooperative Kvickly has pledged to set aside some of its extra proceeds made while smaller retailers were shut down by coronavirus restrictions and use it for marketing to help them reopen successfully. Supermarkets, but not smaller retailers, in the Nordic country have been allowed to stay open during a lockdown introduced in December to curb the spread of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus first identified in Britain. Kvickly said it would donate its proceeds from sales of non-food items to shuttered shops for use in marketing campaigns as they reopen for business. That would amount to at least 7-10 million Danish crowns ($1.14-$1.63 million) - but more if the current coronavirus lockdown is extended beyond March 1.
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Feb 2021

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France Covid Lockdown: Government Says Too Early to Reopen Bars, Restaurants

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal says it’s too early to re-open restaurants, bars, culture and sports venues as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths remain on a “high plateau.” “The pressure remains high,” Attal told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Paris. He said ministers were preparing the conditions to re-open these venues so as to prepare for when the situation will allow it.
17th Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

New Zealand considers Auckland lockdown extension as two more Covid cases found

A coronavirus outbreak in New Zealand grew by two cases Wednesday to five in total as lawmakers considered whether to extend a lockdown in Auckland The nation's largest city was put into a three-day lockdown on Sunday after three unexplained cases were found in the community. It was the first lockdown in six months in a nation which so far has managed to successfully stamp out the spread of the disease. The original cases from the latest outbreak were a mother, a father, and their daughter, who attends high school. Health authorities said the two new cases were a high school classmate, who was a close contact of the daughter, and the classmate's sibling. However, ramped-up testing has not indicated the virus has spread further. Laboratories processed more than 17,000 individual tests on Tuesday, authorities said, and they also tested wastewater samples which came back negative
17th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Ukraine extends COVID-19 lockdown but some regions can ease up

Ukraine will prolong a lockdown until the end of April but will allow regions with fewer COVID-19 cases to ease restrictions, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Wednesday. Regions will be put into green, yellow, orange and red zones depending on the scale of new infections, he told a televised cabinet meeting.
17th Feb 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Feb 2021

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'They're just fed up': parents and teenagers on life in the second UK lockdown

Remote education does not just mean a new system of learning, but missing out on day-to-day interactions with friends and losing the traditional structure of weekdays. While teachers work to engage students from home, there are concerns about the impact of lockdown on school attainment and social development. As many students break for half-term, teenagers and their families have spoken about how the second lockdown has affected them. ‘I’m so scared about next year and the prospect of doing formal exams’ - Remote learning has “definitely been a struggle”, said 17-year-old Aisha Qureshi. She is in her first year of A-levels, after having her GCSE exams cancelled last year.
16th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Germans ‘sick and tired’ as long lockdown hits national mood

Once Europe’s poster child in the battle against Covid-19, Germany has turned into a problem child with the pandemic threatening to spin out of control – even after two months of a strict national lockdown that has frayed nerves, eroded faith in the government and darkened the country’s mood. German leaders had to scramble on Monday to defend a controversial decision to shut its borders to the Czech Republic and parts of Austria to foreign travellers, including commuting workers, in a desperate bid to slow the spread of a highly infections coronavirus mutation from the United Kingdom.
16th Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post

Zimbabwe Extends COVID-19 Lockdown As Nation Receives 200,000 Doses of China's Sinopharm Vaccine

Every life lost, is a big loss to us. I therefore extend the national lockdown by two weeks. This will see the reduction of active cases and monitoring of cases in incubation."
16th Feb 2021 - Zimbabwe

Covid 19 coronavirus: Fears for south Aucklanders' mental health amid third lockdown

South Aucklanders already struggling to feed their families could be hit hard by the stresses of a third Covid-19 lockdown, a prominent Māori leader says. Manukau Urban Maori Authority (MUMA) chairman Bernie O'Donnell said since the first lockdown in 2020, the organisation has been busy helping families in south Auckland via its food bank and social services. O'Donnell, who is also a member of the Auckland District Health Board, said most people have been focused on feeding their families and putting a roof over their heads. "But it's the issues we don't see, like how our psyches are impacted by this," he said.
16th Feb 2021 - New Zealand Herald

No new virus cases raise hopes New Zealand will end lockdown

For a second consecutive day, New Zealand reported no new community cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising hopes that a lockdown in Auckland will be lifted Wednesday. Just how three family members contracted the disease remains a mystery. After the cases were found, top lawmakers hurriedly placed New Zealand’s largest city into a three-day lockdown, the nation's first in six months. COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the final decision by lawmakers on whether to lift the restrictions will depend on any new information or cases that crop up over the next 24 hours. “A day when we get zero positive test results is always a good day,” Hipkins said.
16th Feb 2021 - ABC News

‘No choice’: Hunger forces Zimbabweans break COVID lockdown rules

John Kwarabu, 36, knew he would be forced to stay at home when Zimbabwe’s authorities announced a 30-day coronavirus lockdown early last month. His job, hawking mobile phone appliances in the central business district of the capital, Harare, did not fall under essential service providers, the only population segment exempted from restrictions barring movement. With the curbs set to take effect on January 5, Kwarabu decided to head to his rural home in Hwedza, some 130km (81 miles) from Harare, to plant food crops for two weeks. His stay, however, was cut short when his wife called him after a week, telling him that food had already run out for herself and their three children. “I had no choice. I couldn’t let my family starve,” said Kwarabu, sitting on the concrete slab in front of a building in the capital. Following his return, he has been risking arrest and fines as he boards a bus from Tafara – a sprawling suburb north of Harare – without a permit to head to the city centre and try to earn a living. On good days, he manages to sell a few items – USB cables, chargers and power banks – from the stock he had before the lockdown was imposed and buys food for his family.
16th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Feb 2021

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Landlords evicting hundreds during lockdown with government’s new ‘eviction ban’ loopholes

Hundreds of renters have been thrown out of their homes in the middle of lockdown after the government caved in to landlord lobbying and introduced loopholes to its eviction ban. New figures show eviction attempts by landlords doubled during the winter coronavirus lockdown, while more than 500 households were forced out by county court bailiffs. The government promised in March that nobody would be made homeless because they had lost their income due to coronavirus, and put a blanket ban on evictions.
15th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Despite tough facade, North Korea's battle with COVID-19 continues

North Korea started off the year on a strong note by holding a large military parade as well as reaffirming the country’s commitment to self-reliance. But behind the tough façade, the country is still trying to contain the spread of COVID-19 within its borders. The pandemic has not gone away for the rest of the world, and North Korea is no exception. North Korea was one of the first countries in the world to take the pandemic very seriously; closing off its borders back in January of 2020. Given that the virus had originated just across its borders in China, the North Korean government wasted no time in implementing drastic security measures. Although this prevented an uncontrollable spread of the virus within the country, the negative economic impact has been immense, and—contrary to official statements—North Korean citizens do seem to have been infected with the virus throughout the course of the pandemi
15th Feb 2021 - DailyNK

Too soon to say when Victoria will end snap Covid lockdown, Daniel Andrews says

Daniel Andrews says it is too early to say whether Victoria will emerge from its “circuit breaker” lockdown as planned on Wednesday, despite recording only one new locally acquired case of Covid-19 on Monday. At the midpoint of the state’s five-day lockdown, and with health officials confident that close contacts of 17 coronavirus cases linked to the Holiday Inn hotel quarantine outbreak have been identified, the premier said a decision on easing restrictions had not been made. Victoria recorded one new locally acquired case in the past 24 hours, a woman who attended a private function of 30 people in Coburg on 6 February that has been linked to other infections.
15th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Australian officials say too early to make call on ending Victoria lockdown

The leader of Australia’s Victoria state said on Monday it was too early to say if a snap five-day coronavirus lockdown would end as planned on Wednesday evening, as authorities confirmed a national vaccine rollout was on track to begin next week. Victoria, the second most populous state in the country, reported just one new COVID-19 infection on Monday, taking the total cases in a recent cluster linked to a quarantine hotel to 17 people. The most recent case is the mother of a three-year-old child who tested positive a day earlier.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Fed-up Britons returning to shops despite lockdown and 'Beast from the East'

The number of people heading out to shops across Britain increased by 1.5% last week from the previous week, a fourth straight week of rises, indicating that Britons are increasingly tiring of lockdown, industry data showed on Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England into a new national lockdown on Jan. 4 to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases that threatened to overwhelm parts of the health system. Under the rules in England, schools are closed to most pupils, people should work from home if possible, and all hospitality and non-essential shops are closed. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have imposed similar measures.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Locked down and lonely, London Zoo faces fight to survive

London Zoo should be teeming with children released from school by half-term holidays. But instead, the monkeys’ pranks are unobserved, King Cobra is coiled friendless in the reptile house and the future of the world’s oldest scientific zoo is in peril. As the menagerie in Regent’s Park, central London, nurses a multi-million-pound hole in its budget and lockdown keeps visitors away, even during school holidays, the keepers are sad and anxious. “Lockdown here has been really surreal - like with no visitors here, it’s been a really sad time for the zoo,” Kate Sanders, big cats team leader at the zoo, told Reuters.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Despair Deepens for Young People as Pandemic Drags On

Life seemed promising last year to Philaé Lachaux, a 22-year-old business student in France who dreamed of striking out on her own in the live music industry. But the onset of the pandemic, leading to the loss of her part-time job as a waitress, sent her back to live at her family home. Now, struggling to envision a future after months of restrictions, Ms. Lachaux says that loneliness and despair seep in at night. “I look at the ceiling, I feel a lump in my throat,” she said. “I’ve never had so many suicidal thoughts.” “The pandemic feels like a big stop in our lives,” she added. “One that puts us so low that I wonder, ‘What’s the point?’”
14th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

Germany says pandemic border checks are only temporary

Intensified checks at Germany’s borders meant to slow the spread of the pandemic are only temporary and a last resort, a German government spokesman said on Monday. “A return to normal is in the interest of everyone involved,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference.
14th Feb 2021 - Financial Post


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Germany to close borders to Czech Republic and parts of Austria in fight against new Covid variants

Germany is planning to close its borders with the Czech Republic and part of Austria as it tries to keep outbreaks of the more infectious UK coronavirus variant at bay. Travellers from these countries are likely to face a near total ban on entry to Germany, similar to the rules Berlin has already imposed on Britain, Ireland and Portugal. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is worried that the arrival of highly contagious mutant strains of the virus could undo her country’s progress in bringing down the infection rate, which has fallen by two thirds since Christmas.
13th Feb 2021 - The Times

Coronavirus: Germans' mental health worse in second lockdown — study

People living in Germany are struggling with their mental health more during the current shutdown than they had during the first, according to interim research results published by Saarland University on Saturday. Researchers at the university have been monitoring 1,500 men and women for a year to measure the psychological and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The time period has spanned two lockdowns — the first in mid-March to mid-April 2020 and the second, which began in mid-December and is ongoing. Both lockdowns have seen much of public life curtailed, including the closures of schools, public institutions as well as shops and gastronomy businesses except for takeaway.
13th Feb 2021 - DW (English)

U.K. Economy Suffers Biggest Slump in 300 Years Amid Covid-19 Lockdowns

The U.K. economy recorded its biggest contraction in more than three centuries in 2020, according to official estimates, highlighting the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic toll on a country that has also suffered one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks. Though the U.K. is grappling with a new, highly contagious variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hopeful that a rapid vaccination drive will permit a gradual reopening of the economy in the coming months, paving the way for a consumer-driven rebound later in the year. Gross domestic product shrank 9.9% over the year as a whole, the Office for National Statistics said Friday, the largest annual decline among the Group of Seven advanced economies. France’s economy shrank 8.3% and Italy’s contracted 8.8%, according to provisional estimates. German GDP declined 5%. The U.S. shrank 3.5%.
13th Feb 2021 - The Wall Street Journal


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Covid-19: Ireland may have Level 5 restrictions until Easter

The Republic of Ireland could see a continuation of high level restrictions to the Easter period, Taoiseach (Irish PM) Micheál Martin has warned. Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Martin said the government is revising its Living with Covid Plan. He said it made sense to take a cautious approach as the vaccination programme is being rolled out across the country. On Wednesday, there were 54 additional coronavirus-related deaths reported. The Republic of Ireland's overall toll of coronavirus-related deaths is 3,794.
11th Feb 2021 - BBC News

You’re not lazy — Why you need to stop feeling guilty in lockdown, according to an expert

Retailers are calling for more financial support from the government after the UK’s Covid lockdowns in 2020 cost £22bn in lost non-food sales. The high street was hit by its biggest fall in sales for non-food stores on record – down 24% – as footfall decreased by two-fifths, according to data from the trade body the British Retail Consortium (BRC). While many retailers continued to sell online, that did not make up for sales lost from shops. Profits were also affected by the cost of setting up and operating home delivery systems.
11th Feb 2021 - CNBC

In an era of division, lockdown unites us

Lockdown scepticism has been increasingly hard to sustain of late — but that hasn’t deterred some. The most prominent of these voices seem to have something else in common, in supporting Brexit. From Julia Hartley-Brewer, Allison Pearson and Toby Young, to Steve Baker, Daniel Hannan and Nigel Farage, most high-profile lockdown sceptics also share a dislike of the European Union. Nigel Farage even started a new political party, Reform UK, whose initial focus was promoting lockdown scepticism
11th Feb 2021 - The Times

U.K. Retailers See $31 Billion Cost of Three Covid Lockdowns

Britain’s three pandemic lockdowns have cost retailers that have been ordered to close about 22 billion pounds ($31 billion) in lost sales, according to a trade group. In a sign of the mounting toll Covid-19 is taking on one of the country’s biggest employment sectors, the British Retail Consortium says 2020 was the worst year on record, with in-store non-food sales declining by 24%, compared with 2019. Foot traffic in stores was down more than 40% in 2020 as Covid-wary consumers avoided malls and town centers and turned to online shopping instead, the group said in a statement.
11th Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid: Prisoners like 'caged animals' in lockdown jails

Prisoners in England's jails have been locked in their cells for more than 90% of the day to keep them safe from Covid-19, the prisons watchdog says. And the extra restrictions, which began in March, have led to a decline in their mental and physical health and a rise in drug taking and self-harm. "It's being imprisoned while you're in prison," one inmate told inspectors. Predictions up to 2,000 inmates would die in the pandemic in England and Wales without action have been avoided.
11th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Germany to reinstate border controls over virus variant

The German government decided Thursday to temporarily reinstate border controls along its southeastern frontier after designating the Czech Republic and parts of Austria as “mutation areas" due to their high number of variant coronavirus cases, German news agency dpa reported. The temporary border controls and certain entry restrictions will start Sunday at midnight, dpa reported. Travelers coming from certain areas of Austria or the Czech Republic will have to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test in order to enter Germany a requirement that will present a hurdle for thousands of cross-border workers. It was not clear for how long the border controls would last.
11th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19 school closures are widening Europe’s class divisions

No one is ever truly ready for lockdown. But when the Netherlands closed its schools in December, the Herman Wesselink College, a high school in a well-off suburb of Amsterdam, was readier than most. About half its students have parents who completed higher education. Nearly all have their own bedroom to study in. The school has given its pupils laptops for years, and during the first lockdown last spring switched smoothly to remote learning. The director says students have not fallen behind a whit in terms of content, though their study skills have languished. The Mundus College, a trade school in a poorer Amsterdam neighbourhood, has had it rougher. About a third of its students are new immigrants or refugees. Vocational education is hard to do remotely. Classes have stayed open at half-size under an exception for vulnerable students, but it is impossible to follow social-distancing rules for subjects like nursing, says Diana Brummelhuis, the director:
11th Feb 2021 - The Economist

Amid variant fears, Germany extends Covid-19 lockdown until March 7

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government agreed Wednesday to continue a partial lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic until at least March 7, even as Germans grow increasingly weary of the tough restrictions. Following crunch talks with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states, Merkel said that the number of new Covid-19 infections in Europe’s top economy was dropping after more than two months of shuttered schools and shops. “When we look at this development we can be quite satisfied,” she told reporters. But she called on Germans to be patient as fears grow over more contagious virus variants first detected in Britain and South Africa.
11th Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24 English

Ireland's third virus lockdown set to last to April

Ireland's virus lockdown is set to be extended until April, Prime Minister Michael Martin said as the country battles to get infection rates and deaths down. "Certainly we are looking at a continuation of high levels of restrictions until the Easter period," Martin told state broadcaster RTE. Restaurants and pubs across Ireland have been shut since Christmas Eve and the non-essential retail retail sector has been closed since New Year's Eve.
11th Feb 2021 - Times of India

Retailers call for more Covid help after £22bn loss in non-food sales

Retailers are calling for more financial support from the government after the UK’s Covid lockdowns in 2020 cost £22bn in lost non-food sales. The high street was hit by its biggest fall in sales for non-food stores on record – down 24% – as footfall decreased by two-fifths, according to data from the trade body the British Retail Consortium (BRC). While many retailers continued to sell online, that did not make up for sales lost from shops. Profits were also affected by the cost of setting up and operating home delivery systems. Central London has been one of the hardest hit parts of the country; the loss of tourists and many commuters contributing to a surge in closures of shops and other high street businesses. The number of empty units in the City of London increased by 47% last year as the number of workers and visitors slumped, according to figures from analysts at Local Data Company.
11th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

German businesses dismayed by further lockdown extension

The German business community expressed consternation on Thursday after Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders agreed to extend the coronavirus lockdown until March 7. “Politicians are leaving industry in the lurch,” said Andrea Belegante from the BdS lobby group that represents the restaurant and catering business, adding she was “stunned”. “Again there are no prospects, again no concrete steps towards an opening strategy, again only a postponement without prospects to the beginning of March.”
11th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Merkel says lockdown won't last a day longer than necessary

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus which have been extended until March 7 will not be maintained a day longer than necessary.
11th Feb 2021 - Reuters

More than 40% of Britons in poor health or struggling financially amid pandemic, says UK regulator

More than 40 percent of Britons are struggling financially or suffering poor health, a sharp increase from last year driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday. The FCA said there are now 27.7 million adults in Britain affected by low financial resilience, poor health or other recent negative life events, up from 24 million in February 2020, a month before the country went into its first lockdown to fight the pandemic. Britain’s total population is 67 million. Having just one of the characteristics puts a consumer at greater risk of harm, the FCA said in the latest findings of its regular Financial Lives survey. The survey contacted 16,000 people between August 2019 and February 2020, with a follow up survey of 22,000 people in October last year.
11th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Portugal Extends COVID-19 Lockdown as Overstretched Hospitals Struggle

Portugal extended on Thursday a nationwide lockdown until March 1 to tackle its worst surge of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began as authorities scramble to relieve pressure on overstretched hospitals. The country of just over 10 million fared better than other nations in Europe in the first wave of the pandemic, but 2021 brought a devastating surge in infections and deaths, in part blamed on the rapid spread of the British variant of the virus and the easing of restrictions over Christmas.
11th Feb 2021 - USNews.com


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Merkel, state governors to decide on lockdown extension

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country s 16 state governors are to decide Wednesday whether to extend a lockdown beyond mid-February, as overall infection numbers are declining but concern is high over cases of new variants. Germany's second lockdown began in November and was extended and toughened before Christmas as numbers of COVID-19 patients threatened to overwhelm hospitals. It is set to end on Feb. 14, but authorities are expected to extend it again — keeping bars, restaurants and most stores closed, among other things.
10th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Germany set to extend lockdown on concerns over new coronavirus variants

A draft document emerged early Wednesday outlining plans between Chancellor Angela Merkel and state officials to maintain the lockdown. The reopening of schools is a priority for the German leadership, although the country’s federal system means that individual states are expected to be able to decide how to do this. The reopening of shops and hotels could begin next month in areas where the infection rate is low, too.
10th Feb 2021 - CNBC

Germany plans to extend lockdown until March 14: draft document

Germany will extend restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus until March 7, though schools and hair salons may open sooner, Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of the 16 federal states agreed on Wednesday. The number of new daily infections in Germany has been falling, prompting some regional leaders to push for a timetable to ease the lockdown, which has been in place since mid-December. But concerns are growing about the impact of more infectious variants of the virus on case numbers. “There is a lot of uncertainty around the mutants, and it is clear, they will gain the upper hand.... That is why we have to get the case numbers down, down, down,” Merkel told journalists in a news conference.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters


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Covid-19: Travel rule breakers could face £10k fines and prison terms

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned travel rule breakers they could face fines of £10,000 and even a decade in prison. Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock set out the "tough" measures for people who do not comply with the new quarantine rules for UK arrivals. He said the policy, which begins on Monday, applied to England but that the devolved administrations were looking at similar measures.
9th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Portugal poised to extend lockdown as COVID-19 cases fall

Portugal’s COVID-19 infection rate has dropped sharply after a lockdown aimed at addressing a devastating January pandemic surge, but it is still recording the most daily deaths in the world by size of population, health experts said Tuesday. Portugal hit a peak of cases on Jan. 29, with a 14-day average of almost 1,700 cases per 100,000 habitants. Amid a lockdown, that rate has fallen to around 980 per 100,000 -- a marked improvement but still one of the European Union’s highest rates. But Portugal's seven-day rolling average of daily deaths stands at 2.24 per 100,000 — significantly above other countries, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
9th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Covid: Domestic abuse victims 'may be stuck' in lockdown with abusers

More support is needed to reach domestic abuse victims trapped in lockdown with their abusers, charities have warned. In August, Dyfed Powys Police received 900 reports of domestic abuse compared with 350 incidents a month in 2017. While reports have risen, there are fears many victims in rural areas are not seeking help. The West Wales Domestic Abuse Service (WWDAS) said many could not reach out for help while stuck at home. Chief Executive Michelle Pooley said that while the charity had seen more people referred for support, people living in tight-knit rural communities were less likely to seek help.
9th Feb 2021 - BBC News

UK lockdown reduces consumer spending to lowest levels since last spring

Britain’s tough new lockdown measures have dented consumer confidence and reduced spending to levels not seen since last spring, according to two separate surveys. Both the British Retail Consortium and Barclaycard said spending in January was at its weakest since May as booming online activity failed to compensate fully for the closure of stores. One of Britain’s leading thinktanks, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), added on Monday that after the UK’s sluggish start to 2021 it had cut its forecast for growth this year and put back the start of the recovery.
9th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

UK consumer spending slumps during latest lockdown

UK consumer spending and retail sales fell in January at the fastest pace since May, suggesting the economy has been hit harder by the current lockdown than November’s restrictions despite people switching to online shopping. Consumer spending fell 16.3 per cent in January compared with the same month last year, the largest annual drop since the spring, according to Barclaycard data, tracking nearly half of all UK credit and debit card transactions. The drop was much sharper than the 1.9 per cent fall in November and it is consistent with the economy shrinking more severely than the 2.6 per cent contraction registered during that previous lockdown period.
9th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

Merkel wants German lockdown to continue until March - sources

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to keep restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus in place until at least March 1, participants in a meeting of her own conservative parliamentary group told Reuters on Tuesday. Merkel and leaders of Germany’s 16 states are due to hold talks on Wednesday to discuss whether steps can be taken to ease lockdown measures which have been in place since November and were tightened in mid-December. “We have to wait until March 1,” participants in the meeting cited Merkel as saying. “My goal would be not to have to correct steps to open up again with further closing steps.” Primary schools, nurseries, hairdressers and retail would take priority in any easing but the overall aim was to avoid another lockdown, Merkel said.
9th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Germany set to stay in lockdown for fear of virus mutations — draft document

German officials are considering lifting some measures in the coming weeks, but the shutdown will continue for now, DW learned on Tuesday. Federal and state representatives are set to announce their decision tomorrow. "Considering the virus mutations, the steps to lift the restrictions must come carefully and gradually in order to avoid risking the successful curbing of infections," Germany's top officials are expected to say, according to a draft statement obtained by DW. The document foresees the country continuing its shutdown until March. The authorities see reopening of day care centers and schools as a priority, the document states. They remain "optimistic that all citizens would be offered vaccination by the end of summer at the latest."
9th Feb 2021 - DW (English)

Spain extends border controls with Portugal until March due to COVID-19

Spain’s government announced on Tuesday it had extended controls along its 1,200-km (750-mile) border with Portugal until March 1, as both countries try to rein in a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths. “The severity of the restrictive mobility measures still in force in Spain and Portugal justifies maintaining ... controls at the internal land border ... with the same limitations applied during the initial ten days,” the Spanish interior ministry said in the government’s official bulletin. The two governments had agreed to close on Jan. 28 the border for non-essential travel with exceptions for cross-border workers, health workers and truck drivers.
9th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Israelis take part in screaming sessions to waive lockdown blues

Tired of COVID-19 confinement and seeking both communion and emotional release, some Israelis have taken to group screaming. A record vaccine rollout has done little to ease Israel's pandemic curbs. Next month's election - the fourth in two years, due to coalition infighting and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's legal woes - has many complaining of malaise. While some Israelis take part in street demonstrations, others take to nature and shout to the heavens. "We decided to meet, our group together, in order to take the group screaming so that we can release our bad energies," said Mary Peery, leading 10 mostly elderly companions on a yell-punctuated hike through an orange orchard and over a hilltop. "When we do it in a group it's like a prayer and maybe God will hear us and release us from this COVID-19 curse." To scream, the group stood in choric proximity and removed their masks, drawing looks from passersby. One of the organisers played down any health risk, however, saying everyone in the group had either recovered from COVID-19 or been vaccin ated.
9th Feb 2021 - Hindustan Times

Dutch government to extend night curfew through March 2

The Dutch government will extend a night-time curfew intended to slow the spread of coronavirus through March 2, broadcaster RTL reported on Monday, citing sources in The Hague. The curfew, the first in the Netherlands since World War Two, sparked several days of riots from anti-lockdown protesters when it was initially introduced on Jan. 23.. RTL reported that Mark Rutte’s government would announce the extension at a news conference later Monday. New coronavirus cases in the Netherlands have been declining after months of lockdown measures, but the government is warning that a wave of new infections is coming due to the growth in more contagious variants of the coronavirus.
9th Feb 2021 - Reuters

To lift lockdown gloom, Israelis keep calm and carry on screaming

Tired of COVID-19 confinement and seeking both communion and emotional release, some Israelis have taken to group screaming. A record vaccine rollout has done little to ease Israel’s pandemic curbs. Next month’s election - the fourth in two years, due to coalition infighting and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legal woes - has many complaining of malaise. While some Israelis take part in street demonstrations, others take to nature and shout to the heavens. “We decided to meet, our group together, in order to take the group screaming so that we can release our bad energies,” said Mary Peery, leading 10 mostly elderly companions on a yell-punctuated hike through an orange orchard and over a hilltop.
9th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Navajo Nation outpaces much of US in delivering COVID vaccines

The Navajo Nation announced on Tuesday it will receive about 29,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines as the tribal area continues to outpace the broader United States in delivering jabs. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said that as of Sunday, the Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS) delivered 74,048 of the 78,520 vaccine doses it had received, a 94 percent rate. Nez said the goal is to administer 100,000 doses by the end of February. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the broader US has delivered 42,417,617 of its total 59,307,800 doses, or about 71 percent, as of Monday. Dr Loretta Christensen, chief medical officer of the NAIHS, told Al Jazeera the Navajo Nation has been “very good with what we have received and we’ve been very efficient and timely in using that vaccine”. The success comes in administering the vaccine due to planning and high-level cooperation, Christensen said.
9th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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Boris won’t rule out longer lockdown if South African variant spreads further

Boris Johnson refused to rule out extending lockdown further if the South African variant of coronavirus continues to spread. The suggestion comes amid revelations the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘less effective’ against the mutation – though scientists say it still protects against severe disease. Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) adviser Professor Mike Tildesley claimed this finding means ‘more restrictions might be needed for longer’. And when pressed on whether there may need to be a delay to easing restrictions if the vaccine is proved to be less effective, the prime minister said vaccines are ‘going to offer a way out’ and ‘remain of massive benefit to our country’.
8th Feb 2021 - Metro

Covid-19 cases now back to pre-Christmas levels after lockdown

Covid-19 case rates for the four nations of the UK have dropped to their lowest level since before Christmas, with some regions of England recording rates last seen in early December, new analysis shows. In London the seven-day rate has fallen to its lowest since December 8, while the figure for south-east England is at its lowest since December 7. While a handful of local areas across the UK have recorded a week-on-week rise in the latest figures, most of the increases are small.
8th Feb 2021 - Wales Online

Dispatches from the U.K.'s toughest lockdown yet

The U.K. is four weeks into its third and toughest lockdown since the start of the pandemic. The latest lockdown came into effect Jan. 6 as a variant of the coronavirus, first detected in September in Kent, rapidly became the most common form of the virus in England and spread to other countries. Valerie Hillier talks about life in lockdown Britain
8th Feb 2021 - CBC.ca

S Africa looking to roll out AstraZeneca jab in ‘stepped manner’

South Africa is looking to roll out the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in a “stepped manner” to assess its ability to prevent severe illness, according to a key adviser to the country’s government. On Sunday, almost a week after receiving its first one million doses, the continent’s hardest-hit country said it would put on hold its use of the vaccine after research showed it was only minimally effective in preventing mild-to-moderate illness against a variant of the coronavirus now dominant in South Africa. Speaking to a briefing of the World Health Organization (WHO), Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the country’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on COVID-19, said it was too early to say whether the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drugmaker AstraZeneca vaccine would still be effective in preventing serious disease, as there was not yet enough data on its effectiveness in older people against the variant. South Africa paused its roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine for now while determining the next steps, and could vaccinate 100,000 people with the shot to see how well it works on preventing hospitalisations and deaths.
8th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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Covid-19 vaccine denied for special school staff then reinstated

A clinical commissioning group has apologised for the confusion it created after cancelling Covid-19 vaccine appointments for special school staff – before reinstating them. Schools Week revealed last week that thousands of special school staff had been offered the vaccine. But the approaches nationwide vary, with some local authorities including staff in the priority roll-out as frontline care workers, or offering them leftover supplies. However, there was confusion in Berkshire after the local “allocations bureau” cancelled jab appointments for special education needs (SEN) staff last week.
6th Feb 2021 - Schools Week

Long Covid kids: Mum's 'heartbreak' over children's illness

A mum has described how it was "horrendous to watch" as her son and daughter suffered the debilitating effects of so-called long Covid. Nichola Careless, from Ashington, said her daughter Eleni, 11, tested positive last year and was mildly ill at first. But her symptoms became severe and she continues to have shortness of breath, stomach ache, joint pain and dizziness. Her 12-year-old son, Immanuel, became even more ill and the once-keen sportsman now has to use a wheelchair. Although Eleni had a positive test for Covid in September, Immanuel's result was negative. But what at first seemed a common cold for him developed into a fortnight-long cough, before both children became severely ill.
5th Feb 2021 - BBC News


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UK home-working rises to highest since June on COVID lockdown

The proportion of British workers working solely from home rose to 36% in the week to Jan. 31, its highest since June when the country was emerging from its first coronavirus lockdown and up from 34% the week before,
4th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Fears lockdown could drag on as ‘scientists move goalposts on reopening UK’

Rishi Sunak is concerned scientific advisers are ‘moving the goalposts’ for easing Covid restrictions, potentially delaying the end of lockdown, reports say. The Chancellor fears the experts are focusing on bringing case numbers down, instead of the initial target of protecting the NHS and saving lives, the Telegraph reports. According to the newspaper, Mr Sunak wants this lockdown to be the last and has told allies the country is nearing a ‘fat lady sings’ moment for lifting the restrictions. Boris Johnson has insisted there will be a ‘gradual and phased’ approach to lifting restrictions, with the national lockdown in place until at least March 8, and a review before then in mid-February.
4th Feb 2021 - Metro

Istanbul’s population falls as countryside beckons during COVID

Istanbul’s population fell last year for the first time in at least two decades as coronavirus lockdowns shuttered Turkey’s commercial capital and attracted people to the countryside. The population of Istanbul province shrank 0.4% to 15.46 million, reversing record 3% growth the year before, according to data published by the statistics office on Thursday. The trend followed patterns seen elsewhere around the world during the pandemic. For decades, Turks from around the country of over 83 million have flocked to Istanbul seeking work and opportunities. But since the coronavirus hit, the government has implemented curfews to curb socializing and restricted opening hours for shops and restaurants, making young professionals reassess what they get for their money in big cities. Surrounding provinces were the beneficiaries, with the population of Tekirdag to the west up 2.4% to 1.1 million and Kocaeli to the east up 2.3% to 2 million. The pandemic also struck Istanbul’s tourism sector and universities with tens of thousands of seasonal workers and college students staying away for much of the last year.
4th Feb 2021 - Aljazeera.com


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The rise of parental burnout in lockdown

On top of usual household duties, for the last 10 months parents have been educating children, working remotely and keeping relationships intact - so it's no wonder they’re feeling the strain of lockdown. Even Kate Middleton has urged parents to seek help when they need it. Dr Punam joins us to discuss the warning signs of parental burnout and what you can do about it.
3rd Feb 2021 - ITV News

COVID-19: SEND children suffered 'profound disruption' during first lockdown, report

Young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) experienced "profound disruption" to their well-being and family life during the first lockdown, according to new research. The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, paints a "concerning picture" of teachers and professionals struggling to support pupils and their families. Almost all (98%) providers said they had pupils who would find it hard to keep to social distancing, while 75% had pupils who require personal care which involves close contact with others.
3rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Domestic abuse soared 10 per cent in lockdown official statistics show

Domestic abuse rose by 10% in a year, although overall crime was down during the Covid-19 pandemic, official figures show. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 842,813 domestic abuse-related offences were recorded by police forces in England and Wales in the year ending September 2020 – up from 769,691 the previous year. Total police recorded crime dropped by 6% to around 5.7 million offences, driven by substantial falls during April to June, particularly in theft offences, as the country spent most of the period under strict lockdown restrictions, a report published on Wednesday said. But the results of a separate survey carried out by the ONS show the number of victims of crime in July to September 2020 returned to a similar level as in the pre-coronavirus period of January to March following a 19% drop in April to June.
3rd Feb 2021 - Wales Online

Covid: Teachers pushed to 'breaking point' under lockdown

Teachers have said working through another lockdown has pushed the profession "close to breaking point". While most pupils across England have been told to learn remotely, schools remain open for vulnerable students and the children of key workers. School staff in the South West said they were working "incredibly hard" to make the lives of students "as normal as possible". Some said their workload had "never been higher" as a result. Teachers across England had to "start from scratch" when they were faced with the prospect of lockdown learning, said Dan Hayward from Ivybridge Community College in Devon.
3rd Feb 2021 - BBC News

Europe Struggles as Vaccine Delays Force Further Lockdown Extensions

Concern about more infectious variants of the coronavirus continue to shape governments’ responses to the pandemic despite stabilizing or falling infection numbers as Europe struggles with a slow vaccine rollout. The Dutch government Tuesday extended a national lockdown until March 2, with a reassessment on Feb. 23, in response to new strains of the coronavirus. The extension of the lockdown, imposed on Dec. 19, comes despite a slight improvement in the country's health situation. Dutch primary schools and day-care centers will reopen on Monday, meaning almost 2 million young children will resume in-person education. In Germany, the federal and regional governments will meet on Feb. 10 to discuss a possible extension of the current lockdown, which expires on Feb. 14.
3rd Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

WA Premier says COVID-19 restrictions will continue past lockdown

Mark McGowan said the Government would need to see 14 days of no community transmission for restrictions to completely end.
3rd Feb 2021 - ABC News

WA lockdown to remain as state records no new cases

Western Australia’s five-day lockdown will remain as the state records a second day of zero COVID-19 cases.
3rd Feb 2021 - 9News

