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

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Here's how to tackle the Covid-19 anti-vaxxers

If we are talking to someone who’s uncertain about the vaccine we should try to be empathetic, actively listen, and focus on the benefits of taking it. And rather than contradicting them, we should suggest places where they can find out additional information. If people feel respected and trusted they are more likely to listen; and if they can find out on their own, then they will have time to process and engage with it without feeling defensive. And there are broader behavioural science tactics that the government can use to improve the uptake of vaccines, including making it seem like the default and showing it to be a social norm. This means using language that inherently assumes everyone will take the vaccines, making people feel they are actively opting out, rather than opting in.
26th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Lockdown tiers will mean hospitality ‘never recovers’

The hospitality industry has responded with fierce criticism of the new tier system, warning that it will wipe out billions of pounds of trading and lead to huge numbers of job losses.The new tier
26th Nov 2020 - The Times

Midwestern Governors Seek More Federal Covid-19 Aid for Businesses

A growing number of governors are calling for another round of coronavirus-relief legislation from Washington, saying they are unable to provide additional funds to small businesses amid budget shortfalls. The issue is gaining urgency as money from federal relief passed earlier this year runs out ahead of a year-end deadline to spend it. States have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid into everything from personal-protective equipment and hazard pay for front-line health-care workers to schools and food banks.
26th Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Italy’s doctors face new threat: Conspiracy theories

From “heroes” to “terrorists.” In Italy, the doctors and nurses lauded for their exhausting, dangerous work in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic are facing a new challenge: conspiracy theories accusing them of faking the emergency. In one social media video, two women tell the camera they are in the emergency room at Sacco Hospital in Milan, one of the hardest-hit cities in Italy. They want to prove that the ER is empty, contrary to what is being reported by journalists, who have sounded the alarm about a drastic uptick in cases. The women go inside the building, showing viewers a calm, empty interior. Next, they walk back outside to demonstrate there are no ambulances lined up. Doctors, journalists, and politicians have been lying, they say. “They are terrorists.”
26th Nov 2020 - POLITICO.eu

Never mind what antivaxxers say — just watch what they do

Antivax talk is worrying. However, it is only talk. Social media has made this the wordiest era in history. Sharing conspiracy theories online is excitingly subversive, making people feel they have taken the “red pill” and seen the truth. More telling, though, is their behaviour. In real life, when things get serious, almost everyone chooses vaccination. “If Covid-19 vaccines are found to be efficacious and safe and widely available, my guess is that a very large proportion of people will ultimately take them,” says Vish Viswanath of Harvard’s School of Public Health. Even French behaviour is reassuring. Vaccination rates here have been rising: 98.6 per cent of babies born in early 2018 received the “hexavalent” vaccine that protects against six illnesses, including hepatitis B and tetanus. True, it’s compulsory, but parents still have to bring in their kids. Even in the US, where parents can more easily refuse vaccinations, only about 7 per cent or fewer adamantly oppose them, depending on the vaccine, says Viswanath. He adds: “This small group gets a disproportionate share of attention.”
26th Nov 2020 - Financial Times

Top US court blocks NY coronavirus limits on houses of worship

As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide, the United States Supreme Court has barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the virus. The justices split 5-4 for Wednesday’s vote, with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the majority. It was the conservative’s first publicly discernible vote as a justice. The court’s three liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented.
26th Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Wetherspoon boss accuses UK government of 'stealth' lockdown

The boss of JD Wetherspoon has accused the government of introducing a “stealth” lockdown in England through its tough new tier system. Tim Martin, the founder and chair of the pub chain, said almost half of his pubs would be forced to remain shut under new rules that come into force when lockdown ends on 2 December. “The company has campaigned for pubs to revert to the rules agreed between the pub industry, civil servants, local authorities and health officials, which were introduced when pubs reopened in July,” Martin said in a statement emailed to media.
26th Nov 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK

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

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London Tories split over tiered approach after Covid lockdown

Leading London Tories are split over whether varying lockdown rules should be imposed on different areas of the capital depending on local infection rates. The mayor, Sadiq Khan, claimed there is consensus for tier 2 restrictions being introduced across London next week when the current lockdown is eased. “London’s leaders have worked very closely together on a cross-party basis and are united on this: our city going into tier 2 next week would seem the right and sensible decision,” he tweeted. But this apparent agreement threatens to unravel after lobbying by Tory MPs to allow areas with lower infection rates to have less stringent restrictions. The latest public figures show infection rates per 100,000 in the capital’s 32 boroughs vary from 113 in Camden to 387 in Havering.
25th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Germany Merkel: Car rams into chancellery gate ahead of Covid decision

A car has been driven into the gates of Angela Merkel's Federal Chancellery building in Berlin, German police say. A 54-year-old man was detained but the background to the incident was unclear. The Volkswagen car had messages daubed in white on both sides. One called for an end to "globalisation politics" while another referred to "you damned killers of children and old people". The incident came hours before Mrs Merkel held talks with regional leaders on extending Covid safety measures.
25th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Pope Francis takes aim at anti-mask protesters: ‘They are incapable of moving outside of their own little world’

In his new book, “Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future,” to be released Dec. 1, the head of the 1.3 billion–member Roman Catholic Church lambastes those who protest the health measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19: “Some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions — as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom,” he writes.
25th Nov 2020 - MarketWatch

Limestone Coast community defends MP Nick McBride over his COVID-19 lockdown comments

Cross-border community members and a regional MP have jumped to defend the Member for MacKillop's comments, after he broke ranks from the Liberal Party on Monday. Nick McBride lashed out at the State Government over its handling of the latest coronavirus outbreak, saying the hard lockdown was an overreaction which "hung businesses out to dry". He said health authorities should not have "taken the word of one person" to impose a lockdown on the entire state.
25th Nov 2020 - ABC News

German restaurant bears out pandemic with furry customers

The owner of a Frankfurt restaurant is staging a protest against the coronavirus lockdown in Germany by filling his tables with a hundred stuffed toy pandas, in a play on the word “pandemic”. German officials are expected on Wednesday to agree to extend until Dec. 20 a “lockdown light” they imposed on Nov. 2 that means bars, restaurants and entertainment venues must stay closed, while shops and schools can remain open. “We wanted to put some life back into our restaurant,” said Guiseppe Fichera, manager of restaurant Pino. “They are Panda-Mic pandas.”
25th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

‘The fight continues’: Colombia protests persist despite pandemic

Hundreds of people gathered at a street corner in downtown Bogota on Monday to commemorate the anniversary of Dilan Cruz’s death. His mother and sister arranged a circle of flowers on the street where the 18-year-old was shot by police a year earlier during an anti-government protest, with his clothes and a framed portrait placed in the centre. Throughout the vigil, the mostly young crowd chanted: “Dilan didn’t die, Dilan was killed!”
25th Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English

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

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Putin Can’t Take Russia’s ‘Safe’ Covid-19 Vaccine, Kremlin Says

President Vladimir Putin told fellow world leaders last week that both of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccines, including one he championed as the world’s first inoculation against the disease, are safe and effective. That doesn’t mean he’s taken a jab. “We have not yet begun widespread vaccination and the head of state can’t take part in vaccination as a volunteer. It’s impossible,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday, in response to a question on whether Putin had been inoculated. “The president can’t use an uncertified vaccine.” Russia has the world’s fifth-highest number of cases globally, passing 2 million last week.
25th Nov 2020 - bnnbloomberg

Germany warns of Coronavirus vaccine race between rich and poor

Angela Merkel fears a global race between richer and poorer nations to access COVID-19 vaccines. She urged government leaders at an online meeting of the G20 to ensure a fair distribution of coronavirus vaccines among impoverished countries. "To halt the pandemic, every country needs to have access to and be able to afford the vaccine. The funds pledged so far are not yet enough to achieve this. I, therefore, appeal to you all of you to support this important initiative," she said. The chancellor made clear she would raise the issue with the global vaccine alliance GAVI. "This short-term assistance is in the interest of us all. And it is also in our interest to improve global pandemic preparedness in the long term. To this end, we need to sustainably strengthen the World Health Organization."
25th Nov 2020 - Vatican News

Coronavirus vaccines face trust gap in Black and Latino communities, study finds

In the US, if offered a coronavirus vaccine free of charge, fewer than half of Black people and 66 percent of Latino people said they would definitely or probably take it, according to a survey-based study that underscores the challenge of getting vaccines to communities hit hard by the pandemic. The survey released Monday is one of the largest and most rigorous to date. Other recent studies have also pointed to vaccine hesitancy in communities of color, but Monday’s survey delved deeper into the reasons, polling respondents on a spectrum of questions to get at the roots of their distrust.
25th Nov 2020 - Washington Post

Germany Warns of Anti-Semitism Among Lockdown Protests

A German government official warned Tuesday that anti-Semitism is emerging as a common position among people protesting pandemic lockdown measures who otherwise come from widely differing political backgrounds. Felix Klein, who was appointed in 2018 to head the government's efforts to combat anti-Semitism, said that hatred against Jews in Germany has increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
24th Nov 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Number 10 used apocalyptic Covid-19 graphs to 'frighten' public into lockdown, top statistician

Sir David Spiegelhalter suggested the Government tried to 'manipulate' Britons. Cherry-picked 'worst-case scenarios' to 'instill a certain emotional reaction.' No10 lambasted for its apocalyptic graphs and spurious data shown to public
24th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

French shop owners pressure Macron to lighten virus lockdown

People in France may be able to go back to their favorite shops and attend religious services again next week, after a month of partial virus lockdown — but they’ll probably have to wait until next year to savor wine and cheese in a local cafe President Emmanuel Macron is expected to lay out new rules Tuesday in France’s virus strategy, after he imposed nationwide restrictions last month as virus infections, hospitalizations and deaths surged around Europe.
24th Nov 2020 - The Independent

Pizza bar worker 'deeply sorry' over South Australia coronavirus lockdown

A pizza bar worker whose alleged deception sent South Australia into coronavirus lockdown has expressed "extreme remorse" — but the man's lawyer says some of the information provided by authorities has been inaccurate and unfair. Last week, SA health authorities said the Spanish national told contact tracers he had only ordered a pizza from the Woodville Pizza Bar when in fact he had worked there.
24th Nov 2020 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Misinformation and fear could be coronavirus vaccine’s biggest problem

These are just some of the things Londoners said to me when I asked them if they’d take a Covid vaccine. Perhaps they’ve joined the small but vocal minority claiming that the vaccine is a plot to insert surveillance microchips into the population, or maybe, like many thousands more, they simply worry the development of the jab has been rushed. We will probably never know, but while it’s easy to dismiss as ridiculous some of the more extreme anti-vaccine sentiment out there — like anyone repeating the rumour spread by Russian bots that the vaccine will turn us into chimpanzees — the number of “vaccine hesitant” people is growing. Most of them are not cranks, just cautious — and, in a climate of fear and confusion, their trust in what they read in the papers or hear in government briefings is diminishing.
24th Nov 2020 - Evening Standard

In race for coronavirus vaccine, Russia turns to disinformation

When two COVID-19 vaccines were announced within a week of each other, everyone cheered that the end to the global pandemic was now in sight. Everyone, that is, except Russia. Since the summer, Moscow has conducted a global disinformation campaign aimed at both undermining vaccines produced in the West and promoting its own rival product, particularly to countries across the developing world, according to interviews with four national and European Union disinformation experts and a review of Kremlin-backed media outlets by POLITICO.
24th Nov 2020 - POLITICO.eu

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

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Anti-lockdown protestors burn masks in NYC following demonstrations in California

Anti-lockdown protestors on Sunday burned face masks as they marched through Manhattan following similar demonstrations in California, upstate New York and Minnesota. Skyrocketing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have prompted state and city officials around the United States to issue new lockdown guidance. As a result demonstrators gathered in Washington Square Park, New York City, on Sunday afternoon for the 'No Lockdown in NYC' event. They carried signs reading 'Stop Covid Tyranny', 'No More Lockdowns' and 'Medical Freedom Now'.
23rd Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid: Thirteen arrests at Liverpool anti-lockdown demo

Thirteen people have been arrested after an anti-lockdown protest in Liverpool on Saturday. Police originally held 15 people but said some had been "de-arrested and issued with fixed penalty notices". Hundreds of people have gathered for weekend rallies since the second national lockdown began on 5 November. At Saturday's protest, a 36-year-old man, from Kirkby, was held on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker after an officer was pushed in the chest.
23rd Nov 2020 - BBC News

German minister condemns lockdown protesters' Nazi victim comparisons

German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, on Sunday lashed out at anti-mask protesters comparing themselves to Nazi victims, accusing them of trivialising the Holocaust and “making a mockery” of the courage shown by resistance fighters. The harsh words came after a young woman took to the stage at a protest against coronavirus restrictions in Hanover on Saturday saying she felt “just like Sophie Scholl”, the German student executed by the Nazis in 1943 for her role in the resistance.
23rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Liberal MP breaks ranks with SA Government to label coronavirus lockdown an 'overreaction'

A country Liberal MP has lashed out at the South Australian Government over its handling of the latest coronavirus outbreak, saying the hard lockdown was an overreaction which "hung businesses out to dry". Backbencher Nick McBride, whose electoral district MacKillop includes parts of SA's south-east, said health authorities should not have "taken the word of one person" to impose a lockdown on the entire state.
23rd Nov 2020 - ABC News

New Zealand leader Ardern offers virus know-how to Joe Biden

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday became the latest world leader to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory, saying she offered to share her nation's expertise on dealing with the coronavirus. Ardern said the tone of the 20-minute phone call was warm and that Biden spoke very favorably about how New Zealand was handling the pandemic. “What has been really at the center of our response has been some fundamentals around testing, contact tracing, isolation,” Ardern said. “That’s over and above what we’ve done at our borders.”
23rd Nov 2020 - The Independent

New Zealand offers Biden tips on COVID-19 after successful response

New Zealand's prime minister said she has offered to help President-elect Joe Biden manage his response to the coronavirus pandemic once he is inaugurated. “I offered to him and his team access to New Zealand health officials in order to share their experience on things we’ve learnt on our COVID-19 journey,” Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, according to Reuters. New Zealand has garnered international praise for its response to the pandemic, with fewer than 100 current cases reported in the country as of this week. Ardern implemented strict nationwide lockdown measures twice this year, a decision public health experts credit with being instrumental to slowing the spread of the virus.
23rd Nov 2020 - The Hill

Majority of Croatians sceptical of coronavirus vaccine

A majority of Croatians do not plan on taking a vaccine to immunise against the coronavirus once it becomes available, a recent survey has found. According to the poll, which was conducted by the Valicon market research company and published by Croatian news agency RTL last week, 43 percent of respondents said they would definitely or would probably vaccinate, mostly citing responsibility towards others and that a higher rate of vaccination will limit infections as reasons. But 57 percent said they definitely would not or probably would not vaccinate, citing mistrust of the vaccine until it was proven to be safe, while a large number of respondents also said they feared there could be side effects. Others said they would not vaccinate because they believed they were not at risk, while a quarter of respondents said the virus constantly mutates and that vaccinating would not protect them. The survey gathering opinions from 523 people in Croatia comes as a global scientific race is under way to produce an effective vaccine for the coronavirus.
23rd Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English

UK aims to inoculate those most at risk from COVID by Easter - Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that he hoped almost all Britons at high risk from COVID would be vaccinated against the disease by Easter. “We should be able to inoculate, I believe on the evidence I’m seeing, the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter,” Johnson told a news conference.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters

Johnson says there will be no compulsory COVID vaccination

Britain’s government will not force people to have vaccinations against COVID-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday. “There will be no compulsory vaccination. That’s not the way we do things in this country,” Johnson told a news conference. “We think it (vaccination) is a good idea, and you know I totally reject the propaganda of the anti-vaxxers, they are wrong,” he said. “Everybody should get a vaccine as soon as it is available.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters

England to allow 4,000 fans at elite events in lowest-risk areas

Up to 4,000 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor elite sports events in the lowest-risk tier one areas of England when a month-long national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 is lifted on Dec. 2, the British government said on Monday.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

US nurses’ union warns of hospital stresses amid COVID-19 surge

Nurses from the profession’s largest union in the United States have warned of dire stresses on the healthcare system as the country sees a new surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations. In a news conference on Monday, members of the National Nurses United, which represents 170,000 registered nurses across the US, detailed harrowing accounts of hospital understaffing, a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and an inadequate response from local and federal authorities.
23rd Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English

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

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'People need mountains': Swiss ski resorts buck Alpine lockdowns

Blue skies over the Matterhorn drew skiers and snowboarders to Zermatt on Saturday, as well as police to break up crowds, as Switzerland’s modest coronavirus restrictions allowed near-normal operations while other Alpine resorts keep their lifts shut. France, Italy, Austria and Germany have all ordered even the high-altitude lifts that could be running this early in the winter to remain closed for now in the hope that all resorts can benefit at peak-season, if and when the infection rate slows. Switzerland, despite being a second-wave coronavirus hotspot with 5,000 infections a day and mounting deaths, is hoping that a middle way of social distancing, limits on gatherings and mask-wearing on lifts can prop up pillars of the economy such as tourism without fuelling the pandemic.
21st Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

South Australia to end lockdown early after pizza parlour blunder

South Australia’s six-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown will be cut short, officials said on Friday, blaming a pizza parlour worker who misled contact tracers about how he contracted the virus. Premier Steven Marshall indicated a tough lockdown for the state’s almost two million people would end late on Saturday, at least two days earlier than planned. Marshall said a man who claimed he was a customer at a pizza parlour hotspot – leading authorities to believe the strain was virulent enough to be transmitted via a takeaway box – in fact worked there. “One of the close contacts linked to the Woodville pizza bar deliberately misled our contact-tracing team,” said Marshall. “Their story didn’t add up. We pursued them. We now know that they lied.”
20th Nov 2020 - Times of Malta

Coronavirus vaccines: Will any countries get left out?

Early results indicate that at least two vaccines are highly effective, several others have reached late-stage trials, and many more are at some stage of development. None of these vaccines have been approved yet, but that hasn't stopped countries purchasing doses in advance. A key research centre in the US - Duke University in North Carolina - is trying to keep tabs on all the deals being done. It estimates that 6.4 billion doses of potential vaccines have already been bought, and another 3.2 billion are either under negotiation or reserved as "optional expansions of existing deals". The process of advance purchasing is well established in the pharmaceutical industry, as it can help to incentivise the development of products and fund trials, according to Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics.
20th Nov 2020 - BBC

Unions call for frontline UK workers to be prioritised for Covid vaccine

Unions have called for key frontline workers to be granted priority access to an approved Covid vaccine after they were omitted from the list of those who should receive it first. The unions, representing more than 1.8 million employees, say that by prioritising only the elderly and health and social care workers, the distribution plan fails to protect other key workers with increased risk of exposure. Gail Cartmail, assistant general secretary of Unite, said: “It is absolutely correct that social care staff and health workers receive the vaccine at an early stage so they are protected and are not at risk of inadvertently transmitting the virus.
20th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Doing the Touchy Math on Who Should Get a COVID Vaccine First

If the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics, as Galileo once declared, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought that truth home for the world's mathematicians, who have been galvanized by the rapid spread of the coronavirus. So far this year, they have been involved in everything from revealing how contagious the novel coronavirus is, how far we should stand from each other, how long an infected person might shed the virus, how a single strain spread from Europe to New York and then burst across America, and how to ‘'flatten the curve’' to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Modeling also helped persuade the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the virus can be airborne and transmitted by aerosols that stay aloft for hours.
20th Nov 2020 - Scientific American

Coronavirus vaccine may be coming, but many in Texas will have to wait

Officials are preparing for the massive undertaking of distributing a vaccine that may require multiple doses and subzero storage temperatures across a state that covers 270,000 square miles and some 170 rural counties.
20th Nov 2020 - The Texas Tribune

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

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COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Still Rampant In Some US Hot Spots

Signs posted at the entrance to the grocery store in northwest Montana told customers to wear a mask. Public health officials in Flathead County urged the same. Coronavirus infection rates here are among the highest in the state. Infection rates in the state are among the highest in the United States. And still, Craig Mann walked out of the grocery store, past the signs and toward his truck, maskless and resolute. The pandemic that everyone's talking about?
19th Nov 2020 - NPR

Northern authorities will 'not hesitate' to block anti-vax Covid-19 conspiracy theorists who could 'cost lives'

Councils across the north-east and Highlands have promised to police their public-facing online channels to avoid myths being spread and “threatening public safety”. The Grampian and Highland health boards have also urged responsible social media use during the pandemic, warning their comments sections will be monitored. Glasgow City Council hit out at the so-called ‘anti-vaxxers’ on Tuesday, promising to block those making “false and dangerous claims” which could “cost lives”. The P&J has sought assurances from northern authorities that similarly robust action would be taken to ensure key public health information can be distilled from the sea of coronavirus fearmongering online.
19th Nov 2020 - Press and Journal

COVID-19: Anti-lockdown militias on streets of Michigan as virus surges across US

On the first day of a new lockdown in Michigan hundreds of people ventured out to one of the only places still open for business - a COVID-19 testing site. People waited for up to four hours to be swabbed. Not all had symptoms, but all shared a weariness at spiralling infections and new lockdown measures in their state. There's a sense that America has been distracted. People, politicians and media alike all focused on a gripping national election. But while the world looked away the virus has surged.
19th Nov 2020 - Sky News

Was the scientific advice for lockdown flawed?

