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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 11th Sep 2020

News Highlights

The global race for a vaccine

The World Health Organization has said that 180 vaccines against the novel coronavirus are in development worldwide. 'No disease in history has seen such rapid development in research,' Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters. He added 'it must be matched by its ambition to ensure as many people as possible have access to them.'

Save the Children raises concern about the impact on young people

With children across the world having endured school closures as a result of the pandemic, Save the Children has sounded the alarm on the detrimental impact on those from poorer backgrounds. A global survey has found a number of worrying statistics suggesting 'the most vulnerable children have disproportionately missed out on access to education, healthcare, food, and suffered the greatest protection risks.'

Boris Johnson in hot water over 'moonshot' testing plan

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing criticism for his Operation Moonshot testing strategy. Sir Patrick Vallance, senior medical advisor to the UK government, said to say a return to normalcy by Christmas as a result of this strategy is 'completely wrong.' Johnson hopes for millions of tests daily, but experts warn that laboratory capacity and technology for such a target does not, as yet, exist.

United Arab Emirates sounds the alarm over jump in cases

A fivefold jump in cases in the UAE over the past month has caused concern in the country. Citizens are being told that measures implemented to control the spread of Covid-19 must be abided by, as daily cases on Thursday marked the highest recorded in four months. 'Those who violate the preventative measures in place, whether an individual, shop or restaurant, will be held accountable,' a health spokesperson said.

Lockdown Exit
France extends programme to protect workers from further Covid-19 related job losses
Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne said that the government would continue paying up to 84 percent of salaries for employees in struggling companies. “I confirm we will maintain the same level, so the cost for the employer will be limited to 15 percent [of net salary], until next summer,” Borne told BFM television on Thursday. Currently, the scheme to help the most exposed sectors - hotels, cafes, events - was in place until the end of the year. The idea, Borne said, is that “companies can keep jobs and skills” while they restructure or retrain people.
German firms spared insolvency spike despite pandemic
The number of firms declaring insolvency in Germany was 6.2% lower in the first half of last year despite the coronavirus crisis, the Statistics Office said, partly because of a rule designed to keep firms afloat in the pandemic
Employment recovering: Urban unemployment at lowest since lockdown, even as salaried jobs get cut
The high unemployment rate in urban India subsided in the week ending 6 September 2020, falling to the lowest level since the lockdown began. The urban unemployment rate fell to 8.32 per cent in the week, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. Interestingly, the employment situation in urban India has improved despite a severe loss of salaried jobs. An estimated 21 million salaried employees have lost their jobs by the end of August. There were 86 million salaried jobs in India during 2019-20, which fell to 65 million in August 2020. The loss in salaried jobs was the biggest among all types of employment.
New Zealand mental health crisis as Covid stretches a struggling system
New Zealanders are experiencing more depression and anxiety since the coronavirus lockdown, doctors say, despite the country leading the world in its battle against the pandemic. New Zealand has been lauded for its effective management of the virus, with most Kiwis returning to their normal routines following a strict seven-week lockdown in April and May. A recent outbreak in Auckland has now largely been contained. But GPs working on the front line say “generalised anxiety” is proliferating in the community, and putting a strain on mental health services that are already overburdened.
Italy July industry output rises more than expected as post-lockdown rebound continues
Italian industrial output rose a stronger-than-expected 7.4% in July from the month before, data showed on Thursday, a third consecutive increase following the end of the country's coronavirus lockdown
UK house prices jump as buyers seek gardens after lockdown - RICS
The post-lockdown surge in Britain's housing market intensified in August, and prices hit a four year high, as buyers sought properties with gardens, according to a RICS survey that also sent a warning signal that the recovery could run out of steam
Portugal toughens virus rules as schools return
Ministers decided on new rules to come into force from Tuesday, including limiting gatherings to 10 people rather than 20 previously—a cap already in force in the capital Lisbon since late June. Also extending a measure from the capital, sales of alcohol will be barred from 8 pm as will drinking in public spaces. Meanwhile sporting venues will remain closed to fans ahead of the football championship kicking off next week. "We've been seeing a sustained rise in the number of new cases since the beginning of August," Prime Minister Antonio Costa said, after Portugal saw 646 new infections in the 24 hours to Wednesday—its highest since April 20.