Dutch PM Rutte confirms lockdown to last until at least March

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday that most of the lockdown measures in the Netherlands, many of which have been in place since October, will remain in place for weeks due to fears over a surge in cases as a result of variant strains. Rutte’s government is still weighing whether to continue an evening curfew that has triggered rioting in some Dutch cities beyond next week, the prime minister told a press briefing. The government announced earlier this week that primary schools and daycares will reopen on Feb. 8, adding that it is also looking at possibly reopening secondary schools but that will not happen before March.
3rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Scotland toughens quarantine rules, hopes for lockdown easing in March

Scotland will toughen its coronavirus controls on international travellers but it also hopes to start relaxing its lockdown restrictions in early March, the head of the country’s devolved government, Nicola Sturgeon, said on Tuesday. Everyone arriving directly in Scotland from overseas will be required to quarantine, regardless of where they have come from, Sturgeon said.
3rd Feb 2021 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Feb 2021

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Covid-19: 'Critical' those in South African variant test areas stay at home

It is "critical" that people in areas singled out for enhanced testing for the South African variant stay at home, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. He told MPs there were other "mutations of concern" in Bristol and Liverpool, and people there should also only go out when "absolutely essential". The government is expected to announce surge testing in certain postcodes of the two cities. Home testing kits are already being deployed in a number of other areas. On-the-spot doorstep tests and mobile testing units are also being used with the aim of reaching 80,000 people, amid fears the more infectious variant may be spreading in communities in England.
2nd Feb 2021 - BBC News

Scotland toughens quarantine rules, hopes for lockdown easing in March

Scotland will toughen its coronavirus controls on international travellers but it also hopes to start relaxing its lockdown restrictions in early March, the head of the country’s devolved government, Nicola Sturgeon, said on Tuesday. Everyone arriving directly in Scotland from overseas will be required to quarantine, regardless of where they have come from, Sturgeon said. “I can confirm today that we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from,” she told the Scottish parliament. Scotland will ask Britain’s government to adopt a similar approach to minimise the risk of people with COVID-19 entering Scotland over the border with England and other parts of the United Kingdom.
2nd Feb 2021 - Metro US

Latest lockdown is leading to more of us looking for help

More couples are seeking relationship counselling as extended Covid lockdowns take their toll on household harmony, with one psychologist reporting a 30pc increase in calls for help. The stresses of homeschooling, working from home, job losses, financial worries and possible addictions and mental health deterioration can be devastating to even the healthiest of relationships. “When Covid caused the first lockdown last March there was a feeling that the country was all in it together and put their shoulders to the wheel, that it would be over soon. But now nearly a year later people are tired and exhausted,” said Mary Johnston, specialist in counselling with Accord CLG.
2nd Feb 2021 - Independent.ie

Alcohol Deaths in England and Wales Hit a Record in Lockdown

The number of alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales jumped to a record in the first nine months of last year, raising fresh concerns about the toll being taken by the pandemic. Health experts fear that many Britons are hitting the bottle to cope with the stress and isolation caused by lockdowns, leading to an increase in liver disease and mental health problems. Office for National Statistics figures Tuesday showed there were 5,460 deaths caused by alcohol misuse between January and September, a 16% leap from the same period of 2019. They accounted for 12.8 fatalities per 100,000 people, the highest since the data series began in 2001.
2nd Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Spain’s bars and restaurants confront their darkest hour

Spain’s hospitality sector, which is taking the brunt of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, now faces its toughest months since the country emerged from its first state of alarm in June. Between the start of the summer and the third wave of the pandemic, there were certain restrictions in place, but the vast majority of establishments were still able to stay open. Now, with the post-Christmas surge in Covid-19 cases filling hospitals’ intensive care units, the authorities have once again been obliged to crack down. “The sector is in ruins, we are closed in half of Spain,” notes José Luis Yzuel, president of the hospitality business association Hostelería de España.
2nd Feb 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Hong Kong leader defends 'ambush lockdown' tactics

Hong Kong's leader defended her administration's use of "ambush lockdowns" on Tuesday after a spate of overnight operations to conduct surprise mandatory coronavirus tests uncovered no new cases. The new tactic involves authorities giving no warning of an impending lockdown, sealing off buildings where cases are detected and then ensuring everyone inside is tested, usually overnight. But the operations have had limited success.
2nd Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24

Hong Kong threatens to knock down doors to force COVID-19 tests

Hong Kong is threatening to knock down the doors of residents who don’t respond to authorities conducting mandatory-testing blitzes as the city tries to end a persistent winter wave of coronavirus cases. “The government can take legal action, including evicting or expelling individuals, or applying to the magistrate for a warrant to break into the unit,” the government said in a statement Tuesday. The Asian financial hub has been attempting to curb a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections with targeted lockdowns that see authorities cordon off an area and restrict movement until residents receive negative results. The government has suggested some might be deliberately evading the tests in areas that range from densely packed neighborhoods to just a handful of buildings.
2nd Feb 2021 - The Japan Times

Forced-entry lockdown warning; Hong Kong records 25 new Covid-19 cases

More than 20 coronavirus-hit buildings in Sham Shui Po, Jordan and Tin Shui Wai were placed under mandatory screening orders from 7pm. By Wednesday morning, residents were beginning to leave lockdown zones; no infections found in two of the neighbourhoods
2nd Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post

Malaysia extends coronavirus lockdown by 2 weeks

Malaysia’s government on Tuesday extended a lockdown and broad movement restrictions by two weeks, as the Southeast Asian nation grapples with a surge in coronavirus infections that has pushed the cumulative total past 200,000 cases. The lockdown, which covered all but one state and was to end on Feb. 4, will now continue until Feb. 18, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said. “The health ministry has confirmed that daily cases in all states are still showing a rising trend... the sporadic spread in the community is also high,” Ismail Sabri said in a televised address. The lockdown will allow some leeway for businesses to continue operating, especially micro-enterprises and small-time traders, but continue to bar inter-state travel and social activities, the minister said.
2nd Feb 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Feb 2021

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Covid: Suicide prevention help calls during lockdown

A man whose father took his own life is calling for more mental health support amid fears more people are struggling because of Covid restrictions. Dion Davies' father Terry took his own life in 2018. Suicide rates in England and Wales remain at a 20-year high with fears lockdowns are increasing known risk factors like loneliness. Official figures show more people have reported symptoms of depression since the pandemic began.
1st Feb 2021 - BBC News

Growing Number of U.K. Firms Face Bankruptcy as Lockdown Drags

The number of U.K. listed companies at risk of insolvency has doubled as restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus continue to ravage the economy. A record 35% of U.K. companies issued profit warnings last year, according to a report by the consulting firm EY. There was also a surge in the number of companies issuing three or more profit warnings in a 12-month period, a warning sign for insolvency
1st Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Israel extends nationwide coronavirus lockdown

Israel's nationwide lockdown was extended Monday to contain the coronavirus which has continued to spread rapidly as the country presses ahead with an aggressive vaccination campaign. The current lockdown, declared on December 27, is the third in the Jewish state since pandemic began last year. The cabinet prolonged the closure until Friday morning, but scheduled a fresh meeting for Wednesday to assess whether a further extension was required, a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the health ministry said.
1st Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24

Japan may extend Covid-19 emergency in 10 prefectures until March 7

Japan is planning to extend the state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic in 10 prefectures, including Tokyo, until March 7, Japanese media reported. According to the Kyodo news agency, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will make a final decision after consulting with an expert panel on Tuesday. The prefecture of Tochigi, where the number of new infections has been declining, is about to have its state of emergency removed. Meanwhile, Okinawa, which was under consideration for inclusion in the list, is off the hook for the time being.
1st Feb 2021 - Hindustan Times

Germany's stricter lockdown sinks retail sales in December

German retail sales plunged more than expected in December as a decision to tighten lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 choked consumer spending in Europe's largest economy at the end of the year, data showed on Monday. The stricter lockdown, which included schools and kindergartens but excluded factories and offices, has been extended until mid-February. The Federal Statistics Office said retail sales fell by an unprecedented 9.6% on the month in real terms after a downwardly revised increase of 1.1% in November.
1st Feb 2021 - theguardian.pe.ca


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 1st Feb 2021

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Tired and upset: a lament for Portugal's long lockdown

Portugal’s extension of a nationwide lockdown this week in the face of spiking COVID-19 infections was no surprise to Marco, 43, who had to shut his Lisbon fitness studio earlier this month. But he is tired and upset. “We’ve been at this for a year, something should have been done sooner,” he told Reuters on Friday as he walked his dog in an otherwise largely empty church square. Facing the world’s highest per capita death toll, Portugal has extended a harsh lockdown until mid-February, banned non-essential travel for its nationals and imposed checks on the border with Spain.
30th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal curbs travel, extends lockdown in face of world's worst virus surge

Portugal extended a nationwide lockdown until mid-February and announced curbs on international travel on Thursday, as Prime Minister Antonio Costa accepted blame for the world’s worst coronavirus surge, with hospitals on the verge of being overrun. With a population of 10 million, Portugal reported a record 303 COVID-19 deaths and 16,432 new cases, and now has the world’s highest per capita seven-day averages of both new cases and deaths. “The number of deaths is growing at an unimaginable pace,” said Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as he addressed the nation in a prime-time speech. “The pressure is extreme...we need to act quickly and drastically.”
30th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Israel Struggles With Coronavirus Variants

With more than 30% of its population vaccinated, Israel leads the fight against Covid-19. Yet the emergence of more infectious variants is overwhelming its hospitals, showing the long road ahead for the rest of the world. After inoculating 82% of Israelis aged 60 and more, going into a nearly month-long lockdown and shutting down the national airport this week, Israel is indicating the end of the tunnel may be further away. That dents hopes for a rapid vaccine-driven global recovery after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge at Davos to make Israel a test case for how quickly Covid shots can help reopen economies.
29th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid: Data shows outbreaks in England's offices in lockdown

More than 60 suspected Covid outbreaks in offices were recorded in the first two weeks of the current lockdown in England, a BBC investigation has found. Under England's lockdown rules, in force since 6 January, people should work from home if they can. Public Health England figures, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, suggests offices have had more outbreaks compared to other workplaces. The government has urged firms to help employees work from home. It said it has worked with trade unions, businesses and medical experts to produce "comprehensive guidance" to help firms that are permitted to stay open and it has introduced rapid testing of employees.
29th Jan 2021 - BBC News


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 29th Jan 2021

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UK travellers to be questioned at border on reasons for going abroad

UK travellers will be interrogated at the border on their reasons for going abroad, Boris Johnson has said, as he confirmed that British citizens returning from high-risk countries must quarantine in hotels at their own expense. The government is facing criticism from the Scottish and Welsh governments, as well as scientists, for rejecting a more comprehensive hotel quarantine system. They are warning that it could allow as yet unknown new variants to slip through the gaps. Speaking in the Commons, Johnson said no one should be travelling except for a narrow range of reasons. “I want to make clear that under the stay-at-home regulations it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes and we will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel,” he said.
29th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Schools in NI set to remain shut until 8 March

Most pupils in Northern Ireland will not return to school until Monday 8 March at the earliest, the Stormont Executive has agreed. First Minister Arlene Foster said the ongoing public health situation meant remote learning must continue. It may also be the case that only some year groups go back to school on 8 March, if a return then is possible. Mrs Foster said she recognised it would come as a "disappointment" for many parents and pupils. "The kitchen table is no substitute for the school desk," she said, giving details of the decision at a news conference in Dungannon. "It is also important though that we give people a clear view of what is happening so we thought it was important to indicate today that we would not be back before 5 March in schools."
28th Jan 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19 lockdowns could result in 300,000 fewer US babies this year, and long-lasting economic impact | TheHill

The birth rate in the United States has been declining for years, falling to a record low in 2020. Hopes of a second “baby boom” mirroring that of the mid-1900s have been dashed by the coronavirus pandemic. A new report by NBCLX found that birthrates are dropping at a faster rate than in previous years.
28th Jan 2021 - The Hill

Almost 20% of U.K. Workforce Furloughed as Third Lockdown Got Under Way

Almost one in five of the U.K. workforce was on furlough leave as a third national lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus got under way, according to figures published Thursday. The report will raise concerns that removing government lifelines for jobs could wreak havoc on the economy following the worst slump in three centuries last year. Pulling the plug would threaten to decimate consumer spending, the engine of growth. The Office for National Statistics data show 17% were reliant on Treasury wage support in early January, the highest proportion since July, after the government ordered the public to stay home and retail and hospitality businesses were closed. The program pays as much as 80% of an employee’s wage if they’re kept on the payroll. The figures come a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put England on notice that the national lockdown will continue for at least another six weeks, warning that some rules may even be tightened in an attempt to suppress a virus that has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the U.K.
28th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Blue-chip UK employers try to soothe parental lockdown pain amid fears of burnout

From unlimited paid time off to laptops for children, some of Britain’s blue-chip employers are trying to persuade parent employees juggling jobs and childcare during the pandemic that they have their backs. A third British lockdown from Jan. 5, that shut schools to most children and confined many workers to their homes, has exacerbated a childcare crisis that unions warn could herald a drain of talent that disproportionately impacts women. On Wednesday, the government said schools will remain largely closed for at least another six weeks. Some banks, professional services firms, law firms and insurers are offering staff flexible working arrangements, reduced hours and increased emergency leave alongside benefits such as free counselling and parent buddy schemes.
28th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UK banks told to pause branch closures during pandemic lockdown

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority on Thursday told banks to rethink moves to close branches during the pandemic lockdown. The FCA said banks should consider the impact of national pandemic restrictions on their ability to comply with regulatory guidance on closing branches, including consulting customers affected. “We are concerned that these activities could have significant consequences for customers. It may be harder than usual to reach all customers under the current restrictions and engage with them on closure proposals effectively,” the FCA said in a statement.
28th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th Jan 2021

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German lockdown beginning to take effect, new CDU leader says

Germany’s coronavirus lockdown is starting to take effect, the new leader of the ruling Christian Democrats said on Wednesday, noting that the seven-day infection rate had fallen to 97.2 per 100,000 in his state of North Rhine Westphalia. “The current development is encouraging,” Armin Laschet, also state premier, told the regional parliament, adding that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office and regional leaders were working on a “sequence of steps for possible openings” after the current lockdown is due to end on Feb. 14. But he said there should be no hasty decisions. The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 13,202 to 2,161,279, data showed on Wednesday, down from a rise of 15,974 a week ago, although the reported death toll rose by 982 to 53,972.
27th Jan 2021 - Metro US

Boris Johnson extends England's coronavirus lockdown into March

England's coronavirus lockdown is set to be extended for at least three more weeks, with schools not reopening until the second week of March at the earliest, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said. Johnson told the House of Commons there was "not enough data" currently available to announce the end of restrictions in the country, but said the government would publish a review of restrictions on February 22, before potentially reopening schools from the week of March 8. He said it would "not be possible" to reopen schools as early as the February half-term, due to the continuing high levels of infections in the country.
27th Jan 2021 - Business Insider India

UK plans tough new border measures to combat coronavirus

Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated on Wednesday the COVID-19 lockdown in England would last until March 8 when schools could start to reopen as the government announced new measures to clamp down on travel to and from Britain. A highly contagious new variant of the virus, which emerged in southeast England at the end of last year, has led to a soaring number of infections across Britain with cases and deaths reaching record levels. On Tuesday, Britain’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 100,000, the first European state to reach that figure, leading to questions about Johnson’s handling of a crisis that has also battered the economy.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

German lockdown beginning to take effect, new CDU leader says

Germany’s coronavirus lockdown is starting to take effect, the new leader of the ruling Christian Democrats said on Wednesday, noting that the seven-day infection rate had fallen to 97.2 per 100,000 in his state of North Rhine Westphalia. “The current development is encouraging,” Armin Laschet, also state premier, told the regional parliament, adding that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office and regional leaders were working on a “sequence of steps for possible openings” after the current lockdown is due to end on Feb. 14. But he said there should be no hasty decisions.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

German govt slashes GDP growth forecast as extended lockdown bites

The German government on Wednesday slashed its growth forecast for Europe’s largest economy to 3% this year, a sharp downward revision from last autumn’s estimate of 4.4% caused by a second coronavirus lockdown. “We are currently seeing a flattening of the number of infections, which is giving hope,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said, but he cautioned that the situation remained serious due to a more infectious virus variant. “We must therefore not gamble away what has been achieved,” Altmaier said against the backdrop of calls to ease lockdown measures soon.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th Jan 2021

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COVID-19: School closures having 'calamitous' impact on kids and parents

Keeping schools closed is having a "calamitous" impact on children, some of the UK's top paediatricians have warned as they called for teachers to be prioritised for a vaccine. The group said they were witnessing an "acute and rapid increase in mental health and safeguarding cases", with parents suffering breakdowns and other psychological stress due to home-schooling. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi insisted it was the government's "absolute priority" to re-open schools. Experts - from Imperial College London, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust and the Royal Brompton Hospital - added that vaccinating school staff "offers protection to one of our most important key-worker groups" and also protects children.
26th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Lockdown must continue to stop new variants, say Norwich scientists

Strict lockdown measures must continue to stop the evolution of more dangerous variants of Covid-19, Norwich scientists have warned. Scientists from the Earlham Institute, based at Norwich Research Park, say it is crucial to stop more virulent variants from emerging to give the coronavirus vaccine roll-out the best chance of succeeding. While the government has said it will review data next month to see if some easing of restrictions could be possible, scientists have stressed the importance of lockdown.
26th Jan 2021 - EDP 24

UK unemployment reaches four-year high in Covid-19 lockdown

Unemployment in the UK has reached the highest level for more than four years as the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and tougher lockdown measures place more pressure on businesses and workers. The Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate rose to 5% in the three months to the end of November – representing more than 1.7 million people – from 4.9% in the three months to the end of October, reaching the highest level since August 2016. Unemployment was 4% in February before the pandemic struck.
26th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Chinese city suffers food shortages during Covid-19 lockdown

Residents of a locked-down Chinese city have raised an outcry about food and medicine shortages, spurring a rare public debate about the country’s strict epidemic controls. Citizens in Tonghua, near China’s border with North Korea in northeastern Jilin province, complained on blogging platform Weibo that a sudden lockdown has left some trapped in their apartments without supplies for more than a week. “We Tonghua people weren’t knocked down by the virus . . . but by hunger and basic illnesses,” wrote one blogger.
26th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar confirms lockdown extension plans to March as he rules out zero Covid approach

In Ireland, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said that the Government plans to keep full lockdown restrictions in place until March 5. Mr Varadkar said that the harsh restrictions are set to remain in place for another six weeks should Cabinet agree on the measures which would be in line with measures in place in Northern Ireland. The Tanaiste also said that the Government was looking at a phased reopening of schools in February however he hinted that it would depend on whether cases numbers were low enough.
26th Jan 2021 - Irish Mirror

Level 5 extension until March 5th: Ministers told detailed legal work needed on travel rules

In Ireland, Cabinet has signed off on an extension of current Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions until March 5th, as well as a range of measures designed to curtail travel into the State. However, Government sources cautioned that it could be some time before many of the measures are brought into place due to a range of complexities around the new policies. It is understood that the Cabinet was warned that there are issues around the legal and practical approaches to implementing some of the new policies, including mandatory hotel quarantine, and shifting self-quarantine at home onto a mandatory rather than advisory footing.
26th Jan 2021 - The Irish Times

UK jobless rate highest since 2016 as second COVID-19 lockdown hits

Britain’s unemployment rate hit its highest in nearly five years in the three months to November, when coronavirus cases began to rise for a second time and most of the country returned to a partial lockdown. Redundancies touched a record high, taking the unemployment rate to 5.0%, its highest since mid-2016, according to official data, although the increase was slightly weaker than economists’ forecasts. There were some signs of a limited recovery in December, when lockdown measures eased, although a deterioration is likely in early 2021 as a tougher lockdown shut schools and closed most non-essential businesses to the public.
26th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Jan 2021

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Three weeks into harsh lockdown, weary Brits fear it will take much longer to beat the new variant

People in the United Kingdom have been living under lockdown for the past three weeks, hoping their sacrifice would bring the country's latest coronavirus surge -- caused by the new, more contagious variant of the virus -- under control. But despite the harsh restrictions, case numbers are not dropping as fast as experts have hoped. Deaths continue to rise and public health experts and government are starting to warn people that the country will be in this battle for the long run. The new variant, known as B.1.1.7, has wreaked havoc in the UK, fueling a surge in cases towards the end of 2020 despite a national lockdown being in place. Data showing an uptick in cases in younger people suggests this was largely because schools had stayed open, enabling the variant to spread rapidly.
25th Jan 2021 - CNN

Covid and Economy: UK Restaurants, Bars, Small Business Teetering in Lockdown

The U.K.’s third major lockdown to control the coronavirus could be the final straw for thousands of businesses struggling to pay rent and taxes with little or no money coming in the door. “It is costing us thousands of pounds a week, even being shut, and we have zero income,” said Andrew Wong, owner of the upmarket Chinese restaurant A. Wong in London’s fashionable Pimlico neighborhood. “I think all the time about shutting down and walking away, though I’m not going to do it.” While the economy appears to be adapting better to virus curbs -- gross domestic product shrank 2.6% in November versus 19% in April -- the same can’t be said about company finances. One lobby group estimates 250,000 small firms are at risk of going bust. Almost 10,000 pubs and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol closed permanently last year, according to consultants CGA and AlixPartners.
25th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Young people on growing up in lockdown: ‘All we want is to be heard, not ignored’

Throughout the pandemic, decisions made by adults have had a significant impact on all aspects of young people’s lives, yet some teenagers feel their voice and experiences during the pandemic have not been heard. The political has become personal for many, leading some young people to become increasingly engaged with politics and involved in community action. Research undertaken by my colleagues and I at the University of Huddersfield and consultancy Ecorys, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, has been exploring young people’s experiences during lockdown, including their engagement and involvement with politics. The research project, Growing up under COVID, involves 70 young people aged 14-18 in the UK, Italy, Lebanon and Singapore.
25th Jan 2021 - i on MSN.com

The Truth About North Korea's Ultra-Lockdown Against Covid-19

Kim Jong-un acted quickly. On January 22, 2020, North Korea closed its borders with China and Russia to stop a new, mysterious virus from spreading into the country. At the time, what we now know as Covid-19 had killed just nine people and infected 400 others. More than a year later, the hermit kingdom’s border remains sealed tight shut. North Korea’s response to the pandemic has been one of the most extreme and paranoid in the world, experts say. The lockdowns and quarantines it imposed have been strict, while border restrictions have put a halt to fishing and the smuggling of goods into the country. At the same time, the nation’s state media and propaganda apparatus has pumped out messages warning citizens of the dangers of Covid-19 and praising the country’s “flawless” approach to the pandemic.
25th Jan 2021 - Wired

Lebanon's Coronavirus lockdown: 'We can't leave our homes day or night'

People in Lebanon are living under one of the world's strictest lockdowns. Under the round-the-clock curfew, citizens who are not "essential workers" have been barred from leaving their homes since 14 January. Here residents in the capital, Beirut, describe what it's like.
25th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Boris Johnson is set to give go-ahead for Australia-style quarantine

Minister plans will force travellers to isolate for ten days when they enter Britain Cabinet sources expect Prime Minister to sign off on a comprehensive proposal It means Britons will face having to pay extra, on top of the cost of their trip
25th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Norway widens capital region's lockdown to combat pandemic

The Norwegian government will widen the capital region’s coronavirus lockdown from Monday onwards, increasing the number of affected municipalities to 25 from the 10 that were initially included, health minister Bent Hoeie said on Sunday. Oslo and nine neighbouring municipalities imposed some of their toughest lockdown measures yet on Saturday after an outbreak of a more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain, closing all non-essential stores.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UK extends councils' lockdown powers until July 17, Telegraph says

The British government has quietly extended coronavirus lockdown laws to give local councils in England the power to close pubs, restaurants, shops and public spaces until July 17, the Telegraph reported on Saturday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday the government could not consider easing lockdown restrictions with infection rates at their current high levels, and until it is confident the vaccination programme is working. The changes to the regulation governing coronavirus restrictions were made as part of a review of the third lockdown earlier this month by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the Telegraph said.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Jan 2021

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Northern Ireland extends COVID-19 lockdown to March 5

The British region of Northern Ireland on Thursday extended its COVID-19 lockdown for an additional four weeks to March 5 and its deputy first minister said the measures might have to be extended again. Northern Ireland introduced a six-week lockdown on Dec. 26, closing schools, non-essential shops, bars and restaurants. “It’s an additional four weeks and there may well be something beyond that,” Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill told a press briefing.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Renewed lockdown sends UK economy tumbling again: PMI

Britain's relapse into a third national COVID-19 lockdown has sparked the sharpest drop in business activity since May, with services companies hit hardest, a survey showed on Friday. A preliminary "flash" IHS Markit/CIPS UK Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 40.6 in January, down from 50.4 in December. The drop below the 50 threshold for growth was bigger than any economist forecast in a Reuters poll, which had pointed to a reading of 45.5. In addition to the latest lockdown, data company IHS Markit said Britain's post-Brexit shift to a more bureaucratic trading arrangement with the European Union had contributed to the decline. “Services have once again been especially hard hit, but manufacturing has seen growth almost stall, blamed on a cocktail of COVID-19 and Brexit, which has led to increasingly widespread supply delays, rising costs and falling exports," Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said. The pace of job losses accelerated, after easing in December.
23rd Jan 2021 - Prince Edward Island Guardian

UK cannot consider easing lockdown while rates are so high - PM

British Prime Minister said the government could not consider easing lockdown restrictions with infection rates at their current high levels, and until it is confident that the vaccination programme is working. “You can’t unlock whilst rates of infection are so very high,” he told a press briefing on Friday. “We really can’t begin to consider unlocking until we’re confident that the vaccination programme is working.”
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Norway's capital tightens lockdown to combat more contagious virus variant

Norway’s capital Oslo and nine neighboring municipalities imposed some of their toughest lockdown measures yet on Saturday after an outbreak of a more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain. Shopping centres and other non-essential stores will be closed from noon, for the first time in the pandemic, and will not reopen until Feb. 1 at the earliest, the government announced. Shops selling food will remain open, along with pharmacies and petrol stations. Organised sports activities will be halted, restaurants must close and schools must rely more on remote learning, while households have been asked not to have any visitors at home.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 long-haulers want you to know that they're still not okay

Ten months have passed since Suzanne Hughes first fell ill. Before March 2020, the 56-year-old would go for long walks along the Welsh coast and spend hours tending to her garden. Now she feels lucky if she manages to walk more than a couple of minutes from her front door. “I can only do 30 per cent of what I’d like to do,” Hughes says. Even small exertions require a trade-off between what she wants to achieve now and how she’ll be feeling hours later. “Everything I do, I have to think, ‘What is this going to do to me? What’s the payback?’” Although we are still deep within the darkest days of the pandemic, with almost six per cent of the UK population already vaccinated against Covid-19 it is becoming possible to imagine life beyond the pandemic. In the coming months many of us will return to lives no longer dominated by a virus that has already taken so much from us. Covid-19 long haulers may never get that luxury.
19th Jan 2021 - Wired.co.uk


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Jan 2021

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UK PM Johnson says to early to say when national lockdown will end

It is too early to say when the national COVID lockdown in England will end, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, adding that persistently high infection levels demonstrated how infectious a new variant was. “I think it’s too early to say when we’ll be able to lift some of some of the restrictions,” Johnson told broadcasters. “What we’re seeing in the ONS data, in the REACT survey, we’re seeing the contagiousness of the new variant that we saw arrive just before Christmas. There’s no doubt it does spread very fast indeed.”
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters

Follow lockdown rules or face punishment, says UK interior minister

British interior minister Priti Patel warned those who break COVID-19 lockdown rules that they faced punishment by police, announcing a new 800 pound ($1,097.36) fine for those who attend house parties. "My message is clear: If you don't follow these rules, then the police will enforce them," Patel told a news conference. "Police officers are now moving more quickly to hand out fines when they encounter breaches."
21st Jan 2021 - MSN.com

England's third lockdown shows 'no evidence of decline' in Covid rates, study says

A third national lockdown in England appears to have had little impact on the rising rate of coronavirus infections, according to the findings of a major study, with “no evidence of decline” in the prevalence of the virus during the first 10 days of tougher restrictions. The closely watched REACT-1 study, led by Imperial College London, warned that health services would remain under “extreme pressure” and the cumulative number of deaths would increase rapidly unless the prevalence of the virus in the community was reduced substantially. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the latest figures were “appalling” and warned, “There are still tough weeks to come.”
21st Jan 2021 - CNBC

4.6m people in UK given Covid vaccine amid pressures for tougher lockdown

The UK has now given doses of the coronavirus vaccine to 4.6 million people, Matt Hancock has said, as he came under pressure to consider tougher restrictions given concerns that cases of the virus may not be falling. Answering an urgent question in the Commons, the health secretary said more than 5m doses had been given, also counting more than 400,000 second injections. “This virus is a lethal threat to us all and, as we respond through this huge endeavour, let’s all take comfort in the fact we’re giving 200 vaccinations every minute,” said Hancock, who was appearing from home, as he is self-isolating after being alerted by the test-and-trace app this week.
21st Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Merkel: Germany's tough COVID-19 lockdown beginning to pay off

Chancellor Angela Merkel called it encouraging at a press conference on Thursday that the COVID-19 surge in Germany was beginning to ease. "This shows that the tough cutbacks that people in Germany have had to endure for weeks are starting to pay off and it basically shows that the effort is worth it," she said. The number of daily COVID-19 infections was below the previous week's level and increased by 20,398 on Thursday, according to Robert Koch Institute
21st Jan 2021 - The Star

Lebanon extends total lockdown by two weeks

Lebanon has prolonged a total lockdown by two weeks to stem an unprecedented rise in coronavirus cases and protect its collapsing health sector. The strict restrictions include a round-the-clock curfew and limit grocery shopping to home deliveries. "The total lockdown is extended to February 8, 5 am," the Higher Defence Council, Lebanon's top security body, said in a statement.
21st Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

Boris Johnson refuses to rule out lockdown lasting to the summer amid claims he is willing to keep Covid curbs longer to make sure it is the last national squeeze of pandemic

Boris Johnson today refused to rule out the brutal lockdown lasting until the summer amid claims he is willing to keep curbs longer to ensure it is the last national squeeze. The PM insisted it is 'too early to say' whether the restrictions will stay in place for months longer - despite cases falling by more than a fifth on last week and hopes rising that the most vulnerable groups will be vaccinated by mid-February, with a record 366,919 jabs administered in 24 hours. Mr Johnson also delivered a stark message that the new coronavirus strain is 'much more contagious', repeating his plea for people to stay at home and obey the rules.
21st Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Malaysia extends lockdown in capital and other states until February

Malaysia on Thursday extended restrictions on movement in the capital Kuala Lumpur and five states until Feb. 4 as part of a lockdown to combat a surge in coronavirus infections. The Health Ministry has confirmed that COVID-19 cases are accelerating within the community in many states, Security Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement. This week, the government placed six other states under a two-week lockdown. Essential sectors including plantations, manufacturing and construction are allowed to operate but state and international borders remain closed.
21st Jan 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

English lockdown is helping to relieve pressure on health system, education minister says

It is too early to say when the national coronavirus lockdown in England will end, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, as daily deaths from COVID-19 reach new highs and hospitals become increasingly stretched. Britain posted a fresh record in daily deaths on Wednesday for the second day running, hitting 1,820, figures that Johnson has called “appalling”. The daily death count dropped on Thursday. A prevalence survey, known as REACT-1, suggested infections had not fallen in the first days of lockdown, though the government has said that the impact of national restrictions introduced on Jan. 5 was not yet reflected in the numbers.
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters


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Small UK businesses are ‘running out of cash’, chancellor warned

"I suppose the technical phrase is we’re screwed,” said Ruari McCulloch, owner of Pinstripes & Peonies, a high-end London florist, which counts several London department stores and the Paris Air Show among its clients. Mr McCulloch is one of the many small business owners facing the toughest few months yet of the pandemic, starved of income for much of the past year as the UK approaches the anniversary of the first national coronavirus lockdown in March. Cash levels are depleted and debt loads have risen fast for companies with high fixed costs but zero revenues, leading to urgent calls from the UK’s business lobby groups, including the CBI and the British Chambers of Commerce, for immediate and sustained financial support from the chancellor Rishi Sunak.
20th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Covid: Crops 'damaged nationwide' by lockdown walkers avoiding mud

Crops are "being damaged nationwide" by lockdown walkers avoiding mud, a rural business organisation has said. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said an influx of people walking over planted crops was affecting farmers' businesses. One farmer said there had been a tenfold increase in walkers during lockdown, while another had seen a 5ft (1.5m) path widen to 36ft (11m) across. Walking charity Ramblers said people must "stick to marked paths". CLA president Mark Bridgeman said while he did not want to discourage people from using the countryside, "crops are being damaged nationwide" by those avoiding quagmires.
20th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Germany Extends Lockdown Measures, Concerned About Covid-19 Variant

Germany prolonged on Tuesday night its lockdown that has been in force since November and introduced even stricter measures amid concerns about the spread of a new and more infectious coronavirus variant.
20th Jan 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Germany extends and tightens COVID lockdown

Germany's coronavirus restrictions will stay in place until the middle of February. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the country's 16 states agreed that the recent drop in infection rates was not enough to ease the current measures.
20th Jan 2021 - Deutsche Welle

New strain of coronavirus is discovered in GERMANY as Merkel extends lockdown restrictions

Health officials said the variant was identified in Bavarian hospital patients It's not yet known how transmissible this latest strain of the virus may be German schools and shops will continue to be closed until at least February 14
20th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

The silent epidemic: Abuse against Spanish women rises during lockdown

Fewer Spanish women were killed by their partner or ex-partner in 2020 than in previous years, but that statistic masks a rise in gender-based violence as COVID lockdowns left victims confined with their abusers, rights groups and officials say. Emails to abuse helplines soared nearly six-fold in April, the first full month of Spain’s lockdown. “Control-based violence - which doesn’t murder, but is insidious and devastating - grew, because violent partners already had women under their physical control,” Victoria Rosell, the ministry’s top official on gender abuse issues, told reporters on Wednesday. In 2020 overall, calls to the government’s abuse helpline rose 15% while emails increased more than 230%, but contact with victims was often lost as enforced cohabitation pushed women to seek help silently to avoid partners’ reprisals.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

France faces tough COVID month, with ski lifts and restaurants set to stay shut

A more infectious coronavirus variant is expected to spread rapidly through France in the coming month, hospital chiefs said on Wednesday, raising fears of another lockdown as hopes faded that ski lifts and restaurants could reopen soon.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Israel extends Covid lockdown despite vaccination drive

The Israeli government decided Tuesday to extend the country's coronavirus lockdown to the end of the month after a spike in infections, despite an intensive vaccination campaign. Israel began its third lockdown in late December and tightened it on January 8, with officials saying at the time it would be lifted after two weeks if the daily caseload decreased sufficiently. Since the rollout of vaccinations one month ago, the Jewish state had innoculated more than 2.2 million of its nine million inhabitants, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Tuesday.
20th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

Coronavirus: French students highlight pandemic's mental health toll

French students have planned a series of protests on Wednesday to draw attention to the rising mental health problems many say they are suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A combination of isolation, inactivity and a broader loss of purpose has left many students close to breakdown, according to university psychologists. Student mental health resources, such as counsellors, have been overwhelmed by the numbers seeking help in recent weeks. In the last two weeks alone, two undergraduates in Lyon have tried to take their lives.
20th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Germany extends Covid-19 lockdown until mid-February

Germany on Tuesday toughened a partial lockdown and extended it to February 14, with Chancellor Angela Merkel warning of possible border checks to contain “the danger” of new coronavirus variants believed to be more contagious. Speaking after hours of crisis talks with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states, Merkel said the latest restrictions were necessary as “a precaution for our country, the health of our citizens and also for the economy”. According to a final text seen by AFP, Merkel and the state premiers agreed to make medical masks mandatory on public transport and in shops—meaning only surgical masks or the so-called FFP2 masks will be allowed. They also said employers must make it possible for staff work from home wherever it is feasible.
20th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24 English


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China's capital steps up COVID-19 measures as outbreak persists

China’s capital Beijing said on Wednesday it will investigate all individuals who entered the city from abroad from Dec. 10 and shut down a subway station after reporting the biggest daily jump in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks. The measures come amid what has become the country’s most severe COVID-19 outbreak since March 2020 ahead of the key Chinese Lunar New Year holiday season, when hundreds of millions travel, raising fears of another major COVID-19 wave that could bring the country back into a debilitating standstill. The National Health Commission said on Wednesday that a total of 103 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Jan. 19, down from 118 a day earlier. Northeastern Jilin province reported 46 new cases, however, setting another record in daily cases, while Hebei province surrounding Beijing reported 19 new cases.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Covid-19 in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon extends lockdown to at least mid-February

Schools will remain closed to most pupils for at least another month after Nicola Sturgeon extended lockdown in Scotland. Cases of Covid-19 are stabilising but the first minister warned that any relaxation risks sending “the situation into reverse”. The first minister said that ministers had agreed to extend the current curbs — which came into force on December 26 and have since been tightened — until at least the middle of February.
19th Jan 2021 - The Times

COVID-19: Scotland lockdown extended until at least the middle of February, Nicola Sturgeon announces

Scotland's lockdown will be extended until at least the middle of February, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The first minister said that despite COVID-19 case numbers having "stabilised and even declined", any relaxation of the rules while infection rates remain high could "quickly send the situation into reverse". Schools, which were meant to emerge from lockdown at the start of next month, will also remain closed along with nurseries to all those apart from vulnerable children and those of key workers until mid-February.
19th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Dutch govt to beef up lockdown amid fears about new variants

The Dutch government said Tuesday it needs to beef up lockdown measures “as soon as possible” to rein in the spread of the coronavirus amid fears about more transmissible variants. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a letter to parliament that the government will announce extra measures on Wednesday afternoon. The Netherlands has been in a tough lockdown for a month and will remain that way at least until at least Feb. 9, but the slow decrease in the number of new infections and the threat posed by new variants have prompted the government to consider a tightening that is expected to include a curfew for the first time since the pandemic began.
19th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Germany extends lockdown to Feb. 14 on fears of COVID variants, sources say

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany may need to consider border crossing curbs if other European countries do not act to halt the spread of the coronavirus, particularly its new, more transmissible variants. “We can do anything we like, but we will not succeed if others are not working in parallel,” Merkel told journalists on Tuesday, two days ahead of a videoconference of European leaders. “We need to make sure that everyone around us is doing the same. Otherwise we have to look at measures such as entry restrictions.”
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Europe, Struggling to Exit the Pandemic, Faces Bleak 2021

Covid-19 infections and deaths remain stubbornly high across much of Europe while vaccination efforts are moving so slowly that widespread immunity is unlikely in the region before the fall, raising the prospect of a bleak 2021 for hundreds of millions of Europeans. With between 3,000 and 4,000 people dying from the disease every day across the European Union in recent weeks, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, governments are prolonging and tightening antivirus measures such as curfews, remote learning and restaurant closures. Fears are growing, too, of more contagious variants of the virus taking hold before governments can scale up their vaccination programs.
19th Jan 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Lebanon doctors urge lockdown extension

The head of Lebanon's main coronavirus hospital Tuesday backed the extension of a total lockdown to curb soaring infection figures and save a fragile healthcare system from collapse. "Easing the lockdown cannot occur if the virus is spreading unchecked in the community," Firas Abiad said on social media. "The infection is not under control." The country of more than six million has recorded 255,956 coronavirus cases and 1,959 deaths since its outbreak started in February. It entered a strict 11-day lockdown last Thursday after recording a 70% uptick in infections in one of the steepest increases in transmission worldwide.
19th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

Portugal tightens Covid-19 lockdown amid record numbers of new cases, deaths

Stricter lockdown rules are being enacted in Portugal, the government announced Monday, as a surging Covid-19 pandemic sets grim records and pushes hospitals to the limit of their capacity. Prime Minister António Costa said too many people had taken advantage of exceptions included in the lockdown that began last Friday, with authorities reporting 70% of normal movement over the weekend. “We are going through the most serious phase of the pandemic” so far, Costa said, urging people to comply with the rules. “This is no time for finding loopholes in the law.”
19th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

British firms call for immediate $10.3 billion in COVID aid

British firms called on Tuesday for another 7.6 billion pounds ($10.3 billion) of emergency government help, saying they cannot wait until finance minister Rishi Sunak’s March budget to learn if they will get more pandemic support. With Britain back under lockdown and companies adjusting to life after Brexit, firms are taking big decisions about jobs and investment and need to know if their financial lifelines will be extended, the Confederation of British Industry said. “We just have to finish the job. Now would be a very odd time to end that support,” CBI Director-General Tony Danker said in a statement.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Jan 2021

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Are too many of us bending the rules of this lockdown?

