"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 28th Aug 2020
Social media stir in Xinjiang leads China to relax harsh lockdown measures
Residents of the city of Xinjiang, trapped at home for more than a month because of lockdown restrictions imposed by their own government, took to the social media platform Weibo to air their grievances, including complaints that they were being forced to take traditional Chinese medicine. China has since then relaxed some of the Covid-19 measures on the city of 3.5 million people, which has been in strict lockdown since mid-July.
Highest single-day spike of virus cases in South Korea in months
South Korea, which earned global acclaim for its use of technology to keep Covid-19 numbers in check in the initial part of the pandemic, has reported a spike in daily cases over the last 14 days, with triple digit jumps almost everyday. The country reported 441 new cases on Thursday, its highest daily increase in months, as the threat of a new lockdown looms large.
European Commission to pay 336 million euros for AstraZeneca's potential coronavirus vaccine
The European Commission has signed a contract with British drug manufacturer, AstraZeneca, to secure at least 300 million doses of the potential Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the company. The 336 million Euro contract will also allow member states to purchase a further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis and also involve a donation to lower and middle income countries.
Covid-19 cases rise significantly in Argentina
Argentina, which had managed to keep infection numbers relatively low so far, has posted a record daily rise of over 10,000 coronavirus cases, taking the total number of cases in the country to 370,188. The virus has been spreading rapidly through South America, with millions of jobs already lost and millions more set to be pushed into poverty. Argentina imposed a strict lockdown in March, and while infections were kept low for a while, it has now caught up with neighbours such as Chile, where daily infections have been slowing.
Falling care home demand since Covid poses threat to UK
There is a graph circulating in the care home industry that should send chills down the spine of the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock. It predicts, under a worst-case scenario, a plunge in the demand for care homes by the end of 2021 that would leave 180,000 beds empty. The forecast by consultants Knight Frank is not good news based on a healthier aged population, but rather is based on fresh waves of coronavirus killing thousands more people in the community and in care homes, creating a flight from the sector. It is pessimistic, but for care home bosses reeling from the first wave of the pandemic – which killed more than 17,000 of their customers – it does not seem impossible. Short-term, it could have a serious impact on an NHS left to look after the infirm. Longer-term, it could seriously erode the UK’s capacity to look after its most vulnerable.
UK reports highest daily COVID case total since June 12
The United Kingdom recorded 1,522 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest daily government statistics published on Thursday, the highest number since June 12 and up from 1,048 cases a day earlier. A further 12 people were recorded as having died within 28 days of their first positive test for COVID-19, taking the United Kingdom’s cumulative death toll on this measure to 41,477.
French Business Morale Rebounds in August Despite Surging COVID-19 Cases
French business confidence rebounded in August to its highest since France went into a coronavirus lockdown despite a resurgence of new infections, a survey showed on Thursday. INSEE, the official statistics agency, said its monthly business sentiment index rose to 91 from 84, reaching its highest since March, when midway through the month the government put France under one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. Business confidence has rebounded since the government began lifting the lockdown on May 11 as companies struggled to respond to pent-up demand from clients.
Brits must return to offices to stop city centres becoming 'ghost towns', CBI boss warns
City centres risk becoming permanent "ghost towns" if staff do not return to offices, a senior business leader has warned. Carolyn Fairbairn, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said getting staff back into offices and workplaces is as important as pupils returning to school in September. Boris Johnson signalled an end to stay at home guidance in July as he gave employers the green light to get staff back to work, but Dame Carolyn called for the Prime Minister to do more to get office workers back at their desks. "The UK’s offices are vital drivers of our economy," she wrote in the Daily Mail. "They support thousands of local firms, from dry cleaners to sandwich bars. They help train and develop young people. And they foster better work and productivity for many kinds of business.
Active Irish COVID-19 tracing app users drop on battery problem - HSE
A brief technical issue led some people to delete Ireland’s COVID-19 tracing app, leaving 1.2 million active users compared to the 1.65 million who downloaded it since early July, the head of Ireland’s health service operator said on Thursday. Ireland’s app has been downloaded by 33% of the population - among the highest take up rates in Europe - and its developers have since been hired to roll out a similar service in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar and Pennsylvania. Like many European versions, Ireland’s app uses architecture designed by Alphabet’s Google and Apple. A Google Play Services update caused the app to rapidly drain handset batteries for a two-day period earlier this month. “There were some issues, which we have addressed with Google and Apple. We’ve a total of 1.65 million downloads, there were of course some that were deleted and we’ve probably about 1.2 million active users but we are seeing people reloading,” Health Service Executive (HSE) chief Paul Reid told a news conference.
