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Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Jun 2022

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China Quarantine Cut Just First Step in Ending Global Isolation

China cut in half the length of time inbound travelers must spend in quarantine, making it easier for citizens to return and foreign companies to tend to business in the world’s second-largest economy after two-and-a-half years of isolation. Experts on topics from economics to health to business welcomed the move, though they said the reduction to 10 days of quarantine, from as long as three weeks previously, was just a first step toward reintegrating with the world. Health leaders in China said it wasn’t a major policy change, but a subtle adjustment as the virus itself continues to mutate.
30th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Searches for overseas flights surge after China shortens quarantine

Online searches for air tickets on international routes with China surged after Beijing unexpectedly said it would slash COVID-19 quarantine norms, travel platforms said on Wednesday, a sign of pent-up demand after two years of tough curbs.
30th Jun 2022 - Reuters on MSN.com

China removes indication of travel through COVID-hit cities on mobile app

A state-mandated Chinese mobile app that shows whether or not an individual has travelled in a city with COVID-affected areas will no longer specify such travel history, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Wednesday. The asterisk mark indicating an individual has travelled in a city with COVID-19 cases will no longer appear on the app as part of efforts to make domestic travel more convenient, the ministry said.
29th Jun 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Jun 2022

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China reduces quarantine for people arriving from abroad

China on Tuesday announced an easing of its quarantine requirement for people arriving from abroad but stopped short of lifting what remains a stringent COVID-19 policy compared to most other countries. Anyone coming from outside the country will be required to stay in a quarantine hotel for seven days, followed by three days of home quarantine, the National Health Commission said in its latest pandemic response plan. The previous plan called for 14 days in a hotel plus seven days of home quarantine. Some cities, including Beijing, have already reduced the hotel requirement to seven or 10 days in recent weeks, according to Chinese media reports. China has kept tight restrictions on international travel under a “zero-COVID” strategy that seeks to keep the virus out and stop any infections from spreading through lockdowns and mass testing.
28th Jun 2022 - The Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Jun 2022

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Shanghai’s Covid Lockdown Legacy: Confusion, Despair, Departure

Elizabeth Liu began to sob at the dinner table one evening in late March. She had just returned from the daily Covid-19 test that was the only time her family could leave their 10th-floor Shanghai apartment. That was when Mrs. Liu realized that the mental toll of living under China’s zero-Covid policies had become unbearable. It was also when she and her Singaporean husband agreed that by year’s end, they would leave the city where they’d met and which is the only home their four children—aged two to 12—have known. “It had just been building, this sense of anxiety and stress,” said the 39-year-old Texan, who moved to China in 2005 and Shanghai two years later. “It got to the point where I just thought: I want to get on a plane and I don’t care who comes with me.”
25th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Jun 2022

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Macau extends COVID shutdown of city, casinos stay open

Macau extended its COVID-19 restrictions including the closure of bars, cinemas, hair salons and outdoor parks from Thursday, its chief executive said as the world's biggest gambling hub battles to curb a rise in locally transmitted cases. Casinos are allowed to remain open while theatres, fitness centres, and leisure facilities must halt operations from 5 p.m. local time on Thursday, Ho Iat Seng said in a statement on the government's website.
23rd Jun 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jun 2022

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Macau hotel locked down after COVID case, 700 people to be quarantined-media

A hotel and casino resort in the world's biggest gambling hub of Macau was locked down by authorities with 700 people inside on Tuesday due to a coronavirus infection outbreak on the property, local broadcaster TDM reported. The lockdown comes as the Chinese special administrative region carries out a two-day mass testing of its more than 600,000 population after dozens of locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered over the weekend.
21st Jun 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jun 2022

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China Covid News: Shanghai Testing Blitz Shows Cases Contained

Shanghai’s weekend Covid-testing blitz found the virus seemingly contained, after a spike in cases last week had fanned concern the city would be plunged back into lockdown. The financial hub added 2 local cases on Monday, both outside government-mandated quarantine centers. The city reported 13 Covid cases on Sunday and nine on Saturday, with just one case each of the two days outside the quarantine sites. It was the first weekend of a mass-testing drive designed to stamp out the virus after community cases rose in the days after the city emerged from a punishing two-month lockdown.
20th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jun 2022

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Shanghai surprise: How I survived 70 days confinement in the world's strictest Covid lockdown

When I left a Covid-ravaged Hong Kong, I was in search of a sanctuary. It was early March and the city was in the throes of the biggest coronavirus outbreak per capita in the world. Little could I have known as I boarded the plane that my cunning escape plan would take me from the frying pan into the fire; that as I landed in Shanghai I would be swapping the world's biggest outbreak for the "world's strictest lockdown" -- and 70 days of enforced confinement. Still less could I have foreseen that, after serving three weeks of government-mandated quarantine on arrival, my housing compound would be hermetically sealed for a further 49 days straight, or that my mom and I would catch Covid, or that I would be carted off for a further spell of isolation at one of the government's notorious "fangcang" camps.
18th Jun 2022 - CNN

China turns Winter Olympics villages into quarantine camps to stamp out new COVID-19 outbreaks, report says

Villages that housed athletes at the Beijing Winter Games being used as COVID-19 quarantine camps. Hundreds have been sent to Olympic villages after an outbreak in Beijing's entertainment district. Olympic villages offer ideal infrastructure for quarantine, the Financial Times reported.
18th Jun 2022 - Business Insider on MSN.com


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Jun 2022

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Beijing declares initial COVID victory as bar-linked surge eases

The city of Beijing on Thursday declared an initial victory in its latest battle with COVID-19 after testing millions of people and quarantining thousands in the past week to stem an outbreak prolonged by a sudden wave of cases linked to a bar. The flare-up at the popular Heaven Supermarket Bar known for its cheap liquor and rowdy nights emerged just days after the Chinese capital started to lift widespread curbs. Restrictions had been in place for around a month in Beijing to tackle a broader outbreak that began in late April. The surge since June 9 is very modest by global standards, with a total of 351 cases found so far, but reflects how challenging it is, with the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, for China to make a success out of its strategy of stamping out each cluster of cases as soon as it materialises. "After eight days of hard fighting and the concerted efforts of Beijing residents in the battle, the swift and decisive measures have shown their effect," Beijing city government spokesperson Xu Hejian said.
16th Jun 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Jun 2022

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Hong Kong Covid Cases Top 1000 as Home Isolation Tweaked Again

Hong Kong reported more than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest in two months, with the rise in infections spurring officials to continue to tighten rules around who can isolate at home. There were 971 new local infections, including many among school children, their families and patrons of nightlife venues, Department of Health official Albert Au said at the daily virus briefing. Another 76 infections were detected among travelers who recently entered the city, bringing the total to 1,047 -- the highest since April 14.
16th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Beijing in 'race against time' to contain COVID surge

Authorities in China's capital warned on Tuesday that a COVID-19 surge in cases linked to a 24-hour bar was critical and the city of 22 million was in a "race against time" to get to grips with its most serious outbreak since the pandemic began. The flare-up means millions of people are facing mandatory testing and thousands are under targeted lockdowns, just days after the city started to lift widespread curbs that had run for more than a month to tackle a broader outbreak since late April
15th Jun 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Jun 2022

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COVID-19: Parts of Beijing placed under lockdown after spike in Omicron cases

Beijing has locked down parts of the city as it once again struggles to contain the Omicron COVID variant, with 74 new cases registered in the last 24-hour period. In Sanlitun, a popular shopping and nightlife area in the Chinese capital, all bars have been shut and restaurants have moved to takeaway only, while 123 non-essential stores have also been closed. Around the city, various residential neighbourhoods have been sealed off following the detection of cases, with those testing positive being taken away to quarantine centres. Chaoyang district, Beijing's biggest region and where Sanlitun is located, will continue to conduct daily mass testing of its 3.5 million residents until Wednesday at least.
14th Jun 2022 - Sky News


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jun 2022

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Thousands of Queenslanders in the dark over COVID-19 hotel quarantine fee waivers

As of this month, Queensland Health has issued 84,463 invoices for hotel quarantine. 21,401 people had applied for a quarantine fee waiver, and so far 4,639 have been approved in part or in full. The remaining 16,762 people are either still having their applications processed or considered — or they've been rejected
13th Jun 2022 - ABC News

Beijing tests millions, isolates thousands over COVID cluster at 24-hour bar

Authorities in China's capital Beijing on Monday raced to contain a COVID-19 outbreak traced to a raucous 24-hour bar known for cheap liquor and big crowds, with millions facing mandatory testing and thousands under targeted lockdowns. The outbreak of nearly 200 cases linked to the city centre Heaven Supermarket Bar, which had just reopened as curbs in Beijing eased last week, highlights how hard it will be for China to make a success of its "zero COVID" policy as much of the rest of the world opts to learn how to live with the virus.
13th Jun 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Jun 2022

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Covid Flares Again in Shanghai, Putting Areas Back in Lockdown

Shanghai will lock down seven city districts this weekend to mass test millions of people as Covid-19 cases continue to emerge in the community, risking more disruption for residents and businesses that have just exited a grueling two-month shutdown. Authorities said late Thursday they would lock down the Pudong, Huangpu, Jing’an, Xuhui, Hongkou, Baoshan and Minhang districts of Shanghai, with residents to be tested for the virus -- a key tool in China’s Covid Zero arsenal. It comes after infections found in the community rebounded to six on Thursday, from zero the day before.
10th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Another district in Beijing shuts entertainment venues to contain COVID outbreak

China's capital city of Beijing shut down entertainment venues in its Dongcheng district from Thursday in an effort to contain a new outbreak of COVID-19, the state-backed Beijing Daily said late on Thursday. The move came after Beijing's largest district, Chaoyang, also ordered entertainment venues and internet cafes to shut from 2 p.m. (0600 GMT) on Thursday.
9th Jun 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Jun 2022

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After lockdown, Shanghai tries to mend fences with foreign firms

Shanghai officials are seeking to revive confidence among multinational companies bruised and frustrated by the city's COVID-19 lockdown by holding multiple meetings with foreign firms and easing a key border requirement for overseas workers. The image of China's most cosmopolitan city and its biggest business hub was badly damaged by the two-month lockdown, with countless expatriates relocating and foreign businesses warning that they are reconsidering investment plans.
8th Jun 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Jun 2022

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Beijing, Shanghai Reopenings Speed Up: China Lockdown Tracker

China’s worst Covid-19 outbreak is ending, with cases continuing to fall, all major cities loosening restrictions and daily life mostly returning to normal. Infections are trending down nationwide, thanks to the ebbing outbreaks in Shanghai and Beijing. Of China’s top 50 cities by economic size, none currently have widespread restrictions in place. Tianjin hasn’t reported any local cases for the past 3 days and most public transport has resumed, while Beijing is resuming dine-in services and reopening parks and entertainment venues.
8th Jun 2022 - Bloomberg


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jun 2022

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Beijing Cautiously Reopens After Covid-19 Wave

China’s capital took tentative steps toward reopening on Monday as much of Beijing lifted restrictions on dining in restaurants and many workers returned to their offices. But new flare-ups of Covid-19 clusters around the country and fresh lockdowns in parts of Shanghai continued to pose major risks for China’s economy. For more than a month, Beijing health authorities imposed increasingly stringent measures on the city’s businesses and residents’ personal movements in a bid to stamp out the Chinese capital’s worst Covid-19 outbreak since the early days of the pandemic. City officials say those efforts are working as new daily infections have dipped to around a dozen cases or fewer in recent days, following weeks of mass testing of much of the city’s more than 20 million residents. By allowing restaurants, gyms and other businesses to reopen, Beijing authorities are signaling that they believe they have managed to control the latest outbreak without having to resort to the sorts of harsh lockdown measures experienced recently in Shanghai and elsewhere.
6th Jun 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Jun 2022

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S.Korea to lift quarantine requirement for non-vaccinated foreign arrivals

South Korea's prime minister on Friday said the country will lift its quarantine requirement for foreign arrivals without vaccination from June 8 and also start lifting aviation regulations imposed for international flights. However, the government will maintain the requirement of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result prior to entry and a PCR test within 72 hours after arrival.
3rd Jun 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai neighborhoods return to lockdown a day after restrictions eased

Multiple neighborhoods in Shanghai were placed back under lockdown only a day after city-wide restrictions were lifted, as China's stringent zero-Covid strategy continues to haunt the financial hub. Shanghai lifted its two-month lockdown on Wednesday, allowing most of its 25 million residents to leave their communities. But nearly 2 million people were still confined to their homes in areas designated as "high risk" by the government. At a news conference Thursday, Shanghai officials said seven new Covid cases were detected in the city's Jing'an and Pudong districts, resulting in four neighborhoods being swiftly sealed off and designated as "medium-risk areas" -- meaning residents will be confined to their homes for 14 days. Their 26 close contacts and 106 secondary contacts had been placed in government quarantine, and more than 470,000 people had been tested, according to officials.
3rd Jun 2022 - CNN


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Jun 2022

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Beijing Says Outbreak Under Control as City Eases Curbs

China’s capital Beijing will loosen mobility curbs in several districts from Sunday after authorities said its outbreak is under control, while total case numbers in the financial hub of Shanghai continued to decline. Most public transportation services including buses, subways and taxis will resume in three districts including Chaoyang, according to Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the Beijing city government. Shopping centers outside of controlled areas in the city will also be allowed to reopen with capacity limits on the number of people. Chaoyang is home to Beijing’s central business district, most foreign embassies and expatriates.
1st Jun 2022 - Bloomberg

Shanghai moves toward ending 2-month COVID-19 lockdown

Shanghai authorities say they will take major steps Wednesday toward reopening China's largest city after a two-month COVID-19 lockdown that has set back the national economy and largely confined millions of people to their homes. Already, a steady stream of people strolled in the Bund, the city's historic waterfront park, on a pleasant Tuesday night, some taking selfies against the bright lights of the Pudong financial district on the other side of the river. Elsewhere, people gathered outside to eat and drink under the watch of police deployed to discourage large crowds from forming. Lu Kexin, a high school senior visiting the Bund for the first time since late March, said she went crazy being trapped at home for so long. “I’m very happy, extremely happy, all the way, too happy," she said. “I could die."
1st Jun 2022 - Yahoo Finance

Israel to cancel quarantine for coronavirus patients?

Professor Salman Zarka, Israel's coronavirus czar, estimates that quarantine for coronavirus-positive individuals will be canceled. Speaking to reporters, Prof. Zarka estimated that in the middle of June, those testing positive for COVID-19 will no longer need to quarantine. Though both the infection coefficient and the percent positive have held relatively steady since mid-April, Prof. Zarka also claimed that the fifth wave of the virus is continuing to slow down
31st May 2022 - Arutz Sheva


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 31st May 2022

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Shanghai declares lockdown end from June 1 after two months

Shanghai on Monday announced an end to its two-month long COVID-19 lockdown, allowing the vast majority of people in China's largest city to leave their homes and drive their cars from Wednesday. The news brought an outpouring of relief, joy and some wariness from exhausted residents. "I'm so emotional that I'm going to cry," said one Weibo user. Most of the city's 25 million residents have been confined to their homes for almost all of the lockdown which began on April 1, with curbs only slightly relaxing in recent weeks to allow some to go out for short periods of time.
30th May 2022 - Reuters

N. Korea moves to soften curbs amid doubts over COVID counts

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other top officials discussed revising stringent anti-epidemic restrictions during a meeting Sunday, state media reported, as they maintained a widely disputed claim that the country’s first COVID-19 outbreak is slowing. The discussion at the North’s Politburo meeting suggests it will soon relax a set of draconian curbs imposed after its admission of the omicron outbreak this month out of concern about its food and economic situations. Kim and other Politburo members “made a positive evaluation of the pandemic situation being controlled and improved across the country,” the official Korean Central News Agency said.
29th May 2022 - Reuters

Beijing, Shanghai ease COVID restrictions as outbreaks fade

Shoppers returned to the malls of Beijing on Sunday as the Chinese capital relaxed pandemic restrictions after declaring a small but persistent COVID-19 outbreak effectively under control. A partial reopening of stores and offices in Beijing was welcomed by a weary populace and struggling shopkeepers eager for life to return to normal. Coupled with a gradual easing of restrictions in Shanghai, it signaled that the worst is over in the twin outbreaks in China’s most prominent cities. The lockdowns and other restrictions under China’s “zero-COVID” strategy have increasingly frustrated residents as they see other countries ease up and re-open their borders. Some have resisted and staged protests at apartment complexes and university dormitories, in an authoritarian country where people think twice about speaking out publicly because of possible repercussions.
29th May 2022 - The Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th May 2022

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Beijing Says Outbreak Under Control as City Eases Movement Curbs

China’s capital Beijing will loosen mobility curbs in several districts from Sunday after authorities said its outbreak is under control, while total case numbers in the financial hub of Shanghai continued to decline. Most public transportation services including buses, subways and taxis will resume in three districts including Chaoyang, according to Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the Beijing city government. Shopping centers outside of controlled areas in the city will also be allowed to reopen with capacity limits on the number of people. Chaoyang is home to Beijing’s central business district, most foreign embassies and expatriates.
29th May 2022 - Bloomberg

Shanghai takes baby steps towards ending COVID lockdown

Shanghai took more gradual steps on Friday towards lifting its COVID-19 lockdown while Beijing was investigating cases where its strict curbs were affecting other medical treatments as China soldiered on with its uneven exit from restrictions. The financial hub and the capital have been hot spots, with a harsh two-month lockdown to arrest a coronavirus spike in Shanghai and tight movement restrictions to stamp out a small but stubborn outbreak in Beijing.
28th May 2022 - Reuters.com


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th May 2022

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COVID-hit Shanghai heads for lockdown exit but China still lost in economic gloom

Pandemic-hit Shanghai, China's financial hub, unveiled more post-lockdown plans on Thursday as it moves towards a return to normalcy, but a nationwide economic recovery is still a distance away, heightening a sense of urgency for more support. China's biggest city by economic output has suffered from the lockdown imposed in early April. Other cities not under lockdown but still hemmed in by COVID curbs, including Beijing, have also struggled, with the highly transmissible Omicron provoking stronger responses from health authorities this year.
26th May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th May 2022

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Tightening COVID net, Beijing issues punishments and stark warnings

China's COVID-hit capital Beijing further tightened its dragnet on the virus with zero community transmission the target, punishing workplaces that flout rules or circumvent curbs and imploring residents to police their own movements. Since late April, the city of 22 million has wrestled with dozens of new cases a day. While these have been mostly in quarantine areas, a handful have been found in the community at large, illustrating the challenge the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant poses even to the world's most stringent pandemic containment policies. With Shanghai, China's business and commercial hub, and numerous other giant cities also shackled by partial lockdowns or other curbs, the zero-COVID approach remains the government's focus despite the damage it has done to the world's second-biggest economy and global supply chains.
25th May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th May 2022

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U.S. CDC recommends re-isolation if COVID recurs after taking Pfizer's pill

Patients who experience recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms after completing treatment with Pfizer's drug Paxlovid should isolate again for five days, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an advisory issued on Tuesday. Dozens of individuals have reported rebounding COVID symptoms on social media or to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after taking Paxlovid, but Pfizer suggests the experience is rare. A recent rise in COVID cases has driven up use of therapeutics in the country
24th May 2022 - Reuters

Beijing ramps up COVID quarantines, Shanghai residents decry uneven rules

Beijing stepped up quarantine efforts to end its month-old COVID outbreak as fresh signs of frustration emerged in Shanghai, where some bemoaned unfair curbs with the city of 25 million preparing to lift a prolonged lockdown in just over a week. Even as China's drastic attempts to eradicate COVID entirely - its "zero-COVID" approach - bite into prospects for the world's second-biggest economy, new reported infection numbers remain well below levels seen in many Western cities. The capital reported 48 new cases for Monday among its population of 22 million, with Shanghai reporting fewer than 500.
24th May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th May 2022

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Shanghai makes way towards COVID lockdown exit, Beijing plays defence

Shanghai cautiously pushed ahead on Saturday with plans to restore part of its transport network in a major step towards exiting a weeks-long COVID-19 lockdown, while Beijing kept up its defences in an outbreak that has persisted for a month. Shanghai's lockdown since the beginning of April has dealt a heavy economic blow to China's most populous city, stirred debate over the sustainability of the nation's zero-COVID policy and stoked fears of future lockdowns and disruptions.
23rd May 2022 - Reuters

China Covid Lockdowns: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai Rules Still Widespread

Beijing and Tianjin continue to ramp up Covid restrictions as cases climb, while reopening in Shanghai looks to be taking place in fits and starts, with most people still unable to move about freely. The emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant has spurred increasingly stringent pandemic curbs in China since March, in some cases snap lockdowns that carried heavy costs for the local population and economy. The pattern of transmission and restrictions across the country could offer insight into what regions may be vulnerable to disruption in the days ahead. Nationwide, overall cases are trending down. Of China’s top 50 cities by economic size, only Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai currently have widespread restrictions in place.
23rd May 2022 - Bloomberg


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd May 2022

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Shanghai reopens some public transport, still on high COVID alert

Shanghai reopened a small part of the world's longest subway system on Sunday after some lines had been closed for almost two months, as the city paves the way for a more complete lifting of its painful COVID-19 lockdown next week. With most residents not allowed to leave their homes and restrictions tightening in parts of China's most populous city, commuters early on Sunday needed strong reasons to travel. Shanghai's lockdown and curbs in other cities have battered consumption, industrial output and other sectors of the Chinese economy in recent months, prompting pledges of support from policymakers
22nd May 2022 - Reuters

Beijing ramps up local COVID-19 lockdowns as Shanghai slowly starts to move again

Authorities in Beijing are ramping up COVID-19 restrictions, while some residents of Shanghai said they were able to leave their apartments on brief trips outside on Friday. Much of Chaoyang district in the eastern part of the Chinese capital was under lockdown on Friday, while 100 subway stations and 24 administrative districts in Fangshan district were locked down after 10 positive PCR tests among college students there. The Beijing municipal health commission reported 64 newly discovered local cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, of which 10 were students at the Beijing Institute of Technology's Fangshan campus. While the authorities haven't declared a lockdown, parts of the city are indeed in a locked-down state, a Fangshan resident surnamed Zhang told RFA.
21st May 2022 - Radio Free Asia


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th May 2022

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Shanghai Finds First Covid Cases Outside Quarantine in Six Days

Shanghai found the first cases of Covid-19 outside of quarantine in six days, raising questions about whether the easing of the city’s lockdown will be impacted. Total infections in Shanghai rose to 858 on Thursday from 719 on Wednesday, with three of the cases found outside of government quarantine. Authorities started to ease the lockdown -- which had confined residents to their homes and curtailed business activity -- earlier this week after the city hit a milestone of three days of zero community transmission. However, many restrictions remain in place and swaths of the city’s population are still largely stuck inside their compounds.
20th May 2022 - Bloomberg


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th May 2022

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'Huge' pressure for Shanghai to stay COVID-free as lockdown end nears

Shanghai health authorities warn of risks of COVID rebound. Some migrant workers looking to leave Shanghai. Goldman cuts China GDP forecast, warns of further slip E-commerce giant JD.com says consumers losing
18th May 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai residents leverage Excel skills, management savvy to navigate lockdown

Li Di, a senior executive with a global bank, knew he had to help when he was admitted to the Nanhui quarantine site in April, after testing positive for COVID, and was confronted by chaos. "There were only 120 to 150 staff to take care of 10,000 patients. The staff literally had their hands full," said Li. Li set up a team of more than a dozen volunteers to arrange meals, distribute various supplies and help elderly patients who were struggling with various quarantine centre requirements.
18th May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th May 2022

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Shanghai’s Covid-19 Case Count Drops as City Prepares to Reopen

Shanghai marked a third straight day with no community transmissions of Covid-19, a key milestone toward ending an outbreak that has brought China’s financial capital to a grinding halt. Shanghai on Tuesday reported 777 new locally transmitted cases from a day earlier, compared with more than 25,000 daily infections at the height of the outbreak in mid-April. All the infections were found among 910,000 people in isolation facilities or confined at home—a sign that, for now, the virus’s ability to spread more widely in the city of 25 million people has been curtailed.
17th May 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Factbox: COVID-hit Chinese cities seek exit from painful lockdown

Plans by COVID-hit Chinese cities to exit or avoid lockdown are more fraught and uncertain than ever as the pursuit of zero cases grows more prolonged, taxing and complex, with the highly infectious Omicron variant demanding quicker and tougher steps. The lockdowns have led the World Health Organization chief to describe China's zero-COVID goal as unsustainable, but China says its approach will protect the lives of its people and economy in the longer run.
17th May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th May 2022

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Shanghai says lockdown to ease as virus spread mostly ends

Most of Shanghai has stopped the spread of the coronavirus in the community and fewer than 1 million people remain under strict lockdown, authorities said Monday, as the city moves toward reopening and economic data showed the gloomy impact of China’s “zero-COVID” policy. Vice Mayor Zong Ming said 15 out of Shanghai’s 16 districts had eliminated virus transmission among those not already in quarantine. “The epidemic in our city is under effective control. Prevention measures have achieved incremental success,” Zong said at a news briefing.
16th May 2022 - Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th May 2022

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North Korea reports more deaths, says taking 'swift measures' against COVID outbreak

North Korea said on Sunday a total of 42 people had died as the country began its fourth day under a nationwide lockdown aimed at stopping the impoverished country's first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak.
15th May 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai aims to defeat COVID over next week as Beijing hunkers down

Locked-down Shanghai aims to ringfence its COVID outbreak over the next week, officials said on Friday, while residents in China's capital Beijing largely heeded the advice of authorities to work from home to stem the virus' spread. Easing weeks of punishing restrictions in the commercial hub would bring relief to China's battered economy, although there is growing concern that Beijing may yet take a similar course of action if it fails to get a nascent outbreak under control. Shanghai's deputy mayor, Wu Qing, said the city of 25 million aims to eliminate COVID outside of quarantined zones within the next week or so. After that, the city's lockdown will be "lifted in batches", with shops opened and traffic restictions eased, he said in the announcement which confirmed a Reuters story from Sunday
13th May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th May 2022

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North Korea 'isolates and treats' 187,000 people for fever after reporting its first Covid-19 cases

North Korea has treated 187,000 people for fever after the country reported its first Covid cases. The state-run news agency KCNA said 'up to 187,800 people are being isolated and treated' and six people who were sick with fever had died, including one who tested positive for the Omicron variant. The report added: 'A fever whose cause couldn't be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April.' North Korea on Thursday confirmed its first-ever case of Covid-19, with state media calling it a 'severe national emergency incident' after more than two years of keeping the pandemic at bay. KCNA said samples taken from patients sick with fever in Pyongyang on Sunday were 'consistent with' the virus' highly transmissible Omicron variant. The country's top officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, held a crisis politburo meeting to discuss the outbreak and announced they would implement a 'maximum emergency' virus control system.
13th May 2022 - Daily Mail

North Korea confirms 1st COVID outbreak, Kim orders lockdown

North Korea imposed a nationwide lockdown Thursday to control its first acknowledged COVID-19 outbreak after holding for more than two years to a widely doubted claim of a perfect record keeping out the virus that has spread to nearly every place in the world. The outbreak forced leader Kim Jong Un to wear a mask in public, likely for the first time since the start of the pandemic, but the scale of transmissions inside North Korea wasn’t immediately known. A failure to slow infections could have serious consequences because the country has a poor health care system and its 26 million people are believed to be mostly unvaccinated. Some experts say North Korea, by its rare admission of an outbreak, may be seeking outside aid.
12th May 2022 - The Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th May 2022

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Shanghai Covid Spread Damps Prospect of Easing China Lockdown Curbs

Shanghai continued to find Covid-19 cases in the community Wednesday, damping prospects for an easing of a punishing lockdown that has hampered business activity and confined millions of people to their homes for more than a month. Shanghai reported a total of 1,449 new Covid cases for Wednesday, down slightly from 1,487 on Tuesday. While the daily total has steadily fallen, two cases were found in the community Wednesday, CCTV reported, after none were detected on Tuesday. Shanghai officials have said that three days of zero community transmission is required before they can start to ease restrictions.
12th May 2022 - Bloomberg


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th May 2022

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Shanghai's Covid Lockdown Leaves Thousands Sleeping in Its Streets

Shanghai’s lockdown has kept tens of millions of residents trapped indoors for a month and a half. Thousands of others in China’s wealthiest city have found themselves in the opposite predicament: living in the street. Victims of the same strict Covid-19 rules that are keeping most residents homebound, many of the newly homeless are migrant laborers from rural areas and smaller cities who often live hand-to-mouth while sharing an apartment with other workers. For many, the companies they work for have closed down in the lockdown, including boarding up worker dormitories. Some have chosen to join the tens of thousands who zip around Shanghai on bikes or scooters for food-delivery platforms like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Ele.me and Meituan’s namesake service. But with the income comes the stigma of a higher Covid risk. While the Shanghai government has granted special lockdown exemption for food-delivery workers, residential compounds have their own rules barring them from returning to their apartments for fear they will bring the virus back with them.
11th May 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID-19: Beijing closes down businesses as millions told to work from home - but government in China avoids calling it a lockdown

In Beijing, schools, gyms, hairdressers, parks, restaurants and bars are shut, millions have been told to work from home, but do not call it a lockdown. The Beijing government zealously avoids the term. Instead, the phrase currently in favour is jing mo, "stay silent". And the city, especially Chaoyang, Beijing's biggest district, is indeed very quiet, with much fewer cars on the streets. And because everything is shut, life is fairly boring. Getting a PCR test - you need a negative one within the last 48 hours to enter supermarkets, or your district may have been told do to mass testing - is one of the more interesting things to do.
10th May 2022 - Sky News

Luxury brands navigate Shanghai's lockdown to keep VIPs pampered

Since the COVID-19 containment began on April 1 in Shanghai, closing stores and paralysing online shopping, brands have overcome attendant delivery difficulties to gift provisions to "very important clients" (VICs). Many companies have delivered provisions to employees. For the more wealthy, banks and high-end hotels have joined luxury brands in sending out goodies - a privilege not unnoticed on social media.
10th May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th May 2022

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Shanghai tightens lockdown to hit zero-COVID goal by late May

Shanghai is tightening its already strict COVID-19 lockdown in a fresh push to eliminate infections outside quarantined areas of China's biggest city by late this month, people familiar with the matter said. Curbs will likely vary across the city's 16 districts as some have already hit the target, but the people said movement curbs will generally remain until the end of May due to fears of a rebound, despite recently falling case numbers in the country's worst coronavirus outbreak.
9th May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th May 2022

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Beijing Residents Keep Faith With Government’s Zero-Covid Strategy

BEIJING—For weeks, Beijing has teetered on the edge of a hard, Covid-induced lockdown. For the most part, citizens are unruffled, confident that the restrictions that have paralyzed Shanghai for six weeks are simply unthinkable in the capital.
8th May 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Shanghai tightens lockdown to hit zero-COVID goal by late May

Shanghai is tightening its already strict COVID-19 lockdown in a fresh push to eliminate infections outside quarantined areas of China's biggest city by late this month, people familiar with the matter said. Curbs will likely vary across the city's 16 districts as some have already hit the target, but the people said movement curbs will generally remain until the end of May due to fears of a rebound, despite recently falling case numbers in the country's worst coronavirus outbreak. Accounts from residents in several districts as well as social media posts showed the government of the city of 25 million accelerating and expanding an effort to transfer the close contacts of positive cases to central quarantines centres.
8th May 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai's life-saving efforts against the current omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic

