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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 15th Jul 2020

News Highlights

India's technology hub back in lockdown as cases surge

Bangalore, a major city in India and the nation's tech hub, went back into a coronavirus lockdown from Tuesday after a surge of new Covid-19 infections. The city, which only had about 1,000 cases mid-June, suddenly saw an uptick in cases as restrictions began to be relaxed. Places of worship and public transport will again be shut for a week, with people only allowed out for essential services.

Melbourne cases spike alarmingly as Sydney mulls lockdown

Melbourne has been under lockdown for over a week since a high number of infections were discovered and cases are now rising in the hundreds every day. Now with cases also rising in Sydney, authorities are weighing the costs and benefits associated with another lockdown, with the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her party in vehement opposition. Since March, more than 835,000 Australians have lost their jobs.

New coronavirus vaccine to move to a final testing phase

Researchers have said that an experimental coronavirus vaccine, which is being developed by the National Institutes for Health in partnership with Moderna Inc, has produced neutralising antibodies in the bloodstream of early volunteers. Now scientists will move on to the next phase around July 27: a 30,000-person study to find out if the vaccine will protect the volunteers from the coronavirus.

Amid Covid-19 pandemic, deaths due to HIV, TB and malaria may rise

According to a new study, deaths from HIV, TB and malaria may rise as much as 10, 20 and 36 percent respectively, in lower and middle-income countries, as the Covid-19 pandemic burdens already weak health systems. Timothy Hallett, a professor at Imperial College London, who co-led the study, said that Covid-19's impact could undo some of the significant progress made against these diseases over the past two decades.

Lockdown Exit
UK retail sales in June show signs of recovery after covid lockdown
Despite signs of a gradual recovery taking hold, the latest snapshot from the British Retail Consortium and the accountancy firm KPMG, also revealed significant pressure still remains for high street firms, as many consumers continue to stay away from the shops while health risks remain from Covid-19. Over the latest three months – a better guide to the underlying trend because it can smooth over monthly changes – sales, excluding food, plunged by 47%.
California rolls back reopening as nations battle resurgent coronavirus
California drastically rolled back its reopening plans Monday as coronavirus cases surged across dozens of US states and the World Health Organization warned that too many nations are mismanaging their pandemic response. Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all indoor restaurants, bars and movie theaters to close again across California -- by far America's richest and most populous state, with a larger economy than all but four countries. Churches as well as gyms, shopping malls, hair salons and non-essential offices must also shut indoor operations in half of the Golden State's worst-hit and most densely populated counties, including Los Angeles. "We're moving back into a modification mode of our original 'stay-at-home' order," said Newsom
Paris bubbles over with optimism post-lockdown
Since the first days of déconfinement, Parisians have embraced with gusto a return to normal life that interprets liberally the official guidelines of social distancing and wearing masks. Judging by the festive outdoor hubbub, the feeling of risk has dissipated. At 5 Pailles, a trendy brunch spot in the 10th arrondissement, a densely packed line snakes around the corner on weekends. Bengisu Gunes, a partner in the restaurant, says business has never been better: “It’s like a placebo effect,” she says of the desire to come out again. “Or maybe it’s the French culture — a little revolutionary.” Meanwhile in Britain, where restaurants and pubs reopened on July 4, three-fifths of Britons still don't feel comfortable dining out, according to an Office for National Statistics survey.
Pandemic slows down in Chile, where 'improvement continues'
Coronavirus infections are no longer increasing as rapidly in Chile, which has reported 1,836 new cases - the lowest figure in 63 days. "The improvement continues," Radio Cooperativa quoted Health Minister Enrique Paris as saying. One of the Latin American countries with the most COVID-19 cases, Chile has confirmed a total of 319,493 infections and 7,069 deaths. Paris gave credit for the general improvement to his predecessor Jaime Manalich, who "prepared the country very well, above all in testing, treatment in intensive care units, the purchase of ventilators".
No vaccine, no carnival, Rio's samba schools warn
Some of Rio's biggest samba schools say they will not participate in next year's Carnival unless a coronavirus vaccine is widely available, Brazilian media reported Tuesday. Five of the 12 top samba schools, including Mangueira and Beija Flor, told Brazil's O Globo newspaper they would vote to postpone the parades at a meeting set for Tuesday. "It's simple. If there's no vaccine, there will be no samba," said the head of the Sao Clemente school, Renatinho Gomes. "How can you gather crowds without collective immunity?"