Matt Hancock to announce if Northern England coronavirus rules will change on Friday
Matt Hancock is expected to announce on Friday whether local lockdowns will continue in parts of Northern England amid growing criticism from regional leaders.
The Health Secretary and England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, chaired Thursday’s meeting of the Joint Biosecurity Centre. Around four million people in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire have been unable to visit other households indoors since the end of July, while pubs stayed open. Last week, Mr Hancock announced a more targeted approach to restrictions, with the views of MPs sought to gain “the maximum possible local consensus”. He added this would allow local councils to focus resources on the wards which need more targeted intervention in order to drive infection rates down.
France, Germany join nations tightening controls to halt virus surge
Germany and France drew up tougher rules on Thursday in line with a growing number of countries battling a resurgence in coronavirus infections with Paris making masks obligatory in all public places in a bid to curb a rise of new cases in the city.
Germany to pay another 12 months of furlough
Germany has extended its furlough scheme until the end of 2021 despite reservations in Angela Merkel’s party about a bill that may exceed €30 billion. The measure is intended to buy time for the economy to recover after GDP contracted by 11.7 per cent over the first six months of this year. It is expected to take until late next year or early 2022 to regain the lost ground. At the peak during lockdown 10.1 million workers, including one in three in the industrial sector, were on furlough. The number is thought to have fallen to about 5.2 million by late July. The Kurzarbeit (short-time work) scheme, which has roots in the early 20th century, is normally restricted to 12 months. It began in January and had been due to run out on December 31.
Germany extends its furlough scheme until the end of NEXT YEAR at a likely cost of £27billion
German economy saw GDP fall by 11.7 per cent over first six months of the year
More than 10.1 million workers were on furlough at the peak of the lockdown
It is thought that the economy will not get back on its feet until the end of 2021
Lessons to be learned from Germany for UK SMEs, as businesses seek to save time and money and capitalise on eased lockdown restrictions
The answer could be found in Germany, where lockdowns began to ease months before the UK. German SMEs are already dealing with the next economic phase, and research carried out by Vimcar, the fleet management software for small and medium-sized companies, has revealed some of the challenges that UK businesses will face. More than half of the German SMEs surveyed (55%) have introduced new hygiene regulations for their business fleets in order to get back on the road. This additional time pressure has led to a flawed process in some cases, however, as two-thirds (65%) of those businesses admitted that their disinfection of vehicles was not being documented. Of the 18% that were documenting hygiene procedures, most were doing so manually with hand-written lists. These findings suggest that, whilst necessary, extra hygiene regulations will inevitably prove a cost and resource drain on UK SMEs, who are already struggling to get back on their feet.
France to make face masks mandatory everywhere in Paris
Face masks must be worn everywhere in the French capital Paris from Friday morning in order to curb a surge in coronavirus infections, police said on Thursday. The measure applies to all pedestrians as well as cyclists in Paris and its suburbs in an area that includes three neighbouring departments that form the Petite Couronn inner ring around Paris, a densely populated area with a total population of nearly seven million people. Motorists will not have to wear a mask inside their car. “The deterioration of the health situation...has led the prefect to take this strong measure in the interest of the population,” the Paris police prefecture said in a statement.
Xinjiang starts to ease Covid-19 lockdown after surge in social media anger
China has relaxed some Covid-19 lockdown measures on the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang following a surge of complaints about their severity on Chinese social media. The city of 3.5 million people, which has been in strict lockdown since mid-July, has reported no new cases of the disease since August 16. Xinjiang residents flooded social media platform Weibo with complaints about the restrictions which had kept them trapped at home for more than a month. There have also been claims people were forced to take traditional Chinese medicine, which has not been proven to alleviate Covid-19 symptoms.
Netherlands to close mink farms after coronavirus outbreaks
More than 100 mink farms in the Netherlands will be ordered closed by March after animals at dozens of locations contracted the coronavirus, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Thursday. Hundreds of thousands of the ferret-like animals, which are bred for their fur, have been culled in the Netherlands and other European countries since the virus outbreak. The Netherlands had already intended to halt its mink breeding industry by 2024, but decided to bring forward the closures after several farm employees contracted COVID-19.
