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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 17th Sep 2020

News Highlights

Spain facing economic anguish

The pandemic's impact on Spain's economy may be longer lasting. Its central bank is warning that the economy could be six percent smaller by the end of 2022. The country's economy contracted by a record 18.5% in the second quarter of this year, this following a 5.2% contraction in the first quarter.

U.S. unveils a plan for the distribution of a vaccine - free of charge?

Americans will theoretically be able to get a vaccine free of charge once one has secured regulatory approval. The federal government unveiled an ambitious plan to roll out a vaccine within 24 hours of it receiving the nod from regulators. The plan does, however, recognise that initial supply will not be able to meet demand so rollout will inevitably be phased.

Melbourne to ease restrictions?

The state of Victoria - a hotspot for Covid-19 in Australia - may be on track to ease its latest set of lockdown restrictions. This follows a drop in cases, with the state readying itself to ease restrictions outside Melbourne from Monday. The state of Victoria also faces multiple class-action lawsuits from citizens aggrieved by the restrictions.

Covid-19 has set global health progress back by 25 years, Bill Gates warns

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has said that progress in global health has been set back 25 years because of the pandemic. The disruption to routine immunisation has led to vaccine coverage falling back to levels last seen in the 1990s. Meanwhile, millions may be newly exposed to extreme poverty, the Gates Foundation warned.

Lockdown Exit
Coronavirus in Scotland: Almost half of over-50s ‘less confident about going to shops due to Covid-19’
Some 35% of respondents said they are not comfortable visiting friends, 62% are less confident to eat out and 63% are worried about using public transport. There has also been an increase in the number of people experiencing loneliness, the charity said. Three in ten (30%) respondents who live alone said they have spent too long on their own and just over one in five (22%) said they feel lonely and isolated – more than three times the figure for those living with others.
Spain’s economy faces long-lasting pandemic drag, warns central bank
Spain’s economy will struggle to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to such an extent that it will still be as much as 6 per cent smaller at the end of 2022 than it was before the crisis hit, according to the Bank of Spain. In a grim set of economic projections released on Wednesday, the central bank highlighted the destructive impact of both the initial coronavirus outbreak and of the resurgence in infection rates following the end of the country’s lockdown in June. Spain’s economy contracted a record 18.5 per cent in the second quarter of this year compared with the previous three months, following a 5.2 per cent first-quarter contraction.
Australian industry still caught in a post-lockdown slump
Excess capacity, weak investment and low profit expectations continue to hurt Australia’s manufacturing sector as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, a survey of industrial trends has found. The Australian Chamber-Westpac Survey of Industrial Trends indicates that business conditions remained weak in the September quarter; with investment, profit and employment expectations low and production lower than capacity.
As Covid-19 Cases Rise, Europe Enters ‘Living-With-the-Virus Phase’
Europe’s leaders choose targeted measures over nationwide lockdowns, even as cases rise. In the early days of the pandemic, President Emmanuel Macron exhorted the French to wage “war” against an invisible enemy. Today, his message is to “learn how to live with the virus.’’
'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme pushes UK inflation to near five-year low
A hefty drop in meal prices, spurred by Britain’s scheme to support the hospitality sector through the COVID-19 pandemic, helped to push inflation down last month to its lowest rate in almost five years. Consumer prices rose by 0.2% in annual terms in August, the smallest increase since December 2015 and a sharp slowdown from July’s 1.0% increase, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Wednesday. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of 0.0%. Discounts for more than 100 million meals were claimed Last month through the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” programme, which offered diners a state-funded price reduction of up to 10 pounds ($12.89).
Top medical expert says Ontario needs smaller classes as COVID-19 cases accelerate
Classes in Canada’s high risk schools should ideally have 20 or fewer students so children can maintain safe distance from each other, a top doctor who advised the government of Ontario on school reopening said, as sometimes crowded classes resumed in the midst of a spike in COVID-19 cases. Dr Ronald Cohn, president of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, is one author of two reports that Canada’s most populous province cited repeatedly in drafting back to school plans. Cohn said much depends on the size of classrooms - some can accommodate only 15, while others may be large enough to teach 18 or 20 children, but likely not many more than that.
US outlines sweeping plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccines
The federal government outlined a sweeping plan Wednesday to make vaccines for COVID-19 available for free to all Americans, even as polls show a strong undercurrent of scepticism rippling across the land. In a report to Congress and an accompanying "playbook" for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or possibly later this year, eventually ramping up to reach any American who wants a shot. The Pentagon is involved with the distribution of vaccines, but civilian health workers will be the ones giving shots.
Exit Strategies
U.S. plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccine immediately after regulators authorise it
The U.S. government on Wednesday said it will start distributing a COVID-19 vaccine within one day of regulatory authorisation as it plans for the possibility that a limited number of vaccine doses may be available at the end of the year. Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense on Wednesday held a call with reporters and then released documents on the distribution plans that it is sending to the states and local public health officials. “Our goal at Operation Warp Speed, is that 24 hours after (regulatory authorization) is issued, we have vaccine moving to administration sites,” one of the officials said.
