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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 2nd Jun 2020

News Highlights

Many in Europe protest George Floyd's death despite lockdown restrictions

Thousands of people in the UK and Germany defied bans on large public gatherings to support the nationwide protests in the U.S. about the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis. While most of Europe have started to ease lockdown restrictions, the ban on large-scale public gatherings remains in place.

Scores of migrant workers stuck in Russia amidst coronavirus lockdowns

Hundreds of thousands of migrants from erstwhile Soviet countries who work in Russia have been stuck in the country, since lockdown was imposed, to combat the spread of Covid-19. Most of these migrants do low-paid, manual work, and with lockdown imposed many of these jobs vanished, leaving the workers trapped without money or support from employers.

UK eases lockdown restrictions while experts warn it's too soon

Shoppers in the UK thronged retail shops and several IKEA stores across the country saw massive crowds welling outside their doors, as coronavirus restrictions eased considerably and shopper numbers surged by 36% from the previous week. However, numbers of new infections remain high and some health experts warn the lifting of lockdown is premature and will lead to another spike in infections, especially if safety guidelines are flouted.

Distance is key to prevent transmission of coronavirus

According to a new comprehensive study of viral transmission published in The Lancet, a two-metre distance is significantly more effective at reducing the transmission of Covid-19 than a distance of one metre is. The paper, based on 172 observational studies of virus behaviour in community and healthcare settings, also found that wearing face and eye protection significantly reduces the risk of transmitting the virus.

Lockdown Exit
Britain reopens for business: Huge queues form at IKEA as customers return
Aerial photos show hundreds of customers queuing around the block in the stifling heat to get into IKEA stores in Nottingham, Reading and Essex today as the Government urged the country to act 'sensibly'. Massive lines of people could also be seen snaking around the car parks at the Swedish furniture giant's branches in Wednesbury, West Midlands. Some eager shoppers had been queuing from as early as 5.30am - over four hours before the store was due to open at 10am today.
Shopper numbers surge 36% as lockdown in England relaxed
Shoppers rushed back to high streets and retail parks on Monday as the reopening of car showrooms, markets and some Ikea stores marked the easing of lockdown restrictions in England. The number of shoppers out and about jumped by 31% across all retail destinations by 5pm in England compared with last week’s bank holiday Monday, according to analysts at Springboard. For the UK as a whole, shopper numbers rose by 28%.
'Demand is huge': EU citizens flock to open-air cinemas as lockdown eases
From Berlin to Madrid the movies are back, albeit with hygiene and distancing restrictions. Open-air cinemas will begin reopening across Germany on Friday evening, and indoor cinemas are expected to get the go-ahead from July. Operators say they welcome the chance to be among the first cultural institutions to be able to inject joy back into people’s lives. They also recognise the responsibility they have. If successful, their navigation of hygiene and distancing regulations will serve as a blueprint for other cultural venues such as concert halls and performance venues.
Italy opens up its monuments and beaches to tourists
Italy is rolling out the red carpet for foreign visitors this week as it eases restrictions on tourism to help rebuild its decimated economy. On Wednesday a rule requiring new arrivals to self-isolate for two weeks will be scrapped for visitors from Europe, including the UK, while all travel between regions in Italy will be allowed as the country emerges from its coronavirus outbreak.
Italy to welcome overseas travellers as it records steady decline in coronavirus cases
The number of coronavirus cases in Italy today continued a steady decline despite a four-week easing of lockdown with the country now preparing to scrap its quarantine on international travellers. Active cases fell 1,600 to 42,075 over the latest 24-hour period, with only around 400 patients now reported to be in a serious or critical condition. The number of cases is less than half the level recorded on May 4, when the country that was once the epicentre of the pandemic began easing its lockdown.
Picnics at last: Paris parks reopen after Covid-19 lockdown
Parks and gardens in Paris reopen on Saturday as France enters the second phase of its relaxation of lockdown rules that were imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19. Many Parisians can at last enjoy their first picnics of the summer. The city’s parks and green spaces reopen on Saturday following Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s address on Thursday, when he announced “good results” in the battle against Covid-19.
France's second phase of easing Covid-19 lockdown measures causes confusion
France’s Covid-19 death toll has reached its lowest point for weeks, as the country’s numbers of coronavirus cases and of patients in intensive care also continue to decline. Although French citizens are now entering the third week of deconfinement measures, residents are becoming confused of what measures are to be followed, especially in public transports.
