"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 2nd Jul 2021
Italy to enforce 5-day quarantine for England soccer fans
- Italy intensified its warnings to England soccer fans on Thursday to stay away from the European Championship quarter-final match against Ukraine on Saturday, saying they shouldn't count on getting into the Stadio Olimpico unless they can prove they have observed five days of quarantine since arriving from Britain.
- In addition, the state police imposed a mandatory block on the sale and transfer of any tickets starting Thursday and the cancellation of coupons sold to British residents starting last Monday.
- The measures, said Italy's ambassador to Britain, were deemed necessary because of the spike in cases in Britain of the highly contagious delta variant, despite its vaccination efforts, and Italy's fears that British visitors will spread the variant here.
- 'My message is very clear,' Ambassador Raffaele Trombetta told The Associated Press. 'Don't go to Italy because you haven't got time to quarantine. Even if you have got a ticket to go to the football match, that will not give you the right to go to the match.'
- A similar warning was posted in English on the website of the Italian embassy to Britain, making clear that even if they have tickets, proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 tests, fans should 'not travel to Italy to attend the match.'
- It wasn't immediately clear how Italy could enforce the warning, given authorities have never policed quarantine requirements during the coronavirus pandemic and don't put visitors in quarantine hotels, as some countries do.
- Trombetta said police would intensify border controls and hinted that Italian authorities would conduct checks to make sure visitors were indeed quarantining where they said they would on their entry forms.
- Currently, Italian regulations require a five-day quarantine for anyone who has been in Britain in the previous 14 days. The statement repeated that requirement but, in a clear effort to dissuade people from coming or trying to get around it, suggested fans would be policed and prevented from getting into the stadium even if they have tickets.
- 'Only those who can prove that they have arrived in Italy at least six days previously, have observed five days of quarantine, and have taken a post-quarantine COVID-19 test with a negative result will be allowed into the Stadio Olimpico,' the embassy statement said, adding that even people who have legal examptions to avoid the quarantine, such as for brief work trips to Italy, would similarly not be allowed into the stadium.
- Italy, where Europe's outbreak erupted last year, has tamed the latest wave of infections and has fully vaccinated 35% of its population over the age of 12. Currently, the highly contagious delta variant spreading through Britain represents more than 17% of the new cases in Italy, but officials are warning that it will likely become dominant by August.
Italy to enforce 5-day quarantine for England soccer fans
Italy intensified its warnings to England soccer fans on Thursday to stay away from the European Championship quarterfinal match against Ukraine on Saturday, saying they shouldn’t count on getting into the Stadio Olimpico unless they can prove they have observed five days of quarantine since arriving from Britain. In addition, the state police imposed a mandatory block on the sale and transfer of any tickets starting Thursday and the cancellation of coupons sold to British residents starting last Monday.
Delta variant exploits low vaccine rates, easing of rules
The latest alarming coronavirus variant is exploiting low global vaccination rates and a rush to ease pandemic restrictions, adding new urgency to the drive to get more shots in arms and slow its supercharged spread. The vaccines most used in Western countries still appear to offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, first identified in India and now spreading in more than 90 other countries. But the World Health Organization warned this week that the trifecta of easier-to-spread strains, insufficiently immunized populations and a drop in mask use and other public health measures before the virus is better contained will “delay the end of the pandemic.”
Africa’s COVID threat hits ‘new level’ as Delta variant spreads
Warnings are mounting about a fast-growing new wave of COVID-19 infections across the continent amid insufficient vaccines. At a press briefing on Thursday, the World Health Organization’s Africa director Dr Matshidiso Moeti warned that “the speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before.” “COVID-19 cases are doubling every three weeks, compared to every four weeks at the start of the second wave. Almost 202,000 cases were reported in the past week and the continent is on the verge of exceeding its worst week ever in this pandemic,” she added. Moeti said that, among the 14 African countries now in resurgence, 12 have detected coronavirus variants of concern, including nine with the highly contagious Delta variant.