In late February, 2022, a wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection rapidly appeared in Shanghai, China. According to the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, as of May 4, 2022, 601 942 cases have been identified, including 547 056 asymptomatic carriers. 503 people have died with or from COVID-19. Phylogenetic features of SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from 129 patients in this period, and inferring their relationship with those available on the GISAID database, indicated that all of the new viral genomes in Shanghai were clustered into the SARS-CoV-2 BA.2.2 sub-lineage. Of note, BA.2 is a sub-lineage of the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.1.159). Multiple sub-lineages of BA.2 have been characterised, many of which appear to show distinct regional distribution patterns.
7th May 2022 - The Lancet


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th May 2022

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In Covid-19 Battle, Taiwan Finds Alternative to Chinese-Style Lockdowns

Two of the last governments on earth to stick with zero-Covid policy are separated by only 100 miles of water. As both contend with Omicron outbreaks, the distance between their approaches to the virus is expanding rapidly. In China, government authorities have imposed full or partial lockdowns on dozens of cities, home to hundreds of millions of people, in a frantic bid to suffocate multiplying infection clusters. In Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing claims just off the coast of China’s Fujian province, the government has responded to its own Omicron outbreak by phasing out contact-tracing, reducing quarantine times and rolling out a campaign to soothe public concerns about the virus.
5th May 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th May 2022

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Beijing Halts Public Transport As China Continues To Fight Covid

Dozens of metro stations and bus routes in Beijing have been shut down as COVID continues to spread and millions of residents in Shanghai still remain under strict lockdown even after more than a month. China's capital city Beijing has shut more than 40 subway stations, about a tenth of the network, and 158 bus routes, service providers said. Most of the suspended stations and routes are in the Chaoyang district, the epicentre of Beijing's outbreak, reported The Express Tribune. Beijing is also resorting to mass testing. Twelve out of 16 Beijing districts were conducting the second of three rounds of tests this week, having done three mass screenings last week.
4th May 2022 - NDTV

Beijing reopens mass isolation centre in fight against Covid

Beijing has reopened a mass isolation centre as authorities seek to contain an outbreak of Covid-19 in the city. The Xiaotangshan Fangcai hospital, which holds at least 1,200 beds and testing facilities, was first opened during the 2003 Sars epidemic, and used again in early 2020 to treat Covid patients. Its reopening signals a ramp up in efforts by China’s capital to manage the rising number of cases without going into a city-wide lockdown. On Wednesday, China reported 5,489 cases, including 353 symptomatic. Most (4,982) were in Shanghai, which has been under a weeks-long lockdown sparking widespread complaints and protests over food shortages and overzealous enforcement. Beijing reported 46 symptomatic cases and five asymptomatic on Wednesday, bringing the city’s total since the start of its Omicron outbreak to about 400.
4th May 2022 - The Guardian


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th May 2022

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China Covid News: Shanghai Lockdown End Delayed by Community Cases

Shanghai’s final exit from a punishing five-week lockdown is being delayed by Covid-19 infections persistently appearing in the community, despite China’s hardline strategy of isolating all positive cases and their close contacts. While total cases in the financial hub keep falling -- 4,982 infections were reported for Tuesday, down from 5,669 on Monday -- community spread remains stubbornly present. After briefly hitting zero late last week, the count has bounced back to more than 50 a day this month. Shanghai authorities have indicated the lockdown will only be lifted once community transmission reaches zero -- the same path taken in Jilin province in the northeast, where a lockdown gradually started to ease once there was no more community transmission.
4th May 2022 - Bloomberg

Serbia lifts COVID-19 entry restrictions – EURACTIV.com

Serbia will lift all pandemic-related entry restrictions for all travellers from Tuesday, the government has announced. Travellers will no longer be required to present a negative PCR, rapid antigen test, proof they had COVID-19, or a vaccination certificate when entering the country from Tuesday (3 May), the government’s statement reads.
3rd May 2022 - EURACTIV

Central Chinese city of Zhengzhou imposes new COVID movement curbs for May 4-10

The central Chinese city of Zhengzhou announced on Tuesday it would impose new COVID-related movement curbs for May 4-10. Schools in the main city district will go online, while employees with government organisations and companies in the area must work from home during that period, according to a statement on the city's official WeChat account. The new measures would be subject to adjustment after May 10, in accordance with the COVID-19 outbreak situation, the notice said.
3rd May 2022 - Reuters

Taiwan cuts COVID quarantine for arrivals even as cases rise

Taiwan announced on Tuesday it was cutting to seven days from 10 mandatory quarantine for all arrivals, its latest relaxation of the rules to try to live with COVID-19 and resume normal life even as the number of domestic infections spikes. Taiwan has kept its quarantine rules in place as large parts of the rest of Asia have relaxed or lifted them completely, though it had already reduced the time spent in isolation from two weeks to 10 days in March.
3rd May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd May 2022

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Taiwan calls China's COVID lockdowns 'cruel', says won't follow its steps

China's lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 are "cruel" and Taiwan will not follow suit, Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Sunday. Having controlled the pandemic with tough border controls and quarantines, Taiwan has been dealing with a surge in domestic infections since the start of this year, with some 75,000 infections driven by the Omicron variant. But with more than 99% of those having mild or no symptoms, a handful of deaths so far and high vaccination levels, the government has moved to ease restrictions as it seeks normalcy and to gradually reopen the island of 23 million people to the outside world
1st May 2022 - Reuters

As Beijing tightens COVID curbs, hard-hit Shanghai sees signs of life

The Chinese capital Beijing tightened COVID restrictions on Sunday as it battled an outbreak, while Shanghai let more of its 25 million residents venture out for light and air after reporting a second day of zero infections outside of quarantine areas. The outbreak in Shanghai, which began in March, has been China's worst since the early months of the pandemic in 2020. Hundreds of thousands have been infected and the city has forbidden residents from leaving their homes, to great public anger.
1st May 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Apr 2022

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COVID-19 contacts to receive fewer free tests during '3+4' quarantine

People in Taiwan listed as contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients will now be given three free rapid tests, instead of five, during their seven-day isolation and self-initiated epidemic prevention period, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday. Under the CECC's new "3+4" quarantine policy that took effect Tuesday, contacts of COVID-19 cases were being given five free rapid tests by the government during their three days of home quarantine and four days of "self-initiated epidemic prevention."
28th Apr 2022 - Focus Taiwan News Channel


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Apr 2022

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Financial lobby group urges Shanghai to ease COVID rules for staff stuck in offices

A leading lobby group for global financial services firms has urged Shanghai authorities to let hundreds of exhausted staff go home after a month-long strict COVID-19 lockdown that has kept them in office buildings. The Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) in a letter dated April 26 urged the authorities to let financial firms rotate staff who need to work from offices.
27th Apr 2022 - Reuters

Beijing enforces lockdowns, expands COVID-19 mass testing

Police and new fencing restricted who could leave a locked-down area in Beijing on Tuesday as authorities in the Chinese capital stepped up efforts to prevent a major COVID-19 outbreak like the one that has all but shut down the city of Shanghai. People lined up for throat swabs across much of Beijing as mass testing was expanded to 11 of the city’s 16 districts. Another 22 cases were found in the last 24 hours, Beijing health officials said at a late afternoon news conference, bringing the total to 92 since the outbreak was discovered five days ago. That is tiny in comparison to Shanghai, where the number of cases has topped 500,000 and at least 190 people have died. No deaths have been reported from the still-nascent outbreak in Beijing.
27th Apr 2022 - The Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Apr 2022

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Anger Erupts at Xi's 'Big White' Army of Lockdown Enforcers

“Being a big supporter of authority and power seems to be deeply rooted in some residents’ mindsets,” said Liu, who has been locked down in his compound since April 1. “There are not many people who question authority, or the very validity of the Covid-Zero policy.” Big White describes the brigades of police, medical workers and volunteers in white hazmat suits who have become ubiquitous throughout the pandemic. China’s state media has used the term since the virus emerged in 2020 in Wuhan to soften their image: The moniker is the same as the local name for Baymax, the gentle inflatable robot in the movie “Big Hero 6.”
26th Apr 2022 - Bloomberg

China expands Covid testing to almost all of Beijing’s 22 million residents

Beijing has swiftly expanded its Covid-19 mass testing from one district this week to most of the city of nearly 22 million, adding to expectations of an imminent lockdown similar to Shanghai’s. The Chinese capital began testing the residents of its most populous district, Chaoyang, on Monday. By the end of the day, even though only a fraction of the results had come out, the city decided to conduct tests on 10 other districts and one economic development zone by Saturday.
26th Apr 2022 - The Guardian


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Apr 2022

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Shanghai's COVID lockdown drags into 4th week, fears flicker Beijing could be next

Shanghai fences up COVID-hit areas, fuelling fresh outcry By Investing.com UKShanghai further tightens Covid restrictions after weeks of strict lockdownThe GuardianNerves Fray, Frustration Grows in Shanghai's Lockdown PurgatoryU.S. News & World ReportNerves fray, frustration grows in Shanghai's COVID-19 lockdown purgatoryCNAView Full coverage on Google News
25th Apr 2022 - Reuters

Beijing locks down some areas as COVID-19 cases mount

Beijing will conduct mass testing of most of its 21 million people, authorities announced Monday, as a new COVID-19 outbreak sparked stockpiling of food by residents worried about the possibility of a Shanghai-style lockdown. The Chinese capital began mass testing people in one of its 16 districts where most of the new cases have been found. The city also imposed lockdowns on individual residential buildings and one section of the city. Late in the day, health officials said the testing would be expanded Tuesday to all but five outlying districts. While only 70 cases have been found since the outbreak surfaced Friday, authorities have rolled out strict measures under China’s “zero-COVID” approach to try to prevent a further spread of the virus. Some residents worked from home and many stocked up on food as a safeguard against the possibility that they could be confined indoors, as has happened in multiple cities, including the financial hub of Shanghai.
25th Apr 2022 - The Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Apr 2022

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Shanghai tightens city’s lockdown in ‘societal zero-Covid’ pursuit

Shanghai added 17,629 new cases in the previous 24 hours, 4.7 per cent fewer than a day earlier, according to data released on Friday. Symptomatic cases fell 26.7 per cent to 1,931, in the biggest one-day decline since March 1, while 11 patients died
23rd Apr 2022 - South China Morning Post

Shanghai Covid Cases Bounce Back as Strict Lockdown Persists

Shanghai reported higher Covid-19 cases and deaths on Friday, following five straight daily declines, as the city vows to step up lockdown enforcement to stamp out community spread in China’s worst virus outbreak. There were 23,370 new local infections reported in the financial hub Friday, compared with 17,629 cases the day before, the Shanghai Health Commission said Saturday morning. The city is entering its fourth week of strict lockdown since April 1, while people living in the eastern part or neighborhoods with earlier reported cases have been confined to their apartments for even longer. Frustration among residents has been building due to lack of access to food or medical care, moldy government rations, and the location of quarantine centers.
23rd Apr 2022 - Bloomberg

COVID rules are winding back, but some Australians are still locking down

Cities around Australia are again heaving with life. Masks are off, vaccine mandates are being wound back, capacity limits are a thing of the past and close contact rules are at their most relaxed for more than two years. "I think it's fantastic for everyone that can partake in it and feels comfortable to do so," said Victorian man Stephen Feitsma. "I wish I could, that we could do the same." Mr Feitsma spoke to the ABC from his home on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula, where he has spent almost all of his time for the last two years in a bid to avoid being exposed to COVID-19.
22nd Apr 2022 - ABC News

Thailand ends mandatory quarantine for vaccinated visitors

Visitors to Thailand who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will no longer need to undergo any test or quarantine on arrival starting May 1, a measure the authorities hope will help rejuvenate the country’s lucrative tourism industry. “Many countries have already eased their restrictions,” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Friday. “We are a country that relies on the tourism industry, especially during these times. This will help move the economy forward.” Under the new rules announced by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, unvaccinated travelers will still have to provide proof of negative results from a RT-PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. All visitors still must register with an online “Thailand Pass” system and provide proof of health insurance with coverage of at least $10,000 for COVID-19 treatment.
22nd Apr 2022 - The Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Apr 2022

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Shanghai people 'not free to fly' out of homes as COVID cases tick back up

Shanghai authorities said on Thursday tough restrictions would remain in place for now even in districts which managed to cut COVID-19 transmission to zero, prolonging the agony for many residents who have been stuck at home for most of this month. That sober assessment, prompted by an unexpected rise in the number of cases outside quarantined areas, came after health officials earlier in the week had fuelled hopes of some return to normal by saying that trends in recent days showed Shanghai had "effectively curbed transmissions". At a regular press conference, an official from the Chongming district, an outlying island area, said most curbs would be kept in place, although it has reported zero cases outside quarantined areas and 90% of its 640,000-or-so residents were now in theory allowed to leave their homes.
21st Apr 2022 - Reuters

Cambodia cuts quarantine for unvaccinated visitors to 7 days

Cambodia on Thursday reduced the required quarantine period from two weeks to one for arriving travelers who are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, acting after recording consistently low numbers of new infections in recent days. The Health Ministry also said that travelers arriving by air who have not been fully vaccinated must take a rapid antigen test on the last day of their quarantine. Arrivals by land -- mostly Cambodian workers in neighboring countries -- are required to take rapid antigen tests on arrival as well as on the last day of quarantine. Cambodia had already opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers on Nov. 15 in an effort to revitalize its tourism-reliant economy.
21st Apr 2022 - Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Apr 2022

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Close contacts of COVID-19 cases in NSW no longer required to isolate at home for seven days

The NSW government has scrapped the requirement for close contacts of COVID-19 cases to isolate at home for seven days. Those deemed a close contact of a positive case will have to undertake a daily rapid antigen test and wear a face mask in indoor settings. Close contacts are urged to work from home where possible and will have to notify their employer that they are a close contact and stay away from hospitals and aged care settings.
20th Apr 2022 - ABC.Net.au

Sharp fall in people fully self-isolating since Covid-19 rules scrapped

The proportion of people who fully self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 has fallen sharply since the rules were scrapped in England at the end of February, a new survey suggests. Just over half (53%) of people questioned said they had followed the full advice for self-isolating, down from four in five (80%) in February when isolation was a legal requirement. The survey was carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) between March 17 and 26, nearly a month since the Government removed all rules for self-isolation in England on February 24.
20th Apr 2022 - The Independent

Shanghai hopes COVID tide turning, with fewer cases outside quarantine areas

China's commercial capital of Shanghai reported no new COVID-19 infections outside quarantine areas in two districts on Wednesday, fanning hopes that the tide is turning in its pandemic battle, as some factories began to return to work. State media trumpeted the resumption of production by electric car company Tesla Inc at its Shanghai plant, after a halt of more than three weeks. The U.S. carmaker was on a list of 666 firms the Chinese government said last week would get priority to reopen, or keep operations running, in Shanghai.
20th Apr 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Apr 2022

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COVID-19: Shanghai confirms seven coronavirus deaths of latest outbreak as strict lockdown continues

Seven people infected with coronavirus in Shanghai have died, the first new deaths during the city's current outbreak. The deaths come after roughly 26 million people were placed under extremely strict lockdown restrictions for several weeks. All of those who died are reported to have been elderly and with underlying health conditions. People are banned from leaving their homes and are relying on the government to deliver food, with small-scale protests breaking out as some people have been unable to get enough. Police in hazmat suits were seen dispersing people protesting against the city's harsh COVID rules last week.
19th Apr 2022 - Sky News

NSW to end COVID-19 household isolation rules

NSW and Victoria will end isolation requirements for household contacts of COVID-positive people by this weekend as both states pass the peak of the latest Omicron wave. The removal of one of the last major remaining pandemic restrictions means people who live with positive coronavirus cases will no longer need to isolate at home for seven days.
19th Apr 2022 - Sydney Morning Herald

South Korea lifts most COVID precautions as new cases dip to two-month low

South Korea lifted almost all of its COVID-19 precautions on Monday in a major step towards a return to normal life as the Omicron variant recedes and daily infections retreated to a more than two-month low of fewer than 50,000. A midnight curfew on restaurants and other businesses was scrapped, along with a cap of 10 people allowed to gather. From next week, people will be allowed to eat snacks in cinemas and other indoor public facilities such as stadiums. People are still required to wear masks, however, with the government planning to review whether to lift a rule for masks outdoors in two weeks
19th Apr 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai urges cooperation with COVID tests amid rising scepticism

The Chinese city of Shanghai on Tuesday pleaded for public cooperation with a massive new push to test most of the population for COVID-19 as it tries to bring community transmission down to zero after nearly three weeks of lockdown. The plea came as some people refused to join PCR testing queues out of weariness after weeks of such requirements, or fear it puts them at greater risk of infection. Residents shared stories on social media about busloads of people being taken from their homes and sent into quarantine, including babies and the elderly.
19th Apr 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Apr 2022

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COVID-shaming pits neighbour against neighbour in locked-down Shanghai

The tensions of lockdown have exposed divisions among Shanghai residents, pitting young against old, locals against outsiders, and above all, COVID-negative against COVID-positive people. Shanghai's 25 million people, most of whom live in apartment blocks, have forged new communal bonds during the city's coronavirus outbreak, through barter and group buying and setting up food-sharing stations. But with no end in sight to a lockdown that for some has lasted four weeks, frustrations are also mounting behind the shuttered gates of the city's tower blocks, often playing out within WeChat message groups
18th Apr 2022 - Reuters

China Covid-19 Lockdowns Spread Beyond Shanghai to Other Cities

Localized Covid-19 lockdowns are proliferating across China, suggesting Shanghai’s struggle to contain the virus might be the prelude to a broader battle that threatens to hobble the world’s second-largest economy. Chinese health authorities on Thursday reported more than 29,000 new infections, the highest daily tally since the pandemic began in the central city of Wuhan more than two years ago. Strict measures appear to be working in China’s far Northeast, where local officials are declaring victory following an extended lockdown. Yet localized lockdowns are being newly imposed, expanded or extended elsewhere in the country, including the northern industrial city of Taiyuan, and the southern megacities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
15th Apr 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong confirms it will ease COVID restrictions from April 21

Hong Kong confirmed on Thursday it will ease some of the world's most stringent COVID-19 restrictions, allowing beauty parlours, cinemas and gyms to reopen from April 21 as infections in the global financial hub hover below 2,000 per day. The Chinese-ruled city has been hit by a fifth wave of coronavirus since early this year that has battered business and led to more than 8,600 deaths, many in the past two months, although cases have dropped in recent days. Coronavirus restrictions have battered businesss and helped fuel a net outflow of around 70,000 people in February and March, up from nearly 17,000 in December, raising concerns over the city's status as a global financial centre
15th Apr 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Apr 2022

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China Flirts With Shorter Quarantines for Overseas Arrivals Amid Shanghai Covid Outbreak

China is moving tentatively forward with a plan to test shortened quarantines for international arrivals as it seeks to gradually open up and ease the economic damage wrought by strict Covid-19 control policies, even as the country’s financial capital struggles to contain a major outbreak. International travelers arriving in eight pilot cities will be subject to 10 days of quarantine in a designated facility, followed by seven days of self monitoring at home, according to a copy of a document issued by China’s cabinet, the State Council, that has circulated widely on Chinese social media and was verified by people who have seen the original.
14th Apr 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Shanghai releases more from virus observation amid lockdown

Shanghai released 6,000 more people from the central facilities where they were under medical observation to guard against the coronavirus, the government said Wednesday, though the lockdown of most of China’s largest city was continuing in its third week. About 6.6 million people in the city of 25 million were allowed to leave their homes Tuesday, but some were restricted to their own neighborhoods. Some housing compounds also appeared to still be keeping residents locked inside, and no further lifting of restrictions was apparent Wednesday. Officials warn that Shanghai still doesn’t have its latest surge in cases of the omicron variant under control, despite its “zero-tolerance” approach that has seen some residents confined to their homes for three weeks or longer.
13th Apr 2022 - The Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Apr 2022

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Shanghai tweaks lockdown rules amid COVID-19 surge

Shanghai has eased a punishing citywide lockdown that it imposed to break a surge in cases that is the biggest test of China’s two-year strategy to stamp out the disease wherever it appears. Authorities in Shanghai introduced the three-tier disease control system on Monday, allowing residents in areas where no cases have been reported for 14 days to leave their homes so long as they follow health protocols and remain in their sub-district.
12th Apr 2022 - Al Jazeera English


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Apr 2022

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Debate over COVID-19 close contact isolation as Australia faces peak of Omicron BA.2 wave

As Australia moves into winter, changes to restrictions are up for discussion as governments try to strike the balance between living with COVID-19 and protecting the community. Advice from the Commonwealth's peak chief public health panel, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), has suggested close contact isolation should come to an end soon. Most jurisdictions have issued exemptions for close contacts in critical workforces to ensure essential services can continue, but some are now questioning the need for asymptomatic close contacts to spend a week in isolation.
11th Apr 2022 - ABC.Net.au

Shanghai eases lockdown in some areas despite record COVID infections

China's financial centre of Shanghai started easing its lockdown in some areas on Monday despite reporting a record of more than 25,000 new COVID-19 infections, as authorities sought to get the city moving again after more than two weeks. Pressure has been mounting on authorities in China's most populous city, and one of its wealthiest, from residents growing increasingly frustrated as the curbs dragged on, leaving some struggling to find enough food and medicine. City officials announced on Monday morning that they were grouping residential units into three risk categories as a step towards allowing "appropriate activity" by those in neighbourhoods with no positive cases during a two-week stretch, adding that district authorities would publish further details.
11th Apr 2022 - Reuters

Guangzhou closes to most arrivals as China’s outbreak grows

The manufacturing hub of Guangzhou closed itself to most arrivals Monday as China battles a major COVID-19 surge in its big eastern cities.Shanghai has taken the brunt of the rise, with another 26,087 cases announced on Monday, only 914 of which showed symptoms. The city of 26 million is under a tight lockdown, with many residents confined to their homes for up to three weeks and concerns growing over the effect on the economy of China’s largest city. The financial hub has seen international events canceled because of the crackdown, and local football club Shanghai Port has been forced to withdraw from the Asian Champions League because travel restrictions prevented it from attending games in Thailand.
11th Apr 2022 - The Associated Press


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Apr 2022

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Shanghai seeks to reassure residents over COVID-hit supplies

Shanghai reported nearly 25,000 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections on Sunday and sought to assure locked-down residents of China's most populous city that supply bottlenecks affecting availability of food and other items would ease. Streets remained largely silent in the city of 26 million people as curbs under its "zero tolerance" policy allow only healthcare workers, volunteers, delivery personnel or those with special permission to move freely.
10th Apr 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Apr 2022

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Shanghai, in Lockdown, Struggles to Feed Itself

A citywide Covid-19 lockdown in China’s financial capital of Shanghai has badly disrupted food supplies, causing a wave of anxiety as residents ration dwindling stores of vegetables and staples. Covid-test requirements for truckers entering Shanghai have caused delays in the delivery of foods and other commodities. Within the city, many food delivery workers have been confined to their homes or choose not to work for fear of catching the virus, leaving fewer people to distribute food once it makes it into the city. Dai Yuanyuan, a 33-year-old Shanghai resident who has been locked down in her apartment for more than three weeks, said she was running low on groceries from two government-organized deliveries. She has cut her egg consumption down from a few a day to just one. “I’m not sure if I can last for longer than five more days,” Ms. Dai said. Local authorities have banned private deliveries because they fear infected drivers might spread the virus in her residential compound, she said.
8th Apr 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Apr 2022

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'COVID is not a cold' - Germany U-turns on ending mandatory isolation

Germany will not end mandatory isolation for most people who catch COVID-19, the health minister said on Wednesday, reversing course after concerns were raised that lifting quarantine restrictions would suggest the pandemic was over. "Coronavirus is not a cold. That is why there must continue to be isolation after an infection," Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Twitter, adding he had made a mistake by suggesting an end to mandatory quarantine.
6th Apr 2022 - Reuters

Whole of Shanghai enters COVID lockdown despite lower symptomatic cases

Chinese authorities on Tuesday extended a lockdown in Shanghai to cover all of the financial centre's 26 million people, despite growing anger over quarantine rules in the city, where latest results show only 268 symptomatic daily COVID-19 cases. In a major test of China's zero-tolerance strategy to eliminate the novel coronavirus, the government widened the lockdown to eastern parts of the city and extended until further notice restrictions in western districts, which had been due to expire on Tuesday. The broader lockdown came after testing saw asymptomatic COVID-19 cases surge to more than 13,000. Symptomatic cases fell on Monday to 268, from 425 the previous day
6th Apr 2022 - Reuters


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Citing decreasing COVID cases, South Africa ends emergency

With declining cases of COVID-19, South Africa on Tuesday ended its national state of disaster, the legal framework used for two years to impose restrictions to combat the pandemic. South African sports fans can now return to stadiums in large numbers to watch soccer, rugby and cricket matches. Sports venues can take up to 50% of capacity with people who show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test done within 72 hours. Most restrictions will be lifted, but people will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces. International travelers must provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test done within 72 hours. “While the pandemic is not over, and while the virus remains among us, these conditions no longer require that we remain in a national state of disaster,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a nationally televised speech Monday night. “Going forward, the pandemic will be managed in terms of the national health act.”
6th Apr 2022 - The Associated Press

Queensland's COVID-19 vaccination mandate for cafes, pubs and clubs set to ease

A mandate preventing people unvaccinated against COVID-19 from visiting many public venues in Queensland will be eased from next Thursday. People will no longer need to prove they have had two doses of a vaccine before heading into cafes, pubs and clubs from 1:00am on April 14. This also includes theme parks, casinos, cinemas, weddings, showgrounds, stadiums, galleries, libraries and museums.
5th Apr 2022 - ABC.Net.au

Shanghai lockdown deepens after new surge in asymptomatic COVID cases

Chinese authorities on Tuesday extended a lockdown in Shanghai to cover all of the financial centre's 26 million people, despite growing anger over quarantine rules in the city, where latest results show only 268 symptomatic daily COVID-19 cases. In a major test of China's zero-tolerance strategy to eliminate the novel coronavirus, the government widened the lockdown to eastern parts of the city and extended until further notice restrictions in western districts, which had been due to expire on Tuesday. The broader lockdown came after testing saw asymptomatic COVID-19 cases surge to more than 13,000. Symptomatic cases fell on Monday to 268, from 425 the previous day.
5th Apr 2022 - Reuters


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Shanghai Extends Lockdown as City Tests Its 25 Million Residents for Covid

Shanghai extended lockdown measures as it concluded a day of testing of all 25 million of its residents for Covid-19 Monday, aided by thousands of medical workers who arrived over the weekend from across the country. Late Monday, which was meant to be the final day of lockdown, the municipal government said the lockdown would continue until after the authorities finished evaluating the situation, including reviewing the results of the mass-testing effort. It said by evening, it was nearly done with the citywide testing. Shanghai had planned a two-phase lockdown, in which half the city’s residents would be confined to their homes at a time, depending on which side of the Huangpu River they lived. The first four-day lockdown of residents to the east and south of the river was to have ended Friday. The second stage was due to end at 3 a.m. Tuesday.
4th Apr 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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Taiwan says new COVID cases won't affect re-opening plans

A recent rise in Taiwan's domestic COVID-19 cases will not affect plans to gradually re-open as hardly any of the new infections have caused serious illness, Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Sunday. Unlike large parts of the rest of the world, Taiwan has kept the pandemic well under control due to strict and early control measures, including an efficient contact and tracing system and largely closing its borders. In the first quarter of this year Taiwan reported 1,266 domestic cases, and only one death, though the government has been on alert as infections spiked over the past week or so, while remaining at comparatively low numbers, with 183 new cases on Sunday.
3rd Apr 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai asks entire city to self-test for COVID as frustration grows

Shanghai on Sunday ordered its 26 million residents to undergo two more rounds of tests for COVID-19 as public anger grows over how authorities in China's most populous city are tackling a record coronavirus surge. Residents should self-test on Sunday using antigen kits and report any positive results, Shanghai government officials told a news conference, while a nucleic acid test would be conducted citywide on Monday. "The main task is to completely eliminate risk points and to cut off the chain of transmission so that we can curb the spread of the epidemic as soon as possible," said Wu Qianyu, an inspector from Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.
3rd Apr 2022 - Reuters

Italy ends COVID-19 state of emergency, curbs to be lifted gradually

Italy on Friday began to phase out its COVID-19 restrictions, ending a state of emergency public authorities declared more than two years ago that allowed it to bypass bureaucracy and swiftly impose rules via decrees. The state of emergency was introduced on Jan. 31, 2020, but Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government announced plans in March to return to normal after deciding not to extend it. read more It officially ended on Thursday. "A new phase is beginning ... This does not mean that the pandemic is over. There is no 'off' button that magically makes the virus disappear," Health Minister Roberto Speranza told the newspaper la Repubblica.
1st Apr 2022 - Reuters


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Covid-19: Lockdowns spread in China as omicron tests “zero covid” strategy

The force of the omicron BA.2 variant this week met the immovable object that is China’s zero covid policy as Shanghai locked down amid the country’s worst outbreak since early 2020. World oil prices fell and Indian drug manufacturers warned of ingredient shortages as the city responsible for 4% of China’s gross domestic product posted record case numbers on 30 March. About 9 million residents of Pudong, the eastern half of Shanghai, have been locked down since 28 March. Bridges across the Huangpu River are closed. On the other bank, roughly 15 million people in the west of the city, centred around Puxi, were to begin a lockdown on 1 April as Pudong reopened. But many western districts were locked down two days early as city authorities released figures showing a continued steep rise in cases. In Puxi, a robot patrolled the streets, announcing the new schedule. In Pudong, residents were warned that drones with facial recognition technology would identify those illegally outdoors. A new lockdown was also imposed on 30 March in Xuzhou, a city of three million in Jiangsu province.
31st Mar 2022 - The BMJ

Shanghai to expand lockdown to most residents as COVID cases rise

Shanghai is set to put the vast majority of its residents under COVID lockdown from Friday, as it expands curbs to include the western half of the city and extends restrictions in the east where people have already been forced to stay home since Monday. The Chinese commercial hub, home to 26 million people, is on the fourth day of a 10-day lockdown that was to cover the city in two phases, with first the east and then the west entering lockdowns of five days each. The stay-at-home measure in the financial and industrial districts in the east began on Monday and was due to lifted at 5 a.m. on Friday. However, the city government late on Thursday said it would lift the curbs in stages instead.
31st Mar 2022 - Reuters

Germany plans to relax COVID quarantine rules as cases soar

Germany plans to end mandatory quarantine for most people who catch COVID-19, the health ministry proposed on Thursday, as numbers isolating with the infection top four million. Under the existing rules, people with COVID must quarantine for at least seven days. But Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to change that to a voluntary five days of self-isolation with the recommendation of a COVID test at the end of that period, proposals seen by Reuters showed.
31st Mar 2022 - Reuters


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Switzerland Mask Mandate: Last Covid Restrictions Dropped to Return to Normal

Switzerland is lifting the remaining pandemic-related restrictions, pushing ahead with a plan to return to normal life after two years. A mask mandate on public transport and in health-care facilities will be abandoned as of April 1, the Swiss government said Wednesday. People who test positive will also no longer have to adhere to a five-day isolation period. The move comes after the more transmissible BA.2 subvariant of omicron led to a resurgence of cases across Europe, though authorities have shrugged off the increase as it has had a less severe impact on hospitals. Switzerland had already scrapped most of its safety measures in February, including a work-from-home recommendation and the need for Covid-documentation to enter the country.
30th Mar 2022 - Bloomberg

Shanghai expands COVID lockdown as new daily cases surge by a third

Authorities began locking down some western areas of Shanghai two days ahead of schedule, as new COVID-19 cases in China's most populous city jumped by a third despite stringent measures already in place to try to stop the virus spreading. Home to 26 million people, China's financial hub is in the third day of a lockdown officials are imposing by dividing the city roughly along the Huangpu River, splitting the historic centre west of the river from the eastern financial and industrial district of Pudong to allow for staggered mass tests.
30th Mar 2022 - Reuters


