"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 20th Aug 2020
A psychologist's tips on protecting your mental health in the pandemic recession
AS THE economic fallout from coronavirus starts to crystallise, it is clear to everyone that difficult times lie ahead. Job losses, budget cuts and record-setting recessions – the damage looks so deep that it raises, among other things, the prospect of a public mental health crisis. “When it comes to mental health, I don’t think people are well-versed with practices,” says chartered psychologist and contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine Suzy Reading. “We all know what it takes to look after our physical health, but when it comes to mental health, people need fresh tools and new ideas.” Here’s what to do if the stress begins to build, from the power of perspective to simply getting a good night’s sleep…
COVID-19 pandemic causes mental health crisis in Americas, says WHO official
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a mental health crisis in the Americas due to heightened stress and use of drugs and alcohol during six months of lockdowns and stay-at-home measures, the World Health Organization’s regional director said on Tuesday. The pandemic also has brought a related problem in a surge in domestic violence against women, Carissa Etienne said in a virtual briefing from the Pan American Health Organization in Washington. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a mental health crisis in our region at a scale we’ve never seen before,” she said. “It is urgent that mental health support is considered a critical component of the pandemic response.”
Coronavirus: Depression in the UK officially doubled during lockdown
The number of people suffering from depression symptoms in the UK doubled when the country was under a COVID-19 lockdown, official figures show. Almost a fifth of British adults — 19.2 per cent — were likely to be experiencing some form of depression in June 2020, according to a survey of more than 3,500 people carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released on Tuesday. Prior to the pandemic, fewer than one in ten said so. "Today's research provides an insight into the mental health of adults during the coronavirus pandemic. Revisiting this same group of adults before and during the pandemic provides a unique insight into how their symptoms of depression have changed over time," Tim Vizard, the ONS' principal research officer, said in a statement.
Lockdown makes life tougher for those in rehab
Ever since Victoria declared a state of emergency on 16 March, almost every event or gathering was cancelled or postponed so as to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While this was an inconvenience for some, it was a loss of income for others. But for an even smaller community, restrictions meant the loss of an essential tool needed for drug and alcohol recovery: social interaction. And now that Melburnians have entered into a six-week-long period of isolation with stage four restrictions in effect, it is going to be even tougher for those who require a strong social network to combat substance use.
Disability homes at risk of Covid-19 exposure, royal commission hears
Carers working across multiple disability group homes and the aged care sector could spread the virus into the disability community, the royal commission has heard. Prof Anne Kavanagh, the director of the Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne, said on Thursday federal and state authorities needed to look at ways to ensure “minimised movement of workers”, and also warned about a lack of PPE training for some carers. Describing a “perfect storm”, she said that the closure of NDIS day-programs once lockdowns began meant carers “started working across multiple group homes because the residents were home more”. “That’s a real issue and some of them work for multiple service providers and some work in aged care,” she said.
WHO says Covid spread by 'unaware' youth; European rules tighten – as it happened
France plans to make masks compulsory in almost all workplaces and Finland will ration common medicines in anticipation of a second wave this autumn as new coronavirus infections continue to rise around Europe. Amid evidence from several countries that the increase on the continent is being driven mainly by younger people, the World Health Organization said 20- to 50-year-olds were also the main spreaders of the virus in the western Pacific region.
Millions return to schools lacking handwashing facilities: UN
A joint report (PDF) published last week by the WHO and UNICEF, the UN children's fund, revealed that 43 percent of schools worldwide lacked facilities for basic handwashing with soap and water in 2019, affecting 818 million children - more than a third of them in sub-Saharan Africa. In the least-developed countries, seven out of 10 schools lack basic handwashing facilities, and half of all schools lack basic sanitation and water services, the agencies said.
All Workers In France Must Wear Masks Starting Sept. 1
The French government says people will be required to wear face masks in workplaces, following a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections since the country began lifting lockdown restrictions in July.
Britain to bring in mass testing to curb spread of COVID-19
Britain plans to bring in regular, population-wide testing for COVID-19 so it can suppress the spread of the virus and ease restrictions that have crippled its economy without triggering a second wave in one of the worst-hit countries in the world. Health minister Matt Hancock said the government was trialling a range of new, faster tests that can give instant results and hoped to roll them out towards the end of the year. “The mass testing, population testing, where we make it the norm that people get tested regularly, allowing us therefore to allow some of the freedoms back, is a huge project in government right now,” he told BBC Radio. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has been criticised by political opponents and health experts for being too slow to go into lockdown and in rolling out testing to know how far the virus had spread.
