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

News Highlights

As coronavirus cases rise, Trump says U.S. won't lock down again

U.S. President Donald Trump refused to consider further lockdowns, even as several states are reporting increasing numbers of new coronavirus infections. Vice President Mike Pence has claimed that the consistent rise in numbers is not alarming in itself but is rather related to an increase in testing.

Australian borders to remain shut for foreseeable future

With the exception of New Zealanders, Australia will likely remain out of bounds for all other international travellers for a while, with Qantas, the country's national airline, axing all international flights until October. Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham, said Australia's borders would most likely remain closed until 2021.

Timely lockdowns in Europe saved millions, says new research

New research published by a team at Imperial College London indicates that lockdowns and other Covid-19 battling measures implemented in Europe helped prevent over three million extra deaths. The study assessed the impact of restrictions on 11 European countries using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Focus shifts to Latin America as cases rise steeply

Latin America seems to be the new hotspot of the coronavirus outbreak, with Brazil experiencing a record increase of nearly 35,000 daily cases. Elsewhere, Peru overtook Italy in total cases, despite an early lockdown, and Chile reintroduced strict movement restrictions and lockdowns in its capital Santiago as total cases rose to 220,628.

Lockdown Exit
Catalonia to enter “new normality” after lifting state of alarm
Catalan premier Quim Torra on Thursday announced that the region is lifting the state of alarm imposed in mid-March by central authorities in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The move, effective at midnight, means that Catalonia as a whole will have spent just 24 hours in Phase 3, the last stage of a national deescalation plan that’s been underway for weeks. Barcelona and its metropolitan area as well as Lleida only entered Phase 3 on Thursday morning, while other parts of the northeastern region did so earlier.
Post-lockdown divorce: jump in number of Australian couples seeking help
The coronavirus lockdown has put a strain on couples, new data has confirmed, with family therapists and lawyers noting a jump in clients seeking counselling or divorce. A study on the impacts of Covid-19 by Relationships Australia, the leading national provider of relationship support services, found that 42% of people had experienced a negative change in their relationship with their partner during the last few months. Its national executive officer, Nick Tebbey, said this statistic was directly related to the finding that 55% of people reported feeling challenged by their living arrangements during this time.
Coronavirus lockdown: International students to begin returning to Australia
Hundreds of international students will be brought to Australia on charter flights as part of a plan developed by the government in concert with universities.
Many Jordanians struggling as country emerges from COVID-19 lockdown, U.N. agency says
Mohammed Natour, who went from selling airline tickets to selling fruits and vegetables, after the coronavirus outbreak brought the tourism industry in Jordan to a sudden halt, waits for customers at his office in Amman, Jordan
Some Venezuelans welcome relaxing of lockdown after 14 weeks inside
Maduro decreed a national quarantine on March 17 to contain the virus, which so far has killed 26 people among 3,000 confirmed cases, according to the socialist government. Medical experts have expressed doubts about the government’s testing regime and the validity of the official figures. Authorities began to relax the lockdown on June 1, allowing some complexes like gyms, shopping centers and drive-in cinemas to open, while courts, schools and bars remain closed. Health workers warn that a recent acceleration in the number of cases coincides with the easing of lockdown measures, with the weekly case count rising from 45 to 450. They say Venezuela’s dilapidated health system, where some hospitals lack basics like soap and running water, would be unable to deal with a significant leap in severely sick patients.
Bulgarians complain of long border queues after Greece eases lockdown
Hundreds of trucks and cars from Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia waited in long queues at the border with Greece on Wednesday after Athens eased coronavirus restrictions to try to salvage the summer tourism season. A line of cars stretched back more than 10 km (six miles) at the Kulata-Promachonas border crossing between Bulgaria and Greece, and the queue for trucks was over 15 km long, witnesses said. “People are angry, because the queues are scary. We are travelling with two kids. We had no idea it would be such a nightmare,” Bulgarian public radio BNR quoted a woman in the queue of cars as saying.
Coronavirus Isn't Over. New Yorkers Are Acting as if It Were.
