"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 2nd Oct 2020

Isolation Tips
Coronavirus: Scientists warn of new Covid-19 symptom
Scientists have warned a new symptom could be added to the official list of coronavirus symptoms. They said suddenly feeling confused and delirious is a common symptom of Covid-19 among frail older people. Officials in the UK don't recognise any symptoms other than coughing, fever and a lost sense of taste or smell, but there are many others that people suffer regularly. Experts who run the Covid Symptom Tracker app, from King's College London, have now found that large proportions of elderly people get delirious when they're ill.
Cats spread Covid-19 and must self-isolate, scientists warn
It’s been known for a while that cats are capable of carrying and spreading the coronavirus to each other. And scientists in the US have now publicly stated that our feline friends should stay inside and self-isolate if they live with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19. What’s more, if the owner has to be admitted to hospital the researchers from Colorado State University in the US say whoever is left looking after the cat should observe social distancing just as if it was a person. ‘Infected pet cats should not be allowed to roam freely outdoors to prevent potential risk of spreading infection to other outdoor cats or wildlife,’ the scientists said.
Hygiene Helpers
Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus
The president’s result came after he spent months playing down the severity of the outbreak that has killed more than 207,000 in the United States and hours after insisting that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.
Smoking and obesity increase risk of severe COVID-19 and sepsis
Researchers have identified genetic evidence to support a causal link between smoking and obesity and an increased risk of severe COVID-19 and sepsis. The study, led by an international team of scientists from the UK, Norway and the USA, found that both smoking and having a higher body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) can increase the risk of severe outcomes with COVID-19.
Coronavirus: Some users of NHS tracing app incorrectly given COVID-19 exposure alerts
Some users of the new NHS contact-tracing app have received notifications saying they'd been near someone with coronavirus, only to discover the alerts were system checks sent by Google and Apple. People who downloaded the COVID-19 app in England and Wales told Sky News they had received a notification which said: "Someone you were near reported having COVID-19." Yet, when they clicked on the message, they found no information explaining whether they should self-isolate.
Rethinking Covid-19 Test Sensitivity — A Strategy for Containment
It’s time to change how we think about the sensitivity of testing for Covid-19. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the scientific community are currently almost exclusively focused on test sensitivity, a measure of how well an individual assay can detect viral protein or RNA molecules. Critically, this measure neglects the context of how the test is being used. Yet when it comes to the broad screening the United States so desperately needs, context is fundamental. The key question is not how well molecules can be detected in a single sample but how effectively infections can be detected in a population by the repeated use of a given test as part of an overall testing strategy — the sensitivity of the testing regimen.
Coronavirus: How Italy has fought back from virus disaster
Through the window of the car in front, there's a short, sharp cry from the toddler - eased with a quick lollipop or a colourful picture: a distraction aid once the swab is finished. And then the next in a long line of vehicles pulls up as Rome's "Baby drive-in" continues apace. The test serves children from newborn to the age of six. A result comes within 30 minutes. If it's negative, they can return to day-care or school, even if there's a positive case in their class.
Why People Have Had Enough of Lockdowns
France, the U.K. and Spain face a triple threat: A jump in cases, a population exhausted by lockdown-induced recession, and rising resistance to tougher measures. Curfews and closures of restaurants and bars have seen business owners literally throw their keys to the ground in present-day Marseille. In Madrid, protesters have bristled at a targeted local lockdown they view as discriminatory. It’s not just conspiracy theorists on the streets in London and Berlin who are angry. Those protesting shouldn’t be dismissed as the selfish exceptions to the rule. Beyond the vocal minority, there are signs that the silent majority is also losing faith in increasingly bureaucratic strictures. Policymakers need to restore it.
32% of people would not take Covid-19 vaccine - poll
Almost a third of people in Ireland (32%) would not take the first publicly available EU approved Covid-19 vaccine, according to a new national poll commissioned by RTÉ. The survey examined how people across the country have adapted since the start of the coronavirus crisis. It asked people aged 12 and over about their outlook in areas such as mental and physical health, the economy, finances, family and going back to work and school.
