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Millions more face English virus restrictions as cases spiral

Millions more people in northern England face stricter coronavirus rules next week, officials said Friday, as reports suggested the government is considering a nationwide lockdown. A digital display shows NHS health advice on the coronavirus in Leeds on October 30, 2020. – West Yorkshire is to be placed under tier three Covid restrictions from November 2, 2020, the strictest level of rules. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) From Monday, nearly 2.4 million residents in five districts of West Yorkshire, including in the city of Leeds, will be barred from socialising with other households indoors. Pubs and bars not serving “substantial meals” must close, alongside casinos and betting shops, while people have also been told to avoid unnecessary travel. The Department of Health said the measures were needed as infection rates in West Yorkshire were among the highest in the country and rising rapidly. The Times reported Friday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was considering a return to a national lockdown to battle the surge. Johnson was expected to hold a press conference on Monday to announce new restrictions, which would close everything except “essential shops”, schools and universities, the paper said, quoting a government source. In its weekly study of Covid-19 prevalence, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of people with the virus had increased to around one in 100 nationwide. “There has been growth in all age groups over the past two weeks; older teenagers and young adults continue to have the highest current rates while rates appear to be steeply increasing among secondary school children,” it said. The country’s official science advisory panel warned in a report published Friday that the virus was spreading “significantly” faster and that hospitalisations were rising at a higher rate through England than its predicted “worst-case” scenario drawn up in July. The report said that in mid-October, shortly before new local rules were introduced, around four times as many people were catching Covid than anticipated in the July report. That study warned that 85,000 more people could die during the winter wave. West Yorkshire’s imminent restrictions are the latest step in the UK government’s localised response to the surging transmission, which has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks. More than 11 million people — about a fifth of England’s population — will be under the tightest measures from next week. Most of the areas in the “very high” category of the government’s three-tier Covid alert system are in northern and central parts of the country. Nottingham became the latest city to enter the highest tier Friday. On Thursday night, young people took to the streets in fancy dress and drank in large groups before a ban on alcohol sales in shops came into force at 2100 GMT. – ‘Targeted’ – The pandemic has hit Britain harder than any other country in Europe, with more than 45,000 people having died within 28 days of testing positive. Case rates are spiralling again after a lull, tracking the situation elsewhere on the continent. England is seeing nearly 52,000 new cases daily, a 47 percent weekly rise, according to the ONS, which conducts its analysis of households with the help of several universities and health bodies, and excludes people in hospitals and care homes.  Britain’s European neighbours and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reimposed partial lockdowns to try to cut infection rates. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Friday the government would continue its “targeted and focused” strategy of local restrictions in virus hotspots. “The arbitrariness of a blanket approach would be far worse than the effects of trying to be as targeted as possible,” he said. Meanwhile, a new study reported Friday that a Covid-19 variant originating in Spanish farm workers has spread rapidly throughout Europe in recent months and now accounts for most cases in Britain. The variant — called 20A.EU1 — is thought to have been spread from northeastern Spain by people returning from holidays there, according to the study, which is awaiting peer review in a medical journal. There is currently no evidence that the strain spreads faster or impacts illness severity and immunity......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerOct 31st, 2020

English pubs set for comeback, India battles record virus surge

Britain was to partially lift coronavirus restrictions Monday, reopening shops, gyms, pub gardens, and hairdressers, while India moved to ban exports of a virus treatment drug as a record surge of cases overwhelms its healthcare system......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 13th, 2021

