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Coronavirus around the globe

Started by thaiga, March 25, 2020, 12:51:08 PM

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Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 25,533 - RKI
(Reuters) - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 25,533 to 1,612,648, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by 412 to 29,182, the tally showed.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Johnnie F.

I'm happy about not being in Germany anymore - or in the US, Brazil, UK or Russia, which all have much higher infection rates even. It was a good move to emigrate to Thailand! :)

Taman Tun

If the old only could, if the young only knew.


Japan to halt new entry from around world amid new virus variant
Japan will suspend new entry into the country of nonresident foreign nationals from around the world from Monday through late January as a precautionary step against the new, potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant, the government said Saturday.

The government will also require Japanese citizens and foreign residents coming from countries and territories where the new variant, first detected in Britain, is confirmed to submit negative virus test results within 72 hours of departure and undergo tests upon arrival from Wednesday through the end of January.

However, businesspeople and students from 10 countries including Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea as well as Taiwan, with which Japan has a special scheme to ease travel restrictions, will not be affected by the suspension policy, the government added.

Tokyo has already barred entry to foreign nationals who have recently been to Britain and South Africa. Earlier in the day, the government reported two more people have been infected with the variant, with one of them confirmed as the first domestically transmitted case.

Japan will stop the issuance of new visas from Monday. Those who already obtained visas will be allowed to enter the country, but those who were in Britain or South Africa within 14 days of applying for an entry permit will be excluded.

Tokyo had banned entry of people from up to 159 counties and territories at one point amid the pandemic but started on Oct 1 to conditionally allow entry from people worldwide who plan to stay in the country for more than three months for business and some other purposes.

For those who do not present certifications of the negative virus test results, the government said it will urge them to stay at designated facilities for two weeks.

The two people infected with the variant are hospitalised in Tokyo. They are a pilot in his 30s who returned to Japan from London on Dec 16 and a woman in her 20s, one of his family members, with no history of visiting the country, the health ministry said.

The man was not subject to quarantine at airports because of his occupation and the woman is believed to have been infected through him. Three people had close contact with the pair and one of them tested negative, while the status of the other two is unknown, according to the ministry.

On Friday, the government said five people -- four males and one female all aged under 70 -- had been confirmed as infected with the new variant following their arrival from Britain.

Atsuo Hamada, a professor at Tokyo Medical University, said Japan should take additional anti-virus steps including stronger border control, on the assumption the new variant has already entered the country to some extent.

"Once a highly transmissible variant spreads, the number of infections could surpass 2,000 in a single day in Tokyo, eventually necessitating another state of emergency" over the virus, Hamada warned.

Japan confirmed 3,881 coronavirus cases Saturday, a new record daily tally for the fourth straight day, and 47 deaths as Tokyo and several other prefectures reported the highest numbers of infections at the start of the year-end and New Year holidays.

The nation's cumulative total stood at 219,070.

The capital saw 949 cases on Saturday and its seven-day rolling average of new infections reached 711.4, topping 700 for the first time, according to a tally based on official data.

Osaka confirmed 299 infections on Saturday, while Saitama and Aichi reported 265 cases each.

British health officials have said the new strain, which was first detected in September, could be up to 70% more transmissible but there was no evidence of it being deadlier or reducing the effectiveness of vaccines.

The variant has also been confirmed in more than a dozen countries including Australia, France, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Singapore, as well as Hong Kong, according to media reports.

The latest daily infection figure in the capital surpassed the previous record of 888 logged Thursday and topped 800 for the third straight day, bringing Tokyo's cumulative total to 55,851.

As many people typically return to their hometowns or travel to other places during the holidays, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has called on the public to spend the period "quietly" and avoid large gatherings of family and friends.

With smaller crowds than usual years at airports and major train stations around Tokyo on Saturday, many people appear to have heeded the advice.

The number of people hospitalized with serious symptoms in Tokyo stood at 81, unchanged from Friday. Of the 949, 277 were in their 20s and 113 were aged 65 or older, according to the Tokyo metropolitan government.

The metropolitan government has raised its alert regarding the strain on its medical system to the highest of four levels. It is the first time the most severe level has been reached since the outbreak of the virus.

Restaurants and bars serving alcohol have been asked to cut their opening hours by closing at 10pm across the capital, which is the hardest hit among the country's 47 prefectures.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


EU countries to start vaccinations against Covid-19
EU is set to start inoculating its 450 million residents against Covid-19 as mass vaccination across the Europe would be a crucial step towards ending pandemic. Shipments of the Pfizer Biontech jabs began arriving in member states on Saturday, following regulatory approval last week

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


S. Africa logs 1m cases as pandemic surges worldwide: virus update
South Africa logged its millionth case of Covid-19 and South Korea on Monday became the latest country to detect the new coronavirus variant, as the pandemic showed no signs of letting up.

