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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 » Sat May 09, 2020 1:15 pm

UK arrivals will be forced to
quarantine for two weeks


Those who break the rules face a potential deportation or £1,000 fine. Boris Johnson is understood to be planning to announce the plans at the government briefing tomorrow

It is one of a number of measures reportedly set to be announced tomorrow, as Britain begins to open up from lockdown.

These include being able to leave home for exercise more than once a day and being able to visit garden centres.

However, airline bosses are said to be concerned the plans will prevent the industry from getting back to business this summer.

Each day of April saw an average of 15,000 passengers arrived in Britain.

There was no quarantine requirement or temperature checks for these entrants.

Ministers believed that stricter rules would not have made a difference because of the prevalence of transmission.

Arrivals will also be required to register where they intend to stay quarantined on digital forms.

Travellers from the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Mann will be exempt.

So too will lorry drivers carrying potentially vital supplies from overseas.

It is not known how long such precautions will have to be in place.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “Quarantine would not only have a devastating impact on the UK aviation industry, but also on the wider economy.

“Aviation is an enabler for many other industries, such as manufacturers, tourism and the hospitality industry.”

There has been a 90 percent decline in flights since the beginning of lockdown.

Wednesday saw 714 flights in or out of Britain, the highest since the measures were put into place.

The United Kingdom coronavirus death toll is now at 31,241.

This figure includes those who died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive.

According to NHS England a six-week-old baby was amongst the victims.

The oldest death among the 332 in hospitals was 103 years old.

A total of 22 of these deaths had no underlying conditions.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/12798 ... mmigration
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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 » Sun May 10, 2020 9:32 pm

UK to go back to work
in plan to ease lockdown


Boris Johnson called on people across the UK on Sunday to return to work if they cannot do so from home, as the Prime Minister laid out his vision for gradually restarting the economy

The government's previous stance was that people should only go to work "if they must," Johnson said. "We now need to stress that anyone who can't work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work."

Also from Wednesday, people in the UK will be able to sunbathe in their local parks, exercise as much as they want and drive to other destinations, he said.

In a pre-recorded televised statement on Sunday evening, Johnson unveiled a road map to resuming activity in the country following more than six weeks under lockdown. He characterized his plan as a cautious balance between keeping new infections down while easing the economic burden the pandemic has had on millions in the UK.

Until Johnson's announcement, residents whose jobs were considered non-essential were advised to leave home only for local exercise once a day and to buy food or medicine.
"From this Wednesday we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise," he said, adding that social distancing measures would stay in place.

"You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household."

Johnson announced several other new measures:

    People returning to work should avoid public transport where possible

    Quarantining people entering the country by air would come into place soon

    A new five-tier alert system, like one the UK uses for terror threats, will be employed by a biosecurity center

    The advice and slogan "Stay at home" to save lives is now "Stay alert"

    Primary schools could open from June 1, but that is the best-case scenario

    More shops and the hospitality sector could reopen in July, depending on circumstances
Keir Starmer, the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said that Johnson's statement lacked the clarity the nation was looking for.

"The basic message, stay alert, just isn't clear enough and the Prime Minister's statement raises just as many questions as it answers," he said in remarks to the BBC.

"I think there are real problems here. Basically, those that can't work at home are being told to go to work tomorrow. That's millions of people and that means go to work in about 12 hours' time, mixed with the message that if it's possible to do so, don't use public transport -- that's quite a thing to spring on people for tomorrow morning."

The message to "stay alert," which Johnson announced earlier Sunday on Twitter, has been met with criticism, and ridiculed on social media, for its vagueness.

Lack of unity across country

The government's new messaging and advice has also put it at odds with the United Kingdom's smaller three nations.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have extended their lockdowns to May 28 and officials from all three nations said there had been no coordination between their governments and Downing Street over the new messaging, and they would continue to spread the "stay home" message among their own people.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who described Johnson's new slogan as "vague and imprecise," said on Sunday that people in her nation could begin exercising more than once a day from Monday, but all other lockdown rules would be retained.

"I have asked the UK government not to deploy their 'Stay Alert' advertising campaign in Scotland, because the message at this stage in Scotland is ... except for the essential reasons you know about, stay at home," Sturgeon said Sunday.

"We must not squander our progress by easing up too soon, or by sending mixed messages that result in people thinking it's okay to ease up now. Let me be very blunt about the consequences if we were to do that: people will die unnecessarily. We must not take that risk," she added.

The United Kingdom is one of the world's hardest-hit nations in the pandemic. More than 31,000 people have died, according to government data.

In his address, Johnson sought to present the plan as one with the backing of the kingdom's four nations, saying he had "consulted across the political spectrum, across all four nations of the UK."

"I believe that, as Prime Minister of the UK -- Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland -- there is a strong resolve to defeat this together and today, a general consensus on what we could do," he said.

Johnson is expected to give more details of his road map in parliament on Monday, where he will no doubt face tough questions from MPs over his new messaging to the public.

It's not the first time the UK government has been criticized for its confusing communications during the pandemic. Johnson telegraphed earlier this week that he hoped some changes to the country's lockdown announced Sunday would go into effect as quickly as Monday.

His lack of details on what measures might be relaxed spurred a flurry of speculation in British media.

The suggestions that Monday may bring new freedoms appears to have emboldened people in London: hundreds were photographed in parks sunbathing and having picnics as sunny weather tempted them to break lockdown rules over the weekend. Police said they were forced to disperse groups drinking beer and wine, and sharing pizza.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/10/uk/u ... index.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun May 10, 2020 11:49 pm

Coronavirus CAN enter
body through the eyes


Scientists have claimed the coronavirus can enter the body through the eyes after finding they contain a protein used by the infection to bind to cells

The coronavirus - scientifically called SARS-CoV-2 - latches onto ACE-2 receptors, known as the 'gateway' into cells inside body.

These receptors are found in the respiratory tract and the lungs, which is where the virus first infiltrates cells, as well as other organs.

A team led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have now found the eyes produce ACE-2, making them a target for the virus.

It means if droplets from an infected person's sneeze or cough were to land on the surface of the eye, the virus could begin infiltrating cells there.

It may explain why some patients have suffered conjunctivitis - an inflammation of the eye which causes it to become red and infected.

Not only could the virus enter the body through the eyes, but tears may serve as a spread of infection, scientists said.

