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New Zealand Reports First Possible Case in Months | Instant News


January 26, 2021 – Health officials in New Zealand, where few cases of COVID-19 have occurred, report what is believed to be the country’s first case of community spread in months.

The 56-year-old traveled in Spain and the Netherlands late last year and passed through Singapore before arriving on December 30 in New Zealand. He was quarantined at the Pullman hotel in Auckland for two weeks and tested negative twice, the health ministry said news release.

After leaving quarantine on January 13, she traveled home with her husband, started feeling ill, and tested positive for the coronavirus on January 23.

On Monday news conference, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said scientists have confirmed that he contracted the South African variant. They think he may have caught the virus from another person quarantined at the hotel.

“This is good news because it means we know the source of the infection, and we don’t need to divert our scientists and experts from other COVID work to identify the source,” said Hipkins.

The government now contacted the 253 people staying at the hotel Jan 9-24, plus staff, and advised them to self-quarantine and undergo testing, Hipkins said.

The woman and her husband are in self-quarantine. He has not tested positive yet.

Health authorities have found a small number of cases of the British and South African variants in returning travelers who are in quarantine, the government said.

The last reported case of the coronavirus in the community was November 18, the Health Ministry’s COVID dashboard said.

New Zealand has brought the virus under control by imposing strict travel restrictions and aggressive national lockdowns when the first cases are detected.

Just under 2,000 total cases have been reported in the island nation, according to New Zealand COVID dashboard.

In June, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lift internal travel restrictions but leave international restrictions.

“New Zealand is doing something extraordinary in our fight to beat COVID-19. We are uniting in an unprecedented way to destroy the virus, ”Ardern said in June.

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New Zealand news release. “Possible case of COVID-19 in returning person”

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Reuters. “New Zealand investigates the first ‘possible’ community case of COVID-19 in months”


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Highlights of the Corona virus: Germany detects the first case of the Brazilian variant | News | DW | Instant News


That a new corona virus variant circulating in Brazil was detected for the first time in Germany.

Hesse state’s social affairs minister, Kai Klose, said on Friday that a patient in the western German state had tested positive for the Brazilian variant. According to Klose, the infected person flew to Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s busiest hub, from Brazil on Thursday.

According to Ciesek and Klose, the infected person does not show any symptoms. Ciesek said that the PCR test appeared to confirm that the man had the strain first identified in Brazil, but the results of the confirmation sequence were still pending. The variant is thought to spread more easily, and may carry a higher risk of reinfection than the regular COVID-19 variant – but Ciesek said there was no indication it was causing worse symptoms in patients yet.

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said the variant detected in Brazil was similar to the variant from South Africa and that “increased transmission was thought possible.” The agency said it was continuing to monitor the variant in Germany.

The total number of German coronavirus pandemic deaths also passed the 50,000 mark on Friday, the RKI added.

The country hit a bleak milestone when health authorities recorded 859 deaths from the new coronavirus in 24 hours. In Germany, the authorities count all deaths of people who have died with a possible COVID-19 connection as coronavirus-related deaths. That means people who are recorded as having been infected with COVID-19 along with a pre-existing disease, but whose death cannot be conclusively attributed to the condition, also count as deaths from COVID-19.

The country has been in isolation since mid-December. Extensive restrictions which has seen most areas of public life closed will remain in effect until February 14th.

The new lockdown appears to have had an effect. Germany has recorded a consistent drop in cases, according to the seven-day case incidence metric.

Authorities hope to lower the seven-day incident rate to below 50, to allow the resumption of contact tracing.

Asia

In China, Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in several areas, while Shanghai has imposed a lockdown on two of the city’s top hospitals. China is currently battling an increase in cases which appears mostly in the north of the country.

South Korea has reported the smallest daily increase in coronavirus infections in two months. The country’s new infections number only 346, bringing the total caseload to over 74,000. Officials believe the country is emerging from a second wave of infections.

Japan has said no truthfor a claim published in the newspaper that the Tokyo Olympics would be canceled this year in the middle of a pandemic. Report on Time said the government had privately concluded that the Olympics would not go ahead.

The postponed 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

The Tokyo Olympics, due to resume in 2020, were postponed due to the pandemic

America

Mexico has posted new daily highs for pandemic cases and deaths. The Latin American country has confirmed 22,339 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,803 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Mexico City is the epicenter of the pandemic in the country. The hospital has a capacity of 89%.

Brazil is awaiting 2 million doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford from India.

Brazilian public health experts are concerned there will not be an adequate dose, even with delivery. The Brazilian city of Manaus has temporarily suspended its vaccine program because of a vaccine shortage.

Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil have been completely canceled this year due to the pandemic.

Organizers originally only planned to postpone the festival from February to July. However, the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, said that was not possible.

The Brazilian army puts the CoronaVac vaccine on board a military aircraft at Sao Paulo Air Base

Brazil is awaiting delivery of 2 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from India

Europe

Hungary has become the first European Union country to purchase Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said at a briefing during talks in Moscow on Friday.

