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Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th Nov 2022

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Shanghai rocked by protests as zero-Covid anger spreads

Protests in Shanghai escalated on Sunday evening as police struggled to disperse large crowds who gathered in the city, part of a nationwide movement that poses one of the most brazen challenges to the Chinese Communist party’s authority in decades. The unrest began on Saturday night and centred on a road named after the Chinese city of Urumqi, where a deadly fire on Thursday killed ten people. That incident, in the northwestern Xinjiang region, fuelled social media outrage and prompted a series of vigils around the country, as people blamed coronavirus restrictions for the tragedy — allegations that the authorities denied.
27th Nov 2022 - Financial Times

Study says as Covid evolves in long-term infections it may become more harmful

A South African laboratory study using Covid-19 samples from an immunosupressed individual over six months showed that the virus evolved to become more pathogenic, indicating that a new variant could cause more illness than the current predominant omicron strain.  The study, conducted by the same laboratory that was to first test the omicron strain against vaccines last year, used samples from a person infected with HIV. Over the six months the virus initially caused the same level of cell fusion and death as the omicron BA.1 strain, but as it evolved those levels rose to become similar to the first version of Covid-19 identified in Wuhan in China.
26th Nov 2022 - Bloomberg

China Covid-19 Cases Hit Record High, Forcing Fresh Control Measures

China’s new Covid-19 cases hit a record high, testing the government’s push to contain the virus with more-targeted virus controls and avoid damaging the economy. Almost 30,000 locally transmitted infections were recorded for Wednesday, surpassing the previous record in April, when Shanghai’s two-month lockdown severely hurt China’s economy and snarled global supply chains. Economists say the risk that China’s “zero-Covid” policy will again force officials to impose sweeping measures is one of the main threats to world growth. China’s leaders this month told local officials to be more precise and targeted in implementing pandemic controls, but at the same time said there would be no change to the zero-Covid stance. As new variants send cases surging, more cities are tightening controls on people’s mov
25th Nov 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

China Recovery Set Back by Record Covid Outbreak as Lockdowns Spread

Widespread lockdowns imposed across China as authorities there struggled this week to contain the country’s largest Covid-19 outbreak threaten to again create uncertainty in global supply chains and dim the prospects for world economic growth. Beijing’s battle to contain the virus—including sharp restrictions on everyday life and commerce in cities from the major port city of Tianjin in the north to Guangzhou in the south—comes as economies elsewhere lose speed as central banks raise interest rates to beat back inflation. The heavy-handed and widely applied steps send a strong signal that the country and its leaders aren’t ready for a sustained reopening almost three years after the start of the pandemic and long after other major economies have dismantled almost all Covid controls.
24th Nov 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

China's iPhone City Locks Down Urban Areas as Covid Cases Rise

Zhengzhou, home to Apple Inc.’s largest iPhone manufacturing site, will be largely locked down for five days as officials in the Chinese city resort to tighter curbs to quell a swelling Covid-19 outbreak. Mobility controls -- a euphemism for lockdown -- will be imposed in the main urban areas of Zhengzhou from Friday through Nov. 29 because of rising virus cases, Zhengzhou’s pandemic task force said in a statement late Wednesday. The city reported 996 infections on Wednesday, up from 813 a day earlier. The new restrictions were announced after hundreds of workers at the plant, known as ‘iPhone City’ for its scale, streamed out of dormitories earlier in the day.
23rd Nov 2022 - Bloomberg

China Sees Lockdowns Surge in Week Since Covid Policy Adjusted

Covid control restrictions now weigh on a fifth of China’s economy as infections continue their upward march, defying the central government’s call for more targeted, less disruptive Covid Zero measures. There were 27,307 new cases recorded for Monday, just shy of the previous record 28,973 reached in April when Shanghai’s outbreak sparked a surge in infections. The southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou remains the epicenter of the current wave, reporting the bulk of the 8,588 infections in the broader Guangdong province. The metropolis of Chongqing detected 6,297.
22nd Nov 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Nov 2022

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Covid cases fall across the UK for second week in a row, with less than a million infections in England

Covid levels have fallen in all four UK nations for the second week in a row, with infections in England dropping below one million for the first time since mid-September. Hospital numbers are also continuing to decrease, in fresh evidence the latest wave of the virus has peaked. Health experts hailed the autumn booster vaccine programme as helping drive down infections – though nearly a quarter of over-70s have yet to receive a fresh jab.
20th Nov 2022 - MSNNow

Covid rise: Hong Kong close to cutting non-emergency services at public hospitals again

Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority chief has warned that a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases has put the city on the verge of cutting non-emergency services to meet increasing demand from patients infected with the virus. Dr Tony Ko Pat-sing on Saturday said public hospitals were also treating more elderly patients suffering from long-Covid symptoms, urging older residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible. “We observed that in the last two weeks, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients diagnosed with Covid-19,” Ko said, adding the surge was more rapid than what was recorded in September.
20th Nov 2022 - South China Morning Post

Taiwan reports 16571 new COVID-19 cases, 59 deaths

Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported 16,571 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, all but 57 of which were locally transmitted, and 59 deaths from the disease. The deceased ranged in age from their 50s to their 90s, and all of them had underlying health issues, while 29 were unvaccinated against COVID-19, the CECC said. Meanwhile, the CECC also reported 82 new cases classified as moderate and 56 as severe.
20th Nov 2022 - Focus Taiwan

Beijing district urges staying home for weekend as COVID cases rise

Beijing's biggest district urged people to stay home during the weekend and COVID-19 outbreaks grew in numerous Chinese cities on Friday, even as China further fine-tuned its COVID rules by removing capacity limits at entertainment venues. Under a series of measures unveiled last week, authorities have sought to be more targeted in applying COVID-19 curbs that are taking a heavy toll on the economy and fuelling public frustration and anger, sparking investor hopes this week for more significant easing.
18th Nov 2022 - Reuters

China's COVID cases rise, record daily numbers seen in Beijing and other cities

China reported 14,878 new COVID-19 infections for Nov. 12, including a record number of new daily cases in capital city Beijing, as well as in manufacturing hubs Guangzhou and Zhengzhou. The new cases come as industrial activity in Guangzhou and Zhengzhou has been disrupted by restrictions aimed at controlling outbreaks. The number of daily cases in China rose from 11,950 on Nov. 11, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday. Excluding imported infections, China reported 14,761 new local cases, up from 11,803 a day earlier.
13th Nov 2022 - Reuters

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th Nov 2022

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China's Xi, out of COVID bubble, faces changed world at G-20

After a lengthy absence from major international gatherings, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is leaving his country’s COVID-19 bubble and venturing abroad next week into a dramatically changed world marked by rising confrontation. Xi will attend the G-20 meeting of industrial and emerging market nations in Indonesia followed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Thailand. He will meet individually with other leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday in their first in-person talks since Biden took office in January 2021. The Chinese leader has relied mainly on speeches by video to deliver China’s message at the U.N. and other forums since 2020. The period has seen a sharp deterioration in China’s relations with the West over the COVID-19 pandemic, a crackdown on civil rights in Hong Kong, military threats against Taiwan and Beijing’s tacit support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
13th Nov 2022 - The Associated Press

AstraZeneca drops submission to US regulators for Covid-19 vaccine approval

AstraZeneca has abandoned its submission for US regulatory approval for the Covid-19 vaccine it developed with Oxford university, almost two years after it was initially approved in the UK and Europe. Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s chief executive, said the company had decided to focus its regulatory team’s efforts on areas with larger unmet medical need, pointing to 19 regulatory approvals since the last earnings call. “We have decided to withdraw application in the United States simply because the US marketplace is well supplied and in fact, the demand for vaccine in the US and elsewhere in the world is declining,” he said.
13th Nov 2022 - Financial Times

Visiting curbs at hospitals, residential care homes to be extended 2 weeks due to COVID-19 situation

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will extend current visiting restrictions at all hospital wards and residential care homes for two weeks until Nov 23. This is to relieve pressure on hospitals and homes and to protect vulnerable patients and residents, said the ministry in a press release on Wednesday (Nov 9).
12th Nov 2022 - CNA

China Eases Zero-Covid Rules as Economic Toll and Frustrations Mount

China eased pandemic controls on Friday, as the country’s leaders seek to lessen the pain of a stringent zero-Covid policy that has exacted a heavy economic toll and stoked rising public resentment. The newly appointed Politburo Standing Committee of the nation’s top leaders, in one of its first major decisions, set out new rules to “optimize and adjust” the policy to minimize its impact on economic growth and people’s lives, as well as further open the country’s borders to foreign visitors, according to a release Friday by the National Health Commission. The new guidance shortened the mandatory quarantine time for inbound travelers and for those identified as close contacts, but notably didn’t declare an end to policies intended to completely vanquish Covid, insisting that the country “firmly stick to the dynamic zero-Covid policy.”
11th Nov 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

China's COVID curbs intensify as cases surge to highest since Shanghai lockdown

China on Friday eased some of its strict COVID rules, including shortening quarantines by two days for close contacts of infected people and for inbound travellers, and removing a penalty for airlines for bringing in too many cases. The loosening of curbs, a day after President Xi Jinping led his new Politburo Standing Committee in a meeting on COVID, cheered markets even as many experts warned that the measures were incremental and reopening probably remained a long way off.
11th Nov 2022 - Reuters

U.S. COVID public health emergency to stay in place

The United States will keep in place the public health emergency status of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing millions of Americans to still receive free tests, vaccines and treatments, two Biden administration officials said on Friday. The possibility of a winter surge in COVID cases and the need for more time to transition out of the public health emergency to a private market were two factors that contributed to the decision not to end the emergency status in January, one of the officials said.
11th Nov 2022 - Reuters

'Hellhound': the delightfully-names new Covid variant sweeping across Spain

The new Covid variant that is sweeping through Spain has unofficially been given the delightful moniker of 'Hellhound' by social media users. It is certainly easier to remember than its official designation - technically referring to two separate Omicron subvariants as BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 -while they are only 2.7% of the cases at this moment they are expected be dominant in just a few weeks
11th Nov 2022 - Olive Press

Covid Hospitalizations Are Rising in Kids Under 6 Months, CDC Director Walensky Says

Covid-19 hospitalizations are rising among babies under 6 months old, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging mothers to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection in those not yet eligible for shots, Director Rochelle Walensky said. “We’re seeing more and more of those younger babies getting hospitalized,” Walensky said in an exclusive interview at CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta. “That’s really where we’re trying to do some work now because we think we can prevent those by getting mom vaccinated.”
10th Nov 2022 - Bloomberg

China to ‘Unswervingly’ Keep to Covid Zero Policy, Dashing Hopes

China will “unswervingly” adhere to its current Covid controls as the country faces increasingly serious outbreaks, health officials said, damping hopes that Beijing will ease its stringent policies that have put cities and factories under prolonged lockdowns. “Previous practices have proved that our prevention and control plans and a series of strategic measures are completely correct,” Hu Xiang, an official at National Health Commission’s disease prevention and control bureau, said at a briefing Saturday. “The policies are also the most economical and effective.”
8th Nov 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th Nov 2022

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Chinese officials signal no change to 'zero-COVID' policy

Chinese health officials are giving no indication of any relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions following several days of speculation that the government was considering changes to a “zero-COVID” approach that has stymied economic growth and disrupted daily life
5th Nov 2022 - The Independent

China to 'Unswervingly' Keep to Covid Zero Policy, Dashing Hopes

China will “unswervingly” adhere to its current Covid controls as the country faces increasingly serious outbreaks, health officials said, damping hopes that Beijing will ease its stringent policies that have put cities and factories under prolonged lockdowns. “Previous practices have proved that our prevention and control plans and a series of strategic measures are completely correct,” Hu Xiang, an official at National Health Commission’s disease prevention and control bureau, said at a briefing Saturday. “The policies are also the most economical and effective.”
5th Nov 2022 - Bloomberg

Rise in RSV, Flu and Other Respiratory Viruses Could Result in Tripledemic

The fall is shaping up as a rough and unpredictable one for respiratory viruses, as federal health officials warn of an early increase in activity this season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday recommended that healthcare providers offer flu and Covid-19 shots to patients, use diagnostics to guide patient management and provide treatments as early as possible. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are simmering at a sustained level, with new Omicron subvariants and the coming holiday season threatening to drive them higher. Other viruses including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are surging earlier than usual, after two years of unusually low or sporadic transmission.
5th Nov 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

China vows to continue with 'dynamic-clearing' COVID strategy

China will persevere with its "dynamic-clearing" approach to COVID-19 cases as soon as they emerge, health officials said on Saturday, adding that measures must be implemented more precisely and meet the needs of vulnerable people. The country's strict COVID containment approach is still able to control the virus, despite the high transmissibility of COVID variants and asymptomatic carriers, an official from the China National Health Commission told a news conference.
5th Nov 2022 - Reuters

China Plans Easing Covid Restrictions, Canceling Flight Suspensions

China is working on plans to scrap a system that penalizes airlines for bringing virus cases into the country, according to people familiar with the matter, a sign authorities are looking for ways to ease the impact of the Covid Zero policy. The State Council, which oversees China’s bureaucracy, recently asked government agencies including the civil aviation regulator to prepare for ending the so-called circuit-breaker mechanism, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is sensitive. The system sees airlines banned temporarily from specific routes into China for one-to-two weeks, depending on how many Covid-positive passengers they bring in to the country. A similar mechanism for Hong Kong was halted in July. The request is part of a broader three-step plan devised mid-year to normalize China’s aviation industry, the people said, with the country effectively cut off from the rest of the world by its pandemic border curbs.
4th Nov 2022 - Bloomberg

China vows commitment to growth as investors bet on easier COVID policy

Chinese policymakers pledged on Wednesday that growth was still a priority and they would press on with reforms, helping further boost stock markets buoyed by hopes that Beijing will ease off on its strict COVID-19 measures. The policymakers' comments came in an apparent bid to soothe fears that ideology could take precedence as Xi Jinping began a new leadership term and strict COVID curbs exact a growing toll on the world's second-largest economy.
2nd Nov 2022 - Reuters

China Covertly Locks Down Cities as Covid Zero Pushback Rises

It’s nearly impossible to eat in a restaurant in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where Covid-19 was first detected nearly three years ago. There are few flights out of Zhengzhou, home to the country’s largest iPhone factory. And many children in the tech hub of Shenzhen haven’t been inside a classroom in weeks. Sweeping lockdown orders like that deployed in Shanghai earlier this year haven’t been announced in any of these places, yet people, businesses and entertainment venues are operating as if they’re in place.
2nd Nov 2022 - Bloomberg

Macau reimposes COVID curbs as China loosens visa rules for gambling hub

Macau authorities reinstated tough COVID-19 curbs including locking down a major casino over the weekend after a handful of cases were detected, even as China announced a loosening of visa rules for visitors to the world's biggest gambling hub. Authorities locked down the MGM Cotai casino resort owned by MGM China on Sunday, with staff and guests ordered to stay inside until Nov. 1. More than 1,500 people are sealed inside the property, the government said on Monday.
31st Oct 2022 - Reuters

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 31st Oct 2022

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Wuhan Locks Down Part of City Center as Covid Cases Emerge

Wuhan locked down one of its central districts after Covid cases were found, as China persists with a zero-tolerance approach to the virus almost three years since the pathogen first emerged in the city. The roughly 900,000 residents of Hanyang district were told to stay in their homes from Wednesday, a spokeswoman from the area’s CDC told Bloomberg News by phone. Another official at Hanyang’s health bureau said the lockdown would last until Sunday, and that all non-essential businesses had been told to shut. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain operational.
28th Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

China Ramps Up Lockdowns, Covid Restrictions Across Country

Article reports that investors hoped China would ease its stringent Covid Zero strategy once the pivotal Communist Party congress cemented President Xi Jinping’s grip on power. Instead, the opposite seems to be happening. Fresh lockdowns are being imposed from Wuhan, Covid’s original epicenter, to China’s industrial belt on the east coast. Schools and dining in at restaurants in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Guangzhou have been suspended, while targeted shutdowns in the metropolises of Beijing and Shanghai continue, with apartment blocks and neighborhoods subject to stay-at-home orders if even a close contact of someone infected has visited.
28th Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

Covid-19 Rules Take Shine Off Hong Kong's Bid to Reopen

Hong Kong will attempt to show it is back in business with a financial summit and premier rugby tournament next week, as strict pandemic controls have led to an exodus of talent and business from the city. But with most visitors still being forced to take PCR tests on arrival and banned from bars and restaurants for three days, business leaders say the two events intended to serve as marquee attractions for the Asian financial hub are likely to fall flat. “The overall feedback we got was: Thanks, but call us when you are actually opened up,” Johannes Hack, president of the German Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said of how people feel about business travel to the city. As long as the restrictions are in place, “no one can come to Hong Kong with the peace of mind that their schedule won’t be impacted,” he added.
29th Oct 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID-19: New report predicts how many daily cases there will be by February

Global coronavirus cases are projected to rise slowly in the coming months to about 18.7 million per day by February. The current daily average is around 16.7 million, according to the University of Washington report. It is far fewer than last winter when the Omicron variant pushed the estimated peak daily average to about 80 million - and the increase is also not expected to cause a big increase in deaths. The university's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) forecasts average deaths will rise from about 1,660 now to 2,748 on 1 February.
26th Oct 2022 - Sky News

Biden gets latest COVID vaccine, urges Americans to do same

U.S. President Joe Biden rolled up his sleeve and received an updated COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, using the occasion to urge more Americans to get the booster before the upcoming holiday season, especially seniors. "I'm calling on all Americans to get their shot just as soon as they can," Biden said shortly before a doctor gave him the new shot. With some Americans resistant to the vaccines, Biden urged them to put partisan politics aside, noting that more than 1 million people in the United States have died from COVID-19.
25th Oct 2022 - Reuters

China's Shanghai Migrant Worker Villages Blamed for Covid Face Demolition

Tens of thousands of migrant workers in Shanghai, who have long been living on the margins in one of China’s wealthiest cities, are facing renewed threats of eviction after their ramshackle villages were blamed for causing the Covid-19 outbreak that led to a monthslong lockdown. Like many other major Chinese cities, Shanghai has for years been razing and redeveloping the densely populated neighborhoods — known as “cheng zhong cun” or “villages within a city” — to make room for new residential and commercial complexes to drive growth in the world’s second-largest economy. This year, the demolition in Shanghai is gathering pace.
23rd Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Oct 2022

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No way out in sight for China's zero-COVID strategy

For almost three years, China has been implementing one of the strictest pandemic control policies in the world, shutting down borders, imposing lockdowns across the country and conducting mass-scale COVID-19 tests to try and contain the spread of coronavirus. Millions of Chinese residents have been wondering whether authorities may begin to ease these stringent measures, but the latest signal from the Chinese leader has dashed that hope. On Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded the success of the zero-COVID strategy, arguing that the policy has saved lives while saying China has launched an "all-out people's war to stop the spread of the virus." His message comes amid reinforced calls from Chinese state media for Beijing to persist with its COVID-19 policies. Experts largely agree that China seems to have no plan to end the zero-COVID strategy anytime soon, nor is it prepared to pivot away from the strategy. "China lacks effective vaccines and treatment options, has a dangerously low vaccination rate for older populations, and a highly stressed health care system," said Xi Chen, an associate professor of health policy and economics at the Yale School of Public Health.
23rd Oct 2022 - Deutsche Welle

In ‘post-Covid’ Singapore, doctors warn against complacency as XBB cases surge

Many doctors in city state are worried about complacency, saying some residents are too laid-back, including some young people. Cases are rising fuelled by XBB Omicron variant so ‘exercise extra precautions. You do your part; society does its part.’
22nd Oct 2022 - South China Morning Post

Cases of BQ.1, BQ.1.1 COVID variants double in U.S. as Europe warns of rise

U.S. health regulators on Friday estimated that BQ.1 and closely related BQ.1.1 accounted for 16.6% of coronavirus variants in the country, nearly doubling from last week, while Europe expects them to become the dominant variants in a month. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said the variants are likely to drive up cases in the coming weeks to months in the European region. The two variants are descendants of Omicron's BA.5 subvariant, which is the dominant form of the coronavirus in the United States. Regulators in Europe and the U.S. have recently authorized vaccine boosters that target it.
22nd Oct 2022 - Reuters

China is Debating a Reduction to Covid Quarantine For Inbound Travelers

Chinese officials are debating whether to reduce the amount of time people coming into the country must spend in mandatory quarantine, according to people familiar with the discussions, as the country’s Covid Zero policy leaves it increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. Bureaucrats are looking at cutting the quarantine period to two days in a hotel and then five days at home, said the people, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. Currently, China requires 10 days of isolation on entry into the country, with seven days confined to a hotel room, and then another three days at home, where people are still monitored and subject to regular testing.
20th Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

Chinese capital steps up COVID measures as cases quadruple

China's capital, Beijing, has dialled up measures to stop COVID, strengthening public checks and locking down some residential compounds after a quadrupling of its case load in recent weeks, just as a key Communist Party congress entered full swing. The city of 21 million people on Thursday reported 18 new locally transmitted cases for the previous day, bringing the tally for the past 10 days to 197. That is four times more than the 49 infections detected in the previous 10-day period. While the number of cases is very small compared with other countries, China's zero-COVID policy has compelled the capital to ratchet up preventive measures, particularly with the Communist Party holding its once-every-five-years congress this week, during which President Xi Jinping is expected to win a precedent-breaking third term as its leader.
20th Oct 2022 - Reuters

U.S. committee recommends COVID shot for CDC's free vaccine program

An expert committee on Wednesday recommended that COVID-19 shots become part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) vaccine program for children, which provides many types of free inoculations to millions of kids each year. While all COVID-19 vaccines are currently provided free in the United States by the federal government, the U.S. public health emergency is expected to end in early 2023 and the private market will take over distribution of COVID vaccines and treatments. The committee's recommendation allows for distribution by the Vaccines for Children Program under the CDC's current COVID vaccine guidance, which is for all children over the age of 6 months to be vaccinated and those age 5 and older to receive booster shots.
19th Oct 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong Covid News: City to Lift Public Gathering Limit to 12

Hong Kong will increase the number of people allowed to gather in public, with the substantial tweak to one of its most criticized Covid rules marking another gradual step toward reviving its reputation as a financial hub. As many as 12 people will be able to congregate together in public places starting Oct. 20, the government said in a statement late Tuesday. That’s up from the current limit of four people. The change brings the rule in line with the cap for groups at restaurants, gyms and theme parks. But the ongoing limits have been criticized by health professionals as lacking scientific support given as many as 240 people are allowed to attend an indoor banquet.
19th Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

China says its zero-COVID policy is the best, most cost-effective, will improve

China's COVID-19 measures are the best, most cost-effective and will continue to improve, a spokesman for the ruling Communist Party said on Saturday. "We firmly believe that the light is ahead and perseverance is victory," Sun Yeli told a news conference in Beijing ahead of the party's 20th congress. Sun was responding to a question about whether China risks being isolated from the rest of the world if it continues with its zero-COVID policy.
16th Oct 2022 - Reuters

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Oct 2022

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Coronavirus: Singapore’s Covid resilience means XBB ‘not a concern’ even as cases spike during huge events like F1 race

City state reported 11,732 new cases on Tuesday, at a time the new XBB variant has caused some worry in Asia over its ability to ‘evade vaccines.’ Singapore officials say there’s no cause for concern yet, citing the country’s ‘resilience built up through vaccination and previous waves of infection’
15th Oct 2022 - South China Morning Post

World Faces New Threats From Fast-Mutating Omicron Variants

The subvariants known as BQ.1.1, BQ.1, BQ.1.3, BA.2.3.20 and XBB are among the fastest-spreading of the main omicron lineages. Based on UK data, the BQ variants, as well as BA.2.75.2 and BF.7 are the most concerning due to their growth advantage and immune evasiveness, the country’s health security agency said on Oct. 7. BF.7 has also been gaining ground in the US, where it accounted for 4.6% of Covid cases in the week ending Oct. 8, from 3.3% the week before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Atlanta-based agency noted BA4.6 was the most prevalent after BA.5, accounting for 13.6% of cases in the first week of October, from 12.7% the week before. In Bangladesh and Singapore, the XBB strain has been linked to a small surge in cases.
14th Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

After COVID lockdown, eyes on Shanghai chief at party congress

Once seen as a sure bet for elevation to China's elite Politburo Standing Committee or even as the country's next premier, Li Qiang's glide path to the upcoming Communist Party Congress was buffeted by Shanghai's grinding two-month COVID-19 lockdown. As the top official in China's commercial hub and its most populous city, Li's position as Shanghai party chief has traditionally been a stepping stone towards a top-two role in China's power structure - including for Xi Jinping himself.
12th Oct 2022 - Reuters

Almost two-thirds of long Covid patients are women, study finds

Women account for almost two-thirds of long Covid cases, according to a new study of the illness in multiple countries. Extreme tiredness, loss of smell, shortness of breath, and muscle aches are some of the most widely-reported symptoms of long Covid, which affects about six percent of Covid-19 patients.
12th Oct 2022 - The Independent

Shanghai Lockdown Fears Back as China Covid Cases Rise Before Party Congress

China is stepping up efforts to contain Covid-19 outbreaks ahead of the Party Congress, with national cases climbing to the highest in almost two months and concerns about widening lockdowns rippling across the financial hub of Shanghai. The country reported 1,878 cases for Sunday, the highest since Aug. 20, as the week-long National Day holiday saw cases flare among returning travelers. Shanghai posted 34 new local infections, the most in almost three months, with two infections found outside of its quarantine system.
11th Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

China urges 'patience' as COVID cases rebound ahead of key congress

China called for "patience" with its tough COVID policies and warned against any "war-weariness" as local cases soared to their highest since August, days ahead of a pivotal Communist Party congress. Many countries are learning to co-exist with COVID-19, but China has repeatedly quashed any speculation of a let-up in its policies, which can range from locking down a local community to an entire city, even though fatalities remain low by global standards and symptoms, if any, are mostly mild.
10th Oct 2022 - Reuters

China's Tolerance for Xi's Unyielding Covid Fight Is Cracking

Since the initial outbreak emerged in the central city of Wuhan, many people in China have been more or less supportive of mass testing, citywide lockdowns and strict hotel quarantine that has restricted overseas travel. But signs are emerging that patience is wearing thin. While there aren’t reliable surveys on Chinese attitudes toward Covid-19 and social media is heavily censored, more criticisms of Xi’s policy have broken through of late. On the official Weibo account of Li Wenliang, a whistle-blowing doctor in Wuhan who was lionized by China’s government after his death, a greater number of complaints have emerged about lockdowns and constant PCR tests in recent weeks.
10th Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

Pfizer exec denies CEO negotiated EU COVID vaccine contract via text message

A Pfizer executive with a lead role in negotiating a COVID-19 vaccine bulk supply agreement with the European Commission "categorically" ruled out that the U.S. drugmaker's chief executive agreed the contract via mobile phone text messages. "As to whether a contract negotiation such as this contract which you referred to, 1.8 billion doses, was negotiated through an SMS, I can categorically tell you that would not be the case," Janine Small, president of international developed markets at Pfizer, told the European Parliament's special committee on COVID-19 on Monday.
10th Oct 2022 - Reuters

China's Covid-19 Lockdowns Deal Another Blow to Consumer Spending

A renewed wave of pandemic-related lockdowns in major Chinese cities is hampering hopes for a recovery in consumer spending, showing how difficult it is for Beijing to rekindle growth without loosening Covid-19 restrictions. Official data released in recent days showed consumer spending falling sharply during the seven-day National Day holiday when compared with a year earlier, while a private survey of services activity fell into contraction in September. Travelers in China made 422 million trips during the National Day holiday between Oct. 1 and 7, down 18% from a year earlier and 39% lower than prepandemic levels in 2019, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said Friday.
10th Oct 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 10th Oct 2022

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Illness, isolation and suicidal thoughts: Hong Kong’s senior caregivers struggle through COVID-19

There’s a short flight of steps leading to their house. But to 73-year-old Pun Sum Wing, it takes some effort getting his wife, a wheelchair user, around. So he built a wooden ramp, complete with rubber strips, to wheel her in and out of the house. It’s a steep incline and his wife, Law Mui, needs assurance. Mr Pun gently comforts her and within a few moments, they’re home. Mrs Pun has dementia and is unable to move on her own, so Mr Pun bathes and feeds her. It’s a familiar routine; one that the couple has been following for most of the past decade. “It’s my responsibility to take care of my wife. I don't want to bother my children as they’re working and need to take care of their own families,” he said.
9th Oct 2022 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

Spike in COVID-19 cases across Europe could mean fast-spreading winter wave

With winter weather just around the corner, the first hints of another wave of COVID-19 have emerged in Europe, according to data released by the World Health Organization this week. Infections across Europe — the majority of them caused by omicron subvariants that dominated the summer months — have been steadily climbing in several nations, including in the United Kingdom, France and Italy. According to WHO data released Wednesday, cases across the European Union spiked to 1.5 million last week, up 8% from the week prior. Hospitalizations are also up across the 27-nation bloc, with Italy reporting a 32% jump in admissions and a 21% increase in intensive care admissions for the week ending on Oct. 4. Britain, meanwhile, reported a 45% increase in hospitalizations when compared with the week prior.
9th Oct 2022 - The Times Leader

What the COVID-19 pandemic revealed about intellectual property

An investigation into the development of the vaccines tells a different story. The work on mRNA vaccine technology dates back many decades and was almost entirely publicly funded. Even some of the critical elements of the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, such as the lipid nanoparticle container5, were also publicly funded7. Both BioNTech and Moderna developed their own proprietary platforms — requiring considerable ingenuity, effort and cost — relying on both patents, trade secrets and regulatory exclusivity. Pfizer’s development of Paxlovid was conducted in-house. During the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, Pfizer developed an intravenous protease inhibitor to combat that coronavirus. Pfizer was able to do so as it had recently acquired Agouron Pharmaceuticals, a firm that had been working on a similar protease in rhinovirus.
8th Oct 2022 - Nature.com

New Zealand could face another COVID-19 wave before year-end: report

New Zealand could be hit by another COVID-19 wave before the end of the year, a COVID-19 modeler warned on Tuesday. Prof. Michael Plank of the University of Canterbury called on Kiwis to get boosted if they haven't been, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been increasing in European countries such as Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Britain, Plank said, citing this as an example of another imminent pandemic wave. Factors such as waning immunity and new Omicron sub-variants BQ.1.1, a BA.5 descendant, and another sub-type, BA.2.75.2, have been combined to contribute to the forming of another wave in the future, he said.
8th Oct 2022 - Xinhua

Zero-Covid measures cause chaos as China prepares for Beijing summit

Lockdowns and travel restrictions are continuing to cause chaos across China in the run-up to a crucial political meeting next week as the government holds fast to hardline zero-Covid policies. As thousands of Communist party delegates prepare to descend on Beijing for the twice-a-decade congress meeting, where Xi Jinping is expected to start his third term as leader, local authorities are under pressure to control contain outbreaks. This week 2,883 cases were reported across more than 25 provinces, including 227 on Wednesday. The number is small compared with global cases but relatively high for China’s zero-tolerance approach. China’s government has remained committed to its zero-Covid policy, despite major damage to the economy and growing opposition from the general public to frequent sudden lockdowns that trap people inside their homes, shops and workplaces, and other overzealous reactions to handfuls of cases.
8th Oct 2022 - The Guardian

White House says COVID booster campaign going well, should pick up

The White House expects the rate of vaccination in its fall booster campaign to pick up over the coming weeks, and its COVID response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha on Friday characterized the initial pace as "a really good start."
8th Oct 2022 - Reuters

Covid wave looms in Europe as booster campaign makes slow start

A new Covid-19 wave appears to be brewing in Europe as cooler weather arrives, with public health experts warning that vaccine fatigue and confusion over types of shots available will likely limit booster uptake. Omicron subvariants BA.4/5 that dominated this summer are still behind the majority of infections, but newer Omicron subvariants are gaining ground. Hundreds of new forms of Omicron are being tracked by scientists, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said this week. WHO data released late on Wednesday showed that cases in the European Union reached 1.5 million last week, up 8% from the prior week, despite a dramatic fall in testing. Globally, case numbers continue to decline.
8th Oct 2022 - Egypt Independent

Early signs a new U.S. COVID surge could be on its way

As the U.S. heads into a third pandemic winter, the first hints are emerging that another possible surge of COVID-19 infections could be on its way. So far, no national surge has started yet. The number of people getting infected, hospitalized and dying from COVID in the U.S. has been gently declining from a fairly high plateau. But as the weather cools and people start spending more time inside, where the virus spreads more easily, the risks of a resurgence increase. The first hint of what could be in store is what's happening in Europe. Infections have been rising in many European countries, including the U.K., France, and Italy.
7th Oct 2022 - NPR.org

Pfizer COVID vaccine clears Japan panel for use with young children

A Japanese health ministry panel on Wednesday recommended approving Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as six months old. Japan in January expanded use of the vaccine to those as young as five years old. Last month, health authorities started to dispensing Pfizer and Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) booster shots that target the Omicron variant of the virus. The panel also recommended approval of a version of the Pfizer vaccine that protects against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. Moderna said earlier on Wednesday it was seeking Japanese approval of its own subvariant shot.
5th Oct 2022 - Reuters.com

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Oct 2022

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First on CNN: US government to provide $266 million to build community, public health work force

The US government is awarding more than $266 million from the American Rescue Plan to expand the nation’s community and public health work force, officials will announce Friday. The plan’s overall investment in community health, outreach and health education workers – totaling more than $1.1 billion – is one of its “crown jewels,” said Gene Sperling, coordinator of the American Rescue Plan and a senior adviser to President Joe Biden. The funding comes as some public and community health workers have faced intense workloads, backlash and burnout during the Covid-19 pandemic and throughout other overlapping health emergencies, including record-high drug overdose deaths, the monkeypox outbreak and the re-emergence of polio.
2nd Oct 2022 - CNN

Ending mandatory isolation does not mean Covid is over. But we need to move beyond short-term fixes

Changes in Covid-19 policy settings always invoke mixed reactions, and the national cabinet decision to stop isolation requirements for most people is one of the more substantial announcements since the opening of international borders, and the end to supervised quarantine. Some of us have felt protected by rules, others frustrated by them, while the majority probably sit somewhere in the middle – being reassured that they were there when needed, and relieved when we can ease them safely. This is not about “giving up”, or “letting it rip”, it is about handing over to sustainable measures that will take us forward.
2nd Oct 2022 - The Guardian