Scientists have claimed the coronavirus can enter the body through the eyes after finding they contain a protein used by the infection to bind to cells. Pictured: Healthcare worker in Ukraine

Scientists found ACE-2 was expressed in the cornea (A and B, magnified in C) and the limbus (E, magnified in F), which is the border between the cornea and the white of the eye

The team was led by Lingli Zhou of the Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

They analysed ten human post-mortem eyes from people who did not die of COVID-19 for the expression of ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2).

ACE-2 is understood to be the entry point for the virus. Its spiky surface binds to the receptors and, from there, infects the cell and replicates.

It's suggested that someone with more ACE-2 receptors may be more susceptible to a large viral load - first infectious dose of a virus - entering their bloodstream.

The team also looked for TMPRSS2, an enzyme that helps viral entry following binding of the viral spike protein to ACE2.

ACE2 and TMPRSS2 must both be present in the same cell for the virus to effectively replicate.

WHAT IS AN ACE-2 RECEPTOR AND WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH COVID-19?

ACE-2 receptors are structures found on the surface of cells in the lungs and airways which work with an enyzme called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) to regulate blood pressure.

Its exact function in the lungs is not well understood but studies suggest it is protective against lung damage and low levels of it can worsen the impact of viral infections.

Scientists say that the coronavirus which causes COVID-19 enters the body through the ACE-2 receptor, which the shape of it allows it to latch on to.

This means that someone with more ACE-2 receptors may be more susceptible to a large viral load - first infectious dose of a virus - entering their bloodstream.

ACE-2 receptors have a shape which matches the outside of the coronavirus, effectively providing it with a doorway into the bloodstream, scientists say

People who have higher than usual numbers of ACE-2 receptors may include those with diabetes or high blood pressure because they have genetic defects which make them produce more. Emerging evidence shows that smokers may also produce more.

High levels of ACE-2 receptors may also be protective, however.

They are thought to be able to protect the lungs during infection and a study on mice in 2008 found that mice which had ACE-2 blocked in their bodies suffered more damage when they were infected with SARS, which is almost identical to COVID-19.

Smoking has in the past been repeatedly linked to lower than normal levels of ACE-2 receptors, potentially increasing the risk of lung damage from COVID-19.

All eye specimens expressed ACE-2 in the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids, called conjunctiva, the clear outer layer of the eye, called the cornea, and the limbus, which is the border between the cornea and the white of the eye.

TMPRSS2 was also expressed, according to the pre-print paper on MedRxiv yet to be reviewed by other scientists.

Dr Zhou and colleagues wrote: 'Together, these results indicate that ocular surface cells including conjunctiva are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2, and could therefore serve as a portal of entry as well as a reservoir for person-to-person transmission of this virus.'

The research was triggered by 'extensive speculation' that eye surfaces are a possible site of virus entry.

Although the virus primarily spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose from an infected person lands on the insides of another person's nose or mouth, scientists have said it's entirely possible it could enter through the eye.

Reports have suggested that COVID-19 may cause conjunctivitis, which was a symptom in around 30 per cent of patients in one study.

The researchers explained this could be as a result of the virus travelling from the respiratory tract to the eyes - a secondary complication often linked with a virus.

But it could also be a direct result of the virus attacking the eye cells in the first place by binding to ACE-2 receptors.

Dr Zhou noted that viral particles can be found in tears that 'could result in transmission to other individuals'.

'Infection of ocular surface cells could lead to the eye as being an important carrier, with ocular virus shedding constituting a significant mechanism for infection of other individuals,' they wrote.

'This highlights the importance of safety practices including face masks and ocular contact precautions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease.'

It was not specified if the general population would benefit at all from eye protection, or if the academics meant health workers specifically.

Medics on the pandemic frontline are supposed to wear goggles or face visors in order to protect their eyes.

Doctors first warned the killer coronavirus could be spread through the eyes in January, when the epicentre was in Wuhan, China, and had reached only a handful of other countries.

Just 26 patients have died in the outbreak in China when doctor Wang Guangfa said he thought he had contracted the SARS-like infection because he wasn't wearing protective goggles.

Several days before the onset of pneumonia, Dr Wang - a Peking University respiratory specialist - complained of redness of the eyes.

Paul Kellam, professor of virus genomics at Imperial College London, told MailOnline at the time it was 'absolutely possible'.

'If you have droplets sneezed at you, they will wash from your eye to your nose,' he told MailOnline. 'Your eye connects to your nose through the lacrimal duct.

'If you suffer from allergies and if your eyes run, so will your nose. Or if you put medication in your eyes, you’ll taste at the back of your throat.

'It isn’t unusual for flu and other viruses to be transmitted this way. You can also get respiratory infections through the eye.'

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon May 11, 2020 4:05 pm

Wuhan in first virus cluster
since end of lockdown


All of the latest cases in Wuhan were previously classified as asymptomatic

New coronavirus clusters have been reported in Wuhan city - where the virus first emerged - and the north-eastern province of Jilin in China.

Wuhan reported five new cases on Monday, after confirming its first case since 3 April on Sunday.

Authorities said the small cluster of cases were all from the same residential compound.

China has been easing restrictions in recent weeks and cases had been declining.

Health authorities and experts have warned that as countries emerge from strict lockdowns and people move around more freely, a rise in infections is likely.

The small Wuhan cluster is the first to emerge since the end of the strict lockdown on 8 April. One of the five cases reported on Monday was the wife of an 89-year-old man who became the first confirmed case in the city in well over a month on Sunday.

All of the latest cases were previously classified as asymptomatic - meaning they tested positive for the virus but were not exhibiting clinical signs such as a cough or fever.

Such people can spread the virus despite not being sick, but China does not count asymptomatic cases in its official tally of confirmed infections until they show symptoms.

Hundreds of asymptomatic cases are being monitored by Wuhan health authorities.

Meanwhile over the weekend, Shulan city in Jilin province, near the borders with Russia and North Korea, reported 11 new cases.

What's happening in Shulan?

Chinese state media reported that 11 domestically transmitted cases had been recorded in Shulan on Saturday.

A day later, the city declared martial law and went into lockdown, with the government ordering all public places to be temporarily shut, said a Global Times report.

Shulan has been upgraded to high-risk, the only city in the country with this designation.

All residents have been told to stay home and only one family member is allowed out each day to buy essential products.

All public transportation has been suspended and taxis are not allowed to leave the city.

It comes after China had last week declared that all regions in the country were designated as low risk.

Nearby Jilin city has also upgraded its risk level from low to medium after seeing two new cases - and there are now fears that the wider province could be in danger.