All over the city, bars, stores and people themselves are bending or ignoring social distancing rules, irking officials trying to keep the coronavirus curve flat.
Which international destinations are reopening to tourists?
Although most governments are still advising against "nonessential" international travel, a host of popular destinations are beginning to ease their Covid-19 lockdown measures and border restrictions and are moving toward welcoming tourists back. Back in May, the European Union unveiled an action plan to reopen its internal borders in time for summer, while countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have formed "travel bubbles," lifting restrictions for each other's citizens. Some Caribbean islands are already beginning to open their doors to foreign visitors again, while destinations such as Mexico and Thailand are planning to reopen region by region in the coming weeks. If you're one of many travelers eagerly awaiting news on where you can travel to this year, here's a guide to the top destinations making plans to reopen, as well as some of those that are keeping their borders firmly closed for now.
Exit Strategies
Latin America opens up before it’s ready
Three months later, Dr Mercado and his hospital are at breaking point. For every covid-19 patient to whom he can offer a bed, he must turn away five. More than 90% of the city’s hospital beds are taken, and the number of registered deaths nearly tripled to 660 in the first half of June. Dr Mercado’s days are filled with suffering patients, exhausted staff and visitors who cannot approach loved ones. Most distressing of all is knowing that “people who do not comply” with government orders to stay at home, wear masks and keep social distance have made the pandemic worse
India's Coronavirus Death Toll Is Surging. Prime Minister Modi Is Easing Lockdown Anyway
On Monday, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, one of the worst-hit states in the country, said a stringent lockdown would be reimposed in the south Indian city of Chennai and its surrounding districts, beginning on Friday. Confirmed cases in the city have now passed 48,000. And earlier in June, the deputy chief minister of Delhi warned the number of cases in the capital could rise as high as 550,000 by the end of July, requiring 80,000 hospital beds—more than eight times the city’s current capacity. On Sunday, India’s central government announced Delhi would receive 500 more train carriages converted into hospital wards, adding an extra 8,000 beds.
Exclusive: Peru Miners Restart Pandemic-Hit Operations With Mass Testing, Isolating Workers
Peru's miners are revving up stalled operations with mass testing, isolation periods and revamped shift patterns, setting up the world's No. 2 copper producer to hit 80% of production capacity by the end of June, industry officials said. The restart is key to Peru's economic engine and metals output which was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide lockdown. But unions for mine workers have voiced concerns that some planned shifts are too long while testing and protective measures need to be strengthened.
Coronavirus: Shops in Scotland to reopen from 29 June
Most shops in Scotland are to reopen from 29 June as part of a further easing of the country's lockdown rules. The changes will also see anyone who lives on their own - or only with children - to form an "extended group" with one other household from tomorrow. People will also be able meet outdoors with two other households at the same time rather than just one. Face coverings are to be made compulsory for everyone using public transport from Monday. And people who have previously been told to shield during the lockdown because they are at high risk are now able to meet other people outside for the first time. No decision has yet been made on when pubs, restaurants or beer gardens will be able to reopen.
Most German Trade Fairs to Resume From September
Most German trade fairs are expected to resume across the country from September as authorities continue to gradually lift coronavirus lockdown measures, an association said on Thursday. Following an agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state premiers, regional governments are responsible for making their own decisions on allowing trade fairs to be held. The Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) said that North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate were already allowing fairs to go ahead, while Bavaria announced it would give the go-ahead from September. "So in Germany, trade fairs are planned again from September," AUMA Managing Director Joern Holtmeier said.
Spain to trial coronavirus tracing app on holiday island
Europe’s latest scheme using Bluetooth technology to log contacts between people and send a warning if any of them test positive for the virus will start in late June on La Gomera, near tourist hot spot Tenerife. “The aim is to explore the potential of this mobile tracing application in a real-life scenario,” the archipelago’s government said in a statement, adding the results will be used to decide whether to roll out the app nationwide. Local authorities have committed to promoting widespread take-up to improve the reliability of the trial’s findings, the statement said. Germany’s national app was downloaded 6.5 million times in the 24 hours after its launch.
