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Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Feb 2021

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California death toll from Covid-19 tops 50,000 after winter surge

California’s Covid-19 death toll rose above 50,000 on Wednesday, after Los Angeles county reported another 806 deaths during the winter surge. The county, which has a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, said the deaths mainly occurred between 3 December and 3 February. The department of public health identified them after going through death records that were backlogged by the sheer volume of the surge’s toll. Johns Hopkins University put California’s overall Covid-19 death toll at 50,890, about one-tenth of the US total from the pandemic. The grim figure comes days after the US recorded a half-million deaths.
25th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

UK Covid alert level drops as NHS threat 'reduced'

The four UK chief medical officers and NHS England's national medical director agreed the change following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre. The alert level has been at level five since early January, when Scotland and England began their latest lockdowns. The top medics urged people to "remain vigilant" by following lockdown rules. A change in alert system does not automatically mean restrictions can ease, but it helps to inform government decisions on lockdown rules.
25th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

UK Covid hospital deaths up 311 as cases plunge 78% since start of England's lockdown

The UK's coronavirus hospital death rate has risen by 311. England has recorded 254 further deaths, Wales 21, Scotland 31 and Northern Ireland, five. It marks a 75 drop on last week's figures - when 386 hospital deaths were recorded across the UK. Confirmed cases of coronavirus have plunged by more than 78% since the start of England's lockdown, new figures show today.
25th Feb 2021 - Mirror Online

France, Germany to beef up COVID-19 controls at common border

France said on Thursday it would bring in new COVID-19 restrictions for the area around its common border with Germany, as President Emmanuel Macron’s government tries to contain a surge of coronavirus variants in the French region of Moselle. Cross-border workers, who had exemptions until now, will need to present negative PCR tests to get through if travelling for reasons unrelated to their jobs, France’s European affairs and health ministers said in a joint statement. Home working in the area will also be reinforced, they said, after France and Germany said earlier this week they were trying to find ways to prevent a closure of their common border.
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Spain leaves ‘extreme risk’ coronavirus situation, with incidence rate falling to 235 cases per 100,000

Spain has finally left a situation of “extreme risk” due to the coronavirus. According to the latest report from the Health Ministry, released Tuesday evening, the epidemiological curve in the country continues to fall, and the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants is now at 235. This is below the limit of 250 that the ministry had set as a situation of maximum alert and that indicated that the pandemic was not under control.
25th Feb 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Ukraine faces almost 40% jump in new daily COVID-19 cases

Ukraine has registered an almost 40% jump in new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said, just as the country starts its COVID-19 inoculation. A total of 8,147 cases were registered on Wednesday, the highest figure since mid-January when the number of new cases stood at 8,199, Stepanov said on Facebook. There were 5,850 new cases as of Feb. 24.
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Sweden readies new measures as COVID-19 cases accelerate

Sweden is preparing new measures to try to curb a resurgence in COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus strain first detected in Britain spreads rapidly, the architect of Sweden’s pandemic strategy said on Tuesday. Sweden has avoided lockdowns throughout the pandemic. But health statistics agency figures on Tuesday showed 10,933 new coronavirus cases had been registered since Friday, a rise from 9,458 in the corresponding period the previous week. “The British variant is increasing very fast,” Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told a news conference. “This variant will with fairly high probability be the dominant one within a few weeks or a month.”
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Czech government seeks tougher COVID measures to tame virus surge

The Czech government will meet on Thursday to decide on tougher lockdown restrictions to rein in one of the world’s fastest spreads of COVID-19. Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday hospitals faced “catastrophe” if no action is taken. His minority government met late into the evening on Wednesday and will reconvene on Thursday evening after talks with opposition parties to shore up support. The central European country of 10.7 million has struggled with a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases, straining hospitals as the number of patients in serious condition hits records.
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters

European countries battle more COVID-19 flare-ups

A handful of European countries are grappling with new spikes in COVID-19 activity, such as the Czech Republic, where intensive care units are nearly overrun. Meanwhile, as groups look ahead to the future, the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday published its strategic operations plan to target the pandemic in 2021 and European officials eyed a vaccine passport system, with hopes that it could preserve this year's tourist season.
25th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Feb 2021

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Czech Leader Warns of 'Hellish Days' and Tighter Lockdown Coming

The Czech Republic is preparing to impose a stricter lockdown to prevent the collapse of its medical system as existing measures fail to contain one of the fastest-spreading and deadliest virus outbreaks in Europe. Almost exactly a year after the first Covid-19 case appeared in the European Union member, the crisis is worse than ever and the situation requires a tougher response, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said. The cabinet will discuss more extreme rules to limit contact among people on Wednesday evening, he said. “It’s necessary, otherwise there would be a total catastrophe in hospitals,” Babis told reporters. “Hellish days are ahead.”
24th Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

France considers new local lockdowns to stem ‘worsening’ Covid-19 situation

France may need to impose new local restrictions to deal with a worsening Covid-19 situation as it scrambles to avoid a new national lockdown, a government spokesman said Wednesday. Infections have reached worrying levels in several parts of the country, spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting. The warning comes only days after the French Riviera was ordered into lockdown for the coming two weekends to contain Covid-19 which has been spreading faster in the tourist hotspot than elsewhere in France, and border controls were tightened.
24th Feb 2021 - Yahoo News UK

France Contemplates ‘Targeted Measures,’ Seeks To Avoid Lockdown

France is reviewing local coronavirus hot spots on a case-by-case basis, and has decided to implement “targeted measures” to prevent the spread of new and more virulent variants.
24th Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Auckland high school closes again after third student tests positive for Covid

One of New Zealand’s largest high schools has closed again after another student and two siblings tested positive for Covid-19. Papatoetoe high school in south Auckland was closed last week after two students and two parents tested positive. It reopened this week but closed again on Wednesday after a third student tested positive on Tuesday. Two siblings of the students also tested positive later on Tuesday. Health authorities have been trying to test and contact-trace all 1,500 students, but were unable to find and test a small number of pupils and their families.
24th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

NSW, Victoria and Queensland restrict COVID-19 travel from New Zealand in face of Auckland outbreak

Australia's eastern states have imposed fresh restrictions on New Zealand travellers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland. Tasmania, NSW, Victoria and Queensland have limited quarantine-free travel now that at least eight cases have been linked to an Auckland high school. New Zealand authorities say they are confident the outbreak, which prompted a lockdown in New Zealand's biggest city, is under control. NSW Health said it was contacting travellers who arrived from New Zealand since Saturday, and, as a precaution, those people should get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.
24th Feb 2021 - ABC News

COVID-19 situation 'worrying' in 10 French departments, government says

France’s government on Wednesday ordered a weekend lockdown in the Dunkirk area to arrest an “alarming” rise in COVID-19 cases, signalling extra curbs might also be needed elsewhere as daily cases nationwide hit their highest since November. Unlike some of its neighbours, France has resisted a new national lockdown to control more contagious coronavirus variants, hoping a curfew in place since Dec. 15 can contain the pandemic. But it reported 31,519 new infections on Wednesday, up from 25,018 a week ago and the most since mid-November. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the national situation was deteriorating, and “a source of worry in about 10 regional departments”. Some required “rapid and strong” containment measures.
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters

French COVID-19 intensive care patients at a 12-week high

France’s number of patients treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 has gone up again on Tuesday, reaching a 12-week peak of 3,435 as regional officials urge for a ban on public gatherings and consider a partial weekend lockdown. Unlike some of its neighbours, France has resisted a new national lockdown to control more contagious variants, hoping a curfew in place since Dec. 15 can contain the pandemic. France ended its second national lockdown, which ran from Oct. 30 to Dec. 15. But one of the conditions for switch from lockdown to a national curfew was that the ICU figures remained between 2,500 and 3,000.
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Merkel says Germany in third wave of pandemic: sources

Germany is in a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers in her conservative party, two sources at the meeting told Reuters on Tuesday. “We are now in the third wave,” they quoted her as saying and said she warned that any easing of lockdown measures introduced late last year and extended until March 7 would have to be done carefully and gradually. The closure of all non-essential businesses and border controls with Austria and the Czech Republic, where there have been outbreaks linked to a more infectious variant of the virus, have helped Germany bring down new daily COVID-19 infections. But a slow vaccination roll-out and the risk of major outbreaks of fast-spreading variants already identified in Germany could make any easing of restrictions more difficult.
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Feb 2021

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Ukraine gets first vaccine shipment as hospitals struggle

Ukraine on Tuesday received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine raising hopes that authorities can start beating back the virus spread in a country where cases have strained the fragile health care system. A consignment of 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was flown to the capital Kyiv from India. Officials said the first tranche of vaccine will be administered to medical workers and military personnel in eastern Ukraine, where conflict with Russian-backed separatists has been ongoing since 2014, and to regions of western Ukraine where the rate of infections has been the most severe
23rd Feb 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: UK reports another 548 coronavirus deaths and 8,489 cases - as vaccine count nears 18m

Nearly 18 million people have now had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK, while another 548 deaths have been reported. It compares to 178 deaths reported yesterday and 799 last Tuesday, and takes the total to 121,305. There have been 8,489 more confirmed COVID cases, compared to 10,641 yesterday and 10,625 last Tuesday.
23rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Number of deaths falling in all English regions - here's where they are still highest

The number of deaths involving coronavirus is dropping in all regions of England, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. In its latest figures, it said that during the week ending 12 February (week six), every area of the country recorded a week-on-week fall in the number of registered COVID-19 deaths. The highest number - 974 - was recorded in southeast England - down 31% from 1,415 in the previous week. That was also the biggest decline in the number of fatalities, at 441.
23rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Biden leads candlelit ceremony for COVID victims as US passes half a million deaths

President Joe Biden has led a minute's silence to honour America's coronavirus victims after the country became the first to record more than half a million deaths. As 500 lit candles lined the White House steps to commemorate the dead, a military band played Amazing Grace and the president made his emotional remarks. "Today we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone - 500,071 dead. That's more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War combined," he said.
23rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

As covid-19 death toll nears 500,000, Biden urges Americans to ‘fight this together’

Joe Biden began his presidency by marking a devastating milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. One month later, he presided over a somber memorial once again, leading the nation in the mourning of 500,000 American covid-19 deaths. On Monday evening, as the official toll neared half a million, Biden held a moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House, accompanied by Vice President Harris. “That’s more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on Earth," Biden said. "But as we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we remember each person and the life they lived.”
23rd Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

France considers fresh measures to stem Covid-19 spread in Dunkirk

French Health Minister Olivier Véran will head to Dunkirk in northern France on Wednesday as the government eyes new measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the region, the prime minister's office said on Tuesday. Prime Minister Jean Castex had discussed the local health situation earlier on Tuesday with the mayor of Dunkirk, a coastal city of 92,000 near the Belgian border. "They agreed that in view of the sharp deterioration in health indicators in recent hours, additional measures to limit the epidemic must be taken," the statement said.
23rd Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24 English


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Feb 2021

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UK records 445 new deaths as more than 17 million Brits have received a coronavirus vaccine

More than 17 million people in the UK have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, new figures reveal. The UK reported 445 coronavirus-related deaths and 10,406 new infections on Saturday. However, London continues to lag behind other regions bar the South West. The NHS England data shows a total of 1,753,957 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and February 19, including 1,687,471 first doses and 66,486 second doses.
22nd Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

ER doctor documents COVID-19 battle in LA hospital with emotional photographs

Dr Scott Kobner, 29, chief resident at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine, documented his front-line colleagues The amateur photographer took pictures of doctors and patients at the 600-bed public hospital using Leica M6 and M10 cameras and posted them on Instagram Dr Kobner had permission from the hospital and patients. Kobner, originally from New York, doesn't photograph people he treats but comes in on his days off instead. He tested positive for the virus in the summer but recovered alone at home In LA County, more than 19,880 people have died of COVID-19. There is a long history of photographing medical treatment during disasters that gained popularity in the US during the Civil War
22nd Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: High Covid rates delay France and Germany easing

Stubbornly high infection rates are hampering French efforts to ease coronavirus restrictions, with Nice in the south a particular hotspot. In Germany many schools are reopening on Monday, but officials say infection rates remain worryingly high. France is not under lockdown, but there is a national curfew (18:00-06:00). The area around Nice, which has the highest rate in France, will go into partial lockdown for the next two weekends.
22nd Feb 2021 - BBC News

South Africa's COVID-19 cases, deaths decline as variant spreads globally

COVID-19 cases have been declining in South Africa despite the nation battling to contain a more contagious variant that has spread globally. Worldwide, the virus has killed 2,477,790 people with 111,953,292 cases in tracking by Worldometers.info. The United States continues to lead both categories, surpassing 28 million infections and fewer than 2,000 deaths from 500,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins tracking, ahead of two other North American nations, Brazil at 246,504 and No. 3 Mexico with 179,797
22nd Feb 2021 - UPI.com

COVID-19: Lockdown if cases keep rising for 8-15 days, says Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that in view of the rising COVID-19 cases, religious, social and political gatherings will be prohibited in the state from Monday
22nd Feb 2021 - National Herald

French city of Nice asks tourists to stay away amid COVID surge

The mayor of Nice in southern France called on Sunday for a weekend lockdown in the area to reduce the flow of tourists as it battles a sharp spike in coronavirus infections to triple the national rate. The Nice area has France’s highest COVID-19 infection rate, with 740 new cases per week per 100,000 residents, according to Covidtracker.fr. “We need strong measures that go beyond the nationwide 6 p.m. curfew, either tighter curfew, or a partial and time-specific lockdown. A weekend lockdown would make sense,” Mayor Christian Estrosi said on franceinfo radio. Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Saturday the government would decide this weekend on tightening virus control measures in the Mediterranean city.
22nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

US COVID-19 death toll hits 500,000 as hospital cases drop

Today the United States met a grim milestone: In 1 year, more than half a million Americans have died from COVID-19, as at least 28,174,133 million have suffered infections, thousands have lost jobs, and all have had the pandemic touch multiple aspects of everyday life. To mark the passing of 500,000 Americans, President Joe Biden today will hold a moment of silence and candle-lighting ceremony at sundown at the White House. The Washington Post today put the 500,000 death toll in context. The first US death from COVID-19 was reported on Feb 29, 2020. By May 28, 100,000 had died. Deaths remained at a fairly steady clip until a post-holiday surge.
22nd Feb 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Feb 2021

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UK records 215 coronavirus-related deaths and 9,834 new cases as infections plummet

The UK recorded 215 coronavirus-related deaths and 9,834 new cases on Sunday as infections continue to plummet. This is a considerable drop from the peak of 1,820 deaths on January 1st. The figures have dropped significantly since last Sunday when the UK recorded 258 deaths and 10,972 infection, in a sure sign lockdown is working. A total of 17,582,121 have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 615,148 have received their second dose. A third (33.4%) of the UK adult population has now been given the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
21st Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

Africa reaches 100,000 known COVID-19 deaths as danger grows

Twenty-one countries in Africa now have case fatality rates that are higher than the global average, Nkengasong said, including Sudan, Egypt, Liberia, Mali and Zimbabwe. The case fatality rate continent-wide remains higher than the global average at 2.6%. “The second wave came with full might, partly because of this new variant (in South Africa), partly because we created superspreading opportunities” such as holiday parties, said Salim Abdool Karim, the top COVID-19 advisor to South Africa’s government. “The virus adapts and gets better with time because it’s mutating progressively to be better adapted.”
21st Feb 2021 - The Independent

Tanzania’s president admits country has COVID-19 problem

Tanzania’s president is finally acknowledging that his country has a coronavirus problem after claiming for months that the disease had been defeated by prayer. Populist President John Magufuli on Sunday urged citizens of the East African country to take precautions and even wear face masks — but only locally made ones. Over the course of the pandemic he has expressed wariness about foreign-made goods, including COVID-19 vaccines. The president’s comments came days after the country of some 60 million people mourned the death of one of its highest-profile politicians, the vice president of the semi-autonomous island region of Zanzibar, whose political party had earlier said he had COVID-19. The president’s chief secretary also died in recent days, though the cause was not revealed.
21st Feb 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

UK records 445 new deaths as more than 17 million Brits have received a coronavirus vaccine

More than 17 million people in the UK have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, new figures reveal. The UK reported 445 coronavirus-related deaths and 10,406 new infections on Saturday. However, London continues to lag behind other regions bar the South West. The NHS England data shows a total of 1,753,957 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and February 19, including 1,687,471 first doses and 66,486 second doses.
20th Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

COVID-19 surge is now helping to create herd immunity

"I don’t want to provide a false sense of assurance here,” said L.A. County chief science officer Dr. Paul Simon, who pointed out that 60% of Angelenos would remain vulnerable even if more than a third have already been infected with the coronavirus. “Unless they’ve had vaccination, they continue to be susceptible. I think we need to continue to be vigilant.”
20th Feb 2021 - Los Angeles Times

Covid-19: Number of coronavirus-related deaths falls for third week

The weekly number of Covid-19 related deaths registered in Northern Ireland has fallen for a third week. The NI Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) said the virus was mentioned on the death certificates of 99 people, in the week to Friday 12 February. That is 27 fewer than the previous week, bringing the agency's total to 2,673. The Department of Health's total for the same date, based on a positive test result being recorded, was 1,985.
20th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: More than 17 million people have received first jab - as deaths surpass 120,000

More than 17 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while the number of deaths has surpassed 120,000. Another 445 people have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, according to the latest government figures, taking the total to 120,365. The deaths included a 16-year-old with no known underlying health conditions. Where patients were aged 16 to 100, all except four - aged between 16 and 68 - were known to have had underlying health conditions.
20th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Germany sees drop in virus cases flatten as variant surges

The head of Germany’s disease control agency is warning that the decline in new coronavirus cases the country had been seeing has leveled off and the share of cases involving more contagious variants is rising
20th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Germany, Once a Model, Is Swamped Like Everyone Else by Pandemic’s Second Wave

After winning widespread recognition for its handling of the coronavirus last year, Germany now finds itself struggling with its sluggish vaccine rollout and a frustrated population.
20th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

Coronavirus: Infections in Germany stagnate at high level

Amid repeated calls for the government to lift the lockdown, Spahn urged the public to remain cautious, adding that the coronavirus "doesn't just give up." "There are rising demands to end the lockdown and this is possible, but we need to be careful in order not to jeopardize our achievements," Spahn said on Friday. The RKI reported on Friday a slight drop in COVID-19 infections over seven days, with 56.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 57.1 the day before, according to the German Press Agency (DPA). Germany's federal government aims for a level of infections below 50. States cas move towards easing the lockdown when the level remains under 35.
20th Feb 2021 - DW (English)

BMC seals 1,305 buildings as Covid-19 cases surge in Mumbai

Two days after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) made the norms for lockding down buildings in the city again civic data shows the number of buildings locked down stands at 1,035. Sealed floors being linked to a rise in COVID-19 cases
20th Feb 2021 - Times of India

US COVID-19 markers decline; vaccine makers eye expanding recipient pool

Across the country 7-day averages of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are dropping in 43 and 49 states, respectively. According to CNBC, only Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming reported a rise in new cases. The US reported 69,230 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 2,542 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. In total, the US remains the hardest hit country in the global pandemic, with 27,950,547 cases and 495,015 deaths. The news of case declines comes as Pfizer and BioNTech, the makers of the first mRNA vaccine approved for use in the United States, began a global phase 2/3 trial targeting pregnant women, and submitted new temperature data to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggesting they could allow their COVID-19 vaccine to be stored in pharmacy freezers rather than ultra-cold storage facilities.
19th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Feb 2021

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COVID-19: Another 454 deaths and 12,057 cases in UK - as over 16.4 million have had first vaccine dose

The UK has reported another 454 coronavirus deaths and 12,057 further cases, while more than 16.4 million have now received their first vaccine dose. Today's figures are down on Wednesday when 738 further deaths and 12,718 new cases were recorded. And they represent the lowest daily figure since 424 were announced on 11 December, excluding days when numbers have been artificially low due to delays in reporting caused by weekends and Christmas holidays.
18th Feb 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19 infection rate plummets in England, says Imperial College study

One of the largest and most authoritative coronavirus surveys has found that infections are quickly falling in England, confirming that lockdown is working to suppress the virus. Imperial College London's REACT study found that infections had fallen by more than two-thirds since the last time it reported in mid-January. Last time, REACT found that 1 in 63 people currently had the virus. This time, it estimates that 1 in 196 people are infected.
18th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Italy’s balconies fall silent as singers retreat in face of Covid’s second wave

It seems eons since last March, when Italians kept their spirits high and impressed the world by donning masks and singing from their balconies, spurring hope that Italy would rebound after the lockdown with an explosion of energy similar to that which fuelled the country’s postwar boom. But after Italians brought the virus back home from holiday discos in the summer — ushering in the second spike — new daily cases were peaking at 40,000 by November, more than six times the first wave record of 6,500 reached on March 13. The national rate may have now slowly fallen to about 10,000 but it is already rising again in areas such as Umbria in central Italy where the UK variant is spreading fast.
18th Feb 2021 - The Times

South Korea warns against lax distancing as daily COVID-19 count hits one-month high

South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Wednesday warned against the loosening enforcement of social distancing rules after the number of new coronavirus cases hit the highest levels in nearly 40 days. The government relaxed distancing curbs on Saturday to take effect starting this week, after getting on top of a third wave of COVID-19 outbreaks that peaked at around 1,200 daily cases in late December. But the numbers shot back up in just three days, topping 600 for the first time in 39 days on Tuesday, after a ban on nighttime entertainment facilities was lifted and a restaurant curfew extended by one hour to 10 p.m.
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Feb 2021

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COVID-19: Another 738 deaths and 12,718 cases in UK - as over 15.9m have had first vaccine dose

The UK has reported another 12,718 coronavirus cases and 738 further deaths - and almost 16 million people have now had their first dose of a vaccine. While the number of new infections is higher than the 10,625 reported yesterday, deaths are down slightly from Tuesday's 799 fatalities. Overall, the numbers are lower than what they were a week ago, when 13,013 new cases were confirmed alongside 1,001 deaths.
17th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Global COVID-19 cases drop, but more nations report variants

In its weekly snapshot of the pandemic yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said cases and deaths continue to drop, mainly driven by steep declines in the two highest-burden countries, the United States and the United Kingdom. Also, the B117 virus variant has now been detected in 94 countries spanning all six WHO regions, with local transmission occurring in 47.
17th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

Health experts call for tight new lockdown as British COVID-19 variant sweeps through Italy

Leading health authorities in Italy fear the British variant will soon trigger a surge in COVID-19 infections and fatalities unless a strategy is implemented
16th Feb 2021 - The Globe and Mail


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Feb 2021

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Coronavirus: Deaths among over-80’s fall faster as vaccine impact emerges

Deaths among people over 80 is falling faster than with other age groups, suggesting the UK’s vaccine programme is starting to have an impact on the coronavirus pandemic. According to analysis of the latest data, the proportion of deaths among the over-80s, as a seven day average, have dropped by almost 50 per cent between 31 January to 10 February. This compares to a fall of 39 per cent for those aged under 80 over the same period.
16th Feb 2021 - The Independent

A coronavirus vaccine entrepreneur held an indoor conference. Now dozens of attendees have the virus.

Last month, entrepreneur Peter Diamandis stood on a purple-lit stage inside the offices of one of his tech companies in Culver City, Calif., as hundreds listened online to his presentation. The summit was not completely virtual, though. Dozens of attendees, some of whom had traveled from abroad, also sat in the indoor space that Diamandis pledged would be safe thanks to regular testing, vitamins and doctors on-site. Instead, nearly three weeks later, at least 24 people who attended the conference have tested positive for the coronavirus — including Diamandis himself.
16th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

COVID-19: Another 799 coronavirus deaths and 10,625 cases in UK - as over 15.5 million have had first vaccine dose

Another 799 COVID-related deaths and 10,625 more cases have been reported in the UK in the last 24 hours, government data shows. This is down from the 1,052 deaths and 12,364 cases recorded this time last week. Yesterday, a total of 230 fatalities and 9,765 infections were reported; however, it's important to note that figures can differ widely early in the week due to a reporting lag from the weekend.
16th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon three times more likely to die with COVID-19

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are three times more likely to die with COVID-19 than the population as a whole, according to U.N. figures that highlight the pandemic's outsized impact on the community. An estimated 207,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon after being driven from their homes or fleeing the conflict surrounding Israel's 1948 creation, the vast majority in cramped camps where social distancing is impossible.
16th Feb 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

COVID-19: Experts left puzzled by sudden drop in coronavirus cases in India

Scientists have been left confused by the plummeting rate of coronavirus infections in India - particularly because the country was at one point on course for the biggest toll worldwide. Nearly 100,000 infections were reported each day during India's peak, but this has taken an unexplained tumble since September to around 11,000 a day. Official figures in November also showed 90% of New Delhi's critical care beds with ventilators were filled, whereas just 16% were full last Thursday.
16th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Suspected cases of coronavirus variant now in 2 Manitoba First Nations

A second First Nations community in Manitoba is under lockdown following the potential discovery of a highly infectious coronavirus variant. On Monday, the chief of Pimicikamak, also known as Cross Lake First Nation about 530 kilometres north of Winnipeg, confirmed the community has seen at least one suspected case of the coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom. Chief David Monias said in a statement the sample has been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for confirmation.
16th Feb 2021 - CBC.ca

As the virus crisis drags on, hard-hit French youth struggle

On a recent evening, Leïla Ideddaim waited to receive a bag of food, along with hundreds of other French young people who are unable to make ends meet. She saw the chitchat that accompanied the handout as a welcome byproduct, given her intense isolation during the pandemic. The 21-year-old student in hotel and restaurant management has seen her plans turned upside down by the virus crisis. With restaurants and tourist sites shuttered and France under a 6 p.m. curfew, her career prospects are uncertain. Odd jobs that were supposed to keep her going during her studies are hard to come by.
16th Feb 2021 - The Associated Press

Coronavirus pandemic back on upward trend in Poland - minister

The COVID-19 pandemic is on the rise again in Poland, the health minister said on Tuesday, a worrying turnaround after case numbers stabilised following a second wave of infections last autumn. Poland has loosened some of its COVID-19 restrictions, and scenes of partying tourists at Poland’s main ski resort at the weekend have raised fears of a new rise in infections. “The reversal in the trend has become a fact,” Health Minister Adam Niedzielski wrote on Twitter. “The trend for the weekly growth rate (seven-day moving average) is positive for the first time since mid-November (excluding post-holiday anomalies).” On Tuesday, Poland reported 5,178 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 196 deaths. The European Union member states has reported a total of 1,596,673 cases and 41,028 deaths.
16th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Four reasons experts say coronavirus cases are dropping in the United States

The rate of newly recorded infections is plummeting from coast to coast and the worst surge yet is finally relenting. But scientists are split on why, exactly, it is happening. Some point to the quickening pace of coronavirus vaccine administration, some say it’s because of the natural seasonal ebb of respiratory viruses and others chalk it up to social distancing measures. And every explanation is appended with two significant caveats: The country is still in a bad place, continuing to notch more than 90,000 new cases every day, and recent progress could still be imperiled, either by new fast-spreading virus variants or by relaxed social distancing measures.
15th Feb 2021 - Washington Post


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Feb 2021

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COVID-19: Another 230 coronavirus deaths in UK - as 15.3 million have first vaccine dose

The latest figures have been announced as the prime minister said there will be a "cautious" approach to easing lockdown rules. The UK has recorded another 230 coronavirus deaths - compared to the 333 fatalities confirmed on this day last week. The latest figure is also a drop from the 258 deaths announced on Sunday, government data shows. Since the pandemic began, a total of 117,396 people have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test.
15th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Portugal's daily COVID-19 deaths below 100 for first time in six weeks

The number of new daily COVID-19 deaths in Portugal fell to its lowest level in around six weeks on Monday, with infections also declining, adding to evidence that an alarming post-Christmas surge in the coronavirus pandemic is slowing. The good news came hours after grim data showing the once-booming tourism sector suffered its worst results since the mid-1980s last year as the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns worldwide grounded flights and kept visitors away.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Death toll reaches 2,000 as 477 people battle COVID-19 in our hospitals

The latest statistics reveal that another four people died in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile there have been another 234 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. This jumps to 2,095 people in the last seven days. There are now 477 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our hospitals - and 59 of those battling in ICU. There are now 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NI Care Homes.
15th Feb 2021 - Belfast Newsletter

Maharashtra to Face Another Lockdown? Rise in COVID-19 Cases Alarming, May Take Harsh Steps, Warns Deputy CM

Describing the rise in fresh COVID-19 cases in some districts of Maharashtra as “alarming”, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Monday warned of taking some “harsh decisions” and asked people to be prepared. Some districts in Vidarbha region in east Maharashtra, especially Amravati and Nagpur, and Nashik in north Maharashtra have seen the number of new cases rising over the last few days.
15th Feb 2021 - India.com

Vietnamese province reimposes stay at home order in coronavirus battle

Vietnam on Monday reintroduced stay at home measures in the northern province of Hai Duong after it reported dozens of COVID-19 cases there every day since a new outbreak last month. Having stayed clear of the virus for nearly two months, Vietnam was back on high alert after the government confirmed its first community infections in Hai Duong on Jan. 28. The province, where 499 COVID-19 infections have been detected, will be under lockdown from midnight on Tuesday until further notice, the government said.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Hungary's PM seeks renewal of special powers to fight COVID-19

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban asked parliament on Monday to extend the government’s special powers to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, saying only vaccinations would enable the government to ease lockdown measures introduced last autumn. Hungary became the first European Union member state last week to start administering Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine after its regulator approved the shot for emergency use rather than wait for a green light from the EU’s European Medicines Agency. The Hungarian drug regulator has also granted approval to Chinese Sinopharm’s vaccine, also a first in the EU.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Health ministry advisor Ricciardi calls for new lockdown

Walter Ricciardi, a top Italian physician and advisor to Health Minister Roberto Speranza, has suggested Italy have another full-blown nationwide lockdown amid concern about the spread of new variants of COVID-19 in Italy. Ricciardi suggested a short but tough lockdown, in which non-essential activities would be stopped and schools closed. The proposal stirred angry reactions from many quarters, with League leader Matteo Salvini blasting "experts who sow fear". Ricciardi reacted to calls for him to quit by saying he would be prepared to do so if that were deemed "useful".
15th Feb 2021 - ANSA

A new study identifies seven U.S. virus variants with the same worrying mutation.

As Americans anxiously watch the spread of coronavirus variants that were first identified in Britain and South Africa, scientists are finding a number of new variants that seem to have originated in the United States — and many of them may pose the same kind of extra-contagious threat. In a study posted on Sunday, a team of researchers reported seven growing lineages of the coronavirus, spotted in states across the country. All have gained a mutation at the exact same spot in their genes.
14th Feb 2021 - The New York Times


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French hospitals to move into crisis mode from Thursday: newspaper

France’s Health Ministry has asked regional health agencies and hospitals to enter “crisis organisation” to prepare for a possible surge in coronavirus cases as a result of highly contagious variants, Le Journal Du Dimanche reported. The move, which would echo measures taken in March and November when France went into lockdown, involves increasing the number of hospital beds available, delaying non-urgent surgery and mobilising all medical staff resources. “This crisis organisation must be implemented in each region, regardless of the level of hospital stress and must be operational from Thursday Feb. 18,” the DGS health authority said
14th Feb 2021 - Reuters

New ‘do not resuscitate’ orders imposed on Covid-19 patients with learning difficulties

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog. Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19. The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year
13th Feb 2021 - The Guardian on MSN.com

COVID-19: New surge testing after more South Africa variant cases detected

Surge testing is being introduced in more areas of England after a few more cases of the coronavirus variant first discovered in South Africa were detected. The testing will be deployed in: Middlesbrough within the TS7 postcode - Areas in Walsall - Specific areas in the RG26 postcode in Hampshire - People in these areas are strongly encouraged to take a COVID test this week, whether or not they have symptoms.
13th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Italy tightens virus curbs as variant fears rise

Italy on Friday extended a domestic travel ban and tightened restrictions in four regions amid rising concern about the spread of more infectious coronavirus variants. In one of its final acts in office, outgoing prime minister Giuseppe Conte's cabinet renewed until February 25 a ban on travelling between regions that had been due to expire on Monday, a spokesman said. The regions of Abruzzo, Liguria, Tuscany and the autonomous province of Trentino were also moved up to the medium-risk "orange" category from Sunday, meaning that bars, restaurants and museums will be shut. The rest of Italy remains "yellow", with bars and restaurants open until 6:00 pm except for takeaway service, but with a nationwide night curfew.
13th Feb 2021 - Medical Xpress

New Covid-19 outbreaks in China reopen pet owners’ wounds, but public pressure eases some lockdown restrictions

During early pandemic quarantines, many pet owners in China were forced to leave their pets alone at home or send them into the wild. Following public pressure, Daxing district in Beijing adjusted measures to allow pets to be moved to hotels with their owners.
13th Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post

Melbourne lockdown: How new circuit-breaker rules work as Australia tries to tackle rise in Covid cases

The Australian state of Victoria will be placed under a “short, sharp circuit breaker” after an outbreak of new coronavirus cases were linked to a quarantine hotel. A five-day snap lockdown has been issued in the southeastern state after 13 people tested positive for Covid-19 at the Holiday Inn near Melbourne Airport in quick succession since Sunday.
13th Feb 2021 - iNews

Doctors blame virus outbreaks on shoppers’ complacency

More than 35 Covid-19 outbreaks have been linked to supermarkets in recent weeks as consumers become complacent, health experts have warned. According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), 35 were linked back to shops in Ireland in the last 11 weeks. Nineteen were recorded in the last month, with three in the last week. Dr Gabriel Scally, the president of epidemiology and public health at the Royal Society of Medicine, said there was clear evidence that shops are places where the coronavirus can be transmitted.
13th Feb 2021 - Irish Independent

Covid-19: a first case of serious reinfection by the variant identified in South Africa described in France

A worrying first. Serious reinfection caused by the South African Covid-19 variant identified by French researchers. "This case illustrates the variant may be responsible for severe reinfection after a first mild infection" from the normal coronavirus
13th Feb 2021 - Franceinfo

New Zealand reports three new COVID-19 local cases, first since January

New Zealand on Sunday reported three new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, the country’s first since late January, when a returned traveller tested positive after leaving quarantine. New Zealand’s minister for COVID-19 response, Chris Hipkins, said the three cases were a couple and their daughter in Auckland, and that genomic testing was being conducted to see if the family’s infection was linked to any highly infectious variants. The new cases, the first since Jan. 24, forced Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to return to the capital Wellington, skipping a gay pride event in Auckland that she was due to attend on Sunday afternoon.
13th Feb 2021 - Reuters

France not planning lockdown in eastern Moselle over COVID-19 variants

The French government has no plans for now to order local lockdown measures in the eastern area of Moselle to rein in the spread of highly contagious COVID-19 variants, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Friday. Veran told reporters that a high number of cases of the South African COVID-19 variant had been found in the region.
12th Feb 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 in retreat in UK, 'R' number below one for first time since July

The COVID-19 pandemic in Britain is retreating and the reproduction “R” number, which measures transmission rates, has dropped below 1 for the first time since July, adding to hopes that some lockdown restrictions could be eased next month. Estimates published on Friday showed that the COVID-19 “R” number for Britain is now between 0.7 and 0.9, a slight drop from last week’s estimate of 0.7 and 1.0, and dipping under one for the first time in over six months. The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England was also shown to be dropping in separate data released on Friday. The Office for National Statistics said that about one in 80 people were infected in the week ended Feb.6, compared to one in 65 people the previous week
12th Feb 2021 - Reuters


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COVID-19 surge takes toll on Portugal's undertakers

Standing next to the sealed coffin of yet another COVID-19 victim in Portugal, funeral parlour worker Carlos Carneiro wept as the bereaved family played a record of a traditional fado song as a final goodbye. Carneiro, 37, has been in the undertaking business for two decades helping people cope with loss, but never felt as affected by sorrow and fear as now. Portugal fared better than others in Europe in the first wave of the pandemic in March-April, but the new year brought a devastating surge in infections and deaths, overwhelming the health service and funeral homes. More than 14,700 people have died of COVID-19 in Portugal, with cumulative infections since the start of the pandemic at nearly 775,000.
11th Feb 2021 - Reuters

NI records one of its lowest numbers for new daily Covid-19 infections in months

In data published in its daily Covid-19 dashboard the DoH reported 253 new infections in the last 24 hours. To put this into context, two weeks ago, on Thursday January 28 the DoH reported 592 new infections in 24 hours and 4,066 in the seven days leading up to that date. Fast-forward two weeks to today, Thursday February at the number of daily infections is down 57 per cent to 253 and the number of infections in the last seven days is down 42 per cent to 2,377.
11th Feb 2021 - Belfast Newsletter

UK announces 13,494 more coronavirus cases and 678 deaths

Department of Health data show cases fell by over a third on last Thursday and deaths down by 26 per cent. Adds to further evidence to Britain being past the worst of the second wave which wreaked havoc over winter. NHS Test & Trace showed the weekly total of cases was last week a quarter down on the week before it. And Public Health England figures show positive test rates down in all regions and ages, and most boroughs
11th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Spain reports 18,114 new coronavirus cases, adds 643 deaths to official toll

The epidemiological curve in Spain continues to fall, but the coronavirus pandemic in the country is still far from a situation whereby transmission is under control. In its Wednesday report, the Health Ministry reported 18,114 new infections and added 643 victims to the official death toll – below the record figure since the first wave that was set on Tuesday of 766 fatalities. The slowdown in the transmission of the virus is also being seen in a fall in the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which is now at 584. But while this downward trend is positive, the third wave is still a serious threat in Spain: the average incidence across the country is double the level of 250 considered to be extreme risk by the Health Ministry, and the pressure on the country’s intensive care units (ICUs) persists. The ministry called on citizens not to lower their guard, but some regions, such as Madrid, Andalusia, Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha, are already talking about relaxing social restrictions.
11th Feb 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Sewage samples show COVID-19 spreading fast in some French cities

Sewage samples from a new nationwide COVID-19 monitoring system show that in some French cities traces of coronavirus are spiking above levels seen during the second wave of the epidemic in the autumn. France's new "Obepine" network continuously samples city sewage in nearly 50 waste water stations and publishes charts that indicate the quantity of genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19. For cities where data are available from spring 2020, the indicator charts show a strong correlation with charts of the number of positive cases and can give early warning signals. "In Lille, Marseille and Strasbourg we see a strong uptick, while in the Paris region the situation seems more under control," said Vincent Marechal, a Sorbonne university virology professor and co-founder of the Obepine network.
11th Feb 2021 - The Peninsula Qatar

Tanzania experiencing surge in COVID-19 cases, says U.S.

