| |

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 19th Oct 2020

News Highlights

Covid returns to New Zealand shores after Ardern re-election

New Zealand reported its first locally acquired case of Covid-19 in almost a month, just days after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a sweeping electoral victory on the back of her stellar track record of tackling the pandemic within the country's shores. However, the strict measures taken to contain the virus have also left several industries decimated, with economists predicting a long-lasting recession.

Second lockdown eased in Israel after dip in coronavirus cases

Israel has eased its unpopular second lockdown that was imposed a month ago to curb soaring infection rates. The country managed to reduce daily infections from 8,000 a day to less than 1,500 but harsh restrictions were imposed, including closing several businesses and confining citizens to within a kilometre of their homes.

Sweden may go on local lockdown route to restrict coronavirus cases

Sweden, which had initially adopted an unconventional approach to tackling the pandemic and avoided lockdowns, may change tack and introduce local lockdowns to stem the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country. Several countries in Europe have already imposed restrictions in the face of rising cases in the second wave of the pandemic and Sweden may join them by banning people from meeting in public places such as shopping centres, concerts and swimming pools.

Night curfew imposed in parts of France as cases rise

A night curfew has been imposed in Paris and eight other cities in France as health authorities fight to curb a steep rise in new coronavirus infections in the country. France reported more than 55,000 new cases of Covid-19 over the weekend and several hundred deaths. The 9pm to 6am curfew will affect nearly a third of the country's population and people will need a certificate for permitted activities such as travelling to or from work, or visiting dependent relatives or walking a dog.

Lockdown Exit
People sent to nonexistent Covid test centre in Sevenoaks
People with suspected Covid-19 symptoms were on Sunday sent to a nonexistent site in Kent, in what was seen as a further blow to England’s failing test-and-trace system. Council officials in Sevenoaks said the address had been listed on the government website for people to arrange appointments on the national booking portal. However, the mobile testing unit, which was meant to be introduced in response to a local rise in coronavirus rates, was not deployed to start on site today for “an unknown reason”, according to a spokesperson. This led to reports of some people driving around the facility for up to an hour before realising it was not operational.
China Will Likely Show Covid-19 Recovery Can Be Real: Eco Week
China is about to show the world that its economy is pulling further out of the chasm created by the coronavirus, setting it apart from other nations struggling to avoid renewed lockdowns. “Right now, China has basically put Covid-19 under control,” People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said on Sunday in a webinar organized by the Group of 30. “In general, the Chinese economy remains resilient with great potential. Continued recovery is anticipated which will benefit the global economy.” Yet even amid the strengthening domestic recovery, the prospect of renewed closures amid spiking infection rates in Europe and elsewhere comes with uncertain prospects for China, which has relied on exports and manufacturing to help spur its rebound.
Covid: Greater Manchester running out of hospital beds, leak reveals
Greater Manchester is set to run out of beds to treat people left seriously ill by Covid-19, and some of the region’s 12 hospitals are already full, a leaked NHS document has revealed. It showed that by last Friday the resurgence of the disease had left hospitals in Salford, Stockport and Bolton at maximum capacity, with no spare beds to help with the growing influx. The picture it paints ratchets up the pressure on ministers to reach a deal with local leaders over the region’s planned move to the top level of coronavirus restrictions.
We must ensure all children return to school after lockdown
Anton Leschen is the general manager, Victoria, at children’s education charity The Smith Family. He writes about the importance of ensuring all children can return to school after lockdown. "For thousands of Victorian families, lockdown 2.0 isn’t just a tough time to be endured, it has come to represent a compounding moment when thousands of young people stand at a critical crossroads. Before our second lockdown, the Grattan Institute estimated students from disadvantaged backgrounds may be learning less than 50 per cent of what they would in the classroom, due to school closures. That was in June. Since then, the majority of Victorian students continued with home learning, and the challenges, especially for vulnerable students, have been exacerbated. And students living in poverty were behind in their learning even before COVID-19."
Australian expats in Sweden share what life is like under the country's unconventional pandemic approach
When the pandemic hit, Sweden made the unconventional decision to not impose any lockdowns, unlike most of its European neighbours. Instead, its strategy relied heavily on people taking personal responsibility for protecting themselves and those around them from the virus. Its decision to go its own way made it a popular topic of debate for international health professionals, news organisations and political pundits alike. Those against lockdowns point to it as an example other nations should follow, but others who favour stringent public health measures highlight the country's coronavirus death toll, which is significantly higher than its Nordic neighbours. So what's it been like living through Sweden's great coronavirus experiment? The ABC spoke with several Australian expats living across the country to get their thoughts.
New Zealand reports first locally acquired Covid case in three weeks
New Zealand has reported its first locally acquired case of Covid-19 in more than three weeks on the heels of a sweeping electoral victory for Jacinda Ardern’s Labour party, dealing a blow to hopes the country had eliminated transmission of the virus within its shores. The positive test was recorded on Saturday — election day in New Zealand — by a person who worked on ships docked at ports in Auckland and Taranaki. Authorities said the case had been caught early and the risk is contained, while close contacts of the man are undergoing testing and hotels where he stayed are deep cleaned.