Libya's Tripoli government imposes COVID-19 curfew after protests escalate
Libya’s Tripoli-based government has announced a 24-hour curfew to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus as it struggles to contain protests over deteriorating living conditions and corruption. The curfew, which took effect on Wednesday night, was imposed by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) three days after protests in the capital and the nearby town of Zawiya began to escalate. The decision exempts people who need to go out for essential food or medicine at nearby shops, but it angered protest supporters who posted messages online saying it was designed to prevent further demonstrations.
Coronavirus: Weekly COVID-19 cases in England down - but test and trace misses 80% target for ninth consecutive week
The UK has reported its highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since 12 June. A total of 1,522 people received a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 test on Thursday, despite infection rates remaining well below those in Spain, France and other parts of Europe suffering a resurgence of the disease. The latest daily new case total figure is up from 1,048 on Wednesday. It is the highest daily new case total since before non-essential shops reopened to the public in England on 15 June, and restaurants and pubs resumed operations on 4 July.
China Calls It A 'Wartime Mode' COVID-19 Lockdown. And Residents Are Protesting
Except in Xinjiang. A sweeping, western region nearly four times the size of California, Xinjiang remains largely cut off from the rest of the country and its some 22 million residents under heavy lockdown, an effort officials say is needed to contain a cluster of more than 800 officially diagnosed cases. In mid-July, officials declared a "wartime mode" for the region. Community officials continue to go door to door, sealing doors with paper strips, tape and in some cases metal bars, to prevent residents from leaving their homes. The region has effectively been penned off from the rest of the country, meaning scant information about the lockdown has emerged. In July, Xinjiang's train stations were closed, intercity bus routes canceled, and centralized quarantine imposed on residents returning to the region.
Dandenong anti-lockdown protests against stage 4 coronavirus restrictions 'very concerning': local MP
The Victorian Government says it is working to deliver support and information into communities in Melbourne's outer south-east, where anti-lockdown protests have been held over the past few days in breach of physical-distancing restrictions. Police said officers issued nine fines and arrested four men who joined a "recurring protest" at the George Andrews Reserve on Wednesday. In a statement, police said anyone planning to attend future protests could expect to see a "highly visible police presence in the Dandenong area".
New Zealand outraged after Twitter calls country ‘hellhole’ over lockdown rules
New Zealand has been the target of criticism by lockdown opponents overseas who have slammed its COVID-19 policies as too strict. When an overseas Twitter account described New Zealand as a “hellhole” this week because of the country’s current lockdown rules, New Zealanders on Twitter responded in the best possible way: by sharing photos of their day and describing what life is like in the New Zealand “hellhole” with a good dose of Kiwi sarcasm. “You can’t leave. And you can’t easily have people in. And you’re back in lockdown in major parts of the country. And the quarantine camps are public knowledge. Your country is a hellhole,” the account @LockdownNo replied to a New Zealander on Twitter.
Data on Covid care home deaths kept secret 'to protect commercial interests'
Covid-19 death tolls at individual care homes are being kept secret by regulators in part to protect providers’ commercial interests before a possible second coronavirus surge, the Guardian can reveal. England’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Care Inspectorate in Scotland are refusing to make public which homes or providers recorded the most fatalities amid fears it could undermine the UK’s care system, which relies on private operators. In response to freedom of information requests, the regulators said they were worried that the supply of beds and standards of care could be threatened if customers left badly affected operators. The CQC and Care Inspectorate share home-by-home data with their respective governments – but both refused to make it public.
Poorest countries face lost decade due to Covid-19, says IMF
The shock waves from Covid-19 will lead to a lost decade for the world’s poorest countries unless they get concerted and urgent help, the International Monetary Fund has said. The Washington-based IMF said low-income developing countries (LIDCs) entered the pandemic in a vulnerable position and faced the prospect of their progress in poverty reduction over the past seven to 10 years being wiped out. In a blog, IMF economists called on the international community to adopt a seven-point plan so that poor countries could cope with Covid-19 and recover quickly. Growth, which averaged 5% in 2019, was likely to come to a standstill this year, the IMF said, adding that previous pandemics had left permanent scars. It backed a recent call from the World Bank president, David Malpass, for a more ambitious programme of debt relief that would move beyond repayment holidays to a reduction in the stock of debt.
