"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 19th Oct 2020
Remote but Inclusive for Years, and Now Showing Other Companies How
From her home in Beaverton, Ore., Jamie Davila leads a team of eight engineers in seven states for the technology start-up Ultranauts. Like millions of other people during these work-from-home times, she relies on popular communication tools like Zoom and Slack. But Ms. Davila and Ultranauts also work remotely in ways that make them different from most companies. They follow a distinctive set of policies and practices to promote diversity and inclusion among employees. All video meetings have closed captioning, for workers who prefer to absorb information in text. Meeting agendas are distributed in advance so people who are uncomfortable speaking up can contribute in writing beforehand. Employees are asked daily for feedback, like whether they believe their strengths are valued and if they feel lonely at work.
UK ‘sleepwalking’ to mental health crisis as pandemic takes its toll
Britain is sleepwalking into a mental health crisis as the government struggles to deal with the monumental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Health experts and charities have told the Observer the coming winter will devastate the mental wellbeing of the nation as lockdown uncertainty, fear, isolation and loneliness are exacerbated by the colder and darker months ahead. In England, the Centre for Mental Health has predicted that up to 10 million people – almost a fifth of the population – will need mental health support as a direct consequence of Covid-19, with 1.5 million of those expected to be children and young people under 18. The effect on patients with pre-existing mental health problems and on those from underprivileged backgrounds is even greater, painting a bleak picture for those already suffering.
Coronavirus and care homes: The pensioners suffering through isolation
It's now seven months since care homes first shut their doors, denying many residents not only the precious touch of loved ones but also the regular comfort of a song and dance, or a hair cut. Some are now facing the prospect of a winter isolated from their friends and families as a second wave of Covid-19 gives way to fresh restrictions. At the age of 89, Blumah Samuels still loves singing and dancing to the old classics. She used to dance around her care home's lounge, shaking a maraca to Carmen Miranda's I Like You Very Much. Now, Blumah - who has Parkinson's dementia - is simply "existing", says her daughter, Lesley Lightfoot, 61. Back in March, care homes - which house about 400,000 elderly people in the UK - shut their doors as the coronavirus pandemic surged. Their aim was to keep infections down
Covid-19: Most vulnerable 'could get vaccine by Christmas'
A Covid vaccine could be given to some of the most vulnerable people "this side of Christmas", according to the chairwoman of the UK Vaccine Taskforce. But limited supplies would mean the government would have to decide who should get it, and when. Kate Bingham also said a vaccine will not be "a silver bullet" that would allow life to get back to normal overnight. And she warned that it was unlikely to protect everyone from infection. Ms Bingham said she was optimistic that a vaccine would be found that would "protect some people from infection and can reduce the severity of symptoms". But she said it was "very unlikely" to be a single jab and that ongoing revaccination would be needed - probably every few years.
Coronavirus: Restrictions on private events, no gatherings in public of more than 15 people; masks mandatory in more areas and working from home recommended
At an extraordinary meeting on 18 October, the Federal Council introduced several further national measures to combat the rapid rise in coronavirus infections. From Monday, 19 October spontaneous gatherings of more than 15 persons are not permitted in public. A mask must be worn in publicly accessible indoor areas, including in all railway stations and airports, and at bus and tram stops. Moreover, there are now new rules for private events of more than 15 persons, and in restaurants, bars and clubs food and drink may only be consumed sitting down. Following consultations with the cantons, the Federal Council has adapted the Special Situation COVID-19 Ordinance accordingly. This now also includes a recommendation to work from home.