US government will offer Covid-19 vaccine free to all Americans – and they’ll need two shots of it
Every American will be offered a free coronavirus vaccine from January 2021 – and most people who take up the offer will need two injections of it. A report given to the US Congress Wednesday says the vaccination campaign may begin by the end of the year, and is likely to be in full-swing by January. Anyone who takes up the offer of a free shot will be given two doses 21 to 28 days apart, with each patient being given both shots from the same vaccine manufacturer. Multiple US pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Moderna are racing to develop their own shots, with results from ongoing final-phase testing expected as early as October. Other manufacturers around the world are developing their own shots, with scientists saying most vaccines tested appear to offer protection from Covid-19.
U.S. plans to ship free Covid-19 vaccines within 24 hours of authorization
The federal government released broad plans Wednesday aimed at distributing free Covid-19 vaccines within a day after an emergency use authorization or full approval is granted. A "playbook" developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructs state health agencies to create a vaccine planning committee made up of leaders from different community groups, such as health centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities and pharmacies. The CDC playbook advises states to prepare for a limited supply of vaccine doses in the fall. It's unclear which vaccine will receive authorization first, as well as when data from the clinical trials will be available for officials to review. Still, the CDC previously told states to prepare for a rollout by Nov. 1.
Coronavirus: Schoolchildren and parents could be among groups prioritised for COVID-19 tests, says cabinet minister
Schoolchildren and their parents could be prioritised for coronavirus tests - after hospitals and care homes - as the government deals with "real challenges" in the system, a cabinet minister has told Sky News. The government has come under growing pressure over a lack of availability of COVID-19 tests in some areas - blamed on problems with laboratory capacity - and admitted it could take a "matter of weeks" to solve the issues.
Melbourne on track for easing lockdown, but anyone trying to leave city faces hefty fine
Australia's Victoria state on Wednesday said the daily rise in infections in its coronavirus hot spot of Melbourne has eased further, putting it on course to relax an extended hard lockdown in the city by the end of the month. However, a new law that goes into effect from midnight Wednesday will punish anyone caught trying to leave Melbourne for rural areas, where restrictions are less severe, with fines of up to $5,000. Average cases over the last two weeks in Melbourne, the state's largest city, fell below 50, health authorities said, the benchmark the state set to start easing curbs. Construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities can reopen, allowing more than 100,000 workers to return to their jobs, if the 14-day rolling average is under 50 cases as of Sept 28. However, people will still be limited to moving around in a 5-kilometer radius around home and only allowed outside for two hours a day for exercise, with a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. "We have to see this through. We absolutely do.
New Zealand's coronavirus fight eases economic pain but outlook still bleak
New Zealand’s response to control the novel coronavirus helped lessen the short-term economic shock of the pandemic, but massive debt and continuing disruptions will delay a full recovery, government data showed on Wednesday. The Treasury opened up its books ahead of the general election on Oct 17, in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a strong lead on the back of the her success in containing COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Finance Minister Grant Robertson said most short-term indicators were less grim than predicted at the government’s annual budget in May. “These are signs that the New Zealand economy is robust, and that our plan to eliminate COVID-19 and open up the economy faster is the right approach,” he told a news conference after the pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update was released.
Countrywide lockdown successfully blunted aggressive progression of COVID-19 in India: Choubey
India successfully blunted the aggressive progression of COVID-19 by imposing a countrywide lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, Minister of State for Health Ashiwni Choubey told Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. In a written reply to a question, Choubey said it has been estimated the decision of lockdown slowed down the progress of the pandemic in India, prevented 14–29 lakh cases and 37–78 thousand deaths. He said, 'In the beginning of the pandemic itself, by imposing countrywide lockdown, India successfully blunted the aggressive progression of COVID.' 'India has been able to limit its cases and deaths per million to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population respectively, which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries,' he said. The minister further said that no funds were allocated to the states specifically for testing and treatment. Initially the testing equipment and kits were procured by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and provided to the states, he added.
Australia's COVID-19 hotspot on track for easing lockdown
Australia’s Victoria state on Wednesday said the daily rise in infections in its coronavirus hot spot of Melbourne has eased further, putting it on course to relax an extended hard lockdown in the city by the end of the month. Average cases over the last two weeks in Melbourne, the state’s largest city, fell below 50, health authorities said, the benchmark the state set to start easing curbs. Construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities can reopen, allowing more than 100,000 workers to return to their jobs, if the 14-day rolling average is under 50 cases as of Sept. 28.