Coronavirus: Global 'education emergency' due to Covid - UN
The U.N. children’s agency says at least a third of children couldn’t access remote learning when the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools, creating “a global education emergency.” At the height of lockdowns meant to curb the pandemic, nearly 1.5 billion children were affected by school closures, UNICEF said. “For at least 463 million children whose schools closed due to COVID-19, there was no such a thing as remote learning,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.
“The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is a global education emergency,” she said in a statement. “The repercussions could be felt in economies and societies for decades to come.”
Domestic violence has seen a shocking rise in lockdown – mothers will be in danger when children go back to school
At least 26 women have been killed during the coronavirus lockdown by domestic terrorisers – the youngest was two, the oldest 82. A woman was on the phone behind me at the supermarket, her voice loud and panicky. She was talking about a friend or relative who was dreading the reopening of schools: “He’ll start belting her again. Kicked her head in last time. Stopped when the kids were home.” Most parents are desperate to get their children back into the classroom. But for this woman – whoever she was – and many others too, as I later discovered – being alone with an abusive partner is as dangerous as being in a cage with a raging, wild beast. It was bad enough before the pandemic, when around two women per week were being killed by men they knew. The media often neglects to report these deaths. They died as they had lived, without dignity or due care. Look up the Counting Dead Women Project, which lists these homicide cases. It’s like walking into the saddest graveyard of buried bodies, whose stories will never be fully known.
WHO warns young people flouting lockdown rules could lead to spike in deaths of elderly this winter
As the winter months get nearer, a stark warning about a possible increase in coronavirus deaths has been issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). During a briefing on Thursday morning, WHO’s European regional director Hans Kluge warned that as youngsters stay in more during the colder months they may be more likely to spread coronavirus, especially if they visit multiple households.
Kluge said there was growing evidence that young people were infecting people at social gatherings and said that this could result in increase hospitalisations and deaths. He said: "The younger people are not necessarily going to die from it but it's a tornado with a long tail…
Argentina daily COVID-19 cases top 10,000 for first time
Argentina posted a record daily rise of 10,550 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry said, taking the total caseload to 370,188 as the country struggles to rein in the spread of infections while trying to ease open its crisis-hit economy.
The grains producer, which imposed a strict lockdown in March that initially helped slow the spread of the virus, is now fast catching up with other hard-hit countries in the region, including neighbor Chile where new infections have slowed. Latin America has become the epicenter of the global pandemic, with the highest number of infections and deaths, while the region’s economy is set to plunge sharply this year pushing millions of people into poverty. The nightly report showed there had been 276 new COVID-19 fatalities in the 24-hour period since the previous evening’s count, taking the total to 7,839.
Global report: Germany bans large events amid rise in Covid cases
Germany is to ban large events until the end of this year, amid fears of a resurgence in coronavirus cases and as the World Health Organization warned that Europe was entering “a tricky moment” as children go back to school. The chancellor, Angela Merkel, has set out a new package of measures in discussions with leaders of federal states. It comes amid a worrying rise of infection rates in Germany not seen since April, and a similar uptick in Italy and France. Under the new rules, German football fans will not be allowed back into stadiums until 2021, later than had been hoped. Regulations on mask-wearing will also be toughened. Mass gatherings including festivals, concerts and big sporting events will remain prohibited. The draft text allows for exceptions in regions with low virus numbers and where participants are all locals. But it goes against a suggestion by Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, that Bundesliga football games might resume in October with socially distanced spectators.
Gaza coronavirus lockdown extended by 72 hours after infections spread
Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday after reporting two deaths and 26 COVID-19 cases in the first public outbreak of the coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave. As of two days ago, when the first four cases were discovered in a refugee camp in the 360 square-kilometre (140 square-mile) territory, and a 48-hour lockdown was imposed, there had been no infections outside border quarantine facilities for new arrivals.
But by late on Wednesday, health officials said 26 people in several locations had tested positive for COVID-19 and two patients had died - a sign the world pandemic had penetrated Gaza’s forced isolation
Citriodiol spray: could an ingredient found in insect repellent defend against Covid-19?
Inspect repellents that contain an ingredient called ‘Citriodiol’ could be used to help defend against the coronavirus, according to researchers at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. In an eight page paper from the Porton Down based lab, the efficacy of Mosi-guard, a Citriodiol based spray, was tested on plastic and artificial skin. The report states that the Defence Science and Technology Lab (DSTL) “was tasked by the Surgeon General to determine the level of anti-viral activity of Mosi-guard Natural spray against Covid-19 virus, of which Citriodiol is an ingredient”. It’s explained that “two experimental approaches were adopted” - one being the assessment of the anti-viral activity of the product when applied directly to the virus as a liquid drop, the other being the assessment of the product following its application to latex synthetic skin.
