Author Topic: Coronavirus around the globe  (Read 7110 times)

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Car Crashes Deadlier as Drivers Speed During Lockdowns
(Reuters) - Coronavirus lockdowns led to huge reductions in traffic and fewer car crashes this spring, but as drivers sped up on quieter roads, the collisions became deadlier in several cities, a Reuters analysis shows.

In New York City, the ratio of fatal crashes to all collisions rose 167% in April from a year ago. The increase was 292% in Chicago and 65% in Boston. Across the ocean, in Madrid, Spain, the rate of fatal collisions was 470% higher.

Even as traffic plummeted across the United States, roads became more lethal, with a 37% increase in fatality rates per miles driven in April, compared to the same month last year, the National Safety Council said this week. Last month, the group said in a statement that the lockdowns and reduced road congestion had created an "apparent open season on reckless driving." In Britain, police documented instances of people driving at what they described as exceptionally high speeds of over 130 miles (209 km) per hour.

In the U.S. state of Ohio, researchers found that while average speeds were up only slightly from March 28 to April 19 in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dayton, the amount of extreme speeding increased dramatically.

"The level of extreme speeding is really shocking," said Harvey Miller, professor of geography and director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis at The Ohio State University. "What we’re seeing here -- the fact that there's less traffic and more speeding -- I think that's evidence that traffic is a great controller of speed."

Similar increases in speeding have been reported in Australia, Belgium and Denmark, according to reports compiled by the European Transport Safety Council.

LESSONS LEARNED

The road death toll, to be sure, has fallen as traffic ebbed in many places. In New York City, collisions plummeted in April to 4,103 from 16,808 a year ago, a 76% drop. During the same period fatal collisions decreased from 20 to 13, a smaller 35% decrease. But the number of fatal collisions per 1,000 crashes increased from 1.2 per 1,000 crashes to 3.2 per 1,000 crashes.

"When two vehicles collide at 20 miles per hour, that results in a fender-bender," said Joe Cutrufo, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates for safe streets and better biking, walking and public transit options in New York City. "When two vehicles and a pedestrian collide at 40 miles per hour, that results in a funeral."

Cutrufo said the lessons learned during lockdowns should be used to rethink street design. Wide streets that look like highways attract fast driving, and more streets should be closed for cars so that people can use that space to safely bike, walk, sit and run.

Police in New York said they were aware of the increased speeds and had deployed additional patrols. Data from traffic analytics company INRIX shows speeds in New York City increased 44% from 28 miles (45 km) per hour in April last year to 41 miles (66 km) per hour this April.

In London, nine people died in traffic collisions in April, about the same as past years, according to data from Transport for London, a government body responsible for the city's transport system. Collision counts are not yet available, but the number of fatalities remained steady even as the number of miles traveled in the British capital declined 69% from February to April, according to data provided by INRIX, which collects information on traffic and speed from fleet trucks, car manufacturers, GPS, loop detectors, parking meters and other sources.

Andy Cox, a detective superintendent who investigates fatal and serious road collisions for London's Metropolitan Police, has taken to social media to implore drivers to slow down and not risk crashes that could put pressure on Britain's National Health Service.

"They don't think anything will happen to them and they are not considering their fellow road users and the wellbeing of them," he told Reuters of drivers who speed. "It's totally unacceptable. We need to recognize that speed is the biggest factor in fatal collisions and serious, life-changing collisions."

Speeding offenses increased 187% in London during the lockdown compared to the same period a year ago, Cox said, but extreme speeding offenses increased even more -- by 236%. Police documented speeds of 134 miles (216 km) per hour in a 40-mile-per-hour zone, 110 miles per hour in a 30-mile-per-hour zone and 73 miles per hour in a 20-mile-per-hour zone.

Across the English Channel, collisions across mainland France fell from 4,234 in April 2019 to 1,099 in April this year, a 74% drop. During the same period, fatalities decreased from 233 to 103, a 56% drop.

Despite the overall drop in collisions and fatalities, the fatality rate among crashes was 70% higher.

usnews.com
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Virus surges in U.S. South, West; Pence cancels campaign events
 (Reuters) – Five states hit record daily highs for coronavirus cases on Saturday, and Vice President Mike Pence canceled planned campaign events in hard-hit areas as the virus surged in the U.S. South and West, halting economic reopening plans.

The number of confirmed U.S. cases of the virus rose to more than 2.5 million on Saturday, according to a Reuters tally. Over 125,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, the highest known death toll of any country in the world.

Florida on Saturday morning reported 9,585 new infections in the last 24 hours, a record for a second day, while Arizona recorded 3,591 new cases of COVID-19, matching its prior record on Tuesday.

Pence canceled planned events to campaign for President Donald Trump’s re-election next week in Florida and Arizona out of “an abundance of caution,” campaign officials told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Nevada on Saturday disclosed 1,099 new cases, double its previous record, while South Carolina and Georgia reported 1,604 and 1,990 new infections, respectively, also marking new daily highs.

The surge in cases has been most pronounced in a handful of Southern and Western states that reopened earlier and more aggressively, serving as a warning to the potentially illusory nature of any perceived progress in controlling the virus.

For the third consecutive day, new U.S. cases rose by more than 40,000 on Saturday. The United States has now seen 2.52 million cases since the pandemic began, according to the Reuters tally.

The worsening contagion in some parts of the United States has created a split-screen effect, with New York and its neighboring Northeastern states, which were hit hardest initially, reporting declining cases and forging ahead with reopening plans.

Kami Kim, director of the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine at the University of South Florida, said her state’s leaders claimed victory too soon after lockdowns were lifted starting in early May, while giving off conflicting messages on face coverings by not wearing masks themselves.

“It was just complete denial by a huge swath of the politicians,” she said, predicting that the state may need to shut down again. “Unfortunately, our community still isn’t taking it very seriously. People aren’t wearing masks.”

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said on Saturday that his state would pause moving into the next stages of opening its economy as cases there rise.

In Texas, a state that was on the vanguard of letting people get back to work, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars across the state to close and required restaurants to limit indoor seating, acknowledging that in hindsight he had opened bars too soon.

Despite skyrocketing case numbers, both Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have not bowed to pressure to issue statewide mandates on wearing masks, opting to leave that decision to local municipalities. Both Abbott and DeSantis are Republican, the same party as Trump.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College in Houston, said he fears that daily cases in the Houston area could more than triple to 4,000 by mid-July, making it the main global hot spot by then.

“We need to implement more aggressive social distancing measures now,” the renowned vaccine scientist said.

At a briefing on Friday, DeSantis blamed the spike in infections on young people interacting more in the last few weeks, adding that they faced lower risk of dying than older people. Lending support to that view, Florida on Saturday reported 24 additional deaths, well off peaks in April when the elderly made up a larger proportion of cases.

metro.us
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China puts half a million people in lockdown as Beijing fights new COVID-19 clusterr
China imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people in a province surrounding the capital to contain a fresh coronavirus cluster on Sunday, as authorities warned the outbreak was still "severe and complicated".

After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighbouring Hebei province in recent weeks.

Health officials said Sunday that Anxin county -- about 150 kilometres from Beijing -- will be "fully enclosed and controlled", the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year.

Only one person from each family will be allowed to go out once a day to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county's epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.

The move comes after another 14 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total to 311 since mid-June and spurring the testing of millions of residents.

The outbreak was first detected in Beijing's sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, which supplies much of the city's fresh produce, sparking concerns over the safety of the food supply chain.

