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COVID-19: All the latest LIVE worldwide updates - today's updates are also on our Portal page, here)

Coronavirus - 9th April 2021

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 11:12

Summary for Friday, 9th April

  • The UK government gives more details of a traffic light system for the resumption of overseas travel from England
  • Travellers will need to pay for tests when departing and returning from abroad, including at least one PCR test
  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says the cost of Covid tests needs to be driven down, amid criticism from the travel sector
  • Shapps also says he's not advising against people in England booking summer trips abroad
  • It's still too early to say whether foreign holidays can resume on 17 May, he says, or which countries will be deemed to be safe
  • Changes to household mixing and the reopening of gyms are to be brought forward in Wales as case rates fall
  • Twice-weekly free rapid coronavirus tests are available to everyone in England from today
  • Islamic scholars and NHS leaders are urging Muslims not to let fasting over Ramadan stop them getting a Covid jab
  • Brazil records more than 4,000 Covid-related deaths in 24 hours for the first time, as a more contagious variant circulates


Welcome to our coronavirus live page. This morning the government has revealed further details of its plans to reopen international travel from England.
But it says it can't yet confirm whether foreign holidays can go ahead on 17 May as set out in the government’s road map.
A traffic light system will be used to categorise countries based on risk, and travellers will need to pay for tests when departing and returning to the UK.
The plans have been met with widespread frustration by the travel industry - we will bring you all the latest reaction here.
Read more in our story

Latest across Europe


  • Russia has asked Slovakia to return 200,000 doses of its Sputnik V vaccine which have sat in storage since they were delivered on 1 March. Former Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic got hold of the doses secretly but then lost his job last week over the controversy. Now Slovakia’s drug regulator says the doses are different to those reviewed positively by the Lancet.
  • Germany has started talks on buying the Sputnik drug, according to Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. The EU’s medical agency EMA hasn’t yet approved the vaccine and Germany’s health minister says purchase will be conditional on its approval.
  • For the first time in eight days the number of Covid patients in intensive care in France has fallen, by 24 cases, to 5,705. A big surge of infections was reported on Thursday, but that includes figures from several days. Meanwhile, France has recorded its10 millionth Covid vaccination and a record 437,000 were inoculated yesterday alone. Germany’s case numbers have risen above 25,000 in the past 24 hours.
  • The Netherlands and Portugal have joined several other countries in limiting the Oxford-AstraZeneca drug to over-60s after the EMA advised of a possible causal link with very rare blood clots. The agency is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks. Meanwhile France’s health minister says anyone under 55 who has already had the first AZ dose will be offered another vaccine for the second.
  • Iceland is revising a new rule requiring anyone arriving from a high-risk country to stay in a special quarantine hotel for five days or submit a second negative test. The courts have ruled that the mandatory hotel stay is illegal. The health minister says travellers won’t have to pay for the hotel and will be allowed outdoors.


Latest world headlines

Here's what's happening around the world:


Today so far…

The Guardian

  • Authorities in France have ruled that under 55s who received a first injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine can be given a jab from a different producer for their second dose.
  • Hong Kong has confirmed this morning that it has requested AstraZeneca suspend delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine.
  • States and territories in Australia have been left scrambling to respond to government advice recommending against vaccinating anyone under 50 with the AstraZeneca shot, leaving tens of thousands of people in the lurch.
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to take control from Germany’s federal states to impose restrictions on regions recording high numbers of new coronavirus infections, according to reports. Health minister Jens Spahn has said the country needs a national lockdown.
  • Leading hospitals in India’s most coronavirus-hit state halted vaccinations today, citing shortages as infections across the country crossed 13 million and set a new daily record.
  • Sweden’s climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has said she will not attend the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow this November, citing “inequitable vaccine distribution”.
  • Police in Norway have fined prime minister Erna Solberg for breaking Covid-19 social distancing rules when organising a family gathering to celebrate her birthday.
  • The manufacturer of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine have claimed that while it is less effective against the “South African” coronavirus variant, it is more effective against it than other vaccines.
  • The UK’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has said that the public could now “start to think” about foreign holidays this summer.
  • Gibraltar has become one of the first places in the world to vaccinate the bulk of its adult population against Covid-19, allowing virus restrictions to be lifted and life to almost return to normal.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 11:24

