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Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th Jan 2021

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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Nov 2020

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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


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 13th Nov 2020

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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


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Nov 2020

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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


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th Nov 2020

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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


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 10th Nov 2020

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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


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 9th Nov 2020

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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 within Disney's parks, experiences and products segment - accounting for 25 percent of Disney's US resort workforce Around 67 seven percent of the 28,000 layoffs were part-time workers, but they ranged from salaried employees to nonunion hourly workers - While the company has been able to operate its Florida park at limited capacity, its resort in California has remained shuttered since the spring -
30th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Doctors plead with Victorian Premier to ease lockdown over 'disturbing' mental health concerns

A group of doctors has written to Victoria's Premier, describing "disturbing" mental health concerns among school children and pleading to have the state's lockdown eased. The letter, signed by 10 Victorian GPs, details a number of serious mental health concerns arising as a result of the state's harsh stage four lockdown rules. "Due to the continuing harsh lockdown, the children, young adults and new mothers I mainly treat are in anguish, despair and have no hope," Dr Stacey Harris said in the letter.
30th Sep 2020 - 9News

The only local lockdown that worked? How Luton cut the number of Covid cases and escaped further restrictions

In July, when lockdown measures were being gradually eased in the rest of the country, Luton was one of a handful of areas to have the relaxation stalled. With cases rising at a concerning rate, the town, along with Blackburn with Darwen, was listed as an “area of intervention” and the planned reopening of leisure facilities was temporarily cancelled. By the end of the month, cases in Luton were controlled enough for the area to be brought back in line with the rest of the country. Blackburn, on the other hand, was put into local lockdown – where it has remained.
30th Sep 2020 - iNews


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Spain Ends Furlough Uncertainty With Last-Minute Extension

The Spanish government reached a last-minute deal to extend its furlough program after weeks of negotiations that left businesses and workers on edge in a country suffering one of Europe’s deepest economic shocks this year. The Spanish government reached a last-minute deal to extend its furlough program after weeks of negotiations that left businesses and workers on edge in a country suffering one of Europe’s deepest economic shocks this year. The program is extended until Jan. 31, Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz said on Tuesday.
29th Sep 2020 - Bloomberg

Spain extends COVID furlough scheme to January

Spain on Tuesday agreed a last-minute extension of a scheme supporting hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed due to COVID-19, as part of a broader social protection package. Spain is the European country with the highest number of coronavirus cases and its economy, the euro zone’s fourth-largest, is in its deepest recession on record. In a deal reached hours before the ERTE furlough scheme was due to expire, the government agreed with unions and businesses to extend it until Jan. 31. “It’s a day of hope for our country’s businesses and workers,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz told a news conference after a weekly cabinet meeting. “If we can make it through the autumn and the winter, then we will definitively be entering a recovery.”
29th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Israel minister says ‘no way’ virus lockdown will end soon

Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Tuesday that there was “no way” the country’s second nationwide coronavirus lockdown would be lifted after three weeks as originally planned. “There’s no way that in 10 days we’ll be lifting all the restrictions and saying it’s all over, everything is fine,” he told public broadcaster Kan. Israel imposed its second lockdown on September 18 after the coronavirus infection rate soared. It was originally scheduled to end on October 10.
29th Sep 2020 - Manila Bulletin


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Coronavirus in Argentina: Cases continue to soar despite strict lockdown

#Argentina´s novel #coronavirus infections were poised to top 700,000 on Saturday as new daily infections and deaths hit the top five globally, despite seven months of #quarantine that have ravaged the frail economy.
28th Sep 2020 - FRANCE 24

Scottish police break up 300 house parties over weekend as revellers snub hospitality lockdown

Police Scotland handed out 101 fines and made 14 arrests while responding to complaints of house parties between Friday night and Sunday. It comes amid widespread criticism of 10pm curfew.
28th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Wales lockdown: Businesses affected by Covid offered grants

Businesses in Wales hit by coronavirus will be offered £140m in grants, Economy Minister Ken Skates has said. Nearly two-thirds of Wales' population are now living under lockdown after new measures were brought in at 18:00 BST. Neath Port Talbot (NPT), Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan have joined eight other areas in lockdown, affecting almost two million people in total. The country's two biggest cities - Cardiff and Swansea - had restrictions applied on Sunday evening. The new rules mean no travel outside council boundaries other than for work, education or medical emergencies, with no indoor mixing allowed and no alcohol sales after 22:00. Conwy, Denbighshire, Wrexham, Flintshire, Anglesey and Carmarthenshire are being "closely monitored" by Public Health Wales, meaning if cases continue to rise they could also face lockdowns.
28th Sep 2020 - BBC

Sudanese and Aboriginal people overrepresented in fines from Victoria police during first lockdown

As the Victorian government ramps up penalties to $5,000 for breaching Covid-19 gathering rules, statistics show young people received almost half of all fines dished out during the state’s first wave, while the South Sudanese and Aboriginal communities received an outsize number of fines. Data released by the Crime Statistics Agency last week shows there were 6,062 breaches of Covid-19 rules associated with 5,474 people during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Victoria. The average age was 29.5 years, and just one in four of those fined were women. Approximately 42% of those were under the age of 24.
28th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Auckland job losses not as bad as predicted - figures

New figures show Auckland's job losses have been far fewer than predicted, despite the city going into lockdown last month. The council forecast 250 jobs a day would go during level 3 but the latest Jobseeker figures show an average of 93 people a day have gone on the benefit in Auckland since 7 August - days before level 3 was reimposed. Nationally, an average of 219 people have accessed the Jobseeker benefit each day. Westpac chief economist Dominic Stephens said the cost of lockdown has not been as severe as first thought. "I've been stunned at the resilience of the economy to lockdowns. The number of job losses has been less than expected and the impact on GDP has been at the more moderate end of estimates. What that indicates is that the cost of a lockdown is not what we thought," he said
28th Sep 2020 - Newshub

Israel doubly deserted on Yom Kippur during holiday and COVID-19 lockdown

In ordinary times Yom Kippur brings much of Israel to a standstill, as businesses close and roads empty for the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. But the world has looked very different this year, so deserted highways in city centres have become something of a familiar sight, even on days other than religious holidays when. Israel entered its second-wave lockdown on Sept. 18 after a surge of new cases had hospitals worrying about the strain on admissions. The country of nine million people has logged at least 1,441 deaths from COVID-19.
28th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK


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NHS Covid-19 app refuses to let users enter negative test results and insists they STAY in 14-day quarantine in flaw that has affected 60,000 people in 24 hours

App tells users to self-isolate if they alert it to any coronavirus-like symptoms But if they fail to book a test through the app they then cannot enter the results This means they are unable to turn off a warning advising them to self-isolate The Department of Health said that they had now fixed the problem
26th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Military to support Birmingham's Covid-19 testing

Military support is being brought in to help with the coronavirus testing programme in Birmingham. About 100 military personnel will aid Birmingham City Council with its "drop and collect" testing programme. At a weekly briefing, the council's deputy leader said it would assist civilian efforts to maximise the numbers of tests able to be done. It comes as the number of cases in the city reached 107.6 per 100,000 people - the highest in the West Midlands. The "drop and collect service" sees tests dropped off at a resident's door and then collected by staff and is aimed at areas with high rates of infection, to provide a service to people who can't leave their homes and to encourage those who may not be proactive in getting tested.
26th Sep 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus: Israel tightens second lockdown amid acrimony

Israel has tightened restrictions on its population in the fight against coronavirus, one week after a second lockdown came into effect. From Friday afternoon, businesses not officially considered essential were ordered closed, and travel restricted to 1km (0.6 miles) from people's homes. Other planned rules which would affect protesters and synagogue-goers have not yet been approved amid acrimony. Covid-19 cases in Israel have continued to rise despite the latest lockdown. A new record of more than 8,000 infections for a single day were recorded on Thursday in Israel, which has one of the highest rates of infections per capita in the world.
26th Sep 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus: More than a quarter of UK under stricter rules

More than a quarter of the UK population is set to be under stricter coronavirus rules, as new measures come into force this weekend. From Saturday in England, households in Leeds, Wigan, Stockport and Blackpool are banned from mixing in each other's homes or gardens. In Wales, Llanelli became subject to new rules at 18:00 BST, with Cardiff and Swansea to follow 24 hours later. It comes as the rate at which the virus is spreading appears to be speeding up. There have been 6,042 new coronavirus infections in the UK over the past 24 hours, according to the latest government figures - and 34 deaths among those who tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 28 days. It marks the fourth consecutive day that new infections across the UK have topped 6,000.
26th Sep 2020 - BBC

UK Government local coronavirus testing site opens in Edinburgh

A new walk-through coronavirus testing centre has opened in Edinburgh. The new facility is being provided by the UK Government as part of a UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for local communities. The centre, in the Usher Hall, will offer pre-booked tests for those with coronavirus symptoms. The new site is situated so as to be easily accessible without a car. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre.
26th Sep 2020 - GOV.UK


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Lives of hundreds of homeless people saved when UK went into lockdown

The lives of hundreds of homeless people may have been saved by emergency accommodation during the lockdown. Rough sleepers were rapidly brought into hotels at the start of the outbreak, while dormitory-style communal shelters were closed, and infection control measures were ramped up in hostels. It’s now thought the measures could have prevented 266 deaths linked to Covid-19, according to a study by University College London (UCL). Data from charities and hostels suggests around 4% of homeless people caught coronavirus during the first wave of the virus.
24th Sep 2020 - Metro

Australia's Victoria state reports 12 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

Australia’s Victoria state, the epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, said on Thursday the number of new daily infections was close to a three-month low, buoying hopes that restrictions will be eased sooner than expected. The Victorian government said 12 people had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, near a three-month low of 11 cases reported earlier this week. Australia’s second-most-populous state is on an extended hard lockdown until Sept. 27, although some restrictions may be eased earlier if new infections continue to trend lower.
24th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Three-quarters of temporary migrants reporting domestic violence during coronavirus lockdown fear for their lives

An Australian-first analysis of case files from a domestic and family service provider in Victoria has revealed the impact of coronavirus on temporary migrants living with violence.
24th Sep 2020 - SBS News


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People didn't follow the Covid rules out of fear. They did it for the common good

As the government lurches from U-turns to full-on pile-ups, and a second wave of Covid-19 looms large, it’s worth remembering something. For three months back in the spring, we – UK citizens – did what we needed to do. The government may have dozed at the wheel, but when it finally woke up, we acted collectively by staying at home to save lives. And with some notable exceptions, we stayed the course by locking down for longer and more willingly than some predicted.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus Victoria: CNN vindicates Dan Andrews’ controversial lockdown

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has been heckled near and far as “Dictator Dan” and mocked in editorial cartoons for turning his state into a “gulag”. But vindication for imposing some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in the world is beginning to flow as new case numbers remain low and steady, while new polling reveals a groundswell of support for the Labor leader. And the world is beginning to notice as a CNN report declared Mr Andrews’ strict shutdown the blueprint to containing the deadly coronavirus.
23rd Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Lockdown in numbers as the UK reaches the six-month mark

A look at lockdown in numbers, six months on from the evening of March 23, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide restrictions. The day lockdown began, the toll for those who died after contracting coronavirus had already reached quadruple figures. There had been 950 deaths in England and Wales, 43 in Scotland and seven in Northern Ireland, based on figures for death registrations. This has since risen to some 41,825 fatalities, with cumulative cases at 403,551, according to the latest Government figures.
23rd Sep 2020 - expressandstar.com

Coronavirus: The numbers that help tell the story of six months since lockdown

A new wave of coronavirus restrictions are set to come into force six months after the the UK was placed under a national lockdown. The measures include closing pubs, restaurants and bars at 10pm and limiting weddings to 15 people. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new restrictions could be in place for another six months. As the country marks exactly six months since the national lockdown was imposed on 23 March, we take a look at some of the numbers that help to tell the story of the pandemic since then.
23rd Sep 2020 - Sky News

Australia's virus hotspot may speed up lifting curbs as cases fall

Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria is considering easing curbs sooner than previously flagged, the state’s premier said on Wednesday, as the two-week average of new infections in the city of Melbourne dropped below 30. Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, has been the epicentre of the country’s second wave of COVID-19. The city has been under a hard lockdown, including a nightly curfew, since Aug. 2. The state reported 15 new cases and five deaths on Wednesday. The 14-day average in Melbourne dropped below the 30-50 band which the state set as a precondition for allowing around 100,000 people to return to work in construction, manufacturing, warehouses and child care from Sept. 28.
23rd Sep 2020 - Reuters Canada


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‘Provide food to sex workers during lockdown’: SC tells Centre, states

Moved by the plight of lakhs of sex workers rendered jobless and without an alternate source of livelihood following the Covid-19 lockdown, the Supreme Court gave a week’s time to the states to respond on providing them free ration and asked Centre if something could be immediately provided to them in the exercise of its powers under the National Disaster Management Act.
22nd Sep 2020 - Hindustan Times

Australia’s ‘extreme’ 2nd lockdown curbed coronavirus — here’s what it took

As Canada’s coronavirus cases continue to climb, many health experts are warning the public that a second lockdown may be around the corner. And as Canadians prepare for a potential fall or winter shutdown, experts argue we may want to look at Australia’s strict second lockdown measures in order to figure out how to tackle spiking coronavirus cases.
22nd Sep 2020 - Global News

Populism and Ostracism: Living with COVID-19 in India – Byline Times

Aday after declaring the world’s strictest lockdown on 24 March, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said that India would win the war against the Coronavirus in 21 days. The country has now passed five million recorded cases of COVID-19, with more than 87,000 reported deaths. In the past 21 days (28 August to 17 September), India added 1.7 million infections to its numbers – more than the total case count in Russia, the fourth worst affected nation. When India just had more than 500 cases, a 21-day lockdown was declared by Modi, giving 1.3 billion people a mere four hours’ notice to prepare themselves. All activities were brought to a halt, including public transport. The result was a 23.9% contraction in the country’s GDP. Experts warned that it was too early for India to go into lockdown. It didn’t help to ‘flatten the curve’ of the pandemic either.
21st Sep 2020 - Byline Times


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Coronavirus: Australia set for lowest daily infections in months - as it says Europe serves as a warning

Australia appears to be heading for its lowest daily increase in coronavirus cases in three months, as a state leader said infection spikes in Europe served as a warning about the dangers of exiting lockdown too soon. In the country's virus epicentre, Victoria, some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in the world were imposed in the city of Melbourne after a spike in cases last month.
21st Sep 2020 - Sky News

Daniel Andrews is urged to end Victoria's lockdown

Daniel Andrews is being urged to relax lockdown restrictions ahead of schedule after Victoria recorded only 11 new cases of coronavirus on Monday. It's the lowest number of new daily cases since mid-June - but the premier's road map plans to keep Melbourne shut down until at least 26 October. Asked if the timeline would be brought forward, Mr Andrews said he would be 'guided by common sense' but insisted that 'it is too early for us to open up.'
21st Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Favourite Aussie summer hot spots about to get even more crowded

Just 13 weeks out from Christmas, Australians are planning family holidays not just domestically, but without leaving their own state borders. And some of Australia's most popular destinations could become even more crowded this summer, as Aussies close out their year from hell with much-needed local breaks.
21st Sep 2020 - 9News

Why harsh COVID-19 lockdowns are good for the economy

It has been a pile-on for the past few months as Team Australia has splintered right down the political divide. Border closures in Western Australia and Queensland have been called out as unnecessary while the Victorian lockdown has been labelled an overreaction that has angered business leaders and drawn the ire of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The restrictions, we are constantly told, are costing the nation dearly, delaying a return to normal activity and pushing out the timetable for an economic recovery.
21st Sep 2020 - ABC News

Dash for bigger homes pushes up September asking prices, Rightmove says

Surging activity in Britain’s housing market nudged up asking prices for homes in September, as buyers sought larger properties following the coronavirus lockdown, a survey showed on Monday. Property website Rightmove estimated there were almost 40% more sales moving through the pipeline than a year ago, chiming with other surveys that show a post-lockdown surge in the market, helped by a temporary cut in property tax. Rightmove said asking prices rose 0.2% in September, reversing August’s decline. The national average asking price now stands at 319,996 pounds ($415,642), up 5.0% on a year ago.
21st Sep 2020 - Reuters

Australia heads for lowest virus count in three months

Australia reported on Monday its smallest daily increase in new coronavirus infections in more than three months, but authorities in the nation’s virus hotspot of Victoria said they could not hasten the easing of curbs. The 16 new infections are Australia’s smallest daily jump since June 14, while two additional deaths were reported. “This light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer every day,” Nick Coatsworth, the chief deputy medical officer told reporters in Canberra, the capital.
21st Sep 2020 - Reuters Australia


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UK 'faces six months of coronavirus restrictions' - with 'on-off' lockdowns likely