Biden knocks Trump as rivals barnstorm heartland in election finale

Joe Biden intensified his attacks Friday on President Donald Trump as they battled over the American Midwest, chasing every last vote with four days to go in a region that propelled the Republican to victory in 2016. RUS President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Rochester International Airport October 30, 2020 in Rochester, Minnesota. With Election Day only four days away, Trump is campaigning in Minnesota despite the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the state. In accordance with state orders, only 250 people will be able to attend the rally with Trump while thousands of others will gather outside the airport to watch on a large television screen. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP) Trump and Biden barnstormed three heartland states each — with a resurgent coronavirus passing the milestone of nine million cases as they hit the stump — highlighting their differences in a race overshadowed by the pandemic. Trump, heralded a “big day” of campaigning as he left the White House, then held a rally in Michigan before heading to Wisconsin and Minnesota, all states battling climbing numbers of virus cases. “We just want normal,” Trump told supporters — many of them unmasked — at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed states to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life. He again bucked his own administration’s health experts as he downplayed the Covid-19 threat, saying “if you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune.” Covid-19 has killed nearly 230,000 people in the US, which is experiencing surges in most states as the winter flu season looms. The outbreak has ravaged the economy, and while there have been signs of recovery, millions remain jobless. Biden was also stumping in Wisconsin and in Minnesota, where he sharpened his attacks on the president on everything from Trump seeking to dismantle Obama-era health care protections and keep his taxes secret to climate change and trade policy with China. “We can not afford four more years of Donald Trump,” the 77-year-old Democrat said at a socially distanced drive-in rally in St. Paul, Minnesota. “So honk your horn if you want America to lead again!” he said, embracing the awkward pandemic-era campaign trend of rallying supporters in their vehicles. “Honk your horn if you want to have civility again, and honk your horn if you want America to be united again!” Earlier in Iowa he attacker Trump over his handling of the pandemic. “Donald Trump has given up (and) waved the white flag,” Biden told a drive-in rally with more than 300 cars in Des Moines. – ‘Less divided’ – Trump flipped Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin from the Democrats to clinch his shock victory four years ago.  Now polls show Biden leading in all three, albeit narrowly in Iowa. It was Biden’s first visit to Iowa since his inauspicious campaign start in February, when he placed a dismal fourth in the opening Democratic nominating contest. So can Biden win over enough voters to prevail in the Hawkeye State? “I wouldn’t put money on it,” Iowa attorney Sara Riley, 61, said at Biden’s event, although she was more confident about him clinching the White House. “I think Americans, even Trump supporters, want to get to a place where the country is less divided,” Riley said. With voters concerned about the health hazards of crowded polling stations on November 3, a record 86 million have already cast early ballots by mail or in person. Even as the US hit a grim new high in daily Covid-19 infections Thursday, Trump has stuck to his guns, downplaying the dangers and branding Democrats as rampaging “socialists” intent on shuttering the country. And while Trump has touted the economic successes of his presidency, including positive GDP figures Thursday, US stocks closed out their worst week since March, highlighting concerns about a shaky recovery. – ‘Turn Texas blue?’ – After a campaign largely muted by the pandemic, Biden is on the offensive, pushing Trump onto the back foot in unexpected battlegrounds like Texas, a large, traditionally conservative bastion now rated a toss-up by multiple analysts. On Friday the state reported that a staggering nine million residents had already voted, surpassing its entire 2016 total. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris visited Texas Friday in a bid to turn the state Democratic for the first time since president Jimmy Carter in 1976. “We have a chance to turn Texas blue,” the 96-year-old Carter said in a fundraising email. Biden winning there would be a dagger to Trump, but the president dismissed the notion, saying: “Texas, we’re doing very well.” Trump and Biden are focusing their greatest efforts on traditional battlegrounds that will decide the election — such as Florida, where both campaigned on Thursday. On Saturday Biden returns to the Midwest bringing with him perhaps his strongest surrogate: ex-president Barack Obama, making his first joint in-person campaign appearance of the year with his former VP. Motown music legend Stevie Wonder will join them, the Biden campaign said. Trump will spend the day campaigning in the critical state of Pennsylvania, where he narrowly trails Biden in polls. Biden will follow suit there both Sunday and Monday in a clear sign that his campaign sees the Keystone State as absolutely crucial to his victory......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