The United States said on Wednesday that Tanzania, whose president has advised citizens to shun coronavirus vaccines, is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and its healthcare facilities could be quickly overwhelmed. In a statement, the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam said it was “aware of a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases since January”. “The practice of COVID-19 mitigation and prevention measures remains limited ... healthcare facilities in Tanzania can become quickly overwhelmed in a healthcare crisis.”
11th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Experts urge caution as coronavirus variants spread in Japan

The number of people found infected with new strains of the coronavirus in Japan has topped 100, with community infections reported and major clusters seen in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that one variant was up to 70% more transmissible than the original, and experts in Japan are calling for people to be careful. The first variant cases were detected on Dec. 25 last year at Haneda Airport in the capital, and Kansai International Airport in western Japan. Then on Jan. 18, three people who'd had no contact with people who returned from overseas were confirmed to have been infected in Shizuoka Prefecture in what were believed to be cases of community transmission.
11th Feb 2021 - Mainichi Shimbun

Europe tracks variant spread as COVID deaths spike in Africa

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) European office today said that the region's 4-week drop in cases is good news but warned that outbreaks and community transmission involving variants is increasing, requiring a close watch and careful response decisions. At a briefing today, Hans Henri Kluge, MD, MPH, said daily case numbers and deaths are still too high. "At this point, the overwhelming majority of European countries remain vulnerable," he said. "Right now, it’s a thin line between the hope of a vaccine and a false sense of security."
11th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP


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Vaccine nationalism is worsening Covid-19 in Malawi

A second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, mainly driven by the South African variant, is bringing hospitals in Malawi to the brink. CNN's David McKenzie goes inside a hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, where the doctors are working around the clock to battle the pandemic amid a shortage of vaccines.
10th Feb 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

COVID-19: Vaccination total passes 13m as another 1,001 COVID-related deaths reported

The total number of people to have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the UK has passed 13 million, as another 1,001 deaths were reported. Today's official government figure compares to the 1,053 deaths recorded on Tuesday. And 13,013 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, up on the 12,364 yesterday.
10th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Surging virus in French African outpost reveals inequalities

Mayotte’s main tourist office stands nearly empty, a lonely tropical outpost overlooking a people-less port. Its only hospital, however, is overwhelmed. The demand for intensive care beds is more than quadruple the supply, as medical workers fight to contain the French Indian Ocean territory’s worst coronavirus outbreak yet. The Mayotte islands are the poorest corner of the European Union, tucked between Madagascar and the mainland coast of Mozambique in southern Africa - and were the last spot in France to receive any coronavirus vaccines. Local authorities feel forgotten and say their difficulties in fighting the virus reflect long-standing inequalities between France’s majority-white mainland and its far-flung multiracial former colonies.
10th Feb 2021 - ABC News

France Stalls Between Slow Covid Vaccine Rollout and High Infection Rates

In the town of Pontoise, which gently slopes upward from the Oise River about 15 miles northwest of Paris, Mayor Stéphanie Von Euw is laser-focused on her new vaccination center — a blocky, sand-colored recreational facility where up to 450 shots are administered daily to those over 75 or otherwise at high risk. Ms. Von Euw was energetic on a recent visit, chatting with doctors and vaccine recipients. But here in Pontoise, as in many other parts of France, there is no hiding that a winter of pandemic doldrums has set in. “To keep my chin up, I try to follow this rule: I take one day at a time,” Ms. Von Euw said across a table covered with chocolate boxes left by recent vaccine recipients. “If I look to the future, I lose myself.”
10th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

Denmark says cases of more contagious British coronavirus variant on rise

The share of people infected with the more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in Britain is on the rise in Denmark, authorities reported on Wednesday, citing preliminary data. In the first week of February, 27% of positive cases analyzed for their genetic material were carrying the B117 variant, up from 20% the week before, the State Serum Institute (SSI) said in a report.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters

France's daily new COVID-19 cases hold steady on average

France reported 18,870 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, up from Monday’s 4,317 but well down from the previous Tuesday’s 23,337, and hospital numbers fell again after a two-day rise. The seven-day moving average of new infections, which evens out daily reporting irregularities, stands at 19,348, a low since Jan. 20. The total cumulative number of cases increased to 3.36 million, the sixth highest in the world. This seven-day moving average has now stayed in a tight 19,200-20,700 range for almost three weeks, a trend that seems to warrant the government’s decision not to resort to a third lockdown despite health experts calling for it.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Sweden registers 4,070 new COVID-19 cases, 138 deaths on Wednesday

Sweden, which has spurned a lockdown throughout the pandemic, registered 4,070 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, Health Agency statistics showed. The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 138 new deaths, taking the total to 12,326. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and weeks. Sweden’s death rate per capita is several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours, but lower than several European countries that opted for lockdowns.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 cases are falling in the U.S. It could be a calm before a variant-driven storm

If the U.S. Covid-19 epidemic were a marathon, the country might have made it to Mile 20. It’s been through a lot, and already, there are signs things are getting better. But there are building leg cramps that could make this last push, which isn’t actually all that short, really painful. The two existing vaccines are reaching more people, and soon, the country will likely have a third, from Johnson & Johnson, that’s just one dose and comes with easier transport and storage requirements. Cases and hospitalizations have fallen precipitously since their peaks last month, and now deaths — which are a lagging indicator — have turned downward as well. That will ease the burden on health systems and offer a reprieve from what had for months been worsening infection and death data.
10th Feb 2021 - Stat News


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COVID-19: Another 1,052 UK deaths reported as 12.6 million receive first vaccine jab

Another 1,052 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in the UK, according to the latest government figures. The number is up from the 333 fatalities confirmed on Monday. A further 12,364 infections were also confirmed on Tuesday, compared with the 14,104 cases reported yesterday. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 3,972,148.
9th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Second wave of Covid deaths in England and Wales peaked on 19 January, says ONS data

The second wave of coronavirus peaked in England and Wales on 19 January at 1,404 deaths in a single day, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistic. The figure, which based on reported deaths 28 days after a positive Covid test,
9th Feb 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: 'Surge testing' in Manchester after mutation of Kent variant detected

Thousands of extra COVID tests are being rolled out in Manchester after a mutation of the Kent variant was found in the city. Four people from two unconnected households were found with the E484K mutation, Manchester City Council said, and 10,000 extra tests will now be distributed.
9th Feb 2021 - Sky News

UK coronavirus death toll up by 1,052 as infection rates continue to fall

The UK's official coronavirus death toll has risen by 1,052 and infections are up by 12,364 in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths has more than trebled since Monday when 333 people died - the lowest number since December 2020. Between February 3 - 9 the number of deaths have gone down by 25.7% compared to the previous seven days. While the number of infections over the same period is down by 26.6%. The figures suggest the lockdowns currently in place across the UK are continuing to have an impact in driving down the number of new reported cases of coronavirus. But Government scientific advisers have warned that the UK needs to "take the pain" of restrictions now or risk being trapped in a cycle of lockdowns due to variants of the virus
9th Feb 2021 - The Mirror

UK Covid Lockdown: Record 46% of Deaths in England Wales Linked to Virus

The proportion of Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales climbed to a record in the last week of January, as the total number of fatalities associated with the disease continued to rise despite the severe lockdown. Almost 46% of total deaths in the week to Jan. 29 were linked to the virus, the highest since the pandemic began, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. The total number of fatalities mentioning Covid rose by 11 to 8,433, the most since the height of the first wave in April. While new infections have fallen since the lockdown began last month, and officials say the U.K. has passed the peak of the latest surge, the figures show how the devastating impact of the winter wave of the virus is still being felt.
9th Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Spain’s primary healthcare centers struggling to cope with strain of pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed Spain’s primary healthcare workers to the breaking point. When describing their situation, the words they use are “overwhelmed,” “disheartened” and “exhausted.” In the first wave of the pandemic, primary healthcare workers were the protective wall against the epidemic. In the second, they were the guards looking out for the spread of virus on the street and in senior residences. Now, in the third wave, they are leading the charge, overseeing both the Covid vaccination campaign and assisting patients whose care has been delayed by the pandemic.
9th Feb 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Keep students at home for a month to avoid new lockdown, say school doctors

School and university doctors in France have demanded the closure of all schools and colleges for four weeks to stem the spread of the coronavirus and avoid a third national lockdown. The syndicat national des médecins scolaires et universitaires (snmsu.unsa) made the call as school holidays got underway in one the three zones covering establishments in cities such as Marseille and Nice in the south, Amiens, Caen and Lille in the north as well as Nancy and Metz in the east and Nantes to the west. The doctors say a month-long break for all of the country’s pupils and students would help to cut the number of infections
9th Feb 2021 - RFI English

Japan Keeps Its Covid Fight Simple With a Rule Starting at Dinnertime

Call it the Zen art of lockdowns. In the fight to suppress Covid-19, Japan has found success by stripping down its policy to one simple measure: closing restaurants and bars at 8 p.m. When the government declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and other urban areas on Jan. 7, it changed little, except to urge places that serve food and drinks to close by 8 p.m. Most complied in exchange for support that includes payments of about $600 a day. Infections since then have fallen by more than two-thirds nationwide, even though other daily activities such as shopping and commuting have continued. The government hopes to lift the state of emergency by March 7. “In consultation with experts, we carefully crafted a policy centered on reducing the hours of restaurants and bars,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Feb. 2.
9th Feb 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Austria warns against travel to Tirol after Bavaria threatens border closure

Austria is warning against non-essential travel to Tirol after neighbouring Bavaria threatened to seal its borders over an outbreak of the South African Covid-19 variant in the Alpine province. “The government is warning against travel to Tirol in order to prevent the South African variant from spreading and the government asks all citizens to restrict journeys to Tirol to those that are absolutely necessary,” the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, said in a statement. Authorities in Tirol, which contains several ski resorts popular with tourists, said on Monday morning it had so far detected 165 fully sequenced cases of people being infected with the South African variant. A further 112 suspected cases were being investigated, said Tirol’s governor, Günther Platter.
9th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Texas, California see large drop in COVID-19 cases

Texas and California, two of the states hardest hit by COVID-19 since Thanksgiving, have reached new milestones indicating that the spread of infections is slowing. The number of new daily coronavirus cases in California fell to just over 10,000 yesterday, down from 50,000 a month ago, according to KQED. Gov. Gavin Newsom also reported a 25% decline in COVID-19 patients in intensive care units. "Everything that should be up is up, and everything that should be down is down," Newsom said during remarks given yesterday at San Diego Petco Park, which will be the state's first mass vaccine "super station."
9th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

Austria tries to contain S.African variant outbreak by voluntary means

Austria on Monday opted against placing the whole Alpine province of Tyrol under quarantine to contain an outbreak of the so-called South African variant of the coronavirus, instead urging the public not to go there unless they have to. The province, a winter sports hotspot, has so far been unable to explain how the variant arrived in the Ziller Valley, long a popular tourist area. Austrian ski lifts have been allowed to open since Dec. 24, but hotels are closed for all but business travel and restaurants can only serve takeaway meals. Tyrol's provincial government has opposed the idea of a province-wide quarantine in talks with the national government on how to contain the variant. Both governments are led by the conservative People's Party. Austria loosened a national lockdown on Monday, letting non-essential shops reopen.
8th Feb 2021 - Reuters


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López Obrador’s pandemic optimism falls flat after he catches Covid-19

On his first day in isolation after contracting Covid-19, Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador had a call with Vladimir Putin. Whereas his first call with President Joe Biden, three days earlier, had been “friendly and respectful”, López Obrador gushed about the “genuine affection” from the Russian president as Mexico prepared to receive 24m doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Foreign diplomacy does not usually interest López Obrador, but this time it was urgent: Mexico, one of the world’s worst-hit countries, faced a three-week halt in vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and needed more fast.
8th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

British COVID Variant Gaining Strong Foothold in the United States

The highly contagious coronavirus variant that drove Britain into lockdown in December is now spreading quickly across the United States, a new study shows. What has been dubbed the B.1.1.7 variant is doubling its prevalence every nine days in this country,
8th Feb 2021 - U.S. News & World Report

UK facing even tougher lockdown rules if mutant Covid continues to spread

A Sage scientist warned for further restrictions after a study found the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab was 'less effective' against the highly infectious South African variant.
8th Feb 2021 - Metro

Is Brazilian Covid variant en route to Britain? Troublesome strain spotted in France, Italy and Faroe Islands will inevitably end up in UK, experts warn

The troublesome Brazilian variant of coronavirus will inevitably end up in Britain, scientists have warned amid fears it could make vaccines less effective. Cases of the mutant strain — which shares a mutation with the South African variant — have already been spotted in France, Italy, the Netherlands and the Faroe Islands. Health ministries in Germany and Spain claim to have also discovered cases of the dangerous strain. Experts now say it is only a 'matter of time' before the variant — dubbed P1 — lands on Britain's shores because ministers 'can't rely' on border controls to lock it out.
8th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

'I've Never Seen Such Sadness': Doctors' Burden Of Watching Daily Tragedies, Then Going Home To Lockdown

Usually we would go home from an awful shift and maybe have a drink or a meal with a friend, maybe go to the gym, maybe play some music and laugh. And then we are recharged and ready for when we go back to our next shift and we are able to deal with all the awfulness again.
8th Feb 2021 - Huffington Post UK

France reports fresh fall in number of new COVID-19 cases

France reported a fall in new COVID-19 infections on Sunday for the fourth successive day. Health ministry data showed there had been 19,175 new confirmed COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours compared with 20,586 the previous day. But the data also showed the number of patients being treated in hospital for the disease had risen to 27,694 from 27,369 the previous day, following a four-day decline. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care also rose, increasing to 3,272 from 3,225 the day before.
8th Feb 2021 - Reuters

UK care workers use up leave to avoid losing pay while sick with Covid

Some UK care workers are having to take holiday when they are off sick with Covid or see already low wages fall to £96 per week, raising fears they may not self-isolate. Staff on the minimum wage claim to have been offered only statutory sick pay when ill with Covid or self-isolating. This contravenes government policy that they should be paid in full to limit infection spread. One care worker involved in an ongoing outbreak at a nursing home involving several fatalities told the Guardian the employer does not provide sick pay, so the worker and other infected colleagues had to take holiday to prevent their earnings falling. One colleague took holiday pay to maintain earnings while very ill with Covid in intensive care, the care worker said.
8th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Daily COVID-19 cases fall below 100,000, but CDC head says stay vigilant

According to the COVID-19 case tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University, the United States reported 86,928 new cases yesterday, and 1,268 deaths, marking the first time since Nov 2 daily case counts have fallen below 100,000. "But daily cases are still higher than the average during the summer peak," warned Rochelle Walensky, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during today's White House coronavirus task force briefing. Walensky said hospitalizations were also still at record levels. There are 81,439 COVID-19 patients in US hospitals, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
8th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

U.K. coronavirus variant spreading rapidly through United States, study finds

The coronavirus variant that shut down much of the United Kingdom is spreading rapidly across the United States, outcompeting other strains and doubling its prevalence among confirmed infections every week and a half, according to new research made public Sunday. The report, posted on the preprint server MedRxiv and not yet peer-reviewed or published in a journal, comes from a collaboration of many scientists and provides the first hard data to support a forecast issued last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed the variant becoming dominant in the United States by late March.
7th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post


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Burkina Faso hospitals worry as second COVID-19 wave hits

For nearly a year, Ousseni Yanogo thought he was doing everything he could to protect himself from the coronavirus. The 63-year-old retired gendarme diligently wore a mask, washed his hands and stayed a safe distance from other adults. When he held hands with his granddaughter to sing happy birthday when she turned 6, he never imagined he'd find himself fighting to survive in a coronavirus isolation ward weeks later. “I didn’t know contact (with children) was that dangerous, otherwise I wouldn’t have allowed the party to be organized,” Yanogo said while seated on his bed at the Bogodogo Medical Teaching Hospital in Ouagadougou, the capital of the West African country of roughly 20 million.
7th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Virus Variant First Found in Britain Now Spreading Rapidly in U.S.

A more contagious variant of the coronavirus first found in Britain is spreading rapidly in the United States, doubling roughly every 10 days, according to a new study. Analyzing half a million coronavirus tests and hundreds of genomes, a team of researchers predicted that in a month this variant could become predominant in the United States, potentially bringing a surge of new cases and increased risk of death. The new research offers the first nationwide look at the history of the variant, known as B.1.1.7, since it arrived in the United States in late 2020. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that B.1.1.7 could become predominant by March if it behaved the way it did in Britain. The new study confirms that projected path.
7th Feb 2021 - New York Times

Covid-19: Extra testing opens in Bristol and South Gloucestershire

Additional testing to track and suppress the spread of a Covid-19 variant has been rolled out in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. People who do not have symptoms but live in 24 postcode areas are "strongly encouraged" to get tested. Additional testing has been introduced in Worcestershire and Sefton after the South Africa variant was found. Bristol City Council's director of public health said people should follow existing health advice.
7th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: More than 11.4 million have now had first vaccine dose as UK reports another 828 deaths

A total of 11,465,210 people have received a first vaccine as the UK has reported another 828 deaths associated with the virus. The number of deaths is down from the 1,014 reported on Friday, and comes after another 18,262 cases were reported on Saturday, latest government figures show. The number of daily infections is less than the 19,114 cases confirmed yesterday and the 20,634 reported on Thursday.
6th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Biden administration to survey schools on COVID-19 impact

The Biden administration will soon begin collecting data from thousands of U.S. schools to find out how they have been affected by the pandemic, including how many have returned to in-person instruction, officials said Friday. Led by the Education Department the effort will collect monthly data from 7,000 schools on a range of topics related to COVID-19 It’s the first federal effort to gather data on the pandemic’s impact on education. President Joe Biden called for the data in a Jan. 21 executive order on school reopening. The Trump administration declined to collect data on the subject, saying it wasn’t the role of the federal government to do so.
6th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Bolivia funeral homes, cemeteries overwhelmed as COVID-19 deaths mount

Corpses in Bolivia have begun to pile up as a fierce second wave of the coronavirus has overwhelmed funeral homes and cemeteries, according to officials, stoking fears the growing backlog could become yet another focal point of infection.
6th Feb 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Covid-19: NI records seven more coronavirus-related deaths

A further seven Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland. The department's coronavirus death toll now stands at 1,922. The latest figures, released on Saturday, also recorded 390 new positive cases of the virus. There are 602 people being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals in Northern Ireland, with 67 of those patients being treated in intensive care units (ICU).
6th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: UK records 828 deaths and 18,262 cases

The UK has recorded a further 828 Covid-19 deaths and 18,262 cases in the past 24 hours, the Government has said. The number of deaths, 28 days after a positive test, still remains high with a seven-day average of 1,000 a day. But cases, hospitalisations and deaths continue to fall as the lockdown pushes down the number of people mixing in the community. The figures bring the total number of cases in the UK to 3,929,835 and deaths to 112,092 - one of the highest in the world.
6th Feb 2021 - LBC

Covid-19: Are NI's pandemic trends turning in the right direction?

We're now into February, nearly a full year since Northern Ireland's first case of Covid-19. And we can say that we've just exited the worst month of the pandemic to date. The death toll in January far outstripped any other month so far. There were more positive cases last month than at any other time and more people ended up in our hospitals because of the virus than ever before. But there is much cause for optimism as we face into the spring - trends indicate that most of the numbers used to measure the pandemic in Northern Ireland are going in the right direction.
6th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 10,485 - RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 10,485 to 2,275,394, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 689 to 61,286, the tally showed.
6th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Up to 100 UK children a week hospitalised with rare post-Covid disease

Up to 100 children a week are being hospitalised with a rare disease that can emerge weeks after Covid-19, leaving them in intensive care, doctors have said. In a phenomenon that is worrying paediatricians, 75% of the children worst affected by paediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome (PIMS) were black, Asian or ethnic minority (BAME). Almost four out of five children were previously healthy, according to an unpublished snapshot of cases. When PIMS emerged in the first wave of the pandemic, it caused confusion among doctors, concern among NHS bosses and alarm among parents. It was initially thought to be Kawasaki disease, a rare condition that mainly affects babies and infants. But PIMS has been recognised as a separate, novel post-viral syndrome that one in 5,000 children get about a month after having Covid, regardless of whether they had symptoms.
5th Feb 2021 - The Guardian


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COVID-19: Another 915 die with coronavirus in UK - as one in five adults has first vaccine dose

Another 915 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, according to the latest government data. This compares to the 1,322 fatalities that were reported yesterday. It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK remained on track to complete the vaccination of the top four priority groups - 15 million people - by 15 February,
4th Feb 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: 15.3% of England's population estimated to have had coronavirus by mid-January

About one in seven people in private households in England had contracted coronavirus by mid-January, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates. The figure is equivalent to 6.9 million people - 15.3% of the population. The estimate is up from one in nine people in December last year, and one in 11 people in November. The numbers are the proportion of the population who are likely to have tested positive for antibodies to COVID-19, based on blood test results from a sample group aged 16 and over.
4th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Coronavirus Northern Ireland: 10 further Covid-19 deaths recorded by Department of Health

The Department of Health has reported a further 10 coronavirus related deaths. According to the latest update, four of the fatalities are said to have occurred within the current reporting period, and six outside of it. The death toll in Northern Ireland now stands at 1,899, according to the DoH. Thursday's dashboard update reports a further 412 positive cases of the virus, bringing the total number of positive cases to 105,637 since the start of the pandemic. Over the past seven days, the Department says 3,205 individuals have tested positive in Northern Ireland. There are currently 671 Covid-19 confirmed patients in hospital and 68 in intensive care.
4th Feb 2021 - Belfast Live

Variant detected in UK reported in Italian town

The Netherlands has become the latest European country to limit AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine to people aged under 65, despite the European Union approving it for all ages. France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden are among the other countries to put age limits on the vaccine, which was developed by the company with Oxford University. "Because the immune system starts to function less well with increasing age, the council considers the vaccine suitable for people up to the age of 65," the Dutch Health Council said in a statement. The council said it "recommends that the first available doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca be used in elderly people aged 60 to 65 years".
4th Feb 2021 - RTE.ie

Yet again, the virus has us all holding our breath

Here we go again. Victoria had just reached 28 days without community coronavirus transmission, but on the back of one positive case finds itself desperately trying to limit another outbreak. With the possibility that a tennis hotel quarantine worker is infected with the highly infectious UK super-strain, there is little room for mistakes or lack of urgency. Premier Daniel Andrews is right to concede that, particularly with the new mutation reaching our shores, the likelihood of it breaching the revamped hotel quarantine program is heightened. And while the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination appears on track for later this month, herd immunity is not expected to be reached for many months, leaving no room for dropping the ball.
4th Feb 2021 - The Age

To avoid lockdown, France cracks down on Covid rule breakers

The scene at the small Parisian cafe looks almost normal: smokers queueing for a pack of cigarettes, gamblers buying lottery tickets or picking up betting slips for the races. That is, until the police walk in, reminding customers, and the owner, that nothing is the same in the Covid pandemic. "There are too many people here, count them," an officer orders his team.
4th Feb 2021 - RFI


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Coronavirus outbreak at vaccine lab visited by Boris Johnson

An outbreak of coronavirus has been confirmed at the vaccine laboratory which was visited by Boris Johnson in Scotland last week. There were a number of cases reported at the Valneva site in Livingston ahead of the Prime Minister's visit on Thursday - an event which had already received some criticism. Valneva's chief financial officer David Lawrence told the Daily Record that Downing Street was informed of the outbreak ahead of the trip
3rd Feb 2021 - The Northern Echo

Up to 600 players, staff and officials at Australian Open to isolate after hotel worker’s positive Covid-19 test

The build-up to the Australian Open has been plunged into fresh chaos after 600 people associated with the tournament were ordered to immediately isolate, forcing the complete cancellation of Thursday’s schedule involving the various warm-up events at Melbourne Park. More than 100 players, plus coaches, staff and officials staying at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne’s city centre have been deemed as “casual contacts” of a hotel quarantine worker who tested positive for Covid-19. All must remain inside their rooms until a negative result has been confirmed.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Times

Over 300 million Indians may have COVID-19 - source citing government study

About one in four of India’s 1.35 billion people may have been infected with the coronavirus, said a source with direct knowledge of a government serological survey, suggesting the country’s real caseload was many times higher than reported. India has confirmed 10.8 million COVID-19 infections, the most anywhere outside the United States. But the survey, whose findings are much more conservative than a private one from last week, indicates India’s actual cases may have crossed 300 million. The state-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which conducted the survey, said it would only share the findings at a news conference on Thursday
3rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Seventy-five per cent of all Covid-19 cases in Leeds are the new variant

Around three-quarters of all coronavirus cases in Leeds are currently from the new Kent variant, the council has revealed. The news was revealed in a press briefing held by Leeds City Council to update the public on the district's continuing fight against Covid-19. Providing an update on infections in the city, Victoria Eaton said that around 75 per cent of all cases currently recorded in the region are from the Kent variant. Yesterday, scientists revealed a "mutation of concern" had been detected in the Kent variant of coronavirus and described the development as a "worrying development."
3rd Feb 2021 - Leeds Live

U.S. response to coronavirus variants emphasizes masks and vaccines instead of lockdowns

As America faces the potential for catastrophic coronavirus spikes fueled by highly infectious variants, public health authorities remain wary of imposing the stricter measures adopted by other nations. Instead, they continue to embrace a stick-to-the-basics strategy: Wear a mask, maybe even two. Avoid crowds. And get vaccinated — fast. The restrained approach differs from strict preemptive measures taking place in Europe, including lockdowns, classroom closures and requirements to wear medical-grade masks. It also illustrates the realities of the pandemic response in America, where there is little appetite for more limitations to curb viral spread. The federal government and individual states have taken steps to expand genetic monitoring, but authorities are flying blind in the meantime.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

ICU faces constant pressure as France waffles over lockdown

While France holds its breath to see if a daily 12-hour curfew and other restrictions are enough to keep a new crisis at bay, all eyes are on hospitals like La Timone, which has been a flashpoint in France throughout the pandemic. France has lost more than 77,000 lives to the virus, and more than 400 on Tuesday alone. Virus infections have stabilized in recent days but remain stubbornly high. But President Emmanuel Macron’s government says it won’t shut down the country again unless its hospitals are again at risk of overflowing with virus patients.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Independent

UK begins door-to-door testing of 80,000 people to halt South African variant

Volunteers and police officers in several parts of England began knocking on people’s doors to hand out COVID-19 testing kits on Tuesday to try to halt the spread of a highly infectious variant that originated in South Africa. The testing surge was announced by the government on Monday after 11 people in different regions tested positive for the variant without having any links to people who had travelled to South Africa. In total, Britain has found 105 cases of the variant, of which all but those 11 were people who had either been to South Africa or been in contact with someone who had
3rd Feb 2021 - Reuters UK

France's COVID situation fragile but new lockdown not inevitable -government spokesman

The COVID-19 situation in France remains fragile but a new national lockdown is not necessarily inevitable, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters on Wednesday.
3rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

CDC: COVID-19 cases drop to pre-Thanksgiving levels

After 2 months of record-setting case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today the United States has finally returned to pre-Thanksgiving levels of COVID-19 transmission. "We are now averaging 144,000 cases per day, and though deaths continue to increase, a recent decline in hospitalizations gives us hope those will also soon fall," said Rochelle Walensky, MD, during today's White House coronavirus press briefing.
3rd Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

Coronavirus: German medics fly in to aid Portugal's hospital emergency

The sight of a German military plane touching down in Lisbon on Wednesday, carrying intensive care specialists and ventilators to help save lives in Portugal's embattled hospitals, recalls the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe. Last spring, when Italy was overwhelmed by the first wave of infections, it was helped out by several other European countries taking in patients - even if many Italians felt it was too little, too late. Now, almost a year on, it is Portugal's turn. The country's national health service is overwhelmed. There's a shortage of beds and specialist nurses, and in one hospital last week, potentially life-threatening problems in an overburdened oxygen system.
3rd Feb 2021 - BBC News


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COVID-19: More than 10 million vaccine doses administered in UK - as deaths rise by 1,449

The number of COVID vaccine jabs given in the UK has now passed 10 million, government figures show. A total of 9,646,715 were first doses, while 496,796 were second doses. Meanwhile, the UK has recorded another 1,449 coronavirus deaths - yesterday this number was 406, and last Tuesday it was 1,631. A further 16,840 cases have also been confirmed, compared to 18,607 on Monday and 20,089 last Tuesday.
2nd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Captain Sir Tom Moore dies with coronavirus

In England, Captain Sir Tom Moore has died with coronavirus. The 100-year-old, who raised almost £33m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, was admitted to Bedford Hospital on Sunday. The Queen led tributes to Capt Sir Tom, "recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world". He tested positive for Covid-19 last week. His family said due to other medication he was receiving for pneumonia, he was unable to be vaccinated.
2nd Feb 2021 - BBC News

China sees new COVID-19 cases drop to lowest in a month

China reported the fewest new COVID-19 cases in a month as imported cases overtook local infections, official data showed on Tuesday, suggesting the country’s worst wave since March 2020 is being stamped out ahead of a key holiday. Thirty cases were reported in the mainland on Feb. 1, the National Health Commission said in a statement, down from 42 cases a day earlier and marking lowest total since 24 cases were reported on Jan. 2. The commission said 18 of the new cases originated overseas, overtaking locally transmitted cases for the first time in about a month
2nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

French COVID-19 indicators at a two-months high but no lockdown

France’s main COVID-19 indicators have reached two-month highs on average on Monday and the country’s ski lifts will remain closed throughout February but the government is still hoping to avoid a third national lockdown. President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday defended his decision to hold off such a new lockdown, telling the public he had faith in their ability to rein in COVID-19 with less severe curbs even as a third wave spreads and the vaccine rollout falters. Earlier in the day, government spokesman Gabriel Attal did nonetheless say the chance of avoiding a third lockdown was slim, adding everything would be done to avoid it.
2nd Feb 2021 - Reuters


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Critically-ill Covid-19 patients being sent to Bristol from Birmingham amid 'extreme' ICU pressure

A hospital in Bristol is taking critically ill coronavirus patients from as far away as Birmingham. Southmead Hospital is stepping in amid "extreme" pressure on intensive care units (ICUs) elsewhere, BristolLive has reported. The hospital in north Bristol is taking about five coronavirus -positive patients from other regions each week. And that number is expected to rise, according to a hospital chief. North Bristol NHS Trust's chief operating officer, Karen Brown, said: "We've had patients transferred to us from Kent and also Birmingham as well."
1st Feb 2021 - Birmingham Live

COVID-19: 9.3 million people have received first vaccine dose as UK records another 406 deaths

Over half of people in their 70s have now received a coronavirus jab, as UK vaccinations hit nearly 9.3 million. It comes as the UK recorded a further 406 coronavirus-related deaths, the lowest daily rise since 28 December, and another 18,607 confirmed cases, the lowest number of daily cases since 15 December. The figures bring the total number of UK deaths to 106,564 and total number of cases to 3,835,783.
1st Feb 2021 - Sky News

Germany sees positive trend in COVID-19 infections after second lockdown

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Germany remained below the previous week’s levels, with another 14,022 cases reported within one day, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Friday. So far, more than 2.19 million infections have been registered in Germany since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to the federal government agency for disease control and prevention. The death toll related to COVID-19 stood at 55,752. To stop the spread of infections in the country, Germany entered a second lockdown at the beginning of November. The lockdown, failing to reverse the trend in infections, was tightened and recently extended until mid-February. Non-essential shops, schools and restaurants in Germany were closed and strict contact restrictions imposed.
1st Feb 2021 - Independent

French police block passengers as new Covid rules kick in

French border police turned away some passengers bound for non-EU destinations Monday as new rules came into force banning flights to and from countries outside the bloc. Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the measure Friday as part of new efforts to contain Covid-19 infections and avoid another nationwide lockdown. Travellers must also present proof of a recent negative Covid test. Only urgent reasons for travel are accepted and border police require written proof before allowing passengers to board, as Toure, a Malian national, found out when he tried to leave France for Bamako without the necessary document. "I said that my mother, whom I hadn't seen in a while, was ill but they told me I needed proof," Toure, who withheld his last name, told AFP at Paris's main airport Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle.
1st Feb 2021 - Yahoo News Australia

Japan Set to Extend Covid Emergency as Economy Sputters

The use of masks by television personalities and news anchors on camera is sparking a debate among the public and within the entertainment industry in Japan after broadcasters on a major network began wearing them during a program. TV Tokyo Corp. began having its anchors wear masks from Jan. 18. After anchor Mariko Oe asked viewers for feedback, the network received over 1,000 comments, of which approximately 80% saw the move in a favorable light. Some of those who disliked the use of masks on camera remarked it was difficult to make out the anchor’s facial expressions. The network is planning to start using subtitles after viewers with hearing difficulties said the masks meant they were unable to lip-read.
1st Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Japan's super-spreader weekends

Recent COVID-19 cases in Japan have shot up sharply, leading to another round of partial lockdowns, but reported cases appear subdued compared to the United States or Europe. Total cases in the United States have surpassed 23,000,000 cumulative while the cumulative number for Japan passed 315,000 cases. That is 69 cases per 1,000 people in the United States compared with two cases per 1,000 in Japan. If Japan had the same ratio of cases per 1,000 people as the United States, Japan would have more than 8,700,000 cases. That approximates the population of metropolitan Tokyo. If the United States had the same ratio of cases per 1,000 people as Japan, the number of cases would be under 660,000. That is about the population of Oklahoma City. Much has been researched and written about this disparity, but we will probably not learn of meaningful factors that can explain it for several more years.
1st Feb 2021 - The Japan Times

Britain's centenarian fundraiser Captain Tom in hospital with COVID-19

British centenarian Captain Tom Moore, who raised millions of pounds for the health service by walking laps of his garden in last year’s lockdown, has been admitted to hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, his daughter said on Sunday. The World War Two veteran caught the public’s imagination in April, just before his 100th birthday, when he was filmed doing laps with the help of a walking frame around his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine, north of London. He hoped to raise 1,000 pounds. Instead, he raised more than 30 million ($41 million) for the National Health Service, broke two Guinness world records, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, scored a No. 1 single, wrote an autobiography and helped set up a charity.
1st Feb 2021 - Reuters

Covid: Door-to-door testing to be introduced across parts of England in response to South Africa variant

Some 80,000 people across England are being encouraged to come forward for “surge” testing, regardless of whether they have symptoms, as part of efforts to contain the growing spread of the South African coronavirus variant. A total of 105 cases in the UK have so far been attributed to the new variant – 11 of which were recently found to be community-based and not linked to people who had travelled to South Africa, suggesting the virus is now circulating among local populations. These infections were detected in eight different English postcodes: in Hanwell, Tottenham and Mitcham in London; Walsall in the West Midlands; Broxbourne, Hertfordshire; Maidstone, Kent; Woking, Surrey; and Southport, Merseyside.
1st Feb 2021 - The Independent

Why can't Ireland be more like New Zealand on Covid?

For the first time, how to confront the threat posed by Covid-19 has become political. On one side are the government and the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), pursuing a policy of suppressing the virus through intermittent lockdowns. On the opposing side is a “zero Covid” movement, initially led by scientists but now backed by several opposition parties, which wants much stricter controls to emulate the example of New Zealand and rid Ireland of the coronavirus. The most prominent advocate of zero Covid has been the Independent Scientific Advisory Group (Isag), a collective of scientists from both sides of the border. In order to eliminate community transmission, it suggests closing borders, imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine on any new arrivals, and then rigorously tracking
31st Jan 2021 - The Times

COVID back in Australia as Perth enters lockdown

The Australian city of Perth was ordered into lockdown on Sunday after a security guard working in hotel quarantine tested positive for COVID-19, ending the country’s longest coronavirus-free run. Soraya Ali reports.
31st Jan 2021 - Reuters


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COVID-19: UK reports another 587 coronavirus deaths - as vaccine doses rise by more than 600,000 for first time

Another 587 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, according to government figures - while the number of people to receive a vaccine dose has climbed above 600,000 in a single day for the first time. It compares to 1,200 fatalities announced yesterday and 610 last Sunday, and brings the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test to 106,158. Britain has recorded more coronavirus deaths than any other country in Europe and has one of the highest COVID death rates in the world, but the tally reported on Sundays is often lower due to a lag in reporting.
31st Jan 2021 - Sky News

Macron defends decision not to order third lockdown as third wave spreads

President Emmanuel Macron defended his decision to hold off on a third lockdown on Saturday, telling the public he had faith in their ability to rein in COVID-19 with less severe curbs even as a third wave spreads and the vaccine rollout falters. From Sunday, France will close it borders to all but essential travel to and from countries outside the European Union, while people arriving from within the bloc will have to show a negative test. Large shopping malls will be shut and police patrols increased to enforce a 6 p.m. curfew. But Macron has stopped short of ordering a new daytime lockdown, saying he wants to see first if other measures will be enough to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
31st Jan 2021 - Reuters

One of largest cemeteries in U.S. struggles with wave of Covid-19 deaths

One of the largest cemeteries in North America is fighting to keep up with the demand for funeral services because of an uptick in Covid-19 deaths. Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier, California, covers over 1,000 acres, but families are having to wait up to five weeks for funeral arrangements, compared to the usual waiting period of five to seven days. “Many families have been very understanding about the backlog of services,” said Patrick Monroe, president and CEO of Rose Hills, adding that the daily call volume for requests spiked a few weeks after Thanksgiving.
30th Jan 2021 - NBC News

COVID-19: 'People in their 30s are dying' - exhausted ITU staff reveal brutal truth of coronavirus frontline

Hope and agony on the COVID wards. It's around 4 o'clock when seven ambulances arrive all at once. COVID-19 hospital admissions may have dipped slightly this week, but glimpse into Barnet Hospital's emergency department for a reality check. You will see we are still in the thick of a crisis. Domestic cleaner Larisa Atanasova, renowned in the hospital for her machine-like efficiency, can barely wipe down the bays quickly enough. She wipes and wipes and wipes; beds, rails, sinks and taps.
30th Jan 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: More than 900 people in the UK died each day on average in first fortnight of 2021

An average of more than 900 people died with COVID-19 each day in the first two weeks of this year, according to new analysis. The second half of April 2020 - the peak of the first wave - is the last time there was a 15-day period as deadly, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data. However, January's average is likely to increase as more deaths are registered. Today marks a year since the UK's earliest known death from the disease - 84-year-old Peter Attwood from Chatham in Kent.
30th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Is Northern Ireland exiting the Covid-19 peak?