Bereaved families fear Covid inquiry cover-up after ban on testimony

Families of those who died from Covid-19 have been barred from submitting individual testimony to the official public inquiry about the standard of care received by their loved ones during the pandemic, the Observer can reveal. Instead, the inquiry chair, Lady Hallett, is proposing they submit “pen portraits” to a private research company as part of a parallel “Listening Project” that will not have the power to demand the disclosure of documents or investigate claims about their relatives’ care. “It would appear that Lady Hallett would rather outsource the grief of bereaved families to the Listening Project than engage with us constructively,” said John Sullivan, whose daughter, Susan, died in March 2020 at Barnet hospital after being denied access to an intensive therapy unit because of her Down’s syndrome and supposed cardiac comorbidities. “The inquiry is becoming a farce and an exercise in cover-up,” he said, ahead of the first hearing on Tuesday.
2nd Oct 2022 - The Guardian

China's Covid Rules Wreak Havoc With Holidays in Blow to Economy

Chinese holidaymakers are bracing for more disruption during a weeklong break as the government tightens controls to contain Covid outbreaks before the Communist Party’s top leaders meet in Beijing for a crucial political meeting. Passenger trips by road are expected to plunge by about 30% from a year ago during the National Day break, according to government data. Prices of air tickets for the period are lower compared to last year and travelers are taking shorter journeys, figures from hotel booking sites show. Cinema box office takings are expected to decline by more than 20%.
2nd Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong's Abrupt Quarantine End Triggers New Crisis for Hotels

Hong Kong’s former quarantine hotels are awash with empty rooms, after the city axed its dreaded mandatory isolation rule for arrivals but kept other virus curbs likely to repel inbound tourists. The Ovolo group’s Southside and Central properties had just four bookings left on Monday after logging some 1,500 quarantine cancellations over the weekend, said Mael Vastine, director of operations in Hong Kong. “Business has been impacted and it will take some time to recover,” he added, noting that neither hotel had taken a new reservation in recent days.
1st Oct 2022 - Bloomberg

Australia draws flak over plan to end home quarantine for Covid patients

Australia will end the mandatory five-day home quarantine for Covid-infected people on Oct. 14, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday, even as some doctors warned the move would put the public at risk. The decision to let Covid-infected Australians decide whether they need to isolate or not removes one of country’s last remaining restrictions from the pandemic era, and comes about a month after the quarantine period was cut to five days from seven. “We want a policy that promotes resilience and capacity-building and reduces a reliance on government intervention,” Albanese told reporters after a meeting of the national cabinet.
30th Sep 2022 - South China Morning Post

Australia is now living with COVID-19, but in aged care, thousands are dying with it

They're known as the Silent Generation: Australia's elders often have a reputation for copping hard knocks on the chin without complaint – but they’re also among our most vulnerable. While the COVID death rate in aged care has significantly decreased in 2022, the number of total deaths has increased exponentially Advocates say not enough people are aware of the trauma still happening in aged care. Residents are torn between fearing the outside world and wanting to be a part of it. It's because of that vulnerability many of their lives have been slower to return to a pre-COVID 'normal'. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, Australians united to protect each other. During the first two years, the country was devastated to see almost 900 deaths from the illness in aged care. That figure made up about 40 per cent of the 2,220 deaths recorded during the same time frame. Floral tributes and homemade signs of hope were tied to fences of locked-down aged care facilities, where residents could only peer through the windows.
30th Sep 2022 - ABC News

Physician Burnout Has Reached Distressing Levels, New Research Finds

Physician Burnout in the United States Has Reached Distressing Levels, New Research Finds
30th Sep 2022 - The New York Times

Hong Kong Scraps Hotel Quarantine Requirement

Hong Kong has scrapped hotel quaratine stays as a requirement of its Covid-19 quarantine practice.
26th Sep 2022 - Regulation Asia

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Grim milestone as Australia’s aged care homes mark 4,000 Covid deaths

The Covid-19 pandemic may have slipped from the forefront of most Australians’ minds. But in aged care, another grim milestone has just been recorded. This week, Australia marked its 4,000th death in residential aged care since the pandemic began. Data released Friday shows the aged care death toll now sits at 4,012, after another 32 Covid-related deaths were recorded last week. Aged care has been the pandemic’s epicentre in Australia and 2022 has been the most deadly year by far. Nine months into the year, and the death toll in 2022 is already well above 3,000. The toll was greater than the first two years (231 in 2021 and 686 in 2020) of the pandemic combined.
25th Sep 2022 - The Guardian

Patients Suffered at For-Profit Nursing Homes Early in Pandemic, Congress Says

One nurse caring for more than 30 patients. Hours- or even days-long waits for basic care. Threats against sick staff. These are some of the conditions described in a new congressional report examining several for-profit nursing-home chains in the early days of the pandemic. The report by the House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis examined five for-profit chains operating about 850 homes with 80,000 residents during the early months of the pandemic, drawing on complaints filed against the companies. About 70% of nursing homes in the US are run by for-profit operators.
23rd Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Japan to Restore Visa-Free Travel From Oct. 11 as Covid Pandemic Recedes

Japan will abolish a slew of Covid border controls from Oct. 11, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in New York, in a move that looks set to revive the tourism industry. Individual visitors will be allowed to enter, and Japan will reinstate visa waivers, Kishida said at a news conference Thursday morning in New York. The cap on daily arrivals in Japan will also be ended, he said. Later in the day, at the New York Stock Exchange, Kishida said Japan “will relax border control measures to be on par with the US,” spurring applause from the audience.
23rd Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Will End Covid Vaccination Requirements in Its New York Office

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will drop vaccination requirements for staff at its New York City office, as the waning pandemic prompts Wall Street banks eager for employees to return to their desks to scrap remaining restrictions. The bank will end the requirement beginning Tuesday Nov. 1, according to a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg News. It follows the announcement by New York City Mayor Eric Adams that the city will no longer mandate that private employers require all of their workers to be vaccinated for Covid-19. Goldman Sachs had previously removed vaccine requirements in other US locations
23rd Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Pfizer to supply up to 6 mln COVID pill courses for lower income countries

Pfizer Inc said on Thursday it would supply up to 6 million courses of its COVID-19 antiviral treatment to NGO Global Fund for low- and middle-income countries that seeks to address worldwide disparities in COVID response. The company said Paxlovid treatment courses will be available for procurement through Global Fund's COVID-19 Response Mechanism to 132 low- and middle-income countries this year, subject to local regulatory clearances.
23rd Sep 2022 - Reuters

COVID complications push Australian deaths to highest numbers in 40 years

The alarm has been sounded about COVID-19’s hidden impact as new data shows that the highest number of people have died in the March quarter of 2022 than in any of the past 41 years. Australian Bureau of Statistics population data published on Wednesday shows an 18 per cent increase in deaths in the quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, rising from 36,100 to 46,200 deaths.
23rd Sep 2022 - Sydney Morning Herald

Zero-COVID policy has cost Hong Kong its aviation hub status - IATA

Hong Kong has lost its position as a global aviation hub due to China's zero-COVID policy, the head of airlines group IATA said on Wednesday, warning the industry's recovery from the pandemic would be slowed if Beijing continued its restrictions next year. Attending an International Air Transport Association (IATA) conference in the Qatari capital Doha, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said China's zero-COVID policy had "devastated" Hong Kong and hit airline Cathay Pacific hard.
23rd Sep 2022 - Reuters

Covid hospitalisations rise by nearly 20% in a week in England

Coronavirus cases and hospitalisations are rising once again in England after declining since early July, data suggests, with experts warning people should stay at home if ill and get a Covid booster if eligible. According to the latest figures on the government coronavirus dashboard, both the number of cases detected through mass community testing, and patients admitted to hospital with Covid have risen in the past seven days, suggesting the country could be facing a resurgence of the virus. On Monday, 781 Covid patients were admitted to hospital in England, up from 519 the week before, with the seven day total rising 17%, from 3,434 in the week ending 12 September to 4,015 in the week ending 19 September.
22nd Sep 2022 - The Guardian

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Sep 2022

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How did Pfizer vaccine fare against Omicron in NZ?

New Zealand confronted Omicron as one of the most vaccinated populations on the planet – so what difference did that make in blunting the worst impacts? That's what researchers plan to find out in a new study exploring the effectiveness of multiple doses of the Pfizer vaccine against the variant, in what was also one of the world's few "infection-naïve" populations. Study leaders Dr Anna Howe and Dr Matt Hobbs also aim to answer another critical question: what protection the vaccine gave Māori, Pasifika and other high-risk groups. By the time the Omicron outbreak forced the whole of New Zealand into the red traffic light setting on January 23, about 93 per cent of our eligible adult population – that's 3,910,251 people – had already received at least two doses of Pfizer's Comirnaty vaccine
18th Sep 2022 - New Zealand Herald

Australians believe life is improving after lockdowns and are more confident in government, survey finds

Australians believe their life is improving and are more confident in the government compared with last year, with much of this wellbeing boost being reported among young people, the results of a national survey suggest. The latest Covid Impact Monitoring survey of more than 3,510 adults, completed in August, found the 18 to 24 age group in particular are feeling more positive about their lives. This is despite being the age group to suffer some of the greatest psychological distress during the peak of the pandemic. “That does not mean that Australia has returned to pre-pandemic levels of wellbeing and mental health,” the results of the latest survey, published on Wednesday, found.
18th Sep 2022 - The Guardian

UK Covid-19 inquiry delayed by two weeks to respect national mourning period

The UK Covid-19 inquiry has been delayed by two weeks out of respect for the national mourning period following the Queen’s death, officials have said. The inquiry, which will investigate decisions made by Boris Johnson’s government during the pandemic, was due to begin on September 20, but has been postponed until October 4. It will begin with a preliminary hearing, which will outline how the inquiry will develop and what it will investigate. During this hearing, inquiry chair Baroness Heather Hallett will hold a short period of silence to commemorate the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives.
16th Sep 2022 - Evening Standard

China Covid lockdowns leave residents short of food and essential items

Residents under Covid lockdowns in areas across China are complaining of shortages of food and essential items. Tens of millions of people in at least 30 regions have been ordered to stay at home under partial or full lockdowns. "It's been 15 days, we are out of flour, rice, eggs. From days ago, we run out of milk for kids," said one resident in western Xinjiang. Authorities are scrambling to contain local outbreaks ahead of the Communist party's congress in October. China's zero-Covid policy requires strict lockdowns - even if just a handful of cases are reported. On Monday China recorded 949 new Covid cases across the entire country.
16th Sep 2022 - BBC News

China's Chengdu exits full citywide COVID lockdown on Thursday

The Chinese city of Chengdu will on Thursday lift a full COVID-19 lockdown in all districts still facing strict movement curbs as a recent outbreak comes under control, local authorities said. Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, was locked down on Sept. 1 after COVID cases were detected, becoming the largest Chinese metropolis hit with curbs since Shanghai's lockdown in April and May. Some districts in Chengdu, a city of more than 21 million people, have already started to exit from a full lockdown since Sept. 8.
16th Sep 2022 - Reuters

WHO Saying Pandemic End in Sight Falls Flat in Covid Zero China

Article repots that the World Health Organization chief’s comment that the end of the pandemic is within reach sparked lively online debate -- and some censorship -- in China, the only major country still trying to stop the spread of the virus. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that “we have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.” China Newsweek and popular online media outlet Guancha.cn reported on Tedros’s remark and shared videos on social media platform Weibo, but those were removed in the afternoon. A hashtag on Tedros’s comments that gathered some 4.5 million views also appeared to have been removed, and Chinese media disabled the comment function on Weibo posts sharing the news.
15th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Nigeria Strikes Deal with Serum Institute of India

Nigeria will start building a vaccine plant by end of the year after signing a contract manufacturing agreement with the Serum Institute of India for local production of the jabs, the country’s health minister said. The country struck the deal with the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer on Wednesday, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said at a briefing in the capital, Abuja. The plant should be producing routine vaccines -- initially against polio, measles and yellow fever, among others -- by 2028, he added.
14th Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Malaysia to purchase updated COVID-19 vaccines tailored for new variants: Khairy

The Malaysian government will procure new COVID-19 vaccines which are tailored to fight new strains of the virus, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. The vaccines will be administered free of charge to high-risk groups such as the elderly and those with serious comorbidities, the Malaysian media quoted Mr Khairy as saying on Tuesday. "A decision on this procurement will be announced later along with the vaccines for children under five," he said at a press conference after launching the Record Breaking COVID-19 Vaccination Report: Public-Private Partnership, according to Bernama.
14th Sep 2022 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

Vietnam appreciates Thailand’s support in COVID-19 fight: Ambassador

The Vietnamese Government appreciated the contributions of the Thailand-Vietnam Friendship Association (TVFA) and five Thai corporations as well as their efforts to call for donations of medical equipment and materials to Vietnam during the fight against COVID-19 last year, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Phan Chi Thanh. Thanh made the statement during a ceremony in Bangkok on September 14 to present the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' certificates of merit to the TVFA and Thai corporations, including Thai Beverage, SCG, Berli Jucker, Amata Vietnam and B.Grimm Power, in recognition of their assistance in calling for medical equipment and supplies in the fight against COVID-19 in Vietnam in 2021, when the two countries celebrated the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.
14th Sep 2022 - VietnamPlus

We Are Failing to Use What We've Learned About COVID

Podcast - This is Eric Topol for Medscape. I'm with my co-host Abraham Verghese for a new edition of Medicine and the Machine. We have an extraordinary guest today, Professor Christina Pagel. She is a force — a professor at University College London with an extraordinary background in math, physics, and even interplanetary space. We've never had a guest with such a diverse background. Welcome, Christina.
9th Sep 2022 - Medscape

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 5th Sep 2022

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Coronavirus: Hong Kong health minister slams report suggesting internal conflict on quarantine, city logs 10,683 cases

Hong Kong Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau does not name news outlet but says report had cost the media its integrity, three days after Bloomberg piece. Meanwhile, city logs highest daily tally since March 24
4th Sep 2022 - South China Morning Post on MSN.com

Look Who’s Rushing Covid Vaccines Now

Democrats and the public-health clerisy denounced President Trump for rushing Covid vaccines. They’ve been curiously quiet about the Food and Drug Administration’s gunshot approval last week of revamped booster shots with no trials showing they are safe or effective. The FDA granted emergency-use authorization to mRNA shots by Pfizer and Moderna that are bivalent, targeting the initial Wuhan variant as well as the currently predominant BA.4 and BA.5 strains. The Biden administration ordered 171 million doses earlier this summer, so FDA authorization seems to have been a fait accompli. The FDA probably should have made the reconfigured vaccines available to high-risk and elderly patients. But the case is weak for young people, given the limited benefit and uncertain risks.
4th Sep 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Ex-minister Liam Fox gets donation from Covid test firm he recommended

Tory MP Liam Fox received a £20,000 donation in June from a Covid testing firm on whose behalf he had contacted the then health secretary Matt Hancock. Mr Fox recommended SureScreen Diagnostics to Mr Hancock in 2020, an email seen by campaign group Good Law Project and the BBC shows. The company went on to win a £500m contract to provide tests without facing competition. A spokesperson for Mr Fox said the story was a "baseless smear". It was "concocted by the political activist Jolyon Maugham and the Good Law Project", the spokesman said, and Mr Fox would be making a complaint. "It is appalling that this should be propagated by the BBC," the statement issued after publication, added.
4th Sep 2022 - BBC News

China's tech hub Shenzhen goes into COVID lockdown

Six districts within Shenzen will remain in lockdown for seven days as they are considered at high-risk for COVID-19 transmission, Reuters reports. Shenzhen will suspend bus and train services for the lockdown.
4th Sep 2022 - Axios

Jacinda Ardern is losing support in NZ, but can the PM's international star power save her?

NZ's Opposition says Kiwis are facing a cost-of-living crisis, and analysts say it is impacting support for the PM. Ms Ardern's government now has less support than the National Party, according to recent polling. Analysts say the key issues at next year's election will be the economy and inequality
4th Sep 2022 - ABC News

China's Covid Spread Persists After Mega-City Lockdown

New coronavirus cases in China stayed at elevated levels on Friday following the lockdown of a mega-city of 21 million, as the nation pursues its rigid Covid-zero policy with dogged determination. The country reported 1,819 new local Covid-19 infections on Friday in 25 out of its 32 provinces and municipalities, according to a statement of National Health Commission. That compares with 1,885 reported Thursday. Chengdu, the nation’s sixth-largest city which was ordered to lock down on Thursday, reported 155 new local Covid-19 cases on Friday, edging up from the 150 the previous day.
3rd Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Shenzhen districts locked down as China battles COVID outbreaks

Most residents of the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen went into a weekend lockdown on Saturday as mass COVID-19 testing kicked off in much of the city of 18 million people. The lockdown, and the suspension of bus and subway services, came into effect two days after city authorities said rumours about a lockdown were based on a "misinterpretation" of the latest COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
3rd Sep 2022 - Reuters

Covid: Millions invited for booster jabs from Monday

Millions of people will be invited for their autumn Covid booster jab in England and Scotland next week, with care home residents the first to receive them. Although infections are falling, health bosses are predicting a resurgence of Covid and flu this autumn and winter. They are urging those eligible to protect themselves from serious illness by getting vaccines against both. A recently approved vaccine against the Omicron variant will be used first.
3rd Sep 2022 - BBC News

Denmark expects winter without COVID restrictions - health minister

Denmark is preparing to go through the coming winter without any coronavirus restrictions even with an expected rise in infections, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Friday. The Nordic country expects to be able to avoid lockdown measures due to new improved booster vaccines, greater immunity in the population and being able to better track the spread of the virus through measures such as waste-water testing.
2nd Sep 2022 - Reuters

Deadline looming, White House sees spike in demand for at-home virus tests

The White House on Thursday said Americans have increased requests for at-home COVID-19 tests as the federal government prepares to stop providing free tests on Friday. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that "we're going to do everything we can to get people their tests."
2nd Sep 2022 - Reuters

Omicron-Targeting Covid Booster Shots Offer Only Slight Advantage

How much better will an omicron-specific Covid-19 booster be? Research that models the protective effect of variant-modified shots found they’ll probably offer a slight advantage over existing immunizations. Antibodies that neutralize the virus jump about 11-fold after a booster targeting the original “Wuhan” strain of the coronavirus, and are increased a further 1.5-fold when a variant-modified shot is used, researchers at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute found. “A variant-modified booster does provide at least a marginal improvement,” said Deborah Cromer, head of the institute’s infection epidemiology and policy analytics group in Sydney, who led the study.
30th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Sep 2022

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Hong Kong's Lee Gets Nod for Reverse Quarantine Into China

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee has secured China’s support for a “reverse quarantine” program to boost travel into the mainland, after two years of strict Covid curbs thwarted cross-border ties. The city leader said at a Thursday news briefing that officials from neighboring Guangdong province had backed his plan for travelers to first isolate in Hong Kong and then enter China quarantine-free during a virtual meeting. “The main purpose is to first of all alleviate the burden of hotels in the mainland,” he said. “The second goal of this proposal is to ensure that we will have a system to allow a regular flow of people from Hong Kong into Shenzhen.”
1st Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

China Locks Down Megacity Chengdu as Covid Zero Rolls On

The Chinese metropolis of Chengdu locked down its 21 million residents to contain a Covid-19 outbreak, a seismic move in the country’s vast Western region that has largely been untouched by the virus. The capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu is the biggest city to shut down since Shanghai’s bruising two-month lockdown earlier this year. The move -- which will upend the lives of millions of people and businesses, with repercussions for China’s economy and beyond -- shows the country’s commitment to the Covid Zero approach espoused by President Xi Jinping, despite the disruption it’s causing.
1st Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong Officials Target End to Hotel Quarantine in November

Hong Kong is targeting an end to hotel quarantine in November, ahead of a summit of global bankers and an international rugby competition, even as a resurgence in Covid-19 cases prompts health officials to push back on the plan, according to people familiar with the debate. Chief Executive John Lee is leaning toward scrapping hotel quarantine before the November events to signal Hong Kong is back in business, despite the objections of some in his administration, the people said. Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau is among those who want to tighten restrictions as cases surge, one person added, on the hope that suppressing cases will lead to the reopening of the mainland border.
1st Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

China's Chengdu to conduct mass COVID testing, lockdowns as cases climb

Chengdu locks down during four-day citywide testing. Shenzhen has districts with over 15 mln residents and this will hit business, Most curbs in big Chinese cities are intended for a few days according to the Zero Covid plan.
1st Sep 2022 - Reuters

Nine million foreigners visited Spain in July, near pre-pandemic levels

More than twice as many tourists visited Spain in July than in the same month last year, a number only slightly below pre-pandemic levels, National Statistics Institute data showed on Thursday. The 9.1 million visitors in July spent close to 12 billion euros ($12 billion), more than twice as much as in 2021. Tourism earnings are a significant component of Spain's gross domestic product. Before COVID-19 put a halt to international travel in 2020, Spain received a record number of foreign tourists in 2019, with 9.9 million visiting in July of that year.
1st Sep 2022 - Reuters

COVID-19 took a unique toll on undocumented immigrants

Imelda fled sexual violence at the hands of drug cartels in rural Puebla, about two hours outside of Mexico City, and arrived in New York City in 2013. She had no health insurance, barely spoke English, and as an undocumented immigrant, she avoided situations that required revealing her identity. So in March 2020, even as the city became the national epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Imelda, who asked that her surname not be used due to risk of deportation, resisted going to the hospital for her escalating fever and fatigue. “When the symptoms began, I wanted to go,” Imelda says, but her fears outweighed her desire for treatment. Since arriving in the U.S. Imelda had visited a hospital only once, for the birth of her second daughter. But in addition to worries about revealing her immigration status, she was afraid of incurring medical bills that exceeded what she earned cleaning houses.
1st Sep 2022 - National Geographic

UK downgrades Covid-19 alert level amid falling cases

The UK’s Covid-19 alert level has been downgraded to level 2, meaning the virus is in “general circulation” but healthcare pressures and transmission are “declining or stable”. The chief medical officers of the UK nations and the national medical director of the NHS in England have jointly recommended that the Covid alert level be moved down from level 3 amid falling cases. They said the Covid-19 wave of the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 was “subsiding”. Rates of Covid have decreased as have the number of severe cases needing hospital care, they added. However, they said further Covid surges were “likely” as they urged people to take up the offer of vaccination. The autumn booster campaign is due to start within days.
1st Sep 2022 - The Guardian

Ontario's top doctor drops COVID-19 isolation requirements, expands booster eligibility to kids 5 to 11

Ontario is dropping the mandatory five-day isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19, the province's top doctor announced Wednesday. The move is part of the province's broader plan to prepare for the fall respiratory illness season, and comes just as Ontario wastewater data is showing a slight uptick in the amount of COVID-19 in the province. Dr. Kieran Moore said the COVID-19 pandemic has moved out of a "crisis phase" and become something that will require long-term management. The seventh wave has crested, he said, but the virus "remains in the community" and Public Health Ontario expects to see an increase in transmission as more people gather inside during the cooler fall months.
1st Sep 2022 - CBC.ca

Canada's Ontario allows masked people with asymptomatic COVID in public

Canada's most populous province, Ontario, said on Wednesday that residents can come out of isolation with a mask as soon as 24 hours after their COVID-19 symptoms dissipate, under a strategy to homogenize guidance for all respiratory illnesses. Asymptomatic COVID-positive residents, as well as those who come in contact with an infected person, can go to work or school but they must wear a face mask for 10 days, the Ontario government said.
1st Sep 2022 - Reuters

U.S. plans to move COVID vaccines, treatments to private markets in 2023

The U.S. government expects its supply of COVID-19 vaccines and antiviral treatments to run out over the next year and is preparing for them to be sold via the commercial market, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday. President Joe Biden's administration expects to run out of federal funding for buying and distributing COVID-19 vaccines by January, although it has already bought over 170 million doses for a booster campaign later this year, according to a blog post written by Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O'Connell.
1st Sep 2022 - Reuters

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More than 100 officials in Tibet punished over zero-Covid failures

Tibet had seen only one imported Covid-19 case since 2020 until an outbreak earlier this month. Heads roll also in hard-hit tourist hub Hainan, with provinces keen to show total commitment to zero-Covid ahead of key party congress, analyst notes.
1st Sep 2022 - South China Morning Post

China places millions in new Covid lockdown after fresh outbreaks

Millions of Chinese citizens were placed under a new lockdown on Tuesday following a fresh outbreak of coronavirus as the government remains committed to its “zero- Covid ” policy. The tougher curbs on activities have sparked concerns over the health of the barely-growing economy
1st Sep 2022 - The Independent on MSN.com

Americans Could Have to Pay for Covid Shots Starting Next Year

The US government anticipates that it will stop purchasing and providing Covid-19 shots as soon as January due to a lack of funds, leaving Americans to obtain vaccines through insurers or pay for them out-of-pocket. US health officials convened a meeting of more than 100 representatives from drugmakers, state and local health departments, health providers and insurers on Tuesday to discuss the government’s plans to transition sales of Covid vaccines and therapeutics to the commercial market, according to Dawn O’Connell, who heads the Health and Human Services Department’s Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response.
1st Sep 2022 - Bloomberg

U.S. FDA green lights Omicron-targeted COVID boosters ahead of revaccination campaign

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer)/BioNTech and Moderna that target the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, as the government prepares for a broad fall vaccination campaign that could begin within days. The new vaccines also include the original version of the virus targeted by all the previous COVID shots.
31st Aug 2022 - Reuters

What you need to know about fall booster shots of coronavirus vaccine

New coronavirus boosters are just around the corner following authorization Wednesday by federal regulators. The updated shots are designed to provide a stronger shield against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants still causing tens of thousands of infections and hundreds of deaths every day in the United States. The boosters will be part of a campaign by the federal government, to be kicked off within days, to persuade Americans to bolster their immune defenses before a potential surge in covid-19 cases as cooler weather arrives in the fall.
31st Aug 2022 - The Washington Post

US clears updated COVID boosters targeting newest variants

The U.S. on Wednesday authorized its first update to COVID-19 vaccines, booster doses that target today’s most common omicron strain. Shots could begin within days. The move by the Food and Drug Administration tweaks the recipe of shots made by Pfizer and rival Moderna that already have saved millions of lives. The hope is that the modified boosters will blunt yet another winter surge — and help tamp down the BA.5 omicron relative that continues to spread widely. “These updated boosters present us with an opportunity to get ahead" of the next COVID-19 wave, said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf.
31st Aug 2022 - ABC

Cyprus ends mandatory mask wearing as COVID-19 measures eased

Article reports that Cyprus on Wednesday said it would end all restrictions on gatherings and the mandatory use of face masks in most areas after cases of COVID-19 were declining. Effective Wednesday, all restrictions on public or private gatherings would be eased, while wearing face masks would only be compulsory in areas such as hospitals, care homes and on public transport, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said.
31st Aug 2022 - Reuters

S.Korea to end pre-departure COVID test requirement for overseas travellers

South Korea will from Saturday no longer require travellers to the country to test for COVID-19 before departure, although they will still need to take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival. The latest relaxing of rules comes amid an easing in case numbers with daily COVID infections hovering around 100,000 in recent weeks compared with more than 180,000 in mid-August. "The weekly number of infections have declined for the first time in nine weeks and the virus is showing signs of slowing down," Lee Ki-il, the country's second vice health minister, told reporters.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

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China’s Covid Zero Tested as Broadest Outbreak Hits All Provinces

China is battling Covid-19 in every province despite its use of the world’s strictest measures to keep the virus out. All 31 mainland provinces recorded at least one local Covid case over the past ten days, reflecting the broadest exposure to the virus since at least February 2021, when national health authorities began disclosing detailed records on where asymptomatic infections were occurring daily.
31st Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs to lift COVID protocols - memo

Goldman Sachs Group Inc will lift pandemic-era protocols at its offices effective Sept. 6, according to an internal memo reviewed by Reuters. The Wall Street investment bank had already called its employees back to the office full time in June last year, although it relaxed those requirements during periods when coronavirus cases surged, sources familiar with the matter said. The new guidelines will allow employees to enter the company's Americas offices regardless of vaccination status, except in New York City and Lima.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

U.S. plans to move COVID vaccines, treatments to private markets in 2023

The U.S. government expects its supply of COVID-19 vaccines and antiviral treatments to run out over the next year and is preparing for them to be sold via the commercial market, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday. President Joe Biden's administration expects to run out of federal funding for buying and distributing COVID-19 vaccines by January, although it has already bought over 170 million doses for a booster campaign later this year, according to a blog post written by Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O'Connell.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

As Americans ditch Covid measures, pandemic worsens for the vulnerable

In the last few months, Dr Jeannina Smith has seen organ transplant recipients who have been very careful throughout the pandemic venture out for one activity, contract Covid-19 and lose their transplant. ‘Most have thrown their hands up’: has the US forgotten about Covid? “I have been at the bedside of a transplant recipient” who “was very ill and in the hospital, and she got Covid the second time in a healthcare setting”, said Smith, medical director of the infectious disease program at University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. “She was sobbing because she said, ‘It’s so hard for me to see that people care so little about my life that wearing a mask is too much for them.’”
30th Aug 2022 - The Guardian

Coronavirus vaccine: 90% student third-jab rate needed for Hong Kong secondary schools to resume full-day, in-person classes

Article reports that Hong Kong secondary schools will only be allowed to conduct full-day classes on campus if 90 per cent of their students have been triple-vaccinated against Covid-19, with education authorities tightening the existing two-jab requirement. The same threshold also applies to secondary and primary school students from October if they hope to take part in extracurricular and mask-off activities such as music and sports, according to a letter from the Education Bureau to the sector on Tuesday. “We encourage staff and students to get vaccinated as far as possible to protect themselves and others, if they are suitable for vaccination,” it wrote. “[We] also demand that schools actively reach out to those who have yet to get vaccinated to understand their concerns and difficulties, and encourage them to get the jabs.”
30th Aug 2022 - The Star Online

U.S. first lady Jill Biden tests negative for COVID-19

Article reports that U.S. first lady Jill Biden has tested negative for COVID-19 and will return to Washington from Delaware on Aug. 30, a spokeswoman said on Monday. Jill Biden, 71, had tested positive in a rebound case of COVID-19 after first testing positive on Aug. 16. She had ended her first isolation after a course of Paxlovid, an antiviral medication, which has proven to be highly effective at preventing serious disease and death among those at highest risk from COVID-19.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Thailand targets $11 bln tourism revenue in H2 as COVID controls ease

Thailand aims to generate 400 billion baht ($11 billion) in tourism revenue in the second half of the year, the government said on Tuesday, as the tropical holiday destination welcomes back more visitors after pandemic-induced border controls. The Southeast Asian nation has seen a rebound in tourism numbers in the first eight months of 2022, registering more than 4 million tourists, government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said. It is aiming for 10 million tourists this year.
30th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Why Some Americans Are Still Isolating From Covid-19

Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are in decline. People are traveling, socializing and returning to workplaces in greater numbers. But a group of people are still keeping mostly to themselves and taking other measures to minimize infection risks. Compromised immune systems and the risks of long Covid are among reasons they say they are maintaining caution. Two-and-a-half years into the pandemic, their relative isolation speaks to divides that remain over how to live with the virus. With imperfect insight into the risks of infection as the virus mutates and immunity shifts, people are setting their own boundaries for safe behavior. While about one-quarter of 1,243 people surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation recently said they had resumed all activities they were pursuing before the pandemic, 17% said they were doing very few of those things.
29th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

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Moderna Says It's Suing Pfizer, BioNTech Over Covid Shots

Moderna Inc. sued Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, claiming the technology in their Covid-19 shot infringes on its patents, a move that sets the stage for a massive legal clash between the vaccine titans. Moderna accused Pfizer and BioNTech of violating intellectual property rights on key elements of its messenger RNA technology in developing the Comirnaty vaccine. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna said it had patents from 2010 to 2016 on the mRNA technology that made its Spikevax shot possible but that the other two companies copied the technology without permission.
27th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Chinese province neighbouring Beijing expands COVID lockdown

Another city near Beijing imposed a partial lockdown as COVID-19 infections climbed, taking extra precautions even as cases nationwide continued to ease. Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of China’s Hebei province that borders Beijing, said mass testing will be done on residents in four major downtown districts and they are required to stay at home for three days from 2pm on Sunday. It reported 25 local COVID cases for Saturday.
29th Aug 2022 - Sydney Morning Herald

Moderna suing Pfizer over Covid vaccine technology

Moderna said it is suing Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for patent infringement linked to the development of the first Covid-19 vaccines. The US biotech company is alleging that mRNA technology it developed before the pandemic was copied. The lawsuit, which is seeking unspecified financial damages, was filed in the US and Germany. Pfizer said it was "surprised" by the action and would "vigorously defend" itself against the allegations. In a statement, Moderna said Pfizer/BioNTech copied two key elements of its intellectual property.
27th Aug 2022 - BBC News

Clash of the titans: Moderna sues Pfizer, BioNTech for mRNA patent infringement

Moderna has filed patent infringement lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany accusing Pfizer and its partner BioNTech of stepping on patents that Moderna says it filed between 2010 and 2016. Pfizer and BioNTech have reeled in tens of billions of dollars with their world-leading COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty, so a win for Moderna in either case could be quite lucrative. Moderna is seeking to "protect the innovative mRNA technology that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars into creating, and patented during the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic," CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. Moderna began working on the "foundational" mRNA platform way back in 2010, he added, which enabled it to develop its coronavirus vaccine Spikevax in "record time."
26th Aug 2022 - FiercePharma

Factbox: Moderna sues Pfizer as patent owners fight over mRNA vaccine technology

Pfizer /BioNTech and Moderna have been hit with patent lawsuits by other companies related to their COVID-19 vaccines. In the latest turn of events, the two mRNA vaccine makers are locking horns, with Moderna suing Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for patent infringement in their race to develop the shot approved in the United States. Moderna on Friday alleged that they copied a technology that it had developed years before the pandemic
27th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Cambodia to build factory to produce 104 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from 2024 to 2026

A pharmaceutical company in Cambodia signed a memorandum with Chinese company Sinovac Biotech to build a factory for filling and packaging vaccines in that country. The factory is expected to produce around 104 million COVID-19 doses from 2024 to 2026 and explore the possibility of making other vaccines. China has become a reliable, stable and indispensable provider of COVID-19 vaccine supplies to the developing world, experts and officials from several countries said.
27th Aug 2022 - Khmer Times

Taiwan reports 25901 new COVID-19 cases, 40 deaths

Taiwan on Saturday reported 25,901 new cases of COVID-19 and 40 deaths from the disease, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). The deceased ranged in age from less than 5 years old to their 90s. All except two suffered from chronic illnesses or other severe diseases, while 18 had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, the CECC said. Also on Saturday, the CECC reported 41 COVID-19 cases newly classified as severe and 138 newly classified as moderate.
27th Aug 2022 - Focus Taiwan

China customs drops some COVID reporting for international arrivals; quarantine remains

China still requires international passengers to take pre-departure COVID-19 tests and quarantine upon arrival, the customs office said on Friday, a day after dropping some reporting requirements for travellers clearing customs. China, which has shortened the quarantine period and removed some testing and self-isolation requirements for inbound international travellers, still has some of the world's most stringent COVID-19 policies.
26th Aug 2022 - Reuters

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Free asymptomatic Covid-19 testing for nurses to end in England next week

Nurses and other health workers will no longer be tested for Covid-19 unless they have symptoms, the government has announced. From 31 August, routine asymptomatic testing in England will be paused across health and care settings.
25th Aug 2022 - Nursing Times

Covid-19 booster vaccine now available for over-50s in Ireland

The second Covid-19 booster jab is now available for all people aged over 50 in Ireland. The HSE confirmed that appointments can now be made by anyone within the age bracket online. The jabs are provided at participating pharmacies,
25th Aug 2022 - MSN.com

China drops some COVID reporting rules for cross-border travellers at customs

Chinese customs said on Thursday it no longer required cross-border travellers to report certain COVID-related information, such as tests and previous infections, when clearing customs. Mainland China, which still has some of the world's most stringent COVID policies for international travellers, has taken steps to make cross-border travel less onerous, such as shortening the quarantine period and removing some testing and self-isolation requirements for inbound travellers.
25th Aug 2022 - Reuters

China reopens to Japanese students after long COVID break

The Chinese government will soon start accepting Japanese international students after a two-and-a-half year pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese embassy in Japan has made visas for long-term overseas study in China available for applications as of Tuesday. Prospective students are expected to be allowed to sit in university classes after undergoing 10 days of isolation and health observation upon entry. This change, which would encourage exchange among the younger generation, appears to be a move to ease bilateral tensions ahead of next month's 50th anniversary of the two countries normalizing diplomatic relations.
25th Aug 2022 - Nikkei Asia

Covid: Qantas says pandemic 'existential crisis' is over

The national carriers of Australia and New Zealand say that the worst of the coronavirus crisis is now behind them, even as they posted annual losses for a third year in a row. Qantas says it is seeing demand increase "with the existential crisis posed by the pandemic now over". Air New Zealand says it has also experienced "a very strong recovery in bookings and revenues" since March.
25th Aug 2022 - BBC News

Hong Kong Could Tighten Social Distancing Restrictions If Covid Cases Worsen

Hong Kong health officials said tighter social distancing restrictions could be considered if rising Covid-19 cases increase the pressure on the city’s medical system. The financial hub reported 7,884 new Covid cases Wednesday, the highest number since the end of March and up from fewer than 5,000 a month ago. Increasing hospitalizations have put pressure on the health-care system, prompting hospitals to scale back non-emergency services and spurring the reopening of community isolation facilities. Expanding virus-related restrictions would be seen as a step back for the international city, which has struggled to balance reopening its borders with mainland China’s conservative approach to the virus, known as Covid Zero.
25th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

New York State Led US Life-Expectancy Drop in 2020, CDC Says

Life expectancy in New York plummeted by three years in 2020, the biggest decline among all states in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Residents of the state are expected to live to just under 78, the 15th-highest life expectancy in the country and a steep drop from 2019, when they had the third-highest ranking, the health authority said in state-level data published Tuesday.
23rd Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

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Pandemic sets back fight against poverty in Asia by at least 2 years

The Covid-19 pandemic has set back the fight against poverty in Asia and the Pacific by at least 2 years, and many in the region will likely find it harder than before to escape poverty, according to a report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The region's economic growth this year is expected to reduce extreme poverty—defined as living off less than $1.90 a day—to a level that would have been achieved in 2020 had the pandemic not happened, according to Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2022, released today. Data simulations also show that people in the region with lower pre-pandemic levels of social mobility—the ability to escape poverty—may experience longer-lasting setbacks.
25th Aug 2022 - The Daily Star

Covid 19: How many lives did NZ's pandemic response save?

