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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 24th Jun 2020

News Highlights

French encourage citizens to report to work as lockdowns further ease

The French government is planning to introduce new protocols this week that will allow more people to start returning to work. Previously, the government had suggested that people who can work from home do so, which was intended to prevent large numbers of people using public transport.

Sales of bicycles surge in Italy post coronavirus lockdown

Government incentives and a need to avoid public transport has led to more than 540,000 bicycles being sold in Italy since shops across the country reopened in early May, an increase of 60% compared to the same perios last year. The government is offering up to EUR500 until the end of the year for city dwellers to buy traditional bicycles.

Lockdown under consideration again with new outbreaks in Spain, Australia

An outbreak of 50 new infections pushed three Spanish regions back into Phase 2 lockdown just a day after the country had relaxed most restrictions. In Australia, the state of Victoria recorded its 17th consecutive day of double-digit infections, sparking concerns that the state may have to yet again impose restrictive lockdowns.

Pubs, restaurants set to open in England as restrictions ease

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced significant easing of lockdown restrictions in England from July 4, with pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers allowed to operate and the two metre social distancing rule to be reduced to 'one metre plus.' Two households will also be able to meet indoors and stay overnight, while maintaining social distancing.

Lockdown Exit
Shielding in England: how do you feel about coming out of lockdown?
From 6 July, people in England with underlying health issues who have been shielding since March will be allowed to leave their homes. They will be able to meet up outside in groups of up to six people from different households, provided they keep 2 metres apart, and they will no longer have to remain 2 metres apart from the rest of their household at home.
Italian cities see bicycle boom after COVID-19 lockdown
Italy has seen a surge in bicycle sales since the government ended its coronavirus lockdown as people steer clear of public transport and respond to government incentives to help the environment. Some 540,000 bikes have been sold nationwide since shops across the country reopened in early May, according to sector lobby Ancma, a 60% increase in the first month compared to the same period in 2019. To keep people off metros and buses and avoid road congestion, the government has offered to contribute up to 500 euros ($562.70) for city-dwellers who buy traditional or “pedal-assisted” electrical bicycles. The subsidy, which kicked in on May 4 and runs to the end of the year, has accelerated a trend in place even in small centres where it is not available.
Summer solstice parties cancelled in Spain amid coronavirus concerns
Beach parties on the eve of the summer solstice have been cancelled across Spain as authorities tried to avoid crowds to prevent a new outbreak of Covid-19. Traditional bonfires and spectacular firework displays next to the sea were also prohibited by health chiefs from Valencia to Barcelona along the Mediterranean coast and in Galicia in the northwest.
Spain reopens to tourists as lockdown ends amid surge in global spread
Spain reopened its borders to European tourists yesterday in a bid to kickstart its economy while Brazil and South Africa struggled with rising coronavirus infections. The head of the World Health Organisation has warned that the global spread of the virus is accelerating after a daily high of 150,000 new cases was reported last week. The new coronavirus has infected more than 8.8 million people and killed more than 464,000, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University. The true number is thought to be much higher because many cases go untested. Spain yesterday ended a national state of emergency after three months of lockdown, allowing its 47 million residents to freely travel around the country for the first time since March 14. Spain also dropped a 14-day quarantine for visitors from Ireland, Britain and other European countries to boost its vital tourism sector.
Cinemas re-open in France, the birthplace of film
After a three-month coronavirus hiatus, French movie fans made a comeback on Monday as cinemas across the country re-opened in the latest phase of the country's relaxation of lockdown measures.
End of télétravail? France's new rules for employees to return to work
Working from home will cease to be the norm as France lays out new protocols for people returning to work. The French government will this week lay out new protocols that will allow more people to return to work, including abolishing the recommendation that everyone should work from home if possible. As France has gradually reopened, government advice has remained the same as it was at the height of the lockdown - that people who can work from home should continue to do so if possible. The recommendation was intended to avoid large numbers of people in workplaces, as well as easing crowding on public transport at peak times in cities. But now a new protocol, set to be published in its final form later in the week, scraps this recommendation.
