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Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Sep 2020

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‘Bald face lie’: Pence aide turned Covid-whistleblower fires back after White House attack

A former Mike Pence staffer who played a key role in advising the government on its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has accused Keith Kellogg of "bald faced" lies, after the retired Gen. claimed he gave the ex-aide her marching orders from the White House.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Independent

Keir Starmer accuses Boris Johnson of losing control of Covid crisis

Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of “pretending there isn’t a problem” with the test-and-trace system, as he claimed the prime minister had lost control of the coronavirus crisis. In a clash focused entirely on the government’s response to Covid, the Labour leader posed a series of sometimes detailed queries on the testing system. Johnson generally ignored these, instead accusing Starmer of trying to “create political opportunity” out of the pandemic. One of the more confusing exchanges during prime minister’s questions came when Starmer quizzed Johnson on his insistence in the Commons on Tuesday that the performance of test and trace had no bearing on the coronavirus rate, contrasting this with Johnson’s previous insistence that the system would be “a real game-changer”.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Trump says U.S. will remain open as UK imposes coronavirus restrictions: 'We're not going to be doing that'

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that the United States would not impose a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus following additional new measures imposed on businesses in the U.K. “The U.K. just shut down again. They just announced that they’re going to do a shutdown, and we’re not going to be doing that,” Trump told Fox 2 Detroit during an interview at the White House. The federal government has largely left the decision to impose restrictions on businesses and gatherings to states, though the president has called on states to lift restrictions on residents and reopen the nation’s economy.
23rd Sep 2020 - CNBC

France's defense chief misled nation on troops' virus safety

France’s defense minister has admitted to misleading the nation about virus protections for air force personnel who evacuated French citizens from the hard-hit Chinese city of Wuhan in January
23rd Sep 2020 - ABC News

Australia could go herd immunity with 'Churchillian' bio-burn strategy

Australia should conduct controlled "bio-burn" and let coronavirus spread across Australia, state-by-state, with the goal of achieving herd immunity, an international security expert has suggested. Allan Orr, an Australian counter-terrorism specialist, said Australia's response to the coronavirus pandemic was not just wrong, but it had shown Canberra was woefully underprepared for a bio-terror attack. A cataclysmic bio-terror attack, using an agent like anthrax or botulism, is the doomsday scenario most feared by counter-terror agencies, Dr Orr told nine.com.au.
23rd Sep 2020 - 9News

Victoria's supreme court to hear cafe owner's legal challenge to Covid lockdown measures

A legal challenge brought by a Victorian cafe owner who is arguing the state’s tough lockdown measures put her small business at risk and breached her human rights will be heard in a judge-only trial before the supreme court over two days from Monday. The suit was filed by Michelle Loielo, who owns a cafe on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne’s south-east. Her affidavit said that the state’s restrictions, including a curfew, had seen her lose the majority of business, with revenue dropping from up to $20,000 per week to $400 under stage four lockdown measures. Loielo, who is seeking preselection for the Liberal party, is specifically challenging the curfew, which was introduced in August and limited people in metropolitan Melbourne – which includes the Mornington Peninsula – from leaving their home between 8pm and 5am. On 14 September this changed from 9pm to 5am, and will remain in place until 28 October.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Pandemic exacerbates barriers to voting for homeless Americans

Now, instead of churchgoers and immigrants, the building acts as a haven for dozens of homeless men. Where pews once sat are long folding tables where the centre’s clients play crossword puzzles, read or simply relax. Other men sit in chairs spaced several feet apart and watch the news. Some wait in line to add their names to a list for a hot shower. Volunteers take down information about where each man stayed the night before. Offices and meeting spaces line the big room. And off to one side are four signs that serve as a gentle reminder of November’s general election and provide information on how to register to vote.
23rd Sep 2020 - Aljazeera.com

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Sep 2020

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Fewer than 40% of Americans plan to get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as one is available

In a new poll, 39% of US adults said they are not likely to get the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available, down from 53% surveyed last month. About 43% of Democrats and 41% of Republicans said they were likely to get the jab during the rollout, a drop from 56% and 49%, respectively. Just 9% of surveyors said they were 'very likely' to be immunized with the first available vaccine, a decrease from 17% in August. Thirty percent of respondents said they would wait a few months before being given the shot while nearly one-quarter said they will not get the shot at all
23rd Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Trump says COVID-19 'affects virtually no one' apart from 'elderly people with heart problems' after his rally crowd booed mask mandates as the US death toll nears 200,000

President Trump incorrectly claimed that COVID-19 'affects virtually nobody' who is a young American. He made the remarks during a 'Make America Great Again' campaign stop in Toledo, Ohio, on Monday night. He added that COVID-19 affects elderly people and those with preexisting conditions, but not a risk for young Americans. Hundreds of children across the country have tested positive and been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Washington D.C. reported 766 infected children between the ages of zero and 14. The U.S. death toll is approaching 200,000 and there are more than 6.8million known cases
22nd Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Economic catastrophe will be down to failure of political leadership

Britain cannot afford another lockdown. Boris Johnson has said it would be “disastrous” for the country. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, warned that it “would cause unimaginable damage to our economy and people’s wellbeing”. They are right. But neither can Britain afford a spike in deaths like the last. Policymakers are walking a “fine line”, Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said at yesterday’s government briefing. He, too, is right. This is exactly the conundrum the country faced in March. But it would be a mistake to assume the options are the same, of lockdown or herd immunity. Yet, once again, the epidemiologists are pitted against the economists. Save lives or save jobs. There is only one winner if the argument is framed like this
22nd Sep 2020 - The Times

Property leaders' plea: Open the borders, end the lockdown

Leaders in the property, retail and hospitality sectors have called for border closures to be abandoned across the country and for Victoria's strict lockdown to be eased more quickly, warning the economic harm of a prolonged recession far outweighs any medical benefit from the controls. With Victoria recording just 11 new coronavirus cases on Monday, property executives are urging the southern state to accelerate plans to reopen the economy. As well, Queensland's border closure is ringing alarm bells over the future of that state's tourism sector as summer approaches.
22nd Sep 2020 - The Australian Financial Review

Jacinda Ardern 'was in draconian lockdown mode' amid record GDP fall

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was in the “draconian lockdown mode” and now the country’s economy has contracted by a record 12.2 per cent in three months says Sky News host Alan Jones. “Jacinda Ardern thought she could totally eliminate the virus,” Mr Jones said. “The lockdowns were amongst the toughest in the world”. "It is not only opposition accusations in New Zealand which are saying that these things have pushed the economy 'off the cliff'," he said.
21st Sep 2020 - Sky News Australia

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Sep 2020

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France’s vaccine hesitancy hangs over coronavirus response

As governments are putting their hopes on a vaccine to stop the coronavirus — and restart the economy — one country might face more difficulties than others. France has one of the lowest vaccine confidence rates in the world, according to a Lancet study published earlier this month. French people who are hesitant about vaccines shouldn’t be dismissed as kooky conspiracy theorists who rant about Bill Gates and 5G all day, experts say — at least not all of them. But vaccine skeptics represent a sizable chunk of the French public, big enough to hinder a vaccination campaign when a vaccine against the coronavirus will be on the market.
22nd Sep 2020 - POLITICO

Coronavirus: Demonstrations in Madrid ahead of Monday's tough new lockdown measures

Protesters have taken to the streets of Madrid to demonstrate against strict new lockdown measures which have come into force. Thousands of men, women and children rallied in the southern districts of the Spanish capital.
21st Sep 2020 - Sky News

Government 'could face backbench resistance' if trying to push through second lockdown

The government could face resistance from its own backbenchers if it tries to force through a second lockdown, a senior Tory has warned. Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady indicated ministers could have a revolt on their hands if they try to introduce new lockdown measures without proper scrutiny in Parliament. Boris Johnson spent the weekend considering whether to introduce a second coronavirus lockdown in England. He is reportedly considering a two-week mini lockdown, according to the BBC.
21st Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

China’s Attempt to Steer Covid Narrative in TV Drama Backfires

Backlash against a new Chinese television drama about its fight against Covid-19 underscores the challenges facing Beijing as it attempts to steer the narrative about its handling of the pandemic. Eight episodes of the propaganda series “Heroes in Harm’s Way” have aired since Thursday on state broadcaster China Central Television, and were criticized on Chinese social media. That included calls for the 14-episode series to be pulled from the air, with people saying it minimized women’s contributions to containing the virus and failed to reflect the hardship endured by medical workers.
21st Sep 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus Australia: John Farnham slams anti-lockdown protesters

John Farnham’s long-time manager has lashed the “offensive” use of one of the music legend’s best-known anthems during an anti-lockdown flash mob demonstration on Sunday afternoon. Protests against Victoria’s ongoing coronavirus restrictions were held for the third consecutive weekend on Saturday and Sunday, with organisers vowing “the big one” would be held at a secret location on Sunday at 1pm. The location – which ended up being Chadstone shopping centre in Melbourne’s southeast – was only revealed half an hour beforehand in a bid to dodge police following a string of arrests at Saturday’s rally at Elsternwick Park.
21st Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Protesters say localised lockdowns in Madrid discriminate against poor

Protesters in some poorer areas of Madrid that are facing lockdown to stem a soaring COVID-19 infection rate took to the streets on Sunday to call for better health provisions, complaining of discrimination by the authorities. Madrid’s regional government on Friday ordered a lockdown from Monday in some of the poorer areas of the city and its outskirts that are home to about 850,000 people after a surge in coronavirus cases there. The lockdown measures predominantly apply to areas of lower income and with higher immigrant populations. Peaceful protests were held in 12 of the 37 districts affected on Sunday. About 600 people demonstrated in the southern district of Vallecas, which has one of the highest infection rates in the Spanish capital - about six times higher than that of Chamberi, a wealthy area in the north of the city, according to regional government figures.
21st Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Police clash with protesters at anti-lockdown demonstration in London

More than a thousand people gathered in central London on Saturday to protest against lockdown measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, before the event was broken up by police. The protest, which led to 32 arrests, came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering whether to reimpose some lockdown restrictions across England. Demonstrators carried banners saying “Covid is a hoax” and “My body, my choice: No to mandatory masks”, as well as chanting at police: “Choose your side”.
21st Sep 2020 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Sep 2020

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Sixty-nine percent of Americans have no confidence in Trump on coronavirus vaccine, poll reveals

Despite president Donald Trump’s claims that a coronavirus vaccine will soon be available, new polling shows that a majority of Americans have no confidence in him to confirm that it is safe. An ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday shows that 69 per cent of Americans do not have confidence in the president vouching for the effectiveness of a vaccine — 53 per cent saying they have no confidence at all in him doing so. Conversely, just nine per cent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the president to confirm the effectiveness of a vaccine, and just 18 per cent have “a good amount” of confidence.
20th Sep 2020 - The Independent

Anti-vaccine protest leader is 'mum-of-four who says coronavirus doesn't exist'

The leader of an anti-vaccine protest in London is a suspended nurse who has previously compared lockdown restrictions to the Holocaust, according to reports. Mum-of-four Kate Shemirani calls the global Covid-19 pandemic a 'scamdemic' and says the disease which has killed thousands in the country 'doesn't exist,' it is claimed.
20th Sep 2020 - Mirror Online

Coronavirus: 'COVID-19 only takes white people': Researchers battle disease myths in South Africa

In South Africa, three of the most promising vaccines are being tested in cities throughout the country, with 2,000 participants trialling an inoculation developed by Oxford University's Jenner Institute. The study was recently paused after one person in the UK fell ill, but the trial has resumed with participants at Johannesburg's giant Baragwanath Hospital receiving the second part of this two-dose vaccine this week. "Do you think this vaccine could work?" I asked Bonginkosi Ntombela, who lives in the township of Soweto.
19th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus vaccine: Emergency powers to allow rollout of unlicensed vaccine being considered by Government

The Government is considering using emergency powers to allow the rollout of a vaccine to the public, even if it is unlicensed. In an open consultation document, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has floated the possibility of authorising the supply of an unlicensed vaccine if there is "sufficient evidence to demonstrate the safety, quality and efficacy of the vaccine". The DHSC adds that "unlicensed" does not mean "untested", and that any unlicensed vaccine will have gone through several safety trials before being used by the general public. The document, first reported in the I newspaper, says that the "preferred route" of deployment of a Covid-19 vaccine is through the "usual marketing authorisation (product licensing) process".
19th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Engagement with anti-vaccine Facebook posts trebles in one month

Engagement with anti-vaccine posts on a sample of UK Facebook pages trebled between July and August, analysis by the Guardian has found, triggering calls for a major new push to tackle conspiracy theories. Interactions on posts expressing scepticism or hostility towards vaccines on six UK Facebook pages increased from 12,000 in July to 42,000 in August, according to the analysis, conducted using the social media analytics tool CrowdTangle.
19th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: 32 arrests after ‘hostile and violent’ outbreaks at anti-vaccine protest

Protesters and police have clashed during an anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown demonstration in central London. Hundreds of people gathered at Trafalgar Square for a “Resist And Act For Freedom” rally on Saturday afternoon, before sections got into scuffles with Metropolitan officers. The force has said it made 32 arrests during the demonstration, which was cleared by 6pm. Dozens of officers, including some mounted on horseback, tried to break up ranks of protesters who had formed human blockades to prevent them making arrests, with loud cheering and chanting as they pushed back the police. Police said they had to take “enforcement action to disperse” the crowds after officers were met with “hostility” and “violence” from some.
19th Sep 2020 - ITV News

Coronavirus vaccine skepticism — by the numbers

Scientists around the world are racing to produce an effective vaccine and governments are throwing billions at drug companies to be first in line for access. But despite the severe disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a significant minority of people say they don't want a jab even when one becomes available. That's the message from the polling of nearly 20,000 adults in 27 countries. It found that 74 percent would take a vaccine if it becomes available, but 59 percent do not expect that to be an option before the end of the year.
19th Sep 2020 - POLITICO

Coronavirus: Prime minister at centre of a lockdown pincer movement

Boris Johnson's interview this afternoon really ought to have carried more significance than it did given the undoubted gravity of the moment. Behind the scenes, government sources confirm that the PM is weighing up whether he has to introduce national restrictions for a short period of time in the next few weeks. The idea, they say, a "circuit break" would see schools and work continuing, but curbs on social lives. In a carefully worded statement, Downing Street say merely they now want to avoid any "extended lockdowns".
19th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus Scotland: How Sweden avoided lockdown thanks to Anders Tegnell

When the rest of the world blinked as coronavirus took hold, ice-cool Swede Anders Tegnell refused to lock down his nation. As Sweden’s death count spiralled last spring at one of the highest global rates, this once faceless scientist was accused of creating a “pariah state”. Yet when I met Tegnell, 64, in the capital Stockholm he was being lauded as if he was the fifth member of Abba. T-shirts proclaiming — in the style of the Carlsberg adverts — “Tegnell, probably the best state epidemiologist in the world” are best-sellers. For it appears his decision not to lock down may have paid off.
19th Sep 2020 - The Scottish Sun

Coronavirus: Van Morrison lockdown protest songs 'dangerous'

Northern Ireland's health minister has described three new songs by Sir Van Morrison that protest against coronavirus lockdowns as "dangerous". In the lyrics, Sir Van claims scientists are "making up crooked facts" to justify measures that "enslave" the population. "The new normal, is not normal," he sings. "We were born to be free". Health Minister Robin Swann said if Sir Van had scientific facts he should present them.
19th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Boris Johnson unveils £10,000 fines for those breaking self-isolation rules in strict new restrictions as coronavirus infections soar and battle rages among Ministers over a ...

People suffering with coronavirus could be fined £10,000 if they fail to self-isolate when told to do so. The Prime Minister announced he was creating a new legal duty for people to self-isolate if they test positive. Plans will offer £500 to up to four million people on low incomes who cannot work from home if self-isolating The news comes as the number of daily cases reached 4,422, the highest level since early May. But large crowds were still seen around markets and bars on Saturday, signalling little care for the rules
19th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Matt Hancock Has Refused To Rule Out A Second National Lockdown As A “Last Line Of Defence” In The Battle Against Coronavirus

Matt Hancock has refused to rule out putting the whole of the UK back into lockdown amid a spike in coronavirus cases, saying it “isn't something that we ever take off the table”. The health secretary called the draconian measure the “last line of defence” in the battle against Covid-19, adding the government is prepared to “do what is necessary to keep people safe”. Earlier this week Boris Johnson said a second full-scale lockdown would have "disastrous" financial consequences for the UK.
19th Sep 2020 - PoliticsHome

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Sep 2020

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Bill Barr likens lockdown to slavery

United States attorney general William Barr compared coronavirus lockdown measures to slavery, as he called on prosecutors to aggressively target demonstrators. Speaking at a Constitution Day celebration event in Michigan on Wednesday, Mr Barr sought to compare strict coronavirus lockdown measures with arrest and slavery, as he dubbed those restrictions an “intrusion” on Americans civil liberties. “Putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest,” said Mr Barr about orders put in place across a swathe of states to slow the coronavirus spread since March. “Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” he added, amid debates over a nationwide lockdown.
17th Sep 2020 - The Independent

The risk of a second lockdown exposes the UK government's failures on Covid-19

Almost two million people across Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland will face bans on mixing with other households and a 10pm curfew from midnight tonight, in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Is this a sign that the United Kingdom is heading for a second lockdown? Not according to health minister Ed Argar, who denied that a two-week nationwide lockdown is on the cards. Downing Street also remains keen to avoid a second shutdown.
17th Sep 2020 - New Statesman

Ex-Pence adviser says Trump bungled virus; she’s for Biden

A former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who served on the White House coronavirus task force says President Donald Trump once suggested that COVID-19 might be a good thing because it would stop him from having to shake hands with “disgusting people.” Olivia Troye is the latest former member of the Trump administration to speak out against him and urge voters to deny him a second term. She joins a growing list that includes Miles Taylor, former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Trump said Thursday that he did not know Troye, who was Pence’s homeland security adviser.
17th Sep 2020 - Washington Post

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Sep 2020

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Biden questions whether a vaccine approved by Trump would be safe

Joe Biden on Wednesday expressed reservations about whether a coronavirus vaccine approved by the Trump administration would be safe, raising doubts about the president’s ability to put the health of Americans before politics. Biden said Americans should trust a coronavirus vaccine developed under the Trump administration only if the president gives “honest answers” to questions about its safety, effectiveness and equitable distribution. “I trust vaccines. I trust scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump,” Biden said. “And at this point, the American people can’t, either.” Biden also raised the possibility of President Trump pressuring agency officials to sign off on a vaccine that scientists are not yet confident in, to gain an electoral advantage.
17th Sep 2020 - The Washington Post

Lockdown sceptics are distorting the science

We are living through the worst infectious disease pandemic since 1918. While the human and economic costs have been very high, the global response to this threat has been remarkable. Nearly a million deaths have been reported, but mortality would have been far higher had the world not adopted measures that would have seemed inconceivable just a year ago. Throughout, policy has been guided by the work of thousands of clinicians and scientists across the world. The data collected by researchers in China gave the rest of the world invaluable insight into the threat we faced. While the early response in China was imperfect, as hospitals in Wuhan were overwhelmed, China locked down. I was sceptical that lockdown would succeed. But China controlled their epidemic
16th Sep 2020 - The Times

Hundreds seek damages as Victoria faces multiple class-action lawsuits over Melbourne’s Covid lockdown

The Andrews government is facing three class-action lawsuits over the lockdowns imposed during Melbourne’s second wave of coronavirus, with potentially thousands of plaintiffs seeking damages. Victoria reported 42 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and eight people died of Covid in the preceding 24 hours. This week a Melbourne legal firm, Carbone Lawyers, filed a claim on behalf of workers who had lost income or suffered psychological damage due to strict social distancing laws. The managing partner, Tony Carbone, told Guardian Australia more than 100 plaintiffs had signed on prior to Wednesday.
16th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19 level 4 lockdown case heads to Court of Appeal

Lawyer Andrew Borrowdale had argued in the High Court that the Director-General of Health went beyond his powers when he put the country into lockdown in March. Last month, the High Court ruled that in the nine days from 26 March, the requirement for people to stay at home was justified but unlawful. Dr Borrowdale now says he is appealing to the Court of Appeal. He said the High Court judgement raises vital issues about human rights and constitutional law, which should be assessed by a senior court.
16th Sep 2020 - RNZ

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Sep 2020

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Israelis angered by nationwide coronavirus lockdown: "They are punishing us"

Israelis reacted with anger and dismay Monday at an imminent nationwide lockdown aimed at curbing one of the world's highest novel coronavirus infection rates. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced a new countrywide lockdown will be imposed amid a stubborn surge in coronavirus cases, with schools and parts of the economy expected to shut down in a bid to bring down infection rates. "It's unfair!" lamented Eti Avishai, a 64-year-old seamstress, hours after Netanyahu announced a three-week lockdown will start on Friday. "They didn't stop the big gatherings in synagogues, the weddings and the other events, and now I can't be with my children and grandchildren during the holidays?" she added.
15th Sep 2020 - CBS News

Victoria police officer appears to stomp on man's head during arrest

An Australian policeman has been suspended over the arrest of a man who was allegedly hit by a police car and then kicked in the head by an officer. The man, 32, was put in an induced coma and admitted to intensive care after the arrest in Melbourne on Sunday. His family has called for an independent investigation, after footage of the incident went viral. Victoria Police said an internal unit was investigating. Melbourne has been under a strict coronavirus lockdown for the past two months. Police have been given unprecedented powers, under public health orders, to fine and detain people, but it does not appear that Sunday's arrest was related to a lockdown breach.
15th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Trump celebrates federal judge's decision to strike down Pennsylavnia Democrat governor's coronavirus lockdown measures as 'unconstitutional'

Federal judge rules Governor Tom Wolf's lockdown measures 'unconstitutional' US District Judge William Stickman IV said COVID-19 restrictions were arbitrary Stickman, a conservative jurist, was appointed to the bench by President Trump Trump was in a celebrational mood on Twitter, retweeting twelve different news stories about the decision At start of pandemic, Wolf imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the country In May, businesses were allowed to reopen and stay-at-home order was lifted But there are still limitations on capacity in restaurants and alcohol sales in bars
15th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

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

Britain's testing system for COVID-19 was creaking on Tuesday as a bottleneck prevented people including medics from getting a test, with the government saying it may take weeks to resolve the problem. In an attempt to slow one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the West, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised in May to create a "world beating" system to test and trace people exposed to the virus.
15th Sep 2020 - MSN UK

Fear of more corona-like pandemics as land rights 'under siege'

Governments' failure to recognise the land rights of indigenous communities and their role in protecting biodiversity could lead to more coronavirus-like pandemics, researchers said on Tuesday. A study of more than 40 countries found many local people's land claims were being ignored, amid increasing deforestation and wildlife exploitation, which may be contributing to a rise in diseases, like COVID-19, that pass from animals to humans. "Despite compelling evidence that indigenous peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendants protect most of the world's remaining biodiversity, they are under siege from all sides," said Andy White of the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
15th Sep 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Teachers, medics rally in Spain over poor COVID planning, infections stable

Teachers in the Spanish city of Bilbao staged a one-day strike on Tuesday to protest against their regional government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, while health workers in Madrid took to the streets to demand better working conditions. Protesters are demanding more staff and support from authorities as the recent surge in cases, at a time when pupils are returning to schools, prompted concerns about further infections.
15th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th Sep 2020

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Dozens defy new 'rule of six' at anti-lockdown protest in Nottingham, UK

Dozens defied the government's new 'rule of six' guidelines and attended a "COVID truth tour" protest in Nottingham on September 14.
14th Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

Anti-lockdown protests have brought together a coalition of freedom advocates from across Melbourne

Up to 250 people went to the rally against lockdown held at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market on Sunday. Mounted police and heavily armed riot police quickly converged on the area and made dozens of arrests. Police arrested 74 people and handed out 176 fines during the lockdown rally after arresting 14 a day earlier Ugly scenes erupted as police swiftly worked to arrest the protesters, which included mostly young people. Police had earlier goaded protesters during an inflammatory press conference held by top cop Luke Cornelius. Assistant commissioner took another swipe at protesters, declaring he was fed up with their 'selfish antics'
14th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

'Only Wuhan' surpasses Melbourne for 'severe and disgraceful' lockdowns

Sky News host Rowan Dean says only Wuhan has had “more severe and disgraceful lockdowns” than Melbourne. “It is shocking what is going on in Victoria,” Mr Dean said. “There is no justification on earth for the curfew. He made the bloody thing up. “May people forget about him and wipe his name from history. What he’s doing to Victoria is a disgrace, a worldwide disgrace.”
14th Sep 2020 - Sky News Australia

Australia lockdown tearing nation apart; ignites talk of secession

A torrid row over Australia's state border closures has pushed the country's prime minister to tears, sparked bitter recriminations among rival regional leaders and even talk of secession. Travel between the nation's independent-minded states and territories has been mostly banned since Covid-19 hit Australia in March. But an unhappy federal government is ratcheting pressure on premiers to open up, sending the argument into overdrive. Campaigning media coverage has highlighted the plight of grieving families separated by the closures and targeted state officials they deem responsible.
14th Sep 2020 - New Straits Times

Police arrest 74 people at Melbourne coronavirus anti-lockdown protest

Police arrested 74 people on Sunday as anti-lockdown protesters massed in Melbourne for a second day, with some throwing fruit at police after raiding market stalls. About 250 protesters chanting “Freedom” and “Power to the people” were encircled by officers at Queen Victoria Market. Footage of violent scuffles was posted online with officers on horseback riding through groups of protesters inside the market, and heavily armoured riot squads lined up beside rows of fresh fruit and vegetables.
14th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Suspended nurse at the centre of anti-lockdown protests called NHS 'the new Auschwitz'

A leading anti-Covid-19 lockdown campaigner, with a fascination for a dangerous conspiracy theory that places prominent Jews at the centre of a corrupt cabal, has branded the National Health Service “the new Auschwitz.” Kate Shemirani – one of the leading figures in a movement that has united QAnon obsessives with far-left and far-right activists – also repeatedly shared images of Adolf Hitler, the swastika symbol, and made references to the gas chambers in a flurry of online posts. The nurse, currently suspended from practising pending an investigation into her spreading of untruths about the virus, vaccines and the 5G telephone network, deemed that current measures by the government to tackle the pandemic were comparable to the Nazi Holocaust.
14th Sep 2020 - The Jewish Chronicle

Winston Peters says provinces should not be in lockdown

There was no reason for the whole of New Zealand to be in lockdown, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said when visiting Dannevirke on Sunday. Peters was accompanied by New Zealand First member of Parliament Ron Mark. "I know we are living in different times, but I have made my position very clear. I see no reason for this country to be in lockdown. In this part of the world the last case of Covid-19 was in April. This country needs an injection of common sense." Peters said the virus could be contained in Auckland but what should have been done was to bring in the military at New Zealand's borders right at the start.
14th Sep 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Scores arrested at protests in Australia's coronavirus hotspot

Police in Australia’s Victoria state arrested 74 people and fined 176 for breaching public health orders as scattered protests against a weeks-long coronavirus lockdown continued for a second straight day across Melbourne. A riot squad marched through fruit and vegetable stalls at the city’s landmark, the Queen Victoria market, before the scuffling with protesters erupted, with some people throwing fruit at the police, television footage showed. Victoria Police said in a statement that there were between 200 and 250 people involved in the protests, but there were no immediately known injuries to the police.
14th Sep 2020 - Reuters Australia

Police right to not stop anti-lockdown protesters - science denial expert

Calls for more punitive action against anti-lockdown protesters, are being dismissed as unnecessary by organisers and some scientists alike. One of the organisers of the lockdown protest in Auckland yesterday, Advance New Zealand co-leader Jami-Lee Ross, said he had no concerns about thousands of people flouting the Covid-19 restrictions. Protesters failed to observe social distancing and very few were wearing masks, sparking fears they could have spread the virus further. Ross said protesters were reminded of the rules.
13th Sep 2020 - RNZ

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th Sep 2020

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Anti-Netanyahu protesters warn of 'anti-democratic' coronavirus lockdown ahead of vote

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Jerusalem and across Israel on Saturday, for the 12th week in a row, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign amid corruption charges and an impending coronavirus lockdown. Protesters, fewer than in previous weeks, gathered near the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, slamming the government for mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis and Netanyahu for preoccupation with his ongoing trial in three criminal cases. Police clashed with protesters, detaining at least four on suspicion of assaulting officers.
13th Sep 2020 - Haaretz

Coughed on, spat at: UK shop workers fear asking customers to wear masks

Despite the public show of support and gratitude for key workers in recent months, the abuse of retail and transport workers has remained persistent and acute. Over 75% of shop workers surveyed by the shopworkers union Usdaw last month reported being abused by customers when asking them to socially distance; almost half had experienced abuse triggered by reminding shoppers to wear face masks. The preliminary findings of the union’s annual Freedom from Fear report, shared exclusively with the Observer, reveal the toll taken on the wellbeing of those working in essential services.
13th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: More than 200 arrested during first yellow vest protest since France lockdown lifted

Police in Paris have arrested more than 200 people during the first yellow vest protest since the start of France's coronavirus outbreak. The last Gilets Jaunes demonstration had taken place on 14 March - three days before France went into lockdown. Officers in riot gear have already fired tear gas at demonstrators along the Avenue de Wagram in Paris's 17th arrondissement, while another march takes place outside the capital's stock exchange.
12th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Crowds rally in New Zealand's Auckland against coronavirus lockdown

Large crowds of people rallied in Auckland on Saturday against the government's social distancing restrictions imposed on the country's largest city after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus last month. Local television footage showed tightly packed crowds, with many people not wearing masks, with estimates of the attendance varying in reports between a thousand and a few thousand people. "We are all here today because we believe we need to stand up for our rights," the public Television New Zealand cited Jami-Lee Ross, the leader of the Advance New Zealand party, one of the organisers of the protest, as saying. "We're all here today because we believe it's time to stand up and say, 'We need to get our rights and freedoms back'."
12th Sep 2020 - Yahoo News UK

'It’s world-leadingly bad, is what it is': the week Covid surged again in UK

The warning lights had been flashing in Downing Street, too, triggering an abrupt reversal of policy that coincided with a Brexit crisis of the government’s own making, leaving ministers fighting Conservative rebellions on two fronts. All talk of the country tentatively heading towards some kind of normality began to evaporate last weekend as the reality of a Covid resurgence began to bite. With the UK recording nearly 3,000 Covid cases on Sunday, the highest daily total since May, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, concluded that he had to act.
11th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Britons more divided over face masks and lockdown rules than Brexit, poll suggests

Coronavirus is causing deeper social divides than Brexit, with more than half of mask wearers in the UK having strong negative attitudes to those who refuse to wear one, new research suggests. The poll of over 10,000 people, conducted by think tank Demos, found that people have contrasting opinions of the COVID-19 pandemic based on their experiences, social class and occupations. The findings show that the social divide on the key questions associated with the pandemic - such as mask wearing or lockdown rules - is now deeper than the divide over Brexit.
11th Sep 2020 - Sky News

French police use tear gas as yellow vests return to Paris

French authorities deployed a heavy police presence in Paris and used tear gas on Saturday as the "yellow vest" movement returned to the capital after being dampened by the coronavirus crisis. Several hundred demonstrators gathered at two squares in Paris for authorized marches. One cortege set off without incident but the other march was delayed after police used tear gas to disperse protesters who left the designated route and some of whom set fire to waste bins and a car. The authorities had banned protests in a central zone including the Champs-Elysees, the scene of rioting at the height of the yellow vest movement nearly two years ago when anger over fuel taxes and President Emmanuel Macron's style of rule brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets across France.
11th Sep 2020 - CGTN

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th Sep 2020

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Coronavirus: 'Waste and corruption on a cosmic scale': Plans for 10 million COVID-19 tests attacked

Leaked documents reportedly show the government plans to carry out up to 10 million coronavirus tests a day by early next year, but critics say the proposals represent "waste/corruption on a cosmic scale". The mass testing programme would cost £100bn - almost as much as the government spends on the NHS each year (£130bn) - according to a briefing memo seen by medical journal The BMJ. A separate document revealed there were plans to grow the UK's testing capacity from the current 350,000 a day to up to 10 million a day by early 2021.
10th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Donald Trump 'admitted playing down threat of coronavirus’ to journalist Bob Woodward

Donald Trump understood the dangers of coronavirus before it hit the US but wanted to play down the threat, a new book claims. The US president reportedly told journalist Bob Woodward that he deliberately minimised the risks during an interview on March 19. "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic," Mr Trump allegedly said.
10th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

‘Completely wrong’ to say PM’s mass testing plan will save Christmas

England’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance poured cold water on Operation Moon Shot, warning it is “completely wrong” to say that ministers’ proposed mass coronavirus testing regime could allow for a return to semi-normality by Christmas - just minutes after Boris Johnson touted hopes that it could. Speaking at Downing Street, the prime minister tightened England’s coronavirus restrictions, making it illegal from Monday for people to gather in groups larger than six, with some exemptions. Meanwhile across the Atlantic Donald Trump came under fire after it was revealed he had downplayed the potential severity of the virus to ‘avoid panic’.
10th Sep 2020 - The Independent

'Deliberate, malicious': stop spreading Covid misinformation, says New Zealand minister

New Zealand’s health minister has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, as the government struggles to contain a mini-cluster centred on an evangelical church in Auckland. The mini-cluster started with four cases in the suburb of Mt Roskill last month, and has now grown to 45 cases. Health authorities say they have struggled to isolate and lock down the cluster as some people have refused to co-operate, saying they do not believe in the virus, and will not share their close contacts “Repeated, deliberate and malicious spread of misinformation” is also proliferating online, health minister Chris Hipkins said, prompting him to issue a stark warning that lives are at stake.
10th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Former Stanford colleagues warn Dr. Scott Atlas fosters 'falsehoods and misrepresentations of science'

A group of 78 researchers and doctors from Stanford Medical School took aim this week at Dr. Scott Atlas, the expert President Donald Trump recently added to the White House pandemic response task force, for embracing and peddling what they described as "falsehoods and misrepresentations of science" in his public musings about the coronavirus. In a "Dear Colleagues" letter penned Wednesday, the Stanford experts wrote that they have a "moral and ethical responsibility" to push back on Atlas' controversial claims about mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, which they characterized as "opinions and statements [that] run counter to established science" and "undermine public health authorities and the credible science that guides effective public health policy."
10th Sep 2020 - ABC News

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Covid-19: Government plans to spend £100bn on expanding testing to 10 million a day

The UK government has drawn up plans to carry out up to 10 million covid-19 tests a day by early next year as part of a huge £100bn (€110bn; $130bn) expansion of its national testing programme, documents seen by The BMJ show. The internal correspondence reveals that the government is prepared to almost match what it spends on the NHS in England each year (£130bn) to fund mass testing of the population “to support economic activity and a return to normal life” under its ambitious Operation Moonshot programme. A briefing memo sent to the first minister and cabinet secretaries in Scotland, seen by The BMJ, says that the UK-wide Moonshot programme is expected to “cost over £100bn to deliver.” If achieved, the programme would allow testing of the entire UK population each week. A separate PowerPoint presentation prepared for the government by the global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, also seen by The BMJ, says the plans had the potential to grow the UK’s testing capacity from the current 350 000 a day to up to 10 million tests a day by early 2021. Critics have already rounded on the plans as “devoid of any contribution from scientists, clinicians, and public health and testing and screening experts,” and “disregarding the enormous problems with the existing testing and tracing programmes.”
9th Sep 2020 - The BMJ

'Extraordinary revelations' over pandemic and Victoria's lockdowns surface

Mr Kenny said in what was an “amazing exchange” between Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and Neil Mitchell on radio station 3AW, the Professor revealed the curfew in the state wasn’t based on his advice. “I was consulted on it, but it was a separate decision making pathway,” Professor Sutton said. "Remember the Premier, Daniel Andrews keeps saying he has no alternative, he is taking the only road that he possibly can, and that he's following the data and he's following the medical advice," Mr Kenny said. "Well he imposed a curfew on Melbourne, he locked Victorians in their homes every night for three months, and this move is not based on medical advice".
9th Sep 2020 - Sky News Australia

Trump knew coronavirus was 'deadly', downplayed it: Woodward book

US President Donald Trump knew the coronavirus was "deadly" and worse than the flu even as he intentionally misled the US public in February and March about the risks, according to a forthcoming book by American journalist Bob Woodward.
9th Sep 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Pope wears face mask, warns against political exploitation of coronavirus

The pope called people who turn their backs on the suffering coronavirus had caused "devotees of Pontius Pilate who simply wash their hands of it." Pope Francis, seen wearing a mask for the first time in public, said on Wednesday no one should seek political gain from the coronavirus and that vaccine developers should not see it as a chance to make a profit. At his second weekly general audience with public participation after six months of virtual audiences, the pope was seen wearing a white mask as he entered and left his car and using sanitizer occasionally squirted onto his hands by an aide.
9th Sep 2020 - The Jerusalem Post Blogs

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 9th Sep 2020

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There must be a 'No-Lockdown Party'

University of Queensland’s Professor James Allan says "I do think we need a No-Lockdown Party" as the Liberals "are just not a Liberal Party anymore". "They don't seem to have any concern with the individual, with freedom". Professor Allan, who is the Garrick Professor in Law at the university, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison is "running the only country in the world that doesn't let it's own citizens leave the country, not counting Cuba and North Korea".
8th Sep 2020 - Sky News Australia

Fauci says a coronavirus vaccine is 'unlikely' by U.S. election

The CDC has asked states to ready facilities to distribute a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 1. Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a health conference that it’s more likely a vaccine will be ready by “the end of the year.” Drug companies Moderna and Pfizer are racing to complete patient enrollment for their late-stage vaccine trials by the end of September.
8th Sep 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus: Matt Canavan, Greg Hunt rally against Victorian lockdown

Victoria’s road map out of coronavirus lockdowns has been dubbed “crazy” by former resources minister Matt Canavan. It comes as the Federal Government puts pressure on the Andrews Government to publicly release the modelling and assumptions that informed the plan. Senator Canavan told Sky News on Tuesday that Daniel Andrews needed to explain why he chose certain thresholds – including a daily case average of less than five over the previous 14 days before some restrictions are eased. “I’m always a bit sceptical about modelling, and it seems completely crazy to set these very low thresholds before people can get out and about in Victoria,” Senator Canavan said.
8th Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au

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Unplanned localised lockdowns did little to check spread of Covid, led to increased economic uncertainty

The use of haphazard localised lockdowns by states in July and August, which badly impacted economic activity, has had little effect on tempering the Covid case count in these locations. State-wise data for states which imposed localised lockdowns during July 10-August 3 shows that the rise in new cases on a 7-day moving average basis, before and after the lockdown, ranged between 37-578 per cent in the seven regions which imposed localised lockdown during that period. These localised lockdowns end up disrupting the supply chains and increase the level of uncertainty in the system, impacting the decisions by entrepreneurs to re-hire workers or scale up operations. West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana announced lockdowns, despite the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) directives to desist from imposition of these lockdowns and seek its clearance.
7th Sep 2020 - The Indian Express

