"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 17th Aug 2020
India climbs past UK to fourth place in the world in Covid-19 deaths
India reported more than 1,000 deaths on Friday and 64,553 new cases of Covid-19, the most in the world, as the country surged past the UK to fourth place in the world with 49,036 total coronavirus deaths. More than 2.4 million cases have now been confirmed in India and the country is only behind the U.S. and Brazil in total case count. Daily infections are rapidly increasing from around 15,000 at the beginning of July to close on 50,000 this month.
New, highly infectious coronavirus strain discovered in Malaysia
Malaysian health authorities have discovered a new Covid-19 strain that they say is 10 times more infectious than regular strains, with a mutation called D614G discovered in a few cases amongst a cluster originating from a man who returned from India and broke quarantine regulations. The infectious strain has also been discovered in another cluster of cases involving people returning from the Philippines.
Mexico emerges from lockdown despite increasing caseload
Mexico City residents will be able to visit bars, cinema and musems more than 5 months after they were shut down as health authorities continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed more than 55,000 people in the country. Cultural centres and businesses have been reopened with new safety measures this week, with employees wearing face shields and maintaining social distancing.
FDA emergency nod for Yale's rapid Covid-19 saliva test
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization to a saliva based Covid-19 test developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health. The test, called SalivaDirect, is simpler, less expensive and less invasive than the traditional nasal swab testing and preliminary results indicate the method is highly sensitive and just as accurate as the nasal swab method.
India may soon be world's worst Covid hotspot as virus ravages countryside
An exodus of the poor from cities has caused a rural health crisis — and may spark a political one for PM Narendra Modi
No fiesta in Spain as public drinking banned, clubs closed due to coronavirus surge
Spain on Friday ordered nightlife establishments to close and banned drinking on the street in an effort to stem a coronavirus resurgence - measures that caused anger and dismay in the hard-hit hospitality sector. Smoking in public places where keeping a safe distance from people is impossible was also banned, Health Minister Salvador Illa told a news conference. Bars and restaurants will have to down their shutters by 1 a.m. as part of the new restrictions, Illa said. The minister also advised against gatherings of more than 10 people and specifically warned young people not to gather outside to drink alcohol, a popular practice called "botellones".
Germany declares most of Spain a virus risk region
Germany declared nearly all of Spain, including the tourist island of Mallorca, a coronavirus risk region following a spike in cases there. The move deals a blow to hopes for a swift revival of mass tourism after months of lockdown all but wiped out this year’s high season in Europe. The Bild daily had reported earlier that Mallorca had been added to the list of high-risk regions published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s public health agency. The latest version of the RKI’s list on its website said the whole of mainland Spain and the Balearic islands were risk regions.
India overtakes UK to have fourth-highest coronavirus death toll in world
India has overtaken the UK to have the fourth-highest coronavirus death toll in the world. The nation of 1.3 billion reported another 1,007 deaths on Friday, bringing the total to 49,036, overtaking the official UK toll of 41,358. India’s confirmed cases surpassed 2.4 million after a single-day spike of 64,553 in the last 24 hours, making it the fastest-growing outbreak in the world, according to the John Hopkins University tally. A sign of how quickly the disease is spreading across the sub-continent, the daily increase in new infections was about 15,000 in the first week of July, but jumped to 50,000 the next month.
New Zealand has 69 active Covid cases after 13 more diagnosed
New Zealand on Sunday reported 13 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus for the last 24 hours, as the country’s first outbreak in months continued to grow. All but one of the new cases were from community transmission and appeared to be linked to a cluster in Auckland where the most recent outbreak started, said Ashley Bloomfield, the New Zealand director general of health. The 13th was a traveller who returned from abroad and was in managed quarantine. It brings the number of active cases in New Zealand to 69. Since the start of the year the country had recorded 1,271 cases, Bloomfield said.
Island nations have the edge in keeping Covid away – or most do
Island nations have an advantage when it comes to stopping travellers importing disease, be it Covid or other infections. Seas are usually harder to cross than land, and beaches are easier to police. There are no cross-border towns, and fewer ways to sneak over frontiers. These advantages, combined with strict quarantine policies, have made island nations some of the most successful at containing Covid. But the ones that did best had shut themselves off from the world to varying degrees. And a fresh outbreak of cases in New Zealand last week suggests coronavirus can evade even tight controls. Experts say the lack of special border measures in the UK ahead of lockdown was a “serious mistake” that significantly increased the pace and scale of the epidemic. Even now, the UK’s quarantine measures – for selected countries and with limited enforcement – appear to be nowhere near as comprehensive or effective as those used by other island nations.