Brits could face six months of restrictions - with "on-off" lockdown measures to stop the spread of Covid-19. Yesterday the Prime Minister warned the country is just six weeks behind France and Spain - where the daily death toll rose to 239 this week, and admitted a second wave was "inevitable". He is now considering six months of "circuit breaker" lockdowns - which would see strict restrictions introduced for around two weeks, and then eased slightly. Ministers hope this approach can avoid a full UK-wide lockdown like the one that was introduced on March 23. The on-off restrictions could see limits placed on social contact and hospitality venues such as bars and restaurants made to close.
20th Sep 2020 - Mirror Online


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Who suffers most from Melbourne's extended lockdown? Hint: They are not necessarily particularly vocal

Businesses are protesting vociferously about Victoria's extended lockdown. It's "gut-wrenching," "devastating," a "trainwreck," a "death knell." Yet businesses and shareholders are far from representative of those most at risk. The best evidence we've got suggests the hardest hit are Victoria's already disadvantaged. Those arguing for extended lockdowns make the point that they are not as costly as they might seem (to anyone) because their effects need to be compared not with business as usual, but with business in which a pandemic encourages people to stay at home and reduce spending.
17th Sep 2020 - Medical Xpress

Australia says daily COVID-19 cases fall to three-month low

Australia on Thursday reported its lowest one-day rise in new COVID-19 cases in nearly three months, as states said restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus will be further relaxed. Australia said 35 cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the past 24 hours, the lowest one-day rise since June 24. Victoria state - Australia’s COVID-19 epicentre - accounted for the bulk of the new cases, with 28 people diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours. “It is a fantastic outcome and a tribute to the hard work, sacrifice and contribution every single Victorian is making and I want to say thank you,” Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
17th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Victorian lockdown impact to be 'laid bare' in August unemployment figures

InvestSMART’s Evan Lucas says Australia’s August unemployment numbers set to be released on Thursday will take into account the entire Victorian lockdown scenario. Mr Lucas said the numbers would be negative and were difficult to gauge correctly due to the JobKeeper program. “The Victorian effect will finally be laid bare today with how much unemployment in Victoria has now happened because of stage four lockdowns,” he said. He said the United States Federal Reserve had come to the point where “monetary policy is running out of its ability to actually react to the market and to react to the economy and needs to get fiscal policy to support it”.
17th Sep 2020 - Sky News Australia

Southern hemisphere has record low flu cases amid Covid lockdowns

Health systems across the southern hemisphere were bracing a few months ago for their annual surge in influenza cases, which alongside Covid-19 could have overwhelmed hospitals. They never came. Many countries in the southern half of the globe have instead experienced either record low levels of flu or none at all, public health specialists in Australia, New Zealand and South America have said, sparing potentially tens of thousands of lives and offering a glimmer of hope as winter approaches in the northern hemisphere. General practitioners in New Zealand have not detected a single influenza case since they started screening patients in June, health data shows; last year about 57% of the samples they collected were positive.
17th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Victorian child deaths spike during Covid lockdown after series of home accidents

Eight young children have died in the past two months across Victoria in a series of incidents experts say have spiked due to the state’s Covid-19 lockdown. In one case, a youngster was unintentionally strangled after getting caught in a curtain chain. Each year an average of 17 children die from unintentional injuries across the state, according to the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit. But there have been eight deaths since the beginning of August, the coroner reported. They were all aged under five.
17th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Melbourne’s lockdown set to surpass Wuhan’s

Residents in Melbourne’s original 10 hot spots have already been through 78 days of lockdown, beating the 77 days faced by residents of Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first detected. Those living in other parts of Melbourne will surpass Wuhan’s lockdown next week. The Chinese city, which went into lockdown on January 23 and came out of it on April 8, had about coronavirus 70,000 cases. As of Thursday, Victoria has 19,970.
17th Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au


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Australia sees lowest one-day rise in coronavirus cases in almost three months

Australia reported its lowest one-day rise in novel coronavirus infections in nearly three months on Monday as authorities began to ease restrictions aimed at slowing its spread. Thirty-nine people were found to be infected with the virus in the past 24 hours, the lowest one-day increase in new cases since June 26, when 37 infections were detected. With dwindling numbers of new infections, the epicentre of Australia’s latest outbreak, Victoria state, has begun easing restrictions, allowing people to leave their homes for longer periods for exercise and shortening a curfew at night.
16th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Australia's Victoria state reports 42 new COVID-19 cases, eight deaths

Australia’s Victoria state on Wednesday said the daily rise in infections in its coronavirus hot spot of Melbourne has eased further, putting it on course to relax an extended hard lockdown in the city by the end of the month. Average cases over the last two weeks in Melbourne, the state’s largest city, fell below 50, health authorities said, the benchmark the state set to start easing curbs. Construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities can reopen, allowing more than 100,000 workers to return to their jobs, if the 14-day rolling average is under 50 cases as of Sept. 28. The state has set a much tougher target of a 14-day average of five cases for lifting a nightly curfew, allowing people out of home for more than two hours a day, and reopening more businesses in Melbourne from Oct 26.
16th Sep 2020 - Reuters


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Nicola Sturgeon coronavirus update RECAP as lockdown restrictions continue in west central Scotland

A new law has come into force across Scotland today limiting social gatherings to a maximum of six people from two different households. It comes as the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to rise. Over the last 24-hour period a total of 70 people tested for the deadly virus, but Nicola Sturgeon said the figure was likely incomplete. She raised concern over a serious backlog of lab tests in the UK-wide system. The new rules apply to both indoor and outdoor setting, including in pubs, restaurants, homes and gardens. Kids under the age of 12 will not count. Across Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire people are restricted from meeting anyone from other households. The restrictions were today ordered to continue until another review on September 22.
15th Sep 2020 - Daily Record

Coronavirus in Germany: American ‘superspreader’ could face €2,000 fine for pub crawl in Bavaria

An American woman who became a “superspreader” by heading out on a pub crawl in Bavaria, despite being told to self-isolate, has been identified but not yet reprimanded, local authorities in Germany have said. Despite showing symptoms of coronavirus, a 26-year-old US citizen allegedly went out partying in the Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, kick-starting more than 40 infections in the town. Local media report that the woman, who works at a hotel for US soldiers and their families, was tested for the virus after suffering from a sore throat. She was told to quarantine herself for 14 days while awaiting the result, but ignored the order and went on a pub crawl. She reportedly visited a number of bars and restaurants and was told the following morning that she had tested positive.
15th Sep 2020 - iNews

Teachers in India carry on with lessons outdoors during lockdown

Out on a street in an Indian village, half a dozen children gather around their teacher who points a stick at the diagrams on a wall, one of many murals in the neighbourhood being used to help poor students keep up with their education during the coronavirus pandemic. With schools shut since March in a virus lockdown, teachers in Nilamnagar, western India, became concerned that some youngsters would fall behind because their families cannot afford an Internet subscription for online classes. So they came up with a workaround – children like playing on the streets, so they would take their lessons outside. “Since most of the families lack resources to educate their kids digitally, we had to come up with an innovative method to keep children invested in education, ” said Ram Gaikwad, a teacher at Asha Marathi Vidyalaya school.
15th Sep 2020 - The Star Online

India's economic activity almost at pre-lockdown levels but Covid looms: Nomura

Economic activity accelerated further in the week ended September 13, returning almost to pre-lockdown levels, a private tracker released on Monday showed. The Nomura India Business Resumption Index, which monitors economic activity normalisation, rose to 81.6 from 79 in the week ended September 6.
15th Sep 2020 - The Economic Times

Filmmakers capture horror and humanity of Wuhan’s coronavirus lockdown

Documentary shows life inside the city’s hospitals during the 76 days it was locked down in early fight against virus. Toronto film festival screens harrowing account which stays out of politics and focuses on human suffering.
15th Sep 2020 - South China Morning Post

Australia records first day without COVID-19 death in two months

Australia on Tuesday recorded its first day without a COVID-19 death in two months, as states began to lift restrictions amid growing confidence that a second wave of infections has been contained. While officials said there were 50 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a small increase from a day earlier, Australia reported no fresh fatalities for the first time since July 13. Most of the new cases were in Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, which has accounted for about 75% of the country’s COVID-19 infections. Still, with infections falling in regional areas of Victoria, state Premier Daniel Andrews announced social distancing restrictions in those areas would be eased late on Wednesday.
15th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Regional Victoria ‘step 3’ roadmap restrictions and lockdown rules explained

The state government has announced that regional Victoria will now move to step three of the state’s roadmap out of lockdown from midnight on Wednesday 16 September. Stage three restrictions were previously in effect across all of regional Victoria from Thursday 6 August. Metropolitan Melbourne entered stage four restrictions from Sunday 2 August and you can find out all about stage 4 restrictions here. A statewide mandatory mask policy has also been in effect since Monday 3 August. The Victorian government has released a roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions, with the government expecting to move into the final step from 23 November if the entire state has recorded zero new cases for 14 days. Until then, here are some of the main things you need to know about the step three restrictions in regional Victoria:
15th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Australia’s coronavirus ‘dictator’ enforces a drastic lockdown. He’s still popular.

Detractors call him "Dictator Dan." Supporters declare, on social media, #IStandWithAndrews. To residents of Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, he is Daniel Andrews, the premier, or governor, of Victoria state and the politician responsible for inflicting upon them some of the most stringent pandemic control measures on Earth. The city named repeatedly over recent years as the “world’s most livable” has been locked down since July 9. A week ago, Andrews declared that a citywide curfew will not be lifted until Oct. 26 — and then only if the coronavirus is almost eliminated.
15th Sep 2020 - The Washington Post

New Zealand faces another week of Covid restrictions as Ardern defends cautious approach

New Zealand will remain at its current level of Covid-19 restrictions for another week, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said on Monday as she urged the public to stay the course on the county’s “cautious” approach to quashing the virus. “New Zealand has followed a plan that has worked,” she said, referring to her government’s strict, early lockdown of the country in March as New Zealand’s coronavirus cases started to rise. “This has both saved lives, but also meant our economy has been able to be more open in a more sustained way than nearly any other country in the world.”
15th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Alert level 2 extension cancels school formal in Marlborough

An extension of alert level 2 has “gutted” year 13 students in Marlborough, after having to cancel their school formal four days out from the event. On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland would remain in alert level 2.5, while the rest of New Zealand would remain in level 2 until at least 11.59pm on Monday. With a date set down for September 19, restrictions of 100 people per event meant the combined Marlborough Girls’ and Marlborough Boys’ College formal could not go ahead. Formal committee co-chair and Marlborough Boys’ College student Jono Poswillo said he and fellow co-chair Taryn Breen, of Marlborough Girls’ College, started organising the event during New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown earlier this year.
15th Sep 2020 - Stuff.co.nz

Singapore grapples with coronavirus in migrant workers' dormitories

Singapore is battling new clusters of coronavirus infections in migrant dormitories that had won the all-clear from authorities, highlighting the difficulty of stamping out the disease, even in a closely monitored population. As the wealthy city-state tumbled into recession, officials facing intense pressure to revive the economy are opting for limited isolation measures rather than the wide clampdowns earlier, but most low-wage workers are still penned in. “There is little choice,” said Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases expert at the city’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital. “We need to be realistic. We need the economy to go on.” The dormitories, home to more than 300,000 workers in industries such as construction and shipbuilding, with several allocated to a room, contribute nearly 95% of Singapore’s tally of more than 57,000 infections.
15th Sep 2020 - Reuters Africa


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th Sep 2020

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Stuck on the launchpad: How coronavirus is trapping our young people

Ms Thomas, 19, is not alone. She is among the 320,000 people aged between 15 to 24 whose jobs disappeared between March and May. While in other parts of Australia the recovery is under way, Victoria’s youth employment numbers are bumping along the bottom. According to research by Dr Jenny Chesters from the University of Melbourne’s Youth Research Centre, being out of work at the beginning of their productive lives could have long-term consequences for young people. The damage to self esteem from years of rejection stayed with them.
14th Sep 2020 - The Age

Coronavirus Australia: Melbournians escape stage four restrictions by moving to countryside

Melburnians are taking extreme measures to escape the city’s stage four lockdown by upping and moving to the countryside, which has recorded far fewer cases of coronavirus. Real estate agents and academics have noticed an uptick in interest in regional centres around Melbourne, particularly concentrated in areas like Castlemaine and Bendigo. The demand for rural properties is so high that sometimes a property is listed in the morning and it’s sold by the afternoon, according to Rob Waller from Waller Realty in Bendigo.
14th Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au

'We need to keep our eyes on that prize': Jacinda Ardern extends New Zealand's coronavirus restrictions

Jacinda Ardern's cabinet has split over a decision to extend COVID-19 restrictions across New Zealand for an additional week. On Monday, the Prime Minister announced New Zealanders would retain the current social distancing and gathering caps until next week at the earliest. New Zealand enjoyed 102 days without community transmission of the virus over winter but Auckland returned to lockdown last month when new cases emerged. With a tail of cases still being identified by health authorities, including one new case on Monday, Ms Ardern's cabinet made a majority decision not to relax its current restrictions this week.
14th Sep 2020 - SBS

Alert Level 2 Continuation A Slap In The Face To New Zealanders

“Keeping New Zealand at Alert Level 2 shows the Government has failed at its Covid-19 response,” says ACT Leader David Seymour. "The Government says it has done a great job, and we must stay locked down. They cannot have it both ways. Either the Government has failed, or the restrictions can be lifted. “Six months into this epidemic, the only tool the Government has is lockdowns. This approach is not sustainable “New Zealanders are understandably becoming increasingly frustrated at the rules and restrictions they’re facing because the Government didn’t go hard or early enough.
14th Sep 2020 - Scoop.co.nz

India reports over 94,000 new coronavirus cases, over 1,000 more deaths

India reported 94,372 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, taking total cases past 4.7 million, as infection numbers rose in several states amid a gradual opening up of businesses. The number of deaths rose to 78,586, with 1,114 new deaths, health ministry data showed. While several states showed a rise in infections, including the capital New Delhi and the central Chhattisgarh state, the highest numbers were from the India’s biggest and richest state, Maharashtra, which reported 8,204 fresh cases. Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in a news briefing on Sunday urged residents to wear masks and maintain social distancing, amid growing fatigue over a drawn-out lockdown that has made many lax about taking precautions.
14th Sep 2020 - Reuters


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New UK town 'faces imminent lockdown' after spike in coronavirus cases

Hartlepool could face "imminent" new lockdown restrictions after a worrying spike in new coronavirus infections. The leader of the town's council has described it as a "wake up call" and warned that further restrictions may follow. Hartlepool was this week added to a government watchlist after 51 cases were confirmed in seven days - up from 22 the previous week. Shane Moore, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, described the new figures as "extremely worrying". Care homes have been advised to suspend family visits to protect the vulnerable
12th Sep 2020 - Mirror Online

More than 100 children were homeless in Epping Forest at the start of lockdown

More than 100 children were homeless and in temporary accommodation in Epping Forest at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, figures show. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures show 114 children from 62 households were housed in temporary accommodation in Epping Forest at the end of March – an increase of 25 on the same point last year, when there were 89. Across England, there were 129,380 children in temporary accommodation on March 31 – the highest number since 2006.
12th Sep 2020 - Epping Forest Guardian

Sydney woman has been in coronavirus lockdown since March

Jazzy Regan, who is in her 20s, has been in coronavirus lockdown for 183 days Ms Regan is severely asthmatic and lives with her 84-year-old grandma. The pandemic has probably been the 'best time ever' for the young woman. She has learnt to cook, exercises in her loungeroom and works from home
12th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th Sep 2020

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Calls for help surge as teens' mental health suffers in lockdown

Mental health support services have seen calls from children and young people in Victoria jump by up to a third as the state's hard lockdown and extended restrictions on school attendance take a toll. There was a 28 per cent spike in calls to the phone counselling service Kids Helpline between March and July 2020 compared with the same period last year and a 19 per cent jump from July to August compared with the previous month.
10th Sep 2020 - The Age

Make your bed, phone your mother in tears: as Victoria's lockdown drags on, just keep going

Maintaining good nutrition is crucial and an excellent means of incorporating structure into your day. If you are growing your own vegetables – as many have since the “toilet paper-themed scarcity apocalypse” phase of isolation – Instagram everything. Demonstrate second world war-style thrift as you transform beetroot stalks into colourful, inedible gourmet feasts. There’s no need to illustrate your daily half-a-block of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut habit, or admit your car interior reeks of rendered pork fat because you’re driving through at Macca’s at least three times a week. It’s ... not considered polite.
10th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Businesses in lockdown areas COULD be entitled to £1500 every 3 weeks

