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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 » Sun May 31, 2020 12:19 am

Kurdistan sixth virus death

Sulaimani province health authorities on Saturday afternoon confirmed the death of a 37-year-old man who had contracted COVID-19 – the Kurdistan Region's sixth recorded death from the virus

The man, who had been hospitalised due to the severity of his symptoms, died earlier on Saturday, Sulaimani Health Department spokesperson Dr. Yad Naqshbandi told Rudaw.

"He did not have any underlying health conditions. He was solely a coronavirus patient," Naqshbandi said.

He became the fifth person from Sulaimani province to have died after contracting the virus, the only other Kurdistan Region death having been recorded in Erbil on April 28.

Incidences of coronavirus infection are continuing to show a worrying resurgence, with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) health ministry announcing 23 new cases in Sulaimani province on Saturday night. So far, 606 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded across the Kurdistan Region, with 409 resulting in recovery and six deaths; 191 cases remain active.

Naqshbandi warned that some who have contracted COVID-19 in Sulaimani are in a serious condition, as "eight to nine" of the province's patients "sometimes need to be put on ventilators."

The Kurdistan Region began implementing measures to curb the spread of the virus in late February, resorting to partial and complete lockdowns in March.

Lockdown measures were gradually lifted as rates of infection slowed, allowing shops, mosques and churches to reopen their doors and non-essential traffic to run through the Region's roads – though authorities have called on the public to adhere to their end of pandemic-induced regulations.

But with cases of the virus growing since the beginning of May, the KRG imposed a full, 72-hour lockdown across the Kurdistan Region on the three days of Eid al-Fitr last week. The government renewed a ban on travel between provinces in the Kurdistan Region until June 16, according to the an order issued on Wednesday.

Amid the outbreak's surge, the prime minister of the Kurdistan Region issued a strongly worded statement Friday morning to warn that the public's decreasing commitment to the government's health instructions has led to the disease "swiftly spreading."

"Unfortunately, there has recently been very little commitment to the [health] instructions," Barzani added.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/300520201
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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 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:22 pm

Russia approves game-changer drug

Russia has approved a 'game-changer' antiviral drug to treat the coronavirus and is ready to start giving it to infected patients next week

The Health Ministry in Russia has approved Avifavir, following the promising results of the first phase of clinical trials of the medication.

Covid-19 patients given the drug recovered in half the time compared to those who took a placebo and that it cures 90 per cent of patients in 10 days, health chiefs claimed.

Russian officials modified a version of the generic drug favipiravir, a drug designed to treat flu in Japan, to make it specifically for Covid-19.

They said they would share the formula globally, saying they believe it is the 'most promising anti-COVID-19 drug in the world'.

In the meantime, 60,000 doses of the drug will be delivered to hospitals in Russia over the course of June.

UK scientists have already started a trial of favipiravir on dozens of infected patients, admitting the early results have looked 'promising'.

Evidence suggests it can be used to prevent severe Covid-19 when given at the early stages of disease - but it hasn't shown to have much effect in critically ill cases.

But it has been linked to birth defects in animals. Japan's Prime Minister admitted the side effects could be 'the same as thalidomide', which caused deformities in thousands of babies in the 1950s and '60s.

Russian officials modified a version of the generic drug favipiravir, a well established drug used to treat flu in Japan, to make Avifavir specifically for Covid-19.

Drug-makers worldwide are rushing to develop treatments and vaccines for the virus that has killed 372,000 people globally - a tenth of which are in the UK.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) made the Avifavir in a 50-50 joint venture with Russian pharmaceutical firm ChemRar.

RDIF said Avifavir had proved highly effective in treating patients with coronavirus in the first phase of its clinical trials led by IM Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University.
WHAT IS AVIFAVIR?

Russian specialists modified the generic drug favipiravir to enhance its efficacy for treating COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The result was Avifavir.

Favipiravir is the active ingredient in a Japanese anti-flu medicine called Avigan, which is also being trialled against Covid-19 in Japan but has not been approved for use yet.

Avigan is manufactured by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, which is better known for its cameras. The drug was approved for use in Japan in 2014 as a new flu treatment.

One of the first trials of favipiravir was on 340 patients in China. Patients who took favipiravir recovered quicker and showed greater lung improvement compared with patients not given the drug.

It was given to a small number of patients in Shenzhen, who had negative results for the coronavirus an average of four days after being diagnosed, meaning there was no trace of the virus in their body. This compared with 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug, according to local media.

X-rays showed improvements in lung condition in nine in ten of the patients who were treated with favipiravir, compared to six in ten of those without the drug.

Favipiravir has been effective, with no obvious side-effects, in helping coronavirus patients recover, Zhang Xinmin, an official at China's Science and Technology Ministry, told reporters.

'It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,' Mr Xinmin said, according to The Guardian.

It's unknown which branded favipiravir drug the patients were given.

Contradictory clinical trials suggest favipiravir will not be useful in patients who have more severe illness.

The first phase of a clinical trial is to assess if a drug is safe and prove it has some sort of effect against the virus.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of RDIF, told Reuters: 'The drug showed very good results in randomised clinical tests. After four days, 65 per cent of patients did not have the virus.'

This was two times higher compared to those on standard therapy.

By 10 days this number had increased to 90 per cent.

During the trial, only 40 patients were treated with the drug, so the results will need verifying with a larger number of participants.

No side effects were noted in this trial but these would become apparent in larger trials, the scientists said.

Mr Dmitriev said it was not suitable for pregnant woman, likely nodding to animal studies which have shown Avigan - another drug based on the same generic ingredient - can affect foetal development. Some doctors say they would not recommend it for children or adolescents.

The final stage of clinical trials is under way, with the participation of 330 patients.

'We believe this is a game changer,' Mr Dmitriev said. 'It will reduce strain on the healthcare system, we'll have fewer people getting into a critical condition, and for 90 per cent of people it eliminates the virus within 10 days.

'Avifavir more than halves the duration of the disease, ensuring most patients are free of infection after the fifth day of treatment, which helps to more successfully fight the virus and protects Russian hospitals from being overwhelmed.'

Mr Dmitriev said the roll-out of the drug across the country would curb how many people need to be admitted to hospital because it was particularly effective for patients suffering mild symptoms.

Patients will start receiving the antiviral from next week, a move that is thought to speed up a return to normal economic life.

Russian hospitals can begin giving the drug to patients from June 11, with enough to treat around 60,000 people per month, the head of Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth said.

Once Russia's own medical needs were covered, Mr Dmitriev said it would look to export Avifavir with countries in the Middle East and Latin America expressing interest already.

'We believe that the drug is key to resuming full economic activity in Russia,' Mr Dmitriev said.

'Avifavir is not only the first antiviral drug registered against coronavirus in Russia, but it is also perhaps the most promising anti-COVID-19 drug in the world.'

Avifavir was developed on the basis of a drug known generically as favipiravir. It is unclear if the products contains other ingredients.

Known as an RNA polymerase inhibitor, it stops viruses from making copies of themselves to spread through the body.

The drug was approved for use in Japan in 2014 as a new flu treatment under the name Avigan, manufactured by Toyama Chemicals, a subsidiary of Fujifilm which is better known for its cameras.

The drug was approved for use in Japan in 2014 as a new flu treatment under the name Avigan (pictured), manufactured by Toyama Chemicals, a subsidiary of Fujifilm

SIX HOPES FOR A CORONAVIRUS TREATMENT

REMDESIVIR

Investors are closely watching the trials of this antiviral drug, which was originally developed as a treatment against ebola.