The initial indications are that Northern Ireland is just starting to come out of the current peak of the coronavirus pandemic. The numbers give plenty of cause for hope - but they also suggest there's a long way to go yet. The death rate is high, but has been falling slowly and hospital admissions have also dropped. Both of these things are positive but there are still hundreds of people in hospital with Covid-19. On a brighter note, the vaccination rollout continues and the spread of the virus has slowed.
30th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: France closes borders to most non-EU travel

France has imposed new Covid-19 border restrictions, but has once again resisted a new nationwide lockdown. All but essential travel from outside the EU has been banned, while testing requirements on travellers from within the EU has been tightened. PM Jean Castex said France's night curfew would be more tightly enforced and large shopping centres would close. But the measures were seen as mild and favouring the economy. Some doctors fear they will not curb infections.
30th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Portugal close to running out of ICU beds for COVID patients

Portugal said on Saturday it only had seven vacant beds left in intensive care units (ICUs) set up for COVID-19 cases on its mainland, as a surge in infections prompted the authorities to send some critical patients to Portuguese islands. Health Ministry data showed that, out of 850 ICU beds allocated to COVID-19 cases on its mainland, a record 843 beds were now occupied. The nation of 10 million people has an additional 420 ICU beds for those with other ailments. The ministry said the number of daily infections was 12,435, dipping from Thursday’s record, while there were 293 deaths.
30th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Parisians' relief as France avoids third lockdown

Parisians expressed their relief on Saturday (January 30) after French PM Jean Castex announced stronger curfew measures but no new lockdown on Friday night. Edward Baran reports
30th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Bolivian doctors demand lockdown as COVID surge threatens health service 'collapse'

Bolivian doctors are demanding a nationwide lockdown and threatening to stop taking in new patients as a surge in COVID-19 cases, which they say is killing an average of one medic per day, strains hospitals to breaking point. New daily coronavirus infections in the Andean country, which received its first batch of Russian Sputnik V vaccines on Thursday, hit a single-day record of 2,866 this week and deaths attributed to the epidemic climbed above 10,000. “At the rate we are going, there will be a total collapse,” said Ricardo Landivar, a director of the La Paz Medical College. “... We are going to have patients dying in the streets without being able to be treated by medical staff.”
30th Jan 2021 - Reuters

France can still avoid third coronavirus lockdown, Prime Minister says

France decided against imposing a third coronavirus nationwide lockdown on Friday and instead ordered tighter controls at its borders, increased police action against curfew breakers and a greater adherence to working from home. Prime Minister Jean Castex said the public health crisis remained of great concern as France’s death toll jumped above 75,000, the seventh-highest in the world. “We know the grave impact (of a lockdown). Tonight, looking at the data of the past few days, we consider that we can still give ourselves a chance to avoid one,” Castex said in a televised statement. Speaking shortly after President Emmanuel Macron conferred with senior ministers about the crisis, Castex said that from Sunday all arrivals into France from outside the European Union would be banned, except for essential travel.
30th Jan 2021 - Reuters

A year after COVID-19's arrival, India's active cases fall

India has around 170,000 active COVID-19 patients, the lowest since June 2020. It has reported 10.7 million infections and 154,147 deaths - one of the world’s lowest fatality rates, attributed partly to its relatively young population. The country has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States and, with the likely true rate of infection even higher, one study suggests pockets of India have attained herd immunity through natural infection. India started its immunisation programme on Jan. 16, with healthcare workers and a target of reaching 300 million people by July-August.
30th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID prevalence in England high, not falling during lockdown - survey

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England remains high, the Office for National Statistics said in its weekly infection survey on Friday, finding that current levels of coronavirus cases had plateaued but are not falling. The ONS said that around 1 in 55 people had COVID-19 in the week ending Jan. 23, the same prevalence as reported the previous week. “In England, the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) remains high,” the ONS said.
29th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal airlifts COVID patients to Madeira as hospitals near capacity

Ambulances under police escort rushed three intensive-care patients from overstretched Lisbon hospitals to a military base on Friday to be airlifted to the island of Madeira. As the number of patients in Portugal’s intensive care units hit record levels, the regional government in Madeira said it had 157 beds to spare and could take people in even though it is also experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Portugal’s hospital system is creaking under the pressure of the world’s worst surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita, blamed on a relaxation of rules around Christmas and the rapid spread of the coronavirus variant first detected in Britain.
29th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal extends lockdown and closes border over 'terrible' Covid outbreak

Portugal’s parliament has voted to extend the current lockdown until the middle of February and announced the closure of its border with Spain, as the prime minister warned that the country is in a “terrible” situation and facing “the worst moment” of the Covid-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Portugal reported a record 303 deaths from the virus and 16,432 new cases. To date, the country has registered 685,383 cases and 11,608 deaths. The current lockdown, which came into effect on 15 January, will now run until at least 14 February. Non-essential services are closed, remote work is compulsory where possible and schools are shut. The Portuguese government also announced that it would close it border with Spain for two weeks from Friday.
29th Jan 2021 - The Guardian


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 29th Jan 2021

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Portugal breaks daily records in COVID-19 cases and deaths

Portugal reported a record-breaking 303 COVID-19 deaths and 16,432 cases on Thursday, as it struggles to contain a crippling surge in cases over the past month. The country of 10 million people, which has so far reported a total of 11,608 COVID-19 deaths and 685,383 cases, has the world's highest seven-day rolling average of cases and deaths per capita, according to data tracker
28th Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Southern Africa caught in COVID-19 surge

The coronavirus pandemic has struck southern Africa harder than any other region on the continent. DW looks at stories from South Africa to Tanzania that shed light on how different countries are battling the disease. Southern Africa welcomed news on Thursday that the African Union (AU) had secured an additional 400 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for its member states. South Africa is set to receive its first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday after approving it for emergency use. However, there is still little cause for celebration as the region's healthcare systems begin to wilt under the strain of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The devastating reality of the pandemic is playing out differently in these five southern African countries.
28th Jan 2021 - Deutsche Welle on MSN.com

Covid-19 deaths rise by 1,239 as UK records 28,680 more infections

Some 1,239 more people in the UK have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, the government announced on Thursday. The number compares with 1,725 deaths reported the previous day and brings the total number of deaths from the disease in Britain to 103,126. The latest daily figure is slightly under the 1,290 fatalities reported on the same day last week and could raise hopes that the country’s daily death toll is peaking. However, separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 120,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
28th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

UK coronavirus cases continue to decline with 28,680 more positive tests

Cases have been down week-on-week every day for 20 days in a row, the latest data from Health chiefs shows. Death toll remains high as almost 37,000 patients are still receiving treatment in hospitals across the UK. Separate data shows lockdown 3.0 is bringing winter outbreak under control, although some say it is too slow
28th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

France Inches Toward Tighter Curbs as Virus Variants Gain Ground

More dangerous variants of the coronavirus are becoming increasingly common in France, putting pressure on the hospital system and raising the likelihood the government will soon impose tighter curbs. Health authorities are finding more than 2,000 cases a day of new forms of the virus, up from “several hundred” at the start of January, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday, during a weekly update of the health situation. President Emmanuel Macron has been trying to give a national curfew, which runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., a chance to slow the virus’s spread but he’s coming under mounting pressure to impose another lockdown, the third since the crisis began about a year ago. “The tension on the hospitals is real,” Veran said. “The curfew doesn’t allow us to sufficiently stop the variant from developing, and if we follow the development curve of these variants, we could enter an English, Portuguese or Spanish scenario, and you’ve seen the damages that can cause.”
28th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Young People Spreading Covid a Concern in Rapidly Aging Japan

The world’s most rapidly aging society has long struggled to talk to its youth. That’s a disconnect that’s turning deadly in the pandemic. The difficulty in persuading young adults to upend their lifestyles to prevent Covid-19’s spread has challenged countries across the globe. Yet nowhere are the stakes higher than in Japan, where nearly a third of residents are over the age of 65, and the virus response depends on voluntary cooperation. The nation has so far relied on people changing their behavior in its largely successful fight against the virus, as authorities lack the legal ability to enforce lockdowns. But while calling for cooperation worked in the early days of fighting an unknown pathogen, like their global peers younger Japanese are increasingly hit with virus fatigue. That’s left officials struggling to persuade a demographic that’s least likely to be struck by a harsh bout of Covid, but most likely to pass the virus on.
28th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

China’s Zero-Tolerance Covid Tactics Now Include Anal Swabs

China is ramping up efforts to neutralize the coronavirus as new outbreaks challenge its already stringent pandemic strategy, with another weapon added to an arsenal of border curbs, mass testing and hard lockdowns: anal swabs. While there’s no nationwide policy on use of the technique, some residents in China’s northern regions -- where more than 1,700 cases have emerged -- have been subjected to the swabs with little warning. The method involves the insertion of a saline-soaked cotton swab about two-to-three centimeters into the anus, with the sample then tested for active traces of the virus. More than 1,000 schoolchildren and teachers in Beijing were given anal, throat and nose swabs last week, along with a separate antibody test, after one asymptomatic virus case was detected on campus, according to local officials.
28th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Chinese New Year: Clamping down on going home for the holidays

Today marks the start of the world's largest human migration - an event which sees millions of people travel thousands of miles across China to reach home in time for the Lunar New Year. For some, it is the only time they will see their families all year and is an event not to be missed. But there are fears the Spring Festival travel season, or Chunyun in Chinese, could become a superspreader event. After all, last year's Chunyun is believed to have played a significant role in the spread of Covid-19. So the Chinese authorities have been left with a problem: how do you encourage people to stay local, without actually cancelling the country's biggest annual celebration?
28th Jan 2021 - BBC News

All countries should pursue a Covid-19 elimination strategy: here are 16 reasons why

The past year of Covid-19 has taught us that it is the behaviour of governments, more than the behaviour of the virus or individuals, that shapes countries’ experience of the crisis. Talking about pandemic waves has given the virus far too much agency: until quite recently the apparent waves of infection were driven by government action and inaction. It is only now with the emergence of more infectious variants that it might be appropriate to talk about a true second wave. As governments draw up their battle plans for year two, we might expect them to base their strategies on the wealth of data about what works best. And the evidence to date suggests that countries pursuing elimination of Covid-19 are performing much better than those trying to suppress the virus. Aiming for zero-Covid is producing more positive results than trying to “live with the virus”.
28th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Third lockdown is working as Covid R rate falls to 0.9

The number of coronavirus infections is falling across the country and the R rate could be as low as 0.9, a new study shows. The findings from the eighth round of Imperial College London’s React study indicates a drop in numbers last week, suggesting lockdown is starting to have an effect. But the research, which tested more than 167,600 volunteers in England between January 6 and 22, also shows Covid-19 cases remained high over this period, with one in 64 people infected. Scientists warned this number is still at the highest level recorded since May.
28th Jan 2021 - Metro

Variant COVID among triggers for grim surge in Manaus, Brazil

In one of the most puzzling and worrisome developments in the pandemic, scientists are racing to explain what's happening in Manaus, Brazil, a city of 2.2 million at the edge of the country's rainforest that is experiencing a second explosive outbreak, even though the first one was so bad it was thought to have produced herd immunity. As the situation deepens in Manaus, overwhelming the city's health system again, researchers from Brazil and the United Kingdom yesterday said four possibilities might explain the recent dramatic resurgence, including variant SARS-CoV-2 viruses that arose in Brazil. They published their analysis yesterday in The Lancet.
28th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

South Carolina identifies the first U.S. cases of coronavirus variant first seen in South Africa

Health authorities have identified the first U.S. cases of Covid-19 caused by a fast-spreading form of the coronavirus initially seen in South Africa, in two people in South Carolina. Neither person has a history of travel to countries where the variant has been confirmed, and there is no connection between the two people, South Carolina health officials said Thursday. That indicates there has been some local spread of the variant after it arrived in the United States. One case was found in South Carolina’s Pee Dee region, and one in the Lowcountry. The announcement Thursday means that three coronavirus variants that appear to be more contagious and have emerged in recent months have all been documented in the United States. But in a way, the news was no surprise to experts. They had for weeks said the variant that first cropped up in South Africa, called B.1.351, was likely already in the U.S., but this country’s limited system of surveillance for different iterations of the coronavirus meant the variant likely went unnoticed once it was imported via a traveler and could have even been spreading.
28th Jan 2021 - Stat News


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th Jan 2021

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Battling COVID-19, South Africa prepares for first vaccines

Battling a COVID-19 resurgence driven by a more infectious variant, South Africa is preparing to roll out its first vaccines to frontline healthcare workers. A delivery of 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to arrive imminently at Johannesburg s international airport and there are plans for jabs to be given to doctors and nurses starting next week. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said South Africa intends to vaccinate 67% of its 60 million people in 2021, starting with the most vulnerable health workers.
27th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Spanish PM appoints new health minister amid worsening pandemic

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appointed Regional Policy Minister Carolina Darias as the new health minister on Tuesday after her predecessor resigned to run in an election in a move criticised by the opposition amid rising COVID-19 infections. In her previous job, the 55-year-old lawyer-turned- politician from the Canary Islands helped coordinate Spain's response to the pandemic, overseeing weekly meetings of regional health chiefs. Spain's cumulative infections now total 2,629,817, while the death toll is at 56,799. Despite the two-week number of infections tripling over the past month to a record 893 cases per 100,000 people on Tuesday, Spain, unlike many European countries, has chosen not to impose a new nationwide lockdown after the first one ended in May.
27th Jan 2021 - Majorca Daily Bulletin

France inches toward new lockdown

The French government admitted on Wednesday that current restrictions designed to contain the spread of coronavirus were not enough, raising the prospect of a third nationwide lockdown. "Maintaining the current regime looks very unlikely", spokesman Gabriel Attal said after a cabinet meeting, amid concern about the spread of the more contagious UK variant of COVID-19. A nationwide night curfew, which was introduced on January 14, is "not sufficient at this stage", Attal added, leaving the government to study new options. President Emmanuel Macron was reported at the weekend to favour a new lockdown, but the government decided to hold off for several days to analyse the data on new infections and hospital admissions.
27th Jan 2021 - Medical Xpress

France Holds Off On New Lockdown, Worries About Unrest Risk

The French government is delaying an agonizing decision to lock down the country once more, mulling options to slow new variants of Covid-19 as the current curfew is considered insufficient. President Emmanuel Macron “has asked for additional analysis” on the spread of the virus before deciding on any new restrictions. Macron is under pressure to shut down the economy for the third time in less than a year, as doctors and researchers raise the alarm about mutations of the coronavirus spreading through the country. Yet with a presidential race coming up next year, the French leader also has to navigate criticism of his handling of the crisis, including a slow start to the vaccination campaign. And while surging U.K. cases and deaths demonstrate the perils of the new virus variants, riots in the Netherlands against a government curfew show the risks of tighter measures.
27th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

New coronavirus cases rise in France, third national lockdown feared

The daily number of new coronavirus infections in France stayed above 20,000 on average for the fourth straight day on Tuesday while hospitalisations reached an eight-week high of 27,041, increasing fears of a third national lockdown. President Emmanuel Macron still hopes a 6 p.m. curfew put in place 11 days ago will be enough to rein in the surge in new cases caused by the emergence of more contagious variants of the virus. Despite calls from some doctors and medics for a new lockdown, government minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said earlier there was no need to make a decision on such a measure at this stage.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Outbreaks in S Korean schools drive Covid surge

South Korean authorities moved to rein in coronavirus outbreaks centred on Christian schools as the country reported a jump in infections, dampening hopes of a speedy exit from a third wave of the pandemic. At least 323 Covid-19 cases had been traced to churches and mission schools run by a Christian organisation in two cities. More than 100 cases were confirmed overnight among people linked to churches and its mission schools in Gwangju, about 270kms south of Seoul, officials said.
27th Jan 2021 - RTE.ie

Willingly or pressured, Slovaks take COVID tests to avoid tough lockdown

Slovak physiotherapist Katarina Caklosova was ready to close shop for two weeks rather than heed government requirements to undergo a coronavirus test - until she found that new rules would also ban her from her favourite nature walks. That tipped the balance and Caklosova, 50, will join almost 3 million Slovaks who have taken a test to avoid stricter lockdown measures kicking in on Wednesday and aimed at curbing the number of new COVID-19 cases. Under the new rules to be applied until Feb. 7, people who cannot show a certificate proving they tested negative in the previous week or had the infection in the past, are barred from moving around even for work and exercise.
27th Jan 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Global COVID-19 cases surpass 100 million as nations tackle vaccine shortages

Global coronavirus cases surpassed 100 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as countries around the world struggle with new virus variants and vaccine shortfalls. Almost 1.3% of the world’s population has now been infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 2.1 million people have died. Around 56 countries have begun vaccinating people for the coronavirus, administering at least 64 million doses.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Malta tightens restaurant closing times to curb COVID-19 infections

Malta on Wednesday cancelled carnival events and imposed an 11 p.m. closing time on restaurants to contain the spread of COVID-19, although Prime Minister Robert Abela said there would be no lockdown or curfew. Abela said a surge of cases in January had been the result of gatherings over Christmas and the New Year. “February is a particular time with many enjoying carnival and mid-term holidays. We are asking people to be responsible and businesses to make some sacrifices,” Abela said. Police and other law enforcement officers will have a stronger presence in the streets and crack down on large gatherings in rented premises.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Sweden registers 4,183 new COVID-19 cases, 178 deaths on Wednesday

Sweden, which has spurned a lockdown throughout the pandemic, registered 4,183 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, Health Agency statistics showed. The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 178 new deaths, taking the total to 11,425. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and weeks. Sweden’s death rate per capita is several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours, but lower than several European countries that opted for lockdowns.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Cases drop in main global pandemic hot spots but surge elsewhere

In its weekly snapshot of COVID-19 activity, the World Health Organization (WHO) said cases fell for the second week in a row, mainly in the highest-burden countries, but it warned that the pattern masks sharp rises in other countries in some regions. Meanwhile, the world's level of deaths, often a lagging indicator, stayed about the same as the previous week. And more countries reported detections of variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In its weekly situation report, the WHO said cases declined 15% from last week. The largest drops were in the European and African regions. Of the five countries reporting the highest number of cases, all had drops except for France, where the illness level rose 10%. Those that had the biggest decreases included the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland (24%) and the United States (20%).
27th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th Jan 2021

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Portugal urged to seek international help as COVID-19 deaths hit record

Portugal’s government was urged to transfer COVID-19 patients abroad on Tuesday as deaths hit a record high and the oxygen supply system of a large hospital near Lisbon partly failed from overuse. COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours reached a record 291, bringing the total to 653,878 cases and 11,012 deaths. It now has world’s the highest seven-day average of cases and deaths per million people. Health Minister Marta Temido told broadcaster RTP on Monday: “The Portuguese government is triggering all mechanisms available, including in the international framework, to ensure it provides the best assistance to patients.”
26th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Spain reports 93,822 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest weekend figure so far

Spain’s central Health Ministry reported 93,822 new coronavirus infections on Monday, as well as adding 767 fatalities to the overall death toll. The figures, which account for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, represent new record highs – for the entire pandemic in the former case, and for this third wave of the crisis in the latter. Presenting the figures on Monday evening, Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), warned that Spain must “urgently” relieve the pressure on the country’s hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs), which are in a “critical situation.”
26th Jan 2021 - El País

France, Spain And Portugal Struggle To Contain New Coronavirus Infections

While many European countries have seen declines in new daily coronavirus cases, Spain, France and Portugal after relaxing crackdowns in December are fighting off a new surge of infections that have leaders mulling over new lockdowns and stricter restrictions to keep cases at bay. Unlike other countries across Europe, Spain, Portugal and France relaxed their coronavirus crackdowns in December for Christmas, which experts suggest lent itself to the surge in new cases. The spread of the U.K. coronavirus variant may have also contributed to the increase in infections, as the mutation is believed to be more contagious.
26th Jan 2021 - Forbes

Calls for third lockdown grow as France’s new Covid-19 hospitalisations rise sharply

The number of people hospitalised in France for COVID-19 rose by more than 1,000 over the last two days, a trend unseen since Nov. 16, and the number of patients in intensive care units for the disease exceeded 3,000 for the first time since Dec. 9. A growing number of medical experts have called for a third lockdown in France while the government rolls out the vaccine, but French media reported that President Emmanuel Macron was trying to avoid such a measure. As of Monday, France had vaccinated 1,092,958 people.
26th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

Why Malaysia’s contact-tracing efforts are falling dangerously short

Covid-19 numbers in Malaysia continue to soar a year to the day since the country’s first case was detected – but after more than 180,000 infections, 678 related deaths and two nationwide lockdowns, public health experts are now concerned that the nation’s contact-tracing efforts are falling dangerously short. People who have tested positive for the disease have taken to social media to complain that they had not yet been contacted by health officials, while contact-tracing applications such as MySejahtera and SELangkah are overwhelmed, with reports indicating that thousands of close contacts are potentially being missed on a daily basis.
26th Jan 2021 - South China Morning Post

Brazilian COVID-19 variant detected in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) confirmed the nation's first case of COVID-19 caused by a variant strain, known as the Brazil P.1 variant, in a person who had recently travelled to Brazil. The person is a resident of the Twin Cities who became ill the first week of January. He or she provided a specimen for testing on Jan 9, and MDH detected the variant strain through a surveillance program that performs whole-genome sequencing on 50 COVID-19 specimens each week. MDH has interviewed the patient and is advising quarantine, as well as follow-up with the person's contacts. In addition to the P.1 variant, MDH sequencing also revealed two more cases of B117, known as the UK variant, in two patients who had recently traveled to California and the Dominican Republic, respectively.
26th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Jan 2021

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Grandmother, 92, dies with Covid-19 five days after her first vaccine dose

Mary Green, 92, got the Covid-19 vaccine at her care home in North Tyneside But the dementia-sufferer tested positive for the virus five days later. Scientists say jab came too late to save her as it takes two weeks for immunity. Professor Adam Finn said data showed there could be a large gap between doses. UK's largest charity care home boss says he feels residents are 'half-protected'
25th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Mexican President López Obrador tests positive

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced he has tested positive for Covid-19. The 67-year-old said on Twitter that his symptoms were mild and that he was "optimistic" following the diagnosis. The development comes as Mexico grapples with an upsurge in infections, with deaths nearing 150,000. Mr López Obrador says he will continue working from home, including speaking to President Vladimir Putin about acquiring a Russian-made vaccine. It was announced earlier on Sunday that a call between the two leaders will take place on Monday to discuss their bilateral relationship and the possible supply of Sputnik V jabs.
25th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Confirmed cases of coronavirus pass 25 million in the US

The US has passed the grim milestone of more than 25 million confirmed cases of coronavirus. The new milestone means the US accounts for roughly one in four cases reported worldwide and one in five deaths. According to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the total number of infections since the pandemic began is 25,077,155. Earlier this week the US coronavirus death toll passed 400,000. It means the number of people who have died from Covid-19 is nearly equal to the number of Americans killed in the Second World War.
25th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid: Ministers urged to intervene as mass outbreak at DVLA offices in Swansea branded a ‘scandal’

Ministers have been urged to intervene after a mass outbreak at the DVLA’s offices in Wales, by a union declaring the government agency’s response a “scandal”. More than 350 employees at the UK vehicle licensing agency’s contact centre in Swansea tested positive in the four months to December, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to above 500. Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething is among several senior politicians to say he is “concerned about anecdotal reports” emerging from the offices – with the BBC and The Observer reporting that some symptomatic employees had been encouraged to return to work, amid an alleged “culture of fear”.
25th Jan 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: UK records lowest daily rise in coronavirus cases so far this year

The UK has recorded its lowest daily rise in coronavirus cases so far this year, with 22,195. The last time the number of cases by date reported was lower than that was 15 December, according to the government's coronavirus data dashboard. While there is usually a reporting lag over and immediately after the weekend, resulting in lower increases, it's also well down on yesterday's figure of 30,004 and the 37,535 posted last Monday.
25th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Spain's virus surge hits mental health of front-line workers

The unrelenting increase in COVID-19 infections in Spain following the holiday season is again straining hospitals, threatening the mental health of doctors and nurses who have been at the forefront of the pandemic for nearly a year. In Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar, the critical care capacity has more than doubled and is nearly full, with 80% of ICU beds occupied by coronavirus patients. “There are young people of 20-something-years-old and older people of 80-years-old, all the age groups,” said Dr. Joan Ramon Masclans, who heads the ICU. “This is very difficult, and it is one patient after another.”
25th Jan 2021 - Associated Press

Spain struggling to contain third coronavirus wave as more infectious strain takes hold

Disastrous. Difficult. Disheartening. That’s how dozens of health experts have described the coronavirus epidemiological situation in Spain to EL PAÍS. The country is reaching the peak of the third wave of the pandemic, if it is even possible to say the second ever ended. The number of new infections likely peaked last Thursday, when 44,357 cases were reported – the highest single-day figure since the start of the pandemic. If the curve has not started to flatten since then, it will do so this week, according to experts. But with the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants at 828, the real question is how quickly will contagions start to fall and if they will instead reach a plateau.
25th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Head of French health regulatory body: COVID situation is worrying

The COVID-19 situation in France is worrying, the head of the country’s Haute Autorite de Sante (HAS) health regulator told France Inter radio on Monday, as President Emmanuel Macron’s government considers a new lockdown. France has the world’s seventh-highest COVID-19 death toll, with more than 73,000 deaths. “It is a worrying moment. We are looking at the figures, day by day. We need to take measures pretty quickly....but at the same time, not too hastily,” said HAS head Dominique Le Guludec.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Mexican president contracts COVID-19 after worst week of pandemic

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday he had tested positive for COVID-19 amid the country’s deadliest week yet in the coronavirus pandemic, which has pushed the health system of the Mexican capital to its limits. The 67-year-old president, who was a heavy smoker until suffering a major heart attack in 2013, said in a tweet that his symptoms were light and he was receiving treatment. “As always, I am optimistic,” said Lopez Obrador, who has resisted wearing a face mask in public since the virus reached Mexico over 10 months ago. The president, who is back in Mexico City after a three-day visit to parts of northern and central Mexico, said he would continue working, and still planned to take part in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday morning.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UK detects 77 cases of South African COVID variant, nine of Brazilian

Britain has detected 77 cases of the South African variant of COVID-19, the health minister said on Sunday, also urging people to strictly follow lockdown rules as the best precaution against Britain’s own potentially more deadly variant. Matt Hancock said all 77 cases were connected to travel from South Africa and were under close observation, as were nine identified cases of a Brazilian variant. “They are under very close observation, and we have enhanced contact tracing to do everything we possibly can to stop them from spreading,” he said during an interview on BBC television. Oxford professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of a scientific committee on vaccination that advises the government, said the South African and Brazilian variants were of concern because COVID-19 vaccines may not be effective against them.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Israel bans international flights to curb coronavirus spread

Israel will ban passenger flights in and out of the country from Monday evening for a week, the government announced on Sunday, as protesters in some ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities clashed with police over coronavirus lockdown measures. Clashes broke out between ultra-Orthodox protesters in the city of Bnei Brak and police forces who came to enforce the lockdown. One police officer, feeling his life was in danger, fired in the air to repel the crowds, police said. Smaller confrontations with ultra-Orthodox protesters broke out in several other towns, police said. The ban on flights will come into force from Monday at 2200 GMT and last until the end of January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters

France probably needs new lockdown as early as February: top adviser

France probably needs to move into a third lockdown, perhaps as early as the February school holidays, because of the circulation of new variants of the virus, the government’s top medical adviser on COVID-19 policy said on Sunday. French schoolchildren have two weeks off in February, but the entire month is a holiday month as three different zones stagger the start of their holidays by one week, with the first starting on Feb. 6. “We probably need to go towards a confinement. Whether that needs to be a very strict confinement like the first one in March or a softer form like in November, that is a political decision,” Jean-François Delfraissy, head of the scientific council that advises the government on COVID-19 response, told BFM television.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Jan 2021

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UK detects 77 cases of South African COVID variant, nine of Brazilian

Britain has detected 77 cases of the South African variant of COVID-19, the health minister said on Sunday, also urging people to strictly follow lockdown rules as the best precaution against Britain’s own potentially more deadly variant. Matt Hancock said all 77 cases were connected to travel from South Africa and were under close observation, as were nine identified cases of a Brazilian variant. “They are under very close observation, and we have enhanced contact tracing to do everything we possibly can to stop them from spreading,” he said during an interview on BBC television. Oxford professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of a scientific committee on vaccination that advises the government, said the South African and Brazilian variants were of concern because COVID-19 vaccines may not be effective against them.
24th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Mexico's death toll from COVID-19 set to pass grim milestone of 150,000

Crying outside a Mexico City cemetery, a family embraced the box that contained the ashes of their beloved grandmother. The grandmother had fallen ill a few days after they met to celebrate New Year’s, and died shortly after, family members said. She was not even 60 years old. Mexico is set to surpass 150,000 deaths from COVID-19, one of the world's highest death tolls, a Reuters tally shows. Its death count is closing the gap with that of India, a country with a population several times larger. Only the United States and Brazil have reported higher numbers. “You feel so powerless when you see your relative slipping away, when you have no way to do anything for them, to save them,” said Lesly Garcia. “It hurt me not to see her again.”
24th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: UK records another 1,348 coronavirus-related deaths and 33,552 cases

The UK has recorded another 1,348 coronavirus-related deaths and 33,552 cases, according to the latest government figures. A total of 5,861,351 people have also had a first dose of a vaccine, with another 468,617 people so far receiving their second inoculation against the virus. It comes after the UK reported 1,401 coronavirus deaths and an additional 40,261 infections on Friday. The total number of deaths in the UK is now 97,329.
23rd Jan 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: China orders millions in Beijing to get tested after three new cases

Millions of people in Beijing are being tested for COVID-19 after the Chinese capital recorded three new cases on Friday. Provinces around the country have also been ordered to prepare mass quarantine facilities. Mainland China has a current total of 1,960 officially confirmed cases, but the government is going to extraordinary lengths to stop limited outbreaks turning into a second wave.
23rd Jan 2021 - Sky News

Coronavirus: NI health staff braced for expected Covid-19 surge

Senior medics have issued a stark Covid-19 warning as health staff brace themselves for a predicted surge in coronavirus cases this weekend. On Saturday, 12 further deaths with Covid-19 were recorded by the Department of Health, taking its death toll to 1,716. Another 670 people tested positive for the virus. There are 810 people in hospital with Covid-19, of which 66 are in intensive care. Dr Thelma Craig, a respiratory consultant at Belfast's Mater Hospital, said that more patients are being hospitalised in this wave of the virus. It is affecting younger people too. "We are seeing people coming in with very little past medical history - coming in, in respiratory failure, desperately unwell," Dr Craig told BBC News NI.
23rd Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Is NI in the toughest period of the pandemic?

Medics have been warning that we are now at the peak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Northern Ireland. While the numbers and statistics used to measure the pandemic can never portray the suffering and individual cost of the virus, they do give us an insight into how we're coping with the outbreak. In short, we are now going through the toughest period since Covid-19 became a part of our lives. More people are in our hospitals suffering from the virus. More people are dying with Covid.
23rd Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Nurses call for better masks to protect all staff

Nurses are calling for all UK staff to be given a higher grade of face mask to protect them against new variants of coronavirus. The Royal College of Nursing warns that inadequate PPE may be putting the lives of nursing staff at risk. It has written to the workplace safety watchdog detailing its concerns, soon after a similar appeal from doctors. England's Department of Health says there is no reason to change current guidance. It follows a comprehensive review of all the evidence around the new variants and the impact on PPE.
23rd Jan 2021 - BBC News

A year after Wuhan lockdown, China sees small rise in COVID-19 cases

China on Saturday reported more new cases of COVID-19 and the financial hub of Shanghai imposed new restrictions, as the country marked the anniversary of the world’s first coronavirus lockdown in Wuhan city, where the disease emerged in late 2019. The National Health Commission said 107 new COVID-19 cases had been identified in the mainland on Saturday, up from 103 cases the day before. The commission said in a statement that 90 of the new cases were local infections. The northeastern province of Heilongjiang recorded 56 new cases and neighbouring Jilin province had 13. Beijing and Shanghai recorded three new cases each, and the province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, recorded 15 new cases.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

France had 23,292 new COVID-19 cases and 649 more deaths in last 24 hours

France registered a further 23,292 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 649 more deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours as President Emmanuel Macron’s government fought against the possibility of a third national lockdown. Health ministry data published on Friday showed that France’s overall COVID-19 death toll stood at 72,647 - the seventh biggest in the world. The number of confirmed COVID cases stood at just over 3 million. Pressure is also building on France’s hospital system, with 2,912 COVID-19 patients currently in intensive care units, although France is stepping up its COVID-19 vaccination programme.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Three cases linked to Australia Open carry highly virulent COVID-19 variant

Three people in hotel quarantine associated with the Australian Open tennis tournament have tested positive for the highly transmissible coronavirus variant linked to the United Kingdom, officials said on Saturday. The three quarantined in Melbourne are not players, said the state agency responsible for quarantining overseas travellers. All have been in hard lockdown since their Jan. 15 arrival. “Three quarantine residents associated with the Australian Open who tested positive for coronavirus have been found to have the UK variant of the virus,” COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria said in a statement.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal holds presidential election as COVID-19 cases spiral

Portuguese voters - largely confined to their homes due to a strict COVID-19 lockdown - will pick a new president on Sunday, but many fear going to the polls could worsen a surge in coronavirus cases and low turnout is expected. The country of 10 million people, which fared better than others in the first wave of the pandemic, now has the world’s highest seven-day rolling average of new cases and deaths per capita. Authorities reported a record daily toll of 274 deaths and more than 15,300 new cases on Saturday. “It wouldn’t have been a problem to wait another month. Exceptional times call for exceptional measures,” said Lisbon resident Miguel Goncalves, 55.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Britain to discuss tighter travel restrictions

British ministers are to discuss on Monday further tightening travel restrictions, the BBC reported on Saturday, adding that people arriving in the country could be required to quarantine in hotels. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a news conference on Friday that the UK may need to implement further measures to protect its borders from new variants of COVID-19. Britain’s current restrictions ban most international travel while new rules introduced earlier in January require a negative coronavirus test before departure for most people arriving, as well as a period of quarantine.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Israel begins to give Covid jabs to teenagers

Over 2.5 million of Israel's nine-million-population have had first vaccine dose. The country's campaign is currently leading the global vaccination drive. Teenagers aged 16-18 are now being given the first dose, starting on Saturday Wednesday saw the country recorded its highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in a single day, with 10,213 cases and 101 deaths
23rd Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Panama detects first case of South Africa COVID-19 variant - health ministry

Panama has registered its first case of a COVID-19 variant matching a strain of the virus detected in South Africa, the Central American country’s health ministry said on Friday. The variant was detected in a 40-year-old native of Zimbabwe who entered Panama on Jan. 5 from South Africa. The person did not show symptoms and has been isolated, the ministry said in a statement.
22nd Jan 2021 - Reuters


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Israel coronavirus cases soar even as it pushes on with vaccine drive

Coronavirus infections in Israel are soaring among those yet to be vaccinated, straining hospitals and forcing the government to extend a strict lockdown even as the country continues its breakneck vaccination drive.
21st Jan 2021 - The Financial Times

Biden takes charge as US Covid-19 deaths hit record high

Joe Biden has taken charge of the US response to the coronavirus pandemic as the country reported a record daily increase in deaths. One year to the day since the first Covid-19 case was diagnosed in the US, states attributed a further 4,409 deaths to the virus, according to data on Wednesday from the Covid Tracking Project. The latest figures came hours after Mr Biden in his inauguration speech reflected on a “deadly virus” that has claimed the lives of about 400,000 Americans, cost millions of jobs and closed businesses. He called for a unified response to address what he said “may well be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus”.
21st Jan 2021 - Financial Times

COVID-19: Nearly 5 million people get first vaccine dose as UK records another 1,290 deaths

Almost five million people have been given a first dose of a COVID vaccine, as the UK recorded another 1,290 deaths and 37,892 cases, figures show. A total of 363,508 first coronavirus vaccinations were administered yesterday, the highest daily figure to date. As many as 4,973,248 first doses have now been given and 464,036 second doses, an increase of 3,411 on figures released the previous day.
21st Jan 2021 - Sky News

In U.K. Hospitals, a Desperate Battle Against a Threat Many Saw Coming

As a new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus pounds Britain’s overstretched National Health Service, health care workers say the government’s failure to anticipate a wintertime crush of infections has left them resorting to ever more desperate measures. Hundreds of soldiers have been dispatched to move patients and equipment around London hospitals. Organ transplant centers have stopped performing urgent operations. Doctors have trimmed back the level of oxygen being given to patients to save overloaded pipes.
21st Jan 2021 - New York Times

100,000 more Americans could die from Covid-19 in next month, CDC forecasts

The United States could see an additional 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 within the next month, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projected. Due to the current viral surge, the country hit the grim milestone of 400,000 coronavirus deaths this week. This milestone came as the US averaged more than 4,000 deaths per day, making it the daily leading cause of death in the country. The death toll currently stands at 406,196 as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.
21st Jan 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Coffins stacked high in crematorium of German town ravaged by coronavirus

A crematorium is a sobering place to visit during a pandemic. Especially the one in the town of Meissen, eastern Germany, where coffins are stacked on top of each other in every available space. Attached to each simple wooden casket is a small piece of paper giving the basic details about the body inside. The name of the deceased, date of birth and death. And chalked on to the side of so many is the word COVID. We are standing amongst the victims of a virus which has hit Meissen hard. In the basement, vast furnaces and workers are operating around the clock. They need to, such is the demand for cremations in a town which has experienced one of the highest COVID-19 rates in Germany.
21st Jan 2021 - Sky News

Portugal suffers surging Covid-19 deaths after mastering first wave

Marta Temido, health minister and one of the best-known figures of Portugal’s fight against coronavirus, stood outside a beleaguered hospital near Lisbon this week and made an impassioned plea. “We are mobilising every health resource at our disposal,” she said. “But there is a limit, and people have to know that we are very close to that limit.” Her appeal for the country to respect the rules of a second national lockdown was made as record numbers of new cases and hospital admissions threatened to overwhelm a national health service struggling to find more beds and more staff. After infection rates began soaring in early January, Portugal this week became the country with the highest seven-day average of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
21st Jan 2021 - Financial Times

UK hits new daily record for Covid-19 deaths as 3rd lockdown fails to slow spread

In the United Kingdom, the coronavirus situation remains bleak, with the government’s chief scientific advisor saying that some hospitals “now resemble to war zones” due to the influx of Covid-19 patients. 1,820 deaths were confirmed on Wednesday, the highest daily toll in the country so far. Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson has been under criticism for not acting sooner, particularly regarding the new variant of the coronavirus. But Johnson called on British to remain home wherever possible.
21st Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

Sweden registers 4,702 new COVID-19 cases, 206 deaths on Wednesday

Sweden, which has spurned a lockdown throughout the pandemic, registered 4,702 new coronavirus on Wednesday, Health Agency statistics showed. The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 206 new deaths, taking the total to 10,797. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and weeks. Sweden’s death rate per capita is several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours but lower than several European countries that opted for lockdowns.
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters

France reports 26,784 new COVID-19 cases, highest since November 18

The French health ministry reported 26,784 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 23,608 on Tuesday and 23,852 last Wednesday. Wednesday’s tally was the highest since Nov. 18, when 28,383 infections were registered during France’s second lockdown that month. A record 86,852 cases were recorded on Nov 7. France also reported 310 new coronavirus deaths in hospitals in the past 24 hours, from 229 last Wednesday. The seven-day moving average of coronavirus deaths in hospitals and retirement homes rose to 374, from 363 on Tuesday. Four weeks after Christmas - when the government eased a curfew so French families could gather - the number of people in hospital with the virus increased by 119 to 25,686. The seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions rose to 131, its highest level since Nov. 18. At the start of the second lockdown, that average stood over 1,000 for nine days.
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters

Sweden extends pandemic curbs amid tentative signs of slowing outbreak

Sweden extended distance learning for high school students and told public employees to continue to work from home, renewing measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic despite signs that infections are beginning to slow. Sweden has avoided the kind of lockdown seen across much of Europe, but has gradually tightened restrictions after being hit by a second wave of COVID-19 infections in autumn last year. Those measures seem to be bearing fruit with authorities cautiously optimistic that, in some parts of the country, the situation is improving. The government said it nevertheless needed to extend many of the measures aimed at social distancing.
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal's COVID-19 cases hit record, health service pushed to limit

Daily coronavirus cases in Portugal rose 40% on Wednesday from the day before to a record 14,647, with the national health system (SNS) on the verge of collapse and the government pondering tougher lockdown measures to tackle the surge. “The situation is serious and the government will not fail to do everything to protect the Portuguese,” Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters. “We have the SNS at its extreme limit.” The European Union country of 10 million people, where authorities implemented a 15-day lockdown last week to fight the spread of the virus, also hit a record of 219 new deaths on Wednesday from 218 the day before, health authority DGS said.
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters

'No evidence of decline' in COVID-19 rates in England's third lockdown

A third pandemic lockdown appears to be having little impact on rates of COVID-19 in England, researchers warned on Thursday, with prevalence of the disease “very high” and “no evidence of decline” in the first 10 days of renewed restrictions. Until rates of COVID-19 are reduced substantially, health services “will remain under extreme pressure” and the number of deaths will continue to rise rapidly, researchers leading Imperial College London’s REACT-1 prevalence study said. “The number of COVID-19 in-patients (in hospital) is extremely high at the moment, and we can’t expect that to drop unless we can achieve lower levels of prevalence,” said Steven Riley, a professor of infectious disease dynamics who co-led the work. “The fact that (prevalence) is not going down has potentially serious consequences”
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters

Biden says 'help is on the way' with national COVID-19 strategy

"Help is on the way," said President Joe Biden today as he unveiled his 200-page national COVID-19 strategy and signed 10 executive actions aimed at tackling the pandemic, including ensuring the safe opening of schools, new guidance for foreign travel, and ensuring the National Guard in all 50 states is involved in the pandemic response. "Things will get worse before they get better," Biden said, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical advisor to the president and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Jeff Zients, the Biden administration's COVID czar.
21st Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Jan 2021

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New CDC director to take over beleaguered agency amid worsening COVID-19 crisis

Dr. Rochelle Walensky will be tasked with reasserting the agency while the pandemic is in its deadliest phase yet and the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign is wracked by confusion and delays
20th Jan 2021 - The Globe and Mail

Zimbabwe's foreign minister dies of COVID-19 amid resurgence

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo, who gained prominence in 2017 as the military general who announced the coup against then-president Robert Mugabe on television, has died from COVID-19 the government announced Wednesday. He was 61. Moyo, previously little known to the public, became the face of the coup when he announced that the military had placed Mugabe under house arrest as the military's armored vehicles rolled into the capital, Harare The coup ended Mugabe's 37-year rule in Zimbabwe and he later died in Sept. 2019.
20th Jan 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: UK records another 1,820 coronavirus deaths and 38,905 new cases

A further 1,820 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 - the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began. It surpasses the previous record of 1,610, which was announced on Tuesday. Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 93,290 people have now died in the UK within 28 days of a positive COVID test. When asked by reporters about the record number of deaths, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned "there will be more to come" and said the figures were "appalling".
20th Jan 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: 'Public health emergency unfolding' in prisons as coronavirus cases soar

The new coronavirus strain and a rapidly rising number of infections in prisons across England and Wales is a "public health emergency unfolding before our eyes," the shadow justice secretary has warned. Labour MP David Lammy said it was vital that ministers "act urgently" to prevent the virus from spreading further in jails - or risk preventable deaths. "We're not condemning our prisoners to death in this country, but for some prisoners, that's what it means," said Mr Lammy.
20th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Spain reports highest weekly figure of new coronavirus cases so far: 233,523

The coronavirus is spreading in Spain at a slightly slower rate, according to data released on Tuesday by the Spanish Health Ministry. On Monday, Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), said that Spain could be reaching the peak of the third wave of the virus, and there are indications in the latest figures that suggest this could be the case, although the data must be viewed with caution. For example, for the first time since January 7, a region has reported a drop in the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Indeed three regions registered a fall in their incidence rate: the Balearic Islands (-0.31%), Cantabria (-0.98%) and Catalonia (-1.54%). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the incidence rate in Extremadura has risen to 1,412.
20th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Spain rejects tighter rules despite rising Covid-19 cases

Spain is gambling that its coronavirus wave is peaking and has rejected calls for tough new lockdowns despite high case numbers and warnings that intensive care units are full. Infections have tripled and hospital admissions doubled in the past three weeks, with about one in five hospital beds and a third of the intensive care capacity occupied by Covid-19 patients. Non-urgent operations have already been postponed.
20th Jan 2021 - The Times