Covid-19: How New Zealand can avoid lockdowns in the future
New Zealand can avoid going into lockdown every time there is a Covid-19 outbreak by improving its pandemic response, says epidemiologist Sir David Skegg. The Otago University professor says the extended alert level changes across the country were the right thing to do in these circumstances. While it was not necessary to find the source of the cluster in order to control it, it would be critical to do so to stop any future possible breaches, Sir David said.
"I agree with the those who say the virus hasn't been lurking around for the last three months or longer. This virus has undoubtedly come in through the border, one way or another, and we need to discover how that happened."
COVID-19 lockdown lifted in Thiruvananthapuram
The lockdown in Thiruvananthapuram city has been withdrawn effective from early on Saturday. With this, all shops can function from 7 am to 7 pm. The bars and beer parlours in the city will now open for takeaway while the government, private offices, and other financial establishments can function with 50 percent staff. Gyms, markets including the fish markets, malls, hypermarkets, hotels beauty parlour and barber shops can now open adhering COVID protocol. While restaurants and cafes can be opened, only takeaway is permitted. However, they can function till 9 pm. Home delivery is also allowed till 9 pm.
Britons will accept local lockdowns if a Covid vaccine can't be found, survey finds
Britons will accept local lockdowns, home schooling and bans on live audiences for the foreseeable future if a coronavirus vaccine is not found, a survey suggests. As parts of the UK grapple with local lockdowns, 87 per cent of people said they would accept these being imposed in the future, and 85 per cent said they would accept their own local area being subject to such restrictions. The wide-ranging research by King's College London, which has been tracking attitudes throughout the pandemic, revealed what people would expect and tolerate in the long-term if a vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 does not transpire.
Coronavirus: Tokyo Olympics at risk unless COVID-19 vaccine can be found, expert says
The Tokyo Olympics will not be able to take place next summer unless a COVID-19 vaccine is found, a leading Japanese vaccine researcher has told Sky News. Professor Yoshiharu Matsuura, from the Research Foundation for Microbial Disease of Osaka University, told Sky News: "In Japan, the government is putting a large emphasis on vaccine development and a medicine for the virus because of the Olympics. "They want to push ahead with the Olympics next year and they are saying the only way for that to happen is the vaccine."
Mexico City cinema, theater and bars emerge from lockdown gloom
After months without museums, cinemas and bars, Mexico City residents began exploring them again this week, even as authorities continue battling the coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed over 55,000 people in Mexico. Mexico has the third highest death toll worldwide from the virus, which has hammered the economy and caused unprecedented disruptions to life in the metropolis of 22 million people. The capital has been one of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic, but as cultural centers and businesses reopened with new safety measures this week, some Mexicans could not wait to get back to venues that have been closed since late March.
'As a working father I want the best of both worlds — with the pandemic, I'm almost there'
My wife and I are both proud of our careers at The Times. Our children may not quite understand why evening playtime has to be interrupted so often by phone calls and the tapping of laptops, but they are forgiving, even if Keir does now know more swear words than a four-year-old should. But the pandemic has led to a rebalancing. I extended my parental leave by a month and have temporarily dropped to a four-day week while my wife works a nine-day fortnight. The extra time that this, plus working from home, has created with the children puts less pressure on the spare time we do get. I have always tried to be an adventurous dad — I took a three-year-old to Glastonbury last year — but sometimes the nicest times are the lazy ones.
'Go hard, go early' – now New Zealand goes back to the drawing board
When scientists in Auckland began modelling an outbreak of Covid-19 in the city’s densely populated southern regions – situated right by the country’s main international airport – they hoped they were participating in a drill scenario. “This is exactly the type of outbreak we were worried about, and in fact it’s exactly what happened,” said Professor Shaun Hendy, who works modelling the progression of the disease for the government. “We’ve been looking at different ways it [coronavirus] could come back and they’re all low-likelihood ways, but this was very much one of the scenarios we considered. For a while we were hoping it was a drill.”