New Zealand's Ardern wins 'historic' re-election for crushing COVID-19
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered the biggest election victory for her centre-left Labour Party in half a century on Saturday as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to COVID-19. National leaders were decimated in their strongholds by young Labour candidates who appealed to voters with progressive, democratic messages, and highlighted the party’s success in beating coronavirus. Life is back to normal in New Zealand, but its borders are still shut, its tourism sector is bleeding and economists predict a lasting recession after the harsh lockdowns
As new wave of COVID-19 cases hits, remote work becomes the norm
Gina DeRosa was thrilled when her year-long internship at the Department of Education in Pennsylvania in the United States turned into her first full-time job out of college. But two months into her role, DeRosa has never met her colleagues in person. Trained entirely online by her supervisor, who she had met prior to Philadelphia’s COVID-19 lockdown, DeRosa interacts with her coworkers exclusively over Zoom.
Coronavirus test results must come in 24 hours, says Sage scientist
A massive expansion of testing will still leave Britain struggling to keep Covid-19 infections under control unless the system can inform people they are positive within 24 hours, one of the government’s most senior scientific advisers has warned. Ministers have insisted that they are on course to hit a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of the month, with suggestions this weekend that capability of a million tests a day could be reached by Christmas. However, Graham Medley, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and chair of its subcommittee on modelling, said that returning test results “ideally within 24 hours” was as critical as capacity in a successful test-and-trace system. He said if necessary, capacity should be curbed in favour of speed
Exit Strategies
Israel Eases Second Lockdown as Covid-19 Cases Subside
Israel on Sunday began to emerge from its unpopular second nationwide lockdown following a month of restrictions that helped suppress coronavirus infections. After four weeks of closing most businesses and confining Israelis across the country to one kilometer around their homes—one of the most sweeping efforts to combat a second outbreak of Covid-19—Israel was able to reduce the infection rate from more than 8,000 new cases a day to under 1,500. The lockdown will be further eased in the coming weeks and months if infections don’t rise again.
NHS Covid-19 app users sent incorrect risk-level change alerts
Users of the NHS coronavirus app for England and Wales have reported receiving confusing notifications that the risk level in their area has changed in ways that contradict official government guidance. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said on Saturday it had identified and resolved the problem, which affected updates made to the app’s postcode alert system on Friday evening.
Italy agrees on $4.7bn fund to compensate companies during COVID-19 pandemic
The Italian government has moved to approve a new stimulus package to support its economic rebound from the COVID-19-induced recession, it said on Sunday. Among other measures, the package is to include a €4bn ($4.7bn, £3.6bn) fund to help companies worst hit by lockdowns throughout the country. After late-night cabinet deliberations on Saturday, the ruling coalition agreed a preliminary deal for its 2021 budget, a source said. The Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte is on Sunday also expected to announce new measures to curb a second wave of the virus
Covid pandemic has peaked in India; can be controlled by end of Feb 2021: Govt-appointed panel
A government-appointed panel on Sunday said initial coronavirus-induced lockdown saved large number of lives and avoided creating widespread panic. The 'Covid-19 India National Supermodel' committee led by Professor M Vidyasagar (IIT Hyderabad) made the finding in its study titled 'Progression of the Covid-19 pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts'. On 1 June, the Department of Science and Technology constituted a committee comprising of eminent scientists and academicians to evolve a national supermodel for Covid-19 progression.
Australia's COVID-19 hotspot partially eases lockdown
Australia’s state of Victoria, the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, will see more freedom of movement as of Monday after months-long restrictions, but retailers and restaurants must wait longer, making some of the owners unhappy. After more than 100 days in a strict lockdown that allowed only for two hours of outdoor activity a day, the 5 million people living in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, will be able to spend as much time exercising outdoors as they wish. However, people must stay within 25 kilometres (15 miles) of their homes, Premier Daniel Andrews said. Public gatherings will remain tightly limited, and retailers and restaurants must operate only on take-away or delivery orders, with the state government eyeing their reopening by Nov. 1.
Coronavirus: Israel set to ease second lockdown as infections fall
Israel's government has agreed to ease a month-long second nationwide lockdown, after a significant decline in the number of new coronavirus cases. From Sunday, people will be permitted to go more than 1km (0.6 miles) from their homes for non-essential purposes; nurseries will reopen; and restaurants will be able to serve takeaway food. Beaches, nature reserves and national parks will also reopen for visitors. The prime minister declared the lockdown had been a "major success". Israel has reported 300,000 Covid-19 infections and 2,128 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Partisan Exits
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Continued Lockdown
The Coronavirus Slayers: Meet The Female Leaders On India’s Covid-19 Frontline
KK Shailaja makes for an unlikely national hero. But the bespectacled, sari-clad, 63-year-old minister of health and social justice – and former science teacher – was an early beacon in India, thanks to her foresight and fast thinking in preparing her state, Kerala, for the pandemic. It is thanks to the quick intervention of the Coronavirus Slayer (as she became known in the Indian press) that the state still has such low mortality rates from Covid-19. In June, Shailaja was recognised for her efforts by the UN.