Coronavirus test results must come in 24 hours, says Sage scientist
A massive expansion of testing will still leave Britain struggling to keep Covid-19 infections under control unless the system can inform people they are positive within 24 hours, one of the government’s most senior scientific advisers has warned. Ministers have insisted that they are on course to hit a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of the month, with suggestions this weekend that capability of a million tests a day could be reached by Christmas. However, Graham Medley, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and chair of its subcommittee on modelling, said that returning test results “ideally within 24 hours” was as critical as capacity in a successful test-and-trace system. He said if necessary, capacity should be curbed in favour of speed
Germany’s ‘bottom-up’ testing keeps Covid-19 at bay
“It is much more expensive to test too little, than to test too much”. That is the mantra Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, has repeated for months as the country mobilised a vast network of private and public laboratories to quadruple its early Covid-19 testing capacity to almost 1.6m tests per week. Such early interventions helped the EU’s most populous state tame the coronavirus pandemic more successfully than most of its neighbours. Germany’s 361,000 infections represent just a fraction of the 4.5m in Europe so far, significantly lower than the 936,000 cases in Spain and the 708,000 cases in the UK, both of which have much smaller populations.
Is tracking down every super spreader the REAL key to beating Covid-19? An approach that pinpoints the start of an outbreak may be twice as effective - as evidence shows just ...
As an average, R number masks differences in individuals and how virus behaves Studies suggest about one in five who catch Covid-19 gives it to someone else Scientists say 'super-spreaders' may be behind 80 per cent of all new infections If true, current tactic used by NHS Test and Trace is at best a waste of resources
Hundreds queue in Yiwu, China for experimental Covid-19 vaccine
A city in eastern China has started offering a coronavirus vaccine to the general public - although it has not yet completed clinical trials. Hundreds of people have been queuing outside a hospital in Yiwu, where nurses are administering the injections for a fee of around $60 (£45).
Researchers hope Covid-19 testing programme developed in Norwich could be used across country
Scientists in Norwich who helped develop a Covid-19 testing programme are hoping to roll it out to other academic institutions. The Norwich Testing Initiative (NTI) was developed on the city's research park, and was a collaboration between the Earlham Institute, University of East Anglia, The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, the John Innes Centre, the Quadram Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory. The project was designed to identify the resources, facilities and expertise needed to run a regular testing programme on people not displaying symptoms. The Office for National Statistics has estimated that as many as 80% of cases are asymptomatic or presymptomatic. it was hoped the NTI would help keep prevent rapid virus spread.
Residents go for voluntary lockdown in Jaisalmer dist
Looking at the increasing Covid-19 cases, the general public has come up with voluntary lockdowns. In Nachana, a two-day successful voluntary close took place on Friday and Saturday while residents in Lathi have decided to go for a three-day voluntary lockdown from Sunday to Tuesday.
Scientists worry whether COVID-19 vaccine will make a difference with 51 percent saying won't take
'Operation Warp Speed' aims to deliver 300 million doses of a vaccine to Americans by January 2021. Hundreds of vaccines are in the pre-clinical testing phase, but only four are currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and some of them have run into problems. More than half of Americans in a recent poll say they won't get a shot High-profile personalities such as Elon Musk have also said they will not be taking the vaccine. It has fed the growth of the anti-vaxxer movement with many deciding not to take the jab along political party lines. Scientists worry that if fewer than 70 percent of the population receive the injection, herd immunity will not be reached and its effectiveness will be lost
The Coronavirus Slayers: Meet The Female Leaders On India’s Covid-19 Frontline
KK Shailaja makes for an unlikely national hero. But the bespectacled, sari-clad, 63-year-old minister of health and social justice – and former science teacher – was an early beacon in India, thanks to her foresight and fast thinking in preparing her state, Kerala, for the pandemic. It is thanks to the quick intervention of the Coronavirus Slayer (as she became known in the Indian press) that the state still has such low mortality rates from Covid-19. In June, Shailaja was recognised for her efforts by the UN.
Coronavirus: Only around 1/3 of French respondents would take COVID-19 vaccine, Euronews poll shows
Only little more than a third of French respondents would take a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine, a Euronews-commissioned survey has revealed. France is among the worst-hit countries in Europe from the disease, with more than 33,000 deaths as of October 16. But just 37% of French people questioned would take a low-cost vaccine if it came available in the next year. This compares starkly to several of France's neighbours, where a majority say they would get vaccinated. Respondents in the United Kingdom were keenest, with 63% backing vaccination, followed by Germany (57%) and Italy (55%).
