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Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Sep 2020

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Glitches dent German enthusiasm for Covid contact-tracing app

As England and Wales prepare to unveil a coronavirus contact-tracing app, Germany is drawing less than enthusiastic first conclusions about the effectiveness of battling the pandemic with smartphones. A hundred days after its launch, German authorities conceded that IT glitches and poor communication channels with laboratories make the country’s Corona-Warn-App “one more tool of many” rather than a Covid-19 cure-all. The German app, which drew praise from as far as Westminster after it was launched on 16 July, had by the start of this week been downloaded 18.4m times in Germany and 400,000 times abroad – more than similar apps in all other EU member states combined.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Germany set to declare Dublin 'at risk' due to virus

The "region of Dublin" has now been designated a "risk area" by Germany, due to the recent increase in Covid-19 infections. This designation means passengers from Dublin landing at any German airport will be required to be tested for Covid-19 and isolate until the result is known. The risk assessment is based on seven day incidences, with an infection rate above 50 per 100,000 of population triggering a testing requirement. Ireland's 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 per 100,000 of the population has increased to 70.7.
23rd Sep 2020 - RTE.ie

Coronavirus UK: Wages could be 'topped up' when furlough ends

Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering replacing the furlough scheme with German-style wage subsidies to help businesses in the UK. As the furlough scheme is set to end on October 31, there are concerns companies may start cutting jobs as the country prepares for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The chancellor was set to announce an extension of Government-backed loan schemes for those struggling – but according to sources he decided to delay it at the last minute. The sources say he is using the delay to draw up a wider support package after Boris Johnson announced tougher new lockdown measures yesterday.
23rd Sep 2020 - Metro.co.uk

China's BGI wins 1.5 million coronavirus test kit order from Ethiopia

Ethiopia has agreed to purchase 1.5 million coronavirus testing kits that will be manufactured at a factory in the African country that has been newly built by China's BGI Group, China's state media agency Xinhua said late on Tuesday.
23rd Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

Covid-19 New Zealand: Mask rules eased as cases drop

Face masks are no longer mandatory on public transport in most of New Zealand as Covid-19 cases continue to drop. From midnight on Wednesday, they are required only in Auckland, the heart of a recent outbreak, and on planes. The rest of New Zealand lifted all pandemic restrictions on Monday. New Zealand was widely praised for its swift response to Covid-19 and everyday life largely went back to normal in June, but the virus reappeared in Auckland in August. The country's biggest city went back into lockdown, temporarily, as other curbs were re-imposed elsewhere. New Zealand has now recorded 1,468 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 25 deaths.
23rd Sep 2020 - BBC News

Belgium eases mask rules, cuts quarantine despite rising cases

Belgium is ending a requirement to wear masks outdoors and reducing the time people have to self-isolate, in a slight easing of coronavirus restrictions announced on Wednesday despite sharply rising numbers of COVID-19 infections. Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes told a news conference that, from Oct. 1, people who have had contact with an infected person would only have to quarantine for seven days. Masks would no longer be mandatory everywhere outside, as currently the case in the capital Brussels and some other cities, she said. Masks will still have to worn in shops, cinemas, on public transport and in crowded streets.
23rd Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Sep 2020

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Covid-19: number of schools in England 'not fully open' quadruples

The number of schools in England badly affected by Covid-19 cases among students and staff has quadrupled in the space of a week, and the number of pupils absent rose by 50%, according to estimates released by the Department for Education. The DfE’s figures revealed that 4% of state schools were classed as “not fully open” last week because of Covid-19, compared with 1% of schools seven days before, including cases where entire year groups had been sent home. Around 20 schools were closed outright for Covid-related reasons. Nine hundred schools were affected, in a week during which many headteachers and parents complained they were unable to access coronavirus tests, forcing those showing symptoms to be kept away from the classroom and self-isolate. Including independent schools at a similar rate would bring the figure for England close to 1,000 schools.
22nd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Spain to cut coronavirus quarantine to 10 from 14 days, SER radio says

The Spanish government and regional authorities are set to cut the quarantine imposed on those who have had contacts with people tested positive to coronavirus to 10 days from a previous 14 days, Cadena SER radio station reported on Tuesday. Spain has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in western Europe and regional authorities have ordered a partial lockdown from Monday in some Madrid neighbourhoods and other regions are taking measures to curb contagion.
22nd Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

No COVID-19 test, no grape harvest in Spain's Basque Country

All wine industry workers in Spain’s Rioja-producing region of Alava must undergo a coronavirus test before they start work to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks putting the grape harvest at risk. Grape pickers, who have dubbed 2020 the “harvest of the masks”, will be given their own equipment, including baskets and scissors, which cannot be exchanged, to avoid infections, said a spokeswoman for the Rioja wine regulatory board. Authorities in the Basque Country have made it compulsory for wine estates to provide a list of workers. The health department then carries out the PCR tests.
22nd Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

French universities' new rules seek to prevent new COVID-19 clusters

Face masks are obligatory, there are separate entrances and exits on campus and many on-site facilities are restricted or closed. But despite a range of sanitary measures at universities in France, at least a dozen COVID-19 clusters have emerged since some classrooms re-opened earlier this month. September marks the start of a new academic year and the French government says children and students should return to the classrooms again. But in a post-lockdown France, where cases are surging again, lectures look and sound very different.
22nd Sep 2020 - CGTN

India's new coronavirus infections at lowest in almost a month

India has reported 75,083 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, according to federal health data released on Tuesday, the lowest daily tally in almost a month. There were 1,053 deaths over the same period. India also reported a record number of single-day recoveries with 101,468 people in 24 hours now virus-free, taking the total to 4,497,867, according to its health ministry.
22nd Sep 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Australians stranded overseas 'betrayed', says a man telling of months of injury, illness and homelessness

For months Mr Hargreaves had been seriously ill, basically homeless, and stranded in a nightmare — unable to return to his home in Berry on the New South Wales South Coast. Mr Hargreaves and his wife travelled to France to house-sit in January. As concern around the pandemic spread in February his wife returned home, but he felt obliged to stay a few more weeks to honour his commitment.
22nd Sep 2020 - ABC News

Czech PM regrets early lifting of Covid-19 measures

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has admitted that his government had made a mistake when it eased restrictions aimed at containing Covid-19 over the summer. His comments came as governments across Europe struggle with a second wave of Covid-19 infections following the holiday months in which the number of cases began rising sharply. "Even I got carried away by the coming summer and the general mood. That was a mistake I don't want to make again," the billionaire populist said in a televised speech.
22nd Sep 2020 - RTE.ie

Coronavirus: The possibility of another lockdown still a worry for some despite restrictions easing

A psychiatrist believes COVID-19 is impacting mental health now more than ever despite alert level restrictions easing overnight. Auckland will move to COVID-19 alert level 2 on Wednesday and stay there for at least a fortnight while the rest of the country is now at level 1. But Professor Christopher Gale, a psychiatrist from the University of Otago, says the possibility of another lockdown is still a worry for some. Prof Gale told Newshub concerns do remain about people's wellbeing and the future of businesses. "What's happening now is a lot of people are finding personal hurt," he said on Monday.
22nd Sep 2020 - Newshub

Spain's home working draft bill to make employers pay for expenses

The Spanish government has agreed with unions and business leaders that employers must cover home working expenses after the coronavirus pandemic caused millions to work from their living rooms. “It was fundamental to regulate remote working to protect the rights of workers,” Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told state-owned TV channel TVE on Tuesday. “This new rule will boost productivity and the competitiveness of the Spanish economy”, as well as the working conditions of the Spaniards who partly worked from home in 2020, Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz told a news conference later.
22nd Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Companies scramble to reverse UK back-to-office plans

Companies across England were left scrambling to reverse plans to return thousands of staff to their offices on Tuesday after the government abandoned its push to get more people working in towns and city centres. The government has encouraged workers to return to offices since August, ramping up the pressure on businesses to bring back employees after schools returned at the start of September. But just three weeks later, the prime minister announced an abrupt U-turn following a surge in Covid-19 infections, leaving companies frantically rethinking plans for office staff.
22nd Sep 2020 - Financial Times

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Sep 2020

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Greece extends negative COVID-19 test rule for Russians until October 5

Greece extended by two weeks until Oct. 5 a rule requiring visitors from Russia to provide a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country, its civil aviation authority said on Monday. The previous rule, which came into effect on Sept. 7, was due to expire at midnight on Monday.
21st Sep 2020 - Reuters

Are German schools prepared for a winter lockdown?

Winter is coming, and with it the possibility of the next wave of corona infections. But Germany's schools ready for another lockdown - a return to stay-at-home learning and online-classes? Deutsche Welle visits one Berlin school to find out.
21st Sep 2020 - Deutsche Welle

EXCLUSIVE-EU in early talks with Italy's ReiThera over potential vaccine supply deal -source

Italian biotech ReiThera is in early talks with the European Union about supplying the bloc with its potential COVID-19 vaccine, a source close to the company said, the latest attempt by Brussels to secure shots as the fight against the pandemic intensifies. The discussions come as Brussels seeks to raise more money to shore up supplies of potential inoculations amid concerns demand next year might exceed supply. The talks with ReiThera, which is developing a vaccine together with Germany's Leukocare and Belgium's Univercells, means the European Commission is now speaking with seven vaccine makers including Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N, Moderna MRNA.O, Pfizer PFE.N and CureVac CVAC.O about possible supply deals.
21st Sep 2020 - Nasdaq

China keeps guard up with travel warning

China is keeping its guard up ahead of the biggest holiday season since it largely brought the coronavirus outbreak under control. China has asked its 1.4 billion residents to avoid unnecessary travel abroad during the week-long national holiday starting on Oct 1, which will be a major test of the country's ability to prevent a renewed outbreak of Covid-19. Large parts of the country went into lockdown during the Lunar New Year holiday, but weak domestic consumption is expected to rebound during the so-called Golden Week, usually the peak season for tourism and entertainment industries.
21st Sep 2020 - Bangkok Post

Ardern eases NZ coronavirus lockdown as new mystery case investigated

New Zealand authorities have announced coronavirus lockdown measures will be wound back, though health authorities are scrambling to investigate the source of three new mystery cases in Auckland. Auckland will move to level two restrictions, which requires physical distancing, face masks on public transport and no more than 100 people at social gatherings, from 11.59pm on Wednesday. The rest of the country will move to level 1 restrictions, which impose no limits on domestic travel or social gatherings, from 11.59pm on Monday night.
21st Sep 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

New Zealand ends all pandemic restrictions outside main...

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday lifted all coronavirus restrictions across the country, except in second-wave hotspot Auckland, as the number of new infections slowed to a trickle. Some restrictions were also eased in Auckland to allow gatherings of up to 100 people, but the country's biggest city needed more time before all curbs could be lifted, Ardern said. "Our actions collectively have managed to get the virus under control," she told reporters in Auckland. "This was the centre of the outbreak and that's why that caution is needed here."
21st Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

New Zealand lockdown: Jacinda Ardern announces lifting of all restrictions outside Auckland

New Zealand ’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has announced the lifting of all coronavirus restrictions except in its largest city, Auckland. Residents in much of the country will be allowed to meet and move freely from Tuesday after no new infections were confirmed over the last 24 hours.
21st Sep 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus: New Zealand lifts restrictions as cases peter out

Most of New Zealand will be free of coronavirus restrictions from midnight (local time), Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, confirmed today. Auckland will move to a level two lockdown from Thursday, allowing public gatherings of up to 100 people. The move puts New Zealand on target for elimination of the virus rather than suppression. “Analysis completed for the Ministry of Health suggests that by the end of this month there is still a 50-50 chance of having eliminated Covid once again,” the prime minister said.
21st Sep 2020 - The Times

New Zealand ends all pandemic restrictions outside main city of Auckland

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday lifted all coronavirus restrictions across the country, except in second-wave hotspot Auckland, as the number of new infections slowed to a trickle. Some restrictions were also eased in Auckland to allow gatherings of up to 100 people, but the country’s biggest city needed more time before all curbs could be lifted, Ardern said. “Our actions collectively have managed to get the virus under control,” she told reporters in Auckland. “This was the centre of the outbreak and that’s why that caution is needed here.”
21st Sep 2020 - Reuters

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Sep 2020

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The coronavirus vaccine volunteer: 'I hope this is a kick up the ass to do things better'

The world is watching the Covid-19 vaccine trials conducted by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute closely. Australian Josh McGrane is an associate professor and educational researcher living in Oxford. He decided to take part in the trials when he saw the call-out for volunteers on Facebook earlier this year.
20th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Is the UK better prepared for a second wave of coronavirus?

This is a big moment for Britain. One senior NHS official said yesterday that cases might be doubling every seven days, with infection rates even worse in some areas of the country. If that is right, the latest official figures showing 6,000 people a day in England getting infected could soar past 100,000 a day within five weeks. Yesterday the UK recorded 4,422 new cases — the first time it has exceeded 4,000 for two successive days since early May.
20th Sep 2020 - The Times

Boris Johnson visits Oxford coronavirus vaccine lab

The Prime Minister was shown around by Professor Kate Ewer, a senior immunologist at the labs. He was given a tour through the laboratory and met scientists who are leading the COVID-19 vaccine research.
19th Sep 2020 - Oxford Mail

Coronavirus vaccine could be ready by March but we will feel impact of pandemic throughout 2021 - Taoiseach

A vaccine for coronavirus could be ready by March or April next year, but the impact of the virus will be felt throughout all of 2021, according to the Taoiseach. Micheál Martin also said that a “huge economic issue” surrounding the pandemic cannot be ignored. Speaking with Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Mr Martin said that the “full impacts” of the virus will be felt throughout next year even if a vaccine is found. “There is a huge economic issue here as well that we can’t ignore. We have a deficit of 8pc, we have €24bn maybe at the end of the year necessary. I think we’re looking at something similar right throughout 2021
19th Sep 2020 - Independent.ie

Obese Britons putting at risk hopes of widespread vaccine protection

Britain’s obesity crisis could prevent a vaccine from ending the pandemic, experts have warned. Scientists are concerned that vaccines being developed to protect against Covid-19 may be less effective in fat people, leaving them more vulnerable to infection, which could, in turn, put others at risk.
19th Sep 2020 - The Times

Latin American nations plan to join COVAX vaccine facility after deadline

Brazil and Argentina, Latin American nations seeking more time to commit to the global COVID-19 vaccine facility known as COVAX, said they intend to so as soon as possible after missing Friday's deadline. Peru's foreign ministry said on Saturday it managed to sign the binding agreement on Friday and will get access to 12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, a scheme for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of eventual vaccines. Argentina asked for more time to prepare the required paperwork but expects to sign on Wednesday its commitment to the vaccine mechanism led by the World Health Organization, a health ministry official told Reuters. The Brazilian government said in a statement late on Friday that it will sign up for COVAX after negotiations with the GAVI Alliance, which is the COVAX secretariat.
19th Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

Covid-19: Lockdown in parts of Madrid amid virus spike

Parts of the Spanish capital Madrid are to be subject to lockdown restrictions to curb a rise in Covid-19, as cases across Europe continue to spike. From Monday, more than 850,000 people in the Madrid region will face limits on travel and sizes of groups. Spain has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, and Madrid is once again the worst-hit region. Many northern hemisphere countries are now bracing for a second wave of the pandemic as winter approaches.
19th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Puppy prices soar during coronavirus lockdown

Popular breeds have seen even sharper price increases, and puppies are often selling for £3,000 or more, according to a leading online marketplace. Animal welfare charities have warned high prices could encourage "puppy farming", smuggling or dog theft. They are also concerned that it could lead to a dog welfare crisis as people return to work away from the home. Interest in getting a pet rose hugely after lockdown in late March, with high demand prompting many breeders to raise their prices. Figures from the Pets4Homes website, based on about 150,000 adverts, showed the average price being asked from March to September was £1,883. During the same period last year the average price was £888.
19th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Lockdown theatre group takes show to Nottingham doorsteps

An arts charity, which normally performs shows in theatres, care homes and nurseries, has started touring residents' doorsteps because of coronavirus. City Arts is taking its family-friendly puppet show "The Search for Tedding Island" outside the homes of Nottingham residents while many theatres remain closed due to the pandemic. The show, which is aimed at children aged two to five, is being performed with government social distancing guidelines in place. Creative development manager Alison Denholm said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has created a lot of challenges for theatre and arts.
19th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Sep 2020

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Wristband Covid-19 tracker for passengers landing in Abu Dhabi

Passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi are now required to wear a tracking wristband during the mandatory 14-day home quarantine due to Covid-19, according Etihad Airways. Authorities at Abu Dhabi International Airport are giving out the medically-approved tag to all passengers arriving from all countries. "On arrival into Abu Dhabi you must self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolation must take place at home and you will be required to wear a medically approved wristband for the duration. The wristband will be provided by the authorities at Abu Dhabi Airport after you clear immigration," Etihad Airways said in the new guidelines posted on its website. "If you are holding a diplomatic passport, under the age of 18, over the age of 60, or suffering from a chronic disease, you will be exempt from having to wear the wristband."
18th Sep 2020 - Khaleej Times

Indonesians caught without a mask forced to dig graves for Covid-19 victims

Villagers who refuse to wear masks are being forced to dig graves for victims of Covid-19 by local authorities in one part of rural Indonesia, in the hopes that a little bit of manual labor and empathy will convince others to do their part to help stop the pandemic. Three middle-aged men and five minors in Cerme district of Gresik Regency, East Java, were given the unique punishment on September 9, authorities said.
17th Sep 2020 - CNN on MSN.com

Hundreds of French COVID-19 testers strike over work conditions, says union

Hundreds of workers at COVID-19 laboratories in France went on strike on Thursday, a trade union said, angry over poor working conditions as the coronavirus testing system buckles under huge demand. The hard-left CGT union said the strike was disrupting testing in some towns and could drag on if laboratory owners failed to deal with staff shortages and increase pay. The walkout comes as the government demands more and faster testing to fight a surge in new coronavirus cases. "We're overwhelmed," laboratory nurse Aminata Diene, one of about 50 lab workers protesting outside a diagnostics centre on the edge of Paris said.
17th Sep 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

Further funds announced to control Covid-19 infections in care homes

An emergency support fund to help limit the spread of Covid-19 in care homes in England is being topped up with an additional £546m ahead of the winter. A key purpose of the Infection Control Fund is to help the care sector restrict the movement of people in and out of the home
17th Sep 2020 - Nursing Times

Bugs in online booking system add to UK's Covid-19 testing crisis

The website for booking coronavirus tests is struggling to cope with the number of requests, adding more problems to those already accrued by the NHS test-and-trace scheme. People in the UK who attempt to book a test for Covid-19 online are directed – once they have passed screening questions to ensure they are entitled to the test – to a purpose-built website where they can theoretically book either a home test kit or a walk-through or drive-through test. However, in practice, an increasing number of users are reporting errors on the site itself that prevent them from even attempting to book a test.
17th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Contact Tracing, the West’s Big Hope for Suppressing Covid-19, Is in Disarray

When countries across the West emerged from lockdown in the spring, governments trained legions of investigators to identify and isolate people potentially infected with the coronavirus. The goal was to prevent a resurgence of the pathogen. Four months later, the systems to find people who might pass on infections, known as contact tracing, are in disarray. Europe and the U.S. are each recording tens of thousands of new daily infections. In France, Spain and England—nations where cases are now rising quickly—investigators have been interviewing far fewer contacts of infected people than officials expected. In some U.S. states and big cities, investigators aren’t even reaching many people who test positive and those who are reached often don’t disclose their contacts. That has prevented investigators from casting a wide net to stop new infections.
17th Sep 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID-19 Has Crushed Everybody's Economy—Except for South Korea's

As the United States struggles with a stubbornly persistent pandemic and a stubbornly slow return to economic growth, South Korea seems to have found the recipe to succeed on both fronts—if it can survive a late-year uptick in new coronavirus cases. In the latest economic projections by the OECD, South Korea is looking at a mere 1 percent GDP contraction for 2020, the second-best performer among major economies behind only China. In contrast, the euro area is expected to shrink by around 8 percent, and the United States could see full-year contraction on the order of almost 4 percent of GDP.
17th Sep 2020 - Foreign Policy

Coronavirus: South Africa eases strict lockdown as cases drop

South Africa, which had one of the world's earliest and strictest lockdowns, has announced a further easing of anti-coronavirus measures. From 20 September an overnight curfew will be reduced, gatherings will be allowed at 50% of a venue's capacity, and restrictions on the sale of alcohol will be eased. "We have withstood the coronavirus storm," said President Cyril Ramaphosa. But rules on social distancing and mask-wearing will remain in place.
17th Sep 2020 - BBC News

‘It doesn’t work’: Kevin Rudd calls for new lockdown strategy in Australia

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has called for a new approach to lockdowns as Australia continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to journalists after the Yahoo Finance All Market Summit on Thursday, Mr Rudd blasted the government’s COVIDSafe app as a failure. He said better technology infrastructure was needed to boost Australia’s economic path out of the pandemic, and allow for more surgical lockdowns in the future, if required. “I’m told by the prime minister and the health minister to download the app, I go ahead and do it,” he said. While he still has the COVIDSafe app on his phone, “it doesn’t work,” he lamented. “But frankly where is the effective Bluetooth technology that enables us not just to have a passive information system but an active information gathering system, if and when we need it.
17th Sep 2020 - Yahoo News Australia

NYC again delays in-person learning for most students

New York City has again delayed the start of in-person learning for most of the more than 1 million students in its public school system
17th Sep 2020 - ABC News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Sep 2020

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U.S. plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccine immediately after regulators authorise it

The U.S. government on Wednesday said it will start distributing a COVID-19 vaccine within one day of regulatory authorisation as it plans for the possibility that a limited number of vaccine doses may be available at the end of the year. Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense on Wednesday held a call with reporters and then released documents on the distribution plans that it is sending to the states and local public health officials. “Our goal at Operation Warp Speed, is that 24 hours after (regulatory authorization) is issued, we have vaccine moving to administration sites,” one of the officials said.
16th Sep 2020 - Reuters

US government will offer Covid-19 vaccine free to all Americans – and they’ll need two shots of it

Every American will be offered a free coronavirus vaccine from January 2021 – and most people who take up the offer will need two injections of it. A report given to the US Congress Wednesday says the vaccination campaign may begin by the end of the year, and is likely to be in full-swing by January. Anyone who takes up the offer of a free shot will be given two doses 21 to 28 days apart, with each patient being given both shots from the same vaccine manufacturer. Multiple US pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Moderna are racing to develop their own shots, with results from ongoing final-phase testing expected as early as October. Other manufacturers around the world are developing their own shots, with scientists saying most vaccines tested appear to offer protection from Covid-19.
16th Sep 2020 - Metro

U.S. plans to ship free Covid-19 vaccines within 24 hours of authorization

The federal government released broad plans Wednesday aimed at distributing free Covid-19 vaccines within a day after an emergency use authorization or full approval is granted. A "playbook" developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructs state health agencies to create a vaccine planning committee made up of leaders from different community groups, such as health centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities and pharmacies. The CDC playbook advises states to prepare for a limited supply of vaccine doses in the fall. It's unclear which vaccine will receive authorization first, as well as when data from the clinical trials will be available for officials to review. Still, the CDC previously told states to prepare for a rollout by Nov. 1.
16th Sep 2020 - NBC News

Coronavirus: Schoolchildren and parents could be among groups prioritised for COVID-19 tests, says cabinet minister

Schoolchildren and their parents could be prioritised for coronavirus tests - after hospitals and care homes - as the government deals with "real challenges" in the system, a cabinet minister has told Sky News. The government has come under growing pressure over a lack of availability of COVID-19 tests in some areas - blamed on problems with laboratory capacity - and admitted it could take a "matter of weeks" to solve the issues.
16th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Melbourne on track for easing lockdown, but anyone trying to leave city faces hefty fine

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. However, a new law that goes into effect from midnight Wednesday will punish anyone caught trying to leave Melbourne for rural areas, where restrictions are less severe, with fines of up to $5,000. 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. However, people will still be limited to moving around in a 5-kilometer radius around home and only allowed outside for two hours a day for exercise, with a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. "We have to see this through. We absolutely do.
16th Sep 2020 - Japan Today

New Zealand's coronavirus fight eases economic pain but outlook still bleak

New Zealand’s response to control the novel coronavirus helped lessen the short-term economic shock of the pandemic, but massive debt and continuing disruptions will delay a full recovery, government data showed on Wednesday. The Treasury opened up its books ahead of the general election on Oct 17, in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a strong lead on the back of the her success in containing COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Finance Minister Grant Robertson said most short-term indicators were less grim than predicted at the government’s annual budget in May. “These are signs that the New Zealand economy is robust, and that our plan to eliminate COVID-19 and open up the economy faster is the right approach,” he told a news conference after the pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update was released.
16th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Countrywide lockdown successfully blunted aggressive progression of COVID-19 in India: Choubey

India successfully blunted the aggressive progression of COVID-19 by imposing a countrywide lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, Minister of State for Health Ashiwni Choubey told Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. In a written reply to a question, Choubey said it has been estimated the decision of lockdown slowed down the progress of the pandemic in India, prevented 14–29 lakh cases and 37–78 thousand deaths. He said, 'In the beginning of the pandemic itself, by imposing countrywide lockdown, India successfully blunted the aggressive progression of COVID.' 'India has been able to limit its cases and deaths per million to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population respectively, which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries,' he said. The minister further said that no funds were allocated to the states specifically for testing and treatment. Initially the testing equipment and kits were procured by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and provided to the states, he added.
15th Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

Australia's COVID-19 hotspot on track for easing lockdown

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.
16th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

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

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Coronavirus: Matt Hancock admits 'challenges' with COVID-19 testing after 'sharp rise' in demand

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted there are "challenges" with the coronavirus testing system following a "sharp rise" in demand. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hancock said the government was "working hard" to fix issues with COVID-19 testing availability but admitted it could take a "matter of weeks". He revealed tests were now having to be prioritised and also hinted at a possible future further rationing of tests.
15th Sep 2020 - Sky News

UK's creaking COVID-19 test system puts health services at risk

Britain’s testing system for COVID-19 was creaking on Tuesday as a bottleneck prevented people including medics from getting a test in a potential threat to key health services, health sector organisations said. In an attempt to slow one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the West, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised in May to create a “world beating” system to test and trace people exposed to the virus. “Our members are telling us that lack of access to testing for staff is a major barrier to them delivering services,” said Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector.
15th Sep 2020 - Reuters

EXCLUSIVE: CDC’s Confession That America’s Covid-19 Tracking Failed

In mid-June, the post-coronavirus reopening of America was in full swing, even as the number of new cases was rising fast. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was key to President Trump’s grand reopening, providing local officials with guidance on how to open up safely. But in private officials admitted the country had failed to track the spread of the deadly virus and that the agency thus lacked the vital information it needed to offer such guidance, Forbes can now reveal.
15th Sep 2020 - Forbes

'Just a matter of time': nurses die as US hospitals fail to contain Covid-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had advised hospitals to isolate Covid-19 patients to limit staff exposure and help conserve high-level personal protective equipment in short supply. Yet Covid patients continued to be scattered through the Oakland hospital, according to complaints to California’s division of occupational safety and health (Cal/Osha). Areas of concern included the sixth-floor medical unit where veteran nurse Janine Paiste-Ponder worked. Covid patients on that floor were not staying in their rooms, either because they were confused or uninterested in the rules, according to Mike Hill, a nurse in the hospital intensive care unit. Hill, who is also the hospital’s chief representative for the California Nurses Association, said that staff was not provided highly protective N95 respirators.
15th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Ireland’s COVID-19 plan to limit social events and Dublin pub reopenings

Ireland introduced new coronavirus measures Tuesday including special restrictions on social gatherings and pub reopenings in Dublin as part of a national "Plan for living with COVID-19." The plan, which comes into effect at midnight, aims to provide a flexible framework for reducing infection risk over the next six months. It details five risk levels with the lowest corresponding to minimal restrictions and level five equating to a return to full lockdown. Currently the country as a whole is at level two, meaning that most parts of the economy and society — such as schools, restaurants, pubs and gyms — are open.
15th Sep 2020 - POLITICO

Chinese citizens can receive COVID-19 vaccines as early as November

Wu Guifen, chief biosafety expert of China's CDC, announced the news Monday She said the clinical trials for the unnamed vaccines were 'proceeding smoothly' China launched an emergency COVID-19 vaccine scheme for key workers in July It has four of the world's eight vaccines that are being tested in the final stage
15th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Irish Government announces blueprint for living with Covid-19

The Irish Government has unveiled its blueprint for living with Covid-19. The Cabinet signed off on the medium-term plan for living with coronavirus, which includes different levels of restrictions, ranging from one to five. Tighter restrictions have also been announced for Dublin, which has seen a continuous rise of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.
15th Sep 2020 - Helensburgh Advertiser

'A chaotic mess': The UK's Covid-19 testing programme is falling apart

“I’m feeling worse,” says Ryan Gladwell, a barman at a pub in Derbyshire who is currently off work with Covid-19 symptoms. “I’ve still been unable to get a test. Day five of trying now.” That’s day five of heading to the government’s website to book a test only to be told that none are available – either at drive-in satellite testing centres or via at-home testing kits. Gladwell has also called 119 several times to no avail. He’s worried about his own health but also that of his young son, who has a serious heart condition.
15th Sep 2020 - Wired.co.uk

Australia's COVID-19 epicenter reports no deaths from the virus for first time in two months

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

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Coronavirus Victoria: Mystery cases could derail lockdown exit plan

One of Australia’s top health experts has warned there are still too many mystery COVID-19 cases in Victoria, with concerns the number could impact the state’s roadmap out of lockdown. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth told ABC News Breakfast that, while the state was “overwhelmingly” headed in the right direction with falling coronavirus case numbers, those cases without a known source are still a concern. “(Stage 4 restrictions) are clearly having the desired effect, that light at the end of the tunnel’s growing bigger by the day,” he said. “But 20 cases yesterday that have as yet been unlinked. That is still a number that’s too high. “We need of course for everybody with symptoms in Melbourne and indeed Victoria to make sure that they’re getting themselves tested so we can understand those transmission links and the public health unit can shut them down.”
15th Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Britain's universities have been abandoned to fight Covid-19 alone

Universities usually welcome everyone to the new academic year with a big smile, amid genuinely upbeat talk of “challenges” and “opportunities”. It’s still like that this year, but the smile has something of a manic rictus to it, and the talk is based on every single finger and toe being crossed by every single vice chancellor. Here’s where universities have got to: almost all of them are offering some form of “blended learning”, flipping between face-to-face classroom and online seminars. Big traditional lectures are out: recorded resources are in.
14th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

North Korea lifts lockdown in Kaesong, rejects flood and coronavirus aid

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has lifted a lockdown in a major city near the border with South Korea where thousands have been quarantined for weeks over coronavirus concerns, state media says. During a key ruling party meeting, Mr Kim also insisted the North would keep its borders shut, and rejected any outside help as the country continued to carry out an aggressive anti-virus campaign while also rebuilding thousands of houses, roads and bridges damaged by heavy rain and floods in recent weeks. Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) also said Mr Kim replaced Kim Jae-ryong as premier following an evaluation of the Cabinet's economic performance and appointed Kim Tok-hun as his successor.
14th Sep 2020 - ABC News

Lockdown relief in sight for regions, but Melbourne must wait

Pubs and restaurants could reopen for outdoor dining and home visits may be permitted in regional Victoria this week after Premier Daniel Andrews flagged he could announce on Tuesday a significant easing of restrictions in the regions. But the news was less rosy for Melburnians on Monday, with Chief Heath Officer Brett Sutton confirming strict lockdown rules would continue in the metropolitan area until September 28, despite his prediction that the all-important 14-day average for new COVID-19 cases would drop below 50 by the end of this week.
14th Sep 2020 - The Age

New Zealand to lift coronavirus curbs in most of country on Sept. 21

New Zealand will lift coronavirus restrictions across the country on Sept. 21, except in its biggest city, Auckland, which is the epicentre of a second wave of infections, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. Ardern said Auckland's restrictions would be reviewed next Monday. She also said the government would immediately ease all physical distancing requirements on planes, a boost for Air New Zealand, AIR.NZ which has had to limit passengers on its planes for months. “I know this change will make a real difference to Air New Zealand and those parts of the country seeking increased numbers of visitors,” Ardern said in a news conference in the South Island city of Dunedin, where she is on an election campaign trip.
14th Sep 2020 - Reuters

India considers emergency authorisation of vaccine as COVID-19 cases surge

India said on Sunday it was considering granting an emergency authorisation for a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces, as the country’s number of reported infections passed 4.75 million. India, which has consistently reported over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths daily this month, has now recorded 78,586 fatalities from the disease. It lags only the United States globally in overall number of infections, but it has been adding more daily cases than the United States since mid-August. “India is considering emergency authorisation of a COVID-19 vaccination,” said Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. “If there is a consensus we may go ahead with it, especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings.”
14th Sep 2020 - Reuters

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.”
14th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Philippines 30cm distancing rule seen as 'reckless'; deaths hit record

Experts described as dangerous and premature on Monday the Philippines’ decision to cut the social distancing minimum to 30 centimetres (12 inches) on public transport, as the country saw another daily record in newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Reducing gaps between passengers incrementally to a third of the 1 metre minimum could backfire, experts and medical professionals warned, and prolong a first wave of infections that the Philippines has been battling since March. The new rules took effect on Monday, when the country reported 259 new confirmed deaths, a record for the second time in three days. Total fatalities increased to 4,630, while infections have doubled in the past 35 days to 265,888, Southeast Asia’s highest number.
14th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Still closed, Irish pubs show shortcomings of slow lockdown exit

Ireland’s plan to reopen its economy at a slower pace than most was supposed to ensure a more sustainable rebound from the COVID-19 crisis. Tell that to pub owner Paul Moynihan. Eagerly awaiting a promised July 20 reopening of non-food pubs, he spent 10,000 euros ($11,855) on a beer garden at his establishment in the village of Donard hoping some late summer trade would help compensate the sudden March closure. But the government moved the date three times and those pubs are now only due to open their doors on Sept. 21 - even though infection rates are 10 times more than late July.
14th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

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India considers emergency authorisation of vaccine as COVID-19 cases surge

India said on Sunday (Sep 13) it was considering granting an emergency authorisation for a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces, as the country's number of reported infections passed 4.75 million. India, which has consistently reported over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths daily this month, has now recorded 78,586 fatalities from the disease. It lags only the United States globally in overall number of infections, but it has been adding more daily cases than the United States since mid-August. "India is considering emergency authorisation of a COVID-19 vaccination," said Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. "If there is a consensus we may go ahead with it, especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings." Vardhan said the timeline on Phase III trials could be shortened by giving emergency authorisation, but stressed no corners would be cut in clinical trials and that a vaccine would only be made available when the government could ensure its safety and efficacy.
14th Sep 2020 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

Leaked figures reveal scale of coronavirus test shortage

A huge backlog has forced Britain to send swabs abroad, casting doubt on its capacity to test as many people as it claimed. The government’s “world-beating” testing programme has a backlog of 185,000 swabs and is so overstretched that it is sending tests to laboratories in Italy and Germany, according to leaked documents. A Department of Health and Social Care report marked “Official: sensitive” also confirms that most British laboratories are clearing fewer tests than their stated capacity, as they are hit by “chaos” in supply chains. The government claims that it has capacity for 375,000 tests a day. However, the actual number of people being tested for the coronavirus stalled to just 437,000 people a week at the start of the month — equivalent to just 62,000 a day.
13th Sep 2020 - The Times

Coronavirus: How the lockdown has changed schooling in South Asia

We've taken a look at the situation in India and its neighbours in South Asia where the United Nations estimates nearly 600 million children have been affected by lockdowns.
12th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Who would get the vaccine first?

If or when scientists succeed in making a coronavirus vaccine, there won't be enough to go around. Research labs and pharmaceutical companies are rewriting the rulebook on the time it takes to develop, test and manufacture an effective vaccine. Unprecedented steps are being taken to ensure roll-out of the vaccine is global. But there are concerns that the race to get one will be won by the richest countries, at the expense of the most vulnerable. So who will get it first, how much will it cost and, in a global crisis, how do we make sure nobody gets left behind?
11th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Army medics to help NHS deliver biggest vaccination push in British history

The Army is to be drafted in for the biggest vaccination programme in UK history to protect the population against coronavirus, i can reveal. Public health and civil contingency planners believe they will need military assistance to help administer tens of millions of jabs when the Covid-19 vaccine is ready. Nightingale hospitals – currently mothballed after the first wave of the pandemic – and public buildings could be commandeered as mass vaccination sites.
11th Sep 2020 - iNews

What if We Have to Wait Years for a Coronavirus Vaccine?

“With all the challenges regarding developing, testing, manufacturing and distributing a safe and effective vaccine — no matter how much effort so many scientists and companies put on the problem — it could still take years or even longer,” Dr. George Yancopoulos, the chief scientific officer of the biotechnology company Regeneron, told Dr. Mukherjee.
10th Sep 2020 - The New York Times

European Parliament cancels Strasbourg session due to coronavirus resurgence

The European Parliament on Tuesday canceled plans to return to Strasbourg next week, after the city and its surrounding area were designated as a coronavirus red zone by French authorities. Announcing the decision, European Parliament President David Sassoli noted that holding the session in Strasbourg would have meant Parliament staff having to quarantine on their return to Brussels.
9th Sep 2020 - POLITICO

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Coronavirus: Thousands download Covid-19 tracing app

More than 500,000 people have downloaded Scotland's new contact tracing app since it went live. It became available to download free onto a smart phone from Apple's App Store or Google Play on Thursday. The Protect Scotland app lets people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive. The Scottish government has said the software will support the Test and Protect system and is "another tool in the fight against Covid-19". Up until now, contact tracing has been done manually using a method followed for years to help control the spread of infectious diseases.
10th Sep 2020 - BBC News

University of Exeter to offer students Covid-19 tests

A university has signed a contract with a private company to buy thousands of coronavirus tests for students and staff. The University of Exeter will be offering the tests to anyone showing symptoms or who is deemed at high risk. Deputy vice chancellor Tim Quine said the safety of staff and students was the university's "first priority". The saliva-based tests, provided by Halo, will give results within 24 hours, it claimed. Mr Quine told BBC Radio Devon the university had to do its own bit to help prevent the spread of the virus. He said: "By bringing students to the region we know we are changing the risk dynamic".
10th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Hundreds of thousands download Covid-19 tracing app

More than 500,000 people have downloaded Scotland's new contact tracing app since it went live. It became available to download free onto a smart phone from Apple's App Store or Google Play on Thursday. The Protect Scotland app lets people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive. The Scottish government has said the software will support the Test and Protect system and is "another tool in the fight against Covid-19". Up until now, contact tracing has been done manually using a method followed for years to help control the spread of infectious diseases.
10th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Concerns over Boris Johnson's 'moonshot' testing plans

Scientists and health professionals have raised doubts about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "Operation Moonshot" plan for mass coronavirus testing. The PM hopes millions of Covid-19 tests - including some giving results within minutes - could be processed daily. But experts say there are issues with laboratory capacity for current tests, while the technology for more rapid tests "does not, as yet, exist". The British Medical Journal says leaked memos show the plan could cost £100bn. Speaking after his announcement that gatherings in England are to be restricted to six people from Monday, Mr Johnson said the government was "working hard" to increase testing capacity to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. And he said that "in the near future" he wanted to start using testing "to identify people who are negative - who don't have coronavirus and who are not infectious - so we can allow them to behave in a more normal way, in the knowledge they cannot infect anyone else".
10th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Bicycle sales go up amid pandemic as India eases COVID-19 lockdown

As more people try to avoid public transport during the pandemic to avoid the virus, India is seeing an precedented sale of bicycles. Bicycle groups have emerged on social media and are lobbying for more bike lanes in cities. Bicycle dealers are finding it hard to cope with the steep rise in demand. Will COVID-19 bring about a change in the way people commute or will this trend be short-lived? Watch the video for more.
10th Sep 2020 - Business Today

Tamil Nadu government announces more lockdown relaxations

The Tamil Nadu government has eased its curbs further allowing vehicles used in the transportation of staff to offices, factories and other establishments to carry up to 60% capacity rather than 30-40% as they are doing now
10th Sep 2020 - Times of India

China is building a new 'COVID-proof' city designed to make lockdowns easier

The Xiong'an New Area near Beijing will have a self-sufficient neighbourhood. It is designed to let people live more comfortably in the event of pandemics. The complex will have larger balconies, 3-D printers and drones, among others. Its architect from Spain was inspired while working in coronavirus lockdown.
10th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

‘Distress and fear’: poverty looms for a million Australian children once coronavirus supplement slashed

The $550-a-fortnight pandemic top-up, set to disappear on 25 September, has been ‘life-altering’ for single mothers, say welfare campaigners. About 244,000 single parents receive parenting payment ($790-a-fortnight plus the $550 Covid supplement and the family tax benefit), while those with children older than seven get jobseeker payment ($565 plus the $550 Covid supplement and the family tax benefit). The coronavirus supplement is also provided to students receiving youth allowance or Austudy. Toni Wren, the executive director of Anti-Poverty Week, said government data showed about 1.1 million children lived in families receiving the supplement in July. That included 500,000 children whose parents were receiving the jobseeker payment.
10th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

New York to resume indoor dining, Los Angeles bans Halloween parties

New York City restaurants struggling to stay in business after months of closures imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic won a long-awaited approval on Wednesday to resume limited indoor dining. But Los Angeles County health officials prohibited Halloween parties and said children should not be allowed to trick or treat during the popular fall holiday on Oct. 31. The contrasting moves on opposite coasts of the United States came as new coronavirus infections have fallen for seven weeks in a row but the nationwide death toll since the pandemic broke out in March exceeded 190,000, according to a Reuters tally. In New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said indoor dining could resume at thousands of restaurants as of Sept. 30, although capacity was limited to 25 percent.
10th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Save the Children conducts largest global survey on the impact of COVID-19

93% of households that lost over half of their income due to the pandemic reported difficulties in accessing health services; Two thirds of the children had no contact with teachers at all, during lockdown; eight in ten children believed they had learned little or nothing since schools closed; and violence at home doubled: during school closures, the reported rate was 17% compared to 8% when the child was attending school in person.
10th Sep 2020 - Save The Children Australia

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Teacher slams Matt Hancock for 'disgusting' criticism of schools getting tested for Covid-19

Matt Hancock's criticism of a school that sent an entire year group for coronavirus testing has been branded "disgusting". The Health Secretary told the public on Wednesday morning not to get coronavirus tests unless they have symptoms in order to stop people having to travel long distances to get tested. He said that it was "unacceptable" for whole schools, or large parts of schools, to get tested for coronavirus.
9th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

France to open 20 new Covid-19 testing centres in Paris region

French health officials are to open 20 new Covid-19 testing centres in the Paris region after demand for tests soared at la rentrée, last week’s grand return to work and classes following the long school holidays. The authorities said testing capacity in and around the French capital had risen more than fourfold from 45,000 to 200,000 a week and 1 million people were being tested nationally every week – about 140,000 a day – but there were still queues and delays. The new diagnostic centres will be open to all those wishing to be tested, but certain hours will be reserved for patients considered a priority and those with Covid-19 symptoms or at risk of contamination. The health minister, Olivier Véran, has blamed the delays on a surge in demand from people returning from holidays and said the government was hoping to improve access to tests in the next few weeks.
9th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Too many people getting COVID-19 tests are 'not eligible', says health secretary

People with no coronavirus symptoms getting tests are to blame for the system reaching its limit, the health secretary has suggested. Matt Hancock told Sky News the reason many people have reported being unable to book a test is because the proportion of those asking for them who have no symptoms has risen to 25%. "We have seen an increase in demand including from people who are not eligible for tests, people who don't have symptoms," he said on the Kay Burley programme. "You are eligible for a test if you have symptoms of coronavirus or if you have a very specific reason otherwise. We have seen an increase, and about 25% of people who are coming forward don't have symptoms and aren't eligible."
9th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Students prepare for socially-distanced university life after months of lockdown

