Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jan 2022

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Czech anti-coronavirus vaccine folk singer dies after deliberately getting infected with Covid-19, son says

A Czech folk singer who was opposed to having a coronavirus vaccine has died after deliberately contracting the virus, according to her son. Hana Horká, of the folk band Asonance, died Sunday at the age of 57 after intentionally exposing herself to the virus at home while her son and husband were sick, according to CNN Prima News. Horká wanted to infect herself so she could be "done with Covid," her son, Jan Rek, said.
20th Jan 2022 - CNN

Novak Djokovic’s Australian Visa Challenge Failed Due to Antivaccine Stance

Novak Djokovic’s last-ditch effort to defend his Australian Open title by having his visa reinstated failed because a court accepted that people, especially youngsters, could emulate the tennis icon’s opposition to being vaccinated. On Thursday, a panel of three judges at Australia’s federal court said they upheld a decision by immigration minister Alex Hawke to cancel the visa of the men’s tournament’s top seed partly because Djokovic’s presence in Australia had already created unrest, including a Jan. 11 protest involving the player’s supporters. Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday after the court decided earlier in the day that Hawke acted lawfully when he canceled Djokovic’s visa two days earlier, citing public interest.
20th Jan 2022 - Wall Street Journal

Austria Starts Lottery to Boost Support for Obligatory Vaccine

Austrian lawmakers were set to pass the European Union’s first law making coronavirus vaccinations mandatory as other member states ease restrictions in the latest wave of the pandemic. The parliament’s lower house was set to approve the policy on Thursday with additional support from most deputies in two opposition groups. Only the far-right Freedom Party rejects the plan.
20th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Cheap version of Merck COVID pill to be made for poorer nations

Nearly 30 generic drugmakers in Asia, Africa and the Middle East will make cheap versions of Merck & Co's COVID-19 pill, under a landmark U.N.-backed deal to give poorer nations wider access to a drug seen as a weapon in fighting the pandemic. Merck's early greenlight to production of its anti-viral pill molnupiravir by other companies during the pandemic is a rare example in the pharmaceutical sector, which usually protects its patented treatments for longer periods.
20th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Florida suspends health official who urged staff to get vaccinated

A top Florida public health official has been put on administrative leave as officials investigate whether he violated a state ban by emailing employees about their low vaccination rate against COVID-19 and urging them to get shots. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican widely believed to be planning a run for the U.S. presidency, in November signed a law banning schools, businesses and government entities from requiring vaccination against COVID-19, drawing condemnation from health experts and Democratic leaders.
20th Jan 2022 - Reuters

The pandemic is birthing billionaires and killing the poor

We enter 2022 witnessing the biggest increase in billionaire wealth since records began. A billionaire was created every 26 hours during this pandemic. The wealth of the world’s 10 richest men alone has doubled, rising at a rate of $15,000 per second. But COVID-19 has left 99 percent of humanity worse off. Our malaise is inequality. Inequality of income is now a stronger indicator of whether you will die from COVID-19 than age. In 2021, millions of people died in poorer countries with scant access to vaccines as pharmaceutical monopolies, protected by rich countries, throttled their supply. We minted new vaccine billionaires on the backs of denying billions of people access to vaccines.
20th Jan 2022 - AlJazeera

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jan 2022

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Report: German police see surge in fake vaccine certificates

Police in Germany are investigating thousands of cases of suspected forgery of coronavirus vaccine certificates, the dpa news agency reported Wednesday. It cited figures obtained from the country's 16 states showing more than 12,000 police investigations have been opened nationwide. Those who supply or use fake certificates could face severe penalties, from fines and suspended prison sentences to losing their jobs. Prosecutors have opened a manslaughter investigation in one case after a woman used a fake vaccine certificate to continue working at a nursing home, despite having family members ill with COVID-19 at home.
19th Jan 2022 - The Independent

Canadian truckers block highway at US border to protest Covid vaccine mandates

Dozens of Canadian truck drivers have blocked the highway near the US-Manitoba international border to protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates. Videos shared on social media showed truck drivers carrying Canadian flags and holding a demonstration on the Manitoba Highway 75, which connects the Emerson community in Manitoba with the US city of Pembina in North Dakota. The demonstration slowed down traffic on both sides and caused delays for vehicles both entering and leaving Canada.
19th Jan 2022 - The Independent

Fuzzy Hamsters Are Hong Kong’s Newest Enemy in Its Covid-Zero Campaign

Authorities ordered some 2,000 hamsters in Hong Kong to be killed over concerns that the animals may have transmitted Covid-19 to humans, one of the city’s latest measures to try to stamp out a fresh outbreak. Under the latest order, authorities will cull the animals at almost three dozen pet shops across the city, including a store selling small animals linked to two recent Covid-19 infections in the city. One of the two infections was an employee at the pet store, while another was a recent visitor to the store, authorities said. Health chiefs said the order was being made out of prudence as there was no international evidence that pets can transmit the Covid-19 to humans.
19th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Worker Absences in U.K. Fall in Sign of Omicron Wave Ebbing Away

Omicron’s grip on the U.K. economy is weakening, with falling Covid-19 case numbers mirrored by a drop in worker absences during the second week of January. The estimated number of people missing work in the U.K. from Jan. 10 through Jan. 16 stood at almost 2.7 million, a 3% decrease from a year earlier and down from 3.1 million in the first week of this year, according to data from GoodShape, which tracks work-related illness and wellbeing at U.K. employers. The lower level of absence meant the U.K. economy lost 112 million pounds ($152 million) less compared to the same period in 2021, GoodShape estimates showed.
19th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Australia calls on backpackers to help ease Omicron-fuelled labour shortage

Australia threw out an invitation to backpackers on Wednesday, seeking reinforcements for a workforce crippled by an Omicron COVID-19 outbreak as the country's health system creaks under the pandemic's strain with more deaths predicted in weeks ahead. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was waiving the A$630 ($453) visa application fee for any backpacker or student who arrives in Australia within the next 12 weeks, and encouraged them to see work as they tour the country. "Come on down now because you wanted to come to Australia," Morrison said during a televised press conference.
19th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Young Brazilians Studying Less, Dropping Out More During Covid

Young Brazilians are studying less and dropping out more during the pandemic, reversing decades of educational advances and exacerbating the country’s demographic inequalities, a new study found. School dropout rates among children aged 5-9 years old rose from 1.4% in 2019 to 5.5% by the end of 2020, the highest percentage seen since 2006, according to research from the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a Brazilian think tank. Although the dropout rate improved to 4.25% in the third quarter of 2021, that was still 128% higher than before the pandemic. “Younger children, the age group in which we have made great educational advances in the last 40 years, is where we are having the greatest losses,” co-author and economist Marcelo Neri said during a phone interview Wednesday. There was also a socioeconomic gap when it came to time spent hitting the books when school wasn’t in session.
19th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Jan 2022

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Merck signs supply deal with UNICEF for 3 mln courses of COVID-19 pill

Merck & Co Inc and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said on Tuesday they had signed an agreement with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to supply up to 3 million courses of their COVID-19 antiviral pill. Merck would supply the pill, molnupiravir, to UNICEF through the first half of 2022 for distribution in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries upon regulatory authorizations, the companies said. The pill received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December and has also been authorized in several other countries including India, Mexico and the UK. Many countries have signed supply deals with Merck for the drug.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Analysis: With Omicron, global economy spots chance to push past COVID

Governments worldwide are easing quarantine rules, reviewing coronavirus curbs and dialling back pandemic-era emergency support as they bid to launch their economies back into some version of normality. The moves, motivated by the lower severity of the Omicron variant and the need to keep workers in work and the global recovery on track, have generated a whiff of optimism that has lifted oil and stock prices. Health experts say the variant's rapid spread may yet herald a turning point in the pandemic.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Your Child's Fussy Eating May Stem From Covid-19

Covid infection could be turning more and more children into fussy eaters, experts have suggested. This may be because they are suffering from parosmia - a disorder where people experience strange and often unpleasant smell distortions. For example, chocolate may smell like petrol, or someone may smell rotting cabbage instead of lemon. Smell experts at the University of East Anglia and Fifth Sense, the charity for people affected by smell and taste disorders, say children in particular may be finding it hard to eat foods they once loved. Fifth Sense and Carl Philpott, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, are launching guidance to help parents and healthcare professionals better recognise the disorder.
18th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Morrisons confirms sick pay cut for unvaccinated staff

Supermarket Morrisons has confirmed it has cut sick pay for unvaccinated workers who are forced to isolate after being exposed to Covid. It follows similar moves from big retailers including Ikea, Next and Ocado as staff absences rise. Unjabbed Morrisons workers who are told to isolate but test negative now get statutory sick pay of £96.35 a week. Covid-positive staff get full sick pay regardless of vaccination status. The firm pays staff at least £10 per hour.
18th Jan 2022 - BBC News

Uncorking today’s Covid-19 supply chain to meet the challenges of future pandemics

At what point do the benefits of local production of medical supplies outweigh the potentially higher cost? The sudden and near-overwhelming demand for Covid-19 testing during the Omicron phase of the pandemic means that the U.S. is now at a critical point where we need better — and quicker — access to testing supplies via a domestic supply chain. Over the last three decades, the world’s economy has become increasingly globalized, resulting in lower inflation-adjusted prices for goods and products and improved standards of living around the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to once again debate the United States’ reliance on inexpensive overseas manufacturing, and reconsider the value of high-quality domestic production.
18th Jan 2022 - STAT News

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Jan 2022

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Beijing Olympics tickets will not be publicly sold due to COVID-19

Olympics set to begin on Feb. 4 will be distributed to "targeted" groups of people and will not be sold to the general public, the organising committee said on Monday, in the latest setback to the Games inflicted by COVID-19.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

The poor die from COVID while the rich get richer, Oxfam warns

The wealth of the 10 richest men has doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, stoking inequality that contributes to the deaths of at least 21,300 people each day, according to a report released on Monday by Oxfam International. “We enter 2022 with unprecedented concern,” Oxfam’s Inequality Kills report warns, arguing that the current global state of extreme inequality is a form of “economic violence” against the world’s poorest people and nations. In this deeply unequal world, structural and systemic policy and political choices are skewed in favour of the richest and most powerful, resulting in harm to the majority of ordinary people around the world, said the report, which highlighted the COVID-19 vaccine divide as a prime example. “Millions of people would still be alive today if they had had a vaccine — but they are dead, denied a chance while big pharmaceutical corporations continue to hold monopoly control of these technologies,” said Oxfam. The report calculates that 252 men have more wealth than all one billion women and girls in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean combined. And 10 of the world’s richest men own more than the least affluent 3.1 billion people.
17th Jan 2022 - Al Jazeera English

Don’t demonise those who refuse the Covid vaccine

I read David Green’s letter on anti-vaxxers (12 January) and empathised with the letter written in response (13 January). The week before Christmas my dad died of Covid. The intensive care consultant couldn’t have been clearer that, in her opinion, if he had been vaccinated he would not have developed Covid pneumonia to the severity that he did. He died very frightened and asking his family to come and be with him, and we couldn’t. The experience traumatised my sister so badly that she was hospitalised with psychosis three days after his passing. The reason he wasn’t vaccinated is because his mind was poisoned with conspiracy theories and misinformation exacerbated by two years of lockdown and reduced social contact. While I am angry that he would not get vaccinated, I don’t think any good would ever come from criminalising his choice. Is it not anti-vaxxers who should be demonised and prosecuted. It is the people, organisations and companies who perpetuate lies and make money from the fear felt by vulnerable people.
17th Jan 2022 - The Guardian

Omicron Variant Encourages Some to Move Past Covid-19 Precautions, Despite Risks

Omicron’s ubiquity and reduced severity are encouraging some people to drop pandemic precautions, decisions that public-health experts say present new risks for people at risk of severe Covid-19 outcomes. People, including those who got vaccinated and boosted and curtailed their activities for months, are letting their guard down in the face of a variant that appears to be infecting everyone but causing largely mild illness.
17th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Anti-vaccine far-right rally attracts hundreds in Hungary

Over a thousand people marched in Budapest protesting against COVID-19 inoculation at a rally organised by the far-right Our Homeland Movement, which has been campaigning on a fierce anti-vaccine and anti-immigration message ahead of April 3 elections. "Vaccines should not be mandatory! We don't tolerate blackmail," said the slogan of the rally where people held up banners saying: "I am unvaccinated, not a criminal" and "Enough of COVID dictatorship."
17th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Chinese cities on high COVID-19 alert as peak Lunar New Year travel season starts

Several Chinese cities went on high COVID-19 alert as the Lunar New Year holiday travel season started on Monday, requiring travellers to report their trips days before their arrival, as the Omicron variant reached more areas including Beijing. Authorities have warned the highly contagious Omicron adds to the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission as hundreds of millions of people travel around China for the Lunar New Year on Feb. 1.
17th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Protest in Netherlands against coronavirus measures

Thousands of protesters packed Amsterdam's streets on Sunday in opposition to the government-imposed COVID-19 measures and vaccination campaign as virus infections hit a new record. Authorities were granted stop and search powers at several locations across the city and scores of riot police vans patrolled neighbourhoods where the demonstrators marched with banners and yellow umbrellas. Regular anti-coronavirus protests are held across the country and Sunday's large gathering was joined by farmers who drove to the capital and parked tractors along the central Museum Square.
16th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Malta sees biggest protest yet against COVID measures

Malta saw its biggest protest yet against COVID rules on Sunday, with hundreds of people marching in the capital Valletta against new measures requiring production of a COVID certificate for entry to most venues including restaurants, gyms and bars. Malta has seen one of the biggest take-ups of COVID vaccination jabs in the European Union, and almost three-quarters of adults would have taken the additional booster jab by Sunday, according to Health Ministry data.
16th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Jan 2022

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Polish COVID advisers quit over lack of science influence on policy

Thirteen of the 17 members of Poland's Medical Council advising the prime minister on COVID-19 resigned on Friday, condemning what they said was a lack of scientific influence on policy. Even with one of the world's highest per capita death rates, Poland has introduced much more limited measures than many European countries to curb the spread of the coronavirus during the latest wave of infections. "The discrepancy between scientific and medical rationale and practice has become especially glaring in the context of the very limited efforts in the face of the autumn wave and then the threat of the Omicron variant, despite the enormous number of deaths expected," the 13 council members said in a statement to Reuters, confirming a report by the PAP state news agency.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

In rare move, Uruguay opens borders for residents infected with COVID-19

Uruguay has opened its borders to citizens and residents even if they are infected with COVID-19, a rare move amid surging cases worldwide, though passengers would need to travel in private vehicles across the border and be in a family "bubble". The South American country's government said the move was in "solidarity" with Uruguayans and residents who were infected with the virus abroad. "All Uruguayan travelers and resident foreigners who have got Covid abroad may return to our country at any time," Uruguayan Health Minister Daniel Salinas said on his Twitter account on Friday.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

India extends ban on public events in election states as COVID cases rise

India's election commission extended its ban on political rallies and roadshows in five states on Saturday due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country. The ban, which runs to Jan. 22, excludes indoor political party events of less than 300 people, or at 50% of a venue's capacity, the watchdog said in a statement. India reported 268,833 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total tally to 36.84 million, according to data from the federal health ministry. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 402 to 485,752.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Apple to require employee proof of COVID-19 booster

Apple Inc will require retail and corporate employees to provide proof of a COVID-19 booster shot, The Verge reported on Saturday, citing an internal email. Starting Jan. 24, unvaccinated employees or those who haven't submitted proof of vaccination will need negative COVID-19 tests to enter Apple workplaces, the report said. The Verge said it was not immediately clear if the testing requirement applies to both corporate and retail employees. "Due to waning efficacy of the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of highly transmissible variants such as Omicron, a booster shot is now part of staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination to protect against severe disease," the memo read, according to The Verge.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Thousands protest in Vienna against mandatory vaccination

Thousands of people took to the streets of Austria's capital on Saturday to protest against government plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all next month. "The government must go!" crowds chanted at one rally in central Vienna in what has become a routine Saturday event. Parliament is scheduled to vote next week on the issue, which has polarised the country as coronavirus cases surge.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Dutch announce COVID lockdown easing amid record infections

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday announced the reopening of stores, hairdressers and gyms, partially lifting a lockdown despite record numbers of new COVIC-19 cases. "We are taking a big step and that also means we're taking a big risk," Rutte told a televised press conference. Non-essential stores, hairdressers, beauty salons and other service providers will be allowed to reopen under strict conditions until 5 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) for the first time since mid-December. Rutte added that the uncertainties meant that bars, restaurants and cultural venues would have to remain closed until at least Jan. 25.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Spotify Pressured by 270 Scientists, Medical Professionals Over Joe Rogan Episode

A coalition of 270 scientists and medical professionals this week issued an open letter to Spotify Technology SA, urging the streaming platform to establish a misinformation policy after an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, among its most listened-to podcasts, promoted what they said were “baseless conspiracy theories” about the pandemic. The Dec. 31 program featured Robert Malone, a doctor who has called himself the “inventor” of mRNA vaccines, the type that serves as the basis for the Covid-19 vaccine. Malone was banned from Twitter for circulating anti-vaccine misinformation. YouTube deleted a recording of the Rogan podcast shortly after it was uploaded to the website by a third-party.
15th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Citigroup reaches 99% compliance on U.S. staff vaccine mandate

About 99% of Citigroup Inc's staff in the United States have complied with the company's COVID-19 vaccine requirements, the bank's Head of Human Resources Sara Wechter said in a LinkedIn post on Thursday. Citi staff in the U.S. who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 14 will be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month unless they are granted an exemption, Reuters reported last week, citing a memo.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia Says Djokovic’s Vaccination Stance Poses a Public Risk

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke barred the world men’s No. 1 tennis player despite saying Djokovic had entered Australia with a valid medical exemption from being vaccinated and presents a negligible health risk himself, according to court documents released Saturday. His ongoing presence, however, “may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission,” Hawke said in the filing.
14th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jan 2022

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French teachers walk out of classrooms in strike over Covid strategy

French teachers have held one of the biggest education strikes in recent years, forcing the closure of hundreds of primary schools in protest at the government’s handling of Covid-19 measures in the education sector. Tens of thousands of teachers took part in the one-day strike. Trade unions said 75% of primary teachers walked out alongside 62% of secondary teachers. The education ministry gave much lower figures on Thursday morning, saying there was an average of 38.5% of teachers on strike in primary schools, and just under 24% in high schools. Teachers and education support staff joined a protest march through the centre of Paris to the education ministry, and others demonstrated in towns across France.
13th Jan 2022 - The Guardian

So long Toronto: COVID-19 pandemic hastens Canada's urban exodus

Canada's urban exodus picked up steam into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with tens of thousands of people leaving Toronto and Montreal for smaller cities or rural areas, official data showed on Thursday. More than 64,000 people left Toronto for other parts of Ontario from mid-2020 to mid-2021, up 14% from the previous 12-month period, according to Statistics Canada population estimates, with another 6,600 moving out of province.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australian Open crowds capped at 50% capacity due to COVID

Crowds at the main Australian Open tennis stadiums will be capped at 50% capacity under updated COVID-19 restrictions, organisers said on Thursday, as authorities battle a surge of cases in Melbourne. Face masks will also be mandatory for all patrons, except when eating or drinking, and there will be density limits of one person per two square metres at indoor hospitality venues. Tennis Australia (TA) said the 50% cap only applied for ticket sales at the Rod Laver Arena centre court and the second show court Margaret Court Arena.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Jan 2022

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Students at New York City’s Largest High School Stage Walkout Over Covid Protocols

Students at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City staged a walkout today in protest of the school’s in-person teaching mandates during the omicron-fuellde Covid surge. The walkout, which went viral on Twitter, happened at the largest in-person high school in the state. Brooklyn Tech had 6,043 students enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year.
12th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Omicron wave prompts media to rethink which data to report

For two years, coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations have been widely used barometers of the pandemic’s march across the world. But the omicron wave is making a mess of the usual statistics, forcing news organizations to rethink the way they report such figures. “It’s just a data disaster,” said Katherine Wu, staff writer who covers COVID-19 for The Atlantic magazine. The number of case counts soared over the holidays, an expected development given the emergence of a variant more transmissible than its predecessors. Yet these counts only reflect what is reported by health authorities. They do not include most people who test themselves at home, or are infected without even knowing about it. Holidays and weekends also lead to lags in reported cases.
12th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Jan 2022

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5 reasons you should not deliberately catch Omicron to 'get it over with'

The idea of intentionally trying to catch Omicron is "all the rage," said Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, with an exasperated sigh. "It's caught on like wildfire," agreed Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Havey Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "And it's widespread, coming from all types of people, the vaccinated and boosted and the anti-vaxxers," he added, with a warning. "You'd be crazy to try to get infected with this. It's like playing with dynamite." In case the thought had crossed your mind, here are five reasons why you should not purposely try to catch Omicron.
11th Jan 2022 - CNN

Vaccine hesitancy changes over time: Attitudes toward vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic

Worldwide, vaccine hesitancy is proving to be a stumbling block to securing much needed protection against the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Now, researchers from Japan have uncovered specific factors that influence attitudes about vaccines, which is valuable knowledge for combating vaccine hesitancy. In a study published last month in Vaccines, researchers from the University of Tsukuba reported dramatic changes in vaccine acceptance over a five-month period during the COVID-19 pandemic. Detailed information about what causes these changes could help address low vaccine uptake in specific populations.
11th Jan 2022 - Medical Xpress

Anti-vax leader urges people to drink their urine instead of get vaccine in latest wild conspiracy

Some Anti-vaxxers will do anything to avoid taking the coronavirus vaccine, including, reportedly, drinking their own urine. The Daily Beast reports that a prominent figure in the anti-Covid-19 community, Christopher Key – who calls himself the "Vaccine Police" – is now telling his followers to drink their own urine in order to cure themselves of Covid-19.
11th Jan 2022 - The Independent

A million set to throng India's Ganges for holy dip despite COVID-19

Nearly one million Hindu worshippers are expected to gather on the banks of the Ganges river this Friday and Saturday for a holy bathe despite galloping COVID-19 infections across the country, an official told Reuters on Tuesday. India reported 168,063 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, a 20-fold rise in a month. Most infected people have recovered at home and the level of hospitalisations has been less than half of that seen during the last major wave of infections in April and May.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Spain Calls for Debate to Consider Covid as Endemic, Like Flu

Spain is calling on Europe to debate the possibility that Covid-19 can now be treated as an endemic illness, setting a model to monitor its evolution akin to the one used for flu.
11th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Jan 2022

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Ikea Cuts Sick Pay for Unvaccinated Staff Ordered to Isolate

Ikea imposed a financial penalty on unvaccinated U.K. employees who miss work if they are ordered to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone with Covid-19. If these workers become ill with the virus themselves, however, they will still receive sick pay as normal, Ikea said in a statement to Bloomberg. The changes, which came into effect in September, mean that unvaccinated staff only receive statutory sick pay of 96.35 pounds ($131) a week during the 10-day isolation period -- which is much lower than average weekly wages before taxes.
10th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Pope backs COVID immunisation campaigns, warns of ideological misinformation

Pope Francis on Monday condemned "baseless" ideological misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, backing national immunisation campaigns and calling health care a moral obligation. Francis spoke in his yearly address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, sometimes called his "State of the World" address because it is a broad survey of the global situation. His words to diplomats from nearly 200 countries marked the closest he has ever come to a de facto backing of vaccine mandates, which have become controversial in Italy and other European countries.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

French politician attacked by anti-COVID vaccine pass demonstrators

French politician Stephane Claireaux, who is a member of President Emmanuel Macron's ruling La Republique En Marche party, said on Monday that he had been attacked over the weekend by protesters demonstrating against France's COVID health pass. The attack on Claireaux, which occurred on Sunday, comes amid public anger in France after Macron said he wanted to "piss off" unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting the COVID vaccine.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Canada resists pressure to drop vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pushing ahead with a vaccine mandate for international truckers despite increasing pressure from critics who say it will exacerbate driver shortages and drive up the price of goods imported from the United States. Canada will require all truckers entering from the United States to show proof of vaccination starting on Saturday as part of its fight against COVID-19. That could force some 16,000, or 10%, of cross-border drivers off the roads, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) estimates. The government estimates 5% of drivers will be impacted, according to a government source.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Royal Caribbean pauses some cruise operations due to Omicron concerns

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has paused some of its cruise operations amid rising numbers of COVID-19 infections due to the Omicron variant. The sailings of three ships - Serenade of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas - have been paused while the return of its Vision of the Seas to cruising has been postponed to March 7, 2022, the cruise line said in a statement on Friday. "We regret having to cancel our guests' long-awaited vacations and appreciate their loyalty and understanding," the company adding that these measures have been implemented "in an abundance of caution."
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Jan 2022

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Citigroup to enforce 'no-jab, no-job' policy starting Jan. 14 - source

Citigroup Inc staff in the United States who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 14 will be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month unless they are granted an exemption, according to a company memo seen by Reuters on Friday. The U.S. bank announced its plan to impose new vaccination rules in October and now becomes the first major Wall Street institution to follow through with a strict vaccine mandate.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Covid: Thousands protest in France against proposed new vaccine pass

French authorities say more than 105,000 people have taken part in protests across the country against the introduction of a new coronavirus pass. A new draft law would in effect ban unvaccinated people from public life. Demonstrators in the capital, Paris, held placards emblazoned with phrases like "no to vaccine passes". Interior Ministry officials said 34 people were arrested and some 10 police officers were injured after the protests turned violent in some places. The bill, which passed its first reading in the lower house of France's parliament on Thursday, would remove the option of showing a negative Covid-19 test to gain access to a host of public venues.
8th Jan 2022 - BBC News

Smash and shout: Dutch find new ways to vent COVID-19 frustrations

One swinging a sledgehammer and the other a crowbar, twin brothers Steven and Brian Krijger grin as they take turns pulverising a Peugeot 106 spray-painted with the words "F*** COVID". They are participants in "CarSmash", a Dutch project aimed at providing locked-down locals with ways of releasing anger and frustration built up during a pandemic now entering its third year. Dutch bars, restaurants and most stores have been closed since mid-December, when curbs took effect that the government - battling to contain record numbers of coronavirus cases - is not due to review until Jan. 14.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Boris Johnson Calls Out U.K. Anti-Vaxxers 'Spouting Nonsense' Online

Boris Johnson slammed anti-vaxxers spreading “nonsense” about Covid-19 on the internet, a change in tone he said was driven by the “tragedy” that so many people admitted to U.K. hospitals are not vaccinated. “I want to say to the anti-vax campaigners, who are putting this mumbo jumbo on social media, they are completely wrong,” Johnson told reporters at a vaccination center in the East Midlands on Thursday. “And you haven’t heard me say that before, because I want a voluntary approach.” While the U.K. has one of the highest levels of vaccinations in Europe -- 60% have had a third booster dose -- a small and vocal minority has consistently campaigned against vaccination. Johnson said 30-40% of patients coming into hospital with Covid-19 haven’t had any vaccine doses.
7th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jan 2022

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Novak Djokovic Denied Entry to Australia Over Vaccine Fight

The family of Novak Djokovic accused Australia of trying to deny the top world tennis star a record 10th Grand Slam victory there, and his country’s president denounced what he called a “political campaign” over Covid-19 protocols. Djokovic’s lawyers mounted a legal challenge against Australia’s decision to hold him at a hotel used for detaining refugees and expel him after federal officials overruled a state vaccine exemption for the tennis star that sparked a national uproar. Due to compete in the Australian Open this month, the Serbian player offered insufficient proof to enter the country under current pandemic rules, the Australian Border Force said Thursday. While he was earlier granted a medical exemption to enter the state of Victoria, the federal government revoked that after officials questioned the athlete for hours at Melbourne Airport.
6th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Dogs to visit 3 school districts to sniff out COVID-19

Two dogs trained to detect an odor distinct to people who are sick with COVID-19 will visit three school districts in Bristol County this week. A black Labrador named Huntah and a golden Lab called Duke can detect the smell of the virus on surfaces and will sit to indicate when they pick up the scent. The dogs will visit schools in the Freetown, Lakeville and Norton school districts, WBZ-TV reported Tuesday. “With COVID, whether it’s the omicron, whether it’s the delta, our dogs will hit on it,” said Bristol County Capt. Paul Douglas. “And if there’s a new variant that comes out in six months, hopefully there isn’t, but if there is one, COVID is COVID.” Fairhaven School Superintendent Tara Kohler welcomed the dogs saying their presence shows students, “we are doing everything we can to mitigate the risk and I want them to feel secure and safe and not anxious about their surroundings.”
5th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press

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Rio cancels Carnival street parades due to rising COVID-19 cases, Omicron threat

Rio de Janeiro has canceled street parades and parties during its world-famous Carnival for a second year due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and the threat from the arrival of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the city's mayor said on Tuesday. However, the spectacular parade by Rio's samba schools, which the public watches from the stands of the city's Marques de Sapucai Sambadrome, will go ahead, unlike last year, with health precautions to prevent spreading the virus, he said. Rio mayor Eduardo Paes announced after a meeting with health authorities that the city would call off the street events that draw hundreds of thousands of Carnival revelers each year.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Bank of America to staff: Get a booster, we'll give a food bank $100

Bank of America Corp told workers on Wednesday it will donate $100 to local food banks for every one of its employees who gets a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and notifies the bank before Jan. 31, according to a memo seen by Reuters. It is a new spin on the $100 financial incentives that some cities and states offered newly vaccinated residents, and comes as companies look for ways to protect staff and ultimately return to work in offices. Bank of America, the United States' second-largest bank, said it would donate up to $10 million for workers who get booster shots this month or who have already gotten the shot if they register that information with the bank.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

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Australia to push ahead with reopening amid record COVID-19 cases

Australia's government said the milder impact of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 meant the country could push ahead with plans to reopen the economy even as new infections hit a record of more than 37,000 and the number of people hospitalised rose. Record daily case numbers were reported on Monday in the states of Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, as well as the Australian Capital Territory. In New South Wales, there were 20,794 cases, higher than Sunday's figure but below the daily record of 22,577 set on Saturday, with testing numbers lower over the New Year's holiday weekend.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Texas Sues U.S. to Block Vaccine Requirement for National Guard

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sued the Biden administration Tuesday, seeking to halt a requirement that National Guard members be vaccinated against Covid-19. Earlier in the day, Mr. Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Military Department, ordering it not to force Texas Guardsmen to receive vaccines. “Unless President Biden federalizes the Texas National Guard…he is not your commander-in-chief,” the letter said. “I will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a Covid-19 vaccine.” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III ordered in August that all service members be vaccinated for Covid-19, saying that healthy forces are necessary for a national defense.
4th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

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Omicron Surge Stymies Public-Transit Systems

Public-transit services in New York and other cities are being interrupted, as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to drive staffing shortages. Service on several New York City subway and bus lines was partially suspended Monday. An MTA spokesman said hundreds of employees have been out sick in recent days. He declined to give an exact number or say how many workers have tested positive for Covid-19, adding that the agency doesn’t track specific illnesses. MTA ridership is down about 50% compared with pre-pandemic levels, New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano said. The MTA is currently running over 90% of the buses and trains it typically operates, he said. Mr. Cipriano said that the MTA has contingency plans that outline service tweaks in case of staff shortages on any given day.
3rd Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Omicron-related disruptions cause over 4000 flight cancellations to kick off 2022

Over 4,000 flights were cancelled around the world on Sunday, more than half of them U.S. flights, adding to the toll of holiday week travel disruptions due to adverse weather and the surge in coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant. The flights cancelled by 8 pm GMT on Sunday included over 2,400 entering, departing from or within the United States, according to tracking website FlightAware.com. Globally, more than 11,200 flights were delayed. Among the airlines with most cancellations were SkyWest and SouthWest, with 510 and 419 cancellations respectively, FlightAware showed.
3rd Jan 2022 - Reuters

Brazil health agency warns against boarding cruise ships amid COVID-19 outbreaks

Brazilian health agency Anvisa on Sunday warned passengers against boarding cruise ships operating along the Brazilian coast after outbreaks of COVID-19 affecting crew and customers, according to a statement on its website. The move follows a call for the "immediate temporary interruption of the cruise ship season in Brazil" as they pose a risk to public health. "In view of recent events, Anvisa does not recommend the embarkation of passengers who have trips scheduled on cruise ships for the next few days," the statement said.
3rd Jan 2022 - Reuters

Dutch police disperse thousands protesting against lockdown measures

Riot police with batons and shields broke up a crowd of several thousand who had gathered in Amsterdam on Sunday to protest against COVID-19 lockdown measures and vaccinations. Public gatherings of more than two people are prohibited under restrictions imposed by the Netherlands in an effort to prevent the Omicron variant of the coronavirus overwhelming an already strained healthcare system. At least 30 people were detained after scuffles, during which four officers were injured, police said in a statement. Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema had issued an emergency ordinance, empowering police to clear the central Museum Square, after the protesters defied a ban on public gatherings.
2nd Jan 2022 - Reuters

Kuwait encourages citizens to leave UK on Omicron fears

The Kuwaiti embassy in the United Kingdom has encouraged its citizens to leave the country due to a "significant and unprecedented" increase in Omicron cases there, the Gulf country's state news agency reported on Sunday. The daily number of new COVID-19 infections across Britain rose to a record 189,846 on Friday, far higher than during previous peaks.
2nd Jan 2022 - Reuters

New Year celebrations muted by Omicron, but South Africa ...