Nearly a third of the cases so far have been linked to one beef and mutton section in the market, where workers are being made to quarantine for a month, city officials said Sunday.

Businesses in Anxin county had supplied freshwater fish to the Xinfadi market, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Some 12 cases of the novel coronavirus were found in the county -- including 11 linked to Xinfadi, the state-run Global Times reported.

The new cases in Beijing have prompted fears of a resurgence of the virus in China.

The capital has mass-tested wholesale market workers, restaurant workers, residents of medium and high-risk neighbourhoods and delivery couriers over the past two weeks.

At a press conference on Sunday, officials said 8.3 million samples have been collected so far, of which 7.7 million have already been tested.

Testing has now expanded to include all employees of the city's beauty parlours and hair salons, the Global Times said.

Beijing city official Xu Hejian told reporters Sunday that "the epidemic situation in the capital is severe and complicated," warning that the city needed to continue tracing the spread of the virus.

City officials have urged people not to leave Beijing, closed schools again and locked down dozens of residential compounds to stamp out the virus.

But Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiology expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters last week the new outbreak had been "brought under control", and officials lifted a weeks-long lockdown imposed on seven Beijing communities on Friday.

channelnewsasia.com
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Coronavirus hits all-time highs in parts of US

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Fauci says no guarantee U.S. will have effective COVID-19 vaccine, warns spread 'could get very bad'

(Reuters) - The United States should not bank on the availability of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said on Tuesday, and he warned that the daily surge in cases could more than double if Americans fail to take steps to get the virus under control.

California, Texas and several other states are reporting record increases in cases ... full article  reuters.com

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Americans' concerns about coronavirus jump as cases surge, Reuters/Ipsos poll shows

(Reuters) - Americans' anxieties over the spread of the novel coronavirus have risen to the highest level in more than a month, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, as the number of cases surged across the country, pushing the death toll to more than 127,000 people.

The June 29-30 public opinion poll found that 81% of American adults said they are "very" or "somewhat" concerned about the pandemic, the most since a similar poll conducted May 11-12.

Concerns appear to be rising the most among members of President Donald Trump's Republican Party, who have generally expressed less interest than others in wearing face masks or sheltering at home even as the pandemic has infected more than 2.6 million Americans.

About seven in 10 Republicans said in the latest poll they were personally concerned about the spread of the virus, up from six in 10 Republicans in polls conducted over the past few weeks. About nine in 10 Democrats said they are similarly worried, a level of concern that has not changed over the past few weeks.

The shift in public opinion comes as the number of coronavirus cases soars across the country, especially in states like Arizona, Texas and Florida that were slow to respond to the outbreak and have moved fairly swiftly to reopen their economies. Some of those states are now ratcheting back plans to reopen businesses.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday that the number of coronavirus cases could more than double to 100,000 per day unless a full nationwide effort was undertaken to tamp down the resurgent virus.

The pandemic increasingly appears to have taken over the 2020 presidential campaign, eclipsing other priorities, according to the poll.

When asked about the "most important factor" determining their vote, 27% of respondents said it was the candidate's plan to help the nation recover from the coronavirus, compared with 21% who said it was the candidate's plan to create jobs and boost the economy.

Just weeks ago, it was the other way around. In a June 8-9 poll 26% said they wanted a candidate who was strong on the economy and 21% said they were looking for someone who could handle the coronavirus.

To that end, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, appears to have a slight advantage over Trump.

The poll found that 40% of Americans approve of the way Trump has responded to the coronavirus, while 56% disapproved. And 41% of adults thought Biden would be better at directing the country's response to the virus, while 34% said Trump would be better.

Overall, Biden has an advantage of 8 percentage points over Trump in support among registered voters. Biden had an edge of 10 points in a similar poll that ran last week.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,099 American adults and has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 3 percentage points.

msn.com
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The Latest: U.S. virus cases rose by nearly 50% in June, led by states that reopened first
Coronavirus infections in the United States surged nearly 50 percent in June as states relaxed quarantine rules and tried to reopen their economies, data compiled Wednesday showed, and several states moved to reimpose restrictions on bars and recreation.

More than 800,000 new cases were reported across the country last month, led by Florida, Arizona, Texas and California – bringing the nation’s officially reported total to just over 2.6 million, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.

States that took an aggressive approach to reopening led the country in infection spikes – along with California, the nation’s most populous state, where leaders have been more cautious. California on Wednesday reported 110 new deaths, more than any other state.

The novel coronavirus continued its recent spread, especially in the South and Southwest. More than 52,000 new cases were reported in the United States on Wednesday, the highest total since the start of the pandemic, according to data collected by The Post. Record-shattering numbers of new cases were reported Wednesday in six states – California, Georgia, Texas, Alaska, North Carolina and Arizona.

California added 9,740 new cases to its official tally – a new daily high for the state. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, amid the recent spike in cases and hospitalizations after early success against the virus, on Wednesday ordered 19 counties to shut down all indoor services and activities before the holiday weekend, meaning that bars, restaurants and other businesses will remain open only outside.

Pennsylvania ordered protective masks to be worn in public, and New York City delayed the planned loosening of restrictions on indoor dining. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D, ordered the end of indoor service at bars through most of the state’s lower region, citing a spike in cases among younger people.

pressherald.com
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Re: Korea - Hospital beds running out fast
« Reply #97 on: July 04, 2020, 11:07:41 AM »
Patient surge puts fresh strain on hospitals in Gwangju
Five patients died waiting for hospital beds at peak of first wave.

Korean health officials said Friday that supply and staff shortages were straining disease control efforts, and urged increased public participation in social distancing to keep the number of active cases within medical capacity.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a briefing the renewed coronavirus surge was filling up hospital beds quickly in cities experiencing flare-ups, and that adherence to physical distancing was paramount to ease the shortages.

“We should act as though we have COVID-19 in social situations, and avoid engaging in activities that may put others at risk,” said the agency’s director Jung Eun-kyeong.

Hospital beds are running out fast in Gwangju, which confirmed 53 cases in the past week. Some 81.8 percent of beds at coronavirus-only hospitals there are currently occupied and all of its intensive care unit beds have already reached maximum capacity.

In a briefing held Thursday, Gwangju Mayor Lee Yong-sub said he had asked other municipal offices for available beds. As the majority of newly diagnosed patients in Gwangju are older adults, their chances of developing severe cases are high, he added.

“We are facing dire shortages of medical supplies and our health institutions are short-staffed,” he said.

Gwangju officials say they are wary of the catastrophe witnessed earlier in Daegu, formerly the country’s epicenter, being repeated in the city.

At least five people died while waiting for beds in Daegu and the nearby North Gyeongsang Province at the outbreak’s peak in late February and early March. At one point, as many as 2,270 patients there were denied immediate care and had to stay home, waiting to be admitted.

According to the KCDC’s daily situation report, there are 34 patients severely or critically sick with COVID-19 nationwide as of Friday afternoon. Thirteen of them have been administered with remdesivir, an experimental antiviral that can hasten recovery.

Korea added 63 more cases of COVID-19 in the 24-hour period ending midnight Thursday, raising the total tally to 12,967. Among them, 52 were locally transmitted and 11 were imported. Most -- 11,759, or 90.7 percent -- of those diagnosed have since been declared recovered and discharged from care. A further 926 patients are still undergoing treatment. So far, 282 people have died from the disease, leaving the fatality rate at 2.17 percent.

