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Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Jan 2021

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People 75 and older can sign up for coronavirus vaccine beginning Wednesday

Massachusetts embarks on the next stage of its COVID-19 vaccination program on Wednesday, extending eligibility to people 75 and older, the population most devastated by the coronavirus, amid frustration over the pace and priority of distribution. As the Biden administration announced plans to buy 200 million more doses of the vaccine and increase weekly shipments to states, Massachusetts officials said residents 75 and over could now register for appointments at scores of immunization sites across the state. The first shots for this age cohort, approximately 450,000 people, will begin Monday. “By the end of this week, we will have 103 vaccination sites open to the public with the ability to administer about 240,000 doses each week,” Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday in his State of the Commonwealth address. “And by mid-February, we will have 165 public sites, including seven mass vaccination sites, and all together, we will have the capacity to administer approximately 305,000 doses every week.
26th Jan 2021 - The Boston Globe

Covid-19: Plans to vaccinate all over-65s by end of February

The Department of Health has said it plans to vaccinate everyone aged over 65 in Northern Ireland by the end of February. Both GP practices and regional vaccination centres will be used to vaccinate members of the public from prioritised groups. People aged between 65 and 69 in NI are to be vaccinated at their local vaccination centre. Until now only health care workers have been vaccinated at these locations. As of Monday, 159,642 people in Northern Ireland had received a first coronavirus vaccine dose. On Tuesday, the Department of Health daily figures reported an additional 16 Covid-19 related deaths and 550 new cases, bringing the total number of positive tests to 101,291.
26th Jan 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: School closures having 'calamitous' impact on kids and parents

Keeping schools closed is having a "calamitous" impact on children, some of the UK's top paediatricians have warned as they called for teachers to be prioritised for a vaccine. The group said they were witnessing an "acute and rapid increase in mental health and safeguarding cases", with parents suffering breakdowns and other psychological stress due to home-schooling. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi insisted it was the government's "absolute priority" to re-open schools. Experts - from Imperial College London, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust and the Royal Brompton Hospital - added that vaccinating school staff "offers protection to one of our most important key-worker groups" and also protects children.
26th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Delaying the second Covid dose in the UK is controversial, but it's the right decision

A recent YouGov poll shows that the British are among the most willing in the world to take the Covid-19 vaccine. This is good news. But there are still questions about the vaccines and the way they’re being deployed, especially after the government decided to spread out the time between the two doses from three weeks to 12 weeks. The confusion is understandable, as we are in a developing situation. Clear messages about why tough decisions are made can get lost in the noise. First, it is absolutely clear that the two Covid-19 vaccines that are being deployed in the UK will save lives. Moreover, they will reduce the burden on hospitals. The Pfizer data, measured from day 14 post-vaccination, showed only one severe case of Covid-19 in 21,000 vaccinated people. The AstraZeneca data showed no hospitalisations or severe disease in 6,000 vaccinated trial participants. The caveat to this was that there were a small number of cases in the first two months after the first vaccine dose. This brings me to an important point.
26th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

California ends wide lockdown as Covid hospital strain eases

California lifted blanket "stay-at-home" orders across the US state Monday, paving the way for activities including outdoor dining to return even in worst-hit regions as the pandemic's strain on hospitals begins to ease. The western state has suffered one of the nation's worst winter Covid spikes, with hospital intensive care units overwhelmed, ambulances backed up for hours at a time, and cases more than doubling since December to over three million. The "stay-at-home" measures were ordered for some 20 million people in southern and central California since December 3, but public health director Tomas Aragon said the state was now "turning a critical corner."
26th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

The help firms will get if there is another Covid lockdown

In New Zealand, most businesses would dread going into another Covid lockdown, but the Government has planned ahead what financial support would be available if the worst happens. Finance Minister Grant Robertson set out the assistance that would be offered “next time around” before Christmas. And while wage subsidies would again do the heavy lifting when it came to propping up the economy, some of the help would be new.
26th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz


Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Jan 2021

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Covid: Ministers urged to intervene as mass outbreak at DVLA offices in Swansea branded a ‘scandal’

Ministers have been urged to intervene after a mass outbreak at the DVLA’s offices in Wales, by a union declaring the government agency’s response a “scandal”. More than 350 employees at the UK vehicle licensing agency’s contact centre in Swansea tested positive in the four months to December, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to above 500. Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething is among several senior politicians to say he is “concerned about anecdotal reports” emerging from the offices – with the BBC and The Observer reporting that some symptomatic employees had been encouraged to return to work, amid an alleged “culture of fear”.
25th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Covid and Economy: UK Restaurants, Bars, Small Business Teetering in Lockdown

The U.K.’s third major lockdown to control the coronavirus could be the final straw for thousands of businesses struggling to pay rent and taxes with little or no money coming in the door. “It is costing us thousands of pounds a week, even being shut, and we have zero income,” said Andrew Wong, owner of the upmarket Chinese restaurant A. Wong in London’s fashionable Pimlico neighborhood. “I think all the time about shutting down and walking away, though I’m not going to do it.” While the economy appears to be adapting better to virus curbs -- gross domestic product shrank 2.6% in November versus 19% in April -- the same can’t be said about company finances. One lobby group estimates 250,000 small firms are at risk of going bust. Almost 10,000 pubs and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol closed permanently last year, according to consultants CGA and AlixPartners.
25th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg


Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Jan 2021

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Coronavirus: Vaccine rationed to north amid national supply issues, reports say

Vaccine supplies sent to the North East and Yorkshire are to be rationed because the region is ahead of others in getting the coronavirus jab out, it has been reported. Deliveries to GP practices in the area – one of seven English NHS regions – will be halved from 200,000 doses to 100,000 next week, according to the Health Service Journal. It comes amid growing controversy that many over 80s in the south have still not been called for their innoculation, while GPs in the North East and Yorkshire are already starting to move onto lower age brackets. It is not clear if supplies will also be slashed to the patch’s hospitals and mass vaccination hubs – such as the Centre for Life in Newcastle – but, given it is GP practices that administer the majority of jabs, the known reduction will come as a major blow.
23rd Jan 2021 - The Independent

Covid vaccine: 'Over my dead body are we wasting a drop of this'

There was nervous anticipation at Saxonbury House surgery as doctors and staff prepared for their first coronavirus vaccination clinic last weekend. The seven surgeries that combined for the vaccination programme on the Sussex High Weald had been cautious, waiting for the national roll-out to be well under way before joining “wave six”. Then last Friday afternoon, the eve of their local V Day, months of careful planning were thrown up in the air. The white refrigerated van carrying their vaccines arrived as scheduled at Saxonbury House, Crowborough, around 2pm. The driver carefully unloaded the consignment and drove off. Mistakenly, however, he left two boxes of Pfizer vaccine rather than the one that had been promised and planned for.
23rd Jan 2021 - The Times

Israel begins to give Covid jabs to teenagers

Over 2.5 million of Israel's nine-million-population have had first vaccine dose. The country's campaign is currently leading the global vaccination drive. Teenagers aged 16-18 are now being given the first dose, starting on Saturday Wednesday saw the country recorded its highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in a single day, with 10,213 cases and 101 deaths
23rd Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine unit struggles to add new hires as holiday nears

A Beijing unit of Sinovac Biotech manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine said it is facing difficulties in finding staff to expand production because of surging local infections and the imminent Lunar New Year holiday. Eleven people living in the Daxing district of the capital, Beijing, where Sinovac Life Science is based, were confirmed as COVID-19 patients between Sunday and Wednesday, forcing authorities to seal up some residential compounds and launch a mass testing scheme. “Many people dare not go to Daxing district to apply for jobs, nor do people outside Beijing dare to come to the city to work,” said Ma Hongbo, recruitment manager of Sinovac Life Science, in an article published by the Beijing Talent Market News, backed by the city’s human resources authority.
22nd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Huge fire breaks out at Indian Covid vaccine maker contracted to produce Oxford jab

A huge fire has broken out at a plant being built in the world’s biggest vaccine maker, but it will not affect production of coronavirus vaccines, a source close to the firm said. The Serum Institute of India (SII), has been contracted to manufacture one billion vaccine doses developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca for India and many other low- and middle-income countries.
22nd Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

West Virginia touts COVID-19 vaccination success story as national rollout sputters

Even as President Joe Biden laments the nation’s sluggish COVID-19 immunization launch for a pace he calls “dismal,” West Virginia is touting its relative success in making the most of vaccine supplies it has received so far. Fewer than half of the nearly 38 million vaccine doses shipped to date by the federal government have actually made it into the arms of Americans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday. Some individual states have lagged behind with just a third or 40% of their vaccine allotments being administered as of Thursday, marking the one-year anniversary of the first locally transmitted COVID-19 case documented in the United States.
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters


Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jan 2021

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U.K. Hospitals Struggle to Cope With a New Coronavirus Variant

As a new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus pounds Britain’s overstretched National Health Service, health care workers say the government’s failure to anticipate a wintertime crush of infections has left them resorting to ever more desperate measures. Hundreds of soldiers have been dispatched to move patients and equipment around London hospitals. Organ transplant centers have stopped performing urgent operations. Doctors have trimmed back the level of oxygen being given to patients to save overloaded pipes.
22nd Jan 2021 - The New York Times

11,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive in Estonia next week

Based on the data of the Ministry of Social Affairs, in total 10,950 doses of both Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines, should arrive in Estonia next week. Ministry of Social Affairs' media advisor Eva Lehtla told ERR that on Monday (January 25), 9,750 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive in Estonia and 1,200 doses of Moderna vaccine. Lehtla said the first Moderna doses arrived last week and there were also 1,200 of them. While AstraZeneca's vaccine had not been approved yet, Lehtla said, according to the current information, the European Medicines Agency should give its evaluation of the vaccine by January 29.
21st Jan 2021 - ERR News

Israel coronavirus cases soar even as it pushes on with vaccine drive

Coronavirus infections in Israel are soaring among those yet to be vaccinated, straining hospitals and forcing the government to extend a strict lockdown even as the country continues its breakneck vaccination drive.
21st Jan 2021 - The Financial Times

Covid-19 vaccine batch testing speeds up, giving more proof ministers can’t blame all hold-ups on supply chain

Britain’s medical regulators have managed to speed up the process of approving individual batches of the Covid-19 vaccine with not a single batch failing the test, i can reveal. Ministers have repeatedly said that supply of jabs is the current “rate-limiting factor” in the vaccine roll-out – meaning that supply is the one issue which dictates the maximum pace at which the NHS can administer doses, rather than staffing or logistics. They specifically pointed to batch approvals as one of the major hold-ups. The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), part of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), is responsible for testing the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines which are provided in batches of up to half a million doses each. This process initially took as long as three weeks per batch but has been streamlined to four days.
21st Jan 2021 - i on MSN.com

All overweight D.C. residents will get priority for the coronavirus vaccine. Experts are skeptical.

The District plans to give priority for coronavirus vaccines to the broadest possible swath of people with preexisting health conditions — a decision that will make hundreds of thousands eligible for scarce doses of the vaccine and that some public health experts say might not make medical sense. The plan, the details of which were confirmed by vaccine director Ankoor Shah, would offer vaccines to people whose weight and medical history would not qualify them for early access to the vaccine in almost any state in the country. D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt told members of the D.C. Council last week that she decided to open up vaccine access, possibly as soon as February, to such a large group in the hope of quickly vaccinating anyone who might suffer the worst outcomes if they contract the virus.
21st Jan 2021 - Washington Post

Scotland considers streamlining Covid-19 vaccine delivery for GPs

Calls from Scottish GPs for the coronavirus vaccine distribution process to be streamlined are to be considered by ministers, amid fears supplies are not getting to surgeries quickly enough. The British Medical Association (BMA) is pressing the Scottish Government to allow GPs to order their supplies directly, claiming the current system is too bureaucratic. It has asked Professor Alison Strath, the interim Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, to consider reforming the process so doctors can bypass health boards when ordering vaccines.
21st Jan 2021 - iNews

Spain’s Covid immunization drive dogged by line-jumping politicians and other irregularities

Concern is rising in Spain over the number of individuals who have jumped the line to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The list includes several mayors, a regional health chief and family members of medical workers. In these cases, the vaccine was administered even though the person did not belong to the first priority group of the ongoing campaign: residents and staff of care homes, other healthcare workers and people with serious disabilities. In some instances, this was due to a misunderstanding, and in others, the individuals jumped the line “to build confidence” in the vaccine or because there were “leftover doses.”
21st Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Coronavirus vaccine tracker: How many Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19?

Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, Canada has launched the largest mass vaccination program in its history. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised that every Canadian — nearly 40 million people across 10 provinces and three territories — who wants to be inoculated against COVID-19 will be able to do so by September 2021. To keep track of it all, Global News has launched this project to keep track of: How many Canadians have been vaccinated each day How many people in each province have been vaccinated How Canada’s vaccination efforts compare with the rest of the world
21st Jan 2021 - Global News

'Five dead' in devastating fire at world’s biggest coronavirus vaccine facility

As many as five people have been killed in a fire at the site of the world's largest coronavirus vaccine manufacturer, according to reports. Plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the Serum Institute of India (SII) today. Millions of doses of the Covidshield vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, are being produced at the plant. Initial reports suggested that there had been no casualties but Adar Poonawalla, SII's CEO, confirmed there had been "some loss of life" in a statement. He said: "Upon further investigation we have learnt that there has unfortunately been some loss of life at the incident.
21st Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

Jumping Covid-19 vaccine queue is 'morally reprehensible' says top NHS doctor

It is "morally reprehensible" to try to jump the queue for the Covid-19 vaccine, a senior NHS director has said. Brits have reportedly been securing appointments for coronavirus vaccinations through links to the NHS booking system shared on WhatsApp and social media. The Evening Standard found people had secured jabs through the loophole which should go to the elderly and vulnerable. And today Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS England regional medical director for London said they were denying vulnerable people a "life-saving vaccine". He told a Downing Street press conference: "People are being called in priority order so that we can vaccinate those most at risk of serious illness first. “That is why I was horrified to hear reports that some unscrupulous people have used links shared with them to try and falsely book a vaccination appointment.
21st Jan 2021 - The Mirror

Australia posts zero virus cases; state premier calls for 'Pacific bubble'

Australia recorded a fourth day of zero coronavirus cases on Thursday, prompting the chief of the country's most populous state to call for a special travel "bubble" with Pacific island nations. New South Wales has reined in an outbreak in mid-December that prompted a strict lockdown in Sydney's Northern Beaches, while broader social distancing rules and mandatory mask wearing were imposed for the rest of the city. Signaling those restrictions were set to be eased next week, Premier Gladys Berejiklien told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper the federal government should consider establishing a travel arrangement with the Pacific. "There is no reason why we shouldn't aim to travel to New Zealand or some of the Pacific Islands well within the next 12 months," Berejiklian said. The comments come after Australia's chief medical officer Paul Kelly cautioned about restarting international travel, given the country was in an "envious position" compared to most of the world.
21st Jan 2021 - Japan Today

Covid-19: Two weeks' notice for England's school return and warning over infection levels

Parents will know a fortnight in advance when their children will return to schools in England, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says. Telling BBC Breakfast he wants pupils back in classrooms at "the earliest possible opportunity", he says he's "not able to exactly say" when schools will reopen but the "key criteria" will be whether pressure on the NHS was lifting
21st Jan 2021 - BBC News

Air New Zealand's first quarantine-free flight lands in Auckland

The first quarantine-free flight in 10 months has landed in Auckland with friends and family ready to greet passengers from the Cook Islands with an emotional welcome. The Air New Zealand flight landed at Auckland Airport shortly after 11am with a small gathering of family and friends waiting in the arrivals area.
21st Jan 2021 - The New Zealand Herald

Covid-19 vaccine supply is running low. Here’s how Biden hopes to fix that

The Biden administration is willing to consider almost anything to boost the nation’s dwindling supply of Covid-19 vaccines. A new strategy document released Thursday, totaling nearly 200 pages, offers the first clear list of the options President Biden has before him, though it doesn’t specifically say he’ll actually take all of the steps. On the list are some controversial ideas, like cutting the amount of vaccine being administered to each American. He’s also made it clear he wants to utilize the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of key supplies, and some more straightforward options like buying more doses.
21st Jan 2021 - STAT News


Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jan 2021

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Glass maker Schott predicts enough vials to go around for COVID-19 vaccines

Germany’s unlisted Schott AG, the world’s biggest supplier of speciality glass for medical bottles and syringes, said on Wednesday it did not see any shortage of vials for bottling COVID-19 vaccines. Drugmakers last year warned of limited supplies of vials to bottle future COVID-19 vaccines, but Schott said at the time that their rush to secure supplies early risked making matters worse. Schott, whose founder Otto Schott invented heavy-duty borosilicate glass in the 1890s, delivered 110 million vials for COVID-19 vaccines during the second half of last year and was now scheduled to clear an order backlog of 600 million vials for that purpose well into 2022.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Fury as coronavirus vaccine IT loophole 'allows people to jump the queue

Links to Swiftqueue website meant to allow over-70s and NHS staff book jabs But they have reportedly been shared on social media and Whatsapp People using them not asked for proof of eligibility when making appointments
20th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Saga requires all cruise customers to have Covid vaccine

Saga, the travel group targeting the over-50s, has become the first holiday business to insist that all of its customers must be vaccinated against coronavirus before they embark on its cruises. The company, whose customers are primarily in the UK, said on Wednesday that it had told holidaymakers they must be fully inoculated against the virus at least 14 days before travelling and take a pre-departure Covid-19 test. The requirement means customers must have had two doses of vaccine.
20th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Covid-19 vaccines diverted to areas lagging behind as overall numbers of vaccinations fall

Vaccine doses are to be diverted into areas falling behind with the coronavirus inoculation drive amid concerns over differing levels of vaccination across England. As the Government fended off accusations of a “postcode lottery” in the programme, new vaccination figures suggested it was falling behind its pledge to supply the jabs to 14.6 million people in the most vulnerable groups by 15 February.
20th Jan 2021 - iNews

COVID-19: 'Public health emergency unfolding' in prisons as coronavirus cases soar

The new coronavirus strain and a rapidly rising number of infections in prisons across England and Wales is a "public health emergency unfolding before our eyes," the shadow justice secretary has warned. Labour MP David Lammy said it was vital that ministers "act urgently" to prevent the virus from spreading further in jails - or risk preventable deaths. "We're not condemning our prisoners to death in this country, but for some prisoners, that's what it means," said Mr Lammy.
20th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Small UK businesses are ‘running out of cash’, chancellor warned

"I suppose the technical phrase is we’re screwed,” said Ruari McCulloch, owner of Pinstripes & Peonies, a high-end London florist, which counts several London department stores and the Paris Air Show among its clients. Mr McCulloch is one of the many small business owners facing the toughest few months yet of the pandemic, starved of income for much of the past year as the UK approaches the anniversary of the first national coronavirus lockdown in March. Cash levels are depleted and debt loads have risen fast for companies with high fixed costs but zero revenues, leading to urgent calls from the UK’s business lobby groups, including the CBI and the British Chambers of Commerce, for immediate and sustained financial support from the chancellor Rishi Sunak.
20th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

London Schools Could Re-Open First After UK Lockdown, Official Says

The U.K. reported its highest daily death toll since the Covid-19 pandemic began, as data suggested one in eight people in England have had the disease. A further 1,610 people in the U.K. died within 28 days of a positive test, according to government figures released Tuesday -- taking the total number of deaths to more than 90,000. Covid-19 related deaths will “continue for some time throughout this second wave,” Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said in a statement. “Whilst there are some early signs that show our sacrifices are working, we must continue to strictly abide by the measures in place.”
20th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

France faces tough COVID month, with ski lifts and restaurants set to stay shut

A more infectious coronavirus variant is expected to spread rapidly through France in the coming month, hospital chiefs said on Wednesday, raising fears of another lockdown as hopes faded that ski lifts and restaurants could reopen soon.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Vaccinators could lose their licences for giving second doses prematurely

Hospitals say they have been told they could lose their licence to deliver coronavirus vaccines if they give second doses to anyone before 12 weeks have passed since their first jab. In a message sent to vaccinators at the University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust and seen by The Independent, staff were told the hospital’s chief executive had been given a “crystal clear” instruction that no second doses should be given to anyone before 12-week mark. There is mounting criticism of the delays in giving frontline NHS staff a second dose of the vaccine amid concerns that these could leave them more at risk. Emerging data from Israel suggested on Wednesday that the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine could be as low as 33 per cent after only the first dose.
20th Jan 2021 - The Independent

New York City reschedules 23,000 vaccination appointments due to supply issues

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers had their coronavirus vaccine appointments rescheduled this week due to a lack of supply, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Wednesday. According to the mayor, a delay in the delivery of Moderna's vaccine contributed to the supply issues, which puts the city's goal of 1 million vaccinations by the end of the month in jeopardy. "We've had to tell 23,000 New Yorkers who had an appointment this week that they will not be able to get that appointment for lack of supply," de Blasio said during a news conference.
20th Jan 2021 - The Hill


Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jan 2021

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Moderna says possible allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccine under investigation

Moderna Inc said on Tuesday it had received a report from California’s health department that several people at a center in San Diego were treated for possible allergic reactions to its COVID-19 vaccine from a particular batch. The company’s comments come after California’s top epidemiologist on Sunday issued a statement recommending providers pause vaccination from lot no. 41L20A due to possible allergic reactions that are under investigation. "A higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions were reported with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine administered at one community vaccination clinic. Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours," the epidemiologist said in a statement here. The vaccine maker said it was unaware of comparable cases of adverse events from other vaccination centers which may have administered vaccines from the same lot or from other lots of its vaccine.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Ireland’s first Covid-19 vaccine recipient receives second dose

The first person in Ireland to receive the Covid-19 vaccine has been given her second dose today. Dublin woman Annie Lynch (79) received the first round of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in St James’s Hospital on December 29, making her the first person in the country to be given the Covid-19 jab outside of clinical trials. The mother of three, who has 10 grandchildren, returned to St James Hospital to receive her second round of the vaccine.
19th Jan 2021 - Independent.ie

Coronavirus: India to provide vaccines to six countries from Wednesday

India will provide coronavirus vaccines made in the country to six nations - Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles - from Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. Vaccines will be sent to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius as well, once necessary regulatory clearances are received, the ministry added. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was a matter of honour and that vaccines will be sent to more countries. “India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community,” he tweeted. “Supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence tomorrow, and more will follow in the days ahead.”
19th Jan 2021 - Scroll

More than 45,000 people in Florida are overdue for their second coronavirus vaccine dose

Of the 1.03 million people in Florida who have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine, 45,056 are overdue for their second dose. Florida's Department of Health has refused to answer questions about whether officials are concerned and reasons for why people have missed their second jab. Health experts say some might be worried about the side effects of getting the second dose, which is known to be stronger than the first. In a statement on Thursday, Gov Ron DeSantis urged Floridians being vaccinated to not forego their second shot
19th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid in Scotland: Concerns about vaccine supply amid GP frustration

Opposition parties have voiced concerns about vaccine supplies after "frustrated" GPs said they were still waiting for deliveries. At Holyrood on Tuesday, the first minister was pressed on why the rollout was going "so slowly" and on whether there was a problem with distribution. Dr Andrew Buist, of BMA Scotland, told the BBC that patients were getting anxious and practices could not plan. Nicola Sturgeon said there were ongoing challenges but targets would be met. Dr Buist claimed that as of Monday, the Scottish government had taken receipt of more than 700,000 vaccines - but only used 264,991.
19th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid vaccine: New York to run out of doses by Thursday, warns mayor

New York City could run out of Covid-19 vaccine doses by Thursday, warned Mayor Bill de Blasio, which could force the city to cancel vaccination appointments. “We will have literally nothing left to give as of Friday,” Mr de Blasio said. “What does that mean? It means that if we do not get more vaccine quickly, a new supply of vaccine, we will have to cancel appointments and no longer give shots after Thursday for the reminder of the week at a lot of our sites.” The warning came during the mayor’s coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday morning.
19th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Hospitals in Japan close to collapse as serious Covid cases soar

Hospitals in Covid-hit regions of Japan are on the brink of collapse, medical experts have warned, as the country battles a third wave of infections that has caused record numbers of people to fall seriously ill. Japan reported more than 4,900 coronavirus infections on Monday, with serious cases rising to a record high of 973, local media reported. Although Japan has avoided the huge caseloads and death tolls seen in some other countries, infections have doubled over the past six weeks to about 338,000, according to the public broadcaster NHK, with 4,623 deaths. The increase, coupled with the discovery of the first recorded community transmissions of a fast-spreading strain of Covid-19 initially identified in Britain, is adding to pressure on the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, to move quickly to protect stretched medical services.
19th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Schools might not all reopen at the same time across England, suggests Dr Jenny Harries

Schools might not all reopen at the same time across England as lockdown restrictions are eased, MPs have been told. Dr Jenny Harries, one of England's deputy chief medical officers, said there was "likely" to be regional differences in COVID measures once the national shutdown ends.
19th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Hospitals in Americas, Europe under growing strain of COVID-19

The world added more than 2 million new COVID-19 cases in the past 3 days, with health systems coming under pressure in the Americas and in more European countries and China reporting another pocket of local spread, triggering more strong measures. Over the past week, the World Health Organization (WHO) Americas region reported 2.5 million cases, making up more than half of the global total, Carissa Etienne, MBBS, MSc, who directs the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said today at a briefing. She added that over the past week, 42,000 more people in the region died from their infections.
19th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Jan 2021

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Five Countries, Five Experiences of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Adam Oliver, a professor at the London School of Economics, is one of many researchers who have tracked how different countries have responded to the pandemic. Oliver thinks that our usual back-of-the-envelope way of comparing countries, using a snapshot of covid cases and deaths, is of limited value. “We have to think about the non-health implications of pandemic response, too,” he told me. “Those are much more difficult to gauge at the moment. When you lock down businesses and citizens, there are many downstream consequences. There’s an economic impact. There’s social damage. There’s loss of freedom—which, especially in countries already bordering on authoritarianism, could be hard to roll back. If you consider these broader implications, I don’t think we’ll know the best path for years, if ever.” Oliver classifies pandemic responses into three broad, sometimes overlapping categories: the quick approach, the soft approach, and the hard approach.
18th Jan 2021 - The New Yorker

These Over-90s Are Still Waiting For The Vaccine. Here's Why

On Monday, the British government announced people aged over 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable will begin receiving invitations for coronavirus vaccinations from this week. It came as officials announced more than 4m people in the UK have received the first dose of a vaccine. But HuffPost UK spoke to several people who said their elderly parents, all of whom were over the age of 90, had received no news regarding their vaccine appointments. One said hearing the latest announcement had only made things “even more frustrating” for their Lincolnshire-based mother, who is 94 and diabetic.
18th Jan 2021 - Huffington Post UK

More than 4 million Britons receive first COVID-19 vaccine dose

More than 4 million people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, according to official data on Monday which showed there had been a further 37,535 cases reported and 599 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. A total of 4,062,501 people have received their first shot Public Health England said as the government ramps up the vaccination programme.
18th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

Covid-19: Critical care wards full in hospitals across England

Ten hospital trusts across England consistently reported having no spare adult critical care beds in the most recent figures. It comes as hospital waiting times, coronavirus admissions and patients requiring intensive care are rising. England's 140 acute trusts had 5,503 adult critical care beds on 10 January, with 4,632 in use. NHS bosses have warned hospitals could "hit the limit" of their capacity this week. "I think, this next week, we will be at the limit of what we probably have the physical space and the people to safely do," Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said.
18th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Indian companies prepare to buy vaccines for employees

Several Indian companies are considering buying COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, once they become available commercially, just days after the government began a huge vaccination drive. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched what his government has described as the “world’s largest vaccination programme”. It aims to inoculate around 300 million people to curb the pandemic in India, which has reported the second highest number of coronavirus cases after the United States. India vaccinated 148,266 people on Monday, taking the total to 381,305, the health ministry said.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

S Korea leader urges businesses thriving in pandemic to share profits

South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has called on companies prospering during the coronavirus pandemic to share their profits with struggling people and businesses, as fears rise over worsening economic inequality. The call from the leader of Asia’s fourth-biggest economy highlights the pressure on many world leaders amid surging stock and property prices coupled with rising unemployment and slow wage growth. “Whether it is called profit sharing, or whatever . . . I think it is the right way to go,” Mr Moon said at a rare press conference on Monday.
18th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

China reports more than 100 new COVID cases as New Year holiday exodus looms

China reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day, with rising infections in the northeast fuelling concern of another wave when hundreds of millions of people travel for the Lunar New Year holiday. Tough new controls in the city of Gongzhuling in Jilin province, which has a population of about 1 million people, brings the total number of people under lockdown to more than 29 million. According to the Global Times newspaper, at least 11 regions in the provinces of Hebei, Heilongjiang and Jilin have imposed lockdowns and introduced extensive testing programmes. The National Health Commission reported 109 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday, unchanged from the day earlier. Of the 93 local infections, 54 were in Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Brazil vaccinations start as country faces vaccine ingredient shortfall

Brazil kicked off a nationwide COVID-19 immunization program on Monday by distributing doses of a vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech following an emergency use authorization, although the pace of vaccination will depend on delayed imports. After weeks of setbacks, many Brazilians cheered the first wave of inoculations, from bustling clinics in Sao Paulo to a spectacular shot planned at the foot of the Christ Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro. The Health Ministry gave states the green light to start immunizing at 5 p.m. (2000 GMT). Although some began administering shots before that, the majority of Brazil’s 26 states had yet to receive vaccine shipments as of Monday evening, delaying the start of vaccinations for the elderly and frontline health workers.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal's health system on brink of collapse as COVID-19 cases surge

Portugal’s public health system is on the verge of collapsing as hospitals in the areas worst-affected by a worrying surge in coronavirus cases are quickly running out of intensive care beds to treat COVID-19 patients. “Our health system is under a situation of extreme pressure,” Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters on Sunday afternoon after a visit to a struggling hospital. “There is a limit and we are very close to it.”
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

72 Australian Open tennis players in lockdown; reports of Novak Djokovic ideas for changes

The number of players in hard quarantine swelled to 72 ahead of the Australian Open after a fifth positive coronavirus test was returned from the charter flights bringing players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for the season-opening tennis major. That means they won’t be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days, creating a two-speed preparation period for the tournament. Other players in less rigorous quarantine will be allowed to practice for five hours daily. Australian Open organizers confirmed late Sunday that the latest case involved a passenger on the flight from Doha, Qatar to Melbourne who was not a member of the playing contingent, But all 58 passengers, including the 25 players, now cannot leave their hotel rooms for 14 days.
18th Jan 2021 - NBC Sports


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GPs ‘forced to bin leftover vaccines’ amid struggle to book exact number of Covid vaccine recipients

In the UK, GPs are being forced to bin leftover vaccines rather than give patients second doses or use them on staff, according to reports. Local NHS leaders are said to have issued the vaccine disposal instructions to doctors organising clinics. The revelation comes as Pfizer said there would be a short delay to UK orders of its vaccine. GPs are struggling to book the exact number of appointments to match the doses of the vaccine which needs to kept at -70c, which adds another layer of difficulty.
17th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid-19: Critical care wards are full in hospitals across England

Ten hospital trusts across England reported having no spare critical care beds for most of last week. It comes as hospital waiting times, coronavirus admissions and patients requiring intensive care rises. Across all England's acute trusts the total number of critical care beds available is 5,503, with 4,632 in use on 10 January. NHS England has not yet commented. Last year, hospitals added 39% more beds for seriously ill patients. The latest figures from NHS England show the number of trusts who were, on average, at full capacity in adult critical care rose from four to ten in the week to 10 January.
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Some restrictions could go by March and vaccine should be offered to every adult by September

All UK adults should be offered the first dose of a COVID vaccine by September - with the hope some restrictions can be lifted by March, Dominic Raab has told Sky News. The foreign secretary said: "Our target is that by September to have offered all the adult population a first dose, if we can do it faster than that great but that's the roadmap." The target is more specific than the government's COVID-19 vaccine delivery plan, published a week ago, which said that level of protection should be provided "by the autumn".
17th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Greece starts COVID-19 vaccinations among the elderly

Greece kicked off COVID-19 vaccinations among the elderly on Saturday, after first inoculating tens of thousands of frontline workers to fight the spread of the coronavirus. More than 75,000 healthcare workers and nursing home residents and carers have received the shot of the vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech since Greece rolled out the plan along with other EU countries last month.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Reeling again from COVID-19, Amazonas gets respirators, oxygen from Brazil Air Force and Venezuela

The Brazilian jungle state of Amazonas received more emergency supplies of oxygen and respirators on Saturday, as the military and neighboring Venezuela scrambled to alleviate an unfolding humanitarian crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Air Force also said it had evacuated 12 patients from hospitals in the state capital Manaus to the northern city of Sao Luis overnight, with hospitals at breaking point with no oxygen supplies and overflowing intensive care wards. Mass graves were dug in Manaus during the first wave of the pandemic last year. Harrowing scenes are again emerging in the second wave, of doctors and relatives running out of supplies and equipment while trying desperately to keep patients alive. Brazil’s Air Force said on Saturday a second flight had landed in Manaus with eight tanks of liquid oxygen, following an earlier emergency delivery of five tanks, and the Navy said in a statement that it is sending 40 respirators.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Migrants forced to travel 85 miles for Home Office appointments as coronavirus cases soar

People are being forced to travel as far as 85 miles to attend Home Office appointments during the lockdown, prompting critics to claim the government is prioritising “distrust” of migrants over public health. Ministers are being urged to act after it emerged vulnerable asylum seekers and visa applicants have had to take long journeys on public transport in recent weeks in order to comply with Home Office rules. In March, substantive asylum interviews – during which the Home Office gathers information to determine whether someone should be granted asylum in the UK – were paused in response to the pandemic. Biometric appointments, where UK visa applicants submit their fingerprints as part of the application process, were also suspended during the first lockdown as visa application centres closed.
17th Jan 2021 - The Independent

More than 800 chain restaurants, bars and cafes close for good as Covid-19 lockdowns bite sector

More than 800 chain restaurants, bars and coffee shops have closed since the start of the Covid pandemic, research compiled for the Evening Standard has found. Covid has wrought havoc on cashflows of leisure sector operators as they have been repeatedly forced to close or only open under tough restrictions to ensure social distancing. Data compiled for the Evening Standard showed that when administrations and Company Voluntary Arrangements are included, chains with 6231 outlets have been affected. That compares with 593 closed during the two previous years, which included the one-off corporate shakeups at Patisserie Valerie and The Restaurant Group accounting for nearly 150 closures.
17th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

India Kicks Off A Massive COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

Cheers erupted in hospital wards across India on Saturday as a first group of nurses and sanitation workers rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated against COVID-19, at the start of what's likely to become the biggest national vaccination campaign in history. India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July, though it could take an additional two or more years to inoculate all nearly 1.4 billion Indians. The shots are voluntary. Hospitals and clinics have been setting up and rehearsing for weeks. "A proud moment indeed! This is what we've been waiting for," Dr. R. Jayanthi, dean of the Omandurar Medical College in the southern city of Chennai, told local media moments after receiving her shot. "I'm truly a very privileged beneficiary today, and I'm feeling absolutely fine."
17th Jan 2021 - NPR

China builds hospital in 5 days as COVID-19 cases rise in Beijing

China on Saturday finished a five-day construction project on a 1,500-room hospital as clusters of COVID-19 spread in Beijing and the surrounding provinces. The state of play: The facility is the one of six hospitals with a total of 6,500 rooms in the works in Nangong, the Xinhua News Agency said Saturday per AP reporting. They are all expected to be completed next week. China reportedly put roughly 28 million people on lockdown this week in the the Hebei provincial capital of Shijiazhuang.
16th Jan 2021 - Axios

Coronavirus in London: 1,300-body mortuary opens

A temporary mortuary that can hold up to 1,300 bodies has been opened in Ruislip, west London, as the capital faces a growing coronavirus death toll. London recently exceeded 10,000 Covid-related deaths, a figure mayor Sadiq Khan described as "heartbreaking". Four temporary mortuary sites were set up in London during the first wave of coronavirus, but were put on standby. The use of the Ruislip site has been called "a visual, sobering reminder" of the continuing cost of the pandemic. Westminster City Council chief executive Stuart Love, who is leading the London-wide response, added: "We want to give people hope but we are not there yet. "From my point of view, we have built this really hoping it doesn't get used to its capacity.
16th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Aviation industry risks collapse without 'urgent' support following travel curbs

The aviation industry risks collapse without “urgent” government support, industry groups have warned following the latest travel curbs. From Monday all travel corridors to the UK will be scrapped to prevent any further spread of the new strains of coronavirus.
16th Jan 2021 - City A.M.