The French Are in No Hurry to Return to Work
After bringing everything to a screeching halt in an all-out war against the coronavirus, French President Emmanuel Macron wants to get the economy going again. The dark draconian days of the Covid-19 lockdown are over, confirmed cases have continued to fall, and Monday marks a new roll-back of stay-at-home curbs as cinemas, museums and more schools reopen. To do so, he’s harking back to themes from his 2017 presidential campaign as a pro-jobs candidate who would be judged on his ability to shake up the country’s rigid labor market and complex pensions system.“France must fully get back to work,” he said in a national televised speech on June 14. “We must work, and produce, more.”
France’s Revival Sees Economy Unexpectedly Return to Growth
The French economy’s revival from the coronavirus lockdown appears stronger than anticipated, with a measure of private-sector activity showing growth for the first time in four months. IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers Index jumped to 51.3 in June from 32.1 in May, beating economists’ expectations for 46.8. The individual gauges for both manufacturing and services also climbed above the 50 key level.
Russians Throng River Cruises as Moscow Lockdown Eases Ahead of Vote
Russians soaked up the sun on boat cruises on the river Moskva on Tuesday for the first time in three months after authorities lifted many of the city's last remaining restrictions aimed at halting the novel coronavirus. Officials in the city of 12.7 million, the epicentre of Russia's outbreak, say new infections have been falling from a peak in May and stood at just over 1,000 on Tuesday. Russia's national case load, the world's third highest, is nearly 600,000. The city, which began rapidly relaxing an array of lockdown restrictions earlier this month, on Tuesday allowed restaurants, cafes, libraries, playgrounds and gyms to open properly and for river cruises to resume.
Coronavirus surge threatens poor nations exiting lockdown
With fragile healthcare systems in poorer countries, those governments are now left with few potent tools to combat a virus which has the ability to overwhelm the health-care systems of these nations.
Coronavirus surge threatens poor nations exiting lockdown
With fragile healthcare systems in poorer countries, those governments are now left with few potent tools to combat a virus which has the ability to overwhelm the health-care systems of these nations.
Only lockdown has eased, for many life’s looking more difficult now
People from different walks of life opine that just the easing will not end the hard times or wariness or confinement soon, and that they are bracing themselves to tackle the situation. And regarding COV- ID-19, another said, “I have got over the fear. But still I take all precautions necessary.” Suggesting ways to cope the situation, she said, “Let’s not wait for government or any other body to support us. We have nobody and we are nobody. Let’s help ourselves and that is the least we can do to survive.”
Belgium Gives Free Rail Travel To All
But travel abroad will be anything but clearcut, with the reimposition of border controls and cancellation of flights possible this summer. For those with concerns about international travel, the Belgian government has given them a major incentive to take a Belgian ‘staycation’ instead: free rail journeys for the rest of the year to anywhere in the country. Every Belgian resident aged 12 and over will be entitled to a “national tour” rail pass giving them 12 free journeys, in an attempt to boost the country’s tourism sector which suffered badly from the lockdown. The free journeys can be claimed at a rate of two per month, from August 2020 to January 2021
13 New Coronavirus Cases Reported, Highest Number Since 24 April, Six Imported
Slovenia saw a surge in coronavirus cases on Monday, when 13 out of 984 tests came back positive. This is the highest number of new daily infections since 24 April, when 15 new cases were reported. Six out of 13 infections were imported - three from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one each from Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo, Mario Fafangel, the head of the centre for contagious diseases at the National institute for Public health (NIJZ), told the press today. Five other cases were related to the imported ones, one is still being investigated and in one case the source of infection is not known.
Exit Strategies
Sports activities in Kuwait to resume as coronavirus restrictions ease
Sports activities in Kuwait will resume as of June 28 according to a plan announced by the Public Authority for Sport (PAS) on Monday. Athletes in track and field, fencing and shooting have been tested for coronavirus ahead of reopening for training, PAS Deputy Director General Saqer Al-Mulla said. Sport facilities will undergo disinfection and will have to follow coronavirus safety measures set by the Ministry of Health (MoH), he added. The resumption plan was set by PAS, Ministry of Health and Kuwaiti Olympic Committee, according to state news agency KUNA. Last week, the country’s cabinet decided to eases curfew hours and start from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m.
How lockdown now compares across the UK as England lifts more lockdown measures
Key changes to lockdown rules have been announced in England with the announcement that pubs, restaurants and cinemas will be allowed to open from July 4. But in Wales, the next review is due to be held on Friday, July 10. First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Monday June 22 said that the Welsh Government would be assessing the two-metre rule themselves. Mr Drakeford said they will follow the advice that Mr Johnson is relying on as well as the advice from Wales' chief medical officer and medical networks. "We put the health of the public first," he said. The Welsh Government says: "Decisions on the rules for preventing the spread of the virus in Wales are for the Welsh Government.