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Shanghai tightens COVID lockdown on second day of curbs

China's most populous city tightened the first phase of a two-stage COVID-19 lockdown on Tuesday, asking some residents to stay indoors unless they are getting tested as the number of new daily cases exceeded 4,400. The financial hub of Shanghai, home to 26 million people, is in its second day of a lockdown authorities are imposing by dividing the city roughly along the Huangpu River, splitting the historic centre from the eastern financial and industrial district of Pudong to allow for staggered testing.
29th Mar 2022 - Reuters


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Shanghai Lockdown Experiment Begins as Officials Race to Clear Covid-19

Half of Shanghai went into lockdown on Monday, as authorities escalated measures to contain a spiraling Covid-19 outbreak in China’s financial capital. After announcing the snap two-stage lockdown of the city on Sunday, Shanghai reported 3,500 new Covid-19 cases, another record, with the number of infections doubling every few days. On Monday, barricades were seen splitting up the city, while many metro services and bus lines were suspended. Companies including Tesla Inc. suspended manufacturing for four days.
28th Mar 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Ghana opens borders and eases majority of Covid-19 restrictions

Ghana is the latest African country to ease its Covid-19 rules. In his 28th Covid-19 address, President President Akufo-Addo announced an update on the measures taken to limit the spread of the virus. Citing a "review premised on the background of rapidly declining infections, the relative success of the vaccination campaign ... and the increased capacity in the public and private health sectors", the leader presented measures set to take effect on Monday, March 28. 2 years after President Akufo-Addo closed all borders, he announced the opening of sea and land borders vowing the economy would soon rebound.
28th Mar 2022 - Africanews

Bulgaria to remove COVID-19 restrictions

The Bulgarian government will remove all restrictive measures against COVID-19 from 1 April, including the mandatory wearing of protective masks in closed public spaces and restrictions on public events. Bulgarian authorities say the decision to drop all measures was taken after the issue was discussed in detail over the past month.
28th Mar 2022 - EURACTIV


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Shanghai Imposes Staggered Lockdowns to Keep Coronavirus at Bay

Shanghai imposed stringent pandemic restrictions it has long tried to avoid on its 25 million residents that are likely to disrupt commercial activity well beyond the city limits. Local authorities said on Sunday they plan to lock down the city in two phases over the next week and a half to try to control an outbreak of the highly infectious Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus. All over Shanghai, the government’s announcement sparked frenzied scrambles to food markets and grumbling about the disruption to urban life in a city that until recently appeared relatively unaffected by Covid.
27th Mar 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Travel, Alcohol, Masks: Singapore Lifts Major Covid Restrictions

Singapore will significantly ease Covid-19 curbs, lifting most restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors and a requirement to wear masks outdoors, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Travel-related stocks gained. With the latest wave of the virus subsiding, Lee said that Singapore will double the group size limit to 10 people and allow up to 75% of employees who can work from home to return to their workplaces. The city-state will ease testing and quarantine requirements for travelers and lift a ban on alcohol sales in pubs and eateries after 10:30 p.m.
27th Mar 2022 - Bloomberg


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Singapore extends quarantine-free entry as Asia shifts to "living with COVID"

Singapore said on Thursday it will lift quarantine requirements for all vaccinated travellers from next month, joining a string of countries in Asia moving more firmly toward a "living with the virus" approach. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the financial hub will also drop requirements to wear masks outdoors and allow larger groups to gather. "Our fight against COVID-19 has reached a major turning point," Lee said in a televised speech that was also streamed on Facebook. "We will be making a decisive move towards living with COVID-19."
25th Mar 2022 - Reuters

Poland scraps most mask, quarantine rules

Poland will lift the requirement to wear masks in confined spaces, except for health care facilities, and remove quarantine rules for travellers and roommates of infected people, Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Thursday. "I have decided to introduce two changes as of March 28 - an end to the obligation to wear masks, stipulating that it does not apply to health care facilities", Niedzielski said. "The second decision is to abolish home isolation and home quarantine for roommates (of infected people) and all quarantines for people entering Poland."
24th Mar 2022 - Reuters

Chinese steelmaking hub Tangshan enters lockdown as COVID cases rise

China's top steelmaking city Tangshan implemented a temporary lockdown on Tuesday to avoid further cases of COVID-19 as infections surged, the local government said in a statement. Residents should not leave their houses or buildings except for tests or emergencies pending further announcement, the government said. Tangshan reported 15 confirmed locally transmitted cases from March 19-22, and 79 asymptomatic cases, while Hebei province, where Tangshan is located, had 331 confirmed cases and 2,454 asymptomatic cases as of March 22, data from the provincial health authority showed.
24th Mar 2022 - Reuters


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S Africa eases COVID restrictions for vaccinated travellers

Article reports that South Africa, the country in Africa worst affected by coronavirus, has relaxed some of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions, dropping mandatory negative results for inbound fully-vaccinated travellers, a move expected to boost tourism. On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement to scale down restrictions – imposed since March 2020 – as new infection rates slow and death rates decline. “Travellers entering South Africa will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours,” said Ramaphosa. Previously all travellers entering the country were required to produce a costly negative PCR test. Inside the country, vaccinated individuals or those that have a negative test result will be allowed back into sporting stadiums and music and theatre shows – which will be permitted to operate at half capacity.
23rd Mar 2022 - Al Jazeera English

‘A new beginning’: New Zealand to drop Covid vaccine passes and mandates

New Zealand will do away with vaccine passes and vaccine mandates for some of the workforce in early April, in a major loosening of the country’s tough Covid-19 restrictions. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced the changes on Wednesday morning, citing high vaccination rates, better data to identify which environments are high risk, and modelling that suggests the country’s Omicron outbreak would peak in early April.
23rd Mar 2022 - The Guardian

Polish government to lift more COVID-19 restrictions despite expert concerns

In Poland, the government wants to lift more pandemic restrictions although medical experts are concerned about not enough people being vaccinated against COVID-19 for the country to develop herd immunity and the mass arrival of unvaccinated Ukrainians. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told the media on 17 March that he had recommended that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki abolish the mask-wearing obligation in buildings.
23rd Mar 2022 - EURACTIV

Chinese steelmaking hub Tangshan enters lockdown as COVID cases rise

China's top steelmaking city Tangshan implemented a temporary lockdown on Tuesday to avoid further cases of COVID-19 as infections surged, the local government said in a statement. Residents should not leave their houses or buildings except for tests or emergencies pending further announcement, the government said. Tangshan reported 15 confirmed locally transmitted cases from March 19-22, and 79 asymptomatic cases, while Hebei province, where Tangshan is located, had 331 confirmed cases and 2,454 asymptomatic cases as of March 22, data from the provincial health authority showed.
23rd Mar 2022 - Reuters


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New Zealand lifts most vaccine mandates as Omicron outbreak nears peak

New Zealand's government said on Wednesday it would lift vaccine mandates for a number of sectors including teaching and police from April 4 as the current COVID-19 outbreak nears its peak.
23rd Mar 2022 - Reuters


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Link found between severe Covid-19 and long-term mental health problems

Serious Covid-19 illness appears to be linked to an increase in the risk of long-term adverse mental health effects, according to researchers from Scandinavia and the UK. They said it was the first study to look at long-term mental health implications for patients who were bedridden for more than a week following a diagnosis of Covid-19. Overall, most mental health symptoms among recovering Covid-19 subsided within two months after diagnosis, said the study authors in the journal The Lancet Public Health. But patients who were bedridden for seven days or more were more likely to experience depression and anxiety over the 16-month duration of the study, which involved data from six countries. This study was conducted by researchers from Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, and the UK.
21st Mar 2022 - Nursing Times

Indonesia set to lift quarantine rules for overseas tourists

Indonesia will lift all quarantine requirements for overseas visitors entering the country, its tourism minister said Monday, two years after it imposed border restrictions due to COVID-19. Tourism and Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno told reporters that foreign tourists will still be required to have a negative PCR test before entering the country. Quarantine requirements will be lifted from Tuesday, he added. Indonesia had already implemented a two-week trial of quarantine-free travel in Bali, Batam and Bintan islands, where coronavirus numbers have been falling. The government is hoping the easing of travel restrictions will boost the number of foreign tourist this year to over 3 million.
21st Mar 2022 - Associated Press

Hong Kong eases quarantine amid angst over ‘zero COVID’ isolation

Hong Kong will scrap flight bans and reduce quarantine for arrivals, amid mounting frustration with a strict “zero COVID” policy that has turned the financial centre into one of the world’s most isolated cities. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Monday authorities will lift flight bans on nine countries including the United Kingdom and the United States and cut hotel quarantine for incoming travellers with a negative COVID-19 test result from 14 days to seven. Lam also said plans for compulsory COVID-19 testing for the entire city will be put on hold. The announcement comes days after Lam acknowledged that tolerance for the city’s pandemic strategy was “fading” among the general public and businesses.
21st Mar 2022 - AlJazeera


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Hong Kong will review COVID-19 restrictions as cases decline

Hong Kong’s leader says the government will consider lifting strict social distancing measures as new COVID-19 infections in the city continue trending downward
20th Mar 2022 - ABC News

Millions in China’s northeast placed under COVID-19 lockdown

The city of Jilin will lock down some 4.5 million people for three days starting Monday to help curb the spread of China’s biggest coronavirus outbreak.
20th Mar 2022 - Al Jazeera English

Ecuador ends COVID limits on gatherings after hitting vaccination goal

Ecuador's president on Friday announced an end to coronavirus limits on public and private gatherings, but the South American country will continue to require foreign visitors to show proof of vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test. President Guillermo Lasso said the government made the decision to end two years of pandemic containment measures because Ecuador has reached its goal of fully vaccinating 85% of the population above five years old. Both new infections and COVID-related deaths have steadily fallen in recent weeks, according to government data.
20th Mar 2022 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Mar 2022

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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Welcomes Australia Tourists in Reopening

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is making a play for Australian tourists as she prepares to open the border to foreigners for the first time in more than two years. Appearing on Australian breakfast shows on Friday, Ardern said New Zealanders will welcome back Australians with open arms when the border opens to them on April 13, despite the friendly rivalry between the two nations.
18th Mar 2022 - Bloomberg

Germany to lift most COVID restrictions

Germany will lift most restrictions to contain the coronavirus despite infections hitting a record in the country on Thursday. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after talks with leaders of Germany's 16 states that a record of almost 300,000 infections in one day was not good news, but the easing of restrictions was justified given intensive care units were not overwhelemed. As of March 20, requirements to wear a mask will be dropped in indoor places like schools and at supermarkets but will remain mandatory in medical clinics and care homes.
18th Mar 2022 - Reuters

Italy to announce plan to scrap COVID restrictions

The Italian government was set to announce a two-step plan on Thursday scrapping most of its coronavirus restrictions as the country nears the end of its state of emergency. Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government was to meet to approve a plan to soften the curbs, a cabinet statement said. Draghi and Health Minister Roberto Speranza will hold a news conference afterwards to detail the decisions.
17th Mar 2022 - Reuters

Cambodia drops COVID testing requirements for overseas visitors

Cambodia on Thursday dispensed with a requirement for visitors from overseas to take COVID-19 tests, as the country moved ahead of most neighbours by relaxing most restrictions to spur more investment and tourism, officials said. The Southeast Asian country has vaccinated 92.31% of its population of 16 million against the coronavirus, one of the highest vaccination rates in the region, official data shows
17th Mar 2022 - Reuters

S.Korea looks to end COVID restrictions despite record surge in cases, deaths

South Korea recorded a record 621,328 new daily COVID-19 cases and a daily record 429 deaths, authorities said on Thursday, as the country which once took an aggressive anti-pandemic approach is set to end COVID restrictions. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said the highly infectious Omicron variant was driving the record wave of infections and while a public survey revealed many expected to catch the virus, few feared serious health consequences.
17th Mar 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong leader to review COVID restrictions in coming days

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Thursday she would review COVID restrictions in the coming days, as she understands people are increasingly impatient with rules that have isolated the international financial centre and hurt business. Restrictions, including a ban on flights from nine countries such as Britain and the United States, a quarantine of up to 14 days for people arriving in Hong Kong, a ban on face-to-face classes and the closings of gyms and most public venues, have frustrated many residents in the city of 7.4 million. Speaking at a regular COVID-19 media briefing, Lam said she would provide an update around March 20-21 rather than wait for the restrictions to expire on April 20.
17th Mar 2022 - Reuters

China’s Shenzhen to reopen, still trying to contain virus

Companies in Shenzhen, a major Chinese business center, will be allowed to reopen while efforts to contain coronavirus outbreaks progress, the government said Thursday, following a citywide shutdown that rattled financial markets. Testing of everyone in the city of 17.5 million people is “progressing smoothly,” said a deputy mayor, Huang Qiang, at a news conference. He said 71 new cases were found in the 24 hours through midnight Wednesday. China’s case numbers in its latest wave of outbreaks in areas throughout the country are relatively low. But authorities are enforcing a “zero tolerance” strategy that has temporarily shut down major cities to find isolate every infected person.
17th Mar 2022 - Associated Press


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Netherlands relaxes COVID-19 rules despite rising infection rate

Exactly two years since the restrictions were first introduced, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers declared that it is now safe to relax the measures. People are still advised to frequently wash their hands and isolate themselves when coming in contact with people who tested positive. Teleworking, COVID travel certificates, and having a negative test result to attend an event will no longer be mandatory. The new measures will come into effect next Wednesday (23 March). However, the Netherlands is still facing a rise in COVID-19 hospitalisation cases. As of Tuesday, 291 people were admitted to hospitals. There are currently 1952 hospitalised cases, 156 of which are in ICUs. This is not an isolated case as much of the EU is seeing a spike in cases.
16th Mar 2022 - EURACTIV

Japan to fully lift COVID-19 restrictions as infections slow

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday announced plans to fully lift coronavirus restrictions on March 21 as new infections driven by the highly contagious omicron variant slow. The COVID-19 restrictions currently in place in 18 prefectures, including the Tokyo area, will end on Monday as planned, Kishida said at a news conference on Wednesday, as his government seeks to cautiously expand consumer activity to help the badly hurt economy get back on track. It will be the first time Japan has been free of virus restrictions since early January. Daily caseloads have steadily declined in Japan in recent weeks after surging to new highs exceeding 100,000 in early February. New cases have fallen by about half.
16th Mar 2022 - The Independent

Covid-19 news: Nearly 30 million in China are now living in lockdown

China yesterday reported 5280 new SARS-CoV-2 cases, more than double the previous day’s count and its highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic. The surge has prompted the introduction of full or partial lockdowns in various cities across the country. China has been pursuing a strict ‘zero covid’ strategy, which until recently had largely kept outbreaks under control. The omicron variant, however, is more transmissible than previous variants and is probably driving the current surge. Cities across the country are now in full or partial lockdowns. The north-east province Jilin is the worst affected, accounting for more than 3000 of China’s new reported cases on 15 March. Speaking on 14 March, Jilin’s governor vowed to “achieve community zero-Covid in a week”.
16th Mar 2022 - New Scientist

New Zealand to reopen borders sooner than planned after years of COVID isolation

New Zealand is bringing forward the opening of its international borders to some travellers after more than two years of COVID-19 isolation, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying an influx of tourists will boost the nation's economy. The change means the end of some of the toughest border controls in the world during the COVID pandemic, imposed as the government tried to keep the coronavirus out, comes months ahead of the previous schedule. New Zealand's policies helped keep infections and deaths low. But with the Omicron variant now rampant, criticism has grown as business, particularly tourism, and agricultural sectors see little value in staying shut off from the world.
16th Mar 2022 - Reuters


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Lockdowns Spread Across China to Contain Outbreak

Fallout from China’s race to halt its worsening coronavirus outbreak is growing as authorities order lockdowns and other restrictions across more of the country. All 24 million residents of northeastern Jilin province, which borders Russia and North Korea, were locked down on Monday, the first time since Covid-19 was first detected two years ago in Wuhan that such restrictions have been imposed on an entire province. Shenzhen city began a weeklong lockdown on Monday, closing public transport, nonessential businesses and schools, while companies in Shanghai began shutting down over the weekend. Whether authorities can swiftly end the outbreak will not only test China’s pandemic strategies against the more infectious Omicron variant behind the latest wave, but also has major implications for the rest of the world. China’s current restrictions have already disrupted global supply chains, including Foxconn Technology Group plants in Shenzhen that make devices for Apple Inc.
15th Mar 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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Hong Kong rules out tightening COVID curbs for now as death toll soars

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Monday there were no plans to tighten strict social distancing measures as the Chinese-ruled territory battles to contain a coronavirus surge that has submerged its health system amid soaring deaths. Lam said there was limited room to tighten further, with the global financial hub already having put in place the strictest measures since the pandemic started. Gatherings of more than two people are banned, most venues are shut - including schools - and masks are compulsory everywhere, even when exercising outdoors.
15th Mar 2022 - Reuters

Lockdowns Spread Across China as Race to Contain Covid-19 Outbreak Intensifies

Fallout from China’s race to halt its worsening coronavirus outbreak is growing as authorities order lockdowns and other restrictions across more of the country. All 24 million residents of northeastern Jilin province, which borders Russia and North Korea, were locked down on Monday, the first time since Covid-19 was first detected two years ago in Wuhan that such restrictions have been imposed on an entire province. Shenzhen city began a weeklong lockdown on Monday, closing public transport, nonessential businesses and schools, while companies in Shanghai began shutting down over the weekend.
14th Mar 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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China imposes new curbs amid worst COVID outbreak in two years

China has placed about 17 million residents under lockdown, as virus cases doubled nationwide to nearly 3,400 and anxiety mounted over the resilience of its ‘zero-Covid’ approach in the face of the worst outbreak in two years. The southern tech hub of Shenzhen – home to about 13 million people – told all residents to stay at home as it struggles to eradicate an Omicron flare-up linked to the neighbouring virus-ravaged city of Hong Kong. The lockdown and a suspension of public transport will last until March 20, a city government notice said, adding that it would launch three rounds of mass testing. A nationwide surge in cases has seen authorities close schools in Shanghai, China’s biggest city, and lock down northeastern cities, as almost 18 provinces battle clusters of the Omicron and Delta variants. The city of Jilin – centre of the outbreak in the northeast – was partially locked down on Saturday, while residents of Yanji, an urban area of nearly 700,000 bordering North Korea, were confined to their homes on Sunday.
13th Mar 2022 - Al Jazeera English

Kenya lifts remaining COVID restrictions

Kenya lifted its remaining COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, including a ban on large indoor gatherings such as religious services and a requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test for arriving air passengers. Though Kenyans should continue heeding public health measures such as handwashing and social distancing, face masks are no longer mandatory in public and all quarantine measures for confirmed COVID-19 cases are halted with immediate effect, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe told a news conference.
12th Mar 2022 - CNBC Africa


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Mar 2022

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Hong Kong leader plans to reopen city only after controlling latest COVID outbreak

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Thursday it was not the time to lift a ban on flights from nine countries including the United States and Britain, with plans to reopen the city only after the government controls a deepening coronavirus outbreak. The global financial hub has some of the most draconian restrictions in place to combat a surge in coronavirus cases that has seen the city suffer the most deaths globally per million people in the week to March 7, according to the Our World in Data publication. Total infections have surged to about 600,000, including about 3,000 deaths - most in the past two weeks.
10th Mar 2022 - Reuters

Shanghai residents bristle as authorities turn COVID screws

An uncompromising response to a spike in local COVID-19 cases in the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai is testing the resolve of residents, with a wave of school closures and other draconian measures causing disruptions throughout the city. China's health authority said another 76 asymptomatic local infections were found in Shanghai on Wednesday, and authorities have been sealing off schools, residential compounds and office blocks as part of a "dynamic clearance" approach aimed at shutting down each new transmission route as soon as it arises. China has insisted its "zero-COVID" strategy is cost-effective and saves lives, even as other countries seek to coexist with a virus that has killed 6 million people worldwide.
10th Mar 2022 - Reuters

In ‘zero COVID’ Hong Kong, deaths smash global records

The Hong Kong nursing home where Amy’s 78-year-old mother lives battened down the hatches when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Elderly residents were confined within the walls of their rooms. Families were not allowed to visit. As the Chinese territory battled its biggest outbreak of coronavirus cases, staff at the private facility camped out in the office for weeks to avoid bringing the virus with them from outside. Even so, the inevitable happened. In February, Amy’s mother was among the residents sent to a public hospital’s emergency ward after developing a fever. “This elderly home has some of the strictest standards in the industry,” Amy, who asked to only be referred to by her first name, told Al Jazeera. “If 80 percent of its residents can be infected, then no other nursing home in Hong Kong can remain unscathed.”
9th Mar 2022 - AlJazeera


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Hong Kong races to build isolation facilities as COVID cases surge

Hong Kong is rushing to build facilities for COVID-19 patients, with Reuters drone footage showing construction work in full swing after a temporary bridge linking the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen to the Asian financial hub opened at the weekend.
10th Mar 2022 - Reuters


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Romanian government to lift COVID restrictions from March 9

Romania will lift all COVID restrictions from Wednesday including requiring a digital pass to access institutions and the obligation to wear protective masks both indoors and outside, Health Minister Alexandru Rafila said on Tuesday. The decision stems from the coalition government's decision to no longer extend a nation-wide state of alert two years after the pandemic first hit Romania. The country remains the European Union's second-least vaccinated state, with just under 42% of the population fully inoculated amid distrust in state institutions and poor vaccine education
8th Mar 2022 - Reuters

Malaysia to reopen borders from April with quarantine waiver

Malaysia will reopen its borders fully from April 1 and allow entry without quarantine for visitors vaccinated against COVID-19, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Tuesday. Malaysia has since March 2020 maintained some of the tightest entry curbs in Asia to try to contain coronavirus outbreaks, with most foreign nationals barred from entry and returning Malaysians required to undergo quarantine.
8th Mar 2022 - Reuters

New Zealand to Reduce Covid Self-Isolation Period to Seven Days

New Zealand will reduce the isolation period for Covid-19 cases and their household contacts to seven days in order to get more people back to work. The period will reduce from 10 days effective at 11:59 p.m. on Friday March 11 in Wellington, Minister for Covid Response Chris Hipkins said in a statement. “The most up to date public health advice is that there is a decline in infectiousness of omicron over time, and that in most cases transmission occurs within seven days,” he said. “Seven days isolation will break the vast majority of potential transmissions, while ensuring people can get back to work quicker and therefore reducing the impact on business operations.”
9th Mar 2022 - Bloomberg


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Ireland entry requirements: All Covid restrictions scrapped for arrivals, regardless of vaccination status

Ireland has dropped all Covid entry restrictions on arrivals, regardless of vaccination status. The relaxation of border rules came into force on Sunday 6 March and includes the end of Passenger Locator Forms. Travellers are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative Covid test on arrival.
7th Mar 2022 - iNews

Belgium scraps almost all COVID-19 measures as crisis eases

Belgium began easing most COVID-19 restrictions Monday in the biggest move to relax measures since the onset of the crisis some two years ago. Gone are the coronavirus passport that allows entry into bars, restaurants, theater and cinemas as well as capacity limits. The government announced last week that the nation of 11 million will go from code orange - the second-toughest for virus measures - to code yellow as of Monday.
7th Mar 2022 - ABC News


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New York City rolls back its COVID restrictions

Fact check: Phony images masquerading as CNN coverage go viral amid war… Ukrainian woman weds Chicago fiancé ahead of return home New York City has become the latest and largest city in the U.S. to announce it's dropping most of its COVID-19 restrictions as the Omicron surge continues to wind down. Starting Monday, businesses will no longer be required to ask for vaccination cards, and masks will no longer be mandated in public schools for children ages 5 and older. "We have to get our economy back on track," Mayor Eric Adams said on Friday. The city, which was once considered the epicenter of the pandemic, now has a positivity rate of only 1.6% over a 7-day average. In neighboring New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy announced he is lifting the statewide public health emergency — which includes a mask mandate for schools and day care centers.
5th Mar 2022 - MSNNnow

Belgium to lift most coronavirus measures Monday

Belgium will lift most coronavirus restrictions at the start of next week, shifting its pandemic barometer to Code Yellow, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced Friday. Wearing masks will still be recommended but will only remain mandatory for anyone from the age of 12 in health care establishments and in public transport. Masks will no longer be mandatory in schools. Belgium’s Covid Safe Ticket — providing proof of vaccination, recovery, or of a negative test — will no longer be required in the hospitality sector or to attend events. Starting March 11, Belgium’s travel rules will also change. Notably, travelers coming to Belgium will only be required to complete a Passenger Locator Form if they are arriving from a country not on the so-called white list of countries deemed safe.
5th Mar 2022 - POLITICO Europe


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Covid-19 news: WHO reports 25 per cent rise in depression and anxiety

A World Health Organization (WHO) briefing suggests that depression and anxiety have risen substantially during the coronavirus pandemic, with women and young people among the worst affected. Based on a review of existing evidence into covid-19’s impact on mental health, the briefing largely attributes the rise to the unprecedented stress of social isolation, as well as grieving loved ones, financial worries and fear of infection. Most of the countries surveyed (90 per cent) have included mental health support in their covid-19 recovery plans, however, the WHO has stressed there are still gaps in care.
3rd Mar 2022 - New Scientist


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The Truth About Lockdowns and Mortality: Experts Refute Study Finding No Benefit

A new "working paper" made a huge splash last week by claiming that, when it comes to lockdowns, we made a terrible mistake. The paper comes from three Johns Hopkins economists and is a meta-analysis of other studies examining the effect of lockdown policies on mortality. But is it true? Is it possible that government restrictions have no effect on COVID mortality? That would go against the whole pandemic playbook, not just this pandemic — the sort of basic tenets of infectious disease public health. So there may be a problem here.
1st Mar 2022 - Medscape

Hawaii to lift COVID-19 travel quarantine rules this month

Hawaii plans to lift its COVID-19 quarantine requirement for travelers this month, meaning that starting on March 26 those arriving from other places in the U.S. won’t have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to avoid sequestering themselves for five days. Hawaii is the only U.S. state to implement a coronavirus quarantine program of this kind. Gov. David Ige said at a news conference the requirement saved lives and was a major factor in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the islands. Hawaii has one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the nation.
2nd Mar 2022 - Seattle Times

Japan set to extend COVID curbs as hospitals battle infections

Japan prepared on Wednesday to extend infection controls in some regions amid high numbers of hospital patients hit by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The central government has received requests from five prefectures, including Osaka and Kyoto in western Japan, to extend measures set to expire on Sunday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters. Media said 10 prefectures, including Tokyo, the capital, were expected to seek an extension of two to three weeks for the curbs, which encompass shorter business hours and limits on the sale of alcohol.
2nd Mar 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong reports record cases; movements may be restricted

Hong Kong’s leader on Wednesday said people’s movements may be restricted during mandatory testing this month of the entire population for the coronavirus, as health officials reported a record 55,353 daily infections and over a hundred deaths. Chief executive Carrie Lam said authorities are still refining the plan, but that there would be no “complete” lockdown that would prevent entry and exit from the city. “The extent of it must take into account Hong Kong’s circumstances and people’s needs,” she told reporters. Hong Kong is planning to test its more than 7 million residents as it grapples with soaring numbers of COVID-19 cases in its worst outbreak of the pandemic, linked largely to the omicron variant.
2nd Mar 2022 - The Associated Press


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Here's how to cope with anxiety as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted across Canada

Learning to live with COVID-19 is a message that's been repeated by provincial and territorial leaders across the country. But learning to live with the virus isn't that simple for millions of Canadians whose medical condition or age has increased their risk of developing complications from a COVID-19 infection. As provinces and territories lift pandemic restrictions such as mask mandates and vaccine passport programs, society's most vulnerable are being forced to assess their risk tolerance. "For some people — immunocompromised or the frail elderly, for example — it might be quite dangerous for them to get COVID. We shouldn't be cavalier," Dr. Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist and professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, told Dr. Brian Goldman, host of CBC podcast The Dose.
1st Mar 2022 - CBC.ca


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Hong Kong to Lock Down City For Mass Testing, Sing Tao Says

Hong Kong is planning to enforce a lockdown of the city to ensure a mandatory Covid-19 testing drive planned for this month is effective, Sing Tao Daily reported. Testing of the financial hub’s 7.4 million people will start after March 17, the newspaper reported, citing people it didn’t identify. Officials are aiming to test the whole city three times over nine days, with a stay-at-home order in place to maximize the impact, the report said. Hong Kong’s core financial services including the operations of the stock exchange and Covid vaccination program will continue during the testing period, according to the report. Officials are still working out the details, Sing Tao said. Residents will still be allowed to leave their homes to buy necessities like food during the lockdown, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported, citing unidentified people.
1st Mar 2022 - Bloomberg


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UAE drops face masks outdoors, quarantine for COVID contact cases

The United Arab Emirates, the Middle East tourism and commercial hub, over the weekend ended a requirement to wear face masks outdoors and obligatory quarantine for COVID-19 contact cases. Fully-vaccinated passengers arriving in the country will no longer require PCR tests, said the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority in updated guidance that went into effect on Saturday.
27th Feb 2022 - Reuters


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COVID-19: All remaining coronavirus restrictions lifted in England

People in England who test positive for COVID are no longer legally required to self-isolate. From today, all remaining restrictions have been replaced by the government's "living with COVID plan". This comes just days after guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice weekly asymptomatic testing was scrapped.
24th Feb 2022 - Sky News

Singapore Halts Easing of Virus Restrictions as Covid Cases Surge

Singapore will push back plans to ease limits on home gatherings and other pandemic curbs as a resurgent Covid-19 outbreak tests the country’s pivot to living with the virus. The plans to ease and simplify some virus rules in phases, originally due to happen on Feb. 25 and March 4, will be delayed, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health on Thursday. This is because of the current surge in daily cases and the extensive work needed to go through detailed rules that have accumulated across different settings over the past two years, it said.
24th Feb 2022 - Bloomberg


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Polish prime minister says Poland will remove most COVID curbs

Poland will remove most COVID-19 restrictions from March 1, while keeping the obligation to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday.
23rd Feb 2022 - Reuters

Iceland to lift all COVID-19 restrictions on Friday

Iceland will lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, including a 200-person indoor gathering limit and restricted opening hours for bars, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday. "Widespread societal resistance to COVID-19 is the main route out of the epidemic," the ministry said in a statement, citing infectious disease authorities. "To achieve this, as many people as possible need to be infected with the virus as the vaccines are not enough, even though they provide good protection against serious illness," it added.
23rd Feb 2022 - Reuters


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Hong Kong to Shut Schools to Fight Omicron; Foreigners Rush to Leave

Within hours of the city’s top official saying late Tuesday that schools would be closed and turned into response centers to tackle a surge in the Covid-19 Omicron variant, a rush occurred among foreign residents to find a way out of the city. Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s decision to shift the summer holidays forward several months to start in March—repurposing schools as testing, vaccination and isolation centers—caught educators and parents off guard. Some foreign workers immediately tried to book their families on flights out of the city as soon as possible. They took to WhatsApp messaging groups and other social-media platforms to discuss how to get out, with hundreds of posts inquiring about flight options and chartering planes amid sharply reduced commercial schedules in and out of the city. Heads of international schools sent hastily composed emails to parents and staffers saying that they would meet with the city’s education department Wednesday to try to mitigate the situation. One urged parents not to act hastily.
22nd Feb 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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'Increased risk' of mental health disorders after Covid-19 infection

Covid-19 is associated with an increased risk of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance use, and sleep disorders, up to a year after initial infection, a study suggests. The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that tackling mental health disorders among survivors ought to become a priority for better healthcare overall.
21st Feb 2022 - Nursing Times