Lockdown is not driving down Covid-19 fast enough – so are too many of us bending the rules? It may be a case of pushing the boundaries too far at a time when the more infectious UK strain of the virus is such a threat and spreading at speed. But whether it’s drifting back to the workplace or even something as simple as meeting up for a takeaway coffee with a friend in the park, people who have options to stay at home may be finding too many loopholes which will only prolong the current crisis.
18th Jan 2021 - Independent.ie

Let us play: parents and charities plead for swings and slides to be kept open during lockdown

Play charities are calling for councils to keep playgrounds open during lockdown, as many are closed due to fears that they encourage people to “congregate and socialise”. In a letter from Play England to all local authorities in England, several experts who work with children say that playgrounds should stay open “to reduce the catastrophic impact of Covid and lockdown on children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing”. Stevenage council closed 54 playgrounds last week after a rise in cases in the area, including among children and young people. Jim McManus, director of public health at Hertfordshire county council, said: “Nobody wants to do this but the virus is circulating so much we don’t have a choice.”
18th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Germany to Extend Lockdown Until Mid-February, Mulls Curfew

Germany will likely extend lockdown measures until at least mid-February and may impose a nighttime curfew in coronavirus hot spots. Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers are due to decide on the latest strategy to stem the spread of the disease during a video call on Tuesday. The talks, originally planned for Jan. 25, were brought forward after the German leader warned of the risks posed by variants that can spread more quickly. With regional authorities responsible for health policy under Germany’s federal system, the discussions are a critical -- and at times contentious -- part of the country’s fight against the pandemic. State leaders have regularly balked at Merkel’s tougher stance, and resistance could grow as numbers come off peak levels and with officials wary of voter dissatisfaction ahead of state elections in March.
18th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Germany needs to extend and tighten COVID-19 lockdown - Scholz

Germany must extend and tighten its lockdown measures to get down infection numbers in the pandemic more quickly, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Monday. “I consider an extension and precise measures to increase the effectiveness of the (existing) measures necessary,” Scholz said, adding that stricter rules for working from home should be considered to reduce mobility and social contacts. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state premiers are expected to discuss further curbs on Tuesday to slow the spread of new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Where's the spark? How lockdown caused a creativity crisis

Doomed. That was the prevailing mood at Color, a 50-person creative agency, when the pandemic shut its offices in Seattle and Los Angeles. “Among the many business fears that Covid brought on,” says Elie Goral, executive creative director, “the concept of needing to isolate our creative energy was one of the scariest. Creative ideation is that frenetic spark that happens when a group of people are together, face-to-face, beers in hand, pacing back and forth against a messy whiteboard.” A “close-knit culture” had traditionally helped his colleagues to share abstract ideas and feedback. He worried about the impact of remote working “without the ability to casually socialise in the spaces around our offices specifically designed for impromptu conversation”.
18th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

All arrivals to UK face hotel quarantine to stop new Covid strains

Ministers have ordered plans to be drawn up for a fresh crackdown at Britain’s borders to stop new variants of the coronavirus undermining the vaccination effort. Officials have been told to prepare for the creation of quarantine hotels for those arriving in Britain and to use GPS and facial-recognition technology to check that people are staying in isolation. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, warned that it was too early for people to book summer holidays abroad.
18th Jan 2021 - The Times

Covid-19: British people in lockdown flock to packed-out beaches amid deadly coronavirus outbreak

As the United Kingdom grapples with its third lockdown amid a deadly Covid-19 outbreak, British residents are still heading to the beaches and parks in droves. Thousands of maskless walkers were pictured enjoying a rare glimpse of winter sunshine at England’s Brighton Beach at the weekend. British media also published photos of packed-out parks and lined streets, as residents left their homes to exercise. A lockdown is currently in place across the UK to help curb surging infection numbers, however the rules do allow for people to leave their homes for exercise and long as they stay local.
18th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

Slovakia tightens anti-coronavirus lockdown, extends it till Feb 7

The Slovak government tightened lockdown of the country and extended it till Feb. 7, as it launched week-long testing campaign in an attempt to tame the coronavirus epidemic. The lockdown, declared on New Year’s Eve until Jan. 24, includes a ban on visits between families, travel beyond one’s district or public church services. Slovaks are now asked to get tested from Monday until Jan. 26. After that, only people with a negative result will be able to go to their workplace, the rest will have to stay home. “We decided to go for the ideal combination, a lockdown with massive testing,” Prime Minister Igor Matovic said at a televised press conference. A negative test result will be also required for trips to the country or going to the post office. The tighter rules can be lifted earlier than Feb. 7 if the number of hospitalised patients drops below 2,500.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters


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Amid COVID-19 surge, South Africa delays reopening schools

Faced with a rapid resurgence of COVID-19 overwhelming the country’s hospitals and driven by a more infectious variant of the virus South Africa has delayed reopening its schools. The variant is having far-reaching consequences for Africa’s most developed nation as several countries trying to prevent its spread have stopped or reduced flights with South Africa. South Africa has the highest prevalence of COVID-19 in Africa with a cumulative total of more than 1.3 million confirmed cases, including 36,851 deaths.
17th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19: Rise in suspected child abuse cases after lockdown

The number of reported incidents of children dying or being seriously harmed after suspected abuse or neglect rose by a quarter after England's first lockdown last year, figures indicate. The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel received 285 serious incident notifications from April to September. This is an increase of 27% from 225 in the same period the previous year. The data also includes children who were in care and died, regardless of whether abuse or neglect was suspected.
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Lockdown could 'lose a generation' of young people

A "whole generation of young people" could be lost to education during the Covid-19 lockdown because they do not have access to digital learning, a leading charity warned. Schools have been closed to most children, meaning remote-learning at home with lessons via the internet. Rae Tooth, of the Villiers Park Education Trust, is concerned about children without computers. The government said it was providing thousands of laptops for pupils. Ms Tooth, chief executive of the Trust, told BBC Politics East that "digital poverty" hits the ability of children to learn if they have no access to the internet, (or can only access if via smartphones with small screens).
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Austria extends COVID-19 lockdown, sees hard months ahead

Austria on Sunday extend its third COVID-19 lockdown into February, hoping to drive down infection rates despite an influx of variants that spread the coronavirus more easily. The goal is to let shops, museums and personal services like hairdressers reopen from Feb. 8, while the catering and tourism sectors will stay shuttered until at least March. “We have two to three hard months ahead of us,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a news conference, flanked by regional leaders and health officials in a show of unity a day after thousands marched in Vienna to protest against restrictions.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

France observes nationwide 6 p.m. curfew to slow coronavirus spread

Cities, towns and villages across France were practically empty on Saturday as residents stayed home and businesses shut to observe a nationwide curfew intended to help stem the spread of coronavirus, especially a more infectious variant. The virus has killed 70,000 people in France, the seventh highest toll in the world, and the government is particularly worried by the more transmissible variant first detected in Britain, which now accounts for about 1% of new cases. The curfew was brought forward two hours to 6 p.m. and will run until 6 a.m. In addition, from Monday anyone travelling to France from outside the European Union will have to show a negative test result and self-isolate for a week upon arrival.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

6pm curfew across whole of France for at least 15 days

All of France will be under a strict 6pm curfew for at least 15 days to fight the spread of coronavirus, the Prime Minister has announced. Jean Castex also revealed strict new controls for those arriving in France from countries outside the European Union. Starting on Monday, they must produce a PCR test with negative results and self-isolate for seven days followed by a new, negative test. France wants to coordinate a response with the European Union about arrivals from EU countries, he said. The French government is trying to avoid a third lockdown with partial measures like curfews which Mr Castex called both “preventative” and “reactive”.
17th Jan 2021 - Surrey Live

Italy suspends flights from Brazil in response to new coronavirus variant

Italy is suspending flights from Brazil, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Saturday, in response to a new coronavirus variant. Anyone who has transited Brazil in the last 14 days is also prohibited from entering Italy, he said on Facebook, while people arriving in Italy from Brazil will be required to take a test for the virus. "It is critical for our scientists to study the new strain. In the meantime, we are taking a very cautious approach", he said. Such rules will remain in place until Jan. 31, the order issued on Saturday by the health minister showed.
16th Jan 2021 - Yahoo News

Australian Open thrown into chaos as 47 players are forced into lockdown over coronavirus cases from charter flights

The Australian Open lead-up has been thrown into chaos with at least 47 players now confined to their hotel rooms for the next 14 days following three positive coronavirus tests from two separate charter flights into Melbourne. Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber and 2019 US Open title holder Bianca Andreescu are among the players affected. Ms Andreesecu's coach Sylvain Bruneau wrote in a media statement that he had been the source of the infection on the second flight from Abu Dhabi, having tested positive on arrival in Melbourne. "I am deeply sorry to share that I have just tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival after travelling from Abu Dhabi," he wrote.
16th Jan 2021 - SBS News


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Furlough for 71% of working mothers rejected by bosses, survey reveals

More than 70 per cent of working mothers who asked to be furloughed had their requests denied by bosses, a new survey has revealed. The survey of 50,000 women was undertaken by the TUC and shows that a “lack of support” for working parents is causing “huge” financial problems, the trade union umbrella body said. The job retention scheme currently allows bosses to furlough parents due to childcare issues, but the poll showed 71 per cent of working mothers had requests turned down after the recent school closures, as reported by the Daily Mirror. It also indicated that 78 per cent of working parents had not been offered furlough by their employers at all.
14th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Huge crowds seen boarding Tube trains despite Covid lockdown

Footage from the London Underground has shown large crowds of people continuing to use the tube network despite the current Covid lockdown. A clip filmed on the platform of Canning Town, in East London, revealed masses of commuters boarding trains during peak hours this week. It comes as unions warn that thousands of people are still being made to travel for jobs they can’t do from home, or under the guise of being a ‘key worker’. Sharing the video on social media, BBC transport correspondent Tom Edwards said Tube drivers were becoming increasingly worried about the number of travellers still using the network. But Transport for London have since said the crowds were caused by trains being cancelled, and are not indicative of the rest of the Underground service.
14th Jan 2021 - Metro

COVID-19: Schools in England may not reopen after February half-term, Boris Johnson suggests

Schools in England may not reopen after the February half-term, the prime minister has suggested. Boris Johnson said the government's priority was to get pupils back in the classroom "as soon as possible", but that whether this would happen after half-term in the middle of next month depended on a "number of things". The PM told MPs on the Liaison Committee that the determining factors would be the success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the effect of new variants, any other possible changes in the virus, and the success of lockdown measures.
14th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Coronavirus lockdown: 1 in 4 people in the UK drinking more than usual under Covid restrictions

A quarter of people in the UK drank more than usual during the first lockdown, with younger women and those suffering from anxiety especially prone, a UCL study has found. More than 30,000 adults were questioned about their drinking behaviour between 21 March and 4 April for the study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Just over a third (34.3 per cent) were not drinking but among people who drank, 48.1 per cent reported drinking about the same, 26.2 per cent reported drinking more and 25.7 per cent reported drinking less than usual.
14th Jan 2021 - iNews

Germany's economy contracted by 5% in 2020 as coronavirus lockdowns hit growth

Coronavirus cases have prompted several lockdowns on public life and economic activity in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced last week that the latest lockdown would be extended until the end of the month.
14th Jan 2021 - CNBC

In victory for privacy activists, France is banned from using drones to enforce coronavirus rules

France's privacy watchdog has banned the use of drone cameras to enforce coronavirus restrictions and for other law enforcement purposes, marking a victory for groups arguing that the pandemic has given rise to excessive surveillance. France's Interior Ministry had conducted drone flights "outside of any legal framework," the official privacy watchdog, known as CNIL, said in its strongly worded rebuke, which was released Thursday. France imposed some of Europe's toughest measures in response to the virus last year and initially deployed helicopters and drones to monitor adherence to the rules. The drones were equipped to spot lockdown violators, guide teams on the ground and broadcast warnings via loudspeakers.
14th Jan 2021 - Washington Post

French watchdog condemns police for unlawful use of drones to patrol lockdown

French data privacy watchdog CNIL condemned the Interior Ministry for the unlawful use of drones to oversee demonstrations and make sure people were respecting the COVID-19 lockdown. In a decision made public on Thursday, the authority stressed that the use of such tools by the police nationwide broke the law in the absence of any regulatory framework. In a statement, the interior ministry said it acknowledged the CNIL’s decision, and would respect its terms.
14th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UPDATE 1-More UK companies shuttered by COVID clampdown last month

The proportion of businesses in Britain open during the second half of December fell sharply in the second half of December as COVID-19 restrictions tightened across the country, an official survey showed on Thursday. The Office for National Statistics said 71% of businesses were operating, down from 84% in the first half of the month and the lowest proportion since late June, when Britain’s economy was emerging from its first COVID-19 lockdown. The proportion of workers furloughed, based on the responses of businesses, rose to 14% in the latest survey from 11% previously. The figures are likely to reinforce expectations that the economy entered a double-dip recession in late 2020.
14th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Denmark extends lockdown to combat more contagious coronavirus variant

Denmark on Wednesday extended hard lockdown measures by at least three weeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus, in particular a more transmissible variant of the virus that is spreading in the Nordic country. Denmark has so far registered 208 cases of the new variant dubbed cluster B 1.1.7., which was first registered in Britain and has spread across Europe. “It is the growth that is extremely worrying,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told a news conference late on Wednesday. “This means that we will see a situation with sharply increasing infection rates later in the winter, if the situation continues as it is now,” he said
14th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th Jan 2021

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COVID-19: Compliance with restrictions at highest point since first lockdown, new data reveals

Compliance with coronavirus rules has risen sharply since December and is now at its highest point since the first lockdown, according to a major new survey seen by Sky News. The results cast doubt on the government's claims that rule-breaking is contributing to a rise in COVID-19 deaths, after ministers and senior police officers warned that enforcement would be increased to ensure compliance. But while the restrictions are being followed by most people, the study confirmed "rule-bending" remains as commonplace as throughout the pandemic, with a large minority adding their own "modifications" to the rules, especially when it comes to meeting other people and self-isolation time.
13th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Scotland's Covid lockdown tightened with click and collect and takeaway curbs

Shops in Scotland have been ordered to stop non-essential click-and-collect services and alcohol consumption is to be banned outdoors, in a further tightening of lockdown measures. Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, said shops would be allowed to offer click and collect only for essential goods such as clothes, shoes, baby equipment, books and homeware from Saturday 16 January. Takeaway outlets will be banned from allowing customers into the building. “I must stress at the outset that the situation we face in relation to the virus remains very precarious and extremely serious,” she told MSPs. UK government ministers are considering restricting click and collect in England, and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, joined Sturgeon in welcoming John Lewis’s voluntary decision on Tuesday to suspend its collect services.
13th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Parents forced to prioritise children over jobs as UK lockdown pressures bite

Parents in the UK face impossible choices between their livelihood and their children’s wellbeing, according to campaigners and business groups who say employers have become less willing to grant furlough requests to help manage the pressures of home schooling. During the first national lockdown last spring, parents were twice as likely to be furloughed as those without children, according to analysis by the Office for National Statistics, which also found that many of those still working could only manage by catching up in the early hours and late at night. Polling by the TUC found that one in six mothers — mostly those in low-paid jobs — had no choice but to cut their hours.
13th Jan 2021 - The Financial Times

To thrive in lockdown, keep looking forward

One of the most challenging aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the stubborn persistence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It may feel as though the situation is improving at times, but when events force governments to enact new lockdowns, the effect can be disheartening. A recent study, by researchers at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, has explored some strategies for maintaining emotional well-being during lockdown. It suggests that the most effective strategy for managing the emotional burden of lockdown may be to train one’s perspective forward — toward positive aspects of the future.
13th Jan 2021 - Medical News Today

COVID-19 batters Asia's already-struggling democracies

Over the past 15 years, democracy across Asia has regressed. Although the region still has strong democracies like South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, many other leading Asian democracies and countries with democratic potential have slid backwards, turning into near-autocracies or outright authoritarian states. While Thailand had been one of the freest states in Asia in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it has suffered two military coups in the past decade and now is run by a parliamentary government that took power after a seriously flawed election in 2019. Bangladesh had built itself into a shaky but increasingly vibrant democracy by the early 2010s, but in the past decade has deteriorated into a de facto one-party regime, with opposition activists, civil society leaders and journalists jailed and murdered. The Philippines, which had become a solid democracy in the decades following after the Marcos regime, elected President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 and then witnessed mass extrajudicial killings, crackdowns on media outlets and violent targeting of Duterte’s political opponents. And in India, the most populous democracy in the world, recent years have included the Narendra Modi government undermining the independence of the judiciary and cowing independent media.
13th Jan 2021 - The Japan Times

COVID-19: Police in talks with ministers about tightening 'vague' lockdown exercise rules

Police are in talks with ministers to tighten the "woolly" and "incredibly vague" lockdown regulations around exercise, a senior officer has said. Existing rules are "a real challenge", Owen Weatherill, from the National Police Chiefs' Council, told a committee of MPs on Wednesday. The assistant chief constable, who is leading the policing response to the pandemic in England and Wales, was giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Mr Weatherill told members police were holding discussions with the Home Office and the Department of Health, in the hope that they could "give greater clarity to the public and also to our officers". He said: "It's really difficult to get the right balance, I don't think there's a perfect answer for anybody, because whichever way you frame it somebody will be disadvantaged. That's the reality of what we're dealing with here. "There was a deliberate effort to try and make it flexible initially so there was a degree of freedom of choice for people, and you could exercise some of the decisions you wanted to within certain ranges, but that clearly is presenting other problems.
13th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid 19 coronavirus: Woman walks husband on leash to avoid Canadian lockdown law

A Canadian couple have been fined for breaching local lockdown laws after police caught a husband and wife out for a walk. Unusually, the wife had leashed her husband for the excursion. She reportedly told officers that she was "walking her dog" when she was confronted by police. The incident occurred in the city of Sherbrooke, in Quebec provice.
13th Jan 2021 - New Zealand Herald

School key worker ‘lottery’ sees NHS staff miss out on lockdown classroom places as more children attend

One week after schools in England closed, key worker parents and NHS staff are missing out on face-to-face education places for their children, as schools attempt to adhere to broader key worker guidance while managing a problematic increase in attendance. Both teachers and parents told i that they were finding it increasingly difficult to manage demand for children to attend school. While schools in England closed for most pupils on Tuesday 5 January, as with the first lockdown they remain open for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, as well as for those children without digital devices or quiet spaces in their homes, and the children of EU transition workers.
13th Jan 2021 - iNews

Europe extends and tightens lockdowns, with fingers crossed for vaccines

Governments across Europe announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns and curbs on Wednesday amid fears of a fast-spreading variant first detected in Britain, with vaccinations not expected to help much until the spring. Vaccines are being rolled out across the continent, but not as quickly as many countries had wished, and the effects are not expected until inoculations are widespread among the population. Italy will extend its COVID-19 state of emergency to the end of April, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said as infections show no sign of abating. Switzerland announced tighter measures to tackle new variants of the COVID-19 virus and extended the closure of restaurants, cultural and sport sites by five weeks to run until the end of February.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters Africa

Scotland to tighten lockdown rules on retail and takeaway from Saturday

Scotland will tighten its lockdown measures to restrict non-essential retailers from offering “click-and-collect” services and limit how takeaway food and drink can be sold from Saturday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said. A national lockdown was announced for mainland Scotland on Jan. 4, shortly before UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced similar measures for England. Sturgeon said that a rapid increase of cases caused by a new variant of the coronavirus appeared to be slowing down, but said it was not an indication that it was safe to ease lockdown, adding that more needed to be done. “Case numbers are still so high, and the new variant is so infectious that we must be as tough, and as effective as we possibly can be to stop it spreading,” Sturgeon said on Wednesday.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Germany will have COVID curbs beyond January - health minister

Germany will not be able to lift all coronavirus lockdown curbs at the beginning of February, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, stressing the need to further reduce contacts to fend off a more virulent variant of the virus. The German cabinet on Wednesday approved stricter controls on people entering the country after a national lockdown was last week tightened and extended to the end of January.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Denmark to extend lockdown measures by three weeks - media reports

Denmark on Wednesday extended hard lockdown measures by at least three weeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus, in particular a more transmissible variant of the virus that is spreading in the Nordic country. Denmark has so far registered 208 cases of the new variant dubbed cluster B 1.1.7., which was first registered in Britain and has spread across Europe. “It is the growth that is extremely worrying,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told a news conference late on Wednesday. “This means that we will see a situation with sharply increasing infection rates later in the winter, if the situation continues as it is now,” he said.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Lockdown starting to have an effect, says UK PM Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday tougher restrictions brought in last week were starting to have an effect on the spread of COVID in some parts of the country, cautioning that it was still early days. “What we are now seeing, and it’s very, very important to stress that these are early days, we are now seeing the beginnings of some signs that that is starting to have an effect in many parts of the country, but by no means everywhere and it is early days,” he told parliament. He also said he did not rule out bringing in even tougher restrictions to try to temper the spread of the coronavirus, which has largely been driven by a new variant.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 13th Jan 2021

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Rent Strikes Loom at British Universities

National lockdowns across the U.K. have left many college students who returned home for the holidays stuck there, on the hook to pay rent for empty rooms back at school. The added — and in many cases, expensive — frustration for British students is fueling threats of rent strikes. What has angered them is timing. In December, the government said it would relax Covid restrictions during the Christmas holiday. Many students followed safety protocols put in place by the government and their universities and returned home.
12th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

With England in lockdown 3, it's time ministers got it right on face masks

Faced with a new, more infectious variant of the virus and a vaccination programme that won’t reach everyone until the autumn, the prime minister has suggested the government may have to tighten restrictions during England’s third lockdown. But ministers already have a simple tool at their disposal. Getting face masks right is one of the most important things we can do now to stop the spread of Covid-19. In England, the attitude to face masks has been inconsistent at best and negligent at worst. Masks are required in shared public spaces such as supermarkets, though many workers have complained that customers aren’t wearing them, and enforcement has largely fallen on individual stores. In schools, the government inexplicably made masks mandatory in corridors but not in classrooms. To reduce transmission as much as possible, they should be worn throughout the school day.
12th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Merkel Warns Germany May Need Ten Week Lockdown Extension

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the nation’s lockdown may need to be extended due to risks posed by the Covid-19 variant from the U.K. Bloomberg’s Arne Delfs reports on "Bloomberg Markets: European Close.”
12th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Germany and Netherlands likely to extend Covid lockdowns

Germany’s tough anti-Covid measures are likely to last a further eight to 10 weeks, Angela Merkel has warned, while the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has extended the Netherlands’ national lockdown into next month. As Europe struggles to stem the number of cases and deaths and concerns mount about the new, more contagious UK variant, the German chancellor said infections could rise 10-fold by Easter if the country did not succeed in containing the virus’s spread. Germany’s lockdown, under which schools and non-essential shops and services have closed, was due to last until 31 January, but Merkel reportedly told a working group of her Christian Democratic Union: “We still need eight to 10 weeks of hard measures.” The country has been recording record daily case numbers and deaths in the 900-1,000 range but the figures remain skewed due to under-reporting over the Christmas holiday and a true picture is not expected to be available until 17 January.
12th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Boris Johnson gathers Cabinet amid fears lockdown could get tighter

Boris Johnson is said to be considering tightening the coronavirus lockdown rules in England amid a surge in cases. Here are some of the options Mr Johnson could consider: Curbs on click and collect - At the moment non-essential shops are allowed to offer click and collect services but there are concerns that this still results in too much interaction between different households. The Government could opt to ban non-essential shops from offering click and collect services, restricting it to just supermarkets and other essential shops. Nicola Sturgeon said today she is considering such a move in Scotland. Takeaways - Restaurants are not allowed to physically open during lockdown but they are allowed to offer takeaway food. However, there are rising worries that picking up takeaway food is also leading to too many households mixing while they wait for food to be prepared. Rules could therefore be tightened to stop people waiting inside restaurants. Ms Sturgeon also said this is under consideration in Scotland. - Closing more work places
12th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Double-Dip Recession Beckons in Europe as Lockdowns Drag On

The euro-area economy is poised to shrink again at the start of this year as the resurgent pandemic plunges the region into a double-dip recession. Analysts at banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS Group AG are downgrading forecasts to account for renewed lockdowns -- in some places tougher than ever -- and the prospect that the new coronavirus variant ravaging the U.K. will do the same on the continent. Add vaccination delays to trade disruptions because of Brexit, and the scene is set for a second straight quarter of falling gross domestic product. That would echo the downturn at the start of 2020, even if less severe, and increase pressure on indebted governments and the European Central Bank, which meets to set policy next week, to provide more financial support.
12th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Bubbles will be allowed if Covid lockdown tightens up

People living alone or with childcare needs would still be able to form a support bubble with one other household in a tougher lockdown, Matt Hancock has promised. However, the heath secretary said that exercising outside with another person from a separate household could be banned if people kept breaching the exemption. Mr Hancock and Boris Johnson said that the rules would be tightened if necessary. The prime minister warned yesterday against “false complacency”.
12th Jan 2021 - The Times

Covid in Scotland: Lockdown likely to extend to February

The first minister says there may not be any lifting of current lockdown restrictions at the end of January. Nicola Sturgeon said that despite early signs of hope that the situation may be stabilising, restrictions would still be needed to stop coronavirus running "amok". She said it was very unlikely there would be any wholesale change to lockdown when measures are reviewed.
12th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Lockdown leading to 'very difficult period' for UK economy, warns Bank governor

The UK economy is facing its “darkest hour” due the latest Covid-19 lockdown, which is likely to delay the recovery, the Bank of England governor has warned. In comments on Tuesday that echoed warnings from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak a day earlier that the economy “is going to get worse before it gets better”, Bailey said the UK would bounce back, but only after the lockdown had ended and concerns about the spread of the virus had receded. Referencing Winston Churchill’s use of the phrase in 1940 following the evacuation of Dunkirk, he said: “There’s an old saying about the darkest hour is the one before dawn.”
12th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Lockdown fines ‘increasingly likely’ in police crackdown, top officer warns

Lockdown rule-breakers are ‘increasingly likely’ to face fines as forces move ‘more quickly’ to enforce Covid restrictions, Britain’s most senior police officer has warned. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said it is ‘preposterous’ that anyone could be unaware of the stringent measures designed to curb Covid cases. Writing in The Times, she said: ‘It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. ‘We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines.’
12th Jan 2021 - Metro

UK retailers call for police help to enforce mask rules

British retailers called on the police to help enforce the wearing of masks to limit the spread of COVID-19, with one of the biggest supermarkets saying on Monday it would no longer allow entry to those flouting the rules. With infection numbers rising sharply the UK government has expressed concern about the spread of the virus in supermarkets, with people breaching rules by not wearing masks while shopping in them. Non-essential retail, restaurants and bars are shut across Britain, leading to a high level of demand for supermarkets and other food stores. “People have got to follow the guidance in supermarkets, people need to be keeping their distance, making sure that they’re wearing masks, doing the right thing,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Dutch government expected to extend lockdown by three weeks

The Dutch government is expected to announce a three-week extension of COVID-19 lockdown measures on Tuesday evening, national broadcaster NOS reported. Prime Minister Mark Rutte was scheduled to announce the latest social curbs to fight the coronavirus pandemic during a live press conference at 7 p.m.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Lockdown impact on Germany economy not too severe - Scholz

The impact of Germany’s current lockdown on the economy it not too severe and Berlin will use its fiscal firepower, which is adequate, where support is needed, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday. Berlin is forecasting economic growth to rebound by 4.4% this year after an estimated 5.5% contraction in 2020, though some private forecasters regard the official outlook as optimistic given the country is once again in grip of lockdowns. Last month, Germany’s Ifo institute Ifo cut its 2021 growth forecast to 4.2% from 5.1%. Germany unveiled a 130-billion euro stimulus package last June, the centrepiece of a fiscal response to COVID-19 that is among the largest of any Western nation.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Merkel sees coronavirus lockdown until early April: Bild

Germany plans to tighten controls on people entering the country as part of efforts to bring under control a surge in coronavirus cases which is leading to record numbers of deaths in the European Union’s most populous country. The proposal, due to be approved by ministers on Wednesday, will require people arriving from countries with high case loads or where a new, more virulent strain of the virus is circulating to take a test for the disease. Mobile phone operators will have to send information to arriving passengers as soon as their phones are switched on in Germany after a period of absence, according to the proposal, seen by Reuters.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UK police to get tougher on COVID lockdown rulebreakers

British police will get tougher on those who flout rules aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 and stricter measures could be brought in, the country’s top officer and the minister responsible for policing said on Tuesday. Hit by a new highly transmissible strain of the coronavirus, Britain is battling a surge in new infections, hospitalisations and deaths. In parts of London, one in 20 people are now thought to have the disease.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Jan 2021

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UK facing even tougher lockdown with masks in more places and limits on exercise

The Prime Minister is believed to have spoken with senior ministers on Sunday about whether or not the current lockdown rules are ‘working’ to reduce the spread of the virus. A further 54,940 cases were confirmed on Sunday,
11th Jan 2021 - Metro

Largest UK student accomodation provider gives 50% off rent for lockdown

The UK’s largest student accommodation provider has offered a 50 per cent rent discount in light of the new lockdown. It comes after students were told to remain where they were - while many were still at family homes for the Christmas break - until at least mid-February,
11th Jan 2021 - The Independent

In the first lockdown, England proved it could end homelessness. Why not now?

Halfway through a walk early last summer, I noticed a change around Peckham Rye train station in south-east London. Before the pandemic, there had been a semi-permanent cluster of men and women who would sleep by the entrance. Their makeshift shelters had become increasingly elaborate over the years. Mattresses, duvets and the occasional tent were common enough sights, a damning indictment of the UK’s spiralling homelessness crisis. But I couldn’t see any trace of them that afternoon. A few months had passed since the implementation in March of Everyone In, the scheme to temporarily house rough sleepers in self-contained accommodation during the first wave of the pandemic, including in newly deserted hotels and hostels. The homelessness charity Crisis called it extraordinary, while others lined up to congratulate the government on its unusually bold course of action to shelter thousands of society’s most vulnerable people.An article in the Lancet estimated that the measures prevented more than 21,000 infections and 266 deaths. Simply put, Everyone In saved lives.
11th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Covid lockdown: what can be done to tighten the rules in England?