Partisan Exits
Biden questions whether a vaccine approved by Trump would be safe
Joe Biden on Wednesday expressed reservations about whether a coronavirus vaccine approved by the Trump administration would be safe, raising doubts about the president’s ability to put the health of Americans before politics. Biden said Americans should trust a coronavirus vaccine developed under the Trump administration only if the president gives “honest answers” to questions about its safety, effectiveness and equitable distribution. “I trust vaccines. I trust scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump,” Biden said. “And at this point, the American people can’t, either.” Biden also raised the possibility of President Trump pressuring agency officials to sign off on a vaccine that scientists are not yet confident in, to gain an electoral advantage.
Lockdown sceptics are distorting the science
We are living through the worst infectious disease pandemic since 1918. While the human and economic costs have been very high, the global response to this threat has been remarkable. Nearly a million deaths have been reported, but mortality would have been far higher had the world not adopted measures that would have seemed inconceivable just a year ago. Throughout, policy has been guided by the work of thousands of clinicians and scientists across the world. The data collected by researchers in China gave the rest of the world invaluable insight into the threat we faced. While the early response in China was imperfect, as hospitals in Wuhan were overwhelmed, China locked down. I was sceptical that lockdown would succeed. But China controlled their epidemic
Hundreds seek damages as Victoria faces multiple class-action lawsuits over Melbourne’s Covid lockdown
The Andrews government is facing three class-action lawsuits over the lockdowns imposed during Melbourne’s second wave of coronavirus, with potentially thousands of plaintiffs seeking damages. Victoria reported 42 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and eight people died of Covid in the preceding 24 hours. This week a Melbourne legal firm, Carbone Lawyers, filed a claim on behalf of workers who had lost income or suffered psychological damage due to strict social distancing laws. The managing partner, Tony Carbone, told Guardian Australia more than 100 plaintiffs had signed on prior to Wednesday.
Covid-19 level 4 lockdown case heads to Court of Appeal
Lawyer Andrew Borrowdale had argued in the High Court that the Director-General of Health went beyond his powers when he put the country into lockdown in March. Last month, the High Court ruled that in the nine days from 26 March, the requirement for people to stay at home was justified but unlawful. Dr Borrowdale now says he is appealing to the Court of Appeal. He said the High Court judgement raises vital issues about human rights and constitutional law, which should be assessed by a senior court.
Continued Lockdown
Australia sees lowest one-day rise in coronavirus cases in almost three months
Australia reported its lowest one-day rise in novel coronavirus infections in nearly three months on Monday as authorities began to ease restrictions aimed at slowing its spread. Thirty-nine people were found to be infected with the virus in the past 24 hours, the lowest one-day increase in new cases since June 26, when 37 infections were detected. With dwindling numbers of new infections, the epicentre of Australia’s latest outbreak, Victoria state, has begun easing restrictions, allowing people to leave their homes for longer periods for exercise and shortening a curfew at night.
Australia's Victoria state reports 42 new COVID-19 cases, eight deaths
Australia’s Victoria state on Wednesday said the daily rise in infections in its coronavirus hot spot of Melbourne has eased further, putting it on course to relax an extended hard lockdown in the city by the end of the month. Average cases over the last two weeks in Melbourne, the state’s largest city, fell below 50, health authorities said, the benchmark the state set to start easing curbs. Construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities can reopen, allowing more than 100,000 workers to return to their jobs, if the 14-day rolling average is under 50 cases as of Sept. 28. The state has set a much tougher target of a 14-day average of five cases for lifting a nightly curfew, allowing people out of home for more than two hours a day, and reopening more businesses in Melbourne from Oct 26.
Scientific Viewpoint
Covid-19 has set global health progress back 25 years, says Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic have halted and reversed global health progress, setting it back 25 years and exposing millions to the risk of deadly disease and poverty, a report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation warned on Tuesday (Sept 15). Because of Covid-19, extreme poverty has increased by 7 per cent, and routine vaccine coverage - a good proxy measure for how health systems are functioning - is dropping to levels last seen in the 1990s, the report said. "It's a huge setback," Mr Bill Gates, co-chairman of the foundation and a leading philanthropic funder of global health and development, told a media briefing on the report's findings.
In Covid-19 vaccine race, China inoculates thousands before trials are completed
This has raised concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing. China is inoculating tens of thousands of its citizens with experimental coronavirus vaccines and attracting international interest in their development, despite expert concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing. China launched a vaccine emergency use programme in July, offering three experimental shots developed by a unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech. A fourth Covid-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
South Korea to secure coronavirus vaccines for 60% of population: PM Chung
South Korea said on Tuesday it plans to spend $146 million to procure coronavirus vaccines, initially aiming to secure a supply for 30 million people, or 60% of its population, as it battles persistent outbreaks of new cases. The population target is higher than a World Health Organization (WHO) goal for the early purchase of supplies for 20% of the world's most vulnerable people, and at least 40% agreed by European Union nations, Britain and EU partners for their populations. While South Korean authorities would like to inoculate the entire population of 52 million, uncertainty around any vaccine's safety, efficacy and development was limiting investment, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a cabinet meeting.