Covid-19 cases at 583 653 as SA moves to level 2 lockdown
South Africa’s confirmed Covid-19 cases now stand at 583 653, of which 105 000 are active cases. A total of 11 660 people have died from the virus since the first cases was recorded on March 5, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday. South Africa has recorded a recovery rate of 80 percent. Over the past three weeks the number of patients who have been hospitalised due to the disease has declined dramatically, Ramaphosa said. The president made the announcement during and address to the nation to provide an update on the country’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the pandemic. South Africa will move to level 2 lockdown from Monday, which will see restrictions on activities and movement eased further.
India entered into and exited from lockdown way too early: Abhijit Banerjee
Indian govt, while imposing stay-at-home restrictions on 25 March, at a notice of four hours, couldn't foresee the migrant crisis as there was no database about migrant workers, says the Nobel laureate. India erred in imposing lockdown restrictions too early and exited from it within a short period of time, which resulted in an outcome that was worse than expected, economist and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee said on Saturday. Banerjee said India’s stay-at-home restrictions, imposed on 25 March, at a notice of four hours, did not foresee the migrant crisis as there was no database about migrant workers. Successive governments did not give priority to generating high quality data, which he said, led to absence of a culture of scientifically informed decision making. The consequence of lack of such a culture was evident during the pandemic, he said
Italy urges tourists to act responsibly to keep COVID-19 rates low
There has been a slight rise in cases this month, with an average of 350 new infections a day. The government says it's mostly due to people returning from overseas holidays. In response, testing will be compulsory for arrivals from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain. Police say it is important the population remains vigilant. Di Giovanni warns that the crisis isn't over yet and "we can't lower our guard."
The prime minister has extended Italy's state of emergency until the end of October, giving him the power to reimpose lockdown and other safety measures without needing the approval of parliament.
Spain’s vineyards destroy record harvest as wine sales crash
It should have been a great year for Spanish wine: a bumper crop of grapes resulting in millions and millions of extra bottles for sipping or swilling at home and abroad. But with Covid-19 leading to a catastrophic drop in wine sales, the Spanish government is offering growers subsidies to destroy part of this year’s record grape harvest. Faced with over-production in a shrinking market, €90m is to be spent either on destruction or on the distilling of grapes into brandy and industrial alcohol. Lower limits have also been set on the amount of wine that can be produced per hectare – and have already been imposed on makers of cava, Rueda and Rioja.
German health minister warns against 'party holidays'
Germany’s health minister on Saturday criticised “party holidays” and defended a decision to declare nearly all of Spain, including the tourist island of Mallorca, a coronavirus risk region following a spike in cases there. “I know how much the Germans love Spain ... But unfortunately the infection rates there are rising sharply, too sharply,” Jens Spahn told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “Whoever goes to Spain despite the warning should protect themselves and others while on holiday. Party holidays are irresponsible in this pandemic.” People returning to Germany from designated risk regions face a coronavirus test or two weeks’ compulsory quarantine.
Some Australia Libraries Called Every Elderly Member To Check In Amid Lockdown
This library system in Australia had the most wholesome plan to care for its elderly members during coronavirus lockdown. And so library staff started going through their database of community members to find every, single one who was over 70 years old, and then used their work-issued phones to start calling those seniors to check in. In total, there were more than 8,000 elderly members whom library staff called to check in during lockdown. The 16,000 call total, which the author of the piece later corrected, is because they called all 8,000 elderly members at the start of lockdown and are now calling them again.
COVID-19 Diaries: Young Italians Are Over Social Distancing
The 20-something Italian is having none of it. For the woman and her friends relishing the relief of a cool August breeze at a bar in a medieval piazza, the coronavirus pandemic is much ado about nothing. A means solely to control them and empower bureaucrats. While the stones beneath her feet cooled in the evening air, the young woman became angry as she declaimed against the coronavirus restrictions. “It is all about politics,” she said emphatically when I asked why she and her friends were congregating in such large numbers, embracing and canoodling in defiance of social distancing advice.
Govʼt plans ʼconventionalʼ return to school in September
Hungarian students will start the 2020/2021 school year in a "conventional" manner, according to a "normal" schedule, on September 1, the Human Resources Ministry said, according to a report by state news wire MTI.