Italy suspends flights from Brazil in response to new coronavirus variant

Italy is suspending flights from Brazil, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Saturday, in response to a new coronavirus variant. Anyone who has transited Brazil in the last 14 days is also prohibited from entering Italy, he said on Facebook, while people arriving in Italy from Brazil will be required to take a test for the virus. "It is critical for our scientists to study the new strain. In the meantime, we are taking a very cautious approach", he said. Such rules will remain in place until Jan. 31, the order issued on Saturday by the health minister showed.
16th Jan 2021 - Yahoo News

Spain rejects virus confinement as most of Europe stays home

While most of Europe kicked off 2021 with earlier curfews or stay-at-home orders, authorities in Spain insist the new coronavirus variant causing havoc elsewhere is not to blame for a sharp resurgence of cases and that the country can avoid a full lockdown even as its hospitals fill up. The government has been tirelessly fending off drastic home confinement like the one that paralyzed the economy for nearly three months in the spring of 2020, the last time Spain could claim victory over the stubborn rising curve of cases. Infection rates ebbed in October but never completely flattened the surge from summer. Cases started climbing again before the end of the year. In the past month, 14-day rates more than doubled, from 188 cases per 100,000 residents on Dec. 10 to 522 per 100,000 on Thursday.
15th Jan 2021 - Associated Press

Coronavirus: Texas becomes first US state to administer 1m vaccine doses

Germany’s 2020 contraction shows economy in better shape than thought. Norwegian to abandon long-haul market as it fights for survival. France tightens Covid curfew and border controls.
15th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

Nigeria warns against fake COVID vaccines

Nigerian authorities have warned against fake coronavirus vaccines in the country where 10 million real doses of the shots are expected to arrive in March. “There are reports of fake vaccines in Nigeria,” Director General of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC) Mojisola Adeyeye said on Friday. “NAFDAC is pleading with the public to beware. No COVID vaccines have been approved by NAFDAC. Fake vaccines can cause COVID-like illnesses or other serious diseases that could kill.” Nigeria’s anticipated vaccines add to 100,000 expected doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine although it was not specified which type of jab would be used for the 10 million doses. It was also unclear whether the batch would be financed by the African Union (AU) or as part of COVAX, which links the World Health Organization (WHO) with private partners to work for pooled procurement and equitable distribution.
15th Jan 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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Quebec says some regions running out of COVID-19 vaccine, but new shipments coming

Quebec will wait up to 90 days before giving a COVID-19 vaccine booster to people who have received a first shot, Health Minister Christian Dube said Thursday. That delay goes far beyond the recommendation of vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, which propose intervals of 21 and 28 days, respectively, and is more than double the 42-day maximum delay proposed by Canada’s national vaccine advisory committee. Dube told a news conference that the decision was made in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible and to reduce the pressure on the health system. “In our context, this is the best strategy, because we have to contend with (having) very few vaccines, and we’re in a race against the clock,” Dube told a news conference.
14th Jan 2021 - The Star

Number of London transport staff dying with Covid-19 increases to 60

The number of London transport staff dying with Covid has increased to 60, including 46 bus workers, it was revealed today. The figure, up three from earlier this week, came as Sadiq Khan and his Tory mayoral rival Shaun Bailey said London key workers most at risk of contracting Covid should be the next to be prioritised for vaccination. In separate interventions, the Mayor and Mr Bailey said the second phase of the rollout should focus on higher-risk essential workers such as police, teachers and transport staff once vulnerable elderly Londoners and health and care staff were inoculated. The total figure, up three from 57 revealed earlier this week, includes staff working for the private bus firms contracted by Transport for London to run the capital's buses, plus Tube and rail staff and TfL head office workers. The death toll includes 37 bus drivers and nine other bus workers, such as bus station staff.
14th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

The Remaining COVID-19 Journey

I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I breathed a sigh of relief at the much ballyhooed arrival of COVID-19 vaccines at the end of 2020. We’re in the midst of a dark and grief-stricken pandemic winter, and the sooner the vaccine gets us to herd immunity—and, pray, a semblance of normalcy—the better. But the well-worn trope that life is a journey, and not a destination, has an epidemiological application as well. As of this writing, the U.S. just suffered a record-breaking day of thousands of fatalities caused by the novel coronavirus. So in the interim months while most Americans wait their chance to be vaccinated, our goal certainly must be to minimize deaths from COVID-19. In this issue’s cover story, Charles Schmidt takes a comprehensive look at the latest developments in clinical treatments for COVID-19 infection, many of which still need research to bolster their effectiveness
14th Jan 2021 - Scientific American

Covid: Infections levelling off in some areas - scientist

The coronavirus growth rate is slowing in the UK and the number of infections is starting to level off in some areas, a top scientist has said. Prof Neil Ferguson told the BBC that in some NHS regions there is a "sign of plateauing" in cases and hospital admissions. But he warned the overall death toll would exceed 100,000. On Wednesday, the UK saw its biggest daily death figure since the start of the pandemic, with 1,564 deaths. It has taken the total number of deaths by that measure to 84,767. There were also 47,525 new cases. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the national lockdown measures were "starting to show signs of some effect", but it was early days and urged people to abide by the rules.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: High Street chemists start vaccinations in England

Some High Street pharmacies in England will start vaccinating people from priority groups on Thursday, with 200 providing jabs in the next two weeks. Six chemists in Halifax, Macclesfield, Widnes, Guildford, Edgware and Telford are the first to offer appointments to those invited by letter. But pharmacists say many more sites should be allowed to give the jab, not just the largest ones. More than 2.6 million people in the UK have now received their first dose. Across the UK, the target is to vaccinate 15 million people in the top four priority groups - care home residents and workers, NHS frontline staff, the over-70s and the extremely clinically vulnerable - by mid-February.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Surge leaves key hospital services 'in crisis'

The surge in Covid hospital cases has left key hospital services in England in crisis, doctors are warning. NHS data showed A&Es were facing rising delays admitting extremely sick patients on to wards. Meanwhile, the total number of people facing year-long waits for routine treatments is now more than 100 times higher than it was before the pandemic. Cancer experts are also warning the disruption to their services was "terrifying" and would cost lives. Reports have emerged of hospitals cancelling urgent operations - London's King's College Hospital has stopped priority two treatments, which are those that need to be done within 28 days. And Birmingham's major hospital trust has temporarily suspended most liver transplants.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Marketing Moderna hitches a ride with Uber to boost vaccine confidence—and, of course, drive access

COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna is looking for a lift from Uber—a collaboration lift, that is. The two companies say they're planning to work together to promote vaccine confidence and ease access to coronavirus shots. Early ideas include promoting vaccine safety on the Uber network and through in-app messages as well as incorporating Uber rides into the vaccination scheduling process. While those details are still in the works, the appeal of Uber as a partner for Moderna is not only its nationwide network and connections but also the diversity of its 1.2 million drivers. “Uber has broad access across the United States—its ride-sharing platform is used by Americans everywhere, and its drivers represent a wide variety of the population," Michael Mullette, Moderna's vice president of commercial operations in North America, said. "There’s a great opportunity for us to think about educating the population about how do you get immunized … but also how do you access credible information about vaccines."
14th Jan 2021 - FiercePharma

GPs in England say inconsistent supply of Covid vaccine causing roll-out issues

Inconsistent vaccine supply is making it difficult for GPs in England to book patient appointments more than a few days in advance, experts have warned, as the prime minister admitted there were significant disparities in local immunisation rates. Doctors, NHS specialists and MPs told the Guardian that batches of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine frequently arrived with only a couple of days’ notice, requiring last-minute planning and creating uncertainty for patients. Insiders said the distribution system was operating on a “push model” meaning that doctors could not order the vaccine but simply had to be ready to be receive batches whenever the NHS was able to deliver them.
14th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Boots and Superdrug start dishing out Covid vaccines as six high street pharmacies are recruited and No10 says it's on track to do 3m jabs a week — but independent chemists fear UK will fail to hit target unless it uses 'many more, much sooner'

MailOnline revealed this week Boots in Halifax and Superdrug branch in Guildford would join vaccine effort. Chains are among six high street pharmacies across England to be converted into Covid hubs this morning. Calls for ministers to go further and use England's 11,500 pharmacies to deliver round-the-clock vaccinations
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail


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U.S. Vaccine Shift Stirs New Unease as 128 Million Join Line

The U.S. government wants states to offer vaccines to millions more Americans as Covid-19 infections continue to soar, in a bid to bolster an immunization campaign that’s off to a rocky start. In recommending that states start immunizing all residents 65 and older, along with all those between 16 and 64 with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious disease, U.S. health officials are clearing a path for about 128 million more Americans to be vaccinated.
13th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Less than half of people who have developed Covid-19 symptoms have requested a test - and over-60s are the worst at getting checked out

Just 43 per cent of people who develop Covid-19 symptoms are getting a test, according to shock new data. An ongoing UCL study has been tracking the social aspect of the pandemic and how the general public has been behaving and adhering to the ever-changing rules and guidance. It started in mid-March 2020 and regularly quizzes more than 70,000 Britons about their life in lockdown. Data shows a third of people requested a test every time they developed symptoms, one in ten got a test only on some of the occasions when they had symptoms and 57 per cent never requested a test despite having symptoms
13th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

US requires negative Covid-19 tests from all international travelers

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced it will start requiring all international travelers coming into the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country. Global testing requirements would be an expansion on a Trump administration policy barring UK travelers without a negative test from entry, which was announced on December 24. The new rule, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, will apply to Americans returning home from abroad, as well as visitors.
13th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Mental health of NHS staff placed under further strain as Covid hospitalisations continue to rise

Doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients in overstretched hospitals are increasingly suffering from mental health issues, figures show – as health chiefs warn staff will be pushed to their limit over the next few weeks of the pandemic. The number of doctors seeking psychiatric help through the British Medical Association has doubled since the pandemic began, The Independent can reveal, while new research shows that nearly half of all NHS staff in intensive care units (ICUs) are likely to meet the threshold for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or depression. And in a letter sent to doctors on Tuesday, the UK’s chief medical officers said that the weeks ahead “are likely to be among the most challenging of all our professional lives” and will push staff “to the limits of [their] physical and mental endurance”.
13th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Scotland's Covid lockdown tightened with click and collect and takeaway curbs

Shops in Scotland have been ordered to stop non-essential click-and-collect services and alcohol consumption is to be banned outdoors, in a further tightening of lockdown measures. Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, said shops would be allowed to offer click and collect only for essential goods such as clothes, shoes, baby equipment, books and homeware from Saturday 16 January. Takeaway outlets will be banned from allowing customers into the building. “I must stress at the outset that the situation we face in relation to the virus remains very precarious and extremely serious,” she told MSPs. UK government ministers are considering restricting click and collect in England, and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, joined Sturgeon in welcoming John Lewis’s voluntary decision on Tuesday to suspend its collect services.
13th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

School key worker ‘lottery’ sees NHS staff miss out on lockdown classroom places as more children attend

One week after schools in England closed, key worker parents and NHS staff are missing out on face-to-face education places for their children, as schools attempt to adhere to broader key worker guidance while managing a problematic increase in attendance. Both teachers and parents told i that they were finding it increasingly difficult to manage demand for children to attend school. While schools in England closed for most pupils on Tuesday 5 January, as with the first lockdown they remain open for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, as well as for those children without digital devices or quiet spaces in their homes, and the children of EU transition workers.
13th Jan 2021 - iNews


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Retailers remove product limits on groceries after Brisbane lockdown ends

Retailers have removed product limits for popular grocery items in Brisbane after the end of its three-day lockdown. Shoppers descended on stores in large numbers on Friday after the Queensland government confirmed five local government areas would shut down for 72 hours to stop the spread of the UK strain of COVID-19. Punches were thrown and supermarkets stripped bare as residents defied advice to raid shelves and stock up on supplies. It prompted major retailers like Coles and Woolworths to reintroduce product limits on multiple items
12th Jan 2021 - The Australian

Asia Today: India starts shipping COVID-19 vaccine to cities

India has started shipping COVID-19 vaccines to multiple cities, four days ahead of a nationwide inoculation drive. The first consignment of vaccines developed by the Serum Institute of India left the city of Pune on Tuesday. The vaccines rolled out from Serum Institute of India’s facility in temperature-controlled trucks to the city’s airport, from where they were loaded into private air carriers for distribution all over the country. Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri called the shipping of vaccines a “momentous mission.”
12th Jan 2021 - ABC News

UK retailers call for police help to enforce mask rules

British retailers called on the police to help enforce the wearing of masks to limit the spread of COVID-19, with one of the biggest supermarkets saying on Monday it would no longer allow entry to those flouting the rules. With infection numbers rising sharply the UK government has expressed concern about the spread of the virus in supermarkets, with people breaching rules by not wearing masks while shopping in them. Non-essential retail, restaurants and bars are shut across Britain, leading to a high level of demand for supermarkets and other food stores. “People have got to follow the guidance in supermarkets, people need to be keeping their distance, making sure that they’re wearing masks, doing the right thing,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

ICE must provide Covid-19 vaccines to all detained migrants

After months of public health and political debates on vaccine prioritization for incarcerated populations, Covid-19 vaccination has begun in prisons and jails across the United States. Yet little is known about vaccination programs in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers. Some states have said they will vaccinate incarcerated populations in Phase 1b or 2 of the vaccines rollout, either alongside correctional officers or after they have been vaccinated. The Federal Bureau of Prisons first planned to prioritize correctional officers, in line with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. But after pushback from public health experts highlighted the growing rates of Covid-19 among inmates, the Bureau of Prisons began vaccinating staff members and selected prisoners simultaneously.
12th Jan 2021 - STAT News

Mexico City restaurants open doors in defiance of COVID-19 ...

Several prominent restaurant chains and smaller eateries on Monday defied Mexico City's extension of a ban on dine-in service, in an act of civil disobedience against rules aimed at controlling a surge in COVID-19 cases. Fish restaurant Fisher's, steak house Sonora Grill and Potzollcalli, which sells a Mexican pork and corn soup, were among the outlets that flouted the ban. Between them, the three chains have dozens of outlets in the city area. Officials initially said a partial lockdown implemented on Dec. 19 would last until Jan. 11, but extended it after surging cases last week pushed hospitals to their limit. Hospitals in the capital are 89% full, the highest peak of the pandemic, according to city data. Nationwide, Mexico has surpassed 1.5 million cases and 130,000 deaths.
11th Jan 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation


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Covid vaccine: Wales has delivered 70,000 of 275,000 doses

Wales has received 275,000 doses of the two Covid-19 vaccines to deal with the pandemic. About 70,000 people received a first dose after the first month of the vaccine rollout. The Welsh Government confirmed it has had more than 250,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 25,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. The health minister promised a "really significant step-up" in the roll-out after opponents criticised its speed. The Pfizer jabs were first administered in early December at seven sites across Wales as part of the UK-wide immunisation programme.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Two million receive Covid-19 vaccination as Boris Johnson urges ‘maximum vigilance’

Almost two million people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus but the epidemic has never been so dangerous, according to England’s chief medical officer. Professor Chris Whitty warned people that there was a “very high chance” that someone with whom they have had unnecessary contact had Covid-19, adding: “This is the most dangerous time.” Boris Johnson has begged people to follow rules, particularly in supermarkets and at takeaway venues as part of a drive to counter faltering compliance and lockdown fatigue.
11th Jan 2021 - The Times

Travel body rejects compulsory COVID-19 shots, experts say herd immunity distant

The head of a global travel organisation on Monday opposed making COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement for travellers in the fight against the pandemic, despite scepticism about reaching herd immunity this year.
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Army to help ensure vaccines reach health authorities in Spain after worst snowfall in decades

Convoys containing food and the coronavirus vaccine are being sent by the Spanish government to reach areas cut off by record snowfall. Army emergency brigades have focused on clearing access to Madrid's main fresh food distribution centre and to hospitals as COVID-19 infections rise across Spain. Interior minister Fernando Grande-Markaska said the government will take extra steps to ensure that the country's weekly shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, arriving on Monday, can be distributed to regional health authorities via police-escorted convoys.
11th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Birmingham mass vaccination centre opens

Health workers have been among the first to receive a Covid-19 jab at a mass vaccination centre. The site at Birmingham's Millennium Point is one of seven across England and will offer about 2,500 vaccinations a day when it is fully operational. It comes as England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty warns the coming weeks will be "the most dangerous time" of the pandemic. One of the first patients said she had been "so excited" to get the vaccine. Olga Leach-Walters is an endoscopy nurse at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Third of over 80s vaccinated as government to unveil COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC on Sunday that around 2m doses of vaccine had now been delivered and that around a third of over 80s had received at least one dose. His comments came as the government prepared to set out its full COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan on 11 January, which Mr Hancock said would be the 'keystone of our exit out of the pandemic'. The government has already said it hopes to deliver 13.9m doses of COVID-19 vaccine UK-wide by mid February, covering the first four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
11th Jan 2021 - GP online

Chicago Is Reopening Schools Against Fierce Resistance From Teachers

Across the country, many big cities like New York have struggled to resume even limited in-person instruction, while a number, including Los Angeles, have simply given up on the idea, choosing to stick with all-remote education into the spring. Few places have seen as much acrimony over the issue as Chicago, whose public school system is the nation’s third-largest. Now, with 6,000 prekindergarten and special education students preparing to return to the city’s public school buildings on Monday for the first time since March, a question looms: How many of their teachers will be there to greet them?
11th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

French resorts ask: will COVID write off whole ski season?

Business owners at France's Chamonix ski resort, their earnings slashed because of the COVID-19 lockdown, are worried they might not be able to welcome back skiers at all before the snows melt and the season ends. French ski resorts were prevented from opening their cable cars and ski lifts at the start of the season, driving away the large portion of their visitors who come for downhill skiing. The French government had discussed the possibility of re-opening the ski lifts of Jan. 7, but last week it said that with virus cases still high, that would be premature. A decision is now due on Jan. 20, leaving little time before the season ends. "If we have to close to the end of season, that's going to cost us several billion euros," said Mathieu Dechavanne, Chairman and CEO of Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, which operates cable cars in the region. "The economic impact will be catastrophic."
11th Jan 2021 - The Guardian


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Second doses of first coronavirus vaccine happening now

As states try to broaden the reach of their coronavirus vaccination campaigns and navigate uncertain supply chains, many of the first people to receive their shots are just now completing the final act of immunity, the second dose, which boosts the efficacy of both available US vaccines to about 95 percent. Many health care workers and others at high risk who had the Pfizer shots in mid December lined up for their "booster" shot this week, due to be given 21 days after the initial dose.
9th Jan 2021 - NPR

Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes double in a fortnight as care sector is biggest source of infection clusters

The number of apparent Covid-19 outbreaks inside care homes has more than doubled in a fortnight with the care sector now the largest source of multi-infection incidents once again, according to official data. Public Health England figures show that in the week to 3 January, there were 749 “acute respiratory infection incidents” in care homes across the UK, up from 480 the week before and 364 in the week before that. The incidents are defined as two or more confirmed or suspected cases of a respiratory illness such as Covid-19 or flu, and a large majority were confirmed to involve Covid-19 through virus testing.
9th Jan 2021 - iNews

NHS England plans to vaccinate all frontline staff against COVID-19 in next few weeks

NHS England said on Friday it had made plans to vaccinate all frontline staff against COVID-19 in the next few weeks following the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Nikita Kanani, the Nation Health Service medical director for primary care, said the vaccine will be administered to “all health and social care staff” by mid-February.
9th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 In Butler County: Hospitals Adjusting On Fly After State Announces New Vaccine Distribution Plan

This is the fourth version of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in Pennsylvania. While things change, local health systems are rolling with the punches. “Many people are ready, many people perceive their risk. They’ve been riding this out for a long time and have been careful for a long time,” said Dr. David Rottinghaus, the chief medical officer at Butler Health System. Dr. Rottinghaus said Butler Health System was tasked with vaccinating the county’s 1A Phase. “We distributed almost 1,000 in the last 3 days. We are pretty far down the road in tier 1A,” Rottinghaus said.
9th Jan 2021 - CBS Pittsburgh

Over 9 million COVID-19 vaccine shots given in China, health officials say

China has administered over 9 million shots of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec 15 to people deemed at high risk of contracting the disease, senior health officials said on Saturday. As vaccine production ramps up,
9th Jan 2021 - China Daily

DGCA issues guidelines for Airlines to transport COVID-19 vaccines

India's civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has issued guidelines to airlines and other aircraft operators for transportation of Covid-19 vaccines. "All scheduled operators who have been currently authorized to carry dangerous goods may carry COVID19 vaccine packed in dry ice, meeting the regulatory requirements," DGCA said in a circular. "Non-scheduled operators, including aircraft engaged in general aviation, that are required to participate in the carriage of COVID 19 vaccines packed in dry ice shall seek specific approval before commencing such operations," it added. Covid-19 vaccination in India is expected to start in the next few days, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said yesterday, adding that the union government has requested the stakeholders in the process to help in its smooth rollout.
9th Jan 2021 - DD News

Coronavirus Vaccine Demand Has Health Officials Turning to Eventbrite

In the early stages of a global push to distribute the coronavirus vaccine to those who need it most — a process that has, so far, managed to be both hectic and slow — some health officials have turned to an unexpected tool: the ticketing website Eventbrite. Before the pandemic, the platform was a place to book tickets to performances, art shows or pub crawls. Now, public health officials are using it to schedule vaccination appointments. Mai Miller, 48, of Merritt Island, Fla., scoured Eventbrite last week in search of a slot for her mother. She scrolled through pages of dates and times, repeatedly refreshing the site and hunting for booking buttons that were blue, signaling availability. She found a few, but she couldn’t seem to click on them quickly enough. “It was just a scramble,” she said. “Like musical chairs with 20 chairs and 4,000 people.”
9th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

'Care needed' after getting Covid vaccine

People who have had Covid vaccines are being warned to still take care. Vaccination has been shown to prevent severe infection, so even if people do catch the virus, they would be protected from getting seriously ill. The call comes as an NHS nurse working for the Hywel Dda University Health Board area said she contracted Covid-19 while waiting for her second dose. The health board said while the vaccine "reduces your chance of suffering", "no vaccine is 100% effective". The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which started being rolled out in the UK last month, offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 after a second dose.
9th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Some school staff will be prioritised for coronavirus vaccine

Special school staff, an those working in colleges providing intimate care, as well as at risk staff will be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine along with care workers. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which advises UK health departments on immunisation, agreed certain special school staff should be classed as care workers and that at risk school and college staff should also be prioritised. Headteachers, including Chris Britten, head of Ysgol y Deri special school in Penarth, have been pressing for school staff to be prioritised after health workers and vulnerable groups.
9th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

How Restaurants Have Weathered the Pandemic

Nearly 40,000 restaurants in the state have been shuttered since last year, with California leading in the number of restaurant closures in the nation, according to the latest figures released by Yelp. In every corner of the state, loan payouts have been exhausted and state unemployment programs are stymied by bureaucratic delays. A survey by the California Restaurant Association, the group that challenged Los Angeles’s outdoor dining ban in court, found that 60 percent of restaurants that received federal loans said they would most likely run out of money by the summer. It also estimated that since March, between 900,000 and one million restaurant workers have either been laid off or furloughed. The $900 billion stimulus package Congress passed in December would give struggling small businesses another chance to apply for loans.
8th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

North Wales Police Federation rep says officers should get Covid vaccine 'as a priority'

A North Wales Police Federation rep has said officers should get the Covid vaccine as a priority. More than 9,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Welsh Government to change the fact that police are not on the priority list to be immunised for Covid-19. Police forces across the UK are currently experiencing high sickness rates as officers face a greater risk of contracting the virus due to the public facing nature of their jobs. Mark Jones, general secretary of the North Wales Police Federation, said his colleagues had even been spat at by offenders, raising the potential for them to catch the coronavirus even further.
8th Jan 2021 - Deeside.com


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Rush to administer coronavirus vaccine to all hospital staff

Hospitals have been told by NHS England to immediately step up efforts to vaccinate all their staff.Yesterday GPs started administering the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine to protect care home residents
8th Jan 2021 - The Times

Pharmacies set for role in Wales coronavirus vaccination plan

Pharmacies in Wales are set to become involved in the process of vaccinating people against coronavirus, with discussions going on over how that will happen, says Wales' Chief Medical Officer. Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, like its counterparts across Wales, has been checking the suitability of community and other venues across Gwent that might be suitable for use as mass vaccination centres, and GP surgeries will also play a central role. The challenge in Wales, as it is across the UK, is to provide sufficient vaccination sites to enable as many people in the priority groups to be vaccinated as quickly as possible - and Wales' CMO Dr Frank Atherton said all health boards in Wales are developing plans to "rapidly increase the vaccine coverage".
8th Jan 2021 - South Wales Argus

15,000 Covid-19 vaccines administered in Ireland

More than 15,000 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland to date. The country’s health chief said a total of 35,000 people will have received the Pfizer BioNTech jab by the end of the week. Paul Reid described the State’s coronavirus vaccination programme as the “great light” and “great hope” as the country faces the weeks ahead. A total of 15,314 people have been given vaccinated since December 29. “It has given a great lift to the country and it has given a great inspirational lift to our healthcare workers,” he said.
7th Jan 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Most vulnerable to get vaccine by mid-Feb as Covid deaths soar

The UK has recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus deaths overnight for the second day in a row while hospital admissions have risen above the peak of the first wave, new figures show. Some 3,600 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the UK on January 3, the first time it has been higher than the peak of 3,565 recorded on April 1. It comes as London’s hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed as health bosses scramble to find more beds to deal with a surge in infections across the country. The sobering figures were published as Boris Johnson admitted that the UK roll-out of Covid vaccines is a “challenge on a scale like nothing we’ve seen before”.
7th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

GPs struggling with Covid vaccine delivery timing uncertainties

GPs are having to do a ‘huge amount’ of cancellations and rebooking of Covid vaccine appointments amid last-minute changes to vaccine delivery times, regional GP leaders have claimed. LMC leaders said this was giving practices ‘a headache’ and called for some ‘assurance’ about ‘when vaccine will be supplied’. This week, GP sites in wave five of the rollout were expecting their first vaccine deliveries between Wednesday and Friday, while sites in wave six will be told today (Thursday 7 January) whether they have passed their ‘readiness assessment’ to commence vaccinations next week. Slides presented in an NHS England webinar for GPs on Tuesday evening said ‘site-specific delivery dates have been confirmed’.
7th Jan 2021 - Pulse

Nicola Sturgeon confirms covid vaccine to be rolled out to all over 80s in next four weeks

All over-80s in Scotland will receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the next four weeks, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Speaking at today's daily briefing, the First Minister confirmed that 113,459 people have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with the Oxford/AstraZeneca inoculation being first used on Monday. She said: "I can confirm that this shows that by Sunday, the 30th of January, 113,459 individuals had received their first tools of the Pfizer Covid vaccine.
7th Jan 2021 - Glasgow Live

Hancock: 'We're working with Pfizer and AstraZeneca to increase Covid-19 vaccine supply'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock visited a GP surgery in London to promote the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. Mr Hancock said they were working with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca to increase the supply.
7th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Vaccine rollout widens as hospital pressure rises

GPs in England are receiving doses of the Oxford Covid jab as medics warn about overstretched hospitals. The rollout of the Oxford vaccine is part of the NHS's biggest-ever effort and aims to offer jabs to 13 million by mid-February - including all over-80s. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted vaccine supply was a "rate-limiting" factor. Birmingham's NHS said there are enough supplies with more to come as politicians warned doses may run out. Some hospitals in England are at risk of becoming Covid-only sites, with rising admissions for the virus forcing trusts to cut back on other services.
7th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Ireland tightens lockdown as COVID-19 'tsunami' threatens hospitals

Ireland announced its strictest lockdown measures since early last year on Wednesday as a “tsunami” of infections caused by a new COVID-19 variant pushed hospitalisations to a record high and sparked fears the healthcare system could be overwhelmed. Ireland’s 14-day infection rate has quadrupled in the past 10 days to 819 cases per 100,000, fueled by a new more transmissible COVID-19 variant first identified in Britain and the relaxation of restrictions ahead of Christmas. Officials reported a record high of 7,836 cases on Wednesday. “Already exhausted healthcare workers now face a tsunami of infection even greater than the first wave,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin told a news conference announcing the new measures. “In addition we have a more infectious strain of the virus in our midst... which can rapidly lead to growth well beyond previous worst case scenarios.”
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Covid vaccine: National vaccination booking system will be launched in the UK

A new national system allowing the public to book a Covid-19 vaccination will be launched in the UK to make it easier to roll out the immunisation programme, Boris Johnson has announced. The Prime Minister said during a press conference on Thursday that nearly 1.5 million people have now been vaccinated against coronavirus in the UK, including 1.26 million in England. The process of getting a vaccination will be made easier, he said, by the launch of the new national appointment booking service – but did not reveal any further details about how it would work.
7th Jan 2021 - iNews

Pharmacies to roll out Covid vaccine in ‘Herculean effort’ to immunise Britain

High street pharmacies will form a major part of the “Herculean effort” to vaccinate the nation against coronavirus, the vaccines tsar has announced. Nadhim Zahawi, the minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, told BBC’s Today programme that community pharmacy networks will be “very much involved” in plans to vaccinate 13.4m Brits by mid-February. Current government plans will see vaccines given to GPs to be rolled out to the public, then national vaccination centres, and then distributed across local pharmacies, Zahawi announced. “The NHS has a very clear plan and I’m confident that we can meet it,” he said, adding that it would require a “Herculean effort” to roll out the jab to the most vulnerable in just seven weeks’ time. It comes after ministers were yesterday accused of ignoring an army of trained vaccinators at pharmacies. Simon Dukes, the chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Negotiating Services Committee, told the Telegraph the NHS was “scrabbling around” for vaccinators while trained medics in the pharmaceutical industry were ready to help.
7th Jan 2021 - City A.M.


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Around 50,000 receive first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland

Around 50,000 people have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine in Northern Ireland, Health Minister Robin Swann said. Nine in 10 care home residents have been inoculated. By January 18, more supplies are expected to be received from manufacturer AstraZeneca. Mr Swann urged the public to stay at home while the programme gathers steam. "This is a time to hunker down and weather the crisis," he said.
6th Jan 2021 - ITV News

As cases spike, Europe mulls delaying 2nd coronavirus vaccine shot

Faced with surging coronavirus cases, some European countries are considering whether to change tack and join the U.K. in vaccinating as many people as possible with just one dose rather than the two administered during clinical trials so far. This issue has been live since December 30, when the U.K. announced its decision to delay second doses by up to 12 weeks when it approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use. The switch also applied to the BioNTech/Pfizer jab. Just this week, Denmark announced its decision to delay the second dose of both the Pfizer and forthcoming Moderna jabs by up to six weeks. The German health ministry has also confirmed looking into widening vaccination coverage by similar delays between doses.
6th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Record-high COVID-19 hospitalizations strain southwestern Ontario health-care system

A southwestern Ontario hospital grappling with record-high COVID-19 admissions was cancelling surgeries and transferring patients to other facilities this week while another scrapped procedures to free up staff who could care for the gravely ill. The capacity crunch due to rising cases of the novel coronavirus had the head of a group representing Ontario’s hospitals warning that the acute-care system is more stretched than ever and the situation could get worse. The Windsor Regional Hospital cancelled all non-urgent, elective surgeries indefinitely and is preparing to send patients to hospitals near and far, hospital CEO David Musyj said Wednesday. Some acute-care patients are being transferred to the hospital in nearby Chatham-Kent, Ont., he said, while those with higher needs are being transferred to London, Ont.
6th Jan 2021 - The Star

U.S. sets COVID-19 hospitalization record as states work to ramp up vaccination efforts

More Americans were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday than at any time since the pandemic began, as total coronavirus infections crossed the 21 million mark, deaths soared across much of the United States and a historic vaccination effort lagged. U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a record 130,834 late on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally of public health data, while 3,684 reported fatalities was the second-highest single-day death toll of the pandemic. That appalling toll meant that on Tuesday someone died from COVID-19 every 24 seconds in the United States. With total deaths surpassing 357,000, one in every 914 U.S. residents has died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to a Reuters analysis.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Swamped Hospitals Expose Depth of Britain’s Unfolding Crisis

If the British government’s goal throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been to protect the health service, the next few weeks will be the biggest challenge yet. After overtaking Italy again as the country with Europe’s highest death toll, the U.K. is at the epicenter of the continent’s struggle to contain Covid-19. Daily infections are at a record—one in 50 people in England now have the disease—while Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week shut schools and ordered the population to stay at home. Medical staff say they may be forced to turn people away from hospitals if the latest lockdown fails to curb quickly enough a new strain of the virus that emerged in southeast England last month.
6th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid Vaccine Rollouts in Europe Are Off to a Shaky Start

With a more contagious variant of the coronavirus forcing England to impose a strict new national lockdown and European nations extending restrictions in the face of rising cases, political leaders have promised that mass vaccinations will bring an end to the suffering. But in the race to beat the virus, the virus is still way out in front. There are shortages of needles in Italy, Greece and other countries. Spain has not trained enough nurses. France has only managed to vaccinate around 7,000 people. Poland’s program was rocked by scandal after it was revealed that celebrities were given preferential treatment. There are calls in Germany to take control over vaccine purchases from European Union authorities. Nearly every country in Europe has complained about burdensome paperwork.
6th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

Covid-19 pre-departure tests and more lockdowns: Additional measures rolled out to battle new variant

Since the new Covid-19 variant began spreading rapidly around the world, new measures have been rolled out to slow it down. The B.1.1.7 strain, which was first identified in the UK on September 20, is more transmissible than other coronavirus variants. According to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, it is roughly one-and-a-half times more infectious than earlier versions of the virus. The new variant has since been found in more than 30 countries, including New Zealand.
6th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz


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What do we know about the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in Scotland?

Vaccination of the public and vulnerable people from Covid-19 in Scotland is well underway, but information on when the Scottish Government expects vaccines to reach all of the population remains thin on the ground.
5th Jan 2021 - The Scotsman

Baker says 70,000 staff members at Mass. hospitals have received COVID-19 vaccine

Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday that more than 70,000 “COVID-facing” staff members at Massachusetts hospitals have received the COVID-19 vaccine amid the ongoing distribution program that’s slated to expand to first responders on Jan.
5th Jan 2021 - The Boston Globe

COVID-19: More than a million have coronavirus in England, says PM - as variant is 'taking off' around UK

More than a million people in England are currently infected with coronavirus, the prime minister has said. Boris Johnson was speaking at a Downing Street news conference on the first full day of the nation's third lockdown, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said one in 50 people in England have COVID-19. Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said it was "really quite a large number indeed" and warned the new variant is "taking off" in areas outside London and the South East.
5th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Elderly residents who waited overnight for Covid vaccine are turned away as Florida centre hits capacity

Distribution has stalled in places across the United States due to the limited number of coronavirus doses currently available, and it caused one Florida vaccine centre to close its doors once it reached capacity. On Monday, a vaccination centre at Daytona Stadium, in Daytona Beach, Florida, reached capacity for distributing the Moderna vaccine. It was announced that the centre would be open Monday, 4 July, and Tuesday, 5 July, on a first come, first serve basis to administer the coronavirus vaccine to those who qualified. About 2,000 doses were available.
5th Jan 2021 - The Independent

France cranks up vaccine rollout to deliver shots faster

France is stepping up its COVID-19 vaccine rollout by widening further its first target group to include more health workers and simplifying a cumbersome process to deliver jabs more quickly, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday. France’s inoculation campaign got off to a slow start, hampered in part by red tape and President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to tread warily in one of the most vaccine-sceptical countries in the world. But France has fallen behind neighbours such as Britain and Germany, and the president is now demanding the vaccination programme be expedited.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters

France's go-slow coronavirus vaccination strategy backfires

France’s cautious approach to rolling out a coronavirus vaccination program appears to have backfired, leaving barely 500 people inoculated in the first week and rekindling anger over the government’s handling of the pandemic. Amid public outcry, the health minister vowed Monday to step up the pace, and made a belated public plea on behalf of the vaccine, saying it offers a “chance” for France and the world to vanquish a pandemic that has killed more than 1.8 million people. President Emmanuel Macron was holding a special meeting with top government officials Monday to address the vaccine strategy and other virus developments. The slow rollout of the vaccine made by Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech was blamed on mismanagement, staffing shortages during holiday vacations and a complex French consent policy designed to accommodate unusually broad vaccine skepticism among the French public.
5th Jan 2021 - The Associated Press

UK lockdowns force British Airways, easyJet to review flying plans

UK-based airlines British Airways and easyJet said they were reviewing their plans in response to new national COVID lockdowns, with reductions to already low levels of flying almost certain. Restrictions on travel due to the pandemic, and particularly a halt by some countries to passenger traffic from Britain due to an outbreak of a new variant of the coronavirus, means that there are only a fraction of flights currently operating. But the new lockdown in England stops most people from travelling abroad, making more cuts likely, and putting airline finances under renewed pressure as carriers had hoped for a recovery in travel by the spring. Goodbody analysts said the lockdown would wipe out income from the school half-term holiday in February, usually a strong travel period, and risked impacting bookings for Easter and summer.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

China steps up COVID measures near Beijing as local infections rise

-Chinese authorities shut sections of highways running through Hebei province that surrounds Beijing on Wednesday and closed a key long distance bus terminal in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang in efforts to stave off another coronavirus wave. The province, which entered a “wartime mode” on Tuesday, accounted for 20 of the 23 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases reported in mainland China on Jan. 5, more than the total of 19 cases in the province in the three previous days. The total number of new mainland cases, including those originating from overseas, fell to 32 from 33 a day earlier. Hebei also accounted for 43 of the 64 new asymptomatic cases - patients who have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus but not yet showing symptoms of COVID-19.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters


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First NHS staff in the region receive the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Frontline NHS staff in South Tyneside and Sunderland are among the first in the region to receive the newly approved Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. Tracy Barnett from the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Community Stroke Team was the very first to be vaccinated at South Tyneside District Hospital today.
4th Jan 2021 - ITV News

Moderna raises production goal of its coronavirus vaccine from 500 to 600 million by the end of 2021

On Monday, Moderna Inc said it will produce a minimum of 600 million coronavirus vaccine doses in 2021. This is 20% higher that the 500 million doses the firm said it would be able to manufacture by year's end. So far, Moderna has distributed 18 million doses of the 200 million it has promised the federal government. The vaccine rollout in the U.S. has been very slow, with just 4.2 million people receiving shots, short of the 20 million the Trump administration hoped for
4th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Houston's free COVID-19 vaccination clinic sees overwhelming public response

Houston's free COVID-19 vaccination clinic was met with overwhelming response. At least 1,000 people received the much-anticipated Moderna vaccine at Houston's first free public COVID-19 vaccination clinic,
4th Jan 2021 - San Francisco Chronicle

Covid-19: The areas in England seeing a surge in cases and hospital patient numbers

Covid-19 case rates are increasing in all parts of England and the prime minister has warned there is "no question" tougher measures are needed to control the virus. NHS hospitals are under increasing pressure with a rising number of coronavirus patients requiring care. Most areas around the country are reporting a record number of Covid-19 patients in hospital, beyond the peaks seen in April. Here's a rundown of the case rate in your area and the number of Covid patients in your local hospitals.
4th Jan 2021 - ITV News

NYC is only handing out COVID-19 vaccine shots during 'business hours'

Cuomo said on Monday that his state has administered almost 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses - or about 46 percent of its allocation - in the last three weeks The latest CDC data, however, shows that New York state has administered 236,941 of its 774,075 distributed doses. In New York City, 110,241 of 443,000 vaccine doses have been administered since vaccinations started three weeks ago Gov Andrew Cuomo on Monday said hospitals will be fined $100,000 if they fail to use up their dose allocations by the end of the week. Facilities now also must use up their vaccine allocations within seven days going forward or risk being allowed to receive any future doses. NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio said he expects the city to administer 400,000 doses per week by the end of the month with 250 new vaccine sites set to open. NYC Councilman Mark Levine has slammed the current rate of vaccine distribution, saying shots need to be handed out 24/7
4th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

US may cut Covid vaccine doses by half to speed up rollout

The federal government of US is thinking about reducing Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine dosages to half to some people in order to speed up the vaccine rollout amid concerns intensifying that the distribution drive is slower than expected. Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, an initiative to accelerate coronavirus vaccine efforts, said Moderna vaccine’s single shot to people between the age group 18-55 gives “identical immune response” to the recommended two injections dose. He said that the officials are in discussion with Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration.
4th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Lockdown in Wales could remain in place until the end of January

A review of the Level 4 lockdown restrictions in Wales is due to be held this week, but First Minister Mark Drakeford has warned that there is not "much headroom for change". The restrictions, which has seen people being told to stay at home and avoid all but essential travel, have been in place since Sunday, December 20 and are reviewed every three weeks. All non-essential shops, gyms and hospitality were also told to close. Ministers are to review restrictions this Thursday ahead of an announcement on Friday, January 8. It is likely that not much will change, and with the next review not for another three weeks it means the lockdown could extend to the end of January. But Mark Drakeford said in a BBC interview that it was "very hard to see where the room for manoeuvre is at the moment" with the NHS "under huge pressure".
4th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

France ramps up Covid-19 vaccination programme as slow start sparks anger

France is overhauling its Covid-19 immunisation campaign after a cautious, phased strategy aimed at placating the world’s most vaccine-sceptical population fell flat in its first week. The country has only vaccinated some 350 people to date — compared with the UK’s 1m and Germany’s 238,000 — although the government has received 500,000 doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine and will get a similar amount each week in January. The situation is piling pressure on President Emmanuel Macron and risks sparking another political fight over how the government has managed the pandemic. Opposition politicians have criticised the government over how it bungled mask supplies and struggled to roll out mass testing last year.
4th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Education unions call for ‘pause’ in school reopenings as councils defy government

Half a dozen unions representing teachers and support staff have called on the government to "pause" its "chaotic" reopening of schools, as councils across the country move to defy ministers. Local authorities in some areas of England say they will unilaterally keep their primary schools shut, ignoring orders from Whitehall on public health grounds. Conservative-controlled Essex is among local authorities to recommend the continued closure of its primary schools, despite government designs that some would reopen as planned on Monday.
4th Jan 2021 - The Independent

New death risks noted in nursing home residents with COVID-19

Older age, male sex, and physical and cognitive impairments were linked to higher death rates from any cause in 5,256 residents at 351 US nursing homes, according to a study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine. Led by researchers at Brown University, the cohort study involved mining the electronic health records, daily infection logs, and minimum data sets of resident assessments from a large chain of nursing homes in 25 states from Mar 16 to Sep 15, 2020. By 30 days after their first positive COVID-19 test result, 1,129 of the 5,256 residents (21%) had died from any cause.
4th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP


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Schools are safe, say PM Johnson as COVID-19 cases surge

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday tougher lockdown restrictions were probably on the way as COVID-19 cases keep rising, but that schools were safe and children should continue to attend where permitted. COVID-19 cases in Britain are at record levels and the increase in numbers is fuelled by a new and more transmissible variant of the virus. The government has cancelled the planned reopening of schools in and around London but teaching unions want wider closures.
4th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Thailand bans food and magazines on domestic flights in bid to stop spread of coronavirus

Thailand has banned food and drink services and magazines on domestic flights. Airlines who do not follow the new regulations face a penalty from the regulator. It marks the second time the ban has come into force during the pandemic
2nd Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Pfizer and BioNTech to offer COVID vaccine to volunteers who got placebo

Pfizer Inc and its partner BioNTech Se plan to give volunteers who received a placebo in its COVID-19 vaccine trial an option to receive a first dose of the vaccine by March 1, 2021, while staying within the study. The trial's Vaccine Transition Option allows all participants aged 16 or older the choice to discover whether they were given the placebo, "and for participants who learn they received the placebo, to have the option to receive the investigational vaccine while staying in the study," the companies said on their website here for trial participants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a panel of its outside advisers have expressed concerns over Pfizer’s “unblinding” plan, saying it could make it harder to continue collecting data on safety and effectiveness needed to win full FDA approval of the vaccine.
2nd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Covid: All London primary schools to stay closed

All primary schools in London will remain closed for the start of the new term, the government has confirmed. London mayor Sadiq Khan said the government had "finally seen sense and U-turned" on its plan to allow pupils in some areas to return on Monday. Leaders of nine London local authorities had written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson urging him to rethink the decision. Mr Williamson said the city-wide closures were "a last resort". The government said it had decided all primary schools in the capital would be required to provide remote learning after a further review of coronavirus transmission rates. Vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers will continue to attend school, the government said.
1st Jan 2021 - BBC News

AstraZeneca expects to supply two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine every week in UK - The Times

About two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca are set to be supplied every week by the middle of January in the United Kingdom, The Times reported. AstraZeneca expects to supply two million doses of the vaccine in total by next week, the newspaper reported, citing an unnamed member of the Oxford-AstraZeneca team. “The plan is then to build it up fairly rapidly - by the third week of January we should get to two million a week,” the report added.
1st Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus in Ireland: Sluggish vaccine programme will hurt high street, sector warns

A retail group has expressed concern that a slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland will lead to long-term closures for non-essential retail.Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), an industry group
31st Dec 2020 - The Times

Doctors can't get a Covid vaccine in Wales and say the health service is in danger of collapse

Frontline doctors and other healthcare professionals are still struggling to access the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in Wales, it is claimed. Dr David Bailey, chairman of the British Medical Association's (BMA) Welsh Council, said the Welsh NHS was "in danger of collapse" due to soaring staff absence levels. He said it was "unacceptable" that frontline clinicians were still being exposed to the virus day in, day out without proper protection. His comments come following the announcement that the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use by the MHRA and will be rolled out in Wales from next week.
31st Dec 2020 - Wales Online

'Vaccine diplomacy' sees Egypt roll out Chinese coronavirus jab

When Egypt’s health ministry sent out an invitation to doctors to be vaccinated against Covid-19, they neglected to make clear it was a clinical trial. Instead, it assured them that two Covid-19 vaccines developed by China’s National Biotec Group, part of a state-owned conglomerate known as Sinopharm, had no side-effects and that “the minister of health was vaccinated today, and orders were issued to vaccinate all doctors and workers who wish to be vaccinated”. Many were sceptical. “When my colleagues and I got that message, none of us participated, as we cannot trust it,” said one worker at a state hospital, who said there was a “lack of credibility” in the government’s approach to the pandemic and the vaccines. The doctor, who cannot be named to protect their safety, described Egypt’s extensive publicity campaign around the vaccines, featuring a well-known actor driving to a sunlit clinic to get his jab, as “government propaganda intended to boost people’s morale”.
31st Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Some Doctors in Britain Plan to Defy Instructions to Delay Vaccine Booster Shots

Some family doctors in Britain said on Thursday that they would defy the government’s instructions to postpone patients’ appointments for a second dose of coronavirus vaccine, a signal of unease in the medical community over Britain’s new plan to delay second shots as a way of giving more people the partial protection of a single dose. British doctors, who have been instructed to begin rescheduling second-dose appointments that had been set for next week, said they were loath to ask older, vulnerable patients to wait an extra two months for their booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They said those patients had been counting on having the full protection of two doses, had already arranged for caregivers to help them get to their doctors’ offices, and could ill afford to rely on a new and untested vaccination strategy.
31st Dec 2020 - The New York Times

Israel leads the world in vaccination drive with 7% getting a dose

Israel has already given a dose of the vaccine to 644,000 of its 8.7million people Bahrain is second in the per-capita table, followed by the UK, US and Canada UK today became the first in the world to approve the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot
30th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail


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Care homes still waiting weeks for Covid vaccines - despite 'tsunami' of cases

Care homes are still waiting for coronavirus jabs, weeks after the Tories ­promised them. One boss warned they face a Covid “tsunami” as they battle the new virus variant. Raj Sehgal said: “We’ve had no vaccines at all.” And staff fear the growing crisis could leave them on their knees as they battle a worrying shortage of workers struck down by the virus. It comes as officials last night said approval of the Oxford vaccine was “imminent”, which would be a game-changer for care homes. Mr Sehgal, who runs homes in Norfolk, including Summerville House in Heacham, said he was still desperately waiting for jabs, despite those in care being identified as the most urgently in need of them.
30th Dec 2020 - Mirror Online

Covid vaccine uptake high despite concerns over hesitancy

Uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine has been high among those offered it, doctors say, despite fears that vaccine hesitancy could undermine efforts to control the pandemic. Experts have feared mass uptake of the jab could be jeopardised by widespread misinformation, concerns among the public about the speed at which the vaccine has been developed and approved, and lack of trust in vaccines and the pharmaceutical companies and governments calling for it. But for now, at least, it seems few are shying away from vaccination. “We’ve had reports from our members that despite inevitable teething problems – to be expected when delivering a completely new and complicated vaccine at scale and speed – the programme seems to be running well overall with very positive take-up rates, so far,” said Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs and a practising GP in east London.
29th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Health workers 'back in eye of storm', says NHS chief

Health workers are "back in the eye of the storm" as coronavirus cases continue to rise, NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens has said. It has been the "toughest year" for the NHS, which has treated 200,000 severely ill Covid-19 patients, he added. Hospitals in England are currently treating more Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave in April. A government scientific adviser has warned national restrictions are needed to prevent a "catastrophe". On Monday, a record 41,385 new Covid cases were reported in the UK, though it is thought the infection rate was higher during spring when testing was much more limited.
29th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Covid patient numbers exceed April peak as Nightingale hospitals stand empty

There are now more coronavirus patients in England’s hospitals than there were during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, new figures show. As of 8am on Monday, there were 20,426 patients in the country’s NHS hospitals compared to the 18,974 patients recorded on April 12, NHS England revealed. The sobering update comes after the UK recorded its highest daily number of Covid-19 cases to date, with 41,385 infections confirmed as of 9am on Monday, according to the Department of Health. Meanwhile, London’s Nightingale hospital has been stripped of its beds as medics warn there are not enough staff to run the facility, the Telegraph reported.
29th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Staggered school return to go ahead as planned in January despite new Covid strain fears - Michael Gove

The staggered reopening of schools in January is expected to go ahead as planned, Michael Gove said on Monday. The Cabinet Office minister confirmed that secondary school pupils in Years 11 and 13, as well as children of key workers, will return on January 4. All primary school children will also resume classes while other pupils will return a week later. Mr Gove told Sky News: "We always keep things under review but teachers and head teachers have been working incredibly hard over the Christmas period since schools broke up in order to prepare for a new testing regime — community testing — in order to make sure that children and all of us are safer.
29th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Moscow extends school holiday amid rise in coronavirus infections in Russia

Moscow will extend the school holiday by one week until Jan. 17 in hopes of stabilising the situation regarding new coronavirus infections and avoid new COVID-19-related restrictions, the Russian capital’s mayor said on Tuesday. Russia, which launched a voluntary vaccination programme with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine earlier this month, has resisted imposing a strict lockdown as it did early this year, relying on targeted measures instead.
29th Dec 2020 - Reuters India


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Hospital Covid admissions are set to surge PAST first wave peak amid fears NHS is being 'overwhelmed' by highly infectious new strain - with ministers to decide in days if ...