How an Indigenous Community in Brazil Used Tech to Contain the Coronavirus
When news broke of a “foreign” virus in early March, Indigenous leaders in the 6.5 million–acre territory that is home to more than 7,000 people from 16 different groups promptly mobilized to try to keep the disease at bay. They adopted a voluntary quarantine and produced videos and other educational materials with prevention tips in Karib languages. Still, despite their best efforts, the coronavirus arrived in Xingu. Since the first death from COVID-19, a 45-day-old Kalapalo baby in early June, at least 10 other deaths and more than 210 confirmed cases have been registered.
Nearly 8 in 10 Employees Say Their Work Has Improved Amid Coronavirus
While the coronavirus pandemic is likely to impact our lives for the foreseeable future, workers appear to be getting used to the new normal. Almost 8 in 10 workers — (79%) — from companies with more than 1,000 employees say the quality of their work improved from April to July as employers have increased support amid the pandemic, according to a new survey by global accounting firm KPMG. Employees are also becoming more comfortable with working remotely and other procedures their employers are putting in place, but there are areas where they can use more support.
Hugo Boss will only ask staff to work in the office three days a week even after Covid-19
Hugo Boss will allow staff the option of remote working every Monday and Friday, even after the coronavirus pandemic has abated. The German fashion house announced today that it will only require the majority of its staff to come into the office from Tuesday to Thursday, with the option of working from home on Monday and Friday. The company said it had made the decision after an internal survey revealed people were less stressed while working from home. It added that managers had been very happy with the work done remotely. “The future belongs to tailored combinations of office-based and off-site work,” said Jochen Eckhold, human resources director. “Our hybrid working model caters to employees’ growing desire for alternative scheduling and location options.”
Will you keep the office after COVID-19?
Boris Johnson has just made the announcement that all non-essential businesses must close. Cue employees gathering any possession they can from their workspace - including wheeling ergonomic chairs and heavy desktops across the London underground - and rushing to work from home, completely unaware of how long it would be until they return to the office. While businesses had been talking ad nauseam around how important embracing technology is, nothing could have prepared them for the lockdown which forced them to embrace organisation-wide virtual working.
Why Work From Home When You Can Work From Barbados, Bermuda or … Estonia?
When Lamin Ngobeh, a high-school teacher at the Freire Charter School in Wilmington, Del., saw a social media post last month about working remotely in Barbados for 12 months, his interest was piqued. “My school probably won’t open for in-person classes at least until February 2021, and I want to be in a country that’s safer — health wise — and also enjoy the quality of life,” he said of the reasons for considering a temporary relocation. “I reached out to my school leaders and they were very supportive of my decision.” When it announced its 12-month Welcome Stamp program in mid-July, Barbados became one of the first of several countries, in regions from the Caribbean to Eastern Europe, to create programs for remote workers. The programs employ either special visas or expand existing ones to entice workers to temporarily relocate. Other countries offering similar visas currently include Estonia, Georgia and Bermuda.
More evidence of permanent switch to working from home
Most office-based staff want to continue working from home at least part of the week, according to a new study, providing fresh evidence of how the world of work is going to change as a result of the coronavirus crisis. A survey of 2,000 office workers by technology giant Huawei found that almost nine out of 10 want to continue working from home at least part of the week. Three out of five respondents said they would prefer to work remotely for at least three days a week. Many of those working from home said they were setting up their workstation in different rooms, or in the garden or local park.
Londoners want to partially work from home
A significant proportion (43%) of London employees want to work locally for all or some of the time going forwards, a survey commissioned by flexible workspace operator Spacemad found. The most popular option was found to be 2-3 days a week working from a local workspace (61%) and 2-3 from company headquarters.
Webinar: What does a growing need for remote working mean for the NHS?