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Re: Coronavirus - Catalonia Curbs Movement of Over 200,000 People
« Reply #98 on: July 05, 2020, 12:06:38 AM »
Catalonia Curbs Movement of Over 200,000 People After Latest Coronavirus Outbreak
Spain has registered 205,545 COVID-19 cases and 28,385 deaths, making it one of the worst affected nations in Europe

The north-eastern region of Catalonia in Spain enforced a new coronavirus or COVID-19 lockdown on over 200,000 people on Saturday after many new outbreaks of the virus were detected.

Residents in Segria that includes the city of Lleida, are not going to be able to leave the area from 12 noon on Saturday but they will not be confined to their houses as was the case on the original strict lockdown of Spain in March.

"We have decided to confine Segria due to data that confirm too significant a growth in the number of COVID-19 infections," Catalan regional president Quim Torra told a news briefing. Regional health ministry data showed there were 3,706 cases in the Lleida region on Friday, up from 3,551 the previous day.

Movement for work will be permitted, but from Tuesday workers entering or leaving the area will have to present a certificate from their employer. Spain has registered 205,545 coronavirus cases and 28,385 deaths, making it one of the worst affected countries in Europe. After imposing a strict lockdown on March 14, the government has been gradually easing restrictions in a multi-phase plan since early May.

ibtimes.sg
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Australia Locks Down High-Rise Homes, Affecting 3,000 Residents

Australia’s second-most populous state ordered nine public-housing towers with about 3,000 residents to be quarantined in an effort to contain coronavirus hot spots that led to a spike of new cases.

Only returning residents will be allowed to enter the buildings in Flemington and North Melbourne for at least five days while authorities test everyone who lives there, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“There will be a massive logistical task to make sure those people are fed, given the support they need,” Andrews said.

The state recorded 108 new cases on Saturday, the second-highest daily increase, bringing the total to 509. Earlier in the week, Melbourne instituted a lockdown across sections of the city to contain the outbreak.

The length of the restrictions depends on the success at testing and tracking, Andrews said in a statement. Police will enforce the restrictions, it said.

Following a ban announced earlier this week on international flights into Melbourne, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Friday capped overseas arrivals into Sydney at 450 people a day from July 4 to July 17 due to strains on quarantine facilities.

Meanwhile, in Queensland, thousands of protesters were expected to join a Black Lives Matter march through the capital of Brisbane on Saturday as limits on public gatherings were eased in the state, according to the AAP.

Nationwide, virus cases have now climbed to 8,362, including Saturday’s total of 113, Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said at a separate briefing.

Top state and federal health officials plan to hold an emergency teleconference Saturday evening to respond to the case surge, Kelly said.

“This has been a trend now for the last week or more, and the number of cases rising in the northern and northwestern part of Melbourne is of great concern,” he said.

In addition to the quarantine at the public housing towers, Victoria also issued stay-at-home orders for North Melbourne postal codes covering suburbs including Flemington and Kensington

bnnbloomberg.ca
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Re: England's pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen (video)
« Reply #100 on: July 05, 2020, 09:39:02 AM »
England's pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen

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Philippines, Indonesia set grim Covid-19 records
Two of Thailand's regional neighbours set unwanted records in their Covid-19 tallies on Sunday.

The Philippines reported its biggest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases, adding 2,434 confirmed infections and taking the total count to 44,254, the health ministry said.

The ministry said the rise could be attributed to increased contact among people as the country began easing lockdown measures to help reduce the pandemic's damage to the economy.

The Philippines also recorded seven new deaths, the ministry said, bringing total fatalities to 1,297.

Meanwhile, Indonesia reported 82 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday in its highest daily tally, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said, taking the toll to 3,171.

Infections rose 1,607, for a total of 63,749 cases, he added.

bangkokpost.com
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Re: UK happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks
« Reply #102 on: July 06, 2020, 12:18:25 AM »
Drunk people can't socially distance: UK police federation chief


Revellers danced in the street the night pubs finally reopened. (Photo: AFP/Justin Tallis)

Britain's police said on Sunday (Jul 5) that revellers who packed London's Soho district the night pubs finally reopened made it "crystal clear" that drunk people cannot socially distance.

England's hospitality sector sprung back to life after a three-month coronavirus hiatus on what the media dubbed as either "Super Saturday" or "Independence Day".

Pubs and restaurants were allowed to start seating clients and barbers could get their clippers out for the first time since March.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced queries about why he decided to schedule the grand reopening for a Saturday instead of a potentially less chaotic Monday.

Johnson said on Friday that it would not have made much of a difference either way.

But the head of Britain's police federation said he ended up dealing with "naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks" while on shift.

"What was crystal clear is that drunk people can't/won't socially distance," John Apter told London radio.

He said his own police department in the southern city of Southampton "managed to cope".

"I know other areas have had issues with officers being assaulted," Apter said.

A scan of police reports from Saturday night showed a similar level of mischief-making across England.

Officers in the southwestern Devon and Cornwall region had logged up nearly 1,000 reports of "drink-related disorder and anti-social behaviour" by late Saturday.

There were also reports of illegal raves in London and the northeast that resulted in mass arrests as well as disorder in the north Midlands.

Pubs in Wales and Scotland will partially reopen by mid-July while those in Ireland have had table service since Friday.

GOVERNMENT ON DEFENSIVE

Britain's lockdown lasted longer and ended later than in most European countries because of a soaring death toll that is now the world's third highest.

The official fatality figure is around 44,000 and one in which COVID-19 is mentioned on the death certificate is higher than 50,000.

Either measure makes Britain's toll Europe's worst.

A safe reopening that averts the need for second lockdowns over large areas is seen as vital to Johnson's long-term success.

full article  channelnewsasia.com
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Australia closes state border for first time in 100 years
(Reuters) - The border between Australia’s two most populous states will close from Tuesday for an indefinite period, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday, following an outbreak of the coronavirus in his state.

The decision marks the first time the border with neighbouring New South Wales has been shut in 100 years - officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, has surged in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce strict social-distancing orders in 30 suburbs and put nine public housing towers into complete lockdown.

The state reported 127 new COVID-19 infections overnight, its biggest one-day spike since the pandemic began. It also reported one death, the first nationally in more than two weeks, taking the country’s total tally to 105.

“It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus,” Andrews told reporters in Melbourne as he announced the border closure.

The closure will, however, likely be a blow to Australia’s economic recovery as it heads into its first recession in nearly three decades.

Andrews said the decision to close the border, effective from 11.59 p.m. local time on Tuesday, was made jointly with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Victoria’s only other internal border, with South Australia state, is already closed.

Australia has fared better than many countries in the coronavirus pandemic, with just short of 8,500 cases so far, but the Melbourne outbreak has raised alarm bells. The country has reported an average of 109 cases daily over the past week, compared with an average of just 9 cases daily over the first week of June.

af.reuters.com
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Worried Thais in UK want to get out urgently, plead for more flights to bring them home
Desperate Thais in Britain are pleading for more flights to bring them back home, fearing a dreaded second wave of Covid-19 will soon overwhelm that country.

With the United Kingdom being one of the worst-hit nations in the world, worried Thais have submitted letters to the Thai government through the embassy in London, requesting an increase in flights to Thailand.

Dr Eakaphum Chumnanrabiamkit who represents Thais in the UK, submitted a letter to the Foreign Affairs Ministry through the Thai ambassador, revealing the hardship Thais are faced with as normal commercial flights have been banned or limited, resulting in a number of Thai citizens being unable to return home as originally planned.