EU pays 336 million euros for doses of AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19 vaccine
The European Commission has paid 336 million euros (300.95 million pounds) to secure at least 300 million doses of the potential COVID-1 vaccine being developed by British drug maker AstraZeneca , a spokesman said on Thursday.
Too many corners are being cut in the race to find a Covid-19 antibody test
During the pandemic, Covid-19 tests have provided a rich source of media coverage. Most of us now know a bit about how these tests work, and that they can generate errors that lead to wrong and harmful decisions. Tests have to be used on the right samples at the right time, else more errors can be made, and there are important differences between “have I got it?” viral swab tests, and “have I had it?” antibody blood tests.
Coronavirus: the Commission signs first contract with AstraZeneca
Today, the first contract the European Commission has negotiated on behalf of the EU Member States with a pharmaceutical company entered into force following the formal signature between AstraZeneca and the Commission. The contract will allow the purchase of a vaccine against COVID-19 for all the Member States of the EU as well as the donation to lower and middle income countries or the re-direction to other European countries. Through the contract, all Member States will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option for further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis. The Commission continues discussing similar agreements with other vaccine manufacturers and has concluded successful exploratory talks with Sanofi-GSK on 31 July, Johnson & Johnson on 13 August, CureVac on 18 August and Moderna on 24 August.
Trump-backed hydroxychloroquine doesn't treat Covid-19 and raises the risk of death
A review of 29 studies showed hydroxychloroquine does not save lives. Combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, the risk of death increases by 27%. The researchers in France claimed there is 'no need' for more research. But British scientists have previously warned against prematurely discarding it
President Trump has said the drug is a 'game changer' without proof it works
Covid-19: Five ways to avoid catching the virus indoors
Good ventilation could be the key to avoiding coronavirus as autumn approaches and people spend more time indoors. For months we've been told to wash our hands and maintain social distancing to beat coronavirus. But scientists and engineers say we also need to think about the air we breathe, as children go back to school and more people return to offices. Good ventilation matters in five ways.
Convalescent plasma treatment for covid-19 has been oversold by the US
Convalescent plasma is known to have been used to treat pandemic flu back in 1918. It involves collecting blood plasma – the yellow liquid component of blood stripped of its blood cells – from people who have recovered from a disease. The plasma can contain antibodies generated by the immune system to fight or prevent a future infection, although the antibody levels vary between donors. The treatment does appear to work for some infections, such as diphtheria, but research has been spotty, and there has been a lack of randomised, placebo-controlled trials, says Lise Estcourt at the University of Oxford. More recently, the treatment was found to be ineffective for Ebola. Several studies are under way to test convalescent plasma for covid-19. The largest has been run by the Mayo Clinic in the US – about 71,000 people have received treatment across 2780 hospitals over the past five months as part of a programme that enables access to experimental therapies. Based on the data collected from around 35,000 of these individuals, the researchers behind the project found that people treated with plasma containing higher levels of antibody, and those treated earlier in the course of their illness, appear less likely to die within a seven or 30-day window.
California, Florida, New York, Texas will not follow new U.S. COVID-19 testing plan
Several large U.S. states are not heeding new federal health officials’ calls to reduce COVID-19 testing of some exposed to the virus, joining a broad rebuke of the Trump administration by public health leaders.
WHO advance team heads to China to set up probe into coronavirus origin
A two-member advance team of World Health Organization (WHO) experts has left for China to organise an investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus behind a pandemic that has killed more than 550,000 people globally, the U.N. agency said on Friday. The virus is believed to have emerged in a wholesale market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year after jumping the species barrier from the animal kingdom to infect humans. The two WHO experts, specialists in animal health and epidemiology, will work with Chinese scientists to determine the scope and itinerary of the investigation, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said, declining to name them. “We know it’s very, very similar to the virus in the bat, but did it go through an intermediate species? This is a question we all need answered,” Harris told a news briefing.