UAE sounds warning after virus cases jump five-fold
The United Arab Emirates said Thursday that daily coronavirus cases had jumped five-fold compared with a month ago, and warned residents and citizens to abide by measures designed to curb the disease. The daily tally of cases hit 930 on Thursday, said Farida al-Hosani, spokeswoman for the Emirates' health sector, compared with 179 on August 10. "This is the highest number recorded in four months," she said during a televised conference. "Those who violate the preventive measures in place, whether an individual, shops, or restaurants, will be held accountable." Hosani said 12 percent of cases were among residents or citizens returning to the UAE from abroad, even though they received negative tests from their destination countries -- which are a requirement for entry.
India inches closer to 100,000 daily Covid-19 case mark
The latest numbers put total cases at 4.46 million and 1,152 new casualties recorded over the past 24 hours took the death toll to 75,062. In terms of infections, India is second only to the United States’s 6.5 million. In terms of deaths, India is third with the US having recorded over 194,000 fatalities and Brazil over 128,000.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: Thousands download Covid-19 tracing app
More than 500,000 people have downloaded Scotland's new contact tracing app since it went live. It became available to download free onto a smart phone from Apple's App Store or Google Play on Thursday. The Protect Scotland app lets people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive. The Scottish government has said the software will support the Test and Protect system and is "another tool in the fight against Covid-19". Up until now, contact tracing has been done manually using a method followed for years to help control the spread of infectious diseases.
University of Exeter to offer students Covid-19 tests
A university has signed a contract with a private company to buy thousands of coronavirus tests for students and staff. The University of Exeter will be offering the tests to anyone showing symptoms or who is deemed at high risk. Deputy vice chancellor Tim Quine said the safety of staff and students was the university's "first priority". The saliva-based tests, provided by Halo, will give results within 24 hours, it claimed. Mr Quine told BBC Radio Devon the university had to do its own bit to help prevent the spread of the virus. He said: "By bringing students to the region we know we are changing the risk dynamic".
Coronavirus: Hundreds of thousands download Covid-19 tracing app
More than 500,000 people have downloaded Scotland's new contact tracing app since it went live. It became available to download free onto a smart phone from Apple's App Store or Google Play on Thursday. The Protect Scotland app lets people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive. The Scottish government has said the software will support the Test and Protect system and is "another tool in the fight against Covid-19". Up until now, contact tracing has been done manually using a method followed for years to help control the spread of infectious diseases.
Coronavirus: Concerns over Boris Johnson's 'moonshot' testing plans
Scientists and health professionals have raised doubts about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "Operation Moonshot" plan for mass coronavirus testing. The PM hopes millions of Covid-19 tests - including some giving results within minutes - could be processed daily. But experts say there are issues with laboratory capacity for current tests, while the technology for more rapid tests "does not, as yet, exist". The British Medical Journal says leaked memos show the plan could cost £100bn. Speaking after his announcement that gatherings in England are to be restricted to six people from Monday, Mr Johnson said the government was "working hard" to increase testing capacity to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. And he said that "in the near future" he wanted to start using testing "to identify people who are negative - who don't have coronavirus and who are not infectious - so we can allow them to behave in a more normal way, in the knowledge they cannot infect anyone else".
Bicycle sales go up amid pandemic as India eases COVID-19 lockdown
As more people try to avoid public transport during the pandemic to avoid the virus, India is seeing an precedented sale of bicycles. Bicycle groups have emerged on social media and are lobbying for more bike lanes in cities. Bicycle dealers are finding it hard to cope with the steep rise in demand. Will COVID-19 bring about a change in the way people commute or will this trend be short-lived? Watch the video for more.
Tamil Nadu government announces more lockdown relaxations
The Tamil Nadu government has eased its curbs further allowing vehicles used in the transportation of staff to offices, factories and other establishments to carry up to 60% capacity rather than 30-40% as they are doing now
China is building a new 'COVID-proof' city designed to make lockdowns easier
The Xiong'an New Area near Beijing will have a self-sufficient neighbourhood. It is designed to let people live more comfortably in the event of pandemics. The complex will have larger balconies, 3-D printers and drones, among others. Its architect from Spain was inspired while working in coronavirus lockdown.