Third wave will continue 'for longer than expected', expert says
King's College London study estimates there were 25,210 new cases a day in the country last week. This is up by almost a third from the previous seven-day spell when there were almost 19,122 infections a day. Professor Tim Spector said Britain could expect its cases to rise further in the coming weeks
S.African medics threaten court action as staff shortages hit COVID response
The South African Medical Association threatened on Thursday to take the government to court because scores of new junior doctors cannot find placements despite staff shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. SAMA said it was "scandalous" that, during a third wave of infections, 228 medical interns who graduated in March and April were waiting for the government to place them at public hospitals to complete their training.
Bolivian hospital connects COVID-19 patients and loved ones with virtual visits
Ruth Lagos has come to the Cotahuma Municipal Hospital in the highland Bolivian city of La Paz for a "virtual" visit with her mother and father who are being treated for COVID-19. Not allowed to see them in person, and like many Bolivians not having enough internet bandwidth at home, Lagos is taking advantage of an innovative new idea: a video call booth at the hospital's entrance, which connects patients inside with their loved ones.
Japan PM says no spectators possible as Samoa withdraws weightlifters
Japan's prime minister said it was possible the Olympics would be held without spectators as Samoa withdrew its weightlifting team from the Games, in the latest setback for Tokyo's fraught efforts to stage the world's biggest sporting event during a pandemic. Eleven Samoan athletes have qualified for the Games, but of them only three, its weightlifters, are based in Samoa and have been barred from attending the event set to start later this month, the Pacific island nation's Olympic committee president Patrick Fepuleai told Reuters. The Summer Games are scheduled to start on July 23, after a year's delay due to the pandemic. But polls show a majority of Japanese still oppose holding the event this year amid warnings from health experts that it could unleash another wave of infections and spawn new, more potent variants.
World Bank says will boost COVID-19 vaccine funding to $20 bln
The World Bank on Wednesday pledged to boost available funding for COVID-19 vaccine purchases and deployment to $20 billion from a previous target of $12 billion, citing a sharp increase in overall financing demand from developing countries. World Bank President David Malpass said the global development bank had already provided more than $4 billion to 51 developing countries for the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, and would add billions for 25 more countries soon. "Much more will follow in coming weeks," Malpass told reporters, noting that a total of 41 requests had been received from African countries, where less than half the population has been vaccinated
Tokyo mom creates COVID-19 vaccination database amid information vacuum
Balancing a new software programming job and caring for a toddler in Tokyo, LaShawn Toyoda saw increasing confusion in her social media feeds among non-Japanese speakers about how they could get a COVID-19 vaccine. "There was no news available in any language other than Japanese about when they would be able to get vaccinated, how they could get vaccinated or where," said Toyoda, who moved from Maryland in the United States to Tokyo a decade ago. Toyoda launched her database Find a Doc, a health database that helps non-Japanese speaking people find clinics with COVID-19 vaccine doses to spare after cancellations from prioritised elderly patients.
Covid-19 Australia: Huge queues at Sydney Olympic Park vaccination hub, now declared exposure site
Thousands of New South Wales residents who spent hours queueing up to receive their Covid-19 jab at Sydney Olympic Park have been informed the vaccination centre is now an exposure site. NSW Health confirmed that an infected man lined up on Tuesday June 29, between 3.30pm to 5pm, before returning a positive test the following day. The vaccine super hub has been at the forefront of the state's inoculation program against the deadly virus, but there are now fears the site could have become a super spreader event.
Covid: Booster vaccine programme likely to start in September
Wales' coronavirus booster jab programme is likely to begin in September under Welsh government plans. It comes after UK officials gave the green light to give the most vulnerable a third dose of a Covid vaccine. Interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says boosters will help maintain protection against Covid and variants. Wales' health minister said the advice "very much aligns with our thinking and our planning assumptions to date".
Rising Delta virus, absent Brits dampen Europe's tourism hopes
While not a complete wash-out, the summer tourism season vital to southern Europe's economies will be less than sizzling as the Delta coronavirus spreads and travel hurdles keep British and other sun-seekers at home. A European Union COVID-19 travel certificate launched on Thursday may help some make trips but arrivals to tourist hotspots from Portugal to Croatia are set to remain well down on normal levels, putting businesses and hospitality jobs at risk.