Heathrow boss concerned about cost of tests in travel plan

As we’ve heard, the UK government has set out some more detail for the return of foreign travel from England.
Passengers will have to take Covid tests before leaving and on returning - including a PCR test, even from low-risk green countries.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of London Heathrow airport, tells BBC Breakfast the proposed traffic light system is a “good step forward”.
But he questions why fully-vaccinated travellers, returning from low-risk countries, have to take another “expensive” coronavirus test on arrival as well as on departure.
“Why do you still need to take a £150 PCR test after you’ve arrived, I think for most people that wouldn’t make sense," he says.
“This is where we need to make sure that travel becomes something everyone can do and is not just something for the wealthy.”
Holland-Kaye says he understands there will be three points when the travel system will be reviewed – at the end of June, in September and in October.

Cost of tests 'will have dampening effect on travel' - airline boss

Like the boss of London Heathrow airport, the chief executive of airline Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss, says he welcomes the adoption of a risk-based, traffic light-based travel system for England.
But he tells BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the UK government needs to “go further in providing clarity and certainty for this industry” – for example, some detail on which countries will be in which category.
He suggested travellers should take a cheaper antigen test on arrival and only do a more expensive PCR test if they are positive.
Weiss says there is “no doubt” the cost of tests will put off some customers.
“It will have a dampening effect but I believe some people will travel,” he says.

When can I go on holiday abroad?

At the moment, foreign holidays are banned, and returning travellers have to quarantine on arrival.
Anyone in England who travels abroad without good reason currently faces a £5,000 fine.
The earliest possible date for holidaying abroad has been given as 17 May - if the coronavirus situation allows it.
For England, the government has yet to confirm travel can take place from that date. The first ministers of Scotland and Wales have both already argued that 17 May will be too early for foreign holidays to resume.
Northern Ireland has not yet announced its plans, but chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride has said it would be "premature" to book a foreign summer trip.
Read more on what's been announced today here.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 11:31

Wales gyms and household mixing changes brought forward

People in Wales will be able to hit the gym and form extended households a week earlier than planned due to a drop in Covid cases, the Welsh government has confirmed.
Gyms and leisure centres will be able to open from 3 May - instead of 10 May - while two households can bubble up to meet indoors from the same date.

Wedding receptions outdoors for up to 30 people will be allowed in Wales from 26 April, also moving forward a week.
But the dates for reopening the hospitality industry have not changed - pubs, cafes and restaurants will still be able to reopen outdoors from 26 April.
Read all the details here .

UK sport bodies back use of 'vaccine passports'

Elsewhere, the UK's leading sports bodies are backing "vaccine passports" and Covid testing as "credible" means of allowing full capacities at venues.
In a letter to the leaders of the major political parties, they say a certification process could be beneficial "in getting more fans safely back as quickly as possible".
However the group also warned that "the final approach must not be discriminatory, should protect privacy, and have clear exit criteria."
Signatories include the Football Association, the Premier League, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football Union, the All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon and Silverstone motor-racing circuit.
As part of the government's reopening road map, from 17 May in England larger outdoor sports venues will be allowed to operate at up to 25% capacity, with a maximum of 10,000 spectators.

Muslims 'can still get jab while fasting'

Islamic scholars and NHS leaders are urging Muslims not to let fasting over Ramadan stop them getting a Covid jab.
During Ramadan many Muslims abstain from food and drink in daylight hours.
Islamic teaching says Muslims should refrain "from anything entering the body" between sunrise and sunset.
But Qari Asim, an imam in Leeds, said that because the vaccine goes into the muscle rather than the bloodstream and is not nutritious, it does not amount to breaking the fast.
Read more here
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 11:39

Is India running out of vaccines?

As India grapples with a deadly second wave of Covid-19 infections - with an average of more than 90,000 cases daily from 1 April - its vaccination drive appears to be struggling.
Half a dozen states are reporting a shortage of doses even as the federal government insists that there's enough in stock.
In the western state of Maharashtra, which is reporting more than half of India's new infections, the inoculation programme appears to be grinding to a halt.
The local government says its current stock of 1.5 million doses will last only for three days. Vaccination centres have been shut in the state capital, Mumbai, and parts of Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts.
"If the vaccines don't come in three days, we will be forced to stop the drive," state Health Minister Rajesh Tope told reporters.
Read more here.