Cash grants will be available to businesses ordered to close due to local lockdowns in England, the Government has said. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay said “lifeline” grants of up to £1,500 will be on offer every three weeks. His announcement came as Labour demanded targeted income support for businesses and self-employed people in sectors which have been most affected by coronavirus. The Opposition also called for extra income support to be given to areas of the country placed under local lockdown restrictions.
10th Sep 2020 - Lancashire Telegraph

Palestine records highest daily coronavirus infections

Palestine confirmed seven more deaths and 1,000 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours -- the highest single-day jump since the outbreak began. The virus claimed six lives in occupied West Bank, and one in Gaza Strip. In a statement on Thursday, the Health Ministry said the death toll in the country rose to 224, while the total infections reached 37,214 including 25,483 recoveries.
10th Sep 2020 - Anadolu Agency

Norway may have to tighten COVID-19 restrictions, PM says

"The government is considering tighter measures," Solberg told a news conference. "We can't open up anymore at this time ... In case of a rise in the number of infections without a known source, or local outbreaks that are not contained, we will consider tighter restrictions locally, regionally or nationally," she said. The number of people allowed at public gatherings could be cut to 50 from the current 200, and the maximum permitted at private events to 5-10 people from 20 currently, Solberg said. Universities, which reopened with in-person classes in August, could be told to return to all-online teaching, she added. Earlier plans to allow adults outside of the professional leagues to take part in contact sports such as football, remain on hold for the time being, she added. Norway, with a population of 5.4 million, reported 738 coronavirus cases last week, the highest number of any single week since early April, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI).
10th Sep 2020 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore


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The UK's Drinking Problem Got Worse Under Lockdown. Here Are The Facts

When Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey, was reading through the most common reasons UK respondents gave for drinking more in lockdown, one stood out to him: “I’m rewarding myself for getting through Covid.” The annual survey, conducted this year during April and May to take a snapshot of lockdown, revealed what we probably already know: that more than half of people have been drinking more – but also that excessive drinking left many of us feeling worse, exacerbating underlying mental and physical health issues.
9th Sep 2020 - HuffPost UK

Survey shows many young people are drinking less alcohol in lockdown

Our Global Drug Survey released today, which includes replies from more than 55,000 participants, shows a mixed response. We found some people are increasing their use of alcohol and cannabis, mainly due to boredom, which previous research has found. But other people have reduced their drinking and drug use now festivals, nightclubs or parties are no longer an option—a trend that has so far gained less attention.
9th Sep 2020 - Medical Xpress

Fire sweeps refugee camp on Greek island amid virus lockdown

Moria had been under a coronavirus lockdown when the first fire gutted a large section of it, and health officials said some of those who had tested positive for the virus had fled. “The combination of migration and the pandemic in these conditions is creating an exceptionally demanding situation,” Alternate Migration Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos said. Civil protection authorities declared a four-month state of emergency for public health reasons on Lesbos. Officials said the original fire was started by camp residents angered by the lockdown measures and isolation orders imposed after 35 people tested positive for COVID-19. The cases were found during broad testing and contact tracing after the illness of a Somali man who had been granted asylum and had left the island in July but later returned.
9th Sep 2020 - The Washington Post

Singapore’s poorest stay in lockdown while others move freely

With restaurants and malls bustling, pre-pandemic life is slowly returning for people in Singapore—except for the more than 300,000 migrant workers who make up much of the city’s low-wage workforce. Since April, these workers have been confined to their residences with limited exceptions for work. After an extensive testing and quarantine campaign, the government cleared the dormitories where most of these workers live of COVID-19 in August, letting residents leave for several “essential errands,” like court appearances and doctor’s appointments. The government said last month it was working toward relaxing more rules for workers. Those plans are now under threat, with new virus clusters emerging in the dorms, where workers from China, India, Indonesia and elsewhere share bunks and tight living spaces.
9th Sep 2020 - BusinessWorld


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Social gatherings of more than six people to be banned in England

Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday as the Government seeks to curb the rise in coronavirus cases. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use a press conference on Wednesday to announce the change in the law after the number of daily positive Covid-19 cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000. The legal limit on social gatherings will be reduced from 30 people to six. It will apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors – including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.
8th Sep 2020 - ITV News

Virus lockdown plunges South Africa deeper into recession

South Africa’s economy has sunk deeper into recession, with its gross domestic product for the second quarter of 2020 plummeting by 51%, largely as a result of COVID-19 and the country's strict lockdown, according to statistics released Tuesday. South Africa imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world in April and May in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has now claimed more than 15,000 lives and infected 639,362 people in the country.
8th Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

Coronavirus lockdown drives rise in micro start-ups across the UK amid fears for job security

UK workers have been turning to starting their own companies in unprecedented numbers as fears over job security have spurred a new wave of entrepreneurs. The “State of the Nation” review, compiled by website builder group GoDaddy, showed there had been a 14 per cent increase in micro-businesses, start-ups with nine or fewer employees. The online group, which provides website templates to new businesses, has also experienced a 62 per cent increase in new UK customers. The survey also identified micro-business hubs which experienced bursts of activity between 2017 and 2019 and have continued their growth trajectory. The hubs suggest a suburban revival, as micro-business activity is concentrated on the outskirts of some of the UK’s largest cities.
8th Sep 2020 - iNews

Coronavirus: Greek islands quarantine and Scottish lockdown extends

Travellers arriving in England from seven Greek islands will have to self-isolate for 14 days from 04:00 BST on Wednesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says. It's a slight change in policy for the government, which previously applied restrictions to entire countries. It also brings England in line with Wales, which has already introduced specific rules for six islands, some of which are the same.
8th Sep 2020 - BBC

India's active Covid cases nears the million mark; lockdown fatigue setting in

Hindustan Times’ National Political Editor, Sunetra Choudhury brings you the top stories you need to know. Sunetra talks about the number of Covid-19 cases in India so far, new cases outstripping recoveries and deaths, lockdown fatigue setting in, rise of Covid infections in Europe and more. Watch the full video for more details.
8th Sep 2020 - Hindustan Times

The New Normal: Lockdown spurs green recovery

Carbon emissions have fallen, there’s clear water in Venice canals, and China’s air quality has improved – for now. But will COVID-19 have a lasting impact on the environment?
8th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Melbourne under lockdown for longer than China's virus ground zero, says health minister

Melburnians will be under strict lockdown longer than residents of the Chinese city of Wuhan where the coronavirus first came from, Health Minister Greg Hunt says. The federal government would continue to back Victoria but locking down people was not the right way to solve the crisis, he said. "We will continue to support Victoria and Victorians, whether it is the vaccine as the first line of defence, contact tracing as a very important second line, (but) the last thing you do is you lock people in their homes," Mr Hunt told Today.
8th Sep 2020 - 9News

Is Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown really the longest in the world? Here's how other countries stack up

Melbourne’s lockdown is one of the longest and strictest in the world, with curfews that won’t be lifted for at least another seven weeks. The Victorian capital has been under social restrictions since 16 March, which were initially extended to 11 May. On 8 July, restrictions were then reimposed in Melbourne specifically following a second outbreak, with a state of disaster and an 8pm-5am curfew ordered on 2 August. Melburnians now face an extra two weeks in Stage 4 lockdown under the roadmap revealed on 6 September, although from 14 September the nightly curfew will start an hour later at 9pm and run until 5am.
8th Sep 2020 - SBS News

Job Loss Figures Reveal Grim Reality Of Covid Lockdown

News that 185,000 New Zealanders expect to lose their jobs or businesses by mid next year drives home the scale of the economic challenge our country is facing, National Party Leader Judith Collins says. The grim prediction comes from a Stats NZ survey that found 7 per cent of employed people, or 1 in 14 workers, felt there was a high or almost certain chance they would lose their jobs or businesses within the next year. Another 18 per cent said there was a medium chance. Transport, retail, trade, accommodation and food were among the most at-risk industries.
8th Sep 2020 - Scoop.co.nz

‘The lockdown killed my father’: Farmer suicides add to India’s virus misery

Randhir Singh was already deeply in debt when the coronavirus pandemic struck. Looking out at his paltry cotton field by the side of a railway track, he walked in circles, hopeless. In early May, he killed himself by lying on the same track.
8th Sep 2020 - bdnews24.com


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Return to work is too late to save city centres, says British Retail Consortium

The slow return of UK workers to their normal place of work will come too late to save hard-pressed city centre stores from going under, the body that represents retailers has said. Despite a pick-up in spending in August, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said sales were still below their pre-pandemic level and the lack of people was having a devastating impact on shops operating in places once thronged with workers. The latest health check of high street and online spending from the BRC warned that September would see more job losses, a gloomy view backed up by the latest survey of employment trends from the consultancy group Manpower.
8th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

How much did the Covid-19 lockdown really cost the UK?

Cancer treatments cancelled. Children deprived of schooling. More cases of domestic abuse. Continued restrictions on personal freedom. Over and above the direct damage caused to the economy, the collateral damage from the Covid-19 pandemic has been colossal. And the crisis is not over by any means. Travel restrictions come and go with mind-boggling frequency. Local quarantining has replaced national lockdowns. Every leading policymaker in the UK, from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, downwards, knows that the job losses to come threaten to leave permanent scars. An obvious question, therefore, is was it worth it? Have the costs of shutting down a great chunk of Britain for three months and leaving many restrictions in place after six months been outweighed by the benefits?
7th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19 curbs ‘not worth economic pain’ for low-income countries

Some of the largest emerging economies — including India and Mexico — have suffered the most from coronavirus-related lockdowns, highlighting their limited policy options as the pandemic continues and wealthier countries start to consider reimposing restrictions in the face of a second surge in infections. India’s economy, the world’s fifth-largest, shrank by about a quarter in the three months to June, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed severe curbs on business activity and movement to contain the disease. In the same period, Mexico lost 17 per cent of its output from the first quarter. Peru, whose output contracted by 27 per cent, was hardest hit.
7th Sep 2020 - Financial Times

Coronavirus: Melbourne lockdown extended by two weeks

A strict lockdown in the Australian city of Melbourne has been extended by two weeks, with officials saying new Covid-19 cases had not dropped enough. Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions would be in place until 28 September, with a slight relaxation. A gradual easing of the measures will be implemented from October. The state has been the epicentre of the country's second wave, accounting for 90% of Australia's 753 deaths. Australia has recorded a total of 26,000 cases in a population of 25 million. The greater Melbourne area entered a second lockdown on 9 July after a rise in cases. A 5km (3 mile) travel limit and night time curfew was imposed while shops and businesses were closed.
7th Sep 2020 - BBC

Health experts welcome Melbourne lockdown extension but question curfew

Public health experts have backed the Victorian government’s decision to extend Melbourne’s stage four lockdown and only lift all restrictions once there is no community transmission of Covid-19, but have questioned the effectiveness of the overnight curfew. The stage four lockdown has been extended for two weeks with some allowances made for single people living alone and a doubling of the time permitted for exercise. After that, from 28 September, the harshest measures of stage four will continue – including the curfew – but people will be able to meet in larger groups outdoors and some students will return to school.
7th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Australia's COVID-19 epicentre extends hard lockdown till late September

Australia's coronavirus hot spot state of Victoria on Sunday extended a hard lockdown in its capital Melbourne until Sept. 28, as the infection rate has declined more slowly than hoped. "We cannot open up at this time. If we were to we would lose control very quickly," State Premier Daniel Andrews told a televised media conference on Sunday. The hard lockdown was ordered on Aug. 2 in response to a second wave of infections, that erupted in Melbourne.
7th Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

Australia extends Melbourne lockdown despite drop in Covid-19 cases

Australian officials on Sunday (Sept 6) extended a strict virus lockdown of the country’s second-biggest city by two weeks, saying that new cases had not dropped enough to prevent another spike. Melbourne residents were due to exit a harsh six-week lockdown next weekend but face continued restrictions for months to come, with Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews saying that the current lockdown would remain in place until Sept 28. “If we open up too fast then we have a very high likelihood that we are not really opening up at all – we are just beginning a third wave,” he told a press conference.
6th Sep 2020 - The Straits Times


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th Sep 2020

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Covid-19 impact on personal hygiene industry and its future in India

In an ideal world, people should be able to do the right things and focus on the right areas as a default approach. However, the reality is quite different. Despite there being ample emphasis on personal hygiene and no lack of medical as well as scientific evidence to highlight its importance, hygiene practices failed to make a major impact in India. Eventually, a pandemic of the magnitude of Covid-19 made people notice this need and take steps to adopt personal hygiene practices. This realization and the importance of basic hygiene practices such as washing hands dawned suddenly. Hand sanitizers, face masks, disinfectants etc. are crucial components of our defense against the virus until a vaccine is found.
5th Sep 2020 - The Financial Express

Lockdown protesters defy police as Australia coronavirus cases ease

Protestors against a Covid-19 lockdown defied police in Australia's hotpsot on Saturday, prompting 15 arrests, even as the state of Victoria continued its gradual improvement in stemming new cases due to the nearly five weeks of restrictions
5th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Australia extends ban on people leaving the country until December

A ban on Australians leaving the country because of the coronavirus pandemic has been extended until mid-December. The "Human Biosecurity Emergency Period" has been in place since March and prevents Australian citizens or permanent residents from leaving the nation's shores. It can only be circumvented with permission from the government, which must be approved beforehand. Residents of other countries, offshore freights and boats, essential workers and government officials are excluded from the measure, which also prevents international cruise ships with 100 or more passengers from docking on the country's ports.
5th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Brazil Hands Out So Much Covid Cash That Poverty Nears a Low

Brazil, which has suffered one of the world’s worst pandemic tolls, has responded to the crisis by distributing so much cash directly to citizens that poverty and inequality are approaching national historic lows. Some 66 million people, 30% of the population, have been getting 600 reais ($110) a month, making it the most ambitious social program ever undertaken in Brazil, a shocking shift under President Jair Bolsonaro who railed against welfare, dismissed the virus -- and now finds himself newly popular.
5th Sep 2020 - Bloomberg

In the Amazon, the coronavirus fuels an illegal gold rush — and an environmental crisis

Alessandro Souza is a gold hunter. He chases it deep into protected Indigenous lands in the Amazon rainforest, traveling days by foot and canoe, and doesn't emerge until his pockets are full. Sometimes he's gone two months. Sometimes six. The only certainty is that he'll be back, because hunting gold is his business, and business is booming. “Today’s market quote,” Souza messaged his WhatsApp group, Goldminers Without Borders, one recent day: Gold was going for nearly $1,800 an ounce. Souza posted an arrow pointing skyward.
5th Sep 2020 - The Washington Post

Indigenous communities in Brazil equipped with a “Covid-19 Alert” to keep track of the pandemic

Indigenous and environmental organizations in Brazil launched an app on Friday aimed at alerting indigenous communities to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in their lands. “The application maps and periodically updates the situation regarding the pandemic in cities within a 100 kilometer radius of indigenous lands,” said the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in a joint statement. The app, called “Covid-19 Indigenous Alert” aims to help indigenous people identify areas with high infection rates. Provided free on the Android system, the app uses data from Brazil's health ministry, people working in the indigenous health system, leaders from indigenous organizations and the COIAB network.
5th Sep 2020 - MercoPress


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Vic lockdown will last longer than China, Italy lockdowns if extended

If Victoria extends its lockdown for another two weeks it will have lasted 82 days which is longer than both China and Italy’s lockdowns, according to Sky News host Paul Murray. Italy has had 35,497 deaths with lockdown running for 58 days, China has had 4,634 deaths with lockdown running for 77 days whilst Victoria has had 576 deaths with lockdown due to end on September 13 having run for 68 days. A recent leak revealed the Victorian government may be planning to extend Victoria’s lockdown for a further two weeks, which would end Victoria’s lockdown after 82 days, a longer period than both Italy and China. “This bloke has failed, he failed to have a system that meant that the virus didn’t get out of hotel quarantine, and he has failed to stop it the second time around,” Mr Murray said.
3rd Sep 2020 - Sky News Australia

Australia's social distancing fatigue: 'Worrying' new figures show that fewer people are heeding safety warnings the longer lockdown goes

Australians are losing their will to maintain social distancing measures as restrictions arising from the coronavirus pandemic drag on, new data shows. Victoria is also the only state to maintain the highest level of vigilance as it fights its way through a second-wave of COVID-19 and harsh lockdown. The Australian National University (ANU) survey of more than 3,000 people showed 'worrying' trends related to physical distancing behaviour nationwide.
3rd Sep 2020 - Daily Mail


Continued Lockdown - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Sep 2020

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CDC Directs Halt to Renter Evictions to Prevent Virus Spread