Coronavirus updates: Cornell study calls Donald Trump biggest source of misinformation; Moderna vaccine won't come before spring 2021
Despite President Donald Trump repeatedly assuring the nation that a coronavirus vaccine would be approved before Election Day, a key vaccine developer said Thursday its product won't be released to the public until March 2021 at the earliest. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci rebutted some of the president's claims during Tuesday's debate with former vice president Joe Biden, telling ABC News his views on masks were "taken out of context." A new study out of Cornell found that Trump is the "single largest" transmitter of misinformation surrounding COVID-19, touting false "miracle cures" and giving credence to dubious claims about the origins of the virus. "Saturday Night Live," which is set to come back this week, may be in some hot water with the state of New York. The show's producers announced that it would welcome a live audience for the recording despite regulations prohibiting most live audiences. A spokesman for the state's health department said "that restriction has not changed."
In crowded Gaza, public embraces mask-wearing to fight COVID-19
The coronavirus may have been slow to reach the sealed-off Gaza Strip, but Palestinians in the densely populated enclave have been quick to embrace mask-wearing to try to contain its spread. Five weeks into an outbreak of COVID-19 among the general population in the territory, restaurants, many shops, schools, mosques and other public facilities remain closed, and a night-time curfew is in effect. It is rare to see anyone without a mask outdoors, with the coronavirus death toll at 20 and nearly 3,000 cases reported since infections spread beyond border quarantine facilities on Aug. 24. Citing security concerns, Israel and Egypt maintain tight restrictions along the frontier with Gaza, where two million people live under the rule of the Islamist Hamas group.
Covid-19 vaccine alone won't defeat spread of virus, report warns
A successful vaccine for Covid-19 will not conquer the spread of the virus alone, with restrictions on daily life likely to continue for some time, a team of experts have said. Hundreds of teams of researchers around the world are working to produce a vaccine against the coronavirus, with 11 currently in phase three human trials. The UK government has reserved access to six potential vaccines and has raised hopes that a vaccine could be on the cards by spring next year. A report from a multidisciplinary group convened by the Royal Society, called Delve (Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics), says there are serious challenges to producing a vaccine, including hurdles in manufacturing and storage, questions around how well vaccines will work, and problems with public trust.
Russia is spreading lies about Covid vaccines, says UK military chief
Russia is seeking to destabilise countries around the world by sowing disinformation about coronavirus vaccines that is shared rapidly across social media, the head of the armed forces has warned. Gen Sir Nick Carter, the chief of defence staff, said the propaganda tactic reflected a strategy of “political warfare” aggressively undertaken by Beijing as well as Moscow “designed to undermine cohesion” across the west. The senior general accused “autocratic rivals” of “manipulating the information environment” to exploit the Covid-19 crisis for strategic gain – including “pro-Russian vaccine politics” – in a speech at the Policy Exchange thinktank. Their “disinformation narratives” were designed to permeate anti-vaccination social media groups, Carter added, pointing to an example uncovered earlier this summer by Australian researchers that spread rapidly from Ukraine. In July, a fake press release was posted to websites of the pro-Russian self-declared state in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. It falsely claimed that the US had conducted vaccine trials on Ukrainian volunteers, some of whom had died.
Community Activities
COVID-19 and African rheumatology: progress in adversity
The pandemic of COVID-19, the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), hit Africa later than much of Asia, Europe, and North America. It has led to immense disruption of health-care services, economic hardship, and loss of life in Africa. By Sept 17, 2020, more than 1 million cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and 33 000 deaths from COVID-19 had been confirmed across Africa.1 However, the cataclysm of COVID-19 has taught us major lessons and incited the potential for rapid growth in African rheumatology after the pandemic subsides.
Covid-19 vaccine 'may not help life return to normal until 2023', scientists warn
A Covid-19 vaccine may not help life return to normal until 2022, scientists have warned. Experts looking at possible rollout concluded it may take up to a year after a jab is possibly approved next Spring to expand it to the general population. A report has been published by the Royal Society looking at challenges developing, evaluating, manufacturing and distributing a vaccine. The verdict from its Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics (DELVE) group will come as a shock to families desperate for a jab to save us from the pandemic and has big implications for the economy. The Government has previously suggested a working vaccine could be discovered by the turn of the year.