Turkey begins Phase III trials of Chinese coronavirus vaccine - minister
Turkey began final Phase III trials of an experimental Chinese coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, the health minister said. “The first administration of the Sinovac vaccine was started with three healthcare workers at Hacettepe University, who volunteered to take part in the trials,” Fahrettin Koca told a news conference. The vaccine will be administered to between 1,200 and 1,300 health workers over 10 days and a second dose will be given 14 days after the first, broadcasters CNN Turk and Haberturk reported earlier. The results of the trial will be sent the World Health Organization (WHO).
Japan commits $165 mln to WHO's global coronavirus vaccine programme
Japan said on Tuesday it has committed 17.2 billion yen ($165 million) in funds for its participation in the World Health Organization's COVID-19 vaccine programme. The programme, known as COVAX, is aimed at helping buy and fairly distribute vaccination shots against the novel coronavirus around the world. But some countries which have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join. The funds are part of a 1.64 trillion yen reserve intended to bolster the government's response to the virus, a government document showed. Japan has also pursued independent arrangements with global pharmaceutical companies to secure vaccines, with the government pledging to have enough supply for the whole population by the first half of 2021.
CDC director says 'masks are more guaranteed to protect you from COVID-19' than a vaccine
'I might say this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against covid than when I take a vaccine' Dr Robert Redfield said before a Senate committee. Wearing a face mask has been shown to cut a person's risks of contracting COVID-19 by up to 65% and coverings reduce the spread of infectious particles. It remains unclear how much protection a coronavirus vaccine will offer. FDA regulators set the minimum efficacy for a shot they would approve at 50%. Some people may not have an immune response to a future vaccine - and there is not yet substantial data on shots because they are not yet in use. It comes as a CDC 'playbook' said federal agencies plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine broadly and for free to Americans by January.
ERS Studies Highlight Long-Term Effects of COVID-19
In May, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro famously (or infamously) referred to COVID-19 as the “little flu.” Clearly, the grim figures on deaths attributed to the virus—in his country, and elsewhere—have proved him wrong, but research presented during the European Respiratory Society International Congress on September 7 should also cause him to take note. Together, the 2 studies suggest that COVID-19 patients may suffer long-term lung and heart damage—although, for many, it resolves over time. For the first paper, researchers working in a COVID-19 “hotspot” in Austria recruited their first 86 consecutive patients in May and early June (they now have more than 150 enrolled). The patients returned for evaluation 6, 12 and 24 weeks following their discharge from St. Vinzenz Hospital in Zams and underwent clinical examination, laboratory test, analysis of the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in arterial blood, lung function tests (FEV1 and DLCO), computed tomography (CT) scans, and echocardiograms at each visit.
Beware of big pharma in rush for Covid-19 vaccine
Once an effective vaccine is discovered, we will need open sharing of the technological process so that as many suppliers as possible can make it, to ensure an adequate supply across the world. This is not a time for monopolies. While governments leave big pharma in the driving seat, there will be vaccine scarcity and the global race to hoard vaccines will deplete global stocks, leaving very little – if any – for the WHO to supply to poorer countries. This is not just morally wrong, it is also counterproductive, because we will only be safe if everyone is safe.
Trial backs Lilly's Olumiant plus remdesivir as combo COVID-19 therapy -
Adding Eli Lilly’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant (baricitinib) and Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir reduces recovery time in COVID-19 patients compared to remdesivir alone, says a new trial. The ACTT-2 trial, funded by the US government and run by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), involved COVID-19 patients who had been hospitalised because of severe symptoms. It showed that the median time to recovery for the combination was roughly a day shorter than with remdesivir alone, which was a modest but statistically significant improvement. Lilly now intends to discuss an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for Olumiant with the FDA and other regulators and says that because the drug is already approved it should be made available “through commercial channels.”
What we actually know about Covid-19
As the world battled the first wave of coronavirus infections, scientists and doctors pulled together in an unprecedented global effort to explore the virus, the illness it causes, and the drugs and vaccines that might bring it under control. But as many countries face a resurgence in cases, what have we found out about Covid-19?
Stress, anxiety and depression levels soar under UK Covid-19 restrictions
Restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus in the UK has driven stress, anxiety and depression far above normal levels and may do again in coming months if widespread lockdowns are re-imposed, researchers say. A major study into the mental health impact of the pandemic found that in the early stages of lockdown 57% of those who took part reported symptoms of anxiety, with 64% recording common signs of depression. While the mental health problems improved as restrictions eased, scientists warn they may worsen again as infections rise and more aggressive nationwide lockdowns are considered over the autumn and winter.
Lockdowns: Should They Continue?