UK Lockdown has forced people to reconsider their careers, especially for those enjoying remote working, claims business psychologist
One of the UK’s top business psychologists believes the impact of remote working and furlough over the past six months has forced many people to seriously consider their future career direction. Jivan Dempsey, a business psychologist from specialist HR consultancy, FiveRivers Consulting, says that many people have enjoyed the flexibility of working from home and are reluctant to return to offices five days a week. According to Jivan, lots of these workers – as well as the 9.4 million people that have been on furlough – will be thinking about the best next step for their careers, with starting their own business or becoming a freelancer or contractor among the possibilities.
What People Really Love (and Hate) About Remote Work
For the millions of Americans working remotely since March, it has been a year of challenges, opportunities, and getting really, really comfortable with Zoom. Some have found unprecedented flexibility, fitting in workouts and lunch breaks where they couldn’t before, or moving to new places. Others have struggled to balance the demands of virtual school with back-to-back video conferences. Even those eager to keep working remotely in a post-pandemic future miss catching up with co-workers in the elevator and chatting in person with clients.
As new wave of COVID-19 cases hits, remote work becomes the norm
Months into the global coronavirus pandemic, the remote working arrangements that felt temporary in the spring are beginning to feel much more permanent. Earlier this month, three major tech companies – Dropbox, Twitter and Square – all announced they would be letting employees work remotely forever. And even companies that want to bring people back to the office – like media giant The New York Times – say workers won’t be returning until the summer of 2021. Remote work is, in many ways, a privilege. Thirty-three percent of the American labour force is currently working from home full-time, according to Gallup data, and an additional 25 percent of those surveyed say they work remotely sometimes. But young people and workers of colour are less likely to be employed at jobs that offer remote work arrangements.
9 Ways To Make Working Remotely A Game Changer For Work Life Balance
Thanks to remote working, according to the Harvard Business Review, workers are focusing on work that really matters - 12% fewer large meetings and 9% more interactions with customers and external partners. The research also states that workers "rate the things they do as valuable to their employer as well as themselves." With a quiet space to work and fewer distractions, one can get more important work done. The extra time is a game changer for work/life balance. Some people may use that extra hour or two to be ultra productive, exercise more or finally write that book — a great use of added time.
Can I work from home abroad? The Britons working remotely overseas — and how you can do it too
The Covid pandemic has accelerated the decline of the office, as lockdown forced thousands of UK employees to work from home. In fact, a survey by Redfield and Wilton Strategies found that 44 per cent of people who would normally work in the office were still working remotely in September – and nearly six in 10 of those currently working at home believe they will be doing so at least until 2021. But while some of us reconfigured our living rooms to allow for makeshift home offices and scoured stores for desks, a growing number of nomadic workers chose to pack their bags and set work from abroad.
As new wave of COVID-19 cases hits, remote work becomes the norm
Gina DeRosa was thrilled when her year-long internship at the Department of Education in Pennsylvania in the United States turned into her first full-time job out of college. But two months into her role, DeRosa has never met her colleagues in person. Trained entirely online by her supervisor, who she had met prior to Philadelphia’s COVID-19 lockdown, DeRosa interacts with her coworkers exclusively over Zoom.
Greek Lessons Online: Kids Groups For Little Greeks Who Learn Better Together
The idea of long-term social distancing is alarming for everybody. Especially so for parents who worry both about the practical aspects of their children’s education and also about the social and psychological consequences that social distancing has on children. As we all know, school and peer groups are the focal center of socialization for children, after immediate family. That’s why, experts believe that stay-at-home orders can have a big impact on children’s social development if this lasts for more than a few months.