Coronavirus: Lockdown to be relaxed in England as 2m rule eased
Pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can open from 4 July in England, when social distancing rules will be eased. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people should remain 2m apart where possible but a "one metre plus" rule would be introduced. Two households in England will also be able to meet indoors and stay overnight - with social distancing. The prime minister warned that all the steps were "reversible". The government's chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, said the relaxation represented a "reasonable balance of risk". Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford and Northern Ireland's Arlene Foster have said the 2m rule will remain in place in their nations for the time being.
Britain gets its summer back: PM halves 2m rule, opens pubs and lets households mix inside from July 4 - but warns he could 'put the handbrake on at any time' with 95% of UK still in danger of catching coronavirus
PM announced key sectors including tourism and hospitality can reopen next week for first time since March. Changes will be reversed if people abuse new rules and Covid-19 takes off again, Boris Johnson has warned. Comes amid optimism that virus which has killed over 42,000 in UK is reducing to manageable proportions Indoor venues, including cinemas, museums and art galleries, are allowed to reopen in England from July 4.
Lockdown rules: How England’s lifting of coronavirus measures compares to the countries that have reopened already
After three months of lockdown the UK is on the verge of returning to some sense of normality in the coming weeks. Vulnerable people who have been shielding will be able to leave the house to meet friends and family in groups of six and join support bubbles with other houses from 6 July.
When can I travel to France? Latest guidance for UK visitors - and quarantine rules explained
Despite France’s major recent changes to its lockdown measures, arrivals from the UK and some other countries are still being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) also currently advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice took effect on 17 March, and while it initially applied for a period of 30 days, the travel ban is now listed as “indefinite”. On top of that, a two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving back in the UK – including UK nationals – has been in place since 8 June.
COVID-19 cases in SA breach 100,000, recoveries at 52%
The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa breached the 100,000 mark, with the number of deaths now standing at 1,991.
New Zealand citizens returning home may be quarantined in campervans
New Zealand's government is considering using campervans on a Navy base in Auckland for its citizens to isolate in after returning from overseas to stop the spread of coronavirus. As hotels reach capacity in the city, the most populous in the country, an increase in people returning from overseas as coronavirus restrictions relax may cause a lack of accommodation for the mandatory two-week isolation period. Whangaparaoa military base was already used to isolate New Zealand nationals returning on repatriation flights from Wuhan, China, then the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health and the public face of the country's battle against the disease, was asked if the Whangaparaoa military base in Auckland would once again be used.
French StopCovid app led to 1.8 million activations as of June 22
France's state-supported "StopCovid" contact-tracing app has been downloaded by 1.9 million people, roughly 2% of the population, leading to 1.8 million activations as of June 22, digital affairs minister Cedric O said on Tuesday. The "StopCovid" smartphone app, which was launched on June 2, warns users if they have come into contact with anyone infected with the coronavirus to help to contain the epidemic as France emerges from lockdown.
PM Johnson eases coronavirus lockdown thanks to reduced infections
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a significant easing of England’s coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday, saying it had been allowed by a decline in the number of new infections and the belief that currently there is no risk of a second peak. “The number of new infections is now declining by between two and four percent every day,” he told parliament. “This pandemic has inflicted permanent scars and we mourn everyone we have lost ... While we remain vigilant, we do not believe there is currently a risk of a second peak of infections that might overwhelm the NHS (National Health Service)”
UK COVID-19 death toll tops 54,000 including suspected cases: Reuters tally
The United Kingdom’s suspected COVID-19 death toll has hit 54,139, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources that underline the country’s status as one of the worst hit in the world. The Reuters tally comprises fatalities where COVID-19 was mentioned on death certificates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland up to June 12, and up to June 14 in Scotland. It also includes more recent hospital deaths. Unlike the lower death toll published daily by the government, the death certificate figures include suspected cases. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which updates the figures on a weekly basis, said on Tuesday the number of deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales up to June 12 rose to 48,866.