In Manchester alone tens of thousands of students are returning to university after months of living at home during lockdown. But with freshers week cancelled and the city's nightlife non-existent, the social aspect of life at university will be hugely different. There are already huge concerns from the government, health bosses and universities that with the arrival of students to university accommodations and shared homes, the spread of coronavirus within this generation could increase.
9th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Spain to negotiate travel corridors to its islands with Britain, Germany

Spain, whose tourism industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, is insisting on the creation of safe travel corridors even as the list of global restrictions affecting the country continues to grow. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya announced that Spain will negotiate with Britain, Germany and Scandinavian countries to open up travel corridors to the Spanish islands (the Balearics and the Canaries) exempting visitors from the need to self-isolate upon their return. Although summer travel has ended in much of Spain, the Canary Islands, located off the western coast of Africa, are now entering their own high season.
9th Sep 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

How France’s 'chaotic' Covid-19 testing strategy is causing a real headache

By setting an objective of carrying out one million Covid-19 tests per week, the French government created a new problem for itself. When French Health Minister Olivier Véran promised one million tests per week by September 1st, it was in response to mounting complaints in France that the country was testing too little meaning it was too late to keep track of the coronavirus epidemic in the country and effectively break up transmission chains. The government kept its promise and the national health agency Santé Publique France reported on Thursday that 1,059,303 Covid-19 tests had been effectuated over the course of last week. "Why one million? It is not a totem, just a reflection of our effective capacity to test," Véran said at the time. But simply ramping up the number of tests only led to other problems. France's testing centres, or laboratoires (labos) are struggling to deal with the number pf people who want to get tested. It's common to see long queues snaking around the streets as people, some potentially infected and contagious, queue for hours.
9th Sep 2020 - The Local France

India coronavirus: Rumours hamper testing in Punjab

Wild rumours about coronavirus are fuelling opposition to testing in the northern Indian state of Punjab, reports BBC Punjabi's Arvind Chhabra. "Human organs are being smuggled," Sonia Kaur, who lives in a village in Punjab's Sangrur district, tells the BBC. "Not just the villagers but the whole world is scared of this. Social media is full of such news." Ms Kaur says she has heard of people's organs being harvested under the guise of diagnosing and treating coronavirus. She is echoing the fears of countless others in rural Punjab who are sceptical of the virus. Rumours are flying fast in Punjab that the virus is a hoax, that people who don't have Covid-19 are being taken away to care centres, where they are being killed for their organs, and that bodies are being swapped to allay suspicion.
9th Sep 2020 - BBC News

'I'm shocked': businesses brace for long wait to reopen under Melbourne's Covid roadmap

Soon after the pandemic began the sign out front of the Thornbury Picture House read: “Cinema closed until real life doesn’t feel like a movie.” Now the message is a little less whimsical: “Stay strong, Thornbury. We love you.” Under a Covid-19 roadmap announced by the Victorian government on Sunday, the independent cinema in Melbourne’s north will be among the businesses who will wait the longest to switch the lights back on. “I’m just shocked that we’re the final stage to reopen,” says its owner, Gus Berger. Along with beauty salons, gyms and music venues, it is hoped businesses like Berger’s will be back on 23 November. But that requires Victoria to have recorded no new coronavirus cases for 14 days.
9th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Victoria's COVID-19 roadmap favours men as women bear brunt of job restrictions, analysis shows

Already Victorian women have been hit harder by job losses during the pandemic, bearing 61 per cent of all jobs lost between February and July. The new analysis by Angela Jackson, lead economist at Equity Economics, shows the road to recovery favours male-dominated industries over female-dominated ones, increasing the risk of women suffering lifelong financial scarring. "The planned reopening clearly favours male jobs over female jobs," she said. "Australian women have borne the brunt of job losses due to COVID-19 and the timing of the opening of industries in Victoria will unfortunately continue this trend."
9th Sep 2020 - ABC News

Victoria's roadmap out of Covid lockdown is 'a sledgehammer approach', expert says

The Victorian government has “taken a sledgehammer approach” to its roadmap out of lockdown “when a hammer may have been just as effective”, Deakin’s chair of epidemiology Prof Catherine Bennett has said. Bennett said it was important for the public to understand that the model, developed by computer scientists and epidemiologists from the University of Melbourne, assumed all cases of Covid-19 in the community were randomly distributed, and that all cases are mixing in the community in the same way. In reality, many cases are already in isolation, or are part of outbreaks in workplaces where transmission and movements may be different. “Now, two-thirds of our cases are in health or aged care workers and their household contacts, and a third of cases are out in the community,” Bennett said. “So assuming we have 60 new cases per day by next weekend, that really means there would be roughly 20 community cases.”
9th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Turkey scales back school reopening amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Turkey announced on Tuesday it was scaling back plans to reopen schools later this month, with only the youngest pupils beginning classes at first, for up to two days a week. Fatalities from the coronavirus have jumped to their highest since mid-May when lockdowns were in place. The government has said it does not plan to reitroduce a full lockdown but has urged Turls to follow social distancing and hygiene measures to curb the cirus. Masks have been mandatory.
9th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Judge criticises UK government’s ‘inadequate’ efforts to aid Covid-19 backlog

A crown court judge has refused to extend the custody time limit for keeping a man in prison awaiting trial and accused the government of under-funding the criminal justice system during the pandemic. Amid a growing backlog of cases, Judge Raynor at Woolwich crown court on Tuesday issued a highly critical 24-page ruling on the case of a 19-year-old who has been held for almost a year. He contrasted the Ministry of Justice’s “inadequate” efforts with the success of emergency courts in Spain and South Korea. It is the second time in the past month that the same judge has warned that he cannot repeatedly order defendants to remain behind bars if the justice system is failing to bring them to trial.
9th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Victoria 'may revisit requirements in roadmap plan', top doctor says

Victorian health authorities have suggested they may look at thresholds put in the state's roadmap plan out of lockdown in coming weeks, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth says. Under Premier Daniel Andrews' plan released over the weekend, Victoria would need to reach a daily average of just five cases a day for the state to return to a "COVID-normal" sense of life where people can freely leave their homes and businesses can reopen. The DCMO acknowledged the debate around those figures and whether they are too conservative.
8th Sep 2020 - 9News

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Coronavirus: NI politician calls for clarity on Covid-19 testing issues

Stormont's health minister has raised concerns about the UK-wide Covid-19 test booking system after some NI users were offered tests in Great Britain. Robin Swann said he has contacted UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock "seeking action on a number of concerns". He was speaking after Sinn Féin assembly member Pat Sheehan was offered a test in Scotland and called the online booking system a "shambles". Mr Swann described it as a "glitch" and said it must be resolved as a priority. Mr Sheehan tweeted details of his personal experience of the booking system after trying to organise a test for his four-year-old daughter who had developed a high temperature.
8th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Covid-19: Irish pubs set for 21 September reopening

The Irish government has agreed that pubs that do not serve food will be able to reopen from 21 September. The reopening will be subject to possible local restrictions if case numbers rise. The move will put pressure on the Stormont Executive to reopen non-food bars in Northern Ireland. Draft guidelines, which were drawn up in conjunction with tourism body Fáilte Ireland, were circulated last weekend.
8th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Spain Re-negotiates Tourist Corridors With The United Kingdom

Foreign Affairs Minister Gonzalez Laya sees the opening of "window of opportunity" for Spanish tourism. There's no doubt that the loss of international tourists due to the multiple restrictions on travel to Spain and mandatory quarantines imposed by nations across Europe on those visiting Spain has been a hard blow for the tourism sector, which has predicted that by the end of the year its losses will amount to nearly 100 billion euros.
8th Sep 2020 - Murcia Today

Covid lockdown: Uttar Pradesh lifts weekend curbs on markets

The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday revoked its order of mandatory closure of markets on Sunday, reverting to the pre lockdown arrangements
8th Sep 2020 - Indiatimes

Victoria's roadmap out of lockdown is the wrong approach. Here's what good public policy looks like

In the early months of the pandemic, Australia’s public policy response to COVID-19 was widely celebrated across the world. The missteps and extended lockdowns in Victoria recently, though, shows how at least one state has slipped from being a gold standard. So, what has gone wrong? Effective public policy-making in a pandemic is enormously difficult. Very few countries around the world, if any, have had an exemplary record in the past few months. There are nonetheless a set of key principles that should underpin approaches to decision-making.
8th Sep 2020 - The Conversation AU

'Self-sufficient' Chinese city to reflect coronavirus lessons

The Australian state at the centre of the country's second wave coronavirus is deepening its contact tracing programme to try to maintain a steady decline in daily new cases, amid criticism of its handling of the crisis.
8th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Australia's coronavirus hot spot state to deepen contact tracing

The Australian state at the centre of the country's second wave coronavirus outbreak is deepening its contract tracing programme to try and maintain a steady decline in daily new cases, amid criticism of its handling of the crisis.
7th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Philippines urges virus vigilance after lowest cases in eight weeks

The Philippines reported its lowest number of new daily coronavirus cases in nearly eight weeks on Monday, but officials sought to temper optimism and warned of a prolonged battle as the pandemic rages on.
7th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

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Rapid Covid-19 testing system 'quite some way' from being reality, says Sturgeon

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Monday, Ms Sturgeon said her administration is in discussions with the UK Government about a rapid testing system. She said pilot work is under way. “We are as keen as anybody to see these kinds of scientific developments give us more solutions to Covid than we have right now,” the First Minister said. “But we have to be realistic, we are still quite some way from that being a reality on a mass scale across the country.” Discussing a vaccine, she said: “We all hope there will be an effective vaccine as quickly as possible. “But we cannot right now bank on it, just as we can’t bank on some of these other scientific developments.”
7th Sep 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Coronavirus latest: UK to shift to regional quarantine system

Yvonne Doyle, medical director for Public Health England, echoed Mr Hancock’s warnings to young people, saying that “the vast majority” of new cases were in people in their late teens and early 20s. “What we don’t want to see is a continuing increase of cases in this age group because it could lead to them infecting their parents and grandparents who are much more at risk of poor outcomes from the virus,” added Dr Doyle. Separately, Mr Hancock said the “best-case scenario” for a Covid-19 vaccine to be approved in the UK was later this year, but it was most likely to happen in the “first few months of next year”.
7th Sep 2020 - Financial Times

Delhi metro: India's largest subway reopens with masks and distancing

The metro in the Indian capital, Delhi, has reopened more than five months after it was shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It's India's largest rapid transport system - it carried 2.7 million passengers a day before the lockdown. Masks, social distancing and temperature checks are mandatory according to the new rules. The move comes as case numbers continue to climb in India, with daily tallies of more than 80,000. The country has so far reported more than 4.1 million cases, and 70,000 deaths. Despite the risks, India continues to reopen because the economy is still reeling from the effects of a prolonged lockdown.
7th Sep 2020 - BBC News

India becomes pandemic's 2nd worst-hit country after U.S.

India's increasing coronavirus caseload made the Asian giant the world's second-worst-hit country behind the United States on Monday, as its efforts to head off economic disaster from the pandemic gain urgency. The 90,802 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total past Brazil with more than 4.2 million cases. India is now behind only the United States, where more than 6.2 million people have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University. India’s Health Ministry on Monday also reported 1,016 new deaths for a total of 71,642, the third-highest national toll.
7th Sep 2020 - Japan Today

Coronavirus Australia: How Victoria could fast-track end of lockdown

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is facing mounting pressure over his controversial roadmap out of lockdown, with politicians, everyday Victorians and even medical experts slamming the plan. The backlash comes as new modelling shows the plan will see 260,000 more Victorians lose their jobs, with a staggering 432,000 already out of work due to lockdown. Under the state’s roadmap, some restrictions will begin to ease this Sunday, although many will remain in place until at least late October.
7th Sep 2020 - News.com.au

Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern responds to Australia's 'hotspot' plan to invite Kiwis in quarantine-free

Australia's plan to grant Kiwis from COVID-19-free areas access to some states without spending time in quarantine upon arrival will not be reciprocated by New Zealand. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday every state and territory except Western Australia had agreed to a "hotspot" plan which would reduce the need for hard borders between them, and New Zealand would be included. "I spoke to Prime Minister Ardern this morning and what I advised her was that Australia will be looking to apply the same hotspot approach to New Zealand," Morrison said in a news conference.
7th Sep 2020 - Newshub

Coronavirus in Australia: Melbourne's lockdown exit road map

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has released a new road map out of stage 4 coronavirus restrictions – and the news is grim for Melburnians. In a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Andrews revealed the current strict Covid-19 lockdown, which was due to end in mid-September, would now be extended for an extra fortnight in metro Melbourne. It means Melbourne residents will only be permitted to leave their home to shop for food and essential goods or services, to provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment, to exercise or for permitted work, for two weeks more.
7th Sep 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Good news for travel enthusiasts as Cuba finally welcomes tourists after months of COVID-19 lockdown

The countries have finally started lifting the nationwide lockdowns amid COVID-19 pandemic to boost the tourism industry and the latest to join the bandwagon is Cuba as it now welcomes travellers. Rolling out its red carpet for tourists post the COVID-19 lockdown, the news came as a ray of hope not just for travel enthusiasts but also for several laid-off leisure industry employees residing in the Communist-run island. Similar to the rest of the world, Cuba had too closed its airports in March courtesy COVID-19 and decided to open from September 4. On Friday, an Air Canada plane arrived at the Cayo-Coco airport on the northcentral coast and is now expected to fly weekly to Cuba and biweekly from next month.
7th Sep 2020 - Hindustan Times

Philippines urges virus vigilance after lowest cases in eight weeks

The Philippines reported its lowest number of new daily coronavirus cases in nearly eight weeks on Monday, but officials sought to temper optimism and warned of a prolonged battle as the pandemic rages on. Infections started soaring soon after authorities eased restrictions in a bid to revive the country's troubled economy
7th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Australia's COVID-19 epicentre awaits lockdown exit plan; rates dropping slowly

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 we would lose control very quickly," State Premier Daniel Andres told a televised media conference on Sunday.
6th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

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China and India vie for clout in Bangladesh with COVID vaccines

China and India are competing to deliver coronavirus vaccines to Bangladesh in a diplomatic offensive carefully choreographed to expand their influence in the densely populated South Asian nation. Last month, Bangladesh cleared the way for privately owned Chinese company Sinovac Biotech to conduct a stage three clinical trial of its CoronaVac vaccine. Dhaka-based clinical research institute icddr,b will conduct the trial and said Wednesday that a conditional deal is in place for the vaccine to be produced locally. "If the CoronaVac vaccine is successful, it has been agreed with Sinovac that a local competent vaccine manufacturer in Bangladesh will be selected and enabled through a license from Sinovac to manufacture the vaccine in Bangladesh," they told the Nikkei Asian Review in a written response to questions.
5th Sep 2020 - Nikkei Asian Review

'Worst is yet to come': India coronavirus cases top four million

India became the third country to cross four million coronavirus cases on Saturday, also setting a new global record for a daily surge in infections and closing in on Brazil's total as the second-highest in the world. The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India's total to 4,023,179. Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections while the United States has 6,200,186 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University
5th Sep 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Global Covid-19 death tally crosses 875,000

Researchers in Costa Rica are due to begin trials of an inexpensive coronavirus treatment based on antibodies taken from horses injected with the SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to scientists. Developed by University of Costa Rica's Clodomiro Picado Institute (ICP), the equine antibodies medication is to be tested on 26 patients from mid-September, Roman Macaya, president of the Social Security Fund that manages public health centers, told Reuters. Costa Rican authorities hope to be able to begin applying the treatment more widely in hospitals if the results from the phase 2 study are encouraging. There are 471 hospitalized coronavirus patients in Costa Rica.
5th Sep 2020 - Yahoo News

Depression triples in US adults amid COVID-19 stressors

COVID-19 has tripled the rate of depression in US adults in all demographic groups—especially in those with financial worries—and the rise is much higher than after previous major traumatic events, according to a study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. Led by researchers from Boston University, the study involved data from 1,441 respondents to a COVID-19 Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-Being survey, which was conducted Mar 31 to Apr 13, when 96% of the country was under coronavirus-related lockdowns.
5th Sep 2020 - CIDRAP

Lack of staff, funds and tools: health officials worry the US isn’t ready for Covid vaccines

“We haven’t gotten a lot of information about how this is going to roll out,” said Umair Shah, executive director of Texas’ Harris county public health department, which includes Houston. In a four-page memo this summer, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told health departments across the country to draft vaccination plans by 1 October “to coincide with the earliest possible release of Covid-19 vaccine”.
5th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Hospitalisations rise as France's daily COVID-19 cases hit record

French health authorities reported 8,975 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, setting an all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter. The number of people hospitalised for the disease, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up for the sixth day running, at 4,671. The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections stood at 30,686 and the cumulative number of cases now totals 309,156.
5th Sep 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

France closes 22 schools days after reopening due to Covid-19 outbreaks

The French government has shut 22 schools in metropolitan France and the overseas territory of Réunion due to fresh cases of Covid-19. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer insisted that back-to-school had gone smoothly for the vast majority, but parent associations are concerned that too much is being left up to families to manage. "The health protocol is working," assured Blanquer, speaking to Europe 1 radio on Friday morning, marking the end of the first week since the new school year began. "There are 22 establishments which have had to close due to cases or suspected cases of Covid-19," he said, "Twelve of those were in mainland France and 10 in the overseas territory of Reunion Island."
5th Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

French parents: school's back and already we have COVID cases

Covid-19 has forced the closure of a dozen schools in France just days into the new academic year, the government said on Friday, as coronavirus cases surge in parts of the country
5th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Long waits for covid tests cause tension in France

France is now testing over 1 million people per week for Covid-19, but around the country there are reports of long waits and rising tensions between medical staff and patients.
5th Sep 2020 - The Connexion

Coronavirus: Even limited use of contact-tracing apps has effects, says study

Contact-tracing apps reduce transmissions and deaths even at very low levels of adoption, according to a new study from the University of Oxford and Google. The study provides reassurance regarding the value of coronavirus contact-tracing apps, which some had suggested would need to be used by 60% of the population to be effective. But the research emphasises that digital notifications to people who may have been exposed to the virus still work best when complemented by manual contact tracing, when researchers take histories from patients to find out who they had been in close contact with.
3rd Sep 2020 - Sky News

Australia should attempt to drive coronavirus cases to ZERO, former health boss says

Australia should drive new COVID-19 cases to zero, public policy think tank says The Grattan Institute report said 'short-term pain' will pay off on the other side Zero cases means Australia can avoid reimposed lockdowns and more deaths
3rd Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

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Nigerian Authorities Cite Need for More COVID-19 Test Sample Collections

Nigerian authorities are disturbed by the low level of coronavirus test sample collections, a senior government official said on Thursday. Africa's most populous country of some 200 million inhabitants, as of Thursday had 54,463 confirmed coronavirus cases which have resulted in 1,027 deaths. Boss Mustapha, who chairs the government's task force on the disease, said he and other officials who make up the panel overseeing the response to the pandemic were "disturbed by the low level of sample collection" because of the implications for testing, tracing, and treatment. "Despite the increased diagnostic capacity and improved access to testing, the demand remains low with not enough samples being collected," he said, adding that "the recent reduction in cases in some states could be attributed to low testing."
4th Sep 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Covid-19: Reusable face masks to be provided for school transport

Reusable face masks will be provided to approximately 80,000 pupils in Northern Ireland entitled to free home-to-school transport. Each pupil will get a pack that includes 10 reusable masks. Schools will also be provided with home testing kits to be distributed to parents of pupils with symptoms of Covid-19. Every school in Northern Ireland will receive 10 kits in the first instance as part of the scheme. Pupils in the vast majority of schools returned to class on Tuesday. Face coverings on dedicated school buses are not compulsory, but are strongly recommended by both the Department of Education (DE) and Translink.
3rd Sep 2020 - BBC News

Labour demands pupil 'catch-up' strategy as attainment gap widens after school closures

Labour has demanded ministers give a "cast-iron guarantee" that no child will be allowed to fall behind with their learning as a result of the pandemic school closures. Some pupils were out of a classroom setting for almost six months after schools were shut in March as part of the coronavirus lockdown. The party called for the Government to produce what it labelled a "close the gap" strategy after newly-published studies suggested the Covid-related closures significantly widened the attainment gap between pupils.
3rd Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Use Covid-19 lockdown to plan stronger post-pandemic business rebound, Ugandan entrepreneurs told

Dr Lawrence Musanje, a Ugandan who owns and runs two State of the art Dental practices in the Denver Metro area in Colorado USA has advised Ugandans not to allow themselves get paralyzed by the lockdown. Dr Musanje who is also the CEO of A & J Alliance Inc, a management Company, called upon Ugandans to use the lockdown to plan for a stronger post-pandemic rebound.
3rd Sep 2020 - Daily Monitor

How one North West town is recovering post-lockdown

Before lockdown, the high-street in Newton-le-Willows in St Helens was blooming. But suddenly, spirits were dampned as lockdown restrictions were brought into place across the UK. Now, six months on, Ann O'Connor has been to revisit the town to see how people there are recovering post-lockdown.
3rd Sep 2020 - ITV News

Spain will extend furlough scheme 'as long as necessary'

Spain's ERTE furlough scheme will be extended "as long as necessary", Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz told IB3 radio station on Thursday, before talks with unions and employers on the issue scheduled for Friday. The scheme, which is currently due to end on Sept. 30, provides furloughed workers with 70% of their base salary for the first six months, before dropping to 50% for the following months. "The key to the mechanism is that it stays. It's absurd to put an end date on it. I believe that the ERTEs should stay in place. For how long? As long as necessary," she told IB3. On Friday, the minister is due to meet union representatives and business leaders in Palma de Mallorca to negotiate the conditions of how to extend the programme. In a separate interview with La Sexta television, Diaz described the drop in coverage to 50% as "profoundly unfair".
3rd Sep 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK

Judge Overturns Lockdown Restrictions in Spanish City

A court in Valencia has overturned a ruling by the Ministry of Health that put the Spanish city of Benigànim in lockdown. THE head of the contentious-administrative Court number 3 of València, Laura Alabau, agreed with the application put forward that the decree of the State of Alarm was not sufficiently justified. Alabau is the same judge who refused to celebrate weddings between homosexuals in Dénia. The magistrate’s decision is in line with the Prosecutor’s Office, which also reported unfavourably on the measures adopted by the Health Ministry. The department headed by Ana Barceló issued a resolution yesterday afternoon, not yet published in the DOGV, to “attend to the details required by the contentious administrative court number 3 of Valencia” and that the confinement of Benigànim is still active.
3rd Sep 2020 - Euro Weekly News

France launches €100bn coronavirus recovery plan

A further €35bn will go to industrial competitiveness and innovation, including €20bn in reduced production taxes for industry over two years and €1bn to help the “reshoring” of strategic businesses in sectors such as health and IT. The final €35bn is for “social and regional cohesion”, including employment projects and skills training for the young. Unlike Germany’s €130bn recovery plan, which included a cut in value added tax, France’s strategy aims primarily to boost investment rather than stimulate demand. The government expects the economy to shrink up to 11 per cent this year as a result of the pandemic and a nationwide lockdown from mid-March to mid-May, and the state has already spent tens of billions of euros to avert mass bankruptcies and a surge in unemployment.
3rd Sep 2020 - The Financial Times

Slammed by virus, France unveils huge economic rescue plan

Facing resurgent virus infections, France’s government unveiled a 100 billion-euro ($118 billion) recovery plan Thursday aimed at creating jobs, saving struggling businesses and yanking the country out of its worst economic slump since World War II. The massive plan includes money to bring back manufacturing of medical supplies to French factories, develop hydrogen energy, help museums and the cinema industry, train young people for 21st century jobs and hire more staff at unemployment offices. “It’s an important step for our strategy in the fight against the economic and social consequences of the crisis that hit France,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said.
3rd Sep 2020 - ABC News

Victoria's roadmap out of lockdown to be based on four-step 'traffic light' system, business leader says

The head of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce says Covid-19 roadmap templates for business are based around a four-step “traffic light” system, as Victorians eagerly await the government exit roadmap from lockdown on Sunday. The chamber’s chief executive, Paul Guerra, has outlined to Guardian Australia the draft Covid-19 roadmaps the government is using to consult with Victorian business ahead of easing restrictions. “If you move down the vertical axis [of the template] there are these six common requirements. [They are] ensure physical distancing, wear a mask, practise good hygiene, quickly act if staff become unwell, avoid interactions in enclosed spaces and create workforce bubbles,” Guerra said.
3rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

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'It gets into your bones': the unique loneliness of coronavirus lockdown when you live alone

Melbourne’s second-wave lockdown rules are some of the strictest in the western world – and many single people have faced weeks of isolation
3rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Ireland now in ‘most challenging phase’, says Government

The current surge of Covid-19 can be successfully suppressed through people slightly reducing their daily contacts, public health officials have said. Getting the R number below 1 is “absolutely realistic”, through a “marginal reduction” in the number of contacts people have each day, according to Prof Philip Nolan of the National Public Health Emergency Team. The R figure represents the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to, on average. “It is a modest amount of extra effort that we have to do,” he said on Wednesday evening. The reproduction number stands at 1 to 1.2, according to Prof Nolan, who is chairman of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Irish Times

Coronavirus: Jeremy Hunt calls for weekly COVID-19 testing for secondary school teachers

Secondary school teachers should be tested weekly for coronavirus, a former health secretary has said. Jeremy Hunt, who now chairs the health and social care committee, told Sky News that regular COVID-19 tests would help reassure parents.
2nd Sep 2020 - Sky News

UN: Libya at `turning point,’ COVID heading `out of control’

The top U.N. official for Libya warned Wednesday that the conflict-torn North African country is at “a decisive turning point,” with foreign backers of its rival governments pouring in weapons and the misery of its people compounded by the coronavirus pandemic that appears to be “spiraling out of control.” Acting special representative Stephanie Williams told the U.N. Security Council that its actions “will help determine whether the country descends into new depths of fragmentation and chaos, or progresses towards a more prosperous future.”
2nd Sep 2020 - Washington Post

Coronavirus: UK considers putting Portugal back on quarantine list

Ministers are considering reimposing quarantine measures for those arriving in the UK from Portugal as coronavirus cases rise, sources have told the BBC. The country has recorded more than 20 cases per 100,000 people in the past week. Normally when a country surpasses that mark the UK government imposes 14 days of self-isolation on returning travellers. Ministers are expected to reach a decision on the measures by Thursday.
1st Sep 2020 - BBC News

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Brazil's Bolsonaro extends COVID-19 welfare payments key to popularity

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday extended until the end of the year payments for low-income Brazilians hit by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, a program that has boosted his popularity but created tension with his finance team. The stipend, for poor and informal sector workers who have seen their earnings wrecked by the crisis, will be halved to 300 reais (41.37 pounds) a month, Bolsonaro told reporters in the capital Brasilia. Recent opinion polls show the payments have helped raise the right-wing president’s popularity, even in the poorer northeastern region of the country, once a stronghold of the left. The program has also been widely credited with preventing a record economic slump from turning into a depression. Both the Bovespa stock market and the Brazilian real were up more than 2% on Tuesday.
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters

South Florida restaurants and casinos reopen as governor vows no more COVID-19 shutdowns

In Miami-Dade County, most indoor dining has been banned in the county since early July to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “This does not mean this is over by a long shot,” Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in an online news conference. “While we’re heading in the right direction, we’re not out of the woods.” The loosening up of restrictions in South Florida comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was considering allowing South Florida to move into Phase 2 , which would allow more businesses to resume operations.
1st Sep 2020 - USA TODAY

Lockdown in Co Kildare lifted following weeks of restrictions

The lockdown in Co Kildare has been lifted with immediate effect, the Government has confirmed. The Government introduced public health measures in the county on August 7 following outbreaks of Covid-19 cases. In a statement, the Government said that public health measures in the county will be aligned with those introduced nationally on August 18.
1st Sep 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

How will local lockdowns affect schools in England?

Q: According to the government’s guidance issued on Friday evening for schools in England, how will future lockdowns affect them? A: The new guidance lists four levels of lockdown “tiers”, which are most likely to be local ones such as those in Leicester. The categories range from tier one, the lowest, in which all schools would remain open, to tier four, in which remote learning would be in place for all pupils other than the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils. But unlike the national lockdown from March, alternative provision and special needs schools would remain fully open.
1st Sep 2020 - The Guardian

India Paid the Price of Lockdown for Little Reward

Plenty of places have been pummeled by the pandemic, though few have notched a descent as steep. And unlike Malaysia, Singapore or China, the shutdown in India didn’t curtail the spread of the virus. The country is now vying with Brazil for second-place behind the U.S. with the most cases. Infections numbered more than 3.62 million as of Monday and there have been 64,469 deaths. (The population is 1.3 billion.) India paid the economic price without the public health dividend.
1st Sep 2020 - Bloomberg

India eases virus restrictions as cases near 3.7 million

Experts say India, the world’s third most affected country, is fast becoming the new coronavirus epicenter and its case total is likely to soon pass Brazil and ultimately the United States. Most of India’s cases are in western Maharashtra state and the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, but new surges are being recorded in the country’s vast hinterlands, overwhelming the poorly equipped healthcare system. In poorer states, the federal government has deployed special teams to monitor the situation. “This was to be expected,” said Dr. Gagandeep Kang, an infectious diseases expert at the Christian Medical College at Vellore in southern India. “It was inevitable that the numbers would climb.”
1st Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

Coronavirus: India sees nearly two million cases in August

India has reported nearly two million Covid-19 cases in August, the highest monthly tally in the world since the pandemic began. August was also the worst month for fatalities with 28,000 virus deaths. With 3.6 million confirmed cases, India has the third-highest caseload in the world, after the US and Brazil. The government continues to lift restrictions to try to boost an economy that lost millions of jobs because of a strict lockdown which began in March. In August, India saw an average of 64,000 cases per day - an 84% hike from average daily cases in July, according to official data. This number is the highest in the world - for example, the US, which has the most number of cases, saw 47,000 daily cases on average last month.
1st Sep 2020 - BBC News

Japan’s karaoke bars adapt to the Covid era

The large chains have introduced apps that turn your smartphone into a remote control to avoid touching communal buttons or screens. Another upgrade synchronises and scrolls the lyrics on your phone, should social distancing mean you are sitting too far from the screen to read the words properly. Some chains allow the really nervous self-isolator to sing alone in a room in their establishment but be linked online to any other rooms in their nationwide network to form a virtual group. Arguably the most helpful of all in terms of coaxing people back to the microphone has been Joysound’s flagship offering: a series of settings that adjust the tone and clarity of your output to compensate for singing through a mask.
1st Sep 2020 - Financial Times

Victorian Government may use traffic light system to lead businesses out of stage 4 coronavirus lockdown

On Monday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said a roadmap to reopening the state would be announced in detail on Sunday, to allow the Government to gather another week of data. The first steps in designing the roadmap were outlined in documents seen by the ABC from the State Government's first consultation call with industry leaders on Monday night. Drafting of the plan will be a week-long process involving more than 10 sector working groups and six COVID-safe principles will apply:
1st Sep 2020 - ABC News

What is the COVID 'bubble' concept, and could it work in Australia?

The concept of a COVID-19 “germ bubble” refers to close contacts with whom we don’t practise mask use or keep physical distancing. In strict lockdown, this generally means just the members of your own household. But several countries, such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom, have experimented with bubbles larger than a single household. Victorian Premier Dan Andrews will unveil a roadmap out of restrictions on Sunday. Many will be keen to see if a bubble strategy is part of this, after Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed the concept is under “active consideration”. Extended bubbles mean your household can nominate other people or households with whom you could have close contact. These would need to be exclusive, so the infection risk is contained, and your nominated households would be required to live in the same town or city.
1st Sep 2020 - The Conversation AU

Auckland Exits Lockdown as New Zealand Again Eyes Elimination

New Zealand’s largest city has exited lockdown after the government said a Covid-19 outbreak there has been brought under control and it remains on track to again eliminate the virus from the community.
1st Sep 2020 - Bloomberg on MSN.com

Covid 19 coronavirus: The radical plan to end Melbourne's lockdown early

With clarity still lacking on how or even exactly when Melbourne will emerge from stage 4 restrictions, one suggestion gaining traction is to ring-fence individual suburbs while the rest of the city goes back to something approaching normality. The city's coronavirus restrictions should come to an end in two weeks' time and federal politicians have begun to demand the state provide some certainty to residents as to when they can expect to come out of curfew – and go back to Bunnings.
1st Sep 2020 - New Zealand Herald

South Africa's Absa PMI expands on easing lockdown

South Africa’s seasonally-adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) expanded in August as an easing of the coronavirus restrictions lifted business activity and sales. The index, which gauges manufacturing activity in Africa’s most industrialised economy, rose to 57.3 points in August from 51.2 points in July, staying above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction. “The improvement in demand was not only due to South Africa moving to a lower lockdown level, but was also supported by an uptick in export orders,” Absa said in a statement.
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters Africa

As lockdown begins, Hungary reopens borders to some eastern neighbours

Hungary has decided to exempt tourists visiting from three neighbouring states from a lockdown of its borders that took effect on Tuesday, provided they test negative for COVID-19 beforehand, prompting a rebuke from the European Commission. The EU executive said Hungary’s move to admit visitors from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia but not from other EU member states amounted to discrimination and was illegal. Hungary said last week it would close its borders to foreigners from Tuesday to curb a rise in coronavirus cases. Returning Hungarian citizens can leave a 14-day quarantine only if they provide two negative COVID tests.
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

New Zealanders wear face masks as Auckland lockdown lifted

Schools and businesses reopened in Auckland on Monday after the lifting of a lockdown in New Zealand’s largest city to contain the resurgence of the coronavirus, but face masks were made mandatory on public transport across the country. The Pacific nation of 5 million people had appeared to have succeeded in halting community transmission of COVID-19, but a fresh outbreak in Auckland prompted the government to place the city back in lockdown earlier this month. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scaled back the restrictions in Auckland on Sunday, but made masks compulsory on public transport.
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Back to school: how European classrooms are coping with COVID

Schools across Europe are reopening as summer break ends and governments insist that students return to the classroom after months of online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reuters looks a little closer at what countries are doing...
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters

Colombia expands reopening as coronavirus cases stabilize

Airports, bus terminals, restaurants and gyms reopened in most of Colombia on Tuesday as the South American nation attempts to reignite its economy following months of restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic. The step expanded previous moves that allowed shops, construction sites, shopping malls and factories to resume operations in June in most of the country’s cities. Hospital occupancy rates and deaths from the new coronavirus have stabilized across much of Colombia over the past 10 days, prompting the national government to lift more of the emergency measures that had been in place for five months, including a ban on most people from traveling within the country.
1st Sep 2020 - Washington Post

Bhutan to gradually lift coronavirus lockdown

Bhutan, the remote Himalayan kingdom famous for measuring gross national happiness, on Tuesday took the first steps to lift its coronavirus lockdown, saying there was limited community transmission. The country of 750,000 people between India and China -- one of the few nations in the world that have yet to register a virus death -- has so far recorded 225 infections. "Experiences in many countries reveal a surge in Covid-19 cases, mostly detected in the second week of post-lockdown," Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, a doctor who continues to practise on weekends, said in a television address late Monday.
1st Sep 2020 - FRANCE 24

Algeria approves more measures to ease coronavirus lockdown

Algerian authorities said on Monday they will carry out further measures to ease a coronavirus lockdown from Sept. 1, including lifting a ban on some cultural activities such as reopening museums and libraries. Nurseries would also be reopened with 50% of their capacity but prohibit the use of air conditioners and access to children by family members. The new steps will also end a paid leave for pregnant women and those with children under 14 years. Algeria has already eased restrictions linked to the novel coronavirus, including reopening some businesses, mosques, leisure venues and beaches. It has so far reported 44,494 infections and 1,510 deaths.
31st Aug 2020 - Reuters

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Pandemic exposes 'severe stress' in commercial property financing

The fate of the property is not only emblematic of the severity of the crisis emerging for the hotel industry but also of the pressure building across the commercial real estate sector — from small-town malls to sky-high office blocks — hitting one of its primary sources of financing; the $1.4tn market for commercial mortgage-backed securities. “I don’t think anyone foresaw the devastation that Covid would wreak on commercial real estate and the CMBS market,” says Lea Overby, an analyst at Wells Fargo who has covered the sector for almost two decades.
30th Aug 2020 - Financial Times

'You just feel disconnected': how Covid has upturned uni students' lives

University students are returning to (mostly virtual) class at a time of tumult and disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has hit Australian universities hard, with a slew of academic institutions recently announcing severe job cuts – among them the University of Sydney, RMIT University, the University of Melbourne, and the University of New South Wales. The staff cuts, coupled with distant learning, have dramatically altered the university experience for tens of thousands of Australian students. Unions and academics have sounded the alarm that this could lead to degrees of lower quality. Enrolments for next year are set to balloon, which could result in a challenging environment of more students and fewer teachers. Guardian Australia spoke to several students – some at universities that have announced staff cuts, others learning under lockdown – about their experiences during the pandemic.
29th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Schools to reopen in Nigeria's Lagos as COVID-19 cases decline

Schools will reopen in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos next month as part of plans to revive the economy as COVID-19 cases decline, the state governor said on Saturday. Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria, plans to reopen colleges on Sept. 14, and primary and secondary schools on Sept. 21, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said. “The gradual easing doesn’t mean the pandemic is over,” he said in a tweet. “It is not an invitation to carelessness or nonchalance.” The Lagos governor said restaurants, social clubs and recreational centers would also be allowed to reopen as long as they followed safety rules. Nigeria has reported 53,727 infections in total - including 18,104 in Lagos - and 1,011 deaths
30th Aug 2020 - Reuters Africa

China's Wuhan says all schools to reopen on Tuesday

Wuhan, Ground Zero for the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese city hardest hit by the coronavirus, will reopen all its schools and kindergartens on Tuesday, local authorities said. As many as 2,842 educational institutions across the city are set to open their doors to almost 1.4 million students when the autumn semester gets underway, the local government announced on Friday. Wuhan University reopened on Monday. The city said it has drawn up emergency plans to switch back to online teaching should risk levels change. It advised students to wear masks to and from school and avoid public transportation if possible. Schools have been ordered to stock up on disease control equipment and to carry out drills and training sessions to help prepare for new outbreaks. They must also restrict unnecessary mass gatherings, and submit daily reports to health authorities
29th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

In Brazil's Javari Valley, isolated communities fear Covid-19 'catastrophe'

Remote indigenous communities in Brazil, who have little or no contact with the outside world, are facing a grave threat from Covid-19 -- and advocates accuse the government of failing to protect these vulnerable groups. The virus has already killed a member of the Marubo and a member of the Tikuna indigenous people living in the remote Javari Valley, and more than 450 people have been infected, according to the Brazilian government. "The situation in the Javari Valley is critical," said Douglas Rodrigues, a physician who has worked with recently contacted indigenous groups over the past 40 years. "We are preparing for a catastrophe," he told CNN. Overall, some 800,000 indigenous people live in villages throughout Brazil. The largest concentration of isolated communities is based in the Javari Valley, a region the size of Austria, located in southwest Amazonas state, near the border with Peru.
29th Aug 2020 - CNN

Reopening schools: how different countries are tackling Covid dilemma

Research on the ability of children of different ages to catch and transmit the virus is contradictory, and differences in education systems and social conventions make comparisons difficult. One complicating factor is what epidemiologists call contact matrices: the degree to which different age groups mix, particularly within extended multigenerational families, which can vary from society to society and from group to group within a society. Countries have taken different approaches but some of the questions are broadly familiar. Should all children and staff be required to wear masks, or only some age groups? Should children be tested for the virus? How should social distancing be managed in the classroom and playground? And finally, should schools be reopening at all?
28th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

New Zealand's Ardern takes mask making into her own hands ahead of virus measure

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday she was making her own face covering to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, raising the profile of a public health measure which will become mandatory across the country next week. The Pacific nation of 5 million people had seemed to stop community transmission of COVID-19 due to tough lockdown measures but reintroduced restrictions in its largest city, Auckland, this month following a fresh outbreak. With restrictions to scale back on Sunday, Ardern said in a Facebook post she was taking matters into her own hands before masks become compulsory on public transport across the country the following day
28th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Payments for English self-isolating on low incomes to be trialled

Regional leaders in England have called on the government to increase the level of support under a new scheme launched on Thursday for people on low incomes who are required to self-isolate and are unable to work from home. Health secretary Matt Hancock announced plans to trial the scheme in some parts of the north-west of England lockdown area. Those who test positive will be entitled to access £130 over their 10-day self-isolation period, while members of their household will be entitled to a payment of £182 when they self-isolate for 14 days. Any non-household contacts reached via the government’s NHS test-and-trace programme will be able to claim a similar amount, depending on the length of their isolation period.
27th Aug 2020 - Financial Times

Second wave of coronavirus could hit France in November: government advisor

A second wave of the coronavirus pandemic could hit France in November, a government advisor told local media on Wednesday, as the city of Marseille tightened restrictions to fight the outbreak. Authorities in Marseille said late on Tuesday that bars and restaurants would have shorter opening times, and they also broadened mandatory mask-wearing in the southern port city between Aug. 26 and Sept. 30. “There are fears of a second wave in November,” Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the pandemic, told France 2 television on Wednesday.
26th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

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Active Irish COVID-19 tracing app users drop on battery problem - HSE

A brief technical issue led some people to delete Ireland’s COVID-19 tracing app, leaving 1.2 million active users compared to the 1.65 million who downloaded it since early July, the head of Ireland’s health service operator said on Thursday. Ireland’s app has been downloaded by 33% of the population - among the highest take up rates in Europe - and its developers have since been hired to roll out a similar service in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar and Pennsylvania. Like many European versions, Ireland’s app uses architecture designed by Alphabet’s Google and Apple. A Google Play Services update caused the app to rapidly drain handset batteries for a two-day period earlier this month. “There were some issues, which we have addressed with Google and Apple. We’ve a total of 1.65 million downloads, there were of course some that were deleted and we’ve probably about 1.2 million active users but we are seeing people reloading,” Health Service Executive (HSE) chief Paul Reid told a news conference.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Matt Hancock to announce if Northern England coronavirus rules will change on Friday

Matt Hancock is expected to announce on Friday whether local lockdowns will continue in parts of Northern England amid growing criticism from regional leaders. The Health Secretary and England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, chaired Thursday’s meeting of the Joint Biosecurity Centre. Around four million people in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire have been unable to visit other households indoors since the end of July, while pubs stayed open. Last week, Mr Hancock announced a more targeted approach to restrictions, with the views of MPs sought to gain “the maximum possible local consensus”. He added this would allow local councils to focus resources on the wards which need more targeted intervention in order to drive infection rates down.
27th Aug 2020 - iNews

France, Germany join nations tightening controls to halt virus surge

Germany and France drew up tougher rules on Thursday in line with a growing number of countries battling a resurgence in coronavirus infections with Paris making masks obligatory in all public places in a bid to curb a rise of new cases in the city.
27th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

Germany to pay another 12 months of furlough

Germany has extended its furlough scheme until the end of 2021 despite reservations in Angela Merkel’s party about a bill that may exceed €30 billion. The measure is intended to buy time for the economy to recover after GDP contracted by 11.7 per cent over the first six months of this year. It is expected to take until late next year or early 2022 to regain the lost ground. At the peak during lockdown 10.1 million workers, including one in three in the industrial sector, were on furlough. The number is thought to have fallen to about 5.2 million by late July. The Kurzarbeit (short-time work) scheme, which has roots in the early 20th century, is normally restricted to 12 months. It began in January and had been due to run out on December 31.
27th Aug 2020 - The Times