Black people almost twice as likely to die from Covid-19, study finds
Black people are at almost twice the risk of dying from Covid-19 than white people, a new study commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan has found. Mr Khan is urging the Government to tackle the inequalities which have led to Londoners experiencing a disproportionate impact of Covid-19. His calls came after the independent report highlighted the uneven effect of the pandemic in relation to factors such as ethnicity and gender, showing that black people were 1.9 times more likely to die from coronavirus than white people.
China contained Covid-19. Now, hundreds of millions of people there are about to go on vacation at the same time
China is on the move again. As October 1 arrives, hundreds of millions of people are expected to pack highways, trains and planes for the National Day holiday, one of the busiest times for travel in the world's most populous country. The eight-day Mid-Autumn Festival break is China's first major holiday since it emerged from the coronavirus outbreak. While life has largely returned to normal in recent months, the upcoming "Golden Week" holiday will be an ambitious test of China's success in taming the virus -- and a much-awaited boost to its economic recovery.
Working Remotely
Samsung Launches Annual $2 Million Solve for Tomorrow Contest Engaging Virtual and In-Person Classrooms in STEM Education
Samsung today announced the launch of the 11 th annual $2 million* Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, which challenges students in grades 6–12 and their teachers to use STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to tackle local issues of national importance. Now through December 13, 2020, public school teachers across the U.S. can apply** for this year’s program and submit their activity plans that enable students to create real-world change in their communities using problem-based learning.
Moscow mayor orders firms to send 30% of staff to remote-work as COVID-19 cases surge
Moscow may reinstate tough measures if its 13 million population ignores COVID-19 protection rules, its mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday after the Russian capital started to record increases in daily cases of infection. Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, registered 2,424 new cases overnight, up from below 700 in new daily cases in early September. In an attempt to curb the recent spike in infections, Sobyanin has earlier ordered to extend an upcoming school holiday by a week and advised anyone with chronic health problems or those older than 65 to stay home.
New normal: Rise of remote work reshaping future of organisations
Working from home is an ideology that was not embraced so much before coronavirus but became more rampant after Covid. - All signs indicate that while working from home may be a temporary move for some organisations, many hope to make it a permanent part of their work life.
Is remote working here to stay?
Will working from home become the new normal? Yes, according to The Case for Remote Work, a new report from think tank The Entrepreneurs Network by innovation economist Dr Matt Clancy. Reviewing a wide range of research from across economics and social science, it argues that the business case for remote work has improved significantly over the past decade.
Remote work could bring about the next wave of globalization
COVID-19 has changed the way we work forever. In response to lockdowns, many companies moved their operations online, effectively allowing employees to work from anywhere in the world. The effect that this will have on the world remains unknown, but many predict it could bring about a new wave of globalization.
Free to Work Remotely, Young Americans Are Covid Road Tripping
You might think that a global pandemic isn’t a great time for a road trip. For some young Americans, it’s the perfect time. Over the summer, Bret Collazzi and his fiancee Di Gao decided to give up the lease on their New York apartment, buy a car and spend the foreseeable future traveling throughout the country while working remotely. They first spent a few weeks in the Catskills, and the plan for the fall is to drive from New York to Seattle, then head to cities in California, Texas and back through Louisiana.
Twitter employees can now work from home forever
From his home base on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Anton Andryeyev is running Twitter’s efforts to chase Russian bots and other rogue actors off the platform. A year ago, he traded his office in the company’s San Francisco headquarters for this tropical home office two thousand miles away, surrounded by standup paddle boards and a monitor large enough to see his entire 25-person engineering team all at once. Andryeyev’s remote office represents a sweeping experiment in the future of work: allowing white-collar workers to work from anywhere, forever.