Nearly half of Brazilians say Bolsonaro not to blame for coronavirus death toll, poll says
Almost half of Brazilians think President Jair Bolsonaro bears “no responsibility at all” for the country’s more than 100,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s second highest death toll, according to a new Datafolha poll. The poll was published on Saturday in Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper and says 47% of Brazilians do not assign him any blame for the body count, whereas 11% do.
UK ministers were warned local lockdowns could fuel racial tensions
The government has been accused of being “tone deaf” for its sudden introduction of further lockdown restrictions in the north of England last month shortly after being warned that local interventions could fuel racial tensions. Documents released by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned that in areas with vulnerable or marginalised communities local interventions could make people feel stigmatised, damage trust in government and lead to social unrest. The document from a group of behavioural science experts known as SPI-B, dated 27 July, was provided to Sage for their meeting on 30 July. In it they noted that “marginalised and/or ethnic minority communities (eg BAME) which are already more susceptible to coronavirus due to wider structural inequalities may also be particularly vulnerable to the effects of local restrictions”.
Fear of Covid is spreading faster than the virus
In that famous St Patrick’s Day address to the nation in March, Leo Varadkar said we needed to halt the spread of the coronavirus, but added that we also had to “halt the spread of fear”. I’m not sure we have succeeded in doing so. In fact, the government itself now seems to be seized by an excessive terror of Covid-19. A poll released a couple of weeks ago, by consultancy firm Kekst CNC, surveyed 6,000 people in Germany, the UK, France, America, Japan and Sweden. They were asked to estimate how many people in their country had contracted coronavirus and how many had died. In all six countries, respondents overestimated the true picture by several orders of magnitude.
French quarantine: we need nuance, Boris, not ruthlessness
Regional restrictions or testing would both be preferable to this blunt instrument that has left so many travellers bruised.
New Zealand delays election after virus outbreak in Auckland
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday chose to delay New Zealand’s national elections by four weeks as the country deals with a new coronavirus outbreak in its largest city, Auckland. The election had been scheduled for Sept. 19 but will now be held on Oct. 17. Under New Zealand law, Ardern had the option of delaying the election for up to about two months. Opposition parties had been requesting a delay after a virus outbreak in Auckland last week prompted the government to put the city into a two-week lockdown and halted election campaigning.
Argentina sticks with COVID-19 lockdown focused in and around Buenos Aires
Argentina extended until Aug. 30 restrictions taken against the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday, affirming that the country's lockdown would continue in its current form in an around capital city Buenos Aires.
Argentina sticks with COVID-19 lockdown focused in and around Buenos Aires
Argentina extended until Aug. 30 restrictions taken against the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday, affirming that the country’s lockdown would continue in its current form in an around capital city Buenos Aires.
New Zealand COVID-19 outbreak grows, Australia still struggles
New Zealand on Saturday reported seven new cases of the coronavirus as a lockdown in the country’s biggest city, Auckland, was extended on Friday in response to the country’s first coronavirus outbreak in months. Six of the seven new cases have been linked to the cluster responsible for all the previous community cases, while one case was being investigated, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a media briefing in Wellington. The new cases bring New Zealand’s total infections since the start of the year to 1258, while the number of currently active cases stands at 56. Twenty two people have died so far.
Britons go green in lockdown lessons
Surveys have revealed an uptick in environmentally friendly behaviors during the lockdown in the United Kingdom, including gardening, cycling, and meal planning, and transport consultancy Sia Partners has reported a 60 percent reduction in passenger vehicle emissions. Research conducted by Manchester and Cardiff universities suggests that most Britons intend to maintain a greener lifestyle when society starts to open up again. Out of 1,800 people surveyed in the study, 63 percent said they spent nothing on clothes and footwear from March to May, up from 9 percent over the three months before lockdown. There has also been a marked increase in meal planning, a small but detectable reduction in meat consumption, and 92 percent of those surveyed said they are now wasting less food.
Coronavirus: New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown after cluster of COVID-19 cases found
Coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand's biggest city are being extended for another 12 days after more cases were discovered. New Zealand reported the new outbreak after more than 100 days since its last case was recorded, and had largely returned back to normal. But this week an Auckland family tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the city back in to a three-day lockdown, with freight being investigated as a possible cause.
After 146 Days in Lockdown, Argentina’s Virus Problem Is Getting Worse
Argentina’s coronavirus fight is taking a turn for the worse as the nation that implemented one of Latin America’s strictest lockdowns sees deaths surge anyway.