Germany extends its furlough scheme until the end of NEXT YEAR at a likely cost of £27billion

German economy saw GDP fall by 11.7 per cent over first six months of the year More than 10.1 million workers were on furlough at the peak of the lockdown It is thought that the economy will not get back on its feet until the end of 2021
27th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Lessons to be learned from Germany for UK SMEs, as businesses seek to save time and money and capitalise on eased lockdown restrictions

The answer could be found in Germany, where lockdowns began to ease months before the UK. German SMEs are already dealing with the next economic phase, and research carried out by Vimcar, the fleet management software for small and medium-sized companies, has revealed some of the challenges that UK businesses will face. More than half of the German SMEs surveyed (55%) have introduced new hygiene regulations for their business fleets in order to get back on the road. This additional time pressure has led to a flawed process in some cases, however, as two-thirds (65%) of those businesses admitted that their disinfection of vehicles was not being documented. Of the 18% that were documenting hygiene procedures, most were doing so manually with hand-written lists. These findings suggest that, whilst necessary, extra hygiene regulations will inevitably prove a cost and resource drain on UK SMEs, who are already struggling to get back on their feet.
27th Aug 2020 - Business Leader

France to make face masks mandatory everywhere in Paris

Face masks must be worn everywhere in the French capital Paris from Friday morning in order to curb a surge in coronavirus infections, police said on Thursday. The measure applies to all pedestrians as well as cyclists in Paris and its suburbs in an area that includes three neighbouring departments that form the Petite Couronn inner ring around Paris, a densely populated area with a total population of nearly seven million people. Motorists will not have to wear a mask inside their car. “The deterioration of the health situation...has led the prefect to take this strong measure in the interest of the population,” the Paris police prefecture said in a statement.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Xinjiang starts to ease Covid-19 lockdown after surge in social media anger

China has relaxed some Covid-19 lockdown measures on the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang following a surge of complaints about their severity on Chinese social media. The city of 3.5 million people, which has been in strict lockdown since mid-July, has reported no new cases of the disease since August 16. Xinjiang residents flooded social media platform Weibo with complaints about the restrictions which had kept them trapped at home for more than a month. There have also been claims people were forced to take traditional Chinese medicine, which has not been proven to alleviate Covid-19 symptoms.
27th Aug 2020 - South China Morning Post

Netherlands to close mink farms after coronavirus outbreaks

More than 100 mink farms in the Netherlands will be ordered closed by March after animals at dozens of locations contracted the coronavirus, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Thursday. Hundreds of thousands of the ferret-like animals, which are bred for their fur, have been culled in the Netherlands and other European countries since the virus outbreak. The Netherlands had already intended to halt its mink breeding industry by 2024, but decided to bring forward the closures after several farm employees contracted COVID-19.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

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Germany extends its furlough scheme until end of 2021

Germany has extended its furlough scheme until the end of 2021 despite reservations in Angela Merkel’s party about a bill that may exceed €30 billion. The measure is intended to buy time for the economy to recover after GDP contracted by 11.7 per cent over the first six months of this year. It is expected to take until late next year or early 2022 to regain the lost ground.
27th Aug 2020 - The Times

EU eyes initial COVID-19 vaccination for at least 40% of population

European Union nations, Britain and EU partners have agreed on a blueprint for a COVID-19 vaccination plan envisaging inoculation of at least 40% of their populations, a step that may set back the World Health Organisation’s own vaccine blueprint. The EU target for early vaccinations is twice as high as the goal set by the WHO, which is aiming to buy vaccines initially for 20% of the world’s most vulnerable people through a global procurement scheme. The EU estimates that the share of its population in need of initial vaccination, should a shot be developed, would be at least 40%, effectively reducing the availability of possible doses for less developed countries. There is so far no approved COVID-19 vaccine, except one authorised in Russia before large-scale trials. The supply of the vaccines that might be successful is expected to be limited for a long period as production capacities are limited.
26th Aug 2020 - Reuters

NYC’s Virus Threat Has Faded, But Its Future Is Stuck in Limbo

The city is grasping for some semblance of its old self. Among the terrible what-ifs, there’s the big one: What if the virus strikes again? Begin in the East 80s, off Madison: waiters in surgical masks hand out sanitized menus to the regulars dining al fresco. Across town, in the West 70s, the sirens have yielded to the familiar clang of jackhammers. In Central Park, the zoo, the playgrounds, even the carousel have reopened. Soon, schools across the city will too, but not fully. Squint, and you can see it: New York, once the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, is grasping for some semblance of its old self. Five eternal months after the lockdown began, office workers have started to trickle back to midtown. A fraction of the suburban commuters are braving the Metro-North lines. Wall Street is roaring, though still mostly working from home.
26th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

UK arrivals into Guernsey to be tested in next phase of lockdown exit

Passengers arriving into Guernsey from 'Group B' countries - which includes the UK and Jersey - may only need to self-isolate for as little as 24 hours in the next phase of the island's exit from lockdown. In an update to the island's lockdown strategy, inbound passengers would be tested on arrival and again on the seventh day. They would be subject to 'passive surveillance' until day 14, meaning they must report any Covid-19 symptoms and avoid all care homes and the hospital except in the event of an emergency. Passengers coming to the island from Group A countries would still have to complete a mandatory self-isolation period of 14 days. The rules for Group C will also remain the same, with no self-isolation requirement for passengers arriving from countries where an 'air bridge' is in place. Currently, this refers only to the Isle of Man.
26th Aug 2020 - ITV

Coronavirus: Face coverings U-turn for England’s secondary schools

Secondary pupils will have to wear face coverings in school corridors in local lockdown areas of England, after the government reversed its guidance. Head teachers in any secondary school will also have the "flexibility" to introduce masks in their schools. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said it followed updated advice from the World Health Organization. But Labour accused the government of "passing the buck" on decisions back to schools. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new guidance meant that in coronavirus "hot spot" areas that "it probably does make sense in confined areas outside the classroom to use a face covering in the corridor and elsewhere".
26th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Lockdown eased in Wigan and parts of Lancashire

Lockdown rules are easing in Wigan, the only borough in Greater Manchester where extra restrictions imposed just under a month ago have been lifted. Rossendale and parts of Blackburn with Darwen, in Lancashire, have also had restrictions eased, the Department for Health and Social care said. Wigan Council leader David Molyneux, thanked residents for being "responsible, patient and kind". Tighter rules were reintroduced after a regional increase in Covid-19 cases. Mr Molyneux said residents had "done their bit to reduce the spread of the virus." "I know it hasn't been easy but by working together and following the rules we've managed to keep our loved ones safe," he said.
26th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Schools learn the lessons from lockdown, want to start and finish earlier

A northern beaches high school has proposed ending the school day at 2pm, saying a European model of earlier start and finish times would make students more independent and give teachers more time for one-on-one feedback. But some parents are worried the move would not suit junior school students, who are less independent learners, while the timetable would challenge working parents relying on 3pm public transport. Pittwater High School principal Jane Ferris said compressed timetables introduced during the COVID-19 lockdown had made her reflect on "the European model", where schools such as Sweden and Germany start around 8am and finish after lunchtime. The school found many students enjoyed having blocks of time to catch up on work or prepare for assignments, while teachers had greater opportunities to give students feedback and engage parents.
26th Aug 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

“We will do this together:” Germany will continue subsidizing workers’ wages through the end of 2021

It may have been intended as a short-term tool in Germany's fight against the pandemic's economic effects, but that's not how the government's massive wage-support program is panning out. Now recognizing that it will take at least a couple years to get the economy back to pre-pandemic levels, Angela Merkel's coalition government announced late Tuesday the extension of the current Kurzarbeit ("short time work") scheme until the end of 2021.
26th Aug 2020 - Fortune

Germany Boosts Already Hefty Coronavirus Stimulus

Germany is beefing up its already formidable stimulus package to prop up its economy through the Covid-19 pandemic, brushing away concerns from some economists that the state is keeping insolvent businesses afloat artificially. Wage subsidies for furloughed workers, the flagship measure in the country’s new package, will be extended by 12 months to the end of 2021, in contrast with most other European countries, whose programs are set to expire in the coming months. Furlough programs, known in Europe as short-time work, allow companies to temporarily idle workers without resorting to payroll cuts. So far, the program has allowed Germany to avoid a spike in unemployment and could help businesses adjust faster to rising demand when the economy normalizes. The 5.6 million workers currently enrolled can earn up to 87% of their pay from benefits while working reduced hours or not at all.
26th Aug 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus: How are other countries getting children back to class?

French schoolchildren will be returning to school on 1 September with a somewhat relaxed version of the rules under which some of them went back to school in May. For example, there will no longer be a limit on class sizes, and distancing is not compulsory in situations where it would stop a school being able to fit all its pupils in. The exception to that is the use of masks, which will be compulsory indoors for staff and students over the age of 11, even if they manage to stay more than 1m apart. This means teachers will take lessons wearing masks. Schools are no longer forced to prevent different classes and groups of students from mixing, but they are encouraged to stagger start and finish times to prevent large groups building up. Floors, desks and surfaces that are touched regularly, such as door handles, must be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day.
26th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Saving lives or UK economy from Covid a 'false choice', MPs warn

Saving lives or the economy in the coronavirus pandemic is a “false choice”, MPs have warned as a study confirms the UK to have one of the highest excess death rates combined with the worst projected hit to the economy. Data analysed by the Guardian shows the UK has effectively endured the worst of both worlds, with 610 excess deaths per million while GDP is set to fall by 11.5% this year. This places it narrowly ahead of Italy and Spain, which also have high excess death figures and devastating economic forecasts.
26th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Developing countries don't want to wait for superpowers' vaccines

After COVID-19’s emergence in Buenos Aires led to a strict lockdown in March, Juliana Cassataro and her fellow vaccine researchers grew concerned. The U.S., Europe and China had already revved up their quests to obtain shots; how far back in line would Argentina have to wait for supplies? “We did not want to stay in our homes,” said Cassataro, a scientist at the National University of San Martin in the nation’s capital. “We wanted to use our knowledge to help in this pandemic.” Determined to give Latin America its own protection from the fast-spreading virus, Cassataro’s team — 10 women and two men — quickly got to work. A government grant of $100,000 in May paid for initial studies, and human trials could start in about six months.
26th Aug 2020 - The Japan Times

UK school pupils WILL wear face masks if local area in lockdown

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said face coverings will be compulsory. Decision on whether to wear masks in most schools to be down to headteachers. The eleventh-hour U-turn followed new advice from World Health Organisation
26th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid 19 coronavirus: The Government targets South Auckland in new virus testing blitz

The Government is embarking on a week-long Covid-19 testing blitz, promising to test 70,000 people in a bid to "further tighten the screws on this elusive virus". The approach will be "aggressively targeted," according to Health Minister Chris Hipkins, with a specific focus on South Auckland. Officials will be testing asymptomatic people in this region – a new strategy for this outbreak – and will target specific regions, rather than only people with Covid-19 symptoms.
26th Aug 2020 - New Zealand Herald

England schools in COVID hotspots to bring in face masks after government U-turn

It may have been intended as a short-term tool in Germany's fight against the pandemic's economic effects, but that's not how the government's massive wage-support program is panning out. Now recognizing that it will take at least a couple years to get the economy back to pre-pandemic levels, Angela Merkel's coalition government announced late Tuesday the extension of the current Kurzarbeit ("short time work") scheme until the end of 2021.
26th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Column: Public confidence, often inscrutable, pivotal for recovery

Public confidence in virus control, rather than the length and stringency of government lockdowns, may be the best way to gauge how economies emerge from this year’s pandemic - though tracking that confidence can be a bewildering business. Apparent gaps between what people are saying and doing complicate the task facing economists in assessing confidence, and how economies are expected to heal - at least before the arrival of a game-changing vaccine that’s still likely to be at least six months away. Britain provided an example of this confusion last week, with retail sales volumes returning to pre-pandemic levels in July despite consumer confidence polls remaining mired in gloom close to 10-year lows for the past two months. There’s a similar picture in the United States, where consumer confidence readings are also stuck near six-year lows even as retail sales return to their highest on record in July.
26th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

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UK chief executives think shift towards remote working will endure

Over three quarter of UK chief executives believe the shift towards remote working will endure, the results of a survey show as companies continue to look at when to bring staff back to offices. PwC surveyed 699 bosses online in 67 countries/regions (including 96 bosses in the UK) in June and July. The company was looking at how business leaders have responded to the pandemic. The results showed 86% of UK bosses see a long term shift towards remote working enduring, and 68% believe the shift towards lower-density workplaces, with fewer people working together in person, will endure.
25th Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

France set to make Brits arriving in the country quarantine 'within days' according to reports

France is looking to impose mandatory quarantine on Britons arriving in the country in the coming days. People who arrived in the UK from France after August 15 are required to self-isolate for 14 days due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases in France. And France’s secretary of state for European Affairs Clement Beaune suggested those travelling from the UK to France could soon face similar requirements. He told France 2: “There will be reciprocal measures so that Britons don’t close the border in one direction. “For travellers returning from the United Kingdom, there will probably be restrictive measures decided in the next few days by the Prime Minister and by the Defence Council.” Meanwhile, Switzerland could become the next European country to be subject to quarantine measures by all four nations of the UK, according to latest figures. A seven-day rate of 20 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people is the threshold above which the UK Government considers triggering quarantine conditions.
25th Aug 2020 - Evening Chronicle

Paris and French Riviera labelled coronavirus 'risk zones' by Germany

Tourists travelling from the greater Paris and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur regions to Germany must take a Covid-19 test and quarantine upon their return, the German foreign ministry stated on Monday. The greater Paris region of Île-de-France and the southern Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, which includes tourist hubs on the French Riviera, were added to the German foreign ministry's list of 'risk areas' late on Monday evening. All travel to these areas should be avoided unless the journey is "indispensable," according to the German foreign ministry. Travellers who return from these areas must undergo a Covid-19 test and self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.
25th Aug 2020 - The Local Europe

Vic govt needs to provide plan for when stage four lockdown ends

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Paul Guerra has called on the Victorian government to reveal what the plan is for when Melbourne’s stage four lockdowns are finished in three weeks. Melbourne’s stage four lockdown is set to be lifted on September 13 and the state government has not provided any clarity about what will happen when the lockdown is lifted. “We’re less than three weeks away now … what businesses now need is the certainty around September 13,” Mr Guerra told Sky News host Peta Credlin. “What does the plan look like to not only get out of this current phase, but what is the sign posting that means that we can go – if in fact we go to stage three- how do we get to stage two and ultimately how do we get out of this.”
25th Aug 2020 - Sky News Australia

Colombia to move to 'selective' quarantine, participate in vaccine trials

Colombia will enter a period of “selective” quarantine when its five months of national coronavirus lockdown ends at the close of August, President Ivan Duque said on Monday, and will be part of Johnson & Johnson vaccine trials. Restrictions on events and large crowds will continue during September while the government evaluates the spread of the virus, Duque said, as more economic reactivation with safety protocols moves ahead. “On Sept. 1 a new phase begins where we change the concept of preventative obligatory isolation with a large number of exceptions to a concept of selective isolation, of distancing, of individual responsibility,” Duque said during his nightly television broadcast.
25th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Did Europe Make a Mistake Reopening Its Borders?

Colombia will enter a period of “selective” quarantine when its five months of national coronavirus lockdown ends at the close of August, President Ivan Duque said on Monday, and will be part of Johnson & Johnson vaccine trials. Restrictions on events and large crowds will continue during September while the government evaluates the spread of the virus, Duque said, as more economic reactivation with safety protocols moves ahead. “On Sept. 1 a new phase begins where we change the concept of preventative obligatory isolation with a large number of exceptions to a concept of selective isolation, of distancing, of individual responsibility,” Duque said during his nightly television broadcast.
24th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

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Coronavirus: Partial lifting of Aberdeen lockdown restrictions

Some of Aberdeen's lockdown restrictions have been lifted from midnight. Pubs and restaurants were shut 18 days ago, and restrictions were placed on travel and visits to other households, after a spike in Covid-19 cases linked to bars and nightlife in the city. The five-mile restriction on non-essential travel and the ban on indoor gatherings ended at midnight. Hospitality businesses will be able to reopen from Wednesday. However, the reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants will be subject to environmental health checks. Talks have been going on throughout Sunday involving the Scottish government, Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland.
24th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Why some workforces are returning to the office and others are staying away

In some parts of the northern hemisphere, it feels almost like a normal summer: city centres are quiet, schools are on holiday, offices closed. But this illusion conceals deeper uncertainty about what happens next. Assuming those offices reopen next month, will workers return? If not, why not?  The answers so far seem to depend where you live. Polls struggle to keep up with the pandemic but two recent surveys suggest a difference of opinion between the US and UK, and other countries. The ManpowerGroup What Workers Want survey of eight countries, published this week but carried out in June, suggests staff in the US and UK were more negative then about returning to the workplace than their counterparts in Germany, France, Italy, Mexico, Singapore and Spain. That nervousness is reflected in the number who have returned to work, according to another poll by AlphaWise last month for Morgan Stanley. At that stage, only 34 per cent of UK office workers said they had gone back to their usual workplace, compared with 83 per cent in France.
24th Aug 2020 - Financial Times

Analysis | Did Europe Make a Mistake Reopening Its Borders?

The hope was that we could relax travel and social restrictions this summer because people are much less likely to catch the virus when they’re outside enjoying the warm weather. European economies depend on tourism and couldn’t afford a season of empty sun loungers and restaurants. Airlines and hotels would collapse without new bookings, and they implemented new hygiene measures to reassure customers. People were desperate to see friends and families again. The experiment has backfired. We’re not even through August and cases are surging in western Europe, while south-eastern Europe, which avoided the worst of the initial virus wave, is up against it too. Germany won plaudits for its handling of the spring outbreak, but it recorded more than 2,000 new cases on Saturday — the biggest daily jump since April.
24th Aug 2020 - Washington Post

The latest FCO travel guidance to Spain, as UK orders 14-day quarantine for returning visitors

Spain has been reintroduced to the UK Government’s so-called ‘red list’, meaning travellers returning to Britain from the country will once again have to self-isolate for 14 days. One of the most popular holiday destinations among British tourists, Spain had been included on the travel corridors list since the roster of countries was first made public early in July.
24th Aug 2020 - The Scotsman

Russia may resume flights to seven more countries this week

Russian authorities may this week announce the resumption of international flights to France, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Jordan and China’s Shanghai, the Izvestia newspaper cited unnamed airport and airline sources as saying on Monday. Russia grounded international commercial flights during the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year and has so far only resumed flights to London, Turkey, Tanzania and Switzerland. Russia has confirmed the world’s fourth largest tally of coronavirus cases. It has recorded close to 5,000 new cases of the virus on a daily basis for the last several weeks.
24th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Maharashtra set to lift curbs on inter-district travel, discontinue e-pass

Sources also said that the state government is considering easing more lockdown restrictions, such as increasing the attendance in government offices to 50 per cent from the current 15 per cent and opening indoor gymnasiums among others.
24th Aug 2020 - The Indian Express

Aberdeen lockdown to be partially lifted at midnight, it is understood

Crunch talks have been ongoing today as council bosses tried to convince the government to lift the locally-imposed lockdown. This evening the first minister also announced cafes, pubs and restaurants would be allowed to reopen on Wednesday. But – they will only be allowed to welcome customers back once an environmental health check has been completed. Visiting restrictions at city hospitals and care homes will no longer be in force tomorrow either. Other businesses will now open in line with the rest of Scotland, meaning gyms and leisure facilities are in line to open a week today.
24th Aug 2020 - The Press and Journal

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Brazil's coronavirus spread on 'stable or downwards' trend, WHO says

The coronavirus crisis in Brazil appears to be leveling off, if not easing, the World Health Organization said on Friday, offering a chink of light for the world’s second biggest COVID-19 hot spot.
23rd Aug 2020 - Reuters

French teachers prepare for special 'la rentrée' amid Covid-19 spike, tensions

Middle and high school students in France will return to classrooms on September 1. But as the country’s daily tallies of new coronavirus infections rise, some teachers are concerned about the conditions they and their students will face, including heightened sanitary measures. The daily levels of new coronavirus infections in France have been rising for several weeks, but the new school year (la rentrée scolaire) is set to start on September 1. Affirming that “education is more important than anything”, Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer gave his assurance on August 20 that students would be welcome in class every day. He also announced that stricter sanitary measures would be in place, notably concerning face masks.
23rd Aug 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Coronavirus: Schools let down by lack of 'plan B', says union

More staff, extra teaching space and greater clarity on what to do if there is a spike in cases is needed for schools to reopen safely, the UK's largest teaching union has said. The National Education Union (NEU) accused the government of letting down pupils, teachers and parents by failing to have a "plan B" if infections rise. The UK's four chief medical officers have insisted it is safe to return. The education secretary said ministers were doing "everything we can" to help. Millions of pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are due to return to school in the coming days and weeks. In Scotland, schools have already reopened.
23rd Aug 2020 - BBC News

The meaning of life: Australians praying more during COVID-19

Churches may have closed their doors, but more Australians are opening their minds to spirituality and prayer. Researchers have found Australians say they have been praying more during the COVID-19 crisis, suggesting the pandemic has led many to reassess their priorities in life.
23rd Aug 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Give students hope amid coronavirus mental health crisis, experts urge

The suicides of some year 11 and 12 students have prompted mental health experts to warn that Australia must act quickly to counteract a growing sense of hopelessness among HSC students. Parents and teachers are increasingly worried about the welfare of senior students as their rites of passage are cancelled, the job market shrinks and the tertiary education sector faces a financial crisis due the coronavirus pandemic.
23rd Aug 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Australia's mental health funding has surged after coronavirus – so why is it so difficult to get help?

Many people are being forced to wait for weeks or months, with ‘far more people needing support than there are people to provide them’
23rd Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Australia's coronavirus death toll passes 500 as Victoria reports 17 more fatalities and 208 new cases

NSW reports four new cases while two more people test positive in Queensland in cluster linked to Brisbane youth detention centre
23rd Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Socialising pushes Spain’s Covid-19 rate far above rest of Europe

Coronavirus is spreading far faster in Spain than in the rest of Europe, confronting the country with a race against time to bring the outbreak under control before the return to school and work next month following the holiday season. Figures published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, an EU agency, on Friday indicated that in the previous 14 days Spain had reported about 145 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of population. Apart from Malta, no other European country had a ratio above 100, and the Spanish figures compare with ratios of 51 in France and 21 in the UK. In three districts of Madrid, the Spanish region with most cases, the equivalent ratio is above 400 and in one it is almost 600. On Friday, the regional government of Madrid urged people in the worst-affected areas to stay at home.
21st Aug 2020 - Financial Times

Oscar stars as Chinese football welcomes back fans after coronavirus

The Chinese Super League permitted spectators on Saturday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, with former Chelsea star Oscar marking the occasion by hitting the winner. In a significant development for football in China, where the virus emerged last year, up to 2,000 people were allowed to attend the clash in Suzhou between title rivals Shanghai SIPG and Beijing Guoan. SIPG captain Oscar seemed to relish having the limited number of fans back, the 60-million-euro Brazilian setting up his side's equaliser before making it 2-1 with 14 minutes left. Beijing's beaten players unfurled a banner afterwards thanking their supporters, while Oscar blew kisses to the sparse crowd
22nd Aug 2020 - Deccan Herald

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Demand for community Covid-19 tests soars by 210%

Demand for community Covid-19 swab tests has soared by 210% in the last few weeks, it has emerged. HSE boss Paul Reid said a “complex set of demands” have emerged for workplace settings, close contacts and people whose first language is not English. He told the HSE briefing that demand for testing doubled in one week. “That is putting a different challenge on us in terms of the increased volume but also increased complexity,” Mr Reid added.
20th Aug 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

4 In 10 People Tested For Covid-19 Are Still Not Getting Results Within 24 Hours

Boris Johnson’s government is still failing to return Covid-19 test results within 24 hours, despite the prime minister pledging all would be done within a day by the end of June. NHS Test and Trace data covering the week ending August 11, released on Thursday, showed that the service is in fact getting worse at carrying out quick checks. Just 60% of in-person tests were returned within 24 hours and 14% of home tests within 48 hours, marking huge drops from the previous week, when the figures were 70% and 33% respectively. Swift testing is key to the government’s strategy of stamping out outbreaks in the months ahead, but the new figures mean that as many as four in 10 are still not getting results within 24 hours.
20th Aug 2020 - Huffington Post UK

Covid-19 face masks call as Ireland's main churches 'recommend' use

The four main churches in Ireland have issued a joint statement in which they are “formally recommending and encouraging the use of face coverings at all services of worship”. The move comes amid growing concerns about rising Covid-19 infection rates across the island. The Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church have issued the statement. They say: "At this time, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland, the governments have not formally made mandatory the wearing of face coverings at services of worship. "This is, in part, due to the fact that as churches we are committed to maintaining 2 metre physical distancing between household groups and strict adherence to all government guidance on hand hygiene, cleaning, ventilation etc.
20th Aug 2020 - Belfast Live

Portugal set to be added to UK Covid-19 safe travel list

Portugal is being added to the UK’s travel corridor list, meaning arrivals from the country will no longer have to quarantine, but Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago are being removed, it has been confirmed. As revealed earlier by the Guardian, UK government ministers including the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, agreed on Wednesday to changes affecting Portugal, Croatia, and Trinidad and Tobago. But, after final discussions and the agreement of the UK’s devolved administrations on Thursday afternoon, Austria is also being taken off the travel corridor due to concern over its coronavirus infections. In a sign of diverging approaches between the devolved nations, Scotland is also moving separately to remove Switzerland from its own travel corridor list.
20th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

UK ‘not considering’ face masks in offices after France makes them mandatory

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said that the government does not intend to follow France’s decision to make face coverings a requirement in offices. His comments came after France’s Ministry of Labour announced on Tuesday that face masks would be mandatory from the beginning of September in the workplace, with the exception of private offices. In response to a question about France’s move, Mr Hancock told the BBC: “We constantly look at the scientific advice and the answer here is we’re not currently considering doing that.” The health secretary said that evidence from the test and trace programme suggests that most infections in the UK have been passed on from one household to another.
20th Aug 2020 - The Independent

UBS Doubts There Will Ever Be Coronavirus Lockdowns Again

There’s no real consensus on how to stop, cure or treat SARS-CoV-2. But if there is one place to go to make sense of it all, it’s market research provided by massive and global wealth managers. Undoubtedly, knowing where the virus is heading, and what can be done to cut it off at the pass, is as important to big picture investors as the U.S.-China trade war.
20th Aug 2020 - Forbes

Coronavirus vaccine: Australia rules out mandatory immunisations

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has back-tracked after suggesting vaccinations against the coronavirus could become mandatory. Announcing a deal that could provide free doses to Australia's entire population, Mr Morrison had said there should only be medical exemptions. But after concerns raised by health experts, he clarified: "There are no compulsory vaccines in Australia." Meanwhile, visitors to Australia may also be required to have immunisation. Health Minister Greg Hunt said he "wouldn't rule out" making it mandatory for anyone travelling to Australia - including Australians returning to the country - if that was the advice from medical experts.
20th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Australia to kick off trial in September to allow foreign students to return amid Covid-19 pandemic

Australia plans to start allowing foreign students to return from next month as part of a trial that will aim to reboot the country's lucrative international education sector. The first batch of students will be brought to the state of South Australia, which has effectively curbed its Covid-19 outbreak. As of Wednesday, the state had recorded 23 cases since the beginning of June and had not had a locally-transmitted case in 13 days. The trial will involve bringing 300 university students - reportedly mainly from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore - on a flight in early September from Singapore to Adelaide. The students, like Australian citizens and residents arriving from abroad, will undergo 14 days of quarantine at a hotel, to be paid for by the universities.
20th Aug 2020 - The Straits Times

Could the coronavirus vaccine be mandatory in Australia? Experts say it's possible

News this week that Australia could have 25 million doses of the so-called "Oxford vaccine" available by early 2021 raises hope that a way to control COVID-19's spread may not be far away. But it also raises some serious ethical questions about how the vaccine would be distributed — including whether it should be mandatory. Prime Minister Scott Morrison — who originally declared on Wednesday the vaccine would be "mandatory" before revising his language to "encouraged" — added to speculation by suggesting that the "no jab, no play" framework used to compel uptake of childhood immunisation could offer a model for coronavirus vaccination too. So, in practice, what does that mean? Can those reluctant to receive a new vaccine be forced to accept it? And how would that affect the human rights of those who don't want to receive it?
20th Aug 2020 - ABC News

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Britain to bring in mass testing to curb spread of COVID-19

Britain plans to bring in regular, population-wide testing for COVID-19 so it can suppress the spread of the virus and ease restrictions that have crippled its economy without triggering a second wave in one of the worst-hit countries in the world. Health minister Matt Hancock said the government was trialling a range of new, faster tests that can give instant results and hoped to roll them out towards the end of the year. “The mass testing, population testing, where we make it the norm that people get tested regularly, allowing us therefore to allow some of the freedoms back, is a huge project in government right now,” he told BBC Radio. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has been criticised by political opponents and health experts for being too slow to go into lockdown and in rolling out testing to know how far the virus had spread.
19th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Home testing for coronavirus to be ramped up to 150,000 per fortnight

More people across the UK will be offered coronavirus tests in a bid to keep track of local outbreaks and reduce infection rates ahead of winter. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey will test 150,000 people per fortnight by October and will extend to cover Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Currently, 28,000 people are tested for coronavirus per fortnight in England. The survey is separate from the mass testing programme of people with symptoms.
19th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Angela Merkel to back plans extending Germany's furlough scheme to 24 months

German chancellor Angela Merkel is said to back a proposal that would extend the country’s furlough scheme to 24 months. Roughly 10.1 million workers have signed up to Kurzarbeit, or “short-work” in English, since companies were forced to close in late March during a nationwide lockdown over the coronavirus.
19th Aug 2020 - The New European

All Workers In France Must Wear Masks Starting Sept. 1

The French government says people will be required to wear face masks in workplaces, following a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections since the country began lifting lockdown restrictions in July.
19th Aug 2020 - NPR

COVID vaccine will relieve states from 'lockdown addiction'

Sky News host Peta Credlin says an effective COVID vaccine which can move swiftly across the globe would allow national and state leaders currently “addicted to lockdown” to declare victory and let normal life resume. The Prime Minister announced on Wednesday the federal government signed “a letter of intent,” which would allow 25 million Australians free access to a vaccine “in the event that those trials prove successful”. Ms Credlin said the vaccine – which is in phase three of development by Oxford University – could allow the public to start picking up the pieces and getting workers back into jobs. “Rather than forced to live as health officials and police dictate,” she said.
19th Aug 2020 - Sky News Australia

Canada's hardest-hit province for COVID-19 launches plan to combat second wave

The Canadian province of Quebec on Tuesday announced plans to tackle earlier mistakes in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, while preparing its health sector against a possible second wave of coronavirus in the autumn. Quebec, once the country’s hardest-hit province for COVID-19, will boost public health sector hiring, reduce screening delays, and ensure staff like orderlies can no longer work at multiple long-term care facilities, a practice previously blamed for spreading the virus, Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters. Canada has flattened its curve of coronavirus cases since the spring, but some of the country’s 10 provinces have reported higher numbers of COVID-19 infections recently, as the economy restarts and restrictions on social gathering are relaxed.
19th Aug 2020 - Reuters

WHO: Coronavirus herd immunity requires effective vaccine

The World Health Organization says the planet is nowhere near the amount of coronavirus immunity needed to induce herd immunity, where enough of the population would have antibodies to stop the spread. Herd immunity is typically achieved with vaccination and most scientists estimate at least 70% of the population must have antibodies to prevent an outbreak. But some experts have suggested that even if half the population had immunity, there might be a protective effect. WHO's emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan largely dismissed that theory at a press briefing on Tuesday, saying we should not live "in hope" of achieving herd immunity.
19th Aug 2020 - newschannel10.com

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Venezuela's COVID-19 infections set to overwhelm testing capacity, says opposition adviser

Venezuela’s rate of infection of COVID-19 is set to overwhelm its testing capacity, likely leading to an artificial flattening of the contagion curve, a lawmaker and medical adviser to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Monday. However, legislator Jose Manuel Olivares, from Guaido’s pandemic advisory team, told an online media conference that authorities conduct just 600 to 800 tests a day and the results are delivered up to two weeks later. “We are reaching the point that the number of daily cases is going to be greater than the testing capacity ... and that is going to produce an artificial flattening” of the contagion curve, Olivares said. The apparent flattening “will generate a supposed calm” in the population and “the result will be the population’s greater exposure” to the virus, he added.
18th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Leicester lockdown: Nail bars, salons and some outdoor venues to reopen from Wednesday

Leicester's local lockdown is to be partially relaxed from Wednesday, with nail bars, outdoor pools and beauty salons all set to reopen. The UK's former coronavirus hotspot has seen its infection levels decrease since a lockdown was imposed there. Current rules against gatherings in private homes and gardens will remain in place.
18th Aug 2020 - ITV News

Leicester lockdown 'may be eased today' as coronavirus infections halve

Leicester’s lockdown could be eased on Tuesday after the city's coronavirus infection rate fell by half in the seven weeks since restrictions were imposed. The East Midlands city was the first in the UK to be put under a local lockdown on June 30 to combat a spike in Covid-19 cases, with an infection rate of 135 per 100,000. However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock could ease the restrictions today as cases have now halved to 67 in 100,000, The Government is set to hold a review of local lockdown measures later on Tuesday. The move comes as public health officials warn that Birmingham could soon be placed under local lockdown after seeing coronavirus cases double. When Leicester’s restrictions were imposed in June, Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby claimed the decision was targeted at the Labour-run city and its Liberal Democrat-run neighbour Oadby and Wigson.
18th Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: government eases Leicester lockdown

Nail bars, outdoor pools, and beauty salons can reopen in Leicester from Wednesday, but restrictions on gatherings in private homes and gardens will remain in place, Matt Hancock has said. “My gratitude goes out to the people of Leicester who have all made sacrifices to keep the virus at bay and protect their local communities,” the health and social care secretary said. “The rate of infection has now dropped to a safe enough level to allow further businesses including beauty salons, nail bars and some outdoor venues to reopen in the area. Current restrictions on gatherings must remain in place to further bring down the rate of infection.”
18th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Germany lockdown easing to be paused amid spike in cases, says Merkel

Angela Merkel has ruled out easing coronavirus restrictions any further after a spike in infections in Germany. The chancellor warned that the recent rise in cases had been caused by greater mobility and more personal contact. And she warned there were people returning from high-risk holiday areas and clusters of private celebrations at which people were gathering in groups. Urging people to stick to the rules, such as wearing masks, to ensure public life can be as open as possible, she said: “For us, the priorities are firstly to keep economic life going as much as possible and to protect jobs – that’s why we have stimulus programmes and secondly to make (running) schools and nurseries possible.”
18th Aug 2020 - The Independent

German economy set to recover as lockdown eases

Germany's Bundesbank expects the country's economy to rebound strongly in the summer quarter, saying the "broadly based recovery" will continue. But pre-crisis levels of activity wouldn't be reached any time soon.
18th Aug 2020 - Deutsche Welle

France to make masks compulsory in most workplaces

France imposed some of Europe’s toughest lockdown restrictions earlier this year, greatly reducing the rate of coronavirus infections. But in the past few weeks the numbers of new COVID-19 cases ...
18th Aug 2020 - Reuters

The quarantine rules for Spain, France, Portugal, Greece and other key destinations

There is always an element of risk that comes with booking a holiday. What if the apartment looks nothing like the pictures, or your chosen sun trap chooses that one week of August to be struck by a freak thunderstorm? But the coronavirus pandemic has taken things to a whole new level. Even if you feel comfortable enough to book a trip abroad, you can’t know that the country won’t change its rules while you’re there, or whether the UK might slap your chosen destination back on the quarantine list. That is exactly what happened to holidaymakers in Spain last month, and since then the likes of Belgium and the Bahamas have also had their air bridge statues revoked.
18th Aug 2020 - iNews

Chile shuts down street vendors' mall after COVID-19 lockdown easing brings crowds

The Chilean authorities shut down a mall in downtown Santiago on Monday morning after hundreds of people crowded into the precinct to buy merchandise to sell, just hours after a lockdown for the area was eased. At least 300 people queued outside the Asia Pacific mall, which specializes in selling Chinese-made products, ahead of opening hours and rushed inside as private security guards attempted to dispense alcohol gel and take temperatures, in some cases resulting in physical clashes with shoppers. The mall is situated in the capital’s Central Station, a low-income area popular with informal workers and migrants, where a strict lockdown over the past three months was eased on Monday morning.
18th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Philippines promises 'refreshed' coronavirus approach as capital exits strict lockdown

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday eased the strict coronavirus lockdown in and around the capital Manila as his government promised a “refreshed” approach to fighting COVID-19 that includes intensified testing. Duterte, in a televised address, said there was a need to reopen the economy with small and medium enterprises “barely surviving”, while at the same time calling on the public to “follow the safeguards”. The Philippines, which before the pandemic was one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, fell into recession for the first time in 29 years with a record slump in the second quarter, due to the pandemic-induced lockdown. The Philippines, which has the most number of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, has so far recorded a total of 164,474 infections and the death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 2,681, according to health ministry data.
17th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

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Ryanair to cancel number of flights following Covid-19 travel restrictions

Ryanair is to cut a fifth of its flights for the next two months after bookings plummeted following new coronavirus travel restrictions. The budget airline said it will reduce its flight capacity by 20 per cent in September and October after forward bookings “notably weakened” in recent days. It reported a drop-off in flight bookings over the past 10 days driven by “uncertainty over recent Covid case rates in some EU countries”.The cuts will reduce the frequency of flights from countries such as Spain, France and Sweden.
17th Aug 2020 - The Northern Echo

Scottish Government publishes testing strategy for Covid-19

The strategy focuses on a number of key areas of testing: whole population testing of anyone with symptoms (Test & Protect) - proactive case finding by testing contacts and testing in outbreaks - protecting the vulnerable and preventing outbreaks in high risk settings by routine testing - testing for direct patient care, to diagnose and to treat, and to support safe patient care as NHS services restart surveillance to understand the disease, track prevalence, understand transmission and monitor key sectors
17th Aug 2020 - The Edinburgh Reporter

Coronavirus: Croatia, Greece and Turkey could join UK quarantine list amid spikes in COVID-19 cases

Greece, Croatia and Turkey could join the UK's quarantine list as the countries record a rise in coronavirus cases. British holidaymakers returning to the UK from these countries could be next to face quarantine measures after France, Malta, the Netherlands and other nations were suddenly removed from the UK's travel corridor list. Many thousands of Britons are believed to be holidaying in Greece, Croatia and Turkey, which have all seen spikes in coronavirus cases.
17th Aug 2020 - Sky News

South Africa relaxes lockdown after coronavirus peaks

South Africa’s president has said coronavirus infections appear to have peaked in the country, as he announced a sweeping relaxation of lockdown measures. President Cyril Ramaphosa said nearly all restrictions on the country’s economy will be eased from today. A controversial ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco will be lifted. Domestic travel, small family gatherings and the reopening of businesses will all be allowed.
17th Aug 2020 - The Herald-Zimbabwe

Latin America coronavirus cases exceed six million and continue to accelerate

Coronavirus cases in Latin America, the region of the world worst-affected by the pandemic, exceed six million and continued to accelerate, according to the WHO figures, as most of its nations begin to relax lockdown measures. The region has reported an average of more than 86,000 daily infections of the new coronavirus in the last seven days and more than 2,600 Covid-19 deaths. That accounts for just under one-third of the world's total case load and a similar share of reported deaths from the pandemic. The Pan American Health Organization, the regional arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), warned this month of an increase in other diseases due to the saturation of health services and the suspension of routine vaccination campaigns as a result of the pandemic.
17th Aug 2020 - MercoPress

Greater Manchester lockdown latest as Andy Burnham maps out possible next steps

Andy Burnham says the extra Covid-19 curbs in force across Greater Manchester could 'possibly' be relaxed later this week. The mayor of Greater Manchester said he believes restrictions could remain - and possibly tighten - in areas with high rate of infection, but be eased in other areas where cases have fallen. As a result, he said restrictions limiting different households from mixing in homes and gardens could be lifted by Government. Mr Burnham told the Mirror : "Hopefully, we will begin to see some people getting released. "If things stay as they are I think it is likely that we would see a change.” "Our cases are flattening - with one exception, Oldham - and we are starting to turn the tide in most of our boroughs.
17th Aug 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Here’s how many UK universities will offer in person teaching when they reopen

With new coronavirus cases being diagnosed each day across the UK, and certain lockdown restrictions and measures still in place, will universities open as usual in September? Universities in the UK will open this year with many discussing and planning ways in which they can continue to work in regards to keeping both staff and students safe as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Some may choose to do virtual learning, stick with in person teaching, or do a mixture of both.
17th Aug 2020 - South Yorkshire Times

Brittany Ferries lobbies French Government to drop quarantine plan

The boss of Brittany Ferries has called on the French government not to impose reciprocal quarantine plans on Brits travelling to France saying it will add to what has already been a “disastrous” summer for businesses. Christophe Mathieu, the firm’s director general, said Brittany Ferries is now lobbying French ministers at the highest levels to avoid the implementation of reciprocal quarantine measures following the UK’s decision to impose a 14-day lockdown on travellers coming to Britain from France.
17th Aug 2020 - Business Live

South African rand stronger after Ramaphosa announces lockdown easing

The South African rand began the week stronger on Monday after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a sweeping removal of lockdown restrictions over the weekend. Ramaphosa said that from midnight on Monday a ban on alcohol and tobacco sales would be lifted, inter-provincial travel would be allowed and restaurants and taverns could return to normal business subject to hygiene protocols.
17th Aug 2020 - CNBC Africa

Covid-19 plan launched to support pupils and parents in Aberdeen

Aberdeen City Council has published a detailed plan showing how organisations are working together to keep pupils safe in the new term. The document, which is child-friendly, emphasises the importance of self isolating if pupils have symptoms of coronavirus, and encourages them to stay at home if they feel unwell. It also highlights the ongoing work in partnership between the council and NHS Grampian in monitoring school records of pupils and staff feeling unwell.
16th Aug 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Face masks, smaller classes and distanced desks: Europe's back-to-school plan

Across Europe, the start of the new school year was meant to signal a return to normality. Countries such as Italy kept pupils at home from March to the summer holidays, while others such as Denmark allowed schools to reopen for the remainder of the term after the worst of the pandemic's first wave had passed. All tried to reassure parents and children that in-person teaching would restart in the fall. Yet the planned reopening of schools could not come at a worse time: Many European countries, from Spain to Poland, are experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases. Already the spike has forced some schools to close their doors again, including in the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern where four schools had to partly shut after reopening last week due to coronavirus cases.
16th Aug 2020 - Politico

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Britons will accept local lockdowns if a Covid vaccine can't be found, survey finds

Britons will accept local lockdowns, home schooling and bans on live audiences for the foreseeable future if a coronavirus vaccine is not found, a survey suggests. As parts of the UK grapple with local lockdowns, 87 per cent of people said they would accept these being imposed in the future, and 85 per cent said they would accept their own local area being subject to such restrictions. The wide-ranging research by King's College London, which has been tracking attitudes throughout the pandemic, revealed what people would expect and tolerate in the long-term if a vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 does not transpire.
16th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: Tokyo Olympics at risk unless COVID-19 vaccine can be found, expert says

The Tokyo Olympics will not be able to take place next summer unless a COVID-19 vaccine is found, a leading Japanese vaccine researcher has told Sky News. Professor Yoshiharu Matsuura, from the Research Foundation for Microbial Disease of Osaka University, told Sky News: "In Japan, the government is putting a large emphasis on vaccine development and a medicine for the virus because of the Olympics. "They want to push ahead with the Olympics next year and they are saying the only way for that to happen is the vaccine."
16th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Mexico City cinema, theater and bars emerge from lockdown gloom