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Shades of the early pandemic as Omicron tests Hong Kong

Bundled in a quilted jacket, covered with two thin blankets, Alice Yeung insisted she was not cold. Five hours before, she had tested positive for COVID-19. With no symptoms, but no vaccine, either, she was shipped from her nursing home to Caritas Medical Centre in the Kowloon region on Thursday. There, she and 50 or so strangers waited outside the emergency room on one of winter’s coolest nights as medical staff inside drowned under a resurgent epidemic. “No problem!” said the 69-year-old Yeung, with the practised optimism of the kindergarten aide she had once been. Like tens of thousands of seniors, Yeung had ignored the government’s fitful efforts to vaccinate them for most of the last two years. Local newspapers carried reports that people had died after getting jabs, or suffered paralysis. “Big headlines,” she said. With the government pushing vaccines harder in recent weeks, she had signed up to get her jab on February 25.
19th Feb 2022 - Al Jazeera English

South Korea extends business curfew as COVID-19 cases top 100,000

South Korea’s daily COVID-19 cases topped 100,000 for the first time amid its Omicron outbreak, as authorities announced a slight easing of restrictions ahead of the March 9 presidential election. Authorities announced on Friday they would move a curfew on restaurants and cafés from 9 pm to 10 pm, amid a growing backlash from business owners.
19th Feb 2022 - Al Jazeera English

The End Game of China’s Zero-Covid Policy Nightmare

On December 22, 2021, the entire western Chinese city of Xi’an was put into lockdown. “It was all of a sudden,” says Fan, a Xi’An native and university student in his early twenties who didn’t give his full name, due to privacy concerns. “The university wouldn’t let us go outside of the dorms. Our freedom was restricted, and they stopped all our classes. I couldn’t leave and I couldn’t go home. We were stuck.” Xi’an, a city of 13 million people, spent the end of December 2021 and much of January 2022 in one of China’s most severe lockdowns. The trigger? A handful of cases of Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic, China has clung to a zero-Covid strategy consisting of strict containment measures that have served the nation remarkably well. China’s official death toll has remained under 5,000, and its total reported caseload of 124,900 is significantly lower than the 78 million cases in the United States or the 18.4 million in the United Kingdom. Aside from travel disruptions, life has been largely normal—and China’s success at containing the virus has become a source of national pride.
18th Feb 2022 - Wired UK


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Coronavirus restrictions ease across Europe despite high case rates

France’s nightclubs reopen for the first time in three months on Wednesday and the Netherlands returns to “almost normal” from next Friday, as European countries continue to lift their coronavirus curbs despite relatively high infection numbers. Groups may also play to standing audiences in French concert venues, customers in bars and cafes will be allowed to eat and drink while standing at the counter and cinemagoers and train passengers can snack during their film or journey. “The skies seem finally to be clearing,” said the French government’s official spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, adding that restrictions “can be lifted according to schedule” but urging people to continue to exercise caution and restraint.
17th Feb 2022 - The Guardian

Switzerland lifts almost all COVID-19 restrictions

The Swiss government will lift nearly all pandemic restrictions from midnight Thursday, amid confidence that COVID-19 infection rates had been successfully uncoupled from hospitalizations. People in Switzerland will no longer have to show COVID certificates in restaurants, bars or other venues like theaters and concert halls. But self-isolation for those infected with COVID-19 will remain in force until the end of March, as will the requirement to wear masks while visiting health care facilities and on public transport.
17th Feb 2022 - POLITICO Europe

Portugal drops most COVID-19 rules as Omicron ebbs

As an Omicron-fuelled wave of infections ebbs, Portugal said on Thursday it would drop most of its remaining coronavirus rules, including the requirement to show the COVID-19 digital pass to stay at hotels or a negative test to enter nightclubs. "This is a very important moment," Cabinet Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a news conference. "This is another a step towards a return to normal life." The new measures will come into force in the next few days, Vieira da Silva said, as they need still the final stamp of approval from the president.
17th Feb 2022 - Reuters

Germany Moves to Unwind Covid Curbs as Pandemic Risks Subside

Germany will reopen nightclubs and ease restrictions on stores and restaurants as part of a three-step plan to unwind pandemic-related restrictions, joining the wave of countries scaling back emergency measures. Europe’s largest economy aims to lift most curbs by March 20, taking a more cautious approach than many of its neighbors. The move was agreed on Wednesday after talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and state leaders and comes just days after Germany posted record infection levels. Germany’s outbreak started to recede in recent days and the improving outlook prompted calls from across the political spectrum to follow countries like the U.K., Ireland and Denmark in easing restrictions.
17th Feb 2022 - Bloomberg

Japan set to announce easing of strict border measures

Article reports that Japan will ease border controls imposed to counter the pandemic, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday, softening measures that have been among the strictest imposed by wealthy nations and have been slammed by business and educators. About 150,000 foreign students have been kept out of Japan, along with workers desperately needed by an ageing nation with a shrinking population, prompting warnings of labour shortages and damage to its international reputation
17th Feb 2022 - Reuters


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Singapore resumes border reopening after pause due to Omicron outbreak

Singapore will expand quarantine-free travel to Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this month, its health ministry said on Wednesday, resuming border reopening after a pause due to an outbreak of the coronavirus. The city-state will also restore and increase quotas under its vaccinated travel programme, which had been reduced in December to deal with the Omicron variant. Singapore will streamline border measures for all travellers, and remove an entry approval requirement for eligible residents who are long-term pass holders, the ministry said, making it easier for expatriates to travel.
16th Feb 2022 - Reuters

Swiss government lifts nearly all COVID-19 restrictions

Switzerland will lift almost all its coronavirus pandemic restrictions from midnight, the government said on Wednesday, as fears waned that a spike in infections fuelled by the Omicron variant would overwhelm the health care system. The government said only the requirement to wear masks on public transport and while visiting healthcare facilities would remain in force temporarily after the changes, which end nearly two years of restrictions on public life. "The light on the horizon is very visible," President Ignazio Cassis told a news conference in Bern, although he added the government was ready to reimpose curbs if needed.
16th Feb 2022 - Reuters

Austria to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by March 5

Austria will lift most of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions by March 5, including scrapping an earlier closing time of midnight for bars and restaurants and allowing nightclubs to reopen, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Wednesday. The government said the steps were being taken cautiously with daily new infections hovering below their record peak and a manageable situation in hospitals due to the smaller incidence of severe cases in the latest wave of the coronavirus, dominated by the highly contagious Omicron variant. The easing of curbs as Omicron has proven to be milder than earlier variants will deepen doubt about whether the government will implement a recently enacted law making vaccination against COVID-19 compulsory - the first such measure in the European Union.
16th Feb 2022 - Reuters

Netherlands to lift most COVID restrictions this month

The Netherlands will lift almost all its restrictions against COVID-19 by February 25 as cases and hospitalisations fall, the health minister has said. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs will go back to pre-pandemic opening hours and social distancing and face masks will no longer be obligatory in most places. However, visitors will need to show proof of either vaccination, a recent recovery from COVID-19 or a negative coronavirus test. The Dutch government had imposed some of Europe’s toughest restrictions in December after a surge in Omicron cases but has since been lifting them in stages. “The country will open again,” Health Minister Ernst Kuipers told a news conference on Tuesday. “We will go back to normal closing times we had before corona, you don’t have to keep 1.5 metres away any more,” he added.
15th Feb 2022 - AlJazeera


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Covid-19: Relief mixed with concern as regulations removed in NI

From mask wearing to Covid certificates, restrictions have been a part of life in Northern Ireland for nearly two years. But Health Minister Robin Swann advised people to be vigilant and warned that coronavirus remains a threat to public health. BBC News NI spoke to people in Belfast and Londonderry, who expressed a mixture of relief and concern.
15th Feb 2022 - BBC News

Hong Kong rules out citywide lockdown as cases continue to surge

Daily infections have surged by about 20 times over the past two weeks. Health authorities reported 1,619 infections on Tuesday, a new daily record with around 5,400 preliminary positive cases. "There are no plans for a widespread city lockdown," Lam told a news conference. "We cannot surrender to the virus. This is not an option," she said, doubling down on her 'dynamic zero' coronavirus strategy, similar to mainland China which seeks to curb outbreaks as soon as they occur.
15th Feb 2022 - Reuters

Netherlands to drop most COVID measures starting Friday

The Dutch government will lift most of its coronavirus restrictions as of Friday, as the record levels of infections triggered by the Omicron variant have not translated in a peak of hospitalisations, health minister Ernst Kuipers said on Tuesday. "The country will open up again ... happily we are in a different phase now," Kuipers said during a press conference. Bars and restaurants will be allowed to stay open until 1 a.m. (midnight GMT) as of Friday, instead of 10 p.m.
15th Feb 2022 - Reuters


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Taiwan says needs to re-open, eyes March cut to COVID quarantine

Taiwan aims to ease its strict COVID-19 quarantine policy from next month as it needs to gradually resume normal life and re-open to the world, the government said on Monday. Since the pandemic began two years ago, Taiwan has succeeded in keeping reported cases of COVID-19 below 20,000, having enforced a blanket two-week quarantine for everyone arriving on the island even as large parts of the rest of the world have ditched theirs.
14th Feb 2022 - Reuters

Norway to end most pandemic curbs

Norway will scrap nearly all its remaining COVID-19 lockdown measures as high levels of coronavirus infections are unlikely to jeopardise health services, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on Saturday. The Nordic country, which removed most curbs on Feb. 1, will still keep some restrictions for the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. The new rules will take effect from Saturday at 1000 CET (0900 GMT). read more "We are removing almost all coronavirus measures," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.
14th Feb 2022 - Reuters

New Zealand Self-Isolation Will Reduce in New Omicron Phase

New Zealand will move to a new phase in its response to omicron as case numbers of the more infectious variant of Covid-19 begin to accelerate. From midnight Tuesday, phase 2 will take effect, attempting to minimize disruption to supply chains as the virus becomes more widespread, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference Monday in Wellington. This means cases and close contacts will self-isolate for less time, and a scheme will be introduced allowing critical workers to remain in their jobs. The nation today reported nearly 1,800 cases over the weekend, up from a daily average of about 300 over the preceding seven days.
14th Feb 2022 - Bloomberg


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Hong Kong in 'Crisis' Leans on Beijing to Contain Covid Surge

Hong Kong’s health officials warned that the city is facing a “crisis” as a record 2,000 preliminary positive cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals and upend its Covid Zero strategy. Authorities on Sunday reported 1,347 infections and said more than 3,400 confirmed patients were receiving treatment. Cases have exceeded capacity at Hong Kong’s hospitals, health officials said, adding they will now shift to prioritizing care for the elderly and children who test positive.
13th Feb 2022 - Bloomberg

Germany to lift some restrictions next week as COVID peak in sight

Germany is approaching the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and will next week start easing some restrictions with a view to lifting more measures in spring, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a speech on Friday. "The scientific prognoses show us that the peak of the wave is in sight," Scholz said in a speech in the Bundesrat upper house. "This allows us at the meeting between the federal government and states next week to take the first reopening steps and consider more steps for spring."
11th Feb 2022 - Reuters

Belgium Eases Virus Curbs With Omicron Outbreak Past Peak

Belgium agreed to loosen most of the virus restrictions it introduced late last year now that all but one of the indicators used to monitor the surge of the omicron variant show that the outbreak is past its peak. Starting on Feb. 18, the requirement to work from home four days a week will disappear and become a recommendation, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Friday. At that time, nightclubs will also reopen, pubs and restaurants won’t face a mandatory closing hour or table limits, and a ban on events with moving crowds will subside, along with the obligation for children younger than 12 to wear masks. “This is an enormous step, but it would be wrong to say we have eradicated the virus,” De Croo said at a briefing in Brussels. “Let’s not make that mistake again and mind ourselves that our behavior is what matters the most.”
11th Feb 2022 - Bloomberg

UK Covid Self Isolation Rules to Be Scrapped This Month, Boris Johnson Says

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to scrap self-isolation rules for people in England who test positive for Covid-19, ending the last of the pandemic restrictions that have dominated daily life for the past two years. The dramatic step is due to take effect later this month and would move England beyond other major Western countries in relaxing virus curbs. While regulations forcing people to self-isolate at home for five days are only set to expire on March 24, Johnson said Wednesday he expects to lift them “a full month early.” With more people vaccinated and the highly-transmissible omicron variant proving almost unstoppable, a number of countries have been easing rules and trying to return life to normal as quickly as possible.
11th Feb 2022 - Bloomberg


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S.Korea turns to self-treatment as Omicron fuels COVID surge

South Korea said on Thursday patients with mild coronavirus symptoms will have to treat themselves, aiming to free up medical resources for more serious cases, as new infections hit a fresh high because of the fast spreading Omicron variant. South Korea has largely been a COVID-19 mitigation success story, thanks to aggressive testing and tracing, social distancing and mask wearing. But as the highly infectious but less deadly Omicron variant began spreading, the government this month started to shift its strategy away from testing and tracing and towards self-monitoring, diagnosis and at-home treatment.
10th Feb 2022 - Reuters


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COVID-19: Boris Johnson announces final restrictions including self-isolation could end a month earlier than planned

Boris Johnson has said he plans to remove all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England a month early. "Providing the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to end the last domestic restrictions, including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive, a full month early," the prime minister told MPs. The current regulations were due to expire on 24 March.
9th Feb 2022 - Sky News

Japan to extend COVID-19 curbs for 13 regions by three weeks

Japanese Prime Minister said on Wednesday that the government would extend COVID-19 restrictions in Tokyo and 12 prefectures by three weeks as the Omicron variant continued to spread. Japan has been breaking daily records for coronavirus cases and deaths amid a surge in infections driven by the Omicron variant. It will add one more prefecture to the list of regions facing quasi-emergency measures, including restrictions on the business hours of eateries, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.
9th Feb 2022 - Reuters

UAE to lift gradually COVID-related restrictions - state news agency

The United Arab Emirates will gradually lift restrictions imposed to check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the number of infections and hospitalisations has gone down, the state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday. Venues will be allowed to function at maximum capacity by mid-February, it said, citing the National Emergency Crisis Management Authority.
9th Feb 2022 - Reuters

"Beginning of the end": upbeat Poland cuts COVID isolation

An end to the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, the Polish health minister said on Wednesday, as he announced a cut to the isolation period for people infected with the coronavirus and looser quarantine rules. Poland saw record daily case numbers as recently as two weeks ago, but with infections falling and the effects of Omicron appearing to be milder than previous variants, authorities believe the time is right for a lighter touch. "We are dealing with the beginning of the end of the pandemic," Adam Niedzielski told a news conference. "In February, declines in infections should be relatively large."
9th Feb 2022 - Reuters

Czech PM says could lift most COVID measures from March

The Czech Republic aims to increase the number of people allowed at public events in the coming weeks, with expectations that from March nearly all COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Wednesday. The central European country of 10.7 million has faced its highest rates of COVID-19 so far since late January, but although the number of hospitalisations has climbed, the number of patients is well below previous peaks. From Thursday, the government is going ahead with previously announced plans to allow the unvaccinated back into restaurants and other venues as infections start to ebb.
9th Feb 2022 - Reuters


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Malaysia COVID-19 panel recommends full border reopening in March

Malaysia's coronavirus recovery council on Tuesday said it has recommended a full reopening of borders as early as March 1 without mandatory quarantine for travellers, as part of plans to accelerate economic recovery. The Southeast Asian nation has shut its borders since March 2020 and froze the entry of foreign workers to try to contain novel coronavirus outbreaks. The recommendation comes as neighbours waive quarantine requirements to attract vaccinated tourists, including Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore.
8th Feb 2022 - Reuters

China locks down southern city as omicron variant surges

China has ordered inhabitants of the southern city of Baise to stay home and suspended transportation links amid a surge in COVID-19 cases at least partly linked to the omicron variant. Classes have been suspended, non-essential businesses closed and mass testing of residents ordered. Restaurants are only permitted to serve take-out. Traffic lights have been switched to red only to remind drivers to stay home. As of Tuesday, 135 cases had been reported in the city — at least two of them found to be omicron, health authorities said.
8th Feb 2022 - The Associated Press

Hong Kong Curbs Private Gatherings With Tightest Covid Rules Yet

Hong Kong will limit gatherings in private homes for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, in an attempt to keep residents from socializing as it fights an outbreak that risks dashing its strategy of keeping out the virus long term. The city will limit multi-household gatherings on private premises to two families starting Thursday, but authorities won’t go door-to-door to check if the rule is being followed. It will also restrict public gatherings to two people, down from four currently, and expand the list of venues where entry is limited to those who are vaccinated to shopping malls, food markets and hair salons. “Now given this severe epidemic, I hope the public will accept that we have to go back to the most stringent level,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.
8th Feb 2022 - Bloomberg


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Omicron forces S. Korea to end GPS monitoring, some checkups

South Korea will no longer use GPS monitoring to enforce quarantines and will also end daily checkup calls to low-risk coronavirus patients as a fast-developing omicron surge overwhelms health and government workers. The speed of transmissions has made it impossible to maintain a tight and proactive medical response, Jeong Eun-kyeong, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said Monday. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 38,691 new cases of the virus, a nine-fold increase from the levels seen in mid-January, when omicron became the country’s dominant strain. Jeong said the country may see daily jumps of 130,000 or 170,000 by late February.
7th Feb 2022 - The Associated Press

Indonesia to tighten COVID-19 curbs as infections climb

Indonesia will tighten social restrictions in Jakarta and Bali, as well as in two other cities on Java island, in a bid to contain a spike in coronavirus infections, a senior cabinet minister said on Monday. Separately, the transport ministry clarified that overseas tourists would still be able to enter the country through the capital Jakarta, after the ministry indicated otherwise in a statement issued on Sunday. It earlier said foreign tourists and Indonesians returning from holidays abroad would be temporarily banned from flying into Jakarta, as a further precaution against COVID-19.
7th Feb 2022 - Reuters

China locks down city on Vietnam border as COVID-19 cases rise

Authorities in China’s southwestern city of Baise ordered residents to stay at home from Monday, February 7, and avoid unnecessary travel as they enforced curbs that are among the toughest in the nation’s tool-box to fight rising local infections of COVID-19. The outbreak in Baise, which has a population of about 3.6 million and borders Vietnam, is tiny by global standards, but the curbs, including a ban on non-essential trips in and out, follow a national guideline to quickly contain any flare-ups.The effort takes on extra urgency during the staging of the Winter Olympics, which began on Friday and run until February 20, as well as a busy travel season for the Lunar New Year holiday.
7th Feb 2022 - Rappler


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Russia eases COVID restrictions as daily cases hit record

Russia will ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions from Sunday, the consumer health watchdog announced on Saturday, despite reporting a record daily number of cases as the Omicron variant spreads across the country. The number of daily infections has been surging since January. But the highly transmissible Omicron variant has not led to a significant increase in deaths, and the Kremlin has recently dismissed concerns about the risk of new lockdowns. According to the latest order from the consumer health watchdog, from Sunday people will no longer need to self-isolate after contacting those infected with COVID-19.
6th Feb 2022 - Reuters


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Streets of tsunami-hit Tonga empty on first day of COVID lockdown

"Normally this road would be queueing with vehicles and people, but as you can see all shops are closed, everything is closed - taxi stands, shops, supermarkets, it's closed," said local journalist Marian Kupu as she stood at a deserted crossroads in the capital, shuttered buildings behind her. "It's a ghost town here in Nuku'alofa." There had been fears an influx of international ships and planes delivering badly-needed water, shelter and food after last month's devastating volcanic eruption had increased the risk of a pandemic outbreak in the isolated Pacific nation.
3rd Feb 2022 - Reuters


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Finnish government to remove COVID-19 restrictions

Finland will begin lifting restrictions put in place to check the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, with the aim of removing all curbs at the beginning of March, Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters on Wednesday. Heavy restrictions put in place just after Christmas had forced many restaurants and cultural and sports venues to temporarily lay off staff and cancel events. The government now plans to allow restaurants to remain open until midnight and remove curbs on public gatherings from Feb. 14, Marin said, adding the aim is to remove all restrictions at the start of next month.
2nd Feb 2022 - Reuters

Norway ends most curbs despite rising COVID infections

Norway will scrap most of its remaining COVID-19 lockdown measures with immediate effect as a spike in coronavirus infections is unlikely to jeopardise health services, the prime minister said on Tuesday. Restaurants will again be allowed to serve alcohol beyond 11 o'clock at night, working from home will no longer be mandatory and the limit of 10 visitors in private homes will be removed, Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference. "Even if many more people are becoming infected, there are fewer who are hospitalised. We're well protected by vaccines. This means that we can relax many measures even as infections are rising rapidly," Stoere said.
2nd Feb 2022 - Reuters

More European Countries to Ease Covid Restrictions: Italy, Switzerland, Finland

Europe is accelerating steps to roll back coronavirus restrictions as efforts to control the fast-spreading omicron variant have been largely futile. Under pressure from a pandemic-weary public, politicians across the region are deeming many public-health measures increasingly unnecessary. Italy, Switzerland and Finland are set to join Denmark, Ireland and France in easing the bulk of restrictions on public life. Norway also relaxed most rules. While the virus continues to spread rapidly across the continent -- with more than 2.4 million cases over the past two days -- the alert level has dropped.
2nd Feb 2022 - Bloomberg

Tonga goes into lockdown after tsunami aid brings COVID-19

The Pacific nation of Tonga has gone into lockdown following the discovery of two coronavirus infections in the community. The two cases are local port workers who had been helping to distribute aid received after a volcanic eruption and tsunami last month. The disaster polluted drinking water, severed communications, killed three people, and left dozens homeless.
2nd Feb 2022 - Sky News


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Norway Scales Back Most Covid-19 Restrictions

Norway is easing most of the measures to curb infection and aims to remove the rest in a couple of weeks as it bets a high level of vaccination will be enough to shield the health system from overloading. Limits on guests at private gatherings, a curb on the service of alcohol in bars and restaurants, and testing after arriving at the border have all been removed, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters in Oslo on Tuesday. Face masks will still need to be worn in shops, shopping centers and on public transport where a distance of a meter can’t be maintained. Norway is joining countries such as neighboring Denmark, Ireland and the U.K. in scaling back restrictions, expecting the coronavirus to turn endemic. The omicron variant has pushed infection rates to records, but hospitalization rates have remained below highs, indicating that the milder variant and booster shots will enable the country to return to an everyday without controls.
2nd Feb 2022 - Bloomberg

Denmark ends most COVID-19 restrictions

Denmark on Tuesday became one of the first European Union countries to scrap most pandemic restrictions as the Scandinavian country no longer considers the COVID-19 outbreak “a socially critical disease.” The reason for that is that while the omicron variant is surging in Denmark, it's not placing a heavy burden on the health system and the country has a high vaccination rate, officials have said. Denmark has in recent weeks seen more than 50,000 daily cases on average while the number of people in hospital intensive care units has dropped. The most visible restriction disappearing is the wearing of face masks, which are no longer mandatory on public transportation, shops and for standing clients in restaurant indoor areas. Authorities only recommend mask use in hospitals, health care facilities and nursing homes.
1st Feb 2022 - The Independent

South Africa scraps isolation for COVID positive people with no symptoms

South Africa no longer requires those who test positive for COVID-19 without symptoms to isolate and has also reduced the isolation period for those with symptoms by three days, as the country exits its fourth wave of the coronavirus, a government statement said on Monday. Following a special Cabinet meeting held earlier to decide on the amendments, the country made the changes based on the trajectory of the pandemic and levels of vaccination in the country, according to a press release issued by Mondli Gungubele, a minister in the presidency. South Africa is currently at the lowest of its five-stage COVID alert levels.
1st Feb 2022 - Reuters


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Beijing seals off several communities over two cases of Covid-19

Beijing officials have sealed off several residential communities north of the city centre after two cases of Covid-19 were found as the Chinese capital prepares to host the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday. Another 34 cases were confirmed among athletes and others who have come for the Games, the organising committee said. In all, 211 people have tested positive among more than 8,000 who had arrived by the end of Saturday. They include a Swedish cross-country skier and a snowboarder from Slovenia. Everyone coming for the Olympics is being isolated from the general public for the duration of their stay in China to try to prevent cross-infection.
31st Jan 2022 - The Guardian


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Hong Kong Dials Back One of World’s Longest Covid-19 Quarantines

Officials shortened one of the world’s longest quarantine requirements for travelers arriving in Hong Kong to two weeks from three following pressure from international business groups over the city’s zero-Covid policies. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Thursday the order, effective from Feb. 5, was made based on scientific considerations and as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus becomes the dominant strain in more countries. Other social distancing measures such as the closure of gyms, pools and evening dining, will be extended until Feb. 17, Mrs. Lam said, while a flight ban imposed in early January for arrivals from eight countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Canada will remain in place until Feb. 18. In line with China’s national strategy of seeking to maintain no infections, the city has some of the world’s strictest Covid-19 containment policies, which until recently had kept the city free of community transmissions for months.
28th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal


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Hong Kong to cut quarantine for arrivals to 14 days from next month

Hong Kong will cut quarantine for arriving travellers to 14 days from 21 starting Feb. 5, leader Carrie Lam said on Thursday, a move that follows intense lobbying from finance executives and diplomats who said the measure was hurting competitiveness. Tough coronavirus rules have made Hong Kong one of the world's most isolated cities, with flights down as much as 90%. Residents returning from more than 160 countries have been required to quarantine for 21 days in designated hotels will now have to spend 14 days in a hotel, followed by seven days of self-monitoring, with further details to be announced.
27th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Denmark becomes first EU country to scrap all COVID-19 restrictions

Denmark is to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, with Omicron hospital admissions and deaths remaining stable and high rates of vaccination. “Tonight we can ... find the smile again. We have incredibly good news, we can now remove the last coronavirus restrictions in Denmark,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference, following recommendations from the Epidemic Commission and with all the main political parties’ support. The last restrictions will be dropped on February 1. The announcement comes as a new subvariant of Omicron, BA.2, is gaining a foothold in Denmark and driving infections up, with 46,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded on Wednesday.
27th Jan 2022 - POLITICO Europe

Finland moves up planned easing of COVID restrictions

Finland will begin gradually easing COVID-19 restrictions from Feb. 1 instead of mid-February as initially planned as the burden on its hospitals eases, the government said late on Thursday. On Jan. 18, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Finland would begin scaling back restrictions from mid-February, but signs of stabilization in the infection rate caused by the Omicron variant of the virus led the government to alter its plan. "The burden on intensive care units has taken a turn in a better direction," Finland's minister for health and social affairs Hanna Sarkkinen told reporters.
27th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Denmark to End Covid Curbs as Premier Deems Critical Phase Over

Denmark will end virus restrictions next week and reclassify Covid-19 as a disease that no longer poses a threat to society, even as infections in the Nordic nation are at record high. The Nordic country won’t extend the pandemic measures beyond Jan. 31, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a news conference, confirming earlier reports by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper and Bloomberg News. Denmark’s hospitalizations are declining, indicating that omicron is less dangerous than earlier variants of the virus despite a million Danes infected in the last two months.
26th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Austria ends lockdown on unvaccinated as pressure on hospitals eases

Austria's lockdown for people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will end on Monday because the pressure on hospitals has eased, the government said. New daily coronavirus infections are rising, driven by the extremely contagious Omicron variant. They hit a new record above 30,000 on Wednesday, Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told a news conference, adding that they would peak in the next two weeks at around 35,000 to 40,000.
26th Jan 2022 - Reuters

China’s Olympics COVID measures test residents’ patience

Repeated COVID-19 testing of millions of Beijing residents is starting to test the patience of some as the city clamps down on the virus ahead of the coming Winter Olympics. A third round of mass testing that started Wednesday for the the 2 million residents of Fengtai district drew complaints online and from residents bundled up against the wind to wait in line outdoors. The skies were sunny, but the daytime high hovered around the freezing point. “I think it is too frequent,” said a woman who only gave her surname, Ma. “I just did it yesterday and was asked to do it again today. I asked the question to the staff and they said, ‘Under the principle of testing everyone who should be tested, just do it since you are here.’”
26th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press


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Norway scraps coronavirus quarantines

Norway will end its system of mandatory COVID-19 quarantines for non-vaccinated travellers and close contacts of infected persons, replacing it instead with a daily test regime, the government announced on Monday. Under the current rules, anyone arriving in Norway from an area with a quarantine obligation and who cannot show proof of vaccination, or having undergone COVID-19, needs to quarantine for at least three days. Close contacts of infected people are required to quarantine for 10 days.
25th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Japan doubles areas under COVID curbs as cases set records

Japan expanded regions subject to tighter coronavirus curbs to cover 70% of the country on Tuesday, as the government tried to counter a record wave of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant. The measures, already in force in 16 prefectures, will take effect in a further 18 including the western prefectures of Kyoto and Osaka and remain in place until the middle of next month. Nationwide cases rose above 60,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, a tally by broadcaster Fuji TV showed on Tuesday, with the capital, Tokyo, posting 12,813 new cases while the region of Osaka reported 8,612, both records.
25th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Diplomats at Beijing Olympics Risk 21 Days in Quarantine

China warned foreign diplomats attending the Winter Olympics opening ceremony they could face 21 days in quarantine if they are deemed close contacts of positive cases in the audience. The notice, sent to diplomatic missions and seen by Bloomberg News, came amid a long list of measures that attendees must comply with to attend the Feb. 4 event. They included avoiding parties, meals with friends or even elevator chitchat, along with regular Covid-19 tests and travel restrictions.
24th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg


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Poland to shorten COVID-19 quarantine to 7 days, says PM

Poland will shorten the COVID-19 quarantine period to seven days and will introduce free tests in pharmacies from Jan. 27, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday, after the country reported a record number of infections.
21st Jan 2022 - Reuters

A divided nation: Western Australia stays shut as COVID deaths mount in east

Australia will remain a divided nation, with the vast mining state of Western Australia cancelling plans to reopen its borders on Feb. 5, citing health risks from a surge in the Omicron COVID-19 variant in eastern states. The country reported 86 deaths from the virus on Friday, figures from the state and territory jurisdictions that have reported so far showed, its deadliest day since the start of the pandemic. Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported 46 deaths of patients with COVID-19, also its worst day, including one infant, while Victoria state saw 20 deaths.
21st Jan 2022 - Reuters

Ireland set to rapidly drop almost all COVID-19 restrictions

Ireland is to scrap almost all its COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday after coming though the storm of the Omicron variant that led to a massive surge in infections, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a national address. Ireland had the second highest incidence rate of COVID-19 in Europe just last week but also one of the continent's highest uptake of booster vaccines, which has helped keep the number of seriously ill people well below the previous peak.
21st Jan 2022 - Reuters

Kiribati goes into first lockdown after Covid flight cases

The remote island nation of Kiribati has gone into lockdown after passengers on the first international flight in 10 months tested positive for Covid. Under the new measures, people have been told to stay at home and social gatherings are banned. Some 36 people on the flight from Fiji have tested positive. Four people have caught the virus from community transmission. Until last week, Kiribati had recorded just two Covid cases. Kiribati is one of the most isolated islands in the world. It is some 4,800km (2,980 miles) from its nearest continent, Australia.
21st Jan 2022 - BBC News


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Thailand to resume quarantine waiver for arrivals from February

Thailand will resume its 'Test & Go' quarantine waiver for vaccinated arrivals from Feb. 1, its coronavirus task force said, in response to slowing COVID-19 infections. The scheme was suspended a month ago after only seven weeks due to the rapid global spread of the Omicron variant and uncertainty about vaccine effectiveness against it. The policy requires visitors to test on arrival and again five days later, while agreeing to have their whereabouts tracked, spokesperson Taweesin Wisanuyothin told a briefing.
20th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Japan widens COVID-19 curbs as Omicron drives record infections