A new article though, seeks to address the lockdown in India, as public health officials from the Indian Public Health Association, the Indian Association of Epidemiologists, and the Indian Association of Social and Preventive Medicine, all joined for a joint statement to push the government to end the lockdowns. Moreover, this group emphasized that these restrictions should be replaced with widespread testing efforts. In their call to action, the joint statement noted that the nationwide lockdown, which began in March, has been disjointed as it was relaxed but still upheld in several cities. Moreover, the country is focusing testing strategies on tracking and testing contacts of 80% of new COVID cases. Recently, this was 76,000 per day. This approach was widely criticized by public health leaders as both impractical, but also limited in its approach. With over 3.76 million cases recorded in India and nearly one million people currently under medical care for the disease, the seriousness of the outbreak in India is painfully obvious.
Sweden records its lowest number of covid cases since March with just 108 after country did not impose lockdown
Sweden's seven-day average for coronavirus was 108 as of Tuesday. The figure is its lowest since March 13 when it decided not to impose lockdown. France, Spain, the UK and the Czech Republic all have higher case numbers.
Experts say new treatments and local lockdowns will keep coronavirus under better control
Government experts believe a second wave of coronavirus wouldn't be as bad. They suggest local lockdowns and social distancing would reduce the impact There are also hopes that a vaccine could be ready by as early as next spring
Covid-19 cases among people in their 40s and 50s have risen by 90% since end of August
Public Health England data reveals 23.4 cases are now diagnosed for every 100,000 people aged 40 to 49. In comparison, the Covid-19 infection rate for the same age group in England was 12.4 at the end of August. Fears of a second wave are growing as number of daily cases has topped 3,000 for the first time since May Ministers have also been spooked by spiralling outbreaks in Spain and France and rising hospital admissions. Covid-19 Hospital admissions have doubled in England over the past ten days, government figures also show. More than 150 patients required NHS treatment on Sunday, up from a rolling average of 56 the week before
‘Awareness not lockdown will flatten Covid curve’
During a Corona Awareness Dialogue online programme presided b chief ministers on Tuesday, leading doctors like Dr Naresh Trehan, Dr SK Sarin and Dr Devit Shetty stated that the state must launch short-term and long-term campaigns by taking the communities into confidence. Sarin advocated the need for regulated social policing for the strict compliance of masks whle suggesting Gehlot that society needs to be brought in. Campaigns like No Masks, No Entry should be started across the state. If everyone is involved and its followed for four weeks the case curve will flatten
Blood test finds 60,000 undetected Covid-19 cases in Australia
In Australia, federal government-funded research has revealed far more people have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus than anticipated. Researchers from the Australian National University have now developed a new test which picks up previous Covid-19 infection in a patient's blood. The study indicates eight in 3000 healthy and previously undiagnosed Australians had likely been infected with the virus. "This suggests that instead of 11,000 cases we know about from nasal swab testing, about 70,000 people had been exposed overall," Associate Professor Ian Cockburn said. The researchers claim the test will help authorities get a better grasp of the spread of the illness – and can help demonstrate whether or not herd immunity exists.
60,000 more people may have had COVID-19 than detected: study
Research by some of the nation's most senior scientists has found that more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus in Australia could have gone undetected, potentially adding to calls to ease restrictions sooner. The federal government-funded study by a team of researchers including Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth, estimates that by July – before Victoria's peak in cases – 71,400 people may have contracted the virus. At the time, there were only 11,190 officially confirmed cases in Australia.
Reaching herd immunity in a viral pandemic
The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought “herd immunity” to the public consciousness, kindling hope the phenomenon can help slow or even end the outbreak. Herd immunity refers to a large portion of a community developing a degree of immunity to a virus, thereby reducing person-to-person spread. As a result, the whole community gains protection, not just those who are immune.
The root cause of excess covid infections in the care home sector: 30 years of market driven policies
Any root cause analysis into the excess deaths from covid-19 in the UK’s care homes must consider the decisions taken by policy makers over the past three decades which may have created the optimal conditions for the virus to spread among older people in institutional settings. Those decisions—taken by long departed government ministers—led to the intentional creation of a market in social care, the consequential casualisation of the social care workforce and the treatment of some care home residents as a source of income and revenue for international private financiers. Take for example, the emerging evidence which suggests that the size of a care home maybe a causal factor in the rates of infection from covid and patient deaths. Research from NHS Lothian (published on a pre-print) appears to show a correlation between the size of the home and the spread of the virus; thus in homes containing fewer than 20 residents, the chance of an outbreak was 5%, but in homes with 60 to 80 residents the likelihood increased to between 83% and 100%.
Coronavirus vaccine 'should be ready for the general public by November', China claims
Chief biosafety expert Guizhen Wu said she was injected with a potential vaccine in April and has had no side effects, though China's approach to inoculation has come under scrutiny. Some of the coronavirus vaccinations being developed by China could be ready for public use by November, a medical chief has claimed. Guizhen Wu, the chief biosafety expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said she was injected in April and has had no side effects. It comes following news China has been inoculating tens of thousands of its citizens with experimental Covid vaccines. This is despite expert concerns over the safety of the drugs that have not completed standard testing. The East Asian communist country, where the virus originated last year, launched a vaccine emergency use programme in July.