“The number of people wanting to travel home has increased as life becomes more difficult for them. Some living in rented houses have seen their leases expire at the end of June, meanwhile those with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and even depression have an appointment with their doctors in July, but cannot return," he said.

"Some Thais have been stranded since February and March, and with their visas about to expire, it means they must live illegally in England. There are also cases of people with children who need to go back to study in Thailand. So I want the Thai government to hurry up and bring these people back,” Eakaphum said.

He claimed that the number of those who registered to return is high, but only two flights (of 600 people) have been allocated for this month and both are already full. He also claimed that other countries in comparison are running 3-4 daily flights.

"Another important reason is that from July 4, the British government has allowed hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars to reopen as normal and from today people will be able to travel in and out without detention," he claimed, "making a second wave of Covid-19 infections more likely. Many Thais in the UK are, therefore, worried and do not want to live in fear under these circumstances," he added.

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India becomes third hardest-hit country with nearly 700,000 coronavirus cases
India announced Monday that it has nearly 700,000 coronavirus cases, taking it past Russia to become the third-hardest-hit nation in the global pandemic.

The health ministry said 697,358 cases had now been recorded, a rise of 24,000 in 24 hours, while Russia has just over 681,000.

The United States and Brazil have the highest numbers of cases but India's tally is not expected to peak for several more weeks and experts predict the one million figure will be passed this month.

India has registered 19,963 deaths from the virus, a much lower number than many other badly hit countries.

India's major cities have been worst hit by the pandemic. New Delhi and Mumbai each have about 100,000 cases, with 3,000 dead in the capital and nearly 5,000 in Mumbai.

New Delhi has opened a new 10,000-bed temporary virus hospital while other cities are tightening restrictions on movement to head off a new surge in cases.

The Kerala state capital, Thiruvananthapuram imposed a new lockdown from Monday with public transport shut and only pharmacies allowed to open. The clampdown came after hundreds of new cases were reported across the state, which had been praised for its action to curtail the pandemic.

thejakartapost.com

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Thailand is red-lighted in the UK for quarantine purposes alongside Brazil, China and the US, inexplicable move
Travellers from Thailand must quarantine for 14 days when entering the UK. Clarification late on Friday night is disappointing news for Thai authorities as the kingdom, earlier in the week, was green-lighted by the European Union. The decision appears to have taken no account of Thailand’s exemplary performance in fighting the Covid 19 threat at such a heavy cost to the public and the economy which has been left devastated. full article  thaiexaminer.com

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Beijing reports no virus cases. Here's how the city turned it around
Beijing reported zero new coronavirus cases for the first time in 26 days, a sign the resurgence that ignited fears of a second wave in China looks to have been brought under control for now.

The city of more than 20 million people appears to have quelled a flare-up that infected 335 people, with infections down from 36 a day at their peak in mid-June. Authorities took a different approach to the virus when it reappeared in China's political and economic hub after nearly two months of no locally transmitted cases than they did in Wuhan, the central city where the pathogen first emerged.

Instead of resorting to a sudden across-the-board lockdown that risked reversing the gains made since China started reopening, Beijing deployed more targeted measures. While some -- like confining whole neighborhoods to their homes -- may be more difficult to replicate in western democracies, they could hold lessons for other countries as they grapple with the inevitable return of the virus given an effective vaccine is months, potentially even years, away.

The Beijing resurgence, which took root in a wholesale food market in the city's southwestern district, injected fresh uncertainty into the global struggle against the virus, hitting as citizens were getting used to a semblance of normal life. It served as a warning to places that look to have nailed the pandemic: the virus is elusive and isn't easily beaten.

The outbreak, which seeded small virus skirmishes in other parts of China, was contained in less than four weeks. This is how they did it:

- Millions tested

Hesitant to fully seal off Beijing like officials did in less economically important regions, the city relied on targeted testing at unprecedented speed.

Reminiscent of the mass operation conducted in Wuhan in May, when most of the population was tested for the virus in about two weeks, Beijing has tested more than 11 million people so far, according to Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, China has the capacity to test 3.8 million samples nationwide every day, officials said June 24, likely one of the fastest speeds worldwide.

Such scale is achieved using a method known as batch testing, where multiple samples are assessed simultaneously with detailed follow-up if any trace of the virus is found. Even without this method, Beijing can test over 300,000 people a day, six times more than the city's capacity in March, according to Beijing Health Commission official Zhang Hua.

During the Beijing outbreak, entire groups were tested whenever an infection was found in their midst, including all the vendors at several major wet markets. All workers at a PepsiCo Inc. food factory where a case was diagnosed had to undergo testing, and every delivery courier in the city -- over 100,000 -- was also sampled in weeks.

- Targeted lockdowns

Rather than confining everyone in Beijing to their homes once the new outbreak emerged, authorities just locked down apartment blocks and housing compounds close to the epicenter. In these high-risk areas, only one member per household was allowed to leave to purchase necessities.

It's an approach that other countries are also looking at, with authorities in the Australian city of Melbourne implementing localized lockdowns to quell a resurgence in cases there. Specific streets or neighborhoods would be told to stay home and practice social distancing, but the rest of the city would remain open. South Korea, too, has taken a targeted approach, shutting down businesses or schools where there have been outbreaks, but never imposing citywide lockdowns.

Schools in Beijing were also closed again to limit commuting, while some entertainment venues were shuttered, too.

- Lessons from Wuhan

China appears to have drawn from the lessons of Wuhan's devastating outbreak in January, when the virus was not well-understood by experts and the system unprepared for how contagious it is. Then, people swarming hospitals for help spread the virus to other patients and infected the environment.

This time in Beijing, residents were banned from entering hospitals unless they had tested negative for the virus, and makeshift test sites were set up in neighborhoods where cases were found to assist those showing symptoms.

Rather than seal off the city's borders like in Wuhan -- a move that caused widespread panic among residents, causing them to rush the city's highways -- China imposed quarantine requirements at destinations instead. People going from Beijing to some other provinces have to be isolated for two weeks in government-run facilities upon arrival, naturally discouraging travel. Carriers canceled flights, even though the airport remained open.

- Still cautious

Despite what seems to be a relatively quick containment, the flare-up has shifted the contours of China's fight against the virus. Before the Beijing outbreak, the nation appeared to be largely triumphant in its fight against a disease that continues to devastate the developing world, and China's biggest rival, the U.S.

The cluster in the capital is believed to have started at the market, but its exact genesis and how it spread remains unknown.

After the virus was detected on a chopping board used for imported salmon at the market, a nationwide boycott of the seafood took place that affected exporting countries like Norway and Australia.

Experts say it's more likely that the salmon was contaminated by an infected person, or by being in a dark, humid and low-temperature environment where the virus was present. China's customs department tested over 47,000 samples of imported meat, seafood, vegetables and food and all were negative. Still, the country has suspended imports from some foreign meat plants, including a Tyson Foods Inc. plant in the U.S. where hundreds of employees tested positive for covid-19, a move that potentially undermines its trade deal with Washington.

Amid that uncertainty -- and as cases continue to pop up in areas around Beijing -- China's strategy is to remain circumspect. Even as infections taper, officials say that they won't ease the restrictions until Beijing has seen two weeks without any new cases.

"Zero new cases does not equal to zero risk," Pang said in a presser Tuesday. "We cannot rule out the risk of new domestic cases in the coming week."