Japanese bathhouses awash with post-lockdown customers
Masazumi Kato sighed deeply as he lowered himself into a tub at a public bathhouse in a Tokyo suburb, enjoying a return to a Japanese tradition largely off-limits during the city's coronavirus lockdown. With the lifting of a nationwide state of emergency over the virus, Japan's onsen -- large bathhouses where patrons bathe naked in a series of warm pools and tubs -- are gradually reopening. And fans like 52-year-old Kato have few qualms about returning. "I believe they are taking anti-virus measures, like chlorine," he told AFP as he soaked in an outdoor tub, with other naked men submerged in pools nearby. "I trust them and I like to use this place," said Kato, a frequent patron of the Yumominosato facility in Yokohama, outside Tokyo.
Asia Today: Philippines sees traffic jams as lockdown eases
“Many people are now allowed to go out and many industries are reopening so you’ll see a lot of vehicles ... but the situation remains abnormal,” said police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. He warned that police will still go after violators who would not wear face masks and observe physical distancing. Classes remain suspended for the next two weeks. Barber shops and beauty salons can open next week at a third of their capacity. The Philippines remains a Southeast Asian hot spot for COVID-19, with more than 18,000 infections and 957 deaths.
Covid 19 coronavirus: 50000 tourists still in New Zealand after lockdown
There are more than 50,000 tourists hunkering down in New Zealand at the moment; only 3000 left the country after lockdown ended. Figures released to the Herald by Immigration New Zealand show, as of May 27, there were 53,244 temporary visitors in the country, excluding Australians. These were people in New Zealand on a Visitor Visa, which allows them to stay for up to nine months but does not allow them to work. The figure also includes people travelling to New Zealand on a visa waiver agreement. The number is about 20,000 fewer than the same time last year.
Spain's factories pick up pace in May as lockdown eases: PMI
IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of manufacturing companies rose to 38.3 in May from 30.8 in April, the biggest increase in a single month since the survey started in February 1998. Restrictions on non-essential economic activity in Spain and around the globe had sparked record falls in production, new orders and exports in April. The Spanish economy shrank by the widest margin on record in the first quarter. The International Monetary Fund has predicted a contraction of 8% in 2020 and Spain’s central bank has forecast a recession of up to 12.4%.
New Zealand Has Just One Remaining Case of Coronavirus
New Zealand is down to its last known coronavirus case, approaching a milestone beyond reach in most countries: the elimination of the virus within its borders. It has been nine days as of Sunday since the last new Covid-19 case was confirmed. The only active case is an Auckland woman in her 50s who was diagnosed May 1. The last recorded death was a week ago and more than 1,100 people have recovered. The island nation of 5 million residents took advantage of a substantial easing of lockdown conditions—allowing people to travel outside their local area and gather in groups of up to 100—to enjoy a three-day holiday weekend that was nearing normalcy.
Life after lockdown: astronauts and adventurers on the ‘shock’ of getting back to normal
After circumnavigating the world solo at 16, spending 20 weeks in space, and summiting Everest (twice), Jessica Watson, Andy Thomas and Peter Hillary have learned a lot about life after isolation
'There's a huge amount of anxiety': New Zealand wrestles with back-to-school virus blues
'There's a huge amount of anxiety': New Zealand wrestles with back-to-school virus blues - Researchers call for mental health strategies for students after Covid-19, earthquakes and terrorist attack
Exit Strategies
The Lost March: How the UK Government's COVID-19 Strategy Fell Apart
“We have taken the right steps at the right time based on the best scientific advice”. This is the standard ministerial response to any insinuation the UK may have been slow to act during the early stages of the Coronavirus outbreak. And since we’re not allowed to see that scientific advice in any detail, the argument is circular. The trouble is, even on the available evidence, the claim falls apart at the slightest interrogation. At each step of this process, the Government’s timing appears to have been anything but right.
Restaurants reopening: How lessons from the US provide hope for UK businesses preparing to open after lockdown
The findings, published by research firm CGA Nielsen, reveal the preferences of US consumers in multiple cities where lockdown restrictions have been loosened, and offer UK firms an insight into the types of measures customers would like to see implemented once restaurants reopen here. One third of consumers in key cities in two US states - Texas and Florida - went out to eat in a restaurant or bar in mid-May, according to the findings. Of those that had ventured into a restaurant or bar, one in three had done so three times or more. Nearly nine in 10 (88 per cent) of those polled stated they were satisfied with their overall experience.
