Advertisements


WHO warns of drawn out pandemic as South Africa cases top 500,000

The UN health agency warned that the coronavirus pandemic would be lengthy and could lead to “response fatigue”, as the case count in South Africa topped half a million. Although many Latin American countries have begun relaxing stay-at-home measures, the virus is still spreading quickly across much of the region Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 680,000 people and infected more than 17.5 million, according to an AFP tally. South Africa is by far the hardest hit country in Africa, accounting for more than half of diagnosed infections, although President Cyril Ramaphosa said the fatality rate is lower than the global average. Health authorities had been expecting a surge in cases after the gradual loosening of a strict lockdown that was imposed at the end of March. Nigeria on Saturday also announced it would ease a lockdown in the commercial capital Lagos, allowing churches and mosques to reopen next week.  An emergency WHO committee reviewing the pandemic “highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 outbreak, noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts”. “WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high,” it said in its latest statement. The agency also said the effects of the pandemic “will be felt for decades to come”. Mexico overtook Britain to become the third hardest hit country in virus deaths — after Brazil and the United States — with more than 46,600 fatal cases. Although many Latin American countries have begun relaxing stay-at-home measures, the virus is still spreading quickly across much of the region, which has now recorded more than four million cases and almost 200,000 deaths. Half of them are in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro said he believes “nearly everyone” will catch the virus eventually, after himself recovering from it. The US, the hardest-hit country in the world, has now tallied more than 4.6 million cases and 154,319 deaths. Vaccine race The outlook was bleak in Asia as well, where India and the Philippines reported record increases in new daily infections. “We are waging a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” said an open letter signed by 80 Filipino medical associations. Japan’s Okinawa declared a state of emergency after a record jump in cases on the islands — many linked to US military forces stationed there. The pandemic has spurred a race for a vaccine with several Chinese companies at the forefront, while Russia has set a target date of September to roll out its own medicine. However, US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it was unlikely his country would use any vaccine developed in either nation. “I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone,” he said. As part of its “Operation Warp Speed”, the US government will pay pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GSK up to $2.1 billion for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the companies said. ‘Day of freedom’ France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all reported huge contractions in their economies for the April-June quarter, while Europe as a whole saw gross domestic product fall by 12.1 percent.  Daily case numbers in Switzerland have crept up again in recent weeks, while Norway recorded its first virus death in two weeks. At least 36 crew members confined to a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the operator Hurtigruten said on Saturday.  Despite the resurgence in cases, there have been demonstrations in Europe against the curbs.  Thousands protested in Berlin on Saturday urging “a day of freedom” from the restrictions, with some demonstrators dubbing the pandemic “the biggest conspiracy theory”. In South Korea, the elderly leader of a secretive sect at the centre of the country’s early coronavirus outbreak was arrested for allegedly hindering the government’s effort to contain the epidemic. People linked to Lee Man-hee’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus accounted for more than half of the South’s coronavirus cases in February and March, but the country has since appeared to have brought the virus under control. The pandemic has also continued to cause mayhem in the travel and tourism sectors, with more airlines announcing mass job cuts. Latin America’s biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, said it would lay off least 2,700 crew, and British Airways pilots overwhelmingly voted to accept a deal cutting wages by 20 percent, with 270 jobs lost......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 2nd, 2020

WHO warns pandemic at critical point as South Asia cases surge

The COVID-19 pandemic has entered a critical phase as infections exponentially increase despite widespread measures aimed at stopping them, the WHO warned Monday, with record case numbers in South Asia triggering tough new restrictions......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 13th, 2021

US warns of Ebola threat after Africa outbreaks

The United States on Tuesday warned that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the world "cannot afford to turn the other way" after cases of Ebola were confirmed in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2021

678 new cases of coronavirus variants detected in Philippines

Of these new cases, 289 are infected with the variant first detected in the United Kingdom known as B.1.1.7, while 380 are infected with the variant first identified in South Africa known as B.1.351......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 4th, 2021

