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Coronavirus - 9th November


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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 09:36

Summary for Monday, 9th November

  • Wales' 17-day 'firebreak' lockdown has ended and new rules have come into force
  • From Monday, businesses in Wales including pubs, restaurants, gyms and hairdressers can reopen
  • In the US, President-elect Joe Biden is to make tackling the pandemic his top priority following his win over Donald Trump
  • Meanwhile some disabled people are struggling to obtain medication and breathing equipment, research suggests
  • The global number of confirmed cases passes 50 million, while 1.5 million people have died
  • In the UK, 20,572 new cases were announced on Sunday and 156 further deaths

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage on the coronavirus pandemic.
We'll be bringing you live updates from the UK and around the world.
Our top story in the UK this morning is on Wales where a 17-day national lockdown has ended and people are waking up to new rules. You can read our full story from Wales here.

Cafes and restaurants in NI 'to reopen with no alcohol'

We're also getting some news from Northern Ireland, where it's looking like the executive are going to agree to partially reopen the hospitality sector - although alcohol-only pubs will remain closed.
Ministers will meet to finalise the plan on Monday morning.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes across NI closed their doors to sit-in customers on 17 October under stricter Covid-19 restrictions .
Hair and beauty salons also had to shut for four weeks.
On Sunday, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill suggested cafes and restaurants could be allowed to reopen, but not pubs.
She said the sale of alcohol was a factor in reaching a decision because "defences come down when alcohol is taken".
It is understood restaurants may be allowed to reopen but not serve drink.
Cafes and coffee shops were a different matter, she said. Read more here.

People in Wales 'can't simply go back to behaviour we had before'

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Wales' chief medical officer has been on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, as the nation comes out of the 17-day national lockdown.
He says there were some "early signs of stability" - but people can't relax too much.
People have been travelling "significantly less" he says, and this has been reflected in some of the testing rates.
But he adds: "As we come out of this firebreak we can't simply go back to the behaviour we had before. We still need to work differently."
When asked if people could be stopped travelling between England and Wales, Dr Atherton says that with England under national lockdown there was no reason to cross the border.
"As England comes out of its lockdown we will absolutely have to reconsider how people travel."

US president-elect Biden to name coronavirus task force

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President-elect Biden will call on every American to wear a mask in public spaces

US President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to make tackling the coronavirus pandemic his top priority as he prepares to take office in January.
He is expected later on Monday to name a 12-member coronavirus task force made up of “leading scientists and experts”.
President Trump’s handling of the pandemic was one of the key issues during the presidential campaign.
The US has seen record single-day rises in infections in recent days; and has the world’s highest number of infections at over 9.9m and highest death toll at more than 230,000.
Mr Biden also wants to see more testing and has said he will call on every American to wear a mask in public spaces.
Monday will also see Vice-President Mike Pence reconvene a meeting of President Trump’s own coronavirus task force, which has not met for weeks because of the election campaign.
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And (from The Guardian) a summary of key developments from the last few hours :