Random Covid-19 tests at airports to double to 600 a day
The number of random Covid-19 tests to be held among arriving passengers from Group A and B countries is to be doubled from 300 to 600 a day, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday. It said the decision was taken on the advice of the team of scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak. Passengers from Group A countries do not need to show they have tested negative for coronavirus, but those coming from Group B countries must show a negative test no older than 72 hours. Authorities have been carrying out random tests — 300 a day — among both groups to monitor the situation. All Group C arrivals (only Cypriots and legal residents are allowed to travel to Cyprus from this group) undergo a test and must also self-isolate for 14 days. The Health Ministry said it had also adopted a proposal by the team of scientists to multiply the tests using a specific method at lower cost with the aim of maximising the number of the people who will be tested.
France aims to reopen schools amid lingering COVID-19 concerns
France is aiming to reopen all schools for the new academic year under as "normal" conditions as possible, President Emmanuel Macron announced Tuesday, despite lingering virus concerns from some parents and teachers. France gradually reopened schools in May and June as the country emerged from virus lockdown, and most children returned to class. While new infections prompted a few schools to close again, the vast majority stayed open until the school year wrapped up earlier this month. "We have learned a lot" from that period, Macron said. "We developed a new way of teaching" to take the virus into account. France's school reopening was driven by concerns about getting parents back to work to restart the economy, as well as widespread worries about disadvantaged children who couldn't access online classes, who need special help or whose families depend on subsidized school lunches.
Tokyo to lift coronavirus alert to highest level - report
Tokyo will lift its alert level for coronavirus infections to the highest of four levels on Wednesday, Reuters news agency reported quoting Asahi newspaper, after a recent spike in cases to record levels in the Japanese capital. Daily coronavirus cases exceeded 200 in four of the last six days, touching an all-time high of 243 cases last Friday as testing among workers in the metropolis's red-light districts turned up infections among young people in their 20s and 30s. The highest alert level suggests that "coronavirus infections are likely spreading", the Asahi newspaper said.
Exit Strategies
California's new lockdown could be brutal for the economy
The state of California is shutting down again — a huge blow to the fragile recovery logged in recent months. The latest: As Covid-19 cases surge, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of all indoor restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums and bars. Los Angeles and San Diego said their kids would start the new school year online only. On its own, California is the fifth largest economy in the world, according to World Bank data. That means fresh lockdown measures in the state are a huge blow to the economic outlook, both in the United States and globally.
California's new lockdown dims outlook for U.S. growth in pandemic
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision Monday to reimpose restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and even ordinary office work to tamp down a surge of coronavirus infections is dimming economic growth prospects for the nation as a whole. Darkening the outlook further was the decision by California’s two largest school districts - Los Angeles and San Diego - to conduct only online instruction when classes resume next month, a move that will make it challenging for parents of more than 825,000 students to return to work. The Golden State, with 40 million people, employs more workers than any other state in the nation, and its production of goods and services is about equal to the combined output of Florida and Texas, two others states that have also seen resurgences of the virus.
FDA fast-tracks vaccines as California leads charge toward second lockdown
The Food and Drug Administration said it will speed the review of two vaccine candidates from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and partner company BioNTech. The fast-track status was granted based on preliminary data from phase one and two studies in the U.S. and Germany. The company expects to enroll 30,000 people in its next phase of trials. If the trials are successful, the companies hope to make 100 million doses by the end of the year and possibly more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021. The administration is investing in a range of vaccine approaches with the hope of landing a successful shot before the year ends.
France to make masks compulsory in enclosed public places
France will make it compulsory for people to wear masks in shops and other enclosed public spaces from next month to stop a resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.
Are masks about to become compulsory in France?
After several announcements from high-profile political and scientific figures, there is growing speculation that France could be about to make wearing a mask compulsory in more situations. At present masks are compulsory on all forms of public transport (including taxis and Ubers) and there is a €135 fine for not wearing one. The rest of the rules are slightly more varied. Shop and business owners have the right to require customers to wear a mask and the right to bar entry to customers who are not masked. In practice some shops and businesses declare port du masque obligatoire (wearing a mask is compulsory) while other merely say that masks are recommandé (recommended).
