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"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 4th Aug 2021

Isolation Tips
French territory of Guadeloupe to go into new lockdown to tackle COVID-19
France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe will to go into a new lockdown for at least three weeks to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, said the local Guadeloupe authority on its Twitter account, as France battles a fourth wave of the virus. The authority said the French West Indian island’s new lockdown would start on Aug. 4, with the re-introduction of a curfew running from 8 p.m. (0000 GMT) until 5 a.m. (0900 GMT) the following day, and limitations on people’s movements.
Sydney COVID Lockdown Could Be Eased if Vaccination Rate Hits 50%
Australian authorities said they could ease a COVID-19 lockdown that demands Sydney's five million people stay home until the end of August if half the population is vaccinated, even as new infections linger near a 16-month high.
Hygiene Helpers
N.Y.C. will require workers and customers show proof of at least one dose for indoor dining and other activities
New York City will become the first U.S. city to require proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine for a variety of activities for workers and customers — indoor dining, gyms and performances — to put pressure on people to get vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday morning.
China’s Wuhan to test ‘all residents’ as COVID-19 returns
Authorities in Wuhan have announced that they will test its entire population for COVID-19 after the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged reported its first local cases in more than a year and the country moved to stamp out a slew of outbreaks connected with the Delta variant. The city of 11 million is “swiftly launching comprehensive nucleic acid testing of all residents”, senior Wuhan official Li Tao said told the media on Tuesday.
Covid-19: Irish hospitality rules 'incentivising' vaccine uptake
The Republic of Ireland's hospitality rules have helped Covid-19 vaccination rates surpass Northern Ireland's, NI's chief scientific advisor has said. About 76% of Ireland's adult population is fully vaccinated, compared to 72.1% in Northern Ireland. Ireland requires people to prove they have received both jabs to enter indoor venues. Prof Ian Young said the hospitality guidelines had "incentivised" vaccination.
Community Activities
Top RNC official in Florida spreads Covid-19 conspiracies, calling vaccines the 'mark of the beast'
Amid recent surging coronavirus cases in Florida, a top Republican National Committee official in the state has spread anti-vaccine rhetoric and misinformation, comparing the Biden administration's vaccine efforts to Nazi-era "brown shirts," and twice calling the vaccines "the mark of the beast," comparable to a "false god." A review by CNN's KFile found that Peter Feaman, a lawyer and RNC committeeman from Florida made the comments on his blog the "The Backhoe Chronicles," which he publishes regularly in a private group on MeWe. The social media platform bills itself as the "anti-Facebook" app.
Hackers block Italian Covid-19 vaccination booking system in 'most serious cyberattack ever'
Hackers have attacked and blocked an Italian Covid-19 vaccination booking system, a source from Italy's cybercrime police told CNN on Monday, marking the worst cyberattack the country's health service has ever seen. An investigation has been opened into the "very serious" attack on the IT system of the health department of Lazio, one of the most populated regions of Italy and home to capital Rome, according to a source from the Postal and Communications Police, which investigates cybercrime.
Ireland's Catholic church, government clash over COVID-19 restrictions
Five Roman Catholic bishops from Ireland's 22 dioceses are set to defy COVID-19 restrictions after instructing local parishes to hold communion and confirmation services this month, drawing a sharp rebuke from the government, which have pleaded with them to wait until they consider further easing curbs later this month
Should I Mask? Can I Travel? What About Hugs? How Delta Is Changing Advice for the Vaccinated
The rise of the Delta variant of the coronavirus has raised new questions about how the vaccinated can stay safe and avoid breakthrough infections. We asked the experts for advice.
Working Remotely
Work from home troubles many companies. Here's how to show the boss that you're on the job from anywhere
“Back to the office” may well be the most explosive executive decision a CEO can make right now. More employees are being asked — or forced — to return to their desks after months of working from home. But the surging delta variant of COVID-19 is giving employers second thoughts about how much time workers should spend in the office — or whether they should be there at all. Big technology companies, for example, are taking no chances. Recently Twitter shuttered its newly reopened San Francisco and New York offices while Alphabet’s Google and Facebook have made coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for their office workers, whenever they return. Such corporate soul-searching is just fine for many employees, vaccinated or not, who aren’t eager to be confined to their cubicles even when some pre-COVID normalcy returns.
Americans Are Willing to Take Pay Cuts to Never Go Into the Office Again
What would you sacrifice to be able to work from home forever? A new survey shows that many Americans say they’d be willing to take reduced salaries, give up days off or put in more hours for a job that offers a fully remote option. Most people said they wouldn’t give up more than 5%, but 15% of respondents said they’d be willing to shave off 25% of their salary to be remote. Nearly half — 46% — said they would give up a quarter of their days off, and 15% said they would give up all paid time off to be able to work from home.
How to deal with screen time overload while working from home
Working remotely is here to stay, meaning much of our contact with co-workers will remain split over different digital platforms. This can make it difficult to maintain focus. Here are some tips to help to cope if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Linda Stone, consultant and former vice president at Microsoft, said one of the most important things people can do to combat a feeling of digital information overload is to focus on breathing. She pointed out that people tend to hold their breath when opening and reading an email, for example.