The covid-19 pandemic has presented a situation in which most people who do not need to work on a specific site have been asked to work from home – and that includes those employed by NHS organisations. With the virus likely to be around for some time, an increased need to support remote and new ways of working is likely to continue. It has often been suggested that in specialties such as radiology and pathology, greater ability for flexible and remote working could help spread workload more effectively and help address staff shortages. So what would a continuing need for remote and flexible working mean for NHS organisations? How can remote workers work together more efficiently and collaboratively? How can trusts ensure the IT infrastructure and related support is in place for this way of working, and to have a positive impact on patient care? Can healthcare look to other industries and how they are utilising technologies, such as cloud, to support these new, secure ways of working? Might there be lessons to learn from the private healthcare sector? This free HSJ webinar, run in association with IBM, will bring together a small panel to discuss these important issues and offer practical advice on building such considerations into your digital strategy
The strategic vision for long-term remote work at 12 health systems
One of the CIO's major responsibilities when the pandemic hit was to safely transition thousands of individuals to remote work. Now health systems and organizations are grappling with whether to keep their teams remote and what their plan will be for returning to the office. Here, 12 CIOs and healthcare executives outline their organizational philosophies on remote work and what they're plans are for the future.
Remote work can continue forever, consulting firm Sikich tells employees as it shifts to micro offices
Professional services firm Sikich will allow employees to work from home permanently and plans to shrink the size of its offices in one of the most dramatic responses to the coronavirus pandemic in Chicago. CEO Chris Geier recently told the Chicago-based company’s more than 1,000 employees that remote work can continue “indefinitely,” as part of a reduction in real estate already envisioned before offices all but shut down in March because of COVID-19. Sikich has 307 Chicago-area employees. In the near term, employees have been told to stay away from the office unless absolutely necessary, Geier said. Over the next few years, Sikich plans to replace its current 14 offices throughout the country with about 30 “micro offices” that the firm’s consultants and other employees can use when they’re not working at client offices or from home, Geier said.
Glasgow primary school class told to self-isolate after pupil tests positive for Covid-19
An entire class of Glasgow primary children and their teacher have been told to self-isolate after one pupil tested positive for coronavirus. Families at St Albert’s primary, Pollokshields – which reopened for the first time since lockdown exactly a week ago – were contacted earlier on Wednesday by public health officials and told to quarantine for 14 days. Each child in isolation has also been issued with an iPad so that lessons can be taught remotely. It is understood that there are between 20 and 25 pupils in the class. A spokesperson for Glasgow city council said “robust” infection control measures were in place at the school, adding: “There is currently no evidence of transmission within the school itself.”
Notre Dame becomes latest university to suspend in-person classes
The University of Notre Dame on Tuesday suspended in-person classes and moved them online for at least two weeks after seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, the latest university to roll back campus reopenings. Notre Dame University President John Jenkins announced the decision after the prestigious Catholic university near South Bend, Indiana, reported a spike of 80 positive test results on Monday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 147 since Aug. 3, according to the university’s website. The results from 418 tests represented a positivity rate of 19 percent at the school with overall positivity at around 16 percent since Aug. 3.
School outbreaks wreck Trump's plans for return to normal
President Donald Trump hoped schools and colleges would reopen their doors this fall, marking the retreat of the coronavirus pandemic and the start of an economic revival just months before the presidential election. Metastasizing outbreaks are shattering those hopes. Thousands of kids and coeds are getting sick, along with their teachers, triggering mass quarantines, campus closures and last-minute switches to online learning. Virus-proof kids who are “virtually immune” to the scourge — that was what the president promised. A few days into the new school year, that prediction hasn’t held together. “His promises have proven to be false,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat whose home state has seen coronavirus infections in 87 percent of the counties as of Monday, thrusting more than 2,000 students and nearly 600 teachers into quarantine.
4 Things You Can Do Right Now to Prep Your Kids – and Your Home – for Virtual Learning
Students are gearing up for a school year unlike any other, with the coronavirus keeping thousands of kids out of a traditional classroom. For parents, the idea of remote learning can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. "They're wondering how this is going to work, especially when they're working from home," said Ann Dolin, a former Fairfax County teacher who went on to found Educational Connections, a tutoring service in the D.C. area. Dolin has four things you can do right now to prepare your child for a smooth transition into virtual learning.