Lockdown to ease for vulnerable people in England from next month
The more than 2 million people who are “shielding” from COVID-19 in England because clinically they are extremely vulnerable to the virus will be allowed to spend more time outside their homes from July 6, the health department said on Monday. Bringing the guidance for them into line with rules set for the wider population, the health ministry said they will be able to meet outside in a group of up to six people and, if single or living alone, create a so-called “support bubble” with one other household of any size. From Aug. 1, the guidance will then be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield and those who cannot work from home will be able to return to the workplace as long as it is COVID-secure.
Canada's biggest city, Toronto, to reopen businesses, ending three-month lockdown
Toronto, Canada’s most-populous city and financial capital, will allow businesses to reopen starting on Wednesday, joining other regions in the province of Ontario in ending a three-month pandemic lockdown, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Monday. Malls and restaurants in Toronto, along with Peel Region, which includes some of the city’s densely populated suburbs, will be able to open their patios, according to the government’s plan.
Saudi Arabia announces drastic curbs to numbers for annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca
The decision to limit the hajj — which in 2019 drew nearly 2.5 million people to the city of Mecca — will probably hit Saudi Arabia economically and deliver a blow to individuals and families who had saved up and planned to perform the pilgrimage. According to an announcement made Monday by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, this year’s pilgrimage will be available only to “very limited numbers” of people who are already in the kingdom but that it will include different nationalities, not just Saudis. The announcement did not explain how the pilgrims will be chosen.
California governor urges mask use as hospitalizations rise
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is imploring people to wear face coverings to protect against the coronavirus and allow businesses to safely open.
Partisan Exits
Coronavirus: FM warns Scots against taking UK holidays for now
Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scots against taking holidays in other parts of the UK even as lockdown restrictions are being eased south of the border. The first minister said the Scottish government's five-mile advisory limit on travelling for leisure and recreation remained in place for now. She also said people should still not plan overnight stays away from home. But Ms Sturgeon said she hoped the tourism industry would be "back up and running" by next month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can open from 4 July in England, when social distancing rules will be eased.
Johnson to overrule scientists and ease lockdown
Boris Johnson will on Tuesday reject misgivings from some leading scientists and press ahead with a plan to cut England’s contentious two-metre social-distancing rule, as he adds cinemas, galleries and museums to the list of premises able to reopen on July 4. Pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers will also be given approval to reopen their doors with coronavirus precautions in place on July 4, to the relief of Conservative MPs who have been urging the prime minister to press ahead with further lockdown easing. In a sign of increasing efforts to boost the economy amid the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Johnson is hoping to announce in the next few days the lifting of the UK’s 14-day quarantine arrangements for travellers arriving from countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Greece and Spain.
Nicola Sturgeon slams Boris Johnson's 'reckless' bid to get back to normal by easing lockdown
Nicola Sturgeon tore into Boris Johnson today over his plans to ease the lockdown still further in England, branding him 'reckless. Scotland's First Minister said it was 'tempting' to try to rush to get the nation 'back to normal' but suggested that the move should not be rushed amid new spikes in cases in some countries. She made the waning as the UK's death toll fell to just 15 - the lowest level since mid-March.
Pubs, museums and cinemas to open amid concerns UK leaving lockdown ‘too quickly’
Boris Johnson is set to announce new lockdown easing plans today that will allow pubs, restaurants, museums and cinemas to begin re-opening in England from July 4. The Prime Minister is also expected to review the two-metre social distancing rule, amid widespread predictions it will be cut to one metre. He will brief the Cabinet on the proposals before outlining them in the House of Commons later today. Some Tory MPs have put pressure on the PM to ease the two-metre requirement in order to get the hospitality sector back up and running. Many pubs and restaurants have warned that it would be impossible for them to operate as long as the rule remains in place, with others saying their businesses may never reopen if they are not given the green light this week.
Brazilian judge tells Bolsonaro to behave and wear a face mask
A Brazilian judge has ordered Jair Bolsonaro to rectify his “at best disrespectful” behaviour by wearing a face mask when circulating in the capital, Brasília. The president has sparked outrage by repeatedly flouting measures designed to slow the advance of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50,000 Brazilians. The rightwing populist has made a succession of public appearances – at protests, shops and even a floating barbecue – wearing a mask incorrectly, or not at all. On Monday, a federal judge ruled Bolsonaro was not above the laws of the federal district, which contains Brazil’s capital, and would face a daily fine of 2,000 reais (£310) if he continued to break the rules. The use of masks has been compulsory there since late April.