Every titbit of information about the treatment has resulted in huge swings in the stock market.

The US government's top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, last week said early results from one trial showed remdesivir had a 'clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery'. Several trials are ongoing - including one at University College London.

TOCILIZUMAB

This drug, made by pharmaceutical giant Roche, stops the 'cytokine storm' that happens when the immune system starts attacking the body, something that is seen in very ill coronavirus patients. Originally developed as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, Roche has also used tocilizumab in the last few years for cancer patients undergoing its risky but extremely effective CAR-T therapy. These patients sometimes suffer cytokine storm as a side effect of the cancer treatment, and tocilizumab has been effective at minimising the danger when this happens. Tocilizumab is part of three major trials involving British patients - with the first results expected by June or July.

HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE

Anti-inflammatory drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have been used since the 1940s against malaria and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. They both have antiviral properties and hydroxychloroquine is part of several UK studies for the treatment of early-phase coronavirus.

FAVIPIRAVIR

A Japanese flu drug that blocks the ability of a virus to replicate itself, favipiravir has been shown to cut recovery time from 11 days to four days in coronavirus patients. A trial of the drug was launched last week at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

LOPINAVIR-RITONAVIR

A combination of two antiretroviral HIV drugs, this was part of the treatment protocol for Covid-19 in China and is now being trialled by Oxford. The treatment is used to prevent the HIV virus becoming the Aids disease. It targets an enzyme called protease which viruses use to replicate themselves. Without this, when the virus takes over a cell it is unable to make copies of itself, so the infection stops at that cell.

ANTIBODY PLASMA

By the end of May 5,000 NHS patients a week will be receiving blood donated by coronaviorus survivors. The use of 'convalescent plasma' relies on the theory that people who survive coronavirus have developed antibodies against the virus which could help patients struggling to produce their own.

Japan has been trialling Avigan for Covid-19 patients with the support of $128million in government funding, but it has yet to be approved for use.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing for Avigan as a treatment for coronavirus despite no hard-proof evidence it works.

He said at a news conference on May 4 he wanted the drug approved for use against COVID-19 by the end of the month, despite conceding it had side effects which caused birth defects.

But he warned of side effects 'the same as thalidomide' - a drug which caused thousands of women to lose their pregnancies or give birth to babies with missing or malformed limbs in the 1950s and 60s.

Evidence of birth defects in animal trials led Japan to put unusually strict controls on the pill’s use and production. It had been given to humans only during clinical trials and in desperate attempts to treat Ebola, the New York Times reports.

China has also trialled favipiravir, although it is not clear what brand, with similar findings to Russia.

In a trial of 80 patients, those given the drug tested negative for the virus after an average of four days, while it took 11 days for those not treated with it, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

A small trial is being conducted in the UK after British scientists said favipiravir could be a 'promising' treatment for Covid-19.

A total of 450 hospital inpatients across four hospitals with mild to moderate symptoms of the disease will be recruited to take part the randomised controlled trial.

It will see some receive favipiravir, some a combination treatment of hydroxychloroquine, zinc and azithromycin, while a third group will be given existing standard care for Covid-19.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital in London are participating in the trial, which also involves Imperial College and the Royal Brompton Hospital.

University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium aims to start a trial on up to 200 patients at a later date.

Pallav Shah, professor in respiratory medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and the study's chief investigator, said the Pioneer trial aims to find a drug which prevents Covid-19 progressing, reducing the length of hospital stay.

Patients with symptoms such as breathlessness and a fever will be approached to take part in the study before swab results even come back to ensure treatment can be given early.

Under the study, patients will be kept in hospital initially for at least a day and receive 10 days worth of treatment.

Professor Shah said of small studies in China: 'Hypothetically it looks very useful, very promising; when you look at the drug's effectiveness in vitro, it looks very good.

'But being a clinician and a scientist, we always want to see the data ... before we can recommend it.'

'I'm confident that we will gain some knowledge and this will give us some very good answers. We wouldn't know whether it's effective until we get the results.'

In the UK it is not licensed or recommended, according to a document released by Public Health England last September.

Current standard of care for Covid-19, which most patients in the UK receive, includes being given oxygen, fluids, a broad-spectrum antibiotics and any treatment to reduce complications caused by the virus.

Only one potential direct antiviral has been given the approval for use in the UK - remdesivir, which works in a similar fashion to favipiravir.

After the approval last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock called remdesivir the 'biggest step forward' in treating Covid-19 since the outbreak spiralled out of control.

He said scientific studies have already shown promising results and suggest it may speed up people's time to recovery by four days.

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:40 am

Much is being made of the fact ethnic minorities have a higher rate of infection than the indigenous UK white population. I copied the following from facebook:
Not difficult to understand. Firstly, white people tend to live in nuclear families, ie a couple and their children.

Secondly, many minority groups live in extended families ie several relations, grandparents, aunts and uncles living in the same family unit and or are it close contact relying on each other for support.

Thirdly, a large percentage of NHS staff, not just doctors and nurses but hospital and care home support staff are often from minority groups.

Fourthly, many families from minority groups have a large number of children and it has not always been easy to keep children, especially teenagers socially isolated.

Fifthly, many people from minority groups are used to visiting shops to buy fresh food, I doubt many of them rely on online shopping for supplies, especially as much of the fresh food they live on is not available online

I can personally vouch for most of the above and add that we have had many friends wishing to travel fairly long distances to visit us and make sure we are alright and bring us food
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:41 pm

Face coverings compulsory
on UK public transport


Grant Shapps spoke about the type of face covering which passengers will have to wear

Grant Shapps said "every precaution" must be taken as passenger numbers were expected to increase when lockdown measures were further eased.

People will be have to wear coverings on buses, trains, aircraft and ferries.

Very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties would be exempt, he said.

It comes as the UK recorded the deaths of another 176 people who tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of deaths in the UK to 39,904.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Shapps said face coverings would be "a condition of travel" and not wearing one could "ultimately" lead to a fine.

But he added: "Why wouldn't people want to do the right thing?"

Mr Shapps said surgical masks must be kept for clinical settings and instead travellers should wear the kind of face covering that could be made at home.

The change coincides with the planned reopening of non-essential retail and return of some secondary school pupils in England from 15 June, which Mr Shapps said would put "more pressure" on the public transport network.

Earlier, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government was considering whether to make it mandatory to wear face coverings in some situations.

In Scotland currently recommends wearing coverings in shops and on public transport.

In Wales, face coverings have not yet been recommended for the general public.

In Northern Ireland, people have been told to consider wearing them in places where they cannot observe social distancing.

'A potentially useful extra tool'

Research on face coverings has been described as "slim" by many authorities, and for health professionals there's always been the fear of a rush to snap up medical-grade masks.

But studies in laboratories have shown not only how far droplets can be spread by coughs but also how various kinds of materials can dramatically reduce many of those droplets that do get through.

For the US government, the deciding factor was the risk of the virus being spread by people who do not realise they are carrying it.

For others, it's been a sense of altruism: A homemade mask will not do a great job of protecting you but may reduce the chances of you infecting others.

And if enough people follow that advice, the risks of the infection spreading are brought down.

There have been passionate disagreements over this within the world of science.

And even advocates would agree that the public wearing masks will not defeat the virus on its own; but it's a potentially useful extra tool as we come out of lockdown.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy said he was not expecting a "huge surge" in staff policing these new rules.