What you can and can't do from today as lockdown rules change
As of Monday, people in England will be able to gather outdoors in socially-distanced groups of six. This means that groups can meet in parks and private gardens for chats and barbecues. Outdoor gatherings will also be allowed in Wales from Monday, with people from two different households able to meet. Scottish citizens do not have to wait until Monday to visit family and friends, with restrictions being eased from Friday to allow people to meet one other household at a time outdoors, with the gathering involving a maximum number of eight. Meanwhile, groups of up to six people are already allowed to gather outdoors in Northern Ireland after some restrictions were lifted earlier this month.
Coronavirus: Parents choosing to keep schoolchildren at home after easing of lockdown
Many parents are choosing to keep their children at home after the easing of lockdown measures - as the health secretary insists the UK is "winning the battle against coronavirus". On the day many classrooms re-opened in England, Matt Hancock said that the falling death rates mean the government has been able to make some "cautious changes to the lockdown rules, safely and carefully". He said: "The data show that we are winning the battle against coronavirus."
Coronavirus: Restaurants and theatres to reopen in Finland, as Europe continues to ease lockdown
Finland and other European countries relaxed a string of coronavirus lockdown restrictions on Monday, permitting a wider range of leisure and social activities as well as limited travel. Helsinki said it would allow public gatherings of up to 50 people from 1 June, recommending that people stick to social distancing and hygiene guidance. Such gatherings can include demonstrations, competitions, and entertainment events, the government said in a statement. Theatres, libraries and swimming pools will reopen, while cafes and restaurants will be allowed to use only half their capacity. Domestic tourism within Finland is to be allowed once more, subject to safety standards. The Finnish government also said it would phase out restrictions on the interest rate.
Spain says will guarantee health safety when opening tourism to foreigners
Spain will guarantee health safety when reopening the country to foreign tourists next month after the coronavirus contagion prompted a three-month closure, industry and tourism minister Reyes Maroto said on Monday. "This will be our strength," she told Telecinco TV station.
Spanish to lift lockdown on June 21 as Greece opens up
Pedro Sanchez (pictured) will ask parliament to agree to a final extension, despite protests against it, after the nation’s infection rate reduced dramatically. Meanwhile, Greece has taken steps to welcome back tourists as it eases virus restrictions. From June 15, the country will not quarantine passengers flying in from 29 countries — which do not include the UK. In July, all airports that can handle international traffic will reopen to foreign flights, as ports and land borders also open for tourists.
Phase 3 of lockdown de-escalation in Spain begins today
By the beginning of last week, all of Spain was officially at some point of the de-escalation process, including Madrid which was finally allowed to enter Phase 1. As of today, most of the territories proceed to stage 2 (or remain there) and very few alleviate restrictions further to Phase 3. Phase 2 allows for all commercial premises, retailers and professional services to reopen at 40% of their capacity, including shopping centres. Travel within the respective territory is also relaxed. As of 1 June, just 4 territories are allowed to enjoy the far less restrictive measure associated with Phase 3, the most advanced towards the “new normal”. These are Formentera (Balearic Islands) and La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa (Canary Islands).
Deescalation gets even more complex in town split between Spain and France
At the border checkpoint in Le Perthus, the letters on the police signs are faded. An “L” is missing in one, an “E” and an “I” on another. There had been no daily police presence here since 1995, when the Schengen Agreement allowed for freedom of movement in Europe. But the coronavirus crisis has thrown up the barriers again and only authorized workers, freight truck drivers and individuals with written authorization are now allowed through.
Coronavirus: Lockdown eased in Moscow after nine weeks
Authorities in Moscow have eased lockdown restrictions, even as case numbers continue to rise. Parks and shopping centres in Russia's capital reopened and people were allowed out for walks and limited exercise for the first time in nine weeks. President Vladimir Putin announced last week the country had passed the peak of its outbreak. But infections are still rising, and some question lifting restrictions. Russia reported another 9,035 cases and 162 deaths on Monday. In total the country has recorded 414,878 infections - the third-highest number in the world after the US and Brazil - and a death toll of 4,855.
Latin America virus cases top 1m as UK, Russia ease lockdowns
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America have surged past one million, while hard-hit Britain and Russia eased lockdowns Monday, despite not having their outbreaks fully under control. Governments around the world are moving to ease restrictions that have wrecked their economies, even as the number of cases tops 6.1 million and virus deaths exceed 371,000.
Coronavirus lockdown eases in Moscow as cases fall in Russian capital
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin last week told President Vladimir Putin he would relax some lockdown rules in the Russian capital, which has a population of 12.7 million, and that an array of shops could reopen. Shops in Moscow that were ordered to close in late March including car dealerships, dry cleaners, shoe repair stores, book shops and launderettes, are set to open. Residents will be allowed out for walks three times a week on designated days that are determined by the address they live at. People can also jog or do outdoor sports, but only between 5am and 9am, officials say.