Pfizer says "no safety signal" in late-stage study of COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2
Pfizer said that subjects in its Phase III study of BNT162b2, a candidate mRNA-based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, have so far exhibited only mild-to-moderate side effects, with fatigue being the most common. The company, which is developing the vaccine as part of a collaboration with BioNTech, noted that over 12,000 participants have now received a second dose of BNT162b2. "So far there has been no safety signal reported," remarked Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer. The drugmaker noted that more than 29,000 people have been recruited into the study, which has a target enrolment of 44,000.
WHO Europe background document in preparation to the High-level virtual briefing for ministers of health on “schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic”
Schooling in the time of COVID-19 - Towards a consensus on schooling in the European Region during the COVID-19 pandemic This working paper serves as a reference point for national education and health authorities as they seek to plan and implement effective schooling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally prepared to inform the high-level meeting on “Schooling in the time of COVID-19” held on 31 August 2020, it seeks to provide a general framework and upstream considerations for decision-makers.
Coronavirus Resurgence
'It's getting worse by the day': India's Covid battle rages on
The first official cases of coronavirus arrived at Niramaya hospital in Mumbai in early May, but they did not come as much of a surprise to Dr Amit Thadhani. Thadhani, the hospital director, had suspected for weeks that the virus was being virulently transmitted in India’s financial capital, home to 20 million people, after seeing a steady stream of patients with unseasonable viral symptoms. But strict testing restrictions – and a vehement government denial of community transmission – meant he had no way to prove or prevent it. “Our limitations in availability in testing back then is partially responsible for the infections we have now, as we could have picked up a lot more early cases,” he said. Five months on, Mumbai has 1.8 million coronavirus cases and on Thursday, India crossed the dubious threshold of reporting more than5 million cases nationwide. With the fastest rate of infection in the world, and no signs of the country hitting its peak any time soon, many predict India will eventually overtake the US – currently on 6.6 million – to report the most cases worldwide.
First European 'travel bubble' ends as coronavirus cases rise in Estonia
The first European pandemic "travel bubble", created in May by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, burst on Friday, as Latvia said it was mandating a 14-day quarantine on everyone arriving from Estonia. Estonia has had 21 novel coronavirus infections per 100,000 population over the previous two weeks, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, passing the 16 threshold set by Latvia for mandatory quarantine. Latvia, which has one of the lowest levels of infection in the European Union, has rejected the European Commission's recommendation to raise threshold for quarantine to 25 new cases per 100,000 population over two weeks.
India hits FIVE MILLION coronavirus cases: Country sees an extra million in just 11 days - the fastest any country has seen
India recorded 90,123 new coronavirus cases and 1,290 fatalities on Wednesday Takes the total to five million, with 997,180 of those infections in the last 11 days Despite the large numbers, India's authorities have ruled out a second lockdown The fatality rate is 1.6%, similar to the 1.5% in the UK and far lower than 3% in US
WHO warns of coronavirus momentum as winter looms in north
The World Health Organization warned on Wednesday that COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is spreading at a worrying pace in some parts of the northern hemisphere, a few months away from the winter influenza season. “We are starting to see worrying trends in some countries,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for COVID-19, said during a social media webcast. “We are seeing increases in hospitalisations, in intensive care units, particularly in Spain, France, Montenegro, Ukraine and some states of the United States. That is worrying because we have not seen the flu season yet.”
Manchester NHS hospital accounted for a THIRD of coronavirus deaths in English hospitals last week with 18 fatalities as health bosses fight 'internal outbreak'
Tameside General Hospital saw a surge of Covid-19 deaths last week. The 18 Covid-19 deaths accounted for a third of those across England. Some of the victims are thought to have caught Covid-19 in hospital. They all had underlying health issues or were elderly, the hospital said
Coronavirus: UK records 20 deaths of people with COVID-19 and 3,991 new daily cases
The UK recorded 20 deaths of people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, according to government figures. There were 3,991 new daily confirmed cases of coronavirus, compared with 3,105 yesterday, the figures show. That is the highest daily figure for new cases since 8 May, when there were 4,649 reported, according to Reuters.
Britain records nearly 4,000 new Covid-19 cases in highest daily total since MAY
The seven-day average is now 3,286 compared with 2,358 last Wednesday - a 40 per cent rise. Infections have soared in the past fortnight after schools and workplaces began to return to normality. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the failing coronavirus testing system today. He said it is trying to meet a 'colossal spike' in demand as official draw up testing priority plans. It comes as official data shows cases among people in their 40s and 50s have risen by 90% since August. Public Health England data reveals 23.4 cases are now diagnosed for every 100,000 people aged 40 to 49. In comparison, the Covid-19 infection rate for the same age group in England was 12.4 at the end of August. Fears of a second wave are growing as number of daily cases has topped 3,000 for the first time since May
Liverpool infection rate tips over 100 as city prepares for lockdown measures
Liverpool's soaring Covid-19 infection rate has now tipped over the worrying threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 people and the city is now awaiting inevitable lockdown measures. Latest figures show that the rate per 100,000 is 106.4 - and in just one week (7-13 September) there were 530 positive cases. Mayor Joe Anderson said he now fully expects new lockdown restrictions to be imposed on the city later this week. He said he would not be surprised if the government brought in measures for Liverpool, the whole of Merseyside and perhaps the entire North West region.