As school boards blend in-person and virtual classes, criticism emerges for hybrid model
For Steven Ferracane, a teacher in Vaughan, Ont., and some of his Grade 5 students, it was the first day of school all over again this week, as the York Catholic District School Board, north of Toronto, introduced a new pandemic scenario combining in-person and online learners in the same classrooms. "It went OK considering it was our first day. The remote students, they all showed up on time, eager to learn," said Ferracane, who now simultaneously teaches 15 fifth-graders in a classroom at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Elementary School, with seven more logging on live from home. "We're actually so happy to welcome them back to our school."
Less wealthy, non-white students over-represented in TDSB's COVID-19 virtual classrooms
Lower-income and non-white families are opting for the Toronto District School Board's online-only classes during the COVID-19 pandemic at a greater rate than white and wealthier families, according to fresh data presented to trustees. Students of South Asian and East Asian background, those with lower socio-economic status, and those whose parents don't have a university education make up a disproportionate number of the 70,000 students enrolled in the TDSB's virtual school system this fall, the data shows. Education advocates say the demographic breakdown underlines the importance of ensuring that students enrolled in online classes are not left to flounder.
Ireland to impose nationwide COVID-19 curbs on Monday - minister
Ireland will bring in “decisive” nationwide COVID-19 restrictions on Monday but will stop short of reintroducing the kind of lockdown imposed earlier this year, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said on Sunday. The government rejected a recommendation by health chiefs two weeks ago to jump Level 5, the highest level of COVID-19 curbs, and instead tightened restrictions in a varied regional approach that Harris said was no longer sufficient. On Saturday, Ireland broke its record for the number of cases recorded in a single day for the fourth time in the space of a week, bringing cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days to 232, the 12th highest rate among the 31 countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Fauci says COVID-19 numbers would have to 'get really, really bad' before another national lockdown
Fauci made the remarks in a 60 Minutes interview, set to air in full on Sunday The top doctor says public health measures, such as mask wearing and social distancing, should be kept up in order to avoid another lockdown. His comments come as the US records its highest number of daily infection numbers in more than two months. There are widespread fears a second national lockdown could be imminent as the weather cools and case numbers continue to rise. On Friday, America surpassed 8 million COVID-19 infections and 218,000 deaths
Italy agrees on $4.7bn fund to compensate companies during COVID-19 pandemic
The Italian government has moved to approve a new stimulus package to support its economic rebound from the COVID-19-induced recession, it said on Sunday. Among other measures, the package is to include a €4bn ($4.7bn, £3.6bn) fund to help companies worst hit by lockdowns throughout the country. After late-night cabinet deliberations on Saturday, the ruling coalition agreed a preliminary deal for its 2021 budget, a source said. The Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte is on Sunday also expected to announce new measures to curb a second wave of the virus
Italy to announce new COVID-19 restrictions as infections spike: PM's office
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will announce on Sunday another set of measures to counter the new wave of COVID-19 cases, his office said, after the country registered a new daily record in infections on Saturday. Conte’s office said the government is discussing new restrictions with local and health authorities, aiming to stem contagion while limiting the impact on individuals and businesses. Italy was the first major European country to be hit by COVID-19 and had managed to get the outbreak under control by the summer thanks to a rigid two-month lockdown on business and people’s movement. But infections have soared in recent weeks.
The Spanish Ministry of Health Publishes Todays Coronavirus Figures
Spain’s Ministry of Health has reported 15,186 new cases, 6,591 diagnosed in the last 24 hours and 222 deaths from coronavirus, on the worst recorded day of the crisis this week. In Spain, there are now a total of 936,560 confirmed cases, with 33,775 deaths being reported, according to the latest official data. It is worth remembering though that 26.939.337 people have recovered since the epidemic in Spain began. The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has written to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and asked that all airports in EU member states with international traffic be governed by a “single regulation ”On the control measures for COVID-19. These “homogeneous protocols” would serve “to prevent the spread of the pandemic across borders,” says Díaz Ayuso.