Japan on Wednesday widened COVID-19 curbs to the capital Tokyo and a dozen regions covering half the population as the Omicron variant of coronavirus drove record new infections. Already in effect in three regions, the measures, set to run from Friday until Feb. 13, were made official by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after getting the sign-off from an expert panel earlier in the day. "We are battling against an unknown virus, and I hope that we can overcome this situation with sufficient preparation and without excessive fear," Kishida said.
19th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Swiss cabinet extends quarantine, work-from-home rules into February

Switzerland will extend until the end of February coronavirus quarantine and mandatory work-from-home rules and tentatively plans to keep until the end of March other curbs on public life it tightened last month, the government said on Wednesday. Those measures included the need for people to prove they have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to gain entry to many indoor venues as the cabinet tries to avoid another lockdown while COVID-19 cases spike.
19th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Denmark eases coronavirus restrictions, as cases hit new record

Denmark registered a record number of coronavirus infections on Monday, as cinemas, museums and other cultural institutions reopened after a month-long COVID-19 lockdown. The Nordic country registered 28,780 new cases in the space of 24 hours and the number of coronavirus-related hospitalisations rose to 802, the highest in a year. Still, health authorities said earlier this month that the now-predominant Omicron variant was milder than initially thought and that around 29% of those in hospital were there due to reasons other than COVID-19
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Thailand to lower COVID-19 alert, ease curbs as infections slow

Thailand will lower its COVID-19 alert level and is considering easing more restrictions to boost its economy, its health minister said on Tuesday, in response to a slower infection rate. Among measures being considered are establishing more "sandbox" areas for tourists, who can skip quarantine if they stay in specified areas for seven days and undergo two COVID-19 tests. Nightclubs, pubs and bars will remained closed for now, however, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters, adding the COVID-19 alert level will be lowered to 3, from 4, on the government's 5-level system
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Japan PM plans stronger COVID curbs for Tokyo, 12 other regions

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday he planned to impose a state of quasi-emergency, meaning stronger COVID-19 curbs on dining and gatherings, on 13 regions including Tokyo from Jan. 21 to Feb. 13. He said the government had halted a programme where those vaccinated or with negative test results would be exempted from coronavirus restrictions as virus cases jumped.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Chile Toughens Mobility Limits in Santiago on Covid-19 Surge

Chile’s Health Ministry toughened mobility restrictions in Santiago’s Metropolitan Region and 45 other municipalities nationwide, as the government copes with a surge in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. Fewer people will be allowed at events in homes and public spaces, and restaurants will cut seating capacity, the Health Ministry informed on Monday. Healthcare workers will also start receiving a second booster shot this week.
18th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg


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Frustration over COVID-19 restrictions in increasingly isolated Hong Kong

Hong Kong is following mainland China's zero-tolerance approach to control COVID-19, rankling many residents of the international financial hub as much of the world shifts towards living with the coronavirus. Hong Kong effectively closed its borders and imposed social restrictions this month to deal with a spurt in COVID-19 infections due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Although the moves are less strict than those in parts of the mainland, they come after months of relative normalcy and are battering a city dependent on business travellers and accustomed to frequent dining out.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Norway Eases Measures as It Prepares to Live With Omicron Wave

Norway is scaling back some of its infection restrictions as it moves into a new phase of the pandemic. The omicron variant has pushed infection rates to records, and the country now needs to ready itself to tolerate living with the virus, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters on Thursday. It isn’t possible to stop an omicron-driven wave, but the likelihood of hospitalization is lower and vaccination provides good protection against serious sickness, he said.
13th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

England to cut minimum COVID self-isolation to five days

The minimum COVID-19 self-isolation period in England will be cut to five days from seven if someone tests negative twice, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Thursday, a move that could reduce staffing disruption in businesses and infrastructure. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has fuelled a spike in COVID-19 cases to record highs in Britain, and the surge has cause major disruption to the staffing of hospitals, schools and transport as staff have to self-isolate.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters UK


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Swiss halve quarantine period to five days to cope with Omicron surge

Switzerland will halve its quarantine time to five days to help cope with a wave of coronavirus infections that threatens to hamstring the economy, the government said on Wednesday. Health authorities had given their blessing on Tuesday for the move, which comes as tens of thousands more people get infected every day due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus. Officials worry that the wave could overwhelm the health care system in a country where only two-thirds of the population has got two jabs and just 30% has had a booster shot.
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Japan to maintain strict border restrictions until end of February

Japan will maintain its tight entry restrictions to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus until the end of February, the prime minister said on Tuesday, though some exceptions for humanitarian reasons may be considered. Japan adopted some of the strictest border controls in the world when the Omicron variant emerged late last year, banning all new entry by non-Japanese people, including students and foreign family members of Japanese or permanent residents, except in exceptional circumstances.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong unveils further steps to curb COVID-19 spread, boost vaccinations

Hong Kong will shut kindergartens and primary schools and start offering COVID-19 vaccines for children from the age of five, the city's leader said on Tuesday, as the financial hub grapples with an increase in coronavirus infections. Certain passengers meanwhile will be banned from transiting through Hong Kong for a month, Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. It comes as the Chinese-ruled city has seen some local transmissions of the Omicron coronavirus variant after three months of no local coronavirus cases at the end of last year.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Nepal bans big public gatherings, closes schools amid COVID spike

Officials in Nepal have banned large public gatherings and closed schools across the Himalayan nation for nearly three weeks after a spike in coronavirus cases. Nepal reported 1,357 new cases on Monday, the biggest single-day jump since September last year, taking its total to 833,946 since the pandemic began. Its death toll from the coronavirus is 11,606.
11th Jan 2022 - AlJazeera

China: Twenty million under strict COVID lockdown amid fears Omicron could disrupt Beijing Winter Olympics

About 20 million people in China are now under a stay-at-home order after a third city brought in a strict COVID lockdown. Anyang in Henan province, with a population of 5.5 million, confirmed a lockdown after 84 cases were detected since Saturday - at least two of them Omicron. Mass testing is being carried out - established practice in China after even a handful of cases - and non-essential vehicles are banned from the streets.
11th Jan 2022 - Sky News


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Sweden to implement more COVID measures as Omicron squeezes healthcare

Sweden will introduce more measures to stem a rising number of COVID cases that have placed a greater burden on the healthcare system, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday. Sweden has seen the fastest spread of COVID cases in recent weeks as the Omicron variant has surged through the country. A record 60,000 cases were detected last week, despite limited testing capabilities. "The situation has deteriorated, without doubt. The level of infections in Sweden is at a historically high level," Andersson told a news conference.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

UK minister backs reduced COVID isolation period to ease workforce pressures

Reducing the self-isolation period for people who test positive for COVID-19 from seven days to five would help British employers that have been hard hit by absences, education minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday. The Omicron variant is still spreading in Britain and many businesses, schools and hospitals are struggling with staff shortages, fuelling calls for the rules on isolation after a positive test to be reduced further. Last month, health authorities in the United States shortened the recommended isolation time for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Germany tightens dining rules due to Omicron, loosens quarantine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and regional leaders tightened the rules for restaurant and bar visits but shortened COVID-19 quarantine periods on Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Scholz added that all 16 state leaders supported the implementation of a general vaccination mandate and that the Bundestag lower house of parliament would discuss drafts of it soon. Under new measures decided on Friday, people in Germany who have received a booster shot will not have to isolate after being in contact with someone who was infected with the coronavirus.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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China's Henan adds COVID curbs as cases rise, Xian official apologises

More cities in central China's Henan province imposed COVID restrictions as infections there rose sharply, while authorities in the northwestern city of Xian apologised on Thursday to a woman whose miscarriage during lockdown stirred public outrage. Henan reported 64 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Wednesday, up from just four a day earlier, official data showed on Thursday. While those numbers are small by global standards, and no cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant have been reported so far in Henan, several cities there imposed new limits on travel and other activities in response.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Austria decides new COVID-19 measures including shorter quarantine

Austria will impose new COVID-19 measures from Saturday and the government is still working on a draft law to make vaccinations compulsory from Feb. 1 as the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Thursday. Austria managed to slash daily COVID-19 cases with its fourth full coronavirus lockdown between November and December last year, but Omicron is pushing the numbers up again. "We need to do everything we can possibly do together to prevent another lockdown," Nehammer told a news conference after the federal government met provincial leaders and pandemic task force experts.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Belgium suffers record COVID cases, adapts quarantine strategy

Fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Belgium's daily cases of COVID-19 reached a new peak this week, with health experts warning of between 30,000 and 125,000 cases a day by mid-January in the nation of 11 million. "The fifth wave has started. The weekly average has risen by 82%," virologist Steven Van Gucht told a news conference following a government meeting on the coronavirus situation. Home to the European Union institutions and NATO, Belgium registered 27,199 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 3, beating a record set in Nov. 2020, and hit a fresh high of over 28,000 on Jan. 4, as Omicron hit the country a little later than Britain, Spain and France.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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U.S. CDC backs previous advice for 5-day isolation; no test needed

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday backed its week-old guidance for people seeking to end their COVID-19 isolation at five days, adding they could take a rapid antigen test if they want to and can access one, but is not requiring that. The agency had been pressured by health experts to institute a test requirement after it cut in half its guidance last week for people to isolate after a COVID-19 infection to 5 days from 10. It said the move was based on science around transmission of the virus. On Tuesday, the CDC added an explanation on its website, saying that a review of 113 studies from 17 countries showed that most transmission occurs early in the course of infection. It said the average period of infectiousness and risk of transmission was "between 2-3 days before and 8 days after symptom onset."
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters on MSN.com

Yuzhou: Second Chinese city forced into Covid lockdown

China has put a second city into total lockdown after just three asymptomatic Covid cases were discovered. Yuzhou - which has a population of 1.1 million - saw its transport system shut down and all but essential food stores closed overnight. It follows a similar lockdown in Xi'an, where 13 million have been confined to their homes since 23 December. The strict measures come ahead of the Lunar New Year and the Winter Olympics due to be held in Beijing.
5th Jan 2022 - BBC News


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Lockdown of Chinese City Leaves 13 Million Stranded

A week and a half into one of the biggest pandemic lockdowns in China, residents of Xi’an voiced desperation online about challenges in getting food and medical care. China’s Covid-19 count remains low in comparison with other countries, hovering at around 100 a day. In the past few days, about 90% of cases have been in Xi’an, the city of terracotta-warrior fame in China’s northwest, which has confirmed 1,758 total Covid-19 infections since Dec. 9, a high number for China. Most of the cases have been mild, officials said. No deaths related to Covid-19 have been reported anywhere in China in the past 11 months, including Xi’an.
4th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Delhi imposes weekend curfew as COVID cases multiply, chief minister tests positive

Authorities in India's capital Delhi on Tuesday ordered people to stay home over coming weekends, with COVID-19 cases quadrupling in a week. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the most senior elected official in the capital's administration, was one of the 37,379 new COVID-19 cases reported in India in the space of 24 hours. Kejriwal, who announced his infection the day after addressing an election rally without a mask, is among scores of political leaders - including Prime Minister Narendra Modi - holding events across India in front of large crowds.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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U.S., Europe Weigh Isolation Requirements as Omicron Disrupts Daily Life

European governments are relaxing some quarantine requirements to help keep daily life open with new Covid-19 infections surging, while the top U.S. infectious-disease expert suggested health authorities might tighten isolation measures. Countries have been grappling with isolation requirements, trying to balance health concerns as the Omicron variant takes hold, with the risk that those quarantine periods sideline medical staff, teachers and other workers for so long that hospitals, schools and other workplaces are unable to function effectively. Throughout the pandemic, Europeans have typically been required to self-isolate for 10 days if they or a close contact have tested positive for the virus. Some governments are responding to the threat of breakdown by shortening or otherwise easing their quarantine rules.
3rd Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 positive cases can be released from isolation without a test

On Thursday states agreed to seven-day isolation with negative test on day 6 But now leaders have agreed that no test is necessary for asymptomatic people Close contacts and Covid patients can simply leave isolation after seven days This is because people are rarely infectious after having Covid for a whole week
31st Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

South Africa lifts curfew as it says COVID-19 fourth wave peaks

South Africa has lifted a midnight to 4 a.m. curfew on people's movement with immediate effect, believing the country has passed the peak of its fourth COVID-19 wave driven by the Omicron variant, a government statement said on Thursday. The country made the changes based on the trajectory of the pandemic, levels of vaccination in the country and available capacity in the health sector, according to a press release issued by Mondli Gungubele, a minister in the presidency. South Africa is currently at the lowest of its five-stage COVID-19 alert levels.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Hong Kong says Omicron has breached its strict COVID-19 restrictions

Hong Kong's health officials said on Friday the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has made its way past some of the world's toughest COVID 19 restrictions, with the city reporting its first cases outside its strict quarantine system. The findings raise risks that the global financial hub might keep its borders shut well into 2022. It has largely isolated itself from the world hoping in turn to open the border with mainland China for a limited number of business travellers.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Ireland relaxes COVID-19 testing rules, cuts isolation period

Ireland on Thursday became the latest country to cut the isolation period for some people who contract COVID-19 and relax requirements for tests as a record number of cases for the fourth time in a week overwhelmed testing facilities. With the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus accounting for 92% of all infections, the health department reported 20,554 new cases, more than double the record in any previous wave to bring the 14-day infection rate to 2,300 per 100,000 people.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters


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'Just want to go home': China's Xian in COVID lockdown for 7th day

A lockdown of 13 million people in the Chinese city of Xian entered its seventh day on Wednesday, with many unable to leave their residential compounds and relying on deliveries of necessities as new COVID-19 infections persisted. Xian reported 151 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, or nearly all of the 152 cases nationwide, bringing the total number of local Xian cases to nearly 1,000 during the Dec. 9-28 period. No cases of the Omicron variant have been announced in the city so far.
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

CDC cuts isolation time for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases to 5 days

U.S. health authorities on Monday shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said the asymptomatic people after isolation should follow five days of wearing a mask when around others. It also recommended a five-day quarantine for those exposed to the virus who are unvaccinated or are over six months out from their second mRNA dose or more than two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and not yet boosted. The quarantine period should be followed by strict mask use for an additional five days.
28th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Greece expands restrictions to contain Omicron variant surge

Greece on Monday announced further restrictions effective from Jan. 3-16 to contain a further upsurge in COVID-19 infections including the Omicron variant, targeting mainly night-time entertainment venues. As confirmed new COVID-19 cases surged to a record of 9,284 on Monday, resulting in 66 deaths, the health minister said that under the new measures, high-protection masks would be compulsory at supermarkets, public transport and eating establishments. Bars and restaurants will have to close at midnight and no standing customers at entertainment venues will be allowed. There will also be a maximum limit of six people per table.
27th Dec 2021 - Reuters

China puts city of 13 million in COVID lockdown before Olympics

China has put a city of 13 million people into lockdown over an increase in coronavirus infections, just weeks before it is set to host the Winter Olympics. The restrictions in the city of Xi’an in the northeastern Shaanxi province took effect on Thursday, with no word on when they might be lifted. They are some of the harshest since China imposed a strict lockdown last year on more than 11 million people in and around the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019. One person from each household will be allowed out every two days to buy household necessities, a government order said.
24th Dec 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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Portugal imposes post-Christmas COVID-19 curbs as Omicron cases surge

Portugal on Tuesday ordered nightclubs and bars to close and told people to work from home for at least two weeks starting on Saturday to control the spread of COVID-19 over the holiday period. "This still isn't the normal Christmas we are used to," Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference. "If we do not adopt these measures now, the consequences on everyone's lives will be much worse after Christmas and the New Year." Costa also announced capacity restrictions at stores and said a negative coronavirus test would now be required to stay at hotels or go to events.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Austria tightens restrictions as it braces for Omicron wave

Austria is introducing restrictions including a 10 p.m. closing time to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant after Christmas and prevent it being imported from Europe's hardest-hit countries, a senior health official said on Wednesday. Austria began emerging from its fourth full coronavirus lockdown 10 days ago. While that three-week lockdown slashed daily COVID-19 infections, the country is bracing for another surge because of the extremely contagious Omicron variant, of which several hundred cases have been confirmed so far.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Sweden hardens COVID curbs amid worries over Omicron

Sweden will urge all employees to work from home if possible and impose tighter rules for social distancing, the government said on Tuesday, as it ratchets up restrictions to fight a surge in new infections and the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. The number of new virus cases in Sweden, which sparked international attention last year for its rejection of hard lockdowns, have shot up in recent weeks after a calm autumn when most restrictions were phased out. Hospitalizations and intensive care cases are still among the lowest per capita in Europe, but have also begun rising.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Iceland Tightens Covid Curbs Amid Surge in Cases

Iceland is taking stronger measures to quell a surge in Covid-19 cases after daily infections reached a record. The North Atlantic island’s government cut the number of people allowed at gatherings to 20 from the current 50, Health Minister Wilum Thor Thorsson said on Tuesday. When rapid tests are in use, 200 people will be allowed to gather, down from the current 500. The new rules take effect at midnight. “We are very worried,” Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir told local media after a government meeting. “Uncertainty over how effective vaccinations are against the new variant calls for the government to react.”
21st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Germany to Impose Tighter Curbs as Nation Braces for Omicron

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pushed through tighter social-distancing restrictions to stave off the threat of a “massive” surge of the omicron Covid-19 variant just as families gather for the Christmas holidays. The latest measures, which add to existing curbs that mainly affect the unvaccinated, include limiting gatherings to 10 people starting Dec. 28. The restrictions, which Scholz negotiated with regional leaders on Tuesday, also apply to those who are inoculated or have recovered from the virus. “We can’t close our eyes to the next wave that’s beginning to appear in front of us,” Scholz told reporters in Berlin after meeting the country’s 16 state premiers. The chancellor said Germans should celebrate Christmas, but cautiously.
21st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Spain Faces New Restrictions Despite High Vaccine Rates

Despite vaccination rates that make other governments envious, Spain and Portugal are facing the hard truth that, with the new omicron variant running rampant, these winter holidays won't be a time of unrestrained joy. Portugal on Tuesday announced a slew of new restrictions over Christmas and the New Year, making working from home mandatory and shutting discotheques and bars beginning Saturday night. Also, a negative test result must be shown to enter Portuguese cinemas, theaters, sports events, weddings and baptisms until at least Jan. 9.
21st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Businesses fret as South Korea reimposes COVID-19 curfews

As clocks struck 9 p.m. this week, customers packed up and left restaurants and other eateries across South Korea as a reimposed curfew designed to help stem a surge in coronavirus infections sparks fears of economic disaster for some businesses. Last week authorities announced a series of social distancing measures lasting until at least Jan. 2. They include limiting gatherings to no more than four people and forcing restaurants, cafes and bars to close by 9 p.m. (1200 GMT). The measures came just six weeks after highly-vaccinated South Korea eased many restrictions to try to "live with COVID-19." Since then daily cases and serious infections have hit record highs, adding to strains on the country's medical system.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand delays border re-opening over Omicron concerns

New Zealand on Tuesday postponed its phased border re-opening plans until the end of February over concerns of the rapid global spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The South Pacific nation had just started easing some of the world's toughest pandemic measures and its international border restrictions were to progressively loosen from January, with all foreign tourists allowed into the country from April. Non-quarantine travel, which was to have opened for New Zealanders in Australia from Jan. 16, would be pushed back until the end of February, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press conference in Wellington.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Thailand reinstates mandatory COVID-19 quarantine over Omicron concerns

Thailand will reinstate its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for foreign visitors and scrap a quarantine waiver from Tuesday due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The decision to halt Thailand's "Test and Go" waiver means visitors will have to undergo hotel quarantine, which ranges between 7 to 10 days. Meanwhile, a so-called "sandbox" programme, which requires visitors to remain in a specific location but allows them free movement outside of their accommodation, will also be suspended in all places except for the tourist resort island of Phuket.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Dutch streets deserted as snap Christmas COVID lockdown starts

Article reports that Dutch urban centres were largely deserted on Sunday as the country began a snap lockdown that, aimed at stemming an expected COVID-19 surge caused by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, left people's Christmas plans in disarray. Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the shutdown on Saturday evening, ordering the closure of all but essential stores, as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places from Sunday until at least Jan. 14. In Rotterdam, police used a water cannon to disperse a group of around 1,000 people who had gathered outside the city's main soccer stadium, ahead of a clash between local team Feyenoord and bitter rivals Ajax Amsterdam.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

No lockdown before Christmas, Germany says

Germany's health minister Karl Lauterbach ruled out a Christmas lockdown on Sunday but warned a fifth COVID-19 wave could no longer be stopped and backed mandatory vaccination as the only way to stop the pandemic. "There will not be a lockdown before Christmas here. But we will get a fifth wave - we have crossed a critical number of Omicron infections," Lauterbach said, speaking on broadcaster ARD. "This wave can no longer be completely stopped." In another interview with BILD, Lauterbach added that he did not expect there to be a "hard lockdown" after the holidays either.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Netherlands starts 'painful' Christmas coronavirus lockdown

Dutch urban centres were largely deserted on Sunday as the country began a snap lockdown that, aimed at stemming an expected COVID-19 surge caused by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, left people's Christmas plans in disarray. Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the shutdown on Saturday evening, ordering the closure of all but essential stores, as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places from Sunday until at least Jan. 14. In Rotterdam, police used a water cannon to disperse a group of around 1,000 people who had gathered outside the city's main soccer stadium, ahead of a clash between local team Feyenoord and bitter rivals Ajax Amsterdam.
19th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Officials draw up plans for two-week 'circuit breaker' lockdown

Plans for a two-week circuit breaker lockdown after Xmas are being drawn up. Leaked minutes from a SAGE meeting said restrictions are needed 'very soon.' During the Thursday meeting, the experts backed a ban on indoor social contact. It is believed that they want fresh measures to come in before January 1
19th Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

Germany to impose quarantine on travellers from Britain from Monday

Germany will impose quarantine on travellers from Britain from midnight on Monday and require a negative COVID-19 test for entry into the country, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Saturday. Germany's regional health ministers had urged the national government on Saturday to introduce tougher rules on people arriving from Britain, where the Omicron coronavirus variant has sparked a surge in infections. At a meeting, the ministers called on Berlin to classify Britain as a virus-variant area, enforcing a two-week quarantine on all travellers including those who are vaccinated.
18th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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France halts British visitors, EU nations tighten borders as Omicron rises

France imposed travel restrictions on travellers from Britain on Thursday due to surging COVID-19 cases there, and several European countries also strengthened border controls on visitors from other EU states. Plans for Christmas celebrations in Europe and many countries across the globe have been thrown into disarray by the rapid spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant, which emerged in Hong Kong and Southern Africa last month.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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UK COVID cases hit record; Top doctor warns of worse to come

Professor Chris Whitty described the current situation as two epidemics in one — with omicron infections rising rapidly even as the country continues to grapple with the older delta variant, which is still causing a large number of infections. Public health officials expect omicron to become the dominant variant across the U.K. within days. Omicron already accounts for a majority of cases in London. The U.K. recorded 78,610 new infections on Wednesday, 16% higher than the previous record set in January. While scientists are still studying the risks posed by the highly transmissible omicron variant, Witty said the public should be braced for the figures to continue rising in coming weeks. “There are several things we don’t know,” Whitty said. “But all the things we do know are bad, the principal one being the speed at which this is moving. It is moving at an absolutely phenomenal pace.”
15th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press


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COVID-19: All countries on red list to be removed as 'less effective' in slowing Omicron - Javid

All 11 countries on the UK's travel red list will be removed as the system has become "less effective in slowing the incursion" of the Omicron variant, the health secretary has announced. Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that the nations will be removed from 4am on Wednesday, so arrivals will no longer have to isolate in a government-approved quarantine hotel for two weeks at the cost of £2,285. The 11 countries currently on the red list are: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
14th Dec 2021 - Sky News


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Austria ends Covid lockdown restrictions for vaccinated people

Austria has ended lockdown restrictions for vaccinated people across most of the country, three weeks after reimposing strict rules to combat a rising wave of coronavirus infections. The rules, which vary by region within the country, largely allow for the reopening of theatres, museums and other cultural and entertainment venues on Sunday. Shops will follow on Monday. Some regions are reopening restaurants and hotels on Sunday, while others will wait until later in the month. In all cases, there will be an 11pm curfew for restaurants, and masks will still be required on public transport and inside stores and public spaces.
12th Dec 2021 - The Guardian


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Polarized Austria Ends Lockdown as Vaccine Mandate Looms Large

Austria ended a nationwide coronavirus lockdown for most people on Sunday, while keeping restrictions for the unvaccinated as it presses ahead with the boldest incentive in Europe to boost inoculations. Starting Sunday, vaccine-rejectors can only leave their homes to go to work, where they’ll need to provide a negative coronavirus test every two days, and for essential shopping and daily exercise. Entry to other venues will be barred. Life will slowly return to normal for people who’ve had a vaccine or have recently recovered from the virus, with regions implementing a patchwork of easing schedules.
12th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Austria’s Restrictions on the Unvaccinated Appear to Be Working

Austria, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe’s latest Covid-19 surge, has seen infections plummet and vaccination rates soar after imposing a lockdown and saying it would make the shots mandatory next year. The measures, and the steep fall in new cases since they were announced, could offer some options to countries in a region where infections are still rising rapidly or plateauing at a high level. The Alpine republic introduced a lockdown and said it would mandate vaccines beginning next February on Nov. 22, when the weekly rolling average of daily new cases exceeded 1,500 and hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates were struggling to cope with the influx of patients.
11th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Swiss mull limited lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise

Switzerland may have to impose another limited lockdown to break the momentum of rising coronavirus cases that threaten to overwhelm its healthcare system, the government said on Friday. "This is really a critical phase. The trends are going in the wrong direction," Health Minister Alain Berset told reporters in Bern as the cabinet launched consultations with regional authorities and social partners on the way forward. The government said it may expand the requirement for proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus for access to many indoor venues, which would leave out unvaccinated people even if they have negative test results.
11th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Austria plans to fine vaccine holdouts up to 3600 euros a quarter

Austria's conservative-led government on Thursday gave details of its plan to make coronavirus vaccines compulsory, saying it will apply to people 14 and over and holdouts face fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,071) every three months. Roughly 68% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Many Austrians are sceptical about vaccines, a view encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third biggest in parliament.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia to re-open shops for vaccinated, others face longer lockdown

Slovakia will on Friday re-open non-essential shops and some services for those vaccinated against COVID-19 while at the same time extending a lockdown for others and closing some schools, Health Minister Vladimir Lengvarsky said. The central European country of 5.5 million people has struggled with one of the world's worst coronavirus waves in the past few weeks, and shut shops and services for all people for two weeks ending Dec. 9. Lengvarsky had sought to extend the general lockdown until Dec.16, and to ease it for the vaccinated from Dec. 17.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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S.Korea considers expanded COVID-19 home care as new cases top 7000

South Korea will consider expanding home treatment of COVID-19 patients, a health official said on Wednesday, as both new daily infections and severe cases hit record highs, putting hospital capacity under strain. Infections in South Korea have skyrocketed this month after the government began to ease restrictions under a so-called "living with COVID-19" scheme in November. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 7,175 new coronavirus cases and 63 deaths for Tuesday, the first time daily infections topped 7,000, while hospitals treated a record 840 critical and serious cases.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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The explosion of Covid PTSD cases is a mental health crisis in the making

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, people working in the trauma field knew the psychological toll would be colossal. In the spring of 2020, I began interviewing professionals about the mental health fallout of the pandemic, specifically its impact on frontline medical staff. During the first wave, two in every five intensive care staff in England reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. That work continued for almost a year, during which time a second wave hit and the initial traumas were exacerbated. But it wasn’t only frontline workers who were experiencing trauma symptoms: Covid has posed perhaps the biggest threat to mental health in England since the second world war. Now, at the tail end of 2021, the pandemic is still not over. The NHS forecasts that nationally, there will be 230,000 new cases of PTSD as a result of Covid-19.
7th Dec 2021 - The Guardian

Austria plans to lift lockdown, but not for the unvaccinated

The unvaccinated will stay in lockdown when Austria lifts its wider general lockdown on Sunday, Chancellor Karl Nehammer confirmed on Tuesday, a day after he took office. Austria went intolockdowntwo weeks ago to counter a surge in daily COVID-19 infections to record levels, with restaurants, bars, theatres and non-essential shops shut to all but take-away business. Hotels are closed to tourists. Infections have plunged since but intensive-care bed occupancy is still rising.
7th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Slovak health minister proposes extending lockdown till Dec 16

Slovakia's health minister said on Monday he would ask the cabinet to extend a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 infections by one week until Dec. 16. Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million, has grappled with one of the world's worst coronavirus waves in the past few weeks and introduced a lockdown that shut most shops and services on Nov. 25. Under the lockdown, Slovaks are allowed to school and work but non-essential movement between districts is banned, as well as most public gatherings and events. Non-essential shops are closed.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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WHO says measures used against delta should work for omicron

Measures used to counter the delta variant should remain the foundation for fighting the coronavirus pandemic, even in the face of the new omicron version of the virus, World Health Organization officials said Friday, while acknowledging that the travel restrictions imposed by some countries may buy time. While about three dozen countries worldwide have reported omicron infections, including India on Thursday, the numbers so far are small outside of South Africa, which is facing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and where the new variant may be becoming dominant. Still, much remains unclear about omicron, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, or whether it can evade vaccine protection.
3rd Dec 2021 - The Associated Press


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Sweden says could impose new COVID-19 measures next week

Sweden could impose new restrictions as early as next week to fight the coronavirus pandemic and a rising tide of infections, its public health agency said on Thursday. New measures could include general advice such as keeping a distance from other people and wearing a face mask on public transport, the agency said, but gave no precise details. It also said it might recommend employers to enable staff to "to some degree" work from home.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Lebanon reintroduces some COVID-19 prevention measures

Lebanon will impose a night-time curfew starting Dec. 17 on non-vaccinated people for three weeks and make full vaccination mandatory for all workers in several sectors due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the COVID-19 committee said on Wednesday. Vaccination will be mandatory for all civil servants and workers in the health, education, tourism and public transport sectors as of Jan. 10, the committee said. A new coronavirus variant found in South Africa and detected in several countries was determined as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization last week and has led to strengthening COVID-19-related restrictions around the world.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea hits new COVID-19 record, halts quarantine exemptions to block Omicron

South Korea's daily coronavirus case numbers rose to a new high on Thursday, as authorities halted quarantine exemptions for fully vaccinated inbound travellers for two weeks in a bid to fend off the Omicron variant. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 5,266 cases for Wednesday, a day after the daily tally rose above 5,000 for the first time amid concerns over a sharp rise in patients with severe symptoms. South Korea will require a 10-day quarantine for all inbound travellers for two weeks starting Friday, halting exemptions given earlier to fully vaccinated people, the KDCA said.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Germany to impose restrictions on unvaccinated to break COVID surge

Germany on Thursday imposed restrictions on the unvaccinated as it sought to break a dramatic surge in daily coronavirus infections exacerbated by the discovery of the Omicron strain. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor Olaf Scholz agreed with leaders of Germany's 16 states to bar the unvaccinated from access to all but the most essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and bakeries. They also agreed to pass legislation in the national parliament to make vaccination mandatory.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters


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U.S. tightens travel rules as more countries secure borders to quell Omicron

Heavily mutated Omicron is rapidly becoming the dominant variant of the coronavirus in South Africa less than four weeks after it was first detected there, and the United States on Wednesday became the latest country to identify an Omicron case within its borders. The first known U.S. case was a fully vaccinated person in California who returned to the United States from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive seven days later. The person had mild symptoms and was in self-quarantine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told reporters at the White House.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Austria extends COVID-19 lockdown by 10 days

