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Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advice

A place to post daily news of Kurdistan from valid sources .

Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:35 pm

SVG records 13th COVID-19 case

Health officials have stopped short of saying that the 13th case of COVID-19 is as a result of community spread

Last Tuesday, interestingly so, the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said in a Press statement that the latest positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Without the means to test for the coronavirus infection, this country depends on CARPHRA for all its testing.
As far as detail, NEMO assured only that the case was under investigation which, all things being even, should lead to definitive judgement with respect to how the 13th case contracted the disease.

This should allay any doubt and quell confusion among citizens, since there has been conflicting information circling with an initial disclosure saying that the person had no recent travel, but subsequent information pointing to the opposite.

Though, in a statement issued last Tuesday, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer said that "preliminary investigations into the new case point to a possible local transmission, since the individual in question has no known travel history”

She went on to explain that local spread/transmission is described as a situation "where the person was never abroad, but was exposed to an imported case, so that the source of the infection can be identified.”

If it is verified that the person has no recent history of overseas travel, then the conclusion would be that it is a case of local transmission – contact with an infected person here in SVG – and if so, it would be this country’s first non-imported case of COVID-19.

Contact tracing is expected to be conducted as part of the investigation.

Meanwhile, THE VINCENTIAN received indication, albeit unconfirmed, that the 13th case resides and operates a business in a South Central Windward community.

As of last Wednesday, of the 13 cases of COVID-19 recorded so far, four have recovered. There has been no death.

https://thevincentian.com/svg-records-t ... 9404-1.htm

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:20 pm

Graph gives proof UK
lockdown is working


A graph released by NHS England indicates that the 552 extra fatalities announced this afternoon do not mean there as been a spike in deaths

The figures released each day for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, give the latest update on the number of deaths recorded.

This is often not the same as the number of people who have died in the past 24 hours.

Some people may have died several days ago but their death has only just been officially registered.

This can occur due to a complication in determining the exact cause of death or due to someone passing away at the weekend, which often causes a delay in the data being collated.

When NHS England announced a further 552 deaths this afternoon, the figure referred to the total number of people who died in hospital in the 24 hours up until 5pm on April 27.

An NHS England graphic gives signs of hope

A new chart released by NHS England has re-organised the data up to April 27 to show the number of fatalities based on the day a patient in hospital actually died.

New deaths announced today by NHS England are represented on the bar chart by the colour orange.

Of the 552 deaths announced this afternoon, a large proportion of them were from people who had died over the weekend rather than in the last 24 hours.

The graphic gives a far more positive indication that the Government's coronavirus lockdown is working.

Compared to the scattered data of the daily recorded deaths, the new chart shows a clear downward trajectory of COVID-19 fatalities.

The drop in the death-rate is a positive indication that the lockdown could soon be lifted.

Image

NHS England date of death graph indicates lockdown is working

First Secretary of State Dominic Raab announced earlier this month that a "sustained and consistent fall in daily death rates" was one of the five requirements which must be met in order for the Government to relax the current social distancing measures.

The other four were: Making sure the NHS can cope; Reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels; Being confident sufficient testing could be carried out; And being confident any adjustments will not risk a second peak.

However, despite the NHS Engalnd graph showing positive drop in the number of coronavirus cases, Matt Hancock has warned "a lot more work needs to be done" before any changes to the lockdown.

He told ITV: "It is too soon safely to make those sorts of adjustments.

"As and when we can of course we’ll explain what we think base on the science are the best new guidelines, but the truth is both the health of the nation and the economy are best served by getting the number of new cases right down.

"That is clearly starting to happen, we’ve seen a plateau in the number of new cases, but there’s a lot more work needs to be done.

"I understand the economic concerns but I also know if we get a second peak that’ll be a disaster for peoples and lives and the economy."

The UK-wide lockdown was first introduced on March 23 for an initial period of three weeks.

It has since been extended by a further four weeks, meaning the country will remain under lockdown until at least May 7.

Boris Johnson says UK is 'coming to end of first phase'

Ministers have so far refused to explain whether there may be any relaxation of the rules after the first week of May.

The Government has been under increasing pressure over easing the lockdown, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying on Monday more would be said about the issue in the coming days.

But Downing Street played down reports the Government will announce its lockdown exit strategy this week.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "We've set out that we will review social distancing measures by May 7. The Government is focused upon that date."

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/12750 ... land-graph
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:07 pm

Drug has clear cut power
to fight coronavirus


There is clear-cut evidence that a drug can help people recover from the coronavirus

Remdesivir cut the duration of symptoms from 15 days down to 11 in clinical trial at hospitals around the world.

The full details have not been published, but experts said it would be a "fantastic result" if confirmed, but not a "magic bullet" for the disease.

A drug would have the potential to save lives, ease pressure on hospitals and allow parts of lockdown to be lifted.

Remdesivir was originally developed as an Ebola treatment. It is an antiviral and works by attacking an enzyme that a virus needs in order to replicate inside our cells.

The trial was run by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and 1,063 people took part. Some patients were given the drug while others received a placebo (dummy) treatment.

Dr Anthony Fauci who runs the NIAID said: "The data shows remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery."

He said the results prove "a drug can block this virus" and were "opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating" patients.

The impact on deaths is not as clear cut. The mortality rate was 8% in people given remdesivir and 11.6% in those given a placebo, but this result was not statistically significant, meaning scientists cannot tell if the difference is real.

It is also not clear who is benefiting:

    Is it allowing people who would have recovered anyway to do so more quickly?

    Or is it preventing people from needing treatment in intensive care?

    Did the drug work better in younger or older people?

    Or those with or without other diseases?

    Do patients have to be treated early when the virus is thought to peak in the body?
These will be important questions when the full details are eventually published, as a drug could have the twin benefit of saving lives and helping to lift lockdown.

Prof Mahesh Parmar, the director of the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, who has overseen the trial in the EU, said: "Before this drug can be made more widely available, a number of things need to happen: the data and results need to be reviewed by the regulators to assess whether the drug can be licensed and then they need assessment by the relevant health authorities in various countries.

"While this is happening we will obtain more and longer term data from this trial, and other ones, on whether the drug also prevents deaths from Covid-19."

If a medicine can stop people needing intensive care then the risk of hospitals being overwhelmed is smaller, and there is less need for social distancing.

Prof Peter Horby, from the University of Oxford, is running the world's largest trial of Covid-19 drugs. He said: "We need to see the full results, but if confirmed this would be a fantastic result and great news for the fight against Covid-19.