A new analysis has shown how New Zealand's pandemic response left it with one of the lowest rates of excess mortality in the world – sparing it the thousands of extra deaths seen even in "elimination" countries like Taiwan and Australia. But the Otago University public health experts who crunched the data say that, with the Zero-Covid era now well behind us, there's much more the Government could be doing to keep Kiwis safer. It comes as the Ministry of Health announced another 17 virus-related deaths today, and 3140 new Covid-19 cases.
24th Aug 2022 - New Zealand Herald

China reopens doors for foreign students as pandemic concerns ease

China is easing its tight restrictions on visas after it largely suspended issuing them to foreign students and others more than two years ago at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The website of the Chinese Embassy in India said the updated procedures would take effect from Wednesday, without making a specific mention of vaccine requirements or proof of a negative test for the virus. China still requires those arriving from abroad be quarantined at a hotel or private home and proof of a negative test is required for entry to many public and commercial spaces.
24th Aug 2022 - The Independent

COVID-19 pandemic fallout worse for women

Researchers from The University of Queensland have found the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia has had a greater financial and psychological impact on women than men. A study conducted by the UQ Business School shows women have experienced more significant impacts on their overall employment, hours of work, domestic labor and mental health and well-being.
24th Aug 2022 - Phys.org

Bulgaria to treat COVID-19 as influenza – EURACTIV.com

Bulgaria will start considering COVID-19 as influenza and other respiratory viruses, Professor Radka Argirova announced after the expert group at the Ministry of Health meeting, which monitors the epidemic situation in the country. This approach, to be adopted as the school year starts in September, would mean that those infected with coronavirus and their contacts would not be subject to the mandatory quarantine. Spain was the first country in the EU to consider COVID-19 as seasonal flu at the end of March when the mandatory quarantine for the infected was lifted.
24th Aug 2022 - EURACTIV

Leaving no one behind in the fight against COVID-19

Domestic travel in Europe this summer is projected to fully return to 2019 levels, and many countries have been easing COVID-19 restrictions since spring. While this state of “normality” is a huge relief for many, it is a cause for greater concern among the immunocompromised community. COVID-19 continues to circulate, with infections increasing in many European countries — including Germany, France, Italy, Greece and Austria.
24th Aug 2022 - POLITICO Europe

Japan to ease COVID-19 border controls from Sept. 7

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans to ease border controls from early September by eliminating requirements for pre-departure COVID-19 tests for travelers who have received at least three vaccine doses, and he will also consider increasing daily entry caps as soon as next month. Japan, which has imposed some of the toughest border measures for the coronavirus, currently requires negative PCR test results within 72 hours of departure for all entrants, a practice that has been criticized as cumbersome.
24th Aug 2022 - The Independent

German health minister expects renewed coronavirus wave in autumn

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Wednesday he expects a wave of COVID-19 infections this autumn but ruled out further lockdowns or school closures. He made the comments after a cabinet meeting during which the government approved stricter mask rules on trains and planes from October.
24th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Japan to waive pre-departure COVID tests for vaccinated travellers

Japan will waive pre-departure COVID-19 tests for vaccinated travellers to the country, but daily caps on entrants will remain in place, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday. Japan has maintained some of the strictest pandemic border measures among major economies, requiring travellers to present a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of departure.
24th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Parents urged to take children for their Covid jabs before school returns

Along with new shoes, pencil cases and PE kits, parents across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being advised to put the Covid-19 vaccine at the top of their children’s back-to-school to-do list. Schools across the region will start to return after the summer holidays next week, and mums and dads are being urged to make sure their child is protected against coronavirus before heading back to class.
24th Aug 2022 - Yahoo UK & Ireland

China's jobless turn to car boot sales as COVID-hit economy stalls

Once considered too low-status for many, peddling wares on the street has made a comeback as people who lost their jobs or closed down their businesses seek new ways to make a living and work around China's relentless anti-COVID policies. Hospitality, tourism and after-school tutoring have been particularly hard hit.
24th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout flawed, audit finds

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine by Australia’s health department was “partly effective” but planning was slow and incomplete in the early stages, delivery to priority groups was flawed and it failed to meet targets, according to a review by the country’s National Audit Office. Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese said on Sunday that he would call an inquiry into the federal government’s wider response to the pandemic “as soon as practicable”. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) review, published last Wednesday, found that while the Department of Health and Aged Care undertook “largely appropriate” administration and logistics planning, that “initial planning was not timely”. It said that detailed planning with states and territories was not complete before the vaccine rollout commenced, and that it “underestimated the complexity of administering in-reach services to the aged care and disability sectors”. While 90% of the eligible population was vaccinated by the end of 2021, the planning and implementation of the vaccine rollout to priority groups “was not as effective” as for the population as a whole, the report said.
24th Aug 2022 - Global Government Forum

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Masks not needed in most situations as S'pore becomes Covid-19 resilient: Experts

After going through two Covid-19 Omicron waves without its healthcare system being overwhelmed, Singapore is ready to move to the next phase, where indoor mask wearing is no longer mandatory except on public transport and in hospitals, experts said. Singapore handled the Omicron waves successfully without having to reimpose strict measures, noted Associate Professor Alex Cook, vice-dean of research at the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. "The first Omicron wave, earlier in the year, still had some restrictions in place, and we managed to avoid the healthcare system being overwhelmed. In the second, which is ebbing away now, we managed to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system with almost no restrictions except indoor mask wearing. Thus, we are ready to move to the next phase," he said.
24th Aug 2022 - The Straits Times

Pfizer Picks China Firm Involved in Drug Recall for Covid Pill

Pfizer Inc. has picked a Chinese drug-making giant once embroiled in a global medicines recall for supplying tainted ingredients to make its Covid-19 antiviral pill in the country. Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co. will produce and sell Paxlovid in mainland China for five years, the companies said Thursday in separate statements. Pfizer will provide ingredients to make nirmatrelvir, the antiviral portion of the drug, and ritonavir, which slows the antiviral’s breakdown in the body. Huahai will manufacture and combine the two into Paxlovid.
23rd Aug 2022 - BNN Bloomberg

Western University to require vaccinations and masking, says updated COVID-19 policy

Effective Sept. 1, students, staff, and faculty are still required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to wear medical-grade masks in classrooms and seminar rooms, with the exception of those presenting, performing, and/or speaking to a group who can remain two metres apart. But new this year, the University will also require all attendees to have received at least one booster shot.
23rd Aug 2022 - Global News

The Covid-19 Financial Crisis That Wasn't

The sudden realization in mid-March 2020 that Covid-19 was going to be a once-in-a-century pandemic created the kind of disruption that financial crises are made of. Pundits predicted an unprecedented triple shock: lockdowns would decimate demand, travel bans would devastate supply, and the “dash for cash” would freeze financial activity. Stock markets plunged and bond yields jumped. But despite the disastrous human toll and the inevitable economic downturn, the financial crisis didn’t happen. To understand what went right, our research team at the Yale Program on Financial Stability compiled a database of some 9,000 government actions in 180 countries. The lessons: Go big, go early, and prepare for next time.
23rd Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Dr Anthony Fauci to step down in December: How the top doctor became face of US’ COVID-19 response

Dr Anthony Fauci who became the face of COVID-19 response in America is all set to step down as chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden. Announcing his decision on 22 August, 81-year-old Fauci said he would also depart from his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in December this year to “pursue the next chapter” of his career. Fauci added that even though he would be leaving his current positions, he is not retiring. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field,” Reuters quoted him as saying. As per The New York Times, Fauci’s decision to quit does not come as a surprise as the top US doctor had said last month that he was thinking of retiring and would “almost certainly” do it by 2025.
23rd Aug 2022 - Firstpost on MSN.com

China says COVID has exacerbated decline in births, marriages

China's National Health Commission said COVID-19 has contributed to the decline in the country's marriage and birth rates that has accelerated in recent years due to the high costs of education and child-rearing. Many women are continuing to delay their plans to marry or have children, it said, adding that rapid economic and social developments have led to "profound changes". Young people relocating to urban areas, more time spent on education and high-pressure working environments have also played their part, it added.
23rd Aug 2022 - Reuters

The deadly virus Nigerians fear more than COVID-19: Lassa fever

Inside a Nigerian hospital ward treating Lassa, a virus that infects 100,000 to 300,000 people in West Africa every year.
21st Aug 2022 - AlJazeera

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U.S. CDC recommends use of Novavax's COVID shot for adolescents

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday signed off on the use of Novavax Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12 through 17. The recommendation follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's authorization for the vaccine for the age group last week.
23rd Aug 2022 - Reuters

Pfizer seeks U.S. authorization for vaccine booster retooled for Omicron

Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech said on Monday they had sought U.S. authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine booster retooled to target the Omicron variant, and would have doses available to ship immediately after regulatory clearance. The request to the Food and Drug Administration was for a so-called bivalent vaccine containing the dominant BA.4/BA.5 variants of the virus along with the original coronavirus strain. It is intended for ages 12 and above.
23rd Aug 2022 - Reuters

Fauci, face of U.S. COVID response, to step down from government posts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official who became the face of America's COVID-19 pandemic response under Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, announced on Monday he is stepping down in December after 54 years of public service. Fauci, whose efforts to fight the pandemic were applauded by many public health experts even as he was vilified by Trump and many Republicans, will leave his posts as chief medical adviser to Biden and director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Fauci, 81, has headed NIAID since 1984.
23rd Aug 2022 - Reuters

COVID-19 remains an issue as South Florida students start new school year

Students across South Florida are settling into their second week of school and while this is the most normal start to the school year since the start of the 2019 school year, COVID-19 does remain an issue for students to deal with.
22nd Aug 2022 - CBS News

Covid-19: Free lateral flow testing ends in Northern Ireland

Free lateral flow tests are no longer available to most people in Northern Ireland. While the scheme ended in the rest of the UK in May, Stormont's Department of Health retained the measure. Health officials announced last week that testing will be more "targeted to protect the most vulnerable".
22nd Aug 2022 - BBC News

Japan Considers Downgrading COVID-19 to Less Serious Category

Japan is considering reclassifying COVID-19 to the same category as seasonal influenza to reduce the administrative burden on medical facilities diagnosing and treating people who have been infected.
22nd Aug 2022 - Nippon.com

Kishida working remotely after COVID-19 diagnosis

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will continue work from his official residence after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, senior government officials have confirmed. Kishida, who received his fourth shot of a coronavirus vaccine on Aug. 12, is thought to have become infected while on a weeklong vacation that began Aug. 15. The diagnosis was confirmed by doctors Sunday after the 65-year old began experiencing mild symptoms, including a cough and slight fever, on Saturday. “Given the prime minister’s mild symptoms, we have set up a remote workstation from which he can continue his daily duties as planned,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference Monday morning.
22nd Aug 2022 - The Japan Times

Philippine children back in school as pandemic restrictions ease

Millions of Philippine students returned to classrooms for the first time in more than two years on Monday, after the country lifted most remaining COVID-19 curbs to try and reverse learning losses. Students, all wearing face masks, queued to enter their classrooms and attended flag raising ceremonies in their schoolyards across the Southeast Asian country as the government phases out remote learning.
22nd Aug 2022 - Reuters

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Australia is at the back of the bus on living with COVID-19

I just got back to Australia after a month in a country where you would not know COVID existed. I saw about three people wearing masks. Public transport and bars were packed. Life was normal, and I don't mean the perverted "new normal". People are living with COVID and they are not afraid anymore. Everyone who found out I was from Australia asked me if life was still really bad here. One government official even asked "how does it feel to be out of that prison and a free man again?". So much for being the "envy of the world". On the trip back, I sat in a maskless crowded bus for four hours, then I sat in a maskless packed departure lounge and walked shoulder to shoulder with a maskless horde of people to the plane, when I had to put on a mask, until I ordered my first drink. I kept a drink in front of me for the duration because apparently it is the best protection against COVID.
21st Aug 2022 - The Canberra Times

‘Covid is over’ idea may threaten booster uptake in England, scientists warn

The prevailing idea that “Covid is over” may jeopardise England’s autumn booster programme, scientists have said, warning mixed messages about the threat of the disease could reduce the uptake of jabs. The booster campaign is set to begin on 5 September, with the new dual-variant Covid vaccine from Moderna among those to be administered. However, with England ditching other Covid measures such as mass testing, and using terms such as “post-pandemic recovery”, experts have raised concerns that many of those eligible may not come forward for their vaccination. “I think it’s very likely we will see a lower uptake for the autumn Covid-19 vaccine boosters than for the first two vaccinations,” said Azeem Majeed, a GP in west London and professor of primary care and public health at Imperial College London.
21st Aug 2022 - The Guardian

China Adds Almost 2200 New Covid Cases, Tourist Spots Worst Hit

China reported 2,181 new Covid-19 cases, as conditions worsen in the country’s biggest outbreak since the lockdown of Shanghai earlier this year. About 553 people were confirmed to be infected and there were another 1,628 asymptomatic cases as of Saturday, according to a statement released by the National Health Commission. In a separate statement, the NHC said the country has administered 3.43 billion doses of Covid vaccines as of Aug. 20. Infections have surged to a three-month high, with tourist destinations worst hit among the current round of flareups.
21st Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Repeat waves prompt 'long COVID' fears

COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to rise as a leading infectious diseases expert warns Australia is losing its battle with the virus. Burnet Institute director Brendan Crabb says current strategies to combat the country's caseload are not working. "What the numbers say is that we're simply not winning," Professor Crabb told Seven's Sunrise. "The latest wave we just had ... was the worst wave we've had this year. More hospitalisations and more deaths." Australia reported another 10,500 cases and 36 fatalities on Sunday, with the nation on track to record its 10 millionth case within a week.
21st Aug 2022 - The Canberra Times

Tibet autonomous region's COVID-19 situation shows increase

The Tibet autonomous region reported 32 locally confirmed COVID-19 cases and 946 asymptomatic carriers between Thursday and 2 pm Friday, health authorities said at a news briefing in Lhasa on Friday. As of Thursday, the region had 375 areas designated as high-risk for COVID-19 and 208 for medium-risk. A total of 11 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery on Thursday, 15 asymptomatic infectors and 196 close contacts were dismissed from medical observation, but 33,760 close and secondary contacts have been traced are still under centralized isolation for further medical observation.
20th Aug 2022 - China Daily

Long Covid: Girl, 10, struggles to walk and talk

A 10-year-old girl with long Covid struggles to walk and can barely speak, six months after catching the virus. Libby caught Covid in February and is still struggling with extreme fatigue, constant headaches, and is using a wheelchair due to feeling too weak. The Office for National Statistics predicted only 0.6% of people aged two to 11 in the UK had long Covid. However, Kate Davies from charity Long Covid Kids said it could be higher as "many children go under the radar"
20th Aug 2022 - BBC News

Covid-19: Free lateral flow testing to end in NI from Monday

Free lateral flow testing for people with Covid symptoms will end in Northern Ireland from Monday. The scheme ended in GB in May, but Stormont's Department of Health retained the measure. It has now said testing will be more proportionate and "targeted to protect the most vulnerable",
19th Aug 2022 - BBC News

Covid-19 to be declared endemic in October

The government will declare Covid-19 endemic in October, and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will then no longer be the main agency dealing with the disease. CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said on Friday that from October the disease would be under the emergency operations centre of the Public Health Ministry and provincial communicable disease committees, instead of the CCSA chaired by the prime minister. He gave no specific date. From November, the provincial committees would be the sole agencies dealing with it.
19th Aug 2022 - ฺBangkok Post

Covid-19 testing Northern Ireland: Changes as those with symptoms no longer advised to test

Changes to Covid-19 testing for those with symptoms in Northern Ireland are set to come into force on Monday. It has been announced that most people in the general population with symptoms of coronavirus will no longer be advised to take a lateral flow test from August 22. Free lateral flow tests will no longer be available for this purpose, a move in line with the Test, Trace and Protect Transition plan published in March 2022. It aims to make testing more proportionate and targeted to protect the most vulnerable.
19th Aug 2022 - Belfast Live

How African countries coordinated the response to COVID-19: lessons for public health

Multiple reasons for the slower spread have been put forward. One was that the continent’s population is relatively young and younger people were at lower risk of severe illness in the event of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The possible contribution of pre-existing immunity from other viral infections was also put forward. And it was suggested that the slower spread might not be the real picture: there could be underestimation of the true magnitude of the pandemic, resulting from weak surveillance systems. There is another aspect to consider, though. It is possible that what countries did to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections actually worked to some extent. Diverse sectors and disciplines collaborated towards the shared goal of mitigating the pandemic effects.
19th Aug 2022 - The Conversation

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WH COVID-19 chief: Vaccines will be ‘commercialized’ by 2023

The U.S. will pivot toward the “commercialization” of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests in the coming year instead of a scenario in which the government is the main purchaser, according to the White House virus coordinator.
18th Aug 2022 - Washington Times

Millions of COVID-19 vaccines have been wasted: report

More than five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been discarded in South Korea, according to a report released by the National Assembly on Thursday. More vaccines, however, are expected to be discarded with their expiration dates approaching. The issue of COVID-19 vaccines going to waste is likely to continue as more are scheduled to arrive in South Korea by the end of this year. According to the National Assembly Budget Office, the country discarded a total of 5.29 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of July 6, about 3.6 percent of the total 145.8 million doses that the country had secured.
18th Aug 2022 - The Korea Herald

Israeli, Australian public health leaders to exchange COVID-19 knowledge

A group of 15 leading Australian public health experts and clinicians will visit Israel in September for a high-level exchange of lessons about the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Israel and Australia had impressive achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic – Israel was a model for rapid distribution and injection of vaccines into the whole population and Australia was the first country outside of China to isolate the virus and had one of the world’s lowest death rates from it.
18th Aug 2022 - The Jerusalem Post

Will Covid-19 Vaccines Continue To Protect Us From Hospitalization And Death?

Vaccines are integral to our control of Covid-19—if not for preventing infection, at least for preventing severe illness and death. But what if vaccine-induced immunity lost its efficacy against new variants on all accounts? Along with earlier work published by MIT, a recent study from Cardiff University places this thought into the realm of possibility. In their paper, Dolton et al. investigate the origins of a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein mutation and its impacts on T cell immune responses in recovering Covid-19 patients and vaccine
18th Aug 2022 - Forbes

A year on from NZ's longest Covid-19 lockdown - The Bay's News First

One year on from the country's longest Covid-19 lockdown, an epidemiologist says further lockdowns cannot be ruled out, instead preparing to do them better. On August 17, 2021, New Zealand went to alert level 4 because the deadly Delta variant had arrived. Aucklanders had no idea that day that they would still be in lockdown till December, and that after 18 months of trying to keep Covid-19 out, it would be here to stay. The city was asked to hold the line so the country could get vaccinated, something critics said should have happened much earlier. Auckland University epidemiologist Rod Jackson was vocal in urging the country to aim high and vaccinate more than 95 per cent of eligible people. Reflecting back, he says New Zealanders responded well, with most areas hitting that mark or higher by the measurements at the time.
18th Aug 2022 - SunLive

Nuvaxovid gets expanded provisional approval in NZ as COVID-19 booster for adults

US-based Novavax has announced that New Zealand (NZ)'s Medsafe has granted expanded provisional approval for Nuvaxovid (NVX-CoV2373) COVID-19 vaccine for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 as a heterologous and homologous booster dose in adults aged 18 and older. Following the expanded provisional approval decision by Medsafe, New Zealand, people may now choose Nuvaxovid as their first and/or second COVID-19 booster dose(s) after completion of their primary series using any of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The request for expanded provisional approval for the booster dose is supported by data from Novavax' Phase 2 trial conducted in Australia, from a separate Phase 2 trial conducted in South Africa, and from the UK-sponsored COV-BOOST trial. As a booster for adults, Nuvaxovid is also provisionally registered in Australia and approved in Japan, and is actively under review in other markets. New Zealand previously granted provisional approval for Nuvaxovid in adults aged 18 and older in February 2022. Novavax' sponsor in Australia and New Zealand is Biocelect Pty. Ltd.
18th Aug 2022 - BioSpectrum Asia

Viewpoint: We Cannot Afford to Surrender to COVID-19 Now

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed recommendations which I feel neither control or prevent a rapidly evolving and disabling disease, COVID-19. Many of the relaxations appeared to be timed with the opening of schools, ignoring the high rate of COVID-19 related hospitalizations, national deaths hovering just under 500 per day, and the urgent need for a reformulated vaccine, whose delivery is expected in the fall of this year. The relaxed guidelines no longer recommend those individuals exposed to COVID-19 participate in test-to-stay programs in schools. They no longer restrict the mixing of children in different classrooms, and they eliminated social distancing recommendations. In addition, there is no need to quarantine after exposure to the virus, and there are no longer recommendations for routine screening of individuals without symptoms.
17th Aug 2022 - Infection Control Today

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Easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions in S'pore could lead to uptick in flu cases, doctors warn

People should take their flu jabs to protect against concurrent infection of both Covid-19 and the flu, which can lead to severe disease, doctors have advised. This is especially important as Singapore continues to ease its travel restrictions and opens up its borders, they said, adding that influenza cases can be expected to rise. With the new vaccinated travel lanes, more people here will be travelling abroad during the northern winter that typically sees countries there experiencing a spike in flu cases.
18th Aug 2022 - The Straits Times

Australia, Israel share notes on pandemic

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant will lead a team of delegates to Israel next month for a high-level information exchange on managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifteen Australian public health experts and clinicians will meet with counterparts from Israel's health and foreign affairs ministries along with leading academics to discuss ongoing handling of the viral disease.
18th Aug 2022 - The Canberra Times

U.S. CDC plans to focus on public health response after pandemic failings

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it will prioritize its public health response in a revamp of its structure after months of criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 and monkeypox pandemics. A briefing document provided by the agency on Wednesday said an external report into its response found public guidance had caused confusion, while important information were sometimes released too late to inform federal decisions
17th Aug 2022 - Reuters

CDC Director Outlines Restructuring Plans

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be restructured to strengthen its response to public-health threats, the agency’s director said, acknowledging shortcomings in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that she intended to improve the agency’s communication, timeliness and accountability. The CDC has at times amended its guidance on masking, isolation and other mitigation efforts in ways that spurred confusion or lagged behind the trajectory of the pandemic. The agency has faced new criticism recently for its response to the monkeypox outbreak. “In our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” Dr. Walensky said. “I want us all to do better, and it starts with CDC leading the way.”
17th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid vaccine volunteer army set for autumn rollout return as thousands of extra helpers sought

Thousands of extra volunteer vaccination staff will be recruited across the country to assist with the autumn booster rollout. St John Ambulance said it was looking for around 5,000 volunteers to help meet demand and is already training hundreds of people ahead of the booster campaign starting next month. It played a leading role in the delivery of the initial Covid vaccination campaign and is now stepping up its resources as it anticipates a surge in demand over autumn and winter.
17th Aug 2022 - iNews

New York City Department of Education relaxes COVID-19 rules for public schools

The New York City Department of Education will no longer randomly test students for COVID-19 when the new school year begins Sept. 8, the department said Tuesday. Instead, test kits will be sent home for students, parents and teachers to use if they are exposed to the virus. As part of the department's new COVID-19 protocols, students will no longer be required to submit a daily health screening form.
17th Aug 2022 - ABC News

The end of quarantine? What people should know about the CDC's new Covid-19 guidelines

Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced key changes to its nationwide Covid-19 guidelines. Among them was the end of required quarantine after someone is exposed to a close contact with the coronavirus. The CDC also revised isolation guidance for people infected with Covid-19. With the required quarantine ending, what should people do if they've been exposed? How long should they isolate if they do get infected? What's the rationale for making the changes? And are there exceptions—who should take precautions above and beyond the new recommendations? To guide us through the changes, I spoke with CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
17th Aug 2022 - CNN

A complicated fall vaccine campaign: Updated Covid boosters, flu shots, and how to time the jabs

For the health officials who steer vaccination campaigns, it’s going to be a complicated fall. The U.S. plan to roll out updated Covid-19 boosters will not only coincide with the logistical tangle of the regular flu shot drive, but will also face questions about when people should get the new shots to provide themselves with the best protection through our third Covid winter. It’s a balancing act that health officials run into every year with flu. Vaccinating tens of millions of people takes weeks. People also need a few weeks after their shot for their immune systems to be fully primed. And yet, vaccinators don’t want to put shots in arms too early, either.
16th Aug 2022 - STAT News

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Marshall Islands, Once Nearly Covid-Free, Confronts an Outbreak

As a remote nation in the Pacific, the Marshall Islands had been almost completely spared from Covid-19, registering just a handful of cases throughout the pandemic, with no community transmission detected. But in just over a week, more than 4,000 people have tested positive in a population of about 60,000, including the country’s secretary of health and human services, Jack Niedenthal. He has been providing updates on Facebook and said 75 percent of those tested in Majuro, the capital, had Covid, “an incredibly high positivity rate.” In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Niedenthal said there was some panic and concern, given that the islands, about halfway between Hawaii and the Philippines, had not recorded a single Covid case last year.
17th Aug 2022 - The New York Times

Carnival Cruise bookings soar after it eases COVID testing requirements

Carnival Cruise Line said booking activity nearly doubled pre-pandemic levels on Monday after it announced an ease in COVID-19 testing requirements for passengers, sending its shares more than 3% higher. The company's parent, Carnival Corp, said on Friday it would drop mandatory testing for guests vaccinated against COVID-19 and allow unvaccinated passengers to travel without an exemption in some cases, after a similar move by rival Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd
17th Aug 2022 - Reuters

India sees huge decline in daily Covid-19 cases, logs 8,813 new infections | Mint

Covid-19 cases in India witnessed a huge decline on Tuesday with the country recording 8,813 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the cumulative caseload to 4,42,77,194, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The country's overall death toll stands at 5,27,098. Currently, India's active caseload stands at 1,11,252. The country registered daily positivity rate at 4.15%, while the weekly positivity rate is 4.79%. So far, a total of 4,36,38,844 people have been recovered from the coronavirus infections since the onset of the global pandemic, including 15,040 recoveries reported in the past 24 hours. The recovery rate is 98.56%.
16th Aug 2022 - Mint

China's economic ills persist under COVID-19 lockdowns

A rash of COVID-19 outbreaks and a bump in consumer prices saw China’s economy slump in July, with economic authorities reporting slower retail growth and record high youth unemployment. Data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics of China showed retail sales grew 2.7% in July, down from the 3.1% year-over-year increase seen in June. Unemployment among 16-24 year-old consumers has also continued rising, reaching 19.9% in July, according to Monday’s data — topping June’s previous record high of 19.3%. Urban unemployment across all age groups decreased slightly to 5.4%, a difference of 0.1 percentage points from the prior month.
16th Aug 2022 - CFO Dive

Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19, has 'mild' symptoms

First lady Jill Biden tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing “mild symptoms,” the White House announced Tuesday. She had been vacationing with President Joe Biden in South Carolina when she began experiencing symptoms on Monday. She has been prescribed the antiviral drug Paxlovid and will isolate at the vacation home for at least five days. Joe Biden tested negative for the virus on Tuesday morning, the White House said, but would be wearing a mask indoors for 10 days in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. He recovered from a rebound case of the virus on Aug. 7.
16th Aug 2022 - The Independent

Western Trust eases Covid-19 restrictions for Altnagelvin, South West Acute and Omagh Hospital

The Western Trust has eased Covid-19 visiting rules in hospitals in Derry, Tyrone and Fermanagh by increasing the number of people allowed to visit their loved ones. The new guidance will now allow for two visitors to visit at the same time, for one hour per day, per patient from four nominated visitors. The Northern Ireland trust said that e xceptions would continue to apply in some areas, but it's hoped that a move to a further ‘gradual easing’ of restrictions would continue during the next review on September 5.
16th Aug 2022 - Belfast Live

Covid-19: Masks no longer needed in clinical settings in Wales

THE use of masks in clinical settings in Wales is no longer mandatory as of today. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) says the change comes amid a reduction in the rates of Covid-19 infections over recent weeks. It adds however that the position will be reviewed once more should numbers begin to rise again in Wales.
16th Aug 2022 - Rhyl Journal

Michigan hits COVID-19 spike as state adds 23,165 cases, 103 deaths over last week

The state added 23,165 cases and 103 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, including totals from the previous six days, a 44% increase from last week, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Michigan reported an average of about 3,309 cases per day over the last seven days, a double-digit increase from 2,305 cases per day a week prior. On Aug. 9, the state said it had added 16,137 cases and 137 deaths from the virus in the previous week. On Monday, the state reported that 1,004 adults and 33 pediatric patients were hospitalized with confirmed infections, an increase from last week's 969 adults and 22 children. Inpatient records were set on Jan. 10, when 4,580 adults were hospitalized with COVID.
16th Aug 2022 - Detroit News

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UK Says People Must Take Any Covid Shot Available This Fall

British health authorities said people should take whatever Covid-19 booster shot is offered to them this fall, even as the country became the first in the world to approve a new two-strain vaccine. The UK will start providing another round of Covid booster shots to about 26 million patients -- aged 50 or above or those with weak immunity -- from September in a bid to bolster defenses against further waves of Covid infections this winter. Patients could receive a vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, or Moderna Inc.’s original or bivalent shot, which specifically targets the omicron variant and was only approved by the UK drugs regulator today.
16th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

‘Living with Covid’ should be countered by containing the virus once and for all

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for the Covid pandemic, heralding “a new strategy [that] pivots from wide approach to a focus on the most vulnerable”. Coincident with the opening of schools across the country, relaxation of some restrictions, such as quarantining and physical distancing, will help keep children in school, a cardinal objective. Sadly, the CDC missed an opportunity to help protect seniors and highly vulnerable Americans.
15th Aug 2022 - The Guardian