Missteps made Victoria's lockdown harder than it needed to be
Jacinda Ardern’s historic victory in the New Zealand elections shows that voters will reward leaders who make them feel safe. Ms Ardern will lead the first NZ single-party majority government since 1993 thanks to her success in stopping COVID-19 and keeping deaths down to just 25. Whatever concerns Kiwis have about the economic implications of the hard lockdown – an issue that is far from settled – seem to have been a secondary consideration. The Australian toll has been much higher largely because of the second wave in Victoria, which has contributed to the deaths of more than 700 people since June. It is hard to make direct comparisons but it is safe to say Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has not been nearly as effective in keeping his citizens safe. Failures in hotel quarantine and a lack of confidence in the state’s contact system mean the Stage 4 lockdown imposed on August 3 have gone on for too lon
Melbourne salon owners defiant after opening despite lockdown laws
The owners of a Melbourne hair salon have been fined close to $10,000 and threatened with arrest after they opened their doors, despite the coronavirus lockdown laws. The Hughesdale business owners' efforts attracted a small crowd of support, but Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said the move was counter-intuitive. However, owner Jomana Najem had strong words for the government.
Scientific Viewpoint
Coronavirus: UK facing 'tough' Christmas, Sage scientist warns
Christmas is unlikely to be the "usual celebration" of "families coming together", a leading scientist has said. Jeremy Farrar, who sits on the Sage committee that advises the government, warned it would be a "tough" Christmas. The Wellcome Trust director also told Sky News there was "light at the end of the tunnel" as he believed a vaccine would be ready early in 2021. PM Boris Johnson has warned things will be "bumpy to Christmas and beyond". Earlier this week, Prof Farrar told BBC Newscast arguments between Westminster and local leaders were "very dangerous" and also that a circuit-breaker, or a short, limited lockdown, was needed now.
Why You Shouldn't Panic About Covid-19 Reinfection Yet
The first confirmed case of Covid-19 reinfection in the United States was announced this week. A 25-year-old Nevada man tested positive for the virus in April, recovered, then fell ill and tested positive again in June. His situation, which was described in a case report in The Lancet this week, has grabbed headlines for many reasons. The man was young and healthy with no underlying conditions. He not only contracted Covid-19 twice, but his subsequent infection was much more serious. He developed breathing problems and had to be hospitalised.
Researchers hope Covid-19 testing programme developed in Norwich could be used across country
Scientists in Norwich who helped develop a Covid-19 testing programme are hoping to roll it out to other academic institutions. The Norwich Testing Initiative (NTI) was developed on the city's research park, and was a collaboration between the Earlham Institute, University of East Anglia, The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, the John Innes Centre, the Quadram Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory. The project was designed to identify the resources, facilities and expertise needed to run a regular testing programme on people not displaying symptoms. The Office for National Statistics has estimated that as many as 80% of cases are asymptomatic or presymptomatic. it was hoped the NTI would help keep prevent rapid virus spread.
Germany’s ‘bottom-up’ testing keeps Covid-19 at bay
“It is much more expensive to test too little, than to test too much”. That is the mantra Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, has repeated for months as the country mobilised a vast network of private and public laboratories to quadruple its early Covid-19 testing capacity to almost 1.6m tests per week. Such early interventions helped the EU’s most populous state tame the coronavirus pandemic more successfully than most of its neighbours. Germany’s 361,000 infections represent just a fraction of the 4.5m in Europe so far, significantly lower than the 936,000 cases in Spain and the 708,000 cases in the UK, both of which have much smaller populations.
Is tracking down every super spreader the REAL key to beating Covid-19? An approach that pinpoints the start of an outbreak may be twice as effective - as evidence shows just ...
As an average, R number masks differences in individuals and how virus behaves Studies suggest about one in five who catch Covid-19 gives it to someone else Scientists say 'super-spreaders' may be behind 80 per cent of all new infections If true, current tactic used by NHS Test and Trace is at best a waste of resources
Scientists worry whether COVID-19 vaccine will make a difference with 51 percent saying won't take
'Operation Warp Speed' aims to deliver 300 million doses of a vaccine to Americans by January 2021. Hundreds of vaccines are in the pre-clinical testing phase, but only four are currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and some of them have run into problems. More than half of Americans in a recent poll say they won't get a shot High-profile personalities such as Elon Musk have also said they will not be taking the vaccine. It has fed the growth of the anti-vaxxer movement with many deciding not to take the jab along political party lines. Scientists worry that if fewer than 70 percent of the population receive the injection, herd immunity will not be reached and its effectiveness will be lost
Covid-19: Most vulnerable 'could get vaccine by Christmas'
A Covid vaccine could be given to some of the most vulnerable people "this side of Christmas", according to the chairwoman of the UK Vaccine Taskforce. But limited supplies would mean the government would have to decide who should get it, and when. Kate Bingham also said a vaccine will not be "a silver bullet" that would allow life to get back to normal overnight. And she warned that it was unlikely to protect everyone from infection. Ms Bingham said she was optimistic that a vaccine would be found that would "protect some people from infection and can reduce the severity of symptoms". But she said it was "very unlikely" to be a single jab and that ongoing revaccination would be needed - probably every few years.