Global infections have raced past 80 million with nearly 1.8 million deaths, even as vaccination drives gather pace in North America and Europe, with a top US expert warning that the pandemic might get even worse in the coming weeks.

The explosion of cases worldwide in recent weeks has prompted the return of many unpopular restrictions, including some lockdowns, and concerns have grown after the detection of a new virus variant experts believe could be more transmissible.

South Africa became the first African nation to log one million cases, official data showed Sunday, as authorities considered reimposing restrictions to battle a second wave of infections driven by the new variant.

South Korea became the latest nation Monday to detect the variant, in three individuals of a London-based family who arrived in the country last week.

The new variant was first detected in Britain, and made its way to a number of other nations including Japan and Canada, prompting dozens of governments -- including European nations -- to impose travel restrictions on the UK.

Most European countries began their vaccination campaigns over the weekend, boosting hopes of an end to the pandemic, especially in some of the hardest-hit parts of the continent.

"Today is a big moment when you think back to all that we have been through... especially during the first wave of the pandemic," said Isabella Palazzini, an Italian nurse in Cremona.

"They were very difficult times, both for the patients and for us, the care givers," said Palazzini, three of whose colleagues died of Covid-19.

- Worst yet to come -

Known coronavirus infections surged past 19 million in the United States on Sunday, the worst-hit country in the world, adding a million cases in less than a week.

US cases have been surging at an alarming rate in recent months. The world's largest economy has added at least one million new cases per week since early November, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

But there was some relief for Americans Sunday when President Donald Trump finally signed a $900 billion stimulus bill, a long-awaited boost for millions of people whose livelihoods have been battered by the pandemic.

While the United States has also begun vaccinations, experts have said that because of the expected surge in cases over the Christmas holidays, the situation could get much worse.

Top US government scientist Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that the worst of the pandemic may be yet to come, driving the United States to a "critical point" as holiday travel spreads the coronavirus.

About two million Americans have been vaccinated so far, well below the 20 million the Trump administration has promised by year-end.

But Fauci played down the shortfall as a normal hiccup in a massively ambitious project, saying he was "pretty confident" that by April, all higher-priority people would have been able to get vaccinated, clearing the way for the general population.

- 'Food for thought' -

Vaccination campaigns have also begun in China, Russia, Canada, Singapore and Saudi Arabia, and there was hope for one more successful vaccine on the horizon.

Poland on Monday began a three-week partial lockdown, and as Israel began a third spell of its most stringent restrictions over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced optimism that a "world record" vaccination drive will restore a degree of normality within weeks.

But there are worries that vaccine hesitancy or outright refusal -- especially because of anti-vaccine misinformation campaigns.

Polls have shown many Europeans are unwilling to take the vaccine, which could impede efforts to beat the virus and reach widespread immunisation.

A young German pilot found a unique way to raise awareness, tracing a giant syringe in the sky to mark the start of his country's rollout of vaccines.

"I wanted to give people food for thought for the day the vaccine became available," Kramer, a student and amateur pilot, said Sunday.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


COVID-19: UK records 41,385 new coronavirus cases and 357 more deaths
The UK has recorded its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began with 41,385 positive tests .

A further 357 deaths were recorded within 28 days of a positive test bringing the UK total to 71,109

It compares to yesterday's increases of 30,501 confirmed coronavirus cases and 316 related deaths.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England (PHE), said: "This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions.

"Despite unprecedented levels of infection, there is hope on the horizon. We can tackle this virus by working together as the vaccine continues to reach the most vulnerable first, and then many more over the weeks and months ahead."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


UK tourists flee quarantine in Swiss ski resort
Hundreds of Britons spending the holidays in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier fled the village to avoid quarantine rules put in place by Switzerland's government after the discovery of a new strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Record Covid infections in UK as hospital numbers exceed previous peak of pandemic - BBC News
The number of patients being treated for Covid in England's hospitals is higher than it was at the previous peak in April this year
intense pressure on the NHS.

Dec 28, 2020
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


U.S. coronavirus cases crossed the 20 million mark on Friday
U.S. coronavirus cases crossed the 20 million mark on Friday as officials seek to speed up vaccinations and a more infectious variant surfaces in Colorado, California and Florida.