The Australian city of Sydney was one place where the New Year charged in with something like full swagger, as spectacular fireworks glittered in the harbour above the Opera House. But many other landmark cities were forgoing pyrotechnics as midnight rolled across the globe, with displays called off at Paris's Arc de Triomphe, London's riverside and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The glittering ball is still due to drop at New York's Times Square, but the crowd shouting out the countdown of the year's exit is set to be a quarter the usual size - masked up, socially distanced, and with vaccine proof in hand. Still, South Africa, which first raised the alarm about the new fast-spreading coronavirus variant, gave the world one of the last big good surprises of the year, becoming the first country to declare its Omicron wave had crested - and with no huge surge in deaths. The abrupt lifting
1st Jan 2022 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

UK honours COVID scientists and medics, Bond actor Daniel Craig

Britain recognised the scientists and medical chiefs at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 in Queen Elizabeth’s annual New Year’s honours list, while James Bond actor Daniel Craig was given the same award as his famous onscreen character.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters UK

COVID-19: Police appeal for information after dozens of anti-vaxxers protest at testing site

Police have appealed for information after an anti-vaccine demonstration took place at a COVID testing centre in Milton Keynes. Footage from the protest showed a woman appearing to pick up medical equipment and papers from the site and then dumping them in a nearby bin. Another demonstrator allegedly knocked down a sign, and another man apparently threw a couple of traffic cones. Dozens of people were seen in the video, including some who were holding anti-vaccine placards and shouting anti-vaccine slogans. Police said that "where criminal offences have been disclosed, we will take swift action and bring offenders to justice".
30th Dec 2021 - Sky News

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CDC Investigating 86 Cruise Ships With Covid-19 Cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating or monitoring 86 cruise ships with reported Covid-19 cases on board, according to a list posted on its website Tuesday, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spreads around the world. The CDC investigates a ship if there are one or more reported Covid-19 cases among the crew or if cases reported account for at least 0.10% of total passengers in the past seven days. For a ship with 6,500 passengers, that would mean seven cases would trigger an investigation. As part of the investigation, the CDC works with the cruise ship to lower transmission and ensure medical resources on board aren’t overwhelmed, according to the agency. It also gathers additional information such as case exposure histories, vaccination rates and details about close contacts.
29th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Dutch Travel to Germany, Belgium to Avoid Lockdown

A new lockdown in the Netherlands has had an unexpected consequence: packed roads and shopping streets in neighboring Belgium and Germany. Faced with the spread of the omicron variant across Europe, the Dutch government introduced new restrictions on social contact on Dec. 19, closing non-essential stores and shuttering hospitality businesses at 5 p.m. But some Dutch people haven’t stopped shopping and celebrating. Instead, they simply moved these activities to countries where stores, restaurants and bars remain open.
26th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

United, Delta cancel more than 200 U.S. Christmas Eve flights amid COVID surge

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have canceled hundreds of Christmas Eve flights, as the spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant takes a toll on its flight crews and other workers. Chicago-based United on Thursday canceled 120 flights for Friday, while Atlanta-based Delta said it had canceled about 90. Both said they were working to contact passengers so they would not be stranded at airports. FlightAware on Friday said United has now canceled 169 flights on Christmas Eve and Delta has canceled 127, along with another 50 canceled flights for United on Christmas and 89 for Delta.
24th Dec 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

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Despite consumption hit, China to stand fast on tough COVID-19 curbs

China's strict COVID-19 policy is weighing on consumption and rattling foreign firms, but its effectiveness and the imperative to maintain stability heading into a sensitive year mean Beijing will stick to its approach, experts say. China has reported just two COVID-19 fatality this year, retaining a tough line even as many other countries ease restrictions, imposing targeted shutdowns and travel curbs even when they disrupted local economies. Avoiding major outbreaks is especially critical in a year when Beijing hosts both the Winter Olympic Games and the once-every-five-years Communist Party Congress, where President Xi Jinping is expected to clinch a third term as party secretary.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Is It Safe to Fly Right Now? Omicron May Double Infection Risk on Planes: IATA

Aircraft passengers are twice or even three times more likely to catch Covid-19 during a flight since the emergence of the omicron variant, according to the top medical adviser to the world’s airlines. The new strain is highly transmissible and has become dominant in a matter of weeks, accounting for more than 70% of all new cases in the U.S. alone. While hospital-grade air filters on modern passenger jets make the risk of infection much lower on planes than in crowded places on the ground such as shopping malls, omicron is rapidly spreading just as more travelers take to the skies for year-end holidays and family reunions.
22nd Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Singapore to freeze new ticket sales for quarantine-free arrivals

Singapore will freeze the sale of tickets for arriving flights and buses under its quarantine-free travel programme for four weeks from Thursday, the government said, citing the risk from the fast-spreading Omicron COVID-19 variant. Under the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) programme, Singapore allows quarantine-free entry for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from certain countries on designated flights or buses. The travellers have to undergo regular testing. About two dozen countries are listed in the programme including Australia, India, Malaysia, Britain and the United States.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Scotland cancels public New Year events as new COVID curbs announced

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday said public New Year's Eve celebrations in Scotland would be cancelled as she set out plans for post-Christmas restrictions on large scale events to try to slow the spread of the Omicron variant. Britain has reported record levels of COVID-19 cases over the past week, with officials and ministers warning that hospitalisations are also rising. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, under pressure from many in his own party not to introduce further curbs, held off announcing new restrictions for England following a cabinet meeting on Monday but said they may yet be needed
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Belgian researchers warn against holiday reliance on COVID antigen tests

Belgian researchers on Tuesday issued a pre-holiday warning against over-reliance on COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, saying they believed the breath of people infected with the disease had high levels of virus in the first two days after an infection -- a period when many antigen tests were negative. The organizations involved said they were communicating their findings in advance of a peer-reviewed publication in the interests of public health, as many families may be planning to use antigen tests as a way of screening for illness before family gatherings. "A negative rapid antigen test just before a meeting offers no guarantee to protect others, in particular when the person tested has recently been exposed to the virus," said Emmanuel Andre, a microbiologist at KU Leuven, which conducted the research together with UZ Leuven, a university hospital, and IMEC, a microelectronics think-tank.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Israel Bets Travel Restrictions Will Buy It Time to Fight Omicron

As the Omicron variant spreads quickly across the world, Israel has leaned more heavily than other countries on shutting down its borders to international travel, wagering it would slow down a coming wave of infections and buy time to prepare. So far, Israel has closed its borders to foreigners and has also banned its residents from traveling to dozens of countries, including the U.S. and Canada, the U.K., much of Europe and most of Africa. “Our sole aim is to delay this massive local transmission,” Prof. Ran Balicer, a senior adviser to the government on the pandemic, said Monday while explaining the travel restrictions to journalists in a briefing organized by the Europe Israel Press Association.
21st Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

NFL could become trend-setter for COVID-19 testing policies

The NFL’s decision to reduce COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic, vaccinated players could signal a trend for pro sports leagues and provide an example for society to follow heading into 2022. Despite a rising number of positive cases that forced three games to be rescheduled over the weekend, the NFL, in cooperation with the players’ union, agreed on Saturday to scale back testing for vaccinated players. The move aligns with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends “diagnostic testing” only for symptomatic or close-contact vaccinated people, and “screening tests” only for unvaccinated people. The NFL previously required vaccinated players to get tested weekly before amending the protocols. The NFLPA had advocated for daily testing for vaccinated players but eventually agreed to “target” testing.
21st Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

Edinburgh’s New Year Celebrations Scrapped After Omicron Surge

Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay street celebrations at New Year were canceled again after a surge in cases of the omicron variant in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said. The government will also limit the number of fans at soccer matches to 500 from Dec. 26 for three weeks. More money will also be made available to support businesses after an increase in funding from the U.K. Treasury, albeit falling short of what Scotland would like to spend, she said. The omicron variant of Covid-19 is currently ripping through the country and is more transmissible than previous strains. The priority is to deliver all booster vaccinations for adults and ensure that schools can reopen as normal after the winter break, Sturgeon said.
21st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Romanian crowd tries to storm parliament in protest at COVID-19 pass

Romanian protesters tried to force their way into parliament on Tuesday, blocking traffic and vandalising some cars in the capital Bucharest in an attempt to prevent lawmakers from making a COVID-19 health pass mandatory for workers. Riot police were caught off guard when hundreds of protesters poured in through a yard gate, spray painting cars and forcing security staff to block the building's entryways. The protesters later left. Police did not use force. While the ruling coalition of centrists and leftists is currently negotiating the terms of a health pass mandate, no such bill is on parliament's legislative agenda at the moment.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s Covid plan: decided by Tory rebels

Mr Johnson’s behaviour, and the suggestion that he is beholden to no one, has provoked a crisis of government. Caught between the spread of a highly infectious Omicron variant and a Tory revolt, the prime minister dithered and delayed. His own scientific advisers say that there are likely to be between 1,000 and 2,000 Covid hospital admissions a day in England by the end of the year. The case for more Covid restrictions, they say, is overwhelming. Yet cabinet ministers dismiss the modelling – signalling to backbench rebels that they are with them. Others are perhaps afraid of being blamed for cancelling Christmas when people begin travelling around the country. Mr Johnson calculated that he was too weak in office to risk a Commons showdown with his party over new restrictions. Policy is being decided by Tory MPs, many of whom have no plan beyond “let Omicron rip”.
21st Dec 2021 - The Guardian

WHO urges people to consider canceling holiday plans amid omicron surge

World Health Organization Director-General is urging people across the globe to consider cancelling their holiday gatherings. “There can be no doubt that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases, overwhelmed health systems and more deaths,” Tedros said. White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Tuesday reiterated his claim that vaccinated Americans can feel comfortable communing with other vaccinated individuals.
21st Dec 2021 - The Hill

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Israel to add US, Canada to travel ban over omicron variant

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced the decision following a Cabinet vote. The rare move to red-list the U.S. comes amid rising coronavirus infections in Israel and marks a change to pandemic practices between the two nations with close diplomatic relations. The U.S. will join a growing list of European countries and other destinations to which Israelis are barred from traveling, and from which returning travelers must remain in quarantine.
20th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press on MSN.com

Death of child with Covid-19 prompts calls for Māori to be prioritised in NZ vaccine rollout

The first death of a child with Covid-19 in New Zealand has prompted calls for Māori children to be prioritised in the next stage of the vaccine rollout, as the country grapples with racial inequalities compounded by the pandemic. A Māori boy, under the age of 10 and who had tested positive for the virus, died last week, becoming the youngest New Zealander to die with Covid, the Ministry of Health confirmed. It is unclear whether Covid-19 was the cause of the boy’s death, as New Zealand records all deaths of people considered active Covid cases in its official count. It is the country’s 49th death of a Covid-positive person since the start of the pandemic. Māori make up an estimated 17.1% of the population but they have accounted for 32% of all Covid-19 related deaths.
20th Dec 2021 - The Guardian

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CNN closes U.S. offices to most workers as COVID-19 cases spike - memo

CNN is closing its offices in the United States to all nonessential employees as COVID-19 cases increase, the network said on Saturday in an internal memo to staff seen by Reuters. CNN, part of AT&T Inc's WarnerMedia division, will close its offices to all employees who do not have work in the office, the memo said. "We are doing this out of an abundance of caution," CNN President Jeff Zucker said in the memo. "And it will also protect those who will be in the office by minimizing the number of people who are there."
19th Dec 2021 - Reuters

London Mayor Declares ‘Major Incident’ as Omicron Cases Surge

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident” due to a rapid spread of the omicron variant across the U.K. capital, according to a statement. A major incident refers to an event or situation with a range of serious consequences which requires special arrangements to be implemented by one or more emergency responder agencies. It is “beyond the scope of business-as-usual operations, and is likely to involve serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security,” the government said.
18th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

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Covid-19 Cancels Christmas Around Europe…Again

As Omicron variant spreads, mounting restrictions dash hopes of return to normal this festive season; France to place restrictions on tourists from U.K. From Spanish holidays to Greek celebrations to German circus performances, the Covid-19 pandemic has derailed plans and upended Christmas traditions across Europe for a second year in a row. After a surge in cases this fall dashed hopes of a normal festive season this year, authorities on the continent have tightened restrictions to avoid overwhelming hospitals. Expectations that the highly transmissible Omicron variant will soon take hold are further adding to the fears.
16th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Army says nearly 98% got the COVID-19 vaccine by deadline

Nearly 98% of the active duty Army had gotten at least one dose of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine as of this week's deadline for the shots, but more than 3,800 soldiers flatly refused and could start being removed from the military next month, officials said Thursday. The U.S. military's largest service, however, reported the lowest number of service members seeking a religious exemption — a bit more than 1,700 soldiers — compared with the other three smaller services. In comparison, there are more than 4,700 in the Air Force 3,000 in the Marine Corps and 2,700 in the Navy who are requesting religious exemptions, according to data released by the services in the past week. None has yet been approved.
16th Dec 2021 - The Independent

Queen Elizabeth cancels pre-Christmas lunch as COVID cases soar

Queen Elizabeth has cancelled a pre-Christmas lunch with her family as a precaution while cases of COVID-19 soar in Britain, a Buckingham Palace source said. "The decision is a precautionary one as it is felt to put too many people's Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead. "While there is regret that it is cancelled, there is a belief it is the right thing to do for all."
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

EU leaders struggle to find common ground on COVID travel rules

Divisions within the European Union have deepened over travel rules to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, after Italy and Greece followed Portugal and Ireland in announcing additional curbs on travellers from other EU states. The EU's 27 member states have been debating for weeks how to coordinate travel policy, with the aim of containing the virus without disproportionately disrupting travel within the border-free European Schengen area.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Thousands protest COVID-19 rules as New Zealand marks 90% vaccine rates

Thousands marched in New Zealand's capital Wellington on Thursday to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and lockdowns, as the country reached the 90% fully vaccinated milestone. New Zealand's tough lockdown and vaccination drives have helped keep coronavirus infections and related deaths low, but it has also drawn criticism from some calling for more freedoms and an end to mandatory vaccine requirements. The government has mandated vaccinations for teachers, workers in the health and disability sectors, police and other public service sectors.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Vaccine skeptics in Eastern Europe having change of heart

Some former vaccine skeptics in Eastern Europe have shifted over to the other side as coronavirus infections surge, countries are making it more difficult for the unvaccinated to travel abroad and authorities battle against government distrust and vaccine disinformation. When she rolled up her sleeve in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo to take her first COVID-19 vaccine dose, Fata Keco was afraid of possible adverse side effects. But she said the worst she had to contend with over the next few days was “moderately discomforting pain” in her left arm around the site of the injection. More significantly, the 52-year-old self-employed cleaning woman has joined the global community of vaccine-believers after months of “being very susceptible” to what she now describes as “the most ridiculous theories.”
16th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

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German police foil 'anti-vaxxer murder plot' against state premier

German police have foiled a plot by anti-vaccination activists to murder the state premier of Saxony in eastern Germany, they said on Wednesday, as concerns grow over an increasingly violent pushback against COVID-19 vaccination plans. The plot to kill Michael Kretschmer is the latest in a series of incidents that underscore the anger of some Germans over restrictions on the unvaccinated and plans to make vaccinations compulsory for the general population. Saxony has one of Germany's highest levels of COVID-19 infection but also its lowest vaccination rate. It is a stronghold of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which harbours many vaccine sceptics and anti-lockdown protesters.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Shortage of vaccinated nannies adds fuel to US childcare crisis

As if working parents didn’t have it hard enough during the pandemic, now a shortage of vaccinated nannies, babysitters and day-care workers is making the seemingly impossible quest to find child care even harder. Almost every parent who comes to Tiny Treasures Nanny Agency, which makes nationwide placements, are seeking vaccinated providers. Yet, just 60% of the nannies looking to get work through the company have gotten the shots, according to founder Ruka Curate. The mismatch is creating a feeding frenzy for fully vaccinated, qualified nannies, driving hourly rates to eye-poppingly high levels. Six-figure jobs that two years ago would have been filled in a day are now met with resistance from inoculated child-care workers who realize they can ask for more money, Curate said.
15th Dec 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Covid vaccinations: 'We desperately need volunteers'

With the government announcing all over-18s are to be offered their booster jabs by the end of the year, vaccination centres are in dire need of more volunteers. The BBC spoke to some of those helping out at one centre in Essex. At the vaccination centre at Maldon District Council's offices, volunteers are helping marshal queues and vaccinate the thousands of people who turn up every week. Across Mid and South Essex, 7,500 jabs are administered every day - but that that needs to reach 22,000 by the end of December if every person eligible for a booster vaccine comes forward.
15th Dec 2021 - BBC News

SQREEM’s New AI-powered Study Examines Motivations Surrounding COVID-19 Vaccine Resistance in the US

Leveraging proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) built to understand online human behavior in a completely anonymous way, SQREEM Technologies ′ recent U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Study provides a striking insight into the attitudes and motivations of anti-vaxxers and the vaccine-hesitant. The study utilizes anonymized digital engagement scores as the main metric to understand audience relevance to topics/aspects surrounding COVID-19 vaccination. In the study, ‘anti-vaxxers’ are audiences that do not agree with the COVID-19 vaccine and its use, while ‘vaccine-hesitant’ are audiences that are reluctant to use the COVID-19 vaccine despite its availability. For both groups, digital engagement scores with values greater than 5 signify awareness, while values greater than 10 signify a strong engagement with the topic.
15th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

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When Two Nations Are Divided by a Common Pandemic

Covid is possibly even more political in the U.S. than it is in the U.K., and the federal system allows for far greater differences in response between states. But Covid fatigue is universal and a political tripwire at this point. So is the U.K. right to regard omicron as such a serious danger? Let’s look at the evidence from South Africa, where the variant was first identified and provides the most data. Capital Economics Ltd. of London has produced these excellent charts.
15th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

U.S. Air Force removes 27 service members for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

The U.S. Air Force on Monday said 27 service members had been discharged for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the first active-duty troops believed to have been removed for declining the vaccine. The Pentagon made the vaccine mandatory for all service members in August and the vast majority of active-duty troops have received at least one dose. Ann Stefanek, a spokeswoman for the Air Force, said the troops were given a chance to explain why they had refused to get vaccinated, but none of them were given exemptions.
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects religious challenge to New York vaccine mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected challenges brought by a group of Christian doctors and nurses and an organization that promotes vaccine skepticism to New York's refusal to allow religious exemptions to the state's mandate that healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. Acting in two cases, the justices denied emergency requests for an injunction requiring the state to permit religious exemptions while litigation over the mandate's legality continues in lower courts. Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have granted the injunction.
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Thousands protest in Prague against COVID vaccine mandate

Several thousand people marched through the Czech capital on Sunday, protesting a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for certain groups including people age 60 and over. The participants didn’t wear face coverings or follow social distancing rules despite a request by police to do so. One person was detained. The protesters, chanting “Freedom!” alleged their constitutional rights are being violated. They said they weren’t against voluntary vaccination but opposed a vaccine mandate. The outgoing government released an order this week, making vaccination mandatory for the 60 and over age group, as well as medical personnel, police officers, firefighters and medical students.
13th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

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Preparing for Omicron as a covid veteran

Now I’m disillusioned. I’ve seen how our medical trends with how to treat covid-19 can change by the hour, with self-declared experts always ready to criticise decisions and cherry pick evidence to follow. I’ve watched how systematically hospital systems continue to prioritise efficiency, rankings, and profits over patient centred care. I’ve learnt that I am nothing but one of millions of healthcare workers expected to come to work every day based solely on my own goodwill. The calls for the protection of healthcare workers with life insurance, disability insurance, and student debt forgiveness have been forgotten just as quickly as they were proposed. Lacking these investments in my personhood, it’s hard to feel like more than another faceless number in the system. My patients are now jaded too, as politics has entered their hospital bed. Some ask for ivermectin and refuse to have conversations about quarantine for family members they have exposed to the virus. They “other” me, seeing me as part of the healthcare system that mocks the political right, rather than as another human being at their bedside feeling just as vulnerable as they are to the pandemic. My vaccinated patients remind me of their status over and over again, as if trying to clue me in to give them preferential treatment or empathy for having a breakthrough infection. I empathise with both my patients who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, but I still leave each room feeling a sense of defeat, powerlessness, and anger that the pandemic persists.
11th Dec 2021 - The BMJ

London's Heathrow says business travellers cancelling over Omicron

London's Heathrow Airport said it was seeing high levels of business travellers cancelling over concerns they could be trapped overseas by travel restrictions triggered by the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. The airport said demand in November was down 60% on pre-pandemic levels, despite the United States reopening to transatlantic travel earlier in the month. The figures released on Friday show that the start of a gradual recovery seen in October, when demand was down 56%, had petered out. Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye called on the British government to reduce restrictions as soon as it was safe to do so, including allowing UK nationals arriving from red list countries to isolate at home.
11th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Vaccinated, maskless crowds enjoy Christmas markets in Budapest

Traditional Christmas markets have opened in Budapest's main squares only for people vaccinated against COVID-19, but have drawn many tourists and locals alike even as central Europe battles a renewed surge of the coronavirus. There were no festive outdoor markets in Budapest a year ago as Hungary was in complete lockdown against the virus, before any vaccines were available. "It's great to have the market back. It was very depressing when I visited the square last year - it was decorated but there were no people," said Adrienn, bundled up in a black fur coat against the subzero cold in front of the Hungarian capital's neo-classical St. Stephen's Basilica.
11th Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Ukraine spa town stands out amid nation’s vaccine hesitancy

A small spa town in western Ukraine is standing out in a European country where only 29% of the people have received COVID-19 vaccine shots, and locals credit their community spirit for fending off the worst of the pandemic. In Morshyn, a scenic town nestled at the Carpathian foothills in the Lviv region, 74% of its 3,439 residents had been fully vaccinated as of late November. While Ukrainian authorities have imposed new restrictions amid a surge of infections and deaths blamed on a slow pace of vaccination and designated the region around Morshyn as a “red zone” where most public places have been shut down, the wellness centers in Morshyn have remained fully open.
9th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

Coronavirus: Vaccine refused by more than 230 Hertfordshire hospital workers

More than 230 hospital workers in parts of Hertfordshire have refused to have a Covid-19 vaccination, NHS bosses said. Last month the government announced proposals that health workers undertaking any CQC-regulated activity should be fully vaccinated by April. A meeting of the West Herts Hospitals Trust board identified 239 staff who had so far refused the vaccination and the status of 132 staff was "unknown". The trust said 91% of its staff had been vaccinated. The report presented to the board said senior leaders and clinicians would play a role in proactively encouraging staff to take the vaccine, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
9th Dec 2021 - BBC News

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Maine activates National Guard amid hospital bed shortage

Maine's governor activated as many as 75 members of the Maine National Guard on Wednesday to help expand capacity at health care facilities. The state is dealing with a surge in COVID-19 that has challenged its hospitals. A record of 379 people were hospitalized Wednesday with the virus. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said the guard members will be used in non-clinical support roles. That will include supporting nursing facilities and helping to administer monoclonal antibodies to prevent serious illness from the virus and keep patients out of critical care, Mills said. Mills and other state officials said those steps will free up hospital beds. The announcement came as the state's largest hospital, Maine Medical Center, said it has postponed about 50% of surgeries because of the burden of COVID-19 on the facility.
8th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press on MSN.com

Unvaccinated parents highly unlikely to OK COVID vaccine for their kids

A research letter yesterday in JAMA Pediatrics shows that 25.6% of a sample of US parents responding to an online survey said they were hesitant to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19, and these parents were highly unlikely to approve of COVID vaccination for their children—by a wide margin. In the ongoing CHASING COVID nationwide cohort study, City University of New York researchers analyzed responses from the June 2021 survey of 1,162 parents of 1,651 children 2 to 17 years old. Willingness to have their children vaccinated varied from 8.3% to 13.9% in vaccine-hesitant parents, depending on the age of the child, compared with 64.9% to 86.4% among parents who had already gotten the COVID vaccine or were willing to receive it.
7th Dec 2021 - CIDRAP

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As many as 6 million eligible Britons may not have had a Covid jab. Who are they?

The Omicron variant has refocused attention on vaccination rates as data shows disparities in uptake across age, region and ethnicity. Hundreds of cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant have now been confirmed in the UK and experts have called for a renewed focus on vaccination rates.
7th Dec 2021 - The Guardian

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Some Covid-19 policies fuel violence against women and girls

The emergence of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 with its many mutations has rightly sparked global concern. Another Covid-related issue that should also spark concern, but continues to fly under the radar, is the endemic violence directed toward women and girls around the world that has been heightened by responses to the pandemic. On a recent visit to a tribal village in South India, I met with children, elders, and teachers, who told me how their lives have been affected by Covid-19. The implementation of crucial, but often blunt, public health measures such as stay-at-home policies and the disruption of key services like schools and health facilities have significantly eroded social well-being, isolation, income, and educational attainment. They have also increased violence against many women and girls.
6th Dec 2021 - STAT

Canadian employers, facing labor shortage, accommodate the unvaccinated

Canada's tight labor market is forcing many companies to offer regular COVID-19 testing over vaccine mandates, while others are reversing previously announced inoculation requirements even as Omicron variant cases rise. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government adopted one of the strictest inoculation policies in the world for civil servants and has already put more than 1,000 workers on unpaid leave, with thousands more at risk.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Anti-lockdown protesters hit with water cannons and tear gas in Belgium

Belgium became the latest European country to see disorder linked to reimposed Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday. Police deployed water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters in Brussels rallying against new measures designed to slow the winter wave. The government announced new rules for the third Friday in a row last week in a bad to dampen infections and take pressure of the struggling health system. Thousands chanted ‘freedom, freedom’ while others carried anti-vax placards as the crowd headed towards the headquarters of the European Union.
6th Dec 2021 - Metro

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Omicron Sounds Death Knell for Globalization 2.0

On top of an intensifying cold war between the U.S. and China and other seismic changes, the rapid spread of Covid-19’s newest variant could finish off our most recent phase of global integration.
5th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid Vaccines in Italy: New Rules Target Anti-Vax Supporters, Protests

Italy, which has one of Europe’s highest vaccination rates, is further cracking down on the small minority that has so far refused the shot. As of Monday, a green pass -- which is proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test -- will be required for buses, metro, local trains and hotels. It’s already compulsory for working, long-distance travel and most indoor venues. A new “reinforced” green pass, which can be obtained only with the vaccine or after recovering from Covid, will be required for many leisure activities, including eating inside restaurants, and going to theaters, cinemas, sporting and other public events.
5th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

German COVID-19 rules put off shoppers, says retailer group

The tighter restrictions Germany has introduced to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 are putting people off from shopping in the usually busy run-up to Christmas, the country's association of retailers (HDE) said on Sunday. The HDE said sales in bricks-and-mortar non-food retail were down an average of 26% in the last week compared to the pre-crisis year of 2019, according to a survey of some 1,600 firms. Clothing retailers were particularly hard hit, with sales down 35% on the pre-crisis level.
5th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Hundreds march against COVID-19 restrictions in Belgium

Belgian police used water cannon and tear gas Sunday to disperse some rowdy protesters in Brussels after most demonstrators marched peacefully to protest tightened COVID-19 restrictions that aim to counter a surge of coronavirus infections. Thousands came to reject the new measures announced Friday, the third week in a row that the government has tightened its rules as an avalanche of new cases strains the country’s health services, depriving people with other life-threatening diseases of treatment.
5th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press on MSN.com

Germany: incoming minister advises against Christmas travel

Germany’s incoming transport minister is advising people against traveling over Christmas as the country tries to stem a wave of coronavirus infections. Federal and state leaders on Thursday announced tough new restrictions that largely target unvaccinated people, preventing them from entering nonessential stores, restaurants, sports and cultural venues. In a longer-term move, parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate. Volker Wissing, whose pro-business party has designated him as transport minister in the incoming government, told Sunday’s edition of the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that “in the current situation, it seems more sensible to spend Christmas in a small group at home and not to plan big trips across the country.” “Winter 2021 will be more dramatic than winter 2020,” he added.
5th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

We Have to Live With Covid. Here's How We Get Our Lives Back

Two years into the pandemic, the emergence of yet another Covid-19 variant has brought home the fact that the virus is here to stay. That means the world will need to find long-term strategies to co-exist with delta, omicron and the strains to come. As governments reopen at varying paces, there are things individuals and companies can do to navigate a careful return to some kind of normalcy. Simple but permanent changes in how people live and work can limit the risks. “So far, the governments have been responsible for people’s behavior but I don’t think they will intervene so much anymore, and it’s becoming individual choice,” said Benjamin Cowling, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong.
5th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

More than 40000 march in Vienna against coronavirus lockdown

More than 40,000 people marched through Vienna on Saturday to protest against a lockdown and plans to make vaccinations compulsory to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Faced with a surge in infections, the government last month made Austria the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a lockdown and said it would make vaccinations mandatory from February. People carried signs saying: "I will decide for myself", "Make Austria Great Again", and "New Elections" - a nod to the political turmoil that has seen three chancellors within two months - as crowds gathered.
5th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Two hippos in Belgian zoo test positive for COVID-19

Two hippos have tested positive for COVID-19 at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium in what could be the first reported cases in the species, zoo staff said. Hippos Imani, aged 14, and 41-year-old Hermien have no symptoms apart from a runny nose, but the zoo said the pair had been put into quarantine as a precaution. "To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species. Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines," said the zoo's vet, Francis Vercammen.
5th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Brazil's Rio cancels New Year celebration as pandemic continues

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro canceled New Year's Eve celebrations after Brazil confirmed the first known cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Latin America’s biggest country. Eduardo Paes tweeted on Saturday that he would follow the recommendations of Rio de Janeiro state to cancel the celebrations, despite the city's own view to the contrary. "We respect science," Paes tweeted, saying there are dissenting opinions between scientific committees in the city and the state, but he would rather stick with the most restrictive one. "The city's committee says it can go ahead and the state's says no. So it can't take place. Let's cancel the official New Year's Eve celebration in Rio," the tweet said.
4th Dec 2021 - Reuters

U.K. to Require Pre-Arrival Covid Tests for All Travellers

The U.K. will require all travelers to take a pre-flight Covid-19 test within 48 hours prior to their flight regardless of their vaccine status, a surprise government move that prompted a swift and angry reaction from the airline industry. The measure, which takes effect on Dec. 7, will be temporary and be reviewed as the omicron outbreak develops, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said. More than 150 people across the U.K. have been identified with the new variant.
4th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid Outbreak on Cruise Ship Approaching New Orleans

Ten people aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship approaching New Orleans have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Saturday night. The Norwegian Breakaway had departed New Orleans on Nov. 28 and is due to return this weekend, the Louisiana Department of Health said in a news release. Over the past week, the ship made stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico. More than 3,200 people are on board the ship, officials said. According to the statement, Norwegian “has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols as new cases and exposures have been identified aboard this vessel.”
4th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Opinion | Vaccine Hesitancy Is About Trust and Class

First, people are unlikely to trust institutions that do little for them. And second, public health is no longer viewed as a collective endeavor, based on the principle of social solidarity and mutual obligation. People are conditioned to believe they’re on their own and responsible only for themselves. That means an important source of vaccine hesitancy is the erosion of the idea of a common good.
3rd Dec 2021 - The New York Times

Auckland reopens as New Zealand tries new virus approach

Bars, restaurants and gyms reopened in Auckland on Friday as the last major parts of a lockdown that lasted more than 100 days ended. New Zealand has begun a new phase in its coronavirus response in which there won’t be lockdowns but people will be required to be fully vaccinated — and prove it with vaccine passes — in order to access many services. The government decided that vaccination rates were high enough to switch to the new system, with about 87% of people aged 12 and over fully vaccinated. In Auckland, which has been at the center of the nation’s outbreak, the rate is over 90%.
3rd Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

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Facebook, Instagram remove Chinese network over fake 'Swiss biologist' COVID claims

Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc said on Wednesday it had removed accounts used by an influence operation originating in China that promoted claims of a fake "Swiss biologist" saying the United States was interfering in the search for COVID-19's origins. Meta said in a report the social media campaign was "largely unsuccessful" and targeted English-speaking audiences in the United States and Britain and Chinese-speaking audiences in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Bristol Myers is sued for refusing COVID-19 vaccine religious exemptions

Bristol Myers Squibb Co was sued on Wednesday by four employees who said the drugmaker refused to grant them religious exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and threatened to fire them on Dec. 6 for remaining unvaccinated. The plaintiffs in the proposed class action filed in Manhattan federal court accused Bristol Myers of violating a federal civil rights law known as Title VII by "systematically manufacturing" reasons to refuse religious accommodations.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

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Greece imposes monthly fines of 100 euros on the over-60s who refuse a Covid vaccine

Failure to get a first dose of a coronavirus shot by Jan. 16 for anyone aged 60 and above will result in a monthly fine of 100 euros ($114). As of Tuesday, about 62% of the Greek population was fully vaccinated against the virus. This is below the EU’s average of 66%, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Greece’s announcement comes at a time when other European nations are also considering compulsory vaccination.
1st Dec 2021 - CNBC

Anti-vaccine Christian broadcaster Marcus Lamb dies from Covid-19

Texas-based Daystar Television Network announced Lamb's death on Tuesday. Conservative christian network has been a vocal opponent of Covid vaccines. The broadcaster becomes the latest anti-vaccine radio host to succumb to virus
1st Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: Help vaccinate poor countries or face more new variant shocks, rich economies told

The world's rich nations must help vaccinate the poorest nations or else they will face a continual cycle of economic shocks and restrictions in the face of new variants, the OECD's chief economist has said. Laurence Boone told Sky News that the Omicron variant could cause the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to downgrade its outlook for economic growth and inflation, but it is too early to say what damage it could cause. She said that the variant was a reminder that for the richest countries - a group represented by the OECD - funding vaccinations in the developing world would cost only a fraction of their outlay in the past 18 months yet would bring immeasurable benefits.
1st Dec 2021 - Sky News

Courts block two Biden administration COVID vaccine mandates

The Biden administration was blocked on Tuesday from enforcing two mandates requiring millions of American workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a key part of its strategy for controlling the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Monroe, Louisiana, temporarily blocked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers until the court can resolve legal challenges. Doughty's ruling applied nationwide, except in 10 states where the CMS was already prevented from enforcing the rule due to a prior order from a federal judge in St. Louis.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

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The life and tragic death of John Eyers – a fitness fanatic who refused the vaccine

Argument aside, it was a great get-together. “John was on really good, funny form,” says Jenny. They went for dinner at a Turkish restaurant and played darts in the garden. John scored a bullseye with his eyes closed and bragged about it all weekend. There was only one other difficult moment, when the family went to a local health club. John refused to wear a mask. The twins had a fight in reception. “I said: ‘John, put your face mask on,’” Jenny remembers. “‘He said: ‘You aren’t my mother – don’t tell me what to do.’” John eventually acquiesced, then made another easy joke. They went swimming and played tennis and forgot about it. A perfect weekend, then. Twins enjoying each other’s company after the enforced separation of the pandemic. Neither had any idea it would be their last time together.
30th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Vegan dies of Covid-19 after refusing vaccine over animal testing

A vegan man who rejected the Covid-19 vaccine citing concerns about animal cruelty, died regretting his decision, his wife said. Glynn Steel “begged for the vaccine,” his wife Emma Steel said, before he was shifted to life support. But by then it was too late for the vaccine to be effective on him, she said. “The last thing Glynn (Steel) said to me was ‘I have never felt so ill, I wish that I had the vaccine’,” Ms Steel, who is double-vaccinated, told The Sun.
30th Nov 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Don't socialise unless necessary to help slow Omicron variant spread, says UKHSA chief Dr Jenny Harries

Boris Johnson has urged people not to cancel Christmas parties or school nativity plays despite a health chief encouraging Britons to cut back on unnecessary socialising ahead of the festive season. Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK's Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said everyone can do their bit by reducing the number of social contacts they have - and by "not socialising when we don't particularly need to". But the PM rejected Dr Harries' call, insisting that he had already put in place a package of "balanced and proportionate measures" in response to the threat posed by the new Omicron variant.
30th Nov 2021 - Sky News

Omicron: Vaccine nationalism will only perpetuate the pandemic

The United Kingdom and wealthy European nations are in a panic. Unsurprisingly, hoarding huge swaths of the global vaccine supply has enabled the emergence of dangerous new variants of COVID-19. And once again, rich countries are punishing the victims of global vaccine inequality by slamming shut the borders to anyone from southern African nations.
30th Nov 2021 - Al Jazeera English on MSN.com