South America’s second-largest economy reported 303 Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, a record that was double the prior day’s tally. It’s quickly climbing in the ranks among the deadliest outbreaks over the past week on a per capita basis. In the past seven days, Argentina reported 22.5 deaths per million people compared with 28.1 in Brazil and 23.4 in the U.S., the world’s biggest hot spots. Total deaths have now surpassed 5,000 since the pandemic began. Worse still, concerns are mounting that real case and death tallies may actually be much higher. The number of coronavirus tests coming back positive has been hovering around 40% for the past week, similar levels to Mexico where testing levels have been deemed insufficient. The World Health Organization recommends that countries aim for 5% or less for 14 days straight before reopening economies
Malaysia Detects Coronavirus Strain That’s 10 Times More Infectious
Malaysia has detected a strain of the new coronavirus that’s been found to be 10 times more infectious. The mutation called D614G was found in at least three of the 45 cases in a cluster that started from a restaurant owner returning from India and breaching his 14-day home quarantine. The man has since been sentenced to five months in prison and fined. The strain was also found in another cluster involving people returning from the Philippines.
Coronavirus: Health Secretary to replace Public Health England with specialist pandemic unit, says report
Public Health England (PHE) is set to be scrapped and replaced with a unit that will specifically deal with pandemics, it has been reported. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to announce the move later this week, and will merge the NHS Test and Trace scheme with the work done by PHE on the coronavirus response, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The overhaul comes after repeated reports that ministers have been frustrated and unhappy with the way PHE, which was created by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2013, has dealt with the coronavirus crisis.
U.S. was ‘unprepared’ for ‘greatest public health crisis’ in a century, CDC director says
In recently updated guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that people who have recovered from the coronavirus do not need to quarantine or seek testing for three months after they have recuperated. The new recommendation, last updated Aug. 3, cautions that those who were previously infected should still socially distance and wear masks but says they don’t need to quarantine or be tested unless they develop symptoms.
Vietnam to buy Russian COVID-19 vaccine
Vietnam has registered to buy a Russian COVID-19 vaccine, state television reported on Friday, as it fights a new outbreak after going several months with no local cases. Russia said on Wednesday it would roll out the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine within two weeks, rejecting the concerns of experts who said it should not have been approved before completing large-scale trials. “In the meantime, Vietnam will still continue developing the country’s own COVID-19 vaccine,” state broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) said, citing the Ministry of Health. Vietnam has signed up for 50 million-150 million doses of the vaccine, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. Some will be a “donation” from Russia, Tuoi Tre said, with Vietnam paying for the rest.
COVID-19 lockdown on sexual and reproductive health in Australia
Nearly a third of participants reported difficulties accessing their usual feminine hygiene products during the lockdown in Australia. Participants reported delaying childbearing or deciding to remain childfree due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ensuring continued access to sexual and reproductive health services and products for all who require them during global emergencies is essential.
Yale's rapid COVID-19 saliva test receives FDA emergency use authorization
A saliva-based laboratory diagnostic test developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health to determine whether someone is infected with the novel coronavirus has been granted an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The method, called SalivaDirect, is being further validated as a test for asymptomatic individuals through a program that tests players and staff from the National Basketball Association (NBA). SalivaDirect is simpler, less expensive, and less invasive than the traditional method for such testing, known as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabbing. Results so far have found that SalivaDirect is highly sensitive and yields similar outcomes as NP swabbing.
Best COVID-19 vaccine 'may not be the first' | Imperial News
In a week in which Russia approved its 'Sputnik V' coronavirus vaccine, a leading Imperial expert sounds a note of caution on the need for data. In the search for a vaccine against the coronavirus, our focus should be on the best vaccine, not just the first to become available, says Imperial’s Professor Robin Shattock. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week, Professor Shattock, said: “Everybody is very obsessed about the ‘first’ vaccine, but the first may not be the best. What we need is a vaccine that works extremely well and is widely available.”
Meningoencephalitis outbreak sparks fear in Andalusia: ‘This is like the plagues of Egypt’
The West Nile virus, which is transmitted via mosquito bites, has led to an outbreak of viral meningoencephalitis in Seville, in Spain’s southern Andalusia region. A total of 19 people have caught the infection, which is a condition that simultaneously resembles meningitis and encephalitis. Of this number, 17 have been admitted into hospital and seven into intensive care. There are no vaccines or drugs to treat the hospitalized patients.