  • The US, the world’s worst-affected country in terms of the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections, is about to pass 10m cases, according to Johns Hopkins. According to Reuters calculations, the latest seven-day average shows global daily infections are rising by more than 540,000, and October was the worst month of the pandemic so far. The US currently has just under a fifth of the global total – 9,96m cases – and in recent days has often registered over 100,000 cases a day. America has lost at least 237,542 people to the pandemic this year. The global death total is 1,254,453.
  • Pandemics expert says half of positive cases in UK not being identified . Around half of the positive coronavirus cases in the UK are not being identified, according to a pandemics expert. Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said these cases mean attempts to control the virus are being done “with one hand behind our back”. Mr Woolhouse sits on a sub-group of SAGE and is a member of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 advisory group.
  • October was worst month for pandemic so far. A Reuters tally has calculated that October was the worst month of the coronavirus pandemic so far, with its second wave in the past 30 days accounting for a quarter of all cases.The last month saw the spread of the virus accelerate at a rapid pace: while it took 32 days for cases to rise from 30 million to 40 million, it only took 21 days to add another 10 million.
  • China reports 33 new cases. China reported 33 new Covid-19 cases on 8 November, up from 28 cases a day earlier, the national health authority reported on Monday. The National Health Commission said 32 of the cases were imported in people returning from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases fell to nine from 36 a day earlier, the commission said. The total number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in mainland China now stands at 86,245, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.
  • The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has passed 50 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker , which shows that the US, India and Brazil have the highest figures.
  • The economic fallout during the coronavirus pandemic has made the prospect of a third world war “a risk”, the UK’s most senior military commander has said . General Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the defence staff made the comments when asked by Sky News in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday whether he feared the global economic crisis brought on by coronavirus could lead to war.
  • France reported a further 38,619 coronavirus cases on Sunday,bringing the country’s total to 1,787,324. It follows a record daily increase on Saturday, when a staggering 86,852 cases were logged.
  • Algeria’s president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has responded well to coronavirus treatment after being hospitalised 13 days ago. Algeria’s government has also extended a night-time curfew already in place in 20 of the country’s 48 regions to a further nine areas. The curfew will start at 8 pm (1900 GMT), three hours earlier than previous restrictions, but will still end each morning at 5 am (0400 GMT).The new measures will come into effect from Tuesday for 15 days.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 11:00

Global coronavirus cases pass 50 million

The worldwide number of confirmed cases has reached another grim milestone, passing 50 million..
More than 1.25 million people have now died after contracting the virus, according to Johns Hopkins university.
But the numbers are thought to be higher because of insufficient testing in many countries.
A second wave of the virus has accounted for a quarter of all cases, Reuters reports.
Europe, with more than 12.5 million cases and 305,700 deaths, is again a hotspot after being the first epicentre of the pandemic earlier this year.
And in the US just under 10 million have tested positive. It has seen more than 125,000 cases per day three days in a row.
Read our full report here.

Disabled people struggling to access medication and equipment

Another of our top stories this morning focuses on research for the BBC, that suggests some disabled people in the UK have been struggling to obtain essentials such as medication and breathing equipment.
Some 60% of those who rely on social care told a YouGov survey they were finding it hard to obtain at least one of their necessities.
Charity WellChild said people felt more "forgotten than they ever have been".
But the government said the needs of disabled people were being considered and it has sufficient stocks. Patients should contact their local care provider, it added.
Like one in 20 of those survey respondents who receive social care, Fi Anderson, a mother of two with muscular dystrophy from Bolton in Greater Manchester, said she has faced problems obtaining breathing apparatus.
Her local hospital told her to re-use the filter for her portable ventilator, recommending she boil it, because supplies were so short.

Quick Covid test could be 'breakthrough' - minister

The new rapid Covid tests being trialled in Liverpool could be a "major breakthrough" in the battle against coronavirus, the environment secretary has said.
George Eustice said the new test is now available to everyone in Liverpool as part of the pilot.
The on-the-spot tests can provide a result within an hour - without the need to use a lab.
The trial in Liverpool sees everybody in the city being offered regular tests - the first time a whole city has been tested in England.
People will be offered the usual swab tests, as well as these rapid tests.
Mr Eustice told BBC Breakfast: "A test is only as good as the speed with which you can turn a result around.
"What we've really been focusing on more recently is a faster test, so that people can act more quickly to prevent the spread of the virus so this, if we can make it work, is a major breakthrough."
There's more about the response to the Liverpool scheme here.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 11:03

Ghana daily Covid-19 infections jump five-fold over fortnight

Thomas Naadi - BBC News, Accra
The west African country of Ghana has seen its daily coronavirus cases rise from an average of 25 to 130 over the past two weeks, raising concerns about a possible second wave of the virus.
President Nana Akufo-Addo said the government would step up contact tracing, testing and treatment of Covid-19 cases to stop the spread.
The government is also extending pay incentives for health workers and providing a free water supply to all Ghanians to promote regular hand washing.
The president attributed the increased infections to a disregard of Covid-19 safety protocols, including social distancing and the wearing of masks.
Although large political rallies are banned in the country, campaign activities have heightened ahead of polls in December, with many ignoring the safety protocols.
Ghana’s active cases have increased to 1,139 from 398 over the last three weeks. The country has so far registered 320 deaths as of Friday.