With hospitalisations and deaths rising sharply and the NHS struggling to cope, scientists have called for a tightening of lockdown measures in England. “We’re in a crisis – that crisis is not only killing people, it’s compromising the ability and the effectiveness of the NHS, including its ability to roll out the vaccinations,” said Stephen Reicher, a professor of social psychology at the University of St Andrews and a member of a committee advising the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage). “We need to act early, and act hard – half-measures really don’t work. They give you all the pain, but they don’t give you the gain.”
11th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Covid: Are lockdown rules changing? Public Health England answers your questions

As coronavirus cases continue to rise and strong restrictions continue across the UK, people are wondering how it will all end. Vaccinations centres have opened across the UK, but who will get the jabs, and when? Restrictions are being reviewed, but what if people don't follow them? We're watching very carefully, it is early days. We won't really know until next week, or maybe the week after whether these restrictions have had the effect that we very much hope for. Every single day these things are reviewed. It's a balance between the need for what human beings want to do with what they we need to do to keep people protected. It will be kept under review. Radio 1 Newsbeat put your questions to Professor Yvonne Doyle, who is Public Health England's medical director and director for health protect
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Chris Whitty urges people to ‘double down’ on lockdown rules as he warns of ‘worst weeks’ ahead for NHS

England’s chief medical officer has urged people to stay at home and stop “unnecessary contact” as he warned of the “worst weeks of the pandemic” for the NHS. Chris Whitty said that the UK was in an “appalling situation”, with the Covid-19 variant causing the virus to spread in a way that the “old variant was not able to do”. He added that this winter “is in a completely different league” for the NHS. “We got to be very clear that we are now at the worst point of this epidemic for the UK,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, adding that people should “really think about” unnecessary contact.
11th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Supermarkets told to limit customers over fears lockdown rules being broken

Shoppers could once again be faced with long queues outside supermarkets as part of a wider Government crackdown on compliance with the latest lockdown measures. Ministers are said to have agreed to toughen enforcement of the rules amid fears poor compliance could mean the nationwide restrictions fail to bring the soaring coronavirus infection rates under control. The crackdown will focus on the retail sector and the rules allowing people to leave their homes for daily exercise, according to The Times. A Government source told the newspaper: ‘We need to make sure supermarkets in particular are following the rules given this is one of the few places where you still see people from different households in the same indoor space.’
11th Jan 2021 - Metro

Greeks escape lockdown for the beach as winter temperatures soar

Greeks headed to beaches and public parks on Sunday as a rare January heat wave offered a respite from the coronavirus lockdown that has thrown life across Europe into disarray. With temperatures in Athens set to reach 23 Celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit), people lounged on the sand, swam in the sea, and strolled on the promenade on the Athens coast, while police patrolled to control the crowds. In the last 50 years, such high temperatures for January have been seen only twice: in 1987 and 2010, the National Observatory of Athens said. “It is not normal. This time last year it was cold,” said 65-year old Kyriakos Pitoulis. “On the other hand, it helps because people are cooped up at home and they want to go somewhere to let off steam. They cannot stay home all the time.”
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th Jan 2021

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Greece extends some COVID lockdown curbs until Jan. 18

Health authorities reported 721 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 49 related deaths, bringing the respective totals since the first coronavirus case was detected in February last year to 143,494 and 5,195. Greece earlier extended restrictions on international travellers arriving in Greece by two weeks.
9th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 In Butler County: Hospitals Adjusting On Fly After State Announces New Vaccine Distribution Plan

This is the fourth version of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in Pennsylvania. While things change, local health systems are rolling with the punches. “Many people are ready, many people perceive their risk. They’ve been riding this out for a long time and have been careful for a long time,” said Dr. David Rottinghaus, the chief medical officer at Butler Health System. Dr. Rottinghaus said Butler Health System was tasked with vaccinating the county’s 1A Phase. “We distributed almost 1,000 in the last 3 days. We are pretty far down the road in tier 1A,” Rottinghaus said.
9th Jan 2021 - CBS Pittsburgh

Coronavirus digest: London declares major incident over soaring cases

In Britain, London mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident, warning that hospitals across the capital could struggle to cope with new infections linked to a new strain. "The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically," Khan said in a statement, calling for more support and action from the central UK government. "We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point." The number of patients in the capital's hospitals has grown by 27% in the last week and the number on ventilators has increased by 42%. Britain on Friday reported 1,325 news deaths from the coronavirus — its highest daily tally since the pandemic began. The last record of 1,224 was reported in April.
9th Jan 2021 - DW (English)

Hotel quarantine overhaul in light of UK COVID-19 in Australia

A nationwide hotel quarantine overhaul is underway after confirmation the new - more contagious - variants of COVID-19 have made their way into our communities. Saturday January 9: Victoria has recorded one new COVID-19 case in hotel quarantine overnight,
8th Jan 2021 - Nine News Australia


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th Jan 2021

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Merkel aide warns of longer lockdown in Germany if rules too lax

Germany faces the risk of a much longer coronavirus lockdown if the federal states do not consistently implement tougher restrictions, especially in light of a highly contagious new variant, an aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. “With every relaxation now, the likelihood of even longer necessary restrictions is greater and greater,” Helge Braun, head of Merkel’s office, told Reuters in an interview. Like many other European countries, Germany is struggling to contain a second wave of the virus.
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Canada’s Quebec imposes curfew, extends lockdown as COVID-19 cases soar

Canada’s Quebec province will impose a curfew starting on Saturday and extend an existing lockdown through Feb. 8, to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as it works to speed up a vaccination campaign to counter soaring cases of COVID-19. The new curfew will run from 8 pm to 5 am, even as non-essential businesses remain shut and home gatherings are prohibited as part of a “shock treatment” to save lives and the province’s health network, Premier François Legault said on Wednesday. Schools will remain open, he said. Quebec is wrestling with more than 2,500 COVID-19 cases a day, a surge that threatens to increase hospitalizations beyond their spring peak in the next few weeks.
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Ireland tightens lockdown as COVID-19 'tsunami' threatens hospitals

Ireland announced its strictest lockdown measures since early last year on Wednesday as a “tsunami” of infections caused by a new COVID-19 variant pushed hospitalisations to a record high and sparked fears the healthcare system could be overwhelmed. Ireland’s 14-day infection rate has quadrupled in the past 10 days to 819 cases per 100,000, fueled by a new more transmissible COVID-19 variant first identified in Britain and the relaxation of restrictions ahead of Christmas. Officials reported a record high of 7,836 cases on Wednesday. “Already exhausted healthcare workers now face a tsunami of infection even greater than the first wave,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin told a news conference announcing the new measures. “In addition we have a more infectious strain of the virus in our midst... which can rapidly lead to growth well beyond previous worst case scenarios.”
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th Jan 2021

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Germany toughens lockdown as it struggles to control second wave

Germany is extending its lockdown until the end of January and banning non-essential travel in those areas worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as it battles to control an upsurge in new infections. “We are appealing to people to reduce their contacts to an absolute minimum,” Angela Merkel told reporters after a videoconference with the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states. The chancellor said infection rates were still too high and many hospitals were reaching the limits of their capacity. Germany also had to be “particularly careful” in view of the new viral variant spreading from the UK that was much more infectious than previous forms of the coronavirus, she said.
6th Jan 2021 - The Financial Times

Merkel Tightens German Lockdown

Markets are eyeing an ever-worsening situation with coronavirus in many parts of the world. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson says one in 50 people in England and one in 30 in London have the virus as the nation steps up its vaccination drive. In Europe’s biggest economy, the lockdown has been extended and tightened. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders agreed to limit movements and sharpened restrictions on private gatherings. Bloomberg’s Maria Tadeo reports on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Europe.”
6th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Israel economy to lose up to $1.3 billion a week from tighter lockdown

A tightening of Israel’s third nationwide coronavirus lockdown is expected to cost the country’s economy as much as 4.0 billion shekels ($1.3 billion) a week, according to government and central bank estimates. New restrictions that will tighten a lockdown imposed on Dec. 27 will take effect at midnight and last 14 days. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the curbs as Israel’s final push to stop a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases while it presses ahead with a rapid vaccination drive, hoping to emerge from the crisis within weeks. Israel’s vaccination campaign has reached nearly 15% of its 9 million population in about two weeks.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Hungary should extend partial lockdown beyond Monday, surgeon general says

Hungary should extend a partial lockdown currently due to end on Monday because of a rise in coronavirus infections in neighbouring countries, Surgeon General Cecilia Muller said on Wednesday. The measures imposed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government in November include a 1900 GMT curfew, a ban on all gatherings and the closure of hotels and restaurants.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

German economy can get through long virus lockdown - finance minister

Europe’s biggest economy can hold out through a coronavirus shutdown for a long time, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, adding he expected lower levels of government debt than after the financial crisis of 2008. “We can hold out for a long time,” Scholz told ZDF television. “Budget legislators in the German parliament have authorised us to provide the aid that is needed,” he said.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Swiss plan to extend COVID-19 restrictions to end of February

Switzerland plans to extend its lockdown restrictions by five weeks to the end of February, including closing all restaurants, cultural and recreational sites, the government said on Wednesday. A formal decision is due next week after consultations with cantons. Exemptions for regions less severely hit by the coronavirus have been scrapped, the government said, with a country-wide approach now entering force. The extension of the so-called lockdown-light is needed because “it is already foreseeable that the number of cases will not decrease significantly and sustainably in the coming weeks,” the government said.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 6th Jan 2021

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Germany set to extend hard lockdown as daily deaths mount

Germany s disease control center on Tuesday reported 944 more COVID-19 deaths, fueling expectations that Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country s 16 state governors will extend the country s lockdown until the end of the month. Germany’s latest lockdown took effect Dec. 16 after a partial shutdown starting in early November failed to reduce the number of daily new coronavirus infections. It was initially set to expire Jan. 10. Merkel's meeting with the governors on Tuesday will decide how long the lockdown should go on and to what extent schools will reopen. Another topic high on the agenda will be addressing criticism of the country's vaccination program amid frustrations over its gradual start. Vaccinations in Germany and the rest of the 27-nation European Union started over a week ago. In Germany, a nation of 83 million, nearly 265,000 vaccinations had been reported by Monday, the Robert Koch Institute said.
5th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Germany set to extend lockdowns as COVID-19 deaths rise

Germany’s disease control center on Tuesday reported 944 more COVID-19 deaths, fueling expectations that Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors will extend the country’s lockdown until the end of the month. Germany’s latest lockdown took effect Dec. 16 after a partial shutdown starting in early November failed to reduce the number of daily new coronavirus infections. It was initially set to expire Jan. 10.
5th Jan 2021 - MassLive.com

Europe starts 2021 by extending lockdowns as coronavirus cases spiral

A number of European nations have kicked off 2021 in familiar fashion, locking down residents and struggling to curb Covid-19 cases. The tightened restrictions come as a new variant of the virus causes alarm among governments across the continent. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a strict new national lockdown in England on Monday. The restrictions will last for at least six weeks. "It's clear that we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out," Johnson said in an address to the nation on Monday evening.
5th Jan 2021 - CNN

Germany heading towards extension of hard lockdown

The German government and the country’s 16 federal states have agreed to extend a strict lockdown until Jan. 31 in an effort to bring coronavirus infections under control, Bild newspaper reported on Monday, without providing a source. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state premiers are scheduled on Tuesday to discuss a possible extension of the lockdown beyond Jan. 10. Some, including Bavaria’s premier Markus Soeder, have already spoken in favour of an extension. Speaking after the Bild report, a government source told Reuters: “All but two federal states support (a lockdown extension until) Jan. 31. However, the formal decision will be made on Tuesday.”
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK


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Lockdown in Wales could remain in place until the end of January

A review of the Level 4 lockdown restrictions in Wales is due to be held this week, but First Minister Mark Drakeford has warned that there is not "much headroom for change". The restrictions, which has seen people being told to stay at home and avoid all but essential travel, have been in place since Sunday, December 20 and are reviewed every three weeks. All non-essential shops, gyms and hospitality were also told to close. Ministers are to review restrictions this Thursday ahead of an announcement on Friday, January 8. It is likely that not much will change, and with the next review not for another three weeks it means the lockdown could extend to the end of January. But Mark Drakeford said in a BBC interview that it was "very hard to see where the room for manoeuvre is at the moment" with the NHS "under huge pressure".
4th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

Germany to Extend Curbs Amid Criticism Over Vaccine Rollout

Germany is poised to extend stricter lockdown measures beyond Jan. 10 amid criticism over alleged failures in the government’s fledgling vaccination program. Chancellor Angela Merkel is consulting with regional officials and health experts on Monday and Tuesday to decide on prolonging the restrictions, which include closing schools and non-essential stores. She will announce the outcome of the talks at a news conference likely sometime on Tuesday afternoon in Berlin. Authorities have agreed to extend the curbs until Jan. 31, Bild newspaper reported, without identifying the source of the information.
4th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

European countries set to extend lockdowns as Covid cases surge

Germany is preparing to extend its nationwide lockdown until the end of January as governments across Europe consider prolonging or strengthening restrictions to battle highly contagious mutations of coronavirus. “Premature easing would set us back very far again,” Markus Söder, the premier of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Social Union, one of Germany’s governing parties, said on Sunday, after the heads of the country’s 16 states met virtually over the weekend. “The numbers are simply still far too high,” he added. “As annoying as it is, we have to stay consistent and not give up too soon again.”
4th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Austria extends lockdown for another week until Jan. 24 - APA

Austria has scrapped plans to allow anyone with a negative coronavirus test to exit lockdown a week early, effectively extending strict measures and keeping restaurants and non-essential stores shut until Jan. 24, news agency APA reported on Monday. The decision came after Austria’s opposition parties blocked a draft law that would have allowed an early exit from lockdown for anyone producing a negative test for the coronavirus, APA cited Health Minister Rudolf Anschober as saying.
4th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK


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Germany poised to extend coronavirus lockdown

Germany is likely to extend a national lockdown beyond Jan. 10 to curb coronavirus infection rates that are still running high and putting huge strains on hospitals and health workers, politicians said at the weekend. Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders are expected to agree to extend the restrictions when they convene on Tuesday. It is not yet clear how long the extension would last. “The numbers are still too high, so we will have to prolong the restrictions,” Health Minister Jens Spahn told RTL television
4th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

COVID-19: The U-turns and mixed messages of the government's schools policy

The first primary school return: Education Secretary Gavin Williamson initially set out plans for all primary-age children to return to school for at least four weeks before the summer break. But on 9 June he said he had "no choice" but to change his mind, amid concerns that the two-metre social distancing rule would make a full return impossible. School meals for disadvantaged children: The government did not intend to keep the free school meals available during the holidays. But England footballer Marcus Rashford, himself a recipient of the meals as a child, led a campaign which saw councils and local restaurants and other food outlets step up to provide meals for children who needed them.
2nd Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid: All London primary schools to stay closed

All primary schools in London will remain closed for the start of the new term, the government has confirmed. London mayor Sadiq Khan said the government had "finally seen sense and U-turned" on its plan to allow pupils in some areas to return on Monday. Leaders of nine London local authorities had written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson urging him to rethink the decision. Mr Williamson said the city-wide closures were "a last resort". The government said it had decided all primary schools in the capital would be required to provide remote learning after a further review of coronavirus transmission rates. Vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers will continue to attend school, the government said.
1st Jan 2021 - BBC News

Yorkshire theatres reflect on a tough year - but the show must go on in 2021

It has been a tough year for our theatres but, as Nick Ahad reports, the energy and verve with which they have reacted, plus the public’s support, gives hope for the future.
31st Dec 2020 - The Yorkshire Post


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Denmark to extend lockdown measures until Jan. 17 - TV2

Denmark's government will extend a hard lockdown for two weeks until Jan. 17 to limit the spread of COVID-19, broadcaster TV2 reported on Tuesday citing unnamed sources. The extension will keep schools,
29th Dec 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com


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Panama to extend lockdowns in effort to curb coronavirus

Panama will extend lockdowns in two provinces, including the capital, from Jan. 4 - 14 in an effort to contain a jump in coronavirus cases in the heavily populated areas, the health minister said on Sunday. With 231,357 registered COVID-19 cases and 3,840 deaths, Panama is the Central American nation that has accumulated the highest number of infections. Under the lockdown measures, which authorities last week said would go into effect nationwide from Dec. 31 - Jan. 4, residents may only leave their homes for essential services such as medical appointments and grocery shopping, Health Minister Luis Sucre said.
28th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Two million elderly facing Christmas alone to get 'greatest gift' of someone to chat to

Elizabeth is just one of the two million older people who will be spending Christmas alone this year. The pensioner has been housebound because of the pandemic – but a new phone service set up by Age UK is helping to spread some festive cheer. The charity estimates that more than half of elderly people won’t see their friends or family this Christmas. So with that in mind, I joined their team of trained volunteers for a day to see how the phone service is helping to combat loneliness among the over-60s. Elizabeth was first on their list of people to call and it was easy to imagine her face lighting up at the sound of a friendly voice. In a chat with volunteer Clare, she says: “It’s been a difficult week but I feel so much better today.
22nd Dec 2020 - Mirror


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Loneliness could worsen as COVID-19 disrupts Christmas, UK charities warn

Tighter restrictions across Britain at Christmas are an “abject disaster” for mental health and could drive many into further isolation, charities said on Monday. Mental health experts and charities warned that loneliness and mental health problems arising from months of lockdowns could worsen as Britain banned millions from meeting after the discovery of a more infectious strain of the coronavirus. “There’s no escaping that it will be a difficult time both in the Christmas period and in January,” said Antonis Kousoulis, director of the Mental Health Foundation, who is researching the impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental health.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

Lockdown? I've got this, I thought. But COVID-19 is lonely, even for loners like me.

Over the years, I’ve had some bad breakups. One came in the middle of a couples therapy session. One required me to fly to Atlanta to end things, where the discount flight schedule left me stuck in my ex’s home for the remainder of a very awkward weekend. And one relationship ended silently, with a fed-up boyfriend handing me a book titled “The Misanthrope.” I didn’t realize what happened until I looked it up: “Mis·an·thrope — a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.” It hurt, but I could not dispute its accuracy.
21st Dec 2020 - USA TODAY

Pandemic exposes the vulnerability of Italy's 'new poor'

The coronavirus pandemic did not produce Elena Simone’s first budgetary rough patch. The 49-year-old single mother found herself out of the job market when the 2008 global financial crisis hit Italy and never fully got back in, but she created a patchwork of small jobs that provided for herself and the youngest of her three children. That all changed with Italy’s first COVID-19 lockdown in the spring. With schools closed, so went Simone’s cafeteria job. Her housecleaning gigs dried up, too. While others returned to work when the lockdown ended, Simone stayed frozen out.
21st Dec 2020 - The Associated Press


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Italy has patient with new COVID strain, nations ban UK flights

Italy has found a patient with the new coronavirus strain, that was also found, in Britain, the health ministry announced on Sunday. Italy has found a patient with the new coronavirus strain, that was also found, in Britain, the health ministry announced on Sunday. Several European countries and others, such as Kuwait, have banned flights to and from the United Kingdom, in hopes of blocking the new strain which is sweeping across southern England from establishing a strong foothold on the continent.
20th Dec 2020 - Al Jazeera English

COVID-19: New strain 'seeded right across Wales', says health minister

The new strain of coronavirus in parts of England is also behind a rise in cases in Wales, the country's health minister has told Sky News. Vaughan Gething says the new variant was "seeded right across Wales" and "could not be ignored". Level 4 restrictions in Wales - in line with Tier 4 rules in England - came into effect on Sunday, while plans to allow five days of relaxed restrictions allowing up to two families to form a festive bubble have been cut short and will now only apply to Christmas Day.
20th Dec 2020 - Sky News


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Germany facing lockdown to Easter with hospitals 'on brink of overload'

Germany’s Covid-19 death toll has risen by nearly 1,000 in a single day, leading to speculation that its lockdown could last until Easter. One of the country’s regional chief ministers has warned that for the first time the hospital system is “on the brink of overload” as the infection rate continues to rise and spare intensive care capacity dwindles. The World Health Organisation has advised Europeans to wear masks when meeting family and friends at Christmas. People should also meet outdoors whenever possible, it said. Yesterday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which compiles the German government’s coronavirus statistics, reported 952 deaths within the past 24 hours, well above the previous daily record of 590 on Friday. It said that there were 27,728 new cases.
17th Dec 2020 - The Times


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Unicef to feed hungry children in UK for first time in 70-year history

Unicef has launched a domestic emergency response in the UK for the first time in its more than 70-year history to help feed children hit by the Covid-19 crisis. The UN agency, which is responsible for providing humanitarian aid to children worldwide, said the coronavirus pandemic was the most urgent crisis affecting children since the second world war. A YouGov poll in May commissioned by the charity Food Foundation found 2.4 million children (17%) were living in food insecure households. By October, an extra 900,000 children had been registered for free school meals.
16th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

COVID-19: For the first time in its history UNICEF will help feed children in the UK

UNICEF says it's the first time in its 70-year history that it has responded to a UK "domestic emergency". For the first time UNICEF has launched a domestic emergency response in the UK to help feed children hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
16th Dec 2020 - Sky News


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Supreme Court continues to block state COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings

The Supreme Court continued its solicitude toward religious freedom in the face of a pandemic Tuesday by giving religious leaders in New Jersey and Colorado another chance to block strict limits on houses of worship. The action followed similar ones affecting religious institutions in New York and California. In all four cases, the high court indicated that states may not impose stricter standards on churches, synagogues and mosques than they do on most commercial establishments.
15th Dec 2020 - USA Today

Pets Help Counter Lockdown Blues

The UK’s reputation as a nation of animal lovers has strengthened even further over the course of 2020, with a surge of new pets helping to comfort owners against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Sainsbury’s Bank, almost a quarter (24%) of UK adults say they have either welcomed a new pet into their home since March 2020 or are planning to do so before Easter 2021. Findings from the bank revealed that around half (47%) of those people who have taken in a new pet have done so for reasons of companionship and improved mental health support. Other positive advantages also emerged from the research. In addition to lifting the spirits through lockdown, about a fifth of owners (22%) pointed out that their health had improved thanks to exercising with their pet.
15th Dec 2020 - Forbes


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Covid-19: Lancashire sees 'disappointing' rise in rule breaches

A "disappointing" rise in Covid-19 rule breaches saw 31 fines handed out at four house parties over the weekend, Lancashire Police have said. Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods said the county, which is under tier three restrictions, had seen an increase in breaches in recent days. House parties were the "biggest issue" and gatherings in Blackburn and Nelson had to be broken up, he added. The force added that fines would only be used as "an absolute last resort". The latest government figures showed the county had a wide range of Covid-19 infection rates in the week up to 9 December, with Burnley seeing the highest rate of 287.9 cases per 100,000 people while Fylde recorded the lowest rate of 92.8 cases per 100,000.
14th Dec 2020 - BBC

UK pubs fear for future as £650m Covid losses forecast for December

Pubs expect December sales to be as much as 90% lower than last year, costing the industry £650m and fuelling concern that vast parts of the sector will disappear for good. December is typically the most lucrative month of the year for the UK’s ailing pub sector, accounting for as much as a quarter of annual profit, thanks to Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve festivities. However, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said its forecasts showed pubs would sell 270m fewer pints than usual over the period, with only one in five of the UK’s 47,200 pubs expected to be open. “I’d be stunned if sales across the industry were any better than 10% or 20% as good as last year,” said Chris Jowsey, the chief executive of Admiral Taverns, which has 1,000 pubs across the UK. “It’s not unusual for lots of pubs to make anywhere up to 25% of their profit in December. For a lot of smaller pubs it’s really important because it carries you through the lean months of January and February, so it’s a bit of a disaster.”
14th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Malaysian women, children bear brunt of coronavirus lockdown

Domestic violence and calls to abortion hotlines have both soared, while job losses and a greater burden of unpaid care work have also taken a toll. Rights body highlights case in which pregnant migrant women were on verge of selling their babies because they could not access health care
14th Dec 2020 - South China Morning Post


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When could London go into tier 3? The date of first Covid tiers review, and when lockdown rules would change

London is in danger of being moved into to tier three, after significant rises in Covid-19 cases in several of the city’s boroughs. Public Health England (PHE) data shows 22 of the capital’s 32 boroughs have infections rates higher than the national seven-day average of 150 per 100,000 people. Government officials will meet to review the tier system on 16 December, and decide which areas should move up or down. These changes will then come into force from Saturday 19 December. They will only be in place for four days before restrictions are relaxed nationwide over Christmas, but will return on 28 December.
13th Dec 2020 - iNews

COVID-19 vaccine to be provided free of cost in Kerala, says CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan today said that the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of cost in the state once it is available. Kerala on Saturday recorded 5,949 new COVID-19 cases and 32 deaths. The number of total cases in the state has jumped to 6.64 lakh and the death toll to 2,594, the Chief Minister said. “No one will be charged for the vaccine. This is the stand of the government,” the Kerala Chief Minister told reporters at Kannur.
12th Dec 2020 - The Financial Express

France to introduce night-time curfew in bid to slow spread of Covid-19

France is set to introduce a night-time curfew and delay the opening of cultural venues as the nation struggles to curb the spread of Covid-19. Jean Castex, the French Prime Minister, said on Thursday that infection rates were not falling as fast as was hoped following the country’s lockdown which began in late October. Its current lockdown will be lifted as planned on 15 December, which is when the daily 8pm to 6am curfew will begin.
11th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard


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Pope's Midnight Mass to start early to respect COVID curfew

Pope Francis will celebrate Midnight Mass earlier than usual to comply with Italy’s anti-coronavirus curfew and will deliver his Christmas and New Year’s blessings in ways that aim to prevent crowds from forming. The Vatican on Thursday released the pope’s COVID-19 Christmas liturgical schedule. It said the pope’s Dec. 24 Mass — which for years hasn’t been celebrated at midnight at all but at 9:30 p.m. to spare pontiffs from the late hour — would begin at 7:30 p.m. this year. Italy has imposed a 10 p.m. nationwide curfew, as well as restaurant closures and other restrictions, to try to prevent crowds from forming following a surge of COVID-19 infections and deaths this fall.
10th Dec 2020 - Associated Press

Italians Will Be Frozen in Place This Christmas

If U.S. states’ lockdowns are too onerous for you, be thankful you’re not in Italy. In November Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte promised that “if we respect the rules, we’ll have a serene Christmas.” Italians largely complied but didn’t get their reward. Now Mr. Conte says it’ll be “a different Christmas, but not less authentic.” Covid-19 hit Italy early and hard. With more than 60,000 deaths and a case-fatality rate of 3.5% (compared with 1.95% in the U.S., 2.57% in Sweden and 2.4% in France), it is clearly a country where things went wrong. In the spring, when the epidemic was concentrated in the North, the country implemented the strictest lockdown in the Western world. It seemed to succeed, and Italians had an uneasy summer, with enclaves of normalcy. Some went to the beach; some hiked mountains; some even went clubbing. In October infections began to rise again.
10th Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

‘Lockdown Lite’ Spares Economies but Doesn’t End Pandemic

Global stock markets cratered when the first wave of Covid-19 infections shut down economies around the world. The current wave by some measures is worse, but markets have barely shrugged. Partly that’s because with effective vaccines headed for approval, the end of the pandemic is in sight. But it also is because governments have tried to apply the lessons of the spring by imposing shorter and less stringent restrictions, or none at all. The economic hit has thus been smaller and more manageable. “We’ve learned a whole lot in terms of how to deal with this pandemic,” Gita Gopinath, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, said in an interview Tuesday at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual summit.
10th Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal


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France warns it could delay end of Covid lockdown if epidemic spread does not slow

France’s government said Wednesday it would not necessarily end the country’s second coronavirus confinement as planned on 15 December if epidemic indictors did not reach targets. The comments came ahead of a meeting of the health defence council that decides on restrictions. France had planned to lift travel and movement restrictions and reopen cinemas, theatres and museums on 15 December in the second of a three-part easing of lockdown if it met certain conditions were met. But with health officials warning the country was far off from a target of 5,000 new infections per day, President Emmanuel Macron was to meet with the senior ministers and officials comprising a special health defence council to discuss whether to change those plans.
9th Dec 2020 - RFI

More afraid of hunger: COVID-19 rules causing many in Philippines to starve

Daniel Auminto lost his job and then his home when the coronavirus pandemic sent the Philippines into lockdown. Now he and his family live on the street, relying on food handouts to survive. Charities are struggling to meet the ever-growing demand for food as millions of families go hungry across the country. COVID-19 restrictions have crippled the economy and thrown many out of work. “I’ve never seen hunger at this level before,” said Jomar Fleras, executive director of Rise Against Hunger in the Philippines, which works with more than 40 partners to feed the poor.
9th Dec 2020 - The Japan Times

Domestic violence surges in Lancashire during lockdown

Police in Lancashire made more than 2,000 arrests for offences linked to domestic abuse in that time, with charities warning the problem “is not going away”. And figures reveal such cases make up a growing proportion of the work officers have to deal with. While comparable arrest figures for previous years were not available, nationally the number of domestic abuse cases has risen steadily in recent years.
9th Dec 2020 - Lancashire Evening Post

France says will delay easing of lockdown if necessary

France will delay relaxing some COVID-19 lockdown restrictions if necessary to stave off a third wave of infections, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday. France is due to reopen cinemas, theatres and museums and allow citizens to move between regions on Dec. 15, but there are signs it may not meet preconditions to enter into the second phase of rolling back the curbs. “If we consider that ... we must modify this second phase (of lifting lockdown measures), then of course we will do it,” Attal told CNews television. President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the matter with senior ministers on Wednesday. He had originally set a target of 5,000 new infections per day and fewer than 3,000 COVID patients in intensive care before the lockdown could be eased.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters

UK firms avoid hiring permanent staff in November lockdown

British employers recruited fewer permanent staff during an England-wide lockdown last month, and relied instead on temporary workers to plug the gap, a monthly survey of recruiters showed on Wednesday. The number of permanent staff recruited fell for a second month in a row in November and dropped by its most since July, when Britain had just emerged from its first coronavirus lockdown, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK


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Masked dolls and anti-virus lab kits - toys reflect Spain and Portugal's Coronavirus Christmas

Children in Spain and Portugal could find that their Christmas presents this year reflect the coronavirus pandemic as dolls wearing face masks, kits for making personal protection items, and other toys adapted to fit the times fly off shop shelves. Millions of kids around the world were stuck in their homes during a series of lockdowns, and when they did emerge, they were often told to wear masks. So, as the holiday season approached, some toymakers gave their toys a twist. “I think it’s a way of adapting to reality,” said mum Reyes Lopez as she looked around a toy store in Madrid. “Dolls also have to represent society.”
8th Dec 2020 - Reuters

What Has Lockdown Done to Us?