The number of patients in hospital with the virus is likely to exceed the peak in the spring, with 21,286 coronavirus patients being treated on December 22. In comparison, the figure on April 12 was 21,
29th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

UK faces Covid third wave unless vaccination target is doubled, ministers warned

Britain must vaccinate two million people a week to avoid a third wave of the coronavirus outbreak, a new study claims. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) paper has issued ministers with the stark warning coming as hospital admissions surpassed the peak of the first wave of the pandemic. Around 200,000 people are being inoculated each week, which is expected to raise to one million by the middle of January, according to the Daily Telegraph. "The most stringent intervention scenario with tier 4 England-wide and schools closed during January and 2 million individuals vaccinated per week, is the only scenario we considered which reduces peak ICU burden below the levels seen during the first wave," the study said.
29th Dec 2020 - Mirror Online

Covid-19: Hospitals under pressure as coronavirus cases rise

England's "very high" Covid infection level is a "growing concern" as the NHS struggles to cope with rising patient numbers, a health official has said. On Monday, a record 41,385 Covid cases and 357 deaths were reported in the UK. NHS England said the number of people being treated for the virus in hospital is now 20,426, which is higher than the previous peak of about 19,000 in April. BBC health editor Hugh Pym said Monday's figure included some infections where reporting was delayed, but that officials did not deny there had been a significant increase in infections.
28th Dec 2020 - BBC News

'The beginning of the end': Europe rolls out vaccines to see off pandemic

Europe launched a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive on Sunday with pensioners and medics lining up to get the first shots to see off a pandemic that has crippled economies and claimed more than 1.7 million lives worldwide. “Thank God,” 96-year-old Araceli Hidalgo said as she became the first person in Spain to have a vaccine at her care home in Guadalajara, near the capital Madrid. “Let’s see if we can make this virus go away.” In Italy, the first country in Europe to record significant numbers of infections, 29-year-old nurse Claudia Alivernini was one of three medical staff at the head of the queue for the shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
27th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Health officials brace for a surge in US Covid-19 cases after the holidays

With Christmas in the rear view mirror, public health experts are bracing for yet another surge in Covid-19 cases, similar to those seen after other US holidays in recent months. "We've just seen these amplification events, and that's what's happened at the end of this year in the US," said Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. "We had Thanksgiving, we had Labor Day, we had Halloween, and each one of these events brought lots of people together and just gave the virus more fuel to move through the population," Bromage said. "Christmas is going to do a similar thing."
26th Dec 2020 - CNN

Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Begins Arriving at Strained Hospitals Across the U.S.

Just one week after the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine were administered in the United States, a new batch of vaccines fanned out across the country on Monday, an urgently needed expansion of a vaccination effort that is expected to reach vulnerable populations and rural areas where hospitals are strained as soon as this week. The vaccine, from Moderna, comes as the virus continues to spread virtually unabated: hospitalizations are over 115,000 for the first time, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Parts of California are down to their last I.C.U. beds and almost one-fifth of U.S. hospitals with intensive care units reported that at least 95 percent of their I.C.U. beds were full in the week ending Dec. 17. Nationwide, 78 percent of I.C.U. beds were full on average.
25th Dec 2020 - The New York Times


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Singapore gets first batch of COVID-19 vaccines - DHL

Singapore received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday, said logistics firm DHL, which is involved in the transportation of the shots to the city-state from Belgium. DHL in a statement did not specify the size of the batch or name the vaccines being delivered, but Singapore last week said it had approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first Asian country to do so.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19: Qatar and Oman to receive vaccine this week

Qatar's health ministry granted emergency use authorisation for the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and is due to receive the first shipment on Monday, state media reported. A ministry statement said people aged 16 years and above would be eligible. Qatar has also signed an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to buy its vaccine. Fellow Gulf Arab state Oman will receive its first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipment on Wednesday, a health ministry official said in remarks carried on a government Twitter account on Monday, adding the initial phase would cover 20 percent of the population.
21st Dec 2020 - Middle East Eye

U.S. loses one life every 33 seconds to COVID-19 in deadliest week so far

In the United States last week, someone died from COVID-19 every 33 seconds. The disease claimed more than 18,000 lives in the seven days ended Dec. 20, up 6.7% from the prior week to hit another record high, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports. Despite pleas by health officials not to travel during the end-year holiday season, 3.2 million people were screened at U.S. airports on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Health officials are worried that a surge in infections from holiday gatherings could overwhelm hospitals, some of which are already at capacity after Thanksgiving celebrations.
22nd Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid UK: Give NHS staff the vaccine to open up abandoned Nightingales, say health chiefs

NHS staff must start receiving the coronavirus vaccine urgently because so many are off sick, hospital bosses in England have claimed amid fears there are not enough nurses and doctors to open the Nightingale sites. The temporary purpose-built hospitals constructed for £220million to help fight the Covid-19 crisis were hailed at the start of the pandemic as a solution to the growing crisis in hospital capacity across the country. But many are lying empty as doctors and nurses plead with their hospitals to vaccinate them after being told they must wait until early next year because they are a lower priority than the over-80s and those in care homes
21st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid: Vaccine clinics operating up to Christmas Eve

In Northern Ireland, vaccination clinics for health and social care workers in priority groups will be operating up to Christmas Eve. The chief medical officer urged those eligible to take up the vaccine offer. About 14,000 people have received the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine in Northern Ireland, including vaccinators, care home residents and care home staff. More vaccine doses arrived in recent days, but Dr Michael McBride said supplies were limited and people would be prioritised in the next few weeks. Staff have been instructed to wait until they are called.
21st Dec 2020 - BBC News

Fifty million people in U.S. to have first COVID-19 shot by end January - Azar

About 50 million people in the United States will have had the first of two COVID-19 shots needed for immunization by the end of January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday. Azar was speaking at a press conference on the first day of shots of Moderna Inc.’s vaccine and the roll out of the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE vaccine to nursing homes.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

UK gives dark glimpse of pandemic’s next act

Despite the initial shock of Britain’s not-so-splendid isolation, the new strain could have some helpful domestic effects. The UK is now spared a five-day period over Christmas that could have exacerbated an already dangerous viral spread. It also acts as a handy stress test of how prepared Britons really are for tangible shortages of goods. Every day 5,000 trucks enter Britain from the continent via the Dover-Calais crossing. In the winter, they carry nearly all Britain’s fresh fruit and vegetables. Retailer J Sainsbury predicted shortages of items like lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower within days. If they happen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson may see the logic of agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal before his Dec. 31 deadline.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Royal Mail halts deliveries to Europe amid transport turmoil

Royal Mail has halted deliveries to Europe, except for the Republic of Ireland, due to a UK travel ban triggered by the discovery of a new faster spreading coronavirus strain. The company has also added Canada and Turkey to its "on suspension" list due to delays caused by "severely limited" air capacity. In addition, Royal Mail said it could not guarantee special delivery items posted on 23 December would arrive before Christmas due to tighter COVID-19 restrictions being introduced in England.
21st Dec 2020 - Sky News

UK business despairs at new lockdown restrictions

Business groups reacted with despair and anger this weekend as they called for urgent government support to help companies survive “the hammer blow” of UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s clampdown on pre-Christmas trading. A clutch of trade bodies issued pleas for further financial relief to help non-essential retail, leisure and entertainment businesses to cope with a shutdown in high-risk areas in south-east England during a crucial period for sales. The Welsh government also enforced a new national lockdown at the weekend. Specific demands include an extension of the rates holiday for a further 12 months from January, VAT relief and additional direct support for businesses forced to shut their doors.
20th Dec 2020 - Financial Times


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Pfizer says Covid-19 vaccine supply will continue into early 2021 after Jeremy Hunt suggested they will run out within weeks

Pfizer has responded to reports that its Covid-19 vaccine could run out after former health secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested they would run dry by February. The pharmaceutical giant said deliveries were “on track”. In a statement, Pfizer said: "The deliveries are on track and progressing according to our agreed schedule. "We can confirm, in accordance with the schedule, that there will be continued deliveries into the UK in early 2021, with shipments scheduled to arrive before March.” The statement came after Mr Hunt suggested the UK’s stocks were set to run out within weeks with no more supplies likely to arrive before March.
19th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

U.S. COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in focus as Moderna shots leave warehouses

The United States will recommend on Sunday who will be next in line to get inoculated as the distribution of the second approved coronavirus vaccine began with shipments of Moderna Inc's leaving warehouses for healthcare facilities across the country.
19th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Sydney virus cluster grows, border restrictions isolate city

The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has warned residents of greater Sydney to prepare for an increase in restrictions if the outbreak of Covid-19 expands beyond the northern beaches. Meanwhile travellers from NSW to Queensland will needed a border pass declaration from 1am Sunday and Western Australia announced it was reinstating its hard border with NSW. The Sydney to Hobart yacht race was cancelled after Tasmania also introduced border restrictions with Sydney.
19th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID vaccine is bonanza for digital supply chain tracking industry

Logistical hurdles are a significant risk for efforts to rapidly distribute COVID-19 vaccines, but they have resulted in booming business for companies such as private California-based Cloudleaf, Germany’s SAP SE and others that sell technology for monitoring shipments from factory freezer to shot in the arm. Cloudleaf, backed by Intel Capital, the venture arm of chipmaker Intel Corp, uses sensors attached to material containers to track the location, temperature, humidity, vibration and acceleration. The sensors send data to the cloud, where an artificial intelligence algorithm can predict if action is needed to prevent a product from becoming exposed to temperatures outside the recommended range, known as excursions.
18th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK


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States report confusion as feds reduce vaccine shipments, even as Pfizer says it has ‘millions’ of unclaimed doses

The changes prompted concern in health departments across the country about whether Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine accelerator, was capable of distributing doses quickly enough to meet the target of delivering first shots to 20 million people by year’s end. A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans, said the revised estimates for next week were the result of states requesting an expedited timeline for locking in future shipments — from Friday to Tuesday — leaving less time for federal authorities to inspect and clear available supply.
18th Dec 2020 - The Washington Post

Pfizer Says No Vaccine Shipments Have Been Delayed

Pfizer Inc. pushed back on claims it is experiencing problems producing its Covid-19 vaccine, as the company and the federal government continued to try to reach a deal that would eventually double the number of doses available for the U.S.’s vast immunization effort. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said in an interview on Thursday that the U.S. is close to a deal for another 100 million doses of the vaccine Pfizer developed in partnership with BioNTech SE. Through the agreement, Pfizer would deliver the additional supply in the second quarter of 2021, Slaoui said.
17th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Covid: Sir Ian McKellen praises NHS after first dose of Pfizer vaccine

Sir Ian McKellen has praised the NHS saying he wants to "give them all a big hug" after having his first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. The 81-year old also urged others to get the Covid-19 jab if they could. "I would encourage everybody to do the sensible thing, not just for themselves but for everybody else because if you're virus-free that helps everybody else, doesn't it?"
17th Dec 2020 - ITV News

Storm may help U.S. Northeast contain coronavirus but could disrupt vaccine delivery

A winter storm piled historic amounts of snow onto parts of the U.S. Northeast on Thursday and wreaked havoc throughout the region, hobbling if not paralyzing travel as it moved up the coast and bore down on New England. The first major snowstorm of the season, which was expected to move out to sea by the end of Thursday, prompted officials to urge the region’s 50 million residents to stay home, a warning many had been routinely issuing anyway because of the pandemic. “Given the heavy (snow) and difficult travel conditions, drivers are encouraged to stay off the road if they can during the storm,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said on Twitter.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19: 'Nightmare six weeks' ahead for NI health service

Paramedics from the Republic of Ireland's National Ambulance Service (NAS) will be working in Northern Ireland this weekend. It comes amid severe Covid-19 related pressures on the health service in NI. Hospitals have faced severe pressures over the past few days, with ambulances queuing outside hospitals. It is not the first time NAS ambulances have helped out in NI, they assisted during the first wave of the pandemic and also in 2019. Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said ambulance crews from the Republic of Ireland will "provide support" to the Northern Ireland Ambulance service (NIAS) over the weekend "due to the pressures being experienced".
17th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Germany facing lockdown to Easter with hospitals 'on brink of overload'

Germany’s Covid-19 death toll has risen by nearly 1,000 in a single day, leading to speculation that its lockdown could last until Easter. One of the country’s regional chief ministers has warned that for the first time the hospital system is “on the brink of overload” as the infection rate continues to rise and spare intensive care capacity dwindles. The World Health Organisation has advised Europeans to wear masks when meeting family and friends at Christmas. People should also meet outdoors whenever possible, it said. Yesterday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which compiles the German government’s coronavirus statistics, reported 952 deaths within the past 24 hours, well above the previous daily record of 590 on Friday. It said that there were 27,728 new cases.
17th Dec 2020 - The Times

Ardern unveils New Zealand Covid vaccine deals as economy rebounds

New Zealand has ordered 15m courses of Covid-19 vaccine from four providers as the country approaches the end of 2020 on a promising note, with a recovering economy and plans to open numerous travel corridors in the new year. On Thursday, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, confirmed the treatment would be free for everyone, with health workers and border officials prioritised. The vaccine will be made available in the second quarter of next year. Ardern said readiness for New Zealand’s “largest-ever immunisation programme” was progressing well, and the country had now pre-ordered vaccines from four providers: 750,000 courses from Pfizer, 5m from Janssen, 3.8m from Oxford/AstraZeneca and 5.36m from Novavax. One course refers to all the doses needed for one person.
17th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

NHS hospitals running out of beds as Covid cases continue to surge

Growing numbers of hospitals in England are running short of beds and having to divert patients elsewhere and cancel operations as the NHS struggles to cope with the resurgence of coronavirus, a Guardian analysis shows. According to the NHS figures, hospitals had to tell ambulance crews to divert patients elsewhere 44 times last week – the highest number for four years. With hospitals in London, Leicester and Northampton particularly hard hit, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, warned: “It already feels like we’re in the grips of a really bad winter, and there’s a very long way to go.”
17th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Palestinians left waiting as Israel is set to deploy vaccine

Israel will begin rolling out a major coronavirus vaccination campaign next week after the prime minister reached out personally to the head of a major drug company. Millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control will have to wait much longer. Worldwide, rich nations are snatching up scarce supplies of new vaccines as poor countries largely rely on a World Health Organization program that has yet to get off the ground. There are few places where the competition is playing out in closer proximity than in Israel and the territories it has occupied for more than half a century.
17th Dec 2020 - Washington Post


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Some vaccine doses kept too cold, Pfizer having manufacturing issues, U.S. officials say

The first days of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout have seen unexpected hitches including some vaccines being stored at excessively cold temperatures and Pfizer reporting potential challenges in its vaccine production, U.S. officials said on a Wednesday press call. At least two trays of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered in California needed to be replaced after their storage temperatures dipped below minus 80 Celsius (minus 112 Fahrenheit), U.S. Army General Gustave Perna said on the call. Pfizer’s vaccines, made with partner BioNTech SE, are supposed to be kept at around minus 70C. Officials are investigating whether storing the vaccines at excessively cold temperatures poses a safety or efficacy risk, he said. Pfizer also has reported some production issues, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Rollout of US COVID-19 vaccines is 'on track' to get 20 million Americans vaccinated this year

The U.S. has delivered coronavirus vaccines to all 50 states since Pfizer's shot was given emergency FDA approval on Friday. Doses have reached all 636 locations slated for the first wave of deliveries. Another 2 million doses of Pfizer's shot will be rolled out next week. If Moderna's shot is given emergency FDA approval this week, as expected, 5.9 million doses of its vaccine will ship out next week. Most states are vaccinating high-risk health care workers only, but Florida and West Virginia have started inoculating nursing home residents. The U.S. is negotiating with Pfizer for another 100 million doses of its vaccine but officials said the firm has been 'unable to specify' how many it can supply.
16th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Prisoners have been excluded from Covid vaccine plans, and health experts are sounding the alarm

As coronavirus cases and related deaths surge, experts are questioning the ethics of how governments plan to distribute the first vaccines. Incarcerated individuals in the U.S. are almost four times more likely to become infected than people in the general population — and twice as likely to die, according to a study by a criminal justice group. “If the biggest hotspots for Covid are prisons, doesn’t it make sense to inoculate everyone from the guards to the prisoners?” said Ashish Prashar, a justice reform advocate at Publicis.
16th Dec 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus vaccine: More than 18,000 Scots given first dose as weekly updates begin

More than 18,000 Scots have been given a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, it has been announced, in the first of what will be weekly updates on the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
16th Dec 2020 - The Scotsman

Coronavirus vaccine: 137,000 people in UK get COVID jab in first week

More than 137,000 people have received a coronavirus vaccine in the UK, it has been announced. Nadhim Zahawi, the minister responsible for the jab's deployment, tweeted that it was a "really good start". In seven days, he said the number of doses administered were: 108,000 in England - 7,897 in Wales - 4,000 in Northern Ireland - 18,000 in Scotland
16th Dec 2020 - Sky News

Covid-19 vaccines to start 'the same day' across EU

The EU's 27 member countries aim to start Covid-19 vaccinations on "the same day" in a sign of unity, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said. Her statement to the European Parliament came as pressure mounted on the bloc to catch up with the United States and Britain, which have already started inoculating people with a vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. "To get to the end of the pandemic, we will need up to 70% of the population vaccinated. This is a huge task, a big task. So let's start as soon as possible with the vaccination together, as 27, with a start at the same day," Ms von der Leyen told MEPs.
16th Dec 2020 - RTE.ie

Bed shortage looms as S.Korea reports record new coronavirus cases

South Korea reported a record daily rise in novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday and the prime minister issued an urgent call for more hospital beds to cope with the country’s worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals were at breaking point with only three critical care beds available in greater Seoul, an area with a population of almost 26 million people, officials said. “The top priority is securing more hospital beds,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting, according to a transcript. “Full administrative power should be mobilised so that no patient would wait for more than a day before being assigned to her bed.”
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

'On the brink': Covid pressure mounts at hospitals in Northern Ireland

When ambulances started queueing outside hospitals across Northern Ireland, revealing a health system overwhelmed by Covid-19, Sean Brophy was not surprised. Weeks earlier the 52-year-old hospital transport worker had himself been hospitalised with the virus and saw how even then the system was cracking under pressure. “When someone died or was discharged the bed was filled within an hour – they were already at capacity. Staff were brilliant but they looked as fatigued as those of us with Covid. It was just wrong. I could see where it was heading,” said Brophy.
16th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Denmark to close shops and shopping malls during Christmas, Ekstra Bladet newspaper reports

Denmark will impose a hard lockdown over Christmas and the New Year to limit the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday. Shopping malls will close starting Thursday, and other stores, with the exception of supermarkets and food shops, will close from Dec. 25. Students still in school will be sent home as of Monday. “Our healthcare system is under pressure,” Frederiksen said. “We have to act now.” Danish authorities expect the coming months to be the worst of the pandemic, she said.
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Amazon asks U.S. to include warehouse, grocery staff in vaccine rollout

Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday asked the U.S. government to prioritize essential workers including its warehouse, grocery store and data center staff for receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a letter seen by Reuters. The request shows how the country’s second-biggest private employer, with 800,000 workers in the United States, considers the vaccine important to keeping its staff safe and its facilities open. The U.S. National Retail Federation made a similar request on the industry’s behalf Wednesday as well.
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters


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U.S. Government Begins Covid-19 Education Campaign

The U.S. government is hurrying to start a messaging campaign on social media, TV and radio this week to motivate the public to get inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines once supply increases and they become available, likely next year. The $250 million effort aims to increase vaccine acceptance by focusing on the science behind Covid-19 vaccines, including one from Pfizer and BioNTech. It is the government's second try after officials scrapped a previous one that sought to pair doctors with celebrities. Set to run through August, the aim is to appeal to ethnic and minority groups, older Americans and others who may be skeptical about taking the shots, said Mark Weber, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at Health and Human Services
15th Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Parisians enjoy taste of lockdown freedom ahead of Christmas, while hospitality workers protest bar and restaurant ban set to last until January 20

Parisians last night enjoyed a taste of lockdown freedom ahead of Christmas, while hospitality workers took to the streets in protest at a festive season ban. In a Christmas Village at Hotel de Ville in the heart of the French capital last night, masked revellers were seen enjoying fairground rides and market stalls. But while some enjoyed the festivities, just a short distance away, near the Arc de Triomphe, face mask-wearing police officers protested their working conditions. Hospitality workers also protested a possible ban on reopening bars and restaurants until January 20. It comes as France plans to ease measures from its second national lockdown today.
15th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

France's culture sector mobilises over continued closures as Covid-19 lockdown lifts

France emerges from its second Covid-19 lockdown on Tuesday. But with new daily coronavirus infections still high above the government's 5,000-a-day objective, the easing will not look like it did in May. An 8pm-to-6am curfew goes into effect, except for Christmas Eve, and cultural venues remain closed, sparking anger in the sector. As the second lockdown lifts, theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and sporting venues remain closed, at least until January 7 – after a holiday season that, while normally lucrative for the culture sector, has authorities concerned festive gatherings this year will spur further the spread of the novel coronavirus. French authorities justified keeping the venues shuttered in order to "avoid increasing public crowd flows, concentrations, and intermingling", but the decision has irked the culture sector in France after a difficult year.
15th Dec 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

Delivery Workers in South Korea Say They’re Dying of ‘Overwork’

At a logistics depot the size of an airplane hangar in southern Seoul, couriers recently held a ritual at the start of another grueling work day: They stood for a moment of silence to remember more than a dozen fellow couriers who they say died this year from overwork. “We won’t be surprised here if one of us drops dead, too,” said Choi Ji-na, one of the couriers. Ms. Choi, 43, and other delivery workers in South Korea say they feel lucky to have jobs amid growing unemployment, and that they are proud to play an essential role in keeping the country’s Covid-19 cases down by delivering record numbers of packages to customers who prefer to stay safe at home.
15th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

Europe wanted to keep schools open this winter. Coronavirus surges have disrupted those plans.

Surging coronavirus outbreaks in a number of nations are forcing governments to close schools, despite initial promises to keep them open this winter. The latest country to change course is Germany, where most schools will move to distance learning Wednesday as part of tougher new lockdown rules. Widening outbreaks have also triggered the closure of schools in the Netherlands and in Asia, where the South Korean capital, Seoul, opted for similar measures this week.
15th Dec 2020 - Washington Post

Northern Ireland hospital treating patients in parked ambulances

Patients were being treated in the back of ambulances in a Northern Ireland hospital car park on Tuesday, a health official said, a day after a warning that COVID-19 was putting healthcare under “unbearable pressures”. The British-run region has been in and out of some form of lockdown since mid-October when it was one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 hotbeds. The most recent curbs were lifted last week, when all shops, restaurants and pubs serving food reopened.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

California orders 5,000 body bags amid "most intense" coronavirus surge

California has ordered 5,000 body bags as the state undergoes its "most intense" COVID-19 surge to date, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. Why it matters: California saw 32,326 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and has reached a 14-day average positivity rate of 10.7%, its highest since the pandemic began. With daily COVID deaths four times higher than they were just a month ago, the state has placed 60 53-foot refrigerated storage units on standby and activated its coroner mutual aid and mass fatality program.
15th Dec 2020 - Axios

Dutch shopkeepers grapple with sudden Christmas lockdown

Shopkeepers in the Netherlands on Tuesday were grappling with the effects of a new lockdown, which meant they suddenly had to close their doors in what should have been the busiest and most lucrative part of the year. “Obviously it is a big loss, this time of year is extremely important to us”, said Robert Reuter, the owner of City Diamonds in the center of Amsterdam. “It is a very hard decision, it is bitter for us, but I think it is necessary.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday night announced a tough second lockdown in the Netherlands, in a push to drive down the coronavirus infection rate, which has rapidly moved back to record levels in the past week.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK


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Nurse gets New York's first COVID-19 vaccine as U.S. rollout begins

A New York City intensive care unit nurse on Monday became the first person in the United States to receive a coronavirus vaccine, calling it a sign that “healing is coming,” as the nation’s COVID-19 death toll crossed a staggering 300,000 lives lost. Sandra Lindsay, who has treated some of the sickest COVID-19 patients for months, was inoculated at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in the New York City borough of Queens, an early epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, receiving applause on a livestream with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine,” Lindsay said. “I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. “I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe,” she added.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters

US set for first COVID-19 shots as shipments begin arriving

Hospital workers begin unloading precious frozen vials of COVID-19 vaccine Monday, with the first vaccinations against a scourge that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans expected later in the day. “It feels like the cavalry is arriving,” Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said as New Jersey’s largest health network awaited delivery. Shots made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech are the first authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration -- beginning what will become the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. Several other countries also have OK'd the vaccine, including the U.K. which started vaccinating last week.
14th Dec 2020 - The Independent

Canada's first COVID-19 vaccinations set to start as soon as Monday

Canada kicked off its inoculation campaign against COVID-19 on Monday by injecting frontline healthcare workers and elderly nursing home residents, becoming just the third nation in the world to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The first dose broadcast on live TV went to Anita Quidangen. The personal support worker at the Rekai Centre, a non-profit nursing home for the elderly in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, said she was “excited” to have been first in line. Healthcare workers in masks and white coats applauded after she was injected. “Today really we turn a corner,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, president and chief executive of the University Health Network’s Michener Institute, where the shot was administered.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19: London mayor calls for schools to close early

London's mayor has urged the government to ask all secondary schools and colleges in the capital to shut early ahead of Christmas. In a letter to ministers, Sadiq Khan said he also wanted schools to reopen later in January amid "significant" Covid outbreaks in 10 to 19-year-olds. It comes as the BBC was told London was likely to move into tier three. Greenwich and Islington councils are the first in England to urge schools to switch this week to online learning. Council officials in Greenwich have advised schools to shut from the end of Monday, although some academies will remain open, while Islington schools have been asked to move online from the end of Tuesday.
14th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Germany calls on all to forgo Xmas shopping before lockdown

The German government called on citizens Monday to forgo Christmas shopping, two days before the country heads into a hard lockdown that will shut most stores tighten social distancing rules and close schools across the country. “I wish and I hope that people will only buy what they really need, like groceries,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said late Sunday. “The faster we get these infections under control, the better it is for everyone.” Chancellor Angela Merkel and the governors of Germany’s 16 states agreed Sunday to step up the country’s lockdown measures beginning Wednesday and running to Jan. 10 to stop the exponential rise of COVID-19 cases.
14th Dec 2020 - The Independent

UK pubs fear for future as £650m Covid losses forecast for December

Pubs expect December sales to be as much as 90% lower than last year, costing the industry £650m and fuelling concern that vast parts of the sector will disappear for good. December is typically the most lucrative month of the year for the UK’s ailing pub sector, accounting for as much as a quarter of annual profit, thanks to Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve festivities. However, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said its forecasts showed pubs would sell 270m fewer pints than usual over the period, with only one in five of the UK’s 47,200 pubs expected to be open. “I’d be stunned if sales across the industry were any better than 10% or 20% as good as last year,” said Chris Jowsey, the chief executive of Admiral Taverns, which has 1,000 pubs across the UK. “It’s not unusual for lots of pubs to make anywhere up to 25% of their profit in December. For a lot of smaller pubs it’s really important because it carries you through the lean months of January and February, so it’s a bit of a disaster.”
14th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Australia's Shops See Year-End Spending Boom as Optimism Returns

Australia’s retailers are preparing for a late-December spending splurge that could fuel the kind of recovery on the year-end wishlist of Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe. Consumer confidence rose for a fourth straight month in December, climbing to a 10-year high. Lowe said just two months ago that greater confidence was the catalyst needed to prompt households to part with the extra savings they squirreled away during the lockdown.
14th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg


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South Korea begins anti-coronavirus period ahead of college entrance exam

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in warned on Sunday that COVID-19 restrictions may be raised to the highest level after a second day of record increases in cases as the country battles a harsh third wave of infection. Presiding over an emergency meeting at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters for the first time since February, Moon urged vigilance and called for an all-out efforts to contain the virus. “Unless the outbreak can be contained now, it has come to the critical point of considering escalating social-distancing measures to the third level,” he said, referring to the tightest curbs under the country’s five-tier system.
13th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Historic journey: Pfizer prepares to deliver 6.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Three semi-trucks loaded with the U.S.'s first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine rolled out of the parking lot of the Pfizer manufacturing plant early Sunday morning, met with cheering crowds of local residents who said they were proud of their hometown's contribution to science, and helping to bring the end to the coronavirus pandemic. The caravan of FedEx, UPS and Boyle Transportation trucks — led and tailed by unmarked police cars — pulled out of the parking lot about 8:25 a.m., headed to airports and distribution centers on a historic journey. Millions of doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine were inside those trucks, and could be injected into the arms of the American people as early as Monday morning.
13th Dec 2020 - USA Today

Walgreens to hire 25,000 as part of plan to give COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents and staff

Walgreens expects to receive its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 21 and plans to inoculate nursing home residents and workers at more than 30,000 long-term care facilities nationwide. The company plans to hire about 25,000 people across the U.S., including up to 9,000 pharmacists and other health care workers, to administer the vaccine to long-term care facilities through a partnership with pharmacy service provider PharMerica, the companies said during a panel discussion Friday on the vaccine rollout.
12th Dec 2020 - Bangor Daily News

Dozens of GPs opt out of Pfizer vaccine rollout next week forcing 100,000 patients to get their jabs elsewhere due to 'concerns over heavy workloads'

Doctors told to prioritise those from ethnic minorities if they run shot of vaccine Several GPs in Manchester, Yorkshire, Sussex and Lincolnshire have opted out Some 280 of Primary Care Networks set to administer the vaccine next week Follows initial Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine roll-out in 70 hospital hubs last Tuesday
12th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Engineers develop mini Covid vaccine factory that can create 30,000 doses a day

British engineers have invented a miniature Covid-19 vaccine factory that can make 30,000 doses a day. Experts at King’s College London designed it to manufacture vaccines such as the Pfizer/BioNTech inoculation. It could end the logistical problems of delivering the frozen vaccine from factories on the continent to UK communities. Plans are on track to submit the game-changing “factory in a box” technology for regulatory approval by as early as March. It is estimated that 60 of the devices could make enough doses to immunise the nation in a matter of weeks. The innovative machine was designed by Professor Makatsoris Harris.
12th Dec 2020 - Mirror Online

Nicola Sturgeon: Care homes with Covid-19 outbreaks must tell families of residents

There is a “big responsibility” on care home providers to ensure good communication with relatives, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. Speaking at the coronavirus daily update on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said she would investigate the reported case of a woman who first found out about a Covid-19 outbreak at the care home of a relative in the North East through the media. It comes after investigations were launched by the Crown Office into outbreaks at two care homes in the North East.
11th Dec 2020 - The Scotsman

Brazil rolls out COVID-19 vaccination plan

The Brazilian government unveiled its long-awaited national vaccination plan against COVID-19 on Saturday with an initial goal of vaccinating 51 million people, or about one-fourth of the population,
12th Dec 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

US offers to help increase production of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine

The US government is offering to help increase production of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, as it tries to secure another 100m doses of the jab that regulators are reviewing. Operation Warp Speed, the government programme to accelerate the development of a vaccine, is trying to double its pre-order of doses, after soaring demand has led to a shortage, according to people familiar with the matter. Operation Warp Speed is trying to help Pfizer obtain more raw materials and equipment under the Defense Production Act to ensure it can produce the extra doses by June 2021, according to one of the people.
11th Dec 2020 - Financial Times

Ultra-cold freezing presents next challenge in Covid vaccine race

Demand for ultra-cold storage freezers has spiked as governments and manufacturers prepare to ship Covid-19 vaccines around the world and along the so-called last mile to those most vulnerable to the disease. Unique characteristics of the two leading Covid-19 vaccines mean they both have to be transported frozen. The shot developed by US biotech Moderna, currently under regulatory review in the US and the EU, can survive for six months at minus 20C, the temperature of a standard domestic freezer. The vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, approved for use in the UK this month, must, in contrast, be transported at minus 70C.
7th Dec 2020 - Financial Times


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California's hospitals are close to 'breaking point' as COVID-19 surges

Governor Gavin Newsom is now bringing in hundreds of hospital staff from outside the state and preparing to re-start emergency hospitals that were created but barely used when the coronavirus surged last spring to cope with the new surge. The seven-day rolling average for new cases in the county's most populous state has doubled over the past two weeks to 23,000 a day. During the summer surge, average infections in California peaked at 10,000 per day.
9th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

Covid cases: Hospital admissions rise in most of England’s NHS regions despite lockdown, figures show

Admissions to hospital of patients with Covid-19 are rising in four out of seven NHS regions of England despite the month-long lockdown in November, official figures have shown. The increases are in London, east of England, south east and the Midlands, suggesting a third wave of the epidemic could be threatening the NHS just before the Christmas relaxation period.
9th Dec 2020 - iNews

Covid cases revealed for each London borough as millions urged to help keep capital out of Tier 3

Every single Londoner was today urged to join the battle to keep the city out of Tier 3 as official figures showed Covid-19 cases rising in more than two thirds of boroughs. MPs and Mayor Sadiq Khan called on millions of people across the capital to stick to social distancing, self-isolation, mask wearing and good hygiene rules and guidance to reverse the latest coronavirus surge. The number of confirmed cases is increasing across east London, apart from Redbridge which saw a very small decrease in the week to December 3, compared to the previous seven days.
9th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

More afraid of hunger: COVID-19 rules causing many in Philippines to starve

Daniel Auminto lost his job and then his home when the coronavirus pandemic sent the Philippines into lockdown. Now he and his family live on the street, relying on food handouts to survive. Charities are struggling to meet the ever-growing demand for food as millions of families go hungry across the country. COVID-19 restrictions have crippled the economy and thrown many out of work. “I’ve never seen hunger at this level before,” said Jomar Fleras, executive director of Rise Against Hunger in the Philippines, which works with more than 40 partners to feed the poor.
9th Dec 2020 - The Japan Times

David Staples: Alberta's new measures can wipe out COVID but how far should we go?