Covid-19: Impact of long term symptoms will be profound, warns BMA
A third of doctors have treated patients with long term covid-19 symptoms, including chronic fatigue and anosmia, a survey conducted by the BMA has found.
Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GP committee for England, said it was clear that the long term impact of covid-19 on patients and the NHS would be profound. An online survey of doctors conducted by the association between 6 and 12 August received 4279 responses.1 Of the 3729 doctors who answered a question about patients’ symptoms, around a third (1092) said that they had seen or treated patients with symptoms they believed to be a long term effect of the patient having had covid-19. The symptoms reported included chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of sense of smell, and concentration difficulties. “With more patients presenting with conditions as the result of infection, it’s essential that sufficient capacity is in place to support and treat them,” Vautrey said. “With the growing backlog of non-covid-19 treatment, the likelihood of a season flu outbreak, and the possibility of a second wave of infections we need to see a more comprehensive long term plan to enable doctors to care for their patients this winter and beyond.” The survey also asked doctors about their own experiences of covid-19. Of the 4120 who responded to the question, 63% said they did not believe they had contracted the virus, 12% had had a diagnosis of covid-19 confirmed by testing, and 14% believed they had been infected with the virus.
COVID-19 WRAP | US recruits scientists from South Africa for Covid-19 vaccine trials
US recruits scientists from South Africa and Latin America for Covid-19 vaccine trials, pledges access to supply. The Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine project is recruiting scientists in South Africa and Latin America to help test possible vaccines in US- backed clinical trials, pledging to ease their countries’ access to any successful products, Reuters has learned. Moncef Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical executive who heads Operation Warp Speed, a multi-billion dollar US collaboration between the federal government and drugmakers, made the commitment to international scientists late last month, two people familiar with the matter said.
Parts of England to remain in tighter coronavirus lockdown
Millions of people in northern England and Leicester will remain under tighter lockdown for a third week as coronavirus infection rates continue to climb sharply in some districts, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.
The decision was taken by Matt Hancock, the health secretary, alongside regional leaders after cases continued to rise in most affected areas despite a fortnight of enhanced restrictions. Across England as a whole, infection rates appear to have levelled off, with an estimated 3,800 new cases a day – broadly similar to the week before, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). One scientist described the situation across the country as “broadly reassuring”. Prof Tim Spector, of King’s College London, who is leading the work with the Covid-19 symptom study app, said of those findings: “The lowest rate we saw was in late June and rates increased slowly in July but now we have returned to those lower levels.”
Asia Today: S. Korea reports 279 cases, highest in 5 months
South Korea has reported 279 new coronavirus cases in the highest daily jump since early March, as fears grow about a massive outbreak in the greater capital region. The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sunday brought the national caseload to 15,318, including 305 deaths.
The number of new cases is the highest since 367 on March 8, when the country was concentrating public health tools and personnel nationwide to bring an outbreak in the less populated southern region under control. The KCDC said 253 of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to 26 million people, where health authorities have been struggling to stem transmissions linked to churches, nursing homes, schools, restaurants and door-to-door salespeople.
Infections were also reported in other major cities such as Busan and Daegu, which was the epicenter of the previous crisis in late February and March when hundreds of new cases were reported each day.
Barcelona facing new lockdown as Tokyo raises alert level
Part of the northern Spanish region of Catalonia has gone back into lockdown, with Barcelona suggesting it might also follow suit with restrictions in some districts, as authorities sought to control a resurgence of coronavirus cases emerging just weeks after a nationwide lockdown was lifted. As a judge overturned a previous court decision to approve the stay-at-home order for the Lleida area, west of Barcelona, friction was emerging over how to handle an increase in cases in a suburb of the Catalan capital.
Coronavirus latest: South Korea tightens restrictions in Seoul; Japan records 1,200 new cases
South Korea has announced a series of new lockdown measures in Seoul, including a ban on indoor gatherings of at least 50 people and closures of entertainment venues, after reporting 166 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its highest daily total since March 11. Of the new cases, 155 were locally transmitted – a significant increase from 85 on Friday. “The spread of Covid-19 in the Seoul metropolitan area is very serious,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said. “We are now at a critical juncture where we may enter a second wave of infections, as is the case in the rest of the world, if we fail to overcome this crisis.”