After months without museums, cinemas and bars, Mexico City residents began exploring them again this week, even as authorities continue battling the coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed over 55,000 people in Mexico. Mexico has the third highest death toll worldwide from the virus, which has hammered the economy and caused unprecedented disruptions to life in the metropolis of 22 million people. The capital has been one of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic, but as cultural centers and businesses reopened with new safety measures this week, some Mexicans could not wait to get back to venues that have been closed since late March.
16th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

'As a working father I want the best of both worlds — with the pandemic, I'm almost there'

My wife and I are both proud of our careers at The Times. Our children may not quite understand why evening playtime has to be interrupted so often by phone calls and the tapping of laptops, but they are forgiving, even if Keir does now know more swear words than a four-year-old should. But the pandemic has led to a rebalancing. I extended my parental leave by a month and have temporarily dropped to a four-day week while my wife works a nine-day fortnight. The extra time that this, plus working from home, has created with the children puts less pressure on the spare time we do get. I have always tried to be an adventurous dad — I took a three-year-old to Glastonbury last year — but sometimes the nicest times are the lazy ones.
16th Aug 2020 - The Times

'Go hard, go early' – now New Zealand goes back to the drawing board

When scientists in Auckland began modelling an outbreak of Covid-19 in the city’s densely populated southern regions – situated right by the country’s main international airport – they hoped they were participating in a drill scenario. “This is exactly the type of outbreak we were worried about, and in fact it’s exactly what happened,” said Professor Shaun Hendy, who works modelling the progression of the disease for the government. “We’ve been looking at different ways it [coronavirus] could come back and they’re all low-likelihood ways, but this was very much one of the scenarios we considered. For a while we were hoping it was a drill.”
16th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19 cases at 583 653 as SA moves to level 2 lockdown

South Africa’s confirmed Covid-19 cases now stand at 583 653, of which 105 000 are active cases. A total of 11 660 people have died from the virus since the first cases was recorded on March 5, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday. South Africa has recorded a recovery rate of 80 percent. Over the past three weeks the number of patients who have been hospitalised due to the disease has declined dramatically, Ramaphosa said. The president made the announcement during and address to the nation to provide an update on the country’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the pandemic. South Africa will move to level 2 lockdown from Monday, which will see restrictions on activities and movement eased further.
16th Aug 2020 - IOL

India entered into and exited from lockdown way too early: Abhijit Banerjee

Indian govt, while imposing stay-at-home restrictions on 25 March, at a notice of four hours, couldn't foresee the migrant crisis as there was no database about migrant workers, says the Nobel laureate. India erred in imposing lockdown restrictions too early and exited from it within a short period of time, which resulted in an outcome that was worse than expected, economist and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee said on Saturday. Banerjee said India’s stay-at-home restrictions, imposed on 25 March, at a notice of four hours, did not foresee the migrant crisis as there was no database about migrant workers. Successive governments did not give priority to generating high quality data, which he said, led to absence of a culture of scientifically informed decision making. The consequence of lack of such a culture was evident during the pandemic, he said
15th Aug 2020 - Livemint

Italy urges tourists to act responsibly to keep COVID-19 rates low

There has been a slight rise in cases this month, with an average of 350 new infections a day. The government says it's mostly due to people returning from overseas holidays. In response, testing will be compulsory for arrivals from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain. Police say it is important the population remains vigilant. Di Giovanni warns that the crisis isn't over yet and "we can't lower our guard." The prime minister has extended Italy's state of emergency until the end of October, giving him the power to reimpose lockdown and other safety measures without needing the approval of parliament.
15th Aug 2020 - CGTN

Spain’s vineyards destroy record harvest as wine sales crash

It should have been a great year for Spanish wine: a bumper crop of grapes resulting in millions and millions of extra bottles for sipping or swilling at home and abroad. But with Covid-19 leading to a catastrophic drop in wine sales, the Spanish government is offering growers subsidies to destroy part of this year’s record grape harvest. Faced with over-production in a shrinking market, €90m is to be spent either on destruction or on the distilling of grapes into brandy and industrial alcohol. Lower limits have also been set on the amount of wine that can be produced per hectare – and have already been imposed on makers of cava, Rueda and Rioja.
15th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

German health minister warns against 'party holidays'

Germany’s health minister on Saturday criticised “party holidays” and defended a decision to declare nearly all of Spain, including the tourist island of Mallorca, a coronavirus risk region following a spike in cases there. “I know how much the Germans love Spain ... But unfortunately the infection rates there are rising sharply, too sharply,” Jens Spahn told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “Whoever goes to Spain despite the warning should protect themselves and others while on holiday. Party holidays are irresponsible in this pandemic.” People returning to Germany from designated risk regions face a coronavirus test or two weeks’ compulsory quarantine.
15th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Some Australia Libraries Called Every Elderly Member To Check In Amid Lockdown

This library system in Australia had the most wholesome plan to care for its elderly members during coronavirus lockdown. And so library staff started going through their database of community members to find every, single one who was over 70 years old, and then used their work-issued phones to start calling those seniors to check in. In total, there were more than 8,000 elderly members whom library staff called to check in during lockdown. The 16,000 call total, which the author of the piece later corrected, is because they called all 8,000 elderly members at the start of lockdown and are now calling them again.
14th Aug 2020 - Scary Mommy

COVID-19 Diaries: Young Italians Are Over Social Distancing

The 20-something Italian is having none of it. For the woman and her friends relishing the relief of a cool August breeze at a bar in a medieval piazza, the coronavirus pandemic is much ado about nothing. A means solely to control them and empower bureaucrats. While the stones beneath her feet cooled in the evening air, the young woman became angry as she declaimed against the coronavirus restrictions. “It is all about politics,” she said emphatically when I asked why she and her friends were congregating in such large numbers, embracing and canoodling in defiance of social distancing advice.
13th Aug 2020 - Voice of America

Govʼt plans ʼconventionalʼ return to school in September

Hungarian students will start the 2020/2021 school year in a "conventional" manner, according to a "normal" schedule, on September 1, the Human Resources Ministry said, according to a report by state news wire MTI.
12th Aug 2020 - Budapest Business Journal

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CDC warns US faces ‘worst fall’ ever if Americans ignore COVID-19 guidelines

A top CDC official has warned that the US must brace for the “worst fall” ever in the history of public health disasters if Americans don’t follow coronavirus guidelines. “For your country right now and for the war that we’re in against COVID, I’m asking you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told WebMD. “I’m not asking some of America to do it. We all gotta do it.” If people fail to follow those tips, next season could be “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had,” he said.
13th Aug 2020 - New York Post

Coronavirus: Spanish region bans smoking over Covid-19 risk

The Spanish region of Galicia has effectively banned smoking in public places over concerns it increases the risk of Covid-19 transmission. It issued a blanket ban on smoking in the street and in public places, such as restaurants and bars, if social distancing is not possible. The north-western region is the first to introduce such a measure, but the Canary Islands has since followed suit. It comes as Spain faces the worst infection rate in western Europe. Daily cases have risen from fewer than 150 in June to more than 1,500 throughout August. It recorded 1,690 new cases in the latest daily count on Wednesday, bringing the country's total to almost 330,000.
13th Aug 2020 - BBC News

UK considers adding France to Covid-19 quarantine list

France on Wednesday reported 2,524 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, a post-lockdown record, as British officials prepared to decide whether to add the country to its quarantine list. But Boris Johnson’s government is not expected to immediately announce on Thursday that British travellers to France must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return, in a welcome development for British holidaymakers. When the UK’s travel regime is reviewed on Thursday, French officials expect Matt Hancock, the health secretary, to say he is closely monitoring the situation in France, but that new travel restrictions would be premature. Malta and the Netherlands, which have higher infection rates than France, are regarded as more likely to be added to Britain’s list. It already includes the popular holiday destinations of Spain and Portugal.
13th Aug 2020 - The Financial Times

Bengal changes lockdown dates 4th time in a fortnight, sparks criticism

While CPI(M) said the Mamata Banerjee government has made lockdown a “farce”, the Congress said the CM should consult experts before making such changes. The BJP claimed the move has political import, and meant to please a “particular community”.
13th Aug 2020 - The Indian Express

South Korea installs anti-virus bus shelters with temperature sensors and UV lamps

South Korea has opened a high-tech new front in the battle against coronavirus, fortifying bus shelters in the capital with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps. To enter, passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal-imaging camera, and the door will slide open only if their temperature is below 37.5C. A separate camera is installed lower down to test children. Inside the glass-walled booths – which cost about 100m won ($84,000) each – the air-conditioning systems have ultraviolet lamps installed to kill viruses at the same time as cooling the air. Free wifi is also included.
13th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Uzbekistan to start lifting lockdown from Saturday

Uzbekistan will lift its second lockdown starting from Saturday, the government said on Wednesday, promising to restore most services in the central Asian country within days in order to revive the economy. The government reintroduced a lockdown last month after lifting restrictions in June led to a surge in new COVID-19 cases, leaving hospitals struggling to cope. On Saturday, people will be allowed to drive their cars again and hold ceremonies such as weddings for up to 30 guests at their homes. Businesses such as hotels, barbershops and outdoor cafes will also be able to reopen and air and rail traffic will resume, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s office said in a statement.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Kuwait to move to fourth stage of gradual return to normality plan - cabinet

The Kuwaiti cabinet said on Thursday it will start implementing the fourth stage of the gradual go-to-normality plan on Aug. 18 and some activities that were set to open during the fifth stage including gyms, sport clubs, beauty salons and tailors will now be open as a part of the fourth stage. The cabinet also decided to keep the nationwide partial curfew and to resume football activity in the gulf country without the presence of fans. Kuwait decided in May on a five-phase plan to go back to normal life after restrictions the coronavirus outbreak brought to the country.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Finland recommends use of facemasks on public transport

Finland recommended the use of face masks in public for the first time on Thursday as the number of coronavirus cases rises. Prime Minister Sanna Marin said masks should be worn in situations where social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport. People aged 15 or over who will stay for more than 15 minutes in crowded places should wear them, excluding regions where no new cases have been found in two weeks, the public health authority also recommended. Prior to Thursday, Finland had not officially backed the use of masks. Health authorities reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a daily record since the end of May, bringing the total to 7,683 since the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 333 people have died.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

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NHS staff to be given ‘Covid-19 passports’ so they can be redeployed quickly in any second wave

NHS staff will be given “Covid-19 passports” to help hospitals redeploy workers during a feared second wave of infection. Bosses at NHS England say the digital passports, which are stored on workers’ phones, have been successful in pilots across the country and are being rolled out “to support the Covid-19 response”. The Covid-19 crisis has triggered a major reorganisation of NHS care, with hospitals now having to plan to restart routine services while at the same time maintain their readiness for any increase in coronavirus cases.
12th Aug 2020 - The Independent

Economist warns of 'significant impact' if second lockdown occurs, as UK falls into recession

Economist and author Dr Linda Yueh assesses the UK entering into the largest recession on record after figures showed the pandemic sent the economy plunging by 20.4% between April and June.
12th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

Italy will allow some cruise ships to return later this month

The Italian government has given permission to its cruise industry to start sailing again in Mediterranean waters, after several months of lockdown, in a bid to boost its economy. The announcement was made on Friday by the country’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, who said that Italy will reopen its borders for cruise ships as of August 15. Over the weekend, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a privately owned company based in Geneva, said it will have two departures from Italian ports this month, starting from August 16. The company, which was the first global operator to announce the resumption of its operations after the Coronavirus outbreak paralysed all travelling, is planning to conduct a swab test of every passenger just before boarding, and those found positive, or show symptoms of illness, will be denied boarding.
12th Aug 2020 - New Europe

World leaders 'copied each others' lockdown measures' during coronavirus pandemic

In research of 36 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – including the UK, US and New Zealand – Swedish researchers examined when world leaders made decisions on issues like school closures and restrictions on internal travel. They found that despite differences in the spread of the virus, countries mimicked each other in a short space of time, with around 80% of OECD nations implementing multiple measures within a two-week period in March. The researchers said this was "striking" given the differences in the scale of the pandemic in each country, the preparedness of their healthcare systems and the makeup of their populations.
12th Aug 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK

Paris's Mask Plan is Worthy of the Surrealists

Now at the height of the summer tourism season, with people moving around more and Covid-19 cases rising to levels reminiscent of the early stages of the pandemic — albeit with a fraction of the hospitalizations and deaths — the bureaucratic impulse is back. Prime Minister Jean Castex pledged new measures on Tuesday, from broader adoption of face-masks to more testing and information campaigns, saying the infection curve was going “the wrong way.” You could hardly call it a second wave, with confirmed daily deaths averaging at 7 compared with almost 1,000 during the peak, but politicians have understandably thinner skins these days.
12th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Bus stop newest front in South Korea's Covid-19 battle

South Korea has opened a high-tech new front in the battle against coronavirus, fortifying bus shelters with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps. Ten advanced facilities have been installed in a northeastern district of Seoul, offering protection from monsoon rains, summer heat, and the novel coronavirus. To enter, passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal-imaging camera, and the door will only slide open if their temperature is below 37.5C. A separate camera is installed lower down to test children.
12th Aug 2020 - RTE.ie

Chile cautiously lifts lockdown lid on capital's centre

Chile will lift one of the world's longest quarantines on Monday, moving the capital Santiago's central business district and adjoining Central Station to a "transitional" stage under a "Step by Step" reopening. "This is a very important announcement for us and one that gives us great satisfaction," Health Minister Enrique Paris told a news conference in Santiago on Wednesday. Chile has faced one of Latin America's fiercest coronavirus outbreaks, at one stage, ranking only behind Qatar globally in cases per head of population, but case and fatality rates have declined steadily during the last two months.
12th Aug 2020 - Al Jazeera English

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Russia to start mass use of its Covid-19 vaccine in coming weeks

Russia has become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a vaccine against Covid-19, with mass production and immunisation of key workers to begin in the next few weeks. The move, the first time a Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for civilian use, comes after just two months of human trials and underscores Moscow’s desire to rush the vaccine through testing and trial procedures at breakneck speed in an attempt to beat western pharmaceutical companies. “This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the coronavirus infection has been registered,” announced President Vladimir Putin at a televised meeting with government officials on Tuesday.
11th Aug 2020 - The Financial Times

Now UK will publish THREE separate Covid-19 death tolls

Now UK will publish THREE separate Covid-19 death tolls amid statistics confusion after Public Health England alleged fiasco which saw it count anyone who had ever tested positive
11th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

GP services charge for 'free' Covid-19 test consultations

Some GP services have been charging for consultations for Covid-19 tests despite health service guidelines saying they should be free of charge. KDoc, the out of hours GP service for Kildare and West Wicklow, reportedly charged a number of people, who were concerned they had symptoms, for phone consultations over the weekend.
11th Aug 2020 - The Times

NHS appeal for those who have had Covid-19 to donate their blood plasma

The NHS is calling for people who have had Covid-19 to donate their blood plasma as a possible treatment for those suffering from the virus. The process, which is similar to giving blood, only takes 45 minutes and can be used to help treat patients who aren’t producing enough of their antibodies to fight Covid-19. Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Consultant Haematologist Professor Mike Murphy told Adil Ray and Kate Garraway: "We still need to confirm the effectiveness of the treatment in randomised clinical trials. They are the gold standard where some patients receive plasma, some patients don’t and we compare the results in the two, so we are urgently appealing for anyone who has suffered from coronavirus and recovered to come forward and donate plasma so that we have enough for the clinical trials and we can scale up production so there is enough to treat the patient and many more patients if the trials demonstrate that plasma is really effective."
11th Aug 2020 - ITV News

Trump considers blocking Americans who may have Covid-19 from coming home

The Trump administration is reportedly considering a measure to block US citizens and permanent residents from returning home if they are suspected of being infected with coronavirus. A senior US official told Reuters that draft regulation, which has not been finalized and could change, would give the government authorization to block individuals who could “reasonably” be believed to have contracted Covid-19 or other diseases. Donald Trump has instituted a series of sweeping immigration restrictions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, suspending some legal immigration and allowing US border authorities to rapidly deport migrants caught at the border without standard legal processes.
11th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Brazil becomes second country to pass 100,000 deaths after US

Brazil’s coronavirus death toll has surpassed 100,000, with the country’s affliction showing no signs of abating as most cities reopen shops and restaurants. The nation became the second in the world to reach the grim milestone by official counts
11th Aug 2020 - The Independent

Boris Johnson sets date for next round of lockdown easing in England

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced when he will set out the next stage of lockdown easing for England. It comes after measures which were due to come into force on August 1 were delayed. Instead parts of the country went into local lockdown and planed national easing measures were delayed for at least two weeks. The measures included reopening skate rinks, bowling alleys and casinos as well as allowing wedding receptions of up to 30 people - and expanding the trial of live audiences at sporting events and live performances. Those measures are currently on hold.
11th Aug 2020 - Wales Online

Will there be a second wave of coronavirus in the UK? If cases of Covid-19 could surge again in UK as Boris Johnson issues Europe warning

Lockdown restrictions around the world have continued to lift, but could a second wave of the virus hit the UK? This is everything you need to know about a potential second wave of coronavirus infections as lockdown restrictions begin to lift around the world.
11th Aug 2020 - The Scotsman

Coronavirus: Spanish Health Minister ‘Not Ruling Out’ New Lockdowns where Necessary to Control Outbreaks

THE director of the Centre for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES), Fernando Simón, warned last night that, among the measures to deal with the coronavirus, the possibility of imposing new confinements where necessary to control transmission still remain. At the press conference to assess the evolution of the pandemic, Simón pointed out that confinement is one of the responses that can be given to the increase in infections in a given place, apart from carrying out PCR tests and quarantining the contacts of people who have been infected.
11th Aug 2020 - Euro Weekly News

North Korea's Red Cross deploys thousands of volunteers to help cope with coronavirus, floods

North Korea’s Red Cross has deployed 43,000 volunteers to help communities prevent outbreaks of the coronavirus and provide flood assistance, an official with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Monday. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency last month and imposed a lockdown on Kaesong, near the inter-Korean border, after a man who defected to the South in 2017 returned to the city showing coronavirus symptoms. Heavy rain and flooding in recent days have also sparked concern about crop damage and food supplies in the isolated country.
11th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus fears in North Korea as thousands of volunteers deployed to prevent outbreaks

North Korea's Red Cross has deployed 43,000 volunteers to help communities prevent coronavirus outbreaks after fears the country had its first recorded case. It comes two weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un placed the city of Kaesong in lockdown over the suspected coronavirus infection. He declared an emergency after a man who defected to South Korea in 2017 returned to the city showing suspected COVID-19 symptoms.
11th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Spain defends pandemic response as case numbers overtake Britain

Spain’s government defended its response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday after official data showed the country had overtaken Britain to register the highest total number of cases in Western Europe. “Appropriate measures are being taken to control the pandemic in coordination” with the regions, the government said in a statement, after experts questioned its policies. “The data shows that we are being very active in tracking and detecting the virus.” Health ministry data showed 1,486 new cases were diagnosed in the past day, bringing the cumulative total to 322,980, compared with 311,641 in Britain. The disease claimed 65 lives in Spain over the past seven days. More than 28,000 people have died from the disease in Spain, while more than 46,000 have died in Britain. The government also said it had tested nearly 7.5 million people since the start of the pandemic, with over 400,000 tested in the past week alone.
11th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Papua New Guinea to lift lockdown despite surge in COVID-19 cases

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape is pressing ahead with plans to lift lockdown measures in the Pacific nation this week, even as a recent sharp spike in coronavirus infections worries health officials. Marape said a two-week lockdown in the capital of Port Moresby would be lifted from Wednesday, despite the country’s reported cases of COVID-19 doubling over the past week. “Whilst the spread is there, we have to adapt to living with COVID-19 this year, instead of taking on drastic measures,” Marape told a news conference on Monday.
11th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

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Coronavirus: Contact tracers to be reduced by 6,000 in England

The NHS test and trace system in England is cutting 6,000 staff by the end of August, the government has announced. The remaining contact tracers will work alongside local public health teams to reach more infected people and their contacts in communities. It comes after criticism that the national system was not tapping into local knowledge. The approach has been used in virus hotspots like Blackburn and Luton. And it's now being offered to all councils that are responsible for public health in their area. Test and trace is staffed by NHS clinicians and people who were trained to become contact tracers during the pandemic. NHS staff who offer advice to people who have tested positive for coronavirus will not be laid off.
10th Aug 2020 - BBC News

England COVID test and trace scheme changes tack after mixed results

Launched in late May, the scheme jointly operated by the National Health Service (NHS) and private contractors Serco and Sitel has had setbacks ranging from scrapping a promised homegrown mobile app to reports of contact tracers with nothing to do. The scheme will lose 6,000 people on Aug. 24, out of a total of 18,000 currently employed by Serco and Sitel to call people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and trace anyone with whom they have been in recent contact. “As the approach becomes more locally targeted the national service will adjust. NHS Test and Trace will reduce current extra capacity and reduce the number of non-NHS call handlers,” the health ministry said in a statement. The new approach will give more responsibility to local authorities and public health teams to track people down, with back-up from teams from the national scheme who will be allocated specific local areas to work on.
11th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

‘Door knocks’ a possibility for Covid-19 contacts

People who have been in contact with confirmed coronavirus cases may get a knock on their door if tracers are unable to reach them over the phone. Health officials have announced plans to strengthen regional test and trace powers in England, while 6,000 national contract tracers will be cut in a fortnight. In pilot schemes, local authorities have been able to visit people at home where national contact tracers have been unable to reach them. The changes come after criticism that the national system was not tapping into local knowledge. Labour said the new plans showed that the system was nowhere near “world-beating” as the Government claims.
10th Aug 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Federal government had no Covid-19 aged care plan, royal commission hears

A parliamentary inquiry was told last week that 97 Victorian aged care facilities had been affected in the second wave, with 657 residents and 594 staff infected with Covid-19. A further 25 home care services for the elderly were also affected. Seventeen recipients of these services were infected, as were 24 staff working in-home care. There had been 108 fatalities. The royal commission will later this week examine evidence of a “stand-off” between commonwealth and state health authorities over how to best handle an outbreak at Sydney’s Newmarch House, where the medical recommendation to send infected residents to hospital was discouraged out of an “intolerable” fear of setting a precedent. Health professionals on Monday gave evidence that attempts to replicate a “hospital in the home” were futile, due to issues including poor building airflow and staff undertrained in infection control. The commission heard that when outbreaks occurred, a facility’s workforce could be almost entirely replaced with surge staffing, who needed to be “oriented” to that particular aged care home.
10th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Cuba reports record number of COVID-19 cases

Cuba reported a record 93 cases of the new coronavirus on Monday as a surge of the disease in the Havana area threatened to stall the re-opening of the country after a partial lockdown beginning in March. Most of the cases were in Havana, where a partial lockdown was re-imposed on Monday, and in neighboring Artemisa province. The area has been isolated from the rest of the country where with but few exceptions no cases have been reported in more than two months. In Havana, restaurants, bars and pools are once more closed, public transportation suspended and access to the beach banned.
10th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Will the UK have a second lockdown? Boris Johnson warns UK to “be vigilant” amid fears of coronavirus second wave

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was warned that the UK must “be vigilant” amid the threat of a second wave of coronavirus. Mr Johnson is reportedly “extremely concerned” that there could be a spike in infections here in the UK, following the recent surge in cases in Spain. The recent outbreak of new coronavirus infections in Spain prompted the UK government to advise against all but essential travel to the country on 26 July, with travellers now facing a 14 day quarantine restriction on their return.
10th Aug 2020 - The Scotsman

Europe's biggest countries are seeing Covid surges -- but not this one

A horrifying moment in the Covid-19 pandemic hit Italy on March 27, 2020, when the civil protection authorities announced that 969 people had died in just 24 hours. In the weeks before that, images of coffins stacked up in church parlors and being driven down the streets of the northern Italian town of Bergamo in a caravan of military trucks poured into the homes of Italians, by then locked down for nearly three weeks. Now, just four months later, life in Italy, the country Vice President Mike Pence once said "no one wanted to be like," is nearly back to normal, despite occasional spikes in cases that have been attributed to migrants arriving in the country or living in close quarters.
10th Aug 2020 - CNN

WHO praises Boris Johnson for 'strong and precise' northern England lockdown

Boris Johnson has been praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the “strong and precise” coronavirus lockdown measures imposed in northern England. WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the UK government’s restrictions in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and west Yorkshire are helping wider society reopen safely. His words were far more positive than some of those Johnson has received at home, where the lockdown announcement was denounced in some quarters as an “absolute shambles”. Dr Tedros said at a WHO press conference on Monday: “Many countries globally are now using all the tools at their disposal to tackle any new spikes.
10th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

France may be added to UK Covid quarantine list this week and Netherlands and Malta could be next

Fears are growing today that France will be added to the UK's quarantine travel list within days, leaving thousands of Britons facing weeks in isolation upon their return. Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries that also includes Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands amid a surge in European coronavirus cases. They could join Spain and its islands on the list of countries where returnees will face 14 days of self-isolation, possibly putting their jobs at risk.
10th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: WHO boss sees 'green shoots of hope' in coronavirus fight - and praises one of UK's measures

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he also expects the global death count to get to around 750,000 this week; however, he said many countries were providing reasons for optimism in their response to the pandemic. He said in a briefing on Monday: "I know many of you are grieving and that this is a difficult moment for the world. "But I want to be clear, there are green shoots of hope and no matter where a country, a region, a city or a town is - it's never too late to turn the COVID-19 outbreak around."
10th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Thailand to allow in Chinese fruit traders, sports spectators amid lockdown ease

Thailand's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced on Monday that its panel had decided to allow fans to attend sports events, as well as allow Chinese traders to enter Thailand for fruit export. The CCSA said that as Thailand inches toward 80 days free of COVID-19 local transmission, it is believed to be safe for spectators to attend large sports events, however, measures will tighten should the sports event be held indoor. CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin also said that the CCSA panel has also agreed to allow Chinese traders to return to Thailand, to buy Thai fruits for export, in order to help Thai farmers. "However, the Chinese travelers will be subject to strict COVID-19 screening upon arrival and will have to go through 14 days mandatory quarantine at their own expenses," said Taweesin. Taweesin also said the CCSA panel had also decided to grant full resumption of class attendance in schools, adding that if a school prefers online learning, it can use that option.
10th Aug 2020 - China.org.cn

Lockdown management lifted in medium-risk areas of NE China's Dalian

Northeast China's Dalian city lifted the neighborhood lockdown policy in another medium-risk area from Monday after no new domestically-transmitted COVID-19 cases had been reported in the city for several days, local authorities said. The city government told a press conference that lockdown management in all four medium-risk areas of Dalian, Liaoning Province, had been lifted after the adjustment. The coastal city now has one high-risk zone. As of Sunday, Dalian reported zero newly confirmed locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases as well as zero asymptomatic cases for four consecutive days. At present, 72 cases of domestic transmission are being treated in a hospital, and all patients are in stable condition. Zhao Lian, deputy director of the municipal health commission, said Dalian would further strengthen the epidemic prevention and control measures, resolutely prevent its spreading and resurgence, and restore normalcy as soon as possible
10th Aug 2020 - Xinhua

Government research indicates secondary school pupils pose greater coronavirus risk than primary students, reports suggest

Government research used by ministers to insist that it is safe for pupils to return to school suggests that some secondary school pupils may spread coronavirus at a similar rate to adults, according to reports. Public Health England (PHE) researchers are rumoured to be disconcerted with the way the findings – which are yet to be fully analysed or published – have been construed by top politicians, who have thus far not mentioned the alleged discovery of the supposedly growing risk posed by pupils as they increase in age. With Boris Johnson declaring the return of all pupils to be the “national priority” and describing continued closures as “morally indefensible” on Sunday, education secretary Gavin Williamson touted the latest PHE research as making it “clear there is little evidence that the virus is transmitted at school”.
10th Aug 2020 - The Independent

The Conversation: A new community case of Covid-19 in New Zealand is a matter of when, not if. Is the country prepared for it?

New Zealand has now gone for 100 days with no community transmission of Covid-19. One way to measure the effectiveness of public health measures such as contact tracing is the virus reproduction number: the number of secondary infections for each new positive case. If this number can be kept below one, then one missed case at the border won't lead to an outbreak.
10th Aug 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Boris Johnson's back-to-class promise faces setback over Covid-19 risk of after-school clubs

Headteachers are planning to defy government guidance saying they should provide extra-curricular provision due to safety fears
10th Aug 2020 - iNews

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Coronavirus: Only half of Britons say they would get a vaccine, poll reveals

Just over half of the UK would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, with "damaging misperceptions" affecting potential uptake, a poll has revealed. Only 53% of Britons would be certain or very likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19, researchers at King's College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori found. One in six (16%) said they would definitely not get a vaccine or it would be very unlikely, the poll of 2,237 people between 16 and 75 showed. The study found that people were more likely to reject the vaccine because of their attitudes and beliefs about science and authority than reasons related to coronavirus itself.
9th Aug 2020 - Sky News

India's biggest slum has so far nailed coronavirus. Here's how they did it

With its narrow streets, congested housing, underfunded health care and poor sanitation, many thought India's largest slum would be devastated by COVID-19. In fact, Dharavi — located in India's financial capital Mumbai — was often heralded as a prime example of why the country was ill-prepared to deal with the coronavirus. Stigma associated with the disease spread deep into the neighbourhood. "Everyone was scared and locked themselves in their homes," local resident and asthma sufferer Sameer Vhatkar told the ABC. "When corona was spreading in our local areas, we felt that Dharavi was going to be finished." Mr Vhatkar tested positive for the virus in May after he took a neighbour, who had contracted COVID-19, to hospital.
8th Aug 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus: Face covering use expanded in England and Scotland

Face coverings have become mandatory in more indoor settings in England and Scotland following a recent spike in coronavirus cases. Places where coverings must now be worn in both countries include museums, places of worship and aquariums. Other new settings in England include cinemas and funeral homes, and in Scotland, banks and beauty salons. Coverings will also become compulsory in all public enclosed spaces in Northern Ireland from Monday.
8th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Algeria eases more coronavirus restrictions, including travel curbs and curfew

Algeria said on Saturday it will further ease its coronavirus lockdown, including shortening an overnight curfew and lifting some travel curbs. In addition, large mosques will be allowed to reopen, along with beaches, entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants and cafes. The North African country has recorded 34,155 coronavirus infections, with 1,282 deaths. The new measures include lifting a travel ban on 29 provinces from Aug. 9 until the end of the month. During that period, a curfew will be shortened and will run from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from the current 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., the government said. Mosques with a capacity of more than 1,000 worshipers can reopen from August 15, though Friday prayers, which attract larger numbers of people, will remain banned throughout the country. The use of air conditioners in mosques also remain banned, as does a prohibition of access for women, vulnerable people and children under 15 years.
9th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 555 to 215,891 - RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 555 to 215,891, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by one to 9,196, the tally showed.
8th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Gaza children return to school despite virus fears

Hundreds of thousands of children returned to school in Gaza Saturday after a five-month suspension aimed at reining in the spread of the novel coronavirus in the crowded Palestinian territory. Ziyad Thabit, undersecretary of the education ministry in the Islamist Hamas-ruled enclave, said pupils would follow a remedial curriculum throughout August and classes would be limited to four a day. "The ministry has prepared a plan based on various scenarios for dealing with the school year," he said.
8th Aug 2020 - FRANCE 24

Covid-19 infection rates soar in Italy

The number of daily new coronavirus infections in Italy jumped 38% higher Friday, with 552 confirmed cases registered compared to the previous day, the highest daily new caseload since late May. Two weeks ago, Italy had been registering roughly 200 new cases a day. The northeastern region of Veneto, which performed nearly 16,500 swab tests in a day, registered roughly a third of those new cases. Veneto Governor Luca Zaia said the new infections were found in residents who recently returned home from Spain, Peru, Malta, Croatia and Greece. “Vacations are a risk,” he said in his daily briefing. “Everyone must decide where they want to go on vacation, but it’s also true, that by us, for a couple of weeks now, we’re seeing a concentration of patients who were infected on vacation.″ Northern Italy is where Italy’s outbreak began in February, and which registered the highest number of cases and deaths throughout the pandemic.
8th Aug 2020 - EU Today

Two schools in north east Germany close due to new Covid cases amid fears of second wave

Two schools in German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have closed. One high school closed after a teacher tested positive for coronavirus on Friday. Student at elementary school also closed after student tested positive for virus. The news of the fresh cases in an area of low infection rates comes as a blow as officials are poised to send children back to school in regions across the country
8th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Power Up: Anthony Fauci cautiously supports sending kids back to school

In an interview with Power Up, Anthony S. Fauci cautiously supported the Trump administration's push to reopen elementary and secondary schools — and in some cases, college campuses — this fall. But he leavened his advice by explaining sending kids back into classrooms depends on how bad the virus is in various places. “The default principle should be to try as best you can to get the children back to school,” Fauci told us. “The big, however, and qualifier in there is that you have to have a degree of flexibility. The flexibility means if you look at the map of our country, we are not unidimensional with regard to the level of infection.”
7th Aug 2020 - Washington Post

Princeton Scraps Plan to Return Undergraduates to Campus

Princeton University reversed its plan to bring some of its students back on campus for the next term, saying undergraduate classes won’t be held in person because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision means undergraduates from the classes of 2022 and 2024 will not come to campus in late August as previously planned, the school said. “In light of the diminished benefits and increased risks currently associated with residential education amid New Jersey’s battle against the pandemic, we have decided that our undergraduate program should be fully remote in the fall semester of 2020,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said in a letter to the university community.
7th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Six months into Covid, England's quarantine programme is still a mess

On 13 February, 83 British citizens left Arrowe Park hospital, Wirral, after 14 days of isolation, following their evacuation from Wuhan at the end of January. Two weeks was the appropriate quarantine response to potential contacts of a deadly new virus. On the same day, a nurse in Brighton was asked to self-isolate by Public Health England. She had Covid-19 symptoms, and was astonished at PHE’s response: she was sent home wearing a facemask, in a taxi with a driver without a mask. No advice was given about how to stop the spread of the virus. When she called NHS 111, she had to wait 15 hours to get a test. As she later told the Argus newspaper: “I thought there would be a plan in place for something like this, but in my case, I know there wasn’t one.” Six months later, in England, little has changed. People with mild cases of coronavirus and people they have contacted are told, over the phone, to self-isolate. But we have no data about whether they follow these instructions, or comply with the full 14-day period. Many of them will live with others, in crowded accommodation or multigenerational households. Some will be working in the gig economy, where 14 days without pay means a family without income.
7th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

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City of Brussels: Tougher mask rules needed if COVID-19 cases keep rising

Face masks will become mandatory in public spaces in Brussels if the current trend of rising COVID-19 infections continues, Rudi Vervoort, the city's minister president, announced Thursday. Following a meeting of the Regional Security Council, Vervoort said that the threshold level for the tougher rules to kick in is set at 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 7 days. Currently, the capital is at 38 cases per 100,000, he noted.
6th Aug 2020 - POLITICO

Pelosi says Congress will resolve COVID-19 aid but must help needy: CNBC

U.S. lawmakers will resolve their differences over the next batch of COVID-19 aid and reach a deal, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday, but assistance must go to those who need it the most amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. "Will we find a solution? We will. Will we have an agreement? We will," Pelosi told CNBC in an interview. "If we're going to juggle some of this money, let's focus it where it's going to do the most good," she added, saying aid must help people who are the most needy. "They will spend it. It will be a stimulus or at least a stabilization."
6th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

Northern Ireland launches UKs first Covid-19 contact-tracing app

Northern Ireland has released its contact-tracing app – the first country in the UK to roll-out the technology. The app, StopCOVID NI, uses Bluetooth technology to notify users if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Those who test positive will be sent a code by SMS, which can then be put into the app. Users will then be asked to share the random IDs their phone has been swapping with other app users over the last 14 days. Once a user agrees, these ‘diagnosis keys’ will allow the app to tell those people that they have been exposed to Covid-19. Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann urged the public to download the app, which uses the exposure notification APIs developed by Apple and Google. “Deploying this world leading technology can prove a major factor in helping our efforts to curb Covid-19 and prevent its spread. Its potential to be a game changer will, however, be totally dependent on the support of the Northern Ireland public,” he said.
6th Aug 2020 - Digital Health

Italy threatens to ban Ryanair alleging Covid-19 guideline violations

Italy’s aviation regulator has threatened to ban Ryanair from its skies, alleging that the airline has not complied with rules brought in to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The Italian civil aviation authority Enac accused the Dublin-based airline of “repeated violation of anti-Covid-19 health measures drafted by the Italian government and in force to protect passengers’ health”. Continued violation of the rules by the airline could mean it is banned from flying to or from Italy, or the regulator could impose a limit of 50% capacity on Ryanair flights to give passengers more space.
6th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Brazil adrift as virus toll approaches 100,000

Five months after confirming its first case of the new coronavirus, Brazil is fast approaching the bleak milestone of 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, a tragedy experts blame on the country's lack of coherent response. It will be just the second country to cross that grim threshold, after the United States, where the death toll is now over 150,000. "It's a tragedy, one of the worst Brazil has ever seen," said sociologist Celso Rocha de Barros, as the number of infections in the sprawling South American country approached three million -- also the second-highest in the world, after the US.
6th Aug 2020 - IBTimes UK

Germany wants mandatory testing for travellers as daily cases exceed 1,000 for first time since May

Germany announced mandatory tests for travellers returning from high-risk regions after new coronavirus cases breached the 1,000-a-day threshold for the first time since May, fuelling fears of a return to an economically disruptive lockdown. Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Thursday (Aug 6) that free compulsory testing would be in force from Saturday after the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's public health agency, reported 1,045 new cases in a single day. Part of the increase was due to more tests taking place, he said, but the impact of holidaymakers returning to Germany and of flagging social distancing discipline was also significant.
6th Aug 2020 - The Straits Times

Germany fights virus uptick with mandatory testing for travellers

Germany announced mandatory tests for travellers returning from high-risk regions after new coronavirus cases breached the 1,000-a-day threshold for the first time since May, fuelling fears of a return to an economically disruptive lockdown.
6th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Brussels set to make face masks compulsory in public places

The local Brussels government is preparing to force people to wear face masks in public spaces and in private places accessible by the public, should the recent surge in coronavirus infections continue. According to Rudi Vervoor, the minister-president of the Brussels region, the order will be imposed as soon as the daily number of cases rises above 50 in every 100,000. Last week, the regional average for cases per day was 38.4, prompting officials to impose swift curbs on social engagements. The announcement came with UK ministers reportedly set to announce that incoming travellers from Belgium would have to quarantine for 14 days due to the spike in cases. A number of other countries, including Estonia, Ireland, Latvia and Norway, have already introduced similar restrictions.
6th Aug 2020 - City A.M.