Clashes in Barcelona over virus restrictions

Protesters clashed with police in central Barcelona on Friday after hundreds gathered to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, including a curfew and a ban on leaving the city over the holiday weekend.  A protester throws crowd control barriers towards members of the Catalan regional police force Mossos d’Esquadra as clashes erupt during a demonstration against new coronavirus restrictions in Barcelona on October 30, 2020. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP) A spokesman for the Mossos d’Esquadra regional police told AFP up to 700 protesters attended the rally which later turned violent when a group of some 50 people “began throwing dangerous objects” at police, prompting them to try and break up the crowd.  An AFPTV correspondent in the central Plaza Sant Jaume saw scores of demonstrators wearing face masks, many chanting “freedom”, hurling rocks and crowd control barriers at police in full riot gear as the surrounding streets filled with smoke from burning barricades. Sirens wailed throughout the city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters with batons and firefighters hosed down fires in several large wheelie bins. Twenty police officers were injured in the clashes and twelve people were arrested, the regional police said on Twitter.  At least two establishments were looted and several police vehicles damaged, it added. A protest in the northern Spanish city of Burgos also turned violent when several dozen young protestors began throwing bottles and stones at police and torching rubbish bins, the Diario de Burgos news website reported.  “What’s happening in Burgos tonight only brings more pain and destruction. Anger won’t get us out of here,” tweeted Francisco Igea, number two in the Castilla y Leon region.  Despite the many restrictions imposed in Spain since July, when the number of cases began rising again, infections have spiralled with the virus claiming more than 35,000 lives and infecting more than 1.1 million people.  Almost all of Spain’s regions have imposed border closures in the hope of avoiding a new lockdown, but in Catalonia, where bars and restaurants have been closed since mid-October, the authorities have imposed extra restrictions.  Residents have been barred from leaving towns and cities over the weekend with police on Friday checking drivers on the main roads leading out of Barcelona......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

Europe surges past 250,000 virus deaths

Europe passed the milestone of 250,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Sunday as Israel and Australia’s second-largest city of Melbourne began to gradually ease their strict lockdowns. European nations have ratcheted up restrictions on daily life to tackle soaring infections, with a 44 percent increase in cases this week. Nighttime curfews on millions came into force […] The post Europe surges past 250,000 virus deaths appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 19th, 2020

Thailand Moves a Step Closer to Welcoming Back Foreign Tourists

Thailand will start issuing special visas to foreign tourists starting October, easing a more than five-month-old ban on visitors to revive the nation’s ailing tourism-reliant economy. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s cabinet approved a proposal to issue visas to tourists planning to stay between 90 and 280 days in Thailand, according to government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul. The tourists will undergo a mandatory 14-day state quarantine on arrival at partner hotels or hospitals and follow health and safety regulations, she said. The government expects about 1,200 visitors to avail themselves of these visas each month, generating about 1.2 billion baht ($38.5 million) in revenue. The easing of border restrictions may boost the nation’s pandemic-battered tourism industry and cushion the blow to an economy projected to contract 8.5% this year. The news of cabinet approval for special visas triggered a rally among hotel and travel operators in Bangkok. A measure of Thai tourism and leisure stocks jumped 4.5%, the biggest gainer among the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s 28 industry groups. It was also the index’s largest increase since May 26. While Hotel operators Erawan Group Pcl and Central Plaza Hotel Pcl surged more than 8%, Minor International Pcl advanced 5.5%. Thailand’s tourism and hospitality sectors are counting on the return of international visitors, who contributed to two-thirds of tourism income before the pandemic, to reverse the slump in businesses and save millions of jobs. A government campaign to boost travel by locals through hotel and air travel concessions has failed to make up for the slump in earnings, but the move to allow foreigners in small batches will still be a relief to the industry. “There will not be a huge economic impact from this as it still can’t compensate for the revenue lost, but it will help,” Somprawin Manprasert, chief economist at Bank of Ayudhya Pcl said. “This plan still targets a higher-spending group of foreign visitors which will not benefit tourism industry operators that have lower to mid-price points, who will still suffer.” The move to relax curbs on foreign tourists also follows Thailand’s relative success in containing the coronavirus outbreak. The nation went without a local transmission for 100 days before the virus-free run was ended early this month. Though Thailand was the first country outside China to report the deadly virus, its cumulative cases stand at 3,480 with most patients already discharged from hospitals. The reopening to foreign tourists may be risky, but it is a manageable risk worth taking, Bank of Thailand’s Senior Director Don Nakornthab wrote in an article on the central bank’s website. The country may be headed for a second straight year of contraction in 2021 if it continued to restrict foreign visitor arrivals, Don wrote......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 15th, 2020