"I am expecting sensible passengers to do their duty and look after themselves and others," he said at the Downing Street briefing.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was pleased "the government has finally seen sense" after he had lobbied for the change.

Unions had been pushing for compulsory face coverings after dozens of transport workers died after contracting Covid-19.

Welcoming the announcement, Mick Whelan, general secretary of the train drivers' union Aslef, said it was a "sensible step" which would help to ease concerns of travellers.

However, Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, said it was "long overdue" and face coverings alone were "nowhere near enough" to protect passengers and workers.

How to make your own face mask

Folding cloth and elastic bands. Materials: Bandana, handkerchief (or square cotton cloth approximately 50cm x 50cm) Elastic bands (or hair ties). Lay the cloth out flat. Fold in half. Fold top third down, fold bottom up. Thread through two elastic bands, 12cm apart. Fold each side to the middle and tuck in. Place mask over nose and mouth, bands behind ears.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52927089
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:44 pm

UK has more coronavirus deaths

Britain today announced 176 more coronavirus deaths, taking the total number of victims to 39,904 - as separate shock data suggests the UK's outbreak is still killing more people each day than the rest of the EU countries combined

The UK's death toll is now on the brink of passing the 40,000 mark, but the epidemic has slowed dramatically in the past few weeks. For comparison, last Thursday there were 377 Covid deaths, and 338 the week before that.

However, Britain is not out of the woods yet as analysis of yesterday's figures suggest it is still being hit harder than the rest of the 27 countries in the bloc put together.

UK health bosses announced 359 more coronavirus victims on Wednesday, compared to just 345 deaths recorded in the EU, including 81 in France, 74 in Sweden and 71 in Italy. It's unclear how many Covid victims there were today in the EU.

Separate backdated data has also suggested the real number of deaths in Britain has already tipped 50,000, which would cement the UK's status as being Europe's worst-hit nation.

Today's fatalities were revealed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who also announced that face coverings would be compulsory on public transport in England. Mr Shapps encouraged the public to make their own face covering or use a scarf, but said surgical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers.

In other coronavirus developments in Britain today:

    The Prime Minister is considering plans for hair salons and barber shops to reopen later this month, with staff wearing dentist-style masks and gloves to prevent the spread of coronavirus;

    Furious MPs demanded the Commons sits virtually again after Business Secretary Alok Sharma sniffled, sweated and snorted through a statement before self-isolating for Covid-19;

    Boris Johnson's pledge to process all coronavirus tests within 24 hours by the end of June will not include postal kits or potentially those sent to care homes - a third of the total, it was revealed;

    Police launched their first investigation into coronavirus deaths at a care home after it was ordered to close when 15 residents died from Covid-19 following an intake of NHS hospital patients;

    The former chief of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove claimed that the coronavirus escaped from a lab in China by accident, pointing to a report that claimed the virus was 'different' to any type of SARS ever studied.
Britain's outbreak has slowed dramatically in the past few weeks. Yesterday health bosses announced 359 more victims - down almost 13 per cent on the 412 deaths recorded last Wednesday. But analysis of data shows only 345 deaths were recorded in the 27 EU countries yesterday, including 81 in France, 74 in Sweden and 71 in Italy

UK RECORDED MORE COVID-19 DEATHS YESTERDAY THAN THE REST OF THE EU COMBINED

Britain yesterday recorded more Covid-19 deaths than the rest of the EU combined, according to an analysis of official figures.

Department of Health chiefs announced 359 fatalities on Wednesday, slightly higher than the 345 recorded in the 27 members of the bloc, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Separate figures suggest the true death toll among the 27 nations was even lower - coming in at 331.

Of the new deaths recorded in Britain today, NHS England saw 115 in hospital patients who tested positive - the youngest a 26-year-old.

Scotland posted nine Covid-19 deaths in all settings, followed by eight in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.

The remaining deaths occurred in care homes in England in the wider community.

It comes as it was today revealed that police have launched a probe into a care home which was ordered to close after 15 residents died following a major outbreak of coronavirus.

Temple Court in Kettering, Northamptonshire, was forced to shut its doors following the Covid-19-related deaths of patients who were sent there after being discharged from hospital.

The home is now being investigated by Northamptonshire Police and council bosses amid allegations of abuse and neglect.

Officers are speaking to relatives of the 15 residents following claims they were sent there without being tested after being released from two separate hospitals.

In other developments, furious MPs demanded the Commons sits 'virtually' again today after a senior minister 'sniffled, sweated and snorted' through a statement - before self-isolating for coronavirus.

In extraordinary scenes in the chamber last night, Business Secretary Alok Sharma ignored the government's own guidance as he struggled on despite repeatedly wiping his brow and blowing his nose.

The episode sparked concerns that dozens of politicians have been at risk of infection and will now have to go into quarantine - potentially including Cabinet ministers and top officials.

It also heaped pressure on Boris Johnson to reverse the controversial decision to scrap electronic voting and Zoom debates, after 'farcical' scenes this week that saw hundreds of MPs 'conga' through Westminster in a mile-long socially distanced queue to take part in divisions.

Figures today also revealed only a quarter of business that have temporarily closed during the coronavirus crisis plan to reopen their doors within the next month, dampening efforts to kickstart the economy.

Just nine per cent of businesses told the Office for National Statistics (ONS) they would be ready to open within a fortnight, with a further 16 per cent saying they could be ready within four weeks.

Almost half of those polled in May - before the announcement to reopen British businesses - said they did not know when they might open, piling pressure on the Government's economic plans.

Boris Johnson last month gave the go-ahead for non-essential retail to restart on June 15, as he attempted to bring the coronavirus-battered UK High Street back to life.

A poll also revealed children in the north are missing out on an education as Labour-run councils refuse to allow schools to reopen.

A survey of primary headteachers has found just a third of them followed the Prime Minister's plan and managed to bring back Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 students back to class on Monday.

This dropped to as low as 12 per cent in the north-east of England and eight per cent in the north-west, where a large number of Labour-run councils refused to let their schools open.

The survey of 10,000-plus schools was carried out by the National Education Union, which found 44 per cent of schools did not open more widely on June 1.

Bill Gates today warned anti-vaxxers could wreck attempts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine if they refuse to take it and reduce the level of herd immunity.

Over 80 per cent of people may need to have the jab for it to work properly - but the philanthropist said he feared anti-vaccine 'craziness' might put people off getting it.

The billionaire founder of Microsoft, who now donates hundreds of millions of dollars to global health causes, said the prospect was 'worrying'.

Vaccines can only be successful at stamping out a virus if so many people get them that a vast majority of the population is immune and the disease can no longer spread.

Mr Gates's comments come as vaccine trials on humans are in full swing in the UK and the University of Oxford has announced it will test its candidate in Brazil now.
Government STILL doesn't have figures for test and trace system as health bosses say lockdown shouldn't have been eased until it was at 'full speed' and tracers say they are 'playing with their dogs' because there's nothing to do

Public health chiefs today warned easing lockdown before NHS Test and Trace is running at 'full speed' could result in the UK 'hitting the brakes' too late to stop a second wave of coronavirus.

The Government's test and trace system launched last week but it went live without the key NHSX contact tracing app while some staff have complained they have not got any work to do, passing the time by watching Netflix or playing with their dog.

But Boris Johnson is pushing ahead with his plans to loosen draconian restrictions, with primary schools now having started their phased return while non-essential shops should start to reopen later this month.

Experts believe a fully functioning test and trace programme will be critical if the UK is to avoid a spike in infections as life gets back to normal.