ACT public servants to stay working remotely
ACT public servants will stay working remotely, despite federal bureaucrats being told to return to the office. Tens of thousands of Australian public servants were told to return to the office if safe to do so in a circular from the Australian Public Service Commission on Tuesday. It came six months after departments began working remotely due to COVID-19. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would ask state and territory leaders to encourage their public servants to do the same. "It's time to get our CBDs humming again and I think the Commonwealth public service taking the lead in that regard is a good thing," Mr Morrison said.
Facebook's Workplace partners Deloitte to help companies work remotely
Facebook on Thursday announced a global alliance with Deloitte to help companies to use the social media group’s Workplace tool to meet the challenges of remote working. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed work for millions around the world who have switched from being in the office to working from home, fuelling demand for enterprise connectivity platforms, such as Workplace, Slack and Microsoft Teams. The proportion of staff travelling to work in Britain was only 59% in the last week, the Office for National Statistics said on Thursday, with the numbers in London and other major cities lower still.
Half of organizations experienced security incidents while working remotely
A new report from email security company Tessian reveals that 75% of IT decision makers believe the future of work will be remote or “hybrid” - where employees choose to split their time between working in the office and anywhere else they’d like. As businesses try to deliver a seamless hybrid experience, Tessian’s Securing the Future of Hybrid Working report reveals the security risks they must overcome and the pressures on IT teams.
Companies are now hiring 'directors of remote working' to manage staff who never see the office
Employers are hiring 'heads of remote' to manage staff working from home - Data shows that vacancies for remote-working roles have risen by 147 per cent - Remote working is 'here to stay', according to the co-founder of jobs site Adzuna
Virtual Classrooms
Virtual classrooms present new learning curve for Saudi teachers
Saudi teachers have been facing their own learning curve after being forced to run lessons online in the wake of school closures due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Tutors from preschool to university level are having to come to terms with the new norm of remote learning but some have mixed feelings about the long-term prospects of virtual classroom teaching. Since the start of the global health crisis, video meeting platform Zoom has been one of the most popular communication tools for people working from home. In June, the US tech company announced a 169 percent increase in its revenues on the previous year, while the number of daily users rose to 300 million.
Ministry of Education extends partnership with BTC to power virtual school year
In a statement, BTC CEO Garry Sinclair said: “Throughout this pandemic, BTC has remained committed to keeping our customers and our communities connected. For the first time in history, students are starting a new school year using a virtual classroom. “We are proud that the Ministry of Education continues to see the value of choosing BTC and One on One Educational Services as its virtual education partners. Almost a year ago, our Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation (CWCF) donated $100,000 to facilitate e-Learning, following the cataclysmic Hurricane Dorian. We are happy to do our part to ensure that thousands of our children, educators, and parents have access to online learning via our BTC Study platform.”
Public Policies
Cuba lifts Havana lockdown as coronavirus cases fall
Cuba said on Wednesday it was lifting a curfew and partial lockdown in Havana, in place since Sept. 1. to contain a second wave of the new coronavirus. The governor of Havana Reinaldo García Zapata said cases had dropped to an average of 21 per day over the last week for an infection rate of 0.87 in justifying the decision. Most of the Caribbean nation began returning to a new normal months ago, though there have been minor and quickly contained outbreaks of the virus in a few provinces and a new surge is still to be contained in central Ciego de Avila province.
Italy to extend COVID state of emergency to end of Jan - PM
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday he would ask parliament to extend the country’s COVID-19 state of emergency to the end of January, as the government tries to avoid the surge in cases seen in other European countries. The state of emergency, due to expire in mid-October, gives greater powers to central government, making it easier for officials to bypass the bureaucracy that smothers much decision-making in Italy. “We will propose to parliament to extend the state of emergency, probably to the end of January 2021,” Conte told reporters during a visit to Caserta, in southern Italy.
