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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 26th Jun 2020

News Highlights

Lockdown measures ease but cases rise dramatically in India

India is closing in on half a million cases of the new coronavirus, with more than 15,000 fatalities, even as the country initiates measures to restart the economy. Health authorities are fearing the possibility of a second wave, even though the peak of the first wave is likely months away, and are suggesting that limited lockdown in hotspots, along with extensive contact tracing, is the way forward to contain a further surge of cases.

Limited lockdown measures brought back to Lisbon as cases rise

A wave of new coronavirus cases on the outskirts of the city of Lisbon has forced health authorities to impose stay-at-home restrictions in several parts of the Portuguese capital starting from next week. People living in the affected areas will be only permitted to leave home to buy essential food and medication or to travel to and from their workplaces.

In virus-hit Latin America, Paraguay and Uruguay stand as beacons of hope

Latin America has emerged as the current hotspot of the new coronavirus, with more than 50,000 people dying in Brazil alone. However, neighbouring Paraguay and Uruguay have both bucked the trend, with less than 40 deaths between them and far fewer cases, despite vast differences between the countries in terms of administration, poverty and corruption.

German: Expert says cooling systems in abattoir to blame for virus spread

A recent outbreak of cases in an abattoir led to 1,500 employees being found Covid-19 positive and lockdown reimposed in the German city of Gutersloh. According to a public health expert, aerosol droplets containing the virus spread throughout the slaughterhouse through the air filtration system.

Lockdown Exit
Texas Covid-19 cases soar weeks after state lifts lockdown restrictions – video
Texas reported an all-time daily high of 5,489 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, weeks after the state became one of the earliest in the US to ease its coronavirus lockdown measures. The significant increase in cases has left hospitals in Houston near capacity, with some adult ICU patients treated at Texas Children’s hospital
US Daily Coronavirus Cases Once Again At Peak As Lockdown Measures Lift
“Our #COVID19 numbers are moving in the wrong direction,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote on Twitter. He told the city council Wednesday that Houston’s intensive-care units were at 97% capacity, with more than one-quarter of patients infected with the coronavirus. Several states have considered imposing orders mandating that people wear masks outside. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) did so this week, saying the move was “about saving lives,” and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) followed suit, delaying reopening measures for at least three weeks. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut went a step further, announcing a travel advisory for visitors from a handful of states that have “significant community spread.” Those travelers will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the tri-state area.
Coronavirus: Europe cases rise for first time in months. WHO says
Health systems will be "pushed to the brink" if new outbreaks are not controlled
England leaves lockdown
On june 23rd Boris Johnson declared an end to “our great national hibernation”. Pubs, restaurants, hotels, heritage sites and hairdressers would be able to reopen from July 4th, he announced, albeit with dividing screens, lots of protective kit and doors wedged open “to reduce touchpoints”. Two households would be able to meet indoors, so long as they kept at a safe distance once there. Weddings would be allowed, too, so long as the guest list did not extend beyond 30 people. And the two-metre rule would become the “one-metre-plus rule”, with people encouraged to cover their faces, but allowed to get closer than they have in months
UK coronavirus deaths rise by 149 as lockdown lift looms ahead
A further 149 coronavirus deaths have occurred in the UK, the Department for Health and Social Care announced today. The new toll takes the total number of Covid-19 deaths in Britain to 43,081. The figure takes into account people who have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm yesterday. It does not include all deaths involving coronavirus in the UK, which are thought to have exceeded 54,000.
Once the Center of the Coronavirus Crisis, Europe Now Looks Ahead With Hope
After lockdowns, Europeans are cautiously optimistic that any second wave won’t be as bad as the first. When the coronavirus first hit Europe, the continent was ill-equipped to detect or contain it. Now, many governments and health experts believe so much has changed that a crisis on the scale of this spring’s probably won’t be repeated. More than a month since Europe began lifting its lockdowns, new coronavirus infections are continuing to decline in most countries, despite concern about some new clusters, including among meat-processing workers in Germany.
Europe sees surge in cases since lockdown eased says WHO
Europe has reported an increase in weekly coronavirus cases for the first time in months, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Hans Kluge, the regional director of the WHO in Europe, said the continent continues to report nearly 20,
Spain squashed coronavirus. Will British tourists undo all that hard work?