From NZ to Iceland, the femocracies that aced their virus response
Iceland has also been heralded for acing its handling of Covid-19, recording just 10 deaths. Its prime minister Katrin Jakobsdóttir was quick to act, offering free testing to all citizens, while Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen and Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin both followed Ardern’s lead, moving quickly to impose travel bans. Their measures might have been stricter than many countries’, but their delivery was softer. Ardern has held Kiwis’ hands through the pandemic, delivering non-preachy video messages from her living room and non-combative press conferences. If a staff member walks in during a Facebook Live, she’ll introduce them to viewers, and when a reporter forgot his question in a recent briefing, Ardern joked and told him she hoped he was getting enough sleep.
Thais seek to fix errors that allowed infected foreigners in
Authorities in Thailand have urged almost 1,900 people to quarantine themselves and get tested for the virus after a breakdown in screening allowed two foreigners with the disease to pose a risk to public health. The agency coordinating Thailand's coronavirus response also announced it is rolling back regulations for admitting foreign visitors in order to tighten up procedures.
Are more people in Denmark going to wear face masks?
New recommendations from the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen), published Friday, advise the use of face masks in the country in certain circumstances, including when travelling home from areas considered high-risk or on the way to being tested for coronavirus. As of Friday, the authority recommends using face masks in certain special situations, bringing the policy in Denmark closer to that of other European countries such as France and Germany. According to its new advice to those who have tested positive, those in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and those with symptoms, the authority recommends people use face masks if they are forced to leave self-isolation. "Use a face mask if you break self-isolation to go out to take a test," the health authority states, linking to a guide for correctly using masks.
Partisan Exits
Minister pleads case for COVIDSafe app after Opposition labels it 'expensive dud'
Technology Minister Karen Andrews has pleaded with people not to delete or stop using the COVIDSafe app, after the Opposition labelled it an "expensive dud" that has proven to be less effective than pen and paper.
COVID-19 fear will keep the world in a slump
To date, the economic damage wrought by the pandemic has been mostly hidden by massive government subsidy. That’s about to change. And so the next few months will reveal the underlying economic impact of COVID-19 across the globe more clearly. My bet: As governments withdraw fiscal support, the economic picture is going to look worse than commonly appreciated. Getting a sense of what’s about to happen requires that we first be clear about how and why the pandemic has affected the economy: Is it because governments have required people to stay home, or is it because of the virus itself? New research shows that economic losses have come mainly from fear, not government mandate. So eliminating the mandates without ending the fear does very little.
Global vaccine plan may allow rich countries to buy more
Politicians and public health leaders have publicly committed to equitably sharing any coronavirus vaccine that works, but the top global initiative to make that happen may allow rich countries to reinforce their own stockpiles while making fewer doses available for poor ones. Activists warn that without stronger attempts to hold political, pharmaceutical and health leaders accountable, vaccines will be hoarded by rich countries in an unseemly race to inoculate their populations first. After the recent uproar over the United States purchasing a large amount of a new COVID-19 drug, some predict an even more disturbing scenario if a successful vaccine is developed. Dozens of vaccines are being researched, and some countries — including Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. — already have ordered hundreds of millions of doses before the vaccines are even proven to work.
In US, political divisions stymie return to lockdowns
US mayors of Houston and Atlanta are calling for a return to stay-at-home orders to staunch an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, but are being hindered by state governors who favor less restrictive measures.
Continued Lockdown
House-to-house check on COVID-19 patients in Philippines
Philippine police will go from house to house in search for COVID-19 patients who should be isolated in quarantine facilities to boost efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, an official said Tuesday. Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano said mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 patients should not be in home quarantine unless they have their own room and bathroom and if they do not have vulnerable family members. "So with the help of the local government units, the police will go house to house and we will take the patients to Covid isolation facilities.” “You are endangering the lives of other people when you stay at home,” he added. “You will get well faster, it’s just 14 days in quarantine and food is free.” Ano urged the public to report to authorities if they know someone who was infected to help stop the spread of the virus
Grassroots help for homeless, drug addicts thrives in lockdown S. Africa
While some of the nation's homeless shelters have made headlines for harsh living conditions and police brutality, others have become unexpected havens for some residents. "I found paradise here," said Matthew Nxumalo, 35, a mechanic who is also on the methadone program, which has helped some 200 people in different shelters since the beginning of the lockdown. "Nobody else thought about us until we arrived here, but I feel like I've been given a second chance," Nxumalo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation before he gathered firewood in the bushes next to the bowling green to light an evening fire.