Spain headed toward de facto lockdown amid surge in coronavirus cases

The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic is pushing Spain toward a de facto lockdown, that – while stopping short of the strict home confinement rules introduced last spring during the first wave – greatly restricts social activities and freedom of movement. In response to the rising number of coronavirus cases, Spanish regions have introduced tough new measures, such as the perimetral lockdowns of municipalities and the closure of all food and drink establishments. But there is now debate about whether or not the current state of alarm should be modified to allow regions to apply even stricter restrictions.
20th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

How South Korea's Covid-19 success faltered

South Korea’s aggressive response to Covid-19 has often been praised internationally as a success, becoming the envy of many countries around the world struggling to control their own outbreaks. One year on, the nation’s tight-grip approach to containing the virus is now slowly taking its toll on citizens – and has become the subject of fierce attacks from critics. The country detected its first Covid-19 case on 20 January 2020. One month later, a major cluster of cases hit, centred around the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the city of Daegu. The religious group was blamed for thousands of infections and made sensational headlines around the world. Health authorities, however, were ready. Their weapon of choice? Pervasive contact tracing. It proved effective in flattening the curve of the country’s first wave without the need to close private businesses, and provided an example to the world of how best to tackle the virus.
20th Jan 2021 - New Statesman

Coronavirus deaths hit grim new daily high, as expert warns it will be weeks before they fall significantly

Deaths from coronavirus hit a grim record on Tuesday, with daily fatalities reaching a high of 1,610 across the UK as a government scientific adviser warned that it could be weeks before significant reductions are seen. The highest daily toll of the pandemic brought the total official figure for deaths above 90,000. But a separate measure of death certificates which mentioned Covid-19 put the total at 108,000. Antibody data suggested that one in eight people in England had been infected with coronavirus at some point in the pandemic up to December, in what one expert described as “one of the worst coronavirus problems in the world”.
20th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Malaysia Holds Key Rate Amid Lockdown to Curb Virus Surge

Malaysia kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday, saving its policy ammunition as the country grapples with a surge in Covid infections that could take months to subside. Bank Negara Malaysia maintained the overnight policy rate at a record-low 1.75% at its first meeting of the year, as expected by 12 of 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The rest had forecast a 25-basis point cut.
20th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

China's capital steps up COVID-19 measures as outbreak persists

China’s capital Beijing said it will investigate all individuals who entered the city from abroad from Dec. 10 and it shut down a subway station after reporting the biggest daily jump in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks. The measures come amid what has become China’s most serious coronavirus outbreak since March 2020 ahead of Lunar New Year holiday season, when hundreds of millions of people travel, raising fears of another major COVID-19 wave that could bring the country back into a debilitating standstill. The National Health Commission said on Wednesday a total of 103 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Jan. 19, down from 118 a day earlier. Northeastern Jilin province reported 46 new infections, however, setting another record in daily cases, while Hebei province surrounding Beijing reported 19 new cases.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Third Portuguese minister hit by coronavirus in a week

Portuguese Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in self-isolation, his office reported late on Tuesday, the third cabinet member to be diagnosed with the virus in a week. He had already been in quarantine at home since Saturday as a precautionary measure after Finance Minister Joao Leao tested positive following a meeting with top EU officials. Siza Vieira and Prime Minister Antonio Costa were also at that meeting. Siza Vieira was the third minister to be diagnosed with the coronavirus in the past week, following Leao and Labour Minister Ana Mendes Godinho.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

France reports 23,608 COVID cases over 24 hours

France reported 23,608 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, up from 3,736 on Monday, while admissions to intensive care units continued to rise. Health Minister Olivier Veran said earlier the coronavirus was still circulating at a worrying level, but stopped short of recommending a third national lockdown. A nationwide curfew was brought forward to start at 6 p.m. from last Saturday, and authorities say it will remain in place for at least a fortnight. Health ministry data also showed 656 people had died from the virus in hospitals on Tuesday, up from 403 on Monday, bringing the total death toll to 71,342, the world’s seventh-highest.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Desperate relatives of Covid patients in Brazil queue for hours to fill their loved-ones' oxygen tanks as mutant strain ravages country

Amozonas state has been gripped by a devastating resurgence of the disease and doctors at hospitals in Manaus, the rainforest's largest city, are having to decide which of their patients should get oxygen. Desperate family members queued up outside a local oxygen plant during a downpour on Tuesday. They arrived with huge green tanks to be filled with oxygen and then rushed back to their ailing relatives. Comes as Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro dispatched oxygen to the region infuriating President Jair Bolsonaro. 'He could give aid to his people too, right? Wages there don't buy half a kilo of rice,' Bolsonaro said
20th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Global COVID-19 deaths climb; hot spot locations shift

Global COVID-19 cases declined a bit last week, but the number of deaths rose to record levels, as hot spots within world regions shift and more countries report the detection of variant SARS-CoV-2 strains, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its regular weekly update. Cases were down 6%, partly led by declines in parts of Europe and the Americas. Deaths, however, increased by 9%, with the world reporting a record weekly high of 93,000, the WHO said, noting that hospitalizations and deaths are a lagging indicator.
20th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th Jan 2021

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Third wave hits Spain in record rise

Joe Biden’s team announced that he plans to extend travel restrictions barring people from much of Europe and Brazil from travelling to the US, shortly after President Trump said he would lift the restrictions on January 26. Mr Trump signed an order yesterday ending the ban, which he imposed early last year in response to the pandemic, after securing support from his coronavirus task force and public health officials.
19th Jan 2021 - The Times

Spain reports 84,287 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest weekend figure so far

The third wave of the coronavirus is continuing to break records in Spain. The Spanish Health Ministry reported that 84,287 new cases had been detected since Friday, the biggest increase recorded on a Monday – when weekend data is also included – since the start of the pandemic. The previous record was set last Monday, when 61,422 new infections were reported. “We could be reaching the peak of the third wave,” said Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), at a government press conference on Monday. But, he warned, it may be some time before the figures are consolidated, as there is typically underreporting over the weekends. Spain also recorded its highest incidence rate of the pandemic on Monday. The 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants is now 689 – nearly triple the 250-threshold considered to be an indicator of extreme risk.
19th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

France sticks to Covid plans in race between vaccines and contagious variant

France’s government said Tuesday it would avoid the strictest lockdown measures despite gradually increasing Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions, preferring to bank on vaccinations. The spread of a more contagious variant of the new coronavirus seems to have prompted many to get the jab and there are now concerns over delays in delivery. Despite laboratory delays and reports of shortages and logistical problems in its vaccine campaign, France’s government said it would avoid toughening health restrictions even as case numbers and hospital admissions continued to increase. “We already took a tough decision last week to impose a 6pm curfew on the country as a whole,” health minister Olivier Véran told France Inter radio. “I cannot say we will impose a confinement but the circulation of the virus remains worrying.”
19th Jan 2021 - RFI

COVID-19 still circulating at a 'worrying' level in France, says minister

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday the coronavirus was still circulating at a “worrying” level in France, but stopped short of recommending a third national lockdown. “We already took a tough decision last week to impose a 6 p.m. curfew on the country as a whole,” Veran told France Inter radio. “I cannot say we will impose a confinement but the circulation of the virus remains worrying.”
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Hospitals in Japan close to collapse as serious Covid cases soar

Hospitals in Covid-hit regions of Japan are on the brink of collapse, medical experts have warned, as the country battles a third wave of infections that has caused record numbers of people to fall seriously ill. Japan reported more than 4,900 coronavirus infections on Monday, with serious cases rising to a record high of 973, local media reported. Although Japan has avoided the huge caseloads and death tolls seen in some other countries, infections have doubled over the past six weeks to about 338,000, according to the public broadcaster NHK, with 4,623 deaths. The increase, coupled with the discovery of the first recorded community transmissions of a fast-spreading strain of Covid-19 initially identified in Britain, is adding to pressure on the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, to move quickly to protect stretched medical services.
19th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Deaths registered in England and Wales soar as coronavirus rates climb

There were 17,751 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 8 January - up 7,682 on the preceding week, new figures show. Of the deaths registered, 6,057 mentioned "novel coronavirus", accounting for 34.1% of all deaths in England and Wales, according to figures from Office for National Statistics. This nearly doubled on the previous week when 3,144 coronavirus-related deaths occurred and represents a 92.7% increase.
19th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Number of COVID-19 patients in Irish hospitals falls

The number of patients being treated for COVID-19 in Irish hospitals fell on Tuesday from the highest level recorded since the pandemic began a day earlier, as a surge in infections that threatened to overwhelm the health system began to ease. Ireland had the fastest-growing incidence rate in Europe at the start of the year, fuelled by the relaxation of restrictions ahead of Christmas and the increasing prevalence of a new, more transmissible variant first detected in England. That led to 2,020 patients being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 by Monday, more than double the previous peak set in the first wave of infections in April. The total fell 3% to 1,954 on Tuesday as more patients were discharged than admitted.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID situation in UK is serious despite falling infections, PM tells ministers

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his team of cabinet ministers on Tuesday the COVID situation in Britain was still “very serious” despite infection rates beginning to decline, urging others to follow the lockdown guidelines. “The prime minister opened cabinet with an update on the current COVID situation, noting that although we are beginning to see a decline in infection rates, the situation remains very serious and it remains as important as ever for people to follow the guidance to continue to suppress the spread of the virus,” his spokesman told reporters.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

China's COVID outbreak worst since March 2020

China is battling the worst outbreak of COVID-19 since March 2020, with one province posting a record daily rise in cases, as an independent panel reviewing the global pandemic said China could have done more to curb the initial outbreak. State-backed tabloid the Global Times on Tuesday defended China’s early handling of COVID-19, saying no country had any experience in dealing with the virus. “Looking back, no country could perform perfectly in facing a novel virus... No country can guarantee they won’t make mistakes if a similar epidemic occurs again,” it said. China reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for a seventh day on Tuesday. It posted 118 new cases on Monday, up from 109 a day earlier, the national health authority said in a statement.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal's daily COVID deaths hit record high as hospitals struggle

Portugal, initially praised for its swift response to the coronavirus pandemic, recorded a record number of COVID-19 related deaths on Monday as its hospitals struggled to cope. The Portuguese government, facing concerns over low compliance with lockdown measures brought in last week, also introduced further rules to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus among its population of 10 million people. Portugal posted 167 COVID-19 related deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 9,028 since the pandemic began. “After so many cases, and so many deaths, nobody can ... think COVID-19 only happens to others,” Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa told reporters.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

France reports rising number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care

The French health ministry reported 3,736 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours on Monday, a figure lower than Sunday’s 16,642 but higher than last Monday’s 3,582, raising fears the country might have to resort to a third lockdown. France’s cumulative total of cases now stands at 2,914,725, the sixth-highest in the world. The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, increased to 18,270, the highest since Nov. 24. The number of people being treated in intensive care units for the disease was up for the ninth consecutive day, going beyond the 2,800 threshold for the first time since Dec. 17.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Hospitals in Americas, Europe under growing strain of COVID-19

The world added more than 2 million new COVID-19 cases in the past 3 days, with health systems coming under pressure in the Americas and in more European countries and China reporting another pocket of local spread, triggering more strong measures. Over the past week, the World Health Organization (WHO) Americas region reported 2.5 million cases, making up more than half of the global total, Carissa Etienne, MBBS, MSc, who directs the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said today at a briefing. She added that over the past week, 42,000 more people in the region died from their infections.
19th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Jan 2021

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Coronavirus China: COVID-19 'super-spreader' is linked to 102 infections in Jilin

A travelling salesman in China has been linked to 102 COVID-19 infections after giving public lectures while carrying the virus without showing symptoms. The man, who has been dubbed a 'super-spreader', had held the talks at health salons popular with elderly citizens before the cluster infections erupted in the north-eastern province of Jilin, state media reported. China reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day on Monday. Rising infections in the northeast are fuelling concern of another wave when hundreds of millions of people travel for the Lunar New Year holiday.
18th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Critical care wards full in hospitals across England

Ten hospital trusts across England consistently reported having no spare adult critical care beds in the most recent figures. It comes as hospital waiting times, coronavirus admissions and patients requiring intensive care are rising. England's 140 acute trusts had 5,503 adult critical care beds on 10 January, with 4,632 in use. NHS bosses have warned hospitals could "hit the limit" of their capacity this week. "I think, this next week, we will be at the limit of what we probably have the physical space and the people to safely do," Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said.
18th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Ten areas in England with biggest Covid rise as 36 places record jump despite lockdown

Covid infection rates are still rising in 36 areas in England despite lockdown - but which areas are the worst? Figures from Public Health England reveal that Knowsley in Merseyside is the country's worst hotspot, with 1,228.3 cases per 100,000 people. It is followed by Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Slough, which have rates above 1,000. But the encouraging data from Public Health England reveals the worst-affected areas are seeing a fall in new infections, two weeks into the latest national lockdown. Of the 315 local areas in England, 36 (11 per cent) have seen a rise in case rates while 279 (89 per cent) have seen a fall.
18th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

UK Records the highest-ever number of Covid-19 cases

Over the last month, the number of daily confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK soared, with reports of over 68,000 confirmed cases on 8 January 2021, the highest reported since the start of the pandemic. The new record comes at a time when the nation is on lockdown and has been administering highly effective vaccines for a month, showing that the Covid-19 trend can be slow to turn despite interventions. According to GlobalData’s Covid-19 dashboard, confirmed cases in the UK started to rise considerably (Figure 1) after a noticeable decline between the middle of November 2020 and the start of December 2020. Over 1.3 million positive cases were reported between 10 December 2020, and 10 January 2021, an average of over 40,000 new cases daily. This may be a result of the UK relaxing lockdown rules on 2 December 2020, as well as the compounding effect of the influenza season.
18th Jan 2021 - pharmaceutical-technology.com

As bodies pile up, Germany's eastern COVID hot spots struggle for answers

For some in Meissen the caskets piling up in the eastern German city’s sole crematorium are a tragic reminder of what happens when the coronavirus is not taken seriously. For others it is simply nature’s way. Meissen, along with other places across old East Germany that are generally poorer, older and more supportive of a far-right opposed to lockdown, are the worst hit by the pandemic in the country, complicating Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to bring it under control. “It’s heartbreaking,” said manager Joerg Schaldach, whose furnaces cremated 1,400 bodies last month, double the figure from December last year. More than half had died of COVID-19 and Schaldach expects some 1,700 cremations in total this month.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID deaths cross 4000 as ministers set to debate extending lockdown

Israel on Monday crossed a grim milestone, as Health Ministry confirmed the death toll from the coronavirus stood at 4,005. Israel has recorded 551,689 coronavirus cases since the pandemic erupted in March 2020. There are currently 1,130 patients in serious condition, while 467,790 Israelis have recovered from the disease. Some 2,116,257 Israelis have vaccinanted against COVID-19 over the past month, and 309,065 have already received the second dose. Coinciding with the launch of the vaccination campaign has been a surge in coronavirus cases, with some 9,000 daily new infections diagnosed in recent days. The cabinet is set to decide on Wednesday whether to extend the lockdown – Israel's third – by at least another week. The Health Ministry is pushing to extend it until the end of January, but Blue and White and the ultra-Orthodox parties vehemently oppose the move.
18th Jan 2021 - Israel Hayom

Ukraine sees lowest daily coronavirus tally since late September

Ukraine reported 3,034 new coronavirus cases on Monday, its lowest daily tally since the end of September, health minister Maksym Stepanov said. The number of deaths decreased to 67 from 116 the day earlier, he said on Facebook. A strict lockdown would end as scheduled on Jan. 25, the ministry said last week. Ukraine closed schools, restaurants and gyms on Jan. 8. The number of new coronavirus cases dropped in early January to less than 10,000 a day from record levels in mid-December. Ukraine has registered more than 1.16 million coronavirus cases with 20,869 deaths.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Stocks sink as coronavirus fears outweigh recovery hopes

Global stock markets wavered on Monday as soaring COVID-19 cases offset investor hopes of a quick economic recovery, even after data showing that the Chinese economy rebounded faster-than-expected in the fourth quarter of 2020. European stocks as measured by the STOXX 600 index struggled for direction, last trading 0.1% higher as of 1446 GMT, after failed merger talks between French retailer Carrefour and Alimentation Couche-Tard pulled the gauge lower at the open. The continent’s 50 biggest stocks were down 0.2% [.EU] In Asia, Chinese blue chips gained 1.1% after the economy was reported to have grown 6.5% in the fourth quarter, on a year earlier, topping forecasts of 6.1%. Industrial production for December also beat estimates, although retail sales missed expectations.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

China reports more than 100 new COVID cases as New Year holiday exodus looms

China reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day, with rising infections in the northeast fuelling concern of another wave when hundreds of millions of people travel for the Lunar New Year holiday. Tough new controls in the city of Gongzhuling in Jilin province, which has a population of about 1 million people, brings the total number of people under lockdown to more than 29 million. According to the Global Times newspaper, at least 11 regions in the provinces of Hebei, Heilongjiang and Jilin have imposed lockdowns and introduced extensive testing programmes. The National Health Commission reported 109 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday, unchanged from the day earlier. Of the 93 local infections, 54 were in Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal's health system on brink of collapse as COVID-19 cases surge

Portugal’s public health system is on the verge of collapsing as hospitals in the areas worst-affected by a worrying surge in coronavirus cases are quickly running out of intensive care beds to treat COVID-19 patients. “Our health system is under a situation of extreme pressure,” Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters on Sunday afternoon after a visit to a struggling hospital. “There is a limit and we are very close to it.”
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters


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UK daily coronavirus cases rise above 50,000 for first time this week as 1,280 deaths reported

The number of daily coronavirus cases has rise above 50,000 for the first time in five days, despite hopes that the outbreak is slowing in parts of the UK. A further 1,280 deaths of people within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 were also reported on Friday. It is the first time daily infections have topped 50,000 since Sunday, and brings the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to 3,316,019. Earlier on Friday, the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said the UK’s coronavirus reproduction rate — the R number — had narrowed to between 1.2 and 1.3.
17th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid-19: Tamil Nadu reports less than 600 new cases, 7 deaths

The Covid-19 vaccine was administered to 3,225 persons today. New coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu declined to less than 600 to 589 in the last 24 hours to take the total number of infections in the State to 8,30,772. After 770 Covid-19 patients were discharged, the number of active cases declined to less than 6,000 to 5,940. There were seven deaths registered and 52,213 samples tested.
17th Jan 2021 - Business Line

China reports 109 new COVID-19 cases to keep concerns simmering before Lunar New Year

Worries simmered in mainland China about a potential fresh wave of coronavirus cases ahead of the Lunar New Year next month as authorities on Sunday reported 109 new COVID-19 cases, most of them in Hebei province surrounding Beijing. Though the Jan. 16 tally of new cases was less than the previous day’s 130, China has in the past week seen the number of daily cases jump to an over 10-month high. The unsettling trend has emerged while a World Health Organization-led (WHO) team of investigators remained in quarantine in the city of Wuhan, where the disease was first detected in late 2019. The team aims to investigate the origins of the pandemic that has now killed over 2 million people worldwide.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

CDC warns more infectious Covid-19 variant could dominate US by March

The new coronavirus variant first discovered in the UK could become the predominant strain in the US by March, according to a new model from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC warned on Friday the B.1.1.7 variant was likely to spread rapidly across the US in the coming months. So far, 76 cases were identified in 10 US states, but scientists warn the actual number of B.1.1.7 cases is likely to be higher, as the US lags behind many other countries with its genomic sequencing to identify the variants. The CDC is now trying to expand sequencing to track the variant and other possible mutations.
17th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Covid-19: Critical care wards are full in hospitals across England

Ten hospital trusts across England reported having no spare critical care beds for most of last week. It comes as hospital waiting times, coronavirus admissions and patients requiring intensive care rises. Across all England's acute trusts the total number of critical care beds available is 5,503, with 4,632 in use on 10 January. NHS England has not yet commented. Last year, hospitals added 39% more beds for seriously ill patients. The latest figures from NHS England show the number of trusts who were, on average, at full capacity in adult critical care rose from four to ten in the week to 10 January.
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Further 1,295 deaths recorded in the UK

A further 1,295 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test have been reported in the UK, the third-highest daily total since the pandemic began. It brings the total number of deaths by this measure to 88,590. There have also been a further 41,346 lab-confirmed cases, and 4,262 more people have been admitted to hospital. Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director for Public Health England, said the "continuous rise in cases and deaths should be a bitter warning for us all". "We must not forget the basics," she added. "The lives of our friends and family depend on it. "Keep your distance from others, wash your hands and wear a mask."
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Is Northern Ireland winning the battle against the virus?

The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it an intense interest in the statistics and figures that can be used to try to understand what's happening with the virus. While numbers can't reflect the real human cost of the pandemic, they can give us an insight into how we are doing in our battle against Covid-19. Deaths are counted in different ways by authorities in Northern Ireland. The Department of Health counts the number of people who die within 28 days of a having a positive Covid test. This is published daily on the department's dashboard. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) counts the number of death certificates that mention Covid-19, regardless of whether that person had a test for the virus. This is usually published on Friday mornings.
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Small coronavirus cluster emerges in Sydney suburb

A cluster of new coronavirus cases has emerged in Australia’s New South Wales State, health officials said on Sunday, just as the country appeared on the verge of snuffing out all community transmission. Health authorities were still investigating a mystery case in a man who tested positive on Friday in the western Sydney suburb of Berala. All six locally acquired cases registered on Sunday were close contacts of the man. Australia, which has managed the coronavirus better than many other nations through targeted lockdowns and high rates of testing and contact tracing, last week recorded a day of zero locally acquired cases, raising hopes that outbreaks in three states over the summer holidays had been brought under control. The latest outbreak shows how easily the virus can spread, New South Wales state leader Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney as she called for more people to come forward for testing.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portuguese hospitals under pressure as COVID-19 cases reach record

Portugal’s fragile health system is under growing pressure due to a worrying rise in coronavirus infections, with the country reporting 10,947 new cases and 166 deaths on Saturday, the worst surge since the pandemic started last year. The cases, which come a day after a new lockdown was put in place, bring the total number of cases in a country of just over 10 million people to 539,416, with the death toll increasing to 8,709. The number of infections per 100,000 people measured over the past 14 days is 901, nearly double that in hard-hit neighbouring Spain, data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control showed.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UK sees third-highest daily death toll with new cases at three-week low

Britain reported its lowest number of daily new coronavirus infections since the start of the year on Saturday, adding to signs that a national lockdown is slowing the spread of a more infectious variant of the disease. However the effect of the recent surge in cases remains clear in the death toll, which was the third-highest on record. Health experts have warned it has further to rise. Government figures showed the number of people testing positive was 41,346, compared with 55,761 on Friday. It was the lowest daily reading since Dec. 27, when fewer people were getting tested over the festive holiday period.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Denmark logs 256 cases of more contagious coronavirus variant

Denmark on Saturday found its first case of a more contagious coronavirus variant from South Africa, and saw a rise in the number of infections with the highly transmissible B117 variant first identified in Britain, health authorities said. The Nordic country extended a lockdown for three weeks on Wednesday in a bid to curtail the spread of the new variant from Britain, which authorities expect to be the dominant one by mid-February. Denmark has become a front-runner in monitoring coronavirus mutations by running most positive tests through genome sequencing analysis.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Brazil hospitals 'run out of oxygen' for virus patients

Hospitals in the Brazilian city of Manaus have reached breaking point while treating Covid-19 patients, amid reports of severe oxygen shortages and desperate staff. The city, in Amazonas state, has seen a surge of deaths and infections. Health professionals, quoted by local media, warned "many people" could die due to lack of supplies and assistance. Brazil has recorded more than 205,000 virus deaths - the second-highest tally in the world, behind the US. A new coronavirus variant has recently emerged in Brazil, with several cases in travellers arriving in Japan traced back to the Amazonas region.
16th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Brazil rushes to save premature babies as Covid-19 swamps Manaus hospitals

Authorities in the Brazilian Amazon are reportedly racing to save dozens of premature babies after a surge in coronavirus cases caused a catastrophic breakdown in the oxygen supply to hospitals and clinics. On Friday, CNN Brasil reported that the northern state of Amazonas was seeking to transfer at least 60 babies from neonatal units in its capital, Manaus, to hospitals elsewhere in the country.
16th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19 positives on Australian Open flights put 47 players into isolation

As the 15 chartered planes transporting more than 1,000 players and team members began to land in Australia this past week, many athletes punctuated their arrivals with a stream of statements expressing deep gratitude towards Tennis Australia, the Victorian Government and the Australian Open tournament director, Craig Tiley, for making the event possible. That heartwarming honeymoon did not last long. There were no positive messages on Saturdaymorning as two groups of players were confined to their rooms for 14 days. The tournament begins on 8 February, meaning those players on the affected flights will be restricted to little more than a week of practice.
16th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Pandemic deaths top 2 million; crisis deepens in Americas

The world's death toll from COVID-19 today topped 2 million, with yesterday marking the deadliest day of the pandemic, with 16,056 fatalities logged, amid reports of collapsing health systems in parts of Brazil and exponential spread in some of its neighbors. Death levels are still soaring in hard-hit parts of Europe, and health officials say human behaviors, including those that occurred over the holiday season, are the main driver of virus surges, though they are worried about the potential impact of new, more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants.
15th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

Brazilian airforce transport patients with covid-19 from Manaus to other states due to services being overwhelmed

The Brazilian Air Force flew the first shipment of patients with covid-19 in Manaus to other states. Nine patients and five doctors boarded the flight to Teresina. Two C-99 aircraft from the First Squadron of the Second Transport Group (1st / 2nd GT) - Condor Squadron, carried out patient transfers with the objective of minimizing the impact on the Amazonas state health system
15th Jan 2021 - Noticias.uol.com.br

Health care in Brazil's Amazonas state in 'collapse' as Covid-19 infections surge

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday that "all means" are being made available to help the country's largest state, Amazonas, where hospitals are running out of beds and oxygen tanks amid soaring coronavirus infections. His claim came a day after Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello described the healthcare system in the Amazonas state capital, Manaus, as being in "collapse." "I would say yes, there is a collapse in healthcare in Manaus. The line to get a hospital bed has grown a lot, today we have about 480 people waiting in line. And the reality is that there is a lower supply of oxygen -- not an interruption, but a lower supply of oxygen," he said during a Facebook live with Bolsonaro on Thursday.
15th Jan 2021 - CNN

NHS heroes fear Government are using them as coronavirus vaccine 'guinea pigs'

NHS heroes have blasted the Government for using them as “guinea pigs” by denying them an early booster vaccine. Doctors, nurses and paramedics fighting Covid must wait three months like the rest of us for a second jab – instead of the three weeks recommended after manufacturer trials. But calls are growing for frontline heroes to get the booster within the 21 days vaccine maker Pfizer deems vital for best protection. The UK’s chief medical officers recommended the 12-week gap so more of the population can get some immunity from the first jab. Currently, the NHS is under severe strain with record numbers of Covid patients.
15th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online


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U.S. military base in Seoul reports multiple COVID-19 cases

A large U.S. military base in central Seoul is reporting multiple COVID-19 cases as South Korea struggles to keep up with the novel coronavirus. U.S. Forces Korea said Thursday seven USFK-affiliated people at Yongsan Garrison tested positive for the novel coronavirus Wednesday. Five out of the seven people, who were not identified by name, work for the U.S. Department of Defense. "All five have been in self-quarantine at their separate off-installation residences since Jan. 8 following their direct contact with an individual who recently tested positive for COVID-19," USFK said.
14th Jan 2021 - UPI.com

Another 4,000 in U.S. die of COVID-19; 40K deaths so far this month

Another 4,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19, according to updated data Thursday from Johns Hopkins University -- not too far off the record toll seen one day earlier. There were about 3,960 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday. On Tuesday, 4,500 died, a single-day record, according to the research university's updated tracking data -- making the total over the past two days roughly 8,500. About 40,000 patients in the United States have died of COVID-19 since the start of 2021, the data shows. Meanwhile, another 230,000 coronavirus cases were added nationwide on Wednesday, a slight increase from the day before.
14th Jan 2021 - UPI.com

COVID-19: Ban on all arrivals from 15 South American countries and Portugal over Brazil variant

Travel to the UK from every country in South America, as well as Portugal, has been banned due to fears over the coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil. The government's COVID-19 operations committee met at lunchtime to discuss the issue - and the ban will come into effect from 4am on Friday.
14th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Number of London transport staff dying with Covid-19 increases to 60

The number of London transport staff dying with Covid has increased to 60, including 46 bus workers, it was revealed today. The figure, up three from earlier this week, came as Sadiq Khan and his Tory mayoral rival Shaun Bailey said London key workers most at risk of contracting Covid should be the next to be prioritised for vaccination. In separate interventions, the Mayor and Mr Bailey said the second phase of the rollout should focus on higher-risk essential workers such as police, teachers and transport staff once vulnerable elderly Londoners and health and care staff were inoculated. The total figure, up three from 57 revealed earlier this week, includes staff working for the private bus firms contracted by Transport for London to run the capital's buses, plus Tube and rail staff and TfL head office workers. The death toll includes 37 bus drivers and nine other bus workers, such as bus station staff.
14th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid: Infections levelling off in some areas - scientist

The coronavirus growth rate is slowing in the UK and the number of infections is starting to level off in some areas, a top scientist has said. Prof Neil Ferguson told the BBC that in some NHS regions there is a "sign of plateauing" in cases and hospital admissions. But he warned the overall death toll would exceed 100,000. On Wednesday, the UK saw its biggest daily death figure since the start of the pandemic, with 1,564 deaths. It has taken the total number of deaths by that measure to 84,767. There were also 47,525 new cases. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the national lockdown measures were "starting to show signs of some effect", but it was early days and urged people to abide by the rules.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Brazil travel ban to be discussed over new variant

Travel from Brazil to the UK could be banned in response to the discovery of a new coronavirus variant. Ministers have met to discuss possible measures and a block on flights could also be extended to other South American countries in a bid to stop its spread. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is "concerned" about the new variant and "extra measures" were being taken. Arrivals from Brazil are currently required to self-isolate for 10 days. Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove chaired a meeting earlier to discuss whether measures should be put in place.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Surge leaves key hospital services 'in crisis'

The surge in Covid hospital cases has left key hospital services in England in crisis, doctors are warning. NHS data showed A&Es were facing rising delays admitting extremely sick patients on to wards. Meanwhile, the total number of people facing year-long waits for routine treatments is now more than 100 times higher than it was before the pandemic. Cancer experts are also warning the disruption to their services was "terrifying" and would cost lives. Reports have emerged of hospitals cancelling urgent operations - London's King's College Hospital has stopped priority two treatments, which are those that need to be done within 28 days. And Birmingham's major hospital trust has temporarily suspended most liver transplants.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Record daily German COVID deaths spark Merkel 'mega-lockdown' plan - Bild

Germany recorded a new record number of deaths from the coronavirus on Thursday, prompting calls for an even tighter lockdown after the country emerged relatively unscathed in 2020. Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted a "mega-lockdown",
14th Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

UK suffers record number of Covid deaths as Scotland tightens lockdown

The UK reported a daily record 1,564 deaths within 28 days of testing positive with coronavirus on Wednesday, as Boris Johnson warned that intensive care units in some hospitals could soon be overwhelmed. The prime minister told the liaison committee of MPs there was a “very substantial” risk of the NHS running out of ICU beds and no guarantee that schools would be allowed to reopen after the half term break in mid-February. But Mr Johnson said the numbers of people testing positive for the virus were falling, indicating that existing restrictions should be given a chance to work before tighter curbs are brought in.
14th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

German lockdown loopholes criticized as deaths hit new high

Germany has too many loopholes in its coronavirus lockdown rules, the head of the country’s disease control agency said as figures published Thursday showed the highest number of daily deaths since the start of the pandemic. The Robert Koch Institute said 1,244 deaths from COVID-19 were confirmed in one day up to Thursday, taking the total number to 43,881. There were also 25,164 newly confirmed cases, putting Germany’s total known infections close to 2 million. Lothar Wieler, president of the institute, said data indicated people in Germany are traveling more than during the first phase of the pandemic in spring, contributing to the virus’ spread.
14th Jan 2021 - The Associated Press

Spain extends travel ban for Scots amid fears over mutant coronavirus strain

Scots have been banned from entering Spain for a further period of time amid concerns over the mutant strain of coronavirus. No one will be allowed to enter the country from Scotland via air or sea until 6pm on February 2 under the new restrictions.
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Record on MSN.com

Coronavirus variant from UK 'must not get out of hand' warns EU

The EU has warned that the highly contagious coronavirus variant first found in Britain is now having “a significant impact” in other European countries, and said its spread “must be stopped at all costs”. “We cannot be complacent,” Stella Kyriakides, the bloc’s health commissioner, said on Wednesday. “We cannot let it get out of hand. So we are ready to help member states in the area of genomic sequencing of samples. There is no way around this.” Concerns were also shared during the virtual meeting of EU health ministers of a “significant under-reporting” of the new variant by member states, with the commission urging health ministries to make detection of the mutation a priority.
14th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Spain extends travel ban for Brits due to mutant Covid strain in UK

Spain has extended its travel ban for Brits because of the mutant coronavirus strain currently found in the UK. The Spanish government has extended the restrictions until February 2, at 5pm UK time. The rules apply to anyone arriving to Spain from the UK by air or sea, with exceptions being made only for Spanish nationals or residents of Spain returning to the country. The travel ban was first introduced back in December 2020 when the mutant strain was detected, and originally was planned to last until January 9. It had already been extended once until January 19. This goes alongside existing restrictions and rules in Spain during the pandemic, such as travellers arriving in the country being required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours before their departure
14th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

France braces for new Covid curbs but set to avoid lockdown

The French government is expected Thursday to announce new restrictions to stave off a rise in coronavirus cases but unlike some of its neighbours a full lockdown appears off the agenda for now. Among the measures floated to try to avert a much-feared third wave of infections include expanding a 6:00 pm curfew in place in parts of the east to the whole country. Most of France is still subject to an 8:00 pm curfew imposed in mid-December when a second national lockdown was lifted.
14th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

Japan widens virus emergency to 7 more areas as cases surge

Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to seven more prefectures Wednesday, affecting more than half the population amid a surge in infections across the country. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also said Japan will suspend fast-track entry exceptions for business visitors or others with residency permits, fully banning foreign visitors while the state of emergency is in place. Suga's announcement comes less than a week after he declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three nearby prefectures. The new declaration, which adds seven other prefectures in western and central Japan, takes effect Thursday and lasts until Feb. 7.
14th Jan 2021 - ABC News

China records its first coronavirus death since MAY and the most new cases in more than 10 months

The patient, a woman from northern China's Hebei, died yesterday afternoon Apart from suffering the virus, she also had a serious heart disease, officials said Hebei, the new epicentre, has locked down several cities amid the fresh crisis The latest coronavirus death is the first one reported in China since May 16 China also reported its biggest daily jump in Covid-19 cases in around 10 months National Health Commission said 138 infections noted, up from 115 a day earlier
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

'At 6 pm, life stops': Europe uses curfews to fight virus

As the wan winter sun sets over France’s Champagne region, the countdown clock kicks in. Laborers stop pruning the vines as the light fades at about 4:30 p.m., leaving them 90 minutes to come in from the cold, change out of their work clothes, hop in their cars and zoom home before a 6 p.m. coronavirus curfew. Forget about any after-work socializing with friends, after-school clubs for children or doing any evening shopping beyond quick trips for essentials. Police on patrol demand valid reasons from people seen out and about. For those without them, the threat of mounting fines for curfew-breakers is increasingly making life outside of the weekends all work and no play.
14th Jan 2021 - Associated Press

Swedish COVID-19 cases cross 500,000 mark as hospitals near limit

Sweden has registered 17,395 new coronavirus cases since Friday, taking the total above 500,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, as hospitals struggled to cope with a rampant second wave of the virus, Health Agency statistics showed on Tuesday. The statistics showed that Dec. 17 was the deadliest day since the start of the pandemic with 116 deaths, surpassing a previous peak of 115 daily deaths set in April. More people are being treated for COVID-19 at hospitals in Sweden now than at any time during the pandemic. While Sweden still has around 20% spare capacity at intensive care units, there are worries the spread will accelerate again as people return to work and schools after the holidays.
14th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Global COVID rise continues; 50 nations report B117 variant

In its weekly snapshot of global COVID-19 trends, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that after lower reporting over the 2-week holiday period, cases and deaths are on the rise again in all but one of its regions and that 50 countries have now detected the more transmissible B117 variant first detected in the United Kingdom. In a separate announcement today, the WHO said its COVID-19 emergency committee will meet tomorrow for the sixth time to discuss the latest developments and tweak their recommendations.
13th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


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CNN reporter breaks down in tears live on air as she ‘grieves’ for families affected by Covid-19

Journalist Sara Sidner could barely speak during Tuesday’s segment where she spoke about the Covid-19 crisis in California. Sara broke down in tears following a news package about how the virus has disproportionately affected Black and Latino families. A clip that was shown on the programme, centered around a family that had to hold a funeral for their mother in a parking lot. ‘This is the 10th hospital that I have been…,’ Sara began as she choked back the tears. ‘I’m sorry,’ she added. ‘I apologise, I’m going to try to get through this.’
13th Jan 2021 - Metro

Ontario reports 2,961 new COVID-19 cases as province set to give update on vaccine distribution efforts

Ontario’s premier is defending his government’s new stay-at-home order against criticism that the latest measure to fight COVID-19 is not clear. Doug Ford stressed that the measure means people should “use their best judgment” to determine if they need to leave their home as virus rates surge. Under the order that takes effect Thursday, Ontario residents will be required to stay at home except for essential activities such as accessing health care, shopping for groceries, or outdoor exercise. The government has also restricted hours of operation for non-essential retailers currently offering delivery and curbside pick up to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings.
13th Jan 2021 - The Globe and Mail

COVID-19 live updates: Quebec reports 2,071 new cases, 35 deaths as hospitalizations continue to rise

Updated throughout the day on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Questions/comments: ariga@postmedia.com Top updates Quebec reports 2,071 new cases, 35 deaths as hospitalizations rise Quebec is recording more cases,
13th Jan 2021 - The Gazette on MSN.com

British tourist is blamed for Covid-19 outbreak in Switzerland that has caused officials to scrap Ski World Cup races

91st Luberhorn classic in Wengen, Switzerland, was cancelled earlier this week Covid outbreak infected 60 at resort - half of the cases blamed on a single Briton World Cup races moved to Kitzbuehel but Austrian officials have since moved the races again - now to Flachau - after British mutant strain discovered in Tyrol
13th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Mental health of NHS staff placed under further strain as Covid hospitalisations continue to rise

Doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients in overstretched hospitals are increasingly suffering from mental health issues, figures show – as health chiefs warn staff will be pushed to their limit over the next few weeks of the pandemic. The number of doctors seeking psychiatric help through the British Medical Association has doubled since the pandemic began, The Independent can reveal, while new research shows that nearly half of all NHS staff in intensive care units (ICUs) are likely to meet the threshold for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or depression. And in a letter sent to doctors on Tuesday, the UK’s chief medical officers said that the weeks ahead “are likely to be among the most challenging of all our professional lives” and will push staff “to the limits of [their] physical and mental endurance”.
13th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Bodies pile up at crematorium in Germany's virus hot spot

The caskets are stacked three high in the Meissen crematorium’s somber memorial hall, piled up in empty offices and stored in hallways. Many are sealed with plastic wrapping, others are labeled “infection risk,” “urgent” or simply “COVID.” A surge of coronavirus deaths in this corner of eastern Germany has boosted business for crematorium manager Joerg Schaldach and his staff, but nobody is celebrating. “The situation is a little bit tense for us at the moment,” Schaldach said as another undertaker’s van pulled up outside. The crematorium would typically have 70 to 100 caskets on site at this time of year, when the flu season takes its toll on the elderly
13th Jan 2021 - The Associated Press

Soaring COVID-19 cases in Spain prompt more regions to toughen response

The Spanish regions of Galicia, La Rioja and Cantabria became the latest to tighten coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday amid a spiralling national infection rate that officials have blamed on lax adherence to the rules over Christmas. After a lull in contagion in late November, cases skyrocketed through December and into early January, doubling the incidence of the virus as measured over the past 14 days in just three weeks, to 454 cases per 100,000 people. Unlike European countries such as Britain and the Netherlands, which have extended national lockdowns, the Spanish authorities have repeatedly said a return to confinement is not necessary. Instead it has delegated regional authorities to deploy a mixture of curfews, caps on group meetings and restrictions on business opening hours.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Spanish regions ramp up coronavirus restrictions as third wave takes hold