EU pays 336 mln euros for doses of AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19 vaccine
The European Commission has paid 336 million euros ($396 million) to secure at least 300 million doses of the potential COVID-1 vaccine being developed by British drug maker AstraZeneca, a spokesman said on Thursday. Brussels signed the deal on behalf of EU states for the supply of at least 300 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. It has an option for a further 100 million, the spokesman said.
“We cannot indicate at this stage the specific pricing per dose. However, a significant part of the overall costs are funded by a contribution from the overall ESI funding for vaccines,” he said, referring to the bloc’s so-called emergency support instrument.
Novacyt launches test to differentiate COVID-19 and flu
Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt, one of many healthcare companies whose shares have surged during the pandemic, launched a test on Thursday to differentiate between COVID-19 and common winter diseases. Novacyt said its “Winterplex” test panel included two gene targets specific to COVID-19, as well as gene targets for influenza A&B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). “We believe Winterplex™ is one of the world’s first approved respiratory test panels that can differentiate between COVID-19 and other common respiratory diseases,” Novacyt CEO Graham Mullis said. Novacyt said the new product was expected to drive major revenue growth, and Novacyt’s Paris-listed shares rose by around 6% in early trading, with the stock price having already surged by around 1,900% since the start of 2020. Novacyt’s new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) respiratory test panel is one of many such ‘PCR’ type products already on the market, aimed at diagnosing the presence of COVID-19. The PCR test is the preferred COVID-19 testing method in many countries. It detects the presence of the disease by amplifying its genetic material to a point where it can be spotted by scientists
Italy rules out a new nationwide lockdown as cases rise
Italy has ruled out imposing a new nationwide lockdown despite an upsurge in coronavirus cases, as the country struggles to emerge from the worst recession in living memory. The increase in contagion has been limited, with very low impact on health services, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "I exclude the hypothesis of a lockdown for our country now," Mr Speranza (41) said at his Rome office yesterday. "We have few cases and the situation is under control, with pressure on hospitals that is very low, minimal."
Europe's second wave takes hold as cases rise in France, Italy and Spain
France logged 5,429 coronavirus cases Wednesday, its highest total since April
Prime Minister warned R figure is now 1.4, with young people fuelling outbreak
Italy also saw its highest daily case total since May, with 1,367 new cases
Infections also rising in Spain, which now has more cases per million than the US
Coronavirus: South Korea reports highest single-day of new virus cases in months
South Korea reported 441 new cases of the coronavirus, its highest single-day total in months, making lockdown-like restrictions look inevitable as transmissions slip out of control. The country has added nearly 4,000 infections to its caseload while reporting triple-digit daily jumps in each of the past 14 days, prompting health experts to warn about hospitals possibly running out of capacity. The 441 cases reported on Thursday was the biggest daily increase since the 483 reported on 7 March. South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said 315 of the new cases were from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s 51 million people, where health workers have struggled to track infections linked to various sources, including churches, restaurants, schools and workers. The National Assembly in Seoul was shut down and more than a dozen ruling party lawmakers were forced to isolate on Thursday following a positive test of a journalist who covered a ruling party leaders’ meeting.
South Korea considers lockdown as virus cases surge again
South Korea has reported 441 new cases of coronavirus – its highest single-day total in months. The country has added nearly 4,000 infections while reporting triple-digit daily jumps on each of the past 14 days, prompting health experts to warn hospitals may soon reach capacity. Lockdown-like restrictions now look inevitable as transmissions slip out of control.
'Lockdown plans are ready' - French Prime Minister lays out strategy to curb Covid-19 spread
France's Prime Minister Jean Castex said "this was the moment to intervene" to curb the rising spread of coronavirus across the French territory to avoid new rounds of lockdown. “We want to do everything to avoid a new lockdown, but the lockdown plans, those detailing the strictest measures, lie ready in the health ministry," the Prime Minister said during a press conference on Thursday morning.
"We are in a period of epidemic growth," Castex said. France recorded 5,429 new cases 24 hours on Wednesday, a tally unseen since the peak of the first wave of infections in mid April. The marked a continuation of the rapid spread of the virus, with the daily recordings of cases having risen from around 500 per day to over 5,000 per day in weeks.
South Korea sees its highest number of coronavirus infections for months as transmissions get out of control and country looks set for a lockdown
The 441 cases recorded on Thursday was the highest daily increase since the 483 reported on March 7. More than 300 of the cases were reported in Seoul, home to more than half of the 51m population.