10,400 deaths prevented from vaccines so far, analysis suggests

The Covid vaccine programme has prevented 10,400 deaths in the over 60s in England over the past four months, new analysis suggests.
From the first jab on 8 December last year up to the end of March, more than 15 million jabs have been given to adults in this age group, Public Health England (PHE) said.
According to its estimates, 9,100 deaths were prevented during that time in those aged 80 and over, 1,200 were avoided in those aged 70 to 79, and 100 lives were saved in those aged 60 to 69.

The figures were estimated using real-world data on how effective the vaccines are at preventing death and vaccine uptake.
PHE said there was now increasing evidence that vaccines helped to reduce transmission, therefore it was likely that an even higher number of deaths would have been avoided by the vaccine programme.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 11:42

Jet2 suspends flights until late June

More industry reaction to the UK government’s proposed travel plan has been coming in this morning.
Jet2 has announced “with a heavy heart” that it will suspend flights and holidays up to and including 23 June “because of the continued uncertainty that the [government’s] framework provides”.
CEO Steve Heapy says he is “extremely disappointed at the lack of clarity and detail” in the overseas travel plan.
It "lacks any rigorous detail" about how to get international travel going again and the framework "is virtually the same as six months ago", he says.
Heapy adds that customers who are yet to travel and who are affected by this announcement will automatically have their booking cancelled with a full refund.
"Our team of travel experts will be in touch to help them to book their summer getaway for later in the year," he adds.

Industry bosses criticise England travel plan

Other travel industry bosses have been reacting to today's news from the government.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren says the requirement for PCR tests for passengers returning to England is "a blow to all travellers" and risks "making flying only for the wealthy".
Consumer group Which? estimated that each PCR test - which is just one of the tests needed - could cost about £120 per person.
Mark Tanzer, boss of travel trade organisation Abta, says allowing the use of cheaper lateral flow tests would "make international travel more accessible and affordable whilst still providing an effective mitigation against reimportation of the virus".
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, an industry body representing UK-registered carriers, says the announcement "does not represent a reopening of travel as promised by ministers".
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 11:48

Why have deaths soared in Brazil?

On Thursday, Brazil recorded more than 4,000 Covid-related deaths in 24 hours for the first time , as a more contagious variant fuels a surge in cases.
Hospitals are overcrowded, with people dying as they wait for treatment in some cities, and the health system is on the brink of collapse in many areas.
The country's total death toll is now almost 337,000, second only to the US, and experts are warning the current surge in cases may not peak for several weeks.
But President Jair Bolsonaro continues to oppose any lockdown measures to curb the outbreak.
He argues that the damage to the economy would be worse than the effects of the virus itself, and has tried to reverse some of the restrictions imposed by local authorities in the courts.
He has consistently played down the severity of the virus, but he is now turning his focus to the nationwide vaccination drive which his critics say has come far too late.
Read more here.

Greta Thunberg: No plans to attend COP26 over Covid concerns

Greta Thunberg has told the BBC she does not plan to attend the UN climate conference due to be held in Glasgow this November, as she is concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on attendance at COP26.
The 18-year-old Swedish climate campaigner believes the summit should be postponed.
She says the UK government, which is hosting the summit, should wait until global vaccination rates have risen.
The summit will bring together world leaders with the aim of agreeing a plan to tackle climate change.
"This needs to happen in the right way. Of course, the best thing to do would be to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible so that everyone could take part on the same terms," she said.
Read more here.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 11:51

Tui boss 'disappointed' over 'expensive' testing travel plan

We've just received some more reaction to the UK government's travel plan from holiday company Tui.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK and Ireland, says he is "disappointed about the expensive testing and quarantine measures proposed".
"We're firmly committed to finding cost effective testing solutions for our customers, as well as offering maximum flexibility, so we can make travel possible this summer and beyond," he says.
Customers due to travel between 17 May and the end of July are able to change their holiday to another date for free.
Flintham says customers who are not able to quarantine on return, or pay for tests, are able to change their holiday to a later date.