Saudi Arabia prepares world's largest virtual classroom amid pandemic
Across 20 television channels and online, the Saudi Ministry of Education is preparing to launch the largest virtual school in the world as classes resume despite the ongoing global pandemic. Education Minister Hamad Al Sheikh on Wednesday announced the kingdom’s plan for virtual schooling in a press conference held in Riyadh. “The ministry benefited from the last [academic] year’s experience as a basic starting point. Distance education and e-learning are no longer an option, rather, it is a necessity that all societies need,” he said. “The government … believes that education is the focus of change in the kingdom and its people, it is the source of community development for all ages and distance education is part of this development in the educational process.”
Broward students are back to the books and the virtual classroom
Broward public school students started the new school year at the same place where it ended last year, from home, online. Due to the high COVID-19 positivity rate in South Florida Broward students will be remote learning for the foreseeable future.
Access to Work scheme extended to help disabled people working remotely
Disabled people can now benefit from financial support to work from home following an extension to the Access to Work scheme. People who are clinically extremely vulnerable can get new applications for grant funding fast-tracked. Funding can now cover taxi fares and public transport costs, if a health condition prevents you from travelling on public transport during the pandemic.
Oldham feared to be on brink of 'catastrophic' coronavirus lockdown
Oldham in Greater Manchester is 48 hours away from potentially being ordered into a “catastrophic” and “premature” local lockdown, its council leader has warned. Ministers are expected to decide on Thursday whether to order the closure of the town’s bars, restaurants and gyms in the first local lockdown in England since hospitality businesses reopened last month. The town has the highest coronavirus infection rate in England despite restrictions on social visits imposed three weeks ago. However, figures due to be released on Wednesday show the number of new cases is declining. Sean Fielding, the council leader, said that being “pushed” into a full Leicester-style lockdown would be disastrous for Oldham’s already struggling economy and would not be “based on evidence”.
Angela Merkel to back plans extending Germany's furlough scheme to 24 months
German chancellor Angela Merkel is said to back a proposal that would extend the country’s furlough scheme to 24 months. Roughly 10.1 million workers have signed up to Kurzarbeit, or “short-work” in English, since companies were forced to close in late March during a nationwide lockdown over the coronavirus.
WHO: Coronavirus herd immunity requires effective vaccine
The World Health Organization says the planet is nowhere near the amount of coronavirus immunity needed to induce herd immunity, where enough of the population would have antibodies to stop the spread. Herd immunity is typically achieved with vaccination and most scientists estimate at least 70% of the population must have antibodies to prevent an outbreak. But some experts have suggested that even if half the population had immunity, there might be a protective effect. WHO's emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan largely dismissed that theory at a press briefing on Tuesday, saying we should not live "in hope" of achieving herd immunity.
Coronavirus: Boris Johnson told to 'get a grip' by Heathrow Airport boss as testing facility unveiled
Boris Johnson has been told to "get a grip" of his coronavirus quarantine policy as Heathrow Airport pushes for the 14-day isolation period to be shortened. The travel hub's chief executive told Sky News the prime minister needs to act swiftly to stop "holding back the recovery of the UK economy" due to the restrictions on many travellers arriving in the country. The airport has revealed plans for a new testing facility which it hopes will lead to the end of the two-week mandatory quarantine for those returning from countries removed from the UK's safe list.
England axes health agency criticised for COVID-19 response
England will scrap the government agency responsible for responding to public health emergencies after the country has suffered the highest death rate in Europe from the coronavirus pandemic. Public Health England, a cornerstone of the state-run health system with responsibility for managing infectious disease outbreaks, will have many of its functions merged with the government’s contact tracing service into a new body to be known as the National Institute for Health Protection. “The National Institute for Health Protection will have a single and relentless mission, protecting people from external threats to this country’s health; external threats like biological weapons, pandemics, and of course, infectious diseases,” said Matt Hancock, Britain’s health minister. Dido Harding, the former chief executive of internet provider TalkTalk and the current head of the contact tracing service, will run the new institute.
Virus Rages in South America With Governments Grasping for Clues
From mask rules that are a hodgepodge to inconsistent social distancing, South America’s response to the novel coronavirus has been all over the map. While the actual scope of the disease is unknown because of overall low testing, there are clear losers and a few early winners in a region that was already in bad shape heading into the crisis.