Virus surge makes S. Korean lockdown more likely
South Korea reported 441 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, its highest single-day total in months, making lockdown-like restrictions look inevitable as transmissions slip out of control. The country has reported triple-digit daily jumps on each of the past 14 days, prompting health experts to warn that hospitals could run out of capacity. Thursday's increase was the biggest since 483 cases were reported on March 7. South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 315 of the new cases were from the Seoul area, home to half of the country’s 51 million people, where health workers have struggled to track infections linked to churches, restaurants, schools and workers.
Australia COVID-19 hotspot reports lowest rise in cases in nearly two months
Australia’s Victoria state - epicentre of the nation’s second wave of COVID-19 infections - reported its lowest one-day rise in new cases in nearly two months, buoying hopes a lockdown of nearly 5 million people has contained spread of the virus. Victoria said it detected 113 new cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest one-day rise since July 5. The state reported 149 infections on Wednesday. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the results mean officials are now plotting how to ease restrictions when the stringent lockdown of Australia’s second-most populous city Melbourne is scheduled to end in September. “Hopefully soon we’ll see those numbers in double digits and we can have ... a really clear discussion about what the back end of September looks like,” Andrews told reporters.
France makes masks mandatory everywhere in Paris from Friday
Face masks must be worn everywhere in the French capital Paris from Friday morning in order to curb a surge in coronavirus infections, police said on Thursday. The measure applies to all pedestrians as well as cyclists in Paris and its suburbs in an area that includes three neighbouring departments that form the Petite Couronn inner ring around Paris, a densely populated area with a total population of nearly seven million people. Motorists will not have to wear a mask inside their car. “The deterioration of the health situation...has led the prefect to take this strong measure in the interest of the population,” the Paris police prefecture said in a statement. Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government would order the mandatory wearing of masks across Paris but he did not give a deadline or specify the area.
French government says needs to intervene to contain COVID-19 spread
Face masks must be worn everywhere in the French capital Paris from Friday morning in order to curb a surge in coronavirus infections, police said on Thursday. The measure applies to all pedestrians as well as cyclists in Paris and its suburbs in an area that includes three neighbouring departments that form the Petite Couronn inner ring around Paris, a densely populated area with a total population of nearly seven million people. Motorists will not have to wear a mask inside their car.
Ukraine temporarily bars most foreigners amid pandemic after Israel pilgrimage plea
Ukraine on Wednesday imposed a temporary ban on most foreigners from entering the country until Sept. 28 and extended lockdown measures until the end of October to contain a recent spike in coronavirus cases. Speaking at a televised cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal also said the government would need to take a decision on Thursday on whether to ban major public events in September. “The rise in coronavirus infections we have seen in recent weeks is forcing us to act more decisively,” Shmygal said.
France reports 6,111 new COVID-19 infections, second-highest level ever
France on Thursday recorded 6,111 new confirmed coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the highest level since lockdown ended and the second-highest ever, since the 7,578 high set on March 30 during lockdown and at the height of the epidemic. The French health ministry said the total number of confirmed infections now stood at 259,698. On Wednesday, the country recorded 5,429 new infections, which was a new post-lockdown record.
Rwanda tightens COVID-19 measures as cases surge
Rwanda has extended its evening curfew and implemented a cessation of movement in and out of the western area of Rusizi after a recent surge in cases of COVID-19. The country was the first to impose strict lockdown measures in the African continent on March 22, with only 19 cases and partially lifted the measures on May 1 when it had officially recorded 225 cases and zero deaths. However, Rwanda hit a record of 217 cases in one day on Tuesday and has recorded a third of its 3,625 cases in the past 10 days with authorities blaming the spike on complacency and fatigue with social distancing measures.
China's Coronavirus Lockdown In Xinjiang Is Severe — And Controversial : Goats and Soda
In mid-July, officials declared a "wartime mode" for the region. Community officials continue to go door to door, sealing doors with paper strips, tape and in some cases metal bars, to prevent residents from leaving their homes. The region has effectively been penned off from the rest of the country, meaning scant information about the lockdown has emerged. In July, Xinjiang's train stations were closed, intercity bus routes canceled, and centralized quarantine imposed on residents returning to the region. "It has been more than a week since we last had a case, but that does not mean we should relax," said Tang Shan, a Communist Party official who oversees Xinjiang's Ganquanbao district, an industrial zone just outside the region's capital of Urumqi. "We still ask our residents and the society at large, including our government organs, to work together in order to maintain the success we have achieved so far."