Pfizer says vaccine effective against S.Africa variant

Pfizer and BioNTech said Thursday their Covid-19 vaccine was highly effective against the South African variant in the latest phase of ongoing clinical trials. No cases of the disease were observed in South Africa during the phase-three trial study among participants who had received their second dose, the companies said in a statement. Several coronavirus […] The post Pfizer says vaccine effective against S.Africa variant appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsApr 1st, 2021

Students advocate stricter travel restrictions

With the arrival in the country of the highly contagious UK and South Africa variants of COVID-19 as well as the discovery of a homegrown variant, cases have surged, resulting in the record for most cases recorded in a day being broken......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 25th, 2021

A dose of new hope from the private sector

So many explanations are circulating on what’s causing the record-breaking spike of 7,999 new COVID-19 cases last Saturday. The Department of Health has pointed to breaches in health protocols as people now have more mobility, because they need to make a living, and the arrival of new variants. Quite worrisome is the newly detected Philippine variant labeled “P.3” said to resemble the recently discovered Japanese variant and the notorious Brazilian variant observed to escape immunity. Already detected locally are the more transmissible mutations from South Africa, Brazil, and the UK......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 22nd, 2021

DOH: Cases up but more info needed to confirm local transmission of South African variant

The Department of Health said Saturday that there is still not enough evidence to conclude that there is local transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa even after it logged 52 new cases of it the day before......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 6th, 2021

More cases of South Africa, UK variants detected

More cases of South Africa, UK variants detected.....»»

Category: newsSource:  cnnphilippinesRelated NewsMar 6th, 2021

Phl detects 52 new cases of South Africa variant, 31 cases of UK type

The Philippines has detected 52 new cases of the South Africa variant and 31 additional patients with the United Kingdom type, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Friday, as the country reported 42 more “mutations of interest.” The new variants were found in the ninth batch of the 350 samples that were studied by the […] The post Phl detects 52 new cases of South Africa variant, 31 cases of UK type appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMar 5th, 2021

2 variants blamed for upsurge

The continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila might be due to the spread of the UK and South African variants of the coronavirus, researchers from the University of the Philippines tracking the pandemic said Wednesday......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 4th, 2021

PH detects South Africa variant; ‘fast containment’ pressed

Another more contagious variant of the coronavirus causing COVID-19 that can make vaccines less effective has reached the Philippines, and health authorities say “fast containment” measures are needed to stop its spread. Six cases of the South Africa variant, named after the country where it was first detected late last year, were detected among the […] The post PH detects South Africa variant; ‘fast containment’ pressed appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2021

OCTA sees link between COVID-19 variants and spike of cases in Pasay

MANILA, Philippines — A research group monitoring the trends of Covid-19 in the Philippines believed that the increase of coronavirus cases in Pasay City is linked to the SARS-CoV-2 variants that were first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa and which appeared to be more contagious. Dr. Guido David of OCTA Research noted […] The post OCTA sees link between COVID-19 variants and spike of cases in Pasay appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2021

SA variant spreads to PH

The government on Tuesday said it will try to swiftly contain the spread of the more transmissible COVID-19 variant from South Africa (B.1.351), which is said to affect vaccine efficacy, after six cases have been confirmed in the Philippines......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2021

Philippines registers 1st cases of SA COVID variant

Manila [Philippines], March 2 (ANI/Sputnik): The first six cases of the coronavirus variant originating in South Africa have been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health said on Tuesday......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2021

Philippines confirms first cases of COVID-19 variant found in South Africa

MANILA, March 2 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines has detected its first six cases of a more contagious COVID-19 variant found in South Africa, its health ministry said on Tuesday. Health Undersec.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2021

Philippines detects first cases of COVID-19 variant first seen in South Africa

The Philippine Genome Center detected six cases of B.1.351, or the variant that originated in South Africa when it conducted genome sequencing of samples from people who tested positive for COVID-19......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2021

South Africa suspends AstraZeneca vaccination launch over study

South Africa said Sunday it would suspend the start of its Covid-19 vaccinations with the AstraZeneca jab after a study showed the drug failed to prevent mild and moderate cases of the virus variant that has appeared in the country......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 8th, 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

Israel records four South African COVID-19 variant cases

Israel's health ministry said Saturday four people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus strain first detected in South Africa, with the British variant already recorded......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 10th, 2021

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:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020