In this first round of the Covid-19 pandemic, two countries vie for the gruesome title of having suffered the most deadly consequences – Britain and Spain. Between them, they currently share 107,000 dead, measured in terms of excess mortality. The comparisons end there. Spain had Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdown, with children housebound for weeks and army patrols to enforce it. That has produced a dramatic tail-off. Spain’s mortality rate returned to normal on 10 May, after exactly two months of excess deaths compared with the same period over the previous five years. Britain continues to register excess deaths and, in the downward race to be the worst, has edged ahead. This is not just a matter of contrasting British failure with Spanish success. For, as Spain opens its frontiers, it threatens to become something else – a clash of Covid-19 cultures in which Spaniards can only lose.
France closes two Paris schools as precaution after coronavirus cases
French authorities have closed two schools in Paris as a precautionary measure after the discovery of coronavirus cases but they have not been classed as potentially dangerous clusters, authorities said Wednesday. France, unlike some other European countries which have taken a much more cautious approach, on Monday resumed obligatory schooling for all pupils after the coronavirus shutdown. Some schools had already been open at least partially for several weeks after the initial easing of the lockdown. But a school in the 12th district of Paris with 180 pupils has been closed until the end of the week after three cases were discovered, the local health authority told AFP.
What it's like to visit Paris post-lockdown
To preserve the ambience, Jégo was forced to rethink the layout of the restaurant he's helmed over the last 17 years. He quickly came up with a concept that takes the bistro back to its original roots, when it sold coffee, wine and sandwiches alongside newspapers and produce to the neighborhood locals nearly a century ago. The reinvented restaurant now features a small garden market in the front window that sells local produce -- cherries, heirloom carrots and tomatoes -- along with housemade paté and terrines. To draw in the after work and apéro crowd, bar stools, high tables and a tapas bar have been set up at the front of the bistro, while a separate space inside sells a selection of the chef's favorite wines. In a bid to make Chez L'Ami Jean more accessible, only a few reservations will be accepted at a time, according to the chef.
'Tears of joy': Eiffel Tower opens after 104-day virus lockdown
Tourists and Parisians ready for a workout gathered at the Eiffel Tower on Thursday as the iron monument reopened after its longest closure since World War II, a highly symbolic move as France emerges from its coronavirus lockdown. Journalists from around the world outnumbered about 50 people, mainly French, who began the steep climb by stairs to the first two levels, as elevators and the top observation deck will remain closed because of social distancing concerns. "I'm tearing up, but they're tears of joy. It's an emotional moment after these difficult months," said Therese, visiting from the southern French city of Perpignan.
Professional tennis set to return to Australia following lockdown
For the first time since March, professional tennis is returning to Australia. Competitors will play for prize money in a UTR pro series starting this weekend in Sydney. The series, which will involve local competition for Australia-based men and women according to the Associated Press, is set to probably run through August. Former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur is going going to take part in it, while top-ranked Ash Barty is opting out to focus on practicing instead. In Australia, players have returned to practice at the national tennis academy and community tennis has returned in recent weeks. Those participating must adhere to social distancing guidelines, but the moves have made way for tennis to return not just in the aforementioned Sydney, but also in other hub cities across the country.
'Stay away from us': New Zealanders returning home to Covid 'lifeboat' face backlash
Some Kiwis find a harsh homecoming amid concern about importing coronavirus after months of lockdown sacrifice by ‘team of 5 million’
Trump administration sent $1.4bn in stimulus checks to dead people
The Trump administration sent almost $1.4bn in coronavirus stimulus payments to dead people, according to its own watchdog’s report. In the report released on Thursday, the US Government Accountability Office (USGAO) said almost 1.1 million dead people received payments of about $1,200 each, as of 30 April. The payments were part of about $3tn in economic relief approved by Congress in March and April. The need for help remains: on Thursday it was revealed that another 1.48 million Americans filed for unemployment assistance last week, bringing the total since the pandemic began to about 47 million.
Exit Strategies
Uruguay and Paraguay buck Latin America coronavirus trend
Latin America has become the new centre of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic but two small countries, Uruguay and Paraguay, have bucked the regional trend and can claim a near total victory against the virus. Though they are strangely dissimilar – Uruguay is a progressive enclave with the lowest poverty index in Latin America, while Paraguay has poverty estimates of 30-50% and is rife with corruption – both nations have kept their coronavirus death rates surprisingly low. There have been just 13 deaths in Paraguay and only 25 in Uruguay so far, despite the porous land borders both countries share with Brazil, where the pandemic has claimed more than 50,000 lives. Free of the endemic corruption and political strife that has plagued most other Latin American nations in recent decades, Uruguay in March switched painlessly from 15 years of centre-left administration to the centre-right administration of its new president, Luis Lacalle Pou, who has maintained the social advances of the previous administration. Uruguayans can point to their long history of progressive social policies – including extensive public health coverage and almost 100% access to running water – as a key factor in containing the virus.