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Re: U.S. Tops Three Million Known Infections as Coronavirus Surges
« Reply #108 on: July 08, 2020, 11:07:16 AM »
U.S. Tops Three Million Known Infections as Coronavirus Surges


People wait in their vehicles in long lines for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing in Houston, Texas, U.S., July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

(Reuters) - The U.S. coronavirus outbreak crossed a grim new milestone of over 3 million confirmed cases on Tuesday as more states reported record numbers of new infections, and Florida faced an impending shortage of intensive care unit hospital beds.

Authorities have reported alarming upswings of daily caseloads in roughly two dozen states over the past two weeks, a sign that efforts to control transmission of the novel coronavirus have failed in large swaths of the country.

California, Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas on Tuesday shattered their previous daily record highs for new cases. About 24 states have also reported disturbingly high infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests conducted over the past week.

In Texas alone, the number of hospitalized patients more than doubled in just two weeks.

The trend has driven many more Americans to seek out COVID-19 screenings. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday it was adding short-term "surge" testing sites in three metropolitan areas in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

In Houston, a line of more than 200 cars snaked around the United Memorial Medical Center as people waited for hours in sweltering heat to get tested. Some had arrived the night before to secure a place in line at the drive-through site.

"I got tested because my younger brother got positive," said Fred Robles, 32, who spent the night in his car. "There's so many people that need to get tested, there's nothing you can do about it."

Dean Davis, 32, who lost his job due to the pandemic, said he arrived at the testing site at 3 a.m. on Tuesday after he waited for hours on Monday but failed to make the cutoff.

"I was like, let me get here at three, maybe nobody will be here," Davis said. "I got here, there was a line already."

In Florida, more than four dozen hospitals across 25 of 67 counties reported their intensive care units had reached full capacity, according to the state's Agency for Health Care Administration. Only 17% of the total 6,010 adult ICU beds statewide were available on Tuesday, down from 20% three days earlier.

Additional hospitalizations could strain healthcare systems in many areas, leading to an uptick in deaths from the respiratory illness that has killed more than 131,000 Americans to date.

A widely cited mortality model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected on Tuesday that U.S. deaths would reach 208,000 by Nov. 1, with the outbreak expected to gain new momentum heading into the fall.

A hoped-for summertime decline in transmission of the virus never materialized as previously predicted, the IHME said.

“The U.S. didn’t experience a true end of the first wave of the pandemic,” IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said in a statement. “This will not spare us from a second surge in the fall, which will hit particularly hard in states currently seeing high levels of infections.”

'PRESSURE ON GOVERNORS'

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has pushed for restarting the U.S. economy and urged Americans to return to their normal routines, said on Tuesday he would lean on state governors to open schools in the fall.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said some people wanted to keep schools closed for political reasons. "No way, so we're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools."

New COVID-19 infections are rising in 42 states, based on a Reuters analysis of the past two weeks. By Tuesday afternoon, the number of confirmed U.S. cases had surpassed 3 million, affecting nearly one of every 100 Americans and a population roughly equal to Nevada's.

In Arizona, another hot spot, the rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive rose to 26% for the week ended July 5, leading two dozen states with positivity rates exceeding 5%. The World Heath Organization considers a rate over 5% to be troubling.

The surge has forced authorities to backpedal on moves to reopen businesses, such as restaurants and bars, after mandatory lockdowns in March and April reduced economic activity to a virtual standstill and put millions of Americans out of work.

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Florida sets one-day record with over 15,000 new COVID cases, more than most countries     
(Reuters) - Florida reported a record increase of more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours on Sunday, as the Trump administration renewed its push for schools to reopen and anti-mask protests were planned in Michigan and Missouri.

If Florida were a country, it would rank fourth in the world for the most new cases in a day behind the United States, Brazil and India, according to a Reuters analysis.

Florida’s daily increases in cases have already surpassed the highest daily tally reported by any European country during the height of the pandemic there. It has also broken New York state’s record of 12,847 new cases on April 10 when it was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

The latest rise was reported a day after Walt Disney World in Orlando reopened with a limited number of guests who were welcomed with a host of safety measures, including masks and temperature checks.   full article  af.reuters.com

May 20, 2020
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Re: Counting the burials: African nations scramble to track COVID-19
« Reply #110 on: July 13, 2020, 06:47:00 PM »
Counting the burials: African nations scramble to track COVID-19


© Reuters/TIKSA NEGERI The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Addis Ababa

(Reuters) - Long after the funding for his project was frozen, Bilal Endris has kept a lonely watch over cemeteries in Ethiopia's capital by slipping cash to gravediggers to alert his team to any sudden spikes in burials.

In a nation where fewer than 2% of deaths are registered, an increase in burials may be one of the first signs that a killer disease is on the loose.

The program was set up to monitor deaths related to HIV/AIDS a decade ago. Now doctor Bilal monitors for a spike in fatalities linked to COVID-19.

He has yet to see one, but projects like his are being set up in other African countries where many deaths go unrecorded, making it hard to assess the scale of a disease. In some cases, nations are dusting off programs set up during Ebola outbreaks.

Bilal himself has secured additional funding to restore the program to all 73 of Addis Ababa's cemeteries from just 10 now.

Only eight countries in Africa - Algeria, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Egypt, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, and South Africa - record more than 75% of deaths, according to the United Nations.

In other regions, where official data is readily available, researchers have used the number of deaths from all causes that exceed the average for the time of year to help gauge the number linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

"In Ethiopia and everywhere across Africa ... we go blind." Bilal told Reuters. "I wanted to turn the health care system into one based on evidence."

In the capital Addis Ababa, less than 20% of deaths occur in hospitals, Bilal said, so monitoring deaths requires talking to community leaders and burial grounds.

In Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, media reports citing gravediggers alerted authorities to an undetected COVID-19 outbreak in the northern city of Kano in April, when deaths surged from a daily average of 11 to 43.

COUNTING THE DEAD

Bilal's project began tracking burials at all graveyards in Addis Ababa a decade ago.

But in 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) froze its funding, as the country had started using other methods to track HIV mortality, according to a CDC spokeswoman.

Bilal scaled back his surveillance to 10 cemeteries and began working for free, paying sources with a tiny grant from Addis Ababa University - until May.

City officials called him for a meeting, desperate to know whether COVID-19 was cutting swathes through their city, he said. The Ministry of Health did not respond to requests for comment.

Although official figures are still low - 7,650 confirmed cases and 127 deaths as of Sunday night - Ethiopia's outbreak is accelerating. The university has now given Bilal enough support to restart the program in all 73 graveyards.

"It used to be funded by the CDC but now it is funded by Addis Ababa University as everyone, including the government, thinks the program is very important," said Dr Wondwossen Amogne, an associate professor in infectious diseases at Addis Ababa University and director of research at the university's Black Lion Hospital.

Health minister Lia Tadesse confirmed the study was being used by the government to monitor any spikes in death.

As a separate initiative, New York-based public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives is working with five other African nations to set up similar programs, including Rwanda and Senegal. The other three don't want to be named.

They will establish the usual death rate by interviewing community leaders, then watch for spikes.

Deciding whether any excess deaths are due to COVID-19 could be tricky, however. People with other diseases are avoiding hospitals for fear of catching the virus, health officials say.

Bilal's team has begun asking families at burials whether the dead had any possible COVID-19 symptoms, such as a cough or a fever.

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New U.S. health crisis looms as patients without COVID-19 delay care
(Reuters) - A Texas man who waited until his brain tumor was softball-sized; a baby who suffered an ear infection for six days; a heart patient who died: The resurgence of COVID-19 is creating another health crisis as hospitals fill and patients are fearful or unable to get non-emergency care.