Igorot heritage helped keep Team Lakay strong throughout quarantine

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions all over the world not just in terms of physical health, but mental health as well.  With home quarantines and restrictions being placed just about everywhere in the world, people have needed to adapt and adjust to essentially living inside a bubble.  Fortunately, some countries have slowly started to ease restrictions and get back on their feet, and the Philippines is one of them.  Since March, the whole of Luzon has been on Enhanced Community Quarantine, but after the May 15 deadline, a number of cities and provinces have transitioned into General Community Quarantine. Restrictions are still very much in place, but slowly, things are starting to move towards a new normal.  Throughout that time, members of Team Lakay have managed to keep themselves safe and in shape with the help of home workouts and committing to daily training regimens.  (READ ALSO: Mark Sangiao pleased to see Team Lakay wards maintain fitness even during quarantine) The Baguio-based mixed martial arts heroes have also managed to keep themselves not just physically healthy, but mentally healthy as well, and they believe that their Igorot heritage has a lot to do with how they’ve managed to keep their well-being in check throughout the pandemic.  “The Igorot people are known to be resilient, self-sustaining, village-oriented, and we are used to simple living,” said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao. “Even in times like these, people don’t get hungry because we take care of each other. You go out and you’ll see free vegetables stocked out on the road, and we don’t hoard them, we only get what we need so that everyone has something on their tables.” “Remember that during the war, Cordillera was able to sustain themselves because of the strong ties that we have here, coupled with the patience and the resiliency that we have,” he added. (READ ALSO: Team Lakay mentor Mark Sangiao looking forward to re-opening gym once lockdown is lifted) For former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang, obedience has been a key part in staying safe.  “The Igorot people are obedient, we make sure to follow our figures of higher authority, especially our elders.” “We also practice what we call ‘binadang,’ which means helping those in need, which is very important during times like this,” he added. As for former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon, self-reliance is an important trait among the Igorot people.  “As a proud Igorot, we are taught to be self-reliant and fend for ourselves during trying times. We are also very obedient and respectful to our leaders,” Belingon stated. Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio echoed Belingon’s sentiments about the Igorot people being self-reliant as well.  “Being an Igorot, most especially the genes and the lifestyle that we live has really helped us during this pandemic,” said Eustaquio. “We are very resilient people, we hold our pride high. We can survive and we can adapt on our own,” “We’ve managed to stay strong throughout this period because I believe that the Igorot people are naturally healthy people,” explained ONE featherweight contender Edward Kelly.  ”The Igorots are physically strong because we are very hard workers, and that helps make our immune system strong as well. Having a strong immune system is very important nowadays so that we don’t get sick with the virus,” Kelly added. For ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio, discipline and obedience has been a major part in keeping Baquio and the Benguet province one of the least affected areas.  “The Baguio-Benguet area was somehow one of the places with the least amounts of cases of people that have tested positive for the coronavirus, and I believe that it’s because of how disciplined the Igorot people are,” said Pacio.  “We listen and we take seriously what the government says. We stay at home and we don’t go out, and we make sure that our health and safety is a must,” the champ added......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 26th, 2020

How resilient has our COVID-19 response been?

In a COVID resiliency ranking made by Bloomberg towards the end of last year, the Philippines ranked 46th of 53 countries on 10 key metrics, which included growth in virus cases, overall mortality rate, testing capability, capacity of the local healthcare system, impact of restrictions on the economy, citizen’s freedom of movement, and vaccine supply agreements forged......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 22nd, 2021

FIBA qualifiers cancelled due to rise in virus cases

Four of the five group stages of the FIBA-Asia Cup qualifiers won’t be happening next week after organizers called off the entire third window of the Asian Basketball Qualifiers on Friday when the Qatari government reimposed a series of coronavirus-related restrictions......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 12th, 2021