Drew Holden is a public affairs consultant in Washington, D.C., and a former Republican congressional staff member. He writes: " Research suggests that, to mitigate negative side effects, lockdowns should be well communicated and as short as possible. In many cities and states, one or both of these guidelines were ignored. When lockdowns seemed wanton and capricious, many Americans felt deceived. If new lockdowns are absolutely needed — something that the World Health Organization and some health experts believe is inadvisable — then policymakers must avoid both the reality and appearance of hypocrisy. This is particularly true because, unlike many other wealthy countries, the United States is not providing any type of ongoing direct aid to those who are struggling."
8th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

England’s lockdown puts brakes on retail sales growth

The November lockdown in England brought to an end five months of strong retail sales but the consumer sector showed much more resilience than in the spring, with online purchases soaring and strong spending on electronics and digital entertainment. Retail sales in the UK grew 0.9 per cent in November compared with the same month last year, down from a 4.9 per cent annual expansion in October, according to data compiled by the British Retail Consortium trade body in association with the consultancy KPMG. The overall near-stagnation masked widely different trends across the sector.
8th Dec 2020 - Financial Times

France, Germany and Italy agreed to keep their skiing resorts shut until January, sparking a row with Austria

It took a pandemic to silence Gerhard Schmiderer. For the past quarter-century, the now 70-year-old “DJ Gerhard” has blasted trashy hits for drunken après-skiers at MooserWirt, a bar in St Anton, an Austrian ski resort. This year, however, the speakers will be silent rather than blaring out yet another rendition of The Final Countdown, a raucous anthem sung by big-haired Swedes. The usual revellers dancing on tables in ski boots will be absent. The 500m run back to the resort will no longer be strewn with those who have quaffed too much and fallen over in the snow.
8th Dec 2020 - iNews

Germany speeds up disbursement of coronavirus aid in December

Germany is speeding up the disbursement of coronavirus aid for lockdown-affected firms this month by lifting the threshold of an initial payout which comes with less bureaucratic paperwork, government officials said on Tuesday. Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders have agreed to extend restrictive measures designed to stem a tide of new coronavirus infections until Jan. 10. The measures, which had been put in place since Nov. 2, have forced restaurants, bars, hotels, gyms and entertainment venues to close. But factories, shops and schools remain open.
8th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

France may have to delay unwinding COVID-19 lockdown as cases plateau

France may have to delay unwinding some COVID lockdown restrictions next week after signs the downward trend in new cases has flattened out after shops were allowed to reopen late last month, two government sources said. France was far from hauling the number of daily new infections down to a target 5,000 and the risk of a rebound in the European Union’s second-biggest economy remained high, Jerome Salomon, the health ministry’s top official, said. The 5,000 threshold was an early condition of President Emmanuel Macron for replacing the lockdown with a nightly curfew, allowing cinemas and museums to reopen and ending the need for people to carry sworn affidavits outside their homes.
8th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK


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Greece extends key lockdown measures over Christmas holidays

Greece’s government said Monday it will maintain core lockdown measures through the Christmas holidays, acknowledging that monthlong restrictions have not reduced COVID-19 cases to the extent it had hoped for. Schools courts, and restaurants will remain closed through Jan. 7, government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced, while non-essential travel between Greece’s administrative regions will also be banned.
7th Dec 2020 - The Independent

France Set to Miss Goal for Lifting Lockdown as Progress Stalls

France is poised to miss a coronavirus goal set by President Emmanuel Macron as a condition for lifting the country’s lockdown next week, with daily new Covid-19 cases holding at more than twice the targeted level. The government is worried about the pandemic indicators, and is mulling alternatives to a planned end of stay-at-home measures on Dec. 15, Liberation reported on Monday, citing unidentified advisers in the Health Ministry. That could go as far as delaying the end of the lockdown should cases spike, according to the newspaper.
7th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus France: Elderly woman fined for lockdown form error

A French court has ruled that an elderly woman diagnosed with dementia must pay a fine of €166 (£151; $201) for having put the wrong date on her form for leaving home during lockdown. Her daughter had appealed against the original €135 fine imposed during a police check in April. In France's coronavirus lockdown, a downloadable form has to be filled in whenever a person wants to leave home. The woman, 73, was stopped while out shopping in Luxeuil, eastern France. France Bleu news reports that when police booked her they did not record that she was speaking incoherently. She was going to a supermarket about 800m - about half a mile - from her home.
7th Dec 2020 - BBC

Navajo Nation Extends Lockdown Due To "Dire" Surge Of Coronavirus

Citing an "uncontrolled spread" of coronavirus across 75 of its communities, the Navajo Nation expanded its current lockdown by three weeks in an attempt to clamp down on the spread of the virus. The order, a continuation of the Nov. 16 mandate, remains in place from Monday until Dec. 28. The government previously ordered a lockdown for the nation of over 170,000 between March and August. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez warned in a statement Sunday the situation is severe.
7th Dec 2020 - WKMS

Denmark tightens lockdown to curb COVID-19 spike

Denmark will implement further lockdown measures in parts of the country to curb a spike in coronavirus infections, the government announced on Monday. Restaurants, museums, cinemas and other cultural institutions will have to close on Dec. 9 in 38 of 98 municipalities, including Copenhagen, and students in upper primary school, high schools and universities will be sent home.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Greece to keep schools, restaurants shut until after Christmas

Greece said on Monday that it will not re-open schools, restaurants and courts until Jan. 7, effectively extending most of the restrictions the country imposed last month to contain the spread of coronavirus. Greece had to enforce a nationwide lockdown in November, its second this year, after an aggressive surge in COVID-19 cases. It has extended it twice since then, most recently until Dec. 14. In a televised briefing, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the health system was still under enormous pressure and some restrictions should not be lifted until next month, including a night curfew and movement between regions.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Debate over mulled wine heats up in Germany amid pandemic lockdown

With most Christmas markets closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, open-air mulled wine stands have popped up across Germany as bars and restaurant owners try to bring festive cheer and earn some income as the nation’s “lockdown light” grinds on. But with infection numbers in Germany remaining stubbornly high, politicians fear gatherings of people drinking alcohol, often without wearing masks and sticking to social distancing rules, could hamper efforts to bring case numbers under control. “Mulled wine stands are in full swing tonight,” SPD health policy expert Karl Lauterbach posted on Twitter at the weekend, referring to the situation in Cologne. “Those infected today will infect others next week. Is it similarly catastrophic in other cities?”
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Navajo Nation implements another three-week lockdown as ICUs reach capacity amid coronavirus surge

The Navajo Nation has extended its lockdown for three more weeks to try to slow the growth of Covid-19 cases in the community that has already filled nearly all of their ICUs to capacity. "We are near a point where our health care providers are going to have to make very difficult decisions in terms of providing medical treatment to COVID-19 patients with very limited resources such as hospital beds, oxygen resources, medical personnel, and little to no options to transport patients to other regional hospitals because they are also near full capacity," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez warned in a statement issued Sunday. A public health order issued by the Nation said it is "experiencing an alarming rise in positive COVID-19 cases and uncontrolled spread in 75 communities across the Navajo Nation."
7th Dec 2020 - CNN


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More people signed off sick with mental health problems during lockdown, analysis reveals

The proportion of people applying for fit notes from their GP for mental health reasons jumped 6 per cent during lockdown in England, according to new research. It adds to growing concern the UK will see a surge in mental health problems as a result of the pandemic and the impact on society and the economy. The latest data on the number of statements of fitness to work signed by GPs, published by NHS Digital, shows mental health problems now account for almost four in 10 of all sick notes signed by GPs. The Centre for Mental Health think tank has warned the government needs to prepare for the aftermath of Covid-19.
6th Dec 2020 - The Independent

Victoria eases Covid restrictions again as it reaches 37 days without a case

Victoria has announced a significant easing of its Covid-19 restrictions in time for summer, allowing households to receive 30 visitors a day, relaxing mask-wearing rules, and increasing public gatherings to 100. Victoria, once the worst hit state in the country, has now had 37 straight days free of Covid-19. The result, praised by premier Daniel Andrews as “amazing” on Sunday, has allowed a further easing of restrictions. Victorians will, as of midnight local time, be allowed to have 30 visitors daily to their home from any number of other households, a doubling of the previous limit of 15.
6th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

COVID-19 vaccine: ‘We need to think of vaccination as a long trek to freedom’ - Swann

A total of seven large-scale venues across the north are expected to be announced over the coming days which will deliver the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, over the coming weeks. The first batch of 25,000 vaccines, which have to be stored before use at -80 degrees Celsius, is expected to arrive next week following the approval for use earlier this week. It has been confirmed that those administering the vaccine and other health and social care workers, care home residents and people aged over 80 will be prioritised first.
4th Dec 2020 - Derry Journal

Illinois to distribute first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine to 50 counties with highest death rates, possibly by mid-December

Illinois plans to distribute its initial allocation of roughly 109,000 doses of a new COVID-19 vaccine to the 50 counties across the state with the highest death rates from the virus, the state’s top public health official said Friday. In the Chicago area, that includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties. It also includes Kankakee County but not McHenry. First, though, the Pfizer vaccine needs emergency use authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration, which could come as soon as Thursday. If that happens, Illinois expects to receive its first shipment sometime during the week of Dec. 13.
4th Dec 2020 - Chicago Tribune

'They don't need me now': COVID impact forcing Britons to food banks

British food banks are seeing more families needing their support as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forces struggling people to seek help, charities and volunteers say. Lockdowns and other measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus have forced businesses to close or lay off staff. The rise in those out of work has resulted in more people turning to food banks, which provide emergency food supplies to families in need. “I was working part-time as a cleaner for evenings, and then when COVID started, we had to quit because everything was closed and our offices, they’re not opening until 2021 because people can work from home,” said Vilma Tunylaite, 40, queuing at a food bank in southwest London. “And me, they don’t need me now.”
4th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Wales to give citizens ID cards to prove they got the Covid vaccine

People in Wales will be given ID cards by the NHS after getting the coronavirus vaccine so they can prove they have had the jab, the Welsh government has announced. Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said vaccinated people will receive a “credit-card sized” token, after the UK became the first nation to approve the jab developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. While plans for so-called “immunity passports” remain unclear in other parts of the UK, Welsh ministers believe new cards will help remind people to get the second part of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. In a written statement Mr Gething said: “Those receiving a Covid-19 vaccination will be given a credit card-sized NHS Wales immunisation card which will have the vaccine name, date of immunisation and batch number of each of the doses given handwritten on them.”
4th Dec 2020 - The Independent


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 4th Dec 2020

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Germany Extends Partial Lockdown Until Jan. 10 to Curb Virus

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will extend its partial lockdown by three more weeks into next year as the country struggles to regain control of the coronavirus spread. Bars, gyms and cinemas will remain closed until Jan. 10 and the government will reconvene with regional leaders on Jan. 4 to reassess the restrictions, Merkel said late Wednesday after talks with the premiers of Germany’s 16 states.
3rd Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Germany's second lockdown pushed services sector deeper into recession: PMI

Germany’s second lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the services sector deeper into recession in November, bringing overall private sector activity in Europe’s largest economy to a near halt, a survey showed on Thursday. Restaurants, bars, hotels, gyms and entertainment venues have been closed since Nov. 2 to contain an aggressive second wave of coronavirus infections. Factories and shops remain open with social distancing conditions in place.
3rd Dec 2020 - Reuters

Germany Extends Lockdown Again as Infections Remain High

Germany lengthened its coronavirus restrictions for the third time in the current wave of the pandemic, saying late Wednesday that the constraints would remain in place until at least Jan. 10, after a mild lockdown first introduced in November has failed to push infections lower.
3rd Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Astronauts’ lessons on how to cope — in lockdown and beyond

If lockdown and social distancing are not enough of a challenge, how would you like to be confined to a research lab with your colleagues for three weeks — 19 metres under the sea? Or perhaps you would prefer to be left in a cave system, isolated from the outside world with no natural light, minimal privacy and limited equipment for hygiene and comfort? Welcome to the world of astronaut training. Both Nasa and the European Space Agency run field studies in locations with similarities to working in space: a “dangerous and unfriendly” place, according to Nasa’s website. Hazards include isolation and confinement, while behavioural issues are “inevitable”
3rd Dec 2020 - Financial Times

Meals on wheels: Camper van dining beats lockdown rules in Belgium

A Belgian restaurant has found a way to keep orders rolling in during lockdown - by serving its seafood to customers in camper vans. People can rent a vehicle or bring their own, park up outside the “Matthias and Sea” restaurant and wait for masked staff to bring the food over from the kitchens. COVID-19 restrictions have banned indoor dining. But restaurants can still do takeaways and serve food outside. Owner Mattia Collu said he got the idea while delivering orders to people’s houses in and around his base in the southern village of Tarcienne.
3rd Dec 2020 - Reuters

From Australia to the Philippines, coronavirus lockdowns drive spike in online child sex abuse

Out-of-school kids and adult predators spending more time at home and on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic is the “perfect storm” driving a spike in online child sex abuse around the world, activists and police say. From slums in the Philippines to Australia’s suburbs, the cross-border crime has mushroomed as offenders take advantage of school closures and lockdowns to reach children — either in person or via social media, gaming sites and the dark web. In Australia, federal police received more than 21,000 reports of child sex abuse in the 12 months to June 30, an increase of over 7,000 cases on the previous year. Their investigators also recorded a 136% increase in online child sex exploitation material.
3rd Dec 2020 - The Japan Times

Greece extends nationwide lockdown by a week, to Dec. 14

Greece has extended to Dec. 14 a nationwide lockdown imposed last month to contain a surge in new coronavirus cases, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Thursday. The lockdown, the country’s second since the pandemic began, was extended by a week. “There is a stabilisation or rather a decline in the (number of) cases but at a slower pace than expected,” Petsas told a televised briefing. Greece has registered a total of 109,655 COVID-19 cases and 2,186 deaths, with northern Greece hardest hit and hospitals operating at almost full capacity. The restrictions were initially expected to end on Nov. 30 but the government had already extended them to Dec. 7. Petsas said seasonal stores, selling Christmas items, would re-open next week.
3rd Dec 2020 - Reuters Africa


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Germany to keep restaurants, hotels closed until January 10 - sources

Germany will extend restrictive measures designed to stem a tide of new COVID-19 infections until Jan. 10, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday after talks with German state leaders. The measures, which had been due to expire on Dec. 20, include keeping restaurants and hotels shut and limiting private gatherings to five people from two households. “The states will extend their measures from December 20 until January 10,” Merkel told a news conference, adding that another round of consultations would be held on Jan. 4. “In principle things will remain as they are.” While the daily rise in infection numbers has started to fall, Germany reported its highest single-day death toll on Wednesday since the start of the pandemic, and regions that had been spared the worst are seeing case numbers surge.
2nd Dec 2020 - Reuters

Greece's undeclared workers hit hard by virus lockdown

Every time Elisa drives to a client's house for a hairdressing job, she makes sure to pack a bag of groceries in the car in case she is stopped by Greek police. Skirting the country's strict lockdown rules to put food on the table, she is among thousands of undeclared Greek workers facing additional hardship during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. "I write out a declaration that I'm going shopping, and I mainly work in my neighbourhood," says the 32-year-old.
2nd Dec 2020 - FRANCE 24

Coronavirus: France to impose border checks to stop skiing abroad

Random border checks will be imposed to stop French holidaymakers going to ski in neighbouring Switzerland, Prime Minister Jean Castex has said. France, in common with Germany and Italy, is shutting its ski lifts over Christmas to stop the spread of Covid-19, but Swiss slopes are already open. The ski season at Christmas and the New Year is a vital part of the economy for many European countries Mr Castex said it was his duty to protect fellow citizens. "The conclusion you need to make is that 'I'm not going to Switzerland'," he told BFMTV on Wednesday, adding that anyone who did go would face quarantine on their return.
2nd Dec 2020 - BBC

In '76 Days', a Documentary Portrait of Lockdown in Wuhan

“Papa!” screams a hospital worker, covered from head to toe in a Hazmat suit and PPE, in the opening moments of the documentary “76 Days.” This is in the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan, back in January and February when the city of 11 million went into a 2 1/2-month lockdown and hospitals were overrun. The health worker’s father has just died, and her agony at not being able to sit by his side is overwhelming. Her colleagues restrain her as she sobs, moaning, “Papa, you’ll stay forever in my heart.”
2nd Dec 2020 - The Diplomat

COVID-19 lockdowns drive spike in online child abuse

Out-of-school kids and adult predators spending more time at home and on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic is the "perfect storm" driving a spike in online child sex abuse around the world, activists and police say. From slums in the Philippines to Australia's suburbs, the cross-border crime has mushroomed as offenders take advantage of school closures and lockdowns to reach children—either in person or via social media, gaming sites and the dark web.
2nd Dec 2020 - Medical Xpress

Only working age care home residents allowed to leave for visits over Christmas

Only residents of working age should be allowed leave care homes for Christmas, according to Government guidance. An exemption can be made in exceptional circumstances, such as visiting a loved one at the end of their life. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the risks are usually significantly greater for older people than for those of working age. The guidance says that residents, their families and care homes should very carefully consider whether making visits out from the home is the best thing to do, or whether a visit at the care home would provide meaningful contact in a safer way.
2nd Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Joy as Britain's care home residents share first hugs with relatives since March

Residents of Britain’s care homes shared their first precious hugs and kisses with relatives since March on Wednesday, after homes were able to give visitors rapid tests for COVID-19 which give results in 30 minutes. Bob Underhill, an 84-year-old retiree, was reunited with his wife Patricia, 82, who has Alzheimer’s. Both were overcome as they met, then hugged and kissed through their face masks. “I’ve only seen her twice since March because they had a shutdown here, and we just had to sit and wait,” said Underhill.
2nd Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

‘Where people come to wait to die’: COVID-19 in US nursing homes

Ucedrah Osby heard the terrible news in a way nobody ever wants to: from a local television report, at the same time as everybody else in Bakersfield, California who tuned in. “They were doing interviews,” she recalled. “They were saying that the facility had a COVID outbreak.” Osby’s uncle, Clyde Lee Cooper, 76, lived in Kingston Healthcare Center, the nursing home in question. Over the course of that week in early May as Osby desperately tried to get updates on Cooper’s health, coronavirus engulfed the place. Ambulances arrived, wheeling patients away who never returned. To date, 104 residents have contracted COVID-19 in a facility with 184 beds, at least 19 have died of the coronavirus, and dozens of staff members have tested positive.
2nd Dec 2020 - AlJazeera


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Major study shows how many of us followed the rules for lockdown two

A quarter of people have found it harder to follow rules during the UK’s second lockdown, citing bad weather, feeling worn out and a sense of unfairness, a study has found. Some 24% of people are finding the second lockdown harder, 24% said the rules are easier to follow now and 48% said they are coping about the same, according to King’s College London (KCL) research. The majority (82%) said they are being just as careful or more careful now about obeying the rules.
1st Dec 2020 - Wales Online

Vulnerable children in lockdown 'national concern'

The "invisibility of vulnerable children" during the pandemic should be a "matter of national concern," says England's chief inspector of schools. Amanda Spielman warns when many pupils were out of school in the lockdown, teachers might not have picked up early warning signs of abuse or neglect. The chief inspector says such children, at risk of harm, slipped out of sight. Launching her annual report, Ms Spielman says it should now be a priority to find such overlooked cases.
1st Dec 2020 - BBC

German Joblessness Fell in November Despite Second Lockdown

Germany’s labor market shrugged off a worsening pandemic and new restrictions, with unemployment unexpectedly declining for a fifth month in November. A drop of 39,000 left the total number of jobless people at 2.82 million, pushing the unemployment rate down to 6.1%. While companies are avoiding widespread dismissals in response to the country’s second lockdown, they have grown reluctant to hire.
1st Dec 2020 - Bloomberg Quint

Britons were the lockdown bingers of Europe, finds study

Comfort-seeking Britons have eaten and drunk their way through more unhealthy snacks and alcohol during lockdown than their peers elsewhere in Europe, a study suggests. Overall, the survey of 5,000 consumers in 10 European countries found that lockdown restrictions may have caused lasting positive change in relation to food consumption, with significant shifts in shopping patterns, meal preparation and eating habits. In line with the rest of Europe, people in the UK increased their consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables during the pandemic. However, the British are snacking and boozing more than people in other European countries
1st Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Europe Keeps Schools Open, not Restaurants, Unlike U.S. cities

As a second lockdown appeared inevitable amid skyrocketing coronavirus infections, the scientists advising the French government in October warned that keeping students in their classrooms meant it would take longer to tame the surge. The government kept the schools open anyway, even as the country became an epicenter of the second wave of the coronavirus in Europe. French leaders decided that they would try to subdue the surge, while also trying to minimize economic and academic damage by keeping children learning where they do it best: in school. Five weeks into a second nationwide lockdown, France, like much of Europe, has proved that it is possible to bring the rate of known infections down, even with schools open. It is a lesson that has been taken up late in the United States
1st Dec 2020 - The New York Times

One quarter of Britons found the second national lockdown harder to follow

More than a quarter of Britons found it harder to follow the second lockdown compared to the first, a survey has revealed. The most common reasons for struggling were feeling fatigued by Covid restrictions, a belief measures were unjust and bad weather restricting people from going outside and seeing friends and family. Experts feared that 'lockdown fatigue' would mean many Brits would defy the second shutdown and see loved ones anyway. But King's College London scientists found a 'remarkable resilience' in the British public, with 82 per cent still following the rules to the best of their abilities.
1st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Merkel urges Germans to be careful or risk third coronavirus wave

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Germany could face a third wave of coronavirus infections if citizens are careless in the coming weeks. Germany’s number of new infections has stabilized at a high level since a partial lockdown was imposed on Nov 2. to contain a second wave of coronavirus infections. But officials have said that progress was still fragile. “We’ll have to be very, very careful during the winter,” Merkel said in a virtual panel discussion with police officers. “Otherwise we’ll end up directly in the next wave.”
1st Dec 2020 - Reuters

Hospitality hit hardest as Austrian unemployment rises during lockdown

Austrian unemployment rose in November as a coronavirus lockdown kicked in in the second half of the month, Labour Minister Christine Aschbacher said on Tuesday, with hospitality jobs especially hard hit. “The effects of the pandemic but also the global economic crisis that it caused are leaving deep marks on the job market,” Aschbacher said, adding that public health measures were currently the top priority.
1st Dec 2020 - Reuters UK


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Moderna CEO: Most exciting vaccine data is protection from severe Covid-19

Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, joins “Squawk Box” to discuss data from its Covid-19 vaccine trial that shows 100% protection from severe infection.
30th Nov 2020 - CNBC

Germany partial lockdown pushes more companies into short-time work: Ifo

The share of companies in Germany using short-time work schemes rose in November compared to the previous month, economic institute Ifo said on Monday, as a partial lockdown hit employment in tourism and restaurant industries. Ifo said a survey of around 7,000 companies showed that the share of companies using the scheme rose to 28% in November from 24.8% in October. Short-time work, also known as Kurzarbeit, allows employers to switch employees to working fewer hours or even none during an economic downturn. It aims to stop immediate shocks from leading into mass unemployment.
30th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

UK shopper numbers down 56.9% as English lockdown takes toll

Total shopper numbers across British retail destinations were down 56.9% in the week to Nov. 28 year-on-year, reflecting the impact of a third full week of England’s national COVID-19 lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. It said that on a week-on-week basis shopper numbers, or footfall, rose by 4.8%.
30th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Japan's aged care facilities remain locked down amid a COVID-19 third wave, and now there are fears residents may develop dementia

The only contact Yuumi Matsuno has had with her mother since coronavirus reached Japan has been over the phone, separated by a pane of glass. For 10 months, the nursing home Hisako lives in has limited all visitors from the outside, except staff, in part to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19. While it has largely been successful, it has come at a cost. "She [my mum] doesn't talk as much as before," Ms Matsuno said. "When you speak on the phone, sometimes it's hard to hear and perhaps she feels it is troublesome, so she speaks less.
28th Nov 2020 - ABC News


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Covid infections in England fall by 30% over lockdown - React study

Coronavirus infections in England have fallen by about a third over lockdown, according to a major study. Some of the worst-hit areas saw the biggest improvements - but, despite this progress, cases remained high across England. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the data showed the country could not "take our foot off the pedal just yet". The findings by Imperial College London were based on swabbing more than 100,000 people between 13-24 November. The React-1 study is highly respected and gives us the most up-to-date picture of Covid-19 in the country.
30th Nov 2020 - BBC

France must review COVID-19 crowd limits on church attendance

France’s State Council, the country’s highest court, on Sunday ordered the government to review a law limiting the number of people in churches during religious services to 30. The Council said in a statement that the measure was not proportionate to coronavirus infection risks. Last week, the government announced that a nationwide lockdown in place since Oct. 30 would be unwound in phases.
29th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Covid: Has England's lockdown worked?

Covid tiers: large parts of England in tier 3 restrictions after lockdownThe GuardianUK: Lockdown to end on Dec. 2, says PM Boris JohnsonAnadolu AgencyCovid-19 tiers: Almost all of England facing tough virus rulesBritain to detail post-lockdown restrictions in EnglandReutersView Full coverage on Google News
28th Nov 2020 - BBC

Covid: Hospitals could be overwhelmed without new tiers, says Gove

Hospitals in England could become "overwhelmed" with Covid cases if MPs do not back new restrictions, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has said. Many Tory MPs oppose the tougher tier system, which begins on 2 December. But writing in the Times, Mr Gove said MPs - who will vote on the measures next week - need to "take responsibility for difficult decisions". Labour is yet to decide whether it will support the new restrictions. It has warned, however, that areas in tier three will be stretched to "breaking point" without further financial support from the Treasury. It comes as a further 479 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported in the UK, bringing the total to 58,030. There were also a further 15,871 positive cases registered in the past 24 hours.
28th Nov 2020 - BBC

Germany hits 1 million COVID cases as lockdown rules are extended

More than 1 million people across Germany have been infected with coronavirus, officials revealed on Friday. The Robert Koch Institute, the country’s disease control center, said 22,806 cases were reported the previous day across the nation’s 16 states, bringing the total number of reported infections to 1,006,394. The grim milestone was announced the same day officials revealed Germany had recorded its second consecutive record daily death toll overnight.
28th Nov 2020 - New York Daily News on MSN.com

Coronavirus: Germany should not ease lockdown over Christmas, says top doctor

Uwe Janssens, president of the German Interdisciplinary Association of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, told DW on Friday that easing lockdown restrictions would put a huge strain on the health care system. "We currently have infection rates above 20,000 per day," Janssens explained. "And although we have a lot of intensive care beds in Germany, there is a great strain on the intensive care units at the moment." This week, Germany announced an extension of lockdown measures until December 20. But restrictions are expected to loosen over Christmas, allowing more family members to meet. "We understand that people will meet together, but we really think it is not a good idea to allow 10 people to come together," Janssens said, citing the number that Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned in her announcement of the way forward on Wednesday.
28th Nov 2020 - DW (English)

Pandemic inflames violence against women

No country has been spared the coronavirus epidemic, nor the scourge of domestic violence, which has surged during lockdowns. From a spike in rapes in Nigeria and South Africa, increased numbers of women missing in Peru, higher rates of women being killed in Brazil and Mexico and overwhelmed associations in Europe: the pandemic has aggravated the plague of sexual violence. According to UN data released in late September, lockdowns have led to increases in complaints or calls to report domestic abuse of 25% in Argentina, 30% in Cyprus and France and 33% in Singapore. In essentially all countries, measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in woman and children being confined at home. “The house is the most dangerous place for women,” Moroccan associations noted in April as they pressed authorities for “an emergency response”.
28th Nov 2020 - The Japan Times

Lithuania extends lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge

Lithuania on Wednesday extended its coronavirus lockdown until Dec. 17, when the new government is expected to take over. The outgoing government said the lockdown had stabilised new infections at about 11,000 per week, twice as high as during the week of Nov. 4 when the three-week lockdown was announced. “The spread has slowed somewhat, but the situation remains really serious,” Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said during a televised cabinet session.
28th Nov 2020 - Reuters

German minister says partial lockdown could last until Spring 2021

Germany’s partial lockdown measures could be extended until early Spring if infections are not brought under control, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in a newspaper interview published on Saturday. Altmaier told Die Welt it was not possible to give the all-clear while there were incidences of more than 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in large parts of Germany.
28th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Maharashtra Covid-19: Existing lockdown restrictions extended till Dec 31

The Maharashtra government on Friday extended the lockdown on account of coronavirus in the state till the midnight of December 31, 2020, an official release said. In the last couple months, the government has eased several lockdown restrictions
27th Nov 2020 - The Times of India


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This Lockdown, England’s Theaters Know What to Do Online

The first coronavirus shutdown caught playhouses unawares, but they learned lessons that stood them in good stead when the shutters came down again. What a difference a lockdown makes. By way of proof, consider the terrific lineup of actresses brought together for “Little Wars,” an imaginative if overly arch play by the American writer Stephen Carl McCasland that is streaming online through Dec. 3. Its run finishes the day after England’s second coronavirus shutdown is scheduled to be lifted, at which point theaters in most regions will, with luck, be open again. Whereas streaming prospects during the first lockdown relied largely on recordings from theaters’ archives, the preference now is for material fashioned for the strange era in which we find ourselves. The digital premiere of “Little Wars” testifies to the abundance of talented performers who can be drawn upon during the pandemic, and to their desire to practice their craft against difficult odds. I’m not sure McCasland’s conceit would amount to as much as it does without the collectively hefty presence of such actresses as Linda Bassett, Juliet Stevenson and Sophie Thompson, all established theatrical names here.
26th Nov 2020 - The New York Times

Students may be compensated for lost teaching during UK lockdown

Students could be awarded financial compensation for lost teaching time during the Covid-19 lockdown after the higher education complaints watchdog told an institution to pay £1,000 to an international student. However, the National Union of Students (NUS) described the process for dealing with complaints about university disruption during the pandemic as “farcical” and “inadequate” as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator published details of a handful of individual cases. About 200 complaints have been submitted to the ombudsman so far. Many more are expected, as students can only take their case to the OIA if they have exhausted the internal complaints procedure at their own university. The NUS says the system must be simplified to speed up redress.
26th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Covid tiers: large parts of England in tier 3 restrictions after lockdown

Significant sections of England including much of the north and Midlands have been placed in the top tier of new coronavirus restrictions, the government has announced, potentially putting ministers on a collision course with Conservative MPs. Only three areas – Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly – are in the lowest level of the new rules, which come into force when the England-wide lockdown ends on 2 December and are intended to stay in force to the spring. This means that, by population, almost 99% of England will be in the top two tiers.
26th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus pandemic: Germany seeks EU deal to close ski resorts

Germany is seeking an agreement with EU countries to keep ski resorts closed until early January, in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament that efforts were being made to reach a Europe-wide decision. Italy and France have expressed support for a co-ordinated approach. But Austria has voiced concern. Some of the early European coronavirus hotspots were at ski resorts, helping spread infections across the continent. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Europe faced a "tough" six months , amid mounting cases. Renewed restrictions have led to a reduction in new infections in some countries, but there are fears the pandemic could worsen over the winter.
26th Nov 2020 - BBC

Merkel extends Germany’s partial lockdown until Christmas

Germany will extend its current measures to curb the coronavirus spread until 20 December. Unless there is a dramatic drop in infections, they will likely go through early January, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. Merkel said the measures introduced in early November, including limits on private gatherings and the closure of restaurants, leisure and cultural facilities, cannot be lifted given current infection rates. The number of new infections in Germany has plateaued over the past two weeks, with October's exponential growth brought to a halt. "The steeply rising curve has become a flat one, but this is only a partial success. We can by no means be satisfied," she said.
26th Nov 2020 - RFI

Germany Extends Strict Lockdown Measures With Eye Towards Reopening Ski Slopes

Germany is extending its current coronavirus lockdown measures through mid-December, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this week. The country will remain under measures introduced in early November that include limits on private gatherings and it will keep bars, restaurants, and museums closed. Residents will be given some leeway around the Christmas holiday. Members of one household can meet up with 10 people between Dec. 23 to Jan. 1. Children under 14 are exempt. The overall restrictions are set to continue until Dec. 20, but it's expected, with the continued surge in infections, that these rules will stay in place until early January, Merkel said.
26th Nov 2020 - NPR

Greece extends nationwide coronavirus lockdown by a week

Greece will extend its nationwide lockdown by a week until Dec. 7 as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, a government spokesman said on Thursday. An increase in infections since October has forced the government to impose Greece’s second national shutdown since the pandemic began. The country has registered a total of 97,288 COVID-19 cases and 1,902 deaths during the pandemic, with northern Greece hardest hit and hospitals operating at almost full capacity.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters India

Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol in 'very high' tier 3

Greater Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol will fall under “very high” Tier 3 restrictions when England’s national lockdown ends in six days’ time, the government has announced. It follows Boris Johnson’s announcement earlier this week that while nationwide restrictions will expire on 2 December, a tougher version of the regional tiered system will be re-introduced. Other areas that will be placed under the highest levels of coronavirus restrictions are vast areas of the north-east, including Middlesbrough, Darlington, Newcastle upon Tyne and County Durham.
26th Nov 2020 - The Independent

Angela Merkel extends Germany’s Covid lockdown through Christmas

Germany’s national shutdown is likely to extend into New Year to dampen the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said. "Given the high number of infections, we assume that the restrictions which are in place before Christmas will continue to be valid until the start of January, certainly for most parts of Germany," Ms Merkel told parliament on Thursday. She added the increase in coronavirus cases was still much too high and the number of deaths a reason for concern. The country embarked on a so-called "wave-breaker" shutdown on November 2 - shutting restaurants, bars and, leisure facilities, but schools, hair salons and shops remained open.
26th Nov 2020 - The Independent

Greece extends nationwide coronavirus lockdown

Greece will extend its nationwide lockdown until Dec. 7 as COVID-19 cases continued to surge across the country, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Thursday. Greece has registered a total of 97,288 COVID-19 cases and 1,902 deaths, with the hardest hit area being northern Greece. Hospitals are operating at almost full capacity, according to health ministry data.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters

New lockdowns crush French, German consumer confidence in November

French and German consumer confidence plunged in November as new coronavirus restrictions crushed any prospect of a quick return to normal in the euro zone’s two biggest economies, data published on Thursday showed. Restaurants, bars, hotels and entertainment venues have had to shutter up this month in both countries under new restrictions to contain a new wave of COVID-19 infections. While retail shops have remained open in Germany, non-essential stores had to close in France. They will be able to reopen on Saturday under strict sanitary protocols.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters

UK pub operators report losses, job cuts as lockdown pain builds

British pub operators Mitchells & Butlers and Fuller, Smith & Turner said on Thursday they had cut around 1,650 jobs and suffered millions in financial losses as the hospitality industry reels from new lockdowns. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has warned of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of job losses if the government does not give pubs more freedom or grants to help them cover fixed costs in order to survive winter. M&B, which owns All Bar One, Harvester and Browns, said it had cut 1,300 jobs. Smaller rival Fuller’s said its total number of employees had been reduced by 20% following about 350 job cuts, the sale of its pizza chain The Stable and through natural attrition. The companies said they have enough resources to operate in the foreseeable future, but the downside scenarios cast doubts about their ability to continue as going concerns.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Share of UK workers on furlough at highest since June, as second lockdown hits

The proportion of British workers on furlough has jumped to its highest level since late June following the introduction of a temporary four-week lockdown across England to reverse a second wave of COVID cases, official figures showed on Thursday. Businesses reported that 15% of staff on average were on furlough between Nov. 2 and Nov. 15, up from 9% in the previous survey which covered the second half of October, the Office for National Statistics said.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Germany's second partial lockdown weighs on consumer morale

German consumer morale fell further heading into December as a partial lockdown to curb a second coronavirus wave in Europe’s largest economy hit households’ income expectations as well as their willingness to buy, a survey showed on Thursday. The GfK institute said its consumer sentiment index, based on a survey of around 2,000 Germans, dropped to -6.7 in November from a revised -3.2 in the previous month. The reading missed a Reuters forecast for a narrower drop to -5.0. GfK consumer expert Rolf Buerkl said although retail shops had been kept open so far, the closure of restaurants, bars, hotels and entertainment venues since Nov. 2 clouded consumers’ mood.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Nov 2020

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We asked over 2,000 Australian parents how they fared in lockdown. Here's what they said

Parents have faced unprecedented stress during the pandemic as they care for children while juggling paid work from home. However, very little research so far has focused on family well-being during the pandemic. So we asked more than 2,000 parents to tell us in their own words about the pandemic’s impact on their families. We did this in April 2020, during Australia’s first lockdown. Our published study is the largest of its kind in Australia, and one of very few internationally looking into families’ experiences of the pandemic.
25th Nov 2020 - The Conversation AU

Germany plans Christmas curbs as COVID-19 deaths hit record

Germany reported a record 410 COVID-19 deaths over 24 hours just before federal state leaders and Chancellor Angela Merkel were due to discuss an extension of pandemic-related restrictions into December and for the Christmas and New Year holidays. The 16 federal states are expected to decide on Wednesday to extend the “lockdown light” until Dec. 20. This will keep bars, restaurants and entertainment venues shut while schools and shops stay open.
25th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

France's new coronavirus cases, hospital numbers drop sharply

The number of new coronavirus infections and the number of people in hospital with the virus in France dropped sharply as a national lockdown went into its fourth week. The health ministry reported the number of new cases rose by 9,155 to 2.15 million on Tuesday, compared with 4,452 on Monday - when numbers are usually low due to weekend reporting lags - and compared with 45,522 last Tuesday.
25th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Can't dine out? UK restaurants offer DIY meal kits to survive lockdown

From fast food to fine dining, some restaurants in Britain are relying on home kits to keep them afloat during lockdown, turning clients into cooks who recreate favourite meals in the comfort of their own kitchens. For brothers James and Thom Elliot, the lockdowns provided an unexpected lifeline for their “pizza in the post” Pizza Pilgrims business. The venture now sells over 1,000 kits a day delivered by couriers.
25th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Lithuania extends lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge

Lithuania on Wednesday extended its coronavirus lockdown until Dec. 17, when the new government is expected to take over. The outgoing government said the lockdown had stabilised new infections at about 11,000 per week, twice as high as during the week of Nov. 4 when the three-week lockdown was announced. “The spread has slowed somewhat, but the situation remains really serious,” Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said during a televised cabinet session.
25th Nov 2020 - Reuters India


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Nov 2020

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Covid-19: Bradford salon fined £17,000 for lockdown opening

In England, a hair salon owner is now facing £27,000 in fines for repeatedly opening in breach of Covid-19 lockdown rules. Sinead Quinn was working at Quinn Blakey Hairdressers in Oakenshaw, Bradford, on Saturday when Kirklees Council officers issued a £4,000 fine. The council found the salon open again on Monday and Tuesday and issued two further £10,000 fines. It had £1,000 and £2,000 fines for previous breaches.
24th Nov 2020 - BBC

Pets at Home says pets have been 'a lifesaver' during lockdown

Animals have been "a lifesaver" for people struggling during Covid lockdown, according to retailer Pets at Home which has seen sales rise sharply. Chief executive Peter Pritchard said pets had played "an incredibly important role" through a period of "social loneliness". He added that during the early days of lockdown one of the few reasons people could go out "was to walk your dog". In the six months to 8 October, Pets at Home saw revenues rise by 5.1%.
24th Nov 2020 - BBC

Child protection referrals surge after first lockdown as councils report rise in mental health issues

Child protection referrals have surged in the months following the UK’s first lockdown as local councils report an increase in demand for mental health and family services, The Independent can reveal. New data shows more than 630 vulnerable young people a day were being referred to councils’ children’s services in July, August and September – marking an increase of 15 per cent – or 7,518 referrals – compared to the three previous months when schools and services.
24th Nov 2020 - The Independent

Restauranteurs Look To Australia For A Guide On Surviving A Winter Lockdown

In the US, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise by the day, hitting new mind-boggling heights, new dine-in ordinances are being introduced on state and country-wide levels and more states report considering closures by the day. Without bold Congressional action, restaurant and bar owners are left to their own devices to finagle new business approaches in an attempt to survive a challenging winter ahead. “Northern hemisphere restaurants would be wise to take a page from the playbook of some of their southern hemisphere counterparts,” Juan Garcia, founder of restaurant rating and review site Foodporn tells me. “In Melbourne, Australia, for example, the entire winter months of July to October were spent in stage-four lockdown; meaning restaurants, cafes and bars were completely closed to dine-in customers. This forced a transformation never before seen in Melbourne hospitality.”
24th Nov 2020 - Forbes