‘Distress and fear’: poverty looms for a million Australian children once coronavirus supplement slashed
The $550-a-fortnight pandemic top-up, set to disappear on 25 September, has been ‘life-altering’ for single mothers, say welfare campaigners. About 244,000 single parents receive parenting payment ($790-a-fortnight plus the $550 Covid supplement and the family tax benefit), while those with children older than seven get jobseeker payment ($565 plus the $550 Covid supplement and the family tax benefit). The coronavirus supplement is also provided to students receiving youth allowance or Austudy. Toni Wren, the executive director of Anti-Poverty Week, said government data showed about 1.1 million children lived in families receiving the supplement in July. That included 500,000 children whose parents were receiving the jobseeker payment.
New York to resume indoor dining, Los Angeles bans Halloween parties
New York City restaurants struggling to stay in business after months of closures imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic won a long-awaited approval on Wednesday to resume limited indoor dining. But Los Angeles County health officials prohibited Halloween parties and said children should not be allowed to trick or treat during the popular fall holiday on Oct. 31. The contrasting moves on opposite coasts of the United States came as new coronavirus infections have fallen for seven weeks in a row but the nationwide death toll since the pandemic broke out in March exceeded 190,000, according to a Reuters tally. In New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said indoor dining could resume at thousands of restaurants as of Sept. 30, although capacity was limited to 25 percent.
Save the Children conducts largest global survey on the impact of COVID-19
93% of households that lost over half of their income due to the pandemic reported difficulties in accessing health services; Two thirds of the children had no contact with teachers at all, during lockdown; eight in ten children believed they had learned little or nothing since schools closed; and violence at home doubled: during school closures, the reported rate was 17% compared to 8% when the child was attending school in person.
Partisan Exits
Coronavirus: 'Waste and corruption on a cosmic scale': Plans for 10 million COVID-19 tests attacked
Leaked documents reportedly show the government plans to carry out up to 10 million coronavirus tests a day by early next year, but critics say the proposals represent "waste/corruption on a cosmic scale". The mass testing programme would cost £100bn - almost as much as the government spends on the NHS each year (£130bn) - according to a briefing memo seen by medical journal The BMJ. A separate document revealed there were plans to grow the UK's testing capacity from the current 350,000 a day to up to 10 million a day by early 2021.
Donald Trump 'admitted playing down threat of coronavirus’ to journalist Bob Woodward
Donald Trump understood the dangers of coronavirus before it hit the US but wanted to play down the threat, a new book claims. The US president reportedly told journalist Bob Woodward that he deliberately minimised the risks during an interview on March 19. "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic," Mr Trump allegedly said.
‘Completely wrong’ to say PM’s mass testing plan will save Christmas
England’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance poured cold water on Operation Moon Shot, warning it is “completely wrong” to say that ministers’ proposed mass coronavirus testing regime could allow for a return to semi-normality by Christmas - just minutes after Boris Johnson touted hopes that it could. Speaking at Downing Street, the prime minister tightened England’s coronavirus restrictions, making it illegal from Monday for people to gather in groups larger than six, with some exemptions. Meanwhile across the Atlantic Donald Trump came under fire after it was revealed he had downplayed the potential severity of the virus to ‘avoid panic’.
'Deliberate, malicious': stop spreading Covid misinformation, says New Zealand minister
New Zealand’s health minister has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, as the government struggles to contain a mini-cluster centred on an evangelical church in Auckland. The mini-cluster started with four cases in the suburb of Mt Roskill last month, and has now grown to 45 cases. Health authorities say they have struggled to isolate and lock down the cluster as some people have refused to co-operate, saying they do not believe in the virus, and will not share their close contacts “Repeated, deliberate and malicious spread of misinformation” is also proliferating online, health minister Chris Hipkins said, prompting him to issue a stark warning that lives are at stake.