E.U. May Bar American Travelers as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus
European Union officials are racing to agree on who can visit the bloc as of July 1 based on how countries of origin are faring with new coronavirus cases. Americans, so far, are excluded, according to draft lists seen by The New York Times.
Continued Lockdown
How the world’s strictest lockdown affected India
An analysis of countries with the highest Covid-19 cases shows most of them have not relaxed lockdowns without a decline in daily cases. In fact, some continue with the strictest measures even after several days of fall in cases or have only reduced the stringency marginally. Those who haven’t followed these two paths seem to find it difficult to continue reducing daily cases. To be sure, this could also mean that a lockdown, although necessary, isn’t a sufficient enough measure to contain the infection. On June 18, 15 countries with the most Covid-19 cases in descending order were: United States, Brazil, Russia, India, United Kingdom, Spain, Peru, Italy, Chile, Iran, Germany, Turkey, Pakistan, Mexico, and France. Most of these 15 countries can be categorised into two groups based on the daily number of cases (we consider a seven-day rolling average to smooth out daily fluctuations): those with a rising number of cases, and those that have seen a decline in daily cases.
Domestic abuse reports soar in Hampshire as police called to 7,950 incidents since coronavirus lockdown began
Figures obtained exclusively by The News have today revealed the county’s force has responded to a massive surge in domestic incidents during the coronavirus lockdown. Hampshire police have attended 7,950 reports since stay-at-home measures were announced in March, an increase of almost 500 compared to the same period last year. The worrying spike comes amid calls from abuse charities for the government to accelerate plans to create a new national strategy to combat the violence during the pandemic
Generation COVID: The Spanish learners lost to lockdown
Out of 31 pupils in one of Madrid teacher Clara Mijares’ online classes last month, eight were missing. Two had not been seen for some time, she said, adding that this is a fairly typical ratio these days for her lockdown sessions for 12 to 16-year-olds. Some of those who had made it to that pastoral meeting of El Espinillo secondary school in Madrid kept their webcams disabled. They were in no rush to answer when she asked how they were doing. “Don’t just say ‘good,’” she coaxed the screen of 13-year-olds. “Use another word.” Eventually, more considered responses trickled through her speaker: Tired. Bored. Haven’t left home for exercise. Prefer to stay indoors. “The charm of being in a class has been lost,” Mijares said.
Scientific Viewpoint
S. Africa to start Africa's first coronavirus vaccine pilot
South Africa will roll out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, the university leading the pilot said Tuesday, as the country grapples with the highest number of cases in Africa. The vaccine, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute, is already being evaluated in Britain, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial. South Africa has set out to vaccinate 2,000 people with the vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Fifty of the candidates have HIV. “We began screening participants for the South African Oxford 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial last week, and the first participants will be vaccinated this week,” University of Witwatersrand (Wits) vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi told a virtual press conference.
Easing several lockdown rules at once could boost virus, say UK scientists
The easing of multiple lockdown measures in England at once risks Covid-19 gaining a fresh foothold, scientists advising the government have warned. They raised concerns over the halving of the 2-metre physical distancing rule at the same time as reopening venues, saying the country was currently experiencing up to 4,300 Covid-19 infections a day and had no effective digital track-and-trace system, while highlighting research that showed transmission of the virus was more likely to happen indoors.
Economic and social consequences of human mobility restrictions under COVID-19
The lockdown measures introduced in Italy to deal with COVID-19 have produced a mobility contraction which is not homogeneously distributed across Italian municipalities and regions. An examination of the steep fall on the Italian mobility network during the pandemic reveals some counterintuitive results, calling for further analysis.
Coronavirus: Scotland achieves New Zealand-style testing benchmark as only one Covid case detected for every 200 tests
The ratio of positive to negative test results indicates that Scotland “is on the safe side” in terms of controlling the pandemic, according to a scientific briefing paper that draws comparisons with the performance in New Zealand and South Korea. It has also plunged since April, when more than one in five tests were coming back positive. It came as Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that no deaths from Covid had been reported in Scotland for a second day in a row, with just 15 confirmed or suspected Covid patients in intensive care.
Serbia Under-Reported COVID-19 Deaths and Infections, Data Shows
Data from the Serbian state’s COVID-19 information system shows that more than twice as many infected patients have died than the authorities announced, and hundreds more people tested positive for the virus in recent days than admitted, BIRN can reveal.
