Connect with us

World News

Hong Kong to suspend schools as coronavirus cases rise: Live | News

Published

on

  • Hong Kong will close all schools from Monday after the territory reported a spike in locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, the city’s education minister said.

  • Italy has banned entry to people coming from 13 countries that it said presented an excessive rate of COVID-19 infections.

  • The first coronavirus case has been confirmed in northwest Syria, aid workers have said.

  • More than 12.2 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, and more than 553,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 6.7 million patients have recovered.

Here are the latest updates.

Friday, July 10

08:04 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus death toll passes 11,000 

Russia’s death toll from the coronavirus edged past 11,000, as the country reported 174 new deaths in the past 24 hours.

The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre reported 6,635 new cases, bringing its nationwide tally of infections to 713,936, the world’s fourth highest caseload.

The death toll now stands at 11,017. Russia says 489,068 people have recovered.

07:14 GMT – Kazakh president threatens to sack cabinet if COVID-19 efforts fail

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that if the coronavirus situation in the Central Asian country does not improve by the end of its second lockdown, it would raise questions about the cabinet’s ability to work in its current composition.

Tokayev said the government would allocate an additional 150bn tenge ($363m) towards combating the outbreak and urged the central bank to lower its inflation target to 8.0-8.5 percent from 9.0-11.0 percent this year. 

07:03 GMT – Vietnam says 31 million workers impacted by pandemic, risk of rising unemployment

The economic fallout from the pandemic has negatively impacted about 31 million workers in Vietnam, with 900,000 out of work and nearly 18 million people receiving less income than before, a government agency said.

If solutions to drive business activity were not immediately implemented, there could be 5 million more people out of work by the end the year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said.

The country’s economy has suffered, with second quarter growth at its slowest pace in at least 30 years due to the impact of the pandemic, putting the government’s 2020 economic targets well out of reach.

“Workers are being negatively impacted by being laid off or having had their working hours reduced. The number of affected workers will continue to climb in the upcoming quarters,” the GSO said in a statement.

“Urban unemployment rate in the second quarter hit the highest in 10 years, at 4.46 percent mostly because of the social distancing measure in April.” 

06:46 GMT – Bulgarian Football Union could delay next season’s start

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) may delay the start of the next domestic season, scheduled for July 24, after coronavirus infections at several clubs surged, its medical commission said.

More than half of top-flight clubs as well as second-tier teams have been hit by the virus, with Cherno More Varna reporting 16 cases and Cup winners Lokomotiv Plovdiv nine.

“The medical commission made a proposal for the championship to start one or two weeks later than planned,” commission secretary Mihail Iliev told Reuters news agency. “We believe it’s a reasonable step in view of the complicated epidemiological situation.”

Iliev, a former Bulgarian national team doctor, said the BFU’s executive committee would take the final decision in coming days.

06:34 GMT – Hong Kong to suspend all schools due to spike in cases

Hong Kong’s Education Bureau announced the suspension of all schools from Monday after a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus cases that has fuelled fears of a renewed community spread in the city.

Schools in the Asian financial hub have been mostly shut since February with many having switched to online learning and lessons by conference call. Many international schools are already on summer break.

The city reported 42 new cases on Thursday, of which 34 were locally transmitted, marking the second consecutive day of rising local infections.

Some of the recent cases involved students and parents, said Education Secretary Kevin Yeung.

Hong Kong Students Sit For Public Exam Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic

Temperature checks and social distancing measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19 had been put in place in schools across Hong Kong [File: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images]

06:30 GMT – Fujifilm’s Avigan inconclusive in COVID-19 patients in Japan trial

A clinical trial of Fujifilm Holdings Corp’s Avigan drug yielded inconclusive results as a treatment of COVID-19, Japanese researchers said.

Although patients given the drug early in the trial showed more improvement than those who got delayed doses, the results did not reach statistical significance, Fujita Health University researcher Yohei Doi said.

