"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 28th Jun 2021

Isolation Tips
Do children and people with two Covid vaccines need to self isolate?
Yes, people who are fully vaccinated still need to self-isolate and need to keep doing so for the duration of the 10 day quarantine period. This is because you can still be a carrier, even if you have received both doses of the jab. The government website states: ‘If you are instructed to self-isolate you must do so because there is still a risk that you might spread infection to others, even if you have been vaccinated and feel entirely well yourself.’ Failure to self-isolate for 10 days can result in a fine of £1,000, increasing to £10,000 for repeat offences under the current rules.
HEE launches virtual training for NHS on loneliness and social isolation
Staff across the NHS and care sectors can now access a range of evidence-based interventions and information on how to refer or signpost people who may be at risk of loneliness and social isolation. A new e-learning resource has been developed by Health Education England (HEE) in collaboration with Public Health England and the Campaign to End Loneliness.
Hygiene Helpers
Finnish Football Fans Bring Virus Back From Russia
Nearly 100 supporters of Finland's national football team who traveled to Russia for a Euro 2020 defeat against Belgium have caught the coronavirus, authorities said Thursday. The prime minister joined the THL health authority overseeing the epidemic in calling for Finns who returned home after Monday's 2-0 loss in St. Petersburg to take a test
Japan to ask athletes from India, others for more COVID-19 tests
Japan plans to ask Olympic athletes from India and five other countries hit hard by the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus to have daily virus tests for seven days before leaving for the Games, a Japanese newspaper said on Sunday.
WHO wants fully vaccinated people to wear masks to protect against dangerous 'Indian' delta variant
The World Health Organization said on Friday that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks to protect against the delta variant. 'Vaccines alone won't stop community transmission,' a WHO official said. That clashes with what CDC official said early last week: fully vaccinated people have a 'high degree of protection.' The CDC hasn't changed any of its mask-wearing guidelines The delta variant, originally found in India, has spread to at least 85 countries, according to WHO. WHO says it's 'the most transmissible of the variants identified so far'
Iceland Ends Covid Restrictions With 87% of People Getting Shots
Iceland is abolishing all domestic Covid-19 restrictions, with officials saying 87% of those 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose. The island nation, with a population of about 369,000, has seen 6,637 cases, with 30 deaths. About 48% of those 16 and over are fully vaccinated, which puts them in line with the rate in the U.K. and just above the U.S. rate, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. Iceland could be one of the first European countries to end restrictions, Iceland Health Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir said in announcing the move in a news briefing Friday. The limits will officially end on Saturday.
Here Are The Companies Upping Pressure On Workers To Get Vaccinated Against Covid
Morgan Stanley will soon bar unvaccinated employees from its New York offices and more than 150 hospital workers in Houston just resigned or were fired for refusing to roll up their sleeves, issues that could become more common as employers deliberate ways to safely reopen workplaces amid flagging vaccination rates
Test And Trace Has Lost Track Of Nearly 600 Million Covid Tests
Boris Johnson’s £37bn Test and Trace service is facing fresh criticism after a damning new report found that it had lost track of nearly 600 million Covid tests. The National Audit Office spending watchdog concluded that the system was still failing to “deliver value for taxpayers”, with a lack of any targets for self-isolation by the public and a continued reliance on private consultants. Test and Trace, which was run by Tory peer Dido Harding, has already come under fire for its use of private firms Serco and Deloitte and its repeated failures in 2020 to track down contacts of people who had Covid.
Community Activities
Mallorca probes COVID-19 outbreak among hundreds of partying students
Authorities in Mallorca are investigating a coronavirus outbreak involving more than 600 students celebrating the end of term in the Spanish island, just as it prepares for British tourists to return following the easing of travel curbs. Students visiting from the mainland went to a music concert at a bullring in the capital, Palma, as well as parties on boats and in hotels, and officials said on Saturday they wanted to find out if venues had adhered to virus-control measures.