What's happening in Wales?

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Our top story this morning comes from Wales, which is coming out of a national lockdown.
For the past 17 days, people in Wales have been told to stay home while pubs, restaurants, hotels, gyms, hairdressers and non-essential shops closed.
But from today, these businesses can open. And the new rules also mean:

  • Two households can form a bubble
  • Groups of four people from different households are allowed to meet indoors at pubs, cafes and restaurants - although the sale of alcohol after 22:00 GMT will still be banned
  • Up to 15 people can take part in activities indoors and up to 30 outdoors - providing social distancing, hand hygiene and other Covid safety measures are followed
  • Go on holiday elsewhere in Wales - but international travel should be for essential reasons only so foreign holidays are still not allowed

Read more:
Q&A: What can you do after Wales' firebreak lockdown?
Has the firebreak had an impact?

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 11:05

Ryanair cancels Denmark flights blaming 'idiotic' UK quarantine

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At the weekend, the UK government added Denmark to its quarantine list - meaning travellers arriving into the UK from Denmark must self-isolate for 14 days.
It followed concerns over outbreaks of a new coronavirus strain at mink farms in Denmark that have now spread to humans.
But the quarantine changes also mean any cabin crew and pilots in Denmark are no longer exempt from quarantine rules.
Budget airline Ryanair has already criticised the rules and on Monday released a fuller statement, saying it has appealed the "idiotic" decision.
Ryanair says its crews "never leave the aircraft during their 25-minute turnaround on the ground in Copenhagen airport".
"We appealed this baseless decision to the UK [Department of Transport] this morning, explaining that there is no scientific basis for any such 14-day aircrew quarantine, but were advised that the Transport Minister Grant Shapps had made this decision and it cannot be changed.
"We therefore have no choice but to cancel all flights to/from Denmark with immediate effect until this bizarre and baseless 14-day aircrew quarantine is removed."
Mr Shapps previously said: "This decision to act quickly follows on from health authorities in Denmark reporting widespread outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms. Keeping the UK public safe remains our top priority."

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 11:15

Hungary to enter partial lockdown to stem rise in cases

Hungary is imposing a partial lockdown for at least a month in a bid to stem fast-rising coronavirus infections.
As of Tuesday, restaurants will close, large gatherings are banned and a night-time curfew extended, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced.
Secondary schools and universities will move teaching online, hotels can only take business travellers, and sports gatherings will be held behind closed doors. Family events will be limited to 10 people.
Mr Orban said the restrictions were necessary to keep pressure off hospitals. "If coronavirus infections rise at the current pace.. Hungarian hospitals will not be able to cope with the burden," he said in a video posted on his Facebook page .
Hungary reported 5,162 new cases and 55 new deaths on Monday, bringing the total to 114,778 infections and 2,493 deaths, Reuters reports.


The Czech Republic reported 3,608 new coronavirus cases for 8 November, the lowest daily tally in the country in four weeks, health ministry data showed on Monday.
The number of new cases is nearly 3,000 less than reported a week earlier and brings the total count to 414,828 in the country of 10.7 million, which has had one of Europe’s highest infection rates in recent weeks, Reuters reports.
The ministry also reported 177 new deaths, including 101 on Sunday along with revisions to previous days. In total, 4,858 people have died in relation to Covid-19.