Ireland ramps up COVID-19 restrictions again as cases surge
Ireland significantly tightened its nationwide coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday to try to rein in a surge in cases, urging everyone to restrict visitors to their homes, avoid public transport and older people to limit their contacts. A spike in cases over the last three weeks, after Ireland had one of Europe’s lowest infection rates for several weeks, pushed its 14-day cumulative cases per 100,000 of population to 26, and led to the first local lockdown last week. The 190 new cases on Tuesday, the second highest daily rise since early May, took the rate of growth in the last two weeks to the fourth highest in Europe and meant infections would inevitably spread to the most vulnerable if it continued, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said.
World Bank: Covid-19 pushes poorer nations 'from recession to depression'
The head of the World Bank has called for a more ambitious debt relief plan for poor countries after warning that the Covid-19 recession is turning into a depression in the most challenged parts of the globe. In an interview with the Guardian, David Malpass raised the prospect of the first systematic write-off of debts since the 2005 Gleneagles agreement as he said fresh Bank figures due out next month would show an extra 100 million people had been pushed into poverty by the crisis. Poor countries had been worse hit by the economic fallout from Covid-19, Malpass added, and a growing debt crisis meant it was necessary to go beyond the repayment holidays offered by rich countries earlier this year. “This is worse than the financial crisis of 2008 and for Latin America worse than the debt crisis of the 1980s,” the World Bank president said.
Geneva wants to pay you £84 to spend a weekend there this year
The Swiss city of Geneva is ready to welcome tourists back this summer, and will gift those who visit £84 to do so. Tourists staying for two nights or more in the lakeside city will be given a Geneva Gift Card to the value of 100 CHF (£84), which can be used at participating restaurants, hotels, activities and bars across the city. The gift card will be valid until December 31 this year, meaning it’s the perfect excuse to head to the continent for a city break. The card can be used at more than 100 partnering businesses, including Michelin-starred restaurants like Le Chat-Botte and five-star hotels Mandarin Oriental Genève and Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues.
Detroit teachers authorized a potential strike over Covid-19 safety fears
The union representing teachers in Detroit has voted in favor of a potential strike to push school officials to make changes to the district's reopening plan. The Detroit Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers in the Detroit Public Schools Community District, announced Wednesday that 91% of its members voted to authorize the union's leadership to launch a "safety strike" in the future. Negotiations between the union and Michigan's largest school district began after school officials approved a reopening plan in July.
Archant chief urges journalists to get 'on the road' while at home
An editorial chief has urged journalists working for a regional publisher to get out “on the road” while they are based at home. Archant chief content officer Matt Kelly has issued advice to the company’s editorial staff based on his own experience of working out of a studio flat while a district reporter on the Liverpool Daily Post. Matt, pictured, said in an email to Archant staff he was inspired to offer the advice after editors raised concerns “that the longer we work from home as a routine, the less cohesive we feel as a team”. Some journalists have returned to working at the company’s Norwich and Ipswich offices after lockdown restrictions were eased, but the majority are still working remotely due to the coronavirus crisis. In the email, which has been seen by HTFP, he recalled his own experience of remote working as a 19-year-old on the Daily Post where “without the daily guidance, encouragement, cajoling of a news editor, and the camaraderie and support that comes with being in an office, I found motivating myself very difficult”.
Children May Be Better at Spreading Coronavirus Than Once Thought, While Showing Symptoms Different to Adults
The study published in the Journal of Pediatrics involved 192 participants. They ranged from newborns to 22-year-olds (but all classed as children), who visited Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Respiratory Infection Control clinics for symptoms associated with COVID-19, and a condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome that is linked to the coronavirus. The volunteers provided the team with throat or nose swabs, and/or blood samples. The team examined these for traces of SARS-CoV-2, the name of the coronavirus germ that causes COVID-19. They also compared the levels of the receptor the virus uses to enter the body in this group and children who had check-ups at the institution during the pandemic, as well as adults evaluated for COVID-19.