As coronavirus began spreading around the world at the start of 2020, in the UK there were weaknesses in the expert analysis of its likely impact, according to a BBC documentary. "There is going to be a lot of criticism of the scientists - because it's easy to have hindsight. "It's easy to say if only we'd done this a week earlier we'd have saved 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 lives. But if you look at where we were in February, would you really have made these decisions any differently? I don't think you would have." Those are the words of Prof Calum Semple of the University of Liverpool, one of the key scientists advising the government on Covid-19.
19th Nov 2020 - BBC

Brussels warns Hungary on Russian Covid jab

Brussels has warned that Hungary would risk undermining public confidence in coronavirus vaccinations should it bypass the EU medicines regulator and roll out the Russian jab Budapest plans to trial. The European Commission said on Thursday mass Covid-19 inoculation would become “much harder” if citizens began to question a vaccine because it had not been approved as safe and effective. The comments highlight tensions over Budapest’s decision to run clinical trials next month of the Russian Sputnik V drug, which has not yet been assessed by the European Medicines Agency. While the Brussels statement did not mention Hungary or Sputnik V by name, no other EU member state has announced plans for such a radical move outside the bloc-wide vaccination programme overseen by the commission.
19th Nov 2020 - Financial Times

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Nov 2020

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COVID-19: 'High priority' procurement for firms recommended by MPs and advisers

Companies recommended by MPs, peers and advisers were given priority to win government contracts as it scrambled to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, the public spending watchdog has found. A National Audit Office (NAO) investigation into pandemic procurement concludes that normal standards of transparency were waived as departments awarded 8,600 contracts worth £18bn to tackle COVID-19. Deals worth £10.5bn were granted without competitive tender.
18th Nov 2020 - Sky News

Police fire water cannon at anti-lockdown protesters in Germany

German police have deployed water cannon to disperse a mass anti-lockdown protest outside Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Scores of protestors gathered to oppose the government’s coronavirus restrictions as German MPs debated a bill to provide the legal underpinning for the government to issue social distancing rules, require masks in public and close stores and other venues. In scenes replicated across the continent and the world, those opposed to the measures took to the streets despite popular support for measures to quell the spread of the virus. Officers said the crowd refused to listen to their requests to wear masks and keep their distance from one another in line with regulations.
18th Nov 2020 - The Independent

German police fire water cannons at protesters as thousands gather in Berlin anti-lockdown rally

Thousands gathered at Brandenburg Gate to protest covid restrictions in Germany as case numbers rose. Police used water cannons to break up the huge crowds with some protesters throwing flares. Demonstration came as government debated a bill that would make mask wearing, social distancing and shop closures enforceable by law
18th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Conspiracy Video Goes Viral in Threat to France’s Vaccine Push

A documentary questioning the purpose of coronavirus vaccines has gone viral in France after endorsements from politicians and celebrities, some of whom later withdrew their support. “Hold Up” got more than 4 million views on Google’s YouTube and other platforms over a couple of days last week, helped along on social media by public figures including lawmakers, former First Lady Carla Bruni--Sarkozy and actor Sophie Marceau. Suspicions over the safety and effectiveness of vaccines are widespread in France. In a study released this week by the liberal think tank Fondation Jean-Jaures, 43% of respondents said they would refuse to get a shot -- 7 percentage points more than in the U.S., and twice as many as in the U.K.
18th Nov 2020 - Bloomberg Quint

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

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Germany eyes ban on anti-lockdown protest at parliament

German officials have cited security concerns in their decision to ban a series of protests planned Wednesday outside the federal parliament by people opposed to coronavirus lockdown measures. The unusual move comes amid fears that extremist groups could try to use a rally initially planned for Wednesday to attack the Bundestag, echoing an unsuccessful attempt to storm the parliament building during a similar demonstration in August. The Interior Ministry said Tuesday it had rejected 12 requests to hold rallies within a specially designated zone around parliament. Unlike elsewhere in Germany, protesters have to seek permission to stage demonstrations within the security perimeter surrounding certain federal buildings.
17th Nov 2020 - ABC

German officials ban anti-lockdown protest near parliament

German officials have cited security concerns in their decision to ban a series of protests planned Wednesday outside the federal parliament by people opposed to coronavirus lockdown measures. The unusual move comes amid fears that extremist groups could try to use a rally initially planned for Wednesday to attack the Bundestag, echoing an unsuccessful attempt to storm the parliament building during a similar demonstration in August. The Interior Ministry said Tuesday it had rejected 12 requests to hold rallies within a specially designated zone around parliament. Unlike elsewhere in Germany, protesters have to seek permission to stage demonstrations within the security perimeter surrounding certain federal buildings.
17th Nov 2020 - The Associated Press

Spanish cops raid Instagram influencers' anti-lockdown party at Marbella villa and evict 40 people

Cops called amid reports youngsters were flouting national covid restrictions Video shows mask-free influencers jumping into pool from roof of Marbella villa Spain's state of emergency limits public and private gatherings to six people
17th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

The government must admit its errors and reset the strategy – it is time to go for ‘Zero Covid’

‘Zero Covid’, which seeks to lock down cases rather than whole countries, has been used across East Asian and Pacific nations and has – to a large degree – succeeded in eliminating the virus
17th Nov 2020 - The Independent

Questions arise over dramatic increase in PPE costs paid by government during pandemic

This programme has seen exclusive evidence of the dramatic increase in the price of PPE being paid by the government when the pandemic crisis first hit in April and May.
17th Nov 2020 - Channel4.com

NIH head: Masks are 'lifesaving medical instrument' not 'invasion of your personal freedom'

The head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is urging the public to abide by safety guidelines and socially distance, saying that while recent results for COVID-19 vaccine candidates are "encouraging," people must take extra precautions for at least "a few more months." The comments from NIH director Francis Collins come as pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna recently announced that their vaccine candidates were shown to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing the coronavirus. Collins told Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour on Monday that he felt “extremely encouraged” by the results and said “we're pretty optimistic that we're on a good path.”
17th Nov 2020 - The Hill

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

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Covid-19 contracts smell of cronyism – so I'm taking the government to court

There is an England of my mind. And in it those who have made their fortunes offer their time and talents in service of the public good, modelling self-sacrifice and respect for good governance to ensure the nation thrives. But that England is no longer this England. Take the story of Kate Bingham. She is wife to a Treasury minister and cousin by marriage to Boris Johnson’s sister. Despite having – by her own admission – no vaccines experience, she was appointed by the prime minister, as far as we know without competition, to head up the “vaccines taskforce”. With this role came responsibility for investing billions of pounds of public money, a task she performed while remaining managing director of a private equity firm specialising in health investments. While in post she gave, again apparently without competition, a £670,000 contract to a tiny PR firm, whose last accounts show net assets of less than a third of that sum. Its directors include Collingwood Cameron, a longstanding business associate of Humphry Wakefield (better known as Dominic Cummings’ father-in-law).
16th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Trump's coronavirus advisor urges Michigan to 'rise up' against new COVID lockdown but insists he was NOT talking about violence

Dr Scott Atlas criticized the new coronavirus measures in Michigan yesterday The White House advisor told people 'you get what you accept' on social media Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she would not be bullied by the White House
16th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Germany postpones decision on further lockdown measures until next week

German federal and state leaders agreed to postpone until November 25 a decision on further lockdown measures to slow a second wave of coronavirus infections, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday. Merkel said a majority of state leaders did not want to see a tightening of restrictions before next week, but, she added: “I could have imagined imposing further contact restrictions today, but there was no majority for that.”
16th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Merkel forced to postpone plans to tighten lockdown rules

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

Anti-lockdown demonstrators clash with police in Italy and French Catholics demand right to worship

Protest organised by ultra-right Forza Nuova and the No Mask movement took place in Piazza Venezia, Rome. Demonstration saw protesters face off with riot police as they shouted and tried to barge through barricade. In France, several Catholic protests organised across country demanding the return of religious services
16th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

French Catholics protest for end to lockdown on Mass

With banners reading “Let us Pray” and “We Want Mass,” Catholic protesters held scattered demonstrations around France on Sunday to demand that authorities relax virus lockdown measures to allow religious services. In the western city of Nantes, hundreds gathered in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary, some kneeling on the rain-soaked pavement, according to local broadcaster France Bleu. Similar gatherings were reported or planned in the eastern city of Strasbourg, Bordeaux in the southwest, and outside the Saint-Louis Cathedral in Versailles.
16th Nov 2020 - ABC News

Biden says he ‘wouldn’t hesitate’ to get Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines

President-elect Joe Biden said he “wouldn’t hesitate to get the vaccine” during a press conference on Monday while demanding cooperation from President Donald Trump’s White House in coordinating Covid-19 recovery efforts. “I wouldn't hesitate to get the vaccine,” Mr Biden told reporters, saying: “If Fauci, Moderna and Pfizer conclude it's safe and able to be done.” He added: "The only reason people question the vaccine now is because of Donald Trump." The president-elect also said “it’s going to take a while … for the vaccine to get to people” while condemning the “irresponsible” behavior of the Trump administration not to comply with transitional recovery efforts.
16th Nov 2020 - The Independent

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

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Before Joe Biden's inauguration, 70,000 more people could die from COVID-19

Biden's coronavirus advisor, Dr Michael Osterholm, warned on Sunday that the health care system in US could collapse in next few weeks due to COVID surge Osterholm said that he fears people could even start dying in the waiting rooms 'I think it is the healthcare systems breaking that will unfortunately bring us to a sense of reality of what we must do in the short term,' Osterholm said. His remarks come as a new model suggests up to 150K more people could die of COVID-19s before president-elect Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021. Model shows skyrocketing infections could add more than 8 million cases
15th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

To shut down or not shut down? Officials implement new coronavirus restrictions as cases skyrocket, but face angry backlash.

With the coronavirus raging out of control and hospitals nearing capacity, state and local leaders are facing once more the gut-wrenching decision of whether to order shutdowns. But many are finding the call much harder to make this time — eight months after cities and states last implemented weeks-long shutdowns — amid angry backlashes, deeply polarized constituents and dire economic consequences.
14th Nov 2020 - The Washington Post

Communal worship ‘criminalised’ under lockdown, church leaders in England say

More than 100 Christian leaders have launched a legal challenge against the ban on communal worship in England under lockdown restrictions. They claim worship has been “criminalised” and the ban has “inflicted a terrible human cost” on congregations for whom collective worship is a core element of their religious life. The restrictions on public worship, they argue, breach article 9 of the European convention on human rights which protects the right to freedom of religion. The claim for judicial review by 122 church leaders from different traditions is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, an arm of the conservative evangelical organisation Christian Concern.
14th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Water cannon fired at Frankfurt anti-lockdown rally

German police fired water cannon during an anti-lockdown rally in Frankfurt on Saturday and eventually broke up the gathering as rules like wearing masks and socially distancing were not observed. About 600 people from the loosely organized Querdenker movement that opposes the government’s measures to halt the rise in coronavirus infections took to the streets in Frankfurt. Police used water cannon to free up the route of the rally, which was blocked several times by about 300 people protesting against the Querdenkers. A police spokesman said the rally was broken up after protesters repeatedly disregarded rules on wearing masks and keeping a distance from each other.
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

'Freedom Movement': Why people are still protesting despite the easing of lockdown rules

With a young woman twirling a hula hoop as her floral-clad friend beats on a drum, people could have been mistaken for thinking they were entering a climate change rally in the city on Melbourne Cup day. But if they walked a little further into the crowd, they would have seen men throwing Nazi salutes and people holding signs denying the existence of COVID-19. In the thick of the scrum, a middle-aged woman, wearing a fascinator and dress, bellowed her protest.
13th Nov 2020 - The Age

Germany’s protests against coronavirus restrictions are becoming increasingly radical

Around 9:30 on a quiet Sunday morning late last month, a crudely made explosive device went off with a small bang and a flash in central Berlin near the building of an association of German scientific institutes. A note found nearby demanded the end to coronavirus restrictions. Just a few hours earlier, molotov cocktails had been tossed at the front of the Robert Koch Institute, the German federal agency responsible for controlling the virus. The incidents come against the backdrop of a growing violent undercurrent at large-scale street demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions, including one attended by 20,000 people Saturday in Leipzig. The developments point to an increasingly radicalized movement of virus skeptics in Germany, embraced by the country’s far-right extremist groups and energized by global conspiracy theories, notably those put forth by the U.S.-born QAnon movement.
12th Nov 2020 - The Washington Post

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

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Coronavirus UK: Now 70 rebel Tory MPs oppose lockdown extension

Covid Recovery Group has formed to oppose a third national lockdown after current one ends in December. The group initially formed with 50 Tory MPs, but is said to have grown to 70, with 25 more considering joining. It comes amid fears Britons could face more confusion when current lockdown comes to an end in December. Government is now looking again at Tier system and treating regions together rather than cities individually. New tougher Tier 4 for some regions that struggle to manage infection rates has been mooted for weeks
12th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Germany’s protests against coronavirus restrictions are becoming increasingly radical

Around 9:30 on a quiet Sunday morning late last month, a crudely made explosive device went off with a small bang and a flash in central Berlin near the building of an association of German scientific institutes. A note found nearby demanded the end to coronavirus restrictions. Just a few hours earlier, molotov cocktails had been tossed at the front of the Robert Koch Institute, the German federal agency responsible for controlling the virus. The incidents come against the backdrop of a growing violent undercurrent at large-scale street demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions, including one attended by 20,000 people Saturday in Leipzig. The developments point to an increasingly radicalized movement of virus skeptics in Germany, embraced by the country’s far-right extremist groups and energized by global conspiracy theories, notably those put forth by the U.S.-born QAnon movement.
12th Nov 2020 - The Washington Post

New survey shows more than half the French flout Covid-19 lockdown rules

The Ifop survey confirmed that the French are taking the second nationwide shutdown far less seriously than the first in March-April. It showed that 60 percent had flouted the rules at least once, either by giving a false reason for going out on their self-signed permission slip or by meeting up with family and friends. The figure was far higher than during the first lockdown when the proportion of rule-breakers stood at under 40 percent during the first six weeks.
12th Nov 2020 - YAHOO!

Bolsonaro's clash with Sao Paulo governor over the Chinese vaccine tainted with politics

Brazil’s national health regulator allowed clinical trials of a Chinese-developed Covid-19 vaccine to resume on Wednesday, two days after suspending them in what critics called a decision tainted by politics. The regulatory agency, Anvisa, said it had now received more details on the nature of the adverse “incident” that led it to halt final stage trials of the CoronaVac vaccine, and had “sufficient information to allow vaccination to resume.” Public health officials had said the incident that led to the suspension – a volunteer recipient’s death, which police are investigating as a suicide – had no connection with the vaccine.
12th Nov 2020 - MercoPress

Anthony Fauci says working with Trump Administration on the coronavirus pandemic has been 'very stressful'

Dr Fauci, who has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, told 7.30's Leigh Sales working with the Trump administration on the coronavirus pandemic had "obviously been very stressful". "I mean, it's just, to deny that would be to deny reality," he said. "When you have public figures like [former Trump advisor Steve] Bannon calling for your beheading. That's really kind of unusual. "That's not the kind of thing you think about when you're going through medical school to become a physician."
12th Nov 2020 - ABC News

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

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Covid: Tory MPs form group to oppose future lockdowns

Conservative MPs have set up a group to fight any future lockdown in England, arguing it would be "devastating" for the economy and "cost lives". The Covid Recovery Group, which has around 50 MP members, wants the country to "live with" coronavirus after nationwide restrictions end next month. The "cure" prescribed by the government ran "the risk of being worse than the disease", MP Mark Harper said. But the PM has stressed the NHS faces a "medical disaster" without action. A further 20,412 coronavirus cases were reported in the UK on Tuesday, with another 532 deaths within 28 days of a positive test recorded.
11th Nov 2020 - BBC

Spain’s coronavirus deniers: ‘We are normal people, not freaks’

Clutching the tome, he claims that all the knowledge he has gathered over the years has helped him come to the following conclusion on the coronavirus pandemic: “It is a fake pandemic invented by the multinational chemical-pharmaceutical companies. This is because they are not only pharmaceutical companies, but large chemical corporations that also manufacture poisons. [...] These multinationals are dedicated to inventing diseases, to making them chronic and turning public health into a lucrative business.”
11th Nov 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Anti-lockdown MPs add to pressure on Boris Johnson

The Treasury’s top civil servant has agreed to consider releasing part of the advice by officials on the economics of England’s second lockdown, as the government’s preferred measure of deaths across the UK during the coronavirus pandemic rose above 50,000. While Tom Scholar, the Treasury’s permanent secretary, and Clare Lombardelli, its chief economist, denied there was “a separate forecast” of the impact of the second lockdown, as suggested in the minutes of the government’s scientific advice, they agreed on Wednesday to consult on whether the Treasury could release a selection of “ongoing” policy advice to ministers. The commitment came amid testy exchanges at the Treasury committee in the House of Commons in which MPs sought with difficulty to get Treasury officials to outline the thinking on the costs and benefits of the second lockdown.
11th Nov 2020 - The Financial Times

Senior Tories Join Rebel Group To Oppose Further National Lockdown

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face sustained pressure from within his own party not to extend the national lockdown next month after senior Tory backbenchers formed a group to resist any such move. Some 32 Conservatives rebelled against the government when the Commons approved the second lockdown for England which lasts until December 2. The prime minister said he expects the nation to return to a tiered local system by then and promised MPs a vote for the replacement to the four-week lockdown. Former chief whip Mark Harper and ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker will lead the "Covid recovery group" to resist any extension of the measure in the Commons vote.
11th Nov 2020 - London South East

Putting pressure on Johnson, UK Conservatives set up COVID group

Conservative lawmakers have set up a new group to fight what they call a cycle of lockdowns to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, yet another sign of discontent in British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s governing party. While most Conservatives backed the government last week in supporting a second lockdown in England to try to bring down rising cases of COVID-19, more than 30 of the party’s lawmakers broke ranks, seeing the measures as draconian. The new internal group, called the Covid Recovery Group, is the latest to be formed by Conservative lawmakers, part of wider efforts to apply pressure on a government which many feel is not listening to the party’s concerns.
11th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

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

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Dance teacher goes shopping dressed as a 'non-essential' ballerina to protest France's lockdown

Amandine Aguilar, ballet teacher from South West France danced in a store Filmed herself dancing to protest France's lockdown measures affecting the arts Her black tutu read 'I am "non-essential" to call out lack of help to culture sector Wrote on Facebook was 'depressed' after suffering several closures due to covid
10th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Fines issued over Manchester anti-lockdown demo

The organiser of an anti-lockdown demonstration attended by 600 people in Manchester has been fined £10,000. The protest in Piccadilly Gardens was condemned by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) as "irresponsible" after new Covid rules came into force. Police officers suffered minor injuries at Sunday's event, which included protesters who had travelled from Cumbria, said GMP. The force said the organiser ignored its pleas to call off the event.
10th Nov 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus: Hundreds protest against 'fake pandemic' in Madrid

Hundreds of anti-vaccine demonstrators took to Madrid's Prado promenade on Saturday hitting out against the "fake pandemic" and the restrictions imposed by the Spanish authorities in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19. It came after police in Spain last week made dozens of arrests during clashes with protestors for a second consecutive night as demonstrators took to the streets to denounce the new coronavirus restrictions.
10th Nov 2020 - Euronews

Lockdown is breeding resentment. Nigel Farage can see that – does the left?

Covid-19’s relentless immiseration of the British working poor was laid bare last week in a report released by the Office of National Statistics. Surveying the impact of the first lockdown, the ONS found that the biggest falls in pay and hours were at the bottom of the earnings scale. Young people and part-time workers were clobbered particularly badly. Two million employees earned less than the statutory minimum wage as a result of being furloughed. The revision, reduction and planned abandonment of furlough payments by Rishi Sunak – until last week’s U-turn – has contributed to an ever-rising toll of redundancies.
10th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

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

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UK vaccines taskforce chair to step down - FT

UK vaccines taskforce chair Kate Bingham is to step down from her post at the end of the year amid criticism that she spent 670,000 pounds ($881,000) on public relations consultants, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Bingham’s use of a private sector company to oversee communications for her task force has caused concern in the government, and on Monday, government officials said she was not expected to continue in the job into 2021, the newspaper reported. The FT said, citing a Sunday Times report, that Bingham had used eight full-time consultants from London PR agency Admiral Associates to oversee her media strategy, and has contracted them until the end of the year. Under Bingham’s vaccine taskforce, Britain has secured supply deals for more than 350 million doses of six different COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

PM Johnson says still too early to rely on COVID-19 vaccine

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain was ready to roll out a mass COVID-19 vaccination programme but it was too early to rely on a vaccine as a solution to the coronavirus pandemic. “I must stress that these are very, very early days, and we’ve talked for a long time, right about the distant bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the brow of the hill,” Johnson told a media conference after Pfizer said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective. “I can tell you that tonight that today that toot, that bugle is louder, but it’s still some way off. We absolutely cannot rely on this news, as a solution.”
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

UK expects to get 10 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine this year

Britain expects to have 10 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s candidate COVID-19 vaccine available by the end of the year, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said there were several hurdles to go after its positive clinical trial results.
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Vaccine hesitancy may undermine fight against COVID-19, UK report says

An 80% uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine may be needed to protect communities from the novel coronavirus, but volatile levels of misinformation and vaccine mistrust could undermine efforts to tackle the pandemic, British scientists said on Tuesday. A report by scientific institutions the British Academy and the Royal Society found that, in part due to circulating misinformation and behavioural factors, around 36% of people in Britain say they are either uncertain or very unlikely to agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It said an “open dialogue” is critical to building public support for COVID-19 vaccination, and called for a “frank conversation” to manage public expectations that life will not immediately get back to normal when vaccines arrive.
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid-19: Four arrested over Manchester anti-lockdown demo

The organiser of an anti-lockdown demonstration attended by 600 people in Manchester has been fined £10,000. The protest in Piccadilly Gardens was condemned by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) as "irresponsible" after new Covid rules came into force. Police officers suffered minor injuries at Sunday's event, which included protesters who had travelled from Cumbria, said GMP. The force said the organiser ignored its pleas to call off the event.
9th Nov 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus UK: Boris Johnson feels 'bounced into second lockdown'

Boris Johnson felt pushed into a second lockdown by misleading data, a Government source has suggested. It comes as some of the figures backing up strict new measures this month have started falling apart in the last week – particularly the 4,000 potential deaths a day warning. The early leak of the lockdown plans may also have escalated the situation, the source claimed. One Cabinet minister told the Daily Mail: ‘I think he is concerned that he may have been bounced into it.
9th Nov 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Trump tried to justify rising Covid cases by pointing to Europe. Experts say he's wrong.