These are the countries seeing a surge in coronavirus cases
Despite successfully containing its COVID-19 outbreak, Vietnam has no plans to open up to international tourists yet over fears that doing so could lead to a second wave of infections, the Southeast Asian country's prime minister said on Wednesday. Thanks to an aggressive, targeted testing programme and a centralised quarantine system, Vietnam has contained infections numbers to a relatively low 352 cases, most imported.
US states put brakes on reopenings as new Covid-19 cases hit record
The US has suffered its biggest daily increase in new coronavirus cases since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting state governments and businesses to put the brakes on an easing of lockdown measures. Texas, California and Florida reported record increases in confirmed infections on Wednesday, lifting the nationwide tally by 38,672 and bringing it close to 2.4m, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The sudden rise prompted the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — states once at the heart of the US pandemic — to impose a two-week quarantine on visitors from states with elevated infection rates.
Easing Lockdown in England Raises Questions for Welsh Government
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister made a raft of announcements related to easing coronavirus restrictions in England. This included relaxing the 2 metre rule to 1 metre ‘plus’ and announcing that hospitality, tourism and some other businesses can reopen on 4th July, alongside some other changes. Whilst the Prime Minister’s announcement relates singularly to England, it does raise questions about how we ease out of lockdown around the UK, including here in Wales. This news will be welcomed by many businesses across the border and there will be inevitable pressure on Welsh Government to review how we can reopen more of Wales in a way that keeps Welsh businesses competitive with their English counterparts as well as ensures the safety of employees, customers and business owners themselves.
Life almost as we know it: England's lockdown changes on 4 July
As multiple lockdown measures are eased on 4 July, England will enter uncanny valley territory: life almost as we know it, but with notable exceptions. Weddings can go ahead at religious venues – but with a cap of 30 participants and no singing. Two households can meet indoors, but must make an effort to stay physically distanced. Hugs will have to wait for now. Playgrounds and pubs can open, but casinos and swimming pools will remain shut.
New shielding advice gives vulnerable people hope 'but the lockdown has been hard'
People deemed most vulnerable to Covid-19 received 'shielding' letters outlining restrictions which, while protecting them from the coronavirus, meant a more challenging lockdown. We spoke to two of them
Loved and loathed, Sweden's anti-lockdown architect is unrepentant
As the architect of Sweden’s unorthodox response to the coronavirus pandemic, Anders Tegnell has got used to receiving death threats and being urged to resign. But he says he has no plans to step down or step back and remains convinced that, over time, the anti-lockdown strategy that has seen his country break ranks with much of the world will prove its worth. “I think a number of countries should have thought twice before taking the very drastic measure of a lockdown,” he told Reuters in an interview. “That’s what’s experimental, not the Swedish model.”
Turkey not considering lockdowns despite rise in COVID-19 cases
Turkey has witnessed an increase in the daily number of infections after the government authorised cafes, restaurants, gyms, parks, beaches and museums to reopen and eased stay-at-home orders for the elderly and young at the start of June.
Spain to extend furlough schemes by three months until Sept. 30
Spain is set to extend until Sept. 30 national furlough schemes aimed at mitigating the effect of the coronavirus lockdown under a government agreement with labour unions and the main employers’ association, the labour ministry said on Thursday. Hard-hit sectors like hospitality will receive the most support, though other industries not yet able to return to normal activity will also be included. Originally due to expire on June 30, the current system of public aid, known as known as ERTEs, had been linked to Spain’s state of emergency, which ended on June 21. “Measures to protect workers and businesses will be adapted to the current context in order to continue supporting the most affected sectors,” the ministry said. The extension will be approved at a cabinet meeting on Friday.
Britons will be able to holiday in France, Spain and Italy from NEXT WEEK when the government unveils its first 'air bridges' after months of restrictions
Boris Johnson will give the green light to foreign holidays next Monday when the Government unveils its long-awaited travel corridor plan. Ministers will say Britons can visit any one of around ten countries without having to quarantine – reviving summer holidays after almost four months of travel restrictions. 'Air bridges' to France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey have been all but confirmed, sources disclosed, with the first flights set to take off on July 4.
U.S. Sets Record for Daily New Cases as Virus Surges in South and West
More than two months after the United States recorded its worst day of new infections since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation reached another grim milestone on Wednesday as it reported 36,880 new cases. The number of infections indicated that the country was not only failing to contain the coronavirus, but also that the caseload was worsening — a path at odds with many other nations that have seen steady declines after an earlier peak. Cases in the United States had been on a downward trajectory after the previous high of 36,739 cases on April 24, but they have roared back in recent weeks.
