Sunday, April 18

Tag: Coronavirus

WHO Coronavirus Origin Report Released 14 countries raise concern
Highlights, World

WHO Coronavirus Origin Report Released 14 countries raise concern

A group of 14 countries including the United States and Japan has raised concerns over a report on the origins of COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and China, arguing that the WHO team was "significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples." The WHO released a long-awaited joint report on the origins of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The report pointed to the transmission from bats to another animal and subsequently to humans as the most likely way the pandemic began. The United States, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, and Israel said in a statement that they "fully" supported the WHO's efforts to bring an end to the pandemic, including understanding how it "started and spread". But they added it was "essential that we voice o...
Yemen coronavirus committee calls for ‘state of emergency’
World

Yemen coronavirus committee calls for ‘state of emergency’

Yemen’s coronavirus committee urged the government today to declare a public health “state of emergency” after a surge in infections in the war-torn country. Six years of civil war has left Yemen’s weak healthcare system in ruins, and this week the country reported more than 100 cases in a day, much higher than figures at the beginning of the year. It has officially recorded some 3,500 cases of Covid-19 including 771 deaths since the pandemic began, but testing is scant. Most clinics are ill-equipped to determine causes of death, and many fear the real toll is far higher. The Supreme National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus is linked to the Saudi-backed internationally recognised government, which has been battling Iran-backed Huthi rebels since 2014. The committee calle...
Germany to extend coronavirus lockdown until March 28
World

Germany to extend coronavirus lockdown until March 28

Germany plans to extend its coronavirus lockdown until March 28 but some restrictions will be eased starting from March 8, Focus Online reported, citing a draft agreement for talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and leader of the 16 federal states. Merkel is due to discuss lockdown options with the states heads tomorrow, as coronavirus cases in Germany reached more than 2.4 million.
Coronavirus antibodies are moved from pregnant ladies to their infants, study finds
Lifestyle, Science

Coronavirus antibodies are moved from pregnant ladies to their infants, study finds

A study drove by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology' discovered that the antibodies that help in guarding against the COVID-19 infection are transferred from mothers to their babies while in the womb. This discovery adds to growing evidence that suggests that pregnant women who generate protective antibodies after contracting the coronavirus often convey some of that natural immunity to their fetuses. The findings also lend support to the idea that vaccinating mothers-to-be may also have benefits for their newborns. "Since we can now say that the antibodies pregnant women make against COVID-19 have been shown to be passed down to their babies, we suspect that there's a good chance they could pass down the antibodies the body makes after being vaccinated as well," said D...
Australia begins coronavirus vaccinations
World

Australia begins coronavirus vaccinations

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has become one of the first Australians to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Morrison on Sunday morning received his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine alongside Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and a small group of aged care residents and staff and frontline pandemic workers. Jane Malysiak, an 84-year-old World War II survivor, was the first Australian to receive a vaccine, according to The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). "Tomorrow our vaccination program starts, so as a curtain-raiser today we're here making some very important points; that it's safe, that it's important, and we need to start with those who are most vulnerable and are on the front line," Morrison said. Earlier on Sunday, Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the decisio...
New Zealand in coronavirus lockdown as UK variant cases reported
World

New Zealand in coronavirus lockdown as UK variant cases reported

A coronavirus outbreak that sent New Zealand’s biggest city into a snap lockdown over the weekend involved the more transmissable UK variant, health officials confirmed today, the first time the strain has been detected locally. Auckland’s nearly two million residents were plunged into a new three-day lockdown yesterday after three new Covid-19 cases were detected in the city. Genome sequencing of two the cases — all three are immediate family — revealed they were the B1.1.7 variant. The source of the cases remains unknown, authorities said, adding they were scanning international genome databases for a match. “We were absolutely right to make the decision to be extra cautious because we assumed it was going to be one of the more transmissible variants,” Prime Minister Jacinda Arder...
How to work with someone you can’t stand in the age of Covid-19
Lifestyle

How to work with someone you can’t stand in the age of Covid-19

In many ways, working from home is great when it comes to avoiding co-workers you can’t stand. Whether they’re too clingy or too pretentious, these people can sometimes put a downer on your mood at the office, but home working doesn’t take them out of the equation entirely. To deal with their behaviour in the era of Covid-19, try switching off your webcam, carefully choosing your days in the office and, above all, doing some serious soul-searching yourself! You can’t choose your family and, unless you’re fresh to the world of work, you probably already know that you can’t choose your colleagues either. And when it comes to working together to get the job done, loathing your co-worker or your manager can prove problematic. In 2017, the Viking Blog surveyed French people about the work...
Covid-19 Impact: Cannes Film Festival postponed until July
Entertainment