"The next steps are to get the full data out and work on equitable access to remdesivir."

The US data on remdesivir has come out at the same time as a trial of the same drug in China, reported in the Lancet medical journal, showed it was ineffective.

However, that trial was incomplete because the success of lockdown in Wuhan meant doctors ran out of patients.

"These data are promising, and given that we have no proven treatments yet for Covid, it may well lead to fast-track approval of remdesivir for treatment of Covid," said Prof Babak Javid, a consultant in infectious diseases at Cambridge University Hospitals.

"However, it also shows that remdesivir is not a magic bullet in this context: the overall benefit in survival was 30%."

Other drugs being investigated for Covid-19 include those for malaria and HIV which can attack the virus as well as compounds that can calm the immune system.

It is though the anti-virals may be more effective in the early stages, and the immune drugs later in the disease.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52478783
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri May 01, 2020 12:23 am

Coronavirus is NOT man-made

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the new coronavirus was 'not manmade or genetically modified' but say they are still examining whether the origins of the pandemic trace to contact with infected animals or an accident at a Chinese lab

The statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the clearinghouse for the web of U.S. spy agencies, comes as President Donald Trump and his allies have touted the as-yet-unproven theory that an infectious disease lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Chinese outbreak, was the source of the global pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 worldwide.

The statement was made shortly after claims surfaced in the New York Times that intelligence analysts were concerned that intelligence could be distorted to fit a pre-determined conclusion.

In recent days the Trump administration has sharpened his rhetoric on China, accusing the geopolitical foe and vital trading partner of failing to do act swiftly enough to stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 or sound the alarm to the world about the outbreak.

'The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,' said the statement.

Still investigating: The U.S. intelligence community says it is probing whether the coronavirus could have leaked by accident from this laboratory in Wuhan

Proximity: The virus has been linked to the wet market in Wuhan, which sold wildlife for meat. U.S. officials have highlighted it being a 'few miles' from the virology laboratory

Mystery: The path for the coronavirus getting into human beings remains unclear despite advances in knowledge of the virus itself seen (left) in a simulation and (right) under an electron microscope

'The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.'

Trump addressed the theory earlier this month, saying, 'More and more, we're hearing the story.' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added, 'The mere fact that we don't know the answers - that China hasn't shared the answers - I think is very, very telling.'

Pompeo also pressed China to let outside experts into the lab 'so that we can determine precisely where this virus began.'

Scientists say the virus arose naturally in bats.

Even so, Pompeo and others have pointed fingers at an institute that is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

It has done groundbreaking research tracing the likely origins of the SARS virus, finding new bat viruses and discovering how they could jump to people.

'We know that there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was,' Pompeo said two weeks ago. The institute has an address 8 miles, or 13 kilometers, from the market.

U.S. officials say the American Embassy in Beijing flagged concerns about potential safety issues at the lab in Wuhan in 2018, but have yet to find any evidence the virus originated there nearly two years later.

Questions: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month: 'The mere fact that we don't know the answers - that China hasn't shared the answers - I think is very, very telling.'

The Chinese government said Thursday that any claims that the coronavirus was released from a laboratory are 'unfounded and purely fabricated out of nothing.'

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang cited the institute's director, Yuan Zhiming, as saying the lab strictly implements bio-security procedures that would prevent the release of any pathogen.

'I would like to point out again that the origin of the virus is a complex scientific issue, and it should be studied by scientists and professionals,' Geng said.

Geng also criticized U.S. politicians who have suggested China should be held accountable for the global pandemic, saying they should spend their time on 'better controlling the epidemic situation at home.'

But a Chinese government spokesman, Zhao Lijian, demonstrated that China was not above sowing confusion in the face of the pandemic. He tweeted in March the falsehood that the virus might have come from the U.S. Army.

If the Trump administration were to find evidence that firmly established a link to the Chinese government laboratory, it would bolster its case for 'reparations' which Trump as made in public this week.

He said Wednesday that the U.S. will be taking strong action against China as he ordered investigations into Beijing after claiming they knew about the coronavirus threat earlier than let on and could have done more to stop the pandemic.

'We're coming up with a very distinct recommendation. But we're not happy with it,' Trump said of potential economic consequences against China.

'There's nothing positive about what happened in China having to do with this subject. Nothing positive at all,' the president said.

'We're lucky that we stopped it in January flowing into our country from China,' Trump said, lauding his decision to shut down travel from China to the U.S. earlier this year – aside from allowing U.S. citizens to return home.

The president said the World Health Organization was acting like it worked for China, and said he would be issuing a 'recommendation' on how to deal with WHO and China.

A Wednesday morning report revealed that the White House ordered intelligence investigations into whether China initially downplayed and hid the emerging coronavirus threat, a Wednesday report revealed, as Donald Trump continues to place blame for the size of the pandemic.

'It's coming in and I'm getting pieces already,' Trump said of the investigations by the NSA, CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency. 'And we're not happy about it.'

'We are by far the largest contributor to WHO – world health. And they misled us,' he said, confirming he feels WHO also lied about what they knew early on about the virus. 'I don't know – they must have known more than they knew.'

'We knew things that they didn't know – either they didn't know or they didn't tell us,' he continued. 'Right now they're literally a pipe organ for China. That's the way I view it. So, we're seeing and we're looking and we're watching.'

'Again we give $500 million – we have over the years – from $400-$500 for a long time, for many years. And China is giving $38 million, and yet they seem to work for China,' he lamented.

Intelligence agencies received directives from the White House last week seeking information on the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, including communication intercepts, human source reporting and satellite imagery reviews from China and WHO, current and former officials familiar with the directions told NBC News.

One official revealed that the 'tasking' was sent last week to the National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, which includes the National Center for Medical Agency.

The CIA also received a similar request, the officials said.

Why did China build a virus lab in Wuhan?

Chinese officials decided to build the Wuhan Institute of Virology after the country was ravaged by an outbreak of SARS in 2002 and 2003.

SARS, another kind of coronavirus, killed 775 people and infected more than 8,000 globally in an epidemic that lasted about eight months.

It took the Chinese 15 years to fully complete the project, which cost a total of 300million yuan (£34million). The French helped design the building.

Its crown jewel is a four-storey lab with the highest biosafety level of P4.

It's the most advanced laboratory of its type in China.