This easing of the lockdown offers nothing to Britain's performing arts sector, writes ADRIAN VINKEN
Try to imagine a world without your local theatre: Christmas without panto for the children, or trips to London’s West End. This joyless prospect came a step closer this week as the Prime Minister announced an easing of the lockdown that offered nothing to Britain’s once-booming performing arts sector. The irony is that – as thousands of workers face redundancy – the Government is allowing theatres to reopen from July 4, providing it is not for the performance of live theatre! At the Theatre Royal, Plymouth – one of Britain’s most successful regional theatres – we have had to let go of our freelancers and this week we started consulting on laying off 110 people: One-third of our full-time staff.
Japan business travellers first foreigners to be allowed back in Thailand
About 100 businesspeople per day from Japan – the largest foreign investor in Thailand – will be among the first foreigners allowed back into the country as the lockdown eases. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam made the announcement on Wednesday (June 24) after talks with Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) president Atsushi Taketani. The number of hotels acting as alternatives to state quarantine accommodation will also be increased, Wissanu added. The deputy PM said he was collaborating with the Foreign Ministry and related agencies to help foreign business operators in Thailand. Resolutions made would be proposed to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), he added.
Coronavirus: As queues grow, Covid-19 testing priorities change
Queues at some testing centres have grown longer than during lockdown, as people seek to be checked following news of new cases at the border. But the Ministry of Health on Thursday changed the rules for people seeking Covid-19 tests. The 'suspect' case definition has been removed, meaning greater priority will be given to those considered to have a higher risk of having the virus. The ministry denied the change would make it more difficult for others to get a test, saying instead that it allows those at higher risk to be managed better.
Masks and bleach: Europe's cities gear up for post-lockdown tourism
Anyone visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris when it reopens on Thursday will have to take the stairs - all 674 of them - because France’s iconic monument is keeping the lifts shut. After months of lockdown many Europeans are dreaming of a summer holiday, but vacations will look a bit different this year - breakfast buffets, guided tours and club nights may well be out; masks and temperature checks are definitely in. Tourist attractions from Rome’s Colosseum to Amsterdam’s Hermitage museum have introduced a slew of measures to minimise the risk of a new outbreak of coronavirus which has killed about 170,000 people in western Europe.
Afghanistan uses green stimulus to hire lockdown jobless, boost Kabul's water supply
Zaker Hussain Zaheri was a cook in Afghanistan’s capital who lost his job in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, he digs trenches to capture rainwater and snowmelt on a mountain on the outskirts of Kabul, as the city grapples with both a water and health crisis. Lockdown measures to curb the spread of the disease have taken their toll on Afghanistan’s economy, so the government is employing more than 40,000 jobless workers to rehabilitate groundwater supplies for its fast-growing capital. “This is a tough job, but I have to do it to earn enough for food, and I have pride that I take part in the reconstruction of my country, this is good for the future of our country,” Zaheri, 28, said.
Partisan Exits
Tony Blair: UK was too slow to lock down in face of coronavirus
The UK has been “badly hit” by coronavirus and even Government insiders acknowledge it had been too slow to lock down, Tony Blair said. The former prime minister said he sympathised with the challenge facing Boris Johnson as he decided how to respond at a time when there was a lot of uncertainty about the virus. But he said he would be less sympathetic if mistakes were made in the way the lockdown was eased.
Johnson Answers Questions About Lockdowns, Test & Track App
Considering Johnson’s announcement Tuesday that much of Britain would reopen, effective July 4, Starmer said local leaders across the country do not have the proper guidance or powers to implement lockdowns, should there be a spike in coronavirus cases. He asked Johnson to define what a local lockdown might look like and what guidance those leaders might expect to receive. Johnson dismissed Starmer’s criticism, saying the government had a “very effective cluster-busting operation” in place, and local governments understand how it works. Speaking about the National Health Service’s "track-and-trace" app, Starmer said 33,000 people are estimated to have COVID-19 in England, but only 10,000 people with the virus were reached by contact tracers. The opposition leader noted, "This is a big gap," and warned that if the app isn't running, "we can't open the economy." Johnson said the Labor leader was giving a "false impression" of what the NHS app is doing and said that it is a "formidable achievement." He said “no country currently has a functioning track-and-trace app.” Starmer noted Germany’s app, which reports say has been downloaded 10 million times. Italy, Singapore and South Korea also have tracing apps in use.