We know too little about Covid-19 'long-haulers.' We need a comprehensive study
“Long-haulers” is no longer just a job description for truckers. This term now refers to the growing number of people who contracted Covid-19 and have continued to have symptoms for more than 100 days – even though tests reveal no virus left in the body. Covid-19 “long-haulers” continue to struggle with debilitating symptoms, often alone, in the shadows of this devastating disease. Having escaped the worst, they nevertheless continue to struggle. It feels like a betrayal. Symptoms reported include headaches, difficulty concentrating and extreme fatigue. In one survey of 1,500 people with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, conducted by a Facebook community of long-haulers, more than half reported debilitating symptoms for more than three months. A recent CDC report found that 35% of respondents who tested positive for Covid-19 and had symptoms didn’t feel like they were back to normal 2–3 weeks after testing. Although Covid-19 is considered most dangerous to the elderly or immunocompromised, the study noted that one in five respondents aged 18-34, without prior chronic medical conditions, said they hadn’t completely recovered. This is particularly concerning since much of the current spread of new cases in the US is in younger people.
FDA approves affordable saliva-based COVID-19 test developed by Yale scientists
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new and affordable saliva-based test for COVID-19 developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health. The new method for processing samples when testing for the novel coronavirus is called SalivaDirect. “The SalivaDirect test for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 is yet another testing innovation game-changer that will reduce the demand for scarce testing resources,” said Assistant Secretary for Health and COVID-19 Testing Coordinator Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., in a press release. 'I WILL NEVER FORGET': Houston ICU doc describes what it's like on COVID-19 frontlines
Coronavirus vaccine: Australia secures access to Oxford-AstraZeneca trial
Australia says it has secured access to a promising coronavirus vaccine and will be able to offer free doses to its entire population of 25 million people. The vaccine is being developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University. If clinical trials are successful, the deal with AstraZeneca would secure "early access for every Australian", Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Mr Morrison said it was likely that vaccinations would be mandatory. Australia has recorded 450 coronavirus deaths, most from an outbreak in the state of Victoria. Earlier this month, Victoria declared a state of disaster and imposed strict lockdown measures after a surge in infections. It still has more than 7,000 active cases, but the number of new infections has declined in the past week.
Majority of coronavirus patients still unwell months later, Bristol researchers reveal
A large majority of coronavirus patients are still experiencing symptoms three months after being released from hospital, Bristol researchers report. From a sample of 110 patients discharged from Southmead Hospital, almost three quarters were suffering a poorer quality of life months after their initial diagnosis. Many were struggling to carry out daily tasks such as washing, dressing or going back to work. Researchers found that 81 out of 110 patients discharged from Southmead Hospital were experiencing symptoms, such as breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches. Most of the patients did report improvements in their initial symptoms of fever, cough and loss of sense of smell. And the majority of people had no evidence of lung scarring or reductions in lung function.
Roche and Regeneron link up on a coronavirus antibody cocktail
Regeneron and Roche are teaming up on an investigational antibody cocktail against Covid-19. The U.S. company will sell the cocktail in the U.S. and the Swiss drugmaker will sell it elsewhere, should the drug win approval.
Coronavirus: UAE firm working on non-invasive test to detect Covid-19 within a minute
A UAE company is working on creating a Covid-19 test that will detect the virus in up to 60 seconds. G42 Healthcare, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42, signed an agreement with NanoScent, an Israeli company specialised in scent reading technologies, to develop and distribute Scent Check, a device capable of detecting suspected cases of Covid-19 from a sample of exhaled nasal air. The Scent Check device detects a combination of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from exhaled nasal air that is derived from the patient's response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The patient will blow nasal air into a a small bag fitted with a straw known as an "Air trap". The device then analyses the sample and provides the result in 30 to 60 seconds.
Coronavirus: Home testing for coronavirus to be ramped up to 150,000 per fortnight
More people across the UK will be offered coronavirus tests in a bid to keep track of local outbreaks and reduce infection rates ahead of winter. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey will test 150,000 people per fortnight by October and will extend to cover Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Currently, 28,000 people are tested for coronavirus per fortnight in England. The survey is separate from the mass testing programme of people with symptoms.
Coronavirus smell loss 'different from cold and flu'
The loss of smell that can accompany coronavirus is unique and different from that experienced by someone with a bad cold or flu, say European researchers who have studied the experiences of patients. When Covid-19 patients have smell loss it tends to be sudden and severe. And they usually don't have a blocked, stuffy or runny nose - most people with coronavirus can still breathe freely. Another thing that sets them apart is their "true" loss of taste. It's not that their taste is somewhat impaired because their sense of smell is out of action, say the researchers in the journal Rhinology. Coronavirus patients with loss of taste really cannot tell the difference between bitter or sweet.