Sweden to Introduce Local Lockdowns as Coronavirus Cases Rise
Swedish authorities want to bring in local lockdowns to stem the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country. The move marks a new approach in Sweden‘s handling of the virus as the country has kept bars and restaurants open while the rest of Europe shut down in March this year. “It’s more of a lockdown situation – but a local lockdown,” said Johan Nojd, who leads the infectious diseases department in Uppsala. It comes as several European nations put into effect new measures and restrictions in an effort to curb the second wave of the coronavirus rapidly spreading across the continent, with cases skyrocketing. Coronavirus cases in the country have been gradually increasing since the start of September, dashing Sweden’s hopes for immunity.
Coronavirus in Poland: PM announces partial lockdown amid virus spike
Poland on Friday reported a new daily record of 132 coronavirus-related deaths and counted 7,705 new confirmed cases, amid fears the pandemic is testing the country's supply of hospital beds and ventilators.
Covid pandemic has peaked in India; can be controlled by end of Feb 2021: Govt-appointed panel
A government-appointed panel on Sunday said initial coronavirus-induced lockdown saved large number of lives and avoided creating widespread panic. The 'Covid-19 India National Supermodel' committee led by Professor M Vidyasagar (IIT Hyderabad) made the finding in its study titled 'Progression of the Covid-19 pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts'. On 1 June, the Department of Science and Technology constituted a committee comprising of eminent scientists and academicians to evolve a national supermodel for Covid-19 progression.
Paris under curfew as Europe battles soaring virus caseload
Millions of Europeans on Saturday faced tough new coronavirus restrictions as governments try to combat spiralling infections. Paris and other French cities are under a nighttime curfew which will last for at least a month, while England is banning mixed household gatherings in the capital and other areas and Italy's most populous region is limiting bar openings and suspending sports events. Cases of the disease which has upended life across the globe and wreaked social and economic havoc have been soaring beyond levels seen in the first wave earlier this year, when many countries sought to stem the tide with lockdowns of varying degree. In the face of the surge, governments have been forced to embark on ever tighter measures to control the pandemic's spread, while trying to avoid full-on lockdowns.
New coronavirus restrictions come into effect across Europe as Angela Merkel warns of hard days ahead
Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases Saturday. "Difficult months are ahead of us," she said in her weekly video podcast. "How winter will be, how our Christmas will be, that will all be decided in these coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our behaviour." Meanwhile, new restrictions went into effect in several other European nations in an effort to staunch the resurgence of the pandemic.
Johnson eyes more local lockdown measures as COVID cases rise
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he would intervene with further localised restrictions to fight a rapidly growing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic after more of northwest England was put on the highest COVID alert level. Tougher restrictions were announced for Lancashire, but Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has resisted a move to put his area in the highest tier unless the government increases its financial support through the winter. "If agreement cannot be reached, I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester's hospitals and save the lives of Manchester's residents," Johnson said at a news conference.
Australia's COVID-19 hotspot partially eases lockdown
Australia’s state of Victoria, the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, will see more freedom of movement as of Monday after months-long restrictions, but retailers and restaurants must wait longer, making some of the owners unhappy. After more than 100 days in a strict lockdown that allowed only for two hours of outdoor activity a day, the 5 million people living in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, will be able to spend as much time exercising outdoors as they wish. However, people must stay within 25 kilometres (15 miles) of their homes, Premier Daniel Andrews said. Public gatherings will remain tightly limited, and retailers and restaurants must operate only on take-away or delivery orders, with the state government eyeing their reopening by Nov. 1.
New Zealand's Ardern wins 'historic' re-election for crushing COVID-19
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered the biggest election victory for her centre-left Labour Party in half a century on Saturday as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to COVID-19. National leaders were decimated in their strongholds by young Labour candidates who appealed to voters with progressive, democratic messages, and highlighted the party’s success in beating coronavirus. Life is back to normal in New Zealand, but its borders are still shut, its tourism sector is bleeding and economists predict a lasting recession after the harsh lockdowns
Iran imposes new restrictions as COVID-19 deaths surpass 30,000
“The second time I was dealing with the virus, one night I was in so much pain that I said my prayers before going to sleep because I felt like I might not see another morning,” says Tehran resident Sadaf Samimi. The 29-year-old journalist told Al Jazeera she first tested positive for COVID-19 in July at her workplace and has since been working from home.