France's new COVID-19 cases slow again before possible lockdown loosening

French health authorities on Monday reported 4,452 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, down from Sunday’s 13,157, with the daily increase decelerating for the fourth day in a row ahead of a possible loosening of the country’s second lockdown. The Monday figure tends to dip as there are fewer tests conducted on Sundays. The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, stands at 21,918, dipping below the 22,000 threshold for the first time since Oct. 17. That figure had peaked at 54,440 on Nov. 7.
24th Nov 2020 - Reuters

French business morale hits five-month low on new lockdown

French business confidence dropped in November to a five-month low as the country entered a new coronavirus lockdown, hitting the services sector particularly hard, a survey showed on Tuesday. INSEE, the official stats agency, said its monthly business climate index fell to 79 from 92 in October, the lowest reading since June, when France was still emerging from its first lockdown. French President Emmanuel Macron is due to announce on Tuesday evening a relaxation of the second lockdown following a decline in new case numbers since it was imposed on Oct. 30.
24th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Nov 2020

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Germany set to extend coronavirus restrictions to December 20

Germany Germany plans to extend its current lockdown restrictions until at least December 20, according to a draft agreement among the 16 state governors due to be discussed with Chancellor Merkel on
23rd Nov 2020 - The Times

Germany Moves Toward Tightening Partial Lockdown Until Dec. 20

A Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc prevented a majority of people from getting the disease but fell short of the bar set by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. The virus is forecast to claim another 30,000 American lives by mid-December. New York state will reopen an emergency facility on Staten Island, where hospital capacity is strained. New York City will be in “dire, dire shape” without federal aid, its mayor said. And in neighboring New Jersey, the number of patients in intensive care jumped 13% in one day.
23rd Nov 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus: German states plan December offensive

To tighten the screws in a bid to salvage some semblance of normalcy at Christmas. That seems the essence of a new COVID strategy for December and January being hammered out by Germany's regional leaders.
23rd Nov 2020 - DW (English)

Germany looks set to extend lockdown into December as infections remain high

Germany could be preparing to extend its current lockdown into December as the number of coronavirus infections remains high across the country. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet state leaders on Wednesday. Berlin is hopeful a coronavirus vaccine can soon be rolled out.
23rd Nov 2020 - CNBC

'Lockdown is working', says Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on COVID-19 plan

As Europe is battling the second wave of the novel coronavirus and has initiated a second lockdown, Spain is one country where the government is satisfied with the 'plan'. Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, on Saturday, appreciated the progress the country has made in the last few weeks and said the plan of containing the virus through lockdown "is working".
23rd Nov 2020 - WION on MSN.com

'I want to break free': Underground Paris party defies lockdown

On a darkened residential street in Paris, a gate left partly open signals the entrance to an abandoned train tunnel -- and an illegal rave party for 300 people looking for an escape from France's Covid-19 lockdown. "We decided to mount a resistance and issue this call to hide together and party because there's no longer any place for young people to be together," says the 27-year-old organiser, who declined to give his real name but asked to be called "Alexandre." The sentiment is apparently widespread, since French police have had to crack down on dozens of illegal parties since the partial lockdown was announced in October to combat a new surge in coronavirus cases.
23rd Nov 2020 - FRANCE 24

Man fined for breaking French Covid lockdown to 'smash a guy's face in'

French police have fined a man who left his home with a written lockdown declaration stating he was out to “smash a guy’s face in”. The man, who has not been named, had reportedly correctly filled in the legally required declaration, known as an “attestation”, with his name, address and time he left his home in Lannion, Brittany. However, officers found that instead of ticking one of the boxes stating a legitimate reason to go outside during France’s national lockdown – these include going shopping, visiting the doctor, travelling to work or exercising for up to one hour at a maximum distance of 1km – the man had written “aller péter la gueule à un mec”, an activity not covered by the form.
23rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

France set to continue coronavirus lockdown while easing some restrictions

French President Emmanuel Macron could announce a slight easing of lockdown measures on Tuesday when he addresses the nation in a primetime speech to update on the country's COVID-19 situation. The president is expected to announce an adaptation of restrictions which have been in place since the end of October. Many expect that non-essential commerces may be able to reopen in the month of December. The government has pushed Black Friday back to December 4, the economy minister announced, in order to allow shops to "reopen in the near future", for instance. "To be clear: the lockdown will continue and so there will continue to be limits on travel," said French government spokesman Gabriel Attal in an interview with the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche. There will be three steps of relaxing restrictions, starting in the beginning of December, then before the Christmas holidays, and finally in January 2021, Attal specified.
23rd Nov 2020 - Euronews

Pandemic inflames violence against women

No country has been spared the coronavirus epidemic, nor the scourge of domestic violence, which has surged during lockdowns as the day marking such violence approaches on Wednesday. From a spike in rapes in Nigeria and South Africa, increased numbers of women missing in Peru, higher rates of women being killed in Brazil and Mexico and overwhelmed associations in Europe: the pandemic has aggravated the plague of sexual violence. According to U.N. data released in late September, lockdowns have led to increases in complaints or calls to report domestic abuse of 25 percent in Argentina, 30 percent in Cyprus and France and 33 percent in Singapore. In essentially all countries, measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in women and children being confined at home.
23rd Nov 2020 - Japan Today

French business activity at six-month low after second lockdown: PMI

French business activity contracted this month at the fastest pace since May as the second coronavirus lockdown this year clobbered the dominant services sector, a survey showed on Monday. Data compiler IHS Markit said that its preliminary purchasing managers index dropped to 39.9 from 47.5 last month, falling much further below the 50-point mark dividing expansions from contractions. While the lowest figure since France was emerging from its first lockdown in May, the reading nonetheless was far better than April’s all-time low in the depths of the first lockdown.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

UK shopper numbers down 55.4% as English lockdown bites

The number of shoppers across British retail destinations fell 55.4% in the week to Nov. 21 from a year earlier, mainly reflecting the impact of a second full week of England’s COVID-19 lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England into a month-long lockdown in early November after coronavirus infection cases and deaths started to rise again, angering businesses and some of his own political party over the economic consequences. The lockdown closed all non-essential shops, along with pubs, cafes and restaurants except to offer takeaway food. People have also been encouraged to work from home if possible.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Nov 2020

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Germany braces for extension of lockdown month into December

Germany will have to extend its measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic until Dec. 20, according to senior politicians and a draft proposal obtained by Reuters on Sunday. Germany imposed a month-long “lockdown-lite” from Nov. 2 to contain a second wave of the virus that is sweeping much of Europe, but infection numbers have not declined. “Everything points to the fact that the current restrictions must be extended for some time beyond Nov. 30,” Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told Bild am Sonntag (BamS). Bars and restaurants are closed, but schools and shops remain open. Private gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households and the draft proposal says that number would be reduced to five.
22nd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Threat to central London as commuters embrace suburbs, warns Sadiq Khan

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a potential “existential threat” to central London because many people may in future choose to work in the suburbs rather than in the heart of the capital, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said on Sunday. In an interview in the Observer New Review, the mayor says it is issues such as this possible reconfiguration of London that keep him awake at night. He also talks openly about his struggles with mental health during the pandemic, admitting that he has found it “really hard” working from home, that he misses personal contact, including playing football every Sunday, and that lack of access to his wider family and particularly his mother has left him feeling down.
22nd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

I miss the audience: a French performer's life in COVID lockdown

On the stage at the Hebertot theatre in Paris, Trinidad Garcia is re-enacting a scene from her one-woman show, “For you to keep loving yourself,” to an audience of zero.
21st Nov 2020 - Reuters

Britain hopes Christmas can be saved as COVID cases flatten

Britain could ease stringent COVID-19 rules to allow families to gather for Christmas as signs indicate that coronavirus cases are starting to flatten as a result of current lockdowns, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday. The United Kingdom has the worst official COVID-19 death toll in Europe and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed some of the most stringent curbs in peacetime history in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But heading into the holiday season, the government faces a dilemma - to ease restrictions, with the risk of renewed spread of the disease and death, or to ban large get-togethers.“It of course won’t be like a normal Christmas, there will have to be rules in place,” Hancock told Sky News.
21st Nov 2020 - Reuters

Italy approves latest stimulus package to help pandemic-hit business

Italy’s government has approved a new package worth around 10 billion euros ($11.9 billion) to support businesses hit by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Under the measures approved late on Friday, Rome will immediately offer 1.95 billion euros in grants to coronavirus-hit businesses and food aid for the poor. The government is also preparing an additional 8 billion euros to beef up aid schemes already in place. On Friday, the health ministry reported 37,242 new coronavirus infections and 699 deaths, as the country struggles to curb a resurgence of cases and fatalities which are stretching its health service to breaking point.
21st Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid-19: Gulf emerging between government and health officials over ending lockdown

Cabinet members have expressed their annoyance at their own public health officials over the “stalling” in the progress in reducing the cases of Covid-19. A fresh gulf is emerging between political leaders and medics over the road out of lockdown in two weeks’ time with ministers expressing annoyance at the lack of progress. Ministers have said that the basis of introducing the level 5 lockdown for six weeks was to get the daily cases of the virus below 100, and that is being undermined by the stubborn refusal of the numbers to drop. The Department of Health was notified of 429 confirmed cases of the coronavirus last night.
20th Nov 2020 - Irish Examiner


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th Nov 2020

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France far from exiting partial lockdown, says government

France is unlikely to lift a partial coronavirus lockdown any time soon, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, even if some restrictions may be relaxed before Christmas. President Emmanuel Macron and top ministers discussed the crisis, including whether to ease some restrictions from December 1 "if conditions allow it", spokesman Gabriel Attal said. But Attal insisted: "We're not at all near ending the lockdown, we're still far from it even."
19th Nov 2020 - Medical Xpress

In Autumn in Paris, struggling shops get creative to survive

Toy store owner Marie Boudier is grateful November has been unusually mild in Paris this year - she’s trying to survive France’s second coronavirus lockdown by selling Lego sets and colouring books through her open front door. From behind a trestle table, Boudier has taken to handing over her orders without letting customers in, a makeshift measure replicated up and down her street and across France amid a minefield of dos and don’ts for stores deemed non-essential. “It’s not exactly clear to what extent we’re doing it right,” Boudier said, breaking away to show one shopper little bags of marbles.
19th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

French finance minister calls for postponement of Black Friday amid lockdown

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday called on supermarkets and on-line retailers to postpone the "Black Friday" sales shopping day due to take place on Nov. 27 as shops selling non-essential goods remained closed during lockdown.
19th Nov 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

German health official expects number of COVID-19 infections to fall

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Germany remains far too high but there are signs that the country’s “lockdown lite” is working and could reduce numbers soon, health officials said on Thursday. “It is a fact that the measures are working,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases (RKI), told a news conference, referring to Germany’s partial lockdown in place since Nov. 2. Bars and restaurants are closed, while schools and shops remain open. Private gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households. After an exponential increase in the number of infections over the past weeks, Wieler said a plateau had now been reached.
19th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Greece tightens lockdown in northern Greece as cases climb

Greece will shut one border crossing with Albania and conduct rapid COVID-19 tests on all visitors at its land borders, its government spokesman said on Thursday, as cases in northern Greece continue to rise unabated. Greece has seen a rapid rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks which forced it to impose a nationwide lockdown, its second this year. Its northern regions, including the city of Thessaloniki, have been hit the most. Visitors entering from land borders are already required to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test conducted at least 72 hours prior travel. Upon arrival, they will be re-tested by Greek authorities. The latest measures will come into effect on Friday morning at 0400 GMT, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said, urging residents to also implement restrictions on movement.
19th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Nov 2020

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'Students feel vulnerable': how Covid-19 has put a strain on mental health

From self-isolation with flatmates they barely know and halls of residences emptying out over lockdown to struggles to get the wifi to work for Zoom lectures, the start to the 2020 term has been riddled with uncertainty for most university students. Just one thing’s for sure: it’s been a strange few weeks. It’s perhaps unsurprising that students across campuses have been grappling with loneliness, anxiety and depression as a result of their experiences. “Students aren’t just disappointed that their university experience looks different in terms of teaching and learning, they’re also asking: ‘What does it mean for all the other things I wanted out of uni? The people I could have met? The sports and societies I could have joined?’” said Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, vice-president for higher education at the National Union of Students.
18th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Lockdown loneliness reaches record levels

The week after the clocks went back saw Britain's highest levels of acute loneliness in the pandemic, Office for National Statistics figures suggest. The start of November, with darker evenings, saw 8% of adults who were "always or often lonely" - representing 4.2 million people. This was the peak in this measure of loneliness since the lockdown in March. Loneliness Minister Baroness Barran says the next few months will be "incredibly challenging"
18th Nov 2020 - BBC

Poor areas of England face 'permanent' lockdown, says public health chief

Some of England’s poorest areas face being trapped in coronavirus restrictions “permanently” unless the government tackles deep-rooted inequalities that are driving high transmission, according to a public health chief. Prof Dominic Harrison, the director of public health at Blackburn with Darwen council, said the government’s “pointlessly punishing” approach would keep areas such as his under strict measures up to next summer. He told the Guardian: “We do need the restrictions, but what we need is something that is going to be more effective, more helpful, less pointlessly punishing than continued controls that aren’t going to be effective, or that are unlikely to be effective in the medium term and cause continued and further economic damage.”
18th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

French government spokesman says: unwinding lockdown not for now

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday that the unwinding of lockdown was not for the near future. Attal also told reporters that President Emmanuel Macron would address the nation next week regarding the coronavirus situation in France.
18th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Dutch PM Rutte: coronavirus lockdown to continue into December

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday said most of the country’s current coronavirus lockdown measures must remain in place through mid-December, despite a recent decline in the number of new cases. “It’s nice what we’ve achieved together,” Rutte said at a press conference after health officials reported that new cases had declined 15 percent in the past week. “But if you look around in Europe, the picture is pretty sombre”, he said, with most countries strengthening rather than loosening measures. Earlier on Tuesday the National Institute for Health (RIVM) said in its weekly update there were 37,706 new cases in the week to Nov. 17, the smallest number since early October.
18th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Nov 2020

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France regaining control over coronavirus but caution still needed: minister

France’s health minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday the country was regaining control over the coronavirus but was not ready to ease the second national lockdown imposed to rein in the disease. After curfew measures applied in major French cities in mid-October failed to produce the results the government had hoped for, it enforced a one-month lockdown on Oct. 30, though it was less strict than the one that ran from March 17 to May 11. “If we let up our efforts too early, if we are less compliant with the lockdown, we might be subject to a new epidemic surge that would undo all the hard work done by the French people for several weeks,” Veran told BFM TV.
17th Nov 2020 - Reuters

French lockdown set to be EXTENDED: Closures to remain beyond original December 2 deadline

National lockdown imposed on October 30 was due to run until December 2 But Health Minister confirmed today that he could no longer commit to that date Olivier Veran said this despite claiming France was past the peak on Sunday Number in hospital for Covid-19 dropped Sunday for first time since mid-August
17th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Dutch PM to keep coronavirus lockdown measures as cases ease

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday said most of the country’s current coronavirus lockdown measures must remain in place through mid-December, despite a recent decline in the number of new cases. “It’s nice what we’ve achieved together,” Rutte said at a press conference after health officials reported that new cases had declined 15 percent in the past week. “But if you look around in Europe, the picture is pretty sombre”, he said, with most countries strengthening rather than loosening measures. Earlier on Tuesday the National Institute for Health (RIVM) said in its weekly update there were 37,706 new cases in the week to Nov. 17, the smallest number since early October.
17th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Germany's Merkel would have preferred tighter lockdown

The coronavirus situation in Germany is still very serious even though infection numbers are not rising so fast, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, after federal and state leaders postponed until Nov. 25 a decision on further lockdown measures. Merkel said she would have preferred to have agreed stricter rules at a meeting with federal and state leaders on Monday, adding she was very worried about the uncontrolled spread of coronavirus in some places, including the capital Berlin. “Infection numbers aren’t growing exponentially anymore, but are still far too high. So we have to reduce contacts, reduce contacts, reduce contacts,” Merkel told a business event organised by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily.
17th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

French health minister says he cannot give date for end of lockdown

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday he could not give a date for the end of the national lockdown. The country-wide restrictions were imposed on Oct. 30, initially for a one-month period. Veran told BFM that travel restrictions would not be lifted on Dec. 1, repeating what Prime Minister Jean Castex said last week.
17th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

UK shopper numbers plunge as English lockdown makes impact

Total shopper numbers across British retail destinations plummeted 57.7% in the week to Nov. 14 year-on-year, reflecting the impact of England’s second national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland enacted new COVID-19 health restrictions last month and England began a one-month lockdown on Nov. 5 to curb a second wave of the pandemic that has left the United Kingdom with Europe’s highest death toll.
17th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Nov 2020

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Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland's lockdown could get even TOUGHER to save Christmas as she warns coronavirus hot-spots they could be plunged into top Level 4 in a bid to rescue ...

She said areas where cases remain 'stubbornly high' could be placed in Level 4 Told press conference step would be a short, sharp hit to get cases decreasing The First Minister said her Cabinet will make decisions tomorrow morning
16th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Matt Hancock suggests England’s lockdown may not end on December 2

Matt Hancock has said it is “too early” to determine whether England’s lockdown should end as planned in just over two weeks’ time. Under current plans, the national shutdown is due to expire on December 2, after which the country is set to return to a tiered system of coronavirus restrictions. However, asked on Monday morning whether the lockdown will simply be “rebadged” after next month’s deadline, the Health Secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is still too early to say I’m afraid.” Mr Hancock continued: “We’ve seen in the last week that there is still a very high number of cases but we do absolutely want to come out of this national lockdown.
16th Nov 2020 - Evening Standard

New restrictions less damaging to UK economy than spring lockdown, data show

The latest Covid-19 restrictions across the UK are affecting the economy less severely than the nationwide lockdown in the spring, unofficial data suggest. A new lockdown in England, firebreak restrictions in Wales and travel curbs in Scotland and Northern Ireland resulted in sharp contractions across many measures of consumer services activity in early November. However, so-called high-frequency indicators of the broader economy, including volumes of people travelling to workplaces and heavy goods vehicle traffic, remained largely unchanged compared with before the restrictions were imposed, reflecting that most factories and building sites remained open.
16th Nov 2020 - Financial Times

Coronavirus: ‘Too early’ to say if lockdown can be lifted in England on 2 December, says Matt Hancock

Current lockdown measures in England could continue beyond their planned end date of 2 December, health secretary Matt Hancock has suggested. Mr Hancock said it was “too early” to determine whether the restrictions, including the closure of pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops, can be lifted on the planned date. His comments were far more pessimistic than projections made by Boris Johnson, who has previously told MPs that he has “no doubt” that the restrictions will be eased after the planned four-week second lockdown
16th Nov 2020 - The Independent

Schools and parties in spotlight as Germany weighs new Covid rules

Angela Merkel has said she does not have backing among state leaders for new restrictions to give Germany’s “soft” lockdown a harder bite, postponing any decision until a further meeting between the chancellor and 16 state premiers next week. The chancellor had been in favour of people limiting social interactions in private to only one set second household, and forgo any kind of party until Christmas Eve, according to a draft proposal cited by several news outlets including Der Spiegel. The plans were also reported to include advising citizens to quarantine at home for up to seven days, even if they display only the symptoms of an ordinary cold, and tightening hygiene requirements at schools, with teachers and students of all year groups asked to wear face masks throughout lessons.
16th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

French authors offer to pay bookshops' Covid lockdown fines

A group of French authors has promised to pay fines imposed on the country’s bookshops that remain open in defiance of coronavirus lockdown rules. The pledge was made by the bestselling writer Alexandre Jardin, who said authors were getting together to support booksellers during the crisis. Under France’s lockdown rules, which are in force until at least 1 December, only essential shops and businesses can remain open. Bookshops are not deemed “essential”. Jardin, who lost a close relative to coronavirus last month, said he was not taking the health threat lightly, but feared for the future of independent bookshops. “We will not let our bookshops close,” he told BFMTV. “We can’t be having the cops descending on them.”
16th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

UK shopper numbers plunge as English lockdown makes impact

Total shopper numbers across British retail destinations plummeted 57.7% in the week to Nov. 14 year-on-year, reflecting the impact of England’s second national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland enacted new COVID-19 health restrictions last month and England began a one-month lockdown on Nov. 5 to curb a second wave of the pandemic that has left the United Kingdom with Europe’s highest death toll.
16th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Teenage pregnancies rise in parts of Kenya as lockdown shuts schools

Jackline Bosibori wept when she found out she was pregnant. The 17-year-old’s mother, who is raising six kids alone, collapsed in their one-room home. They had been repeatedly threatened with eviction and couldn’t afford another mouth to feed. “If I was in school, this could have not happened,” said Bosibori, who wants to become a lawyer. With school closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and her mother out selling vegetables on the roadside, Bosibori got involved with a man in his twenties. When she told him she was pregnant, he stopped answering her calls.
16th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Merkel, German states consider tougher pre-Christmas COVID curbs

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday leaders of the country’s 16 federal states were resisting her efforts to agree stricter measures to fight a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, two weeks into a partial nationwide lockdown. Merkel had pushed for tougher measures at a meeting in Berlin, but state leaders wanted to wait and see the effects of current restrictions, she told a news conference. “The majority of states declined to change legal measures roughly one week ahead of the next meeting... I could have imagined imposing further contact restrictions today,” she said.
16th Nov 2020 - Reuters

'There's nothing to keep a lid on it': is lockdown making us eccentric?

“Not sure if it’s because of recent times of lockdown etc but Christ I talk to myself a lot these days.” So tweeted the actor and presenter Emily Atack – and she is not alone. Confined to our homes and freed from the judgments of others – perceived or otherwise – growing numbers of us are admitting to quirky behaviours, from talking to ourselves to singing more loudly in the shower or living out the fashion eccentricities we’d never have dreamed of in the office. Psychologists told the Guardian that people are likely to become more eccentric over lockdown, displaying new or accentuated behaviours ranging from unusual mannerisms and daily routines to discovering unconventional interests.
15th Nov 2020 - The Guardian


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Socially distanced Diwali celebrated in UK under lockdown

Britain’s Hindus, Jains and Sikhs are celebrating their first ever virtual Diwali on Saturday, as the Covid lockdown has forced the cancellation of almost all normal festivities. Despite the usual gatherings of friends and families being impossible because of the pandemic, numerous councils and temples across the UK have instead taken the celebrations online, hosting video streams for the faithful to tune in.
14th Nov 2020 - The Independent

Germany dampens hopes for swift end to winter lockdown

German government officials dampened hopes on Friday that an economically painful partial lockdown would be lifted promptly at the end of November, since infection rates were continuing to surge. The number of new daily coronavirus cases in Germany hit a record of 23,542 on Friday, around 1,700 more than on Thursday, bringing the total to 751,095, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases reported. “As things stand now we can’t expect any measures to be relaxed on Monday,” government spokesman Stefan Seibert told a regular news conference. National and regional leaders are due to meet on Monday to discuss whether November’s closure of all gyms and entertainment venues has slowed the disease’s spread.
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Diwali under lockdown: How Hindus, Jains and Sikhs in the UK will celebrate the festival of lights this year

Preparations are underway for thousands of observers of Diwali in the UK, who will be forced to adapt their celebrations due to the coronavirus outbreak. The festival of lights is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world and will come with an unexpected twist this year as the national lockdown restricts people across England from visiting more than one person outside of their household – with a strict ban on anyone mixing indoors.
14th Nov 2020 - iNews

Making the most of a lockdown Diwali

Lockdown restrictions in England mean it's not possible to meet family members from different households or go to the temple for group worship. But it doesn't mean celebrations this year have to be any less enjoyable.
14th Nov 2020 - BBC

Jean Castex extends coronavirus lockdown in France till December

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that the nationwide stay-at-home regime will remain in effect amid still disturbing indicators of the COVID-19 virus' evolution in the country. "Together with the President of the Republic [Emmanuel Macron], we decided this morning in the Council of defense and national security to keep unchanged, at least for the next fifteen days, the rules of lockdown intended to fight against # COVID19," Castex tweeted late on Thursday.
14th Nov 2020 - The New Indian Express

Italy extends partial lockdown as Naples hospitals struggle

Confirmed cases hit a daily pandemic high of nearly 41,000 and 550 people died of the virus in 24 hours, bringing the country's known death toll to 44,139. Italy has reported a total of more than 1.1. million virus cases.
14th Nov 2020 - The Indian Express

Paris boulevards deserted as lockdown claims Christmas shopping trade

Boarded-up windows outside flagship branches of department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps bore testimony on Saturday to the impact of a COVID-19 lockdown in Paris. On what would usually be a busy weekend for Christmas shopping, only handfuls of people were out on Boulevard Haussmann, where the stores are located. “It’s sad. We are outside Galeries Lafayette and everything is closed,” said one would-be shopper, Emmanuelle Tiger. “They’ve put up (shop window) lights. That’s great, but we don’t feel the Christmas spirit at all.”
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

French PM says easing COVID-19 lockdown now would be 'irresponsible'

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said there would be no easing for at least two weeks of the country’s second COVID-19 lockdown, with the number of people in hospital with coronavirus now higher than at the peak of the first wave.
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Police probe illegal party near Paris in breach of COVID lockdown

Police are probing an illegal party that took place at Joinville-Le-Pont near Paris, at which up to 400 people met up despite French COVID-19 lockdown rules banning large private gatherings. The Paris police department said on Saturday it had launched an investigation to find out who was behind the party, held in a large private house. Police said some partygoers threw bottles at them as they broke up the event in the early hours. Police added they had found that at least one of those at the party had tested positive for COVID-19, and urged others who were present to get COVID tests.
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Germans should brace for 4-5 months of severe COVID-19 measures, minister says

Germans should brace for another 4-5 months of severe measures to halt the rise in coronavirus infections and should not expect the current rules to be eased quickly, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told weekly Bild am Sonntag. “We’re not out of the woods yet”, he said referring to infection numbers. “We cannot afford a yo-yo shutdown with the economy constantly opening and closing.” Germany has imposed a set of measures dubbed a “lockdown light” to rein in the second wave of the pandemic that the country is seeing in common with much of the rest of Europe. While restaurants are closed, schools and shops so far remain open. Data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday that the number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 16,947 to 790,503. Weekend figures tend to be lower as not all data is reported by local authorities.
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters

New coronavirus cases drop sharply in France's second week of lockdown

New coronavirus infections and hospital admissions for COVID-19 dropped sharply at the end of the second week of a new nationwide confinement in France, health ministry data showed on Friday. The ministry reported 23,794 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, down from 33,172 on Thursday and compared to 60,486 last Friday. The number of people going into hospital with the virus plunged to 24 from 737 on Thursday and the number of people going into intensive care dropped to just four from 96 on Thursday and more than 100 per day every weekday last week. The number of coronavirus deaths in hospitals increased slightly to 456 from 425 on Thursday. France also reported 476 deaths in retirement homes over the past three days, for a total of 932 deaths reported on Friday.
13th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: France to restart remote lessons after threat of strikes over safety

Sixth-form colleges in France were ordered to draw up plans for the reintroduction of remote learning yesterday as President Macron sought to head off a revolt by teachers and pupils. Hardline teachers’ unions are calling strikes over what they say are inadequate health protocols and sixth-formers are organising sporadic blockades of their lycées to protest against crowded classrooms. Some demonstrations turned violent, notably in poorer Paris suburbs.
13th Nov 2020 - The Times

German economy taking hit from lockdown measures in November - ministry

Germany’s economic recovery continued until October but has slowed since August, the Economy Ministry said on Friday, adding that lockdown measures implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus hit the economy in November. The Economy Ministry said in its monthly report that the restrictions imposed from the start of November which have seen restaurants, bars and entertainment venues such as cinemas and theatres close meant consumption was taking a hit. The ministry said it did not look like the recovery would end in the fourth quarter though, as long as restrictions remain limited.
13th Nov 2020 - Reuters

COVID-19: Psychiatrists warn of coronavirus lockdown's toll on mental health

Psychiatrists are braced for a surge in demand for mental health care in the months ahead, as people struggle to cope during the coronavirus lockdown. The number of people experiencing severe mental illnesses and needing urgent care amid the pandemic has become a serious cause for concern, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has told Sky News. The group, which represents the UK's 18,000 psychiatrists, said members are concerned about the impact of the second lockdown and are calling on the government to ensure mental health services are properly funded and equipped to meet the anticipated increase in demand.
13th Nov 2020 - Sky News

London gym owner fined £67,000 for refusing to close during lockdown

A London gym owner has been handed a £67,000 fine for refusing to close during England’s second national lockdown. Andreas Michli, 34, finally shut the doors to his Wood Green gym on Wednesday after police prevented customers entering. Haringey council issued multiple fines against Michli over his Zone Gym business and said it obtained a closure order. Alongside the £67,000 fine, Michli said the council was also seeking to recoup court costs of £7,500. Michli, who has owned the gym for five years, said he felt keeping it open was “the right thing to do socially, morally and scientifically”. “There were a lot of reasons why I didn’t close. I couldn’t actually find a reason why to not keep it open, other than there was legislation in place,” he told PA news agency.
13th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Uneasy Under Coronavirus Lockdown, Pubs in England Count Days Till Christmas

At the Crooked Well, a neighborhood pub in south London that prides itself on its food, the Christmas menu is already decided. There will be venison and beef stews. But whether the stews will actually be served is another question. Under a new lockdown planned to last a month, pubs in England have closed again. From Nov. 5 to Dec. 2, restaurants, gyms and nonessential shops are being shuttered by the government’s efforts to suppress a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain’s first lockdown lasted more than three months, followed by an ever-changing array of restrictions since. No one knows how long this lockdown will really last.
13th Nov 2020 - The New York Times

Ending lockdown in December hinges on next two weeks, Sage expert warns

The next fortnight will be “absolutely crucial” in ensuring England’s coronavirus lockdown ends as planned on December 2, a Government scientific adviser has warned. Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), called on the public to resist breaking current rules if they want to spend the festive period with loved ones. The announcement of a potential Covid-19 vaccine could spark complacency over restrictions, she said, stressing that the jab will make “no difference” to the current wave. It comes after documents released by Sage on Friday warned that a return to the tiered system of coronavirus restrictions will see infections rise again.
13th Nov 2020 - Evening Standard on MSN.com

Britain to pilot COVID-19 tests for care home visitors

Visitors to care homes in parts of England will be able to get tested for COVID-19 under a new pilot plan aimed at reducing onerous restrictions in time for Christmas, the health ministry said Saturday. With England under lockdown until December, care home visits can still go ahead in certain circumstances, but official guidance states that screens, windows or “visiting pods” should be used to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. “I know how heart-breaking restricting visits to care homes has been, not only for residents, many of whom will feel disoriented and confused by the situation, but also their loved ones who aren’t able to simply hug each other to support them in this difficult time,” health minister Matt Hancock said.
13th Nov 2020 - The Japan Times


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Covid-19 restrictions in NI extended for one more week

Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland will be extended for one more week with a partial reopening of some sectors next Friday, in a compromise reached by the executive. A proposal from DUP Economy Minister Diane Dodds was supported by the Ulster Unionists and Alliance. Sinn Féin voted against the move and the SDLP abstained. It means close contact services and unlicensed premises can reopen on Friday, 20 November.
12th Nov 2020 - BBC

Northern Ireland parties reach deal to extend COVID-19 restrictions

Northern Ireland's power-sharing government on Thursday agreed to extend COVID-19 restrictions for between one and two weeks, falling short of stricter measures demanded by Irish nationalist parties. Northern Ireland in mid-October became the first part of the United Kingdom to reimpose strict COVID-19 constraints, closing schools for two weeks and bars and restaurants for four, but the measures were due to lapse on Friday. The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has been pushing for a swift end to the restrictions to help small business owners, but the rival Ulster Unionists and Irish nationalist parties Sinn Fein and the SDLP said high infection rates meant restrictions should be maintained.
12th Nov 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

German health minister on new lockdown measures: The second wave will be stronger

Over 261 people have died in Germany, which has had about 705,000 total Covid-19 cases so far. German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn joins Wilfred Frost in an exclusive CNBC interview to discuss the country’s plans to combat the coronavirus pandemic as well as the relationship Germany hopes to have with President-elect Biden.
12th Nov 2020 - CNBC

German health minister says it’s too early to tell if its partial Covid lockdown will be extended

It is “too early to say” whether Germany will extend its four-week partial lockdown, according to health minister Jens Spahn. “We need patience, actually, because the numbers of today actually are the infections that have taken place one week or more days ago,” Spahn told CNBC. “It will be the end of this week that we might see the results of the new lockdown light we have now,” he added.
12th Nov 2020 - CNBC

Spain will require a negative COVID test for residents of high-risk countries starting Nov. 23

Travellers bound for Spain from countries considered high-risk areas for the coronavirus will be asked to provide proof of a negative test to visit the European country, authorities said Wednesday. Starting Nov. 23, travellers to Spain will be required to submit a negative test result from within 72 hours prior to their planned departure. They will be able to do so via the internet, a smartphone application, or with a document before boarding a plane or boat. The proof of being virus-free before traveling will come on top of the temperature checks performed on arriving passengers at Spain’s airports and ports. The measure will apply to countries designated as “high risk.”
12th Nov 2020 - USA Today

Catalonia’s bars and restaurants to remain closed 10 more days

On a day when the official death toll from Covid-19 in Spain exceeded 40,000 since the start of the pandemic, authorities in several parts of the country announced new restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. The Catalan government on Thursday announced that bars and restaurants across the region will remain closed for an additional 10-day period in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Food and drink establishments have been closed for a month, and will remain so at least until November 23. The measure has evidenced a division of opinion among the governing partners and it has also met with criticism from all affected sectors of the economy.
12th Nov 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Spain's Catalonia to keep bars, restaurants shut another ten days to curb COVID-19

Restaurants, bars and shopping malls will remain closed in Catalonia for at least another ten days to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic, regional officials said on Thursday. Unlike most other Western European countries, Spain has held off on ordering a nationwide confinement to control its second wave of infection, instead letting regional authorities implement their own policies. This has led to a patchwork of measures, with Catalonia’s strictest approach contrasting with the Madrid region’s decision to leave bars and restaurants open. Catalonia has Spain’s second-highest number of COVID-19 cases after Madrid.
12th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Pandemic and lockdown fuelled domestic violence, new study confirms

Australia’s pandemic and lockdown fuelled a significant rise in domestic violence, according to a new study published yesterday by the Australian Institute of Criminology. Researchers explored the relationship between social isolation, time spent at home, financial stress and domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic – with some startling results. The paper found that most women who were victims had not experienced violence by their partner prior to the pandemic, for example. Of those who had, two-thirds experienced further violence during this period.
12th Nov 2020 - Australian Times

German minister sees COVID-19 restrictions through winter

Germany’s health minister said on Thursday he expects restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic will continue through winter, with life unlikely to get back to normal in December or January even if infections fall. “I don’t see events with more than 10 or 15 people happening this winter,” Jens Spahn told RBB broadcaster. Germany reported 21,866 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 727,553 and jumping back above 20,000 after four days below that figure, while the death toll rose by 215 to 11,982, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s states are due to meet on Monday to review whether partial lockdown measures imposed on Nov. 2 have been enough to slow a steep rise in new infections that risks overwhelming hospitals.
12th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Call for ‘designated visitors’ to tackle coronavirus care home loneliness