Jan 2, 2021
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


India approves vaccines as nations fight virus resurgence
India on Sunday approved emergency use of two Covid-19 vaccines to kick off one of the world's biggest inoculation drives, while the European Union offered to help drug companies expand production to ease distribution bottlenecks.

India, the second-worst affected country, has authorised use of shots developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and by local pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech, the country's drug regulator said.

The Serum Institute of India, the world's biggest manufacturer of vaccines, has said it is making between 50 and 60 million doses a month of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which is cheaper than the Pfizer-BioNTech jab and easier to store and transport.

India has set an ambitious target of inoculating 300 million of its 1.3 billion people by mid-2021.

Countries around the globe are hoping that the roll-out of vaccines will bring under control a pandemic which has infected 84.6 million people and killed more than 1.8 million since it first emerged in China just over a year ago.

But there is a worldwide shortage of vaccine production capacity, the EU's top health official said on Saturday, offering help to drug firms amid concerns over the speed of vaccinations across Europe.

"The situation will improve step by step," as vaccines roll out, health commissioner Stella Kyriakides told German news agency DPA.

With vaccine production and mass inoculation programmes likely to take months, countries have tightened restrictions to fight a virus resurgence as experts predict a sharp rise in cases after weeks of holiday gatherings.

From local curfews to alcohol bans and complete lockdowns, governments are trying to tackle a surge in infections.

In Bangkok, the city's nightlife shut down following a ban on bars, nightclubs and restaurant alcohol sales, among a raft of restrictions aimed at curbing Thailand's rising virus toll after an outbreak at a seafood market last month.

Public schools in the capital are also set to close for two weeks.

In Tokyo, the city's governor asked the Japanese government to declare a new state of emergency as the country battles a third wave, with record numbers of new cases.

And South Korea extended its anti-virus curbs until Jan 17 in the greater Seoul area, including a ban on gatherings of more than four people, which will be widened to cover the whole country.

- Vaccine race -

The soaring number of infections means the race to vaccinate is likely to dominate the coming year.

India has held nationwide drills to prepare for one of the world's biggest inoculation programmes, which is expected to kick off in the coming weeks.

In the United States, the vaccine roll-out has been beset by logistical issues, while the world's worst-hit country has passed 20 million cases and 350,000 deaths.

The US has seen a surge in infections in recent months and on Saturday saw its highest number yet recorded in one day, with more than 277,000.

Veteran talk show host Larry King became the country's latest high profile case as he was hospitalised in Los Angeles, US media reported.

In Russia, health minister Mikhail Murashko said more than 800,000 people had received the domestically produced Sputnik V vaccine and that 1.5 million doses had been distributed throughout the country of around 147 million.

The Kremlin has held back on imposing nationwide virus restrictions, instead placing its hopes on the mass vaccination drive to end the pandemic and save its struggling economy.

The French government has lengthened an overnight curfew by two hours in parts of the country to help combat the virus, with the shutdown now starting at 6:00 pm, mainly in the east. Paris has, for now, been spared the additional restriction.

- 'We had to party' -

The new French restrictions came as police booked more than 1,200 revellers Saturday for taking part in an illegal rave in the country's northwest.

Around 800 of them were booked for flouting anti-virus measures, and the regional health authority in Brittany noted a "high risk of the spread of Covid-19" at the event.

"We knew what we were risking... we had to party, for a year everything has been stuck," said a 20-year-old waitress.

Spanish police broke up another gathering near Barcelona on Saturday, where 300 people had been partying for more than 40 hours.

Footballers were also among those caught breaking the rules, with Tottenham's Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso to be disciplined after a picture emerged of them attending a large party.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


England to enter toughest Covid lockdown since March
the UK on course to exceed 100,000 Covid-related deaths before the end of the month without urgent action
England will enter its toughest nationwide lockdown since March, with schools closed until mid-February, as Boris Johnson warned that the weeks ahead "will be the hardest yet".

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Slow vaccine rollouts fuel worry as US logs record coronavirus deaths
England went back into full lockdown as Europe battled Wednesday to stem a rising tide of coronavirus cases, and the United States logged its worst daily death toll of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has shown no signs of slowing, with known infections nearing 86 million worldwide and more than 1.8 million deaths, even as many nations ramp up their vaccination rollouts.

England began its third national lockdown Tuesday as alarm grew in Britain over the latest surge in cases which is threatening to overwhelm its National Health Service, piling on the misery for people growing tired of social distancing and the economic cost.

"It's just exasperating, because I don't know if people can just go that extra mile another six weeks with this lockdown. It's just crazy," said Alex, a 65-year-old retiree and one of the few people out on the streets of London on Tuesday.