Europe's worst infection hotspot Madrid heads for lockdown
Madrid will become the first European capital to go back into lockdown in coming days after the region’s leader reluctantly agreed on Thursday to obey a central government order to ban non-essential travel to and from the Spanish capital. In order to fight a steep surge in COVID-19 cases, Madrid and nine nearby municipalities will see borders closed to outsiders for non-essential visits, with only travel for work, school, doctors’ visits or shopping allowed. A curfew for bars and restaurants moved to 11 p.m. from 1 a.m. However, regional chief Isabel Diaz Aysuo said she will appeal against the lockdown in the courts, meaning the uncertainty and fierce political squabbling that has exasperated the residents of Madrid is far from over. “We are victims of improvisation,” architect Jean-Pierre Moncardo complained, saying politicians had wasted time fighting each other instead of giving medics the funding they needed to fight the pandemic.
Why a second national lockdown in France can't be ruled out
New coronavirus cases hit a record 16,000 in 24 hours, the French Prime Minister has said, so a second national lockdown in France cannot be totally ruled out. Defending stronger measures being imposed, Jean Castex said: “If we do not act, we could find ourselves in a situation like that of spring. That could mean reconfinement, and we must avoid it.” President Macron had earlier said a new confinement would not happen. Health Minister Olivier Véran, however, ruled out a suggestion by two Nobel economics prizewinners that a “preventative” lockdown is needed from December 1-20 to allow people to gather safely with families at Christmas. Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee raised the idea in Le Monde, saying without it there was likely to be a spike in the winter due to a drop in temperatures and an increase in social and family events. Mr Véran said that new travel restrictions during the Toussaint holiday period may be introduced dependent on “what we do in the coming days and weeks”.
Unlock 5.0 guidelines live: International flights to remain suspended till October 31
India's Covid tally raced past 62 lakh on Wednesday with 80,472 infections being reported in last 24 hours. While the number of recoveries surged to 51,87,825 pushing the recovery rate to 83.33 per cent, according to the Union health ministry data.
India's coronavirus infections rise to 6.31 million
India’s coronavirus case tally increased by 86,821 in the last 24 hours to 6.31 million by Thursday morning, data from the health ministry showed, as the country eased more restrictions to combat the economic hit from the pandemic. Deaths from coronavirus infections rose by 1,181 to 98,678, the ministry said. The South Asian nation on Wednesday permitted states to open schools and movie theatres. The country’s richest state Maharashtra, home to financial hub Mumbai, said it would also allow bars and restaurants to operate fully.
Maharashtra extends Covid-19 lockdown till October 31, Mumbai local to allow dabbawalas
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday said that the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) disease has been extended till October 31. However, hotels, food courts, restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate from October 5 with 50% capacity, the state government added.
Matt Hancock announces tighter local lockdown restrictions for Merseyside
Matt Hancock has announced a ban on mixing with other households in the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough after a spike in coronavirus infections. The new rules will restrict social mixing for almost two million people. The health secretary said indoor mixing between households will be illegal, and guidance will advise people not to mix with others in outdoor public spaces such as parks. The measures mirror those introduced in the North East on Monday to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Downing Street said they would come into force on Saturday morning at one minute past midnight.
Jordan reports 1,767 COVID-19 cases in its highest daily tally
Jordan warned on Wednesday it could be forced to return to a full lockdown, potentially devastating its fragile economy, after recording 1,767 new cases of COVID-19, its highest daily tally since the start of the outbreak. The country’s total number of confirmed infections now stands at 11,816, with 61 deaths since the first case surfaced in early March, Health Minister Saad Jaber said in a statement. Jordan, which had some of the lowest numbers of infections in the region in the first few months of the pandemics’ spread, has seen daily numbers rise alarmingly this month, with health officials saying the country now faced a community spread.
COVID-19: UN calls for more support for ‘people’s vaccine’ plan
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has again called for a “quantum leap in support” for a global vaccine plan to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Sweden promised nearly $1bn in funds to support developing nations secure access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and its COVAX facility – led by the World Health Organization and GAVI vaccine alliance – has received $3bn, but needs a further $35bn, of which $15bn is required by the end of the year.