The Alberta government is imposing the kind of severe lockdown measures that have worked to stop COVID-19 spread in places like Canada’s Maritime provinces, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan, jurisdictions which in the past two weeks have had zero COVID-19 deaths. Compare that to Alberta and B.C., each with 35 deaths per million in the past two weeks, Quebec with 51 per million and Manitoba with 124 deaths per million, with all of those death rates trending up quickly.
9th Dec 2020 - Edmonton Journal

UK firms avoid hiring permanent staff in November lockdown

British employers recruited fewer permanent staff during an England-wide lockdown last month, and relied instead on temporary workers to plug the gap, a monthly survey of recruiters showed on Wednesday. The number of permanent staff recruited fell for a second month in a row in November and dropped by its most since July, when Britain had just emerged from its first coronavirus lockdown, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Sri Lanka to cremate Muslim COVID-19 victims despite objections

Families have refused to claim the bodies in protest over the government’s policy of cremation, which is forbidden under Islamic law.
9th Dec 2020 - Al Jazeera English

White House task force: Vaccine may not reduce virus spread until late spring

The White House coronavirus task force this week warned governors that coronavirus vaccinations will not drive down the spread of COVID-19 until late spring, calling for states to emphasize the need for other mitigation measures. "The current vaccine implementation will not substantially reduce viral spread, hospitalizations, or fatalities until the 100 million Americans with comorbidities can be fully immunized, which will take until the late spring," the task force wrote in its weekly report to states, issued Tuesday and obtained by The Hill. "Behavioral change and aggressive mitigation policies are the only widespread prevention tools that we have to address this winter surge," the report adds.
9th Dec 2020 - The Hill

Pfizer's first shipment of its coronavirus vaccine will include 2.9 million doses upon FDA approval

Pfizer Inc's first shipment of its vaccine to the US will include 2.9 million doses and another shipment 21 days later with the same amount. The jabs will be going to 636 locations, mostly large health-care systems with enough storage capacity. Gen Gustave Perna said he has set aside a reserve of 500,000 doses from the total supply of 6.4 million available to the US. At an Operation Warp Speed briefing on Wednesday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said he'd be willing to get vaccinated publicly The team said they have not considered who would receive the very first vaccine or where. The FDA will meet Thursday and Friday - and are expected to approve the vaccine by the end of the week
9th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail


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UK retail sales growth slows as November lockdown hits non-food sales - BRC

British retail sales growth slowed in November when non-essential stores shut as part of a four-week lockdown in England, but online sales were able to fill more of the gap than in the first lockdown in March, industry data showed on Tuesday.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Singapore 'cruise-to-nowhere' turns back after COVID-19 case aboard

A passenger aboard a Royal Caribbean ‘cruise-to-nowhere’ from Singapore has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing all guests to be quarantined in their cabins and the Quantum of the Seas ship to return to dock on Wednesday. Singapore has been piloting the trips, which are open only to residents, make no stops and sail in waters just off the city-state. There were around 2,000 passengers aboard at the time who have all been confined to their rooms. The global cruise industry has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the earliest big outbreaks found on cruise ships. In one case in February off the coast of Japan, passengers were stuck for weeks aboard the Diamond Princess with over 700 guests and crew infected.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

U.K. Covid-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know About the Immunization Campaign

The U.K. became the first Western country to start inoculating its population with a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech SE . Maggie Keenan, 90 years old, received the first shot at a hospital in Coventry early Tuesday morning in a program that could provide a taste of the logistical challenges facing other countries, including the U.S., as they prepare to roll out their own large-scale vaccination plans.
8th Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Covid19 vaccinations begin in Scotland today - everything you need to know

The first of the long-awaited vaccinations against Covid-19 will be issued on Tuesday at hospitals across Scotland. It's a landmark day in the global battle against coronavirus which has raged throughout 2020. While it's a welcome breakthrough, it will take several months at least for the vaccination to be rolled out across all age groups.
8th Dec 2020 - Daily Record

GPs to prioritise elderly BAME patients for first Covid-19 vaccine batch

GPs have been instructed to prioritise patients from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in their first over-80s Covid-19 vaccination cohorts. Details outlined in a letter sent yesterday from NHS England advise that GP practices must select and contact priority vaccination patients by tomorrow (9 December). GP sites selected to begin vaccinations next week, of which there are expected to be around 280, will each receive one batch of 975 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. If a Primary Care Network (PCN) designated site has more than 975 patients over 80 years of age, they must prioritise based on comorbidities and ethnicity. GP surgeries will be responsible for generating patient lists based on this new priority cohort definition.
8th Dec 2020 - Pulse

GPs could deliver COVID-19 vaccine to care homes from next week

GP-led sites could deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to care home residents as soon as next week, LMCs believe, as NHS England's medical director confirmed rollout to this group would start before Christmas. Scottish health minister Jeane Freeman said last week that in Scotland, vaccination of care home residents - the group idenfied by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) as the top priority - would start from 14 December. The Westminster government has yet to confirm when vaccination of care home residents will start in England - but a senior GP involved in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination campaign has told GPonline that GP-led vaccination sites in the first wave set to start from next week could administer some vaccines in care homes.
8th Dec 2020 - GP online

Californians endure another lockdown as COVID-19 patients overwhelm hospitals

Most Californians face heavy new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, while New York’s governor threatened to ban indoor restaurant dining in New York City as the United States feared infections would continue skyrocketing. Restaurants in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and the state’s agricultural San Joaquin Valley shut for all but takeout and delivery. Playgrounds closed, stores reduced capacity and hair salons and barbershops shuttered. The moves affected about three-quarters of the nearly 40 million people in America’s most-populous state. California Governor Gavin Newsom’s order allowed some schools to continue to hold classes.
8th Dec 2020 - Reuters


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COVID-19: V-Day is a 'key moment in our fight back against this terrible disease'

People in the UK will start being vaccinated today against COVID-19, on what's being dubbed V-Day. Fifty hospitals will administer the jab from early this morning. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, has been distributed across the whole of the UK.
8th Dec 2020 - Sky News

Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Faces Public Concerns Over Safety

Governments are accelerating toward approving the first vaccines to contain Covid-19, but public anxiety over the safety of the doses is threatening to undermine those efforts. A survey from the University of Hamburg showed the percentage of people hesitant or unwilling to get a Covid-19 vaccine ticking up in November to around 40% of respondents across seven European countries. An October poll by market researcher Ipsos found that nearly a third of Japanese and almost half of French respondents said they wouldn’t get inoculated for the coronavirus. One of the biggest factors behind the hesitancy is the very speed at which things have been moving.
7th Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal

South Korea, Japan to deploy military to combat COVID-19

South Korea and Japan are deploying their militaries to assist healthcare workers in combatting COVID-19, with South Korean soldiers called in to expand coronavirus testing and tracing and Japanese military nurses tapped to fill a shortage of staff at hospitals in the hard-hit regions of Hokkaido and Osaka. Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, on Monday ordered the government to mobilise “every available” resource to track infections and to expand testing by deploying the military and more people from the public service, presidential Blue House spokesman Chung Man-ho told a briefing.
7th Dec 2020 - AlJazeera

Austrian shops open after 3 weeks as lockdown loosened

Austrians lined up to enter stores on Monday as the country relaxed its coronavirus lockdown, allowing nonessential shops to reopen after three weeks. But many restrictions remain in place, and the country’s leader advised people against all rushing to the shops at once. Tough lockdown measures took effect Nov. 17. The government decided last week that enough progress had been made in cutting coronavirus infections to relax some restrictions. Schools were reopened, except for older students, as were museums, libraries and some other businesses such as hairdressers. But restaurants remain closed for all but takeout and deliveries, as do bars, and hotels are only open to business travelers
7th Dec 2020 - Washington Times

Christmas market closed as shopping crowds spark concern in Nottingham and London

Christmas shoppers hit the high streets in droves on the first weekend since lockdown was lifted in England, sparking concerns over social distancing. Queues formed in London’s West End as crowds flooded Oxford Street and Regent Street on Saturday to make the most of non-essential shops reopening under the new tiered system. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was out in the West End on Saturday as a show of support for retailers, but he warned people to continue following coronavirus rules, with the majority of England under tier 2 or tier 3 restrictions, which limit social contact between households.
7th Dec 2020 - The Independent

As UK prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccines, scepticism remains

A sizeable minority of people believe conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, some experts have warned, just as countries prepare to launch mass inoculations to get the pandemic under control. Britain begins its vaccine programme this week and others are likely to follow soon, so governments are seeking to reassure people of vaccines’ safety and efficacy in order to get a critical mass to take them. In the United States, President-elect Joe Biden said he would have a coronavirus vaccine publicly to demonstrate its safety, and referred to people losing faith in the vaccine’s ability to work. “What we’re finding is, in the wake of the pandemic, that conspiracy beliefs may have gone mainstream, that they’re no longer confined to the fringes,” Daniel Freeman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University, told Reuters.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Greece to keep schools, restaurants shut until after Christmas

Greece said on Monday that it will not re-open schools, restaurants and courts until Jan. 7, effectively extending most of the restrictions the country imposed last month to contain the spread of coronavirus. Greece had to enforce a nationwide lockdown in November, its second this year, after an aggressive surge in COVID-19 cases. It has extended it twice since then, most recently until Dec. 14. In a televised briefing, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the health system was still under enormous pressure and some restrictions should not be lifted until next month, including a night curfew and movement between regions.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

England's malls attract Christmas shoppers after lockdown ends

Footfall across all retail destinations in England rose by 81% compared to the previous week after a second lockdown ended on Wednesday, allowing non-essential shops to begin trading again, Springboard said on Monday. Shopping centres saw the biggest boost, with a 121.3% rise from Wednesday, while high streets saw a 79.8% rise and numbers in retail parks were up 40.7%, Springboard said.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Navajo Nation implements another three-week lockdown as ICUs reach capacity amid coronavirus surge

The Navajo Nation has extended its lockdown for three more weeks to try to slow the growth of Covid-19 cases in the community that has already filled nearly all of their ICUs to capacity. "We are near a point where our health care providers are going to have to make very difficult decisions in terms of providing medical treatment to COVID-19 patients with very limited resources such as hospital beds, oxygen resources, medical personnel, and little to no options to transport patients to other regional hospitals because they are also near full capacity," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez warned in a statement issued Sunday. A public health order issued by the Nation said it is "experiencing an alarming rise in positive COVID-19 cases and uncontrolled spread in 75 communities across the Navajo Nation."
7th Dec 2020 - CNN


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Military planes could fly-in Covid-19 vaccine amid fears of post-Brexit delays

Military planes could fly-in the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine amid fears of post-Brexit delays at Britain's ports. The majority of doses for Pfizer's vaccine, which offers up to six months of immunity to the coronavirus, are being produced in the town of Puurs, Belgium. But as the Government tries to roll-out its vaccination scheme, the Department for Health and Social Care has had talks with the Ministry of Justice to ensure the doses can arrive on time.
6th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: NHS to begin vaccine rollout this week

The coronavirus vaccine is the "beginning of the end" of the epidemic in the UK, Prof Stephen Powis has said, as vaccinations begin on Tuesday. But the NHS England medical director warned the distribution of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would be a "marathon not a sprint". It will take "many months" to vaccinate everybody who needs it, he said. Frontline health staff, those over 80, and care home workers will be first to get the Covid-19 vaccine. In England, 50 hospitals have been initially chosen to serve as hubs for administering the vaccine.
6th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Victoria eases Covid restrictions again as it reaches 37 days without a case

Victoria has announced a significant easing of its Covid-19 restrictions in time for summer, allowing households to receive 30 visitors a day, relaxing mask-wearing rules, and increasing public gatherings to 100. Victoria, once the worst hit state in the country, has now had 37 straight days free of Covid-19. The result, praised by premier Daniel Andrews as “amazing” on Sunday, has allowed a further easing of restrictions. Victorians will, as of midnight local time, be allowed to have 30 visitors daily to their home from any number of other households, a doubling of the previous limit of 15.
6th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

PPE glut leaves UK manufacturers fearful for their future

When the UK government issued a desperate plea for British manufacturers to tackle a shortfall of urgently needed personal protective equipment for health staff as Covid-19 hit, James Eden answered the call. His clothing company, Private White VC, borrowed money for a new factory to make face masks and switched its lines to make hospital gowns, hiring dozens of staff, as the government announced it was aiming to source 70 per cent of its PPE domestically. But at the same time, ministers were awarding companies or middlemen with no prior experience in the field lucrative contracts to import the much needed equipment, often at inflated prices, creating a stockpile that has left nascent domestic producers without a market.
5th Dec 2020 - The Financial Times

Britain gets ready for roll-out of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine this week

Britain is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week, initially making the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to doctors’ clinics, the government said on Sunday. The first doses are set to be administered on Tuesday, with the National Health Service (NHS) giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents. Britain gave emergency use approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech last week - jumping ahead in the global race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history. In total, Britain has ordered 40 million doses - enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million.
5th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Wales to give citizens ID cards to prove they got the Covid vaccine

People in Wales will be given ID cards by the NHS after getting the coronavirus vaccine so they can prove they have had the jab, the Welsh government has announced. Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said vaccinated people will receive a “credit-card sized” token, after the UK became the first nation to approve the jab developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. While plans for so-called “immunity passports” remain unclear in other parts of the UK, Welsh ministers believe new cards will help remind people to get the second part of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. In a written statement Mr Gething said: “Those receiving a Covid-19 vaccination will be given a credit card-sized NHS Wales immunisation card which will have the vaccine name, date of immunisation and batch number of each of the doses given handwritten on them.”
4th Dec 2020 - The Independent

Moscow key workers register for jabs of Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine

Muscovites from high-risk groups such as healthcare workers began registering for jabs of a Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, two days after President Vladimir Putin called for large-scale vaccinations. Sputnik V, one of two Russian-made vaccines to have received regulatory approval in Russia despite clinical trials being incomplete, requires two injections. Interim trials showed it is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19. Mass testing for the second Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona, began on Monday. The online registration service allows Moscow residents in specified high-risk jobs and aged between 18 and 60 to book free vaccination appointments at 70 points around the city, starting from Saturday, the mayor’s website said.
4th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Nursing home residents added to first wave of Texans eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be among the first wave of Texans eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, joining the ranks of healthcare workers already at the front of the line. State officials announced the addition Friday, while also unveiling plans to send the state’s first 224,250 doses to hospitals, including nine in Dallas County.
4th Dec 2020 - Dallas Morning News

HSE reveals specialist freezers for Covid-19 vaccines News

Specialist freezers to store Covid-19 vaccines have started to arrive in Ireland, the Health Service Executive chief Paul Reid revealed. He posted a photo on Twitter and explained: "We're preparing for the #COVID19 vaccine roll-out in Ireland. "At the HSE National Cold Chain Centre, we have received and are currently commissioning & validating a consignment of 9 x Ultra Low Temperature Freezers for storage of the vaccines at -75 degrees." It follows a press briefing yesterday during which Mr Reid said Ireland has the capacity to acquire 16 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. "Although there will be no shortage of the vaccine", he said, they will arrive at different stages, which "will require sequencing or prioritisation process which is currently being finalised".
4th Dec 2020 - RTE.ie


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U.K.’s Covid-19 Vaccine Program to Test Its National Health Service

Britain’s authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine, the first in the West, sets in motion an ambitious plan that will test the capabilities of its state-run National Health Service: Inoculate everybody in the country over 50 within months. The U.K. has been laying the groundwork for some time. The scale and urgency of the task is such that the NHS, already under enormous pressure because of the pandemic, has appealed for retired doctors and nurses to rejoin the service and for thousands of volunteers to train as vaccinators and support staff. The project will be “the biggest vaccination campaign in our history,” NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens said Wednesday.
3rd Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Meals on wheels: Camper van dining beats lockdown rules in Belgium

A Belgian restaurant has found a way to keep orders rolling in during lockdown - by serving its seafood to customers in camper vans. People can rent a vehicle or bring their own, park up outside the “Matthias and Sea” restaurant and wait for masked staff to bring the food over from the kitchens. COVID-19 restrictions have banned indoor dining. But restaurants can still do takeaways and serve food outside. Owner Mattia Collu said he got the idea while delivering orders to people’s houses in and around his base in the southern village of Tarcienne.
3rd Dec 2020 - Reuters

Lebanese minister says COVID cases rising, beds won't suffice

Lebanon will not have enough hospital beds to cope with increasing COVID-19 cases, the health minister in the caretaker government warned on Thursday, saying compliance with a two-week lockdown that ended this week had been patchy. In a Tweet, Hamad Hassan said cases were on the rise and although more hospital beds had been added, these would not be enough. Intensive care units were at critical capacity when Lebanon ordered the lockdown and caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab had warned the shutdown may be extended if people did not comply.
3rd Dec 2020 - Reuters India

Pfizer Slashed Its Original Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Target After Supply-Chain Obstacles

When Pfizer Inc. said last month it expects to ship half the Covid-19 vaccines it had originally planned for this year, the decision highlighted the challenges drug makers face in rapidly building supply chains to meet the high demand. “Scaling up the raw material supply chain took longer than expected,” a company spokeswoman said. “And it’s important to highlight that the outcome of the clinical trial was somewhat later than the initial projection.”
3rd Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Key test: South Koreans sit university exam amid COVID-19 surge

Nearly 500,000 high school students are sitting the test with stringent measures imposed to curb the virus. South Korea fell quiet on Thursday as hundreds of thousands of students sat for the country’s high-stakes national university entrance exam amid a surge in coronavirus cases that has prompted new measures to curb its spread, including for candidates sitting the test. Teenagers spend years preparing for the exam, which can mean a place in one of the elite colleges that are seen as key to future careers, incomes and even marriage prospects.
3rd Dec 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Staggered return planned for university students in England after Christmas

Students in England will be asked to stay at home after Christmas and continue their studies online at the start of the new year as part of a staggered return to university to minimise the risk of Covid transmission. The government wants students to stagger their journeys back to campus over a five-week period beginning on 4 January 2021, with everyone expected to be back at university by 7 February, and coronavirus tests available to all returning students. Many students have expressed frustration with their experience at university this term, with the bulk of studies online, social activities curtailed because of Covid restrictions, long periods of self-isolation and harsh penalties for breaches.
3rd Dec 2020 - The Guardian


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Arizona hospitals scramble to boost staffing as state's COVID-19 crisis deepens

A shortage of medical providers could exacerbate Arizona's growing COVID-19 crisis, as hospitals compete for contract labor in the midst of a pandemic that is gripping the entire United States. Arizona hospital officials are most worried about finding enough staff — not PPE or beds — to treat a surge of new COVID-19 patients. "The number one limiting factor is staffing right now," said Ann-Marie Alameddin, president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. "It's a much tighter supply because the whole country is in need of the same skill set." What's happening with COVID-19 in Arizona in this latest second wave of infection is a different situation than the summer.
2nd Dec 2020 - USA Today

Covid-19: Traders hope shoppers return for Christmas after lockdown

Many businesses are getting ready to welcome back customers after four weeks of closure. When England's new tier system comes into force on Wednesday, shops, gyms and personal care services, like hairdressers, can reopen, if they are Covid-secure. But pubs and bars in tier three will be unable to open and only if they serve a "substantial meal" under tier two.
2nd Dec 2020 - BBC News

Queues form as England's high streets reopen after lockdown

England’s high streets were back in business on Wednesday – but shoppers returned slowly, with queues outside only a few stores such as Primark and Debenhams, which had announced it was going into liquidation the day before. Non-essential stores in England reopened after the month-long lockdown brought in by the government in its latest effort to control the spread of Covid-19. The number of shoppers out and about on English high streets, retail parks and in shopping centres on Wednesday was up 85% on the same day a week before, but the expected rush to make up for lost time did not materialise: numbers were still down by 22% on last year.
2nd Dec 2020 - The Guardian

To slow down a killer virus, Spain breaks with decades-old Christmas traditions

For 41 years, families in the Spanish capital have kicked off the Christmas season by gathering behind the department store El Corte Inglés to watch a performance by giant singing puppets. The store’s “Cortylandia” show has treated crowds in the past to festive depictions of “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Aladdin,” among numerous others, including the Noah’s ark story. But this year, as all the world battles a killer virus, the tradition has been replaced with a light display that simply reads, in lowercase letters, felices fiestas. Happy holidays. The loss of a beloved 15-minute puppet show is among the Christmastime traditions of this traditionally Catholic country being altered or even eliminated, as the government tries to keep its physically demonstrative populace a step ahead of a virus that has killed 45,069 to date in the country.
2nd Dec 2020 - MarketWatch

Austrian schools, shops to reopen, as lockdown eases, ski opening looms

Austria on Wednesday chose a middle way in its standoff with neighbouring countries on whether skiing over Christmas is safe, by letting resorts reopen on Christmas Eve but making ski holidays virtually impossible. In an apparent concession to Rome, Berlin and Paris, which had expressed concern about cross-border trips, Austria also said it was introducing a new quarantine requirement for anyone arriving from their countries and many more. As of Monday, shops, museums and libraries in Austria will be allowed to reopen and primary schools will return to in-person learning. Christmas markets, however, will remain banned.
2nd Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

NHS volunteers to be trained up to give Covid vaccine and 'deal with adverse effects'

In England, hundreds of thousands of volunteers will be called upon to deliver a mass roll out of the coronavirus vaccine, according to reports. The NHS recruited more than 750,000 people in April, with duties to include delivering goods to the elderly and taking patients for hospital appointments. But with the vaccine - which could be approved by next week - seen as the best shot at stamping out Covid-19 for good, they are now reportedly set to be trained up to administer the actual jabs.
2nd Dec 2020 - Mirror

Coronavirus: How Germany is preparing for a vaccination drive

Germany's federal and state governments came up with their "national vaccination strategy" early in November. It aims to build up infrastructure as quickly as possible to enable mass-vaccination programs. The work is a little complex and ad hoc, not least because, as the 15-page document concedes, it's not yet clear which vaccines will be available when, and in what quantities. But the plan's main aim is to avoid the opposite scenario: that a working vaccine cannot be distributed to the people because the logistics are lacking.
2nd Dec 2020 - Deutsche Welle


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How USA has become one giant hotspot: 1,172 Americans are now dying each day - an 80% increase in just one month - while hospitalizations soar to a record 96,000

A new map from an internal federal government brief shows that 48 US states and the District of Columbia are marked as 'sustained hotspots' of coronavirus Only two states on the map, dated November 29 and labeled 'not for distribution', did not fall in this category, which were Hawaii and Rhode Island. Another map from the brief also revealed the incidence rate of COVID-19 across the country is 336 cases per 100,000 people, up from 322 cases per 100,000 two weeks prior Most US counties on the map had incidence rates of either 200-499 new cases per 100,000 or 500+ new cases per 100,000. It comes as the US hit a grim new record of 96,039 coronavirus hospitalizations across the nation. Hospitals in several states are beyond capacity with health officials blaming 'COVID fatigue' and travel that occurred over Thanksgiving
1st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Major study shows how many of us followed the rules for lockdown two

A quarter of people have found it harder to follow rules during the UK’s second lockdown, citing bad weather, feeling worn out and a sense of unfairness, a study has found. Some 24% of people are finding the second lockdown harder, 24% said the rules are easier to follow now and 48% said they are coping about the same, according to King’s College London (KCL) research. The majority (82%) said they are being just as careful or more careful now about obeying the rules.
1st Dec 2020 - Wales Online

Dublin has shopping fever as Ireland ends second virus lockdown

Dublin thronged with face-masked Christmas shoppers on Tuesday as Ireland ended a second partial coronavirus lockdown, allowing non-essential retail to resume after six weeks of tough restrictions. Dozens queued for the mid-morning reopening of upmarket department store Brown Thomas, festooned with seasonal decorations in the epicentre of the capital's shopping district. Amidst tables of designer handbags one customer confided in staff that she had taken the morning off work to shop.
1st Dec 2020 - FRANCE 24

Europe Keeps Schools Open, not Restaurants, Unlike U.S. cities

As a second lockdown appeared inevitable amid skyrocketing coronavirus infections, the scientists advising the French government in October warned that keeping students in their classrooms meant it would take longer to tame the surge. The government kept the schools open anyway, even as the country became an epicenter of the second wave of the coronavirus in Europe. French leaders decided that they would try to subdue the surge, while also trying to minimize economic and academic damage by keeping children learning where they do it best: in school. Five weeks into a second nationwide lockdown, France, like much of Europe, has proved that it is possible to bring the rate of known infections down, even with schools open. It is a lesson that has been taken up late in the United States
1st Dec 2020 - The New York Times

One quarter of Britons found the second national lockdown harder to follow

More than a quarter of Britons found it harder to follow the second lockdown compared to the first, a survey has revealed. The most common reasons for struggling were feeling fatigued by Covid restrictions, a belief measures were unjust and bad weather restricting people from going outside and seeing friends and family. Experts feared that 'lockdown fatigue' would mean many Brits would defy the second shutdown and see loved ones anyway. But King's College London scientists found a 'remarkable resilience' in the British public, with 82 per cent still following the rules to the best of their abilities.
1st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Hospitals catch up with Covid-19 lockdown cancer backlog, Cancer Control Agency says

In New Zealand, the country's hospitals have caught up with the cancer backlog caused by the Covid-19 lockdown in March and April, Te Aho o Te Kahu Cancer Control Agency chief executive Diana Sarfati says. Diagnostic services and cancer screening programmes stopped during lockdown as the health service prepared for the pandemic, and the Cancer Society in June warned 400 people could die if hospitals didn’t act quickly. But unpublished figures for September show the number of people diagnosed with cancer mirrors that of last year, indicating hospitals have worked through the backlog, Sarfati said.
1st Dec 2020 - Stuff.co.nz


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Airlines Face ‘Mission of the Century’ in Shipping Vaccines

In cooled warehouses on the fringes of Frankfurt airport, Deutsche Lufthansa AG is preparing its depleted fleet for the gargantuan task of airlifting millions of doses of the vaccines meant to end the global pandemic. Lufthansa, one of the world’s biggest cargo carriers, began planning in April in anticipation of the shots that Pfizer Inc. to Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc are developing in record time. A 20-member task force is at work devising how to fit more of the crucial payload onto the airline’s 15 Boeing Co. 777 and MD-11 freighters, along with hold space in a vast passenger fleet now flying at just 25% of capacity.
29th Nov 2020 - Bloomberg

'Limited number' of pharmacies to give 1000 COVID-19 vax a week

A “limited number” of pharmacies in England will be asked to offer COVID-19 vaccinations from late December, provided they can deliver 1,000 doses a week, NHSE&I has said. NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) will commission a small number of pharmacy contractors to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme as a local enhanced service (LES), it said in a letter to contractors last week (November 27). The selected pharmacy-led sites will need to comply with a list of requirements, which NHSE&I said it does not “expect the majority of contractors sites will be able to meet”. NHSE&I regional teams will select suitable pharmacy sites, following a designation process. Those successful will be required to administer “a minimum of 1,000 doses of vaccine over a seven-day period from each designated site” from “late December or early January”, but the exact date will depend on vaccine availability. A final LES agreement will be published “as soon as details are clear”, NHSE&I said in the letter – which was signed by NHS chief commercial officer and senior responsible owner for the vaccine programme Emily Lawson, director of primary care Ed Waller and chief pharmaceutical officer for England Dr Keith Ridge.
30th Nov 2020 - Chemist+Druggist

Russian hospital says it began civilian coronavirus vaccinations last week

Russia has delivered the first known batch of Sputnik V vaccines for civilian use to a hospital just south of Moscow, which said on Monday it began vaccinating the local population last week. Russia, which is rushing to keep up with Western drugmakers in the race for a coronavirus shot, has said interim trial results show its Sputnik V vaccine to be 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19.
30th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Germany partial lockdown pushes more companies into short-time work: Ifo

The share of companies in Germany using short-time work schemes rose in November compared to the previous month, economic institute Ifo said on Monday, as a partial lockdown hit employment in tourism and restaurant industries. Ifo said a survey of around 7,000 companies showed that the share of companies using the scheme rose to 28% in November from 24.8% in October. Short-time work, also known as Kurzarbeit, allows employers to switch employees to working fewer hours or even none during an economic downturn. It aims to stop immediate shocks from leading into mass unemployment.
30th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Many retailers prepare to reopen for first time in six weeks

Non-essential retailers around the country are finalising preparations ahead of reopening their doors for the first time in six weeks. Level 5 restrictions will begin to ease tomorrow, with restaurants and gastro pubs following suit on Friday. The Government expects to see new cases of Covid-19 increasing in two weeks' time, once restrictions are eased. But Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said there is no intention to reimpose tighter restrictions unless there is a huge rise in cases.
30th Nov 2020 - RTE

US braces for continued surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations

As newly reported cases of the coronavirus continued to spike across much of the United States, breaking records for hospitalisations, some local leaders are moving to enact more stringent restrictions. US officials had pleaded with Americans to avoid travel and limit social gatherings as the nation entered its winter holiday season. But many appear to have disregarded those pleas over the long Thanksgiving weekend as the Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 1.2 million airline passengers on Sunday, the highest since mid-March.
30th Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English


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Pressure on critical care facilities in covid-19 patients in India

The covid-19 pandemic has presented multiple challenges to healthcare systems around the world. We want to highlight the difficulties in Kerala, India, of providing palliative care for patients with pre-existing advanced disease who are infected with coronavirus. There are difficult ethical issues related to triage and care rationing when resources are limited and demand is high, alongside the logistical challenge of making such decisions. The pandemic has now laid bare issues about futile and inappropriate medical interventions in certain contexts.
28th Nov 2020 - The BMJ

GPs step up in 2020 to tackle Covid-19

After the toughest year ever for general practice, Nicola Merrifield reflects on how GPs have stood up to be counted. This year’s battle with Covid-19, has meant GPs have had to be more dedicated and adaptable than ever. They have taken on new ways of remote working and run outdoor or socially distanced clinics, often with smaller teams due to staff self-isolating. There has also been a monumental effort to maintain normal services as far as possible, at a time when GP numbers continue to fall – down by 1.2% on last year, with 334 fewer full-time-equivalent GPs in England, according to the latest official NHS data from September.
28th Nov 2020 - Pulse

South Korea bans year-end parties, some music lessons, as virus spikes again

South Korean authorities announced a ban on year-end parties and some music lessons on Sunday and said public saunas and some cafes must also close after coronavirus infections surged at their fastest pace since the early days of the pandemic. South Korea has been one of the world’s coronavirus mitigation success stories but spikes in infections have reappeared relentlessly, triggering alarm in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Authorities reported 450 new infections on Sunday after more than 500 cases were recorded for three days in a row, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said. What authorities are calling a third wave of infections is spreading at the fastest rate in nearly nine months, driven by outbreaks at military facilities, a sauna, a high school and churches.
30th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

With no action by Washington, states race to offer virus aid

Faulting inaction in Washington, governors and state lawmakers are racing to get pandemic relief to small-business owners, the unemployed, renters and others whose livelihoods have been upended by the widening coronavirus outbreak. In some cases, elected officials are spending the last of a federal relief package passed in the spring as an end-of-year deadline approaches and the fall COVID-19 surge threatens their economies anew. Underscoring the need for urgency, the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States reached 205,557 on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University – the first time its daily figure topped the 200,000 mark. Its previous daily high was 196,000 on Nov. 20.
28th Nov 2020 - Houston Chronicle

Covid: Hospitals could be overwhelmed without new tiers, says Gove

Hospitals in England could become "overwhelmed" with Covid cases if MPs do not back new restrictions, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has said. Many Tory MPs oppose the tougher tier system, which begins on 2 December. But writing in the Times, Mr Gove said MPs - who will vote on the measures next week - need to "take responsibility for difficult decisions". Labour is yet to decide whether it will support the new restrictions. It has warned, however, that areas in tier three will be stretched to "breaking point" without further financial support from the Treasury. It comes as a further 479 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported in the UK, bringing the total to 58,030. There were also a further 15,871 positive cases registered in the past 24 hours.
28th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Shops reopen in France as national lockdown eases

Queues formed outside hairdressers’ shops and department stores sold gifts and Christmas decorations on Saturday as France partially reopened after a month-long lockdown. Shops selling non-essential goods, such as shoes, clothes and toys, reopened in the first easing of national restrictions since 30 October. Bars and restaurants remain closed until 20 January. As a condition for reopening, the government reduced the number of people allowed in shops. Many small business owners complained it was hard to operate under the new rules
28th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

England's hospitals could be overwhelmed without new tier system - minister

England needs tough restrictions after its current lockdown ends if hospitals are not to become overwhelmed, a senior minister said, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to lawmakers to say the measures would end in February to try to quell opposition. Britain upped preparations for a vaccine roll-out on Saturday as Johnson named Nadhim Zahawi as a new health minister to oversee its deployment and the Financial Times reported that the UK is set to approve the BioNTech Pfizer vaccine next week. But despite progress on the vaccine, the government still needs to convince lawmakers to back its new tougher tiered measures which will put 99% of English people into the highest two levels of restrictions when the current national lockdown ends on Dec. 2.
28th Nov 2020 - Reuters Canada

Queues at barber shops as France eases coronavirus lockdown

People eager to get a haircut stood in line outside barber shops and department stores selling gifts and Christmas decorations were busy on Saturday as France partially reopened following a month-long lockdown. Shops selling non-essential goods such as shoes, clothes and toys reopened in the first easing of a nationwide lockdown that started on Oct. 30 and will remain in place until Dec. 15. Bars and restaurants remain closed till Jan. 20,
28th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

MPs raise concerns over vaccine supply after Pfizer shuts cold storage site

Concerns have been raised about the risk of disruption to supplies of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine and added costs after the drugs company shut a cold storage facility in the south of England ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period next month. Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner, which unveiled breakthrough interim results from a late-stage trial this month. Operations at a Pfizer vaccine packaging and distribution plant in Havant have been winding down before a transfer to a manufacturing site at Puurs in Belgium in October
28th Nov 2020 - The Times

Here’s why pubs reopened in July – and why it’s different now

The UK’s hospitality industry is not happy with the new Covid-19 plan to be adopted from December 2 in England. On the opposite end of the debate, academics and doctors have expressed reservations about pubs being allowed to reopen at all. Neil Ferguson, an Imperial College epidemiologist and former government adviser, suggested that the decision might lead to a rise in infection levels. The decision to reopen pubs on July 4 was taken after a data-crunching tool built by British artificial intelligence firm Faculty flagged up that “large numbers of pubs” risked going out of business due to the lockdown restrictions, according to Faculty’s chief operating officer Richard Sargeant.
27th Nov 2020 - Wired UK

WHO warns countries with falling COVID cases to stay alert

Even if countries see a fall in coronavirus cases, they need to stay vigilant, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for COVID-19, said on Friday. “What we don’t want to see is situations where you are moving from lockdown to bringing (the virus) under control to another lockdown,” she told a virtual briefing in Geneva. Nearly 61 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 1.4 million have died, according to a Reuters tally. “It is in our power to keep transmission low,” she said. “We have seen dozens of countries show us that it can be brought under control and kept under control.”
27th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Lockdown in Los Angeles: LA County asks its 10 million residents to stay home for THREE weeks - but churches and protests are exempt

Los Angeles County confirmed 24 new deaths and 4,544 new cases on Friday Officials banned most gatherings but stopped short of full shutdown on stores Restrictions were brought on by average of 4,751 cases a day for last five days Residents of nation's most populous county are being urged to stay home People are also not allowed to gather with those from outside their household Exceptions are being made for church services and protests, officials said Non-essential retail businesses could stay open, but at 20 per cent capacity
27th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail


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Midwestern Governors Seek More Federal Covid-19 Aid for Businesses

A growing number of governors are calling for another round of coronavirus-relief legislation from Washington, saying they are unable to provide additional funds to small businesses amid budget shortfalls. The issue is gaining urgency as money from federal relief passed earlier this year runs out ahead of a year-end deadline to spend it. States have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid into everything from personal-protective equipment and hazard pay for front-line health-care workers to schools and food banks.
26th Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Covid-19: Preparation for NI vaccination programme in December

Plans are under way to allow Northern Ireland's vaccination programme to begin next month, according to the Health Minister Robin Swann. Without regulatory approval any plans at this stage are provisional. According to the Department of Health, the vaccination programme will be on a phased basis, and will run well into 2021. Plans include a public information campaign to encourage take up among the public.
26th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Lockdown tiers will mean hospitality ‘never recovers’

The hospitality industry has responded with fierce criticism of the new tier system, warning that it will wipe out billions of pounds of trading and lead to huge numbers of job losses.The new tier
26th Nov 2020 - The Times

Students may be compensated for lost teaching during UK lockdown

Students could be awarded financial compensation for lost teaching time during the Covid-19 lockdown after the higher education complaints watchdog told an institution to pay £1,000 to an international student. However, the National Union of Students (NUS) described the process for dealing with complaints about university disruption during the pandemic as “farcical” and “inadequate” as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator published details of a handful of individual cases. About 200 complaints have been submitted to the ombudsman so far. Many more are expected, as students can only take their case to the OIA if they have exhausted the internal complaints procedure at their own university. The NUS says the system must be simplified to speed up redress.
26th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Germany Extends Strict Lockdown Measures With Eye Towards Reopening Ski Slopes

Germany is extending its current coronavirus lockdown measures through mid-December, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this week. The country will remain under measures introduced in early November that include limits on private gatherings and it will keep bars, restaurants, and museums closed. Residents will be given some leeway around the Christmas holiday. Members of one household can meet up with 10 people between Dec. 23 to Jan. 1. Children under 14 are exempt. The overall restrictions are set to continue until Dec. 20, but it's expected, with the continued surge in infections, that these rules will stay in place until early January, Merkel said.
26th Nov 2020 - NPR

In Italy’s South, War Zone Doctors Are Called to the Rescue Amid Covid-19 Upsurge

Italy’s troubled south, which was largely spared earlier on in the pandemic, is now struggling to cope—so much so that the government is turning for help to a medical charity used to working in war zones. The Milan-based nongovernmental organization Emergency is best known for assisting war victims in countries such as Afghanistan, or Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. It has now agreed to help confront the crisis in Italy’s poorest region of Calabria, where the dysfunctional health care system is ill-equipped to deal with a viral outbreak.
26th Nov 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

London pubs to reopen if they serve food as capital placed in tier 2

Pubs in London will be allowed to open next week if they serve food, after the capital was placed in tier 2 of the new restrictions. The move will delight MPs and businesses in London – but is likely to kick off a political row as most cities in the North and Midlands face the harshest tier 3 curbs. Success in curbing Covid-19 infections in Liverpool means it will drop into tier 2, but Manchester faces the toughest restrictions after lockdown ends on 2 December – shutting pubs and restaurants except for takeaways.
26th Nov 2020 - The Independent

UK pub operators report losses, job cuts as lockdown pain builds

British pub operators Mitchells & Butlers and Fuller, Smith & Turner said on Thursday they had cut around 1,650 jobs and suffered millions in financial losses as the hospitality industry reels from new lockdowns. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has warned of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of job losses if the government does not give pubs more freedom or grants to help them cover fixed costs in order to survive winter. M&B, which owns All Bar One, Harvester and Browns, said it had cut 1,300 jobs. Smaller rival Fuller’s said its total number of employees had been reduced by 20% following about 350 job cuts, the sale of its pizza chain The Stable and through natural attrition. The companies said they have enough resources to operate in the foreseeable future, but the downside scenarios cast doubts about their ability to continue as going concerns.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

EasyJet says domestic bookings rise as England lockdown ends

British airline easyJet said domestic bookings for December had risen significantly this week compared to last week after news that some COVID-19 restrictions in its home market would be eased. England’s current lockdown bans most international travel, but when it ends on Dec. 2 people will be free to go abroad. Over Christmas, COVID-19 restrictions across the UK will be relaxed to allow families to mix for five days.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Cleaning up: COVID-19 vaccine will not derail disinfectants market, industry exec says

Vaccines against COVID-19 will take some steam out of the market for hygiene products, but demand will remain above pre-pandemic levels as frequent hand-cleaning is here to stay, an executive at Ecolab, a leading firm in the sector, said on Thursday.
26th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

CureVac ties up Wacker to churn out more than 100M doses of mRNA coronavirus vaccine

Riding a wave of interest in mRNA-based vaccines, Germany's CureVac is looking to rapidly drive manufacturing of its own shot candidate. After announcing a plan to bring more partners on board, CureVac has knotted the first of those deals to the tune of 100 million doses. CureVac has tagged German chemical company Wacker to churn out drug substance for its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine with the goal of adding 100 million doses per year to the biotech's stockpile, the partners said this week. Wacker will produce those doses at its Amsterdam facility starting in the first half of 2021, the companies said. The firm plans to "ramp up" its manufacturing capacity to meet that demand and is prepared to expand in the future to add more doses.
25th Nov 2020 - FiercePharma


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Soaring Covid-19 Hospitalizations Again Put Traveling Nurses in Demand

As the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus rises across the U.S., hospitals are turning to a tactic they used in earlier surges: hiring more traveling nurses. Demand is so great that hospitals are paying as much as twice the usual hourly pay for nurses, in one case $140 an hour, traveling-nurse agencies and hospital-industry leaders say. Hospitalizations, which have set new records every day for two weeks, hit a fresh high of 85,836 on Nov. 23, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That is higher than any of the prior surges in the U.S., where hospitalizations—at their highest—were pushing the 60,000 mark.
25th Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal

As COVID-19 Vaccine Nears, Employers Consider Making It Mandatory

Just a few months into the coronavirus pandemic, Holly Smith had already made up her mind. She was not going to reopen her restaurant to diners until there was a vaccine. She just didn't think it was safe. When she shared the decision with her staff, they asked: Would the vaccine be mandatory? Yes, she said. It would be. "I'm not going to open until I can indeed be sure that everyone on my staff is vaccinated," says Smith, chef and owner of Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Wash. "The immediate people on the team — you've got to take care of them. If you don't take care of them, they cannot help you take care of business."
25th Nov 2020 - NPR

Greater Manchester's largest NHS trust draws up Covid-19 vaccination plans for staff

Manchester's largest NHS trust is drawing up plans to vaccinate its staff against coronavirus. The Manchester Evening News has seen an early internal planning document circulated within Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust runs a number of hospitals including Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital, Saint Mary's Hospital, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and Trafford General. Several potential Covid-19 vaccines are in the later stages of clinical trials, but still have to pass safety tests. It's not yet known whether - or when - a vaccine could be approved for use. But in line with Government instruction the NHS in all settings is gearing up to be ready to roll out vaccination programmes from any date in December, although mass vaccination is said to be more likely to happen in the new year.
25th Nov 2020 - Manchester Evening News

COVID Christmas rules: What's allowed during the festive season?