Russia reported a record high of 21,798 new coronavirus infections on Monday, including 6,897 in the capital Moscow, bringing the national tally to 1,796,132.
Authorities also reported 256 coronavirus related deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 30,793.

The Philippines reported 108 new deaths from Covid-19 on Monday, the highest daily death toll since 23 October, taking total fatalities to 7,647, the country’s health ministry said.
The Department of Health also reported 2,058 new infections, taking the total to 398,449, the second highest number in south-east Asia.

Cambodians marked their 67th Independence Day holiday on Monday, but new restrictions kept them from celebrating at karaoke parlours, beer gardens, museums, cinemas and other entertainment venues, which have been ordered shut until further notice, AP reports.
Students in Phnom Penh, the capital, and the satellite town of Kandal will not be returning to schools on Tuesday as an education ministry order to contain the spread of the virus has shut them down in those places for two weeks.
The new restrictions were issued by the health ministry on Sunday because Hungary’s foreign minister tested positive for coronavirus after visiting Cambodia last week. Péter Szijjártó tested positive upon arrival in Thailand on Tuesday following his one-day Cambodia visit. He was placed in quarantine in Bangkok before leaving for Hungary on Wednesday.
Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen announced on Saturday that a Cambodian bodyguard for Szijjártó had tested positive for the virus He said the bodyguard was the only one of more than 900 people who were involved with Szijjártó’s visit to test positive.
Hun Sen and four cabinet ministers are in quarantine because they met with Szijjártó the same day he tested positive. Hun Sen said he has tested negative and will abide by the country’s guidelines and stay quarantined for 14 days.
All the people involved with the Hungarian foreign minister’s trip were undergoing a second coronavirus test Monday. They will be tested four times during the 14-day quarantine period.
Cambodia has reported a total of 297 cases of coronavirus with no deaths.

In India, Delhi is experiencing one of the worst spells of air pollution in years, data released on Monday shows, raising the risks to city residents posed by coronavirus, doctors say.
Pollution in the city had almost disappeared earlier this year, when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the virus, Reuters reports.
But the curbs have been lifted and the pollution, and the virus, are back with a vengeance. Delhi’s overall air quality index, which includes the concentration of PM2.5 particles as well as bigger pollutants, has stayed above 400, on a scale of 500, for five consecutive days, government data shows.
The tiny PM2.5 particles can cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases including lung cancer, and pose a particular risk for people with Covid-19.

Indonesia reported 2,853 new coronavirus infections on Monday, taking the total number of cases to 440,569, data from the country’s Covid-19 task force showed.
It also reported 75 more deaths, taking total fatalities to 14,689. Overall, 372,266 people had recovered from the virus, it said.

Iran is the latest in a string of countries to report a record daily rise in coronavirus cases today. The country’s health ministry reported a daily jump of 10,463 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
This brings the middle east’s worst-affected country’s total cases to 692,949, according to a Reuters tally.
Sima Sadat Lari, an Iranian health ministry spokeswoman, told state TV that 458 people had died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 38,749.

China’s financial hub of Shanghai said on Monday it had confirmed one new coronavirus case involving a 51-year-old man who worked at the city’s Pudong Airport.
Li Guohua, the deputy head of the city’s Pudong New Area, made the announcement at a news conference.


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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 12:01

Breaking News 

Pfizer says vaccine is 90% effective in latest trials

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Pfizer - one of several companies which are developing a vaccine - says its Covid-19 vaccine is 90% effective in its phase three trial.

More from Pfizer on vaccine

We've just had an announcement from companies Pfizer and BioNtech on the vaccine that they are is developing.
They say the vaccine was 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in ongoing Phase three trials.
Protection in patients was achieved seven days after the second of two doses, and 28 days after the first, according to preliminary findings.
"The first set of results from our Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine's ability to prevent Covid-19," Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

What is the Pfizer vaccine?