France lifts its limit of 20 mourners at funerals
The French government has scrapped the limit of 20 participants who can attend a funeral, a measure introduced during the lockdown as the country fought to contain its Covid-19 transmission rate.
Qantas to axe all international flights until October as Australia’s borders close for rest of 2020
Australian airline Qantas has said it will axe all international flights until October - bar those to New Zealand - as Australia’s borders remain closed to foreign tourists. The news comes as Australian tourism minister Simon Birmingham told the National Press Club that keeping Australia’s borders closed until 2021 is ‘most likely the case’ . Birmingham continued: “I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off. Just because of the practicalities of the volumes that are involved and the need for us to first and foremost keep putting health first."
New Zealand changes flight rules for Australians after coronavirus outbreak
Passengers on flights from Australia to New Zealand will be forced to wear masks as officials scramble to recover lost faith in the quarantine system. NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the whole of New Zealand feels let down by her health department after a series of bungles which threaten the country’s COVID-19 recovery. The border is paramount in the country’s fight against COVID-19 after a 51-day lockdown allowed NZ to to ‘eliminate’ the deadly virus.
Government abandons own coronavirus contact tracing app to focus on Apple and Google technology
The British Government has abandoned the development of its own coronavirus test-and-trace app for a version based on technology provided by Apple and Google. Following days of questioning over the progress of the app, the Department of Health and Social Care announced the u-turn today. It sees the UK will following Germany, Italy and Denmark in switching to a "decentralised" model. In a statement setting, NHS Test and Trace chief Baroness Harding and NHSX boss Matthew Gould said there had been “specific technical challenges”.
Coronavirus: why did England ignore an army of existing contact tracers?
The New York Times has reported that despite the UK having had nearly 300,000 cases of the disease and more than 40,000 deaths, some contact tracers have not yet spoken to a single person. But when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, there was already a group of people who were very well prepared to help the government’s tracking efforts – the NHS workers who carry out contact tracing in cases of sexually transmitted infections. In the world of sexually transmitted infections, contact tracing is known as partner notification. The task of health advisers, employed in sexual health clinics since the 1950s, is to support people who have been diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections to get their sexual contacts tested and treated as well.
Italy's message to UK: 'Don't consider easing social distancing until masks become norm'
On the steps above Piazza Popolo a couple teenagers were making the most of post lockdown time with some non-social distance kissing. Beside them a rather bored friend waited for them to get back to chatting. Covid-19 hasn’t changed everything. But enthusiastic teenagers aside, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the Italian way of life. No more the double kiss greeting or the warm embrace. It looks and feels so alien.
Is Japan's pandemic response a disaster or a success?
Japan has gone its own way on the coronavirus pandemic from its beginning, with a delayed response, limited testing and a gentler lockdown. But with cases of COVID-19 nearing 20,000 in the country, public health experts are asking whether Japan’s handling of the crisis should be applauded or criticized. Special correspondent Grace Lee reports from Tokyo.
Partisan Exits
Florida and Texas governors blame spike in cases on increased testing
As coronavirus cases spike in Florida and Texas this week, the state's Republican governors attributed the alarming trends to increased testing, outbreaks in high-risk areas like jails and assisted living facilities, or in Florida's case, migrant worker communities. They've also brushed away pleas from local officials for stronger requirements to wear masks. The explanations echo the Trump administration's current positioning on the state of Covid-19 in America: denial and excuses.
Brazil on track to surpass the U.S. in coronavirus deaths this summer, following record increase
Coronavirus cases have surged dramatically in Brazil as the country struggles to put a lid on the pandemic. On Tuesday, Brazil experienced a record increase of nearly 35,000 daily coronavirus cases. Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)'s director of the Andes, told CBS News on Wednesday that she wouldn't "trust" numbers released by the Brazilian government. She believes they're much higher than what has been reported, citing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's lack of transparency on the data. "There are questions about really how much testing is going on in most of the areas worst affected, which may also influence the numbers," she said. "The fact that it's spreading like wildfire is completely not a surprise."