British PM Johnson dismisses criticism on local lockdowns, coronavirus app
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed criticism on Wednesday of his government’s plans to implement local lockdowns if there are flare-ups of the novel coronavirus and of an app to trace the spread of the virus. At prime minister’s questions in parliament, the opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer suggested both systems were not yet ready before England eases its coronavirus lockdown from July 4. In response, Johnson said: “We have a very effective cluster-busting operation which is designed to ensure that we keep those outbreaks under control. “I am not going to pretend ... that this thing is beaten or that the virus has gone away ... We have to remain vigilant and local councils will be supported in doing their vital work in implementing local lockdowns,” he added, challenging Starmer to find any other country that has a functioning tracing app. A spokesman for Starmer pointed to Germany, which has had a large number of people downloading its app, and a number of countries “which are far ahead of us in terms of developing their apps”, such as Singapore and South Korea.
Israel Announces Partnership With U.A.E., Which Throws Cold Water On It
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted a rare public opening between the two countries. Apparently, the Emirates was not ready for it. Mr. Netanyahu’s ebullient description was contradicted a few hours later when the Emirates issued a much more muted statement, announcing what it described as an agreement between two private Emirati companies and two Israeli companies to develop technology to fight the virus. The Emirati statement took the wind out of what Mr. Netanyahu had touted as a diplomatic coup, suggesting that despite the deepening ties, the two countries were still at odds over Mr. Netanyahu’s vow to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Continued Lockdown
Coronavirus: Young people 'more anxious during lockdown'
The number of young people experiencing anxiety has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, a study has found. Bristol-based Children of the 90s asked 7,000 people across two generations about their mental health and lifestyle before and during lockdown. The study found the number of 27-29 year olds experiencing anxiety rose from 13% to 24% and they were more anxious then their parents. Underlying conditions and financial worries may be behind the increase.
Illegal lockdown parties hosted in online rentals
Lockdown parties hosted in properties booked via online sites, including Airbnb and Booking.com, are putting "communities at risk", the Bed and Breakfast Association has said. Hosts and residents have complained of groups of up to 30 breaking social-distancing rules and taking drugs. BBC News has been told of several such parties in the past month. Airbnb said it had gone further than its rivals to protect public health during the pandemic. However, last week a man was stabbed at a party in a south London property police believe had been rented out via the platform.
Victorians with disabilities speak of 'lifetime lockdown' due to inaccessible public transport
The coronavirus pandemic has seen lockdown restrictions applied across Australia, forcing people to find new ways to interact, work and travel. But barriers like this are nothing new for the thousands of people with disabilities across regional Australia who struggle with unreliable access to public transport.
Roma across Europe seen as police target in lockdown
Roma communities across Europe have become a police target in lockdown, a report found on Wednesday, amid a sharpening global focus on racial equality and law enforcement. The report by Amnesty International, a human rights organisation, said Roma communities had faced tougher quarantines than citizens who posed a greater health risk. People returning from places with high rates of the new coronavirus - such as Italy - were not targeted by authorities with the same stringent measures as Roma communities, who were quarantined en masse in whole apartment blocks or streets, Amnesty researcher Barbora Cernusakova said.
Scientific Viewpoint
French consortium wins further approval for saliva-based coronavirus test
French technology company Vogo said a saliva-based product it was developing with partners to test for the coronavirus had won ‘CE marking approval’, denoting it meets required health standards set out by regulators. Vogo and its partners SKILLCELL and the CNRS SYS2DIAG laboratory aim to place their ‘EasyCov’ saliva-based coronavirus testing product on the market.
CDC chief says coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than reported
Agency expands list of people at risk of severe illness, including pregnant women. The number of people in the United States who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely to be 10 times as high as the 2.4 million confirmed cases, based on antibody tests, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. CDC Director Robert Redfield’s estimate, shared with reporters in a conference call, indicates that at least 24 million Americans have been infected so far. The antibody tests examine a person’s blood for indicators that the immune system has mounted a response to an infection. The serological surveys are being done around the country as epidemiologists try to measure the reach of the virus to date. Redfield said he believes 5 to 8 percent of the population has been infected so far.
CDC head warns pregnant women with COVID-19 face greater risks
Pregnant women have increased risk of severe COVID-19 compared to women who are not pregnant, the head of the US Centers for Disease Prevention Robert Redfield told reporters on Thursday, warning that states with rising coronavirus cases need to take action. The CDC has found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and to be put on mechanical ventilators than non-pregnant women, he said. The agency said that pregnant women did not have a higher risk of death. The added it does not have data yet on how COVID-19 affects the outcomes of those pregnancies.