Coronavirus: South Africa eases lockdown as 'outbreak reaches peak'
President Cyril Ramaphosa said nearly all restrictions on the country's economy will be eased from Monday. A controversial ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco will be lifted. Domestic travel, small family gatherings and the reopening of businesses will all be allowed. In a TV address on Saturday, Mr Ramaphosa said the easing of restrictions will help to revive the country's flagging economy after a period of great hardship for the country. However, he called on South Africans not to let their guard down against Covid-19 despite "signs of hope", warning of difficult times ahead.
Spain's tough lockdown rules you'll have to follow if you go on holiday
Holidays abroad are a bit of a gamble at the moment with the possibility of last-minute quarantine changes. This was the case for Spain at the end of July when travellers had just hours notice that a 14-day self-isolation rule would be imposed on entering the UK. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is still advising against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, due to a rise in coronavirus cases. However, people are still desperate to head off on an annual summer holiday, particularly after months of lockdown. If you are one of those people who is planning to go to Spain, there will be tough rules to follow.
German Cases Climb; TUI Cancels Tours to Spain: Virus Update
German virus cases rose to their highest since the end of April on Saturday. TUI AG canceled all tours to Spain after the German government advised against non-essential travel to the country because of a resurgence of outbreaks. Spain’s Basque region declared an emergency, according to El Confidencial.
France reports post-lockdown peak with 3,310 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours
The French Health Ministry on Saturday reported 3,310 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, setting a new post-lockdown high for the fourth day in a row and taking the country's cumulative cases to 215,521. A total of 252 clusters are being investigated, up 17 compared with 24 hours earlier, the ministry said in a website update. In all, 4,857 people were in French hospitals on Saturday night for Covid-19, including 376 in intensive care.
France reports another post-lockdown peak in daily COVID-19 cases
France is to propose that masks be worn in shared workspaces as the country grapples with a rebound in coronavirus cases that rose again in the past 24 hours to over 3,000. The health ministry reported 3,310 new coronavirus infections, marking a post-lockdown high for the fourth day in a row. The number of clusters being investigated increased by 17 to 252, it said in a website update. The resurgence prompted Britain to impose a 14-day quarantine for people arriving from France, and led the authorities in Paris to expand zones in the capital where wearing a mask is mandatory outdoors.
Spain’s Business Leaders Fear Second Lockdown as Virus Surges
The number of Covid-19 infections in Spain continued to rise, prompting warnings from business leaders about the cost to the economy if new lockdown measures have to be imposed. New cases jumped by 2,987 on Friday compared with 2,935 in the previous 24-hour period, the health ministry said late Thursday. It was the highest tally since at least May 25 when the government changed its methodology for reporting data. CEOE, Spain’s main business lobby, on Thursday warned that any second lockdown would have catastrophic consequences and urged the government to promote the use of a new app developed by the Economy Ministry to trace cases of Covid-19. On Friday, the government announced a series of measures including curbs on smoking, bars and closing nightclubs to contain the spread of the virus.
Shenzhen mall in lockdown after coronavirus case
The IBC Mall in Shenzhen’s Luohu district was sealed off and under police supervision on Friday evening, with around 200 people queuing outside waiting for COVID-19 tests from medical personnel in protective suits. An official Guangdong Health Commission WeChat account channel said the alert was prompted by a COVID-19 case at the mall. The confirmed case was a 41-year-old woman who had been working inside the Alibaba-owned supermarket Freshippo as a temporary brand promotor until Aug. 2, according to a source familiar with the matter. The worker was diagnosed in her home city of Lufeng, in Guangdong, the commission said. Three of her family members also tested positive.
We Will Pay for Our Summer Vacations With Winter Lockdowns
This spring, when Western Europe became an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, countries imposed strict lockdowns: In France, a person needed a permit to go shopping; Spain required children to stay indoors the entire day; in Scotland and Wales, people could go outside for a walk only once a day and had to stay within a five-mile radius. Thanks to this, European countries were able to not only flatten the Covid-19 curve but to also keep levels of infection very low. But as the weeks went by, the pressure to reopen society grew. People wanted their prepandemic lives back. They wanted dynamic economies to protect their jobs; they wanted their children educated in schools; they wanted nights out at the pub and visits to their friends. And they really wanted summer vacations.