New York worries over 20 coronavirus hot spots, Wisconsin sees troubling trends
Wisconsin, where U.S. President Donald Trump will hold rallies over the weekend, registered a record increase in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, while New York state reported a worrisome uptick of positive coronavirus tests in 20 ‘hot spots.’ The 3,000 new infections reported in Wisconsin fanned fears that the sheer number of new patients could overwhelm hospitals. Florida, which has four times as many people as Wisconsin, reported 2,628 new cases on Thursday. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued an emergency order easing licensing rules in a bid to bolster the number of healthcare workers able to deal with the mounting crisis.
Brazil reports another 728 coronavirus deaths on Thursday
Brazil registered 728 additional coronavirus deaths and 36,157 new cases over the last 24 hours, the nation’s health ministry said on Thursday evening. The South American country has now registered 144,680 total coronavirus deaths and 4,847,092 total confirmed cases. Brazil has the second worst coronavirus death toll in the world outside the United States. Daily deaths and cases have declined significantly in recent weeks, however health professionals are monitoring certain cities for potential second waves.
Maintaining Services
Exclusive: U.S. traffic deaths fell after coronavirus lockdown, but drivers got riskier
U.S. traffic deaths fell during the coronavirus lockdowns but drivers engaged in riskier behavior as the fatality rate spiked to its highest level in 15 years, according to preliminary data released Thursday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported the fatality rate jumped to 1.42 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the three months ending June 30, or about 30%, the highest since 2005. At the same time, overall traffic deaths fell by 3.3% to 8,870 while U.S. driving fell by about 26%, or 302 fewer deaths over the same period in 2019, according to the report first reported by Reuters.
NHS Covid disruption could cause tens of thousands of deaths, MPs warn
Tens of thousands of patients could die because the NHS suspended such a large proportion of normal care to focus on tackling Covid-19, MPs have warned. Illnesses that went undetected or untreated included cancer and heart disease, the Commons health and social care committee says in a hard-hitting report. “We’ve heard of severe disruption to services, especially cancer, and here we could be looking at tens of thousands of avoidable deaths within a year”, said the former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who chairs the cross-party select committee.
Q&A: what does the government's latest UK Covid-19 data reveal?
With infections still on the rise, and sharply in some regions, it is clear that the latest restrictions brought in to suppress the virus have either yet to take effect or have not gone far enough. On Wednesday, a further 7,108 new cases were recorded, slightly down on the previous day’s 7,143, but high enough to show that the epidemic continues to grow at pace. There were 71 reported deaths for the second day in a row.
University lockdowns: a whole new way to fail young people
I distinctly remember the day in June when the boy cleared out his student flat and said goodbye to those few who were still living there. He had not been back since the previous term. While he packed and said his goodbyes, I found a place serving takeaways and ate at a table outside, before wandering into the “non-essential shops” in the town centre. It was only the boy’s second year, so this desolate end was not the final farewell to college life — but some of his friends would not be there next year. There were no kisses or bro-hugs, just a wave and a “maybe see you in London”. For the first time since lockdown, I truly saw the cost through his eyes.
How A Three-Tier Lockdown System In England Could Work
Local lockdown rules are pretty confusing. Even the prime minister got them wrong. To ease some of the confusion, England could be heading towards a three-tier lockdown system as soon as next week, iNews has reported. Areas with outbreaks would be classified as ‘tier one’ and would be subject to the tightest restrictions. It’s believed this could involve a strict social lockdown in order to curb transmission. If you think of it in terms of a traffic light system, this would be a red area
New lockdown restrictions for Ibiza as French students complain of coronavirus risk
Ibiza will go into partial lockdown from Friday after coronavirus spread quickly on the party island which is normally popular with British tourists. Parties of more than five people will be banned, children’s playgrounds will be shut down and bars and restaurants will have to close at 10pm, the Balearic Islands government said. Authorities recommended that people stay at home for all but essential activities but did not make this mandatory.
Supreme Court orders airlines to refund bookings during coronavirus lockdown
India's top court on Friday ordered airlines to refund passengers who were forced to cancel tickets booked during a two-month, nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Supreme Court told airlines to refund the money within three weeks in a decision that will add to the burden on cash-strapped Indian carriers whose revenues have been hit by coronavirus restrictions on air travel. The lockdown, imposed on March 25, banned domestic and international travel, closed factories, schools, offices and all shops other than those supplying essential services. It caused extensive economic disruption and measures were eased from May as the virus was still spreading.