Covid-19: NHS trials drones to carry tests and equipment
An NHS drone is being used to carry Covid-19 samples, test kits and protective equipment between hospitals. The trial in Essex aims to establish a network of secure air corridors for drones to navigate via GPS. They will initially fly between Broomfield Hospital, Basildon Hospital and the Pathology First Laboratory in Basildon. The project is being funded through a share of a £1.3m grant from the UK Space Agency.
Covid-19: Firms warn of 'catastrophic' impact of new coronavirus rules
Firms are calling for more financial support to avoid "catastrophic consequences" from tougher coronavirus restrictions. Without more help there could be mass redundancies and business failures, the British Chambers of Commerce warns. Its call for a new approach comes as tougher restrictions are imposed on large parts of the UK. The government said it had already put in place support worth more than £200bn to help firms cope. "We know this continues to be a very difficult period for businesses," a spokesman said. "That's why we have put in place a substantial package of support."
Europe braces for impact of 2nd-wave pandemic restrictions
Millions of residents across Europe are bracing for what is likely to be a difficult winter ahead. After making the necessary sacrifices to get through the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring, Europeans enjoyed a period of relative freedom — to return to schools and bars, fly between countries and go on holiday. But rising infections in the last month have forced governments to consider tightening restrictions again. While some countries have seen COVID-19 case numbers return to what they were before the spring, others are being hit harder than ever. For example, the Czech Republic warned earlier this week that the country's medical system could be on the brink of a breakdown. "We are in danger of collapsing here," Interior Minister Jan Hamacek warned Czech media earlier this week. If the current outbreak, which saw a record 9,721 cases confirmed within a 24-hour period on Thursday, is not contained soon, Hamacek said, there will be "corpse freezers in the streets."
Are we near to having a vaccine for Covid-19?
In March, Boris Johnson said we would turn the tide in 12 weeks and “send the coronavirus packing” and by May ministers were boasting of having a vaccine by September. Last week the prime minister sounded far less confident, telling MPs that there was still no vaccine for SARS, 18 years after it emerged. A vaccine may not be far away though. Studies - The World Health Organization is tracking 196 vaccine studies. Of these, 42 are undergoing clinical trials on humans, and eight are in phase three: large-scale trials to test their effectiveness. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have developed a vaccine based on a virus taken from chimpanzees, but the trial stopped for a week after one volunteer fell ill – it is continuing in the UK but not the US. Another, Novavax, is launching a larger phase three trial after a study of 10,000 volunteers in the UK.
Hospitality industry: the case for a lockdown
From tomorrow, all bars, cafes and restaurants in Belgium are in lockdown the second enforced closure this year, introduced for one month in an attempt to slow or stop the growth of the coronavirus epidemic in the country. Bars and restaurants were closed down in March, at the start of the epidemic in Belgium, as were non-essential shops and other places where people might gather in close proximity.
New Zealand reports first locally acquired Covid case in three weeks
New Zealand has reported its first locally acquired case of Covid-19 in more than three weeks on the heels of a sweeping electoral victory for Jacinda Ardern’s Labour party, dealing a blow to hopes the country had eliminated transmission of the virus within its shores. The positive test was recorded on Saturday — election day in New Zealand — by a person who worked on ships docked at ports in Auckland and Taranaki. Authorities said the case had been caught early and the risk is contained, while close contacts of the man are undergoing testing and hotels where he stayed are deep cleaned.
Israel to require 14-day isolation for travelers from United Kingdom
Israel will require incoming travellers from the United Kingdom to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival under new coronavirus guidelines, information on an Israeli government website showed on Sunday. The infection rate in the UK has risen sharply in recent weeks, prompting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce tighter restrictions and local lockdowns. The UK had been one of 31 “green” countries from which travellers who meet a series of special requirements could enter Israel without a mandatory quarantine period. The UK’s status will change to “red” on Oct. 23, Israeli health ministry information showed.