Analysis: Travel industry concerned about cost of tests

Caroline Davies - Transport correspondent
Today's report on international travel is not the grand reopening many in the industry wanted.
There is real worry, particularly among lower cost carriers, that around £100 per person for a PCR test on return will dissuade travellers from booking, with many paying more for it than for their flights.
But there are suggestions that the government has tried to address some of the concerns too.
The introduction of a green watch list, to flag any countries potentially about to move from green to amber, is an attempt to avoid some of last year's confusion, as people rushed back to the UK before countries required quarantine.
Nothing is guaranteed yet, but the government now says it will confirm whether or not international travel will restart on 17 May early next month.
How early is the next question.

Separated families 'even more pressing' than holidays - Shapps

While many sun-seekers are desperate for a foreign holiday, others have been unable to see family abroad for months because of travel restrictions.
Earlier, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was concerned about people who were separated from family members living overseas, saying it was "possibly even more pressing than the holiday issue".
He said families in the UK were "uniquely spread across the world", and the government wanted to make sure people were able to reunite.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 19:22

Well, as far as the BBC is concerned the only news now worth reporting is the death of the Queen's husband.
The live coronavirus updates stopped dead on that piece of breaking news round about midday today - and now it seems coronavirus simply doesn't exist - nor do any other events happening throughout the world.
The BBC's live coverage since midday today has been SOLELY the news over and over again about Prince Philip.

So, the rest of today's summary updates will be brought to you courtesy of The Guardian and possibly some snippets from The Irish Post.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 19:29

Hungary delays school re-opening by 3 weeks

Yesterday Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyás was bullish about Hungarian schools reopening in 19 April as planned.
Today, Orbán himself is not. Reuters report that he’s just announced on state radio that school reopenings will be pushed back three weeks to 10 May.
Orban also said he expects 3.5 million of Hungary’s 10 million people to be vaccinated with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by 19 April.

Tens of thousands of Australians left in the lurch as AstraZeneca Covid vaccine advice changes

Melissa Davey - The Guardian
States and territories have been left scrambling to respond to government advice recommending against vaccinating anyone under 50 with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, leaving tens of thousands of people in the lurch.
On Friday, New South Wales halted its AstraZeneca rollout entirely for several hours while patient consent forms with the latest information about the rare risk of severe clotting associated with the vaccine were added. The state’s rollout for people aged 50 and over has since resumed.
“As with all other vaccines, informed consent is required before administering Covid-19 vaccines, ensuring recipients make decisions based on an understanding of the risks and benefits,” a NSW health spokesman said. “AstraZeneca vaccinations for those aged 50 years and over will recommence later today.”
Meanwhile Western Australia has barred anyone under the age of 50 from getting the AstraZeneca vaccine. The chief health officer, Andrew Robertson, said effective from Friday: “People under 50 who are booked in to receive their AstraZeneca vaccine will have their appointments cancelled.”
People in the 1a and 1b vaccination program cohorts – including health workers – who are under 50 and have already received their first AstraZeneca vaccine, should “not be alarmed” and proceed to get their second jab, he said. “You should not cancel your second vaccination booking,” he said.
The Tasmanian government put an immediate hold on any first dose AstraZeneca vaccinations for people aged under 50, with the premier, Peter Gutwein, saying the state government was working through what the latest advice would mean for the ongoing rollout.
The advice to the federal government from the Australian Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation (Atagi) does not say all people under 50 should not receive the vaccine, but rather says the alternative Pfizer vaccine is “preferred”. The difficulty is Australia has low supply of the Pfizer vaccine, and GPs can not readily offer it to everyone as an alternative.
Read more here .

UK transport secretary: public could now 'start to think' about foreign holidays

The UK’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has said that the public could now “start to think” about foreign holidays this summer.
Asked if people could start to book foreign holidays now, he told Sky News: “I’m not telling people that they shouldn’t book summer holidays now, it’s the first time that I’ve been able to say that for many months.
“But I think everybody doing it understands there are risks with coronavirus and of course actually, I think people would want to be clear about which countries are going to be in the different traffic light system.
“So there is only two or three weeks to wait before we publish that list itself. But yes, tentative progress, for the first time, people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad, or perhaps a summer holiday.
“But we’re doing it very, very cautiously, because we don’t want to see any return of coronavirus in this country”, PA Media reports him saying.
Read more here .
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 19:48

Finland plans to ease restrictions

Finland plans to gradually ease the country’s Covid-19 restrictions towards the summer.
Prime minister Sanna Marin added a note of caution at a news conference this morning though, saying that the spread of the virus is still severe and that the restrictions should not be lifted prematurely.