Trump says U.S. will not lock down again amid rising coronavirus cases
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States would not close businesses again as several states reported rising numbers of new coronavirus infections. “We won’t be closing the country again. We won’t have to do that,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel. Trump’s comments come after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both said the United States could not shut down the economy again. In a call with governors, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged them to repeat the administration’s claim that increased testing accounts for the spike in numbers, the New York Times has reported.
Relaxing Lockdown: Overdue or a Ticking Time Bomb? – Byline Times
The uncomfortable truth is that, at this stage, we cannot predict the trajectory of the Coronavirus. Opinions to the contrary are a by-product of confirmation bias. No high-quality data on the immediate and downstream effects of specific social distancing and lockdown interventions exist. ‘Lockdown versus no lockdown’ remains a crude metric. The murky data remain compatible with a wide range of death-to-infection ratios, also known as infection fatality rates (IFR). If the true IFR and health burden of COVID-19 turns out to be much lower than the initial indications of around 1%, and suppression strategies prove unsustainable in the long-term, then blanket lockdown strategies may turn out to have been an overreaction.
Lord Sugar: Boris Johnson is being too cautious in lifting lockdown
The Apprentice star has been living in Florida, which has been out of lockdown for six weeks, and said: “Who’s dead? I’m not.” Lord Sugar claimed that the Prime Minister’s own time in hospital with Covid-19 has affected his decision-making. Appearing on Jeremy Vine on Channel 5
‘Who’s dead? I’m not’: Lord Alan Sugar says lockdown should end because nobody he knows has died
Lord Alan Sugar has been accused of making “tone deaf” comments about coronavirus after suggesting that lockdown should end in the UK because none of his friends had died. Appearing on Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show via video link from his home in Florida, the Apprentice star shared his thoughts on Covid-19 lockdown measures being dialled back.“Look, I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to be giving medical advice and all that stuff,” the former Labour peer began.
Continued Lockdown
Tension in Peru amid coronavirus lockdown
Tension on the streets of Lima, Tuesday, as riot police tried to remove hundreds of street vendors. Many vendors fought back… but were pulled away despite their efforts. Authorities took the forceful approach amid a nationwide lockdown to combat the country’s coronavirus outbreak. With over 230,000 cases of the virus and over 6,500 deaths in Peru, President Martin Vizcarra on Monday said the crisis was unprecedented. ''We knew this disease was going to generate a most serious crisis in our history, never before seen and that it was going to affect health, economy, employment, that is to say, the whole of society.” Peru’s economic activity sank over 40 percent year-on-year in April, its worst-ever percentage drop in output, as the lockdown slammed the brakes on key industries, like mining.
Peru overtakes Italy in total cases of coronavirus
Peru topped 240,000 total cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, surpassing hard-hit Italy, government data showed, even as the pace of infections has begun to moderate in the South American nation. Peru moved quickly to lock down its citizens as the pandemic took hold in early March. But cases nonetheless exploded in May, reaching a peak of more than 8,000 per day late in the month. More than 7,000 Peruvians have died from the disease, the government reported. Peru has the second highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Latin America, behind Brazil, and the seventh highest globally. The Americas have become the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak, logging nearly 4 million infections and 204,000 deaths. Peru, Chile and Brazil have been particularly hard hit in recent weeks.
Coronavirus lockdown brings extra challenges for people with disability
But for many Australians living with a chronic illness or disability, social isolation is still their main way of staying healthy and safe, and the challenges posed by the virus are far from over. "It's frustrating hearing people go 'I really want a haircut' and I'm like, 'I really want my quality of life back'," says Emily McIntyre. Emily, 29, lives with what she describes as invisible disabilities. Her health conditions mean her immune system is compromised, which puts her at a high risk of both contracting COVID-19 and getting extremely ill if she does get it. She says she hopes Australia learns some lessons from lockdown, because she's terrified of it happening again.