Map: Tracking the Omicron variant

The Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in at least 19 countries since November 24. On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the global risk from the spread of Omicron was “very high” and urged 194 member nations to speed the delivery of vaccinations to high-risk groups. No Omicron-linked deaths have yet been reported, though further research is needed to assess its potential to escape protection against immunity induced by vaccines and previous infections, the WHO added. The map below highlights the countries that have reported Omicron cases. (The map will be updated as more information becomes available)
30th Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Russian coronavirus-denying monk given prison sentence

A rebel Russian monk who castigated the Kremlin and denied that the coronavirus existed was convicted Tuesday on accusations of encouraging suicides and given a 3½-year prison sentence. The monk, Father Sergiy, was arrested in December 2020 on charges of inciting suicidal actions through sermons in which he urged believers to “die for Russia,” breaching the freedom of conscience and making arbitrary moves. He rejected the accusations and his lawyers said they would appeal Tuesday’s ruling by Moscow’s Ismailovo District Court.
30th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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Pilots union asks Britain to set up winter fund amid Omicron concerns

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) on Monday urged the government to establish a "winter resilience fund" to support the ailing aviation industry, after some travel curbs were brought back to contain the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. "The latest changes have shattered the fledgling confidence in air travel including for Christmas and new year bookings," said BALPA in a statement. Britain, which has so far reported 11 cases of the variant, has said arrivals from all countries would have to self-isolate until they receive a negative result from a PCR test and that face masks must be worn in retail settings.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Judge blocks U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rule for health workers in 10 states

A federal judge on Monday blocked in 10 states a Biden administration vaccine requirement, finding the agency that issued the rule mandating healthcare workers get vaccinated against the coronavirus likely exceeded its authority. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp in St. Louis prevents the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers until the court can hear legal challenges brought by the 10 states. CMS in a statement said it was reviewing the ruling, adding that unvaccinated healthcare staff pose a threat to patient safety.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Nursing unions around world call for UN action on Covid vaccine patents

Nursing unions in 28 countries have filed a formal appeal with the United Nations over the refusal of the UK, EU and others to temporarily waive patents for Covid vaccines, saying this has cost huge numbers of lives in developing nations. The letter, sent on Monday on behalf of unions representing more than 2.5 million healthcare workers, said staff have witnessed at first hand the “staggering numbers of deaths and the immense suffering caused by political inaction”. The refusal of some countries to budge on rules about intellectual property rights for vaccines had contributed to a “vaccine apartheid” in which richer nations had secured at least 7bn doses, while lower-income nations had about 300m, it argued.
29th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Russian Vaccine Skeptics Oppose Covid Passes

Russia’s rollout of a nationwide QR code system that would restrict access to public places and transport to encourage vaccination is running into widespread opposition from anti-lockdown activists, even as Russia’s pandemic death toll continues to soar. With vaccine skepticism rife and only around 35% of Russians having received their jabs, moves to make jabs all but obligatory have been met with dismay, as polls show almost half of the population opposing the use of QR codes under any circumstances. “Forcing people to get vaccinated through QR codes violates at least six articles of the Russian Constitution,” said Yevgeny Stupin, a Communist member of the Moscow City Duma who has campaigned against Covid restrictions.
29th Nov 2021 - The Moscow Times

Thousands protest against Czech COVID measures as hospitals fill

Several thousand people protested in Prague against anti-coronavirus restrictions on Sunday as many Czech hospitals halted non-urgent procedures in the face of one of the world's fastest rates of new infections. Gathered in a park overlooking the Czech capital's centre, protesters waved national flags and carried signs with slogans such as: "Get vaccinated? Over your dead bodies".
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Ski holidays thrown into doubt as France mandates vaccine passport for lifts

France has mandated the use of vaccine passports in ski lifts, throwing the winter travel plans of thousands of British families into doubt. Anyone over the age of 12 will need a pass to show they are fully vaccinated, or have had one dose and recovered from Covid-19 in the last 180 days from December 4. But Thursday’s announcement will cause misery for Brits with teenagers - as the NHS app with a Covid pass is only available to the over-16s, the Times reports.
26th Nov 2021 - Evening Standard

New COVID variant Omicron triggers global alarm, market sell-off

The discovery of a new coronavirus variant named Omicron triggered global alarm on Friday as countries rushed to suspend travel from southern Africa and stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic suffered their biggest falls in more than a year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Omicron may spread more quickly than other forms, and preliminary evidence suggested there is an increased risk of reinfection. Epidemiologists warned travel curbs may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally. The new mutations were first discovered in South Africa and have since been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.
26th Nov 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to restrict travel from 8 African nations after Covid variant detected

The U.S. will restrict travel from eight African nations starting on November 29. The ban comes amid the discovery of a Covid-19 variant “Omicron” detected in South Africa. The World Health Organization confirmed the variant is highly transmissible.
26th Nov 2021 - MSNBC

European nations lead off in shutting borders to African nations with cases of new Omicron COVID variant

All 27 European Union member states and the United Kingdom have temporarily suspended travel to southern Africa following the discovery of a new COVID variant. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday classified the B.1.1.529 variant, now designated as Omicron, as a SARS-CoV-2 "variant of concern", saying it may spread more quickly than other forms. Infections in South Africa had risen steeply in recent weeks, coinciding with the detection of the variant. After a closed meeting of independent experts who reviewed the data, WHO realised a statement saying there had been a "detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology".
26th Nov 2021 - ABC News

Former Covid-Zero Haven Ditches Masks, QR Codes in Stark Pivot

The biggest state in Australia is eliminating a raft of pandemic restrictions as it nears a 95% vaccination rate, in one of the starkest reversals from the Covid-Zero strategy yet. From Dec. 15, or once the 95% inoculation target is hit, masks will only be required on public transport, on planes and at airports in New South Wales, ending the need to wear a protective face covering in most indoor settings. Check-ins via QR code, which are currently mandatory in the state at any venue, will only be needed at hospitals, aged-care facilities, pubs, small bars and nightclubs, according to the latest guidelines from the New South Wales government.
26th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

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Emotional toll of COVID-19 on health workers is vast, varied

In the US study, a team led by Duke University researchers surveyed 1,344 HCWs in 2020 about their emotional state before the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. They recruited HCWs via email and social media from Apr 24 to May 30 (phase 1) and Oct 24 to Nov 30 (phase 2). In phase 1 involved 335 survey respondents of whom 32.6% were 35 to 44 years old, 86% were women, and 87.8% were White. Phase 2 included 1,009 participants, of whom 38.1% were aged 35 to 44, 90.5% were women, and 93.7% were White. Respondents included nurses, physicians, advanced practice practitioners, and chaplains. The HCWs reported emotions related to changes in family, social life, and occupational function. They expressed fear of contracting COVID-19 and spreading the infection to family and friends, stigmatization, short-staffing, and inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
24th Nov 2021 - CIDRAP

Europe’s Christmas markets warily open as COVID cases rise

The holiday tree is towering over the main square in this central German city, the chestnuts and sugared almonds are roasted, and kids are clambering aboard the merry-go-round just like they did before the pandemic. But a surge in coronavirus infections has left an uneasy feeling hanging over Frankfurt’s Christmas market. To savor a mug of mulled wine — an uncomplicated rite of winter in pre-pandemic times — masked customers must pass through a one-way entrance to a fenced-off wine hut, stopping at the hand sanitizer station. Elsewhere, security officers check vaccination certificates before letting customers head for the steaming sausages and kebabs. Despite the pandemic inconveniences, stall owners selling ornaments, roasted chestnuts and other holiday-themed items in Frankfurt and other European cities are relieved to be open at all for their first Christmas market in two years, especially with new restrictions taking effect in Germany, Austria and other countries as COVID-19 infections hit record highs
25th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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Non-profit groups tell WTO to reverse 'vaccine apartheid' before any meeting

More than 130 civil society groups largely from developing countries are calling for the World Trade Organization to cancel a ministerial conference next week and instead concentrate on approving an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines. The groups, organized under a loose coalition called "Our World is Not For Sale," said in a letter on Wednesday to WTO members that "vaccine apartheid" caused by WTO intellectual property rules must be resolved first. The meeting would otherwise "lack any pretence of legitimacy," especially when some ministers may not be able to travel to Geneva, it said.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

What the world could learn from Israel's Covid-19 vaccine booster rollout

When it comes to Covid-19, it seems where Israel leads, the rest of the world follows. For almost a year, the country has offered other nations a glimpse into the pandemic's future. Israel has been at the forefront of vaccination rollouts for adults and teenagers, pioneered a vaccine passport and, in recent months, has spearheaded the use of booster shots. At the end of July, the country began offering boosters to those over the age of 60; since late August, boosters have been available to anyone over the age of 16, five months after their second dose of the vaccine. Now, a person is not considered fully vaccinated in Israel until they have received a third dose of the vaccine, once they are eligible for it.
24th Nov 2021 - CNN

Here’s what the UK can learn from other countries’ responses to Covid-19

Looking at how health services in different countries have responded to Covid, we can see some common ground. Many countries are increasing funding for health services, expanding the number of frontline clinical staff, providing separate areas to care for patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, and using digital technology to deliver virtual rather than face-to-face appointments. But there are some distinctions: peer a bit closer and it is clear that we have something to teach and something to learn from every healthcare system. The UK has its achievements to share, from a nationalised (and devolved) system that can pool surgical resources in local areas and support mass trials to test new treatments, to a historically strong primary care model that played a key role in delivering the largest vaccination programme in British history while continuing to deliver daily care to patients.
24th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

New Zealand to stay closed to visitors until April 2022

New Zealand will keep its borders closed to most international travellers for a further five months, the government said on Wednesday, outlining a cautious easing of border curbs that have been in place since COVID-19 hit in March 2020. Along with its geographic isolation, the South Pacific country enforced some of the tightest pandemic restrictions among OECD nations, limiting the spread of COVID-19 and helping its economy bounce back faster than many of its peers. But an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant earlier this year has forced a shift in strategy, with the main city of Auckland now only gradually opening up as vaccination rates climb. Fully vaccinated international travellers will be allowed to enter the country from April 30, 2022, onwards with the re-opening staged over time, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told a news conference. Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and residence visa holders in neighbouring Australia can travel to New Zealand from January 16, while vaccinated New Zealanders and residence visa holders from most other countries will be allowed in from February 13.
24th Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

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Global licence deal to provide COVID antibody test tech free to poorer countries - WHO

A global licence for serological technology that detects COVID-19 antibodies will be provided royalty-free to poor and middle-income countries under a first of its kind agreement to boost production, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday. The existing four tests, which check for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies developed after either an infection or a vaccine dose, could also inform decisions on the need for boosters to protect against the disease, it said in a statement. The non-exclusive licensing agreement reached with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), a public research institute offering the technology as a global public good, is the first test licence signed by the WHO's Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).
23rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

EU Weighs Changes to Covid Certificates, Travel Rules During Surge

The European Union is discussing this week how to update its digital Covid-19 certificates and its approach to travel within and outside the bloc as member nations take varying steps to counter the latest wave of the pandemic.
23rd Nov 2021 - Bloomberg on MSN.com

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Angry COVID-19 protesters hurl abuse at WA Premier

Flanked by police, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan had to be led to safety after he was subjected to a barrage of personal insults while leaving a town hall meeting yesterday. COVID-19 protesters demonstrating against the vaccine surrounded the premier at an engagement in Eaton, south of Perth, hurling abuse and chants of "dog" at Mr McGowan. The premier said the protesters, who claimed they were not anti-vaxxers but pro-choice, will only strengthen his resolve. Dozens of protesters waving the Australian red ensign - a red version of the Australian flag adopted by anti-government groups - could be seen on video rushing towards a convoy of government cars. Yesterday's demonstrations are the latest in a spate of protests and threats targeting the premier, whose office has confirmed no one was harmed in yesterday's encounter. Protesters have reportedly issued death and rape threats to Mr McGowan's staff members.
22nd Nov 2021 - 9News

U.S. families plan big holiday celebrations with COVID-19 shots in arms

Tanya Primiani will host 12 people around a long Thanksgiving table in her Silver Spring, Maryland home on Thursday, a boisterous scene she looks forward to welcoming after the COVID-19 pandemic limited the size of last year's gathering. Her parents are coming from Montreal, driving across the recently reopened U.S.-Canada border. Her sons, ages 7 and 10, have gotten their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations, and all the other guests are fully vaccinated against the virus
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Clashes break out in Brussels in protests over coronavirus restrictions

Police and protesters clashed in the streets of Brussels on Sunday in demonstrations over government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions, with police firing water cannon and tear gas at demonstrators throwing rocks and smoke bombs, witnesses said. About 35,000 people took part in demonstrations, police said, which began peacefully before violence broke out. Protesters wearing black hoods threw stones at police as they advanced with water cannon at the main junction in front of the European Union Commission headquarters, Reuters journalists said.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch COVID riots ‘pure violence’ by ‘idiots’: PM Rutte

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has criticised three nights of riots over anti-COVID measures, calling the unrest “pure violence” by “idiots” and vowed to prosecute those responsible. The riots in several cities around the country since Friday were “violence under the guise of protest”, the prime minister said. He added he would always defend the right to protest, but “I will never accept is that idiots use pure violence against people … who keep this country safe,” he told Dutch media.
22nd Nov 2021 - AlJazeera

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Two wounded as Dutch police fire shots at protest over new COVID-19 restrictions

Crowds of rioters in the port city of Rotterdam torched cars and threw rocks at police who responded with shots and water canon, as protests against COVID-19 measures turned violent on Friday night. "We fired warning shots and there were also direct shots fired because the situation was life-threatening," police spokesperson Patricia Wessels told Reuters. "We know that at least two people were wounded, probably as a result of the warning shots, but we need to investigate the exact causes further," she said.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

All players must be vaccinated for Australian Open - tournament chief

All players at the Australian Open must be vaccinated, tournament chief Craig Tiley confirmed Saturday, piling more pressure on world number one Novak Djokovic, who has refused to reveal if he has been inoculated. Melbourne, where January's Grand Slam is held, has spent more than 260 days under lockdown during the pandemic and the government of the state of Victoria made clear last month there would be no concessions for unvaccinated players. Tiley said the playing group know they must get the jab to compete at Melbourne Park. "There's a lot of speculation about vaccination and just to be really clear, when the (Victoria) premier announced that everyone on site... will need to be vaccinated, we made that clear to the playing group," he told Channel Nine television.
20th Nov 2021 - Yahoo News

Fauci overwhelmed by calls after journal published mistake over beagle experiments

The nation's top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has been inundated with calls following a mistake in a scientific journal claiming that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) was funding experimental research on beagles. The calls were so frequent that Fauci's assistant stopped answering the phone for two weeks in October, The Washington Post reported Friday. He received 3,600 phone calls in 36 hours. “The constant harassment in the form of ridiculous accusations and outright lies makes doing my job and that of my staff of fighting the covid-19 pandemic all the more difficult,” Fauci told the Post. “This attack on me, which clearly has political overtones to a nonpolitical scientist, I feel, is dangerous to the entire field of science and [shows] how people try to intimidate scientists.”
20th Nov 2021 - The Hill

Covid Surge May Be New Year Market Risk Missed by Strategists

A fresh blast of the pandemic may be catching traders and investment strategists off guard. As countries throughout Europe announce new restrictions going as far as full lockdowns, research notes outlining risks and opportunities for 2022 appear to completely ignore the virus. The word “lockdown” isn’t even mentioned in year-ahead outlooks for Europe circulated by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley. Meanwhile, in a Bank of America Corp. survey this week, fund managers saw Covid-19 as only the fifth-biggest tail risk, with just 5% expressing concern about its potential impact on markets. Inflation, central bank rate hikes, stalling Chinese growth and asset bubbles topped the list.
20th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Pro and anti-vaccination protesters take to Australia streets

Several thousand people took to Australia's streets on Saturday protesting COVID-19 vaccination mandates, while smaller crowds gathered to support the measures that have elevated the country to be one of the most inoculated in the world. Nearly 85% of Australians aged 16 and above have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of Nov. 19. While nationwide vaccinations are voluntary, states and territories have mandated vaccinations for many occupations and barred the unvaccinated from activities such as dining out and concerts.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Ardern’s Covid lockdown finds favour as New Zealand watches Sydney’s Delta disaster

The loudest overseas critics of its elimination approach have been mostly greeted with bemusement or defiance. New Zealanders have consistently supported even the toughest anti-Covid measures. About 80% rated the government’s Covid-19 response as overall good, according to polling commissioned by the Spinoff in February, and 59% rated the response as “excellent”. The satirical hashtag #NZhellhole, which pokes fun at some of the more hysterical reactions to NZ lockdowns, was again trending on Wednesday. “If [overseas commentators] are surprised then they haven’t been paying attention,” says Dr Siouxsie Wiles, one of the country’s prominent epidemic communicators. In New Zealand, Wiles says, “the vast majority of people understand what we are up against, and are supportive of our response.”
18th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Rollout of third Covid jabs in England condemned as ‘shambolic’

A “shambolic” rollout of third Covid vaccinations has left an unknown number of immunocompromised people still without proper protection going into winter, and in other cases even given the wrong type of injection, a leading charity has said. Blood Cancer UK said poor planning and confusing messaging meant “many thousands” of people with weakened immune systems might have missed out, leaving them at greater risk of serious consequences if they catch Covid. In a lengthy statement, the charity said NHS England had repeatedly failed to acknowledge the problem, while Sajid Javid, the health secretary, incorrectly said more than six weeks ago that the “vast, vast majority” of eligible people had already been invited for a third jab.
18th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

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Mulled wine only for vaccinated at some German Christmas markets

At the Christmas market on Hamburg's main square this year, only revellers who are vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently recovered will be able to indulge in steaming hot mulled wine and candied almonds or gingerbread under festive fairy lights. The unvaccinated will still be able to peruse the bottle-green stalls selling handicrafts, listen to carols, ride on the merry-go-round or admire the nativity scenes.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Amazon to Pay $500,000 in California Over Covid Notifications

Amazon has agreed to pay $500,000 to help enforce California’s consumer protection laws after the company was accused of concealing Covid-19 case numbers from its workers, officials said on Monday. The judgment, which is subject to court approval, is the first of its kind nationwide and is in line with a California “right to know” law that was designed to keep workers safe during the pandemic, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office. Under the arrangement, Amazon must also tell its warehouse workers within a day about the exact number of new Covid-19 cases in their workplaces, ensure that notifications adequately inform workers of the company’s disinfection and safety plans, tell health officials about new cases and submit to monitoring by the attorney general’s office regarding its Covid-19 notifications.
16th Nov 2021 - The New York Times

U.K. Missing 465000 People From Workforce Since Covid Hit

Britain continues to face severe labor market shortages despite the end of the furlough program because 465,000 people have disappeared from the workforce since the start of the pandemic, according to Bank of America. Ending the benefit on Sept. 30 for those out of work during lockdowns was expected to bring people who had given up on job hunting back into employment. “That has not happened yet,” Bank of America economist Rob Wood said in a note on Tuesday. U.K. payroll numbers jumped by 160,000 to a new high in October, suggesting the economy can absorb many of the 1 million workers who were on furlough when the program closed. Official unemployment for the month of September dropped to 3.9%, lower than immediate pre-pandemic levels.
16th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Ireland reimposes early bar, nightclub closures as COVID resurges

Ireland will from Thursday require bars and nightclubs to close early while ramping up the use of booster vaccines in a bid to combat a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in its largely vaccinated population, the governing party said on Tuesday. Three months ago it announced plans to drop almost all restrictions within weeks, but infection numbers have since increased again to levels close to last January's all-time peak, even though more than 90% of adults are now vaccinated.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Maori Ask Anti-Vaccine Protesters to Stop Using Ceremonial Dance

Ngati Toa, an indigenous tribe in New Zealand, denounced a group of anti-vaccine protesters for performing a ceremonial Maori dance known as the Ka Mate haka during a demonstration in Wellington on November 9th. “As the descendants of Te Rauparaha, we insist that protesters stop using our taonga immediately,” said senior member of Ngati Toa Taku Parai, in a statement on Radio Waatea this week. “We do not support their position.” Last week, thousands gathered across New Zealand to protest Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s vaccine mandate, which requires all healthcare and education workers be fully vaccinated. An estimated 3,000 marched to the Wellington parliament building last Tuesday demanding an end to vaccine mandates and Covid 19 lockdowns. During those demonstrations, some performed the Ka Mate haka, a dance used before some rugby games.
15th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Racial disparities in kids’ vaccinations are hard to track

The rollout of COVID-19 shots for elementary-age children has exposed another blind spot in the nation’s efforts to address pandemic inequalities: Health systems have released little data on the racial breakdown of youth vaccinations, and community leaders fear that Black and Latino kids are falling behind. Only a handful of states have made public data on COVID-19 vaccinations by race and age, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not compile racial breakdowns either. Despite the lack of hard data, public health officials and medical professionals are mindful of disparities and have been reaching out to communities of color to overcome vaccine hesitancy. That includes going into schools, messaging in other languages, deploying mobile vaccine units and emphasizing to skeptical parents that the shots are safe and powerfully effective.
15th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Alaska doctors seek COVID-19 misinformation investigation

Alaska doctors plan to ask the State Medical Board to investigate concerns about the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments by other physicians. Merijeanne Moore, a private practice psychiatrist, said she drafted the letter out of concern over an event about COVID-19 treatments that featured prominent vaccine skeptics in Anchorage last month, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Moore said Saturday that nearly 100 doctors had signed the letter and more could before she plans to submit the letter on Tuesday. “We are writing out of concern that medical misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and treatment is being spread in Alaska, including by physicians,” the letter stated.
15th Nov 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Families fight over covid vaccines as Thanksgiving approaches

With Thanksgiving approaching, infections high or on the rise in many parts of the country and the vaccines now widely available to children, family breaches over immunization status are reaching new levels of rancor and intensity. Summer is over, and fall is ending — seasons when many gatherings could be held outdoors. Now American families must simultaneously confront the time of year when all respiratory viruses spread most easily and the challenge posed by loved ones who have rejected the best way to protect themselves — and others — from a respiratory virus that has claimed more than 750,000 lives in the United States.
15th Nov 2021 - The Washington Post

Three snow leopards die of covid-19 at Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska

The three big cats delighted visitors to the Nebraska zoo for years — pouncing on pumpkins during Halloween, preening for pictures and lounging on rocks in their enclosure. The Lincoln Children’s Zoo has described the snow leopards as silly, bubbly and handsome. They were one of the zoo’s main attractions, delivering a dose of mountain majesty to the Great Plains.
15th Nov 2021 - The Washington Post

‘Detox’ routines won’t undo Covid vaccine, experts tell anti-vaxxers

Medical experts are speaking out against Covid-19 vaccine “detoxes” that some inaccurately claim can remove the effects of vaccinations received under mandates and other public health rulings. In one TikTok video that has received hundreds of thousands of views, Carrie Madej, an osteopath based in Georgia, falsely claims a bath containing baking soda, epsom salts and the cleaning agent borax will “detox the vaxx” from anyone who has received a jab. Experts say such a bath could irritate the skin and eyes – but will not remove the effects of a Covid vaccine. In Kansas, Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control for the state university health system, told the Kansas City Star borax was “potentially caustic and harmful”.
15th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

India opens to fully vaccinated foreign tourists

India began allowing fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country on regular commercial flights, in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions as infections fall and vaccinations rise. Tourists entering India, starting on Monday, must be fully vaccinated, follow all COVID-19 protocols and test negative for the virus within 72 hours of their flight, according to the health ministry. Many will also need to undergo a post-arrival COVID-19 test at the airport.
15th Nov 2021 - AlJazeera

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Covid-19 Vaccines Are Now Reaching Poor Countries, but Not People’s Arms

After months of severe shortages, Covid-19 vaccine supplies for the world’s poorest nations are finally ramping up. But many countries say they will struggle to get them into people’s arms, as they grapple with the potential delivery of more vaccines in the coming weeks than they have received so far this year. Authorities lack funds to conduct public awareness campaigns and set up more vaccination sites, including the necessary fridges and freezers to store the shots. Misinformation and low case numbers have also left many in poor countries skeptical of the shots. Just 4.2% of people in low-income countries have received a first dose. Across Africa, only 6.3% of people are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, a project based at Oxford University.
12th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Disease center urges Germans to cancel or avoid big events

Germany's disease control center is calling for people to cancel or avoid large events and to reduce their contacts as the country's coronavirus infection rate hits the latest in a string of new highs. The center, the Robert Koch Institute, said Friday that Germany's infection rate climbed to 263.7 new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days, up from 249.1 the previous day. Germany reported 48,640 new cases Friday, a day after the daily total topped 50,000 for the first time. Another 191 COVID-19 deaths brought Germany's total in the pandemic so far to 97,389.
12th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press on MSN.com

Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer?

Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer? Yes, combined with vaccination, home test kits for COVID-19 can add a layer of safety and reassurance by providing on-the-spot results during this second year of pandemic holidays. “We will be using rapid tests to doublecheck everybody before we gather together,” says Dr. Emily Volk, president of the College of American Pathologists, who is planning a holiday meal with six vaccinated family members. “We’ll be doing it as they come in the door.” Home kits are not as accurate as the PCR tests done in hospitals and at testing sites, Volk says. But they have the advantage of giving results within minutes instead of days.
11th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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Unified approach needed to deal with COVID-19, says AirAsia Group CEO

Governments around the world need to look at unified approaches to managing COVID-19, the Group Chief Executive of Malaysian budget airline AirAsia Group Bhd Tony Fernandes said at the APEC CEO Summit. Fernandes said leaders in the Asia-Pacific region were being "over-sensitive" with COVID-19 and needed to be braver and more standardised in dealing with the pandemic.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccine brings hope for refugees in Uganda’s remote north

On the streets of Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda, the wheels of a boda boda motorcycle taxi stir up red dust as the driver manoeuvres slowly through the settlement, music blaring from a loudspeaker strapped to the back of his bike. The driver is a mobile messenger with the speaker broadcasting information about the Covid-19 vaccine, intended to persuade the camp’s residents to get the jab. Home to around a quarter of a million refugees from South Sudan, Bidi Bidi settlement in northern Uganda is one of the world’s largest refugee camps.
11th Nov 2021 - Evening Standard

PNG caught between COVID and vaccine

International concerns are mounting as COVID-19 continues to sweep through unvaccinated Papua New Guinea (PNG) where, according to Our World in Data website, only 1.7 percent of its population has been fully vaccinated. The vaccination rate remains abysmally low, despite adequate vaccine supplies and aid from the Australian government and international organisations such as the Red Cross. The slow take up has been in part due to poor government messaging and the proliferation of misinformation on social media via mobile phones. “There is a lot of misinformation around circulating largely from social media,” Jane Holden, Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority acting CEO, told Al Jazeera.
11th Nov 2021 - AlJazeera

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Europe Is Experiencing Two Very Different Pandemics

Waning immunity is the bigger threat, and highly-inoculated countries like Spain or Denmark — where nearly 100% of over-60s have been fully vaccinated — are focused on zapping complacency with booster shots. Even controversial measures like health passes and mandatory shots for medical staff have paid off and lifted take-up despite protests. On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said France’s Covid pass would require third doses for the elderly. These countries have some of the world’s highest vaccination rates, and, as Lone Simonsen, a professor at Roskilde University, puts it, they have the “luxury” of making minor adjustments, such as bringing back mask-wearing, to avoid a return to the full-scale lockdowns of 2020. Look further East, though, and there are signs of a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” to borrow a U.S. term. Vaccination rates in eastern European countries are far, far lower — often fatally so.
10th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

The US and Europe have finally reconnected, but they're moving in different directions on Covid-19

In September, when the White House announced its long-awaited plan to welcome vaccinated European travelers, the United States was consumed by a Covid-19 surge that far outpaced Europe's. At that point the US rate of new cases per capita dwarfed Europe's by nearly three to one. While European governments were plotting their roadmaps towards normality, America was battling a rise in infections and warning of pressure on hospitals. But by Monday, when the new rules came into effect and thousands of tourists jetted across the Atlantic to American cities, the two regions had experienced a dramatic reversal in fortunes.
10th Nov 2021 - CNN

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Covid-19 vaccine debate takes a strange turn

The Covid-19 vaccine debate is getting weird. On Twitter, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz accused Big Bird of pushing "Government propaganda...for your 5 year old!" after the Muppet tweeted about getting the shot in his wing. CNN aired a special on Saturday with "Sesame Street" to explain the vaccine to children ages 5-11, who are now eligible to get the shot. Watch Rosita, a green Muppet, overcome her fear and bravely get her first Covid-19 vaccine dose.
9th Nov 2021 - CNN

Boeing U.S. worker vaccine exemption requests top 11000 -sources

The number of Boeing Co employees seeking a vaccine exemption on religious or medical grounds has reached more than 11,000 - or nearly 9% of its U.S. workforce - a level many times higher than executives initially estimated, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The widespread reluctance has left executives scrambling for a strategy that keeps employees safe and complies with President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors, but avoids an exodus of engineering and factory labor, the people said.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

U.S.-Mexico border reopens after 20 months of COVID shutdown

There were fewer crossings at the Mexico-United States border than expected on Monday as it reopened to nonessential travel following a 20-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many residents staying home to avoid potential chaos. Officials in the Mexican border city of Tijuana said people did not make the most of restrictions being lifted along the 2,000-mile (3,200-km) border due to fears of being caught in traffic.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Thousands protest in New Zealand against COVID-19 rules

New Zealand beefed up security measures at its parliament on Tuesday as thousands of people gathered to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and government lockdowns aimed at controlling the pandemic. All but two entrances to the parliament building, known as the Beehive, were closed off in unprecedented security measures, as mostly unmasked protesters marched through central Wellington and congregated outside parliament. While the demonstration was peaceful, many people were seen holding signs and placards with messages like "Freedom" and "Kiwis are not lab rats" and shouting slogans as they demanded the government roll back compulsory vaccination and lift restrictions.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

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Eager travellers line up for U.S. flights as COVID travel curbs are lifted

Paul Campbell had waited nearly two years to reunite with his German fiancée at Boston's Logan airport on Monday, the day the United States eased travel restrictions imposed on much of the world since the COVID-19 pandemic began. "I'm just ecstatic that she's here, I'm happy," said Campbell, 63, a retired firefighter from Vermont who greeted her with a heart-shaped balloon. "Our relationship is still thriving even though we've been apart for two years." At John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, a child held a sign reading, "Do I look bigger?" as he waited for the first British Airways flight from London's Heathrow. "730 days missed u! Aunty Jill + Uncle Mark," his sign said.
8th Nov 2021 - Reuters

N. Ireland official suing Van Morrison over COVID criticism

Northern Ireland’s health minister is suing Van Morrison after the singer called him “very dangerous” for his handling of coronavirus restrictions. The Belfast-born singer opposes restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, and has released several songs criticizing lockdowns. He denounced Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann during a gathering at Belfast’s Europa Hotel in June after a Morrison concert was canceled at the last minute because of virus restrictions. The defamation suit relates to three incidents in which Morrison criticized Swann, calling him “a fraud” and “very dangerous.”
8th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

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States Sue to Stop Biden’s Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate

More than half of U.S. states are suing to stop the Biden administration from implementing new rules that require employers with more than 100 workers to ensure their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 or get a weekly test. The states’ attorneys general, who filed multiple lawsuits in various courts Friday, said they were suing because the federal government doesn’t have the authority to issue the requirements. They say the issue should be left to states. “States have been leading the fight against COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, said Friday. “It is too late to impose a federal standard now that we have already developed systems and strategies that are tailored for our specific needs.”
5th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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‘He was adamant he didn’t want it’: the pro-vax parents with vaccine-hesitant kids

Even if children have avoided anti-vaccine misinformation on social media, they may have come across it at the school gate. There have been demonstrations outside schools across the UK; some protesters have loudhailers, and give alarming leaflets to children, or point them in the direction of websites with misinformation. At least one school was targeted by protesters showing images of what appeared to be dead children, falsely claiming they had been killed by the vaccine, which unsurprisingly distressed children. The Association of School and College Leaders union found nearly 80% of British schools had been targeted in some way – mainly emails threatening legal action – and 13% had reported seeing anti-vax demonstrators directly outside the school gates; 18 schools said protesters had actually got inside.
4th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Vaccine certificates-for-sale scam undermines Lesotho’s Covid effort

The Lesotho government’s plans to implement a Covid passport system this week are being undermined by widespread fraud involving certificates being sold to unvaccinated people. Covid-19 vaccination certificates are being sold for less than £20 by unscrupulous health workers to the largely vaccine-averse population in Lesotho, where there has been little positive campaigning around the jabs. The prime minister, Moeketsi Majoro, announced in October that from this week, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms and sporting facilities would only admit people who had a Covid-19 vaccination certificate.
4th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Australian customer service workers subjected to violence and abuse for Covid-19 compliance checks

Customer Service staff face increase of abuse amid Covid compliance checks National Retail Association (NRA) received 89k reports of abuse in last 6 months Aggressive & violent behaviour mainly occurred where Covid rules are in place NRA says shoppers need to remember staff are not responsible for Covid laws
4th Nov 2021 - Daily Mail

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Analysis: Wide array of opponents prepare to fight Biden vaccine mandate

The country's first national COVID-19 vaccine mandate, expected to be unveiled by the Biden administration this week, is likely to unleash a frenzied legal battle that will hinge on a rarely used law and questions over federal power and authority over healthcare. States, companies, trade groups, civil liberty advocates and religious organizations are expected to rush to court with demands to stop the mandate in its tracks. Two dozen Republican state attorneys general have already vowed to use "every legal option" to fight the mandate and 40 Republican lawmakers said on Wednesday they were preparing their own challenge.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand gang leaders unite to urge community to get Covid shots

Seven New Zealand gang leaders, representing four of the country’s most well-known street gangs, have joined forces in a video urging their communities to get vaccinated, in a concept that was conjured up by a government minister. The video was commissioned by the minister for Maori development, Willie Jackson, after a discussion with gang leaders, who then provided footage that was edited by Jackson’s son, Hikurangi, the Herald reported. In the four-minute video, Denis O’Reilly, who joined the Black Power gang aged 19, says he had “taken a few shots” in his time, including the two shots against Covid-19, and he is asking his community “to do the same”
3rd Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Ukrainians protest vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases soar

More than a thousand people blocked several streets in the center of the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, protesting against COVID-19 vaccine certificates and state-imposed restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus. The protesters, mostly women and young people, didn’t wear masks and held up signs reading “Say No to COVID Passports”, “Say No to COVID Genocide” in front of the Ukrainian parliament building in Kyiv. The rally comes in response to restrictions that require teachers, government employees and other workers to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 8 or have their salaries suspended.
3rd Nov 2021 - Seattle Times

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RBNZ Says Transition to Living With Covid-19 May Drag on Economy

New Zealand’s transition to living with Covid-19 could lead to changes in consumer behavior that damp economic growth, the central bank said. “Businesses will need to adapt, and some businesses that have stayed afloat to date may not be viable as support schemes wind down,” the Reserve Bank said in its semi-annual Financial Stability Report published Wednesday in Wellington. “These changes could drag on economic activity.” The transition from pandemic to Covid-19 being an endemic disease also creates financial stability risks, “although the magnitude of these is still hard to gauge at this stage,” the RBNZ said.
2nd Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

CDC panel debates: Should all school kids get COVID vaccine?