Germany fights virus uptick with mandatory testing for travellers

Germany announced mandatory tests for travellers returning from high-risk regions after new coronavirus cases breached the 1,000-a-day threshold for the first time since May, fuelling fears of a return to an economically disruptive lockdown. Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Thursday free compulsory testing would be in force from Saturday after the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public health agency, reported 1,045 new cases in a single day. Part of the increase was due to more tests taking place, he said, but the impact of holidaymakers returning to Germany and of flagging social distancing discipline was also significant. Germany classifies almost all the world outside the European Union as high risk, as well as some regions within the bloc, including Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre in Spain, and Belgium’s Antwerp province. The compulsory tests mean travellers will not have to quarantine for two weeks. Anyone who refuses to take the test could face a fine of up to 25,000 euros (22,485 pounds).
6th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Bank of England boss Bailey backs end of furlough scheme

The Governor of the Bank of England has backed the government's decision to end its furlough scheme in October. Andrew Bailey told the BBC it was important that policymakers helped workers "move forward" and not keep them in unproductive jobs. He said coronavirus would inevitably mean that some jobs became redundant. The Bank also predicted the economic slump caused by Covid-19 will be less severe than expected, but warned the recovery will also take longer. More than nine million jobs have been furloughed under the government's job retention scheme, but the Bank expects most people to go back to work as the economy recovers.
6th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: England's contact-tracing app readies for launch

A second attempt at a Covid-19 contact-tracing app for England will soon be tested by members of the public. Officials hope to confirm the date for the limited roll-out within a few days. It could be as soon as next week. The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to log venue visits, as well as implementing Apple and Google's method of detecting other smartphones. But efforts are still ongoing to deliver medical test results within the product. Users will get alerts if others they have recently been close to declare that they have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The software will provide information about the prevalence of the disease in the local area to encourage people to be more cautious if levels rise.
6th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus stresses Americans more than others, study finds

The coronavirus pandemic has turned life upside down around the world, with many workers losing their jobs, economies plummeting and parents worried about reopening schools. But the US is being hit harder in more than one way. Not only does the US have the highest number of cases and deaths; the US population is also suffering more mental health consequences than people in other countries, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund released on Thursday. "As our country struggles with the surging number of cases and the economic havoc that the pandemic is wreaking, people in other countries are living a different, better reality," Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, said in a news release alongside the report. "Americans should realize that our country can do better, too."
6th Aug 2020 - CNN

Michelle Obama says she's suffering from 'low-grade depression'

Former First Lady Michelle Obama says she's suffering from a "low-grade depression." The reasons? The pandemic, race relations in the US and the political strife surrounding it all, she says. "I'm waking up in the middle of the night because I'm worrying about something or there's a heaviness," Obama said in her "The Michelle Obama Podcast" on Wednesday. "I try to make sure I get a workout in, although there have been periods throughout this quarantine, where I just have felt too low." It's a familiar feeling for many Americans.
6th Aug 2020 - CNN

British workers more reluctant to return to office than Europeans, new research reveals

British office workers have returned to their desks at a far slower rate than their European counterparts, new research has revealed. A study, conducted by research unit AlphaWise at US bank Morgan Stanley, found around 34 per cent of British white-collar workers are back in the office, compared to 83 per cent of French office staff. Britain also lagged behind the other major European economies on office returns, with around three-quarters of German, Italian and Spanish workers having returned to the pre-pandemic commuting routine, according to the study.
6th Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

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Poland plans to fully reopen schools in September despite COVID-19 spike

Poland intends to fully reopen its schools on Sept. 1, the education minister said on Wednesday, despite a recent renewed spike in coronavirus infections. Poland was initially successful in containing the outbreak, but cases started rising after restrictions on public gatherings were eased. On Tuesday authorities reported the fourth record daily increase in a week, with 680 new infections. Poland, a nation of 38 million people, had recorded a total of 48,789 cases and 1,756 deaths as of Wednesday. “We want students to come back to normal education in schools from September,” said Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski. He said the ministry would impose strict hygiene and safety rules for schools, as well as criteria under which some schools could switch to online or a mix of online and in-class instruction in case of local infection spikes.
5th Aug 2020 - Reuters

U.S. to pay over $1 billion for 100 million doses of J&J's potential COVID-19 vaccine

The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, as it stocks up on vaccine and drugs in an attempt to tame the pandemic. The latest contract is priced at roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J, or around $14.50 per dose, including a previous $456 million the U.S. government promised to J&J for vaccine development in March. That compares with the $19.50 per dose that the U.S. is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and German biotech BioNTech SE
5th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Testing centre queues fuel criticism over France's COVID strategy

The French government was under fire on Wednesday over its free-for-all COVID-19 testing policy as queues snaked out of some testing centres in Paris and at sites across the country amid a flare-up in infections. One leading federation of laboratories said an abrupt July 25 decree to make testing free-of-charge and without prescription piled pressure on at a time many staff go on holiday. Political opponents lampooned a policy in disarray. “Testing anyone achieves nothing. You have to be targeted,” epidemiologist Didier Pittet, who heads a government-appointed task force monitoring the handling of COVID-19, told Europe 1 radio.
5th Aug 2020 - Reuters

‘Officially a high-risk area’: How Geneva became Switzerland’s new coronavirus hotspot

The western Swiss canton of Geneva is now one of Europe’s hotspots for new coronavirus infections. In one of Europe’s wealthiest regions with excellent health care, how did it get so bad? On Monday, August 3rd, the number of new infections per 100,000 residents in Geneva crossed the 100 mark, reaching 103 per 100,000 for the past 14 days. The mark is well above the Swiss government’s ‘high risk’ classification of 60 per 100,000 - meaning that if Geneva was a separate country, residents would be forced to quarantine upon entering the rest of Switzerland. On Saturday August 1st, Belgium banned travel to and from Geneva, along with Valais and Vaud, as a result of the rising infections, although Valais and Vaud were removed from the list on Wednesday, August 5th.
5th Aug 2020 - The Local Switzerland

Ireland needs to move to ‘zero-Covid’ policy to avoid catastrophe, scientists say

Ireland urgently needs to move to a “zero-Covid” policy in order to avert long-term “social and economic catastrophe”, leading Irish scientists have warned. The scientists say there is a “small and narrowing” window to bring the incidence of Covid-19 here to zero and to keep it there, thereby allowing schools and colleges to return safely and operate normally. The group, which has written seeking a meeting with the Oireachtas special committee on Covid-19, is calling for the universal use of masks in enclosed spaces and “more targeted” finding, testing, tracking and isolation of cases. It also says an “effective and fair” system of testing and isolating incoming travellers needs to be introduced. The scientists suggest a regional response here to coronavirus outbreaks, saying there should be a wider use of “green zones internally” as the best route back to a normally functioning economy and community.
4th Aug 2020 - The Irish Times

Nations tighten mask rules, lockdowns as Covid-19 deaths approach 700,000

France and the Netherlands are gearing up for stricter mask-wearing rules to fight the coronavirus as the global death toll from the pandemic neared 700,000. Paris, Toulouse and other cities announced that the wearing of masks would be compulsory in particularly busy streets and squares. People already have to wear them inside most private businesses and all public buildings. A scientific committee advising the French government warned that the country could lose control of its spread "at any time." In the Netherlands, the same mask-wearing measure will be applied in Rotterdam and the famous red-light district of Amsterdam from Wednesday.
5th Aug 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

Nations tighten mask rules, lockdowns as Covid-19 deaths approach 700,000

France and the Netherlands are gearing up for stricter mask-wearing rules to fight the coronavirus as the global death toll from the pandemic neared 700,000. Paris, Toulouse and other cities announced that the wearing of masks would be compulsory in particularly busy streets and squares. People already have to wear them inside most private businesses and all public buildings. A scientific committee advising the French government warned that the country could lose control of its spread "at any time." In the Netherlands, the same mask-wearing measure will be applied in Rotterdam and the famous red-light district of Amsterdam from Wednesday. And Ireland postponed the reopening of pubs and other nightspots on the advice of scientists, concerned about rising infections.
5th Aug 2020 - Yahoo News UK

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Hong Kong third wave: universal Covid-19 testing tougher than it sounds, say health experts, who urge targeted screenings, continued social distancing

While mainland help has raised testing capacity significantly, a full multi-day lockdown would be required in order to test all city residents effectively. ‘If you don’t have a good plan for testing, then a lot of the tests will waste resources,’ pandemic adviser says
5th Aug 2020 - South China Morning Post

Australian state to impose hefty fines to compel COVID-19 isolation

Australia’s second-most populous state Victoria said on Tuesday that anyone breaking COVID-19 isolation orders will face hefty fines, as high as A$20,000 (10,899 pounds), and that more military personnel will be deployed to fight the spread of the virus. Australia, once heralded as a global leader in containing COVID-19, is desperately trying to slow the spread of the virus in Victoria to prevent a national second wave of infections. Victoria earlier this week imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people’s daily movements and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of coronavirus. But nearly a third of those who contracted COVID-19 were not home isolating when checked on by officials, requiring tough new penalties, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday.
4th Aug 2020 - Reuters

What We Know About The Two New 90-Minute Covid-19 Tests

When it comes to testing for Covid-19, there are two new kids on the block: LamPore and DnaNudge. But what are they, how do they work, and who can benefit from them? The two tests, which give results in 90 minutes, are to be rolled out in healthcare settings in the coming months. They can detect both Covid-19 and flu, which will be invaluable come winter when the NHS faces the burden of seasonal illness. Here’s a quick guide to what they do.
4th Aug 2020 - Huffington Post UK

COVID-19 reshapes back-to-school spending

Parents are buying less dressy clothing and more basics for their kids, while stepping up purchases of masks and other protective equipment as well as electronics. They're also holding back on spending amid uncertainty over what the school year will look like. The back-to-school season typically kicks off in mid-July and peaks in mid-August. This year, experts predict the peak will hit in late August and spill into most of September. “We are definitely seeing a delay," said Jill Renslow, senior vice president of the Bloomington, Minnesota-based Mall of America, which reopened in mid-June with social-distancing protocols. “People just don’t know what they need."
4th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

Returning Covid-19 patients to care homes slammed

A campaigner for the elderly in Northern Ireland has said decisions which led to covid-positive patients being sent from hospital back to care homes must not be repeated. The Belfast Telegraph reported on Saturday how seven patients with Covid-19 were returned to care facilities at the height of the pandemic. It has now emerged that hundreds of others were not tested at all. A Freedom of Information request by the Local Democracy Reporting service found that the Northern Trust discharged six people with coronavirus into nursing homes between March 1 and April 15, before the change in government guidance.
4th Aug 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Covid-19: Why are scientists concerned about Test and Trace?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said that the system is working but it has been criticised for not reaching enough people who have tested positive or their close contacts. So what is the Test and Trace service and why are scientists concerned about it? The authors of a new modelling study said that without appropriate levels of testing and contact tracing, reopening of schools together with gradual relaxing of the lockdown measures are “likely to induce a second wave that would peak in December 2020 if schools open full-time in September”. The study, published in The Lancet Child And Adolescent Health, warned that in a worst-case scenario a second wave could be 2.3 times higher than the first. But its authors said that “with increased levels of testing… and effective contact tracing and isolation, an epidemic rebound might be prevented”.
4th Aug 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Direct Relief Joins Solidarity Fund to Help South Africans Overcome COVID-19 Crisis

Direct Relief has joined the fight against COVID-19 in South Africa, throwing its financial and organizational support behind the Solidarity Fund, a South African public benefit initiative. The Solidarity Fund was formed in March 2020 as a rapid response vehicle to augment the South African government's response to COVID-19. It is focused on reducing coronavirus transmission, including through communications driving behavioral change; health response, including obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers; and humanitarian response, including food relief for people who have lost their means of sustenance.
4th Aug 2020 - PR Newswire UK

Testing key to prevent Covid-19 lockdowns across region, say councils

After new lockdown rules were brought into play in large parts of northern England, council leaders and public health bosses have said widespread testing is now more important than ever to reduce the prospect of similar action in the region. Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Solihull, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils are urging people who have Covid-19 symptoms or who have come into contact with anyone who has tested positive to get tested. The seven local authorities also reiterated the importance of businesses contacting Public Health England as a case is identified – either confirmed or suspected – in a staff or customer.
4th Aug 2020 - expressandstar.com

China Says It Can Boost Hong Kong Virus Testing by 20 Times

China aims to boost Hong Kong’s coronavirus testing capacity to 20 times its current ability, said the leader of a support team sent from Guangdong province to aid the city in its worst outbreak ever. he Chinese testing team of about 60 people will work with the Hong Kong government and three mainland Chinese testing companies to process 100,000 to 200,000 samples every day, said Yu Dewen in a state media video interview released on Monday. “Our main mission is to help the Hong Kong government conduct testing on a large scale for the population,” said Yu, who is an official with Guangdong’s health commission. Yu also led the Guangdong delegation earlier sent to help Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus first emerged
4th Aug 2020 - MSN

The countries which could be removed from UK's list of safe holiday destinations | ITV News

Summer plans for thousands of British holidaymakers have been thrown into disarray by the coronavirus pandemic. At the start of lockdown, the government was advising against all but essential travel to almost every country in the world, meaning thousands of plans were cancelled. With the lifting of lockdown some countries became safe holiday destinations, according to the government, and people again began to book trips. But cases of Covid-19 are beginning to rise again, with spikes in Europe resulting in Spain and Luxembourg being removed from the UK's list of safe countries. The government has warned it will react "rapidly" to any spike in cases and it is likely more countries will be removed from the safe list and added to the list of destinations from which returnees must quarantine for 14 days.
4th Aug 2020 - ITV News

90 minute COVID-19 tests: Government orders 5.8 million DnaNudge kits

The government has placed a £161 million order for 5.8 million high-speed DnaNudge COVID-19 test kits to be used in NHS hospitals from September. This major order will see DnaNudge’s lab-free, rapid and reliable PCR test, which delivers results in under 90 minutes and can work in about an hour, rolled out nationally in urgent patient care and elective surgery settings, with further deployments in out-of-hospital settings.
3rd Aug 2020 - Imperial College London

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Spain to roll out COVID-19 app twice as effective as human tracers in pilot

Spain aims to roll out a COVID-19 contact-tracing app across the country in September after saying on Monday that a pilot showed it could detect almost twice as many potential infections as human trackers during a simulated outbreak on a tiny island. In the absence of a vaccine or cure, states are deploying Bluetooth wireless technology to log contacts and alert people when someone they have been near tests positive. Spain used a new system developed by Google (GOOGL.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) which holds data on individual devices to ensure privacy, to build an app it tested on La Gomera, an island next to the tourist hotspot of Tenerife in the Canary archipelago, in July.
3rd Aug 2020 - Reuters

We must not wait idly for an elusive Covid-19 vaccine

A package of behavioural and drug-based interventions will save lives and better prepare us for the next crisis. The two lessons to be drawn are that our aspirations in vaccine development are not always realised, and that we can make great progress nonetheless with new drugs and other interventions. Our faith in vaccines against Covid-19 is partly driven by the counter-narrative, which is equally true. Smallpox was eradicated by a vaccine and those against polio, measles and other viral diseases have greatly improved human health. Still, the challenges to developing and deploying a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine in 2021 are substantial. We do not know whether natural infection confers robust immunity.
3rd Aug 2020 - Financial Times

Coronavirus: Sewage testing for Covid-19 begins in England

Sewage testing is being conducted across England in a bid to develop wastewater-based Covid-19 surveillance. Scientists discovered early in the pandemic that infected people "shed" the virus in their faeces. Further research concluded that wastewater sampling could provide a signal of a coronavirus outbreak up to a week earlier than medical testing. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says this has begun at 44 wastewater treatment sites. A Defra spokesperson said the government was working with scientists, water companies and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They would "monitor for fragments of coronavirus genetic material".
3rd Aug 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Lockdown 'reverse gear' warning after pub cluster

Scotland's national clinical director has said there has to be a "reverse gear" over easing lockdown after 27 Covid-19 cases were linked to a pub. Prof Jason Leitch was speaking after the cluster emerged on Sunday linked to the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen. NHS Grampian said contact tracing efforts were continuing to find all those associated with the outbreak and 123 people had now been contacted. The pub said cases were linked to customers who visited on 26 July.
3rd Aug 2020 - BBC News

U.K. Reviewing Covid-Fighting Options Including London Lockdown

The U.K. is looking at all options for tackling flare-ups of the coronavirus and will use regional data to target its response, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said, following newspaper reports that a London-wide lockdown is being considered if cases spike in the capital.
3rd Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Spanish minister claims UK could lift Balearic and Canary Islands quarantine today

Spain's tourism minister has said that Brits returning from the Balearic and Canary islands may soon not have to self-isolate for 14 days after visiting the popular destinations
3rd Aug 2020 - Mirror Online

Coronavirus: France makes masks mandatory in some outdoor public spaces

Wearing a mask in certain outdoor public spaces has been made mandatory in some French towns and cities. Local state representatives have been given the authority to impose face coverings in outdoor public areas after hundreds of new clusters emerged over the last few weeks. The new measures have been introduced in places many people are likely to gather like parks, markets and city centres, in areas where the virus has surged. In Nice, the mayor has declared that everyone is required to wear a mask in many areas of the southern French city, including parts of the famous Promenade des Anglais.
3rd Aug 2020 - Euronews

Governor says California getting a grip on virus

Gov. Gavin Newsom said California appears to be getting a grip on a resurgence of the coronavirus, though he warned the state is a long way from reopening some of the businesses it shuttered for a second time last month because of rising infections and hospitalizations. The average weekly number of positive tests is down by a fifth, to 7,764 from its peak of nearly 9,900 a week ago. The seven-day rate of tests coming back positive statewide had peaked at nearly 8% late last month but has fallen to 6.1%, he said Monday, though the rate remains much higher in some hard-hit counties.
3rd Aug 2020 - The Associated Press

New Zealand axes travel bubble plans with Australia

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia is now a “long way off”, given Australia’s new position in the fight against COVID-19. After Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared a “state of disaster” including harsh new restrictions, Ms Ardern said the country was no longer in a position to be thinking about a corridor across the ditch. Speaking on The AM Show on Monday, the New Zealand Prime Minister said it will likely be “several months” before a trans-Tasman bubble will even be considered, let alone put into practice between both nations given the number of coronavirus cases in Victoria.
3rd Aug 2020 - News.com.au

Over-50s could be told to stay at home to avoid another lockdown

Millions of people over the age of 50 could be asked to stay at home under Boris Johnson’s plan to avoid the ‘nuclear’ option of a second nationwide lockdown. The targeted approach to deal with a potential second wave of coronavirus infections reportedly emerged in a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week. Under the proposal, people aged between 50 and 70 could be given ‘personalised risk ratings’ – based on factors such as age and health conditions – and asked to shield themselves in the event of an outbreak, the Times reported. During lockdown, more than two million were deemed to be most at risk and asked to shield themselves from the deadly virus at home.
3rd Aug 2020 - Metro

Coronavirus: Test and Trace needs 'scaling up' for schools to reopen safely

The NHS Test and Trace programme needs to be scaled up in order to reopen schools safely, researchers have said. A new modelling study has suggested reopening schools across the UK in September must be combined with a high-coverage test-trace-isolate strategy to avoid a second wave of coronavirus later this year. Researchers warned in a worst-case scenario, a second wave could be 2.3 times higher than the first, according to the study published in The Lancet Child And Adolescent Health. The study comes as Australian research found there were “low” levels of Covid-19 transmission in schools and nurseries.
3rd Aug 2020 - ITV News

Millions could be told to stay home in bid to avoid second UK lockdown

Boris Johnson has ordered officials to work-up a plan for avoiding a second national lockdown, according to reports, which could see millions told to stay at home again. The prime minister is considering asking the elderly to shield once again and is mulling lockdown-like conditions for London should there be a second wave of coronavirus infections, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times said. Under the proposals, a greater number of people would be asked to take part in the shielding programme, based on their age or particular risk factors that have been identified since March, reports the Telegraph. It could even see those aged between 50 and 70 given “personalised risk ratings”, said the Times, in a move that would add to the 2.2 million who were deemed most vulnerable and asked to shield themselves from society during the spring peak.
2nd Aug 2020 - ITV News

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Surviving a COVID-19 ICU stay is just the start. We're ignoring what else it takes to recover.

After the ICU, coronavirus patients need rehab facilities and staff to get them back to normal functioning, if they even can — the U.S. is short on both.
30th Jul 2020 - NBC News

New push to raise Covid-19 testing capacity in England to 500,000 a day

Plans to raise Covid-19 testing capacity in England to 500,000 people a day have been signalled by the government as infections rise in Europe and ahead of a feared winter surge in cases. More people without symptoms are to be tested; the goal is to reach 150,000 tests a day for people who may be asymptomatic, such as those working in health and social care and other jobs that involve contact with other people. Anyone who has even mild symptoms can be tested and is urged to do so. In the latest week for which data has been published, from 16 to 22 July, 366,397 people were newly tested in hospitals, care homes and the community, and just over 4,000 were positive. But this falls considerably short of the number of new infections in England estimated by modellers, such as the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge, which published new data on Wednesday showing there were 3,000 a day – a figure similar to that produced by the Office of National Statistics.
30th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

US COVID: child care closures disproportionally affect women

A survey found that 13 percent of working parents had to resign or reduce work hours because of a lack of child care. The pandemic upended child care plans for many parents in the US, forcing them - particularly mothers - to grapple with tough choices that are only becoming more difficult as states push return-to-work policies to try to revive the battered economy.
31st Jul 2020 - Al Jazeera English

CDC: Children might play 'important role' in spreading COVID-19

Georgia allowed overnight camps to operate beginning May 31. The camp cited in the study was open June 17-27. All trainees, staff members and campers provided documentation of negative COVID-19 tests taken less than 12 days before arriving at camp, as required by an executive order signed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), according to the report. A teenage staff member left the camp on June 23 after experiencing chills. The staff member tested positive for COVID-19 the following day, and officials began sending campers home the same day. According to test results, the COVID-19 attack rate was 44 percent, but higher for kids between the ages of 6 and 10 and highest for those who stayed at the camp longest, including staffers, who arrived a few days earlier for training. Of the cases at the camp where symptom data is available, 26 percent had no symptoms. Among the 74 percent who reported symptoms, fever and headache were the most common.
31st Jul 2020 - The Hill

'Enormous tragedy': Fiji records first COVID-19 death

Fiji announced its first coronavirus death Friday, but health officials assured people in the Pacific island nation that it was not the precursor to a major outbreak. Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete said the victim was a 66-year-old man who tested positive after returning from India, where he had undergone surgery for a long-standing heart condition. "Sadly, despite the best efforts of our health-care professionals, this gentleman passed away yesterday in the isolation ward at Lautoka hospital due to complications from COVID-19," Waqainabete told reporters.
31st Jul 2020 - Jakarta Post

COVID-19: WHO warns of 'lengthy' pandemic as cases rise

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be "lengthy", the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Saturday as countries from France to Mexico reported a rise in cases. The WHO said it "highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic" in a statement after its emergency committee met on Friday to evaluate the crisis six months after it rang the global alarm on January 30. The group also warned of the risk of "response fatigue" given the socio-economic pressures on countries. "WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high," said its latest statement.
1st Aug 2020 - Euronews

Indonesia kindergarten explores new ways to teach over pandemic

As schools struggle to keep pupils engaged during the pandemic, a kindergarten on Indonesia’s Java island is getting pupils back in the classroom using makeshift transparent cubicles and also sending teachers on home visits with social distancing barriers. Permata Hati Kindergarten, a private kindergarten with 135 pupils in the city of Semarang in Central Java province, is allowing six pupils per day to spend time in the classroom, giving children a chance to attend school once every two weeks. Central Java has recorded Indonesia’s fourth highest number of infections and at least 287 people have died in Semarang alone, according to government data.
1st Aug 2020 - Reuters

Greece extends mask-wearing requirement as coronavirus infections flare up

Greece will make mask-wearing compulsory in all indoor public spaces and also in outdoor spaces where proper social distancing cannot be observed, its deputy civil protection minister said on Friday, following a further rise in COVID-19 infections. Greece reported 78 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections on Friday, its highest tally in about two months. Overall, it has so far confirmed 4,447 COVID-19 cases with 202 deaths, a relatively low number compared to many European countries, after imposing an early lockdown in the spring. “The decisive factor in successfully confronting the pandemic in the first phase was citizens’ responsibility, the individual responsibility of every one,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said in a televised address. “This was the ‘secret’ of Greece’s success and we must all show the same responsibility and alertness in this phase.”
1st Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Millions of over-50s 'could be told to stay at home' to avoid second nationwide lockdown

Millions of people aged over 50 could be told to stay at home under a "nuclear" option to prevent a new nationwide lockdown if there is a second wave of coronavirus, according to reports. Boris Johnson is said to be considering asking a greater number of people in England to take part in the shielding programme should there be a big spike in COVID-19 cases. A Sunday Times report said people aged between 50 and 70 could be given personalised risk ratings, taking into account factors such as age and medical conditions, before being asked to shield in the event of an outbreak.
2nd Aug 2020 - Sky News

U.K. Weighs London Lockdown in Worst-Case Scenario: Reports

Australia’s Victoria state tightened restrictions and declared a state of disaster after its outbreak showed no signs of abating. Metropolitan Melbourne would be under a curfew limiting movement between 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
2nd Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Kashmir's open-air classes offer stunning solution to lockdown

Schools across India are struggling to teach online as the pandemic forces them to stay shut. But this town in Indian-administered Kashmir has found a novel solution, reports Abid Bhatt. Every morning, students in Doodpathri, a town in Budgam district, walk past streams and bridges, and up the hill to their new classroom: a picturesque spot with the snow-capped Himalayas as a backdrop. The outdoor school is a breather for both parents and children after months of a grinding lockdown to slow down Covid-19 infections. The state has reported more than 19,000 cases and some 365 deaths. "It's far better that our kids attend such schools than grow weary in homes where they often end up frustrating themselves," says Mushtaq Ahmad, whose son is attending the open air school. Officials should collaborate with locals to set up more such schools, he adds.
2nd Aug 2020 - BBC News

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Covid-19: Scottish gyms and stadiums likely to stay closed until September

Scottish sports stadiums, gyms and swimming pools are not likely to reopen until the middle of September, assuming infection levels are low enough by then, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. In a statement updating MSPs on her plans to ease lockdown, the first minister said outdoor concerts and funfairs were likely to reopen in a little over three weeks time, on 24 August. Sturgeon confirmed Scotland’s schools would open full-time from 11 August, with all schools expected to resume by 18 August, without any widespread enforcement of physical distancing among children. Ministers were also releasing another £30m to hire extra teachers, she said.
30th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Self-isolation period for those with COVID-19 symptoms 'to be extended to 10 days'

Chief medical officers announce the new rule as the UK braces for winter amid warnings of a "second wave" brewing in Europe. Self-isolation rules are being changed as scientists warn people with coronavirus may be infectious for longer than previously thought. The chief medical officers of all four UK nations said anyone with symptoms or a positive test result should isolate for 10 days instead of seven. They changed their advice as the country braces for winter and warnings of a "second wave" of COVID-19 brewing in Europe.
30th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Virus isolation period extended from seven to 10 days

The change, announced by the UK's chief medical officers, comes as ministers try to avoid a resurgence of the virus. Until now, those showing key symptoms - a new continuous cough, a temperature or loss of taste or smell - have had to self-isolate for at least a week. The new advice is in line with World Health Organization guidance. The chief medical officers said the change is "particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission". Evidence shows that people with Covid-19 have "a low but real possibility of infectiousness" between seven and nine days after falling ill, they said.
30th Jul 2020 - BBC News

The latest coronavirus UK lockdown changes, furlough and work rules coming into effect Saturday

A little over four months on from the UK going into lockdown at the end of March, the next round of lifting lockdown measures is set to come into effect from Saturday (1 August). The latest update comes as the UK continues to recover from the pandemic and find our way into what's being called a 'new normal'. These cover everything from reopening of leisure venues and businesses to what going back to work could look like and even the ability for those who have been shielding to go back to a sense of normality.
30th Jul 2020 - Cambridgeshire Live

Nicola Sturgeon to announce final decision on schools reopening today

Scotland will not move to phase four in the near future, Nicola Sturgeon has said - but there is some good news on the horizon for parents, with confirmation that schools can return in August. The First Minister is required by law to provide updates on the current lockdown situation every three weeks, and the latest falls on today’s coronavirus briefing from the Scottish Parliament chamber. The FM provided the latest statistics for Scotland, as well as providing more information on yesterday’s confirmed ‘cluster’ of cases in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area. Eight confirmed cases have been traced to M&D Pharmacy in Port Glasgow and an Amazon warehouse in Gourock.
30th Jul 2020 - Glasgow Live

Coronavirus: Airport testing and a royal lockdown

We've heard from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who's said testing is not a "silver bullet" to stop the need for quarantine for people returning from Spain. Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye wants tests at airports, and again a few days later, as an alternative. While Conservative MP Crispin Blunt thinks a more targeted use of quarantine measures would get more public support than a blanket rule for the whole of Spain. You can read more on why the UK isn't testing travellers on their return home here.
30th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Government to Announce Lifting of Lockdown in Lleida Spain

Lleida and six municipalities of the region of Segriá in Spain are counting the hours to the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions. The local government will announce the lifting of restrictions shortly, starting at four o’clock this afternoon, the mobility ban will be officially lifted. Shops will be allowed to reopen at 50 per cent capacity, as are bars and restaurants, but food can only be eaten on the terraces until 12 midnight. Meetings are limited to only 10 people because, although the contagion curve has been cut in half, authorities want to keep the pressure up. These same restrictions will apply to Barcelona and its metropolitan area.
30th Jul 2020 - Euro Weekly News

Cramped Palestinian refugee camps fear coronavirus surge

A second wave of coronavirus infections sweeping the Israeli-occupied West Bank is fueling fears of a surge in overcrowded Palestinian refugee camps where social distancing is next to impossible. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the Palestinian Authority quickly imposed a lockdown as it sought to contain infections. But after Israel and later the PA eased restrictions in late April and May, the number of cases rose again, exacerbated by breaches of limits on public assembly and movement. One major driver has been Palestinian workers going to and from jobs in neighboring Israel, according to the PA. The Jewish state went into lockdown in mid-March, but after easing restrictions it started reporting 1,000 to 2,000 new coronavirus infections a day and re-imposed some restrictions
30th Jul 2020 - The Japan Times

More Than One Million Chileans Seek to Withdraw Pensions Amid Pandemic

More than 3 million Chileans on Thursday asked to withdraw a portion of their pension funds as a controversial law took effect allowing citizens to tap into retirement savings to buffer the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Long lines formed in Santiago outside the offices of Pension Fund Administrators (AFP) as Chileans sought to take advantage of the new law. The emergency measure allows those with savings to withdraw up to 10% of their pensions. Chile´s Superintendent of Pensions said in a statement 3,024,347 people had asked to withdraw their share by 5 p.m. local time. The websites of several of the fund administrators collapsed Thursday amid the deluge of requests, prompting an apology from the companies.
30th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Wisconsin Mandates Masks, Declares Public Health Emergency

Wisconsin's governor on Thursday ordered residents wear masks when indoors and not in a private residence, joining dozens of other U.S. state leaders mandating face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus. In a statement, Governor Tony Evers said Wisconsin was seeing an increase in significant community spread and rise in COVID-19 cases which required he declare a new public health emergency and require face coverings statewide.
30th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Dutch government will not advise public to wear masks - minister

The Dutch government on Wednesday said it will not advise the public to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, asserting that their effectiveness has not been proven. The decision was announced by Minister for Medical Care Tamara van Ark after a review by the country’s National Institute for Health (RIVM). The government will instead seek better adherence to social distancing rules after a surge in coronavirus cases in the country this week, Van Ark said at a press conference in The Hague. “Because from a medical perspective there is no proven effectiveness of masks, the Cabinet has decided that there will be no national obligation for wearing non-medical masks” Van Ark said.
29th Jul 2020 - Reuters

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Ireland likely to move to final phase of lockdown next week - deputy PM

Ireland looks set to enter the fourth and final phase of its COVID-19 lockdown next week, which will allow all bars and nightclubs to open and gatherings of up to 100 people indoors, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday. "There has been an uptick in the number of new COVID cases in the last week or two ... (but) I don't think that the increase has been so enormous that at this stage it should prevent us moving to stage 4," Varadkar said. He said he was hopeful that non-essential office workers, who have been working from home since March, might begin to return to their workplaces on a part-time basis in the coming weeks.
29th Jul 2020 - YAHOO!

Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia may join Spain on England’s Covid-19 quarantine list

Travellers returning to England from Belgium and Luxembourg could have quarantine restrictions reimposed in the next two days, as ministers grapple to contain any fresh threat from a potential second wave of coronavirus in some European countries. Ministers are understood to be closely monitoring spikes in the number of cases in Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as in Croatia, a more popular holiday destination for British tourists. The Covid-19 rate has almost tripled in Belgium this month, from 5.3 to 15.1 per 100,000 of the population, with the number of cases up from 615 to 1,751, leading to a crackdown on numbers of people allowed to socialise. Luxembourg’s rate of infection is 15 times higher per capita than in the UK.
29th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus testing urged over pub outbreak in Stone

Pub customers are being urged to get tested for Covid-19 after 10 cases of coronavirus were confirmed at a bar. Health officials said anyone who was at the Crown and Anchor in Stone, Staffordshire, between 16-18 July should get tested. One person who tested positive after being at the pub also held a private gathering, causing a further spread, Staffordshire County Council said.
30th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Outbreaks highlight disparities in UK test and trace regimes

Prime minister Boris Johnson promised a “world-beating” test and trace programme to stop the spread of coronavirus by June. Carlisle — and the rest of England — is still waiting. Public health officials in the northern city have been fighting a rise in cases for four weeks. But efforts to manage the outbreak have been hampered by incomplete data, overstretched local officials and a lack of testing facilities.
30th Jul 2020 - Financial Times

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Covid-19 app launch in Northern Ireland is imminent – Health Minister

A smartphone app aimed at tracking the spread of coronavirus is set to be launched in Northern Ireland “imminently”. Health Minister Robin Swann told the Stormont Assembly that the app will help to break transmission chains and reduce the reproductive rate of Covid-19. He said it will be “interoperable” with the equivalent app in the Republic of Ireland, and is also “highly likely” to be compatible with apps introduced in future across the UK and Europe. “This will be the first instance of such a solution worldwide and we’ll be the first example of such apps operating in an interoperable manner,” he told MLAs. “The Stop Covid NI app is due to go live imminently but the date that it will be released for download will be subject to the review process undertaken by the (Apple) App Store and Google Play.
28th Jul 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

WHO says travel bans cannot be indefinite; countries must fight coronavirus

Bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely, and countries are going to have to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders, the World Health Organization said on Monday (July 27). A surge of infections has prompted countries to reimpose some travel restrictions in recent days, with Britain throwing the reopening of Europe’s tourism industry into disarray by ordering a quarantine on travellers returning from Spain. Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world manage to beat the Covid-19 pandemic, WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a virtual news briefing in Geneva.
28th Jul 2020 - The Straits Times

No lockdown as China rolls out virus-testing blitz

Beijing is responding to coronavirus cases flaring up in Xinjiang and Liaoning with tactics proven to have helped the Chinese capital squash a viral resurgence in June and swiftly return to normal. Xinjiang officials say they found 41 new infections on Monday, bringing the overall tally to 254 since the first Covid-19 patient in more than five months in the far western region was identified and segregated on July 15. The re-emergence of cases in the vast and still restive border region has mainly hit Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, but the city of more than four million residents has never been placed under a sweeping lockdown. Rather, within a fortnight, two million locals were said to have been tested as cadres scrambled to roll out mandatory yet free testing schemes covering each neighborhood.
28th Jul 2020 - Asia Times

Kuwait to lift lockdown in Farwaniya on Sunday

Kuwait will end the strict lockdown imposed in Farwaniya governorate from 5 a.m (0200 GMT) on Sunday, the centre for government communication announced on Twitter on Saturday. Farwaniya was the last area to be effectively isolated in a country which has reported 63,309 coronavirus cases and 429 deaths.
28th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Berlin couple test positive for coronavirus after Manchester visit

An urgent track and trace operation is under way in Berlin after a couple tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a holiday to visit friends in Manchester. Fifty people who have had contact with the couple since their return are in quarantine, of whom 13 have so far tested positive for Covid-19. The Turkish couple, a 50-year-old taxi driver and his 45-year-old wife, arrived home on a Ryanair flight on 16 July. They were not diagnosed until six days after their return. The whole family is now infected, including the couple’s four children, aged nine to 21, and their grandmother.
28th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Germany set to test all travellers from Covid-19 hotspots

Germany is to introduce obligatory testing for all travellers returning from regions considered to be coronavirus high risk hotspots, its health minister has said. Jens Spahn said he would introduce mandatory testing as soon as legislation was in place to do so. The move has broad cross-party support amid a rise in Germany’s own coronavirus rates, which have been at least in part put down to hundreds of thousands of Germans returning from foreign holidays. Currently 130 regions are on Germany’s list of high risk areas.
27th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

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Coronavirus: Vietnam evacuating 80,000 from city after 11 positive COVID-19 tests

Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from the central city of Da Nang after 11 residents tested positive for coronavirus. The Southeast Asian country is back on high alert after confirming its first community infections since April over the weekend. The evacuation will take at least four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Da Nang to 11 Vietnamese cities, the government said in a statement. The 11 new COVID-19 cases are all linked to a hospital and include four healthcare workers, the country's health ministry said on Monday.
27th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Belgium Implements Drastic Plan to Avoid Another Lockdown

Belgium's prime minister has unveiled a set of drastic social distancing measures aimed at avoiding a new general lockdown while local authorities in Antwerp imposed a curfew amid a surge of COVID-19 infections.
27th Jul 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Huge queues at UK airport as travellers returning from Spain complain holiday plans were ruined by 'knee-jerk' quarantine rules

Travellers returning from holidays in Spain vented their frustration today, complaining their plans had been "ruined" by the Government's new quarantine rules. As of midnight on Saturday, holidaymakers were told they must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the UK from Spain after the European country recorded a surge in coronavirus cases. Initially the the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised only against "all non-essential" travel to mainland Spain, but this advice was updated to include the Balearic and Canary Islands on Monday evening.
27th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: Germany considers compulsory tests for returning holidaymakers

As Germans return from holiday destinations like Spain and Italy this summer, concerns are growing that they could bring the coronavirus back with them, causing fresh outbreaks in Germany. Unlike the UK, where the government this weekend imposed a two-week quarantine on those returning from Spain, the German government is mulling a different approach — compulsory coronavirus testing in airports for arrivals from high-risk destinations. German health minister Jens Spahn told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that the government was currently looking into whether it could legally oblige people to take coronavirus tests, or whether that would encroach on their personal freedoms.
27th Jul 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK

Stop partying or we may go back into lockdown, regional chief tells young Catalans

Young Catalans should stop partying to help halt a surge in new coronavirus cases or local authorities may have to reimpose harsh restrictions, the leader of the northeastern Spanish region said on Monday.
27th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

France and Germany 'could join UK quarantine list' as British holidaymakers braced for further travel 'uncertainty'

More European holidays could be thrown into disarray this summer with officials warning of possible new lockdowns in France and Germany. British holidaymakers in Spain were left fuming after being told they must quarantine for 14 days when they return home following a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country. The Government has stood by its decision to strike the popular holiday destination off the UK's 'safe list', with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab refusing to rule out rescinding further so-called travel corridors, warning there was "an element of uncertainty this summer if people go abroad".
27th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

More Brit holidays at risk as France and Germany could join Spain on quarantine list

More summer holidays could be thrown into chaos after officials hinted France and Germany could be added to the UK’s quarantine list due to a spike in coronavirus cases. British tourists in Spain were left fuming after being suddenly told to self-isolate for two weeks on return, with the decision affecting over one million people. The government has defend striking the popular holiday destination off its list of ‘safe’ places to travel, with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warning on Sunday that more countries could follow suit. France and Germany are at risk of joining Spain after officials in both countries warned of possible new lockdowns to prevent a second wave of Covid-19
27th Jul 2020 - Metro

Which countries could go on UK’s quarantine list? France, Germany and others at risk as returning Spain visitors ordered to self isolate

Britain is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation in Germany and France as people returning from Spain must isolate for 14 days. While the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) still advises against all non-essential travel abroad, a list of 'travel corridors' highlights the countries and territories deemed 'safe' to visit.
27th Jul 2020 - The Scotsman

Coronavirus: French government advises companies to prepare for a new wave

Across Europe, countries are taking measures to avoid being overwhelmed by another wave of COVID-19 infections. The number of coronavirus cases in the UK on Monday passed 300,000 and in Germany, Angela Merkel's Chief of Staff Helge Braun urged Germans to bring the recent daily case numbers of more than 800 daily cases, back down below 500. The coronavirus pandemic “continues to accelerate," with a doubling of cases over the last six weeks, the World Health Organization chief said. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said nearly 16 million cases have now been reported to the UN health agency, with more than 640,000 deaths worldwide.
27th Jul 2020 - Euronews

Modi says coronavirus risk persists in India, recoveries rise

India needs to be “extra vigilant” as the novel coronavirus threat persists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a public address on Sunday, even as the country registered a record number of patient recoveries in a day. Infections from the coronavirus have risen rapidly in India, the world’s second most populous country, with more than 48,000 cases recorded in the last 24 hours. India has so far recorded nearly 1.4 million cases and more than 30,000 deaths. On Sunday, the Indian government said 36,145 patients had recovered and been discharged in the last 24 hours, marking a record number of single-day recoveries. At the same time, a record number of tests in a single day - more than 440,000 - were conducted, it added.
27th Jul 2020 - Reuters

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NZ tempts Covid-19 fate by not introducing masks - researchers

New Zealand is the only OECD member state that has had no community transmission for more than 28 days, and the low Covid-19 death rate here (4 deaths per 1 million population) puts New Zealand in a uniquely favourable position the report says. But they warn there are still gaps in the government's response, and it should put more systems in place to quickly stamp out transmission of any cases that do arise. New Zealand was the only country left that had not included a requirement to wear masks in public in its pandemic control plans. "If we had masks built into alert level two so people had to wear masks on buses and trains and potentially when going to the supermarket and so on, that could help us avoid a lockdown in the future, so some smart thinking is really urgently required for the alert level system to be upgraded, given the evidence that masks are very effective. "I think it's just complacency - we have succeeded with community transmission being eliminated, and they just think that that's good enough, but it's not. "We know that border failures can occasionally occur, that quarantine failures can occur. So we need to build in all the systems to hep us deal with an outbreak situation.
26th Jul 2020 - RNZ

France expands free COVID-19 testing as infection rates rise

French health authorities are making COVID-19 tests available free of charge without prescription as they closely monitor an uptick in infections after the lifting of lockdown measures. PCR nasal swab tests, which detect COVID-19 infections caused by the novel coronavirus, will be freely available on demand under government orders published on Saturday. “We wouldn’t describe this as a second wave, but what’s clear is that for several days now we have seen a noticeable increase in the number of confirmed cases, which had been in decline for 13 weeks,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said in an interview published in Le Parisien’s Sunday edition.
26th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Indian firms try to lure workers as coronavirus keeps them away

Millions of migrant workers who fled India's cities when the virus hit are too scared to return. Spurning free air tickets, accommodation and higher pay, millions of migrant workers who fled India's cities when the new coronavirus hit are too scared to return, with grim implications for the already crumbling economy. Migrant labourers form the backbone of Asia's third-biggest economy toiling in every sector - from making consumer goods and stitching garments to driving cabs. But when India went into lockdown in late March, vast numbers of them lost their jobs, prompting a heart-rending exodus back to their home villages, sometimes on foot, their children in their arms.
26th Jul 2020 - Al Jazeera English

From Iceland — Iceland To Participate In Covid-19 Vaccine Project

In a civil defense information meeting yesterday, it was stated by chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason that Iceland is going to take part in a project led by the World Health Organisation to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. The project is called COVAX and is an international co-operation lead by the WHO, in coordination with different manufacturers. According to a report from Vísir, the project is intended to support the development of a vaccine and establish overall control over its distribution. By participating, Iceland secures its access to vaccines. Fréttablaðið reports that nine manufacturers have been selected for collaboration and are deemed likely to succeed. Six of them are already in the clinical trail phase of testing their vaccine.
24th Jul 2020 - Reykjavík Grapevine

Latin America leads world in coronavirus cases, Reuters count shows

Coronavirus cases in Latin America for the first time have surpassed the combined infections in the United States and Canada, a Reuters tally showed on Sunday, amid a surge of infections in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Argentina. The quickly growing number of cases make Latin America the region most impacted by the pandemic globally, with 26.83% of worldwide cases. Latin America now has 4,327,160 total cases of the novel coronavirus compared to 4,308,495 infections in United States and Canada, according to the count based on data provided by the governments of each country
26th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Surge in single-use PPE feeds ‘toxic’ pandemic waste crisis

A study published on Thursday forecasts that the flow of plastic into oceans would nearly treble by 2040 to 29m tonnes per year if much greater action was not taken by governments and industry. “We’re getting ourselves deeper and deeper into a plastics hole without knowing where any of it is going,” said Martin Stuchtey, managing partner at SystemIQ, a sustainability group that co-authored the report. Much of the PPE used around the world is single-use by design and can contain a range of different plastics, from polypropylene and polyethylene in face masks and gowns to nitrile, vinyl and latex in gloves.
23rd Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Jharkhand’s ‘no mask’ penalty – up to Rs 1 lakh; here’s how other states are dealing with Covid rule violators

In view of the surge in coronavirus cases, Jharkhand Cabinet Wednesday approved Jharkhand Contagious Disease Ordinance under which penalty up to Rs 1 lakh and a jail term up to 2 years can be imposed against violators.
23rd Jul 2020 - The Indian Express

Torino tests out anti-virus gate for stadium access

Torino tested out an automated anti-virus gate before its match against Hellas Verona in Italy’s top soccer division Wednesday. The device, called Feel Safe, measures match goers’ body temperature and uses facial recognition software to verify that a mask is being worn properly. It also sprays match goers with disinfectant. Capable of being set to three different safety levels, the system sends an alarm to stadium personnel when any parameter is not met. The gate is designed to speed up the entrance of fans to stadiums. Although with fans still not permitted to attend games in Italy, it was tested on journalists and other stadium personnel.
22nd Jul 2020 - Associated Press

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After spreading covid-19, a huge European abattoir vows reforms

Clemens tönnies used to be a local hero in eastern Westphalia. One of six children of a butcher from the town of Rheda-Wiedenbrück, he grew Tönnies, the family meat-wholesaling business which he took over after his brother Bernd’s death in 1994, into one of the biggest meat-processing companies in the world, with annual sales of €7bn ($8bn). For almost two decades the bratwurst billionaire was chairman of Schalke 04, a beloved local football team. He built the Tönnies arena, a 3,600-seat stadium for a women’s football club, next to his company’s headquarters. He donates to the local shooting club, and owns hotels, a gym, a real-estate agency and even a kindergarten in Rheda.
25th Jul 2020 - The Economist

South Africa Shuts State Schools Amid Virus Concerns

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that state schools will close for four weeks after labor unions raised concerns that they lacked proper protocols and sufficient protective equipment to keep teachers and pupils safe in the face of a surge in coronavirus cases. He spoke Thursday in a televised address.
24th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

U.K. Plans Biggest Ever Flu Vaccine Program as Covid Buffer

The U.K. announced its biggest ever flu vaccination program for the coming winter as it seeks to protect the National Health Service from a possible second wave of coronavirus. Authorities aim to vaccinate more than 30 million people, almost twice the 15.3 million inoculated in England last season, the Department for Health and Social Care said in a statement on Friday. Free vaccines -- normally available to the over-65s, young schoolchildren, pregnant women and other at-risk groups -- will also made available to all people over the age of 50. The beefed-up program, together with an additional 3 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) of funding for hospitals recently announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, is designed to help hospitals weather an expected surge of coronavirus cases when temperatures drop. Typically, hospitals are under the most strain in winter as seasonal flu spreads.
24th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

UK spends £100m on new Covid-19 vaccine facility

The UK government has spent £100m on a manufacturing facility in Essex to scale up production of a Covid-19 vaccine, as a growing number of pharmaceutical companies report promising results in early-stage trials. The money will be used to accelerate production of a successful Covid-19 vaccine
24th Jul 2020 - The Financial Times

Covid-19 Test Shortages Prompt Health Authorities to Narrow Access

Some health authorities in the U.S. have started narrowing recommendations for who should undergo coronavirus testing due to short supplies of testing materials and delays getting results. Health departments such as California’s are once again trying to focus testing on hospitalized patients, people with Covid-19-like symptoms, close contacts and those at high risk, as surging cases and demand outpace test capacity. Some public-health authorities and doctors are now advising people who worry they might have been exposed on a plane or at a restaurant, for instance, or are simply curious to stay home as much as possible and seek testing if symptoms do develop.
23rd Jul 2020 - Wall Street Journal

France dispatches free Covid-19 face masks to 7 million amid hardship concerns

Face masks are mandatory in France as of Monday in closed public spaces with offenders subject to a €135 fine. And while the fact of donning a mask to stymie the spread of coronavirus isn't the political issue in France that it has become in some countries, the new and sudden financial burden of stocking up on the basic protective equipment has come up for debate. As a result, 40 million masks are in the mail for seven million whom the state considers most in need. Consumer groups, anti-poverty associations and left-wing political parties alike sounded the alarm this week over the high cost of masking up in France as closed public spaces like shops became inaccessible to anyone unequipped. Emmanuel Macron addressed the matter on Tuesday, pledging the state would come to the aid of the poorest, but stopping short of footing the bill for everybody. "It is not up to the State — and the French taxpayer — to pay for masks... for everyone, all the time," the French president told TF1 on Tuesday. "So I think it should remain a social-aid policy," he added.
23rd Jul 2020 - YAHOO!