Local health bosses are concerned that easing measures now before test and trace has shown itself to be effective could have disastrous consequences.

They said the data from test and trace should help inform decisions and that without a full picture the Government may not actually know the scale of a fresh outbreak.

That could mean that by the time ministers realise they need to reverse lockdown loosening it could be too late and the UK could have 'spun off the road and be over the cliff-edge'.

Downing Street today continued to refuse to publish any of the data showing how effective the scheme has been since its launch.

Boris Johnson, pictured in Number 10 yesterday, is pushing ahead with easing lockdown despite NHS Test and Trace only launching last week

The NHS Test and Trace programme launched last week but ministers are under pressure after failing to reveal how many people have so far been contacted

Test and trace requires people with symptoms to self-isolate and get tested. If they test positive their close contacts are then tracked down and also told to self-isolate.

The system is designed to break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible in order to squash potential outbreaks and stop them from escalating.

Lisa McNally, public health director at Sandwell Council in the West Midlands, said she was surprised the lockdown had been eased before the test and trace system was at 'full speed'.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'This system is certainly up but I'm not sure about running.'

She continued: 'I don't think I'm particularly surprised, to be honest, that this system isn't running effectively in a few short days - it was never going to be, it is an enormous task.

'What surprises me, I guess, is that we are moving ahead so quickly with easing lockdown before the system is at full speed.

'We need to allow time to assess how things are going, get this system up to speed.

'To be honest with you, I'm concerned that by the time we realise we need to hit the brakes, we will have spun off the road and be over the cliff-edge.'

She predicted the UK could be 'going back to a place we really don't want to be, which is where we were at the end of April' in terms of the number of coronavirus-related infections and deaths if test and trace does not prove to be effective.

Ministers are facing growing criticism over their refusal to publish data showing how many people have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace so far.

Number 10 would only say today that the numbers will be released 'shortly' once the data has been verified.

Told that without the statistics it is impossible to know if the system is working and therefore it will be hard for the public to have confidence in it, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said: 'I certainly understand the desire for data to be published showing precisely how it is working.

'But equally it is important that when we do put that information into the public domain it has been properly validated.

'We are working on that. We understand the need for transparency and as I say we will be providing weekly updates on test and trace shortly.'

NHS Test and Trace has suffered numerous set backs since it went live with many staff complaining that they have not got any work to do.

One contact tracer today said he had spent four shifts playing with his puppy and claimed that more than 80 per cent of staff were idle on Wednesday afternoon.

The man said: 'It’s really frustrating. They’re throwing thousands or even millions of pounds away, all of the time I’m sat here doing basically nothing.

'I sit next to my laptop, reading newspapers and looking after my new puppy. We were told we need to be ready at a moment’s notice, but we’re sat here watching.'

PM: Coronavirus may have 'kinetic force' amid second wave warning

It comes after Mr Johnson pledged yesterday to process all coronavirus tests within 24 hours by the end of June.

However, it subsequently emerged that the target will not include postal kits while tests sent to care homes may also not be included - approximately one third of the daily total.

Experts believe tests must be processed within 24 hours so that the contacts of people who test positive can be swiftly identified and told to self-isolate in order to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

The fact that the PM's 24 hour pledge does not appear to be a blanket guarantee is likely to prompt a backlash amid fears delays in processing tests could hamper efforts to prevent a second wave.

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:43 pm

Coronavirus making
comeback in Kurdistan


Sulaimani health authorities on Thursday morning announced the death of another coronavirus patient, raising the death toll in the province to 12

"The deceased was a 53-year-old man from Sulaimani city," Azad Hawrami, head of Martyr Tahir Ali Hospital, confirmed to Rudaw.

Hawrami added that the deceased had been hospitalized for 19 days as he was experiencing severe symptoms of the pandemic.

Out of 500 people infected with the coronavirus in Sulaimani province, 163 have made full recoveries. Currently, 326 active cases remain.

Health authorities have already warned that three hospitals designed to take in coronavirus patients are running out of space due to a growing number of incoming daily cases.

The Kurdistan Region as a whole has recorded 905 cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 441 have recovered and 14 have died, with 450 cases remaining active.

Following a spike in newly-detected positives for COVID-19, The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had imposed a six-day lockdown on Monday evening, but reversed its decision on Tuesday evening following protests by locals in Sulaimani province desperate to reopen their businesses after six weeks of closure since mid-March.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/04062020
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:53 pm

UN praises Kurdish doctor

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres commended a Kurdish former refugee and doctor for his contribution to the global COVID-19 response in a video call Wednesday

The spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted the lives of most of the world’s population, and governments, alongside experts are seeking the best ways of curbing the spread of the virus and providing speedy recovery to patients.

One of the many doctors that have made significant contributions to the global response to the virus is Dr Heval Kelli – a former refugee from Syria and current cardiologist. He lives in the United States, but he and other Kurdish doctors from the Kurdish American Medical Association (KAMA) have provided virtual and online educational programming to Kurds around the world on how to best protect themselves from COVID-19 :ymapplause:

Guterres thanked Kelli for “sharing your story with me. You're living proof of the power of inclusion - and how refugees & migrants can be part of the solution.”

“You are a very successful doctor. You contribute to the well-being of the community in which you live. And your success story is very important to communicate,” he told the Kurdish doctor in the video call.

The Kurdish doctor told Guterres that refugees can “play a big role in investing in this country,” referring to the US – home to the most coronavirus patients in any single country.

“We need the refugees to be part of the fight [against coronavirus] because in our resilience and what we have been through we could be actually a supporting arm for a lot of the native countries that accept us,” said Kelli.

“We’ve been doing a lot of virtual education to our Kurdish community across the online network. And this has been very helpful,” added the doctor, referring to his contribution to KAMA

Kelli’s story

Kelli’s father, Kamal, was a lawyer and was tortured by Syrian regime. After North East Syria (Western Kurdistan) became no longer safe for them, the family fled to Germany in 1996, when Kelli was only 12 years old.

“Unfortunately, we were not granted residency to stay in Germany and we had to apply to the US. After 2 years of vetting and application, we were accepted to come to America and we arrived in Clarkston, Georgia in 2001, two weeks after the tragic event of 9/11,” the doctor told Rudaw English via email late Thursday.

The family struggled to settle into the US initially, not being able to speak English. Moreover, Kamal soon suffered from a heart attack, and became unable to work. Kelli says his mother was not able to work either due to the aftermath of 9/11. His brother was only 14 years old at the time.

“So I had [to] work to support my family. I [would] finish high school every day then I [would] go work in a restaurant as a dishwasher every night and all weekend for years while in school. I cut grass for people, cleaned gardens and had many jobs to support my family,” says the doctor of his first years in North America.

Despite the hardships he faced, Kelli was able to complete his medical training and become a cardiologist. He credits his achievement to All Saints Episocopal Church and support from his community, especially his mentor Dr Omar Lattpouf, who he says “decided to help a dishwasher to become a doctor.”

“Today, I am living my American Dream of becoming a cardiologist to serve our communities.”

He describes KAMA as the “first Kurdish medical organization in the USA,” whose goal is to “build a platform to connect Kurdish American doctors and students so we can inspire and guide each other.”

In addition to being a cardiologist, Kelli has volunteered with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to promote and advocate for refugees during the crisis brought about by the pandemic.

“We wanted to show the refugees and immigrants are on the frontline during the worst pandemic of our lifetime.”