Students throughout Southland return to school without strict COVID-19 protocols in place

Article reports that LAUSD has faced a noted decrease in enrollment this year versus those in the past. Experts say this is because of the cost of living in L.A., prompting families to move elsewhere, as well as opting to make different schooling choices for a variety of reasons both related to and unrelated to coronavirus. In an effort to bring numbers back up, Carvalho and other district employees set out to door knock throughout Los Angeles County to find children who needed to return to education. "We have progressively identified the 'Lost Children of Los Angeles. That's my name for them.
15th Aug 2022 - CBS News

Student exchange programs resume with caution after COVID-19 disruption, but some delays persist

Exchange programs were thrown into turmoil due to COVID-19 and related travel bans. Some programs have recently resumed but hold-ups persist in some regions such as WA. Students in the first cohort of post-COVID exchanges were relieved they did not miss out
15th Aug 2022 - ABC News

GDP falls 0.1% as Covid-19 vaccination programmes wind up

The UK’s economy shrank over the last three months as spending on test and trace and the Covid-19 vaccine programme subsided, figures show. Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.1% between April and June, the Office for National Statistics said. It is a big step down from the first quarter of the year, when GDP rose 0.8%. The data may not be the start of a recession – which is defined as two quarters of GDP decline – but experts are predicting the UK will slip into a recession later this year.
15th Aug 2022 - The Independent

Pandemic pushed millions more into poverty in the Philippines, government says

About 2.3 million people in the Philippines were pushed into poverty between 2018 and 2021, largely due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the statistics agency said on Monday. The number of people living in poverty in 2021 rose to a total of almost 20 million or 18.1% of the population from 16.7% in 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said, overshooting the government's target of 15.5%-17.5%. Recently inaugurated President Ferdinand Marcos Jr aims to slash the poverty rate to 9% by the end of his single six-year term in 2028 - a target that remains achievable despite soaring inflation, according to Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
15th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Pfizer CEO Bourla shows mild symptoms after testing positive for COVID

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said on Monday he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing very mild symptoms. Bourla, 60, said he had started a course of the company's oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, and was isolating and following all public health precautions. "I am confident that I will have a speedy recovery," Bourla said in a statement. Several public figures have tested positive for the infectious disease in the past few months including U.S. President Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci.
15th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai to reopen all schools Sept. 1 as lockdown fears persist

China's financial hub Shanghai said on Sunday it would reopen all schools including kindergartens, primary and middle schools on Sept. 1 after months of COVID-19 closures. The city will require all teachers and students to take nucleic acid tests for the coronavirus every day before leaving campus, the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said. It also called for teachers and students to carry out a 14-day "self health management" within the city ahead of the school reopening, the commission said in a statement.
15th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Japan's economy stages modest bounce from COVID jolt, global outlook darkens

Japan's economy rebounded at a slower-than-expected pace in the second quarter from a COVID-induced slump, data showed on Monday, highlighting uncertainty on whether consumption will grow enough to bolster a much-delayed, fragile recovery. A revival in Japan, like many other economies, has been hobbled by the Ukraine war and surging prices of commodities even as rising consumption propped up growth in April-June.
15th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Pandemic-Era Free School Meals Expire, Leaving Some Districts Seeking Solutions

Millions of school children are heading back to class this month without free breakfast or lunch for the first time in two years, to the disappointment of many parents and school administrators who are facing rising costs of food and supplies due to inflation. Some federal pandemic-era provisions that allowed schools to serve universal free meals will expire when districts start school for the fall, leaving many districts unprepared to make up the difference and urging parents to apply for a free or reduced-price lunch. While the provisions were always meant to be temporary, the expiration comes as supply-chain disruptions and rising food prices are pushing school-meal prices higher.
14th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

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Shanghai to reopen all schools Sept. 1 with daily COVID testing

China's financial hub Shanghai said on Sunday it would reopen all schools including kindergartens, primary and middle schools on Sept. 1 after months of COVID-19 closures. The city will require all teachers and students to take nucleic acid tests for the coronavirus every day before leaving campus, the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said. It also called for teachers and students to carry out a 14-day "self health management" within the city ahead of the school reopening, the commission said in a statement.
14th Aug 2022 - Reuters

China Local Covid-19 Cases Top 2000 as More Lockdowns Imposed

China reported more than 2,000 local Covid-19 cases on Friday as infections in the southern Hainan island edged higher despite stricter curbs imposed earlier this week. The southern province, a popular tourist destination, reported 1,426 cases. More than 1,230 of them were in the beach resort city of Sanya, where more restrictions were added on Thursday. Hainan’s authorities had aimed to eliminate community transmission by Aug. 12.
14th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

China's ex-COVID patients live under 'dark shadow' of stigma

When Zuo tested positive for COVID-19 while working as a cleaner in one of Shanghai's largest quarantine centres, she hoped it wouldn't be long before she could pick up the mop and start earning again. But four months on, she is still fighting to get her job back - one of scores of recovering COVID-19 patients facing what labour rights activists and health experts say is a widespread form of discrimination in zero-COVID China. Using snap lockdowns and mass testing, China is the last major economy still pursuing the goal of stamping out the virus completely.
14th Aug 2022 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

U.S. Schools Put Covid-19 Safety Measures in Rearview, Dividing Some Parents

Schools nationwide are eliminating Covid-19 protocols as students return for fall, shifting resources from combating the waning virus to addressing academic crises that cropped up during the pandemic. Districts across the country are reducing testing, de-emphasizing social distancing and dropping mask mandates that were in place for the start of classes last year. A handful are still requiring masks or attempting vaccine directives. With deaths and hospitalizations linked to the current subvariants largely stabilizing, school officials say they have other pressing matters to attend to, such as learning loss, enrollment declines and staffing shortages. Los Angeles will discontinue its weekly testing program when classes begin Aug. 15, and officials in New York City say they are considering the same. Districts in Illinois, Washington, Colorado and Texas are also loosening Covid-19 rules.
12th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

CDC relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines

The nation's top public health agency relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person.
12th Aug 2022 - USA Today

'Eligibility criteria' required for free Covid-19 Lateral Flow Kits as Manx care to stop PCR tests

The Isle of Man is changing its Covid-19 testing providers and policies. From 31 August Manx Care will no longer deliver PCR testing as part of the Island's approach to "living with the virus". People may still get a PCR test, for example if needed for travel, through private providers on Island. In addition, from 15 August Lateral Flow Tests will no longer be free for all. From Monday people will also no longer be required to perform a Lateral Flow Test before entering a health and social care setting. This includes patients attending day clinics, visitors to Noble's Hospital and visitors to residential or care homes operated by Manx Care.
12th Aug 2022 - ITV News

Carnival drops mandatory COVID-19 testing for vaccinated passengers

Carnival Corp's major cruise lines will drop mandatory COVID-19 testing for vaccinated guests and allow unvaccinated passengers to travel without an exemption in some cases, the company said on Friday. The decision affects Carnival Cruise, Princess Cruises and Cunard and follows a similar move by rival Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N) earlier this week. Unvaccinated guests - who still have to present a negative COVID-19 result - no longer need to apply for an exemption except for Carnival Cruise's sailings in Australia or on its voyages 16 nights and longer.
12th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Years of Covid School Closures Leave Philippines With Deep Scars

On Aug. 22, schools in the Philippines will finally reopen their doors to students after two and a half years – one of the longest pandemic-induced school closures in the world. As well as devastating the individual prospects of countless children, the extended hiatus is threatening to leave long-term scars on an economy historically reliant on sending high-skilled workers abroad. Protracted school closures worsen basic literacy standards and will likely reduce the productivity and earnings of children once they enter the workforce, the World Bank warned in a recent report. About 10% of Filipinos work abroad and the economy is dependent on remittances sent back by its overseas nurses, teachers and engineers, among other workers.
12th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

UK decision not to buy Covid drug Evusheld disappoints charities

The UK will not buy the drug Evusheld, which can help prevent Covid infections in people with weakened immune systems, the government has said. The decision, revealed on Friday in an official statement to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, has been met with criticism from a host of charities who say it means many people who are immunocompromised will be left with no option but to avoid contact with loved ones for fear of catching Covid. “We’re deeply disappointed to hear that today the government has announced that they have no plans to buy Evusheld. Many of our community will be left feeling let down and vulnerable,” said Helen Rowntree, the director of research at Blood Cancer UK. She said the charity was calling on the government to outline its rationale and review the decision.
12th Aug 2022 - The Guardian

Years of Covid School Closures Leave Philippines With Deep Scars

On Aug. 22, schools in the Philippines will finally reopen their doors to students after two and a half years – one of the longest pandemic-induced school closures in the world. As well as devastating the individual prospects of countless children, the extended hiatus is threatening to leave long-term scars on an economy historically reliant on sending high-skilled workers abroad. Protracted school closures worsen basic literacy standards and will likely reduce the productivity and earnings of children once they enter the workforce, the World Bank warned in a recent report.
11th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

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Moderna Vaccine to Run Out of Stock in Hungary

Those who want to get a Moderna vaccine against the coronavirus should hurry because the last batches are being used at vaccination centers and GPs, according to the official government coronavirus website, koronavirus.gov.hu. Hungary has received 1.7 million doses of the Moderna vaccine under the EU procurement, of which the last doses are now being used for vaccination.
12th Aug 2022 - Hungary Today

Infectious disease experts warn Omicron wave not the last of Australia's COVID-19 pandemic

Health authorities say Australia may have hit its winter COVID-19 peak earlier than predicted. But they warn the virus has repeatedly mutated and different strains still pose a real risk. On August 10, there were 133 deaths and 27,263 new cases recorded nationwide
12th Aug 2022 - ABC News

Long Covid Symptoms: Big Drop in Stress Hormone Cortisol Shown in Study

Striking decreases in the stress hormone cortisol were the strongest predictor for who develops long Covid in new research that identified several potential drivers of the lingering symptoms afflicting millions of survivors. Levels of cortisol in the blood of those with the so-called post Covid-19 condition were roughly half those found in healthy, uninfected people or individuals who fully recovered from the pandemic disease, researchers at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York found. No one knows yet what causes the constellation of symptoms, often termed long Covid, that afflict some 10% to 20% of people after the acute phase of infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The US government is spending more than $1 billion to learn why it occurs and to devise strategies to treat and prevent the condition.
11th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

North Korea Claims Victory Over COVID-19 and Blames Seoul for the Outbreak

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared victory over COVID-19 and ordered preventive measures eased just three months after acknowledging an outbreak, claiming the country’s widely disputed success would be recognized as a global health miracle.
11th Aug 2022 - Time

Covid-19 and Politics: Pandemic Deepened Countries' Divisions, Survey Says

The Covid-19 pandemic created deeper social divisions compared to the beginning of the outbreak, exposing weaknesses in political systems, according to findings of a survey conducted in 19 upper- and middle-income countries. Overall, 61% of respondents said their countries became more divided during the pandemic, according to the recent Pew Research Center survey. The perception of increased social friction was highest in the US, where 81% of those surveyed held that view, and two-thirds said the country’s pandemic response revealed political frailty.
11th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

North Korea declares victory over COVID, suggests leader Kim had it

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared victory over COVID-19 and his sister indicated that he too caught the virus, while vowing "deadly retaliation" against South Korea, which the North blames for causing the outbreak.
11th Aug 2022 - Reuters

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India to start COVID mix-and-match booster vaccines on Friday

India said on Wednesday that Biological E's COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax can be administered as a booster dose in people who have taken the country's other two main shots, Covaxin and AstraZeneca's Covishield, from Friday. Corbevax will be available to over 18s as precautionary booster six months after a second dose, the health ministry said in an Aug. 8 letter to state authorities and shared with reporters on Wednesday.
10th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Covid-19 Northern Ireland: Expert 'optimistic' autumn wave can be avoided

A leading immunology expert believes high Omicron infection rates should protect the general population against an autumn wave of Covid — unless a new variant emerges. Professor of Experimental Immunology, Kingston Mills, has also said it would be a mistake to offer vaccine booster doses before an updated, and more effective vaccine, becomes available in Europe over the coming months. During the most recent study week between July 14–July 20, the Department of Health estimated that 113,400 people in Northern Ireland had Covid-19 — around 1 in 16 people. In the week ending July 29, the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) reported 22 Covid-related deaths, taking the total to 4,774 since the pandemic began.
10th Aug 2022 - Belfast Telegraph

People vaccinated against Covid share common symptom after testing positive

While it may be widely known that common symptoms of Covid include fatigue, a sore throat, and headaches, there is another widespread symptom being cited among sufferers. According to data gathered by the ZOE Health Study app, diarrhoea is a common symptom of Covid for vaccinated Britons. “It usually lasts for an average of two to three days, but can last up to seven days in adults,” the ZOE team said. The data found this symptom has become less prevalent with each variant, as nearly a third of adults aged over 35 reported having diarrhoea during the Alpha wave, while just one in five said they experienced it during the Omicron and Delta waves. The people who experienced it during the latter two waves had been vaccinated either twice or had also received their booster jab.
10th Aug 2022 - The Independent

Commuting in, DIY out: UK’s new ‘new normal’ after end of Covid controls

Britain’s love for green fingers and blackened thumbs during the first Covid lockdown has since evaporated as people again find a “new normal” after the ending of restrictions, a survey suggests. The amount of time people spent gardening and doing DIY soared in March and April 2020, with people spending 40 minutes a day improving their homes and gardens compared with just 15 minutes in 2014-15. But it plummeted back to 20 minutes a day in March 2022, Office for National Statistics data shows. Lockdown lie-ins are also a thing of the past, with people sleeping 30 minutes less than they did in early 2020, while the amount of time people spend watching television and streaming is down by 34 minutes on average.
10th Aug 2022 - The Guardian

The US is on a Covid plateau, and no one's sure what will happen next

The United States seems to have hit a Covid-19 plateau, with more than 40,000 people hospitalized and more than 400 deaths a day consistently over the past month or so. It's a dramatic improvement from this winter -- there were four times as many hospitalizations and nearly six times as many deaths at the peak of the first Omicron wave -- but still stubbornly high numbers. And there are big question marks around what might happen next, as the coronavirus' evolution remains quite elusive 2½ years into the pandemic. "We've never really cracked that: why these surges go up and down, how long it stays up and how fast it comes down," said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research. "All these things are still somewhat of a mystery." BA.5 remains the dominant subvariant in the US for now, causing most new cases as it has since the last week of June
10th Aug 2022 - CNN

Californians are staying infected with the coronavirus for a long time. Here’s why

Health officials recommend that anyone infected with the coronavirus isolate for at least five days. But for many, that timeline is becoming overly optimistic. The isolation period, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened in December from 10 days to five, is more a starting point than a hard-and-fast rule in California. According to the state Department of Public Health, exiting isolation after five days requires a negative result from a rapid test on or after the fifth day following the onset of symptoms or first positive test — a step not included in federal guidelines. But many people don’t start testing negative that early. “If your test turns out to be positive after five days, don’t be upset because the majority of people still test positive until at least Day 7, to Day 10 even,” Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said during a briefing Thursday. “So that’s the majority. That’s the norm.” The isolation period, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened in December from 10 days to five, is more a starting point than a hard-and-fast rule in California. According to the state Department of Public Health, exiting isolation after five days requires a negative result from a rapid test on or after the fifth day following the onset of symptoms or first positive test — a step not included in federal guidelines.
10th Aug 2022 - LA Times

WHO: COVID-19 deaths fall overall by 9%, infections stable

The number of coronavirus deaths fell by 9% in the last week while new cases remained relatively stable, according to the latest weekly pandemic report released by the World Health Organization Wednesday. The U.N. health agency said there were more than 14,000 COVID-19 deaths in the last week and nearly 7 million new infections. The Western Pacific reported a 30% jump in cases while Africa reported a 46% drop. Cases also fell by more than 20% in the Americas and the Middle East. The number of new deaths rose by 19% in the Middle East, while dropping by more than 70% in Africa, 15% in Europe and 10% in the Americas. The WHO said that the omicron subvariant BA.5 remains dominant globally, accounting for nearly 70% of all virus sequences shared with the world's biggest publicly available virus database. The agency said other omicron subvariants, including BA.4 and BA.2, appear to be decreasing in prevalence as BA.5 takes over.
10th Aug 2022 - Journal Review

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Despite awareness of COVID-19 risks, many Americans say they’re back to ‘normal’

Many Americans know of the potential risks to themselves and their families from infection with Covid-19, but growing numbers say they have returned to living their “normal” pre-pandemic lives, according to July 2022 national survey data from the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). Increasing numbers say they personally know someone who has died from Covid-19 and personally know someone who has suffered the lingering effects such as neurological problems and fatigue that are commonly known as “long Covid,” according to the APPC survey, which was conducted July 12-18, 2022. Despite awareness of the continuing risks of Covid-19, worries about its health effects have declined, the percentage of Americans who often or always wear masks indoors with people from outside their household has plummeted, and the number saying they have returned to living their “normal, pre-Covid-19 life” has more than doubled over the past six months.
9th Aug 2022 - EurekAlert!

Norwegian Cruise Line removes mandatory Covid vaccine requirement from September

Norwegian Cruise Line has removed its mandatory Covid vaccine requirements for its cruises beginning on September 3, 2022. Norwegian Cruise Line issued a statement on the removal of its mandatory Covid vaccine requirements, that read: “As the world continues to open up, luring travelers to explore their favorite destinations once again more freely, we have updated our health and safety protocols to further align to those of the broader travel, leisure and hospitality industry worldwide.” “The relaxation of global protocols and travel requirements, makes it easier for guests to return to sea with us. As such, for sailings beginning September 3, 2022, all travellers are invited to sail with us once again, regardless of vaccination status.”
9th Aug 2022 - Euro Weekly News

People ‘still travelling less and exercising more than before Covid’

People are still travelling less and exercising more than they did before the pandemic, despite the scrapping of most Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, new analysis suggests. Working habits appear to have undergone a permanent change – though the amount of time spent sleeping and resting has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The way people use their time has been studied since 2014/15 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with the latest figures capturing behaviour in March 2022, when almost all the UK’s coronavirus rules had been lifted. Adults spent an average of 52 minutes a day in March this year travelling, such as driving or walking, to places, the stats show. This is up from 32 minutes in March 2021, when many Covid-19 restrictions were still in place, but well below the figure of 84 minutes in 2014/15.
9th Aug 2022 - Evening Standard

How We Mourn Covid’s Victims

Piece by piece, the Covid-19 sanctuary was born on a hilltop in the town of Bedworth in central England. The process was meant to be a metaphor for a human life. Like bones fused over time, it grew taller as the memorial’s creators spent months joining intricate pieces of wood into a skeletal structure that finally stood on its own, 65 feet high. Then they burned it all down. There have always been monuments to commemorate the loss of life from calamitous events, such as the thousands of memorials dedicated to world wars, the Sept. 11 attacks, the Holocaust.
9th Aug 2022 - The New York Times

Post pandemic Britons still spend more time working from home - ONS

British workers are spending more time working from home compared with pre-pandemic times despite the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, according to official data released on Tuesday that offered a glimpse of what the 'new normal' looks like. In March 2020 the global coronavirus outbreak triggered a radical redesign of swathes of the world economy, forcing many firms and their workers to give up on the office temporarily and adapt to working from home.
9th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Jack Dorsey Tweets 'End the CCP' After China Covid Report

Twitter Inc. co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted the words “end the CCP” over the weekend in response to a report about China’s strict Covid-19 measures. Dorsey, who’d been chief executive officer at Twitter until November, tweeted his terse message, ostensibly referring to China’s Communist Party, while quoting a CNN report about the rigorous testing and app-based contact tracing implemented by Beijing. He didn’t elaborate on his reasoning.
9th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Biden Cleared to Resume Public Events After Negative Covid Test

President Joe Biden tested negative for Covid-19 for a second consecutive day, ending more than two weeks spent mostly self-isolating at the White House. The latest antigen test for Biden, 79, came back negative on Sunday morning, presidential physician Kevin O’Connor said in a letter released by the White House. “He will safely return to public engagement and presidential travel,” the doctor said. “I’m feeling great,” Biden told reporters outside the White House. Biden’s diagnosis, including a so-called rebound case after he received Pfizer Inc.’s antiviral drug Paxlovid, has hampered his political schedule ahead of midterm elections in November, though he has done a series of virtual events.
9th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

UK Economy Likely Hit Worst Slump Since Lockdown With GDP Shrinking

The UK economy probably shrank for the first time since the nation was in a coronavirus lockdown at the start of 2021, adding to pressure for action from the contenders vying to take over as prime minister. Gross domestic product for the second quarter probably shrank 0.2%, according to a survey of economists by Bloomberg News ahead of the official figures due to be published this week.
9th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Analysis: More Chinese women delay or give up on having babies after zero-COVID ordeal

Seeing Chinese authorities exercise extraordinary powers during a stringent COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai earlier this year altered Claire Jiang's life plans: she no longer wants to have babies in China. During the April-May lockdown, the hashtag "we are the last generation" briefly went viral on Chinese social media before being censored. The phrase echoed the response of a man who was visited by authorities in hazmat suits threatening to punish his family for three generations for non-compliance with COVID rules.
9th Aug 2022 - Reuters

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Why K-12 schools aren’t requiring students to get Covid-19 vaccines

For the third summer in a row, school leaders are facing the question of what — if anything — they’re going to do to stop the spread of Covid-19 when students return to classrooms. One thing is clear: Almost none of them will be requiring vaccines. Just 31 percent of children between 5 and 11 in the US have been fully vaccinated, and 61 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have been. (Only about 3 percent of children under 5 had received a first dose by July 20.) Still, no state in the country is planning to require student vaccinations, a marked turnaround from where things seemed to be headed last winter, when multiple states and school districts suggested vaccine mandates were coming soon.
8th Aug 2022 - Vox.com

What it would mean for Japan to downgrade its COVID classification

Calls are growing once more to consider downgrading Covid-19 to a level of disease classification similar to that of influenza, despite cases surging,
8th Aug 2022 - The Japan Times

Thailand to Lower Covid-19 to Same Disease Category as Influenza

Thailand will downgrade Covid-19 from a “dangerous” communicable disease to one that “needs monitoring” starting from October, as the country’s virus situation has started to stabilize, according to the Ministry of Public Health. The move, which will remove Covid-19 from the same category as plague and smallpox to the same level as influenza and dengue, is to reflect the reality of the situation in Thailand, said Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The move reflects Thailand’s health-system readiness, availability of treatments and “appropriate self-protection behavior” of people around the country, Anutin said in a statement.
8th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Chile's Easter Island reopens to tourists after pandemic shutdown

Chile's Easter Island received its first group of tourists on Thursday after closing its borders for more than two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Easter Island, over 2,000 miles (3,219 km) from the coast of Chile, has over a thousand stone statues -- giant heads that were carved centuries ago by the island's inhabitants -- which have brought it fame and UNESCO World Heritage Site status. "(Easter Island) is the biggest open air museum in the world," said Pedro Edmunds, the mayor of Easter Island, adding that it was time to open the island after it shut its borders 868 days ago.
8th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Colleges, Parents Fight in Court Over Tuition Charged During Pandemic Closures

Colleges and universities faced a barrage of lawsuits in the peak pandemic days of 2020 after schools shut down their campuses and moved classes online while charging students their usual tuition rates. Two years later, the Covid-19 tuition wars are building toward a decisive phase. A number of courts have issued rulings that provided a boost to students and parents seeking refunds, including last week in a case against a small private university in California. That decision followed a recent federal appeals court ruling that allowed claims to proceed against Loyola University Chicago. But those rulings stand in tension with other decisions for schools that said students don’t have valid claims. Pending cases from higher-level courts could bring more clarity.
8th Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID lockdown turns Chinese tourist hotspot Sanya into nightmare for stranded tourists

When Chinese businesswoman Yang Jing was planning this year's summer holiday in 2021, she chose the tropical southern island of Hainan because of its nigh-perfect COVID track record. The island in the South China Sea recorded just two positive symptomatic COVID-19 cases in the whole of last year. Fast forward to this month, however, and the number of cases has suddenly soared, prompting a lockdown in the city of Sanya and leaving tens of thousands of tourists like Yang stuck on the island
8th Aug 2022 - Reuters

BioNTech reports strong first half, expects demand to grow

BioNTech, which teamed with Pfizer to develop a powerful COVID-19 vaccine, has reported higher revenue and net profit in the first half of the year and expects demand to grow as it releases updated vaccines to target new omicron strains. The German pharmaceutical company said Monday that revenue hit about 9.57 billion euros ($9.76 billion) in the first six months of 2022, up from nearly 7.36 billion euros in the same period a year earlier. But revenue dropped to about 3.2 billion euros in the second quarter from 5.31 billion euros in April through June of last year. BioNTech said the dynamic nature of the pandemic has led to changes in orders and revenue but that it expects a strong end to the year. It said it plans to release revamped vaccines tailored to the latest omicron variants as early as October, which could lead to a fall booster campaign.
8th Aug 2022 - The Associated Press

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CDC: 85% of Americans Should Be Wearing a Mask Indoors or Considering It

Nearly 85% of Americans should be wearing a mask while indoors in public spaces or considering the measure, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 55% of the U.S. lives in counties that are considered a “high” COVID-19 community level by the CDC. Under the agency’s guidance, those people should be wearing a mask while inside. More than 29% of the country lives in counties considered a “medium” level where they should consider the measure based on their risk of severe COVID-19. The percentage is a slight decrease over the previous week, when nearly 88% of the population was in a high or medium community level.
7th Aug 2022 - U.S. News & World Report

With second negative COVID test, Biden exits isolation and gets back on the road

U.S. President Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 for a second consecutive day on Sunday and ended his isolation at the White House with a trip to his vacation home in Delaware and a reunion with his wife, first lady Jill Biden. Biden has been holed up at the White House for more than two weeks with COVID, leading to canceled trips and events even as his symptoms stayed mild. The president tested negative on Saturday but waited until a second negative test on Sunday before ending his isolation.
7th Aug 2022 - Reuters

The EU says Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine should carry a warning. But this Australian expert says there's 'no major issue'

TGA figures show about 189,200 doses of Novavax have been administered in Australia to 24 July 2022. The EMA has requested more data from Novavax about its vaccine. An Australian epidemiologist says "a very small number of people" have been affected
7th Aug 2022 - ABC News

Desperately seeking nurses: What can be done to retain them?

The pandemic has taken a toll on nurses. Across nations, nurses are quitting in large numbers. In Singapore, they are resigning in record numbers, causing a severe shortage at the hospitals. The Straits Times looks at why they quit and where some of them have gone to.
6th Aug 2022 - The Straits Times

Covid in Schools: Masks, Shots Helped Protect College Students from Infection

Vaccinated and masked college students had virtually no chance of catching Covid-19 in the classroom last fall, according to a sweeping study of 33,000 Boston University students that bolsters standard prevention measures. The researchers screened the college’s health records to find nine sets of students who developed Covid at about the same time, were in class together without social distancing and had no known contact outside school, suggesting that they might have transmitted it in the classroom. However, genome analysis of coronavirus samples from the groups showed that all of them more likely were infected in other places.
6th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Chinese tourist hot spot Sanya imposes COVID lockdown

The southern Chinese beach holiday city of Sanya imposed a lockdown on Saturday and shut its public transport system to try to stop a COVID-19 outbreak during its peak tourist season. Authorities announced the curbs would start at 6 a.m. (2200 GMT), saying the COVID situation was "very severe" and people's movements were being restricted. It did not say when the measures might be lifted. "We urge the general public and tourists to understand and give their support," authorities said in a statement on the city government's WeChat account.
6th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Covid-19: North Korea claims to have recovered from outbreak

North Korea says everyone who fell sick since the country confirmed its first Covid-19 infections has recovered. On Friday state media reported zero fever cases for a seventh straight day. North Korea refers to "fever" rather than "Covid" patients due to a lack of testing equipment. The country announced its first Covid outbreak in May and has reported fever infections and deaths since. But there is widespread doubt over the data, especially the number of deaths. "No new fever cases were reported during the past week and all those receiving treatment have recovered across the country," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday.
5th Aug 2022 - BBC News

Long Covid symptoms experienced by one in eight patients, research suggests

One in eight adults are likely to develop long Covid symptoms after being infected with Covid-19, a new study suggests. New research has compared common symptoms of long Covid, such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, loss of taste and smell, in thousands of people who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 during the Alpha wave with those who hadn’t been infected. Professor Judith Rosmalen from the University of Groningen, lead author of the study, said: “There is urgent need for data informing the scale and scope of the long-term symptoms experienced by some patients after Covid illness. “However, most previous research into long Covid has not looked at the frequency of these symptoms in people who haven’t been diagnosed with Covid-19 or looked at individual patients’ symptoms before the diagnosis of Covid-19.”
5th Aug 2022 - The Independent on MSN.com

U.S. Schools Spent Millions of Dollars on Faulty COVID Scanners and Cameras

In August 2020, with COVID-19 outbreaks proliferating and back to school plans shifting, U.S. tech vendors popped up, promising a solution. They were selling thermal imaging cameras and scanners that they said could screen large groups of students for virus-related fevers in real time. The catch: they didn’t work. The Daily Beast has found over 200 school districts nationwide that were persuaded to buy these devices between 2020-21 by a number of companies, spending a combined total of more than $11 million. Internal emails obtained through public record requests show how districts were sold technology by an industry which experts compare to the “wild west,” and how now in many instances, the scanners sit dormant in schools, gathering dust.
5th Aug 2022 - The Daily Beast

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China's Covid Zero Strategy Could Last Years Under Xi

It’s 2025 in Beijing, five years since the start of the pandemic, and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero policy is still an inescapable part of daily life. Residents must get PCR tested every few days at one of the booths on nearly every street corner. A personalized health code app determines who can move around the capital, and where. Children have to test negative to go to the park. Something as simple as a visit to a coffee shop or supermarket can result in being locked down in your apartment, not even allowed out for food – which the state instead provides. Because a few positive cases prompt officials to restrict movement in all or parts of the city, CEOs assume they must deal with several shutdowns a year.
5th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

China Resort Town Sanya Is Covid Hotspot, Stranding Summer Vacation Tourists

The Chinese beach resort city of Sanya has become the nation’s latest virus hotspot with more than 100 Covid-19 cases recorded Thursday, leaving thousands of holidaymakers stranded in one of the country’s most popular summer destinations. The city in the southern province of Hainan -- often called the “Hawaii of China” -- reported 107 new infections since noon Thursday, a sharp jump from the 11 cases found Wednesday, according to CCTV. Authorities partially locked down the city on Thursday, closing indoor venues like karaoke parlors and bars. People in areas categorized as high-risk are banned from leaving their homes or lodgings, while others can only venture out of their compounds once every two days to purchase necessities.
5th Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Toronto senior diagnosed with rare disorder after COVID vaccine last summer still waiting for compensation

Fernando Caballero misses the way he used to be: happy-go-lucky, the life of the party and the protector of his family. The 67-year-old was active and enjoyed rollerblading in the summer, ice skating in the winter and dancing all year round. But now, he uses a cane or walker to get around and takes several medications for nerve pain to help manage Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) — a rare neurological disorder he developed after getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in early 2021. He tracks his rehabilitation progress in part by counting how many small dance steps he can do in a row.
4th Aug 2022 - CBC.ca

Covid-19: Unprecedented levels of chronic absence in schools

The impact of the Covid pandemic has resulted in "unprecedented" numbers of children chronically absent from school, the Department of Education (DE) has said. It said the rate of absences was evident from figures it collected during the 2021-22 school year. Chronic absence is classed as missing more than 10% of the year. The children's commissioner in England is concerned some pupils never fully returned to school after lockdowns. An investigation by Dame Rachel de Souza suggested persistent absence from school was at a rate in England almost twice as high as before the pandemic. Previous reports from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) also said that the pandemic and restrictions had "a severe impact" on children and young people. Most pupils in Northern Ireland were taught remotely out of school for months in 2020 and in early 2021.
4th Aug 2022 - BBC News

U.S. CDC expected to ease COVID-19 guidelines for schools this week - CNN

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to ease its guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19, including in schools as soon as this week, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the plan. The updated guidelines are expected to ease quarantine requirements for people exposed to the virus and would no longer recommend maintaining a six-feet distance at schools, according to the report.
4th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Covid has settled into a persistent pattern — and remains damaging. It may not change anytime soon

Our tussle with Covid-19 — after a harrowing introduction and then wave upon wave of infections — seems to have settled into a persistent pattern. It may stay that way for a while. While Covid is not nearly the threat it once was, transmission of the coronavirus remains at sky-high levels. At the same time, the death rate has dropped thanks to vaccinations and improved treatments, and the overwhelming majority of people in the United States have developed some level of protection, from shots, a previous infection, or some combination of the two. In some ways, Covid is increasingly looking like other respiratory infections — mild in many people, but sometimes severe in certain high-risk populations.
4th Aug 2022 - STAT News

Economically inactive Britons with long Covid has ‘doubled’ in a year

One in 20 people in the UK who are neither employed nor seeking paid work are suffering from long Covid, with the figure more than doubling in the past year, official data has revealed. The proportion is far higher than for the one in 29 people who are unemployed but seeking work who have long Covid symptoms, or the one in 30 employed people who are sufferers, data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.
4th Aug 2022 - The Guardian

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Long COVID comes in three forms: study

New research from scientists from King’s College London supports the idea that there are three different types of long COVID, each with their own symptoms. Researchers studied over 1,000 people suffering from post-COVID syndrome and found that there are three different subtypes of the condition. The first subtype consisted of respiratory symptoms, the second neurologic and third autoimmune.
4th Aug 2022 - The Hill

EU says Novavax COVID shot must carry heart side-effect warning

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is recommending Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine carry a warning of the possibility of two types of heart inflammation, an added burden for a shot that has so far failed to win wide uptake. The heart conditions - myocarditis and pericarditis - should be listed as new side effects in the product information for the vaccine, Nuvaxovid, based on a small number of reported cases, the EMA said on Wednesday.
4th Aug 2022 - Reuters

Japan learns to live with COVID-19 as locals flock to travel spots

Japan’s residents are flocking to tourism hot spots and snapping up normally hard-to-get restaurant reservations even as COVID-19 infections surge to a record, in a sign one of the slowest major economies to fully reopen is adjusting to life with the virus. Domestic travel is booming as people enjoy their first restriction-free summer since 2019 and as still-tight border rules keep away the hordes of foreign visitors that typically crowd popular attractions. Most residents are shaking off concerns about the current wave of virus cases, with travel agencies H.I.S. and JTB reporting no obvious rise in cancellations. Nippon Travel Agency Co. says any spots that become available are quickly booked.
3rd Aug 2022 - The Japan Times

Tokyo is giving out free Covid-19 self-test kits

Article reports that with the current surge in Covid-19 infections across Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is now providing free rapid antigen self-test kits to those with Covid-19 symptoms. This new initiative is exclusive to Tokyoites in their 20s, born between August 2 1992 and August 1 2002.
3rd Aug 2022 - Time Out

Biden continues to test positive for COVID, his doctor says

U.S. President Joe Biden continued to test positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and will maintain his isolation procedures, but he is feeling well and does not have a fever, his physician said in a memo released by the White House. "The President continues to feel well, though he is experiencing a bit of a return of a loose cough," his physician Kevin O'Connor said. "He remains fever-free and in good spirits."
3rd Aug 2022 - Reuters

Survey: A third of US kids had excessive screen time amid COVID

More than one third of US children used media addictively in fall 2020, a finding tied to family stressors but not a decrease in the number of screen-time rules implemented, finds a survey of US parents published today in Pediatrics. Investigators from Seattle Children's Research Institute surveyed 1,000 US parents who had at least one child aged 6 to 17 years to evaluate how COVID-19 pandemic-related family stressors and the number of screen-time rules affected their children's media use in October and November 2020. The sample included 500 parents each with children in the 6- to 10-year-old group and in the 11- to 17-year-old group. Parents completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-4 (PHQ-4) and the Problematic Media Use Scale and were asked about parental employment status, demographic characteristics, and whether their child attended school in person or remotely.
2nd Aug 2022 - CIDRAP

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Aug 2022

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The Guardian view on long Covid: an unknown enemy

How do you tackle a problem when you don’t know what it is? Covid-19 was an unknown enemy, but was quickly identified. Long Covid, its equally unwelcome offspring, is a lesser threat, but is proving harder to pin down. Doctors are clear that it is widespread – yet are not sure how common it is, or how to respond. This is in part because it is an umbrella term for a wide range of symptoms; the World Health Organization says that up to 200 have been recorded, with shortness of breath, brain fog and fatigue the most common, while others range from loss of smell and tinnitus to stomach aches and depression. It may be that five or six separate syndromes are involved. Most of the symptoms have numerous potential non-Covid causes, making it still harder to isolate which are related to the infection.
2nd Aug 2022 - The Guardian

Hong Kong Will First Roll Out Only Sinovac Shot for Infants

Hong Kong will initially offer only one choice when it expands Covid-19 vaccine access to some of its youngest residents: CoronaVac from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Children six months to three years of age will become eligible for the Sinovac shot from Thursday, health care officials said at a press briefing on Tuesday. While a panel of medical advisers recommended that an immunization from Germany’s BioNTech SE should also be available, the government doesn’t yet have access to the proper dose, said Chuang Shuk-kwan, an official at the Health Department’s Center for Health Protection.
3rd Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

If You Test Positive for Covid, Can You Still Cancel Flights, Hotels and Travel?