Care home providers and relatives today called on the Government to urgently allow each resident to have a “designated visitor” to help tackle “heartbreaking loneliness”. The plan would mean that each resident has at least one designated visitor who, like care home staff, would be tested for Covid-19 weekly and wear protective PPE, allowing them to make regular visits safely. This would alleviate the isolation of residents, some of whom have been denied visits for nine months. The Government agreed to pilot the approach in October but there are claims it is dragging its feet.
12th Nov 2020 - Evening Standard


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Spain lockdown: How domestic workers became prisoners

Some live-in maids in Spain have been forbidden from leaving their employers' houses during the coronavirus pandemic. The union that represents them has heard from around 100 women who say they have been kept locked inside for months. It says that live-in maids were already often being treated like “modern-day slaves” in the country and that lockdown has made things worse. Domestic workers are more at risk of being exploited and abused, as they don’t have the same legal rights as other workers. At least 22,000 have been fired since the start of the pandemic, according to the Spanish government.
11th Nov 2020 - BBC

Lost school time might lower lifetime earnings for lockdown-hit children

Past calamities show shutting schools for long can reduce children’s earnings throughout their life. India’s pre-existing disparities in resources and learning outcomes mean that some will bear the brunt much more than others. The tragic suicides of college students because of their inability to take part in online classes have grabbed headlines across the country. An equally profound but silent tragedy has befallen India’s school-children. Eight months have passed since most Indian children last went to school, and their loss isn’t just restricted to learning outcomes. Research suggests that for most children, learning less will also mean earning less for an entire lifetime.
11th Nov 2020 - Mint

Covid: Lockdown 'exploited by extremists to recruit'

The second lockdown in England is making more young people vulnerable to being groomed by extremists, a senior counter-terror officer has warned. Supt Matthew Davison, from Counter Terrorism Policing, said extremists were using the pandemic to spread hate and disinformation online. He said young people were being targeted "in their bedrooms". At the same time referrals to the anti-extremism Prevent programme are falling. The government said it would "continue to challenge and disrupt extremists who sow division".
11th Nov 2020 - BBC

Social workers' efforts to protect children in lockdown have gone unnoticed

The news that the numbers of babies in England that have suffered serious injury or neglect during the pandemic has increased by a fifth compared with the same period last year and eight have died from their injuries has been met with understandable shock and public concern. It is perhaps all the more shocking because so little public attention has been given to child protection during the coronavirus lockdown and particularly to what is happening to babies and children who aren’t old enough to be at school. The same public invisibility applies to social work, the only profession consistently going into homes since the pandemic began to try to safeguard children and help families.
11th Nov 2020 - The Guardian


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French Teachers Strike Over Covid-19 Risks

French teachers' unions called a nationwide strike on Tuesday, protesting over inadequate protection against Covid-19, as the Italian government introduced tough new rules across much of the country following the continued rapid spread of the virus there. Teachers in France say it is impossible for schools to enforce social distancing among pupils even after sanitation rules were tightened earlier this month. Classes are too big, and schools lack staff and equipment such as individual tables, they say. “We are raising the alarm because we don’t want schools to become clusters,” elementary school teacher and union leader Guislaine David said. She said she wants schools to remain open.
10th Nov 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Nicola Sturgeon lockdown update RECAP as Glasgow and Central Belt remain in coronavirus level three

Glasgow and the surrounding areas of the Central Belt will continue to fall under level three of the Scottish Government’s five-tier system. Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that there will be no easing of restrictions for the next week, stating: “While we are seeing a levelling off, we have not yet seen a sustained fall in cases. A plateauing rate of infection is not a stable condition. “It would clearly not be prudent to ease restrictions this week.” She added that no local authority will move to level four this week, but that “there are some giving us cause for concern and we will be monitoring them closely in the coming weeks”.
10th Nov 2020 - Glasgow Live

Lockdown children forget how to use knife and fork

The pandemic has seen most children in England slipping back with their learning - and some have gone significantly back with their social skills, says Ofsted. A report from the education watchdog warns some young children have forgotten how to use a knife and fork or have regressed back to nappies. Older children have lost their "stamina" for reading, say inspectors. The Department for Education says it shows the need to keep schools open.
10th Nov 2020 - BBC

Wales lockdown: German tourists fined for breaching rules

A family on holiday in Wales was sent back to Germany by police carrying out lockdown patrols. Officers stopped the family in Llanrhidian on Gower on 8 November - the last day of Wales' firebreak lockdown restrictions. South Wales Police said that the family were issued with a fine for breaching Covid-19 regulations and advised to travel home.
10th Nov 2020 - BBC

What it's like to be on vacation in a country on lockdown

On the evening of October 31, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the return of an England-wide lockdown, designed to stem an alarming second wave of coronavirus. American traveler Elizabeth Prairie, recently landed in the UK for a four-week trip, watched the national address from her Airbnb in London's Notting Hill neighborhood. She'd arrived in the UK capital almost two weeks prior and was about to come out of her 14-day compulsory quarantine. Prairie had planned a four-week vacation in London, accounting for quarantining while also allowing time to explore, work remotely and enjoy her break. When she boarded her British Airways flight from JFK airport, Prairie knew England had instituted a 10 p.m. closing time on all bars and restaurants, and London was entering stricter "Tier 2" restrictions that limited access to them.
10th Nov 2020 - CNN

Spotlight on domestic abuse: How lockdown created a 'perfect storm'

Domestic violence and abuse is at a 15-year high in Northern Ireland, with more than 32,000 incidents reported to the PSNI from June 2019 to July 2020. Restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19 have forced people to spend much more time at home and created the "perfect storm" for abusers.
10th Nov 2020 - BBC

Lockdown sparks addiction surge in Australia – 3AW

Over one million Australians have an addiction, with fears that number has soared during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Professor at Monash University and Executive clinical director at Turning Point Rehabilitation Centre, Professor Dan Lubman, told Dee Dee Dunleavy Australia needed to pay more attention to addictions. “We’ve seen significant changes in behavior in the last year due to coronavirus,” he said. “A lot of people have reported an increase of drinking, a shift to gambling, an increase of uncertainty and stress. “Addiction is a health disorder that is treatable, it’s a solution to former underlying problems normally associated with trauma, mental health and isolation. “People use it as a way to cope.”
10th Nov 2020 - 3AW


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Covid-19 sniffer dogs that can sniff out virus in a second could soon come to Leeds

Specially-trained dogs that can sniff out coronavirus could soon be spotted in Leeds. The clever canines, which have been trained by the charity Medical Detection Dogs, can detect Covid-19 on people. The adorable Labradors were put through the paces at London Paddington train station in a trial earlier this month, where health secretary Matt Hancock was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall to see them in action. There are suggestions the sniffer dogs could be deployed in busy areas such as train stations and shopping centres to try and find people with Covid-19 and therefore minimise the risk of asymptomatic people mixing with others.
9th Nov 2020 - Leeds Live

Covid: Wales has lessons for England on surviving lockdown

When Covid struck, no-one quite understood how ruinous its ripples would be. As England begins a new lockdown, Michael Buchanan has been in Wales, which has emerged from a short, sharp shutdown, to see the effect of the economic shock. While thousands of families grieve lives abruptly ended by Covid, others mourn the lives they once led. For Dorne Williams, the pandemic has been calamitous. "It has cost me my relationship, my mental health and my friends, who are too frightened to visit." We're talking on the doorstep of her small terraced house in Pontypool. First came the "nasty" virus, she says.
9th Nov 2020 - BBC

The real cost of lockdown: Australia faces a mental health crisis

Psychiatrist has warned Australia faces a dangerous new mental health crisis Called for policy-makers to turn society upside down to flatten the new curve The COVID-19 pandemic has left many unemployed and struggling to cope
9th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

In Britain, the poppy appeal grapples with COVID-19 lockdown

Britain’s poppy appeal, when tens of millions buy a red paper or metal poppy to remember the war dead and help armed forces families, is facing a battle of its own - collecting money amid the strictest lockdown in peacetime history. Charities across the world are struggling after the novel coronavirus lockdowns closed swathes of the economy, drove millions out of work and shuttered normal life - including many traditional ways of giving. Even the hardy Remembrance Poppy has been threatened. Red poppies sprang up beside the fallen amid the carnage of World War One trench warfare in the fields of Flanders, a contrast that swiftly graced some of the grief-stricken poetry of the so-called Great War.
9th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

French economy operating down 12% under new lockdown: central bank

France’s economic activity is 12% lower than normal this month after the country entered a coronavirus lockdown for the second time this year, the central bank said on Monday. The government imposed the new lockdown on Oct. 30 to rein in a surge in new cases although the restrictions were softer than the first time to limit the impact to the euro zone’s second-biggest economy. The Bank of France said economic activity was expected to be reduced by 12% of normal levels as a result, worse than the 4% drop in October but far better than the 31% loss seen in April during one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.
9th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

NSPCC warns of lockdown's toll on children's mental health

Rising stress levels have taken a toll on the mental and emotional health of young people since the first coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March, children’s charity the NSPCC has warned. Calls to the charity’s ChildLine service reached nearly 43,000 between March and October, with mental health worries making up more than a third of all its counselling sessions, new figures showed. The NSPCC said its counsellors had heard from children who were feeling isolated, anxious and insecure after being cut off from their usual social support networks. Some children had developed eating disorders such as binge eating and bulimia for the first time, while others with existing eating disorders had reported worse symptoms or had relapsed, the charity found.
9th Nov 2020 - The Guardian


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Paris police step up patrols to limit lockdown violators

French police have stepped up checks to ensure that the nationwide lockdown is respected across the country, and non-essential travel is avoided. Edward Baran reports.
8th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Second French lockdown less severe for the economy one week in

One week into France’s second coronavirus lockdown this year, the euro zone’s second-biggest economy is holding up much better than the first time, data ranging from traffic congestion to electricity use show. High-frequency data bear out anecdotal evidence that there are many more people on the streets and businesses open this time, compared to March and April when major French cities were ghost towns. France’s experience one week in offers an initial glimpse of what the economic fallout will look like from a second lockdown for other European countries that have since or will soon follow.
8th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

What it's like to be a secondary school teacher during the Coronavirus pandemic

With most pupils now back in school following October half term, the debate over whether they should close during the current lockdown rages on. Britain's biggest teaching union, the National Education Union (NEU), wants them to shut and says 'ignoring the role of schools and colleges in the spread of the virus is likely to lead to the need for even longer lockdowns in future'. That view is backed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who fears the lockdown will not have the same impact on lowering transmission of the virus if schools remain open.
8th Nov 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Coronavirus lockdown childcare bubbles and linked households explained

Lockdown version 2.0 has officially begun, with the biggest difference between the first set of restrictions being the fact schools and nurseries are able to remain open this time. And while everyone is instructed to stay indoors unless they have to go out for work, essential shopping, or exercise, juggling childcare and the often complicated arrangements many families have around who looks after whose kids when and where is made even more complicated by another coronavirus lockdown. But this time things seem to be slightly more relaxed in terms of who can look after the children or where they can go, than the lockdown in March.
7th Nov 2020 - Bristol Post

Covid-19: Lockdown 'opportunity' to fix England's roads

Councils in England have a "unique opportunity" to fix potholes, road junctions and roadside drainage during lockdown, the AA has said. It urged local authorities to ask drivers to move their vehicles to car parks near disused shops, pubs and restaurants while repairs take place. Reduced traffic means work could happen safely and without causing congestion, AA president Edmund King said. Councils said £10bn was needed to bring roads "up to scratch". The government said it had already committed £2.5bn for repairs "as part of the biggest nationwide programme ever announced".
7th Nov 2020 - BBC


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Father admits to killing his two children during lockdown

Nadarajah Nithiyakumar attacked 19-month-old Pavinya and three-year-old Nigish, on April 26 at their family home in Ilford, east London. The young children’s mother called emergency services to the horrific scene in Aldborough Road North, but they were unable to save Pavinya who was pronounced dead at the scene. Nigash was rushed to hospital in Whitechapel but despite the best efforts of the doctors, he sadly died.
5th Nov 2020 - Euro Weekly News

Multifold spike in domestic violence complaints during lockdown

As soon as schools were shut due to the lockdown, 16-year old Ashi (name changed), who was studying at a Gurukul school in Karimnagar district, was asked to go back to her home. She had never imagined that the four walls of her home will become unsafe for her. After being allegedly sexually and physically harassed by her father for months, in around April, terrified and confused, she mustered the courage to reach out to the police who, with the help of the Sakhi team, rescued her. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, data from the State Women and Child Department shows that domestic violence, including physical and sexual assault against women and girls, has risen.
5th Nov 2020 - The New Indian Express


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Downturn deepens in Europe's lockdown-hit services sector

Services companies in Italy and Spain suffered a fresh fall in activity last month as restrictions to contain the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit businesses, according to a widely watched business survey. The IHS Markit flash services purchasing managers’ index dropped in both countries, with companies reporting sharp declines in demand and activity as a result of the pandemic, data released on Wednesday showed. The Spanish index was slightly better than most economists expected but still fell 1 point to a five-month low of 41.4 in October. Italy’s index fell below expectations to a four-month low of 46.7, down from 48.8 in the previous month.
4th Nov 2020 - Financial Times

Lockdown measures in West Bengal extended till November 30, schools and colleges to remain shut

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, efforts are on to bring the country back on track by gradually easing out restrictions through the unlock procedure. But there are few states that are not taking any chances and want to extend the lockdown measures to the extent possible. Keeping in line with the guidelines of the Centre, the West Bengal government on Monday, November 2 announced the extension of lockdown measures in the state till November 30. According to the new guidelines issued by the state government, cinema halls, theatres and multiplexes will operate with 50% capacity. While swimming pools except for training purpose will remain closed.
2nd Nov 2020 - DNA India


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South Africa's Covid-19 lockdown leaves aquarium penguins 'stressed out'

The Covid-19 pandemic has left penguins in an aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa stressed after the outbreak changed their daily routine, animal keepers said. The birds are social creatures and rely on routine. However, this was disrupted when lockdown forced the exhibit to close in March. Instead of seeing hundreds of people a day, the colony of penguins was only interacting with their handlers.
3rd Nov 2020 - South China Morning Post

Melbourne to honour 'community heroes' who stood up during lockdown

The long months of lockdown caused fear, anxiety and isolation across Melbourne, but they also sparked an outpouring of community kindness. Take Alex Dekker, for example. When the pandemic struck, Mr Dekker was a 20-year-old global studies student at Monash University, intent on pursuing a career in academia. His sister Pietra, a first-year doctor working on coronavirus wards, was so busy at work she was getting by on muesli bars. So Mr Dekker made her a few lasagnas. Then he announced on his Facebook page that he would make lasagnas for other healthcare workers and their families.
3rd Nov 2020 - The Age

The truckers who keep India's coronavirus patients breathing

Subhas Kumar Yadav has fought fear, deadlines and hunger to truck liquid oxygen from a factory in India’s Himalayan foothills to hospitals in the northern plains during the coronavirus epidemic. The worst time, he said, was in the weeks after the federal government imposed a sweeping lockdown to contain the disease in late March, when roads were deserted, police made arbitrary checks and roadside restaurants, repair shops and motels were shuttered. But the oxygen he was carrying was saving the lives of thousands of those infected. “We were on duty,” said the 33-year-old driver with Linde India Ltd, an affiliate of the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases, Linde Plc. “It’s not like we could just give up and go home.”
3rd Nov 2020 - Reuters


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Britain extends payment freeze to coronavirus-hit borrowers

Britain’s financial watchdog said on Monday it would extend payment holidays on credit cards, car finance, personal loans and pawned goods before tougher coronavirus restrictions come into effect this week. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also extended until January the availability of deferrals for mortgage payments after Britain announced a one-month lockdown across England would start on Thursday to contain a second wave of the pandemic. Consumers who have not yet had a credit payment deferral under guidance issued in July can request one that lasts for up to six months, the FCA said in a statement. Borrowers who have already had one deferral would be able to apply for a second, the FCA said. “Borrowers should only take up this support if they need it,” the statement added.
3rd Nov 2020 - Reuters

Cuomo halts indoor dining at 25% capacity citing a spike in COVID-19 cases

Indoor dining with 50% capacity was supposed to resume in NYC November 1. The deadline came and went with no information from the government. On Monday, Cuomo said he the situation was 'fluid' and he was looking at 'data.' He said there had been an increase in cases which was leading him to delay it. The infection rate in Manhattan is 2.5 percent - almost half of what it is in Queens, Brooklyn and parts of Staten Island. It is also lower than in the Hamptons and Westchester, where indoor dining is allowed at 50 percent. Nationally, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases but deaths remain steady
3rd Nov 2020 - Daily Mail


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COVID-19 pandemic threatens young Australians' mental health: survey

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the mental health of 75 percent of Australians aged 18 to 24, according to a poll published by Ipsos and Nine Entertainment newspapers on Friday. By comparison, 65 percent of those polled aged 25 to 39 said the pandemic and restrictions have impacted on their mental wellbeing, 49 percent of those aged 40 to 54 and 35 percent of those aged 55 and over. Ian Hickie, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Sydney, said the education and social lives of young people have been most disrupted by the pandemic worldwide. The University of Sydney has published modelling that projected a 30-percent rise in the suicide rate for Australians aged 18-24 over the next five years. In Victoria, the state hardest-hit by the pandemic, it was projected to rise 36.7 percent.
31st Oct 2020 - Xinhua

First mental health trust signs up to Nursing Times wellbeing campaign

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has become the first mental health provider to sign a pledge supporting the principles of the Nursing Times Covid-19: Are You OK? campaign. The Yorkshire mental health trust signed up to support the campaign, after its director of nursing, Cathy Woffendin, responded to a call made by Nursing Times to an initial group of trusts. It becomes the fourth trust overall to back Covid-19: Are You OK? and the third one from Yorkshire to do so.
31st Oct 2020 - Nursing Times

Hundreds of GPs a month seek mental health support as COVID-19 pressure bites

More than 200 GPs a month are seeking mental health support as COVID-19 drives up pressure on the NHS - and demand for help is rising fastest among doctors in primary care, figures from a confidential support service suggest.
31st Oct 2020 - GP Online

National Union of Students issue Covid mental health warning

Half of students in Scotland said money worries or financial pressures had affected their mental health - before the Covid pandemic struck. Research by the National Union of Students also found 72% of undergraduates said they had most concerns in their first year. The union argues the effects of the pandemic on the sector make these issues more important than ever. Universities Scotland said the mental health of students was "paramount." The NUS research, which was carried out in January and February, involved 3,097 college and university students. It found almost half of students claimed coping with course workload had a negative impact on their mental health.
31st Oct 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus: Lockdown contributing to rise in mental illness in children, NHS says

One in six children in England has a probable mental disorder, according to an NHS study. The Mental Health and Young People Survey highlights how the coronavirus lockdown has made conditions like depression, anxiety and sleeping problems worse among boys and girls. The study is based on data collected in July from 3,570 children and young people, who took part in a similar survey in 2017.
31st Oct 2020 - Sky News

'Second Pandemic' Warning Issued As Mental Health Crises Rise

Mind received up to 500 helpline calls a day in October – twice the usual number for this time of year.
30th Oct 2020 - HuffPost UK

Alarming impact of Covid-19 crisis on mental health of North East GPs revealed

A survey of North East GPs revealed that 80% said the pressure of dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak has left them with mental health problems. The research was carried out by the North East & Cumbria Regional LMC which also revealed that 61% of GP practices had seen morale deteriorate while 60% of doctors said the chance of them leaving the profession, retiring early or emigrating had increased compared to before the pandemic.
30th Oct 2020 - ChronicleLive

Coronavirus lockdown rules have led to relatives refusing to speak to each other, research finds

One in 12 people is no longer speaking to a friend or family member because of disagreements about the pandemic. When and how the UK should emerge from lockdown restrictions has divided not only the nation but also families and friends – even leading to some relatives refusing to talk to each other, research has revealed. People who rely on social media for coronavirus information are more likely to have been involved in confrontations and reports to the authorities over lockdown rules, the study by King’s College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori also found. They are at least five times as likely to say they have been reported and four times as likely to have been confronted for not wearing a face covering. A small minority have challenged others about following the rules too carefully, the researchers found, and one in 12 is no longer speaking to a friend or family member because of disagreements about the pandemic.
29th Oct 2020 - iNews

'I was just sat in my room all day': lonely students seek mental health support

University students are struggling with loneliness and anxiety due to campus lockdowns, with the risk that their mental health will deteriorate further unless urgent action is taken, counsellors and charities are warning. Nightline, a phone line run by 2,951 student volunteers that reaches 1.6 million of their peers, has reported higher demand than usual for this time of year as self-isolation takes its toll on students’ mental health. “We normally see significant numbers of calls dealing with loneliness, and this year that number is higher,” says Brendan Mahon, a Nightline trustee.
28th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Two fifths of doctors say pandemic has worsened their mental health

More than two fifths of doctors in the UK say that their mental health is now worse than before the pandemic, a BMA survey has found. The association received responses from 6610 doctors working across England to a snapshot survey it conducted in October. Of the 6550 doctors who responded to a question about their mental wellbeing, 43% said that they were currently experiencing work related depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, emotional distress, or other mental health condition and that it was worse than it had been before the pandemic started. A further 12% said they had a work related mental health problem but it was no different than it had been before the pandemic, while 39% said they did not have a work related problem, and 6% preferred not to say. Of 6559 doctors who responded to a follow-up question, a third (32%) said that their health and wellbeing were slightly worse than it had been during the first wave of the pandemic and 10% said it was much worse. More than a third (37%) said it was the same, while 21% said it was better.
27th Oct 2020 - The BMJ


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Maharashtra extends ongoing Covid-19 lockdown till November 30

The Maharashtra government on Thursday extended the ongoing lockdown by another month as cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continue to rise in the state. It will now remain in effect till November 30, officials said. While nationwide tally is witnessing a drop in daily cases, Maharashtra continues to be the worst-affected state by the Covid-19 in the country with 130,286 active cases. As of Wednesday morning, the death toll in the state stood at 14,86,926.
29th Oct 2020 - Hindustan Times

Australia's lockdown paid off: coronavirus cases hit zero in Victoria

Australia recorded zero new coronavirus cases in Victoria, the epicenter of its outbreak, on Monday and Tuesday. Victoria imposed aggressive lockdown measures in July as cases began to climb. For 111 days, Melbourne residents were only allowed to leave home for essential purposes like exercising or grocery shopping. The city also imposed fines on people who held large gatherings, traveled to and from work without a permit, and didn't wear a mask in public. Many of those restrictions were lifted on Wednesday.
29th Oct 2020 - Business Insider

Covid-19 coronavirus: Lockdown blamed for immunisation rate drop

A drop in infant immunisation rates during the Covid-19 lockdown has health workers scrambling to catch up. They fear "fake news" about vaccinations during the election campaign could add to the problem. The rate of vaccination among 6 month olds dropped 2.4 per cent to 76.2 per cent in the April to June quarter, which captured most of the level 4 lockdown and gradual lowering of restrictions, compared to the same time last year. The latest Ministry of Health data showed there was also a 4.4 per cent drop in those with the greatest socio-economic deprivation and a 5.6 per cent decline in Maori infants.
29th Oct 2020 - New Zealand Herald


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Stupid excuses given for $20m in fines during Melbourne’s second lockdown

Millions of Melburnians have finally tasted freedom after being confined to their homes for 112 days, but not everyone played by the rules during the city’s strict second lockdown. At least 13,900 fines worth a whopping $20.15 million were dished out to Victorians for breaching the chief health officer’s directions and not wearing masks since the lockdown was reimposed on July 8. Among the thousands of fines were at least 2856 Melburnians caught out during curfew hours, 1935 people who failed to wear a face covering and 1768 motorists detected trying to get through a “ring of steel” checkpoint. There was also no shortage of excuses tried on police by rule breakers trying to weasel their way out of a $1652 fine.
28th Oct 2020 - NEWS.com.au


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Quebec to stay in partial lockdown for another four weeks

The partial pandemic lockdown that has closed bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, museums, libraries and casinos in Quebec’s “red zones,” mainly in and around Montreal and Quebec City, will continue until Nov. 23. Premier François Legault announced on Monday that the closures, which were supposed to be lifted on Oct. 29, will remain in effect. This is because, after nearly four weeks, Quebec has reached a plateau of 800 to 1,000 new COVID-19 cases daily, but has still failed to slow the virus’s spread. “We have 10 deaths today,” the premier said. “I’m not used to that. Our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, our sisters. “One (death) is one too many,” he added. “We have to stick together, more than ever.”
27th Oct 2020 - iPolitics

Covid: toddlers from UK's poorest families 'hit hardest by lockdown'

Babies and toddlers from poorer backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with less access to books and outdoor space during lockdown than children growing up in wealthier families, research has found. The developmental impact of the coronavirus crisis on children aged 0-3 has been largely undocumented, but early findings from the new study suggest young children from disadvantaged backgrounds have missed out on activities during lockdown which play a vital part in child development. The study, conducted by researchers at five UK universities and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, surveyed more than 500 parents of children under three about the sort of activities they enjoyed with their child before and during lockdown.
27th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

England and Wales Covid lockdown for children in custody 'cruel and inhumane'

The UK government’s policy of allowing children in detention in England and Wales to be locked alone in their cells for up to 23 hours a day under emergency Covid-19 measures is “extreme and inhumane” and could lead to lifelong mental health damage, according to the UN special rapporteur on torture and leading child health experts. Since March, facilities have been able to keep children as young as 12 confined alone in their cells for all but around 40 minutes a day. The measures, which were put in place to stop potential Covid-19 outbreaks, affect around 500 under 18-year-olds in youth detention and another 4,000 18-21-year-olds held in adult prisons.
27th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Guidelines for 'reopening' from lockdown extended till November 30

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday extended the guidelines for reopening from the coronavirus lockdown until November 30. The guidelines were issued last month on September 30 and were meant to be applicable until October 31.
27th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

You're Not Welcome Here: How Social Distancing Can Destroy The Global Economy

"Nobody wants to see more restrictions, but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners' lives," London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the London Assembly. Taking away the welcome mat is key to cutting off the path of the coronavirus. From the beginning of the pandemic, cities, states and countries have banned each other. And now, eight months into lockdowns that have led to immense stress and fatigue among people, some places around the world are introducing even more draconian measures. The path toward recovery continues to be inherently antisocial and runs counter to how humans interact, live lives and conduct their business. This unwelcome policy — which has already harmed families, societies and economies — has the potential to lead to a tectonic shift in how the world functions in the foreseeable future.
27th Oct 2020 - NPR


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Coronavirus: Local lockdowns 'stifling jobs recovery'

Deserted High Streets and home working are stifling the British job market's recovery, new research suggests. Urban areas in Scotland and southern England have seen the biggest declines in job postings, according to the Centre for Cities (CfC) think tank. Vacancies have failed to return to pre-pandemic levels across all 63 towns and cities it analysed across the UK. CfC boss Andrew Carter said local lockdowns, while necessary, will exacerbate the situation over winter. The slow jobs recovery is linked to a "collapse" in the number of jobs in services being advertised, CfC said.
26th Oct 2020 - BBC

Two Scots areas are the UK hotspots for slumps in job vacancies during the Covid lockdown

Aberdeen and Edinburgh have become worst in a UK-wide cities study revealing a slump in job vacancies during lockdown as the areas are more reliant on industries hit hardest by the economic fallout. Urban areas in Scotland and south England are bearing the steepest declines in vacancies, the Centre for Cities found. The think tank, and jobs site Indeed, found that seven months after the nationwide lockdown was imposed, job vacancies have failed to return to pre-Covid levels in all 63 towns and cities analysed.
26th Oct 2020 - heraldscotland.com

How Australian renters have suffered through the lockdowns

Australians stuck living in share houses during pandemic share their struggles Many renters faced relationship break-ups, tough landlords and fears of eviction At least 20 per cent of Australian renters chose to move back with their parents
26th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Australia's COVID-19 lockdown also prevented about 400 deaths from other illnesses - research paper

Social distancing and lockdowns in Australia not only slowed the spread of COVID-19, they saved the lives of about 400 people who would have been expected to died in June from respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, a research paper published on Monday showed. Examining Australia’s most recent official fatality data, the Actuaries Institute said there was a shortfall between verified deaths and the number expected during the mid-winter month, which it concluded was due to a decline in respiratory illnesses.
26th Oct 2020 - Reuters


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Virus is pummeling Europe’s eateries — and winter is coming

As the Friday night dinner service began earlier this month at the De Viering restaurant outside Brussels, it seemed the owners’ decision to move the operation into the spacious village church to comply with coronavirus rules was paying off. The reservation book was full and the kitchen was bustling. And then Belgium’s prime minister ordered cafes, bars and restaurants to close for at least a month in the face of surging infections. “It’s another shock, of course, because — yes, all the investments are made,” said chef Heidi Vanhasselt. She and her sommelier husband Christophe Claes had installed a kitchen and new toilets in the Saint Bernardus church in Heikruis, as well as committing to 10 months’ rent and pouring energy into creative solutions.
25th Oct 2020 - Associated Press on MSN.com


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Covid-19: Services for special needs children 'went to zero overnight'

Essential services for many young people with disabilities "went to zero overnight" due to lockdown, a Stormont committee has heard. MLAs were told that as a result, some children had harmed themselves and injured their parents. Donna Jennings, from the Evangelical Alliance, said the need for help increased, "but services disappeared". Schools, including most special schools, closed to the majority of pupils for a number of months. Many respite and other support services were also suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
22nd Oct 2020 - BBC

Two Indian restaurants in Melbourne to defy lockdown rules and open up

Two Indian restaurants to defy lockdown rules. Honest Restaurant in Dandenong and Lala’s Kitchen in Boronia to open dine-in on Monday. The state government has announced dine-in to be allowed from November 1
22nd Oct 2020 - SBS

COVID-19 Lockdown Contributes To Infant Mortality Cluster In Australia

The city of Adelaide in South Australia has seen four newborn deaths in four weeks due to COVID-19 lockdowns preventing transport to better-equipped hospitals in Victoria. Officials in Victoria say Adelaide lockdowns prevented them from initiating medical transport. Adelaide’s hospitals are chronically underfunded and lack both the personnel and equipment to deal with these difficult cases. The hospital was already under investigation for the third infant death when the fourth fatality occurred on Friday. Obstetrician, gynecologist and professor John Svigos testified on Oct. 13 that Adelaide’s hospital is the only one in a mainland capital city that does not have heart machines for children and infants.
22nd Oct 2020 - International Business Times

Indian garment workers cover bosses' lockdown losses

From unpaid overtime to wage cuts, Indian garment workers say they are being made to compensate their bosses for the food, shelter and salary provided in the coronavirus lockdown. But it is a steep price for a workforce that was already juggling low pay and poor conditions before the pandemic shuttered their factories and strangulated orders. Workers say they are being offered the choice of less money or working extra shifts for free to pay back their bosses, who dangle the threat of unemployment if employees refuse.
22nd Oct 2020 - Reuters India

Foreign tourism shutdown supports Russia's struggling economy amid COVID-19

Russia’s economy could benefit by up to $30 billion this year from Russians spending their roubles at home rather than on foreign holidays due to travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, economists say. The estimates are a rare piece of good news for an economy battered by low global oil prices as well as coronavirus lockdowns. Russia ran a budget deficit of around $23 billion in the first nine months of this year. Like many other countries, Russia also saw foreign tourists stay away in droves in 2020. But it sent far fewer travellers overseas than usual after closing its borders in March. The outflow in some cases fell by as much as 80%.
22nd Oct 2020 - Reuters UK


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Covid-19: Nottingham party students fined £40,000

Four university students have been fined £10,000 each after telling police who broke up their house party they were "spoiling their fun". Officers on patrol spotted a party in Lenton, Nottingham, on Tuesday night but were told everyone had left. But inside they found more than 30 people hiding and, when challenged, organisers complained they should be having the "time of their lives". Nottingham Trent University said the third-year students had been suspended. Mixing of households or support bubbles indoors has been banned since Nottingham went into tier two restrictions on 14 October.
21st Oct 2020 - BBC

Inmates locked up for 23 hours due to Covid is ‘dangerous’ warns chief of prisons

Inmates locked up for 23 hours due to Covid is ‘dangerous’ warns chief of prisons. In an interview with BBC Newsnight, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clark, said keeping inmates in their cells for such lengthy periods under Covid restrictions impacted on their mental health. While the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) claims the move to reduce the spread of the virus has led to a drop in violence and self harm, Clark disagrees claiming the argument is “shallow”. He said self harm was in fact on the rise in women’s prisons.
21st Oct 2020 - Euro Weekly News

Covid-19: Fraud Attempts Against Businesses In India Doubled In Lockdown

There was a doubling of online fraud attempts against businesses in India during the initial days of the lockdown and the same went down subsequently as the economy began unlocking, an American information and insights company said on Tuesday. TransUnion found that suspected online fraud attempts against Indian businesses increased 121% in the first phase of the pandemic (between March 11 to May as compared to before the pandemic (between Jan. 1 to March 10). As businesses began reopening (May 19 to July 25), there was a 29% decrease in suspected digital fraud attempts in India against businesses when compared to the first phase of the lockdown, it added.
21st Oct 2020 - Bloomberg Quint

Why Victoria's lockdown killed four newborn babies

Four Adelaide babies with heart issues died over course of the past four weeks Normally they would be transferred to Victoria's Royal Melbourne Hospital But this option was 'not tenable' due to the coronavirus pandemic, inquiry heard Adelaide's Women's and Children Hospital is not equipped for heart surgeries
21st Oct 2020 - Daily Mail


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Docu Meme highlights unseen victims of coronavirus pandemic in Japan

As the number of novel coronavirus infections continues to grow, so do the stigmas and stereotypes associated with certain segments of Japan’s population, be they caregivers, entertainment-district workers, foreign residents, students or the unemployed and homeless. Adrift in the torrent of issues that have come out of the pandemic, many people are finding it difficult to be heard and receive the support they need. Out of this landscape emerged Docu Meme, an independent collective of documentary creators — Naoki Uchiyama, Itaru Matsui and Toru Kubota — who are on a mission to shed light on those who have been neglected or even rejected by society during the pandemic. Similar to viral images found on the internet, the group wants its documentary shorts to travel widely and convey as efficiently as possible the plight of voiceless people in Japan.
20th Oct 2020 - The Japan Times


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Migrant Workers Restricted to Farms Under One Grower’s Virus Lockdown

This year, there is a new and even more difficult working condition: To keep the coronavirus from spreading and jeopardizing the harvest, Lipman has put its crews on lockdown. With few exceptions, they have been ordered to remain either in the camps, where they are housed, or the fields, where they toil. The restrictions have allowed Lipman’s tomato operations to run smoothly, with a substantially lower caseload than many farms and processing facilities across the country that have wrestled to contain large outbreaks. But they have caused some workers to complain that their worksite has become like a prison.
19th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

Record 11,000 UK shops closed this year due to pandemic

The coronavirus lockdown has pushed more stores off the high street with an unprecedented number of shops closing in the first half of 2020. Between January and August just over 11,000 shops were forced to shut their doors to the public as people turned to online shopping during the pandemic. Around 5,000 shops stayed open leaving 6,001 net closures. This is almost double the closures in the same period last year, according to Local Data Company and Accountancy firm PwC. Even with these staggering figures, analysts predict the reality is much direr as they were not able to include outlets that were temporarily closed during analyst visits that may not have been able to reopen.
19th Oct 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Restrictions stay after ship records 24 new COVID-19 infections in WA