An Austrian parliamentary committee on Tuesday, as widely expected, approved a decree extending the country's COVID-19 lockdown by 10 days, bringing its total duration to 20 days, which the government has said is the longest it will last. Faced with surging daily coronavirus infections, the conservative-led government introduced the lockdown on Monday of last week, the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a lockdown this autumn.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Australia delays border reopening as Omicron cases rise

Australia said on Monday it would delay the reopening of its international border by two weeks after reporting its first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Prime Minister Scott Morrison convened a meeting of his national security committee and said it received advice from Australia's chief health officer to delay the reopening after the first cases of the new variant were detected on Sunday.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Singapore, Malaysia reopen land border amid worries over the Omicron variant

Singapore and Malaysia reopened one of the world's busiest land borders on Monday, allowing vaccinated travellers to cross after nearly two years of being shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although travellers welcomed the chance to reunite with family and friends, there were concerns the border might be closed again due to the new Omicron coronavirus variant. As many as 300,000 Malaysians commuted daily to Singapore before the pandemic. The sudden closing of the border in March 2020 left tens of thousands stranded on both sides, separated from families and fearing for their jobs.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

High COVID case count, Omicron prompt S.Korea not to relax curbs

South Korea said on Monday it has shelved plans to further relax COVID-19 restrictions due to the strain on its healthcare system from rising hospitalisation and death rates, as well as the threat posed by the new Omicron variant. President Moon Jae-in said the crisis had deepened and called for a united response to prevent the variant from entering the country, including the mobilisation of more personnel and tightening contact tracing.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Japan to bar all foreign visitors over Omicron variant

Japan says it will bar the entry of all foreign visitors from around the world, just weeks after a softening of strict entry rules, following the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. “We will ban the (new) entry of foreigners from around the world starting from November 30,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters, saying the measures would take effect on Tuesday. Over the weekend, Japan tightened entry restrictions for people arriving from South Africa and eight other countries in the region, requiring them to undergo a 10-day quarantine at government-designated facilities. Monday’s announcement means Japan will restore border controls it eased earlier this month for short-term business visitors, foreign students and workers.
29th Nov 2021 - AlJazeera


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Omicron Identified as Covid-19 ‘Variant of Concern,’ Triggering Global Fears

A fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus first detected in southern Africa is a global “variant of concern” and might pose a higher risk of people falling ill with Covid-19 for a second time, the World Health Organization said Friday, as governments around the globe restricted travel from the region. WHO said there was also preliminary evidence that the variant, which it named Omicron after the Greek letter, was more transmissible than the Delta variant that is currently dominant world-wide, and other virus strains. Health authorities in Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong and Botswana said they had detected first cases of the variant. Although scientists were still figuring out the exact effects of the variant’s many mutations, its discovery highlights the continued threat posed by an evolving virus to the world’s emergence from the pandemic. The travel restrictions imposed by many countries, including the U.S., raised fears that there could be further setbacks to the reopening of economic and social life, including in Western countries with high vaccination rates.
27th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Australia starts 14-day quarantine for citizens travelling from southern Africa

Australia will introduce 14-day quarantine for citizens and their dependents travelling from nine countries in southern Africa due to the new coronavirus variant, its health minister said on Saturday. "Anyone who is not a citizen of Australia or their dependents, and who has been in African countries where the Omicron variant has been detected and spread within the past 14 days will not be able to enter Australia," Health Minister Greg Hunt told a press briefing.
27th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Portugal reimposes rules as COVID-19 cases rise

Portugal, which has one of the world's highest rates of vaccination against COVID-19, announced it would reimpose restrictions to stop a surge in cases, ordering all passengers flying into the country to show a negative test certificate on arrival. "It doesn't matter how successful the vaccination was, we must be aware we are entering a phase of greater risk," Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference on Thursday. "We have seen significant growth (in cases) in the EU and Portugal is not an island," he added.
26th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Czechs shut bars and restaurants early, hoping to avoid COVID lockdown

The Czech government on Thursday ordered bars and clubs to close at 10 p.m. and banned Christmas markets in an attempt to stem one of the world's highest coronavirus infection rates. The new restrictions also include a maximum attendance of 1,000 people at culture and sports events, stopping short of the sweeping lockdowns in neighbouring Austria and Slovakia, where infection rates are even higher. Just hours after the new restrictions were announced, the presidential office said President Milos Zeman was taken to hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus, although local media reported he showed no symptoms.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Italy tightens screws on COVID unvaccinated, extends shot mandate

Italy on Wednesday tightened the screws on people unwilling to take an anti-COVID vaccine, sharply restricting access to an array of services and making vaccines mandatory for a wider group of public sector workers. Italy acted as much of Europe is increasing restrictions to try to grapple with a new wave of the pandemic. Under the Italian measures, which will come into force from Dec. 6, unvaccinated people will not be able to enter venues such as cinemas, restaurants and sports events, Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government said in a statement
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia follows Austria into lockdown amid record surge in COVID cases

Slovakia's government followed the example of neighbouring Austria on Wednesday and ordered a two-week lockdown to quell the world's fastest rise in COVID-19 cases as the number of people sick in hospital reached a critical level and vaccination levels remain low. Restaurants and non-essential shops will close as part of the measures and movement will be limited to trips for essential shopping, work, school or medical visits, along with walks in nature, government officials said.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Slovakia's COVID cases rise by record as government prepares lockdown

Slovakia's government followed the example of neighbouring Austria on Wednesday and ordered a two-week lockdown to quell the world's fastest rise in COVID-19 cases as the number of people sick in hospital reached a critical level and vaccination levels remain low. Restaurants and non-essential shops will close as part of the measures and movement will be limited to trips for essential shopping, work, school or medical visits, along with walks in nature, government officials said.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Austria's lockdown is looking infectious

Austria’s lockdown may spread as quickly as Covid-19. On Friday, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced a national lockdown beginning on Monday and introduced Europe’s first vaccine mandate. Austria and its neighbours had been hoping that a targeted lockdown for vaccine holdouts might avert blanket restrictions, however soaring infection rates have already stretched intensive care facilities to the brink.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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COVID-19: Austria coronavirus lockdown feels not just like a health crisis, but also a cultural, social and political storm

On Saturday, the streets of Vienna were packed with shoppers. Today, they were quiet, if not deserted. Yes, this is lockdown, but it isn't quite the eerie emptiness of 18 months ago. Instead, the Austrian capital feels like it's closed for business. The clothes shops, the ice rinks and, of course, the Christmas markets. All shut. Maria Fridrichovsky normally sells chestnuts in one of the markets. She told me she is "angry" at what has happened, bemused that only 65% of the Austrian population is vaccinated against COVID. "I feel very sad because the companies are closed down," she said. "We sell chestnuts and potatoes to the people. It should be lovely here at Christmas. "But now it's so hard - many people are calling up by telephone - what can I do? What can I tell them? It's so sad."
23rd Nov 2021 - Sky News

Germany considers more COVID-19 curbs, compulsory vaccines as cases soar

Germany should impose further restrictions to try to stop a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, outgoing Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Tuesday as more politicians backed the idea of compulsory vaccinations. The surge in infections comes at a difficult time as Chancellor Angela Merkel is preparing to hand over to a new government after a national election in September. The leaders of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats, who are trying to form a new coalition, were due to break off their talks on Tuesday to meet Merkel to discuss the pandemic, sources close to the negotiations told Reuters.
23rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia "intensively" looking at COVID lockdown possibility, PM says

The Czech Republic and Slovakia banned unvaccinated people from hotels, pubs, hairdressers and most public events from Monday after COVID-19 cases filled hospital intensive-care wards, and were mulling harsher steps to stem the resurgent pandemic. The central European neighbours both acted a step behind Austria, which first set restrictions on unvaccinated people but went for a full lockdown on Monday as the region became the world's latest COVID-19 hotspot.
23rd Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Austria re-enters COVID-19 lockdown as cases soar again in Europe

The German health minister has warned citizens that they would be either “vaccinated, cured or dead” from COVID-19 by the end of winter as several European countries impose restrictions amid surging infections. “Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead,” Jens Spahn said, as he urged more Germans to get the jab. As intensive care beds fill up fast, Germany’s worst-hit regions have ordered new shutdowns, including the closure of Christmas markets. In regions with high hospitalisation rates, the unvaccinated will be barred from public spaces like cinemas, gyms and indoor dining. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany’s current COVID restrictions, including barring the unvaccinated from certain public spaces “are not enough”.
22nd Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Singapore health minister says return to strict COVID-19 curbs a last resort

A return to stricter COVID-19 curbs in Singapore will be a "last resort", Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Monday, as the city-state partially eased limits on social gatherings and dining out under its calibrated reopening approach. Ong also said the international travel and tourism hub would continue to open "travel lanes" with more countries for vaccinated visitors. Singapore is gradually granting small groups of vaccinated people increased liberties, resuming in-person business events and permitting quarantine-free travel from select countries as it ramps up its vaccine booster programme. "I feel it's important to do it this way, because it minimizes the chance of us having to backpedal too frequently," Ong told Reuters in an interview on Monday for the upcoming Reuters Next conference.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand to end tough COVID curbs, adopt new virus-fighting system

New Zealand will adopt a new system of living with the coronavirus virus from Dec. 3, which will end tough restrictions and allow businesses to operate in its biggest city, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. New Zealand remained largely COVID-19 free until August but has been unable to beat an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, forcing Ardern to abandon an elimination strategy and switch to treating the virus as endemic.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Austria imposes full COVID lockdown, makes vaccination mandatory

Austria will become the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a full coronavirus lockdown to tackle a new wave of infections and will require its whole population to be vaccinated by February, its government has said. Friday’s announcement came as roughly two-thirds of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. The country’s infection rate is among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 991 per 100,000 people. Austria had introduced a lockdown for all those who were unvaccinated on Monday but since then, infections have set new records.
20th Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Nov 2021

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Germany to limit public life for the unvaccinated

Germany will limit large parts of public life in areas where hospitals are becoming dangerously full of COVID-19 patients to those who have either been vaccinated or have recovered from the illness, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. The move is necessary to tackle a "very worrying" fourth wave of the pandemic that is overburdening hospitals, she said. "Many of the measures that are now needed would not have been needed if more people were vaccinated. And it isn't too late to get vaccinated now," Merkel said.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Belgium extends mask use, enforces home working as COVID-19 spikes

Belgium tightened its coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, mandating wider use of masks and enforcing work from home, as cases spiked in the country's fourth COVID-19 wave. From Saturday, all people in indoor venues such as cafes and restaurants will need to wear a mask unless seated and the rule will apply to those aged 10 or older. The previous age threshold was 12. Nightclubs may have to test their guests if they want to let them dance mask-free. People wanting to eat in a restaurant or go to the theatre already must present a COVID pass, showing vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Austria's focus shifts to full lockdown as COVID-19 cases keep rising

Pressure on Austria's government to impose a full COVID-19 lockdown grew on Thursday as its worst-hit provinces said they would adopt the measure for themselves since infections are still rising despite the current lockdown for the unvaccinated. Roughly 66% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Its infections are among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 971.5 per 100,000 people. As winter approaches, cases have surged across Europe, prompting governments to consider reimposing unpopular lockdowns. The Netherlands has imposed a partial lockdown that applies to all, but Austria has sought not to impose extra restrictions on the fully vaccinated.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Portugal's Madeira Island Imposes Curbs on Unvaccinated People

The Portuguese island of Madeira will impose new restrictions on unvaccinated residents and visitors amid a surge in coronavirus cases across Europe. People who have not been vaccinated will be banned from attending public events such as concerts from Saturday, Miguel Albuquerque, the president of Madeira’s regional government, said in a televised press conference on Thursday. Unvaccinated people are allowed to attend mass or go to the supermarket as long as they show a negative Covid-19 test. The use of masks will become mandatory in public spaces. Mass testing will also be carried out on a weekly basis to try to contain the spread of the virus, Albuquerque said.
18th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Greece Is the Latest European Country to Restrict the Unvaccinated

Greece will tighten restrictions on people unvaccinated against the coronavirus as rising cases and hospitalizations strain the nation’s health systems. It joins Germany, Austria and other European countries in attempting to pressure more people into getting their inoculations. "Even those who are still hesitant can change their minds by listening to what the unvaccinated who get sick have to say,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised national address on Thursday. Almost nine out of every 10 people in Greek ICUs with Covid-19 are unvaccinated, he said.
18th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg


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Europe Fights Winter Covid Surge With New Restrictions for Unvaccinated

It’s getting harder to be a vaccine holdout in Europe and continue with life as usual. As governments battle another wave of the outbreak, new restrictions are being introduced, many aimed at the unvaccinated. That’s adding to the pressure on those who’ve resisted the shot so far. Germany is proposing to limit access to the workplace to people who are inoculated, recovered or provide a negative test, and those who have refused shots are increasingly banned from cafes and hairdressers. The country, which has seen a surge in cases, has a vaccination rate below that of Italy, Spain and Portugal.
18th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Austrian COVID cases hit record on third day of lockdown for unvaccinated

Austrian coronavirus infections hit a new daily record on Wednesday, the third day of a lockdown for those not fully vaccinated aimed at halting the surge. Roughly 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against the virus, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Austria also has one of the highest infection rates on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 925 per 100,000 people. Soaring infections across Europe as winter approaches are prompting governments to consider reintroducing unpopular lockdowns.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Germany Plans Stricter Covid Restrictions for Unvaccinated People

Germany is heading toward stiffer restrictions on people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, as authorities across Europe seek to rein in a renewed surge of the disease. Europe’s largest economy is grappling with its worst outbreak in the pandemic, posting a fresh record in its contagion rate on Tuesday. The country’s response has been complicated by a change in power, with Chancellor Angela Merkel in a caretaker role while negotiations to form a new government proceed. Under pressure to act, lawmakers from the potential ruling coalition are planning to introduce legislation later this week that would impose tougher curbs on people who haven’t been inoculated, including requiring tests to go to work and take public transportation.
16th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Slovakia plans curbs on those unvaccinated for COVID-19 as hospitals fill up

Slovakia's hospitals are in a critical situation dealing with a surge in coronavirus infections and the government will approve measures on Thursday to limit access to services for unvaccinated people, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said. Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, prompting countries like Slovakia and neighbouring Austria to re-introduce restrictions in the run-up to Christmas.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Japan to ease quarantine for people inoculated with J&J COVID-19 vaccine

Japan intends to ease quarantine rules by the end of November for people inoculated with Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, the Nikkei daily reported on Tuesday. Japan last week took a first step in its planned phased re-opening of borders, which centres on business travellers. But that plan's easing of quarantine rules for inbound business travellers did not cover people inoculated with J&J's COVID-19 vaccine.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Back in lockdown: Streets in the Netherlands are deserted as curfew comes in after protests over new Covid restrictions

Streets of Rotterdam were quiet and empty tonight following introduction of rules closing nightlife by 8pm. Around 200 protestors clashed with riot police and were blasted with a water cannon in The Hague on Friday. It comes as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the return of a partial Covid lockdown in the country. Bars, restaurants, shops will close from 8pm and social distancing measures are set to be reimposed
15th Nov 2021 - Daily Mail

Austrian unvaccinated lockdown starts amid COVID resurgence

Austria took what its leader called the “dramatic” step Monday of implementing a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people who haven’t recently had COVID-19, perhaps the most drastic of a string of measures being taken by European governments to get a massive regional resurgence of the virus under control. The move, which took effect at midnight, prohibits people 12 and older who haven’t been vaccinated or recently recovered from leaving their homes except for basic activities such as working, grocery shopping, going to school or university or for a walk — or getting vaccinated. The lockdown is initially being imposed until Nov. 24 in the Alpine country of 8.9 million. It doesn’t apply to children under 12 because they cannot yet officially get vaccinated — though the capital, Vienna, on Monday opened up vaccinations for under-12s as part of a pilot project and reported high demand.
15th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press


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Austria brings back COVID-19 lockdown, this time for the unvaccinated

Austria is the first European country to reinstate the same restrictions on daily movements that applied during national lockdowns before vaccines were rolled out, though this time they only affect a minority of the population. "We are not taking this step lightly but it is necessary," Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference announcing the new measure, under which the unvaccinated can only leave their homes for a limited number of reasons like going to work or shopping for essentials.
14th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Philippines Keeps Loose Virus Curbs in Capital Region

The Philippines is keeping its loose coronavirus restrictions in the Manila capital region until Nov. 30 as daily cases decline and vaccination picks up. The capital, which accounts for a third of economic output, will remain under Alert Level 2, the second-lowest under a five-tiered system, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement on Saturday. Provinces near Metro Manila will also be under the same level. Relaxed restrictions on public movement have been in placed since Nov. 5, and minors have been allowed in indoor establishments. Under Alert Level 2, indoor restaurants, gyms and cinemas can operate at half capacity, while outdoor establishments can open at 70% capacity.
13th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Dutch Are Back to Partial Lockdown After Record Infections

The Netherlands is entering another lockdown after coronavirus infections hit records in recent days, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. “We have a very difficult message tonight combined with drastic measures,” Rutte said at a press conference in The Hague on Friday. The country will enter a partial lockdown with bars and restaurants that need to shut down effective from Saturday 8 p.m. local time, Rutte added. Non-essential shops must close at 6 p.m. He strongly urged people to work from home as much as possible while there also will be a limit to invite a maximum amount of 4 people to socialize at home. The package will be reviewed Dec. 3, Rutte said.
12th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg


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Austrian Covid Hotspot to Impose Lockdown for Unvaccinated

The Austrian region with the highest coronavirus infection rate plans to impose a lockdown for unvaccinated people, as worsening outbreaks force authorities across central Europe to seek stronger incentives to get inoculated. Upper Austrians who haven’t taken the vaccine will only be allowed to leave home for work and to buy everyday goods from Monday, several newspapers said Thursday, citing state leader Thomas Stelzer. The national Covid task force has also recommended a similar measure for Salzburg.
11th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Denmark to impose COVID-19 isolation for travellers from Singapore

Denmark will impose self-isolation requirements on travellers from Singapore, its embassy in the city-state said on Thursday, following a surge in COVID-19 infections. Singapore was removed this week from a European Union list of non-EU countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. "Singapore is now considered a high risk country for travel to Europe," the embassy of Denmark in Singapore posted on Facebook.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch consider new partial lockdown as coronavirus cases hit record

The Dutch government on Thursday was considering whether to impose Western Europe's first partial lockdown since the summer, as new coronavirus cases jumped to the highest level since the start of the pandemic. A surge in infections that started when social distancing measures were lifted late September has put pressure on hospitals throughout the country, forcing them to scale back regular care to treat COVID-19 patients. New coronavirus infections in the country of 17.5 million have roughly doubled in the last week and hit a record of around 16,300 in 24 hours on Thursday.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Aucklanders return to malls as New Zealand eases lockdown in biggest city

Article reports that sShops and malls in New Zealand's biggest city Auckland flung their doors open for the first time in three months on Wednesday as the city, which is at the epicentre of the country's coronavirus outbreak, gradually reopened. Retail stores filled up within hours of reopening due to pent up demand while some shoppers reportedly queued up outside malls overnight to take advantage of early bird offers at some stores.
10th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Covid-19: Majority in NI 'want to keep working from home'

A majority of workers in Northern Ireland would like to work from home even after pandemic restrictions are fully lifted, a survey has suggested. YouGov surveyed 1,000 local workers online during August, weighted to give a representative sample of adults in work. It was carried out for the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. The survey suggests that of those working fully from home, only 3% wanted to return to their office full time.
9th Nov 2021 - BBC News


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Denmark Will Bring Back Some Restrictions as Covid-19 Cases Soar

Denmark, which has one of Europe’s highest vaccination rates, plans to re-introduce some restrictions to halt a recent spike in Covid-19 contamination cases. Danes will have to again present so-called corona passports to attend public events, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference late on Monday. The move follows a recommendation from health authorities that the country reclassifies the virus as a disease that poses a critical threat to society.
8th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Russia ends workplace shutdown but COVID numbers stay high

Most Russians went back to work on Monday for the first time in more than a week as a nationwide workplace shutdown was lifted across most regions, even though the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and deaths are hovering near record daily highs. President Vladimir Putin announced last month that Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 would be paid "non-working days" - an attempt to slow the surge in cases by imposing the strictest nationwide restrictions since the early months of the pandemic last year.
8th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Action needed now to avoid lockdown, say German state leaders

Germany's COVID-19 situation is entering a very difficult period with rising numbers of intensive care patients, health minister Jens Spahn said, as German state leaders warned the country may need a new lockdown unless it takes urgent action. Spahn said he had agreed with regional health ministers that in future everyone should be offered a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine six months after receiving their previous injection. "This should become the norm, not the exception," Spahn said at a news conference on Friday.
5th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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COVID-hit China keeps vigil at borders, restricts local tourism

China is on high alert at its international ports of entry to reduce the risk of COVID-19 cases entering from abroad, and it has stepped up restrictions within the country amid a growing outbreak less than 100 days before the Beijing Winter Olympics. The National Immigration Administration (NIA) said on Thursday it would continue to guide citizens not to go abroad for non-urgent and non-essential reasons. The dramatic drop in Chinese travellers since early last year has left a $255 billion annual spending hole in the global tourism market
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Philippines Eases Virus Restrictions in Manila Capital Region

The Philippines will ease coronavirus restrictions in the Manila capital region from Friday until Nov. 21 as infections eased. The Southeast Asian nation’s virus task force decided to place the capital -- which accounts for a third of economic output -- under Alert Level 2 where businesses can operate at higher capacities, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement late Thursday.
4th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg


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Top Sage expert Jeremy Farrar quits amid ‘concerning’ Covid-19 rates

Sir Jeremy Farrar has revealed he quit the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) last month, warning of “concerning high levels of transmission” in Britain and vowing to focus on his role as a clinical scientist. The director of the Wellcome Trust was a leading member of the government’s Covid-19 advisory body during the pandemic. He was reportedly pushing for ministers to enforce a so-called “vaccine plus” strategy that includes measures such as mask wearing, ventilation and continued testing, according to Sky News. However, the government has so far declined to enforce stricter measures – which it refers to as plan B – and is sticking with its current, more relaxed guidance.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Independent


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China won't give up on its zero-tolerance COVID policy soon - experts

China will not give up on its zero-tolerance policy towards local COVID-19 cases any time soon, some experts said, as the policy has allowed it to quickly quell local outbreaks, while the virus continues to spread outside its borders. To stop local cases from turning into wider outbreaks, China has developed and continually refined its COVID-fighting arsenal -- including mass testing, targeted lockdowns and travel restrictions - even when those anti-COVID measures occasionally disrupted local economies.
2nd Nov 2021 - Reuters


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COVID-19: Walk-in sites now offering coronavirus booster jabs across England without appointment

The move comes as the government announces that Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and Suffolk will become 'Enhanced Response Areas' for tackling the COVID pandemic - sparked by a rise in cases in older populations and growing pressure on local health and education services.
1st Nov 2021 - Sky News


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S.Korea eases curbs in first step toward 'living with COVID-19'

South Korea said on Friday it will drop all operating-hour curbs on restaurants and cafes and implement its first vaccine passport for high-risk venues such as gyms, saunas and bars, as it tries to "live with COVID-19". The first phase will go into effect on Monday and last for a month, officials said, with plans calling for all restrictions to be scrapped by February. "Beginning November 1, our community will take the first step of resuming our normal life," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said at a televised government meeting. "However, we must be aware that this doesn't mean the fight against coronavirus is over, but a new beginning."
30th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Moscow locks down as Russian COVID-19 deaths surge to new highs

The Russian capital brought in its strictest COVID-19 related lockdown measures in more than a year on Thursday as nationwide one-day pandemic deaths and infections hit new highs amid slow vaccination take-up across the world's biggest country. Moscow's partial lockdown, in which only essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets are allowed to remain open and schools and state kindergartens are shut, comes ahead of a week-long nationwide workplace shutdown from Oct. 30
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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China doubles down on COVID-zero strategy

An expansive compound of buildings covering the equivalent of 46 football pitches was recently erected on the outskirts of Guangzhou, China’s bustling southern metropolis. The sprawling complex of three-storey buildings contains some 5,000 rooms and is the first of what is expected to be a chain of quarantine centres built by the Chinese government to house people arriving from overseas as it forges ahead with its zero-tolerance approach to COVID.
27th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera


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Hong Kong to tighten COVID-19 rules, seeks to open to China

Hong Kong will tighten COVID-19 restrictions despite a lack of local outbreaks to better align with China’s policies and increase chances of quarantine-free travel between the territory and mainland, leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday. It will step up contact tracing, such as requiring the use of its LeaveHomeSafe app in government premises to record the coming and going of visitors. It will also tighten quarantine rules to exempt only emergency workers or those in essential industries such as logistics. Currently, those exempt from quarantine include airline crew, banking and insurance executives, directors of public companies, as well as crew members on cargo and passenger ships, among others.
26th Oct 2021 - The Independent


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China Locks Down Thousands in North as Delta Outbreak Spreads

China locked down a county that has seen the most Covid-19 cases in the nation’s latest delta outbreak, as an initial flareup in the northwest quickly spirals into a nationwide surge. Ejin, a county in China’s Inner Mongolia region, asked its 35,700 residents to stay home from Monday and warned of civil and criminal liabilities should anyone disobey the order, state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing a local government statement. The small county bordering Mongolia is the current outbreak’s hotspot, home to nearly one-third of the more than 150 infections found over the past week in the mainland. The lockdown comes a day after a warning from National Health Commission officials that the outbreak would continue to worsen after spreading to 11 provinces in about a week. China reported 38 Covid infections on Monday, half of which were found in Inner Mongolia.
25th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Dutch consider new coronavirus curbs as infections soar

The Dutch government may impose new coronavirus restrictions to reduce pressure on hospitals struggling to deal with a swelling number of COVID-19 patients, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Monday. Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have been rising for a month and reached their highest level since July in recent days, after most social distancing measures were dropped in late September. The new wave of infections has driven up the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals faster than predicted this month, De Jonge said, and many hospitals are already cutting back regular care again to deal with coronavirus cases.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid vaccines: Brits double-jabbed abroad still forced to self-isolate despite having UK approved shots

People who were double-jabbed abroad are still being forced to self-isolate after being pinged by Test and Trace, despite their vaccines being recognised by the UK Government, i can reveal. Self-isolation rules were scrapped on 16 August for people in England who have received both doses of a Covid vaccine and are identified as having come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. However, the exemption does not apply to people who received both vaccine doses outside of the UK.
25th Oct 2021 - iNews


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Austria Threatens New Lockdown for Unvaccinated as Cases Spike

Austria has laid out a framework for potential new lockdown measures to apply only to unvaccinated people, as Covid-19 inoculations lag and cases rise sharply. “I will do everything I can to ensure that the health system in this country does not reach its limit and is not overloaded because we have too many procrastinators,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said in a statement Saturday. If the number of Covid patients in intensive care units hits 500, or 25% of the country’s capacity, unvaccinated people would be barred from hotels and restaurants. If ICU capacity reaches one-third, or 600 units, a lockdown would go into effect for the unvaccinated, who would only be allowed to leave their homes for certain reasons.
23rd Oct 2021 - Bloomberg


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Singapore extends restrictions after reporting highest single-day Covid-19 deaths

Singapore will extend its Covid-19 restrictions for another month after the city-state reported 18 new deaths from the disease on Wednesday, its highest number of the pandemic. In a news release Thursday, Singapore's Ministry of Health said current measures would be extended to November 21, to help contain case numbers, which rose by more than 3,800 on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, given the continuing pressures on our healthcare system, more time is needed for the situation to stabilise," the ministry said in its statement, adding hospitals were braced for "a sustained, heavy patient load." "(The ministry) is doing whatever we can to support and bolster the hospitals," the statement said.
21st Oct 2021 - CNN

Latvia is first country to reimpose lockdown in Europe’s new Covid wave

Latvia has announced a month-long Covid-19 lockdown after an unprecedented surge in infections, becoming the first country in Europe to reimpose far-reaching restrictions amid a new wave of cases in countries across the continent. The Baltic country has one of the highest rates of new Covid cases relative to population in the world, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after successfully keeping the virus at bay for months. “Our health system is in danger … The only way out of this crisis is to get vaccinated,” the prime minister, Krišjānis Kariņš, said on Monday evening at an emergency government meeting. He said the country’s low vaccination rate was to blame for the surge in hospital admissions.
21st Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Parts of northern China brace for more COVID-19 lockdowns and curbs

Parts of northern China are bracing for more COVID-19 curbs as a wave of cases raises concerns of a broader outbreak, with three areas enforcing lockdowns, some schools halting classes, and an aerospace firm delaying work on a rocket project. China reported 13 new domestically transmitted cases for Oct. 20, bringing the total number since Oct. 16 to 42, data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed on Thursday.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Moscow to reintroduce lockdown measures from Oct. 28 to combat COVID-19 case surge

Moscow will reintroduce lockdown measures from Oct. 28 to combat surging COVID-19 cases, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday, with all shops, bars and restaurants due to close, except those selling essential goods, such as supermarkets and pharmacies. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday approved a nationwide week-long workplace shutdown from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 and said regional leaders could introduce other measures at their discretion. Russia reported a record daily high of both coronavirus-related deaths and new COVID-19 infections on Thursday.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne readies to exit world's longest COVID-19 lockdown

Millions in Melbourne are readying to come out of the world's longest COVID-19 lockdown later on Thursday even as cases hover near record levels, with pubs, restaurants and cafes rushing to restock supplies before opening their doors. Since early August, residents in Australia's second-largest city have been in lockdown - their sixth during the pandemic - to quell an outbreak fuelled by the highly infectious Delta strain.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Russia Orders People Not to Go to Work as Covid-19 Deaths Mount

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered people to stay off work for at least a week while Latvia has introduced a monthlong Covid-19 lockdown as deaths climb, driving renewed fears of another wave of infections as winter sets in. Mr. Putin signed a decree Wednesday approving a period of nonworking days, as the government calls them, beginning Oct. 30 and stretching to Nov. 7 to encourage people to stay home and slow the spread of the virus. Regional governments where infection rates are especially virulent can speed up or prolong the measures, with employers continuing to pay their staffs as they stay home. Latvia, which until recently had outperformed other European countries in containing the virus, on Monday announced a slate of strict measures, including a nationwide 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and closures of schools and nonessential retail after the seven-day average of deaths in the tiny Baltic state more than doubled last week.
20th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Singapore extends COVID-19 curbs for a month as cases spike

Singapore will extend its social curbs to contain the spread of COVID-19 for around a month in order to ease the pressure on the healthcare system, the government said on Wednesday. The city-state in late September reimposed curbs that include limiting social interactions and dining out to two people in order to slow virus transmission. However, daily cases have continued to rise and hit a record 3,994 on Tuesday. While Singapore has vaccinated more than 80% of its 5.45 million population, asymptomatic or mild cases have been rising steadily, spreading the virus and mounting pressure on hospitals and medical staff.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Two northern Chinese areas enforce lockdown in COVID-19 outbreak

China reported nine new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases on Oct. 18, the highest daily tally since the end of September, with the latest outbreak prompting two northern border areas to enforce a lockdown. Under a national policy of zero tolerance of domestic coronavirus clusters, cities with new infections have quickly tracked down and tested contacts of infections and sealed off higher-risk areas. Five of the nine new local cases were found in the northwestern city of Xian in Shaanxi province, and two were in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed on Tuesday.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Russia proposes week-long workplace shutdown as COVID deaths hit new record