Brazil university in talks to test Italian coronavirus vaccine
The Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) is in talks to test a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Italian researchers, the dean of the Brazilian university told Reuters. With the world's worst outbreak outside the United States, Brazil has become a key front in the global race for a vaccine, as vaccine clinical trials are likely to yield results faster in places where the virus is widespread. "We are already in advanced discussions with Italy's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute," Unifesp President Soraya Smaili said in an interview on Wednesday. "We expect to bring it here, the accord is already moving forward and we'll be able to do a lot of studies with this vaccine."
Virus cases surge in Americas as IMF warns of economic carnage
More than 78,000 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the US and in Brazil alone Wednesday, as the IMF laid out the unprecedented economic devastation caused by the global pandemic and the WHO warned the number of infections could reach 10 million worldwide within the next week. As many countries emerged from lockdown hoping to resurrect their economies, US states were reimposing virus restrictions and Brazilian experts were warning the country was sending people "to the slaughterhouse." The International Monetary Fund said that this "crisis like no other" would send the global GDP plunging by 4.9 percent this year and wipe out an astonishing $12 trillion over two years.
With coronavirus fading in UK, Oxford vaccine trial expands into hard-hit South Africa and Brazil
Britain's Prince William went to Oxford University on Wednesday to meet patients taking part in a human trial of a promising coronavirus vaccine. But with cases of COVID-19 plummeting in England, researchers fear the trial involving 10,000 people may not yield results conclusive enough to prove the vaccine works. They needed to test the drug in a place where more people are being exposed to the deadly virus. So, as the trial continues in England, researchers in South Africa and Brazil — where there are many more people contracting the coronavirus on a daily basis — have launched parallel human trials on the same candidate vaccine. The Oxford formula is one of about 120 potential vaccines being worked on by teams around the globe. Based on drugs that have proven successful against similar viruses, the Oxford team's vaccine has moved quickly into the large-scale human trial phase. Already there has been huge investment, including from the U.S., to ensure millions of doses can be available as soon as it's proven safe and effective.
Opinion: What models can and cannot tell us about COVID-19
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has already claimed more than 470,000 deaths worldwide at the time of this writing (1) and is likely to claim many more. Models can help us determine how to stop the spread of the virus. But it is important to distinguish between what models can and cannot predict. All models’ assumptions fail to describe the details of most real-world systems. However, these systems may possess large-scale behaviors that do not depend on all these details (2). A simple model that correctly captures these large-scale behaviors but gets some details wrong is useful; a complicated model that gets some details correct but mischaracterizes the large-scale behaviors is misleading at best. The accuracy and sophistication of a model’s details matter only if the model’s general assumptions correctly describe the real-world behaviors of interest.
Lockdown might be easing, but the NHS still needs protecting
This week, many doctors, including myself, were rightly disturbed by the results of the latest BMA survey. It found that more than a third of BAME doctors in the UK are still not being given access to potentially life-saving Covid-19 risk assessments – nearly two months after NHS England issued recommendations that risk assessments should be carried out for all staff as a precautionary measure. For white doctors, 42% said they haven’t had risk assessments yet. Results also showed that BAME doctors are still less likely to feel fully protected from coronavirus compared to their white colleagues, and far more likely to often feel pressured into treating patients without appropriate personal protective equipment, which is incredibly worrying.
Abattoir air cooling systems could pose Covid-19 risks, expert warns
Air cooling systems used at abattoirs could be an overlooked risk factor accounting for Covid-19 outbreaks, according to scientists who have studied conditions at a meat-processing plant at the heart of a cluster of infections in Germany. Martin Exner, a hygiene and public health expert at the University of Bonn, spent two days analysing the Tönnies plant in Gütersloh, a western German city sent back into lockdown this week after around 1,500 employees were infected with coronavirus. At a press conference, Exner said the air filtration system in the slaughter area had contributed to the spread of aerosol droplets laden with the virus, describing it as a “newly recognised risk factor”.
Germany could soon be hit by a second coronavirus wave, according to a top virologist
Germany faces a second coronavirus wave if the country does not act quickly to contain a series of new outbreaks across the country, a top virologist has warned. Christian Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at Berlin's Charité Hospital, said: 'In two months, I think we're going to have a problem if we don't turn on all the alarm sensors again now.' Drosten said that there are already clear signs in several places, including Berlin, that Covid-19 was returning to the population. Germany on Tuesday ordered a western region back into lockdown after a major outbreak of coronavirus infections linked to a slaughterhouse prompted fears of a second wave.
Coronavirus: Expert warns of second wave risk to Australia
A breakdown in communication around proper quarantine methods could be behind the recent spike in coronavirus cases across Victoria, according to a COVID-19 expert. The recent outbreak in Victoria should mark as a warning to all Australians of the threat of a second wave hitting the nation, COVID-19 Coordination Commission board member Jane Halton said. "The good news is this is a warning sign and I think now we have paid the right attention to it, I'm sure people will get that under control," Ms Halton told Today.