Australian PM criticises Victorian premier over continued lockdown

Scott Morrison has issued his toughest criticism of the Victorian lockdown to date urging the state to re-open the economy faster by improving COVID-19 contact tracing just as NSW has done across the border. Warning he will adopt a “wait and see” approach to further cash assistance for the state, the Prime Minister has put the Victorian Premier on notice that he must step up to bear more of the financial burden for the decisions he is making to keep the economy in the deep freeze. “Lockdowns and borders are not signs of success in dealing with COVID-19. And so it’s important that we put ourselves in a position where they do not feature in how Australia is dealing with COVID-19 on a sustainable basis,” the Prime Minister said. “The most important thing is ensuring that we build an integrated tracing capability right across the country.
7th Sep 2020 - Newstalk ZB

Australia's conspiracy theorists are increasingly energised, but police crackdowns may be counterproductive

Saturday, 5 September was supposed to be the day Australian history was irreconcilably changed. It was to be “Freedom Day”, the day when “real” Aussies took back control of the streets, their airways and their collective destiny. Rather than changing it, the protests amounted to what might constitute a footnote in an awfully specific history of Australia. Disparate groups gathered in separate events around the country. Dozens of protesters were arrested, dozens more were fined with breaching Covid-19 restrictions, one protester jumped into Melbourne’s Albert Park Lake and all of it was livestreamed.
7th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

PM Morrison labels Vic lockdown extension as 'crushing'

A “road to nowhere” is how Victoria’s path out of lockdown is being described as it sparks fury from businesses. Prime Minister Scott Morrison labelled the restrictions as “crushing” and urged the state to strengthen its health response to the virus.
7th Sep 2020 - Sky News Australia

Covid 19 coronavirus Victoria: Daniel Andrews cops huge criticism over lockdown roadmap

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is copping it from multiple directions this morning as the state comes to terms with his new roadmap out of lockdown. Andrews revealed the plan during a marathon media conference on Sunday. The current, strict lockdown in Melbourne – which was supposed to end in mid-September – will now be extended for another fortnight, albeit with some tweaks. The Premier was clearly expecting his announcement to generate criticism. He did his best to head it off.
7th Sep 2020 - New Zealand Herald

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No, there will be no COVID-19 vaccine before Election Day — and it’ll take two years to vaccinate the US: doctor

According to Dr. Jonathan Reiner, George Washington University professor of Medicine, don’t hold your breath on Trump’s claims. “First of all, no vaccine will be distributed before Election Day,” he said frankly. “Even if we identify a vaccine, which looks both safe and effective, the distribution plan will be really complex. First of all, these vaccines require subzero storage. So, you need a supply chain that can do that. We’ll have to pick who gets the vaccine first. Health care workers, the elderly, nursing homes, people at risk. There is an elaborate plan that will go into this. So, it’s will take a while to get the vaccine into people, and vaccination will take probably two years to vaccinate the country.”
7th Sep 2020 - Raw Story

‘PM must explain why India failed’: Chidambaram targets govt on Covid-19, economy

“PM Modi who promised that we will defeat coronavirus in 21 days must explain why India failed when other countries seem to have succeeded,” Chidambaram said in a tweet.
5th Sep 2020 - Hindustan Times

Lockdown protesters defy police as Australia COVID-19 cases ease

Protesters against a COVID-19 lockdown defied police in Australia's hotspot on Saturday (Sep 5), prompting over a dozen arrests, even as the state of Victoria continued its gradual improvement in stemming new cases due to the nearly five weeks of restrictions. Ignoring official warnings and public health orders, several hundred people gathered at an illegal protest - promoted by several virus related conspiracy theory groups online - calling for an end to lockdown measures. "It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not lawful. In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting," state Premier Daniel Andrews told a news conference.
5th Sep 2020 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

Brazil leader rapped for stirring doubt on COVID-19 vaccine

Critics of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro are again speaking out against the leader’s stance on the coronavirus pandemic, this time rejecting his view that vaccination for the virus shouldn’t be mandatory.
5th Sep 2020 - Associated Press on MSN.com

U.S. will not 'cut corners' in developing coronavirus vaccine, Pence says

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday that the Trump administration would not cut corners in making a vaccine for the coronavirus available, although it wants to move as fast as possible to deliver something that is safe and effective.
5th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

French professor faces being struck off over his claims of coronavirus 'cure'

The controversial French professor who vigorously defended the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to help beat coronavirus has been targeted by an ethics complaint that could see him face sanctions or barred from practising, a medical association said on Thursday. The Marseille-based Didier Raoult is accused in the complaint by medical peers of spreading false information about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine. US and Brazilian presidents Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro seized upon Raoult's promotion of hydroxychloroquine and have trumpeted its benefits since the pandemic erupted. But the method and conclusions of Raoult's studies were challenged from the start by critics and other scientists who said they had not been peer reviewed and were observational, not controlled.
5th Sep 2020 - The Local France

Brazil’s Bolsonaro under fire for not pushing mandatory coronavirus vaccine

Critics of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro are again speaking out against the leader’s stance on the coronavirus pandemic, this time rejecting his view that vaccination for the virus shouldn’t be mandatory. Bolsonaro’s first such comments came Monday, when he told a supporter, “No one can force anyone to get a vaccine.” He repeated it Thursday night during a live broadcast on Facebook, adding his opposition to administering vaccines that are yet to be proven on Brazilian soil.
4th Sep 2020 - Global News

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How Covid-19 myths are merging with the QAnon conspiracy theory

Online and in real-life demonstrations, two viral conspiracy theories are increasingly coming together. At first glance the only thing they appear to have in common is their vast distance from reality. On one hand, QAnon: a convoluted conspiracy theory that contends that President Trump is waging a secret war against Satan-worshipping elite paedophiles. On the other, a swirling mass of pseudoscience claiming that coronavirus does not exist, or is not fatal, or any number of other baseless claims. These two ideas are now increasingly coming together, in a grand conspiracy mash-up.
3rd Sep 2020 - BBC News

Pregnant mum’s arrest like ‘Nazi Germany’: Liberal MP Craig Kelly lashes Victorian police

Liberal MP Craig Kelly has compared the Victorian Government with Nazi Germany after a pregnant woman was handcuffed and arrested over an anti-lockdown Facebook post in the family home. Zoe Lee Buhler, 28, was dramatically arrested and handcuffed in her pyjamas on Wednesday over the social media post that she has now described as “a bimbo moment” and deleted. The Ballarat woman live-streamed her own arrest in a viral video that has now been viewed by millions insisting she had no idea the Facebook posts were illegal. “I didn’t actually realise I was not allowed to do that though,” she said on Thursday. “I suppose I had a bit of a bimbo moment and didn’t realise it wasn’t okay.” Mr Kelly revealed he’s now helped to arrange free legal representation for the Ballarat mum, who was arrested in front of her child.
3rd Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Three-quarters of Germans 'don't support coronavirus protests'

A large majority of Germans don’t support protests against coronavirus measures, according to a new survey carried out by opinion research institute Civey for Spiegel Online. But a new survey shows around two-thirds of Germans are completely against the Berlin protests, while an additional 11 percent say they simply don’t support them, according to the survey.
3rd Sep 2020 - The Local Germany

Germany is right to extend its furlough scheme. Why won't Britain do the same?

The Kurzarbeit programme, in which the government provides workers whose hours have been reduced with a minimum of 60% of their lost pay, has been credited by many with softening the economic blow of the pandemic. Shekhar Aiyar, the IMF’s mission chief for Germany, praised the programme lavishly in an interview, claiming that Germany, by expanding the scope of the scheme and making it more flexible, “is doing precisely what should be done in deep recessions”. Dominic Rushe attributes a substantial portion of the difference between the US unemployment crisis and Germany’s moderate bump in jobless numbers to Kurzarbeit, while the Economist claims that for many experts, “the model for a Covid-19 furlough scheme has been Germany’s”.
3rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

In Spain, As Everywhere, The Question Is Whether Schools Can Reopen Safely. I Have Grave Doubts.

Over the next couple of weeks, as happens every year at this time, Spain will begin the return to academic activity. The problem is that this is a far-from normal year: let’s be honest, it’s been a deeply abnormal year; and nor is my country behaving like a normal nation. In short, it’s clear that Spain has managed the impact of Covid-19 badly. The term virus laggard, used recently by The Washington Post, is bang on target: Spain sits ninth in the world ranking of the number of infections, but only because those above it, with the exception of Peru, have much bigger populations. If we take a relative parameter, such as the number of deaths per million inhabitants, only Belgium and the aforementioned Peru surpass us, and it is very possible that the Belgian case is due to different accounting criteria.
3rd Sep 2020 - Forbes

Arrest of Australia anti-lockdown activist sparks outcry

Australian police on Thursday defended arresting a pregnant woman in her home for a Facebook post promoting a rally against virus lockdowns, as footage of the incident went viral and triggered a civil liberties debate. The livestreamed video shows officers handcuffing the woman in front of her two children and has racked up millions of views online. The woman Zoe Buhler, told local media Thursday that she had posted the protest plans without knowing it was illegal in the locked-down state of Victoria, which is battling a major outbreak of Covid-19.
3rd Sep 2020 - FRANCE 24

Pregnant mum arrested and charged for allegedly advocating against coronavirus lockdown in Australia

A pregnant woman was handcuffed by police in front of her children and led away in her pyjamas in Australia after allegedly inciting activists to demonstrate against the coronavirus lockdown. Zoe Buhler's partner helped her livestream the arrest on Wednesday at her home where she lives with two children, aged three and four, in the Victoria state city of Ballarat. The video has been viewed millions of times.
3rd Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Covid: Australian anti-lockdown suspect's arrest draws controversy

The arrest of a woman in Australia for promoting an anti-lockdown protest online has drawn criticism, after video of the incident went viral. Footage shows officers handcuffing pregnant woman Zoe-Lee Buhler, 28, in her home in Victoria on Wednesday in front of her partner and children. She starts crying during the arrest, telling police: "I didn't realise I was doing anything wrong." Authorities have defended the officers, saying they acted appropriately. Victoria has been in lockdown since July to curb a coronavirus outbreak that has fuelled Australia's second wave
3rd Sep 2020 - BBC News

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Piers Corbyn claims coronavirus lockdown is 'psychological operation to close down the economy'

The brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has claimed the coronavirus lockdown is a "psychological operation to close down the economy". Piers Corbyn was arrested and slapped with a £10,000 fine for his part in anti-lockdown protests on Saturday which saw thousands descend on Trafalgar Square. The 73-year-old, a climate change denier who set up controversial weather forecasting business Weather Action, said on Twitter he had been handed the fixed penalty fine as "organiser".
2nd Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: Lockdown protesters ‘spit on’ and shout homophobic slurs at German health minister

Germany’s health minister has been subjected to homophobic abuse and allegedly spat on while attempting to engage with a crowd of anti-lockdown protesters, as opponents of the country’s pandemic restrictions appear increasingly emboldened. Jens Spahn faced down the two dozen or so demonstrators gathered outside a community centre in which he was campaigning on Sunday ahead of local elections in Bergisch-Gladbach. Now viral footage showed the Christian Democrats (CDU) politician appealing for calm from the crowd as some in the crowd yelled “disgrace” and “gay pig”. North Rhine-Westphalia Police said in a statement on Monday that they had no evidence that the minister was spat on, but that a criminal complaint had been filed against a 39-year-old man who “insulted” Mr Spahn.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Independent

German minister spat at and verbally abused at Covid protest

Germany’s health minister was jeered, spat at and targeted by homophobic abuse as the countrywide protests of a vocal minority of people against coronavirus restrictions has taken on an increasingly aggressive tone. The Conservative politician Jens Spahn, a key figure in Germany’s handling of the pandemic, on Saturday tried to confront a crowd of protesters outside an event ahead of local elections in North-Rhine Westphalia. A video of the encounter in Bergisch Gladbach shows Spahn, who is gay, taking off his mask to speak to demonstrators only to be drowned out by audible shouts of “shame”, “go away”, and “gay pig”. A campaign event in Münster scheduled for Monday night was moved to an indoor venue at short notice.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

German SPD leader can call anti-lockdown protesters 'Covidiots', prosecutors say

Anti-lockdown protesters and face-mask refusers can be called “Covidiots”, German prosecutors said on Wednesday, dismissing legal complaints against Social Democrat co-leader Saskia Esken who used the term on Twitter. Prosecutors in Berlin, who had received hundreds of complaints accusing Esken of slander, said she was exercising her constitutional right to express her opinion. Esken’s SPD party is the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative-led ruling coalition. In an Aug. 1 tweet, Esken said protesters at a Berlin march threatened the health of others by violating social distancing rules and ignoring requirements to wear face masks. “The pointed term ‘Covidiot’ is, as an expression of opinion in the political discourse in the coronavirus pandemic, not liable for prosecution and is covered by the constitutionally protected freedom of speech,” prosecutors said.
2nd Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID-19 Pandemic Conspiracy Theories Are Taking Over German Democracy

The Berlin government tried, but failed, to ban the protests on public safety grounds. But the demonstrations may have a positive, if unintended, effect: they are already jolting Germany and Europe awake to a new wave of political disinformation aimed right at the heart of European democracy. Berlin’s coronavirus pandemic management has been the source of global admiration and pride at home, and it has driven government approval to new heights. German Chancellor Angela Merkel enjoys a 71 percent approval rating. Her health minister, Jens Spahn, has 60 percent support. And her Social Democratic Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, the architect of Germany’s coronavirus rescue package, is at 57 percent approval.
2nd Sep 2020 - Foreign Policy

Coronavirus Australia: Tony Abbott calls for lockdown lift

Tony Abbott wants Australia to lift all travel bans immediately amid COVID-19. He argues the economic devastation isn't proportionate to health risks of virus. Mr Abbott criticised Dan Andrews' strict lockdown in Victoria in particular. He said lockdown was most restrictive globally aside from epicentre Wuhan. New modelling suggests cases in Victoria could fall below ten within a week. University of South Australia's Adrian Esterman said infections dwindling fast
2nd Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Three men arrested ahead of planned anti-lockdown protest in Victoria

Police in Victoria have arrested a pregnant 28-year-old woman in front of her partner and two children for planning an anti-lockdown protest in regional Victoria this weekend. Police arrested the woman, Zoe Buhler, at her home in Miners Rest near Ballarat on Wednesday after she created a “freedom day” event on Facebook calling for people to protest against the Victorian government’s lockdown measures.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Guardian on MSN.com

Tony Abbott accuses Daniel Andrews of running 'health dictatorship', slams Australia's virus response

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has defended travelling to the UK where he took a swipe at Australia's coronavirus response, slamming Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for running a "health dictatorship". Speaking in London to the UK think-tank Policy Exchange, Mr Abbott said some of the lockdown measures taken in Australia had gone too far. "My plea is for us to be very careful about further lockdowns because the consequences of lockdowns are enormous," Mr Abbott said.
2nd Sep 2020 - 9News

Pregnant woman arrested in Ballarat for creating anti-lockdown protest event on Facebook

Police in Victoria have arrested a pregnant 28-year-old woman in front of her partner and two children for planning an anti-lockdown protest in regional Victoria this weekend. Police arrested the woman, Zoe Buhler, at her home in Miners Rest near Ballarat on Wednesday after she created a “freedom day” event on Facebook calling for people to protest against the Victorian government’s lockdown measures. “As some of you may have seen the government has gone to extreme measures and are using scare tactics through the media to prevent the Melbourne protest,” the now-deleted event description read. “Here in Ballarat we can be a voice for those in stage four lockdowns. We can be seen and heard and hopefully make a difference!”
2nd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Hungary exempts some visitors from border lockdown, riles EU

Hungary has decided to exempt tourists visiting from three neighbouring states from a lockdown of its borders that took effect on Tuesday, provided they test negative for COVID-19 beforehand, prompting a rebuke from the European Commission. The EU executive said Hungary’s move to admit visitors from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia but not from other EU member states amounted to discrimination and was illegal. Hungary said last week it would close its borders to foreigners from Tuesday to curb a rise in coronavirus cases. Returning Hungarian citizens can leave a 14-day quarantine only if they provide two negative COVID tests.
2nd Sep 2020 - Reuters

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Covid-19 coronavirus: US avoids joint vaccine plan that aims to prevent hoarding

The White House today pushed back on concerns expressed by the World Health Organisation after a United States health official said a coronavirus vaccine might be approved without completing full trials. Separately the Trump Administration said it will not join a global effort to develop, manufacture and distribute a coronavirus vaccine, in part because the WHO is involved. The Washington Post reports that the decision to spurn the Covax facility could shape the course of the pandemic and America's role in health diplomacy. Covax aims to speed vaccine development and avoid the hoarding of supplies. It would secure doses for all countries and distribute them to the most high-risk people. The plan is backed by New Zealand, Britain, Japan, Germany, Canada and the European Commission. Countries are still able to pursue bilateral deals with firms on vaccines.
2nd Sep 2020 - New Zealand Herald

The UK's Anti-Lockdown Movement Has Welcomed David Icke and QAnon Believers

At London's "Freedom Rally", David Icke was cheered on by crowds waving placards peddling everything from anti-mask statements to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory.
1st Sep 2020 - VICE

Anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine and anti-mask protesters crowd London's Trafalgar Square

Police urged demonstrators to disperse under social distancing laws on Saturday after several thousand anti-lockdown, anti-mask and anti-vaccine protestors gathered in London's Trafalgar Square. The Unite For Freedom rally saw a vast mask-free crowd carrying signs and placards including "World Hoax Organisation" and "Masks are muzzles." Many demanded an end to government health measures and the right to catch coronavirus — should it even exist — without state interference. Key speakers at the event included conspiracy theorists David Icke and Piers Corbyn.
1st Sep 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus Russia: Teachers’ union warns staff could be forced to take unproven Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine

A Russian teachers’ union has warned its members could find themselves coerced into taking the country’s new coronavirus vaccine, which has been shipped to clinics and approved for use before phase three trials have been completed. Russia is the first country to licence a Covid-19 vaccine, calling it “Sputnik V” in homage to the famous Soviet satellite, but Western experts have warned against its use until all internationally approved testing and regulatory steps have been taken, a call dismissed by Moscow. The vaccine will be mandatory for members of Russia’s armed forces, according to Vladimir Putin’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu, but offered to teachers and doctors on an entirely voluntary basis. However, Uchitel, a small independent teachers’ union, has launched a petition to ensure no mandatory measure is imposed on its members ahead of the reopening of schools on 1 September.
1st Sep 2020 - The Independent

Melbourne anti-lockdown protest organiser calls coronavirus a ‘scam’

A Victorian man who was arrested after planning a Melbourne anti-lockdown rally has said he hopes “tens of thousands” will attend a new protest this Saturday. According to A Current Affair, Windsor resident Solihin Millin was charged with inciting others to breach the chief health officer’s directions last week. The 76-year-old has remained defiant despite his arrest, telling the program the September 5 demonstrations, set to take place across Australia’s capital cities and dubbed “Freedom Day” by supporters, will continue – although if he attends, it will be a breach of his bail conditions. Mr Millin, whose social media profiles are littered with coronavirus conspiracy theory material, labelled the coronavirus pandemic a “scam” and said the planned protest posed no threat to the public.
1st Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Two men charged with planning Melbourne anti-lockdown protest

Police in Victoria have charged two men over the “coordination and encouragement” of an anti-lockdown protest to be held in Melbourne on Saturday. Victoria police said the men, a 28-year-old from Coburg and a 38-year-old from Epping, had been arrested and charged with incitement after officers searched their homes on Tuesday morning. In a statement, police said officers seized several items including mobile phones, laptops and postage items. The men have both been bailed to appear at the Melbourne magistrates court on 4 February. Dreamed up by a coalition of online groups broadly linked around a mishmash of conspiracy theories, the so-called Day of Freedom protest scheduled for 5 September has been planned in defiance of lockdown restrictions, mandates on mask-wearing in Victoria, 5G, vaccinations and “child trafficking and pedophilia”.
1st Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Meet Germany’s Bizarre Anti-Lockdown Protesters

A strange mix of conspiracy theorists, far-right extremists and ordinary citizens have taken to the streets. Why?...
31st Aug 2020 - The New York Times

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 1st Sep 2020

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Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine might be dividing Christians, but many resist the 'anti-vaxxer' label

The Catholic Church obviously teaches against abortion, and I agree with the Church in that stance," he says. "If the child was killed yesterday or 50 years ago, it was still a horrible situation. Morality isn't defined by how long ago something happened, it's a constant." Hieu's concerns about the Oxford University vaccine are shared by many Christians and religious leaders.
31st Aug 2020 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Coronavirus: COVID-19 vaccine a 'fantasy' - controversial epidemiologist Simon Thornley

A Kiwi epidemiologist who thinks the country should give up trying to eliminate COVID-19 says we shouldn't be pinning our hopes on a vaccine. New Zealand's strategy of elimination - clamping down wherever the virus rears its head in an effort to prevent wider outbreaks - has been hailed by global health officials, and seen us record some of the lowest per capita infection and mortality rates in the world. For more than 100 days there were no detected cases of the virus in the community, a golden run that had New Zealanders enjoying more freedoms than most others. That all came to a screeching halt earlier this month, with the detection of four new cases in Auckland that couldn't be - and still haven't been - linked to a known source. University of Auckland specialist Simon Thornley, who has long advocated against locking down to stop the virus, says it's time to accept it's here to stay and ditch the lockdowns. He praised the few hundred people who at the weekend who gathered in downtown Auckland - mostly without masks - to protest against the level 3 restrictions.
31st Aug 2020 - Newshub

Coronavirus recession risks homelessness on a 'scale unseen' before

Homelessness in Australia had spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic and might reach unprecedented levels in a deep recession, according to community groups calling for a multibillion-dollar social housing building program that would also stimulate the economy. Peak body Homelessness Australia says the severity of the recession's impact on the vulnerable will hinge on the federal government's intervention. It said support services were already "inundated" as surging unemployment and family violence took a toll on people's living arrangements.
31st Aug 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Australian diplomatic cables from China detail early confused weeks of coronavirus emergency

Previously unseen diplomatic correspondence has given new insights into how little Australian officials knew of the COVID-19 emergency as it unfolded in China's Hubei province at the beginning of the year. The partly redacted cables suggest Australia's missions in China did not begin sending detailed situational reports back to Canberra until late January, with the updates largely based on local official statements.
31st Aug 2020 - ABC News

Australian Religious Leaders Criticize ‘Immoral’ COVID-19 Vaccine Deal

A coronavirus deal signed by Australia with an international drug company is raising ethical concerns among prominent church leaders. Australia has signed a deal with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce and distribute a vaccine being developed by Britain's Oxford University... if the treatment works. But three of Australia's most senior archbishops have written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging him to reconsider the agreement, saying the use of "fetal tissue” in the research is “deeply immoral.” “To use that tissue then for science is reprehensible,” said Glenn Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. “Once I know something that is morally compromised, it is my job to speak out about it.” The Oxford University study uses embryonic kidney cells harvested from a female fetus in the Netherlands in 1973.
30th Aug 2020 - VOA Asia

Germany coronavirus: Anger after attempt to storm parliament

Demonstrators, many with far-right sympathies, broke through a cordon and ran up the steps of the parliament building before police dispersed them. The interior minister said there should be "zero tolerance" for such behaviour. Some 38,000 turned out for the wider, largely peaceful Berlin demonstration. Demonstrators bearing the flag of former imperial Germany - used by the Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) far-right group - overcame a handful of police to run to the entrance of the Reichstag Building in Berlin. Police put the number involved at several hundred.
30th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Elites are flouting coronavirus restrictions -- and that could hurt us all

When countries impose restrictions to combat coronavirus, there's an implicit pact between the government and people: we're all in this together. So when the powerful or influential break the rules, it provokes fierce public anger and puts society's inequalities on full view. EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, who resigned from his post Wednesday for breaking Ireland's coronavirus restrictions by attending a political golf society event with 80 other people, was just the latest member of the political elites to be caught flouting the rules. Ireland's Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary had already resigned over the so-called Golfgate scandal. The dinner was held a day after the government in which he served, facing a surge in cases, imposed restrictions -- effective immediately -- that limited indoor gatherings to six people, down from the 50 previously allowed.
30th Aug 2020 - CNN

‘Nobody has anything for people like me’: Coronavirus has brought caste discrimination back to India

Millions of migrant workers made arduous journeys to their villages after India imposed the world’s largest lockdown in March. Back in the rural hinterland, many say caste discrimination is reversing even the small economic and social gains they eked out in the cities. In the village of Aston, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, Raju Banskar, 33, says the double stigma of coming from a lower caste and having travelled from New Delhi where the coronavirus is spreading has made it impossible to find a job. In the city, construction work fuelled by India’s decades-long economic boom brought him 250 rupees to 300 rupees (£2.50-£3) a day, and few paid attention to his caste.
28th Aug 2020 - The Independent

Why are Australian church leaders opposing the Oxford coronavirus vaccine?

Australian church leaders have raised objections to a potential Covid-19 vaccine under development at the University of Oxford over concerns it contains cell lines “from an electively aborted human foetus.” The objections were sent in a letter to the prime minister, Scott Morrison, last week, cosigned by Catholic archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher, Anglican archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies, and Greek Orthodox archbishop of Australia Makarios Griniezakis. However, scientists say the development process is a proven method and church priorities should be on ensuring public health against the coronavirus. The Vatican itself has in the past released statements permitting the use of vaccines drawn from foetal cell lines if no alternatives are available.
26th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th Aug 2020

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Libya's Tripoli government imposes COVID-19 curfew after protests escalate

Libya’s Tripoli-based government has announced a 24-hour curfew to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus as it struggles to contain protests over deteriorating living conditions and corruption. The curfew, which took effect on Wednesday night, was imposed by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) three days after protests in the capital and the nearby town of Zawiya began to escalate. The decision exempts people who need to go out for essential food or medicine at nearby shops, but it angered protest supporters who posted messages online saying it was designed to prevent further demonstrations.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Weekly COVID-19 cases in England down - but test and trace misses 80% target for ninth consecutive week

The UK has reported its highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since 12 June. A total of 1,522 people received a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 test on Thursday, despite infection rates remaining well below those in Spain, France and other parts of Europe suffering a resurgence of the disease. The latest daily new case total figure is up from 1,048 on Wednesday. It is the highest daily new case total since before non-essential shops reopened to the public in England on 15 June, and restaurants and pubs resumed operations on 4 July.
27th Aug 2020 - Sky News

China Calls It A 'Wartime Mode' COVID-19 Lockdown. And Residents Are Protesting

Except in Xinjiang. A sweeping, western region nearly four times the size of California, Xinjiang remains largely cut off from the rest of the country and its some 22 million residents under heavy lockdown, an effort officials say is needed to contain a cluster of more than 800 officially diagnosed cases. In mid-July, officials declared a "wartime mode" for the region. Community officials continue to go door to door, sealing doors with paper strips, tape and in some cases metal bars, to prevent residents from leaving their homes. The region has effectively been penned off from the rest of the country, meaning scant information about the lockdown has emerged. In July, Xinjiang's train stations were closed, intercity bus routes canceled, and centralized quarantine imposed on residents returning to the region.
27th Aug 2020 - NPR

Dandenong anti-lockdown protests against stage 4 coronavirus restrictions 'very concerning': local MP

The Victorian Government says it is working to deliver support and information into communities in Melbourne's outer south-east, where anti-lockdown protests have been held over the past few days in breach of physical-distancing restrictions. Police said officers issued nine fines and arrested four men who joined a "recurring protest" at the George Andrews Reserve on Wednesday. In a statement, police said anyone planning to attend future protests could expect to see a "highly visible police presence in the Dandenong area".
27th Aug 2020 - ABC News

New Zealand outraged after Twitter calls country ‘hellhole’ over lockdown rules

New Zealand has been the target of criticism by lockdown opponents overseas who have slammed its COVID-19 policies as too strict. When an overseas Twitter account described New Zealand as a “hellhole” this week because of the country’s current lockdown rules, New Zealanders on Twitter responded in the best possible way: by sharing photos of their day and describing what life is like in the New Zealand “hellhole” with a good dose of Kiwi sarcasm. “You can’t leave. And you can’t easily have people in. And you’re back in lockdown in major parts of the country. And the quarantine camps are public knowledge. Your country is a hellhole,” the account @LockdownNo replied to a New Zealander on Twitter.
27th Aug 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Data on Covid care home deaths kept secret 'to protect commercial interests'

Covid-19 death tolls at individual care homes are being kept secret by regulators in part to protect providers’ commercial interests before a possible second coronavirus surge, the Guardian can reveal. England’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Care Inspectorate in Scotland are refusing to make public which homes or providers recorded the most fatalities amid fears it could undermine the UK’s care system, which relies on private operators. In response to freedom of information requests, the regulators said they were worried that the supply of beds and standards of care could be threatened if customers left badly affected operators. The CQC and Care Inspectorate share home-by-home data with their respective governments – but both refused to make it public.
27th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th Aug 2020

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Berlin bans protest against coronavirus curbs

The city of Berlin will put thousands of police on the streets at the weekend to enforce a ban on demonstrations opposing measures imposed to stem the coronavirus pandemic after marchers at a recent rally failed to wear masks or keep their distance. Andreas Geisel, the Berlin interior senator, said the authorities had decided to ban the protest after weighing up the importance of the right to freedom of assembly with the need to protect people against infection. “We are still in the middle of a pandemic with rising infection figures,” he said.
26th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

'Freedom Day' protests against coronavirus lockdown slammed by Daniel Andrews

Tens of thousands of Australians are preparing to participate in “Freedom Day” protests against coronavirus restrictions. Predominantly in Victoria - but with others planned elsewhere across Australia - COVID sceptics are voicing their intention to rally. The date they have marked in their calendars is September 5.
26th Aug 2020 - 7NEWS.com.au

U.S. health agency says testing not needed for some exposed to COVID-19, drawing criticism

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this week that people exposed to COVID-19 but not symptomatic may not need to be tested, shocking doctors and politicians and prompting accusations the guidance was politically motivated. The advice marks a reversal of the agency’s previous position recommending testing for all close contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19. Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the goal was “appropriate testing,” not more testing for its own sake, and that there was no political pressure from the administration behind the decision. CNN and The New York Times reported on Wednesday that U.S. public health officials were ordered by high-level members of the Trump administration to push forward with the changes.
26th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Aug 2020

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Face masks in schools: Boris Johnson performs U-turn on advice

Boris Johnson has abandoned advice that pupils should not wear face masks in English secondary schools. The prime minister performed his latest U-turn in the face of growing pressure from headteachers, teaching unions and medical experts. Face coverings will be mandatory for children in all schools that lie in areas subject to stricter coronavirus restrictions.
25th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Covid-19: Boris Johnson admits school face mask advice might change

Advice on wearing masks in schools in England will shift if the medical evidence is persuasive, Boris Johnson has said as pressure mounts from schools and unions. “On the issue of whether or not to wear masks in some contexts – you know, we’ll look at the the changing medical evidence as we go on,” the prime minister told reporters on Tuesday. “If we need to change the advice then of course we will.” No 10’s initial advice that masks could impede communication between teachers and staff and have little health benefit had been rapidly overtaken by events as dozens of schools took the unilateral decision to provide face coverings. The Scottish government has confirmed that secondary schools would be given “obligatory” guidance that pupils should wear face coverings in corridors, communal areas and school buses from next Monday.
25th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Behind the ‘freedom day’ mass protest being planned across Australia

Coronavirus conspiracy theorists are trying to recruit half a million people for a mass protest calling for Victoria to end its lockdown and Australia to get its freedom back. The ‘500,000 to End the Vic Lockdown & celebrate freedom!’ event on Facebook already has more than 35,000 people listed as attending on September 5, with a further 23,000 saying they’re interested. “The Andrews government must be made accountable for overseeing the biggest public health disaster in Australian history,” the event description reads. “500,000 Australians shall declare the END of the state of emergency. “Dan Andrews – Get out of our lives. We can manage our own wellbeing.” The protesters plan to meet at a location that will be announced on the day.
25th Aug 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Coronavirus Australia: Victorians urged to claim cash compensation over lockdown

Victorians are being urged to try and claim cash compensation from the state government for the “unreasonable” lockdown in a shock move that could cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson has revealed she is urging families and businesses to consider pursuing compensation after the Victorian Premier announced he will extend the state of emergency for a year. It follows confirmation that Jim‘s Mowing founder Jim Penman is offering to lodge multiple compo claims for franchise owners who are now banned from mowing the lawn. “For Victorians who’ve suffered loss from unreasonable state emergency restrictions, there’s the option to pursue compensation,‘’ Senator Henderson said. “The Public Health and Wellbeing Act provides this important right. Proud to stand up for those who need support including in regional communities.
25th Aug 2020 - NEWS.com.au

China's Xinjiang residents yell from balconies as strict coronavirus lockdown drags on

An outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Xinjiang last month saw local authorities impose strict measures, which have seen residents of the autonomous region's largest city, Urumqi, banned from leaving their homes since July 18. More than 900 cases of the virus have been recorded in Xinjiang since the outbreak began, however no new cases of the virus have been recorded since August 16, and residents in the lockdown zones are now desperate to be let out. The footage was widely shared on the Chinese social media platforms WeChat and Weibo over the weekend, but censors have since deleted many posts featuring the clips.
25th Aug 2020 - ABC News

New Zealand First joins National in calling for parliamentary committee to scrutinise COVID-19 response

New Zealand First has joined National's call to reconvene Parliament's Health Select Committee so that MPs can scrutinise the Government's COVID-19 response in a public setting. National's health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti has written to Health Select Committee chair Louisa Wall twice now to request the committee convene and call on Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Health Minister Chris Hipkins to appear.
25th Aug 2020 - Newshub

New Thinking on Covid Lockdowns: They’re Overly Blunt and Costly

...Still, because of the close connection between the pandemic and economic activity, many epidemiologists and economists say the economy can’t recover while the virus is out of control. “The virus is going to determine when we can safely reopen,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in April. The Federal Reserve said in late July that “the path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus.”
25th Aug 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Aug 2020

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Nicola Sturgeon responds to concerns that targets reducing delayed discharges led to Covid-19 finding its way into care homes

A letter published in the Sunday Post showed reportedly revealed the pressure placed on health boards to move patients out of hospital.
24th Aug 2020 - The Scotsman

Ross: NZ needs a new strategy to combat Covid-19

Auckland will remain at Alert Level 3 until 11.59 pm on Sunday, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at 3pm today. The ultimate goal, she said, is managing this cluster from Level Two as soon as we feel confident we can do that. Restrictions were due to be lifted on Wednesday which would have marked two weeks at Alert Level 3. Reacting to the extension of Level Three restrictions in Auckland until 11.59pm this Sunday 30 August, Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross says, “The Prime Minister’s insistence that New Zealand does not need a new Covid-19 strategy is wrong. The decision today to extend the Level 3 lockdown in Auckland, and Level 2 elsewhere shows that the Government has no other strategy than continued rolling lockdowns. “The active case rate in New Zealand is not slowing, meaning this is unlikely to be the last of increased Covid-19 Level restrictions,” Ross, Advance NZ co-leader says.
24th Aug 2020 - Times Online - Auckland

Anti-lockdown mums opposing vaccine and face masks join forces with convicted racist

Anti-lockdown mums who oppose the use of masks and vaccines to tackle ­coronavirus have joined forces with a boxing coach convicted of a bizarre racist rant. The Saving Perth group – who also protest against social distancing – have held ­demonstrations in the town in recent weeks. But after counter-protestors turned up to rubbish their stance, they recruited several men to their ranks.
24th Aug 2020 - Daily Record

Chandigarh shopkeepers protest weekend lockdown

City traders today held a protest against the decision of the UT Administration to close all shops on weekends, except those selling essential items, on weekends. Anil Vohra, president, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said it was unfortunate that the UT Administration announced the weekend lockdown for shopkeepers only. This despite the fact that most cases were being reported from residential areas, villages and government offices in the city, he added. “The Administration has adopted a pick-and-choose policy. How will we survive and pay rent, employees’ salary, electricity and water bills and other taxes?” Vohra asked.
24th Aug 2020 - The Tribune

Xinjiang residents protest online against virus lockdown

Residents in China's northwestern Xinjiang region have complained on social media about what they say are harsh coronavirus lockdown measures in the sensitive region after a local outbreak. China -- where the disease first emerged -- had largely brought domestic transmission under control through lockdowns, travel restrictions and testing, but sporadic regional outbreaks have emerged. A new cluster in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi in mid-July prompted fresh restrictions, with 902 cases officially reported. Officials said this month they had "effectively contained" the spread of the Urumqi cluster, and there have been no new cases reported in the past eight days. But hundreds of local residents have gone on to local social media forums in recent days to complain about harsh conditions.
24th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

Xinjiang residents protest online after China imposed 'harsh coronavirus measures'

The Muslim-inhabited Chinese region was erupted by a COVID-19 crisis in July Officials ordered strict lockdowns and mass-testing to battle Xinjiang's outbreak Hundreds of residents protested online against the alleged harsh lockdown rules People claim that they are trapped in their homes and forced to take medicine
24th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Aug 2020

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Revealed: Emergency plans to protect UK if second coronavirus spike coincides with no-deal Brexit

Emergency plans drawn up by the government to protect the UK if a second coronavirus spike coincides with a no-deal Brexit have been revealed. A Cabinet Office "reasonable worst-case scenario" document, dated July 2020, has been leaked to The Sun newspaper. A government spokeswoman said it "reflects a responsible government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities".
23rd Aug 2020 - Sky News

HK raises concerns over China involvement in COVID-19 tests

Hong Kong has been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic and is now joining the global race for a vaccine. The city is also launching voluntary mass coronavirus testing next month to combat what is being seen as a third wave. The government has enlisted the help of medical experts from mainland China, but, as Al Jazeera's Divya Gopalan reports, not everyone supports the move.
23rd Aug 2020 - Aljazeera.com

‘A toxic scandal’: Ireland becomes a test case on how NOT to battle COVID-19

Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture and deputy chairperson of the Senate resigned Friday after attending an 80-person dinner, directly contravening the guidelines of their own government
23rd Aug 2020 - MarketWatch

Macron: 'Reasonable prospect' of having coronavirus vaccine ready in 'coming months'

French President Emmanuel Macron said a vaccine against coronavirus could soon be ready, as he spoke at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. The French president is optimistic the cure will arrive "in the coming months" and hailed the EU cooperation on the matter during his speech in Fort Brégançon, in the south-east of France. "We have improved European cooperation on the vaccine together, by associating many other States and the Commission" in encouraging EU manufacturers to look for vaccines, he said. "And to ensure that we will have the capacity to produce them and deliver them to our populations when they are available," the president stressed.
22nd Aug 2020 - Euronews

South Korea, China hold highest-level talks since COVID-19 outbreak

South Korea said on Saturday it held talks with China’s top diplomat over trade, denuclearisation and the coronavirus response, in the first visit by a high-level Beijing official since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted late last year.
22nd Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Peru: 13 killed as police raid club breaking coronavirus curbs

About 120 people in Lima tried to flee a party, banned under current coronavirus restrictions, when police arrived.
22nd Aug 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Australia signs deal for Oxford University coronavirus vaccine as Scott Morrison vows to make it 'as mandatory as you can'

Australia has ordered 25 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University, in partnership with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, the country's prime minister has said. Scott Morrison promised to make the vaccine "as mandatory as you can" in an interview with Melbourne’s 3AW radio station,
22nd Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

Queensland introduces coronavirus restrictions as second NSW quarantine guard tests positive

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reports nine new Covid-19 cases, including six linked to Brisbane youth detention centre, as NSW announces another nine infections
22nd Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Local virus outbreak in Myanmar sparks fears for Rohingya camps