Moscow's mayor announced four months of stay-home restrictions for unvaccinated over-60s on Tuesday and the Russian government proposed a week-long workplace shutdown as the national death toll from COVID-19 hit yet another daily high. The moves reflected a growing sense of urgency from the authorities as they confront fast-rising cases and widespread public reluctance to get injected with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. Moscow, a city of 12.7 million, ordered people over the age of 60 to stay home for four months starting on Oct. 25 unless they are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID, and for businesses to move at least 30% of their staff to remote work.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Latvia Plans to Reimpose Lockdown After Covid Spike

Latvia plans to impose a 4-week lock down to slow the spread of coronavirus after a surge in cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said, according to the Leta newswire. The Baltic country will impose the stricter measures, including restrictions on schools, shops and public events from Oct. 21 until Nov. 15, Leta reported. The government still must confirm the decision on the proposed measures.
18th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces COVID-19 roadmap to reopening as state records zero local cases

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has outlined a roadmap to reopen the state's borders to COVID-19 hotspots for fully vaccinated people by Christmas. Fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter Queensland without the need to quarantine from December 17. It comes as the state recorded zero new locally acquired COVID cases in the past 24 hours, while more than 8,000 people remain stranded interstate, having applied for border passes to enter Queensland. Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland would begin a phased border reopening for fully vaccinated people from November 19.
18th Oct 2021 - ABC News

New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown in battle on Delta variant

New Zealand's biggest city of Auckland will retain its lockdown for two more weeks in the battle on the Delta variant of coronavirus, as the country pushes to step up vaccinations, Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Melbourne to ease world's longest COVID-19 lockdowns as vaccinations rise

Melbourne, which has spent more time under COVID-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials said on Sunday. By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of 5 million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020. Australian and other media say this is the longest in the world, exceeding a 234-day lockdown in Buenos Aires.
17th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand faces growing calls for ‘circuit breaker’ Covid-19 lockdown

The nation of 5 million was largely virus-free until mid-August, when it was hit by an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant. Health ministry data shows cases have been concentrated among people from the indigenous Maori community, who are also the least likely to be vaccinated
16th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia to serve shorter quarantine period from Oct 18

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia will undergo a shorter quarantine period of seven days from Monday (Oct 18), Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Friday. They can serve their quarantine at home, if suitable, or at quarantine stations, said Ismail Sabri after a meeting of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Pandemic Management. “Travellers who are not vaccinated or have not been fully vaccinated will have to undergo 10 days’ quarantine at the quarantine station,” he said. The quarantine period for close contacts will also be reduced to seven days at home for those fully vaccinated. It will be 10 days for those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
16th Oct 2021 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore


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Melbourne set for COVID lockdown exit despite record cases as vaccinations spike

Melbourne will exit months of COVID-19 lockdown next week helped by a faster-than-expected vaccine uptake, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday, ahead of schedule even though daily infections hit a record the same day. In the worst day of an outbreak of the Delta variant coronavirus that began in early August, Victoria logged 2,297 new cases on Thursday, up from 1,571 the day before and the highest for any Australian state or territory since the pandemic began. Eleven people died, bringing the total toll in the latest outbreak to 125.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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WHO advisers recommend 3rd COVID vaccine dose for highest-risk groups

The group, called the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), said people in the immunocompromised groups should be offered an additional dose in the vaccine series, since they are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination with the standard series and are at high risk for severe disease. WHO leaders have previously urged countries to postpone broader use of booster doses to free up more vaccine for countries that had much less access to supplies. SAGE said its third-dose recommendation applies to all vaccines that the WHO has approved for emergency use. They include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. For Sinopharm and Sinovac, two inactivated vaccines from China, SAGE said a third dose should be offered to people ages 60 and older as part of an extended primary series. It added that a third dose of a different vaccine could be considered, based on vaccine supply and access. However, SAGE urged countries to prioritize 2-dose coverage in that age group, then administer third doses, starting with the oldest age groups.
12th Oct 2021 - CIDRAP


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Covid-19 Australia: Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirms ACT will lift its lockdown this week

The ACT is set to end its harsh lockdown restrictions by the end of the week, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has confirmed. The territory's leader announced Canberra will officially emerge from lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday as the state increases its vaccination coverage. 'Case numbers are expected to increase as restrictions are eased, but being fully vaccinated provides you with protection,' he said.
12th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19 curbs in Sydney could ease early amid surge in vaccinations

New South Wales could ease more restrictions in Sydney a week earlier than planned on Oct. 18 as Australia's most populous state races towards its 80% double-dose vaccination target, the government said on Wednesday. The southeastern state is expected to hit the mark over the weekend, beating forecasts, and officials previously promised to relax further restrictions on vaccinated residents on the first Monday after reaching that milestone. "If we hit 80%, we've always said it will be the Monday following," state Premier Dominic Perrottet told ABC Radio. "We will have this discussion with our team on Thursday and we will make a decision to be announced on Friday."
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Virus czar ‘optimistic’ about COVID-19 decline, but says restrictions to remain

Falling coronavirus infection rates are an encouraging sign that a recent wave is coming to an end, national virus czar Salman Zarka said Monday, but warned against the country dropping its guard too soon. Zarka held a video press briefing in which he reviewed the declining coronavirus infections and plans to ease the quarantine regime for school children who are exposed to virus carriers. He said health officials are “optimistic that we are exiting the fourth wave” but cautioned, “we are not there yet.”
11th Oct 2021 - The Times of Israel

Indonesia cuts quarantine to 5 days as borders reopen further

Southeast Asia’s largest economy will allow arrivals from 18 countries and reduce the minimum quarantine period to five days, from eight previously, said Luhut Panjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs who’s overseeing the pandemic response. He didn’t specify which are the 18 countries. The country has gradually eased border restrictions, starting with the resumption of offshore visa applications and followed by the reopening of tourist spot Bali to foreign visitors this week. People’s mobility has started to bounce back as cinemas and gyms are reopened, with daily Covid-19 case and fatality numbers continuing to ease to the lowest since June 2020.
11th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

Sydney opens to vaccinated after 100-plus days of lockdown

Sydney hairdressers, gyms, cafés and bars reopened to fully vaccinated customers on Monday for the first time in more than 100 days after Australia’s largest city achieved a vaccination benchmark. Sydney planned to reopen on the Monday after 70% of the New South Wales state population aged 16 and older were fully vaccinated. By Monday, 73.5% of the target population was fully vaccinated and more than 90% have received at least one dose. Some businesses opened at midnight due to demand from people impatient to enjoy their freedom. More pandemic restrictions will be removed at the 80% benchmark, and New South Wales residents will be free to travel overseas for the first time since March last year.
11th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press


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As Sydney readies to exit lockdown, doctors fret re-opening is moving too fast

Australian doctors warned a too-rapid easing of COVID-19 curbs in Sydney could put pressure on health systems and risk lives, as the city prepares for key restrictions to be relaxed next week after more than 100 days in lockdown. Stay-at-home orders are due to be lifted on Monday after New South Wales state this week hit its 70% target of full vaccination for its adult population, and owners of restaurants and other public venues are now scrambling to arrange supplies and staffing. While an easing of restrictions on travel for Sydneysiders outside of their local government areas had previously been flagged, authorities on Thursday also decided to bump up permitted limits for home gatherings, weddings and funerals - earning the ire of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus: as Australia plans border reopening, stranded citizens wait with anxiety, trepidation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to ease strict controls on overseas citizens returning home within weeks and to cut quarantine for those who have been vaccinated to seven days at home – rather than 14 at a hotel But with promises of being able to return home for Christmas 2020 still ringing in their ears, many stranded Australians dare not hope the ordeal is over,
8th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post


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Lone, remote workers and business travellers

The UK’s successful vaccination programme means employees are now starting to return to offices and travel more on company business. However, even with this hybrid and agile working pattern, employees continue to work alone more than ever before. This means that, as we move into a post-lockdown environment, it’s now more important than ever to protect the safety and well- being of employees. However, the new and different working landscapes present further challenges to employers and employees alike. Here is the conundrum for the pharma and life sciences sectors: whilst employers have always had long-standing health and safety at work and duty of care obligations to protect their lone/remote working staff – historical evidence shows that in practice, this employee population has been overlooked by employers.
7th Oct 2021 - PharmaTimes


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The Psychological Benefits of COVID-19 Boosters

Scientists don’t agree on whether approving COVID-19 boosters for certain non-elderly Americans, as the CDC did recently, was the right move. The president, the CDC, and the FDA have issued a series of conflicting statements on the issue. Some experts have indignantly resigned. Others have published frustrated op-eds. President Joe Biden, who got a booster shot this week and called on other eligible Americans to do the same, remains enthusiastic. The split between Biden-administration scientists, such as Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, and other scientists over boosters might seem confusing. One possible explanation for it has largely escaped notice: Vaccinated Americans seem to really want boosters, which means that the shots could have benefits that go well beyond extra protection against COVID. Those benefits could be psychological and economic—and, for the president, political.
6th Oct 2021 - The Atlantic


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'It's Like There's No Covid': Booster Shots Bring Tel Aviv Back to Life

Tel Aviv’s mayor has a message for cities struggling to reopen: Covid booster shots are allowing his city to roar back to life. The mass distribution of third shots in Israel has driven down new cases and hospital admissions, allowing restaurants and shops to fill up with customers. New variants of the disease could change the pandemic’s trajectory again, but for now, the boosters are working, Mayor Ron Huldai said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “On the streets of Tel Aviv now, it’s like there’s no Covid,” said Huldai, 77, who has run Tel Aviv for more than two decades since he was elected in 1998. He said 99% of city workers are vaccinated.
5th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg


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New Zealand drops COVID-19 elimination strategy under pressure from Delta

New Zealand on Monday abandoned its long-standing strategy of eliminating coronavirus amid a persistent Delta outbreak, and will instead look to live with the virus and control its spread as its vaccination rate rises. The Pacific nation was among just a handful of countries to bring COVID-19 cases down to zero last year and largely stayed virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant in mid-August frustrated efforts to stamp out transmission. "With this outbreak and Delta the return to zero is incredibly difficult," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference in a major policy shift.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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New Zealand widens Covid lockdown as Delta spreads outside Auckland

New Zealand’s Delta Covid variant outbreak has spread beyond Auckland, prompting the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, to put additional regions into a snap lockdown. There were 32 new coronavirus cases on Sunday in the country’s largest city, which has been in lockdown since mid-August, and two cases in the Waikato region, some 147km (91 miles) south of Auckland. Ardern announced on Sunday that parts of the region will go into a five-day lockdown. She added that the government will decide on Monday whether Auckland’s 1.7 million residents will remain sealed off from the rest of New Zealand.
3rd Oct 2021 - The Guardian

S.African president Ramaphosa eases COVID-19 restrictions to lowest level

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has eased restrictions aimed at combating the coronavirus pandemic to the country's lowest alert level, the second such loosening this month as the country looks to open up its economy ahead of the summer holiday season. In a televised address, Ramaphosa announced the country would move down one level in a five-tier system of restrictions, where five is the highest, to an 'adjusted level 1' as South Africa emerges from its third wave dominated by the Delta variant of the virus.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

US, UK adults report pandemic-related distress, disruptions

Yesterday in JAMA Network Open, Johns Hopkins University and University of California Los Angeles researchers analyzed self-reported health and psychological status among nationally representative survey respondents worried about eviction or foreclosure in November 2020. Among 1,218 study respondents, 128 (12%) reported that they were behind on rent or mortgage payments or didn't know if they could afford the next payment. Just over half (51%) of all participants were women, 46% were 30 to 54 years old, 45% were 55 and older, 69% were White, and 13% each were Black or Hispanic. Of the 128 housing-insecure respondents, 42 (34%) said they were behind on rent or mortgage payments, 55 (38%) said they had little to no confidence that they could afford the next payment, and 31 (28%) reported both. Of all participants, 46% reported moderate to severe psychological distress, and 18% said they were in fair to poor health. Respondents with unstable housing reported more distress (57% vs 45% in housing-secure participants) and poorer health (30% vs 16%).
1st Oct 2021 - CIDRAP


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Melbourne cases hit record despite two months of lockdown

Melbourne's COVID-19 cases surged to record levels on Thursday with officials blaming illegal home gatherings to watch a key sporting event for the spike as a hard lockdown to combat the spread of the Delta variant neared two months. Authorities in Victoria, home to Melbourne, estimated nearly a third of Thursday's 1,438 new infections could be traced back to home parties last weekend to watch the Australian Rules Football Grand Final on television.
30th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Women followed lockdown rules more closely than men, study shows

The first Covid lockdown showed that women followed rules more closely than men, according to a new study which branded the restrictions a ‘live social experiment’. Researchers looking at 15% of the Austrian population’s behaviour said that everyone tended to make significantly longer phone calls during the crisis. Men were found to be less likely to accept having their movements restricted by lockdown measures and tended to return to normal more quickly, along with younger people. Scientists looked at anonymised mobile phone data from 1.2 million Austrians between February and June 2020, to study the impact of the first lockdown on behaviour in the central European country.
29th Sep 2021 - Metro

Sri Lanka to lift quarantine curfew on Oct. 1 as COVID-19 cases decline

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday instructed related authorities to lift the existing nationwide quarantine curfew over COVID-19 on Oct. 1 as the South Asian country has seen a decline in coronavirus infections.
29th Sep 2021 - Xinhua


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Sydney's unvaccinated warned of social isolation when COVID-19 lockdown ends

Sydney residents who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 risk being barred from various social activities even when they are freed from stay-at-home orders in December, New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned. Under a roadmap to exit lockdown in Australia's biggest city, unvaccinated people are already subject to delays in freedoms that will be gradually granted to inoculated residents between Oct. 11 and Dec. 1. Berejiklian said people who choose not to be vaccinated could be barred entry to shops, restaurants and entertainment venues even after the state lifts all restrictions against them on Dec. 1.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Japan to lift emergency COVID-19 curbs, but gradually

Japan will lift a coronavirus state of emergency in all regions on Thursday for the first time in nearly six months, as the number of new cases and deaths falls and the strain on the medical system eases, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said. Daily cases have fallen nationwide from more than 25,000 last month to 1,128 on Monday, but the opening will be gradual with some curbs on restaurants and large-scale events staying in place for about a month.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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New Zealand to begin letting people isolate at home as it looks to ease border curbs

New Zealand is to begin allowing small numbers of vaccinated travellers to isolate at home instead of in state-run quarantine facilities as part of a phased approach to re-opening its borders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. The pilot project starting next month will be open to 150 people, who must be New Zealand citizens or residents and are fully vaccinated, Ardern said at a news conference. "While this is a pilot, it gives you a sense of where we intend to go on our borders," Ardern said, adding that the government was working on a wide range of options for allowing people back in safely.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Sydney's COVID-19 lockdown to end sooner for the vaccinated

Australian authorities announced plans on Monday to gradually reopen locked-down Sydney, unveiling a two-tiered system that will give citizens inoculated for COVID-19 more freedoms than their unvaccinated neighbours for several weeks. Movement restrictions across New South Wales, the country's most populous state and home to Sydney, will be lifted gradually between Oct. 11 and Dec. 1 as vaccination rates push through 70%, 80% and 90%. However, people who are not fully inoculated will be barred from joining the vaccinated to resume community sports, dining out, shopping and other activities until the final date.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Birds Flocked to Pandemic-Silenced Cities

As Covid-19 spread through the United States in the spring of 2020, previously bustling cities fell silent. A new study shows that the dip in noise in the early months of the pandemic led to an increased abundance of birds, like hummingbirds, warblers and raptors, in cities. The study published today in Science Advances is the latest to suggest that even a moderate drop in noise pollution could allow some animals to better thrive in urban areas. The flock to cities included "everything from birds like hawks and eagles all the way down to small songbirds and even hummingbirds," says Michael Schrimpf, study co-author and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Manitoba's Natural Resources Institute, to NPR’s Scott Neuman. "The actual physical environment didn't change," Schrimpf says. "What did change was the activity of people in those spaces."
25th Sep 2021 - Smithsonian Magazine


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Australians find silver lining in lockdowns as wealth booms

Australians are finding a silver lining to lockdowns as super-cheap credit lifts the value of homes and shares to record highs, a windfall of wealth that gives consumers the means to spend big once restrictions ease. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Thursday showed net household wealth surged A$735 billion ($531.48 billion) in the June quarter to A$13.3 trillion, or A$522,032 for every man, woman and child. "Aussie households have never been wealthier," said Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at CommSec.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Ukraine tightens coronavirus lockdown curbs

Ukraine tightened coronavirus lockdown curbs on Thursday, restricting large events and occupancy at gyms, cinemas and cultural sites, after a recent steady increase in new infections. Ukraine imposed a nationwide "yellow" code after cases dropped over the summer, allowing it to lift lockdown restrictions. This week, however, the government extended a state of emergency that allows authorities to impose curbs until year-end to rein in infections. The health ministry has said it plans compulsory coronavirus vaccinations for those in occupations such as teaching and employment in state institutions and local governments.
23rd Sep 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation


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Birds Thrived During Covid-19 Lockdowns, New Study Shows

From hummingbirds to eagles, birds across North America flocked to once frenetic urban areas that had locked down in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study based on millions of observations by amateur bird-watchers. Populations of dozens of bird species rose significantly around city centers, major roads and airports apparently in response to the lull in human activity, a research team led by scientists at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg found. Some species were as much as 14 times more numerous during the lockdowns than before pandemic restrictions were imposed.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal


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Ukraine tightens COVID-19 lockdown restrictions from Sept 23...

A Ukrainian government commission decided on Tuesday to tighten coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Sept. 23 as the number of new infections has increased sharply, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said. Ukraine lifted lockdown restrictions as cases dropped over the summer but has now imposed a nationwide "yellow" code which restricts mass events and limits the occupancy rates of gyms, cinemas and other culture venues.
21st Sep 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

India asks UK to revise COVID quarantine rules, warns retaliation

India’s foreign minister has urged the United Kingdom for an “early resolution of quarantine issue” in the wake of a new British rule requiring Indians visiting there to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated. England and Scotland will ease pandemic restrictions from early October, but the list of countries with approved vaccines does not include India, despite the country using a locally made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK.
21st Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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New Zealand eases coronavirus curbs in Auckland amid hope Delta variant outbreak now under control

New Zealand eased coronavirus curbs slightly in Auckland on Monday, as the government expressed confidence that there was no widespread regional transmission of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. But tough restrictions will continue even after midnight on Tuesday, when the alert level drops to 3 from 4 in the city of about 1.7 million at the centre of the latest Delta outbreak. Schools and offices must still keep closed, for instance, with businesses limited to offering only contactless services.
20th Sep 2021 - Evening Standard

Vietnam capital Hanoi to ease coronavirus curbs this week

Vietnam's capital Hanoi will further ease its coronavirus restrictions from this week, the government said, with new cases on the decline and the majority of its adult population partially vaccinated. Most construction projects can resume from Wednesday, authorities said late on Sunday, adding further easing would follow, with average new daily cases down to just 20.
20th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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New Zealand, Australia travel bubble suspended for longer amid Delta outbreaks

New Zealand suspended quarantine-free travel with Australia for a further 8 weeks on Friday, extending a halt in the so-called travel bubble between both countries, as they deal with fresh outbreaks of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
17th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne Expects to Exit Its Sixth Lockdown in Late October

Melbourne will exit its sixth lockdown since the pandemic began once 70% of Australia’s Victoria state is fully vaccinated, authorities said Sunday as they outlined plans to unwind virus measures next month. Limits on “reasons to leave your home and the curfew will no longer be in place” once that target is met around Oct. 26, Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters. “Lockdown will be off.” Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues in the nation’s second-most populous city will be allowed to operate outdoors with up to 50 people who have received two shots. Schools are expected to start reopening on Oct. 5.
19th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg


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The government’s winter Covid plan can prevent another UK lockdown – if we all work together

Prof Devi Sridhar is chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh. He writes: 'To avoid a lockdown, we need the various components of the system – vaccination, behavioural changes and widespread testing – to work together. Covid-19 is still here, and we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Let us hope this autumn brings a move away from a divided society arguing over how serious Covid-19 is, to one where we collectively work towards managing this problem, slowing the spread of the disease, and saving lives and livelihoods.'
16th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19 Australia: Queensland health to send text messages to track people in home quarantine

Australians in home quarantine will soon receive timed text messages to ensure they are isolating or face a visit from the cops as part of a compliance crackdown in Queensland. The texts are part of the state's new Covid-19 laws - which come into effect immediately - that give people in home quarantine a ten minute window to respond as part of a real-time check in system. Health Minister Yvette D'Ath told parliament on Thursday residents who are isolating at home after returning from to the state will receive daily text messages at random times of the day from Queensland Health.
16th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail


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Sydney nightly curfew to end as COVID-19 vaccinations hit fresh milestone

A curfew imposed on more than two million people in the 12 Sydney suburbs hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant will end on Wednesday night, authorities said, stopping short of easing more lockdown restrictions. Officials said first-dose COVID-19 vaccination levels have reached 80% of the New South Wales (NSW) adult population, while the dual-dose rate in Sydney's home state stands at 48% now. That's above the national average of 43%, but well below the 70% level that will trigger the easing of other curbs first imposed three months ago. Authorities expect to achieve the 70% rate around the middle of next month, and plans to relax more restrictions once it has climbed to 80%.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

China imposes local lockdowns as COVID-19 cases surge

China tightened lockdowns and increased orders for mass testing in cities along its east coast Wednesday amid the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. Checks have been set up in toll stations around the city of Putian in Fujian province, with a dozen of them closed entirely. The nearby cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou have also restricted travel as the delta variant spreads through the region. The National Health Commission on Wednesday said an additional 50 cases had been diagnosed in various parts of Fujian, most of them in the Putian region.
15th Sep 2021 - The Independent


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Covid-19 hotel quarantine could last 'three or four years' in Australia

Covid-19 hotel quarantine could be in place for three or four years but Australians returning from overseas may be allowed to isolate at home by Christmas. Jane Halton, a former public servant who conducted a review of the quarantine system last year, said hotel quarantine could last even longer if a new Covid-19 variant evades vaccines. 'In three or four years' time I'll be quite surprised if we're using these kinds of arrangements unless for example there's a very nasty new variant,' she told ABC radio
14th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Philippines to test localised lockdowns in capital region

The Philippines' capital region will exit wide-scale coronavirus restrictions from Thursday, as the government launches a pilot test of localised lockdowns, amid efforts to balance reopening the economy and containing the spread of the coronavirus.
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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South Africa loosens COVID curbs as third wave eases

South Africa will ease COVID-19 restrictions and shorten its nationwide curfew from Monday after a decline in infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address. Authorities will also extend the hours of alcohol sales, the president said, further relaxing restrictions introduced in June to combat a third wave of cases caused by the Delta variant. "While the third wave is not yet over, we have seen a sustained decline in infections across the country over the last few weeks," Ramaphosa said.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam's biggest city to keep virus curbs, flight resumption sought

Vietnam's coronavirus outbreak epicentre Ho Chi Minh City will extend its restrictions, state media reported on Monday, as the capital Hanoi and several provinces sought an easing of curbs and the aviation authority proposed domestic flights resume.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

COVID lockdowns only used as last resort, says UK PM's spokesman

Britain's government will only introduce a new COVID-19 lockdown as a last resort, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, after the country's health minister signalled he did not expect to see them used again. "The ability to do that is retained as you would expect, but it would only be done in a last resort and as I said we are in a very different position thanks to the strength of our vaccination programme than where we were when it was necessary to take those steps previously," the spokesman told reporters.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

New Zealand keeps Auckland in strict lockdown to beat Delta

New Zealand extended a strict lockdown in its largest city on Monday, requiring 1.7 million people living in Auckland to remain indoors for at least another week to snuff out small outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant of coronavirus. Health authorities recorded 33 new cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 on Monday, all in Auckland, which was higher than 23 and 20 cases reported over the weekend.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Covid-19: Pupils will not have to 'routinely self-isolate'

Pupils in the same class as a positive Covid case "will not routinely be asked to isolate and book a test", ministers have said. Health Minister Robin Swann and Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said the Public Health Agency (PHA) would take a "more targeted approach" to contract tracing.
11th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Auckland COVID cases drop again as New Zealand presses on with Delta curbs

New Zealand reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, all in locked down Auckland, its biggest city, as the country looks to limit the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
10th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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How to help a remote coworker through a tough time

Because life is full of bumps in the road, often employees must navigate personal challenges and work. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, divorce, caregiving demands, or illness, when someone in your office is facing tough times, the signs are typically visible. And coworkers may rally around the individual with comforting words, gestures of kindness, and other means of help. But in remote and hybrid worlds, the signs can be harder to spot and the support harder to give. With so many employees onboarded remotely over the past year and a half, you may not feel as if you know your colleagues well enough to offer a personal word of support or other gesture. But there are still ways you can tune in to your coworkers’ needs and help them when they’re going through tough times.
9th Sep 2021 - Fast Company


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Work From Home? 6 Ways to Stay Focused and Avoid Burnout

As we edge toward remote-work burnout, it’s getting harder to stay focused and productive. Even our diversions are digital—“breaks” to play phone games bloat into 30-minute lapses—exacerbating our lack of human connection and our minds’ tendencies to wander. According to Kirsten Clacey, a remote-work expert who co-founded the Remote Coaches, spontaneous interactions can help combat the unfocused WFH malaise some folks are feeling. To create “playful moments,” she recommends beginning each meeting with five minutes spent “connecting as humans.” But you also have to carve out a personal life within your work life.
8th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal


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Hong Kong relaxes Covid quarantine rules for travellers from mainland China

Hong Kong will allow people from mainland China to visit without having to face its quarantine procedures in the city’s first serious relaxation of its strict Covid-19 entry requirements for tourists. But critics of the Hong Kong government’s quarantine policies, which will begin on September 15, said it was another sign the Asian financial centre was prioritising a travel bubble with mainland China over the international links important to executives living in the city.
7th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

Sweden to lift most remaining restrictions this month

Sweden will push ahead with easing Covid-19 restrictions at the end of this month, removing most curbs and limits on public venues such as restaurants, theatres and stadiums, the government said. With most adults vaccinated, Sweden has gradually eased some restrictions during a summer lull in the pandemic. While it has seen infections mount in recent weeks amid the rapid spread of the more contagious Delta variant, deaths from the disease have remained low.
7th Sep 2021 - RTE.ie

Philippines defers new COVID-19 plan, maintains capital curbs

The Philippines capital region will remain under the second strictest coronavirus containment measures, a senior official said on Tuesday, despite a day earlier announcing a relaxation of curbs to spur business activity. Imposition of the more relaxed "general community quarantine" in Metro Manila has been deferred, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, without giving a reason.
7th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Emergency covid-19 mental health pop-up clinics set up in Sydney

Ten new pop-up mental health clinics have opened to assist NSW residents. Most are in the hard-hit western Sydney suburbs ravaged by coronavirus. Anyone in distress can seek advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14)
6th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Ireland takes next step in easing of restrictions

Ireland will continue with a major easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday, with live music returning and larger crowds allowed at indoor venues. The Irish Government confirmed last week that it would be embarking on a phased easing of Covid-19 restrictions, which will eventually see the removal of the vast majority of public health regulations by the end of October. The numbers permitted to attend outdoor sports events increases from Monday, while restrictions on indoor venues will be eased, with larger crowds permitted.
6th Sep 2021 - Belfast Telegraph


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Schools grapple with thousands in isolation or quarantine as delta variant rages

In the U.S., schools that have opened their doors to students amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus already are grappling with how to best continue teaching students when hundreds and sometimes thousands of them are in quarantine. Some schools have sent students home with packets of self-guided work to submit at the end of each day or when on-campus classes resume. Others have temporarily switched to virtual learning. And in some cases, schools have canceled classes altogether while campuses are closed or kids are in quarantine.
4th Sep 2021 - NBC News


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New Zealand says fall in COVID-19 cases shows Delta lockdown working

New Zealand reported a drop in new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, which authorities said was a sign that a nationwide lockdown was helping to limit spread of the infectious Delta variant.
2nd Sep 2021 - Reuters


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In Indonesia, drone deliveries provide lifeline for isolating COVID patients

A group of drone enthusiasts in Indonesia are using their aerial skills to help during the pandemic by providing a contactless medicine and food delivery service to COVID-19 patients isolating at home. Armed with five drones, the seven-member team have been working around the clock in Makassar, the capital of the South Sulawesi province, since early July to provide deliveries.
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters


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New Zealand COVID-19 cases drop for second day in a row

New Zealand reported 49 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, dropping for a second day in a row since the latest outbreak forced the country into a tight lockdown this month. The total number of cases in the outbreak is 612, with 597 in Auckland and 15 in Wellington.
30th Aug 2021 - Nasdaq


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Australia’s Melbourne to extend sixth COVID-lockdown

Lockdown in Melbourne was due to end on Thursday, but authorities say this is no longer possible due to rising cases.
30th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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Parents, experts say students pay the price for hybrid model of schooling

With a new school year underway next month, several school boards in Ontario are returning to the so-called hybrid learning model, where one educator simultaneously teaches students in class and those logging in from home. In certain cases, even remote students learning on their own schedule are part of the class. The system was tested out widely in K-12 schools last year as a remote learning option during the COVID-19 pandemic and is back on the table this year after the province announced online learning would continue. But critics say it forces a teacher to do too many things at once and compromises the quality of learning for students
29th Aug 2021 - CBC.ca


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New Zealand's Ardern says lockdown working to limit Delta spread

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the strict nationwide lockdown enforced to stamp out COVID-19 was helping limit the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, even as the number of new cases rose on Thursday. New Zealand reported 68 new cases on Thursday taking the total number of people infected in the latest outbreak to 277. Of the total cases, 263 are in Auckland and 14 are in the capital Wellington.
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters


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From ‘quarantine academies’ to virtual substitutes, how schools are teaching students in isolation because of COVID-19

As Illinois schools welcome students back to fully reopened classrooms this month amid another coronavirus surge, educators face a thorny question: How do you teach students who are quarantined by COVID-19? The dismantling of pandemic-era remote and hybrid instruction programs across the U.S. this fall arrives by state proclamation and on the urging of U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Remote instruction can be offered to students while they are under quarantine, Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Carmen Ayala said earlier this summer. But despite pleas from some parents who want a full-time e-learning option to continue, districts including Chicago Public Schools are reserving their virtual programs for students who qualify as medically fragile and have documented health conditions.
25th Aug 2021 - Yahoo News


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Government-approved PCR provider claims firms are being left to self-regulate

There is 'no regulation' governing Covid testing companies, one boss warns. No one is checking up on the firms, which Brits must use if travelling abroad. And nearly 20% of Government-approved providers charged misleading prices
24th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail


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Millennial women want remote work, but many fear they'll miss opportunities if not in office, according to report

As companies start to map out their return-to-office work plans, many millennial women are feeling conflicted about the pros and cons of working remotely, according to a recent survey by theSkimm. Of the more than 1,600 participants in the survey, theSkimm found that nearly two-thirds of millennial women view remote work as a priority, including 43% who said remote work is very important or extremely important moving forward and 22% who said they would no longer consider working for an employer if work-from-home wasn’t an option in the future.
23rd Aug 2021 - CNBC


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East Belfast community worker calls for communities to come together to combat loneliness

A East Belfast community worker has said he was shocked to see the levels of loneliness among elderly and vulnerable people during the pandemic. Gareth Wright, 21, has led a Covid support group in the Ardcarn area where he and a group of 12 volunteers have helped people with shopping and food deliveries as well as making reassuring phonecalls to keep in touch with those they are helping. However, during that time he says that he was shocked to see how lonely and vulnerable some in his community had become and wanted to encourage others to try and make an effort to tackle this in their areas.
22nd Aug 2021 - Belfast Live