Northampton faces lockdown after nearly 300 workers at a sandwich factory that supplies M&S test positive for coronavirus as symptom-tracking app names six new hotspots across UK.
Local health chief said residents have been asked to 'act now' to avert lockdown like that in nearby Leicester. The Greencore food facility has been testing its own staff and found 213 cases along with 79 in official tests. Northampton is not in lockdown but is one of 29 places on Public Health England's watchlist
Vietnam PM says next 10 days 'critical' in virus fight
Vietnam's Prime Minister said on Wednesday that the next 10 days would be critical in the Southeast Asian country's fight against a new coronavirus outbreak, which resurfaced late last month after three months of no domestic cases. Vietnam was lauded for suppressing an earlier contagion through aggressive testing, contact-tracing and quarantining, but it is now racing to control infections in multiple locations linked to the popular holiday city of Danang, where a new outbreak was detected on July 25. "Note that the period from this week to the middle of next week is critical," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Wednesday, according to a government statement.
In Vietnam’s Da Nang, locals send cash, food as lockdown hits poorest
Months after Vietnam saw no local cases, a new outbreak in Da Nang has sent people back indoors, with many unable to afford food and rent. Local groups and others have been sending care packages to struggling families and overwhelmed hospitals
New Zealand Extends Auckland Lockdown as Virus Cluster Grows
New Zealand's government on Friday extended a lockdown of its largest city Auckland for another 12 days as it tries to stamp out its first domestic coronavirus outbreak in more than three months. The outbreak has grown to 30 people and extended beyond Auckland for the first time. Until the cluster was discovered Tuesday, New Zealand had gone 102 days without infections spreading in the community. The only known cases were travelers quarantined after arriving from abroad. Health authorities believe the virus must have been reintroduced from overseas, but genome testing hasn't found a link with any of the quarantined travelers. That has prompted authorities to investigate whether shipping workers were a source, after several employees at a food storage facility were infected. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said extending the Auckland lockdown, which began Wednesday, would give authorities time to get a handle on the virus cluster and isolate those infected.
Covid 19 coronavirus: Ruapehū iwi follows Taranaki, wants regional lockdown
Ruapehū iwi Ngāti Rangi is calling for a regional lockdown after news a person with Covid-19 visited Turoa ski field. Ngāti Rangi chairman Whetu Moataane says the district is "not open for travellers", especially Aucklanders. The iwi's stance comes just days after the Taranaki Iwi Chairs' Forum and Taranaki Mayoral Forum issued a joint statement asking for its own "region-wide bubble". Taranaki groups were basing their view on whether the country went to alert level 3.
New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown for 12 days
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a 12-day extension of the country’s Covid-19 restrictions, after a cluster of cases grew to 29. There are four “alert levels” in New Zealand, and Auckland has been on Level 3 since Wednesday. The rest of the country is on Level 2, and Ms Ardern said both would be extended. New Zealand has had success containing coronavirus, and went 102 days without a community transmission. The origin of the cluster in Auckland - New Zealand's largest city with a population of 1.5 million - is still being investigated.
Palghar to shut for five days with 300 Covid-19 cases in 3 days
A five-days complete lockdown has been declared in Palghar city from Friday after 100-plus Covis cases were detected in the last three days. The lockdown will see all shops and markets, including fish and meat completely shut. Medical, dairy and flour mills will be allowed to function. All industrial units except those manufacturing essential goods will be shut as well as restaurants engaged in home delivery.
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On the ground in Vietnam's new COVID epicenter of Danang
Just weeks ago, things were looking up for residents of the Vietnamese coastal city of Danang. Their country was winning rave reviews globally for effectively handling the coronavirus pandemic, keeping infections low and being one of the few places hit to have avoided any deaths. Optimism was in the air. The local economy was gazing ahead to the eventual return of the foreign tourists who once flocked to its scenic beaches fronting the South China Sea. And more broadly, Vietnam itself was planning to pick up the pieces from the economic effects of the virus, with hopes pinned on an increased investment from companies seeking a safe haven from the U.S.-China trade conflict. But now, however, the atmosphere is fraught with fear and uncertainty as a surge in infections believed to have originated in the city and spreading elsewhere in the country has brought a series of emergency measures, with neighborhoods barricaded and residents are being mandatorily tested.