Covid-19: NHS trials drones to carry tests and equipment
An NHS drone is being used to carry Covid-19 samples, test kits and protective equipment between hospitals. The trial in Essex aims to establish a network of secure air corridors for drones to navigate via GPS. They will initially fly between Broomfield Hospital, Basildon Hospital and the Pathology First Laboratory in Basildon. The project is being funded through a share of a £1.3m grant from the UK Space Agency.
Hundreds queue in Yiwu, China for experimental Covid-19 vaccine
A city in eastern China has started offering a coronavirus vaccine to the general public - although it has not yet completed clinical trials. Hundreds of people have been queuing outside a hospital in Yiwu, where nurses are administering the injections for a fee of around $60 (£45).
UK faces tough Christmas during very difficult winter, Sage expert warns
It's now seven months since care homes first shut their doors, denying many residents not only the precious touch of loved ones but also the regular comfort of a song and dance, or a hair cut. Some are now facing the prospect of a winter isolated from their friends and families as a second wave of Covid-19 gives way to fresh restrictions. At the age of 89, Blumah Samuels still loves singing and dancing to the old classics. She used to dance around her care home's lounge, shaking a maraca to Carmen Miranda's I Like You Very Much. Now, Blumah - who has Parkinson's dementia - is simply "existing", says her daughter, Lesley Lightfoot, 61. Back in March, care homes - which house about 400,000 elderly people in the UK - shut their doors as the coronavirus pandemic surged. Their aim was to keep infections down by limiting the number of people who would regularly come into homes.
The Spanish Ministry of Health Publishes Todays Coronavirus Figures
Spain’s Ministry of Health has reported 15,186 new cases, 6,591 diagnosed in the last 24 hours and 222 deaths from coronavirus, on the worst recorded day of the crisis this week. In Spain, there are now a total of 936,560 confirmed cases, with 33,775 deaths being reported, according to the latest official data. It is worth remembering though that 26.939.337 people have recovered since the epidemic in Spain began. The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has written to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and asked that all airports in EU member states with international traffic be governed by a “single regulation ”On the control measures for COVID-19. These “homogeneous protocols” would serve “to prevent the spread of the pandemic across borders,” says Díaz Ayuso.
COVID-19 in Spain: a predictable storm?
The Spanish health system's four pillars—governance, financing, delivery, and workforce—were already fragile when they were overwhelmed by COVID-19 in March. A decade of austerity that followed the 2008 financial crisis had reduced the health workforce and public health and health system capacities. Health services are understaffed, under-resourced, and under strain. With 5·9 nurses per 1000 inhabitants, Spain has one of the lowest ratios in the EU (where the average is 9·3 per 1000), and too often relies on temporary contracts that can run for just a few days or weeks. Granular data surveillance is key for understanding and responding to an outbreak. For Sergi Trias-Llimós and colleagues, writing in The Lancet Public Health, the data currently published at the country and regional levels are insufficient to understand the dynamics of the epidemic. They call on authorities to provide comprehensive data updates on tests, cases, hospitalisations, intensive care unit admissions, recoveries, and deaths, all disaggregated by age, sex, and geography.
Are we near to having a vaccine for Covid-19?
In March, Boris Johnson said we would turn the tide in 12 weeks and “send the coronavirus packing” and by May ministers were boasting of having a vaccine by September. Last week the prime minister sounded far less confident, telling MPs that there was still no vaccine for SARS, 18 years after it emerged. A vaccine may not be far away though. Studies - The World Health Organization is tracking 196 vaccine studies. Of these, 42 are undergoing clinical trials on humans, and eight are in phase three: large-scale trials to test their effectiveness. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have developed a vaccine based on a virus taken from chimpanzees, but the trial stopped for a week after one volunteer fell ill – it is continuing in the UK but not the US. Another, Novavax, is launching a larger phase three trial after a study of 10,000 volunteers in the UK.
British COVID-19 testing adviser calls for 'circuit-breaker' lockdown
A professor who has advised the British government on its COVID-19 testing programme said on Saturday a short nationwide lockdown was needed due to “eye-watering” levels of infection in parts of England. As a second wave of infections gathers pace, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has favoured local restrictions in areas where cases are surging - hoping to shield the economy by allowing the least-affected regions to remain open. Johnson reiterated on Friday his belief in a localised approach rather than a new, temporary national lockdown, even as half of the United Kingdom’s people live in places subject to enhanced COVID-19 restrictions.. But John Bell, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, said the current measures did not go far enough and called for a brief but strict national lockdown - known as a “circuit-breaker”.
Coronavirus UK: Senior Government advisor Sir John Bell says UK needs national lockdown
Sir John Bell, Oxford University professor of medicine, warned there is an 'eye-watering' number of cases. The senior Government adviser claimed only a national circuit-breaker lockdown would suppress the virus. Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary, also indicated that he would support a second national shutdown Britain recorded 15,650 cases yesterday and 136 deaths as 28 million people were plunged into lockdown. London was moved into a Tier 2 lockdown last night, with police battling a protest in Soho last night
UK ‘sleepwalking’ to mental health crisis as pandemic takes its toll
Britain is sleepwalking into a mental health crisis as the government struggles to deal with the monumental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Health experts and charities have told the Observer the coming winter will devastate the mental wellbeing of the nation as lockdown uncertainty, fear, isolation and loneliness are exacerbated by the colder and darker months ahead. In England, the Centre for Mental Health has predicted that up to 10 million people – almost a fifth of the population – will need mental health support as a direct consequence of Covid-19, with 1.5 million of those expected to be children and young people under 18. The effect on patients with pre-existing mental health problems and on those from underprivileged backgrounds is even greater, painting a bleak picture for those already suffering.