Other cities in the province are now on high alert. The nearby Changchun city and Dongfeng county says all those returning from Shulan will have to be quarantined for 14 days. Train services from Shulan to several cities have also been suspended.

The neighbouring province of Liaoning reported one new case on Sunday - a 23-year-old who had recently returned from Jilin.

What led to the new infections in Shulan?

The infections were all linked to a 45-year-old who is a laundry worker at a local public security bureau. She later went on to infect her husband, three sisters and other family members.

But it's unclear how the woman herself might have become infected. Reports say she had no recent travel history outside the province, and no known contact with anyone that's known to be exposed to the virus. A total of 276 of her close contacts have been placed in quarantine, reported China Daily.

But it's possible that the location of the province might have played a part - it borders both North Korea and Russia.

Officially, there have been no reported cases from North Korea though Russia has seen over 200,000 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

In recent weeks, the neighbouring border province of Heilongjiang has seen a spike in the number of imported cases, mainly made of Chinese citizens travelling back from Russia.

Similarly, eight people returning from Russia to Shulan between 8 - 30 April tested positive for the virus, according to one local government official. Some 300 other people who returned within this time frame were put into quarantine.

The secretary of the Jilin Provincial Committee has said that the city will trace every close contact, every suspicious person and every clue, adding that the actions of every infected person would be traced in an attempt to find the source.

What's the situation elsewhere in China?

China has seen declining cases for weeks and has been gradually easing restrictions.

Some people have gone back to work, some schools have reopened and on Monday Disneyland in Shanghai welcomed visitors for the first time after three and a half months.

The happiest place on earth has re-opened its doors

But also on Monday, China reported 17 new cases nationally - the highest daily increase since 28 April - bringing the total number of cases to 82,918, with the death toll at 4,633.

As more parts of Europe and the US begin to ease restrictions, governments and health experts have warned that the pandemic is far from over.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-52613138
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 12, 2020 11:14 am

Wuhan to test 11 million residents

The Chinese city of Wuhan is drawing up plans to test its entire population of 11 million people for Covid-19

The plan appears to be in its early stages, with all districts in Wuhan told to submit details as to how testing could be done within 10 days.

It comes after Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, recorded six new cases over the weekend.

Prior to this, it had seen no new cases at all since 3 April.

Wuhan, which was in strict lockdown for 11 weeks, began re-opening on 8 April.

For a while it seemed like life was getting back to normal as schools re-opened, businesses slowly emerged and public transport resumed operations. But the emergence of a cluster of cases - all from the same residential compound - has now threatened the move back to normalcy.

'The ten-day-battle'

According to report by The Paper, quoting a widely circulated internal document, every district in the city has been told to draw up a 10-day testing plan by noon on Tuesday.

Each district is responsible for coming up with its own plan based on the size of their population and whether or not there is currently an active outbreak in the district.

The document, which refers to the test plan as the "10-day battle", also says that older people and densely populated communities should be prioritised when it comes to testing.

However several senior health officials quoted by the Global Times newspaper indicated that testing the entire city would be unfeasible and costly.

Peng Zhiyong, director of the intensive care unit of the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, instead that testing was instead likely to be targeted at medical workers, vulnerable people and those who'd had close contacts with a case.

Another Wuhan University director suggested that a large percentage of Wuhan's population - around 3-5 million - had already been tested, and Wuhan was "capable" of testing the remaining 6-8 million in a 10-days period.

To put the goal into context, the US now conducts around 300,000 tests each day, according to the White House. So far, it's tested almost 9 million people in total.

On Chinese social media site Weibo, people have been raising questions about whether such a large number of tests can be carried out in just a matter of days.

"It is impossible to test so many people," said one commenter, who also questioned how much it would cost.

Another said that such tests should have been carried out before Wuhan re-opened its doors to the rest of China.

Taking no chances
Stephen McDonnell, BBC News, Beijing

Wuhan was where this global emergency started and there was relief when the first cluster site seemed to come out the other side. There would also be despair if the first lockdown city was to be engulfed again by the coronavirus.

Not letting this happen has become a priority for the Chinese government.

When a new domestic infection appeared in the city three days ago you could feel the concern over 1,000km away in Beijing.

Then five others were infected by the 89-year old man previously declared "asymptomatic", and the manager of their housing complex was removed.

However, sacking local officials in this way might also encourage a tendency to hide future cases.

China's most powerful seven people, in the Politburo Standing Committee, met last week to discuss improving the country's early warning system for outbreaks like this.

They could start by easing the "no mistakes at all costs" approach to governing, in which those who reveal the bad news can end up being punished.

China reported just one new cases on Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 82,919, with the death toll at 4,633.

Hundreds of asymptomatic cases are being monitored by Wuhan health authorities

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-52629213
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 12, 2020 8:43 pm

New UK lockdown measures

Lockdown measures are being eased across England after more than seven weeks of restrictions - but how could everyday life change?

Can I meet friends and relatives?

From Wednesday in England, two people from different households can meet in outdoor settings, such as parks, as long as they stay more than two metres (six feet) apart.

The government has said it will impose higher fines for people who break social distancing rules.

Can I exercise more?

The rules are being relaxed so people in England will be able to spend more time outdoors from Wednesday "for leisure purposes". That includes sunbathing.

There will be no limit to the amount of exercise allowed. Activities such as golf, angling and tennis will be permitted, but only alone or with one other person. That person can be from another household but social distancing rules will still apply.

Playgrounds and outdoor gyms, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces, will remain shut.

Households will also be able to drive to other destinations in England - such as parks and beaches. But they should not travel to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, it's hoped that cultural and sporting events in England can take place behind closed doors for broadcast from 1 June.

Should I go back to my workplace and how will I get there?

People who can work from home in England should continue to do so "for the foreseeable future".

But the government says those who can't work from home should travel to their work if it is open. However, they should avoid public transport for social distancing reasons - and walk, cycle or drive if at all possible.

Those who do use public transport are being told to expect social-distance queuing and to wear face coverings.

Sectors "allowed to be open, should be open", the government adds. These include food production, construction and manufacturing.

Workplaces should follow new guidance on making them safe for staff. This includes frequent cleaning of surfaces and equipment, staggering arrival and departure times and, for office workers, holding meetings remotely and avoiding the use of hot desks.

The issue of how businesses can secure personal protective equipment without competing with the NHS has raised concerns.

Can I move home?

House moves and viewings can resume again in England from Wednesday.