Former Stanford colleagues warn Dr. Scott Atlas fosters 'falsehoods and misrepresentations of science'
A group of 78 researchers and doctors from Stanford Medical School took aim this week at Dr. Scott Atlas, the expert President Donald Trump recently added to the White House pandemic response task force, for embracing and peddling what they described as "falsehoods and misrepresentations of science" in his public musings about the coronavirus. In a "Dear Colleagues" letter penned Wednesday, the Stanford experts wrote that they have a "moral and ethical responsibility" to push back on Atlas' controversial claims about mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, which they characterized as "opinions and statements [that] run counter to established science" and "undermine public health authorities and the credible science that guides effective public health policy."
Continued Lockdown
Calls for help surge as teens' mental health suffers in lockdown
Mental health support services have seen calls from children and young people in Victoria jump by up to a third as the state's hard lockdown and extended restrictions on school attendance take a toll. There was a 28 per cent spike in calls to the phone counselling service Kids Helpline between March and July 2020 compared with the same period last year and a 19 per cent jump from July to August compared with the previous month.
Make your bed, phone your mother in tears: as Victoria's lockdown drags on, just keep going
Maintaining good nutrition is crucial and an excellent means of incorporating structure into your day. If you are growing your own vegetables – as many have since the “toilet paper-themed scarcity apocalypse” phase of isolation – Instagram everything. Demonstrate second world war-style thrift as you transform beetroot stalks into colourful, inedible gourmet feasts. There’s no need to illustrate your daily half-a-block of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut habit, or admit your car interior reeks of rendered pork fat because you’re driving through at Macca’s at least three times a week. It’s ... not considered polite.
Businesses in lockdown areas COULD be entitled to £1500 every 3 weeks
Cash grants will be available to businesses ordered to close due to local lockdowns in England, the Government has said. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay said “lifeline” grants of up to £1,500 will be on offer every three weeks. His announcement came as Labour demanded targeted income support for businesses and self-employed people in sectors which have been most affected by coronavirus. The Opposition also called for extra income support to be given to areas of the country placed under local lockdown restrictions.
Palestine records highest daily coronavirus infections
Palestine confirmed seven more deaths and 1,000 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours -- the highest single-day jump since the outbreak began. The virus claimed six lives in occupied West Bank, and one in Gaza Strip. In a statement on Thursday, the Health Ministry said the death toll in the country rose to 224, while the total infections reached 37,214 including 25,483 recoveries.
Norway may have to tighten COVID-19 restrictions, PM says
"The government is considering tighter measures," Solberg told a news conference. "We can't open up anymore at this time ... In case of a rise in the number of infections without a known source, or local outbreaks that are not contained, we will consider tighter restrictions locally, regionally or nationally," she said. The number of people allowed at public gatherings could be cut to 50 from the current 200, and the maximum permitted at private events to 5-10 people from 20 currently, Solberg said. Universities, which reopened with in-person classes in August, could be told to return to all-online teaching, she added. Earlier plans to allow adults outside of the professional leagues to take part in contact sports such as football, remain on hold for the time being, she added. Norway, with a population of 5.4 million, reported 738 coronavirus cases last week, the highest number of any single week since early April, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI).
Scientific Viewpoint
Serum Institute puts India trials of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on hold
Serum Institute of India has put on hold trials of AstraZeneca's potential Covid-19 vaccine in the country until the British drugmaker confirms it wishes to restart them, the company said on Thursday.
180 COVID-19 vaccines in development, says WHO
Around 180 vaccines to combat COVID-19 are in development worldwide, including 35 in human trials, the WHO chief said on Friday. "No disease in history has seen such rapid development in research. It's a testament to the incredible advances in science and technology the world has made in recent years," Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva. "It must be matched by its ambition to ensure as many people as possible have access to them." When journalists asked about differing claims on vaccines' arrival, including an aspiration by US President Donald Trump to have one by October, the WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said people should remember that "clinical trials take time."