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The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is one of 11 vaccines that are in the final stages of testing - which is the crucial point where some experimental vaccines fail.
It's being researched in Germany by an alliance between the pharmaceutical companies BioNtech and Pfizer.
This vaccine injects pieces of the coronavirus' genetic code. Once inside the body, this starts making viral proteins to train the body.
This is a completely new technique and is only being used by two vaccines of the 11 in development - the BioNtech/Pfizer one and Moderna.
In July, the UK government signed deals for 30 million doses of the BioNtech and Pfizer vaccine.
Read more: When will we have a vaccine?

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 12:50

What comes next with the Pfizer vaccine?

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
Pfizer CEO Dr Albert Bourla has said today's news (that their vaccine is 90% effective according to latest results) is "a great day for science and humanity" and a "significant step forward" for the world in the battle against the pandemic.
The US company Pfizer and German manufacturer BioNtech now want to apply for emergency licensing so that the vaccine can start to be given to people in general public outside of trials, possibly before the end of the year.
They still need to gather more safety and efficacy data before then and demonstrate to regulators that the vaccine can be made to necessary quality standards.
If all goes to plan, the vaccine could be available soon, but stocks of the shot would need to be kept in ultra-cold storage - at around -80C - which is challenging.
The UK government has already pre-ordered 30 million doses of the vaccine, which is given as two dose, a month apart.
Initially, it would be given to some of the people at highest risk - frail, elderly patients and healthcare workers on the front line of the pandemic.
The jab is an mRNA vaccine that uses genetic code from the pandemic virus to teach the body's immune system to recognise and fight the infection.

PM to hold press conference this evening

We've had it confirmed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a Downing Street press conference at 17:00 GMT later today.

More safety data on Pfizer vaccine in coming weeks

The announcement from Pfizer and BioNtech is significant as their vaccine is the first to show any results in the final stage of trials.
Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries - US, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey - and no safety concerns have been raised.
The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
Pfizer believes it will be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of this year and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine is not the only to be in the final stage of trials - there are 11 and you can read about them here.
Dr Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chairman, said: "We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development programme at a time when the world needs it most, with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.
"We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks."
He thanked the thousands of people who volunteered to take part in the clinical trials.
Read the full story on the Pfizer announcement here.

Pfizer trial data 'shows really impressive protection'

The trial data from Pfizer and BioNtech - revealing their vaccine is 90% effective - shows "really impressive protection and no reported adverse events", says Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading.
He said: "Of all the current vaccines currently in development the BioNtech product always looked like the most bang-per-buck as it is entirely focused on the part of the virus that binds to the human cell, the receptor binding domain."
He said there were questions about the ability to manufacture it at scale and possible toxicity - but "the trial data show excellent results in both of those areas".
"The only things we will not know for some time is the longevity of the response in all age groups, but assuming antibody titres are high that should be at least as good as any other vaccine currently in trial," he said.

How does the Pfizer vaccine work?

There are around a dozen vaccines in the final stages of testing - known as a phase three trial - but the Pfizer/BioNtech one is the first to show any results.
It uses a completely experimental approach that involves injecting part of the virus's genetic code, or RNA, in order to train the immune system.
Previous trials have shown the vaccine trains the body to make both antibodies and another part of the immune system called T-cells to fight the coronavirus. Here's how it works:
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Two doses, three weeks apart, are needed. The trials show 90% protection is achieved seven days after the second dose.
The companies say they will have enough safety data by the third week of November to take their vaccine to regulators. Until then it is not possible for countries to begin their vaccination campaigns.
Read more on the vaccine news here.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 12:53

WHO welcomes Biden's election as US president

The director-general of the World Health Organization has welcomed Joe Biden as president-elect of the US, saying he is looking forward to working very closely with his administration.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual WHO summit: “We need to reimagine leadership, build on mutual trust and mutual accountability, to end the pandemic and address the fundamental inequalities that lie at the root of so many of the world's problems.”
US President Donald Trump has frozen US funding to the WHO and begun the process of withdrawing from the world health body having accused it of being “China-centric” in its handling of the pandemic – a charge denied by Mr Tedros.
Joe Biden, before becoming president-elect, had tweeted: "On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage.