Construction of the lab was finished in 2015 and it officially opened on January 5, 2018, after passing various safety inspections.

Describing the significance of the P4 lab, China Youth Online billed it as the 'aircraft carrier of China's virology'. The state-run newspaper said it 'is capable of researching the deadliest pathogens'.

One researcher, Zhou Peng, told state news agency Xinhua in 2018: 'We are proud to say that we are already at the forefront in the field of studying the immunity mechanism of bats, which carry viruses for a long time.

'Bats carry viruses but are not infected [by them]. [They] provide hope for mankind to study how to fight viruses.'
Top Chinese official calls Donald Trump's demand for reparations over coronavirus 'blackmail' and says U.S. had plenty of notice crisis was coming

China suggested Tuesday that Donald Trump is 'blackmailing' them by blaming Beijing for the coronavirus pandemic and demanding it pay compensations to the U.S.

Le Yucheng, China's Executive Vice Foreign Minister, told NBC News in an interview that aired Wednesday morning that Trump's demands are 'preposterous' and present a 'political farce.'

'Asking China to make reparations for these kind of claims – they have no legal basis. There is no international law that supports blaming a country for simply being the first to report a disease,' Le said.

Trump demanded during his briefing Tuesday that China pay reparations to the U.S. for coronavirus damages, but said a final number for billing had not yet been decided.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he is reassured that other countries are also launching investigations into China's early handling of coronavirus and demanding compensations – and he dismissed Le's comments as 'classic communist disinformation.'

'What the Chinese Communist Party did here and not preventing the spread of this around the world they're responsible for, America needs to hold them accountable,' Pompeo told Fox & Friends Wednesday morning.

China's Executive Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng likened Donald Trump demanding compensation for coronavirus outbreak from China to 'blackmail'

Trump demanded Monday that China pay compensations for damages caused by coronavirus, which he says could have been avoided if Beijing had been more forthcoming about the severity of the disease

'I've been heartened to see Australia, other countries joining us, demanding an investigation because while we know this started in Wuhan, China,' he said. 'We don't yet know from where it started, and in spite of our best efforts to get experts on the ground, they continue to try and hide and obfuscate. That's wrong.'

'It continues to pose a threat to the world, and we all need to get to the bottom of what actually happened here not only for the current instant but to make sure something like this doesn't happen again,' the State Department head continued.

While Le, 57, said in the interview, which was conducted in Mandarin, that he would not object to scientific investigations into the virus' origins, he demanded it be kept away from 'conspiracy theories.'

'We do not oppose normal communication and mutual learning between scientists,' he said. 'What we do oppose is arbitrary investigations based on the presumption of China's guilt. That is something we firmly oppose.'

Trump has shifted his tone from praising China for its handling of coronavirus, to blaming the Asian nation for exacerbating the severity by failing to be transparent about the disease earlier on in the outbreak.

'I want to say China has not covered anything up. We did not cause any delay,' Le said.

He also has lauded his own decision to ban travel from China to the U.S. in the midst of the outbreak despite political pushback since it was early on in the pandemic before the real threat was known.

Le told NBC News that Trump is trying to politicize the virus and rejected any accusations that China tried to cover up the initial outbreak.

Instead, he referred to the pandemic as a 'natural disaster' and insisted Beijing cannot be held financially liable for COVID-19.

'On Jan. 23 when Wuhan went under lockdown, the United States reported only one confirmed case, but on March 13 when President Trump announced a national emergency, the United States reported over 1,600 confirmed cases,' Le said in deflecting blame away from Beijing.

'In this interval of 50 days, what was the U.S. government doing? Where have those 50 days gone?' he continued.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... heory.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri May 01, 2020 12:37 am

UK lock-down to continue until June

Boris Johnson urged Britons to 'keep going' with lockdown tonight as he prepares to signal curbs must stay until June at his first Downing Street briefing since falling ill

Having chaired Cabinet, the Prime Minister said on Twitter that he 'understands the impatience' of people to end the draconian restrictions crippling the economy.

But dashing hopes of an imminent loosening, he made clear that a new flare-up of the deadly disease would be worse. 'I must ask you to keep going in the way that you have kept going so far, so we can protect our NHS and save lives,' he said.

The reiteration of the tough lockdown message Mr Johnson delivered on the steps of Downing Street earlier this week comes as he puts the 'R' number - the reproduction rate of the virus - at the heart of the battle. He will insist nothing can be done that lets it rise above one, which would mean the outbreak was growing again.

Government sources have indicated he will also defy calls to treat the public like 'grown ups' by spelling out an 'exit strategy'.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon jumped the gun at a briefing in Edinburgh earlier, saying she believed it would be 'too early' when the formal review happens next week to lift restrictions 'in any meaningful way'. She also voiced alarm that people were already starting to flout the social distancing rules - revealing traffic was up 10 per cent in the past week in some parts of Scotland.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan delivered an even bleaker assessment, warning there will be 'no return to life as it was' and suggesting it will be a long time before bars and restaurants can reopen.

Downing Street said it was clear Britons were going to need to adjust their lives for 'a long period of time'.

Despite the hard line in public, frantic work has been going on behind the scenes to develop an 'exit plan'. Island communities with controllable transport links are set to be used to trial ways of loosening restrictions while ramping up community testing. The Isle of Wight will be among the first pilot sites.

In other developments with no end in sight to the crisis:

    Britain today announced 473 more coronavirus deaths in hospitals, taking the UK's official death toll to 26,570;

    A report has warned that London's transport network could be crippled when the UK eases lockdown measures after TfL furloughed 7,000 staff;

    Ministers have admitted that the government will 'probably' miss Matt Hancock's target for carrying out 100,000 tests a day;

    A poll has found two-thirds of the public believe the government acted too late in imposing the lockdown;

    Fresh questions have been raised about the SAGE group amid claims that it has been influenced by politicians and senior officials;

    NHS fundraising hero Tom Moore has been promoted to colonel and honoured with an RAF flypast to mark his 100th birthday;

    Top surgeons have warned thousands of people will die of Covid-19 if Britain's strict lockdown is lifted at this stage, saying the NHS must not be used as a 'punchbag' to avoid economic damage;

    Germany has said its coronavirus reproduction rate is 0.76, well below the growth level of one, despite fears over easing of curbs. But scientists have warned the UK has less room to manoeuvre on lockdown because it has far fewer intensive care beds
Nicola Sturgeon warns it is not 'safe' to ease curbs

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said in interviews that the mood among ministers was 'extreme caution', endorsing a strong hint from Nicola Sturgeon that restrictions will be extended for another three weeks when the formal review takes place on May 7

Scotland: Apple data for Scotland shows driving activity is slightly higher than the rest of the UK. Driving across the rest of the UK was down 58 per cent from baseline on Tuesday compared to 54 per cent north of the border. Many areas of Scotland are remote with limited public transport links

UK: Department of Transport data also shows that traffic across the UK is slowly increasing. It recorded a 3% rise in traffic across the UK this week when compared to last week. Use of Public transport including the tube its still very low

Ministers have admitted they face missing Matt Hancock's coronavirus testing target today - as experts brand it a 'red herring' that has hampered the response.