Warning of 'lockdown by default' as Hancock faces fury over testing shambles
Boris Johnson has defended the creaking testing system saying there has been 'huge, huge demand.' Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that Covid tests will have to be rationed amid shambles. He is drawing up a priority list while conceding that the current shortages is set to drag on for weeks. Schools have warned that it might be 'unsustainable' to stay open as so many are off with symptoms. Experts warn that 500,000 people a day display Covid-style symptoms even in year where no pandemic
Towns in France impose restrictions to contain COVID-19, Bordeaux is running out of ICU beds
Stricter sanitary measures have been announced in France's southwestern region Nouvelle-Aquitaine on Monday for public events and nursing homes to contain a spike in coronavirus cases. With the country facing a resurgence in coronavirus cases and reaching record-levels of 10,000 new cases over the last weekend, the government has promised to speed up tests and toughen measures in high-infection zones.
ICUs are nearing capacity in this French city. And it's only September
Dealing with the first wave was like a sprint, the second will be more like a marathon. That's how Dr. Olivier Joannes-Boyau, head of the intensive care unit at University Hospital in the southwestern city of Bordeaux, describes the resurgence of Covid-19 in France. After young French people took advantage of the lifting of lockdown and summer months to socialize freely, Covid-19 hospitalizations have risen in large cities like Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille on the Mediterranean coast. French hospitals are now preparing for the long slog. The last time University Hospital dealt with a rise in Covid-19 cases, it put aside all other emergency procedures to deal the crisis. This time, it is trying to keep the rest of its services going too. Just like the wider country, it is adapting to a virus that looks like it is here to stay. Hospital staff are more experienced than they were when the coronavirus first swept through France, and Bordeaux University Hospital is now armed with steroids to reduce Covid-19 symptoms and improved ventilators, both of which can reduce intubation rates.
As Coronavirus Rebounds, Europe Rejects New Lockdowns
As a second wave of coronavirus infections gathers momentum across Europe, the Continent’s governments are determined to avoid large-scale lockdowns and instead seek less disruptive ways to live with the new disease. France and Spain are on the leading edge of a resurgence in Covid-19 cases across Europe in the wake of the summer travel season, in some cases reaching levels of incidence on par with those in the U.S.
Coronavirus: India passes 5 million infections
India's confirmed coronavirus infections passed 5 million on Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. The world's second-most populous country has added more than 1 million cases this month alone and is expected to become the pandemic's worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than 6.6 million people have been infected. India's Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 5,020,359, about 0.35 per cent of the nation's nearly 1.4 billion people. Its record daily high of 97,570 cases was reported on 11 September.
India coronavirus infections top five million mark
India's confirmed Covid-19 cases has surpassed five million as the soaring numbers continue to test the country's health care system. Officials reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation's confirmed total to 5,020,359, about 0.35 per cent of its nearly 1.4 billion population. They said 1,290 more people died in the past day, for a total of 82,066. The country’s total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States' highest tally of more than 6.6 million cases, and expected to surpass it within weeks.
India’s surging COVID-19 infections is testing the health infra once again — beds added during lockdown aren’t
Earlier this month, a 42-year old journalist Pandurang Raikar succumbed to Covid-19 in pune after the hospital delayed admission over advanced payment. There have been many cases where even affluent patients have failed to find space in hospitals. The benefits of the lockdown, ie adding beds before infections spike, have fallen short of the requirement
Britons 'face EVEN TOUGHER lockdown in TWO WEEKS' unless Rule of Six works
Boris Johnson has imposed 'Rule of Six' in bid to curb rise in coronavirus cases and avoid new lockdown. Ministers warning they are ready to take even tougher action if it doesn't work or is ignored by the public. Government determined schools won't close over effect on children's prospects if they have to stay at home
Israel curbs contagion zones, health chiefs self-isolate
Israel on Tuesday began a week-long campaign of night curfews and school closures in dozens of towns and neighbourhoods with high coronavirus counts, hoping to stem a spike in cases as its public-health chiefs were quarantined for exposure. Most of the 40 zones subject to the partial lockdowns are identified with Israeli Arabs or ultra-Orthodox Jews, minorities where crowding has helped spread the pandemic. Israel, with a population of 9 million, has recorded 135,288 cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,031 deaths. The discovery that a worker at a Health Ministry project for combating the virus had contracted it prompted senior staff who had been exposed to him to self-isolate as a precaution.