Should all school-age kids get Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine? That’s the question before an influential government advisory panel Tuesday. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized emergency use of kid-size doses for children ages 5 to 11. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also must sign off before widespread vaccinations begin in that age group. CDC’s advisers are weighing who will get the most benefit as they deliberate whether to recommend the shots for up to 28 million more children, or perhaps only for those most vulnerable to serious illness. Their recommendation goes to the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, for the final say. “Today is a monumental day in the course of this pandemic,” Walensky told the advisory panel Tuesday.
2nd Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid anti-vaxxers are refusing to pay tax bills mistakenly thinking they are immune from prosecution

A number of Covid conspiracists have started abstaining from paying utility bills and their council tax in protest against the “tyranny” they claim to live under in the UK, according to messages posted to Telegram. Groups on the social media platform – where thousands of Covid anti-vaxxers congregate and organise protests – have started branching out from discussing conspiracy theories about coronavirus and the vaccine and have begun justifying the reasons for no longer paying their bills. Many have a misguided belief they will not face prosecution for cancelling their payments, thanks in part to disinformation spread by an influencer on the platform with a significant following who claims stopping the payment of council tax will put pressure on the Government to scrap the Coronavirus Act.
2nd Nov 2021 - iNews

Australians fired for refusing Covid vaccine search social media for ‘welcoming’ employers

Unvaccinated Australians who have lost their jobs for refusing to comply with Covid vaccine mandates are using social media to find and share employment opportunities at workplaces where the new rules are not being enforced. Telegram and Facebook have had an influx of people searching for paid jobs after states and territories implemented mandates covering a range of industries from health and aged care workers, teachers and police to construction and hospitality workers. On some job boards, businesses that are happy to accept unvaccinated people advertise that they are “welcoming of everyone”.
2nd Nov 2021 - The Guardian

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Thailand, Australia, Israel ease travel curbs as lockdowns bite elsewhere

Thailand, Australia and Israel eased international border restrictions significantly on Monday for the first time in 18 months, offering a broad test of demand for travel worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic. The relaxation contrasts with tightening lockdowns elsewhere, notably in eastern Europe where infections have hit record numbers, and in parts of China, which has taken a zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 despite relatively few cases. Hundreds of vaccinated foreign tourists arrived in the Thai capital for quarantine-free travel after the Southeast Asian nation approved visitors from more than 60 countries, including China and the United States.
1st Nov 2021 - Reuters

Eleven states sue U.S. government over vaccine mandate for federal contractors

Eleven U.S. states with Republican governors sued the Biden administration on Friday seeking to block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, arguing it is unconstitutional and violates federal procurement law. Saying they were necessary to fight COVID-19, President Joe Biden issued a pair of executive orders on Sept. 9 requiring all executive branch federal employees and federal contractors be vaccinated
1st Nov 2021 - Reuters

Cambodia reopens to 'new way of life' after beating COVID-19 vaccine target

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen declared his country reopen and ready for a new way of life on Monday, having surpassed its COVID-19 vaccination target and recorded one of Asia's highest inoculation rates. Cambodia has vaccinated nearly 86% if its more than 16 million people, with two million given booster shots already and 300,000 school children age 5 set to be inoculated on Monday alone. The ratio is similar to that of Singapore.
1st Nov 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Tears, hugs and laughter at Sydney airport as Australia reopens border

There have been tears, laughter and warm embraces at Sydney's international airport after Australia's border opened for the first time in 20 months. Travellers tore off their face masks as they saw their loved ones for the first time in almost two years. The airport, Australia's busiest international hub, has been almost deserted during the pandemic, but now the country is hoping its vaccination rates are high enough to mitigate the danger of allowing international visitors again
1st Nov 2021 - Sky News

Northern Ireland: Reopening of nightclubs part of ‘return to normality’

The reopening of nightclubs in Northern Ireland represents part of the return to normality that many young people have been craving, a leading promoter has said. For the first time in a year and a half, nightclubs opened their doors on Halloween night across Northern Ireland after some Covid-19 restrictions were eased. A Stormont minister repeated her concerns about the nightclub sector reopening without a mandatory Covid vaccination certification system. Nightclubs had been the last remaining part of the hospitality sector which had been prevented from opening due to public health regulations.
1st Nov 2021 - Irish Times

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As COVID cases fall, Halloween brings more fun and less fear

Witches and warlocks, ghosts and ghouls can breathe a little easier this year: Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are generally on the decline, and trick-or-treaters can feel safer collecting candy. And while a new poll indicates Halloween participation is rebounding but still short of pre-pandemic levels, an industry trade group says people who are celebrating are driving record-level spooky spending this year. Sales of candy, costumes and décor are up at least 25% over last year and are predicted to set a new high, between $10 to $11 billion, said Aneisha McMillan, spokeswoman for the trade group Halloween and Costume Association.
30th Oct 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Australia Covid-Zero Approach Changes as Borders, Travel Opens Up

Like many in Australia, Maherau Arona saw the coronavirus as a distant threat, at worst, long after it became a daily reality in most of the world. Following a month and a half of lockdown, the Sydney suburb where the 53-year-old social worker lives returned mostly to normal in May 2020. Protected by a hermetically sealed border, people there and in the rest of the country lived for the next year largely as they had before Covid-19. They could holiday on the beaches of Byron Bay and Noosa, pack into pubs and cafes, and even see Hamilton onstage. Few were in a hurry to get vaccinated, and the national government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, didn’t seem to view distributing shots as urgent. While there were some setbacks, including a surge of cases that threw Melbourne into a lengthy second lockdown, Australians essentially skipped the trauma that was transforming societies elsewhere.
29th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

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Covid Vaccination Rates: How Black Doctors Increased Shots in Philadelphia

Earlier this year, Philadelphia’s partnership with the student-led group Philly Fighting Covid Inc. abandoned testing sites in Black neighborhoods. It seemed like the latest affront in a long legacy of racism that has fueled distrust in the medical system, dating back to the infamous Tuskegee experiments in the 1930s. But Philadelphia, after a slow start, is closing out the year with one of the highest Black vaccination rates in a major U.S. city. In Philadelphia, 54% of Black citizens are now vaccinated. That puts it at the top of a group of the country’s 10 most Black cities, with populations of 500,000 or more and with Black people making up anywhere from 77% to 28% of the population. (The country’s second-largest city, Los Angeles, has vaccinated 55% of its Black residents, but they’re just 8% of the population.)
28th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

NYPD Has 10000 Unvaccinated Officers as Mandate Deadline Approaches

Nearly a third of New York Police Department cops are unvaccinated against Covid-19 ahead of the city’s Friday deadline. The Police Benevolent Association, which represents 24,000 cops in the most populous U.S. city, said 10,000 of the roughly 35,000 uniformed NYPD officers have not gotten the shot. Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio eliminated the test-out option and said all city employees must receive their first vaccine dose by Oct. 29 or face unpaid leave. The union is fighting the mandate in court, but a judge has refused to block it in the meantime. It’s not clear what effect the drop in staff will have on the operations of the nation’s largest police force, but de Blasio on Thursday sought to assure New Yorkers they will be safe.
28th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

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Colorado lawsuit tests religious exemptions to COVID vaccine mandates

The doctor, one of the protagonists of this story, is a pediatric intensive care specialist in Colorado Springs working with some of the sickest children in the state. She’s unvaccinated against COVID-19, despite both state and employer mandates requiring vaccination. In one telling of this tale, the doctor is the hero, a devoutly religious person who has made a moral choice consistent with those beliefs and is being unconstitutionally punished for them. In another telling, the doctor is the villain, using her religion as cover for a personal belief that is recklessly endangering her patients and colleagues. Both versions of the story are contained within the pleadings of an ongoing lawsuit in federal court in Denver that challenges the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’s vaccination requirement for physicians and medical students.
27th Oct 2021 - The Colorado Sun

NSW records 304 COVID-19 cases as new law targeting anti-vaxxers come into effect

NSW has introduced a new law stopping people from using fake vaccine certificates after the state recorded 304 new local cases of COVID-19. As of today it is now illegal to present a fake proof of vaccination when attempting to enter venues in NSW. Health Minister Brad Hazzard signed off on the amendment to the public health order yesterday after concerns about people procuring forged certificates. Security experts have warned the federal government's COVID-19 vaccination certificates can be forged within 10 minutes as people can alter or copy versions of the certificates and then change the name shown.
27th Oct 2021 - ABC News

Covid-19 borders: Tourists WILL be back to Australia before the end of year, says Scott Morrison

Tourists will be able to enter Australia without quarantine by the end of the year - but they must be double vaccinated, Scott Morrison has announced. Australia's international border has been closed since March 2020 to reduce the spread of coronavirus and the country has been alone among democratic nations in banning its own citizens from leaving. The move has helped reduce the impact of Covid-19, which has only claimed 1,669 lives in Australia, compared with 140,000 in the UK and 739,000 in the US.
27th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

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Thousands of Nicaraguans go to Honduras border for vaccines

Nearly 8,000 Nicaraguans received COVID-19 vaccines at two customs border crossings with neighboring Honduras in recent days, Honduran health authorities said on Monday, as supplies of the inoculations in Nicaragua have run low. Promoting the vaccines for Nicaraguans, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez wrote in a post on Twitter that "the solidarity and brotherhood of Hondurans crosses borders." He added that up to 500 doses were being given out daily to Nicaraguans. Honduran health authorities also pitched the cross-border assistance as a way to help beat back the risk of more infections at home.
26th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New York City Inches Toward Covid-19 Becoming Endemic

Each wave of Covid-19 patients that has crashed through the doors of Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens has been more manageable than the last. In the spring of 2020 and the following winter, the hospital needed extra spaces to care for Covid-19 patients in need of oxygen and struggling to breathe. At the height of the Delta surge this summer and fall, Covid-19 patients didn’t fill its ICU. “We’re seeing it more as a chronic problem than as an immediate, huge pandemic problem like we were before,” said Mangala Narasimhan, a critical-care pulmonologist and director of critical-care services at Northwell Health, a large health system in the New York region that includes Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
26th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Beijing Marathon postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19

The Beijing Marathon has been postponed indefinitely after Sunday's race was called off amid rising COVID-19 cases in China, the BBC quoted organisers as saying. Organisers said they were cancelling next weekend's race "in order to prevent the risk of the epidemic spreading (and) effectively protect the health and safety of the majority of runners, staff and residents," the BBC reported. The marathon was set to return this year after it was suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19. The Wuhan Marathon, which was due to be held last Sunday, was also called off with a new date yet to be determined.
26th Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Red Cross urges action for Papua New Guinea as COVID-19 overwhelms health system

Concerted international action is needed to support Papua New Guinea as a surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelms the Pacific country's health system, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Monday. Coronavirus cases in the island nation of 9 million have been surging in recent weeks, with 385 new cases recorded on Thursday, according to latest available government data. There have been 26,731 officially confirmed cases and 329 deaths in the country 150 km (90 miles) north of Australia.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Facebook takes down Bolsonaro video over false vaccine claim

Facebook late on Sunday removed a video by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro from its platforms, in which the far-right leader made a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines were linked with developing AIDS. "Our policies don't allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people," a Facebook spokesperson said on Monday.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Rural areas, hit hard by COVID-19, lack access to new treatment trials

Three-quarters of rural Americans live more than an hour from the nearest site testing new treatments for COVID-19, research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine reveals. Overall, almost a third of Americans would have to travel more than 60 minutes to access new therapies as they are being tested. This geographic disparity limits access to COVID-19 clinical trials in many parts of the country that are being hit hardest by the latest wave of the pandemic. Native Americans and Alaska Natives are particularly affected, with more than 50% living more than 60 minutes from a trial site.
25th Oct 2021 - EurekAlert!

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Endemic Covid-19 Has Arrived in Portugal. This Is What It Looks Like.

Close to 100% of people over the age of 50 have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Portuguese government. For those between the ages of 25 and 49 it is 95% and from 12 to 17 it is 88%. Some 89% of Portugal’s entire population of 10 million has had at least one vaccine dose, not far behind the rate in the world-leading United Arab Emirates, compared with 65% in the U.S. and 73% in the U.K., according to Oxford University’s Our World in Data. Portugal has been averaging six deaths a day for the past month, compared with almost 300 at the peak in January. Adjusted for population, the current rate equates to about 200 in the U.S. The deaths plunged to one or two a day in May and June before rising to 20 in July. The number of new daily recorded infections and hospitalizations has been trending down since the summer. The country is now averaging about 750 new cases a day, compared with almost 13,000 in January. There are about 320 people hospitalized, down from almost 6,700 at the peak
24th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Covid: Nicola Sturgeon urged to challenge UK Gov's vaccine 'selfishness'

Nicola Sturgeon has a “duty” to challenge the UK Government over its “staggeringly selfish” stance on providing coronavirus vaccines to poorer nations, campaigners have said. Scottish members of the People’s Vaccine Alliance made the plea to the First Minister as global leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, prepare to take part in the G20 summit in Rome. A new report for the organisation claims that of 1.8 billion Covid vaccine doses that have been promised by richer nations, only 261 million jabs – 14% – have actually been delivered. The Dose of Reality report also said the UK Government had taken 500,000 doses from the Covax programme, a worldwide initiative aimed at ensuring fair access to vaccination.
21st Oct 2021 - HeraldScotland

Only 14% of promised Covid vaccine doses reach poorest nations

Only one in seven Covid vaccine doses promised to the world’s poorest countries have been delivered, a report reveals. Of 1.8bn doses pledged by wealthy nations, just 261m (14%) have arrived in low-income countries, according to the analysis by the People’s Vaccinealliance, a coalition of groups that includes Oxfam, ActionAid and Amnesty International. Nearly a year after vaccines first became available, only 1.3% of people living in the poorest parts of the world are fully vaccinated.
21st Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Unvaccinated players face being barred after AFL issues Covid-19 jab mandate

All AFL and AFLW players will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by mid-February or they will be barred from playing and training. The AFL has released its long-awaited vaccination policy, with clubs to ultimately determine action on staff who do not receive the jab. If players do not have a medical exemption, there will be options to transfer them to the inactive list, pay them no less than 25% of their contracted salary, or agree to part ways. The AFL’s vaccination schedule will be rolled out across three stages, but all players will be required to have the jab eventually.
21st Oct 2021 - The Guardian

WHO estimate: 115,000 health workers have died from Covid-19, as calls for vaccine access grow

Some 115,000 health care workers died from Covid-19 from January 2020 to May of this year, according to a new World Health Organization estimate, as the agency pushed once again for efforts to address vaccine inequity. Globally, 2 in 5 health care workers are fully vaccinated, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing Thursday. But, he added, “that average masks huge differences across regions and economic groupings.” In most high-income countries, more than 80% of health care workers are fully vaccinated, Tedros said. But in Africa, the rate is less than 1 in 10. “The backbone of every health system is its workforce — the people who deliver the services on which we rely at some point in our lives,” Tedros said. “The pandemic is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on health workers and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect our health are themselves unprotected.”
21st Oct 2021 - STAT News

Brazil’s Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

A Brazilian Senate report has recommended pursuing crimes against humanity and other charges against President Jair Bolsonaro over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 66-year-old leader quickly rejected the accusations on Wednesday, insisting that he was “guilty of nothing”. More than 600,000 people in Brazil have died from COVID-19, the second-highest death toll in the world after the United States. The decision to proceed with the charges will depend on Brazil’s prosecutor-general, a Bolsonaro appointee and ally. Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the threat of COVID-19 and touted misinformation and unproven treatments while ignoring international health guidelines on mask use and public activity.
21st Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

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Hundreds protest against Bulgaria's COVID health pass

Hundreds of anti-vaccine protesters joined some political leaders in Sofia on Wednesday to demonstrate against Bulgaria's decision to make a COVID-19 "Green Certificate" mandatory for access to restaurants, theatres and shopping malls. The interim health ministry announced the move on Tuesday to try to slow a surge in infections and deaths in the European Union's least vaccinated country.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Restricting travel over vaccine type could be discrimination, PAHO warns

Countries should grant entry to vaccinated travelers regardless of which shot they received to prevent discrimination and facilitate business, a top official of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday. With vaccination rates on the rise, countries are facing fresh questions about how to contain the spread of COVID-19 while easing pandemic travel restrictions. The United States last week said it would reopen the land border with Mexico - the busiest in the world - but only allow people who have been inoculated with vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO), leaving out two shots heavily used in Mexico - Russia's Sputnik V and one from China's Cansino Biologic
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

They take an oath to do no harm, but these doctors are spreading misinformation about the Covid vaccine

She was a frequent guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show -- an Ivy League-educated OB-GYN who often spoke about women's health and holistic medicine. She was a media darling, and in 2013 made Reader's Digest's annual list of 100 most trusted people in America. If you go to Dr. Christiane Northrup's Facebook page, her posts dispensing advice on health and aging to her 558,000 followers seem consistent with that persona of several years ago. But Northrup also uses her Facebook page to direct followers to Telegram, where another side of her is apparent. Here, on this platform with lax moderation, lies a miasma of misinformation and conspiracy theories. "Best Explanation I've Seen About Why the Covid Jabs Are Killer Shots," reads one post that she shared.
20th Oct 2021 - CNN

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Covid Made London and Paris Cheaper — for the Rich

Yes, remote work has decreased demand for office space, and should eventually soften housing demand too, but it’s not happening yet. Plus, look at city streets and you’ll see how the splendid isolation of the elite, suburban “Zoomocracy” is already starting to backfire: The shift to “hybrid” home and office working has drivers commuting into town at ever more random times. Traffic congestion over the past month in Paris and London has been even worse than the comparable period in 2019, according to TomTom. Cities, after all, are still where the jobs are, especially when it comes to high-skill services — Google Inc. recently announced a 7 million square-foot campus in San Jose.
19th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Religious exemptions threaten to undermine US Covid vaccine mandates

Epidemiologists are concerned that the loophole will embolden the vaccine-hesitant to evade requirements and undermine the state’s progress against the pandemic. And lawyers and legal experts are bracing for a deluge of complaints over the blurry lines that define “sincerely held” objections to the vaccine. Many parents and even some teachers have raised opposition to the mandates, with walkouts and protests already taking place across the state. In rural northern California and conservative patches of the south, parents picketed against the public health measures on Monday, insisting that they wouldn’t “co-parent with the government”. Last week, teachers at a school district in Los Angeles who were denied religious exemptions demonstrated outside the headquarters.
19th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Australian state could fire more than 40 police staff for refusing a Covid-19 vaccine

A total of 43 police staff in the Australian state of Victoria have been stood down from duty and could face being fired after they failed to comply with a Covid-19 vaccine mandate, Victoria Police said. Under Victorian state law, all emergency service workers including police officers were set an October 15 deadline to book a vaccination, and must receive their first dose by Friday. In a statement sent to CNN on Tuesday, Victoria Police said 34 police officers and nine public safety officers who had "not complied with the vaccination direction" had been stood down from active service while they are investigated by the state's Professional Standards Command.
19th Oct 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: Irish press pause on some Covid-19 reopening plans

The Republic of Ireland is to pause some of the measures that had been planned for the reopening of society on Friday 22 October. It follows a rising number of Covid-19 cases in hospitals. The slight pause comes after a recommendation from the country's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). It is being made even though 89% of those aged over 12 are vaccinated. Cabinet ministers have decided to continue the use of Covid certificates for the hospitality sector and for entrance to night clubs which will now open for the first time since March 2020.
19th Oct 2021 - BBC News

No special deals to allow unvaccinated players at Australian Open: official

Australia's Victoria state will not do special deals with unvaccinated athletes to allow them to compete at major events, an official said on Tuesday, putting Novak Djokovic's Australian Open title defence and bid for the Grand Slam record in doubt. World number one Djokovic, level on 20 Grand Slam titles with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, declined to reveal his vaccination status again this week and said he was unsure if he would defend his Australian Open crown as authorities work out COVID-19 restrictions for the tournament
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Ireland to allow nightclubs to reopen, but keeps some COVID curbs

Ireland will allow nightclubs to reopen for the first time since March 2020 but stepped back on Tuesday from plans to drop almost all COVID-19 restrictions in response to a rise in infections in one of the world's most vaccinated countries. After imposing one of Europe's toughest lockdown regimes, the government had hoped to lift most curbs this week including the need for physical distancing and requirement for vaccine certificates in bars and restaurants. Those measures will instead be extended until February, as will a requirement that bars and restaurants operate table service only. Those attending nightclubs must wear facemasks except when eating, drinking and dancing.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

UK under pressure to reimpose restrictions as COVID cases soar

Many scientists are pressing the British government to reimpose social restrictions and speed up booster vaccinations as coronavirus infection rates, already Europe’s highest, rise still further. The United Kingdom recorded 49,156 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the largest number since mid-July. New infections averaged 43,000 a day over the past week, a 15 percent increase compared with the week before. Last week, the Office for National Statistics estimated that one in 60 people in England had the virus, one of the highest levels seen in Britain during the pandemic. In July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government lifted all the legal restrictions that had been imposed more than a year earlier to slow the spread of the virus, including face coverings indoors and social distancing rules. Nightclubs and other crowded venues were allowed to open at full capacity, and people were no longer advised to work from home if they could. Some modellers feared a big spike in cases after the reopening. That did not occur, but infections remained high, and recently have begun to increase.
19th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

Workers denied COVID-19 vaccine exemptions sue hospital

Several employees at the largest hospital system in Massachusetts say in a lawsuit that they were subjected to discrimination and retaliation in violation of federal law when their requests for medical or religious exemptions from the organization’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate were denied. The federal suit was filed Sunday by eight workers at Mass General Brigham. Attorneys for the workers said in a memo attached to the lawsuit that they are not challenging the legality of the vaccine mandate, but are attempting to “prevent discrimination and retaliation based on religion or disability.” “Defendant’s offering of medical and religious exemptions was illusory and not based in accordance with federal law,” the suit says.
19th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Italy's president criticizes violent COVID-19 pass protests

Italy’s president on Monday strongly criticized the violence that has erupted amid protests over the country's new coronavirus workplace health pass requirement, saying it appeared aimed at jeopardizing Italy’s economic recovery. President Sergio Mattarella spoke out as riot police again clashed with protesters at the port in the northern city of Trieste at times using water canons to push them back. The protesters, who have included right-wing agitators in previous episodes, oppose Italy s Green Pass requirement. Italy on Friday became the first major European economy to require all workers — from hairdressers to factory workers — to present proof of vaccination, a negative test within the past 48 hours or proof of having been cured recently of COVID-19 to enter workplaces. The pass had already been required to enter indoor venues like restaurants, museums and theaters, or for long-distance domestic travel.
18th Oct 2021 - The Independent

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Nearly a Third of Chicago Police Have Failed to Report Their Vaccine Status

About one-third of Chicago Police Department employees have not reported their Covid-19 vaccination status to the city, defying Friday’s deadline to provide the information or risk unpaid leave. About 64% of the department’s 12,770 employees have reported their vaccine status with about 36% of police staffers not providing the required information, according to data released by city officials on Monday. That’s the lowest reporting rate among the city’s departments. The figures show that 6,894 say they’re fully vaccinated and 1,333 report they are not, according to the data. About 4,500 from the department have not responded as mandated by the city amid a standoff between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge #7 President John Catanzara Jr.
18th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Biden: Teachers 'most consequential' people after parents

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted a White House ceremony Monday to recognize the 2021 and 2020 national teachers of the year, the state teacher finalists for those years and teachers nationwide, all of whom had to work longer and harder during the pandemic. The president was a surprise guest, walking out onto the South Lawn after the first lady, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and both national teachers had spoken at the ceremony. Biden said teachers are the “single most consequential people in the world,” beyond one’s parents, because of the influence they have over their students.
18th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Reluctant men: reaching South Africa’s most hesitant groups with the Covid-19 vaccine

Many men must choose between hustling to find something that will put bread on the table, or going to queue at a health facility.” Laura Lopez Gonzalez explores South Africa’s efforts to persuade men to get the jab.
18th Oct 2021 - Yahoo News UK

COVID-19: Italian police use water cannon to disperse workers protesting against mandatory COVID pass

Italian police used water cannon and tear gas to break up a demonstration in the port of Trieste, where workers protested against the government's mandatory COVID pass. Under the new rule, workers will be suspended without pay and could face a fine of up to 1,500 euros if they try to work without the COVID pass.
18th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Social distancing at Mecca’s Grand Mosque dropped

The Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has returned to operating at full capacity, with worshippers praying shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began. On Sunday, floor markings that guide people to social distance in and around the Grand Mosque were removed. “This is in line with the decision to ease precautionary measures and to allow pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque at full capacity,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. Pictures and footage on Sunday morning showed people praying side by side in straight rows of worshippers, the formation revered in Muslim prayers, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last year. While social distancing measures were lifted, authorities said visitors must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus and must continue to wear masks on mosque grounds.
17th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

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Brazil pandemic probe to recommend Bolsonaro face 11 criminal charges, senator says

A Brazilian Senate probe into the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will recommend in its final report due next week that President Jair Bolsonaro face 11 criminal charges, the senator leading the inquiry said on Friday, though it remains highly unlikely that he will face a trial on any such charges.
17th Oct 2021 - Reuters

We cannot continue to ignore the COVID childcare crisis

The world is facing a global care crisis that we must address urgently. When children live in unstable family environments or lose crucial family bonds at an early age, it can have irreversible consequences on the rest of their lives. We see it when we meet children like eight-month-old Aleksander* and his 10-year-old sister Natalyia, who both live in Ukraine. Tragically, they recently lost their mother who was raising them as a single parent. Local child protection authorities put them in the care of their father, Ivan. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ivan lost his job and also found himself unable to adequately provide for the children. The pandemic exacerbated the suffering of children like Alexander and Natalyia all over the world.
16th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Opinion | The Unvaccinated May Not Be Who You Think

Reality has refuted dire predictions about how Americans would respond to vaccine mandates. In a poll in September, 72 percent of the unvaccinated said they would quit if forced to be vaccinated for work. There were news articles warning of mass resignations. When large employers, school districts, and hospital systems did finally mandate vaccines, people subject to mandates got vaccinated, overwhelmingly. After United Airlines mandated vaccines, there were only 232 holdouts among 67,000 employees. Among about 10,000 employees in state-operated health care facilities in North Carolina, only 16 were fired for noncompliance.
16th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Horse race marks Sydney's emergence from long COVID-19 lockdown

Thousands of Sydney residents flocked to a prominent horse race on Saturday, as Australia's biggest city emerges from a strict COVID-19 lockdown and the nation begins to live with the coronavirus through extensive vaccination. Up to 10,000 fully vaccinated spectators can now attend races such as The Everest in Sydney, Australia's richest turf horse race, and the country's most famous, Melbourne Cup Day, on Nov. 2. New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, reached its target of 80% of people fully vaccinated on Saturday, well ahead of the rest of Australia.
16th Oct 2021 - Reuters

They Resisted Getting Vaccinated. Here’s Why They Changed Their Minds.

Mandates have prompted a surge in vaccinations among those who had held out. Some report feeling relief; others, anguish and resentment. The uptick in vaccinations has contributed, experts say, to a flattening of the virus curve in New York City, where the numbers of new infections and hospitalizations have been falling — a trend across the United States as well. Yet with winter approaching, public health experts are watching closely for yet another rise in infections. New York’s vaccination rate is higher than that of the country as a whole, with two out of every three residents fully inoculated. Still, about one million adult New Yorkers have not gotten at least one vaccine dose.
15th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

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Queensland cops take police to court over Covid vaccine mandates

Queensland Police have been told by their commissioner to get Covid vaccine But 50 furious staff members are taking the fight to court and refuse to get vax Dozens of officers have already been suspended after not getting vaccinated Mandatory vaccination is becoming an increasingly controversial issue In NSW, people must be double-jabbed just to go to shops or the pub
14th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Anti-vaxxers paying $500 for fake Australian Covid vaccine passports that work to enter venues

More than a dozen accounts selling fake vaccine passports set up on Telegram One website is offering counterfeit Australian government documents for $500 Sources have told Daily Mail Australia they are aware of them working in Sydney A woman said her colleague was using one to successfully enter businesses The reports comes as Victoria and ACT prepare to reopen as they hit jab targets
14th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

U.S. pastors, advocacy groups mobilize against COVID-19 vaccine mandates

From the outside, First Harvest Ministries in Waveland, Mississippi, could almost be mistaken for a storage shed were it not for the steeple. From the modest building however, Shane Vaughn, the Pentecostal church's pastor, has helped spearhead an online movement promoting personal faith as a way around workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandates. He posts form letters for U.S. workers seeking religious exemptions that have been downloaded from his website around 40,000 times, according to a screen shot of web traffic he shared with Reuters.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

How to Deal With an Anti-Vaxxer at a Holiday Dinner

So at a holiday gathering, plan a collaborative activity, like a puzzle, or Legos, or prepping dinner. Then get people telling stories—about how they made big life decisions, about lessons from loved ones they never forgot. Personal stories, personal truths—that’s how you coax out their values. You allow people to build bridges to their better selves. You’ll return to those values to find common ground and make your case. You persuade them by reminding them of the trust you’ve built and the values you share.
14th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

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South Korea launches panel to debate 'living with COVID-19'

South Korea established a panel on Wednesday to debate a strategy on how to "live with COVID-19" in the long-term, as the country seeks to phase out coronavirus restrictions and reopen the economy amid rising vaccination levels. Under the strategy, the government aims to relax coronavirus restrictions for citizens who can prove they have been fully vaccinated, while encouraging asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 patients aged below 70 to recover at home, the health ministry said last week. The government will also focus on the number of hospitalisations and deaths rather than new daily infections, and will consider not publishing the latter on a daily basis, Yonhap news agency has reported.
13th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Neo-fascists exploit ‘no-vax’ rage, posing dilemma for Italy

An extreme-right party’s violent exploitation of anger over Italy’s coronavirus restrictions is forcing authorities to wrestle with the country’s fascist legacy and fueling fears there could be a replay of last week’s mobs trying to force their way to Parliament. Starting Friday, anyone entering workplaces in Italy must have received at least one vaccine dose, or recovered from COVID-19 recently or tested negative within two days, using the country’s Green Pass to prove their status. Italians already use the pass to enter restaurants, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment, or to take long-distance buses, trains or domestic flights. But 10,000 opponents of that government decree turned out in Rome’s vast Piazza del Popolo last Saturday in a protest that degenerated into alarming violence.
13th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

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Australians Planning to Get Covid Vaccine More Optimistic: Westpac

Australian consumers who intend to get vaccinated are far more optimistic than those who don’t intend to have a jab, Westpac Banking Corp.’s October household sentiment survey showed. Respondents who are not vaccinated but intend to be recorded an index reading of 122 points, while those who aren’t vaccinated and don’t intend to be posted a reading of 84.8, Westpac’s monthly survey showed Wednesday. The overall consumer sentiment index slid 1.5% from last month to 104.6. “The confidence level of those not intending to get vaccinated has also fallen quite sharply in the last month,” said Bill Evans, chief economist at Westpac. “Encouragingly, the size of this group has fallen as well, accounting for only 6% of respondents in the October survey compared to 9% in September and just under 20% at the start of the year.”
13th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Schools are new battleground in war of disinformation over Covid-19 vaccines

The rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations to schoolchildren in the United Kingdom has opened up a new front in the disinformation war: anti-vax campaigners are now taking their protests to the school gates. Groups opposed to vaccination have sought to stoke the fears of parents and children by falsely claiming that the vaccines are untested and dangerous. Last week, a small group of protesters demonstrated outside St. Thomas More Catholic School in the town of Blaydon, near Newcastle in northeastern England, as children entered the school gates.
12th Oct 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: Thailand reopens to vaccinated UK travellers, as visiting dozens of destinations now easier after red list cut to just seven countries

Thailand will end quarantine for fully vaccinated UK travellers, as British COVID advice has been relaxed making it easier to visit almost 90 countries. Forty-seven nations were taken off the red list at 4am, meaning anyone arriving from places including South Africa, Brazil and Argentina no longer need to quarantine in a hotel.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Demand for Holyrood inquiry on Covid-19 handling after damning MP report

The call comes after the publication of a report by Westminster MPs labelled the UK Government’s early response to the pandemic “one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced”. The report, from the cross-party joint committee of the health and social care and science and technology committees, concluded that there was an element of “groupthink” around the UK Government’s approach to herd immunity.
12th Oct 2021 - The Scotsman

Covid-19: Ethnic minority deaths were ‘unacceptably high’ during pandemic, MPs say

A damning report from MPs has slammed the “unacceptably high” death rates among people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. The study, from the cross-party Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee, said serious errors and delays, including on testing, care homes and the timing of the first lockdown, have cost lives during the virus outbreak. The pandemic exacerbated existing social, economic and health inequalities among ethnic minority communities, the MPs said.
12th Oct 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: 'A slap in the face' - Families of pandemic victims attack MPs' report and call for judge-led inquiry

Families of COVID-19 victims have attacked an MPs' report into government failings during the pandemic as "laughable" and a "slap in the face" - and say a judicial inquiry is needed to get to the truth. The report said decisions on lockdowns and social distancing early in the pandemic were "one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced" and cost thousands of lives. It said "groupthink" among officials meant chances to delay the spread of the virus were missed, and it was a "serious early error" not to lock down sooner.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

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Russian spy ‘stole Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine blueprint and used it to develop Sputnik jab’

Russian spies stole the blueprint for the Oxford/AstraZenecacoronavirus vaccine and used it to create their own Sputnik V jab, according to reports. UK security services have allegedly told ministers they now have solid proof an agent stole vital information from the pharmaceutical company, including the blueprint, according to The Sun. The late security minister James Brokenshire last year said Britain was “more than 95 per cent sure” Russian state-sponsored hackers had targeted the UK, US and Canada in attacks on drug companies.
12th Oct 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Report shows despite UK's vaccine success massive mistakes were made

The UK's independent inquiry into COVID-19 is due to launch in Spring 2022. Until then, this parliamentary report is the best assessment we are likely to get into the government's pandemic response. And putting aside the success of the vaccine and former health secretary Matt Hancock's "100,000 tests target", the cross-party committee's conclusions are damning. The government's initial "fatalistic" approach was "a serious early error". The test, trace and isolate system was "often chaotic" and "ultimately failed". Thousands of care home deaths "could have been avoided".
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Covid vaccine: Why these US workers won't get jabbed

Joe Biden has been urging US employers to issue ultimatums to their staff: get vaccinated, or lose your job. The president says he will soon bring in a mandate that requires all healthcare workers to have had the jab, and has urged states to do the same with teachers. In Concord, New Hampshire, it is striking to see some of those attending a large protest against vaccine mandates wearing hospital scrubs. Leah Cushman is prepared to lose her nursing job rather than get vaccinated. "My beliefs are religious. I believe that my creator endowed me with an immune system that protects me, and if I get sick, that's an act of God.
11th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Jeremy Vine ‘unnerved’ after home targeted by anti-vaccine protesters