Virus cases reduce by 90pc in area under lockdown
The enforcement of smart lockdown has begun to bear fruit as it was revealed on Wednesday that the number of coronavirus cases reduced by 90 per cent in an area of the federal capital which was sealed on March 13. “Around 100 cases were being reported daily from Sector G-9, but after enforcement of smart lockdown the number of cases has reduced to 8-9 per day. It is nothing but benefit of the lockdown as the movement of people has been minimised,” Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqat told the media. He said no one was being allowed to unnecessarily go inside or outside the area under lockdown and even movement was being discouraged to reduce the chances of human to human transmission of the deadly virus.
Chile tightens lockdowns as country exceeds 200,000 coronavirus cases
The Chilean government on Wednesday announced a tightening of lockdowns and “maximum” movement restrictions in its capital Santiago as the country´s confirmed coronavirus caseload exceeded 200,000. The total number of coronavirus cases was 220,628 cases, the health ministry said in a briefing, after officials said yesterday they had discovered 31,412 confirmed cases that had not been added to the tally previously, and announced 4,757 freshly-confirmed cases overnight. In a joint briefing by the health, interior and defence ministries, the government said residents of Santiago would be granted permission to leave their homes just twice a week instead of the five times amid concerns that lockdowns of up to three months in some parts of the capital had not succeeded in stopping the spread of the virus.
Kazakhstan tightens COVID-19 restrictions, former president tests positive
Kazakhstan said on Thursday it would tighten coronavirus-related restrictions during the coming weekend and an aide said former President Nursultan Nazarbayev had tested positive for COVID-19. Shopping malls, markets and parks will be closed in big cities on June 20-21 and additional hospital beds will be made available for COVID-19 patients, the government said, citing a worsening of the outbreak in the Central Asian country. It also ordered all provinces to broaden testing for the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The spread of the virus has accelerated in the nation of 19 million since it ended a nationwide lockdown last month. Kazakhstan had reported about 23,000 cases as of Friday, with 100 deaths, up from about 5,000 at the end of its lockdown.
Sudan extends lockdown in Khartoum state to June 29
Sudan has extended a lockdown in the state of Khartoum to June 29 as it tries to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, its Security and Defence Council said on Wednesday. Khartoum state, including the capital, is the Arab African country’s most populous. Curfew hours will remain unchanged, from 3 p.m. until 6 a.m., the council said in a statement issued after approving the recommendations of its Supreme Committee for Health Emergencies. Sudan will start a process to bring back stranded expatriates through flights and border crossings starting from Sunday, the statement said. Those who do not have medical certificates proving that they are not carrying the virus will be transferred to quarantine centres until being tested, it added.
Sharp learning curve for bosses as WFH goes global
Two weeks into the coronavirus lockdown and Sergei Holmeckis, a boss at Deutsche Telekom’s Czech operations in the city of Brno, was frustrated with staff video calls. His team didn’t like turning on their cameras and the discussion was stilted. “I started to show them my cat,” Holmeckis said. “It showed the human side of me more and really changed the perception. It got people to switch on their cameras and be more engaged.” Such tactics obviously won’t appeal to everyone. But they do show how the world’s biggest experiment in working from home is forcing managers to reassess their methods - especially as surveys predict higher levels of remote working post-pandemic.
Peru becomes epicentre of global Covid-19 pandemic after surpassing Italy's number of cases
Peru has surpassed Italy’s number of coronavirus cases, making Latin America the current epicentre of the global outbreak. The country’s number of confirmed infections stands at 240,908, the second-highest after Brazil’s tally of almost a million. There are more than four million confirmed infections across the region but health experts believe the true figure is much higher.
Coronavirus UK: Major outbreak hits meat factory in Wales
One quarter of workers at the 2 Sisters meat factory are now self isolating. The factory in Anglesey, North Wales, produces meat for takeaways and shops. The 2 Sisters group is one of the largest producers of chicken in Britain. Officials confirmed they are dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak at the factory
Colombia virus cases still rising despite swift lockdown
Colombia acted swiftly to lock down early and yet cases there keep on rising. The country is now beginning to ease restrictions, although strict conditions have just been reimposed in parts of the capital Bogota. It is taking its toll on many families who have been displaced by the decades-long guerrilla war, now living hand to mouth. Our Latin America correspondent Guillermo Galdos reports. Filmed by Marcel Mettelsiefen and produced by Juan Camilo Cruz Orrego.