Coronavirus pandemic: Madrid urgently requests more doctors amid spike in area
#Spain's Madrid region on Wednesday requested urgent help to hire hundreds of foreign #doctors and reinforce police as they registered 1,290 new #coronavirus infections and considered extending a partial lockdown to more areas.
German court rules insurer must pay restaurant's lockdown claim
A German court has ruled that a Munich restaurant’s insurer must pay out a claim for losses caused by the state-imposed COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, the first prominent such case in Germany in which the court found in favour of the plaintiff. There are hundreds of similar lawsuits pending after many insurers in Germany, including Allianz ALVG.DE, refused to pay businesses for lockdown losses, arguing that while effects of other pandemics would have been insured, COVID-19 had not been named specifically in the terms and conditions.
Coronavirus: Doctors told to plan for vaccination scheme
Doctors in the West Midlands have been told to plan for a mass coronavirus vaccination scheme from as early as November. A leaked document identifies two vaccines which are expected to be available this year. Immunising the entire population could take 10 months and will start with the most vulnerable in care homes. Mass vaccination sites and mobile facilities are being commissioned as part of as a "fairly massive exercise". According to the document, the two vaccines are called Ambush and Triumph. Ambush needs to be stored at -70C (-94F) and kept in hospitals due to regulations set down by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority.
FDA widens U.S. safety inquiry into AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine - sources
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has broadened its investigation of a serious illness in AstraZeneca Plc's AZN.L COVID-19 vaccine study and will look at data from earlier trials of similar vaccines developed by the same scientists, three sources familiar with the details told Reuters. AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage U.S. trial has remained on hold since Sept. 6, after a study participant in Britain fell ill with what was believed to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis. The widened scope of the FDA probe raises the likelihood of additional delays for what has been one of the most advanced COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development. The requested data was expected to arrive this week, after which the FDA would need time to analyze it, two of the sources said.
Nigerian scientists develop Covid-19 vaccine need human trials
The race for a Covid-19 vaccine has so far been a show of vaccine nationalism as countries are securing prospective vaccines for their populations and prioritizing access for their domestic markets. This has left Africa in a disadvantaged position as none of the vaccines being developed are in the continent and a majority of African countries lack the power or funds to secure vaccines for their citizens.
Covid-19: Dr Anthony Fauci 'cautiously optimistic' of coronavirus vaccine by year's end – but will New Zealand have access?
The United States’ leading Covid-19 expert is “cautiously optimistic” a safe and effective vaccine may arrive sooner than many predicted. “We project that we will know whether we have a safe and effective vaccine likely by the end of this calendar year,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told former prime minister Helen Clark. “I would predict November and December. It could possibly be earlier, I think that's unlikely but not impossible.” But ensuring equitable distribution and access around the world will present one of the greatest challenges. Fauci told Clark and journalist Linda Clark during a virtual discussion hosted by the Aspen Institute of New Zealand – which is available to view above – that the financial risks associated with preparations were worth taking.
French coronavirus cases near record levels again, with nearly 14,000 new infections
France on Thursday reported nearly 14,000 new confirmed coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, close to the record levels seen last week. The number of infections rose by 13,970 to a total of 577,505 cases, the health ministry said, more than the 12,845 reported on Wednesday and below a record of 16,096 on Thursday last week. The number of deaths increased by 63 to 32,019, in line with Wednesday and the trend of the past week.
Serbia to review COVID-19 death rate after expert's criticism
Serbia will review records since the start of the coronavirus outbreak to check the death rate and rectify any irregularities after its leading epidemiologist questioned the figures. "We will do the audit in the most honest way. I believe in the expertise of our people. We never hid anything, and everything we did, we did transparently," President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters on Thursday. Serbia recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus in early March. According to official data, 33,551 people have been infected and 749 have died after falling ill with COVID-19. Predrag Kon, a member of the government-appointed crisis staff tasked with combating the disease, said on Tuesday the official death toll for the capital Belgrade was three times lower than the real figure.