The television and radio presenter Jeremy Vine has said he was unnerved after anti-vaccine protesters targeted his home. Vine tweeted that the group tried to serve what it called an “anti-vaxx writ” while he was out, instead giving it to his wife. The BBC and Channel 5 broadcaster said the group was angry at the BBC’s reporting on the issue of coronavirus vaccines, adding: “They were polite, for which I’m grateful, but coming to my home on a Sunday? And I’m a little unnerved by the heavy breathing too.”
11th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Romania remains vaccine sceptical despite surge in COVID-19 cases

In leafy Romanian villages surrounding the capital Bucharest, few people realise one person has died from COVID-19 every six minutes in the country during the first 10 days of October, and vaccine scepticism remains high. These villages have some of the highest COVID-19 infection numbers and lowest vaccination rates in the country, which is being ravaged by the fourth wave of the pandemic, with ambulances queuing outside hospitals filled to the brim. Daily transmission numbers are rising across Central and Eastern European states, and Romania is experiencing record case and death rates as it grapples with the European Union's second-lowest vaccination rate.
11th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Malaysia and Singapore ease international travel restrictions in pivot to living with Covid

Singapore and Malaysia have each revealed plans to start reopening their borders as the Southeast Asian neighbors move away from their zero-Covid strategies toward living with the virus. Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Sunday the country would end its domestic and international travel restrictions for fully vaccinated residents from Monday, after reaching its target of full inoculation for 90% of the adult population. It comes one day after Singapore added eight new countries to its vaccinated and quarantine-free travel lanes -- the most significant easing of travel restrictions since borders shut last March.
11th Oct 2021 - CNN

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Moderna, Racing for Profits, Keeps Covid Vaccine Out of Reach of Poor

Moderna, whose coronavirus vaccine appears to be the world’s best defense against Covid-19, has been supplying its shots almost exclusively to wealthy nations, keeping poorer countries waiting and earning billions in profit. After developing a breakthrough vaccine with the financial and scientific support of the U.S. government, Moderna has shipped a greater share of its doses to wealthy countries than any other vaccine manufacturer, according to Airfinity, a data firm that tracks vaccine shipments. About one million doses of Moderna’s vaccine have gone to countries that the World Bank classifies as low income. By contrast, 8.4 million Pfizer doses and about 25 million single-shot Johnson & Johnson doses have gone to those countries.
9th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Govt slams 'Pfizer jab is a killer' claim

The government has condemned a claim that the Pfizer mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, being offered to students aged 12-17 as part of the plan to reopen schools in November, will have fatal consequences for all recipients within two years. In a message spread via the Line app by several teenage groups campaigning against the Pfizer vaccination programme for young people, it was claimed the vaccine was a tool for committing genocide against young people as they would eventually die within two years if injected with the vaccine, said Dr Chawetsan Namwat, director of the Emergency Health Hazard and Disease Control Division. This claim is believed to have fuelled fears among the parents of many students who appear reluctant to give their consent to have their children vaccinated, he said.
9th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

San Francisco to welcome cruise ships after 19-month hiatus

Cruise ships are returning to San Francisco after a 19-month hiatus brought on by the pandemic in what’s sure to be a boost to the city’s economy, the mayor announced Friday. The Majestic Princess will sail into the port of San Francisco Monday, the first cruise ship to dock in the San Francisco Bay Area since March 2020 when the Grand Princess captured the world’s attention and made the coronavirus real to millions in the United States. The ship was carrying people infected with the coronavirus, and thousands of passengers aboard were quarantined as the ship idled off the California coast. The port of San Francisco, home to the Bay Area’s only passenger cruise terminal, expects to welcome 21 cruise ships through the remainder of the year.
9th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

The Pandemic’s Toll on Women’s Careers

For all the change brought on by the pandemic, women in white-collar roles still made strides at nearly every level of U.S. companies last year, a comprehensive new study shows. The proportion of women in the corporate workforce didn’t decline significantly last year, and the number of women holding some senior roles increased, according to data from the 2021 Women in the Workplace report by McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.Org. But the report also found that women are experiencing higher rates of burnout than men, and are questioning whether they want to remain with their companies and on their existing career paths. Lareina Yee, a senior partner at McKinsey who previously served as the firm’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, and Rachel Thomas, Lean In’s co-founder and CEO, spoke separately with the Journal about some of the takeaways from this year’s report. Here are edited excerpts of the conversations.
9th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Give Asian youth a voice to decide their post-pandemic future

Like many of her generation, Pauline Mandrilla, a 23-year-old civil engineer from Manila, suddenly found herself jobless when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Mandrilla felt like a statistic, as she joined the ranks of some 22 per cent of unemployed Philippine youth affected by the pandemic’s economic fallout. “During the onset of the pandemic, we were placed in a no-work, no-pay situation,” Mandrilla recalled. “My previous job heavily relied on my being physically present on a construction site, but because of the quarantine restrictions, which halted public transportation in my region, I couldn’t go to work.”
8th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

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Divorced parents are going to court over vaccinating their kids against the coronavirus

Veronica was in her garden in New England when she got the email ping from her ex-husband in early May. “I started to have a panic attack,” says Veronica, who is not using her last name for privacy reasons. Her ex wanted a court to decide whether their 12-year-old daughter could be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The timing was terrible. “It was the day before I had her appointment scheduled,” she says. Divorced parents who disagree about coronavirus vaccination are taking their fights to court. The tensions have been fueled by inconsistent mask rules, misinformation and reports of more children hospitalized for covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
7th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Man sentenced to 15 months in prison for spreading COVID-19 hoax on Facebook

Christopher Charles Perez, 40, made a Facebook post in April 2020 falsely claiming that he paid a COVID patient to lick items at a San Antonio grocer. He also made a post threatening to spread the virus at another area store. Investigators and Perez's confession revealed his posts to be false. He was found guilty of criminal false information and hoaxes related to biological weapons. Perez was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release that requires him to seek mental health treatment, and fined $1,000
7th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: NI schools warned about hoax vaccine letters

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has warned post primary schools in Northern Ireland about hoax Covid vaccine consent letters. Some schools have received emails claiming to come from the NHS, which contain a "consent checklist" for vaccination. The email asks them to share the checklist with parents and pupils. But the PHA said "the false email and 'consent form' content contains a number of important inaccuracies". It should "not be forwarded to parents," the PHA said. BBC News NI has been contacted by some principals in Northern Ireland whose schools have received the hoax consent forms. They are presented as a form with information to be sent to parents ahead of pupils being given Covid vaccinations.
7th Oct 2021 - BBC News

More than 120,000 US kids had caregivers die during pandemic

The number of U.S. children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be larger than previously estimated, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans, a new study suggests. More than half the children who lost a primary caregiver during the pandemic belonged to those two racial groups, which make up about 40% of the U.S. population, according to the study published Thursday by the medical journal Pediatrics. “These findings really highlight those children who have been left most vulnerable by the pandemic, and where additional resources should be directed,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. Alexandra Blenkinsop of Imperial College London, said in a statement.
7th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

‘Reaching a detente’ with SARS-CoV-2: Helen Branswell on covering Covid-19, misinformation and more

On Wednesday, STAT senior writer Helen Branswell spoke with Seth Mnookin, director of the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing. The AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards sponsored the talk as part of its annual fall lecture series and in honor of Sharon Begley. Branswell spoke about Begley’s legacy, reporting on infectious diseases, and the past and future of the Covid-19 pandemic. Highlights from the conversation have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
6th Oct 2021 - STAT News

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BofA Gives $200 to Merrill Staff Who Confirm Vaccination Status

Bank of America Corp. is offering $200 awards to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management branch employees who return to the workplace and confirm they’re fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The company will give the award to client associates, administrative support and operations staff “in recognition of the important work they are doing as the business has transitioned back into the office,” a Merrill spokesman said in a statement to Bloomberg News. While the new policy stops short of being a mandate like those put in place by United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Microsoft Corp., Bank of America is following other U.S. companies in providing a financial incentive to get the shots. Delta Air Lines Inc. is imposing a $200 monthly surcharge on employees who aren’t vaccinated.
6th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Anti-vaxxers tear down Covid testing site in New York

Two anti-vaxx demonstrators attacked a Covid-19 testing site on Monday, during a protest against New York state’s vaccine mandate. A video caught the men in Union Square flipping over a table next to a mobile coronavirus testing van, tearing down the tent erected next to it and tossing a chair, before police intervened to stop them permanently destroying any property. Protesters at the rally shouted “boo” and “shame on you” at the staff member working at the Covid-19 testing site as they went past, followed by chants of “no vaccine mandate”.
6th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Texas man sentenced to 15 months in prison for posting Covid-19 hoax on social media

A Texas man was sentenced to more than a year in federal prison for spreading a hoax related to Covid-19 on social media, prosecutors said. Evidence showed Christopher Charles Perez, 40, posted two threatening messages on Facebook in April 2020, falsely claiming he paid someone infected with Covid-19 to "lick items at grocery stores in the San Antonio area to scare people away" from the businesses, the US Attorney's Office in the Western District of Texas said in a news release Monday.
6th Oct 2021 - CNN

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How has COVID-19 affected Australia’s homeless?

When Melbourne went into lockdown between March and October last year, the city’s rough sleepers were considered to be at high risk. Without a secure and isolated place in which to lock down, the concern was that they could easily catch and transmit COVID-19. The Victorian government responded by providing funding for people experiencing homelessness to access hotel rooms across the city, which were empty due to the lack of tourists. Dave Lovelock is an outreach worker at Launch Housing, a not-for-profit organisation that assists people experiencing homelessness. Launch Housing are one of a number of similar organisations who were involved with the government hotel programme due to their close connections with rough sleepers. Dave Lovelock’s job was to scour the streets to find people who were at risk of rough sleeping during the pandemic and offer them a place to stay at one of the designated hotels.
5th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Anti-vaccine villagers in Guatemala hold coronavirus team

Anti-vaccine residents of a village in Guatemala seized and held a team of nurses who were trying to administer coronavirus shots Monday, authorities said. The team was held for about seven hours in the village of Nahuila, in the province of Alta Verapaz, north of Guatemala City. The villagers said they didn’t want the shots, and later blocked a road and let the air out of the nurses' tires. A cooler and about 50 doses of vaccine were destroyed. Police and local officials later negotiated their release. Officials said they had previously encountered villages that rejected vaccination teams, but Gabriel Sandoval, the director of the provincial health department, said it was the first time they faced such physical opposition.
5th Oct 2021 - ABC News

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Doctors grow frustrated over COVID-19 denial, misinformation

The COVID-19 patient's health was deteriorating quickly at a Michigan hospital, but he was having none of the doctor's diagnosis. Despite dangerously low oxygen levels, the unvaccinated man didn't think he was that sick and got so irate over a hospital policy forbidding his wife from being at his bedside that he threatened to walk out of the building. Dr. Matthew Trunsky didn’t hold back in his response: “You are welcome to leave, but you will be dead before you get to your car,’” he said. Such exchanges have become all-too-common for medical workers who are growing weary of COVID-19 denial and misinformation that have made it exasperating to treat unvaccinated patients during the delta-driven surge. The Associated Press asked six doctors from across the country to describe the types of misinformation and denial they see on a daily basis and how they respond to it.
4th Oct 2021 - The Independent

HS: Majority of Finns don't accept refusing coronavirus vaccine on principle

A clear majority of Finns do not approve of people who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus on principle, finds a poll by Helsingin Sanomat. Almost two-thirds (63%) of the poll respondents viewed that refusing to get vaccinated on principle was unacceptable and over one-quarter (27%) that doing so was acceptable. Understanding for the decision was limited especially among older respondents, with over 80 per cent of over 70-year-olds saying refusing on principle is unacceptable. Roughly a half of under 30-year-olds estimated that it is acceptable and 41 per cent that it is unacceptable to turn down the vaccine on principle.
4th Oct 2021 - Helsinki Times

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COVID-19: Mother warns coronavirus 'can happen to anybody' after teenage daughter dies on day she was to get vaccine

A mother has warned that anyone can die from COVID-19, even young people, after her teenage daughter died just days after contracting the virus. Jorja Halliday, 15, from Portsmouth, died at the Queen Alexandra Hospital on 28 September after she tested positive for the coronavirus four days earlier. Her mother, Tracy Halliday, 40, said: "Some children are sort of a bit blasé about, the say 'it's not going to happen to me, I'm going to be fine'. I just want people to know that it can happen to anybody, at any age, at any time. Even if you're young and healthy."
3rd Oct 2021 - Sky News

Get a friend vaccinated and eat out on us, Swiss govt tells citizens

Swiss citizens who persuade their friends to get COVID-19 shots can look forward to a free restaurant meal or cinema outing courtesy of the state, under a scheme aimed at boosting the country's low vaccination rate. Switzerland has witnessed numerous anti-vaxxer protests and 42% of its 8.7 million population are not yet fully vaccinated, relatively high by European standards. Announcing what he admitted was an unusual incentive scheme to bring that number down, Health Minister Alain Berset told a news conference in Bern: "The immunisation rate ...remains very low and this means we cannot end containment measures."
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

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AP-NORC poll: Virus fears linger for vaccinated older adults

Bronwyn Russell wears a mask anytime she leaves her Illinois home, though she wouldn’t dream of going out to eat or to hear a band play, much less setting foot on a plane. In Virginia, Oliver Midgette rarely dons a mask, never lets COVID-19 rouse any worry and happily finds himself in restaurants and among crowds. She is vaccinated. He is not. In a sign of the starkly different way Americans view the coronavirus pandemic, vaccinated older adults are far more worried about the virus than the unvaccinated and far likelier to take precautions despite the protection afforded by their shots, according to a new poll out Wednesday from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
30th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Health workers once saluted as heroes now get threats

More than a year after U.S. health care workers on the front lines against COVID-19 were saluted as heroes with nightly clapping from windows and balconies, some are being issued panic buttons in case of assault and ditching their scrubs before going out in public for fear of harassment. Across the country, doctors and nurses are dealing with hostility, threats and violence from patients angry over safety rules designed to keep the scourge from spreading. “A year ago, we’re health care heroes and everybody’s clapping for us,” said Dr. Stu Coffman, a Dallas-based emergency room physician. “And now we’re being in some areas harassed and disbelieved and ridiculed for what we’re trying to do, which is just depressing and frustrating.”
30th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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UK’s Johnson says COVID bereaved will have role in inquiry

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday he will appoint a chair this year to the planned public inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic and that bereaved families will have a role in the proceedings. Following a “very emotional” meeting with the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, Johnson said the experiences of those who have suffered a loss during the pandemic would form a major part of the public inquiry. “And obviously, there’s very little I could say to mitigate their own suffering,” he said. “But what I did say was that we were determined to make sure that the experience of the bereaved was something we took account of.” The event, which took place more than a year after the prime minister promised to meet the bereaved, lasted just over an hour and took place outside at the request of the families. Five members of the group, which included co-founder Jo Goodman, shared how their loved ones caught the virus and died.
28th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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Boris Johnson meets with members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families group for first time... 18 months after first death to the virus was recorded in UK

Boris Johnson is meeting a group of families bereaved by coronavirus - more than a year after he first promised to do so - with the PM to be told by campaigners: 'If we'd been listened to - other lives might have been spared'. The Prime Minister held a private meeting with members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group in the Downing Street garden this afternoon, with each person attending carrying an A4 photo of the loved-one they lost. Families have asked for it to take place outdoors with social distancing and said they would tell Mr Johnson how their loved ones caught the virus and died, and repeat their calls for a public inquiry to start.
28th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

How Covid Misinformation Created a Run on Ivermectin

For months, the veterinary center in West Point, Miss., had watched its supplies of the drug dwindle. Dr. Karen Emerson, the veterinarian who owns the hospital, started the year with one 500-milliliter bottle of ivermectin, which she uses to kill parasites in dogs, chickens and other patients. But as the bottle emptied and her staff tried to find more, they were able to obtain only a 50-milliliter vial. Everyone else told them: None available. So Dr. Emerson began rationing the medicine to give to snakes and other exotic animals for which she had no other deworming treatment. She told dog owners to pay for a more available replacement drug that can cost seven times as much.
28th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

South Africa, Oxfam call for fairer trade rules in response to pandemic

South Africa's president and the head of Oxfam heaped pressure on World Trade Organization members and manufacturers to allow fairer access to COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday, including through a waiver on intellectual property rights. At a WTO public event on trade and COVID-19 also attended by German vaccine maker BioNTech, Cyril Ramaphosa said a waiver on patents was needed to save millions of lives during the pandemic,
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

For many families, the countdown has begun to coronavirus vaccines for younger children

For almost a year, Whitney Kuhn has been trying to escape the grip of long-haul symptoms after contracting covid-19. And she has not stopped worrying about how to protect her 10-year-old son, Tyler, from the illness she experienced. She has been too anxious to go on family vacations, visit relatives for the holidays or even take Tyler to the grocery store. She has pulled him from basketball — his favorite sport — and other extracurriculars. And when he had to return to school, she could only hope his classmates wore their masks the right way.
28th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Connecticut doctor's license suspended for providing blank, signed Covid-19 exemption forms, health department says

A Connecticut doctor's state physician and surgeon license has been suspended for providing blank, signed exemption forms related to the Covid-19 vaccine, Covid testing, general vaccines and medical opposition to wearing facial masks, the state Department of Public Health said. Connecticut's Medical Examining Board suspended the license through a unanimous decision last week, the department said in a news release. Retired physician Sue Mcintosh of Durham, who is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, was giving signed forms to people without physically meeting them or examining them, the department said. She would provide the exemption forms to anyone who provided a self-addressed stamped envelope requesting one, they said.
28th Sep 2021 - CNN

Covid-19 may stay with us forever

The major problem is that the rise of more infectious strains of Sars-CoV-2 have quashed hopes of herd immunity, even in countries with high vaccine uptake. Scientists such as Francois Balloux, who directs the UCL Genetics Institute, say that this outcome was inevitable as soon as Covid-19 became a truly global pandemic. “I believe the opportunity for global eradication was gone very, very early in the pandemic,” says Balloux. “You can eliminate it locally, but as long as there’s a focus somewhere in the world, whether that’s Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, it will eventually come back. As of February 2020, it was clear that elimination would not be possible.”
28th Sep 2021 - Wired.co.uk

New Austrian anti-lockdown party seeking more seats after election coup

A new Austrian political party that opposes lockdowns, compulsory mask-wearing and other coronavirus restrictions hopes to spread across the country after surprisingly securing seats in one of Austria's nine provincial parliaments on Sunday. People Freedom Fundamental Rights (MFG), a newly created party that campaigned online and with a tour of bars and restaurants, stunned many observers by securing 6.2% of the vote in Upper Austria's election on Sunday, above the 4% threshold required to enter the provincial parliament. The province of Upper Austria, home to Linz, the country's third-biggest city, and bordering Germany and the Czech Republic, is home to much of Austria's heavy industry.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Crowdsourced Covid Antiviral Project Gets $11 Million in Funding

A crowdsourced effort to design a Covid-19 pill won 8 million pounds ($11 million) in funding from the Wellcome Trust, a significant boost for a project that aims to make a low-cost antiviral broadly available. The project, called Covid Moonshot, started with locked-down scientists around the world sharing data and ideas online in March 2020. Some 250 people eventually submitted more than 4,500 potential molecular designs intended to block the virus’s main protease -- the key protein that helps it replicate. The Wellcome funding will help pay for the expensive last step of research needed to bring the project into human clinical trials.
27th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Thailand to reopen to more vaccinated visitors from November

Thailand will waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in Bangkok and nine regions from Nov. 1 to vaccinated arrivals, authorities said on Monday, as the country tries to boost its immunisation rate and revive its battered tourism sector. The regions include popular tourist areas Chiang Mai, Phangnga, Krabi, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Cha-am, and follow the successful reopening of Phuket and Samui islands to vaccinated people in pilot schemes since July. The regions include popular tourist areas Chiang Mai, Phangnga, Krabi, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Cha-am, and follow the successful reopening of Phuket and Samui islands to vaccinated people in pilot schemes since July.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: England sees biggest fall in life expectancy since records began in wake of pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic led to the biggest year-on-year drop in life expectancy in England since statistics were first collected in 1981, Public Health England has said. In 2020, the agency said that “the very high level” of excess deaths because of the pandemic caused life expectancy in England to fall 1.3 years for men to 78.7 and 0.9 years for women to 82.7. This was the lowest life expectancy in England for both sexes since 2011. Not all countries have reported life expectancy data for 2020 yet. But of those that have, PHE noted that Italy, Poland, and Spain experienced similar decreases in life expectancy to England in 2020, while France had a smaller decrease. Germany had little or no relative excess mortality in men or women. The US and Poland had the highest relative excess mortality in 2020, in both men and women.
27th Sep 2021 - The BMJ

Rowdy celebrations erupt in Norway as COVID restrictions end

Police in Norway on Sunday reported dozens of disturbances and violent clashes including mass brawls in the Nordic country’s big cities after streets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs were filled with people celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions that lasted for more than a year. The Norwegian government abruptly announced Friday that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions would be scrapped beginning Saturday and that life in the nation of 5.3 million would return to normal. The unexpected announcement by outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg to drop coronavirus restrictions the next day took many Norwegians by surprise and led to chaotic scenes in the capital, Oslo, and elsewhere in the country.
26th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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Rowdy celebrations erupt in Norway as COVID restrictions end

Police in Norway have reported dozens of disturbances and violent clashes including mass brawls in the Nordic country’s big cities after streets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs were filled with people celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions
26th Sep 2021 - ABC

A Canadian COVID-19 study that turned out to be wrong has spread like wildfire among anti-vaxxers

An inaccurate Canadian study suggesting an extremely high rate of heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccines has been retracted due to a major mathematical error — but not before it spread like wildfire on anti-vaccination websites and social media. The preprint study, which was released by researchers at the Ottawa Heart Institute last week but has not been peer-reviewed, looked at the rate of myocarditis and pericarditis cases after Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations in Ottawa from June 1 to July 31. The study identified 32 patients with the rare side effects out of a total of 32,379 doses of mRNA vaccines given in Ottawa in the two-month period, finding an inordinately high rate of close to 1 in 1,000 — significantly higher than other international data has shown. But the researchers made a critical error that experts say caused the study to be "weaponized" by the anti-vaccination movement at a time when concern over COVID-19 vaccine side effects are top of mind for parents whose kids may soon get the shot.
25th Sep 2021 - CBC.ca

Doctors scale rockslides, invoke gods to vaccinate Himalayan villages

To visit the Indian village of Malana deep in the Himalayas, a COVID-19 vaccination team scrambled over a landslide that blocked the road the day before, scaled a retaining wall and then began a three-hour trek down and up a river valley. Despite the hostile terrain, the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, where Malana is located, earlier this month became the first in India to administer at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in all its adults. The steep topography was one challenge overcome by health workers walking for hours or days to reach remote villages and another was religious beliefs, as the tourism-dependent state immunised its roughly 5 million adults.
25th Sep 2021 - Reuters India

Dutch protest against COVID-19 vaccine pass to enter bars, restaurants

Hundreds of protesters marched against the introduction of a "corona pass" in the Netherlands on Saturday, as proof of COVID-19 vaccination became compulsory to get into bars, restaurants, theatres and other venues. Hours after the requirement to show the pass or a recent negative coronavirus test took effect, the government of caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte sacked a cabinet minister who had publicly questioned the measure.
25th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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England’s Covid travel rules spark outrage around the world

England’s Covid travel rules and refusal to recognise vaccines administered across huge swaths of the world have sparked outrage and bewilderment across Latin America, Africa and south Asia, with critics denouncing what they called an illogical and discriminatory policy. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, described England’s rules, unveiled last Friday, as “a new simplified system for international travel”. “The purpose is to make it easier for people to travel,” Shapps said. But in many parts of the world there is anger and frustration at the government’s decision to recognise only vaccinations given in a select group of countries.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Guardian

PM Morrison says Melbourne anti-lockdown protesters should be 'ashamed' for actions at war memorial

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called the actions of protestors on Wednesday at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance “disgusting.” More than 200 people were arrested after an intense stand-off between protestors and police at the war memorial. Two police officers were also struck in the head with bottles while one was admitted to hospital with chest pains.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Independent

The World Is at War With Covid. Covid Is Winning.

So when vaccine developers were figuring out how to produce billions of Covid-19 vaccine shots as quickly as possible, they decided to use an alternative: disposable bioreactor bags. At first, it was a win-win. The bags are quicker and cheaper to make than the tanks, and using them can shave precious hours off manufacturing times because they don’t have to be cleaned and sterilized after each use. But before long, even this innovation became an obstacle in the quest to end the Covid pandemic. First, larger vaccine makers bought up many more bags than they could use, leaving smaller vaccine makers with no recourse and potential manufacturing sites underutilized. Then as the vaccination campaign wore on, supplies began drying up altogether. Only a few companies make the bags, and they have little incentive to ramp up their manufacturing efforts because there’s no telling how long the uptick in demand will last.
21st Sep 2021 - The New York Times

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‘Don’t get vaccinated’: Fake funeral home used to promote coronavirus shot

An ad truck appearing to spread anti-vax messaging caused a stir among US football fans in Charlotte, North Carolina, over the weekend. The vehicle, which had a funeral home’s name and website at the bottom of its giant advert, was emblazoned with a plain black board and a slogan which read: “Don't get vaccinated”. As it happens, though, the advert contains a hidden message. There is no “Wilmore Funeral Home”, which the ad claims to represent, and going to its website takes visitors to a landing page instructing them to do the opposite of what it says. “Get vaccinated now” appears on the site, along with a message that says, “If not, see you soon”. The ad agency, BooneOakley, said it was time to get creative and tackle America’s waning Covid-19 vaccine take-up
22nd Sep 2021 - The Independent

California woman who said she was ‘unmasked, unmuzzled, unvaccinated, unafraid’ has died of Covid-19, aged 40

A vocally anti-mask, anti-vaccine woman in California has died of Covid-19. Kristen Lowery, 40, was the mother of four school-age children in Escalon, California. In her Facebook posts, she proclaimed herself a “free thinker” who was “unmasked, unmuzzled, unvaccinated, unafraid”. In one photo, she held up a protest sign reading “Give a voice to the vaccine injured”. In September, her sister wrote that Ms Lowery had been hospitalised with the coronavirus.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Independent

Melbourne police arrest 200 at COVID-19 lockdown protests

Police in Australia's second largest city of Melbourne arrested more than 200 people after projectiles thrown by protesters injured two officers on Wednesday, the third consecutive day of demonstrations against COVID-19 curbs. Golf balls, batteries and bottles were among the items thrown at police during the protests held in defiance of stay-at home orders after a two-week closure of building sites to rein in infections, which rose again in the state of Victoria.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.S. parents weigh risks, benefits as COVID-19 vaccine for kids nears approval

Monday's announcement from Pfizer and BioNTech that a low dose of their coronavirus vaccine proved safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11 in a clinical trial has come as a relief to many parents anxiously awaiting the chance to protect their children. The highly contagious Delta variant of the virus has collided with the start of the U.S. academic year, sending infections among young children soaring - including many cases requiring hospitalization - and forcing thousands of schools to shut for days or even weeks. The companies said they plan to file for regulatory authorization as soon as possible for a 10-microgram dose for children ages 5 to 11 after it led to a strong immune response in a 2,268-participant trial.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

German cashier shooting linked to Covid-19 conspiracies

A man suspected of shooting dead a cashier at a German petrol station has been linked to Covid-19 conspiracy theorists and the far right. The 20-year-old student employee was shot after a row over face masks, in what is thought to be the first killing linked to German Covid rules. Researchers believe the suspect, named only as Mario N, was a far-right supporter and Covid-denier. Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the "heinous" killing. Prosecutors said the killer had initially tried to buy beer at the petrol station in the western town of Idar-Oberstein on Saturday, but left after the cashier refused to serve him as he was without a mask.
22nd Sep 2021 - BBC News

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India Covid-19: Meet the teacher who turned a street into a classroom

Schools across India have been closed for more than a year to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. But most of them, especially government-run schools and those in rural areas or remote parts, have struggled to keep teaching. Patchy or no internet access and a lack of electronic devices such as phones and laptops has meant poorer children have had little to no education since the pandemic started. But in a remote village in India's West Bengal state, primary school teacher Dwipnarayan Naik did not let any of this stop him: he set up an open-air school of sorts, using the outside of buildings as blackboards and the streets as classrooms.
21st Sep 2021 - BBC News

Melbourne police fire pepper balls, pellets to break up COVID-19 protest

Police in Melbourne fired pepper balls and rubber pellets on Tuesday to disperse about 2,000 protesters who defied stay-at- home orders to damage property, block a busy freeway and injure three officers, leading to more than 60 arrests. It was the second day of demonstrations in the locked-down Australian city after authorities shut construction sites for two weeks, saying workers' frequent movement was spreading the coronavirus.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

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COVID has killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu

COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000. The U.S. population a century ago was just one-third of what it is today, meaning the flu cut a much bigger, more lethal swath through the country. But the COVID-19 crisis is by any measure a colossal tragedy in its own right, especially given the incredible advances in scientific knowledge since then and the failure to take maximum advantage of the vaccines available this time. “Big pockets of American society — and, worse, their leaders — have thrown this away,” medical historian Dr. Howard Markel of the University of Michigan said of the opportunity to vaccinate everyone eligible by now.
21st Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Melbourne construction sites shut down after anti-vaccine mandate protest

Australian authorities shut down construction sites in Melbourne for two weeks from Tuesday after an anti-vaccine mandate protest in the city turned violent and COVID-19 infections in the state of Victoria surged. Hundreds of people clashed with union officials with bottles and a crate thrown at them, footage on social media showed, after the Victorian government required all construction workers to have at least one vaccine dose by Friday.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Falters in Bulgaria Amid ‘Perfect Storm’ of Mistrust, Fake News

As a European Union member state, Bulgaria has access to Western-approved Covid-19 vaccines and enough doses for its population. But a mix of misinformation, low trust in authorities and conflicting messaging means less than a fifth of Bulgarians are fully vaccinated. With few takers at home and some shots soon expiring, the government recently donated 172,500 doses to the Kingdom of Bhutan, nearly 4,000 miles away. Some expired shots are being thrown away. Bulgaria, a country of some seven million people, has fully vaccinated far less of its population than the EU average of 61% and the U.S. rate of 54%, according to Our World in Data, a project based at Oxford University. It has emerged as an extreme case study of the challenge to convince vaccine holdouts to get the shot.
20th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

New body launched to self-regulate Covid testing amid No10's crackdown on 'exploitative' firms

New body promises to put a stop to unfair, late, and overpriced Covid travel tests. It comes after the Government promised to crackdown on 'Covid cowboys.' However one member of the new group appears to be in breach of its own rules
20th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Perspective | Doubters' push for religious exemptions from coronavirus vaccination may not work

Compulsory coronavirus vaccination has been a specter hovering over vaccine skeptics throughout the pandemic, but the issue is coming to a head, after President Biden announced federal mandates affecting up to 100 million Americans and such enormous institutions as the Los Angeles Unified School District mandated vaccinations, too. Opponents of vaccination mandates are ready to fight and are aiming to use religious, philosophical and personal-belief exemptions to abstain from required vaccinations. The history behind the process for gaining such an exemption suggests that those seeking religious exemptions to the coronavirus vaccination mandates will not be widely successful. In recent years, many states, including California, Connecticut, New York, Maine and Vermont, rolled back personal-belief exemptions from mandatory vaccination, making it nearly impossible to claim that individual convictions prevent you from being vaccinated.
20th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Can we live with COVID-19? Singapore tries to blaze a path

Only 60 people in Singapore have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic first emerged, and some 82 percent of its population is now fully vaccinated against the disease. In June, the government announced it would move towards a “living with COVID-19” strategy, focusing on tracking and treating outbreak clusters with vaccinations and hospital admissions – but without the strict lockdowns, border closures, and work-from-home orders that have been the defining feature of much of the pandemic across the world.
20th Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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Australian police clash with anti-lockdown protesters, arrest nearly 270

Australia's police arrested 235 people in Melbourne and 32 in Sydney on Saturday at unsanctioned anti-lockdown rallies and several police officers were injured in clashes with protesters. Victoria police said six officers required hospitalisation. Several officers were knocked to the ground and trampled, the police said and television footage showed. About 700 people managed to gather in parts of Melbourne, as 2,000 officers made the city centre virtually a no-go zone, setting up checkpoints and barricades. Public transport and ride shares into the city were suspended.
18th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Nicki Minaj's Covid-19 vaccine 'swollen testicles' claim is false, says Trinidad health minister

Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh criticized as "false" the claim by American rapper Nicki Minaj that a person on the Caribbean island suffered swollen testicles after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Minaj sparked an international furor when she alleged on Twitter that her cousin in Trinidad refuses to get a vaccine because his friend became impotent after being vaccinated. "His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding," Minaj, who has 22.6 million Twitter followers, said. The comments triggered an international backlash, with senior US and British coronavirus officials condemning the claims.
17th Sep 2021 - CNN

Nearly half of Spaniards think Covid-19 vaccination should be mandatory

“Everyone should be forced to get vaccinated even if they don’t want to.” Fully 47.7% of Spaniards checked this answer in a survey about Covid-19 immunization carried out in September by Spain’s Center for Sociological Studies. Another 25.4% said that “nobody should be forced to get vaccinated” while 21.8% said it depends on each case and 4.8% were undecided. These percentages rise considerably for certain professions: 81.5% of respondents said that healthcare personnel, senior home staff and workers who deal directly with the general public should all get mandatory shots. This percentage includes the 47.7% who support obligatory inoculation for everyone regardless of their occupation.
17th Sep 2021 - El País

Facebook targets German anti-lockdown movement

Facebook has cracked down on the anti-Covid restriction movement in Germany, removing dozens of accounts that contribute to “co-ordinated social harm”. Almost 150 accounts and pages on Facebook and Instagram — linked to anti-lockdown demonstrators in the European nation — have been taken off the platform, under a new policy focused on groups that spread misinformation or incite violent. The Querdenken movement includes vaccine and mask opponents, conspiracy theorists and some far-right extremists, and has long protested German virus measures. One post from such an account included a debunked claim that the Covid-19 jab was responsible for creating virus variants, while another wished death upon police officers who broke up violent anti-lockdown protests in Berlin.
17th Sep 2021 - News.com.au

Denmark returns to pre-pandemic life with a huge pop concert

While many in Europe fretted over the Delta variant, university student and care worker Sofie Mari Jensen joined tens of thousands of people at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium to watch the pop-rock band The Minds of 99. The event on September 11, a day after Denmark dropped all coronavirus restrictions, was Europe’s first concert hosting more than 50,000 people since the pandemic began.
17th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Facebook shuts down network linked to German anti-COVID group, launches rules on 'social harms'

Facebook has removed a network of accounts linked to an anti-COVID restrictions movement in Germany as it announced a new crackdown on coordinated campaigns of real users that cause harm on and off its platforms. Reuters exclusively reported on Thursday that Facebook's security teams were expanding the tactics used to take down influence operations using fake accounts to do more wholesale shutdowns of coordinated groups of real-user accounts causing harm, through mass reporting or brigading.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Malaysians enjoy taste of travel after lockdown in tourism restart