Sweden’s anti-lockdown coronavirus expert says he’s ‘willing to reconsider’ face masks
Anders Tegnell has repeatedly made international headlines since advising against a full lockdown of the Scandinavian country. He has so far argued against the WHO’s recommendation to use face masks, saying there’s ‘very little scientific evidence’ that they work
Europe-wide study shows child Covid-19 deaths 'extremely rare'
Fewer than one in a hundred children who test positive for Covid-19 end up dying - although a small but significant percentage develop severe illness, a new Europe-wide study showed on Friday. A team of researchers led by experts in Britain, Austria and Spain looked at the outcomes of nearly 600 children under 18 infected with the novel coronavirus and found that only a quarter had pre-existing medical conditions. This is in sharp contrast to adults, among whom the vast majority of patients have underlying health problems. The team found that more than 60 per cent of Covid-19 positive children required hospital treatment, and that 8 per cent needed intensive care. Of the 582 children studied, just four died. On the other hand, more than 90 children, or 16 per cent, showed no symptoms at all.
Lockdown Measures Could Return In Winter As Scientists Warn Of 'Long Haul'
Boris Johnson’s decision to ease the coronavirus lockdown is “absolutely not risk free” and strict measures could return in winter, the top scientists advising government have warned. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said if people believe “this is all fine now” and the disease has “gone away”, then the UK “will get an uptick” in cases. It came as the PM announced cinemas, galleries, museums and pubs were all set to reopen their doors on July 4, provided social distancing measures were in place. The two-metre rule will be replaced with “one-metre plus” regulation, which means a metre distance is acceptable with another protection or “mitigation” – such as a face covering or screen.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Germany slaughterhouse outbreak brings police, mass testing
German police have deployed hundreds of officers across two western regions that have been placed under renewed one-week lockdown in an attempt to contain a coronavirus outbreak linked to a slaughterhouse
Revealed: data shows 10 countries risking coronavirus second wave as lockdown relaxed
Ten countries currently facing serious increases in coronavirus infections are among those nations with less stringent approaches to managing their outbreaks. Guardian analysis of coronavirus data, in combination with the University of Oxford’s coronavirus government response tracker, has identified that 10 of the 45 most badly-affected countries are also among those rated as having a “relaxed response” to the pandemic, underlining the mitigating impact of effective government public health policies. The countries include the US - which is experiencing its largest increase in coronavirus cases since April; Iran, Germany and Switzerland - two European countries where the R rate has risen above one this week.
Could Canada avoid a second wave of COVID-19?
The first wave of COVID-19 is subsiding in Canada, with daily case numbers and hospitalizations falling to rates not seen since the beginning of the pandemic. Predictions on when a second wave of COVID-19 could hit have ranged from the fall and winter months of this year, when flu season traditionally starts, to early next year, similar to the way the pandemic began. But experts say the likelihood of a second wave isn't set in stone, and Canada could instead see several smaller waves in the coming months or avoid a second wave altogether — especially if we keep our guard up. "There's actually nothing preordained about a second wave," said Steven Hoffman, director of the Global Strategy Lab and a global health law professor at York University in Toronto who studies pandemics.
Countries are 'highly unlikely' to impose full lockdowns again if there's a second wave, analysts say
The U.S. saw its highest number of cases in a single day on Wednesday, and reported 45,557 new cases at the end of the day, according to NBC News count. In Asia, South Korea said that it’s battling a “second wave” of coronavirus infections around Seoul. “This second wave of virus is a concern for investors ... but I think the key difference is that unlike last time in March, this time it’s highly unlikely that we would see a shutdown of the global economy,” said Suresh Tantia, senior investment strategist at Credit Suisse’s APAC CIO office.
Will there be a second wave of coronavirus? UK cases of Covid-19 could rise again as Germany sees infection rate jump
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease across the UK, concerns are growing amongst experts about the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus cases if social distancing guidelines are not adhered to
Australian troops sent to Melbourne as cases surge
With the start this week of the first human vaccine trials in South Africa, Africa has now officially joined the race to find a Covid-19 vaccine. The large-scale trial of the vaccine developed by Oxford University is being conducted in South Africa, the UK and Brazil. Experts say a vaccine is the one thing that will help bring life back to normal, but trials have to take place in many different settings before there is one which is safe to use. Scientists say that it is vital that Africans take part in these trials, arguing that not doing so could jeopardise efforts to find a vaccine that works worldwide - and not just for richer nations. But critics cite a history of Western exploitation of Africa and unethical drug trials in the past as a reason not to participate. BBC Africa's Joice Etutu reports on why vaccine trials in Africa are such a sensitive topic and whether things have changed.