Portugal keeps parts of Lisbon under coronavirus lockdown
Portugal’s government said on Monday five areas on the outskirts of Lisbon will remain under a partial lockdown put in place two weeks ago to tackle a worrying wave of coronavirus cases. People living in 19 civil parishes of Greater Lisbon are allowed to leave home only to buy essential goods such as food or medication, or to travel to and from work. “Although the coronavirus incidence rate has improved in these 15 days, it has not yet reached a stage where we would reevaluate measures,” Cabinet Affairs Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a news conference.
Italy to extend anti-COVID measures to July 31: health minister | English.news.cn
Italy's Minister of Health Roberto Speranza said the country will continue enforcing some restrictive measures at least until the end of this month. "We must not retreat one inch on prevention," Speranza said. The minister also said that authorities are keeping a watchful eye on all arrivals from abroad, including migrants landing on Italy's shores. The country will maintain a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days for everybody arriving from outside the European Union, Speranza said.
Germany eyes local travel bans to prevent 2nd virus wave
Helge Braun, who is Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff and tasked with coordinating the government's pandemic response, said Germany is considering local travel bans for areas that see a sudden, unexplained surge in virus cases. "Our measures are appropriate to preventing a second big wave," Braun told The Associated Press in an interview at the Chancellery in Berlin. "But this requires us to stay the course, not get careless in our measures and maintain our respect for the virus." Germany has managed to flatten the curve of infections to three per 100,000 inhabitants a week - a very low rate by international comparison. The country of 83 million has reported just over 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,077 deaths since the start of its outbreak.
Scientific Viewpoint
WHO says no return to 'normal' as Latin America deaths pass US
Too many nations are mismanaging their coronavirus response, placing a return to normality a long way off, the World Health Organization warned Monday as Latin America recorded the world's second-highest death toll. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that too many countries were "headed in the wrong direction" with governments giving out mixed messages that were undermining trust. "There will be no return to the 'old normal' for the foreseeable future," he said, warning that without governments adopting a comprehensive strategy, the situation would get "worse and worse and worse".
Helping track and reduce COVID-19 infections in Northeast Brazil
A combination of thermal drones, artificial intelligence, and mathematical modeling is helping scientists track and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Northeast Brazil: one of a series of ongoing, innovative coronavirus research initiatives being carried out by UCL and scientists in Brazil.
Coronavirus lockdown may have led to increased child suicides, new report warns
A “concerning signal” that child suicides may have increased during the coronavirus lockdown has prompted a warning to doctors and health services to be vigilant. A national report for NHS England found there had been 25 likely suicides of children during the first 56 days of lockdown in March and April, compared with 26 child suicides in 82 days pre-lockdown. The findings by the National Child Mortality Database are not conclusive due to the small numbers involved but the report said data on the deaths that occurred showed among the lockdown suicides that the closure of schools, disruption to care services as well as tensions at home and isolation appeared to be factors.
How to fix the Covid-19 dumpster fire in the US
There’s no point in sugar-coating this. The U.S. response to the Covid-19 pandemic is a raging dumpster fire. Where a number of countries in Asia and Europe have managed to dampen spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to the point where they can consider returning to a semblance of normalcy — friends from Paris just emailed me pictures from their Sicilian vacation — many international borders remain closed to Americans. On Sunday, Florida reported more than 15,000 cases — in a single day. South Korea hasn’t registered 15,000 cases in the entire pandemic to date. One day last week the U.S. recorded more than 68,000 cases.
What was the impact of Sweden’s soft approach to lockdown?
Sweden’s softer approach to lockdown involved closing universities and other schools for older pupils and recommending that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and everyone over 70 self-isolate. Now, a new study suggests that these limited measures contributed to fewer deaths than expected. Still, Sweden saw more deaths from the pandemic than neighboring countries Denmark and Norway. The new research, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, makes clear the complexity of determining which strategies for reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives are most effective.
WHO chief slams 'mixed messages' from leaders on coronavirus
The World Health Organization’s chief on Monday slammed some government leaders for eroding public trust by sending mixed messages on the coronavirus and warned that their failures to stop their countries’ spiraling outbreaks mean there would be no return to normal “for the foreseeable future.” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus did not call out specific politicians for criticism but said “too many countries are headed in the wrong direction” with the pandemic and some were not taking the proper steps to curb infections. At the same time, Tedros acknowledged how difficult it was for governments to respond effectively, given the economic, social and cultural consequences of imposing restrictions.