The first plane carrying tourists in more than four months touched down on the Malaysian island of Langkawi on Thursday and was greeted by a twin water cannon "salute", in the launch of a programme to revive a travel sector frozen by the pandemic. The first batch of 159 travellers from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, arrived eager for a vacation after a monthslong, nationwide lockdown imposed to address one of Asia's highest per-capital coronavirus infection rates.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

As COVID-19 vaccine mandates rise, religious exemptions grow

An estimated 2,600 Los Angeles Police Department employees are citing religious objections to try to get out of the required COVID-19 vaccination. In Washington state, thousands of state workers are seeking similar exemptions. And in Arkansas, a hospital has been swamped with so many such requests from employees that it is apparently calling their bluff. Religious objections, once used sparingly around the country to get exempted from various required vaccines, are becoming a much more widely used loophole against the COVID-19 shot.
16th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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Conservative radio host who swore off Covid-19 vaccine dies after contracting virus, co-host says

Conservative radio host Pastor Robert "Bob" Enyart, who swore off Covid-19 vaccines, has died from complications due to the virus, his co-host announced on social media. "It comes with an extremely heavy heart that my close friend and co-host of Real Science Radio has lost his battle with Covid," said co-host Fred Williams on Facebook. In October, Enyart won a lawsuit against the state of Colorado over its Covid-19 restrictions, CNN has reported. In a phone call with CNN following the ruling, Enyart said, "We have a right, even an obligation to worship him (God), and that's without government interference."
15th Sep 2021 - CNN

Malaysia's germ-busting clown finds new role in pandemic

When the coronavirus pandemic struck Malaysia, Shaharul Hisam Baharudin, like many others working closely with people, soon lost his work as an entertainer who juggled and sometimes dressed up as a clown. But rather than give up, the 43-year-old from Taiping, in western Malaysia found a new way of using his skills - disinfecting people's homes while wearing his clown's outfit. For his new role, he adapted the smoke machine he had used at parties to become a disinfection device, while providing some extra cheer by entertaining children in his clown outfit, completed by a surgical mask with a painted-on red nose and smile.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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UK health secretary signals the end of PCR COVID-19 tests for travel

Britain's Health Secretary Sajid Javid signalled on Tuesday that a requirement for expensive PCR tests for COVID-19 for international travellers arriving in Britain would be dropped in favour of cheaper lateral-flow-tests. Asked by a lawmaker if lateral flow tests could be used for initial screening, with the small proportion of positive cases then needing a PCR test, Javid said: "I don't want to pre-empt the statement of my right honourable friend the transport secretary but I believe when he makes that statement that my honourable friend will be pleased."
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

‘The virus is painfully real’: vaccine hesitant people are dying – and their loved ones want the world to listen

Matt Wynter, a 42-year-old music agent from Leek, Staffordshire, was working out in his local gym in mid-August when he saw, to his great surprise, that his best friend, Marcus Birks, was on the television. He jumped off the elliptical trainer and listened carefully. The first thing he noticed was that Birks, who was also from Leek and a performer with the dance group Cappella, looked terrible. He was gasping for breath and his face was pale. “Marcus would never usually have gone on TV without having done his hair and had a shave,” Wynter says.
14th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Conservative Colorado radio host and pastor dies from COVID-19 after railing against vaccines

The anti-vax radio host died on Monday after contracting COVID on September 1 He had called for his listeners to boycott the vaccines made by 'child killers' and was notorious for his ruthless stance against LGBT relations and abortions. In October 2020, Enyart filed a lawsuit against the state that reduced the number of people allowed at religious gatherings. Enyart said people have a 'God-given right to worship him, our creator, without the government interfering.' It comes days after Howard Stern mocked a slew of anti-vax radio hosts who died from Covid and described their deaths as 'really funny'
14th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Asia’s Covid-19 Success Stories Warily Ponder Post-Vaccination Moves

Earlier this month, Singapore reached a Covid-19 milestone: The fully vaccinated portion of the population crossed 80%. But instead of moving ahead with a planned reopening pegged to the achievement, the government put on the brakes. That is because cases were rising to several hundred each day after an earlier relaxing of some restrictions, raising fears of a hospital-bed shortage.
14th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid: Significant return to office could see ‘rapid’ rise in hospitalisations, Sage warns

It is “highly likely” that a decrease in the number of people working from home in the next couple of months would lead to a “rapid” rise in hospital admissions for Covid, scientific advisers to the government have warned. Millions of Britons have been heading back to the office this month, coinciding with the return of schools and universities. Last week, London saw its busiest morning rush-hour since the pandemic hit, with hundreds of thousands of journeys made across the city, according to official data. But modelling published on Tuesday by a sub-group of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) suggests there is the “potential” for another large wave of hospitalisations in the coming months.
14th Sep 2021 - The Independent

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DeSantis threatens cities with fines for vaccine mandates

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday threatened local governments with $5,000 fines per violation for requiring their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that has overrun hospitals and killed tens of thousands across the state. Local municipalities, such as Orange County and the city of Gainesville, potentially face millions of dollars in cumulative fines for implementing a requirement that their employees get a COVID-19 vaccine, the Republican governor said. “We are not going to let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate,” DeSantis said at a news conference outside Gainesville. “You don’t just cast aside people who have been serving faithfully over this issue, over what is basically a personal choice on their individual health.”
14th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Yoga, organic food and misinformation: Wellness influencers are taking the anti-vaccine movement mainstream

For many, the term “misinformation” conjures up images of conspiracy-theory chat forums and Russian bots. But an alarming amount of it is reaching audiences in the health and wellness realms. Many social media influencers who focus on natural remedies, holistic health and new age spirituality have been sharing posts and videos questioning the wisdom of vaccinating against the coronavirus. Public health experts say widespread vaccine hesitancy increases the threat of the virus mutating and helps keep the pandemic raging.
13th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Ivermectin frenzy: the advocates, anti-vaxxers and telehealth companies driving demand

Health authorities have warned there’s no proof for Ivermectin’s value in treating Covid-19. Still groups are touting the drug as the way out of the pandemic
13th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Nicaragua gov’t squeezes doctors, talk of ‘health terrorism’

Other countries have lured doctors out of retirement, pushed medical students to the front lines and buoyed medical personnel exhausted by COVID-19 cases, but in Nicaragua doctors have been harassed, threatened and sometimes forced into exile for questioning official handling of the pandemic. Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is also the first lady, has accused doctors of “health terrorism” and of spreading “false outlooks and news” by reporting that COVID-19 has been far more widespread than officials acknowledge.
13th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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Denmark lifts all Covid restrictions as vaccinations top 80%

Denmark’s high vaccination rate has enabled it to become one of the first EU countries to lift all domestic restrictions, after 548 days with curbs in place to limit the spread of Covid-19. The return to normality has been gradual, but as of Friday, the digital pass – a proof of having been vaccinated – is no longer required when entering nightclubs, making it the last virus safeguard to fall. More than 80% of people above the age of 12 in the Scandinavian country have had the two shots, leading the Danish government to declare as of midnight it no longer considers Covid-19 a “socially critical” disease.
11th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Refugees fear COVID risk in Australian immigration detention

Campaigners in Australia are urging the government to release asylum seekers held in immigration detention after at least one COVID-19 case was officially confirmed at a facility in Melbourne. Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is currently in its sixth lockdown amid a coronavirus outbreak driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.
11th Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera English

School Is Back and the Covid Rules Keep Changing: ‘It’s as Chaotic as You Can Get.’

Last year, Covid-19 shut down schools around the nation, forcing a largely failed experiment in remote learning and angry standoffs among teachers and parents over returning to schools. Now, the majority of the country’s 51 million school-age children are returning to class in the midst of a coronavirus resurgence, compelling districts to rethink their strategies. Schools are writing and rewriting pandemic policies for faculty and students from the moment they walk in the door, including where and how they interact, requirements for masking and testing, and the best ways to support students’ mental health.
11th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

'Loved ones died confused and alone' - calls for urgent public inquiry into pandemic handling in Wales

Our loved ones are being let down, families across Wales say, as a campaign has been launched for an inquiry into the Covid-19 handling. A UK-wide campaign has been launched as 'families deserve answers' following hundreds of thousands of Coovid-related deaths across the country. As a result, a Wales-specific group was launched - Covid-19 Bereaved Families Cymru group to provide support for Welsh families and not to be a 'footnote' in UK findings. The groups is calling for an independent public inquiry which will 'not save lives' but lessons can be learnt.
11th Sep 2021 - North Wales Chronicle

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The Pandemic Has Set Back the Fight Against H.I.V., TB and Malaria

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely set back the fight against other global scourges like H.I.V., tuberculosis and malaria, according to a sobering new report released on Tuesday. Before the pandemic, the world had been making strides against these illnesses. Overall, deaths from those diseases have dropped by about half since 2004. “The advent of a fourth pandemic, in Covid, puts these hard-fought gains in great jeopardy,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a nonprofit organization promoting H.I.V. treatment worldwide.
9th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

COVID-19: Anti-vaccine posters found with razor blades attached to back of them to cut people as they are taken down, union says

Transport for London (TFL) workers have been warned about taking down unofficial COVID posters, after a union confirmed anti-vax signs have been found with razor blades attached to the back of them. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said the posters had been put up on rail and tube stations in London. The union has called for action to be taken against those responsible for the posters, which bear the message "Masks Don't Work" and have a razor blade attached on the rear - potentially injuring anyone who tries to take it down.
9th Sep 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19 is rising again in the U.K., but many shrug it off

A spike in new COVID-19 infections is sweeping Britain, but from packed trains on London's subway to full audiences at West End musicals, the prevailing attitude may be shifting to "We can live with it." "It's done. COVID is over, for sure," Hannah Worrel, 34, said as she joined a crowded throng of after-work partiers on Soho's famed Old Compton Street. England lifted mask mandates — except in some places such as the London subway — and occupancy restrictions for indoor gatherings over the summer. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have kept them in place for now.
9th Sep 2021 - CBC.ca

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India restricts religious festivals over COVID third wave fears

Indian authorities are restricting major religious festivals that start this week and attract huge crowds, warning that a new COVID-19 wave had already begun in the financial capital, Mumbai. State governments across the country of 1.3 billion people, which saw a devastating coronavirus surge in April-May, are clamping down on mass gatherings.
8th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

British man with Covid-19 faces eight years in a Polish jail over 'faked test certificate'

The 39-year-old man was detained by border guards trying to fly to Nottingham Officials discovered he had faked the test result at passport control in Poland He had altered his positive test result in a desperate attempt to return home He was fined £100 and faces between six months and eight years in a Polish jail
8th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

S.Korea planning to live 'more normally' with COVID-19 after October

South Korea is drawing up a plan on how to live more normally with COVID-19, expecting 80% of adults to be fully vaccinated by late October, health authorities said on Wednesday.
8th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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U.K. Is Among First Western Nations to Increase Taxes to Cover Covid-19 Costs

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tuesday announced tax increases to support the country’s state-funded National Health Service as it struggles to manage a backlog of millions of patients in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the announcement, Mr. Johnson is renouncing an election pledge not to raise payroll taxes, a move that sparked criticism from within his own Conservative Party and underscored the pressure the pandemic has put on governments to find funding for social services stretched by Covid-19 and aging populations.
7th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Scepticism and fraud hamper Covid vaccine take-up rates in Romania and Bulgaria

Vaccine scepticism is helping to keep Romania and Bulgaria’s Covid-19 vaccination rates the lowest in the EU, exposing the union’s poorest nations to higher risks amid a fourth wave of the pandemic fuelled by the contagious Delta coronavirus variant. Fraud is adding to official frustration in Romania over take-up rates, with instances of doctors allowing people to go without jabs while still issuing them with certificates that help to make it easier to work and travel.
7th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

Covid US: Anti-vaxx Georgia councilman urges conservatives to get jabbed after hospitalisation

Jim Sells, 71, urged people not to take the COVID-19 vaccine before he was hit with a bout of the virus that left hospitalized for more than two weeks. Sells is now pushing for others in his community to get vaccinated to ease pressure on the state's hospital system. More than 96% of Georgia ICU beds are currently occupied as the state sees a surge of virus cases. Only 35% of residents of Sells' county are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 60% are totally unvaccinated
7th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Vietnamese man jailed for five years for spreading COVID-19 to eight people, one who died

Vietnam has jailed a man for five years for breaking strict COVID-19 quarantine rules and spreading the virus to others, state media is reporting. Le Van Tri, 28, was convicted of "spreading dangerous infectious diseases" at a one-day trial in the People's Court of the southern province of Ca Mau, the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.
7th Sep 2021 - ABC News

Covid-19 Australia: Cops swarm Melbourne synagogue after 100 worshippers celebrate Jewish New Year

Significant Covid breaches occurred at a gathering in Ripponlea, Melbourne Gathering dispersed by Victorian police after fiery confrontations. People in two buildings understood to have gathered for Jewish New Year. Police blocked roads surrounding buildings on Glen Eira Avenue, Ripponlea. Victoria recorded 246 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday and remains in lockdown
7th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

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Fake COVID-19 vaccine passports for sale online

Fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates are being sold online for hundreds of dollars. One user on the encrypted message app, Telegram, told 9News he was selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination certificates for $500 in Bitcoin. He even produced a dummy version of the document, which was close to the real thing
6th Sep 2021 - 9News

Singapore opens Covid-19 travel bubble with Germany

Singapore is about to allow quarantine-free travel from Germany after vaccinating 80 per cent of its population in a taste of what's to come for Australians when the international borders finally open. The so-called 'vaccinated travel lane' will begin on Wednesday for fully jabbed travellers, but excludes under 12s for whom there are no approved vaccines. Instead of quarantining for 14 days, arrivals will have to get tested when they land in Singapore and isolate at home or in a hotel until their negative result.
6th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

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Anti-vaccine protesters try to storm London offices of medical regulator

Police have prevented anti-vaccine protesters from storming the headquarters of Britain’s medical regulator during violent clashes in east London. At least four officers were injured and arrests were made during a confrontation as hundreds of people gathered outside the offices of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in Canary Wharf. Police drew batons and called for reinforcements as protesters attempted to force open the door of the regulator’s offices, with security guards looking on from inside.
4th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

American Airlines to end pandemic leave for unvaccinated staff

American Airlines said it would not provide special leave from next month to unvaccinated employees who have to quarantine due to COVID-19. Unvaccinated workers will have to use their sick time or medical leave if they miss work due to the disease, it said. "Given there is an FDA-approved vaccine, pandemic leave will only be offered to team members who are fully vaccinated and who provide their vaccination card to us," the carrier said in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.
4th Sep 2021 - MSN.com

Crowded U.S. Jails Drove Millions Of COVID-19 Cases, A New Study Says

If the U.S. had done more to reduce its incarceration rate, it could have prevented millions of COVID-19 cases. That's the conclusion of researchers who conducted what they say is the first study to link mass incarceration rates to pandemic vulnerability. Many of those preventable cases, they add, occurred in communities of color. The U.S. jail and prison system acts as an epidemic engine, according to the study from researchers at Northwestern University and the World Bank. That engine is driven by a massive number of people who, despite some counties' efforts to trim jail populations, have been cycling between cramped detention facilities and their home communities.
2nd Sep 2021 - NPR

Tyson Foods Offers Vaccinated Workers More Paid Time Off

Tyson Foods said it would provide 20 hours of paid sick time a year to fully vaccinated employees to enhance benefits for workers willing to receive coronavirus vaccinations. The new benefit, announced on Friday, followed discussions with the United Food & Commercial Workers, which represents several thousand Tyson workers, over the company’s requirement that all its U.S. workers be vaccinated “as a condition of employment” by Nov. 1. The paid sick leave policy takes effect on Jan. 1, and also applies to all nonunion employees.
3rd Sep 2021 - The New York Times

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'Mass-scale misinformation' to blame for Covid vaccine hesitancy, says Prince Harry – video

Prince Harry gave a speech about Covid vaccine hesitancy in a virtual appearance at the GQ Men of the Year awards, where he presented a prize to Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert, Prof Catherine Green and the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
2nd Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Australia Covid-19: Remote Indigenous communities refusing vaccination as many fear it is a hoax

Covid vaccination rates below 20 per cent in many remote indigenous areas SA Health deputy chief executive Don Frater says misinformation is the cause Fringe Christian groups and hoax claims common in Indigenous settlements
2nd Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Misuse of COVID funds alleged as Filipino health workers protest

Allegations of misuse of COVID-19 funds have emerged in the Philippines, prompting anger among healthcare workers, who protested in the Philippine capital to demand the release of unpaid benefits as they battle another surge in cases due to the Delta variant. Protesters wearing protective medical gear gathered on Wednesday at the Department of Health (DOH) and held placards demanding their risk allowances, hazard pay and the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
2nd Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Doctors dismayed by patients who fear coronavirus vaccines, but clamor for unproven ivermectin

Oklahoma doctor Matthew Payne regularly encounters covid-19 patients in his hospital who say they had feared coronavirus vaccines and thought they had found a safer approach — taking ivermectin, a medicine long used to kill parasites in animals and humans. “There is surprise and shock when they initially get sick and have to come to the hospital,” said Payne, a hospitalist at Stillwater Medical Center. “They’ll say, ‘I’m not sure why I feel so bad. I was taking the ivermectin,’ and I will say, ‘It doesn’t do any good.’ ”
1st Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

New Zealanders line up for takeaway as COVID-19 restrictions ease, Auckland remains under stage four lockdown

New Zealanders are visiting beaches and queuing for takeaway food as tough lockdown measures have been eased in most of the country. About 1.7 million people in Auckland remain under a strict level 4 lockdown for another two weeks, but restrictions for the remainder of the country have been loosened. Surfers and kayakers were seen heading to the beaches in droves, while other outdoor recreation facilities like golf courses were busy again.
1st Sep 2021 - ABC News

Four conservative radio talk-show hosts bashed coronavirus vaccines. Then they got sick.

Marc Bernier was adamant: He was not going to get a coronavirus vaccination. “I’m Mr. Anti-Vax,” he told listeners of his talk-radio program in Daytona Beach, Fla., after the federal government provisionally approved the first vaccines in December. He later declared that the government was “acting like Nazis” in urging people to get vaccinated. But in early August, WNDB, Bernier’s radio home for more than 30 years, announced that the 65-year-old host was being treated in a hospital for covid-19. On Saturday, the station said that Bernier had died.
1st Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Majority of U.S. companies may mandate COVID-19 vaccine in coming months - survey

More than half of U.S. companies are planning to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the workplace by year end, with almost a quarter considering vaccination as a condition for employment, according to a national survey of nearly 1,000 employers. In the face of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, spurred by the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant, that has strained the U.S. health care system, many companies have come out with mask mandates and changed their vaccination policies.
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Opposition to vaccine crumbles: Just 14% of US adults now say they won't take the shot as work mandates kick in

Work mandates biggest driver, 43 percent saying this would make them get jab A further 57% of workers said they support vaccine requirements from employer Those who are in hard opposition to the vaccine make up a new low of 14 percent
1st Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

FDA approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine spurs American confidence: Harris Poll

Last week's FDA approval of Pfizer’s Comirnaty vaccine boosted consumer confidence among both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. A Harris Poll survey over the weekend found that 80% of Americans who were aware of the approval now have more confidence in it. Even more encouraging? Almost half (49%) of unvaccinated people who heard about the approval said they will “probably” or “definitely” get vaccinated. Overall awareness of the Pfizer approval was high—79% of those surveyed by The Harris Poll were aware of the FDA thumbs-up.
31st Aug 2021 - FiercePharma

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Australian imports of ivermectin increase tenfold, prompting warning from TGA

A national shortage and tenfold increase in Australians importing ivermectin in August has sparked a warning from the Therapeutic Goods Administration against the use of the medicine, which is typically used to deworm livestock, as a treatment for Covid-19. Amid growing reports in the United States in recent weeks of people calling poison information hotlines over self-medicating with ivermectin as a treatment for Covid-19, a spokesperson for the TGA told Guardian Australia there had been a massive increase in people bringing the drug into Australia.
31st Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Ex-CIA officer turned Q-Anon conspiracy theorist dies of COVID-19 while on anti-vax tour of Florida

Robert David Steele was a former CIA officer who became a big supporter of conspiracy theories. He had become a devotee of QAnon and was in the midst of a tour decrying coronavirus vaccines when he was hospitalized with the virus He has since died, his friend Mark Tassi announced on Instagram on Sunday Steele bragged that he was the first person to call the coronavirus a hoax He had also claimed that child slaves were being sent to Mars, forcing NASA to issue a denial, and said 5G was a weapons system designed to kill humans
31st Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Mormon vaccine push ratchets up, dividing faith’s members

After more than a year of attending church virtually, Monique Allen has struggled to explain to her asthmatic daughter why people from their congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don’t wear masks. Allen said she’s taught her daughter that wearing a mask is Christlike, but now she worries her child feels like an outcast. Church leaders recently issued their strongest statement yet urging people to “limit the spread” by getting COVID-19 vaccines and wearing masks, but Allen said she fears it’s still not enough to convince the many families in her congregation who refuse to wear masks and have succumbed to anti-vaccine misinformation.
31st Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

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Croatia thrilled at summer season success despite COVID-19

Beaches along Croatia's Adriatic Sea coastline are swarming with people. Guided tours are fully booked, restaurants are packed and sailboats were chartered well in advance. Summer tourism has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations in Croatia this year. Once fearful that the coronavirus pandemic would discourage people from traveling, Croatia’s tourism industry was caught by surprise. “It's much better — it’s almost like 2020 never happened,” said Josip Crncevic, a tour guide in Dubrovnik, a southern city known for its Old Town and nightlife that is Croatia's most popular destination.
30th Aug 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Budapest mural pays tribute to Katalin Kariko, Hungarian-born pioneer behind COVID-19 vaccine

Katalin Kariko, the Hungarian-born scientist who laid the groundwork for the mRNA vaccines fighting COVID-19, has been recognised in her homeland in the form of a huge mural in central Budapest. The city's urban designers created the portrait of Kariko, senior vice president at German company BioNTech which with Pfizer developed one of the most effective coronavirus jabs, to pay tribute to her scientific endeavours.
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Lagging in COVID-19 vaccinations, Brussels takes vaccination campaign to shops

Health authorities in Brussels began offering COVID-19 jabs in supermarkets and shopping centres on Monday to increase vaccination rates in the Belgian capital that have not kept up with Belgium's rapid inoculation roll-out. Host to the European Union and NATO, Brussels has only given vaccinations to about 65% of its population, much lower than the surrounding Belgian regions, mainly because people did not respond to requests to go to vaccination centres.
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

McDonald's, others consider closing indoor seating amid Delta surge in U.S.

Some U.S. fast-food restaurants are closing indoor seating areas or limiting hours of operation because of the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, according to franchisees. McDonald's had temporarily closed indoor dining at nearly all U.S. locations in early 2020, but it reopened 70% by last month. The global burger chain said on July 28 that it was on track to open nearly 100% by Labor Day - barring any COVID-19 resurgence. But last week, McDonald's instructed its franchisees on steps they should take to re-close their dining rooms in areas where the Delta variant is rapidly spreading
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Anti-vaxxers spread fake news about vaccine deaths during bizarre bridge protest on Hayling Island

Stood in a social-distanced line, the ‘anti-vaxxers’ repeated unfounded claims the coronavirus vaccine had been responsible for ‘1,600 UK vax deaths’ and ‘rising’. Holding yellow placards, the protester’s cards read: ‘Can we trust the media? Or push agendas? Do they provide fairness? And hide information? Because here’s the thing… The Covid vaccine is seriously harming people and killing them. Heart damage in teens, long-term health risks are completely unknown. UK vax deaths at 1,600 and rising. Please think about it.
30th Aug 2021 - Portsmouth News

Greek police fire tear gas as 7000 protest coronavirus vaccine rules

Around 7,000 people protested in Athens on Sunday (Aug 29) against a new rule obliging health workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19, said police who fired teargas to quell violence among the demonstrators. The rule change, which came into effect on Wednesday requires that all personnel working in hospitals be vaccinated. The demonstrators waved Greek flags and brandished placards declaring: "We are not against vaccines, but against fascism" and "Long live democracy".
30th Aug 2021 - The Straits Times

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No Jab, No Entry at Eateries Under Sydney Proposal to Stem Virus

Unvaccinated people may be denied entry to restaurants, bars and other hospitality venues under a reopening proposal in Sydney where delta cases are surging despite a lockdown, according to local media. The New South Wales government is consulting with industry groups on a plan to require all hospitality staff and patrons for proof they have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine when the state begins to emerge from lockdown after reaching 70% vaccination rate, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Under the proposal, vaccination certificates and QR codes now used to check-in to venues may be merged, the report said, citing unnamed industry sources that confirmed the plan.
28th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Calls Grow to Discipline Doctors Spreading Virus Misinformation

A tiny number of doctors have had an outsize influence in spreading false information about Covid-19 and vaccines.
27th Aug 2021 - The New York Times

Police, protesters clash as thousands march against COVID curbs in Berlin

Police tussled with protesters as thousands of people marched through Berlin on Saturday chanting slogans and waving banners against COVID-19 restrictions. Some demonstrators tried to get past barricades to the government district around the Reichstag parliament building and clashed with officers, police said. Four officers were injured, the Berliner Zeitung reported.
27th Aug 2021 - Reuters

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YouTube has removed 1 million videos for dangerous COVID-19 misinformation

YouTube has removed 1 million videos for dangerous COVID-19 misinformation since February 2020, according to YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mahon. Mahon shared the statistic in a blog post outlining how the company approaches misinformation on its platform. “Misinformation has moved from the marginal to the mainstream,” he wrote. “No longer contained to the sealed-off worlds of Holocaust deniers or 9-11 truthers, it now stretches into every facet of society, sometimes tearing through communities with blistering speed.”
26th Aug 2021 - TechCrunch

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Pentagon: US troops must get their COVID-19 vaccines ASAP

Military troops must immediately begin to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo Wednesday, ordering service leaders to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.” More than 800,000 service members have yet to get their shots, according to Pentagon data. And now that the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the Defense Department is adding it to the list of required shots troops must get as part of their military service.
25th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Not Everyone Can Afford to ‘Learn to Live With’ COVID-19

COVID-19 now appears to be falling along these familiar lines. The effort to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control has really become two distinct battles. Within America’s borders, where vaccine doses are abundant, it’s a fight against misinformation and hesitancy. Globally, it is a race between vaccine delivery and virus transmission.
25th Aug 2021 - The Atlantic

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COVID-19: Channel 4's Jon Snow abused as anti-vaccine protesters storm HQ of UK news programmes

Anti-vaccine protesters have stormed the London headquarters of production company ITN, which produces ITV News, Channel 4 News and Channel 5 News. It's reported that more than 100 protesters managed to gain access to the building in Gray's Inn Road, central London. Footage on social media showed several dozen protesters in a tussle with police who attempted to block the entrance, with one clip showing veteran news anchor Jon Snow being abused by the crowd.
24th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Gig apps for a pandemic economy: Part time, no commitment

For months, Gabrielle Walker had been looking for a part-time job. She applied to restaurant chains and retailers like Nando’s and Primark, and she scoured the job search site Indeed. Nothing. Then one day, Walker, a 19-year-old student at University College London, was scrolling through TikTok and stumbled on a video about an app called Stint. A face on the screen explained that Stint could help students earn money by working brief temporary stints at places like restaurants and bars that require little training or experience.
24th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Analysis: Delta variant disrupts Hollywood's box office comeback

Three months after Hollywood launched a marketing blitz that proclaimed "the big screen is back," the Delta variant of the coronavirus has interrupted cinema's rebound from the pandemic. Studio executives and movie theater operators, meeting this week in Las Vegas for the annual CinemaCon convention, hoped to reignite moviegoing this summer. After encouraging turnouts for action flicks such as Marvel's "Black Widow" and "Fast & Furious" franchise movie "F9," recent U.S. and Canadian ticket sales have underwhelmed. "The only audience that seems to be going on a consistent basis is 18- to 35-(year olds)," said Jeff Bock, senior media analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Asian American leaders fear Covid-19 origin report could fuel more bigotry and violence

Asian American leaders are concerned that a report on the origins of the Covid-19 virus expected to be released this week by the Biden administration will be used to "legitimize racist language" and lead to more anti-Asian violence across the country.
24th Aug 2021 - CNN

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Covid 19 coronavirus: Vaccine 'hesitancy' media stories as impactful as misinformation

Media articles highlighting some people's hesitancy toward receiving the Covid-19 vaccine could be just as impactful in swaying us as outright misinformation, a new study finds. Yesterday, it was announced that vaccinations in New Zealand had passed the one million mark - with director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield among the latest to receive their first dose. Surveys have shown willingness to receive the Pfizer vaccine has been rising over time, reaching the point where four in five Kiwis now either intend to get the shot or are leaning toward it.
23rd Aug 2021 - New Zealand Herald

A Covid Booster Is The Privilege Scientists Say Will Curb Delta

The roll out of a third dose of Covid vaccine has sparked debate on ethical and political grounds, since a large swath of the human population is yet to receive any inoculation. But the case for boosters on scientific grounds is building. The reason is delta. The most-infectious coronavirus variant to emerge so far is in a race with the human immune system, and there’s mounting evidence that delta is winning -- at least initially. Fully vaccinated individuals infected with the variant have peak virus levels in the upper airways as high as those lacking immunity, a large study from the U.K. showed last week.
22nd Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

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French protesters rally against COVID health pass

Thousands of people have marched in cities across France to protest the COVID-19 health pass that is now required to access restaurants and cafes, cultural venues, sports arenas and long-distance travel. For a sixth straight weekend, opponents on Saturday denounced what they see as a restriction of their freedom. Many criticised the measure, claiming the French government was implicitly making vaccines obligatory and unfairly restricting the rights of the unvaccinated.
21st Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

‘Unmute us’: Marchers demand return of Dutch music festivals

Dutch music fans have been banned for months from going to large-scale festivals due to coronavirus restrictions. On Saturday, the festivals came to them. Hundreds of performers and festival organizers held marches through six Dutch cities on Saturday to protest what they argue are unfair restrictions that have forced the cancellation of summer music festivals and other events. Thousands of people attended one of the “Unmute Us” marches in Amsterdam, walking and dancing behind a convoy of trucks carrying DJs and sound systems pumping out music.
21st Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

French scientist who pushed unproven Covid drug may be forced from post

The French scientist who promoted the discredited hydroxychloroquine treatment for Covid-19 backed by Donald Trump faces being pushed out of the infectious diseases institute he founded, amid concerns from key members over its role in feeding conspiracy theories and an investigation by regulators into its clinical studies. Didier Raoult has built a worldwide following throughout the pandemic for his support of the malaria drug despite its failure in randomised control trials. Multiple studies, including by the Recovery trial and the World Health Organisation, have found hydroxychloroquine to be ineffective in treating Covid-19.
20th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

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Covid-19: How Kerala kept itself above water in India's devastating second wave

India is one of the worst hit countries in the pandemic, but one state has fared comparatively well. Kamala Thiagarajan asks what Kerala did differently. India’s first confirmed case of covid-19 was detected in the southern state of Kerala on 27 January 2020. Despite being one of the worst affected states—with over three million recorded cases, a quarter of infections in India—Kerala has the lowest covid death rate in the country at 0.4%, less than a third of the national average of 1.3%. As of 8 August, Kerala had 17 654 recorded deaths.
19th Aug 2021 - The BMJ

What is being done to distribute COVID-19 vaccines globally?

What is being done to distribute COVID-19 vaccines globally? Several groups are working to get shots to poor countries, but they’re falling far short of what’s needed to curb outbreaks around the world. Among the efforts is COVAX, which relies on donations from rich countries and private funders. The group has missed its own distribution targets largely because it didn’t have the resources to secure vaccine supplies early on in the pandemic. As of mid-August, COVAX has distributed about 207 million doses to 138 countries and territories. That’s compared with more than 417 million doses distributed in just the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
19th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Gulf Coast’s beloved ‘Redneck Riviera’ now a virus hotspot

Tourists and servers alike dance atop tables and in the aisles at one restaurant on the “Redneck Riviera,” a beloved stretch of towns along the northern Gulf Coast where beaches, bars and stores are packed. Yet just a few miles away, a hospital is running out of critical care beds, its rooms full of unvaccinated people fighting for their lives. On maps that show virus “hot spots” in red, this part of the U.S. coast is glowing like a bad sunburn. And a summer of booming tourism that followed the lockdowns and travel restrictions of 2020 is making the turn toward fall with only a few signs of slowing down.
19th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

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Pope Francis says getting coronavirus vaccine is ‘act of love’

Pope Francis is adding his voice to a campaign to overcome vaccine scepticism, issuing a public service announcement insisting that vaccines are safe, effective and an “act of love”. The video message released on Wednesday is aimed at a global audience but directed particularly at the Americas.
18th Aug 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Cardinal in serious condition after contracting COVID-19

A high-ranking Catholic cardinal who has COVID-19 is alive but in serious condition and has been sedated, according to officials at a Wisconsin shrine that he founded. Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of Pope Francis loudest critics and a vaccine skeptic, tweeted Aug. 10 that he had caught the coronavirus. His staff tweeted Saturday that he was hospitalized and on a ventilator. His condition and whereabouts since then have been unclear. His staff has provided no official updates. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops referred questions to officials at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which Burke founded in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
18th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Many Bible Belt preachers silent on shots as COVID-19 surges

Dr. Danny Avula, the head of Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination effort, suspected he might have a problem getting pastors to publicly advocate for the shots when some members of his own church referred to them as “the mark of the beast,” a biblical reference to allegiance to the devil, and the minister wasn't sure how to respond. “A lot of pastors, based on where their congregations are at, are pretty hesitant to do so because this is so charged, and it immediately invites criticism and furor by the segment of your community that’s not on board with that," Avula said.
18th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Pharmacist arrested for allegedly selling Covid-19 vaccination cards on eBay

A licensed pharmacist was arrested in Chicago on Tuesday for allegedly selling dozens of authentic Covid-19 vaccination cards on eBay, the Justice Department said in a news release. Tangtang Zhao, 34, allegedly sold 125 Covid-19 vaccination cards from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to 11 different buyers for about $10 a card in March and April, the department said. Zhao, who worked as a pharmacist during that time, was indicted on 12 counts of theft of government property, the release added.
18th Aug 2021 - CNN

A radical plan to treat Covid’s mental health fallout

Though the idea of social prescribing has existed in the UK for a couple of decades, the cascading health consequences of a year in isolation has energised interest in the practice. And, as Covid-19 rapidly burns both ends of the healthcare candle – more patients in need of care, and a health service stretched to capacity – more health workers, policymakers and patients see social prescribing as part of the answer.
18th Aug 2021 - Wired.co.uk

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What’s safe to do during summer’s Covid surge? STAT asked public health experts about their own plans

With Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations spiking around the country, dreams of a summer like those many us had in mind just a short time ago have faded. The fully vaccinated have been told to resume wearing masks indoors. Companies and institutions are leveling vaccine mandates. And some municipalities are requiring people to show proof of vaccination to get into restaurants, bars, and gyms. Confusion abounds about what is safe to do. (For the unvaccinated, there’s no confusion about what’s most important to do: Get immunized.)
17th Aug 2021 - STAT News

Federal agents seize thousands of fake covid vaccination cards destined for locations across U.S.