Amid criticism that the UK was lagging behind countries such as South Korea and Germany, the Health Secretary dramatically pledged on April 2 that 100,000 checks a day would be carried out by the end of the month.

But while daily capacity is now over 70,000 the number of actual tests is still running at barely half the goal.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland conceded this morning that the aim was 'probably' going to be missed, blaming the fact the government started from a 'low base' and saying he now hoped the figures would reach the mark in the next few days.

NHS Providers, which represents health service trusts, has launched a scathing attack on Mr Hancock's handling of the situation, saying the push to hit the number has been a 'distraction' and led to chaotic expansion.

Mr Johnson's appearance at the press briefing tonight will be his first since resuming charge at Downing Street on Monday, and will come less than 36 hours after his fiancee Carrie Symonds gave birth to their son.

The premier has delayed his paternity leave until later in the year as the country struggles to fight off the coronavirus outbreak.

At the briefing in Edinburgh today, Ms Sturgeon said: 'It may very well be too early even this time next week in any meaningful way to safely lift the current restrictions...

'The margins we have for making sure the virus doesn't take off again are really really tight.'

She said overall traffic in Scotland was up 5 per cent over the past week, even though it is still less than a third of pre-lockdown levels.

'In some of our town and city roads traffic has been 10 per cent higher than in the week before,' she said.

She asked people to think about if they were now 'a little more active' than they had been at the start of lockdown.

'You might think it is only you making an extra journey, and it is only one trip. And you might feel you deserve it after weeks of restraint. Believe me, I really understand all of that.

'But all of it adds up. And if everybody starts easing off, the virus will quickly take off again and it will have devastating consequences for all of us.'

Writing in the Evening Standard, Mr Khan took an even harder line. 'There will be no return to life as it was – instead we face a ‘new normal’ even once lockdown is eased,' he wrote.

'We may be able to occasionally see our closest loved ones – but interactions will be limited and for a while there will be no larger gatherings.

'While non-essential shops will be able to reopen after introducing social distancing measures, it is difficult to see how this can safely be extended to bars, restaurants or social spaces in a practicable way soon.

'And most people who are currently able to work from home will need to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.'

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said in interviews this morning that the mood among ministers was 'extreme caution'.

He said: 'I think the common thread between the Governments is one of extreme caution following the evidence of the Sage committee, making sure that we don't do anything in a premature way that could risk a second spike. That would be a disaster.'

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'I think, within Government, there is already a lot of work going on as to what the future is going to look like - I think it would be a dereliction of duty if we didn't do that.

'Certainly in my department, I'm looking ahead now to the medium term as to what the summer and autumn are going to look like in the prison and court system. We've got to start that work, in fact the work is already under way.

'That's, of course, not saying that we're suddenly going to move into a new phase - we need to be absolutely sure that the five tests that were set out some weeks ago are going to be met, and in particular the need to avoid that second or even third spike in the disease is clear to me both in terms of health and the well-being of the economy as well.'

One No10 source said of Mr Johnson's message: 'It will very much be in the area of how we satisfy our five tests for coming out of lockdown, chief among which is making sure we don't risk another exponential rise in infections.

'It's still too early to be setting out any details of what any easing of the lockdown might look like.'

Data published yesterday showed that Britain has one of the world's worst coronavirus death rates, better only than Spain and Belgium per capita.

UK announces 473 more coronavirus deaths in hospitals - taking the total to 26,570

Britain today announced 473 more coronavirus deaths in hospitals, taking the UK's official death toll to 26,570.

NHS England declared 391 COVID-19 victims, while Scotland recorded 60 and Wales posted 22. Northern Ireland has yet to announce.

The Department of Health said official count, which is expected to be even higher and include deaths that occurred outside of hospitals, will be published later this afternoon.

Amid fears thousands of victims were being missed, ministers caved in to mounting pressure to include COVID-19 fatalities in care homes in the daily update.

Officials yesterday - the first day of the new recording scheme - added an extra 3,811 deaths onto the tally. The revised count saw Britain jump to third in the global COVID-19 fatality table, and meant Britain's daily death toll exceeded 1,000 nine times in April.

But top statisticians argued the recount was still thousands short because only Brits who tested positive for the virus were included. One leading expert claimed the true number would be more than 30,000.

Revised UK figures including deaths outside hospitals showed that there have been nine days when the death toll topped 1,000 - ranging from April 7 to as recently as April 24.

Mr Johnson chaired the daily coronavirus morning meeting, followed by meetings of his political Cabinet and full Cabinet, the PM's official spokesman said.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance updated ministers on the response to coronavirus so far and the progress made in slowing the spread of the disease.

Secretaries of State then updated colleagues on the work their departments are doing.

The Prime Minister's gave another signal that there is little chance of a loosening before June.

He told a Westminster briefing: 'I think we will have to wait for the review to take place and I don't think it is wise for me to pre-empt that.

'What you've obviously heard from Chris Whitty is that this is a disease that is going to be around for a significant amount of time - he's said we have to be realistic, we're going to have to do a lot of things for a long period of time.'

The spokesman added: 'Let's not pre-empt the review but, as the PM himself has said, the worst thing we could do is relax the social distancing measures too soon and throw away all of the progress which has been made thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the British public.'

Labour leader Keir Starmer said he believed a public inquiry into the coronavirus response was now 'inevitable'.

'I think the government were slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on protective equipment, and may now be slow on our exit strategy,' he told ITV News.

Wales' chief medical officer warned 'there is a long way to go' in the fight against coronavirus, adding that moving forward will be 'extraordinarily difficult'.

Dr Frank Atherton told a virtual meeting of the Welsh Assembly's health committee that Covid-19 had 'many surprises' that emerged on a daily basis.