Coronavirus: Only around 1/3 of French respondents would take COVID-19 vaccine, Euronews poll shows
Only little more than a third of French respondents would take a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine, a Euronews-commissioned survey has revealed. France is among the worst-hit countries in Europe from the disease, with more than 33,000 deaths as of October 16. But just 37% of French people questioned would take a low-cost vaccine if it came available in the next year. This compares starkly to several of France's neighbours, where a majority say they would get vaccinated. Respondents in the United Kingdom were keenest, with 63% backing vaccination, followed by Germany (57%) and Italy (55%).
Remdesivir and interferon fall flat in WHO's megastudy of COVID-19 treatments
One of the world’s biggest trials of COVID-19 therapies released its long-awaited interim results yesterday—and they’re a letdown. None of the four treatments in the Solidarity trial, which enrolled more than 11,000 patients in 400 hospitals around the globe, increased survival—not even the much-touted antiviral drug remdesivir. Scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) released the data as a preprint on medRxiv last night, ahead of its planned publication in The New England Journal of Medicine. Yet scientists praised the unprecedented study itself and the fact that it helped bring clarity about four existing, ”repurposed” treatments that each held some promise against COVID-19. “It’s disappointing that none of the four have come out and shown a difference in mortality, but it does show why you need big trials,” says Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. “We would love to have a drug that works, but it’s better to know if a drug works or not than not to know and continue to use it,” says WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan.
Pfizer may seek US green light to use COVID vaccine in late Nov
Pfizer Inc said on Friday it may file for United States authorisation of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech in late November, making it unlikely a vaccine will be available before the US election as President Donald Trump has promised. Pfizer said that it may say if the vaccine is effective as soon as this month based on its 40,000-person clinical trial but that it also needs safety data that will not be available until November at the earliest. The Pfizer news, published in a letter from its chief executive on its website, lifted the US stock market and the company’s shares. Shares were up slightly in rival vaccine maker Moderna Inc, which is close to Pfizer in its vaccine development. “So let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said.
Covid: Row over regional rules 'damaging to public health', scientist warns
The row over England's three-tier regional Covid restrictions is "very damaging to public health", a scientist advising the government has warned. Talks between Westminster and local leaders over moving Greater Manchester and Lancashire to the toughest tier of rules are due to resume later. Manchester's Labour mayor said northern England had been treated with contempt. But Dr Jeremy Farrar warned making it a north-south or party political issue was "a very dangerous route". The Wellcome Trust director, who also sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told the BBC's Newscast podcast countries that had controlled the virus well so far - including South Korea and New Zealand - had a "national consensus about the way forward".
Coronavirus Resurgence
Ireland to impose nationwide COVID-19 curbs on Monday - minister
Ireland will bring in “decisive” nationwide COVID-19 restrictions on Monday but will stop short of reintroducing the kind of lockdown imposed earlier this year, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said on Sunday. The government rejected a recommendation by health chiefs two weeks ago to jump Level 5, the highest level of COVID-19 curbs, and instead tightened restrictions in a varied regional approach that Harris said was no longer sufficient. On Saturday, Ireland broke its record for the number of cases recorded in a single day for the fourth time in the space of a week, bringing cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days to 232, the 12th highest rate among the 31 countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Fauci warns that Covid-19 infection rates are too high heading into winter
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 8 million on Friday as health officials from coast to coast scramble to contain the rising rate of infections. The case numbers are steadily increasing daily, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country has averaged more than 53,000 new daily cases for the past week -- an increase of more than 55% in just over a month -- and Friday's caseload was not the exception, according to Johns Hopkins data.
Fauci says COVID-19 numbers would have to 'get really, really bad' before another national lockdown
Fauci made the remarks in a 60 Minutes interview, set to air in full on Sunday The top doctor says public health measures, such as mask wearing and social distancing, should be kept up in order to avoid another lockdown. His comments come as the US records its highest number of daily infection numbers in more than two months. There are widespread fears a second national lockdown could be imminent as the weather cools and case numbers continue to rise. On Friday, America surpassed 8 million COVID-19 infections and 218,000 deaths
As cases rise again, second thoughts on another lockdown
As COVID-19 cases have risen in Massachusetts and around the country, a public still hearing the echo of “flatten the curve” has begun bracing for — and dreading — a potential wintertime shutdown. So far, though, elected officials, including Governor Charlie Baker, have largely resisted saying if they would issue a new round of stay-at-home orders. And, increasingly, public health experts say they might not need to. “Lockdown is a blunt measure that impacts the whole population,” said Natalia Linos, executive director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. “We know that we will have pockets of outbreaks, and if we are able to quickly identify those pockets and shut them down, then we can prevent the situation where we have widespread exposure" that leads to wider lockdowns.