Delayed immune responses may make COVID-19 deadly for elderly people
University of Washington analyzed swabs from 500 people tested for coronavirus for differences in people of different ages and sexes. They found signs that genes that turn on the immune response in elderly people get activated more slowly than those in younger people. Genes that should turn the immune system 'off' to keep inflammation from getting out of control are less active in men
Covid-19: An efficient and effective test trace regime is not a numbers game
We need a targeted testing strategy, not a blunderbuss, say Maggie Rae and Ellis Friedman. The government’s “moon shot” plan to test millions of people daily for covid-19 risks repeating the mistakes of the early days of test and trace. The ambition to deliver a further substantial increase in testing is welcome, but as the push for 100,000 daily tests exposed, an efficient and effective test trace regime is not a numbers game. Testing is not a medical intervention and on its own does nothing to control the disease. It only has value if the test is reliable and a positive test triggers a quick and effective response, which means immediately tracing the contacts of the infected person, investigating the source of their infection, and effectively preventing further transmission of the virus. Identifying large numbers of asymptomatic carriers has the potential to significantly strengthen our ability to manage the disease, but—as the continuing problems with laboratory capacity demonstrate—we are unlikely to ever have the capacity and public compliance to allow us to repeatedly test millions of asymptomatic people and then report the results and trace contacts efficiently. Even in areas where there are major outbreaks, such as Bolton, randomly offering tests to the public will not work effectively and will waste valuable resources. We need a targeted testing strategy, which is part of a well designed control strategy—not a blunderbuss.
Oxford Covid-19 vaccine is still possible this year, says AstraZeneca chief
AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine could still be available by the end of the year, or early next year, according to the company’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, despite clinical trials being paused after a volunteer fell ill. AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which are jointly developing the vaccine and testing it on 50,000 to 60,000 people around the world, halted trials on Wednesday to investigate the “potentially unexpected illness” of one participant. Soriot was unable to say when the trial would resume, but said “I still think we are on track for having a set of data that we would submit before the end of the year” for regulatory approval. They “could still have a vaccine by the end of this year, early next year”, depending on how fast the regulator moves, he added.
The most dangerous phase of the US Covid-19 crisis may be yet to come
Studies have shown that living through a pandemic negatively affects confidence that vaccines are safe and disinclines the affected to vaccinate their children. This is specifically the case for individuals who are in their “impressionable years” (ages 18-25) at the time of exposure because it is at this age that attitudes about public policy, including health policy, are durably formed. This heightened skepticism about vaccination, observed in a variety of times and places, persists for the balance of the individual’s lifetime. The difference now is that Trump and his appointees, by making reckless and unreliable claims, risk aggravating the problem. Thus, if steps are not taken to reassure the public of the independence and integrity of the scientific process, we will be left only with the alternative of “herd immunity”, which, given Covid-19’s many known and suspected comorbidities, is no alternative at all.
UK epidemiologist warns of virus uptick, wants lockdown re-imposed
The epidemiologist whose modelling heavily influenced the British government to impose a lockdown in March has warned that fresh restrictions may have to be re-imposed in coming weeks to deal with a rise in new coronavirus cases. Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London said he was encouraged that the government is banning social gatherings of more than six people from Monday, noting that one of the mistakes in the early days of the pandemic this year was an overly cautious approach. Still, he told BBC radio that all the analysis suggested there would be an uptick in deaths in the coming weeks, so now is the time to respond. The UK has seen Europe's deadliest virus outbreak, with around 41,600 deaths. Ferguson added that if the transmission rates don't fall markedly so the epidemic starts shrinking again, then we may need to clamp down in other areas.
Paging Dr. Hamblin: Why Didn’t America’s Shutdowns Work?
I’m an American living in Germany, and I’ve been following how some people in the United States have opposed lockdowns due to fears about “shutting down the economy.” It seems to me that even to those who believe the economy is what matters most, having a complete national lockdown for a few weeks is economically better than what the U.S. is going through now. Should the U.S. have done that? And is it too late?
Covid: why Spain is hit worse than the rest of Europe
The problem is that the crisis has been hugely complicated by Spain’s political polarisation and its decentralised model of governance. Pedro Sánchez, prime minister, insists handling the pandemic is now primarily the responsibility of the country’s regions, whose collective health budget is more than 10 times that of his administration. The regions respond that the central government must provide more leadership. The upshot is that while controls were rapidly dropped in June — with plans for a step-by-step phase out being discarded — reintroducing such curbs has been halting and sometimes halfhearted. Some epidemiologists identify this as the central error in the handling of the crisis. Regions were able to scrap lockdown measures without demonstrating they were increasing track or trace staff or preparing more adequately for a new rise in cases.