The Trump administration has issued a directive halting the eviction of certain renters though the end of 2020 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Federal, state and local governments have approved eviction moratoriums during the course of the pandemic for many renters, but those protections are expiring rapidly. A recent report from one think tank, the Aspen Institute, stated that more than 20 million renters live in households that have suffered COVID-19-related job loss and concluded that millions more are at risk of eviction in the next several months. The administration's action stems from an executive order that President Donald Trump issued in early August. It instructed federal health officials to consider measures to temporarily halt evictions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention followed up Tuesday by declaring that any landlord shall not evict any "covered person" from any residential property for failure to pay rent.
3rd Sep 2020 - Voice of America

Despite stringent lockdown, India's COVID-19 cases, deaths record fastest rise even as GDP plummets

The country's GDP contraction was the worst among many major economies Despite enforcing the most stringent lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, the average daily cases and deaths in India are growing at the fastest pace in the world. Due to the severe restrictions between April and June, the economy took an unprecedented hit with the GDP contracting for the first time in decades in the April to June quarter.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Hindu

Coronavirus lockdown hurt Indian industries 'dramatically'

The Indian economy had been moderating even before the pandemic but the lockdown to curtail the spread of the virus dealt a further blow to industrial production and consumer spending, IHS Markit chief economist Rajiv Biswas told DW. But there are already some signs of a recovery.
2nd Sep 2020 - Deutsche Welle

Covid-19 ends Australia’s 28-year run without a recession

Australia has entered its first recession in almost three decades after Covid-19 battered the economy, which shrank a record 7 per cent in the June quarter. The decline in gross domestic product follows a fall of 0.3 per cent in the March quarter, marking two consecutive quarters of contraction — the technical definition of recession — according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “The global pandemic and associated containment policies led to a 7 per cent fall in GDP for the June quarter. This is, by a wide margin, the largest fall in quarterly GDP since records began in 1959,” said Michael Smedes, ABS head of national accounts. The economic contraction was worse than expected, with economists forecasting a 6 per cent fall in the second quarter and a decline of just over 5 per cent on an annual basis. The ABS figures revealed that GDP fell 6.3 per cent in the 12 months to the end of June.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Financial Times

As Victoria endures prolonged coronavirus lockdown, mental health workers see devastating impacts of COVID-19

Many exhausted Victorian healthcare workers have been among the callers. They're experiencing burn-out and fatigue, and they're stressed about not being able to take time off work, Joy says. They have also raised concerns about the possibility of unknowingly contracting and passing on the virus.
2nd Sep 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus despair forces girls across Asia into child marriage

Tens of thousands of girls across Asia are being forced into child marriage by desperate families plunged into poverty because of the coronavirus pandemic, as campaigners warn that years of progress tackling the practice is being undone. Child marriage has long been practised as part of tradition in communities from the Indonesian archipelago to India, Pakistan and Vietnam, but numbers had been decreasing as numerous initiatives worked to spread awareness of its dangers and encouraged access to education and women's health services.
2nd Sep 2020 - AlJazeera


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Coronavirus: Pupils 'months behind' and Rashford continues child poverty fight

The lockdown has left children in England three months behind in their learning, with boys and poor pupils worst hit, a survey of 3,000 head teachers and teachers suggests. The National Foundation for Educational Research says the learning gap between rich and poor pupils has grown by 46%. The Department of Education has said it's determined that children should not miss out because of coronavirus. Find out more here about the return to school and whether you have to send your child back.
1st Sep 2020 - BBC

Lockdown's legacy on UK's poorest children: Richer pupils 46% further ahead than worse-off peers

Shocking new data lays bare devastating impact of lockdown on school children In a poll of 3,000 teachers and leaders, 98 per cent believe pupils are behind Teachers estimated on average that their pupils were three months behind Survey found gap between disadvantaged and well-off increased by 46 per cent
1st Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Poland bans direct flights from Spain, Israel due to coronavirus fears

Poland is banning from Wednesday direct flights from 44 countries including Spain, Israel and Romania in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the Central European country, the government said on Tuesday. The United States, Malta, Montenegro, Mexico, Brasil, Argentina and India are also on the list of countries, but local media reported that Russia and China had been removed from it.
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters

Australia virus cases drop after lengthy Melbourne lockdown

Australia reported fewer than 100 new coronavirus cases Monday, the lowest number in two months as authorities appeared to bring an outbreak in the country's second-largest city under control. Victoria state, which has been battling a second wave of infections in Melbourne, recorded just 73 cases after peaking above 700 in late July, providing hope for a way out of a strict city-wide lockdown. Melbourne residents are currently enduring a raft of restrictions including an overnight curfew, while all non-essential businesses remain closed until at least September 13.
1st Sep 2020 - FRANCE 24

In China's Xinjiang, forced medication and citizens hosed down accompanies lockdown

When police arrested the middle-aged Uighur woman at the height of China's coronavirus outbreak, she was crammed into a cell with dozens of other women in a detention centre. There, she said, she was forced to drink a medicine that made her feel weak and nauseous, guards watching as she gulped. She and the others also had to strip naked once a week and cover their faces as guards hosed them and their cells down with disinfectant "like firemen," she said. "It was scalding," recounted the woman by phone from Xinjiang, declining to be named out of fear of retribution. "My hands were ruined, my skin was peeling." The government in China's far northwest Xinjiang region is resorting to draconian measures to combat the coronavirus, including physically locking residents in homes, imposing quarantines of more than 40 days and arresting those who do not comply.
1st Sep 2020 - New Zealand Herald

New Zealand lockdown led to biggest spike in welfare claims in modern history

The number of people claiming benefits grew by nearly 12% during New Zealand’s first month of lockdown, a new report has found, representing a demand for social welfare “unprecedented in modern history”, the government says. Analysis by the Ministry of Social Development showed the jump in April was the biggest monthly rise in 24 years, “noting that this period includes the global financial crisis and the Asian crisis”. New Zealand’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been globally lauded with fewer than 2,000 infections and just 22 deaths. But the economic consequences of multiple lockdowns have been catastrophic, say, economists, with unemployment figures forecast to peak as high as 26%, at worst estimate
1st Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Australia prisoners set fire in cells as virus lockdown sparks unrest

Inmates at a high-security Australian prison lit fires, smashed windows and flooded their cells with water, authorities said on Tuesday, after a lockdown sparked by a coronavirus outbreak resulted in a shortage of staff and services. The unrest began a day earlier at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre in the city of Brisbane, four days after local media said the prison went into lockdown due to two staff testing positive to COVID-19. A shortage of replacement staff for those stood down to get tested for the virus had resulted in problems delivering basic services like meals and medication, the authorities said.
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Ireland lifts local COVID-19 lockdown, national picture still 'uncertain'

Ireland lifted an extended local lockdown on Monday in the eastern county of Kildare ahead of schedule, but the whole country remains under some of Europe’s strictest COVID-19 restrictions. Ireland closed or limited business on Aug. 7 in three of its 26 counties - Kildare, Laois and Offaly - and their residents were barred from travelling outside their county. Ten days later, an uptick in coronavirus cases prompted a significant tightening in measures nationwide. Authorities cut to six the number of visitors allowed in a home, banned fans from all sport events and urged people to avoid public transport where they could.
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters UK


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Philippines extends partial coronavirus curbs in Manila until Sept. 30

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday partial restrictions in and around the capital Manila will be kept for another month starting Sept. 1 to tackle a rising number of coronavirus cases and further expand hospital capacity.
30th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Brazil coronavirus deaths rise above 120,000

Brazil has registered another 758 novel coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours and 41,350 new cases, the Health Ministry said on Saturday. The nation has now registered 120,262 coronavirus deaths and 3,846,153 confirmed cases. In terms of total deaths, Brazil is the hardest hit country in the world outside of the United States. However, daily new cases and deaths have begun to stabilize in recent weeks.
29th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern announces ‘level 2.5’ for Auckland

New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, left lockdown overnight and moved into what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as “level 2.5” after just two new cases were announced on Sunday. Ms Ardern on Sunday thanked residents in the city after living through two and a half weeks of lockdown, but she has warned the government would raise levels again “if we need to”. “For Auckland, you are at a form of level two that I am going to call level 2.5,” Ms Ardern said. “It is designed to keep us on track with our elimination strategy at level two in the scenario we now have, but it will only work if people follow the guidance, I understand it is easy to become complacent.”
31st Aug 2020 - News.com.au


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Poorest countries face lost decade due to Covid-19, says IMF

The shock waves from Covid-19 will lead to a lost decade for the world’s poorest countries unless they get concerted and urgent help, the International Monetary Fund has said. The Washington-based IMF said low-income developing countries (LIDCs) entered the pandemic in a vulnerable position and faced the prospect of their progress in poverty reduction over the past seven to 10 years being wiped out. In a blog, IMF economists called on the international community to adopt a seven-point plan so that poor countries could cope with Covid-19 and recover quickly. Growth, which averaged 5% in 2019, was likely to come to a standstill this year, the IMF said, adding that previous pandemics had left permanent scars. It backed a recent call from the World Bank president, David Malpass, for a more ambitious programme of debt relief that would move beyond repayment holidays to a reduction in the stock of debt.
27th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Global 'education emergency' due to Covid - UN

The U.N. children’s agency says at least a third of children couldn’t access remote learning when the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools, creating “a global education emergency.” At the height of lockdowns meant to curb the pandemic, nearly 1.5 billion children were affected by school closures, UNICEF said. “For at least 463 million children whose schools closed due to COVID-19, there was no such a thing as remote learning,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. “The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is a global education emergency,” she said in a statement. “The repercussions could be felt in economies and societies for decades to come.”
27th Aug 2020 - ABC News

Domestic violence has seen a shocking rise in lockdown – mothers will be in danger when children go back to school

At least 26 women have been killed during the coronavirus lockdown by domestic terrorisers – the youngest was two, the oldest 82. A woman was on the phone behind me at the supermarket, her voice loud and panicky. She was talking about a friend or relative who was dreading the reopening of schools: “He’ll start belting her again. Kicked her head in last time. Stopped when the kids were home.” Most parents are desperate to get their children back into the classroom. But for this woman – whoever she was – and many others too, as I later discovered – being alone with an abusive partner is as dangerous as being in a cage with a raging, wild beast. It was bad enough before the pandemic, when around two women per week were being killed by men they knew. The media often neglects to report these deaths. They died as they had lived, without dignity or due care. Look up the Counting Dead Women Project, which lists these homicide cases. It’s like walking into the saddest graveyard of buried bodies, whose stories will never be fully known.
27th Aug 2020 - iNews

WHO warns young people flouting lockdown rules could lead to spike in deaths of elderly this winter

As the winter months get nearer, a stark warning about a possible increase in coronavirus deaths has been issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). During a briefing on Thursday morning, WHO’s European regional director Hans Kluge warned that as youngsters stay in more during the colder months they may be more likely to spread coronavirus, especially if they visit multiple households. Kluge said there was growing evidence that young people were infecting people at social gatherings and said that this could result in increase hospitalisations and deaths. He said: "The younger people are not necessarily going to die from it but it's a tornado with a long tail…
27th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

Argentina daily COVID-19 cases top 10,000 for first time

Argentina posted a record daily rise of 10,550 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry said, taking the total caseload to 370,188 as the country struggles to rein in the spread of infections while trying to ease open its crisis-hit economy. The grains producer, which imposed a strict lockdown in March that initially helped slow the spread of the virus, is now fast catching up with other hard-hit countries in the region, including neighbor Chile where new infections have slowed. Latin America has become the epicenter of the global pandemic, with the highest number of infections and deaths, while the region’s economy is set to plunge sharply this year pushing millions of people into poverty. The nightly report showed there had been 276 new COVID-19 fatalities in the 24-hour period since the previous evening’s count, taking the total to 7,839.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Global report: Germany bans large events amid rise in Covid cases

Germany is to ban large events until the end of this year, amid fears of a resurgence in coronavirus cases and as the World Health Organization warned that Europe was entering “a tricky moment” as children go back to school. The chancellor, Angela Merkel, has set out a new package of measures in discussions with leaders of federal states. It comes amid a worrying rise of infection rates in Germany not seen since April, and a similar uptick in Italy and France. Under the new rules, German football fans will not be allowed back into stadiums until 2021, later than had been hoped. Regulations on mask-wearing will also be toughened. Mass gatherings including festivals, concerts and big sporting events will remain prohibited. The draft text allows for exceptions in regions with low virus numbers and where participants are all locals. But it goes against a suggestion by Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, that Bundesliga football games might resume in October with socially distanced spectators.
27th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Gaza coronavirus lockdown extended by 72 hours after infections spread

Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday after reporting two deaths and 26 COVID-19 cases in the first public outbreak of the coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave. As of two days ago, when the first four cases were discovered in a refugee camp in the 360 square-kilometre (140 square-mile) territory, and a 48-hour lockdown was imposed, there had been no infections outside border quarantine facilities for new arrivals. But by late on Wednesday, health officials said 26 people in several locations had tested positive for COVID-19 and two patients had died - a sign the world pandemic had penetrated Gaza’s forced isolation
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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Victorian economy could lose four years of growth due to virus lockdown

Lockdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus across Victoria could punch a $41 billion hole in the state's economy and drag it back to where it was in 2016 with fresh warnings its COVID-19 outbreak is holding back the entire nation. Forecasts from both the ANZ and the NAB suggest the Victorian economy will this year suffer the single largest economic hit of any state or territory on record that will also drive up unemployment and weigh on wages growth.
26th Aug 2020 - The Age

Ukraine bans foreigners, extends lockdown measures to fight COVID-19: government meeting

Ukraine on Wednesday imposed a temporary ban on most foreigners from entering the country until Sept. 28 and extended lockdown measures until the end of October to contain a recent spike in coronavirus cases. Speaking at a televised cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal also said the government would need to take a decision on Thursday on whether to ban major public events in September. “The rise in coronavirus infections we have seen in recent weeks is forcing us to act more decisively,” Shmygal said. The daily tally of new infections jumped to around 2,000 last week with a record high of 2,328 on Saturday. The total number of infections reached 110,085 on Wednesday, with 2,354 deaths.
26th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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Coronavirus lockdown set to stay across Blackburn and Pendle

Coronavirus restrictions in parts of East Lancashire are expected to continue when the Government reviews existing measures later this week, but will be more tightly targeted and focus on smaller areas. People in Oldham and in specific wards in Pendle and Blackburn were told not to socialise with anyone outside their household from midnight on Saturday. They were also advised to only use public transport if essential and numbers attending weddings, civil partnerships and funerals were restricted to up to 20.
25th Aug 2020 - Lancashire Telegraph

Coronavirus rates are falling in Greater Manchester after 3 weeks of lockdown

Coronavirus rates are now lower in Greater Manchester than they were at the start of the local lockdown, with the latest data suggesting a regional spike in cases has been reversed. Extra restrictions on the ten boroughs in the region have been in place for three full weeks after being announced on July 30. At the time the local lockdown was declared, infection rates were rising in all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, and this trend continued broadly for the first two weeks after the measures were brought in. But in the third week, the upward trend hit a peak, and in many areas they have been falling sharply for the past seven days. Five of the boroughs now have weekly infection rates below 25 cases per 100,000 population - which means they are no longer on amber alert on the government watchlist. Tomorrow, local restrictions will be lifted in Wigan and the falling numbers in other boroughs suggest the measures may soon be removed in other areas of Greater Manchester.
25th Aug 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Eight in 10 poorer UK families feel worse off since lockdown – survey

Some families have abandoned balanced meals for lack of money during the coronavirus crisis, while many have faced physical and mental problems, according to a report. Researchers from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Church of England (C of E) spoke to parents who said they had been forced to sell possessions to protect their children’s quality of life, and found that 80% of poorer families surveyed felt they had become worse off financially since the lockdown began. The findings underline the disproportionate strain being placed on the poorest households as the UK struggles to deal with the pandemic. In June the Resolution Foundation said that while many low-income families were turning to credit cards to get by under lockdown, many higher-income households were able to save more money as their costs fell.
25th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus hard lockdown of Melbourne public housing towers left residents feeling like 'criminals', inquiry hears

Victoria's hard lockdown of some of Melbourne's most vulnerable residents last month left the community feeling anxious, fearful and as if they were being "treated like criminals". The chaos and confusion at nine public housing towers is detailed in reports to a Victorian Ombudsman inquiry, revealing residents slept rough in their cars, ran out of food and supplies, while others reportedly self-harmed. 7.30 has obtained two legal submissions by the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre and Inner Melbourne Community Legal which are now representing residents.
25th Aug 2020 - ABC News

Victorian jobs slump amid stage 4 coronavirus lockdown, but 'COVID recession' bites elsewhere

Paula Evans, owner of boutique Tierra Alma in beachside Mordialloc, didn't need the Australian Bureau of Statistics to tell her about the epic economic pain of Melbourne's August lockdown. "It's been a really huge impact this time around with the stage 4 hitting Melbourne," she said. "I would say my business is down by 70 per cent." New data submitted to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) from payroll systems around the country show jobs fell 1 per cent in the month to August 8. But in Victoria, the hit was much harder.
25th Aug 2020 - ABC News