Kelli, 36, is married to Kazeen Abdullah, who is also a cardiologist. They have a one-year-old son, Amed.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/world/04062020
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:34 pm

WHO changes advice on face masks

The World Health Organization (WHO) has changed its advice on face masks, saying they should be worn in public to help stop the spread of coronavirus

Image
A woman wearing a protective face mask and gloves walks through a disinfection cabin at the entrance to a shopping centre in Moscow

"We have evidence now that if this is done properly it can provide a barrier for potentially infectious droplets," Dr Maria Van Kerkhove told Reuters.

"And we specify a fabric mask - that is, a non-medical mask," she added.

The WHO had previously said there was not enough evidence to say that healthy people should wear masks.

The organisation had always advised that medical face masks should be worn by people who are sick and those caring for them.

Globally, there have been 6.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 400,000 deaths since the outbreak began late last year, according to the data complied by America's Johns Hopkins university.
What is the WHO's advice?

The organisation said its new guidance had been prompted by studies over recent weeks.

"We have new research findings," said Dr Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead expert on Covid-19.

"We are advising governments to encourage that the general public wear a mask."

At the same time, the WHO stressed that face masks were just one of a range of tools that could be used to reduce the risk of transmission - and that they should not give people a false sense of protection.

"Masks on their own will not protect you from Covid-19," said the WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

This is a big shift in the WHO's guidance on when the public should cover their faces.

For months, the organisation's experts stuck to the line that masks would encourage a false sense of security and would deprive medical professionals of badly needed protective equipment.

Those arguments have not gone away but at the same time the WHO acknowledges that new evidence has emerged on the risks of transmission.

It points to recent research that people can be highly infectious in the few days before they show symptoms and that some people catch the virus but never show symptoms at all, as I reported last weekend.

So where distancing isn't possible, such as on public transport and in locations as varied as shops and refugee camps, it's suggested that faces are covered with homemade masks to avoid passing on the infection.

Over 60s with underlying health conditions should go further, the WHO said, and wear medical-grade masks to give themselves better protection.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52945210
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:16 pm

UK virus transmission levels rise

England's battle against coronavirus appears to have suffered a major setback in recent days as transmission levels rise probably due to more travelling and mixing between households, a shock analysis warned today

The research by a Cambridge University/Public Health England joint modelling team suggested the disease may now be spreading very slightly in the North West, is at a stand-still level in the South West, and is declining in other regions, but far more slowly in London than previously.

Even in the capital and other regions a small increase in the R transmission rate, to take it above one, would see the number of new cases starting to rise again.

The study also put the number of new cases at the moment at a worryingly high 17,000 a day.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, PHE medical director, said: “Our estimates show that the regional R numbers have increased although they remain below one for most of England - this is to be expected as we gradually move out of lockdown.

“It is vital that everyone continues with social distancing, practising good hand hygiene and must remain at home and order a test if they have symptoms.”

The analysis is not the official R rate from the Government which Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced this afternoon at between 0.7 and 0.9 for the whole of the UK, citing a report led by the Office for National Statistics suggesting the epidemic certainly at the end of May was under more control.

Giving the No10 press conference alone, he said: “It’s important that people don’t seize on one report but rather look at all the reports in the round.

“So the overall view of SAGE (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) having considered all of the information that has come in is that R over the country as a whole remains between 0.7 and 0.9.

Matt Hancock during the daily coronavirus press conference in Downing Street (PA)

“Critically, the ONS study which was one of the largest studies and is based on direct measurement rather than modelling shows that the number of new cases per day has fallen from between 9,000 and 7,000 as it was thought to be around a week ago to around 5,600.”

He added that there was a “challenge” with the disease in the North West which needed to be addressed, and to a lesser extent in the South West.

However, the Cambridge University/PHE analysis will inevitably raise fresh questions over whether the Government started easing Covid-19 restrictions too quickly and if the Dominic Cummings Durham trip furore damaged the lockdown.

It emerged shortly before the Department of Health said 40,261 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday, up by 357 from 39,904 the previous day.

Coronavirus in numbers: UK death toll climbs above 40,000

The figures suggested the number of Covid-19 fatalities may now no longer be falling on a sustained and consistent basis, which is one of the Government’s five tests for easing the lockdown.

In a series of alarming findings, the Cambridge University/PHE experts said:

    We estimate that across England there are 17,000 new infections a day (though there could be as many as 25,000 or as few as 11,000)

    There is some evidence that R (the infection rate) has risen in all regions and we believe this is probably due to increasing mobility and mixing between households and in public and workplace settings

    We estimate that the number of deaths each day is likely to fall to between 100–250 by mid-June. An increase in R will lead to a slowdown in the decrease in new infections and deaths

    There is evidence, from the forecast of deaths, that the increases in the regional reproductive numbers may result in the decline in the national death rate being stopped by mid-June.
If the R rate is above one it means that the disease is on the increase, and on the decline if it is below one.

Matt Hancock says that the 'R' is between 0.7 and 0.9 and government will 'crack down on localised outbreaks when they come'

For London, R is believed to have been as low as 0.4 or 0.5 but is now 0.95, according to the research.

For the North West it is 1.01, the South West one though on a relatively small number of cases, the South East 0.97, East of England, 0.94, Midlands 0.9, and North East and Yorkshire 0.89.

The grim figures emerged just hours after a study led by the Office for National Statistics suggested the disease was coming under control.

It estimated the number of people with Covid-19 in England was 53,000, outside hospitals and care homes, at any given time between May 17 and 30.

This is less than half last week’s figure of 133,000, for the period between May 11-24, and was by far the biggest fall so far.

There were still believed to be 39,000 new infections on average a week, between 26 April and 30 May 2020, though again a drop from 54,000 from a week earlier.
UK Schools begin to reopen during Coronavirus lockdown ease

Professor Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), welcomed the ONS figures as “very good news” and stressed they were “falling as a result of respecting the restrictions in place since March”.

He tweeted further: “If physical distancing & other measures continue these numbers will probably fall within June to levels that a fully functional, locally responsive community Test-Trace-Isolate system, infection control in Hospitals/Care homes/others could cope with.”

The study, done in conjunction with Oxford University, Manchester University, and Public Health England, also raised hopes that the lockdown could be eased more quickly and people might be able to get away on summer holidays abroad.

But the more up-to-date figures from the Cambridge University and Public Health England experts suggested relaxation of restrictions have already pushed the transmission rate close to a level which could be the start of the epidemic growing again, with the death toll, including suspected Covid fatalities without a positive test, already above 50,000.

The stark difference with the ONS figures also raised questions over reliability of estimates on coronavirus.

Professor Sheila Bird, former Programme Leader, MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, said: “The findings are the opposite of reassuring.

“First, in no region of England is the effective reproduction number assuredly below 1 with regions’ median estimates ranging from 0.89 to 1.01. No wonder members of SAGE are worried.

“Secondly, the estimated daily number of new infections is 16,700 (uncertainty interval: 11,000 to 25,000). That is three times this morning’s estimate from the ONS Infection Survey of 5,600 new infections daily for persons who reside in households (95 per cent CI: 3,700 to 7,900).”

The lockdown has been gradually eased since May 10 when Boris Johnson unveiled his “conditional plan” to reopen society by urging people who could not work from home to return to the workplace - but avoid public transport.

That Wednesday, May 13, people were allowed to meet with one other person from outside their household, providing they maintained a two-metre distance.

On June 1 lockdown measures were eased to allow more pupils to return to school and people were urged to return to work.

Since Monday, individuals have been allowed to meet with up to five people from separate households outdoors and more than two million clinically vulnerable people who have been shielding also be allowed to go outside.