Hong Kong suspends its order of AstraZeneca jabs

Hong Kong has confirmed this morning that it has requested AstraZeneca suspend delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine amid fears of side-effects and concerns over its efficacy against new variants of the coronavirus.
Hong Kong’s health chief, Sophia Chan, said the city has asked AstraZeneca not to deliver as planned later this year. “We think it is not necessary for AstraZeneca to deliver the vaccines to the city within this year,” she said, adding Hong Kong wanted “to avoid any waste as vaccines are in short supply globally”.

German health minister says: 'We need a lockdown'

Germany needs to implement nationwide measures to break the current wave of coronavirus infections as quickly as possible, its health minister said this morning.
“We need a lockdown,” Jens Spahn told journalists in a news conference, adding that nighttime curfews may be necessary to further reduce social contacts.
Reuters report him saying that there were nearly 4,500 patients in intensive care in Germany, adding: “If this continues, it will be too much for our health system.”

Norway prime minister fined by police over virus rules violation

Norwegian police said on Friday they had fined prime minister Erna Solberg for breaking Covid-19 social distancing rules when organising a family gathering to celebrate her birthday.
Reuters report the fine is for 20,000 Norwegian crowns (£1,715 GBP/$2,352 USD) police chief Ole Saeverud told a news conference.
The two-term prime minister apologised last month for organising an event to celebrate her 60th birthday with 13 family members at a mountain resort in late February, despite a government ban on events attended by more than 10 people.
While the police would not have issued a fine in most such cases, the prime minister has been at the forefront of the government’s work to impose restrictions, the police said.
“Though the law is the same for all, all are not equal in front of the law,” said Saeverud, justifying the fine.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 19:53

Poland may have passed the peak of infections

Some Polish doctors and nurses are just taking naps between shifts as they fight a third wave of the coronavirus, the health minister said this morning, amid reports of medical staff using oxygen and intravenous drips to boost their energy.
However, he believes that the Poland may have passed the peak of infections. The country of 38 million, report 768 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, after the number of deaths hit a new record of 954 on Thursday – albeit because that number incorporated some unrecorded deaths from the Easter weekend.
“This is indeed a war and the situation requires non-standard behaviours,” Adam Niedzielski told radio RMF 24. “These are the toughest, the most difficult pictures, which reflect the burden of this work,” he said when asked to comment on some doctors’ using drips and oxygen to regain strength to work.
“When I visited a temporary hospital in Katowice I saw doctors and nurses sleeping to rest in between their shifts. The intensity of work is significant, which results from the deficit of personnel,” Niedzielski said.
Agnieszka Barteczko and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk note for Reuters that Poland recorded high numbers of new cases last week at about 35,000 a day and on Wednesday the government extended restrictions until 18 April, keeping kindergartens, schools, shopping centres, hotels, cinemas and theatres closed.
“If we look at the course of the number of new infections, it seems that the apogee of infections is behind us,” Niedzielski told a press conference, warning against complacency.
“The pandemic is still a real threat and the fact that we see some slight falls is absolutely not a signal which would allow us to think that we have the worst behind … Now we will have to do with an apogee, so to say, in hospitals,” he said.

Merkel plan to pass new law to force Covid measures onto German states – reports

There’s just a little bit more here from Reuters on developments in Germany. They are reporting that Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to take control from federal states to impose restrictions on regions recording high numbers of new coronavirus infections.
“The federal government plans to introduce draft legislation next week, in close coordination with the states, that includes a binding and comprehensive emergency break for districts with an incidence of 100 and up,” a source told Reuters.
At an infection rate of less than 100 per 100,000 people over seven days, the states will retain control over measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Germany is struggling to tackle a third wave of the pandemic, and Merkel and several regional leaders have called for a short, sharp lockdown while the country tries to vaccinate more people.
A meeting of Chancellor Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states scheduled for Monday, at which they were to discuss an extension to Covid restrictions, has been cancelled, the government source told Reuters.
Health minister Jens Spahn earlier today warned that nationwide measures were necessary to break the current wave of coronavirus infections as quickly as possible. He told journalists that there were currently nearly 4,500 patients in intensive care in Germany, adding: “If this continues, it will be too much for our health system.”
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 19:59