For President Donald Trump, 2020 will be defined by his coronavirus response. And in recent weeks, he has sought to deflect the mountains of criticism he has received by pointing to the escalating Covid-19 outbreaks across Europe. "Our numbers are much better than Europe," the president said in September. He said during the final presidential debate last month that "it's all over the world — you see the spikes in Europe and many other places right now."
9th Nov 2020 - NBC News

Protests in Germany over national lockdown

Protests in Germany over national lockdown as thousands call for Merkel to quit Protests have erupted in Germany as thousands took to the streets all around the country on Saturday, November 7 after the country entered into a four-week partial lockdown on Monday. Bars, restaurants, gyms and theatres have all been closed, but schools remain open.
9th Nov 2020 - Euro Weekly News

Victoria's lockdown 'went too far, businesses have been crushed'

Melbourne restaurateur Chris Lucas says the Victorian government needs to be sensitive that the decision to lockdown the state went too far, crushed businesses, caused hundreds to lose their jobs and took away the futures of so many people. His comments come regarding the recent develops to Victoria’s reopening, with the 'ring of steel' surrounding the city coming down. Pubs, cafés and restaurants can now serve up to 40 people inside and 70 outside, with increases to 100 patrons indoors, and 200 outside expected from the 23rd of November. “The government needs to be a little bit sensitive about what is going on with regards to these re-opening plans,” Mr Lucas told Sky News host Peta Credlin.
9th Nov 2020 - Sky News Australia

Italy's national unity splinters in face of COVID-19 second wave

Italy won plaudits for its discipline and unity in fighting the Western world’s first coronavirus outbreak in the spring, but that sense of common purpose is unravelling in the face of the second wave. Despite a surge in infections and deaths, Italians who stoically accepted a blanket national lockdown in March are now less willing to respect far less rigid restrictions, egged on by local politicians at odds with the government in Rome.
9th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID-19: Biden pleads ‘wear a mask’ ahead of ‘very dark winter’

US President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation after meeting with his transition coronavirus advisory board on Monday, calling for unity and simple steps to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Biden said, “Please, I implore you, wear a mask” during the speech in Wilmington, Delaware. He noted masks could save the lives of older people, children and teachers and added: “It could even save your own life.” Biden became the projected winner of the US presidential election on Saturday, after Pennsylvania was called for the former vice president. Biden is currently projected to have 290 Electoral College votes, more than the 270 required for victory, according to The Associated Press news agency. Trump currently sits at 214, with Alaska and North Carolina still not called but favouring the president. Georgia too close to call and the small margin will trigger an automatic recount.
9th Nov 2020 - AlJazeera

Anti-lockdown protesters chant ‘take off your masks’ at 600-strong march

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Manchester city centre this afternoon amid chants of ‘take of your masks’. Around 600 people congregated in Piccadilly Gardens, not complying to social distancing and few wearing masks. Among them were a group of people who had travelled on a coach from Cumbria. Many of them carried placards, one of which read: ‘Fear is the currency of control.’ One speaker using a loud-hailer told the crowd: ‘Those 300-plus politicians that voted for the lockdown are treasonous.
8th Nov 2020 - Metro

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

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Violence breaks out at anti-mask march on first night of second lockdown

Almost 200 anti-lockdown protesters have been arrested as they marched through London on the first evening of tougher measures. Very few people wore face coverings as they joined the ‘Million Mask March’ – an annual event on November 5 which is anti-establishment and against Government corruption – in Trafalgar Square, London. People began to walk up the Strand just after 6pm, chanting ‘freedom’ and ‘no more lockdown’ and police urged them to go home. Many of them carried signs, one of which read: ‘No more lockdown, no more cover ups, no more masks, no more lies!’
8th Nov 2020 - Metro

British police arrest 104 Londoners for breach of lockdown restrictions

British police said they arrested 104 Londoners on Thursday for breach of coronavirus regulations, adding that they expected more arrests as policing operations continued into the night. People gathered in central London despite new restrictions that have been imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. “Tonight, a crowd of people chose to ignore the new regulations, to behave irresponsibly and meet in a dangerous manner. More than 100 of these people have now been arrested and will have to face the consequences of their actions”, the Metropolitan Police said.
8th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

UK's coronavirus vaccine taskforce chief faces questions over biotech fund

The head of the government’s vaccine taskforce faces fresh questions after it emerged she hailed the launch of a biotechnology investment fund in her capacity as managing director of a venture capital firm despite having “stepped away” from the role. Kate Bingham, a venture capitalist married to the Conservative minister Jesse Norman, came under scrutiny this week when Labour asked the cabinet secretary to “undertake an urgent and swift investigation” after it was claimed she showed US financiers government documents at a $200-a-head conference. She has garnered further attention after the Times reported that, although Bingham voluntarily declared that SV Health Investors “does not invest in companies related to work on the Covid-19 vaccine”, it has shareholdings in companies named Alchemab and Adimab, which have been involved in the race to develop antibody cocktails.
8th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Vaccine diplomacy and the US-China rivalry in Africa

Earlier this year, the China-United States global rivalry escalated, as both countries deployed their diplomatic arsenals to try to sway the competition for 5G contracts. The US managed to get the United Kingdom to rescind a deal with China’s Huawei to set up the country’s 5G network, which was seen as a major win for Washington. This rivalry extended into Africa, with both superpowers trying to recruit client African states to their side. The US has tried to put pressure on Kenya and South Africa, among other African countries, to reconsider Huawei’s involvement in the set-up of 5G systems. China, for its part, has put its weight behind the tech giant.
8th Nov 2020 - AlJazeera

Teachers are NOT more likely to get coronavirus than other key workers, official study finds

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal there is 'no difference' in risk Other key workers were those working outside the home for at least a day Trade unions have blasted the Government for keeping schools open
7th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid: London anti-lockdown protest leads to 190 arrests

Police arrested 190 protesters during anti-lockdown demonstrations in central London. Officers dispersed a large protest in Trafalgar Square at about 19:00 GMT on Thursday, with small pockets of protests continuing through the night. One person could face a £10,000 fine over their role in the demonstrations, the Met said. Scotland Yard said protesters had "put the health of London and our officers at risk". The Met said one of the people arrested could be handed a £10,000 fine, which can be given to organisers of large gatherings. The other 189 people are being investigated for breaching new Covid-19 regulations and could be issued with fixed penalty notices, the force added.
7th Nov 2020 - BBC

No10 admits mistake in coronavirus forecasts used to justify England's lockdown

Downing Street has admitted there were mistakes in coronavirus forecasts used by Boris Johnson to justify England's new lockdown. Alarming slides shown at the No10 press conference on Saturday by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance predicting Covid deaths could hit 1,400 a day by early December have now been revised downwards. The graph, based on forecasts by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, projected a top-end range of more than 1,400 deaths a day by December 8 - well above the first-wave peak of almost 1,000. But on Tuesday, the slide was quietly reissued with the top-end range revised down to just over 1,000 deaths a day. Another slide forecasting hospital admissions would reach nearly 9,000 at the top end has also been changed to just over 6,000 a day.
7th Nov 2020 - Mirror Online

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

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Covid: Regulator criticises data used to justify lockdown

The government has been criticised by the official statistics watchdog for the way it presented data to justify England's second lockdown. The UK Statistics Authority highlighted the use of modelling at Saturday's TV briefing showing the possible death toll from Covid this winter. It said there needed to be more transparency about data and how predictions were being made. The projections were out of date and over-estimated deaths, it has emerged. A forecast made by Public Health England and Cambridge University said the country could soon be seeing more than 4,000 deaths a day.
5th Nov 2020 - BBC

Here's why lockdown is Nigel Farage’s new target

All of this will strike many as pure opportunism. But while Farage is clearly preying on a perceived weak spot for Boris Johnson – who is increasingly having to face down restive backbenchers over the restrictions – it looks like he has been planning a “Reform” party for a long, long time. And to find out why we need to look to Canada. Back in late-1980s Canada, a radical-right outfit called the Reform party waged war on the traditional centre-right party, the Progressive Conservatives. The goal was to derail the socially liberal direction of the Conservatives, and push sweeping tax cuts, tougher law-and-order policies and more direct democracy through referendums, as well as opposing multiculturalism. Sound familiar? The party’s argument was framed around the need for reform of institutions such as Canada’s senate, much like Farage and Tice’s calls for the House of Lords.
5th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Minister blames public for second English lockdown

The second national lockdown in England has been caused in part by a lack of public compliance, the justice secretary has said, adding that it will be a “huge challenge” to get the public to follow the strict rules this time. Robert Buckland suggested the public had failed to adhere to the previous system, leading to the need for the four-week lockdown starting on Thursday in England. “That’s one of the reasons we are having to take the measures we are today,” the cabinet minister told the BBC. “Sadly, it’s been difficult frankly regarding the compliance of some people with regard to the quarantine restrictions. “I think it would be very ambitious of me to suggest that somehow we will be able to use the enforcement authorities to intervene in every case I think sadly that’s not possible.”
5th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Anger as Italy's new 'red zones' prepare for lockdown

taly's newly-designated coronavirus "red zones" braced Thursday for a fresh lockdown as anger rose against the government, accused of penalising some regions while being too lax towards others. At the Scala in Milan, gloom reigned after the prestigious opera house was forced to cancel its opening night next month, and non-essential shops served their last customers before a lockdown Friday set to affect over 16 million people.
5th Nov 2020 - The Peninsula

Muddled messaging fuels backlash against lockdown in France

When he announced a new coronavirus lockdown in France, President Emmanuel Macron said the government had learned lessons from the first wave. But a series of unforced errors from his government is making it a tough sell. Some 73 percent of French people say they find communications over the second lockdown incoherent, according to a YouGov poll published Wednesday. Only 29 percent said they trusted the government to handle the second wave. Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal announced on Tuesday a curfew in Paris that was contradicted within an hour by the prime minister’s office, among other communication blunders.
5th Nov 2020 - POLITICO.eu

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

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Tory-linked firm involved in testing failure given new £347m Covid contract

The UK government has awarded a new £347m Covid-19 testing contract to Randox, the Tory-linked private healthcare company whose testing kits had to be recalled over the summer because of concerns about contamination. The deal is a six-month extension of an existing contract and was agreed without other companies being invited to bid. It means the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has now approved transfers of nearly half a billion pounds in taxpayer funds to the Northern Ireland-based company since the pandemic began. Disclosed in a filing on a European contracts website, the award has prompted concerns about “cronyism” and calls for an independent inquiry into the £12bn spent so far on attempting to control the pandemic through the test-and-trace system.
4th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

England underestimates the costs of lockdown at its peril

Suppose there is nothing that governments can do to stop the spread of Covid-19. What then? It is not a hypothetical question, as England is discovering. “We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature,” the prime minister observed in Saturday’s Downing Street press conference. But humility learns from experience, and there was no sign of that in the measures he then went on to announce. In my opinion, the problem with lockdowns is that they are indiscriminate, ineffective in the long term, and carry social and economic costs that outweigh their likely benefits.
4th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Simply breathtaking: There was NO full report on the economic impact of new lockdown

Tory MPs led by Sir Graham Brady demanded release of Treasury's assessment But Robert Jenrick, Housing Secretary, admitted that no such document exists Prime Minister has since been accused of not taking a 'balanced' judgment
4th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

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

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Coronavirus: Michigan plotters attend multiple anti-lockdown protests

On April 30, outside the Michigan Capitol, protesters gathered to demand that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer end the business closures and other measures she had imposed to slow the transmission of the coronavirus. Speaker after speaker denounced the Democratic governor. One Republican congressional candidate told protesters that they were "the tip of the spear" in the fight against tyranny. An aspiring official said that by supporting conservative candidates they could "slap Gretchen Whitmer right across the face." In the crowd that day, according to photos and videos, were Adam Fox and at least five others who are now charged in the plot to kidnap Ms Whitmer or, in related cases, providing material support for a planned terrorist act.
3rd Nov 2020 - The Independent

Birx warns US entering ‘deadly phase’ of Covid, contradicting Trump’s message

White House scientific adviser Dr Deborah Birx warned the United States is entering a new “deadly phase” of the coronavirus pandemic, and urged an “aggressive” approach to containing its spread. Birx gave the warning in a written memo delivered to top administration officials Monday. It is a direct contradiction of one of Donald Trump’s central, and false, closing campaign messages – that the US is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic. “We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic,” Birx wrote in the memo, first reported by the Washington Post. She continued: “Cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30% of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic. Half of the United States is in the red or orange zone for cases despite flat or declining testing.”
3rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Top researchers say Britain's R rate has dropped to 1

King's College London said cases were now 'plateauing' and there was a 'slight fall' in infections across UK. Oxford's Carl Heneghan said told how coronavirus hospital admissions, cases and 'in effect' deaths in retreat. It comes as Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Chris Whitty face questions from MPs over the 4,000 deaths figure. Meanwhile Britain yesterday recorded its lowest number of daily coronavirus infections in fortnight - 18,950
3rd Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance defend their '4,000 deaths a day' dossier

Chief scientific and medical officers were hauled before MPs to defend SAGE's doomsday forecast today. Sir Patrick said he 'regrets' frightening people with the 4,000 deaths a day figure used to justify lockdown. Experts also admitted localised, three-tiered lockdown approach starting to take effect but not quick enough
3rd Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Spanish experts and authorities remain divided on home lockdown

The Asturias region believes the measure will ease the pressure on hospitals, but epidemiologists and the Health Ministry argue it is better to wait and assess the impact of the current coronavirus restrictions
3rd Nov 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

More than 400 people arrested at anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne

A policewoman was taken to hospital after she was injured when officers shut down a large anti-lockdown rally and arrested more than 400 protesters in Melbourne’s CBD. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Victorian parliament on Tuesday to oppose the state government’s strict Covid-19 lockdowns in Melbourne that were eased last week, holding up signs that read “Tell the Truth”, “Not Happy Dan”, “Masks Don’t Work” and “Corona Hoax 1984”. A Victoria police spokeswoman told Guardian Australia the force “was disappointed to arrest a large number of protestors who again showed disregard for the safety of the broader community and the directions of the chief health officer”.
3rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

UK's Johnson defends lockdown to avoid 'medical and moral disaster'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday defended a second COVID lockdown in England from critics who said it was unnecessary and others who said it was too late, arguing now was the time to prevent a “medical and moral disaster”. After rejecting calls last month for a new national lockdown, Johnson U-turned on Saturday, announcing new restrictions across England would begin at 0001 GMT on Thursday and last until Dec. 2. Britain, which has the highest official COVID-19 death toll in Europe, is grappling with more than 20,000 new cases a day. Scientists have warned a worst-case scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded this winter.
3rd Nov 2020 - Reuters

France ponders new Paris curfew as lockdown rebels frustrate government

France could reimpose a night curfew on Paris and possibly the surrounding region amid government frustration that too many people are ignoring lockdown rules as COVID-19 infections soar. France dramatically slowed the spread of the coronavirus in the spring with one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. But 10 months into the epidemic and with winter drawing in, many are reluctant to endure another period of confinement. “It’s unbearable for those who respect the rules to see other French people flouting them,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told BFM TV. “We need to take all the steps needed to fight the epidemic.” A final decision on a curfew had not been taken, the office of Prime Minister Jean Castex said. It will be discussed at a meeting between President Emmanuel Macron and senior cabinet ministers on Wednesday, a government source said.
3rd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

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

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Europe's COVID-19 curbs prompt pushback amid bleak countdown to Christmas

A wave of COVID-19 lockdowns and curbs has stirred resistance across Europe, with the right-wing British politician who helped force an EU referendum harnessing popular anger at a new lockdown by recasting his Brexit Party under a new banner.
2nd Nov 2020 - Reuters

Trump resorts to unfounded claim of Covid lockdown under Biden

In the final hours before election day, one of Donald Trump’s closing messages to Americans is an exaggerated threat: that a Joe Biden presidency will result in a national Covid-19 lockdown. Speaking in Iowa on Sunday, the president said the election was a “choice between a deadly Biden lockdown … or a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic”.
2nd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Trump Suggests He May Fire Fauci ‘After the Election’

President Donald Trump suggested to a Florida crowd he may fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after the election, escalating his feud with the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases and providing a window into a potential post-November 3 administration purge. Speaking after midnight following a full day of campaigning, the President was complaining about news media coverage of Covid-19 when the crowd broke out into a "Fire Fauci" chant.
2nd Nov 2020 - CNN

Trump criticizes lockdowns in Europe as Covid-19 cases surge on the continent and in US

President Donald Trump on Sunday harshly criticized strict lockdowns coming to some European countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic, claiming the restrictions are ineffective as cases surge both there and in the US. "Europe imposed draconian lockdowns and cases were surging and deaths were surging but think of it, draconian. Now they have to do it all over again. What the hell are they doing? I think I'll go over and explain it to them," Trump said at a rally in Michigan. "But they're locking down parts of Europe again." The President went on to claim that places with strict lockdowns are where "the people that do the worst" with fighting the pandemic are.
2nd Nov 2020 - CNN

Handful of businesses threaten to defy lockdown in England

Businesses including a beauty salon near Liverpool are vowing to remain open and defy England’s lockdown when it comes into force on Thursday. Companies face a £10,000 fine if they refuse to comply with restrictions ordering the closure of pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms and all non-essential retailers. Regulations setting out the new laws in England are due to be published on Tuesday before being put to a vote by MPs on Wednesday. If passed, as expected, the measures would come into effect at 12.01am on Thursday. While the vast majority of businesses are expected to comply with the rules, a small number have publicly vowed to flout them.
2nd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

As Europe's governments lose control of Covid, revolt is in the air

As the second wave of Covid-19 filled hospital wards across Europe last week, and countries inched reluctantly towards varying degrees of partial lockdown, television schedules were cleared to allow leaders to address weary nations. Announcing a 6pm curfew for the country’s restaurants and bars the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, called for national unity. “If we all respect these new rules during the month of November,” he said, “we will succeed in keeping the epidemiological curve under control. That way we will be able to ease the restrictions and move into the Christmas festivities with greater serenity.”
2nd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Violence continues as Spain rejects lockdown restrictions

Spanish police have clashed with protesters across the country for a second consecutive night as demonstrators took to the streets to protest the reimposition of restrictions on movement and activity as a result of soaring Covid infection rates. The biggest disturbances were in the capital Madrid where demonstrators chanted “freedom”, torched rubbish bins and set up makeshift barricades on the city’s main thoroughfare, the Gran Via. Police were attacked with stones and flares as they moved in to clear the gathering. The emergency services reported twelve people including three police officers were lightly injured in the clashes. Police said they made 32 arrests.
2nd Nov 2020 - The Times

Anti-lockdown protesters turn on the police in Spain and Italy

Anger about coronavirus restrictions has turned to violence in Spain and Italy, where demonstrators battled police and looted shops in several cities. In Spain the police clashed with protesters as violence flared in pockets after the reimposition of restrictions on movement and activity as a result of soaring infection rates.
2nd Nov 2020 - The Times

UK PM Johnson rejects criticism of moving too slowly with COVID lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday rejected criticism he had moved too slowly in introducing more stringent measures against COVID-19 across England, saying the lockdown was being put in place earlier than one in France. “I reject any suggestion that we are somehow slower in taking measures than our European friends and partners,” he said. “In fact we are moving to national measures when the rate both of deaths and infections for instance is lower than they were in France,” he told parliament, where he made the case for a new lockdown by saying the government had to avoid a “medical and moral disaster”.
2nd Nov 2020 - Reuters

British business warns of ‘devastating’ lockdown hit

UK companies have warned of hundreds of millions of pounds in lost business over the coming weeks as they scramble to assess the cost of the new lockdown in England. Associated British Foods said its Primark high-street fashion chain would lose £375m in sales after the government ordered all non-essential shops in England to close for at least four weeks from November 5, alongside similar measures elsewhere in Europe. Retailers warned over the weekend that the forced closure would be a “nightmare before Christmas”. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said the lockdown “will cause untold damage to the high street in the run-up to Christmas, cost countless jobs and permanently set back the recovery of the wider economy”.
2nd Nov 2020 - The Financial Times