Russia Coronavirus Cases Surge Past 414K as Moscow Eases Lockdown
Russia confirmed 9,035 new coronavirus infections Monday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 414,878. Over the past 24 hours 162 people have died, bringing the total toll to 4,855 — a rate considerably lower than in many other countries hit hard by the pandemic.
Robot greeter fights coronavirus in South Korea
There's an new, high-tech greeter at the lobby of SK Telecom in Seoul, South Korea. It checks body temperatures, dispenses hand sanitiser, disinfects the floor and can see who is and isn't wearing a mask -- an AI-driven helper in the fight against COVID-19. SK employee Lim Yeon-June said she's realised how useful it can be. "At first, I felt awkward when I heard it was a robot doing this. But when my colleagues and I were talking to each other, the robot said 'please move away from each other for social distance', I found myself walking away and it was really impressive."
COVID-19: Thermal imaging cameras to play crucial role as Japan reopens
As Japan plans to get rid of its months-long lockdown restrictions post the COVID-19 pandemic, thermal imaging cameras are expected to play a crucial role.
Southeast, South Asian countries easing lockdowns
Countries in Southeast and South Asia are easing restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Some countries will resume economic activities while infections are still on the rise. India is easing its stay-at-home order on Monday, which has been in place since late March. Restrictions will also be lifted on retail and manufacturing sector operations. India's government stressed it will further reopen business activity, after measures to deal with the pandemic caused mass unemployment and seriously affected the country's economy. However, coronavirus infections have yet to decline in India, with the number of new cases exceeding 8,000 per day.
Australia relaxes lockdown further, intensifies economic recovery efforts
Several Australian states eased social distancing restrictions further on Monday, allowing restaurants to host more people and public attractions to reopen, as the government moves to revive an ailing economy through accelerated infrastructure spending. Australia has recorded about 7,200 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths. And, with new infections now largely under control, the government has embarked on a three-step plan to remove the bulk of curbs by July. In Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), a maximum of 50 people are now allowed to sit down for a meal in a cafe or restaurants, while 20 can attend a funeral. The previous limits were set at 10.
Rwanda cancels further easing of lockdown after reassessment
The Rwandan government on late Sunday cancelled its earlier decision to further loosen COVID-19 lockdown after reassessing the situation. Transportation between provinces and the capital city Kigali as well as motorcycle passenger services, which had been scheduled to resume on Monday, will remain closed until further notice in the interest of public health and further measures against COVID-19 would be announced by the cabinet on Tuesday, the Prime Minister's office said in a tweet. Rwanda's Health Ministry on Sunday reported 11 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and six recoveries, bringing the total number of confirmed cases and recoveries to 370 and 256, respectively
Russia lifts lockdown at China-designated natural gas field
Local authorities have fully lifted the coronavirus-related quarantine at Russia’s Chayandinskoye natural gas field, the source of the country’s first pipeline gas supplies to China, the coronavirus response centre said on Monday. The lockdown at the field in the eastern Yakutia region was introduced in mid-April to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The Siberian gas field was launched in December to move gas supplies via pipeline to China for the first time. Around 10,000 workers from Russian gas company Gazprom and its contractors are usually engaged at the field.
What we can learn from China and Sweden about post-lockdown traffic and travel
China has the most post-lockdown experience because it's believed that's where the novel coronavirus originated. Sweden, meanwhile, decided not to shut down its economy like most developed countries and can offer a glimpse of how people could act when the economy in Canada and other countries is fully open again even though the threat of COVID-19 still exists. Travel data from the two countries provides some insight into what to expect in terms of how many people will continue to work from home, traffic patterns on city streets, the eagerness of shoppers to return to stores and how long until travellers will have the confidence to catch a flight, among many other observations. Peoples' new travel habits will have broad implications for the economy, especially the oil sector, which saw demand plummet for fuel during the pandemic.
Australia’s coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions explained: how far can I travel, and can I have people over?
Australians have been slowly emerging from Covid-19 lockdowns since the federal government announced a three-stage plan in May to ease restrictions across the country. Here, you can find the official state and territory restriction guides for NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
Coronavirus Lockdown: Japan considering re-opening door to some foreigners - media
Japan is considering re-opening its borders to travellers from selected countries which have low levels of coronavirus infections, as it begins to ease restrictions put in place earlier this year to control the outbreak.