Recent surge in infections in Cyprus linked to the UK Covid-19 variant

The highly contagious UK Covid-19 variant is now predominant in Cyprus, its health ministry said on Friday, linking it to a recent surge in infections.
Reuters reports:
The ministry said all 111 positive samples taken in March and sent to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control were found to be the variant known as B.1.1.7, which was first discovered in Britain late last year.
The results explain a recent spike in infections since the strain is about 50 percent more contagious than the more common Covid-19 strain, the health ministry said.
An earlier comparison with January and February samples, released in March, showed the British variant accounted for about a quarter of all cases.
After a relative lull, the number of coronavirus cases in Cyprus started climbing in late February and despite restrictions on movement still in force, infections remain stubbornly high.
As of Thursday, Cyprus had reported a total of 49,988 Covid-19 infections and 268 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The numbers cover the south of the island controlled by the international recognised government and do not include cases in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north.
Cyprus first reported cases of the British variant in early January after tests on positive samples taken in December 2020.
Cyprus has had a widespread testing plan in place for months, offering free and compulsory rapid tests once a week for most of the population.

Cambodia reports record high of 576 new cases on Friday

Cambodia recorded a record high of daily infections on Friday, as 576 new coronavirus caseswere logged.
The Phnom Penh Post reports:
The Ministry of Health on April 9 reported 576 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20 community outbreak, by far the largest number it has ever recorded in a single day since the pandemic began.
The 576 cases include four Chinese, one Thai and three Vietnamese nationals, with the rest being Cambodian. The Cambodian patients include three children aged 6 to 13.
Phnom Penh recorded the most cases at 544, followed by Svay Rieng province at 16, Preah Sihanouk at 12, Siem Reap at two, and one each in Kandal and Kampong Cham.
The ministry also reported 70 recoveries linked to the February 20 community outbreak.
Alarmed by a huge surge in community transmission cases, ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine urged strict adherence to preventive measures. She said the surge would have long-term impact on public health and potentially lead to a much larger-scale outbreak.
“I’ve lost sleep, wondering why some people can’t seem to take basic precautions to break the chain of transmission,” she said, reiterating a call for the public to refrain from non-essential travel, especially during the Khmer New Year holiday, and get vaccinated against the disease.
As of April 9, Cambodia had recorded a total of 3,604 Covid-19 cases with 1,591 receiving ongoing treatment and 24 confirmed deaths from the disease.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 20:11

French wave could peak 20 April, but return to normality not realistic by autumn

The third wave of the Covid-19 virus rolling over France should reach its peak on about 20 April, according to forecasts established by the Paris hospitals group AP-HP seen on Friday by Reuters.
Those forecasts also estimated there would be just under 2,000 Covid-19 patients in hospital intensive care units in the Paris region around that peak, Reuters reports.
A study published this week by France’s Pasteur Institute concludes that since the British variant of Covid-19 is dominant in France, 90% of adults will need to be vaccinated before the country can get back to normal life without risking a fresh surge of the virus, France 24 reports:
According to new modelling released Tuesday on the Pasteur Institute’s website , the British variant’s proliferation in France has put a clear damper on the prospect of getting back to life as we knew it pre-pandemic this autumn, the horizon some scientists had put forward only months ago.
The study’s authors conclude that since the British variant, known as B.1.1.7, is now dominant over other coronavirus strains in France, 90% of the country’s adult population would need to be vaccinated by summer’s end before French residents can dispense with social distancing measures without causing a new spike in cases.
That high level of inoculation among adults is a very tall order in notoriously vaccine-sceptic France, where recurrent delivery delays have further plagued the country’s initially sluggish vaccination rollout. Specialists tell France 24 that the 90-percent goal would be virtually impossible to meet.
“The main message of our work is that vaccinations will allow us to come out of the crisis, but we have to expect to live with certain constraints in the autumn,” Pascal Crépey, co-author of the study and a researcher in epidemiology and biostatistics at France’s EHESP School of Public Health in Rennes, told France 24.