Fresh lockdowns fuel angry protests as Covid-19 cases climb across Europe

Anger and exasperation over new coronavirus curbs grew Sunday as European nations wound back the clocks to the spring with fresh lockdowns and restrictions aimed at halting galloping infections and deaths. Protesters in several Spanish cities clashed with security forces for a second night running Saturday, police said, while England prepared for fresh stay-at-home orders, following in the steps of Austria, France and Ireland. European governments are desperate to stem the worrying spike in infections on the continent which has registered more than 279,000 deaths since the new coronavirus first emerged in China at the end of 2019.
2nd Nov 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

Lockdown vote: Tory rebellion brewing as Sir Graham Brady says he’ll oppose new Covid restrictions

Boris Johnson will attempt to stave off a Conservative rebellion over his national lockdown measures as senior MPs described the measures as a “form of evil”. MPs are set to debate and vote on the latest restrictions on Wednesday and the Government is expecting to face a rebellion from some Conservative MPs opposing the month-long lockdown. Several MPs have already confirmed they plan to vote against the Government and have demanded reassurance from Number 10 that the measures, if passed, will have a fixed end date.
2nd Nov 2020 - iNews

Australian court dismisses challenge to Melbourne lockdown curfew

An Australian court on Monday dismissed a challenge to a curfew that was imposed on the city of Melbourne to help curb the spread of COVID-19, ruling it was neither illegal nor irrational and did not violate the state’s human rights charter. The nightly curfew was initially imposed on Aug 5, running from 8 pm to 5 am, as part of one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns when the state’s daily infections peaked above 700 cases. The lockdown was relaxed last week, allowing shops and restaurants to reopen and lifting restrictions on leaving home.
2nd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Scientists urged government to close secondary schools – but were blocked by ministers

Scientists advising the government urged ministers to close secondary schools for the month-long lockdown in England, i understands. Shutting schools for older children was one of the measures scientists said would help bring R below 1 due to high infection rates among teens, along with closing pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops. But the proposal was blocked because keeping education open throughout the second lockdown is a red line for the Prime Minister.
1st Nov 2020 - iNews

In Italy, Like Everywhere the Virus Goes, It’s the Discontent That’s Contagious

When the coronavirus first hit Italy, overwhelming the country’s hospitals and prompting the West’s first lockdown, Italians inspired the world with their resilience and civic responsibility, staying home and singing on their balconies. Their reward for months of quarantine was a flattened curve, a gulp of normalcy and the satisfaction of usually patronizing allies pointing to Italy as a model. Italy is now a long way away from those balcony days and its summer fling with freedom. Instead, as a second wave of the virus engulfs Europe and triggers new nationwide lockdowns, Italy has become emblematic of a despair, exhaustion and fear that is spreading throughout the Continent.
1st Nov 2020 - The New York Times

UK's Nigel Farage set to relaunch Brexit Party as anti-lockdown party

Nigel Farage, the British politician who helped force a Brexit referendum and successfully campaigned to leave the European Union, will fight Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 lockdown by recasting his small Brexit Party as Reform UK. Cast by his supporters as the godfather of Brexit, Farage said Johnson had terrified the United Kingdom into submission over COVID-19 and squandered vast amounts of taxpayers’ money while holding out hopes of a “miraculous” vaccine. “What we’ve seen in this pandemic I think is a total failure of leadership at almost every level,” Brexit Party leader Farage told Talk Radio from Pennsylvania. “What about the millions of people out there running their own businesses? This second lockdown is the death knell economically for many of those people,” Farage said.
1st Nov 2020 - Reuters

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

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Brazil's Bolsonaro says fresh COVID lockdown measures are 'crazy'

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a longtime critic of stay-at-home measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, said on Thursday that it was “crazy” for countries to start locking down again to control second waves of the virus. Most Western countries and parts of Latin America have reported their highest single-day surges in the past few weeks. Many governments, with the notable exception of the United States, have started taking stronger measures to bring the spread of the virus under control.
1st Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

France faces lockdown resistance as small shops pay the price

The French government promised on Sunday to protect the nation’s beloved independent shops that fear losing their business to international giants, such as Amazon, as it sought to quell opposition to a new coronavirus lockdown. In common with other European nations suffering from an upsurge in the novel coronavirus, France has entered a second strict lockdown, which includes closing non-essential stores for at least 15 days.
1st Nov 2020 - Reuters

Florida parents sue school board over mandate that requires students to wear masks

A group of parents in Florida is suing the Sarasota County school board for requiring students to wear face masks, which are recommended by federal health officials to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The suit was filed last week in a Sarasota County court by parents Amy Cook, Gustavo Collazo, Nicholas Eastman, and Catherine Gonzales after the school board approved an emergency 90-day mask mandate that extends its policy through to the end of the year. The policy requires students attending in-person class to wear masks, with a few exceptions, for most of the school day, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
31st Oct 2020 - NBC News

Dominic Cummings should face prosecution for breaking lockdown, says former top prosecutor

Nazir Afzal submitted evidence to suggest Dominic Cummings may have lied. The evidence relates to the chief aide's controversial trip in April to Durham. Mr Afzal's dossier is based on new eyewitness claims said to be 'wholly inconsistent' with account that Mr Cummings gave when he admitted travelling
31st Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Victoria's coronavirus lockdown might be finally be over, but we are still deeply divided

It shouldn't be surprising that in the midst of a pandemic we still find ourselves mired in politics. I suppose the stakes are too high for us not to be: The hardship, the loss of life, the preventable deaths, the economic destruction, the psychological toll. But let's be blunt for a moment — Daniel Andrews plays a mean game of chicken. The Victorian Premier, with his health officials, has pursued a virus-reduction strategy that has put him in the political crosshairs for months.
31st Oct 2020 - ABC News

Three in four more worried about impact of lockdown than catching coronavirus, poll finds

Almost three in four people are more concerned about the impact of lockdown. The results come from a poll of 2,000 adults by the Recovery group. Recovery put forward its 'five reasonable demands' as they call for ministers to balance the need to tackle Covid with the impact its policies are having
31st Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Fact check: Will private insurance be required to cover a Covid vaccine if Obamacare is overturned?

On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced rules for insurers to cover the cost of administering a Covid-19 vaccine when one is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Yet on the campaign trail, former Vice President Joe Biden has been warning that if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, as the Trump administration is attempting to do, vaccines would not necessarily be covered by insurance, and that many people will have to pay for them out of pocket. "[O]verturning the ACA could mean that people have to pay to get Covid-19 vaccine once it's available," Biden said Wednesday. "That's right. The law that says insurers are required to cover vaccines for free is the Affordable Care Act."
31st Oct 2020 - CNN

Hungary to get coronavirus vaccine in winter, says Orbán

Hungary will get a first shipment of coronavirus vaccines in December or January, and will be able to "declare victory over the pandemic" by next spring, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said today. Orbán said Hungary was talking to China and Russia and could have access to two or three different vaccines by early next year, Reuters reported. As yet, there is no clinically proven vaccine against the coronavirus. Orbán said in a radio interview that there were enough hospital beds and ventilators to treat coronavirus patients and he believes "the key is to obey the existing rules ... and that masks must be worn.
30th Oct 2020 - POLITICO.eu

Trump’s Surgeon General Battles Rising Covid Vaccine Skepticism

A coronavirus vaccine may be available as soon as the end of the year, but that will “mean nothing if people don’t trust it,” says Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, a job known as the nation’s doctor. Many people don’t, and time is running short to convince them otherwise. Adams, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said he spends his days, nights and weekends racing to boost vaccine confidence. It is a daunting challenge, given that overcoming the pandemic hinges on vaccine use and the administration he works for has at times undermined confidence that a shot will be safe and effective.
30th Oct 2020 - Bloomberg

The long shadow of racism in medicine leaves Black Americans wary of a COVID-19 vaccine

As the coronavirus pandemic has progressed, and the need for a vaccine has become more urgent and apparent, the number of Americans who say they would take such a vaccine keeps falling. In particular, Black Americans — who have been among those hit hardest by the pandemic — are resistant to the idea. A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that only 27 percent of Black Americans and 46 percent of white Americans plan to get a coronavirus vaccine if and when one becomes available. The perceived politicization of the vaccine process and unprecedented pace of Operation Warp Speed has led to doubts nationwide. Until very recently, President Trump was predicting that a vaccine could arrive ahead of Election Day, Nov. 3, contradicting members of his own coronavirus task force, who have repeatedly given less optimistic time frames that have turned out to be more realistic.
30th Oct 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Simon Dolan: Coronavirus lockdown restrictions were unlawful, entrepreneur tells judges

A verdict on the legality of past lockdown rules is crucial as the government is pushed to impose further measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, senior judges have been told. Lawyers for Simon Dolan, an entrepreneur and former racing driver, told the Court of Appeal yesterday that another national lockdown “would seem to be the inevitable consequence if the most recent measures to try to reduce the infection rate fail to do so”. Mr Dolan is arguing in a judicial review that the UK’s lockdown rules were among “the most onerous restrictions to personal liberty” in almost four centuries.
30th Oct 2020 - The Times

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 30th Oct 2020

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US Election 2020: Trump slams lockdowns, Biden accuses him of insulting victims

President Donald Trump has urged states to shun lockdowns as his Democratic rival Joe Biden said the pandemic could not be stopped by "flipping a switch". Continuing a whirlwind schedule of rallies in battleground states, Mr Trump also mocked mask mandates. Mr Biden said Mr Trump's handling of America's worsening coronavirus crisis was an "insult" to its victims. The Democrat has a solid national lead over the Republican president six days before the 3 November election. But Mr Biden's advantage is narrower in the handful of US states that could vote either way and ultimately decide who wins the White House.
29th Oct 2020 - BBC

Pret founder says UK should not lock down to save few thousand people

The founder of Pret a Manger and Itsu has said society will “not recover” if the UK enters a second lockdown “for the sake of a few thousand lives of old and very vulnerable people”. Julian Metcalfe, whose fortune is estimated at £215m, said a lockdown would be “impossible”. He told the Daily Mail: “The young people of this country will be paying for this for the next 20 to 30 years. It's terrible what's happening. “Just because France does this with its socialist government, doesn't mean we have to.”
29th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Merkel heckled by German MPs as she defends second 'soft' Covid lockdown

Angela Merkel said Germans had the chance to show Covid-19 “you have chosen the wrong host” as she defended her government’s second “soft” lockdown, to shouts and heckles in parliament. Citing an interview with the German science writer Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim, which she said reflected her own attitude towards the pandemic, the chancellor said: “If the virus could think, it would think … ‘I’ve got the perfect host here. These people live all over the planet. They are globally networked and are social creatures, they can’t live without social contacts. They have a hedonistic inclination, they like to party, it couldn’t be any better.’”
29th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

As COVID-19 surges, European leaders impose new lockdowns and curfews. Trump does not

European leaders are ratcheting up pandemic restrictions as a second wave of COVID-19 cases batters Italy, Spain and other countries. French President Emmanuel Macron announced a full, nationwide lockdown starting Thursday and lasting until Dec. 1, though he said schools would remain open. In Germany, officials imposed a partial four-week lockdown Wednesday. “We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
29th Oct 2020 - USA TODAY

'Terrifying new response': US host's bizarre take on NZ's Covid strategy

A right-wing television host in the US has spread misinformation about New Zealand's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing an old clip of Jacinda Ardern and claiming the Government is "throwing people into quarantine camps". Laura Ingraham, host of Fox News' The Ingraham Angle, made the claims on her show yesterday, joining a growing number of right-wing pundits overseas who are casting New Zealand's response as a threat to freedom.
29th Oct 2020 - Otago Daily Times

Mexican president slams European coronavirus lockdown measures

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday blasted European countries for adopting strict lockdowns to stem the spread of coronavirus, suggesting they smacked of authoritarianism. Germany and France were on Wednesday preparing to announce restrictions approaching the level of spring’s blanket lockdowns as COVID deaths across Europe surged. National or local authorities have already imposed nighttime curfews in several European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic. Speaking at a regular news conference, Lopez Obrador voiced regret at the measures being taken in Europe and urged governments to show more faith in their populations.
28th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 29th Oct 2020

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White House lists ending Covid-19 pandemic as an accomplishment despite cases spiking to record levels

The White House included ending the coronavirus pandemic on a list of the Trump administration's science and technology accomplishments, despite nearly half a million Americans tested positive for Covid-19 in just the last week. A White House Office of Science and Technology Policy news release made the claim in announcing a document highlighting the administration's science and technology achievements over the past four years. "Highlights include: ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC," the news release sent to reporters read. "From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease."
28th Oct 2020 - CNN

Covid: Protests take place across Italy over anti-virus measures

Protests took place across Italy on Monday over new restrictions to curb the country's second wave of Covid. Clashes were reported in the northern cities such as Turin, where petrol bombs were thrown at officers. In Milan tear gas was used to disperse protesters, and thousands of people gathered in the centre of Naples. The demonstrations began soon after the national government's order to close restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas came into effect at 18:00 local time. Many regions have also imposed night-time curfews - including Lombardy, where Milan is, and Piedmont, where Turin is. The violence was blamed on extremist agitators and police said 28 people had been arrested in Milan alone.
28th Oct 2020 - BBC

Milan fights against new local coronavirus lockdown

As Italian businesses grapple with the sweeping new Covid-19 restrictions introduced by the central government, the country’s financial capital is fighting to avoid a local lockdown that some people fear will cripple its economy. Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region with a population of 1.3m and a host of high-profile companies, is one of Europe’s coronavirus hotspots. Since the pandemic, commuter and tourist numbers have plummeted — dropping more than 70 per cent this year — leaving retailers, restaurants, bars and hotels with losses nudging €10bn.
28th Oct 2020 - Financial Times

Instead of learning from South Korea’s coronavirus example, Trump is lying about it

Trump has been jealously maligning South Korea for months. He has claimed South Korean President Moon Jae-in called to praise his handling of the pandemic, gloated when its infection numbers went up and lied about how much more testing the United States has conducted. He seems bitter that people often point out that while both countries discovered their first covid-19 cases on the same day, today South Korea (population 52 million) has 25,836 total confirmed cases and 457 total deaths, compared with at least 8.7 million cases and at least 225,000 deaths in the United States. That translates to a proportional mortality rate that is 78 times smaller in South Korea than here. It’s obvious South Korea has done a lot right while we’ve done a lot wrong. But according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, there’s nothing to learn from Seoul — at least according to his totally inaccurate and stereotype-laden misrepresentation of South Korea’s response.
28th Oct 2020 - The Washington Post

Hoping for a lucky break in the pandemic could cost the US economy dearly

The latest coronavirus surge is upon us and it's looking more like a tsunami. With public health at risk and the economy hobbling along, we're going to be facing some painful decisions — again. Should governments shut down bars and restaurants? Should schools send kids home to learn remotely? Will some parts of the country have to, as Dr. Anthony Fauci has suggested, hold off on Thanksgiving? Our track record with these decisions is not great so far. The states hardest hit by the first wave made these decisions too slowly. The ones hit hardest by the second wave repeated the mistake, acting only after they had run out of other options, as local hospitals became overwhelmed and daily deaths set records.
28th Oct 2020 - CNN

In the UK, young, non-white people likelier to lose jobs: Survey

Twice as many young and non-white British workers have lost their jobs after going on furlough compared with the average, largely because they are more likely to work in sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, a study showed. The Resolution Foundation think-tank said 19 percent of workers aged 18-24 and 22 percent of ethnic minority staff had lost their jobs after being furloughed, compared with 9 percent of employees overall.
28th Oct 2020 - AlJazeera

Trump’s COVID-19 response angers former supporters

For months, Tony Green believed the conspiracy theories. The coronavirus was a hoax masterminded by the “mainstream media” and the Democratic Party to bring down United States President Donald Trump ahead of the presidential election, he thought. But then the 43-year-old from Dallas, Texas, got sick, as did 14 members of his extended family after he hosted a get-together in June. Two of his relatives, aged 52 and 69, later died from COVID-19.
28th Oct 2020 - AlJazeera

Coronavirus: Flares, grenades and tear gas thrown as Rome's anti-lockdown protests continue

Violence broke out in Rome as anti-lockdown protesters threw flares and flash grenades at police, who fought back with tear gas and water cannons. Supporters of the far-right party Forza Nuova (New Force) were largely among the crowd of a few hundred in Piazza del Popolo, one of Rome's famous landmarks. They were protesting against new COVID-19 restrictions, including a 6pm curfew for bars and restaurants and the closure of public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools.
27th Oct 2020 - Sky News

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

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Russian ambassador informs Greek health ministry about Russian coronavirus vaccine

Russian Ambassador to Greece Andrey Maslov has informed the Greek Health Ministry’s expert committee about the Russian vaccine against the novel coronavirus, a senior Greek health official told reporters late on Tuesday. "Today we had a meeting with the Russian ambassador here, at the Health Ministry. He told us about the hope for a Russian vaccine, developed by a major vaccine research institution. There is hope," said Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases Sotiris Tsiodras, who is in charge of Greece's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
28th Oct 2020 - TASS

Protests Erupt in Italy Over New Virus Lockdown Restrictions

Hundreds of demonstrators in several Italian cities protested new government coronavirus restrictions on Monday.
27th Oct 2020 - New York Times

Coronavirus: Lockdown protesters in Italy throw bottles and smoke bombs as stricter rules come in

Italy's government is facing a backlash against the latest measures put in place to tackle COVID-19. In the last 24 hours, thousands of protestors turned out in Italian cities and towns to object ...
27th Oct 2020 - Sky News

See the aftermath of violent anti-lockdown protests in Italy

Protesters have clashed with police in northern Italy, as demonstrations erupted across the country over government restrictions aimed at quelling a second wave of Covid-19. CNN's Ben Wedeman
27th Oct 2020 - CNN

Mafia stokes violent anti-lockdown protests in Italy

The Italian mafia are doing all they can to prevent coronavirus from harming their business — including orchestrating violence at anti-lockdown protests. According to Italian authorities, the mob planned and directed demonstrations in Naples that descended into violence and attacks on police on Friday. Similar protests have taken place across the country for the past four days, with bar and restaurant owners expressing concerns that tighter measures, brought in by the government to counter a surge in coronavirus cases in the country, will destroy their businesses. While the economic turmoil caused by the crisis has presented opportunities for the mafia to snap up stricken firms, curfews and lockdown restrictions are bad news, because increased police checks curtail the mob’s freedom to operate. Police estimate that with the closure of nightlife in Italy, the Camorra mafia’s drugs revenue will be hit by as much as 60 percent.
27th Oct 2020 - POLITICO.eu

Italy to unveil lockdown relief package as protests continue

The Italian government is preparing to unveil a funding package for businesses penalised by the latest coronavirus restrictions as it scrambles to quell growing unrest. The prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, is under pressure to act quickly after hundreds of people protested in towns and cities across the country on Monday night against measures that include the 6pm closure of bars and restaurants and the complete closure of gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theatres.
27th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Protests against new coronavirus measures in Italy turn violent

Protests against new restrictions designed to stem the coronavirus have broken out across Italy, with violence reported in Turin and Milan, in the country’s north. On Monday night, some protesters in Turin broke away from a peaceful demonstration, smashing shop windows, ransacking luxury shops, and clashing with police, who fired tear gas in return.
27th Oct 2020 - AlJazeera

Three Western states join California in screening any FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine

Washington, Oregon and Nevada will join California to independently review any coronavirus vaccine before distributing it to the public. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that the three states would identify their own public health experts to participate in the scientific review committee he announced last week, which was charged with ensuring that any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is safe and effective. California has also formed a second committee to develop guidelines for the ethical distribution of vaccines, Newsom said, addressing questions about who should receive the first doses and how to allocate potentially limited supplies.
27th Oct 2020 - San Francisco Chronicle

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

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Vice President Mike Pence's top aides test positive for COVID-19, but he continues to work

Mike Pence plans to preside over the Senate floor during a vote on Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation despite several of his top aides contracting COVID-19.
26th Oct 2020 - USA Today

Covid: Trump's chief of staff admits US cannot control pandemic

A senior aide to President Donald Trump has conceded that the US is "not going to control the pandemic". Instead White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Covid-19 could only be defeated by "mitigation areas" like vaccines and therapeutics. His remarks come as coronavirus cases surge in the US, nine days before the presidential election. Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden said the White House was waving "the white flag of defeat". He added that Mr Meadows' comments showed that the Trump administration had "given up on their basic duty to protect the American people". In an interview with CNN, Mr Meadows said control of the virus was not a realistic goal because "it is a contagious virus just like the flu".
26th Oct 2020 - BBC

Being Herded into Disaster in a Post-Science World

COVID-19 has caused more than 41 million confirmed cases and more than a million deaths worldwide, with more than 220,000 deaths in the US alone and more than 58,000 registered COVID-19 deaths in the UK so far. A second wave of transmission is sweeping across much of Europe and many parts of the world. In the UK, case numbers have been rising since early August, with more than 20,000 daily confirmed cases currently. These numbers are likely to be under-estimates, give our limited testing capacity and, according to the Office for National Statistics, we may be closer to 35,000 daily cases in England alone. Deaths have been rising since September with around a total of 2,600 deaths so far in the second wave, and 200 daily deaths currently. While case numbers may not seem to be rising as sharply in the south of England compared to the north, they are actually just lagging by three to four weeks.
26th Oct 2020 - Byline Times