Coffin stored in break room as Los Angeles funeral home overwhelmed

A corpse in the break room. Embalmed bodies in the garage.  During AFP’s visit, a casket topped with a small wreath of flowers occupied the funeral home employee break room beyond the front desk Boyd Funeral Home, a small family business in Los Angeles, is so overflowing with Covid-19 victims it has begun turning away customers for the first time in its history. “The weekend before I turned down 16 families that I couldn’t do services for,” said owner Candy Boyd.  “It’s sad. But that’s pretty much how it is now.” In the past two weeks, as coronavirus has slammed Los Angeles, some 80 percent of the deceased passing through her doors died from Covid. One-in-10 residents of the nation’s second largest city has been infected since the pandemic began, with nearly 300 people dying daily last week as the virus surges. At Boyd’s reception desk, the phones keep ringing, mostly going unanswered as her overwhelmed staff have abandoned setting appointments and now tell customers to just show up and get in line. She is even receiving calls from desperate families in other counties more than an hour’s drive away.  Many hospital morgues are also full, with local coroners using refrigerated trucks to accommodate the victim load and some cemeteries warning of two week waiting lists. “Things are getting more and more out of control,” said Boyd. During AFP’s visit this week, a casket topped with a small wreath of flowers occupied the employee break room beyond the front desk. It had been there for a week. “This room is our lunch area, however, we are having to use this room for space for caskets,” said the owner. “We’ve done the services but the cemetery is so backed up… we have to hold them here until they have time to do the burial.” – Bodies in the garage – Like much of surrounding South Los Angeles, the Westmont neighborhood is mainly inhabited by Black and Latino working class communities living in densely populated homes. These demographics have been hit particularly hard by Covid, with mortality rates two or three times higher than nearby affluent communities. Boyd’s funeral home cold storage room has been consistently full. Two weeks ago, Boyd brought in craftsmen to erect two large wooden structures in the company’s garage to store embalmed bodies. “He hasn’t even gotten a chance to really finish because we needed (to store) these,” she said, pointing to corpses wrapped in body bags lying on the rough shelves. “I would never imagined having to build that in my wildest dreams.” Some funeral homes have reported a shortage of coffins due to lack of wood, though Boyd’s supplier has kept up with orders so long as they are placed early enough. – ‘Nightmares’ – Worried about her five staff catching the virus at the start of the pandemic, Boyd initially refused to accept Covid victims. “I was having nightmares. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep,” she recalled.  Boyd has since created safety protocols and now feels comfortable dealing with the influx, although she insists it is “not about the money.” “It’s about helping families and helping them get through this crisis,” she said. “It takes a toll on me every day, I’m dealing with this,” Boyd added. “And I have to keep a stolid face because I have to be there for the family.”  Sometimes, customers are people she has long known personally. Other times, Boyd encounters families who still refuse to wear masks or respect physical distance, even as they make arrangements to bury their loved ones.  “The numbers don’t lie. It’s true. It’s real,” said Boyd of the disease. Cases in California have more than doubled since early December to 2.8 million. “If you don’t take it serious,” she warned an AFP journalist, “you could be one of the people that are in my back row back there, you know!”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsJan 17th, 2021

World Roundup: Virus hotspot& nbsp;in Australia

Austalian officials declared Sydney’s northern beaches a coronavirus hotspot Friday as a cluster of cases grew to 28 and triggered a return of domestic travel restrictions......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 18th, 2020

America should prepare for & lsquo;surge upon surge& rsquo; of virus

America should prepare for a “surge upon a surge” in coronavirus cases as millions of travelers return home after the Thanksgiving holiday, top US scientist Anthony Fauci warned Sunday......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 30th, 2020

Philippines may see uptick in COVID-19 cases as holidays near — OCTA Research

Professor Guido David urged the public to maintain the downward trend of COVID-19 cases by strictly following health protocols such as wearing of face masks and shields and observing physical distance—measures that are critical in curbing the spread of the virus......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 5th, 2020

Anger at second virus closing time for English pubs

English pubs call last orders at the bar for a month on Wednesday evening, as the country effectively shuts down for the second time this year to try to cut coronavirus cases......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 4th, 2020

Australia s second-wave epicentre records zero new virus cases

Australian health officials on Monday reported no new coronavirus cases or deaths in Victoria state, which has spent months under onerous restrictions after becoming the epicentre of the country's second wave......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 26th, 2020

Germany virus death toll passes 10,000: health institute

Germany has suffered more than 10,000 Covid-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to official data published Saturday.  People wear face protecting masks on October 22, 2020 downtown Munich, amid the novel coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP) A total of 10,003 deaths have been recorded by the Robert Koch Institute, a federal government agency, with 418,005 infections recorded nationwide. Of those, 14,714 were diagnosed in the last 24 hours — a daily record. Robert Koch Institute president Lothar Wieler said Germany was facing a “very serious” situation and asked the population to adhere to social distancing measures. Germany was spared during the first wave of coronavirus infections that hit Europe in spring but is now suffering a sharp increase in cases along with the rest of the continent. Authorities have tightened measures against the pandemic including the adoption of a public assembly ban. Chancellor Angela Merkel last weekend asked the country to reduce their social contact and stay home as much as possible. “What winter will be, what our Christmas will be, will be decided in the days and weeks to come,” she had warned......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 24th, 2020