Potential buyers and renters will be able to visit showhomes and view houses on the market to let or buy.

Moving home will also be allowed again, as will visiting letting and estate agents.

Anyone who has already bought a new home can visit it to prepare it for moving in.
When will schools and universities return?

From 1 June, nurseries in England are expected to reopen - plus primary school Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 classes.

It's so the youngest children, and those preparing for the transition to secondary school, have maximum time with teachers.

The government says its ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible - but to support social distancing there will be class sizes of no more than 15 pupils.

Also from June, secondary schools and further education colleges should prepare for face-to-face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in addition to their "continued remote, home learning".

Teachers' unions have called for "clear, scientific published evidence" that schools are safe to re-open.

    The government in Wales has ruled out school reopenings happening on 1 June

    Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she does not expect schools to be reopening as soon as 1 June

    Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster said it was unlikely schools would return before the new academic year which, as in Scotland, begins a week or so earlier than in England and Wales.
Meanwhile, there is uncertainty over whether students will be able to go to university in person in September or whether they will be taught partially or completely online.

When can I go High Street shopping again?

From 1 June at the earliest, but only if the government's five tests to ease restrictions are met. Non-essential retailers will be able to open in phases if they can follow the social distancing guidelines.

Hospitality and personal care venues, such as hairdressers, will not be allowed to open at this stage, because there is a higher risk of virus transmission.

Garden centres in Wales are already back open and they can re-open in England from Wednesday. Decisions are awaited in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Some DIY stores have already reopened - but they are accepting card payments only and have shorter trading hours.

What about hairdressers, pubs and cafes?

On 4 July at the earliest, if the five tests to ease restrictions are met.

From then some remaining businesses - including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, hotels, cinemas and places of worship - can open, as long as they can meet social distancing measures.

There will be exceptions for indoor public spaces where people will struggle to practise social distancing, such as beauty salons. These may only be able to open ''significantly later", depending on when the rate of infection goes down.

What about flying into and out of the UK?

A two-week quarantine period for people arriving in the UK will be introduced "as soon as possible".

People arriving from the Republic of Ireland will be exempt, as will travellers from France.

Other people with jobs that support national security and critical infrastructure requirements will also avoid quarantine. Number 10 says further details and guidance will be announced "shortly".

If international travellers cannot say where they plan to self-isolate for 14 days, they will have to do so in accommodation arranged by the government.

The trade body Airlines UK says the introduction of a quarantine-period would, in effect, "kill air travel".

International travellers should check the FCO travel advice.

All passengers are advised to remain 2m (6ft) apart wherever possible. They should also consider wearing gloves and a face covering - which some UK airports and airlines have made compulsory.

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye says social distancing at airports is "physically impossible". EasyJet has said it plans to leave middle seats empty, but Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary says this would be "idiotic".

Ryanair has also said it plans to restore 40% of flights in July, subject to travel restrictions being lifted and safety measures being brought in at airports.

Easyjet told the BBC that it "does not currently have a date for restarting flights," but said it was keeping the situation under review. "We remain hopeful we will be flying over the summer," the company added.

But the Health Secretary Matt Hancock told ITV's This Morning programme that "big, lavish international holidays" were unlikely this summer.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52530518
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 12, 2020 11:04 pm

COVID-19 cases spike by 1,000% in a WEEK

Infections rise across US, unreleased White House report reveals - despite Trump claiming they're down

    An unreleased White House COVID-19 taskforce report shows that cases area increasing in pockets of the United States

    The data in the report was included in a May 7 task force report that pinpoints counties that have seen spikes in a week compared to the previous seven days

    Tennessee's Trousdale County, which is just outside Nashville, saw the biggest spike with infections increasing by more than 1,000 percent

    Huge increase is due to an outbreak at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center where nearly 1,300 inmates and 50 staffers recently tested positive

    Leavenworth County in Kansas, just west of Kansas City, has also seen its infections increase by 1,000 percent over a week with 587 new cases reported

    Wisconsin, which reported more than 2,300 new cases in a week, has seen a more than 100 percent spike in case in both Racine and Kenosha counties

    Rising cases in these small emerging hotspots come as infections across the US surpassed 1.3 million with more than 81,000 deaths
    The majority of states across the US have now started to gradually reopen with Trump pushing for people to get back to work and to reopen the economy

Tennessee and Kansas, both states that have eased lockdown restrictions, are home to counties where coronavirus infections have spiked by 1,000 percent in a week, an unreleased White House COVID-19 taskforce report shows.

The report indicates that cases are increasing in heartland pockets of the United States despite President Donald Trump's claim on Monday that infections are 'coming down rapidly' across the country.

The data in the report, which has not been released publicly but was obtained by NBC News, was included in a May 7 COVID-19 task force report compiled by its data and analytics team.

The emergence of the report comes as Dr Anthony Fauci warned Congress on Tuesday that a premature lifting of lockdowns could lead to additional outbreaks of COVID-19, which has so far killed more than 81,000 Americans and infected 1.3 million.

Included in the report is a list of counties that have seen infections spikes in a week compared to the previous seven days. The data is believed to stem from April 29 to May 6. Local health officials in most of those areas have already warned they are potential emerging hotspots due to the spike in confirmed cases.

Tennessee's Trousdale County, which is just outside Nashville, saw the biggest spike with infections increasing by more than 1,000 percent, the report shows.

The huge increase is due to an outbreak at the privately run Trousdale Turner Correctional Center where nearly 1,300 inmates and 50 staffers recently tested positive.

Tennessee currently has more than 15,500 cases and over 250 deaths.

Leavenworth County in Kansas, which is just west of Kansas City, has also seen its infections increase by 1,000 percent over a week with 587 new cases reported.

Health officials there have reported two clusters of cases - one at the Lansing Correctional Facility and another at the state-run Grossman Residential Reentry Center.

Kansas currently has just over 7,000 cases and 180 deaths.

Wisconsin, which reported more than 2,300 new cases in a week, has seen a more than 100 percent spike in cases in both Racine and Kenosha counties.

The report indicates that Wisconsin's southeastern region, which includes both counties, makes up 57 percent of the state's facility-based outbreaks, including workplace and long-term care.

Missouri's Buchanan County and Muhlenberg County in Kentucky have both seen a 600 percent spike in cases in a week, according to the report.

Nebraska's Colfax County, just outside Omaha, recorded a 500 percent increase in infections in a week, while Stearns County in Minnesota saw about a 400 percent jump.