Scientific Viewpoint
Covid-19 crisis risks UK 'lost generation' of people about to retire
The coronavirus crisis could leave the next generation of retirees significantly poorer and sicker, according to research commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better. The research, carried out by Ipsos Mori, found that the pandemic risks creating a “lost generation” of older people entering retirement in poor health and without enough money to support themselves in retirement. Almost half of people in their 50s and 60s believe their financial circumstances will worsen over the next year, and many report that their physical and mental health has deteriorated during lockdown, according to the research. “These figures are deeply worrying. If this generation continues to be an afterthought in the coronavirus recovery, we will see a lost generation entering retirement in poorer health and worse financial circumstances than those before them,” said Anna Dixon, the chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better.
How lockdown has affected mental health across UK
Millions of people are experiencing loneliness during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. The charity conducted a survey at the beginning of lockdown which revealed one in four people said they had feelings of loneliness in the previous two weeks. When the same question was asked shortly before lockdown, just one in ten people said they had these feelings. Weeks later, social distancing left millions more people in the UK feeling isolated.
Coronavirus: ‘Many unnecessary deaths’ risked by lifting lockdown before contact tracing system effective, scientists warn
The government is risking “many unnecessary deaths” by lifting lockdown before an effective system is in place to track coronavirus sufferers, an influential group of scientists has warned. The Independent Sage group said that the NHS Test and Trace system introduced by Boris Johnson is “not fit for purpose”. The experts also warned that the prime minister’s current programme of relaxation of restrictions is “premature” while evidence suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic is still growing in some parts of the country and a resurgence of the disease is being reported in China, Germany and South Korea.
Coronavirus: Big drop in cancer referrals in Wales
The number of patients referred for cancer treatment in April dropped by more than 51% compared to the previous month, according to official figures. People with possible symptoms have been urged not to put off getting them checked out during the pandemic as part of a new Welsh Government campaign. Swansea Bay health board, where referrals were down 52%, attributed it to a fear of visiting hospitals or GPs. Charities have warned of a cancer "timebomb" due to Covid-19 disruption.
Priority vaccination queue headed by frontline workers and over-50s
Mr Hancock said: “As soon as [a vaccine] comes available, just as we did for testing will be guided by the clinical science prioritising those in most need.” He said advice published yesterday by the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation recommended priority vaccination for two groups: frontline health and social care workers, and those at increased risk of serious disease and death from coronavirus, including adults over the age of 50 and those with heart and kidney disease. Mr Hancock went on: “As we learn more about the virus we will continue to take into account which groups may be particularly vulnerable, including for example those from ethnic minority backgrounds so we can protect the most at risk first should a vaccine become available and get this country back on our feet as soon as we possibly can.” He said the Government’s approach to vaccines “is to throw everything at it as fast as we can and rigorously to test and make sure that they're safe before deployment”.
Latin America Faces a Critical Moment in the Battle against COVID-19
A Pan American Health Organization public health expert shares his views on the outlook for the region, which has more than 1.5 million cases—and growing. Latin America has become the new epicenter of the global COVID-19 pandemic. At a media briefing on June 9 Carissa Etienne, head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), offered a clinical but dire assessment by moving through a chillingly long list that encompasses countries from Mexico to Chile.
Lockdowns in Europe saved millions of lives, say researchers | News
A research team at Imperial College London estimates that COVID-19 measures averted over 3 million deaths in 11 European countries from March to May. Published in the journal ‘Nature’, the study assessed the impact of restrictions in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The team used data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the recorded deaths in the 11 countries. By early May, about 130 000 people had died from coronavirus.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Germany Sees Largest Local Covid-19 Outbreak Since Lifting Lockdown
Germany has recorded its largest local Covid-19 outbreak since it started reopening its economy in early May, with more than 600 employees of a slaughterhouse testing positive for coronavirus this week, authorities said on Wednesday. The announcement highlighted the risk of a new spike in infections even as the pace of the coronavirus pandemic is slowing across Europe.