Northland towns quiet as Auckland lockdown extended

Northland's towns and tourist spots will remain quiet until Sunday night due to the government's extension of Covid-19 alert level 3 restrictions in Auckland. Businesses in the region say the last two weeks have been a grind without Auckland visitors spending. As essential workers, Checkpoint's Nick Truebridge and Nick Monro were allowed through the State Highway 1 roadblock to speak to Northlanders about how they're faring.
25th Aug 2020 - RNZ

Lockdown costs $1 billion as Government digs in heels over decision not to extend wage subsidy

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has dug in his heels about not extending the wage subsidy by four days to cover keeping Auckland in lockdown until Sunday night. He says struggling businesses had 22 weeks of support from the scheme - with the majority of that time in alert levels 2 and 1 with little or no restrictions. "We recognise this has been a tough time but there has been a lot of support provided." And in Parliament this afternoon, Robertson revealed Treasury estimates the two weeks of restrictions to contain the resurgence of Covid-19 caused a $1 billion hit to the economy with each week costing $500 million.
25th Aug 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Gaza in lockdown to try to contain its first COVID-19 outbreak

Gaza was in lockdown on Tuesday after the first cases of COVID-19 in the general population of the Palestinian enclave, whose restricted borders until now had helped spare it from an outbreak. Health authorities in the Hamas-controlled territory are concerned over the potentially disastrous combination of poverty, densely populated refugee camps and limited hospital facilities in dealing with an outbreak. A government spokesman said the four cases were uncovered after a woman travelled to the West Bank, where she tested positive. Four members of her family then tested positive in Gaza, the first cases outside quarantined border facilities. Interior Ministry spokesman Eyad al-Bozom said the family had been in contact with many other people in the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, and that the camp was now isolated from the rest of the 360 sq. km. territory.
25th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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Latin American women are disappearing and dying under lockdown

It’s a pandemic within the pandemic. Across Latin America, gender-based violence has spiked since COVID-19 broke out. Almost 1,200 women disappeared in Peru between March 11 and June 30, the Ministry of Women reported. In Brazil, 143 women in 12 states were murdered in March and April – a 22% increase over the same period in 2019. Reports of rape, murder and domestic violence are also way up in Mexico. In Guatemala, they’re down significantly – a likely sign that women are too afraid to call the police on the partners they’re locked down with. The pandemic worsened but did not create this problem: Latin America has long been among the world’s deadliest places to be a woman.
24th Aug 2020 - The Conversation

13 die in stampede at Peru disco after police raid building due to coronavirus concerns

Thirteen people died in a stampede at a disco in Peru after a police raid to enforce the country’s lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Sunday. The stampede happened at the Thomas disco in Lima, where about 120 people had gathered for a party on Saturday night, the Interior Ministry said. People tried to escape through the only door of the second-floor disco, trampling one another and becoming trapped in the confined space, according to authorities. After the stampede, police had to force open the door.
24th Aug 2020 - USA TODAY

Coronavirus lockdown forces Aussie Rules final out of Melbourne for first time

One of the most iconic fixtures on the Australian sporting calendar, the AFL “Grand Final”, will be played outside Melbourne for the first time in its history this year, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Monday. Melbourne remains in a strict lockdown after a second wave of COVID-19 cases and Andrews said an exception would not be made even for an event so important to Victorians that a public holiday is observed the day before it. “For the sake of one event — as important, as religious almost, as it is — the notion that you would take a holiday from the coronavirus for the day so we could have the grand final for a day and a dose of normal, that doesn’t make any sense,” he told a news conference in Melbourne.
24th Aug 2020 - Reuters

COVID-19 Victoria: What 116 cases means for lockdown stage 4

Victorians desperate for good news, for an end to the daily grind of home schooling and curfew and empty shops and deserted cities will look at today’s numbers with some optimism. There are 116 new coronavirus cases in the state, marking the lowest daily total in nearly two months. There are also, sadly, 15 more deaths. As the September 13 deadline looms for easing stage 4 lockdown, the Premier and the chief health officer are under pressure to give some certainty that businesses can reopen and that workers furloughed for three weeks already can go back to providing for their families.
24th Aug 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Australia's Victoria reports lowest rise in COVID-19 cases in seven weeks

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended a coronavirus lockdown in the country’s largest city until the end of the week and introduced mandatory mask wearing on public transport across the nation. Ardern said the four-day extension in the city of Auckland was critical to enable the country to step down its scale of emergency restrictions - and remain at less restrictive levels. “We want both confidence, and certainty for everyone,” Ardern said during a televised media conference. The Auckland lockdown, imposed on Aug. 11 after officials detected the country’s first locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in more than three months, had been scheduled to end on Wednesday. It will now end on Sunday night. The city’s step down from Level 3 to Level 2 restrictions will be made gradually from Monday, Ardern said.
24th Aug 2020 - Reuters


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Will France be placed on Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine list?

According to projections from the University of Geneva, arrivals from France may have to quarantine on arrival in Switzerland in the coming days. France’s infection rates have almost doubled in the previous week. The University of Geneva set up a forecasting model which predicts that the infection rate will continue to rise in the coming weeks, eventually crossing the Swiss government's quarantine threshold. They now stand at 43 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants - just shy of Switzerland’s quarantine threshold of 60 per 100,000. As of August 21st, there are more than 50 countries with an infection rate above Switzerland’s threshold of ‘high risk’.
23rd Aug 2020 - The Local Europe

UK records 1,041 new COVID-19 cases: government data

The United Kingdom recorded 1,041 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, down from 1,288 on Saturday, government figures showed. Six people died after testing positive for the coronavirus within the previous 28 days, compared with 18 deaths announced on Saturday.
23rd Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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Parents reveal challenges of caring for disabled children during lockdown

During the past five months, many parents of children with special educational needs have not had a moment’s respite. Despite the Government advising that schools should remain open for vulnerable children. Four parents of disabled children tell Susannah Butter and Katie Strick how school closures and the withdrawal of support in the Covid crisis left them with a battle to cope with children whose routines were turned upside down
20th Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

Melbourne's public housing tenants suffering in coronavirus lockdown

Nearly 150 complaints have been lodged with the Victorian ombudsman from residents of Melbourne’s public housing towers, with many reporting ongoing distress after last month’s hard lockdown to contain spread of COVID-19. Paramedics and COVID testing staff remain onsite at the commission flats in north Melbourne, a month after Victoria’s public housing towers became the epicentre of the state’s pandemic. Achol Aluier contracted the virus in the first wave, but with seven people living in her three bedroom flat, there was no way to contain the spread.
20th Aug 2020 - SBS

How Victoria could be a victim of its own lockdown success

An infectious disease expert has warned Victoria could be a victim of its own success after Premier Daniel Andrews said Stage 4 lockdown would not be lifted if testing rates continue to drop. While Victoria has recorded a decline in new daily coronavirus cases, showing signs Stage 4 is making an impact, Mr Andrews revealed this week testing had dropped 17 per cent in comparison to the previous week. Mr Andrews said on Wednesday there were 17,695 tests in the prior 24-hour period, while the state was recording more than 40,000 daily tests at the peak of the second wave. Mr Andrews said the state needed to be in a position where they were confident of knowing the levels of community transmission before they could enter a “new phase”. “The test numbers are too low for us to have clarity about just how much virus is out there,” he said.
20th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

How Victoria's Covid-19 lockdown is devastating its economy

Before coronavirus, Victoria’s economy was powering ahead, but the tough lockdown as it endures a second wave has hit businesses hard. As companies close their doors and staff numbers are savagely cut, the state’s shutdown threatens to drag the rest of Australia even further into economic peril. Business correspondent Ben Butler explains how Victoria’s prosperity was dealt a succession of blows
20th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Colombia passes half a million coronavirus cases as deaths approach 16,000

Coronavirus cases in Colombia surpassed 500,000 on Wednesday as deaths from the virus approach 16,000 and the country nears the end of five months of lockdown. The Andean country has 502,178 confirmed cases of the virus according to the health ministry, with 15,979 reported deaths. Active cases number 158,893.
20th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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Coronavirus: Local lockdown in Aberdeen extended

A local lockdown in Aberdeen will be extended for another week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Pubs and restaurants were shut two weeks ago, and restrictions placed on travel and visits to other households, after a spike in Covid-19 cases linked to bars and nightlife in the city. Ms Sturgeon said the lockdown was having an impact - but that it was "not yet safe" to lift the restrictions. Aberdeen City Council said it did not support continuing the lockdown. A midweek review will be carried out on Sunday, and Ms Sturgeon said she hoped some restrictions could be eased next Wednesday.
19th Aug 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus: Depression in the UK officially doubled during lockdown

The number of people suffering from depression symptoms in the UK doubled when the country was under a COVID-19 lockdown, official figures show. Almost a fifth of British adults — 19.2 per cent — were likely to be experiencing some form of depression in June 2020, according to a survey of more than 3,500 people carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released on Tuesday. Prior to the pandemic, fewer than one in ten said so. "Today's research provides an insight into the mental health of adults during the coronavirus pandemic. Revisiting this same group of adults before and during the pandemic provides a unique insight into how their symptoms of depression have changed over time," Tim Vizard, the ONS' principal research officer, said in a statement.
19th Aug 2020 - Euronews

Lockdown makes life tougher for those in rehab

Ever since Victoria declared a state of emergency on 16 March, almost every event or gathering was cancelled or postponed so as to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While this was an inconvenience for some, it was a loss of income for others. But for an even smaller community, restrictions meant the loss of an essential tool needed for drug and alcohol recovery: social interaction. And now that Melburnians have entered into a six-week-long period of isolation with stage four restrictions in effect, it is going to be even tougher for those who require a strong social network to combat substance use.
19th Aug 2020 - Independent Australia

Ireland ramps up COVID-19 restrictions again as cases surge

Ireland significantly tightened its nationwide coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday to try to rein in a surge in cases, urging everyone to restrict visitors to their homes, avoid public transport and older people to limit their contacts. A spike in cases over the last three weeks, after Ireland had one of Europe’s lowest infection rates for several weeks, pushed its 14-day cumulative cases per 100,000 of population to 26, and led to the first local lockdown last week. The 190 new cases on Tuesday, the second highest daily rise since early May, took the rate of growth in the last two weeks to the fourth highest in Europe and meant infections would inevitably spread to the most vulnerable if it continued, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said.
19th Aug 2020 - Reuters

S. Korea tightens restrictions in Seoul area to tackle virus surge

South Korea on Tuesday ordered nightclubs, museums and buffet restaurants closed and banned large gatherings in and around the capital as a burst of new coronavirus cases sparked fears of a major second wave. The country's "trace, test and treat" approach to curbing the virus has been held up as a global model, but it is now battling several clusters mostly linked to Protestant churches. Authorities reported 246 new infections on Tuesday, taking South Korea's total to 15,761, the fifth consecutive day of triple-digit increases after several weeks with numbers generally in the 30s and 40s.
19th Aug 2020 - FRANCE 24


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Most parents are worried about their kids' educational growth in lockdown

Two-thirds of parents are worried their child will be below grade level in the fall — as a result of the classroom time lost due to COVID-19, according to new research. The survey of 2,000 parents with school-aged children revealed 65% are concerned about their child being behind due to the disrupted 2019-2020 school year. The average parent surveyed said their child lost about eight weeks of classroom learning at the end of the school year. And while the majority of parents said their child's district continued with distance learning for all or part of the rest of the school year — through video calls or educational worksheets — 13% said their child didn't have any form of continued distance education. Commissioned by The Genius of Play and conducted by OnePoll, the survey looked at what parents have done to keep their child learning this summer, and what their thoughts are for school starting back up in the fall.
18th Aug 2020 - Yahoo! News

Coronavirus: Fewest weekly deaths in England and Wales since lockdown began, latest figures show

England and Wales have recorded the lowest weekly number of deaths from coronavirus since lockdown was imposed towards the end of March, the latest figures show. There were 152 fatalities from Covid-19 in the week up to 7 August, according to the Office for National Statistics. It marks the lowest number of deaths from the disease since the week ending 20 March saw 103 fatalities – just before Boris Johnson brought in strict lockdown measures. The new figures also show that the UK’s true death toll – taking in up-to-date statistics from Scotland and Northern Ireland – has now surpassed 57,000 people, based on death certificates mentioning Covid-19.
18th Aug 2020 - The Independent


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The South West companies finding success during the Covid-19 pandemic and UK lockdown

The UK is in the deepest recession since records began and the West of England, like the rest of the country, is reeling from the impact of the pandemic. Businesses from all industries have been hit, with major sectors in the region such as aerospace, tourism, hospitality and retail particularly affected.
17th Aug 2020 - Business Live

Coronavirus: UK lockdown loneliness strikes women and younger workers most

Women and younger workers are the two groups most likely to have been adversely affected by feelings of loneliness while working remotely, according to a new study. Half of women and nearly three-quarters (74%) of younger workers said they had felt lonely in lockdown according to research conducted by Totaljobs. Social distancing, working from home and endless screen time has meant it is inevitable that experiences of loneliness will spike, the recruitment website said. The poll of 2,000 UK workers found that almost half (46%) of UK workers have experienced loneliness and social isolation during lockdown. More than half of workers agreed that the majority of their social interactions happened in the workplace. Employees are facing what Totaljobs calls a “social silence” when it comes to interactions with colleagues.
17th Aug 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK

Child marriages in Maharashtra soar during lockdown

When Mitali Sathe stepped out of her home in Latur decked in a yellow sari, the mehendi and green glass bangles gave her away. A member of an adolescent girls' protection group spotted the 15-year-old before her marriage to a man four decades her senior. After her elder sister's death, Mitali was the sacrificial bride on offer to the 50-year-old widower: he needed her to care for the children. With their earnings as seasonal labourers cut off and the daughter out of school due to the pandemic, Mitali's parents saw this as a way out. However, timely intervention halted the wedding and led to the suitor's arrest.
17th Aug 2020 - The Times of India

Covid-19 lockdown extended in Bihar till September 6

The Bihar government has once again decided to extend the lockdown till September 6, owing to the rising cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the state. The state’s home department issued an order in this regard on Monday. The lockdown was imposed from July 16 to July 31 and later extended till August 16. The orders issued on July 30 for the containment of Covid-19 would be prevalent across the state. No public transport would be allowed to ply in areas falling under lockdown norms, but there would be no bar on construction activities besides transportation of goods, state officials said. Air and rail travel have been allowed to continue and offices, banks, and other offices would function with minimal staff strength, they added.
17th Aug 2020 - Hindustan Times

Lockdown deaths in India ignite debate on police brutality

For two and a half minutes the popular Indian radio DJ described in graphic detail what she said was the torture and killing of a father and son in police custody. The father was arrested for flouting coronavirus lockdown rules by keeping his mobile phone shop in southern India open past curfew, Suchitra Ramadurai alleged in a video posted to her Instagram. The man’s son went to check on him at the police station and both were beaten so badly they were still bleeding when they appeared before a judge the next day. Three days later, on June 23, they were both dead.
17th Aug 2020 - The Associated Press

Lockdown extended in Bihar till September 6 as Covid-18 cases spike

The Bihar government has extended the lockdown to control the spread of Sars-Cov-2, which causes Covid-19, till September 6 amid the rising number of cases in the state, according to a report on Monday. HT’s sister publication Hindustan said the home department issued the extension order after a high-level meeting. The order issued on July 30 will be effective, Hindustan reported. The previous order, which was issued till August 16 under which religious places in Bihar were not allowed to open, will stand. Prohibition on religious, political, social or cultural events and restrictions on bus services have been upheld. Commercial and private establishments have been allowed to open but parks, gyms and educational institutions will remain closed as before, Hindustan reported.
17th Aug 2020 - Hindustan Times on MSN.com


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Argentina sticks with COVID-19 lockdown focused in and around Buenos Aires

Argentina extended until Aug. 30 restrictions taken against the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday, affirming that the country's lockdown would continue in its current form in an around capital city Buenos Aires.
16th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Argentina sticks with COVID-19 lockdown focused in and around Buenos Aires

Argentina extended until Aug. 30 restrictions taken against the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday, affirming that the country’s lockdown would continue in its current form in an around capital city Buenos Aires.
16th Aug 2020 - Metro US

New Zealand COVID-19 outbreak grows, Australia still struggles

New Zealand on Saturday reported seven new cases of the coronavirus as a lockdown in the country’s biggest city, Auckland, was extended on Friday in response to the country’s first coronavirus outbreak in months. Six of the seven new cases have been linked to the cluster responsible for all the previous community cases, while one case was being investigated, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a media briefing in Wellington. The new cases bring New Zealand’s total infections since the start of the year to 1258, while the number of currently active cases stands at 56. Twenty two people have died so far.
15th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Britons go green in lockdown lessons