Coronavirus rules will be relaxed over the festive season across the UK with people allowed to celebrate in three-household "Christmas bubbles" with their families. Leaders in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all agreed that groups can meet at home, outdoors or in a place of worship from 23 to 27 December. Individuals will also be able to travel between tiers and across the whole of the UK without restriction within the five-day period for the purposes of meeting with their bubble.
25th Nov 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus pandemic: Germany seeks EU deal to close ski resorts

Germany is seeking an agreement with EU countries to keep ski resorts closed until early January, in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. "I will say this openly that it won't be easy, but we will try," Chancellor Angela Merkel said after speaking to Germany's regional leaders on Tuesday. The news came as the country extended its partial lockdown until 20 December. Some of the early European coronavirus hotspots were at ski resorts, helping spread infections across the continent.
25th Nov 2020 - BBC News

'Essential workers' likely to get earlier access to Covid-19 vaccine

Essential workers are likely to move ahead of adults 65 and older and people with high-risk medical conditions when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off on Covid-19 vaccine priority lists, coming after health care workers and people living in long-term care facilities, a meeting of an expert advisory panel made clear Monday. The intention is to bring many people of color closer to the front of the vaccine priority line — should they want to be vaccinated — in recognition of the fact that the pandemic has disproportionately hit Black and Latino communities.
23rd Nov 2020 - STAT News


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The ‘daunting’ hurdles of distributing Covid-19 vaccines in America

James English has $74,000 to figure out how to distribute the world’s first ultra-cold storage drug to a staff of skeptical and worn-out healthcare workers, as the major sources of supports to contain Covid-19 so far come to an end. English is the regional operations chief and health branch director for Covid-19 in Washoe county, Nevada, and is one of the hundreds of local public health directors across the US who will eventually help distribute Covid-19 vaccines. English faces difficulties likely to be encountered nationally, as the nation undertakes the most logistically challenging vaccination campaign in its history. “The largest hurdle – we have as a small health department – is we do multiple roles,” said English. “Our funding is very minimal.”
24th Nov 2020 - The Guardian on MSN.com

Kremlin says healthcare under heavy strain as COVID-19 deaths hit new high

The Kremlin said on Tuesday Russia’s healthcare system was under heavy strain as authorities reported a record 491 deaths linked to COVID-19 and infections surged. Russia has resisted imposing national lockdown restrictions, as it did earlier this year, preferring targeted regional measures, even as thousands of cases are reported each day, with 24,326 new infections on Tuesday. “The healthcare system is working under heavy strain, but with the exception of a few regions...the situation remains under control,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
24th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Restauranteurs Look To Australia For A Guide On Surviving A Winter Lockdown

In the US, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise by the day, hitting new mind-boggling heights, new dine-in ordinances are being introduced on state and country-wide levels and more states report considering closures by the day. Without bold Congressional action, restaurant and bar owners are left to their own devices to finagle new business approaches in an attempt to survive a challenging winter ahead. “Northern hemisphere restaurants would be wise to take a page from the playbook of some of their southern hemisphere counterparts,” Juan Garcia, founder of restaurant rating and review site Foodporn tells me. “In Melbourne, Australia, for example, the entire winter months of July to October were spent in stage-four lockdown; meaning restaurants, cafes and bars were completely closed to dine-in customers. This forced a transformation never before seen in Melbourne hospitality.”
24th Nov 2020 - Forbes

French business morale hits five-month low on new lockdown

French business confidence dropped in November to a five-month low as the country entered a new coronavirus lockdown, hitting the services sector particularly hard, a survey showed on Tuesday. INSEE, the official stats agency, said its monthly business climate index fell to 79 from 92 in October, the lowest reading since June, when France was still emerging from its first lockdown. French President Emmanuel Macron is due to announce on Tuesday evening a relaxation of the second lockdown following a decline in new case numbers since it was imposed on Oct. 30.
24th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Hong Kong to shut bars, nightclubs for the third time as new COVID-19 cases jump

Hong Kong will close bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues for the third time this year, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Tuesday (Nov 24) as authorities scramble to tackle a renewed rise in COVID-19 cases. Authorities are also reopening a temporary COVID-19 treatment hall near the city's airport. On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported 80 new coronavirus cases, taking the total since late January to 5,782 COVID-19 infections and 108 deaths. The financial hub has so far managed to avoid the widespread outbreak of the disease seen in many major cities across the world, with numbers on a daily basis mostly in single digits or low double digits in the weeks prior to the spike.
24th Nov 2020 - Channel News Asia

Coronavirus vaccine: Transport staff and teachers should be prioritised

Key workers including transport staff and people from deprived areas should be among those included in the priority list for the Covid-19 vaccine, experts involved in health inequalities have said. Nicola Sturgeon this week set out the Scottish Government’s plan to vaccinate 4.4million Scots over the age of 18. There are hopes that around 1million people could receive the jag before the end of January. Frontline health and social care staff, care home residents and staff and all those aged 80 and over will be the first to receive the vaccine.
24th Nov 2020 - HeraldScotland

Nursing homes will be first to get COVID-19 vaccine in Spain

Elderly residents and staff in nursing homes will be the first to get vaccinated against the coronavirus in Spain, starting as early as January, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Tuesday, unveiling a national vaccination plan. Other healthcare workers will be next in line, with a total of 18 groups of citizens being, one after the other, allowed to get the vaccine in one of 13,000 local public health centers. Spain expects to cover a substantial part of the population within the first six months of 2021. “The COVID-19 vaccine will be free,” Illa told a news conference, adding vaccination would not be compulsory. “We’re convinced that a vaccine is better accepted if it’s voluntary.”
24th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Ford snaps up freezers to store COVID-19 vaccine for autoworkers

Workers at automotive assembly plants are considered essential in most US states, but are not at the top of the list for early vaccine distribution. Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday that it has ordered a dozen ultra-cold freezers that can safely store Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, a move aimed at ensuring the United States automaker’s workers have access to vaccines when they are rolled out nationally. Ford’s purchase mirrors efforts by US states and cities to buy equipment to store millions of doses of Pfizer’s vaccine at temperatures of -70C (-94F), significantly below the standard for vaccines of 2-8C (36-46F).
24th Nov 2020 - Aljazeera.com


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England to use testing to shorten quarantine for incoming passengers

England will introduce a new system on Dec. 15 allowing passengers arriving from high-risk countries to take a COVID-19 test after five days of quarantine and to be released from any further self-isolation if they test negative. Airlines and other companies in the travel and tourism industries had been calling for such a scheme for months, having suffered devastating consequences from a 14-day quarantine rule that has deterred people from travelling. “The move will give passengers the confidence to book international trips in the knowledge that they can return home and isolate for a shorter period if they have received a negative test,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday.
24th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Here’s how the U.S. government plans to distribute the first Covid-19 vaccines.

In the wake of a steady stream of positive results indicating the effectiveness of several coronavirus vaccines, the official in charge of the federal coronavirus vaccine program explained on Sunday news shows how the vaccines might be distributed to Americans as early as next month. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of the administration’s Operation Warp Speed, said that within 24 hours after the Food and Drug Administration approves a vaccine, doses will be shipped to states to be distributed. “Within 48 hours from approval,” the first people would likely receive injections, Dr. Slaoui said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
23rd Nov 2020 - New York Times

Qantas announces Covid-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all passengers

An airline has revealed that it will demand proof of a Covid-19 vaccination from international passengers. Head of Australian carrier Qantas has confirmed that having the jab - and being able to prove it - will be required by every passenger wanting to fly abroad on their services. CEO Alan Joyce said that as soon as a vaccine became available, it will become a condition of travel, deeming it a necessity for international travel.
23rd Nov 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Covid-19 visiting scheme in place at 'small number' of care homes

Most of Northern Ireland's care homes have not implemented a visiting scheme eight weeks after it was announced by the health minister, the chief nursing officer has said. Charlotte McArdle said a "small number" of homes had started up the so-called care partners scheme. Normal care home visits have been suspended due to Covid-19. The care partner initiative allows a designated relative or carer to visit a resident. Guidance on the scheme was announced by Health Minister Robin Swann on 23 September.
23rd Nov 2020 - BBC News

US, Germany and UK could start Covid vaccinations as early as December

As G20 leaders pledged to ensure the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and tests so that poorer countries are not left out, the US, UK and Germany each announced plans to begin vaccinations in their countries in December, while Spain said it would start administering the vaccine to its citizens in January. Britain could give regulatory approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine as early as this week, even before the US authorises it, the UK’s Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday. Pfizer and BioNTech could secure emergency US and European authorisation for their Covid-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed a 95% success rate and no serious side effects.
23rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Gyms and non-essential shops will open after England lockdown ends: BBC

Gyms and non-essential shops in all areas of England are expected to be allowed to reopen when the country’s current lockdown ends on Dec. 2, the BBC reported on Monday.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters

Hungary imposes restricted shopping hours to protect elderly in pandemic

Hungary’s government on Monday limited retail store visits in an effort to separate elderly shoppers and contain the coronavirus pandemic in the most vulnerable over-65 age group. “This government decree serves the protection of the elderly,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a Facebook video. “The pandemic’s statistics clearly show that the most endangered age group is that of our parents and grandparents. Let’s take care of them.” Hungary has tried for months to avoid a second lockdown and prevent further harm to the economy but was forced to close secondary schools and impose an 8 p.m.-5 a.m curfew.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters

Gaza declares COVID-19 disaster with health system near collapse

A rapid rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip has reached a “catastrophic stage”, with the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s medical system likely to collapse soon, health officials warn. COVID is spreading exponentially in Gaza – one of the most crowded places on Earth – especially in refugee camps, and the health ministry has warned of “disastrous” implications.
23rd Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English

UK aims to inoculate those most at risk from COVID by Easter - Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that he hoped almost all Britons at high risk from COVID would be vaccinated against the disease by Easter. “We should be able to inoculate, I believe on the evidence I’m seeing, the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter,” Johnson told a news conference.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters

England to allow 4,000 fans at elite events in lowest-risk areas

Up to 4,000 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor elite sports events in the lowest-risk tier one areas of England when a month-long national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 is lifted on Dec. 2, the British government said on Monday.
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK


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Maine planning for massive rollout of COVID-19 vaccines

When the trucks roll into Maine with the first batches of COVID-19 vaccine doses – perhaps as soon as mid-December – the state will need to overcome many logistical hurdles to bring the vaccines to pharmacies, doctors’ offices, hospitals, schools, fire halls and eventually the arms of patients. The mass vaccination effort will be a daunting operation, and planning for it has been underway for months. The pandemic has accelerated this fall, so getting people vaccinated as quickly as possible is a top priority for public health officials. Since the pandemic began last winter, more than 255,000 people have died in the United States from COVID-19, including 174 in Maine.
22nd Nov 2020 - Press Herald

Some Russian hospitals face shortages of COVID-19 drugs

Some Russian hospitals are experiencing serious shortages of drugs used to treat COVID-19 and cannot restock because of panic buying, high demand and problems with a new labelling system, officials, distributors and doctors said.
21st Nov 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

Polish malls to reopen, but PM warns against Christmas travel

Shopping centres will reopen in Poland in a week’s time, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Saturday, in a boost to retailers in the run-up to Christmas, but he added that the government was working on rules to limit travel. The government closed entertainment venues and some shops from Nov. 7 after a surge in COVID-19 cases, but infections have levelled off since then, allowing some loosening of restrictions. There is one condition: ... the discipline of every shop, mall, furniture store. If not, these stores will be closed,” Morawiecki told a news conference. “These decisions can save hundreds of thousands of jobs, which is why we are taking them,” he said.
21st Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Britain hopes Christmas can be saved as COVID cases flatten

Britain could ease stringent COVID-19 rules to allow families to gather for Christmas as signs indicate that coronavirus cases are starting to flatten as a result of current lockdowns, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday. The United Kingdom has the worst official COVID-19 death toll in Europe and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed some of the most stringent curbs in peacetime history in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But heading into the holiday season, the government faces a dilemma - to ease restrictions, with the risk of renewed spread of the disease and death, or to ban large get-togethers.“It of course won’t be like a normal Christmas, there will have to be rules in place,” Hancock told Sky News.
21st Nov 2020 - Reuters

Trudeau warns Canada's hospitals could be swamped, Toronto to enter COVID-19 lockdown

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Canada’s hospital system could be overwhelmed by a possible quadrupling of new COVID-19 cases by year end as its biggest city Toronto prepared to impose a lockdown. Trudeau implored Canadians to stay home as much as possible as a second wave of the novel coronavirus rips across the country, forcing several of the 10 provinces to reimpose curbs on movement and businesses. Cases continue to spike and authorities complain some people are being more careless about taking precautions.
21st Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

NHS assembles army of staff for mass coronavirus vaccinations

The NHS is bringing together an army of retired doctors, health visitors and physiotherapists to embark on the country’s biggest ever mass vaccination programme, the Guardian has learned. The extraordinary effort in England will also include district nurses and high street chemists alongside GPs in the drive to immunise 22 million vulnerable adults, followed by the rest of the population. NHS documents seen by the Guardian show the rollout will rely in part on “inexperienced staff” who will have undergone two hours of online training before starting work. The slides also reveal codenames for two of the most promising vaccines in development: the Pfizer/BioNTech version is called “Courageous” and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is known as “Talent”.
20th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Covid vaccine: US military ready to deliver 40 million doses once FDA approves

A US general said the military is prepared to deliver Pfizer and Moderna's coronavirus vaccines as soon as they receive emergency use authorisation from the government. US General Gustave Perna, chief operations officer for Operation Warp Speed, told ABC News Friday that the military is ready to deliver millions of vaccine doses once the US Food and Drug Administration grants them emergency use authorisation. Pfizer submitted its vaccine to the US FDA today. Moderna will submit its vaccine later this month. The companies said they expect to produce 50 million doses in 2020 and up to 1.3bn doses by the end of 2021.
20th Nov 2020 - The Independent

Families ‘can visit relatives in care homes at Christmas’ with roll out of rapid 30 minute coronavirus tests

A London council has vowed relatives will be able to see their loved one in care homes this Christmas as they started planning 30-minute on-the-spot Covid tests for families. Hammersmith and Fulham began borough-wide targeted coronavirus testing this week using the lateral flow swabs - piloted in Liverpool - which produce results in under an hour. The council, which is running the operation in conjunction with the Government, will initially test asymptomatic frontline workers in nursing homes and in GP practices, followed by school staff, social workers, people in sheltered homes and other key workers.
20th Nov 2020 - Evening Standard

The world's now scrambling for dry ice. It's just one headache in getting coronavirus vaccines where they need to go

Vaccines like to be kept cool, none more so than the Pfizer candidate for Covid-19, which has to be deep-frozen. And that's going to be an issue for developing countries -- and for rural areas in the developed world. The "cold chain" is just one of the challenges in distributing vaccines worldwide. There are plenty of others: decisions about priority populations and databases to keep track of who's received what vaccine, where and when. Additionally, different vaccines may have more or less efficacy with different population groups; and governments will need PR campaigns to persuade people that vaccines are safe.
20th Nov 2020 - CNN

Toronto is under a 28-day COVID-19 lockdown starting Monday. Here’s what that means

With the risk of overwhelming hospitals in red zones with COVID-19 patients now imminent, Premier Doug Ford is moving Toronto into a 28-day lockdown along with Peel Region. The new measures will return the city to an experience similar to the earlier days of the pandemic with widespread closures. In Toronto, here is what that means as far as closures and new limitations as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23:
20th Nov 2020 - Toronto Star

Covid-19: A 'step forward' in vaccine roll-out plans and infections levelling off

The UK government has formally asked the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to assess the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, one of the frontrunners in the race for a coronavirus cure. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was "another important step forward" and that, if approved, it would be available across the NHS for free across all of the UK. He said the UK has contributed more than any other country towards researching a vaccine, something he said the country should be proud of. It follows Pfizer and BioNTech seeking emergency authorisation for the vaccine in the US.
20th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Health staff, care homes and over 80s to get Covid vaccine first

Frontline health workers, care home residents and staff and over 80s will be first to get a coronavirus vaccine in Scotland. Next in line will be over 65s and younger people with underlying health conditions likely to badly affected by the virus. More than one million people in Scotland could be vaccinated by the end of January, the health secretary Jeane Freeman told parliament on Thursday. Everyone aged over 18 – around 4.4m people – will eventually be offered the protection from Covid-19, with rollout possibly starting from the first week of December if a vaccine is approved by then.
20th Nov 2020 - STV News


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These 10 jobs could disappear or decline because of COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has upended the labor market like no other U.S. recession, wiping out 22.2 million jobs in early spring as states ordered business shutdowns. Since then, about 12 million have been recouped as restaurants and other outlets reopened and brought back furloughed workers.vWhile some of the remaining 10 million lost jobs are expected to return in coming months, many are likely to come back only after a vaccine is widely available next year. Still others may not return for several years, if ever, as the pandemic reshapes the economy, according to a new report by Glassdoor, the job posting and employee review site. “COVID is going to change the way we organize work and the way we spend,” says Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain.
19th Nov 2020 - USA Today

Asylum seekers in the EU must be given access to new Covid-19 vaccines, UN says

Asylum-seekers in the EU should have equal access to promising Covid-19 vaccines, the head of the UN's migration agency told the European Parliament on Thursday. 'It is for the sake of their safety and well-being of the entire host communities' in the countries taking them in, said Antonio Vitorino, director general of the International Organisation for Migration. He was one of several high-profile speakers dialling in for a virtual conference organised by the European Parliament and Germany on migration and asylum in Europe
19th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

Finland and Norway Avoid Covid-19 Lockdowns but Keep the Virus At Bay

While the U.S. and Europe struggle to contain an autumn surge in coronavirus infections, two small nations are bucking the trend, keeping cases under control without stringent restrictions. In the north of Europe, Finland and Norway boast the West’s lowest rates of mortality linked to Covid-19 and a low incidence of coronavirus infections even though they have kept their economies and societies largely open while lockdowns returned to the continent. While Sweden has captured global attention with its refusal to adopt mandatory restrictions—a policy now being reversed in the face of spiraling infections and deaths—its two northern neighbors now stand out as the closest Western equivalents to Asian nations that have managed to avoid the worst of the pandemic.
19th Nov 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Lockdown 2.0 Shows Europe’s Businesses Are Learning From the Pandemic

European small businesses that survived the first coronavirus lockdowns are getting creative to weather the second wave and the long-term fallout from the pandemic. Faced with the prospects of another recession and uncertainty over how long the crisis may last, firms are fighting to retain existing customers and hunting for new ones to stay afloat. Many have learned from the painful experience of the first lockdown to navigate some of the drastic long-term changes to work and consumer behavior brought about by the virus.
19th Nov 2020 - BloombergQuint

In Autumn in Paris, struggling shops get creative to survive

Toy store owner Marie Boudier is grateful November has been unusually mild in Paris this year - she’s trying to survive France’s second coronavirus lockdown by selling Lego sets and colouring books through her open front door. From behind a trestle table, Boudier has taken to handing over her orders without letting customers in, a makeshift measure replicated up and down her street and across France amid a minefield of dos and don’ts for stores deemed non-essential. “It’s not exactly clear to what extent we’re doing it right,” Boudier said, breaking away to show one shopper little bags of marbles.
19th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Promise of season’s greetings as France lifts lockdown on Christmas trees

Florists in France have been given the green light to sell Christmas trees from Friday, in what many hope is a sign that the government is set to ease the Covid-19 lockdown and allow family celebrations to go ahead. Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said the sale of sapins de Noël was to be limited to outdoors, to allow social distancing. "Many places where Christmas trees can be sold are already open, such as supermarkets and DIY stores," he said. "But for florists, outside sales can also be organised." With the holiday season just around the corner, shop owners are keen on returning to business as usual.
19th Nov 2020 - Yahoo News UK

French finance minister calls for postponement of Black Friday amid lockdown

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday called on supermarkets and on-line retailers to postpone the "Black Friday" sales shopping day due to take place on Nov. 27 as shops selling non-essential goods remained closed during lockdown.
19th Nov 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

SA police out on empty streets as state goes into first day of lockdown

The busy streets of Adelaide looked like a ghost town as South Australians woke up to their first day in lockdown. On Thursday morning, many chose to sleep in and remained indoors to keep cool as the mercury rose to 36C. Regular peak hour traffic heading into the CBD was nowhere to be seen. While the city was near-empty — with the exception of essential workers — SA Police officers hit the streets to hand out face masks to homeless people and essential workers that passed by. Police Commissioner Grant Stevens told ABC Radio additional patrols would be out over the next six days to ensure South Aussies were complying with the tough restrictions.
19th Nov 2020 - NEWS.com.au

UK will set up dozens of mass vaccination centres as soon as vaccines are available - the Telegraph

Britain will set up dozens of mass vaccination centres to immunize people against coronavirus as soon as vaccines are available, the Telegraph reported. One of the first locations for administering Pfizer Inc vaccine from mid-December has been confirmed as being in Derby, the newspaper added.
19th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK


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'A catastrophic situation': COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm Canada's health system

In July, the Canadian province of Manitoba went two weeks without a single new case of COVID-19. Theaters and casinos reopened and children soon returned to school. By October, the 1.4 million people living in a province only slightly smaller geographically than Texas had Canada’s highest rate of active cases - now 512 per 100,000 people, or nearly quadruple the national rate. “In a couple of weeks, we’re going to be in a catastrophic situation,” said Dr. Anand Kumar, a Manitoba intensive care physician.
18th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Brutal Covid second wave exposes Italy's shortage of intensive care staff

Italian hospitals are struggling with a shortage of intensive care specialists as the country battles a severe coronavirus second wave, while some citizens are also turning against health workers. Covid-related deaths rose by 731 on Tuesday – the highest daily toll since early April, when Italy was in complete lockdown – and by 753 on Wednesday, as weaknesses in the healthcare system across the country become more exposed. According to a study by Johns Hopkins University in the US, Italy has recorded four deaths per 100 infections - the third highest rate in the world. Tuesday’s count equated to one death every two minutes. Admissions to intensive care units have almost doubled to 3,612 since 1 November and the number of people in hospital with coronavirus – 33,074 – has eclipsed that reached during the first wave.
18th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Is lockdown working? London businesses urge Government to give city a chance amid claims curbs are helping

In England, lockdown is starting to work in the battle against Covid-19, a Cabinet minister claimed today, as business chiefs appealed for London to be given a chance to recover when restrictions are lifted. Official data is understood to show that the number of coronavirus infections in the community in England is still growing but less quickly in recent weeks. Business chiefs warned that London must be put into a tier which will allow the city to reopen. Jace Tyrrell, who is chief executive of New West End Company, said: “Our hope is that the Government will recognise that the capital can be safely and sustainably reopened for business from December 3.
18th Nov 2020 - Evening Standard

German police fire water cannons at protesters as thousands gather in Berlin anti-lockdown rally

Thousands gathered at Brandenburg Gate to protest covid restrictions in Germany as case numbers rose. Police used water cannons to break up the huge crowds with some protesters throwing flares. Demonstration came as government debated a bill that would make mask wearing, social distancing and shop closures enforceable by law
18th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Panic-buying across South Australia as state goes into lockdown

Adelaide residents have started panic-buying in supermarkets after Premier Steven Marshall announced a six-day coronavirus lockdown. South Australia is battling a cluster of 22 cases in the city's northern suburbs and will introduce the harshest restrictions the country has seen to slow the spread from midnight. The lockdown - described as 'extreme' by state chief health officer Nicola Spurrier - bans residents from leaving home for exercise and allows one shopping trip per household a day.
18th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

'Where there's a will there's a way' as English doctors prepare COVID vaccine roll-out

English doctors are grappling with the prospect of seven-day service, -75 degree Celsius freezers and vaccines known as “Talent” and “Courageous” as they prepare for an unprecedented logistical challenge: the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations. Health minister Matt Hancock has set a target for England’s National Health Service that it should be ready to administer vaccines by Dec. 1, although he has said his central expectation is for the bulk of the roll-out to happen next year. Any distribution of vaccines would also require approval from the country’s medical watchdog, the MHRA. On Wednesday, NHS England medical director Stephen Powis confirmed that general practitioners (GPs), pharmacies and large-scale inoculation centres could all be involved in the vaccine roll-out, adding more details would be given in the coming days
18th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Japan to monitor virus cases, hospitals before any emergency declaration decision

Japan will not immediately declare a health emergency following a record rise in coronavirus cases, and will continue to monitor infection rates and the capacity of hospitals to cope, the government’s chief spokesman said on Thursday. “We will respond appropriately based on conditions,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular press briefing. Coronavirus infections in Japan hit a record daily high of 2,201 cases on Wednesday, public broadcaster NHK reported. Almost a quarter of those were in Tokyo, which is expected to raise its pandemic alert level on Thursday, according to local media reports.
18th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveries could start 'before Christmas'

Pfizer Inc PFE.N and BioNTech 22UAy.DE could secure emergency U.S. and European authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed it had a 95% success rate and no serious side effects, the drugmakers said on Wednesday. The vaccine’s efficacy was found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities - a promising sign given the disease has disproportionately hurt the elderly and certain groups including Black people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency-use by the middle of December, BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Reuters TV. Conditional approval in the European Union could be secured in the second half of December, he added.
18th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Conspiracy Video Goes Viral in Threat to France’s Vaccine Push

A documentary questioning the purpose of coronavirus vaccines has gone viral in France after endorsements from politicians and celebrities, some of whom later withdrew their support. “Hold Up” got more than 4 million views on Google’s YouTube and other platforms over a couple of days last week, helped along on social media by public figures including lawmakers, former First Lady Carla Bruni--Sarkozy and actor Sophie Marceau. Suspicions over the safety and effectiveness of vaccines are widespread in France. In a study released this week by the liberal think tank Fondation Jean-Jaures, 43% of respondents said they would refuse to get a shot -- 7 percentage points more than in the U.S., and twice as many as in the U.K.
18th Nov 2020 - Bloomberg Quint

Covid Stalks U.S. Nursing Homes Again With Pandemic Redoubling

The tip of the coronavirus spear is piercing the country’s long-term care facilities again in a surge that underscores the nation’s repeated failure to protect its most vulnerable. States reported over 29,000 new infections last week in places such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, the steepest uptick since at least May, according to Covid Tracking Project data. They come as national daily case counts were higher than ever in November, with a record of more than 170,000 new cases reported Nov. 13.
18th Nov 2020 - Bloomberg

Covid: New York City closes all schools amid virus spike

New York City has been ordered to close its schools from Thursday, amid a Covid-19 spike. The decision to close the US's largest public school system comes as positive test rates for the virus surpassed the 3% threshold, officials say. It will affect some 300,000 children. New York, where 35,000 residents have died with coronavirus, was the epicentre of the outbreak in the US in the spring. It now appears to be facing a new wave. The US has more infections and more deaths from the virus than any other nation, and has reported record levels of cases in recent days.
17th Nov 2020 - BBC News


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The Infection Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Healthcare Workers Worldwide Poses A Threat To National Health Systems

A study recently published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases from thirty-seven countries found that nearly 300,000 healthcare workers had been infected with Covid-19. In addition to the high number of infections, over 2,500 healthcare workers died from the virus as of August 15th.
17th Nov 2020 - Forbes

Lockdowns, Round 2: A New Virus Surge Prompts Restrictions, and Pushback

California and Michigan moved to shut down indoor dining, and Philadelphia severely limited indoor gatherings. With more than 150,000 virus cases daily, the nation is shutting down again.
17th Nov 2020 - The New York Times

Teachers say Scots school closures should be on the cards as Level 4 lockdown is imposed in 11 council areas

School closures should be on the cards in the 11 local authority areas - including Glasgow - that face Scotland's toughest Covid restrictions on Friday. The level four rules will see the closure of non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms. Now the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, has said schools in Level Four should be allowed to implement blended or remote learning contingency measures
17th Nov 2020 - heraldscotland.com

Will Christmas be in lockdown? What Covid restrictions might look like in the UK, according to experts

As the current end date for England’s second national lockdown approaches, people’s minds will be on what type of Christmas they will enjoy. Announcing the strict measures, lasting from 5 November to 2 December, Boris Johnson told the nation: “Christmas is going to be different this year, very different, but it is my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together.”
17th Nov 2020 - iNews

German officials ban anti-lockdown protest near parliament

German officials have cited security concerns in their decision to ban a series of protests planned Wednesday outside the federal parliament by people opposed to coronavirus lockdown measures. The unusual move comes amid fears that extremist groups could try to use a rally initially planned for Wednesday to attack the Bundestag, echoing an unsuccessful attempt to storm the parliament building during a similar demonstration in August. The Interior Ministry said Tuesday it had rejected 12 requests to hold rallies within a specially designated zone around parliament. Unlike elsewhere in Germany, protesters have to seek permission to stage demonstrations within the security perimeter surrounding certain federal buildings.
17th Nov 2020 - The Associated Press

Italy’s Covid Lockdown Empties Tourist Hotspots, Again

Italy’s spring lockdown, one of the longest and strictest in Europe, gifted extraordinary experiences and photos of the country’s iconic tourist attractions devoid of people. As Italy’s latest COVID rules see regional borders closing and international travel continues to be restricted, these tourist hotspots are once more emptying. The situation is bittersweet. Many businesses, particularly those dependent on tourism, wonder if they’ll manage to survive a second travel hiatus.
17th Nov 2020 - Forbes

Spanish cops raid Instagram influencers' anti-lockdown party at Marbella villa and evict 40 people

Cops called amid reports youngsters were flouting national covid restrictions Video shows mask-free influencers jumping into pool from roof of Marbella villa Spain's state of emergency limits public and private gatherings to six people
17th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

China clamps down on frozen food over coronavirus fears

China is zeroing in on cold chain goods to prevent any outbreaks of Covid-19 after packaging of frozen Argentine beef, German pork and Indian cuttlefish tested positive for the virus. Cities across China, the world’s largest importer of beef and pork, have pledged to strengthen screening and sterilisation of imports. The latest campaign to safeguard China’s borders against any reintroduction of Covid-19 began after officials in the north-eastern city of Tianjin, one of the country’s largest ports, tied an infection of a worker in a warehouse to frozen pork imports from Germany last week. In the following days, food packaging tested positive for coronavirus in cities ranging from eastern Jining to southern Xiamen and central Zhengzhou.
17th Nov 2020 - Financial Times

Sask. nurses' union head pitches short-term 'circuit break' lockdown to help turn back tide of new COVID-19 cases

Saskatchewan Union of Nurses president Tracy Zambory joined CTV News at Five anchor Jeremy Dodge to explain why she thinks the province's new COVID-19 rules don't go far enough and how a novel approach taken in Australia could help stop the spread of coronavirus in Saskatchewan. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. So last week, you spoke to us here at CTV News about some of your concerns. And they proved not to be unfounded with, you know, over 400 cases of COVID-19 being confirmed on the weekend. Of course, the impact on the healthcare system has been felt by nurses and everybody on the front lines. Now, the government has taken some action, with new restrictions, what are your thoughts on where we stand?
17th Nov 2020 - CTV News Saskatoon

Jacinda Ardern refutes China's claims it found coronavirus in meat imported from New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern has hit back at claims from China that traces of coronavirus were detected in frozen meat imported from New Zealand. The Prime Minister is now seeking official clarification from China in a determined bid to get to the bottom of the matter after claims emerged from the eastern province of Shandong. Health authorities in the Chinese city of Jinan claimed coronavirus was detected on beef, tripe and product packaging from Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand.
17th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

UK shopper numbers plunge as English lockdown makes impact

Total shopper numbers across British retail destinations plummeted 57.7% in the week to Nov. 14 year-on-year, reflecting the impact of England’s second national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland enacted new COVID-19 health restrictions last month and England began a one-month lockdown on Nov. 5 to curb a second wave of the pandemic that has left the United Kingdom with Europe’s highest death toll.
17th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

How bad is Russia's Covid crisis? Packed morgues and excess deaths tell a darker story than official numbers suggest

The limbs of a lifeless body hang off a stretcher in a hospital ward as coronavirus patients battle for their lives just a few feet away. An elderly woman gasps for breath, her desperate panting a grim soundtrack to one of many disturbing cell-phone videos emerging from hospitals across Russia. "This is how our nights look: horrifying," says a male voice narrating the footage, given to CNN by a prominent opposition-linked Russian doctors' union, "Doctors' Alliance," which says it was recorded in mid-October by a hospital staff member in Ulyanovsk, a city around 500 miles east of Moscow. "Two more down in our ward," he says, while filming a corpse. "This is how Covid-19 is killing everybody."
17th Nov 2020 - CNN


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Insurers cannot provide unlimited cover in pandemic - UK Supreme Court told

Major insurance companies told the UK Supreme Court on Monday that thousands of small companies battered by the coronavirus pandemic were not eligible for business interruption payouts and to suggest differently was “reverse engineering”. On the first day of a four-day appeal of a test case brought by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) against insurers, industry lawyers told top judges that businesses could not claim for losses stemming from nationwide lockdowns to curb the virus. Gavin Kealey, a lawyer for insurer MS Amlin, said that only business losses related to COVID-19 infections within a 25-mile radius of insured properties were covered.
16th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID-19 forced at least 11 US patients to undergo DOUBLE lung transplants with 7 at one hospital

At least 11 double lung transplants have been performed across the country including in Florida, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin. Seven of those 11 operations have been done at Northwestern Medicine in Illinois between June and October. The first-ever patient was Mayra Ramirez, a 28-year-old Chicago native who spent six weeks on a ventilator before receiving a new set of lungs. Other patients have included healthcare professionals such as Kari Wegg, a 48-year-old NICU nurse, from Indiana. Andrew Lawrence, 54, from Texas, contracted the virus in July while treating patients and was the fifth patient to undergo a transplant at Northwestern
16th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Schools and parties in spotlight as Germany weighs new Covid rules

Angela Merkel has said she does not have backing among state leaders for new restrictions to give Germany’s “soft” lockdown a harder bite, postponing any decision until a further meeting between the chancellor and 16 state premiers next week. The chancellor had been in favour of people limiting social interactions in private to only one set second household, and forgo any kind of party until Christmas Eve, according to a draft proposal cited by several news outlets including Der Spiegel. The plans were also reported to include advising citizens to quarantine at home for up to seven days, even if they display only the symptoms of an ordinary cold, and tightening hygiene requirements at schools, with teachers and students of all year groups asked to wear face masks throughout lessons.
16th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

'There is no money left': southern Italy's poor pummelled by Covid

For the past 30 years, Grazia Santangelo has made a living selling books and jewellery from a stall at the Ballarò street market in Palermo. It is one of the oldest and liveliest markets in southern Italy — but now it is almost deserted. Because of the coronavirus crisis, 62-year-old Ms Santangelo has lost almost all of her clients and is struggling to pay for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Now that a second round of restrictions has come into force, she says she is lucky to earn €3 a day.
16th Nov 2020 - Financial Times

Morrison government looks at allowing extra flights home as Australians locked out due to COVID-19

Australians trying to flee coronavirus-riddled Europe struggling to secure flights Demand outstripping supply despite overseas arrival cap rising to 6,000 a week Government looking at more flights for citizens and then international students Education Minister Dan Tehan said country becoming 'victim of its own success' States and territories are asked to make a plan to allow in more overseas arrivals
16th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

UK shopper numbers plunge as English lockdown makes impact

Total shopper numbers across British retail destinations plummeted 57.7% in the week to Nov. 14 year-on-year, reflecting the impact of England’s second national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland enacted new COVID-19 health restrictions last month and England began a one-month lockdown on Nov. 5 to curb a second wave of the pandemic that has left the United Kingdom with Europe’s highest death toll.
16th Nov 2020 - Reuters


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Schools start closing — or delay reopening — as covid-19 cases jump across the country

Schools in some parts of the United States have started to close down and numerous districts are postponing plans to reopen in the face of skyrocketing community covid-19 cases, setting back efforts to try to reopen campuses closed since this past spring when the coronavirus pandemic began. Though the latest covid-19 surge is being blamed by health experts on social gatherings and not on schools, officials in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Topeka, San Diego, Sacramento, Minneapolis, D.C. and other districts have put off plans to soon reopen school buildings for the first time in the 2020-21 school year. Instead students will keep learning remotely at home, with no set date to return to school
14th Nov 2020 - Washington Post

Covid: Vaccine or no vaccine, we have to get through this first

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised the NHS will be ready to start rolling out the vaccine from 1 December if its passes its final regulatory hurdles. But that doesn't mean the epidemic will be brought to a sudden halt. There is a huge logistical exercise in vaccinating large numbers of people - the UK has bought enough for 20 million people. And don't forget, unlike the flu vaccine, this one requires two doses. Health and care workers along with older age groups will be prioritised. But given it takes a month from the first dose for an individual to get the full protection and the fact there are 12 million over 65s - nine in 10 deaths have been in this age group - winter is likely to be well gone by the time significant numbers are protected.
14th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Italy extends 'red zones' as infections soar

Italy has added more regions to its coronavirus high-risk "red zones" as cases across the country hit a new daily record. Campania and Tuscany will join other regions placed under the strictest lockdown measures from Sunday. Authorities in Campania, which includes Naples, have warned that the health system there is close to collapse. Friday's announcement came as Italy confirmed 40,902 new infections - its highest ever daily total. It passed the one million mark earlier this week and there have been more than 44,000 deaths. The government's coronavirus consultant, Walter Ricciardi, told reporters that the country has "two to three weeks to decide whether to impose a new national lockdown".
14th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Melbourne's COVID-19 restrictions are easing, but hundreds of refugees still face indefinite lockdown

It's been a tough year for Melburnians, who are now experiencing their first taste of relative freedom after one of the world's longest and harshest COVID-19 lockdowns. But for hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees living in Melbourne, their perpetual lockdown remains in place with no end in sight. After living in detention in Nauru and Christmas Island for six years, Minah, an asylum seeker from Iran, was moved to Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) in Broadmeadows 13 months ago. "For no reason, for no crime, I have to stay in detention," Minah said. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.
14th Nov 2020 - ABC News

Iran blames U.S. sanctions for vaccine payment problems

U.S. sanctions are preventing Iran from making advance payment to the global COVAX facility set up to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries, the Iranian government said as the virus death toll kept climbing in the Middle East’s hardest-hit state. Battling a third wave of the coronavirus, Iran is considering imposing a two-week total lockdown in the capital, state media reported as the death toll rose by 461, close to a daily record, to 40,582 on Friday. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that Iran had identified 11,737 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the total number to 738,322.
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Paris boulevards deserted as lockdown claims Christmas shopping trade

Boarded-up windows outside flagship branches of department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps bore testimony on Saturday to the impact of a COVID-19 lockdown in Paris. On what would usually be a busy weekend for Christmas shopping, only handfuls of people were out on Boulevard Haussmann, where the stores are located. “It’s sad. We are outside Galeries Lafayette and everything is closed,” said one would-be shopper, Emmanuelle Tiger. “They’ve put up (shop window) lights. That’s great, but we don’t feel the Christmas spirit at all.”
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Vaccine is inexact bonus for freight and freezers

Every challenge is also a business opportunity. Rolling out a potential Covid-19 vaccine is no exception. The shots developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, which clinical trials have shown to be highly effective at preventing coronavirus, must be transported and stored at temperatures of minus-70 degrees Celsius or below. The daunting task for authorities eager to quickly deliver billions of doses across the world is a potential boon for those making freezers and handling freight.
14th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Uneasy Under Coronavirus Lockdown, Pubs in England Count Days Till Christmas

At the Crooked Well, a neighborhood pub in south London that prides itself on its food, the Christmas menu is already decided. There will be venison and beef stews. But whether the stews will actually be served is another question. Under a new lockdown planned to last a month, pubs in England have closed again. From Nov. 5 to Dec. 2, restaurants, gyms and nonessential shops are being shuttered by the government’s efforts to suppress a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain’s first lockdown lasted more than three months, followed by an ever-changing array of restrictions since. No one knows how long this lockdown will really last.
13th Nov 2020 - The New York Times

Lockdown 2.0: Food companies overhauled production to put more toilet paper, pasta sauce in stores

When rumors first began to circulate that the UK would go back into lockdown, Leanne Barnes despaired as bread and toilet roll flew off the shelves again at her local supermarket. But to her surprise, shelves were back to being fully stocked within a few days. Barnes stocked her pantry last time around with a few additional comfort foods - macaroni cheese, ravioli, soup and spaghetti. But as of last week, she said she felt no urge to stockpile goods. So far, consumers haven’t returned to the sort of panic buying frenzy that sent packaged-food manufacturers scrambling earlier this year.
13th Nov 2020 - Reuters

‘Lockdown fatigue’ behind Delhi’s third Covid wave, experts call for behavioural change

Standing under the shade of an umbrella, Vinod Kumar is rolling out one paratha after another for office-goers in Delhi’s central district, just as he has done for 31 years now. But a mask is missing on his face. He doesn’t plan on wearing one either. “This coronavirus is nothing. I don’t believe it will harm me or my family. If something happens, it’s up to God to save us,” he says.
13th Nov 2020 - ThePrint


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U.S. govt partners with pharmacy chains to increase COVID-19 vaccine access

The U.S. government is partnering with regional pharmacy chains and independent community pharmacies to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines whenever they are made available, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday. The partnership will cover about 60% of pharmacies throughout the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. health agency said. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, CVS Health Corp, Walmart Inc, Kroger Co and Costco Wholesale Corp are among the companies that have so far agreed to participate, the U.S. agency said in a statement.
12th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Italian hospitals face breaking point in fall virus surge

Dr. Luca Cabrini was certain his hospital in the heart of Lombardy‘s lake district would reach its breaking point caring for 300 COVID-19 patients. So far, virus patients fill 500 beds and counting. Italy, which shocked the world and itself when hospitals in the wealthy north were overwhelmed with coronavirus cases last spring, is again facing a systemic crisis, as confirmed positives pass the symbolic threshold of 1 million. “We are very close to not keeping up. I cannot say when we will reach the limit, but that day is not far off,” said Cabrini, who runs the intensive care ward at Varese’s Circolo hospital, the largest in the province of 1 million people northwest of Milan.
12th Nov 2020 - The Associated Press

Catalonia’s bars and restaurants to remain closed 10 more days

On a day when the official death toll from Covid-19 in Spain exceeded 40,000 since the start of the pandemic, authorities in several parts of the country announced new restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. The Catalan government on Thursday announced that bars and restaurants across the region will remain closed for an additional 10-day period in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Food and drink establishments have been closed for a month, and will remain so at least until November 23. The measure has evidenced a division of opinion among the governing partners and it has also met with criticism from all affected sectors of the economy.
12th Nov 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

New survey shows more than half the French flout Covid-19 lockdown rules

The Ifop survey confirmed that the French are taking the second nationwide shutdown far less seriously than the first in March-April. It showed that 60 percent had flouted the rules at least once, either by giving a false reason for going out on their self-signed permission slip or by meeting up with family and friends. The figure was far higher than during the first lockdown when the proportion of rule-breakers stood at under 40 percent during the first six weeks.
12th Nov 2020 - YAHOO!