He called for a 'more systematic approach' to understanding how the virus was affecting the UK and the rest of the world, as each country has differing perspectives and responses.

Dr Atherton said the reproduction rate of the virus - the number of new cases linked to a single individual - is now less than one in Wales, meaning that lockdown measures are working.

But the meeting heard that there is little 'headroom' for an increase in infections that are likely if such measures are significantly lifted.

'We're not out of this yet and we have a long way to go,' Dr Atherton said.

London: Apple mobility data for London shows driving has increased 2 per cent this week and walking was up 8 per cent at the weekend during the sunny weather but plunged when rain hit on Monday

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... curbs.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri May 01, 2020 1:02 am

Over-50s should be
kept in lockdown longer


Keeping the over-50s in isolation longer and requiring people to prove their age when out and about is 'the safest way out of lockdown', researchers claim

A Warwick University study found that a 'rolling age-release strategy' was the best option to end the lockdown introduced to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The strategy proposed by researchers is based on the fact that death rates from COVID-19 among 50-year-olds are 20 times higher than deaths among 20-year-olds.

Study authors wrote that that police officers would have to be given the power to fine those caught breaking the age rule to ensure it was followed.

In an extreme example - set out by the study authors, based on Chinese data - they say releasing over-50s early without a vaccine could see 40,000 extra people die.

Image

This graph shows the ‘relative risk of death’ from coronavirus for each age group compared to those in their 20s – based on being released form lockdown before a vaccine is available. Not to be confused with the rate of death

In the study 'Age, death risk and the design of an exit strategy', the Warwick researchers shared five benefits of basing the end of lockdown on age.

They say an age-based release recognises that 'we cannot wait indefinitely to reopen the economy' and is the 'safest way to do so before a vaccine is available'.

Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at Warwick, said people older than 50 'do not realise the danger they are about to be in'.

'Our age-risk graphs need to be understood by everyone. They show very clearly that younger people are at far less risk of dying from COVID-19 than older citizens.

'Any lockdown release policy that does not design itself around this "age gradient" in human coronavirus risk will have dangerous consequences,' Oswald said.

Authors say young healthy people are the best placed to survive the virus and should be released in the first wave of an 'age-related' lockdown release schedule

The researchers say older people should be in lockdown longer as 'younger people are far, far, safer'.

Enforcement is a concern raised by the researchers in their paper, saying that people may be reluctant to stay indoors longer.

'How would an age-based release rule be enforced? Presumably police officers would have to be given the right to fine those caught breaking the age rule.

'As we have explained elsewhere, the vast majority of citizens in the UK carry driving licenses that would allow a police officer to check their date of birth,' they wrote.

They added that a rolling age-release poses the lowest risk and reduces the chance of people being called back for a second round of lockdowns.

'In principle the young should be able to stay out once released,' say researchers.

A number of studies have demonstrated the fact that the risk of death from coronavirus increases with age.

People under 50 have a less than 0.5 per cent chance of death from COVId-19 but it jumps to 1.3 per cent for over-50s.

It gets even higher as you get older - with a death rate of 3.6 per cent for over-60s and 8 per cent for over-70s.

NHS expert Mike Fischer, agrees that over-50s should stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Warwick researchers say there are five key reasons why young people should be released first

It recognizes that we cannot wait indefinitely to reopen the economy;

It is the safest way to do that before a vaccine is available;

It is the least likely strategy to require that people will have later to be painfully recalled into further rounds of lockdown, because in principle the young should be able to stay out once released;

It usefully plays for time as researchers work on a vaccine;

It targets the group currently the hardest-hit financially.

Official data - collated by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre from NHS critical care units - shows more than 54 per cent of COVID-19 patients admitted for urgent care are aged between 50 and 69 years.

Almost three quarters of critically ill people are either overweight or obese.

There are five tests outlined by the government that would allow the lockdown to be lifted including getting the rate of infection lower and having tests available.

The tests also include ensuring the NHS has sufficient capacity, a sustained fall in daily deaths, PPE is available and measures won't risk a second peak of infections.

Not everyone agrees this is the best approach, Dr Thomas House, a statistician from the University of Manchester said young people could get a false sense of security.

'If younger individuals begin to mix again and we see an increase in the prevalence of coronavirus infections, that will inevitably increase the number of cases in the older individuals who are most at risk of dying once infected,' he told the Telegraph.

'It is also likely that there are many younger individuals who have massively increased risk compared to others of their age due to factors we have not yet been able to identify through epidemiological analysis, and who would therefore be seriously misled by the kind of charts proposed by the authors.'

The Warwick team say the hardest part could be in convincing the public of the importance and benefit of a rolling age-release strategy.

'Strategies for building public support for a rolling release could include clear communication about the rationale for the strategy, and online resources to help people understand their own personal risk profiles,' the team wrote in a release.

This graph is an extreme example, using Chinese data to estimate the impact an early release of each age group would have on coronavirus deaths in the UK. They found the most at risk group is the over 60s and the lowest risk is those in their 20s

Researchers say the oldest groups - including those over 70 - should be the last released from lockdown as age is a significant factor in survival rate from COVID-19

Nick Powdthavee, Professor of Behavioural Economics at Warwick Business School, said: 'We believe that an age-based strategy along the lines we describe has the potential to strike the right balance between epidemiology and economics.'

The researchers don't think older people should be kept out of work though, rather that they should make use of technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

'Far from being left on the shelf, older workers can play a vital role as supervisors and mentors using the communication technologies which have come to the fore during lockdown,' he said.

Researchers say an app could be developed that provides people with their own 'risk' from coronavirus using the most recent epidemiological evidence.

'A release of younger people might, we appreciate, cause resentment among those older than the age-group released,' they wrote.

'Nevertheless, to reassure them, the older groups could be told when their turn would eventually arrive, and they could be encouraged to check a government sponsored website detailing the exact risk-by-age pattern of the virus.'

They say that 'one of the characteristics of COVID-19 is that younger people are far, far safer' - yet much of the worldwide discussion of an ‘exit strategy’ does not exploit this 'fundamental, and potentially pivotal, piece of knowledge'.

The paper is available on the Warwick University website.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech ... onger.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 02, 2020 11:01 pm

France extends health
emergency until July 24


Europe mulls lifting lockdown restrictions

France’s minister of health has announced an extension of the public health state of emergency until July 24. The country was placed under emergency on March 24 due the Covid-19 outbreak.