With U.S. coronavirus infections reaching new heights, doctors and hospitals say they are also seeing sharp declines in patients seeking routine medical care and screenings - and a rise in those who have delayed care for so long they are far sicker than they otherwise would be.

"I had one lady who had delayed for five days coming in with abdominal pain that was getting worse and worse," said Dr. Diana Fite, who practices emergency medicine in Houston. "When she finally came in, she had a ruptured appendix."

After the pandemic was declared a national emergency in March, many states banned non-essential medical procedures, and the number of patients seeking care for other ailments took a nosedive. Hospitals and medical practices were hit hard financially.

Emergency department use dropped by 42% during the first 10 weeks of the pandemic despite a rise in patients presenting with symptoms of the coronavirus, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. In the same period, patients seeking care for heart attacks dropped by 23% and stroke care by 20%.

As the initial outbreak leveled off in the weeks that followed, healthcare experts planned to handle primary care differently should infections rise again, making sure minor procedures like cancer screenings were still allowed and assuring patients that hospitals and clinics were safe.

But the recent surge in cases has swamped hospitals in many states, including Texas, Arizona, Florida and parts of California.

CANCER MORTALITY RATES

Texas has again banned many non-emergency procedures, though cancer surgeries are still allowed, and a hospital in California's San Joaquin Valley for several days admitted only COVID-19 patients.

Patients without COVID-19 - either out of fear, confusion or because of difficulty in obtaining the care they need - are again staying home.

The result is a healthcare crisis in the making, said Austin oncologist Dr. Debra Patt, who said she expects mortality rates from cancer to skyrocket in the years after the pandemic because patients have delayed their care.

"They're scared to go in the hospital unless they absolutely have to," said Patt. "And even when the patients are willing, it's hard to get things done."

Patt in recent days treated a man who waited to come in for headaches and dizziness until he had lost 35 pounds and had a softball-sized tumor in his head.

Fite, who is president of the Texas Medical Association, cared for a baby whose parents waited six days before bringing him in with a severe ear infection.

Patt said screening mammograms are down by 90% in Austin, where she specializes in breast cancer and serves as executive vice president of Texas Oncology. That means some tumors will be missed, and women who develop aggressive cancers might not know about it until the disease is more advanced and more likely to be deadly.

"It's an impact we will see on cancer survival for years to come," she said.

Dr. David Fleeger, a colorectal surgeon in Austin and a past president of the Texas Medical Association, said he has had numerous patients cancel colonoscopies in recent days.

"The delays in colonoscopies that are occurring right now ultimately will lead to more cancers and more deaths," he said.

'IN A HOLDING PATTERN'

Patt's patient Helen Knost had to put off surgery for breast cancer in early spring because it was considered non-emergency in Texas and barred at the time, and she was treated instead with the medication Tamoxifen.

"It's very strange to know you have cancer and you're just hanging out with it, just in a holding pattern," said Knost, who did ultimately undergo successful surgery.

In California, doctors at the 150-bed Adventist Lodi Memorial Hospital in the San Joaquin Valley breadbasket were determined that a second surge in coronavirus cases would not bring a repeat of the pandemic's early days, when emergency room visits dropped in half. Emergency medical technicians also reported a 45% rise in the number of heart patients who died before they could be brought to the hospital.

Hospital CEO Daniel Wolcott led a campaign to inform the community that the medical center was open and safe, even speaking to people about it in the grocery store.

But with new COVID-19 cases swamping the hospital, sickening nearly 30 staff members and forcing it to divert non-coronavirus cases to other facilities for several days, Wolcott fears that again patients with heart conditions and other illnesses will stay away.

"We won't know for years how many people lost their lives or lost good years of their lives for fear of coronavirus," he said.

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Latin America virus deaths pass US as Spain lockdown blocked


Exhausted medical workers in Peru, as Latin America's number of coronavirus deaths passed the US and Canada on Monday

Latin America surged past the US and Canada to become the world's second worst-hit region for virus deaths on Monday as a Spanish court blocked a move to lock down some 200,000 people.

South Africa meanwhile reimposed a nationwide curfew to prevent a "coronavirus storm" from ravaging the continent's hardest-hit nation.

Since the start of July, nearly 2.5 million new infections have been detected across the globe, with the number of cases doubling over the past six weeks, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

And with cases surging in Latin America, the continent on Monday had officially declared a total of 144,758 deaths, passing the 144,023 recorded in the United States and Canada.

It now stands second only to Europe, where 202,505 people have died.

Although life in parts of Europe has been returning to some semblance of normality, authorities across the continent are worriedly watching dozens of areas where cases have resurged.

Concerned by a spike in the town of Lerida in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region, officials on Sunday ordered nearly 200,000 residents to stay home in the first such order since the country's lockdown ended on June 21.

But early Monday, a local court suspended the measure as "contrary to law" despite concerns over the scale of the outbreak -- one of scores being monitored across badly-hit Spain, where the virus has killed more than 28,400 people.

Fears of a second wave also forced South Africa to re-impose a nationwide curfew on Sunday, with President Cyril Ramaphosa warning the country faced a "coronavirus storm" that was "far fiercer and more destructive" than any before.

With new infections topping 12,000 per day -- or 500 per hour -- South Africa has reimposed a night curfew as well as a ban on alcohol sales that was lifted barely six weeks ago.

The Philippines also moved to reimpose a two-week lockdown on some 250,000 people in Manila as new infections soared just six weeks after the capital emerged from one of the world's longest lockdowns.

- Spike on US bases in Japan -

Meanwhile in Japan, two US Marine bases on Okinawa island have been locked down after a spike in cases with dozens infected and local officials expressing "serious doubts" about the US military's containment efforts.

Other restrictions were imposed on seven other Marine bases on the southern Japanese island where tens of thousands of US servicemen are stationed and where nearly 100 new cases have been detected in recent days.

The move came after a weekend in which US President Donald Trump wore a face mask in public for the first time, as he visited veterans at a hospital near Washington.

The worst-hit country in the world, the US has suffered 135,171 deaths and 3,301,820 cases, with surveys showing Americans are unhappy with how Trump has handled the crisis.

Across the planet, the pandemic has infected nearly 13 million people, killed over 566,000 and triggered massive economic damage in the seven months since it was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

In Latin America, Brazil accounts for almost half of the continent's recorded fatalities.

Mexico has become the country with the fourth-highest number of COVID-19 fatalities in the world, climbing to a total of 35,006 deaths and surpassing Italy.

And Sri Lanka ordered government schools across the nation to shut Monday -- just a week after they reopened -- following a surge in new cases.

The latest high-profile personality to test positive for COVID-19 was Bollywood superstar and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai.

- 'Tax us more': millionaires -

With the global economy battered by the pandemic, more than 80 millionaires on Monday urged governments around the world to hike taxes on the super-wealthy to help fund the recovery.

In an open letter, "Millionaires for Humanity" said they should be taxed higher, "immediately, substantially, permanently".

"As COVID-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world," wrote the signatories, among them Ben and Jerry's ice cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield and screenwriter Richard Curtis.

"No, we are not the ones caring for the sick in intensive care wards, we are not driving the ambulances.

"But we do have money, lots of it. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis."

Meanwhile reclusive Turkmenistan, one of a handful of countries yet to declare a single coronavirus case, on Monday suggested residents wear masks as a precaution against "dust".

The health ministry said the call was due to "high concentrations of dust" in the air and also asked residents to maintain social distancing of at least one metre (three feet), but gave no explanation as to why.