Two-metre distance far more effective than one, study finds
A two-metre distance is significantly more effective at reducing the transmission of Covid-19 than one metre, according to the most comprehensive study of viral transmission to date published in The Lancet on Monday. Wearing face and eye protection also significantly reduces the risk of transmitting the virus, the peer-reviewed paper stated, based on 172 observational studies of virus behaviour in community and healthcare settings. “The overwhelming message is that physical measures are effective in preventing Covid-19,” said Trish Greenhalgh, professor of primary care health services at the University of Oxford. “This is a major step forward in our knowledge, since previous meta-analyses were mainly based on prevention of influenza and other diseases which don’t behave the same way as the Covid-19 virus.”
Public trust in UK government over coronavirus falls sharply
Public trust in the UK government as a source of accurate information about the coronavirus has collapsed in recent weeks, suggesting ministers may struggle to maintain lockdown restrictions in the aftermath of the Dominic Cummings affair. According to surveys conducted on behalf of the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute by YouGov, less than half of Britons now trust the Westminster government to provide correct information on the pandemic – down from more than two-thirds of the public in mid-April.
India to start lifting lockdown in phases from Monday
The Indian government said it will reopen economic activities in a phased manner from Monday with the number of coronavirus infections in the country topping 170,000. The guidelines announced by the interior ministry on Saturday indicated that designated COVID-19 containment zones, including accompanying lockdowns, will remain in place until June 30.
The Guardian view on lockdown choices: who to trust?
The week ahead will confront parents of school-age children, 2.2 million people who have until now been “shielding” at home, and millions more adults who have been told they can return to work, with an impossible choice. Should they do what the government says, and begin to let down their guard against the risk of catching the virus? Or should they heed the warnings of the five members of Sage (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) who believe the lifting of lockdown is premature, and the deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, who on Saturday described the present moment as “very dangerous”?
Lockdown rules UK: how restrictions have changed in England as country enters phase 2 - and rules on seeing family and friends
A further lifting of restrictions is to be implemented across England from June, following the government’s latest lockdown review
Partisan Exits
Public trust in UK government over coronavirus falls sharply
According to surveys conducted on behalf of the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute by YouGov, less than half of Britons now trust the Westminster government to provide correct information on the pandemic – down from more than two-thirds of the public in mid-April. “I have never in 10 years of research in this area seen a drop in trust like what we have seen for the UK government in the course of six weeks,” said the institute’s director, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. The research was conducted in the last week of May, including the period when Cummings’ apparent flouting of lockdown rules by driving from London to Durham – with a trip to Barnard Castle to check his eyesight – dominated the headlines.
UK eases lockdown restrictions yet experts say it's too soon
The U.K. eased more lockdown restrictions Monday despite warnings from some health officials of another spike in coronavirus infections, especially if Britons persisted in flouting the new guidelines. Most of the changes were in England, where a number of schools reopened to some — but not all — younger children for the first time since they closed in mid-March. The easing of the lockdown, particularly in England, has raised concerns that it is taking place too soon for economic rather than health reasons, given a still-high level of coronavirus infections and a lack of evidence showing that the recently rolled out track and trace system is working properly.
UK is following scientific advice on cautious lockdown easing, minister says
The British government is following scientific advice in cautiously easing the coronavirus lockdown, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said on Monday, after criticism from some prominent epidemiologists. “Of course scientific advice does differ but I think the key point is what is the overall view from SAGE?” Sharma told BBC TV. “The overall view from SAGE - the scientific advisory group on emergencies which advises the government - their overall view is that we must do this cautiously and that is precisely what we are doing,” Sharma said, adding that if people obeyed the rules there was a good likelihood that R0 would not go above 1.
India's coronavirus infections overtake France amid criticism of lockdown
Criticism has grown in recent days that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden lockdown of 1.3 billion Indians in March has failed to halt the spread of the disease while destroying the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on daily wages. Community transmission is well underway among the population, a team of independent experts said, adding this would only get worse as public transport opens. On Monday, thousands of people were packing into 200 new trains that resumed services across the country, most of them migrant workers and their families leaving metropolises such as Delhi and Mumbai for their homes in the interior. “Had the migrant persons been allowed to go home at the beginning of the epidemic when the disease spread was very low, the current situation could have been avoided,” the Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and the Indian Association of Epidemiologists said in a joint statement
Jeremy Peat: UK and Scottish governments have taken different approaches to easing the lockdown. Who has got it right?
Policy related to the Covid19 pandemic has entered a very delicate phase, from both medical and economic perspectives. The UK and Scottish Governments have taken somewhat different approaches. The UK approach could be deemed more cavalier and the Scottish more prudent. How these approaches work out in terms of the future developments related to the pandemic will determine whether the more risk averse Scottish approach will prove beneficial or not in the medium and longer term, so far as the economy, unemployment and indeed the public finances are concerned.
