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Coronavirus - 13th December


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Post by Kitkat Sun Dec 13 2020, 15:05

Summary for Sunday, 13th December

The Guardian:

  • Germany to close schools, shops ask workers to work from home from 16 December. Reuters reports that in a draft proposal, the German government is planning to close shops and schools for nearly a month, from 16 December to 10 January, and ask workers to work from home for the same period.
  • Turkey added more than 800,000 cases to its national total, after the government decided to include all positive cases rather than those just requiring hospitalisation.
  • Pfizer says first Covid-19 vaccine supplies being prepared to ship from Michigan site. They will be distributed by the US Department of Defense in partnership with agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services to government-designated facilities across the country, Pfizer said on Saturday night US time.
  • Brazil’s government has presented a Supreme Court justice with a coronavirus immunisation plan that provides initially for only enough shots for about a quarter of the population and does not indicate a start date.
  • US deaths nearing 300,000 after another record day. The United States hit a record 16 million Covid-19 cases on Saturday afternoon, with deaths closing in on the 300,000 mark, after reporting another record daily toll of 3,309 deaths. It reported 231,000 cases in 24 hours.
  • South Korea reports record daily case rise of 1,030 infections in 24 hours. South Korea reported a record daily increase in novel coronavirus cases for a second straight day with 1,030 new infections, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Sunday. Of the new cases, 1,002 were locally transmitted, which bring the total tally to 42,766 infections, with 580 deaths.
  • Italy on Saturday became the European country with the highest official number of Covid fatalities, as its new total of 64,036 deaths overtook the UK toll of currently 64,026 reported deaths.

Fears of new Covid restrictions as councils struggle to fund self-isolation

In the UK, more than 17 million people are living in areas under tier 2 restrictions that have seen infection rates rise over the last three weeks, new research has revealed amid growing concerns that councils are struggling to help people with the costs of self-isolation.
With the government due to review the Covid-19 measures across England this week, an assessment of official data found that more than half of councils in which tier 2 restrictions are in place – or “high alert” areas - have seen infection rates rise since the last week of November. The areas cover some 17.5 million people.
The research, carried out by Labour, found that 100 local authorities have seen an increase in cases since 24 November, compared with 87 that have seen a decrease. It has raised concerns that more areas could face the most restrictive tier 3 measures from this week. London is in danger of entering tier 3 , with some boroughs suffering from the highest rates of the disease in England.
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'The time has arrived': trucks and planes ready to ship vaccine to Covid frontline

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Officials hope the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will reach hospitals by Monday morning. Photograph: United Airlines/Reuters

The most complex vaccine distribution project ever in the United States begins on Sunday morning.
Tractor trailers loaded with suitcase–sized containers of Covid-19 vaccine will leave Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Sunday morning – launching the largest and most complex vaccine distribution project in the United States.
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Post by Kitkat Sun Dec 13 2020, 15:07

Muslim cleric Rizieq Shihab arrested in Indonesia for breaching coronavirus restrictions

A firebrand Indonesian Muslim cleric was arrested Sunday for allegedly breaching coronavirus restrictions after he held a series of sermons with tens of thousands of followers, AFP reports.
Rizieq Shihab’s arrest came just days after Jakarta police shot dead six followers of his hardline Islamist group in a highway shootout.
Shihab will be detained for 20 days to prevent him from fleeing and destroying evidence, police said.
“Another reason for the detention is for him not to repeat the offence,” National Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said Sunday.
If found guilty, he could face up to six years behind bars for breaching coronavirus rules.
Shihab was welcomed by tens of thousands of followers at Jakarta airport on his return from exile last month, in violation of a Covid-19 ban on gatherings.
As dozens who attended that gathering subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus, police summoned Shihab several times for questioning.
Indonesia has reported more than 600,000 coronavirus infections and over 18,500 deaths, with authorities imposing nationwide restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.
Despite those restrictions, Shihab held sermons, a celebration of the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, and his daughter’s wedding - all of which were attended by thousands of people.
The charismatic leader of the Islamic Defender Front (FPI), Shihab fled to Saudi Arabia shortly after police named him a suspect in a pornography case in 2017, and remained in exile for three years.
Since his return, he’s called for a “moral revolution”.
His FPI is notorious for targeting night clubs and other establishments it deems “immoral”, and has also attacked minority Muslim sects it considers “deviant”.
He was among the main figures behind mass rallies in 2016 against the then governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, over allegations that he insulted the Koran.
Basuki, who is Christian, was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy.