Inovio gets $71 million from U.S. defense department for COVID-19 vaccine device
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday it has received $71 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to scale up production of the company’s devices that are used to administer its experimental COVID-19 vaccine into the skin. The drug developer’s shares rose nearly 13% to $17.27 before the opening bell. The funding from the DoD will be used to expand the manufacturing of a next-generation version of the company’s Cellectra devices. The company began developing the devices in 2019 and has already begun initial production. Cellectra is a small, hand-held device that can be stockpiled in large quantities without maintenance. Inovio said a previous version of the device has been used in clinical trials to safely dose more than 2,000 patients
Sweden's Coronavirus Failure Started Long Before the Pandemic
Many countries have criticized the Swedish government’s lax lockdown, but the deadly mistakes of defunding elder care and decentralizing public health oversight were made before anyone had heard of COVID-19.
Coronavirus tracker: Sanofi corners vaccine tech new and old; Merck series tackles cancer during COVID-19
Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson doesn't share the "need for speed" driving so many other big pharmas in the COVID-19 vaccine race; instead, his company will focus on older, proven tech to bring a shot to market sometime next summer. Still, Sanofi doubled down on a 2018 pact with Translate Bio, currently at work on an mRNA vaccine candidate. A private equity firm nabbed a former Bristol Myers Squibb plant where it hopes to entice drugmakers to ramp up production on U.S. shores. Plus, Indian CDMO Piramal Pharma Solutions continued its U.S. expansion when it snared a former G&W Laboratories site on Monday. Plus, Merck & Co. is expanding its partnership with Katie Couric in a new web series tackling the hurdles cancer patients face during the COVID-19 pandemic
Coronavirus: UK must prepare for second virus wave - health leaders
Health leaders are calling for an urgent review to determine whether the UK is properly prepared for the "real risk" of a second wave of coronavirus. In an open letter published in the British Medical Journal, ministers were warned that urgent action would be needed to prevent further loss of life. The presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians, and GPs all signed the letter. It comes after Boris Johnson announced sweeping changes to England's lockdown. On Tuesday, the prime minister said pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers will be able to reopen from 4 July. The 2m social-distancing rule will be replaced with a "one-metre plus" rule, meaning people should stay at least 2m apart where possible, but otherwise should remain at least 1m apart while taking steps to reduce the risk of transmission, such as wearing face coverings.
Blood Type May Play a Role in Covid-19 Severity - Type O blood linked to lower respiratory failure in study
A very early study of patients with Covid-19 in Wuhan and Shenzhen, China was among the first to suggest an association between blood type and SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and disease severity. In that study, published ahead of peer review, the type A blood group appeared to be associated with a greater risk for acquiring Covid-19 and the type O blood group was linked to lower risk. Another early study involving cases in New York City, also published ahead of peer review, found a higher prevalence of group A blood type in patients who were SARS-CoV-2 positive and a lower prevalence of infection with group O blood type. And, preliminary data recently reported by the commercial genetic testing site 23andMe also suggested a protective role for type O blood type against the novel coronavirus when compared to other blood types. Blood specialist Parameswaran Hari, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, said while the research suggesting a role for blood type in Covid-19 remains preliminary, the findings appear to be consistent. Hari was not involved with the newly published study, but he talked to BreakingMED about the findings. “The studies are all pointing in the same direction, and that is really intriguing,” he said.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Spain has no plans for new lockdown despite fresh Covid-19 outbreaks
Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said on Tuesday that the government could reimpose emergency measures in all or parts of the country if there are any coronavirus outbreaks that spiral out of control. “If there is ever a time when we have a serious situation, the government could easily decree a state of alarm in part of the territory, if not in all of it,” she said in an interview on Spanish television channel Antena 3. “Hopefully we won’t have to do that. But we are categorical about protecting health. If the moment comes, the government will show responsibility.” But soon after, government spokesperson María Jesús Montero insisted that there are “no short-term or mid-term plans” to reintroduce a state of alarm in Spain again.