NHS GPs giving second Covid jabs just three weeks apart
Hundreds of GPs are administering second Covid jabs just three weeks after the first in defiance of NHS advice, triggering a rebuke from the UK’s vaccines authority. The rollout of second doses up to nine weeks earlier than official guidance has prompted concern over a postcode lottery in access to protection against coronavirus. GP vaccinators, high street pharmacies and some mass vaccination centres and pop-up jab clinics in different parts of England have taken the decision to offer second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab after three weeks and of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after four weeks. Doctors say their unofficial and “pragmatic” policy of shorter gaps between doses is boosting the immunisation drive ahead of what has been dubbed “Freedom Day” on 19 July and ensures vaccines are not wasted, especially amid the spread of the Delta variant.
Covid Scotland: Third booster coronavirus jag in September will be 'beneficial', says Jason Leitch
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Professor Jason Leitch said trials of using the two vaccines together have suggested it is safe and effective. The UK-wide Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Wednesday set out interim guidance for a Covid vaccine booster programme. Speaking about third doses, Professor Leitch said they would be “beneficial” in prolonging protection of patients, particularly those in the more vulnerable age and health groups.
AstraZeneca vaccine doses produced in India not included in Europe’s vaccine passport ahead of launch
The European Union’s much anticipated coronavirus digital certificate, which is intended to facilitate unrestricted movement across the continent for vaccinated travelers, will begin Thursday amid widespread confusion about how the rollout will go. But many vaccinated would-be travelers — particularly those from poorer countries — do not meet the program’s criteria because they received AstraZeneca shots produced by India’s Serum Institute, which has not been approved by E.U. regulators. The Serum Institute, however, is approved by the World Health Organization and is a major supplier to the Covax initiative
Czech holidaymakers face COVID-19 tests after trips abroad
Czechs will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test when they return from summer holidays abroad if they are not fully vaccinated, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Thursday.
German minister chides 'irresponsible' UEFA over Euro 2020 crowds
A German minister called European soccer's governing body UEFA "utterly irresponsible" on Thursday for allowing big crowds at the Euro 2020 tournament during a spike in the coronavirus crisis from the Delta variant.
Africa's COVID-19 envoy blasts EU, COVAX over vaccine crisis
The African Union special envoy tasked with leading efforts to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the continent is blasting Europe as Africa struggles amid a crushing third surge of infections, saying Thursday that “not one dose, not one vial, has left a European factory for Africa.” Strive Masiyiwa also took aim at the global effort meant to distribute vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, accusing COVAX of withholding crucial information including that key donors hadn’t met funding pledges. He didn’t name which donors. “The situation could be very different had we known back in December that ‘Listen, this help is not coming, do for yourselves,’” Masiyiwa told reporters, adding that “many countries were just sitting back saying, ‘the vaccines are coming.’ ... We as Africans are disappointed.”
Another Respiratory Virus Is Spreading as U.S. Gets Back to Pre-Covid-19 Life
A familiar respiratory virus is finding a foothold in the U.S. as the Covid-19 pandemic eases and people take fewer precautions: respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Health authorities and pediatricians said they are recording an unseasonably high number of RSV cases, which are typically more common in the fall and winter. Infections of RSV and influenza were way down last season, officials said, likely because of distancing, face-mask wearing and hygiene measures to contain Covid-19.
COVID-19 cases on the rise again in Finland — infections reported particularly among Euro 2020 football fans returning from Russia
At least 4,500 Finnish fans travelled to St Petersburg, Russia, to watch Euro 2020 matches. By 30 June, a total of 386 football fans returning from Russia had tested positive for COVID-19, causing 50 further infections. Most of the cases were reported in the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa (a total of 264 cases and 17 further infections) and in the Hospital Districts of Pirkanmaa (38 cases and 8 further infections) and Southwest Finland (31 cases and 5 further infections).