Hancock added to anti-Muslim hate with distancing claims, says government adviser

The government has been criticised by its own Islamophobia adviser for refusing to publish the evidence behind Matt Hancock’s claim that people were “not abiding to social distancing” as he imposed a lockdown on 4.6 million people in northern England at the start of the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha. Qari Asim, the deputy chair of a government taskforce on anti-Muslim hatred, said the health secretary’s claim on Twitter added to “hateful narratives” and “gave the impression that Muslim communities were not social distancing and were ignoring the government guidelines”. Hancock made the remark in a late-night Twitter thread on 30 July, when Eid al-Adha started, announcing with three hours’ notice that strict restrictions would be imposed on Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Leicester from midnight.
26th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Arsonists throw petrol bombs at Germany's Robert Koch Institute

A window was destroyed and walls discoloured during Sunday's arson attack Berlin police are now investigating whether the attack was politically motivated The German capital has seen some angry protests against the lockdown rules
26th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Anger over Italy virus rules as curfews enforced around Europe

Anger was growing in Italy Monday over harsh new coronavirus restrictions brought in to "save Christmas", while other hard-hit countries enforced curfews in a bid to avoid fresh national lockdowns. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's decision to close restaurants and bars from 6:00 pm and shut all theatres, cinemas and gyms for a month was widely criticised, even as scientists questioned whether it would be enough to stop the virus. "These restrictions will be the end of us," said Giuseppe Tonon, 70, the owner of a restaurant in Oderzo, a small village in northeastern Italy.
26th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

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

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Police make arrests at anti-lockdown protest in central London

Police have made a series of arrests at an anti-lockdown protest as large crowds gathered in central London. Demonstrators made their way through the city with banners and placards, calling for “freedom” and an end to Covid-19 restrictions. Police were deployed outside Buckingham Palace as crowds of protesters gathered on the steps of the Queen Victoria memorial opposite the gates, before making their way to Trafalgar Square. Demonstrators called for an end to the “tyranny” of new rules amid the pandemic and voiced their opposition to vaccines. At least two people were led away in handcuffs by officers at Trafalgar Square.
25th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

Malaysia’s king rejects PM’s push for COVID emergency rule

Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah has rejected a request by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for him to declare a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis, saying he did not see the need. The king’s move on Sunday is a significant setback for Muhyiddin, who is facing a leadership challenge from opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and infighting within his governing coalition.
25th Oct 2020 - AlJazeera

To say there's no trade-off between health and the economy during lockdown is a convenient delusion

Something has happened in America’s coronavirus outbreak that is confounding the experts. Social distancing rules are weak, lockdowns have not been imposed, test and trace is no more effective than in the UK, but the epidemic is under control. Covid-19 is an unstable virus. On Thursday, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said that its natural reproduction number, or R, was “around three”. That is, every person who has the virus will infect three others. Left to its own devices, cases should double every five days. In the UK, R is now “somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 — about half the natural R, [which] reflects the huge efforts people have made”, he said.
24th Oct 2020 - The Times

Anti-lockdown protests: Three officers injured as 18 are arrested after clashes with police

Eighteen people have been arrested after protesters clashed with police at an anti-lockdown demonstration in London. Hundreds of campaigners marched to Parliament after bringing Oxford Street to a standstill. The Metropolitan Police said 18 arrests were made after officers took action to disperse crowds when "disruption" was caused on Westminster Bridge. Three officers sustained minor injuries after they clashed with campaigners at the Stop the New Normal protest, said the force.
25th Oct 2020 - Evening Standard

Covid-19: Arrests at London anti-lockdown protest

Eighteen people have been arrested at a protest in central London over coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Large crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace, where police were stationed, before moving on to Trafalgar Square. Some protesters carried placards calling for "freedom" and an end to the "tyranny" of Covid-19 restrictions. The Metropolitan Police said the crowds had been dispersed but urged people to continue social distancing.
25th Oct 2020 - BBC

Why lockdowns alone won't save us from the pandemic

The prospect of locking society down again the way we did in the first wave of COVID-19 — and the collateral damage that comes with it — is daunting. The financial devastation on businesses forced to close and lay off employees, the increase in mental health issues, the halting of elective medical procedures and the continuing risks to essential workers on the front lines all factor in. Keeping society functioning and supporting devastated sectors of the economy while limiting the spread of the coronavirus is key to navigating the pandemic until a safe and effective vaccine is here. But experts acknowledge there is growing resistance to some of the restrictions that highlights a need to manage the public mood as the pandemic rages on.
24th Oct 2020 - CBC.ca

Violent anti-lockdown protests lead to 16 arrests

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters have violently clashed with police in Melbourne resulting in the arrest of 16 people and 96 penalty notices. Under current restrictions, protests are not considered illegal, but gatherings of more than ten are. Protesters – many without masks – holding flagpoles and signs attacked mounted police officers and horses as tensions boiled over at the Shrine of Remembrance. After officers formed a ring of steel around the group, protestors reconvened in South Melbourne where they threw flares and struck a police van. Premier Daniel Andrews said the unsafe and unlawful protest was “shameful” because it was conducted at the Shrine of Remembrance.
24th Oct 2020 - Sky News Australia

Anti-lockdown protesters clash with police in Melbourne - officers use pepper spray

Anti-lockdown protests have broken out in Melbourne on Friday afternoon with hundreds attending. Police clashed with protesters and punches reportedly thrown at officers who deployed pepper spray. Melbourne has endured months of strict lockdown as COVID-19 case numbers brought under control
24th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Italy COVID cases hit new record, street protest in Naples over lockdown threat

Italy’s Campania region, based on the southern city of Naples, said on Friday it would impose a lockdown to tame the coronavirus and urged the whole country to follow suit as new infections hit a record high.
24th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Trump says pandemic will end soon after Biden blasts his handling of crisis

President Donald Trump promised supporters in Florida on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic would end soon and accused Democratic rival Joe Biden of overstating the health crisis to scare Americans into voting for him. The pandemic, which has killed more than 224,000 people in the United States and cost millions more their jobs, has become the dominant issue of the campaign, with Trump on the defensive over his administration’s handling of the crisis. Biden earlier in the day said Trump had given up on containing the virus and promised if he wins the Nov. 3 election he will ask Congress to pass a comprehensive COVID-19 bill that he would sign within the first 10 days of taking office.
23rd Oct 2020 - Reuters

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

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Covid-19 anti-vaxxers use century-old arguments

As we get closer to an effective vaccine for Covid-19, we should expect to see a renewed push of disinformation and vocal resistance from the anti-vaccination movement. Over the past year, seemingly endless conspiracy theories and misinformation campaigns have gained traction online amid rising Covid-19 infection rates worldwide. Looking at the history of these movements can help us understand why they can be so effective at capturing a popular following. As a historian of medicine, it has become clear from researching the history of vaccines that those who promote anti-vaccination consistently use a standard set of strategies. Although it can be hard to see patterns of argument in the modern context, looking back at a historical instance of epidemic and misinformation provides a useful case study for revealing today's recurring anti-vaccination strategies.
22nd Oct 2020 - CNN

Coronavirus: National lockdown 'not right course' for UK, says Prime Minister

Prime minister Boris Johnson has ruled out another national lockdown in the UK. Speaking at a Dowing Street press conference on Thursday (October 22), Mr Johnson said he did not believe it was the "right course now" for the country. He said: "Not when the psychological cost of lockdown is well known to us and the economic cost. "Not when it is being suggested that we might have to perform the same brutal lockdowns again and again in the months ahead. "And not when there is such an obvious variation unlike last time, between different parts of the country. That's why we are going for a middle course."
22nd Oct 2020 - Business Live

Outcry in India as Modi's ruling party offers 'free vaccines' in election manifesto

India’s ruling party has sparked an outcry by including a pledge to offer “free vaccines” in its election manifesto for a crucial upcoming state election. Senior figures from Narendra Modi’s BJP are campaigning hard in the populous eastern state of Bihar, where voting will begin in less than a week, and where a loss for the party would be seen as a damning indictment on its handling of the Covid-19 crisis. National finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman released the party’s manifesto for the state polls on Thursday in Patna, Bihar’s largest city, but was accused of politicising the central government’s response to the pandemic by making the vaccine pledge.
22nd Oct 2020 - The Independent on MSN.com

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

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Brazil's Bolsonaro rejects Chinese vaccine against COVID-19

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro overruled his own health minister on Wednesday, rejecting the announced purchase of 46 million doses of CoronaVac, a potential vaccine against COVID-19 being tested in Sao Paulo state. Health minister Eduardo Pazuello announced the purchase on Tuesday alongside Sao Paulo’s Gov. João Doria, a foe of Bolsonaro’s whose state government is participating in the vaccine’s development. The cost of the acquisition was estimated at 2 billion Brazilian reals ($360 million). “The Brazilian people will not be anyone’s guinea pig,” Bolsonaro said on his social media channels, adding that the shot made by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac is yet to finish its testing phase — which is true of all potential vaccines. “My decision is to not purchase such a vaccine.”
21st Oct 2020 - The Independent

A lockdown with insufficient financial support is the worst of both worlds

Greater Manchester will enter tier three, but without agreement on the extent of the region’s financial support package, while Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield will enter tier three on Saturday (24 October). Although the gap between the British government and Greater Manchester is small in cash terms at £5m – an essentially meaningless sum in the context of government spending – the difference is large because of what the two sides want to spend it on. Andy Burnham wants to be able to top up the furlough scheme to its current level of 80 per cent. The Conservative government, particularly the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, meanwhile, want to avoid having to resume the furlough scheme at a nationwide level.
21st Oct 2020 - New Statesman

Coronavirus: Sweden a land of biological brawling and Covid contrariness

Anders Tegnell, Sweden's chief epidemiologist, defended his country's coronavirus strategy in an interview with the New Statesman, telling the newspaper that Sweden did not pursue "herd immunity" and "definitely had a virtual lockdown" — despite looser restrictions than most countries. Why it matters: Sweden's more relaxed approach to the pandemic compared to other industrialized countries has been a source of controversy, with many libertarians and conservatives, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), arguing that the U.S. should have pursued a similar strategy.
19th Oct 2020 - Axios

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

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NIH chief: Trump has not met with White House COVID-19 task force in 'quite some time'

NIH Director Francis Collins told NPR's "Morning Edition" that Trump instead gets his information from Vice President Pence and task force member Scott Atlas, neither of whom are infectious disease experts. "I think the president primarily is getting his information from the vice president, from Dr. Atlas," Collins said. Obviously, it's a bit of a chaotic time with the election. ... There's not a direct connection between the task force members and the president as there was a few months ago, but this seems to be a different time with different priorities."
20th Oct 2020 - The Hill

Billionaire horse racing identity funding Victorian lockdown legal challenge

Billionaire businessman and horse racing identity Jonathan Munz is financing the High Court challenge against the Victorian government's COVID-19 lockdown. A source close to the case has confirmed Mr Munz is a financier of the legal action and is expected to pour more than $1 million into the case. The High Court, which convened via videolink in Brisbane on Tuesday, will hear the case within weeks. It has set aside November 6 for the case, and November 9 if needed. Mr Munz, who did not respond to requests for comment, has an estimated fortune of $1.58 billion, according to the most recent Australian Financial Review rich list.
20th Oct 2020 - The Sydney Morning Herald

The Government Tightening Its Belt with the North will Keep Us All in this COVID Chaos

Spurred by well-funded lockdown sceptics, there has been a bizarre rhetorical separation – in the UK at least – between saving lives and protecting the economy. Boris Johnson has rejected a second, nationwide lockdown, contrary to the advice of SAGE, as he says it would be “disastrous” for the economy. But there is no prospect of an economic revival until the virus has been suppressed and no evidence that this can be achieved without locking down, reducing cases to a manageable level, and implementing an effective test, trace and isolate regime. The alternative is a zombie economy; stubbornly avoiding death, yet with no prospect of ever being fully alive and healthy. Stopping the virus will save the economy; and saving the economy will stop the virus. Perhaps the Cabinet should turn this into a morning chant, to restore some financial generosity to some of its tight-fisted members.
19th Oct 2020 - Byline Times

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

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Fauci says he is 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got Covid-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he is "absolutely not" surprised President Donald Trump contracted Covid-19 after seeing him surrounded by people not wearing face masks and flouting best public health practices. Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said during an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday, "I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded -- no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask." "When I saw that on TV, I said, 'Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come out of that, that's got to be a problem,'" he continued. "And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event."
19th Oct 2020 - CNN

Anti-lockdown advocate appears on radio show that has featured Holocaust deniers

Dr Martin Kulldorff of Harvard medical school appeared on the Richie Allen Show on 6 October to discuss the letter, described as the Great Barrington declaration, after the Massachusetts town where it was drawn up. Kulldorff said he agreed to go on the programme because it was important to reach all segments of the population with public health messages. The show was described as an “online platform for antisemitic conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers” by Hope not Hate, an organisation that monitors extremist groups. The controversial proposal was published by a right-leaning American thinktank, the American Institute for Economic Research. It was drawn up by three researchers – Dr Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University, Dr Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, and Kulldorff – and has garnered thousands of signatures from health professionals. However, on 9 October, Sky News revealed that many of the “medical” signatories of the open letter were homeopaths, therapists or used obviously fake names, such as Dr Johnny Bananas and Dr Person Fakename, leading to accusations that the total number exaggerated the scale of scientific support.
19th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Leeds anti-lockdown protest sees hundreds demonstrate against Covid restrictions

More than 200 people gathered in Millennium Square to protest against what they perceive to be unfair coronavirus regulations. Leeds now sits in Tier 2 of the government's lockdown strategy as cases continue to rise and the UK death toll from Covid-19 approaches 45,000 since March. Despite repeated warnings from government scientists about the necessity to maintain social distancing and wear masks, spectators in Leeds packed tightly together in crowds from midday on Sunday, October 18. Activists urged those assembled to "say no to the new normal", while spectators hung cardboard signs around their necks saying "no masks, no vaccine, no lockdown" during the demonstration.
19th Oct 2020 - Leeds Live

Bar owners in Holland become the latest to go to court to fight covid laws

Dutch caterers say the closures will cause 'incalculable' damage to their industry At least 30 businesses have launched a lawsuit to get two-week closure blocked Berlin bar curfews were blocked while Madrid region has battled Spanish leaders
19th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Vince Cable: Circuit-breaker idea is crude, lazy and defies common sense

Until last week, I had thought Sir Keir Starmer was doing a great job pulling Labour out of the swamp into which Jeremy Corbyn had sunk it. But I fear that he may live to regret his recent call for a new national lockdown. To be sure, the Opposition has much to criticise in the Government’s shambolic handling of the pandemic and in ministers’ contradictory messaging. Siding with the scientists calling for a full national lockdown, when the Government was ignoring their advice, must have seemed like an open goal for the Labour leader. But a ‘circuit-breaker’, which would see almost the whole country once again confined to our homes, a measure the Prime Minister has yet to rule out, would defy common sense.
19th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Andrews 'terrorised people' with draconian lockdown and 'deserves to go'

Sky News host Peter Gleeson says Daniel Andrews is a terrible leader who “failed miserably” and deserves to go, while Gladys Berejiklian simply made a bad choice of partner but has handled COVID superbly and deserves to stay. “What as a nation have we become when the politician in this country under the most pressure is a woman who made a bad decision on who she jumped into bed with?” Mr Gleeson said. “Show me the criminality in what Berejiklian did? Show me the corruption in what Gladys Berejiklian is? Show me the smoking gun that gives her no choice but to resign?
19th Oct 2020 - Sky News Australia

Victoria's lockdown is 'holding back the national economy'

The Australian’s Political Editor Dennis Shanahan says the continual shutdown of small businesses in Victoria is “holding back the national economy”. “Business (in Victoria) is saying we need to get out, we’re losing too many jobs,” Mr Shanahan said. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Monday accused Daniel Andrews of a callous disregard for jobs and people keeping their jobs. “It’s really entering a hard political area,” Mr Shanahan told Sky News host Peta Credlin.
19th Oct 2020 - Sky News Australia

New Zealand journalist feted for brutal takedown of minor party politician

A New Zealand journalist is being praised around the world for her determined effort to shut down the spread of Covid-19 conspiracy theories during an interview with a minor party politician. Newshub’s political editor, Tova O’Brien, interviewed the leader of the Advance New Zealand party, Jami-Lee Ross. The party failed to secure enough votes in Saturday’s general election to enter parliament, after peddling rumours and misinformation on social media about the coronavirus. At one stage during the interview O’Brien held up her hand as Ross was talking about the mortality rate of Covid-19 compared to the flu, telling him she would not allow him to spread lies on her programme.
19th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Brit anti-maskers celebrate as they board plane without face coverings

A group of anti-lockdown protestors refused to wear masks while flying back from a meeting with fellow sceptics in Germany. The group celebrated their ‘victory’ over airport staff by sharing pictures of themselves grinning with their faces uncovered on the plane. One member of the group said they all had ‘medical exemptions’ but didn’t provide any more information. Other passengers said they were ‘fake coughing’ and ‘acting like spoilt brats’ during the altercation.
18th Oct 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Anti-lockdown protester who refused to wear a mask on flight 'surprised' by social media backlash

An anti-lockdown protester who refused to wear a mask on a flight today said she was “surprised” by the barrage of online criticism she has suffered after her “cheeky” maskless selfie went viral. Charisse Burchett was among a group of ten Britons who claimed to be medically exempt from mask wearing while flying back to Heathrow following a meeting of Covid-19 deniers in Berlin, Germany. Sharing the photograph of three women beaming into the camera on Twitter, Ms Burchett wrote: “We had a 10 Brit maskless stand-off at Berlin airport.....police and authorities could not make us wear masks.
18th Oct 2020 - Evening Standard

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Oct 2020

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Handling of Covid-19 increases ‘red wall’ voters’ complaints of government

Furious talk of the “north/south divide” surfaced again and again when I interviewed voters for my new book, Beyond the Red Wall. Resentment is long-standing and reflected in recent polling by BritainThinks: 64% of people in the north-east, 68% in Yorkshire and 70% in the north-west believe that “other areas get more resource than mine” while only 32% of people in London and the south-east do. One “red waller” told me: “The north-west generates money and it all goes down to London. We create it, we need it, but they get it.” Another explained: “You could draw a line right across the middle of Britain – the bottom half is the haves and the top half is the have-nots.”
18th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Imposing Coronavirus Lockdown Unconstitutional, Says Donald Trump

Defending holding public events during the coronavirus pandemic, US President Donald Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19 early this month, has said that as a president he cannot remain locked in a basement and he has to meet people despite the risks. Trump, responding to a question at a townhall organised by the NBC News, also defended not wearing a mask as much as his own administration's public health experts recommend and said that lockdowns imposed by various states across the country to curb the coronavirus cases were "unconstitutional". He said he is not averse to wearing a mask, but people with masks are catching it all the time. As a president, I have to be out there. I can't be in a basement. I can't be locked in a very beautiful room someplace in the White House. And I want to see the gold star families, and I want to see everybody. And I also say to people all the time, it's risky doing it. It is risky doing it, Trump said.
18th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

Business owners slam Dan Andrews over crippling coronavirus lockdown

Victoria reported two new coronavirus cases and zero deaths overnight Premier Daniel Andrews announced number of changes to Melbourne lockdown But small business owners feel like they were 'forgotten' in the new changes Hospitality and retail businesses likely won't open until November 1, he said The five kilometre travel restriction has been extended to 25 kilometres
18th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

High Court challenge to lockdown could be heard as soon as November

A constitutional challenge to the validity of Victoria's COVID-19 lockdown rules could be heard in the High Court as soon as November. Prominent hospitality figure Julian Gerner filed a case this week which argues a section of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act – conferring emergency powers to allow the restriction of movement – is invalid due to the implied freedom of movement in the Constitution.
18th Oct 2020 - The Age

Anti-lockdowners protest as London COVID alert level is raised

Anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered in central London on Saturday, hours after the British capital moved to the second highest COVID-19 alert level. As a second wave of infections gathers pace, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has stepped up local restrictions in parts of England where cases are surging - hoping to shield the economy by allowing the least-affected regions to remain open. As of midnight, London was moved up to the “tier 2” or “high-risk” level. This bans people from meeting anybody outside their household or “support bubble” - including friends or relatives who help to care for children - in any indoor setting.
18th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Fauci admits administration has restricted his media appearances, says he's not surprised Trump got COVID

In a wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci expresses his frustration with a Trump campaign ad; explains why, early in the pandemic, masks were largely recommended for health care workers; and says whether he plans to vote in person.
18th Oct 2020 - CBS News

Riot Police in Barcelona Bought in to Control Hoteliers Protesting over Lockdown Measures

Tensions rose in the protest held by the Catalan hoteliers this morning in Barcelona. They threw a ‘large quantity’ of eggs at the headquarters of the Generalitat and riot police were called in to contain them. They believe that the closures that begin today due to coronavirus outbreaks are disproportionate and that they are ‘not the problem.’ The demonstration, in the Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona, was held by restaurateurs and merchants to protest against the closures recently decreed by the Catalan government and the restrictions due to coronavirus. Others protestors, with whistles and horns, decided to march along Via Laietana, one of the main arteries of the capital, causing a certain amount of traffic chaos.
16th Oct 2020 - Euro Weekly News