Test and trace fails to contact more than 30000 potential Covid-19 carriers - follow live

Face masks will have to be worn in shops and supermarkets in England from Friday under new government rules which have been criticised as “confusing”. The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed face coverings will be required in shops and takeaways, such as Pret A Manger, if people intend to take their food and coffee away – however customers will be allowed to remove them if sitting down to consume food or drink bought on site. Meanwhile Luton and Blackburn with Darwen were added to Public Health England’s coronavirus watchlist as “areas of intervention” due to high infection rates. It means further lockdown-easing measures such as the reopening of sports centres has been postponed in both areas.
23rd Jul 2020 - The Independent

Data collection in new Covid-19 app ‘troubling’

Ireland’s new Covid-19 contact tracing app has been dealt a blow after researchers criticised its “intrusive data collection”, describing it as “troubling”. Privacy experts have raised concerns over the app, which has been downloaded more than 1.4 million times since it was launched a number of weeks ago. Now, researchers at Trinity College Dublin have said that user privacy is not adequately protected. They examined the data transmitted to backend servers by contact tracing apps deployed by health authorities in a number of countries, including Ireland. Their report described the Google Play Services component of these apps as “extremely troubling from a privacy viewpoint”
23rd Jul 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Eight new cases of Covid-19 as Executive meets to discuss face coverings

Swimming pools, spas, bowling alleys and community centres in Northern Ireland are among the venues that will be allowed reopen from Friday in further moves agreed by ministers to ease lockdown. It comes as the Stormont Executive agreed it will give the Health Minister Robin Swann legal powers to make wearing face masks mandatory from August 20 if the level of compliance remains low after a publicity campaign. The number of people permitted to gather in a private home will also rise to 10, with the group allowed to consist of four different households. Overnight stays in other households will also be permitted. Spectators will also be allowed to attend outdoor sporting venues "where the operator can control access and ensure adherence to social distancing".
23rd Jul 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Paris Sewage Reveals COVID Still Not Flushed Away

Samples of wastewater from the Paris sewage system have been showing traces of COVID-19 again since the end of June, having vanished when France imposed a lockdown, according to the head of the laboratory leading the research. Infection rates in France are subsiding, but officials this week made the wearing of masks in enclosed public spaces compulsory after a series of localised flare-ups. To date COVID-19 has killed over 30,000 people in France. Early studies by scientists in The Netherlands, France, Australia and elsewhere suggest sewage sampling for signs of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus could help estimate the number of infections in a geographic area, without having to test every person. Laurent Moulin, who heads the research laboratory run by public water utility company Eau de Paris, cautioned the findings on their own did not mean a resurgence of the virus in the population since France eased its lockdown restrictions.
23rd Jul 2020 - The New York Times

6 months pass since Wuhan lockdown, original epicenter of COVID-19

Thursday marked 6 months since a drastic lockdown was imposed in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, with the number of new symptomatic patients remaining at zero for more than 2 months in the central Chinese city. After the 76-day lockdown was lifted on April 8, municipal authorities carried out virus tests for almost all residents at a cost of about 900 million yuan ($128.6 million) in the city with a population of some 11 million. As citizens in Wuhan have been already allowed to travel to other regions in China, the local government has been stepping up efforts to revitalize the economy in the capital of Hubei province, known as a business and transportation hub in the region.
23rd Jul 2020 - ABS-CBN News

French President Macron discusses COVID-19 situation with Australian PM

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the COVID-19 pandemic situation during a phone briefing on Thursday with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Macron’s office said, as leaders around the world prepare for a possible new wave of the virus. “The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister of Australia shared their analyses on the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic in the world and on measures being taken to prevent its resurgence,” said a statement from the French Presidency. Australia’s second most populous state of Victoria reported on Thursday five deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours and the third-highest daily rise in coronavirus cases.
23rd Jul 2020 - Reuters

Welcome back, but wear a mask: French resort tells tourists amid Covid-19 crisis

In total, France has recorded over 30,000 deaths linked to COVID-19. Months of strict lockdown have resulted in a big drop in the numbers of people getting infected, and the numbers in hospital with the virus.
23rd Jul 2020 - Hindustan Times

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Care home visits to resume in England after months of lockdown

Care home visits are set to resume in England as the Government issues long-awaited guidance on how loved ones can see residents. Visitors will be allowed in specific care homes in England once local directors of public health and local authorities decide it is safe to do so, the Department of Health said. Despite the falling rate of community transmission of coronavirus, the Government says visits should be limited to a "single constant visitor" per resident where possible to limit the risk of infection spread and keep footfall in and out of the home down.
22nd Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Germany cracks down on slaughterhouse sub-contracting to fight coronavirus

Germany is introducing a new law compelling meatpackers to employ staff directly in industrial abattoirs rather than sub-contracting to avert further coronavirus outbreaks exacerbated by poor working conditions, a draft law showed on Wednesday. German slaughterhouses have faced criticism for the widespread use of sub-contracted migrant workers from eastern Europe, with cramped accommodation and poor oversight suspected of accelerating local coronavirus outbreaks in abattoirs. Labour Minister Hubertus Heil has condemned the system of “sub-sub-sub-contracting” in abattoirs, where subcontractors rely on other subcontractors to get staff. The draft law, introduced by Heil and seen by Reuters, bans sub-contracting in the industry’s core business areas of animal slaughtering and meat processing. Firms are only allowed to outsource work in non-core business areas such as cleaning.
22nd Jul 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus UK: Spain may be taken off government's 'safe' travel list

Spain is reportedly on the verge of being taken off the government’s ‘safe’ travel list after a surge of coronavirus cases. It means Brits who have booked a holiday could face quarantine for two-weeks on their return under the government’s ‘traffic light’ system. Spain has been hit with at least 200 coronavirus outbreaks since it lifted its lockdown a month ago. On Monday, it saw a huge jump of 4,581 new virus cases, which experts warned was a ‘massive test’ for the government’s travel corridor policy. Whitehall sources reportedly told The Sun the situation is being closely monitored and that a decision to potentially remove some or all of Spain from the list could be made in a matter of days.
22nd Jul 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Nepal no longer under lockdown: Here's what will run now and what still won't

As some changes in the present modality of lockdown was being expected with fall in official number of coronavirus-infection cases, the government on Tuesday made a surprise move to lift the lockdown altogether. To begin with, the Cabinet on Monday announced resumption of all flights from August 17, which was aided by the decision to resume tourist activities and long-haul transport services on Tuesday. Government Spokesperson, Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada then informed the media that the lockdown will see an end starting midnight Tuesday. However, despite the end of the lockdown, the government has decided that a few activities will still face temporary ban while a few more activities will be added to the ‘functional’ list.
22nd Jul 2020 - Himalayan Times

Austria re-introduces face mask requirements

Austria will again make face masks mandatory at supermarkets, banks and post offices on Friday due to a resurgence of coronavirus infections. The country began requiring the use of masks in April, but eased the rules in mid-June, except on public transport, in hospitals and pharmacies, and at hairdressers, as infections dropped. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the return of tighter rules on Tuesday as the number of cases in Austria began rising in July, with the daily toll surpassing 160. Austria was among the first countries in Europe to ease lockdown measures to fully reopen its economy.
22nd Jul 2020 - NHK WORLD

Coronavirus: No new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand's managed isolation facilities

There are no new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand's managed isolation facilities, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Wednesday. It has now been 82 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source, indicating there is no evidence of community transmission. The total number of active cases in New Zealand remains at 27. All positive results were obtained due to routine testing of new arrivals in managed isolation or quarantine facilities.
22nd Jul 2020 - Newshub

Philippines to ramp up coronavirus testing as Duterte warns of arrests

The Philippines said on Tuesday it would ramp up testing for the novel coronavirus amid a sharp rise in infections and deaths since a lockdown was eased in June, while President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to arrest anyone not wearing a mask.
22nd Jul 2020 - Reuters

Face-Mask Mandates Expand as U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 142,000

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 142,000, as hospitals in some parts of the country where the virus is spreading rapidly face increasing numbers of patients. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, announced statewide mandates Wednesday requiring the wearing of face masks in stores, public buildings and other indoor spaces where people gather. Mr. DeWine said the state recommends that individuals traveling from states with a 15% or above positivity rate self-quarantine for 14 days. “We’ve got to get this virus under control—wearing masks is going to make a difference,” he said at a press conference Wednesday. More than half the states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia, have mandates for face coverings, according to the National Governors Association and an order issued Wednesday by Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser.
22nd Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Thailand to extend emergency decree until end of August

Thailand will extend a state of emergency until the end of August, a senior official said on Wednesday, maintaining the security measure put in place to contain its coronavirus outbreak. The announcement comes after nearly two months without local transmission and with many people in Thailand questioning the need for an emergency decree. The decree, first introduced in late March, will be subject to cabinet approval next week.
22nd Jul 2020 - Jakarta Post

Fans will have to wear masks at NFL games this season — if there is a season with a live audience

NFL fans attending games — assuming there's a 2020 season and spectators are allowed inside stadiums — will have to wear facial coverings, the league said Wednesday.
21st Jul 2020 - NBC News

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Major airlines ask EU, White House to adopt new COVID-19 testing program

Major US and European Union airlines asked the EU and White House on Tuesday to consider a joint US-EU program to test airline passengers for COVID-19 as a way to allow people to travel once again between the United States and Europe. In a letter to US Vice President Mike Pence and Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, the chief executives of American Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa and International Airlines Group requested "the safe and swift restoration of air travel between the United States and Europe."
22nd Jul 2020 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

Coronavirus: Latin America struggles to contain the pandemic

The novel coronavirus continues its march across Latin America. More than 3.5 million people in the region are infected with SARS-CoV-2. With more than 150,000 deaths, Latin America has the second highest mortality rate. The consequences of the pandemic are a strain on the region's fragile health care systems and they have revealed serious shortcomings despite early and drastic government restrictions. The flattening of the curve still seems a distant prospect. Four of the 10 worst-affected countries worldwide are in Latin America, according to Johns Hopkins University: Brazil has more than 2 million confirmed cases, Peru and Mexico both have around 350,000, and Chile with 330,000. Smaller countries are also seriously affected, including Ecuador with more than 70,000 people infected and more than 5,000 deaths. Quito, the country's capital, is currently in crisis mode because intensive care beds are no longer available. Many people wonder whether the strict curfew imposed more than three months ago hasn't worked.
21st Jul 2020 - Deutsche Welle

Are Spaniards the most willing adopters of face masks in Europe?

The sight of people without masks sitting at tightly packed outdoor tables in the Basque city of Hondarribia came as a shock to Santiago Moreno, the head of infectious diseases at Madrid’s Ramón y Cajal hospital, who went there on a recent trip. “I thought, if someone is infected, they will infect 25 others. The only ones with masks were the people from Madrid,” he remembers. Moreno believes that making face masks mandatory, even if social distancing can be respected, is a conceptual necessity. “By being so strict, those who don’t meet [the rules] will feel like they are breaking the law,” he explains. “It’s better for us to do too much than too little.” The spokesperson of the Spanish Association of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, María del Mar Tomás, agrees: “The only preventive measures we have at the moment are masks, distance and having outdoor meetings and contact.”
21st Jul 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Mask-wearing plays big in Europe's post-lockdown protocol

France on Monday joined the ranks of European countries which have mandated the use of face masks in all indoor public places, in another sign that the face mask is playing big in Europe's post-lockdown measures to limit COVID-19 transmission. Before France, multiple governments - from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Romania to Slovenia, Albania, and Serbia - have already obliged their citizens to cover their mouth and nose in indoor public spaces. A dozen other European countries such as Britain, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland and Malta have mandated the use of face masks on public transport.
21st Jul 2020 - CCTV

Coronavirus in Scotland: Quarantine rules lifted for travel to Spain

People who travel to Scotland from Spain will no longer have to go into quarantine for 14 days on arrival. The change, coming in later this week, was sanctioned after a review of infection rates in mainland Spain and the Spanish islands. The move opens the path for Scots to go on holiday in Spain, and for Spaniards to travel to Scotland. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said further countries could yet be added to the list of "air bridge" destinations. But he warned that Covid-19 was "still active and still deadly" and added that further changes would only be made when it was "safe to do so".
21st Jul 2020 - BBC News

How tiny Uruguay, wedged between Brazil and Argentina, has avoided the worst of the coronavirus

After watching the novel coronavirus emerge in China and spread to Europe, the country confirmed its first four cases on Friday the 13th — an apparently ominous opening for a disease that would soon burn a wide path through Latin America. But in the weeks and months that followed the March 13 diagnoses of four recent travelers from Europe, the nation of 3.4 million would keep the virus in check. Wedged between Brazil, suffering the second-worst outbreak in the world, and Argentina, where infections are now surging, Uruguay has reported just 1,064 cases and 33 deaths — unusually low numbers for a Latin American nation testing widely.
20th Jul 2020 - The Washington Post

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NYC enters final reopening stage; LA on 'brink' of new lockdown

New York City, which was at one time the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, entered the fourth and final phase of the state's reopening plan on Monday. The city entering the last stage means low-risk outdoor facilities, like zoos and botanical gardens, can open at 33% capacity. The rest of New York state has already begun the fourth phase of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reopening plan.
20th Jul 2020 - UPI.com

People in Bristol 'must act now to prevent a local lockdown'

People in Bristol have been told they must "act now" to prevent a local coronavirus lockdown. Bristol City Council shared a video on social media forum Nextdoor on Friday, July 17, giving residents instructions to help avoid tougher restrictions coming back in. The post read: "We’re asking everyone in Bristol to help keep the city safe and prevent a local lockdown by following these guidelines." And the video told residents: "People in Bristol are testing positive for Covid-19. There is no vaccine and no cure. "We must act now to prevent a local lockdown."
20th Jul 2020 - Bristol Live

Coronavirus: Social distancing for the visually impaired in Italy

Italian photographer Stefano Sbrulli documented the difficulties of blind and visually impaired people as they adapt to a world of social distancing. Italy faced one of the strictest and longest-running Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe. Those with visual disabilities often need companions or assistance services to go about their day-to-day lives, which can make social distancing a challenge. Here are some of Sbrulli's portraits and stories, gathered between March and June.
20th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Spain began welcoming UK visitors in June – but what are the new rules in place for travellers?

The Spanish Government updated its rules to allow British visitors to enter the country in June. Meanwhile in the UK, tourism resumed in July as holiday parks, campsites and hotels in the country reopened. But with the Foreign Office still advising Britons against all but essential travel to many countries, is it likely that UK tourists will be going on holiday to Spain this summer? Here’s what you need to know.
20th Jul 2020 - The Scotsman

Coronavirus: Masks mandatory in France amid fresh outbreaks

France has made face masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces amid a fresh bout of Covid-19 outbreaks. Masks were already mandatory on public transport, but from Monday they must also be worn in places like shops. Health Minister Oliver Véran warned that France had between "400 and 500 active clusters" of the virus. President Emmanuel Macron declared a "first victory" over the virus in June and has ended the national state of emergency, but local outbreaks remain. There are a rising number of cases in the north-west and in eastern regions, in particular in the north-western department of Mayenne. France, one of Europe's hardest-hit countries, has recorded more than 200,000 infections and over 30,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
20th Jul 2020 - BBC News

How Europe Kept Coronavirus Cases Low Even After Reopening

When Western European countries began phasing out their lockdowns this spring, a surge of coronavirus cases was widely expected to follow. Months on—even as Europeans mingle in bars, restaurants and crowded beaches—that still hasn’t happened. As a surge in cases forces a number of U.S. states to reimpose restrictions, Europe’s reopening is for the most part going according to plan. That is largely because of marked changes in social behavior across much of Europe, following widespread efforts by policy makers to drill the public to follow a simple, three-pronged approach: Keep a distance when possible, enhance hygiene and wear a mask when necessary. Older people, who are more vulnerable, are especially careful. “People in Europe understood what they need to do. They take it seriously,” says Ilaria Capua, an Italian virologist at the University of Florida. “The crisis has been handled differently in different countries, but nobody in Europe is saying this is a nothing crisis.”
20th Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Mask-wearing could prevent a return to lockdown

People in France must now wear masks in public spaces or risk a 135 euro fine. Christian Blasberg, professor in contemporary history at LUISS Guido Carli University, says wearing masks are necessary to prevent people catching as well as spreading the virus, and could prevent a return to lockdown.
20th Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

Davao City gov't lifts lockdown on 18000 residents

The city government of Davao lifted the hard lockdown imposed on a densely populated barangay here effective 12 noon, Monday, July 20, or 16 days after the entire area was placed under the most restrictive quarantine measure to cut the transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But the local government said hard lockdown will continue to be imposed in some puroks and households in Barangay 23-C after the results of a series of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, conducted from July 15 to July 17, showed that these were the areas where most of positive cases were found. The results of the three-day RT-PCR tests have yet to be released as of 10 a.m. on Monday. The city government has yet to announce the number of households and puroks in the barangay that would remain under hard lockdown. The Barangay 23-C is composed of seven puroks, with an estimated population of 18,000.
20th Jul 2020 - Manila Bulletin

The Welsh Government ''would not be afraid'' to issue another coronavirus lockdown, Health Minister Vaughan Gething says

The Welsh Government, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said. Speaking to ITV Wales, he said: ''I certainly wouldn't be afraid to make a decision with the first minister and the Welsh Government to lockdown if we thought that was the right thing to do to save lives.
20th Jul 2020 - ITV

Catalonia urges thousands of people to stay home as coronavirus cases rise

People sunbathed and played in the sea along Barcelona’s beaches on Sunday, ignoring pleas from Catalan authorities for area residents to stay at home as coronavirus cases continued to rise in one of Spain’s worst-hit regions. As police patrolled in masks to ensure social distancing, Barceloneta beach, a favourite with tourists, reached capacity and had to be closed to new bathers on Sunday afternoon. People were queueing to access the beach. Earlier in the day, authorities urged the more than 96,000 residents of three Catalan towns to stay home as part of a toughened response to the crisis. On Friday, some four million people, including in Barcelona, were advised to leave their home only for essential trips. “Staying at home in the summer is stifling and stressful,” said Felipe, when asked why he had come to the beach despite the advice.
20th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Chile eyes gradual reopening after coronavirus infections slow in some areas

Chilean government officials presented a plan on Sunday to gradually relax lockdown restrictions after the coronavirus infection rate improved in some regions of the country. The plan, called “Step by Step,” includes five stages that range from total quarantine to advanced opening and will be applied according to epidemiological criteria, the capacity of the healthcare system and the ability to trace cases, officials said. “These five weeks of improvement allow us to start a new stage today ... This plan, which will be step by step, cautiously, prudently, will be applied gradually and flexibly,” said President Sebastian Pinera in the announcement, adding that 12 regions in the country had improved in recent weeks.
20th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Sun-seekers crowd Barcelona beaches, defying coronavirus stay-at-home advice

People sunbathed and played in the sea along Barcelona’s beaches on Sunday, ignoring pleas from Catalan authorities for area residents to stay at home as coronavirus cases continued to rise in one of Spain’s worst-hit regions. As police patrolled in masks to ensure social distancing, Barceloneta beach, a favourite with tourists, reached capacity and had to be closed to new bathers on Sunday afternoon. People were queueing to access the beach. Earlier in the day, authorities urged the more than 96,000 residents of three Catalan towns to stay home as part of a toughened response to the crisis. On Friday, some four million people, including in Barcelona, were advised to leave their home only for essential trips
20th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

EU struggles to agree virus recovery deal as global deaths surge

EU leaders battled to save a beleaguered 750 million euro ($860 million) virus recovery package at a summit on Sunday, as global deaths soared past 600,000 and Hong Kong raised the alarm about its growing outbreak. The United States -- the worst-affected country by far -- ended a week in which it registered its highest figures for new cases for three days running, taking its total towards 3.7 million infections and 140,00 deaths. The virus has now infected more than 14 million people worldwide.
19th Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

Coronavirus: Germany eyes tougher lockdown measures during local outbreaks

Germany's federal and regional governments have agreed to pursue stricter and more targeted lockdown measures to contain localized outbreaks of the novel coronavirus
16th Jul 2020 - Deutsche Welle

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Coronavirus: Outbreak investigated at contact tracing centre

Health officials are investigating an outbreak of coronavirus at an NHS Test and Trace call centre in North Lanarkshire. Sitel, which carries out contact tracing for the NHS, said it was aware of a "local outbreak" at its Motherwell site. One employee said they believed at least seven colleagues had tested positive. NHS Lanarkshire said it was aware of a number of "potentially linked cases".
20th Jul 2020 - BBC News

More wearing masks would encourage Londoners to return, poll reveals

More widespread use of face masks could play a major role in persuading Londoners to return to the centre of the capital and start spending money again, a poll reveals today. The survey asked which of a range of measures would make respondents “more likely to go into London to work or enjoy leisure time.” The most reassuring suggestion was “everyone following social distancing rules so it feels safer”, which was supported by four out of 10 of those asked. This was closely followed “more people wearing face masks” backed by 37 per cent.
19th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson says he does not want to return to the 'nuclear deterrent' of full lockdown

Boris Johnson has played down the prospect of a second national coronavirus lockdown as he compared enforcing the measures to using Britain's nuclear deterrent. The prime minister added that authorities are getting better at identifying and isolating local outbreaks, but said it was important that the power to order national action was held in reserve. He told The Sunday Telegraph: "I can't abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. "But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don't want to use it, and nor do I think we will be in that position again."
19th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Victorian coronavirus cases climb as Government makes masks mandatory for Melbourne and Mitchell Shire

Residents in Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will be required to wear masks outside of the home, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced. The new rule will come into effect from 11:59pm on Wednesday, and the fine for not wearing one will be $200. Mr Andrews said the measures were a "powerful next step" in managing the spread of coronavirus. "It doesn't come at an enormous cost to the Victorian economy," he said. "It still allows us to go about our business — particularly those who can't work at home and for going shopping for the basics when you need them."
19th Jul 2020 - ABC News

Seven in 10 back mandatory use of masks in shops in England, poll finds

Concerns that the wearing of masks could become a new front in a political “culture war” have been eased after evidence emerged that a clear majority of the public back their use in shops and supermarkets. An Opinium poll for the Observer reveals that 71% of adults in England support making masks mandatory in shops, with only 13% opposed to the move. Support was consistent across parties and age groups. Almost two-thirds of UK adults (64%) said they believed masks were an effective way to contain the spread of Covid-19.
19th Jul 2020 - MSN.com

‘Bizarre’ That Face Masks Are a Partisan Issue, NIH Chief Says

It’s “bizarre” that mask-wearing in the U.S. has become so partisan and the “divide between different political perspectives” is making it harder to curb the coronavirus, the director of the National Institutes of Health said. Speaking on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, NIH chief Francis Collins said he didn’t want anybody to think that mask-wearing is “something optional” as the nation attempts to tamp down the Covid-19 outbreak running at record levels. “Imagine you were an alien coming to the planet Earth and looking around,” Collins said. “You would be totally astounded, puzzled, amazed ... How could it be that something as basic as a public health action, that we have very strong evidence can help, seems to attach to people’s political party?”
19th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus: senior doctors warn second wave could 'devastate' NHS

Senior doctors are pleading with the public to help prevent a second wave of coronavirus that could “devastate” the NHS, amid concern at mixed government messages about face masks and returning to work. Prof Carrie MacEwen, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said medics and healthcare workers felt “totally reliant on the public understanding that this has certainly not disappeared and could come back and cause even more suffering for the population.” Dr Alison Pittard, head of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, also warned the NHS could be “overwhelmed” by a second wave coinciding with seasonal flu and the consequences of the backlog of treatment for serious illnesses including cancer. “People might think Covid is over with, why do I have to wear a face mask,” she said. “But it isn’t over. We still have Covid patients in intensive care. If the public don’t physically distance and don’t wear face coverings we could very quickly get back to where we were earlier this year.”
19th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus face masks: Why men are less likely to wear masks

Her husband Eduardo had repeatedly refused to wear a face mask as the Covid-19 pandemic grew in Brazil - the country with the second-highest number of coronavirus deaths, behind only the US. So she decided to leave the family apartment in Niteroi (a city of 480,000 people near Rio de Janeiro), and move to her parents' house with their seven-year-old son. "I am asthmatic and that makes me particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. But my husband thought I was being paranoid," she tells the BBC. "His reasoning was that he didn't need a mask because when he left home he didn't go to enclosed spaces. "He wasn't thinking that he was putting me and our son at a higher risk."
19th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Government to 'pause' publishing UK daily coronavirus death figures

The UK government is to stop publishing daily coronavirus deaths after health secretary Matt Hancock ordered an urgent review into how Public Health England (PHE) calculates the figures. The health secretary called for a review after researchers claimed the way Covid-19 deaths are reported across England has led to an "over-exaggeration" of the figures due to "statistical flaws". PHE's calculation of the figures means England’s deaths from coronavirus appear far higher than any other part of the UK, experts behind the study said.
18th Jul 2020 - ITV News

85 infants under age 1 tested positive for coronavirus in one Texas county

Eighty-five infants under age 1 have tested positive for coronavirus in one Texas county. And local officials are imploring residents to help stop its spread as the state becomes one of the newest hotspots. "We currently have 85 babies under the age of one year in Nueces County that have all tested positive for Covid-19," said Annette Rodriguez, director of public health for Corpus Christi Nueces County. "These babies have not even had their first birthday yet. Please help us stop the spread of this disease."
18th Jul 2020 - CNN

Texas officials offer schools option to hold online-only classes until November

Texas officials on Friday announced that schools can continue online-only learning until November as the state sees climbing cases of the novel coronavirus. AP reports that the changes were announced just hours before Texas set another daily record for COVID-19 deaths, 174, as well as more than 10,000 new cases of the virus as the state sees a growing outbreak. Previously, state officials had given districts the option of remote learning for three weeks and then having in-person classes. Most schools will also require masks and social distancing when they reopen. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted after the announcement that "the health [and] safety of students, teachers [and] parents is the top priority."
17th Jul 2020 - The Hill

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UK government orders halt to Randox Covid-19 tests over safety issues

The UK government has instructed care homes and members of the public to immediately stop using coronavirus testing kits produced by a healthcare firm after safety problems were discovered. Randox was awarded a £133m contract in March to produce the testing kits for England, Wales and Northern Ireland without any other firms being given the opportunity to bid for the work. Under the contract, the kits are sent to the public and places such as care homes and then delivered back to Randox to check swabs to see if individuals have the virus. On Thursday the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, told MPs: “We’ve identified some swabs that are not up to the usual high standard that we expect, and we’ll be carrying out further testing of this batch as a precautionary measure.
16th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

France speeds up plans to mandate face masks over COVID-19 fears

France accelerated plans on Thursday to make it compulsory to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces because of concerns about renewed flare-ups of COVID-19. President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that mask-wearing would be mandatory in places such as shops from Aug. 1, citing signs that the coronavirus was “coming back a bit”. But on Thursday Prime Minister Jean Castex said the order would take effect next week. Until now, it has been mandatory to wear face coverings only on public transport and in public spaces where social distancing is not possible. “We were considering implementing (this measure) on August 1,” Castex told the Senate. “I have heard and understood that this deadline appeared late or raised some questions, so the decree will come into force next week.”
16th Jul 2020 - Reuters

One in FIVE Covid-19 patients are still not being contacted by NHS Test and Trace

NHS Test and Trace is still failing to find a more than a fifth of patients who test positive for Covid-19 — despite launching almost two months ago, shocking data revealed today. Of the 3,579 Covid-19 patients in England referred to the contact tracing programme between July 2 and July 8, just 2,815 were actually tracked down (78.7 per cent). A total of 618 people with the disease could not be reached at all by the tracers — who phone, text and email someone up to 10 times a day to get hold of them.
16th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: South African communities are buckling under COVID-19 'storm'

There were some who thought South Africa would be spared the worst of the global pandemic, but the virus has taken root, spreading rapidly through the country's densely populated townships. In fact, South Africa has become the world's fourth-largest source of daily cases of COVID-19, with health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize simultaneously warning of a "coming storm" and a serious shortage of essentials like hospital beds and compressed oxygen.
16th Jul 2020 - Sky News

German health ministers push for strict, local coronavirus lockdowns as needed

German states and the federal government have reached an agreement on "more targeted measures" to address localized outbreaks of COVID-19. One significant change is that entire districts will no longer be required to lockdown in the case of a localized outbreak, while quarantine and lockdown measures will be tightly limited to only targeted hotspots. Localized travel bans in and out of coronavirus hotspots may be enforced in cases where the number of infections continues to rise or when there is no certainty that a chain of infection will not continue to spread. The measures come as Germany — which has been less affected by the pandemic than neighboring countries — seeks to ward off a second wave of coronavirus infections.
16th Jul 2020 - DW (English)

Germany readies tougher lockdowns to ward off second wave: draft plan

Germany plans to allow for tougher lockdown measures to contain local outbreaks and ward off the threat of a second coronavirus wave, according to a draft agreement between the federal and regional governments. The new rules would include a ban on travel "in and out of the affected areas" to limit the spread of the virus, the document seen by AFP said. The plan is set to be finalised later on Thursday and comes as countries across the world are reimposing curbs on public life in response to a surge in new infections.
16th Jul 2020 - Deccan Herald

Spanish island closes party strip after rowdy tourists flout coronavirus laws

The Spanish island of Mallorca has closed its main party strip after drunken tourists were seen cavorting without masks, jumping on cars and chanting aggressively on the streets of a resort town. Authorities say such incidents, video of which was shared by a local journalist but hasn't been verified by CNN, are isolated, but they have raised concerns as Spain teeters on the edge of a fresh coronavirus surge. All of the bars on Punta Ballena street were closed as of Wednesday evening because the "mainly British tourists there, and the bar operators themselves," were not complying with the rules, a spokesman for the Balearics regional government told CNN. Authorities are "aware" of social media postings showing about 20 people dancing in the street, including on top of cars, added the spokesman.
16th Jul 2020 - CNN

France makes face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces amid 'signs of a resurgence' of coronavirus in Paris

PM Jean Castex said masks will be necessary in all public indoor areas next week Currently, masks only mandatory on public transport and certain public spaces Not clear whether there will be penalties for not wearing a mask in these areas Country's R rate is edging above one, health authorities warned last week
16th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Nations scale back re-opening plans as Covid-19 numbers back on upswing

The latest research models show the number of US deaths projected to rise to over 150,000 by next month. "We've got to almost reset this and say, 'Okay, let's stop this nonsense,'" Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, told The Atlantic. In the US state of Oklahoma, the Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, who has often declined to wear a mask, said he had tested positive for Covid-19. The use of masks to slow the spread of the virus has become a political flashpoint in the US, where Trump had resisted wearing one until recently and at times mocked the trend. Stitt's state recorded a single-day record of 1,075 new cases, while its neighbor to the south, Texas, reported 10,791 new cases and 110 new fatalities -- both "new highs." Cases and death tolls continue to mount across the United States, particularly in the south and west, with Florida and California also hard hit.
16th Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

Masks mandatory indoors in France next week (not August 1)

France is to make masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces from next week, and not from August 1 as was originally announced, the Prime Minister has confirmed. Jean Castex told the Senate today (July 16): “I have heard and understood that this [original] deadline appeared late and raised further questions.” From Monday July 20, the public will be required to cover their mouths and noses when in enclosed or confined public spaces, especially shops, and especially sites in which physical distancing is impossible. Mr Castex said: “We had envisaged that these rules would come into force [from August 1] because we are working preventatively, not in haste. But I have heard and understood that this [original] deadline appeared late and raised further questions. “The decree will therefore come into force from next week.”
16th Jul 2020 - The Connexion

China will allow cinemas in low-risk areas to open from July 20

China will allow most cinemas to re-open from July 20, the film administration said on Thursday, six months after they were forced to close as part of draconian measures to contain the novel coronavirus.
16th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Under fire over coronavirus policy, Netanyahu announces money for all

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday a plan for government grants for all Israelis amid growing public anger over his handling of a coronavirus crisis that has taken a sharp turn for the worse.
16th Jul 2020 - Reuters

EU unveils plan to counter second Covid-19 wave

The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday (15 July) a set of guidelines to strengthen the EU's response to a potential future surge of coronavirus infections - calling on member states to reduce the risk of a simultaneous seasonal-flu and Covid-19 outbreaks in the autumn. "The virus is still with us, but Europe is now much more prepared," said commission's vice president, Margaritis Schinas, referring to the new, localised, outbreaks appearing across Europe.
16th Jul 2020 - EUobserver

Coronavirus: Ireland puts brakes on easing lockdown amid 'real concern'

The Republic of Ireland has decided not to move forward to Phase 4 of its roadmap for easing lockdown amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19. "This virus has not changed, indiscriminate in its cruelty and relentless," said the taoiseach. "The concern about the rise in cases in recent weeks is very real, the R (reproductive) number has risen above 1 in this country," Micheál Martin said. "The international situation represents a growing worry." Mr Martin said the Irish cabinet had agreed that current public health measures should remain in place and the Republic of Ireland would not progress to Phase 4 of the agreed roadmap.
15th Jul 2020 - BBC News

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Vaccine alliance says 75 countries keen to join 'COVAX' access facility

More than 75 countries have expressed interest in joining the COVAX financing scheme designed to guarantee fast and equitable access globally to COVID-19 vaccines, the GAVI vaccines alliance said on Wednesday. The 75 countries, which would finance the vaccines from public budgets, will partner with up to 90 poorer countries supported through voluntary donations to GAVI’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), the alliance said in a statement. “COVAX is the only truly global solution to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Seth Berkley, GAVI’s chief executive, said in a statement. “For the vast majority of countries, whether they can afford to pay for their own doses or require assistance, it means receiving a guaranteed share of doses and avoiding being pushed to the back of the queue, as we saw during the H1N1 pandemic a decade ago.”
16th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Walmart, Kroger to Require Shoppers to Wear Masks in All U.S. Stores

The retail giants, which operate more than 8,000 stores across the country, said they were adopting their own mask requirements to protect their staff and customers. Walmart said a lack of federal rules had left it with a patchwork of local regulations. “We know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others,” it said. They join major U.S. airlines and a growing number of governors, even those who were initially hesitant to do so, in adopting mask requirements to stop the spread of the respiratory disease, which has killed more than 136,000 in the U.S.
16th Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

L.A. teachers demand better technology to avoid remote learning chaos in fall

After being told to return to remote education in the fall, Los Angeles teachers are demanding greater technology support to avoid the chaos they say they faced when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to abruptly switch to online learning in March. She and other union members said increased funding for better connectivity, equipment and information-technology support - especially for students with disabilities and those from poorer households - was at the top of the list. So, too, is rolling out more age-appropriate online learning programs to ensure children from kindergartners to high schoolers are getting an education tailored for their academic level.
16th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Wearing a mask doesn't just protect others from COVID, it protects you from infection, perhaps serious illness, too

The Missouri hair salon case was published in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's an example of the power of face masks to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. On May 12, a hair stylist at a Springfield Great Clips salon developed respiratory symptoms, but kept working for eight days until a COVID-19 test came back positive. Another stylist started getting sick three days later and worked for another seven days before testing positive and staying home. Both colleagues wore masks only when customers were present. Six close contacts of the first stylist ended up coming down with COVID-19. But in the salon, where 98% of clients wore masks, things played out differently. Of the 67 clients exposed to one or both of the stylists and tested for COVID-19, not one tested positive.
15th Jul 2020 - USA TODAY

Coronavirus Success Story: How Rwanda Is Curbing COVID-19 : Goats and Soda

Comprehensive contact tracing is a task that has overwhelmed countries with far more resources than Rwanda. Rwanda's per capita income is roughly $2,000 per year. Yet all testing and treatment for the virus is provided for free. It costs the government between $50 and $100 to run a single coronavirus test, Nsanzimana says. In order to test thousands a day, Rwanda has started using a process called "pool testing." Material from 20-25 nasal swabs are all put into one vial and run through the machine. This allows them to test far more samples at once. If they get a positive result, then all the swabs that went into that initial vial are tested individually to pinpoint the person who's infected. Nsanzimana says Rwanda's experience dealing with other infectious disease outbreaks is helping it now during the pandemic.
15th Jul 2020 - NPR

A Resurgence of the Virus, and Lockdowns, Threatens Economic Recovery

Failure to suppress a resurgence of confirmed infections is threatening to choke the recovery and push the country back into a recessionary spiral — one that could inflict long-term damage on workers and businesses large and small, unless Congress reconsiders the scale of federal aid that may be required in the months to come. The looming economic pain was evident this week as big companies forecast gloomy months ahead and government data showed renewed struggles in the job market. A weekly census survey on Wednesday showed 1.3 million fewer Americans held jobs last week than the previous week. A new American Enterprise Institute analysis from Safegraph.com of shopper traffic to stores showed business activity had plunged in the second week of July, in part from renewed virus fears.
15th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Coronavirus in Scotland: Biggest relaxation of rules take place

Scotland has begun its most significant relaxation of coronavirus measures since the country went into lockdown in March. Hairdressers and barbers, bars and restaurants, cinemas, tourist attractions, places of worship and childcare settings can now all reopen. Nicola Sturgeon said it is "the biggest step so far" in exiting lockdown. But she warned she would "not hesitate" to close bars and restaurants again if the coronavirus starts to spread. The reopening of indoor spaces requires anti-virus precautions to be in place and all customers will be asked to provide their name and a phone number, as part of the NHS Test and Protect scheme. The first minister warned it was now more important than ever to stick to public health measures.
15th Jul 2020 - BBC News

England's Covid-19 frontlines: the race to prevent local lockdowns

At the end of last week, the race was on. Blackburn with Darwen council was identified as an area of “concern” by Public Health England. With the number of infections rising,an emergency meeting of the Local Resilience Forum, which brings together NHS, councils across Lancashire, emergency services and other agencies, was called last Thursday to devise a plan. After the meeting, Blackburn’s public health director, Profe Dominic Harrison, told the Guardian he was determined to stop the outbreak without resorting to a Leicester-style lockdown. “A lockdown of the whole borough would be entirely inappropriate and wouldn’t be a solution to the problem we’ve got,” he said.
15th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Most Brits just won't wear face masks — here's why

According to YouGov data just 38% of Britons said they wear masks in public places. By comparison, 88% of people in Spain and 83% in Italy said they do so. Meanwhile, 90% of people in Singapore wear masks in public, as do 82% in China.
15th Jul 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus NSW, Victoria: What happens if COVID-19 does not go away?

Experts have painted a grim picture of what life could look like in NSW and Victoria if the coronavirus is not brought under control. The resurgence of the virus has led to increasing calls for authorities to adopt an elimination strategy rather than a suppression strategy. All of Australia’s states and territories have managed to effectively eliminate the virus except for NSW and Victoria. NSW got close before Victoria’s outbreak spread north, resulting in an increasing number of cases of community transmission in Sydney. Both states would have to get active cases down to zero for at least two weeks before the virus is considered to be eliminated. While some experts have noted that it’s unlikely the virus will be completely eliminated, if the number of cases was brought to zero, it means authorities can jump on any small outbreaks as they appear.
15th Jul 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Hipkins urges use of contact tracer app - 'Step up your efforts'

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has appealed to New Zealanders to use the contact tracer app, saying he believes there is a degree of complacency in this country, even as the risk grows every day. Speaking at today's press conference, where it was revealed there were two new cases in managed isolation facilities, Hipkins said contact tracing was a core public health response, and the Ministry was training its staff to do case investigation. He said the contact tracer app was one part of a whole system of contact tracing that required everyone to take part, and about 596,000 New Zealanders have so far done this. The information provided is only used by the Ministry and only for contact tracing, he said. "Please step up your efforts, scan wherever you go and keep a record of your movements."
15th Jul 2020 - RNZ

Masks part of the Melbourne look for a long time to come

Melburnians may need to wear masks on public transport and in other busy public spaces until there is a widely available vaccine for coronavirus. As another person died and Victoria recorded 238 new infections on Wednesday, University of NSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws said wearing face masks would be a significant cultural shift for Victorians, but a necessary means of protection in the battle against COVID-19.
15th Jul 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Morocco timidly re-opens borders after Covid-19 lockdown

Morocco cautiously re-opens its borders to the outside world as from 15 July, but only to Moroccan nationals and foreign residents of the kingdom. Only two airlines are authorised to carry out flights between Morocco and some selected destinations, including France, but at a prohibitive price.
14th Jul 2020 - RFI English

NZ could go into regional lockdown if Covid-19 re-emerges in community, says PM

New Zealand would move to regionalised lockdowns, rather than the the whole country in the first instance in the event of re-emergence of Covid-19 cases in the community. PM outlines next steps in case of Covid-19 community outbreakPlay Video
14th Jul 2020 - 1News

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California's new lockdown could be brutal for the economy

The state of California is shutting down again — a huge blow to the fragile recovery logged in recent months. The latest: As Covid-19 cases surge, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of all indoor restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums and bars. Los Angeles and San Diego said their kids would start the new school year online only. On its own, California is the fifth largest economy in the world, according to World Bank data. That means fresh lockdown measures in the state are a huge blow to the economic outlook, both in the United States and globally.
14th Jul 2020 - CNN

California's new lockdown dims outlook for U.S. growth in pandemic

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision Monday to reimpose restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and even ordinary office work to tamp down a surge of coronavirus infections is dimming economic growth prospects for the nation as a whole. Darkening the outlook further was the decision by California’s two largest school districts - Los Angeles and San Diego - to conduct only online instruction when classes resume next month, a move that will make it challenging for parents of more than 825,000 students to return to work. The Golden State, with 40 million people, employs more workers than any other state in the nation, and its production of goods and services is about equal to the combined output of Florida and Texas, two others states that have also seen resurgences of the virus.
14th Jul 2020 - Reuters

FDA fast-tracks vaccines as California leads charge toward second lockdown

The Food and Drug Administration said it will speed the review of two vaccine candidates from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and partner company BioNTech. The fast-track status was granted based on preliminary data from phase one and two studies in the U.S. and Germany. The company expects to enroll 30,000 people in its next phase of trials. If the trials are successful, the companies hope to make 100 million doses by the end of the year and possibly more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021. The administration is investing in a range of vaccine approaches with the hope of landing a successful shot before the year ends.
14th Jul 2020 - Washington Times

France to make masks compulsory in enclosed public places

France will make it compulsory for people to wear masks in shops and other enclosed public spaces from next month to stop a resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.
14th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Are masks about to become compulsory in France?