COVID-19: Pets may be at risk of catching it from their owners
Cat or dog owners who have COVID-19 should avoid their pets while infected, experts have said. Scientists in the Netherlands have found that coronavirus is common in pet cats and dogs whose owners have the disease. While cases of owners passing on COVID-19 to their pets are considered to be of negligible risk to public health, the scientists say that there is a “potential risk” that domestic animals could act as a “reservoir” for coronavirus and reintroduce it to humans. “If you have COVID-19, you should avoid contact with your cat or dog, just as you would do with other people,” said Dr Els Broens, from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “The main concern, however, is not the animals’ health – they had no or mild symptoms of COVID-19 – but the potential risk that pets could act as a reservoir of the virus and reintroduce it into the human population
Surgeon General issues warning on Delta variant: 'If you are not vaccinated, you are in trouble'
Dr Vivek Murthy said Indian Delta variant poses greatest risk to unvaccinated people. He told CNN: 'This is a serious threat and we're seeing it spread among unvaccinated people.' Murthy urged people to get vaccinated, or mask-up if they haven't had their shot. Surgeon General said shots offer good protection from Delta variant - but also warned a future strain of COVID could end up defeating them. Delta variant now estimated to comprise 20 per cent of new infections in the United States. Early data from the United Kingdom suggests it is more transmissible, but that vaccines have made it far less dangerous. This comes as a DailyMail.com analysis found thousands of unvaccinated Americans could die if half of all those who haven't gotten shots caught the variant
Research shows COVID-19-mRNA vaccine efficiency against coronavirus variants
A new Finnish study shows that 180 health care workers who had received two doses of the Pfizer and Biontech vaccine have very good antibody responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The immune response was as strong against the alpha variant (formerly the UK variant) but was somewhat decreased against the beta variant (formerly the South Africa variant). Finnish researchers from the University of Turku and University of Helsinki together with Turku University Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare studied the immune response induced by the coronavirus vaccinations, which started in Finland in December. The researchers analysed vaccine responses in 180 health care workers, each of whom received two doses of the Pfizer and Biontech mRNA vaccine.
Some European nations approve India’s Covishield vaccine: Report
Germany and Spain are among nine countries in Europe to have told India they will accept travellers inoculated with Covishield, the Indian-made version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Indian foreign ministry sources said. Friction emerged between India and Europe in recent days over the exclusion of Covishield as an accepted vaccine by the European Union vaccine passport programme.
Producing a low-cost Covid-19 jab for the developing world
It is a low-cost Covid-19 vaccine that today holds out hope for low- and middle-income countries that have been elbowed out by richer nations amid a scramble for vaccines. But attaining this pedestal has not been easy for the team of researchers behind this vaccine in the United States who have had to jump through several hoops to get this far.
Australia's NSW state says Delta outbreak grows despite lockdown
Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state on Thursday warned that significant numbers of new COVID-19 cases were being found in the community, raising fears of fresh clusters as it reported a rise in new infections for a third straight day. With state capital Sydney in the middle of a two-week lockdown to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, authorities said half of Thursday's total of 24 new cases had spent time in the community when infectious. "(This) is a cause of concern. That is what we will be looking at in the next few days and beyond as a measure of our success," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.
Indonesia reports record COVID-19 cases and deaths
Indonesia on Thursday reported 24,836 new coronavirus infections and 504 deaths, both record daily highs. Indonesia's total cases and deaths are 2,203,108 and 58,995 respectively.
Euro soccer tournament under fire for helping spread COVID-19
The Euro 2020 soccer tournament was on Thursday blamed for a surge in coronavirus cases as fans have flocked to stadiums, bars and spectator zones across Europe to watch the action while the pandemic still raged. Germany's interior minister called European soccer's governing body UEFA "utterly irresponsible" for allowing big crowds at the tournament. The World Health Organization (WHO) said the mixing of crowds in Euro 2020 host cities, travel and easing of social restrictions had driven up the number of new cases rose by 10%.