Should Australia switch from suppression to elimination?
Top epidemiologists and virologists are calling for Australia to pursue an explicit coronavirus elimination strategy as Victoria grapples with the fallout from rising community cases and its second lockdown.
Experts call for Australia to replace coronavirus suppression strategy with elimination plan
An elimination strategy would likely involve tougher lockdowns, and has proved successful in New Zealand. Prominent public health experts who now believe Australia should adopt the strategy include Bill Bowtell and Gregory Dore, from UNSW's Kirby Institute, and Melbourne University epidemiologist Tony Blakely. Dr Bowtell, an adjunct professor at the University of NSW and one of the architects of Australia's response to HIV, said Australia was on the verge of eliminating the disease. "We've got the evidence in front of our eyes," he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
WHO sounds alarm as coronavirus cases rise by one million in five days
The pandemic has now killed more than half a million people in six-and-a-half months, and World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there would be no return to the “old normal” for the foreseeable future, especially if preventive measures were neglected. “Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one,” he told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva. “If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go, it is going to get worse and worse and worse. But it does not have to be this way.” Reuters’ global tally, which is based on government reports, shows the disease accelerating fastest in Latin America.
'Little chance of a Covid-19 vaccine before 2021' warns French epidemiologist
There is little chance of a 100-percent effective coronavirus vaccine by 2021, a French expert warned on Sunday, urging people to take social distancing measures more seriously. "A vaccine is several years in development," said epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the team of scientists advising the government on the crisis, speaking on BFMTV television. "Of course, there is an unprecedented effort to develop a vaccine, but I would be very surprised if we had that was effective in 2021," he added. While we would probably have one that worked partially, we were very far from the end of the crisis, he said. That being the case, "we have to live with this virus" he said. And since another lockdown was out of the question, people had to go back to "more serious habits".
Study predicts surge in HIV, TB and malaria deaths amid COVID-19 pandemic
Deaths from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria could surge in poor and middle-income countries as already weak health systems grapple with severe disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a predictive study published on Monday. Over the next five years, deaths from the three diseases could rise by as much as 10, 20 and 36 percent respectively - putting the mortality impact on a scale similar to the direct impact of the coronavirus pandemic itself, the modelling study found. "In countries with a high malaria burden and large HIV and TB epidemics, even short-term disruptions could have devastating consequences for the millions of people who depend on programmes to control and treat these diseases," said Timothy Hallett, a professor at Imperial College London who co-led the work. He said the knock-on impact of COVID-19 could undo some of the significant progress against these diseases made over the past two decades, "compounding the burden caused by the pandemic directly".
Coronavirus antibodies may not help with cure, after Dutch study sees harmful effect in ICU patients
Researchers led by a professor in the Netherlands report that they might have found an important clue that may answer why immunoglobulin G appears only when patients are ill enough to be admitted to ICU. AFPResearchers led by a professor in the Netherlands report that they might have found an important clue that may answer why immunoglobulin G appears only when patients are ill enough to be admitted to ICU. Researchers led by a professor in the Netherlands report that they might have found an important clue that may answer why immunoglobulin G appears only when patients are ill enough to be admitted to ICU. Antibodies generated by the immune system to neutralise the novel coronavirus could cause severe harm or even kill the patient, according to a study by Dutch scientists. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is a fork-shaped molecule produced by adaptive immune cells to intercept foreign invaders. Each type of IgG targets a specific type of pathogen. The IgG for Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, fights off the virus by binding with the virus' unique spike protein to reduce its chance of infecting human cells. They usually appear a week or two after the onset of illness, when the symptoms of most critically-ill patients suddenly get worse. A research team led by Professor Menno de Winther from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands said they might have found an important clue that may answer why the IgG appears only when patients are ill enough to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
Moderna's coronavirus vaccine ready to advance to final phase of testing
The first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the United States revved up people's immune systems just the way scientists had hoped, researchers reported - as the shots are poised to begin key final testing. "No matter how you slice this, this is good news," Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press news agency. The experimental vaccine, developed by Fauci's colleagues at the National Institutes of Health in partnership with Moderna Inc, will start its most important step around July 27: a 30,000-person study to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against the coronavirus. But Tuesday, researchers reported anxiously awaited findings from the first 45 volunteers who rolled up their sleeves back in March. Sure enough, the vaccine provided a hoped-for immune boost. Those early volunteers developed what are called neutralising antibodies in their bloodstream - molecules key to blocking infection - at levels comparable to those found in people who survived COVID-19, the research team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Hospitals Struggle to Contain Covid-19 Spread Inside Their Walls
Nationwide, hospitals have identified 5,142 coronavirus infections apparently acquired inside hospitals from May 14 to June 21, according to figures provided to The Wall Street Journal by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figure could be higher; the reporting is voluntary. Those are just cases in patients. The CDC hasn’t publicly reported in-house infection of the staffs of hospitals. University of Illinois Hospital declined to say how many patient infections it thinks were transmitted internally
Coronavirus Resurgence
Iran's COVID-19 cases surpass 260,000, as Iraq's tally crosses 80,000 amid pandemic resurgence
Iran's total COVID-19 cases on Tuesday crossed a new threshold to hit 262,173, after 2,521 new cases were added. Meanwhile, the pandemic's resurgence also continued in Iraq, where the tally of coronavirus infections surpassed 80,000. The death toll from the infectious respiratory disease rose to 13,211 in Iran, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, after 179 more fatalities were recorded. So far, a total of 225,270 recoveries from the virus have been reported in Iran, while 3,389 others remain in critical condition.