Turkey adds 800,000 new coronavirus cases after government changes definition

The Turkish government has decided to count coronavirus cases as all of those who test positive for Covid-19, rather than just those cases requiring hospitalisation, adjusting its total by more than 800,000 , to more than 1.8m.
The country’s death toll stands at 16,199.
The staggering figure took nearly doubled the global daily coronavirus record when it was included by the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

Russia reports 28,080 new Covid cases

Russia confirmed 28,080 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours on Sunday, including 6,425 in Moscow, pushing the national tally to 2,653,928.
Authorities said 488 people had died overnight, bringing the official death toll to 46,941.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Dec 13 2020, 15:12

Germany heads for national lockdown as Covid cases rise sharply

Here are some updates on Germany’s decision to tighten Covid restrictions to halt the spread of the virus:
“There is an urgent need to take action,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said following a meeting with leaders of the country’s 16 federal states on Sunday.
“I would have wished for lighter measures. But due to Christmas shopping the number of social contacts has risen considerably,” she told journalists.
The government will support affected companies with a total of around €11bn ($13.3bn) a month. Businesses that are forced to close may receive up to 90% of fixed costs, or up €500,000 a month, the finance minister, Olaf Scholz, confirmed.
Under the agreement, only essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as banks, can stay open. Schools will also be closed in principle during the period, and employers will be asked to close operations or have employees work from home.
A maximum of five people from no more than two households are allowed to gather in a home. This guideline will be eased from 24 to 26 December, over which time one household can invite a maximum of four close family members from others.
The sale of fireworks will be banned ahead of New Year’s Eve, while care homes will be mandated to carry out coronavirus tests.
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More than 4,000 operations postponed at hospitals in Switzerland because of covid priorities

The directors of five of Switzerland’s largest hospitals have urged the health minister to impose stringent measures to reduce Covid infections, according to media reports.
In a letter to health minister Alain Berset, the directors of the university hospitals of Zurich, Bern, Basel, Lausanne and Geneva said the pandemic was forcing them to postpone operations for patients with other life-threatening conditions.
Gregor Zund, hospital director at the Zurich University hospital, said he wanted to see a full lockdown, including a ban on skiing , to bring the epidemic under control.
More than 4,000 operations have been postponed at the five hospitals since October, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.
Switzerland has been badly hit by the epidemic, with about 5,000 new Covid cases every day recently. Roughly 1.3% of the population has been infected in the last 28 days.
The directors said they feared that a third wave of Covid infections early next year could trigger a collapse in the health system, as intensive care beds were becoming scarce.

Bahrain approves use of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine

Bahrain has approved the use of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine, following its earlier approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine .
Bahrain’s state-run news agency reported that the Sinopharm vaccine would be available in the island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.
But it offered few details on study results of the vaccine, in line with the United Arab Emirates, which last week announced the vaccine was 86% effective.
Bahrain has said more than 7,700 signed up to take part in a trial of the Sinopharm vaccine in the kingdom, and plans to give the public free Covid jabs.
Separately, Kuwait has granted emergency use for the Pfizer vaccine.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Dec 13 2020, 15:14

Care Home residents in Jersey receive Covid vaccinations today (Sunday)

Residents in Jersey care homes are receiving Covid vaccinations a day earlier than expected, the island’s government has announced.
Officials said the government made the call to start on Sunday rather than Monday “in view of the positive Covid cases in care homes”, which have seen a recent 400% surge, from four on Thursday to 19 by Saturday.
A team of one doctor and several nurses is administering the first Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines on this island, on which there are 671 known active cases of coronavirus.
Some 2,500 care home staff are scheduled to receive their jabs at the Covid vaccination centre near Fort Regent from 21 December.

Netherlands: biggest jump in infections since end of October with 10,000 cases in a day

New Covid cases in the Netherlands rose by nearly 10,000 in the last 24 hours, national health data shows, marking the biggest jump in infections since the end of October.
The surge continues a rising trend seen over the previous week, as the effects of a partial lockdown, which has been in effect since October 13, appear to have diminished.
The Dutch government has convened an emergency meeting for Sunday to consider extra measures to halt the spread of the virus, and is due to make an announcement on its deliberations on Tuesday.

Spain could achieve herd immunity from Covid by summer 2021, health minister says

Spain should achieve herd immunity from coronavirus by the end of summer in 2021 if enough people are vaccinated by then, the health minister said on Sunday.
Salvador Illa said a vaccination programme will start in January, meaning by the end of the summer more than two thirds of the population of 47 million should be vaccinated.
“In Europe , even if it is not the final end, we will be in a very different stage. That is why I think we are at the beginning of the end with this time horizon that I say, from five to six months,” Illa told Publico newspaper.
Asked if this meant that Spain would achieve herd immunity, he responded: “Yes. It is what the technicians call that, that people have immunity either because they are vaccinated or because they have had the disease.”