Rohingya in Myanmar's conflict-wracked Rakhine state expressed fears Sunday of a coronavirus outbreak reaching their overcrowded camps, after a spate of infections sent the state capital into lockdown. Nearly 130,000 Rohingya Muslims live in what Amnesty International describes as "apartheid" conditions in camps around Sittwe. The city has recorded 48 cases in the past week, making up more than 10 percent of the about 400 cases so far registered in Myanmar
23rd Aug 2020 - FRANCE 24

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Aug 2020

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Russia to send 2,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico for testing

Mexico will receive 2,000 doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine from Russia for the third stage of clinical trials, according to Foreign Secretary of Mexico Marcelo Ebrard. According to Ebrard, Moscow offered at least 2,000 doses of the vaccine to Mexico to start testing it, El Universal newspaper wrote. The testing is expected to begin in September. On Wednesday, Ebrard met with Russian Ambassador to Mexico Viktor Koronelli and the parties discussed the Sputnik V vaccine.
21st Aug 2020 - TASS

Biden’s pandemic challenge: A unified plan for a divided country

Joe Biden is preparing to take office in January with a unified national plan to defeat Covid-19, but he won't have a unified nation ready to follow it. The former vice president and Democratic nominee is putting together a centralized federal strategy for testing, contact tracing, and shoring up the medical supply chain that would replace the patchwork of state plans that enabled the virus to spread widely under President Donald Trump.
21st Aug 2020 - Politico

As coronavirus surges, Spain's back-to-school plans sow confusion, anger

With coronavirus cases surging and less than two weeks of the school holidays left, parents, teachers and opposition politicians in Spain are angry at the government’s plans for reopening classrooms. Latest government data showed daily infections peaked at 7,609 on Friday - their highest since late March - before dropping to 3,349 on Thursday. However, the fall may not represent a trend as similar declines have been followed by new peaks in recent weeks. “Don’t be confused: things are not going well,” health emergency chief Fernando Simon told reporters. Pablo Casado, leader of the conservative opposition People’s Party, accused Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s leftist government of keeping the country guessing on the reopening of schools.
20th Aug 2020 - Reuters

New Zealand lockdown was unlawful for first nine days, High Court rules

The first nine days of New Zealand's coronavirus lockdown were unlawful, the High Court has ruled. Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale had sought a judicial review in relation to three matters relating to the New Zealand government’s initial response to the pandemic. The judges ruled in his favour on one matter, finding that the requirement for New Zealanders to stay at home for the nine-day period between March 26 and April 3 was justified, but unlawful. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered residents to stay at home from March 26 and the court found that legislation allowing authorities to enforce the lockdown measures was not written into law April 3.
20th Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: Female leaders do better job of saving lives in pandemic

Countries led by women fared “systematically and significantly better” in the battle against coronavirus, locking down earlier and suffering half as many deaths as those led by men, according to a new study of country-by-country responses. The analysis of 194 countries confirms the early anecdotal observations that female leaders appeared to be doing a better job at containing the pandemic than their male counterparts, crediting the difference to “the proactive and co-ordinated policy responses” favoured by the women. Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, Sanna Marin, prime minister of Finland, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan, are among the women leaders praised for their early successes against the pandemic. The authors, developmental economists from the universities of Liverpool and Reading, set out to examine all the available country datasets to see if the trend was real.
20th Aug 2020 - The Times

Former Attorney General reacts to unlawful lockdown ruling

The Attorney-General could appeal against a ruling that the first nine days of the lockdown was unlawful. The High Court says it was justified but that people weren't legally required to stay home until April 3. Former Attorney General and barrister, Chris Finlayson, told Mike Hosking the Attorney-General would want to have a good look at the judgement. “David Parker has 20 working days to decide whether he'll lodge an appeal. But I consider it to be a very solid judgement.” Tim Stephens, from the New Zealand Law Society, says there probably won't be any practical implications. He says the most important thing about the ruling was vindication of the rule of law. Stephens says it's a declaration about the fact that government statements about what the law was -- were incorrect.
20th Aug 2020 - Newstalk ZB

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th Aug 2020

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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson told to 'get a grip' by Heathrow Airport boss as testing facility unveiled

Boris Johnson has been told to "get a grip" of his coronavirus quarantine policy as Heathrow Airport pushes for the 14-day isolation period to be shortened. The travel hub's chief executive told Sky News the prime minister needs to act swiftly to stop "holding back the recovery of the UK economy" due to the restrictions on many travellers arriving in the country. The airport has revealed plans for a new testing facility which it hopes will lead to the end of the two-week mandatory quarantine for those returning from countries removed from the UK's safe list.
19th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Virus Rages in South America With Governments Grasping for Clues

From mask rules that are a hodgepodge to inconsistent social distancing, South America’s response to the novel coronavirus has been all over the map. While the actual scope of the disease is unknown because of overall low testing, there are clear losers and a few early winners in a region that was already in bad shape heading into the crisis.
19th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Council leaders fail in last minute plea to end Aberdeen lockdown ahead of first minister’s press conference

The leaders of Aberdeen City Council have revealed they “do not support” an extension of the local lockdown measures – only minutes before First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced it would remain in place.
19th Aug 2020 - The Press and Journal

First days of New Zealand lockdown were unlawful, High Court finds

The New Zealand government exceeded its powers telling residents to stay at home in the first nine days of the coronavirus lockdown, the High Court has found. Public announcements Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and others made between March 26 and April 3 were justified, but went beyond the actual lockdown order made by Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield forbidding congregating, except with social distancing and shutting non-essential businesses.
19th Aug 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

New Zealand: First 9 days of coronavirus lockdown illegal but justified, says court

The lockdown in New Zealand for the first nine days imposed in March, restricting people to their homes to contain the spread of the coronavirus, was illegal but justified, a court said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. The court said that an order for restricting people at home was not passed till April 3, while calls for the same were made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other officials since March 26. So, the residents of New Zealand were unlawfully restricted to their homes for the first nine days, it added. “The government was trying to educate people about the health risks and transition them quickly to take actions that curtailed normal freedoms like staying at home to stop the spread of the virus,” Attorney General David Parker said after the verdict. “In the end, the measures taken by the government worked to eliminate Covid-19, save lives and minimise damage to our economy.”
19th Aug 2020 - Scroll

England axes health agency criticised for COVID-19 response

England will scrap the government agency responsible for responding to public health emergencies after the country has suffered the highest death rate in Europe from the coronavirus pandemic. Public Health England, a cornerstone of the state-run health system with responsibility for managing infectious disease outbreaks, will have many of its functions merged with the government’s contact tracing service into a new body to be known as the National Institute for Health Protection. “The National Institute for Health Protection will have a single and relentless mission, protecting people from external threats to this country’s health; external threats like biological weapons, pandemics, and of course, infectious diseases,” said Matt Hancock, Britain’s health minister. Dido Harding, the former chief executive of internet provider TalkTalk and the current head of the contact tracing service, will run the new institute.
19th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

New Zealand court rules part of early coronavirus lockdown was illegal

A New Zealand court on Wednesday found the first nine days of a hard lockdown put in place by the government earlier this year requiring people to isolate at home was justified, but unlawful. The ruling comes after Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale challenged the legality of steps taken in the early stages of the five-week lockdown, including calls by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other officials between March 26 and April 3 telling New Zealanders to stay at home. An order imposing stay at home restrictions was not passed until April 3, so New Zealanders rights and freedoms were unlawfully limited for those first nine days, the court said. “While there is no question that the requirement was a necessary, reasonable and proportionate response to the COVID-19 crisis at that time, the requirement was not prescribed by law,” the court said.
19th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

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White House coronavirus adviser Deborah Birx says she wishes US had locked down like Italy

Dr Deborah Birx, a key coronavirus adviser to the Trump administration, used a press conference in Arkansas yesterday to voice her regret about the US’s early response to the pandemic, saying she wished the country had followed the example set by Italy and locked down both harder and quicker. Her comments came with the US’s death rate stabilising at an average of roughly 1,000 per day, with the total death toll now above 170,000 – by far the world’s highest. Speaking to the press, Dr Birx appeared candid as she gave her thoughts on the US’s initial approach to the crisis. “I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy,” she told the assembled reporters. “But when Italy locked down, people weren’t allowed out of their houses and they couldn’t come out but once every two weeks to buy groceries for one hour, and they had to have a certificate that said they were allowed. “Americans don’t react well to that kind of prohibition.”
18th Aug 2020 - The Independent

Dr. Birx says she wishes America's lockdown looked like Italy's nationwide, total quarantine

Dr. Deborah Birx said Monday she wished America had gone into a total lockdown the way Italy did in early March. She said Italians were only allowed out to buy groceries once every two weeks. Dr Birx noted that Americans wouldn't have done well with restrictions like that. She advocated for the wearing of face masks and social distancing in America, saying it could save lives
18th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Trump calls out New Zealand’s 'terrible' Covid surge, on day it records nine new cases

Donald Trump has called out New Zealand for its recent Covid-19 outbreak, saying the places the world hailed as a success story is now facing a “big surge” in cases. “The places they were using to hold up now they’re having a big surge … they were holding up names of countries and now they’re saying ‘whoops!. “Do you see what’s happening in New Zealand? They beat it, they beat it, it was like front-page news because they wanted to show me something,” the US president said at a campaign rally in Mankato, Minnesota.
18th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Philippine capital's virus lockdown being eased

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to ease a mild lockdown in the capital and four outlying provinces to further reopen the country's battered economy despite having the most reported coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia. Most businesses, including shopping malls and dine-in restaurants, and Roman Catholic church services will be allowed to partially resume on Wednesday with restrictions, including masks and social distancing.
18th Aug 2020 - The Mainichi

If New Zealand's Covid-19 outbreak is 'terrible' like Trump says, then how bad is the rest of the world?

Speaking in Minnesota on Monday, United States President Donald Trump was apparently feeling vindicated. Referring to some nations now seeing a new wave of coronavirus cases, Trump said "they were holding up names of countries and now they're saying 'whoops'." "Even New Zealand, did you see what's going on in New Zealand? 'They beat it, they beat it.' It was like front page, they beat it, because they wanted to show me something," he added. "The problem is, big surge in New Zealand ... it's terrible." New Zealand reported nine new cases on Monday. The US reported tens of thousands. Only one state, Vermont, has fewer total cases than New Zealand, and could yet overtake it given the comparative stage of the two countries' outbreaks.
18th Aug 2020 - CNN

New Zealand anti-lockdown protest is mercilessly mocked online

A group of eight gathered in the middle of Auckland on Saturday to protest. Social media users commented and said they were within the ten person limits. Others wondered if the group were protesters, or whether they had gotten lost. Footage of the lackluster event on YouTube showed lonely protesters.
18th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Philippines reports 4,836 new coronavirus cases, seven deaths

The Philippines’ health ministry on Tuesday confirmed 4,836 novel coronavirus infections, the seventh straight day of reporting more than 3,000 cases, and seven additional deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases had increased to 169,213, while deaths had reached 2,687. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday eased the strict coronavirus lockdown in the capital Manila and nearby provinces to reopen the economy and help struggling businesses, despite the country having the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.
18th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

New Zealand's Ardern hits back at Trump over coronavirus 'surge'

Ardern said there was no comparison between New Zealand’s handful of new cases a day and the “tens of thousands” reported in the United States. “I think anyone who’s following COVID and its transmission globally will quite easily see that New Zealand’s nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States’ tens of thousands, and in fact does not compare to most countries in the world,” she told reporters. “Obviously it’s patently wrong,” she said of Trump’s comments. “We are still one of the best-performing countries in the world when it comes to COVID ... our workers are focused on keeping it that way.”
18th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

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Half of Brazilians think Bolsonaro has “no responsibility at all” for the 100000 pandemic's dead

Almost half of Brazilians think President Jair Bolsonaro bears “no responsibility at all” for the country’s more than 100,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s second-highest death toll, according to a new Datafolha poll. The poll was published on Saturday in Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper and says 47% of Brazilians do not assign him any blame for the body count, whereas 11% do. Brazil has the world’s worst outbreak outside of the United States and Bolsonaro’s response to the pandemic has been widely condemned by health experts. Right-wing Bolsonaro has pushed for the use of unproven anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to fight the disease, replaced health ministers who opposed his agenda, encouraged Brazilians to oppose lockdown measures and shown indifference to the rising death toll.
17th Aug 2020 - MercoPress

Thousands march in Berlin anti-lockdown protest

Up to 17,000 people, including libertarians and anti-vaccination activists, have marched in Berlin to protest against Germany's coronavirus regulations. Many flouted guidance on wearing masks and physical distancing as they accused the government of 'stealing our freedom'. While Germany had initial success in containing the virus, infections are rising and its R number has risen above one.
17th Aug 2020 - Yahoo! News

Anti-mask protests held across Spain as COVID-19 cases rise

Hundreds of people rallied on Sunday in Madrid to protest against the mandatory use of facemasks and other restrictions imposed by the Spanish government to contain the coronavirus pandemic. They chanted "freedom".
17th Aug 2020 - WION

Tony Blair warns another national lockdown is 'impossible' and blasts 14 day quarantine rules as too long - as he claims ministers have been over relying on experts during ...

Tony Blair today warned it will not be possible to impose another UK-wide coronavirus lockdown as he claimed ministers had got the Government's travel quarantine policy 'wrong'. The former prime minister said it was 'not credible' for the Government to repeat the sweeping draconian measures put in place back in March because of the economic damage another shut down would cause. He said Britons must learn to 'live with' the deadly disease until there is a vaccine and that a mass testing programme is the only way to keep the country moving.
17th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Surreal scenes inside Russia’s battle against the pandemic

Now, of course, the government has announced this Russian COVID-19 vaccine—that they are making it official for use. For some months the government has been saying how well it was progressing with the vaccine, and there were rumors that some important people had already been vaccinated. On the state-owned channel it’s a big story; they’re saying how good the vaccine will be for Russia’s financial markets, that it’s safe, that President Vladimir Putin’s daughter received it and is doing well, that there’s nothing to worry about. On Russian Twitter I’m seeing a lot more cynicism and sarcasm. “Our vaccinations didn’t undergo all necessary tests. What do I not understand?” “Oxford vaccine—42,000 volunteers for the third phrase of trials. Russia—76 people, there is no third phase (!!).”
17th Aug 2020 - National Geographic UK

Beijing art exhibition glorifies China's Covid-19 response

The world may be in the midst of a global pandemic, but visitors to a new Beijing exhibition could be forgiven for thinking the battle has already been won. A triumphant art show celebrating the "great spirit of the Chinese people" in fighting Covid-19 opened this month at the country's National Museum, near Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing. Through a collection of almost 180 artworks, including sculptures, watercolors and dramatic oil paintings of heroic doctors, the exhibition aims to document the initial coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan and its aftermath.
17th Aug 2020 - CNN

Europe Battles Second Wave Coronavirus Lockdowns As China Goes Mask Off, Party Time

The second wave of coronavirus is rolling into Europe. Whether or not this is a bad thing, or just something we will learn to live with, remains to be seen. Markets think we will learn to live with it. That’s the consensus view. But the risk, of course, is that European governments will react more in line with how the Australian and New Zealand government has reacted to mini-outbreaks and not like Sweden, or the southern states of the U.S.
17th Aug 2020 - Forbes

'I will never come to Australia again': new research reveals the suffering of temporary migrants during the COVID-19 crisis

In the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown in March, many temporary visa holders working in heavily casualised industries, such as hospitality and retail, lost their jobs and struggled to meet basic living expenses. These included international students, backpackers, graduates, sponsored workers and refugees, among others. Despite the devastating financial impact on these temporary migrants, the government excluded them from JobKeeper and JobSeeker. Instead, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said if they could not support themselves, it was time to go home.
17th Aug 2020 - The Conversation AU

Here's why lockdowns are the best economic solution, too

Auckland will be in level 3 restrictions for another 10 days, and the rest of the country in level 2. The purpose is to eliminate community transmission, but is the economic cost worth it? My read of the data so far is yes. It is still too early to conduct a complete analysis of the full costs and benefits of elimination as a strategy, and the use of lockdowns. But from my analysis of the data available so far, the evidence supports elimination as a strategy. Success depends on compliance with restrictions, fortitude by business and the public, and making sure we do not lift restrictions too early.
17th Aug 2020 - Stuff.co.nz

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Nearly half of Brazilians say Bolsonaro not to blame for coronavirus death toll, poll says

Almost half of Brazilians think President Jair Bolsonaro bears “no responsibility at all” for the country’s more than 100,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s second highest death toll, according to a new Datafolha poll. The poll was published on Saturday in Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper and says 47% of Brazilians do not assign him any blame for the body count, whereas 11% do.
16th Aug 2020 - Reuters

UK ministers were warned local lockdowns could fuel racial tensions

The government has been accused of being “tone deaf” for its sudden introduction of further lockdown restrictions in the north of England last month shortly after being warned that local interventions could fuel racial tensions. Documents released by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned that in areas with vulnerable or marginalised communities local interventions could make people feel stigmatised, damage trust in government and lead to social unrest. The document from a group of behavioural science experts known as SPI-B, dated 27 July, was provided to Sage for their meeting on 30 July. In it they noted that “marginalised and/or ethnic minority communities (eg BAME) which are already more susceptible to coronavirus due to wider structural inequalities may also be particularly vulnerable to the effects of local restrictions”.
16th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Fear of Covid is spreading faster than the virus

In that famous St Patrick’s Day address to the nation in March, Leo Varadkar said we needed to halt the spread of the coronavirus, but added that we also had to “halt the spread of fear”. I’m not sure we have succeeded in doing so. In fact, the government itself now seems to be seized by an excessive terror of Covid-19. A poll released a couple of weeks ago, by consultancy firm Kekst CNC, surveyed 6,000 people in Germany, the UK, France, America, Japan and Sweden. They were asked to estimate how many people in their country had contracted coronavirus and how many had died. In all six countries, respondents overestimated the true picture by several orders of magnitude.
16th Aug 2020 - The Times

French quarantine: we need nuance, Boris, not ruthlessness

Regional restrictions or testing would both be preferable to this blunt instrument that has left so many travellers bruised.
16th Aug 2020 - The Times

New Zealand delays election after virus outbreak in Auckland

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday chose to delay New Zealand’s national elections by four weeks as the country deals with a new coronavirus outbreak in its largest city, Auckland. The election had been scheduled for Sept. 19 but will now be held on Oct. 17. Under New Zealand law, Ardern had the option of delaying the election for up to about two months. Opposition parties had been requesting a delay after a virus outbreak in Auckland last week prompted the government to put the city into a two-week lockdown and halted election campaigning.
16th Aug 2020 - Associated Press

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Anti Face Mask Protester Delighted Sacked KFC worker reinstated and says “Stop Following Spain”

An anti face mask protester says “don’t follow Spain” as he celebrates the news of a sacked KFC worker being reinstated after refusing to wear a face mask. KFC worker in Bridgend, South Wales, Paul Candlin was dismissed for refusing to wear a face mask whilst at work. Candlin was fired on the spot by KFC bosses as he point blank refused to wear a mask designed to protect customers from Covid-19.
13th Aug 2020 - Euro Weekly News

Expats on Spain’s Costa del Sol vent their frustrations saying “we need to move on” from Coronavirus

Expats on Spain’s Costa del Sol are starting to vent their frustration and anger calling for governments to move on and want regulations dropped that are affecting businesses. As the Coronavirus remains at the top of the news on a daily basis, many people now are questioning why countries like Spain and the UK can’t move on. Whilst all countries around the world are still experiencing infections, businesses are still suffering, whilst recessions are at the forefront of minds in many quarters and appear to be adding to citizens frustrations across Europe.
13th Aug 2020 - Euro Weekly News

Trump gives the floor to his new anti-lockdown medical adviser Dr. Scott Atlas - who says coronavirus is LESS risky than flu for kids

Trump acknowledged Atlas at a White House event on opening schools. Said Atlas would talk at coronavirus task force meeting later Wednesday. He has advocated for 'herd' immunity. Spoke of the 'harms' of keeping children away from school Argued in April against 'mass isolation' measures. Previously warned against 'hysteria' of school closings
13th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Chinese Citizens Decry Extreme Lockdown Measures in Latest Virus Epicenters

Amid third-wave CCP virus outbreaks in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang and northeastern city of Dalian, authorities enacted strict quarantine rules, with some residents being harshly punished for breaking regulations. Some who spoke to The Epoch Times criticized authorities for their draconian measures.
13th Aug 2020 - The Epoch Times

Covid 19 coronavirus: Lockdown protest stops traffic in Whangārei

Traffic came to a halt in Whangārei this morning as protesters took to the streets to oppose the Government's Covid-19 social restrictions. About 60 people gathered at the Whangārei police station after people from two groups - FACTS NZ and Kotahitanga Movement Aotearoa - held separate marches walking from Forum North to the police station where both groups held a kōrero referencing how the Government's alert level system, among other things, violated their rights.
13th Aug 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Brazil state signs deal to make Russian vaccine

The Brazilian state of Parana signed a deal Wednesday to test and produce Russia's new coronavirus vaccine, though officials stressed they would have to be sure of its safety and effectiveness first. The vaccine would have to receive Brazilian regulatory approval and complete Phase 3 clinical trials, or large-scale testing in humans, before being produced in Brazil, said officials from the southern state. Production, if it goes ahead, would likely only start in the second half of 2021, said Jorge Callado, head of the state-run Parana Technology Institute, which signed the deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). "This is a very objective memorandum of understanding on technological exchange. It does not impose obligations, it simply enables us to work together," he told a virtual news conference.
13th Aug 2020 - Medical Xpress

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Covid 19 coronavirus: Destiny Church's Brian Tamaki says NZ should take to the streets if lockdown is extended

Destiny Church bishop Brian Tamaki has told his followers they should take to the streets if the New Zealand Government announces an extension to the current three-day lockdown in effect in Auckland. Speaking outside his church in South Auckland, across the road from a Covid-19 testing station, Tamaki said "there's another virus just as bad as Covid-19, it's called fear". At one point during the video, the bishop draws attention to a plane up in the sky, saying he thinks it's coming from China, "probably filled with non-English speaking people coming into our borders". He pointed the finger at the Government who he says is telling New Zealanders to close their front doors while keeping the borders open to "immigrants, refugees still, and people from countries where this Covid-19 pandemic has been very active".
12th Aug 2020 - New Zealand Herald

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Ireland's Strange Rule Punishing those Unemployed by COVID-19 Going Abroad

Irish workers who have become unemployed due to the Coronavirus pandemic are facing a kick in the teeth from their Government – which has said that they will also lose their welfare payments if they travel abroad against public guidance. While the Irish Government’s guidance is to avoid non-essential overseas travel, it has not banned movement in or out of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, in mid-July, the Government quietly introduced a new rule whereby those receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) – an enhanced social welfare payment for those unable to work because of the Coronavirus – would lose this income if they travelled abroad. This, in effect, has created a two-tier system – with the majority of the population able to travel freely, while those on PUP banned from doing so.
11th Aug 2020 - Byline Times

Coronavirus UK: Anti-lockdown activists storm Morrisons

A group of anti-mask activists has staged a protest inside a Morrisons, urging food shoppers to ‘resist the new world order agenda’. StandUp X members told the public to ‘ask questions’ and refuse to consent to coronavirus lockdowns, as they demonstrated inside the supermarket in Peckham, south London two weeks ago. The footage emerges after masks were made mandatory in more indoor settings – including museums, cinemas and places of worship – in England and Scotland on Friday. Demonstrators shouted ‘your masks are so bad for you’, while others claimed the British people were being ‘conditioned’, as customers looked on in Morrisons.
11th Aug 2020 - Metro.co.uk

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Philippines’ Duterte Accepts Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine Offer

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Russia’s offer of its coronavirus vaccine, volunteering to take the first shot as a gesture of trust and gratitude. “When the vaccine arrives, I will have myself injected in public. Experiment on me first, that’s fine with me,” he said in a briefing Monday night. Duterte -- who has called President Vladimir Putin as his “idol” and who’s seeking to boost ties with Russia -- added that Manila can assist Moscow in clinical trials and local production
11th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

In the next lockdown, schools should close last

For young people, coronavirus lockdowns have been a bewildering experience. Children have been plucked from classrooms and forced — at best — to make do with learning-by-Zoom. Some have been barred from taking exams they worked towards for years. From Tuesday, schools in Scotland will start to reopen; prime minister Boris Johnson is right to say there is a “moral duty” to ensure schools in England follow suit next month. Many other countries are doing the same, or locked in debates over how to do so. The return to school should be prioritised and safeguarded, even if virus cases start to rebound more broadly.
10th Aug 2020 - Financial Times

Coronavirus: Ministers seek to reassure over schools and lockdown eases in Wales

Ministers are pushing ahead with plans to have all school children in England back in classrooms next month, as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson seeks to reassure parents and teachers over the safety of such a move. Mr Williamson says research from a large global study suggests there is little evidence coronavirus is transmitted in schools. But one teaching union says pupils may have to be taught in class on a week-on, week-off basis in the event of local lockdowns.
10th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Royal Commission: Australia's COVID-19 aged care death rate one of the highest in the world

The rate of coronavirus deaths in Australia's aged care homes is among the highest in the world, a royal commission has heard. From inside her Glen Waverley aged care facility, Merle Mitchell told the royal commission of life in lockdown. "From the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep I'm sitting in my own room in my one chair," she said. "I know I'm here until I die so every time I wake up I think damn, I'm still alive. "I'm sure if you really ask most people here, they would all say they would rather be dead rather than be living here." The months of isolation are meant to protect residents.
10th Aug 2020 - 9News

Melbourne lockdown 'the worst-ever violation of Australia's civil liberties'

Victoria's state of disaster, from 2 August, gives huge power to the government. The Police Minister can seize private property and officers can enter homes. Research group IPA says Melbourne's stage-four restrictions have gone too far Up to 400,000 are set to lose their jobs due to forced closure of businesses
10th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

UK prime minister says schools must open in September

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Johnson said restarting schools was a national priority. Schools would be the last places to close in future local lockdowns, he was quoted by another newspaper as telling a meeting on Thursday. Schools in England closed in March during a national lockdown, except for the children of key workers, and reopened in June for a small number of pupils. The government wants all pupils to return to school by early September. “Keeping our schools closed a moment longer than absolutely necessary is socially intolerable, economically unsustainable and morally indefensible,” Johnson wrote.
10th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

England can’t ease lockdown any more, expert warns as Covid testing calls grow

One of the government’s most influential scientific advisers is warning that the loosening of lockdown may have already gone too far and that an urgent increase in coronavirus testing and faster contact tracing is essential to prepare for a resurgence in cases. Writing in the Observer , Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warns against complacency in the wake of local outbreaks that have forced lockdown measures to be reintroduced in some areas, most recently in Preston. With growing concerns about the reluctance of Covid-19 sufferers to disclose their close contacts and warnings over continued gaps in testing, Farrar states there are signs that England is in danger of “heading in the wrong direction”.
9th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

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UK to plunge into deepest slump on record with worst GDP drop of G7

Britain’s economy will be officially declared in recession this week for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, as the coronavirus outbreak plunges the country into the deepest slump on record. Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday are expected to show that gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell in the three months to June by 21%.
9th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

SLR: Covid-19 withers global sympathy for the ANC

If our acerbic columnist’s cogent argument that the ANC is fast running out of credible international friends to lean on is correct, it might ironically spur on the rampant feeding at the SA trough, now filled with Covid-19 funds. The pandemic has focused the minds of politicians at the helm of formerly friendly countries away from the ANC, whose decrepit behaviour has them at the end of their tether – even China. That leaves the ruling party to lean only on countries whose regimes, Simon Lincoln Reader suggests, are equally decrepit.
8th Aug 2020 - BizNews

NZ PM Ardern launches 'COVID election' campaign promising jobs

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday launched her re-election campaign promising a “laser-like” focus on boosting jobs and economic growth hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The charismatic 40-year-old leader is on track for a comfortable victory in the Sept. 19 election, according to opinion polls, having won global praise for her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic. It has been 99 days since New Zealand had any domestic transmission of COVID-19, a rare achievement as the pandemic rages globally, and it has re-opened the economy after undergoing a complete shutdown to eradicate the coronavirus. “When people ask, is this a COVID election, my answer is yes, it is,” Ardern told her supporters gathered in Auckland for the launch of her Labour Party’s re-election campaign. In her first campaign speech, Ardern pledged a NZ$311 million ($205.32 million) scheme aimed at getting 40,000 Kiwis back in work, if her party wins the Sept 19 polls.
8th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

'Your time is up': Thousands protest against Netanyahu over COVID-19 and alleged corruption

Thousands of Israelis rallied outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem on Saturday as anger mounted over corruption allegations and his handling of the coronavirus crisis. “Your time is up”, read the giant letters projected on to a building at the protest site, as demonstrators waved Israeli flags and called on Netanyahu to resign over what they say is his failure to protect jobs and businesses affected by the pandemic. The protest movement has intensified in recent weeks, with critics accusing Netanyahu of being distracted by a corruption case against him. He denies wrongdoing. Netanyahu, who was sworn in for a fifth term in May after a closely fought election, has accused the protesters of trampling democracy and the Israeli media of encouraging dissent.
8th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

UK medics protest, seeking pay raise after pandemic struggle

Hundreds of health care workers have rallied in British cities, demanding the government acknowledge their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic with a hefty pay increase
8th Aug 2020 - ABC News

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Trump again claims Covid-19 will 'go away' as Fauci warns of long road ahead

Donald Trump on Wednesday repeated that he believes coronavirus will “go away”, despite his top public health expert warning that it could take most of 2021 or longer to get the pandemic under control and that it is “unlikely” the virus can ever be eradicated. At a White House briefing, the US president said of Covid-19: “It’s going away, it will go away, things go away, absolutely. No question in my mind, sooner rather than later.” Trump has made numerous versions of this assertion over the more than six months that the US has been battling the outbreak, despite vast evidence otherwise and frequent contradictions from public health leaders. On Wednesday the US had 4.8m recorded cases of coronavirus and has witnessed 157,690 deaths from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Public health experts in the last few days have praised a gradual decline in new cases in some states that were badly hit while warning that nationwide the pandemic was in a worrying “new phase”.
6th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Facebook removes Trump post over false Covid-19 claim for first time

Facebook has removed a post from Donald Trump’s page for spreading false information about the coronavirus, a first for the social media company that has been harshly criticized for repeatedly allowing the president to break its content rules. The post included video of Trump falsely asserting that children were “almost immune from Covid-19” during an appearance on Fox News. There is evidence to suggest that children who contract Covid-19 generally experience milder symptoms than adults do. However, they are not immune, and some children have become severely ill or died from the disease. “This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from Covid-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful Covid misinformation,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
6th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

US government shelves survey that painted bleak picture of Covid-19 life

The US Census Bureau has suspended a weekly survey that painted a bleak picture of American life during the Covid-19 pandemic, with no sign of when, or if, it will resume publishing the report. The “household pulse survey” tracked various quality-of-life measures, such as food sufficiency, internet access and mental health, and was first conducted by the Census Bureau on 23 April to “quickly and efficiently deploy data collected on how people’s lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic”, according to the agency’s website. While data such as weekly unemployment claims released by the Department of Labor has shown how many people have lost their jobs, the survey provided a window into the effect the economic downturn is having on the lives of Americans.
6th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Germany's growing anti-lockdown movement

It was a curious sight to behold. On August 1, a motley crowd of protesters from across Germany — ranging from far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists to supporters of the anti-vaccination movement and followers of esotericism — flocked to Berlin to vent their anger at government-imposed restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus. In front of the city's iconic Brandenburg Gate, people shouted "we're the second wave" and "resistance." According to the police, some 20,000 protesters converged on the capital that Saturday. The event had been organized by a controversial Stuttgart-based organization known to have staged the country's largest anti-coronavirus lockdown protests so far. That day's theme — "Tag der Freiheit," or "Day of Freedom" — was eerily reminiscent of the title of a 1935 Nazi propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl.
6th Aug 2020 - DW (English)

South Africa's Ramaphosa sets up body to probe COVID-19 corruption

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has set up a ministerial committee to investigate alleged corruption in state tenders in the fight against COVID-19, his office said on Thursday, including with businesses supplying protective gear. Reports of suspect deals between government officials and businesses providing medical equipment, as well as food aid parcels to the poor, have sparked outrage in South Africa, where more than half a million cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 make it the fifth largest outbreak in the world. South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog said on Monday it was investigating irregularities in these contracts, the latest in a series of high-profile graft scandals involving politically-connected individuals.
6th Aug 2020 - Reuters

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Airline blacklists more than 100 passengers for refusing to wear masks

Delta has banned more than “100 people” from flying for refusing to wear a mask, according to the airline’s CEO. Ed Bastian said that passengers who refused to comply with the carrier’s requirement that they wear face coverings at all times are being temporarily blacklisted. “If you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta,“ he told The Today Show last month.
5th Aug 2020 - The Independent

Keeping England's schools open 'must take priority' in second wave of Covid-19

The UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has asked for coronavirus survivors to receive the free winter flu vaccine. The proposal would mean that more than 250,000 Brits who have recovered from the disease can get the winter jab. It comes as the UK Covid-19 death toll went up by 65 today, while hospital fatalities increased by 15. The number of people who have died from coronavirus in hospital is down from the same time last week. Meanwhile, new lockdown restrictions have been put in place in Aberdeen following a rise in cases. Today's announcement is the first "local lockdown" in Scotland after a string of areas in England had restrictions reimposed.
5th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

The government must up its game to prepare for a second wave of Covid-19

We are at a crucial point in the battle against coronavirus. This summer, there are three key questions the government should be reflecting on. First, are we now doing everything we can to suppress the virus? Second, how can we protect lives and livelihoods? Third, how is it that frontline workers have been left feeling, to quote the National Care Association, kicked in the teeth? Labour has been a constructive opposition. We accept that no one could have handled coronavirus perfectly. But the truth is that the government has been too slow to act throughout this crisis – too slow into lockdown, too slow on testing and too slow getting PPE to frontline workers. Despite Labour’s warnings in recent months, the government has ignored the red lights flashing on the country’s economic dashboard and been too slow to change course in order to save jobs.
5th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

White House: Another Lockdown Would Harm More Than Help, as COVID Cases Spike

"The President is not considering a national lockdown," McEnany told reporters. "What he is encouraging is mitigation efforts like wearing a mask, which is patriotic, like social distancing and engaging in these really commonsense, safe measures to safely reopen and avoid the health consequences of a lockdown." Coronavirus cases have been on the rise in several states that started to loosen restrictions put into place as the pandemic began to spread earlier this year. According to the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, at least 36 states are currently designated COVID-19 hotspots. California, Florida and Texas have seen the sharpest increases in cases in recent weeks. At least 156,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States since it began to spread across the states earlier this year
4th Aug 2020 - Newsweek

Donald Trump flounders in interview over US Covid-19 death toll

Donald Trump visibly floundered in an interview when pressed on a range of issues, including the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the US, his claims that mail-in voting is fraudulent, and his inaction over the “Russian bounty” scandal. The US president also repeatedly cast doubt on the cause of death of Jeffrey Epstein, and said of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite who has pleaded not guilty to participating in the sex-trafficking of girls by Epstein, that he wished her well. In the interview, broadcast on HBO on Monday and conducted by Axios’s national political correspondent, Jonathan Swan, Trump again asserted that his administration was doing an “incredible job” responding to the coronavirus.
5th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 5th Aug 2020

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Singapore’s quick response to coronavirus saved thousands of lives. There’s no excuse for the UK’s failure

In February I travelled to Singapore to visit an old university friend. So it was chance that I found myself in the safest part of the world, where they knew what to do and acted with great speed to aggressively suppress the lethal virus
4th Aug 2020 - The Independent

Trump says nationwide lockdown would 'ultimately inflict more harm than it would prevent'

President Donald Trump insisted Monday that shutting down the United States in an attempt to curb the coronavirus would cause more harm than good. He said the U.S. only initially shut down to prevent the overflow of hospitals and to allow U.S. health officials and scientists to learn more about the new virus, including developing effective treatments to fight it. While Trump said he would not shut down the U.S., he urged Americans to stay “vigilant” against the coronavirus as U.S. officials begin to see new “flare-ups.”
4th Aug 2020 - CNBC

Mass test general population to avoid another lockdown, says former PM

Tony Blair said a mass testing regime is the only way to control the virus. A mass testing regime is essential to avoid the need for another lockdown, Tony Blair has said. Without a vaccine or an effective treatment, mass testing is the only way to control the spread of Covid-19, the former prime minister said. His comments come as researchers said the NHS Test and Trace programme needs to be scaled up in order to reopen schools safely. A new modelling study has implied that reopening schools in September must be combined with a high-coverage test-trace-isolate strategy to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 later this year.
4th Aug 2020 - expressandstar.com

Esmond Birnie: We must avoid a further lockdown

Sometimes we face agonising dilemmas between terrible alternatives. We should try to avoid getting into such situations. In the UK at present we should avoid an uncontrolled second wave of Covid-19 which kills tens of thousands and also a second general lockdown knocking billions off the economy. How might we evaluate the current lockdown? First of all, there is the undoubted success in terms of lives saved. A death toll of about 850 in Northern Ireland (NI) was grievous but contrasts to the projection made in March that 15,000 might be lost. What about the cost? Given all the ethical and philosophical difficulties relating to trying to put a cash value on a human life I avoid placing a monetary value on the "benefit" of the lockdown in number of lives saved. What can be done is to measure the implied economic cost per life saved and compare that to the standard NHS/National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline that the cost of treatment should not exceed £30,000 per year of life.
4th Aug 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Trump criticizes Covid lockdowns and falsely claims US 'doing very well'

Donald Trump used his White House coronavirus press conference on Monday to repeat his opposition to lockdowns as a means of bringing the contagion under control, claiming falsely that under his leadership the US has done “as well as any nation”. On a day that the US had surpassed 4.7m confirmed cases of infection – more than a quarter of the global total – Trump tried to deflect criticism of his administration’s handling of the pandemic on to other countries. He cited Spain, Germany, France, Australia and Japan as countries experiencing “significant flare ups” as the virus surges again. In fact, while Australia and Japan are experiencing renewed surges, their total incidence of disease remains a fraction of the catastrophe now sweeping across the US.
4th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Donald Trump cites Australia to justify anti-lockdown stance

US President Donald Trump has cited the worsening coronavirus situation in Australia to justify his stance that a lockdown “would inflict more harm than it would prevent”. Speaking to reporters at today’s White House briefing, Mr Trump reeled off a list of countries he said were suffering “flare-ups” after thinking they had the virus under control. “It’s important for all Americans to recognise that a permanent lockdown is not a viable path toward producing the result that you want, or certainly not a viable path forward, and ultimately would inflict more harm than it would prevent,” the President said. “As we’re seeing in foreign countries around the world, where cases are once again surging. You have many places where we thought they were under control and doing a great job – and they are doing a great job. But this is a very tough, invisible enemy
4th Aug 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Fauci Supports Birx’s Coronavirus Assessment After Trump Criticizes Her

Speaking during a news conference with Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, Dr. Fauci called the community spread “insidious” and noted that it was happening outside of confined spaces like nursing homes and prisons. In backing up Dr. Birx, the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Fauci indirectly put himself at odds with the president. Earlier on Monday, Mr. Trump had called Dr. Birx “pathetic” on Twitter and suggested that her comments about a “new phase” were an effort to curry favor with Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
4th Aug 2020 - The New York Times

Trump says 'permanent lockdown' not viable path to combat coronavirus

President Donald Trump said on Monday that a “permanent lockdown” policy is not a “viable path forward” in combating the coronavirus pandemic. Trump, speaking with reporters, as he pushed to reopen the country, argued that lockdowns do not prevent future infections and other countries have seen resurgence in cases after lockdowns.
4th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID-19 Is Tearing Through Nursing Homes. Mitch McConnell Wants to Give Their Owners Legal Immunity.