Healthcare Innovations
GlaxoSmithKline CEO optimistic COVID-19 vaccine widely available in 2021
The chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, said she was optimistic the industry will be able to make an immunisation against COVID-19 widely available next year. “I share the optimism that we will have solutions next year. The challenge here is getting to the scale that is required,” GSK CEO Emma Walmsley said at an online event of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Tuesday.
Coronavirus vaccine: Why are companies working on developing nasal vaccines? Are they better than injected ones?
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, makers of the homegrown Covaxin was recently in news for striking a deal that would allow it to produce upto a billion doses of a nasal COVID-19 adenovirus vaccine in collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri. While the vaccine is currently in phase I trial in the country, it is expected that expansive trials will also be held in centres across India. Bharat Biotech will also be handling large-scale production of the vaccine at its Hyderabad headquartered base.
The Biggest Coronavirus Vaccine Winner So Far
Winners are usually easy to spot. In sports, for example, you only have to look at the scoreboard to see which team is winning. But how do you determine which companies are the winners when it comes to developing a coronavirus vaccine? While there's no scoreboard per se, there are objective, quantifiable metrics you can look at to identify winners even in the scramble to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Thus far, there's one hands-down biggest winner in the coronavirus vaccine race: Novavax
Israel's Enlivex reports positive results in COVID-19 drug trial
Enlivex Therapeutics Ltd ENLV.TA on Thursday reported positive results in a clinical trial of the immunotherapy firm's Allocetra treatment in COVID-19 patients in severe or critical condition. Shares of Enlivex were up 83% in Tel Aviv after resuming trade. They were halted in Tel Aviv and on Nasdaq pending the announcement. Israel-based Enlivex ENLV.O said the trial, which was conducted along with Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, included five patients -- three in severe condition and two in critical condition. All five had complete recoveries after an average of no more than 8.5 days following administration of Allocetra, while there were no reported severe adverse events.
Wistar Institute lab tech and immigrant on frontline developing coronavirus vaccine
Inside a laboratory at the prestigious Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Yaya Dia, an immigrant from West Africa, is working tirelessly to create a vaccination for COVID-19. "It's a privilege working with the top scientists at the Weiner laboratory and especially being there and being able to contribute," said 29-year-old Dia. While his drive to help others during such a critical time speaks volumes, so does his personal journey. He came to Philadelphia from Burkina Faso in West Africa at the age of nine speaking no English. "When I continued with high school I had that mentality to be number one," Dia said.
African remedies get WHO testing green light amid COVID-19 fight
New rules for the testing of African herbal remedies to fight COVID-19 have been agreed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The decision will be based upon scientific findings of any traditional remedies and if found safe and effective they will be fast-tracked for large manufacturing. In a statement, the WHO’s Dr Prosper Tumusiime said: “The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines.”
'Provocative results' boost hopes of antibody treatment for COVID-19
A second company has now produced strong hints that monoclonal antibodies, synthetically produced versions of proteins made by the immune system, can work as treatments in people who are infected with the pandemic coronavirus but are not yet seriously ill. The biotech Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has developed a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies that attach to the surface protein of that coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and attempt to block it from infecting cells. Yesterday at an investor and media webcast, the firm revealed early results.
Coronavirus vaccine trial participants report day-long exhaustion, fever and headaches — but say it's worth it
High fever, body aches, headaches and exhaustion are some of the symptoms participants in Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trials say they felt after receiving the shots. While the symptoms were uncomfortable, and at times intense, they often went away after a day, sometimes less. The phase three trials are a critical last step needed to get the vaccines cleared for distribution.
Phase I trial of intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray approved in China
According to a new report, a Phase I clinical trial to test an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray has received approval in China. The report from Globaldata, says that the vaccine is being co-developed by Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise with researchers from Xiamen University and Hong Kong University. Furthermore, it is the first of its kind to receive clinical trial authorisation from the China National Medical Products Administration.