The move was announced by Olivier Veran on Saturday, following an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers.

While the state of health emergency was expected to be lifted on May 23, doing so was deemed to be “premature” and carrying risk of the “epidemic resurgence,” the draft bill reads as quoted by local media.

The government’s decision to extend the emergency is set be submitted to the country’s legislature for final approval next week.

Also on rt.com Macron warns life ‘won’t be back to normal’ as Covid-19 forces French to find new way of ‘social distance’ protest

It was not immediately clear whether the emergency extension will affect the plans to begin gradually lifting the restrictions starting from May 11. The country is expected to reopen schools and businesses, easing the weeks-long lockdown. Still, life "wouldn’t be back to normal” at once, France's President Emmanuel Macron has warned. Reopening of the country will be effected in “several phases” and a “recovery period” will be set out.

Although the European coronavirus tally has now surpassed the 1.5 million mark, countries across the continent are starting to ease their lockdowns. Italy is expected to lift some of its restrictions on May 4, allowing people to exercise outdoors as well as to visit relatives living nearby. Retailers and cultural sites are expected to be allowed to reopen in mid-May, with bars and restaurants to follow on June 1.

Spain eased its lockdown as well, allowing adult citizens to exercise outdoors starting from Saturday. The restrictive measures for minors were partially lifted a week ago.

Playgrounds began reopening across Germany on Friday, while schools are expected to be partially back in action next week. Social distancing measures will remain in place until at least May 10, however. In Norway and Denmark, some schools and nurseries have already reopened.

https://www.rt.com/news/487627-france-e ... ncy-until/
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 02, 2020 11:45 pm

We don’t care about coronavirus

Thousands attend mass prayer in Afghanistan during Ramadan, defying quarantine

Link to Video:

https://youtu.be/WIAvU8_FhBI

Thousands of defiant Muslims have held public prayers during Ramadan in Afghanistan, ignoring Covid-19 safety measures. Their radical leader previously said that dying from the virus would be a form of martyrdom.

A large crowd of followers of hardline Salafist preacher Mujib Rahman Ansari had gathered for an open-air group prayer near the Gazer Gah Sharif pilgrimage site in Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city.

The worshippers sat in tight rows, close to each other, ignoring social distancing norms and not wearing masks or other protective gear.

“We don’t care about the coronavirus. We believe God created the coronavirus. I think it is just a creation of God, just as we are. It was God’s will to create such a virus,” one of the attendees told Ruptly video agency.

Ansari had previously told his followers that deaths from Covid-19 would be considered martyrdom.

Many Muslim clerics have urged worshipers to pray at home during Ramadan – a holy month in Islam – and to continue social distancing during the pandemic. Meanwhile, a number of countries, including Iran, have cancelled Friday prayers in major cities to avoid the spread of the disease.

https://www.rt.com/news/487610-afghanis ... uarantine/
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun May 03, 2020 10:14 pm

CIA & MI6 put together
'scientific' dossier


CIA & MI6 are ‘targeting China's Covid-19 cover-up’ - as West readies to demand Beijing compensation

The West’s wish to pin the blame on China (and probably the bill too) for the Covid-19 pandemic has been reportedly incarnated in a 15-page dossier compiled by intelligence agencies, which has now leaked, according to reports.

The document, described by the Australian newspaper the Sunday Telegraph, was prepared by “concerned Western governments.” The publication mentions that the Five Eyes intelligence agencies are investigating China, pointing to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK.

The authors of the research found some pretty strange ways to paint China’s response to the outbreak in a negative and even sinister way. For instance, despite a presumed requirement for brevity in such a short paper it refers to a study which claimed the killer coronavirus had been created in a lab.

The scientific community’s consensus says otherwise, while US intelligence is on the record agreeing with this position. The study itself has been withdrawn because there was no direct proof to support the theory, as its author Botao Xiao acknowledged. But the ‘China dossier’ found a warm spot for a mention, it appears.

A large portion of the document is apparently dedicated to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and one of its top researchers, Shi Zhengli, who has a long and distinguished career of studying SARS-like coronaviruses and bats as their natural reservoirs. It seems the dossier is not interested in the database of bat-related viruses she helped create but rather in the claim that the Covid-19 pandemic started as a leak from her lab.

The dossier points to the so-called gain-of-function research that Dr. Shi was involved in. Such studies are aimed at identifying possible mutations in infectious agents that may occur naturally and makes them much more dangerous to humans. Creating stems with such mutations in the lab allows to prepare for a possible outbreak, though whether such research is worth the risk of accidental release or even bioterrorism attacks has been subject to much debate.

In the contents of the dossier however the implications seem clear: what if China lost control of one of its dangerous samples and then did everything it could to cover it up? The alleged obfuscation seems to be the main focus of the damning document. It claims Beijing was engaged in “suppression and destruction of evidence” including by disinfecting the food market believed to be the ground zero of the Covid-19 pandemic. China is also accused of hypocrisy because it imposed a ban on internal travel from the Hubei province while arguing against a ban on international flights.

“Millions of people leave Wuhan after the outbreak and before Beijing locks down the city on January 23,” the newspaper cited the document as saying. “Thousands fly overseas. Throughout February, Beijing presses the US, Italy, India, Australia, Southeast Asian neighbours and others not to protect themselves via travel restrictions, even as the PRC imposes severe restrictions at home.”

    A Senior Intelligence Source tells me there is agreement among most of the 17 Intelligence agencies that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab. The source stressed that the release is believed to be a MISTAKE, and was not intentional.
    — John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) May 2, 2020
The leaked dossier is yet to be made public for independent scrutiny. But the dramatic tone of the quotes in the Telegraph and the far-fetched implications indicate that it is along the lines of infamous intelligence assessments and media leaks by anonymous officials, which have been the staple of Western foreign policy for decades. Remember how Saddam Hussein secretly obtained yellowcake uranium and was ready to strike Europe with his missiles in 45 minutes? Or the Russian bots that swayed the 2016 election with memes? If true, we can expect many ‘revelations’ in months to come.

https://www.rt.com/news/487661-china-co ... er-leaked/
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 05, 2020 9:19 pm

Surveillance may never be dismantled

Covid is ushering in a surveillance state that may never be dismantled

Forgive me if I do not entirely share the enthusiasm for downloading an app to my mobile phone that will potentially let the state track and trace my movements. While I will probably consider it a civic duty to do so in the current crisis, it is hard to believe it is even necessary to voice scepticism.