For months, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has upheld an ultimatum about passing new COVID-19 relief legislation this summer: No economic stabilization package will pass the Senate unless it protects businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits. “We need to provide protection, litigation protection, for those who have been on the front lines,” McConnell said during a Fox News interview in April. “We have a red line on liability.” Last Monday, a bill introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and coauthored by McConnell clarified exactly which front lines Senate Republicans are interested in defending. The proposal, titled the Safe to Work Act, would make it harder for workers and customers to sue companies for negligently exposing them to the coronavirus and raises the bar for patients to sue healthcare providers for coronavirus-related malpractice. It also extends “front line” protections to healthcare executives, including nursing home owners, until 2024.
4th Aug 2020 - Mother Jones

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'Masks make us slaves': thousands march in Berlin anti-lockdown protest – video

Up to 17,000 people, including libertarians and anti-vaccination activists, have marched in Berlin to protest against Germany's coronavirus regulations. Many flouted guidance on wearing masks and physical distancing as they accused the government of 'stealing our freedom'. While Germany had initial success in containing the virus, infections are rising and its R number has risen above one.
3rd Aug 2020 - The Guardian

The government is playing a very dangerous game over its lockdown strategy

The UK’s planning vacuum has been obvious for months. Blaming the public for not sticking to the rules simply won’t wash
3rd Aug 2020 - The Independent

Critics are accusing the Philippines government of using the coronavirus lockdown to crack down on dissent

Questioning the world's toughest coronavirus restrictions can be a risky business in the Philippines. In mid-March, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered parts of the country to go into a quarantine that would eventually last up to 80 days, and become one of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns. Protests against job losses and food shortages during that period were met with a strong police response and mass arrests. In April, Duterte publicly said police should "shoot ... dead" anyone who violated virus restrictions. "I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police, the military and the barangays: If they become unruly and they fight you and your lives are endangered, shoot them dead," Duterte said during a speech.
3rd Aug 2020 - CNN

Coronavirus: WHO warns of 'no silver bullet' amid vaccine search

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that while there is hope for a vaccine against Covid-19, one might never be found. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing there was "no silver bullet at the moment - and there might never be". Mr Tedros implored people around the world to comply with measures such as social distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing, saying: "Do it all." Globally, more than 18 million Covid-19 infections have been recorded. The death toll stands at 689,000, with both figures given by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.
3rd Aug 2020 - BBC News

An incoherent approach to controlling Covid-19

The recent approach to controlling Covid-19 transmission in England seems particularly boneheaded: the recent local “spikes” were entirely preventable by a proper system of testing, tracking and tracing, identifying contacts of individual cases and locking them down; this system is just not in place, and no macro-statistic of total tests undertaken will substitute for it. This is what “local measures” should mean, not targeting huge swathes of the urban population. Second, the measures recently adopted are incoherent to the point of absurdity – I can go out with friends for dinner, but not visit my mother? The danger here is lack of credibility, exacerbated by a complete inability to enforce such parochial restrictions.
2nd Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Thousands of anti-lockdown rail against coronavirus lockdown measures in Berlin

Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters marched through central Berlin on Saturday in a show of growing opposition to distancing measures. The demonstration, titled “The End Of The Pandemic – Freedom Day”, saw huge crowds of people waving flags and chanting as they processed past the famous Brandenburg Gate. Protesters held placards with messages saying “Corona, false alarm”, “We are being forced to wear a muzzle” and “Natural defence instead of vaccination”.
1st Aug 2020 - iNews

Architect of UK’s coronavirus lockdown Neil Ferguson says he has never met Boris Johnson

The former government adviser whose modelling is credited with finally convincing Downing Street to impose a coronavirus lockdown has revealed he has never met Boris Johnson. Imperial College London epidemiologist and former Sage adviser Neil Ferguson became nicknamed “Professor Lockdown” after his team’s report in mid-March suggested 510,000 people could die from Covid-19 in the UK without any government intervention, and that the NHS would be overwhelmed regardless. The dramatic modelling is widely reported to have been the catalyst for the UK’s lockdown, after crucial weeks of governmental indecision over a herd immunity strategy versus the lockdown restrictions springing up across Europe
1st Aug 2020 - The Independent

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When It Comes to Covid Shots, Rich Nations Are First in Line

Although international groups and a number of nations are promising to make vaccines affordable and accessible to all, doses will likely struggle to keep up with demand in a world of roughly 7.8 billion people. The possibility wealthier countries will monopolize supply, a scenario that played out in the 2009 swine flu pandemic, has fueled concerns among poor nations and health advocates.
2nd Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Anti-vaxxers on social media could ruin chance of an effective treatment

Social media influencers and celebrities with millions of followers are boosting anti-vaccination messages worldwide, as more people say that they will not take a coronavirus vaccine. Politicians and experts have given warning that the rapid spread of misinformation about a Covid-19 vaccine could mean that it cannot be rolled out effectively. Damian Collins, a former chairman of the Commons committee on digital, media, culture and sport, said that the findings required urgent legislation.
1st Aug 2020 - The Times

Trump planning for U.S. rollout of coronavirus vaccine falling short, officials warn

As scientists and pharmaceutical companies work at breakneck speed to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, public health officials and senior U.S. lawmakers are sounding alarms about the Trump administration’s lack of planning for its nationwide distribution. The federal government traditionally plays a principal role in funding and overseeing manufacturing and distribution of new vaccines during pandemics, which often draw on scarce ingredients and need to be made, stored and transported carefully. There won't be enough vaccine for all 330 million Americans right away, so the government also has a role in deciding who gets it first, and in educating a vaccine-wary here public about its potential life saving merits. Right now, it is unclear who in Washington is in charge of oversight, much less any critical details, some state health officials and members of Congress told Reuters.
31st Jul 2020 - Reuters

Argentina lockdown: Reports of abuse by security forces

The Argentinean government deployed thousands of security personnel in March to enforce a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus. But reports of abuse and violence have been on the rise. Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo reports from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
27th Jul 2020 - Aljazeera.com

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Exclusive: Chinese-backed hackers targeted COVID-19 vaccine firm Moderna

Chinese government-linked hackers targeted biotech company Moderna Inc, a leading U.S.-based coronavirus vaccine research developer, earlier this year in a bid to steal valuable data, according to a U.S. security official tracking Chinese hacking activity. Last week, the U.S. Justice Department made public an indictment of two Chinese nationals accused of spying on the United States, including three unnamed U.S.-based targets involved in medical research to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The indictment states the Chinese hackers “conducted reconnaissance” against the computer network of a Massachusetts biotech firm known to be working on a coronavirus vaccine in January. Moderna, which is based in Massachusetts and announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in January, confirmed to Reuters that the company had been in contact with the FBI and was made aware of the suspected “information reconnaissance activities” by the hacking group mentioned in last week’s indictment.
30th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

The U.S. Can Control Covid Without a Second Lockdown

It’s also time to stop blaming each other — which is tearing us apart. As Sandman pointed out, “all public health failures are policy failures.” If people don’t follow a policy, it’s because it’s the wrong policy or was badly communicated. This is what policy makers are supposed to think through. A few brave souls in the public health community, trying to help people find a level of much-needed balance, have come forward to say that some activities are relatively low risk. Being around other people outdoors is safer than indoors, and short exposures are safer than long ones. If everyone wears a mask, getting a haircut is OK. Getting exercise outdoors is reasonable. Outdoor restaurant tables are safer than indoor ones.
30th Jul 2020 - BloombergQuint

Split over Japan's virus law between cities and government widens

The power of words is being tested in Japan, where efforts to fight the novel coronavirus — bound by a law tailored to a different disease — remain strictly voluntary. But that may soon change, after a nationwide surge in new infections triggered debate at all levels of government on not only how the law should be changed but when. “Revising the law is necessary for our intended results to become reality,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said during an interview with The Japan Times. “Legal authority and financial resources — the central government needs to define and clarify these things.”
30th Jul 2020 - The Japan Times

Australian Covid-19 conspiracy theorist arrested for flouting Melbourne's lockdown rules

An Australian coronavirus conspiracy theorist was arrested after refusing to give police her details at a checkpoint for a second time. Eve Black last week boasted in a video posted to Facebook about passing through a roadblock in Melbourne without informing officers of where she was headed to. After the video went viral, the 28-year-old tried again to evade officers' questions when she was stopped on Wednesday in the inner-city suburb of Carlton.
30th Jul 2020 - London Evening Standard

Australians can't 'lockdown and hide' from coronavirus forever

The latest record number of coronavirus infections to come from Victoria are worrying, but the “alarmism and the hysteria is often over the top” by some politicians and many in the media says Sky News host Chris Kenny. Victoria has recorded 13 deaths and 732 new COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the fatalities included three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s and two men in their 90s. The Premier also said 913 active cases were from the state’s aged care sector. Mr Kenny said while the latest deaths are terrible, people “can’t stay in lockdown forever”. He said they will “resist (and) then change their behavior”.
30th Jul 2020 - Sky News Australia

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Trump 'owes us an apology.' Chinese scientist at the center of COVID-19 origin theories speaks out

The coronavirus pandemic has thrust virologist Shi Zhengli into a fierce spotlight. Shi, who’s been nicknamed “Bat Woman,” heads a group that studies bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), in the city in China where the pandemic began, and many have speculated that the virus that causes COVID-19 accidentally escaped from her lab—a theory promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump. Some have even suggested it could have been engineered there. China has forcefully rejected such claims, but Shi (pronounced SHIH) herself has said very little publicly. Now, Shi has broken her silence about the details of her work. On 15 July, she emailed Science answers to a series of written questions about the virus’ origin and the research at her institute. In them, Shi hit back at speculation that the virus leaked from WIV. She and her colleagues discovered the virus in late 2019, she says, in samples from patients who had a pneumonia of unknown origin. “Before that, we had never been in contact with or studied this virus, nor did we know of its existence,” Shi wrote.
24th Jul 2020 - Science Magazine

No, Australia should not follow Sweden's approach to coronavirus

The costs of preventing the spread of COVID-19 must always be compared to the health, social and economic costs of viable alternatives. Countries across the globe have dealt with this balancing act differently. One country in particular that has attracted attention for its lighter approach to lockdown is Sweden. Some people have regarded Sweden as an example for Australia to follow. But Sweden shouldn’t be seen as a model for Australia when it comes to COVID-19. The virus has spread rapidly, they’ve had more deaths, and the economy is suffering just as badly as their neighbours with heavier lockdowns.
29th Jul 2020 - The Conversation AU

People returning to UK from Spain decry 'unfair' coronavirus quarantine

People returning to the UK from Spain have spoken out about how they are facing a shortfall in income after the government introduced a 14-day quarantine period, as they cannot work and do not receive occupational sick pay. “The government’s decision is ridiculously unfair,” said Alejandro Castrillo, 29, who works at a hotel in London and had been visiting family in Asturias, northern Spain. “I don’t have the option to work from home and having to quarantine will mean unpaid leave or enforced holiday. Quarantine is not remunerated and I do not get sick pay. This is only generating higher levels of uncertainty.”
29th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

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Andrea Bocelli tells Italians to stop wearing masks and says country’s lockdown measures left him ‘humiliated’

The Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli has revealed that he felt “humiliated and offended” by lockdown measures in Italy. The opera star was seen as a symbol of national unity during the country’s strict lockdown period. He performed in an empty cathedral on Easter Sunday as part of a live streamed concert titled Music for Hope. However, speaking at a conference in Italy’s senate, Bocelli, 61, revealed that he disobeyed lockdown rules and felt that Covid-19’s impact had been exaggerated.
28th Jul 2020 - The Independent

Tenor Andrea Bocelli gives Italy government earful over coronavirus

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on Monday issued a scathing criticism of the Italian government's handling of the coronavirus, saying he was humiliated by a recent lockdown, and urged people to disobey rules still in place.
28th Jul 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

British tourists still flying to Spain say it is dealing with Covid-19 better than the UK

Tourists heading to Spain were today determined to continue with their travels despite the PM's warning. Those leaving from Manchester said Spain was dealing with Covid better and they could not get refunds. Boris Johnson today defended move and said there was 'second wave' in Europe.
28th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: Why do UK and Spain disagree over quarantine?

Spain has had 272,421 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University. That makes it the 12th highest country by number of infections in the world - four places below the UK. Lockdown measures initially brought rates down, but fears are growing of a resurgence in Spain as the two-week infection rate is now 39.4 per 100,000 people - a rise of 260%. The country's foreign ministry insists outbreaks are "localised, isolated and controlled".
28th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Spain slams UK, Germany for advising tourists to stay away

Spain reacted angrily on Tuesday to recommendations from Britain and Germany that their citizens avoid its islands and beaches because of an increase in coronavirus cases during what should be the height of the tourism season. With advisories piling up on top of a quarantine order from Britain for returning travellers, Spain, which depends on summer visits by sun-seeking northern Europeans, is facing a major blow to any hopes of reviving its economy. Tourism accounts for just over 12% of Spain’s GDP and nearly 13% of jobs. The country lost one million jobs between April and June, its biggest ever quarterly decline, and fears steeper losses as the summer season crashes. “It’s very unfair because it’s not based on any sanitary criteria,” Francina Armengol, the head of the key tourist Balearic region, told Cadena Ser radio of the travel advisories.
28th Jul 2020 - Reuters

End of UK-Spain air bridge as much about politics as hard data

It was also down to lessons learned the hard way about slow v speedy decision-making over the course of the pandemic – the decision-making was as much about politics and messaging as hard data. Advisers studying the figures at the end of last week say they were deeply concerned about the rate of the rise in Spain, and the potential for thousands of cases to be imported by tourists. Though low in number, the coronavirus cases detected in holidaymakers returning from Spain are believed to be the first from a country which had been previously deemed to be safe to visit.
28th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19 outbreak in Xinjiang prompts fears of spread inside China's camps

Rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the Xinjiang region has sparked fears the outbreak could reach the secretive internment camps where China is believed to have detained more than a million Muslim minority people. On Monday, Chinese health authorities reported 68 new cases of Covid-19, including 57 in the far western region of Xinjiang, bringing the area’s reported total to 235. After a reported five-month streak of no infections in Xinjiang, the outbreak that began almost two weeks ago has appeared to take hold in the capital city of Urumqi, and spread to Kashgar about 300km away.
28th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

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Coronavirus: 'We cannot wait' to learn lessons before potential second wave of COVID-19, government warned

"We cannot wait" to learn lessons from the coronavirus pandemic, an MP leading an inquiry into the government's handling of the outbreak so far has told Sky News. Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Layla Moran said the "rapid inquiry" was needed before a potential second wave of COVID-19 later this year. The Lib Dem MP and party leadership candidate told the programme that more than 50 MPs - including some Conservatives - are involved with the inquiry.
27th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus disbelievers meet in Melbourne and recite script to slip through lockdown in Victoria

Hoards of anti-mask coronavirus disbelievers are reciting scripts to police and attempting to escape fines. The scripts are read to cops at COVID checkpoints as drivers refuse to cooperate or provide personal details. Drivers are increasingly arguing with authorities over COVID-19 lockdowns among 'anti-masker' community The groups are also meeting weekly to discuss 'conduct of the police, government and media lies.' During the meetings, they break social distancing measures and gathering limits imposed during pandemic.
27th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Americans Back Tough Lockdown Restrictions as Trump Admin Pushes to Reopen

A majority of Americans favor strong lockdown restrictions as President Donald Trump is pushing for the economy and schools to be reopened amid a spike in coronavirus cases, new polling data shows. The latest AP-NORC survey found that more than half of U.S. adults wanted people to be required to stay in their homes if they weren't running essential errands, and a similar number backed the forced closure of restaurants and bars. A requirement to wear face masks when outside was also backed by a large number of U.S. adults polled as U.S. coronavirus cases topped the 4 million mark..
27th Jul 2020 - Newsweek

Covid 19 coronavirus: Judicial review into legality of lockdown - Government must obey law, lawyer says

A lawyer challenging the legality of New Zealand's coronavirus lockdown said no matter how urgent something was, the Government must still obey the law. A judicial review into whether the lockdown was legal began in Wellington today, with members of the public pouring in to the courtroom to hear the arguments. The Criminal Bar Association and Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale are working to determine whether director general of health Ashley Bloomfield had the legal authority under the Public Health Act to effectively shut the country down and to order people to stay at home unless they had good reason for being out. The three-day hearing started in the High Court at Wellington this morning before a panel of three judges, including Chief High Court Judge Susan Thomas
27th Jul 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Philippines Duterte says coronavirus intervention prevented millions of cases

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his tough approach to fighting the coronavirus on Monday amid a surge in cases, touting its effectiveness in an annual address that critics said revealed little about plans to resuscitate a battered economy.
27th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Spain is safe, minister insists as British quarantine move sows dismay

Spain is safe for tourists and Spaniards, the government insisted on Sunday after Britain abruptly imposed a two-week coronavirus quarantine on travellers returning from there, a decision that filled holidaymakers with dismay. Last year, Britons made up over a fifth of foreign visitors to Spain, which relies on heavily on tourism revenues, meaning the UK move could deal a hard blow to efforts to restart the Mediterranean country’s economy after months of lockdown. “Spain is safe, it is safe for Spaniards, it is safe for tourists,” Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told reporters. The Spanish government will focus its efforts on trying to persuade Britain to exclude the Balearic and Canary islands from the quarantine measure, she said, adding that the prevalence of the virus in those popular travel destinations was much lower than in the United Kingdom.
27th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Only 19 bereaved families approved for NHS staff coronavirus compensation scheme

At least 540 health and social workers have died in England and Wales during crisis. Only 19 families of NHS and social care workers who died after contracting coronavirus have so far been approved for the £60,000 compensation payment from the government. At least 540 health and social care workers have died in England and Wales during the crisis but, as of 8 July, just 51 claim forms for the taxpayer-funded bereavement scheme had been received. None have been rejected, with 32 still under consideration, according to the figures, provided by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
26th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

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Israelis Continue Protests Against PM's Handling of Pandemic

Thousands of Israelis held several demonstrations across the country against their prime minister Saturday, with the main protest taking place in Jerusalem outside the official residence of Benjamin Netanyahu. The protests have been going on for the past few weeks, sparked by what critics see as a government failure to handle the coronavirus crisis after initially keeping the threat of the virus at bay. Corruption charges against Netanyahu have further fueled the demonstrations.
26th Jul 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Duterte's Political Future Hinges on Philippine Pandemic Rebound

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the disease would “die a natural death.” Five months later, the pandemic is raging, the economy is facing a deep contraction, and his political future could be at stake. While leaders around the world have struggled in their pandemic response, Duterte has a lot riding on an economic rebound. Down to his last two years in office and barred from seeking re-election, he has to maintain political capital to help his chosen candidate win in the 2022 polls. Presidents before him were sued, with some even detained after stepping down.
26th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Head of worst-hit Italy region is probed for COVID supplies

In the aftermath of an Italian investigative TV program report on the deal, Fontana contended last month that he didn’t know anything about the contract, which reportedly was valued at more than a half-million euros (more than $600,000). The governor insisted that the region never paid for the gowns, which were reportedly eventually donated to Lombardy. The region at the time was struggling, like all of Italy, to obtain vitally needed medical protective gear for doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients. Fontana’s wife has a minor stake in the company, according to Italian media. The governor is a prominent figure in Matteo Salvini’s right-wing opposition League party, which often rails against corruption among public officials. In a tweet on Saturday, Salvini blasted the probe as “one-way wrong justice.” Lombardy is a League stronghold. Meanwhile, some politicians from the center-left government’s parties called Saturday for Fontana’s resignation.
25th Jul 2020 - The Associated Press

Sinclair says it will postpone and 'rework' segment featuring conspiracy theory about Fauci

The Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI) said Saturday it will postpone and rework a segment it planned to air this weekend that suggested Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, was responsible for the creation of the coronavirus. The baseless conspiracy theory was set to air on stations across the country in a segment during the program "America This Week" hosted by Eric Bolling. The show, which is posted online before it is broadcast over the weekend, is distributed to Sinclair's network of local television stations, one of the largest in the country. In a memo sent to its local television stations on Saturday, Sinclair instructed news directors to avoid airing for now the most recent episode of Bolling's show, which was supposed to include the conspiracy theory.
25th Jul 2020 - CNN

San Francisco bus driver assaulted with bat over mask order

A San Francisco bus driver was assaulted with a wooden bat after asking three passengers to wear a mask in keeping with city health orders to combat the coronavirus. The three men boarded the bus in the city’s South of Market neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, said San Francisco Police Department officer Robert Rueca in an email Friday. The driver asked the passengers multiple times to wear a mask but they refused, so the driver pulled over to let them off, Rueca said in a statement. “As the victim was escorting the males off the bus one of the males pulled out a wooden bat and struck the victim several times, which caused the victim to be injured,” he said.
25th Jul 2020 - Associated Press

Rich country vaccine rush threatens supply security

The resulting patchwork of agreements has raised big questions about global vaccine access and stoked wrangles over pricing, supply security and liability for possible side-effects. “On the positive side, bilateral deals between countries and companies can drive forward the science and clinical development — and expand the world’s manufacturing capacity,” said Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi, a UN-backed alliance that buys and distributes vaccines in more than 50 of the world’s poorest countries. “But . . . you [also] end up with unnecessary competition, shortages of supplies and a failure to optimise a pipeline that should make the best vaccines available at scale as quickly as possible.”
23rd Jul 2020 - Financial Times

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Florida reports record one-day increase in COVID-19 deaths

Florida reported a record one-day increase in deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday with 173 lives lost, according to the state health department. Florida also reported that cases rose by 10,249, bringing its total cases to nearly 390,000. Total deaths rose to 5,632. Florida has the third-largest outbreak in the nation, behind only California and New York.
23rd Jul 2020 - Reuters

The U.S. Is on the Verge of Lockdown 2.0

The key to restarting the recovery, therefore, is to suppress the virus. For cities and states where the epidemic has subsided, the best tools for preventing new outbreaks are universal mask usage, plentiful testing, prompt contact tracing and isolation of the infected. But President Donald Trump, apparently subscribing to the theory that ignoring the virus will make it go away, is attempting to block funding for testing and tracing. And for states such as Texas, Florida and Arizona that have been overwhelmed with new infections, this approach -- although still useful -- won’t be enough.
23rd Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

UK could learn from Scottish response to Covid-19, Sturgeon suggests

The UK could learn lessons from Scotland’s more cautious response to Covid-19, Nicola Sturgeon has said. The Scottish First Minster spoke as different approaches to the pandemic north and south of the border appeared to highlight a growing divide between Scotland and England. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said: “Do I think there are things the UK Government could learn from Scotland? Yes I do.” She added: “An approach that is very much driven by elimination I think is one thing they could learn.
23rd Jul 2020 - Bournemouth Daily Echo

Israel: Anger over Netanyahu's virus response, corruption charges

Public anger has been compounded by corruption allegations against the long-serving prime minister, who went on trial in May for bribery, fraud and breach of trust - charges he denies. Demonstrations outside the prime minister's official residence have become a weekly occurrence, with police increasingly taking harsher measures against demonstrators. Last month, they arrested a retired Israeli air force general, setting off an uproar. The protests have since drawn a younger crowd and have grown more defiant. In the past week, thousands of Israelis have participated in some of the largest anti-government demonstrations in nearly 10 years.
22nd Jul 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Why Armed Groups in Latin America Are Enforcing COVID-19 Lockdowns

In spring, as Colombia settled into a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, some Colombians received troubling new guidelines—and not from the government. In remote parts of 11 of the country’s 32 states, armed groups began enforcing their own quarantine measures, according to a report published July 15 by Human Rights Watch. Through pamphlets and WhatsApp messages, the groups laid out curfews, restrictions on movement, categories of essential work, and more. These restrictions were sometimes stricter than government rules, and punishments for breaking them far more serious. One pamphlet seen by HRW, released in early April by Marxist guerrillas the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the northern Bolívar department, warned that fighters would be “forced to kill people in order to preserve lives” because residents had not “respected the orders to prevent Covid-19.”
22nd Jul 2020 - TIME

Covid-19 unmasks weaknesses of English public health agency

Matt Hancock is ready to reform Public Health England as criticism of its response to the coronavirus crisis mounts. Interviews with 15 people familiar with the workings of PHE reveal an array of issues: impulse to centralise, a wariness if engaging with industry, impact of a decade of fiscal austerity, agency's budget cut 40% since its inception
22nd Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Jul 2020

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Trump admits pandemic will 'get worse' at first Covid-19 briefing in months

Donald Trump has admitted that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to “get worse before it gets better” at his first press briefing devoted to the issue since April. Facing dire poll numbers, surging cases and sharp criticism for lack of leadership, the US president returned to the White House podium attempting to show more discipline in both style and substance. In several notable reversals, he urged people to wear face masks, promised his administration was working on a “strategy” and wrapped up in less than half an hour, avoiding his digressions in past briefings that culminated in a proposal to inject disinfectant in Covid-19 patients.
22nd Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Edelstein: Knesset is leading us to coronavirus lockdown

The country is heading toward a complete lockdown, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Tuesday. Hospital services could break down within the next three weeks, senior health experts predicted. Nevertheless, the Knesset voted to overturn the government’s restrictions on restaurants.
22nd Jul 2020 - The Jerusalem Post

Doubts over Nicola Sturgeon’s Spain quarantine U-turn

Nicola Sturgeon has been told to clear up "confusing" guidance on quarantine after lifting strict rules for Scottish holiday makers looking for some Spanish sun. The popular tourist country was kept off Scotland's first list "air bridge" destinations because of concerns with the rate of Covid-19 infections. But the Scottish Government went on to remove the requirement earlier this week, despite the infection rate tripling. Today, Sturgeon defended the decision but also urged Scots to holiday at home unless it's "essential".
22nd Jul 2020 - Daily Record

Catalonia rules out compulsory lockdown as Spain calls to keep borders open

The Catalan health secretary has said young people should drink at home instead of gathering in town squares at night and the government ruled out a compulsory lockdown - for now
22nd Jul 2020 - Telegraph.co.uk

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Jul 2020

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Chris Whitty blames poor planning for lockdown in bad-tempered health committee

The coronavirus pandemic was probably already in retreat before the full lockdown was imposed, the chief medical officer for England said as he insisted that there was no “huge delay” in government action. Chris Whitty said that “many of the problems we had came out of lack of testing capacity”. He blamed a failure to build up public health infrastructure in previous years for leaving Britain unprepared. In often bad-tempered exchanges at the health select committee, he said that the infrastructure could not have been “suddenly switched on” in the spring.
22nd Jul 2020 - The Times

Will Increasing Coronavirus Cases Lead To Even More U.S. Lockdowns?

Hang those cloth masks out to dry and put ‘em away? Not so fast! We have mandatory masks already, and an ongoing debate about whether the ever expanding coronavirus won’t force governments to shut things down again. The coronavirus is causing some state and municipal governments to debate school openings. In the past two weeks, governments have closed down things like indoor dining and beaches. So far, the trend towards increasing lockdowns has stalled. Does that trend have any legs? UBS Global Wealth Management strategists think so. No more lockdowns, they say. The economy can’t handle it.
21st Jul 2020 - Forbes

Botched U.K. Lockdown Exit Risks Making Disabled ‘Shielders’ Second-Class Citizens

A leading pan-disability charity is warning that U.K. government plans to restart public life and the economy after lockdown could represent the genesis of a segregated society, in which disabled people are shut away and unable to participate. On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of the potential for a “significant return to normality from November at the earliest - possibly in time for Christmas.” Though, as a result of lockdown, the U.K. Covid-19 daily death figure has decreased steadily over the past few weeks, globally, the number of new infections over a 24-hour period broke all previous records over the weekend, soaring to almost 260,000.
21st Jul 2020 - Forbes

Leicester could have avoided coronavirus lockdown, mayor says

A lockdown in Leicester could have been avoided if local powers had been available sooner, the mayor has said. A spike in coronavirus cases in the city saw restrictions tightened again on 29 June. On Friday, Boris Johnson unveiled powers for councils to use targeted lockdowns in response to local spikes. But Sir Peter Soulsby said these were needed "three or four weeks ago", and could have saved the city from the government's "sledgehammer" approach. Mr Johnson said local authorities would be able to close shops, cancel events and shut outdoor public spaces in certain postcodes, if there was a spike in cases.
21st Jul 2020 - BBC News

Chris Whitty defends coronavirus lockdown lag in bad-tempered interview

England's chief medical officer gave uncharacteristic, bad-tempered interview Claimed there were 'operational difficulties' that prevented lockdown sooner Contradicted colleague Sir Jeremy Farrar who said it should've come earlier
21st Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

German Jewish leaders fear rise of antisemitic conspiracy theories linked to Covid-19

A leader of Germany’s Jewish community has expressed alarm at the spread of antisemitic conspiracy theories relating to coronavirus in the country, including attempts to downplay the Holocaust. Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews, said Jews were increasingly being held collectively responsible for the spread of the virus and compared the situation to narratives around the plague in the Middle Ages. At high-profile demonstrations against coronavirus measures, figures such as the Hungarian-born financier George Soros have been blamed for starting the pandemic with the help of the German government in order to gain power and influence.
21st Jul 2020 - The Guardian

British ministers hold first face-to-face cabinet in months

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held his first face-to-face cabinet meeting of top ministers in more than four months on Tuesday, seeking to lead by example as he encourages Britons to return to work and revive the coronavirus-hit economy. The weekly meeting inside Johnson’s Downing Street office was replaced with video conference calls when the COVID-19 crisis threatened to run out of control. But in recent weeks Johnson has called on people to return to their workplaces, concerned that the economy, poised for recession, could be crushed over the long term by a lockdown that has kept millions at home for several months. Supplied with hand sanitizer and individual bottles of water, ministers were asked to attend a socially-distanced meeting, spaced out around a vast rectangle of tables inside a grand chamber in the foreign office. “Welcome to the Locarno Suite, which is the foreign office’s idea of a modest seminar room,” Johnson joked at the start of the meeting.
21st Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Middle East mythbusters fight dangerous 'infodemic' | MEO

Arabic pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are brimming with fake news stories on the novel coronavirus, from benign inaccuracies to full-throated conspiracy theories.
21st Jul 2020 - Middle East Online

Spain to give 1.7 billion euros in coronavirus aid to developing countries

Spain will send 1.7 billion euros (1.5 billion pounds) in aid to developing countries to help them deal with coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting. Spain aims to help save lives and strengthen public health systems and also protect and restore rights and capacities, among other goals, Gonzalez Laya told a news conference.
21st Jul 2020 - The Star Online

Zimbabwe president announces curfew to curb coronavirus

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Tuesday that security forces would enforce a dusk to dawn curfew from Wednesday to combat the coronavirus outbreak. But critics and the opposition say authorities want to stop anti-government protests planned for next week by activists who say government corruption has worsened economic hardships.
21st Jul 2020 - Reuters Africa

Mike Pompeo attacks WHO in private meeting during UK visit

The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo launched an extraordinary attack on the World Health Organization during a private meeting in the UK, accusing it of being in the pocket of China and responsible for “dead Britons” who passed away during the pandemic. Pompeo told those present that he believed the WHO was “political not a science-based organisation” and accused its current director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of being too close to Beijing. Those present at the meeting on Tuesday said that Pompeo told his audience of 20 MPs and peers that he was saying “on a firm intelligence foundation, a deal was made” with China to allow Tedros to win election in 2017.
21st Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Jul 2020

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Brazil's Bolsonaro says coronavirus restrictions kill economy

Bolsonaro insists that the virus lockdown measures “kill” and have “suffocated” the economyMercoPressBrazil's Bolsonaro Says Lockdown 'Kills' and 'Suffocated' the EconomyNewsweekBrazil`s Bolsonaro slams lockdown, says it `kills` country`s economyWIONWhat's Common to Three Covid Kings -- India, US & BrazilNewsClickView Full coverage on Google News
20th Jul 2020 - Jakarta Post

Brazil's Bolsonaro Says Lockdown 'Kills' and 'Suffocated' the Economy

Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro said that lockdowns implemented by some states and cities across the country during the pandemic have "suffocated" the country's economy. The president also said on Saturday that "Lockdown kills," Reuters reported. "Without salaries and jobs, people die." Brazil is suffering the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the world after the United States with more than 2 million confirmed cases and over 78,000 deaths.
20th Jul 2020 - Newsweek

England's chief nurse dropped from Covid-19 briefing after refusing to back Cummings

England’s chief nurse has confirmed she was dropped from the Downing Street daily coronavirus briefing after refusing to back Dominic Cummings. Ruth May said that in a trial run for the 1 June briefing, she was asked about Boris Johnson’s chief adviser’s decision to drive his family from London to Durham during lockdown while his wife had suspected Covid-19. After she failed to back Cummings, she said, she was told she was no longer needed for the televised press conference taking place later that day, and she was never given an explanation why. Ministers and No 10 have denied reports that May was stood down over Cummings. Aides to the prime minister briefed journalists at the time that she may not have made it to the briefing because she could have been stuck in traffic.
20th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Two thirds of readers think lockdown is being eased too soon, M.E.N. survey finds

Two thirds of people think the coronavirus lockdown in England is being eased too soon, according to the M.E.N's Lockdown survey. We asked our readers how they feel about the changes set to happen in the coming weeks and months after the Prime Minister's announcement on Friday. Speaking from Downing Street, Boris Johnson revealed a four-month plan for a “significant return to normality” from as early as November. On August 1, most remaining leisure venues, including casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, will be allowed to reopen, and close-contact beauty services permitted. Indoor performances with live audiences will also resume, with trials beginning for larger events at sports and football stadiums “with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn”. And it's good news for engaged couples as wedding receptions of up to 30 guests can also resume next month. But how do the people of Greater Manchester really feel about the easing of measures? More than 2,200 readers responded to our lockdown changes survey, this is what they think:
20th Jul 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson insists he can avoid second England-wide lockdown

Boris Johnson has insisted he can avoid imposing another England-wide lockdown this winter, describing it as a “nuclear deterrent” that he hopes never to use. Despite chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance saying “national measures” might be necessary if there are fresh waves of the virus in the coming months, the prime minister said he “certainly” did not want to have to order the public to “stay at home” again. “I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent – I certainly don’t want to use it.
19th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Dominic Raab Accuses Russia Of 'Reprehensible' Attempt To Hack Coronavirus Research

The UK will ensure the world knows the nature of the “reprehensible behaviour” that Russia is engaged in, according Dominic Raab. It follows accusations that Russia’s intelligence services tried to steal details of research into coronavirus vaccines. Russia’s ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin rejected the claims and said there was “no sense” in the allegations made by Britain, the United States and Canada. Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, Raab said it was “outrageous and reprehensible” that the Russian government is engaged in such activity. The foreign secretary said: “We’re absolutely confident that the Russian intelligence agencies were engaged in a cyber attack on research and development efforts and organisations in this country and internationally with a view either to sabotage or to profit from the R&D that was taking place.
20th Jul 2020 - Huffington Post UK

Russian Elite Given Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine Since April

Scores of Russia’s business and political elite have been given early access to an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the effort, as the country races to be among the first to develop an inoculation. Top executives at companies including aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, as well as billionaire tycoons and government officials began getting shots developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow as early as April, the people said. They declined to be identified as the information isn’t public.
20th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Boris Johnson claims UK won't need another national lockdown despite experts warning of second wave

Boris Johnson has said the UK will not need another nationwide lockdown despite expert warnings of up to 120,000 extra deaths during a second wave this winter. The prime minister described the coronavirus restrictions he imposed on 23 March as a “nuclear deterrent” that he did not think he would ever have to use again. However his attempt to rule out a further UK lockdown in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph is likely to bring him into conflict with the government’s scientific advisors.
19th Jul 2020 - The Independent

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Coronavirus: Outbreak investigated at contact tracing centre

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

Brazil president greets supporters

-Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro greeted his supporters outside the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia on Sunday where he has been isolated since testing positive for COVID-19.
20th Jul 2020 - Republic World

Russian Elite Given Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine Since April

Scores of members of Russia’s business and political elite have been given early access to an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the effort, as the country races to be among the first to develop an inoculation. Top executives at companies including aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, as well as billionaire tycoons and government officials began getting shots developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow as early as April, the people said. They declined to be identified as the information isn’t public.
19th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Israelis protest against Netanyahu, gov't handling of COVID-19 crisis

Israeli police used water cannons to disperse demonstrators around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence on Saturday as protests mounted against him over alleged corruption and his handling of the coronavirus crisis. Hit by high unemployment, a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and reimposed coronavirus curbs, Israelis have taken to the streets in almost daily demonstrations against the government. Public anger has been compounded by corruption alleged against Netanyahu, who went on trial in May for bribery, fraud and breach of trust - charges he denies. In Jerusalem hundreds gathered outside the prime minister's residence and then marched through the streets, calling for Netanyahu's resignation as police used water cannons to disperse the crowds. At least two people were arrested, police said.
19th Jul 2020 - MSN UK

Trump reportedly seeks to block testing funds as Covid-19 surges across south and west

n Washington, Congress is gearing up to pass another economic stimulus package. Optimistic economists once thought such a package could be unnecessary, but Covid-19 is now expected to continue to hurt the economy. The White House is reportedly trying to hurt any resultant bill. According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration is pushing to block billions of dollars for state-run testing and tracing, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and attempts to combat the pandemic at the Pentagon and state department.
18th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

UK government to stop publishing daily coronavirus deaths while review carried out

The government will temporarily stop announcing the daily coronavirus death figures because of concerns about how accurate they are. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has launched an inquiry after Public Health experts said the number of deaths associated with the virus may have been over-exagerrated. But scientists have questioned the move and suggested that there is unlikely to be a 'massive distortion' of the figures. Academics have said the way that Public Health England(PHE) calculates the data means they might look worse there than in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Mirror reports. In a statement, the Department for Health and Social Care said: "The Secretary of State has today, 17 July, asked PHE to urgently review their estimation of daily death statistics.
18th Jul 2020 - Liverpool Echo

Scientists line up to blast Boris Johnson's aim of a return to pre-pandemic life by Christmas

Boris Johnson's aim for a 'significant return to normality' by Christmas has been blasted by scientists while Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that Britons need a 'sense of direction'. Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has said he won't be hugging his elderly relatives this Christmas as a return to pre-lockdown normality is 'a long way off'. He told BBC Radio 4: 'Unfortunately I think it is quite a long way away. If what you mean by normality is what we used to do until February and the middle of March this year - go to work normally, travel on the buses and trains, go on holiday without restrictions, meet friends, shake hands, hug each other and so on - that's a long way off, unfortunately.
18th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Texas exempts religious private schools from reopening guidelines | TheHill