A senior government minister has warned the lockdown could last into March.

Denmark and Germany also extended and increased coronavirus measures on Tuesday, as concerns grew about the surge on the continent and the European Union falling behind other advanced nations in its vaccination drive.

There are hopes the bloc's medical regulator will authorise the Moderna vaccine when it reconvenes on Wednesday. It had approved the Pfizer-BioNTech shot last month.

Limited supplies are a major hurdle for nations trying to accelerate their rollouts.

Britain and Denmark have said they will wait for longer than the recommended 21-28 days between jabs so they can focus on giving more people their first dose—a move that has divided experts.

But World Health Organization experts on Tuesday gave cautious backing "in exceptional circumstances" to delaying the second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Meanwhile, an expert mission to China to find the origins of the pandemic stumbled before it even began, with the head of the WHO complaining that Beijing was blocking the team from entering the country.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was "very disappointed" with the last-minute bar on entry, in a rare castigation of Beijing from the UN body.

Vaccine frustrations

Spurred on by new variants that are believed to be more contagious, the virus situation in some countries is as bad as it has ever been.

The United States broke its own record for the number of daily deaths from COVID-19 yet again Tuesday, recording 3,936 fatalities in 24 hours, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

In California, the new US epicentre, Los Angeles ambulance workers have been told to stop transporting some patients with extremely low survival chances to hospitals, and to limit oxygen use, as medical resources are overwhelmed.

The world's worst-hit nation is ultimately counting on its vaccination campaign, which began mid-December, to end the crisis.

But less than two percent of the population has so far been covered, with 4.8 million people having received the first of two doses.

Israel is out front with vaccinations, having covered some 13.5 percent.

But it came under fire from Amnesty International on Wednesday for failing to provide coronavirus vaccine doses to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Melbourne stadium scare

The spikes in caseloads around the world have disrupted the few entertainment and sports events that had managed to resume after shutdowns earlier in the pandemic.

The English Premier League, one of the world's most-watched football competitions, said a record 40 players and staff have tested positive in the last two rounds of testing, but insisted the football season will continue.

And spectators at Australia's showpiece Boxing Day cricket Test against India in Melbourne were warned they must get tested and isolate after a fan at the stadium tested positive.

The Grammy music awards, slated for January 31 in Los Angeles, were also postponed until March over the COVID-19 situation in California.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


COVID-19 vaccine roll-out won't achieve herd immunity this year- health experts
(Reuters) - The roll-out of coronavirus vaccines in many countries will not provide herd immunity from the global pandemic this year, several health experts said on Monday, citing limited access for poor countries, community trust problems and potential virus mutations.

"We won't get back to normal quickly," Dale Fisher, chairman of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Outbreak Alert and Response Network, told the Reuters Next conference.

"We know we need to get to herd immunity and we need that in a majority of countries, so we are not going to see that in 2021," Fisher said. "There might be some countries that might achieve it but even then that will not create 'normal' especially in terms of border controls."

That was a best-case scenario, based on current knowledge of the vaccines being rolled out, Fisher said.

Herd immunity refers to a situation where enough people in a population have immunity to an infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading.

Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia, said a dangerous over-reliance on the coming vaccines by some governments meant herd immunity could not be achieved in the near term.

"The Indonesian government thinks that vaccine is the best solution for controlling the pandemic, and they forget that surveillance like testing ... communications, to educate public to practice low risk behaviour, is also important because the vaccine itself needs time to cover most of the people who need it," said Riono, who was also speaking at the Reuters Next conference.


More than 90 million people are reported to have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally and about 1.9 million have died from the disease since it first emerged in China in December 2019, according to a Reuters tally.

Several countries including the United States, Singapore, Britain and a number of European Union countries have already begun rolling out vaccines such as those developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, and by Moderna Inc and AstraZeneca Plc/Oxford University. Indonesia and India plan to start mass inoculations later this week.

Wealthier nations have been at the front of the queue for vaccine deliveries, prompting the WHO to warn there is a "clear problem" that low- and middle-income countries are not yet receiving supplies.

Irma Hidayana, the Indonesia-based co-founder of LaporCOVID-19, an independent coronavirus data initiative, said public trust in vaccines could have an impact on the roll-out.

Fisher said the ability of the virus to mutate further was still unknown, as was a possible amplification effect from the vaccines.

State Bank of Pakistan Governor Reza Baqir acknowledged that the roll-out of vaccines in his country was a "logistical challenge".

Pakistan, a country of about 220 million people, has so far ordered 1.2 million vaccine doses from China's Sinopharm.