Is the “new normal” to be a surveillance society, with tracing apps and facial recognition health passports? The Government insists not; but if we are hit by a second wave of Covid-19, the temptation to extend the monitoring will be hard to resist.

Then again, if it means we can get back to something approaching normality, does anyone care? After all, don’t we trust our governments to make the right choices and not arrogate too much power to themselves?...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/0 ... ismantled/
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 05, 2020 9:29 pm

India's Covid-19 app fuels
worries over surveillance


Narendra Modi’s request was simple: to help combat the spread of coronavirus, people should download an Indian government-built smartphone app that helps identify their risk of catching and spreading the virus

“As more and more people use it, its effectiveness will increase,” the prime minister said in a televised address last month.

Within hours, the Aarogya Setu app became the fastest downloaded app on record, with 83 million users and counting.

India was not the first country to deploy technology for coronavirus contact tracing – China, the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and multiple European countries have developed apps. But in a country with no meaningful anti-surveillance, privacy or data protection laws (the 1885 Telegraph Act is still in use) and a nationalist government with unprecedented snooping powers, many fear it has sinister implications.

“The coronavirus is a gift to authoritarian states including India,” said the Indian author Arundhati Roy. “Pre-corona, if we were sleepwalking into the surveillance state, now we are panic-running into a super-surveillance state.”

Since coronavirus took hold in early March, it has been met with mounting authoritarian measures by Modi’s government. Journalists critical of the government have been hit with police charges while students who held anti-government protests last year are suddenly being rounded up under draconian terrorism laws.

Meanwhile, with the entire country placed under a strict lockdown, the normal mechanisms of justice, accountability and democracy have been heavily eroded, with gatherings – and therefore protests – banned and the courts all but suspended, ensuring lawyers have been unable to file bail applications.

Throughout April, Delhi police rounded up and detained student activists who helped organise massive protests against a citizenship law last year. Several of the female activists, one of whom is pregnant, have been accused of a “conspiracy” to instigate deadly religious riots in Delhi in February, and were arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which is normally used in the context of terrorism. It means they can be held for six months with no charges and no bail.

Authoritarian measures have also been increasing in the volatile region of Kashmir. In a single week, the police used the same terrorism law to arrest a number of journalists in cases collectively described by the Editors Guild of India as a “gross misuse of power”.

“The excuse of the pandemic has meant the threshold for justifying arrests under terrorism laws, such as UAPA, has dropped further,” said Karuna Nundy, a supreme court lawyer. “But it has also become almost impossible to get a court hearing to determine whether an action is illegal or unconstitutional. So access to justice is now extremely limited.”

The app has fuelled concern that the pandemic is being used as a pretext to erode privacy and freedom of speech in the name of “winning the war” against coronavirus. “In this context, the justification for restrictions on civil liberties is a lot more palatable to the public and it is less closely scrutinised,” said Sidharth Deb, counsel at the Internet Freedom Foundation, who wrote a paper on the app.

Privacy violations and unprecedented surveillance have already been rife at the state level, from the personal details of everyone on quarantine lists in the state of Karnataka being published in the public domain to police tracking people in quarantine through GPS, drones and even geotagged selfies.

The app presents similar issues, but on a scale that could affect hundreds of millions of people. All data used to calculate risk of infection, from age and address to travel history and – through the use of GPS and bluetooth – people that users have come into close contact with over the past 14 days, is sent to an external server under the control of the federal government. According to the terms of use, users are not allowed to give their phones to others.

The use of both Bluetooth and GPS makes the app far more invasive than its counterpart in Singapore. And when it comes to transparency around how the data will be handled and used, the Indian government has been far more opaque. Unlike in most other countries, there is no transparency on the limitations on the lifespan of database and no binding policy that it will not be repurposed after the pandemic. The app is equally vague about which government departments will have access to the Aarogya Setu database.

Abhishek Singh, the chief executive of MyGovIndia, which developed Aarogya Setu, said the app had been built “with privacy as the core principle”, with location data kept anonymised, all data of non-risk users deleted after 45 days, and high-risk users after 60 days.

“The government of India will use information only for administering necessary medical interventions,” he told the Guardian. “Data is not going to be used for any other purpose. No third party has access to data.”

But Deb said the app “presents a sweep of privacy related risks. This has the potential to be a permanent tool of surveillance and on top of it all, we don’t have legislation or a law or even an oversight mechanism to hold the government accountable and preserve our right to privacy.”

Some see it as evidence of India looking to China’s playbook, where technology was heavily deployed to monitor citizens under the guise of contact tracing. Indeed, downloading it could soon be the only way for people in India to freely leave the house, giving the government an unprecedented watch over its citizens.

As of Friday, Aarogya Setu has been mandatory for all public, private and military employees. It will come pre-installed on all smartphones and may be used by the Delhi Metro to screen people who wish to use the service once lockdown is lifted.

Just as surveillance has become more heavy-handed during the pandemic, so too have attacks on the media. After the government imposed a nationwide lockdown on 24 March with just four hours notice, prompting negative media coverage, the supreme court issued a ruling that the media only publish the “official version” of events as put out in government bulletins.

Then, on 1 April, the police filed a report against Siddharth Varadarajan, the editor of independent news outlet the Wire, for an article detailing allegations that the chief minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh had violated physical distancing rules at a religious gathering. The charges against Varadarajan include the transmission of obscene material.

Varadarajan said it was “undoubtedly” part of an anti-democratic shift. “All the authoritarian impulses evident before are more pronounced today – intolerance of the media and free speech, tolerance of hate speech and religious polarisation, secrecy, lack of transparency and lack of communication,” he said.

Varadarajan’s case is not an isolated one. Last week the Chhattisgarh police issued a notice against the local journalist Neeraj Shivhare for his story on a female labourer starving during the lockdown, accusing him of the “punishable offence” of making “readers afraid and scared and tarnishing the image of the administration” during an epidemic.

“The courts are not functioning as they should, so the police also know it is harder for journalists to get relief from this kind of harassment,” said Varadarajan. “And of course their hope is that the media sitting on the fence will look at our situation and say: ‘Why take the risk of annoying the government?’”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... avirus-app
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 05, 2020 9:38 pm

KRG resumes work 11 May

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Council of Ministers is expecting to allow for the resumption of work at government institutions on 11 May, according to the Interior Ministry

"From 11 May, 2020, the normal work at the government institutions will resume, if there will be going to be no growing coronavirus danger," reads a Facebook post by the KRG's Interior Ministry.