After several announcements from high-profile political and scientific figures, there is growing speculation that France could be about to make wearing a mask compulsory in more situations. At present masks are compulsory on all forms of public transport (including taxis and Ubers) and there is a €135 fine for not wearing one. The rest of the rules are slightly more varied. Shop and business owners have the right to require customers to wear a mask and the right to bar entry to customers who are not masked. In practice some shops and businesses declare port du masque obligatoire (wearing a mask is compulsory) while other merely say that masks are recommandé (recommended).
14th Jul 2020 - The Local France

From NZ to Iceland, the femocracies that aced their virus response

Iceland has also been heralded for acing its handling of Covid-19, recording just 10 deaths. Its prime minister Katrin Jakobsdóttir was quick to act, offering free testing to all citizens, while Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen and Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin both followed Ardern’s lead, moving quickly to impose travel bans. Their measures might have been stricter than many countries’, but their delivery was softer. Ardern has held Kiwis’ hands through the pandemic, delivering non-preachy video messages from her living room and non-combative press conferences. If a staff member walks in during a Facebook Live, she’ll introduce them to viewers, and when a reporter forgot his question in a recent briefing, Ardern joked and told him she hoped he was getting enough sleep.
14th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Thais seek to fix errors that allowed infected foreigners in

Authorities in Thailand have urged almost 1,900 people to quarantine themselves and get tested for the virus after a breakdown in screening allowed two foreigners with the disease to pose a risk to public health. The agency coordinating Thailand's coronavirus response also announced it is rolling back regulations for admitting foreign visitors in order to tighten up procedures.
14th Jul 2020 - ABC News

Are more people in Denmark going to wear face masks?

New recommendations from the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen), published Friday, advise the use of face masks in the country in certain circumstances, including when travelling home from areas considered high-risk or on the way to being tested for coronavirus. As of Friday, the authority recommends using face masks in certain special situations, bringing the policy in Denmark closer to that of other European countries such as France and Germany. According to its new advice to those who have tested positive, those in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and those with symptoms, the authority recommends people use face masks if they are forced to leave self-isolation. "Use a face mask if you break self-isolation to go out to take a test," the health authority states, linking to a guide for correctly using masks.
13th Jul 2020 - The Local Denmark

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Coronavirus: Face coverings in England's shops to be compulsory from 24 July

Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July. Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the government is to announce. The move will bring England into line with Scotland and other major European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany. Since mid-May, the public have been advised to wear coverings in enclosed public spaces, where they may encounter people they would not usually meet. It has been compulsory on public transport since 15 June.
14th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: More than 100 outbreaks tackled a week, says Matt Hancock

"Targeted action" is being taken against more than 100 local outbreaks of coronavirus in England every week, the health secretary has said. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Matt Hancock said increased testing meant officials could now be "targeted" in their response. His comments came after 73 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at a farm in Herefordshire. About 200 workers there have been told to self-isolate.
13th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Lockdown rules easing in England, Scotland and Wales from today - here's what's allowed

Lockdown rules are being eased in England, Scotland and Wales today as the three nations continue the long journey back to normal life. Here's what these changes include:
13th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Further lockdown easing but more action against local outbreaks

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says "targeted action" is being taken against more than 100 local coronavirus outbreaks every week. Factories, hospitals and other workplaces have been shut down and, in Herefordshire, a farm has been put into lockdown. It's also two weeks since Leicester was put under fresh restrictions - they're expected to be reviewed this week
13th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus-hit slaughterhouse in Germany slammed for requesting state aid

A slaughterhouse in Germany has filed for state support after a coronavirus outbreak spread to more than 1,500 employees and triggered a local lockdown. Under German quarantine law, the request might succeed.
13th Jul 2020 - Deutsche Welle

France considers making masks mandatory as doctors warn of Covid resurgence

France’s government said Sunday it was studying whether to impose mandatory masks in indoor spaces as doctors and health officials warned of worrying rates of new infections. “The use of wearing a mask in enclosed spaces is being studied,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a visit to the heavily affected overseas territory of Guiana on Sunday. The remarks were the closest sign yet that French officials are preparing to act upon an increasing number of warnings that people are becoming too nonchalant with recommendations around the spread of Covid-19. A group of 14 doctors called for reinforced mask-wearing and physical distancing on Saturday, and public officials including President Emmanuel Macron have been urging the public to take protective measures.
13th Jul 2020 - YAHOO!

A 14-Hour Detour Is Helping Russians Escape to the Beach

Muscovites desperate for a summer holiday abroad this year have found a loophole that’s letting them evade Russia’s coronavirus ban on foreign travel. A loophole that involves a 14-hour round trip via Belarus. Travelers are exploiting the soft border between the two former-Soviet neighbors. Russians can drive 715km (444 miles) from Moscow to Minsk with minimal checks, and once there they can make use of Belarus’s more liberal Covid-19 restrictions. “Since the quarantine, Minsk has become a Casablanca, the main crossroads for Russians who want to leave the country,” said Maxim Valetskiy, a Russian businessman with an Israeli passport and family in London, who has used the detour four times since the Kremlin halted foreign travel at the end of March.
13th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Britain is the worst-hit country outside of the US and Brazil. But it STILL won't wear masks

Walk into any busy store in England or board a train on London's cramped underground system and you will see dozens of people unmasked. And you can forget about face coverings at recently reopened pubs... that's about as likely as a free pint of beer. This despite the UK being one of the world's worst-hit countries by coronavirus -- it stands third behind Brazil and the United States -- with almost 45,000 fatalities. And apart from catastrophic death tolls, the three countries at the top of the pandemic chart are those in which people resist wearing masks. Now, in the same week the World Health Organization confirms there is "emerging evidence" of airborne transmission of the coronavirus, senior scientists are urging Britons to take up mask wearing, as two new reports highlight the potential effectiveness of facial coverings.
13th Jul 2020 - CNN

Coronavirus: Scotland's slower lockdown exit has had 'marginal' benefit - as move indoors puts elimination goal 'at risk'

Nicola Sturgeon described it as the "most high risk change yet". So will a shift to indoor gatherings in homes, pubs, restaurants and other previously proscribed venues such as hairdressers, cinemas and nail bars derail Scotland's path to eliminating the virus? The move comes amid a seemingly steady fall in coronavirus rates. In the week to Friday, there were just two deaths in patients who had tested positive for Covid and 57 new cases detected through hospital labs, drive-thru centres, and - as of July 8 - home-testing kits.
13th Jul 2020 - HeraldScotland

The 9-5 day is 'out of the question': Here's what going back to work in an office will be like

Businesses may run in shifts or only have people in the workplace for a few days per week. Employees are likely to mix working from home with being in an office much more. Leaders hope that flexible hours mean they can attract a more diverse range of staff.
13th Jul 2020 - CNBC

Australia’s Covid-19 lockdown rules and coronavirus restrictions explained: how far can I travel, and can I have people over?

Australians have been slowly emerging from Covid-19 lockdowns since the federal government announced a three-stage plan in May to ease restrictions across the country, but from 8 July the Melbourne metropolitan area and Mitchell shire immediately to the north returned to a stage three lockdown for six weeks. Here we try to answer some of the most common questions people have about the laws, based on the information current as of 13 July.
13th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Man cuts through fence to escape New Zealand quarantine facility ‘to buy beer and wine’

A man has escaped from a strict coronavirus quarantine in New Zealand, allegedly cutting through a fence at the facility in order to buy alcohol, according to government officials. Martin McVicar, 52, travelled from Sydney last Wednesday and broke out of the managed isolation facility in Hamilton on the North Island eight days later. New Zealand’s head of managed isolation and quarantine, Air Commodore Darryn Webb, said the man appeared to have cut through fence ties at a 1.8-metre fence in order to abscond from the Distinction Hotel. He is believed to have been off the premises for around half an hour, visiting a nearby liquor store, which was cleaned and shut overnight, but has been allowed to reopen. Mr McVicar, who tested negative for Covid-19 on his third day in the isolation, has been taken to prison after a magistrate denied him bail on Friday
13th Jul 2020 - The Independent

Hungary imposes border checks, quarantine to prevent spread of virus

Hungary has imposed new restrictions on cross-border travel as of next Wednesday in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after a surge in new cases in several countries, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Sunday.
12th Jul 2020 - Reuters

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'So much worse than I expected': one worker's time at a virus-hit farm

Karen spent three weeks packing broccoli at AS Green and Co before she quit last month in disgust at the working conditions. “It made me incredibly angry that people could be treated in such a manner,” she told the Guardian, recounting her time at the Herefordshire farm where at least 73 workers have tested positive for coronavirus. “I’ve always known that agricultural work is really hard, but it was just so much worse than I expected,” she said. “I’ve picked apples and planted trees and done lots of hard jobs, but this was the hardest.”
12th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Florida shatters record for new single-day Covid-19 cases from any state

The Florida Department of Health has reported at least 15,299 new Covid-19 cases, the highest number of new cases in a single day by any state since the coronavirus pandemic began. The record-setting number from Saturday was reported by the state Sunday morning. But it's not just the number of new cases that's concerning. The test positivity rate -- which can indicate how rampantly the virus is spreading -- reached 19.6% as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Across the country, more than half the states are dealing with increased rates of new cases compared to last week. And more than half the states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans in hopes of getting coronavirus under control.
12th Jul 2020 - CNN

How California failed at coronavirus testing from the start

The disease investigators arrived at the apartment in street clothes, carrying their gowns, gloves and face shields in Whole Foods bags. They didn’t knock on the door. Instead, they called the resident — a man in his 50s, then California’s first known coronavirus case — by phone. When he answered, he was instructed to move to the farthest corner of the apartment so the team could go inside and suit up. They had come to the apartment building in Orange County to make sure the man was where he promised to be — and that he was isolating there, completely alone.
12th Jul 2020 - Los Angeles Times

Bill Gates 'optimistic' about coronavirus battle

"Better diagnostic tools are being developed to identify those infected. Investments are being made in libraries of anti-viral drugs which has been an under-invested branch of science. "Also, we are making great progress on vaccines," he said. "These platforms won't just be useful against this particular virus. They will also help us specifically for HIV. "Of course, there is a big difference between getting a platform and making sure we get the products out to everyone who needs them.".
12th Jul 2020 - Deccan Herald

Hidden victims of lockdown: ‘Mum attacked me and dragged me to the floor. Drinking made her mood swings worse’

It was when lockdown was first announced that 18-year-old Ray began to panic. The south London student had barely been coping with his mother’s drunken tirades, spending as much time out of the home as possible, but lockdown would mean there would be no escape. As the eldest of four siblings, the youngest aged nine, he felt the burden of making sure they would be all right. “At first I tried to manage lockdown by keeping myself busy and redecorating my room,” he said. “We were used to my mother drinking heavily, but as lockdown progressed, she went from shouting and becoming abusive every weekend to every night.
12th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Gove says face masks shouldn’t be mandatory but they’re ‘basic good manners’

Michael Gove has said he doesn’t believe face coverings should be made compulsory in shops, but described wearing one as ‘basic good manners’. Boris Johnson is currently facing increasing pressure to follow Scotland in bringing in the requirement next week. At present, face coverings are only mandatory in hospitals and on public transport in England. But appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Gove said he thought the government could trust British public’s ‘common sense’ to wear a mask while in confined indoor spaces, such as shops. The Cabinet minister said: ‘I don’t think [they should be] mandatory no, but I would encourage people to wear a face mask where they are inside, in an environment where they are likely to be mixing with others and where the ventilation may not be good.
12th Jul 2020 - Metro

Coronavirus: Outdoor pools and lidos struggling to reopen

Operators of outdoor swimming pools have criticised the timing of the government announcement allowing them to reopen. Some have decided not to open, claiming a lack of preparation time has made a shorter summer season "unviable". Many are run by community groups or charities and have mounted fundraising efforts in order to survive. The government said "comprehensive guidance" was available to leisure operators. As part of the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, swimmers can visit outdoor pools from Saturday, while indoor gyms, pools and sports facilities can reopen from 25 July.
11th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus outbreak hits Los Angeles Apparel with more than 300 infections, 4 employee deaths

When the coronavirus began rapidly spreading in the spring, Los Angeles Apparel was one of many fashion brands that altered operations to make reusable masks. The company’s flamboyant founder, Dov Charney, said in March that his 400 employees were trying to keep up with the desperate need for protection and that he hoped to eventually make 100,000 masks a week. But authorities now say a coronavirus outbreak has struck Los Angeles Apparel, with more than 300 infections and four virus-related deaths among the manufacturer’s workers.
11th Jul 2020 - Los Angeles Times

'We're scared': Coronavirus hits Syria's war-torn Idlib

Three doctors and nurse are first cases to contract COVID19 amid fears of rapid spread at IDP camps in northwest Syria.
11th Jul 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Iran's president calls for ban on weddings, wakes to halt virus spread

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called on Saturday for big gatherings such as weddings and wakes to be banned to stem a rise in coronavirus infections, but insisted the country’s economy had to stay open. Shortly after Rouhani’s televised speech, a police official in Tehran announced the closure of all wedding and mourning venues in the capital until further notice. Iran has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, but has recently reported a sharp rise in the infection rate. The death toll on Saturday rose by 188 over the previous 24 hours to 12,635, while the total number of diagnosed cases reached 255,117, up by 2,397 during the same period, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state TV. “We must ban ceremonies and gatherings all over the country, whether it be wakes, weddings or parties,” Rouhani said. “Now is not the time for festivals or seminars,” he said, adding that even university entrance exams may have to be suspended.
11th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: No 10 considering mandatory face masks in shops in England

Making face coverings mandatory in shops in England is being considered by the government to slow the spread of coronavirus, senior sources have said. Speaking in a Facebook Q&A video, Boris Johnson hinted at the change saying: "We are looking at ways of making sure that people really do have face coverings in shops." Face coverings have been compulsory in shops in Scotland since 10 July. Mr Johnson also said "people should be going back to work if they can now." Responding to a question about extending the furlough scheme the prime minister said: "I think everybody has sort of taken the 'stay at home if you can' - I think we should now say, well, 'go back to work if you can'.
10th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Wisconsin reports largest increase of COVID-19 cases

Wisconsin reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases confirmed through testing in a single day according to new data released Thursday. The Department of Health Services reported 13,158 new test results, of which 754--or 5.7 percent--came back positive, according to the numbers released today. Measuring the percentage of new cases returned in tests each day helps differentiate if increases in cases are due to greater spread or more testing, according to DHS. The seven-day average, another measure reported by DHS, has risen over the last several weeks. Over the past week, an average of 7.3 percent of tests has come back positive each day. The next highest total of new cases reported in a single day was 738 on July 4. DHS also reported two new deaths and 43 new hospitalizations.
9th Jul 2020 - WKOW

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Coronavirus: Pools, gyms, team sport and outdoor gigs to return

Dowden said normal life was "slowly returning" and that this was an important milestone for the country's performers and artists, who had been "waiting in the wings since March". "I'm really urging people to get out there and to play their part," he said. "Buy the tickets for outdoor plays and musical recitals, get to your local gallery and support your local businesses." But the culture secretary warned the measures were conditional and reversible, adding that the government would impose local lockdowns if cases started to spike.
9th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Can big countries realistically eliminate COVID-19 without a vaccine? Four experts discuss

The UK should change its COVID-19 strategy to try to eliminate COVID-19 even without a vaccine rather than simply managing the disease, according to Independent SAGE, a group of scientists set up as an alternative to the government’s advisory body. New Zealand has effectively managed to eliminate the virus, but can states with much larger, denser populations that have experienced much bigger outbreaks hope to do the same? Or is it more realistic to accept that the disease is likely to continue to circulate at some level and plan for that? We asked four experts for their views.
9th Jul 2020 - The Conversation UK

Coronavirus Cases Show No Sign of Slowing in Worst-Hit U.S., Brazil and India

India on Thursday reported nearly 25,000 new coronavirus infections, as the disease continued its ominous spread through the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people. The virus is showing no signs of slowing in the worst-affected countries: the United States, Brazil and India. The three nations are accounting for more than 60% of new cases, according to recent tallies from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. reported nearly 59,000 new daily cases, just short of the record 60,000 cases set a day earlier, as President Donald Trump insisted that schools reopen in the fall. Brazil reported nearly 45,000 new cases. The virus has also been spreading rapidly in South Africa, which reported nearly 9,000 new cases in its latest daily update. A provincial health official said 1.5 million grave sites are being prepared and it’s the public’s responsibility “to make sure that we don’t get there.”
9th Jul 2020 - TIME Magazine

Morocco to Start Reopening Borders After Strict Lockdown

Morocco will start gradually reopening its air and maritime borders next week after one of the world’s strictest border lockdowns, which trapped tourists inside the country and left thousands of Moroccans stranded abroad and unable to come home. Only Moroccan citizens and expatriates living in Morocco will be allowed to travel in the first stage of the reopening starting July 14, according to a government statement Thursday. National airlines will schedule as many flights as necessary to return Moroccans living abroad as well as foreigners living in Morocco. Passengers are required to present both a PCR virus test taken within fewer than 48 hours of the flight, as well as an antibody test, before boarding planes heading for Morocco. Ferries from the French port Sete and Italian port Genoa will be allowed to resume serving Moroccan ports. All other ports will be excluded from this operation for now.
9th Jul 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Scotland is entering phase 3 in the route map out of lockdown, but when will hairdressers reopen again?

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Thursday 9 July that Scotland can now enter into phase 3 in the easing of lockdown restrictions, with hairdressers able to reopen their doors on Wednesday 15 July. Ms Sturgeon also announced she stressed that beauticians and nail salons will be able to open on Wednesday 22 July. The First Minister reminded the Scottish public that face masks are now compulsory on public transport and will become mandatory in shops from Friday 10 July.
9th Jul 2020 - The Scotsman

How does Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown compare with overseas responses to community transmission?

The hard lockdowns placed on Melbourne's public housing towers may be a first in Australia, but similar scenes have played out in countries around the world. Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said earlier this week the tower block lockdown was a "major escalation" and something we had not seen in the country before. But he said it was a similar decision to those made by officials in other parts of the world, such as "New York, China and in Europe". "The way [the increase in cases in Victoria] will come under control is very clear, we know how to do that, it is led by the data," Professor Kelly said. "Testing, trace and isolate [are] crucial and fundamental public health responses."
9th Jul 2020 - ABC News

Warning of possible virus resurgence, France rules out another 'total lockdown'

The French government on Wednesday warned that a surge in coronavirus cases in coming months remained a distinct possibility, though it ruled out another nationwide lockdown that would further cripple the country's economy. "My aim is to prepare France for a possible second wave while preserving our daily life, our economic and social life," Jean Castex, the newly appointed prime minister, said in an interview on RTL television. "But we're not going to impose a lockdown like the one we did last March, because we've learned... that the economic and human consequences from a total lockdown are disastrous," he said. Instead business closures or stay-at-home orders would be "targeted" to specific areas, Castex added.
9th Jul 2020 - YAHOO!

Popular Australian ski resorts closed due to coronavirus concerns

Two popular Victorian ski resorts have closed effective immediately due to the coronavirus crisis in the state. Falls Creek and Mount Hotham ski resorts have closed as a result of new restrictions and the NSW border lockdown. "We have made the difficult decision to suspend operations at Hotham and Falls Creek, effective Thursday July 9 through to at least August 19," Vail Resorts, the US company which owns the ski fields, said in a statement. "We recognise the impact this has on our guests, employees and communities and did not make this decision lightly." Vail Resorts cited the recent rise in cases of coronavirus and say public health and safety is their key motivator.
9th Jul 2020 - 9News

Australia to release most from COVID-19 high-rise lockdown despite surge

Australia’s second-most populous state will relax restrictions on many of the 3,000 people locked down in nine public-housing towers despite surging numbers of COVID-19 cases, state premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday. Victoria state on Saturday confined residents of the towers in their homes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, prompting widespread criticism from residents. Andrews said that after testing all 3,000 people in the towers, residents in eight of the high-rise buildings would be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, the same rules in force throughout the state. “There are such numbers of positive cases, together with known close contacts, that the assumption has got to be that everybody in that tower is a close contact of someone who is positive,” Andrews said of the tower that will remain in lockdown.
9th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Safety for students, staff and teachers key to reopen schools

Now President Donald Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are threatening to cut funding unless we fully reopen with in-person instruction, without regard for safety. The Washington state Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, Department of Health, and Labor & Industries have provided scientifically based guidance for safely reopening schools. Districts across the state are making decisions about which model to offer in accordance with that guidance. Very few districts are finding that five days a week of in-person instruction is safe or appropriate given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. No matter the model, Washington Education Association and our local associations are advocating that school administrators guide their decisions based on what is best and safest for students and educators. Health and safety must remain the priority. Science and guidance from health experts must direct and inform reopening decisions. Schools must employ effective screening and cleaning protocols and provide protective equipment to keep students, staff, families and communities safe. We’ll need more school nurses to provide health checks and monitoring, and custodial staff to clean and sanitize buildings.
9th Jul 2020 - Seattle Times

Coronavirus: Filling middle plane seats may DOUBLE transmission

A new statistical model shows COVID-19 infections rising on commercial flights The MIT produced model shows nearly double the transmissions with middle seats filled, and more than 80 additional deaths from COVID-19 a year. Without federal guidelines, airline policy on middle seat sales is inconsistent
9th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

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The rules returning and support ending as lockdown eases, from free NHS parking to evictions

The coronavirus pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on the lives of many people, leading the Government to suspend various policies to support Britons during these unprecedented times. But as the country begins to emerge from the lockdown, it appears that business is returning to normal. Some of those policies – many of which were unpopular in the first place – are beginning to be reinstated or are slated to return over the next few months.
8th Jul 2020 - iNews

People refusing coronavirus treatment may face jail in Italy's Veneto

People who test positive for the coronavirus but refuse hospital treatment could face a prison sentence under a new regulation introduced in Italy’s northeastern region of Veneto. The order by Governor Luca Zaia says that until the end of July hospitals must tell the public prosecutor’s office of anyone refusing admission after testing positive. Anyone returning to Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, must also be given two compulsory swab tests, Monday’s regional order says if they are returning from a business trip outside the European Union or a non-Schengen country.
8th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Global report: Catalonia makes mask-wearing in public compulsory

Spain’s northern Catalonia region will make wearing a mask in public spaces compulsory at all times from Thursday morning, as French prosecutors charged two men with with attempted murder after a bus driver was attacked and left brain dead for refusing to drive a group of mask-less men. The move in Catalonia was announced as the region struggles with a renewed outbreak of coronavirus around Lleida that has forced a new lockdown for 200,000 inhabitants and pushed hospitals to the brink. The announcement by the Catalan regional leader, Quim Torra, came as authorities around the globe confronted fast-emerging new peaks of the disease even as they looked for ways out of economically damaging nationwide lockdowns. “Masks in Catalonia will be mandatory,” said Torra. Spain has since June ordered the use of masks indoors and outside where 1.5 metres of social distancing cannot be maintained.
8th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

France Can’t Afford Another Lockdown If Covid Returns, PM Says

France’s new government would seek to preserve the economy should a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic force it to bring back lockdown measures, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday. “We won’t survive, economically and socially, an absolute and generalized lockdown,” Castex told BFM TV and RMC radio, adding that he advocated more targeted restrictions. With the World Health Organization advising countries to prepare for a second wave of pandemic spread, it’s a balancing act that officials around the world are also contemplating. But with public finances already battered by the first wave, the tradeoffs look increasingly bleak.
8th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

COVID-19 lock-down: How the Gauteng government plans to safely reopen schools

Since the gradual opening of the economy after lock-down there has been a sharp incline of COVID-19 cases. The government has the task of balancing the health of the people with keeping the economy going and opening the schools. How is the Gauteng provincial government helping? The Gauteng MEC for education is laying out the plans to welcome back school goers….
8th Jul 2020 - CNBC Africa

How Rishi Sunak could kickstart UK's post-lockdown economy

Rishi Sunak is preparing to announce a wide-ranging package of tax and spending measures to kickstart Britain’s economic recovery from the coronavirus lockdown. Designed to cushion the blow from rising unemployment and to help businesses back to their feet, the summer economic update on Wednesday comes as Britain grapples with the worst recession in living memory. Here are the key announcements to look out for from the chancellor.
8th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

French PM says any new coronavirus lockdown would be targeted

New French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday that any new lockdown will be targeted, and not imposed nationwide, if there is a major new coronavirus outbreak. The previous French government enforced a strict nationwide lockdown from mid-March to May 11 to try to curb the spread of COVID-19, and some restrictions on public gatherings are still in place. “We must be ready for a second wave, but we would not proceed to a general lockdown like in March, as that has terrible economic and human consequences. Any new lockdown would be targeted,” Castex told BFM television.
8th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Mexico posts new case record to overtake Spain; official says virus 'slowing'

The government has said the real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the confirmed numbers due to low levels of testing. Lopez-Gatell, the deputy health minister and who spearheads Mexico’s coronavirus response, said the new figures do not mean the spread of the virus is accelerating. “The epidemic in Mexico is slowing down,” he said, adding that the velocity of the spread was decreasing. He highlighted progress in Mexico City, the epicenter of the virus. He said despite officials in the capital loosening restrictions and reopening for business two weeks ago, there have been no signals the virus was on the rise.
8th Jul 2020 - Reuters

South Africa prepares 1.5 million gravesites as coronavirus cases rise

A health official in South Africa’s new coronavirus hot spot of Gauteng province says authorities are preparing over 1.5 million gravesites as confirmed cases rise.
8th Jul 2020 - 1News

Strains of hope: Chilean nurse serenades COVID-19 patients with violin

When most Chilean nurses finish their long shifts caring for the country’s many COVID-19 patients, there is little else on their minds but seeing their families, eating and sleeping. Not so Damaris Silva, who twice a week when she finishes her shift at 6 p.m. picks up her violin and returns to the ward. Silva, 26, spends several hours walking the corridors of the Hospital El Pino, in the capital Santiago’s poor southern La Pintana neighbourhood. She plays a mix of popular Latin songs, bringing a moment of levity for both patients - some of whom have spent weeks in critical care - and exhausted colleagues. “As soon as I walk in the patients brighten, they seem happier; they smile and applaud,” she told Reuters.
6th Jul 2020 - Reuters

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A return to tighter lockdown restrictions could be harder to enforce

New research by academics led by the University of Pretoria models three scenarios for the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa, combining previous models with new data. The results paint a worrying picture for the rate of infection against the country’s ICU capacity, amid decreasing levels of compliance to lockdown regulations. To curb the spread of Covid-19, many governments around the world have implemented tiered lockdowns with varying degrees of stringency. Lockdown levels are typically increased when the disease spreads and reduced when the disease abates.
7th Jul 2020 - BusinessTech

New lockdown rules for the reopening of cinemas and sport in South Africa

Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has published a new directive outlining the new reopening rules for cinemas, sports, and libraries. The directive, which comes into immediate effect, forms part of the country’s ‘advanced level 3 lockdown’ which saw a number of business sectors reopen to the public. While the amended level 3 directive sets out a number of core regulations which all business must follow, the latest directive from Mthethwa also introduces specific guidelines for the arts and sports sectors. The changes are outlined in more detail below.
7th Jul 2020 - BusinessTech

Italy could ‘section’ people who refuse treatment for Covid-19

Italy’s health minister has proposed “sectioning” people who refuse hospital treatment for Covid-19 and has suspended flights from Bangladesh as the southern European country grapples with several new coronavirus outbreaks. The potential move towards forced hospitalisations came after a cluster of infections arose in the northern Veneto region, triggered by a man who developed coronavirus symptoms on the day he returned from a business trip to Serbia and initially resisted treatment in hospital.
7th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Global report: South Africa cases pass 200,000 as Kenya plans 'phased reopening'

South Africa’s coronavirus cases have passed 200,000, the highest total in Africa, as Kenya’s leadership announced that it was pressing on with plans to ease the country’s lockdown despite a steep increase in cases. There are currently 205,721 cases and 3,310 deaths in South Africa, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data, making it the 15th worst-affected country worldwide. South Africa’s Times newspaper reported that the country’s cases have increased by almost 160,000 in the last month alone.
7th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Fleeing coronavirus outbreaks overseas: New Zealand restricts entry for Kiwis escaping coronavirus

New Zealand began restricting the return of its own nationals Tuesday as the country faces an accelerating influx of citizens fleeing coronavirus outbreaks overseas and limited quarantine facilities. National carrier Air New Zealand put a three-week freeze on new bookings and the government is in talks with other airlines to limit capacity, officials said. New Zealand has gone 67 days without any cases of coronavirus in the community and its 22 active cases are all in managed quarantine facilities for New Zealanders flocking home from worsening epidemics elsewhere.
7th Jul 2020 - RTL Today

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Coronavirus: Scotland reopens beer gardens and outdoor cafes as lockdown eases

People in Scotland are now able to return to beer gardens and pavement cafes after they opened for the first time in 15 weeks. But customers are being warned that al fresco eating and drinking will not be the same as it was before the lockdown. As well as following strict distancing and hygiene rules, they will have to leave their contact details so they can be traced in the event of an outbreak. Pubs and restaurants should be able to welcome customers indoors from 15 July. That will be part of phase three of the Scottish government's route map out of lockdown, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to confirm on Thursday.
6th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Australians could soon be allowed to travel to New Zealand

Travel-bubble between Australia and New Zealand has been on table since May But the plan is being held back by a massive coronavirus outbreak in Victoria Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said is prepared to restart trans-Tasman flights But it would be on a state-by-state basis meaning Victorians are banned
6th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

India puts back Taj Mahal reopening citing COVID-19 risks

India has withdrawn a planned reopening of the Taj Mahal, citing the risk of new coronavirus infections spreading in the northern city of Agra from visitors flocking to see the 17th century monument to love.
6th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Kenya announces phased re-opening of the country from coronavirus lockdown

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Monday a phased reopening of the country from a COVID-19 lockdown, lifting restrictions on travel in and out of the capital Nairobi and allowing air travel to resume.
6th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

"Mona Lisa" back at work, visitors limited as Louvre reopens

The “Mona Lisa” is back in business. Paris' Louvre Museum, which houses the world's most famous portrait, reopened Monday after a four-month coronavirus lockdown and without its usual huge throngs. The reopening of the world's most-visited museum was a bright spot in what is otherwise shaping up as a grimly quiet start to the summer tourist season in France, with far fewer visitors than was normal before the pandemic closed borders.
6th Jul 2020 - ABC News

Saudi Arabia makes masks mandatory, bans gatherings during Hajj

Saudi Arabia on Monday said all the intending pilgrims in 2020 Hajj must wear face masks at all times, while workers would ensure no overcrowding or gatherings take place during the pilgrimage. The kingdom has drastically curtailed the pilgrimage amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying that only the few thousands who reside in the country could perform the Hajj, scheduled for July ending. Saudi Arabia’s Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (SaudiCDC) released a list of instructions for pilgrims and workers to follow.
6th Jul 2020 - The Nation Newspaper

Coronavirus: Pubs close after positive tests

A number of pubs in England have closed after customers tested positive for coronavirus. At least three establishments announced they had shut their doors again just days after reopening at the weekend. They were among hundreds of venues that welcomed customers for the first time in three months as lockdown measures were eased. Crowds descended in some towns and cities, prompting fears social distancing was being disregarded. The affected pubs announced their closures via Facebook. The Lighthouse Kitchen and Carvery in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, said it was "slowly" working through a list of customers who had left details at the weekend. In Batley, West Yorkshire, the Fox and Hounds said a customer had phoned to say they had tested positive for coronavirus. The pub said staff had taken tests and the venue would be deep-cleaned prior to reopening.
6th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Fiji reports first coronavirus case in 78 days

Fiji's 78-day run without coronavirus is over, with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama confirming Monday a 66-year-old man tested positive after returning from India. It is the 19th case in the small South Pacific island nation, and more are now expected. "We've confirmed a border case of COVID-19 among a returning citizen while he was securely in the confines of government-funded quarantine," Bainimarama said. All arrivals to Fiji have to undergo 14 days of quarantine. The acting permanent secretary for health, James Fong, said Fiji had deliberately refrained from calling itself 'COVID-free' and was not surprised when the positive test was recorded Sunday.
6th Jul 2020 - Medical Xpress

Bali holds mass prayers for reopening from coronavirus lockdown

Bali conducted mass prayers on Sunday as the Indonesian resort island prepares to reopen to tourists shut out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a thousand people attended a prayer at Besakih Hindu temple in the town of Karangasem, expressing gratitude for the handling of the new coronavirus on the island and seeking blessings for the start of a “new normal”. Bali has reported 1,849 coronavirus infections and 20 deaths so far, while Indonesia as a whole has recorded 63,749 cases and 3,171 deaths since early March.
5th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

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Coronavirus: Arts venues welcome £1.57bn government support

The government has unveiled a £1.57bn support package to help protect the futures of UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues. It follows several weeks of pressure, with industry leaders warning that many venues were on the brink of collapse. Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will also be eligible for the new emergency grants and loans. Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts is expected to be published by the government shortly. A string of theatres have announced plans to make staff redundant in recent weeks, after being closed since the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year. The announcement of the new funding comes just two days after theatres across the UK were covered in colourful messages of support.
5th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Ireland to ease foreign travel restrictions from July 20

Ireland is to ease quarantine restrictions on people travelling from abroad on July 20, with people from a “green list” of countries with low COVID-19 rates to be exempt from isolating themselves for 14 days, transport minister Eamon Ryan said. Former prime minister Leo Varadkar in June said that the restrictions would be eased from July 9. “A so-called green list... will be published on July 20,” Ryan said in an interview with Newstalk radio station. “The green list will be operating after that.”
5th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Former WHO director Anthony Costello: 'Opening pubs before schools says something about our priorities'

Well it’s very odd in Britain that we’re opening pubs before schools. It says something about our priorities. Being outdoors the risks are pretty low – 19 times lower risk according to a Japanese study. I would have said open pubs as long as you serve outside.
5th Jul 2020 - MSN UK

Lockdown heroes: couriers get Moscow monument

A group of Russian e-commerce companies said Friday they had erected a monument in Moscow thanking couriers for helping people through the coronavirus lockdown. The tribute comes after some delivery workers, many of whom are impoverished migrants from Central Asia, protested against conditions they said were unfair. Online shopping company Ozon, sometimes called the Russian Amazon, as well as several supermarkets and food delivery services said they clubbed together to put up the sculptural tribute in the south of the capital.
3rd Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

Brazil set to pass 1.5 million coronavirus cases, cities reopen anyway

Brazil was set to pass 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, as the virus continues to ravage Latin America’s largest country even as cities reopen bars, restaurants and gyms sparking fears infections will keep rising. Brazil has the world’s second largest outbreak after the United States and the virus has killed over 60,000 people in the country. In Rio de Janeiro, crowds gathered to drink on the sidewalk of an upscale beach-side neighborhood on Thursday night, the first evening bars in the city were allowed to reopen. Pictures of the revelry in Leblon, where few were wearing face masks and people were huddled close together, went viral on social media drawing condemnation and concern.
3rd Jul 2020 - Reuters

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'Bubbles' - How England plans to reopen schools to all pupils

All pupils in England will be expected to return to school in September as part of government plans unveiled on Thursday, which include dividing students into separate groups to limit the spread of COVID-19. Schools will be asked to maintain distinct student groups, known as bubbles, which strive to not mix with pupils in other bubbles. They could be the size of a class or a year group. This makes it easier to pinpoint who needs to self-isolate if there is a positive case and will keep that number to a minimum, the education ministry said. Officials acknowledge younger children will not be able to maintain social distancing and that could be challenging for everyone when using shared facilities such as dining halls, toilets and playgrounds.
2nd Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Cuban capital to ease lockdown, joins rest of the country

Cuba said on Wednesday it will begin easing a pandemic lockdown on Havana on Friday, while most of the rest of the country will move to phase two of a three-phase process towards normalization. The capital’s 2.2 million residents will once more be able to move around on public and private transport, go to the beach and other recreation centers, and enjoy a seaside drive just in time for the summer break. They can also dine and have a drink, although social distancing and wearing masks remain mandatory. Optional medical and other services will also resume. Only a handful of COVID-19 cases were reported in Cuba last month, all but a few in Havana. Most of the Caribbean island, home to 11.2 million inhabitants, has been free of the disease for more than a month.
2nd Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

High-flying facemasks arrive at Mexican hospitals by drone

To eliminate the risk of contagious human beings, a Mexican company has launched a drone delivery service to get clean medical supplies to hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. Mexico-City based firm Sincronia Logistica has begun deploying unmanned drones to deliver personal protective gear and other essential equipment to public hospitals in the central state of Queretaro, north of the capital. Mexican healthcare workers have staged protests nationwide over the lack of personal protective equipment. The drones help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus by allowing for quick, contact-free drop-offs. “In addition to reducing time, we’ve also reduced human contact,” said Diego Garcia, director of business excellence at Sincronia Logistica. The innovation comes as the pandemic has surged in Mexico to give the country the sixth-highest death toll worldwide, with some 28,510 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities.
3rd Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

How will schools return safely in September?

All pupils should be back in school in England by September under new government guidelines announced on Thursday by the education secretary. From the beginning of the autumn term, limits on attendance will be lifted to allow schools to open at full capacity, and schools and colleges are being asked to return to a full curriculum ahead of exams next summer. But, after several false starts, how will schools open safely to all pupils after the summer break according to the latest government blue print set out by Gavin Williamson on Thursday.
2nd Jul 2020 - ITV News

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Miami-Dade, Broward Order Mandatory Face Covering When in Public

As coronavirus cases continue to climb in South Florida, Broward and Miami-Dade counties have issued emergency orders requiring people wear face masks when out in public. In a statement, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the two counties agreed to a "blanket facial coverings" order in order to avoid overwhelming smaller hospitals. "I want to once again reiterate that if everyone follows the New Normal rules of social distancing of at least six feet, wear facial coverings (which can be homemade) and stay safer at home unless they need to go to work or to a store, we can get back to opening up our economy," Gimenez said in a statement. Broward's emergency order also required that business remain closed between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. Take out, delivery and drive-thru are still permitted. Miami-Dade issued a similar order late Tuesday night, which goes into effect Wednesday night at midnight.
2nd Jul 2020 - NBC 6 South Florida

No 2nd second lockdown in Colombia's capital after major ICU capacity boost

The mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogota said she wouldn’t call a second lockdown, claiming the health ministry would provide more intensive care units (ICU’s) to treat COVID-19 patients. Following a meeting with Health Minister Fernando Ruiz, Mayor Claudia Lopez said the ministry vowed to give the capital more than the 425 ICU’s promised before the end of August. “There won’t be another lockdown” Consequently, “there’s won’t be another lockdown,” said Lopez. Lopez had stepped up pressure on the government of President Ivan Duque, threatening to suspend the government’s economic reactivation plans if a 75% ICU occupancy rate forced her to declare a red alert. The increased number of ICU’s, however, “added to those already bought by Bogota,allow us to have a good care system in July,” according to the mayor.
1st Jul 2020 - Colombia Reports

Two Brazilian cities limit reopening as cases rise

The Brazilian cities of Belo Horizonte and Cuiaba this week rolled back reopening to only essential businesses due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the last few days. The Brazilian cities of Belo Horizonte and Cuiaba this week rolled back reopening to only essential businesses due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the last few days. While the cases and deaths caused by the new virus were falling in cities like Rio de Janeiro an Sao Paulo, reopening commerce and easing the restrictive measures meant the virus spread was moving to the countryside, affecting other cities and small towns. According to Dr. Margareth Dalcolmo, pneumologist and researcher at the renowned FIOCRUZ Institute, less than 20% of the Brazilian municipalities have the ability to properly treat patients in serious conditions.
1st Jul 2020 - Republic World

EU reopens to outside visitors in bid to save tourism

The European Union has reopened its borders to visitors from 15 countries, but excluded the United States where deaths are rising again and a top health official warned the country was heading in the "wrong direction". The final list of nations safe enough to allow residents to enter the EU did not include Russia, Brazil or the US, where the daily death toll passed 1,000 yesterday for the first time since 10 June. US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said the US could see 100,000 cases a day if the current trend continued, and several US states imposed 14-day quarantines on travellers from other states.
1st Jul 2020 - RTE.ie

Italy keeps travel ban in place as EU opens borders

Most EU countries have agreed to reopen their external borders on July 1st to visitors from 15 countries - but Italy will be keeping its travel ban in place. Here's what you need to know. The EU 27 member states on Tuesday agreed on a list of 15 countries whose citizens would be allowed to travel to European Union from July 1st. But later on Tuesday Italy, which had seemed to be in favour of reopening, announced it would not be lifting its ban on travel from outside Europe. The 15 non-EU countries on the "safe list" are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
1st Jul 2020 - The Local Italy

Korea’s Export Slump Eases on More Work Days, Lockdown Lifts

South Korea’s exports fell at a slower pace in June as economies emerged from lockdowns, offering a sign that the worst of a slump in overseas demand may be over, though economists warned a recovery would likely be slow. The value of overseas shipments fell 11% from a year earlier, according to trade ministry data released Wednesday, improving from declines in excess of 20% in the previous two months. Economists had forecast a 9.1% contraction. The snapshot of Korean export health was complicated by extra working days in June that likely masked some weakness.
1st Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus is growing': Jacinda Ardern rejects calls to open New Zealand borders

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hit out at calls from her political opponents to reopen the nation’s borders - calling the suggestion “frankly dangerous”. The pacific island nation has been able to keep its coronavirus case number dramatically low after introducing lockdown measures early - with only 22 instances of the virus currently confirmed in the country and one hospitalisation. The result has been a return to normality for much of the country - including mass attendance at sports events and a full return of the nation’s hospitality sector.
1st Jul 2020 - The Independent

Post COVID-19 lockdown, new direct flights from Delhi may open up international travel destinations

During the nationwide lockdown, thousands of Indian stranded aboard were flown back to the country from across the world and several foreigners were also sent to their countries. To facilitate their safe travel, Delhi airport served as one the largest transit points, which handled about 92 international flights connecting 28 destinations for the first time. The list includes several long-haul routes such as Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington in New Zealand, Brisbane in Australia, Cairo and Marsa Alam in Egypt, Domodedovo in Russia, Dublin in Ireland, Ankara in Turkey, Hamburg-Finkenwerder in Germany, Johannesburg in South Africa, Manila in the Philippines, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and Ras Al Khaimah in UAE.
1st Jul 2020 - The New Indian Express

Lockdown easing pits Irish health officials against airline bosses

Ryanair used its return to a more regular schedule on Wednesday to pile pressure on its home market of Ireland to ease travel restrictions in a debate that has pitted airline bosses against increasingly cautious health officials. Ireland’s then caretaker government said last week it planned to lift a 14-day quarantine for anyone travelling to and from countries that have also suppressed the coronavirus from July 9 and would publish a list of safe countries. However, new prime minister Micheál Martin, appointed last weekend, said on Monday he would take a cautious approach to opening up air travel after health authorities warned this could reignite the coronavirus crisis in Ireland. “We can’t say we’re somehow different, close the doors and throw away the keys. On that basis we may as well move out to the Aran Islands,” Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair’s main airline unit, told the Newstalk radio station, referring to the tiny Irish islands off its west coast.
1st Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

U.S. already at 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day, it just isn't testing them all, former FDA Commissioner Gottlieb says

While the U.S. has ramped up coronavirus testing to more than 500,000 tests per day, it still won’t be enough, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said. The U.S. has struggled to roll out rapid and effective diagnostic testing since the beginning of the outbreak. By the time the coronavirus had infected more than 1 million people in the U.S., the country had tested just over 6.3 million people. The U.S. already has 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, it’s just not testing enough to detect all the new patients, Gottlieb said.
1st Jul 2020 - CNBC

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Indigenous peoples of South America face 'genocide' as coronavirus pandemic exposes historic inequalities

Berlin Diques oversees the well-being of some of the most vulnerable peoples in the world. As a regional president of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP), he supervises three regions of remote Amazonia, at the Peruvian borders of Colombia and Brazil, territories that are home to 15 different indigenous groups. Managing their well-being during the pandemic, he says, is harder than ever. “We are in danger of extinction,” he told ABC News. “If one of us got the virus in a remote community and starts the contagion it will be the death of us . . . it will be a genocide. This is my biggest fear.”
30th Jun 2020 - ABC News