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said Friday that private schools are exempt from having to follow local health restrictions regarding school openings. Paxton said in an open letter to religious private institutions that forcing such schools to comply with local reopening guidelines would be unconstitutional. “Under the Governor’s orders, local governments are prohibited from closing religious institutions or dictating mitigation strategies to those institutions,” Paxton wrote. “Local governments are similarly prohibited from issuing blanket orders closing religious private schools. Because a local order closing a religious private school or institution is inconsistent with the Governor’s order, any local order is invalid to the extent it purports to do so.
18th Jul 2020 - The Hill

Report: Trump Wants To Block Funding For Virus Testing, CDC In Next Stimulus Package

As Congress races to come together on a fifth coronavirus stimulus package with cases skyrocketing across the country, the Trump administration is actively working to block “billions of dollars” in federal funding for testing and the Centers for Disease Control, according to a new report from the Washington Post.
18th Jul 2020 - Forbes

Georgia Massaged Virus Data to Reopen, Then Voided Mask Orders

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s edict expressly voiding coronavirus mask orders by local governments capped a week of turmoil in a state once touted as proof that reopening in a pandemic could work. For six weeks, Georgia had been a model, especially for those eager to end shutdowns. Among the last U.S. states to lock down, Georgia in April was first to widely reopen, after just three weeks. Critics said the state misrepresented its data to justify the move, and they predicted disaster. It didn’t happen: Covid-19 case numbers bumped along, neither rising nor falling significantly. Pandemic skeptics crowed. the same week Kemp ordered the reopening, his administration began presenting data in a way that made the state appear healthier than it was, said Thomas Tsai, a professor at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Then the data starting being manipulated, the technique involved backdating new cases to the time of first symptoms or taking a test, instead of reporting them as they were reported to the state, like Georgia had previously done -- and like most states do. “It is deeply concerning,” Tsai said. “I cannot of course speak to the motivation.”
17th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Jul 2020

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Outbreak: Lockdown protests explode in several countries

Major protests are breaking out against governments in several countries after coronavirus sparked fury over grievances including economic problems and alleged corruption or incompetence. Demonstrators have taken to the streets to voice their anger at perceived failures by leaders to rise to the unprecedented challenges heightened by the pandemic. A report from the Institute for Economics and Peace entitled Covid-19 and Peace reads: “The pandemic will undo many years of socio-economic development for several countries, exacerbating humanitarian crises and potentially aggravating unrest and conflict.” The IEP said that most of the indicators of its Global Peace Index (GPI) and Positive Peace Index (PPI) — which measures the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies — were “likely to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
16th Jul 2020 - Mercury News

Ukrainians 'tired' of lockdown, says president

Ukrainians are fed up with the coronavirus lockdown and the government should be cautious about extending it beyond August, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday. “Everyone is tired of this quarantine,” the presidential press service quoted him as telling government officials. Ukraine imposed strict restrictions in March but partially eased them in May to allow economic recovery. It has been extending the lockdown monthly, with current rules in place until end-July requiring people to wear masks and adhere to strict norms in restaurants and public places. “We need a clear framework for how we will continue it (lockdown), so that people have the opportunity to live safely, so that business can function, so that the economy does not stand at a pause,” Zelenskiy added.
16th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Algeria plans law to protect medics as attacks, virus cases rise

Algeria is planning a law to protect health workers after an increase in "physical and verbal attacks" since the country's coronavirus outbreak began, as it registered another record number of daily cases. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called for new legislation after an increase in recent weeks of "physical and verbal attacks on medics, paramedics and administrative staff," according to a statement published on the prime minister's website. The incidents have also in some cases involved "acts of damage and destruction of public assets and medical equipment," the statement added. Algeria on Thursday registered 585 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to 21,355, including 1,052 deaths, said Djamel Fourar, spokesperson for the scientific committee monitoring the pandemic, during a daily press conference.
16th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News

How Russian hackers tried to breach UK coronavirus vaccine research

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned that hackers linked to the Russian intelligence services are targeting UK researchers working on a coronavirus vaccine. The warning has been issued by the UK’s cyber security agency alongside its US and Canadian counterparts.
16th Jul 2020 - ITV News

Scott Morrison says Australia cannot shut down to contain second wave of Covid-19

Scott Morrison says the response to a second wave of Covid-19 infections cannot be shutting the country down to try to eliminate the virus, and he’s moved to reassure people his government will not be withdrawing income support “for those in need”. With renewed debate around whether Australia should respond to the latest outbreak and a spike in community transmission with more forceful lockdowns, Morrison said on Wednesday elimination was impractical, but Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton told reporters it was an idea “worthy of consideration”.
15th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

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Coronavirus: Matt Hancock rejects face masks and coverings for offices

There are no plans to make face coverings mandatory for office workers in England, Matt Hancock has said. The health secretary told the BBC people working in offices would not need to cover up, despite a newspaper report suggesting they would. "It is something we've looked at and rejected," he said, but added masks would be worn elsewhere by the public "for the foreseeable future". Face coverings in shops will become mandatory in England on 24 July. Those who fail to comply with the new rules on wearing face coverings in England's shops will face a fine of up to £100. Children under 11, those with certain disabilities, and people working in shops will be exempt
16th Jul 2020 - BBC News

UK PM Johnson commits to coronavirus inquiry, but not yet

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed on Wednesday to holding an inquiry into the country’s handling of the coronavirus crisis but said now was not the time as the battle to combat the pandemic was ongoing. Opposition lawmakers have been pressing for an inquiry after ministers were criticised for being too slow to lock down, to introduce mass testing and to deliver protective equipment. Johnson has repeatedly said his government took the right decisions at the right time but also admits that lessons will have to be learned after the pandemic which has left Britain as one of the worst affected countries. “We will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened,” he told parliament. His spokesman declined to comment further on the inquiry, but said further details would be set out “in due course”.
16th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Extended Lockdown May Not Be Best Strategy Against Covid-19; We Need Scientific Approach

India has now become the third worst-hit nation by the Covid-19 pandemic. Only the US and Brazil are ahead of India in terms of total coronavirus infections. In just three weeks, India went from being the sixth worst-affected country to the third. It’s mid-July and the Covid cases are expected to rise further in the coming weeks. In my earlier column, I had recommended a phased re-opening of activities across the country from April 15 based on the risk profiling. Now, after analysing global Covid data tillJune 30, things are becoming increasingly apparent. We, perhaps, went too far without scientific evidence-based planning, and maybe, it is time to go back to the drawing board and rework our strategies.
15th Jul 2020 - Outlook India

Trump administration takes control of COVID-19 data in US

Concerns raised as hospital, testing info will be sent to a central database in Washington, DC, instead of to the CDC.
15th Jul 2020 - Al Jazeera English

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Minister pleads case for COVIDSafe app after Opposition labels it 'expensive dud'

Technology Minister Karen Andrews has pleaded with people not to delete or stop using the COVIDSafe app, after the Opposition labelled it an "expensive dud" that has proven to be less effective than pen and paper.
14th Jul 2020 - ABC.Net

COVID-19 fear will keep the world in a slump

To date, the economic damage wrought by the pandemic has been mostly hidden by massive government subsidy. That’s about to change. And so the next few months will reveal the underlying economic impact of COVID-19 across the globe more clearly. My bet: As governments withdraw fiscal support, the economic picture is going to look worse than commonly appreciated. Getting a sense of what’s about to happen requires that we first be clear about how and why the pandemic has affected the economy: Is it because governments have required people to stay home, or is it because of the virus itself? New research shows that economic losses have come mainly from fear, not government mandate. So eliminating the mandates without ending the fear does very little.
14th Jul 2020 - The Japan Times

Global vaccine plan may allow rich countries to buy more

Politicians and public health leaders have publicly committed to equitably sharing any coronavirus vaccine that works, but the top global initiative to make that happen may allow rich countries to reinforce their own stockpiles while making fewer doses available for poor ones. Activists warn that without stronger attempts to hold political, pharmaceutical and health leaders accountable, vaccines will be hoarded by rich countries in an unseemly race to inoculate their populations first. After the recent uproar over the United States purchasing a large amount of a new COVID-19 drug, some predict an even more disturbing scenario if a successful vaccine is developed. Dozens of vaccines are being researched, and some countries — including Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. — already have ordered hundreds of millions of doses before the vaccines are even proven to work.
14th Jul 2020 - ModernHealthcare.com

In US, political divisions stymie return to lockdowns

US mayors of Houston and Atlanta are calling for a return to stay-at-home orders to staunch an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, but are being hindered by state governors who favor less restrictive measures.
13th Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th Jul 2020

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Leicester lockdown: City-wide restrictions 'not justified'

Sir Peter Soulsby said about 10% of the city's neighbourhoods "have a higher transmission" of the virus. He said data should have been shared earlier so authorities could focus on "preventing the transmission there". The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it "makes no apology" for trying to reverse infection rates. Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the Leicester mayor said it had taken "weeks" to "finally get some useful data" from the government. He said: "It's very clear when you look at the data it's a couple of areas of the city that have got a higher than average transmission of the virus. "Certainly the way the city's been locked down in its entirety, and even beyond its boundaries, is not justified."
13th Jul 2020 - BBC News

‘Clueless’ government officials unsure of how to bring Leicester out of lockdown

Nearly two weeks after the city went back into lockdown, just as restrictions were easing up throughout the rest of England, Leicester’s mayor has said that a lack of data and government clarity remains a major impediment to reopening once again. Sir Peter Soulsby told The Independent that the government “haven’t got any clue of what might be the route out and the thresholds that need to be reached to achieve this”.
11th Jul 2020 - The Independent

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 13th Jul 2020

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Tory party split over need for face masks in shops as pressure mounts for clarity

Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to force people to wear face coverings in shops. He has resisted calls so far despite admitting the evidence for such a move was growing. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said it should be voluntary, while trying to guilt-trip people into wearing them in shops. Sources think a switch in the rules could be announced this week. It comes as the UK’s Covid-19 death toll rose yesterday by 21 to 44,819.
12th Jul 2020 - Mirror Online

Netanyahu vows relief as Israelis fume over virus-battered economy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday pledged immediate financial aid to Israelis whose livelihoods have been devastated by the coronavirus, as his government faces mounting anger over its pandemic response. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday pledged immediate financial aid to Israelis whose livelihoods have been devastated by the coronavirus, as his government faces mounting anger over its pandemic response.
12th Jul 2020 - Manila Bulletin

California to release 8,000 prisoners to slow pandemic

California will release up to 8,000 inmates early from state prisons to slow the spread of COVID-19 inside facilities, state authorities said on Friday. Several California prisons have suffered large coronavirus outbreaks and the state corrections department said inmates could be eligible for release by the end of August. The release marks the biggest move yet by California to “decompress” prison populations and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by creating more space for social distancing and quarantines. “These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff,” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Ralph Diaz said in a statement.
11th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Trump wears coronavirus mask publicly for first time during visit to Walter Reed military hospital

Before departing for Walter Reed, Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn that he would “probably have a mask” while visiting the hospital. Walter Reed requires visitors to wear masks when maintaining a safe social distance isn’t possible. Trump has resisted wearing a mask in the past.
11th Jul 2020 - CNBC

Israeli police brace for rally against corona cash crisis

Organizers of the protests said they expected thousands of Israel’s self-employed to turn out. Student unions said they would also take part in the event at the city’s Rabin Square, to show their concern at the large numbers of young people made jobless by closures
11th Jul 2020 - Arab News

French bus driver dies following attack by passengers who refused to wear masks

A French bus driver declared brain dead after an attack by passengers who refused to wear face masks has died, according to his family. Philippe Monguillot, 59, died in hospital on Friday, his daughter Marie told Agence France-Presse. “We decided to let him go. The doctors were in favour and we were as well,” she said. Monguillot was attacked in the south-western town of Bayonne on Sunday after he asked three passengers to wear masks – in line with coronavirus rules across France – and tried to check another man’s ticket.
10th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 10th Jul 2020

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CDC feels pressure from Trump as rift grows over coronavirus response

The June 28 email to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was ominous: A senior adviser to a top Health and Human Services Department official accused the CDC of “undermining the President” by putting out a report about the potential risks of the coronavirus to pregnant women. The adviser, Paul Alexander, criticized the agency’s methods and said its warning to pregnant women “reads in a way to frighten women . . . as if the President and his administration can’t fix this and it is getting worse.” As the country enters a frightening phase of the pandemic with new daily cases surpassing 57,000 on Thursday, the CDC, the nation’s top public health agency, is coming under intense pressure from President Trump and his allies, who are downplaying the dangers in a bid to revive the economy ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. In a White House guided by the president’s instincts, rather than by evidence-based policy, the CDC finds itself forced constantly to backtrack or sidelined from pivotal decisions.
10th Jul 2020 - The Washington Post

UK has opted out of EU coronavirus vaccine programme, sources say

The UK government has rejected the chance to join the European Union’s coronavirus vaccine programme due to concerns over “costly delays”, according to sources. The EU is planning to spend around €2bn (£1.8bn) on the advance purchase of vaccines that are undergoing testing on behalf of the 27 member states. Negotiations with Brussels have been ongoing but Alok Sharma, the business secretary, is believed to have opted out of the opportunity, according to The Daily Telegraph. The European commission is expected to be notified of on Friday. The decision not to participate is expected to provoke a backlash among opposition MPs, who believe that ministers are reluctant to collaborate with the EU on projects after Brexit. Government sources told the newspaper that officials fear signing up to the scheme could delay the rollout of a vaccine by up to six months while talks on distribution took place.
10th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

UK Government’s post-lockdown economic rescue package meets with mixed reaction in Borders

UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak’s post-coronavirus lockdown rescue package for the British economy has met with a mixed reaction among politicians in the Borders.
9th Jul 2020 - The Southern Reporter

Serbia bans mass gatherings after virus lockdown protests

Serbian authorities on Thursday banned gatherings of more than 10 people in the capital, Belgrade, after two nights of violent clashes between police and thousands of demonstrators protesting coronavirus lockdown measures. Thousands of people defied the ban to stage a sit down protest Thursday night in front of Parliament, along with other peaceful gatherings in towns elsewhere in Serbia. Many protesters wore white T-shirts with the inscription, "Sit Down, Don't Be Set Up" — referring to widespread claims that the violence the previous nights was staged by hooligan groups close to the authorities to smear the opposition groups' image. "This is how the protest should really look like, without their mad dogs present," said one of the main opposition leaders, Dragan Djilas.
9th Jul 2020 - StarTribune

Serbia mulls anti-virus rules as clashes erupt over lockdown

Serbian authorities on Thursday banned gatherings of more than 10 people in the capital, Belgrade, after two nights of violent clashes between police and thousands of demonstrators protesting coronavirus lockdown measures. Thousands of people defied the ban to stage a sit down protest Thursday night in front of Parliament, along with other peaceful gatherings in towns elsewhere in Serbia. Many protesters wore white T-shirts with the inscription, “Sit Down, Don’t Be Set Up” - referring to widespread claims that the violence the previous nights was staged by hooligan groups close to the authorities to smear the opposition groups’ image.
9th Jul 2020 - Washington Times

Virus-ravaged states clamor for more funds from Modi

This week India surpassed Russia to become the third worst-hit country with more than 740,000 Covid-19 infections. The surging virus numbers have all but overwhelmed the public health system, which the states are responsible for. It’s also piling on pressure on local governments at a time when they’re scrambling to restart economic activity. The country’s sudden lockdown -- imposed without consulting state governments -- shattered the already troubled economy. All non-essential activity stalled and state tax collections fell sharply, pushing local governments to ask the federal government for funds in order to avoid racking up debt. The money crunch is putting everything -- from the salaries of government employees to their ability to fight the virus -- at risk.
9th Jul 2020 - Economic Times

Thousands of protesters clash with police in Belgrade over threat of second lockdown

Thousands of protesters fought running battles with riot police outside the parliament building in Belgrade on Tuesday after the Serbian president announced plans to reinstate a coronavirus lockdown. Chaos erupted as demonstrators responded to tear gas being fired at them by hurling flares, stones, bottles and eggs. A number of them briefly forced their way inside the government building before being pushed back by the police. It followed President Aleksander Vucic’s announcement on Tuesday that the Balkan country may once again be placed under weekend curfew after health officials reported the highest single-day death toll of 13 amid 299 new Covid-19 cases. Opponents blame the surge on his earlier decision to lift the restrictions in the first place.
9th Jul 2020 - Metro

Behind New Covid-19 Outbreaks: America’s Patchwork of Policies

The rising tide of coronavirus cases in the U.S. South and West, coming four months into the outbreak, emerged amid a patchwork of often confusing or conflicting rules across government that have proved inconsistent and often difficult to enforce, making the pandemic harder to halt. With the federal government handing off many decisions over reopening, the states have been the primary drivers behind moves with the most impact on the coronavirus’s spread. States, in turn, have often given responsibility for many of those decisions to counties, cities and businesses. The result is a dizzying mix of rules and guidelines that can differ widely from one region to the next. It is a reflection of the American system of governance that limits federal power and distributes power across states and localities, but to health officials it is an ineffective way to manage a pandemic.
9th Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 9th Jul 2020

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Serbian President Retracts COVID-19 Curfew After 60 Hurt in Violence

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has retracted his decision to reimpose a coronavirus curfew and has urged people to stop attending anti-government rallies after a violent clash between protesters and police. The president said Wednesday that new measures could still include shortened hours for nightclubs and penalties for those not wearing masks. On Tuesday, Vucic said at a news conference he would implement a curfew Friday, “probably” to run from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. on July 13. The president added that gatherings would be restricted to five people starting Wednesday, citing a rising number of coronavirus cases in the country and hospitals running at full capacity.
8th Jul 2020 - Voice of America

Covid-19 news: UK could eliminate coronavirus entirely, say scientists

The UK government has “given up” on trying to eliminate the coronavirus, says a new report published today by Independent SAGE – an independent group of scientists. They propose a new strategy aimed at the complete elimination of covid-19. It would replace what the report calls the government’s “failing NHS Test and Trace system” with a locally controlled contract tracing and testing system that has more laboratory provision, as well as tighter lockdown measures and restriction of international and domestic travel. The report also points out that the UK’s death toll has been one of the highest in the world but says it’s not too late to change that trajectory. “We believe that a clear strategy based on proven public health principles is now required to see us through the next 9 to 12 months,” says the report. But the report has been criticised by researchers, including epidemiologist Mark Woolhouse at the University of Edinburgh, for being overly simplistic. “This is a worthy but extremely ambitious aim,” says Woolhouse.
8th Jul 2020 - New Scientist

Brazil's right-wing President Bolsonaro says he is taking Trump's favourite drug hydroxychloroquine to tackle his coronavirus and already 'feels a lot better'

Bolsonaro claimed in on Twitter that the anti-malaria drug had made him better Said 'I am very well with its use and, with the grace of God, will live a long time' Bolsonaro yesterday said he had tested positive but was feeling 'perfectly well' Last night he showed off footage of himself taking a dose of hydroxychloroquine Anti-malaria drug is touted by him and Donald Trump but is not proven to work
8th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

As Coronavirus Cases Top 3 Million, Fauci Warns Against Misreading a Falling Death Rate

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, cautioned on Tuesday that it was a “false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” which President Trump, top White House officials and several governors have stressed in recent days. Dr. Fauci’s comments came at an event Tuesday with Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama, as the United States surpassed three million cases on Tuesday, and some states that had hoped to be getting back to normal by now have instead been forced to reinstate restrictions and issue mandatory mask orders.
8th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

White House Adviser Says Another COVID Lockdown Would Be a Big Mistake

The economy would likely suffer some impacts as certain U.S. states reimpose coronavirus-related restrictions, but imposing another nationwide shutdown would be "a big mistake," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday. He added that he has seen has seen no evidence of a so-called double-dip recession as some financial analysts have suggested as more states reported record numbers of new infections. On Tuesday, U.S. confirmed cases topped 3 million. "I don't see it yet," Kudlow told reporters at the White House, referring to any economic fallout as some of the country's most populous states such as Florida, Texas and California saw cases surge and reimposed various measures aimed at mitigating the outbreak.
8th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Israel health chief quits in protest at lockdown easing – as it happened

Israel’s public health director resigned on Tuesday in protest against ministers’ decision to ease lockdown so quickly, as another warned that the country has “lost control” of the coronavirus. Siegal Sadetzki, an epidemiologist, said she had resigned because her warnings were ignored, with infection rates soaring to more than 1,000 daily new cases in recent weeks.
8th Jul 2020 - Jewish News

How New Zealand's media endangered public health

New Zealand's health minister, David Clark, has been forced to resign and the nation's hyperactive media have claimed their latest scalp. In the middle of a pandemic, no less. Unseemly as the media's months-long hit on Clark was - a classic example of trial by media - it was consistent with the borderline misconduct that has defined much of the reporting throughout the COVID-19 crisis. While the response to the pandemic threat from the national capital, Wellington, can be held aloft, for now, as a rare success story in a world of disarray, the machinations of much of the nation's media leaves much to be desired.
8th Jul 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Lockdown heroes: will they ever get a raise?

In the US, they are called “essential” staff, in the UK “key workers” and in France travailleurs clés. The Germans have the most elaborate name for the new group: systemrelevante Arbeitskräfte or “system-relevant workers”. But the essential are not always treated as essential. The pandemic has upended the hierarchy of work, demonstrating that many of the people critical to the functioning of a modern economy are also among the least well paid — from the nurses treating Covid-19 patients to the warehouse and delivery workers who provide vital supplies.
8th Jul 2020 - The Financial Times

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th Jul 2020

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Coronavirus: Riots in the Serbian capital after government reimposes lockdown

Thousands of protesters have clashed with riot police in the Serbian capital Belgrade after the country's president announced the reintroduction of a lockdown following a spike in coronavirus cases. Serbia went from one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe to a near complete reopening of the country at the beginning of May. Football and tennis matches were played in packed stadiums and parliamentary elections were held despite warnings that the mass gatherings without social distancing could lead to a new coronavirus wave.
8th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19

Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro, who infamously described coronavirus as a “little flu”, says he has now tested positive for COVID-19. Jair Bolsonaro – one of the world’s biggest coronavirus denialists – has tested positive for COVID-19.
7th Jul 2020 - News.com.au

Trump administration begins formal withdrawal from World Health Organization

The Trump administration has notified Congress and the United Nations that the United States is formally withdrawing from the World Health Organization, multiple officials tell CNN, a move that comes amid a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout the Americas over the past week. The withdrawal, which goes into effect next July, has drawn criticism from bipartisan lawmakers, medical associations, advocacy organizations and allies abroad. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden vowed Tuesday to reverse the decision "on (his) first day" if elected.
7th Jul 2020 - CNN

Trump Presses Schools to Reopen

In a daylong series of conference calls and public events at the White House, the president, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other senior officials opened a concerted campaign to lean on governors, mayors and others to resume classes in person months after more than 50 million children were abruptly ejected from school buildings in March. Mr. Trump and his administration argued that the social, psychological and educational costs of keeping children at home any longer would be worse than the virus itself. But they offered no concrete proposals or new financial assistance to states and localities struggling to restructure academic settings, staffs and programs that were never intended to keep children six feet apart or cope with the requirements of combating a virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans.
7th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th Jul 2020

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Wales further eases lockdown as first minister criticises Boris Johnson

Speaking at his daily press conference, the Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, said the lockdown restrictions in Wales were being lifted in a “careful, step-by-step way”. Drakeford said the cautious approach made it easier in Wales to track the effect of lifting particular restrictions. He revealed that at the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak, 45% of all tests processed by NHS laboratories in Wales were coming back positive. By the end of June this had fallen to 3.5%. The first minister emphasised that the 2-metre social distancing rule still applied in Wales. He asked people to continue to work from home wherever possible and, despite the lifting of the stay local rule, said unnecessary travel should still be avoided.
6th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Lockdown easing in England threatens cautious approach of devolved nations

With new coronavirus infections falling fast, Scotland now seems to have a real chance to effectively eliminate Covid-19 transmission among the general public. But some experts warn that one big obstacle stands in its way: England. Despite much higher levels of infection and hospitalisation, the UK government has since May been easing England’s lockdown restrictions more rapidly than the devolved governments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Stormont.
6th Jul 2020 - Financial Times

White House rejects national strategy on masks

The White House is again rejecting calls for a national mask-wearing mandate. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows says in an appearance on “Fox and Friends” Monday morning that the president sees the issue as a “state-to-state” matter. He says that, “certainly a national mandate is not in order” and that “we’re allowing our local governors and our local mayors to weigh in on that.”
6th Jul 2020 - ABC NEWS 4

Trump says U.S. schools must reopen in fall amid pandemic

President Donald Trump said on Monday that U.S. schools must open in the fall - a decision over which he has limited power - as governors struggle with a nationwide rise in coronavirus infections and states reverse and pause attempts to reopen. Schools are largely under the jurisdiction of state and local governments. Educators have struggled with decisions over opening schools considering the risk of infection to both students and faculty.
6th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Premier of Australia's Victoria defends hard COVID-19 lockdown

The premier of Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, defended on Sunday his decision to put nine public housing towers in a complete lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Melbourne’s suburbs. The state recorded 74 cases new cases on Sunday, after Saturday’s 108 cases prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to order about 3,000 people not to leave their homes for at least five days and to place police to guard the buildings. “This is not going to be a pleasant experience for those residents, but I have a message for those residents: this is not about punishment but protection,” Andrews said in a televised conference. Promising two weeks of free rent and hardship payments to the residents, Andrews said public health workers would test every resident of the buildings, except those who have previously tested positive.
5th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Boris Johnson news: No ‘perfect way’ to end lockdown, Whitty warns as Scottish and Welsh leaders attack ‘shambolic government’

The UK government was accused of a “shambolic” response to the coronavirus pandemic as it lifted its travel quarantine for 59 countries and further eased lockdown restrictions. Scottish and Welsh leaders both described the new policy for arrivals in England as a “mess” as police forces braced for the “perfect storm” of pubs reopening for “Super Saturday”. However chief medical officer Chris Whitty said there was no “perfect” way to reopen Britain’s economy after the lockdown. Meanwhile Boris Johnson indicated he would not take the knee in support for Black Lives Matter – saying he does not believe in such “gestures”.
3rd Jul 2020 - The Independent

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 6th Jul 2020

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Greece shuts border to Serbians after virus spike

Greece announced on Sunday the closure of its frontier for Serbian nationals until July 15 because of a coronavirus spike. Serbia declared a state of emergency on Friday in the capital Belgrade because of the highest rise of coronavirus cases since April. Greece had made its decision after analysing the epidemiological data, said government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni. Greece, which has suffered fewer than 200 virus deaths, has launched a promotional campaign to revive tourism, which accounts for a quarter of its gross domestic product
5th Jul 2020 - Medical Xpress

Brazil dilutes mask law as its coronavirus cases top 1.5 million

President Jair Bolsonaro waters down law requiring face masks in public places as country's cases surpass 1.5 million. Bolsonaro on Friday used his veto power to dilute a law aimed at preventing the spread of the virus. The law mandates masks in public spaces, but the president removed provisions that mandate face coverings in shops and churches.
4th Jul 2020 - Al Jazeera English

France to launch inquiry into ex-PM, ministers over coronavirus

A French court will open an inquiry into former prime minister Edouard Philippe and two cabinet ministers over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, a prosecutor said Friday. The inquiry will be led by the Law Court of the Republic (CJR), which deals with claims of ministerial misconduct, said senior prosecutor Francois Molins. Along with Philippe, who was replaced Friday in the first stage of a government reshuffle, the ministers under investigation are former health minister Agnes Buzyn -- who stepped down in February for an unsuccessful bid to become mayor of Paris -- and her successor Olivier Veran.
3rd Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Jul 2020

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'Raise a glass': UK Treasury faces backlash after hailing pubs reopening

Many of those condemning the post, which was soon deleted, accused its celebratory tone of being in poor taste given that the virus has killed at least 43,000 people in the UK. The tweet came as Leicester was put back under lockdown conditions amid a localised outbreak and fears were expressed about numbers of cases being seen in Greater Manchester.
2nd Jul 2020 - The Guardian

High court hears legal challenge to England's lockdown restrictions

The government’s lockdown, which has closed schools, premises and companies while limiting free movement, is the “most sweeping and far-reaching” restriction on fundamental rights since the second world war, the high court has been told. In a challenge to the legality of emergency legislation, the businessman Simon Dolan, whose Jota Aviation company has been delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) to the NHS, is testing the full extent of the powers under which England has been confined for the past 101 days. The hearing is taking place via video link due to the coronavirus crisis, with lawyers participating remotely from their homes or chambers. Lawyers for Dolan argue that the emergency restrictions, announced by the prime minister on 23 March, are illegal, breach human rights laws and fail to take account of other significant factors.
2nd Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus news: Boris Johnson ‘blind’ to risk of lifting lockdown as more cities being monitored for spikes ahead of ‘Super Saturday’

Labour has urged Boris Johnson to extend the government’s furlough scheme, telling the prime minister it could be the “last chance to save millions of jobs". It comes as more towns and cities are monitored for coronavirus spikes that could see them placed under local lockdowns. Ministers have faced criticism for the handling of the surge in cases in Leicester, which was put into the UK’s first local lockdown on Tuesday. Australian authorities, meanwhile, will lock down about 300,000 people in suburbs north of Melbourne for one month from today after two weeks of double-digit rises in new Covid-19 cases.
2nd Jul 2020 - The Independent

New US lockdowns are a gross overreaction

For those with a taste for irony, this July 4 weekend will be one to remember. As Britons are finally liberated from months of lockdown tyranny, declaring their independence from imposed confinement with a pint in a pub, here in the former colonies the national holiday will be commemorated with renewed restrictions, tightened controls on movement and stern demands from our rulers to stay home. States that had emerged from lockdown in the spring are now responding to a resurgence in Covid-19 cases with a return to incarceration. In Texas, gyms, bars and restaurants that had been open for the past month have just been closed again. In the desert heat of Arizona the governor announced this week that there will be no going back to water parks for at least a month. In the past week total cases in the US have surged to more than 40,000 a day, the highest number since the virus first hit the country in the late winter, and so a growing number of states are reimposing restrictive measures. The economic and political ramifications of a renewed lockdown are far-reaching. If the new lockdown is an extended one, the damage to businesses that have managed to limp through the past few months could be terminal. President Trump, besieged by a summer of disease, disorder and depression, and seemingly unable to take his foot out of his mouth on any topic, had been counting, increasingly desperately, on a return to some kind of normality in time for November’s election. That may be elusive.
2nd Jul 2020 - The Times

As Britain emerges from coronavirus lockdown, Boris Johnson has lost public trust

In the past few days, the beaches of Dorset in southern England were so crammed with sunbathers, as 500,000 ­merrymakers flouted ­social distancing rules, that local councils declared an emergency. In Liverpool, ecstatic soccer fans celebrated a Premier League title in an enormous downtown mosh pit for two days, refusing to disperse and battling anti-riot squads. The mayor called it “heartbreaking.” Meanwhile, in London, authorities have been scrambling to break up illegal “flash mob” street parties, complete with sound systems and DJs. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick complained that some attendees were drunk and violent, and that all were selfish and reckless, “seeming not to care at all” about their own or their family’s health. All this, and the pubs haven’t even reopened. That happens Saturday.
2nd Jul 2020 - Washington Post

Israel FinMin opposes return to lockdown despite spike in infections

Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz said on Wednesday he opposed returning to a nationwide lockdown despite a surge in new coronavirus cases, citing the economic pressures of a prolonged closure. “We will not compromise on health considerations but we will not return to a situation where the economy will be closed,” Katz told a news conference. He argued that increased enforcement of existing rules, which include wearing masks and social distancing, was more reasonable for the time being than a shutdown.
2nd Jul 2020 - Reuters

American lockdown exceptionalism

As the number of COVID-19 cases starts to rise again in many U.S. states, the question is whether residents of those states will tolerate another lockdown. I used to think so, but it is increasingly clear that Americans have become comfortable with a remarkably high number of casualties. There is a mechanism of social conformity at work here. Most people will not tolerate a small risk to their lives to dine out, for instance — but they might if all their friends are doing the same. The appeal of a restaurant isn’t just the food, it’s the shared experience and the sense that others are doing it, too. The danger lies in the potential for ratchet effects. If hardly anyone is eating out or going to bars, you might be able to endure the deprivation. But once others have started doing something, you will probably feel compelled to join them, even at greater risk to your life.
1st Jul 2020 - The Japan Times

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Jul 2020

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'Unhelpful distraction': Health Minister David Clark resigns

Health Minister David Clark has resigned as Health Minister after he became an "unhelpful distraction" in the fight against Covid-19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted his resignation and said it was "essential our health leadership has the confidence of the New Zealand public." Clark said it had been an "extraordinary privilege" and he had given it his all.But continuing was distracting from the Government's Covid response, he said. He wasn't pushed, he said. "The decision was mine."
2nd Jul 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Campaigners warn big firms could sue over Scotland's lockdown measures

Corporations could sue for millions over Scotland’s longer route out of lockdown, trade unions say. Unison, Unite, the RMT and other unions have sounded the warning as part of the Trade Justice Scotland coalition, a 25-strong network that also includes the Common Weal think tank, Women for Independence and Global Justice Now. It has urged ministers to take action to prevent transnational corporations mounting court challenges for lost profits through the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system.
1st Jul 2020 - The National

Coronavirus: Local testing data to be shared with councils

Local authorities are to be given access to postcode-level data about the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in their areas after it was agreed with the Department of Health. It comes after Leicester became the first city to have a local lockdown imposed following a rise in cases. Labour leader Keir Starmer said there had been a "lost week" due to city officials not having full testing data. The prime minister said the figures had been shared with all local authorities. But, at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, Sir Keir said officials in Leicester had only received full figures on Thursday. Until now local authorities have not routinely had full access to the data on people who are tested for the virus in the community. But the agreement, signed individually with councils over the past week, now gives them access to a digital dashboard which shows test results down to a postcode level.
1st Jul 2020 - BBC News

Local Covid-19 lockdowns too blunt, say German politicians

Locking down entire communities is too blunt an instrument to fight coronavirus flare-ups, politicians from the area affected by Germany’s first “local lockdown” have complained after a week of reimposed physical distancing measures. While restrictions continue to be relaxed across the rest of the country, the Gütersloh district in the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia will from today go into a second week of closed schools, nurseries, bars and museum following an outbreak of Covid-19 at a local abattoir. A lockdown in the neighbouring community of Warendorf, however, has been lifted after mass tests found no sign that the virus had significantly spread across the local population.
1st Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Around 1,000 grieving relatives of coronavirus victims want public inquiry into slow lockdown

Families who've lost loved ones to coronavirus are preparing legal action against the Government over claims they would not have died had ministers locked down the country sooner. Around 1,000 grieving relatives say the Government 'gambled' with people's lives when they failed to act quickly enough or heed the warnings from other countries as Covid-19 tore across Europe. They also want an investigation into the flawed testing regime, the levels of protective clothing that was available and other issues surrounding planning for the pandemic.
1st Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

When did UK lockdown start? Date coronavirus restrictions were enforced - and if government should have acted sooner

Staying indoors has become the norm in the UK, with the country adapting to life in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, restrictions are now gradually starting to lift across the UK, with the devolved government’s outlining plans for the next phase of handling the virus. But how long has lockdown been in place? The UK government imposed the lockdown on the evening of 23 March. The restrictions were initially put in place for a period of three weeks, until 13 April, but were later extended for another 21-day period
1st Jul 2020 - The Scotsman

Welsh Government urges Ryanair to postpone 'lockdown breaking' flights to Spain and Portugal

The Welsh Government is urging Ryanair to postpone scheduled flights from Cardiff Airport to Spain and Portugal this weekend. The budget airline is planning to run flights to Faro and Malaga on Friday and Saturday. But passengers boarding the flight would be in breach of Welsh coronavirus lockdown rules which restricts non-essential travel to five miles. That restriction is not expected to be lifted until Monday. The Welsh Government, which owns the airport, is urging Ryanair to postpone the flights Wales Online reports.
1st Jul 2020 - Daily Post Wales

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 1st Jul 2020

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American Lockdown Exceptionalism

As the number of Covid-19 cases starts to rise again in many states, the question is whether residents of those states will tolerate another lockdown. I used to think so, but it is increasingly clear that Americans have become comfortable with a remarkably high number of casualties. There is a mechanism of social conformity at work here. Most people will not tolerate a small risk to their lives to dine out, for instance — but they might if all their friends are doing the same. The appeal of a restaurant isn’t just the food, it’s the shared experience and the sense that others are doing it, too. The danger lies in the potential for ratchet effects. If hardly anyone is eating out or going to bars, you might be able to endure the deprivation. But once others have started doing something, you will probably feel compelled to join them, even at greater risk to your life. Consider that in the 1920s, the chance of catching a disease or infection from dining out was pretty high, but people still went out. Accepting that level of risk was simply considered to be part of life, because everyone saw that everyone else was doing it. In similar fashion, members of an infantry brigade are usually willing to charge an enemy position so long as they can be assured that all their comrades are, too.
30th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

Facebook launches initiative to crackdown on covid 'misinformation', all the times UK health chiefs sowed confusion with U-turns over ibuprofen, the two-metre rule and face masks

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said 'clarity is in short supply' in the UK. Officials have flipped stances on essential travel and international quarantine. One Leicester MP said messaging on social distancing is 'at best confusing.'
30th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

No 10 accused of sowing confusion over Leicester lockdown

Downing Street has been accused of sowing confusion and anxiety in Leicester after imposing the first local lockdown to combat a surge in Covid-19 cases in the city, amid growing concern about how the measures will work. As part of hardened restrictions, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced on Monday night that schools would shut to most children and reopened non-essential shops would be forced to close for at least two weeks in Leicester. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats backed the lockdown, but criticised the government’s handling of it and called for clarity over the details.
30th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Bavaria's free COVID-19 test for all splits Germany

The state of Bavaria approved plans on Tuesday for universal testing for COVID-19, prompting debate elsewhere in Germany about whether to follow suit or stick with the current targeted approach to prevent a possible second wave of infections. Germany has successfully managed to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control with far fewer deaths than most other large European nations despite relatively softer lockdown measures that allowed some social and economic life to continue. But an outbreak this month at an abattoir in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia affecting more than 1,500 workers has forced a lockdown for 600,000 people and raised fears that Germany remains vulnerable despite its early success. Under current rules, free tests are available for people who have symptoms such as fever and Germany’s 16 states carry out frequent tests among high-risk groups in, for example, retirement homes, hospitals and daycare centres.
30th Jun 2020 - Reuters

'Don't relax': NSW's biggest threat is not Victoria, it's bravado, Premier says

Melbourne's coronavirus hotspots will be put back into lockdown from Wednesday in a desperate effort to contain an outbreak of the deadly disease as Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned NSW's biggest threat was not Victoria but increasing complacency within its own borders. The extraordinary steps taken in Victoria, which include a request to divert all international flights from Melbourne for the next fortnight, came on the same day Queensland announced it would reopen its borders to the rest of the country with the exception of Victoria, and the next phase of COVID-19 restrictions were eased in NSW.
30th Jun 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Border reopening must be priority - Business NZ

The business community pinned its hopes on the border reopening as soon as possible and says the government's failed to hold up its end of the deal. Business leaders say billions of dollars of opportunities are on hold while the government and the army fix up mistakes most New Zealanders thought were being managed. The government is frantically trying to plug those gaps, while at the same time the Opposition ramps up pressure for the border to open. Almost four million international tourists typically cross New Zealand shores each year and BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said livelihoods depend on that window opening again. But for now, the government isn't even resuming compassionate exemptions let alone allowing international visitors in, because there isn't enough confidence in quarantine and managed isolation facilities.
30th Jun 2020 - RNZ

Fake contact tracing part of 'rapidly evolving' coronavirus fraud, U.S. DOJ warns

Scammers are posing as COVID-19 contact tracers as a way to steal personal information, three major U.S. government agencies said on Tuesday, describing “rapidly evolving” fraud related to the pandemic. The U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services and Federal Trade Commission warned that fake contact tracers were asking for money and trying to collect social security numbers, bank and credit card information from individuals.
30th Jun 2020 - Reuters

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Reuters Special Report - Into the fog: How Britain lost track of the coronavirus

To tackle the invisible virus, doctors and health specialists first needed to find it. But with few tests, little contact tracing and a government culture of secrecy, they lost sight of the enemy.
29th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Putin tells Russia that the coronavirus is in retreat. Critics face crackdowns for saying it’s far from over.