Surveys have revealed an uptick in environmentally friendly behaviors during the lockdown in the United Kingdom, including gardening, cycling, and meal planning, and transport consultancy Sia Partners has reported a 60 percent reduction in passenger vehicle emissions. Research conducted by Manchester and Cardiff universities suggests that most Britons intend to maintain a greener lifestyle when society starts to open up again. Out of 1,800 people surveyed in the study, 63 percent said they spent nothing on clothes and footwear from March to May, up from 9 percent over the three months before lockdown. There has also been a marked increase in meal planning, a small but detectable reduction in meat consumption, and 92 percent of those surveyed said they are now wasting less food.
15th Aug 2020 - ChinaDaily USA

Coronavirus: New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown after cluster of COVID-19 cases found

Coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand's biggest city are being extended for another 12 days after more cases were discovered. New Zealand reported the new outbreak after more than 100 days since its last case was recorded, and had largely returned back to normal. But this week an Auckland family tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the city back in to a three-day lockdown, with freight being investigated as a possible cause.
14th Aug 2020 - Sky News

After 146 Days in Lockdown, Argentina’s Virus Problem Is Getting Worse

Argentina’s coronavirus fight is taking a turn for the worse as the nation that implemented one of Latin America’s strictest lockdowns sees deaths surge anyway. South America’s second-largest economy reported 303 Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, a record that was double the prior day’s tally. It’s quickly climbing in the ranks among the deadliest outbreaks over the past week on a per capita basis. In the past seven days, Argentina reported 22.5 deaths per million people compared with 28.1 in Brazil and 23.4 in the U.S., the world’s biggest hot spots. Total deaths have now surpassed 5,000 since the pandemic began. Worse still, concerns are mounting that real case and death tallies may actually be much higher. The number of coronavirus tests coming back positive has been hovering around 40% for the past week, similar levels to Mexico where testing levels have been deemed insufficient. The World Health Organization recommends that countries aim for 5% or less for 14 days straight before reopening economies
14th Aug 2020 - BNNBloomberg


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UK's poorest 'skip meals and go hungry' during coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on the nutritional health of the UK’s poorest citizens with as many as one in 10 forced to use food banks, and vast numbers skipping meals and going hungry, according to the government’s food safety watchdog. Food insecurity has shot up even further since lockdown as people’s income reduced, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said, heightening the risk both of malnutrition and obesity as struggling families adopted highly restrictive “basic sustenance” diets that largely cut out healthy foods.
13th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Longer lockdown drove UK to one of deepest recessions in Europe

The UK can now claim the dubious distinction of having suffered one of the highest death tolls from coronavirus in Europe — and also one of the deepest recessions. The second quarter’s 20.4 per cent fall in gross domestic product, shown in official data on Wednesday, was the biggest drop in output in any main European economy over the period. Although a recovery from April’s low point picked up speed in June, output remains 22.1 per cent below its level at the end of 2019. This makes it the sharpest recession in the G7, and second only to Spain among European peers over the first half of the year — a period that captures national lockdowns that began earlier in some countries.
13th Aug 2020 - Financial Times

Goa Lockdown News: Police to Crackdown on Night Parties Amid Pandemic as Section 144 Continues to be Imposed

The top cop's comments came days after a house party organised at a villa in the coastal village of Arpora turned into a streetside brawl after youngsters attending the event got embroiled in a brawl with a local gang.
13th Aug 2020 - India.com

Coronavirus in India: Did men do more housework during lockdown?

Dr Rahul Nagar, a Delhi-based dermatologist, says there's always been "a very clear division of labour" in his home. His wife, also a doctor, did the cooking and was the primary carer for their child. Like most middle-class Indians, they employed a part-time help who did the cleaning and dishes, while Dr Nagar did little bits and pieces. But then came the pandemic - and as Covid-19 cases began to rise, India went into a strict lockdown and their domestic helper was unable to come to work. "Pre-lockdown, for every five hours of work my wife did, I did one hour. But this pandemic has been a bolt from the blue," says Dr Nagar.
13th Aug 2020 - BBC

Cancer cases surge amid COVID-19 lockdowns

Hundreds of Australians are at great risk of cancer and other serious illnesses because fear of COVID-19 and the current lockdowns has been keeping people from seeking medical help. Chief Medical Officer at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre David Speakman said there would likely be “a wave of diagnosis from cancer and a whole lot of other medical conditions that have been missed or not attended to because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Cancer Council Australia reported a 40 per cent drop off in cancer referrals than was usual at this time of year. Mr Speakman told Sky News host Chris Kenny people had been ignoring symptoms and choosing not to see a doctor for fear of contracting the killer virus.
13th Aug 2020 - Sky News Australia

Portugal keeps Lisbon under stricter COVID curbs until end-August

The Portuguese capital and its surrounds will remain under tougher anti-coronavirus restrictions than the rest of the country until at least the end of August, the government said on Thursday. Portugal has reported 53,223 infections and 1,764 deaths from the coronavirus, much lower than many other European countries including neighbouring Spain, where more than 28,500 have died. But although the sunny southern European nation initially won praise for its quick response to the pandemic, a steady count of several hundred new cases per day in and around Lisbon in June and July, after the end of a nationwide lockdown, prompted authorities to re-impose some curbs. Even as the number of infections in Lisbon has fallen again, the government wants to take it slow, especially when some of Europe’s top soccer teams are in the city for a special ‘Final Eight’ UEFA Champions League mini-tournament.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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Worst recession on record strikes UK as coronavirus lockdown shrinks economy by 20 per cent

The UK’s economy has fallen into the worst recession on record, with coronavirus pushing down spending and output. Between April and June, the size of the economy reduced by 20.4 per cent, according to data released by the ONS.
12th Aug 2020 - iNews

India's COVID-19 lockdown threatens efforts to stop spikes in child marriage

When the police knocked on the door as 15-year-old Muskaan prepared to head to the temple in their village in northern India, the bride-to-be was distraught. With a sick father and unemployed brother, Muskaan believed that getting married to a distant relative’s son would alleviate the financial burden on her family and offer a better future. Yet a tip-off to the authorities in June by local activists concerned about a spike in early marriages during India’s coronavirus lockdown led to Muskaan’s wedding being called off, while her parents were charged under child marriage legislation. “When my father fixed my marriage, I agreed,” Muskaan, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, said by phone from her village in Jaunpur district in Uttar Pradesh. Yet she said she would have preferred to go to school if possible.
12th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Dutch government plans to tighten coronavirus quarantine measures

The Dutch health minister plans to introduce mandatory home quarantine for people identified by local authorities as having been in close contact with somebody infected with coronavirus, and for travellers returning from high-risk countries. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a letter to politicians that mandatory quarantine could be imposed if people refuse to isolate voluntarily. The move comes amid rising infection rates in the Netherlands and an unwillingness among some people to adhere to social-distancing measures and cooperate with contact tracing. "Mandatory quarantine is a tough measure but justified. Quarantine stops the spread of the virus so sticking to the rules is crucial," Mr de Jonge wrote.
12th Aug 2020 - Irish Independent

Peru's President: Nationwide curfew on Sundays to prevent COVID-19 contagion

President Martin Vizcarra on Wednesday announced the return of mandatory social immobilization (curfew) on Sundays due to a rebound in COVID-19 infections in Peru. In this sense, the Head of State affirmed that the corresponding Supreme Decree will be published in the official gazette El Peruano on Thursday. It will prohibit family and friends meetings that usually take place on the seventh day of the week. "Starting this Sunday, we are going to return to mandatory immobilization on Sundays. We think that it is preferable to take a step back, only on Sundays, in order to generate a sense of responsibility for all and then regain the conditions that we all would like to have," he expressed.
12th Aug 2020 - Andina - Agencia Peruana de Noticias


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France extends ban on mass gatherings to October 30: PM

The renewed spread of coronavirus in France could become harder to control without a collective effort to stop a rise in the infection rate, its prime minister said on Tuesday. The public was becoming careless, Jean Castex warned, speaking shortly before health authorities said new daily infections were up by 1,397 over 24 hours, almost twice as much as Monday, to reach 204,172. “If we don’t act collectively, we expose ourselves to the heightened risk that the rebound in the epidemic becomes hard to control,” Castex said during a visit to a hospital intensive care ward in southern France. A health ministry statement also reported 15 new deaths in hospital due the disease, compared to an increase of 16 over a three-day period between Monday and Saturday, with the total death toll standing at 30,354.
11th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Bhutan in virus lockdown for the first time

Bhutan has been largely shielded from coronavirus but on Tuesday, the remote Himalayan kingdom famous for measuring gross national happiness went into lockdown for the first time. The country of 800,000 people between India and China has recorded just 113 novel coronavirus cases and is one of the few nations to report zero deaths. The lockdown ordered in the early hours of Tuesday allows only essential services for an initial five to six days, said Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, a doctor who continues to practise on weekends.
11th Aug 2020 - Medical Xpress

Bhutan orders first coronavirus lockdown as cases hit 113

Bhutan ordered its first nationwide lockdown on Tuesday after a returning resident tested positive for coronavirus after being discharged from quarantine and coming into close contact with people in the capital Thimphu. The case took the total in the tiny Himalayan kingdom to 113, still the lowest in South Asia, and it has yet to record a fatality. Bhutan, which is heavily reliant on high-end tourists, banned tourism in March after an American visitor tested positive for the virus, and ordered a three week mandatory quarantine for everyone returning from abroad. The lockdown was ordered after a 27-year-old Bhutanese woman, who returned from Kuwait and was discharged from quarantine after testing negative, tested positive at a clinic on Monday.
11th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Bhutan in virus lockdown for the first time

Bhutan has been largely shielded from coronavirus but on Tuesday, the remote Himalayan kingdom famous for measuring gross national happiness went into lockdown for the first time. The country of 800,000 people between India and China has recorded just 113 novel coronavirus cases and is one of the few nations to report zero deaths. The lockdown ordered in the early hours of Tuesday allows only essential services for an initial five to six days, said Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, a doctor who continues to practise on weekends.
11th Aug 2020 - Medical Xpress


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Coronavirus: Australia records deadliest day but fewer new infections

Australia has recorded its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic amid a second wave of infections in Melbourne. Victoria state - of which Melbourne is the capital - reported 19 deaths on Monday. Victoria has now seen about two-thirds of Australia's total 314 deaths and approximately 21,400 cases. But the number of daily infections - though still in the hundreds - has dropped in recent days, prompting hope that a strict lockdown is working. Melbourne's second lockdown began over a month ago, but residents have been subject to a night-time curfew and stricter requirements since 3 August.
10th Aug 2020 - BBC


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97,000 children reportedly test positive for COVID-19 as schools gear up for instruction

Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds. Just over 97,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus from July 16 to July 30, according to the association. Out of almost 5 million reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S., CBS News' Michael George reports that the group found that more than 338,000 were children. Vanderbilt University's Dr. Tina Hartert hopes increased testing of children will help determine what role they play in transmission, as school districts around the country return to some form of school. She is leading a government-funded study that saw DIY testing kits sent to some 2,000 families.
9th Aug 2020 - CBS News

Whitmer extends coronavirus emergency through Sept. 4

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday extended Michigan’s coronavirus emergency through Sept. 4, enabling her to keep in place restrictions designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. The governor, whose administration earlier this week said new cases had recently plateaued, noted that they still remain higher than nearly two months ago and that many students will return to in-person instruction over the next month. The seven-day statewide average is up six-fold since June 10, to about 700 cases per day, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The rate of tests coming back positive also has trended higher since early June.
7th Aug 2020 - Associated Press

El Salvador supreme court rebukes president's decree to reopen economy

The constitutional chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court of Justice on Friday declared an executive decree that would establish protocols for the gradual reopening of the economy as unconstitutional. President Nayib Bukele and Congress have clashed over how to manage the pandemic and the country’s gradual reopening. Bukele had released an executive decree on July 29 that set out a calendar for a gradual reopening of the poor Central American economy. But in its ruling, the court stated that the new measures “contradict constitutional parameters established” earlier to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
8th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Eerie sight of thousands of freshly dug graves in Johannesburg cemetery

Fresh graves were photographed at Olifantsveil Cemetery outside Johannesburg. South Africa is not coping with its high amount of coronavirus cases and deaths. Experts believe there are many more cases and deaths going unreported in SA
8th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail


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Colombia's long virus lockdown fuels anxiety and depression

In the Colombian capital of Bogotá, the mayor’s office reports that suicide attempts are up 21% since the start of quarantine, with psychologists also reporting a rise in new patients.
6th Aug 2020 - Buenos Aires Times

The South Koreans left behind in a contact-free society

Digital technology has helped South Koreans cope with the pandemic. But the elderly have been left behind in the new contact-free era. Like many people around the world, Lee Ye-rin has spent most of the last few months alone at home. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 32-year-old office worker now works remotely from her apartment in Seoul; she avoids going to the gym by training at home and streams films on her TV rather than going to the cinema. She reads e-books instead of going to the library, which has been closed during the pandemic anyway. “I have rarely eaten out since the outbreak,” Lee says. “Instead, I order a variety of takeaway meals and even ice-cream for dessert on a delivery app. When I am fed up with that, I order ingredients from the grocery store and cook at home.”
6th Aug 2020 - BBC

N. Korea's escalating virus response raises fear of outbreak

North Korea is quarantining thousands of people and shipping food and other aid to a southern city locked down over coronavirus worries, officials said, as the country’s response to a suspected case reinforces doubt about its longstanding claim to be virus-free. But amid the outside skepticism and a stream of North Korean propaganda glorifying its virus efforts, an exchange between the country and the United Nations is providing new clarity — and actual numbers — about what might be happening in North Korea, which has closed its borders and cut travel — never a free-flowing stream — by outsider monitors and journalists.
6th Aug 2020 - The Associated Press

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un directs aid to town under lockdown over 'virus concerns'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un directed his government agencies to act immediately to stabilise the livelihoods of residents in a city locked down over coronavirus concerns, state media reported Thursday. North Korea declared an emergency and locked down Kaesong near the inter-Korean border in late July after finding a suspected virus case there. It hasn't confirmed yet if the person tested positive and still says the country hasn't had a single case of COVID-19, a claim questioned by outside experts.
6th Aug 2020 - The New Indian Express

Strict lockdown measures raise suspicions of virus outbreak in North Korea

North Korea is quarantining thousands of people and shipping food and other aid to a southern city locked down over coronavirus worries, officials said, as the country’s response to a suspected case reinforces doubt about its longstanding claim to be virus-free. But amid the outside scepticism and a stream of North Korean propaganda glorifying its virus efforts, an exchange between the country and the United Nations is providing new clarity — and actual numbers — about what might be happening in North Korea, which has closed its borders and cut travel — never a free-flowing stream — by outsider monitors and journalists.
6th Aug 2020 - The Asian Age

Proportion of COVID-19 contacts reached by English tracing scheme falls

The proportion of the contacts of positive COVID-19 cases reached by England’s test and trace system fell in its latest week, the health ministry said, adding that the decline was partly due to local health protection teams handling outbreaks. The Department of Health said 4,642 positive cases were transferred to the system in the week to 29 July, of whom 79.4% were reached and asked to provide their contacts. Some 19,150 people were identified as coming into close contact with someone who had tested positive and of these 72.4% were reached and asked to self-isolate, it said, a decrease from 76.2% in the previous week
6th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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Lockdown having 'pernicious impact' on LGBT community's mental health

The coronavirus lockdown has provoked a mental health crisis among the LGBTQ community, with younger people confined with bigoted relatives the most depressed, researchers found. A study of LGBTQ people’s experience during the pandemic, by University College London (UCL) and Sussex University, found 69% of respondents suffered depressive symptoms, rising to about 90% of those who had experienced homophobia or transphobia. Around a sixth of the 310 respondents to the Queerantine study said they had faced discrimination during the pandemic because of their sexuality. The rate rose to more than a third among those living in homes where they were not open about their identity. Almost 10% of people reported they felt unsafe in their homes. The study’s co-author, Laia Bécares, deputy director of the centre for innovation and research in wellbeing at Sussex University, said the pandemic was having a “pernicious impact” on the LGBTQ community’s mental health, with younger trans and non-binary people suffering more discrimination and reporting the highest levels of depression.
5th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