Bundles of counterfeit coronavirus vaccination cards printed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo have been shipped from Shenzhen, China, to recipients all around the United States, as some unvaccinated people try to evade restrictions that require proof of the shot to enter certain bars, schools and public spaces. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said in a Friday statement that agents have seized thousands of fake vaccination cards passing through Memphis, a shipping hub.
17th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

Singapore prepares for long term life - and death - with COVID-19

With just a few dozen COVID-19 deaths and one of the world's highest vaccination rates, Singapore wants to reopen for business - and is laying the groundwork to live with the coronavirus as it does other common diseases such as influenza.
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

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New Yorkers largely back mayor's vaccine mandate to dine out

New Yorkers interviewed by Reuters on Monday were largely backing the push by the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms and other businesses. The policy is set to launch Tuesday as the delta variant continues to make progress. With vaccines widely available, political leaders were combating the latest surge in infections with shots and masks rather than ordering businesses to close and Americans to stay home as they did last year.
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Protesters in France denounce COVID health pass rules for fifth weekend

Protesters have marched in cities across France for a fifth consecutive weekend against rules compelling them to show a COVID-19 health pass for daily activities, but in lesser numbers than a week ago. Crowds rallied through the streets of Paris, Marseille, Nice, Montpellier and other towns, waving placards reading "Pass=Apartheid" and chanting "Freedom, freedom".
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

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Misinformation at public forums vexes local boards, big tech

There are plenty of places to turn for accurate information about COVID-19. Your physician. Local health departments. The U.S. CDC. But not, perhaps, your local government’s public comment session. During a meeting of the St. Louis County Council earlier this month, opponents of a possible mask mandate made so many misleading comments about masks, vaccines and COVID-19 that YouTube removed the video for violating its policies against false claims about the virus. “I hope no one is making any medical decisions based on what they hear at our public forums,” said County Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, who supports mask wearing and said she believes most of her constituents do too. The video was restored, but Clancy’s worries about the impact of that misinformation remain.
15th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Covid US: Vaccine card black market emerges as New York and other cities bring in mandates

Most are being sold on Telegram, an encrypted site that is favored among people who don't trust typical Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Twitter The blank cardboard cards are being sold for anything between $24 and $400 The Attorney Generals of multiple states wrote to Twitter, Shopify and eBay asking them to crackdown A California father and son were arrested trying to vacation in Hawaii with fake cards A California bar owner who was selling them was also arrested earlier this year NYC will start requiring vaccine status in restaurants and gyms will start requiring them from August 16 New Orleans , Los Angeles and San Francisco are also bringing them in Businesses will have a grace period before having to enforce them on September 13
14th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Back of the line: Charity only goes so far in world vaccines

An international system to share coronavirus vaccines was supposed to guarantee that low and middle-income countries could get doses without being last in line and at the mercy of unreliable donations. It hasn’t worked out that way. In late June alone, the initiative known as COVAX sent some 530,000 doses to Britain – more than double the amount sent that month to the entire continent of Africa. Under COVAX, countries were supposed to give money so vaccines could be set aside, both as donations to poor countries and as an insurance policy for richer ones to buy doses if theirs fell through. Some rich countries, including those in the European Union, calculated that they had more than enough doses available through bilateral deals and ceded their allocated COVAX doses to poorer count
14th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Victoria police investigate threats against SPC after company mandates Covid-19 vaccines

Police in regional Victoria are investigating social media threats against canned food producer SPC, after the company mandated Covid-19 vaccines for its workers. The company, which runs a major cannery in Shepparton, set a precedent for corporate Australia by mandating vaccination for workers and contractors earlier this month. The anonymous online posts suggest defacing SPC products on supermarket shelves and asked what might happen if a needle was found in a can of SPC food, according to reports.
14th Aug 2021 - The Guardian Australia

Covid stifled US mental health therapy. Online forums provided a safe haven

Over the course of the pandemic, many people with mental health problems have turned to online communities for support. In March 2020, when the pandemic forced Americans to stay indoors, many turned to the online universe as a way of reaching out and making contact to recreate the supportive communities they were now physically cut off from. People joined Facebook groups, subreddits, Discord channels and online forums so they could gather virtually without the worry of catching or spreading the virus. In August 2020, a Facebook survey of 15,000 people found that 91% of respondents “have given some form of support to others through a group or community during the pandemic. 86% have said they received some form of support from others.” As of January, Reddit had over 100,000 active communities.
13th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Facebook and YouTube execs say removing Covid-19 misinformation isn’t enough

New falsehoods have emerged to match every stage of pandemic response. Unquestionably, that misinformation has been amplified on social media platforms, as the world locked down in waves and citizens looked online for answers. On Thursday, leaders from Facebook and YouTube joined a panel at the global conference of the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) to discuss the threat misleading information poses to the pandemic response. But even as vaccine misinformation continues to hamper vaccination efforts in the United States, the conversation failed to address the impact of falsehoods on these platforms head-on — instead, focusing on platforms’ efforts to proactively share accurate, trusted Covid-19 information.
13th Aug 2021 - STAT News

27 on board Carnival cruise test positive for COVID-19

A Carnival Cruise Line ship that arrived in Belize on Wednesday after departing from Texas recorded 27 positive COVID-19 tests, all among people who are fully vaccinated. The Belize Tourism Board said in a press release that the Carnival Vista ship, which left from Galveston, Texas, arrived in Belize City with a total of 2,895 guests and 1,441 crew members. "As per the normal protocol, upon submission of the Maritime Declaration by the ship in anticipation of its call to Belize the ship reported that it had on board 27 positive cases, 26 of which were crew members and 1 passenger,” the statement said.
13th Aug 2021 - The Hill

‘Everybody I Know Is Pissed Off’

The vaccinated, across party lines, have kind of had it with the unvaccinated, an array of new polls suggests. While most state and national GOP leaders are focused on defending the rights of unvaccinated Americans, new polling shows that the large majority of vaccinated adults—including a substantial portion of Republicans—support tougher measures against those who have refused COVID-19 shots.
12th Aug 2021 - The Atlantic

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Coronavirus digest: New Zealand plans phased reopening of borders from 2022

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Thursday that strict border controls would remain in place this year, adding, however, that a phased reopening of international travel would be possible in 2022. New Zealand closed its borders to everyone except permanent residents and citizens at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. It now plans to allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries starting early 2022. "We're simply not in a position to fully reopen just yet," Ardern said in a speech at the 'Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World' forum in Wellington.
12th Aug 2021 - Deutsche Welle

Covid-19: £22k car offered to care staff as jab incentive

A care group has offered staff the chance to win a £22,000 car if they have taken both doses of a Covid jab. PJ Care, in Peterborough and Milton Keynes, says the incentive to get staff vaccinated is "more cost-effective than recruiting new team members". The government announced that anyone working or volunteering in a care home must be fully vaccinated by 11 November, unless exempt. The company said 85% of its 600 staff had received all their jabs. Neil Russell, chairman, said he hoped by raffling a Renault Clio E-Tech worth £22,000 it would "help to encourage those who are open to changing their minds"
12th Aug 2021 - BBC News

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Volunteers in Vietnam come to the rescue as coronavirus lockdown hits the vulnerable

Vietnam’s strict lockdown to curb its fourth wave of Covid-19 infections has left many unable to work, go out to get food, or even get oxygen. Individuals and up to 90 community groups and organisations have stepped in where authorities fell short, but their efforts are not always coordinated.
11th Aug 2021 - South China Morning Post

COVID-19: Firm that claimed Pfizer vaccine turns people into chimpanzees banned from Facebook

Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts linked to a COVID-19 vaccine disinformation network operating out of Russia. The mysterious advertising agency called Fazze sought to pay social media influencers to repost misleading content about vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca. But their plot was uncovered after influencers in France and Germany exposed offers they had been sent.
11th Aug 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Man's anguish as his unvaccinated mother, father and brother all die with coronavirus

A Cardiff man who had to bury his unvaccinated mother, father and brother after they died with COVID-19 says it is "absolutely vital" people get their jab against the virus. Francis Goncalves returned to Wales last Friday after flying out to Portugal where his family relocated to a few years ago. His 40-year-old brother Shaul, 65-year-old mother Charmagne and 73-year-old father Basil all died in July.
11th Aug 2021 - Sky News

French vaccination centres vandalised as health pass is introduced

Vandals have attacked more than 20 vaccination centres and other health facilities, daubing some with Nazi-themed slogans, as the French government steps up its COVID-19 vaccination drive. Anger has been fueled by the introduction of a health pass showing proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test which is now mandatory for entering restaurants, trains and other public places.
11th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Lockdowns make people lonely. Here are 3 steps we can take now to help each other

With lockdowns and social restrictions likely to be a part of life in Australia until a significant majority of us are fully vaccinated, it’s timely to think about what we can do to look out for people who may be vulnerable. Loneliness is a personal and distressing experience that can be complex to resolve. But for people who are lonely, feeling meaningfully connected to others can help. Here are three steps we can all take to help people who may be experiencing loneliness.
9th Aug 2021 - The Conversation AU

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Oxford researcher urges Britain to donate vaccines rather than give boosters

Booster shots for COVID-19 vaccines are not currently needed and the doses should be given to other countries, Oxford vaccine chief Andrew Pollard said on Tuesday in contrast to the position taken by Britain's health minister.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters UK

Facebook shuts down vaccine disinformation 'laundromat'

Facebook has said it has shut down a disinformation operation which sought to spread Covid-19 vaccine hoaxes by duping social network influencers into backing false claims. The leading social network labeled the operation a "disinformation laundromat" which sought to legitimise false claims by pushing them through people with clean reputations. Influencers who caught onto the sham turned out to be the undoing of a deceitful influence campaign orchestrated by British marketing firm Fazze and operated out of Russia, according to Facebook.
10th Aug 2021 - RTE.ie

Long delays as Canada opens border to fully vaccinated American tourists after 16 months

Long delays were reported at the border on Monday as Canada finally opened to fully vaccinated American tourists for the first time in 16 months, causing a rush of travelers during the busy summer season - and bottlenecks for a desperate tourism industry. Government data showed a seven-hour wait for the Fort Frances, Ontario, and International Falls, Minnesota, crossing. Fort Frances advertises itself online as "rarely experiencing delays."
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

'We are not the virus': Two-tier Delta lockdowns divide Sydney

On the sands of Bondi Beach, one of Sydney's wealthiest suburbs, surfers and seaside walkers jostle for space, while joggers clog the nearby promenade and fitness buffs huddle around public exercise equipment. To the west, where COVID-19 infections are greatest, stores sit shuttered on empty streets as some of Australia's most migrant-heavy neighbourhoods endure heightened lockdowns, enforced by high-visibility policing backed up by the military.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

US turns to social media influencers to boost vaccine rates

As a police sergeant in a rural town, Carlos Cornejo isn’t the prototypical social media influencer. But his Spanish-language Facebook page with 650,000 followers was exactly what Colorado leaders were looking for as they recruited residents to try to persuade the most vaccine-hesitant. Cornejo, 32, is one of dozens of influencers, ranging from busy moms and fashion bloggers to African refugee advocates and religious leaders, getting paid by the state to post vaccine information on a local level in hopes of stunting a troubling summer surge of COVID-19. Colorado’s #PowertheComeback target audience is especially tailored to Latino, Black, Native American, Asian and other communities of color that historically have been underserved when it comes to health care and are the focus of agencies trying to raise vaccination rates.
10th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

If we’re not careful, booster vaccines could end up giving the coronavirus a boost

The sooner we start using booster jabs, the more likely it is that we will need them. In the eight months since Covid-19 vaccines first became available, nearly four billion doses have been administered, and yet the number of cases and deaths continues to rise. Why? For the simple reason that we are not making the most efficient global use of the doses available. Now, as evidence is emerging about the potential benefits of booster shots in the face of the continued spread of Delta variant, offering fully vaccinated people a third dose before it is absolutely necessary is in danger of becoming the latest example of this.
9th Aug 2021 - LinkedIn.com

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COVID-19: Coronavirus vaccine hesitancy among younger people decreases, ONS figures show

Hesitancy among younger age groups to receive a COVID-19 vaccine has fallen, according to new figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey looked at attitudes during the period from 23 June to 18 July - a day before most coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England. For 16 and 17-year-olds - who are now able to get a jab following last week's announcement to extend the rollout to that age group - hesitancy has decreased from 14% to 11%.
9th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Cards Worry College Officials

As the delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps across the United States, a growing number of colleges and universities are requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for students to attend in-person classes. But the mandatory requirement has opened the door for those opposed to getting the vaccine to cheat the system, according to interviews with students, education and law enforcement officials. Both faculty and students at dozens of schools interviewed by The Associated Press say they are concerned about how easy it is to get fake vaccine cards
9th Aug 2021 - Time

Some May Be Getting Covid-19 Vaccines In Disguise To Hide Vaccination Status

There haven’t been any high school genre movies entitled The Fully Vaccinated Breakfast Club or Mean Antivaxxers just yet. But apparently some people who want to get vaccinated against Covid-19 may be facing high school-type peer pressure or even bullying. In the following video, Priscilla Frase, MD, the chief medical information officer for Ozarks Healthcare, described how her patients said they actually had to don disguises while getting vaccinated so that their family members and peers wouldn’t find out
9th Aug 2021 - Forbes

No test, no entry: Berlin nightclubs pilot 'reboot' project

Six Berlin nightclubs opened their doors this weekend to some 2,000 revellers free of masks and social distancing restrictions in a pilot project to assess whether testing for COVID-19 could prevent another lockdown for the city's night life venues.
9th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Crowd of 10,000 attends largest open-air music event in Ireland since start of pandemic

A crowd of 10,000 people have attended an open-air event in Falls Park, Belfast – the biggest crowd at a music event in Ireland since the start of the pandemic. The crowds were present on Sunday night as part of this year’s Féile an Phobail which is being held both in person and online. The Diversionary Féile Music Night, featured international DJ Paul Van Dyk and Judge Jules.
9th Aug 2021 - Irish Times

Anti-vaxxers try to storm the BBC in protest over vaccine passports and jabs for children

A group of anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protesters clashed with police as they tried to gain access to BBC studios in west London. Protesters were seen confronting officers with scuffles breaking out as they attempted to enter the site in White City. A line of police officers were filmed pushing back protesters to stop them entering. It is understood the group arrived to protest plans for vaccine passports and the vaccination of children.
9th Aug 2021 - LBC

Italian police break up network selling fake COVID ‘green passes’

The Italian police have shut down several groups on the mobile messaging app Telegram where users were selling fake COVID-19 health passes required to access services and leisure activities. Italy introduced the so-called green pass on Friday.
9th Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

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Protesters mass in France against Macron's Covid health pass

Almost a quarter of a million people took to the streets across France on Saturday for the biggest protests yet against a coronavirus health pass needed to enter a cafe or travel on an inter-city train, two days before the new rules come into force. Similar but smaller protests were held in Italy. Championed by President Emmanuel Macron, the French regulations make it obligatory to have either a full course of vaccination against Covid-19, a negative test or be recently recovered from the virus to enjoy routine activities.
8th Aug 2021 - International Business Times UK

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland lands six-figure award to help lonely and isolated

A charity with a strong presence in Lanarkshire has been awarded £100,000 in funding to tackle loneliness and isolation through its Kindness Programme. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) has been awarded the six-figure funding as part of the Scottish Government’s £1 million Summer Fund to help those affected in this way as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It will enable the charity reach more people.
7th Aug 2021 - Daily Record

CNN fires three who turned up to work unvaccinated against coronavirus

CNN has fired three staff members for working in the office despite being unvaccinated against the coronavirus, in an incident that highlights the potential challenges facing employers who mandate inoculations amid a surge of the highly transmissible delta variant in the United States. Jeff Zucker, the cable network’s president, wrote in a Thursday memo obtained by The Washington Post that CNN was “made aware” in the past week of three employees violating its policy that only fully inoculated people work from its buildings.
6th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

They rejected coronavirus shots in vaccine-rich countries. In the hospital, they changed their minds.

The fit and healthy bodybuilder in England. The religious woman from Canada. A conservative talk radio host in Tennessee. All chose not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite living in countries where doses are plentiful. But after contracting the disease and falling severely ill, they have since expressed an overwhelming sense of regret and urged others not to make the same mistakes they did — some just days before they died.
6th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

As delta variant surges, trust in the media plummets

We're a long way from 1976 or even 2005, aren't we? Because in 1976, in the post-Watergate era of journalism, trust in the Fourth Estate was 72 percent, according to Gallup. That's right: Nearly three of four Americans trusted that what they read, what they heard, were the facts with no narrative or cause or agenda being advanced. In 2005, 72 percent became 50 percent in terms of trust in the media. A 22-point drop, sure, but a respectable number when compared to just how bad things have become for an institution once revered for icons such as Cronkite, Brinkley, Mudd, Reasoner, Wallace, Jennings, Koppel and Russert.
6th Aug 2021 - The Hill

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COVID-19: Fit and healthy man, 42, killed by coronavirus regretted refusing vaccine - as sister issues misinformation warning

The sister of a fit and healthy man who died from COVID-19 says her brother was "beating himself up" over his decision not to get vaccinated during his final days, as she issued a warning over jabs misinformation. John Eyers, 42, from Southport, Merseyside died last week - exactly a month after catching the virus. The "fit" and "adventurous" father-of-one had been climbing Welsh mountains and wild camping a month before he became seriously ill.
5th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Businesses face ‘horrible’ abuse amid UK’s coronavirus vaccine checks dilemma

Hospitality is back in business post-lockdown — but staff face the prospect of abuse as they grapple with “confused” government guidance on checking customers' coronavirus status. Companies who have opted to put in place checks say they have faced a social media backlash from anti-vaccine and “freedom” campaigners. The U.K. has so far tried to encourage businesses with a higher risk of COVID transmission to voluntarily adopt its NHS COVID Pass, allowing customers to prove they are free of the virus. Users can show they have either had two doses of an approved vaccine, a negative PCR or lateral flow test result within 48 hours of entry, or have natural immunity. Business owners making use of the scheme so far say they have been on the receiving end of abuse, amid confusion from customers about the scale of the checks.
5th Aug 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Around 14% of US population is still opposed to the vaccine and most believe it is more dangerous than Covid-19 itself

Around 14 per cent of US population is still opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine. More than half of unvaccinated adults said vaccine is bigger risk to their health than getting infected with the virus itself. Some three quarters said they are 'not worried' about getting seriously sick from the virus
5th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Cambodia’s nightlife scene tests COVID success

In March 2020, Cambodian authorities made it clear they would take no chances with COVID-19. Tourism visas were suspended. Land borders were closed, leaving citizens stranded. Curfews and domestic travel restrictions emptied the kingdom’s world-renowned archaeological sites of visitors and shut down once-bustling nightlife spots. For nearly a year, such vigilance made Cambodia a COVID-19 success story. As of January this year, the country had recorded no deaths from the coronavirus and just 463 positive cases, 86 percent of which were imported cases that were contained by what was described as a “watertight” quarantine-on-arrival system.
5th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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Barbie launches doll of scientist Sarah Gilbert who created coronavirus vaccine

Barbie producer Mattel has created a doll in the likeness of the scientist who designed the Oxford coronavirus vaccine: Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert. Professor Gilbert started working on creating a jab in early 2020 when Covid-19 was first reported to be spreading in China. The vaccine she designed, the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, has now been used in more than 170 countries, making it the most widely used in the world. The doll depicts Professor Gilbert wearing a black trouser suit with a white shirt and glasses.
4th Aug 2021 - The Independent

‘Jabs for kebabs’ — The art of coronavirus vaccine persuasion

After the early rush among older citizens for a coronavirus vaccine, many countries are now resorting to bribery to convince people to get themselves jabbed. The persistent minority of vaccine skeptics — especially across Europe — are probably immune from the incentives on offer. But governments are hoping that a small nudge may be what's needed with people for whom the prospect of long-COVID or even death was not, by itself, enough to make them find a window in their schedule for a vaccine appointment. Some countries — notably France — are adopting more of a stick approach, by mandating that certain key workers receive the jab or restricting access to leisure activities for unvaccinated people. Pakistan is even taking the unconventional approach of cutting off the cellphone signal to those who refuse to get the jab.
4th Aug 2021 - POLITICO Europe

Covid-19: 'Lack of transparency' over Irish decisions

Experts in human rights law have accused the Irish government of lacking transparency and accountability in key decision-making during the pandemic. A report by academics from Trinity College Dublin said there was a lack of clarity about how decisions affecting prisoners and asylum seekers were made. It questioned how policies were arrived at in the vaccination programme and how Covid-19 deaths are counted. The report also said it was unclear who made some key decisions
4th Aug 2021 - BBC News

More US employers mandate COVID-19 vaccines

The list of major American companies who will soon begin mandating COVID-19 vaccines continues to grow, as both Tyson Foods and Microsoft announced that all employees will need to show proof of vaccination in the coming months. Tyson Foods is the first major food industry employer to require vaccinations. All front-line workers will be required to be vaccinated by Nov 1. According to the Associated Press, the Springfield, Arkansas, company will offer a $200 bonus for all front-line workers who receive a vaccine. So far, only half of Tyson employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. Throughout the past 18 months, Tyson meat processing plants were the site of major outbreaks, but the company now reports low numbers after investing $700 million in workplace safety.
4th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

COVID-19: Health workers face online abuse for encouraging vaccination

In England, health organisations are calling for an end to the abuse aimed at doctors and nurses during the pandemic, especially from anti-vaxxers. A letter has been signed by groups including the Royal College of Midwives, Unison, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the NHS Confederation, the British Medical Association, and the Royal College of Nursing. It was prompted by online abuse directed at RCM chief executive Gill Walton after she encouraged pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
4th Aug 2021 - Sky News

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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.
3rd Aug 2021 - CNN

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.
3rd Aug 2021 - CNN

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
3rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

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.
3rd Aug 2021 - The New York Times

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Have a chat to help others through loneliness

Looking back over the past 18 months, the Joni Mitchell lyric ‘you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’ comes to mind. It’s only now, having been isolated, that we can appreciate how much small moments of contact with family and friends can mean. Bristol Myers Squibb’s Janice Creasy discusses how the company is helping reduce feelings of loneliness amongst its teams.
2nd Aug 2021 - pharmaphorum

Serbia benefits from COVID-19 'quarantine tourism' as Indians visit

Serbia is benefiting from COVID-19 'quarantine tourism' as thousands of Indians make a two-week stopover on the way to other countries. India has registered more coronavirus cases than any other country except the United States. Its citizens are barred from entering many countries during the pandemic unless they spend two weeks in another country en route.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Sky News Australia suspended from YouTube for a week over Covid-19 misinformation

YouTube has temporarily barred Sky News Australia from uploading new content over misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Google (GOOGL)-owned platform, the broadcaster was issued a "strike" last Thursday, which prevents it from posting videos or live-streams for a week. Three strikes over a period of 90 days would result in a permanent removal of the channel. A YouTube spokesperson did not disclose which videos by Sky News Australia had violated its policies, but said in a statement issued on Monday that "we don't allow content that denies the existence of Covid-19 or that encourages people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus."
2nd Aug 2021 - CNN

Covid-19 Contained Among Olympic Athletes Despite Tokyo Surge

Tokyo is experiencing a record surge in Covid-19 cases during the Olympic Games as the more infectious delta variant rips through Japan, though contagion among those linked to the event appears to be relatively contained so far. To date, organizers have announced 276 positive cases among people connected to the Olympics, including 24 athletes out of the more than 11,000 who are expected to participate. Of over 400,000 tests conducted so far on athletes and stakeholders, the positivity rate has been only 0.02%, organizers said on Monday.
2nd Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19: First people arriving into UK after rules relaxed for fully jabbed

The first passengers have been arriving in the UK after rules changed to allow people fully vaccinated in the US and EU to avoid quarantine. The change, which came in at 04:00 BST, affects those arriving from countries on the UK's amber list - except France. The UK government said the change would help to reunite family and friends whose loved ones live abroad. Airline bosses have welcomed the move but are calling for more countries to be added to the UK's green travel list.
2nd Aug 2021 - BBC News

CDC rebuffs Biden bid to reinstate COVID-19 eviction moratorium

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has turned down President Joe Biden's request for a new scaled-down pandemic-related moratorium on residential evictions, citing a lack of legal authority to take the action, the White House said on Monday. The previous moratorium, which protected millions of Americans behind on their rent from being tossed out of houses and apartments, expired at midnight on Saturday, with Congress failing to renew it as Biden had asked. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier on Monday pressed Biden to have his administration renew the ban without congressional action.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

To Fight Vaccine Lies, Authorities Recruit an ‘Influencer Army’

Ellie Zeiler, 17, a TikTok creator with over 10 million followers, received an email in June from Village Marketing, an influencer marketing agency. It said it was reaching out on behalf of another party: the White House. Would Ms. Zeiler, a high school senior who usually posts short fashion and lifestyle videos, be willing, the agency wondered, to participate in a White House-backed campaign encouraging her audience to get vaccinated against the coronavirus?
1st Aug 2021 - The New York Times

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Broadway to require vaccinations, masks for audience members

Broadway theatergoers will need to prove they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 and masks will be required when theaters reopen in the coming weeks, producers announced Friday. Audience members will have to wear face coverings and show proof they are fully vaccinated by a FDA or WHO authorized vaccine when they enter the theaters until at least the end of October, the Broadway League said in a news release. “Get vaccinated, and we’ll see you in the fall,” tweeted Broadway and TV star Jeremy Jordan. Composer Jason Robert Brown also agreed with the move: “That’s right. That’s where we’re at.”
31st Jul 2021 - Associated Press

COVID: Berlin court bans anti-lockdown protests

Judges in the German capital have moved to ban a number of weekend demonstrations amid fears they will lead to a rise in coronavirus infections. Police expect protesters to travel to Berlin nonetheless.
31st Jul 2021 - DW (English)

Thailand outlaws reports that cause 'fear' as Covid-19 cases surge

Thailand will allow officials to block online reports that cause “fear”, even if they are true, in a move critics have lambasted as an effort to shut down debate of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The measure announced late on Thursday will penalise anyone who causes “misunderstandings” or jeopardises national security during the country’s state of emergency, which has been in effect since March 2020.
30th Jul 2021 - Financial Times

'I am furious with myself': Unvaccinated Covid patient describes the exhausting illness

Sitting in her hospital room in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Aimee Matzen struggled to breathe as she described how exhausting it is to have Covid-19. "The fact that I am here now, I am furious with myself," she told CNN between deep, deliberate breaths. "Because I was not vaccinated." Matzen, 44, finds herself in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge. She is receiving oxygen treatments and hopes she stays well enough to avoid getting hooked up to a ventilator.
29th Jul 2021 - CNN

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EU health body warns against visiting popular Greek islands over COVID-19

Greece's south Aegean islands were marked dark red on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's COVID-19 map on Thursday after a rise in infections, meaning all but essential travel to and from the region is discouraged. The cluster of 13 islands includes Greece's most popular destinations for foreign tourists - Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes - which, combined, draw millions of people every summer.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

European Union Pulls Ahead of the U.S. in Vaccinations

The 27 member states of the European Union altogether have now administered more coronavirus vaccine doses per 100 people than the United States, in another sign that inoculations across the bloc have maintained some speed throughout the summer, while they have stagnated for weeks in the United States. E.U. countries had administered 102.66 doses per 100 people as of Tuesday, while the United States had administered 102.44, according to the latest vaccination figures compiled by Our World in Data. This month, the European Union also overtook the United States in first injections; currently, 58 percent of people across the bloc have received a dose, compared with 56.5 percent in the United States.
29th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

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Tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan vaccinates 90% of its population, becoming a beacon of hope for a region struggling with Covid

Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90% of its eligible adult population in a week with Covid-19 shots, a feat that has been described as a "success story" and a "beacon of hope" for other countries in the region, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Tuesday. The tiny South Asian kingdom of 770,00 people is nestled in high in the Himalayas between India and China, and its high altitude, remote mountain villages, nomadic herders and extreme weather posed unique challenges to health workers delivering the vaccines safely across the country.
28th Jul 2021 - CNN

Relaxing Covid-19 restrictions could pave way for vaccine resistance – experts

Relaxing coronavirus restrictions could pave the way for new virus mutations that are resistant to vaccines, researchers have suggested. A new article warns against relaxing measures prematurely, and describes an “arms race” against Covid-19. Experts at the University of East Anglia and the Earlham Institute argue that rising cases could provide opportunities for the virus to evolve into even more transmissible variants.
28th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

Here Are The Republicans Most Likely To Refuse The Covid-19 Vaccine, Poll Finds

Nearly 40% of Republicans are still hesitant about getting the Covid-19 vaccine or refuse to get it, a new Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)/Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) poll finds, though certain subsets of the GOP appear notably more likely to accept or refuse the shot based on their religion, media consumption and whether or not they believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory.
28th Jul 2021 - Forbes

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A vaccine-skeptic dad died from COVID-19, realizing too late that he should have got the shot, his doctor said

A 34-year-old dad who avoided COVID-19 vaccines later died of the illness. His doctor said that he wanted to 'turn back time' and get jabbed he became seriously ill. Around 70% of the UK has been fully vaccinated, and vaccine hesitancy is rare, official data shows.
27th Jul 2021 - Yahoo

As Virus Cases Rise, Another Contagion Spreads Among the Vaccinated: Anger

As coronavirus cases resurge across the country, many inoculated Americans are losing patience with vaccine holdouts who, they say, are neglecting a civic duty or clinging to conspiracy theories and misinformation even as new patients arrive in emergency rooms and the nation renews mask advisories. The country seemed to be exiting the pandemic; barely a month ago, a sense of celebration was palpable. Now many of the vaccinated fear for their unvaccinated children and worry that they are at risk themselves for breakthrough infections.
27th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

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Opinion | 'Medical freedom' anti-vaccine bills like New Hampshire's endanger public health

Sununu and other Republicans are engaged in performative libertarianism. But even the most strident forms of that creed come with a qualification. It is John Stuart Mill who is most closely associated with the “harm principle” — that humans should be free to act, unless their actions bring harm to others. I think this is impoverished as a moral theory. But it accurately describes the mission of public health.
26th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

‘There’s a disconnect’: After a rapid rollout why has US vaccine effort stalled?