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‘Worst-case’ UK winter could see 120,000 coronavirus deaths in second wave, health experts say
Britain faces a potentially more deadly second wave of Covid-19 in the coming winter that could kill up to 120,000 people over nine months in a worst-case scenario, health experts said on Tuesday.

With Covid-19 more likely to spread in winter as people spend more time together in enclosed spaces, a second wave of the pandemic “could be more serious than the one we’ve just been through,” said Stephen Holgate, a professor and co-lead author of a report by Britain’s Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS).

“This is not a prediction, but it is a possibility,” Holgate told an online briefing. “Deaths could be higher with a new wave of Covid-19 this winter, but the risk of this happening could be reduced if we take action immediately.”

Britain’s current death toll from confirmed cases of Covid-19 is around 45,000, the highest in Europe.

The AMS said there is a “high degree of uncertainty” about how Britain’s Covid-19 epidemic will evolve, but outlined a “reasonable worst-case scenario” where the reproduction number – or R value – rises to 1.7 from September 2020 onwards.

The R value – the average number of people an infected person will pass a disease on to – is currently between 0.7 and 0.9 in Britain and daily case and death numbers are falling. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.

“The modelling estimates 119,900 hospital deaths between September 2020 and June 2021,” the AMS report said, more than double the number that occurred during the first wave.

AMS vice-president Anne Johnson said a bad winter flu season, combined with large backlog of patients suffering other diseases and chronic conditions, would add to huge pressure on health services – underlining a need to prepare now.

“Covid-19 has not gone away,” she said. “We need to do everything we can to stay healthy this winter.”

Meanwhile, the British government decided on Monday to require people to wear face coverings in shops, joining a long list of countries that have made masks mandatory under some circumstances in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

After weeks of prevarication and days of confused messaging, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government said that masks will be required in stores starting July 24.

Johnson’s office said “growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus”.

Those who flout the law can be fined up to £100 (US$125) by the police under public health laws.

Many European nations, including Germany, Spain, Italy and Greece, already require masks to be worn in enclosed spaces, but Britain had only made masks obligatory on public transit.

Johnson’s government until now recommended – but did not require – mask-wearing in stores. The prime minister, who in the spring spent a week in hospital being treated for Covid-19, was not seen in public in a mask until Friday, when he suggested that the government was considering “stricter” rules for mask use.

The opposition Labour Party questioned on Monday why the new mask measure would not come into force for 11 days. Labour health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said the government “has been slow and muddled again over face coverings”.

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CNN’s Erin Burnett says Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Trump are on completely different pages as Covid-19 cases continue to rapidly increase in the US.

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Re: around the globe - Indonesia - 14 doctors die of COVID-19 in a week
« Reply #115 on: July 15, 2020, 12:17:50 PM »
Calls for govt action after 14 doctors die of COVID-19 in a week
With the COVID-19 pandemic still accelerating at an alarming rate, healthcare workers remain prone to the virus and social persecution, a medical association and human rights association have said.

The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) on Monday reported that at least 61 doctors across Indonesia had died in the fight against COVID-19.

“In the past week, 14 doctors have died [of COVID-19],” IDI spokesperson Halik Malik told The Jakarta Post on Monday. “It is the highest number of cases reported within a week, and they mostly came from East Java.”

On Monday alone, the IDI announced the deaths of five doctors from the coronavirus, namely Abdul Choliq from Probolinggo of East Java, Zulkiflie Saleh from Banjarmasin of South Kalimantan, Arief Agustono Hadi from Lamongan of East Java, Budi Luhur from Gresik of East Java and Deni Chrismono Raharjo from Surabaya of East Java.

“Many doctors were unable to get access to swab tests. Many died even before being tested,” Halik explained, adding that the government needed to provide healthcare workers with access to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in every health facility.

According to the Indonesian Nurses Association (PPNI), at least 167 nurses nationwide were confirmed to have had the disease so far.

However, PPNI chairman Harif Fadhilah said the East Java PPNI alone had recorded at least 277 nurses who were COVID-19 positive in the province. He went on to say that with many cases that went unreported, he assumed that the total number of nurses with COVID-19 might exceed 400.

“It is hard for us to verify the actual number as nurses usually report their health status voluntarily. Some may also not report their positive COVID-19 result due to negative stigma, work pressure and many other factors,” he added.

Harif also added that the PPNI had recorded 43 deaths of nurses nationwide as they battled against the virus, 11 of them in East Java.

The PPNI also received reports that nurses working in non-COVID-19 referral hospitals were still dealing with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Amnesty International Indonesia released on Monday a report documenting the experiences of healthcare workers on the front line battling the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the government is accountable for the deaths of many medical workers in the country because of the disease.

The organization’s report revealed that as of Monday at least 89 healthcare workers — consisting of 60 doctors, 23 nurses and six dentists — in Indonesia had died because of the virus.

“Not only do healthcare workers have to work extra hours during the pandemic, but they are also being unfairly paid and dealing with fear of the risks of COVID-19 on a daily basis,” Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said in a webinar, entitled “Global report: Health workers silenced, exposed, attacked”, on Monday.

In addition, the organization reported that as of June 12, at least 878 healthcare workers in Indonesia had contracted COVID-19, at least 225 of them residing in East Java province – the current COVID-19 epicenter in the country.

“Those are the numbers that are able to be verified by organizations like us. If only the government also verifies the report on the matter, the actual numbers might be higher than what we provided,” Usman added.

Amnesty International Indonesia also reported that as of June 2, at least 189 health workers had been laid off due to the crisis resulting from the pandemic.

“Health workers have also experienced stigma and violence because of their job,” Usman said.

The organization has recorded eight cases of healthcare workers being rejected from their respective rooming houses. In one instance, local residents rejected the funeral of a nurse who had died of COVID-19, near a residential complex.

“We urge the state to take its response to COVID-19 seriously and to better protect those healthcare workers who are battling the pandemic at the forefront,” Usman concluded. “The state must ensure adequate compensation for health workers and protect those who have faced reprisals for raising health and security concerns to prevent further unjust treatment against health workers.”

As of Tuesday, Indonesia had recorded 78,572 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 3,710 fatalities.

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Re: 'let's stop this nonsense' and fight coronavirus
« Reply #116 on: July 16, 2020, 10:17:26 AM »
CNN’s Erin Burnett says Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Trump are on completely different pages as Covid-19 cases continue to rapidly increase in the US.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR--Iw4L8Oo
Fauci calls White House criticism of him bizarre, says 'let's stop this nonsense' and fight coronavirus
(Reuters) - U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Wednesday called the White House effort to discredit him “bizarre” and urged an end to the divisiveness over the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying “let’s stop this nonsense.”

Fauci, who has become a popular and trusted figure during the coronavirus outbreak, came under criticism from President Donald Trump and some of his Republican allies as Fauci cautioned against reopening the U.S. economy too soon.

The recent spike in coronavirus infections, primarily in states that were among the earliest to lift coronavirus restrictions, put Fauci on a collision course with the White House.

“One of the things that’s part of the problem is the dynamics of the divisiveness that is going on now that it becomes difficult to engage in a dialogue of honest evaluation of what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong,” Fauci told The Atlantic in an interview.

“We’ve got to own this, reset this and say OK, let’s stop this nonsense and figure out how can we get our control over this now.”

The White House over the weekend distributed a list of statements Fauci made early in the pandemic that turned out to be wrong as understanding of the disease developed, according to media reports. Trump said this week he valued Fauci’s input but did not always agree with him.