Nigel Farage insists lockdown should be eased: "we should get on with our lives"
Lifting lockdown slowly in the UK from Monday is the right decision to make not only economically, but for the health of Brits. Nigel Farage was looking at the pros and cons of the UK reopening slowly from Monday when he started to list out why he felt it was the right thing to do. "I wish we had a proper test and trace system in place like Germany did three months ago" he began, but reminded listeners that the argument that the UK is following science is flawed.
Coronavirus: Raab defends relaxation of lockdown rules
The foreign secretary has defended the government easing of lockdown measures in England from Monday, despite the country's Covid-19 alert system indicating high levels of transmission. Dominic Raab said England is "transitioning" from level four, when there should be enforced social distancing measures, to level three, when they can start to be relaxed. He said the approach is "cautious". Some scientists advising ministers have voiced concerns about easing the rules.
UK gov't advisers sound warning on easing virus lockdown
Senior advisers to Boris Johnson's government on Saturday warned it was too early to lift the lockdown, just two days before the UK further relaxes coronavirus restrictions. As people revelled in soaring temperatures by flocking to beaches and parks, several members of the government's own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told ministers they risked a second wave of infection. One -- epidemiologist Professor John Edmunds -- said the move was "a political decision". Another prominent scientist, Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and also a member of Sage, warned explicitly on Twitter that the government's was wrong on its timing.
South Africa leader faces thorny test over virus lockdown
Admired by some but berated by others for imposing a tight lockdown, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa faces a fresh leadership test over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Africa's most industrialised nation is preparing to reopen its economy on Monday as it moves into level three of a five-tier lockdown, in force since March 27, sowing bitter divisions. South Africa had already slipped into recession in the final quarter of 2019 before the virus arrived in March.
UK govt advisors sound warning on easing virus lockdown
As people revelled in soaring temperatures by flocking to beaches and parks, several members of the government's own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told ministers they risked a second wave of infection. One -- epidemiologist Professor John Edmunds -- said the move was "a political decision". Another prominent scientist, Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and also a member of Sage, warned explicitly on Twitter that the government's was wrong on its timing.
Continued Lockdown
Thousands Defy Lockdown in Europe to Protest Outside U.S. Embassies Over George Floyd's Death
Thousands of people in the U.K. and Germany defied coronavirus lockdown measures to gather at rallies showing solidarity with protesters in the U.S. over the death of George Floyd. Both the U.K. and Germany have started to ease the lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, but public gatherings remain banned amid fears of a second wave of infections. Despite the U.K. government's measures, people ventured outside for rallies in London and Manchester this weekend to support protesters in the U.S. following a week of unrest triggered by Floyd's death on Monday.
Spain to extend lockdown to 21st June - El Pais
Spain's prime minister said on Sunday the country needed 15 more days of lockdown until June 21 "to finish with the pandemic once and for all", and he would ask parliament to approve a final two-week extension to the stay home rule. "We have almost achieved what we set out to do," Pedro Sanchez told a press conference, as he expressed his intense relief that the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Spain, one of the nations hardest-hit by the virus, had fallen dramatically. From June 21 a national state of emergency will end and with it the lockdown, allowing citizens to move freely
Belgian prince apologises for lockdown party in Spain
A Belgian prince has apologised after being caught breaking Spain’s lockdown rules by attending a party, where he became infected with Covid-19. Prince Joachim, nephew of King Philippe of the Belgians and 10th in line to the throne, said on Sunday he deeply regretted his actions and would accept “all the consequences”. The prince has tested positive for coronavirus, according to Belgian media, after attending a private party in Córdoba on 26 May attended by friends and family. According to Spain’s El Confidencial, which broke the story, 27 people had attended the event, at a time when gatherings with a maximum of 15 guests were permitted.
Russia's COVID dissenters: Underground bars, gyms and hair salons flout tough quarantine rules
Another St. Petersburg bar, Depeche Mode, was also jammed with people socializing and drinking on a recent weekend night. There was no physical distancing and not a face mask or bottle of hand sanitizer in sight. "The [virus] fear is somewhere on the back burner," said bar owner Danya Lipovestsky. "For people, it's easier for them to come here to this underground bar to chat and forget the fear that we're all going to die. "Even me, I come here even though I am totally in the risk zone with asthma," he said. "I'm scared but to hell with it. It's just better to be here."
COVID-19 lockdown worsens violence against women
The scourge of domestic violence has intensified during the lockdown period and the Prime Minister and religion must strongly condemn it, writes Dr Ray Barraclough.