Anti-lockdown protesters march on London in day of demonstrations
London saw a wave of protests on Saturday, marking the start of a weekend of demonstrations across the capital. The Metropolitan Police have called it “a busy weekend” of protests, with thousands of people hitting the streets to vocalise their opposition on a range of issues, ranging from inequality, Covid-19 restrictions and the framing of the climate crisis.
Women Did Three Times as Much Child Care as Men During Pandemic
Child care demands at home skyrocketed during the pandemic, but men and women did not split the burden equally. Globally, women took on 173 additional hours of unpaid child care last year, compared to 59 additional hours for men, a study released Friday by the Center for Global Development, a poverty non-profit, found. The gap widened in low- and middle-income countries, where women cared for children for more than three times as many hours as men did.
Working Remotely
Covid: How do you feel about going back to the office?
Firms which have had most of their staff working from home throughout the pandemic are beginning to share their plans for when coronavirus restrictions end. Almost all of 50 of the UK's biggest employers say they do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time. However, Goldman Sachs has told its UK bankers they need to be ready to return to the office with boss David Solomon describing working from home as "an aberration". The UK boss of Citigroup has said "business works best from being together" but plans to have staff in offices three days a week.
How Europe's biggest start-up hub shifted its support online
This new challenge pushed Varza to learn from Station F’s entrepreneurs. Crisis is often a good time to start a new business, but success means keeping operations lean and focusing on matching costs to whatever revenues you can generate. “The message is the same for us as it is for the start-up teams, shifting from growth plans to crisis containment and remaining in operation until this passes,” Varza says. “We’re actually just doing the same thing but scaling down. We’re just really slowing down anything that’s not urgent at the moment and just trying to reorganise the team.”
Virtual Classrooms
The Rise of Virtual-Only K–12 Schools
When officials at Fort Smith Public Schools in Arkansas began preparing an online-only option for fall 2020, they expected to have about 500 sign-ups from the district’s 14,000 students. Instead, online enrollment hit 3,500. “As we got closer, we were surprised to see our estimate keep growing,” says Gary Udouj, director of career education and district innovation for FSPS. “We were very quickly training staff and getting our resources together to make sure all of our students had the technology they needed.” The district paid teachers a $500 stipend to complete a virtual training program standardized on a single learning management system, and it implemented a third-party online curriculum. “We were definitely building the airplane as we were taking off,” Udouj says.
4-H Clubs uses pandemic to repurpose training programmes
Jamaica's 4-H Clubs, which have been significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, say they have used the opportunity to repurpose their training programmes to accomodate online use, adding, a number of its usual face-to-face events are also now utilising a virtual platform component.
Public Policies
Israel's new leader urges youth to get vaccine
Israel’s new prime minister is urging the country’s youth to get vaccinated as coronavirus case numbers have crept up in recent days due to a localized outbreak of the Delta variant. Naftali Bennett’s comments came at a meeting of the government Sunday in Jerusalem. “We don’t want to impose any restrictions: not on parties, on trips or anything like that. But specifically because of this, if you don’t want restrictions, go get vaccinated today. Talk to your parents and get vaccinated,” he said. Israel reinstated a mask mandate indoors amid a rise in new infections in the past week. Israel’s Health Ministry recorded 113 new coronavirus cases Saturday.
Bangkok, 9 provinces restrict movements to curb rising cases
Faced with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the Thai capital on Sunday announced a ban on indoor dining and gatherings of more than 20 people, in addition to the closure of construction sites and the sealing off of workers’ quarters in Bangkok and nine other provinces. The measures will remain for 30 days. Thailand reported 3,995 confirmed cases and 42 dead in the last 24 hours. The numbers have doubled recently, and health officials blame a lack of cooperation from migrant workers employed in construction and in factories.
COVID: New restrictions amid struggle to contain Delta variant
Authorities in several countries – from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Australia and Israel – are racing to contain the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, while Russia’s Saint Petersburg announced a record death toll, laying bare the challenges faced by nations worldwide in their efforts to return to pre-pandemic life. While vaccination campaigns have brought down infections in mostly wealthy nations, the rise of the Delta variant has stoked fears of new waves of a virus that has already killed nearly four million people.