Boss of biotech company tasked with making coronavirus vaccine slams Dan Andrews' lockdown strategy
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews under fire from CSL chairman Brian McNamee. Melbourne businessman described roadmap out of lockdown as 'map of misery' CSL is one of the companies to manufacture a coronavirus vaccine in Australia. But its boss Dr McNamee has issued a dire warning to not bank on a vaccine
Coronavirus Australia: Mistake in COVID modelling that informed lockdown
A major error has been uncovered in the COVID-19 modelling used by the Federal Government to inform Australia’s tough lockdown restrictions. Modelling released by Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute earlier this year showed grim predictions of the impact the coronavirus pandemic would have on Australia if no measures were taken to suppress it. But The Daily Telegraph has revealed an error in the modelling meant the number of people that would need ICU beds was dramatically over-estimated, making the potential impacts of the pandemic appear much worse. When the modelling was released, chief medical officer Brendan Murphy branded it a “horrendous scenario”. “A daily demand for new intensive care beds of 35,000 plus,” he said. Professor Murphy warned Australians this ICU capacity was “completely beyond the realm of any country to create”.
Coronavirus: Why lockdown could be making you vitamin D deficient
With our minds focused on staying safe from COVID-19 and millions forced to stay indoors for weeks on end, there may be other aspects of your health that are suffering without you knowing. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the concerns among doctors with people being unable to get enough time outdoors. "Vitamin D is something that's synthesised inside our bodies and it starts with a process on the skin and often what we're needing is a certain amount of exposure to UV light to start the first step in the chain of producing vitamin D," Melbourne-based GP and spokeswoman from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Dr Lara Roeske told nine.com.au.
How error in numbers used to justify shutting down Australia during COVID-19 crisis went unnoticed
Australia's decision to lockdown at start of crisis based on miscalculated figures. Research estimated daily ICU demand of 35,000 beds in uncontrolled outbreak. But data confused ICU admissions with patients needing to be taken to hospital Then Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said at time data was 'horrendous.' Data used to guide government decision to shut down large parts of economy.
Coronavirus: Kiwis turned to cannabis and alcohol to cope during lockdown - study
Nearly half of all Kiwi adults drank alcohol more frequently and heavily during the lockdown and its aftermath than they normally would, a new survey has found. Women led the way, 52 percent of them drinking more often and 48 percent more heavily than usual the 2020 Global Drug Survey found. Nearly 3000 Kiwis took part in the international research, which this year focused on how people's drug use was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns implemented to suppress it. Stuck at home, many people turned to alcohol and other drugs - while others cut back, robbed of opportunities for socialising with friends. "There's been a number of New Zealanders that have increased their consumption during lockdown, and they've maintained that post-lockdown," Nicki Jackson of Alcohol Healthwatch told The AM Show on Thursday.
COVID-19 vaccine doses could arrive in Canada early in 2021: minister
Canada is "aggressively negotiating" with drugmakers on delivery schedules for potential Covid-19 vaccines and shipments would begin early in 2020 under existing deals, Canada's minister of public services and procurement told Reuters on Thursday.
AstraZeneca vaccine trial pause a "wake-up call", ...
AstraZeneca's pause of an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus after the illness of a participant is a "wake-up call" but should not discourage researchers, the World Health Organization's (WHO) chief scientist said on Thursday. "This is a wake-up call to recognise that there are ups and downs in clinical development and that we have to be prepared," Soumya Swaminathan told a virtual briefing from Geneva. "We do not have to be discouraged. These things happen." Governments are desperate for a vaccine to help end the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused more than 900,000 deaths and global economic turmoil, and the WHO had flagged AstraZeneca's, being developed with Oxford University, as the most promising.