A recent rise in Covid-19 cases is making travel even tougher this summer. The Omicron subvariant BA.5 has been spreading just as people are taking long-awaited vacations. More than half of American travelers report having taken at least one trip in July, according to the most recent survey from Destination Analysts, a market-research firm. But travel hasn’t been easy. Travelers have faced flight delays, cancellations, long lines and lost luggage. Airlines and hotels laid off staff and have struggled to rehire them, which means there aren’t enough baggage handlers, pilots and housekeepers, among others. For those looking to hit the road or travel by plane, the wise move is to plan ahead. Read up on your airline or hotel’s cancellation policy before a trip, consider travel insurance and have a contingency plan in case you do test positive while traveling.
2nd Aug 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong Experts Back Covid Shots Starting at Six Months of Age

A Hong Kong panel of health advisers said children as young as six months old should be offered Covid-19 vaccines from BioNTech SE and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. in an effort to protect the city’s youngest residents, according to Lau Yu-lung, the chairman of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Disease. The committee unanimously approved both Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines for children aged six months and above, Lau told reporters on Monday evening. “Both vaccines are safe and induces effective immunity, we all agreed on this,” he said.
2nd Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

US locks up 66M retooled COVID shots from Moderna

As U.S. regulators turn their attention to revamped, variant-specific COVID-19 vaccines for the fall, Pfizer and Moderna could have their retooled shots ready shortly after Labor Day, according to multiple reports. But while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) late last week inked deals with both companies to initiate a new booster campaign in a couple of months, it warned in its release that this stock would not be enough for every single U.S. resident. The HHS locked up a deal for 66 million doses of Moderna’s bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster candidate. It also inked an agreement to get 105 million bivalent booster doses from Pfizer and BioNTech. Should the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sign off on the updated prophylactics, HHS says it expects to receive its first deliveries of the retooled Pfizer and Moderna shots in “early fall.”
2nd Aug 2022 - FiercePharma

Apple drops mask requirements for most of its corporate workers - The Verge

Apple Inc is dropping its mask mandate for corporate employees at most locations, the Verge reported on Monday, citing an internal memo. This comes even as COVID-19 infections in the United States have been on the rise with the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant accounting for more than 90% of infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2nd Aug 2022 - Reuters

Health officials predict COVID-19 cases will rise once school starts, as millions of kids remain unvaccinated

Health officials predict COVID-19 cases will rise once school starts, fueling community spread, as millions of kids remain unvaccinated and the BA.5 omicron subvariant remains the dominant strain.
2nd Aug 2022 - YAHOO!News

France Ends All Covid-19 Travel Restrictions And Tests

It was one of the last European countries to do so, but this month France has rescinded all its Covid-19 travel restrictions and testing requirements for any travelers entering the country. Crucially, France has come out of the State of Emergency that President Macron's government instigated at the outset of the pandemic, which means that the country requires less bureaucracy of its visitors. As of 1 August 2022, it is no longer necessary to show proof of having had Covid-19, any vaccinations or the results of any testing. Nor is it a requirement anymore to sign an attestation saying that you are devoid of Covid-19 symptoms (that had been necessary up until last week). For both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, it is not a legal requirement either for visitors to justify why they are traveling.
2nd Aug 2022 - Forbes

Biden feels good as he continues to test positive for COVID - White House

U.S. President Joe Biden feels good and is looking forward to getting back on the road as he continues to test positive for COVID-19 and maintains isolation procedures, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday. "He's feeling fine," Jean-Pierre told reporters at a White House briefing. Biden, 79, had just emerged from isolation on Wednesday after testing positive for COVID for the first time on July 21, when he tested positive again on Saturday in what his physician Kevin O'Connor described as a "rebound" case seen in a small percentage of patients who take the antiviral drug Paxlovid.
2nd Aug 2022 - Reuters

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Aug 2022

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US Pandemic Revamp Raises Worry of 'More Cooks in the Kitchen'

Covid-19 revealed how federal offices and agencies, as well as state and local public health offices, lack coordination or central control. Elevating ASPR is meant to better align some of those functions. But former health officials from the office and other agencies say that the changes don’t provide clarity on which parts of the federal government will be responsible for certain emergency-response activities. They also caution that the office needs additional resources. Nicole Lurie, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response under President Barack Obama, describes ASPR’s role as “the place where all of emergency response sort of comes together,” reporting directly to the secretary of Health and Human Service
2nd Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

D.C. Schools covid vaccine mandate rare among national school systems

D.C. students who are 12 and older must be vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend school this upcoming academic year. The youth vaccine mandate in D.C. is among the strictest in the nation, according to health experts, and is being enacted in a city with wide disparities in vaccination rates between its White and Black children. Overall, about 85 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 15 have been vaccinated against the virus, but the rate drops to 60 percent among Black children in this age range.
1st Aug 2022 - The Washington Post

How Covid-19 has changed the world's view on education

Coronavirus was a transformative global event. The Covid-19 pandemic affected the whole world and with it came many significant changes. It disrupted and influenced the education sector drastically and affected all students and educators, not just in regard to academics but also in their broader health and wellbeing. Overall, education has become increasingly more flexible and accessible for those across the world. We know now that every curriculum can be taught online – whilst still allowing students to learn alongside their peers meaning that they don’t feel isolated. After the historic period of disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most schools across the globe are back to operating again. But the education industry is still massively in recovery and assessing the damage and lessons learned during the global pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic affected more than 1.5 billion students worldwide, with the most vulnerable learners having the greatest impact.
1st Aug 2022 - Independent Education Today

Macau to reopen following COVID-19 lockdown as casinos report record-low profits

The reopening comes as the casinos report their lowest July revenue on record. Macau has reported about 1,800 infections since mid-June. Strict COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place
1st Aug 2022 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Macau to reopen city as no COVID infections detected for 9 days

Macau will reopen public services and entertainment facilities, and allow dining-in at restaurants from Tuesday, authorities said, as the world's biggest gambling hub seeks a return to normalcy after finding no COVID-19 cases for nine straight days. Beauty salons, fitness centres, and bars too will be allowed to resume operations, the government said in a statement on Monday. The announcement came as authorities also reported on Monday that July monthly casino revenues dropped 95% year on year to 0.4 billion patacas ($49.5 million), the lowest on record.
1st Aug 2022 - Reuters

New Zealand's borders fully open after long pandemic closure

New Zealand will welcome all international travellers from July 31. Jacinda Arden says the final stages included welcoming back those on student visas and letting cruise ships and foreign yachts dock in the country. The country imposed some of the world's strictest border controls when COVID-19 first hit
1st Aug 2022 - ABC News

Confessions of a Covid-19 dodger

Lately, most conversation starters revolve around a single question: "Have you had Covid yet?" Then come the tales of when/how/where, the extent of symptoms, and the solemn raise of hands for the chosen few who have not.
1st Aug 2022 - The Straits Times

Londoners Leaving the City in Droves as Covid Trend Persists

The push to leave London sparked by the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of slowing down even after millions of workers returned to their city center offices. Almost 8% of the British homes purchased outside of the capital were bought by Londoners in the first half of the year, the same proportion as a year earlier when the post-Covid rush kicked off. That’s up from 6.9% in the first half of 2019, the year before the the pandemic struck, according to data compiled by broker Hamptons. Buyers have flocked to the countryside in search of more green space after being cooped up in their homes during a series of lockdowns in 2020, taking advantage of more flexible working patterns and pent up savings.
1st Aug 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 1st Aug 2022

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Covid Booster: US to Buy $1.7 Billion of Moderna Omicron-Specific Vaccine (MRNA)

Moderna Inc. said it secured a $1.74 billion contract to supply the US government with its new omicron-specific vaccine. The deal is for 66 million doses of a new booster that includes the existing shot as well as components targeting omicron subvariants of the Covid-19 virus. The agreement also allows the government to purchase another 234 million doses of the company’s booster shots in the future. “Moderna’s mRNA platform is enabling us to rapidly create mRNA-1273.222, a bivalent vaccine that specifically targets omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, the most prevalent variants of concern in the US today,” Stephane Bancel, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
31st Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Inside the super-secure Swiss lab trying to stop the next pandemic

The setting is straight from a spy thriller: Crystal waters below, snow-capped Swiss Alps above and in between, a super-secure facility researching the world's deadliest pathogens. Spiez Laboratory, known for its detective work on chemical, biological and nuclear threats since World War Two, was tasked last year by the World Health Organization to be the first in a global network of high-security laboratories that will grow, store and share newly discovered microbes that could unleash the next pandemic.
31st Jul 2022 - Reuters

UK Pays Lenders £352 Million So Far to Cover Virus Loan Losses

The UK has paid lenders £352 million ($429 million) to cover losses so far on virus loans to small businesses, a number that’s likely to grow further with £1.6 billion of further claims lodged by the lenders at the end of March. Metro Bank Plc, which lent a total of £1.4 billion under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, has received £122 million as of March 31 after claims for 3,015 loans were processed and payment released, according to a report published Thursday. Barclays Plc received £88 million and Starling Bank £61 million. The £352 million represents about 0.7% of the 1.5 million loans at the end of March. About 3.2% are in the claimed stage, 4% of the loans are in default and 7.4% are in arrears, the data shows.
30th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

How the Covid-19 Pandemic Changed Americans’ Health for the Worse

The ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic’s influence on nearly every aspect of health in America are becoming clear. Covid-19 has killed more than one million people in the U.S., a toll mounting by some 350 people a day. A range of other chronic diseases and acute threats to health also worsened during the pandemic, data show, as people missed screenings, abandoned routines and experienced loss and isolation. “In addition to just the terrible burden of a million Americans dying, there are other repercussions from the pandemic that we need to address,” said Chrissie Juliano, executive director of Big Cities Health Coalition, an organization of city health officials.
30th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

NHS staff with 'disabling conditions' after COVID-19 should be able to claim benefits, say government advisers

By listing health complications from COVID-19 as part of the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit scheme, people affected by the virus would qualify for up to £188.60 in weekly benefits.
29th Jul 2022 - The Pharmaceutical Journal

Japan's factory output zooms as China eases COVID curbs

Japan's factories ramped up output at the fastest pace in more than nine years in June as disruptions due to China's COVID-19 curbs eased, a welcome sign for policymakers hoping the economic outlook will improve. Separate data showed retail sales rose for the fourth straight month in June, supporting the view that rising consumption helped the economy return to growth in the second quarter after contracting in January-March
29th Jul 2022 - Reuters

If you are high risk, do not wait for updated COVID vaccines, experts say

People at high risk of severe disease who have yet to get a second COVID-19 booster should not wait for next-generation, Omicron-targeted vaccines expected in the fall, five vaccine experts told Reuters. In many countries, including the United States, the BA.5 Omicron subvariant of the virus is surging, but current vaccines continue to offer protection against hospitalization for severe disease and death.
29th Jul 2022 - Reuters

AstraZeneca Outlook Raised as Covid Therapies Offset Vaccine Drop

AstraZeneca Plc raised its outlook for 2022 revenue as sales of its Covid-19 therapies offset a decline in its coronavirus vaccine. The UK drugmaker now expects revenues to rise by more than 20% this year, according to a statement Friday that showed its second-quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates. The positive results, helped by a lower-than-anticipated tax bill, were largely due to Evusheld, AstraZeneca’s Covid antibody therapy for people with compromised immune systems. Sales for the company’s Covid offerings are now expected to remain flat compared to a year ago, erasing a previously estimated drop of 20%. AstraZeneca shares fell more than 3% in early trading before paring back slightly.
29th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

LA Holds Off Reimposing Mask Mandate as Covid Cases Fall

Los Angeles held off reimposing a universal indoor masking mandate as new Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations begin to go down. Local public health officials have been warning for the past two weeks that a mask mandate may be reinstated, after the county surpassed 10 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents and entered a “high” community alert level. However, officials decided to pause a masking order as fresh county-level data indicate the community is likely entering a lower transmission threshold, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters Thursday.
28th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

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When will Covid really be over? Three things that will mark the end of the pandemic

Analysing past epidemics shows us that actual endings are long, drawn-out and contested. Societies must grapple not just with the medical realities of the disease, harms and treatments, but the political and economic fallout from emergency measures, and disputes over who has the authority to declare an end and what should be measured to guide this process. This is why there is so much uncertainty about the current state of Covid-19: different groups have vastly different experiences of the medical, political and social aspects of the epidemic, and different ideas of what an ending may look like.
28th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

Russia daily covid cases hit highest since April

Russia reported 11,515 new daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, authorities said, the highest such figure since April 13. Forty-one people in Russia died of coronavirus over the last day, the country's anti-COVID-19 taskforce said in an update. Russia has recorded 18,565,551 cases of COVID since April 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic in the country.
28th Jul 2022 - Reuters

After Biden COVID recovery, admin launches new booster push

President Joe Biden’s administration is launching a renewed push for COVID-19 booster shots for those eligible, pointing to the enhanced protections they offer against severe illness as the highly transmissible BA.5 variant spreads across the country. The initiatives include direct outreach to high-risk groups, especially seniors, encouraging them to get “up to date” on their vaccinations, with phone calls, emails and new public service announcements. All Americans age 5 and over should get a booster five months after their initial primary series, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also says those age 50 and over — or those who are immunocompromised — should get a second booster four months after their first. According to CDC, tens of millions of eligible Americans haven’t received their first booster, and of those over 50 who got their first booster, only about 30% have received their second.
28th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

Malaysia's Women Graduates Close Gender Jobless Gap Amid Virus

Malaysia’s female graduates have narrowed the unemployment rate gap with men for a third straight year, yet major differences remain for jobs requiring higher level degrees. The overall jobless rate for 2.476 million women graduates in the Southeast Asian nation declined to 4.3% in 2021, versus 4% for men. That’s a huge improvement from 2018, when female employment was a full percentage point lower than males. Still, much of the shrinkage has been based on lower level diploma jobs, according to data released by the Department of Statistics.
28th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Will Singapore see surge in Covid-19 deaths that New Zealand is facing now?

New Zealand is one of a small number of countries that had done well in curbing Covid-19 infections and deaths over the past two years, with rapid lockdowns and safety measures. But the number of people dying from the coronavirus has surged in recent months - with 168 deaths in the week ending July 25, up from 163 the previous week. Of the 2,093 deaths from Covid-19, more than 2,000 have occurred since March this year.
29th Jul 2022 - The Straits Times

2,390 new Covid cases, 30 more deaths

The country registered 2,390 more Covid-19 in-patients and 29 new fatalities during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced on Sunday morning, with the number of deaths and severe cases gradually rising over the past week. The new numbers compared with 2,578 new cases and 29 coronavirus-related fatalities reported on Saturday morning. All the new infections reported on Sunday were transmitted inside Thailand.
29th Jul 2022 - ฺBangkok Post

Zoe Tay tests positive for Covid-19, attended two large gatherings recently

Actress Zoe Tay has tested positive for Covid-19, she revealed on Instagram Stories on Wednesday (July 27). Showing herself holding a rapid test with two lines and shaking her head, she also added a sticker with the words "Quarantine Mode On". According to the 54-year-old's Instagram posts, she had in recent days attended two large gatherings. On Sunday, she was at socialite-heiress Kim Lim's birthday extravaganza, a joint celebration for Lim, 31, and her son Kyden, five.
29th Jul 2022 - The Straits Times

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th Jul 2022

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Almost 9% have received second Covid-19 vaccine booster

The average percentage of people who have received a second Covid-19 vaccine booster is almost 9% across the country’s Local Electoral Areas (LEAs), new figures show. Data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveals that the average rate for a second booster shot was 8.7%, with individual areas ranging from 2% to 15%. The LEAs with the lowest second booster levels are Blanchardstow, Mulhuddart, Tallaght South and Ongar.
27th Jul 2022 - Belfast Telegraph

Millions of US children remain unvaccinated as BA.5 spreads and new school year looms

Millions of school-age children in the United States are still unvaccinated against Covid-19 as many prepare for a return to school. A new CNN analysis finds that less than half of children and teens are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and only a tenth have been boosted. Many of the nation's largest school systems -- including Los Angeles Unified, City of Chicago, Miami-Dade County and Clark County in Nevada -- start school next month.
27th Jul 2022 - CNN

Austria ends COVID-19 quarantine for those with no symptoms

People infected with COVID-19 will no longer have to quarantine themselves in Austria if they don't exhibit any symptoms, the country's health minister announced Tuesday.
27th Jul 2022 - Business Standard

Covid-19 Northern Ireland: New symptom spotted as Health Minister extends availability of coronavirus tests

Lateral flow testing for those with Covid-19 symptoms in Northern Ireland is to continue into August, the Health Minister has confirmed. Robin Swann had previously explained the tests would remain available until the end of this month, citing the rising level of cases of the virus both in Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole. It comes as a warning has emerged over a new strain of the virus that could be causing some sufferers to experience night sweats. Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin said the Omicron BA.5 variant - which has contributed to rising cases across the UK and globe – was causing the “strange” symptom.
27th Jul 2022 - Belfast Telegraph

Report: NBA will not have vaccination mandate in 2022-23

After some high-profile vaccine-related absences from games last season, the NBA will not have a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for players in 2022-23, Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday, citing a memo from the league office it had obtained. The league will "strongly suggest" team personnel stay up-to-date with vaccinations, per the report. Discussions between the league and the NBA Players Association remain ongoing about whether unvaccinated players will be subject to periodic COVID-19 testing during the upcoming season.
27th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Wuhan Locks Down 1 Million Residents in Echo of Pandemic’s Start

A district on the outskirts of Wuhan has been locked down, the first time the Chinese city that saw the world’s first Covid-19 lockdown has imposed such a measure since 2020, underscoring how far the country is from post-pandemic normalcy. More than two years since the city was sealed off to contain what was then a mysterious pneumonia, almost 1 million residents of Wuhan’s Jiangxia district have been told to stay in their homes and not go out unless necessary. All public transport has been stopped and entertainment venues shut for three days after four asymptomatic cases were found in the district on Tuesday.
27th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

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Rise in long Covid sufferers unable to work costs UK £1.5bn a year

Long Covid is costing the UK £1.5bn in lost earnings per year as the number of people off work with the condition rises to almost 2 million, according to new research. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank estimated that 110,000 people are absent from work at any time due to long Covid, with those who were on lower incomes before the pandemic more likely to be sufferers. One in 10 long Covid sufferers who were in employment stop work while they have the condition, the IFS said. The findings will heap further pressure on the government to tackle a problem which is expected to grow further as infections rise again.
27th Jul 2022 - The Independent

Isolation facilities for covid-19: towards a person centred approach

Chuan De Foo and colleagues argue that isolation facilities have the potential to interrupt the transmission of infectious agents, particularly in the earlier stages of infectious disease outbreaks, but they must deliver person centred care. Two years into the covid-19 pandemic, footage from isolation centres in Shanghai showing unrest have raised questions about the safety, utility, and appropriate use of such facilities
26th Jul 2022 - The BMJ

Schools Choose Cheaper Ventilation Options as BA.5 Subvariant Spreads

As the highly contagious Omicron BA.5 subvariant surges across the nation, weeks before schools reopen for fall, most U.S. districts are choosing fast, cheap ventilation solutions despite billions in federal aid, data show. A federal study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found nearly two-thirds of schools aren’t planning to replace or upgrade their heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Instead, about 70% of schools in the CDC survey reported low-cost steps to increase student safety, including relocating activities outdoors, inspecting and validating existing HVAC systems, and opening doors and windows. About a third of schools were installing high-efficiency particulate air-filtration systems in high-risk areas, according to the study released in June. Some schools have cited supply-chain issues, tight deadlines or bureaucratic challenges as reasons for not upgrading.
26th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Calling In Sick or Going on Vacation, Workers Aren't Showing Up This Summer

A rise in Covid-19 absences in recent weeks amid the spread of the BA.5 subvariant, combined with planned time off, has left restaurants, hotel chains, manufacturers and other workplaces struggling to keep operations running this summer. At some companies, bosses say, staffing is harder now than at any previous stage in the pandemic. For the period from June 29 to July 11, 3.9 million Americans said they didn’t work because they were sick with Covid-19 or were caring for someone with it, according to Census Bureau data. In the comparable period last year, 1.8 million people missed work for those reasons. Many workers also are taking vacations that they put off over the previous two years. According to the Labor Department, 4.8 million workers took vacation or personal days during the week of the Census Bureau’s June household survey this year, compared with 3.7 million workers who were taking time off in the comparable period last year.
26th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Joe Biden’s Covid symptoms ‘almost completely resolved’, doctor says

Joe Biden’s Covid-19 symptoms have “almost completely resolved,” according to a new note from the US president’s doctor. Although he still has some nasal congestion and hoarseness, his vital signs remain “absolutely normal,” wrote Dr Kevin O’Connor. The 79-year-old has been taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug that helps reduce the chance of severe illness from Covid-19, and he plans to continue isolating in the White House residence.
26th Jul 2022 - Evening Standard on MSN.com

COVID symptoms almost resolved, Biden says he is feeling great

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said he was "feeling great," as he recovers from COVID-19, and that he expected to end his isolation and return to normal working conditions by the end of the week. Biden held a virtual event with semiconductor manufacturers and several top administration officials to promote legislation aimed at boosting chip production in the United States. His voice was raspy but he seemed otherwise in good health.
26th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Covid origin studies say evidence points to Wuhan market

Scientists say there is "compelling evidence" that Wuhan's Huanan seafood and wildlife market was at the centre of the Covid-19 outbreak. Two peer-reviewed studies published on Tuesday re-examine information from the initial outbreak in the Chinese city. One of the studies shows that the earliest known cases were clustered around that market. The other uses genetic information to track the timing of the outbreak. It suggests there were two variants introduced into humans in November or early December 2019. Together, the researchers say this evidence paints a picture that Sars-Cov-2 was present in live mammals that were sold at Huanan market in late 2019. They say it was transmitted into people who were working or shopping there in two separate "spillover events", where a human contracted the virus from an animal.
26th Jul 2022 - BBC News

Despite their anger over high drug prices, Americans are giving pharma credit for helping contain Covid-19

Nearly three quarters of Americans give the pharmaceutical industry credit for helping contain Covid-19 — and for a sector that’s been roundly criticized for nearly a decade, that’s a reason to celebrate. A new survey, conducted by the Harris Poll for STAT, asked more than 4,000 people what industries they credit for helping contain the coronavirus, and 71% of those surveyed said that the pharmaceutical industry deserves credit — more than the number who gave credit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, or the White House. The only entities that received a statistically significant amount more credit were hospitals, makers of protective equipment, scientists, doctors, and nurses.
26th Jul 2022 - STAT News

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Slow uptake of Pfizer's Covid drug hints at end to sales boom

Sales of Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid have leapfrogged a rival pill developed by Merck and now dominate the Covid-19 treatments market, but slower than expected patient uptake could dent sales over the next six months and beyond. Airfinity, a health data analytics group, said recent data showed the whirlwind pace of new supply deals Pfizer signed had begun to slow because of the lacklustre rollout of a treatment billed as a key tool to help quell the pandemic. By the end of 2022 there could be a surplus of up to 70mn courses of Paxlovid on the global market following an increase in Pfizer’s production and weak demand for a treatment that US president Joe Biden is taking to fight his Covid infection.
25th Jul 2022 - Financial Times

White House to launch effort to develop next generation of Covid vaccines

The Biden administration is preparing a sweeping initiative to develop a next generation of Covid-19 immunizations that would thwart future coronavirus variants and dramatically reduce rates of coronavirus infection or transmission, building on current shots whose impact has been mainly to prevent serious illness and death, the White House told STAT. To kick off the effort, the White House is gathering key federal officials, top scientists, and pharmaceutical executives including representatives of Pfizer and Moderna for a Tuesday “summit” to discuss the new technologies and lay out a road map for developing them.
25th Jul 2022 - STAT News

EU states should act now before winter COVID waves strike, official says

EU member states should start preparing now for a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in autumn and winter, the bloc's health chief said on Monday, saying there had been a "worrying increase" in outbreaks. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides also warned there was no room for complacency, saying the pandemic was not over. "Unfortunately the pandemic has shown a worrying increase in several countries," she told Cyprus state radio.
25th Jul 2022 - Reuters

EU states should act now before winter COVID waves strike, official says

EU member states should start preparing now for a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in autumn and winter, the bloc's health chief said on Monday, saying there had been a "worrying increase" in outbreaks. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides also warned there was no room for complacency, saying the pandemic was not over. "Unfortunately the pandemic has shown a worrying increase in several countries," she told Cyprus state radio.
25th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Defence force to expand aged care support as COVID-19 wave hits sector

The federal government is expanding Defence force support for Australia's coronavirus-stricken aged care sector. More than 200 extra military medical personnel will be deployed to aged care homes in coming weeks, Defence Minister Richard Marles has announced. The move came after aged care providers and trade unions requested Defence force support for the sector be extended beyond the August 12 end date.
25th Jul 2022 - 9News

Xi's Covid Rules and Tech Crackdown Push Gen Z in China to 'Bailan'

The most educated generation in China’s history was supposed to blaze a trail towards a more innovative and technologically advanced economy. Instead, about 15 million young people are estimated to be jobless, and many are lowering their ambitions. A perfect storm of factors has propelled unemployment among 16- to 24-year-old urbanites to a record 19.3%, more than twice the comparable rate in the US. The government’s hardline coronavirus strategy has led to layoffs, while its regulatory crackdown on real estate and education companies has hit the private sector.
25th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Biden's Covid-19 Symptoms Continue to Get Better, White House Says

President Biden’s symptoms are improving after he tested positive for Covid-19 last week, one of his advisers and his doctor said. “He’s doing just fine,” White House Covid-19 coordinator Ashish Jha said Sunday during an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Dr. Jha encouraged Americans to get vaccinated and boosted, and to seek treatment if they contract Covid-19. Mr. Biden is taking Pfizer Inc.’s antiviral drug Paxlovid, which has been approved by federal authorities as a Covid-19 treatment. “This is a president who is double-vaccinated, double-boosted, getting treatments that are widely available to Americans and has at this moment a mild respiratory illness. This is really good news,” Dr. Jha told ABC’s “This Week.”
25th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

H.K. to Cut Hotel Quarantine With Health Code, Report Says

Hong Kong plans to cut hotel quarantine for arrivals with the introduction of a two-color health code system, local media reported on Monday. The government is considering moving to five days of hotel quarantine, after which arrivals will be issued with a so-called yellow health code for two days that would prohibit them from entering high-risk areas where masks can be removed. Another option under consideration is four days of hotel isolation followed by three days of yellow code restrictions, according to Sing Tao, which cited a person it didn’t identify. Hong Kong currently requires seven-day quarantine for arrivals. Separately, the South China Morning Post said authorities could even shorten the hotel quarantine to three days as they put the finishing touches to the China-style health code.
25th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

China's Choice: Covid Zero or Xi's Three Red Lines

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. It’s an expression that warns people not to want things that are inherently incompatible. China would do well to heed this wisdom. In recent years, the government launched quite a few ambitious top policies that would fundamentally alter its economy. At the top of mind was its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the world is living with the virus, China still has no tolerance for outbreaks.
25th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Biden's COVID symptoms have improved considerably, mainly has sore throat -doctor

U.S. President Joe Biden's condition since contracting COVID-19 has improved considerably and his greatest symptom now is a sore throat, his physician said on Sunday. Biden's cough and body aches have diminished since he tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and he is not experiencing any shortness of breath, the physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, said in a memo released by the White House.
25th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Japan struggles with record-setting seventh wave

Just a few short weeks ago, coronavirus infections in Japan were hovering around the 10,000-cases-a-day level, and there was optimism across the nation that the worst of the health crisis was over and that the summer holidays would be more carefree than the last two years. As it has done in the past, however, the virus has mutated and caused a spike in infections. On Saturday, authorities recorded a record 200,975 new cases. Health experts say the seventh wave to wash over Japan is of the highly transmissible BA.5 omicron subvariant of the virus, with 17 of the nation's 47 prefectures reporting record-high case loads. On Monday, officials confirmed that there have been a total of 11.39 million confirmed cases in Japan, a nation of 125.8 million, and 31,902 fatalities. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called for "maximum caution" among the public, but his government has stated that there are no plans at present to reintroduce the states of emergency that punctuated the first two years of the outbreak in Japan.
25th Jul 2022 - DW (English)

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Covid hits a third of Australia’s aged care homes as 6,000 residents infected

Aged care providers are calling for urgent action to protect residents and staff from a winter Covid-19 wave which is hitting more than one-third of the country’s facilities. The Aged and Community Care Providers Association said 6,000 residents and 3,400 staff were infected in 1,013 facilities as of Thursday. The association’s interim chief executive, Paul Sadler, said 10 to 15% of staff were already isolating or quarantining at home, and the coming weeks will put intense pressure on aged care residents and workers.
24th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

Recoveries greater than new cases as COVID total drops

After enjoying almost 2 months of being COVID free, Cambodia today again recorded new COVID cases. Today’s official daily new COVID case total (diagnosed by PCR test) was 20, bringing the COVID case total to 136,565 cases. Cambodia announced 0 new deaths, bringing the total to 3,056 direct deaths from COVID-19 in Cambodia.
23rd Jul 2022 - Khmer Times

China considers further easing Covid quarantine rules

China is considering a further reduction in its quarantine requirements to lessen the economic impact of strict Covid-19 controls. The announcement came on the heels of promises by Premier Li Keqiang this week that China would continue to refine its Covid-19 response with more targeted measures in terms of visa access and testing policies as well as allowing more international flights to China. Wang Liping, an infectious diseases expert with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told a media briefing on Thursday that the centre is constantly looking to improve its epidemic control playbook.
23rd Jul 2022 - South China Morning Post

NZ has mask mandates and isolation, but the Omicron daily death rate is still 'very concerning'

Across the Tasman, New Zealanders who were once asked to lock down over a single case of COVID-19 are now being urged to wear masks as the country records a seven-day rolling average of nearly 10,000 cases a day. Authorities believe there is widespread community infection in every region of New Zealand, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5 sub-variant. And for a nation of just 5.1 million people, attention is now turning to New Zealand's daily death rate, which has been among the highest in the world according to one World Health Organization measure.
23rd Jul 2022 - ABC News

Biden's Covid Diagnosis Is a Wake-Up Call for America

The news that President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid should serve as a wake-up call for the rest of us: Almost three years on, the pandemic is still not going very well. Perhaps it’s human nature to put bad news out of mind. Still, one reason so many people have chosen to ignore Covid-19 may be that they are wary, and weary, of public health authorities. If people admit Covid is still a big problem, they are implicitly giving regulators permission to control their lives once again. But people are tired of lockdowns, mandatory testing, canceled school sessions and travel restrictions. And so they are fighting back with the ultimate form of non-violent resistance — forgetting about the issue altogether.
23rd Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

UK Covid Cases Rise to Highest in 3 Months: ONS Data

Covid-19 infections are continuing to rise in England and have reached their highest level for three months, but the trend in the rest of the UK is uncertain, figures show. Hospital numbers also appear to have stopped climbing, though it is too early to say if the latest wave of the virus is starting to peak, experts have cautioned. It comes as a new survey suggests public concern about Covid-19 has dropped to its lowest level since the pandemic began. A total of 3.8 million people in private households in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 13/14, up 7% from 3.5 million the previous seven days, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)
22nd Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Australia facing nursing shortage as more than two years of COVID takes its toll

Unions say the country is facing a significant nursing shortage and things are only going to get worse. The number of registered nurses in Australia has increased year on year, but the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation said there was still a severe shortage. However, the ANMF cannot put a figure on the actual shortfall
21st Jul 2022 - ABC News

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Independent review planned for New York's COVID-19 response

A third-party auditor will review the New York state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including efforts by the administration of the previous governor to downplay the number of deaths of nursing home residents. The state plans to select an auditor, who would have until late 2023 to deliver a final report, under a timeline released Tuesday by the office of current Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat. Initial findings are expected in May. The report will include a planning guide for future emergencies and will explore issues from the transfer of nursing home patients to the reopening of schools and businesses to efforts to purchase needed medical supplies.
21st Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

How Moderna’s Covid Vaccine Boosted Boston’s Real-Estate Market

Things started well when a Pfizer employee agreed on the spot to purchase a 16th-floor condo with views of Boston Harbor for $4.85 million, she said. Two hours later, a Moderna executive honed in on the same unit. When she remarked on the coincidence, Ms. Angelini said, “He just looked at me, completely serious and said, ‘I want the same home, but I need to be one floor higher than Pfizer.’ ” He reserved the option to buy a 17th-floor unit for $4.95 million that day, she said. Ms. Angelini’s buyer is just one in a flurry of Moderna employees who have descended on the Boston-area real-estate market since the company’s blockbuster Covid vaccine helped drive the company to its first profitable year in 2021, more than a decade after its founding in 2010.
21st Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Biden Contracts Covid as Pandemic Shows Its Staying Power

President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, finally contracting the virus whose control and ultimate defeat he had made a centerpiece of his campaign for the White House. Biden’s illness, coming after a five-day trip to the Middle East during which he made few efforts to avoid infection, highlights the endurance of a pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide and upturned the global economy. Biden, 79, is experiencing mild symptoms and has begun taking Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid treatment for the disease, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said in a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg. He will isolate at the White House while continuing his duties via phone and Zoom until he tests negative.
21st Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Australia battles fresh Omicron outbreak as COVID deaths rise

Australia reported one of its highest daily death tolls from the novel coronavirus on Thursday while hospital admissions hovered near record levels, as authorities struggle to get ahead of highly contagious Omicron variants. The BA.4/5 variants are good at evading immune protection from vaccination or prior infection and have been driving a surge of new infections globally. Australia is reporting the highest daily numbers since the first Omicron wave earlier this year, with 89 deaths from the coronavirus on Thursday and 90 on Wednesday. Just over 55,600 new cases were recorded on Thursday, the highest since May 18.
21st Jul 2022 - Reuters

Tokyo hits pandemic record on rise of new Covid-19 subvariants

The numbers show a resurgence has taken hold in the Japanese capital ahead of the summer holidays, when travel and activity levels typically soar. Rising cases are forcing leaders to reconsider what steps might be needed to contain the outbreak – may add pressure to slow the pace of reopening to tourists
21st Jul 2022 - South China Morning Post

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Covid. Vacation. Covid.