Sydney and Darwin in lockdown as COVID-19 cases pop up across Australia
Australia reported on Sunday one of the highest numbers for locally acquired coronavirus cases this year, triggering lockdowns in the cities of Sydney and Darwin and forcing tighter restrictions in four states. Sydney began a two-week lockdown on Sunday as the Bondi neighbourhood cluster of the highly infectious coronavirus Delta variant rose to 110 in Australia's largest city, while an outbreak in the northern city of Darwin prompted a hard two-day stay-at-home order.
Covid-19: Japan to donate millions more AstraZeneca vaccine doses across Asia
Japan will donate one million Covid-19 vaccine doses each to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand starting from next Thursday, said foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Friday. Kyodo News reported that the foreign minister said that the country will also offer one million doses each to Taiwan and Vietnam, in addition to the batches of 1.24 million and one million shots provided to them, respectively, earlier in the month. The decision to provide coronavirus vaccine developed AstraZeneca came after requests were made from the said countries and Taiwan.
San Francisco becomes biggest US city to demand all 35000 of its municipal workers get Covid vaccine
The City of San Francisco is requiring all 35,000 of its employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or risk losing their jobs. Workers who don’t comply could be fired; About 70% of city’s residents are already fully vaccinated, one of the highest vaccination rates of any U.S. city. City officials say the requirements will promote safety in municipal workplaces. It includes police officers, firefighters, building inspectors and other city workers who come into regular contact with members of the community. The requirement will take effect once a Covid vaccine receives full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration
UN chief urges European Parliament to support COVID vaccines for all
The Secretary-General reiterated his recent call for an Emergency Task Force that would mobilize pharmaceutical companies and key industry players in implementing a plan to ensure the entire global population is vaccinated by “as early as possible in 2022.” Members would include vaccine-producing countries, as well as nations that could manufacture these treatments provided they have assistance, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO); the vaccine alliance, GAVI, and international financial institutions. The Task Force would explore all options to scale-up vaccine production, such as technology transfers, patent pooling, sharing intellectual property, and addressing supply chain bottlenecks.
Honduras to receive 1.5 mln doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from U.S. on Sunday
Honduras will receive 1.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the United States on Sunday as part of an initial delivery of doses through the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program, White House officials told Reuters. The shipment is part of 80 million U.S. doses that President Joe Biden has pledged to share with other countries around the world either directly or through the COVAX program. "We are sharing vaccines with Honduras because it’s the right thing to do from a global public health perspective, and right for our collective security and well-being in the region," said Juan Gonzalez, senior director for the Western Hemisphere on the White House National Security Council, in a statement shared with Reuters.
Iceland becomes first country in Europe to lift ALL coronavirus restrictions
Icelanders will no longer need to wear masks or keep a safe distance from others All Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted from Saturday, health minister confirmed Government said 87 per cent of Icelanders received first dose of a Covid vaccine It has infection incidence of 1.6 per 100,000 inhabitants on two-week average
Russia mandates vaccinations for some as virus cases surge
They tried grocery giveaways and lotteries for new cars and apartments. But an ambitious plan of vaccinating 30 million Russians by mid-June still has fallen short by a third. So now, many regional governments across the vast country are obligating some workers to get vaccinated and requiring the shots to enter certain businesses, like restaurants. As many Western countries lift coronavirus restrictions and plan a return to normal life after mass vaccinations, Russia is battling a surge of infections — even though it was the first in the world to authorize a vaccine and among the first to start administering it in December.
U.S. Offers Afghanistan 3 Million J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Doses
The Biden administration plans to deliver three million doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine next week to Afghanistan, which is battling its deadliest wave of the pandemic amid a rapidly deteriorating security situation. The White House is offering the single-dose vaccines ahead of President Biden’s Friday meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan’s chief peace negotiator, Abdullah Abdullah. They plan to discuss how Washington can continue supporting the embattled Afghan government, which lost large territories to the Taliban this month, once the U.S. military completes its withdrawal. Mr. Biden aims to press Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah—who ran against the Afghan president in elections in 2014 and 2019—to align more closely and create a broader front against the Taliban, if Washington is to continue supporting Kabul, according to a senior administration official.