New restrictions as Europe surges past 250,000 virus deaths

Belgium imposed a nationwide overnight curfew on Monday as Switzerland made wearing face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces, the latest desperate measures by European governments to fight a powerful second coronavirus wave......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 19th, 2020

Last night out for French cities ahead of virus curfew

Paris, France---Millions of French people prepared Friday to enjoy a last night of freedom before a COVID-19 curfew in Paris and other large cities, after officials warned that new efforts were needed to curb an alarming surge in new cases......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 16th, 2020

Covid-19 reinfection casts doubt on virus immunity: study

Covid-19 patients may experience more severe symptoms the second time they are infected, according to research released Tuesday confirming it is possible to catch the potentially deadly disease more than once. A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal charts the first confirmed case of Covid-19 reinfection in the United States — the country worst hit by the pandemic — and indicates that exposure to the virus may not guarantee future immunity. The patient, a 25-year-old Nevada man, was infected with two distinct variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, within a 48-day time frame. The second infection was more severe than the first, resulting in the patient being hospitalised with oxygen support. The paper noted four other cases of reinfection confirmed globally, with one patient each in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Ecuador. Experts said the prospect of reinfection could have a profound impact on how the world battles through the pandemic. In particular, it could influence the hunt for a vaccine — the currently Holy Grail of pharmaceutical research. “The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine,” said Mark Pandori, for the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory and lead study author. “We need more research to understand how long immunity may last for people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and why some of these second infections, while rare, are presenting as more severe.” Waning immunity?Vaccines work by triggering the body’s natural immune response to a certain pathogen, arming it with antibodies it to fight off future waves of infection. But it is not at all clear how long Covid-19 antibodies last. For some diseases, such as measles, infection confers lifelong immunity. For other pathogens, immunity may be fleeting at best. The authors said the US patient could have been exposed to a very high dose of the virus the second time around, triggering a more acute reaction. Alternatively, it may have been a more virulent strain of the virus. Another hypothesis is a mechanism known as antibody dependent enhancement — that is, when antibodies actually make subsequent infections worse, such as with dengue fever. The researchers pointed out that reinfection of any kind remains rare, with only a handful of confirmed cases out of tens of millions of Covid-19 infections globally. However, since many cases are asymptomatic and therefore unlikely to have tested positive initially, it may be impossible to know if a given Covid-19 case is the first or second infection. In a linked comment to The Lancet paper, Akiko Iwasaka, a professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, said the findings could impact public health measures. “As more cases of reinfection surface, the scientific community will have the opportunity to understand better the correlates of protection and how frequently natural infections with SARS-CoV-2 induce that level of immunity,” she said. “This information is key to understanding which vaccines are capable of crossing that threshold to confer individual and herd immunity,” added Iwasaka, who was not involved in the study......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 13th, 2020

Italy ‘second wave’ fears grow as virus cases top 5,000

Italy was grappling Friday with fears of a second coronavirus wave similar to the ones seen in Britain, France and Spain, as it registered over 5,000 new infections in 24 hours. “We’re under extreme pressure,” the World Health Organization’s Italian government adviser Walter Ricciardi said, warning that spaces in Covid-19 hospitals were running out in the worst-hit regions. Italy registered 5,372 new cases Friday, the health ministry said, nearly 1,000 more than on Thursday. The country has not seen such high numbers of recorded new infections since mid-April. New infections are still well behind Britain, France and Spain, which are registering between 12,000 and 19,000 cases in 24 hours. But Ricciardi said the rise in cases could reach those levels in Italy just as winter begins and common influenza strikes. “When the flu comes, we risk having 16 thousand cases in a day,” he said in an interview with broadcaster Sky TG24. “I am very worried… (about) sub-intensive units because there are infectious patients who need to be treated in a certain way and beds are already running out. And that’s before the flu hits,” he said. The government moved to tackle the sharp rise in case numbers earlier this week, making wearing face masks compulsory in outdoor spaces across the country, on top of all indoor spaces apart from homes. – ‘Dramatic decisions’ – Lazio, the region which houses capital Rome, has been performing particularly badly, along with Campania in the south and Lombardy in the north, where the pandemic broke out in Italy back in February. According to official figures, more than 36,000 people have died of the virus in Italy, where a nationwide lockdown — the first in any European country — lasted over two months. Drained by years of budget cuts, southern Italy’s overstretched health care system escaped the brunt of the virus after movement between regions was banned, preventing cases from travelling down the country. But there are fears it would not escape a second wave. The Italian Association of Hospital Anaesthesiologists said Friday that hospitals in the south, where infrastructure is weaker, were not ready for an escalating crisis, despite efforts made to boost beds and staff numbers. Campania’s regional president Vincenzo De Luca said on Facebook he thought “we’ve reached the point where dramatic decisions need to be taken”. He said he could not rule out a new lockdown of the region. Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia said Friday that if the upward trend continued, movement of people between regions may be temporarily banned. “A rise in the number of contagions was predictable. Intensive care units have been reinforced,” he said. “However, I cannot rule out limits on movements. Nothing can be ruled out at the moment,” he told Radio Capitale......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