Myanmar races to build field hospital as coronavirus surge stretches health system
Myanmar authorities are racing to build a field hospital in the commercial capital of Yangon to cope with a surge of coronavirus infections that doctors fear threatens to overwhelm the country’s fragile health system. The Southeast Asian nation reported 307 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, its highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic in March, and another 134 on Wednesday morning, taking the total to 3,636 cases and 39 deaths. Myanmar had gone weeks without a case of local transmission before an outbreak in mid-August in the western region of Rakhine that has spread across the country.
Canada not ruling out lockdown amid COVID-19 surge but eyes 'surgical approach'
Canada’s health minister on Tuesday said she could not rule out another full lockdown if needed amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases, but added Ottawa was significantly more prepared to manage the virus than during the first wave. Patty Hajdu’s comments followed a pledge she made late Monday to take a “surgical approach” to tackling outbreaks. Canada reported 1,351 new cases on Sept. 14, the highest single daily addition since May 1, amid school reopenings and flare-ups tied to group gatherings. “We see those numbers rising, but a full economic shutdown would be very difficult for this country. Not to rule it out, because ... listen we will protect the health of Canadians and we will do what it takes,” Hajdu told reporters on Tuesday.
Coronavirus cases in England doubling every eight days, study shows
Cases of coronavirus in England are doubling every seven to eight days, research has revealed in the latest figures to show a resurgence of Covid-19. The study, known as React-1, is a population surveillance study that began in May and uses swabs from about 120,000 to 160,000 randomly selected people in England across 315 local authority areas each month to track the spread of coronavirus using PCR analysis – the “have you got it now” test. “The prevalence of the virus in the population is increasing. We found evidence that it has been accelerating at the end of August and beginning of September,” said Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London and a co-author of the work.
New Lockdown
Coronavirus: Restrictions expected in North East of England
Almost two million people in north-east England are expected to face local restrictions as coronavirus cases rise. Areas including Newcastle, Sunderland and County Durham are due to be subject to new measures. These are expected to include restrictions on households mixing and pubs being ordered to close earlier. Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said it was hoped the temporary measures would prevent a "full lockdown". BBC Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt said MPs from the area had met Health Minister Nadine Dorries earlier.
Coronavirus: New local lockdown in Wales
Health Minister Vaughan Gething announces a local lockdown for Rhondda Cynon Taf from 18:00 BST on Thursday to tackle a "rapid" rise in cases. This will include a 23:00 BST curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants - going further than the lockdown in Caerphilly. Earlier, Mr Gething said up to five extra mobile testing units would be deployed to Covid-19 hotspots in Wales this week. People seeking tests have spoken of their frustration over the time it takes to book, distance to travel, and long waits on arrival
Coronavirus pandemic: Second lockdown 'would be disastrous for UK economy'
UK PM Boris Johnson has also defended the testing system, saying there has been a "colossal spike" in demand for tests. Johnson tells MPs that a second national lockdown "would be disastrous for UK economy." There are ongoing reports of people struggling to get tests and results being delayed around the UK
Coronavirus: Rhondda Cynon Taff to go into lockdown
A second county in Wales will go into lockdown because of the rate of coronavirus cases. The 240,000 people living in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) will have restrictions imposed on their daily lives. From 18:00 BST on Thursday, people will not be able to enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education. All licensed pubs, bars and restaurants will have to shut by 23:00 every day, once the lockdown comes into effect. People will also be banned from meeting people outside their own households indoors.
Chaos in Madrid, as regional government denies health chief’s announcement of new lockdowns
Sources close to the Madrid regional premier, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, backtracked on Wednesday after her deputy health chief, Antonio Zapatero, announced that stricter coronavirus measures would be introduced in parts of the region this coming weekend in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Speaking this morning, Zapatero told reporters that “action is needed as soon as possible,” adding that new decisions are being taken to “restrict mobility and the concentration of people.” The health chief added that “more drastic” measures were needed, “in line with what people could understand as selective lockdowns according to basic healthcare areas or healthcare areas with higher infection rates,” he said, referring both to the capital city and the Madrid region as a whole.
Madrid to toughen COVID-19 measures on Friday with targeted lockdowns
The Madrid region, one of the worst hit in Spain, is to introduce targeted lockdowns and other restrictions on movement on Friday in areas with high COVID-19 cases, local authorities said on Wednesday. Madrid accounts for around one-third of active coronavirus cases in Spain, with a higher incidence in high-density and low-income neighbourhoods, mainly in the south of the city. “We are taking measures but it is not enough ... Nothing will work if we are not responsible,” Antonio Zapatero, head of COVID-19 response in Madrid, told reporters.
Ibiza follows Spain’s Palma de Mallorca in enforcing partial ‘lockdown’ to halt COVID-19 infections
In Ibiza, the centre of San Antonio and Ibiza Town will face similar restrictions that were laid down in Mallorca from Friday. This includes a complete control over mobility, impacting some 22,700 residents. The Balearic Ministry of Health said San Antonio and Ibiza are now labelled as hot zones due to the highest number of Covid-19 infections in the region