Headaches and delirium: coronavirus can invade brain, study says
Preliminary study suggests virus is able to replicate inside the brain, and its presence starves nearby brain cells of oxygen. Neurological impacts could also have been the result an abnormal immune response known as a cytokine storm
Coronavirus Resurgence
Iowa reports another 20 COVID-19 deaths and 819 new cases in past 24 hours
The state has been changing how it reports testing data, which has caused spikes in the rate of positive data. Before the changes, the state was consistently reporting a positivity rate, that is, the percentage of tests that were positive, below 10%. Iowa also is now counting the results of antigen tests, a relatively rapid type of coronavirus tests, that will increase the reported rates of infection in some counties. On Thursday, the state was reporting 10.5% positive since the pandemic started. Of the tests the state has reported since 10 a.m. Wednesday, 12.4% were positive, according to a Des Moines Register analysis. Iowa's 14-day average was 9.7% positive, according to the state
English tracing scheme shows weekly jump in number of COVID-19 cases
The weekly number of positive COVID-19 cases in England jumped 43% at the end of August compared to the previous week, the latest data from the test and trace scheme showed on Thursday. MHS Test and Trace said on Thursday that 9,864 new people rested positive for Covid-19 in England in the week from Aug to Sept 2, the highest number of weekly positive cases since the scheme launched at the end of May.
COVID-19: 170 new cases in Ontario; Quebec to fine people not wearing masks indoors
Premier Doug Ford says it’s too early to say whether Halloween trick-or-treating will be permitted. “It just makes me nervous, kids going door to door. I’d prefer not to. It’d be a shame, but we’ll check that out.” Province announces $14.75 million investment to improve access to mental health and addictions services. Ontario reports 170 new cases, including 55 in Toronto, 28 in York and 22 in Peel. Another person has died, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 2,814. 54 people are hospitalized, with the disease, including 14 in ICU and nine on ventilators Ottawa Public Health reports 12 new cases as of Thursday, down from 17 cases Wednesday and 37 on Tuesday. That brings the total number of cases in the capital region to 3,163. There are 226 active cases
161 new Covid-19 cases across Scotland - including first positive case on Shetland for a month
The last new case for the region was on August 11, and now their total sits at 57 positive cases. The latest figures from the Scottish Government show an increase of 161 new confirmed positive cases across the country and there have been no registered deaths in the last 24 hours. Of these, five cases were recorded in the Grampian area and three in the Highlands. The region’s total number of positive cases now sits at 1,996 and 473 people respectively. The other islands’ total positive cases since the pandemic began remain at 17 on Orkney and nine in the Western Isles.
Nicola Sturgeon announces new lockdown restrictions on numbers of people allowed to meet socially
Nicola Sturgeon has announced new lockdown restrictions across Scotland as the number of people testing positive for coronavirus continues to rise. The First Minister told MSPs the country must remain in phase 3 of lockdown for now and would likely remain so "for some time to come". The SNP leader also revealed a range of new restrictions on social gatherings aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. From Monday, there will be a new limit of six people from two households allowed to meet socially - a rule that covers meetings in homes as well as in pubs and restaurants.
Coronavirus UK: Birmingham days from lockdown as infection rates double
Local leaders have warned Birmingham could be the next city put into a local lockdown after coronavirus infection rates have soared. West Midlands mayor Andy Street said increased restrictions in the city are ‘looking very likely’ as Birmingham’s case rate has increased to 69 per 100,000, up from 30 a week ago. It comes after 712 people caught coronavirus in the city in the seven days up to Saturday, MailOnline reports. Boris Johnson announced at a press conference yesterday that gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday in a bid to control the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus: Maximum size of gatherings in Scotland cut to six
The number of people allowed to meet up in Scotland has been cut to six amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic "accelerating". It came as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a "tightening and extension" of lockdown rules. Changes planned for next week have been put back until at least 5 October. It means that theatres, live music venues, indoor soft play facilities and indoor contact sports will not now open next Monday. Until now, eight people from three households had been allowed to meet indoors in Scotland, and up to 15 from five households outdoors. This will change to six people from two household, and will apply both indoors and outdoors - including in homes, gardens, pubs and restaurants. Children under the age of 12 will not count towards the total, however.