The Prime Minister announced the rules last Thursday.

But due to the hot weather over the weekend it is thought many people saw the announcement as a green light to break lockdown prematurely to meet friends and family while thousands flocked to beaches.

A number of scientists and public health experts raised concerns about lifting the lockdown too quickly and the risk of a second spike.

However, ministers are caught in a fraught dilemma between sticking to measures to suppress the disease or relaxing them to ease the economic, social and health harm being caused by the lockdown.

If they act too quickly, the epidemic may return, but if they are too slow, more people will continue suffering unnecessarily from economic woes, being out of work, even if furloughed, and mental health problems linked to social restrictions.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/ ... 61346.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:38 pm

UK death toll rises

Another 204 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus as of 5pm on Friday, taking the official death toll to 40,465

This number does not include all deaths involving Covid-19 across the UK, which is thought to have passed 50,000.

So far, a total of 284,868 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that as of 9am on Saturday, there had been 5,438,712 tests, including 218,187 tests on 5 June, of which 1,557 were positive.

Among the dead were 75 people in England who died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number in England to 27,359.

The patients were aged between 43 and 100 and all had underlying health conditions, NHS England announced on Saturday.

Six of the deaths occurred in Scotland, where the number of deaths among people who have tested positive for coronavirus rose to 2,415.

Scottish government figures show 15,603 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 across the country, an increase of 21.

As of Friday evening, 1,019 patients were in hospital with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, with 20 in intensive care.

Friday also had the highest number of NHS workers in Scotland being absent in June, with 5,317 staff off for reasons related to Covid-19. And 406 Scottish adult care homes, 38 per cent of the total, were reported to have a current case of suspected Covid-19 – where a resident has shown symptoms within the past fortnight.

One more person with coronavirus has died in Northern Ireland, taking the total number recorded by the Department of Health, primarily accounting for hospital deaths, to 537.

Anne Glover, Scotland’s former chief scientific adviser, said an inquiry into government failures must be delivered within months to prepare for a second wave of the disease.

Another 14 cases of the virus were confirmed in Northern Ireland, bringing the total since the outbreak began to 4,790.

The figures came as Scotland’s former chief scientific adviser, Anne Glover, called for an inquiry to identify failures in the UK government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Glover said the inquiry must be delivered within months to prepare for a second wave of the disease.

She said it would be “inexcusable” for ministers to repeat “mistakes that have already been made” should there be a second spike of coronavirus cases this winter.

On Friday, 27 medical and scientific experts signed a letter published in the Guardian warning that many more Britons may die if the government does not come up with solutions to “some of the structural problems that have made implementing an effective response so difficult”.

Glover, who is now president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, told the PA news agency: “Given that second wave is likely to come at a time that is likely to coincide with seasonal influenza, and that would give us serious problems, we really need to understand what the failings have been in our apparent inability to be able to deal with this pandemic appropriately.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... ses-204-to
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:47 pm

Updates from the Kurdistan Region

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) health minister Saman Barzanji has warned of a "humanitarian crisis" and a "health catastrophe" amid growing number of coronavirus cases in the Kurdistan Region, reiterating his call on the public to maintain social distancing and abide by other self-protective measures

"The number of recoveries has disproportionately decreased compared to the before Eid time period as new cases surge," health minister Saman Barzanji said.

In the two and a half months since the start of the outbreak in the Kurdistan Region until Eid al-Fitr on May 23, the Kurdistan Region had just recorded five COVID-19 deaths. The death toll has jumped to 24 cases in just two weeks.

"The situation is not under control," Barzanji said. "The KRG's resources to contain the spread of coronavirus are limited."

"We can't pin hope on ventilators, or dedicating more beds. This won't confine coronavirus - only self-protection will," Barzanji said.

"Only patients who have developed severe symptoms will be put in intensive care and hospitalised," Barzinji said, adding that those infected but in good health will be placed where "we regularly check up on their health."

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/07062020

Sunday's COVID-19 figures in the Kurdistan Region so far include four deaths in Sulaimani and 39 new cases in Erbil, according to the health ministry.

Of the 1,222 case total the Kurdistan Region has recorded since the beginning of the outbreak, there remain 750 active cases.
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:42 am

Quarantine on UK arrivals

Arrivals touching down in the UK will be forced to quarantine for 14 days, under new rules being rolled out today

Despite a growing backlash from aviation chiefs and MPs who warned it would be "devastating" for the economy, Boris Johnson is pressing ahead - but is reportedly trying to secure a cross-EU exemption that allows Brits holidays in the continent by mid-July.

Meanwhile, ministers are reportedly pushing for a June 22 reopening of pubs and restaurants, nearly two weeks before the previous target, amid warnings 3.5 million jobs are at stake.

It comes as the UK's daily coronavirus death toll fell below 100 for the first time on Sunday, and no new hospital deaths were recorded in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Shopkeeper Netti Rexhmet, 32, who runs an off-licence in Chigwell in London, said the rule will prevent him from working for a fortnight.

Speaking as he walked through arrivals on Monday, he said: “We haven’t got any other options, it’s Government law so I shall do it.

“For me, I wouldn’t want to do it. I’d like to be open.

“I’ve got things to do, you have to live now, you have to pay.”

Starmer: UK arrivals quarantine a 'blunt instrument'

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said measures were needed at the border but quarantine was a “blunt instrument” and a coronavirus testing process for new arrivals would be better.

There had been “inconsistency and slowness” from the Government over quarantine.

“We have got the situation where – weeks ago – other countries put quarantine in and we didn’t,” he told LBC Radio.

“Now as everybody’s lifting it we’re putting it in.”

He added: “I actually would much prefer to see some sort of testing regime at the airport” or “within days of coming in”.

Will there be summer holidays this year after all?

Holidaymakers will get to roam Europe from mid-July without having to quarantine on arrival, under plans reportedly drawn up by Boris Johnson.

The PM is said to be trying to agree an EU-wide exemption for the new rule coming into force today forcing UK arrivals to self-isolate for two weeks.

The Sun reports that a rapid agreement with the EU’s 27 member states is a Downing Street priority, to ensure this summer holiday season is not cancelled.

But any deal struck is unlikely to be in place ahead of the first three-weekly review of the stringent quarantine on June 29.

Last week, the EU extended its ban on non-essential travel by foreign nationals into its border-free zone. But in a boost for summer holiday hopes, most EU countries are tipped to lift internal border controls by the end of this month.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said Labour was “not against the principle of quarantine” but wanted to see more evidence about why it had been introduced now.

As the backlash against the new rule grows this morning, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

    Government has said to us they believe that the evidence indicates this is the right time.

    Government has said to us they have the evidence to back up their approach, but we have not seen that evidence and we have not seen from them why they’re not using more expansive test, track and trace.

    We’re not against the principle of quarantine – as I said, for a long time we were asking why it hadn’t been introduced in the UK.

    But we really don’t understand why this approach is being taken now when there are alternatives available.
Royal Society president questions science behind quarantine on UK arrivals

Professor Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society, said quarantine works best when Covid-19 transmission is at a rate lower than the UK’s current numbers.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that, as a participating member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) for the past month, he had not seen any scientific evidence related to the quarantine on UK arrivals that starts today. Prof Ramakrishnan added:

    I would say that countries that have imposed quarantine did so either very early or after the case rate in the country had gone down quite a bit.

    And I should say, we’re still not quite at the stage where the case rate is down to well below a thousand and the number of deaths per day is in the tens.