Public health officials warn that this is no time for complacency. In the United States, BA.5 has become the dominant strain and is driving a significant spike in cases -- more than 120,000 a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), though experts say that number may be more like 1 million, given the underreporting of home test results. Europe, meanwhile, has seen a tripling of new Covid-19 infections over the past six weeks, with nearly 3 million reported last week, accounting for almost half of all new cases worldwide. Hospital admissions in Europe over the same period have doubled.
20th Jul 2022 - CNN

China braced for renewed lockdowns as Omicron subvariant spreads

China is at risk of more frequent lockdowns and mass testing as officials struggle to contain the spread of the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron subvariant despite the damage pandemic restrictions have already wrought on the world’s second-biggest economy. Forty-one Chinese cities are under full or partial lockdowns or district-based controls, covering 264mn people in regions that account for about 18.7 per cent of the country’s economic activity, according to an analysis released on Monday by Japanese investment bank Nomura.
20th Jul 2022 - Financial Times

Data shows most Hong Kong Covid inpatients are elderly from community

New trend deviates from start of fifth wave when Omicron variant swept across care homes. Officials racing for measures to prevent healthcare system from being overwhelmed
20th Jul 2022 - South China Morning Post

Micronesia last of bigger nations to have COVID-19 outbreak

Article reports that Micronesia has likely become the final nation in the world with a population of more than 100,000 to experience an outbreak of COVID-19. For more than two-and-a-half years, the Pacific archipelago managed to avoid any outbreaks thanks to its geographic isolation and border controls. Those people who flew into the country with the disease didn’t spread it because all new arrivals were required to quarantine. But as has been the case in several other Pacific nations this year, those defenses couldn’t keep out the more transmissible omicron variant forever.
20th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

Hospitalisation rates double as COVID cases triple across Europe

The World Health Organization (WHO) says coronavirus cases have tripled across Europe in the past six weeks, accounting for nearly half of all infections globally. Super-infectious relatives of the Omicron variant have been driving the new wave of disease across the continent, with repeated infections potentially leading to long COVID. Although intensive care admissions have remained low, the United Nations’ health agency said on Tuesday hospitalisation rates had doubled. “With rising cases, we’re also seeing a rise in hospitalisations, which are only set to increase further in the autumn and winter months,” Hans Kluge, WHO’s Europe director, said in a statement. “This forecast presents a huge challenge to the health workforce in country after country, already under enormous pressure dealing with unrelenting crises since 2020,” he added.
20th Jul 2022 - Al Jazeera English

Covid-19 Complication Among Children Fades in Latest Wave of Virus

A serious inflammatory complication that strikes some children in the weeks following a Covid-19 infection has almost disappeared. A buildup of immunity and changes to the virus both likely play a part, pediatric infectious-disease doctors and researchers said. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is afflicting far fewer children as a proportion of known Covid-19 cases than during earlier waves of the pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition, also known as MIS-C, is similar to Kawasaki disease, another rare pediatric inflammatory condition. Early in the pandemic, doctors believed they were seeing Kawasaki disease but soon recognized MIS-C as a distinct condition associated with an earlier Covid-19 infection.
20th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Nurse Burnout Reaches New High as Latest Omicron Variant Surges

Many people may be moving on from Covid, but nurses certainly aren’t — and as the latest variant sweeps the US, the mental stresses on the profession have reached new highs. A survey of 2,500 nurses released Wednesday finds that 64% are looking to leave the health-care profession, a nearly 40% increase from a similar survey a year ago. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they’ve experienced burnout since the pandemic began and half said they had experienced feelings of trauma, extreme stress or PTSD. “Our nurses are the backbone of our health system,” said Dr. Dani Bowie the vice president of clinical strategy and transformation at Trusted Health, a healthcare advocacy group that released the survey. “So, if they're not operating out of their best state, it's very detrimental to the wellbeing of our community and our patients.”
20th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

First case of antibody-avoiding Covid subvariant detected

The first case of Covid-19 attributed to a new antibody-avoiding subvariant, BA.2.75, has been detected in Thailand, but experts do not foresee it causing serious outbreaks, according to the Centre for Medical Genomics. The centre, part of the faculty of medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital, said on Wednesday the subvariant was detected in the southern province of Trang in a sample collected for examination on June 28.
20th Jul 2022 - Bangkok Post

‘None of us has a crystal ball’: Scientists try to keep up with faster coronavirus evolution.

The rapid evolution of the coronavirus into an alphabet soup of subvariants presents a vexing challenge to health officials: They must make far-reaching policy decisions based on little biological certainty of which viral variants will be dominant this fall or winter. The Food and Drug Administration said at the end of June that it would update coronavirus vaccines for a booster campaign in the fall targeting highly contagious Omicron subvariants. But the ground is shifting beneath its feet. In just eight weeks, the subvariant known as BA.5 has gone from a blip in U.S. case counts to the dominant version of the virus in the country, now making up more than three-quarters of new cases. Perhaps the most transmissible subvariant yet, it is pushing up positive tests, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions across the country. There is no evidence that BA.5 causes more severe disease, but the latest metrics certainly bust the myth that the virus will become milder as it evolves.
20th Jul 2022 - The New York Times

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Europe Can't Shake Off Covid as Variant Fuels Summer Spike

It was supposed to be a post-Covid-19 summer in Europe. Masks are gone in most places, and vacation season is in full swing as workers rush for the beaches and cities they missed in the two years marked by the pandemic. But instead, the reality confronting people is that the virus never went away. A super-transmissible subvariant of the omicron strain, known as BA.5, is fueling a fresh increase in infections, with cases climbing across the UK and the continent
16th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Macau to extend city lockdown, casino closure until Friday

Macau's government will extend a lockdown of casinos and other businesses until Friday, as authorities grapple to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the world's biggest gambling hub, according a statement on its website. The lockdown in the Chinese special administrative region had been due to end on Monday. Macau imposed the shutdown last Monday, shuttering the city's economic engine - its casinos - and forbidding residents from leaving their apartments, except for essential activities such as grocery shopping.
16th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Covid Fuels Worst Decline in Childhood Vaccinations in 30 Years

Global childhood vaccination rates experienced the largest decline in about three decades amid Covid disruptions, putting growing number of children at risk from devastating but preventable diseases. The percentage of children who received three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) was set back to its lowest level since 2008, falling to 81% in 2021, according to official data published by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund on Friday. The decline means 25 million children missed out on at least one dose of DTP through routine services in 2021 alone, two million more than in 2020 and six million more than in 2019.
16th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Column: The new economic normal - living with COVID

Central banks are jacking up interest rates to tackle the highest inflation in decades, economic growth is slowing, recession looms, and financial markets are in a deep funk. That's the bleak backdrop against which consumers, workers, and businesses are coming round to the realization that, despite successful global vaccination programs and 'V-shaped' recoveries across economies and markets, COVID-19 has not gone away.
16th Jul 2022 - Reuters

UK to Offer Covid Boosters to Everyone 50 and Over This Autumn

The UK will offer Covid-19 boosters to a wider number of people in the fall as a new wave of infections increases pressure on the health system. Everyone 50 and over will be eligible for a booster shot this autumn under plans to increase protection ahead of winter, the government said on Friday.
15th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

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Spanish response to Covid poverty was too little, too late, report says

The Spanish government’s efforts to tackle the economic turmoil unleashed by the Covid pandemic were “too little, too late and too few”, according to a report that finds thousands of people are still reliant on emergency food aid and facing even greater hardship as prices soar. The Human Rights Watch study, which documents cases of parents skipping meals so their children can eat, says the pandemic has revealed and exacerbated weaknesses in Spain’s social security system. All too often, food banks, community groups and NGOs have had to step in and help people in need – particularly those in informal work who were not eligible for state help. According to the report, which comes as a seventh wave of Covid sweeps across Spain, pandemic poverty has disproportionately affected families with children, older people dependent on state pensions, migrants and asylum seekers, and people working in the hospitality, cleaning, care and construction sectors.
15th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

Doctor warns COVID becoming 'too clever' and 'breaking past immune defences'

Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation's special envoy on COVID, urged people to "respect the virus" and warned that precautions still matter, a day after the UK death toll passed 200,000.
15th Jul 2022 - Sky News

IMF says China needs more fiscal, monetary support to fight COVID slowdown

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that China needs to add more fiscal and monetary policy support to combat an economic slowdown brought on by continued COVID-19 lockdowns, but less-restrictive pandemic containment policies also were needed. "We welcome the shift to a more expansionary fiscal policy this year, but even more support would help counter the ongoing growth slowdown," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a news briefing when asked about the Fund's policy advice for China.
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters

AFL lifts COVID-19 vaccine mandate for players and club staff

In Australia, the AFL has removed its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, paving the way for exiled players to return to the top level. Players, coaches and club staff will no longer need two doses of an approved vaccine in order to train and play. The move brings the league into line with government requirements that legislate only specific industries need employees to be fully vaccinated.
14th Jul 2022 - ABC.Net.au

Covid-19: MPs call for greater efforts to reach the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated

MPs have called on NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to redouble efforts to reach the almost three million adults in England who remain unvaccinated against covid-19 as well as those who are only partially vaccinated. The Public Accounts Committee has challenged the government to reduce the overall number of unvaccinated people to 2.5 million and achieve an 80% uptake for first boosters within four months. The committee’s report on the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine programme acknowledged its early success but said low vaccination rates persist in many vulnerable groups including pregnant women and minority ethnic groups
14th Jul 2022 - The BMJ

Australia athletes barred from other Commonwealth Games venues over COVID risk

Australian athletes will be banned from supporting their team mates at other Commonwealth Games events at Birmingham due to the risk of COVID-19 transmission, team chef de mission Petria Thomas said. They will also have to wear face masks when not in their rooms or exercising at the July 28 - Aug. 8 Games as part of team health protocols.
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Japan warns of COVID surge, Tokyo raises alert level

Japan warned on Thursday that a new wave of COVID infections appeared to be spreading rapidly and urged people to take special care ahead of an approaching long weekend and school summer vacations. Tokyo's 16,878 new cases on Wednesday were the highest since February, while the nationwide tally rose above 90,000, in a recent surge of COVID-19 infections to levels unseen since early this year. The Japanese capital marked 16,662 new cases on Thursday.
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters.com

Analysis: China makes tweaks, but tough COVID policy still drags on economy,

China has been tweaking its stringent COVID curbs but shows no sign of backing off from its "dynamic zero" policy, and has lagged in vaccination efforts that would enable it to do so, casting a heavy shadow over the world's second-largest economy. The absence of a roadmap out of zero-COVID and expectations that it will persist well into 2023 leaves residents and businesses facing a prolonged period of uncertainty.
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters

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UK Covid Death Toll Passes 200,000 With Omicron Subvariants Sparking New Cases

Britain’s Covid death toll topped 200,000 and could rise further as a new wave of infections driven by highly-contagious omicron subvariants sweeps across Europe. Just over 3% of all deaths last week were linked to Covid-19, pushing the total number of deaths to 200,247 up to July 1, according to the Office for National Statistics. The UK has been hit hard by the pandemic, with one of the highest fatality rates globally and concern rising again as omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 drive a new wave of cases.
14th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

UK Government Seeks to Block Disclosures to the Covid Inquiry

The UK government is trying to block disclosures to the inquiry investigating its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Officials have asked the government’s top lawyer, Sir James Eadie QC, to assess how much information the administration has to provide to the inquiry about its policy discussions during the pandemic, the people said. Eadie, who is responsible for advising the government on issues of the highest national importance, has advised the Cabinet to limit the scope of information provided to the inquiry and warned ministers they are likely to face vast claims for damages from families of Covid victims.
14th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

U.S. FDA authorizes Novavax COVID vaccine for adults

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of Novavax Inc's COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, clearing the way for a shot whose more traditional technology has raised hopes of wider acceptance among vaccine skeptics. Shares of Novavax rose 1.3% to $70.89 after its two-dose vaccine became the fourth COVID shot to be authorized for use in adults in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still needs to sign off on the use of the vaccine before it can be made available to people.
14th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Fauci says that Americans should not allow BA.5 COVID-19 variant to 'disrupt our lives'

Dr Anthony Fauci says that the BA.5 variant should not disrupt the lives of Americans if they get vaccinated, boosted, and use a mask. He also recommends that Americans once again mask-up in indoor crowded places, but does not see mandates coming soon. The BA.5 variant now makes up 65% of active cases in the U.S., making it the dominant strain only weeks after first appearing on CDC surveillance reports. The new strain is likely responsible for recent upticks in Covid cases in deaths - with daily infections jumping 15% and deaths by 50% over the past week
13th Jul 2022 - Daily Mail

Netherlands detects 'Centaurus' Covid subvariant

The BA.2.75 subvariant, nicknamed 'Centaurus', first emerged in India in May. It has since spread to around 10 countries, including the US, UK and Germany. Now, it 'has also now been identified in the Netherlands,' the Dutch National Institute of Public Health said in a statement on Wednesday. The substrain appears to be outcompeting all other variants in India,. Experts say there is no evidence it causes more serious disease than Omicron
13th Jul 2022 - Daily Mail

NHS awarded George Cross for efforts shown during the COVID-19 pandemic

The NHS has been awarded the George Cross by Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of the dedicated service of healthcare workers that includes their ‘courage, compassion and dedication’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. The George Cross, which is given in recognition of ‘acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger’, has only been bestowed to a collective group of people twice before, most recently in 1999. May Parsons, the nurse who administered the first COVID-19 vaccination in the world, joined NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard to attend the presentation on 12 July – exactly one week after the NHS’s birthday. The pair were joined by Pritchard’s counterparts, Caroline Lamb from NHS Scotland and Judith Paget from NHS Wales, along with Peter May, permanent secretary at the Department of Health and chief executive of Health and Social Care Northern Ireland.
13th Jul 2022 - PMLiVE

Government braces to fund 'substantial' number of Covid-19 vaccine liabilities

The government is bracing to fund a “substantial” number of liabilities relating to negative impacts from Covid-19 jabs, having spent more than £34bn on the vaccine rollout so far. The Department of Health and Social Care told vaccine manufacturers at the start of the programme that it would cover future claims against producers for any adverse effects of their vaccines which “may add to the cost of the programme in the long term”, according to a Public Account Committee report today. As of the beginning of the month, 1,984 vaccine-related damages claims have been received by the NHS Business Services Authority, which describes itself as an arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care, managing over £35bn of NHS spend annually,
13th Jul 2022 - City A.M.

WHO says COVID-19 remains a global health emergency

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that COVID-19 remains a global emergency, nearly 2-1/2 years after it was first declared. The Emergency Committee, made up of independent experts, said in a statement that rising cases, ongoing viral evolution and pressure on health services in a number of countries meant that the situation was still an emergency. Cases reported to WHO had risen by 30% in the last fortnight, although increased population immunity, largely from vaccines, had seen a "decoupling" of cases from hospitalisations and deaths, the committee's statement said.
13th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Astra's Covid Vaccine Saved Over Six Million Lives in First Year

Covid vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc and Pfizer Inc. had the biggest impact in preventing deaths in the first year of the global rollout, saving an estimated 12 million lives. That’s the upshot of a new analysis from Airfinity Ltd., a London-based data firm. The AstraZeneca vaccine developed with the University of Oxford saved 6.3 million lives, Airfinity said Wednesday. The estimate for the Pfizer-BioNTech SE shot was 5.9 million. The companies swiftly scaled up production and delivered doses before other manufacturers, according to the report. The findings build on a study last month estimating that vaccines saved about 20 million lives in the first year of the campaign, more than half of them in wealthier countries.
13th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

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Hopes of Covid-19 Reprieve Fade as BA.5 Subvariant Takes Over

Covid-19 is circulating widely as the BA.5 Omicron subvariant elevates the risk of reinfections and rising case counts, spoiling chances for a summer reprieve from the pandemic across much of the U.S. Covid-19 levels are high in a fifth of U.S. counties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s metric based on case and hospital data, a share that has been mostly rising since mid-April. BA.5 is estimated to represent nearly two in three recent U.S. cases that are averaging just more than 100,000 a day, CDC data show. The true number of infections may be roughly six times as high, some virus experts said, in part because so many people are using at-home tests that state health departments largely don’t track.
13th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

UK Covid cases hit record 351,000 as government accused of ignoring rising infections

Covid cases have hit a new record in the UK with daily symptomatic infections soaring to 351,546, according to the ZOE Covid study app. UK infections are expected to rise even higher, to nearly 400,000 a day, next week before starting to drop down. Cases are starting to plateau in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but are still rising in England.
13th Jul 2022 - iNews

Italy to start administering second COVID booster to over-60s

Italy will soon start its campaign to administer a second COVID-19 booster to everyone aged over 60, the health minister said on Monday, after receiving a green light from European Union health agencies. The European recommendation came on Monday amid a new rise in infections and hospitalisations across Europe and was expected to facilitate national decisions to speed up vaccination campaigns, which have been slowing in recent months. Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the government had already given the go-ahead to Italy's 20 regional administrations to start the second booster campaign, after the approval of national medicine agency AIFA.
12th Jul 2022 - Yahoo Style UK

As New Zealand reopens, exodus worsens labour crunch

New Zealand's easing of its strict border curbs has triggered a rush of new departures among locals seeking fresh opportunities abroad, adding further pressure to the country's already tight employment market. A net 10,674 people left the country over the 12 months to May, according to government data released on Tuesday, extending a drain that ran over the past year and is expected to last until new immigrants arrive in greater numbers in 2023.
12th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Covid-19: Ethnic minority staff felt “vulnerable” during pandemic, says senior leader

Healthcare workers from ethnic minority groups have felt “vulnerable” and uncared for during the covid pandemic, with some reporting that managers hid personal protective equipment from them and refused to carry out the required risk assessments, a senior nurse has said. Speaking at the NHS Race and Health Observatory conference at BMA House on 7 July, Felicia Kwaku, chair of the Chief Nursing Officers Black and Minority Ethnic Strategic Advisory Group, shared some findings from her discussions with thousands of ethnic minority staff since April 2020. “This is the stark reality of what some staff went through. Some died in their rooms on their own because of social distancing. Some couldn’t get to the phone because they were so hypoxic, so they died alone,” she said. “If you were a nurse or midwife who was new to the country, you didn’t have a lot of the networks, so it was very isolating.”
12th Jul 2022 - The BMJ

Chris Whitty to be honoured for steering nation through Covid pandemic

Leading medical figure Professor Sir Chris Whitty, consumer expert Martin Lewis and Olympic diver Tom Daley are among those who will be recognised with honours during an investiture ceremony. England’s chief medical officer Sir Chris, who appeared on the daily briefing broadcasts to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic, will be appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath for services to public health. He previously received the Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2015 for services to tropical medicine in the UK and Africa, after he helped draw up the Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, but will receive the higher accolade from the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle on Tuesday after guiding the nation through the Covid-19 pandemic.
12th Jul 2022 - The Independent

Global life expectancy falls after Covid pandemic

Global life expectancy has fallen since the Covid pandemic hit, according to the United Nations. The world average was nearly two years lower in 2021 compared to 2019, its latest world population report found. In some countries, such as Bolivia and Russia, the decline was even more dramatic at more than four years. The first case of Covid was recorded in China in late 2019, before other countries started to detect infections from the start of 2020. Since then, more than 6.7 million people are estimated to have died from the virus, according to a tally by Reuters.
12th Jul 2022 - The Independent

Covid rules as thousands told not to take tests even if they have symptoms

As Covid-19 infections continue to rise across the UK, millions of people are thought to currently be infected with the virus. New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that almost 4% of the English population had tested positive for coronavirus at the end of June, with higher figures (4.93%, 5.36%, and 5.94%) in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, respectively. The number of hospital admissions is also increasing amid new BA.4 and BA.5 covid variants. And there are no longer any restrictions around the virus in the UK, and as we learn to live with covid.
12th Jul 2022 - Liverpool Echo

WHO Chief Warns of Rising Infections, Deaths From New Covid Wave

The World Health Organization urged governments and health care systems to take steps to curb Covid-19 transmission as a fresh wave of infections moves across Europe and the US. Sub-variants of the omicron strain are lifting case numbers and leading to further fatalities, Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. Tedros, as the head of the WHO is known, recommended the revival of protocols like mask-wearing to stop the spread. “New waves of the virus demonstrate that Covid-19 is nowhere near over,” Tedros said, adding that he is “concerned about a rising trend of deaths.
12th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

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Omicron Strains Drive New Covid Wave in Europe as Measures Fall Away

A Covid-19 infection wave driven by two hyper-infectious Omicron subvariants is moving rapidly across Europe, leading to an uptick in cases and hospitalizations in countries that have dropped the majority of preventive measures against the virus ahead of the summer months. European governments have discarded many Covid-19 mitigation strategies like mask mandates, mass testing and so-called Covid passports as their focus shifts to economic recovery and the war in Ukraine. A recent survey by McKinsey shows that fewer than 12% of the public in Germany, France, the U.K., Italy and Spain count the pandemic as a primary concern. Scientists don’t expect that the wave of infections will lead to the high death tolls seen before vaccine rollouts. But they are concerned that public and national health systems are ill-prepared for fall and winter waves that some predict could see double the current infection figures.
11th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Macau Shuts All Casinos as City's Worst Outbreak Widens

Macau will shut almost all business premises including casinos for a week from Monday as a Covid-19 outbreak in the gambling hub showed few signs of abating. Essential services such as water and gas utilities as well as businesses including supermarkets, pharmacies and hotels will remain open, according to a government announcement Saturday. The measures, which follow multiple rounds of mass testing, return the enclave to its toughest pandemic restrictions. Macau announced on Sunday that it recorded 93 new cases the day before, bringing the total number of infections in the latest outbreak starting June 18 to 1,467.
11th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

New Coronavirus Mutant Raises Concerns in India And Beyond

The quickly changing coronavirus has spawned yet another super contagious omicron mutant that’s worrying scientists as it gains ground in India and pops up in numerous other countries, including the United States. Scientists say the variant – called BA.2.75 – may be able to spread rapidly and get around immunity from vaccines and previous infection. It’s unclear whether it could cause more serious disease than other omicron variants, including the globally prominent BA.5. “It’s still really early on for us to draw too many conclusions,” said Matthew Binnicker, director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “But it does look like, especially in India, the rates of transmission are showing kind of that exponential increase." Whether it will outcompete BA.5, he said, is yet to be determined.
11th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

New data on Moderna's omicron-containing bivalent booster candidate

US mRNA specialist Moderna announced new clinical data on its bivalent Omicron (BA.1) booster candidate, mRNA-1273.214, lifting the firm’s shares 1.5% to $179.07 by mid-morning. One month after administration in previously vaccinated and boosted participants, a 50μg booster dose of mRNA-1273.214 elicited significantly higher neutralizing antibody responses against the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5
11th Jul 2022 - The Pharma Letter

Moderna announces its Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster is more effective against the now-dominant BA.5 variant than previous versions of the shot: Daily deaths from the virus ...

Moderna announced that its second formulation of a COVID-19 booster targeted at the Omicron variant is more effective against the BA.5 variant. The new strain is now dominant in the U.S. and its ability to evade protection from previous infection has health officials fearing it could cause another outbreak. Some experts have opposed the launching of new Omicron-specific booster - expected this fall - until more data on the shots is available. Covid deaths in America have creeped upwards to 430 per day over the past week - jumping 13% in seven days
11th Jul 2022 - Daily Mail

The Human Cost of Shanghai’s Covid-19 Lockdown: Helplessness, Isolation, Despair

The Wall Street Journal team spoke to various residents across Shanghai about what the Covid lockdown meant to them. Residents who lived through the city’s battle against the virus share deeply personal accounts.
11th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Workforce: the persistent victim of the covid-19 pandemic

In the past week, 11 000 people were admitted to hospitals in England with covid and the picture in the devolved nations is likely to be similar. High rates of hospital admissions, even if the patients aren’t very unwell, are disruptive for the running of hospitals. Most in the UK continue to use open bays, and this makes wards inefficient and vulnerable to outbreaks. The UK has fewer hospital beds than almost any other European comparator and we can ill afford any loss of hospital capacity. While covid has undoubtedly worsened performance, crowding in emergency departments was a problem before the pandemic. Hospitals are now full, and our “inadvertent natural experiment” has shown that occupancy rates over 92% are invariably associated with full emergency departments and delayed ambulance handovers.
11th Jul 2022 - The BMJ

Practice supervisors' and assessors' experiences in the Covid-19 pandemic

The pandemic placed additional pressures on nursing practice assessors and supervisors. This article explores their experiences of supporting students during this period
11th Jul 2022 - Nursing Times

U.S. orders 3.2 million doses of Novavax COVID vaccine

The U.S. government will get 3.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax Inc once the shot has been authorized by the regulators, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the company said on Monday. The shot will be made available for free in the country after it gets authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendation.
11th Jul 2022 - Reuters

EU backs second COVID booster for over-60s, before variant-adapted vaccines are ready

European Union health agencies on Monday recommended a second COVID-19 booster for everyone over 60, as well as medically vulnerable people, amid a new rise in infections and hospitalisations across Europe. While existing coronavirus vaccines continue to provide good protection against hospitalisation and death, vaccine effectiveness has taken a hit as the virus has evolved. EU health agencies have since April recommended a second booster only for those older than 80 and the most vulnerable
11th Jul 2022 - Reuters

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Wow, what a view! China’s ‘digital nomads’ seek paradise while on the clock

Known as ‘digital nomads’, many were born out of China’s strict pandemic measures – but families and friends are still trying to process this new way of life. China’s remote-working trend is in its early stages, but even local governments and businesses are taking stock and looking to capitalise on development opportunities.
11th Jul 2022 - South China Morning Post

Macau closing all casinos to fight Covid

Macau will shut almost all business premises including casinos for a week from Monday as a Covid-19 outbreak in the gambling hub showed few signs of abating. Essential business operations including supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open, the Macao Daily reported, quoting city officials at a briefing on Saturday. The measure, which follows multiple rounds of mass testing, returns the enclave to its toughest pandemic restrictions. Macau on Saturday announced 71 new cases, bringing the total in the latest outbreak since June 18 to 1,374.
11th Jul 2022 - Bangkok Post

Shanghai identifies new COVID Omicron subvariant

The city of Shanghai has discovered a COVID-19 case involving a new subvariant Omicron BA.5.2.1, an official told a briefing on Sunday, signalling the complications China faces to keep up with new mutations as it pursues its "zero-COVID" policy. The case, found in the financial district of Pudong on July 8, was linked with a case from overseas, said Zhao Dandan, vice-director of the city's health commission.
10th Jul 2022 - Reuters

China's Shanghai asks public to share 'heart-warming' COVID lockdown stories

The government of Shanghai has called on citizens to share "heart-warming" photographs, videos and stories about a punishing two-month lockdown imposed in April by the authorities to curb China's biggest COVID-19 outbreak. The government of China's most populous city has launched the propaganda campaign to "tell epidemic stories, spread volunteer culture and inherit the traditional values of solidarity, friendship and mutual help," local newspaper Wen Hui Bao said on Saturday.
10th Jul 2022 - Reuters

‘Stealthy’ new Covid variant can reinfect you every month

Health experts across the globe are signalling alarm as they begin reporting that Omicron BA.5, the coronavirus strain that is currently outpacing other variants in infection and has become the dominant strain in the US and abroad, has the ability to reinfect people within weeks of contracting the virus. Andrew Roberston, the chief health officer in Western Australia, told News.com.au that though previously the wisdom held that most people would retain a certain level of protection against reinfection if they were vaccinated or had retained some level of natural immunity due to a recent contraction of the virus, this hasn’t been the case with the most recent strain. “What we are seeing is an increasing number of people who have been infected with BA.2 and then becoming infected after four weeks,” the doctor explained during an interview with the Australian news outlet. “So maybe six to eight weeks they are developing a second infection, and that’s almost certainly BA.4 or BA.5.” The ability for strains BA.4 and BA.5 to reinfect individuals who would in previous waves of Covid-19 had stronger immunity has led some experts to start calling this latest strain the most transmissible yet.
10th Jul 2022 - The Independent

African Union launches coronavirus vaccine passport

An African Union vaccine e-passport has been introduced and will enable easier travel within and outside Africa. The passport will be in digital format. A QR code will be scanned to show proof that one has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and has a valid vaccine certificate. The passport was launched on Friday at the Africa Integration Day, Boma of Africa virtual event. African heads of state and global health leaders present at the event said the virtual document and the e-health backbone are part of Africa’s new health order. Acting head of Africa CDC, Ahmed Ogwell, says the vaccine passport will soon expand its bracket to include other vaccines such as the Yellow Fever vaccine.
8th Jul 2022 - TODAY

Slow pace for youngest kids getting COVID vaccine doses

Nearly 300,000 children under 5 have received COVID-19 shots in the two weeks since they became available, a slower pace than for older groups. But the White House says that was expected for the eligible U.S. population of about 18 million kids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was to publish initial data on shots for the age group later Thursday, reflecting doses administered since regulators authorized them on June 18. The first vaccinations didn't begin until several days later because the doses had to be shipped to doctors' offices and pharmacies. U.S. officials had long predicted that the pace of vaccinating the youngest kids would be slower than for older groups. They expect most shots to take place at pediatricians’ offices. Many parents may be more comfortable getting the vaccine for their kids at their regular doctors, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told The Associated Press last month. He predicted the pace of vaccination would be far slower than it was for older populations.
8th Jul 2022 - The Independent

Thinking of mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccine booster shots? There doesn't seem to be much point

As of Monday, an extra 7.4 million Australians will be eligible for a fourth COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. On Thursday, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommended everyone over 50 have a fourth dose. And while it didn't go as far as to recommend people aged 30-49 have a fourth dose, ATAGI said they can if they want to. It also reduced the length of time between booster shots from four to three months. Let's unpack what it means for you.
8th Jul 2022 - ABC News

WTO faces new battle over COVID tests, drugs

Less than a month after a hard-won deal was reached on a partial waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, a fresh battle may be looming at the World Trade Organization over extending the waiver to treatments and tests. The June deal includes an agreement to debate waiving certain IP rights for tests and drugs, which the pharmaceutical industry says could lead to a broader unraveling of protections for treatments for other diseases.
8th Jul 2022 - Reuters

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China Covid News: Shanghai Virus Outbreak Persists as Shandong Cases Jump

Shanghai reported more coronavirus cases, with concerns that persistent transmission fueling fears China’s financial hub may ramp up movement restrictions, while cases flared in the eastern province of Shandong. Shanghai announced 45 new local infections for Thursday, with all detected in quarantine. This week, the city rolled out mass testing of 10 districts and parts of two others -- out of the financial hub’s total of 16 -- in order to weed out transmission. Residents across all areas are already required to get tested every weekend until the end of this month following a bruising two-month lockdown.
8th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Covid-19 vaccines for young kids could have been OK'd sooner

Until mid-June, 1 in 13 persons living in the United States — that’s all children age 5 and younger — weren’t eligible to get Covid-19 vaccines. On June 17, the Food and Drug Administration finally authorized the use of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, based largely on advice from a panel of outside experts. It could have — and should have — made it possible for young children to be vaccinated much sooner.
7th Jul 2022 - STAT News