Virtual Classrooms
Student Laptops For Virtual Learning Are Also Helping Parents Learn English
At the start of the pandemic, schools rushed to get laptops into the hands of students at home. In Nashville, Tenn., those laptops created new opportunities for parents who want to learn English. Prior to the pandemic, Nashville's English learning program for parents was fully in person. At the time, any virtual options would have been limited to families who could easily get online. But that access boomed during remote learning when Nashville schools distributed nearly 60,000 devices to their students. In the spring, the district began offering English-language classes online for adults for the very first time, and sign-ups more than tripled.
Kenya: Make Virtual Learning More Efficient, Magoha Tells Varsities
In Kenya, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has challenged universities to allocate more resources to improve the efficiency of virtual learning by acquiring more electronic resources. The CS said universities need to work with the Commission for University Education (CUE) and ensure that while engaging and teaching learners through virtual learning, standards are not compromised. Prof Magoha noted that the Covid 19 pandemic was a wakeup call for learning institutions and thanked universities for swiftly shifting to virtual learning that kept learning ongoing despite the suspension of physical learning.
Public Policies
Biden vaccine rule sets stage for onslaught of lawsuits
President Biden’s vaccine rule for federal employees is expected to bolster efforts to require vaccines in the workplace, but experts say it's also likely to spark court fights that could threaten the long-standing legal authority of employers to impose health measures at work. As the largest employer in the country, the federal government could end up setting the standard for the private sector with Biden’s requirement that workers undergo regular testing, wear masks and socially distance if they choose not to get vaccinated.
Britain, Germany to begin giving 3rd doses of coronavirus vaccine
Britain and Germany will both begin offering third coronavirus vaccine shots to at-risk members of the population, with campaigns to administer the injections beginning next month. Israel began offering a third booster shot to all those over the age of 60 at the end of last week, with the drive fully kicking off on Sunday. The UK will provide the booster shots to tens of millions of people from September, The Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday.
U.S. donates more than 110 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad -White House
The United States has donated over 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries so far, the White House said on Tuesday, as the world grapples with the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Covid-19: Amber watchlist travel idea scrapped
A proposal to create an "amber watchlist" of countries at risk of moving to red in the travel traffic light system has been abandoned, government sources have told the BBC. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted a "simple" and "balanced approach" to pandemic travel. The sources said no new categories would now be added. Tory MPs and travel industry figures earlier warned a complex system risked putting people off from travelling.
Maintaining Services
Here's how schools should handle a Covid-19 outbreak, experts say
Getting children back in classrooms has been a top priority for the United States -- but if a coronavirus outbreak were to happen within a school, how should schools respond? Drew Charter School in Atlanta kicked off the new school year last week and already has reported initially nine students and five staff testing positive for Covid-19, and more than 100 students at the school are in quarantine, Peter McKnight, the head of the school, said Friday. Only one of the five staff members who tested positive had been vaccinated, he said
Food giant Tyson to require COVID vaccination for all US workers
Meat processer Tyson Foods will require all of its employees in the United States to get vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming one of the first major employers of front-line workers to do so amid a resurgence of the coronavirus. One of the world’s largest food companies, Tyson said on Tuesday that members of its leadership team must be vaccinated by September 24 and the rest of its office workers by October 1. Its front-line workers must be vaccinated by November 1, although the company said the specifics were being negotiated with unions.
People chasing Covid-19 vaccine boosters create headaches for the health care system
The entire U.S. health care system has been single-mindedly focused on getting Covid-19 vaccine shots in arms, but as the Delta variant spreads, the country’s decentralized vaccination campaign is presenting a different challenge — how to police people seeking unauthorized booster shots. The buzz around booster shots for Covid-19 vaccines has intensified in recent weeks as Pfizer has sought approval for a third shot of its vaccine regimen, and Israel, the United Kingdom, and Germany have greenlit additional shots. Federal officials in the United States say that booster shots are not needed yet. But some anxious patients are nonetheless trying to get them — either by asking a health care provider willing to prescribe an extra shot, or by lying about their earlier vaccination.
Healthcare Innovations
COVID-19: Trial to find the best gap between vaccine doses for pregnant women
Scientists will study the best gap between coronavirus vaccine doses for pregnant women in a bid to increase confidence in the jabs. More than 600 pregnant women will be recruited for the trial which will see the vaccine's effectiveness monitored, along with the child's development to the age of one. Scientists hope the study will reassure pregnant women about the safety of the jab, less than a week after research revealed that most pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated.
Combining AstraZeneca and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is effective -Danish study
Combining AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine with a second dose from either Pfizer-BioNTech, or Moderna's jab provides "good protection", Denmark's State Serum Institute said on Monday.
Delta infections among vaccinated likely contagious; Lambda variant shows vaccine resistance in lab
Among people infected by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, fully vaccinated people with "breakthrough" infections may be just as likely as unvaccinated people to spread the virus to others, new research suggests. The Lambda variant of the coronavirus, first identified in Peru and now spreading in South America, is highly infectious and more resistant to vaccines than the original version of the virus the emerged from Wuhan, China, Japanese researchers have found.