Russia reports record virus cases but shuns new restrictions

Russia registered its highest-ever number of new coronavirus infections on Friday after officials warned that tight restrictions could be put back in place if people continued to flout restrictions. New cases in Russia have surged past the record levels seen in May Dimitar DILKOFF AFP/File/ MANILA BULLETIN Restaurants and bars in Moscow were bustling and many residents were ignoring orders to wear masks in public as nationwide infections surged in September, but officials stopped short of imposing new sweeping measures to slow the spread of the virus. European leaders across the continent are scambling to amend virus regulations against the backdrop of a surge in new cases, and even Germany, which was praised for its early handling of the pandemic, has suffered a large increase in new infections. But officials in Russia, which has the world’s fourth-highest caseload after the United States, India and Brazil, have so far dismissed the idea there is a second wave of infections or any need for a new lockdown.   A government tally registered 12,126 new cases on Friday, surpassing the country’s previous record set in May by several hundred cases. “I’m really afraid that things will go back to how they were in the spring, that everyone will be quarantined and we won’t be allowed to go to work,” Vladimir, a teacher in Saint Petersburg who declined to give his last name, told AFP.  – Training dogs to detect virus – As Russia is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, the country’s flagship airline Aeroflot is training sniffer dogs to detect the coronavirus by scent. Aeroflot uses a special jackal-dog hybrid called Shalaika in Russian to detect explosives. Now dog handlers say the Shalaikas — who have a powerful sense of smell — can be taught to sniff out the coronavirus. “The dog is not looking for the virus, the dog is looking for a person with signs of the disease,” Elena Batayeva, head of canine monitoring at Aeroflot, told reporters. Russia imposed one of the most severe nationwide lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic. Non-essential businesses were shuttered and Moscow residents only permitted to move freely with official digital passes. But most restrictions were lifted ahead of a large WWII military parade in June and a nationwide vote on amendments that paved the way for President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036. Officials in Moscow, which is the epicentre of Russia’s pandemic, have taken only minor steps to slow the spread of cases. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has ordered the elderly and vulnerable to stay at home and told employers to keep at least a third of staff working remotely.  Mask-wearing is compulsory on public transport and inside shops, but some Muscovites are not convinced others are doing enough to stop the spread of infections. “The city is making the necessary decisions. But it won’t work without people responding to these measures, helping themselves and those around them,” Sobyanin said Friday. Tatyana Nemirovskaya, a 30-year-old PR specialist, told AFP that Muscovites are “definitely not” following the government’s guidelines. The head of Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, which is spearheading the country’s virus response, warned this week of “new measures” if the current rules were not followed. The Kremlin said Friday that if the situation continues to deteriorate it will “require some actions, decisions”. – ‘Without masks, having fun’ – But Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov placed the blame on Russians for the surging caseload, saying it was clear that “many people don’t think it is necessary to take care of providing the safety of their health.”  Standing next to a memorial to medics who have died during the pandemic in Saint Petersburg, Stella, a resident of Russia’s second city, said people had dropped their guard after mass restrictions were lifted. “The rules were slightly eased and people calmly walked around without masks, having fun and everything began again,” she said. Russia announced in August it had registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, named Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite and a number of officials have said they volunteered for inoculation, including Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.  Putin this week said “around 50 people” in his inner circle, including staff and family, had been vaccinated. Russia has recorded a total of 22,257 fatalities from the virus, a much lower figure compared to other badly-hit countries. Kremlin critics have suggested the authorities have downplayed the death rate to hide the severity of the outbreak......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020