New EU Travel Bans: Country By Country Covid-19 Restrictions As Europe Locks Down

In a week when most European countries saw hospitals reach near-saturation point, many nations had no choice but to implement lockdowns, curfews and new travel restrictions. The U.K. reached 50,000 deaths, many countries moved from implementing curfews to full lockdowns, Denmark and other countries restricted movement due to a Covid-19 outbreak in minks and many European countries entered red lists, meaning residents from those countries cannot travel without a negative PCR test.
12th Nov 2020 - Forbes

As U.S. Breaks Hospitalization Records, N.Y. and Other States Add Restrictions

With coronavirus cases surging in New York and across the country, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that private indoor and outdoor gatherings statewide would be limited to 10 people and that gyms, bars and restaurants must close daily at 10 p.m. The restrictions will take effect Friday, and Mr. Cuomo said that local governments will be responsible for enforcing them. The limit on gatherings will apply to private homes. The curfew will apply only to bars and restaurants licensed by the state liquor authority, and restaurants can continue to provide takeout and delivery after 10 p.m., but only for food. Mr. Cuomo said that officials were moved to announce the new restrictions as they confronted an increase in cases.
12th Nov 2020 - The New York Times


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Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine needs to be thawed from -94F and has to be used within five days: State officials scramble to carry out 'very complex' plans and overcome logistical ...

State health officials in the US are concerned the 'very complex' race to prepare for effective vaccine distribution could be thwarted by logistical challenges. While distribution is being handled on a federal level, state and local healthcare providers are responsible for storing and administering vaccines once delivered. Officials say they've had just weeks to prepare large-scale efforts after recently learning of specific storage requirements for vaccines. Pfizer's vaccine poses the biggest logistical issues so far given doses must be stored at -94F. Other vaccines currently being developed do not need to be stored as such a low temperature The US government plans to start vaccinating Americans next month if Pfizer has its COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA
12th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Deep-Freeze Hurdle Makes Pfizer’s Vaccine One for the Rich

When Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine rolls off production lines, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. will be waiting to distribute it through a complex and costly system of deep-freeze airport warehouses, refrigerated vehicles and inoculation points across China. After they reach vaccination centers, the shots must be thawed from -70 degrees celsius and injected within five days, if not they go bad. Then the herculean journey from warehouse freezer to rolled-up sleeve must be undertaken all over again -- to deliver the second booster shot a month later. The roadmap sketched out by the company, which has licensed the vaccine for Greater China, offers a glimpse into the enormous and daunting logistical challenges faced by those looking to deliver Pfizer’s experimental vaccine after it showed “extraordinary” early results from final stage trials, raising hopes of a potential end to the nearly year-long pandemic.
12th Nov 2020 - Bloomberg

What you need to know about BioNTech — the European company behind Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer says its coronavirus vaccine — developed in partnership with BioNTech — was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infection. The news was hailed as a significant milestone in the race to deliver a vaccine that can help bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic. There are still huge challenges ahead for the development of a vaccine, but as hopes rise worldwide, CNBC takes a look at BioNTech’s history.
11th Nov 2020 - CNBC

Record Covid-19 Hospitalizations Strain System Again

Hospitals across the nation face an even bigger capacity problem from the resurgent spread of Covid-19 than they did during the virus’s earlier surges this year, pandemic preparedness experts said, as the number of U.S. hospitalizations hit a new high Wednesday. The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients reached 65,368, according to the Covid Tracking Project, passing the record set Tuesday for the highest number of hospitalizations since April. A spring surge in the Northeast pushed hospitalizations near 60,000. Hospitalizations hit a nearly identical peak again in late July, as the pandemic’s grip spread across the South and West. Epidemiologists said the record is likely to be swiftly replaced by another as Covid-19 cases soar nationally. “We already know this is going to go far north,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
11th Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Spain hopes to receive first Pfizer vaccines in early 2021 - minister

Spain stands to receive its first vaccines against COVID-19 developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech in early 2021, the health minister said on Tuesday, under a deal being negotiated by the European Union. The EU hopes to sign a contract soon for millions of doses of the vaccine, the European Commission announced on Monday, hours after the two companies said it had proved more than 90% effective, in what could be a major victory in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Spain would initially get 20 million vaccine doses, enough to immunize 10 million people, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on state broadcaster TVE, adding that the vaccination would be free.
11th Nov 2020 - Reuters

India’s Covid-19 Cases Have Plummeted. Many Fear a New Wave.

Two months ago, India looked like a coronavirus disaster zone. Reported infections neared 100,000 a day, deaths were shooting up, and India seemed ready to surpass the United States in total recorded cases. Today, India’s situation looks much different. Reported infections, deaths and the share of people testing positive have all fallen significantly. By contrast, infections in Europe and the United States are surging.
11th Nov 2020 - New York Times

Road to recovery for rural India post-pandemic; how skilled migrant workers can boost hinterland’s growth

As a measure to contain the virus, India declared a lockdown on 24 March 2020 for 1.3 billion people with the prime minister calling for joint action by people, not-for-profits, corporates, and governments. The complete lockdown in the country significantly impacted the quality of life and livelihoods of people. Considering that there has been a historical divide between rural and urban India with regard to the essential infrastructure for Health, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), supply chains, and other important services, the impact of COVID-19 was far more alarming for the rural community.
11th Nov 2020 - The Financial Express

Melbourne counts economic cost of coronavirus lockdown, offering harsh lesson to other cities

The lockdown cost US$71 million a day and resulted in a daily average of 1,200 jobs being lost across the state in August and September. Business leaders say it may take years for Melbourne – which was last year ranked as the world’s second-most liveable city – to recover.
11th Nov 2020 - South China Morning Post


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UK making good progress on travel testing to cut quarantine - minister

Britain is making good progress with a plan to allow COVID-19 tests to cut a 14-day quarantine period for those returning from abroad, a change which could help fuel a travel recovery once current lockdowns end, the transport minister said. Airport bosses welcomed the update from the minister, Grant Shapps, at an online conference but said more needed to be done. The top priority for them is that the government eliminates the requirement for quarantine through testing for the coronavirus. “We’re making very good progress on a ‘test to release programme’ to launch once we’re out of this lockdown,” Shapps said on Monday. “Once we emerge from the lockdown, we can roll out new systems to help get people flying and travelling again.”
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

French Teachers Strike Over Covid-19 Risks

French teachers' unions called a nationwide strike on Tuesday, protesting over inadequate protection against Covid-19, as the Italian government introduced tough new rules across much of the country following the continued rapid spread of the virus there. Teachers in France say it is impossible for schools to enforce social distancing among pupils even after sanitation rules were tightened earlier this month. Classes are too big, and schools lack staff and equipment such as individual tables, they say. “We are raising the alarm because we don’t want schools to become clusters,” elementary school teacher and union leader Guislaine David said. She said she wants schools to remain open.
10th Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal

PSNC pushes for pharmacy COVID-19 vaccination service parity with GPs

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is pushing for a COVID-19 vaccination service in pharmacy “to have parity” with the one commissioned for GP practices. The details for a community pharmacy COVID-19 vaccination service are still being discussed, with the PSNC, the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) and NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) having entered “urgent negotiations” about the sector’s role in a vaccination programme, the negotiator announced last week (November 6). Following news of positive interim results released by Pfizer/BioNTech regarding their COVID-19 vaccine, health secretary Matt Hancock said on the BBC Breakfast programme today (November 10), that the “NHS is ready” to deliver a potential COVID-19 vaccine. “The GPs are ready, we’re working with the pharmacists…who’ve got a very important role to play,” he said.
10th Nov 2020 - Chemist+Druggist

Waiting in the wings: how a second lockdown halted theatre's comeback

Two of this autumn’s most anticipated UK theatre shows opened last Wednesday – and promptly closed that night. A revival of the classic musical Rent at Manchester’s Hope Mill and a sequel to the hit play Death of England at the National Theatre in London were scuppered by the introduction of a second lockdown in England on 5 November. Their sold-out runs ended after a handful of previews and a press night. This month was supposed to find England’s theatres welcoming back audiences, albeit at reduced capacity, and plotting a path through the turmoil wrought by coronavirus. Perhaps they would even learn of the long awaited date for stage five of culture secretary Oliver Dowden’s roadmap to fully reopen venues. Instead, productions around the country have been cancelled, postponed or streamed for an online audience instead.
10th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Lockdown 2 leaves music venues in search of an encore

On the genteel Royal Tunbridge Wells Common, a converted toilet has for almost three decades housed The Forum, the Kent town’s premier independent music venue. With a capacity of 250, acts from Oasis to Mumford & Sons have packed out this sweaty little building, epitomising what is most loved about live music. In these dreary lockdown days, we yearn for such evenings. The Forum shut on March 17, in accordance with the UK’s first lockdown, and has since subsisted on donations and sales of merchandise. With help from the government’s £1.6bn cultural recovery fund, the venue was ready to host socially-distanced gigs this month, albeit with a mere 55 patrons. Then came last week’s lockdown mark two, meaning more closures and cancellations.
10th Nov 2020 - The Financial Times

In Italy’s Second Coronavirus Wave, Milan Staggers as Hospitals Fill Up

Italy’s business capital has become the center of a second wave of the coronavirus, putting at risk the country’s economic recovery and reviving the specter of a health-care crisis Italians thought they had overcome this spring. With infections, hospitalizations and deaths linked to Covid-19 rising exponentially, hospitals in Milan are running out of beds even after having converted wards and suspended nonurgent procedures. Ambulances have been forced to wait for hours to drop off patients at hospitals where Covid-19...
10th Nov 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Swaths of European firms risk collapse despite subsidies, ECB warns

One in seven Spanish workers are in businesses at risk of collapse, according to new research by the European Central Bank, excluding those who work for financial companies. This is the highest rate of all large eurozone economies, and comes despite the country’s national furlough scheme. It compares with about 8 per cent of employees in Germany and France and 10 per cent in Italy, also taking into account the use of subsidies to keep people in work, the ECB found. Companies at risk of collapse are defined as having negative working capital and high debt levels.
10th Nov 2020 - Financial Times

How a communist physics teacher flattened the COVID-19 curve in southern India

When the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its first statement on the spread of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, on 18 January, few local governments in India paid close attention. But K. K. Shailaja, the diminutive woman running the health ministry in the southern state of Kerala, immediately perked up her ears. Shailaja knew many students from Kerala were studying at Wuhan University; some had asked her for internships the previous year. She also knew firsthand the havoc an outbreak could cause. In 2018, during her first stint as a minister, she faced an outbreak of Nipah virus, another deadly pathogen spread from animals to people. “We knew anything could happen at any time,” she says.
10th Nov 2020 - Science Magazine

Ahead by a nose: Covid sniffing dogs prevent surveillance overreach

A British security agency says it is giving up on high-tech solutions to the pandemic in favor of Covid-19 detecting sniffer dogs — because they are a “softer touch.” Already deployed at Helsinki airport and in airports in the United Arab Emirates, researchers say specially-trained dogs can sniff out a person infected with Covid-19 within seconds — and with almost 100% accuracy. “The results are great,” said Jonathan Ratcliffe, director of the UK security company Guards, during a phone call. Ratcliffe is advocating for the use of dogs in shopping centers and airports. “With the right deployment I think dogs would be really good: they’re a lot less intrusive and negative.”
10th Nov 2020 - Coda

Covid: NHS staff helped through crisis by 'wobble room'

In small room in the Royal Derby Hospital, there's a table bearing a laminated sign. "You are not alone," it says. It continues: "Kindness will get you through. Embrace the challenge. Look after each other. You are stronger than you think." This is the "wobble room", set aside not for patients but for front-line staff to get them away - briefly - from the intense pressure and strain experienced in the first wave of Covid-19. "We made a wobble room because that's what we needed," Kelly-Ann Gurney, an intensive-care nurse, told the BBC.
10th Nov 2020 - BBC News

COVID vaccine breakthrough raises hopes, poses logistical headache

Monday’s potential breakthrough in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine has left governments scrambling to meet the logistical challenge of distributing hundreds of millions of doses once it becomes available in coming months. Interim trial data showed the experimental vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and Germany’s BioNTech was 90% effective, spurring hopes of an end to a pandemic that has cost more than a million lives and crashed the world’s major economies. With the two groups expecting to produce some 50 million doses by the end of the year and 1.3 billion doses next year, assuming regulatory approval, German Health Minister Jens Spahn, said the vaccine was a “light at the end of the tunnel”.
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Sick patients ‘in limbo’ as operations suspended and mental health problems soar - GPs voice fears over the winter ahead

Family doctors have voiced worries about a growing mental health crisis, battles to get patients into hospital and how exactly the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out will work, as entire surgeries find themselves self-isolating
10th Nov 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Coronavirus doctor's diary: 'We are first-hand witnesses of this devastation'

The second coronavirus wave has already put many hospitals under great pressure, and it's nurses and physios who bear the brunt of it, writes Dr John Wright of Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI). Here he introduces four nurses, who describe the strain they are now under. Work. Sleep. Repeat. Our doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and support staff have settled in to a weary routine. The hospital is nearly full. The patients we admit were infected a fortnight beforehand. The patients who are dying were infected a month ago - when the government's scientific advisory group, Sage, was recommending a circuit break. The virus has used this time to great effect. In Yorkshire, one in 37 people tested positive in the last week of October - almost 3% of the population. This is a prevalence figure beyond our comprehension.
10th Nov 2020 - BBC News

GPs in England will scale back care to deliver Covid vaccines

GP services will be cut back well into 2021 so family doctors can immunise millions of people against coronavirus at new seven-day-a-week clinics, NHS England has said. Health leaders warned that surgeries will not be able to offer their full range of care for patients from next month as doctors and nurses will be immersed in administering jabs at more than 1,200 mass vaccination centres across England, potentially including sports halls, conference centres and open air venues. It came as Britain reported 532 new deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test on Tuesday, the highest daily figure since May. Some 20,412 people tested positive for Covid-19, down slightly from the previous day.
10th Nov 2020 - The Guardian


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Revealed: Covid recovery plans threaten global climate hopes

The prospect of a global green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is hanging in the balance, as countries pour money into the fossil fuel economy to stave off a devastating recession, an analysis for the Guardian reveals. Meanwhile, promises of a low-carbon boost are failing to materialise. Only a handful of major countries are pumping rescue funds into low-carbon efforts such as renewable power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency. A new Guardian ranking finds the EU is a frontrunner, devoting 30% of its €750bn (£677bn) Next Generation Recovery Fund to green ends. France and Germany have earmarked about €30bn and €50bn respectively of their own additional stimulus for environmental spending.
9th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Why Pfizer’s ultra-cold COVID-19 vaccine will not be at the local pharmacy any time soon

Work to distribute the experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech is gearing up after the companies announced successful interim data earlier on Monday, but it will not be coming to local pharmacies for the general public any time soon.
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters India

Israelis may be infected with new coronavirus strain from Denmark minks

Three Israelis who returned from Denmark and were confirmed as infected with the novel coronavirus may have been infected with the new strain discovered among minks in the country recently, according to KAN news. The new strain may have decreased sensitivity to antibodies, which could impact future vaccines, although studies are still being conducted to verify this.
10th Nov 2020 - The Jerusalem Post

Italy faces 10,000 Covid deaths in a month with no lockdown – medics

Doctors in Italy have warned there will be an additional 10,000 Covid-19 deaths in a month in the country unless a national lockdown is imposed. The government is moving toward placing further restrictions in four more regions considered high risk: Campania, Liguria, Abruzzo and Umbria. The Italian Order of Doctors, however, has urged tougher action as hospitals struggle to find space for coronavirus patients. Ambulances have been queuing outside emergency units from Turin in the north to Naples in the south. People were treated for Covid-19 in their cars outside Cotugno hospital in Naples, the capital of Campania, over the weekend. One 78-year-old woman waited in an ambulance for 26 hours before being admitted to hospital.
9th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

New COVID Lockdown Triggers Fight Over Fate Of France's Bookstores

While small business owners across France are feeling the pinch of the nation’s second COVID lockdown, the economic plight of bookstores has taken center stage in the roaring debate about how to fight the pandemic. Late last month, President Emmanuel Macron announced the nation would go into confinement again as COVID rates raced out of control. But he also signaled that this second lockdown would be different based on lessons learned from the two-month shutdown in the Spring. For instance, schools that closed earlier this year have remained largely open.
9th Nov 2020 - Forbes

France to 'limit impact' of new lockdown with schools, public services open

The Banque de France predicts economic activity in November will decline by 12 percent under the country's second Covid-19 lockdown. That compares to a 31 percent decline during the first confinement in April, with the decision to maintain public services and keep schools open playing "a key role" in limiting the economic impact. The new figures were published on Monday in Banque de France's economic forecast under the new lockdown measures.
9th Nov 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Coronavirus: Has pandemic fatigue taken hold in India?

People in India are increasingly lowering their guard during the ongoing festival season, despite the high risk of contracting COVID-19. Many restrictions have been lifted, but the pandemic is far from over. Rudra Nath, 42, a factory foreman in Alwar district of northwestern Rajasthan state, says he feels exasperated having to tell his co-workers to keep their masks on all the time. It has been over a month since the iron fabrication factory resumed production. Since June, the government has been gradually relaxing restrictions on public movement and commerce meant to contain the coronavirus.
9th Nov 2020 - DW (English)

Researchers worry over children with COVID-19

Are children a major source of contagion for COVID-19? Ten months into a pandemic that has claimed 1.2 million lives, experts are still divided on the question, even as governments must decide whether to keep classrooms open or shut. During the first wave of infection, scientific consensus formed around the concern that children might be a crucial vector — as they are for the flu — in spreading the novel coronavirus. And then, moving into the summer, the opposite idea took hold: Children, especially young ones, did not infect others that much, several studies suggested. “If you look at the scientific literature, it’s really not very clear,” said Dominique Costagliola, an epidemiologist at the Marie and Pierre Curie Faculty of the Sorbonne University in Paris.
9th Nov 2020 - The Japan Times

Victoria's lockdown 'went too far, businesses have been crushed'

Melbourne restaurateur Chris Lucas says the Victorian government needs to be sensitive that the decision to lockdown the state went too far, crushed businesses, caused hundreds to lose their jobs and took away the futures of so many people. His comments come regarding the recent develops to Victoria’s reopening, with the 'ring of steel' surrounding the city coming down. Pubs, cafés and restaurants can now serve up to 40 people inside and 70 outside, with increases to 100 patrons indoors, and 200 outside expected from the 23rd of November. “The government needs to be a little bit sensitive about what is going on with regards to these re-opening plans,” Mr Lucas told Sky News host Peta Credlin.
9th Nov 2020 - Sky News Australia

UK shopper numbers plummet as new English lockdown bites

Total shopper numbers, or footfall, across British retail destinations fell 15.4% in the week to Nov. 7 versus the previous week, reflecting the start of England’s new national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. With COVID-19 infections rising at an alarming rate the British government imposed a second national lockdown for England, starting last Thursday and running until Dec. 2.
9th Nov 2020 - Reuters India


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Covid: Lack of medical supplies 'hits' disabled people

A hospital trust has declared a major incident as demand for oxygen surges among coronavirus patients. Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospital Trust has seen a surge in coronavirus patients admitted as one of the worst affected areas in the country. As of this morning, there were 106 Covid-positive patients being treated in the Trust's three hospitals - 56 at Grimsby's Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, 47 at Scunthorpe General Hospital and three at Goole. There are six people in ICU in each of the Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals, reports the Grimsby Telegraph. Additional nursing staff have been called in to work extra shifts as the virus continues to take its toll on staff.
9th Nov 2020 - BBC News

COVID-19 Nursing Home Cases Up 400% in Surge States

The number of coronavirus infections among nursing home residents in 20 of the hardest-hit states has increased by 400 percent since May, reports the Associated Press. The new data comes from a study by the University of Chicago which determined that cases rose from 1,083 to 4,274 between the week ending May 31 and the week ending October 31. Nursing home resident deaths more than doubled to 699 during the same period and infections among staff more than quadrupled to more than 4,000 in the same five-month period. The rise comes even though the Trump administration has allocated $5 billion to help beef up testing in the country’s nursing homes, including more than 14,000 fast test machines. The 20 states analyzed in the study are those with the highest COVID-19 hospitalizations: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
9th Nov 2020 - The Daily Beast

Restaurants Defend Dining Rooms as Covid-19 Spreads

Restaurant chains are setting long-term plans to keep dining rooms open whenever and wherever possible as the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of relenting. McDonald’s Corp. Starbucks Corp.and other chains are serving customers inside, in line with safety standards they say they have honed during roughly nine months of grappling with the virus. Some executives say they see an immediate boost in sales when dining rooms reopen. However, with Covid-19 cases rising to new heights, these chains and other restaurant owners are closing some dining rooms again now where officials have instructed them to do so. Illinois suspended indoor dining statewide on Wednesday, while a two-week stay-at-home order imposed by El Paso, Texas, through Nov. 11 has shut dining rooms.
8th Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Covid-19: Nursing shortage warning as winter looms

Widespread nursing shortages across the NHS could lead to staff burnout and risk patient safety this winter, the Royal College of Nursing has warned. The nursing union said a combination of staff absence due to the pandemic, and around 40,000 registered nursing vacancies in England was putting too much strain on the remaining workforce. The government says more than 13,000 nurses have been recruited this year. It has committed to 50,000 more nurses by 2025. It also hopes England's four-week lockdown will ease pressure on the NHS. The RCN has expressed concern that staff shortages are affecting every area of nursing, from critical care and cancer services to community nursing, which provides care to people in their own homes.
8th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Manufacturing of AstraZeneca Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine to start in Australia tomorrow

About 30 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will start production on Monday Biotech company CSL announced manufacturing would begin in Melbourne The doses pending approval are expected to be released in the first half of 2021
8th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Northumberland company chosen for groundbreaking Covid-19 trials

A Northumberland pharmaceutical company has been chosen to take part in ground breaking clinical trials to counter the effect of Covid-19. Morpeth-based Pharma Nord's Bio-Vitamin D3 will be part of the research designed to look at the effects of vitamin D supplementation on the immune system and protecting against the coronavirus. The supplements will be taken by over 5,000 people for a period of six months as they take part in the Queen Mary University of London ‘Coronavit’ study. Scientists hope that the large-scale trial will help to find out if correcting people’s vitamin D deficiencies over winter can reduce the risk and/or severity of Covid-19 and other acute respiratory infections.
8th Nov 2020 - Chronicle Live

Hospital trust declares major incident as Covid-19 surge sees oxygen demand jump

A hospital trust has declared a major incident as demand for oxygen surges among coronavirus patients. Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospital Trust has seen a surge in coronavirus patients admitted as one of the worst affected areas in the country. As of this morning, there were 106 Covid-positive patients being treated in the Trust's three hospitals - 56 at Grimsby's Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, 47 at Scunthorpe General Hospital and three at Goole. There are six people in ICU in each of the Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals, reports the Grimsby Telegraph. Additional nursing staff have been called in to work extra shifts as the virus continues to take its toll on staff. Across the Trust last week, 140 staff members were unavailable to work. This includes 71 from Grimsby's hospital, 48 at Scunthorpe, 6 in Goole, and 15 'across the trust'.
8th Nov 2020 - Mirror Online

Paris police step up patrols to limit lockdown violators

French police have stepped up checks to ensure that the nationwide lockdown is respected across the country, and non-essential travel is avoided. Edward Baran reports.
8th Nov 2020 - Reuters

British police arrest 104 Londoners for breach of lockdown restrictions

British police said they arrested 104 Londoners on Thursday for breach of coronavirus regulations, adding that they expected more arrests as policing operations continued into the night. People gathered in central London despite new restrictions that have been imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. “Tonight, a crowd of people chose to ignore the new regulations, to behave irresponsibly and meet in a dangerous manner. More than 100 of these people have now been arrested and will have to face the consequences of their actions”, the Metropolitan Police said.
8th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Parents hit hardest by lockdown energy costs in UK

UK families are the hardest hit by coronavirus lockdown energy costs, according to new research from Credit Karma. School closures during lockdown cost parents a total of £368m ($481m) a month in extra energy costs, with each family facing an average £68 spike in inflated energy bills since the UK went into lockdown. This is more than double the rise in energy bills suffered by the average UK household, as the extra energy used by the average household due to lockdown equated to an additional monthly cost of £32.31, according to a Populus poll. As England goes into a second national lockdown set to last until at least 2 December, families are bracing themselves for rising energy bills, with many unsure on how they’ll afford them.
7th Nov 2020 - YAHOO!

Teachers are NOT more likely to get coronavirus than other key workers, official study finds

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal there is 'no difference' in risk Other key workers were those working outside the home for at least a day Trade unions have blasted the Government for keeping schools open
7th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Lockdown 'opportunity' to fix England's roads

Councils in England have a "unique opportunity" to fix potholes, road junctions and roadside drainage during lockdown, the AA has said. It urged local authorities to ask drivers to move their vehicles to car parks near disused shops, pubs and restaurants while repairs take place. Reduced traffic means work could happen safely and without causing congestion, AA president Edmund King said. Councils said £10bn was needed to bring roads "up to scratch". The government said it had already committed £2.5bn for repairs "as part of the biggest nationwide programme ever announced".
7th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus vaccine 'could be distributed by GPs on Christmas and Boxing Day'

GPs could distribute a Covid vaccine on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in a bid to protect people in the UK, it has been reported. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce plans next week for jabs to be supplied as early as next month. According to The Sun, family doctors could have capacity to offer the jab seven days a week between 8am and 8pm. It is believed major cities will also have a Covid-19 vaccination centre to help speed up the distribution of the jab. GPs could be supported by 3,000 mobile units, with teams visiting care homes and vulnerable people, the newspaper reported.
7th Nov 2020 - Mirror Online

Coronavirus lockdown England: Internet usage surges on night one

Lockdown 2.0 yesterday came into force with shops and bars closed As a result people were stayed at home and many streamed and went online At 9:10pm internet usage surged to a peak of 6.46 Terabytes per second
6th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 vaccine market worth $10bn a year, analysts say

The future Covid-19 vaccine market could be worth more than $10bn a year, generating bumper revenues for pharmaceutical companies that have funded large parts of their research with government money. The calculations by analysts at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse assume that people will need to take a Covid-19 vaccine every year, like a flu jab, and are based on projected costs for the shot, currently hovering at about $20 a dose. “My base case assumption right now is that you will need annual vaccinations,” said Matthew Harrison, an analyst at Morgan Stanley. “[Covid-19] is not going to go away.” Even taking a “conservative approach” in which only those people who get a flu vaccine also take one for Covid-19, the market would be worth $10bn across developed countries, he said.
5th Nov 2020 - The Financial Times


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Sweden and Germany removed from England's travel corridors

Britain said on Thursday it was removing Germany and Sweden from its list of countries where travellers would not have to quarantine on arrival in England. “From 4 a.m. Saturday 7th November, if you arrive into the UK from these destinations you will need to self-isolate,” transport minister Grant Shapps said on Twitter. He added no countries were being added to the list of travel corridors. England entered a second countrywide lockdown on Thursday meaning people must stay at home, barring a limited number of exceptions.
6th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid-19: Warning over tough fines as new lockdown begins

People who seriously flout new lockdown restrictions in England will face steep fines, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has warned. Under the rules, people have been told to stay at home and non-essential shops, pubs and gyms ordered to close. Households are also banned from mixing indoors or in private gardens, unless in a support bubble. Currently there is a £200 fine for each breach which doubles on every offence up to a maximum of £6,400. And organisers of large gatherings face a £10,000 fine. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give a Downing Street press conference at 17:00 GMT, alongside NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens.
5th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Reluctant last orders as England enters new lockdown

After downing a final round of drinks, queueing outside soon-to-close shops or getting a last haircut, England's 56 million people entered a second coronavirus lockdown on Thursday with more doubts about the stringent policy than the first time around. Prime Minister Boris Johnson abandoned a recently introduced system of regional curbs and announced an England-wide shutdown, after dire warnings that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases. The death toll is hitting six-month highs.
5th Nov 2020 - FRANCE 24

China bans non-Chinese arrivals from UK as England enters lockdown

China has barred non-Chinese travellers from the UK, Belgium and the Philippines, imposing new border restrictions in response to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic. The Chinese embassy in the UK said on Wednesday that China’s borders were now closed to those arriving from the UK, including those with valid visas and residence permits. The measure, a reversal of recently loosened restrictions, comes as England began a month-long lockdown in an effort to stop a resurgent outbreak. The country has the highest death toll in Europe of almost 48,000 deaths. “This is a temporary measure taken by China in response to the current pandemic,” the Chinese embassy in the UK said.
5th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

How lockdown is killing restaurants, cafes and bars a second time

Hospitality industry suffering a staff shortage due to lack of international visitors Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert said issue was pronounced in Melbourne He said backpackers or international students filled most jobs prior to COVID-19
5th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail

Lockdown England: Police attacked as revellers hit streets after pubs call last orders for final time

The final hours before lockdown came into effect across England saw police tackling violent scenes around the country as revelllers gathered for the last night out in what could be more than a month.
5th Nov 2020 - The Independent on MSN.com

Barely back on their feet, UK small businesses face crushing new lockdown

Business has been tough for Mandy Yin, chef and owner of a Malaysian restaurant and takeaway in London, since she tentatively reopened in June after being forced to shut down for two months during Britain’s first national coronavirus lockdown.
5th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

U.S. coronavirus cases climb by record for second day in a row, up over 109,000

Coronavirus cases in the United States surged by at least 109,757 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, the second consecutive daily record rise as the outbreak spreads in every region. The tally is expected to push higher still when California’s county-by-county data is added. U.S. cases have risen by over 100,000 for three out of the last seven days, putting pressure on hospitals in several states and causing families to rethink their plans for Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 26. Nineteen out of 50 states reporting record one-day increases on Thursday. Previously, the most states that reported records for new cases in a single day was 16 on Oct. 30, according to Reuters data.
5th Nov 2020 - Reuters

Uzbekistan to test three COVID-19 vaccines, plans no lockdown

Uzbekistan has no plans to impose another lockdown despite the growth in COVID-19 cases globally, and intends to take part in the final trials of Chinese and Russian vaccines, a senior health official said. Tashkent is in talks with China’s Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical, a unit of Chongqing Zhifei, and Sinopharm about stage III trials, as well as the developers of Russia Sputnik V vaccine, deputy health minister Shakhrukh Sharakhmetov said. The country of 34 million has imposed two nationwide lockdowns this year to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but hopes that extensive preparations for a potential second wave will allow it to avoid imposing severe restrictions again.
5th Nov 2020 - Reuters India


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Covid-19 drive to clear hospital beds left some of those discharged with unmet needs and no support

The drive to rapidly clear hospital beds at the start of the pandemic left some of those discharged unsupported with unmet care needs, research has found. More than four in five of those discharged between March and August 2020 (82%) did not receive a follow-up visit and assessment at home, with 18% of this group reporting an unmet care need, found a survey of 352 patients and 177 carers of people discharged during this time. Almost half (45%) of disabled respondents to the survey by Healthwatch and the British Red Cross reported unmet needs following their discharge, as did 20% of those with long-term conditions. Issues reported by those with unmet needs included problems accessing aids and equipment, a lack of consideration of their home situation and being unsure how to manage their conditions.
4th Nov 2020 - Communitycare.co.uk

Lloyds and John Lewis axe thousands of jobs on eve of second lockdown

More than 3,000 jobs are being cut after a number of big employers launched redundancy plans on the eve of the second national lockdown in England. They include 1,070 job losses at Lloyds Banking Group, as well as 1,068 roles at Do & Co, an Austrian catering company operating at Heathrow airport, according to Unite, Britain’s biggest union which has hit out against the plans.
4th Nov 2020 - The Times

Covid-19: NHS in England moves to highest alert level

The NHS in England has been placed on its highest alert level, bosses have announced. The move by NHS England means staff can be moved around the country, while patients may be sent to other regions for treatment if Covid threatens to overwhelm local services. Health bosses said they were seriously concerned, adding the NHS was facing a "very difficult winter". But they said they hoped lockdown would help avoid major disruption. Evidence presented at a press briefing in London suggested hospitals could take a maximum of 20,000 Covid patients before other services, such as routine surgery, would be disrupted. Hospitals are currently treating just over 10,000 patients - and are expected to get close to the 20,000-mark in the coming weeks, given the infection levels seen recently.
4th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Nearly one-third of all intensive care beds in Spain occupied by coronavirus patients

A third of Spain’s intensive care unit (ICU) beds are now occupied by coronavirus patients, according to the latest report on the pandemic supplied on Tuesday by the Health Ministry. In total, 2,754 people are receiving intensive care treatment for Covid-19, 104 more than on Monday, and with 531 more admissions than discharges. Since the pandemic took hold in March, a total of 15,898 patients have needed ICU treatment for the coronavirus.
4th Nov 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

France ups its lockdown police patrols

France reinstated a one-month national lockdown on Friday (October 30) to try and contain the resurgence of the pandemic. Movement is restricted to 1 kilometre from one's residence, with exceptions for reasons such as work that cannot be done from home, family obligations and medical visits. Patrol commander Gilles Foliard said lockdown rules were generally being followed, but that they would be more strict in asking people to show certificates if they were traveling outside the 1-km zone. Violators faced an initial fine of 135 euros, and three violations over 30 days could be penalised by a 3750 euro fine and 6 months' imprisonment.
4th Nov 2020 - YAHOO!

Australia's Victoria reports no COVID-19 cases for fifth straight day

Australia's coronavirus hot spot of Victoria state on Wednesday reported zero COVID-19 cases for the fifth straight day as states began easing regional border restrictions, raising prospects of a faster return to normal. South Australia on Tuesday said it would reopen its border with Victoria in two weeks, while the country's most populous state of New South Wales is expected to take a decision on border restrictions later in the day. Victoria last week ago allowed restaurants and cafes in state capital Melbourne - home to 5 million people - to reopen after more than three months under a stringent lockdown but gatherings remain under tight control.
4th Nov 2020 - YAHOO!

Will Melbourne ever be the same again post COVID lockdown?

Will Melbourne bounce back once it has conquered the coronavirus pandemic, or will COVID-19 leave lasting scars on the city, just as the virus appears to do on many of the people who survive it? On Wednesday, Victoria recorded its fifth straight day of no new cases of coronavirus and no deaths after Melburnians spent their first weekend out of lockdown. The pressure is now on for economic recovery, with businesses and the city hoping that people will now be confident to head back into the CBD.
4th Nov 2020 - ABC News

Corporate New Zealand's quick to return to air travel providing massive boost to travel industry

Zoom may have been one of the buzzwords of 2020, but more and more New Zealand businesses are returning to a different kind of zooming: flying. Research from travel management company FCM Travel Solutions - which is part of the Flight Centre Travel Group - shows a staggering 56 percent of New Zealand businesses have employees and executives flying as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on internationally. That puts Aotearoa's rate six percent above the global average. Nick Queale, General Manager Flight Centre Corporate says FCM bookings show that after the first period of national lockdown and compared to the same time last year, travel bookings returned to 11 percent within one week, and 24 percent within five weeks.
4th Nov 2020 - Newshub

Australia records one local COVID-19 case, New Zealand quarantine worker tests positive

Australia reported on Tuesday one locally acquired case of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, while New Zealand registered its first community transmissions in more than two weeks, after two workers at a quarantine facility tested positive. Australia's most populous state of New South Wales reported the single case, although it and northeastern Queensland state said there were six infections among people returning from overseas and in quarantine. The result means that the southeastern state of Victoria, the epicentre of Australia's outbreak, has now gone four days without any new infections detected. With infections curtailed, South Australia said it would reopen the border with Victoria in two weeks. Anyone travelling from Victoria will have to quarantine for two weeks after arrival, said South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.
4th Nov 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

Jordan suffers Covid surge after early success against virus

Rates of new Covid-19 cases in Jordan have risen to among the highest in the world a few months after the kingdom appeared to have eliminated community transmission of the virus and relaxed most public health restrictions. As recently as three months ago, Jordan was counted alongside New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam as a coronavirus success story, after going weeks without detecting infections in the community and registering just over 1,100 cases and 11 deaths as of late July. On Monday this week the country of 10 million people announced it had detected a daily record 5,877 cases – one of the highest per capita rates in the world – with more than 80,000 detected overall. Nearly 970 people have died.
4th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Nearly 600 NHS staff are off work amid Covid outbreak at hospitals in Stoke and Stafford as six workers at trust test positive for coronavirus after sharing car without wearing masks

Nearly 600 NHS staff at hospitals in Stoke and Stafford are self-isolating. Trust reported nearly 1,000 staff are off sick amid the coronavirus pandemic. Six workers fell ill with Covid-19 after not wearing face masks in car share
4th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail


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Yorkshire town's bleak Covid outlook as hospital faces staffing crisis

Barnsley is in the midst of a coronavirus crisis with the town's health boss warning the situation is "extremely serious". As the UK heads into a second national lockdown Julia Burrows, director of public health for the borough, says she is concerned at the number of people in intensive care with the virus.
4th Nov 2020 - Yorkshire Live

Ending England’s lockdown in December is realistic, says medical chief

It is realistic that England’s forthcoming national lockdown can end on Dec. 2, chief medical officer Chris Whitty said on Tuesday, as it is designed reduce COVID-19 transmission rates enough to move into less stringent measures. Whitty said that any decision on whether to extend the lockdown, due to come into force on Thursday, would be for government, but he had faith that the public would adhere to the new restrictions.
3rd Nov 2020 - Metro US

Coronavirus: Panic buyers strip shelves as England prepares for lockdown

In scenes reminiscent of the first lockdown in March, some supermarket shelves have begun emptying once more, ahead of the second lockdown in England. Social media users have shared pictures of empty shelves where usually there would be toilet roll, bread, vegetables and meat, despite stores insisting there are no stock shortages. All non-essential shops will close from Thursday, as England enters another strict coronavirus lockdown. But food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. The lockdown is due to end on 2 December, with the government hoping to then reintroduce a localised tiered system of restrictions.
3rd Nov 2020 - Sky News

Europe's shopkeepers on the warpath over lockdowns

Many European shopkeepers reluctantly accepted the need to close during the coronavirus lockdowns in the spring, but the second round of shutdowns in the autumn is proving a more difficult pill to swallow for bookstore owners, florists and hairdressers from Italy to Ireland — and harder for governments to enforce. France’s small traders, backed in some cases by their local mayors, have complained about the injustice of the measures imposed by Emmanuel Macron’s government from last Friday, arguing the restrictions on shops favoured big chain stores and online retailers such as Amazon. They were further enraged by Amazon’s launch of a premature “Black Friday” sale, supposed to be on November 27, which prompted remonstrations from the French finance ministry and a promise from Amazon to stop publicising the presale.
3rd Nov 2020 - Financial Times

Italian doctors urge tougher restrictions fearing 'tsunami' on hospitals

Italian doctors have urged the government to impose more aggressive measures to contain escalating infections over fears of a coronavirus “tsunami” on hospitals. Giuseppe Conte’s government is working towards a “light lockdown” to avoid paralysing the country, Sandra Zampa, a health ministry undersecretary said before a meeting with regional presidents to thrash out an agreement that could see shutdowns only in badly affected and at-risk regions.
3rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Primark calls for extended trading hours after UK lockdown

Primark has called for store trading hours to be extended in December to help retailers offset the impact of the latest round of lockdowns in the UK, its most important market. George Weston, chief executive of Primark parent company Associated British Foods, said extending Sunday opening hours in particular “would help us, help consumers, help the high street”. “In some locations we could even open 24 hours. We know the demand is going to be there,” he said on Tuesday, based on the experience when Primark reopened after the first lockdowns.
3rd Nov 2020 - Financial Times

French government details products that can be sold during second lockdown

France’s government on Tuesday updated its conditions for businesses to continue selling products deemed to be essential during the new confinement declared to fight the second wave of Covid-19. Large retailers have until Wednesday to close off sections selling goods not on the list.
3rd Nov 2020 - RFI English

English retailers fret over Christmas as lockdown 2.0 looms

This year, the annual illumination of the Christmas lights on London’s famous Oxford Street was very much a bittersweet moment. The lights, which were turned on this week, are celebrating the people who helped during the coronavirus pandemic. They should have symbolized the start of a keenly awaited retail season following a year marked by lockdown restrictions. But with a second lockdown in England set to come into place on Thursday, shops selling nonessential items such as books and sneakers have been ordered to close, at least until Dec. 2. During the first lockdown they closed for nearly three months until mid-June.
3rd Nov 2020 - Associated Press

China changes school curriculum to reflect Beijing's positive Covid narrative

Chinese government-endorsed content about the pandemic and the “fighting spirit” of the country’s response will be added to school curriculum, the country’s ministry of education has said, in a move to enshrine the country’s narrative of success against the virus. The content will be added to elementary and middle school classes in biology, health and physical education, history, and literature, and will “help students understand the basic fact that the Party and the state always put the life and safety of its people first”, the ministry said on Wednesday. “Students will learn about key figures and deeds which emerged during the epidemic prevention and control efforts. They will learn to foster public awareness and dedication, to enrich knowledge about the advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics,” the ministry said.
3rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

More than 400 people arrested at anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne

A policewoman was taken to hospital after she was injured when officers shut down a large anti-lockdown rally and arrested more than 400 protesters in Melbourne’s CBD. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Victorian parliament on Tuesday to oppose the state government’s strict Covid-19 lockdowns in Melbourne that were eased last week, holding up signs that read “Tell the Truth”, “Not Happy Dan”, “Masks Don’t Work” and “Corona Hoax 1984”. A Victoria police spokeswoman told Guardian Australia the force “was disappointed to arrest a large number of protestors who again showed disregard for the safety of the broader community and the directions of the chief health officer”.
3rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Ireland's latest coronavirus curbs put 85,000 temporarily out of work

Around 85,000 more people have claimed temporary COVID-19 jobless benefits since Ireland moved to the highest level of restrictions to fight the virus two weeks ago, data showed on Tuesday. Limiting restaurants to takeaway service and the closure of non-essential retail pushed claims up to almost 330,000, from 244,153 before the six-week measures were introduced on Oct. 22, but far below a peak of 600,000 during a stricter lockdown in May. Recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) have been on the rise since hitting a post-lockdown low of 205,000 at the start of October. They are expected to have helped push Ireland’s unemployment rate up to around 20% in October, from 14.7% in September. October unemployment data is due on Wednesday.
3rd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Third of staff 'fear catching Covid at work'

More than a third of workers are concerned about catching coronavirus on the job, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation think tank. The poorest paid are particularly worried, the research found, but also the least likely to speak up about it. Younger workers are also less likely to raise a complaint, the Resolution Foundation said. The widespread concerns come despite government advice on making workplaces Covid-secure, researchers said. Lindsay Judge, research director at the Resolution Foundation, said: "More than one-in-three workers are worried about catching coronavirus on the job, despite the extensive steps employers have taken to make workplaces Covid-secure.
3rd Nov 2020 - BBC News


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British business warns of ‘devastating’ lockdown hit

UK companies have warned of hundreds of millions of pounds in lost business over the coming weeks as they scramble to assess the cost of the new lockdown in England. Associated British Foods said its Primark high-street fashion chain would lose £375m in sales after the government ordered all non-essential shops in England to close for at least four weeks from November 5, alongside similar measures elsewhere in Europe. Retailers warned over the weekend that the forced closure would be a “nightmare before Christmas”. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said the lockdown “will cause untold damage to the high street in the run-up to Christmas, cost countless jobs and permanently set back the recovery of the wider economy”.
2nd Nov 2020 - The Financial Times

UK aviation needs government support for new lockdown pain: airport boss

Britain’s airports and airlines need urgent support to survive the “very bleak future” posed by a new lockdown in England, warned the boss of one of the country’s biggest airport groups. Very low levels of travel in recent months have put airlines and airports under renewed financial strain after they were effectively shut during Britain’s first lockdown, and they now face another month without income during its second. “An urgent package of support must materialise,” said Manchester Airport Group’s (MAG) chief executive Charlie Cornish in a statement on Monday. He said the new lockdown for England, due to start on Thursday and which bans international leisure travel, will make parts of the aviation sector unsustainable.
2nd Nov 2020 - Reuters

'Lenient' start to France's lockdown as police dish out 5,000 fines

French police will be stepping up lockdown inspections from Monday after a “lenient” start to the nationwide reconfinement that saw nearly 5,000 people fined for breaking the rules. Interior Ministor Gérald Darmanin told BFMTV more than 100,000 checks have been carried out since strict new measures came into effect on Friday – with police now under orders to carry out “reinforced controls”. "The first days of real confinement, if I dare say so, are starting today", Darmanin said, adding the flexibility over the weekend – the end of school holidays – was to allow people to return from vacation. Non-essential businesses including restaurants, bars and shops have been closed until at least 1 December as France tackles a difficult second wave of coronavirus infections.
2nd Nov 2020 - YAHOO!