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Post by Kitkat Sun Dec 13 2020, 15:16

Targeted Coronavirus testing drive begins for schools and colleges in London

A targeted coronavirus testing drive for secondary school and college students in parts of London, as well as in Essex and Kent, is underway to curb rising infection rates.
Tweet  Sadiq Khan:

More targeted testing is now underway for secondary school and college students in the 7 hardest hit London boroughs:

Contact your council for details.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Dec 13 2020, 15:18

159 more Covid-related deaths reported in England

A further 159 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 44,285, NHS England has said.
Patients were aged between 47 and 97 and the deaths occurred between November 8 and December 12.
All except five, aged between 55 and 89, had known underlying health conditions.
Separately, a further four coronavirus-related deaths were recorded by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, bringing its death toll to 1,124.
In Scotland, there have been a further 800 cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of infections to 106,170.
There were also a further two deaths, meaning the country’s death toll stands at 4,111.

First shipments of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine leave Michigan factory

Coronavirus - 13th December 4000
Trucks carrying the first shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine that is being escorted by the US Marshals Service, leave Pfizer’s Global Supply facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Three semi trucks carrying the first shipments of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine left a factory in Michigan early on Sunday, kicking off a historic project to stop a surging pandemic that is claiming more than 2,400 lives a day in the United States.
Workers at a Pfizer factory in central Michigan began packing the first shipments of its Covid vaccine in dry ice shortly after 6:30 am ET, Reuters reports.
Three trucks carrying pallets of boxed, refrigerated vaccines rolled away from the facility at 8:29 am , escorted by body armor-clad security officers.
The long-awaited moment comes as the death toll was approaching 300,000 and infections and hospitalizations set daily records in the United States.
It will take months before most Americans can get a vaccine, with companies in a range of industries lobbying state and federal officials to give priority to their workers.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Dec 13 2020, 17:46

Here is a quick recap of recent events in the UK and around the world:

UK reports 18,447 cases, 144 deaths

There have been a further 18,447 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK, according to government data . This compares with 17,271 cases registered last Sunday.
A total of 1,849,403 people have tested positive.
A further 144 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported, bringing the total to 64,170. There were 231 last Sunday.
Sunday figures are often lower because of reporting delays over the weekend.

Coronavirus: socialising at Christmas 'very risky', say NHS bosses

Socialising over Christmas, particularly with those most vulnerable to Covid, will be “very risky” and threatens to put further pressure on hospital beds this winter, NHS bosses have warned.
Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, said relaxing restrictions over the festive period would leave some people with the mistaken view that there was no greater risk from having more social contact.
“I don’t want to be the Grinch who stole Christmas, I really don’t, but I think everybody needs to think really, really carefully what are they going to do over Christmas,” Hopson told BBC Breakfast. “It’s not, ‘is what we’re going to be doing sticking within the rules?’ It’s ‘how much risk are we going to cause to the people we interact with?’”
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Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has said he is recovering from Covid-19, in his first televised appearance since he was treated in a German hospital almost two months ago.
“Thanks to God ... I have started on the road to recovery,” the 75-year-old said a day after the first anniversary of his election. “It may take two or three weeks but, God willing, I will recover all my bodily strength.”
His illness has triggered concerns of a constitutional crisis. Voters have approved a revised constitution in a referendum with record low turnout, but the president has been unable to sign it into law because he must be on Algerian soil to do so.
Tebboune did not indicate his location.

Canada will receive the initial doses of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine later on Sunday, with more of the first batch of 30,000 coming on Monday, the official in charge of Canada’s vaccine rollout told the CBC.
Canada is expected to approve the Moderna Inc vaccine “reasonably soon” and the country will be ready to accept shipments of it by the end of the week, CBC reported.

Greece has reported 693 new coronavirus cases – the lowest daily figure since mid-October.
There have been a further 85 deaths.
The new figures takes the country’s total caseload to 124,534, while the toll stands at 3,625.

Mauritania has reimposed a nighttime curfew in in the face of a “worrying surge” in Covid-19 cases and deaths, the president’s office said.
Public health chief Sidi Ould Zehave said Saturday that hospitals “are reaching saturation”.
The country has recently seen a significant jump in infections, recording 279 new cases and seven deaths on Saturday.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the foreign minister, has appealed for international aid in the crisis, according to the state news agency AMI.

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