Uruguay’s Covid success: ‘We cannot cry victory just yet’

In contrast, in far smaller Uruguay — which is also favoured by a low population density and much lower inequality and poverty — only 25 people have died of coronavirus, with just two deaths in the last month. “We cannot cry victory just yet. We have to stay alert,” said Daniel Salinas, Uruguay’s health minister. Last month, President Luis Lacalle Pou was briefly quarantined before testing negative for Covid-19 after meeting with an infected official from the town of Rivera on the border with Brazil, where the death toll has spiralled above 50,000. Most agree that Uruguay’s strong public health system has helped it combat the pandemic. After 15 years of rule by the centre-left Broad Front coalition that invested heavily in the health sector, Uruguay has one of the highest numbers of hospital beds per inhabitant in Latin America.
30th Jun 2020 - Financial Times

European Union says it will bar Americans when bloc reopens to international visitors July 1

Americans will not be allowed to travel to European Union countries when the bloc opens up to international visitors July 1, the European Council announced Tuesday. Travelers from 14 countries will be welcomed to the EU, including Canada, South Korea and Australia. But those from the U.S. and many other nations will be barred as too risky because of spiking coronavirus cases in their home countries. Chinese travelers will be allowed to visit if that country's government confirms a policy of reciprocity, the council's announcement said.
30th Jun 2020 - USA TODAY

UK's mental health has deteriorated during lockdown, says Mind

Lockdown has been devastating for mental health and the worst could be yet to come, a leading charity has said. The mental health charity Mind says a survey has revealed that lockdown has had a dramatic impact on the nation’s mental health, warning that unless action is taken now, the problem could grow. “Overall there has been a deterioration in people’s mental health, regardless of whether they had the mental health problem before [lockdown],” said Megan Pennell, the parliamentary and campaigns manager at Mind. The charity said the government must take urgent action not just to address immediate need but to invest in services and put safety nets in place for the future, noting stressors including unemployment and housing problems were set to worsen.
30th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

As EU prepares to reopen borders, Spanish experts stress importance of coronavirus safety measures

The European Union agreed on Monday to open its borders to a list of 15 countries, which have reciprocal deals with the EU and are considered safe due to their epidemiological situation. Under the agreement, which needs to be approved by a majority of the 27-member bloc, travel to and from the following countries will be permitted from July 1: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. The list also includes China, but only if visitors from the EU receive reciprocal treatment, given that is one of the conditions for reopening. We should not be guided by whether there are active outbreaks, but rather whether they are controlled
30th Jun 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

No countrywide lockdown but concentrated confinements to deal with new Covid-19 outbreaks, says Spain’s Health Minister

Concetrated confinements rather than another countrywide lockdown is the way to deal with new Covid-19 outbreaks, believes Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa. The minister said he is inclined towards “surgical” lockdowns of specific localities, buildings or companies, assuming the relevant regional governments are of the same opinion. According to Illa a second wave of the virus in Spain is avoidable if society acts responsibly. If it does happen, he believes it will be “less intense and smaller scale,” mainly because the country’s health system is, in his view, better prepared. At the same time, he said it was necessary to work on the basis of the worst possible scenario occurring.
30th Jun 2020 - Euro Weekly News

Jacinda Ardern says opening New Zealand border too quickly would be ‘dangerous’

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has responded forcefully after copping criticism of her government’s coronavirus border policies from both sides. The country’s Opposition leader Todd Muller says keeping its current border restrictions in place over the long term is “simply untenable” and will leave New Zealand “on its knees”. “The New Zealand strategy cannot be that we stay locked up until everybody else gets to zero or we have a vaccine. This country would be on its knees if that was the case,” Mr Muller said during a speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce yesterday. “Just because (the virus) is present in a country shouldn’t mean that nobody from that country has the capacity to visit this country. “We’ve got to be able to imagine a different engagement with the world than that.” Meanwhile, some parts of the New Zealand media, foremost among them Newshub host Duncan Garner, actually want restrictions tightened.
30th Jun 2020 - News.com.au

Coronavirus: EU to allow in visitors from 14 'safe' countries

The EU has decided that from Wednesday EU borders will be reopened to citizens from 15 non-EU countries, including Canada, Morocco and Australia, but not the US, Brazil and Russia. China is on the list, but subject to a reciprocal agreement, still pending. The unanimous decision by the European Council is not legally binding, so states can choose not to open up to all those countries. Diplomats spent five days debating the list, amid varying pandemic concerns. The so-called "safe travel destinations" are, besides China: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. The UK and four other non-EU states - Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway - are automatically included as "safe".
30th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Thailand to ease nightlife lockdown, allow some entry to foreigners

Thailand's nightlife will restart with some restrictions this week, the kingdom announced Monday, part of a return to normalcy as it prepares to welcome business travellers and medical tourists after a ban on foreign entry. So far Thailand has 3,169 cases and 58 deaths from the coronavirus -- a low toll considering the kingdom in mid-January became was the first country outside China to register a case. But the country's tourism-reliant economy has been hit hard by the border closures, while a halt to its infamous nightlife has left the kingdom's informal workers -- in bars, massage parlours, and karaoke lounges -- adrift. Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said the "most at-risk businesses" will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday, as there has been no local transmission of the virus for more than a month.
29th Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

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The UK Government has advised people to work from home, rather than their usual workplace, wherever possible

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced several changes to current lockdown restrictions following the government’s latest review on 23 June. The changes, which include plans to allow family visits overnight, the reopening of businesses, and a reduction of the 2m social distancing rule, will take effect in England from Saturday 4 July. But what do the latest rules mean for office workers? Here’s everything you need to know.
29th Jun 2020 - Yorkshire Evening Post

Coronavirus: Shops reopen in Scotland as lockdown restrictions ease

Shoppers queued early as non-essential retailers across Scotland prepared to reopen their doors. Shops with on-street access and some workplaces such as factories are reopening following further easing of lockdown. Small weddings and civil partnerships can be held outdoors and zoos can reopen, but only to local visitors. However the first minister urged people to act responsibly and "not to squander" Scotland's progress. The resumption of non-essential retail is one of the biggest changes to restrictions to date.
29th Jun 2020 - BBC News

UK coronavirus death toll rises by 25 as England prepares for lockdown lifting

A further 25 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total death toll to 43,575. The increase, announced today by the Department of Health (DoH), includes the number of people who have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in hospitals, care homes and the wider community in the 24 hours up to 9am this morning. However, government officials, including England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, have warned that infection numbers “will rise again” if people ignore social distancing guidelines. A major incident was declared in Bournemouth last Thursday, after thousands of sun seekers flouted lockdown rules to head to the beach. Johnson has warned that he “will not hesitate to apply the handbrakes on a local or indeed national level” should the number of infections rise in the country.
29th Jun 2020 - City A.M.

Austria lifts travel warning for German state of North Rhine-Westphalia

Austria has withdrawn a general travel warning for Germany's most populous state issued after a massive coronavirus outbreak at a meat processing plant. The country put the warning in place for people travelling from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) following the outbreak at Tönnies meat plant in Gütersloh. Now it has been lifted – but the ban remains in place on the Gütershloh district of NRW. "As of today (Sunday) at midnight, the general travel warning for North Rhine-Westphalia will be lifted; it will only apply to the district of Gütersloh," said Elisabeth Köstinger, the Austrian minister responsible for tourism, during a live broadcast organised by German newspaper Bild. If people from Gütersloh want to visit neighbouring Austria, they have to present a negative coronavirus test that is less than 48 hours old. Those who can do this will "be able to start their vacation in Austria", said Köstinger.
29th Jun 2020 - The Local Europe

Spain Plans to Open its Borders with Morocco Wednesday

Spain is planning to reopen its borders with Morocco on Wednesday after months of suspended international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schengen Visa Info quoted the President of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, Eduardo de Castro, who said PM Pedro Sanchez informed him of Spain’s plans to resume international travel on July 1. The outlet added that the reopening of borders might be a “one-side action, as Spain expects that Morocco’s government will maintain its borders closed until winter.” Spanish outlet El Pais also reported that Spain will allow travelers from outside the Schengen area to visit the country starting July 1, “providing there is a reciprocal agreement on travel and taking into account the epidemiological situation in the country of origin.”
29th Jun 2020 - Morocco World News

Thailand to ease nightlife lockdown, allow some entry to foreigners

Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said the "most at-risk businesses" will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday, as there has been no local transmission of the virus for more than a month. "The most important thing we care about are the people who have no income for their families," he said. "Secondly we are confident that our health system is ready to handle (the situation)." Beginning July 1, bars, clubs and karaoke lounges can reopen, though they must adhere to a midnight closing time and have social distancing measures, said Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for COVDI-19 Situation Administration. Massage parlours and teahouses -- which sometimes act as fronts for brothels -- will also have to register customers using the government's tracking app. "Staff must be tested for COVID-19 from time to time and there should be no sex trade," said Taweesin.
29th Jun 2020 - FRANCE 24

Thailand To Ease Nightlife Lockdown, Allow Some Entry To Foreigners

Thailand's nightlife will restart with some restrictions this week, the kingdom announced Monday, part of a return to normalcy as it prepares to welcome business travellers and medical tourists after a ban on foreign entry. So far Thailand has 3,169 cases and 58 deaths from the coronavirus -- a low toll considering the kingdom in mid-January became was the first country outside China to register a case. But the country's tourism-reliant economy has been hit hard by the border closures, while a halt to its infamous nightlife has left the kingdom's informal workers -- in bars, massage parlours, and karaoke lounges -- adrift. Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said the "most at-risk businesses" will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday, as there has been no local transmission of the virus for more than a month.
29th Jun 2020 - International Business Times

Covid 19 Lockdown Measures in France: Déconfinement

As of 22 June France is now in the 3rd phase of “déconfinement“, the relaxation of lockdown rules. Cinemas, holiday centres, sports halls for group sports, all crèches, schools, and collèges are fully open but with strict adherence to sanitary regimes. Earlier in June restrictions were lifted on restaurants, bars, travel distances, tourist accommodation, parks and more. The 2nd phase also saw the end of the 100km travel limit restriction so people are now free to travel without carrying documents proving their purpose of travel. Residents now no longer need to carry an attestation form to travel further than 100km from their home, and the limit has been dropped. Hotels, restaurants, gites, B&B’s, cafes, parks and gardens were also opened during the 2nd phase. France is still under an official ‘state of health emergency’ whereby government can fast track legislation and local authorities have the power to restrict movements, stop gatherings, festivals, concerts etc in their own departments if they deem these to be a health risk.
29th Jun 2020 - France Today

US, Russia not on welcome list when EU reopens Wednesday

Europe will allow tourists from countries and regions outside of the bloc to begin entering again on Wednesday, but the US and Russia are now among the nations considered too risky because they have not controlled the novel coronavirus outbreak, The New York Times reported on Friday. Travelers from more than a dozen countries that are not overwhelmed by the virus are set to be welcomed when the bloc reopens on Wednesday after months of lockdown, the newspaper said. According to the report, countries that made the safe list were judged on a mix of scientific criteria that included their infection rates and the credibility of their public health reporting data.
29th Jun 2020 - China Daily USA

Testing stepped up as India’s virus cases jump with another daily high

Governments were stepping up testing and warily considering their next moves on Monday as the number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases surges in many countries. India reported 20,000 new cases on Monday, while the US confirmed more than 40,000 new infections for the third straight day. As infections rise along with summer temperatures in the northern hemisphere, many governments are stepping up testing and mulling more aggressive moves such as renewed lockdowns to stem fresh outbreaks. India’s 20,000 new infections was a new daily record. Several states reimposed partial or full lockdowns after the total number of cases jumped by nearly 100,000 in one week to 548,318.
29th Jun 2020 - The Argus

Australia, New Zealand Recovery Paths to Differ on Virus: HSBC

Australia’s suppression of the coronavirus in contrast with New Zealand’s elimination will bring different outcomes in their growth paths, according to Paul Bloxham at HSBC Holdings Plc., as cases spike Down Under while Kiwis are heading to the rugby. Australia’s southern state of Victoria has seen an isolated sharp rise in new cases in recent days. New Zealand, on the other hand, has recorded no community transmission for 38 days -- the 20 active cases are recent overseas arrivals and are in quarantine. Given these outcomes, HSBC said in a Monday report it expects a “U-shaped” recovery in Australia, with a sharp fall in second-quarter GDP of 7.5% followed by a modest rise of 0.4% in the next three months. It sees a much sharper slump of 14.7% in New Zealand for this quarter, but expects the economy to be on track for a “V-shaped” rebound with a 12.6% surge during July-September.
29th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

New Zealand government sat on Palantir Covid-19 data tracking offer

Emails released to RNZ show a US offer to rapidly set up Covid-19 data-crunching capabilities sat with the government for more than a month during the lockdown period before being rejected
29th Jun 2020 - RNZ

'Get Britain moving again', PM Johnson to unveil new infrastructure plan

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will launch a plan this week to get Britain “moving again” after the coronavirus lockdown, when the government will set out measures to boost infrastructure construction, interior minister Priti Patel said on Sunday. Johnson will make a speech on Tuesday to set out plans to fast-track building projects such as hospitals, schools, housing, and road and rail infrastructure, part of efforts to try to stem a fall in support for his government. The British leader has been criticised for his response to the coronavirus crisis, with opposition parties and some scientists saying the government was too slow to bring in a lockdown, too slow to carry out widespread testing and not clear in its messaging.
29th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Has Covid Testing Gone Wrong?

Is the biggest mistake in the Covid-19 crisis about to happen? As the country comes out of lockdown, the UK needs a test and trace system that can stop the disease from spreading again. So is that system ready to keep us safe? Reporter Richard Bilton investigates the rapid expansion of our testing capacity and asks whether we have got the world-beating service the prime minister promised.
29th Jun 2020 - BBC Panorama

Spain maintains ban on cruise ships even as tourism sector reopens

Spain is to uphold a ban on cruise liners from docking at its ports to stop the spread of COVID-19, according to a ministerial order published on Saturday. Cruise liners carrying thousands of passengers regularly stop off at ports in the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Barcelona and Malaga, but were prohibited when Spain went into lockdown on March 14. With their crowds of often elderly passengers, cruise ships have been especially vulnerable to outbreaks of the virus and have been barred from disembarking in several countries. Spain's ban on the vessels will continue until the coronavirus epidemic is brought under control, according to the Official State Gazette, even as the country otherwise reopens to tourists in an effort to revive an industry hammered by the coronavirus lockdown.
28th Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

Egypt eases restrictions despite surge in coronavirus infections

Egypt on Saturday lifted many restrictions put in place against the coronavirus pandemic, reopening cafes, clubs, gyms and theaters after more than three months of closure, despite a continued upward trend in new infections. Authorities also allowed the limited reopening of mosques and churches, and lifted the nighttime curfew. President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi's government has been keen to save the Egyptian economy that was hit hard by the virus outbreak. On Friday, the International Monetary Fund approved another $5.2 billion loan for Egypt, to be added to the $2.8 billion the fund had already promised to stave off the pandemic’s worst economic effects.
28th Jun 2020 - AlAraby.co.uk

Singapore ‘bans Britons from working over lockdown bar crawl’

Several Britons have been banned from working in Singapore after reportedly going on a bar crawl during lockdown. Six people found guilty this week of breaching anti-coronavirus measures have had their work permits revoked, authorities said. They had meet-ups near the city-state's Robertson Quay while social gatherings were banned to limit the spread of the virus, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MoM).
28th Jun 2020 - The Independent

Australian supermarkets limit toilet roll sales amid panic-buying, as country eases coronavirus lockdown despite spike in cases

Australian supermarkets have restricted toilet roll sales after a new bout of panic-buying, as the country continues to ease its coronavirus lockdown despite a spike in infections in its second-most-populated state. Despite assurances from prime minister Scott Morrison that Australia’s coronavirus curve is “flat”, the country’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, on Friday introduced a two-pack limit on toilet paper and kitchen towels across all of its stores. Claire Peters, managing director of Woolworths’ supermarkets division, said the company was “taking preventative action now to get ahead of any excessive buying”.
27th Jun 2020 - The Independent

Australian supermarkets limit toilet roll sales amid panic-buying, as country eases coronavirus lockdown despite spike in cases

Australian supermarkets have restricted toilet roll sales after a new bout of panic-buying, as the country continues to ease its coronavirus lockdown despite a spike in infections in its second-most-populated state. Despite assurances from prime minister Scott Morrison that Australia’s coronavirus curve is “flat”, the country’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, on Friday introduced a two-pack limit on toilet paper and kitchen towels across all of its stores. Claire Peters, managing director of Woolworths’ supermarkets division, said the company was “taking preventative action now to get ahead of any excessive buying”.
27th Jun 2020 - The Independent

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Coronavirus: UK 'on knife edge' ahead of lockdown easing, scientist warns

The UK remains "on a knife edge" and must act "sensibly" over the summer months to stop a second wave of coronavirus, a scientist has warned. Sir Jeremy Farrar said he is "worried" about a surge in cases ahead of pubs and restaurants reopening next month. Home Secretary Priti Patel said people have to be "conscientious" about the risk of a second wave. She said the city of Leicester could face a localised lockdown after a rise in cases. Sir Jeremy, a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and director of the Wellcome Trust, has warned there could be a "very nasty rebound" of the virus in the winter. He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "We're on a knife edge, it's very precarious the situation, particularly in England at the moment, and I would anticipate we would see an increase in new cases over the coming weeks."
29th Jun 2020 - BBC News

English tourists may face quarantine in Scotland if cases rise south of the border

English holiday-makers crossing the border into Scotland could be told to go into quarantine for two weeks or face a fine if cases of coronavirus rise again. On Friday Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland was edging towards “total elimination” of Covid-19 after no new deaths were recorded on a weekday for the first time since March. However, Scottish government sources say there is a fear that the progress in suppressing the virus could be undone when the tourism season begins next month, with an expected influx of visitors from England. Confirmed cases of Covid-19 continued to rise in England last week. The first minister warned of “devastating consequences” after the hot weather prompted thousands of people in England to flout lockdown rules to visit the south of Scotland.
28th Jun 2020 - The Times

Leicester MP demands government initiate local lockdown

The Labour MP for Leicester feels that there needs to be a lockdown in the city to quell the coronavirus spread. Through the weekend Claudia Webbe, Labour MP for Leicester East called for the government to impose a local lockdown on her constituency. She branded the situation there "a perfect storm" and wanted the government to act.
28th Jun 2020 - LBC

Coronavirus: More care urged for pregnant BAME patients

NHS England is asking doctors and midwives to provide more checks and support to black, Asian and ethnic-minority (BAME) pregnant women because of their greater risk from coronavirus. Black mums-to-be are eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19 than white pregnant women. Pregnant Asian women are four times as likely to end up in hospital. Maternity services remain open and mums-to-be are urged to keep in touch with their midwives to stay safe.
27th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Amid coronavirus surge, Texas has a contact tracing problem: reporting cases by fax

Manual, archaic technology and people's mistrust of government agencies are blunting contact tracing efforts, even as the persistent rise in coronavirus cases forces several Western and Southern states to dial back their reopening plans. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, raised a question Friday as to whether contact tracing is even worth the endeavor. And in Texas, a health official in Austin revealed this week that information about hundreds of new cases is pouring in daily across the state via an archaic form of technology: the fax machine. That has made the confirmation of positive cases extremely time-consuming, the official said, which in turn has hindered contact tracing, a labor-intensive commitment that involves calling people who are confirmed ill with COVID-19, asking for their recent contacts and reaching out to those people to determine if they need testing and if they should self-isolate, all in the hopes of breaking the chains of infection. "The cases we receive come in by fax machine," Dr. Mark Escott, the interim medical director and health authority for Austin Public Health, told Travis County commissioners. "And sometimes those faxes are positives and sometimes they're negatives. Sometimes they have information like the person's phone number that was tested and sometimes they don't. So we have a whole team of people who have to sort through more than a thousand faxes a day to sort out the positives versus the negatives."
26th Jun 2020 - NBC News

IMF's Georgieva says virus crisis could ultimately test IMF resources

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Friday that the global economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus could ultimately test the Fund’s $1 trillion in resources, “but we are not there yet.” Georgieva told a Reuters Newsmaker webcast event that it was now clear that recovery from global business and travel lockdowns would have to get underway amid the widespread presence of the virus, and that IMF member countries were standing by to provide more support to the Fund if necessary.
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Australia gets second wave of toilet paper hoarding - The Jakarta Post

Australia's supermarket chains on Friday reintroduced purchase limits on toilet paper and other household items as a spike in coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria set off a fresh round of panic-buying over fears of a new stay-at-home order. Woolworths Group Ltd and Coles Group Ltd, which together account for two-thirds of Australian grocery sales, said they were once again limiting purchases of toilet paper and paper towels to one or two packs per person after photos circulated on social media showing empty shelves in stores. The buying restrictions - and images of stripped shelves - are a reminder of Australia's initial response to the arrival of COVID-19 when shoppers stockpiled household goods in anticipation of a protracted shutdown.
26th Jun 2020 - Jakarta Post

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Uruguay and Paraguay buck Latin America coronavirus trend

Latin America has become the new centre of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic but two small countries, Uruguay and Paraguay, have bucked the regional trend and can claim a near total victory against the virus. Though they are strangely dissimilar – Uruguay is a progressive enclave with the lowest poverty index in Latin America, while Paraguay has poverty estimates of 30-50% and is rife with corruption – both nations have kept their coronavirus death rates surprisingly low. There have been just 13 deaths in Paraguay and only 25 in Uruguay so far, despite the porous land borders both countries share with Brazil, where the pandemic has claimed more than 50,000 lives. Free of the endemic corruption and political strife that has plagued most other Latin American nations in recent decades, Uruguay in March switched painlessly from 15 years of centre-left administration to the centre-right administration of its new president, Luis Lacalle Pou, who has maintained the social advances of the previous administration. Uruguayans can point to their long history of progressive social policies – including extensive public health coverage and almost 100% access to running water – as a key factor in containing the virus.
25th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

These are the countries seeing a surge in coronavirus cases

Despite successfully containing its COVID-19 outbreak, Vietnam has no plans to open up to international tourists yet over fears that doing so could lead to a second wave of infections, the Southeast Asian country's prime minister said on Wednesday. Thanks to an aggressive, targeted testing programme and a centralised quarantine system, Vietnam has contained infections numbers to a relatively low 352 cases, most imported.
25th Jun 2020 - CNBC

US states put brakes on reopenings as new Covid-19 cases hit record

The US has suffered its biggest daily increase in new coronavirus cases since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting state governments and businesses to put the brakes on an easing of lockdown measures. Texas, California and Florida reported record increases in confirmed infections on Wednesday, lifting the nationwide tally by 38,672 and bringing it close to 2.4m, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The sudden rise prompted the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — states once at the heart of the US pandemic — to impose a two-week quarantine on visitors from states with elevated infection rates.
25th Jun 2020 - Financial Times

Easing Lockdown in England Raises Questions for Welsh Government

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister made a raft of announcements related to easing coronavirus restrictions in England. This included relaxing the 2 metre rule to 1 metre ‘plus’ and announcing that hospitality, tourism and some other businesses can reopen on 4th July, alongside some other changes. Whilst the Prime Minister’s announcement relates singularly to England, it does raise questions about how we ease out of lockdown around the UK, including here in Wales. This news will be welcomed by many businesses across the border and there will be inevitable pressure on Welsh Government to review how we can reopen more of Wales in a way that keeps Welsh businesses competitive with their English counterparts as well as ensures the safety of employees, customers and business owners themselves.
25th Jun 2020 - Business News Wales

Life almost as we know it: England's lockdown changes on 4 July

As multiple lockdown measures are eased on 4 July, England will enter uncanny valley territory: life almost as we know it, but with notable exceptions. Weddings can go ahead at religious venues – but with a cap of 30 participants and no singing. Two households can meet indoors, but must make an effort to stay physically distanced. Hugs will have to wait for now. Playgrounds and pubs can open, but casinos and swimming pools will remain shut.
25th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

New shielding advice gives vulnerable people hope 'but the lockdown has been hard'

People deemed most vulnerable to Covid-19 received 'shielding' letters outlining restrictions which, while protecting them from the coronavirus, meant a more challenging lockdown. We spoke to two of them
25th Jun 2020 - The Irish News

Loved and loathed, Sweden's anti-lockdown architect is unrepentant

As the architect of Sweden’s unorthodox response to the coronavirus pandemic, Anders Tegnell has got used to receiving death threats and being urged to resign. But he says he has no plans to step down or step back and remains convinced that, over time, the anti-lockdown strategy that has seen his country break ranks with much of the world will prove its worth. “I think a number of countries should have thought twice before taking the very drastic measure of a lockdown,” he told Reuters in an interview. “That’s what’s experimental, not the Swedish model.”
25th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Turkey not considering lockdowns despite rise in COVID-19 cases

Turkey has witnessed an increase in the daily number of infections after the government authorised cafes, restaurants, gyms, parks, beaches and museums to reopen and eased stay-at-home orders for the elderly and young at the start of June.
25th Jun 2020 - Business Insider India

Spain to extend furlough schemes by three months until Sept. 30

Spain is set to extend until Sept. 30 national furlough schemes aimed at mitigating the effect of the coronavirus lockdown under a government agreement with labour unions and the main employers’ association, the labour ministry said on Thursday. Hard-hit sectors like hospitality will receive the most support, though other industries not yet able to return to normal activity will also be included. Originally due to expire on June 30, the current system of public aid, known as known as ERTEs, had been linked to Spain’s state of emergency, which ended on June 21. “Measures to protect workers and businesses will be adapted to the current context in order to continue supporting the most affected sectors,” the ministry said. The extension will be approved at a cabinet meeting on Friday.
25th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Britons will be able to holiday in France, Spain and Italy from NEXT WEEK when the government unveils its first 'air bridges' after months of restrictions

Boris Johnson will give the green light to foreign holidays next Monday when the Government unveils its long-awaited travel corridor plan. Ministers will say Britons can visit any one of around ten countries without having to quarantine – reviving summer holidays after almost four months of travel restrictions. 'Air bridges' to France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey have been all but confirmed, sources disclosed, with the first flights set to take off on July 4.
25th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

U.S. Sets Record for Daily New Cases as Virus Surges in South and West

More than two months after the United States recorded its worst day of new infections since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation reached another grim milestone on Wednesday as it reported 36,880 new cases. The number of infections indicated that the country was not only failing to contain the coronavirus, but also that the caseload was worsening — a path at odds with many other nations that have seen steady declines after an earlier peak. Cases in the United States had been on a downward trajectory after the previous high of 36,739 cases on April 24, but they have roared back in recent weeks.
25th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

This easing of the lockdown offers nothing to Britain's performing arts sector, writes ADRIAN VINKEN

Try to imagine a world without your local theatre: Christmas without panto for the children, or trips to London’s West End. This joyless prospect came a step closer this week as the Prime Minister announced an easing of the lockdown that offered nothing to Britain’s once-booming performing arts sector. The irony is that – as thousands of workers face redundancy – the Government is allowing theatres to reopen from July 4, providing it is not for the performance of live theatre! At the Theatre Royal, Plymouth – one of Britain’s most successful regional theatres – we have had to let go of our freelancers and this week we started consulting on laying off 110 people: One-third of our full-time staff.
25th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Japan business travellers first foreigners to be allowed back in Thailand

About 100 businesspeople per day from Japan – the largest foreign investor in Thailand – will be among the first foreigners allowed back into the country as the lockdown eases. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam made the announcement on Wednesday (June 24) after talks with Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) president Atsushi Taketani. The number of hotels acting as alternatives to state quarantine accommodation will also be increased, Wissanu added. The deputy PM said he was collaborating with the Foreign Ministry and related agencies to help foreign business operators in Thailand. Resolutions made would be proposed to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), he added.
25th Jun 2020 - The Star Online

Coronavirus: As queues grow, Covid-19 testing priorities change

Queues at some testing centres have grown longer than during lockdown, as people seek to be checked following news of new cases at the border. But the Ministry of Health on Thursday changed the rules for people seeking Covid-19 tests. The 'suspect' case definition has been removed, meaning greater priority will be given to those considered to have a higher risk of having the virus. The ministry denied the change would make it more difficult for others to get a test, saying instead that it allows those at higher risk to be managed better.
25th Jun 2020 - Stuff.co.nz

Masks and bleach: Europe's cities gear up for post-lockdown tourism

Anyone visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris when it reopens on Thursday will have to take the stairs - all 674 of them - because France’s iconic monument is keeping the lifts shut. After months of lockdown many Europeans are dreaming of a summer holiday, but vacations will look a bit different this year - breakfast buffets, guided tours and club nights may well be out; masks and temperature checks are definitely in. Tourist attractions from Rome’s Colosseum to Amsterdam’s Hermitage museum have introduced a slew of measures to minimise the risk of a new outbreak of coronavirus which has killed about 170,000 people in western Europe.
25th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Afghanistan uses green stimulus to hire lockdown jobless, boost Kabul's water supply

Zaker Hussain Zaheri was a cook in Afghanistan’s capital who lost his job in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, he digs trenches to capture rainwater and snowmelt on a mountain on the outskirts of Kabul, as the city grapples with both a water and health crisis. Lockdown measures to curb the spread of the disease have taken their toll on Afghanistan’s economy, so the government is employing more than 40,000 jobless workers to rehabilitate groundwater supplies for its fast-growing capital. “This is a tough job, but I have to do it to earn enough for food, and I have pride that I take part in the reconstruction of my country, this is good for the future of our country,” Zaheri, 28, said.
25th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

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3 new lockdown changes announced for South Africa

Government has begun introducing new regulations around South Africa’s ‘advanced level 3’ lockdown, with more set to be introduced in the coming weeks. Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country will move to an ‘advanced’ level 3 lockdown, with a number of business sectors reopened to the public. Ramaphosa said that many businesses that stopped operating on 27 March when the lockdown first came into effect have not been able to operate. Following discussions with industry representatives, provincial heads, scientists as well as cabinet, Ramaphosa said that restrictions will be eased for:
24th Jun 2020 - BusinessTech

Coronavirus: WHO warns UK of ‘year of living differently’ as Boris Johnson set to further ease lockdown

World Health Organisation (WHO) officials have warned “this is the year of living differently” and urged caution in the UK ahead of further easing of lockdown restrictions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Tuesday that the hospitality industry can reopen from 4 July, with the two-metre social distancing rule set to be halved. While the UK has made progress in suppressing the virus, Dr Margaret Harris cautioned that the pandemic is not over, adding that there is a link between rising reproduction rates and the easing of lockdown measures.
24th Jun 2020 - The Independent

The Pandemic’s Worst-Case Scenario Is Unfolding in Brazil

As Asia, Western Europe, and parts of the U.S. emerge from what will hopefully be the worst of the pandemic, the virus in Brazil isn’t slowing down. Between late May and mid-June the country galloped past Spain, Italy, and the U.K. in total fatalities, which now exceed 51,000, the second-highest toll after the U.S. It’s second in overall cases too, with more than 1 million confirmed infections. With local officials now lifting quarantines despite continued growth in cases, it’s conceivable that, when Covid-19 finally recedes, Brazil will have been hit harder than any other country.
24th Jun 2020 - BloombergQuint

Coronavirus deaths in Latin America and Caribbean top 100000 with Brazil hardest hit by far

Latin America and the Caribbean on Tuesday surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths, more than half of them in Brazil, according to an AFP count based on official figures. The pandemic is accelerating across the region, which now has a total of 2.1 million cases, with Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Chile the most affected countries. Brazil has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world, after the United States, at more than 52,640 fatalities out of 1,145,906 confirmed cases.
24th Jun 2020 - CBS News

Coronavirus: Scottish pubs and restaurants to reopen in July

People in Scotland will be allowed to meet up with two other households indoors from 10 July and pubs and restaurants can re-open from 15 July. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said the five-mile travel limit will be lifted from 3 July, while beer gardens can re-open from 6 July. Hairdressers and barbers can open from 15 July, as can holiday accommodation. Ms Sturgeon said the move was possible thanks to the "real sustained progress" made in suppressing coronavirus. But she said the changes depended on keeping the virus under control, and could be reversed if there was a fresh outbreak. And they will not apply to people who are shielding, who will be given further advice "before the end of July".
24th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Nicola Sturgeon: no 'reckless race' with rest of UK on lockdown easing

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is not prepared to put lives at risk “in some kind of reckless race with other parts of the UK”, as she faced criticism for maintaining the 2-metre rule for businesses despite having announced plans for school pupils to return from August with no distancing in place. Scotland’s first minister set out indicative dates for further easing of the country’s lockdown rules – including lifting the five-mile travel restriction from next Friday and reopening beer gardens from the following Monday – as weekly data from the National Records of Scotland showed a reduction in deaths for the eighth consecutive week. Continuing to urge caution, she told the Scottish parliament: “Our pace is slightly slower than England but it is, in my view, right for our circumstances and, I hope, more likely to be sustainable than if we went faster now.”
24th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Testing ALL of Britain for coronavirus every week 'could prevent second lockdown'

Testing everyone for coronavirus every week could drive out the coronavirus without a second wave or another lockdown, according to scientists. Researchers led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said routine testing, contact tracing and household isolation could stop Covid-19 'quite quickly'. They said Britain should do a single-city trial of the system to see whether it could bring down new infections and deaths faster than the current situation.
24th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Scotland Joins Rest of U.K. Easing Lockdown Amid Economic Pain

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accelerated the easing of lockdown rules amid growing political pressure to get people back to work and restart the critical tourism industry. The changes, which in parts echo moves announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, are earlier than planned and come as a report showed the economy may not recover until 2024 in a worst-case scenario. “Our pace is slightly slower than England’s, but it is, in my view, right for our circumstances,” Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Wednesday. Progress in tackling coronavirus means Scots could get back to normality “more quickly than we could have imagined a few weeks ago.”
24th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

Operators of gyms and pools query England's new lockdown rules

The government has given the green light to a night out in a pub or restaurant in England but gym workouts, swimming pools, nightclub dance floors and even manicures are still off limits – prompting accusations of glaring inconsistencies as the lockdown is eased. The chief executive of PureGym, the UK’s biggest gym chain, said he was “bitterly disappointed” by the delay in opening its 269 gyms and questioned the government’s commitment to tackling obesity. “It is a strange war on obesity that sees pubs and restaurants open before gyms,” said Humphrey Cobbold who highlighted that the company had already safely reopened its gyms in Switzerland and Denmark.
24th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Wednesday briefing: Holiday hopes as PM eases lockdown

Boris Johnson hailed the easing of lockdown measures from 4 July as “the end of hibernation”, but some experts said the move could allow Covid-19 to regain a “foothold”. They fear the lack of an effective track and trace system and the heightened risk of transmission indoors: 97% of super-spreader events, those with five or more transmissions, have taken place indoors. Bars and restaurants face a privacy minefield after being told they must record customers details when they reopen next Saturday.
24th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

French give cool reception to Covid-19 contact-tracing app

France’s coronavirus-tracing app has failed to take off, with only 68 people using it to register a positive test result in the three weeks since its launch, despite 1.9m downloading it on their phones. The StopCovid app, which is meant to automatically inform users if they come into contact with an infected person, has sent only 14 notifications to other users. In recent days, the pace at which people uninstalled the app from their phones has also picked up, even as France lifted its final lockdown restrictions on businesses and schools, according to Cédric O, France’s junior minister for digital affairs. “We can only infer that, just as people are not adhering as much to mask-wearing and social distancing lately, that some do not think they need the app now that the virus is less active,” he said. “It may reflect that French people are simply less worried about the epidemic right now.” Olivier Blazy, a computer science professor at the University of Limoges, questioned whether the app would actually contribute to the public health effort. “Adoption has been derisory and the results are ridiculous,” he said. “There were more people involved in the creation of the app than people who have benefited from it.”
24th Jun 2020 - Financial Times

Moscow, center of Russia’s Coronavirus crisis eases lockdown restrictions

Residents of the Russian capital emerged Tuesday from a strict coronavirus lockdown, a day after Moscow authorities announced they would lift key restrictions.
24th Jun 2020 - WION

Sierra Leone eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Sierra Leone eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions that were imposed to curb the spread of the virus, the president said on Tuesday. In a series of tweets, President Julius Maada Bio said the country has seen high recovery and discharge rates, lower infection rates, and proportionally lower death rates. “Effective immediately, the curfew is adjusted to the period 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. I announce the lifting of the ban on inter-district travel starting on Wednesday, 24th June 2020. Once all measures are in place, commercial flights will resume in the very short run,” Bio said. “The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School, in consultation with stakeholders, has developed comprehensive health and safety guidelines for teachers, pupils, and communities for the purpose of providing safe environment for students who are taking public examinations,” he added.
24th Jun 2020 - Anadolu Agency

Japan’s struggle to reimagine the post-pandemic world

Japan’s strength has been the consensus about making necessary changes to daily life to keep infection rates low, but when it comes to leveraging the pandemic to think outside of the box, its response has been muted
24th Jun 2020 - The Japan Times

Restrictions eased in South Australia from Monday

Pubs and restaurants in South Australia will be allowed to double their customer numbers from Monday, in the latest lift on lockdown restrictions. The state government is lifting the current limit to 50 per cent capacity, meaning one person per two square metres in public premises. Businesses will be able to accept more customers without turning people away to comply with current restrictions.
24th Jun 2020 - 9News

Coronavirus: EU considers barring Americans from travel list

EU ambassadors are to continue talks on Friday to plan reopening external borders on 1 July, and travellers from the US could be among those not allowed in. Some European countries are keen to open up to tourists but others are wary of the continued spread of the virus. On Wednesday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he expected a solution "in the coming weeks". The virus is spreading in the US, so it is likely Americans would be barred. The 27-member bloc must first agree the measures that non-EU countries should meet before deciding on a safe list. Brazil, Russia and other countries with high infection rates would also be left off a safe list, according to reports from Brussels.
24th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Countries around the world scramble to contain coronavirus flare-ups as U.S. states remain open

Within the countries in question, the new flare-ups are mostly rooted in identifiable regions, where officials launched or expanded aggressive containment efforts this week. German authorities said Tuesday they would impose a new regional lockdown in a district of the country’s northwest to contain an outbreak linked to a meat-processing plant, after more than 1,500 workers were infected. Portugal cracked down on mass gatherings. Australia’s Victoria state re-shuttered several schools. An area in the northeast of Spain reintroduced restrictions. Even New Zealand, which has just 10 confirmed, active cases, tightened border measures as an increasing number of citizens abroad began to fly home.
23rd Jun 2020 - The Washington Post

As coronavirus rages worse than ever, Tennessee leaders forge ahead with reopening

Gov. Bill Lee and Nashville Mayor John Cooper are marching forward with plans to reopen businesses and lift coronavirus restrictions, despite a worsening outbreak infecting, hospitalizing and killing more Tennesseans than ever before. Lee and other state officials said Tuesday they are monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and developing “hot spot plans” for counties where infections were surging. But the governor didn't provide specifics on if, or when, he would reverse the reopening of the state. When asked if his administration was treating the outbreak with an appropriate seriousness, Lee maintained they were not underestimating the virus. “There is a genuine understanding that COVID-19 is a serious public health crisis for our state, and we take it seriously every single day ... We are encouraged that we have one of the lowest death rates per capita in the country, but every single death is a very serious issue for me,” Lee said.
23rd Jun 2020 - The Tennessean

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Sports activities in Kuwait to resume as coronavirus restrictions ease

Sports activities in Kuwait will resume as of June 28 according to a plan announced by the Public Authority for Sport (PAS) on Monday. Athletes in track and field, fencing and shooting have been tested for coronavirus ahead of reopening for training, PAS Deputy Director General Saqer Al-Mulla said. Sport facilities will undergo disinfection and will have to follow coronavirus safety measures set by the Ministry of Health (MoH), he added. The resumption plan was set by PAS, Ministry of Health and Kuwaiti Olympic Committee, according to state news agency KUNA. Last week, the country’s cabinet decided to eases curfew hours and start from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m.
24th Jun 2020 - Arab News

How lockdown now compares across the UK as England lifts more lockdown measures

Key changes to lockdown rules have been announced in England with the announcement that pubs, restaurants and cinemas will be allowed to open from July 4. But in Wales, the next review is due to be held on Friday, July 10. First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Monday June 22 said that the Welsh Government would be assessing the two-metre rule themselves. Mr Drakeford said they will follow the advice that Mr Johnson is relying on as well as the advice from Wales' chief medical officer and medical networks. "We put the health of the public first," he said. The Welsh Government says: "Decisions on the rules for preventing the spread of the virus in Wales are for the Welsh Government.
23rd Jun 2020 - Wales Online

Coronavirus: Lockdown to be relaxed in England as 2m rule eased

Pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can open from 4 July in England, when social distancing rules will be eased. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people should remain 2m apart where possible but a "one metre plus" rule would be introduced. Two households in England will also be able to meet indoors and stay overnight - with social distancing. The prime minister warned that all the steps were "reversible". The government's chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, said the relaxation represented a "reasonable balance of risk". Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford and Northern Ireland's Arlene Foster have said the 2m rule will remain in place in their nations for the time being.
23rd Jun 2020 - BBC News

Britain gets its summer back: PM halves 2m rule, opens pubs and lets households mix inside from July 4 - but warns he could 'put the handbrake on at any time' with 95% of UK still in danger of catching coronavirus

PM announced key sectors including tourism and hospitality can reopen next week for first time since March. Changes will be reversed if people abuse new rules and Covid-19 takes off again, Boris Johnson has warned. Comes amid optimism that virus which has killed over 42,000 in UK is reducing to manageable proportions Indoor venues, including cinemas, museums and art galleries, are allowed to reopen in England from July 4.
23rd Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Lockdown rules: How England’s lifting of coronavirus measures compares to the countries that have reopened already

After three months of lockdown the UK is on the verge of returning to some sense of normality in the coming weeks. Vulnerable people who have been shielding will be able to leave the house to meet friends and family in groups of six and join support bubbles with other houses from 6 July.
23rd Jun 2020 - iNews

When can I travel to France? Latest guidance for UK visitors - and quarantine rules explained

Despite France’s major recent changes to its lockdown measures, arrivals from the UK and some other countries are still being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) also currently advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice took effect on 17 March, and while it initially applied for a period of 30 days, the travel ban is now listed as “indefinite”. On top of that, a two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving back in the UK – including UK nationals – has been in place since 8 June.
23rd Jun 2020 - Edinburgh News

COVID-19 cases in SA breach 100,000, recoveries at 52%

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa breached the 100,000 mark, with the number of deaths now standing at 1,991.
23rd Jun 2020 - EWN.co.za

New Zealand citizens returning home may be quarantined in campervans

New Zealand's government is considering using campervans on a Navy base in Auckland for its citizens to isolate in after returning from overseas to stop the spread of coronavirus. As hotels reach capacity in the city, the most populous in the country, an increase in people returning from overseas as coronavirus restrictions relax may cause a lack of accommodation for the mandatory two-week isolation period. Whangaparaoa military base was already used to isolate New Zealand nationals returning on repatriation flights from Wuhan, China, then the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health and the public face of the country's battle against the disease, was asked if the Whangaparaoa military base in Auckland would once again be used.
23rd Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

French StopCovid app led to 1.8 million activations as of June 22

France's state-supported "StopCovid" contact-tracing app has been downloaded by 1.9 million people, roughly 2% of the population, leading to 1.8 million activations as of June 22, digital affairs minister Cedric O said on Tuesday. The "StopCovid" smartphone app, which was launched on June 2, warns users if they have come into contact with anyone infected with the coronavirus to help to contain the epidemic as France emerges from lockdown.
23rd Jun 2020 - The Chronicle Herald

PM Johnson eases coronavirus lockdown thanks to reduced infections

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a significant easing of England’s coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday, saying it had been allowed by a decline in the numbe