Coronavirus lockdown leaves hundreds of thousands of migrants without food in Russia
An estimated 11 million migrants live in Russia, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In 2019, 5 million of these were from the former Soviet countries of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Most of these immigrants do low-paid, manual jobs, working on construction sites, warehouses and markets and as cleaners and restaurant workers. As the pandemic intensified in mid-March, Russia and the Central Asian countries closed their borders, stranding thousands of migrants. Hundreds found themselves trapped at Russian airports, sleeping among the baggage counters, after their flights were indefinitely canceled. Many migrants were already living on the breadline, without savings and with unsecured jobs. When the lockdowns began, many of those jobs vanished instantly, without compensation and with no hope of even temporary support from employers.
Scientific Viewpoint
WHO warns overuse of antibiotics for Covid-19 will cause more deaths
The increased use of antibiotics to combat the Covid-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them.
Health officials ‘not confident’ UK can cope with second coronavirus spike amid fears lockdown being eased too quickly
A senior public health official said she does not feel “confident” that the UK is ready to deal with a second spike in coronavirus cases. Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, president of the Association of Directors of Public Health [ADPH], warned that ministers are “misjudging” the balancing act and lifting “too many of the restrictions too quickly”. It comes as pupils start to return to school today as major changes are made to coronavirus lockdown restrictions. People in England will be allowed to meet up with up to six people from separate households outdoors, while more than two million clinically vulnerable people who have been shielding from the virus for the past 10 weeks will also be allowed to go outside.
Covid-19 testing at lowest rate since lockdown
A total of 2,729 tests took place – 42 per cent fewer than the previous Sunday, despite capacity for 15,000 per day in Scotland. At the end of April Nicola Sturgeon said the government was expanding testing capacity at pace, and wanted to carrying out 10,000 a day. However the latest statistics show th number of tests for Covid-19 fell from 5,472 last Thursday to 4,325 on Friday, 3,229 on Saturday and just 2,729 on Sunday, less than 18 per cent of the country’s capacity.
U.K. government's impatience with lockdown risks a second wave of the coronavirus, scientist warns
Britain’s government is putting the country at risk of a second wave of Covid-19 by rushing out of lockdown, a leading scientist has warned. Speaking to CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Monday, David King, who served as the U.K. government’s chief scientific advisor between 2000 and 2007, said he “absolutely” believed policymakers were moving too quickly to ease lockdown measures. The U.K. is still at coronavirus alert level 4, meaning transmission is high or rising exponentially. Government policy states that social distancing must remain in place at this level, with “gradual relaxing of restrictions and social distancing measures” not supposed to happen until the country moves down into alert level 3.
UK’s infection rate ‘is too high’ for lifting lockdown, top scientist warns
Sir David King, who has formed an independent scientific advisory group (SAGE), told Good Morning Britain: ‘The sooner we can undo the lockdown the sooner we can get our economy back into play, but we cannot undo the lockdown at a point where we are today, which is roughly the same point as when we went into lockdown…which is 8,000 new infections a day which has been stable for the last three weeks. ‘If we were going into lockdown at this point, surely that’s a very good reason to hang onto lockdown’.
UK and Italy seek to further ease lockdowns as scientists urge caution
The European Commission predicts coronavirus will produce a GDP hit of 7.7 per cent in 2020. And it predicts the UK economy will shrink by 8.3 per cent. Some schools and outdoor markets are set to reopen today in line with social distancing measures in the UK. And competitive horse racing events are set to restart, while 2m vulnerable people at higher risk from coronavirus are now being allowed outside. Non-essential shops like clothing retailers and bookshops are set to be able to reopen from 15 June under UK guidelines. Meanwhile, the Premier League will return from 17 June. “We’ll have to take further restrictive measures if we find any uptick in the virus,” foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC yesterday. He added that “we can’t just stay in lockdown forever”.
Coronavirus: what a second wave might look like
As the new coronavirus was rapidly spreading in February and March 2020, many governments introduced stringent lockdown measures. Through a massive public effort, these countries have been successful at slowing the pandemic. Combining various public health approaches, countries such as Slovenia and New Zealand have eradicated the virus within their borders. Other countries, including the UK, achieved significant progress in arresting the spread of the disease. Yet the lockdown has led to substantial economic and social loss in countries where stringent social distancing measures have been applied. Governments, as well as the public, are now keen to start removing the restrictions and return to normal life.
Israeli expert's recipe to prevent a second coronavirus lockdown
Eli Waxman, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, said there are three steps to stopping the country’s next closure: Test, trace, isolate. And it all has to be done within two days.