First local lockdowns in Europe due to new COVID-19 cases
In Germany, a spokesperson for the district of Gütersloh in North Rhine-Westphalia announced on Wednesday (17 June) that the district will be closing its schools and daycare centres to slow the spread of coronavirus following a local outbreak, which began in a meat-packing plant. Schools will remain closed until the start of the state’s summer holidays on 29 June. In northern Greece, all residents of the community of Echinos in Xanthi have been put in strict quarantine for seven days in order to avoid the spread of Covid-19. 73 new cases and 4 deaths have been reported in the region in recent days. The case has raised eyebrows in the government and could be seen as a test ahead of the tourism season. In Slovenia, the head of the team advising the health ministry on coronavirus has called for reimposing stringent measures on the borders immediately, after an increase in new infections were registered abroad. Meanwhile, Bulgaria reported a record high of new COVID-19 cases. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 3,453 on Wednesday (17 June) after 112 new infections were confirmed in the last 24 hours. At least 35 people in the Shumen district were found to have the coronavirus due to a negligent paramedic.
Coronavirus: China fears new COVID-19 ripple will lead to second wave
Today the authorities confirmed another 21 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in the capital, bringing the total in the latest cluster to 158. And they are not confined just to Beijing - cases have been recorded in provinces across China. The first question is how this happened. Life in China had been getting back to normal, with people going back to work and restaurants reopening. But the country still had some of the strictest COVID-19 measures in place. Foreigners are still banned from entering the country, with some very limited exceptions.
Coronavirus outbreak in Beijing ‘under control’, epidemiologist says
Deputy police chief denies city is back under lockdown but says strict measures have been imposed to stop people leaving. Neighbouring Tianjin reports first local case in months, a hotel kitchen worker who had recently handled frozen seafood
Beijing's coronavirus outbreak poses test for Xi, China's chairman of everything
As Chinese officials in Wuhan struggled to contain a deadly coronavirus outbreak in January, it was Xi Jinping who stepped in and took control. Now, the president who declared himself personally responsible for every aspect of China’s response to the pandemic, faces a fresh test: a rapidly growing outbreak in Beijing. The cluster of more than 130 cases in the city that is the seat of Communist Party power risks undermining the government’s narrative it handled the epidemic better than many Western nations. It could upend its nascent economic recovery if it turns into a second wave. The stakes are even higher for Xi, who has staked his credibility on China’s response and sought to frame himself as a global leader in the crisis — to the chagrin of nations from the U.S. to Australia.
New Zealand officials admit two women with Covid-19 met friends
Health officials in New Zealand have made an embarrassing U-turn in the case of two women recently arrived from Britain who were infected with Covid-19 and allowed to leave quarantine without being tested – admitting the pair met up with friends when they should not have done. The initial blunder by officials who failed to test the women for the virus before they were released early from quarantine on compassionate grounds was labelled an “unacceptable failure” by the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Wednesday. She added that New Zealand’s defence force would now oversee the quarantine of new arrivals and audit the quarantine process. “It should never have happened and it cannot be repeated,” Ardern said.
New Lockdown
Greek community in lockdown after spike in cases
Greek civil protection authorities have imposed a seven-day complete lockdown on a community in the country's north-east, after a spike in coronavirus cases over the past week. Residents of the Echinos community in the province of Xanthi are forbidden from leaving the area, and are under a 24-hour curfew. They can leave their homes only to buy food or medication, and must wear a mask. Only vehicles resupplying food stores and pharmacies are allowed into Echinos, while all other retail businesses have been shut.
Beijing faces new lockdown as cases spike in Chinese capital
China extends lockdown to more areas in BeijingAnadolu AgencyBeijing’s Partial Lockdown a Sign of the World’s New NormalThe New York TimesCoronavirus in Beijing: China cancels flights, shuts schools and forbids people from fleeingTelegraph.co.ukNew Coronavirus Outbreak, Second Wave Fear In China Prompt Travel Warnings But No LockdownForbesView Full coverage on Google News