“You know, it is a bit bizarre. I don’t really fully understand it,” Fauci said in an interview with The Atlantic.

He said he believed the people involved in releasing that list, which was misleading because it did not include the entirety of Fauci’s statements or other context, are really “taken aback by what a big mistake that was.”

White House tensions with Fauci have risen with the decline of Trump’s popularity in opinion polls over the president’s handling of the outbreak.

The Republican president, who is seeking re-election in November, has been increasingly critical of government health officials and their guidance as a rise in infections threatens the easing of shutdown restrictions across the country. Across the country, new cases are now averaging around 60,000 a day.

The White House has denied that Fauci has been sidelined. However, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro wrote a critical opinion piece attacking Fauci for having made mistakes.

Before departing for a trip to Atlanta, Trump was asked whether Navarro had gone rogue.

“Well he made a statement representing himself. He shouldn’t be doing that. No, I have a very good relationship with Anthony,” Trump said.

Fauci told the Atlantic: “I can’t explain Peter Navarro. He’s in a world by himself. So I don’t even want to go there.”

Fauci said in a Financial Times interview last week he had not briefed Trump in two months. He said on Wednesday his advice is passed onto Trump indirectly, via Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force.

In his Atlantic interview, Fauci recommended the country hit a reset button and acknowledge that things are not going in the right direction. The rising numbers of coronavirus infections show “we’ve got to do better” and states need to get on the same page and work on ways to control the virus.

“So, rather than these games people are playing, let’s focus on that,” Fauci said.

reuters.com
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Re: India locks down 125 million as virus surges across the world
« Reply #117 on: July 16, 2020, 10:26:29 PM »
India locks down 125 million as Spain honours virus victims
(AFP) – More than 125 million people in India were put under a new lockdown on Thursday, as international dignitaries gathered in Spain to honour coronavirus victims while infections surged across the world.

Governments in many countries have been forced to reimpose restrictions as COVID-19 refuses to fade, having officially infected nearly 13.6 million people, killed more than 584,000 and crippled the global economy since it emerged late last year.

The virus has been running rampant through the United States and Latin America, and the Red Cross has warned that South Asia is fast becoming the next epicentre.

“While the world’s attention has been focused on the unfolding crisis in the United States and South America, a concurrent human tragedy is fast emerging in South Asia,” said John Fleming, Asia-Pacific head of health for the organisation.

After India registered more than 600 deaths in a single day, the 125 million people in impoverished Bihar state, neighbouring Nepal, started a new 15-day lockdown on Thursday.

“We have not faced such a situation in my life before, it is really a horrible experience,” housewife Radhika Singh said in Bihar, where all schools, clubs, temples and non-essential businesses were ordered closed.

‘Symbolically saying goodbye’

Badly-hit Spain honoured its more than 28,000 virus dead at a solemn state ceremony joined by bereaved families and top EU and World Health Organization figures on Thursday.

The memorial, held barely three weeks since Spain ended its state of emergency, comes as the country fights more than 120 active outbreaks.

“Today, we are symbolically saying goodbye to mothers, fathers, children, siblings, friends,” Hernando Calleja, who lost his brother in April, said at the ceremony.

Spain’s King Felipe VI said that “this act cannot heal the pain felt by so many families at not being at the side of their loved ones in their final hours”.

“But what it can do is pay tribute to their lives, to their contribution to our society, to their memories.”

Elsewhere in Europe, Germany was preparing plans for tougher, more localised lockdowns to contain fresh outbreaks.

France meanwhile said it will make mask-wearing compulsory in indoor public spaces from next week after an uptick in infections.

‘Stop this nonsense’

The United States has recorded by far the most deaths and infections in the pandemic, setting a record on Wednesday with more than 67,000 new cases in 24 hours.

And the country’s outbreak is showing no sign of slowing down, the virus surging in the south and west, with the latest research indicating the number of US deaths will pass 150,000 by next month.

US President Donald Trump fired his campaign manager for November’s election late Wednesday after his popularity plummeted over his response to the crisis.

Trump has repeatedly attempted to discredit the country’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, who has called for an end to the bickering.

“We’ve got to almost reset this and say, ‘Okay, let’s stop this nonsense’,” Fauci told The Atlantic magazine.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, said customers would need to wear masks at all its 5,300 stores from Monday, joining a growing group of American businesses to mandate face coverings.

‘Radical quarantine’

Deaths in Latin America have topped 150,000, making it the world’s second-hardest-hit region after Europe.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a “radical quarantine” in the capital Caracas and neighbouring Miranda state following an alarming burst of cases.

In a rare positive sign, China reported its economy bounced back with a better-than-forecast 3.2 percent expansion in the second quarter. But the news was unable to lift the gloom in stock markets.

Most cinemas in China will be allowed to reopen next week, with social distancing rules in place, after domestic infections remained at zero for 10 straight days.

The world’s hopes have turned to a vaccine to bring the cycle of deaths, lockdowns and economic carnage to an end.

Two new studies have raised hopes of a potential vaccine in the near future.

On Thursday, British media reported that an Oxford University trial had showed its prototype vaccine generated an immune response against the virus.

The potential development comes after American biotech firm Moderna — a leader in the race for a vaccine — said it would start the final stage of human trials on July 27

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Russia trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine data, say UK, U.S. and Canada   reuters.com

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EU meets on virus rescue plan as India passes one million cases
EU leaders met face to face Friday to try to rescue Europe's economy from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, as India became the third country to record one million cases, joining Brazil and the United States.


Mohd Imran KHAN More than 125 million people in India's impoverished Bihar state begin a new 15-day lockdown as India saw more than 600 deaths in a single day

The virus has now killed more than 585,000 people and infected over 13,600,000 as it continues to surge across the globe despite months of unprecedented measures aiming to stop its spread.

The pandemic has also shattered economies worldwide, and the mood was sombre as European Union leaders met in person for the first time in five months hoping to overcome divisions about a planned 750-billion-euro ($855 billion) stimulus package.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that the differences between EU member nations were still very large so she expected "very, very difficult negotiations".

French President Emmanuel Macron described it as a "moment of truth".

"It's our European project which is in play here," Macron warned before meeting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who leads a group of northern European countries holding out against handing cash to southern nations without strict conditions.

- 'I have to keep fighting' -

Elsewhere COVID-19 is spreading at an ominous pace, with India surpassing one million infections just a day after Brazil's number topped two million.

And the United States, which has recorded more cases than both countries combined with over 3,560,000, on Thursday posted yet another record number of new infections in one day with 68,428.

More than 600 people are dying daily in India, where lockdowns have been reimposed on millions of people.

India's main hotspots had previously been the megacities of Mumbai and New Delhi, but smaller cities and rural areas -- where 70 percent of Indians live -- have recently begun to raise the alarm.

The coastal tourist region of Goa is the latest Indian state to go under lockdown, imposing a three-day shutdown and a nightime curfew until August 10.

With per capita spending on health care among the lowest in the world, India's hospitals are reeling.

"The fear of catching the infection is very real as I am in a high-risk zone almost round the clock," Showkat Nazir Wani, a doctor working at an intensive care unit at Sharda Hospital just outside the capital New Delhi, told AFP.

"It's not going to go away till a vaccine comes... I have to keep fighting and trying to save every single life."

- Vaccine hacking -

After two studies this week raised hopes for a potential vaccine, the United States, Britain and Canada accused Russian-linked hackers of ...

full article  msn.com
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