35,000 infections: the cost of a one-week delay in COVID clampdown
Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions came just in time to avert disaster, with new modelling showing waiting just one more week risked infections ballooning to 35,000. Waiting another to introduce border closures and social distancing measuring could have led to a five-fold increase in Australia’s current infections.
Russia to roll out its first approved COVID-19 drug next week
Russia will start giving its first drug approved to treat COVID-19 to patients from June 11, its state financial backer, RDIF sovereign wealth fund head Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters. The antiviral drug, Avifavir, known generically as Favipiravir, was first developed in the late 1990s by a Japanese company. Mr Dmitriev said Russian scientists had modified the drug to enhance it, and said Moscow would be ready to share the details of within two weeks. Japan has been trialling the same drug, known there as Avigan. It has won $US128 million in Government funding, but has yet to be approved for use. Mr Dmitriev said clinical trials on 330 people had shown it successfully treated the virus in most cases within four days.
Coronavirus tracked: Charting Sweden’s disastrous no-lockdown strategy
Sweden has taken the ignominious title of the country with the world’s highest death rate from Covid-19. The title, which was was briefly held by the UK late last month, comes after Swedish officials decided to ignore the lockdown advice of countless health experts and kept the country largely open during the pandemic. The number of deaths per capita in Sweden is now more than four-times that of its Nordic neighbours.
Health officials make last-minute plea to stop lockdown easing in England
Senior public health officials have made a last-minute plea for ministers to scrap Monday’s easing of the coronavirus lockdown in England, warning the country is unprepared to deal with any surge in infection and that public resolve to take steps to limit transmisson has been eroded. The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said new rules, including allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors and in private gardens, were “not supported by the science” and that pictures of crowded beaches and beauty spots over the weeks
Australian Health Authorities Urge Caution as Lockdowns Ease
Australian state health authorities have urged residents to exercise caution with lockdown measures set to be relaxed across the nation on Monday. The two most-populous states will lift several restrictions as they continue to grapple with isolated coronavirus outbreaks. New South Wales reported three new cases on Sunday, all of who were travelers in hotel quarantine; while Victoria extended its state of emergency to allow the chief health officer to keep issuing safety directives.
How New Zealand Used Evidence-Based Policies to Beat The Pandemic
"Here in New Zealand, we are all very aware of how lucky we are, and we connect with colleagues overseas and really feel for them," Auckland City Hospital intensive-care specialist Chris Poynter previously told Business Insider. Experts say it's more than luck, but rather early lockdown efforts, citizen's adherence to the rules, widespread testing and contact tracing, and good communication that are the keys to its success.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Coronavirus: South Korea spike continues as US disorder raises fear of new Covid-19 surge
Protests around the US against police brutality have sparked fears of a further spread of Covid-19, while South Korea is reporting a steady rise in cases around the capital after appearing to bring the outbreak under control. The often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer, are raising fears of new virus outbreaks in a country that has more confirmed infections and deaths than any other. The protests come as more beaches, churches, mosques, schools and businesses reopen worldwide, increasing the risk of cross-infections.
George Floyd protests spark COVID-19 fears in U.S., South Korea sees rise in cases
Protests around the U.S. against police brutality have sparked fears of a further spread of the coronavirus, while South Korea is reporting a steady rise in cases around the capital after appearing to bring the outbreak under control. The often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer, are raising fears of new virus outbreaks in a country that has more confirmed infections and deaths than any other. The protests come as more beaches, churches, mosques, schools and businesses reopen worldwide, increasing the risk of cross-infections.
Global report: Wuhan reports no asymptomatic cases for first time
The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the Covid-19 pandemic began, reported no new asymptomatic cases for the first time on Sunday, according to Chinese health officials. Mainland China reported 16 new cases overall on Sunday, the highest daily number in three weeks. All were reported as imported cases – 11 in Sichuan province, three in Inner Mongolia, and two in Guangdong.
New Lockdown
Coronavirus in Scotland: New lockdown laws warning after weekend breaches
Scotland's coronavirus guidelines could be enforced by new laws if "even a minority" continue to flout them, Nicola Sturgeon has said. The first minister relaxed restrictions north of the border on Friday, allowing more people to meet up while outdoors. She said the "vast majority" had complied with recommendations not to travel and to keep gatherings small. But Ms Sturgeon said it was clear that not everyone had complied, with police dispersing more than 2,000 gatherings. Police Scotland said there had been 1,391 "compliant dispersals" of groups of people over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with another 650 where groups broke up "after a police warning