The feared third wave of the coronavirus after Christmas is getting worse in Spain, and is forcing the country’s regional governments to take action. After relaxing restrictions for the holiday season, which saw a spike in social interaction, and given the rise in daily infections and increased pressure on hospitals, coronavirus measures are once again being revised. On Tuesday, the central Health Ministry reported 25,438 new cases and added 408 fatalities to the official death toll. What’s more, the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants now stands at 454, well about the 250-limit that the ministry considers to be extreme risk. The effect of last week’s Kings’ Day celebrations is yet to be seen in the figures.
13th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Third coronavirus wave gains pace in Spain, with 25,500 new infections and 408 Covid-related fatalities

Spain is being plunged into a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and the country’s hospitals are beginning to suffer as a result. There are currently more than 17,600 Covid-19 patients being treated, 64% up on the figure before Christmas, and the number of people in intensive care units (ICUs) has risen 39% since December 24. Epidemiologists are warning that the curve of infections will continue to rise, while some experts are calling for a home lockdown in order to stop the transmission of the virus and avoid hospitals becoming overwhelmed. The relaxation of restrictions in December and the rise of social interaction over the Christmas period are behind this third wave, which comes hot on the heels of the second one, which was seen in the autumn. The Health Ministry reported 25,438 new infections and added 408 victims to the overall death toll on Tuesday, while the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants is currently at 454 for the whole of Spain.
13th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

France likely to have to take tougher measures due to virus variants

France will likely have to consider more restrictions on people’s movements soon to limit the spread of the UK and South African variants of the coronavirus, Jean-François Defraissy, head of the scientific council advising the government on the epidemic said on Tuesday. “There will probably be — and these are political decisions — a certain number of tougher measures to take,” Defraissy told TF1 television. The government is currently pondering whether to impose a third national lockdown
13th Jan 2021 - Metro US

Tokyo's Covid outbreak adds to doubts over hosting Olympic Games

A dramatic rise in coronavirus cases in Tokyo has reignited speculation about the Olympic Games, which are due to open in the city in just over six months’ time. Japan widened its coronavirus state of emergency to cover more than half the population on Wednesday as surging infections sparked warnings of intense pressure on hospitals. The prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, said anti-virus measures introduced in the greater Tokyo region – at the centre of the latest wave of cases – would be expanded to include seven other prefectures. Suga said he would “take every measure” to protect lives, adding that all non-resident foreign nationals would be banned from entering Japan until the emergency measures were lifted. Japan had previously permitted business travellers from 11 Asian countries where case numbers appeared to be under control.
13th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Japan expands state of emergency over coronavirus as infections climb

Japan will expand its state of emergency to seven more prefectures, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday. The country reported 4,527 new cases and 51 deaths Tuesday, bringing the national total to almost 300,000, with a death toll of 4,158. More than 61,500 patients are in hospitals across the country, which have been struggling to deal with a spike in cases brought on in part by freezing winter temperatures. Tokyo, previously among the worst hit areas, reported 970 new cases Tuesday, the first time the Japanese capital's daily tally has dropped below 1,000 in over a week. The total number of confirmed cases in Tokyo now stands at 77,133.
13th Jan 2021 - CNN

Australian paramedic in UK's 'chaotic' COVID-19 surge says most colleagues have caught the virus

Every morning, Declan Gregg covers himself from head to toe in PPE — mask, goggles, gloves and a full gown — before climbing into an ambulance and heading to the first call of the day. An Australian paramedic based in Crawley, south of London, he knows the first job will inevitably be a coronavirus patient. As will the next job, and the one after that. Hospitals across the United Kingdom are overflowing as case numbers and deaths soar to new records every day, with the mutant, more transmissible strain of the virus spreading rapidly.
13th Jan 2021 - ABC News

Swiss boost coronavirus restrictions, shy away from full lockdown

Switzerland on Wednesday tightened measures to tackle new variants of the COVID-19 virus spreading across the country while stopping short of the full lockdown neighbouring countries have adopted to choke off the pandemic. The wealthy Alpine country also eased rules for pandemic-hit businesses to apply for state aid, which will force the government to ask parliament to top up the latest 2.5 billion Swiss franc ($2.82 billion) pot of money for hardship cases. Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns over fears about a fast-spreading variant first detected in Britain, with vaccinations not expected to help much for another two to three months.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UK's Second Wave Covid Deaths Surpass First Wave Total

More people have now died during the second wave of coronavirus in the UK than the first, the latest government figures reveal. From the beginning of the pandemic up to September 1, when three people died of Covid – the lowest number since the pandemic began – 41,565 people died within 28 days of a positive test. Since then, at least 43,196 more people have died, Wednesday’s figures show. Meanwhile, analysis by the PA news agency of separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate – together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days – suggest there have now been 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus in the UK
13th Jan 2021 - HuffPost UK

Italian medics may be permitted to ration life-saving care under new pandemic plan

The Italian health ministry has been criticised after a draft of the country’s new pandemic plan revealed medics would be permitted to choose which patients receive life-saving care. This is the first time Italy has updated its pandemic plan since 2006. The absence of an adequate plan is thought to have contributed to Italy’s coronavirus death toll of more than 79,000. The draft copy of the pandemic plan for 2021-23, seen by the Guardian, stipulates that while health workers are obliged to provide the best and most appropriate care to patients, there are circumstances that may make it necessary to prioritise who to try to save.
12th Jan 2021 - The Guardian


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Covid-19 cases ‘unlikely to peak for weeks’

Pressure on the NHS is unlikely to peak until next month as cases surge far beyond London, a health service chief has claimed.The comments by Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, came as
12th Jan 2021 - The Times

UK Covid-19 death toll rises by 1,243 in second deadliest day of pandemic so far

The UK has recorded its second deadliest day since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a further 1,243 lives lost to the virus. The Department of Health also confirmed that 45,533 people had tested positive for the virus in 24 hours. Only once, last Friday, has the daily death toll been higher, when 1,325 fatalities were announced. It brings the UK's official coronavirus death toll to 83,203. There have been 6,898 Covid deaths in the past seven days - a 45 per cent rise compared to the previous week. It comes as NHS staff struggle to cope with the surge in Covid-19 hospital admissions and Home Secretary Priti Patel backs police forces taking a tough stance on rule breakers.
12th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

3rd House lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19 after lockdown during Capitol attack

A third House lawmaker has tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus while in lockdown with some Republican members who refused to wear masks during the attack on the Capitol last week, bringing the total number who have so far tested positive to three. The announcements from Democratic Representatives Brad Schneider, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Pramila Jayapal come days after the attending physician for the Capitol warned members they may have been "exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection." Congressman Brad Schneider announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 in a statement on Tuesday, and blamed Republicans for spreading the virus.
12th Jan 2021 - CBS News

Third Democrat tests positive for COVID after riot lockdown

Democrats have proposed a $1,000 a day fine on lawmakers who refuse to wear masks while in the Capitol complex. Rep. Debbie Dingell is leading the charge on the issue and blasted Republicans for 'laughing off' requests to wear one. Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider became the third lawmaker to test positive for COVID after being in lockdown with lawmakers last week. About 100 lawmakers were huddled in a poorly-ventilated room together during the MAGA riot on the Capitol with many Republicans refusing to wearing masks. He slammed Republicans: 'I was forced to spend several hours in a secure but confined location with dozens of other Members of Congress,' he said. 'Several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask' He is isolating at home in Illinois and not yet showing symptoms. Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, 55, also tested positive for COVID-19. And Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, 75, announced earlier on Monday that she had tested positive for the coronavirus and was suffering mild symptoms. Both Jayapal and Coleman blame their infections on being trapped with Republicans who refused to wear face masks Jayapal says she believes it will turn out to be a 'superspreader event'
12th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

S.Korea daily virus cases under 500 for first time since record highs in Dec -KDCA

South Korea reported fewer than 500 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the first time since record high daily case numbers over the Christmas holiday period. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 451 new cases as of midnight on Sunday, driven by a lull in testing as well as an apparent easing in infections. The country reported a record 1,241 cases in one day during the Christmas holiday, the peak of the country's largest wave of infections yet. South Korea stopped short of a complete lockdown or stay-at-home order, but has imposed unprecedented restrictions for weeks, including banning private gatherings of more than four people. In the capital Seoul and surrounding areas a number of high-risk businesses such as bars and gyms were ordered to close and coffee shops can only offer takeaway service.
12th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

3 new Covid-19 strains that are leading to fresh lockdowns

Japan’s health ministry has declared a new coronavirus variant in the country. The new strain features 12 mutations, including one that was found in England and South Africa. Both the UK variant — which is significantly more transmissible — and a second strain in South Africa have raised concerns about whether a vaccine-resistant version could eventually develop.
12th Jan 2021 - Khaleej Times

WA coronavirus cases will likely end in snap lockdown, Chief Health Officer warns

The "hard and fast" snap lockdown used to manage COVID-19 outbreaks in other states is the "likely outcome" if WA were to also experience an outbreak, the state's Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson says. Dr Robertson said there appeared to be a "very good rationale" for cities to impose hard, snap lockdowns in the event of a coronavirus outbreak. "It would depend … on the circumstances," Dr Robertson told ABC Radio Perth. "How many cases we had, how much community spread, whether it's one outbreak.
12th Jan 2021 - ABC News

Australia records handful of new coronavirus cases as national frictions grow

Australia recorded a handful of new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with frictions increasing between state leaders over the best approach to manage and contain the outbreaks. The northern state of Queensland recorded one new case, in the quarantined partner of a cleaner who was found to have the highly infectious UK strain last week, which triggered a three-day lockdown over the weekend to Monday. The country’s most populous state of New South Wales logged five new locally acquired infections, including two mystery cases that caused the emergency department at Sydney’s Mount Druitt hospital to close for deep cleaning on Monday.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters Australia

French new COVID cases at seven-week high

France’s new COVID-19 infections are on average increasing by more than 18,000 a day, a seven-week high, and the number of people hospitalised is rising again as the country grapples with the more infectious variant of the virus first found in Britain. These latest trends, published on Monday, will be discussed in the coming days by the government which is pondering whether to impose a third national lockdown and extend a 6 pm curfew, now enforced in some areas, to all of France.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

New Austrian COVID cluster: mainly British group on ski teacher course

Austria said on Tuesday it has identified a new cluster of 17 COVID-19 cases, a mainly British group on a ski teacher training course, despite the country being on lockdown and having banned flights from Britain over fears of a new coronavirus variant. The Alpine province of Tyrol, which suffered Austria’s worst outbreak to date at the ski resort of Ischgl, said the cluster in the town of Jochberg was suspected to be of the new, more infectious variant first pinpointed in Britain in September that has spread to dozens of countries including Austria. The fact such a training course was allowed to happen despite lockdown restrictions, which include closing schools to all but daycare, stunned many Austrians.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Lebanon tightens lockdown, imposes 24-hour curfew, as hospitals buckle

Lebanon announced a tightening of its lockdown on Monday, introducing a 24-hour curfew from Thursday as COVID-19 infections overwhelm its medical system. The new all-day curfew starts at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Thursday and ends at 5 a.m. on Jan. 25, a statement by the Supreme Defense Council said. Lebanon last week ordered a three-week lockdown until Feb. 2 that included a nighttime curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. But tighter measures were now necessary as hospitals run out of capacity to treat critically ill patients, President Michel Aoun said in the statement.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

As Canada battles rising COVID-19 cases, lack of sick leave fuels transmission

As Canadian provinces struggle to contain rising COVID-19 infections, a lack of adequate paid sick leave for front-line workers is fuelling transmission, doctors and advocates say. While political leaders and health officials advise sick people to stay home, many people can’t afford to. Some 58% of workers in Canada lack enough paid sick leave, according to the Decent Work and Health Network, and that percentage rises as wages drop. One morning last spring, 67-year-old part-time support worker Susan woke up feeling “a hurt in my heart like a knife.” She went to work at a Toronto rehabilitation home anyway -- she said it was the only way to pay the bills. Susan, who is using an pseudonym for fear of professional repercussions, had no sick days and couldn’t afford to miss even a day’s pay.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID surges press health systems in several nations

Fresh surges in COVID-19 activity triggered strengthened measures in several parts of the world, as soaring death levels in part of England led to the use of a temporary morgue. Health officials expected a surge of cases from holiday gatherings, but the emergence of at least two more transmissible variants is amplifying new surges in part of Europe and South Africa, as more countries brace for their potential impact. Daily cases in the United Kingdom are down bit from record highs reported last week, but hospitals in the hardest-hit areas are struggling, and deaths—which typically lag cases—are up 45.6% over the last 7 days, according to the latest government data.
12th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


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China reports biggest daily COVID-19 case jump in over five months

Mainland China saw its biggest daily increase in COVID-19 cases in over five months, the country’s health authority said on Monday, as new infections in Hebei province surrounding Beijing continued to rise. A county in northeastern Heilongjiang province on Monday moved into lockdown after reporting new coronavirus infections, state television also reported separately. Hebei accounted for 82 of the 85 new local infections reported on Jan. 10, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement, with Liaoning province also reporting two new cases and Beijing reporting one new case. The country also saw 18 new imported infections from overseas. The total number of new COVID-19 cases stood at 103, the highest since 127 cases were reported on July 30.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus: UK to face ‘worst weeks of pandemic’, Whitty warns as cases surge

England’s chief medical officer has warned the coming weeks are going “to be the worst weeks” of the coronavirus pandemic for the NHS, as he urged the public to minimise unnecessary contacts in order to reduce transmissions. Highlighting the pressure on the health service, professor Chris Whitty said that while 18,000 people were in hospital with Covid-19 during the April peak last year, on Sunday there were over 30,000 beds occupied by patients with the disease. “This is going to be a significant crisis for the NHS unless we take evasive action,” he warned on BBC Breakfast several days after the government imposed the third nationwide lockdown in England to curb the spread of the virus.
11th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Over half a million under lockdown as Beijing outbreak spreads

More than half a million people were placed under lockdown in Beijing on Monday as the government imposed strict measures to stamp out a handful of Covid-19 cases. China has largely brought the virus under control, but is tackling a number of local infections with lockdowns and mass testing. Authorities are keen to stem any outbreak in the capital -- home to over 20 million people -- particularly ahead of a week-long national holiday next month.
11th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

Japan finds new mutant Covid strain as infectious as variant in UK

Japan has detected a third mutant strain of coronavirus that is similar to the highly infectious variants spreading across the UK and South Africa. The strain was found in four passengers arriving from Brazil who were quarantined at Haneda Airport in Tokyo when they tested positive, Nikkei Asia reports. Three of the group developed symptoms including struggling to breath, a fever and a sore throat, while one man in his 40s arrived on January 2 without any symptoms. But he was later rushed to hospital with difficulties breathing, Bloomberg reports.
11th Jan 2021 - Metro

Global COVID-19 cases surpass 90 million as battle against new variant continues

Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday, according to Reuters tally, as nations around the globe scramble to procure vaccines and continue to extend or reinstate lockdowns to fight new coronavirus variants. The new COVID-19 variants discovered initially in the United Kingdom and South Africa are rapidly spreading globally. The novel coronavirus has picked up pace in the past few months with about one-third of total cases registered in the last 48 days, according to a Reuters tally.
11th Jan 2021 - CTV News

China reports biggest daily COVID-19 case jump in over 5 months

Mainland China saw its biggest daily increase in COVID-19 cases in over five months, the country’s health authority said on Monday, as new infections in Hebei province surrounding Beijing continued to rise. A county in northeastern Heilongjiang province on Monday moved into lockdown after reporting new coronavirus infections, state television also reported separately. Heibei accounted for 82 of the 85 new local infections reported on Jan. 10, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement, with Liaoning province also reporting two new cases and Beijing reporting one new case. The country also saw 18 new imported infections from overseas. The total number of new COVID-19 cases stood at 103, the highest since 127 cases were reported on July 30.
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Sweden passes lockdown law to allow closures amid high death toll

Sweden has introduced a law that would allow the government to close restaurants, shops, and public transport to combat the spread of COVID-19. The new legislation signals a major shift away from the country's initial no-lockdown approach to the pandemic. A severe second wave of COVID-19 infections has prompted Sweden gradually to abandon the unique approach it first adopted towards the pandemic, when it relied on voluntary social distancing measures. Anders Tegnell, the architect of Sweden's initial no-lockdown response, said last week that the COVID-19 situation showed no signs of improvement in Sweden.
11th Jan 2021 - Business Insider

Over half a million under lockdown as Beijing outbreak spreads

More than half a million people were placed under lockdown in Beijing on Monday as the government imposed strict measures to stamp out a handful of COVID-19 cases. China has largely brought the virus under control, but is tackling a number of local infections with lockdowns and mass testing. Authorities are keen to stem any outbreak in the capital -- home to over 20 million people -- particularly ahead of a week-long national holiday next month.
11th Jan 2021 - CTV News

UK steps vaccinations as COVID surges, worst weeks still to come

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday Britain was in “a race against time” to roll out COVID-19 vaccines as deaths hit record highs and hospitals ran out of oxygen, and his top medical adviser said the pandemic’s worst weeks were imminent. A new, more transmissible variant of the disease is now surging through the population, with one in 20 people in parts of London now infected, threatening to overwhelm the National Health Service (NHS) as hospitals fill up with patients. The death toll in the United Kingdom has been soaring and now stands in excess of 81,000 - the world’s fifth-highest official toll - while more than three million people have tested positive.
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Global coronavirus cases surpass 90 million in battle on new variant

Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday, according to Reuters tally, as nations around the globe scramble to procure vaccines and continue to extend or reinstate lockdowns to fight new coronavirus variants. The new COVID-19 variants discovered initially in the United Kingdom and South Africa are rapidly spreading globally. The novel coronavirus has picked up pace in the past few months with about one-third of total cases registered in the last 48 days, according to a Reuters tally. Europe, which became the first region to report 25 million cases last week, remains the worst-affected area in the world, followed by Latin America with 22.4 million and 16.3 million cases respectively.
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters


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UPDATE 1-French city of Marseille gets tougher curfew as new COVID-19 variant discovered

France has imposed a stricter evening curfew in Marseille after authorities said the new variant of the COVID-19 virus initially found in the UK had been discovered in the Mediterranean city. Marseille joined other French cities such as Strasbourg and Dijon in having its curfew moved forward to 6 p.m. from 8 p.m., and running through to 6 a.m. the following morning. The stricter Marseille measures will start on Sunday evening. The move came as COVID-19 related deaths and cases increased in France, which has the world's seventh-highest death toll from the coronavirus. There were 20,177 new, confirmed COVID cases in the last 24 hours and roughly 170 more deaths.
9th Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Nine further Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland

A further nine people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours. The latest figures from the Department of Health also show 1,442 more positive cases for coronavirus here out of 4,777 tested. The hospitals are operating at 97% bed occupancy, with 674 Covid inpatients, 47 in ICU and 33 on ventilators. There are 137 active outbreaks across Northern Ireland’s care homes. It comes as Northern Ireland entered into the second day of tough new restrictions to help stem the spread of rising Covid-19 cases.
9th Jan 2021 - ITV News

Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes double in a fortnight as care sector is biggest source of infection clusters

The number of apparent Covid-19 outbreaks inside care homes has more than doubled in a fortnight with the care sector now the largest source of multi-infection incidents once again, according to official data. Public Health England figures show that in the week to 3 January, there were 749 “acute respiratory infection incidents” in care homes across the UK, up from 480 the week before and 364 in the week before that. The incidents are defined as two or more confirmed or suspected cases of a respiratory illness such as Covid-19 or flu, and a large majority were confirmed to involve Covid-19 through virus testing.
9th Jan 2021 - iNews

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann says peak of Covid-19 surge "expected in third week of January"

As Northern Ireland entered a new range of restrictions at midnight on Thursday, the Department of Health reported 20 further coronavirus related deaths. Friday's dashboard update also reported a further 1,500 positive cases of the virus in the last 24 hour period, bringing the total number of positive cases to 86,146 since the start of the pandemic. In a statement to the Assembly this evening, Minister Swann said that "it is essential that the current lockdown successfully and significantly reduces the R number". He also said that it is estimated that in some parts of NI, where transmission is particularly high, as many as 1 in 40 people currently have Covid-19 and for Northern Ireland as a whole, the estimated figure is in the region of 1 in 60. In his statement to the Assembly, Mr Swann said: "This week, a number of our Health and Social Care Trusts have confirmed a downturn of elective surgery. This reflects the unprecedented pressures that the Covid-19 pandemic is creating in our hospitals.
9th Jan 2021 - Belfast Live

U.S. breaks record for daily COVID-19 cases with 310k new infections

The United States on Saturday surpassed 370,000 coronavirus deaths a day after the nation broke a record for the highest new cases of COVID-19 in one day as California and New Jersey experienced a massive one-day surge. A total of 370,119 people have died since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Additionally, there were 310,080 new cases reported on Friday 50,000 of which were in California and 20,000 in New Jersey, according to the COVID Tracking Project. It comes as there were 23,083 COVID-19 deaths already recorded in the first eight days of the year and 16 states reported their highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations this week, in yet more troubling signs for the post-holiday surge
9th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: NHS at breaking point and public 'not listening' to lockdown, warns top doctor

The NHS is "breaking in front of us" as people fail to obey lockdown rules, and hospitals may soon be too short of staff to keep their patients safe, a leading doctor has warned. Dr Zudin Puthucheary, council member of the Intensive Care Society and a critical care consultant, told Sky News he was "scared and angry" as the COVID-19 crisis takes its toll on hospitals - notably in London. A major incident was declared in the capital on Friday due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases threatening to overrun its already stretched hospitals.
9th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Act like you've got the virus, government urges

People in England are being told to act like they have got Covid as part of a government advertising campaign aimed at tackling the rise in infections. Boris Johnson said the public should "stay at home" and not get complacent. On Friday 1,325 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test were recorded in the UK - the highest daily figure yet - along with 68,053 new cases. Government sources say there is likely to be more focus from police on enforcing rather than explaining rules. "With over 1,000 people dying yesterday it's more important than ever everyone sticks to rules," a source told the BBC.
9th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Australia scrambles to block coronavirus variant; travellers must show negative test

Travellers to Australia will have to show a negative Covid-19 test before they can get on their plane, the prime minister said on Friday (Jan 8), as the city of Brisbane went into lockdown after the discovery of a case of a virulent new coronavirus variant. The more than 2 million residents of Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, will be barred from leaving their homes for anything but essential business for three days from Friday evening after a worker at a quarantine hotel tested positive for the new variant, which was first detected in Britain. Australia has detected several cases of the variant but this was the first one to appear outside the quarantine system.
9th Jan 2021 - The Straits Times

False Reports of a New ‘U.S. Variant’ Came from White House Task Force

Reports of a highly contagious new coronavirus variant in the United States, published on Friday by multiple news outlets, are based on speculative statements made by Dr. Deborah Birx and are inaccurate, according to several government officials. The erroneous report originated at a recent meeting where Dr. Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, presented graphs of the escalating cases in the country. She suggested to other members of the task force that a new, more transmissible variant originating in the United States might explain the surge, as another variant did in Britain.
9th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

Coronavirus latest updates: India reports 18,222 new cases; mutant strain patients spike to 90

India on Saturday reported 18,222 new COVID-19 cases, 19,253 discharges, and 228 deaths. As India gears up for the corona vaccination program, a dry run has been conducted in the country to assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for immunisation drive. In Maharashtra, dry run was conducted across 32 of the total 36 districts. Maharashtra Minister also asserted that the central government should bear the entire cost of vaccination. Meanwhile, the state's coronavirus tally has increased to 19.61 lakh with the addition of 3,693 cases. As the virus claimed the lives of 73 patients during the day, the fatality count mounted to 49,970.
9th Jan 2021 - Mumbai Mirror

Coronavirus Vaccine Demand Has Health Officials Turning to Eventbrite

In the early stages of a global push to distribute the coronavirus vaccine to those who need it most — a process that has, so far, managed to be both hectic and slow — some health officials have turned to an unexpected tool: the ticketing website Eventbrite. Before the pandemic, the platform was a place to book tickets to performances, art shows or pub crawls. Now, public health officials are using it to schedule vaccination appointments. Mai Miller, 48, of Merritt Island, Fla., scoured Eventbrite last week in search of a slot for her mother. She scrolled through pages of dates and times, repeatedly refreshing the site and hunting for booking buttons that were blue, signaling availability. She found a few, but she couldn’t seem to click on them quickly enough. “It was just a scramble,” she said. “Like musical chairs with 20 chairs and 4,000 people.”
9th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

Doctors raise alarm as Covid strikes down NHS workforce

In England, the number of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who are falling ill with Covid-19 has reached crisis levels and is seriously hampering the fight against the rapidly escalating pandemic, senior figures in the NHS have warned. The problem of staff absence, because of illness or the need to self-isolate when family members test positive, is also beginning to hamper the vaccination programme – just as the government throws maximum resources into efforts to vaccinate 15 million high priority people by the middle of February.
9th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

US sees most single-day deaths in pandemic: 4,000+

Yesterday 4,085 Americans died of COVID-19, a bleak record in the year-long pandemic. In total, the US reported 274,403 new cases, an uptick from the 200,000 daily average seen through the beginning of the month, and one that likely represents a holiday-related increase. According to the dashboard maintained by Johns Hopkins University, the country has 21,776,072 cases and 367,635 deaths, by far the most in the world. Several states are setting daily records in both cases and deaths. New York state reported a single-day record of 17,609 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and has set case records 5 of the past 9 days,
8th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


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Exclusive: London will be overwhelmed by covid in a fortnight says leaked NHS England briefing

London’s hospitals are less than two weeks from being overwhelmed by covid even under the ‘best’ case scenario, according to an official briefing given to the capital’s most senior doctors this afternoon. NHS England London medical director Vin Diwakar set out the stark analysis to the medical directors of London’s hospital trusts on a Zoom call. The NHS England presentation, seen by HSJ (see slides below story), showed that even if the number of covid patients grew at the lowest rate considered likely, and measures to manage demand and increase capacity, including open the capital’s Nightingale hospital, were successful, the NHS in London would be short of nearly 2,000 general and acute and intensive care beds by 19 January.
7th Jan 2021 - Health Service Journal

France reports 22 cases of new COVID-19 variants, ministry says

French Health ministry said on Thursday that 22 cases of new variants of the coronavirus have been detected in France. The ministry also said in a statement that two high-risk clusters that could feature the new British variant of COVID-19 have been found in the Brittany and the Paris regions.
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Return to home lockdowns ruled out as Spain’s COVID-19 cases soar in ‘third wave’

Spain's Health Minister has ruled out any home confinements to combat the 'third wave' of the coronavirus pandemic. Salvador Illa said today (January 7) that the Madrid government is not considering a new State of Alarm decree to supersede the one imposed on October 25th to stop the fresh onslaught of Covid-19. Regional governments have the flexibility under the current State of Alarm to impose measures to reduce the spread of new infections, but they cannot bring in home confiements.
7th Jan 2021 - Olive Press

Covid-19: Virus Hammers California as Deaths and Hospitalizations Surge

California’s daily coronavirus case tallies remain around four times what they were during the state’s summer surge, and officials predict that the aftereffects of a December surge linked to holiday gatherings will worsen as the winter drags on. After new infections — driven by Thanksgiving travel and gatherings, then Christmas festivities — resulted in a surge unlike any the state had yet seen, the trajectory of its new cases has leveled off somewhat in the early days of 2021. But there are more than twice as many Covid-19 patients in California hospitals now as there were a month ago, and many intensive care units in the state have been overflowing. At least six people in the state have also been found to be infected with the new, more transmissible variant of the virus first identified in Britain.
7th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

Spain tightens virus curbs but rules out lockdown

Spain's regions stepped up virus restrictions this week but the government remained adamant it would not impose a lockdown despite an expected post-Christmas surge in infections, a minister said Thursday. Outgoing Health Minister Salvador Illa said the situation was causing "a great deal of concern", warning there were "complicated weeks ahead and people must remain on high alert".
7th Jan 2021 - Medical Xpress

The UK can't even keep track of its spiralling Covid-19 case numbers

Ten months after the first one, the UK is back where it started: stuck a national lockdown. Since England came out of a national lockdown on December 2, the trajectory of daily confirmed cases across the UK has morphed into a near-vertical climb. Confirmed cases topped 60,000 for the first time on January 5, and a day later the daily death toll surpassed 1,000 for the first time since April. It’s obvious that the virus is spreading across the UK, but the testing numbers reveal something else worrying going on. The country is reporting a higher share of positive Covid-19 tests than at any point since April, when testing was extremely limited. This suggests that the real number of people with the virus is much higher than testing currently conveys.
7th Jan 2021 - Wired.co.uk

Japan Emergency May Last Months as Critics Say Steps Too Narrow

Restrictions set to be imposed under Japan’s state of emergency could last months, with both government advisers and critics of its strategy calling for broader steps than current proposals. Japan is set to declare an emergency as early as Thursday in Tokyo and three surrounding areas, with relatively narrow restrictions focused on reducing infections at bars and restaurants. But as in spring, the declaration may drag on if those moves fail to change people’s behavior, experts contend.
7th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Malaysia reports record jump in COVID-19 cases amid fears of new lockdown

Malaysia reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases on Thursday as the government considered imposing restrictions in some areas, while businesses warned that another nationwide lockdown would further batter the economy. A jump in infections has spooked investors, with the Kuala Lumpur stock index falling as much as 1.2% on Thursday, a day after authorities said the rise in cases was straining the health system. The government was considering targeted lockdowns in parts of the country in response, Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah had said on Wednesday. The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers said that it supported a partial lockdown but that wider restrictions could cripple businesses already impacted by the pandemic
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

China COVID cases at highest in five months amid Hebei outbreak

The number of new COVID-19 cases in China nearly doubled on Wednesday as more patients were confirmed with the virus in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing, which began mass testing of the entire provincial capital and restricted travel after detecting 20 cases earlier this week. Hebei, which entered “wartime mode” on Tuesday, accounted for 51 of the 52 new locally transmitted cases reported by the National Health Commission on Thursday. State media reported that 50 of those cases were in the provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, a city of 11 million people about 300 kilometres (200 miles) south of Beijing.
7th Jan 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Arizona deemed ‘hot spot of the world’ amid virus surge

Five months after President Donald Trump hailed Arizona as a model for how it dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts warned Wednesday that the state has become “the hot spot of the world” and that health restrictions the governor has been hesitant to impose could have tamped down the crisis. “It’s way worse than July already, and it’s going to continue to get worse. We’re probably two weeks behind LA in terms of our situation,” Will Humble, head of the Arizona Public Health Association, said referring to Los Angeles County, where a COVID-19 surge has created a shortage of oxygen and led ambulance crews to stop transporting patients they can’t revive in the field.
7th Jan 2021 - AP News

Europe coronavirus cases surpass 25 million - Reuters tally

Coronavirus cases in Europe surpassed 25 million on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, with several countries reinstating or extending lockdowns as a resurgence in the pandemic threatens to overwhelm health services.
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters


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More infectious COVID-19 variant in at least five U.S. states - NIH Director

A more contagious variant of COVID-19 that has swept through the United Kingdom has been reported in at least five states in the U.S., National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said in an interview to the Washington Post on Wednesday. “We have now seen that same UK virus in the U.S. in at least five states and I would be surprised if that doesn’t grow pretty rapidly,” Collins said, adding that it doesn’t however seem to be more severe. Last week, Reuters reported that Florida became the third known U.S. state to identify such a case, with two other cases identified in Colorado and California. Scientists have said newly developed vaccines should be equally effective against both variants.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Record-high COVID-19 hospitalizations strain southwestern Ontario health-care system

A southwestern Ontario hospital grappling with record-high COVID-19 admissions was cancelling surgeries and transferring patients to other facilities this week while another scrapped procedures to free up staff who could care for the gravely ill. The capacity crunch due to rising cases of the novel coronavirus had the head of a group representing Ontario’s hospitals warning that the acute-care system is more stretched than ever and the situation could get worse. The Windsor Regional Hospital cancelled all non-urgent, elective surgeries indefinitely and is preparing to send patients to hospitals near and far, hospital CEO David Musyj said Wednesday. Some acute-care patients are being transferred to the hospital in nearby Chatham-Kent, Ont., he said, while those with higher needs are being transferred to London, Ont.
6th Jan 2021 - The Star

COVID-19: Benjamin Netanyahu blames Israel's spike in coronavirus cases on 'British mutation'

Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed the "British mutation" of COVID-19 for a big spike in coronavirus cases in Israel. The Israeli prime minister said the pandemic was "spreading at top speed with the British mutation" as his government placed the country under stricter lockdown measures for the third time. "It [the British mutation] has reached Israel and is claiming many lives. We need to impose a full lockdown immediately," said Mr Netanyahu.
6th Jan 2021 - Sky News

U.S. sets COVID-19 hospitalization record as states work to ramp up vaccination efforts

More Americans were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday than at any time since the pandemic began, as total coronavirus infections crossed the 21 million mark, deaths soared across much of the United States and a historic vaccination effort lagged. U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a record 130,834 late on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally of public health data, while 3,684 reported fatalities was the second-highest single-day death toll of the pandemic. That appalling toll meant that on Tuesday someone died from COVID-19 every 24 seconds in the United States. With total deaths surpassing 357,000, one in every 914 U.S. residents has died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to a Reuters analysis.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Covid-19: UK records more than 1,000 daily virus deaths

The UK has reported a further 1,041 people have died with coronavirus, the highest daily death toll since April. It came as 62,322 new cases were recorded, the highest daily rise since mass testing began, and as MPs supported England's lockdown. Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier said doctors could be forced to ration treatment without the new curbs. There are 30,074 Covid patients in UK hospitals, he said, as an ambulance trust told of severe pressure. Current patient numbers are 39% higher than the previous peak on 12 April last year, when 21,684 were in hospital. The number of those who died within 28 days of a positive test in the past week is 37% higher than the previous seven days.
6th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Swamped Hospitals Expose Depth of Britain’s Unfolding Crisis

If the British government’s goal throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been to protect the health service, the next few weeks will be the biggest challenge yet. After overtaking Italy again as the country with Europe’s highest death toll, the U.K. is at the epicenter of the continent’s struggle to contain Covid-19. Daily infections are at a record—one in 50 people in England now have the disease—while Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week shut schools and ordered the population to stay at home. Medical staff say they may be forced to turn people away from hospitals if the latest lockdown fails to curb quickly enough a new strain of the virus that emerged in southeast England last month.
6th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

New strain of coronavirus has been circulating in Spain for two weeks, experts conclude

The mutation of SARS-CoV-2 first identified in the United Kingdom has been detected by a research foundation in Valencia in two patients with no epidemiological connection to the country. The new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus that was first detected in the United Kingdom is already circulating in Spain between people who have no epidemiological connection with that country. That’s according to a preliminary genetic analysis carried out by the Fisabio Foundation research institute in Valencia, which has found the same mutations of SARS-CoV-2 that were detected in the UK in samples taken two weeks ago from two patients who had not traveled to the country, nor come into contact with someone who had.
6th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Health Secretary Says Spain Can Avoid New Lockdown

Silvia Cazon, Spain's Secretary of State for Health, has claimed that Spain can avoid a full national lockdown despite fears of a third wave alongside the new British mutant strain. Speaking to Hoy por Hoy, Silivia Cazon said that Spain can implement "immediate measures" using "current instruments" to curb the rise in Covid cases without restorting to another national lockdown.
6th Jan 2021 - Euro Weekly News

Spain’s regions tighten restrictions as Covid-19 cases surge

Valencian authorities are confining 26 municipalities, Extremadura is closing bars and restaurants in its main cities, and La Rioja will limit all social gatherings to four people. After partially loosening restrictions during the Christmas holidays, Spanish regional governments are tightening their coronavirus measures again as cases continue to soar amid what experts are already describing as a third wave of the pandemic. The decisions come as Health Ministry data on Tuesday showed a 25% rise in reported cases over the last seven days. Nine Spanish territories now have an incidence rate categorized as “extreme risk” by health authorities.
6th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

COVID-19: UK records 1,041 COVID deaths and highest daily increase in cases

The UK has recorded its highest number of COVID-related deaths since 21 April, and the highest daily increase in cases. The government figures reported on Wednesday afternoon showed another 1,041 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus. This is the 10th time since the pandemic began that the daily number of deaths has been above 1,000. The figure was a significant increase from the 830 deaths reported on Tuesday, with both days likely to contain some deaths that took place over the Christmas and New Year period that have only just been reported.
6th Jan 2021 - Sky News

A third lockdown should not be ruled out in France, says health expert

A third national lockdown to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic should not be ruled out in France, where new daily cases are picking up, but it is still too early to make that decision, a senior medical expert said on Wednesday. "A new lockdown should not be ruled out," Eric Caumes, head of infectious diseases expert at Paris' Pitie-Salpetriere hospital, told BFM TV.
6th Jan 2021 - swissinfo.ch

3rd Lockdown In France? Bars Restaurants Fear The Worst Amid Vaccination Controversy

With Covid-19 cases hitting a plateau in France, it appears bars and restaurants will remain closed beyond the target date of January 20. The news comes as the government tries to reboot a vaccination strategy that has been widely criticized as too slow. Back in late November, President Emmanuel Macron spelled out 3 stages for re-opening the country after its second lockdown when daily cases peaked at 86,852 on November 7. But following the first stage that allowed many local businesses to re-open, France’s case stopped falling and eventually settled into a more or less steady pace of 15,000 per day.
6th Jan 2021 - Forbes

Covid variant behind latest UK lockdown now spreading in France, officials say

French health officials say a potentially more contagious strain of the virus causing Covid-19 has caused a handful of cases in the country, including the Paris region. The variant, identified in Britain last month, has been linked to a surge in cases that has forced the UK government to impose the most restrictive lockdown since early last summer. As France scrambles to catch up with its neighbours in vaccinating against Covid-19, top officials said they were closely watching for signs of the potentially highly contagious new variant, which has been identified in a small number of cases. “At this stage, we have about 10 suspected or confirmed cases” of the variant, which “is not spreading widely in France” for the moment, Health Minister Olivier Véran told RTL radio.
6th Jan 2021 - RFI English

Tokyo daily coronavirus cases exceed 1,500, renewing record - media

Rising infections have driven Tokyo and surrounding areas to the highest level of a four-stage alert, prompting regional governors to call for a declaration of emergency that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce on Thursday. The health ministry held a meeting of infectious disease experts on Wednesday, the second in as many days. They have called for stricter and longer countermeasures, while Suga has sought a more limited response to avoid damaging the economy. “Even if we take strong measures immediately, it will be difficult to bring the Tokyo metropolitan area down to stage 3 by the end of January,” Takaji Wakita, chief of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, told reporters after the meeting
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Legal revisions would add weight to Japan's COVID-19 response

With numbers of new COVID-19 cases across the Tokyo region surging to record levels, the government is expected to announce a state of emergency this week for the capital and three adjacent prefectures. But Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government already has doubts about its effectiveness, and wants the Diet to approve a bill by the start of next month that would revise the 2020 special measures law on infectious diseases. The revision could strengthen the existing law by levying fines against businesses that ignore government demands to shorten their hours or shut to prevent the spread of infection.
6th Jan 2021 - The Japan Times

China hits city of 11 million with tight restrictions as more than 100 COVID cases discovered

Travel has been restricted to a northern Chinese city of 11 million people and schools closed as authorities moved on Wednesday to snuff out a cluster of COVID-19 cases after more than 100 infections were confirmed. Ten major highways leading into the city of Shijiazhuang, around 200 miles south of Beijing, have been closed and a bus terminus was closed in an attempt to prevent the virus spreading beyond the city in Hebei province. China's state-run Global Times newspaper said all train ticket sales from neighboring Hebei province into the capital were halted and Shijiazhuang's long-distance bus station closed as officials declared Hebei in "wartime mode" against the virus.
6th Jan 2021 - CBS News

Virus Has Recently Infected 1 in 50 in England

As England re-entered lockdown on Tuesday, new figures showed that one in 50 people had recently been infected with the virus, and officials warned that some restrictions on daily life could still be needed next winter. Speaking at a news conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to focus government efforts on rolling out its strained mass vaccination program intended to prevent a surge in infections of a highly transmissible variant of the virus from overwhelming the health service.
6th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