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

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How the White House's Herd Immunity Strategy Would Destroy the US Economy

This week, the White House embraced the Great Barrington declaration calling for a herd immunity strategy that would allow COVID-19 to spread among healthy young people while shielding the elderly and vulnerable. But the scientific evidence shows that the approach could not only lead to nearly 3 million American deaths but would create significant deaths among healthy young people while generating unprecedented economic shocks.
15th Oct 2020 - Byline Times

Donald Trump insists US will not lockdown again as death toll approaches 217,000

Donald Trump insists America will not lockdown again - despite cases soaring across the country. The president does not have the power to stop individual states going into lockdown if they wish to do so to control cases. The US on Wednesday reported more than 59,000 new infections as its death toll approached 217,000. The spike has been driven by a resurgence of infections in the Midwest and other areas of the country. “We’re not doing any more,” he said on Fox, when asked about the prospect of says of regional shutdowns. Trump continues to trail his challenger Joe Biden by as much as 17 points in the national polls.
15th Oct 2020 - Daily Mirror

Stronger political alliances are forming in northern England as local lockdown anger grows

As COVID-19 cases have risen sharply in large parts of the north of England, local leaders have united to challenge government policy. Representatives from across the north have come together questioning the government’s decision to impose local lockdowns in their region. They have particularly criticised central government for failing to provide enough funding to cope with the economic impacts of lockdown and the lack of financial support for people unable to work.
15th Oct 2020 - The Conversation UK

French police search politicians' homes in coronavirus inquiry

French police have searched the homes and offices of French officials including the former prime minister as part of an investigation into the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Current and former ministers have been targeted by at least 90 formal legal complaints from civic groups and members of the public over their response to the health emergency. Investigators targeted the home of former PM Édouard Philippe on Thursday as well as the current health minister, Olivier Véran, the former health minister Agnès Buzyn, the former government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye and the head of France’s health authority, Jérôme Salomon. Salomon became known as Monsieur Covid for his daily health briefings at the height of the epidemic in March and April.
15th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: French police raid ministers' homes in pandemic inquiry

French police have raided the homes of senior government and health officials as part of an investigation into their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Health Minister Olivier Véran and the director of the national health agency, Jérôme Salomon, are among those whose properties were searched on Thursday. The raids came after a court launched an inquiry earlier this year into the government's handling of the pandemic. It has faced criticism over shortages of equipment and slow response times. Prime Minister Jean Castex is also under investigation, French media report, as is his predecessor Edouard Philippe and Mr Véran's predecessor Agnès Buzyn.
15th Oct 2020 - bbc.co.uk

Victoria records six coronavirus cases no deaths as a former staffer who quit lifts lid on lockdown

Victoria recorded just six new coronavirus cases and no deaths on Thursday Pressure mounting to end strict lockdown as residents are desperate to get out Health authorities said 14-day average must be at five for restrictions to ease Sanjeev Sabhlok resigned from Victorian Treasury department in September He has rallied online against Melbourne's draconian COVID-19 lockdowns He said Premier Daniel Andrews was 'whimsy' and warned him to resign
15th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Trump Overstates W.H.O. Position on Lockdowns

This week, President Trump exaggerated a position taken by the World Health Organization, saying that the agency had vindicated his derision of lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic. “The World Health Organization just admitted that I was right,” the president tweeted. “Lockdowns are killing countries all over the world. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.” Mr. Trump’s message was rapidly shared by thousands online, including the commentator Lou Dobbs and Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, who echoed the president’s rallying cry to “open up” and described the closings as “pseudoscientific” and “tyrannical.” Since the early days of the pandemic, the president has dismissed lockdowns as unnecessary and harmful, even while the virus continued to blaze across the nation.
15th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

Coronavirus: We're arguing over lockdown versus herd immunity when it's the UK's test, trace and isolate regime that's failing

If you are depressed by the prospect of a winter of lockdown limbo, you might be even more depressed to consider that it could have been avoided altogether. Not by having a “circuit break” now or a four-tier traffic light system. Not through harsher penalties for those flouting self-isolation rules. Not even by just “letting the virus rip” through the population while we “shield the vulnerable” indoors, as was last week advocated by the scientifically dubious “Great Barrington Declaration”.
15th Oct 2020 - heraldscotland.com

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

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White House embraces a declaration from scientists that opposes lockdowns and relies on ‘herd immunity.’

On a call convened Monday by the White House, two senior administration officials, both speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to give their names, cited an October 4 petition titled The Great Barrington Declaration, which argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of businesses and schools. “Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states, adding, “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”
15th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

Anti-lockdown campaigner part of fresh legal challenge to COVID-19 restrictions

In Australia, an anti-lockdown campaigner who was arrested last month over a reposting on social media of a planned mass gathering is part of another challenge to the legal basis of Victoria's coronavirus pandemic restrictions. A Supreme Court writ filed on Wednesday afternoon lists as plaintiffs Kerry Cotterill and Tony Pecora and, as defendants, the state's most senior health department bureaucrats, Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton and Deputy Public Health Commander Finn Romanes. The challenge is at least the 11th case brought before the courts over the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria, and argues that the Chief Health Officer's stay-at-home orders burdens individuals' freedom of political communication implied in Australia's Constitution.
14th Oct 2020 - The Age

It is clear lockdowns are 'catastrophic disasters'

The Herald Sun Business Columnist Terry McCrann says it is clear travel bans made sense at the beginning of coronavirus until people got a sense of what was happening, but now it is clear lockdowns are “catastrophic disasters”. “This characterization that it’s lives versus money … that people who argue against lockdowns are promoting money over lives is now showing to be conclusively wrong,” Mr McCrann told Sky News host Peta Credlin.
14th Oct 2020 - Sky News Australia

Andrews government could be 'liable for lockdown' under 'manslaughter laws'

In Australia, the Andrews government’s taxpayer funded inquiry into the bungled hotel quarantine program has blown out to nearly $6 million. In some cases, it is estimated per day $30,000 is spent on each minister, department and official. Rule of Law Institute of Australia vice-president Chris Merritt said on top of the expense, there was a big issue regarding “whether the lockdowns were declared for an improper purpose”. “If they were, they’re unlawful". Mr Merritt said if the government locked down the state because it knew it was unable to implement an effective contact tracing system, then there could be major legal issues.
14th Oct 2020 - Sky News Australia

'We've Got Someone Who Obviously Got An Education In America': New Zealand Deputy PM Roasts Covid Denier

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters swiftly shut down a man asking him whether Covid-19 was a real threat during a campaign event. The questioner began making a lengthy speech related to Covid-19 during a New Zealand First rally organized by Peters, who is the head of the political party and acts as deputy prime minister via a coalition government with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party. “Where’s your evidence that there is a virus that causes the disease?” the man asked. “We’ve got someone who obviously got an education in America,” Peters said. “220,000 people have died in the United States. There are 8 million cases today. We’ve got 79,000 cases probably today in India, and here is somebody who gets up and says, ‘The Earth is flat.’ Sorry, sunshine, wrong place.”
14th Oct 2020 - Huffington Post UK

New Zealand politician ridicules Covid-19 denier

A New Zealand politician ridiculed a man for suggesting that the coronavirus does not exist - comparing it to saying 'the Earth is flat'. Deputy prime minister Winston Peters poured scorn on the audience member at a campaign event ahead of Saturday's general election, joking that he had 'obviously got an education in America' because of his accent. The man, who was holding a sheet of notes, drew sceptical looks from the audience as he asked: 'Where's your evidence that there is a virus that causes the disease?'.
14th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

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

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Trump crows at Florida rally that he was 'right' about lifting lockdown orders

The World Health Organization has urged leaders to stop using lockdowns as a 'primary control method' amid the coronavirus pandemic, prompting President Trump to tell a Florida rally that he was right all along. Trump stepped out Monday for his first campaign event since testing positive for coronavirus and defended his stance on keeping the economy open after the WHO noted the devastating impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the poor. 'We recognize that at certain points, some countries have had no choice but to issue stay-at-home orders and other measures, to buy time,' WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.
13th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Matt Hancock turns on Tory lockdown sceptics ahead of Covid votes

In England, Conservative rebels fired a warning shot at the government as 42 MPs voted against stricter Covid-19 curbs, amid angry scenes in the Commons, where Matt Hancock criticised lockdown sceptics. Tory rebels organised a symbolic vote against one of six restrictions approved by MPs on Tuesday night. Chris Green MP, a junior frontbencher, resigned from the government on Tuesday night ahead of the vote in protest at the restrictions in his Bolton constituency. “I believe that the cure is worse than the disease,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I believe there are better alternatives to the government’s approach.”
13th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Across the world central governments face local covid-19 revolts

Speaking in Parliament, on October 12th, Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, grappled with a problem facing countries across the world: how to contain a resurgence of the coronavirus, without imposing a national lockdown. From northern England to the Mediterranean, local politicians are in revolt. In Manchester, the mayor has complained that the lack of discussion and consultation makes the government “impossible to deal with”; in Marseilles, the deputy mayor has grumbled that decisions from Paris “come like a stone dropped from a bridge”; a battle between the Spanish government and the local authorities in Madrid ended up in court. All three cities were aghast at new local lockdowns imposed by the central government.
13th Oct 2020 - The Economist

Renewed calls to end lockdown rejected by RACGP and other experts

Dozens of healthcare professionals have signed an open letter calling for the immediate end to Victoria’s ongoing lockdown measures. The new letter states the response to the virus ‘will cause more deaths and result in far more negative health effects than the virus itself’. Signatory and anaesthetist Dr Eamonn Mathieson said the ‘ongoing physical, psychological, social and economic harm is creating a new health crisis that far outweighs any possible benefits from continuing the lockdown’. Overseas, more than 11,000 have now signed the US-based Great Barrington Declaration, which calls for the effective ring-fencing of vulnerable people, such as those in aged care, until herd immunity is achieved, while World Health Organization officials this week called lockdowns a last resort. But top Australian epidemiologists Professor James McCaw and Professor Catherine Bennett have cautioned that key measures must be in place before lockdowns can be eased.
13th Oct 2020 - RACGP

Sorrento hotelier files High Court challenge to Melbourne's lockdown

The high-powered constitutional challenge to the validity of the Victorian lockdown has been lodged in the High Court as legal actions continue to pile up against the Andrews government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The writ of summons was filed late on Monday afternoon amid mounting business anxiety over the expected continuation of strict lockdown restrictions past October 19. The plaintiff, prominent hospitality figure Julian Gerner, is asking the High Court to review the legality of the lockdown. The High Court writ says that the lockdown orders made under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act are unconstitutional, inappropriate and inconsistent with a system of representative and responsible government
13th Oct 2020 - The Age

Facebook to ban ads that discourage vaccines

Facebook will start banning advertisements that discourage people from getting vaccinated, the social media company said, as it also announced a new flu vaccine information campaign. The United States-based company said in a blog post on Tuesday that ads advocating for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines, including a COVID-19 vaccine, would still be allowed.
13th Oct 2020 - AlJazeera

'They refused to act': inside a chilling documentary on Trump's bungled Covid-19 response

A new documentary, 'Totally Under Control', recounts the early days of the pandemic in the US, revealing in clinical detail a disastrous federal response to a preventable crisis. It’s a damning list of mistakes, foreseeable crises and political squabbling splayed across a coherent timeline intended to be released just ahead of the presidential election, “so that people could render a judgment about how the federal response had been”, film-maker Alex Gibney says. The two-hour film focuses primarily on the early days of the pandemic: the missed opportunities from January through April which led to America’s spiraling coronavirus present, an unending “first wave”.
12th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

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

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Trump claims Covid-19 will ‘run its course’ as US nears 215,000 deaths

Donald Trump has told the United States that Covid-19 “will run its course”, as the country’s death toll approaches 215,000. With the US accounting for well over a fifth of all deaths worldwide, the president’s comments on Monday morning jarred. “Big spike in the China Plague in Europe and other places that the Fake News used to hold up as examples of places that are doing well, in order to make the U.S look bad,” he tweeted. “Be strong and vigilant, it will run its course. Vaccines and cures are coming fast!”
12th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Leader of Brooklyn protest against Covid lockdowns arrested on riot charge

A leader of protests against new coronavirus restrictions in Brooklyn has been arrested on charges of incitement to riot and unlawful imprisonment of a journalist who was chased and trapped by a crowd, police said. Heshy Tischler, a city council candidate and activist in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park, was taken into custody on Sunday evening in connection with his actions during a 7 October street protest. Video shows a crowd of men surrounding, jostling and taunting Jewish Insider reporter Jacob Kornbluh, who has been covering resistance to social distancing in the neighborhood.
12th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Legal case to challenge validity of Melbourne's lockdown in High Court

A legal case challenging the validity of Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown is set to be filed in the High Court of Australia today as the state remains under some of strictest restrictions in the world. Business owner Julian Gerner, who owns a restaurant and bar in Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, is the plaintiff behind the legal action, arguing the state's "unnecessary" lockdown breached the constitutional right of the freedom of movement. Senior counsels Bret Walker, SC, and Michael Wyles, QC, will represent Mr Gerner as a writ of summons is filed against the state of Victoria in Melbourne's High Court registry.
12th Oct 2020 - 9News

English pub, night club group plans legal action over any new shutdowns

A group of English pub and night club owners have paused plans for a legal challenge against new COVID-19 shutdowns after the government limited closures to the Merseyside region. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out new measures on Monday, but so far Liverpool and the surrounding area is the only one that will have to close pubs, clubs, gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos. Britain’s pub, restaurant, night club and event industry has been hammered by the coronavirus crisis and after months of lockdown in the spring, a second wave and new measures limiting socialising now threaten hundreds of thousands more jobs.
12th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Waving Spanish flags, Vox supporters protest against Madrid lockdown

Waving flags from cars and honking horns, supporters of Spain’s far-right Vox party protested on Monday against a partial lockdown imposed on Madrid to contain one of Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. “Viva España! Government resign!”, cried hundreds of supporters as they filled Madrid’s main thoroughfare and the party staged smaller demonstrations in Barcelona and Seville. Sunday’s protest escalated a standoff between Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the conservative-led Madrid regional government, on which Vox holds 12 of 132 seats, and which argues that the government’s curbs are illegal and excessive and will spell disaster for the local economy.
12th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Resistance to lockdown rules is not just ‘fatigue’

The use of the term “pandemic fatigue” in the World Health Organization report is misleading (While Sturgeon takes decisive action on Covid, Johnson just blusters, 8 October). The report is concerned with the increase in non-compliance with regulations designed to counter Covid-19. It lists many putative reasons for non-compliance, including reduced trust in authorities, decreases in perceptions of risk, increased complacency and changes in values (eg, an increased emphasis on libertarianism). This matters because different reasons for non-compliance must be countered with different policies: increased libertarianism requires government information to emphasise our interdependence, increased complacency requires incentives to abide by regulations, errors in risk perception require better risk communication. Referring to every one of these very different phenomena as fatigue implies that the same policy is appropriate for dealing with them all.
11th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Spain's PM defends Covid emergency lockdown in Madrid

The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has said he hopes to bring the coronavirus outbreak in the capital under control within the next two weeks, as he defended the government’s decision to declare a state of emergency to keep the Madrid region in partial lockdown. Sánchez’s Socialist-led coalition invoked emergency powers on Friday after the Madrid regional government failed to respond to an ultimatum and a court struck down the central government’s original lockdown order. “We have always put public health and saving lives above any other consideration and we’ve asked regional governments to do the same,” he told reporters during a visit to Portugal on Saturday.
11th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

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

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NZ’s PM Ardern touts success in tackling pandemic in poll push

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday burnished her leadership credentials on the back of her successful response to the coronavirus pandemic at a campaign rally six days before the country’s election on October 17. Polls show Ardern’s Labour Party is expected to win the election with a wide lead over the conservative National Party, and could form government in a coalition with the Greens and New Zealand First.
11th Oct 2020 - AlJazeera

When Trump gets coronavirus, Chinese Americans pay a price

News of President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis is fueling renewed attacks against Asian Americans and hostility toward China across social media, according to researchers with civil rights group the Anti-Defamation League. In an analysis of 2.7 million tweets in the three days after Trump announced his and first lady Melania Trump’s diagnosis on Twitter, the ADL found elevated language associated with hostility against Asians, compared with the previous day. In the 12 hours after Trump’s announcement, ADL saw an 85 percent spike in such language. The announcement sparked thousands of online conversations blaming China for trying to purposefully infect the president, the researchers found.
10th Oct 2020 - The Washington Post

Fauci calls White House event a coronavirus ‘superspreader’

The United States’ top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has said an event held in the White House on September 26 was a “superspreader event” that is suspected to have infected numerous people, including President Donald Trump, with the novel coronavirus. “I think the data speak for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House,” Fauci said during an interview with CBS News Radio. “And it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks, so the data speak for themselves.”
10th Oct 2020 - AlJazeera

As Virus Surges in Europe, Resistance to New Restrictions Also Grows

France has placed cities on “maximum alert” and ordered many to close all bars, gyms and sports centers on Saturday. Italy and Poland have made masks compulsory in public. The Czech Republic has declared a state of emergency, and German officials fear new outbreaks could soon grow beyond the control of their vaunted testing and tracing. Across Europe and beyond, Covid-19 has come roaring back, and, as happened last spring, officials are invoking restrictions to try and suppress it. But this time is different. Still reeling from the economic, emotional and physical toll of nationwide lockdowns that brought the Continent to a virtual standstill, government officials are finding that the public might not be so compliant the second time around.
9th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

'The data speak for themselves': Dr. Anthony Fauci says White House held a 'superspreader event' for coronavirus

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday that the White House held a "superspreader event," apparently referring to the Rose Garden ceremony where President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and where multiple attendees later tested positive for the coronavirus. Fauci made the remark after being asked in a CBS News Radio interview what the recent coronavirus outbreak at the White House said about the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "I think the data speak for themselves," Fauci said. "We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together, were not wearing masks."
9th Oct 2020 - USA TODAY

Coronavirus Indonesia: People caught without facemasks forced to dig graves and get into coffins

People caught breaking COVID-19 rules in Indonesia are being made to dig graves and get into coffins. The punishments being handed out in East Java and Jakarta follow a surge in infections. The country is the fourth most populous in the world and has the highest COVID-19 death rate in Southeast Asia.
9th Oct 2020 - Sky News

China Joins WHO-Led Global Coronavirus Vaccine Effort As U.S. Sits It Out

China has joined a global effort aimed at fair and equitable distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once one becomes available — an effort the Trump administration has shunned. The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, known as COVAX, is jointly led by the World Health Organization and Gavi, an alliance promoting access to vaccines. "This is an important step China has taken to uphold the concept of a shared community of health for all and to honor its commitment to turn COVID-19 vaccines into a global public good," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference Friday.
9th Oct 2020 - NPR

Here’s more evidence of China’s strong recovery from coronavirus

The recovery in China’s service sector activity extended into a fifth straight month in September, an industry survey showed on Friday, with hiring increasing for the second month in a row. The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 54.8 from August’s 54.0, the highest reading since June and staying well above the 50-mark that separates monthly growth from contraction.
9th Oct 2020 - AlJazeera

Bolsonaro’s Addiction to Covid Cash Could Make Brazil Go Bust

Latin America responded ambitiously, if not always efficiently, to the coronavirus pandemic, with many countries spreading cash, credit and tax deferrals to vulnerable companies and households. The emergency stimulus has injected bountiful resources into listing economies — 12% of gross domestic product for Peru, 18% in Brazil, 5% in Argentina — and helped those who were already struggling as well
8th Oct 2020 - Bloomberg Quint

In the U.S., states — not science — decide what counts as a coronavirus outbreak

In Michigan, two coronavirus infections in the same workplace constitutes an outbreak. In New York City, public school buildings must close when two people in two different classrooms catch the virus. But Iowa will not announce coronavirus outbreaks at many businesses unless 10 percent of employees are actively infected, and even 10 percent of students becoming ill may not be enough to close a school. The nation’s patchwork pandemic response has led to wide disparities in data reporting and even in definitions for basic medical concepts. In the absence of federal standards, states have adopted divergent and sometimes scientifically questionable approaches to disease control, which experts say have allowed the virus to spread.
7th Oct 2020 - The Washington Post

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

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Orthodox New Yorkers condemn Cuomo over new Covid shutdowns

New rules putting parts of New York City back into lockdown amid a rise in fresh coronavirus cases have been met with protests as Andrew Cuomo was accused of using “dangerous and divisive” language against Orthodox Jews. On Wednesday night groups of Orthodox people in Brooklyn and some of their community leaders gathered in the streets, some not wearing masks and some bearing pro-Donald Trump signs. An Orthodox journalist covering the events later said he was attacked by an angry mob.
8th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

‘Freedom’ over science: Madrid court kicks out coronavirus lockdown rules to protect people’s ‘rights’

Madrid's top regional court has overturned a partial lockdown order to confine millions of “madrilenos” as a political row raged over imposing restrictions to try to slow the soaring infection rate in Europe's Covid-19 hotspot. The regional supreme court rejected restrictions imposed at the weekend on the capital and nine nearby towns after the number of coronavirus cases in the Spanish capital reached 741 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days compared with 257 per 100,000 in the rest of Spain – in itself the highest rate in the European Union.
8th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Madrid High Court strikes down Heath Ministry’s coronavirus restrictions