Australia records zero Covid-19 cases for first time in five months

Australia has recorded its first day of no local cases of Covid-19 in almost five months. Zero cases were reported in the 24 hours between 20:00 on Friday and 20:00 on Saturday - the first time this has happened since 9 June. The state of Victoria - epicentre of Australia's second wave - recorded zero cases for the second day in a row after a 112-day lockdown. Health officials say more restrictions may be eased in the coming days. "Thank you to all of our amazing health & public health workers & above all else the Australian people," Health Minister Greg Hunt said on his Twitter account.
2nd Nov 2020 - BBC News

Covid: 'We are hanging by a thread' - hospital doctor

If you want to know why England is going into lockdown, Liverpool's intensive care units may help give you the answer. They are struggling to cope. "We are hanging by a thread," says Dr Oliver Zuzan, divisional medical director at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. He is speaking to me in a six-bed intensive care unit, reserved for non-Covid patients. At least here there's no requirement for the staff to spend their shifts in full PPE, with tight-fitting masks that dig into their faces. Here it's just an apron, gloves and surgical mask. The intensive care unit has had to be split into Covid and non-Covid areas. In the side rooms, patients wait for a diagnosis that will determine whether they are cared for in a red zone (Covid) or green zone (non-Covid). "People are right to say that these are pressures that occur every winter, but this time it's just a lot worse. This is winter plus, plus, plus," says Dr Zuzan.
2nd Nov 2020 - BBC News

'Summer's first line of defence': new rules, fines for cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs

The NSW government is finalising plans to mandate QR check-in codes in all hospitality venues ahead of summer, including on-the-spot fines for businesses that fail to use the technology. QR codes will be the state's first line of defence over summer, with the government working to enforce electronic customer sign-in systems in all cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs.
2nd Nov 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

UK regulator, insurers, set for November court battle over COVID-19 case

The UK Supreme Court will hear an appeal on Nov. 16 of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) test case over which insurance companies should offer payouts to small businesses battered by the coronavirus pandemic, it said on Monday. The hearing is expected to last four days, the court said in a statement. Small businesses – from cafes and wedding planners to events businesses – have said they faced ruin after attempts to claim compensation for business losses during the pandemic, which prompted a three-month national lockdown in March followed by other restrictive measures, were rejected by insurers. The FCA, six insurers and an action group are appealing a lower court judgment that sought to clarify whether 21 policy wordings, affecting potentially 700 types of policies, 60 insurers, 370,000 policyholders and billions in claims, cover disruption and government-ordered closures to curb the virus.
2nd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK

Europe Aims to Emerge Smarter From Latest Lockdowns

One by one, governments across Europe are reintroducing strict new measures to tame a resurgent pandemic after concluding that light-touch strategies aimed at containing Covid-19 have failed to keep infections in check. Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Austria and Belgium are all now back under pandemic-containment regimes similar to those imposed in the spring, with bars and restaurants shut and people’s freedom to socialize with others curtailed. Schools by and large remain open, though, and governments have expressed hope the new restrictions will be lifted within weeks. Some public-health experts say the reimposition of lockdowns shows the middle-way policies deployed over the summer, such as restrictions targeted at specific places or demographic groups, haven’t succeeded in curbing the spread of the virus. New coronavirus cases in the European Union and the U.K. are running in excess of 175,000 a day on average, according to the latest official tallies, while in the U.S. daily cases are around 80,000. Without tougher action, these governments say hospitals in many places will be overwhelmed in weeks.
1st Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal


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Covid-19: Two fifths of doctors say pandemic has worsened their mental health

More than two fifths of doctors in the UK say that their mental health is now worse than before the pandemic, a BMA survey has found. The association received responses from 6610 doctors working across England to a snapshot survey it conducted in October. Of the 6550 doctors who responded to a question about their mental wellbeing, 43% said that they were currently experiencing work related depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, emotional distress, or other mental health condition and that it was worse than it had been before the pandemic started. A further 12% said they had a work related mental health problem but it was no different than it had been before the pandemic, while 39% said they did not have a work related problem, and 6% preferred not to say. Of 6559 doctors who responded to a follow-up question, a third (32%) said that their health and wellbeing were slightly worse than it had been during the first wave of the pandemic and 10% said it was much worse. More than a third (37%) said it was the same, while 21% said it was better.
27th Oct 2020 - The BMJ

WHO chief in quarantine after Covid contact

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), has gone into self-quarantine, he announced late on Sunday, after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. “I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for #COVID19. I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine over the coming days, in line with WHO protocols, and work from home,” he wrote on Twitter.
2nd Nov 2020 - South China Morning Post

Coronavirus: Spain's funeral homes strike as cases rise

Staff at funeral homes in Spain have gone on strike to demand more workers as coronavirus deaths continue to rise. Unions say more staff are needed to prevent the delay in burials that was seen during the first wave of the pandemic in March. Europe is grappling with a second wave as cases and deaths continue to rise. A number of countries have introduced new measures such as curfews and lockdowns to try and bring infection rates down. On Saturday, Austria and Portugal became the latest countries to announce new restrictions.
2nd Nov 2020 - BBC News

Russia's remote regions struggle to cope with burgeoning Covid cases

Months after the Kremlin said it had the coronavirus pandemic under control, record numbers of Russians are falling ill and dying of the disease every day, pushing the country’s health services to breaking point while Vladimir Putin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown. The official daily tally of new cases rose above 18,000 for the first time on Friday, when 355 deaths were also reported. Critics say the death toll indicated by tallies of excess deaths could be far higher. The increases have mirrored those in European countries such as France and Spain, but the brunt of the outbreak has been borne by far-flung regions that rarely make the evening news. As opposed to the spring outbreak, when Moscow, St Petersburg and the Caucasus region were worst affected, the new rise has been driven by the disease’s spread across the Urals, Siberia and the border with Kazakhstan, where colder weather has already driven many people indoors.
1st Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Businesses say second second lockdown is ‘nightmare before Christmas’

Retail and hospitality leaders have laid bare the difficulties they face over the next month, as they rush to put measures in place to cope with the ‘devastating blow’ of a second lockdown. The British Retail Consortium described the latest restrictions as the ‘nightmare before Christmas’,
1st Nov 2020 - Metro

France faces lockdown resistance as small shops pay the price

The French government promised on Sunday to protect the nation’s beloved independent shops that fear losing their business to international giants, such as Amazon, as it sought to quell opposition to a new coronavirus lockdown. In common with other European nations suffering from an upsurge in the novel coronavirus, France has entered a second strict lockdown, which includes closing non-essential stores for at least 15 days.
1st Nov 2020 - Reuters

19 NHS trusts are already treating more Covid-19 patients than in April, analysis

Liverpool, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Warrington, Greater Manchester, Bradford and Leeds all affected. Even some places in Tier Two lockdowns treating more coronavirus patients than at peak six months ago. Dominic Raab today hinted Government could introduce a new Tier Four set of even stricter restrictions
31st Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Fact check: Will private insurance be required to cover a Covid vaccine if Obamacare is overturned?

On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced rules for insurers to cover the cost of administering a Covid-19 vaccine when one is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Yet on the campaign trail, former Vice President Joe Biden has been warning that if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, as the Trump administration is attempting to do, vaccines would not necessarily be covered by insurance, and that many people will have to pay for them out of pocket. "[O]verturning the ACA could mean that people have to pay to get Covid-19 vaccine once it's available," Biden said Wednesday. "That's right. The law that says insurers are required to cover vaccines for free is the Affordable Care Act."
31st Oct 2020 - CNN

Someone leaked the COVID hospitalization data taken from the CDC

Earlier this year, the federal government made a major change to how data on the pandemic is reported, taking the aggregation of hospital data away from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and shifting it into the CDC's parent organization, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At the time, there were worries that this represented an attempt to limit the public's ability to see how bad the pandemic was—worries that were reinforced when the data was no longer made public as it came in. But some recent reporting indicated that the change was primarily the work of White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx, who wanted greater control over the data gathering and processing. Still, regardless of the motivation, the data flowing in to HHS only made its way out to the public via weekly summaries.
31st Oct 2020 - Ars Technica

Study launched to establish the impact of Covid-19 on health of Wales' care workers

A study has been launched to establish the risk of Covid-19 to domiciliary care workers across Wales. The pandemic is thought to have had a significant impact on the health of 20,000 workers offering care to the elderly or people with life-limiting conditions in their homes. The study, led by Cardiff University, will assess the health of public and private care workers, including Covid-19 infection itself, mental health and other illnesses. Earlier this year, carers told ITV News they were under extreme pressure with extra responsibilities due to a lack of district nurses and GPs available to see patients in the community. Health professionals have also issued stark warnings about the potential crisis if carers' mental health needs aren't addressed.
30th Oct 2020 - ITV News

Coronavirus: Parisians eager to 'get rid' of virus on day one of second lockdown

Paris is a strange place to be on this first morning of a new lockdown. Usually here you need to navigate the mass of people, the crazy traffic. There are some people and vehicles out there but it's the first time I've see the road around the Arc De Triomphe with free flowing traffic. On the usually busy streets nearby where you expect to queue for a morning coffee, the cafes, bars and restaurants are shut - the area missing the pulse of the people.
30th Oct 2020 - Sky News

Pakistan's early exit from COVID-19 lockdown helps it win big on exports orders

Pakistan's decision to loosen pandemic restrictions early has helped the nation's exports emerge stronger than its South Asian peers. Outbound shipments have grown at a faster pace than Bangladesh and India as textiles, which account for half of the total export, led the recovery. Islamabad saw total shipments grow 7 per cent in September, compared with New Delhi's 6 per cent and Dhaka's 3.5 per cent. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's administration was the first in the region to ease pandemic restrictions, allowing export units to reopen in April, a month after locking them down to stem the spread of COVID-19. That's helped draw companies from Guess? Inc., Hugo Boss AG, Target Corp. and Hanesbrands Inc. to the South Asian nation.
30th Oct 2020 - Gulf News

Will the Hardest-Hit Communities Get the Coronavirus Vaccine?

It is an idea that may never have been tried in wide-scale vaccine distribution: Citing principles of equity and justice, experts are urging that people living in communities hardest-hit by the pandemic, which are often made up of Black and Hispanic populations, get a portion of the first, limited supply of coronavirus vaccines set aside just for them. A committee of experts advising Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is considering the idea. But as it comes into focus, its underlying concepts and execution must be further defined, and the approach may then face legal and political challenges, even as the medical system grapples with the anticipated logistical hurdles of distributing new vaccines.
30th Oct 2020 - The New York Times


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Coronavirus: Eat Out to Help Out 'accelerated second wave of COVID-19', study says

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme caused a "significant" rise in new coronavirus infections, a new study suggests. According to the University of Warwick, the sharp increase in COVID-19 infection clusters emerged a week after the scheme began. The government's initiative was designed to boost the economy after the national lockdown, and allowed pubs and restaurants to offer heavily discounted meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
30th Oct 2020 - Sky News

WHO: Europe now has more than 10 million COVID-19 cases

The World Health Organization’s Europe director said Thursday that the 53-country region has again reached a new weekly record for confirmed cases, with more than 1.5 million confirmed last week and more than 10 million since the start of the pandemic. During a meeting with European health ministers, WHO European regional director Dr. Hans Kluge said, “hospitalizations have risen to levels unseen since the spring” and that deaths have risen by more than 30% in the last week. “Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” Kluge said. “At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern.”
29th Oct 2020 - Washington Post

Covid-19: Number of patients in hospital grows again

The number of patients in hospital with coronavirus in Wales has grown again - up nearly a quarter on last week. Latest NHS Wales figures show 1,110 Covid-19 patients in hospital beds, which is more than 80% of the level at the pandemic's peak in April. Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board has nearly 100 more patients in its hospitals compared with last week. There have been rises elsewhere, with numbers doubling in Hywel Dda, which had only 33 Covid patients a week ago.
29th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Pret founder says UK should not lock down to save few thousand people

The founder of Pret a Manger and Itsu has said society will “not recover” if the UK enters a second lockdown “for the sake of a few thousand lives of old and very vulnerable people”. Julian Metcalfe, whose fortune is estimated at £215m, said a lockdown would be “impossible”. He told the Daily Mail: “The young people of this country will be paying for this for the next 20 to 30 years. It's terrible what's happening. “Just because France does this with its socialist government, doesn't mean we have to.”
29th Oct 2020 - The Independent

French bookshops ask to be treated as essential services during new lockdown

French authors, booksellers and publishers are imploring the French government to allow bookshops to stay open because reading is “essential”, as the country enters a national four-week lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. France’s second lockdown, announced on Wednesday evening by president Emmanuel Macron, begins at midnight on Thursday. Macron said he hoped it would put a “brutal brake” on the infection rate, as France is “submerged by the acceleration of the spread of the virus”. All non-essential businesses, including bars and restaurants, are to close, while individuals will require sworn declarations to leave home.
29th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Toilet paper and pasta: France girds for second virus lockdown

Stores and businesses across France were filled Thursday by people racing to get supplies -- and maybe a last-minute haircut -- ahead of a new coronavirus lockdown coming into effect at midnight. Essentials like pasta and toilet paper were in high demand, as were printer ink and electronics for working from home, while yoga mats were no longer to be found at many sporting goods stores. "I'm stocking up, since we don't know when this will end," said Catherine Debeaupuis while shopping at an electronics retailer in central Paris.
29th Oct 2020 - FRANCE 24

Fauci says first U.S. COVID-19 vaccines could ship late December or early January

If all goes well, the first doses of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine will likely become available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, said on Thursday. Based on current projections from vaccine front-runners Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, Americans will likely know “sometime in December whether or not we have a safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a live chat on Twitter and Facebook. “The first interim look (at trial results) should be, we hope, within the next few weeks,” he said.
29th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Inside the Mexican factory preparing to produce Covid-19 vaccine

CNN's Matt Rivers visits Neolpharma, a Mexican pharmaceutical company that says it plans to eventually produce millions of coronavirus vaccine doses.
29th Oct 2020 - CNN

Verdict on coronavirus vaccine expected by Christmas as UK stocks up on 20 million doses

Britain has already stocked up on 20 million doses from six different candidate vaccines, but senior government officials reportedly claim Downing Street is confident Pfizer-Biontech will win the race
29th Oct 2020 - Mirror Online

Coronavirus: 10,000 UK patients now in hospital with Covid-19

More than 10,000 Covid-19 patients are now being treated in UK hospitals — nearly 1,000 of them ventilators — according to latest daily figures from the government. The number has risen in recent days, but has yet to reach the 20,000 seen at the height of the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year. However figures have continued to grow beyond those seen during the first peak in isolated regions. Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust had the highest number of beds occupied by coronavirus patients in England on Tuesday at 450, according to new NHS England data - followed by Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust in Greater Manchester which had 290.
28th Oct 2020 - The Independent


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Wikipedia and W.H.O. Join to Combat Covid-19 Misinformation

As part of efforts to stop the spread of false information about the coronavirus pandemic, Wikipedia and the World Health Organization announced a collaboration on Thursday: The health agency will grant the online encyclopedia free use of its published information, graphics and videos. The collaboration is the first between Wikipedia and a health agency. “We all consult just a few apps in our daily life, and this puts W.H.O. content right there in your language, in your town, in a way that relates to your geography,” said Andrew Pattison, a digital content manager for the health agency who helped negotiate the contract. “Getting good content out quickly disarms the misinformation.” Since its start in 2001, Wikipedia has become one of the world’s 10 most consulted sites; it is frequently viewed for health information.
22nd Oct 2020 - The New York Times

Covid hospital cases in UK ‘could pass spring peak in November’

The number of coronavirus patients in UK hospitals could pass the spring peak by the end of November without further lockdown measures, a leading government scientific adviser has warned. Sir Mark Walport, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said it was “not unrealistic” that there would be 25,000 people in hospital with Covid by the end of next month – higher than the April peak. Walport compared the UK’s situation with France, where he said 16,000 Covid patients were in hospital including 2,500 people in intensive care – roughly half of its capacity – compared with 852 in intensive care in the UK. The picture was similar in Spain, he said, in spite of these countries implementing similar restrictions to the UK.
28th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Dashboard designed to chart England's Covid-19 response finds major gaps in data

There are crucial gaps in the data available to map England’s response to Covid-19, according to researchers who have developed an interactive, visual tool condensing disparate streams of publicly available information to help the public make sense of the numbers. The one-stop dashboard – developed by an interdisciplinary research team from University College London (UCL) – found substantial shortcomings in the quality, consistency and availability of reliable figures required to manage the pandemic.
28th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Germany Moves to Shutter Bars and Restaurants for One Month

Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for a partial lockdown in Germany that would include closing bars, restaurants and leisure facilities through the end of November, as coronavirus infections continue to surge across Europe. Merkel is also urging citizens to keep social contacts to an absolute minimum and avoid all non-essential private travel, according to a draft federal government briefing paper obtained by Bloomberg. Germany will help companies affected by the toughest restrictions since the end of the spring lockdown by making up to 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) in aid available in November, when the measures will be in place, according to a person familiar with the matter.
28th Oct 2020 - Bloomberg

Milan fights against new local coronavirus lockdown

As Italian businesses grapple with the sweeping new Covid-19 restrictions introduced by the central government, the country’s financial capital is fighting to avoid a local lockdown that some people fear will cripple its economy. Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region with a population of 1.3m and a host of high-profile companies, is one of Europe’s coronavirus hotspots. Since the pandemic, commuter and tourist numbers have plummeted — dropping more than 70 per cent this year — leaving retailers, restaurants, bars and hotels with losses nudging €10bn.
28th Oct 2020 - Financial Times

Europe heads back into lockdown after warning hospitals are filling with COVID patients

A number of European countries are locking down again as COVID-19 surges across the continent. Tuesday’s World Health Organization (WHO) figures showed the region reported 1.3 million new cases in the past seven days, nearly half the 2.9 million reported worldwide, and over 11,700 deaths, a 37% jump over the previous week. The WHO’s Dr Margaret Harris warned that deaths are spiking and hospitals filling up across Europe. Germany and France are among the European countries preparing to announce restrictions that approach the severity of the blanket lockdowns seen in spring.
28th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

'We're in Hell': Russia's second wave of Covid-19 is catching the regions off guard

In a video widely shared across Russian social media last week, dozens of bodies wrapped in black plastic bags line the walls of a decrepit basement in a hospital in Barnaul, the capital city of the Altai region in Siberia. “The deceased Covid-19 patients were being stored in the basement of the hospital due to a shortage of pathologists and an increase of coronavirus infections and deaths,” the region’s Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, confirming the authenticity of the disturbing footage. Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor on Saturday sounded a further alarm, saying the region is approaching an “Italian Scenario,” a reference to Northern Italy, one of the world’s worst-hit areas by the coronavirus.
28th Oct 2020 - The Independent Barents Observer

English COVID data patchy, researchers say, as new dashboard launched

There are significant problems with the availability and quality of COVID-19 data in England, British researchers said on Wednesday as they launched a dashboard to help make sense of the patchwork of stats. The COVID Response Evaluation Dashboard (COVID RED) presents available statistics from Public Health England (PHE), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Health Service (NHS) and also highlights where more data are needed. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced a three-tier system of local lockdowns for England in a bid to tackle local flare-ups in infections while avoiding a new national lockdown.
28th Oct 2020 - Reuters India

Partial covid-19 lockdown in Germany prioritizes in-person schools over dining out

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron each announced month-long national lockdowns Wednesday, saying health authorities have lost control of skyrocketing new infections while hospitals fill rapidly. The announcements came as governments across Europe struggle to contain a second wave of the virus in colder weather, even after the relative success of strict lockdown restrictions in the spring. “We in Europe are all surprised by the propagation of the virus,” Macron said in a televised address to the nation.
28th Oct 2020 - Washington Post

Covid second wave at 'critical stage' as nearly 100,000 catch virus every day, research shows

The second wave of coronavirus in England has reached a "critical stage” with almost 100,000 people a day in England being infected, experts have warned. Researchers say they are detecting early signs areas that previously had low rates of infection are following trends observed in the country's worst-affected regions. They add that there has to be change before Christmas, and if more stringent measures are to be implemented, it needs to be sooner rather than later as the current measures are "not sufficient". The interim data from round six of the React study uses data and swab results from 86,000 people between October 16-25, and estimates there are around 96,000 new infections per day.
28th Oct 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus England: 5.5% slump in bus passenger journeys to 4.07bn

The number of bus passenger journeys in England fell by 238million in the year ending March 31, figures show. The total of 4.07billion journeys was a 5.5 per cent reduction on the previous 12 months. The Department for Transport (DfT) said the fall can 'largely be attributed' to the coronavirus pandemic.
28th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

The pandemic may be leading to fewer babies in rich countries

When Kampala went into covid-19 lockdown, singletons in the Ugandan capital were looking for “lockdown partners”, says Allan Creed, who works in digital marketing. He and his friends couldn’t get to their local shops to buy contraceptives. Mr Creed has been relying on free condoms doled out by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) via a local motorbike ride-hailing app called SafeBoda. But three of his friends now have unplanned pregnancies in the midst of their university degrees. “We were not moving, we were not working, nothing was happening, so you had a lot of time on your hands,” the 26-year-old explains. Meanwhile in wealthy Singapore, where contraception is easy to come by, young people who were already reluctant to start a family before the pandemic are even more so during a global recession. The government is trying to coax people into reproducing with a one-off grant of S$3,000 ($2,200) for having a child in the next two years on top of pre-existing payments and savings schemes. For Keith, even that doesn’t make up for the cost of becoming a father. “I know that me and my wife will have a very good time in the next 30, 40 years without kids,” the 36-year-old says. “Do we want to risk that?”
29th Oct 2020 - The Economist


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Production of Covid-19 vaccine could top 16 billion doses, but delivery is still a challenge

Manufacturing limits, a nation’s health care system and intellectual property rights could all affect which countries receive vaccines and how quickly. Of 16 billion doses manufacturers expect to make next year, over 8 billion have already been committed to countries
28th Oct 2020 - South China Morning Post

Covid-19: Scotland to ease pub and restaurant restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon said the move would allow licensed premises in level two of the country's new five-tier system to serve alcohol with a meal until 20:00. In level three areas - likely to be much of the central belt - they can reopen until 18:00 but cannot serve alcohol. The new rules will start on Monday. The level that each of the 32 council areas in Scotland will fall under is expected to be confirmed on Thursday. The new system will add two levels to the three-tier system currently in use in England, adding a "level zero" at the bottom - where life can return almost to normal - and strict measures similar to a full lockdown in level four.
27th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Mafia stokes violent anti-lockdown protests in Italy

The Italian mafia are doing all they can to prevent coronavirus from harming their business — including orchestrating violence at anti-lockdown protests. According to Italian authorities, the mob planned and directed demonstrations in Naples that descended into violence and attacks on police on Friday. Similar protests have taken place across the country for the past four days, with bar and restaurant owners expressing concerns that tighter measures, brought in by the government to counter a surge in coronavirus cases in the country, will destroy their businesses. While the economic turmoil caused by the crisis has presented opportunities for the mafia to snap up stricken firms, curfews and lockdown restrictions are bad news, because increased police checks curtail the mob’s freedom to operate. Police estimate that with the closure of nightlife in Italy, the Camorra mafia’s drugs revenue will be hit by as much as 60 percent.
27th Oct 2020 - POLITICO.eu

Spain's Rioja wine region bans wining, dining as pandemic curbs grow

The wine-producing region of La Rioja on Tuesday ordered the closure of restaurants and bars in its two largest towns for a month as part of widening restrictions across Spain to curb the coronavirus outbreak. The number of cumulative infections rose by 18,418 to nearly 1.12 million and the health ministry added 267 deaths from Monday, the highest toll in the second wave of the pandemic, bringing the total to 35,298. Daily deaths during the first wave in late March peaked at almost 900. A nationwide curfew has been in place since Sunday, while a growing number of regions have banned people from entering or exiting their territory. Deputy head of the Madrid regional government, Ignacio Aguado, said on Tuesday he backed such a lockdown for his central region.
27th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Covid: Melbourne's hard-won success after a marathon lockdown

Melbourne's grinding second coronavirus lockdown began in the chill of winter. In early July, the nights were long and dark, and Australia's cultural capital was confronting the terrifying reality of another deadly wave of infections. More than 110 days later, experts say it is emerging as a world leader in disease suppression alongside places including Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Raina McIntyre, a biosecurity professor at the University of New South Wales' Kirby Institute, told the BBC that Australia's response had been "light years ahead" of the US and the UK. "It is just thoroughly shocking. When we think of pandemics we don't think that well-resourced, high-income countries are going to fall apart at the seams, but that is exactly what we have seen," she said.
27th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Safe and sound: How New Zealand musicians have been able to return to the stage

It's early October, and Elizabeth Stokes and Jonathan Pearce of New Zealand indie-rock band the Beths are in Raglan, a small surf town on the west coast of the country's north island. In an empty Sprinter van sitting snugly side-by-side so as to better squeeze in the laptop's camera frame, they flip the camera to show off their view: a mountain-ringed suburban neighbourhood on a lovely, quiet, sunny afternoon. It's their second day on the road in support of new album Jump Rope Gazers. The night before they played Raglan's Yot Club and ended up hanging with inebriated members of the New Zealand national cricket team. The batsman Martin Guptill and the bowler Kyle Jamieson just happened to be at the venue and the proprietor of the place – “an absolutely classic New Zealand bloke,” Pearce explains, “shaggy hair, shorts, so loose” – made all parties hang out.
27th Oct 2020 - The Independent


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NHS short of over £1bn for Covid second wave and onset of winter

The NHS has been given in excess of £1bn less than it needs to tackle the second wave of Covid-19, deal with the coming winter and restart routine operations, the Guardian has learned. The disclosure raises questions about the pledge from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, at the start of the pandemic to give the NHS “whatever resources it needs” to cope with the pandemic. Hospitals across England face holes in their budget for the rest of the year of up to £20m, which they say is hampering their efforts to prepare properly for the service’s annual winter crisis and get back to pre-pandemic levels of surgery.
26th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: US pulls plan to give early vaccine to Santa Claus

The US has cancelled plans to offer Santa Claus performers early access to a coronavirus vaccine in exchange for their help in promoting it publicly. Those who perform as Mrs Claus and elves would also have been eligible for the jabs. The festive collaboration was part of a $250m (£192m) government campaign to garner celebrity endorsements of vaccinations once they are approved. But health authorities confirmed the advertising campaign had been scrapped. Ric Erwin, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, called the news "extremely disappointing."
26th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Covid-19: How the Czech Republic's response went wrong

The Czech Republic was praised for its swift initial response to the coronavirus crisis, but seven months on it's now recording 15,000 new cases a day and has the second highest per capita death rate over seven days in the world. So what went wrong? Letnany Exhibition Grounds on the northern outskirts of Prague is usually where you go to check out the latest caravans or fitted kitchens. But its cavernous halls are now home to a ghostly field hospital, built by the army in just over seven days. On Sunday it was formally handed over to Prague's main infectious diseases hospital. "Our task is to enhance the capacity of civilian hospitals," said Colonel Ladislav Slechta, commander of the Czech Army's Military Medical Agency which built the facility.
26th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Arsonists throw petrol bombs at Germany's Robert Koch Institute

A window was destroyed and walls discoloured during Sunday's arson attack Berlin police are now investigating whether the attack was politically motivated The German capital has seen some angry protests against the lockdown rules
26th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Australia's coronavirus epicenter records no new cases as the US and Western Europe struggle to contain the pandemic

Melbourne, the city at the epicenter of Australia's coronavirus epidemic, will move out of lockdown this week after the Victoria state health department on Sunday reported no new cases and no deaths due to the virus for the first time in more than four months. Announcing the relaxation of restrictions at a news conference on Monday, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said starting on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., Melbourne residents will be allowed to leave their homes and most businesses in the state can reopen with restrictions on the number of people. "With 0 cases and so much testing, we are able to say that now is the time to open up. Now is the time to congratulate every single Victorian who has stayed the course," Andrews said. The remarkable milestone of no new cases comes just months after Andrews declared a "state of disaster" to stem an outbreak that saw as many as 725 people in the state test positive for the virus in a single day.
26th Oct 2020 - CNN

The U.S. and Europe are losing the coronavirus battle

European leaders are bracing for disaster, too. After a summer of reopenings and revived travel and tourism, a second wave is ravaging countries that both evaded and suffered from the first. France reported a daily record in cases on Sunday. Cases in Poland doubled in less than three weeks (and the country’s president now has the virus). In the Czech Republic, more than 250,000 people in a country of 10.7 million are infected.
26th Oct 2020 - The Washington Post

German business sentiment falls on coronavirus angst

German business morale fell for the first time in six months in October, weighed down by companies’ concerns about rising coronavirus infection rates that are making them more sceptical about the coming months, a survey showed on Monday. The Ifo institute said its business climate index fell to 92.7 from a downwardly revised 93.2 in September. A Reuters poll had foreseen a decline to 93.0. “Companies are considerably more sceptical regarding developments over the coming months,” Ifo President Clemens Fuest said in a statement. “In view of rising infection numbers, German business is becoming increasingly worried.” The German economy contracted by 9.7% in the second quarter as household spending, company investments and trade collapsed at the height of the pandemic.
26th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Sri Lanka shuts parliament after coronavirus case detected

Sri Lanka’s parliament has been closed after a police officer at the complex tested positive for the coronavirus amid a new surge of cases in the country. Parliament will be closed for two days as a precautionary measure so the premises can be disinfected, said Narendra Fernando, the parliament’s sergeant at arms.
26th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Guatemala health workers face retaliation over COVID-19 concerns

Paty Chavez has had a rough few weeks. A nurse at a regional hospital in the Indigenous highlands of Guatemala, she tested positive for COVID-19, recovered, protested against the hospital’s response to the virus, and then was fired – all in the span of 15 days. “My colleagues are all scared. They say, ‘look what happened to the person who most spoke out’,” said Chavez, an Indigenous Maya K’iche mother of three who worked for four years at the El Quiche Regional Hospital, 137km (85 miles) northwest of the capital. But as is the case with so many public health workers in Guatemala, basic labour rights eluded Chavez because she works on a contract basis, a problem that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
26th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Coronavirus: Plane food sold in shops and 'flights to nowhere' - airlines try to stem pandemic losses

Finland's national carrier has started selling its business class meals in a supermarket to prevent jobs cuts at its catering unit - and the food has been a hit. Some 1,600 meals were sold in the first few days at the supermarket, which is near the airline's main hub of Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Plans are being made to sell the meals from more outlets. Kimmo Sivonen, a shopkeeper at Kesko's K-Citymarket Tammisto in Vantaa told Reuters that there had been "positive feedback" from customers and the product was "one of the best-selling products in our store".
26th Oct 2020 - Sky News

Covid rips through Kenya’s private school system

As Kenya pushes the reopening of its schools to 2021, thousands of private schools are at risk of shutting their doors permanently
26th Oct 2020 - Financial Mail


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Germany grapples with coronavirus spike months after it was hailed for good practice

A few months can make a world of difference during a pandemic. After being lauded for its response to Covid-19 after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government flattened the curve this spring, Germany is now grappling with more than 10,000 daily coronavirus infections, the most it has seen since the outbreak started, and admissions to hospital intensive care units have doubled in the last two weeks. In response, the country is betting on a different, more local approach to the crisis.
25th Oct 2020 - NBC News

Italy orders bars, restaurants to close early as COVID infections surge

Italy on Sunday ordered bars and restaurants to close by 6 p.m. and shut public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools to try to halt a rapid resurgence in the coronavirus that has pushed daily infection rates to new records. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the measures were aimed at protecting both public health and the economy and should bring the rising curve of the epidemic under control in the next few weeks to allow a “serene” Christmas.
25th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Initial lockdown in France substantially curbed COVID-19, but many remain susceptible to the virus

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic first started in late December 2019 in Wuhan City, China. From there, it has spread across the globe. During the first peak of cases in March, France is one of the hardest-hit countries, with the cases now reaching more than 1 million, with at least 34,000 deaths. The government has imposed an initial lockdown in March, banning large gatherings and closing schools. In August, when restrictions were eased, there was a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases. Now, a new study by researchers at the Santé Publique France conducted seroprevalence estimates in France, one of the countries with high COVID-19 cases in Europe
25th Oct 2020 - News Medical

Dr Reddy's: Covid vaccine-maker suffers cyber-attack

Pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy's, which is developing a Covid-19 vaccine, says it has been hit by a cyber-attack. Sites around the world have been affected, including those in the UK, Brazil, India, Russia and the US. The India-based company said it had isolated all of its data centre services to contain the attack. Last week, Dr Reddy's was given permission to begin its final stage trials of Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine. The company refused to comment on whether or not its manufacturing facilities had been affected.
25th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Oxford coronavirus vaccine scientists will be rewarded for saving world

The last time Oxford University saved the world from infectious disease, with the development of penicillin, it made barely a penny. This time, with its vaccine, it has worked hard to ensure that it does not repeat the mistake. The university has negotiated a 6 per cent stake in any royalties from its vaccine if it is successful, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal.
25th Oct 2020 - The Times

Australian production of non-protein Covid-19 vaccine may take an extra year, minister says

It could take up to a year for Australian biotech company CSL to develop the capability to make a Covid-19 vaccine if a non-protein-based version proves safe and effective, the country’s industry minister has said. Karen Andrews said CSL would be able to immediately start making a protein-based vaccine, but “significant work” would be required if it was another type based on mRNA, or messenger ribonucleic acid. Vaccines traditionally introduce proteins into the body to provoke the immunity system into responding but if an mRNA vaccine of the kind being developed by US company Moderna is approved it would be the first of its type, experts say.
25th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

In the restaurant where I work, Covid has brought out the worst in customers

Waitressing can be a difficult job at the best of times. The hours are long, the work is exhaustingly physical and the customers have a tendency to take out on you whatever frustrations have been building in them all week.
25th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Virus is pummeling Europe’s eateries — and winter is coming

As the Friday night dinner service began earlier this month at the De Viering restaurant outside Brussels, it seemed the owners’ decision to move the operation into the spacious village church to comply with coronavirus rules was paying off. The reservation book was full and the kitchen was bustling. And then Belgium’s prime minister ordered cafes, bars and restaurants to close for at least a month in the face of surging infections. “It’s another shock, of course, because — yes, all the investments are made,” said chef Heidi Vanhasselt. She and her sommelier husband Christophe Claes had installed a kitchen and new toilets in the Saint Bernardus church in Heikruis, as well as committing to 10 months’ rent and pouring energy into creative solutions.
25th Oct 2020 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Rush for results could lead to inferior Covid vaccine, say scientists

Scientists have warned that early adoption of a Covid vaccine with only moderate effectiveness could disrupt efforts to test and create improved versions. Immunising against the disease is not going to be a simple business of turning off the virus once the first vaccine appears, they say. In fact, there could be considerable confusion as researchers struggle to pinpoint the best versions for different vulnerable groups, such as the elderly. “The vaccines coming through fastest are the most experimental. It is possible they won’t be all that great and that others – created using more tried-and-tested but slower methods – might be better,” said Professor Adam Finn of Bristol University. “But to prove that point will become very difficult if lots of individuals have already been given the first vaccine. It will need vast numbers of people to demonstrate which is best or if a different vaccine is more suitable for particular groups, like the elderly.”
25th Oct 2020 - The Observer

People are traveling across China in the hopes of getting an experimental Covid-19 vaccine shot

When Anny Ku heard that there were coronavirus vaccines on offer in Yiwu, a city in China's eastern Zhejiang province, she traveled more than 600 miles (965 kilometers) for a chance to get the shot. Ku worked in Chile for more than 20 years as an importer and exporter, but she returned to her home in southern China earlier this year after the coronavirus pandemic worsened and a large number of cases appeared in South America. There had been no official announcement that a vaccine was available in Yiwu -- just a series of articles in local media -- but Ku believed she needed the shot in order to leave China and get back to her job overseas. "If one has (the vaccine), it's much safer to leave the country," she said
24th Oct 2020 - CNN

Australia's COVID-19 hotspot sees more school cases before easing curbs

Australia’s Victoria state, the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, reported four cases related to infections in schools on Saturday, a day before the expected easing of strict social distancing restrictions. Melbourne, the capital of Australia’s second-most populous state, is emerging from a second wave as a hard lockdown since July has brought daily infections of the new coronavirus down to single digits from an August peak over 700. In the previous 24 hours, the state found seven new cases, officials said, including four related to a cluster linked to two schools in Melbourne’s northern suburbs that prompted authorities to order 800 people to self-isolate.
24th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Dutch transfer patients to Germany again as COVID infections spike

The Netherlands began transferring COVID-19 patients to Germany again on Friday, as hospitals come under increasing strain from a second wave of infections. The Flevo hospital in the central Dutch town of Almere said it would transfer two of its intensive care patients by helicopter to a hospital in Muenster, around 65 km (40 miles) east of the Dutch-German border. The transfers were the first during the second wave that began in the Netherlands early last month. During the first wave in March and April dozens of Dutch patients were transferred to Germany, where intensive care capacity is larger.
24th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Retailers urge Welsh government not to dictate what people can buy in 'fire-break' lockdown

Retailers in Wales have written urgently to First Minister Mark Drakeford expressing alarm over new regulations that restrict the sale of “non essential” products in essential shops during the country’s two-week COVID-19 lockdown. Wales’ “fire-break” begins on Friday at 1700 GMT and ends on Nov. 9. Everybody but essential workers will have to work from home. All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourist businesses will have to close. Retailers that can stay open, such as supermarkets, were told on Thursday that the regulations require them to only sell what the Welsh government deems to be “essential” product lines, partly to protect smaller businesses that do have to close being put at an unfair advantage.
24th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Brussels edges towards lockdown as Belgian COVID-19 cases hit record high

City's curfew has also been tightened to 10pm-6am with shops shutting at 8pm. The new changes will come in on Monday Brussel premier Rudi Vervoort said. Working from home will be obligatory and masks will have to be worn in public
24th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

India to have covid vaccine by June: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

The buzz around an imminent covid-19 vaccine has raised hopes of a way back to normalcy for the billions affected by the pandemic around the world, said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Bengaluru-based Biocon Ltd. Mazumdar-Shaw is hopeful that the vaccine will be in India by June, but added delivering the vaccine to India’s over 1.2 billion population has its own challenges. "I expect that by January, some of the other vaccines could be approved like AstraZeneca’s or one of our own Indian vaccines like the one by Bharat Biotech. If we finish the clinical trials in the next 2-3 months, even those may be approved by January-February. So I would expect that in Q1FY22 we should have vaccines available in India and other parts of the world," said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw in an interview to Mint.
24th Oct 2020 - Mint

Covid: More coronavirus vaccine trials in Wales 'within weeks'

New trials of coronavirus vaccinations will start in Wales "within weeks". A top scientist who works for the body responsible for organising the pilots said different vaccines will be trialed across parts of Wales "very soon". About 500 volunteers in the Gwent area have already taken part in trials of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The new trials will be for different vaccines, but Health and Care Research Wales would not confirm which products.
24th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Thousands of long-term care facilities have already opted into CVS and Walgreens coronavirus vaccine deal, HHS says