A person at the meeting, who wished to remain unnamed, told Rudaw's Sangar Abdulrahman that the decision was made at a Tuesday meeting headed by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and attended by Deputy PM Qubad Talabani.

The decision comes nearly two months after the KRG imposed a lockdown and shut down the governmental apparatus in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/050520202
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 05, 2020 9:45 pm

Erbil and Sulaimani close
COVID-19 hospitals


Hospitals in Erbil and Sulaimani dedicated to treating patients with the novel coronavirus have closed their doors after ALL patients in their care made a full recovery

Botan Abdulqadir, director of Rizgari Hospital in Erbil, told Rudaw on Tuesday afternoon they have shut down the hospital after all 91 COVID-19 patients were discharged.

The 450-bed hospital was dedicated to treating coronavirus patients in late March after dozens of people contracted COVID-19 at two funeral services.

The hospital is now being disinfected before it resumes regular services in the coming days.

Other hospitals with dedicated COVID-19 departments will remain open for the time being.

The 155-bed Martyr Aso hospital in Sulaimani also closed its doors on Tuesday after discharging all of it COVID-19 patients with a clean bill of health.

Two other centers in the city dedicated to coronavirus patients will continue operating for the foreseeable future.

The closures come as the number of new infections continues to fall across the Kurdistan Region, leading to a loosening of lockdown restrictions and traffic suspensions.

Isolated cases continue to emerge however, and health experts are mindful of a potential second spike if social distancing rules are relaxed too quickly.

A 32-year-old man tested positive for the virus in Erbil’s Sebiran district earlier on Tuesday, according to the health ministry. A complete quarantine of the town’s 5,000-strong population was lifted just over a month ago.

No other cases were recorded anywhere in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday or Monday.

The Region has recorded a total of 388 cases since the outbreak began on March 1. Of this number, 343 patients have recovered, five have died, and 40 cases remain active.

Duhok province, which previously declared “victory” over the virus, has four active cases, Sulaimani one, and Erbil 35.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/05052020
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 06, 2020 10:19 pm

No evidence Covid-19 is man-made

UK health minister says, as US insists it came out of Wuhan lab

The UK’s health minister has said there’s nothing in the roots of the Covid-19 epidemic to support allegations of a man-made origin, as unsubstantiated theories continue to be touted on the other side of the Atlantic.

“We have looked into this and we don't have any evidence that this is a man-made coronavirus,” Matt Hancock stated on Wednesday. The remark came as he was pressed into giving his take on the US government alleging that the novel coronavirus originated from a Chinese laboratory.

    We haven't seen any evidence of a link, there's nothing I've seen that confirms the allegation
Days ago, US President Donald Trump made headlines by saying he has seen evidence backing up this theory. “We have people looking at it very, very strongly. Scientific people, intelligence people, and others,” he said at the time, adding: “We will have a very good answer eventually.”

Hancock, meanwhile, declined to say whether the US has shared any tip-offs with its closest ally. The minister only noted that the American president “phrased his comments very carefully.”

Other members of the Trump administration have also aggressively advanced the “man-made virus” theory. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ramped up the rhetoric, claiming on Sunday he has a “significant amount of evidence” that the novel coronavirus came out of a lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s Covid-19 crisis.

The former CIA director’s theories, however, run contrary to what the Western intelligence community believes. Previously, the Guardian reported that sources close to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – comprised of secret services in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada – maintain there was no foul play behind the spread of Covid-19.

China has consistently refuted the accusations, pointing out that it was a victim of the deadly virus, not the mastermind of a global pandemic.

https://www.rt.com/news/487903-hancock- ... -man-made/
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 09, 2020 1:13 pm

Scientists think virus
started in OCTOBER


Coronavirus: WHO urges countries to check older records

Researchers at University College London and the University of Reunion Island carried out a joint study that analysed more than 7,000 genome sequence assemblies collected from around the world since January.

As a result of examining the mutations in the virus from these samples, scientists now think that SARS-COV-2 jumped from its initial host to humans at some point between October 6 and December 11.

Their findings will be published in the forthcoming edition of the scientific journal Infection Genetics and Evolution and will give credence to the theory that the deadly virus was circulating earlier than thought.

China announced its first case of COVID-19 at the end of December, with the patient dying from the disease on January 11.

However, experts started to suspect that the coronavirus was already being transmitted among people a lot earlier than this date, as a result of testimony provided by a French athlete.

Olympic silver medallist pentathlete Elodie Clouvel and her boyfriend fell ill after taking part in the Military World Games, held in Wuhan between October 18 and 27 and involving over 9,000 athletes from 109 countries.

In an interview with RTL radio, she said: “We all fell ill with the same symptoms.

"We have recently had a contact with the military doctor, who said to us: 'I think you had [it] because there were a lot of people who were ill afterwards'."

Other French team members have since claimed that they also fell ill, according to French media reports.

The French army has denied all knowledge of anyone contracting the disease during the games.

China: 'Enormous evidence’ pandemic started in lab say Pompeo

Yet the possibility remains that contestants at the Games became infected with the virus and unwittingly help spread the disease around the globe on returning to their home countries.

Meanwhile, a 43-year-old French man was told this week by doctors that the “mystery” disease that struck him down on December 27 was COVID-19.

The diagnosis was confirmed after scientists tested a frozen swab that had been taken from the man.

Originally, the first confirmed case of the disease in France had been registered on January 24.

As a result of this discovery, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged other countries to investigate any other early suspicious cases.

Referring to the French report, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a U.N. briefing in Geneva: “This gives a whole new picture on everything.

“The findings help to better understand the potential virus circulation of COVID-19.”

Mr Lindmeier encouraged other countries to check records for pneumonia cases of unspecified origin in late 2019, since this would give a “new and clearer picture” of the outbreak.

Asked about the origins of the virus in China, Mr Lindmeier stressed that it was “really, really important” to explore this.

Earlier in the week, US Sectretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said there was "enormous evidence" that the coronavirus originated from a Wuhan laboratory.

Mr Pompeo also said that this was not the first time that Chinese lab failures had allowed a deadly virus to escape and endanger the world

The Secretary of State told ABC news: “There's enormous evidence that that's where this began.

“We've said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outset.

“But I think the whole world can see now. Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories.”

China strongly denies the allegation and insists the virus spread to humans naturally.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/12 ... ific-study
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