NSW tightening protocols on hotel quarantine drivers to stop COVID-19 spread

New South Wales health authorities will ramp up testing on workers transporting Australians returning from overseas, after an infected driver unwittingly put thousands of people in Greater Sydney at risk of contracting COVID-19. Drivers had been getting weekly throat and nose swabs for the virus, but from January 21, all people transporting passengers coming back from overseas will have a daily saliva test. The test involves taking a small amount of saliva to detect fragments of the virus and is about 85 per cent accurate at picking up COVID-19.
6th Jan 2021 - ABC News

Australian nurses in the frontline fight to save lives as coronavirus overwhelms UK hospitals

The coronavirus health crisis facing the United Kingdom is dire, this week forcing the country back into lockdown until at least mid February as authorities brace for the potential of hospitals being completely overwhelmed. There are routinely more than 50,000 new cases being recorded each day as an aggressive new strain of the virus takes hold. Health workers are stretched to the limit, and among them are many Australian professionals. Here, three Australian nurses tell first-hand of their experiences
6th Jan 2021 - ABC News

Indonesia to impose more targeted restrictions to fight COVID-19

Indonesia will impose two weeks of increased coronavirus restrictions in parts of its most populous island of Java from Jan. 11 and in the resort island of Bali, to support hospitals and reduce fatality rates, a minister said on Wednesday. The chief economic minister, Airlangga Hartarto, said some of the measures include changes to opening hours for malls and limited capacity at restaurants and places of worship.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters


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Covid-19: UK daily coronavirus cases top 60,000 for first time

The number of new daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK has topped 60,000 for the first time since the pandemic started. According to government figures on Tuesday, the number of people who tested positive was 60,916. One in 50 people in private households in England had Covid last week - and one in 30 in London, according to estimates based on the latest data. A further 830 people have also died within 28 days of a positive test. It comes as England and Scotland announced new strict lockdowns, with people told to stay at home.
5th Jan 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: More than a million have coronavirus in England, says PM - as variant is 'taking off' around UK

More than a million people in England are currently infected with coronavirus, the prime minister has said. Boris Johnson was speaking at a Downing Street news conference on the first full day of the nation's third lockdown, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said one in 50 people in England have COVID-19. Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said it was "really quite a large number indeed" and warned the new variant is "taking off" in areas outside London and the South East.
5th Jan 2021 - Sky News

New York reports first case of new coronavirus variant as U.K. orders third national lockdown

New York on Monday reported its first case of a U.K. variant of the coronavirus that appears to be more contagious and has been reported in more than 30 countries. The news came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a third national lockdown for England amid a surging outbreak driven by the variant.
5th Jan 2021 - The Washington Post

New coronavirus infections increase by 25% in a week in Spain

Compared with the data seen on December 28, the ministry’s latest report is showing a very similar situation – both of these reports were released after a four-day period of celebrations, the former Christmas, the latter New Year. The number of new cases notified has risen 25% in the last report from a week ago, from 24,462 to 30,579, bringing the overall total of official cases in Spain to 1,958,844 since the health crisis began. In terms of the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the figure has risen from 246.19 to 272.22 over this seven-day period, a figure that is far from the 188.72 on December 10, as Minister Darias pointed out while speaking after a meeting of the country’s regional health chiefs and the central Health Ministry
5th Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

South Korea's COVID-19 death toll passes 1000, gyms protest distancing rules

The number of deaths linked to the coronavirus in South Korea passed 1,000 on Tuesday (Jan 5), while an increasing number of gym owners said they would reopen in protest against strict social distancing rules. After using aggressive testing and tracing to blunt several earlier waves of the coronavirus without widespread lockdowns, South Korea has imposed increasingly strident social distancing rules as it struggles to stop its largest wave yet. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 28 new deaths and 715 new cases, for a total of 1,007 deaths and 64,979 cases overall.
5th Jan 2021 - CNA

Japan weighs state of emergency in Tokyo area as COVID cases surge

Public health experts advising Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on Tuesday for the swift imposition of a state of emergency in the Tokyo area as daily COVID-19 cases hit a record and some citizens accused the government of dragging its feet. The government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, said a decision would likely come on Thursday on whether to impose the second state of emergency since the start of the pandemic. Japanese media said it would take effect by Friday and last about a month. The government is anxious about the economic impact of another state of emergency as it prepares to host the Olympics in the summer.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Level 5 restrictions: 10 other lockdown measures that could be considered as Covid cases skyrocket

Ireland is in Level 5 lockdown as countries across Europe implement tough measures in an attempt to slow the rapid spread of Covid-19. As the number of Covid cases in this country hit record levels, we take a look at further restrictions which could be brought in to contain the virus.
5th Jan 2021 - Independent.ie


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Covid-19 rates falling in most parts of Wales except in the north

Covid-19 case rates have dropped in a majority of areas in Wales, with the biggest falls in Neath Port Talbot, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent. Rates have risen in parts of North Wales, however, with the biggest jump in Flintshire where the rate is up from 349.8 to 559.9. The figures, for the seven days to December 31, are based on tests carried out in NHS Wales laboratories and those conducted on Welsh residents processed in commercial laboratories. They show that the number of new cases per 100,000 people in Neath Port Talbot has dropped sharply week-on-week from 724.3 to 478.7, while in Merthyr Tydfil the rate has decreased from 901.8 to 669.7. In Blaenau Gwent, the rate is down from 740.0 to 543.9.
4th Jan 2021 - ITV News

Covid-19: The areas in England seeing a surge in cases and hospital patient numbers

Covid-19 case rates are increasing in all parts of England and the prime minister has warned there is "no question" tougher measures are needed to control the virus. NHS hospitals are under increasing pressure with a rising number of coronavirus patients requiring care. Most areas around the country are reporting a record number of Covid-19 patients in hospital, beyond the peaks seen in April. Here's a rundown of the case rate in your area and the number of Covid patients in your local hospitals.
4th Jan 2021 - ITV News

Boris Johnson warns of tougher Covid-19 restrictions for England

Boris Johnson has put England on alert for tougher Covid-19 restrictions and possible further school closures as ministers raced to deploy a vaccine ahead of a chaotic return to the classroom. The UK prime minister’s plan to reopen most primary schools in England on Monday morning was in disarray, with unions and some councils calling for them to remain closed and some schools shutting their doors unilaterally. In an attempt to regain control of the pandemic response, ministers have now deployed more than 5,000 armed forces personnel to the UK-wide pandemic effort — Britain’s biggest ever homeland operation in peacetime.
4th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

US daily COVID-19 hospitalizations have topped 100,000 for a month

Saturday marked one month of more than 100,000 consecutive, daily coronavirus hospitalizations in the US. Those numbers likely reflect people who were infected before the Christmas holiday. Experts anticipate that hospitalizations will continue to climb, meaning the pandemic's worst days may still be ahead.
4th Jan 2021 - Business Insider

Mexico COVID-19 cases surge after influx of American tourists

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have flocked to Mexico to vacation or to settle, according to multiple reports. In November, more than half a million Americans traveled to Mexico, The New York Times reported. The influx of Americans has been partly due to relaxed restrictions at the Mexican border: While many countries require proof of a negative coronavirus test or a quarantine upon arrival, Mexico does not ask for either. But the influx has contributed to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. Mexico has recently reported new highs in daily cases.
4th Jan 2021 - Business Insider

Spain’s Andalucia detects 1,077 COVID-19 cases Monday as it convenes expert committee to decide future of current restrictions

Andalucia has detected 1,077 new coronavirus cases on Monday. While it is 1,143 fewer than the number reported on Sunday, the figure represents a significant increase from last Monday, when 567 cases were detected. However deaths have decreased, with 10 people losing their livess to the virus in the past 24 hours, four fewer than the day before.
4th Jan 2021 - Olive Press

Japan PM says government will consider state of emergency for Tokyo area

Japan said on Monday it would consider declaring a state of emergency for the Greater Tokyo metropolitan area as coronavirus cases climb, casting fresh doubt over whether it can push ahead with the Olympics and keep economic damage to a minimum.
4th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UK's Johnson to outline new restrictions to slow COVID-19

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday a new national lockdown for England until at least mid-February to combat a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus, even as Britain ramped up its vaccination program by becoming the first nation to start using the shot developed by Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca. Johnson said people must stay at home again, as they were ordered to do so in the first wave of the pandemic in March, this time because the new virus variant was spreading in a “frustrating and alarming” way. “As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than at any time since the start of the pandemic,” he said in a televised address.
4th Jan 2021 - The Associated Press

A year since Covid first emerged in China, the world battles its deadliest surge yet

It’s been a year since the coronavirus emerged from a seafood market in Wuhan, China. The coronavirus is still surging, but not so much in those early countries that were forced into lockdowns at the beginning of 2020 to contain the disease. The initial vaccines, which were produced and authorized in record time, have been slow to roll out as the U.S. misses its year-end goal.
4th Jan 2021 - CNBC

Boris Johnson to decide today on nationwide lockdown ‘lasting until April’

Boris Johnson is reportedly set to decide today whether to implement tougher Covid-19 restrictions lasting for months, as he faces urgent calls to introduce a national lockdown. The Government’s key ‘Covid-O’ committee, which oversees coronavirus restrictions, is reportedly set to meet today to decide changes to the tier system. According to the Daily Mail, a Government source last night said ministers are considering putting yet more areas of England under the strictest tier four measures. Currently, 44 million people – about three-quarters of the country – are living under the restrictions which include a strict ‘stay at home’ message, with only essential retail permitted to open.
4th Jan 2021 - Metro

Will there be a national lockdown? Why Boris Johnson has warned of new Covid rules as cases soar in England

The Prime Minister has hinted tougher new restrictions could be implemented in England following a surge in Covid-19 cases, while the Health Secretary has said the Government will not rule out a new lockdown to bring the virus under control.
4th Jan 2021 - iNews

US COVID deaths top 350,000 as vaccine rollout continues

Over the New Year weekend, the United States reported that 350,000 Americans had died from the novel coronavirus—a grim milestone as state leaders and officials from Operation Warp Speed continue to try to roll out millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Though it's too soon to tell how or if New Year’s celebrations will affect daily case totals, in the last week the US reported an average of 213,437 new daily COVID-19 cases and 2,637 virus-related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
4th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 4th Jan 2021

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Australia's COVID-19 cases on the rise as masks made compulsory

Australia’s most-populous state of New South Wales (NSW) reported eight new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, while neighbouring Victoria’s tally increased by three, as new measures to combat the disease kicked in. The NSW outbreak started around mid-December in Sydney’s Northern Beaches area, where a quarter of a million people are in strict lockdown until Jan. 9. Cases associated with the cluster now total 148. A smaller cluster in the west of the city, linked to a different genome sequence, has 13 confirmed cases. But the state’s chief health officer, Kerry Chant, said authorities are worried as recent transmission at a liquor store occurred with “fleeting” exposure.
4th Jan 2021 - Reuters Australia

Norway imposes new restrictions to prevent new wave, says PM

Norway will impose fresh restrictions to prevent a resurgence in the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Sunday, including a nationwide ban on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars and not inviting guests home. The Nordic country has seen a rise in cases over the past month and now estimates its R number - which represents the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to - stands at 1.3. “We see more signs of a new wave of infections,” Solberg told a news conference, citing Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations and the emergence of the more contagious variant of the virus first identified in Britain among the reasons.
4th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Thailand mulls more restrictions amid second wave of coronavirus

Thailand’s government held off from ordering new nationwide business shutdowns on Sunday amid a wave of coronavirus cases but empowered some provincial governors to set their own restrictions and pleaded with the public not to travel. Thailand, which had largely controlled the virus by mid-2020, saw a second wave of outbreaks beginning in December. On Sunday, it confirmed 315 new coronavirus cases, the majority of which are local transmission, bringing its total to 7,694 cases and 64 deaths since its first case last January.
3rd Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Tokyo to request new emergency declaration as COVID-19 cases climb - media

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will ask the central government later on Saturday to declare a state of emergency following a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, local media reported. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike will make the request in a meeting with Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who coordinates government measures to fight the pandemic, the Nikkei newspaper said, citing multiple sources. Calls by Reuters to the governor’s office were not answered.
2nd Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Kent hospitals ‘overwhelmed’ as ICU bed occupancy hits 137%

More critically ill patients are being transferred to hospitals across England as NHS trusts in Kent reported bed occupancy levels in intensive care reaching 137 per cent on New Year’s Day. Eleven hospitals across the Kent and Surrey regions are failing to meet nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in intensive care, raising concerns for patient safety. Thresholds for admitting patients to intensive care are being revised, and clinicians in the region say some patients who should be in intensive care are instead being looked after on other wards because there is simply not enough space available.
1st Jan 2021 - The Independent

Suddenly overwhelmed, Ireland says thousands of COVID-19 cases yet to be added to tally

Ireland said on Friday it had under-reported coronavirus cases in recent days by thousands more than previously known as its system came under strain, suggesting the EU’s fastest growing outbreak is worsening even more rapidly than figures showed. More than 9,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have yet to been added to the official tally of confirmed cases, the National Public Health Emergency Team said. A day earlier it had estimated the number of positive tests still pending registration at just 4,000. Ireland has gone from having the lowest infection rate in the European Union just two weeks ago to having the fastest rate of deterioration, after shops and large parts of the hospitality sector were allowed to reopen for most of December.
1st Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

UK records 53,285 new COVID-19 cases, 613 deaths

The United Kingdom recorded a further 53,285 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the fourth day running that it has topped 50,000, and 613 deaths, official data showed. The rise in cases compares with the 55,892 that were reported on Thursday, while the death tally marks a fall from the 964 reported the day before.
1st Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Americans Urged to Keep Guard Up as New Virus Strain Spreads

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans on Wednesday to step up social distancing and other measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, a day after confirming a more contagious strain of the virus had reached the United States. The CDC also confirmed another variant of the coronavirus originating from South Africa is turning up in other countries and may soon appear in the U.S. “Both of these variants appear to infect people more easily,” said Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, in a press call. “There is no evidence that either of these variants causes more severe disease or increases the risk of death.”
31st Dec 2020 - Courthouse News Service

Doctors can't get a Covid vaccine in Wales and say the health service is in danger of collapse

Frontline doctors and other healthcare professionals are still struggling to access the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in Wales, it is claimed. Dr David Bailey, chairman of the British Medical Association's (BMA) Welsh Council, said the Welsh NHS was "in danger of collapse" due to soaring staff absence levels. He said it was "unacceptable" that frontline clinicians were still being exposed to the virus day in, day out without proper protection. His comments come following the announcement that the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use by the MHRA and will be rolled out in Wales from next week.
31st Dec 2020 - Wales Online


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Covid-19 in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon tells Hogmanay revellers to stay at home and halt coronavirus spread

Nicola Sturgeon has warned revellers to stay at home on Hogmanay as Scotland recorded the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began. The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 has doubled in 24 hours from 967 reported yesterday to 1,895 today. There has also been a 12 per cent rise in hospital cases from 973 on Christmas Day to 1,092 today — the highest figure since November 27 when there were signs that the second wave was abating. Epidemiologists fear household mixing at Christmas coupled with a new and more infectious strain is fuelling the second wave.
29th Dec 2020 - The Times

Covid-19: Health workers 'back in eye of storm', says NHS chief

Health workers are "back in the eye of the storm" as coronavirus cases continue to rise, NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens has said. It has been the "toughest year" for the NHS, which has treated 200,000 severely ill Covid-19 patients, he added. Hospitals in England are currently treating more Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave in April. A government scientific adviser has warned national restrictions are needed to prevent a "catastrophe". On Monday, a record 41,385 new Covid cases were reported in the UK, though it is thought the infection rate was higher during spring when testing was much more limited.
29th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Covid patient numbers exceed April peak as Nightingale hospitals stand empty

There are now more coronavirus patients in England’s hospitals than there were during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, new figures show. As of 8am on Monday, there were 20,426 patients in the country’s NHS hospitals compared to the 18,974 patients recorded on April 12, NHS England revealed. The sobering update comes after the UK recorded its highest daily number of Covid-19 cases to date, with 41,385 infections confirmed as of 9am on Monday, according to the Department of Health. Meanwhile, London’s Nightingale hospital has been stripped of its beds as medics warn there are not enough staff to run the facility, the Telegraph reported.
29th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Renewed COVID lockdowns likely in Southern California as ICUs stay filled

The United States topped 19 million COVID cases on Monday as hospital intensive care units were full to overflowing across much of California, a major U.S. virus hot spot, portending an extension of strict stay-at-home orders imposed this month. California Governor Gavin Newsom said mandatory constraints on social gatherings and business activities would almost certainly be renewed for at least three more weeks in Southern California - encompassing the state’s biggest metropolitan areas - and its agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley. Newsom said a formal decision on continuing the stay-at-home orders, among the most stringent in the United States, would be announced on Tuesday, based on trends projected by health authorities for the coming weeks.
29th Dec 2020 - Reuters

UK coronavirus cases rise by record 53,000 amid calls for tougher lockdown

The UK has recorded 53,135 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours in the biggest daily rise since the pandemic began. It is the first time daily cases have surpassed 50,000 and is over 10,000 more than yesterday’s record high of 41,385. The figures from the Department of Health show another 414 people have died within 28 days of testing positive, compared to 357 on Monday. It brings the total death toll to 71,567 – one of the highest in the world.
29th Dec 2020 - Metro

Dr Fauci says ‘worst is yet to come’ from coronavirus as December becomes deadliest month of pandemic

Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that he believes the worst of the coronavirus pandemic “is yet to come” as December becomes America’s most deadly month for Covid-19. Speaking to anchor Dana Bash on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, Dr Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and part of the White House coronavirus task force, warned US residents to brace for a surge of cases in the new year. “We very well might see a post-seasonal – in the sense of Christmas, New Years – surge or as I’ve described it, a surge upon a surge,” Dr Fauci said on Sunday.
29th Dec 2020 - The Independent

Spain’s Virus Deaths Surpass 50,000 Amid Holiday Restrictions

Spain became the fourth European country to record more than 50,000 coronavirus deaths as nations across the region start to roll out a vaccine. Fatalities from the disease rose to 50,122 on Monday, according to Health Ministry figures. Some 408 people have died from the virus in the past week. Cases diagnosed over the last 24 hours amounted to 2,822, bringing the total to 1.88 million. Spain is one of the countries in Europe to be hit hardest by the pandemic, forcing the government to impose a state of emergency in March. When it emerged from a strict national lockdown three months later, management of the pandemic was placed in the hands of regional governments.
29th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Covid: UK surge in cases an 'extreme concern'

A surge in coronavirus cases in the UK is of "extreme concern", a health boss says, as a record number of cases was reported for the second day running. On Tuesday, 53,135 new Covid cases were recorded as well as 414 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test. Not all data was reported in full over the Christmas period, leading to a lag in some data, but Public Health England said there had been a "real increase". The health secretary said the NHS was facing "unprecedented pressures". Ahead of an announcement on any changes to England's tier restrictions on Wednesday, Matt Hancock added in a tweet: "We must suppress this virus to protect our NHS & save lives until the vaccine can keep us safe."
29th Dec 2020 - BBC News

New Year lockdown fears grow as health task force decide fate of France's Covid-hit regions

Despite the positive news of the roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccination campaign, the French are ending 2020 with the threat of a possible 3rd lockdown, which could be implemented on a regional or local basis. Covid-19 infection rates coming out of France’s Grand Est region have been troubling Macron administration, triggering an emergency meeting of a health defense council this Tuesday. It is not yet known whether new lockdown measures will be decided at today’s gathering, but regional politicians already have their own idea of what the outcome may be.
29th Dec 2020 - RFI English

France considers third national lockdown as Covid-19 cases rise

President Emmanuel Macron meets with France’s health council on Tuesday to consider whether to reimpose lockdown restrictions for a third time amid concern over a rise in Covid-19 cases. France eased restrictions imposed during a second lockdown on December 15 but the average number of daily coronavirus cases has not fallen below a key 5,000 threshold set by the government. Although the number of new infections appeared to have fallen over the Christmas holidays – only 2,960 new coronavirus infections were reported on Monday, down from 8,822 on Sunday and 3,093 on Saturday – officials fear the figures are misleading. Many of the country’s testing facilities closed over the holidays and the drop could simply be due to fewer people getting tested.
29th Dec 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

U.K. Virus Surge Surpasses Spring Peak as Lockdown Choices Loom

Facing record case and hospital numbers and a threatening variant strain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to shut schools and reimpose national restrictions, measures he once decried.
29th Dec 2020 - New York Times

South Africa Imposes New Virus Measures As Vaccines Roll Out

South Africa banned alcohol sales and made masks mandatory in public from Tuesday, tightening restrictions after a surge in coronavirus cases as more countries joined in mass vaccination campaigns to beat the pandemic.
29th Dec 2020 - International Business Times

Coronavirus: South Korea reports highest daily deaths amid third wave

Filipino workers returning from the countries, which include the UK, China and Singapore, are exempted from the ban, the Philippine labour chief says Meanwhile, Indonesia is finalising deals to secure 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from drugmakers Pfizer and AstraZeneca
29th Dec 2020 - South China Morning Post

Russia's Covid-19 death toll could be 3 times higher than reported

Russia's death toll from Covid-19 could be three times higher than previously thought, according to one of the country's leading politicians. New data released by Russian statistics agency Rosstat Monday showed that the number of deaths from all causes between January and November had risen by 229,700 compared to the same period last year. After the figures were released, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova was quoted by Russia’s Interfax agency as saying that more than 81 percent of this increase in mortality over this period is due to Covid-19 and consequences of the disease.
29th Dec 2020 - NBC News

New lockdowns likely in Southern California as COVID cases top 19 mil in U.S.

The United States topped 19 million COVID cases on Monday as hospital intensive care units remained filled to overflowing across much of California, a major U.S. coronavirus hot spot, portending an extension of strict stay-at-home orders imposed this month. California Gov Gavin Newsom said mandatory constraints on gatherings and business activities would almost certainly be renewed for at least three more weeks in Southern California - encompassing the state's biggest metropolitan areas - and its agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley. Newsom said a formal decision on continuing stay-at-home orders, among the most stringent in the United States, would be announced on Tuesday, based on trends projected by health authorities for the coming weeks.
29th Dec 2020 - Japan Today

Coronavirus variant from South Africa found in Japan

Japan on Monday detected a coronavirus variant found in South Africa, the government said, the first such discovery in a nation that has already identified more than a dozen cases of another variant that is spreading rapidly in Britain
29th Dec 2020 - News24

Australia could deport hundreds of Brits after ‘super-spreader’ party

Hundreds of backpackers risk being stripped of their visas and deported from Australia after a huge party was thrown on a beach on Christmas Day. Shocking footage from Sydney shows around 300 people, many believed to be British travellers, chanting next to Bronte Beach wearing Santa hats and what appear to be England football shirts. Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke said he was ‘shocked’ and would be ‘very happy’ to deport those caught disobeying public health orders in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Absolutely, under the migration act, if someone is threatening public safety or health, their visa can be cancelled and revoked,’ Mr Hawke said on 2GB this morning.
29th Dec 2020 - Metro

Coronavirus death toll triples in Russia after government admits to downplaying COVID-19 outbreak

The new figures show more than 186,000 Russians have died from COVID-19 This is up from the 55,265 the country had officially reported. The country's health authorities previously only counted COVID-19 deaths confirmed by autopsy
29th Dec 2020 - ABC News

Moscow extends school holiday amid rise in coronavirus infections in Russia

Moscow will extend the school holiday by one week until Jan. 17 in hopes of stabilising the situation regarding new coronavirus infections and avoid new COVID-19-related restrictions, the Russian capital’s mayor said on Tuesday. Russia, which launched a voluntary vaccination programme with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine earlier this month, has resisted imposing a strict lockdown as it did early this year, relying on targeted measures instead.
29th Dec 2020 - Reuters India

COVID-19 hospitalisations continue to rise in France

Hospitalisations for COVID-19 continued to rise on Monday in France as President Emmanuel Macron and some senior cabinet ministers are to review the health situation on Tuesday amid another surge in cases that has spurred fears of a third lockdown in the country. The French Health Ministry reported that the number of people admitted to hospital for COVID-19 rose by 25 on Monday to 24,678 while patients in intensive care - the most important measure of a health system’s ability to deal with the pandemic - went up by 44 to 2,703.
28th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Variant virus gains bigger foothold in UK as cases surge

Developments with variant SARS-CoV-2 continued to dominate global COVID-19 news today, with the United Kingdom reporting more record-high case numbers and new reports revealing more about the prevalence and risk. Meanwhile, a new risk assessment from European health officials said the UK variant may have emerged in September and is expected to push hospitalizations and deaths higher, and more countries reported the detection of the South African variant virus.
28th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP


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Covid-19: UK records 30,000 new cases and 316 deaths

A further 30,501 positive tests for coronavirus were reported on Sunday, as hospitals in parts of the UK warn they are at risk of being overwhelmed. Another 316 people died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total to 70,752. The true numbers are likely to be higher as some parts of the UK are not reporting data over Christmas. It comes as doctors in Scotland warned that the health system was "severely stretched" and a Welsh hospital made an urgent appeal for help with Covid-19 patients on Saturday night.
28th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Covid: South Africa passes one million infections as cases surge

South Africa has become the first country on the continent to register more than one million Covid-19 cases. It comes just days after authorities confirmed that a new, faster-spreading, coronavirus variant had been detected. Some hospitals and medical centres have reported a huge rise in admissions, putting a heavy strain on resources. President Cyril Ramaphosa is widely expected to announce tougher restrictions to prevent the virus from spreading further.
28th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Covid-19: Hospitals under pressure as coronavirus cases rise

England's "very high" Covid infection level is a "growing concern" as the NHS struggles to cope with rising patient numbers, a health official has said. On Monday, a record 41,385 Covid cases and 357 deaths were reported in the UK. NHS England said the number of people being treated for the virus in hospital is now 20,426, which is higher than the previous peak of about 19,000 in April. BBC health editor Hugh Pym said Monday's figure included some infections where reporting was delayed, but that officials did not deny there had been a significant increase in infections.
28th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Ukrainians flock to local ski resort, with many European resorts shut to curb coronavirus spread

Ukraine’s biggest ski resort Bukovel in the Carpathian mountains is fully booked until the end of year as Ukrainians have sped to it instead of other foreign resorts that have been shut due to coronavirus-linked restrictions across Europe. Bukovel’s management said the resort had already been booked at 80% capacity through January. Unlike some European countries, Ukraine did not tighten restrictions on the movement of its residents within the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus over the Christmas and New Year season.
28th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

South Africa's total COVID-19 cases cross 1 million mark

South Africa’s total coronavirus infections since the first case in March crossed a million on Sunday, its Health Ministry said, just days after a new faster spreading variant was confirmed to be present in the country. The grim milestone comes nine days after the country, the worst hit in Africa, reported 900,000 cases. The country had taken two weeks to reach 900,000 from the 800,000 seen early in December.
28th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Sydney told to watch its famous New Year's Eve fireworks from home

Sydney, one of the world’s first major cities to welcome each New Year with a public countdown featuring a fireworks display over its well-known Opera House, has banned large gatherings that night amid an outbreak of the coronavirus. A mid-December resurgence of COVID-19 in the city’s northern beach suburbs has grown to 125 cases after five new infections were recorded on Monday. About a quarter of million of people there must stay in strict lockdown until Jan. 9. That has led to further restrictions of the already toned-down plans for the New Year’s Eve. New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian banned most people from coming to Sydney’s downtown that night and limited outdoor gatherings to 50 people.
28th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

A Growing Number of Countries Find Cases of the New Virus Variant

Japan, Spain, France, Sweden and Canada have found small numbers of infections involving a new, potentially more transmissible variant of the coronavirus, most linked to travel from Britain, where it was first detected. The rapid spread of the variant led to the lockdown of London and southern England this week, prompted a temporary French blockade of the English Channel and resulted in countries around the world barring travelers from Britain. Because few countries have the level of genomic surveillance that Britain does, there is concern that the variant may have been traveling across the world undetected for weeks.
27th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

Beijing tightens COVID-19 curbs as cases detected across capital

Beijing has tightened COVID-19 curbs over concerns that China's mass travel during the holiday period could cause cases to spike in the capital, as it reported locally transmitted cases for a fourth straight day on Sunday. A meeting led by the capital's Communist party boss, Cai Qi, urged all districts in Beijing to enter an "emergency" mode, sealing off residential compounds and villages where infections are found. Shunyi district, where all the recent coronavirus cases have been reported, has declared a wartime mode and testing for all its 800,000 people. All the cases reported on Saturday were close contacts of previous cases.
27th Dec 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

One in 1,000 Americans have died from Covid-19

Within 10 months since the onset of a public health crisis that has upended the lives of millions of Americans, the nation’s death toll has surpassed 330,000, during what has become the year’s deadliest month, with nearly 60,000 lives lost within the final weeks of 2020. The overwhelming scale of death means that one in 1,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. Nearly 19 million confirmed infections have been reported in 2020, with an average number of daily new cases remaining above 200,000 within the year’s final days, according to Johns Hopkins University – more than three times higher than the outbreak’s summer peak in July.
27th Dec 2020 - The Independent

COVID-19: South Korea braced for 'third wave' as daily cases hit new highs

South Korean officials have warned of a third wave of coronavirus, as a resurgence in cases continues over the Christmas period. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) recorded 1,132 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, which was the country's second-highest daily increase after 1,241 on Christmas Day. South Korea has been seen as one of the countries to have responded best to the pandemic since it began, but has seen significant coronavirus outbreaks in prisons, nursing homes and churches recently - leading to officials asking people to stop end-of-year gatherings.
27th Dec 2020 - Sky News

COVID-19: Canada among latest countries to confirm first cases of new COVID variant

The new variant of coronavirus that is spreading through Britain has been detected in Norway and on the Portuguese island of Madeira. It follows several countries in reporting cases of the mutation, listed as VUI-202012/01, first spotted in the UK and thought to be up to 70% more transmissible - meaning it can spread much faster. Authorities in Madeira have not said how many people are infected, but confirmed it had been "detected in travellers who arrived there from the United Kingdom". Norway also discovered the mutation in two people who had arrived there from the UK.
27th Dec 2020 - Sky News

South Korea to decide on tougher distancing as COVID-19 count hits another high

South Korea plans to discuss whether it needs to further tighten distancing rules this weekend as the current curbs failed to reverse a resurgence in outbreaks, with the daily coronavirus count hitting another high on Friday, officials said. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 1,241 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Thursday, the highest daily count recorded. Daily numbers have been hovering at record levels over the past few weeks, around 1,000, but the government resisted calls for imposing the toughest Level 3 at least for the greater Seoul area due to economic concerns, calling it a last resort.
27th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Canada's Ontario finds two cases of virus variant first seen in UK

Health officials in Ontario said on Saturday that two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom have appeared in the Canadian province. Scientists say the variant is about 40%-70% more transmissible than the original strain. Several other countries, including Australia, Italy and the Netherlands say they detected cases of the new strain. The Canadian cases, identified in a couple in southern Ontario with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contact, came as the province went into a lockdown on Saturday.
27th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Sydney awaits verdict on New Year's Eve festivities as COVID-19 outbreak grows

Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak continued on Sunday with more than a quarter million people in lockdown as Australia’s largest city awaited word on whether any public New Year’s Eve celebrations will be allowed. Seven cases of the new coronavirus were reported in New South Wales state, six linked directly to the outbreak in Sydney’s northern beach suburbs, which are under a stay-at-home order until Wednesday. Infections stand at 122. “I appreciate frustration levels are increasing as we get closer to New Year’s Eve and days we stay at home increase,” state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a news conference.
27th Dec 2020 - Reuters Australia

Philippines eyes more COVID curbs to halt new variants

The Philippines approved measures on Saturday to slow the spread of new, more infectious coronavirus variants, as President Rodrigo Duterte warned of a second lockdown should cases spike before the country gets its first vaccines in May. Countries around the world have in recent days closed their borders to flights from Britain and South Africa, where more infectious variants have been detected. Duterte extended an existing a ban on flights from Britain by two weeks to mid-January, and said the Philippines would impose travel curbs on countries with local community transmission of the UK variant.
27th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

German daily COVID death toll nears 1,000 a week into lockdown

Germany reported a record daily coronavirus death toll of 962 on Wednesday, a week after the start of a hard lockdown that has forced most stores as well as hair salons and other services to close. The total death toll now stands at 27,968, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. The previous daily death toll record was 952, reported on Dec. 16, the day the lockdown came into effect.
27th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Health officials brace for a surge in US Covid-19 cases after the holidays

With Christmas in the rear view mirror, public health experts are bracing for yet another surge in Covid-19 cases, similar to those seen after other US holidays in recent months. "We've just seen these amplification events, and that's what's happened at the end of this year in the US," said Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. "We had Thanksgiving, we had Labor Day, we had Halloween, and each one of these events brought lots of people together and just gave the virus more fuel to move through the population," Bromage said. "Christmas is going to do a similar thing."
26th Dec 2020 - CNN

UK records 210 more COVID-19 deaths, cases rise to 34,693

The United Kingdom recorded 210 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, down from 570 the day before, while cases rose 1,968 to 34,693, the government said, citing partial data. The latest R number is estimated at 1.1 to 1.3, the government said. The United Kingdom has recorded a death toll of 70,405, defined as those dying within 28 days of a positive test. Under that measure, it has the world’s sixth largest toll, after the United States, Brazil, India, Mexico and Italy.
26th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid-19: NI concern at spread of new coronavirus variant

Health officials in Northern Ireland are concerned that the spread of a variant form of coronavirus could have "substantial consequences", according to NI's chief scientific adviser. Prof Ian Young said the reproduction rate of the virus could rise by between 0.4 and 0.6 as a result. On Wednesday, the health minister confirmed a positive case of the new strain had been detected in NI. However, Prof Young said detecting new variants "is not unexpected".
25th Dec 2020 - BBC News

First case of new COVID variant found in France as cases rise

France recorded its first case of the new variant of coronavirus, as the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 mounted in the country, increasing concerns of a new wave of the virus hitting the euro zone’s second-biggest economy. The French health ministry said a Frenchman who recently arrived back in France from London had tested positive for the new variant of the coronavirus. The ministry said the case - the first in France - had been found in the city of Tours. The man in question arrived from London on Dec. 19. He was currently self-isolating and felt alright, the ministry added.
25th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID-19: Fears new variant could prevent schools returning in January

One of the biggest potential casualties of the new variant of COVID-19 may be the possibility of a normal return to school in England in January. Scientists are currently studying the evidence that children might be more affected. It could mean a return to home schooling for thousands of children. Secondary schools across England are already staggering their start of term, to allow a testing programme to get under way. Recent figures show there's been a sharp rise in cases of COVID among school-aged children. This might be driven by the new variant of the virus, which could spread more easily in young people.
22nd Dec 2020 - Sky News


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Dec 2020

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California hospitals struggle to cope with Covid-19 surge double July peak

Hospitals in California are scrambling to handle an explosion of coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm the state’s emergency care system, with some facilities in hard-hit Los Angeles county even drawing up emergency plans for rationing care. As of Sunday, more than 16,840 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 infections, more than double the previous peak reached in July. That number could reach 75,000 by mid-January, according to one state model.
21st Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Latin America nations suspend flights with the U.K. due to 'Super COVID-19 strain' fears

Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and El Salvador are among the first nations in Latin America to ban flights from the United Kingdom. The decision comes after the U.K. announced a new COVID-19 strain that is 70% more transmissible than existing strains appeared to be driving the rapid spread. U.K. flights are still being allowed into Mexico, where 118,602 people have died of coronavirus Brazil, the epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America, has not announced any measures
21st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: More than 40 countries ban UK arrivals

More than 40 countries have banned UK arrivals because of concerns about the spread of a new variant of coronavirus. Flights from the UK are being suspended to countries across the world including Spain, India and Hong Kong. France shut its border with the UK for 48 hours, meaning no lorries or ferries can leave from the port of Dover. Boris Johnson said he spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and both sides wanted to resolve "these problems as fast as possible". The prime minister told a Downing Street press conference: "We had a very good call and we both understand each other's positions."
21st Dec 2020 - BBC News

Covid-19: Thailand tests thousands after virus outbreak in seafood market

Thailand hit by worst Covid surge yet. After months of avoiding the surge in cases seen by its neighbours, Thailand has been hit by its worst Covid-19 outbreak yet. Tens of thousands of people are being tested after hundreds of cases linked to its biggest seafood market. It has locked down Samut Sakhon, the coastal province near the capital Bangkok, home to the market which employs mostly migrant workers from neighbouring Myanmar. Workers have been ordered to stay home.
21st Dec 2020 - BBC News

France says mutated Covid strain may already be in the country

France’s health minister has said it is "entirely possible" the mutated Covid-19 strain identified in parts of England is already spreading in France. "It is entirely possible that the virus is circulating in France," Olivier Véran told Europe 1 radio, adding that the strain had not yet been identified in the country. Fears over the mutant strain have led France and many other countries to ban passengers arriving on flights, trains and ferries from the UK. Mr Véran, who is a neurologist as well as serving in Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet, also said that the current vaccines were likely to work against the new strain of the virus.
21st Dec 2020 - The Independent

India suspends flights from UK due to ‘prevailing situation’ with new Covid strain

India announced a temporary ban on flights from the UK until 31 December effective from midnight on Tuesday, spooked by a new and more transmissible strain of the coronavirus. The decision was taken after a meeting of health ministry officials earlier on Monday. “Considering the prevailing situation in (the) UK, the government of India has decided to suspend all flights originating from the UK to India," India’s civil aviation ministry said. “Consequently flights from India to UK shall stand temporarily suspended... as a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from (the) UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 22 December at 23:59 hours) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned,” according to a tweet posted by the official Twitter account of India’s civil aviation ministry.
21st Dec 2020 - The Independent

Italy worries about high death toll among coronavirus patients

For every 100 Italians infected, more than 3 people die (3.5 percent). Among the 20 most-affected countries in the world, only Mexico and Iran have higher fatality rates among infected patients (9 percent and 4.7 percent respectively), according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Italy’s numbers are high in comparison to others in Europe too: In France, the case-fatality rate is 2.4 percent; in Germany it’s 1.6 percent; and hard-hit Spain has a rate of 2.7 percent. Only the United Kingdom, with 3.4 percent, has similarly worrying figures. There is no easy explanation for the high mortality among infected Italians, according to Enrico Bucci, a biochemist and adjunct professor at Temple University of Philadelphia. Most likely, it is the result of a combination of known factors: the age of Italy’s population, the quality of its health care system, and the choices made by politicians — though it is unclear how much weight each carries, said Bucci. According to Eurostat data, the median age in Italy is 46.7, compared with an EU average of 43.1, making it one of the oldest in Europe — and that trend is only accelerating. Between 2009 and 2019, the percentage of Italians over 80 went from 5.6 percent to 7.2 percent. By comparison, that figure is 6.5 percent in Germany and 6.4 percent in Portugal.
21st Dec 2020 - POLITICO.eu

France has imposed a travel ban from the UK

France has imposed a travel ban on UK passengers for 48 hours, due to concerns about the new strain of Covid. This has resulted in the port of Dover closing to outbound traffic - with warnings about “serious disruption” in place - which has caused fears that imported food products will be affected. Boris Johnson is holding an emergency Cobra meeting on Monday 21 December in an attempt to resolve the situation.
21st Dec 2020 - The Scotsman

Cautious optimism over latest Sydney Covid-19 outbreak

Australia's most populous state has reported its lowest one-day rise in new Covid-19 cases in three days, stoking cautious optimism that authorities have contained an outbreak in Sydney's northern beachside suburbs. New South Wales said 15 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, down from the 36 infections detected a day earlier and bringing the total cases in the northern beaches outbreak to 83. It confirmed it had detected cases of the fast-spreading new coronavirus strain that has forced Britain to reverse plans to ease curbs over Christmas.
21st Dec 2020 - RTE.ie

S.Korea's capital to ban gatherings larger than four as coronavirus deaths rise

South Korea’s capital Seoul and surrounding areas banned gatherings of more than four people over the Christmas and New Year holidays as the country recorded its highest daily death toll from the coronavirus on Monday. The national government has resisted calls to impose a strict national lockdown but the governments of Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon city ordered unprecedented restrictions on gatherings from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3. “We cannot overcome the current crisis without reducing cluster infections that are spreading through private gatherings with families, friends and colleagues,” Seoul acting mayor Seo Jung-hyup said at a briefing.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

EU states begin suspending all flight travel from UK over new Covid strain

EU states have started suspending all incoming air travel from the UK amid mounting concern over a new strain of Covid-19. The new variant of coronavirus apparently native to Britain is up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original. Germany, France and Ireland are the latest to have suspended travel, announcing the moves shortly after Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium made similar decisions. Bulgaria has also suspended travel from Britain, Reuters reported on Sunday evening. A spokesperson for the German government said on Sunday afternoon that the country was working on a regulation to restrict travel from Britain to protect the country from the new coronavirus variant. It wasn't immediately clear when or for how long the restrictions would last
21st Dec 2020 - The Independent

Hong Kong May Consider Unprecedented Virus Curbs, Including Curfews

Unprecedented virus control measures including curfews and shutdowns of non-essential businesses may be considered in Hong Kong, according to a government health adviser, as the city continues to see a high number of locally-transmitted cases and the holiday season looms. Limiting the number of people per household allowed to shop for groceries, shuttering all businesses deemed non-essential and shortening mall operating hours are among the curbs that may have to be imposed to prevent another Covid-19 wave, David Hui, a respiratory disease expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who advises the government on the virus response, told TVB on Sunday, according to various local media reports.
21st Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Australia detects new UK strain; Hong Kong, India cancel Britain flights

Australia said on Monday it had detected cases of the new fast-spreading coronavirus strain identified in the United Kingdom, while Hong Kong and India said they would suspend flights from Britain. Two travellers from the United Kingdom to Australia’s New South Wales state were found carrying the mutated variant of the virus that Britain has said could be up to 70% more infectious. Both are in hotel quarantine, and the recent spike in infections in Sydney is not linked to this, authorities said. The new strain has prompted Britain’s European neighbours and several others including Canada and Iran to close their doors to travellers from the country.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

COVID-19: New strain found in Italy, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia and Gibraltar

Cases of the new coronavirus strain spreading rapidly in the UK have been confirmed in Denmark, Italy, Gibraltar, the Netherlands and Australia. France and South Africa also believe they have cases of the mutation - known as VUI-202012/01 - but these have not been confirmed. French health minister Olivier Veran said it is "entirely possible" the new variant is already circulating in France, but no cases have been officially identified yet.
21st Dec 2020 - Sky News

Hard lockdown needed to prevent Sydney Christmas Covid surge, health experts warn

A hard lockdown across Sydney for the next three days is needed to reduce the risk of Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve becoming super spreader events, some health experts have warned. The dual celebrations could lead to thousands of new cases in the first weeks of 2021 without drastic action, warned Prof Raina MacIntyre, the head of the biosecurity program at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute. But other epidemiologists have suggested the current localised lockdown and limit on gatherings is the way to go. They argue the state’s “very skilled’” public health team has previously gotten on top of outbreaks and it should be trusted to do so again.
21st Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Northern beaches coronavirus outbreak unlikely to lead to Melbourne-style lockdown, expert says

Greater Sydney lockdown fears as Gladys Berejiklian warns coronavirus cases to worsenThe GuardianCoronavirus: Sydney isolated from rest of Australia as outbreak growsThe Irish TimesSydney imposes lockdown on beach suburbs as Covid cluster growsCNBCState by state: Australia shuts borders with Sydney as Northern Beaches outbreak escalates9NewsView Full coverage on Google News
21st Dec 2020 - ABC News

A Fresh Virus Wave Is Testing South Korea’s No-Lockdown Strategy

Time after time this year, South Korea prevented the coronavirus from spreading uncontrollably, applying its elite testing-and-tracing practices that have become a global model for managing the pandemic without draconian, economy-sapping lockdowns. Now, this “living with the virus” strategy -- as the nation of 51 million calls it -- is being tested like never before. While case numbers are still small compared to the U.S. and parts of Europe, Korea saw new infections top 1,000 for five consecutive days through Sunday, a staggering jump from an average of about 100 in previous months. The fierce winter wave has alarmed a country that’s drawn pride from being globally lauded for its Covid-19 response.
21st Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Thai PM urges calm as new coronavirus outbreak sees cases surge

Thailand’s prime minister called for calm on Monday and said there were no immediate plans for a wider lockdown after 382 new coronavirus infections were confirmed, the majority linked to the country’s worst outbreak yet. Of the new cases, 360 were migrant workers connected to a seafood centre outbreak in Samut Sakhon, a province near the capital Bangkok, where a lockdown has been imposed and thousands of tests were being conducted to contain and track the spread. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the government would monitor the situation for a week before taking further action.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

UK gives dark glimpse of pandemic’s next act

Despite the initial shock of Britain’s not-so-splendid isolation, the new strain could have some helpful domestic effects. The UK is now spared a five-day period over Christmas that could have exacerbated an already dangerous viral spread. It also acts as a handy stress test of how prepared Britons really are for tangible shortages of goods. Every day 5,000 trucks enter Britain from the continent via the Dover-Calais crossing. In the winter, they carry nearly all Britain’s fresh fruit and vegetables. Retailer J Sainsbury predicted shortages of items like lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower within days. If they happen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson may see the logic of agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal before his Dec. 31 deadline.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

Britain faces isolation as world tightens borders to keep out new coronavirus strain

Countries across the globe shut their borders to Britain on Monday due to fears about a highly infectious new coronavirus strain, causing travel chaos and raising the prospect of food shortages days before Britain is set to leave the European Union. India, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Jordan and Hong Kong suspended travel for Britons after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a mutated variant of the virus had been identified in the country. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman closed their borders completely. Several other nations blocked travel from Britain over the weekend, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Belgium and Canada - although experts said the strain may already be circulating in countries with less advanced detection methods than the United Kingdom.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

India hits 10m Covid cases as tough measures fail to halt spread

India has recorded 10m Covid-19 cases, the second country after the US to reach the grim landmark, underscoring how strict containment measures have failed to stop the virus rampaging across its population of 1.4bn. The world’s second most populous nation achieved the unwanted record on Saturday after notching 25,000 cases daily over the past week, down from a peak of almost 100,000 new infections per day in September. India largely avoided the worst of the early waves of the virus that spread through Asia and Europe in March, before emerging as a global coronavirus hotspot.
20th Dec 2020 - Financial Times


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Emmanuel Macron’s health condition is stable ‘compared to Friday,’ according to his doctor.