Coronavirus cases in Leicester 'still well above' rest of UK ahead of local lockdown review
The number of coronavirus cases in Leicester is "still well above" the rest of the UK ahead of this week's review of the city's local lockdown, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. The Midlands city has been subject to the UK's first full local lockdown as part of the government's "whack-a-mole" strategy to deal with local flare-ups in COVID-19 infections. Shops and schools were forced to close again, while the reopening of pubs and restaurants did not take place in Leicester in line with the rest of England earlier this month.
As U.S. Surge in Coronavirus Cases Continues, Some States Tighten Rules
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. continued to grow in dozens of states, as some officials instituted fresh containment measures and others examined how reopening plans failed to anticipate surges in new infections and related hospitalizations. More than 136,200 people have died of the disease across the nation, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and more than 3.4 million have been infected. More than 575,000 have died world-wide and more than 13.2 million have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins data.
More deaths in Victoria, as NSW COVID cluster triggers reactions in Queensland and South Australia
Victorian authorities on Tuesday reported 270 new cases, and two deaths. The man and woman who died were both in their 80s. There were 26 people in intensive care in Victoria, of whom 21 were on ventilators. The national death toll stood at 110 as of late Tuesday. By late Tuesday the cluster linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, in Sydney’s south west, had increased to 30. The NSW government is on tenterhooks, as it waits to see the extent of the outbreak and the spread of those affected. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been under strong pressure to keep to a minimum further restrictions. Queensland on Tuesday closed its border to people who have been in the NSW Liverpool and Campbelltown local government areas.
Australia tightens restrictions as COVID-19 cases top 10,000
Australian states on Tuesday tightened restrictions on movement as authorities struggle to contain a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 in the country’s southeast that has pushed the national tally of cases beyond 10,000. With growing fears of a second coronavirus wave nationally, two states extended border restrictions and Australia’s most populous state imposed limits on the number of people allowed in large pubs. The changes come as scores of new cases were uncovered in Victoria, the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, despite a return to lockdown last week for nearly 5 million people in state capital Melbourne.
Asia ramps up coronavirus curbs as new clusters erupt
Australian states tightened borders and restricted pub visits on Tuesday, while Disney prepared to close its Hong Kong theme park and Japan stepped up tracing as a jump in novel coronavirus cases across Asia fanned fears of a second wave of infections. Many parts of Asia, the region first hit by the coronavirus that emerged in central China late last year, are finding cause to pause the reopening of their economies, some after winning praise for their initial responses to the outbreak. Australia largely avoided the high numbers of cases and casualties seen in other countries with swift and strict measures, but a spike in community-transmitted cases in Victoria state and a rise in new cases in New South Wales has worried authorities.
COVID-19: S.African teachers call for school closures
South Africa's largest teachers union has called on authorities to close schools until the number of COVID-19 cases drop in the country, which has the most infections on the continent. "The community infections have been rising since the reopening of schools and [it is] inevitably affecting the schools," Mugwena Maluleke, the general secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Union, said in a virtual media briefing. "In the country, the virus is reaching its peak and at the same time, we are in winter season known as the influenza season," he said, adding that if schools remain open, learners, teachers, and academic staff would be at high risk of contracting the virus as South Africa approaches its peak of infections.