An operation to remove crew from a COVID-19 infected livestock ship is due to get underway this morning at Fremantle Port in Western Australia. It comes as a number of passengers who arrived in Perth overnight from Sydney on board a plane have now been put onto buses and taken to hotel quarantine. The 45 travellers are believed to have come from New Zealand via the newly-opened travel bubble.
19th Oct 2020 - 9News

Toddler behaviour hardest hit during Covid-19 lockdowns, survey finds

Charlotte Gurnell’s three-year-old daughter regressed in her potty training and invented an imaginary friend. The tantrums of Olivia Rysenbry’s normally sweet-natured, 3-year-old daughter intensified. Victoria Gray’s 3-year-old son switched to a short attention span and didn’t play as well with his little brother. If you noticed a drastic and negative change in your toddler's behaviour during a Covid-19 lockdown, you’re not alone.
19th Oct 2020 - Stuff.co.nz


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The Coronavirus Slayers: Meet The Female Leaders On India’s Covid-19 Frontline

KK Shailaja makes for an unlikely national hero. But the bespectacled, sari-clad, 63-year-old minister of health and social justice – and former science teacher – was an early beacon in India, thanks to her foresight and fast thinking in preparing her state, Kerala, for the pandemic. It is thanks to the quick intervention of the Coronavirus Slayer (as she became known in the Indian press) that the state still has such low mortality rates from Covid-19. In June, Shailaja was recognised for her efforts by the UN.
18th Oct 2020 - VogueUK

Missteps made Victoria's lockdown harder than it needed to be

Jacinda Ardern’s historic victory in the New Zealand elections shows that voters will reward leaders who make them feel safe. Ms Ardern will lead the first NZ single-party majority government since 1993 thanks to her success in stopping COVID-19 and keeping deaths down to just 25. Whatever concerns Kiwis have about the economic implications of the hard lockdown – an issue that is far from settled – seem to have been a secondary consideration. The Australian toll has been much higher largely because of the second wave in Victoria, which has contributed to the deaths of more than 700 people since June. It is hard to make direct comparisons but it is safe to say Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has not been nearly as effective in keeping his citizens safe. Failures in hotel quarantine and a lack of confidence in the state’s contact system mean the Stage 4 lockdown imposed on August 3 have gone on for too lon
18th Oct 2020 - The Sydney Morning Herald

Melbourne salon owners defiant after opening despite lockdown laws

The owners of a Melbourne hair salon have been fined close to $10,000 and threatened with arrest after they opened their doors, despite the coronavirus lockdown laws. The Hughesdale business owners' efforts attracted a small crowd of support, but Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said the move was counter-intuitive. However, owner Jomana Najem had strong words for the government.
17th Oct 2020 - 9News


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Lockdown is a 'disaster that causes more pain than it stops'

Sky News host Andrew Bolt says lockdown is “a disaster that causes more pain than it stops”, and it should now “be crystal clear that fighting this virus with lockdowns is a terrible, terrible, terrible mistake”. Mr Bolt said in Victoria, 500 doctors have sent another open letter to Premier Daniel Andrews warning that the Melbourne lockdown, which has been going for six weeks, is causing severe harm. Anaesthetist Dr Eamonn Matthieson said “I think there’s been a massive collateral damage in the health and mental health spaces in particular due to the lockdowns. “There are growing number, a very large numbers of doctors who are gravely concerned about the impact of these lockdowns and we are calling for them to cease, we believe they are disproportionate and unscientific,” Dr Matthias said.
15th Oct 2020 - Sky News Australia


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Coronavirus lockdown 2.0 deepens divisions in Israel

Even before the pandemic, Israel had one of the largest income gaps and poverty rates among developed economies, with a few high earners, mostly in the lucrative high-tech sector, while many Israelis barely get by as civil servants, in service industries or as small business owners. Those gaps have widened as the second nationwide lockdown, imposed last month, dealt a new blow to an economy already hit hard by the first round of restrictions. The fallout from the pandemic has also deepened long-simmering divisions among Israeli Jews, pitting a largely secular majority against a powerful ultra-Orthodox minority. Much public anger has turned toward ultra-Orthodox leaders, whose communities have flouted public safety rules, sent coronavirus rates skyrocketing and vociferously resisted calls for targeted lockdowns.
14th Oct 2020 - CTV News

Lack of mental health help: ‘I felt nobody cares'

The number of under-18s getting NHS help for mental health issues in England nearly halved in the first two months of lockdown. Young people who weren't able to get support say they felt like they "didn't really matter". The number of people in England referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) dropped 47% in April and May, compared with last year. Charities worry a drop like this could happen again if we see a second spike and further lockdowns around the UK.
14th Oct 2020 - BBC

COVID-19 lockdown in Israel extended till October 18

The period of the general quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Israel has been extended until October 18, the prime minister and the health minister said in a joint statement. Earlier, Israel imposed strict norms of nationwide quarantine until the end of the fall holidays - October 11, and then the period was extended until October 14. According to these norms, many workplaces are closed, with the exception of vital and continuous production lines, only grocery stores and pharmacies continue to work.
14th Oct 2020 - The New Indian Express

Melbourne beauty salons devastated, urge easing of lockdown

Melbourne beauty salons have lost 80 to 95 per cent of their income in sweeping devastation to the sector since the COVID-19 pandemic started, industry experts say. Salon owners are now pleading with the Victorian government to reopen from Sunday, saying changes are needed “for the sake of all of our wellbeing”. “We understood when we were asked to close down on the 25th of March, however to still be closed down is now destroying the lives of over 45,000 team members – it is obliterating our industry,” Australian Hair and Beauty Association board member Sia Psicharis said.
14th Oct 2020 - The Australian

Business owner opens Melbourne clothing store despite risk of $10,000 fine in Dan Andrews' lockdown

In Melbourne, a small business owner who reopened his clothing store despite the risk of fines in has urged others to do the same after overwhelming support from the community. Harry Hutchinson announced on Monday he was at his wits end and was reopening his store despite the risk of a $10,000 fine for breaking lockdown rules. The decision has proved to be profitable so far, with Mr Hutchinson telling Daily Mail Australia his stock has been flying off the shelves. Mr Hutchinson said his store reopening had inspired others in Berwick to open their doors and he urged others to follow suit.
14th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail


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Coronavirus: World's strictest lockdowns as COVID-19 continues to ravage countries

While in New Zealand, people head to international test rugby matches, stroll around town, and prepare for the upcoming summer music festival season, others around the world continue to face harsh COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. The University of Oxford's COVID-19 Government Response Stringency Index (GRSI) spotlights how countries are tackling the pandemic and provides a 0-100 scale to show their relative strictness. It's based on nine response indicators, including school closures, workplace closures, and travel bans. According to the Index, as of Thursday Argentina had the strictest measures in the world with a value of 91.67. Its value peaked in April at 100 and has been in either the late 80s or 90s ever since.
13th Oct 2020 - Newshub

Mental health crisis: One million ‘lost’ in coronavirus lockdown

More than a million Australians have sought mental health treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, while ongoing lockdowns in Victoria have sparked a social crisis, with a 30 per cent rise in cases in the past four weeks. The first official data revealing the depth of the mental health disaster in Victoria since the second wave outbreak reveals access to some crisis services has risen by up to 67 per cent in the space of four weeks. Demand for children’s mental health has also skyrocketed in Victoria, with access to services jumping more than 30 per cent since September.
13th Oct 2020 - The Australian

Talking about how lockdown affects mental health doesn't make you a Covid-denier

Owen Jones talks about the toll on our mental health taken by covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. "Young people in particular have formed a cordon sanitaire around their older and more vulnerable fellow citizens, an unprecedented peacetime act of generational sacrifice – and at such cost to themselves. According to the Lancet, children’s mental health deteriorated in lockdown more than any other age group, while eight in 10 young people reported that the pandemic had made their mental health worse, with one in four opting for “much worse”."
13th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Ukraine extends coronavirus lockdown to December 31

Ukraine’s government voted on Tuesday to extend until the end of the year a lockdown that Prime Minister Denys Shmygal told a televised cabinet meeting was aimed at containing a recent spike in coronavirus cases. The daily tally of new infections in Ukraine has climbed to record levels and 107 deaths were recorded in the 24 hours to Tuesday.
13th Oct 2020 - Metro US


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COVID lockdown 'fatigue' is rapidly developing

Recent polls have shown a “real lockdown fatigue” is developing across the nation with people becoming more disillusioned with the pace of restrictions being eased, according to Sky News contributor Catherine McGregor. A Newspoll conducted exclusively for The Australian shows “the once strong support for stopping the spread of the virus as a priority over economic recovery has swung significantly over the past few months,” The Australian’s Simon Benson writes. Falling from 76 per cent, now only 54 per cent of voters claim to be “most concerned” about governments moving “too quickly” to relax state-imposed restrictions.
12th Oct 2020 - Sky News Australia

Victoria should ease lockdown, epidemiologist says

Victoria does not need to get down to just five cases a day to ease its three-month lockdown which residents are fed up with, says a leading epidemiologist. Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday that Victoria would take a step towards opening up next Sunday, but it would not be as big as was originally hoped. "It is in no way warranted for people to be despondent, or for people to lose any sense of hope," he said. This strategy is working, but you have got to do it properly." The state announced 14 new coronavirus cases yesterday, and a third day in a row of no deaths. The premier said he understood the frustrations with people wanting to get back to a normal way of life, but said any next steps "had to be safe". Professor Tony Blakely who lives in Melbourne is one of four epidemiologists who has carried out modelling for the state government. He said a reduction to five cases a day was based on an elimination strategy but that was becoming very unlikely.
12th Oct 2020 - RNZ

'Not scared of the virus', Myanmar taxi driver's pilgrimage to a sacred pagoda

Defying the threat of contracting coronavirus and a citywide lockdown, Myanmar taxi driver Ko Naing, 50, still travels each day to pray outside the sacred Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the country’s holiest Buddhist site. “I’m not scared of the virus because I feel protected by my religion and regular praying at the pagoda,” he told Reuters, kneeling at the front gate of the pagoda. The number of COVID-19 infections in Myanmar, which has one of the world’s weakest health systems, has surged from a few hundred in mid-August to more than 27,000 cases and 646 deaths as of Monday.
12th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19: Worldwide airport passenger numbers plummeted 58% in the first half of 2020, says report

Data was released by Airports Council International in its airport traffic report. In the first half of 2020, overall aircraft movements globally fell by 41.6 per cent. Atlanta, the world's busiest airport, saw passenger numbers drop 56.6 per cent
12th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Doctors petition for Victorian premier Daniel Andrews to lift lockdown

A group of 500 doctors have warned in an open letter that more people will be killed than saved if Victoria's lockdowns are not lifted. The letter urges State Premier Daniel Andrews to immediately rollback the harsh restrictions for the sake of residents and their mental wellbeing. The response to the virus will cause more deaths and result in far more negative health effects than the virus itself,' the letter reads.
11th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Street cricket with beer: Londoners defy COVID rules

With cricket bat, bowler and beer, Londoners set up an impromptu game of night cricket on the high street in Peckham this week as fatigue and frustration with the British government’s lockdown rules rise. Revellers lined the street as a batsman before what appears to be a cardboard box faced a bowler racing down the street. The batsman cracks the ball with a cut shot to cheers while some spill beer and smile.
11th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

UK watchdog warns banks over remote working conduct rules

Banks must apply the same standards of surveillance and conduct to staff working from home or in the office during the pandemic and in future as working practices change, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday. The FCA is paying particular attention to how inside or sensitive information is handled at a time when the volume of mergers, and issuance of shares and debt is rising sharply to keep companies afloat. There is a risk of less self-policing among front office staff working from home, said Julia Hoggett, the FCA’s director for market oversight.
11th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

India’s schoolchildren pay the price for coronavirus lockdown

Outside the locked and deserted Vidya Sagar Public School, the eight-year-old daughter of a snack vendor sits forlornly on her father’s disused pushcart. Before coronavirus, Rachna Kashyap was one of 200 pupils whose working-class parents paid Rs400 ($5.40) in monthly tuition to send their children to the no-frills, English-medium private school instead of overcrowded and underperforming state schools. But the school, which employed nine teachers, collapsed during India’s lockdown that cost millions of jobs. Parents could no longer afford the fees and the school lacked the wherewithal to transition to online learning.
11th Oct 2020 - The Financial Times


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FiercePharmaAsia—Eli Lilly rushes to FDA with its COVID-19 antibody for emergency green light, reveals new cocktail therapy data

Eli Lilly is seeking FDA emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail upon an interim analysis of the phase 2 Blaze-1 trial, which showed the combo reduced viral load, symptoms, and the rate of hospitalization and ER visits. The therapy combines LY-CoV555, from a collaboration with AbCellera, and LY-CoV016, which Lilly licenses from China’s Junshi Biosciences.
9th Oct 2020 - FiercePharma

Coronavirus pandemic fuels child labor in India as desperate families send kids off to work

When India's government imposed a strict lockdown in March to try to curb coronavirus infections, Sagheer Shah, a tailor in the small town of Faizabad, had to close his shop. For three months he didn't earn a penny, burning through his savings to put food on table for his family. He was able to reopen when restrictions started easing in July, but only saw a fraction of his previous trade resume. To make ends meet, he decided to send his 14-year-old son Asif, whose school was closed anyway, hundreds of miles away to Delhi to work in a car painting shop.
9th Oct 2020 - CBS News


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‘It’s like a prison’: students speak of lockdown struggles

In England, universities have been moving to crack down on breaches of coronavirus regulations on campus, but many students who got in touch with the Guardian via a callout said they were struggling with their mental health as a result of university measures. Since Sam Potter’s first day as a medical student at the University of Birmingham, security guards have patrolled his halls of residence, with an override key allowing them to enter students’ flats if they are suspicious that coronavirus rules are being broken. “We received an email from the halls saying that if we were caught with more than six people in our flat, the university would be notified and we could be kicked off the course, but it seems to be just intimidation tactics,” he said. Potter, 20, said he didn’t blame the university for the situation, and understood it “had to enforce” measures, but found it frustrating to be unable to support fellow students who were struggling.
8th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Lockdown rules are so arbitrary that the government should just tell northern England it can only breathe every other day

One of the most enjoyable rules confusing us at the moment is the one about pubs and restaurants shutting at 10pm. Because it makes no difference, but looks as if we’re doing something, which is the important thing. So over the next few weeks, we should see more of these strange restrictions. We’ve heard about potential plans to shut pubs and restaurants altogether in certain regions. Next, the government will announce that all teaspoons must face north, and no one is allowed to eat a tomato in the afternoon. From Tuesday in Leicestershire, no one will be allowed to look at a tree. Humming will be banned across Nottingham, and in Humberside, you can only breathe in on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and breathe out on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. On Sundays, you have to live underwater.
8th Oct 2020 - The Independent

AI cameras introduced in London to monitor social distancing and lockdown restrictions

Artificial Intelligence cameras are being used in London and other cities in the UK to monitor social distancing. The sensors were initially developed by Vivacity to track the flow of traffic, cyclists and pedestrians and monitor how roads are being used. But when the country went into lockdown in March, Vivacity added on an extra feature to the AI scanners so it could register the distance between pedestrians. This data is shared in a monthly report with the Government.
8th Oct 2020 - Evening Standard

Poorest areas of England four times as likely to face lockdown as richest

England’s poorest communities are nearly four times as likely to face lockdown restrictions as the wealthiest areas, a Guardian analysis has found, as local leaders warned of a “winter of dangerous discontent” in the north of England without urgent financial support. A study of official figures shows a wide disparity in the resurgence of coronavirus across the country, with the most deprived areas bearing the brunt of the second wave. In Liverpool, almost two-thirds of the areas with the highest infection rates were among the poorest 10% of communities in England. More than half of Birmingham and Manchester’s worst-hit areas are among the country’s most deprived.
8th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Why aren't local lockdowns working?

Pubs, bars and restaurants in Edinburgh, Glasgow and much of Scotland’s central belt will be closed from Friday at 6pm, while pubs, bars and restaurants in Merseyside, Newcastle and Manchester will follow suit on Monday. This means the majority of people in Scotland and Wales are now under some form of lockdown, and England may be heading the same way. In Northern Ireland, meanwhile, Diane Dodds, the economy minister, has called on Westminster to provide additional funds in order to facilitate the possibility of a further lockdown.
8th Oct 2020 - New Statesman

The forgotten city? One hundred days on, Leicester remains in country’s longest local lockdown

It has now been 100 days since the jewel of the East Midlands became the first place in the UK to enter into local coronavirus lockdown. As the rest of the country started returning to some semblance of normality following the three-month national shuttering, health secretary Matt Hancock dropped the bombshell that restrictions would not only remain in place in Leicester, they would in fact be tightened. Non-essential shops were to be shut once more; bars and restaurants would not be allowed to open; different households would remain banned from mixing. Haircuts stayed off limits.
8th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Locking down early may help economies recover faster, says IMF

Strict, early lockdowns may be less economically damaging than voluntary measures because they reduce infection rates more quickly and pave the way for faster recoveries, the International Monetary Fund has said. By cross-referencing jobs and mobility data with health and economic figures for 128 countries, the fund showed that lockdowns caused more short-term harm than voluntary restrictions but may have “positive overall effects on the economy” by allowing a broader and quicker economic reopening. Central to the analysis was the discovery that “lockdowns and voluntary social distancing played a near comparable role in driving the economic recession”, particularly in advanced economies where people were able to work from home. “Addressing health risks appears to be a pre-condition to allow for a strong and sustained economic recovery."
8th Oct 2020 - The Times

Coronavirus: World Bank supports lockdown

Up to 150 million people could slip into extreme poverty, living on less than $1.90 a day, by late next year depending on how badly economies shrink during the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank said Wednesday in an outlook grimmer than before. Some 82 percent of the people entering extreme poverty are expected to be in middle-income countries such as India, Nigeria and Indonesia, the bank said. Many will be more educated urban residents, meaning cities will see an increase in the kind of poverty traditionally rooted in rural areas.
8th Oct 2020 - AlArabiya

We should be counting years of life lost or saved

A group of researchers led by Olga Yakusheva, a University of Michigan economist, has sought to estimate the net number of lives saved (or lost) by pandemic-mitigating policies in the US in 2020. The team finds that these public-health measures saved between 913,762 and 2,046,322 lives, but also could result in an “indirect collateral loss” of 84,000 to 514,800 lives, implying 398,962 to 1,962,322 net lives saved. That is a wide range, but still clearly a positive outcome.
8th Oct 2020 - The Age

Johnson weighs tougher measures after England lockdown failures

Boris Johnson on Wednesday confronted the fact that his attempt to control coronavirus through a series of local lockdowns had failed across large parts of England. New restrictions were now inevitable: the only question was how far would they go? Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has led ministerial efforts to forestall tougher lockdown measures, aligning himself with Tory MPs who fear the costs of closing down large sections of the economy cannot be justified. But Mr Sunak is now resigned to new economic restrictions in the English regions and the need for more support for companies struggling to survive the pandemic. He said on Monday that he was ready to deploy the “might of the British state” to further help people through the crisis and on Wednesday one ally of the chancellor said: “We have not ruled out going further.”
8th Oct 2020 - The Financial Times

PM Johnson says COVID cases rising but lockdown approach correct

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted on Wednesday that his government’s approach to controlling the spread of COVID-19 was still the right one, despite rising infection rates. Johnson’s strategy over the summer, when new nationwide infections were in the low hundreds per day, was to try to shut down localised outbreaks while reopening the wider economy. Since then, new cases have risen sharply, with more than 14,000 reported on Wednesday and data beginning to show a slow rise in the number of virus patients admitted to hospital. “The local and regional approach combined with the national measures remains correct,” Johnson told parliament when asked why infections continued to rise in areas where local lockdown measures have been put in place.
7th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK


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The Uneven Decline of Health Services Across States During the Lockdown

The national lockdown in April-May 2020 had devastating effects on people’s employment and earnings. About half of urban workers, for instance, did not earn any income during that period, according to a recent survey by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. For good measure, many public services were also reduced or discontinued. This includes routine health services.
7th Oct 2020 - The Wire Science

Australia's Victoria state reaches lower infection milestone

Australia’s city of Melbourne, capital of the coronavirus hotspot state of Victoria, on Wednesday reported the lowest two-week average of new cases after a second contagion wave that led to one of the world’s toughest lockdowns. For the first time since the second coronavirus outbreak caused more than 800 deaths in the state - more than 90% of the country’s 897 virus-related deaths - the two-week average has fallen below 10. The metric is key as officials in the second-most-populous state are reluctant to ease mobility restrictions until the rolling average in the two-week window falls below five. “The strategy is working,” premier Daniel Andrews told reporters at his daily briefing. “Its success is pinned ultimately to whether symptomatic people come forward and get tested.”
7th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

How virus lockdowns have triggered a surge in domestic violence across Australia

Coronavirus lockdown triggered a surge in domestic violence across Australia. About 13.2 per cent of women living with partners experienced a form of abuse. Poverty and financial stress often limit women from fleeing violent situations. Experts have warned reduced welfare payments may force women to stay.
7th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Family violence spiked after news of level 4 lockdown, new data shows

Family violence reports soared as New Zealand reeled from the news it was going into level 4 lockdown, new figures show. On March 24, the day after the announcement, 645 reports of family violence were made to police –second only to New Year’s Day, typically a peak for family violence incidents. The report draws together data from the Family Court in Auckland, police and Oranga Tamariki, and shows that while family violence increased, the reporting of harm to other agencies went down. Oranga Tamariki nationally saw a 24 per cent decrease in reports of concern during Levels 3 and 4, a similar trend to what is seen during the school holidays.
7th Oct 2020 - Stuff.co.nz

Shocking Impact Of Lockdown On Vulnerable Children And Families Revealed

Shocking data released today reveal the dramatic impact the Covid-19 lockdowns had on vulnerable children and families in New Zealand. For the first time, statistics from the Family Court in Auckland, and the Police and Oranga Tamariki nationwide, have been brought together to give a true picture of what happened while the country was in lockdown. The information has been compiled by K3 Legal Director and specialist family law practitioner Toni Brown, who has more than 20 years’ experience working with children and families, and well-known QC Kate Davenport, the former president of the NZ Bar Association.
7th Oct 2020 - Scoop.co.nz

Covid Has Wiped Out the Economic Dreams of a Generation in Asia

Asia’s fast-growing economies for decades have offered millions of young people the chance to do better than their parents, a path to upward mobility now at risk as youth unemployment soars in a region home to a majority of the world’s 15- to 24-year-olds. These young people -- just at the start of their working lives -- are losing jobs at a faster rate than older generations because almost half are clustered in the four economic sectors hurt most by the Covid-19 pandemic, including wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, business services and accommodations and food service.
7th Oct 2020 - Bloomberg


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COVID aid could bring years of austerity, charities warn IMF

Five hundred of the world’s leading charities and social groups have sent a letter to the International Monetary Fund warning that its support programmes, which have had to be ramped up to cope with COVID-19, were condemning many countries to years of austerity. The IMF has responded to an unprecedented number of calls for emergency financing as a result of this year’s pandemic and lockdown measures driving the global economy into a severe recession.
6th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Lockdown hit food security of children, says rights body

The Covid-19 pandemic has likely exacerbated hunger and malnutrition among communities most vulnerable to food insecurity, especially children, an experts’ committee set up by the National Human Rights Commission has said. In an advisory, the rights watchdog has asked the Union ministries of food and public distribution, women and child development and education to urgently restore and expand coverage under various food handout programmes.
6th Oct 2020 - Hindustan Times

Pros and cons of lockdown

Millions of people across the north of England are currently under newly implemented lockdown measures following a surge of cases across the country in recent weeks. Greater Manchester has been under a local lockdown since the end of July. In the northeast, Northumberland, Newcastle, Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham have been under stricter measures since 30 September, and this weekend new restrictions were introduced in Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough
6th Oct 2020 - The Week UK

Coronavirus UK: 400 fines in Manchester for breaking lockdown rules

In Manchester, a number of lockdown parties over the weekend means 400 fines for flouting coronavirus restrictions have now been handed out. Police say they had a ‘busy weekend’ in the city after issuing 85 fines between Friday and Sunday. Greater Manchester has been under a local lockdown since the end of July, with household mixing banned in homes and gardens
6th Oct 2020 - Metro.co.uk


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The Uneven Decline of Health Services Across States During Lockdown

In India, the national lockdown in April-May 2020 had devastating effects on people’s employment and earnings. About half of urban workers, for instance, did not earn any income during that period according to a recent survey by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. For good measure, many public services were also reduced or discontinued. This includes routine health services. Clear evidence of the massive disruption of health services during the lockdown is available from the Indian government’s Health Management Information System (HMIS).
5th Oct 2020 - The Wire

Mana, last village on India-China border, to continue with its own lockdown

In India, even though the entire country is in Unlock mode, the 500-odd residents of Mana – the last Indian village before China border adjoining Uttarakhand – have unanimously decided to continue with their self-imposed lockdown and isolation. Not a single case of Covid-19 has been reported in the village with over 150 families, and the locals do not want to spot their track record. It was a unanimous decision by all the families.
5th Oct 2020 - The Times of India

'Heavy-handed' cops slammed after new COVID-19 fines data emerges

Victorians have been hit with far more COVID-19 fines than any other state in Australia, an economist's numbers show. Data released by economist Saul Eslake on coronavirus breaches during the state's first lockdown showed a huge imbalance between Victoria and the rest of Australia. COVID-19 fines in Victoria averaged out to $90 per 100,000 people. For all other states and territories it was about $20 – and just $16 for New South Wales. Community lawyer Lloyd Murphy claimed police had been "heavy handed", with young people disproportionately affected. "And now here's even more data to suggest people from migrant backgrounds and people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds are being targeted even further."
5th Oct 2020 - 9News.com.au


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'Go to your room for two weeks': lockdown toll on aged care residents

The residents of a Melbourne aged care home with no active coronavirus cases have been told that if they leave to visit a doctor, they must stay in their rooms for a fortnight upon their return. It is one of many homes across the city to introduce strict resident lockdowns to cut the risk of infections after coronavirus swept through Victorian aged care, where 637 have died with COVID-19. But some families and aged care experts warn forced isolation is taking a huge toll on the elderly, who are not the main risk of introducing coronavirus to homes, and may be as much about protecting the reputation of home operators as it is their residents.
3rd Oct 2020 - The Age

Melbourne’s lockdown drove a sharp drop in national retail turnover in August

Victorian retail spending plunged 13 per cent in August as Melbourne’s lockdown forced businesses to close and shoppers to stay at home. The state’s heightened restrictions, which included curfews in the state’s capital and limits to how far residents could move from their homes, helped end a three-month retail recovery as national turnover dropped by 4 per cent in the month, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
3rd Oct 2020 - The Australian

Numbers show lockdowns are a 'no brainer'. Letting people die isn't

COVID-19 has killed 890 people in Australia, 802 of whom were over 70, 669 of whom were in government-supported aged care. Estimates vary on how many would have died had we not locked down. “It’s easier to estimate the negative effects of lockdown, because we don’t see [the positive effects],” says Flinders University health economist Professor Jonathan Karnon. Australians’ mental health has worsened and the number of children in hospital with anorexia has dramatically increased. But the number of suicides in Victoria has remained steady. How much of the mental health toll can be slated to lockdowns, versus the general anxiety of a once-in-a-generation pandemic? The virus does seem to pose long-term health risks to even the young and healthy, but we won’t truly know what those are for years. The same is true for lockdown's long-term damage to children’s education and the job prospects of university graduates looking for jobs amid a recession.
3rd Oct 2020 - The Sydney Morning Herald

Police increase patrolling in Australia's COVID-19 hotspot

Police in Australia’s coronavirus hotspot state of Victoria stepped up patrolling on Saturday as hundreds of people in the city of Melbourne breached stringent lockdown restrictions and flocked to beaches on the warmest weekend in months. Under the restrictions, nearly five million people in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, may exercise or socialise outdoors for a maximum of two hours a day, but must stay close to home. People must wear masks in public places. But television and social media footage showed crowds, many people without masks, at some of Melbourne’s beaches as temperatures soared ahead of summer in the southern hemisphere.
3rd Oct 2020 - Reuters

'The land that time forgot': months of lockdown grate in northern England

While much of England has enjoyed a return to some semblance of normality this summer, with the strictest coronavirus restrictions lifted, swathes of northern England have had just a few weeks’ respite from curbs. These northern boroughs and towns came out of lockdown with the rest of the country on 4 July, but just weeks later had local measures introduced preventing them from – to differing degrees – seeing family, opening businesses and visiting pubs or restaurants. There is an overwhelming feeling in these areas of having been forgotten, of “lockdown prejudice”, being left under restrictions when others have enjoyed the little freedom the country may experience this year.
2nd Oct 2020 - The Guardian

5 charts on how COVID-19 is hitting Australia's young adults hard

The following five charts provide a snapshot of how COVID-19 is affecting Australians aged 18-24. Though the health impacts of the coronavirus fall most on the elderly, it is young adults that have been hit hardest by the economic and psychological costs of the pandemic response. The data for the charts comes from results gleaned from two major surveys run by the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne.
2nd Oct 2020 - The Conversation AU


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Cuba lifts Havana lockdown as coronavirus cases fall

Cuba said on Wednesday it was lifting a curfew and partial lockdown in Havana, in place since Sept. 1. to contain a second wave of the new coronavirus. The governor of Havana Reinaldo García Zapata said cases had dropped to an average of 21 per day over the last week for an infection rate of 0.87 in justifying the decision. Most of the Caribbean nation began returning to a new normal months ago, though there have been minor and quickly contained outbreaks of the virus in a few provinces and a new surge is still to be contained in central Ciego de Avila province.
2nd Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Supreme Court orders airlines to refund bookings during coronavirus lockdown

India's top court on Friday ordered airlines to refund passengers who were forced to cancel tickets booked during a two-month, nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Supreme Court told airlines to refund the money within three weeks in a decision that will add to the burden on cash-strapped Indian carriers whose revenues have been hit by coronavirus restrictions on air travel. The lockdown, imposed on March 25, banned domestic and international travel, closed factories, schools, offices and all shops other than those supplying essential services. It caused extensive economic disruption and measures were eased from May as the virus was still spreading.
1st Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

Maharashtra extends Covid-19 lockdown till October 31, Mumbai local to allow dabbawalas

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday said that the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) disease has been extended till October 31. However, hotels, food courts, restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate from October 5 with 50% capacity, the state government added.
1st Oct 2020 - Hindustan Times

Student potentially unable to return home to family after year abroad says she feels 'forgotten'

After the 22-year-old University of Technology Sydney student arrived in France in January for a 12-month exchange, the coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside-down. What followed was eight months of lockdowns and restrictions - and at the end of it all the prospect of returning home to family, friends, boyfriend and, of course, her two dogs Bobbi and Benson. Through weeks of being unable to leave her room at student accommodation due to France's harsh COVID-19 lockdown, Ms Fletcher has kept her sights set firmly on completing her study and returning home in January. But her plans to return were thrown into limbo after receiving an email warning her flight may be pushed back due to ongoing flight caps on international arrivals. "Basically, I was told I could try to guarantee a flight home but I'd have to pay thousands of dollars to upgrade it, which I definitely do not have," she told nine.com.au. "But if I was to keep my economy tickets and my flight gets pushed back, I would have to deal with my visa and my visa is only one year."
1st Oct 2020 - 9News

Thank you, Victoria – Australia as a whole is healthier and wealthier because of you

Thank you, Victorians. Your determination to crush the second wave of Covid-19 has delivered me, and the rest of Australia, enormous health, social and economic benefits. Your resolve, your patience and your sacrifice, means that the rest of Australia has been able to open up our personal and economic lives. The nation as a whole is healthier, wealthier, and indeed wiser because of you. While nothing can be certain, it’s likely that – absent another Ruby Princess or quarantine hotel debacle – Australia will experience a relatively normal, if socially distant, Christmas this year while North America and most of Europe prepare for the human and economic costs of ongoing deaths and disruption. Since July, the United States has averaged around 50,000 new cases per day and, since opening up their interlinked economies too early, countries such as the UK, France and Italy are all now experiencing thousands of new cases per day as their second wave of infections roll across the continent.
1st Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Israel passes law to ban mass protests during lockdown

Israel's parliament has handed the government the power to ban mass protests during the country's second nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Demonstrators will be confined to groups of up to 20 people and must stay within 1km (0.6 miles) of their homes. The law should have been part of a range of measures passed on Friday. But the government struggled to get the necessary votes after critics accused it of trying to stifle protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For weeks, thousands of people have gathered outside his official residence in Jerusalem to demand he resign over corruption allegations and his handling of the pandemic. Mr Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.
1st Oct 2020 - BBC

German court rules insurer must pay restaurant's lockdown claim

A German court has ruled that a Munich restaurant’s insurer must pay out a claim for losses caused by the state-imposed COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, the first prominent such case in Germany in which the court found in favour of the plaintiff. There are hundreds of similar lawsuits pending after many insurers in Germany, including Allianz ALVG.DE, refused to pay businesses for lockdown losses, arguing that while effects of other pandemics would have been insured, COVID-19 had not been named specifically in the terms and conditions.
1st Oct 2020 - Reuters UK


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Panama's trans community failed by gendered lockdown measures – report

A London School of Economics study has found the response “failed to recognise diverse gender identities and may reproduce inequalities and injustice for non-binary individuals with unknown long-term effects”. The controversial measures were meant to halve the numbers of people on the streets at any one time but the rules left trans people vulnerable to victimisation.
30th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Netanyahu: Coronavirus lockdown to last at least a month

Israel’s current coronavirus lockdown will last at least a month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified Tuesday during a Facebook briefing. During that time, he said, the government will prepare a proper exit strategy. “I want to be honest - it will not be less than a month. It may take much longer,” the prime minister said. He then verbally presented a number of his goals for the next few weeks, similar to those that he had released in a statement after Yom Kippur: preparing the health system, ensuring the public wears masks, implementing rapid tests and, of course, reducing the country’s rate of infection.
30th Sep 2020 - The Jerusalem Post

Israel’s second lockdown could last a while, Netanyahu says.

Israel’s second national lockdown is likely to last at least a month and perhaps much longer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, as the country’s soaring infection rate of around 8,000 confirmed new cases a day remained among the highest in the world. “In my opinion, it won’t be less than a month, and it could take much more time,” Mr. Netanyahu said during a Facebook Live video session. The lockdown came into effect this month, on the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday, and was tightened on Friday after Mr. Netanyahu warned that without immediate measures, Israel would “reach the edge of the abyss.” Israelis must remain within 1,000 meters of their homes unless they are going to authorized places of work or seeking essential supplies or services, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 20 people.
30th Sep 2020 - The New York Times

Tamil Nadu Govt Extends Lockdown Till October 31, Withdraws Decision to Reopen Schools

The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday extended the ongoing lockdown till October 31 with more relaxations and put on hold its earlier order permitting students from class X to XII to voluntarily seek their teachers' guidance from October 1 by going to schools. The government's decision to defer plans on allowing students to go to schools on voluntary basis to clear doubts from their teachers followed opposition from parents who had declined to send their wards to the educational institutions.
30th Sep 2020 - News18

Coronavirus lockdown costs South Africa millions of jobs

South Africa's economy lost 2.2 million jobs in the second quarter of 2020 during the country's coronavirus lockdown, the authorities say. It is the biggest fall in job numbers since the employment survey began in 2008.
30th Sep 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus US: Disney cuts 28,000 jobs as lockdown hits theme parks

The announcement was made in a letter to employees Tuesday from Josh D'Amaro, Disney's head of parks, who described the move as a 'difficult' decision The layoffs have been made to workers wi