The results, announced at a news conference, followed the completion of a clinical trial conducted between March and May on 89 patients across Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said he hoped the drug would be approved as a COVID-19 treatment in May, but a shortage of patients in Japan delayed the progress of clinical trials. It has been approved as a COVID-19 treatment in Russia and India.

Hello, this is Farah Najjar taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.

05:14 GMT – Hong Kong ‘to suspend all schools’

Hong Kong is set to announce the suspension of all schools after a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus cases, the South China Morning Post reported.

The newspaper cited a medical source as saying that at least 30 more people had tested positive for the virus on Friday. Eleven of the new cases were at a public housing estate. 

The city had reported 42 new cases on Thursday, of which 34 were locally transmitted.

05:03 GMT – Australia cuts citizen returns as virus surge worsens

Australia will halve the number of citizens allowed to return home from overseas each week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, as authorities struggle to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in the country’s second-largest city.

From Monday, only 4,000 Australian citizens or permanent residents will be allowed back into the country each day, down from about 8,000 currently, Morrison said.

Those who return will also have to pay for their quarantine stays.

“The decision that we took … was to ensure that we could put our focus on the resources needed to do the testing and tracing and not have to have resources diverted to other tasks,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra after a meeting of the national cabinet.  

04:41 GMT – Pneumonia deadlier than COVID-19 in Kazakhstan, warns China

China’s embassy in Kazakhstan has warned its citizens to take precautions against an outbreak of pneumonia in the country that it says is more lethal than COVID-19.

In a statement on its official WeChat account, the embassy said there had been a “significant increase” in cases in the cities of Atyrau, Aktobe and Shymkent since mid-June. 

The disease’s mortality rate “is much higher than that of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus”, it said, noting pneumonia in Kazakhstan had killed 1,772 people in the first half of the year, with 628 deaths in June alone. The deaths included that of Chinese citizens.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Almaty

People queue outside a pharmacy in Almaty, Kazakhstan on June 29, 2020 [File: Mariya Gordeyeva/ Reuters]

It remains unclear whether it is caused by a virus related to coronavirus or by a different strain. The embassy said Kazakhstan’s health ministry and other health institutions were now carrying out a “comparative study”, but no conclusions had yet been made.

Kazakhstan has recorded more than 50,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 264 deaths.

04:32 GMT – California lawsuit against Trump order revoking foreign student visas

The US state of California filed a lawsuit seeking to block a Trump administration rule that could force tens of thousands of international students to leave the country if their schools hold all classes online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Trump Administration’s unlawful policy … threatens to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and exile hundreds of thousands of college students studying in the United States,” a statement announcing the lawsuit said.

03:46 GMT – US posts new daily record for infections

The United States on Thursday posted 65,551 new coronavirus cases, a record for a 24-hour period, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The previous daily record was on Tuesday, with more than 60,200 cases in one day.

02:21 GMT – Algeria tightens travel restrictions

Algeria will reimpose travel restrictions on Friday and increase testing in a bid to stop a rise in coronavirus infections, the government said.

Under the measure, citizens will be barred from travelling to and from 29 provinces including the capital, Algiers, for a week starting on Friday, the government said in a statement.

The authorities last month eased restrictions, shortening a curfew – from 7pm to 7am to 8pm to 5am – in those provinces and ending it in the remaining 19.

02:12 GMT – Venezuelan socialist party leader tests positive

Diosdado Cabello, leader of the Venezuelan socialist party, said he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Cabello is considered the second-most powerful person in Venezuela after President Nicolas Maduro and made the announcement on Twitter, stating that he is isolated, getting treatment and will overcome the illness.

“We will win!” he wrote in conclusion.