Europe’s New Covid Wave
One of the biggest falsehoods of 2020 is the notion that everyone other than the United States has a handle on Covid-19. This distortion undergirds Democratic and media criticism of President Trump and some governors for not locking down as aggressively as the Spanish or tracing contacts as assiduously as the Germans. If only this were true. Instead, most places that have been held forth as coulda-woulda-shoulda models for Washington are now in the grip of their second virus wave. Nor are their pandemic politics any less messy.
Europe's second wave raises threat of double-dip recession
Europe’s economy is sliding towards a double-dip recession, with economists warning that rising coronavirus infections and fresh government restrictions on people’s movement are likely to cut short the region’s recent recovery. Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands have all announced measures in the past week to contain the second wave of Covid-19 infections, with more expected in the coming days. Belgium on Sunday announced the closure of all bars and cafés for four weeks, while Switzerland widened its mandate for wearing masks. France put into effect a night curfew in Paris and other cities from Saturday. The measures follow a sharp rise in case numbers, with a number of European countries reporting record new daily infection figures over the weekend.
Covid-19’s first wave largely missed southern Italy. The second wave is hitting it hard.
Italy is about to test the value of "flattening the curve." When northern Italy became the epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, one urgent concern was that the country’s coronavirus outbreak would quickly spread to the less-prosperous south and overwhelm under-resourced regional health systems. That fear wasn’t realized. A strict nationwide lockdown largely contained the virus in the north and brought the outbreak under control. But now the virus is raging again, through Europe and through Italy, with a spike that is again hitting the north but this time also the south. In Campania, which includes Naples, the daily number of detected new cases is five times larger than March’s peak.
Italy to announce new COVID-19 restrictions as infections spike: PM's office
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will announce on Sunday another set of measures to counter the new wave of COVID-19 cases, his office said, after the country registered a new daily record in infections on Saturday. Conte’s office said the government is discussing new restrictions with local and health authorities, aiming to stem contagion while limiting the impact on individuals and businesses. Italy was the first major European country to be hit by COVID-19 and had managed to get the outbreak under control by the summer thanks to a rigid two-month lockdown on business and people’s movement. But infections have soared in recent weeks.
Italy Considering Tightest Restrictions Since National Lockdown
Italy is considering the tightest restrictions on nonessential activities since its national lockdown in a bid to contain a jump in new coronavirus cases, which topped 10,000 for the first time on Friday. Health Minister Roberto Speranza met with regional leaders Saturday morning to discuss the measures that are expected to be approved by Giuseppe Conte’s government as early as Saturday evening, according to three government officials, who asked not to be named in line with their policy. Speranza said businesses that come under the ban will receive some compensation, according to one of the officials. Conte’s plan is aimed at avoiding a new lockdown and reducing the potential economic impact, the officials said.
Spain’s Catalonia Surpasses 200 hospital Admissions and Reports over 2,846 New Infections
Catalonia, in northeastern Spain, has exceeded 200 hospital admissions into ICU and now has more than 2,846 new infections. The risk of regrowth for the autonomous community increases to 392.06 points, a rise of more than 20 points since this Friday- nine deaths have also been reported in the last 24 hours. According to the epidemiological evolution data updated this Friday by the Department of Health, the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic is 197,144, which represents 2,846 new infections since yesterday, of which 170,165 are positively confirmed by CRP tests.
Breaking: UK Coronavirus Hospital Deaths Five Times Higher Than a Month Ago
The UK’s coronavirus death toll increased by 86 in England, 15 in Scotland, five in Wales and two in Northern Ireland as tougher Covid-19 lockdown restrictions came into effect across the country. The figure now matches June’s total and is five times higher than a month ago. There are 675 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus as of yesterday, which is up by 46 in 24 hours. Of these patients, 62 were in intensive care, up by four. Wales’ death toll climbed to 1,708 after five more deaths were recorded. There were 674 new confirmed cases, taking the total to 34,679. More than half of England’s residents – 28 million people – are now living under Tier 2 and Tier 3 lockdowns after restrictions were tightened in places such as Lancashire, London, most of Essex and York.
Europe braces for impact of 2nd-wave pandemic restrictions
Millions of residents across Europe are bracing for what is likely to be a difficult winter ahead. After making the necessary sacrifices to get through the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring, Europeans enjoyed a period of relative freedom — to return to schools and bars, fly between countries and go on holiday. But rising infections in the last month have forced governments to consider tightening restrictions again. While some countries have seen COVID-19 case numbers return to what they were before the spring, others are being hit harder than ever. For example, the Czech Republic warned earlier this week that the country's medical system could be on the brink of a breakdown. "We are in danger of collapsing here," Interior Minister Jan Hamacek warned Czech media earlier this week. If the current outbreak, which saw a record 9,721 cases confirmed within a 24-hour period on Thursday, is not contained soon, Hamacek said, there will be "corpse freezers in the streets."
Coronavirus: Empty streets in France as curfew enforced
The streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted on Saturday night as a new curfew was enforced. The controversial overnight curfew is aimed at curbing the soaring Covid infection rate in France, which is one of Europe's coronavirus hotspots. There have been complaints from restaurant owners, whose businesses are already suffering after the two-month lockdown in the spring. New measures are also to be announced in Italy due to a rise in cases. Italy, which was the first European country to be hit significantly by Covid in the first wave, registered a record number of new daily cases on Saturday. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will announce fresh restrictions on Sunday.