However, he said it was better placed than a year ago, despite tackling a second wave of infections.

"We are prepared for the challenges that may come about. We are already in the middle of COVID without any vaccine and once the vaccine comes, it will only makes this better," Baqir told Reuters Next.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Covid: England told to prepare for worst weeks of pandemic
Prof Chris Whitty pleads with public to 'double down' on avoiding contact with others
England's chief medical officer has said the next few weeks will be the worst of the pandemic as he urged everyone to minimise meeting people.

Prof Chris Whitty said the public should not wait for any government "tinkering" with rules but should "double down" now on avoiding any unnecessary contacts.

Pleading with the public he said: "Even within them [the rules], we should be doing our level best to minimise the amount of unnecessary contact with people who are not in our household. I can't emphasise that enough."

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said the NHS was facing its "most dangerous" point.

He said: "In London for example one in 30 people currently have this coronavirus, across the country as a whole, it's one in 50. So this is a serious problem, and it's rising in every part of England."

He added: "This new variant is really pushing things in a way that the old variant, which was already very bad, was not able to. So we have a very significant problem ... The next few weeks are going to be the worst weeks of this pandemic in terms of numbers into the NHS."
The Guardian Today newsletter: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
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Whitty's comments came as seven new mass vaccination centres opened across England: in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Epsom and Stevenage. He said it would be "several weeks" before vaccinations against the virus started to take effect.

"We are now very close to the point with vaccination that we're going to be able to get on top of this, but it's not yet. If we want the numbers not to go up still further, everybody has to minimise the number of unnecessary contacts they have in their day."

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he added: "There's a very high chance that if you meet someone unnecessarily, they will have Covid."

Asked about the idea of extending mask rules to outdoors, Whitty said that while there "might be some logic" for mask use in certain outdoor settings such as packed queues, by far the bigger issue was indoor proximity. However, on BBC Breakfast he refused to answer viewers questions about whether more restrictions were necessary. "The decisions about exactly what restrictions are in place are very much a matter for ministers," he said.

full article theguardian.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Malaysian king declares state of emergency to fight virus
He warned the healthcare system was "at breaking point".

Thousands throng Manila for Catholic feast
Social distancing strictly enforced in long queues to view Black Nazarene statue
Tens of thousands of people ignored government advice and flocked to Manila on Saturday to celebrate the feast of the Black Nazarene, a statue believed to have healing powers.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Chinese city of Langfang goes into lockdown amid new COVID-19 threat
(Reuters) - The Chinese city of Langfang near Beijing went into lockdown on Tuesday as new coronavirus infections raised worries about a second wave in a country that has mostly contained COVID-19.

The number of new cases in mainland China reported on Tuesday remained a small fraction of those seen at the height of the outbreak in early 2020. However, authorities are implementing strict curbs whenever new cases emerge.

The National Health Commission reported 55 new cases on Tuesday, down from 103 on Monday. Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, accounted for 40 of the 42 locally transmitted infections.

In a village in the south of Beijing that shares a border with Hebei, residents were stopping vehicles and asking to see health-tracking codes on mobile phones.

"We have to be careful as we're near Guan, where COVID cases were reported today," said a volunteer security officer surnamed Wang.

At a highway checkpoint, police in protective gowns ordered a car entering Beijing to return to Hebei after the driver was unable to show proof of a negative coronavirus test.

China's state planning agency said it expected travel during next month's Lunar New Year period to be markedly down on normal years, with a bigger share of people choosing cars over other transport. Many provinces have urged migrant workers to stay put for the festival.

Langfang, southeast of Beijing, said its 4.9 million residents would be put under home quarantine for seven days and tested for the virus.

The government in Beijing said a World Health Organization team investigating the origin of the coronavirus would arrive on Thursday in the city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged in late 2019, after a delay that Beijing has called a "misunderstanding".

Shijiazhuang, Hebei's capital, has been hardest hit in the latest surge and has already placed its 11 million people under lockdown. The province has shut sections of highway and is ordering vehicles to turn back.

A new guideline from the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control recommended that taxi and ride-hailing operators suspend car-pooling services, and that drivers should get weekly DNA tests and be vaccinated in order to work, the ruling Communist Party-backed Beijing Daily reported.

As of Jan. 9, China had administered more than 9 million vaccine doses.

Across the country, the number of new asymptomatic cases rose to 81 from 76 the previous day. China does not classify asymptomatic cases as confirmed coronavirus infections.

The total number of confirmed cases reported in mainland China stands at 87,591, with an official death toll of 4,634.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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