    But this is of course not purely a scientific decision.

    One has to balance various considerations and so I can’t really comment on the timing.
'Hold our breath' for coronavirus infection surge

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said the country would have to “hold our breath” on a possible rise in coronavirus cases, following the mass gatherings over the weekend for the anti-racism protests.

His comments came after scientists predicted that one in 600 people have the virus.

When put to him on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that such a ratio meant Covid-19 would have been spread by protesters, Mr Malthouse said: “That’s certainly the danger we are running at.

“We will all have to hold our breath over the next couple of weeks to see exactly what the impact has been. It is very unfortunate.

“As we have said right from the start, we urge people not to participate on public health grounds, notwithstanding the obvious strength of feeling that they have.”

Border Force officers 'angry' at quarantine chaos

Lucy Moreton, professional officer at the Immigration Services Union, said Border Force staff checking quarantine papers were “angry” at the way they were being treated.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that technical papers explaining to staff what to check for only arrived on Friday and were still not available to those operating on the front line of the devolved administrations.

Ms Moreton added: “The staff are really angry that this does appear to be very shambolic and they don’t want to be blamed for that.”

She added that there was “no provision to check the address” that arrivals had given for where they would self-isolate and that the system was built on “trust”.

Quarantine 'untold devastation' for UK tourism

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary predicted the UK quarantine will cause “untold devastation” for the country’s tourism industry. He told BBC Radio’s 4 Today programme:

    What it is going to do is untold devastation, not just to the airlines but to British tourism.

    The thousands of hotels, the thousands of visitor attractions, restaurants in the next couple of months – July and August are the two key months for British tourism in the tourism industry.

    We’re facing thousands of jobs losses because of a stupid, ineffective quarantine.
He said Ryanair bookings were down about 50% on the same time last year but that outbound flights remained popular compared with inbound journeys, with European travellers being put off coming to the UK due to the restrictions to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

New Zealand coronavirus free

New Zealand declares itself coronavirus free

New Zealand has declared itself coronavirus-free after health officials said the final person known to have been infected had recovered.

The news swiftly led to the country’s government announcing all forms of public events can again take place without limitations or social distancing guidelines.

Border restrictions for non-citizens and non-residents, however, will remain in place.

Quarantine rules come into force

Two-week quarantine rules come into force for arrivals to the UK

The first travellers who will be required to self-isolate for 14 days have begun to arrive in the UK.

All passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – will have to fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel details, as well as the address of where they will isolate, under Government measures that come into force from Monday to guard against a second wave of coronavirus.

People who fail to comply could be fined £1,000 in England, and police will be allowed to use what is termed “reasonable force” to make sure they follow the rules.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-c ... 62191.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:10 am

KRG cases increase by 63 percent

COVID-19 has rapidly spread in the Kurdistan Region over the last month, with cases increasing by 63 percent since May 14

Regional authorities had recorded under 500 cases until Eid al-Fitr holiday on May 23, when cases began to spike, recording more than 800 cases and 21 deaths in just over two weeks

The KRG attempted to implement a six day lockdown after dramatic new numbers began coming in. However, the intra-province movement restrictions were lifted two days into the lockdown, after local business owners broke into protests in the Sulaimani districts of Darbandikhan, Ranya and Qaladze, saying the measures were harming their already-faltering businesses.

According to data obtained from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), at least 1,324 people have been infected with COVID-19 since March 1. Of this number, 26 people lost their lives and 458 recovered and returned home. However, the number of active cases in medical facilities is on the rise.

Of the 828 active coronavirus cases in the hospitals in the Kurdistan Region, 140 are in Erbil, 609 in Sulaimani, 76 in Duhok, and three in Halabja province.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/08062020
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:09 pm

Virus came to UK 1,300 times

Coronavirus was brought into the UK on at least 1,300 separate occasions, a major analysis of the genetics of the virus shows

The study, by the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium (Cog-UK), completely quashes the idea that a single "patient zero" started the whole UK outbreak.

The analysis also finds China, where the pandemic started, had a negligible impact on cases in the UK.

Instead those initial cases came mostly from European countries.

The researchers analysed the genetic code of viral samples taken from more than 20,000 people infected with coronavirus in the UK.

Then, like a gigantic version of a paternity test, the geneticists attempted to piece together the virus's massive family tree.

This was combined with data on international travel to get to the origins of the UK epidemic.

They found the UK's coronavirus epidemic did not have one origin - but at least 1,356 origins. On each of those occasions somebody brought the infection into the UK from abroad and the virus began to spread as a result.

"The surprising and exciting conclusion is that we found the UK epidemic has resulted from a very large number of separate importations," said Prof Nick Loman, from Cog-UK and the University of Birmingham.

"It wasn't a patient zero," he added.

The study showed that less than 0.1% of those imported cases came directly from China. Instead the UK's coronavirus epidemic was largely initiated by travel from Italy in late February, Spain in early-to-mid-March and then France in mid-to-late-March.

"The big surprise for us was how fluid the process was, the rate of and source of virus introduction shifted rapidly over the course of only a few weeks," said Prof Oliver Pybus, from the University of Oxford.

80% occurred from 28 Feb-29 Mar

"This happened later than perhaps we would have expected," added Prof Loman.

The study estimates 80% of those initial cases arrived in the country between 28 Feb and 29 March - the time the UK was debating whether to lockdown.

After this point, the number of new imported cases diminished rapidly.

The earliest one could be traced back to the beginning of February, but it is possible there were cases even earlier that could not be picked up by the analysis.

The study also says the controversial football match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, on 11 March, probably had very little impact on bringing the virus into the country.

An estimated 3,000 fans flew in from Spain to watch the game, but there were 20,000 people flying in from Spain every single day in mid-March.

"It shows that individual events such as football matches likely made a negligible contribution to the number of imports at that time," the study says.

The imported cases each started off a chain of transmission where the virus is passed from one person, to the next, to the next and so on.

However, the study shows lockdown has massively disrupted the spread of the virus.

"If there's good news here, these chains of transmission were and are being suppressed and going extinct as a result of social distancing and we continue to see that now," Prof Loman said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52993734
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:54 pm

COVID-19 spiking in US

Nine states are seeing spikes in the number of people that have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since Memorial Day as Arizona's health department told hospitals to activate coronavirus emergency plans to prepare for a surge in new cases

Coronavirus hospitalizations have been increasing in at least nine states - mostly in the south and south-west of the country - over the past two weeks.

Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Utah are among those that have seen record spikes in hospitalizations since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in mid-March.

South Carolina, parts of California, Oregon, Arkansas and Mississippi have also seen an uptick in the number of people being hospitalized.

The increase in hospitalizations in those nine states has occurred as states reopened and large gatherings were held across the country over the Memorial Day weekend.

All of those states, apart from Mississippi, are now virus hotspots after also seeing increases in the number of infections in the past week.

The uptick, which could lead authorities to reimpose or tighten public health restrictions, complicates efforts to reopen the economy that has been devastated by stay-at-home orders that were in place across much of the US.

More than 112,000 Americans have now died from coronavirus and 1.9 million have been infected in the past three months.

ARIZONA: The number of positive or suspected hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Arizona has been increasing since May 26 and surged last week to record highs of more than 1,200 each day

Deaths: 1,076 - Cases: 28,296

Arizona, which was among the first states to reopen from lockdowns in mid-May, has seen a surge in hospitalizations and cases in recent weeks.

The number of positive or suspected hospitalized COVID-19 patients has been increasing since May 26 and surged last week to record highs of more than 1,200 each day.