Study finds growing Covid vaccine acceptance across world

Covid-19 vaccine acceptance across the world increased by about 4 per cent between 2020 and 2021, according to a new study whose findings could help improve the coverage of future immunisation drives. The research, published in Nature Communications, studied Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy globally in June 2021 in over 23,000 individuals across 23 countries. Researchers, including those from City University of New York in the US, found that more than three-quarters of respondents reported vaccine acceptance, up from 71.5 per cent the previous year.
7th Jul 2022 - The Independent

Norwegian Cruise scraps COVID testing for select voyages

Passengers boarding Norwegian Cruise Line ships won't have to take COVID-19 tests from next month unless required by local law, the U.S. cruise operator said on Wednesday as the crucial summer sailing season gathers steam. Cruises setting sail from the United States, Canada or Greece's Piraeus will still require pre-cruise COVID testing, and all of the company's guests aged 12 and above have to be fully vaccinated.
7th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Yorkshire nurse says scrapping special Covid sick pay for NHS staff is 'incomprehensible'

The Government’s decision to cut enhanced Covid-related sick pay and special leave for NHS workers in England has been called “incomprehensible” by a Yorkshire nurse suffering with Long Covid.
7th Jul 2022 - The Yorkshire Post

COVID-19: New wave of Omicron mutations spreading across Europe, EU Medicines Agency warns

A new wave of Covid-19 is sweeping across Europe driven by Omicron mutations, an EU Medicines Agency official has warned. Head of vaccines at the agency, Marco Cavaleri, has said "the increase in transmission among older age groups is starting to translate into severe disease". The increase in the number of people testing positive is being driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 mutations of the Omicron variant. In April, the EMA advised people aged over 80 to get a second vaccine booster. Now, they recommend people aged between 60-79 and medically vulnerable of any age to get the booster.
7th Jul 2022 - Sky News

NHS staff criticise ‘incomprehensible’ scrapping of special Covid leave

Covid-related absences had been fully paid for all NHS workers, regardless of their length of service. However from July 7 staff terms and conditions in coronavirus workforce guidance will be withdrawn, meaning the immediate end to sick pay for new episodes of Covid-19 sickness, according to the Royal College of Nursing, and access to special leave for the purposes of self-isolation will also be withdrawn.
7th Jul 2022 - Peeblesshire News

Beijing Rolls Out China’s First Ever Covid Vaccine Mandate

The city will require live performances, entertainment venues such as movie theaters, museums and gyms, as well as training and tutoring locations, to restrict entry to people who are vaccinated, Li Ang, deputy director at the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday. The requirement will also apply to medical staff, people working in community service operations, home furnishing operators, express delivery providers and conference attendees. They’ll need to have received a booster shot to continue as normal, Li said. There will be exemptions for people who don’t qualify for vaccination.
6th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

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China Covid News: Shanghai Cases Rise, Fueling Lockdown Fears

Shanghai reported the most virus infections since late May, fueling concerns China’s financial hub may look to ramp up restrictions to curb transmission. The city announced 54 local Covid infections for Wednesday, including two that were found outside of quarantine, with the latter raising concerns that the virus could be quietly spreading through communities. Shanghai has already increased its mass testing, with with 10 districts and parts of two others -- out of the financial hub’s total of 16 -- conducting two PCR tests over a three-day period. Elsewhere, Beijing announced four cases. Authorities said Wednesday that they had detected the highly infectious BA.5.2 subvariant in the capital.
7th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

How to book covid booster vaccine as Scotland records highest infection rate

Scotland is experiencing a high rate of Covid-19 infections as experts warn we are seeing the highest amount since April. On top of this, summer brings with it holidays, social events and mass events, all of which is opportunity for the new sub-variants of Omicron, B.A.4 and B.A.5 to spread. Scotland reported that one in 18 people had the virus last week with 288,200 people infected. Some European countries such as Spain are also preparing for a spike in cases and it haven't relaxed all covid restrictions yet. To be considered fully vaccinated if travelling from the UK to Spain, you must have a booster vaccine if it's been over 270 days since your second dose.
6th Jul 2022 - Glasgow Live

Canada Plans To Throw Out 13.6 Million Doses Of Coronavirus Vaccine

Canada is going to throw out about 13.6 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine because it couldn’t find any takers for it either at home or abroad. Canada signed a contract with AstraZeneca in 2020 to get 20 million doses of its vaccine, and 2.3 million Canadians received at least one dose of it, mostly between March and June 2021.
6th Jul 2022 - HuffPost

Australia removes final Covid-19 travel restrictions

Two years, three months and 25 days since the World Health Organisation first declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, Australia is removing its final coronavirus-related travel restrictions. From Wednesday, visitors no longer need to show proof of vaccination when flying Down Under. The last of the Covid-19 restrictions for inbound visitors have been dropped following Australia's removal of other rules put in place during the pandemic, including PCR tests for holidaymakers and mandatory quarantine periods. “As more and more of us travel internationally and we get more confident in managing our risk of Covid, our airports are getting busier,” Clare O’Neil, Minister for Home Affairs, said.
6th Jul 2022 - The National

Covid-19 Vaccine Doses, Once in High Demand, Now Thrown Away

Governments, drugmakers and vaccination sites are discarding tens of millions of unused Covid-19 vaccine doses amid sagging demand, a sharp reversal from the early days of the mass-vaccination campaign, when doses were scarce. Vaccine manufacturer Moderna Inc. recently discarded about 30 million doses of its Covid-19 shot after failing to find takers, while pharmacies and clinics have had to throw out unused doses from multi-dose vials from Moderna and Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE that have a short shelf life once they are opened. Germany’s health officials have disposed of about 3.9 million Covid-19 vaccine doses that were sitting in a federal central warehouse and expired at the end of June.
6th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Beijing city mandates COVID vaccinations, relaxes curbs on domestic travellers

China's capital on Wednesday mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for most people to enter crowded venues such as libraries, cinemas and gyms, the first such move by Beijing which it coupled with a slight easing of domestic travel curbs. From July 11, people wanting to enter certain public would need to be vaccinated unless they have issues that render them unsuitable for shots, a city official told a news briefing. Restaurants and public transportation are exempt from the rule.
6th Jul 2022 - Reuters

CDC: Mask-wearing recommended in growing number of counties

People in 24 Oregon counties — including the county around Portland — and 15 counties in Washington state should resume mask-wearing indoors in public and on public transportation, according to recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data from the CDC shows the counties are considered high risk for COVID-19 infection, KPTV reported. The Oregon counties include: Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Douglas, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Wasco, Sherman, Hood River, Clackamas, Washington, Multnomah, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Baker, and Malheur counties. In Washington, the counties at high risk include: Clallam, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Lewis, Thurston, Pierce, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Walla Walla, Columbia, Asotin, Lincoln, Ferry and Spokane. That’s an increase from six Washington counties at high risk as of June 23.
6th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

Cyprus brings back indoor mask wearing amid COVID-19 surge

Cyprus is bringing back compulsory mask-wearing in indoor areas for everyone age 12 and over amid a surge of COVID-19 infections. The government said Wednesday the infection spike is in line with a global trend that’s mainly owed to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the coronavirus. According to Health Ministry figures, 19,503 people tested positive from a total of 147,623 samples between June 25 to July 5 out of a population of approximately 916,000. The numbers don’t include the approximately 250,000 people in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the ethically divided island nation. The measures take effect on Friday. The government said mask wearing isn’t compulsory at home, for family members inside a vehicle, during meals, athletes, cooks during grilling and for people with ailments and deformities that make it difficult for them to wear a face mask.
6th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

U.S. FDA allows pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer's COVID-19 pill

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it had authorized state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 pill to eligible patients to help improve access to the treatment. The antiviral drug, Paxlovid, has been cleared for use and available for free in the United States since December, but fewer than half of the nearly 4 million courses distributed to pharmacies by the government so far have been administered.
6th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Europe Is at Center of New Wave of Covid Infections, WHO Says

Europe is at the center of a resurgence in Covid-19 infections as more people mix at large-scale events and travel, according to the World Health Organization. “We are seeing a much more intense wave of the disease passing through Europe again,” Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said at a media briefing Wednesday. “And we will see it happen elsewhere -- we are already seeing it in South East Asia and in the eastern Mediterranean region as well.”
6th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Beijing Rolls Out China's First Ever Covid Vaccine Mandate

Beijing residents wanting to enter a raft of public places will need to show proof of vaccination from Monday, the first time China has deployed a vaccine mandate, as the city rushes to quash a new outbreak caused by a more infectious subvariant. The city will require live performances, entertainment venues such as movie theaters, museums and gyms, as well as training and tutoring locations, to restrict entry to people who are vaccinated, Li Ang, deputy director at the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday.
6th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

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Shanghai Covid Testing Fuels Concern of Another China Lockdown

Shanghai is once again mass testing for Covid, fueling concerns that China’s financial hub will find itself back in lockdown in pursuit of Covid Zero. Nine districts, as well as some areas in another three districts, will conduct two rounds of Covid mass testing until Thursday in order to “identify and prevent outbreak risks as early as possible,” the city government said in a statement. There are 16 districts in Shanghai. The city reported 24 local Covid cases for Tuesday, all of them inside quarantine, authorities said Wednesday.
6th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Macau locks down landmark Lisboa hotel after COVID cases found

Macau has locked down one of the city's most famous hotels, the Grand Lisboa, after more than a dozen COVID-19 cases were found there on Tuesday, with infections spreading rapidly in the world's biggest gambling hub. At least 16 other buildings across the special Chinese administrative region are also locked down with no one allowed to exit or enter. The authorities have placed more than 13,000 people under quarantine orders as the city battles to contain its biggest outbreak since the pandemic began.
6th Jul 2022 - Reuters

COVID and bust: China's private health system hurt by tough coronavirus controls

On March 24, a court in the central Chinese city of Fuyang announced that a $1.5 billion hospital built just four years earlier had filed for bankruptcy because it was unable to pay its debts. For most of the last two years, the Fuyang Minsheng Hospital had been fully involved in mass coronavirus vaccination and testing programmes in the city, training almost 100 staff to perform throat swabs and setting up mobile vaccination facilities to go to schools and workplaces, at the order of city officials.
6th Jul 2022 - Reuters

Egyptian official assures hospitals at the ready for future coronavirus outbreaks

Hospitals are prepared at any time to receive coronavirus cases, Adviser to the President of the Republic for Health Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag Eddin assured Monday, during a telephone interview with presenter Ahmed Moussa, on Sada al-Balad channel. Tag Eddin advised citizens to adhere to wearing masks and using disinfectants at gatherings or in contact with people infected with the coronavirus. He stressed that most of the infections are mild and do not require hospitalization, explaining that 90 million doses of the vaccine have been provided in Egypt. The effectiveness of the vaccine ranges between four and six months, he added, explaining that people most vulnerable to infection with coronavirus must obtain the third dose – available free of charge to everyone.
5th Jul 2022 - Egypt Independent

JCVI chief calls for mandatory masks in hospitals amid Covid surge

It would be “sensible” for hospitals to reintroduce mandatory mask-wearing, the chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said, as several trusts in England and Wales announced the move. When NHS rules on wearing masks in England were dropped on 10 June, local health bodies were given the power to draft their own policies. Their guidance, however, is no longer legally enforceable. Figures from NHS England show there were about 10,658 patients hospitalised with coronavirus on Monday. Infections have doubled in a fortnight across England – with about 1,000 patients being admitted with the virus each day.
5th Jul 2022 - The Guardian

One million set to perform Hajj as COVID-19 restrictions ease

After a two-year absence, international pilgrims will perform the yearly Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia for the first time starting Wednesday, after previously being restricted amid the kingdom’s battle to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Some one million people are expected to be in attendance in the holy city of Mecca in Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) for the start of the five-day ritual – a large jump from last year when only 60,000 pilgrims were permitted. In 2020, during the height of the pandemic’s early waves and before vaccines were available, about 10,000 were selected.
5th Jul 2022 - Al Jazeera English

US seeks 250000 mentors, tutors to address pandemic learning loss By Reuters

The Biden administration on Tuesday will launch a new effort to recruit 250,000 mentors and tutors to help students who have fallen back in their learning during the coronavirus pandemic, the White House said. The program, which will be led by AmeriCorps and the Department of Education along with other service organizations, will seek to get adults to fill the roles over the next three years. Students on average are two to four months behind in reading and math as a result of the pandemic, a White House official said. The program is intended to help address that deficit. "Research shows that high quality tutors and mentors positively impact student achievement, well-being, and overall success," the White House said in a statement.
5th Jul 2022 - Investing

Many won’t rely on virtual options after COVID: AP-NORC poll

Many Americans don’t expect to rely on the digital services that became commonplace during the pandemic after COVID-19 subsides, according to a new poll, even as many think it’s a good thing if those options remain available in the future. Close to half or more of U.S. adults say they are not likely to attend virtual activities, receive virtual health care, have groceries delivered or use curbside pickup after the coronavirus pandemic is over, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Less than 3 in 10 say they’re very likely to use any of those options at least some of the time. Still, close to half also say it would be a good thing if virtual options for health care, for community events and for activities like fitness classes or religious services continue after the pandemic.
5th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

Lockdown Pain Fails to Break Elderly Vaccine Resistance in China

There’s been one consistent silver lining to Covid-19 outbreaks: they trigger a surge in vaccinations that provide protection against severe infections in the future. China’s elderly are an exception. Take Shanghai. After the financial hub emerged from a bruising two-month lockdown and vaccination clinics reopened, the number of fully immunized people aged 60 or above increased just one percentage point to 63% in mid-June, despite hundreds of deaths.
5th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 5th Jul 2022

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Can new Omicron subvariants evade vaccine immunity?

Many parts of Western Europe and the United States are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases thought to be driven by new subvariants of Omicron. These rises come alongside the easing of safety measures that were previously put in place to curb the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, testing being scaled back, and COVID booster vaccine take-up at lower-than-expected levels. The latest data shows cases are on the rise in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Greece and Denmark. Portugal, a popular holiday destination for many people each summer, is experiencing the biggest surge. Hospital admissions have risen in several countries including France and England, according to data analysed by the Financial Times.
4th Jul 2022 - Al Jazeera English

China Imposes Fresh Restrictions as Covid-19 Cases Rise

China is imposing fresh restrictions in some eastern cities as Covid-19 cases have spiked to near their highest levels in more than a month. The country recorded 380 locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Sunday, China’s National Health Commission reported on Monday. Two thirds of Monday’s cases came from the eastern province of Anhui, the commission said. The bulk of those cases stem from a growing cluster in Si County, a busy transit hub of 760,000 residents located in Anhui, according to state-run media, citing local government officials. Coronavirus case counts in China have jumped almost 10-fold in less than a week. On June 29, China had recorded 39 such cases. By Saturday, nationwide locally transmitted cases had jumped to 385, the biggest tally since May 25.
4th Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

China's New Covid Flareup Threatens Crucial Yangtze Delta Region

China is racing to quash a new virus flareup that risks spilling over into one of its most economically significant regions, raising the specter of disruptions that could roil global supply chains for solar panels, medicines and semiconductor chips. Infections have surged in Si county in the eastern province of Anhui, with officials reporting 287 cases for Sunday and nearly 1,000 since late last week. Authorities locked down Si and a neighboring county late last week to try and stop the virus from spreading to nearby Jiangsu, the second biggest contributor to China’s economic output and a globally important manufacturing hub for the solar sector.
4th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Australia entry rules explained: The latest Covid travel advice as vaccine requirement is dropped for tourists

Strict vaccination rules will be lifted on Wednesday, taking the hassle out of Australian holidays and family reunions. However, flag carrier Qantas is set to keep its vaccine mandate
4th Jul 2022 - iNews

Thailand ends almost all travel restrictions — but one key rule remains

Travellers wondering what it’s like to visit Thailand now may be interested to know the country is “allowing almost everything” again. That’s according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the governmental entity responsible for promoting tourism to the country. Masks are no longer required, and the country’s color-coded system — which placed limits that varied by province on dining activities, gatherings and travel — is also a thing of the past, according to TAT. It’s also far easier to get into Thailand now too.
4th Jul 2022 - CNBC

Hard-hit Kyoto is conflicted as Japan prepares to reopen to foreign tourists after COVID lockdown

Kyoto locals say they want some foreign tourists, but not too many. Japan is restricting the number of foreign tourists allowed in to a small number. The yen is at its weakest in two decades, acting as a boon for tourists
4th Jul 2022 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

For now, wary US treads water with transformed COVID-19

The fast-changing coronavirus has kicked off summer in the U.S. with lots of infections but relatively few deaths compared to its prior incarnations. COVID-19 is still killing hundreds of Americans each day, but is not nearly as dangerous as it was last fall and winter. “It’s going to be a good summer and we deserve this break,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. With more Americans shielded from severe illness through vaccination and infection, COVID-19 has transformed — for now at least — into an unpleasant, inconvenient nuisance for many.
4th Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

With hospitalizations up, France weighs return to masks

Tourism is booming again in France — and so is COVID-19. French officials have “invited” or “recommended” people to go back to using face masks but stopped short of renewing restrictions that would scare visitors away or revive anti-government protests. From Paris commuters to tourists on the French Riviera, many people seem to welcome the government’s light touch, while some worry that required prevention measures may be needed. Virus-related hospitalizations rose quickly in France over the past two weeks, with nearly 1,000 patients with COVID-19 hospitalized per day, according to government data. Infections are also rising across Europe and the United States, but France has an exceptionally high proportion of people in the hospital, according to Our World in Data estimates.
2nd Jul 2022 - The Associated Press

UK Covid Cases Surge 32% as Subvariants Trigger Fresh Concerns

Britain’s Covid-19 infections are rising sharply with omicron subvariants sparking new outbreaks across the country and raising concerns that the latest wave could upend health systems and businesses. The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated at 2.3 million in the week through June 24, up 32% from the previous week, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics on Friday
1st Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

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China Covid Outbreaks Widen With More Cases Found in Anhui

China’s virus cases continued to climb over the weekend with hundreds of infections detected in Anhui province, where two counties were already in lockdown. Anhui, the center of the latest outbreak, reported 287 cases for Sunday. A lockdown was imposed in Lingbi county in northeastern Anhui from Friday afternoon, while the neighboring Si county conducted its sixth mass testing on Sunday. While China seems to have brought earlier outbreaks in mega cities Shanghai and Beijing under control, its Covid-Zero goal is facing a test again in its eastern provinces. Shanghai’s neighboring Jiangsu province reported 59 cases on Saturday, while the city of Wuxi found 35 infections on Sunday.
4th Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

Merck Covid-19 Pill Prescribed Frequently in Some Countries Despite Low Efficacy

Paul Griffin, an infectious diseases physician at the University of Queensland who advises both Pfizer and Merck on Covid-19 antivirals, said people in Australia may be unaccepting of even a modest risk associated with Paxlovid because the country had done well on Covid-19 in general. He added that risks can be worked through “if people understand what to look for and how to manage them.” Japan has approved both antiviral drugs for patients who are at high risk of developing severe disease. The Japanese government isn’t giving priority to Paxlovid over Lagevrio. Regulators in Japan also didn’t require people to use contraception due to reproductive risks associated with Lagevrio.
3rd Jul 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Brexit Has the UK Traveling the Wrong Way in Time

The trouble about getting Brexit done, but aborting the revolution in government, is that you risk just turning the clock back to a time today’s politicians only remember from their childhoods, if at all — the time before Britain joined the European Economic Community, under the leadership of Ted Heath in January 1973.
3rd Jul 2022 - Bloomberg

China's Wuxi tightens COVID curbs as new clusters emerge

Cities in eastern China tightened COVID-19 curbs on Sunday as coronavirus clusters emerge, posing a new threat to China's economic recovery under the government's strict zero-COVID policy. Wuxi, a manufacturing hub in the Yangtze Delta on the central coast, halted operations at many public venues located underground, including shops and supermarkets. Dine-in services in restaurants were suspended, and the government advised people to work from home.
3rd Jul 2022 - Reuters

German health minister in move to boost use of COVID treatment Paxlovid

Germany's health minister said on Sunday he will push for more prescriptions of Pfizer's oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid by family doctors to reduce severe cases of the disease. "A system involving family doctors will be prepared to administer this far too rarely-used COVID life saver more routinely," he wrote on Twitter on Sunday, adding that sufficient stockpiles were available.
3rd Jul 2022 - Reuters

Government set to cut enhanced sick pay for NHS staff off work with Covid

The government is to cut special sick pay for NHS staff off work with Covid from next week – even as cases soar – The Independent has learnt. The Department of Health and Social Care is set to announce an end to the enhanced pay arrangements provided during the pandemic, meaning that staff who go off sick with either Covid or long Covid will be subject to normal sick-pay rules. Nursing leaders have hit back, arguing that the move is “neglectful and unfair” for NHS staff, who are disproportionately likely to be affected by Covid.
2nd Jul 2022 - The Independent

Muslim pilgrims flock to Mecca for first post-pandemic haj

Thousands of pilgrims started arriving in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Friday, among some one million Muslims expected to attend the 2022 haj pilgrimage season after two years of major disruption caused by the COVID pandemic. Wrapped in white robes, with some carrying umbrellas against the burning desert sun, hundreds performed the first ritual of the haj, which involves walking in a circle around the Kaaba, the sacred building at the centre of Mecca's Grand Mosque
1st Jul 2022 - Reuters

Russia scraps remaining COVID restrictions

Russia said on Friday it was ending all restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19, including the requirement to wear masks, citing a steady decline in deaths from the virus. However, it did not rule out re-introducing restrictive measures if the situation deteriorates. Consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said it was "suspending previously introduced restrictions, including the mask regime, a ban on public catering at night, and a number of other measures".
1st Jul 2022 - Reuters

UK Covid levels rise 30% in a week to estimated 2.3m cases

Covid infection levels in the UK have risen by more than 30% in a week, with an estimated 2.3 million people thought to have had the disease in late June. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) based on swabs collected from randomly selected households show that in the week ending 25 June, 1,829,100 people in the community in England are estimated to have had Covid, equating to about one in 30 and up from 1,360,600 the week before. Increases were also seen in the rest of the UK, with an estimated one in 18 people in Scotland, one in 30 in Wales and one in 25 in Northern Ireland thought to have had Covid in the most recent week. While still shy of the peak infection levels seen earlier this year, when about one in 13 people in England had Covid, the estimated number of infections in the UK is the highest since late April and the highest yet seen for a summer month.
1st Jul 2022 - The Guardian

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Pfizer asks for formal U.S. approval of oral COVID treatment Paxlovid

Pfizer Inc said on Thursday it is seeking full U.S. approval for its oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, which is currently available under an emergency use authorization (EUA). Pfizer said it submitted a New Drug Application for Paxlovid to the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of COVID-19 in vaccinated and unvaccinated people at high risk of progression to severe illness.
1st Jul 2022 - Reuters

Analysis: Easing COVID-19 rules, growth focus aid China bulls' cautious return

The latest easing of coronavirus travel rules combined with other encouraging policy signals have began luring some foreign investors back to Chinese stocks, raising the chances that the market can sustain its bounce after months of heavy selling. As the S&P 500 is about to close its worst first half of any year since 1970 and bonds have taken a thrashing, China's beaten-down equity markets start looking like a shelter from a global storm of runaway inflation, interest rate hikes, and recession fears.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Bhutan to welcome tourists 'who can spend' for first time since COVID

Bhutan will reopen for international tourists from September for the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago, officials said on Thursday, as the tiny Himalayan kingdom looks to revive its economy. Wedged between China and India, the country with scenic natural beauty and ancient Buddhist culture, took drastic early steps and banned tourism, a major source of income, in March 2020 when the first COVID-19 case was detected there.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters

China summer railway travel expected to rebound as COVID curbs ease

As China loosens its months-long COVID-19 curbs, railway travel is expected to see an uptick in passengers just in time for the summer transport season, which starts on July 1. By Aug. 31, the number of passenger trips on China's railway network is expected to reach 520 million, and 10 million on peak days. The national railway is also opening new stations such as the Xiangwan section of the Zhengzhou-Chongqing high-speed railway, the Puzheng section of the Jizheng high-speed railway, the Heruo Railway, and the Beijing Fengtai Station.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai Disneyland theme park re-opens after three-month closure

More than a thousand visitors streamed in on Thursday as Walt Disney Co's Shanghai Disney Resort theme park opened after a closure of three months, with face masks and social distancing the order of the day. The park shut on March 21 as cases rose in the Chinese business hub, leading to a two-month-long citywide lockdown that eased on June 1. Just over a week later, the resort began opening some areas, with the theme park the last to re-open.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters

China's factory, service sectors shake off 3 months of lockdown pain

China's factory and service sectors snapped three months of activity decline in June, business surveys showed on Thursday, as authorities lifted a strict COVID lockdown in Shanghai, reviving output and consumer spending. The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 50.2 in June from 49.6 in May, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said. That slightly missed the forecast for 50.5 in a Reuters poll but rose above the 50-point mark that separates contraction from growth for the first time since February.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters

COVID restrictions ease in Shanghai as case numbers drop

Shanghai is moving to allow in-person dining and reopening its Disney Resort theme park as domestically transmitted cases of COVID-19 in China’s largest city remain at zero following a more than two-month lockdown. Chinese officials hail their hardline “zero-COVID” policy for stemming the growth of cases and deaths from the virus, despite the enormous cost to the Chinese economy and international supply chains reliant on China’s manufacturing and shipping abilities that have been thrown askew. China has repeatedly defended the policy and indications are it will maintain “zero-COVID” at least through the spring of 2023, when President Xi Jinping is expected to be installed for a third five-year term as head of the world’s second-largest economy and a rising competitor to the United States in the Indo-Pacific region. In remarks carried by the official Xinhua News Agency, Xi on Wednesday said China’s policies against the virus have “protected people’s lives and health to the greatest extent.”
30th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press

US FDA wants COVID boosters targeting Omicron BA.4, BA.5 subvariants

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday recommended COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers change the design of their booster shots beginning this fall to include components tailored to combat the currently dominant Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the coronavirus. If authorized, the changes would mark the first major retooling of COVID vaccines, but also could slow their rollout as the FDA has recommended a design somewhat different from what the companies had already tested and started producing.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Covid Shots Worked Better for Obese Than Underweight in UK Study

People who are underweight or obese are most at risk of severe Covid, but a UK study found that two doses of vaccine still protect both groups well. The researchers, who focused on patients at the two extremes of the body mass index scale, found that the shots worked slightly better for those at the high end of the measure in a study published in medical journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology on Friday. The scientists used health records of more than 9 million patients from generalist practices in England taking part in the database QResearch. “Our findings provide further evidence that Covid-19 vaccines save lives for people of all sizes,” said Carmen Piernas, the study’s lead author and a lecturer at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.
30th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 30th Jun 2022

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Norway Was a Pandemic Success. Then It Spent Two Years Studying Its Failures.

If you could have flown anywhere in the world in 2019 to ride out a hypothetical pandemic, you probably wouldn’t have picked Norway. In fact, when a group of distinguished health experts gathered that year to rank hundreds of countries based on their pandemic readiness, they put Norway in 16th place. They were quickly proven wrong. It turned out that few places outperformed expectations more than Norway. Not long ago, the World Health Organization published mortality stats from the past two years, which showed that nearly every country’s excess death count spiked during the pandemic. Norway’s barely moved. The Norwegians had pulled off the closest thing possible to an optimal response to the most vexing problems that Covid-19 presented. So how did they do it? As it happens, the Norwegians also wanted to know.
30th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

China Quarantine Cut Just First Step in Ending Global Isolation

China cut in half the length of time inbound travelers must spend in quarantine, making it easier for citizens to return and foreign companies to tend to business in the world’s second-largest economy after two-and-a-half years of isolation. Experts on topics from economics to health to business welcomed the move, though they said the reduction to 10 days of quarantine, from as long as three weeks previously, was just a first step toward reintegrating with the world. Health leaders in China said it wasn’t a major policy change, but a subtle adjustment as the virus itself continues to mutate.
30th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Video: The Dance School Lifting Up Kenya's Lost Girls of Covid

On this episode of “The Pay Check,” Bloomberg Digital Originals explores how closed schools and economic hardship created a crisis for young women and girls in Kenya, and how an after-school program in Nairobi’s biggest informal settlement is creating a safe haven for some of them.
30th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Searches for overseas flights surge after China shortens quarantine

Online searches for air tickets on international routes with China surged after Beijing unexpectedly said it would slash COVID-19 quarantine norms, travel platforms said on Wednesday, a sign of pent-up demand after two years of tough curbs.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters on MSN.com

China's easing COVID curbs spark travel inquiry surge, and caution

Online searches for Chinese airline tickets on domestic and international routes surged on Wednesday, after Beijing said it would slash COVID-19 quarantine requirements and made changes to a state-mandated mobile app used for local travel. The unexpected moves mark a significant easing of rigid curbs that have severely curtailed travel and battered China's economy, although tough measures remain in place including a scarcity of international flights, and many social media users voiced caution.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Widespread relief for Shanghai's restaurant sector as dine-in resumes

Restaurants and eateries in China's largest city Shanghai begun reopening their doors to diners on Wednesday, bringing widespread relief to an industry that was badly hit by the city's two month COVID-19 lockdown. Large chains such as hot pot brand Haidilao, fine dining establishments and family owned eateries had started scrubbing tableware and getting uniforms laundered since Saturday when authorities announced the curbs were lifting, a month after the city's lockdown eased on June 1.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

COVID can't break South Africa's love affair with shopping malls

With two days to go until opening to the public, workers rush to put the finishing touches on the Kwena Square shopping complex, a shiny $13 million sign that South Africans are defying the global "retail apocalypse". Not even COVID-19 could separate them from their beloved malls. "I love going to the mall with my daughter and my grandkids," said 54-year-old Kowie Erasmus, who's eagerly awaiting Friday's grand opening of Johannesburg's Kwena Square, which broke ground at the height of the pandemic.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Japan May retail sales rise faster than expected as COVID curbs ease

Japanese retail sales rose for a third straight month in May, reinforcing views that strong consumption will lead an economic rebound this quarter, although rising inflation poses a risk to household spending for the rest of 2022. Retail sales rose 3.6% in May from a year earlier, government data showed on Wednesday, slightly higher than the median market forecast for a 3.3% gain. It followed an upwardly revised 3.1% increase in April and marked the third month of advancement since March, when the government lifted all coronavirus restrictions on face-to-face services.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

The Best and Worst Places to Be as World Enters Next Covid Phase

Since November 2020, Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking has tracked the best and worst places to be during the pandemic, using a range of datapoints to capture a monthly snapshot of how the world’s biggest economies were handling this once-in-a-generation health crisis. Twenty editions in, the virus has become something most countries are living with. After nearly two years of fluctuation—during which the top and bottom of the Ranking shifted as the pandemic shape-changed—places have largely settled into their permanent positions, drawing the project to a natural close. June, 2022 will be our last update. In a reflection of how far we’ve come since the coronavirus first emerged in central China, this month’s top ranked are those most effectively putting the pandemic in the rearview mirror, with the fewest scars. They’ve been able to reopen their borders and economies without a substantial spike in deaths.
29th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

China Cuts Covid Quarantine to 10 Days for Travelers and Close Contacts

China reduced quarantine times for inbound travelers by half, the biggest shift yet in a Covid-19 policy that has left the world’s second-largest economy isolated as it continues to try and eliminate the virus. Travelers will now only need to spend seven days in a quarantine facility, and then monitor their health at home for a further three days, according to a revised government protocol released Tuesday by China’s National Health Commission. That’s down from 14 days hotel quarantine in many parts of China currently, and as many as 21 days of isolation in the past. The change, which still leaves China an outlier in a world that has mostly adjusted to living with the virus, comes after Beijing and Shanghai said they had no new locally-transmitted Covid infections on Monday, for the first time since February, following months of bruising curbs.
28th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

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Pfizer, Moderna to be ready with BA.1-specific COVID boosters

Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc said on Tuesday they will be ready with COVID-19 vaccines designed to combat the BA.1 Omicron variant that was dominant last winter earlier than those designed to target currently dominant subvariants. Moderna said it would be ready with a "couple of hundred million" of bivalent vaccines designed to combat BA.1 by September, but it would be late October or early November if the vaccine maker needed to design a vaccine to combat the currently dominant BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters

What causes long COVID? Canadian researchers think they’ve found a key clue

Olympic gold medallist Alex Kopacz may be used to being out of breath when pushing a bobsled, but last year after he was hospitalized for COVID-19, he experienced a very different kind of breathlessness. He was put on oxygen for two months and experienced a number of other health setbacks in the months following his COVID-19 infection, including blood clots in his lungs and throughout his body. “It was hard to breathe and pretty much it was just going to be a matter of time to see if my body was going to heal from it,” Kopacz said. It took him almost four months before he was back on his feet and breathing normally again. But without even an official diagnosis of so-called long COVID, the then-31-year-old didn’t have answers about what was happening to him.
28th Jun 2022 - Global News

Wimbledon reviews Covid-19 protocols after Berrettini is forced out by virus

Wimbledon’s Covid-19 protocols are under review after Matteo Berrettini was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon on the morning of his first round match after testing positive for Covid-19. Berrettini, the No 8 seed, was one of the biggest contenders for the title having reached the Wimbledon final last year. After being out for nearly three months due to undergoing surgery on his finger, the Italian had returned at the beginning of the grass season and immediately won nine matches in a row, with titles in Stuttgart and Queen’s.
28th Jun 2022 - The Guardian

Shanghai's Disneyland theme park to re-open on Thursday

The Walt Disney Co's Shanghai Disney Resort said on Tuesday it would reopen the Disneyland theme park on June 30, a month after the Chinese economic hub lifted a two month-long COVID-19 lockdown. The theme park has been shut since March 21, when the resort closed its doors amid an uptick of cases in Shanghai. The city lifted its lockdown on June 1 and the resort begun opening some areas just over a week later.
28th Jun 2022 - Reuters.com

U.S. FDA advisers recommend inclusion of Omicron component for COVID boosters

Advisers to the U.S Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday overwhelmingly recommended the inclusion of an Omicron component for COVID-19 booster vaccines in the fall. The panel of advisers voted 19-2 in favor of the recommendation.
28th Jun 2022 - Reuters