Covid-19 is killing Brazilian children at alarming rates. Many may be going undiagnosed
The Brazilian Health Ministry says 1,122 children under the age of 10 have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic started. The Brazilian government records the number people who died from severe acute respiratory diseases -- such as severe cases of the flu, and others. However, researchers from global health organization Vital Strategies, which works in more than 70 countries around the world, say its studies suggest such case numbers have been severely underreported. When comparing the number of Brazilian child deaths from such illnesses in 2018 and 2019 with the number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, Vital Strategies found an excess 2,975 deaths. The organization says it's likely that the vast majority of these excess deaths -- not just the official number of 1,122 -- were because of Covid-19.
Israel Will Triple Daily COVID-19 Cases in 10 Days, Health Officials Predict
Israel's Health Ministry said on Thursday that the country will face 600 new coronavirus cases a day within a week, and that this figure is expected to rise to 1000 in 10 days as the delta variant continues to spread across the country. However, 58 percent of the confirmed cases were unvaccinated
Israel scrambles to curb jump in COVID infections
Authorities are racing to vaccinate children and are considering tighter travel restrictions at the country’s main airport. The Health Ministry on Thursday reported 307 new cases on Wednesday, the highest in nearly three months and a rise from 293 newly-diagnosed cases a day earlier. The health ministry reportedly expects those numbers to jump in coming days, raising concerns that Israel is plunging back toward a crisis. In recent months, Israel has reopened businesses, schools and event venues, lifting nearly all restrictions after it inoculated some 85% of the adult population. It’s now seen as an early-warning system of sorts for other nations. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday announced a drive to inoculate thousands of children by mid-month.
California virus cases rising as delta variant spreads
California broadly reopened its economy barely two weeks ago and since then an especially contagious coronavirus variant has spread among the unvaccinated, a development that has health officials on edge and already has prompted Los Angeles County to strongly recommend everyone resume wearing masks inside. The nation’s most populous state is averaging close to 1,000 additional cases reported daily, an increase of about 17% in the last 14 days. Officials expected an increase when capacity limits were lifted for businesses and most mask restrictions and social distancing requirements were eliminated for vaccinated people. But public health officials raised concern this week with the more transmissible delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated, who comprise the vast majority of new infections. LA County, where a quarter of the state’s nearly 40 million people live, recommended Monday that vaccinated residents resume wearing face coverings indoors after detecting that about half of all cases were the delta variant.
Emergency curbs in Indonesia’s Java and Bali amid COVID surge
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has announced “emergency restrictions” on the archipelago’s most populous island of Java and the tourist island of Bali as a second wave of COVID-19 infections drives rates of hospitalisation and deaths to record highs. In a televised address on Thursday, Widodo said the measures will begin on Saturday and last until July 20.
Malaysia to impose tighter coronavirus restrictions in capital
Malaysia on Thursday announced tighter restrictions on movement and businesses in the capital Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring Selangor state as new coronavirus cases show no sign of abating. Security Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Kuala Lumpur and several districts in Selangor will see stricter measures imposed from Saturday for a period of two weeks. Only essential busineses, including factories producing food and daily necessities are allowed to operate, he said in a statement.
Japan likely to extend COVID-19 curbs in Tokyo as infections rise -sources
Japan is likely to extend by two weeks or more coronavirus containment measures in the greater Tokyo area, four government sources said on Thursday, as infection numbers creep up less than a month before the Summer Olympics start. Japan's capital and three neighbouring prefectures are among areas under a 'quasi' state of emergency set to run through July 11, but a recent uptick in infections has officials leaning towards keeping restrictions in place - a move that could affect the number of spectators allowed into Olympic venues, the sources said.
WHO decision challenges West to recognize Chinese vaccines
The World Health Organization said Thursday that any COVID-19 vaccines it has authorized for emergency use should be recognized by countries as they open up their borders to inoculated travelers. The move could challenge Western countries to broaden their acceptance of two apparently less effective Chinese vaccines, which the U.N. health agency has licensed but most European and North American countries have not. In addition to vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna Inc., AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, the WHO has also given the green light to the two Chinese jabs, made by Sinovac and Sinopharm.