Bonnet, who is Black, described her resistance as a mix of hope the pandemic would fade, and skepticism born from the American medical establishment’s history of racism. Bonnet’s story is just one example of how people in a vast, heterogeneous country are reckoning with the re-emergence of the pandemic with the more contagious Delta strain predominantly causing new cases and their own willingness to prevent it using the most powerful tool at humanity’s disposal – the vaccine.
26th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Heathrow urges UK to open up to vaccinated travellers after losses hit £2.9bn

Heathrow has urged the government to open the UK up to vaccinated international passengers after it announced its cumulative losses from the pandemic had reached £2.9 billion. Fewer than four million passengers travelled through the UK’s largest airport in the first half of the year amid the third lockdown. The same total was reached in just 18 days in 2019.
26th Jul 2021 - iNews

A conservative radio host was skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines. Now that he's hospitalized with the virus, his family is urging others to get the shot

The family of conservative radio host Phil Valentine – who has been a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic – is urging others to get the vaccine after Valentine was hospitalized with the virus. Valentine, who hosts a show on WWTN-FM in Nashville,
26th Jul 2021 - CBS News

Schools closing ‘could be behind drop in Covid-19 cases across UK’ as experts welcome latest figures

Schools closing for the summer break is likely to be one of the reasons why coronavirus cases are falling across the UK, a leading expert has said. Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M) advising ministers, said he is “cautiously optimistic” about dropping cases but only time will tell if the third Covid wave is “turning round”. The expert in infectious diseases, from the University of Warwick, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “any situation where cases are falling clearly is good news”.
26th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid-19: Public artwork dedicated to pandemic NHS staff

A public art installation dedicated to the NHS and the efforts of its staff during the pandemic is to go on tour around the UK. Entitled Gratitude, the 51 sculptures have been created by a number of artists and are accompanied by real-life audio stories, recorded by famous voices, about key workers. The free exhibition opens in Birmingham next month. It is then due to move on to Manchester, Edinburgh and London. The sculptures will be auctioned off at a later date, with "substantial proceeds" going to NHS Charities Together.
26th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Sydney police fine hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters for ‘filthy, risky behaviour’

Prime minister denounces ‘selfish’ protesters who marched against coronavirus measures as police taskforce traces everyone who broke rules
26th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Thai volunteers aid COVID patients in need of care, testing

As Thailand‘s medical system struggles beneath a surge of coronavirus cases, ordinary people are helping to plug the gaps, risking their own health to bring care and supplies to often terrified, exhausted patients who’ve fallen through the cracks. In the Samai area of Bangkok, Ekapob Laungprasert’s team heads out for another weekend on the front lines of a crisis. His volunteer group, Samai Will Survive, has been working around the clock, responding to about a hundred SOS calls daily from desperate COVID-19 patients unable to get the help they need.
26th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

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Covid-19: Children with special educational needs 'forgotten' during pandemic

Families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) felt they were "forgotten" in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. That is according to a report from the National Children's Bureau (NCB) in Northern Ireland. Some families felt Covid-19 was used as "an excuse" by some agencies not to provide services or to limit services. Some parents have previously said their children had regressed due to the withdrawal of services in lockdown. Disabled people across the UK also spoke about the devastating impact the pandemic had on their lives.
25th Jul 2021 - BBC News

‘Too risky’: Performers call for insurance to cover COVID-19 losses

Performers are calling on the state or federal governments to provide insurance coverage for losses caused by COVID-19 restrictions - a move backed by the insurance industry. Musician Katie Wighton, a member of All Our Exes Live in Texas, said the band wanted to tour but insurance policies did not cover COVID-related cancellations. “It’s just been lockdown after lockdown and with us all being in different states it makes travel really tough,” she said. “If we had some sort of insurance it would definitely help us financially.”
25th Jul 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

French protesters march against vaccine mandates and passes

Some 160,000 people, including far-right activists and members of France's yellow vest movement, protested Saturday across the country against a bill requiring everyone to have a special virus pass to enter restaurants and mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all health care workers. Similar protests were held in neighboring Italy. Police fired water cannons and tear gas on rowdy protesters in Paris, although most gatherings were orderly.
25th Jul 2021 - CBS News

Anti-lockdown protest turns violent in Sydney

Thousands of people gathered in downtown Sydney, Australia on Saturday (July 24) to protest coronavirus restrictions as New South Wales (NSW) recorded its biggest daily rise in new COVID-19 cases this year.
24th Jul 2021 - Reuters Australia

Reluctance and distrust define vaccine attitudes in Gaza

More than five months since the arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 jabs in the Gaza Strip, the vaccine rollout in the besieged coastal enclave has been met with general distrust and, in many cases, outright refusal. According to data from Gaza’s health ministry, some 98,000 people – or just less than five percent of the two million population – have so far received a shot.
23rd Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

COVID-19: Latitude Festival becomes first major festival to welcome back fans - with 40,000 expected

Latitude Festival is under way in Suffolk, as 40,000 people descend on what organisers have said is "close to being the safest place in England". The four-day music event, which is taking place at the Henham Park estate, is part of the government's Events Research Programme, meaning fans will have to show they have been vaccinated twice or tested negative for the virus. Social distancing rules were axed in England on Monday, but while Latitude is going ahead, some other festivals - such as Glastonbury and Womad - have been cancelled this year.
23rd Jul 2021 - Sky News

Slovak police use teargas at protest over COVID-19 restrictions

Riot police fired teargas at hundreds of demonstrators who blocked the entrance to Slovakia's parliament and pelted the building with eggs on Friday as deputies debated legislation the protesters oppose on COVID-19 restrictions. Some protesters chanted "Treason" and one carried a banner declaring "Stop corona fascism" over a draft law that would give people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 easier access to public events and spaces than those who have not.
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

White House blames Facebook and YouTube for spreading vaccine misinformation

The White House has YouTube, not just Facebook, on its list of social media platforms officials say are responsible for an alarming spread of misinformation about COVID vaccines and are not doing enough to stop it, sources familiar with the administration's thinking said.
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Facebook and YouTube are still full of covid misinformation

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all banned harmful covid-related misinformation as the pandemic took hold throughout the world. But the false claims are still proliferating. On YouTube, the accounts of six out of 12 anti-vaccine activists identified by the Center for Countering Digital Hate as being responsible for creating more than half the anti-vaccine content shared on social media are easily searchable and still posting videos. On Facebook, researchers at the left-leaning advocacy group Avaaz ran an experiment in June in an effort to show how anti-vaccine material gets pushed to people. Two new accounts it set up were recommended 109 pages containing anti-vaccine information in just two days.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

New Jersey hospital system fires 6 workers who failed to get vaccinated against coronavirus

A half-dozen senior health-care workers who refused to comply with a New Jersey hospital system’s coronavirus vaccine mandate have been fired, the latest example of a company taking action against those who push back against vaccine policies. RWJBarnabas Health, the largest health-care system in the state, said in May that all team members at the supervisory level or above would be required to complete their course of coronavirus vaccinations no later than June 30. The idea was they would set an example for other staff members, and the state’s residents, in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

COVID-19: Iceland warns against stockpiling as Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Co-op experience shortages amid 'pingdemic'

Customers at Sainsbury's have been warned its stores "might not always have" the products they want while Tesco was understood to be experiencing "temporary low availability across a small number of products".
22nd Jul 2021 - Sky News

YouTube pulls Jair Bolsonaro videos for Covid-19 misinformation

YouTube has removed videos from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the latest tech giant to pull his statements about the pandemic. YouTube said in a press release the decision was taken “after careful review” and without consideration for Bolsonaro’s job or political ideology. The far-right former army captain, who has overseen the world’s second deadliest outbreak, has won widespread criticism for railing against lockdowns, touting unproven cures, sowing vaccine doubts and shunning masks.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Thousands descend on UK music festival amid rise in COVID cases

Thousands of people poured into the grounds of the Latitude music festival in eastern England on Thursday, one of the biggest gatherings since most coronavirus restrictions were lifted earlier this week. The four-day festival, expected to attract around 40,000 people, comes as COVID-19 cases across the country broadly rise. Music lovers arriving on a balmy summer's day had to show they had been vaccinated twice or tested negative for the disease.
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

UK ‘pingdemic’ raises fears of food shortages

The United Kingdom’s supermarkets, wholesalers and hauliers are struggling to ensure stable food and fuel supplies after an official health app told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate themselves after contact with someone with COVID-19. On Thursday, newspapers carried front-page pictures of empty shelves in supermarkets, while shoppers also took to social media to highlight shortages of certain products in stores across the country.
22nd Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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'A form of brainwashing': why Trump voters are refusing to get a vaccine

In downtown Little Rock, a chorus echoes around the room at Willy D’s Rock & Roll Piano Bar as groups of friends clutching beers and each other sing along to the soul hit “Stand By Me”. Yet far from standing together, the capital of Arkansas is deeply divided over how to deal with a resurgence of Covid-19. Cases are increasing, hospitals are filling up and health officials are struggling to convince residents in the city and across the state to be vaccinated. The pace of vaccinations in US states has become starkly correlated with politics, with Republican voters less likely than Democrats to have a jab, just as they are more reluctant to wear a mask or observe social distancing.
21st Jul 2021 - Financial Times

More than 1.5 MILLION children around the world lost a parent, grandparent or caregiver due to COVID-19, study finds

More than 1.5 million children lost a parent, grandparent or primary caregiver due to COVID-19, a new study estimates. Researchers at the CDC and Imperial College London made this estimate based on Covid mortality and fertility statistics in 21 nations. In the U.S., more than 110,000 children lost their parents or primary caregivers. The researchers say support is urgently needed for these children, who face higher risks to their health, safety, and wellbeing
21st Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

White House has held discussions with Fox News over its Covid-19 coverage

The White House is trying to fix the problem of slowing Covid-19 vaccinations by engaging with an unlikely source: Fox News. The network, which Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch has called the "loyal opposition" to President Joe Biden's White House, has been a hub for vaccine hesitancy and outright hostility. As the pandemic has gone on, and Covid-19 vaccinations have slowed, vaccine resistance among Republicans -- the Fox News audience base -- has been a recurring theme, leading many observers to scrutinize Fox's coverage.
21st Jul 2021 - CNN

US life expectancy falls by more than a year due to Covid-19 pandemic, CDC study says

Life expectancy in the United States fell by a year and a half in 2020 primarily due to increases in death due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to early data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "U.S. life expectancy at birth for 2020, based on nearly final data, was 77.3 years, the lowest it has been since 2003," researchers at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics wrote in a new report published on Wednesday.
21st Jul 2021 - CNN

My uncle died of Covid-19 before he could get a vaccine in Kenya, and I got mine in a US drugstore. This is what vaccine inequality looks like

Every time I see a call from home, my heart sinks. I always fear that they're ringing to say that my grandmother has died. She has been on a ventilator for four weeks and my anxiety is near breaking point. The dreaded call could come at any time: Covid-19. Again. Even at 96, my Kenyan grandmother was among hundreds of millions in the developing world who was not vaccinated until recently because rich nations have hoarded most of the available shots. Though I'm more than 60 years younger than her, I was fully inoculated by April because I was living in the United States, where anybody over 12 can get a vaccine if they want one.
21st Jul 2021 - CNN

COVID Vaccines And Infertility? How Misinformation Spreads In 6 Steps : Shots - Health News

Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines can appear almost anywhere: from an uncle's Facebook post to a well-trusted news commentator. But where does it come from, and why do some myths spread further than others? With the help of the internet research firm Graphika, NPR analyzed the rise of one persistent set of lies about COVID-19 vaccines: that they can affect female fertility. Despite a mountain of scientific evidence showing the vaccines are safe and effective, the false information persists.
21st Jul 2021 - NPR

Covid: The Mexican villages refusing to vaccinate

In November Pascuala Vázquez Aguilar had a strange dream about her village Coquilteel, nestled among the trees in the mountains of southern Mexico. A plague had come to the village and everyone ran to the forest. They hid in a hut under a tall canopy of oak trees. "The plague couldn't reach us there," Pascuala says. "That's what I saw in my dream." A few months later the pandemic had engulfed Mexico and thousands of people were dying every week. But Coquilteel and many small, indigenous towns in the state of Chiapas were left relatively unscathed. This has been a blessing but it also presents a problem.
21st Jul 2021 - BBC News

More Than 200 Facebook Groups Have Been Actively Circulating Coronavirus Vaccine Misinformation

After President Biden came down hard on Facebook last week over coronavirus vaccine misinformation, the company responded with almost equal force, insisting in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t responsible for how that type of content has spread on the web. But new research released Tuesday suggests Facebook does indeed remain a place where such misinformation is circulating: Media Matters for America, a liberal tech watchdog organization, says it has found 284 active private and public Facebook Groups currently distributing vaccine misinformation, more than double the amount the researchers found in April. Over a half million users belong to these groups.
20th Jul 2021 - Forbes

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80% of new COVID-19 cases in Spain among non-vaccinated people, health minister says

The vast majority of new COVID-19 cases in Spain in the past five weeks were detected among non-vaccinated people, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Monday, as new infections rose by 27,286. Just 5.5% of new cases within the period were detected among people who had been fully vaccinated, Darias said, adding 11.4% were partially vaccinated and 83.1% were unvaccinated.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths are increasing, and the vast majority were not vaccinated

The surge in Covid-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy has now led to increasing rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows: The average number of new Covid-19 cases each day the past week was 32,278. That's a 66% jump from the average daily rate the previous week, and 145% higher than the rate from two weeks ago. An average of 258 Americans died from Covid-19 each day this past week -- up 13% from the rate of daily deaths the previous week.
20th Jul 2021 - CNN

Olympic athletes, baseball players, soccer stars: Why we're still seeing Covid-19 cases among top athletes

The close proximity that athletes spend time in could be a breeding ground for infectious diseases, he said. It should be noted that vaccine programs vary in nations around the world, and not as much is known about some vaccines given in some countries, he added. And some teenage athletes might come from countries that don't vaccinate people that age, he said. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, reporting from Tokyo, said the Olympics bring a unique challenge. More than 11,000 athletes representing 206 national Olympic committees have come to an island nation that has seen a surge in cases.
20th Jul 2021 - CNN International

COVID Vaccines And Infertility? How Misinformation Spreads, In 5 Steps

Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines can appear almost anywhere: from an uncle's Facebook post to a well-trusted news commentator. But where does it come from, and why do some myths spread further than others? With the help of the internet research firm Graphika, NPR analyzed the rise of one persistent set of lies about COVID-19 vaccines: that they can affect female fertility. Despite a mountain of scientific evidence showing the vaccines are safe and effective, the false information persists.
20th Jul 2021 - NPR

"Don't get sick": Indonesia's poor miss out on COVID care

In the teeming, impoverished North Jakarta neighbourhood of Muara Baru, people have made a grim joke out of the acronym for the Indonesian government's lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic: PPKM. "Pelan Pelan Kita Mati," Herdayati, a 48-year-old mother of six and sole breadwinner for a family living in a narrow, claustrophobic alley, said, explaining the gallows humour.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Nearly a third of hospital workers in New York City are still unvaccinated against COVID-19

Nearly one-third of employees at New York City hospitals have still not gotten COVID-19 vaccines, city data show. Figures from the state Health Department reveal only 70 percent have completed their vaccine series since the shots were rolled out in December 2020. Of the five boroughs, Manhattan has the highest percentage of vaccinated workers with 76 percent having received their shots. Queens has fared second best with more than two-thirds of health care workers, or 67 percent, being vaccinated. However, almost 40 percent of hospital staff in the remaining three boroughs have either refused the COVID-19 vaccine or not gotten it yet.
20th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Young people are not immune from the government’s reckless policies

One of the reasons why Britain’s vaccination programme has been so successful is that the bulk of the population has been convinced that it is safe. Throughout the accelerated research and the rollout, safety has been the paramount consideration under which everyone concerned, including ministers and public health. But....
20th Jul 2021 - The Independent

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Migration and Covid deaths depriving poorest nations of health workers

The loss of frontline health workers dying of Covid around the globe, is being compounded in the hospitals of developing nations by trained medical staff leaving to help in the pandemic effort abroad, according to experts. With new Covid waves in Africa, and with Latin America and Asia facing unrelenting health emergencies, the number of health worker deaths from Covid-19 in May was at least 115,000, according to the World Health Organization. Its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, acknowledged data is “scant” and the true figure is likely to be far higher.
19th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Why the UK's new Covid-19 strategy is uniquely dangerous

I know of no episode in history where a government has willingly aided and abetted the spread of a dangerous infectious disease among its own population. History is being made. The government of the United Kingdom seems to actually want people to catch Covid-19 in the summer, rather than in the autumn and winter. Ministers reason that the understaffed and underfunded NHS will be in major trouble over the winter. To “go now” with the removal of all legal restrictions, thus producing an even higher level of infections, appears to be regarded as the right thing to do as it will reduce the inevitable problems later this year. This extraordinary policy has been revealed to the population in small dollops via Downing Street press conferences where the Prime Minister is flanked by civil servants. There is no obvious strategy and there is no published plan. In the view of much of the rest of the world, and most of the medical organisations in the UK, there is no possibility that this will be anything other than yet another failure that will cost lives and livelihoods.
19th Jul 2021 - New Statesman

COVID-19: 'It's not freedom day for everyone' - vulnerable people's fears over ending of coronavirus restrictions in England

People who are at high risk of catching the coronavirus have called the ending of restrictions in England "really frightening" and urged the government to give "more thought" to the vulnerable community. Restrictions such as limits on gatherings and social distancing, as well as face coverings, will no longer be legal requirements, although masks in certain spaces - including supermarkets and on public transport - is still being encouraged. There are around 3.8 million clinically vulnerable people in England with many saying they will do what they can to keep themselves and others safe - while charities have criticised the government for the blanket easing of coronavirus restrictions.
19th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Indonesian soup kitchen brings food to COVID-19 patients stuck at home

As coronavirus surges in the Indonesian capital, volunteers like Badie Uzzaman are pitching in to help, delivering food to people who have tested positive but are forced to quarantine at home as hospitals run short of beds. The 26-year-old driver of a three-wheeler, Badie drops off the packages in front of patients' homes, calling out that their food has arrived and making small talk from a distance.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

'I want to dance': London clubbers cheer end of COVID restrictions

London clubbers on Monday flocked to one of the first rule-free live music events since the pandemic began last year, dancing through the night and rejoicing in human interaction as England lifted most COVID restrictions at midnight. Britain, which has one of the world's highest death tolls from COVID, is facing a new wave of cases, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson is lifting most restrictions in England in what some have dubbed "Freedom Day". Epidemiologists are generally skeptical that lifting restrictions is the right thing to do, but many young British people have had enough of more than 1 1/2 years of lockdowns, and said they crave a party.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

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Did an Eid al-Fitr mass exodus kick-start Indonesia’s COVID chaos?

In the run-up to the holiday, the Indonesian authorities banned people from returning to their hometowns – a process known as “mudik”, usually involving some 20 million people – in a move designed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Roadblocks were set up, toll roads barricaded and checkpoints erected to prevent what was deemed unnecessary travel from May 6. But despite the ban, clandestine routes called “jalan tikus” (rat runs) mushroomed as travellers flouted the restrictions and went home anyway. Others were allowed to travel because of work or other reasons. By sheer coincidence, the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the date of which changes every year in line with the lunar calendar, coincided with Ascension Day, a Christian holiday. As a result, on May 13, a double holiday was celebrated by Indonesia’s Christian minority and Muslim majority communities across the archipelago.
16th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Opera singers are teaching long-term Covid-19 patients to breathe again

Covid-19 shoved Jeff Sweat into a medical coma for three weeks last winter, face down on a ventilator, on death's trap door. "I took care of him when he was literally near death," said Dr. Nida Qadir, a pulmonologist and co-director of the Intensive Care Unit at UCLA Medical Center. "He has no memory of meeting me." But now the pair are well acquainted -- the lung specialist and the 49-year-old married father with three teenagers -- as he sings his way to recovery in a unique therapy program at UCLA. Sweat and several other patients with serious medical complications caused by the virus attend weekly opera classes via video conference, conducted by members of the Los Angeles Opera and music educator Rondi Charleston.
18th Jul 2021 - CNN

Covid 19: More than one third of Londoners unvaccinated

More than one third of Londoners have not had their first vaccine dose making it the area with the lowest uptake in England, latest figures show. The data from NHS England also shows 55% have not had a second dose. Across England, 88% of people have had a first dose and 68% the second. Figures also show the city has one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 cases, with 298 per 100,000. Sadiq Khan said "everything possible" was being done to vaccinate everyone.
18th Jul 2021 - BBC News

England’s Covid unlocking is threat to world, say 1,200 scientists

Government advisers in New Zealand, Israel and Italy were among those who sounded alarm bells about the policy, while more than 1,200 scientists backed a letter to the Lancet journal warning the strategy could allow vaccine-resistant variants to develop. An adviser to New Zealand’s government told the summit he and his colleagues were astounded at the approach being taken in England. “In New Zealand we have always looked to the UK for leadership when it comes to scientific expertise, which is why it’s so remarkable that it is not following even basic public health principles,” said Michael Baker, a professor of public health at the University of Otago and a member of the New Zealand ministry of health’s Covid-19 technical advisory group.
17th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Boris Johnson pursuing Covid policy of mass infection that poses ‘danger to the world’, scientists warn

Boris Johnson’s government has come under pressure to urgently reconsider its plan to end Covid restrictions in England on Monday, as international scientists warned that the move poses a “danger to the world”. More than 1,200 scientists from around the globe have condemned the prime minister’s decision to forge ahead with so-called “freedom day” on 19 July, describing it as “unscientific and unethical”. Some of the experts convened an emergency summit on Friday, warning that the UK government’s decision to lift its rules on social distancing and masks amounted to a “murderous” policy of “herd immunity by mass infection”. The group of scientists – who all signed a recent letter to The Lancet warning against the plans – fear next week’s reopening in England will allow the Delta variant to spread rapidly around the world.
17th Jul 2021 - The Independent

C.D.C. Director Warns of a ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’

As the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus fuels outbreaks in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Friday that “this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain far below last winter’s peak, and vaccines are effective against Delta, but the C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, urged people to get fully vaccinated to receive robust protection, pleading: “Do it for yourself, your family and for your community. And please do it to protect your young children who right now can’t get vaccinated themselves.”
17th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

Just 5% think 'Freedom Day' will mark return to normal as Brits stay cautious

A new poll shows 85% of Brits will keep on social distancing - and nearly 40% believe it's too soon to lift Covid-19 restrictions
17th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

Moscow cancels QR code COVID-19 restriction for bars and restaurants

Moscow residents will no longer have to present a QR code demonstrating they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have immunity in order to sit inside cafes, restaurants and bars from July 19, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Friday. Russia, which reported a record daily rise in coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, is in the grip of a surge in cases that authorities have blamed on the more contagious Delta variant and the slow rate of vaccinations
16th Jul 2021 - Reuters

New poll finds confidence in science has plunged among some groups

Forty five percent of Republicans have either a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in science. More than 40 years ago, Republicans had more confidence in science than Democrats. The average adult at 33 percent either has "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in public institutions.
16th Jul 2021 - The Hill

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Child diseases on rise as COVID-19 slows routine vaccinations -U.N.

22.7 mln children missed routine vaccines in 2020 -U.N. Measles can be a killer disease of unvaccinated children. 'Large, disruptive' measles outbreaks in Afghanistan, Africa. WHO fears 'perfect storm' as nations lift pandemic curbs
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

India’s digital divide is hampering its mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign

Millions of Indians do not have access to the internet or a smartphone, yet vaccine registration can only be done online through a government portal Other challenges include vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, people lacking identification documents, and the status of refugees such as Rohingya
15th Jul 2021 - South China Morning Post

The US Surgeon General Is Asking You To Help Fight COVID-19 Misinformation : Shots - Health News

With about a third of adults in the U.S. still completely unvaccinated, and cases of COVID-19 on the rise, the U.S. surgeon general is calling for a war against "health misinformation." On Thursday, Dr. Vivek Murthy released the first surgeon general's advisory of his time serving in the Biden administration, describing the "urgent threat" posed by the rise of false information around COVID-19 — one that continues to put "lives at risk" and prolong the pandemic. Murthy says Americans must do their part to fight misinformation.
15th Jul 2021 - NPR

'Freedom day' or 'Anxiety day'? England to end COVID-19 curbs

July 19 sees removal of legal COVID restrictions. Clubs to reopen but fear another shutdown. Concern remains about deaths, long COVID and vulnerable. Modellers cite uncertainty about public's behaviour
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

We’re not virus police, French cafes say of new COVID pass

French restaurant owners and workers are as worried as anyone about the coronavirus — but they’re also concerned that new mandatory COVID passes will turn them into virus police instead of purveyors of culinary pleasures. Starting next month, all diners in France must show a pass proving they’re fully vaccinated, or recently tested negative or recovered from the virus. For restaurants – seen as the lifeblood of France -- the new rule presents yet another headache after a punishing pandemic.
15th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

US steps up fight against COVID-19 misinformation

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Thursday called for a national effort to fight misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, urging tech companies, health care workers, journalists and everyday Americans to do more to address a problem “that cost us lives”. In a 22-page advisory, his first as President Joe Biden’s surgeon general, Murthy wrote that bogus claims have led people to reject vaccines and public health advice on masks and social distancing, undermining efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk.
15th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

French police fire tear gas as anti-vaccine protest turns violent

Police in Paris fired tear gas and made arrests as they tried to disperse demonstrators, many of them sceptical of vaccines, the so-called “anti-vaxxers“, who marched throughout France over new coronavirus restrictions. Some of the protests began as early as Wednesday morning in Paris as the annual military parade for the traditional Bastille Day parade, watched by President Emmanuel Macron, was taking place along the Champs-Elysees.
15th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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Olympics COVID cluster at Olympic hotel as Tokyo cases surge

New COVID-19 cases at Brazil delegation's hotel. Russia women's rugby team isolating after masseur infected. Host city records most daily cases in nearly six months. Global public interest in Games at low level - poll
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

In Athens, thousands rally against COVID-19 vaccinations

More than 5,000 anti-vaccine protesters, some them waving Greek flags and wooden crosses, rallied in Athens on Wednesday to oppose Greece's coronavirus vaccinations programme. Shouting "take your vaccines and get out of here!" and calling on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign, the protesters gathered outside parliament under heavy police presence.
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

South Africa violence: Troop numbers on streets double to 5,000 amid looting - and more could be deployed

The number of soldiers deployed on the streets of South Africa has doubled to 5,000 as the army and police struggle to quell days of looting and violence. President Cyril Ramaphosa is considering boosting troop numbers even more, as at least 72 people have been killed in the worst unrest in the country for years. And some citizens are arming themselves to protect their property and businesses from the rampage, which has hit two of South Africa's nine provinces - KwaZulu-Natal, where Durban is located, and Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg.
14th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Politics is causing needless deaths in the fight against Covid-19

In what is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated, almost every adult American can make a choice not to die a needless death from Covid-19. But the task of persuading holdouts, skeptics and the merely disinterested to get their shots is being complicated by the further politicization of the pandemic -- a trend that will cost lives and exacerbate an already stark tragedy that has deepened the nation's ideological estrangement.
14th Jul 2021 - CNN

Almost half of this capital city's population may have contracted Covid-19, survey finds

Nearly half of Jakarta's residents may have contracted Covid-19, according to a health survey -- more than 12 times the number of cases officially recorded in the Indonesian capital at the time when the research was carried out. The survey, published July 10, tested for coronavirus antibodies in the blood of about 5,000 people across the city from March 15-31. The results showed 44.5% of those tested had antibodies, indicating they had been infected with Covid-19. The report was a collaboration between the Jakarta Provincial Health Office, the University of Indonesia's Faculty of Public Health, the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology and staff from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Indonesia.
14th Jul 2021 - CNN

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jul 2021

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‘Increasingly hostile incidents’ target London vaccine workers

A number of “increasingly hostile incidents” targeting London vaccine workers were revealed on Tuesday as the capital’s jabs roll-out slowed alarmingly. Mayor Sadiq Khan and the capital’s top doctor, Vin Diwakar, warned a “zero tolerance” approach would be taken as concerns grew about the threats and abuse being hurled at staff at the frontline of the jabs roll-out. Last month the Standard revealed that anti-vax campaigners had been targeting vaccine buses attempting to deliver jabs to “hard to reach” communities on housing estates, prompting councils to provide security guards.
13th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

New Zealand scientists say UK’s ‘awful experiment’ on Covid will threaten the country

Scientists in New Zealand have expressed concern at Britain’s unlocking of Covid restrictions, describing it as an “awful experiment.” On Monday Boris Johnson announced plans to scrap a number of coronavirus lockdown measures on July 19, including ditching social distancing and dropping the legal requirement to wear a face mask.
13th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Analysis: Ministers shift responsibility for fighting coronavirus to the public

The government today passed the baton for fighting coronavirus to the public, as Boris Johnson confirmed that the last of the emergency Covid restrictions would be lifted from next week. After 16 months of government-imposed curbs on our everyday life, it appears the government has decided that enough is enough and that it’s time for it to depart the pitch, mid-game, as a summer wave of infection builds. Johnson’s message was simple. It is up to each and every one of us to look out not just for ourselves but for each other, because the government has now returned to the idea of herd immunity as the only way out of the pandemic.
13th Jul 2021 - The Independent

When and how will we know if we need Covid-19 booster shots?

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the data behind Pfizer and BioNTech’s renewed push to change their two-shot Covid vaccination series to a three-shot regimen. But as various factions bicker about whether a third shot is going to be needed, one thing is certain: The final decision will not rest with the companies. Public health officials, not pharmaceutical executives, will be making the final call on when and whether booster shots will be needed. Pfizer and other manufacturers will surely try to push for approvals; Moderna is already testing a Delta-variant-specific booster. Depending on how their conversations go with vaccine regulators at the FDA, companies may apply for a change to their emergency use authorizations
13th Jul 2021 - STAT News

Deaths from Covid-19 remain low despite cases soaring ahead of lockdown finally lifting

Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales remain low despite soaring cases, new data shows. A further 109 Covid deaths have been recorded across England and Wales between June 26 and July 2, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. Although this is a slight increase on the week before, it is still a low figure when compared to the sharp spike in cases. Over the same period more than 150,000 new Covid infections were recorded across the UK. ONS data showed that the number of deaths recorded in the latest week in England and Wales was actually lower than the five-year average.
13th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

Tennessee fires official Michelle Fiscus because of coronavirus vaccination guidance

Tennessee fired its top immunization official Monday, the official said, in retaliation for her attempts to let teenagers choose whether to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Michelle Fiscus said she was fired from her job as director of immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health on Monday afternoon as retaliation for the department’s efforts to vaccinate teenagers against the coronavirus, a plan that angered several state lawmakers.
12th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Philippine vaccine hesitancy drops as safety concerns ebb, poll shows

The number of Filipinos willing to get inoculated against the coronavirus rose to 43% in June from just 16% in February, an opinion poll showed on Monday, as concerns over the safety of vaccines eased. The Pulse Asia survey of 2,400 respondents took place from June 7 to 16, more than three months after the Philippines began its vaccination drive on March 1. So far, nearly 9.7 million people have been given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 3.5 million have been fully vaccinated, about 3.2 % of the 110 population.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Europe is racing to vaccinate residents. But in some countries, undocumented immigrants have been left out.

As Europe races to vaccinate its residents against covid-19 and outpace the highly infectious delta variant, efforts to inoculate the continent face a major gap: undocumented immigrants. An estimated 4.8 million unauthorized immigrants lived in 32 European countries as of 2017, according to the Pew Research Center. Studies show they are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than European populations at large. But many countries have excluded them from vaccination drives in policy or in practice — and deep distrust among some immigrant populations toward authorities has caused complications for more inclusive campaigns.
12th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Cuban Protests Demand Freedom, Food, Covid-19 Vaccines

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets in a wave of demonstrations in Havana and at least 14 other cities throughout the Communist island, demanding an end to the 62-year dictatorship and protesting the lack of food and Covid-19 vaccines. “We are not afraid! We are not afraid!” people shouted as they marched through the streets on Sunday, videos posted on social media showed. “Freedom! Freedom!” The protests are unprecedented in a country with tight police control and surveillance on dissidents, analysts say. In a televised address on Sunday, President Miguel Díaz-Canel blamed the protests on the U.S., which he said seeks to economically strangle Cuba and bring about a social explosion
12th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Fears of four-hour airport queues when Covid-19 restrictions lift

Passengers could be forced to sit in aircraft on runways to prevent lengthy queues building up in airport terminals when foreign travel resumes en masse next week. The contingency plan in place at Heathrow and other airports is one of several “operational triggers” that will kick in if queues at border control exceed four hours. Officials have warned that Britain’s border infrastructure is not ready to cope with the influx of travellers following the decision to lift quarantine requirements for amber countries.
12th Jul 2021 - The Times

Covid-19 at the Euros: WHO official says lack of restrictions at Wembley for Euro 2020 final ‘devastating’

A leading World Health Organisation (WHO) epidemiologist has said it was “devastating” to see unmasked crowds crammed together at the Euro 2020 final. Maria Van Kerkhove expressed concerns during Sunday night’s match between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium that it would spur transmission of Covid-19. “Am I supposed to be enjoying watching transmission happening in front of my eyes?” tweeted the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, as more than 60,000 fans packed the stadium.
12th Jul 2021 - iNews

Kuwait shuts down children's activities to combat coronavirus - Cabinet

The Kuwaiti Cabinet decided on Monday to close down all activities for children, including summer clubs, from July 25 until further notice, as a precautionary measure to combat the spread of coronavirus. After a briefing by the health minister, the Cabinet also ordered the ministry of defence and the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) to put their hospitals at the service of the country's healthcare system, according to a Cabinet statement.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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G20 warns of risk to global recovery from virus variants

Variants, vaccine shortfalls raise risks-G20. Global tax deal on course for October signing. But US, EU hurdles could complicate things. Call for financial stability to be ensured
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Philippines relaxes COVID-19 curbs to allow children outdoors

The Philippines on Friday loosened coronavirus restrictions to allow children out of their homes so they can return to parks, playgrounds, and hiking trails in the capital region and some other provinces after a slowdown in infections. Children aged five and above, who were previously confined indoors, will also be permitted to go to outdoor tourist sites and dining establishments, and play non-contact sports outside, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Opinion | Uganda Did Everything Right on Covid. And the Worst Is Still Here.

Early in the pandemic, Uganda bought itself precious time at great economic cost to protect its people from Covid-19. There were lockdowns, international travel was restricted, and border screenings were introduced to prevent entry of the coronavirus. Cases of Covid-19 identified at borders or in communities were isolated, and people who had been in contact with those infected were quarantined and checked on by public health authorities.
10th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

As the Delta variant spreads, Republican reluctance will mean thousands more deaths

Unfortunately, millions of Trump's followers were convinced by his behavior during his last year in office that COVID was not a crisis. No matter what he says today, they remain convinced that the virus was a political attack, a hoax or simply overblown, regardless of the monumental body count. And then there's the relentless disinformation campaign coming from right-wing media. Here's a little taste:
9th Jul 2021 - Salon

COVID cases climb as Southeast Asia feels force of Delta variant

Having escaped the worst when the coronavirus pandemic erupted last year, Southeast Asia is now suffering dramatic rises in deaths and cases, while vaccination shortfalls and highly contagious variants derail containment efforts. As countries like Britain, Germany and France prepare to remove most remaining restrictions after devastating outbreaks, governments in Southeast Asia are tightening measures, hoping targeted lockdowns will act as circuit-breakers in arresting record jumps in cases and deaths that started rising in May.
9th Jul 2021 - Reuters

#BoycottHeineken Trends After Brewer Celebrates Vaccines

Heineken NV ran a minute-long ad on social media Thursday showing senior citizens dancing in a nightclub and racing to take a dip at a nearby beach. It ended with the message, “The night belongs to the vaccinated. Time to join them.” By Friday, bands of aggrieved users on Twitter were threatening to #BoycottHeineken. Some uploaded videos of themselves opening bottles of the brewer’s namesake lager and pouring it down their kitchen sinks in protest. Others described the ad as pro-vaccination propaganda.
9th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

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Missouri governor doesn't want door-to-door vaccine help

Federal officials are pushing back after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he doesn’t want government employees going door-to-door in his state to urge people to get vaccinated, even as a COVID-19 outbreak overwhelms some hospitals. Missouri asked for help last week from newly formed federal “surge response” teams as it combats an influx of cases that public health officials are blaming on fast-spreading delta variant and deep-seated concerns about the vaccine. After President Joe Biden mentioned the possibility of door-to-door promotion of the vaccine, Parson tweeted: “I have directed our health department to let the federal government know that sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would NOT be an effective OR a welcome strategy in Missouri!”
9th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Rural India sinks deeper into debt as COVID wipes out work

Interviews with 75 households in a cluster of villages in Uttar Pradesh state show household incomes have slumped nearly 75 percent on average. Heavy debt and low income in the countryside will hold back any economic recovery the government is trying to make and also dent private savings and investment for longer than expected, economists say. “It will have a huge impact and prolong the recovery process. Private consumption and investments both will be hurt. There is merit in finding ways to put money in the hands of the people,” said NR Bhanumurthy, economist and vice chancellor at Bengaluru-based BR Ambedkar School of Economics.
8th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Olympics bans spectators after Tokyo declares COVID-19 emergency

The Olympics will take place without spectators in host city Tokyo, organisers said on Thursday, as a resurgent coronavirus forced Japan to declare a state of emergency in the capital that will run throughout the event. Although widely expected, the move marked a sharp turnabout from just weeks ago, when organisers said they aimed to hold the global sporting showpiece with some spectators, and all but robs the July 23 to Aug. 8 Games of their last vestige of pomp and public spectacle. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said it was essential to prevent Tokyo, where the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 variant was spreading, from becoming the source of another wave of infections.
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Is COVID coming home? England at risk from Euro 2020 euphoria

England awaits first major soccer final for 55 years. Young, mainly male, adults spread COVID during Euro 2020. Issue extends outside stadiums to bars and pubs Politicians urge prudent celebrations as Italy eyes final
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

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Animals at Wisconsin zoos to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Some animals at the zoos in Madison and Milwaukee will receive an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Animals susceptible to the respiratory disease are expected to be inoculated with the vaccine authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture by late July. No COVID-19 infections have been found in animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo or the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, but some of the big cats at the Bronx Zoo became sick when the pandemic was peaking in New York City.
7th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Fiji police deliver groceries, toilet paper amid COVID-19 spike

Fiji on Wednesday began distributing groceries to some households as it urges people to stay at home amid rising infections of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the novel coronavirus. Authorities posted pictures on social media of bags of supermarket supplies - including packaged food and toilet paper - being delivered to homes around the capital, Suva, as they reinforced calls for people to obey social distancing rules and get vaccinated.
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Pushed 22 Million Out of Job Market in Major Economies

Labor markets in developed nations have recovered only half of the loss of employment they suffered in the pandemic, with the young and low-skilled hurt most. That’s the conclusion of a 400-page study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which found that about 22 million jobs disappeared by the end of 2020 in industrial nations. The Paris-based institution said a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels of employment won’t come until the end of next year.
7th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Trump Country Rejects Vaccines Despite Growing Delta Threat

Larry Krauck awoke in a strange hospital, the date written on a dry-erase board in his room: Dec. 12, 2020. That