Covid-19 Impact: Cannes Film Festival postponed until July

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to almost everything, with top film festivals and various cultural activities facing the brunt of the health crisis. The Cannes Film Festival, cancelled last year due to the pandemic, is postponing the 2021 edition from May to July in hopes of having an in-person festival, reported Variety. As per the publication, a new set of dates for this year's event has been confirmed. The decision was taken following a board meeting on Tuesday. The initial dates, which were May 11-22, did not seem feasible as France is on the verge of a new lockdown in order to combat the spread of the second wave of COVID-19. The film festival will now run from July 6 to July 17. Variety had revealed last week that organisers were looking at dates between July...
WHO says new Covid-19 variants now in dozens of countries
Highlights, World

WHO says new Covid-19 variants now in dozens of countries

New Covid-19 variants that make the virus more contagious and could render vaccine and antibody protection less effective have spread rapidly across dozens of countries, the World Health Organization said yesterday. In its latest epidemiological update, the UN health agency said the more contagious Covid-19 variant first spotted in Britain had by January 25 spread to 70 countries across all regions of the world. That variant, known as VOC 202012/01 or B.1.1.7 and has been proven to transmit more easily than previous variants of the virus, had thus spread to 10 more countries over the past week, the WHO said. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week also warned that fresh studies had indicated the strain could be more deadly, but the WHO stressed yesterday that those “results...
Oxfam: Covid condemns billions to poverty for a decade
World

Oxfam: Covid condemns billions to poverty for a decade

The Covid-19 crisis is aggravating inequality, with the richest quickly getting richer while it will likely take years for the world’s poorest to recover, anti-poverty group Oxfam said today. In a report entitled “The inequality virus”, the group warned that the pandemic is the first time since records began that inequality is rising in virtually every country at the same time. “The 1,000 richest people on the planet recouped their Covid-19 losses within just nine months, but it could take more than a decade for the world’s poorest to recover,” said the Oxfam report. Oxfam also highlighted the fact that the impact of the virus is also being felt unevenly, with ethnic minorities in certain countries dying at higher rates and women being overrepresented in the sectors of the economy...
Tears and fears as India’s huge coronavirus vaccine push falters
Highlights, India

Tears and fears as India’s huge coronavirus vaccine push falters

India’s huge coronavirus vaccination drive is behind schedule, with a third of recipients not showing up for appointments because of safety fears, technical glitches, and a belief that the pandemic is ending. After one week, India has vaccinated 1.4 million people or 200,000 people per day. It had initially hoped to process 300,000 per day before ramping up the rollout and inoculating 300 million by July. At the Sharda Hospital in Greater Noida near New Delhi, pharma student Khushi Dhingra, 17, hugged a friend and wept as she waited to get her shot. “I am very afraid. I hate needles and I am worried about side effects,” she told AFP. “My papa is very worried too. He is calling me, again and again, to make sure I am okay.” “There are about 80 students in my batch but only two...
New study explains how SARS-CoV-2 may seize human cells
Health, Lifestyle

New study explains how SARS-CoV-2 may seize human cells

Another detailed study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science asserts that the SARS-CoV-2 virus not only targets to enter the human cells but begin to replicate and spread as well. The findings also highlight that the possibilities could potentially serve as targets for new therapies for patients with COVID-19, although validation in cells and animal models is needed. Scientists know that SARS-CoV-2 binds the ACE2 receptor on the surface of human cells, after which it enters the cell through a process known as endocytosis. Research has suggested that the virus may hijack or interfere with other processes such as cellular housekeeping (autophagy) by targeting other receptors called integrins. However, not much is known about exactly how the virus takes advantage of i...
Sri Lankan health minister tests positive for Covid-19 after endorsing sorcery
World

Sri Lankan health minister tests positive for Covid-19 after endorsing sorcery

Sri Lanka's health minister, who publicly endorsed sorcery and magic potions to stop surging coronavirus infections in the island, has tested positive and will self-isolate, officials said today. Pavithra Wanniarachchi had publicly consumed and endorsed a magic potion, later revealed to contain honey and nutmeg, manufactured by a sorcerer who claimed it worked as a life-long inoculation against the virus. She also poured a pot of “blessed” water into a river in November after a self-styled god-man told her that it would end the pandemic. The island nation of 21 million yesterday approved the emergency use of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University only hours after Wanniarachchi tested positive, officials said. “Her antigen test returned positive on Friday and...
Dramatic changes to radiotherapy treatments due to Covid-19
Health, Lifestyle

Dramatic changes to radiotherapy treatments due to Covid-19

Dramatic changes were seen in the delivery of radiotherapy treatments for cancer during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in England. Much shorter radiotherapy courses were delivered, treatments were delayed where it was safe to do so and some increases were seen in order to compensate for reduced surgical capacity. Experts believe the changes reflect an impressive adaption of services by the NHS, and that the overall impact on cancer outcomes is likely to be modest. The new research, led by the University of Leeds, with Public Health England and the Royal College of Radiologists, reveals that there was a decrease in radiotherapy treatment courses of 19.9% in April, 6.2% in May, and 11.6% in June 2020, compared with the same months the previous year. These decreases equated ...