'Great concern' as new Ebola outbreak grows in western DR Congo
WHO says nearly 50 people infected in new Ebola outbreak as DR Congo grapples with COVID-19 and measles epidemics.
Hong Kong adopts toughest-ever coronavirus curbs after case surge
New measures to come into force at midnight as authorities warn of 'extremely high' risk of large-scale outbreak.
New Lockdown
UK government will look at Leicester lockdown on Thursday, says health minister
British Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday the government would assess whether lockdown measures in the English city of Leicester could be eased on Thursday, but warned that the number of coronavirus cases was still high. A stringent lockdown was imposed in Leicester, in central England, two weeks ago - even as many restrictions were being lifted for the rest of the country - after a spike in cases of COVID-19 in the city. “I set out that there is process for whether changes can be made in Leicester. The process is that we will look at 14 days of data ... on Thursday of this week and make a public announcement as soon as is reasonably possible about whether and if any changes can be made to the situation,” Hancock told parliament adding that the number of positive cases was still well above the rest of the country.
Catalan authorities order local lockdown again despite court ruling
Spain’s Catalonia approved a resolution on Tuesday to place the residents of the city of Lleida and seven nearby towns under home confinement to stem a surge in coronavirus infections, after a judge earlier ruled that such a measure was unlawful. The confinement will come into force on Wednesday and last for 15 days, Catalan regional government spokeswoman Meritxell Budo told reporters. Some 160,000 people within the affected area must return to home confinement except for work and other specific activities, less than a month after the country’s national lockdown was lifted.
Coronavirus: Is Sydney set for a new lockdown?
Sydney remains on tenterhooks as rising coronavirus cases evoke the spectre of a renewed lockdown. 9News state political reporter Chris O'Keefe said the critical balance involved deciding between our jobs and our health. The NSW government spent $2 billion to fight the virus outbreak, including buying 2000 ventilators.
Melbourne lockdown key to getting Covid-19 contact tracing to manageable level, expert says
The second lockdown in Melbourne will be key to getting contact tracing to a manageable level, an epidemiologist has said, as Victoria struggles to cope with around 5,000 contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus in the second spike. Victoria has seen over a week of triple-digit daily case numbers of coronavirus reported, largely in the Melbourne and Mitchell shire areas. The state has around 1,000 contact tracers working to identify those who people who have tested positive have been in contact with. Now with more than 1,800 active cases as of Tuesday, it becomes much harder for contact tracers to track down large numbers of contacts, Prof Catherine Bennett, the chair in epidemiology at Deakin University, told Guardian Australia.
Spain's Catalonia seeks to bypass ruling striking down home confinement
Spain’s Catalonia approved on Monday a decree giving it legal backing to place restrictions on the city of Lleida and its surroundings to stem a surge in coronavirus infections, defying a judge’s earlier ruling that such an order was unlawful.
India's tech hub, other towns back in lockdown as coronavirus infections surge
India’s high-tech hub of Bengaluru will go back into a coronavirus lockdown for a week on Tuesday after a surge of infections, threatening to derail government efforts to revive a stuttering economy. Places of worship, public transport, government offices and most shops will close again from the evening, and people will be confined to their homes, only allowed out for essential needs. Schools, colleges and restaurants will remain shut, authorities said. Bengaluru, home to some of the world’s biggest IT firms such as Infosys, had only about 1,000 coronavirus cases in mid-June and was seen to have fared better than other parts of India in terms of testing and contact tracing.
California's new lockdown dims outlook for U.S. growth in pandemic
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision Monday to reimpose restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and even ordinary office work to tamp down a surge of coronavirus infections is dimming economic growth prospects for the nation as a whole.
Health Ministry officials said to conclude there’s no escaping 2nd lockdown
TV report comes hours after Health Ministry director assures Israelis his office working to prevent another statewide shutdown, but warns that infection rate has risen to 6%
Coronavirus: Kazakhstan denies 'unknown pneumonia' reports but has imposed second national lockdown
On July 8, the Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan warned Chinese citizens that the country had an “unknown pneumonia” outbreak more deadly than COVID-19. The following day, the Kazakhstani health ministry acknowledged the presence of viral pneumonias of “unspecified” cause, but denied that the outbreak was new or unknown. The newly appointed health minister, Alexey Tsoy, declared that the claim published by Chinese media “does not correspond to reality”.