Australia scrambles to prevent second COVID-19 wave after first death in a month
Fears of a second wave stem from an upswing in new cases in Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, where authorities are trying to contain outbreaks in half a dozen Melbourne suburbs. State Premier Daniel Andrews has asked for military personnel to help operate pop-up test centres and enforce a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone coming from overseas, a spokeswoman said. After enforcing lockdown restrictions earlier in its coronavirus outbreak compared to most other countries, Australia began to ease those curbs last month to revive its economy as infection rates has slowed significantly. The lockdown in Victoria was being lifted more slowly, but authorities there believe the increase in new cases stemmed from family get-togethers attended by people with mild symptoms.
Australia calls in the army as second wave of coronavirus hits Melbourne
The Australian government has called in soldiers amid a feared second wave of coronavirus in Melbourne as officials in the city step up testing and enforce measures to prevent a new round of panic-buying. The country’s confidence has been shaken over the past week as scores of fresh cases of Covid-19 emerged in the outer suburbs of the country’s second biggest city, prompting fears of the virus spreading through the community and beyond to other centres as Australia comes out of lockdown. Cases have been running at about 20 a day for a week, a significant increase on previous weeks. Melbourne recorded Australia’s first death from coronavirus for a month, a man in his 80s, on Tuesday.
Coronavirus second wave hits countries as lockdown ends
As some countries reopened their economy amid a sharp fall of coronavirus infections, some countries saw return of the virus. While some of them are experiencing a second wave of the virus, not every rise in infection can be termed as second wave. In order to label it as second wave, the virus should have been brought under control and cases fallen substantially. Here are few countries who are facing a second wave, and others that fear a second wave.
Portugal brings back some coronavirus lockdown measures in Lisbon
People in several parts of Greater Lisbon will have to go back to staying at home from next week as Portuguese authorities deal with a worrying wave of coronavirus on the city’s outskirts, the government announced on Thursday. Those living in the affected areas of the capital - a total of 19 civil parishes that do not include downtown Lisbon - will be allowed to leave home only to buy essential goods such as food or medication, and to travel to and from work. “The only effective way to control the pandemic is to stay home whenever possible, keep physical distance at all times and always maintain protection and hygiene standards,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference. The measure will be in place from June 29 until July 12 and it will then be reviewed, according to a government document.
Texas keeps lights on in bars, bowling alleys despite virus surge
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he is temporarily halting the state's phased economic reopening in response to a jump in COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations. "This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business," Abbott said in a statement.
New Lockdown
'I am angry': Germans back in lockdown demand accountability
Germany puts two western districts on lockdownDW (English)Germany resumes lockdown for 500000 people after COVID-19 spikeBusiness InsiderSecond German district in lockdown because of local outbreakThe Brussels TimesThe giant meatpacking company at the heart of Germany's new coronavirus hotspotCNNView Full coverage on Google News
‘Smart Lockdowns’ Are the Future in Europe
Germany, Italy and Portugal are betting on smaller, local shutdowns to prevent a new surge of coronavirus infections.
Vulnerable to 2nd wave, India must consider limited lockdown in hotspots
With India vulnerable to a second wave of the Covid pandemic, All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Randeep Guleria feels in order to contain a further surge, a limited lockdown in hotspots and extensive contact tracing, where volume of cases is high, can be considered along with a micro-plan to prevent leakage into other non-containment areas. In an exclusive chat with IANS, Guleria said the wave of Covid cases may flatten by end July or early August. He urged not to compare India with European nations like Italy and Spain. He said focus should be on 10 key cities that continue to contribute extensively to the spike. People must continue to follow social distancing, wearing mask and other precautions at least for a year, even after cases begin to decline, the AIIMS Director said, as India reported close to 17,000 cases in 24 hours and crossed 4.7 lakh in just five months. India which was steadily unlocking to return to new normal found a number of states issuing lockdown in parts most affected by the virus as cases mounted quickly.
Rest home locked down for 18 hours over coronavirus threat
Palmerston North rest home was forced to lock down for 18 hours after one of its staff members displayed coronavirus symptoms after having contact with a person recently returned to New Zealand. The Masonic Court staff member had two symptoms of the virus, although the person they'd had contact with had tested negative for Covid-19 and completed a period of isolation. Rest home chief executive Warick​ Dunn said following advice from health authorities, the home decided to close its doors to visitors until test results were returned. It was closed about 6pm on Wednesday and had reopened by midday on Thursday, when the staff member's test came back negative.