The Madrid High Court ruled on Thursday that it would not ratify the coronavirus restrictions that were forced on the region by the central government, despite the opposition of the regional administration to implement them. The court reached its decision on the basis that the measures infringe on citizens’ fundamental rights. By midday on Thursday, the Madrid regional government had yet to comment on the ruling or announce what it would do next.
8th Oct 2020 - El Pais

Great Barrington Declaration calls for end to lockdowns, shift to herd immunity

A plea for an immediate return to open restaurants, mass gatherings and working from the office has received the support of nearly 125,000 petition signatories and opposition from critics who denounce it as dangerous and likely deadly. The Great Barrington Declaration was written and signed by three epidemiologists in Great Barrington, Mass. on Sunday. Three dozen other scientists, doctors and academics are listed as co-signatories, with the most prominent being Michael Levitt, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2013. The declaration lays out the case for global adoption of a "herd immunity"-style approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. It argues that the lockdown-heavy approach is "producing devastating effects" on public health, including "lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health."
8th Oct 2020 - CTV News

Anti-mask ‘Karen’ spits at cops when asked to wear face covering

An anti-mask wearing “Karen”’ out walking her dog in Melbourne has spat at police after they asked her to wear a face covering. Police said the woman was walking her dog along the side of a road in the Bayside area on Wednesday when officers spotted her without a mask on. A police spokeswoman said as police approached her she became abusive and spat at the officers’ feet. “Police directed her to go home and get her mask but she refused to comply and was issued with a fine,” the spokeswoman said.
8th Oct 2020 - NEWS.com.au

COVID-19: British government rejects global calls by scientists to end lockdown measures

The British government has rejected the calls of thousands of scientists and health experts urging authorities to put an end to lockdown measures. The controversial Great Barrington Declaration, which has been signed by roughly 7000 scientists and medics worldwide, is calling for a new strategy in response to the ongoing pandemic. The movement, which began in the United States, argues that young, healthy and low-risk people should be permitted to go about their lives as normal, while "focused protection" is offered to the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions - the groups most at risk from COVID-19.
8th Oct 2020 - Newshub

HHS Secretary Azar says U.S. could have enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every American by March

The Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine program Operation Warp Speed expects to have up to 100 million doses by the end of the year, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. Azar said the U.S. is currently manufacturing doses for all six potential vaccines backed by the U.S. government across more than 23 manufacturing facilities. U.S. health officials have been accelerating the development of vaccine candidates even though doing so could be for naught if the vaccine ends up not being effective or safe.
8th Oct 2020 - CNBC

Australia shuts itself off to visitors until the end of 2021 - or there's a coronavirus vaccine

Holidays and visits to Australia could be unlikely until the end of 2021. Since March 17, only citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to enter Australia with a few exceptions, with arrivals expected to pay for a two week hotel quarantine. Travel between and within some states and territories within Australia is also currently restricted. There is more information here. Australian Federal Budget has announced this week, that international travel will 'remain low' until the end of the year, or whenever a vaccine is widely available. Social distancing measures will also be kept in place until all Australian residents can be vaccinated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously said his government will secure almost 85 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine if two current trials they have invested in, prove successful.
8th Oct 2020 - Wales Online

As Trump hails Regeneron treatment, his administration tries to block the science it used

President Donald Trump has been celebrating the dose of experimental monoclonal antibodies he was given last Friday, saying he thinks it helped him vanquish his coronavirus infection in record time. "It was incredible the impact it had," he said in a video he tweeted Thursday. What he didn't say is that the treatment was developed using technology his administration has worked for four years to ban.
8th Oct 2020 - CNN

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

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Top US immunologist quits health role over Trump Covid response

The ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine has quit his post at the National Institutes of Health, charging that the Trump administration “ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists”. Dr Rick Bright, a whistleblower who crossed swords with the Trump administration over claims his warnings over both coronavirus and the utility of hydroxychloroquine were ignored, left his role complaining that his plan to develop a national testing infrastructure had also been sidelined.
7th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Trump says not to fear Covid-19. Do Americans agree?

After three nights in hospital for Covid treatment, US President Donald Trump is back in the White House - and back on Twitter. In a video posted on Monday shortly after his return, the president implored Americans not to let the virus "dominate" their lives. "Don't be afraid of it. You're going to beat it," he said. "Don't let it take over your lives. Don't let that happen." But with nearly 7.5 million Covid-19 cases and more than 210,000 deaths nationwide, is this a message of strength or an insult to those still suffering? We ask voters.
7th Oct 2020 - BBC

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says lockdowns are 'useless' as state's COVID-19 cases soar

South Dakota's governor is doubling down on her controversial stance against state-wide lockdown measures even as the local positivity rate continues to soar. Gov. Kristi Noem defended her hands-off approach to managing the deadly COVID-19 pandemic while addressing lawmakers earlier this week and called mandatory stay-at home orders "useless" in helping lower the spread. Amid criticism over her tactics for fighting the novel coronavirus, Noem used her speaking time to read a portion of a letter she said she received from a reporter who praised her for sticking to her beliefs.
7th Oct 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus: Health experts join global anti-lockdown movement

Thousands of scientists and health experts have joined a global movement warning of "grave concerns" about Covid-19 lockdown policies. Nearly 6,000 experts, including dozens from the UK, say the approach is having a devastating impact on physical and mental health as well as society. They are calling for protection to be focused on the vulnerable, while healthy people get on with their lives. The declaration has prompted warnings by others in the scientific community.
7th Oct 2020 - BBC

Like America, India Is Witnessing Protests Against Forced Mask, Testing And Vaccination

Along the lines of countries like the US, UK, Australia, Italy and Canada, now India is also encountering protests against precautionary measures adopted to curb COVID-19 being imposed upon the public as strict rules. The importance of precautionary measures like face masks, gloves, social distancing, hand washing, etc. has not only pervaded India but the whole world ever since we came to terms with coronavirus. In India, almost the entire population decently cooperated with the lockdown decisions of government and abided by all the set norms. But recently, a spate of protests was seen arising across India where people were spotted echoing their contradicting thoughts on the compulsion to wear a face mask in public places.
7th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

Morrison takes aim at Victoria's lockdown, warning of 'very severe' impact on national economy

Scott Morrison has warned that the national economy will take another hit from the extended Victorian lockdown as he took aim at the state’s roadmap for easing restrictions, saying leaders “cannot create a burden that is too great to bear”. The prime minister refused to specify on Monday whether the federal government would rethink its plan to reduce the rate of the jobkeeper and jobseeker programs this month, calling on the Victorian government to spell out its own economic support package before Canberra considered taking action. But Morrison raised questions about Victoria’s contact-tracing capabilities and said he hoped the plan unveiled by the premier, Daniel Andrews, was the “worst-case scenario” and only a “starting point” for managing the virus in the weeks ahead.
7th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Liz Truss: more Covid lockdown measures in England would ‘set us back’

A senior cabinet minister has said further lockdown measures would “set us back hugely” amid signs that additional coronavirus restrictions may be imminent for parts of north-west England. Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, indicated that the government remained strongly opposed to measures such as closing pubs, bars and restaurants despite rising hospital admissions and a sharp increase in infections. Truss said ministers were attempting to strike a “delicate balance” of protecting the economy while stopping the spread of the virus, telling Sky News: “If we end up locking down further or having a national lockdown, that would set us back hugely so we’re constantly balancing those two priorities.”
7th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

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

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Trump Covid: President downplays virus on leaving hospital

US President Donald Trump has made a theatrical return to the White House to continue his treatment for coronavirus after a three-night hospital stay. Mr Trump, who is still contagious, removed his mask on the balcony of the White House, while posing for pictures. Mr Trump also recorded a video message, urging Americans to get back to work. "You're going to beat it [coronavirus]," he told them, adding: "We're going to be out front. As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there's danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front, and led."
6th Oct 2020 - BBC

Trump could face a relapse, Dr. Fauci warns, as president opts to downplay nation's coronavirus threat despite massive death toll

President Donald Trump rolled out of Walter Reed hospital confidently urging the nation not to fear the coronavirus despite experts warning the U.S. death toll, at more than 210,000, could almost double by year's end. Experts also warn that the commander-in-chief himself may not have seen the worst of the virus just yet. "I am very worried that people will take this to mean that 'If he can beat COVID I can beat COVID,'" said Narasimhan, senior vice president for critical care services at Northwell Health. "I don’t think that we can take any real lessons (from Trump's illness) except that he did get sick. Pretending this is not real disease will not help."
6th Oct 2020 - USA Today

Trump's anti-lockdown coronavirus adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, says the president's COVID-19 diagnosis will not change how the White House tackles the pandemic

President Donald Trump's newest coronavirus adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, says the president's COVID-19 diagnosis will not change the White House's current strategy on pandemic control. "He is not afraid, he's not going to hide in the basement, endorse another lockdown ... frozen in fear behind a map," Atlas said. Throughout the pandemic Trump and the White House have downplayed the coronavirus, pressured states to reopen their businesses, and eschewed health experts' calls for transparency. The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world.
6th Oct 2020 - MSN

A Second National Lockdown Seems Inevitable. Here's What Stands In The Way

In England, what is stopping the PM from a full lockdown – and could a two-week “circuit-breaker” compromise be on the cards? Covid-19 has already ravaged the UK economy and the Bank of England warned last month that the resurgence of the virus will hit the country hard. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is thought to oppose a second lockdown “for any long period of time” amid fears job losses could soar and unemployment in 2021 could spiral out of control. One thorn in Johnson’s side should he move for a second shutdown is a grouping of backbench Tory MPs known informally as “the Brady bunch”. Notionally led by the chair of the powerful 1922 committee, Graham Brady, they oppose new restrictions by the state, both due to the limits on individual freedoms and the strain on business.
6th Oct 2020 - HuffPost UK

Trump now needs to balance science with his libertarian instincts – he should look to Japan for inspiration

Vince Cable writes about the Japanese approach to the coronavirus pandemic, as compared to Trump's: "The Japanese experience might also prove helpful to Trump. Assuming that he recovers quickly and gets back to the campaign trail, he has to find a way of acknowledging that his cavalier disregard for scientific advice wasn't smart; but, at the same time, he has to keep faith with his libertarian supporters who will not accept formal restrictions. A version of the Japanese approach might play well, especially since Tokyo has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep onside with Trump."
6th Oct 2020 - The Independent

COVID-19 disobedience goes deeper than we think

While respect for mask-wearing and personal hygiene is broadly high, according to YouGov surveys of European countries, support for quarantine and self-isolation is wavering. In France, only 48 percent of people currently support quarantining those who’ve had contact with infected patients, down from 78 percent in March. It has also fallen in the U.K. and Spain, though to a lesser degree. There’s mounting evidence that people who are asked to stay at home aren’t doing so. On top of carrots and sticks, transparency and education can help compliance. New rules such as closing restaurants and bars at 10 p.m. rather than 11 p.m. haven’t been justified with any scientifically backed explanations, the kind of thing that can chip away at public trust.
6th Oct 2020 - The Japan Times

Trump Covid post deleted by Facebook and hidden by Twitter

Facebook has deleted a post in which President Trump had claimed Covid-19 was "less lethal" than the flu. Mr Trump is at the White House after three days of hospital treatment having tested positive for the virus. He wrote the US had "learned to live with" flu season, "just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!" Twitter hid the same message behind a warning about "spreading misleading and potentially harmful information". Users have to click past the alert to read the tweet. "We remove incorrect information about the severity of Covid-19, and have now removed this post," said Andy Stone, policy communications manager at Facebook.
6th Oct 2020 - BBC

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

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'Don’t be afraid' of virus, Trump says as he prepares to leave hospital

President Donald Trump said he will leave a military hospital where he is being treated for COVID-19 later on Monday, and urged people not to be afraid of the disease, which has killed more than a million people worldwide and wreaked economic havoc. Even if discharged, he will need to continue treatment as he is still undergoing a five-day course of an intravenous antiviral drug, remdesivir. The normal quarantine period for anyone testing positive for the novel coronavirus is 14 days. Trump has frequently downplayed the threat of the pandemic which has infected 7.4 million Americans. In recent days, he released a series of videos to reassure the public he is recovering from the disease caused by the virus.
5th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Why a second lockdown could turn the lights out on the UK economy

James Reed is chairman and chief executive of recruitment firm REED. He writes about a second wave of Covid-19: "While I agree that extra measures might be needed to combat the spread of this disease, a blanket second full lockdown will certainly drive a coach and horses through the early signs of economic recovery" "A lockdown is a short-term fix based upon the hope that a vaccine for Covid-19 is just around the corner, which it may or may not be. It’s something that should only be considered as an absolute last resort, after all other options have been exhausted."
5th Oct 2020 - City A.M.

Neo-Nazis and anti-vaxxers join protest against coronavirus restrictions in Germany

Far-right activists, Neo-Nazis and anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists were among the thousands who joined a protest against coronavirus restrictions in Germany over the weekend. The demonstration at Lake Constance in the south of the country, close to the Austrian border, also attracted thousands of counter-protesters, although police said the there had not been any violence. Organisers of the rally, who opposed social distancing measures imposed to try and restrict the spread of Covid-19, had hoped to gather as many as 200,000 demonstrators to form a human chain around the lake. But the police said they had counted only about 11,000 people among the two protests.
5th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Ireland faces resistance to 'nuclear' COVID-19 lockdown recommendation

Ireland’s government faced political and business resistance on Monday to a surprise recommendation by health chiefs for Europe’s first major second wave national lockdown to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed as coronavirus cases rise. The National Public Health Emergency Team called for a leap to the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions, Level 5, late on Sunday, just three days after telling government the current Level 2 status for most of the country was appropriate.
5th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

UK's Sunak warns of economic and social impact of lockdowns

British finance minister Rishi Sunak warned that a further lockdown would cripple both the economy and society, stating that lockdowns have a very strong economic and social impact. Sunak spoke about his dissatisfaction with the 10 pm curfew on pubs and restaurants saying that, “Of course it’s frustrating. I know it’s difficult and wish we didn’t have to do these things.” He added that ministers were divided on the issue but encouraged Brits to abide by the rules. He said that he would not remain silent in his fight against future lockdowns and implored his fellow ministers to strive for normality in the face of COVID-19
5th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

White House Blocks New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines

Top White House officials are blocking strict new federal guidelines for the emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine, objecting to a provision that would almost certainly guarantee that no vaccine could be authorized before the election on Nov. 3, according to people familiar with the approval process. Facing a White House blockade, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking other avenues to ensure that vaccines meet the guidelines. That includes sharing the standards with an outside advisory committee of experts — perhaps as soon as this week — that is supposed to meet publicly before any vaccine is authorized for emergency use. The hope is that the committee will enforce the guidelines, regardless of the White House’s reaction.
5th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

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

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Covid: PM has 'lost control of virus', says Labour leader

Boris Johnson's government has "lost control" of coronavirus, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said. Speaking to the Observer, Sir Keir accused the prime minister of "serial incompetence" over the virus. He has called for ministers to set out a new "road map" for dealing with Covid-19 until a vaccine is rolled out. A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister had already set out "a package of measures" that could be in place for the next six months.
4th Oct 2020 - BBC

Trump's White House event in focus over Covid spread

With Donald Trump now in hospital, there are growing questions about how he and his wife were exposed to coronavirus. A crowded Rose Garden event is coming under intense focus - last week's ceremony where Mr Trump formally announced his nomination of the conservative Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. City council member Brooke Pinto told the Washington Post it was "disappointing that the White House has flaunted not wearing masks and gathering large crowds".
4th Oct 2020 - BBC

Johnson sees bumpy COVID winter, but radical changes by spring

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday he expected the next few months of the COVID-19 pandemic to be bumpy, but that things would look radically different in the spring. Johnson said he knew many people were furious with him over perceived inconsistencies and confusion surrounding the local measures, but he was seeking to strike a balance between public health and the wider needs of society and the economy. He denied a suggestion that the local restrictions were not working given infection rates were still rising in the affected areas and there was no end in sight to the measures.
4th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

The Coronavirus and the Threat Within the White House

The contrast between Trump’s airy dismissals of the pandemic’s severity and the profound pain and anxiety endured by so many Americans has helped define the era in which we live. Hours before he announced the diagnosis, Trump claimed, in a speech recorded for the annual Al Smith Dinner for Catholic charities, that “the end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country.” The Centers for Disease Control and other public-health institutions have long said that wearing masks is essential to minimizing the spread of the coronavirus. Trump has been of another opinion, a delusional one.
3rd Oct 2020 - The New Yorker

Spain’s poisonous politics have worsened the pandemic and the economy

The Infanta Leonor hospital, wedged between a motorway and a suburban railway, serves the dense working-class districts of south-eastern Madrid. Last month 402 of its 480 doctors signed a letter to the regional government warning that the hospital was in a state of “pre-collapse”, with 54% of its 361 beds and all 27 intensive-care spaces occupied by covid-19 patients. With 784 cases per 100,000 people in the past fortnight, Madrid is currently the worst-hit region in Europe. This is part of a broader national failure. On July 5th Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, proclaimed that “we have defeated the virus and controlled the pandemic.” Yet the country is once again Europe’s coronavirus black spot
2nd Oct 2020 - The Economist

UK seeks to avoid national lockdown to stop unemployment in millions, minister says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is seeking to avoid a full national lockdown to prevent unemployment soaring into the millions, Environment Secretary George Eustice said. “I’ve not seen any projections of 4 million but certainly we know that there are some 700,000 extra people that are already unemployed as a result of this, and yes you know the projections are, that there are going to be economic impacts,” Eustice told Sky. “It’s for precisely that reason that we are trying to avoid full lockdown,” he said.
2nd Oct 2020 - EU Reporter

Top Paris chefs in protest as restaurants face coronavirus lockdown

Paris's top restaurateurs vented their anger today as the French capital’s celebrated hospitality industry faced having to shut down to contain a surge in coronavirus infections. Health minister Olivier Veran has already ordered bars and restaurants in Marseille to shut for two weeks and last night warned that Paris could be placed on “maximum alert” from Monday, meaning similar measures there.
2nd Oct 2020 - Evening Standard

Doctors group says Turkey 'hid the truth' by reporting only those with COVID-19 symptoms

Turkey’s top medical association and the main opposition party on Thursday criticised a decision by President Tayyip Erdogan’s government to only publicly disclose new coronavirus cases if the patient is showing symptoms. Members of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said the policy, acknowledged late on Wednesday by the health minister, hides the true scale of the pandemic and was meant to keep the economy moving. In a press conference, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca appeared to acknowledge the government did not publish the full number of daily positive COVID-19 cases when he said it only tallies those who are symptomatic.
2nd Oct 2020 - Reuters

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

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'You cannot lock down everybody' Madrid tells Spanish government in COVID spat

Madrid will become the first European capital to go back into lockdown in coming days after the region’s leader reluctantly agreed on Thursday to obey a central government order to ban non-essential travel to and from the Spanish capital. In order to fight a steep surge in COVID-19 cases, Madrid and nine nearby municipalities will see borders closed to outsiders for non-essential visits, with only travel for work, school, doctors’ visits or shopping allowed. A curfew for bars and restaurants moved to 11 p.m. from 1 a.m. However, regional chief Isabel Diaz Aysuo said she will appeal against the lockdown in the courts, meaning the uncertainty and fierce political squabbling that has exasperated the residents of Madrid is far from over. “We are victims of improvisation,” architect Jean-Pierre Moncardo complained, saying politicians had wasted time fighting each other instead of giving medics the funding they needed to fight the pandemic.
1st Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Why People Have Had Enough of Lockdowns

France, the U.K. and Spain face a triple threat: A jump in cases, a population exhausted by lockdown-induced recession, and rising resistance to tougher measures. Curfews and closures of restaurants and bars have seen business owners literally throw their keys to the ground in present-day Marseille. In Madrid, protesters have bristled at a targeted local lockdown they view as discriminatory. It’s not just conspiracy theorists on the streets in London and Berlin who are angry. Those protesting shouldn’t be dismissed as the selfish exceptions to the rule. Beyond the vocal minority, there are signs that the silent majority is also losing faith in increasingly bureaucratic strictures. Policymakers need to restore it.
1st Oct 2020 - Bloomberg

Row erupts after Spain puts Madrid under lockdown

A row has erupted after the Spanish government announced that the entire city of Madrid is to be put under a partial lockdown as it steps up measures to fight the coronavirus. Madrid's regional government reacted furiously to the new restrictions that affect mobility and gatherings, setting the scene for a political battle which could be dragged into the courts. "The situation in Madrid is complex and worrying," Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa told reporters, saying that of 11,016 new cases diagnosed in Spain over the past 24 hours, nearly 44% were in the Madrid region.
1st Oct 2020 - RTE Online

Victoria COVID lockdown: Resistance groups unmasked by Channel 7's Denham Hitchcock

7NEWS Spotlight correspondent Denham Hitchcock reports from hotel quarantine in Queensland. One of the most upsetting things about this pandemic has been the divisions it has caused. Australia has always been a united country but it doesn’t feel that way right now.
1st Oct 2020 - 7NEWS.com.au

Tony Abbott says Victoria's coronavirus lockdown is the most severe tried in the world outside Wuhan. Is he correct?