America must readjust as lockdown bites business

The rash of cold feet has not generally extended beyond the US. Globally, only 593 deals had been withdrawn, down 9 per cent year on year. That’s partly because laws outside America make it much harder for a buyer to claim conditions have changed so much that it justifies pulling out of a deal. The Takeover Panel, which governs British M&A, made this abundantly clear back in 2001, when it knocked back WPP’s claim that it should be allowed to drop its offer for Tempus because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. US-based payments group WEX is due in a British court in September to test that high barrier as it tries to break its deal to purchase two systems from Travelport, citing the pandemic. Lawyers say that they would be surprised to see many European deals falter because of Covid-19. “Europe is still a market where if you do a deal, you are locked-in,” says one top M&A lawyer. “People are looking not at walkaway rights but at financial adjustments.”
5th Aug 2020 - Financial Times

'I had to hide myself again': young LGBT people on their life in UK lockdown

The experiences of LGBTQ people across the UK during lockdown have been as diverse as the community itself. Married and cohabiting older gay men and lesbians have mainly felt the pandemic has had no more impact on them than on their heterosexual peers. But for many of the more than 200 respondents to the Guardian’s callout, the past few months have brought significant challenges, including weeks of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, increased isolation and deteriorating mental health. Younger LGBTQ people reported that lockdown meant being confined with families who were unsupportive or hostile. Kate, a 24-year-old bisexual demi-girl, meaning she identifies as a woman but not completely, said moving from her flat in Glasgow back into her childhood home in Ayrshire had meant hiding her sexuality again.
5th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Uganda's tough approach curbs COVID, even as Africa nears 1 million cases

Uganda’s crumbling public hospitals, doctors’ strikes and corruption scandals make its success in the fight against the new coronavirus all the more unlikely. But the nation of 42 million people has recorded just over 1,200 cases and five deaths since March, a strikingly low total for such a large country. As the number of cases in Africa approaches one million, Uganda’s experience shows what can be accomplished when a government with a firm grip on power acts quickly and enforces a strict lockdown. But its success came at a cost, critics say. Jobs were lost, and economic growth is set to plunge to as low as 0.4% in 2020, from 5.6% last year, according to the World Bank.
5th Aug 2020 - Reuters

N.Y., N.J. and Conn. to require travelers from 35 states to quarantine

Travelers from 35 states are now required to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, per New York state's health department. What's new: New York City will set up bridge and tunnel checkpoints to enforce the quarantine order, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, per the Wall Street Journal. Why it matters: The tri-state area, the original hub of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., has successfully flattened its curve and is reopening. Officials fear, however, that the surge of cases in others states across the country could erase progress.
5th Aug 2020 - Axios.com

India's fatality rate hits its lowest since first lockdown despite case surge in some states

The Union Health Ministry in India announced that the country is now registering its lowest Covid-19 fatality rate since the first national lockdown was imposed in March. The fatality rate dropped to 2.1 percent while the recovery rate is now double the number of active cases, a good indicator that the country is on the right track in its battle with Covid-19. Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Rajesh Bhushan, stated “This is the first time after the first lockdown that the fatality rate is at its lowest, at 2.1 percent. The fatality rate has seen a progressive decline and it is continuing, which is a good sign".
5th Aug 2020 - AS English


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Lack of special border measures before UK coronavirus lockdown was 'serious mistake'

The government’s failure to impose special border measures such as mandatory self-isolation in the run-up to the UK coronavirus lockdown was “a serious mistake” that significantly increased the pace and scale of the epidemic, MPs have concluded in a damning report. Between January and mid-March, non-mandatory guidance to self-isolate for 14 days was issued to travellers from designated high-risk countries, including China, Iran and Italy, but not Spain. Yet on 13 March this guidance was withdrawn. Evidence suggests thousands of new infections were brought in from continental Europe in the 10 days between the withdrawal of guidance and the introduction of lockdown on 23 March, the home affairs select committee says in the report. “It is highly likely that this contributed to the rapid increase in the spread of the virus in mid-March and to the overall scale of the outbreak in the UK,” the MPs say.
4th Aug 2020 - The Guardian


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Less than half of people in England understand current lockdown rules

Levels in Scotland and Wales have also fallen but are higher than those in England, with reported levels of understanding at 75% and 61% respectively. Complete understanding has fallen even further, with only 14% of adults in England reporting understanding the rules completely as lockdown eased, compared to 18% in Wales and 27% in Scotland.
3rd Aug 2020 - Medical Xpress


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California becomes first state to hit half a million coronavirus cases

More than half a million people have tested positive for the coronavirus in California, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. California is the first U.S. state to hit 500,000 cases. More than 9,000 people have died from coronavirus in California, and more than 6,000 people are currently in the hospital or an intensive care unit, according to state data published Friday morning. In mid-July, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced new restrictions to try and ease the spread of the virus. Bars, breweries, restaurants, wineries, movie theaters and other indoor businesses that "encourage mixing of individuals beyond immediate households and make physical distancing and wearing face coverings difficult" were ordered to close. Counties that are on the state's monitoring list for three or more consecutive days were also ordered to close indoor operations, including fitness centers, places of worship, indoor protests, personal care services, salons, and malls.
1st Aug 2020 - CBS News

Fewer than half of adults understand the current coronavirus lockdown rules, study suggests

Fewer than half of people in England understand the current coronavirus rules, a study has revealed. Researchers found that as measures eased at different rates across the UK, levels of understanding of what is and what is not permitted dropped, particularly among younger adults. University College London (UCL) research conducted on more than 70,000 adults showed that 45 per cent only had a “broad understanding” of the current rules in place.
1st Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

Spike in Covid-19 cases puts reopening of pubs at risk amid worries over spread of virus

Pubs may have to agree to shorter opening times and limits on customer numbers as a price for reopening. Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said at least 19 cases over the two days have been identified as community transmission with an unknown source, while 20 cases remain under investigation. "We may be beginning to see more cases which we cannot link to outbreaks or close contacts. The National Public Health Emergency Team will continue to monitor this situation closely over the coming days," he said. The Irish Dog Foods factory in Naas, which was the centre of a large outbreak, remained closed yesterday for a deep clean
1st Aug 2020 - Irish Independent

Germany adds 3 coronavirus-hit Spanish regions to quarantine list

Germany on Friday (July 31) added three northern Spanish regions to its list of high-risk destinations, meaning anyone arriving from those areas will have to produce a negative coronavirus test or go into quarantine for 14 days. Germany's Foreign Ministry said it had toughened up its warning against travel to the regions of Catalonia, Navarre and Aragon following a spike in Covid-19 cases there. The move comes after Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control added the three regions to its high-risk list.
31st Jul 2020 - The Straits Times


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Community Circles: The lockdown lifesavers connecting hundreds across Lancashire

When you’re an organisation dedicated to helping people connect and come together to explore hobbies, interests, and experiences together, a global pandemic resulting in lockdown and social distancing can safely be described as a bit of an issue.
30th Jul 2020 - Lancashire Post

Coronavirus: Why some people want to keep working from home

Bedrooms, kitchen counter-tops and dining tables became the new way of working for millions of people. According to the ONS, 30% of adults in the UK were exclusively working from home at the start of July. From 1 August, employers in England can allow staff back into offices at their own discretion when they feel it's safe to do so. But now it's time to return to those communal workplaces, research from Eskenzi suggests that 91% of the UK's office workers would like to work from home at least part of the time. So why are so many office staff keen to keep working from home?
30th Jul 2020 - BBC


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Another escape from managed isolation in Auckland

The Minister in charge of isolation facilities Megan Woods says another person managed to escape from the Crowne Plaza in Auckland after tailgating a staff member. She said the man was apprehended by police after only making it 50 metres from the hotel. "They didn't even make 50 metres. Security and the police were on to it and it really does show the work of having the police on site. "They could be immediately brought back into the facility. This is an example of the systems working as they should.
30th Jul 2020 - RNZ

North Korea tells foreigners in capital to follow rules amid coronavirus crackdown

Following the announcement that North Korea is investigating its first possible coronavirus case, authorities reminded foreigners living in Pyongyang to abide by anti-coronavirus measures, the Russian embassy there said on Wednesday. North Korea’s foreign ministry circulated a notice on Tuesday telling foreigners not to leave the city, hold large meetings, and to wear masks, among other rules, the embassy said in a post on its Facebook page. North Korea declared a state of emergency and introduced tougher curbs against the coronavirus, state media reported, after it locked down the town of Kaesong, on the border with the South, to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed infection.
29th Jul 2020 - Reuters

International students turn to food banks in lockdown

Hundreds of international students in the UK have turned to food banks after part-time work and funding from families dried up during lockdown. Some have been unable to pay their course fees and have been threatened with suspension by their universities which would result in their visas being cancelled. The Newham Community Project in east London, volunteers are feeding up to 600 students, most in their early 20s. "They're going through a lot of hardship," says organiser Elyas Ismail. "This is their first time abroad," he adds. "They're in a bad way."
29th Jul 2020 - BBC

Kazakhstan extends coronavirus lockdown until mid-August

Kazakhstan has extended its lockdown over the novel coronavirus for two more weeks until mid-August and the restrictions will then be eased gradually, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Wednesday.
29th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Colombia coronavirus quarantine to be extended until Aug 30

Colombia’s national lockdown to curb infections of the new coronavirus will be extended by one month until the end of August, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday. The Andean country has reported more than 267,300 coronavirus cases and 9,074 deaths. “Obligatory preventative isolation, as the general concept, will continue until August 30,” Duque said in his nightly broadcast. This is the eighth time the lockdown has been extended. Duque declared a national lockdown in late March to slow the spread of coronavirus across the Andean country.
29th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Victoria announces more than 700 new Covid-19 cases, 13 deaths

The 723 cases mark the highest daily tally of the pandemic in the Australian state, shattering the previous single-day total by almost 200 cases. Today, 13 new deaths were announced, another daily high. They were three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s. From midnight Sunday, face coverings will be mandatory throughout Victoria. The government will also impose restrictions on face-to-face gatherings in some regional local government areas from midnight tonight. "It's inconvenient, it's challenging, but it's essentially stage four for Melbourne, and it's something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but getting a really significant public health benefit," Premier Daniel Andrews said at a media briefing.
29th Jul 2020 - RNZ

Covid-19: New Victoria cases to be 'doorknocked' by military - Premier

The 723 cases mark the highest daily tally of the pandemic in the Australian state, shattering the previous single-day total by almost 200 cases. Today, 13 new deaths were announced, another daily high. They were three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s. From midnight Sunday, face coverings will be mandatory throughout Victoria. The government will also impose restrictions on face-to-face gatherings in some regional local government areas from midnight tonight. "It's inconvenient, it's challenging, but it's essentially stage four for Melbourne, and it's something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but getting a really significant public health benefit," Premier Daniel Andrews said at a media briefing.
29th Jul 2020 - Radio New Zealand

Leicester lockdown decision deadline changed by Government

The deadline for a decision to be made on future of the Leicester lockdown has been moved forward to July 30. The original date the Government said it would review restrictions in the city and Oadby and Wigston by was Saturday, August 1. The last review also took place on a Thursday, which could explain why the date has been changed.
28th Jul 2020 - Leicestershire Live


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North Korea steps up coronavirus prevention after first possible infection

North Korea introduced tougher curbs against the coronavirus on Tuesday, state media reported, after it locked down the town Kaesong, on the border with the South, to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed infection.
28th Jul 2020 - Reuters

UK lockdown life: Binge eating, more alcohol, less exercise

People have been binge eating, drinking more, exercising less and suffering increased anxiety during COVID-19 lockdowns, according to preliminary findings of a UK study on Monday, with knock-on impacts likely on rates of obesity and mental illness. An online survey of around 800 adults in England who were asked about their health and habits during late June and early July found a stark rise in negative mental health, coupled with unhealthy eating and drinking, poor sleep and less exercise. Younger adults appeared to be disproportionately suffering from sadness and anxiety, while 46% of survey participants said they had been less active during lockdown. Many also reported binge eating or said they were eating more unhealthy, processed snacks and drinking more alcohol.
28th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK


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Review finds people from BAME backgrounds more likely to get Covid-19 fines than white people

An independent review has found men from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds were more likely to be handed fines for breaches of Covid-19 lockdown rules compared to white men of the same age. The review, conducted by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), found there was “disproportionality” in the issuing of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) by forces in England and Wales. It found people people from BAME backgrounds were handed fines at a rate of 1.6 times higher than white people between March 27 and May 25, with black and Asian people 1.8 times more likely to be handed penalties.
27th Jul 2020 - Manchester Evening News

'What about us?' Canada home care workers' lockdown heroics neglected

Personal care workers provided a vital service to their elderly and vulnerable clients, but face precarious terms and low wages
27th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

South Korea says defector who fled to North 'did not have' Covid-19

South Korea has said that a defector who recently fled to the North does not appear to have contracted Covid-19, a day after Pyongyang imposed a lockdown near the border, claiming the man was its first recorded case of the illness. North Korean state media reported on Sunday that the 24-year-old man, who was reportedly in quarantine, was displaying symptoms of coronavirus after returning to his homeland across the border separating the two Koreas last week.
27th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: North Korea announces state of emergency and lockdown in border town after first suspected case

North Korea has announced a state of emergency and a lockdown in a border town after someone with suspected coronavirus illegally crossed the border with South Korea, according to the country’s state media. Kim Jong-un has imposed a lockdown on the city of Kaesong – which is close to the border with South Korea – warning “the vicious virus” may now have infiltrated the secretive country, state media said on Sunday. The patient will be North Korea’s first official coronavirus case if the authorities confirm they definitely have tested positive for the virus.
27th Jul 2020 - The Independent

North Korea introduces lockdown in signs of 'first' coronavirus case

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un placed the city of Kaesong near the border with South Korea under total lockdown after a person was found with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, saying he believes “the vicious virus” may have entered the country, state media reported on Sunday. If the person is officially declared a virus patient, he or she would be the North’s first confirmed coronavirus case. North Korea has steadfastly said it has no single virus case on its territory, a claim questioned by outside experts.
26th Jul 2020 - The Sydney Morning Herald

Coronavirus: Defector who fled to North Korean lockdown did not have Covid, Seoul says

A defector who led to a lockdown in North Korea due to infection fears did not have coronavirus when he crossed the border from South Korea, according to officials. Alarm was raised in Pyongyang on Sunday after a man who had previously defected to South Korea was suspected to have Covid-19 when he got to Kaesong City after illegally swimming across the border.
26th Jul 2020 - The Independent

North Korea declares emergency over suspected Covid-19 case

North Korea has declared an emergency and a lockdown in a border town after a person suspected of having coronavirus returned from South Korea after illegally crossing the border, state media has said. If confirmed, it would be the first case officially acknowledged by North Korean authorities. Kim Jong-un convened an emergency politburo meeting in response to what he called a “critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country”, the North’s KCNA state news reported. A person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the fortified border that divides the two Koreas to the town of Kaesong this month with symptoms of Covid-19, according to KCNA.
26th Jul 2020 - The Guardian


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The Coronavirus Unleashed Along the Amazon River

The virus swept through the region like past plagues that have traveled the river with colonizers and corporations. It spread with the dugout canoes carrying families from town to town, the fishing dinghies with rattling engines, the ferries moving goods for hundreds of miles, packed with passengers sleeping in hammocks, side by side, for days at a time. The Amazon River is South America’s essential life source, a glittering superhighway that cuts through the continent. It is the central artery in a vast network of tributaries that sustains some 30 million people across eight countries, moving supplies, people and industry deep into forested regions often untouched by road. But once again, in a painful echo of history, it is also bringing disease.
25th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Iran Says Medics Exhausted in Battle against Coronavirus

Iran reported 216 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Sunday, calling on its citizens to observe health protocols more closely to ease the burden on exhausted medical staff. The Islamic republic announced its first COVID-19 cases on February 19, and the outbreak quickly became the Middle East's deadliest. Declared coronavirus deaths have surged since the end of June and claimed more than 200 lives nearly every day in the past week, including a record 229 on Tuesday. "Our biggest concerns are the infection and fatigue of medical staff," health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said in a televised briefing on Sunday. "We can help them and prevent the spread of the disease" by observing basic guidelines such as hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing, she added. Iran said earlier this month that 5,000 health workers had been infected with the novel coronavirus and 140 had lost their lives.
26th Jul 2020 - Voice of America

Mass COVID-19 screenings begin in Pakistan provincial prisons

Detention facilities in the province are currently overfilled, with more than 17,600 people incarcerated in 24 prisons built to accommodate 13,000. Half of Sindh’s prison population is housed in two jails in Karachi. In June officials at one of them — Karachi Central Jail — said a quarter of the prisoners there had tested positive for COVID-19. “This is a big problem for us. They are hugely overcrowded, and it’s very difficult to manage them,” Kazi Nazeer Ahmed, the inspector general of prison police in Sindh, told Arab News. “We were a bit worried that COVID-19 might spread like wildfire in such a situation,” said Dr. Rafiq Khanani, president of the Infectious Disease Society of Pakistan, who oversees the country’s testing programs.
26th Jul 2020 - Arab News