Covid: Greater Manchester running out of hospital beds, leak reveals
Greater Manchester is set to run out of beds to treat people left seriously ill by Covid-19, and some of the region’s 12 hospitals are already full, a leaked NHS document has revealed. It showed that by last Friday the resurgence of the disease had left hospitals in Salford, Stockport and Bolton at maximum capacity, with no spare beds to help with the growing influx. The picture it paints ratchets up the pressure on ministers to reach a deal with local leaders over the region’s planned move to the top level of coronavirus restrictions.
Melbourne salon owners defiant after opening despite lockdown laws
The owners of a Melbourne hair salon have been fined close to $10,000 and threatened with arrest after they opened their doors, despite the coronavirus lockdown laws. The Hughesdale business owners' efforts attracted a small crowd of support, but Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said the move was counter-intuitive. However, owner Jomana Najem had strong words for the government.
Italy Imposes Curfew and Shutters High Schools After Weeks of Spiking Cases
Italy—once the European epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak and until this month an exemplar of how to contain the spread of a deadly pandemic—is heading back into a protracted state of lockdown as the government imposed a curfew to begin Saturday evening and announced the closure of all high schools until further notice. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has for weeks bristled at the thought of plunging the nation into a lockdown like the one it underwent in March, after cases and deaths rapidly spread through the country's north.
Pfizer may seek US green light to use COVID vaccine in late Nov
Pfizer Inc said on Friday it may file for United States authorisation of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech in late November, making it unlikely a vaccine will be available before the US election as President Donald Trump has promised. Pfizer said that it may say if the vaccine is effective as soon as this month based on its 40,000-person clinical trial but that it also needs safety data that will not be available until November at the earliest. The Pfizer news, published in a letter from its chief executive on its website, lifted the US stock market and the company’s shares. Shares were up slightly in rival vaccine maker Moderna Inc, which is close to Pfizer in its vaccine development. “So let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said.
Remdesivir and interferon fall flat in WHO's megastudy of COVID-19 treatments
One of the world’s biggest trials of COVID-19 therapies released its long-awaited interim results yesterday—and they’re a letdown. None of the four treatments in the Solidarity trial, which enrolled more than 11,000 patients in 400 hospitals around the globe, increased survival—not even the much-touted antiviral drug remdesivir. Scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) released the data as a preprint on medRxiv last night, ahead of its planned publication in The New England Journal of Medicine. Yet scientists praised the unprecedented study itself and the fact that it helped bring clarity about four existing, ”repurposed” treatments that each held some promise against COVID-19. “It’s disappointing that none of the four have come out and shown a difference in mortality, but it does show why you need big trials,” says Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. “We would love to have a drug that works, but it’s better to know if a drug works or not than not to know and continue to use it,” says WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan.
Living novel coronavirus isolated from packaging of imported frozen food in Qingdao: China CDC
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday confirmed the detection and isolation of living novel coronavirus on the outer packaging of imported frozen cod in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao. The finding was made during an investigation to trace the source of recent infections reported in the city. It has proved that contact with packaging contaminated by living novel coronavirus could lead to infection, the China CDC announced on its website. It is the first time in the world that living novel coronavirus has been isolated from the outer packaging of cold-chain food, the China CDC said. The agency said that the risk of cold-chain food circulating in China's market being contaminated by the novel coronavirus is very low, citing recent nucleic acid test results for samples taken from the business.
Bharat Biotech & Washington Univ developing nasal vax for Covid: Minister
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday informed that Bharat Biotech will develop an intranasal vaccine for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The minister said that the Hyderabad-based drugs and vaccine research and manufacturing company has entered into an agreement with Washington University and St. Louis University for the trials of the nasal vaccine candidate.