Mr Abbott's claim is wrong. Many governments adopted individual policies similar to Victoria's such as curfews and stay-home orders. Some rules were even stricter. For example, Spain and Argentina banned outdoor exercise entirely while Israel limited walks to within 100 metres of home. Meanwhile, Chile allowed only twice-weekly shop visits, and both South Africa and India banned the sale of alcohol. And whereas New Zealand prohibited takeaway food and drinks, Victorians could at least still visit their local cafe to pick up a coffee.
1st Oct 2020 - ABC News

The U.S. Exported QAnon to Australia and New Zealand. Now It’s Creeping Into COVID-19 Lockdown Protests

Like most people, Jess spent a lot of time online during weeks of lockdown earlier this year. But the 36-year-old Australian wasn’t focused so much on playing Animal Crossing or watching Netflix. Instead, she found herself diving ever deeper into the Internet for information about QAnon. Jess, who asked for her last name not to be used because her employer doesn’t allow her to share views on social media, says she became interested in the complex conspiracy theory in part because it claims to offer answers amid the turbulence of 2020.
1st Oct 2020 - TIME

Fewer UK workers on furlough as government scales back support

Fewer British workers remained on furlough from their employers last month as the government scaled back its support for businesses hit by COVID-19 before ending the scheme on Oct. 31, two surveys showed on Thursday. The Bank of England said its monthly survey of businesses showed that 7.0% of their staff were on furlough and not working any hours in September, down from 11.8% in August and a peak of 36.2% in April when coronavirus lockdown measures were tightest. A survey by the Office for National Statistics estimated that 11% of staff were partly or fully on furlough between Sept. 7 and Sept. 20. Britain’s furlough scheme supported 8.9 million jobs at its peak, and is forecast to cost around 52 billion pounds ($67 billion) over its eight-month lifespan.
1st Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

UK seeks to avoid national lockdown to stop unemployment in millions, minister says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is seeking to avoid a full national lockdown to prevent unemployment soaring into the millions, Environment Secretary George Eustice said on Thursday. “I’ve not seen any projections of 4 million but certainly we know that there are some 700,000 extra people that are already unemployed as a result of this, and yes you know the projections are, that there are going to be economic impacts,” Eustice told Sky. “It’s for precisely that reason that we are trying to avoid full lockdown,” he said.
1st Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

In crowded Gaza, public embraces mask-wearing to fight COVID-19

The coronavirus may have been slow to reach the sealed-off Gaza Strip, but Palestinians in the densely populated enclave have been quick to embrace mask-wearing to try to contain its spread. Five weeks into an outbreak of COVID-19 among the general population in the territory, restaurants, many shops, schools, mosques and other public facilities remain closed, and a night-time curfew is in effect. It is rare to see anyone without a mask outdoors, with the coronavirus death toll at 20 and nearly 3,000 cases reported since infections spread beyond border quarantine facilities on Aug. 24. Citing security concerns, Israel and Egypt maintain tight restrictions along the frontier with Gaza, where two million people live under the rule of the Islamist Hamas group.
1st Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

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

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UK PM Johnson scolded for 'contempt' of parliament over COVID-19 rules

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the British people on Wednesday to obey rules imposed to tackle a rapidly accelerating second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, cautioning that otherwise a tougher lockdown could follow. New cases of COVID-19 are rising by more than 7,000 per day in the United Kingdom though Johnson is facing growing opposition to lockdown measures which have wrought some of the worst economic damage in at least a century. After a reprimand from the speaker of the House of Commons, Johnson defused a rebellion in parliament over the way such onerous rules were imposed by promising angry lawmakers more say over any new national measures.
30th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Elon Musk doubles down on Covid-19 skepticism and says he won't take future vaccine

Elon Musk is once again publicly downplaying the risks of Covid-19. In a wide-ranging interview with the journalist Kara Swisher, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he would not take a Covid-19 vaccine when one becomes available, and declined to say whether he feels a duty to pay employees who want to stay home to avoid contracting the virus. "I'm not at risk for Covid, nor are my kids," said Musk during Monday's episode of the New York Times podcast "Sway." Musk has long cultivated a public persona of an eccentric entrepreneur who knows better than the experts and isn't afraid to offer controversial opinions. On the podcast, Musk argued that instead of sweeping stay-at-home orders to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, "anyone who is at risk should be quarantined until the storm passes." When Swisher confronted Musk with the possibility that people would still die in the process, he replied bluntly: "Everybody dies."
30th Sep 2020 - CNN

Why People Have Had Enough of Lockdowns

The history of epidemics is rife with examples of society rebelling against tough public-health edicts, such as the breach of plague quarantine in 18th-century Marseille or protests against face masks during the 1918 influenza pandemic. The grim consequence is a fresh wave of deadly infections. Covid-19’s million deaths may pale in comparison to the estimated 50 million lives lost in 1918, but the cycle risks unfolding again. France, the U.K. and Spain face a triple threat: A jump in cases, a population exhausted by lockdown-induced recession, and rising resistance to tougher measures.
30th Sep 2020 - The Washington Post

Covid anxiety and intolerance rise together in Australia but the only way out is together

“It must be the Indians,” I hear and every fibre of me bristles with indignation. “It’s not,” I retort to no one in particular. I am watching a live feed from a Covid hotspot. “Most of us are doing the right thing,” the reporter’s subject says, standing outside a modest house in a modest suburb. Behind his mask, his eyes beseech, “Please believe me.” But the choice of subject is problematic, a young Aghan Australian boy thrust into the limelight to offer both plea and reassurance to a spooked public. I see kids like him in my clinic: when your parents don’t speak English, you skip school to help them. He may be young but he’s well-versed in the dangers of victimisation. He has no choice but to defend his whole community. Just then, an acquaintance calls me. “If it wasn’t for those Africans, we’d be fine,” she grumbles. This time, I gently challenge her assertion and she concedes that what she’s really annoyed about is her husband’s drinking.
30th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 30th Sep 2020

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Discontent simmers as Spanish authorities spar over Madrid lockdown

A clash between Madrid’s regional authorities and the Spanish government over how to contain the city’s surging coronavirus caseload is provoking growing discontent among residents in poorer areas who say they have been unfairly targeted. The region extended a partial lockdown on Friday to 45 districts with high infection rates, the majority of which are in low-income neighbourhoods, prompting accusations of class discrimination from residents and concern from the national government, which wants even wider restrictions. “The politicians can’t agree among themselves and the poor are always the worst affected,” said Daisy Mencia, a resident of the working-class Vallecas neighbourhood, which is entering its second week of confinement measures.
29th Sep 2020 - Reuters

WTO should play role in COVID-19 medicine access: candidate

A key contender to head the World Trade Organization told Reuters on Tuesday she thinks the body should play a role in helping poorer countries access COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, and this topic should be part of negotiations if she wins. Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, seen by delegates as a top candidate to lead the WTO, currently chairs the GAVI vaccine alliance board and stressed her credentials among five remaining candidates “at the intersection between public health and trade”. “Trade can contribute to public health - seeing that connection, invoking those (WTO) rules, actively discussing COVID-19 issues and how WTO can help,” the former finance minister and World Bank managing-director said. “For me, that would be a priority.”
29th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Partisan Exits - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 29th Sep 2020

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Italy's government showed the world how to take responsibility in a pandemic

If there ever was an unlikely country to be designated a model of collective civility, that’s Italy. My native land is usually depicted as a beautiful place whose abundance of natural and cultural treasures is entrusted, alas, to its disorganised, corrupt, unruly inhabitants. And yet everybody these days seems to be lavishing praise on us: the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal are all describing as exemplary the way in which we Italians have clawed ourselves out of the tragic pit we were in this spring, as coronavirus raged and convoys of military trucks had to be deployed to carry the coffins – they were so many.
28th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Spanish lockdown protests flare again

Thousands in Madrid have marched in protest against local lockdowns targeting mainly low-income areas in an effort to stem one of Europe's biggest surges in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. For a second straight week, demonstrators took to city streets on Sunday, criticising the conservative regional government's measures as discriminatory segregation and demanding more money for the health sector and an improvement in how infections are tracked. Left-wing parties, trade unions, citizens' initiatives and student associations had called for protests in various districts and municipalities in the greater area of the Spanish capital and demanded the resignation of regional president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.
28th Sep 2020 - Yahoo News Australia

Morrison Pleads for Lockdown End in Australia’s Virus Hot-Spot

The leader of Australia’s second-largest state has announced the end of a nightly curfew in Melbourne sooner than originally expected as the pace of new coronavirus infections in the city slows. That’s not enough for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is urgently seeking to reboot the stalled national economy and is pleading for Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews to quickly remove more lockdown curbs implemented almost two months ago. “As it stands this lockdown is already longer than that faced by residents in many cities around the world,” Morrison said in a statement late Sunday. “We remain deeply concerned about the mental health impacts of a prolonged lock down on Melbourne residents.”
27th Sep 2020 - Bloomberg

Lockdowners v libertarians: Britain’s coronavirus divide

Britain has reached a Covid crossroads – and its leaders are being pressed to pick one of two stark options. Are they going to return to the lockdown days that brought life to a standstill six months ago, but succeeded in halting the rapid spread of the disease? Or are they going to turn their backs on “an authoritarian nightmare” that is preventing the nation from getting on with “the business of living”? This is the basic division that has emerged over the summer in an increasingly heated debate between two unlikely groupings of scientists, columnists, campaigners and politicians
27th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Many anti-lockdown protesters believe the government is illegitimate. Their legal arguments don't stand up

Lockdown has been particularly hard in Victoria and some dissent against restrictions is to be expected. While it might be easy to dismiss the anti-lockdown protesters by calling them selfish or deluded, we should not lose sight of just how far beyond our normal expectations of civic responsibility the last six months have taken us. By and large, most Victorians have been exceptionally responsible and stoic. And while police enforcement has been problematic at times, regulatory requirements often unclear and emergency powers unlike anything we’ve seen in a century, the vast majority of Victorians, indeed all Australians, continue to trust the actions of governments are reasonable and constitutionally valid.
27th Sep 2020 - The Conversation AU

PM scrapped second UK lockdown 'over fears Rishi Sunak would quit'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson abandoned plans for a second national lockdown over fears Rishi Sunak might quit, a senior MP has said. Mr Sunak reportedly warned that a second national lockdown would be a disaster for the economy and make his job near impossible. Despite medical and scientific experts calling for tougher restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, he argued that Britain must be kept open to protect millions of jobs and businesses, The Sun reported. A senior MP told the publication: ‘Rishi simply wouldn’t wear it. His stance was so firm. There were even fears he would find it difficult to carry on if he was ignored.’
27th Sep 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Britain will seek coronavirus ‘herd immunity’ covertly or by default - thanks to the failure of lockdown

The dynamics of epidemics, their lethal ebbs and flows, are unpredictable and complicated involving more than a fixed proportion of people getting the illness. Yet six months from “herd immunity” being pilloried worldwide as the equivalent of poisoning the wells, Britain may covertly or by default may be adopting just such a policy. The reason for this creeping volte-face is that while “herd immunity” may or may not be achievable, the alternative policy of lockdown looks more and more like a bad bargain, bringing economic devastation in return for a temporary retreat of the epidemic. It only really works in countries where the state and society are so organised, China or Germany being prime examples, so that they can largely return to normality while at the same time suppressing new outbreaks. It helps if they are islands like New Zealand and Taiwan, but this advantage wanes as soon as full travel links are re-established.
26th Sep 2020 - The Independent

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

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Wuhan bounces back to lead fight against claims coronavirus is China's fault

China gives Wuhan a ‘hero city’ makeover: pool parties to the fore — and wet markets out of sight - restaurants and bars are thronged, people swim in the Yangtze river and jog along its banks. Life seems strikingly normal in Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic. Four months after the central Chinese city recorded its last infection, children have returned to school and the shopping centres are buzzing. “Wuhan, we can” proclaimed stickers pressed onto the arms of passers-by during a tightly orchestrated tour for foreign businessmen and media this month. The city once synonymous with China’s pandemic failings is the focus of a Communist Party propaganda blitz hailing “victory” over the virus. The turnaround is dramatic.
26th Sep 2020 - The Times

One in five will refuse Covid vaccine when it becomes available

A fifth of people in the UK say they are unlikely to get a coronavirus vaccine if one is approved, a study highlighting “concerning” levels of misinformation has found. Three-quarters (78%) of 17,500 adults surveyed by University College London (UCL) researchers said they would be “likely” to get vaccinated, with 49% saying they were “very likely” to do so. But 22% said this was unlikely, and one in 10 said this was “very unlikely”, with factors including worries about unforeseen effects, preferences for natural immunity, concerns about commercial profiteering, and mistrust of vaccine benefits.
26th Sep 2020 - Wales Online

Covid-19: Fewer than 0.1% fined for no masks on trains

Fewer than 0.1% of people stopped by police for not wearing masks on trains received a fine, figures have revealed. British Transport Police (BTP) said it stopped 14,726 people from 15 July to 15 August for failing to comply, resulting in 14 fixed penalty notices. The rules, introduced in June, state anyone travelling on public transport must wear a face covering. BTP said enforcement in the form of fixed penalty notices was only used as a "last resort". It said, from 30 July to 8 September, officers recorded 50,729 "interventions" with passengers not wearing face coverings, with 3,545 - 7% - of those told to leave the train.
26th Sep 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus: Even scientists can't agree on how society should fight COVID-19

Remember those early days in the COVID journey, where everyone talked about "following the science"? Looking back, it seems almost childishly naïve. Back then we were only just learning about concepts like "the R rate" or "T cell immunity," and Zoom quizzes were a novel way to spend an evening rather than something to shudder about. Now, six months after the first lockdown and facing rising infection levels again, we are cynical COVID-19 veterans. We now know that our scientists - like our politicians - are fallible. They disagree. We can't just blithely "follow the science" because there is no such thing as "the science" - just different interpretations of incomplete evidence.
26th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Tory split on coronavirus has seen off any joined-up strategy

It would help if the cabinet could agree. Yet for the past seven months it has remained deeply divided, squabbling over the scientific advice and what Covid-19 might mean for the nation’s health and jobs. Britons have become familiar with a bewildering, almost weekly stream of tactical policies, twisting this way and that, many of them in direct opposition to each other. There was no better example than Rishi’s dinners, the eat out to help out (EOTHO) subsidy that sent millions of people into pubs, restaurants and cafes during August. With only a few rules in place dictating how businesses should conduct themselves, it became a feeding frenzy. While many establishments invested in thermometer guns to test customers on entry, and rejected people calling themselves Minnie Mouse for the purpose of track and trace, many did not.
26th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: police break up anti-lockdown protest in London

Police have broken up a protest in central London after thousands of people defied their advice and demonstrated against lockdowns, mass vaccinations, mandatory wearing of face masks and other coronavirus restrictions. The protest, organised by campaign groups including Save Our Rights UK, was called to mark six months since the passage of the Coronavirus Act, which gave the government wide-ranging powers to enact restrictions intended to curb the spread of the virus. Protesters began gathering from about midday, with the first speaker saying the demonstration was meant to be peaceful, and that it had been negotiated beforehand with the Metropolitan police, with a full health and safety impact assessment filed in advance.
26th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Italy president fires back at Boris Johnson over COVID remark

Italy's president has hit back at Boris Johnson after he suggested the UK had higher coronavirus infection rates because it was a more "freedom-loving country". In parliament this week, the prime minister was quizzed about why Germany and Italy appeared to have lower COVID-19 rates than Britain.
26th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Spain’s Covid response is plunged into chaos

Spain’s response to the worst resurgence of coronavirus in Europe was plunged into chaos on Friday as Madrid regional authorities defied a national government call to put the whole capital city under new restrictions. The dispute highlights the governance crisis that has accompanied the pandemic in Spain and the lack of political consensus over how to handle it. It signals a more difficult phase of managing coronavirus around the world as winter looms and infections accelerate, with efforts to build up locally differentiated responses and people more reluctant to comply with harsh restrictions on public life and business activity.
26th Sep 2020 - Financial Times

Boris Johnson's 10pm pubs curfew was based on 'back of a fag packet calculations'

Insiders said new restrictions departed from advice given by PM's top scientists Sage 'increasingly frustrated' they are being both overruled and scapegoated Measures announced Tuesday force pubs and restrautants to close at 10pm
26th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Trump Administration Took $300 Million From CDC For Covid-19 Coronavirus Ad Campaign, Report Says

Gee what should you do with $300 million during the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that has already killed over 200,000 Americans? Support medical and public health research into better understanding the virus, its spread, and its control? Improve testing and surveillance? Deliver more masks and personal protective equipment to health care personnel and others? How about start an advertisement campaign to "defeat despair" that features video interviews with Trump administration officials and celebrities? After all, why deal with a problem when instead you can make people believe that it is not a problem?
26th Sep 2020 - Forbes

Coronavirus: Whitty and Vallance faced 'herd immunity' backlash, emails show

As the UK introduces fresh restrictions on social contact to curb the spread of coronavirus, controversy continues to rage about whether the government had initially considered trying a very different approach. At the start of the pandemic, the government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, spoke about "herd immunity" - the idea that once enough of a population had been exposed to the virus, they would build up natural immunity to it. Sir Patrick and the government have both insisted this was never official policy. The government also denies there was any delay in locking down the country, as some critics have suggested. Emails obtained by the BBC reveal the alarm among the government's top scientific advisers at the reaction to Sir Patrick's words. In one email from March, Sir Patrick asks for help to "calm down" academics who have expressed anger at his repeated references to herd immunity and the delays in announcing a lockdown.
25th Sep 2020 - BBC

Rising Virus Cases in Europe Spark Political Clash in Spain

The pressure mounting on European leaders to contain the resurgent coronavirus pandemic boiled over in Spain as the region reemerges as a global hot spot. Tensions erupted into a public spat, with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government urging local Madrid officials to lock down the entire city. The proposal was promptly rebuffed by the capital region’s administration, which is controlled by the biggest opposition party to Sanchez’s coalition. Europe’s biggest economies are experiencing a disquieting spike in infections, adding to risks weighing on a slowing recovery. Officials in Italy and France are facing new questions about intensive-care capacity, and U.K. daily cases remained at the highest level yet. Italy reported more than 1,900 new infections, the most since May 1.
24th Sep 2020 - Bloomberg

The bogus Steve Bannon-backed study claiming China created the coronavirus, explained

A controversial new study getting attention in US conservative media claims the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab — but the group behind the report is intimately linked to a prominent Trump ally and known China hawk: Steve Bannon. And all I spoke to said the study is deeply flawed. The article popped up on September 14 on Zenodo, a website for scientists and academics to upload their work before it has gone through any formal peer-review process. Right-wing media outlets like the New York Post quickly seized on the paper’s conclusion that the virus that causes Covid-19 was potentially man-made at a Chinese facility. The study’s lead author, the 36-year-old Yan Li-Meng, has already appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to say the Chinese government “intentionally” released the virus into the world. That’s an explosive allegation that if true would crack the unsolved mystery of the coronavirus’s origins. But despite the boldness of the paper’s claims, there’s considerable evidence that Chinese researchers didn’t bioengineer SARS-CoV-2 and that the government didn’t deploy it as a bioweapon.
18th Sep 2020 - Vox.com

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

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Boris Johnson took advice from Sweden's no-lockdown scientist before rejecting tougher coronavirus restriction

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was advised by the architect of Sweden's no-lockdown policy, Andres Tegnell, before announcing his new coronavirus restrictions this weel. The new restrictions, which include a curfew on bars and restaurants, fell short of much tougher measures reportedly being pushed by his own scientific advisers. Current data suggests the Nordic country is not experiencing a second wave, unlike the UK
24th Sep 2020 - Business Insider India

Opposition leaders fume at ‘insane’ virus lockdown

The heads of several opposition parties lashed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government for what they described as the policy failures that led to the harsh new lockdown restrictions set to go into effect on Friday. The full cabinet voted early Thursday to dramatically tighten the lockdown amid fears that the infection rate was spiraling out of control. The new restrictions come a week after the current lockdown began and as new daily confirmed infections neared 7,000 on Wednesday for the second day in a row.
24th Sep 2020 - The Times of Israel

Coronavirus: Students protest against China university lockdowns citing lack of virus cases, lack of cons

For example, at Shanxi University in central China, students have been put on strict lockdown and security guards were sent to attend the school gates at all times to ensure no students left the campus without approval from school administrators, according to student Zhang Li.
24th Sep 2020 - The Times of India

Public not to blame for second wave of Covid-19, says Keir Starmer

The public are not to blame for a resurgence of coronavirus and have been let down by the government, Keir Starmer has said in a televised address following the prime minister’s broadcast on Tuesday night. The Labour leader’s remarks pointing the finger at government incompetence come in stark contrast to Boris Johnson’s address, where he appeared to suggest that “freedom-loving” Britons would be to blame if more draconian restrictions were applied. “The British people have done everything asked of them. But I’m afraid the government has not,” Starmer said.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

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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

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 - 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

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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

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

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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 - The 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

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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

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 News

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

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

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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 - AlJazeera

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

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

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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

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

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

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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

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

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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 - The 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

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

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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

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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 India

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

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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

‘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 - AlJazeera

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

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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 - The 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

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

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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

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

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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 - Bloomberg Quint

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 - AlJazeera

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

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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 - The Telegraph

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

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

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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 - The 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

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

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 - AlJazeera

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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.au

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

‘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-e