Iowa's Polk County and Georgia's Hall County both saw spikes of more than 100 percent.

Rising cases in these small emerging hotspots come as infections across the US surpassed 1.3 million with more than 81,000 deaths.

The majority of states across the US have now started to gradually reopen with Trump pushing for people to get back to work and to reopen the economy.

The report also pinpoints counties that are considered locations to watch based on the increase of week-to-week cases but that don't have has many new infections per 100,000 in a week.

In Texas, Dallas County reported an increase in cases in a week with 82 percent assumed to be from community transmissions in cities including Dallas, Garland and Irving.

That county allowed restaurant, retail stores, movie theaters and museums to reopen at 25 percent capacity.

That data also shows that Ramsey County in Minnesota, which includes the city of St Paul, has seen cases increase by 186 percent in a week.

Missouri's Jackson County, which encompasses Kansas City, has seen cases spike 142 percent in a week.

Nebraska's second most populous county, Lancaster, has recorded a 131 percent spike in new cases.

In addition to the small hotspot areas, the taskforce's report also showed a breakdown of states with the highest infections, locations to watch for and places that are showing declining infections.

Minnesota has had a 95 percent spike in new cases with more than 3,900 infections recorded in a week.

The report shows Washington DC has seen a 50 percent jump in cases after recording more than 1,350 cases over a seven-day stretch.

New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Tennessee all showed more than 40 percent spikes in cases, according to the report.

Florida, California, New Mexico and Georgia are among the stable states across the country, the report shows.

These four states have are the ones showing the lowest week-to-week change in terms of new infections.

Florida saw an increase of 4.2 percent with 4,800 infections, California is up 6.6 percent with 11,800 new cases, New Mexico is up 7.5 percent with 1,000 new cases and Georgia increased 9.7 percent with 5,000 new infections.

Meanwhile, Hawaii is leading the US in terms of declining cases after recording a 34 day decline in new infections at the time the report was published. The state currently has 634 infections and 17 deaths.

Epicenter New York, which currently has more than 337,000 cases and over 21,000 deaths, reported a 28 day decline in new infections, according to the report.

Michigan, which currently has more than 48,000 cases and 4,800 deaths, had a 31 day decline in cases when the report was published.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that the virus epidemic is not yet under control in areas of the nation.

'I think we're going in the right direction, but the right direction does not mean we have by any means total control of this outbreak,' Fauci said during hours of testimony.

He urged states to follow health experts' recommendations to wait for signs including a declining number of new infections before reopening.

Trump, who previously made the strength of the economy central to his pitch for his November re-election, has been encouraging states to end weeks-long closures and reopen businesses that had been deemed non-essential amid the pandemic.

Fauci noted a slowing in the growth of cases in hotspots such as New York, even as other areas of the country were seeing spikes.

Some states already have begun reopening their economies and others have announced plans to phase that in beginning in mid-May, even as opinion polls show most Americans are concerned about reopening too soon.

'There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control and, in fact paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery,' Fauci said of premature steps.

Link to Article - Charts:

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 13, 2020 12:49 pm

China in new lockdown

China puts a second city under lockdown in the space of four days amid raising fears of a coronavirus comeback

    The city of Jilin enforced the lockdown on its 4.5 million residents Wednesday

    Shulan, a city of 600,000 people, was put under lockdown over the weekend

    The cities of Jilin and Shulan are located in the same northwestern province Jilin

    Comes as a local infection cluster sparked fears of a second wave of outbreak
A second Chinese city has gone into draconian lockdown today after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fuelled growing fears of a second wave of infections in China.

The north-eastern city of Jilin, with a population of more than four million, shut down its borders and suspended public transport on Wednesday. All residents are not allowed to enter or leave their residential compounds unless it is necessary.

All cinemas, indoor gyms, internet cafes and other enclosed entertainment venues in Jilin must shut immediately, and pharmacies must report all sales of fever and antiviral medicines, the Jilin government said in a statement.

A second Chinese city has been driven into draconian lockdown today after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fuelled growing fears of a second wave of infections in China. A police officer guides a car driver to register information at an exit of a highway in Jilin

Local authorities also said that residents are only allowed to leave the city if they obtain reports to prove that they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the past 48 hours and complete an unspecified period of 'strict self-isolation'.

It comes four days after a neighbouring city Shulan, a city of 600,000 people, was put under lockdown over the weekend after registering 12 COVID-19 cases in the space of two days, all linked to the same source.

The cities of Jilin and Shulan are located in the eponymous province of Jilin, which borders Russia and North Korea.

Jilin city reported six new confirmed cases on Wednesday, all linked to the Shulan cluster, bringing the total number of cases linked to a local laundry worker to 21.

A cluster of infections was reported in the suburb of Shulan over the weekend, with Jilin's vice mayor warning Wednesday that the situation was 'extremely severe and complicated' and 'there is major risk of further spread'

All of the cases were linked to a local laundry worker, a 45-year-old woman who tested positive on May 7 and was reported as the first confirmed infection. But it remains unclear how the patient contracted the virus.

Shulan shut down public transportation as well as trains leaving the city on Sunday.

Jilin city, the second-largest in Jilin province, also suspended train services from its main railway station Wednesday morning, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

China has largely brought the virus under control, but it has been on edge about a potential second wave as it has lifted lockdowns and restrictions across the country.

The emergence of new cases in Wuhan in recent days, after weeks without fresh infections, has prompted a campaign to test all 11 million residents in the city where COVID-19 first emerged late last year.

A total of 21 confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in Jilin province. Fourteen of them were found in Shulan and seven were reported in the city of Jilin.

The province has also recorded a total of 12 imported cases and nine of them have recovered, according to the officials. No deaths from domestic and imported infections have been reported.

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 13, 2020 3:39 pm

At least 97 Kurds died of
coronavirus in Europe


According to the Kurdish umbrella organisation KCDK-E, at least 97 Kurds have lost their lives in Europe due to the coronavirus. More than 600 have been infected, 40 are currently undergoing treatment. These figures only reflect the extent of the known cases

    KCDK-E knows of 29 deaths in Germany, 23 in England, 22 in Sweden, 11 in France, 8 in Belgium, 3 in the Netherlands and 1 in Switzerland
Yüksel Koç, as co-chair of the KCDK-E, spoke to the Yeni Özgür Politika daily and said it seems that it was mainly social events that led to the spread of the virus.