As President Emmanuel Macron of France entered his third day in isolation after being infected with the coronavirus, his doctor said on Saturday that he was in “stable health condition compared to Friday.” “He is still presenting the same symptoms of the Covid-19 illness (fatigue, coughing, aches) which do not prevent him from performing his duties,” Dr. Jean-Christophe Perrochon said in a statement, adding that regular clinical examinations “have proved to be reassuring.”
19th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

Christmas comfort over COVID vaccines collides with new curbs

Coronavirus vaccine approvals have brought comfort and joy for many this Christmas but failed to halt new curbs on travel and gatherings as COVID-19 cases rise worldwide and deaths in the United States surpassed 3,000 for a third straight day. Scientists and government leaders have hailed the vaccines as a huge success in attacking the pandemic, but only once they are administered, a process likely to take months, even in the world’s richest countries. More than 73.68 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 1,655,424 have died, according to a Reuters tally, with the United States leading the way in the number of deaths and infections.
19th Dec 2020 - Reuters

UK discusses action after confirmation new COVID strain spreads more quickly

Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed an effective lockdown on over 16 million people in England and reversed plans to ease curbs over Christmas, saying Britain was dealing with a new coronavirus strain up to 70% more transmissible than the original.
19th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Sydney virus cluster grows, border restrictions isolate city

The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has warned residents of greater Sydney to prepare for an increase in restrictions if the outbreak of Covid-19 expands beyond the northern beaches. Meanwhile travellers from NSW to Queensland will needed a border pass declaration from 1am Sunday and Western Australia announced it was reinstating its hard border with NSW. The Sydney to Hobart yacht race was cancelled after Tasmania also introduced border restrictions with Sydney.
19th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Boris Johnson refuses to rule out another lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is refusing to rule out the possibility of imposing a third national lockdown after Christmas. Since the second lockdown finished there has been a significant rise in coronavirus infections, with almost 29,000 thousand confirmed cases in the last 24 hours and 489 deaths. “The reality is that the rates of infection have increased very much in the last few weeks,” Mr Johnson said. Meanwhile Northern Ireland has followed Wales in imposing a six-week lockdown on Christmas day.
18th Dec 2020 - Sky News Australia

Sweden bumps up COVID-19 measures, but stops short of lockdown as cases soar

Sweden has introduced its toughest measures yet in the face of soaring COVID-19 infections, including a recommendation to wear masks at peak hours on public transport. But the Government stopped short of ordering a general lockdown of society. Unlike many other European countries, Sweden has resisted imposing lockdowns, relying on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and good hygiene. It has left most schools, businesses and restaurants open throughout the pandemic. However, a severe second wave of infections, with record numbers of new cases almost every week for the past two months, has prompted the Government to do more.
18th Dec 2020 - ABC News

WA brings back hard border with NSW

Western Australia is reinstating its hard border with NSW as of midnight tonight in response to the growing COVID-19 cluster on Sydney's Northern Beaches. Premier Mark McGowan said NSW had moved to a "medium risk" state. After midnight tonight, arrivals from NSW without a legitimate exemption could well be turned back at the border or the airport, Mr McGowan said.
18th Dec 2020 - 9News

Covid Swamps Los Angeles as Residents Spurn Fear and Lockdowns

For weeks, Los Angeles officials have warned residents of a surge in Covid-19 cases tied to the holidays. To make the point, they shut all dining at restaurants and even suggested people wear masks in their own homes when family visits. “Assume everyone you would see is infectious,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said three days before Thanksgiving.
18th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

India becomes second country to cross 10 million Covid cases amid chronic ‘mask fatigue’ and fears for 2021

India has become only the second country in the world to cross 10 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, with the last million recorded in about one month despite a significant drop in new infections in recent days. Health experts say that while daily infections are considerably down on a peak of almost 100,000 a day, India must be on its guard for a rebound in the new year as fatigue with public-safety measures spreads through the population.
18th Dec 2020 - The Independent

Scotland Yard urges Londoners not to attend Christmas parties tonight

Scotland Yard has issued an open letter urging people not to attend large gatherings over the last weekend before Christmas, amid fears of further anti-lockdown protests in the capital. The force said extra officers will be on London's streets to encourage compliance with strict Tier 3 Covid-19 regulations and to "swiftly clamp down on those wilfully and dangerously ignoring them". An anti-lockdown demonstration is expected in Parliament Square on Saturday, with others planned around the country.
18th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Sweden's second wave offers hard reality check

The U.K.’s misguided flirtation with a hands-off “herd immunity” strategy in March led quickly to a U-turn and tough restrictions. France and Spain promised they’d never repeat the draconian lockdowns they imposed early on — only to break their vow when test-and-trace systems failed to keep pace with summer vacation contagion. Israelis, who after a first lockdown were told to enjoy life and “have a beer,” are now facing a third one. Donald Trump recently claimed he’d ended the pandemic (he hadn’t). Now, it’s Sweden’s turn. After a summer lull, the country famous for its voluntary “trust-based” approach to social distancing is getting battered by a winter wave of the coronavirus. Its 7-day average of daily cases and deaths per capita is currently outpacing the U.K., France and Spain, and isn’t far off the tally in the United States. While Sweden’s total deaths of 7,514 are on a per-capita basis lower than those countries, they far outstrip its neighbors at five times Denmark’s rate, nine times Finland’s and 10 times Norway’s.
18th Dec 2020 - The Japan Times

Emmanuel Macron blames Covid infection on negligence and bad luck

Emmanuel Macron has blamed his coronavirus infection on a combination of negligence and bad luck and urged his compatriots to stay safe, as critics pointed out slip-ups in his behaviour to prevent infection ranging from a handshake to repeated large-group meals over the past week. In what looked like a self-shot video from the presidential retreat in Versailles where he was isolating with symptoms that included headaches, fatigue and a dry cough, Macron promised to be “totally transparent” about the evolution of his illness. “I am doing well,” he said, speaking softly and dressed casually in a turtleneck top. “Normally, there is no reason for it to evolve in a bad way.”
18th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

COVID-19 Is Now A Top Cause Of Death In 5 Latin American Nations : Goats and Soda

COVID-19 has become the leading cause of death in five Latin American nations and the second most common cause in six others. The World Health Organization's "Americas Region," which stretches from the Canadian Arctic to Cape Horn in Chile, has been hit harder by the pandemic than any other part of the globe. The region currently accounts for 48% of the 1.65 million COVID-19 deaths reported to WHO so far worldwide. While the United States is a major contributor to that trend with more than 300,000 deaths, Peru's death rate from the disease is actually higher than the U.S. COVID-19 now surpasses coronary heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Panama.
18th Dec 2020 - NPR

London Put in Emergency Lockdown as U.K. Fights New Strain

More than 16 million Britons are now required to stay at home as a lockdown came into force Sunday in London and southeast England, part of Boris Johnson’s attempt to control a fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus. The measures ban household mixing in the capital and the southeast, and restrict socializing to just Christmas Day across the rest of England. Residents across the country were told to keep to their local areas. Johnson had originally planned to ease pandemic rules for five days during the holiday, but made an abrupt change of tack after emergency talks on the virus mutation with his top officials. Emerging scientific evidence suggests the new variant -- which currently appears virtually unique to the U.K. -- can spread significantly more quickly than previous strains in circulation and is behind a huge surge in infections in recent days.
18th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Global COVID-19 cases surpass 75 million

Global coronavirus infections surpassed the 75 million mark on Saturday, according to a Reuters tally, as several nations around the world begin vaccinating against the virus.
18th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Spanish Health Ministry confirms evolution of pandemic worsening

Spain’s coronavirus incidence rate rose again on Thursday, indicating that there is no longer any doubt that the trend has changed. In 10 regions, the rate is rising and in the remaining nine territories, including the North African exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla, it has stabilized. In the coming days, the situation may worsen as a result of contagions from last week’s public holidays, which according to Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), have not yet been reflected in the data. Compounding the situation is the expected rise in cases over the Christmas holiday period, when more travel and gatherings are expected to take place.
18th Dec 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Toughest COVID-19 measures yet for Sweden as cases soar

Unlike many other European countries, Sweden has resisted imposing lockdowns, relying on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and good hygiene. It has left most schools, businesses and restaurants open throughout the pandemic. However, a severe second wave of infections, with record numbers of new cases almost every week for the past two months, has prompted the government to do more. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Friday non-essential public workplaces, such as municipality gyms, pools and libraries, would close until Jan. 24. He also said the government now recommended wearing masks on public transport during peak hours, when it is harder for passengers to keep apart.
18th Dec 2020 - Reuters

South Africa's coronavirus cases cross 900,000: health ministry

South Africa’s total reported coronavirus cases surpassed 900,000 on Friday, just a fortnight after it reported crossing 800,000, signaling a rapid rise in infections in the country battling a second wave. South Africa, hardest hit on the continent, reported its first case in March and saw peak infections in July when daily cases almost touched 14,000. The rise in daily infections, which had eased in the last few months with reports of daily new cases between 1,000 and 2,000 till mid-November, reached 8,725 with 274 deaths, the health ministry said in a statement.
18th Dec 2020 - Reuters


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US surpasses 17 million official Covid-19 cases as FDA panel considers Moderna's vaccine candidate

As the United States on Thursday surpassed 17 million official Covid-19 cases, a US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended a second coronavirus vaccine for the country. The developments come as the US, after starting distribution of its first authorized vaccine this week, is dealing with record rates of daily cases, daily deaths and numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospitals. The FDA is widely expected to grant emergency use authorization for Moderna's vaccine candidate -- as it did for Pfizer's vaccine last week -- after its vaccine advisory panel voted to recommend it.
17th Dec 2020 - CNN

Covid-19: 'Nightmare six weeks' ahead for NI health service

Paramedics from the Republic of Ireland's National Ambulance Service (NAS) will be working in Northern Ireland this weekend. It comes amid severe Covid-19 related pressures on the health service in NI. Hospitals have faced severe pressures over the past few days, with ambulances queuing outside hospitals. It is not the first time NAS ambulances have helped out in NI, they assisted during the first wave of the pandemic and also in 2019. Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said ambulance crews from the Republic of Ireland will "provide support" to the Northern Ireland Ambulance service (NIAS) over the weekend "due to the pressures being experienced".
17th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Swinney refuses to rule out post-Christmas lockdown

Tougher restrictions - including a potential lockdown - after the festive period cannot be ruled out, the deputy first minister has warned. John Swinney said the Scottish government would review Covid levels next Tuesday as part of an unplanned "decision-making moment". He said the move reflected the "deteriorating situation" across Scotland and the UK. Ministers have however ruled out a law change around the five-day festivities. The current Covid rules will be relaxed between 23 and 27 December to allow people to travel within the UK and spend Christmas together.
17th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Downing Street refuses to rule out third lockdown in England as London covid cases soar

Downing Street today declined to rule out a third national lockdown in England as Covid-19 cases soar in London and other parts of the country. With 25,161 confirmed new cases in the UK announced yesterday and 18,038 coronavirus patients in hospitals, No10 said the latest trends would be kept “under review”. Health Secretary Matt Hancock today put a swathe of the South East into Tier 3, with more than 38 million people, or 68 per cent, in England now in the strictest of restrictions. However, the virus is continuing to spread in some areas already in Tier 3 and cases were growing in London even before lockdown ended on December 2.
17th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Germany’s Winning Covid Strategy Has Stopped Working

When Covid-19 swept across Europe this spring, Germany gained plaudits for its handling of the pandemic. Now authorities fear they are losing control of the virus. Germany registered one of the lowest death rates from the disease in the world in the first half of the year. It had fewer infections than most of its large neighbors and its hospitals never ran out of emergency care beds, factors that led to the government enacting one of the mildest lockdowns in Europe.
17th Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Madrid rules out stricter Christmas restrictions despite coronavirus fears

The premier of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, announced on Thursday that the region is not considering stricter restrictions for the Christmas period, despite concerns about the rising number of coronavirus cases there. The news comes after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called on Wednesday for tougher rules to be introduced in regions where the coronavirus incidence rate is on an upward trend, which includes Madrid. But Díaz Ayuso has ruled out such a move, indicating that the Madrid government will only follow the current restrictions set by the Spanish Health Ministry two weeks ago. Under the Health Ministry’s national Christmas plan, which was approved by a council made up of central and regional health officials, all regions in mainland Spain must seal their borders between December 23 and January 6
17th Dec 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Spain ready to implement tougher measures as 'Christmas clock' is ticking

With the virus not going away ahead of the Christmas season, the Spanish government is ready to implement tougher measures, Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told parliament on Wednesday, EFE reports. The epidemiologic situation in Spain was kept relatively under control for a few weeks, but the latest reports are no bearers of good news: the incidence rate of the COVID-19 pandemic has risen for the fourth day in a row. There is a “worrying increase in infections,” Sánchez said in a speech before parliament (Congreso de los Diputados), where he informed MPs about the current health situation. “We cannot relax. We cannot lower our guard… We have fought hard this year, united, and we are facing the last effort”, Sánchez stressed.
17th Dec 2020 - EURACTIV

French President Macron Tests Positive for Covid-19

French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Thursday, delivering a blow to a country that has been among Europe’s hardest hit by the pandemic. The 42-year-old was tested after showing symptoms of Covid-19, the Élysée Palace said, adding that he would isolate for seven days while continuing to work. Mr. Macron has a fever, a cough and is tired, a spokesman for the Elysée Palace said. Mr. Macron’s test result immediately rippled across Europe, affecting the activities of a number of leaders who have recently been in contact with him. The Élysée Palace said he received his test results on Thursday, but didn’t specify when the test was administered
17th Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

How coronavirus has rocked India's economy

As well as having the second highest number of cases and third highest number of deaths, India has suffered a huge economic hit from Covid-19. The FT's Mumbai correspondent Benjamin Parkin explains why India's economy has been hit especially hard by the virus.
17th Dec 2020 - The Financial Times

Sweden and Japan are paying the price for COVID exceptionalism

One of the most striking things about the COVID-19 pandemic is just how dramatically different the responses have been from country to country. In early 2020, when little was known about the virus, this difference was unsurprising. Today, with tens of thousands of research articles and cases of best practice to learn from, one would expect to see more convergence. And yet some countries continue to resist popular strategies, such as lockdowns, and insist on going their own way – with varying degrees of success. Two such countries are Sweden and Japan, which in 2020 have forged a different path to their neighbours on coronavirus and attributed their early successes to the assumed advantages of an inherent national character. But today, both seem to be paying the price.
17th Dec 2020 - The Conversation

Japanese leader appears to flout virus guidelines as country grapples with record cases

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expressed "remorse" for attending a group dinner with celebrity friends in apparent breach of his own government's coronavirus guidelines, as infection rates in the country continue to surge. For weeks, Japanese health officials have urged citizens to reduce their daily activities, remain vigilant and only dine out in small numbers to curb a resurgent winter Covid-19 wave that has seen daily case numbers climb to their highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic. But on Monday, Suga appeared to disregard those guidelines by attending a gathering with seven guests, who were all over the age of 70, at a high-end steak restaurant in Tokyo's Ginza district.
17th Dec 2020 - CNN

More than HALF of schools in England had coronavirus cases in November, report finds

Infection rates were highest among secondary school pupils, the survey found They were lowest in primary school staff, with primary pupils also lower Teenagers have high rates of coronavirus but officials refuse to close schools ONS survey is the first of its kind to look at asymptomatic cases in education
17th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf says coronavirus approach 'has failed'

Sweden's king has said his country "failed" to save lives with its relatively relaxed approach to the coronavirus pandemic. King Carl XVI Gustaf made the remarks as part of an annual TV review of the year with the royal family. Sweden, which has never imposed a full lockdown, has seen nearly 350,000 cases and more than 7,800 deaths - a lot more than its Scandinavian neighbours. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he agreed with the king's remarks. "Of course the fact that so many have died can't be considered as anything other than a failure," Mr Lofven told reporters.
17th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Why Sweden’s anti-lockdown strategy hasn’t worked as Covid-19 cases spike

Sweden’s anti-lockdown strategy had been heralded as a victory for common sense by sceptics, with bars and restaurants open for business and people going about their normal lives, social distancing permitting.
17th Dec 2020 - iNews

Macron tests positive for COVID-19, forcing leaders to self isolate

President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, prompting a track-and-trace effort across Europe following numerous meetings between the French leader and EU heads of government in recent days. Macron, who will turn 43 on Monday, is running France remotely and has gone into quarantine at the presidential retreat of La Lanterne close to the Palace of Versailles, the presidency said. A presidential official described Macron as tired and having a cough. His wife Brigitte tested negative but was also self-isolating, staying at the Elysee palace in central Paris.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Sweden's king says 'we have failed' over COVID-19, as deaths mount

Sweden’s king said his country had failed in its handling of COVID-19, in a sharp criticism of a pandemic policy partly blamed for a high death toll among the elderly. Carl XVI Gustaf, whose son and daughter-in-law tested positive last month, used an annual royal Christmas TV special to highlight the growing impact of the virus, in a rare intervention from a monarch whose duties are largely ceremonial. Sweden has stood out from most countries by shunning lockdowns and face masks, leaving schools, restaurants and businesses largely open and relying mainly on voluntary social distancing and hygiene recommendations to slow the spread. An official commission said on Tuesday systemic shortcomings in elderly care coupled with inadequate measures from the government and agencies contributed to Sweden’s particularly high death toll in nursing homes.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Netherlands hits new daily COVID-19 infection record as lockdown imposed

The number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands jumped by more than 11,000 in 24 hours, hitting a new record, data released by the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) on Wednesday showed. The steep increase came just a day after a tough, 5-week lockdown was imposed in the Netherlands, where more than 10,000 people have died during the COVID-19 pandemic.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

S.Korea reports record coronavirus deaths as lockdown fears spark panic buying

South Korea reported a record number of coronavirus deaths on Thursday as the country’s biggest wave of infections since the start of the pandemic strained hospital resources and sparked panic buying in anticipation of a harsh new lockdown. The novel coronavirus had claimed another 22 lives as of midnight on Wednesday, sharply up from a previous high of 13 deaths in a single day earlier in the week, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported. Deaths were expected to rise after infections had spiked in Seoul and surrounding areas, with another 1,014 cases reported on Thursday including a daily record of 423 in the densely populated capital city.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID-19 surges stretch health systems in US, elsewhere

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States continue to climb, with some declines seen in some Upper Midwest states, but surging activity in states such as California. In Europe, some countries are struggling with slowing their activity in the final days leading up to Christmas, and several Americas countries are experiencing steady rises.
16th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Dec 2020

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New York's COVID-19 hospitalizations rise by 23% in a week

There were 128 deaths reported on Monday across New York, which is the highest daily death toll since May 16 when 132 fatalities were reported. Hospitalizations have surged 23 percent in the last week with 5,982 patients currently being treated for COVID-19 across the state. There are now 1,065 patients being treated in intensive care - a 17 percent increase from a week earlier. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has threatened to close all nonessential businesses in regions where hospitalizations reach 90 percent. Currently, 77 percent of hospital beds are full in New York state and 67 percent of ICU beds are occupied. New York City's hospital beds are now 80 percent full. Cuomo is warning that hospitals in parts of the state could become overwhelmed by January based on the current 'unsustainable trajectory.' He said the state may be headed for a second lockdown, like the one seen in the spring, if the trajectory of hospitalizations, cases and deaths doesn't change
16th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Family festivities or safe, solo celebrations. Here's how Europe is handling a Covid-19 Christmas

Europe is preparing for a Christmas season like no other, as governments desperately try to thread the needle between preserving public health and allowing families to gather for traditional celebrations at the end of a tough year. Countries across the continent are taking varied approaches, even as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in some nations. Here's what European nations are planning this festive season
16th Dec 2020 - CNN

Germany reports record Covid deaths as country enters Christmas lockdown

Germany has recorded a daily record 952 coronavirus-related deaths, as shops, schools and nurseries across the country close for an emergency Christmas lockdown. After experiencing relatively low numbers of infections and fatalities compared with other European countries in the spring, Germany’s disease control agency has recorded more than 400 deaths for 11 days in a row. Wednesday’s figure of 952 deaths was artificially inflated by the fact that Saxony, one of the federal states most affected by the second wave, also supplied numbers its health authorities had failed to report for Monday.
16th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

'Lock down,' says Italy adviser, as deaths head for wartime levels

An adviser to Italy’s health ministry has called for coronavirus restrictions to be drastically tightened to avoid a “national tragedy” after the national statistics bureau ISTAT said deaths this year would be the highest since World War Two. “We are in a war situation, people don’t realise it but the last time we had this many deaths, bombs were dropping on our cities during the war,” public health professor Walter Ricciardi told the television channel la7 on Tuesday evening. Ricciardi, the adviser to Health Minister Roberto Speranza, said the government, which is considering tightening restrictions over the Christmas and New Year holidays, should lock down the main cities completely.
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Germany sees record death toll on first day of new lockdown

German streets were quiet "like Sunday" on the first day of a new partial lockdown to try to halt surging infections, as the country reported a record number of Covid-19 deaths. A total of 952 people died in the previous 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) disease control centre Wednesday, a figure that could rise as the hard-hit Saxony region was not included in Tuesday's numbers. The RKI said 27,728 new coronavirus cases were registered, a figure close to the daily record of nearly 30,000 infections reported on Friday.
16th Dec 2020 - FRANCE 24

South Korea reports record coronavirus cases as Seoul runs out of critical care beds

South Korea reported a record daily rise in novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday and the prime minister issued an urgent call for more hospital beds to cope with the country’s worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals were at breaking point with only three critical care beds available in greater Seoul, an area with a population of almost 26 million people, officials said. “The top priority is securing more hospital beds,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting, according to a transcript. “Full administrative power should be mobilised so that no patient would wait for more than a day before being assigned to her bed.”
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Honeymoon over for Japan's new PM amid Covid third wave

Yoshihide Suga’s honeymoon period as Japan’s prime minister had barely begun when coronavirus intervened. Now, two months into his leadership, he finds himself battling a resurgent outbreak and disillusionment among voters. Enthusiasm for the farmer’s son who worked part-time to pay his way through university has all but evaporated since he took office in late September. As Japan prepares for a holiday period that experts fear could be overshadowed by a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, an anxious public has Suga in its sights. After the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP) selected Suga to replace an apparently ailing Shinzō Abe as party leader and, following parliamentary approval, prime minister, his support rating was briefly 74%.
16th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

German Factories Saw Bottlenecks in Days Before New Lockdown

German manufacturing powered ahead in December, with global demand helping factories post a better-than-forecast performance. IHS Markit’s monthly index unexpectedly jumped to 58.6, the highest level in almost three years, from 57.8. Orders across the goods-producing sector increased sharply, with many firms citing stronger demand from China in particular. The reading pushed the euro higher. It extended its gain and was up 0.4% to $1.2198 as of 10:47 a.m Frankfurt time. The yield on German 10-year bonds rose.
16th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg on MSN.com

If Australia can close internal borders to fight Covid so can we. Here's how.

Great news, a Covid vaccine is coming! But we can’t let our guard down now--it will take many months to fully roll it out, and it remains only one important tool in our toolbox. In the meantime, we must deploy parallel strategies to suppress Covid so that health and business can get back to normal as soon as possible. Failing that, we will face more lockdowns and risks, for example, the new Covid strain revealed this week in England, which could spread to Ireland given significant traffic between the two jurisdictions. Also this week, Michael Martin warned us about an impending January lockdown, as have many experts.
16th Dec 2020 - The Irish Times

COVID: Italy urged to ‘lock down’ to avoid ‘national tragedy’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to review plans aimed at easing coronavirus restrictions for the Christmas period. Several European countries have imposed tighter coronavirus restrictions ahead of the festive season. The United States reported another record number of new cases as worldwide infections near 73 million, with more than 1.6 million deaths. South Korea hit another record high of daily new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, prompting health officials to consider even tougher measures.
16th Dec 2020 - AlJazeera

Bed shortage looms as S.Korea reports record new coronavirus cases

South Korea reported a record daily rise in novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday and the prime minister issued an urgent call for more hospital beds to cope with the country’s worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals were at breaking point with only three critical care beds available in greater Seoul, an area with a population of almost 26 million people, officials said. “The top priority is securing more hospital beds,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting, according to a transcript. “Full administrative power should be mobilised so that no patient would wait for more than a day before being assigned to her bed.”
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Should COVID cancel Christmas? UK says it is a personal decision

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that people should plan only for a “merry little Christmas” and exercise extreme caution but he refused to outlaw festive family gatherings as COVID-19 cases soared across swathes of Britain.
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Swiss coronavirus expert calls for lockdown to curb COVID-19

The leading expert advising the Swiss government on the coronavirus pandemic urged it on Tuesday to impose an immediate and strict lockdown to contain the infection rate, echoing calls by other scientists, officials and medical professionals. “We think we need very strong measures, the earlier the better,” Martin Ackermann, who heads the independent scientific advisory body on COVID-19, told a media briefing. Ackermann called for the closure of restaurants and non-essential shops and for strict work-from-home rules.
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

'On the brink': Covid pressure mounts at hospitals in Northern Ireland

When ambulances started queueing outside hospitals across Northern Ireland, revealing a health system overwhelmed by Covid-19, Sean Brophy was not surprised. Weeks earlier the 52-year-old hospital transport worker had himself been hospitalised with the virus and saw how even then the system was cracking under pressure. “When someone died or was discharged the bed was filled within an hour – they were already at capacity. Staff were brilliant but they looked as fatigued as those of us with Covid. It was just wrong. I could see where it was heading,” said Brophy.
16th Dec 2020 - The Guardian


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Arizona averages of COVID-19 deaths, cases double in 2 weeks

Arizona on Tuesday reported more than 60 new known deaths as the current coronavirus surge set another record for hospitalizations and saw the rolling seven-day averages of additional cases and deaths more than double over the past two weeks. The state Department of Health Services on Tuesday reported 4,134 additional known cases and 64 deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 424,382 cases and 7,422 deaths. The rolling average of daily new cases rose from 3,499 on Nov. 30 to 7,772.1 on Monday while the rolling average of daily deaths rose from 25 to 58.3, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and The COVID Tracking Project.
15th Dec 2020 - Associated Press

UK reports 18,450 new cases of COVID-19, 506 deaths

Britain reported 18,450 new cases of COVID 19 on Tuesday, alongside 506 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid in Scotland: Pre-Christmas review of restriction levels

The latest review of Scotland's Covid-19 restriction levels will be announced at Holyrood later. All 32 local authority areas will have their situation assessed by politicians and public health officials. It could be the last review before the five-day Christmas easing of restrictions begins on 23 December. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said levels for all areas including Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire would be considered. Ms Sturgeon said last week she expected it to be the last review until 5 January although a parliamentary update on levels is scheduled for next week
15th Dec 2020 - BBC

COVID-19: UK reports 506 coronavirus deaths and 18,450 cases

The UK has reported a further 506 coronavirus deaths and 18,450 confirmed cases, government figures show. This is up from the 12,282 cases and 385 deaths reported last Tuesday. The number of cases and deaths per nation are as follows: Wales - 615 cases, nine deaths - Scotland - 845 cases, 24 deaths - Northern Ireland - 486 cases, six deaths - England - 16,504 cases, 467
15th Dec 2020 - Sky News

Nicola Sturgeon considering tightening Christmas lockdown as fears grow over virus

Nicola Sturgeon is considering tightening the Christmas lockdown restrictions after fears the virus is spreading too fast. Under the current UK-wide plans eight people from three households will be able to mix indoors between December 23 and 27. However, government leaders across the UK are under pressure after public health and medical experts warned about the impact of the temporary easing. Following a joint call from the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal, the leaders of the devolved administrations and the UK Government agreed to discuss the changes today.
15th Dec 2020 - Daily Record

Grieving alone: Some Turks want lockdown to halt new virus wave

Siyar Guldiken, still short of breath from his own battle with the coronavirus, was not able to grieve after his grandmother and uncle died of the related disease, as one of the world’s worst second waves of the pandemic slammed Turkey. After 10 days in isolation in Diyarbakir last month, Guldiken said only a full lockdown could stop the pandemic from worsening in Turkey, which has registered the seventh most cases globally. Ankara has resisted such calls so far. But pressure for more stringent action is growing from medical bodies, opposition parties and Istanbul’s mayor, after daily cases jumped to more than 30,000 and deaths to 200, even as the country prepares for a vaccine to arrive shortly. President Tayyip Erdogan’s government has issued weekend stay-at-home orders to tackle the pandemic, and it plans a five-day lockdown over New Year.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Sweden’s Second Wave Offers Hard Reality Check

Every country has at one point dared to believe they’ve figured out how to beat SARS-CoV-2, until reality sets in. The U.K.’s misguided flirtation with a hands-off “herd immunity” strategy in March led quickly to a U-turn and tough restrictions. France and Spain promised they’d never repeat the draconian lockdowns they imposed early on — only to break their vow when test-and-trace systems failed to keep pace with summer vacation contagion. Israelis, who after a first lockdown were told to enjoy life and “have a beer,” are now facing a third one. Donald Trump recently claimed he’d ended the pandemic (he hadn’t).
15th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

In frozen north, a Japanese city's coronavirus crisis maps out winter vulnerability

A freezing Hokkaido city that has become a red flag for Japan’s winter vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic is weathering the worst of its COVID-19 crisis, local medical officials say, as military nurses take the strain from drained hospital staff. The city of Asahikawa was hit by outbreaks at two major hospitals, exacerbated by subzero temperatures and restricted ventilation that can promote the virus’s spread. But a voluntary lockdown, combined with medical reinforcements sent by central government last week, have helped the city stabilize — for now. There are now signs the cluster crisis is “peaking out,” said Yasutaka Kakinoki, a hematologist at Asahikawa City Hospital. That’s a relief, he said by phone, as staff have been pushed to the brink fighting the steady rise in COVID-19 cases over the last two months. “The lack of health care workers is a big problem,” he said.
15th Dec 2020 - The Japan Times

New York City May Go Back Into Lockdown, De Blasio Says

New York City may have to go back into a total lockdown in the coming weeks if coronavirus cases continue to rise, Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN on Monday, noting the city’s hospitals will become overwhelmed if the surge doesn’t slow.
15th Dec 2020 - Forbes

South Africa tightens restrictions further as COVID-19 infections rise

South Africa imposed further COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, closing down beaches on the eastern coast and limiting large public gatherings ahead of the festive season, as the country looks to slow a sharp rise in infections. South Africa, which has recorded 866,127 total coronavirus cases, has seen a sharp spike in infections since the start of December with reported cases hovering around 8,000 per day in last few days, from around 3,000 in November. The country’s reported daily cases in the first wave peaked at around 14,000 in July.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters

France's COVID-19 hospitalisations inch up before end of lockdown

The number of people hospitalised for COVID-19 rose in France for the third day running on Monday, a worrying trend with the country set to replace a second national lockdown with a more lenient 8 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew. The three-day steady rise in hospitalisations is also a sequence not seen since mid-November. Patients in intensive care - the most important measure of a health system’s ability to deal with the pandemic - went up by 35 to 2,906, increasing for the second straight day after a continuous decline since Nov. 17.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters

COVID-19 prevalence rose in London even as lockdown cut English cases, study finds

COVID-19 cases rose in London during the last weeks of a national lockdown even as prevalence in England as a whole fell, a study said on Tuesday, adding that a planned relaxation of rules over Christmas posed risks. London will move into England’s highest tier of coronavirus restrictions from midnight on Wednesday morning after an exponential rise in cases. When a national lockdown ended on Dec. 2, London was not placed under the strictest restrictions in the three-tier system. But while the prevalence of COVID-19 cases fell in England by around 30% during lockdown between Nov. 13 and Dec. 3, prevalence was rising in London, according to Imperial College London’s REACT-1 prevalence study.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID-19 cases hit new record high in South Korea

South Korea has hit another record high of daily new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, prompting health officials to consider even tougher measures to curb the spread of infection. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 1,078 more COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, breaking the previous record of 1,030 only last Sunday. Of the new cases, most transmissions were reported from the capital, Seoul, the nearby Gyeonggi Province as well as the city of Incheon. Wednesday’s numbers were only the second time that new cases breached the 1,000 mark, according to Yonhap news agency.
15th Dec 2020 - AlJazeera

Tourists in Turkey can roam freely, but locals are in lockdown

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But when in Turkey, do whatever you please — but only if you are a tourist. According to some latest news reports, just like many other countries, Turkey has also been witnessing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, and to bring things under control, the country’s capital Istanbul instituted a lockdown, which is in force on weekends only — between 9.00 pm on Fridays and 5.00 am on Mondays. But, this lockdown does not apply to international tourists — it is for local residents only. According to a New York Times report, most museums stayed open for visitors, and hotel restaurants were allowed to remain open, but only for guests. In fact, the lockdown was monitored by police, who checked IDs to make sure locals stayed home. Anyone found flouting the norm was fined.
15th Dec 2020 - The Indian Express


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UK reports 20,263 new COVID cases, 7-day total up 22%

The United Kingdom reported 20,263 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total figure over the past seven days to 131,708, up 21.6% compared with the previous seven-day number, official data showed. The country reported 232 new deaths from the disease, with the seven-day total rising to 2,984, almost unchanged from the previous seven days. Since the start of the pandemic, the United Kingdom has recorded 1.870 million cases of COVID-19 and 64,402 deaths from the virus.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Italy reports 491 COVID-19 deaths on Monday, 12,030 new cases

Italy reported 491 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday against 484 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections declined to 12,030 from 17,938. There were 103,584 swabs carried out in the past day, down sharply from a previous 152,697, the ministry said. The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy has seen 65,011 COVID-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the highest toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters

U.S. heads for sobering COVID-19 death toll of 300,000 as vaccinations begin

Critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay in Queens, N.Y. the first person in U.S. to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Italy passes U.K. for highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe. Germany pandemic restrictions over the holidays. The U.S. reached the sobering milestone of 300,000 for COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, a contrast to the hope and relief felt after the first person in the U.S. received a shot to protect against the deadly pandemic. The U.S. death toll climbed to 300,267 as of Monday afternoon, and the case tally rose to 16,388,504, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
14th Dec 2020 - MarketWatch

New strain of Covid-19 may be cause of rise in cases, Hancock tells MPs

A new Covid-19 variant has been identified in the UK, the health secretary has revealed, suggesting it could be linked to the rapid spread of the virus in south-east England as millions more people in London are being moved into the toughest restrictions. Cases of the strain have been found in almost 60 areas, Matt Hancock disclosed, although he stressed that clinical advice suggested it was “highly unlikely” the mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine. It came as he confirmed that the capital, as well as the majority of Essex and parts of Hertfordshire, would be placed into tier 3 from Wednesday after an “exponential” rise in cases.
14th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Covid: Intensive care staff plead for pre-Christmas lockdown