Maintaining Services
As variant rises, vaccine plan targets 'movable middle'
Thrown off-stride to reach its COVID-19 vaccination goal, the Biden administration is sending A-list officials across the country, devising ads for niche markets and enlisting community organizers to persuade unvaccinated people to get a shot. The strategy has the trappings of a political campaign, complete with data crunching to identify groups that can be won over. But the message is about public health, not ideology. The focus is a group health officials term the “movable middle” — some 55 million unvaccinated adults seen as persuadable, many of them under 30.
India set to shift T20 World Cup to UAE due to pandemic - sources
This year's Twenty20 World Cup is set to be shifted to the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 situation in India, Indian cricket board sources told Reuters on Saturday. The pandemic swept the world's second-most populous nation last year, resulting in a lengthy shutdown. Infections have rocketed again in another wave this year as the country scrambles to curb a more transmissible variant of the virus, hitting plans to ease lockdown measures.
Leeds waits for vaccine as Covid rates go sky-high in student areas
Heading back to their student halls with a bottle of wine, 19-year-olds Roz Monaghan and Mackenzie Bradley-Wilkinson are feeling tense. The pair live in the Hyde Park area of Leeds, where Covid-19 rates are the highest in the country, more than 10 times the average. A combination of a majority-unvaccinated population, a return to face-to-face teaching, good weather and the end of exams has sent Covid rates in Leeds’s student area sky-high. While the UK average is 105 cases per 100,000 people, the case rate in the Hyde Park ward is a huge 1,547 per 100,000 people and it is rising rapidly. In neighbouring Hyde Park Corner and Woodhouse Cliff, there are 1,044 cases per 100,000 people.
Germany expects faster Moderna COVID-19 vaccine deliveries
Germany expects drugmaker Moderna Inc to deliver COVID-19 vaccines faster than expected, helping it ramp up vaccinations in coming months, the health ministry said on Sunday. Moderna will increase its deliveries to 1.33 million doses a week in July from 733,000 previously expected, raising the figure to 2.57 million a week in August and 2.95 million a week in September, the ministry said. Moderna said last week it hopes to be able to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines it has promised to Germany more quickly than originally planned, without giving figures.
Another 175000 Janssen Covid vaccine doses to be offered in the coming weeks
An additional 175,000 doses of the Janssen Vaccine will be made available to the Netherlands residents in the coming weeks, the Health Ministry announced. An initial batch of 200,000 doses was already offered from Wednesday, marking the first time the Dutch were able to express their preference for their choice of a Covid-19 jab. The Janssen Vaccine was highly sought after by many people this week as it only requires one shot for maximum protection. The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines require two doses for a person to be considered fully vaccinated, unless they have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in the past. "With summer just around the corner, the interest in the Janssen vaccine is enormous," Health Minister Hugo de Jonge wrote on Twitter. "That is why it is great that an additional 175,000 doses will become available in the coming weeks with an extra delivery. A safe and effective vaccine of which one shot is sufficient."
Amid high vaccine hesitancy, PCMC to launch vaccination drive in Khandevasti slum on Monday
Khandevasti, which has nearly 3,000 residents, is one of the four big slum clusters in Savale’s ward where vaccination penetration has been low. Only around 750 people have been vaccinated so far as vaccine hesitancy runs high. “Unfortunately, vaccine hesitancy is high in the slums. Rumours of people dying because of the vaccine prevents many from approaching the vaccination centres,” said Savale. This situation stems from people preferring to believe in local myths and godmen rather than doctors or staff of the civic body, she said.
'Grab a jab' vaccine drive underway across England as cases continue to rise
Hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites including stadiums and shopping centres will be open in England this weekend in a drive to have people jabbed as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the country was in a “race to the finish line” in its vaccination programme as summer freedoms loom. The “grab a jab” campaign comes as the UK recorded a further 15,810 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 9am on Friday – up 50% on the 10,476 new cases reported a week earlier.