Sweden records 7,772 new coronavirus cases

Sweden registered 7,772 new coronavirus cases on Friday, health agency statistics showed, versus 7,822 cases reported on Thursday.
The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 26 new deaths, taking the total to 13,621. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.
At the end of March, Sweden announced that an entry ban would apply to travel from non-EU/EEA countries until at least 31 May, but travellers arriving from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Rwanda, South Korea and Singapore are exempt.
The country’s Uppsala region, where infections are on the rise, has backtracked just a day after introducing new rules for Covid-19 vaccinations that would have seen people only receiving one dose of vaccine rather than two.
The Local reports:
Regional health authorities in Uppsala, home to the university town of the same name, on Thursday said that people who had already had Covid-19 would be given only a single dose of the vaccine, six months after infection, rather than two doses as in the rest of Sweden.
But on Friday they made a U-turn.
“We have discussed the issue with the Public Health Agency and have been told that they do not back a separate order of priority for those who have had Covid-19 at the moment, as the benefits are not sufficiently great. So we will wait before we roll this out, and will keep vaccinating as before,” said Uppsala healthcare director Mikael Köhler in a statement on Friday.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 20:19

Doctors, dentists and health care workers protest in Mexico

In Mexico , private-practice doctors, dentists and health care workers are protesting that they have been left out of a government-run coronavirus vaccine programme despite the fact they are exposed to possible infection.
The private health care workers staged protests this week, blocking many of Mexico City’s streets.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, attributed the protests to a “very perverse” campaign by private media outlets against him.
“Let them wait … until we all get it,” López Obrador said, in reference to the age-based vaccination scheme that is focusing on people over 60.
López Obrador, a supporter of big government, has consistently sidelined Mexico’s private health care system from any role in the vaccine programme. Mexico has a number of underfunded government health care schemes, but most Mexicans who can afford it turn to the extensive private care network.
Mexico has obtained more vaccines than many Latin American nations, with about 16m doses arriving so far and about 10.6m administered, behind only Brazil and Chile .

Italy reports a further 718 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday

Italy reported 718 further deaths from Covid-19 on Friday, versus 487 deaths that were logged on Thursday.
The country reported 18,938 fresh coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, according to data from the Ministry of Health, a rise from yesterday’s 17,221.
Patients hospitalised with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 28,146 on Friday, down from 28,851 a day earlier.
There were 192 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 259 on Thursday. The total number of intensive care patients fell to 3,603 a previous 3,663.
The national average R number fell slightly to 0.92, versus 0.96 last Friday, and the 7-day incidence per 100,000 people fell to 185, La Repubblica reports.
On Friday, the Higher Institute of Health and the Ministry of Health sanctioned the easing of restrictions in some of the largest regions in the country: Piedmont, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Friuli.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 20:24

France reports nearly 5-month high in ICU patients with Covid

The number of people in intensive care units (ICU) with Covid-19 in France increased by 52 to 5,757 on Friday, a nearly five-month high, after dipping on Thursday, health ministry data showed.
The ministry also reported 301 new deaths in hospital, compared to 343 on Thursday. Including deaths in retirement care homes, the seven-day moving average of Covid-19 deaths stood at 343 on Friday.

Turkey records 55,791 new coronavirus cases in past 24 hours

Turkey reported 55,791 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, just below a daily record high from the previous day.
The country has experienced a sharp rise in both the number of daily cases and deaths in the past week.
Hurriyet Daily News reports:
Turkey aims to complete the vaccination of citizens over the age of 40 by the end of May or June at the latest, according to Fahrettin Koca, the country’s health minister.
“Our main goal is to complete the vaccination of those over the age of 40 by the end of May, by the end of June at the latest, and our second goal is to complete the vaccination of those over the age of 20 by July,” Koca said in an interview with daily Hürriyet.
“All of our efforts are to achieve these two main goals. We are striving for this,” Koca added.
Underlining that there are various difficulties in front of this target, Koca said that he believes that results will be obtained and that citizens over the age of 40 can be inoculated under all conditions by the end of June.
He also pointed out that the upcoming Islamic holy month of Ramadan should be turned into an opportunity.
Turkey, with a population of 83 million, has administered over 18.5 million vaccine jabs since it began a mass vaccination campaign on Jan. 14, according to official figures.
More than 10.8 million people have received their first doses, while second doses have been given to over 7.7 million people.
Certain additional measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 may be rolled out during Ramadan, according to an expert.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 09 2021, 20:26

Summary

Jedidajah Otte - The Guardian
Latest key developments at a glance:

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 14:11