Firebreak is over but coronavirus still with us, warns Welsh first minister

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Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford has addressed the nation as it came to the end of its 17-day firebreak lockdown.
He said:"Today the firebreak period we have been through together over the last 17 days is over but coronavirus is still very much with us. Across our border England has just started a month long lockdown to bring the virus under control, similar measures are being introduced in many European countries as winter begins in earnest."
The first minister added: "This weekend we passed yet another grim milestone as Public Health Wales recorded its 2,000th death. This is a truly terrible virus, it hits us hardest where we are most vulnerable – in our love for family and friends. People are being taken before their time, families are losing parents, children brothers and sisters."
Drakeford said the virus continued to be full of "unpleasant surprises" pointing to a mutated strain found in mink farms in Denmark.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 18:06

'Highly unlikely' for Scotland's restrictions to be eased

It is "highly unlikely" that Scotland's Covid-19 restrictions will be eased when they are reviewed tomorrow, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Tuesday will mark the first review of local measures since the nation's five-tier system came into place, and the first minister said the current curbs had "undoubtedly" had an impact on the spread of the virus.
However, she said it was important for this to translate into a "significant and sustained reduction in cases".
Sturgeon said she "would not expect areas to go down a level", and that "careful judgement" would be given to whether any councils had to move up a level.
A further 912 people have tested positive for coronavirus, the first minister said, and a further 43 deaths have been registered since Friday.

This could be it, but there are still hurdles to overcome

Fergus Walsh - Medical editor
The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine looks highly promising but there are lots of caveats.
This is preliminary data, it hasn’t been peer reviewed, it hasn’t been submitted to a journal and it hasn’t yet been submitted for emergency authorisation, so there are hurdles to go.
But, based on the three pages I have been given, it looks like it could be it.
That’s because of the 43,000 volunteers immunised more than 9 in 10 of those who went on to develop coronavirus symptoms (and there were 94 of those) received the placebo, the dummy jab.
From that they have concluded that it is more than 90% effective at preventing coronavirus infection.
But we are only a few months into this, we have got to wait for the full data, and the key question is if it does protect we don’t know how long that protection will last.
We may well have to have booster doses but let’s not be churlish, if it is 90% effective we would all take that.
There are other vaccines in development too so this all augurs well for them. It is a good day.

Biden welcomes Pfizer vaccine breakthrough but urges caution

US president-elect Joe Biden has welcomed news of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine tests, but has urged Americans to remember “the end of the battle against Covic-19 is still months away”.
He said he learnt of the outcome of the tests last night and sent his congratulations to the “brilliant women and men who helped this breakthrough”.
But he added it could be many months before there is widespread vaccination in the US and urged Americans to continue to wear masks as a “potent weapon against the virus”, socially distance, and continue with contact tracing and hand washing.
Tweet  Jennifer Jacobs:

Biden's statement on the news that Pfizer is getting closer to an effective coronavirus vaccine. He starts off by saying he already knew the news last night. And says it'll be months before there's widespread vaccination.
Coronavirus - 9th November Emymtv10

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 18:14

Pfizer distances itself from Pence claim

US Vice-President Mike Pence has tweeted out his congratulations over news from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech that their coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective.
Tweet  Mike Pence:

HUGE NEWS: Thanks to the public-private partnership forged by President @realDonaldTrump , @pfizer announced its Coronavirus Vaccine trial is EFFECTIVE, preventing infection in 90% of its volunteers.