VENEZUELA-CARACAZO-ANNIVERSARY

Diosdado Cabello gestures during a rally commemorating the 31st anniversary of a deadly popular revolt in Caracas on February 27, 2020 [File: Federico Parra/AFP]

01:24 GMT – Singaporeans begin voting with masks and gloves

Wearing masks and gloves, Singaporeans began casting their ballots under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is pushing the city-state’s economy towards its deepest recession and has made concerns over jobs the focus of the election.

“I think it’s ok to vote during a pandemic because the conditions aren’t that severe at this point and all necessary precautions are being taken,” said Malini Nathan, 42, a communications executive.

“Issues I am concerned about are healthcare, job security and retirement,” Nathan said.

People vote in Singapore's general election amid Covid-19

Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob (in green) joins a queue of voters at a polling station in Singapore [Edgar Su/Reuters]

Citizens have each been given a recommended voting window.

Wearing masks is compulsory in public. And voters are expected to spend no more than five minutes in a polling station, where they will self-scan identity cards, sanitise their hands and pull on disposable gloves before receiving a ballot paper.

COVID-19 patients and those under quarantine cannot vote, but a mobile polling team will bring the ballot box to the rooms of Singaporeans who have recently returned from overseas and are being isolated at hotels.

People vote in Singapore's general election amid Covid-19

A relative helps a voter put on plastic gloves, as part of preventive measures against COVID-19 at a Singapore polling station [Edgar Su/ Reuters] 

People vote in Singapore's general election amid Covid-19

Voters sanitise their hands at a polling station during Singapore’s general election [Edgar Su/ Reuters]

Sample counts are expected soon after the close of polls at 8pm (12:00 GMT) with final results due in the early hours of Saturday.

In power since independence in 1965, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) is expected to carry Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to another comfortable victory.

01:08 GMT – Bolsonaro ‘in good health’ after positive test

Another update on the Brazilian president – Jair Bolsonaro’s press office is saying he is in good health after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. 

“President Jair Bolsonaro, diagnosed with COVID-19 on [July] 7, is getting on well, without complications,” the statement says.

“He is in good health and continues to be monitored routinely by the medical team of the Presidency of the Republic.”

00:54 GMT – Bolsonaro again urges reopening of Brazil              

Two days after being diagnosed with COVID-19, Bolsonaro repeated his view that the looming economic crisis from the pandemic is more dangerous than the virus for Brazil.

In an online broadcast from the presidential residence, the Brazilian president said mayors and governors need to reopen the country for business. “Otherwise the consequences will be harmful for Brazil,” he said.

00:40 GMT – South Africa reports highest daily rise in new infections

South Africa announced on Thursday its highest daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases with 13,674.

Africa’s most developed country is now a hot spot in the global pandemic with 238,339 total confirmed cases. Gauteng province, which contains Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, is home to more than a third of the total cases.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africa could run out of available hospital beds within a month.

00:18 GMT – Mexico posts record single-day rise in cases

Mexico on Thursday posted a fresh record for new coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 7,280 cases, bringing its overall tally of infections to 282,283, health ministry data showed.

The country also recorded 730 additional deaths, bringing its overall death toll to 33,526.

Mexico’s previous one-day record was posted a day earlier on Wednesday, when 6,995 new cases were registered.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.

You can find all the key developments from yesterday, July 9, here.



Source link

World News

COVID: How has the UK managed to master the vaccine roll-out? | Coronavirus pandemic News

Published

on

London, United Kingdom – When Ayesha Sharieff, a general practitioner in a south London surgery, administered the first COVID vaccines to her patients earlier this month, she was overjoyed.

“It was the best afternoon I’ve spent for a long time,” said Sharieff, who has been a doctor for 20 years. “After all these tough times we’ve been through recently, it was such a pleasure. I wanted to jump on top of my car and honk the horn.”

Each day, Sharieff and her team vaccinate up to 300 patients, currently focusing on elderly people from the area’s diverse urban population as a priority, as part of the United Kingdom’s rapid vaccine roll-out.