More UK Covid-19 patients are requiring oxygen and intensive care, doctors reveal
Although hospitalisations have crept up slowly in recent weeks, medical experts are warning that patients in intensive care are becoming sicker when they come into hospital with Covid symptoms.
Healthcare Innovations
FDA adds heart inflammation warning to Moderna, Pfizer vaccines
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a warning about the risk of heart inflammation to fact sheets for Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. The warning on Friday noted that reports of adverse events following vaccination – particularly after the second dose – suggest increased risks of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, or inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart.
Chinese Covid-19 Vaccines Not As Effective Against Delta Variant: China Disease Control Researcher
Antibodies generated by the two Chinese Covid-19 vaccines are comparatively less effective against the Delta variant as compared to the other strains. However, the shots do offer some protection as mentioned by Chinese disease control researcher Feng Zijan in an interview aired by the China Central Television. Zijan mentioned that the aforementioned vaccines, namely that of Sinovac and Sinopharm, comprise of killed coronavirus that cannot replicate in the human cells. These vaccines have been widely used in nations like Bahrain, UAE, Seychelles, Chile and others. According to reports from earlier this week, these countries have been witnessing another surge of new infections and Bahrain even approved a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals already immunized with the Chinese shots.
Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines Immunize For Up to Three Years
COVID-19 vaccines developed with new messenger RNA technology, currently those produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, can prevent an adult from severe COVID-19 cases for three years, according to a study by Swiss scientists released on June 25. As reported by La Opinion de Malaga, the research, published by the Swiss Government’s Scientific Working Group against covid-19, reduces, however, to 16 months the possible immunity of those vaccinated with this type of vaccine against moderate forms of the virus. According to Swiss scientists, the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, the only ones currently administered in Spain, create an antibody response between two and four times greater than that presented by those who have overcome the disease, which means longer-lasting protection.
AP analysis: Almost all US coronavirus deaths among unvaccinated
Almost all recent deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. are among those who have not been vaccinated, an analysis of government data by The Associated Press found. The data from May showed only 0.8 percent of COVID-19 deaths were people who were fully vaccinated. That is only 150 people out of the more than 18,000 who died from the virus last month, according to AP. The rate of hospitalization among fully vaccinated individuals was also incredibly low in May at 0.1 percent. Out of more than 853,000 hospitalizations, fewer than 1,200 were among fully vaccinated people
Delta Variant Outbreak in Israel Infects Some Vaccinated Adults
About half of adults infected in an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Israel were fully inoculated with the Pfizer Inc. vaccine, prompting the government to reimpose an indoor mask requirement and other measures to contain the highly transmissible strain. Preliminary findings by Israeli health officials suggest about 90% of new infections were likely caused by the Delta variant, according to Ran Balicer, who leads an expert advisory panel on Covid-19 for the government. Children under 16, most of whom haven’t been vaccinated, accounted for about half of those infected, he said. The government this week expanded its vaccination campaign to include all 12- to 15-year-olds after a jump in infections among schoolchildren in a town in central Israel. It has since quickly spread geographically and to other groups of the population.
ACIP Backs Flu and COVID Vaccine Co-Administration
Influenza vaccines can be co-administered with COVID-19 vaccines for both children and adults, according to updated recommendations from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). In a unanimous 14-0 vote on Thursday, the committee approved language for co-administration of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, in line with current CDC guidance that says COVID-19 vaccines can be administered with other vaccines, though providers should be aware of increased reactogenicity.
The man who tested positive for Covid 43 times
Scientists are studying the case of a man in Bristol who has recovered from 290 days being positive with SARS-CoV-2. Dave, 72, is a driving instructor and musician who's spent the last 10 months with an active coronavirus infection, visiting hospital seven times. His immune system was vulnerable to the virus after a leukaemia diagnosis and chemotherapy treatment. Dave was eventually treated with a new mixture of anti-viral drugs provided by the US company Regeneron on compassionate grounds. Now scientists at the University of Bristol are studying Dave's case to try and understand how Covid acts and mutates within the body.