"Apparently, despite our warnings, weddings, funerals and family visits in London, Paris, North Rhine-Westphalia and Stockholm between 10 and 25 March played a major role. We think that the deaths are related with these gatherings", the Kurdish politician said, and appealed again to not suspend precautionary measures even in the current relaxation phase.

According to Yüksel Koç, the KCDK-E takes care of the surviving relatives of the deceased: "We contacted the families and helped with the formalities for the funerals and in some cases with the transfer of the dead to Kurdistan.”

Koç points out that since the outbreak of the pandemic, extraordinary conditions have been applied in Europe and the umbrella organisation has adapted its decisions: "For example, we wanted to celebrate Newroz throughout Europe in the sense of Kurdish unity.

In addition, the congresses of the local people's councils were already arranged, everything was prepared. However, we have provisionally cancelled all events because the protection of health is the priority."

At the beginning of the pandemic, the KCDK-E set up a crisis team, initially consisting of three doctors. In the meantime, almost forty people from the health sector are working to educate the population about the pandemic and counteract misinformation. Among other things, illustrative material in the various Kurdish dialects has been produced and is being circulated mainly through the social media.

A particular focus of the work of the KCDK-E is the contact with refugees in mass housing. "We have set up local committees to deal with the material and non-material needs of people in refugee accommodation. In most cases direct contact is not possible, so we try to draw attention to the situation in the shelters in the social media. In Germany, Switzerland and Greece this has led to good results."
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 13, 2020 4:44 pm

UK hairdressers reopening

UK hairdressers and barbers were all forced to shut their doors in March in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus

Ministers have now said salons are unlikely to be open until 4 July after plans were drawn up to ease the lockdown.

When will hairdressers reopen?

Hairdressers are expected to have to wait until at least 4 July to get cutting again.

Salons and barbers have had their doors closed since late March when Britain entered a lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Personal care businesses are classed as non-essential shops, and Boris Johnson announced that all such stores would be asked to close.

Almost two months on, Mr Johnson laid out his new plan for moving the nation out of lockdown during a televised address on Sunday, May 10.

He announced the easing of measures to allow some people who cannot work from home to return to their jobs, and rolled out "unlimited" outdoor exercise from Wednesday, 13 May.

It is the first stage of a three step plan to try and get Britain moving again - and salons will have to wait until stage three before they can reopen.

According to the government's 50-page blueprint for easing the lockdown, hairdressers are expected to return at the earliest in July.

Following the PM's speech, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said: "Obviously the proximity [within salons] is something where we just don't think we are ready yet, given where we are with the virus."

Mr Raab said he did not see hairdressers reopening until 4 July at the "very earliest".

Some experts believe there may be no safe way for them to open as long as the epidemic continues - with previous suggestions that they may be closed for six months.

The government has said all the dates laid out in its plan are conditional on being able to successfully slow down Covid-19.

Some countries have already reopened hair salons - such as in Spain, Switzerland and Denmark.

What changes will be brought in?

According to the 50-page blueprint, hairdressers and barbers are among businesses which will not be allowed to reopen until they meet "Covid-19-secure" guidelines.

The document explains these guidelines are expected to be released in full during the week of 11 May.

It may include measures such as the use of face masks - as has been seen for hair salons in countries in Europe.

"Many measures require the development of new safety guidelines that set out how each type of physical space can be adapted to operate safely," the government document reads.

"The Government has been consulting relevant sectors, industry bodies, local authorities, trades unions, the Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England on their development and will release them this week."

National Hairdressers' Federation chief executive Hilary Hall said the organisation supports the government's decision to reopen but are concerned about "challenges of working in close proximity".

She told Sky News: "We urgently need clarification about what kind of PPE is required.

"We are working with the government to provide clear guidelines so salons can return to work safely when the time is right."

Hairdressers have already been warned off giving home visits by NHBF after being "inundated" with requests.

In a letter to members, it said: "This would be against the government's strict social distancing instructions which say you must stay at home apart from essential travel.

"We need to do all we can to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"Also - please bear in mind that your insurance will probably not cover you if you normally work in a salon or barbershop."

Underground hairdressers and stylists have been popping up as desperate Brits search for a way to sort out their hair.

What should I do if I'm a hairdresser?

This is a stressful time for all self-employed workers and hairdressers are no different.

The government has pledged support to self-employed people in the United Kingdom as well as full-time workers.

Self-employed workers can read our guide on how to get financial help during this crisis.

Some workers will be eligible for the furlough scheme - if you are, you can read our guide on what the emergency measures mean for you.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/11234166 ... s-open-uk/
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 14, 2020 8:45 pm

Quarter of patients had diabetes

More than a quarter of NHS patients who died in hospitals in England after contracting coronavirus had diabetes

Of the 22,332 patients who have died in England’s hospitals since March 31, when pre-existing conditions began to be recorded, some 5,873 (26%) had diabetes.

Published on Thursday, it is the first time NHS England has included a breakdown of deaths by pre-existing conditions in its statistics.

Charity Diabetes UK said the figures show an “urgent” need for more information to ensure the safety of those with diabetes as lockdown measures are eased.

While official advice recognises people with diabetes can be more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill with the virus, those with the disease were not included in a group told to “shield” themselves by staying at home.

Data published by NHS England does not specify whether those who died had type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The health service said the accuracy of the data is reliant on the availability and transfer of information by healthcare providers, and patients may have had more than one pre-existing condition.

Bridget Turner, director of policy at Diabetes UK, said: “The fact that more than a quarter of people who have died with Covid-19 have diabetes underlines the urgent need to ensure better protection and extra support is available to those in the clinically vulnerable groups.

“We also need urgent action from government to understand the detail behind this figure, including diabetes type, age, ethnicity, medical history and comorbidities of those who have sadly died, so that we can know how to keep all people with diabetes safe.

“Government must ensure urgently that employers take all the necessary measures to keep employees with diabetes safe, if they are expected to attend work outside the home as restrictions are eased.”

Further data analysis on diabetes – carried out based on type, ethnicity, control and weight – is expected to be published shortly.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: “We have known since the swine flu pandemic of 2009 that viral diseases prey on the obese and, from Covid-19 statistics, that if you are obese you have double the risk of needing intensive care treatment.

“Obesity is a major cause of Type 2 diabetes.”

Professor Partha Kar, national speciality adviser for diabetes for NHS England, said: “It is clear that people with diabetes are more at risk of dying from Covid-19 and more detailed analysis is currently under way to understand the link between the two, although initial findings indicate that the threat in people under 40 continues to be very low.