France reports more than 25,000 new coronavirus infections in past 24 hours amid nightly curfews
The French health ministry has reported 25,086 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, after reporting a record 30,621 the previous day. It also reported that 122 people had died from coronavirus infection in hospitals in the past 24 hours, compared with 88 on Thursday (local time). Including deaths in retirement homes, the death toll increased by 178 on Friday. The total number of infections since the start of the year now stands at 834,770, and the cumulative number of dead at 33,303.
Paris under curfew as Europe battles soaring virus caseload
Millions of Europeans on Saturday faced tough new coronavirus restrictions as governments try to combat spiralling infections. Paris and other French cities are under a nighttime curfew which will last for at least a month, while England is banning mixed household gatherings in the capital and other areas and Italy's most populous region is limiting bar openings and suspending sports events. Cases of the disease which has upended life across the globe and wreaked social and economic havoc have been soaring beyond levels seen in the first wave earlier this year, when many countries sought to stem the tide with lockdowns of varying degree. In the face of the surge, governments have been forced to embark on ever tighter measures to control the pandemic's spread, while trying to avoid full-on lockdowns.
Russia shuns tough restrictions even as infections soar
It’s Friday night in Moscow, and popular bars and restaurants in the city center are packed. No one except the staff is wearing a mask or bothers to keep their distance. There is little indication at all that Russia is being swept by a resurgence of coronavirus infections. “I believe that everyone will have the disease eventually,” says Dr. Alexandra Yerofeyeva, an internal medicine specialist at an insurance company, while sipping a cocktail at The Bix bar in Moscow. She adds cheerfully: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” The outbreak in Russia this month is breaking the records set in the spring, when a lockdown to slow the spread of the virus was put in place. But, as governments across Europe move to reimpose restrictions to counter rising cases, authorities in Russia are resisting shutting down businesses again. Some regions have closed nightclubs or limited the hours of bars and restaurants, but few measures have been implemented in Moscow, which is once again the epicenter of the surge.
Hospitality industry: the case for a lockdown
From tomorrow, all bars, cafes and restaurants in Belgium are in lockdown the second enforced closure this year, introduced for one month in an attempt to slow or stop the growth of the coronavirus epidemic in the country. Bars and restaurants were closed down in March, at the start of the epidemic in Belgium, as were non-essential shops and other places where people might gather in close proximity.
New coronavirus restrictions come into effect across Europe as Angela Merkel warns of hard days ahead
Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases Saturday. "Difficult months are ahead of us," she said in her weekly video podcast. "How winter will be, how our Christmas will be, that will all be decided in these coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our behaviour." Meanwhile, new restrictions went into effect in several other European nations in an effort to staunch the resurgence of the pandemic.
Johnson eyes more local lockdown measures as COVID cases rise
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he would intervene with further localised restrictions to fight a rapidly growing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic after more of northwest England was put on the highest COVID alert level. Tougher restrictions were announced for Lancashire, but Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has resisted a move to put his area in the highest tier unless the government increases its financial support through the winter. "If agreement cannot be reached, I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester's hospitals and save the lives of Manchester's residents," Johnson said at a news conference.
Israel to require 14-day isolation for travelers from United Kingdom
Israel will require incoming travellers from the United Kingdom to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival under new coronavirus guidelines, information on an Israeli government website showed on Sunday. The infection rate in the UK has risen sharply in recent weeks, prompting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce tighter restrictions and local lockdowns. The UK had been one of 31 “green” countries from which travellers who meet a series of special requirements could enter Israel without a mandatory quarantine period. The UK’s status will change to “red” on Oct. 23, Israeli health ministry information showed.
Iran imposes new restrictions as COVID-19 deaths surpass 30,000
“The second time I was dealing with the virus, one night I was in so much pain that I said my prayers before going to sleep because I felt like I might not see another morning,” says Tehran resident Sadaf Samimi. The 29-year-old journalist told Al Jazeera she first tested positive for COVID-19 in July at her workplace and has since been working from home.
Paris Among Eight French Cities Under Curfew As Coronavirus Cases Rise In France
As coronavirus cases rise, the French government is putting Paris and seven other cities under curfew in an effort to avoid another nationwide lockdown. Paris will be under curfew tonight, along with several other cities in France, as part of the government's attempts to try to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus there while trying to avoid another nationwide lockdown that's damaging effect on the economy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley joins us from Paris. Eleanor, thanks for being with us.
Italy Imposes Curfew and Shutters High Schools After Weeks of Spiking Cases
Italy—once the European epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak and until this month an exemplar of how to contain the spread of a deadly pandemic—is heading back into a protracted state of lockdown as the government imposed a curfew to begin Saturday evening and announced the closure of all high schools until further notice. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has for weeks bristled at the thought of plunging the nation into a lockdown like the one it underwent in March, after cases and deaths rapidly spread through the country's north.
New virus restrictions in Europe; Merkel warns of hard days
Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases Saturday. “Difficult months are ahead of us,” she said in her weekly video podcast. “How winter will be, how our Christmas will be, that will all be decided in these coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our behavior.” Meanwhile, new restrictions went into effect in several other European nations in an effort to staunch the resurgence of the pandemic.