Arrivals to the UK from Spain must quarantine for two weeks | ITV News

Anyone arriving in the UK from Spain must quarantine for 14 days, it has been announced, after the government reacted to a spike in the country's cases of coronavirus. Spain has been removed from the government’s list of safe countries to travel to, the Department for Transport confirmed, meaning anyone arriving from there must self-isolate for two weeks. Spain is feared to be "already" tackling its second wave of coronavirus, one of the country's leading experts warned, and restrictions have been reimposed there in an attempt to stem a new spike in cases. As such, the Foreign Commonwealth Office is advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain
25th Jul 2020 - ITV News

Gujarat records highest 1,110 Covid-19 cases in day; 21 deaths

Gujarat on Sunday saw the highest single-day spike of 1,110 new Covid-19 cases, taking the state tally to 55,822, the Health department said. Gujarat on Sunday saw the highest single-day spike of 1,110 new Covid-19 cases, taking the state tally to 55,822, the Health department said.
26th Jul 2020 - Deccan Herald


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Coronavirus: Domestic abuse helpline sees lockdown surge

More than 40,000 calls and contacts were made to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline during the first three months of lockdown, most by women seeking help, new figures show. In June, calls and contacts were nearly 80% higher than usual, says the charity Refuge, which runs the helpline. And as restrictions ease, there is a surge in women seeking refuge places to escape their abusers, the charity says. The government says it prioritised help for domestic-abuse victims in lockdown.
23rd Jul 2020 - BBC

Women did majority of childcare in UK lockdown, study finds

Women did significantly more in terms of childcare during lockdown compared to men, new figures reveal. According to a study from the Office for National Statistics, women in households with children under 18 carried out an average of more than three hours a day of childcare compared to just two hours for men. The research also found that one in three women home-schooling their children in lockdown said their mental health had suffered as a result.
23rd Jul 2020 - The Independent

Ukraine extends lockdown until Aug. 31

Ukraine’s government on Wednesday extended a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic until Aug. 31, but it will allow separate regions to ease the regime if warranted. Ukraine imposed strict restrictions in March and partially eased them in May to help an economic recovery. The government extends the lockdown monthly, requiring people to wear masks and adhere to strict norms in restaurants and public places. But there have been worryingly high levels of new infections in recent weeks, which authorities attribute to a reluctance to wear masks and observe social distancing.
23rd Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Turkish parliament gives Erdogan authority to extend layoff ban for a year

Turkey’s parliament on Thursday approved a law allowing President Tayyip Erdogan to extend a layoff ban imposed to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic until July 2021. The layoff ban was first imposed in April for three months. With the new law, Erdogan will be allowed to extend the ban by three months each time until June 30, 2021.
23rd Jul 2020 - Reuters


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British pupils 'struggled to continue learning at home'

A majority of British children struggled to continue learning at home during the lockdown, a report says. The Office for National Statistics research found that of the 52% who struggled, three-quarters of parents gave a lack of motivation as a reason. The research, based on weekly household surveys between April and June, also found women's well-being was being more adversely affected than that of men. It also showed wide disparities in what families were able to do. The ONS researchers carried out nationally representative surveys of more than 12,000 people in Great Britain between 3 April and 7 June about their experiences of home-schooling during the coronavirus pandemic.
22nd Jul 2020 - BBC

Bogota mayor extends virus lockdown after govt refuses

The mayor of Bogota said she would expand a coronavirus lockdown from Thursday to cover five million residents of the Colombian capital after the government refused to authorize a total shutdown. Since July 13, with the health crisis worsening, the city of eight million has been under a series of rotating lockdowns by groups of neighborhoods, covering 2.5 million of the population at a time. Bogota mayor Claudia Lopez on Tuesday said she would extend the measure so the lockdowns overlap to cover more of the population from July 23 to August 14.
22nd Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

Rich Russians fuel private jet demand to skirt virus lockdown

For high-flying Russians used to spending summer holidays at Mediterranean resorts or in London penthouses, coronavirus restrictions that closed borders and grounded flights have made international travel a distant dream. Yet many of Russia's super-rich who hold second passports or residence permits abroad have discovered an elegant way of bypassing anti-virus measures to reach second homes in London, Cyprus, Monaco or Nice: private jets. Privately-operated flights from Moscow's airports more than doubled between April and mid-June, the RBK business news portal reported in late June citing sources at two of Moscow's airports.
22nd Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

COVID-19 deaths are rising once again. What's driving the increase?

"What we saw after about two weeks was the older population starting to catch up again," McDeavitt said, though he pointed out that there is no scientific data yet to link younger partiers with older patients. "Presumably, younger people were going out and getting infected, and then bringing that back to parents and grandparents," he said. "Young people are generally fine," said Dr. Michael Wasserman, a geriatrician and president of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine. "They're not always, but if they give it to grandma, that's a problem." Indeed, McDeavitt said, more severe outcomes still tend to be among older people and people with underlying conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
22nd Jul 2020 - NBC News


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Coronavirus pandemic 'showing no signs of slowing down' in Americas - PAHO

Carissa Etienne told a virtual briefing from PAHO's Washington headquarters that some Central American nations were seeing their highest weekly increase of cases since the virus landed, and that because of the high burden of infectious diseases and chronic conditions in the Americas, three out of 10 people - 325 million - were at "increased risk" of developing complications from COVID-19. "The impact of co-morbidities on the spread of the virus should be a clarion call to every country in the Americas: Use data to tailor your response and make health your top priority," she said.
21st Jul 2020 - Devdiscourse


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Starving and sleeping on the streets: The reality of life for women seeking asylum in lockdown Britain

Women who have sought asylum in the UK have been forced to go without food and sleep outside or on buses during the coronavirus crisis, a report has found. The study, carried out by a coalition of women’s organisations, warned that the public health emergency has made asylum-seeking women more at risk of hunger and ill health. The coalition Sisters Not Strangers, which includes organisations working with refugee women around the UK, found that three-quarters of women seeking asylum went hungry during the Covid-19 crisis, including mothers who found it difficult to find food to give their children.
20th Jul 2020 - The Independent


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El Salvador to postpone second phase of economic reopening, ...

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said on Sunday that he would postpone the second phase of the country's economic reopening, slated to begin Tuesday, after evaluating inputs from experts and the Salvadoran health ministry. Just on Saturday, the president had reiterated his intention to move forward with the next stage of restarting the economy. "After listening to the opinions of experts and above all, the Ministry of Health ... I have decided to suspend Phase 2 of the economic reopening," Bukele wrote in a post on Twitter. Bukele and El Salvador's congress have clashed over how to manage the pandemic. Lawmakers have so far refused to approve a request from Bukele's government for new emergency measures to restrict the movement of people.
20th Jul 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation News


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Illegal groups in Colombia using violence to enforce lockdowns

Illegal armed groups are imposing strict COVID-19 quarantines in parts of Colombia where the state has a weak presence, threatening and even killing those who don't comply, Human Rights Watch warned Wednesday. At least nine people have been assassinated in recent months for either refusing to abide by the restrictions or actively opposing them. One man, community leader Edison Leon, was killed in June after sending a letter alerting local authorities that members of a group called “La Mafia” were forcing residents to staff a health checkpoint in Putumayo.
16th Jul 2020 - CTV News

UK sheds 650,000 jobs during coronavirus lockdown

The UK has shed more than half a million jobs during the coronavirus lockdown while employees worked fewer hours and earned less despite the government rolling out numerous measures to support the economy. The number of UK payroll employees fell by 650,000 in June compared with March, a 2.2 per cent fall, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics based on tax data. The statistics body said, however, that the rate of decline in employment had slowed in June compared with May. “There are now almost two-thirds of a million fewer employees on the payroll than before the lockdown, according to the latest tax data,” said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS.
16th Jul 2020 - The Financial Times

A Residential Area Remains on Lockdown in Beijing, China

An upscale residential area remains on semi-lockdown in Beijing on Thursday, July 16, 2020. China reported just one new confirmed case of the Covid-19 in the past 24 hours and two asymptomatic cases, as the U.S. struggles to fight the rising infections and deaths across the country.
16th Jul 2020 - UPI.com


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Colombian cartels killing those who don't obey their Covid-19 lockdowns

Human Rights Watch calls on government to do more to protect civilians after at least eight murdered by armed groups
15th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Online tutoring improves disadvantaged school pupils performance and wellbeing in lockdown

A Bocconi University and Harvard program also raised disadvantaged pupils' aspirations, wellbeing and socio-emotional skills, showing that the educational gap can be addressed even with limited resources
15th Jul 2020 - EurekAlert!


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House-to-house check on COVID-19 patients in Philippines

Philippine police will go from house to house in search for COVID-19 patients who should be isolated in quarantine facilities to boost efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, an official said Tuesday. Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano said mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 patients should not be in home quarantine unless they have their own room and bathroom and if they do not have vulnerable family members. "So with the help of the local government units, the police will go house to house and we will take the patients to Covid isolation facilities.” “You are endangering the lives of other people when you stay at home,” he added. “You will get well faster, it’s just 14 days in quarantine and food is free.” Ano urged the public to report to authorities if they know someone who was infected to help stop the spread of the virus
15th Jul 2020 - Qatar-Tribune.com

Grassroots help for homeless, drug addicts thrives in lockdown S. Africa

While some of the nation's homeless shelters have made headlines for harsh living conditions and police brutality, others have become unexpected havens for some residents. "I found paradise here," said Matthew Nxumalo, 35, a mechanic who is also on the methadone program, which has helped some 200 people in different shelters since the beginning of the lockdown. "Nobody else thought about us until we arrived here, but I feel like I've been given a second chance," Nxumalo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation before he gathered firewood in the bushes next to the bowling green to light an evening fire.
14th Jul 2020 - The Jakarta Post

Portugal keeps parts of Lisbon under coronavirus lockdown

Portugal’s government said on Monday five areas on the outskirts of Lisbon will remain under a partial lockdown put in place two weeks ago to tackle a worrying wave of coronavirus cases. People living in 19 civil parishes of Greater Lisbon are allowed to leave home only to buy essential goods such as food or medication, or to travel to and from work. “Although the coronavirus incidence rate has improved in these 15 days, it has not yet reached a stage where we would reevaluate measures,” Cabinet Affairs Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a news conference.
14th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Italy to extend anti-COVID measures to July 31: health minister | English.news.cn

Italy's Minister of Health Roberto Speranza said the country will continue enforcing some restrictive measures at least until the end of this month. "We must not retreat one inch on prevention," Speranza said. The minister also said that authorities are keeping a watchful eye on all arrivals from abroad, including migrants landing on Italy's shores. The country will maintain a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days for everybody arriving from outside the European Union, Speranza said.
14th Jul 2020 - Xinhua

Germany eyes local travel bans to prevent 2nd virus wave

Helge Braun, who is Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff and tasked with coordinating the government's pandemic response, said Germany is considering local travel bans for areas that see a sudden, unexplained surge in virus cases. "Our measures are appropriate to preventing a second big wave," Braun told The Associated Press in an interview at the Chancellery in Berlin. "But this requires us to stay the course, not get careless in our measures and maintain our respect for the virus." Germany has managed to flatten the curve of infections to three per 100,000 inhabitants a week - a very low rate by international comparison. The country of 83 million has reported just over 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,077 deaths since the start of its outbreak.
14th Jul 2020 - ABC News


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Bathers banned from Rio's beaches as Brazil starts to take coronavirus seriously

Brazil reported 631 deaths yesterday bringing its overall death toll to 72,100 Beaches in tourist hotspot Rio de Janeiro are open for exercise and water sports Municipal police officers were pictured removing sunbathers who flout the rules
13th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

The women who can't get an abortion in lockdown

India's grinding national coronavirus lockdown complicated life for women trying to access safe abortions, and now cities are bringing back restrictions, reports Menaka Rao. In the last week of May, a 20-year old college-going woman in India's capital, Delhi, found out that she was pregnant. The woman, Kiran, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, had already taken abortion pills on the advice of a friend who was a doctor. But they did not work and so, her only option was a surgical abortion. India, however, was still under lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. It had enforced some of the world's most severe restrictions, stopping air travel, trains and buses, and confining people to their homes as much as possible.
13th Jul 2020 - BBC

Germany's sex workers demand to go back to work as coronavirus ban continues

Prostitutes in Germany are demanding the right to get back to work. The country’s brothels remain closed following the coronavirus pandemic. Brothels have reopened in surrounding countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium.
13th Jul 2020 - CNBC

COVID-19 lockdown: A breeding ground for domestic abuse

Behind closed doors, the dark underbelly of domestic violence is thriving as more people are locked down at home, writes Anushka Britto. While some of us watched the exponential curve of COVID-19 cases and deaths rising around the world – including Australia – I was keenly aware of other curves also rising. I watched the unintentional adverse impact of keeping people at home.
13th Jul 2020 - Independent Australia


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20 areas most at risk of a new coronavirus outbreak exposed in leaked document

There are fears the areas in England could face new local lockdowns - with three, Sheffield, Bradford and Kirklees, noted as needing "enhanced support" in the Public Health England chart. A leaked report has detailed 20 areas in England which are believed to be most at risk of a fresh coronavirus outbreak.
12th Jul 2020 - Mirror Online

The lost families of lockdown

Invisible, ignored and at risk, these are the lockdown children politicians don’t discuss. Now charities and medics are 'gravely concerned' about the toxic impact of the pandemic on an already desperate situation. Jen Williams reports.
29th Jun 2020 - Manchester Evening News


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Holidaymakers left fuming as Foreign Office tells ALL tourists not to go on cruises due to coronavirus risk - after previously urging only over-70s to avoid them - just as restrictions on travel are lifted

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) urges against travel on cruise ships Government previously urged over-70s to avoid cruise ships due to coronavirus The FCO says new position comes following advice from Public Health England Consumer groups has warned decision will lead companies to cancel sailings
10th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

UK universities receive record number of applications in lockdown

A record 40.5% of all 18-year-olds in the UK have applied to go to university, with numbers rising significantly during lockdown, according to the university admissions service Ucas. It is the first time that more than four out of 10 students (40.5%) had applied by 30 June to go to university and the figures will offer some comfort to universities bracing themselves for the Covid-19 aftershock. At the same point in the admissions cycle last year, the figure was 38.9%, and Ucas points out that between mid-March and the end of June, when the pandemic was at its height in the UK, applications rose by 17%.
9th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Traffic fell more in Britain than in any other European country during lockdown

They compared traffic data for February with records for March to June. UK came out bottom for post pandemic recovery out of 19 European countries. Recovery in major cities London, Belfast and Manchester also proved anaemic
9th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Palestine tightens lockdown after recording 2 new COVID-19 deaths

Palestine tightened the precautionary measures all over the West Bank on Wednesday after recording two new COVID-19 deaths, raising the total fatalities to 24 since March 5. On Wednesday, a full lockdown dominated the West Bank after the Palestinian government decided earlier to extend it for another five days to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. The Palestinian Authority's Ministry of National Economy announced earlier on Wednesday that it fined 15 owners of industrial and commercial establishments for not abiding by the precautionary measures to combat coronavirus. The Palestinian police also announced that they had shut down 121 stores, seized 55 vehicles, and arrested 13 citizens for not abiding by the state of emergency and lockdown.
9th Jul 2020 - China.org.cn


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Colombia coronavirus lockdown extended until Aug. 1

Colombia's national lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus will be extended by just over two weeks until Aug. 1, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday. The Andean country has reported more than 124,400 cases of the novel coronavirus and 4,359 deaths. Duque declared a national lockdown in late March to slow coronavirus infections across the country. While thousands of businesses have begun reopening, the lockdown was due to be lifted on July 15. "After analysing the country and considering we have cities where the rate of cases has accelerated and grown, as well as the mortality rate, we have continued to work on preserving the mandatory preventive isolation as the general concept," Duque said in a nightly televised broadcast.
8th Jul 2020 - YAHOO!

Sharp increase in UK child sexual abuse during pandemic

“Our pursuit of high-risk online offenders has been unrelenting during lockdown,” says Charles Yates, the NCA’s deputy director. But these figures could be the tip of the iceberg. “The full scale will only be revealed once children return to schools and have more access to trusted adults, and the tech industry brings back human moderators [who check their platforms for illegal content],” he says. Even then, it may take some time. Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy at NSPCC, warns that it may not be until 2021 that we will know the full impact. “What we’re likely to see here is a long tail of disclosures [in autumn].”
8th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Bristol creates more new companies during lockdown than any other UK city

Bristol created more online companies during lockdown than any other UK city, new research has revealed. According to website building service Web Eden, the city had the largest number of company website registrations, followed by Leicester, London, Manchester, Gloucester and Birmingham. Web Eden analysed internal data between March and June 2020 to see where businesses were set u