“The NHS has put extra measures in place so that people living with diabetes can manage their condition better during the pandemic, including a range of online services, video consultations with your local clinical team and a dedicated helpline for those who need advice.”

Meanwhile, the data also shows that some 4,048 (18%) of those who died in hospitals in England since March 31 had dementia.

Some 3,254 (15%) were reported to have chronic pulmonary disease while 1,549 patients had asthma.

It comes as NHS England announced 207 new deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 24,159.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/ ... 41041.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 14, 2020 8:51 pm

Wear a silly hat to stay safe

German cafe asks customers to wear 'swimming pool noodle hats' to help them follow social distancing

From disinfectant sprayed in streets to the police using drones, much about lockdown has felt dystopian.

But one German cafe has given us a glimpse of how life after lockdown will likely be far from normal.

The managers at Cafe & Konditorei Rothe in Schwerin, northeast Germany, have got creative with their attempts to enforce social distancing.

Image

Customers enjoying a coffee and a cake on the city’s backstreets have been pictured wearing a hat with swimming noodles attached, to ensure they do not get within six feet of another customer.

Since the unusual spectacle hit Twitter, thousands have flooded in to praise the cafe for its ingenuity.

Katy Lee, the journalist who tweeted the picture of the cafe, wrote: “Oh my god, this is amazing”, adding there was “zero shame attached to it”.

Another remarked: “Absolutely love it, though I suspect I wouldn’t be able to keep my hat on for laughing! Cracking idea for GB schools.”

One Twitter user replied: “I need one of those in Asda!”

Germany began to ease its lockdown on April 27 after experiencing among the lowest death tolls in Europe, at just under 7,000.

Shops and schools began reopening last week, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel to consider applying an “emergency brake” to the lifting of restrictions as cases and the infection rate rose.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/g ... 40946.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 14, 2020 9:15 pm

Advice on wearing face masks

From why they are essential to how often you should wash them

A professor in health sciences answers the most frequently asked questions about wearing face masks and other face coverings in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic .
Should I wear a face mask?

“The message from the Government is pretty clear: wear cloth face coverings in places where you can’t socially distance (i.e. stay two metres apart) and don’t buy medical masks — they are needed for the NHS.

I think face coverings will become a form of cultural expression, with people personalising theirs by selecting fun fabrics or buying ones with funny slogans on. Before long we’ll find face coverings reassuring and a sign of social solidarity, since my mask protects you while yours protects me.”

What can I use as a mask?

“Let’s hang loose about what a “good” face covering is — I don’t call them masks because I think we should put a bit of clear water between what we’re wearing and what healthcare workers need to wear.

Essentially, anything that catches the drops as you cough or sneeze will be doing a better job than nothing. Anything that fits well covering your mouth and nose is going to be better than not bothering at all.

You can block about 90 per cent of droplets with a double layer of cotton or similar fabric. Two contrasting fabrics (e.g. T-shirt on the outside, handkerchief inside) will block more droplets than if you use the same fabric doubled over.

Make sure the elastic or straps are comfortable so you don’t have to keep fiddling. Make or buy more than one so you’ve always got a clean one to wear.”

How often should you clean them?

“Wash your face covering like you would a handkerchief after you’ve coughed or sneezed in it. It doesn’t have to become a science project — it’s just common sense. Put it in the washing machine with your other cotton clothes in a hot wash or wash by hand with soap.”

Where are they essential?

“Crowded indoor spaces. The Government’s advice emphasising wearing face coverings when interacting with people you don’t normally interact with is interesting. By this I think they mean places like the Tube.

You can also catch Covid from people you know — in open-plan offices, at lessons, at religious meetings or with friends. Once we are able to resume these activities we need to be covering our faces because we’ll be within two metres of other people.”

Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences, Oxford University, was talking to Lizzie Edmonds.

Face the next phase

Image

Christy Dawn's sustainable face masks (Christy Dawn)

Designers are turning surplus fabric into masks for travel and shopping. Phoebe Luckhurst has a guide to getting covered

London is cautiously emerging from a state of (total) lockdown. While plenty of restrictions remain (we miss you, The Pub), the baby steps announced this week include more outdoors time and a suggestion that those who are able to should start returning to work.

With this comes a recommendation by the Government that, from today, we should consider wearing face masks to shop and travel. Not a dab hand with a needle and thread? Luckily, there’s a thriving cottage industry in motion.

Etsy should be your first port of call. Its community of independent designer-makers has gone into wartime production mode. There, you’ll find a rainbow of colourful masks, as well as polka dots, gingham and Joe Exotic animal print numbers (from £2, shop here.)

Buy one of Alice and Olivia’s stylish masks and the brand will donate one to communities in need — such as healthcare workers on the front line of the crisis (£8.61, buy now). Isabel Manns, meanwhile, is donating 100 per cent of the proceeds from its masks, which are crafted from its surplus prints, to the NHS. The bright bloom motifs are selling fast.

Edeline Lee’s masks are made from 100 per cent non-woven spun-bound polypropylene, which is the same breathable and fluid resistant fabric that’s used for surgical masks. This one isn’t medical-grade, but it does fit closely to the face, and has a bendy wire nose piece and elastic for a better fit. Wash after use. One hundred per cent of the proceeds from sales will go towards the brand’s non-profit mask-making project, and will cover the costs of making masks for 80 front-line workers (£40, buy now).

Paisie is also making masks from surplus cotton, with wiring around the nose, and the elastic loop is also adjustable. Pre-order now to get yours at the end of May.

Hype is selling its cotton masks in three-packs, so you’ll have one to spare when your favourite is on a hot wash. All three of its designs are bold and bright — just add mascara (from £9.99, buy now).Pearl Lowe (designer and mother of model Daisy) is making masks from Liberty print fabric. £5 from each one goes to supporting the NHS in the South-West (£25, buy now). And actress Gillian Anderson’s charity has created a range emblazoned with scarlet lips, available on online emporium Red Bubble (£10.14, shop here). Proceeds will support mental health charity Crisis Text Line.

LA-based boutique Christy Dawn is making them out of 100 per cent doubled dead-stock cotton. Each order is for 10 masks: you get five, and five are sent to those on the frontline. Pick from florals, plaids and stripes (from £25, shop here).

If you have your eye on a designer version (gotta get your kicks somewhere, eh?), Christopher Kane and The Vampire’s Wife have transformed their covetable surplus fabrics into masks. Both sold out at lightning speed, though keep your eye on their Instagrams for new drops.