New Lockdown
Covid-19: Firms warn of 'catastrophic' impact of new coronavirus rules
Firms are calling for more financial support to avoid "catastrophic consequences" from tougher coronavirus restrictions. Without more help there could be mass redundancies and business failures, the British Chambers of Commerce warns. Its call for a new approach comes as tougher restrictions are imposed on large parts of the UK. The government said it had already put in place support worth more than £200bn to help firms cope. "We know this continues to be a very difficult period for businesses," a spokesman said. "That's why we have put in place a substantial package of support."
Lockdowns in Europe are a warning to the United States
The coronavirus is surging again in Europe, forcing harsh new restrictions in London and Paris as governments carefully weigh their next steps. That's bad news for the region's economic recovery — and puts the United States on notice ahead of a difficult winter. What's happening: Paris has imposed an overnight curfew. In London, people from different households are banned from meeting indoors. The measures are an attempt to stem the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases across the continent as hospital capacity again becomes a concern. Stocks in London, Paris, Milan and Frankfurt sold off sharply on Thursday before rebounding Friday. Markets aren't tanking like they did in March, but the quick change in climate still presents a cautionary tale.
Will there be a circuit breaker lockdown in England?
The Government recently implemented a new three-tier system which separates areas in the UK into different categories of Covid risk – Medium (tier one), High (tier two) and Very High (tier three). Each local area will have to follow the designated rules for their tier. It is hoped that areas with a higher number of cases will see a drop from the tighter restrictions of a higher tier, with the aim to avoid a national lockdown. But as pressure mounts to consider a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown – with a leaked letter suggesting Wales will enter a 17-day lockdown from Friday October 23 – what are the odds that Boris Johnson will place England under one? Could England go into a two-week lockdown if the tier system doesn’t work?
Sweden to Introduce Local Lockdowns as Coronavirus Cases Rise
Swedish authorities want to bring in local lockdowns to stem the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country. The move marks a new approach in Sweden‘s handling of the virus as the country has kept bars and restaurants open while the rest of Europe shut down in March this year. “It’s more of a lockdown situation – but a local lockdown,” said Johan Nojd, who leads the infectious diseases department in Uppsala. It comes as several European nations put into effect new measures and restrictions in an effort to curb the second wave of the coronavirus rapidly spreading across the continent, with cases skyrocketing. Coronavirus cases in the country have been gradually increasing since the start of September, dashing Sweden’s hopes for immunity.
Coronavirus in Poland: PM announces partial lockdown amid virus spike
Poland on Friday reported a new daily record of 132 coronavirus-related deaths and counted 7,705 new confirmed cases, amid fears the pandemic is testing the country's supply of hospital beds and ventilators.
Residents go for voluntary lockdown in Jaisalmer dist
Looking at the increasing Covid-19 cases, the general public has come up with voluntary lockdowns. In Nachana, a two-day successful voluntary close took place on Friday and Saturday while residents in Lathi have decided to go for a three-day voluntary lockdown from Sunday to Tuesday.
Police clash with crowds of drinkers as London plunged into tier 2 lockdown
The streets of Soho descended into chaos as some drinkers ‘refused to go home’ on the last night before London was plunged into tier two lockdown. Officers were seen leading some people away in handcuffs after crowds spilled out on the streets from pubs after the 10pm curfew on Friday. Pictures show people dancing and socialising, as Londoners enjoyed their last few hours before tighter restrictions were imposed. Anti-lockdown protesters, including Piers Corbyn, also gathered outside in the streets to chant ‘stick your new world order up you a**’ at officers.
Ireland to consider renewed lockdown advice from health chiefs
The Irish government is considering introducing more coronavirus curbs, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Friday, after local media reported that health chiefs had renewed calls for a second national lockdown. The government rejected a surprise recommendation by health chiefs to enter Europe’s first major second-wave national lockdown 11 days ago, instead tightening restrictions, including a nationwide closure of all indoor restaurant dining. Cases are now growing at a faster pace and Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said this week that his team had not retracted its lockdown advice. Holohan called for a jump to the highest level of COVID-19 curbs, Level 5, for six weeks in a letter to government, a number of local media reported.
Britain taking local COVID-19 measures to avoid national lockdown - Raab
Britain is taking a targeted approach to tackle a surge in COVID-19 cases with local restrictions to avoid another national lockdown and the associated damage to the economy, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Friday. “We are taking this approach, with the tiered approach (...) to avoid a national level lockdown,” he told BBC television. “A circuit breaker, which is effectively a temporary national lockdown, I think will be more drastic and more damaging for the economy.”
Lockdown 2.0: Europe reimposes painful curbs as infections surge
Countries across Europe are reimposing painful restrictions on public life as a surge in coronavirus infections heightens fears the pandemic is tightening its grip, bringing another public health emergency closer just as winter approaches. In Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland, infections hit record daily highs on Thursday while France imposed evening curfews on its biggest cities and Londoners faced new limits on socialising indoors. The resurgence of the virus is a huge setback for a continent that had largely succeeded in bringing infection rates down to manageable levels over the summer, after implementing tough lockdowns.