“I recently vaccinated a Caribbean nurse working in infectious diseases who must have been 88,” said Sharieff. “It just felt like such an honour to be doing that for her. I had tears in my eyes.”

The UK has earned cautious early praise for its vaccine roll-out, which has seen it produce double the number of vaccinations per person per day of any other European country.

This marks a significant turnaround because with the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe, the UK government faces high levels of criticism for failing to contain the virus.

The UK became the first Western country to license a COVID-19 vaccine on December 2 when the medicines regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab [File: Phil Noble/Reuters]

More than six million people in the UK have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to date, as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history. The National Health Service (NHS) has vaccinated more than half of those aged 80 and over and more than half of elderly care home residents, both considered priorities, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Once those priorities have been treated, the UK will offer the vaccine to everyone over 50 and then everyone aged over 18.

‘Flexible, scalable system’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has said it plans to offer a first dose of vaccine to every adult in Britain, who make up 51 million of its total 67.5 million population, by September.

It will soon begin a trial of 24-hour injections as it continues to add more vaccination sites to increase the pace of delivery.

Good logistics planning and significant financial investment have underpinned the early positive vaccination numbers, according to Sarah Schiffling, a supply chains expert at Liverpool John Moores University.

“We can’t underestimate the fact the UK is devoting nearly £12 billion to the purchase, manufacture and roll-out of the vaccine,” she told Al Jazeera. “But the UK is seeing the benefit of having a coordinated approach. It’s started out really well and gotten up to quite a volume of patients vaccinated very quickly and that is very promising.”

Schiffling believes the centralised nature of the NHS as well the UK’s “far-reaching delivery network” – which spans from local GPs to mass vaccination centres – has also played a key role. “It’s a flexible, scalable system and that’s been working really well so far,” she explained.

The NHS, unlike some countries that have a federal approach, has departments already in place for bulk purchasing, says Schiffling, and the UK invested quickly into materials such as syringes that are now in high demand.

“One system can work along the supply chain, and that’s worked to the UK’s advantage here,” she said.

UK adopts first dose strategy

The UK became the first Western country to license a COVID-19 vaccine on December 2 when the medicines regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. Since then, it has also approved vaccines produced by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna, but doses of the latter are not expected for months.

But unlike other nations, the UK has decided to increase the time between vaccine doses given to people from 21 days to up to 12 weeks, a decision that is thought to mean more people will get their first dose more quickly.

“The UK has prioritised getting people the first doses,” said Mark Jit, a professor of vaccine epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “This has enabled more people to be vaccinated quickly. From what we know about vaccines, the first dose gives quite good protection, especially with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. It’s not that the second dose will be dropped entirely.”

Professor Jit says the UK’s history of previous successful campaigns has also helped the rapid roll-out.

“The UK has an advantage because it has a long history of successful vaccine introductions,” he said, pointing to the introduction of the Shingles vaccine to adults in 2013, the HPV vaccine for adolescents in 2008 and national flu campaigns. “Part of it is also good communication, so there is good public confidence in vaccines.”

Johnson poses for a photograph with a vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 candidate vaccine in Wrexham, Wales, on November 30, 2020 [File: Paul Ellis/Pool via Reuters]

But Jit added that while success in the UK’s vaccine roll-out is good news, the issue will persist while all countries still need vaccine supplies.

“This is a global issue and the pandemic won’t be solved until we address those worldwide concerns,” he said.

With England in a third national lockdown since January 2 after a highly transmissible variant helped push the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 to record highs, for some, vaccination can’t come any sooner.

The UK is now rapidly approaching 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths, marking the worst death toll in Europe and the fifth-highest number worldwide, and some 50,000 health workers are off work due to COVID-19 infections and exposure quarantines.

“This vaccine roll-out has been one of the most uplifting things in my career,” said Sharieff, the GP. “But as it continues we will have to vaccinate larger, more diverse patient groups. We need to make sure everyone is protected equally.”



Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Top Stories