It prompted Arizona's state health director Cara Christ to urge hospitals on Saturday to 'fully activate' its emergency plans - a message last sent on March 25 when the pandemic was taking hold.

Arizona's largest medical network Banner Health warned on Monday it was reaching its capacity in intensive care unit beds and said ventilated COVID-19 patients have quadrupled since May 15.

Currently in Arizona, there are 1,258 intensive care beds in use and 400 beds available. There are 1,192 ventilators available across the state and 641 currently in use.

The state saw its infections increase more than 90 per cent last week and deaths rose by 30 percent.

Arizona currently has more than 26,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths.

In Arizona, a 'cavalier' exit from the state's successful stay-at-home program has caused the sudden case surge, according to former state health chief Will Humble.

Humble said Governor Doug Ducey let Arizonans voluntarily follow Centers for Disease Control guidance but must now impose measures like mandatory face mask use inside public spaces. A failure to do so will leave Ducey with two drastic choices, he added.

'He's going to have to either A) implement a field hospital plan, B) do another stay-at-home order, or C) both,' said Humble, head of health professionals organization the Arizona Public Health Association.

Ducey last week told a press briefing that the increase in cases was to be expected due to a rise in testing.

TEXAS: Texas set a record-breaking high for coronavirus hospitalizations with 1,935 patients admitted on Monday just one month after the state reopened early

Deaths: 1, 867 - Cases: 78,130

Texas set a record-breaking high for coronavirus hospitalizations with 1,935 patients admitted just one month after the state reopened early.

Texas reported a record-breaking number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday. It compares to the previous record set on May 5 when 1,888 hospitalizations were recorded.

New infections in Texas have increased by 71 per cent over the past two weeks, according to the 14-day trend line provided by state health officials.

Although hospitalizations are on the rise, Texas has more than 1,600 a intensive-care beds and 5,8000 ventilators available for ill residents.

The state has seen cases increase by nearly 20 percent in the past week, while deaths have declined nearly 5 percent in a week.

Texas currently has 74,000 cases and 1,800 deaths.

NORTH CAROLINA: North Carolina saw its hospitalizations spike to a record high on Monday when 774 coronavirus patients were admitted. The number of people being admitted has been gradually increasing since Memorial Day when 621 hospitalizations were reported

Deaths: 1,068 - Cases: 37,228

North Carolina saw its hospitalizations spike to a record high on Monday when 774 coronavirus patients were admitted.

The number of people being admitted has been gradually increasing since Memorial Day when 621 hospitalizations were reported.

The state currently has 453 out of 3,223 intensive care beds available. There are currently 2,314 ventilators available, or 72 percent, in the state.

The state has seen its cases increase nearly 30 percent in a week.

There are currently more than 37,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths in the state.

ARKANSAS: Arkansas currently has 173 people hospitalized for COVID-19. It compares to the 92 that were hospitalized on May 25. As of Monday, there 46 coronavirus patients on ventilators

Deaths: 161 - Cases: 10,080

Arkansas has seen a huge surge in the number of hospitalizations. The state currently has 173 people hospitalized for COVID-19. It compares to the 92 that were hospitalized on May 25.

As of Monday, there 46 coronavirus patients on ventilators.

State health officials say despite the increase, hospitals remain below capacity.

Cases in Arkansas have increased more than 63 percent in the last week. The state currently has more than 10,000 infections and 160 deaths.

UTAH: Utah's hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last two weeks. The state, which currently has recorded a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on June 1 with 23 patients admitted

Deaths: 127 - Cases: 12,559

Utah's hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last two weeks. The state, which currently has recorded a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on June 1 with 23 patients admitted.

There are currently 126 patients in hospital with COVID-19, according to the Utah's most recent data.

Utah has seen its cases, which now top 12,000, increase by more than 60 per cent in a week.

At least 287 of the state's 2,269 new cases were tied to an outbreak at a meat processing plant in Cache County.

SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina's hospitalizations have spiked in recent days. Across the state, 12 counties have reached a current capacity of 75 percent or more. Hospitalizations on Monday surged to 541, which was up from the 482 patients recorded two days earlier

Deaths: 568 - Cases: 15,228

South Carolina's hospitalizations have spiked in recent days.

Across the state, 12 counties have reached a current capacity of 75 percent or more.

Hospitalizations on Monday surged to 541, which was up from the 482 patients recorded two days earlier.

Infections in South Carolina are up more than 37 percent in the last week. The state currently has more than 15,000 cases and over 560 deaths.

MISSISSIPPI: Hospitalizations in Mississippi have also been increasing with 444 people in hospital as of Monday. Of those patients, 171 were in intensive care and 100 were on ventilators

Deaths: 847 - Cases: 18,123

Hospitalizations in Mississippi have also been increasing with 444 people in hospital as of Monday.

Of those patients, 171 were in intensive care and 100 were on ventilators.

The state saw another surge in hospitalizations on May 27 when 476 people were admitted.

There are currently more than 18,000 infections across the state and over 840 deaths.

CALIFORNIA: The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in California has been increasing over the last two weeks. There are currently 3,257 patients in hospital with COVID-19 and 1,103 in intensive care. It compares to March 30 when there were 1,307 patients in hospital and 545 in ICU

Deaths: 4,753 - Cases: 137,060

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in California has been increasing over the last two weeks. There are currently 3,257 patients in hospital with COVID-19 and 1,103 in intensive care.

It compares to March 30 when there were 1,307 patients in hospital and 545 in ICU.

There has been a surge in hospitalizations in Sacramento County, according to health officials.

'Many of the cases that are showing up in hospitals are linked to gatherings that are taking place in homes - birthday parties and funerals,' said Olivia Kasirye, public health director of Sacramento County.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spiking in parts of California has prompted officials to place counties - including Sacramento - where half its population lives on a watch list.

More than 18 million of California's 39 million residents live in counties now on the watch list, including Los Angeles, Santa Clara and Fresno.

Infections are up two percent in the past week in California. Deaths are down nearly six percent compared to the previous week.

There are currently more than 137,000 cases and over 4,700 deaths across the state.

OREGON: Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have spiked by 40 percent in the last week. On Monday, the number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus increased to 65 - up for the 46 that were recorded on June 2

Deaths: 169 - Cases: 4,988

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have spiked by 40 percent in the last week.

On Monday, the number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus increased to 65 - up for the 46 that were recorded on June 2.

Oregon is among the states that have recored the lowest infections and deaths across the country throughout the pandemic.

The state currently has over 4,900 cases and more than 160 deaths.
Where COVID-19 is on RISE: Six states see rise in deaths in a week and 22 states see weekly increase in infections

Louisiana and Arizona have seen the number of deaths increase by more than 30 percent in the last week compared to the previous seven days, according to a Reuters analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Ohio and Florida saw fatal cases increase by more than 15 percent and Indiana saw deaths go up by seven percent in a week.

Michigan also recorded a spike in deaths - up 53 percent - after the state reported 240 probable deaths on June 5.

Arizona recorded an increase of more than 90 percent in new cases in the week ending June 7 compared with the previous seven days, according to a Reuters analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project.

Michigan saw a 158 percent increase in new cases last week due mainly to the state reporting 5,000 probably cases on June 5.

Arkansas, Utah, New Mexico and Massachusetts all saw weekly increases of more than 40 percent and new cases in Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and North Carolina all rose by more than 30 percent in the past week.

Link to Full Article - Charts:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... ening.html
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