Thousands of long-term care and assisted living facilities have already opted into the Trump administration’s program with CVS Health and Walgreens to administer coronavirus vaccines to seniors, a senior administration official said. Between 9,000 and 10,000 facilities have opted into the program since it was announced last week, Paul Mango, a deputy chief of staff at HHS, told reporters.
23rd Oct 2020 - CNBC

Increase medical workforce to tackle covid-19 backlog, doctors' leaders urge

The NHS will not be able to meet the demands of the covid-19 pandemic and a potential second wave without more staff, doctors’ leaders have warned. In a report1 published on 19 October, the BMA, with support from medical royal colleges, said that medical workforce numbers—including consultants—must increase to overcome the backlog of work from the pandemic, reduce NHS waiting lists and waiting times, and restore activity to previous levels. To do this, medical school, foundation training programme, and specialty trainee numbers must be increased, the report said. The report set out a range of short and medium term solutions to tackle consultant shortages and meet the demands of the pandemic. Among the suggested short term measures were making the most effective use of retired doctors who would like to return to work. “During the first peak of the pandemic, 28 000 doctors made themselves available to return to work,” the report said, “but only a small proportion of them were eventually deployed.”
19th Oct 2020 - The BMJ

NHS short of over £1bn for Covid second wave and onset of winter

The NHS has been given in excess of £1bn less than it needs to tackle the second wave of Covid-19, deal with the coming winter and restart routine operations, the Guardian has learned. The disclosure raises questions about the pledge from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, at the start of the pandemic to give the NHS “whatever resources it needs” to cope with the pandemic. Hospitals across England face holes in their budget for the rest of the year of up to £20m, which they say is hampering their efforts to prepare properly for the service’s annual winter crisis and get back to pre-pandemic levels of surgery.
26th Oct 2020 - The Guardian


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'It has been a trauma': nurses on 'shambolic' 111 Covid-19 clinical service

Ten nurses who worked for the NHS 111 Covid-19 Clinical Assessment Service have come forward to blow the whistle on their unit’s organisation, describing it as shambolic, and lacking in adequate training and safeguards. The nurses, who had retired or left the NHS after many years’ experience, were recruited to the CCAS, a new national division of NHS 111, after the health secretary, Matt Hancock, urged doctors and nurses to return and work on the response to the pandemic. The former CCAS nurses came forward to talk about their experiences after it was revealed that an audit had found that 60% of calls to patients, by nurses and allied healthcare professionals (AHPs), had not been safe.
22nd Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Services for special needs children 'went to zero overnight'

Essential services for many young people with disabilities "went to zero overnight" due to lockdown, a Stormont committee has heard. MLAs were told that as a result, some children had harmed themselves and injured their parents. Donna Jennings, from the Evangelical Alliance, said the need for help increased, "but services disappeared". Schools, including most special schools, closed to the majority of pupils for a number of months. Many respite and other support services were also suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
22nd Oct 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: First Nightingale hospital in England reopens in Manchester for Covid-19 patients

Hospital was set up in Manchester's Central Conference Centre but closed in June when last Covid patient left. It will be reopened in anticipation of a surge in Covid-19 patients in the city, to open bed capacity elsewhere. Manchester faces Tier Three lockdown rules from midnight on Friday as city's outbreak rumbles on Local rules are now springing up nationwide, with worries in Nottingham and Stoke as Slough enters Tier Two. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still refusing a national lockdown despite calls from top scientists
22nd Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Stretched Dutch hospitals to send COVID patients to Germany within days

The Dutch hospital system is coming under increasing strain from coronavirus admissions as daily cases hit a record high, and it expects to begin transferring some patients to Germany within two days, the hospital association said on Thursday. Almost half the country’s intensive care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, the LNAZ association’s head Ernst Kuipers said. “And we certainly have not seen the end of it”, he told reporters. “Hospital numbers will continue to rise at least until the end of this month.” The number of daily infections hit 9,271 on Thursday, the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said
22nd Oct 2020 - Reuters

Germans Are Panic Buying Toilet Paper And Disinfectants As Covid-19 Surges Again

Sales of toilet paper, disinfectants and soaps are rising once again in Germany, the country’s statistics office announced on Thursday, highlighting fears of an imminent lockdown as Europe’s largest economy sees a resurgence in Covid-19 cases. Unlike the April lockdown, where massive hoarding led to empty store shelves, German retailers claim that they are better prepared this time. “After the events we saw earlier this year, we are monitoring changes in demand more closely than ever to ensure that nothing is in short supply”, discount retailer Aldi Süd told news website Local.de last week. Another retailer Lidl also said it was “well prepared” to react quickly and provide stores with “sufficient supplies” if demand increases.
22nd Oct 2020 - Forbes

German disease control center urges vigilance as virus rises

The head of Germany’s disease control center urged people Thursday to be vigilant about following coronavirus precautions as the country posted a record number of new cases, saying a rapid increase in infections could be reversed but only if everyone works together. Robert Koch Institute President Lothar Wieler said the daily number of confirmed cases hit 11,287, the first time Germany’s 24-hour tally has been over the 10,000 mark since the beginning of the pandemic and shattering the previous daily record of 7,830 set on Saturday. The country had a nationwide infection rate of 56.2 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. Some hot spots, including several districts of the capital, had rates well over double that.
22nd Oct 2020 - The Associated Press

Coronavirus: Italians find new ways to eat out

The ebb of the first wave and summer al fresco dining saw an encouraging return to business for many Italian eateries and bars; but as the cold sets in, this second wave in is forcing restaurateurs to find new ways to stay afloat. New national restrictions mean restaurants and bars have to close by midnight until 13 November and can seat a maximum of six people per table. Vagh in ufezzi is a simple restaurant with paper place mats and no cover charge. Until two weeks ago, diners would have paid for each dish they ordered; now they are paying by the hour.
22nd Oct 2020 - BBC News

Bars and restaurants account for less than 3% of COVID-19 outbreaks in Spain since end of lockdown

In Spain, bars and restaurants are responsible for less than 3% of coronavirus outbreaks, a new report has found. A study released by the Ministry of Health which analysed data from the end of lockdown to October 15 said family reunions accounted for almost 40% of outbreaks. The report also warns of the high number of outbreaks with mixed origins, where transmission shifts from the family environment to other areas such as work
22nd Oct 2020 - Olive Press

South Korea's virus battle faces new cluster challenge

A cluster of infections around the Greater Seoul area has given South Korea yet another challenge to mount in its fight against COVID-19. The country reported 121 new infections on Thursday, highest in almost a month, taking the nationwide tally up to 25,543, Yonhap News Agency reported. The death toll increased by three to reach 453, with the fatality rate remaining at 1.77%. Thursday’s figures were the highest since 109 cases were reported on Sept. 24, but infection numbers had dropped down to double digits since then. The spike in cases is due to clusters at senior care hospitals and other health facilities. Health authorities have intensified efforts to track down suspected patients, many of whom have been linked to a hospital in Gwangju, south of Seoul.
22nd Oct 2020 - Anadolu Agency

Coronavirus: China continues to ban tour groups to prevent COVID-19 from spreading

China will continue to suspend outbound and inbound group tours in a move aimed to prevent international travellers from bringing the coronavirus into the country. The decision was made due to the risk of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases across the country this winter, authorities said yesterday. In China, where COVID-19 was first discovered, the virus appears to have been mostly banished through a combination of lockdowns and travel restrictions that have officials touting the nation as a coronavirus success story.
22nd Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Australia still the lucky COVID-19 country

While Canberrans were concentrating on the ACT election and the rest of the country was distracted by the Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews shows the global crisis has gone from terrible to catastrophic. New cases are being logged at the fastest rate so far, health systems in many countries are being swamped, and much of Europe is heading back under the lockdown "doona". Just when it seems Australians may be able to enjoy some sort of "COVID-19 normal" Christmas billions of people are doing it tougher than ever as second waves rage out of control.
22nd Oct 2020 - The Canberra Times

'Call for data on Covid-19 health impacts'

New Zealand has not released any analysis about the negative health impacts of the Covid-19 elimination and lockdown policy. This is highlighted this week, by a study released in the UK this week which indicates that their lockdowns are responsible for thousands of deaths and new illnesses, principally as a result of delayed cancer diagnoses. The only known study of lockdown health impacts in New Zealand was of a Dunedin primary health clinic, where referrals and tests had dropped 100% and 99% respectively. Anecdotal evidence provided to the Covid Plan B group is that referrals and tests may be down across the country by two thirds. Auckland District Health Board is also investigating after four women died during and after pregnancy this year, with three dying since alert level 3 was instituted in late March. Expected numbers of deaths are between 0 and one from previous years. Evidence provided from affected individuals indicate illnesses and health prognosis have worsened due to delayed tests and treatment. Whether these cases represent a wider problem is not known. Dr Simon Thornley, spokesman for Covid Plan B, said the Government’s elimination and lockdown policy was based on hope, because little analysis of the downsides of the policy has been carried out.
22nd Oct 2020 - Voxy

Spike in South Korea flu shot deaths fuels vaccine doubts

At least 13 South Koreans have died after receiving flu shots in recent days, according to official and local media reports, fuelling doubts about vaccine safety even as authorities rule out a link and as global efforts to find a vaccine against COVID-19 intensify. Health authorities said on Wednesday there were no plans to suspend the programme to vaccinate approximately 19 million people for free after a preliminary investigation into six deaths found no direct connection with the drug they had received.
22nd Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English


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US is nearing 'rapid acceleration' of Covid-19 cases, expert warns, as daily infections hit about 60,000

With the number of people with Covid-19 being admitted to hospitals rising, several states are looking at their supply of beds. On Wednesday, an overflow medical facility set up at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis received its first patient. "We are thankful to have this facility available to Wisconsinites and our hospitals, but also saddened that this is where Wisconsin is at today," Gov. Tony Evers said. "Folks, please stay home. Help us protect our communities from this highly contagious virus and avoid further strain on our hospitals." The facility will take patients who meet specific criteria, and doctors and nurses there can give remdesivir and oxygen treatment, according to the governor's statement.
22nd Oct 2020 - CNN

Why the second wave of Covid-19 appears to be less lethal

While coronavirus infections have been surging again across Europe since late summer, the chances of surviving the respiratory disease seem to have improved from the first phase of the outbreak. The number of Covid-19 patients ill enough to go to hospital has risen less steeply — and mortality more slowly still, according to an FT analysis. Health services are not overwhelmed as they would have been if severe disease had followed infection in the way it did between March and April. “In western Europe, pretty much every country including the UK is still seeing a much smaller per capita death rate in this second wave than in the first one during the spring,” said Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.
21st Oct 2020 - The Financial Times

COVID-19: U.S. Northeast states discourage travel; California rebuffs theme parks

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Tuesday urged their residents to not travel between the three states as the U.S. Northeast sees a rise in COVID-19 cases, while California said major theme parks including Disneyland would not be opening anytime soon.
21st Oct 2020 - Reuters

Urgent appeal for plasma donations from Covid-19 survivors

People from Greater Manchester who have had the coronavirus are being urged to register as blood plasma donors to save lives. They can donate their antibody-rich plasma which could help those who are seriously ill with Covid-19 to survive. Around 1,700 donations have been made in Manchester so far, at the donor centre in Norfolk House and Plymouth Grove. People can register as online donors. Around 70 people have received transfusions of plasma at hospitals in Greater Manchester since the treatment began in April. NHS Blood and Transplant is collecting blood plasma for coronavirus treatment - known as convalescent plasma - around the country. The neutralising antibodies in the plasma could stop the virus spreading.
21st Oct 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Inmates locked up for 23 hours due to Covid is ‘dangerous’ warns chief of prisons

Inmates locked up for 23 hours due to Covid is ‘dangerous’ warns chief of prisons. In an interview with BBC Newsnight, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clark, said keeping inmates in their cells for such lengthy periods under Covid restrictions impacted on their mental health. While the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) claims the move to reduce the spread of the virus has led to a drop in violence and self harm, Clark disagrees claiming the argument is “shallow”. He said self harm was in fact on the rise in women’s prisons.
21st Oct 2020 - Euro Weekly News

New Zealand records nearly a dozen new Covid-19 cases after eliminating virus — twice

Eleven fishermen have tested positive for coronavirus while quarantining in a New Zealand hotel, ending the country’s second extended streak of zero cases. The workers reportedly flew in from Moscow via Singapore on Friday, and are among 440 fishermen from Russia and Ukraine currently quarantining in Christchurch’s Sudima Hotel. All of the men are believed to have tested negative for the virus before leaving their countries. A further 14 cases from within the group are also now “under investigation”, the country’s Health Ministry has said. The 11 new cases were discovered during “routine” coronavirus testing and, as a result, the hotel was put into lockdown on Tuesday.
21st Oct 2020 - The Independent on MSN.com

Cyberattacks on coronavirus vaccine projects confirmed in Japan

Some Japanese research institutions developing coronavirus vaccines have been hit by cyberattacks, apparently from China, in what are believed to be the first cases of their kind in the country, a U.S. information security firm said Monday. Amid an intensifying race to develop vaccines against COVID-19, those bodies have been targeted by attacks since April but no reports of information leaks have been made, according to CrowdStrike. The government’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity has urged drugmakers and research organizations to raise alert levels against such attempts to steal confidential information. The U.S. firm did not disclose the names of the targeted institutions, but said it suspects the attacks have been made by a Chinese hacker group, based on the techniques employed.
21st Oct 2020 - Kyodo News on MSN.com


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What are the treatment options for COVID-19?

What are the treatment options for COVID-19? There are several, and which one is best depends on how sick someone is. For example, steroids such as dexamethasone can lower the risk of dying for severely ill patients. But they may do the opposite for those who are only mildly ill. In the United States, no treatments are specifically approved for COVID-19 but a few have been authorized for emergency use and several more are being considered. A panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health updates guidelines as new studies come out. Here’s what’s advised for various patients: -- Not hospitalized or hospitalized but not needing extra oxygen: No specific drugs recommended, and a warning against using steroids.
20th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Rural U.S. Hospitals Are On Life Support As a Third Wave of COVID-19 Strikes

When COVID-19 hit the Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center in Cuthbert, a small rural town in Randolph County, in late March, the facility—which includes a 25-bed hospital, an adjacent nursing home and a family-medicine clinic, was quickly overwhelmed. In just a matter of days, 45 of the 62 nursing home residents tested positive. Negative residents were isolated in the hospital while the severely ill patients from both the nursing home and the local community were transferred to other better-equipped facilities. “We were trying to get the patients out as fast as possible,” says Steve Whatley, Southwest Georgia Regional’s board chairman. “It was a daily nightmare.”
20th Oct 2020 - Yahoo! News

COVID, tech advances could disrupt 85 million jobs by 2025: WEF

The coronavirus pandemic has deepened inequalities across labour markets and accelerated the urgency with which the public and private sectors must act to ensure millions of people remain employable in a changing jobs market, the World Economic Forum (WEF) stressed on Tuesday. Within the next five years, automation and a new division of labour between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs around the world, WEF’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 found. Remote work is here to stay and going forward, workers should expect to change careers and hone skills multiple times throughout their careers to adapt to new labour trends.
20th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Remember concerts? In covid-free New Zealand, it’s a reality and not just a memory.

New Zealand is one of a handful of countries to have successfully curtailed community spread of covid-19, having been widely praised for its “go hard, go early” approach. With a population around 5 million, New Zealand has to date registered fewer than 2,000 cases of covid-19 and 25 deaths. New Zealand also boasts an embarrassment of music talent. That ranges from small, scrappy, critically adored bands like the Beths to festival headliners like drum and bass act Shapeshifter, pop A-lister Lorde, arena rock unit Six60, and TikTok-fueled starlet Benee. The latter has just wrapped a tour during which she live-streamed a concert from the 12,000-person capacity Spark Arena. “That’ll be one of the only live streams [that’s not] someone alone in their living room,” Campbell Smith, who co-manages Benee, said a few days before the event. “You can see, in New Zealand, thousands of people jammed together at a concert, legitimately.”
20th Oct 2020 - Washington Post

China Moving On From Pandemic As Europe, Parts Of U.S. Brace For More

The SARS 2 pandemic is still raging on in Europe. Parts of the U.S. are seeing hospitals under duress. But China, where all this began, is moving along. China’s GDP grew 4.9% year-on-year in the third quarter, accelerating from 3.2% growth in the previous quarter, official data showed yesterday. Market consensus had it growing a little stronger than that — at 5.5% — but it’s better than the rest of the world’s economic progress as the pandemic continues. The latest encouraging data from China gives us an insight into the recovery in store once a vaccine is released and the outbreak is contained.
20th Oct 2020 - Forbes

Beyond the police state to COVID-safe: life after lockdown will need a novel approach

As second-wave outbreaks of COVID-19 around the world demonstrate, it’s a tricky transition from hard lockdowns to more relaxed, but still effective, measures. The responses of different nations (Sweden and Taiwan, for example) have their champions, but the truth is there no shining example to follow on how to keep the coronavirus in check while returning, as much as possible, to living life as before. Right now the government of Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, is involved in just such an experiment. Its success in moving beyond lockdown to a sustainable “COVID-normal” will hold lessons for nations still on the upward curve of their own second waves (such as Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Britain).
20th Oct 2020 - The Conversation AU


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Migrant Workers Restricted to Farms Under One Grower’s Virus Lockdown

This year, there is a new and even more difficult working condition: To keep the coronavirus from spreading and jeopardizing the harvest, Lipman has put its crews on lockdown. With few exceptions, they have been ordered to remain either in the camps, where they are housed, or the fields, where they toil. The restrictions have allowed Lipman’s tomato operations to run smoothly, with a substantially lower caseload than many farms and processing facilities across the country that have wrestled to contain large outbreaks. But they have caused some workers to complain that their worksite has become like a prison.
19th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

Over 60% of Covid-19 patients report fatigue and breathlessness 3 months after onset

From a dry cough to a fever, coronavirus is known to be associated with a range of unpleasant symptoms. Now, a new study has warned that several symptoms can persist for months. Researchers the University of Oxford have found that a large proportion of Covid-19 patients still experience breathlessness, fatigue, anxiety and depression up to 3 months after contracting the virus. In the study, the researchers analysed 58 coronavirus patients with moderate to severe Covid-18, as well as 30 uninfected controls from the community. The participants underwent MRI scans of their brain, lungs, heart, liver and key, as well as lung function tests, and assessments of their quality of live, cognitive and mental health.
19th Oct 2020 - The Mirror on MSN.com

People who have Covid-19 vaccine could still contract virus, warns doctor

A doctor has warned that people who have the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available could still contract the virus. Speaking to Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on Monday’s This Morning, Dr Sara explained that the vaccine won’t work for everyone – and that we still need to be cautious. ‘In addition to Pfizer, we know that Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer has been reported as saying that he doesn’t think it’s unrealistic that we’ll be able to have the vaccine from the Oxford trial during December time,’ she began.
19th Oct 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Italy orders bars to shut from 6pm and 'public spaces' to close after 9pm amid rising covid cases

Italy reported 11,705 cases on Sunday, eclipsing Saturday's highest ever toll Bars and restaurants have to close at 6pm unless they can offer table service Festivals, fairs and amateur sport have all been closed but gyms remain open Lombardy, the former epicentre of the virus, is experiencing another surge Across Europe, many countries are imposing harsh new measures to curb virus
19th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Prague holding off on lockdown decision until early November

The Czech Republic, which has the highest coronavirus infection rate in Europe, will wait at least two weeks before deciding whether to order a full lockdown to stem its epidemic, deputy prime minister Karel Havlicek said on Sunday. Italy, the first country in Europe to be hit hard by Covid-19, is also experiencing a sharp rise in cases and is preparing new measures to combat the spread of the virus. In the Czech Republic, bars and restaurants in the country of 10.7 million have been ordered in the past week to close except for takeout orders, and schools have moved to distance learning. Sport and fitness clubs, theatres and cinemas had already shut, but shops have remained open.
19th Oct 2020 - The Irish Times

Bar owners in Holland become the latest to go to court to fight covid laws

Dutch caterers say the closures will cause 'incalculable' damage to their industry At least 30 businesses have launched a lawsuit to get two-week closure blocked Berlin bar curfews were blocked while Madrid region has battled Spanish leaders
19th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid: How other countries are tackling the second wave differently from the UK

After entire nations were shut down during the first surge of the coronavirus earlier this year, some countries are trying more targeted measures as cases rise again, especially in Europe and the Americas. Here's a look at lockdown restrictions around the world:
19th Oct 2020 - ITV News

Restrictions stay after ship records 24 new COVID-19 infections in WA

An operation to remove crew from a COVID-19 infected livestock ship is due to get underway this morning at Fremantle Port in Western Australia. It comes as a number of passengers who arrived in Perth overnight from Sydney on board a plane have now been put onto buses and taken to hotel quarantine. The 45 travellers are believed to have come from New Zealand via the newly-opened travel bubble.
19th Oct 2020 - 9News

'I had 60 texts straight away': hair salons booked out as Melbourne lockdown gets a trim

On Sunday the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, announced a partial reopening of Melbourne as case numbers continue to drop. As the city didn’t quite reach the required benchmark of less than five average daily cases, the majority of hospitality and retail restrictions stayed in place. But hairdressers were the exception and were allowed to open their doors from midnight. “My manager said that after the announcement was made we had 250 bookings within an hour and today we have just been running around like crazy,” Covelli says.
19th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

No lockdown needed in Bulgaria to contain new wave of pandemic - IMF

Bulgaria will not need to impose a full lockdown to contain the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic if it follows protective measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said. “Bulgaria risks, like every other country, a shock from a second wave,” Bulgarian-born Georgieva told a briefing for Bulgarian media on Sunday by videoconference. “It does not mean a full lockdown when you follow protective measures, like wearing masks, social distancing and testing. This is what we should do now in the face of a second wave.”
19th Oct 2020 - Reuters

More than half of workers worldwide fear they’ll lose their jobs

More than half of workers around the world are worried about losing their jobs, according to a survey measuring labor-market insecurity wreaked by the coronavirus crisis. The poll of 12,430 people for the World Economic Forum showed 54% of them are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that their employment will cease in the next year. Respondents were from 27 countries spread around the world, including almost all of the Group of 20 economies.
19th Oct 2020 - Aljazeera.com

Insufficient funds: COVID-19 leaves more US families unbanked

After years of increasing access to banking, many poorer Americans will struggle to keep a foothold in the system due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a United States banking regulator warned Monday. A new report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that in 2019, just 5.4 percent of Americans lacked a chequing or savings account, the lowest level recorded in the decade-old survey.
19th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English


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Covid-19: NHS trials drones to carry tests and equipment

An NHS drone is being used to carry Covid-19 samples, test kits and protective equipment between hospitals. The trial in Essex aims to establish a network of secure air corridors for drones to navigate via GPS. They will initially fly between Broomfield Hospital, Basildon Hospital and the Pathology First Laboratory in Basildon. The project is being funded through a share of a £1.3m grant from the UK Space Agency.
18th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Covid-19: Firms warn of 'catastrophic' impact of new coronavirus rules

Firms are calling for more financial support to avoid "catastrophic consequences" from tougher coronavirus restrictions. Without more help there could be mass redundancies and business failures, the British Chambers of Commerce warns. Its call for a new approach comes as tougher restrictions are imposed on large parts of the UK. The government said it had already put in place support worth more than £200bn to help firms cope. "We know this continues to be a very difficult period for businesses," a spokesman said. "That's why we have put in place a substantial package of support."
18th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Europe braces for impact of 2nd-wave pandemic restrictions

Millions of residents across Europe are bracing for what is likely to be a difficult winter ahead. After making the necessary sacrifices to get through the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring, Europeans enjoyed a period of relative freedom — to return to schools and bars, fly between countries and go on holiday. But rising infections in the last month have forced governments to consider tightening restrictions again. While some countries have seen COVID-19 case numbers return to what they were before the spring, others are being hit harder than ever. For example, the Czech Republic warned earlier this week that the country's medical system could be on the brink of a breakdown. "We are in danger of collapsing here," Interior Minister Jan Hamacek warned Czech media earlier this week. If the current outbreak, which saw a record 9,721 cases confirmed within a 24-hour period on Thursday, is not contained soon, Hamacek said, there will be "corpse freezers in the streets."
18th Oct 2020 - CBC.ca

Are we near to having a vaccine for Covid-19?

In March, Boris Johnson said we would turn the tide in 12 weeks and “send the coronavirus packing” and by May ministers were boasting of having a vaccine by September. Last week the prime minister sounded far less confident, telling MPs that there was still no vaccine for SARS, 18 years after it emerged. A vaccine may not be far away though. Studies - The World Health Organization is tracking 196 vaccine studies. Of these, 42 are undergoing clinical trials on humans, and eight are in phase three: large-scale trials to test their effectiveness. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have developed a vaccine based on a virus taken from chimpanzees, but the trial stopped for a week after one volunteer fell ill – it is continuing in the UK but not the US. Another, Novavax, is launching a larger phase three trial after a study of 10,000 volunteers in the UK.
18th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Hospitality industry: the case for a lockdown

From tomorrow, all bars, cafes and restaurants in Belgium are in lockdown the second enforced closure this year, introduced for one month in an attempt to slow or stop the growth of the coronavirus epidemic in the country. Bars and restaurants were closed down in March, at the start of the epidemic in Belgium, as were non-essential shops and other places where people might gather in close proximity.
18th Oct 2020 - The Brussels Times

New Zealand reports first locally acquired Covid case in three weeks

New Zealand has reported its first locally acquired case of Covid-19 in more than three weeks on the heels of a sweeping electoral victory for Jacinda Ardern’s Labour party, dealing a blow to hopes the country had eliminated transmission of the virus within its shores. The positive test was recorded on Saturday — election day in New Zealand — by a person who worked on ships docked at ports in Auckland and Taranaki. Authorities said the case had been caught early and the risk is contained, while close contacts of the man are undergoing testing and hotels where he stayed are deep cleaned.
18th Oct 2020 - The Financial Times

Israel to require 14-day isolation for travelers from United Kingdom

Israel will require incoming travellers from the United Kingdom to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival under new coronavirus guidelines, information on an Israeli government website showed on Sunday. The infection rate in the UK has risen sharply in recent weeks, prompting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce tighter restrictions and local lockdowns. The UK had been one of 31 “green” countries from which travellers who meet a series of special requirements could enter Israel without a mandatory quarantine period. The UK’s status will change to “red” on Oct. 23, Israeli health ministry information showed.
18th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid: Greater Manchester running out of hospital beds, leak reveals

Greater Manchester is set to run out of beds to treat people left seriously ill by Covid-19, and some of the region’s 12 hospitals are already full, a leaked NHS document has revealed. It showed that by last Friday the resurgence of the disease had left hospitals in Salford, Stockport and Bolton at maximum capacity, with no spare beds to help with the growing influx. The picture it paints ratchets up the pressure on ministers to reach a deal with local leaders over the region’s planned move to the top level of coronavirus restrictions.
18th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Melbourne salon owners defiant after opening despite lockdown laws

The owners of a Melbourne hair salon have been fined close to $10,000 and threatened with arrest after they opened their doors, despite the coronavirus lockdown laws. The Hughesdale business owners' efforts attracted a small crowd of support, but Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said the move was counter-intuitive. However, owner Jomana Najem had strong words for the government.
17th Oct 2020 - 9News

Italy Imposes Curfew and Shutters High Schools After Weeks of Spiking Cases

Italy—once the European epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak and until this month an exemplar of how to contain the spread of a deadly pandemic—is heading back into a protracted state of lockdown as the government imposed a curfew to begin Saturday evening and announced the closure of all high schools until further notice. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has for weeks bristled at the thought of plunging the nation into a lockdown like the one it underwent in March, after cases and deaths rapidly spread through the country's north.
17th Oct 2020 - Newsweek


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Dutch hospitals ask for German help to cope with COVID-19 surge

Hospitals in the Netherlands on Thursday said they would ask their German counterparts to take patients after the number of those hospitalised with coronavirus doubled in the past week, to 1,526. “We are about to ask for the transfer of patients to hospitals in Germany again”, the head of the Dutch hospital association LNAZ told reporters.
15th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

South Africa puts public works, jobs at heart of COVID-19 recovery plan

South Africa will embark on a massive public works and job-creation drive in response to the coronavirus crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, unveiling a plan to return Africa’s most industrialised economy to growth. South Africa was in recession before it recorded its first coronavirus infection in March, with one of the world’s strictest lockdowns and a global drop in demand for its exports causing GDP to fall by more than 17% in annual terms in the April-June quarter, when over 2 million jobs were lost. Ramaphosa’s government has been in talks with business and labour leaders for months trying to plot a path to recovery.
15th Oct 2020 - Reuters

French police search politicians' homes in coronavirus inquiry

French police have searched the homes and offices of French officials including the former prime minister as part of an investigation into the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Current and former ministers have been targeted by at least 90 formal legal complaints from civic groups and members of the public over their response to the health emergency. Investigators targeted the home of former PM Édouard Philippe on Thursday as well as the current health minister, Olivier Véran, the former health minister Agnès Buzyn, the former government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye and the head of France’s health authority, Jérôme Salomon. Salomon became known as Monsieur Covid for his daily health briefings at the height of the epidemic in March and April.
15th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Japan mulls lowering international travel advisories issued over pandemic

Japan is considering lowering travel advisories that it issued for all countries and regions in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, government officials said Thursday. The ministry may lower the travel advisory to Level 1, asking citizens to exercise caution or lift it completely. As for more specific travel alerts for infectious diseases, 159 countries and regions are now placed at Level 3, warning against all travel. The ministry is expected to lower the alert by one level for Vietnam and some other countries that have a low number of infections, according to the officials.
15th Oct 2020 - Kyodo News

Thousands of stranded Australians could get ticket home under new Darwin quarantine deal

A push to expand the intake of stranded Australians trying to get home is facing delays after Friday's scheduled National Cabinet meeting was postponed. Thousands of Australians stranded overseas could soon return home under a deal to allow people to quarantine near Darwin. The ABC reported on Thursday up to 1000 people a month would isolate at the NT's Howard Springs facility after returning home on commercial and charter flights.
15th Oct 2020 - SBS News

Indian cinemas reopen amid fewest coronavirus deaths in 11 weeks

After seven months of total blackout, cinemas have reopened in several parts of India as the country reported its lowest daily increase in coronavirus deaths in 11 weeks. The reopening of movie theatres on Thursday came as India’s health ministry reported 680 deaths in the past 24 hours, the lowest number in nearly three months, raising the country’s death toll since the pandemic began to 111,266.
15th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English


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NHS Wales boss reveals pressure on hospitals as coronavirus admissions leap and ICU beds full

The amount of people being treated for coronavirus in Wales' hospitals has shot up in the last seven days, the head of NHS Wales has revealed. Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales, told Wednesday's Welsh Government coronavirus briefing how the recent spike in cases is not being felt in Wales' hospitals. He said that the nation's intensive care beds were all now full, although mainly not with Covid patients, and that health boards were already looking to use alternative field hospital capacity. "Today, there are just over 700 people being treated for coronavirus in Welsh hospitals," he said. "This is 49% more than last week. This is the highest number since late June."
15th Oct 2020 - Wales Online

Qatar extends quarantine rules for travellers to December 31

Qatar has extended strict quarantine rules requiring travellers to isolate for up to 14 days upon their arrival in the country, local media reported on Tuesday. “For all arrivals – including nationals, residents and visa holders – quarantine requirements are now extended for all arrival dates up to 31 December 2020,” The Peninsula newspaper reported, quoting the Discover Qatar website.
15th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Coronavirus: YouTube bans misleading Covid-19 vaccine videos

YouTube has pledged to delete misleading claims about coronavirus vaccines as part of a fresh effort to tackle Covid-19 misinformation. It said any videos that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities, such as the NHS or World Health Organization, will be removed. It follows an announcement by Facebook that it would ban ads that discourage people from getting vaccinated. However, that restriction will not apply to unpaid posts or comments. YouTube had already banned "medically unsubstantiated" claims relating to coronavirus on its platform. But it is now explicitly expanding the policy to include content relating to vaccines.
14th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Germany's economic recovery loses momentum as daily cases spike above 5,000

Germany’s growth prospects for 2020 are looking increasingly bleak, with the country’s leading economic research institutes downgrading GDP forecasts for 2020 and beyond. Publishing a joint economic forecast Wednesday, Germany’s leading economists warned that the coronavirus pandemic is leaving what they called “substantial marks” on the German economy. The impact of the virus “is more persistent than assumed in spring.”
14th Oct 2020 - CNBC

Italian research shows low transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within schools

A team of scientists from Italy has recently conducted a study to investigate the incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among students attending Italian schools after reopening after COVID-19 lockdown. The findings reveal that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is low among younger students. The study is published on the medRxiv* preprint server.
14th Oct 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Spain's Catalonia region orders bars and restaurants to shutdown for 15 days

The Spanish region of Catalonia, which includes the city of Barcelona, ordered bars and restaurants to close for 15 days from Thursday night onwards and limited the numbers of people allowed in shops to try to curb a surge in coronavirus cases. With close to 900,000 registered cases and more than 33,000 deaths, Spain has become the pandemic’s hotspot in Western Europe. The capital Madrid and nearby suburbs were put on partial lockdown last week.
14th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Why complacency and lifting restrictions could be driving India's high COVID-19 numbers

Megha Mogare, a chauffeur in Mumbai, has been out of work since March, when the Indian government introduced one of the world's strictest lockdowns in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. Mogare lives in the poor neighbourhood of Dharavi. Often described as one of Asia's largest slums, it is a labyrinth of small, cramped lanes and home to one million residents. Earning just 15,000 rupees ($268 Cdn) a month before the pandemic struck, it was always a struggle for the 56-year-old to make ends meet, let alone build up enough savings to see him through a crisis. "The situation now is so bad I can't run my own house," he said. "I've had to take out loans."
14th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

Melbourne beauty salons devastated, urge easing of lockdown

Melbourne beauty salons have lost 80 to 95 per cent of their income in sweeping devastation to the sector since the COVID-19 pandemic started, industry experts say. Salon owners are now pleading with the Victorian government to reopen from Sunday, saying changes are needed “for the sake of all of our wellbeing”. “We understood when we were asked to close down on the 25th of March, however to still be closed down is now destroying the lives of over 45,000 team members – it is obliterating our industry,” Australian Hair and Beauty Association board member Sia Psicharis said.
14th Oct 2020 - The Australian

Malaysian royal palace postpones meetings due to coronavirus curbs

Malaysia’s royal palace postponed from Wednesday all meetings for two weeks because of new coronavirus curbs, a palace official said, likely putting off a decision on a bid by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to form a new government. Anwar had on Tuesday met King Al-Sultan Abdullah to try to prove he had a “convincing” parliamentary majority to form a government, sparking a fresh bout of political wrangling just months after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin took office. The king was scheduled to meet leaders of main political parties to verify Anwar’s claim but a two-week partial lockdown took effect from Wednesday in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and neighbouring state of Selangor.
14th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Northern Ireland to shut restaurants and suspend school in strictest UK lockdown

Northern Ireland announced the strictest COVID-19 restrictions seen in the United Kingdom since early summer on Wednesday, closing schools for two weeks, restaurants for four weeks and leading Ireland to respond by tightening curbs in bordering counties. The British-ruled region of Northern Ireland has become one of Europe’s biggest COVID-19 hotspots in recent weeks. Its health minister described the situation last Friday as becoming graver by the hour.
14th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Countries Rush to Hoard Food as Prices Rise and Covid Worsens

Jordan has built up record wheat reserves while Egypt, the world’s top buyer of the grain, took the unusual step of tapping international markets during its local harvest and has boosted purchases by more than 50% since April. Taiwan said it will boost strategic food stockpiles and China has been buying to feed its growing hog herd. The early purchases underscore how nations are trying to protect themselves on concerns the coronavirus will disrupt port operations and wreak havoc on global trade. The pandemic has already upset domestic farm-to-fork supply chains that provided just enough inventory to meet demand, with empty store shelves across the world leading consumers to change their shopping habits. “Covid-19 has forced consumers to shift from just-in-time inventory management to a more conservative approach which was labeled just-in-case,” said Bank of America Corp. analysts led by Francsico Blanch, head of global commodities. “The result is that consumers are holding more inventory as a precaution against future supply disruptions.”
14th Oct 2020 - Bloomberg


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'Hunker down': The fall Covid-19 surge is here

As predicted, the US is now grappling with a new Covid-19 surge -- one that could overwhelm hospitals, kill thousands of Americans a day by January and leave even young survivors with long-term complications. "We went down to the lowest point lately in early September, around 30,000-35,000 new cases a day. Now we're back up to (about) 50,000 new cases a day. And it's going to continue to rise," Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said Tuesday. "This is the fall/winter surge that everyone was worried about. And now it's happening. And it's happening especially in the northern Midwest, and the Northern states are getting hit very hard -- Wisconsin, Montana, the Dakotas. But it's going to be nationally soon enough. "Across the country, more than 30 states have reported more Covid-19 cases this past week than they reported the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
14th Oct 2020 - CNN

Italy Targets Bars, Restaurants, Parties in New Virus Curbs

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a series of new curbs on nightlife, social events and amateur sports as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies throughout the country, albeit at a slower pace than in other major European nations. Conte signed a decree that focuses especially on bars and restaurants, as the government seeks to avert a new national lockdown that the economy, ravaged by one of the strictest and longest in the continent earlier this year, could ill afford.
13th Oct 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus: Czech schools and bars shut in new emergency

The Czech Republic is imposing a three-week partial lockdown shutting schools, bars and clubs, as Europe struggles to contain a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases. The country has the region's highest new infection rate per 100,000 people. Restaurants will be closed and public consumption of alcohol is banned. In the Netherlands, a partial lockdown was announced, and masks have become compulsory in public indoor spaces. Meanwhile, hospital admissions are rising fast again in many countries.
13th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Across the world central governments face local covid-19 revolts

Speaking in Parliament, on October 12th, Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, grappled with a problem facing countries across the world: how to contain a resurgence of the coronavirus, without imposing a national lockdown. From northern England to the Mediterranean, local politicians are in revolt. In Manchester, the mayor has complained that the lack of discussion and consultation makes the government “impossible to deal with”; in Marseilles, the deputy mayor has grumbled that decisions from Paris “come like a stone dropped from a bridge”; a battle between the Spanish government and the local authorities in Madrid ended up in court. All three cities were aghast at new local lockdowns imposed by the central government.
13th Oct 2020 - The Economist

England's pubs ponder if pasties or chips make a meal amid COVID lockdown

Pub owners across England’s COVID-19 hotspots were on Tuesday pondering a question that could decide if they survive or sink due to the coronavirus lockdown - when is a pub a pub, and when does it become a restaurant? The question has sparked a bizarre discussion about some of England’s favourite snacks: fries, chips and pork scratchings - roasted pork rind - do not count as a meal, according to a government minister quizzed on the status of the delicacies. But Cornish pasties, a much-loved meat and vegetable pie that dates back to England’s ancient tin mines, do count as a meal.
13th Oct 2020 - Reuters

India sees fewest new coronavirus cases in nearly two months

India has registered 55,342 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, its lowest single-day tally since the middle of August. The health ministry on Tuesday raised India’s confirmed total to more than 7.18 million cases but said the country was showing a trend of declining daily cases over the last five weeks.
13th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English


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Number of COVID patients in French intensive care units highest in nearly five months

The number of people being treated in French intensive care units for COVID-19 exceeded 1,500 on Monday for the first time since May 27, authorities said, raising fears of local lockdowns being imposed across the country. The new figure of 1,539 is still almost five times lower than an April 8 high of 7,148 but also four times higher than a July 31 low of 371. And as there are normally more people hospitalised with varios illnesses in the autumn than in the spring, health experts fear the hospital system will be quickly overwhelmed if nothing is done to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
12th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Most people try to avoid Covid-19. But thousands are signing up to be deliberately exposed

As most of us obsess with avoiding Covid-19 at all costs, a rapidly growing group of people around the world say they are prepared to deliberately take on the virus. Tens of thousands of people have signed up to a campaign by a group called 1 Day Sooner to take an experimental vaccine candidate and then face coronavirus in a controlled setting. Among them is Estefania Hidalgo, 32, a photography student in Bristol, England, who works at a gas station to pay the bills.
12th Oct 2020 - CNN

Covid: Nightingale hospitals in northern England told to get ready

NHS Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate are being asked to get ready to take patients. Government advisers say admissions are rising, with more elderly people needing urgent treatment for Covid. More people are now in hospital with Covid than before restrictions were announced in March. It comes as a new three-tier system of lockdown rules for England has been announced.
12th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Major regional discrepancies in Covid-19 response, report finds

EU regions were unevenly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report published on Monday (12 October) by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). The most economically hard-hit regions were those under strict lockdown measures for the longest - not necessarily those with the highest death-rates or most cases detected, it finds.
12th Oct 2020 - EUobserver

Some U.S. doctors flee to New Zealand where the coronavirus outbreak is under control and science is respected

Some U.S.-based doctors and nurses are fleeing the country because the lack of PPE and coordinated U.S. response made them feel unsafe during the coronavirus pandemic. Some have been feeling burned out for years due to the complex U.S. health system. New Zealand, which led with science, has declared victory over Covid-19 yet again and hasn’t reported a positive case in more than a week.
12th Oct 2020 - CNBC

Australia in travel talks with Japan, Korea as coronavirus cases ease

Australia is in talks with Japan, South Korea, Singapore and South Pacific nations on reopening travel as coronavirus infections ease, Prime Minis