Sometimes information slips out, telling a more dire story for Russians grappling with mixed messages: the Kremlin’s upbeat assessments versus statistics showing that Russia’s confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus are still climbing. When infectious-disease doctor Victoria Adonyeva predicted in a newspaper interview that the nationwide vote would cause a spike in new cases, many readers applauded her honesty. Adonyeva, chief infectious-disease specialist of the Orlovskaya region, about 220 miles south of Moscow, also called into question the accuracy of Russia’s statistics on coronavirus deaths — now at 9,152 — in the interview with the Orlovsky Novosti newspaper. “The numbers are going up. There’s no plateau,” she said. “What kind of stabilization, what kind of lifting of restrictions can we talk about?” Her hospital and others in the city of Oryol had no free beds, she added.
29th Jun 2020 - Washington Post

Coronavirus: Victoria can’t blame bad luck for coronavirus failures

Victoria’s chief medical officer said residents may be asked to wear face masks in light of the state’s surging coronavirus cases, contradicting earlier warnings that wearing personal protective equipment was unnecessary and potentially harmful. Brett Sutton told ABC’s Radio National on Monday that health authorities were preparing advice on whether Victorians should wear masks. “I take the perspective that when you are really trying to drive numbers down to maintain your test and trace capability, it needs to be considered,” Sutton said. “I have got a team working up some advice now and we will talk about masks in those types of settings for people to choose it and provide some guidance on the masks that work and how much protection you get.” The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, told ABC’s 7:30 on Monday night that states and territories can make decisions about whether wearing masks “could be encouraged or even mandatory” – confirming that “that’s one of the items that Victoria is looking at”.
29th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Duncan Garner: It's time to completely shut New Zealand's border - returning Kiwis included

Duncan Garner: It's time to completely shut New Zealand's border - returning Kiwis included
29th Jun 2020 - Newshub

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Coronavirus: US has 'serious problem', says Fauci

US infectious disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci says the nation has a "serious problem" as 16 states reel from a spike in Covid-19 cases. At the first White House task force briefing in two months, Dr Fauci said: "The only way we're going to end it is by ending it together." As health experts said more must be done to slow the spread, Vice-President Mike Pence praised US "progress". More than 40,000 new cases were recorded across the US on Friday. The total of 40,173, given by Johns Hopkins University, was the highest daily total so far, exceeding the record set only the previous day. There are over 2.4 million confirmed infections and more than 125,000 deaths nationwide - more than any other country. During Friday's briefing, the White House task force also urged millennials to get tested, even if they are asymptomatic.
27th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Greg Abbott expresses regret over bar reopenings amid coronavirus

"If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars," Abbott said in a TV interview Friday evening.
26th Jun 2020 - The Texas Tribune

Trump Administration Files Supreme Court Brief To End Obamacare Amid COVID-19 Crisis

The Trump administration filed a brief Thursday night calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act — which allows millions of Americans to get health insurance coverage — just as the nation smashed a record for new COVID-19 cases in a single day. Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in a brief that because Congress in 2017 invalidated the law’s individual coverage mandate — by dropping a tax penalty for those without health insurance — the “entire ACA thus must fall.” The court is scheduled to hear arguments later this year, but a decision might not come until 2021. The move threatens health care coverage for more than 20 million Americans.
26th Jun 2020 - Huffington Post

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Tony Blair: UK was too slow to lock down in face of coronavirus

The UK has been “badly hit” by coronavirus and even Government insiders acknowledge it had been too slow to lock down, Tony Blair said. The former prime minister said he sympathised with the challenge facing Boris Johnson as he decided how to respond at a time when there was a lot of uncertainty about the virus. But he said he would be less sympathetic if mistakes were made in the way the lockdown was eased.
25th Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

Johnson Answers Questions About Lockdowns, Test & Track App

Considering Johnson’s announcement Tuesday that much of Britain would reopen, effective July 4, Starmer said local leaders across the country do not have the proper guidance or powers to implement lockdowns, should there be a spike in coronavirus cases. He asked Johnson to define what a local lockdown might look like and what guidance those leaders might expect to receive. Johnson dismissed Starmer’s criticism, saying the government had a “very effective cluster-busting operation” in place, and local governments understand how it works. Speaking about the National Health Service’s "track-and-trace" app, Starmer said 33,000 people are estimated to have COVID-19 in England, but only 10,000 people with the virus were reached by contact tracers. The opposition leader noted, "This is a big gap," and warned that if the app isn't running, "we can't open the economy." Johnson said the Labor leader was giving a "false impression" of what the NHS app is doing and said that it is a "formidable achievement." He said “no country currently has a functioning track-and-trace app.” Starmer noted Germany’s app, which reports say has been downloaded 10 million times. Italy, Singapore and South Korea also have tracing apps in use.
25th Jun 2020 - Voice of America

British PM Johnson dismisses criticism on local lockdowns, coronavirus app

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed criticism on Wednesday of his government’s plans to implement local lockdowns if there are flare-ups of the novel coronavirus and of an app to trace the spread of the virus. At prime minister’s questions in parliament, the opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer suggested both systems were not yet ready before England eases its coronavirus lockdown from July 4. In response, Johnson said: “We have a very effective cluster-busting operation which is designed to ensure that we keep those outbreaks under control. “I am not going to pretend ... that this thing is beaten or that the virus has gone away ... We have to remain vigilant and local councils will be supported in doing their vital work in implementing local lockdowns,” he added, challenging Starmer to find any other country that has a functioning tracing app. A spokesman for Starmer pointed to Germany, which has had a large number of people downloading its app, and a number of countries “which are far ahead of us in terms of developing their apps”, such as Singapore and South Korea.
25th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Israel Announces Partnership With U.A.E., Which Throws Cold Water On It

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted a rare public opening between the two countries. Apparently, the Emirates was not ready for it. Mr. Netanyahu’s ebullient description was contradicted a few hours later when the Emirates issued a much more muted statement, announcing what it described as an agreement between two private Emirati companies and two Israeli companies to develop technology to fight the virus. The Emirati statement took the wind out of what Mr. Netanyahu had touted as a diplomatic coup, suggesting that despite the deepening ties, the two countries were still at odds over Mr. Netanyahu’s vow to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
25th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

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The way Boris Johnson has eased lockdown sends all the wrong messages

At the last daily press conference on Covid-19, Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, pleaded with the public: “If people don’t take mitigation seriously, if people hear a distorted version of what’s been said – that says ‘this is all fine now, it’s gone away’ – and start behaving in ways that they normally would have before this virus happened, yes we will get an uptick for sure. So it is absolutely critical that people stick to the guidance that has been given.”
24th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Second wave warning, lockdown easing and NUS action

Health leaders are calling for an urgent review to determine whether the UK is properly prepared for the "real risk" of a second wave of infections. The presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians and GPs urged the government to examine "areas of weakness where action is needed urgently to prevent further loss of life". Is a second wave inevitable? Our health correspondent James Gallagher looks closely. The warning comes after the prime minister announced a wholesale easing of lockdown in England from 4 July - here's all you need to know on that.
24th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus news: Drinkers warned risk of catching Covid-19 in reopening pubs ‘quite high’, as Boris Johnson eases lockdown and reduces 2-metre rule

Medical experts have warned the UK must prepare now for the “real risk” of a second wave of coronavirus amid growing fears of a renewed outbreak this winter. The warning came in an open letter published in the British Medical Journal after prime minister Boris Johnson announced the two-metre social distancing rule would be reduced to “one-metre plus”, allowing pubs, restaurants, hotels and cinemas to reopen from 4 July. Fitness bosses have criticised the decision to leave gyms out of the next stage of England’s lockdown easing, with the chief executive of David Lloyd Clubs blasting the move as “completely illogical”. Australia has reported its first death in more than a month, sparking concerns about a second wave which saw thousands in Victoria queue for Covid-19 tests and supermarkets impose new restrictions.
24th Jun 2020 - The Independent

A tale of two pandemics: how Germany got it right, and Britain blundered

By 23 June, according to official figures, Britain had sustained 306,210 confirmed cases of Covid-19, compared with Germany’s 190,862. In Britain 42,927 people had died from the virus. In Germany the figure on the same day stood at 8,895 deaths. In Britain, according to Johns Hopkins University data, the current death rate per 100,000 people stands at 64.27. In Germany, the rate is 10.73. It is a stunning difference. Germans have been six times less likely to die from Covid-19 than British people. What explains it? One underlying reason is that the UK’s health spending level per head of $4,000 is only approximately two-thirds that of Germany. Another more immediate one is that Germany was much quicker to lock down: most German schools closed from 13 March, a week before all parts of the UK; shops and restaurants closed from 16 March, again a week before Britain. As a result, Germany was able to begin lifting parts of its lockdown at the end of April.
24th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: 'Extraordinarily risky' to lift lockdown measures now, warns ex-chief scientific adviser

Lifting lockdown measures now in England risks a second wave of coronavirus during the winter, a former chief scientific adviser to the government has warned. “I think it’s extraordinarily risky,” Sir David King told Sky News. “If we take the long view we know that the winter is a likely period when the virus takes off again. We must therefore aim to completely get rid of the virus from this country before the winter.” His warning came a day after Boris Johnson announced the most significant relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown so far, telling the public that pubs, cinemas, hairdressers and restaurants will reopen on 4 July, and that the two-metre rule will be eased.
24th Jun 2020 - The Independent

Judge orders Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask

President Bolsonaro has been ordered by a federal judge to wear a mask in public after he attended political rallies in Rio de Janeiro without any face covering. Renato Borelli said that Mr Bolsonaro could be fined 2,000 reais ($387) a day if he continued to disobey a federal district ordinance meant to slow the Covid-19 outbreak. Facemasks have been mandatory in public in the city since April. Last week Abraham Weintraub, the education minister, was fined for failing to wear a face mask at a rally in Brasilia, the capital. He shook hands and posed for pictures with demonstrators, many of whom also went without masks. Brazil is facing one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus, with more than 1.1 million cases so far and more than 50,000 deaths. Mr Bolsonaro has resisted calls for lockdowns, saying that his country’s economy could not survive.
24th Jun 2020 - The Times

'End of hibernation': what the papers say about England's lockdown easing

A combination of sunny weather and the approaching relaxation of coronavirus lockdown rules in England has led to jubilation on some front pages today, as others mark the start of the end of “our long national hibernation”. “Summer’s back on!” says the Daily Mail, and quotes Boris Johnson urging people to get out and enjoy themselves. It notes, however, the move is a “calculated gamble to head off economic disaster”. The Express takes a similar tack. It uses a picture of the prime minister with beer held aloft alongside the headline: “Cheers Boris! Here’s to a brighter Britain”. It tempers the joy with a message across the top: “PM: we’re coming out of hibernation but virus still a risk”. Metro also uses the pub theme with “Get the beers in”.
24th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

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Coronavirus: FM warns Scots against taking UK holidays for now

Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scots against taking holidays in other parts of the UK even as lockdown restrictions are being eased south of the border. The first minister said the Scottish government's five-mile advisory limit on travelling for leisure and recreation remained in place for now. She also said people should still not plan overnight stays away from home. But Ms Sturgeon said she hoped the tourism industry would be "back up and running" by next month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can open from 4 July in England, when social distancing rules will be eased.
23rd Jun 2020 - BBC News

Johnson to overrule scientists and ease lockdown

Boris Johnson will on Tuesday reject misgivings from some leading scientists and press ahead with a plan to cut England’s contentious two-metre social-distancing rule, as he adds cinemas, galleries and museums to the list of premises able to reopen on July 4. Pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers will also be given approval to reopen their doors with coronavirus precautions in place on July 4, to the relief of Conservative MPs who have been urging the prime minister to press ahead with further lockdown easing. In a sign of increasing efforts to boost the economy amid the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Johnson is hoping to announce in the next few days the lifting of the UK’s 14-day quarantine arrangements for travellers arriving from countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Greece and Spain.
23rd Jun 2020 - The Financial Times

Nicola Sturgeon slams Boris Johnson's 'reckless' bid to get back to normal by easing lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon tore into Boris Johnson today over his plans to ease the lockdown still further in England, branding him 'reckless. Scotland's First Minister said it was 'tempting' to try to rush to get the nation 'back to normal' but suggested that the move should not be rushed amid new spikes in cases in some countries. She made the waning as the UK's death toll fell to just 15 - the lowest level since mid-March.
23rd Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Pubs, museums and cinemas to open amid concerns UK leaving lockdown ‘too quickly’

Boris Johnson is set to announce new lockdown easing plans today that will allow pubs, restaurants, museums and cinemas to begin re-opening in England from July 4. The Prime Minister is also expected to review the two-metre social distancing rule, amid widespread predictions it will be cut to one metre. He will brief the Cabinet on the proposals before outlining them in the House of Commons later today. Some Tory MPs have put pressure on the PM to ease the two-metre requirement in order to get the hospitality sector back up and running. Many pubs and restaurants have warned that it would be impossible for them to operate as long as the rule remains in place, with others saying their businesses may never reopen if they are not given the green light this week.
23rd Jun 2020 - Metro

Brazilian judge tells Bolsonaro to behave and wear a face mask

A Brazilian judge has ordered Jair Bolsonaro to rectify his “at best disrespectful” behaviour by wearing a face mask when circulating in the capital, Brasília. The president has sparked outrage by repeatedly flouting measures designed to slow the advance of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50,000 Brazilians. The rightwing populist has made a succession of public appearances – at protests, shops and even a floating barbecue – wearing a mask incorrectly, or not at all. On Monday, a federal judge ruled Bolsonaro was not above the laws of the federal district, which contains Brazil’s capital, and would face a daily fine of 2,000 reais (£310) if he continued to break the rules. The use of masks has been compulsory there since late April.
23rd Jun 2020 - The Guardian

E.U. May Bar American Travelers as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus

European Union officials are racing to agree on who can visit the bloc as of July 1 based on how countries of origin are faring with new coronavirus cases. Americans, so far, are excluded, according to draft lists seen by The New York Times.
23rd Jun 2020 - The New York Times

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Coronavirus: Brazil becomes second country to pass 50,000 deaths

Brazil has become the second country, after the US, to register more than 50,000 deaths from Covid-19. It comes amid growing political tension and just days after the country confirmed more than one million coronavirus infections. Brazil recorded its highest number of daily deaths on 4 June; the seven-day average seems to have plateaued since. President Jair Bolsonaro's decision to oppose lockdowns and focus on the economy has been hugely divisive. Two health ministers - both doctors - have left their posts as deaths and infections have surged. The first was sacked by Mr Bolsonaro, the second resigned after disagreeing with the far-right president.
22nd Jun 2020 - BBC News

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Trump urges slowdown in COVID-19 testing, calling it a 'double-edge sword'

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday told thousands of cheering supporters he had asked U.S. officials to slow down testing for the novel coronavirus, calling it a “double-edged sword” that led to more cases being discovered. In his remarks, Trump used terms such as “Kung Flu” virus and “Chinese virus” to refer to COVID-19. “That name gets further and further away from China, as opposed to calling it the Chinese virus,” he said.
21st Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Trump's Tulsa rally: Court rejects bid for face masks, social distancing

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request to require everyone attending President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa this weekend to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing inside the arena to guard against the spread of the coronavirus. The court ruled that the two local residents who asked that the thousands expected at Saturday night’s rally be required to take the precautions couldn’t establish that they had a clear legal right to the relief they sought. Oklahoma has had a recent spike in coronavirus cases, but in a concurring opinion, two justices noted that the state’s plan to reopen its economy is “permissive, suggestive and discretionary.” “Therefore, for lack of any mandatory language in the (plan), we are compelled to deny the relief requested.”
19th Jun 2020 - Chicago Tribune

How Covid-19 spread QAnon in Germany

The sprawling movement which centers on an alleged “deep state” plot against President Donald Trump, has gained traction among anti-lockdown demonstrators and conspiracy theorists
19th Jun 2020 - Coda Story

Afghan health workers deliberately targeted during pandemic: UN

A UN report registered a dozen attacks on health workers at the height of Afghanistan's coronavirus outbreak. Targeting the health care system during the pandemic was ''particularly reprehensible,'' the world body said.
21st Jun 2020 - DW (English)

Airlines' legal challenge of UK quarantine policy to be heard early July, lawyers say

A legal challenge by British Airways (ICAG.L), easyJet (EZJ.L) and Ryanair (RYA.I) against the UK government’s decision to introduce a 14-day quarantine for travellers will be heard in early July, barristers involved in the case said on Friday. “The airlines claim that the regulations are irrational and disproportionate. A hearing has been listed for early July,” Blackstone Chambers said in a statement.
19th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Is the WHO denying there are dangers from assymptomatic patients carrying the coronavirus?

WHO epidemiologist Ms. Van Kerkhov noted that patients who did not show symptoms of coronavirus were less likely to spread the virus than people with an active response to COVID-19 BUT she did not say the dangers were any less and that assymptomatic people posed no risks Russian languages sites and blogs went ballistic in spreading these lies far and wide. "We have a lot of reports from countries that closely monitor the contacts of infected people. They monitor asymptomatic cases, they monitor contacts and do not detect the transmission of the virus, so this is very rare," Kerkhov said at a briefing.
18th Jun 2020 - SOS Pravda Ukraine

Zimbabwe health minister arrested over coronavirus supplies scandal

Zimbabwean Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested Friday for alleged corruption related to the supply of medical materials to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the anti-graft agency said. The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) confirmed the arrest of the minister Friday evening. "I can confirm that Minister Moyo is currently detained at Rhodesville Police Station and will likely appear in court tomorrow," ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said. According to Makamure, the minister was arrested over shady procurement deals worth millions of U.S. dollars. Moyo became the second minister to be arrested for alleged corruption in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government, after the arrest last year of the then tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira.
18th Jun 2020 - CGTN

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Florida and Texas governors blame spike in cases on increased testing

As coronavirus cases spike in Florida and Texas this week, the state's Republican governors attributed the alarming trends to increased testing, outbreaks in high-risk areas like jails and assisted living facilities, or in Florida's case, migrant worker communities. They've also brushed away pleas from local officials for stronger requirements to wear masks. The explanations echo the Trump administration's current positioning on the state of Covid-19 in America: denial and excuses.
19th Jun 2020 - CNN

Brazil on track to surpass the U.S. in coronavirus deaths this summer, following record increase

Coronavirus cases have surged dramatically in Brazil as the country struggles to put a lid on the pandemic. On Tuesday, Brazil experienced a record increase of nearly 35,000 daily coronavirus cases. Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)'s director of the Andes, told CBS News on Wednesday that she wouldn't "trust" numbers released by the Brazilian government. She believes they're much higher than what has been reported, citing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's lack of transparency on the data. "There are questions about really how much testing is going on in most of the areas worst affected, which may also influence the numbers," she said. "The fact that it's spreading like wildfire is completely not a surprise."
18th Jun 2020 - CBS News

Trump says U.S. will not lock down again amid rising coronavirus cases

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States would not close businesses again as several states reported rising numbers of new coronavirus infections. “We won’t be closing the country again. We won’t have to do that,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel. Trump’s comments come after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both said the United States could not shut down the economy again. In a call with governors, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged them to repeat the administration’s claim that increased testing accounts for the spike in numbers, the New York Times has reported.
18th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Relaxing Lockdown: Overdue or a Ticking Time Bomb? – Byline Times

The uncomfortable truth is that, at this stage, we cannot predict the trajectory of the Coronavirus. Opinions to the contrary are a by-product of confirmation bias. No high-quality data on the immediate and downstream effects of specific social distancing and lockdown interventions exist. ‘Lockdown versus no lockdown’ remains a crude metric. The murky data remain compatible with a wide range of death-to-infection ratios, also known as infection fatality rates (IFR). If the true IFR and health burden of COVID-19 turns out to be much lower than the initial indications of around 1%, and suppression strategies prove unsustainable in the long-term, then blanket lockdown strategies may turn out to have been an overreaction.
18th Jun 2020 - Byline Times

Lord Sugar: Boris Johnson is being too cautious in lifting lockdown

The Apprentice star has been living in Florida, which has been out of lockdown for six weeks, and said: “Who’s dead? I’m not.” Lord Sugar claimed that the Prime Minister’s own time in hospital with Covid-19 has affected his decision-making. Appearing on Jeremy Vine on Channel 5
18th Jun 2020 - ITV

‘Who’s dead? I’m not’: Lord Alan Sugar says lockdown should end because nobody he knows has died

Lord Alan Sugar has been accused of making “tone deaf” comments about coronavirus after suggesting that lockdown should end in the UK because none of his friends had died. Appearing on Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show via video link from his home in Florida, the Apprentice star shared his thoughts on Covid-19 lockdown measures being dialled back.“Look, I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to be giving medical advice and all that stuff,” the former Labour peer began.
18th Jun 2020 - The Independent

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UK readers find the government's COVID-19 messages more misleading than actual fake news

Studies have suggested social media is rife with disinformation, with surveys showing a high proportion of people have been exposed to false or misleading claims about COVID-19, fueling dramatic headlines. But our six-week diary study of news audiences between April 16 and May 27 found that the vast majority of our panel of 200 participants could easily spot fake news. They found stories such as the conspiracy theory that 5G is responsible for the spread of COVID-19 or the quack remedy that gargling with saltwater cures coronavirus immediately suspect. So it wasn’t fake news being peddled on social media or conspiracy websites that was of most concern. When we asked them about what false or misleading information about COVID-19 they had encountered, many instead referenced examples of what they saw as government or media misinformation.
18th Jun 2020 - Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

Coronavirus lockdown in Wales: Where do the parties stand?

Cabinet members will meet later to discuss what, if any, changes can be made to the lockdown rules in Wales. The first minister will announce their decision at a press conference on Friday. The Welsh Government's handling of the pandemic, lockdown and economic recovery is likely to feature heavily in the campaigning ahead of next May's election to the Senedd. So where do the parties stand on what should happen next?
17th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Spain's COVID-19 Lockdown Prompts Political Backlash Over Freedom

Supporters of right-wing parties were rebelling over the way the Socialist government had imposed a state of emergency on a country unaccustomed to being told what to do. The conservative People's Party and far-right Vox party asserted that the government used the excuse COVID-19 to ride roughshod the rights enshrined in Spain’s 1978 constitution, the first since democracy returned after the death of longtime ruler General Francisco Franco three years before. One of the nations worst hit by COVID-19, Spain in March imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe to contain the epidemic. Some 47 million Spaniards could only leave their homes to buy food, for medical help or for essential work. As Spain prepared to end the state of emergency on June 21, critics said questions remain over how the minority government ran the country in the face of extraordinary circumstances.
17th Jun 2020 - Voice of America

Coronavirus: Lawyers' groups want to join lockdown legality case

A court case about the legal basis for the Alert Level 3 and 4 coronavirus lockdowns could be expanded to allow three lawyers' groups to take part. A decision is pending on whether the Auckland District Law Society, the Criminal Bar Association, and the New Zealand Law Society, will be allowed to take part in the case lawyer Andrew Borrowdale has personally taken. At the High Court in Wellington on Wednesday, Chief High Court Judge, Justice Susan Thomas, reserved her decision on the lawyers' groups application to "intervene". It appeared that the Auckland District Law Society and the Criminal Bar Association would support Borrowdale's claim that early lockdown measures were made without legal authority.
17th Jun 2020 - Stuff.co.nz

England’s ‘World Beating’ System to Track the Virus Is Anything But

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain unveiled last month a “world beating” operation to track down people who had been exposed to the coronavirus, giving the country a chance to climb out of lockdown without losing sight of where infections were spreading. As with much of the government’s response to the pandemic, however, the results have fallen short of the promises, jeopardizing the reopening of Britain’s hobbled economy and risking a second wave of death in one of the countries most debilitated by the virus. In almost three weeks since the start of the system in England, called N.H.S. Test and Trace, some contact tracers have failed to reach a single person, filling their days instead with internet exercise classes and bookshelf organizing. Some call handlers, scattered in offices and homes far from the people they speak with, have mistakenly tried to send patients in England to testing sites across the sea in Northern Ireland
17th Jun 2020 - New York Times

Pence Tells Governors to Repeat Misleading Claim on Outbreaks

Vice President Mike Pence encouraged governors on Monday to adopt the administration’s claim that increased testing helps account for the new coronavirus outbreak reports, even though evidence has shown that the explanation is misleading. On a call with the governors, audio of which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Pence urged them “to continue to explain to your citizens the magnitude of the increase in testing” in addressing the new outbreaks. And he asked them to “encourage people with the news that we’re safely reopening the country.”
16th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

Pressure piling on PM to ease lockdown amid more evidence of economic ‘disaster’

The Government is facing further pressure to cut lockdown restrictions as new figures laid bare the damage being caused to the labour market. The latest unemployment data was published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday just hours before the Prime Minister meets with his Cabinet. New figures suggested the down turn had yet to feed through fully into unemployment thanks to the job retention scheme but there was a sharp drop in the number of paid employees, down by 2.1% or 612,000 in May compared with March, and a huge increase in benefit claims. The ONS said there was a decline in hours worked by people in jobs, while jobless claims under Universal Credit jumped 23.3% month-on-month in May to 2.8 million and soared 125.9% or 1.6 million since March when the UK was placed in lockdown.
16th Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Jun 2020

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Sturgeon warns against ‘reckless relaxation’ of lockdown measures

There must not be a “reckless relaxation” of coronavirus lockdown measures to get Scotland’s economy moving again, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. It comes as official figures show the number of Scots out of work increased by 30,000 to 127,000 over the period February to April. With unemployment rising, she said an extension to the UK Government’s furlough scheme, in which the taxpayer has paid the wages of hundreds of thousands of Scots, is almost certainly essential. The impact of the job retention scheme means the latest figures are “likely to be an underestimate of the full impact of Covid-19”, Ms Sturgeon said. She said the planned easing of some restrictions later this week could help the economy, adding there could be some “really significant steps taken for all of Scotland to start to get us back to normal”.
16th Jun 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Coronavirus: Sturgeon warns against 'reckless' easing of lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon has warned against any "reckless" move to ease lockdown in Scotland despite a growing "economic crisis" and rising unemployment. The first minister spoke after the release of the latest jobless figures. The unemployment rate rose to 4.6% in Scotland between February and April, compared with a UK-wide rate of 3.9%. Ms Sturgeon said easing the lockdown "too quickly" would risk a resurgence of the virus which would cost lives and economic productivity. She said the progress made in suppressing Covid-19 so far could help build a "sustainable economy recovery". And she called on the UK government to extend the job retention "furlough" scheme, saying it was "almost certain" to be needed beyond October. Scotland is expected to move to the second phase of the government's "route map" towards lifting lockdown on Thursday, which could see a "safe re-opening" of more shops and workplaces.
16th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Boris accused of ‘disdain’ for public by ignoring early calls for lockdown

The government has been accused of having ‘disdain’ for the public by ignoring calls for an earlier lockdown at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan called it a ‘devastating error’ that the UK didn’t lockdown at the ‘absolute epicentre’ of the first wave of the pandemic. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the Lancet, replied: ‘It is fair to talk about the disdain of the government for the British people, and the reason is that the British people were smarter than the government. ‘People in this country actually knew that there was a threat coming – they could tell that there was danger in the air, and they started to change their behaviour before March 23 when Boris Johnson announced the lockdown.
16th Jun 2020 - Metro

Pressure piling on PM to ease lockdown amid more evidence of economic ‘disaster’

The Government is facing further pressure to cut lockdown restrictions as new figures laid bare the damage being caused to the labour market. The latest unemployment data was published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday just hours before the Prime Minister meets with his Cabinet. New figures suggested the down turn had yet to feed through fully into unemployment thanks to the job retention scheme but there was a sharp drop in the number of paid employees, down by 2.1% or 612,000 in May compared with March, and a huge increase in benefit claims.
16th Jun 2020 - Hampshire Chronicle

Lockdown is 'economic catastrophe', says William Hague

In his article, Lord Hague said the lockdown had been so "destructive" that it could "only ever be allowed to happen once". He urged the government to scrap the quarantine on international arrivals - which requires all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days - and the 2m social distancing rule. "We can now see that it is not necessary to have a two-metre separation between people to keep the virus in retreat where it is already at a low level," he writes. "We know this from the experience of countries such as Denmark, France and Germany where the recommended distance is shorter, and we should not have to spend weeks agonising over it." He said lockdown was "like Dunkirk - a heroic operation in itself but the result of a massive failure". And this was a failure "at multiple levels" he said, adding: "A failure by the whole world to prevent the trading of wild animals for consumption; by China to report the initial outbreak openly; by our and many other countries to prepare for this type of pandemic."
16th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Pressure piles to ease lockdown with fresh unemployment figures being released

The Government is facing further pressure to cut lockdown restrictions in England as ministers brace for the latest figures on coronavirus-related job losses. The latest unemployment data will be published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday, only hours before the Prime Minister meets with his Cabinet. With the ONS figures expected to make for grim reading given the economic fallout from Covid-19, Tory grandees have called on Boris Johnson to ease the extent of the restrictions currently in place.
16th Jun 2020 - Wales Online

Hospitals in several Alabama cities now seeing all-time highs in coronavirus patients

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Decatur has hit all-time highs this month, filling beds and taxing staff as the state struggles with a wave of new cases. Nearly one-third of those patients will require ventilators during treatment, said Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers. Cases are surging in Alabama. The department of public health reported record-high numbers of new coronavirus cases in recent days, with more than 1,000 cases added on Sunday.
16th Jun 2020 - AL.com

Montgomery City Council votes down mask ordinance, sends doctors out in disgust

Jackson Hospital pulmonologist William Saliski cleared his throat as he started describing the dire situation created by the coronavirus pandemic in Montgomery to its City Council before they voted on a mandatory mask ordinance. "It's been a long day, I apologize," he said. "The units are full with critically-ill COVID patients," Saliski said. About 90% of them are Black. He said hospitals are able to manage for now, but it's not sustainable. "This mask slows that down, 95% protection from something as easy as cloth. ... If this continues the way it's going, we will be overrun." More doctors followed him to the microphone, describing the dead being carried out within 30 minutes of each other, and doctors being disturbed when people on the street ask them if the media is lying about the pandemic as part of a political ploy.
16th Jun 2020 - Montgomery Advertiser

Florida businesses, restaurants not required to report coronavirus cases among employees, officials say

FOX 35 Orlando also spoke with the epidemiologist at the Seminole County Health Department to see if businesses are required to report their cases and shut down if their workers get coronavirus. He said that the cases should be reported, but it is not a requirement, and the business is not required to shut down. “We are not regulatory over businesses. For the most part, that is the Department of Business and Professional Regulation,” Baker said. “So, they don’t have to call us and say I’m shutting down my business.”
15th Jun 2020 - FOX 35 Orlando

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Jun 2020

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US revokes emergency use of drugs touted by Trump vs. virus

U.S. regulators on Monday revoked emergency authorization for malaria drugs promoted by President Donald Trump for treating COVID-19 amid growing evidence they don’t work and could cause serious side effects. The Food and Drug Administration said the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are unlikely to be effective in treating the coronavirus. Citing reports of heart complications, the FDA said the drugs’ unproven benefits “do not outweigh the known and potential risks.”
16th Jun 2020 - The Associated Press

The Great British COVID-19 Procurement Scandal – Byline Times

Bernie Spofforth reveals how small businesses with little experience and expertise were awarded major contracts for personal protective equipment
15th Jun 2020 - Byline Times

Broken by the coronavirus, Boris Johnson's team losing faith

Inside Boris Johnson’s government, senior officials are exhausted, demoralized and starting to despair. Their dreams of reshaping Britain for a bright post-Brexit world have been blown off course by coronavirus. With more than 41,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.K., Johnson has presided over one of the worst records in the world after the U.S. and Brazil. Now Britain faces among the heaviest financial tolls from the pandemic of any major economy, and the deepest recession in 300 years. In the background is the specter of compounding the pain by failing to reach a trade deal with the European Union, with Johnson next week set to try to rescue talks that are going nowhere.
15th Jun 2020 - The Japan Times

Fear of coronavirus, not lockdown, is the biggest threat to the UK's economy

Tory MPs are missing the point: lifting restrictions won’t ease this recession, people need to feel the outbreak is under control
15th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

'We may be able to do more than we thought in easing out of lockdown' says Health Minister

The Health Minister Vaughan Gething said we may be able to move at a "slightly faster rate" when it comes to easing lockdown restrictions. Mr Gething said we are in this position because people in Wales have followed the rules. Following the rules has saved lives and means we may be able to move at a slightly faster rate than we thought possible even just a few weeks ago.
15th Jun 2020 - ITV News

Boris Johnson desperately needs his lockdown gamble to pay off

"I don't think it's too much to say that his survival as Prime Minister is in danger if we get a second spike," says Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University. "I'm not sure he could restore public confidence in his government if anything like a return to the lockdown had to be executed. The government really has to get this right and pray it's not too early, as some people claim it may be." These claims that lockdown is being lifted too soon range from the editorial pages of the left-leaning Guardian newspaper, which believes Johnson is "seeing polls, not science" and "gambling with the health of the nation," to scientists advising the government who have called it a "political decision."
14th Jun 2020 - CNN

WHO's Kluge warns against further lifting of lockdown in England - Guardian

The coronavirus induced lockdown in England should not be further lifted until the government’s contact-tracing system proves to be “robust and effective”, the World Health Organization’s regional European director Hans Kluge said. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Kluge also cautioned that Britain remained in a "very active phase of the pandemic" and warned against rushing into reopening the economy. Britain said on Sunday it was reviewing its two-metre (6.5-foot) social distancing rule ahead of the next stage of lockdown easing planned for July 4.
14th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th Jun 2020

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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson orders review of two-metre social distancing rule in UK

Boris Johnson has ordered a comprehensive review of the two-metre social-distancing rule amid calls it should be scrapped. Easing the restriction is seen as vital if businesses such a restaurants and pubs are to be able to re-open sustainably. The Mail on Sunday reported the review would effectively take control of social-distancing guidelines out of the hands of the British Government’s scientific advisers, who have been deeply reluctant to countenance relaxation. The move comes as thousands of non-essential shops in England are set to re-open on Monday for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March.
14th Jun 2020 - Irish Examiner

Public health workers fighting COVID-19 are threatened with violence, forced out of jobs

In the battle against COVID-19, public health workers make up an invisible army on the front lines.  But that army is under assault when it’s needed most.
12th Jun 2020 - NBC News

Few N95 masks, reused gowns: Dire PPE shortages reveal COVID-19's racial divide

Health care workers are still facing major shortages of N95 respirators, gowns and other safety gear, especially at hospitals in minority communities. Nearly 100 days after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, health care workers across the country are still facing major shortages of personal protective equipment, or PPE, including crucial equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves and N95 respirators. Amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases across the United States, the situation is especially dire at hospitals serving communities of color or patients on Medicaid, NBC News has found. "The issue of PPE for health workers has not gone away," Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO's Health Emergencies Program, said Wednesday at a news briefing. A new study out of Wuhan, China, is finding that health care workers who were appropriately protected with PPE did not get infected, despite being exposed to the virus.
12th Jun 2020 - NBC News

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Jun 2020

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Swedes round on Sweden's coronavirus approach - POLITICO

The Swedish government’s decision to go its own way on coronavirus just got political. In the first party leaders’ debate in parliament since the pandemic began, opposition politicians went after Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Wednesday, saying Sweden’s spiking death rate from COVID-19 and inability to protect residents of elderly care homes represented serious failures.
11th Jun 2020 - Politico

British health minister urges protesters not to attend rallies

British health minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday people should not attend large demonstrations for public health reasons after protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement attracted tens of thousands over the last week. “I understand that people want to show their passion for a cause that they care deeply about but this is a virus that thrives on social contact, regardless of what your cause may be,” he said at a daily news conference.
11th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Bolsonaro supporter desecrates Brazil beach memorial for 40,000 coronavirus victims

A supporter of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has desecrated a beachside memorial to Covid-19 victims as the country’s coronavirus death toll rose above 40,000. Activists from civil society group Rio de Paz dug 100 symbolic shallow graves on Copacabana beach before dawn on Thursday to represent the Brazilian lives lost.
11th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th Jun 2020

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Egyptian state media accuses doctors of treason for speaking up on coronavirus crisis

Egyptian doctors have expressed anger in recent days, accusing the authorities of neglecting them and failing to protect and provide them with the protective equipment they need. In response, media outlets close to the government accused the doctors of treason, not sacrificing for the sake of the nation and even taking part in plans by hostile foreign countries or the Muslim Brotherhood. Within one week, 12 Egyptian doctors died of the novel coronavirus. On May 26, four doctors died, followed by eight others in the same week, leading to mass resignations by doctors at al-Munira Hospital in Cairo. Since the coronavirus crisis began and up until June 1, 33 doctors have died from COVID-19, while 372 have tested positive for the virus. Of that number, about 80 have recovered, Karim Mesbah, member of the Doctors Syndicate Council, said in a June 2 press statement. On May 25, the syndicate issued a strongly worded statement accusing the Ministry of Health of failing to protect medical staff.
10th Jun 2020 - Al-Monitor

Nigeria to cut healthcare spending by 40% despite coronavirus cases climbing

Plans by Nigeria’s government to cut healthcare spending risk undermining the country’s coronavirus response and severely impacting already strained services, health and transparency groups have warned. Funding for local, primary healthcare services will be cut by more than 40% this year in a revised budget expected to be passed into law in the coming weeks. The proposed cuts could affect immunisations, childcare, maternal healthcare and family planning services.
10th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Brazil restores coronavirus data after controversy, court ruling

Brazil on Tuesday restored detailed COVID-19 data to its official national website following controversy over the removal of cumulative totals and a ruling by a Supreme Court justice that the full set of information be reinstated. The move followed days of mounting pressure from across the political spectrum and allegations the government was trying to mask the severity of the outbreak, now the world's second-largest.
10th Jun 2020 - Al Jazeera English

EU says China behind 'huge wave' of Covid-19 disinformation

China has been accused by Brussels of running disinformation campaigns inside the European Union, as the bloc set out a plan to tackle a “huge wave” of false facts about the coronavirus pandemic. The European commission said Russia and China were running “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighbourhood, and globally”. While the charge against Russia has been levelled on many occasions, this is the first time the EU executive has publicly named China as a source of disinformation. French politicians were furious when a Chinese embassy website claimed in mid-April, at the height of Europe’s pandemic, that care workers had abandoned their jobs leaving residents to die. The unnamed Chinese diplomat also claimed falsely that 80 French lawmakers had used a racist slur against the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
10th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 10th Jun 2020