U.S. FDA classifies recall of GE's ventilator batteries as most serious

U.S. health regulators on Tuesday classified the recall of some backup batteries of GE Healthcare's ventilators, which the company had initiated in mid-April, as the most serious type, saying that their use could lead to injuries or death. The CARESCAPE R860 ventilator's backup batteries, including replacement backup batteries, were recalled as they were running out earlier-than-expected, which could cause the device to shut down preventing the patient from receiving breathing support, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
28th Jun 2022 - Reuters.com

Omicron sub-variants BA.4, BA.5 make up more than 50% of U.S. COVID cases - CDC

The fast-spreading BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron are estimated to make up a combined 52% of the coronavirus cases in the United States as of June 25, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday. The two sublineages accounted for more than a third of U.S. cases for the week of June 18. They were added to the World Health Organization's monitoring list in March and designated as variants of concern by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
28th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Novartis to cut up to 8000 jobs globally

Novartis said on Tuesday a previously announced restructuring programme could lead to 8,000 jobs being cut, or about 7.4% of its global workforce, including up to 1,400 in Switzerland. The job cuts, previously projected by Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan to be in the "single digit thousands", are part of a restructuring programme the Swiss pharmaceutical group announced in April, targeting savings of at least $1 billion by 2024.
28th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Pharma largely failed to follow human rights principles with its Covid-19 vaccines and drugs

More than two years after the Covid-19 pandemic emerged, a new scorecard finds that 19 of 26 pharmaceutical companies that marketed vaccines or therapeutics to contain the virus rank poorly when it came to complying with human rights principles. The rankings were compiled by examining actions taken to provide access to products, including commitments and measurable targets; transparency in disclosing R&D and production costs, and profits; the extent to which international cooperation was pursued and patents were enforced; and a willingness to provide fair pricing, equitable distribution, and technology transfers, among other things.
27th Jun 2022 - STAT News

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th Jun 2022

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Covid-19: UK makes first payments to compensate injury or death from vaccines

The first compensation payments in the UK have been made to families who have been bereaved, or to people who have been injured, as a result of a covid-19 vaccine. Vikki Spit from Cumbria is believed to be the first person to receive compensation, after her 48 year old partner, Zion, became ill eight days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Zion, a former rock singer, died at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle in May 2021. A handful of other people have received payments in the past few days under the government’s vaccine damage payment scheme (VDPS), which pays out up to a maximum of £120 000 (€140 000; $150 000). Sarah Moore, a partner at the Hausfeld law firm, which is representing people seeking compensation, told The BMJ it was an important moment. “While the VDPS payments are very modest in amount, and will do very little to alleviate the financial difficulties with which many families are now struggling as a consequence of injury or bereavement, the fact of payment for some will mark a moment of vindication in that it is the clearest statement yet, by the government, that in some rare instances the covid-19 vaccines have caused very significant injury or death.”
27th Jun 2022 - The BMJ

Shanghai will gradually resume dining-in at restaurants from June 29

Shanghai will gradually resume dining-in at restaurants from June 29 in low-risk areas and areas without any community-level spread of COVID-19 during the previous week,a Shanghai government official said on Sunday. The Chinese econonic hub lifted a two month city-wide lockdown on June 1, but many establishments have remained unable to offer indoor dining since mid-March. Shanghai reported no new locally transmitted cases - either symptomatic or asymptomatic - for June 24 and June 25.
27th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Beijing to reopen schools, Shanghai declares victory over COVID

Beijing on Saturday said it would allow primary and secondary schools to resume in-person classes and Shanghai's top party boss declared victory over COVID-19 after the city reported zero new local cases for the first time in two months. The two major cities were among several places in China that implemented curbs to stop the spread of the Omicron wave during March to May, with Shanghai imposing a two month-long city-wide lockdown that lifted on June 1.
27th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Bereaved may take legal action against Government over coronavirus inquiry delay

Bereaved families have warned they may take legal action against the Government over delays to starting the coronavirus public inquiry. The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group is considering bringing a judicial review over the failure to provide a setting up date for the inquiry into the Government's handling of the pandemic. They say this leaves the inquiry in "limbo", more than six months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Baroness Hallett to chair the probe in December 2021.
27th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

No Government Money, No Problem for Moderna and Pfizer

A Food and Drug Administration committee will meet Tuesday to discuss how to move forward with the next generation of vaccines ahead of a booster campaign this fall. Paying for them is another matter. Congress has so far failed to approve additional funding for the shots—bad news for the U.S. population at large, but not bad at all for vaccine makers. They will just charge higher prices in the private market. The White House already is preparing to ration its vaccine supply to the most vulnerable Americans, according to White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. For Moderna, MRNA the first manufacturer to release data for an updated vaccine based on the Omicron variant of Covid-19, this could herald a new phase of the pandemic. “Either the government will find the money or we will go to the private market,” said Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel in an interview. “There’s no way Moderna won’t be there for the U.S. booster campaign this fall.”
27th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID-19: People in France 'should wear masks again on public transport' as new coronavirus wave hits nation

People in France should wear masks again in crowded areas, particularly if they are on public transport, to help tackle a new COVID-19 wave, according to the country's health minister. The increase in coronavirus cases is being fuelled by new variants, with 17,601 fresh infections over the past 24 hours - the highest Monday figure since 18 April. It comes as the number of people in England's hospitals who have tested positive for COVID jumped by more than a third in a week.
27th Jun 2022 - Sky News

UK Covid cases break 250,000 a day for first time since mid-April after BA.4 and BA.5 surge

Covid-19 cases have passed the 250,000-a-day mark in the UK, rising by 130 per cent in only three weeks. New daily cases are now at the highest level they have been for all but a month of the pandemic so far. That is an increase of 148,350 cases, or 130 per cent, in just over three weeks – putting rates well above any peak seen before 2022, although still some way behind the record of 349,011, on March 31 this year. New infection levels have only ever been above 250,000 a day in the UK between mid-March and mid-April this year. Scientists say the rapid growth of the new Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 is the main driver of the increase. Daily symptomatic cases have more than doubled this month, rising from 114,030 on June 1 to 262,380 on Friday, according to the latest figures on the ZOE Covid Study app.
27th Jun 2022 - iNews

COVID an 'inconvenience' rather than 'life-threatening' for many now, says WHO

COVID is now an "inconvenience" for most people rather than "life-threatening", the World Health Organisation's special envoy on the virus has told Sky News. But concerns remain for those who are older and with health conditions, as well as the unvaccinated, warned Dr David Nabarro. He urged people to be "responsible" and continue to wear masks and social distance "to protect others" - as COVID cases continue to surge. Around 1.7 million people in the UK are estimated to have tested positive for the virus last week, up 23% from 1.4 million the previous week, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
27th Jun 2022 - Sky News

Covid-booster response hope for most vulnerable

More than a million vulnerable people could improve their protection against Covid by taking a short break from medication after a booster jab, a trial suggests. It found stopping the common immune-suppressing drug methotrexate for two weeks doubled spike antibody levels for up to 12 weeks. Some people experienced disease flare-ups but no impact on quality of life. Research is needed to find out if a similar approach works for other drugs. Patients should always consult their doctor or specialist hospital team before pausing their medication, scientists writing in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine said.
27th Jun 2022 - BBC News

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th Jun 2022

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An NFT of a Covid-19 Vaccine Heads to Auction

A nonfungible token, or NFT, showcasing the molecular technology of the mRNA vaccine used to fight Covid-19, will be auctioned at Christie’s online next month to raise money for future medical research. The 3-D digital work is designed by the University of Pennsylvania and Drew Weissman, a doctor whose research helped create mRNA vaccines. The one-minute visual work also comes with a storyboard that explains how mRNA vaccines work to fight the Covid-19 virus; copies of original mRNA patent documents owned by the University of Pennsylvania; and an original letter from Weissman, director of Vaccine Research at The Perelman School of Medicine at the university. mRNA, short for messenger ribonucleic acid, is a single-stranded molecule of RNA that corresponds to the genetic sequence of a gene. Unlike traditional vaccines, which use a weakened or inactive germ to trigger an immune response, mRNA vaccines are designed to teach the body to create a protein that triggers the immune response.
26th Jun 2022 - Barron's

Thais 'willing' to wear masks in public

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed satisfaction over news that most Thais are voluntarily wearing masks for protection against Covid-19 despite the mask mandate being lifted on Thursday. Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, government spokesman, on Saturday said the PM expressed concern about the health of the public as coronavirus infection risks remained. The Department of Disease Control (DDC) recommends that people with underlying conditions, the elderly and pregnant women who have yet to get boosters keep wearing masks.
26th Jun 2022 - ฺBangkok Post

Bereaved May Take Legal Action Against UK Over Covid Inquiry Delay

Bereaved families have warned they may take legal action against the Government over delays to starting the coronavirus public inquiry. The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group is considering bringing a judicial review over the failure to provide a setting up date for the inquiry into the Government's handling of the pandemic. They say this leaves the inquiry in "limbo", more than six months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Baroness Hallett to chair the probe in December 2021. The PM has previously said the inquiry would start in spring 2022, but its terms of reference have not yet been published, nor a setting-up date specified. The group says the delay could cost lives, as it slows down how quickly lessons can be learned, and is worried key evidence could be tampered with or destroyed.
26th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong hospitals experience uptick in Covid-related admissions

Hong Kong hospitals have experienced a slight uptick in coronavirus-related admissions but the number of serious cases is stable, a health official has said, as the daily infection tally remained in the four-digit range for the 12th day. The city on Sunday recorded 1,917 coronavirus cases, comprising 1,799 local and 118 imported infections. The figure marked an increase from Saturday’s total of 1,794. No additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported. Hong Kong’s overall coronavirus tally currently stands at 1,237,623 cases and 9,398 fatalities.
26th Jun 2022 - South China Morning Post

Covid-19: Hospital patients with coronavirus in the East of England is highest for six weeks

Article reports that the number of patients with coronavirus being treated in hospitals in the East of England is at the highest level for nearly six weeks as confirmed cases in the community surge. There were 625 people with Covid-19 in hospital in the region on Thursday, 23 June, which is more than one-third more than the previous week. The number of patients had dropped to below 350 in early June as the Omicron wave subsided. The figures come as health experts warned nearly one in six people aged 75 and over have not received any dose of vaccine in the past six months, putting them more at risk of severe disease. The growing prevalence of the virus is likely to be driven by the spread of the latest Omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5, which are now thought to be the dominant strains in much of the UK. Dr Mary Ramsay of the UK Health Security Agency said: "We continue to see increases in Covid-19 outbreaks within care homes and hospitalisations among those aged 75 years and over.
25th Jun 2022 - ITV News

Examining the Partnership Between Pharmacy and Public Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Pharmacy and public health have a long history of collaboration during an emergency. One example involves efforts taken during the H1N1 influenza pandemic, when pharmacy was mobilized to help administer thousands of influenza vaccines across the country as an extension of public health services.1 More recently, the world faced a new pandemic: coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Pharmacies and pharmacists continue to play a vital role during this pandemic in providing education and clinical services to support public health mitigation strategies. Since the first COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for emergency use in the United States, strategies have evolved to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, booster doses, testing, and treatment. In addition, steps have been taken to ensure that people wear high-quality masks, maintain social distancing, and access good ventilation in indoor spaces.2 This article highlights the myriad of ways that pharmacists have reinforced and bolstered public health policies over the last 2 years to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic head-on.
25th Jun 2022 - Pharmacy Times

UK prepares to include over-50s in autumn Covid booster campaign

The UK government is getting ready to roll out Covid-19 booster jabs to all adults aged over 50, in a broader autumn campaign than its vaccine advisers had previously suggested. Under provisional guidance issued last month, only care home residents, the over-65s, frontline health and social workers and vulnerable younger people would be eligible for the next round of vaccines. But Sajid Javid, health and social care secretary, told the Financial Times that he had asked his team “to be ready for it to be over-50s and above."
25th Jun 2022 - Financial Times

Finally, we're (almost) outrunning Covid-19

It’s a joy to run with the masses in the city, but we’re not out of the woods yet. And although we're finally, we're (almost) outrunning Covid-19, in Singapore we still have a way to go yet
25th Jun 2022 - The Straits Times

Latin America's kids slid into education black hole during pandemic

In Bolivia's highland city La Paz, Maribel Sanchez's children spent much of the last two years huddling over a small smartphone screen to attend online classes amid a lengthy lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two boys, aged 11 and eight, frequently missed lessons when their timetables collided as the family had no computer. Bolivian school children only finally returned to in-person classes in March this year, many still not full time. The story is echoed around the region from Mexico to Brazil. Latin American has one of the worst records of school closures globally, according to a World Bank report, which shows children here faced almost 60 weeks of fully or partially closed schools between March 2020 and March this year. That's behind only South Asia and twice the level of Europe, Central and East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa or the Pacific. In North America there were long partial closures, but just seven weeks of full closures versus 29 in Latin America and the Caribbean.
24th Jun 2022 - Reuters

UK Covid Cases Rise Again Driven by BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron Subvariants

Covid infection rates are rising again in the UK and across much of Europe, driven by newer versions of the omicron variant, amid concerns that another wave will disrupt businesses and add to pressure on health systems. In England, the estimated number of people testing positive for Covid-19 climbed to almost 1.4 million -- about 1 in 40 people -- in the week ending June 18, according to an Office for National Statistics report published Friday. That compares with around 1 in 50 people in the prior week. In Scotland, the estimate in the latest week increased to around 1 in 20 people.
24th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Covid Resurgence Across UK, Europe Driven by Omicron Subvariants

Covid infection rates are rising again in the UK and across much of Europe, driven by newer versions of the omicron variant, amid concerns that another wave will disrupt businesses and add to pressure on health systems. In England, the estimated number of people testing positive for Covid-19 climbed to almost 1.4 million -- about 1 in 40 people -- in the week ending June 18, according to an Office for National Statistics report published Friday. That compares with around 1 in 50 people in the prior week. In Scotland, the estimate in the latest week increased to around 1 in 20 people.
24th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Jun 2022

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Video: How the Pandemic Has Accelerated Child Marriage in India

In a bid to combat child marriage, Archana Sahay started a 24-hour helpline based in the central Indian city of Bhopal. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, she was inundated with calls: Some were what she had come to expect from already-vulnerable girls and people concerned with their welfare. Others caught her by surprise. On this episode of “The Pay Check,” Bloomberg explores how another unforeseen consequence of Covid-19 in India has been a significant increase in child marriage—and how one woman is trying to fight it.
24th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Both sides blast WTO's patent waiver for COVID vaccines

Now that the World Trade Organization has relaxed intellectual property restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines, the question is: Will any developing countries take advantage to produce their own shots? With wealthy nations discarding expired vaccines and poor countries turning down donations because of a lack of demand, it’s hard to imagine manufacturers in countries such as India and South Africa being motivated to produce jabs. Nonetheless, South Africa hailed the move, which allows vaccines and their ingredients to be produced without authorization from the patent holder over the next five years. The South African government also admitted however to the daunting task of gearing up for the manufacture of shots. “To scale up the production on the continent, further partnerships will be needed including access to know-how and technologies,” the South Africa government said in a statement.
24th Jun 2022 - FiercePharma

Eric Adams Stopped Enforcing Covid Vaccine Mandate for NYC Businesses

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City has not enforced the city’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for employees at private businesses, and has no plans to begin inspecting businesses or begin fining those that are not in compliance. Newsday first reported on the lack of enforcement of the vaccine mandate for private employers. “We have been focused on prioritizing education instead of enforcement when it comes to the private sector mandate, which is how we’ve been able to get more than 87 percent of all New Yorkers with their first dose to date,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for New York City Mayor Eric Adams, said in an email. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a vaccine mandate for employees at private businesses in December, the most far-reaching local measure in the United States at the time. The mandate applied to around 184,000 businesses of all sizes with employees who work on-site in New York City.
23rd Jun 2022 - The New York Times

Austria scraps COVID vaccine mandate, says it split society

Austria’s health minister announced Thursday that the country is scrapping a dormant coronavirus vaccine mandate, saying the measure risked polarizing society and could even lead to fewer people getting the shot. The government announced plans last year requiring all people aged 18 and over to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the first country in Europe to do so. The law took effect in February but lawmakers suspended the mandate before police were due to enforce it in mid-March. Health Minister Johannes Rauch said the rise of new virus variants had changed citizens’ perception of the effectiveness and necessity of a vaccination, even among those willing to get the shot. This could deter them from voluntarily getting booster shots that will help curb the outbreak in the fall, he said. “The vaccine mandate hinders some people who are generally willing to get the shot from taking the booster, the idea being: I’m not going to be told what to do,” said Rauch.
23rd Jun 2022 - The Associated Press

South Africa repeals COVID rules on mask-wearing, gatherings, entry

South Africa has repealed COVID-19 restrictions on mask-wearing in indoor public spaces, limits on the size of gatherings and entry requirements at its borders, a notice in the government gazette showed.
23rd Jun 2022 - CNBC Africa

Austria scraps already-suspended COVID vaccine mandate

Austria is scrapping an already-suspended COVID-19 vaccine mandate as it has divided the country and is unlikely to raise one of western Europe's lowest vaccination rates, Health Minister Johannes Rauch said on Thursday.
23rd Jun 2022 - Reuters

COVID-19 vaccine scheme for world's poorest pushes for delivery slowdown

Leaders of the global scheme aiming to get COVID-19 vaccines to the world's poorest are pushing manufacturers including Pfizer and Moderna to cut or slow deliveries of about half a billion shots so doses are not wasted. COVAX, the World Health Organization-led scheme, wants between 400 and 600 million fewer vaccines doses than initially contracted from six pharmaceutical companies, according to internal documents seen by Reuters.
23rd Jun 2022 - Reuters

Covid-19 Vaccines Prevented 20 Million Deaths in One Year: Study

Covid vaccines that were developed in record time saved an estimated 20 million lives in the first year of the rollout, more than half of them in wealthier countries, according to the first study of its kind to quantify the impact. While more than 7 million deaths were likely averted in countries covered by Covax, the World Health Organization-backed distribution program, the research nonetheless highlights the devastation caused by uneven access. About one in five lives lost due to Covid in poorer countries could have been prevented if WHO targets had been reached, data published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal show.
23rd Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Jun 2022

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COVID-19: Britons to have first access to vaccines and treatments when new science super-centre opens

Britons will have access to all the latest vaccines and treatments when a new research and manufacturing centre opens in the UK. American pharmaceutical giant Moderna is opening a new mRNA Innovation and Technology Centre that will develop vaccines for a wide range of respiratory diseases, including COVID vaccines that can protect against multiple variants. Construction is expected to start as early as this year, with the first mRNA vaccine due to be produced in the UK in 2025.
22nd Jun 2022 - Sky News

From Indonesia to Pacific, women have borne brunt of pandemic challenges: UN

Women have borne the brunt of hardship two years after the pandemic, facing less access to vaccines and food, and taking on more domestic work, a new UN report shows. Experts say that gender policies must be implemented to ensure that women and girls are included in the recovery taking place across Asia and the Pacific
22nd Jun 2022 - South China Morning Post

CDC lowers the Covid-19 travel risk for 2 nations in Europe

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel advisory page for Covid-19. Just two new places, both in Africa, joined the crowded "high" risk category.
22nd Jun 2022 - CNN

US babies, toddlers get their first COVID-19 shots

Babies and toddlers began getting the COVID-19 vaccine in thighs and arms across the United States on Tuesday, in many cases in front of cameras and a masked cheering audience.
22nd Jun 2022 - Reuters

Universal Beijing Resort to reopen on June 25 as COVID cases drop

The Universal Beijing Resort said on Wednesday it will reopen on June 25 after being closed for nearly two months, as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the Chinese capital falls. The resort said on its official WeChat account that after it reopens, all visitors must show a negative PCR test taken within the past 72 hours and wear masks at all times.
22nd Jun 2022 - Reuters

As Kids Under 5 Start Getting the Covid-19 Vaccine, Parents Struggle to Find Appointments

In the US, federal health authorities on Saturday recommended Moderna’s two-dose vaccine as well as a three-dose regimen by Pfizer and BioNTech for children as young as 6 months. It was a moment some parents and caregivers had been eagerly awaiting, yet some of them haven’t managed to book appointments for their children, while others are holding off.
22nd Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

$1 Billion Pledged to Help Countries Cope With Future Pandemics

Donors including the US and the European Union have pledged $1.1 billion in financing to help countries cope with future pandemics. Indonesia, as this year’s host of the Group of 20 meetings, pushed the world’s biggest economies to create a global health fund that would aid nations struggling with the next global health crises, said Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati in a late Tuesday briefing. The Southeast Asian country is also among the donors, along with Germany, Singapore and the Wellcome Trust, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said after the G-20 meeting of health and finance ministers in Yogyakarta. The goal is to reach $10 billion of financing each year, he added. The fund is set to start operating after an expected June 30 approval from the board of the World Bank, which is hosting the financing mechanism.
21st Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Jun 2022

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Wrist-worn trackers can detect Covid before symptoms, study finds

Health trackers worn on the wrist could be used to spot Covid-19 days before any symptoms appear, according to researchers. Growing numbers of people worldwide use the devices to monitor changes in skin temperature, heart and breathing rates. Now a new study shows that this data could be combined with artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose Covid-19 even before the first tell-tale signs of the disease appear. “Wearable sensor technology can enable Covid-19 detection during the presymptomatic period,” the researchers concluded. The findings were published in the journal BMJ Open. The discovery could lead to health trackers being adapted with AI to detect Covid-19 early, simply by spotting basic physiological changes.
22nd Jun 2022 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Brits to have first access to vaccines and treatments when new science super-centre opens

US pharmaceutical firm Moderna is to establish a global clinical trials base in the UK, which it says will endorse the country as a science superpower - and future-proof it against emerging health threats.
22nd Jun 2022 - Sky News

Moderna to Build mRNA Manufacturing and Research Center in UK

Moderna Inc. plans to build a research and manufacturing center in the UK in a partnership with the government aimed at providing the country with messenger RNA vaccines against future health threats. The agreement will ensure National Health Service patients gain access to mRNA vaccines targeting a range of diseases, including potential shots that can protect against multiple Covid variants, the government said in a statement. The UK, which expects the first mRNA vaccine to be produced in 2025, declined to disclose the size of the investment or the location of the center. “The center will be able to scale up production rapidly in the event of a health emergency, significantly boosting the UK’s ability to respond to future pandemics,” according to the statement.
22nd Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Singapore Sees Surge in Covid Cases Linked to New Subvariants

Singapore saw a 23% week-on-week increase in Covid-19 community infections, with the surge in cases mainly driven by newer omicron subvariants. The new variants, known as BA.4 and BA.5, account for about 30% of new Covid-19 cases in the past week with the rise in related cases likely to continue, the country’s Ministry of Health said in a statement Tuesday. Both strains have higher transmissibility though evidence currently shows that the severity of infections linked to these subvariants is similar to that of earlier strains of omicron. The country has not seen a significant increase in the number of severe Covid-19 cases in hospitals and cases in the intensive care units remain low, the ministry said.
22nd Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

IP is no barrier to COVID vaccine access, says industry -

While proponents argue waiving IP on COVID-19 vaccines would better enable low- and middle-income countries to inoculate their populations, the pharma industry has called the proposals “unnecessary and harmful to innovation”. Proposals to waive COVID-19 product patents have been described as “political posturing” and an “answer to a problem that does not exist”. The Quad compromise, a World Health Organization plan which would, if enacted, release members from granting or enforcing COVID-19 vaccine patents, was discussed at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) last week. But the pharmaceutical industry has said the move could “undermine innovation and industry’s ability to partner, invest at risk, and respond quickly to future pandemics”.
21st Jun 2022 - Pharmaphorum

New Covid vaccine which protects against Omicron variant could be in the UK by autumn

Older British people and medical workers may be given a new version of the Covid-19 vaccine this year which is tailor-made to protect against the Omicron variant. Ministers hope that the next generation of jabs made both by Pfizer and Moderna will be ready in time for autumn, when a new round of vaccines will be administered to certain groups. Over-65s, vulnerable people below that age, and frontline health and care workers are due to be invited for another vaccination to top up their immunity levels.
21st Jun 2022 - iNews

Covid surges across Europe as experts warn not let guard down

Multiple European countries are experiencing a significant surge in new Covid-19 infections, as experts warn that with almost all restrictions lifted and booster take-up often low, cases could soar throughout the summer leading to more deaths. According to the Our World in Data scientific aggregator, the rolling seven-day average of confirmed new cases per million inhabitants is on the rise in countries including Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands and Denmark. Portugal has experienced the most dramatic wave, with infections per million remaining at a seven-day average of 2,043 on Monday – the second highest new case rate in the world, although down somewhat from an early June high of 2,878.
21st Jun 2022 - The Guardian

Biggest Risk Factor For Severe Covid-19 Other Than Age? Autoantibodies

Although only between 1% and 4% of individuals carry autoantibodies that neutralize type I IFNs, they consistently make up around 20% of Covid-19 fatalities across age categories. Other than age, presence of type I interferon autoantibodies is the strongest predictor of severe Covid-19 — more so than sex, common comorbidities, and most genetic variants. Future research should focus on how and why people develop autoantibodies against type I IFNs, and whether or not this is preventable
21st Jun 2022 - Forbes

PhRMA says COVID-19 vaccine patent waiver is a 'political stunt,' while advocate argues it doesn't go far enough

Now that the World Trade Organization has relaxed intellectual property restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines, the question is: Will any developing countries take advantage to produce their own shots? With wealthy nations discarding expired vaccines and poor countries turning down donations because of a lack of demand, it’s hard to imagine manufacturers in countries such as India and South Africa being motivated to produce jabs. Nonetheless, South Africa hailed the move, which allows vaccines and their ingredients to be produced without authorization from the patent holder over the next five years. The South African government also admitted however to the daunting task of gearing up for the manufacture of shots.
21st Jun 2022 - FiercePharma

UK scientists urge higher uptake of Covid boosters among elderly

Around a fifth of people aged 75 and over in England have yet to have a fourth Covid jab, data suggests, leading to calls for a renewed push for vaccination of the vulnerable amid rising infections and hospitalisations. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in the week ending 11 June an estimated one in 50 people in England had Covid – about 1.13 million people – a rise from 1 in 70 the week before. Upticks have also been seen in the rest of the UK, while hospitalisations are also rising. The resurgence is thought to be down to a rise in Omicron variants including BA.4 and BA.5, although scientists say other factors may also be at play, including a return to pre-pandemic behaviour, and waning immunity.
21st Jun 2022 - The Guardian

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Over-75s urged to get Covid booster jab as cases rise

Over-75s and people at high risk have been urged to get a Covid booster vaccine, amid warnings of a new wave of infections in Scotland. The spring booster jab is available until 30 June to everyone in the older age group and people over 12 if they have a weakened immune system. About a third of Scots in the immunosuppressed group have not yet come forward for an additional vaccine. Latest data estimates that around one in 30 people in Scotland has Covid. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 176,900 people have the virus - about 3.36% of the population.
19th Jun 2022 - BBC News

CDC Recommends Covid-19 Vaccines for Young Children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that children as young as 6 months receive newly authorized Covid-19 shots, the final step to making the vaccines available. The CDC said Saturday that the young children should receive either the two-dose series from Moderna Inc. or the three-dose series made by Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE. As soon as Monday, children under 5 years, who haven’t been able to get vaccinated during the pandemic, could start getting inoculated. “Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against Covid-19. We know millions of parents and care givers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.
19th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

WTO Approves Vaccine-Patent Waiver to Help Combat Covid Pandemic

Article reports that the World Trade Organization approved a politically important deal Friday to water down intellectual property restrictions for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines after an almost two-year effort involving scores of high-level meetings and much political arm twisting. During the early morning hours in Geneva, WTO ministers approved a package of agreements that included the vaccine patent waiver, which Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala previously said was necessary to end the “morally unacceptable” inequity of access to Covid-19 vaccines. The WTO’s last-minute deal -- secured after an all-night negotiating session in Geneva -- is an important victory for Okonjo-Iweala, the former head of Gavi - the vaccine alliance, who actively stumped for the accord during her first year as the WTO’s top trade official.
19th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

WTO agrees partial patent waiver for Covid-19 vaccines

The World Trade Organization has struck deals on a partial patent waiver for Covid-19 vaccines, and made agreements in several other fields of global contention, after a tense six-day ministerial meeting that has renewed some faith in the battered multilateral trading system.
18th Jun 2022 - Financial Times

BioNTech chief calls for speedy ruling on Covid vaccines that target latest strains

Health regulators should decide by the end of the month whether to approve Covid-19 vaccines targeting the most recent virus strains without first requiring clinical data, BioNTech’s chief executive has said, as studies suggest jabs developed earlier in the pandemic are less effective against the latest variants. Uğur Şahin warned that a sub-variant of Omicron that fully escapes vaccines’ protection might emerge as countries prepare to launch autumn booster campaigns. The debate over whether to allow a more rapid switch to an updated vaccine is becoming more “urgent”, he said
18th Jun 2022 - Financial Times

How Japan achieved one of the worlds lowest Covid-19 death rates

Article reports that Japan’s Covid-19 death rate is the lowest among the world’s wealthiest nations, with health experts pointing to continued mask wearing, extensive vaccination and an already healthy population as the core factors behind its success. The population has continued to adhere to basic infection control measures, including avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated venues, as other parts of the world grapple with pandemic fatigue. And Japan’s measures have been bolstered by a robust vaccination program and free medical care
18th Jun 2022 - Business Standard

Covid hospital admissions rise in Europe as sub-variants fuel new wave

European countries are experiencing a surge in Covid-19 hospital admissions driven by sub-variants of the highly infectious Omicron strain, threatening a fresh global wave of the disease as immunity levels wane and pandemic restrictions are lifted. Admissions have risen in several countries including France and England, according to data analysed by the Financial Times. The BA.5 sub-variant of Omicron now accounts for more than 80 per cent of new infections in Portugal. In Germany, where admissions have been rising for over a week, the share of Covid-19 infections ascribed to BA.5 doubled at the end of last month.
18th Jun 2022 - Financial Times

China's Zero-Covid Policy Will Stretch Into 2023, US Envoy Says

China’s stringent “zero Covid” policy of travel restrictions and city-wide lockdowns is likely to stretch into next year, and is actively discouraging American and European investment in China, the US ambassador to the country said. “My honest assumption is that we’ll see the continuation of ‘zero Covid’ probably into the beginning months of 2023 -- that’s what the Chinese government is signaling,” Nicholas Burns, the American envoy in Beijing, said during an online event on Thursday. The harsh lockdown in the commercial center and financial hub of Shanghai -- where many US companies have operations and base executives -- has prompted many American businesspeople to leave the country, Burns said.
18th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

EU drugs watchdog begins review of Moderna's variant COVID vaccine

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) started a rolling review on Friday of a variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna (MRNA.O), as coronavirus cases linked to Omicron sub-variants see an uptick in the region. U.S.-based Moderna's so-called bivalent vaccine targets two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID, the original strain first identified in China, and the Omicron variant. Last week, Moderna said its bivalent vaccine produced a better immune response against Omicron than the original shot.
17th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Swiss COVID-19 vaccine purchase plan fails to pass parliament

The Swiss parliament failed to finance the government's plan to buy COVID-19 vaccines in 2023, forcing the cabinet to try to renegotiate contracts with Moderna and Pfizer/Biontech, for millions of doses. With the two houses of parliament split over the funding request, budget rules required the adoption of the cheaper version of draft legislation, the SDA news agency said in a report posted on parliament's website.
16th Jun 2022 - Reuters

Lockdown Exit - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Jun 2022

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COVID-era health funding extended by Anthony Albanese in first meeting of new national cabinet

$760 million more in COVID-era funding will be given to the states. The extended funding deal was given in recognition that the pandemic was continuing. National Cabinet also agreed to health network reforms to ease pressure on emergency departments.
17th Jun 2022 - ABC News

China Perspective Podcast: China tightens restrictions with 'flash lockdowns' as Covid-19 cases flare-up

An increase in cases makes China tighten up restrictions again, but how sustainable are these "flash lockdowns"? On the international front, despite the strong words directed toward the US during Minister Wei's speech during the Shangri-La Dialogue, his meeting with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the summit could indicate that China does not want their relationship with the US to veer into conflict.
17th Jun 2022 - The Straits Times

Thailand Mulls Longer Hours for Pubs, Bars as Covid Cases Drop

The country’s main Covid-19 task force will consider a proposal on Friday to scrap the mandatory closure, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters on Thursday. Businesses must still adhere to local rules, which may differ among provinces, he said. Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy has shredding travel and economic restrictions to kick-start growth as new infections have dropped. The relaxations comes as tourism-dependent countries scramble and compete to woo travelers amid accelerating inflation and sagging consumption. “It’s time to bring back some normal activities with serious risk of Covid-19 to the public health having receded,” said Anutin. The panel will also discuss declaring more safe areas, or the so-called green zones, where the virus outbreak has subsided in recent weeks, he said.
16th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Pregnant Mothers in Mexico Saw Death Rates Surge During Height of Covid Pandemic

Vallejo is among the 2,240 mothers in Mexico who’ve died because of complications from their pregnancy since the pandemic began. When Covid-19 patients overwhelmed the health-care system, government leaders prioritized their care over that of expectant mothers, turning labor and delivery—and more broadly, women’s health—into an afterthought. Pregnancy-related death rates across the country spiked by more than 60% in the first year of the pandemic, an analysis published in the journal BMC Public Health shows. By the beginning of 2021, 81 women were dying for every 100,000 live births, based on government data, compared with 24 at the same time in 2019.
16th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Beijing Bar-Linked COVID Outbreak Is Easing as Measures Take Effect, Official Says

The city of Beijing on Thursday declared an initial victory in its latest battle with COVID-19 after testing millions of people and quarantining thousands in the past week to stem an outbreak prolonged by a sudden wave of cases linked to a bar. The flare-up at the popular Heaven Supermarket Bar known for its cheap liquor and rowdy nights emerged just days after the Chinese capital started to lift widespread curbs. Restrictions had been in place for around a month in Beijing to tackle a broader outbreak that began in late April is very modest by global standards, with a total of 351 cases found so far, but reflects how challenging it is, with the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, for China to make a success out of its strategy of stamping out each cluster of cases as soon as it materialises. "After eight days of hard fighting and the concerted efforts of Beijing residents in the battle, the swift and decisive me