Coronavirus: 'We must act' to prevent second lockdown, says PM
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said "we must act" to avoid another lockdown as virus cases rise in England. He set out a new "rule of six", restricting gatherings to a maximum of six people, enforced by police able to issue fines or make arrests. Mr Johnson also outlined a "moonshot" plan to control the virus with mass testing, possibly by next spring. It comes as the UK reported another 2,659 coronavirus cases, the fourth day running of over 2,000 reported cases. "I want to be absolutely clear, these measures are not another national lockdown. The whole point of them is to avoid a second national lockdown," Mr Johnson said in the first Downing Street coronavirus briefing since July. He added "it breaks my heart to have to insist on these restrictions".
Madrid brings in fresh virus restrictions as Spain hits 500,000 cases
Madrid has brought in new restrictions on social gatherings, restaurants and bars as Spain tries to curb a spike in coronavirus cases while millions of pupils return to school this week. A ban on outdoor meetings of more than 10 people was extended indoors because most recent outbreaks of Covid-19 were linked to family meetings or mass drinking sessions organised by young people called botellones.
Spain passes half a million coronavirus cases
The continued surge in coronavirus cases is set to continue as schools reopening are seeing millions of childen and teachers returning after having been out of the educational environment for over six months. Since July, Spain has become the country with the fastest rising coronavirus cases with the UK and France following closely behind.
Coronavirus: Victoria records 51 new cases as state's deaths top 700
Victoria has recorded 51 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with seven more lives lost. The new deaths have brought the state's total number of COVID-19 fatalities to 701. Victoria now accounts for nearly 90 per cent of Australia's coronavirus deaths. The latest fatalities included four men in their 70s, two women in their 80s and one man in his 80s.
Austria reports 664 new coronavirus cases in a day, highest since March
Austria eported 664 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the biggest daily increase since late March, when an initial spike in infections was rapidly fading due to a struct lockdown. Of those new cases, 387 were in Vienna, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
France cannot rule out local lockdowns - advisor
The French government will discuss on Friday whether to impose new, local lockdowns to try and tackle rising Covid-19 cases, while keeping economic activities going. Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said on Thursday that nothing will be ruled out at Friday's cabinet meeting, with President Macron saying he hoped any new measures would bot be too restrictive.
New Lockdown
Meet the covid marshals: Army of workers who will enforce new lockdown rules
Boris Johnson's new army of Covid secure marshals are out in force today. Those in the new roles will be recruited by councils to step up enforcement. There is confusion on how wide their remit will be and what powers they'll have. Rank-and-file officers have been left 'absolutely baffled' by the announcement
Myanmar locks down parts of Yangon amid virus increase
Myanmar was accelerating efforts Thursday to control the spread of the coronavirus, which has led to campaigning for November’s general election to be suspended in some areas due to partial virus lockdowns. The Ministry of Health and Sport issued a stay-at-home order for 20 Yangon townships effective Thursday as cases of the coronavirus continued to rise, with 120 new cases and two deaths. That brings the country’s total to 2,009 recorded cases and 14 deaths since the pandemic began. The order calls for a partial lockdown, with limited trips out of the house allowed to carry out necessary activities, such as the purchase of food. Seven other Yangon townships were put under similar partial lockdowns Sept. 1, as was all of Rakhine state last month after a surge of new cases there.
Indonesian stocks dive 5% as capital city Jakarta plans to reinstate partial coronavirus lockdown
Indonesian stocks fell by more than 5% on Thursday following an announcement that its capital city Jakarta will reinstate partial lockdown measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The decline in the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index stood in contrast with gains seen in most markets across Asia Pacific.
Winston Peters says latest 'lockdown' outside Auckland 'should never have happened'
Peters again criticised the Government’s Covid-19 response while on the campaign trail in Kaikoura today. “The reality is the lockdown should never have happened outside of the Auckland super city region and that’s demonstrably obvious now,” he told reporters. "Members of the Government should explain why this has happened to the South Island, West Coast and Southland when they’re flying people in from Auckland but they’re not allowing them to be in lockdown 1.”
As Jakarta heads into lockdown, doctors warn of buckling health system
Doctors in Indonesia's capital warned on Thursday the coronavirus pandemic is 'not under control' with Jakarta intensive care units nearing full capacity and the city ordering new lockdown measures to stem a spike in infections