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Cornflakes for lunch! German parents say open school before mum goes nuts

Women are bearing the brunt of home schooling and extra housework, according to surveys. That hurts efforts to promote diversity and narrow Germany’s gender pay gap. Job satisfaction of mothers has fallen by 5 percentage points more than that of fathers during the crisis, and they are more likely to have cut their hours or stopped working, according to a survey by the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). “Just as before the crisis, it is often the women who are putting back their careers to be there for the children,” said WZB’s social science Professor Lena Hipp, herself trying to fit in work around caring for three young children. At SAP, co-CEO Jennifer Morgan, a mother of two, stepped down in April after only six months as the first female head of a German blue-chip company, leaving Christian Klein in charge.
9th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 9th Jun 2020

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Pakistan’s former PM Abbasi, Railways Minister Rashid test positive for COVID-19

Pakistan’s former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and incumbent Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad were tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, making them the latest amongst the country’s top politicians to contract the virus that has infected over one lakh people in the country.
8th Jun 2020 - The Tribune India

Government seeking to increase social gathering limit to 50

Due to the Coronavirus Crisis, the public in Denmark has had to limit their social gatherings to a maximum of ten people in recent months. But that could well change in the very near future after PM Mette Frederiksen sent a letter to members of Parliament proposing increasing the limit to 50 on June 8. The letter also revealed the government proposes additional increases to the gathering limit – up to 100 on July 8 and then to 200 on August 8.
8th Jun 2020 - Copenhagen Post

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th Jun 2020

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China would make a coronavirus vaccine a 'global public good'

China will strengthen international cooperation in future COVID-19 clinical vaccine trials, building on earlier collaboration in vaccine development, the science and technology minister said on Sunday. China is expending great efforts in the global scramble to develop a vaccine for the new coronaries epidemic that began in its central city of Wuhan, with Chinese researchers conducting five separate clinical trials on humans, or half of all such trials globally, according to the data compiled by the World Health Organization. President Xi Jinping vowed last month at the World Heath Assembly, the WHO’s governing body, that vaccines China’s develops will become a “global public good” once they are ready for use, and it will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
7th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Hard-hit Brazil removes data amid rising death toll

Brazil has removed months of data on Covid-19 from a government website amid criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the outbreak. The health ministry said it would now only be reporting cases and deaths in the past 24 hours, no longer giving a total figure as most countries do. Mr Bolsonaro said the cumulative data did not reflect the current picture. Brazil has the world's second-highest number of cases, and has recently had more new deaths than any other nation. The Latin American country has more than 640,000 confirmed infections, but the number is believed to be much higher because of insufficient testing. More than 35,000 people have died, the third-highest toll in the world.
7th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Prime minister told to dump rhetoric and plan for new Covid wave

Health chiefs say there should be no further easing before a comprehensive test and trace system has been proved to work, as NHS figures accuse the government of lacking a strategy and dodging an “honest and open” debate about Britain’s plight. They also warned of a “dramatic” drop in capacity at NHS hospitals. The Observer spoke to organisations including the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Royal College of Anaesthetists, the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers on how ministers should plan for a potential second wave. They called for: An “aggressive public health campaign” to boost flu immunisation to stop the NHS having to deal with flu as well as Covid-19 outbreaks this winter.
7th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Xi calls for "China-France contributions" to winning global COVID-19 fight

France contributions" to winning the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. China and France need to continuously support the international community joining hands against the pandemic, Xi said in a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron.
7th Jun 2020 - China Economic Net

Scientists at war with ministers over Covid: Experts call for public inquiry into 'failures'

Nearly 30 leading experts have demanded Boris Johnson launches a public inquiry to prepare Britain for a second wave of coronavirus, in another sign of a growing gulf between ministers and scientists. The group of 27 said a second epidemic was 'probable' this winter and warned it would be more deadly than the first if the Government doesn't address its failures from the previous outbreak. They have laid out a series of glaring shortcomings which they say have contributed to the UK suffering more than 40,000 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in Europe.
6th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Brazil threatens to quit WHO, Trump says US beating pandemic

President Jair Bolsonaro threatened Friday to pull Brazil from the WHO over "ideological bias," as his counterpart Donald Trump said the US economy was recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and Europe sought to reopen its borders. Adding fuel to the political fire raging around the pandemic, its origins and the best way to respond, Bolsonaro criticized the World Health Organization for suspending clinical trials of the drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 -- a decision it reversed this week -- and threatened to follow in Trump's footsteps by quitting. "I'm telling you right now, the United States left the WHO, and we're studying that, in the future. Either the WHO works without ideological bias, or we leave, too," the far-right leader told journalists.
6th Jun 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Serco wins Covid-19 test-and-trace contract despite £1m fine

Serco, one of the companies that has secured a lucrative government contract for the Covid contact-tracing programme, was fined more than £1m for failures on another government contract just months ago, the Observer has learned. The revelation has led to campaigners against the privatisation of public services to call for the £45.8m test-and-trace contract to be cancelled. Serco has a range of government contracts both in the UK and overseas, much of it focused on criminal justice and immigration. It has already had to apologise after breaching data protection rules on its test-and-trace contract by inadvertently revealing the email addresses of new recruits. The junior health minister, Edward Argar, is a former Serco lobbyist.
6th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Ten private doctors and a government official 'falsified 500 death certificates'

Mexico City prosecutors are looking into a group of private doctors and a government official after at least 500 death certificates were allegedly falsified Prosecutors were alerted by Mexico City's Health Protection Agency after it found that the doctors never visited the homes or clinics were the deceased died Cause of death were listed as respiratory failure, atypical pneumonia or viral pneumonia - but it is feared coronavirus could have been to blame. COVID-19 has been reported as the cause of death of 3,456 people in Mexico's capital. Mexico has registered 12,545 coronavirus deaths in Latin America, the second highest amount behind Brazil, which has reported 34,021
5th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 5th Jun 2020

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Coronavirus: Would a new Irish government lift lockdown faster?

Hotels in the Republic of Ireland are currently due to reopen on 20 July, the same day as those in Northern Ireland, but hotel bars will remain closed. Reopening hotels, subject to social distancing rules, is part of phase four of the Irish government's five-stage plan to relax Covid-19 restrictions. The plan was announced on 1 May. It says hotels can reopen "initially on a limited occupancy basis (or number of people per square metre), and then increasing over time". Restaurants and cafes in the Republic of Ireland are currently due to reopen on 29 June as part of phase three of the recovery plan but "must comply with social distancing and strict cleaning protocols".
4th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Containment zones would have checked COVID with less harm to economy

The government’s subsequent attempts to justify the imposition of the lockdown by contending that in the absence of such lockdown, the COVID-19 cases would have grown exponentially, is both misleading and poses a false binary.
4th Jun 2020 - The Indian Express

'Draconian lockdown' exposed us to the 'worst of both worlds': Rajiv Bajaj to Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the lockdown in India is the only kind in the world 'where the disease is increasing after we are opening up.'
4th Jun 2020 - The Statesman on MSN.com

Rajiv Bajaj says India should have followed Japan and Korea⁠— calls the lockdown ‘draconian’

In a conversation with Rahul Gandhi, the Bajaj Auto MD, Rajiv Bajaj, said that India ended up having the worst of both the Covid-19 and the economy as the effect of a draconian lockdown. "The lockdown flattened the wrong curve, that being the GDP curve."
4th Jun 2020 - Business Insider India

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 4th Jun 2020

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Dominic Cummings' trip to Durham during lockdown DID prompt Brits following rules less closely

Thousands of people have said they are following lockdown rules less strictly and citing Dominic Cummings as part of the reason, according to a new poll. The YouGov survey found that one in five adults, or 21 per cent, stuck to lockdown restrictions less stringently last week than the week before. Out of this group, one in three — seven per cent of the total — mentioned Mr Cummings as part of the reason.
3rd Jun 2020 - Evening Standard

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Jun 2020

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Coronavirus lockdown: The conundrum of balancing health and economic interests as UK eases restrictions

Boris Johnson, as well as leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are walking a terrifying tightrope as they agonise over how fast to ease the coronavirus lockdown. As England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, warned three days ago, the country has arrived at a “very dangerous moment” as it faces a foe which is “a coiled spring ready to get out if we don’t stay on top of it”.
2nd Jun 2020 - iNews

Coronavirus: Concerns grow over lockdown alert level system

The BBC understands that all four chief medical officers of the UK nations, including England's Professor Chris Whitty, opposed the prime minister's hopes of lowering the Covid-19 alert level last week. Less than a month ago, Boris Johnson announced that any easing of the lockdown would be conditional on a lower alert level, alongside "five tests" on the spread of infection being met.
2nd Jun 2020 - BBC News

To prevent a chaotic end to lockdown, the public should be told the true risks

Just tell the truth. If the government is to get the country out of the mess of lockdown, it must take people into its confidence. It scared us into it, and must now reassure us out of it. This week children are returning to school in England, on the basis that the risk to them and their families from Covid-19 is “minuscule”. What does that mean? One in a thousand, one in a million? The same as them being in a car crash? No parent will readily tolerate “risking my child”, so a language must be found to set minds at rest. That language should be one of evidence, of facts, not of adjectives and adverbs.
2nd Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Boris Johnson 'told Italy’s president' he wanted 'herd immunity' to defeat coronavirus, TV documentary reveals

Boris Johnson told Italy’s president he was aiming for “herd immunity” to defeat coronavirus, an explosive TV documentary has revealed – despite No 10 denying that was ever the policy. The Italian health minister has undermined the government’s repeated denials by recounting a conversation between the two leaders on 13 March, as the pandemic neared its peak. “I spoke with [Giuseppe] Conte to tell President Conte that I’d tested positive [for coronavirus].” Pierpaolo Sileri told Channel 4’s Dispatches.
2nd Jun 2020 - The Independent

Leader of Italy’s ‘orange vests’ inspires far right and coronavirus conspiracy theorists

Italian security officials are worried that right-wing extremists could exploit the Covid-19 crisis by infiltrating a new protest movement that drew thousands of people on to the streets in 30 cities over the weekend. The “orange vests” movement is led by Antonio Pappalardo, a retired carabiniere general who has mobilised a heterogeneous group of cranks and conspiracy theorists as well as ordinary Italians suffering the economic impact of a three-month lockdown.
2nd Jun 2020 - The Times

We must be trusted to make our own decisions as we enter lockdown-lite

Getting out of a lockdown, it turns out, is a lot harder than getting into one. The risks and rewards are hard to pin down now. We have divided into groups who are extremely vigilant about any degree of risk and those who will accept more of it because they place greater weight on the consequences of economic and educational lags. Old habits are also beginning to assert themselves. The lockdown-lite arrangements heighten a sense that we have done our bit being caged at home.
2nd Jun 2020 - Evening Standard

Far too soon to ease lockdown in north-east England, leaders warn

Political leaders in the north-east of England have urged residents to disregard the government’s “reckless” relaxation of the lockdown amid concerns it will lead to a second spike of coronavirus in a region with the UK’s highest infection rate. On the day that some primary schools reopened and people were allowed to meet more family and friends in England, council leaders and MPs warned that the easing of the measures had come “far too soon” in the north-east. Martin Gannon, the leader of Gateshead council, which has the second-highest rate of infections in the UK, said: “The current approach from government is reckless and they haven’t put systems in place to keep it safe.
1st Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Jun 2020

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Public trust in UK government over coronavirus falls sharply

According to surveys conducted on behalf of the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute by YouGov, less than half of Britons now trust the Westminster government to provide correct information on the pandemic – down from more than two-thirds of the public in mid-April. “I have never in 10 years of research in this area seen a drop in trust like what we have seen for the UK government in the course of six weeks,” said the institute’s director, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. The research was conducted in the last week of May, including the period when Cummings’ apparent flouting of lockdown rules by driving from London to Durham – with a trip to Barnard Castle to check his eyesight – dominated the headlines.
1st Jun 2020 - The Guardian

UK eases lockdown restrictions yet experts say it's too soon

The U.K. eased more lockdown restrictions Monday despite warnings from some health officials of another spike in coronavirus infections, especially if Britons persisted in flouting the new guidelines. Most of the changes were in England, where a number of schools reopened to some — but not all — younger children for the first time since they closed in mid-March. The easing of the lockdown, particularly in England, has raised concerns that it is taking place too soon for economic rather than health reasons, given a still-high level of coronavirus infections and a lack of evidence showing that the recently rolled out track and trace system is working properly.
1st Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

UK is following scientific advice on cautious lockdown easing, minister says

The British government is following scientific advice in cautiously easing the coronavirus lockdown, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said on Monday, after criticism from some prominent epidemiologists. “Of course scientific advice does differ but I think the key point is what is the overall view from SAGE?” Sharma told BBC TV. “The overall view from SAGE - the scientific advisory group on emergencies which advises the government - their overall view is that we must do this cautiously and that is precisely what we are doing,” Sharma said, adding that if people obeyed the rules there was a good likelihood that R0 would not go above 1.
1st Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

India's coronavirus infections overtake France amid criticism of lockdown

Criticism has grown in recent days that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden lockdown of 1.3 billion Indians in March has failed to halt the spread of the disease while destroying the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on daily wages. Community transmission is well underway among the population, a team of independent experts said, adding this would only get worse as public transport opens. On Monday, thousands of people were packing into 200 new trains that resumed services across the country, most of them migrant workers and their families leaving metropolises such as Delhi and Mumbai for their homes in the interior. “Had the migrant persons been allowed to go home at the beginning of the epidemic when the disease spread was very low, the current situation could have been avoided,” the Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and the Indian Association of Epidemiologists said in a joint statement
1st Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Jeremy Peat: UK and Scottish governments have taken different approaches to easing the lockdown. Who has got it right?

Policy related to the Covid19 pandemic has entered a very delicate phase, from both medical and economic perspectives. The UK and Scottish Governments have taken somewhat different approaches. The UK approach could be deemed more cavalier and the Scottish more prudent. How these approaches work out in terms of the future developments related to the pandemic will determine whether the more risk averse Scottish approach will prove beneficial or not in the medium and longer term, so far as the economy, unemployment and indeed the public finances are concerned.
1st Jun 2020 - HeraldScotland.com

Nigel Farage insists lockdown should be eased: "we should get on with our lives"

Lifting lockdown slowly in the UK from Monday is the right decision to make not only economically, but for the health of Brits. Nigel Farage was looking at the pros and cons of the UK reopening slowly from Monday when he started to list out why he felt it was the right thing to do. "I wish we had a proper test and trace system in place like Germany did three months ago" he began, but reminded listeners that the argument that the UK is following science is flawed.
31st May 2020 - LBC 973 FM

Coronavirus: Raab defends relaxation of lockdown rules

The foreign secretary has defended the government easing of lockdown measures in England from Monday, despite the country's Covid-19 alert system indicating high levels of transmission. Dominic Raab said England is "transitioning" from level four, when there should be enforced social distancing measures, to level three, when they can start to be relaxed. He said the approach is "cautious". Some scientists advising ministers have voiced concerns about easing the rules.
31st May 2020 - BBC News

UK gov't advisers sound warning on easing virus lockdown

Senior advisers to Boris Johnson's government on Saturday warned it was too early to lift the lockdown, just two days before the UK further relaxes coronavirus restrictions. As people revelled in soaring temperatures by flocking to beaches and parks, several members of the government's own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told ministers they risked a second wave of infection. One -- epidemiologist Professor John Edmunds -- said the move was "a political decision". Another prominent scientist, Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and also a member of Sage, warned explicitly on Twitter that the government's was wrong on its timing.
31st May 2020 - Japan Today

South Africa leader faces thorny test over virus lockdown

Admired by some but berated by others for imposing a tight lockdown, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa faces a fresh leadership test over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Africa's most industrialised nation is preparing to reopen its economy on Monday as it moves into level three of a five-tier lockdown, in force since March 27, sowing bitter divisions. South Africa had already slipped into recession in the final quarter of 2019 before the virus arrived in March.
31st May 2020 - FRANCE 24

UK govt advisors sound warning on easing virus lockdown

As people revelled in soaring temperatures by flocking to beaches and parks, several members of the government's own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told ministers they risked a second wave of infection. One -- epidemiologist Professor John Edmunds -- said the move was "a political decision". Another prominent scientist, Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and also a member of Sage, warned explicitly on Twitter that the government's was wrong on its timing.
30th May 2020 - FRANCE 24

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 1st Jun 2020

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Coronavirus updates: EU asks U.S. to reconsider cutting ties with WHO as India extends lockdown in 'containment zones'

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he is “terminating” the country’s relationship with the World Health Organization after repeatedly criticizing the group for its response to the coronavirus crisis and accusing the agency of being “China-centric.” Trump’s strained relationship with the WHO could bring complications as scientists around the world race for a Covid-19 cure and treatment.
31st May 2020 - CNBC

The rushed easing of lockdown measures could devastate Italy

With more movement and contact, an increase in infections is expected. But will the current set up, with the regions in the driving seat, allow for a swift containment of potential hotspots, or is there a risk of another wave of uncontrolled infections? At this stage, nobody knows, but a more orderly and nationally coordinated reopening of the economy with mass testing, a contact tracing app, a significant increase in the number of contact tracers, and stricter measures for the isolation of confirmed cases, would certainly reduce the risks.
29th May 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Coronavirus: As we head out of lockdown, Government assurances the 'five tests' have been met are on shaky ground

To the relief of some and the concern of others, the Government has announced a significant drawing back of the strict social distancing rules the country has been following. From Monday, schools and some shops will open and people will no longer be consigned to meeting just one person from outside their household – groups of six can gather and guests can be invited to private gardens.
29th May 2020 - iNews

Germany's virus 'guru' in crosshairs of lockdown critics

The Bild row centres around preliminary results from a study by Drosten's Charite team that claimed children can spread COVID-19 as easily as adults. The issue is key as millions of parents hope to see schools completely reopen. A Bild reporter gave Drosten just an hour to respond to a list of critical comments on the study from other scientists, provoking him to post an angry response on Twitter. "I have better things to do," he said, publicly shaming the reporter by posting a screenshot of the email including the journalist's phone number. The scientists cited by Bild have distanced themselves from the article, saying their comments were simply made in the spirit of critical feedback aimed at improving research.
29th May 2020 - FRANCE 24

Critics say lockdowns will be more damaging than the virus. Experts say it's a false choice

These arguments are unconvincing, say economists. To fix the global economy, fix the global pandemic, they add. Survey data shows the US economy was winding down even before US states were mandating stay-at-home policies. Fear of the virus mean people were shopping less, small businesses were closing and cutting employment.
29th May 2020 - CNN

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 29th May 2020

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Lockdown protester fired after hanging effigy of governor

Terry Bush, the head of a right-wing militia group Kentucky 3 Percenters, has been fired from his job at a car dealership after being seen on video hanging Governor Andy Beshear in effigy.
28th May 2020 - Daily Mail

NYC Tanning Salon Owner to Reopen in Defiance of Lockdown, Says 'All Businesses Are Essential'

New York City tanning salon owner said he will reopen Thursday in defiance of city lockdown orders. "I'm opening business on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.," Bobby Catone, owner of Sunbelievable in Great Kills, Staten Island, said Tuesday in an interview with the Staten Island Advance, a local newspaper. "We had to flatten the curve, and on Staten Island we not only flattened it, we demolished it," Catone said.
28th May 2020 - Newsweek

Spanish regions request to move to new phases of deescalation plan

Several regional authorities in Spain have sent the central government their requests to move to a new phase of the coronavirus deescalation plan. Currently in Spain, 53% of the population is in Phase 1, which allows social gatherings of up to 10 people, and 47% is in Phase 2, where there are no restrictions on outdoor activities. Here is an overview of what each region has so far requested.
28th May 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

U.K.'s Boris Johnson faces schools rebellion over plans to send kids back

In the early days of the lockdown, it almost felt like a novelty for parents like Claire Collins as she and her friends swapped home schooling tips on WhatsApp. "There was an influx of people passing around, quite excitedly, things you could do with your kids at home: links on Pinterest, that sort of thing," said Collins, 37, who has children ages 2 and 5 and lives in the town of Abergavenny in Wales. "Now I think that enthusiasm has died. It's fizzled out," she said, struggling to speak over her children, Amber and Romy, who were vying for her attention in the background. "It sounds fun, but it's actually been quite taxing and draining."
28th May 2020 - NBC News

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th May 2020

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Husband of ‘Reopen North Carolina’ leader says he is ‘willing to kill’ in fight against lockdown

The husband of a leading protester campaigning to “reopen” North Carolina has said he and his fellow protesters are “willing to kill people” as they fight to overturn their state’s lockdown order. Adam Smith, whose wife Ashley was arrested at a recent protest in the state capital of Raleigh, said in his video that the only just response to the lockdown was to treat it as a fight against tyrannical government domination.
27th May 2020 - The Independent

Head of Italy's Lombardy Region Given Police Escort as COVID Anger Mounts

The governor of Lombardy, the northern region at the epicentre of Italy's coronavirus outbreak, said on Wednesday that he had been given a police escort after growing criticism of his administration's handling of the crisis. Lombardy, Italy's richest and most populous region and the motor of its economy, is one of the worst affected areas of the world by the coronavirus, accounting for around half of the country's more than 32,000 dead.
27th May 2020 - The New York Times

Putin Schedules Russian Victory Day Parade for June

Under pressure over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s faltering economy, President Vladimir Putin said the country would hold its showcase annual Victory Day military parade next month. The parade, a potent symbol of state power in Russia, has additional significance this year as it marks the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. It was pushed back from its May 9 date as part of a series of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, which has seen Russia rise up the ranks of worst-affected nations behind the U.S. and Brazil. It has registered more than 360,000 confirmed cases and an official death toll of 3,807.
27th May 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

No masking it: Biden eyes stark contrast with Trump over coronavirus

A hunkered-down Joe Biden finally emerged from his Delaware home on Memorial Day wearing a mask, signalling he is putting the coronavirus front and center during the US presidential race in a nation increasingly divided over the pandemic.
27th May 2020 - Manilla Bulleting

US Barbers Protest against Lockdown

Barbers in the US state of Michigan say the lockdown there has gone on too long. So, they've defied government orders to stay home. They protested on the steps of the capitol, giving free haircuts to those who came out to support them. NHK World's Catherine Kobayashi reports.
27th May 2020 - NHK WORLD

No matter what our leadership suggests, we must ease out of lockdown together

One of the discoveries about our own country during the pandemic is the realisation that we don’t have a National Health Service; we have at least four separate services in the four nations. Meanwhile, areas like Cornwall have sent very strong signals that they don’t want to have to treat patients from elsewhere. Amongst the four, there has been serious divergence.
27th May 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus anti-lockdown movement surges in the US after Donald Trump's 'Liberate' tweet

Protests targeted at political enemies has been a common trend not just from Trump's administration, but more generally in his public life. The birther conspiracy theory, Obamagate and even the debunked Joe Scarborough murder conspiracy theory all bear the hallmarks of this ability to identify grievances involving his political enemies, and to amplify them. In a limited sense, it's worked too. When broken down by which states endured the largest per cent increase in protests between March and April, there is a clear trend of states that are conservative or at least moderate who have Democratic governors (responsible for implementing lockdowns).
27th May 2020 - ABC News

New Zealand deputy PM breaks ranks to urge Ardern to lift Covid-19 lockdown

The deputy leader of New Zealand’s government has broken ranks with the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, decrying her refusal to drastically loosen the country’s lockdown rules and immediately establish a trans-Tasman travel “bubble” with Australia. “We’ve been in compulsory lockdown for far too long,” said Winston Peters, who is the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, but is not a member of Ardern’s Labour party. “Everybody who has put their heart into the future, the country’s future, and their family’s future realise there is only one way out of this - to think smart and work harder,” he added, during a radio interview on Tuesday. He had been asked by the interviewer whether he supported Ardern’s suggestion of extra public holidays to bolster the country’s flailing tourism sector.
27th May 2020 - The Guardian

Trump urges end to lockdowns as US COVID-19 deaths near 100,000

Even as the United States approached the grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, President Donald Trump is continuing to pressurise state governors to reopen their economies and allow the "transition to greatness" he has adopted as a new campaign slogan to proceed full speed ahead.
26th May 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th May 2020

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In Bolsonaro's Brazil, everyone else is to blame for virus

With Brazil emerging as one of the world’s most infected countries, President Jair Bolsonaro is deflecting all responsibility for the coronavirus crisis, casting blame on mayors, governors, an outgoing health minister and the media. By contrast, he portrays himself as a clear-eyed crusader willing to defend an unpopular idea — that shutting down the economy to control COVID-19 will ultimately cause more suffering than allowing the disease to run its course. The refusal of governors to fall into line with his decree allowing gyms to open, he said, verged on authoritarianism.
26th May 2020 - Associated Press

Kentucky lockdown protesters condemned for hanging effigy of governor from tree

Political leaders in Kentucky have condemned rightwing protesters against the state’s measures to fight the coronavirus, after the demonstrators hanged an effigy of Democratic state governor Andy Beshear from a tree. The incident happened on Sunday during a protest in favor of gun rights and other mostly conservative causes. Several men produced a rope and an effigy and strung it from a tree outside the state capitol building in Frankfort. The state representative Charles Booker, who is African American and the Democratic party challenger for the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s seat in Kentucky in November, described the representation as “ vile and traumatic”.
26th May 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus lockdown: Scots' concerns over UK response

As Scotland prepares to ease its coronavirus lockdown from Friday, Scots have voiced concerns about the UK government's handling of the crisis and the risk of lifting restrictions "too quickly". A survey for BBC Scotland suggested that a majority of people thought Boris Johnson and UK ministers had handled the pandemic "fairly" or "very" badly. Meanwhile 82% of respondents said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had handled the crisis well overall, with only 8% saying she had done badly.
26th May 2020 - BBC News

Germany: Central and regional government tussle over lifting lockdown

The row erupted after Bodo Ramelow, premier of the eastern state of Thuringia, said on Saturday he would scrap rules on mask-wearing and distancing, relying instead on local measures. The states set most rules affecting day-to-day life in Germany. Though his proposal echoes federal government policy, which envisages gradually reopening the economy while responding fast to outbreaks with local lockdowns and contact-tracing, officials fear muddying the message could undermine public discipline.
26th May 2020 - WION on MSN.com

Pub bosses in plea to revise social distancing guidelines to help trade when lockdown is lifted

Some smaller venues will have to stay shut if the two-metre rule remains in force with others claiming it would not be economically viable to reopen
26th May 2020 - Wales Online

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th May 2020

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Protests continue across the world as countries ease lockdown restrictions

Many people across the world are protesting the lockdowns, calling them unnecessary and against personal freedom. While some of the protests have been more organised, others have seen people disregard social distancing rules, posing a threat to public safety. Amidst the protestors, there have also been conspiracy theorists, radical groups and anti-vaxx groups who have allegedly been using the pandemic and lockdown to exploit fears and gain support for their causes. From the United States to India, Europe and Latin America, let’s take a look at some of the protests:
25th May 2020 - YAHOO!

California church appeals to U.S. Supreme Court over lockdown

In the California-focused case that reached the high court Sunday night, a 9th Circuit panel split, 2-1, with the majority declining to disturb the state government’s action in light of the health dangers posed by the ongoing pandemic. “We’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure,’” Judges Barry Silverman and Jacqueline Nguyen wrote. “In the words of Justice Robert Jackson, if a ‘court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.’”
25th May 2020 - POLITICO

Germany: Central and regional government tussle over lifting lockdown

Germany's central and regional governments were at odds on Monday over when and how far to ease contact distancing rules, with allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel warning that scrapping them risks unleashing a new wave of coronavirus infections. The row erupted after Bodo Ramelow, premier of the eastern state of Thuringia, said on Saturday he would scrap rules on mask-wearing and distancing, relying instead on local measures. The states set most rules affecting day-to-day life in Germany. Though his proposal echoes federal government policy, which envisages gradually reopening the economy while responding fast to outbreaks with local lockdowns and contact-tracing, officials fear muddying the message could undermine public discipline
25th May 2020 - WION

Germany's far right 'captures' coronavirus lockdown protests | World

German far right groups are believed by security services to be exploiting a wave of protests against lockdown measures by Angela Merkel’s government to control the spread of Covid-19. More than 40 demonstrations were held in Berlin alone yesterday, with dozens of others taking place across Germany. One of the largest, however, in Munich’s Theresienwiese, site of the annual Oktoberfest, was called off because of a rainstorm. The protests, organised on social media, have drawn a mixture of libertarians, conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers, who are united in their opposition to what they consider to be illegitimate curbs on their freedom.
25th May 2020 - The Times

Protesters take to the streets of Berlin over government's lockdown response

Berlin saw new protests against the country's coronavirus lockdown over the weekend. As well as protests in the capital, crowds also gathered in Munich and Stuttgart to demonstrate the German government's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They claim that restrictions on civil liberties during the lockdown, which has been notably less strict in Germany than elsewhere in Europe, are undemocratic. Germany's death tolls remain under 8,000, one of the lowest in western Europe, while schools, shops, places of worship, and museums have all reopened. In some cases, demonstrations have been started by left-wing groups or anti-vaccine campaigners, but what unites them is a lack of trust in the authorities, experts say.
25th May 2020 - Euronews

Race, wealth and public spaces: US beaches are a new flashpoint of the lockdown

During the pandemic, this dichotomy has become even more obvious. Public health officials promote exercise and fresh air during citywide lockdowns, and virologists have said it’s largely safe to be outside as long as people observe physical distancing. But, as the Guardian reported earlier this week, 100 million Americans, especially people of color and poor communities, don’t have access to a decent park or public space, which includes beaches.
24th May 2020 - The Guardian

Far-right protests in Spain over lockdowns: Coronavirus updates

Spain eased restrictions but Madrid and Barcelona have remained in lockdown for longer because of more severe outbreaks.
24th May 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th May 2020

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Trump urges quicker US reopening from virus lockdown

Trump, with an eye on his re-election prospects in November, made it clear he hoped more state governors would move toward a loosening of anti-virus restrictions. "We did the right thing but we now want to get going... you'll break the country if you don't," he told African-American leaders in Michigan, a key election battleground state. The Republican incumbent specifically talked about reopening places of worship -- something he had initially hoped would be done by Easter Sunday -- as important to the nation's healing. "People want to be in their churches," Trump said. "They're so important in terms of the psyche of our country." Trump has adopted the theme of "Transitioning Back to Greatness" as states reopen at different speeds.
24th May 2020 - YAHOO!

‘Politicised nature’ of lockdown debate delays Imperial report

The publication of a long-awaited report from Imperial College London that models the impact of coming out of lockdown has been delayed for several weeks, following criticism of the team’s methods as the debate around the UK’s coronavirus restrictions has become increasingly politicised. Imperial’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis told the Financial Times at the end of April that a new report, which modelled the effects that easing various lockdown restrictions would have on future deaths from Covid-19, was due to be published some time the following week. However, the report has yet to be released, although its findings have been shared with government, according to two people associated with the Imperial team. The delay comes as the rightwing press and some Conservative politicians question the need for such stringent lockdown measures in the UK
23rd May 2020 - Financial Times

Covid-19's deadly new surge is in rural America as states re-open

As the death toll nears 100,000, the disease caused by the virus has made a fundamental shift in who it touches and where it reaches in America, according to a Washington Post analysis of case data and interviews with public health professionals in several states. The pandemic that first struck in major metropolises is now increasingly finding its front line in the country’s rural areas; counties with acres of farmland, cramped meatpacking plants, out-of-the-way prisons and few hospital beds.
24th May 2020 - The Washington Post

Debate over reopening US plays out online and in the streets

When his business was hit by a coronavirus lockdown, Josh Ellis saw a threat to his livelihood and a breach of the US Constitution. So he went on Facebook and called for protests. The appeal "went viral instantly," said the 40-year-old, who set up a Facebook page called American Revolution 2.0 in early April. The organization is now a driving force behind demonstrations against stay-at-home orders and compulsory closures of non-essential businesses -- and online planning is a central part of the campaign. Ellis -- who is coordinating with various "reopen" groups, as well as militias and gun and religious rights advocates -- is in the middle of an issue dividing the United States: how can the economy reopen, and when can people return to work?
24th May 2020 - FRANCE 24

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd May 2020

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Anti-lockdown protesters in US state of Michigan hold 'Operation Haircut'

After mass rallies featuring armed protesters, those angry over the restrictive anti-virus lockdown in the US state of Michigan launched "Operation Haircut" Wednesday, with barbers using their scissors and clippers outside the state capitol.
21st May 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

UK’s economic recovery requires move to sensible risk-taking, ministers told

Sensible risk-tasking must replace the “draconian” Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, Conservative peers have told ministers. Tory Baroness Noakes warned the coronavirus is causing “massive damage” to the economy as she pressed for the existing “risk aversion” approach to be replaced to aid the recovery. Party colleague Lord Dobbs also argued “lockdown means poverty” and workplaces must begin to open up, acknowledging there are risks in such an approach but that these fell on both sides of the equation.
21st May 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Coronavirus: Labour calls for urgent Government review amid concerns UK lockdown exit plan will widen inequality

The Government has been urged to immediately publish a review of how its coronavirus lockdown plan will impact women, BAME people and those living with disabilities amid warnings the policies could exacerbate inequalities. There are concerns the strategy of easing lockdown measures while reducing financial support from the Government could have a detrimental impact on the health or financial stability of some groups and communities.
21st May 2020 - iNews

Coronavirus: Easing the UK out of lockdown is a confidence game and the PM is losing

The 50-page strategy he published on the same day was meant to be our route map towards a new normal. But so far, the public don't seem to have much confidence in the manual or the message. A YouGov poll over the weekend showed support for the government's handling of the virus dropping sharply. Over half of those polled thought the changes went too far and nearly three out of four wanted clearer guidance from the government about what they can and cannot do as they come out of lockdown.
21st May 2020 - Sky News

Protesters demand 'freedom' as lockdown extended in Spain

Protesters bang pots and wave Spanish flags in the streets of Madrid to demand "freedom" and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's resignation. Sanchez won parliamentary backing to extend the coronavirus lockdown for another two weeks.
21st May 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Spain to extend lockdown to June 6 despite outcry from protesters and right-wing opposition

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez won parliamentary backing to extend the lockdown for another two weeks Wednesday, despite opposition from his rightwing opponents and protests against his minority coalition government.
21st May 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

NHS leaders warn time is running out to establish track and trace strategy

PM said a 25,000-strong army of trackers had been recruited to identify the contacts of infected victims. Government's scientific advisers insist the system must be in place before any more restrictions are lifted. Rules limiting social contact could also be relaxed at that point, with a decision due at the end of next week. Ministers have admitted a tracking app being tested on the Isle of Wight will not be ready at the start. Security minister James Brokenshire said tracing system for 10,000 people can be launched before the app. Fears are mounting that the lockdown is eroding after thousands of sunseekers flocked to beaches and parks
21st May 2020 - Daily Mail

Another lockdown 'inevitable' unless test, track and trace is in place

The Shadow Chancellor has suggested a second lockdown is ‘inevitable’ unless the UK can ‘sort out’ its test, track and trace strategy. Anneliese Dodds claimed the Government is a ‘very, very long way away from having the right infrastructure’, branding the issue a ‘major problem’ amid an easing of coronavirus restrictions. Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Ms Dodds also warned that the UK is facing an unemployment problem bigger than anything seen in ‘many hundreds of years’. She said: ‘The absolutely critical issue to us returning to at least approaching normal levels of economic activity […] is to get test, track and trace right. Until we have that infrastructure we will inevitably see reimpositions of lockdowns and, or, a longer lockdown.’
21st May 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Poll: Public support for lockdowns in US wavers along party lines

Most Americans fear a second wave of coronavirus cases as US begins efforts to reopen and kick-start a stalled economy.
20th May 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st May 2020

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New Jersey gym owner who broke rules by reopening claims lockdown against constitutional rights

Police have cited the owners of one New Jersey gym after it reopened in spite of state-wide restrictions against the operation of nonessential businesses. Ian Smith and Atilis Gym co-owner Frank Trumbetti claim the decision to reopen was made in defence of their constitutional rights, whilst issuing apparent criticism of Democratic governor Phil Murphy. “We said it from the get-go that this was about sort of a gross violation of our constitutional rights and that this is for all small businesses,” Mr Smith told Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning.
20th May 2020 - Independent

England and Wales' lockdown rules explained and the huge differences between them

However, before you pack up up your car and get ready for a drive we'd urge you to hit the breaks. The lockdown restrictions are very different once you cross the border and could well land you on the wrong side of the law. Here we run through the main differences between Covid-19 restrictions in England and Wales so you don't fall foul of the rules.
20th May 2020 - Birmingham Live

Coronavirus UK: Earlier lockdown could have saved 11k lives

Triggering lockdown just one week earlier on March 16 could have saved thousands of lives and limited Britain's coronavirus death toll to 11,200 in first wave, study claims
20th May 2020 - Daily Mail

Commons return will ‘euthanise’ MPs, Jacob Rees-Mogg is warned

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been told by a senior Conservative backbencher that an attempt to return to a “physical” parliament will in effect “euthanise” MPs who are sick, shielding and self-isolating. After the leader of the house confirmed the government planned to end the virtual parliamentary proceedings and force MPs to return to Westminster in early June, the former minister Robert Halfon said the proposals would discriminate and threaten the lives of some MPs. “Is it really morally just to say in effect to MPs, because you are not Tarzan-like and able to swing through the chamber, beating your chest shouting to your constituents: ‘Look, I am here!’ that you are effectively euthanised from the Commons?
20th May 2020 - The Guardian

Johnson 'reckless' in easing lockdown before Varadkar, expert says

On Monday, when Ireland started phase one of its gradual easing, new daily cases had tumbled to about 11% of the country’s late April peak. When England started its first phase five days earlier on 13 May, new daily cases had fallen but were still about 75% of its late-April to early-May peak. There was another stark difference. Ireland started lifting lockdown only after testing and contact-tracing systems were fully scaled up. England took the plunge before its systems were ready. “I’d say it was recklessly premature,” said Seán L’Estrange, a social scientist at University College Dublin, who has written about testing and studied tracing. “I honestly fear [the level of cases in the UK] will go up fast in the coming weeks.”
20th May 2020 - The Guardian

Chile protesters clash with police over lockdown

Local television showed police using tear gas and water cannon to quell unrest on the streets of El Bosque, where poverty is high. President Sebastián Piñera, in a televised address after the protests, pledged to get food to those in need. Chile has more than 46,000 cases of Covid-19 so far, with 478 deaths. A recent surge in cases prompted the national capital to go under a strict and total lockdown this weekend. In a separate development on Monday (Tuesday NZT), dozens of members of Chile's senate and two government ministers went into preventative isolation following recent contact with infected colleagues.
20th May 2020 - RNZ

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th May 2020

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Coronavirus: Right-wing anti-lockdown protest hailed by Trump featured disturbing ‘hang Fauci’ sign

“People can’t get enough of this. Great people!” Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday in support of the protesters, many of whom were the president’s supporters. Though the sign calling for the execution of Dr Anthony Fauci did not feature in the social media video, it appeared in a TV report by Mr Vesey for News 12 Long Island.
19th May 2020 - Independent

‘Great people!’ Trump backs anti-lockdown protesters filmed harassing reporter in Long Island