But his claim of a public-private partnership forged by US President Donald Trump appeared to be rejected by Dr Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine development.
She told the New York Times : “We were never part of the Warp Speed ... We have never taken any money from the US government, or from anyone.”
Operation Warp Speed is a $12bn programme set up by the Trump administration in May with the aim of delivering a vaccine to every American by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

Biden names his new coronavirus advisory team

As we mentioned earlier, US President-elect Joe Biden has been unveiling his new advisory board to guide his future administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said he had assembled a team of "leading public health experts" co-chaired by former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Marcella Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of internal medicine, public health, and management at Yale University.
Rick Bright, a whistleblower who claims he was removed from his Trump administration post for raising concerns about the country’s preparedness for the virus, is also on the panel.
Mr Biden said the pandemic "is one of the most important battles our administration will face and I will be informed by science and by experts".
“The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations,” he added.
More than 237,000 people have died from the virus in the US and more than 9.9 million people have contracted Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

Beware vaccine conspiracy theories

Marianna Spring - Disinformation and social media reporter
News that the first effective coronavirus vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19 has meant vaccine conspiracy theories are being shared again on social media.
For months, they’ve been spreading in local Facebook groups, on Instagram pages and in WhatsApp chats.
The false claims include the baseless theory that a vaccine could be a way for Microsoft boss Bill Gates to secretly insert microchips into people – so they can be tracked.
BBC Reality Check has debunked this particular claim in the past. Nevertheless, Bill Gates’s name has been trending on Twitter since the announcement from Pfizer and BioNTech.
Rumours have also been circulating about when the announcement happened – with the suggestion that it was deliberately timed to happen after Joe Biden was declared president-elect.
There’s currently no evidence to support this claim.
When you see these sorts of claims, remember to think about why a post was shared, how it makes you feel and to pause before passing it on.
Get in touch if you’re seeing speculation like this on social media that you want me to investigate:

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 18:22

Ukraine president tests positive

Coronavirus - 9th November 57fc8b10

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky says he has tested positive for Covid-19 but that he "feels fine".
Writing on Twitter, the 42-year-old said he would go into self-isolation and would continue to work.
"It's gonna be fine," he posted.
The former comedian-turned-politician joins other world leaders who contracted coronavirus, including Donald Trump in the US, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro.
Tweet Володимир Зеленський:

:Left Quotes: There are no lucky people for whom #COVID19 does not pose a threat. Despite all the quarantine measures, I received a positive test. I feel good & take a lot of vitamins. Promise to isolate myself, but keep working. I will overcome COVID19 as most people do. It's gonna be fine!

Further 21,350 Covid cases across UK

And following the Downing Street conference the latest coronavirus figures have been released.
There have been a further 21,350 cases of coronavirus across the UK and a further 194 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test.
That takes the total number of deaths by this measure to 49,063.
The figures tend to be lower on a Monday as there is a lag in reporting over the weekend.

Today’s main coronavirus headlines

Well, that's us over and out for today.
Here's a reminder of today’s main coronavirus headlines from the UK and around the world this evening:

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Coronavirus - 9th November Empty Re: Coronavirus - 9th November

Post by Kitkat on Mon Nov 09 2020, 20:55

Italy extends tougher curbs to Tuscany and four other regions

Italy will ramp up coronavirus restrictions in Tuscany and four other regions from Wednesday to rein in the second wave of the pandemic, a health ministry source said on Monday.
Last week, the government imposed nationwide curbs including a nightly curfew, and divided the country into three zones based on the intensity of their Covid-19 outbreaks, calibrating additional limitations accordingly.
Tuscany, which includes the cities of Florence and Siena; Liguria; Abruzzo; Umbria and the southern Basilicata region are designated as “orange zones” where bars and restaurants are closed but shops remain open. People are free to move within their towns and cities but not leave them.
The zoning depends on factors such as local infection rates and hospital occupancy. Milan and most of the industrial north are part of the “red zone” under a partial lockdown.
The northern province of Bolzano will be added into the red zone, the source added.
The southern regions of Puglia and Sicily were already part of the orange zone.
Italy, the first European country hard-hit by Covid-19, tamed its outbreak after a rigid lockdown in March and April, but has toughened up its curbs once again following a resurgence in infections and deaths.
On Monday, the country registered 25,271 new infections after 32,616 the day before, mainly due to a customary fall in daily tests on Sundays. Covid-related deaths were 356, the health ministry said.
The steady surge in hospital admissions is straining the country’s health system, and doctors warn that Italy could suffer some 10,000 fatalities in the next month on current trends.
“The situation could become tragic ... We need drastic measures, such as a total lockdown,” said Filippo Anelli, the president of Italy’s doctors’ federation.
Read more