The Christmas relaxation of lockdown rules "makes no sense" as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Wales, doctors have warned. The Welsh Intensive Care Society also wants an "urgent" lockdown across Wales before Christmas, warning critical care would be unable to cope without urgent action. It comes after the number of positive Covid-19 tests passed 100,000 in Wales. Wales' health minister Vaughan Gething has said "nothing is off the table". But Mr Gething fears people would "make up their own rules" if meeting up over Christmas was banned.
14th Dec 2020 - BBC

Health Minister Vaughan Gething refuses to rule out lockdown in Wales before Christmas

The health minister has refused to rule out introducing tougher restrictions before Christmas in the wake of rising coronavirus cases across Wales. Vaughan Gething said in his press conference on Monday afternoon that "every option was still available" to the Welsh Government and that discussions had taken place with partners to set out the best course of action. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus passed the 100,000 mark over the weekend in Wales, and there are now more than 2,000 people with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus in our hospitals. When asked about whether there was still a chance restrictions could be tightened further before Christmas, Mr Gething said: "Every option is still available to us. I have had a meeting with local stakeholders across Wales about a range of challenges in different regions. Ministers in Cabinet will also meet today in our new virtual form.
14th Dec 2020 - Wales Online

Bill Gates says US entering worse phase of COVID pandemic and predicts lockdowns will last into 2022

Bill Gates offered his predictions during an interview with CNN on Sunday. It came as the US set new records for new cases, hospitalizations and deaths over a seven-day period. 'Sadly the next four to six months could be the worst of the epidemic,' Gates said. He went on to signal support for coronavirus-related business restrictions. 'Bars and restaurants in most of the country will be closed as we go into this wave, and I think sadly that's appropriate,' he said. Gates said he thinks the US will become more 'normal' by summertime after a vaccine is rolled out He also expressed optimism about Joe Biden's incoming administration
14th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Queues form outside Milan food banks as crisis bites ahead of Christmas

Long queues have been forming outside food banks and help centres in Italy’s financial capital Milan as the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus has deepened before Christmas. s case numbers surged after the summer, Italy - the first European country to be struck by the pandemic and among the worst hit - has seen its stagnant economy dealt a blow by lockdowns to try to halt the spread of COVID-19. “During this period of the pandemic, the numbers have gone up,” said Luigi Rossi, vice-president of local aid group Pane Quotidiano, as a queue stretched down the block outside the centre in the south of Milan.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

South Korea orders schools to shut as COVID-19 cases spike

South Korea ordered schools to close from Tuesday in the capital Seoul and surrounding areas as it battles its worst outbreak of novel coronavirus since the pandemic began, surpassing the previous peak in February. Schools in the capital region would move classes online until the end of the month, in the latest ratcheting up of social distancing measures which so far have failed to reverse the spike in infections. The school closure is a step towards the imposition of Phase 3 social distancing rules, a move that would essentially lock down Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters

South Korea ramps up testing as coronavirus cases surge

South Korea is ramping up its coronavirus testing after reporting its highest daily number of infections since the start of the pandemic. The country that had been held up as a success story, but now health authorities are getting increasingly nervous.
14th Dec 2020 - Deutsche Welle

COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Reach New Records

Daily records continue to tumble for COVID-19 cases and deaths in many parts of the world, forcing governments to impose restrictions or consider lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus.   In Europe, Germany is heading for a second lockdown starting on Wednesday amid rising coronavirus infections. The government in urging citizens to avoid Christmas shopping in the two days before most stores close and social distancing rules tighten. According to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center (JHU), as of Monday morning, Germany had recorded over 1,350,800 confirmed cases and more than 22,080 deaths. Italy has overtaken Britain as the European country with the most COVID-19 deaths, according to data collected by JHU. Monday morning Italy had 64,520 deaths, while Britain 64,267.
14th Dec 2020 - Voice of America

South Korea weighs tougher Covid-19 restrictions to stem third wave

South Korea is considering raising Covid-19 restrictions to the highest level as the country struggles to contain a third wave of infections. Chung Sye-kyun, South Korea’s prime minister, on Monday said the government “won’t hesitate in making a bold decision” after the country reported a record for new cases over the weekend. Mr Chung, however, refrained from imposing a nationwide level 3 lockdown. “[Adopting] the level 3 social distancing scheme should be our last resort as it requires cautious deliberation,” he said.
14th Dec 2020 - Financial Times

China coronavirus cases on Russia border spark lockdowns, tests

China has put one northern city in lockdown and launched citywide coronavirus testing in another, after two local infections involving workers at a port and trade zone respectively, authorities have said. There was one new case each in Dongning and Suifenhe, which both sit on the country's border with Russia. In Dongning, a 40-year-old maintenance worker at a port tested positive on Thursday, triggering the latest measures. Officials there said Saturday it would enter "wartime mode"—temporarily suspending public bus services and road transport, while requiring anyone leaving the city to produce a negative COVID-19 test from the preceding 24 hours.
14th Dec 2020 - Medical Xpress

Japan, South Korea fret as surging coronavirus undermines leaders' support

Japan and South Korea grappled with surging coronavirus cases and growing public frustration on Monday, with Japan suspending a contentious travel subsidy programme and South Korea closing some schools and considering its toughest curbs yet. Japan reported more than 3,000 new cases on Saturday, yet another record as winter set in, with infections worsening in Tokyo, the northern island of Hokkaido and the city of Osaka. But Japan, with a focus on the economic costs, has steered clear of tough lockdowns. It tackled its first wave of infections in the spring by asking people to refrain from going out and for businesses to close or curtail operating hours.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Why us again? Italy suffers disproportionate toll in second COVID wave

In late November doctor Maurizio Cappiello visited more than 130 patients in the emergency room of Cardarelli hospital, in the southern Italian city of Naples. More than two-thirds had COVID-19. The virus which was limited mainly to Italy’s industrial north during the first wave in the spring was now also ravaging the poor south, overwhelming its fragile public health system. “Despite our efforts it was impossible to help them as we would have wanted and to transmit a sense of humanity, we tried to be fast and concentrate on the most critical,” Cappiello, a top official at Italy’s national ANAAO-ASSOMED doctors’ union, told Reuters.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Success stories Japan and South Korea start to struggle

Two countries lauded for keeping COVID-19 largely under wraps face uptick in cases. South Korea is closing schools and offering free tests, while Japan's prime minister is under fire for a travel incentive scheme. The coronavirus has put South Korea "against the wall," President Moon Jae-in told the nation on Monday as schools were ordered to close under what's expected to become a "Phase 3" lockdown — this year's first in Asia's fourth-largest economy. South Korea since January has largely kept the global spread of the virus SARS-CoV-19 in check with residents proactively wearing face masks, curbs on travel and strict social distancing.
14th Dec 2020 - Deutsche Welle


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Navajo Nation reports 203 new COVID-19 cases, 7 more deaths

Navajo Nation health officials have reported 203 new COVID-19 cases and seven more deaths as they implement a weekend-long lockdown for reservation residents. As of Saturday night, the tribe has now reported 19,420 cases and 718 known deaths since the pandemic began. Navajo Department of Health officials said more than 181,000 people on the vast reservation that includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah have been tested for COVID-19 and over 10,000 have recovered.
13th Dec 2020 - Associated Press

South Korea's Moon warns of toughest COVID-19 curbs after two days of record cases

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in warned on Sunday that COVID-19 restrictions may be raised to the highest level after a second day of record increases in cases as the country battles a harsh third wave of infection. Presiding over an emergency meeting at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters for the first time since February, Moon urged vigilance and called for an all-out efforts to contain the virus. “Unless the outbreak can be contained now, it has come to the critical point of considering escalating social-distancing measures to the third level,” he said, referring to the tightest curbs under the country’s five-tier system.
13th Dec 2020 - Reuters

New COVID-19 cases in Netherlands jump by almost 10,000 - data

The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has jumped by almost 10,000 in the past 24 hours, data released by national health authoriites showed on Sunday, marking their biggest jump since the end of October. The increase continues a rising trend seen over the previous week, as the effects of a partial lockdown which has been in effect since Oct. 13 seem to have waned. The Dutch government has convened an emergency meeting for Sunday to discuss extra measures to limit the spread of the disease.
13th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

China reports 24 new COVID-19 cases vs 13 a day earlier

China reported 24 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Dec. 12, up from 13 cases a day earlier, the health commission said on Sunday. There were five local cases and 19 imported infections, according to a statement by the National Health Commission. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 14 from 17 a day earlier. As of Saturday, mainland China had 86,725 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 4,634.
13th Dec 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

Sweden coronavirus: Intensive care beds running low amid soaring cases

Sweden has been hit hard by coronavirus second wave, after shunning lockdown Stockholm intensive care units are at 99 per cent capacity, with seven beds left Top medic says neighbouring nations, which used lockdowns, may need to help Sweden has suffered a total of 312,000 cases of the virus and 7,000 deaths, while Finland has seen just 30,000 cases and 400 deaths
12th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

South Korea reports 1,030 new coronavirus case, record daily rise

South Korea reported 1,030 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, the second daily record in a row as a country that had initial success controlling COVID-19 now battles a harsh third wave. Of the new cases, 1,002 were locally transmitted. It brings the total to 42,766 infections with 580 deaths, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Saturday said further tightening social distancing restriction to the nation’s highest level would be inevitable if the spread continues, which would be practically a lockdown for the first time in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
12th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Brazil rolls out COVID-19 vaccination plan

The Brazilian government unveiled its long-awaited national vaccination plan against COVID-19 on Saturday with an initial goal of vaccinating 51 million people, or about one-fourth of the population,
12th Dec 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

UK records 21,672 COVID-19 cases and 424 deaths

The United Kingdom recorded 21,672 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, up slightly from the day before, and 424 deaths of people who had tested positive for the disease within 28 days, official data showed. The UK had recorded 20,964 cases on Thursday and 516 deaths.
11th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Montreal records largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases

Montreal’s public health director is once again urging people to respect the COVID-19 measures in effect and reduce their contacts as the disease spreads at an increasingly “alarming” rate. Montreal recorded its highest single-day increase in cases Thursday, adding 648 new infections. The new cases mostly come from school-aged children and seniors over 85 living in long-term care centres and residences, but the spread is increasing across all age groups.
11th Dec 2020 - Montreal News on MSN.com

Nicola Sturgeon: Care homes with Covid-19 outbreaks must tell families of residents

There is a “big responsibility” on care home providers to ensure good communication with relatives, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. Speaking at the coronavirus daily update on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said she would investigate the reported case of a woman who first found out about a Covid-19 outbreak at the care home of a relative in the North East through the media. It comes after investigations were launched by the Crown Office into outbreaks at two care homes in the North East.
11th Dec 2020 - The Scotsman

Care home Covid-19 case numbers much lower than during first wave – Sturgeon

The number of coronavirus cases in Scotland’s care homes is much lower than it was during the first wave of the virus, Nicola Sturgeon has said. A recent outbreak at Inchmarlo House care home in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, led to more than 40 cases being detected. It is one of two care homes in the north east where the Crown Office is investigating several deaths.
11th Dec 2020 - Evening Express

Second Covid-19 wave could be worse: Professor Karim

THE second Covid-19 wave has been worse than the first for half of the countries that have experienced a resurgence of the virus. This is according to epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim, speaking at the 2020 Postgraduate Research and Innovation Symposium in Durban yesterday.
11th Dec 2020 - IOL News

Navajo nation president says second COVID-19 wave hitting the tribe is 'more dire and severe than the first'

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said Sunday that the most recent wave of COVID-19 cases is 'much more dire and much more severe than the first wave' Confirmed cases reached 18,163 on Monday among the reservation's population of only 173,667. ICU units are reaching capacity as another three-week lockdown began. Nez warned that healthcare workers will soon be forced to make 'difficult decisions' in treating patients due to a lack of resources. More than 600 residents have now died from COVID-19, bringing the death rate to 347 for every 100,000 people. The reservation had already been among the hardest hit in the nation, registering the highest per capita level of positive test results in May
11th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Expert predicts number of COVID-19 cases in Jordan to exceed two million by end of second wave

Disease Diagnostic Consultant Hussam Abu Farsakh Tuesday said he expects the number of people infected with coronavirus in Jordan will exceed two million by the end of the second wave. Abu Farsakh told Roya that studies say the real number of COVID-19 cases may be ten times the number of recorded cases, which is the case across the rest of the world. In regard to the coronavirus vaccine, Abu Farsakh called on health authorities to conduct an antibody test prior to administering the vaccine to ensure antibodies are not already present in the body.
11th Dec 2020 - Roya News English

More than 100 coronavirus cases recorded in care home outbreak

A spokesperson for the IMT said: “There is now 102 detected cases of Covid-19 associated with the outbreak at Inchmarlo House Care Home. “We continue to support the home with staffing to ensure the care of residents.” A spokesperson for Inchmarlo House said: “As reported yesterday, we acknowledge that the matter of the Covid-19 outbreak is in the hands of the Procurator Fiscal and we will, of course, co-operate fully with the process.” “The care, safety and wellbeing of our residents is always our primary focus and we will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities who are supporting us.”
11th Dec 2020 - STV News


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Covid-19 could 'run out of control' over winter without caution, Sturgeon warns

The First Minister has come in for fierce criticism for keeping the city under Level 3 restrictions – the second toughest level available in Scotland’s five-tier system. She argued if the Scottish Government does not apply “real caution” when considering these issues there is a risk Covid-19 infections could rapidly spiral. Both Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie challenged the First Minister on the failure to move Edinburgh to Level 2 – something many had expected to happen this week. Ms Sturgeon warned going down a level and easing restrictions “gives the virus more opportunity to spread”.
10th Dec 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Mexico's coronavirus czar faces criticism as COVID-19 surges

There’s hardly a Mexican who doesn’t know Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez by now. Mexico’s undersecretary of prevention and health promotion has sat across from reporters at 7 p.m. sharp almost every single night since late February to update them, and the country, on the toll of the coronavirus pandemic. His firm demeanor, careful speech, and courteous personality have made his televised coronavirus press briefings even more popular than those of the country’s president. But as COVID-19 deaths in Mexico continue to soar—surpassed only by the United States, Brazil, and India—many have questioned López-Gatell Ramírez’s leadership. Critics accuse him of undercounting the true numbers and mishandling the nation’s response. In early August, the governors of nine Mexican states demanded his resignation. His defenders, though, say he’s making sound decisions based on science and doing the best he can with the resources at his disposal.
10th Dec 2020 - Science Magazine

Coronavirus: 'London must enter tier 3 now' warn experts

London should be placed in tier three "now" to avoid a spike in deaths over Christmas, experts have warned. The city saw a spike in Covid-19 cases at the end of England-wide lockdown on 2 December, new figures have revealed. Government officials are due to meet on 16 December to review what tier each area should be allocated. Prof John Ashton, author of Blinded by Corona, said "if London doesn't want hospitals to be full over Christmas the government need to get a grip today". "Deaths will start going up during the Christmas period and new year unless something is done," said Prof Ashton, a former regional director of public health for north-west England.
10th Dec 2020 - BBC

Global cases stabilizing, but COVID deaths continue to climb

Global incidence of new COVID-19 cases remained high but stable for the second week in a row, while global coronavirus deaths increased, according to the latest weekly epidemiologic update from the World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile, with the United Kingdom's vaccination campaign in its second day, UK health officials said today that people with a significant history of allergic reactions to food, medicine, or vaccines should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech following allergic reactions in two health workers.
10th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP

Compromise lockdown struggles to subdue Germany's Covid second wave

In the spring, Germany was praised as a pandemic role model for its Covid-19 crisis management: its low fatality and high testing rates and efficient hammering of the curve were the envy of much of the rest of the world. But this winter the virus is exposing the weaknesses as well as strengths of Germany’s consensus-based federal system, as its “compromise lockdown” struggles to subdue the second wave. While the German infection rate remains below the EU average, the numbers have taken a “worrying” turn for the worse, as Lothar Wieler, the head of the country’s disease control agency, warned on Thursday.
10th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

French to find out if virus surge will ruin Christmas holidays

With just two weeks to go until Christmas, French people were on Thursday nervously awaiting news by the Prime Minister on whether lockdown restrictions will be relaxed as planned. Failure to adequately stem the number of coronavirus cases has fuelled fears that Jean Castex will scupper end-of-year festivities at a press conference set for 6pm. Under plans laid out in November, cinemas and theatres are due to reopen on 15 December, with a night-time curfew replacing a nationwide lockdown – allowing people to travel to see loved ones over the holidays.
10th Dec 2020 - RFI English

Covid-19: Second wave wouldn't be unexpected, but hard lockdown a ‘blunt tool’, says top expert

Many countries are experiencing a second Covid wave, and scientists are worried that SA is heading in the same direction. However, implementing another hard lockdown is impractical as the first one pretty much proved unsuccessful in containing the spread of the virus.
10th Dec 2020 - News24

Japanese medical community despairs at public's lack of concern for mounting virus wave

The air has shifted -- and many in the medical community are concerned by the changes in attitudes toward the coronavirus they're seeing in society at large. Compared to the first wave of infections, in which the whole country got in the mood to limit its activities, now people are more relaxed, with some shops even refusing to comply with requests to reduce their business hours. Disparities in the way ordinary people and medical professionals perceive the threat are widening.
10th Dec 2020 - The Mainichi

Covid-19 Surge Hits South Korea and Japan, After They Had Contained Virus

Some Asian countries that have been among the world’s most successful at containing Covid-19 are now struggling to beat back a winter resurgence, a sign of how elusive sustained progress can be until a vaccine gets rolled out widely. On Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency meeting after the country saw a nine-month peak of 686 cases that has forced officials to use shipping containers to address a hospital-bed shortage. Japan on Wednesday recorded 2,810 new cases, the government said, its highest daily total yet. Vietnam reported community infections for the first time in around three months, prompting authorities to suspend all inbound commercial flights. Hong Kong, which had taken daily infections down to single digits, has seen cases surge past 100, requiring the reintroduction of limits on dine-in restaurant service and gym closures. Several regions of Malaysia went into lockdown after cases doubled within a month.
10th Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

U.S., Breaking a Record, Tops the 3,000 Daily Death Mark

Just one week after the United States broke a daily record for coronavirus deaths, it did so again on Wednesday, when officials across the country reported at least 3,011 new fatalities. Last week’s record — 2,885 deaths reported in a single day — was a milestone because not since the pandemic’s first peak, in spring, had so many deaths been reported. The high point then was 2,752 deaths, on April 15. As a brutal surge gathers speed across the country, the country went on last week to record its most coronavirus-related deaths over a seven-day period.
10th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

'We need help,' says Stockholm healthcare chief as COVID fills intensive care wards

The head of Stockholm’s health service appealed to national authorities on Wednesday to send specialist nurses and other hospital staff as it struggles to cope with a second wave of COVID infections that has filled intensive care wards in Sweden’s capital city. Sweden, which has not opted for the kind of lockdown adopted by many other European nations, has suffered many times more COVID-19 deaths per capita than its Nordic neighbours, with the total reaching almost 7,300 on Wednesday. Stockholm and the surrounding region are among the areas hardest hit with 2,836 deaths. Infection rates are picking up again after a lull in the summer and autumn, and intensive care wards are now full.
10th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK


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Brazil registers highest COVID-19 daily death toll in almost a month

Brazil reported 51,088 additional confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and 842 fatalities from COVID-19, its Health Ministry said on Tuesday, marking the highest death toll since Nov. 14. The South American country has now registered 6,674,999 cases since the pandemic began, while its official death toll has risen to 178,159, according to ministry data. Brazil has the world’s third highest case count, after the United States and India, and second highest death toll. Easing quarantines in Brazilian cities have led to crowded bars and restaurants, giving some the impression that life has returned to normal. With the approaching holiday season, experts worry that COVID-19 will spread even faster.
9th Dec 2020 - NBC News

California's hospitals are close to 'breaking point' as COVID-19 surges

Governor Gavin Newsom is now bringing in hundreds of hospital staff from outside the state and preparing to re-start emergency hospitals that were created but barely used when the coronavirus surged last spring to cope with the new surge. The seven-day rolling average for new cases in the county's most populous state has doubled over the past two weeks to 23,000 a day. During the summer surge, average infections in California peaked at 10,000 per day.
9th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

Christmas spike in Covid-19 cases ‘inevitable’

A spike in Covid-19 cases is “inevitable” as people mix over the Christmas holidays, the Tanaiste has said. Leo Varadkar said if further restrictions are introduced in January it “won’t be done lightly”. Referring to a rise in coronavirus cases following gatherings in the US and Canada for Thanksgiving, Mr Varadkar said it gives an indication on how the virus will spread over the festive holidays.
9th Dec 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

COVID-19: Another 533 deaths reported and 16,578 new cases

The UK has reported another 533 deaths with COVID-19 and 16,578 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours. That compares to 12,282 cases and 616 deaths on Tuesday, according to government data. It means the total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus is now 62,566.
9th Dec 2020 - Sky News

UK records 16,578 more cases of coronavirus and 533 deaths as fatalities continue to decline in the wake of England's second lockdown

Department of Health figures show the number of cases rose by 2.5 per cent compared to last Wednesday. Deaths, however, fell by 17 per cent compared to last week after 533 were recorded by health chiefs. Covid-19 cases in Briton have been plateauing since England's national lockdown was lifted on December 2
9th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid cases: Hospital admissions rise in most of England’s NHS regions despite lockdown, figures show

Admissions to hospital of patients with Covid-19 are rising in four out of seven NHS regions of England despite the month-long lockdown in November, official figures have shown. The increases are in London, east of England, south east and the Midlands, suggesting a third wave of the epidemic could be threatening the NHS just before the Christmas relaxation period.
9th Dec 2020 - iNews

London ‘facing Tier 3 before Christmas’ as figures shows rates up in 21 boroughs

Londoners might be facing Tier 3 lockdown restrictions just a week before Christmas as data shows infections are up in two thirds of the capital’s boroughs. The latest Public Health England data shows infection rates are rising in the capital, with cases per person up by half in certain areas of the city. Some officials are reportedly now voicing concern about London. Rates in some areas were rising even before lockdown was lifted on December 2 - and before Londoners enjoyed the first weekend of slightly eased measures.
9th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Germany coronavirus: Merkel backs tougher restrictions as Covid deaths hit record

German Chancellor Angela Merkel advocated tougher restrictions on public life and pleaded with her compatriots to cut down on socializing as the country reported its highest single-day death toll of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday. Germany is gradually moving toward a tighter lockdown, at least for a limited period after Christmas, as new virus cases remain stubbornly high — and are even beginning to creep higher — despite a partial shutdown that started on Nov. 2.
9th Dec 2020 - The Independent

With record deaths, Germany may tighten lockdown

Chancellor Angela Merkel is throwing her weight behind calls for a fuller lockdown in Germany that would include closing shops after Christmas, telling legislators that vaccines alone would not majorly alter the pandemic's course. Olivia Chan reports.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid cases revealed for each London borough as millions urged to help keep capital out of Tier 3

Every single Londoner was today urged to join the battle to keep the city out of Tier 3 as official figures showed Covid-19 cases rising in more than two thirds of boroughs. MPs and Mayor Sadiq Khan called on millions of people across the capital to stick to social distancing, self-isolation, mask wearing and good hygiene rules and guidance to reverse the latest coronavirus surge. The number of confirmed cases is increasing across east London, apart from Redbridge which saw a very small decrease in the week to December 3, compared to the previous seven days.
9th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Asia Today: S. Korea sees 686 new cases, 2nd-biggest spike

South Korea has reported 686 new cases of the coronavirus, tying its second-highest daily jump since the emergence of the pandemic, as a resurgence driven by the greater capital area threatens to erase hard-won gains against the virus. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Wednesday that 536 of the new cases were reported in the Seoul metropolitan area, where new clusters of infections have been popping up from seemingly everywhere, including restaurants, markets, saunas, hospitals, long-term care facilities and army units.
9th Dec 2020 - Associated Press

International update: Global Covid cases pass 68.3 million - more than 15.1 million in US

Global coronavirus infections pass 68.3 million. Meanwhile, the global coronavirus death toll has passed 1,559,000 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. US: Covid-19 infections have passed 15 million. Record cases in at least three states – Arizona, Alabama and Ohio – pushed the cumulative case load to over 15 million, according to a Reuters tally of state and county data. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 286,338 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
9th Dec 2020 - pharmaceutical-technology.com

Germany records highest Covid death toll

The number of people who have died in Germany after catching the coronavirus has surged to 590, marking the highest daily death toll for the country in the pandemic yet. The figure, reported by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the national agency for disease control, beat the last record of 487 by more than 100. The RKI added 20,815 new coronavirus cases to the country's tally of confirmed infections, which amounts to 1,218,524 so far. The daily rise in new cases last Wednesday was lower at 17,270, providing further proof that a partial lockdown put in place in early November has failed to break Germany's second wave of infections
9th Dec 2020 - The West Australian

U.S. Breaks Record for Most Deaths in a Week

The United States has recorded its most coronavirus-related deaths over a weeklong period, as a brutal surge gathers speed across the country. With a seven-day average of 2,249 deaths, the country broke the previous mark of 2,232 set on April 17 in the early weeks of the pandemic. Seven-day averages can provide a more accurate picture of the virus’s progression than daily death counts, which can fluctuate and disguise the broader trend line. The United States is approaching 300,000 total deaths, with nearly 283,000 recorded, according to a New York Times database. The nation is averaging nearly 200,000 cases per day, an increase of 15 percent from the average two weeks earlier, and has recorded over than 15 million total cases.
9th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

Swedish govt to ask parliament for tougher powers to fight pandemic

Sweden’s government on Wednesday proposed new temporary legislation to expand its powers to fight the coronavirus pandemic, giving it greater leeway to implement and enforce lockdown measures such as closing shopping malls and gyms. The legislation, which will be submitted for review to relevant stakeholders before a vote in parliament, would come into force on March 15 next year and be valid for just over a year, the coalition said in a statement. Since summer and early autumn’s lull in the pandemic, a second wave of the virus has swept the Nordic country with infections hitting daily records, while hospitalisations and deaths have also shot up over the past two months.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters India

French new coronavirus cases jump to 13,717

New confirmed coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours in France jumped to 13,713 on Tuesday, from 3,411 on Monday and 8,083 last Tuesday, health ministry data showed. On the 11th day after the government eased a nationwide lockdown, the number of people in intensive care however fell by 110 to 3,088, bringing it closer to a 2,500-3,000 government threshold that is one of the conditions for further lockdown easing.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

New powers allow Hong Kong government to lock down Covid-19 hotspots

Chief Executive Carrie Lam adopts powerful new tool to combat an escalating fourth wave of the virus and urges residents to stay home as much as possible Authorities tighten social-distancing restrictions, with restaurants to end dine-in service at 6pm and gyms to close, as 100 new cases confirmed
8th Dec 2020 - South China Morning Post


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Covid-19 pandemic: As hospitals start to max out, medical workers beg for help

Dr. Cleavon Gilman served in the Iraq War, but he said that doesn't compare to the battle he's fighting as an emergency room physician in Arizona. "This pandemic is a lot worse than being in Iraq just because when you're in a war zone, you can leave that war zone. You can fly out of Iraq; you're OK here in the United States," the Yuma doctor said.
8th Dec 2020 - CNN on MSN.com

Matt Hancock urges Londoners to ‘stick to the rules’ as Covid cases rise

Matt Hancock issued an urgent appeal to Londoners today to “stick by the rules” after shock figures showed Covid-19 cases rising in 21 boroughs increasing the risk of Tier 3 for the city before Christmas. The Health Secretary also stressed that more people in the capital will end up in hospital and die because of the disease’s spread. He spoke out after alarming data showed confirmed cases jumping by 46.7 in Haringey in the week to December 2, with many boroughs in east London also being particularly badly hit. Worryingly, much of the rise happened before lockdown ended last Wednesday. The coronavirus surge is all the more striking as just over a week earlier cases were falling in 30 out of 32 boroughs.
8th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Russian doctors demand probe into Covid-19 patients jumping from high rise buildings

Russia and Ukraine has seen a number of Covid-19 patients fall to their deaths The latest, one of Russia's oldest war heroes, had recently been discharged Russian doctors are now calling for an investigation into the suicide cases They want to look into whether Covid-19 can cause neuropsychiatric disorders
8th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

America's COVID-19 death toll now surpasses the April peak

The US recorded 1,404 deaths and 192,299 new coronavirus cases yesterday, while the number of people currently hospitalized reached a record 102,148 Deaths, which have been rising rapidly since last month, are now currently averaging 2,200 per day. During the initial peak of the virus in April, the highest seven-day rolling average was just over 2,000. In the last week, 15,658 Americans have died from COVID-19 - making it the deadliest week since April. Hospitalizations have consistently set single-day highs since late October and are currently rising in 31 states. In the last week, every state apart from Utah and Montana have reported an increase in deaths compared to the previous seven days. The Dakotas continue to record the most deaths per 100,000 across the country. Rhode Island is currently the worst affected state with an average of 110 cases per 100,000 people in a week. It comes as alarming new red wave maps created by US government health officials show how surging COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have engulfed the United States in the last four months The data, included in the most recent White House task force situation report sent weekly to states, tracks the number of new COVID-19 admissions per 100 inpatient beds across the country
8th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

More areas in England recording rise in Covid-19 case rates, figures show

A growing number of areas in England are seeing a rise in Covid-19 case rates. Seven days ago, just 21 out of a total of 315 local authority areas had recorded a week-on-week jump in rates. That figure now stands at 126. A majority of places are still recording a fall – but there is only one region, north-east England, where are rates coming down in all local areas.
8th Dec 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Covid deaths climbed to highest number since May just before England’s lockdown ended

As people welcome the news that a 90-year-old woman has become the first person in the world to receive a Covid-19 jab, stark new data has highlighted why the vaccine programme will be vital in the UK’s ongoing fight against the coronavirus. Despite tough restrictions brought in across England and Wales in recent months, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that by the end of November the number deaths from Covid-19 had reached the highest rate since May.
8th Dec 2020 - iNews

London's Covid cases are higher now than BEFORE England's lockdown

Matt Hancock has refused to rule out imposing Tier Three measures onto the capital a week before Christmas. Department of Health data shows infections in the city continued to rise during the four-week lockdown. But NHS hospital admissions and deaths from the virus are still flat-lining despite the surge in infections
8th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: U.S. Surpasses 10 Million Coronavirus Cases as Global Cases Top 50 Million

The United States reported its 10 millionth coronavirus case on Sunday, with the latest million added in just 10 days, as most of the country struggled to contain outbreaks in the third and most widespread wave of infection since the pandemic began. More than 103,600 new cases were announced on Sunday, the fifth-highest total of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database, and the fifth day in a row the country exceeded 100,000 cases in a single day. Case reports have soared in the last week, shattering records. The seven-day average of new cases now exceeds 111,000 per day, far more than any other country. The United States accounts for about one-fifth of all reported coronavirus cases in the world, a total that has passed 50.2 million.
8th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

Japan announces $708bn in fresh stimulus as COVID-19 cases rise

Japan will compile a fresh economic stimulus package worth 73.6 trillion yen ($708bn), Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday, signalling his resolve to pull the country out of its coronavirus crisis-induced slump. The new stimulus package will include fiscal spending worth around 40 trillion yen ($384.2bn), Suga said in a meeting with ruling party executives. The government is set to finalise the stimulus package later on Tuesday, which would follow a combined $2.2 trillion from two previous packages that focused on dealing with the immediate strain on households and business. The new economic measures would help push “new economic growth,” Suga said at the meeting. The package is likely to include subsidies and incentives to prod companies to boost green investment and spending on digitalisation, an area Suga has laid out as his key policy priorities.
8th Dec 2020 - AlJazeera

London ‘facing Tier 3 before Christmas’ as figures shows rates are up in 21 boroughs

Londoners might be facing Tier Three lockdown restrictions just a week before Christmas as data shows infections are up in two thirds of the capital’s boroughs. The latest Public Health England data shows infection rates are rising in the capital, with cases per person up by half in certain areas of the city. Some officials are reportedly now voicing concern about London. Rates in some areas were rising even before lockdown was lifted on December 2 - and before Londoners enjoyed the first weekend of slightly eased measures. Government officials are set to meet on December 16 to review tiers across the country - just over a week before Christmas Day.
8th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

US total tops 15 million as COVID-19 surge expands

More than 200,000 Americans are now testing positive for COVID-19 each day, on average, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its most detailed report of hospital capacity yet, the first to show facility-level status, NPR reported. The HHS data show that for 126 US counties, the average hospital is 90% occupied. Yesterday, the United States reported 192,299 new cases and 1,404 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker. And the COVID Tracking Project reported that 102,148 Americans are currently hospitalized for COVID-19.
8th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP


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More people died in the US from COVID-19 nearly every day last week than died in the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor

COVID-19 data shows that the US daily death toll for 5 of 7 days last week topped the 2,403 lives lost in the attack that plunged the US into WWII.
7th Dec 2020 - Business Insider

L.A. County faces ‘three weeks of devastation’ before COVID-19 surge might slow, experts say

The coronavirus wave engulfing California over the last week seems to confirm that the worst of the surge is far from over. But how bad will it get? The numbers — which have reached record proportions — still don’t reflect anyone who may have gotten sick during Thanksgiving. Generally, it takes two weeks after an event to determine whether coronavirus transmission occurred, and two additional weeks for hospitalization numbers to increase as a result. It also will take several weeks for the effects of the latest stay-at-home order, which began in Los Angeles County last week and in much of California just before midnight Monday.
7th Dec 2020 - Los Angeles Times

Wales considers new Covid lockdown amid rapid rise in infections

Another lockdown may be needed in Wales to stop the NHS being overwhelmed as the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital soared to a record high. There are now more than 1,800 people in Welsh hospitals with confirmed or suspected coronavirus – the highest number recorded and 400 more than the previous peak in April. Describing the situation as “incredibly serious”, the Welsh health minister, Vaughan Gething, accepted more restrictions might be needed, possibly even before Christmas. The figures come just a month after the end of a 17-day “firebreak” lockdown, which was believed at the time to have been successful and was expected to give the country a clear run up to the new year. But the Welsh government has since conceded that it might have been better to bring in other curbs when the firebreak was lifted.
7th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Are Covid cases beginning to creep back UP? Daily infections jump 19.4% in a week to 14,718 as data shows curve began to flatten BEFORE lockdown ended – but deaths continue ...

The UK's daily infection curve began to flatten roughly a week before the draconian restrictions were lifted. In contrast, 12,330 positive tests were added to the tally last Monday — meaning today's figure is a 19.4% rise. Deaths are still continuing to fall, however, as a result of the national lockdown, according to official figures
7th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid Sweden: Infection rate overtakes UK, Germany and Spain

Sweden's infection rate is higher than in Britain, France, Spain, Italy or Germany Average daily deaths are once again above those in Denmark, Norway or Finland Gatherings have been limited to eight people, compared to 50 in the spring
7th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

South Korea Cancels Annual New Year Bell-ringing Ceremony Amid Surge In COVID-19 Cases

South Korea government announced cancellation as Seoul recorded confirmed 631 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, with a noticeable spike.
7th Dec 2020 - RepublicWorld

South Korea reports 615 new coronavirus cases as third wave grows

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Monday (Dec 7) for expanded COVID-19 testing and more thorough tracing as the country struggled to control its latest and largest wave of infections. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 615 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Sunday, capping a month of triple-digit daily increases that have led to 8,311 confirmed patients in quarantine, the most ever. Moon ordered the government to mobilise every available resource to track infections, and to expand testing by deploying the military and more people from the public service, presidential Blue House spokesman Chung Man-ho told a briefing.
7th Dec 2020 - Channel NewsAsia

COVID-19 clusters break out in Japan's coldest city as winter closes in

The emergence of Japan’s coldest city as a COVID-19 hotspot has raised fears among health experts that it could be a sign of what the rest of the nation may face as winter sets in and more people stay indoors, raising airborne transmission risks. The city of Asahikawa, about 140 km (87 miles) north of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido, is reeling from infection clusters at two hospitals and a care home. By Sunday, the number of cases recorded on the island was more than 10,000, and Asahikawa had accounted for 16% of the 256 deaths. It prompted the government to announce a plan on Monday to send nurses from Self Defense Forces to the region and western metropolis of Osaka to help fight the outbreak.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters

South Korea, Japan to deploy military to combat COVID-19

South Korea and Japan are deploying their militaries to assist healthcare workers in combatting COVID-19, with South Korean soldiers called in to expand coronavirus testing and tracing and Japanese military nurses tapped to fill a shortage of staff at hospitals in the hard-hit regions of Hokkaido and Osaka. Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, on Monday ordered the government to mobilise “every available” resource to track infections and to expand testing by deploying the military and more people from the public service, presidential Blue House spokesman Chung Man-ho told a briefing.
7th Dec 2020 - AlJazeera

Kremlin sees no need to impose broad lockdown

The Kremlin said on Monday there was no need to impose lockdown restrictions to curb the sharp rise in coronavirus cases since September and that the current set of measures in place were widely seen by authorities as enough. Infections have surged to record highs in recent weeks. Earlier on Monday authorities confirmed 28,142 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, including 7,279 in Moscow.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters

French coronavirus infection rate unlikely to fall to lockdown threshold -minister

French BFM TV reported on Monday that Health Minister Olivier Veran has told members of parliament that it is unlikely that the number of daily new coronavirus cases will fall to 5,000 by Dec. 15. French President Emmanuel Macron has said that threshold is one of the conditions for ending a nationwide lockdown on Dec. 15. Another condition was for the number of people in intensive care to fall below 3,000. On Sunday, France registered 11,022 new cases, down from a high of over 86,000 per day a month ago. The number of people in ICUs fell by 10 to 3,220 on Sunday.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid-19 cases rise by 14,718 as UK records another 189 deaths

The Government said a further 189 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 with vaccines expected to be rolled out to public tomorrow. The latest data shows as of Monday, the UK total has suffered 61,434 deaths. The Government said that, as of 9am on Monday, there had been a further 14,718 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,737,960. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 77,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
7th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard


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Long a Holdout From Covid-19 Restrictions, Sweden Ends Its Pandemic Experiment

After a late autumn surge in infections led to rising hospitalizations and deaths, Sweden has abandoned its attempt to combat the pandemic through voluntary measures.
6th Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Most of California to be under stay-at-home orders as COVID-19 surges

California’s two most densely inhabited regions and its agricultural breadbasket will be under stay-at-home orders by Sunday night as the COVID-19 pandemic strains hospitals in the most populous U.S. state, officials said. Designed to kick in when intensive care units in any of five regions have little remaining capacity, the order affecting Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will close bars, hair salons and barbershops, and allows restaurants to remain open only for takeout and delivery service. The shutdowns, which go into effect at 11:59 pm Sunday, are triggered by an order announced Wednesday by Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.
6th Dec 2020 - Reuters

South Korea to consider new curbs as coronavirus cases hit 9-month high

South Korea on Sunday reported 631 new coronavirus cases, the highest in nine months, ahead of an expected government decision on whether to further tighten social distancing curbs as health authorities struggle to contain a third wave of outbreaks. After implementing tighter restrictions on Saturday, the government is to decide on Sunday whether to impose new measures in a country that had seen initial success through aggressive contact tracing and other steps. The new cases bring the country’s tally to 37,546, with 545 deaths, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported.
6th Dec 2020 - Reuters

COVID-19: How the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is being rolled out - and who will get it first

More details have emerged about who will be first to get the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine when the UK rollout begins next week. First doses of the highly anticipated jab reached Britain on Thursday after being brought through the Eurotunnel on lorries from Belgium. It is just the start of the huge and complex logistical and technical operation that lies ahead to protect those most vulnerable across the UK.
5th Dec 2020 - Sky News

Southern California headed for strict COVID lockdown due to lack of ICU beds

More than 20 million people across 23 Southern California counties will be under one of the country’s strictest COVID lockdowns beginning Monday morning. People in Los Angeles, San Diego, all surrounding counties and the state’s Central Valley will be legally prohibited from gathering with anyone outside their immediate household, and nearly all businesses must close under the new stay-at-home order. The lockdown rules last at least three weeks, meaning they’ll be in effect through Christmas. People wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at a testing site in the North Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Saturday.
5th Dec 2020 - New York Daily News on MSN.com

Pennsylvania man begs for help in finding a new ICU bed for his mom with COVID-19

Shawn Rider posted to Facebook on Tuesday pleading for information on another Pennsylvania hospital that had a free ICU bed and an EMCO machine. His mother Karen had been on a ventilator due to COVID-19 since November 23 but her condition had deteriorated and she needed a transfer. A nurse at York hospital spot