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Isolation alerts from Covid-19 app continue to fall following ‘logic’ tweak

The number of people instructed to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app has continued to fall, reaching its lowest number since the week to June 23. A total of 261,453 alerts were sent to users of the app for England and Wales in the week to August 11, down by 18% on the previous week when 317,519 were pinged. The latest Government figures cover the first full week when the “logic” behind the tool was tweaked to alert fewer people who have been in close contact with someone that tested positive for coronavirus.
19th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

Singapore to pilot home isolation for fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients

Singapore would pilot a home isolation for fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms soon, the Ministry of Health said in a press release on Thursday. With much more local and global data showing that fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients have a much lower risk of developing severe disease, "we are piloting a home-centric care model" for the management of COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms from Aug. 30, said the ministry in a statement. These patients will spend the first few days in a medical facility before moving to home isolation. By then, the viral loads of vaccinated patients would have dropped, said MOH.
19th Aug 2021 - Xinhuanet


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Covid-19 news: New Zealand begins nationwide lockdown

New Zealand has begun a nationwide lockdown in a bid to contain the delta variant of the coronavirus. So far 10 cases have been confirmed in the outbreak, but modelling suggests the numbers could rise to between 50 and 100. “From the experience of what we’ve seen overseas, we are absolutely anticipating more cases,” prime minister Jacinda Ardern said. The level 4 alert, the highest level, means people other than essential workers can only leave home for groceries, healthcare, covid-19 tests and exercise. The lockdown will cover the entire country for at least three days, and remain in place in Auckland for a week. New Zealand had been free of local covid-19 infections since February, and only 21 per cent of the total population has been fully vaccinated.
18th Aug 2021 - New Scientist

'Covid made things worse for me': Older people felt lonely and neglected during pandemic

Hope and optimism are returning for older people but a new report also shows the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic led to loneliness and a feeling they were being neglected. The report, published by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (Tilda), uses the experiences of 4,000 older people involved in the project to outline just how the pandemic has affected them since March 2020. According to the report, entitled In Their Own Words: The Voices of Older Irish People in the Covid-19 Pandemic, a fifth of respondents said they felt they had the capacity to cope or demonstrated resilience to the challenges of the public health emergency, while a similar percentage of people referred to increased feelings of social isolation or loneliness. Many said their greatest challenge was coping with the loneliness brought on by the pandemic, while others voiced their frustration at feeling neglected and disregarded by the media or public health commentators
18th Aug 2021 - Irish Examiner

Brain fog: how trauma, uncertainty and isolation have affected our minds and memory

Before the pandemic, psychoanalyst Josh Cohen’s patients might come into his consulting room, lie down on the couch and talk about the traffic or the weather, or the rude person on the tube. Now they appear on his computer screen and tell him about brain fog. They talk with urgency of feeling unable to concentrate in meetings, to read, to follow intricately plotted television programmes. “There’s this sense of debilitation, of losing ordinary facility with everyday life; a forgetfulness and a kind of deskilling,” says Cohen, author of the self-help book How to Live. What to Do. Although restrictions are now easing across the UK, with greater freedom to circulate and socialise, he says lockdown for many of us has been “a contraction of life, and an almost parallel contraction of mental capacity”.
18th Aug 2021 - The Guardian


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Covid-19: Hong Kong to halt shorter quarantine for those tested with antibodies, as new rules trigger travel plan chaos

Hong Kong will no longer allow incoming travellers who test positive for Covid-19 antibodies to undergo a shorter compulsory quarantine, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday. Following the advice of a scientific committee under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP), fully vaccinated travellers entering Hong Kong from “medium-risk” and “low-risk” areas who test positive for antibodies will have to undergo at least 14 days of quarantine, said Lam.
17th Aug 2021 - Hong Kong Free Press

Japan to extend COVID-19 emergency lockdown

Japan was set on Tuesday to extend its state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions to Sept. 12 and widen curbs to seven more prefectures, as COVID-19 cases spike in the capital and nationwide, burdening the medical system.
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Over-60s struggle with loneliness during lockdowns, research finds

Coping with loneliness during lockdowns was the greatest challenge many over-60s dealt with, new research has found. Many older people said the longer the period of loneliness, the harder the experience, and the more sorrow expressed at being forced to adjust to the restrictions. Many described how as time passed, they felt less connection to the wider community and were more likely to report feelings of fear. The findings emerged from a report compiled by researchers at the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (Tilda) at Trinity College Dublin.
17th Aug 2021 - the Irish News


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Covid-19: Relaxation of NI self-isolation comes in effect

Fully-vaccinated close contacts of people who have Covid-19 no longer need to automatically self-isolate. Instead, they should get a PCR test on day two and day eight of what would have been their 10-day isolation period. A number of changes to Covid-19 restrictions made by the NI Executive last week come into effect on Monday. More than six people can now sit together in pubs and restaurants and conferences can resume.
16th Aug 2021 - BBC News

Australia extends COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, reinstates night curfew

Australian authorities reinstated a night curfew and extended COVID-19 lockdown measures in Melbourne for another two weeks to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant.
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Sydney records deadliest day of COVID-19 pandemic, Melbourne lockdown extended

Sydney lockdown extended statewide as Australia faces 'worst' COVID episode Sydney lockdown fines raised as Australia faces 'worst' COVID-19 situation
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

What are England and Northern Ireland’s new rules on self-isolation?

England and Northern Ireland have, from Monday, followed Scotland and Wales in relaxing rules so that people who are fully vaccinated no longer have to self-isolate if they are close contacts of people testing positive for Covid-19. They are advised to get a PCR test – the more reliable method of determining whether they have Covid-19. It will not be compulsory and they will not have to self-isolate while they wait for the result. The new guidance will apply to people who had their final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before coming into contact with a positive case.
16th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Scots with mental health issues more anxious about Covid easing

Scottish adults who are living with physical or mental health conditions are significantly more anxious about the easing of coronavirus restrictions, a study has found. In a survey of more than 2,000 people, the Mental Health Foundation found around 61 per cent of those who had long-term physical or mental health problems were “fairly” or “very” anxious about the easing of restrictions. This compared to 45% of the general population of Scottish adults who said they felt this way.
16th Aug 2021 - Herald Scotland


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Postcard initiative aims to send ‘message of love and thanks’

Postcards embedded with seeds are being delivered to people who did neighbours a good turn during the pandemic in an attempt to combat loneliness caused by Covid-19. The biodegradable cards, administered free of charge by the Great Care Co-op in Dalkey, south Dublin, can be planted in pots or directly into the soil and are emblazoned with the message: “Just to say I care”. Danielle Neilson, a carer with the Great Care Co-op, said the initiative was about reaching out to the many people – particularly among older age groups – feeling lonely and isolated as a result of the pandemic. “The intention is to send a message of gratitude to a loved one or neighbour that has been helpful or kind to you throughout the pandemic,” she said
15th Aug 2021 - The Irish Times


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Covid-19 Australia: Canberra to go into a seven day lockdown after confirmed Covid case in the ACT

Canberra will go into a snap seven day lockdown after a confirmed case of COVID-19 emerged in the ACT. The territory has confirmed its first case of Covid-19 in over a year as ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced a strict seven day lockdown during a media conference on Thursday. Minister Barr said the seven day lockdown will begin from 5pm on Thursday as shoppers fled to supermarkets eager to stock up on supplies ahead of the deadline
12th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

France to strengthen COVID-19 lockdown in Guadeloupe island

France will strengthen lockdown rules in the overseas territory of Guadeloupe to rein in the spread of COVID-19, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday, as spikes in infections in its Caribbean islands overwhelm hospitals. The French overseas territory of Martinique on Tuesday entered a tougher lockdown for three weeks to tackle the pandemic with the closure of beaches and shops selling non-essential items and restrictions on people's movements. Authorities in Martinique have also advised tourists to leave the island.
12th Aug 2021 - Reuters


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Covid: Self isolation for double-jabbed close contacts to end on 16 August in England

Self-isolation for fully vaccinated people who come into contact with a person who tests positive for Covid will end on August 16, the Government has announced. Double-jabbed people contacted by NHS Test and Trace currently have to self-isolate for 10 days if they come into contact with someone who has the virus. But the government have been keen to alter the rules after vast amounts of people have been “pinged” by the app in recent weeks, causing businesses to complain that staff were unable to return to work. Health secretary Sajid Javid has now said if fully vaccinated people are contacted by NHS Test and Trace do not have to self-isolate are instead advised to get a PCR test from August 16 onwards.
11th Aug 2021 - The Independent

What Covid rules mean for shared accommodation — and how to survive self-isolation

More than a year into the pandemic, almost every student in the UK has either experienced self-isolation or knows somebody who has. With a large portion of young people still unvaccinated by the end of the 2020/2021 academic year, students were especially vulnerable to infection. In recent weeks, horror stories about students charged for living in rented households past their lease because they were required to isolate there have made headlines as cases sharply rose throughout campuses with the lifting of restrictions.
11th Aug 2021 - The Times


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Australia expands Covid-19 lockdown as Sydney records its highest daily case count

Australia's most populous state has expanded its Covid-19 lockdown to include a rural town and the coastal region of Byron Bay, as the city of Sydney recorded its highest daily case count since the beginning of the pandemic. There were four deaths and 356 locally transmitted Covid-19 infections confirmed in New South Wales on Monday, almost all of which were in Sydney, state premier Gladys Berejiklian said during a press conference on Tuesday morning.
10th Aug 2021 - CNN

France's Martinique island imposes tougher COVID-19 lockdown

France’s overseas territory of Martinique will enter a tougher lockdown for three weeks from Tuesday to tackle a COVID-19 outbreak on the West Indian island, a local government official said on Twitter. Authorities in Martinique also advised tourists to leave the island. Martinique had already imposed an evening curfew but the tougher lockdown, set to start from 7 p.m., will shutter shops selling items that are not essential, close beaches and clamp down on people’s movements.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters


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Covid-19: Quarantine-free travel from France resumes as UK rules change

Fully vaccinated people can now visit France without quarantining on their return to the UK, after travel rule changes came into force at 04:00 BST. Brittany Ferries said it had received a "surge" of bookings following the rule changes announced on Thursday. But travel agents said the relaxation of quarantine for one of the UK's most popular destinations came "too late to save the summer". Meanwhile, travellers in Mexico had to rush back to avoid hotel quarantine. Under the latest changes to the UK's traffic light system for travel, the rules have been relaxed for a dozen countries
9th Aug 2021 - BBC News

Australia expands COVID lockdown over concern virus has spread from Sydney

Australia expanded a COVID-19 lockdown to a rural town and the coastal region of Byron Bay on Monday, as fears grew that the virus has spread from Sydney to the northern tip of the country's most populous state.
9th Aug 2021 - Reuters


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Isolation, anxiousness, depression: What it's like becoming a mother during the COVID-19 pandemic

Considering the uncertainty, stress and isolation of the past year, there are lots of reasons to be concerned about the impact that might have had on the mental wellbeing of new mums. Dr Darby Saxbe, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California, researches how becoming a parent affects people. But when COVID-19 hit, Dr Saxbe's regular research stopped and she quickly turned to studying how the pandemic was affecting expectant parents. Her research found that expectant mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic had elevated levels of psychological distress, perceived stress, loneliness, and other behavioural changes.
7th Aug 2021 - ABC.Net.au


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Israelis told to 'stop embracing', elderly urged to get booster as Covid-19 cases spike

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is warning that Israelis over 60 are at risk unless they go get their third booster shot immediately.
5th Aug 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

Australia's second most populous state Victoria to enter seven-day lockdown

Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, will enter a seven-day lockdown on Thursday after a fresh outbreak of COVID-19, state Premier Daniel Andrews said
5th Aug 2021 - Reuters


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Vietnam to halve quarantine time for fully vaccinated visitors

Vietnam will slash the duration of mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors from two weeks to just seven days, its health ministry said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its biggest COVID-19 outbreak yet. Vietnam successfully contained the virus for much of last year using a targeted testing and centralised quarantine programme but has since late April been faced with a surge in cases fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant. The country's borders are closed to all visitors apart from returning Vietnamese citizens, foreign experts, investors or diplomats, all of whom were subject to 14 days of quarantine at centrally-managed facilities.
4th Aug 2021 - Reuters


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French territory of Guadeloupe to go into new lockdown to tackle COVID-19

France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe will to go into a new lockdown for at least three weeks to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, said the local Guadeloupe authority on its Twitter account, as France battles a fourth wave of the virus. The authority said the French West Indian island’s new lockdown would start on Aug. 4, with the re-introduction of a curfew running from 8 p.m. (0000 GMT) until 5 a.m. (0900 GMT) the following day, and limitations on people’s movements.
3rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Sydney COVID Lockdown Could Be Eased if Vaccination Rate Hits 50%

Australian authorities said they could ease a COVID-19 lockdown that demands Sydney's five million people stay home until the end of August if half the population is vaccinated, even as new infections linger near a 16-month high.
3rd Aug 2021 - U.S. News & World Report


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Indonesia extends COVID-19 restrictions for outside Java

Indonesia extended restrictions outside Java island by another week in efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus, local media reported on Sunday citing an interior ministry senior official. The highest level of restrictions was extended until Aug. 9 for regions outside Java categorised as "Level 4" areas, or areas that have a high level of infections and hospital's bed occupancy rate, Safrizal Z.A., a senior official at the Home Affairs Ministry, told local media. Workers employed by non-essential businesses will continue to work from home and shopping malls will remain closed.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Australia tightens COVID curbs as Brisbane extends lockdown, army patrols Sydney

Australia's Queensland state on Monday extended a COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane, while soldiers began patrolling Sydney to enforce stay-at-home rules as Australia struggles to stop the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreading. Queensland said it had detected 13 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours - the biggest one-day rise the state has recorded in a year. The lockdown of Brisbane, Australia's third-biggest city, was due to end on Tuesday but will now stay in place until late on Sunday. "It's starting to become clear that the initial lockdown will be insufficient for the outbreak," Queensland state Deputy Premier Steven Miles told reporters in Brisbane.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Thailand and Vietnam extend COVID measures

Still in the grips of COVID-19 surges mainly fueled by the Delta (B1617.2) variant, Thailand and Vietnam extended lockdowns and other measures for the worst-hit parts of the countries. In other global developments, an outbreak in Australia's Queensland state flared again, and the greater Sydney area continues to report high daily case totals.
2nd Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

Millions under strict lockdown in China after Covid outbreak

Millions of people have been confined to their homes in China as the country tries to contain its largest coronavirus outbreak in months with mass testing and travel curbs. China reported 55 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Monday as an outbreak of the fast-spreading Delta variant reached more than 20 cities and more than a dozen provinces. Local governments in major cities including Beijing have now tested millions of residents, while cordoning off residential compounds and placing close contacts under quarantine.
2nd Aug 2021 - The Guardian


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End isolation for people with two Covid-19 vaccines, says Labour

Labour has called on the government to bring forward the date exempting double-vaccinated people from self-isolation rules by more than a week. Under current plans the exemption comes into force on Monday August 16 but Sir Keir Starmer says he wants to see the rules to change on Saturday August 7 in an attempt to end the “summer of chaos” caused by the pingdemic.
30th Jul 2021 - The Times


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Sydney under strict new lockdown rules as cases soar

Millions in Sydney began their harshest lockdown since the pandemic began on Friday as COVID-19 cases spiked to record levels in Australia's largest city with state and national leaders set to meet to discuss the country's reopening plans. With Sydney, the capital of New South Wales state, struggling under record surge of cases, officials toughened curbs across eight local council areas, where most new infections were being reported, and sought the military's help to enforce lockdown rules.
30th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Cambodia to impose COVID-19 lockdowns in areas bordering Thailand

Cambodia is set to launch a lockdown in eight provinces bordering Thailand from midnight on Thursday, in a bid to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

India's Kerala state orders lockdown as COVID-19 infections rise

India's southern state of Kerala on Thursday announced a two-day lockdown as federal authorities planned to send experts to fight the spread of infections in the country's leading COVID-19 hotspot.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters India


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Covid-19: Quarantine risk grows for British tourists as Spain infections soar

A sustained surge in Covid-19 cases in Spain, driven by a big increase in Delta-variant infections, is threatening its tourist industry. Although the rate shows signs of stabilising, with the total standing at 702 cases per 100,000 over a 14-day period — up from 700 on Monday — it remains well over the “very high” threshold rate of 500 per 100,000. The latest figures will do little to ease fears that Spain could soon be on the amber-plus list for the UK, which would mean British holidaymakers having to quarantine on their return.
28th Jul 2021 - The Times

Norway again postpones end to COVID lockdown

Norway postponed for a second time on Wednesday a planned final step in the reopening of its economy from pandemic lockdown, due to the continued spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the government said. “A new assessment will be made in mid-August,” Health Minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference. Measures that will be kept in place to halt the spread of COVID-19 include bars and restaurants being limited to table service and limits of 20 people on gatherings in private homes.
28th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Mental illness tied to higher risk of COVID hospital care, death

The first study, published yesterday, was led by researchers from the CEReSS-Health Service Research and Quality of Life Center in Marseille, France. It consisted of 16 observational studies from seven countries involving 19,086 patients with COVID-19 and mental illness from December 2019 to July 2020. The countries were Denmark (1 study), France (2), Israel (1), South Korea (3), Spain (1), the United Kingdom (1), and the United States (7). Regardless of the primary medical risk factors for severe COVID-19, patients with mental illnesses (eg, addiction, depression) were more likely to die of COVID-19 than their peers in pooled crude and adjusted analysis (crude odds ratio [OR], 1.75; adjusted OR [aOR], 1.38). Patients with the severe mental illnesses included in the study—schizophrenia and bipolar disorder—had the highest ORs for death, with a crude OR of 2.26 and an aOR of 1.67.
28th Jul 2021 - CIDRAP


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Covid-19: Relief at the lifting of restrictions from a widow who spent lockdown alone

Earl Sewell was one of the first to die with coronavirus in Birmingham. His widow, Jean, spoke about being plunged into lockdown almost straight after his death, and her relief restrictions are being lifted. Earl Sewell died on 16 March 2020, just as England was realising the ferociousness of the pandemic. His family, who had visited him in hospital just before his death, had to isolate immediately, leaving them facing challenges they could not have expected.
27th Jul 2021 - BBC News


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Virtual contact worse than no contact for over-60s in lockdown, says study

Virtual contact during the pandemic made many over-60s feel lonelier and more depressed than no contact at all, new research has found. Many older people stayed in touch with family and friends during lockdown using the phone, video calls, and other forms of virtual contact. Zoom choirs, online book clubs and virtual bedtime stories with grandchildren helped many stave off isolation. But the study, among the first to comparatively assess social interactions across households and mental wellbeing during the pandemic, found many older people experienced a greater increase in loneliness and long-term mental health disorders as a result of the switch to online socialising than those who spent the pandemic on their own.
26th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Covid quarantine to be dropped for some Britons vaccinated abroad

Some Britons who have been double-vaccinated abroad will soon be able to travel to the UK more easily as the government prepares to recognise jabs administered overseas. Current restrictions mean only those who have been fully inoculated by the NHS are able to take advantage of avoiding quarantine if coming from countries graded amber under the traffic light system.
26th Jul 2021 - The Guardian


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Sparked by pandemic fallout, homeschooling surges across US

Although the pandemic disrupted family life across the U.S. since taking hold in spring 2020, some parents are grateful for one consequence: They’re now opting to homeschool their children, even as schools plan to resume in-person classes. The specific reasons vary widely. Some families who spoke with The Associated Press have children with special educational needs; others seek a faith-based curriculum or say their local schools are flawed. The common denominator: They tried homeschooling on what they thought was a temporary basis and found it beneficial to their children.
25th Jul 2021 - Associated Press


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Pets And Pet Owners Face Separation Anxiety As Workers Return To The Office

The phenomenon of the pandemic pet was one of few positive triumphs of 2020. Demand for pets surged. Americans, working from home or furloughed, sought out animal companionship. Some shelters struggled to keep up with it. For many workers, though, the cozy days of remote working are coming to an end. And separation anxiety looms. Over 30% of owners have sought advice from veterinarians on making the transition to in-person work easier for their pets, according to a March survey from Banfield Pet Hospital. Upon returning to the office, 68% of Gen Z owners and 42% of millennials plan to hire dog walkers or reserve spots in doggy day cares.
22nd Jul 2021 - NPR


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Australia, under lockdown, sees worrying jump in COVID-19 cases

Australia's two largest states reported sharp increases in new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a blow to hopes that lockdown restrictions would be lifted with more than half the country's population under stay-at-home orders. New South Wales (NSW) state, home to the country's most populous city Sydney, reported 110 new cases, up from 78 the day before, nearly four weeks into a lockdown of the city and surrounding areas to contain an outbreak of the virulent Delta variant.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters


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Iran orders week-long shutdown in Tehran amid fifth COVID wave

Iran imposed a one-week lockdown in the capital and a nearby province on Tuesday as daily COVID-19 caseloads hit a record high amid a fifth wave of the pandemic, state television reported. The lockdown affects Tehran and Alborz provinces, with only essential businesses allowed to stay open. Most offices, theatres and sports facilities must shut down in an effort to prevent the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, the TV said.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

More than half of Australia's population under COVID-19 lockdowns

South Australia joins Victoria and Sydney in lockdown. New cases ease slightly in New South Wales, Victoria. 21 NSW cases spent time in community while infectious.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters


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Hanoi tightens restrictions as COVID clusters spread in Vietnam

Vietnam's capital Hanoi urged its citizens to stay at home from Monday and ordered a halt to all non-essential services due to new clusters of COVID-19 infections in recent days, the authorities said on Sunday. The city, which had already halted indoor restaurant service and closed salons as well as gyms, also stopped rail and bus passenger services to and from provinces in the south which have seen the biggest increases.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Singapore advises unvaccinated people to stay home as cases rise

Singapore's health ministry on Sunday "strongly" advised unvaccinated individuals, especially the elderly, to stay home as much as possible over the next few weeks, citing heightened concerns about the risk of community spread of COVID-19. The country reported 88 new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily toll since August last year, driven by growing clusters of infections linked to karaoke bars and a fishery port.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Australia prolongs COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria amid Delta outbreak

Australian authorities said Victoria state would extend a COVID-19 lockdown beyond Tuesday to slow the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, despite a slight drop in new infections in the state and nationwide.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters


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Covid-19: PM and chancellor to self-isolate in U-turn

In U-Turn, UK's Johnson to Quarantine After COVID-19 ContactU.S. News & World ReportCoronavirus latest news: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak reverse decision to not self-isolate after getting 'pinged'Telegraph.co.ukBoris Johnson and Rishi Sunak WILL self-isolate after being 'pinged'Evening StandardView Full coverage on Google News
18th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Thailand expands lockdown areas as COVID-19 cases surge

The Thai government on Sunday announced plans for a tighter lockdown in Bangkok and high-risk provinces next week, suspending most domestic flights and expanding curfew areas after the country reported a third straight day of record COVID-19 case numbers. Thailand reported 11,397 infections and 101 deaths on Sunday, bringing the cumulative total to 403,386 cases and 3,341 fatalities, the vast majority from an outbreak since early April that is being fuelled by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Jul 2021

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Covid-19: Quarantine rules for double-jabbed 'should be eased faster'

People who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the UK will no longer have to self-isolate when they arrive into Northern Ireland from an amber country from Monday, 19 July. The NI Executive previously set 26 July as the date for easing travel rules. The latest relaxation of coronavirus travel restrictions was announced by Stormont's Department of Health. But it also announced that the Balearic Islands and British Virgin Islands are to be added to the amber list.
15th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Australia's Melbourne to begin COVID-19 lockdown Friday night -ABC

The Australian state of Victoria was ordered into a five-day lockdown on Thursday following a spike in COVID-19 infections, joining Sydney as the country's two main population hubs battle an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Delta strain prompts Spain’s Catalonia to restore curfew

Barcelona and the surrounding northeast corner of Spain are curtailing public activity again to stem an outbreak of the delta variant of the coronavirus that is running wild among unvaccinated younger people and placing hospitals under growing pressure. Regional authorities in Catalonia were waiting for a judge to sign off on restoring a nightly curfew in towns with populations over 5,000 which surpass the rate of 400 infections per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days. The curfew is intended to discourage social gatherings where the virus spreads.
15th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press


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What working from home means for women

Women may be more likely to want to work from home than men. They’ve also had a harder time doing so, reporting higher rates of stress, depression, and sheer hours worked — especially if they have kids. This paradox is a result of women trying to do the best thing for their careers while also navigating an unfair role in society and at home. In other words, women need more flexible work arrangements, because women have more to do. While the ability to work from home has been a godsend for working parents who were able to keep their children and jobs safe during the pandemic, it’s also exacerbated deeply ingrained gender inequality.
14th Jul 2021 - Vox.com


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COVID-19: PM's easing of England's restrictions is 'irresponsible', BMA says

Boris Johnson's decision to press ahead with easing coronavirus restrictions in England is "irresponsible", senior doctors have said - although a government minister has admitted COVID rules could return this winter. The prime minister announced on Monday that most of the last remaining restrictions in England would be axed from 19 July. This was despite modelling showing that there could be 1,000 to 2,000 hospital admissions per day, with deaths reaching between 100 and 200 per day by mid-August, when the peak of the current wave is expected.
13th Jul 2021 - Sky News


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Dutch PM apologises for easing of COVID-19 curbs as cases soar

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte conceded on Monday that coronavirus restrictions had been lifted too soon in the Netherlands and he apologised as infections surged to their highest levels of the year.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Sydney braces for extended lockdown amid COVID-19 outbreak

The prospect of an extended lockdown in Sydney loomed on Monday as Australian health officials reported yet another record daily rise in COVID-19 cases for the year, fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant. New South Wales state reported 112 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, almost all in Sydney, despite the country’s biggest city entering its third week of lockdown. Case numbers have been at record levels for at least three days. There was, however, a glimmer of light as the number of newly-infected people who were out in the community while infectious dropped to 34 from 45 on Sunday.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters Australia


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Locked-down Sydney warned worse may be ahead, COVID-19 cases at 2021 high

Australia's New South Wales state reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired coronavirus infections this year on Saturday, with authorities warning that worse may yet to come for Sydney, which is in a three-week hard lockdown. There were 50 new cases of community transmission in the country's most populous state, up from 44 a day earlier, the previous 2021 record high. This brings the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant to 489 cases.
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters


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WHO warns of ‘epidemiological stupidity’ of early Covid reopening

As England moves towards an anticipated “big bang” lifting of coronavirus restrictions on 19 July, a senior World Health Organization official has warned countries to lift their Covid-19 restrictions slowly so as “not to lose the gains that [they] have made”. The comments from the UN global health body’s head of emergencies, Mike Ryan, were not aimed directly at Boris Johnson’s much-trumpeted reopening. However, they will be interpreted as grist to the mill of those health experts who have been arguing that England is moving too fast at a time when infections are surging.
8th Jul 2021 - The Guardian


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What are the Covid-19 symptoms for people who are fully vaccinated?

People who have received two doses of a Covid vaccine are less likely to be fall seriously ill or die from the virus, but they may still feel unwell if they become infected. The symptoms commonly associated with coronavirus are a high temperature,
7th Jul 2021 - The Independent


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‘It isn’t over’: WHO warns against easing COVID curbs too soon

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned governments around the world against easing COVID-19 restrictions too soon, saying countries that did so risked paying a heavy price for rushing back to normality. Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, the UN health agency’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan said a new wave of infections could be round the corner and noted that for much of the world, the pandemic was just getting started.
6th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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COVID-19: Care home visits will not 'completely go back to normal' following the final stage of lockdown easing, says minister

Care home visits will not "completely go back to normal" after the final stage of England's roadmap out of COVID restrictions, a minister has said. Social care minister Helen Whately said the country is "on track" to ease restrictions on 19 July in line with the government's plan but warned that there will still have to be "some precautions" around care homes.
5th Jul 2021 - Sky News


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The Zoom Revolution Empowers Women to Speak Up

After 14 months working from home, I have mastered the art of digital collaboration. What began as a clumsy series of video chats from my kitchen counter—plagued by technological difficulties and unfamiliarity—quickly became the most efficient and effective way to connect with colleagues and clients across the globe. I am proficient in BlueJeans, Teams, Webex, Meet, Chime and 8X8, but I have a black belt in Zoom, my preferred videoconferencing tool. I personalize my background, admit participants, put up my hand, pull up presentations, and mute and unmute myself as needed.
2nd Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal


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Italy to enforce 5-day quarantine for England soccer fans

Italy intensified its warnings to England soccer fans on Thursday to stay away from the European Championship quarterfinal match against Ukraine on Saturday, saying they shouldn’t count on getting into the Stadio Olimpico unless they can prove they have observed five days of quarantine since arriving from Britain. In addition, the state police imposed a mandatory block on the sale and transfer of any tickets starting Thursday and the cancellation of coupons sold to British residents starting last Monday.
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid-19 lockdown left NI young people in limbo, says research

Lockdown left many children and young people "feeling like they were in limbo", according to research carried out for Stormont's Education Committee. Many said that not seeing friends and family, not being in school and not playing sport had been the most difficult aspects of lockdown. A lot said they "loved" being back at school. Hundreds of children and young people's views were received as part of the "My life and learning in lockdown" project.
1st Jul 2021 - BBC News


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'The effects will linger': US kids’ long-term health in jeopardy after pandemic schooling

After more than a year of isolation, widespread financial insecurity and the loss of an unprecedented amount of classroom time, experts say many of the youngest Americans have fallen behind socially, academically and emotionally in ways that could harm their physical and mental health for years or even decades. “This could affect a whole generation for the rest of their lives,” said Dr. Jack Shonkoff, a pediatrician and director of the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University. “All kids will be affected. Some will get through this and be fine. They will learn from it and grow. But lots of kids are going to be in big trouble.”
30th Jun 2021 - USA Today


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Google is giving Brits incorrect Covid-19 advice

Google shows incorrect answers to queries on self isolation, investigation says Users have been told they don't have to self-isolate when the NHS says they do Google is reportedly fixing the problem after a request from the UK government
29th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail


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I tested positive for Covid-19 twice in two cities. The responses were vastly different

Pauline Lockwood is a Senior News Editor for CNN, based at the network's Asia-​Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong. She writes: "As someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 in both Britain and Hong Kong, I've experienced the worst of both worlds. In one, I fell victim to the complete failure to check the disease's spread, and in the other I got caught up in a zealous system intended to completely eradicate Covid-19. The pandemic's true tragedy is that the virus has killed nearly four million people worldwide, but it has also come with widespread repercussions. After undergoing four quarantines, the one when I actually had Covid-19 was the least traumatic. For me, pandemic measures have been far harder to deal with than the disease itself."
28th Jun 2021 - CNN


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Do children and people with two Covid vaccines need to self isolate?

Yes, people who are fully vaccinated still need to self-isolate and need to keep doing so for the duration of the 10 day quarantine period. This is because you can still be a carrier, even if you have received both doses of the jab. The government website states: ‘If you are instructed to self-isolate you must do so because there is still a risk that you might spread infection to others, even if you have been vaccinated and feel entirely well yourself.’ Failure to self-isolate for 10 days can result in a fine of £1,000, increasing to £10,000 for repeat offences under the current rules.
27th Jun 2021 - Metro.co.uk

HEE launches virtual training for NHS on loneliness and social isolation

Staff across the NHS and care sectors can now access a range of evidence-based interventions and information on how to refer or signpost people who may be at risk of loneliness and social isolation. A new e-learning resource has been developed by Health Education England (HEE) in collaboration with Public Health England and the Campaign to End Loneliness.
23rd Jun 2021 - Nursing Times


Isolation Tips - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Jun 2021

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