Reuters is reporting that the adviser charged with leading the US president Donald Trump’s post-election legal challenges, David Bossie, has tested positive for Covid-19, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Bossie, a prominent conservative activist who leads advocacy group Citizens United, tested positive on Sunday, joining White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and the housing secretary Ben Carson as victims of the latest coronavirus outbreak to touch the White House.
Read more

The Tunisian prime minister Hichem Mechichi said on Monday that the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the country may reach 6,000-7,000, describing the health situation as “very dangerous”.
Coronavirus cases have been rising quickly in Tunisia, which had managed to contain the virus earlier this year, and have now reached 70,000 cases and 1,900 deaths in a country of 11.5 million.
Medical sources told Reuters intensive care units in most state hospitals had reached maximum capacity.
The government imposed a night curfew this month and banned travel between cities to slow a second wave of the pandemic.

and a final summary of today's coronavirus news - from The Guardian:

Here is a summary of what feels – albeit cautiously – like an incredibly hopeful day in the world’s fight against Covid-19.

  • World leaders and scientists reacted with cautious optimism after pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and BioNTech revealed interim results of large-scale trials which showed that its Covid-19 vaccine was 90% effective. The manufacturers’ analysis shows a much better performance than most experts had hoped for and brings into view a potential end to a pandemic that has killed more than a million people, battered economies and upended daily life worldwide .
  • The US president-elect Joe Biden led the tone for much of the reaction from world leaders. He said it could be “many months” before the vaccine is widely available – providing it passes several more hurdles in the approval and distribution process – and warned Americans: “We’re still facing a very dark winter.”
  • Sir John Bell, one of the UK’s most eminent vaccines experts, said he believed “with some confidence” that life should return to normal by spring next year following the Pfizer/BioNTech announcement. Bell went further than many of peers in the scientific community but his prediction carries significant weight given his role on the UK’s vaccines taskforce.
  • A senior World Health Organisation official said a Covid-19 vaccine may be rolled out by March 2021 to the most vulnerable. Bruce Aylward told the WHO’s annual ministerial assembly that interim results from Pfizer’s late-stage vaccine trial were “very positive”.
  • You can read Sarah Boseley’s analysis of the vaccine announcement here and a Q&Q by Nicola Davis here . There is also this piece by Philip Oltermann on the husband and wife dream team behind BioNTech and how the news was a shot in the arm for Germany’s Turkish community.
  • There was also positive news from Belgium, where health officials said a second wave of Covid-19 hospital admissions appeared to have peaked and would now begin to decline. About 400 people were hospitalised due to coronavirus complications on Sunday, compared with 879 on 3 November.
  • Iran was one of a number of countries reporting a record rise in the daily number of coronavirus cases. It said the figure had reached 10,463 over the previous 24 hours, the first time the numbers for new infections had reached five figures. Russia also reported its highest 24-hour tally of new infections.
  • Doctors in Italy have warned there will be an additional 10,000 Covid-19 deaths in a month in the country unless a national lockdown is imposed. As Italy edges towards a million coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, 32,616 new cases were registered on Sunday, a more than sevenfold increase since 8 October
  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has tested positive for coronavirus. Zelenskiy said he “feels good” and was self-isolating, adding on Twitter: “It’s gonna be fine!”

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