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/lo ... 39236.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri May 15, 2020 8:39 pm

UK no French quarantine exemption

The UK government has denied that travellers from France will be exempted from the planned coronavirus quarantine measures

Under the plans announced last weekend, people arriving from abroad must isolate themselves for two weeks.

Those with nowhere to stay will be obliged to isolate in accommodation provided by the authorities.

Initially, a joint statement from the British and French governments said no quarantine measures would apply.

"No quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France at this stage; any measures on either side would be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner," says the statement, which was published on the government's website on 10 May.

"A working group between the two governments will be set up to ensure this consultation throughout the coming weeks."

The policy attracted a warning from the EU not to single out one nation, while some experts suggested it would prove unworkable.

Researchers exempt

But today, the prime minister's spokesman insisted there was no French exemption, and that the original statement referred to the need for cooperation to manage the common border between the two countries.

It now appears that those exempted from the policy could include freight drivers, in order to allow the flow of goods to continue, and people working on Covid-19 research, but not ordinary travellers.

The government had already indicated that people arriving from the Republic of Ireland will not be made to go into quarantine, an arrangement that will be unaffected by today's news.

However, the measures will apply to UK holidaymakers returning from other destinations.

In his address to the nation on Sunday, the prime minister said: "I am serving notice that it will soon be the time - with transmission significantly lower - to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air."

The government later clarified that the rules would apply not just to air passengers, but also those arriving by other means of travel such as train or ferry.

Following Mr Johnson's speech, No 10 confirmed a reciprocal deal with the government in Paris meant restrictions would not apply to passengers from France, but that was ahead of today's apparent u-turn.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52682411
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 16, 2020 12:38 am

US may have cure

US biotech company claims it's found antibody to block coronavirus

Scientists at a California biotech company have found an antibody that completely blocks coronavirus in a discovery they called a 'cure,' Fox News reported.

Sorrento Therapeutics, based in San Diego, claims its STI-1499 antibody stopped coronavirus from entering 100 percent of healthy human cells in petri dish experiments.

It's one of several antibodies planned to be combined for a drug 'cocktail' Sorrento is developing in collaboration with Mt Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

In a press release, Sorrento said it could produce up to 200,000 doses of the antibody a month - a production timeline that would likely make the drug available months sooner than a COVID-19 vaccine is expected.

The company has filed for emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has not yet received the green light.

Stocks for Sorrento soared by nearly 220 percent on the heels of the announcement.

Amid the pandemic, scientists at Sorrento began testing its library of billions of antibodies for potential to protect against coronavirus

'We want to emphasize there is a cure,' Sorrento's CEO, Dr Henry Ji, told Fox.

'There is a solution that works 100 percent.

'If we have the neutralizing antibody in your body, you don't need the social distancing. You can open up a society without fear.'

However, this is a significant 'if.' Promising though its effects on the virus were in lab tests on human cells, the company can't rightfully say that it has blocked the the infection in the human body.

The antibody has not yet been tested in people, so how it might behave inside the body and its potential side effects are totally unknown.

It comes the same day that the Trump administration's social distancing guidelines to slow the spread are expiring, and as many states begin to reopen despite expert warnings that relaxing restrictions may trigger a devastating second wave of infections.

Sorrento's drug, dubbed STI-1499 is one of about a dozen antibodies - immune cells that neutralize pathogens like coronavirus - that the company discovered had some effect on coronavirus.

A cocktail of antibodies could act like a 'protective shield' for human cells, preventing the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 - from entering them.

It blocks the virus from its primary doorway, a receptor on the surface of human cells, the ACE2 receptor.

'This puts its arms around the virus. It wraps around the virus and moves them out of the body,' Dr Ji told Fox of what his company has seen in lab experiments.

'When the antibody prevents a virus from entering a human cell, the virus cannot survive.

'If they cannot get into the cell, they cannot replicate. So it means that if we prevent the virus from getting the cell, the virus eventually dies out. The body clears out that virus.'

Multiple companies and universities around the world have been exploring the use of antibodies to treat coronavirus.

Encouragingly, the antibody discovered by Sorrento belongs to a class called 'neutralizing,' or binding antibodies.

They fully and specifically bind to the part of the virus that fits like a lock in a key with parts of human cells.

According to Dr Derek Lowe, an organic chemist who writes for Science Translational Medicine, these both block the virus and sound the alarm to the rest of the immune system to mount a response, too.

These are preferable to other types of antibodies which don't entirely block the virus's effects, and could accidentally make it easier for it to enter human cells.

Dr Lowe notes that neutralizing antibodies, in general, also have the potential to act like 'temporary vaccines,' preventing coronavirus infection in people who haven't already contracted it.

San Diego-based Sorrento said it can start making 200,00 doses of its antibody a month while awaiting FDA approval f

FDA plans to fast track drug for use against coronavirus

Trials have already begun using blood plasma from recovered patients - which presumptively contains antibodies - to treat people still suffering the infection.

Sorrento had collected a library of billions of antibodies over the past decade, and started systematically screening them for potential against coronavirus as what began as an outbreak exploded into a pandemic.

Scientists there identified about a dozen antibodies that had some effect on the virus.

As a result, they laid pans to create a cocktail of multiple antibodies, in the hope that, if the virus mutated to become immune to one antibody, others could provide back-up protection.

STI-1499 is the clear front-runner to be the 'first' candidate antibody in the cocktail.

'Our STI-1499 antibody shows exceptional therapeutic potential and could potentially save lives following receipt of necessary regulatory approvals,' said Dr Ji.

As of Friday, more than 1.46 million Americans had coronavirus, and more than 87,000 have died.

'We at Sorrento are working day and night to complete the steps necessary to get this product candidate approved and available to the waiting public.'

In the meantime, Sorrento said that it's reaching out to potential manufacturing partners and looking to the US government for support in the hopes of making 'tens of millions of doses in a short period of time to meet the vast projected demand,' according to its statement.

Production of antibodies can pose challenges. It requires a rather complex process, and has to be closely monitored for contamination and other issues, Dr Lowe wrote.

It did not, however, specify a start date or plan for human clinical trials.

There is no proven cure for coronavirus. Earlier this month, Gilead's antiviral, remdesivir, was given emergency FDA approval after it showed slim but promising benefits for survival and recovery times in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study.

The FDA has not yet approved the use of antibody-rich plasma for treating coronavirus, but is currently investigating it

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/arti ... virus.html
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