Donald Trump has backed a group of anti-lockdown protesters in Long Island, New York, who were filmed harassing and insulting a journalist who had turned up to cover their demonstration. The president retweeted a video by journalist Kevin Vesey talking about what he called “alarming” levels of anger from the people he spoke to but pledging to cover their story fairly. Mr Trump added the comment: “People can’t get enough of this. Great people!”
19th May 2020 - Independent

The UK was late going into lockdown and is now coming out too fast

Children spread Covid-19 less than adults, but it is unclear how much less. I have complete sympathy with those unions advising their members not to trust this government with decisions about their health. Eton and other private schools attended by the children of Conservative MPs seem certain to stay shut till September. If the return goes ahead, then schools need PPE & training in its use; hand washing stations throughout the school; staggered arrivals and departures; very reduced class sizes; constant cleaning of all surfaces; frequent testing of staff for infection; transport to the school that is safe (not a crowded bus); a locally run contact tracing & isolation plan in place for outbreaks and parents taking their children’s temperature testing before they get to school.
19th May 2020 - PoliticsHome.com

UK Minister sidesteps question on relaxed lockdown rules in England undermining virus control measures in North Wales

The Foreign Secretary sidestepped a question about whether relaxing the lock down in England was undermining efforts to control Covid-19 infection rates in North Wales. Dominic Raab, speaking at 10 Downing Street’s daily coronavirus meeting, said there had been “good collaboration” between his Government and the devolved powers. He also said the UK Government “recognised” nations may go at different speeds but claimed there had been a “UK-wide approach” to tackling the virus. On the specific question of whether he thought relaxed lock down rules in England undermined attempts in Wales to keep Covid-19 infection rates down he was less forthcoming.
19th May 2020 - Deeside.com

Britain Doesn't Want to Come Out of Lockdown

On the question of whether to prioritize the economy or the well-being of older people, Brits are much more bothered about the latter. After four years of Brexit divisions, the U.K. is conditioned to expecting intergenerational divides (older people tended to vote for Brexit while younger ones wanted to stay in the European Union). But that split hasn’t been apparent during the pandemic. Lockdown support has spanned all age groups, even though retirees are 34 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than working-age Britons.
19th May 2020 - Bloomberg

Spain's 1% Revolt Against Continued Coronavirus Lockdown

After enduring one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world, Spain is beginning to ease its coronavirus restrictions — but the efforts have not come without controversy. Since last week, millions of people have been allowed to visit friends and family, and sit outside at bars and cafes, in parts of the country where the epidemic is sufficiently under control. In response, after first banging pots and pans each night from their balconies, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Madrid’s wealthy Salamanca neighborhood over the past week. Waving Spanish flags and crying “Viva España!” some protesters have denounced Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s leftist government as communists who are ruining the country.
19th May 2020 - HuffPost

Leaked Pentagon memo warns coronavirus pandemic could last until summer 2021: report | TheHill

A leaked Pentagon memo on Tuesday revealed that top Department of Defense (DOD) officials have been planning for the possibility that the military could be dealing with a “globally-persistent” coronavirus pandemic well into 2021. The memo, obtained by Task & Purpose, also warned of the “real possibility” that a vaccine for COVID-19 won’t be available until “at least the summer of 2021.” “We have a long path ahead, with the real possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19. Therefore, we must now re-focus our attention on resuming critical missions, increasing levels of activity, and making necessary preparations should a significant resurgence of COVID-19 occur later this year,” it read.
19th May 2020 - The Hill

Coronavirus: Donald Trump threatens to permanently cut off World Health Organisation funding

Donald Trump has threatened to permanently pull funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO) unless it commits to improvements within 30 days. The US president said he would also reconsider the country's WHO membership, previously saying the global health body did a "very sad job" in handling the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Trump suspended US contributions to the WHO last month, accusing it of promoting China's "disinformation" about the virus outbreak.
19th May 2020 - Sky News

US and UK 'lead push against global patent pool for Covid-19 drugs'

Efforts to dilute world health assembly resolution on open licensing decried as ‘appalling.’ “In general, it is a disappointment, appalling really. There was better text that was rejected,” said Jamie Love, the director of the NGO Knowledge Ecology International. “The US, UK, Swiss and some others pushed against the WHO taking the lead in pushing for open licensing of patents and know-how for drugs and vaccines. “In a global crisis like this, that has such a massive impact on everyone, you would expect the WHO governing body to have the backbone to say no monopolies in this pandemic. It’s one thing for a country to use its economic clout to buy preferential access to drugs or vaccines. It’s another to prevent others from manufacturing and expanding global supply.”
17th May 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th May 2020

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China's Xi announces $2B for coronavirus response as WHO faces calls for investigation

Tensions surrounding the global handling of the coronavirus pandemic came to a head at the World Health Organization's assembly Monday, with China pledging an extra $2 billion to deal with the crisis and the United States blaming the WHO for a failed response that "cost many lives." Speaking by video link, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the 73rd World Health Assembly that his country's funding package would aid "economic and social development" in developing countries hit badly by COVID-19.
18th May 2020 - NBC News

China supports review of global response to pandemic, as calls for inquiry grow

China's President Xi Jinping has said his country will support a review of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic after it is brought under control. Speaking via video-conference at the start of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly, Mr Xi also said his country would provide £1.6 billion over two years to help with the response to the pandemic. His comments come amid calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic - led by Australia - while in the US President Donald Trump has accused the WHO of helping China to "cover up" the extent of the initial Covid-19 outbreak.
18th May 2020 - ITV News

US lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests

Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states, and even crossing into neighboring ones. The data, provided to the Guardian by the progressive campaign group the Committee to Protect Medicare, raises the prospect that the protests will play a role in spreading the coronavirus epidemic to areas which have, so far, experienced relatively few infections. The anonymized location data was captured from opt-in cellphone apps, and data scientists at the firm VoteMap used it to determine the movements of devices present at protests in late April and early May in five states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.
18th May 2020 - The Guardian

New clashes with police as anti-lockdown protests erupt across Europe

Thousands of people across Europe took to the streets to oppose their governments’ lockdown measures amid the pandemic. From London to Berlin and Warsaw, demonstrators clashed with police, who made several arrests, including that of Piers Corbyn, the brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In Italy, hospitality workers protested in front of the Pantheon in Rome, claiming the safety measures required by the government will hinder their recovery efforts. .
18th May 2020 - YAHOO!

Jair Bolsonaro joins anti-lockdown protest as Brazil overtakes Spain and Italy in confirmed coronavirus cases

A day after the country passed Spain and Italy to have the world's fourth-largest COVID-19 outbreak, Mr Bolsonaro did push-ups with paratroopers and flouted social-distancing measures to pose for photos with children. The rally came two days after the country's second health minister resigned within a month after contradicting the President's response to the outbreak. Brazil's confirmed COVID-19 cases have exceeded 230,000, behind only the United States, Russia and the UK, according to Johns Hopkins University.
18th May 2020 - ABC News

Lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests

Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states,
18th May 2020 - The Guardian on MSN.com

With cases still rising, why is Vladimir Putin pushing Russia out of its COVID lockdown?

Vladimir Putin has liberated his nation from its six-week coronavirus lockdown, but many Russians appear unsure what that means or if it's even prudent to exercise their newfound freedoms given that the country likely hasn't hit a peak in infections. "I don't know what to think," Christa Ivanovo told CBC on her way to the grocery store in Moscow, her one-year-old in tow. "If the rest of the world is under strict isolation … it makes sense we should [continue], too." Out of an abundance of caution, Ivanovo plans to maintain the self-isolation regime Muscovites have been living under for the past month and a half. I'm waiting to see what happens next week."
18th May 2020 - CBC.ca

Coronavirus update: Brazil's President flouts social-distancing advice, Deputy CMO weighs into war of words over borders

The mayor of Brazil's largest city has urged residents to stop flouting coronavirus lockdown rules with Sao Paulo's public hospital system reaching 90 per cent capacity, as the country's President ignored social-distancing advice to pluck kids out of a crowd of supporters in Brasilia.
18th May 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus update: Boris Johnson admits public frustration with new 'complex' restrictions

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted there is public frustration with his government's measures to ease the coronavirus lockdown following widespread criticism of the new rules, which have been lashed for being confusing and containing mixed messages. Meanwhile, Australia's milling companies have switched to 24-hour operations and add new staff to keep up with the demand that saw supermarket shelves around the country stripped of all flour.
18th May 2020 - ABC News

More anti-lockdown protests seen in Germany as coronavirus fatigue spreads in Europe

A number of protests against the government’s coronavirus policy and restrictive measures took place in various Germany cities, including Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart, on Saturday. Lockdown fatigue has grown in Europe despite the gradual easing of restrictions.
17th May 2020 - CNBC

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Experts Doubt Mexican Government’s Claims on Falling Curve

A former health official and a group of Mexican researchers say the fresh numbers suggest the curve is still on an upward trajectory. With one of the lowest coronavirus testing rates in the region, hospitalizations in Mexico may well be the better bellwether for gauging the scope of the pandemic and when it’s safe to reopen. Those numbers are grim. In the nation’s capital, at least 76% of all hospital beds are occupied, and 63% of ventilators are in use, Lopez Gatell said Friday. That’s up from 58% on April 29. More than a quarter of all coronavirus cases are concentrated in Mexico City
16th May 2020 - Bloomberg

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th May 2020

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Michigan officials prepare for anti-lockdown protesters to descend on the capital today

Anti-lockdown protesters turned on each other Thursday when a fight erupted on the steps of the capitol. One protester was removed when he was seen waving an American flag with a doll hanging from a noose. Demonstrators descended on capitol building in Lansing demanding an end to the stay-at-home order. The rally has been dubbed 'Judgement Day' by organizers Michigan United for Liberty Law enforcement has warned demonstrators they may face arrest if they brandish firearms. Gov. Whitmer slammed the protesters this week saying their actions could lead to extension of the lockdown Whitmer has extended the stay-at-home order until at least May 28
14th May 2020 - Mail Online

Police Visit to Tesla Shows U.S. Confusion on Lockdown Loosening

Police visited Tesla Inc.’s sole U.S. car plant Wednesday to assess whether the electric-car maker was adhering to safety protocols agreed to with the county that Elon Musk publicly said he would defy earlier in the week. A lieutenant with the Fremont, California, police department went to the factory late in the afternoon to view employee screening and physical distancing measures, as well as to confirm universal use of face coverings. Findings from the visit -- which Tesla was notified of in advance -- will be presented to the public health officer for Alameda County, which will determine compliance, according to a police spokeswoman.
14th May 2020 - Bloomberg

When will UK lockdown end? Why we don't know yet - but the new Government coronavirus plan gave us some idea

The UK Government issued a 50-page document detailing how coronavirus lockdown restrictions could be eased - but the dates are not confirmed
14th May 2020 - iNews

Britain Starts Easing Lockdown as Pressure Builds on Boris Johnson

Britain took its first steps to ease its lockdown Wednesday as new figures showed the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on its economy, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced growing political pressure over his government’s handling of the crisis. The tentative moves are the latest in a cautious European push to bring the region’s economy out of hibernation. The U.K. economy shrank an annualized 7.7% in the first quarter, official data showed Wednesday, its worst quarterly performance for more than a decade.
14th May 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Anti-lockdown protests in Germany infiltrated by far-right extremists

The protesters are typically a mixed bunch: anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, left-wing extremists, neo-Nazis and hooligans, and others with no particular political affiliation. But what’s worrying officials in Berlin is that protesters have long ceased to merely appeal on the government to respect fundamental rights. “What unites people is the hatred of the political elite and public broadcasting,” said Matthias Quent, right-wing extremism researcher and director of the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society (IDZ) in Jena.
14th May 2020 - EURACTIV

Coronavirus Lockdowns: Businesses Turn to Armed Defiance

Armed militia-style protesters have helped businesses across Texas defy coronavirus lockdowns and reopen. Protesters say they are enforcing the Constitution.
13th May 2020 - The New York Times

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th May 2020

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China-linked hackers are targeting US coronavirus vaccine research, FBI warns

Hackers linked to the Chinese government are trying to steal coronavirus-related research on vaccines, treatments and testing, the FBI and a U.S. cybersecurity agency warned. The FBI, in a joint statement with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said it is investigating “the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by [People’s Republic of China]-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors.” The hackers have been caught attempting to “identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property” and public health data related to coronavirus research, according to the statement.
13th May 2020 - CNBC

PM: UK will ‘go forward together’ despite lockdown splits

Boris Johnson has insisted the UK will “go forward together” out of coronavirus lockdown after facing claims that devolved administrations had been “shut out” of the UK Government’s plans.
13th May 2020 - The Scotsman

German adviser sacked for report on 'lockdown peril'

A German ministerial adviser has been sacked for circulating a report that described coronavirus as a “false alarm” and accused the government of causing “a large number of avoidable deaths” through its lockdown. The 92-page document was drawn up by a civil servant in the interior ministry and leaked to a right-wing website, apparently after he felt that his misgivings were being ignored by his superiors. “The (entirely unforced) collateral damage of the corona crisis has by now become gigantic,” it says. “The protection measures ordered by the state … have meanwhile lost any purpose but remain largely in force.
13th May 2020 - The Times

Italy's South Tyrol invokes autonomy to pry open lockdown

Spurred by economic pressure, the provincial governor defied Rome this week and reasserted South Tyrol’s cherished autonomy, allowing restaurants, hair salons, tattoo parlors and museums to reopen Monday -- well ahead of the timetable set by Italy’s government. ‘’We have a relatively positive situation regarding the epidemic, with a rate of contagion the lowest in Italy,’’ said Gov. Arno Kompatscher, whose South Tyrolean People’s Party has controlled the province since 1948. The party’s legislators in the national parliament back Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte’s government. ‘’We appreciated the actions of the government in the phase of emergency, where it was necessary to move in a united way,” Kompatscher said. “But we are very proud and jealous of our autonomy.’’
13th May 2020 - ABC News

Tensions mount as Scotland goes its own way on virus lockdown

First independence. Then Brexit. Now Scotland's handling of the coronavirus outbreak has stirred up fresh tensions with the UK government, despite an initial unified approach. The leader of the Scottish government, Nicola Sturgeon, has put clear water between Edinburgh and London by refusing to implement the same easing of lockdown measures. At the weekend, she warned lives could be at risk if stay-at-home restrictions were lifted too soon, just before British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a plan for a gradual return to normality.
13th May 2020 - YAHOO!

Confusion as UK publishes lockdown exit plan

The publication of a 50-page document followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s televised address to the nation on Sunday evening, which was widely criticized for lacking precision. A broadcast round by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday morning ahead of the document’s release added to the confusion when he appeared to contradict the prime minister’s assertion that anyone who is able to work safely should return to their jobs on Wednesday, not Monday as Johnson had stated the night before.
11th May 2020 - POLITICO

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Coronavirus: SAGE report fails to consider strategy for easing lockdown

"This is what transparency looks like," said Sir David King as he launched a critical report of the government's handling of the coronavirus epidemic. He's a former government chief scientist and the report was the first from a panel of experts assembled to rival the official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). The 12-strong group live-streamed their two-hour meeting on YouTube last week and have just produced what they say is a constructive report which they've sent to the government and parliament. It's worth saying that the news briefing to launch the report wasn't open to the public. "We were told the membership (of SAGE) was secret. Why on Earth would you want to be secret?", said Sir David.
12th May 2020 - Sky News

SDLP's Eastwood urges Executive to 'reconsider' timeline for exiting Covid-19 lockdown

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has urged the Northern Ireland Executive to "reconsider" its decision not to include a timescale as part of it's coronavirus lockdown exit plan. The Executive published its five step plan on Tuesday, but unlike plans from England and the Republic of Ireland it does not include potential dates for lifting restrictions.
12th May 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

PM Boris Johnson forced to clarify UK lockdown advice

In his first statement to Parliament on the coronavirus pandemic, months after the beginning of the outbreak in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday issued a lengthy clarification to his government's advice over the lifting of lockdown measures. He had addressed citizens on Sunday evening in a recorded televised address, but his statement was criticised for prompting more questions than it had answered.
12th May 2020 - Al Jazeera English

UK lockdown: Matt Hancock refuses to accept public are confused over government coronavirus messaging

Health secretary Matt Hancock has denied that the government is confusing the public with its messaging over the coronavirus lockdown. England’s latest Covid-19 guidelines, announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday night, have been met with confusion and anger as people have questioned what they can and cannot do. Over the past 24 hours, the government has been forced to correct senior ministers over when people should return to work and whether they can meet relatives and friends in parks.
12th May 2020 - The Independent

Boris Johnson grilled on 'vague' UK coronavirus lockdown advice

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined her government's strategy concerning the lockdown on Monday -- and it contrasts sharply with Boris Johnson's plan for the UK. She told a daily briefing it was "too risky" to change restrictions, and the message to people remains: "stay home". People are not being encouraged to go to work, she said. Johnson's "stay alert" instruction in his TV address on Sunday night applied to England and Wales, the first minister explained.
12th May 2020 - Euronews

Unless the government changes tack, the UK's lockdown will have been for nothing

There are no silver bullets, clever models or easy answers for how to control the coronavirus. But neither is it rocket science. Governments have three choices in how they respond. The first and most difficult path is to contain the virus through a programme of mass testing, contact tracing and isolating. This requires a huge effort: building a large infrastructure to monitor cases of the virus and identify hotspots, ensuring this system runs efficiently, providing adequate PPE to everyone who needs it, and deploying border controls to vet who is entering the country.
12th May 2020 - The Guardian

Lockdown easing: have other leaders fared better than Boris Johnson?

Boris Johnson has been heavily criticised for failing to show Britain a clear route out of lockdown. Easing a nation out of two months of confinement is a complicated business, and some degree of confusion is almost inevitable. Here, Guardian correspondents look at how other European leaders have managed the process.
11th May 2020 - The Guardian

Boris Johnson's lockdown release condemned as divisive, confusing and vague

In a speech from Downing Street, Johnson said if the circumstances were right, schools in England and some shops might be able to open next month, and the government was “actively encouraging” people to return to work if they cannot do so from home. But he stressed that this was “not the time simply to end the lockdown” and that he intended to take a cautious approach guided by the science, otherwise a second deadly wave of the “devilish” virus would take hold. But his remarks drew criticism and concern from across the political spectrum – and his decision to drop the “stay at home” message in favour of advice to “stay alert” was met with a chorus of disapproval from the leaders of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
10th May 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th May 2020

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Dominic Raab adds to confusion over changes to UK lockdown rules

The confusion over Boris Johnson’s request for people to return to work if they can has continued, as the foreign secretary said changes would be introduced on Wednesday, not Monday as initially stated. The prime minister made a televised address to the nation on Sunday evening setting out his roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown. He said that those who could not work from home were being “actively encouraged” to return to work, prompting a backlash from unions who said there was insufficient guidance in place to keep people safe. “How can the prime minister – with 12 hours’ notice – tell people they should be going back to sites and factories? It’s a recipe for chaos,” said the TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady.
11th May 2020 - The Guardian

Anti-lockdown protests threaten Germany's coronavirus battle: politicians

Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to Germans on Monday to stick to social-distancing rules to slow down the coronavirus pandemic after data suggested the disease was spreading faster again.
11th May 2020 - Reuters

The UK’s new lockdown rules are another coronavirus comms mess

The government’s coronavirus communication strategy has been a mess of dodgy briefings, reversals and corrections galore. Yesterday’s performance was the worst yet
11th May 2020 - Wired UK

What Kent made of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's lockdown easing announcement including new rules on working and suggestion on schools reopening

It would be fair to say Boris Johnson's lockdown announcement on Sunday left a lot of people scratching their heads. Delivered 49 days since he implemented the measures for many it raised more questions than it answered - questions KentOnline has helped with here.
11th May 2020 - Kent Online

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th May 2020

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This end to COVID-19 lockdowns could only have been made in America

“We’re gonna learn a lot. These are all experiments,” sayid Ashish Jha, the director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute. Jha was among four infectious disease experts I spoke with who agreed that the varied — and possibly reckless — way reopenings are being managed state to state would provide information on the spread of the virus. They also seemed to agree the usefulness of the information would be somewhat limited.
8th May 2020 - Toronto Star

Dominic Raab confirms ‘no change’ in UK coronavirus lockdown as top scientist says crucial reproduction rate rising

There has been “no change” in the Government’s guidance on social distancing, Dominic Raab has confirmed, as one of its top scientific advisers said the coronavirus reproduction rate was rising. Speaking after the latest three-weekly review of lockdown measures, the Foreign Secretary said Boris Johnson would use his Sunday address to the nation to set out a “road map” for how the curbs on normal life might eventually be eased. But he pleaded with Brits not to change their behaviour over the bank holiday weekend following a string of press reports that Mr Johnson will ease some measures on outdoor activity when he makes his speech.
7th May 2020 - Politics Home

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th May 2020

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UK newspapers accused of giving 'mixed messages' on lockdown

Downing Street was keen to pour cold water on reports that the lockdown could be lifted from Monday, after newspaper headlines such as Lockdown Freedom Beckons and Happy Monday. Senior government figures privately expressed concern about what one referred to as “over-egged” reports about both the “tone and the pace” of a potential easing. The same source also played down one report that people could be able to sit two metres away from friends outside as soon as Monday. “It will be much more cautious than what is being reported,” they said.
7th May 2020 - The Guardian

Keir Starmer: UK needs to leave lockdown together

The leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, has said that easing of lockdown restrictions needs to take place across the UK as a whole, as he urged "caution" to avoid another spike in cases of coronavirus.
7th May 2020 - The Scotsman

Coronavirus: PM 'must show respect' to UK nations over lockdown

The SNP's Mr Ian Blackford said: "We are still facing an enormous death toll and everything we do should be based on the scientific and medical advice. "What we should be focusing on are the health considerations for the public and the absolute desire to drive down the impact of this virus. "If we allow an earlier removal of restrictions, all we are going to do is run the risk of that second spike and the impact on the health of individuals and the economy will actually be greater. "There has to be discipline and an appreciation from the population of what we are doing and why." Also appearing on the Good Morning Scotland programme, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was "worried" about Scotland potentially taking a different approach to restrictions to the rest of the UK. He said: "Across the United Kingdom, we went into lockdown together and I think it would be far better if any easing or relaxation was done together. "There are real problems if different regions and different nations do it at different times.
7th May 2020 - BBC News

Strain emerges between UK government and Scotland over easing lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon’s spokesman confirmed the first minister plans to renew all Scotland’s lockdown regulations on Thursday without amending them. They were not aware of any scientific or expert advice which supported Johnson’s proposals, he said. “I think the first minister has said in recent days she’s been very clear that she’s not anticipating any imminent changes to the current measures that are recently in place.” The UK’s nations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have collaborated closely on policies and strategies during the pandemic, with Johnson announcing the lockdown plans on 20 and 23 March on behalf of all four governments.
7th May 2020 - The Guardian

Scotland appeals for "four nation" approach to lockdown as UK plans early exit

Scotland's Health Secretary has appealed for a "four nation" approach to easing the Coronavirus lockdown in the UK amid reports that Boris Johnson will lift some restrictions south of the border this weekend.
7th May 2020 - The Scotsman

Coronavirus: Lockdown tensions between UK and Welsh ministers grow

The results of a review into Wales' coronavirus lockdown will be announced by the Welsh Government on Friday. First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to outline how and when minor adjustments could be made. It comes after Downing Street conceded Wales and the other UK nations may move differently on easing the restrictions. The Welsh Government said more details will be announced in Friday's press conference. Mr Drakeford's approach is expected to be cautious, with a focus on ensuring the R rate of transmission is not allowed to rise.
7th May 2020 - BBC News

Germany's Maas condemns anti-lockdown protesters' attack on journalists

For the second time in a week, journalists in Berlin were attacked by members of the public. Illegal anti-lockdown protesters turned on a camera team, in a move decried by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
7th May 2020 - Deutsche Welle

Leaving Lockdown, Entering Recession: Strike in Spain Shows Workers’ Fears

Labor unions in Europe have recently voiced concerns about the safety of employees who have been returning to work. But the strike at Nissan highlights what may be the next major concern of organized labor: protecting jobs in a post-pandemic economy. The coronavirus has brought about a recession that is expected to be the worst ever in the European Union, one that will most likely push companies to close down struggling factories.Automakers in particular are believed to have excess capacity, as demand for new cars has slipped in recent years. About a fifth of carmaking capacity worldwide is not being used.
7th May 2020 - The New York Times

Spanish PM secures support for lockdown plans

The fragile left-wing coalition government is set to rescue its lockdown plans from “chaos” in a parliamentary vote today after securing the support of a centre-right party. The Socialist-led government of Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister, was in danger of losing a vote for a two-week extension of the state of emergency after one of its allies, a Catalan separatist party, decided to vote against it. The Catalan Republican Left party withdrew its support, saying powers should now be returned to the regions. However, the government won the backing of Ciudadanos, a centre-right party, and maintained the support of a Basque regional party to stave off what the Socialists called “chaos”.
7th May 2020 - The Times

Anger grows in French coastal areas over continued Covid-19 beach ban

Local Mayors and MPs have struggled to explain the decision and numerous campaigns including #RendezNousLaMer have sprung up on social media to get the decision overturned. Gwendal Richard, a keen surfer, told French newspaper Ouest-France that the beach ban was “completely unjust”. “All those who love the sea” are welcome to join him on nearby beach in Erquy to express their anger “peacefully” on 11 May, he says. He’s calling on them to line up on the beach while respecting social distancing regulations and wearing facemasks and he plans to stream the event live on Facebook.
7th May 2020 - RFI English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th May 2020

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UK could start easing virus lockdown next week - Johnson

A Reuters investigation found policies designed to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed pushed a greater burden onto care homes which struggled to get access to tests and protective equipment. Asked by a member of the public during a question session on Sky News whether the government had sacrificed the elderly in residential homes to ensure the health service was not overrun, Mr Hancock said: "No we didn't do this ... we have, from the start, worked very hard to protect people in care homes."
6th May 2020 - RTE Online

Boris Johnson Hints UK Could Begin Easing Lockdown As Soon As Monday

Boris Johnson has said the government could begin to ease the UK’s coronavirus lockdown from Monday. Speaking during prime minister’s questions in the Commons, the PM said he planned to give a statement on Sunday setting out plans for the next day. He did not specify which measures might be dropped or amended first as ministers were “continuously” receiving data from health and science experts. "We will want, if we possibly can, to get going with some of those measures on Monday,” he said, in a reply to Labour leader Keir Starmer. “I think it would be a good thing [...] if people had an idea of what’s coming the following day. That’s why I think Sunday, the weekend, is the best time to do it.”
6th May 2020 - Huffington Post UK

Coronavirus: Robin Swann says lockdown debate getting ahead of itself

The debate about easing Northern Ireland's pandemic lockdown restrictions is "getting ahead of itself", the health minister has said. A further 17 Covid-19 related deaths in NI were reported by Robin Swann's department, bringing its total to 404. The executive is holding talks about whether to relax any measures to curb the spread of the virus. "Call it my May Day alert," said Mr Swann, as he urged people to stay at home this bank holiday weekend. Northern Ireland's Executive must review whether to amend the coronavirus regulations by Saturday, but some ministers have already said any changes need to be gradual. Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill wants the Executive to publish its plans for emerging from restrictions on Thursday.
6th May 2020 - BBC News

Birx warns against gatherings as US reopens from lockdowns

Dr Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House coronavirus taskforce, has warned against US citizens gathering in public spaces again as the number of COVID-19 infections topped 1.1 million in the country and the death toll rose to more than 67,000 on Sunday. Birx said massing on beaches was not safe unless people kept at least two metres (six feet) apart, and weighed in against allowing such businesses as beauty salons and spas to reopen in the first phase.
4th May 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 6th May 2020

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Live updates: Vice President Pence says coronavirus task force could be disbanded within a month

Vice President Pence told reporters today that the coronavirus task force created to manage the federal government’s response to the pandemic could be disbanded within a month because “of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.” The number of people who have died in the U.S. from covid-19 passed 70,000 on Tuesday, with nearly 1.2 million confirmed cases, according to state health departments and tracking by The Washington Post.
6th May 2020 - The Washington Post

America's coronavirus reopening debate comes down to how much a human life is worth, New York governor says

Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said debates on how soon states should ease social distancing restrictions come down to the value of human life -- and that policymakers are avoiding saying so explicitly. Cuomo, whose state by far has the most recorded coronavirus cases, reacted Tuesday to projections that the country's coronavirus death rate will soar because many states are easing restrictions now. "The fundamental question, which we're not articulating, is how much is a human life worth?" Cuomo said at a news conference.
5th May 2020 - CNN

U.S. daily coronavirus death rate will more than double by June 1, draft government report projects

Covid-19 deaths in the United States will rise to more than 3,000 a day by June 1, with new confirmed cases surging to about 200,000 daily, a draft government report projects. The predictions belie the projections made Sunday evening by President Trump, who said the U.S. could eventually suffer as many as 100,000 deaths. At 3,000 deaths per day and rising, the national total would quickly outstrip that number if the new report is correct.
5th May 2020 - The Washington Post

Coronavirus Reopening: Cuomo Outlines May 15 Regional Reopening Criteria

On the topic of reopening, he said it would be “more complicated then the close down,” which he called “a blunt operation.” Reopening is “more nuanced, you have to be more careful,” the governor said. The reopening will be phased and work hand-in-hand with measuring certain metrics. “It’s not going to happen state-wide,” Cuomo said. “And rather than wait for the whole state to be ready, reopen on a regional basis. If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready, they’re going to be waiting a long time. So, analyze the situation on a regional basis.”
5th May 2020 - CBS New York

The price of reopening the economy: tens of thousands of American lives

In an interview published in Tuesday's edition of the New York Post, Trump said Americans were ready come out of isolation and get back to normal life. "I think they're starting to feel good now. The country's opening again. We saved millions of lives, I think," Trump said. "You have to be careful, but you have to get back to work," he said. "People want the country open... I guess we have 38 states that are either opening or are very close." A Washington Post and University of Maryland national poll released Tuesday finds Americans widely oppose reopening most businesses. While 56% said they are comfortable going to the grocery store now, 67% said they would be uncomfortable visiting a retail store and 78% said they'd be uncomfortable going to a sit-down restaurant, according to the poll.
5th May 2020 - CNN

Coronavirus model projects 134,000 deaths in US, nearly double its last estimate

Ali Mokdad, a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME, told CNN's John King that there are "several reasons" for the increased projections. "One of them is increased mobility before the relaxation, premature relaxation, of social distancing," he said. "We're adding more presumptive deaths as well, and we're seeing a lot of outbreaks in the Midwest, for example." He said multiple variables impact infections -- like heat, testing capacity and population density -- but "the most important one is mobility." Right now, he said, "we're seeing an increase in mobility that's leading to an increase in mortality, unfortunately, in the United States."
5th May 2020 - CNN

The reopening gamble: Set your timer for three weeks

Set a timer for three weeks. By late May, we should know whether certain US states collected on a major gamble or committed a hideous error by reopening their economies. If a tide of sickness and death overwhelms the early openers, lockdowns may return, making Americans' trudge back toward normal economic life even slower and more painful. But if infections can be kept at manageable levels, these pioneers may begin to piece together a vision of the "new normal" that everyone keeps talking about. The good news is that some of the states beginning to open up — like South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin were never as savagely hit as states like New York, California and Michigan. The bad news is that their turn may be next. Science warns the virus is still out there, waiting for an opening.
4th May 2020 - CNN

Warmer weather and debate over restrictions drive Americans outside while coronavirus cases rise

From California to New York, more Americans are headed outside -- some for recreation and others in protest. But as some states loosen or let go of their stay-at-home orders, researchers predict a higher death toll from coronavirus this summer than previously expected. As of Sunday, more than 1.1 million people in the US have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 67,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. States such as California have stood firm on their stay-at-home orders -- and have been met with protests.
4th May 2020 - CNN

Northern Ireland church leaders urge politicians to consider easing coronavirus restrictions

The leaders of Northern Ireland's main Churches have urged politicians to consider easing restrictions on private prayer in church buildings "sooner rather than later". In a joint statement, the leaders of the Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland, Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church and the Irish Council of Churches, said they accept that now is not the time for "a full return" to collective worship in our Churches. However, they asked for the issue to be reviewed regularly.
4th May 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Reopening of America: More than half of states will lift coronavirus restrictions by the end of the week

In Nevada, a chanting crowd of protesters marched up to the door of the governor’s residence on Saturday, drawing police who stood with automatic weapons. And a group demanding to “Fully Open California” organized to cause traffic gridlock in Laguna Beach. With confirmed US. deaths topping 65,000, efforts to reopen the country also are sparking outcries about public safety. But officials have battled crowds and some public resistance to mask-wearing and social distancing measures.
3rd May 2020 - The Washington Post

States are easing coronavirus restrictions and 'it's going to cost lives,' researcher says

"You're making a big mistake. It's going to cost lives," Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster preparedness specialist at Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN on Friday. Redlener and Joseph Fair, a senior fellow in pandemic policy at Texas A&M University, sent a report to all governors on Friday, warning them that no state or city should reduce restrictions until coronavirus infections have been steadily decreasing for 10 days to two weeks, and not until enough tests are available to assess just how many people really are infected. Redlener's warning comes as more than 30 states are easing social distancing restrictions this weekend. The changes ranged from opening state parks to allowing some businesses to restart.
2nd May 2020 - CNN

As Coronavirus Restrictions Ease, Many Still Wary

As states around the country begin lifting stay-at-home orders, individuals face their own choice over whether it feels safe to resume activities we all used to take for granted. We asked NPR listeners to tell us how they are making these decisions and nearly 250 people responded. In general, it's clear that even as local officials lift restrictions, many people plan to wait longer before resuming their old routines. "As long as there are new cases, I think it's not really safe," says Naomi Silas, a freelance graphic designer and graduate student in Grand Rapids, Mich.
2nd May 2020 - NPR

Coronavirus: Lockdown should ease to help economy, says Philip Hammond

Former chancellor Philip Hammond has urged the government to set out its plan to restart the economy. Ministers have been reluctant to discuss a lockdown exit strategy, arguing that it might undermine the message for people to stay at home. Mr Hammond said the country cannot afford to wait until a vaccine is developed and called on the government to start easing lockdown measures.
25th Apr 2020 - BBC News

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 30th Apr 2020

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Florida will begin lifting coronavirus stay-at-home orders from MONDAY, governor announces

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a plan Wednesday to lift stay-at-home orders from Monday. Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties will remain under restrictions as they have reported the most coronavirus cases in the state. It comes after the state reported its biggest spike in daily deaths on Tuesday. It joins 16 other states - mostly in the South and Midwest - which have lifted or announced dates to lift coronavirus restrictions following weeks of mandatory lockdowns Alabama, Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Iowa will slowly start opening their economies this week. Minnesota, Mississippi, Michigan, Tennessee, Colorado, Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have already partially reopened. Public health authorities have warned that increasing human interactions and economic activity may spark a new surge of infections
30th Apr 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: This is what reopening in US looks like

Barber shops, tattoo parlours, beaches and restaurants reopen in Georgia as the governor lifts coronavirus restrictions. BBC Newsnight's David Grossman travelled across the state to see what life looks like as the state emerges from economic hibernation.
29th Apr 2020 - BBC News

US states reopening: Maine is first Northeastern state to ease COVID-19 restrictions

Maine will allow some businesses - including drive-in theaters, barber shops and hair salons, dog groomers and car dealerships - to reopen from Friday. Current restrictions, including no gatherings of more than 10 people and 14 day quarantine for out of state visitors, still apply. Maine joins 15 other states - mostly in the South and Midwest - which have lifted or announced dates to lift coronavirus restrictions following weeks of mandatory lockdowns. Alabama, Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Iowa will slowly start opening their economies this week. Minnesota, Mississippi, Michigan, Tennessee, Colorado, Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have already partially reopened. Public health authorities have warned that increasing human interactions and economic activity may spark a new surge of infections.
29th Apr 2020 - Daily Mail

Why Georgia Is Reopening Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Georgia governor Kemp’s move to reopen was condemned by scientists, high-ranking Republicans from his own state, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; it even drew a public rebuke from President Donald Trump, who had reportedly approved the measures before distancing himself from the governor amid the backlash.
29th Apr 2020 - The Atlantic

Alabama and Ohio are latest to lift coronavirus restrictions

14 states that are home to more than 95 million people have started reopening their economies or announced their reopening plans. Alabama will reopen from Thursday and will be followed by Ohio on Friday. All Missouri businesses and social events will be allowed to reopen from May 4 and Iowa will open restaurants, malls, fitness centers, libraries and retail stores at 50% capacity from May 1. Stay-at-home orders issued by governors across the US and subsequent decisions to slowly reopen state economies have turned into highly charged political issues Minnesota, Mississippi, Colorado, Montana, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina will, or have already, restarted their economies following weeks of mandatory lockdowns. Texas partially reopened last week but the governor announced on Monday that state's stay-at-home order would expire April 30.
28th Apr 2020 - Daily Mail

Global coronavirus restrictions loosening, allowing for some return to normalcy

Germany, which has lost more than 6,000 people to the contagion, took its first steps to ease restrictions last week — and by Tuesday locals were pictured visiting the Berlin Zoo and snapping selfies in front of elephants as the zoo partially reopened. Smaller businesses were also permitted to reopen in the country, but strict social distancing measures remain in place, and there are still bans on large gatherings of people.
28th Apr 2020 - New York Post

Several U.S. states prepare to ease coronavirus restrictions despite experts' worries

By and large the states forging ahead with re-openings this week are concentrated in the South, the Midwest and mountain West, where outbreaks have been far less severe than in the Northeast. Most are led by Republican governors. Tennessee said it will allow restaurants to reopen on Monday. Mississippi’s stay-at-home order expires the same day. Montana, which reported three new cases on Sunday, is allowing businesses to reopen Monday if they limit capacity and practice social distancing, while Minnesota is clearing the way for 80,000 to 100,000 workers in industrial and office jobs to return to work on Monday. In Colorado, Democratic Governor Jared Polis has given the green light for retail curbside pickup to begin on Monday. Hair salons, barbershop and tattoo parlors can open on Friday, with retail stores, restaurants and movie theaters to follow.
27th Apr 2020 - Global News

More states are easing coronavirus restrictions this week, unnerving experts and some local officials

Several states are reopening from coronavirus shutdowns this week despite the recommendations of health researchers. Colorado, Minnesota and Montana plan to ease social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions. Iowa will allow elective surgeries to resume and farmers markets to reopen starting Monday.
27th Apr 2020 - CNN

Gov. Dunleavy says Alaska will ease some coronavirus restrictions starting later this week

Gov. Mike Dunleavy accelerated his timeline to open up segments of the economy, announcing Tuesday night that under certain restrictions, barbershops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and tanning salons can open starting Friday, allowing one customer in at a time. “We’re going to give these businesses an opportunity to be open, and really it’s one provider, one client, no waiting room," Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said. Restaurants can open up for dine-in service, but with reservations. They can have up to 25% capacity. Retail stores will be allowed to open for limited shopping, operating at 25% capacity with hand sanitizer at the entrance. Bars, bingo parlors and bowling alleys cannot open yet, state officials said. The changes are not yet posted on state websites or in public documents, though state officials said more information will be released this week.
21st Apr 2020 - Anchorage Daily News