South Korea confirms second coronavirus wave linked to nightclubs and offices
Officials in South Korea have confirmed the country is suffering a second wave of Covid-19, following a surge in confirmed cases since May. Despite the country being one of the first in the world to get the virus under control and avoided a lockdown, experts said a holiday weekend in early May sparked a fresh wave of infections in the capital Seoul. Numerous outbreaks have recently been confirmed at nightclubs in the city, which had previously not experienced many cases. Officials said on Monday that 17 new cases had been recorded over the last 24 hours, including clusters in warehouses and large offices.
South Korea reports 46 new virus cases as it tackles 'second wave'
South Korea reported 46 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday after health authorities declared the country was battling a second wave of infections that had been circulating for weeks. The South endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease outside China but appears to have brought it broadly under control thanks to an extensive "trace, test and treat" programme while never imposing a compulsory lockdown. Social distancing rules were relaxed after a public holiday in early May and the country has since been returning largely to normal. But in the last month the South has seen around 35 to 50 cases a day, mostly in the Seoul metropolitan area where half of the population lives. "We believe the second wave has been running since it was triggered by the May holiday," said Jung Eun-kyeong, director of Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials reimposed some social distancing measures in late May following fresh clusters in and near Seoul, and most cases reported in the past week have been domestic infections.
South Korea sees uptick in coronavirus cases as second wave arrives early
The South endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease outside China but appears to have brought it broadly under control thanks to an extensive “trace, test and treat” programme while never imposing a compulsory lockdown. Social distancing rules were relaxed after a public holiday in early May and the country has since been returning largely to normal. But in the last month the South has seen around 35 to 50 cases a day, mostly in the Seoul metropolitan area where half of the population lives.
218 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore, including one in community
There are 218 new coronavirus cases confirmed as of Monday noon (June 22), taking Singapore's total to 42,313. They include a community case who is a work pass holder, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday. Migrant workers living in dormitories make up the vast majority of the other cases.
7 more Pakistan cricketers test positive for coronavirus, PCB says England tour 'on track'
Seven more Pakistan players due to tour England in August have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Tuesday, taking the total to 10 since the first results were announced this week.
The way Beijing tracked its second wave is a lesson for us all
This second outbreak has prompted a flurry of activity as officials mobilise to stop further transmission taking place. In communities deemed high risk, people’s health codes have turned yellow, which means they must quarantine at home. Those who want to leave Beijing must show a negative test taken within the last seven days. State-owned telecoms companies are handing over data to help with tracking. The net is spread wide and the tracing operation immense. Even residents who have travelled on highways a few kilometres away from Xinfadi, or taken a subway line that runs near it, have received phone calls inquiring whether they have visited. State media reported almost 200,000 people had been contacted as part of the contact tracing drive, and 356,000 subsequently tested.
New Lockdown
Germany outbreak sparks fresh local lockdown
German authorities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia have reimposed lockdown restrictions in two districts after a spike in cases, with more than half a million people affected. One area is home to a meatpacking plant where more than 1,500 workers have tested positive. State premier Armin Laschet said the "preventative measures" in Gütersloh district would last until 30 June. Neighbouring Warendorf district has also seen restrictions return. The state's health minister, Karl-Josef Laumann, announced the second lockdown just hours after the first, saying further measures were needed "in order to protect the population". It is the first time lockdowns have been reintroduced in Germany since the country began lifting nationwide restrictions in May.
Coronavirus lockdown reintroduced in Aragon just a day after Spain entered its ‘new normality’
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Germany puts Guetersloh in lockdown after virus outbreak at meatpacking plant
The premier of the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia said on Tuesday he was putting the Guetersloh area into lockdown until June 30 after a coronavirus outbreak at a meatpacking plant there. "We're reintroducing contact restrictions, as in March," Armin Laschet told a news conference. "It is a preventative measure."
Germany imposes local lockdown after virus outbreak at meat plant
The western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Tuesday put two municipalities back into lockdown until June 30 after an outbreak of the new coronavirus at a meatpacking plant. Guetersloh, home to some 100,000 people, and the neighbouring town of Warendorf, became the first areas in Germany to fall back under lockdown measures that had been gradually lifted since the end of April. State governor Armin Laschet, who had previously led calls for Germany to ease its lockdown restrictions, said bars, museums, galleries, cinemas, sports halls, gyms and swimming pools in Guetersloh and Warendorf would be closed, and picnics and barbecues prohibited. “We will lift the measure as soon as possible, when we have certainty about the safety of the infection,” Laschet told a news conference. “It is a preventative measure.”