In a video posted on his Facebook page, he said the vaccine would arrive in three stages, and details about the size of the shipment would be revealed later.

The announcement comes as Pfizer has cut the volume of the COVID-19 vaccine that will be shipped to several EU countries this week amid growing frustration over the US drugmaker’s unexpected supply cuts.

Denmark suspended all flights arriving from Dubai for five days due to potential problems with a fake coronavirus test in Dubai, the country’s Ministry of Transport announced.

Universities, schools, and child care centers at Portugal could close from Friday morning, local press reported. Calls were also made to postpone presidential elections currently set for Sunday.

Portugal has recorded what it called “very dramatic” figures this week. Authorities think this was partly driven by the arrival of the highly contagious British variant of COVID-19.

kmm, mvb / msh (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)

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Opinion: Wait until summer, in the midst of a German lockdown. | Opinion | DW | Instant News


The color of the blazer may change, but the message remains the same: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of Germany’s 16 states announced, once again, that the country must remain locked. The fight against the coronavirus pandemic has seen the lockdown extended for the third time in three months. What is next? It all depends on the level of infection.

Does anyone really believe that everything will looks much better on February 14th, that infection rates will be low enough to open schools, shops and restaurants? Certainly not. In March? Probably not. Easter? Maybe, but with conditions. By early April, it likely won’t be warm enough to bring life to the outside – not to mention that not enough people will be vaccinated by then.

Avoid new variants

As we all know, expanded immunity is the only way to deal with the virus. If and when we achieve it also depends on how quickly and substantially it changes. How long will the vaccine be effective against the mutation? Europe has bought too few bottles to immediately vaccinate millions – a fatal mistake in a race against time.

Sabine Kinkartz of DW

The urgency is even stronger with the new – and more contagious – variant of COVID-19 originating in the UK, which is now becoming is on the rise in Europe. With such high stakes, virologists, ahead of a meeting of state prime ministers, urged leaders to impose a total lockdown, dubbed a “mega-lockdown.”

But the country’s leaders have decided not to follow their advice.

Politics during a pandemic

The new restrictions rely more on mandatory masks, social distancing and working from home – measures that only reinforce what already is. But is that enough? The infection and death rates have decreased slightly, but are far from acceptable.

Policy makers have a dilemma. On the one hand, the threat is still great, maybe even bigger than before considering the new variant. But to be able to enforce tough measures in a free liberal democracy, the support of citizens is absolutely necessary – and it will collapse.

Germany is no longer the country where the pandemic started. The first wave of COVID-19 infections was both surprising and motivating. There are concerted efforts to contain the outbreak. The fear of the virus keeps everyone at home, at least those who can afford it. Most of the economy was closed. The city center is deserted, the streets are so empty that individual lanes are declared bike lanes, and you can safely walk the highways.

But during the second wave, the city streets were bustling. Certain sectors of the economy are up and running, if not at full speed, and that is what political leadership wants. Even Germany unable to take the second economic hit due to the harsh lockdown, which put further pressure on the national budget.

Nearly a year since the start of the pandemic, people have learned to cope with new routines and live in constant emergencies. We are more numb to danger, but, at the same time, pandemic exhaustion and depression. And now, many will have to muster strength and resilience over the coming weeks, either in the loneliness of one household or in the chaos of a family amid school closings.

A homemade depiction of the coronavirus hanging on a street in Schwerin

The corona virus continues to swell in Germany

Resistance is growing

Many policy mistakes have been made – not least in communicating regulations. More and more people are questioning the steps that are sometimes contradictory and difficult to understand. Why do hairdressers have to stay closed, but at the same time people are allowed to jostle through the checkout lines at supermarkets? Why are people not allowed to go to restaurants, but can get onto crowded buses and trains? Why are the most vulnerable, the elderly and the sick, better protected? What about high-quality medical masks and mandatory home testing? This can be done faster.

Resentment also grows in the business community. A locked industry is in dire financial straits; many of them may have to file bankruptcy immediately. Arts and culture, and the entire event industry, are practically gone. Calls for help were ignored – and bitter awareness was growing that the government was not helping the gastronomic and cultural industries as fast. While Lufthansa airline has billions of euros in guarantees, many small business owners are still waiting for the financial support promised in November.

The hardest months

Even in times of prosperity, politicians can no longer score points. Calls for easing lockdown measures have become more intense. More work from home for employees? Don’t be too fast, because it can become a habit after a pandemic. Even if employers now have to offer staff the opportunity to work from home, hard-hearted employers will find ways to get around this, even amid rising infection rates.

Back in December, we were told the next few months would be the toughest. That realization now had a profound impact.

People need goals. Positive goals. The things they can look forward to. It was cold and wet and gray outside. So what if they are cheerful and sociable inside, one should be able to imagine their next vacation. None of that is on the horizon at the moment. Otherwise. Politicians rely on the principle of hope – and on everyone who grins and holds him a little longer.

This article was translated from German.

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Italy Awaits Third Coronavirus Wave And Introduces New Restrictions (Despite Successful Vaccine Launch) | Instant News


From today and until March 5, 2021, Italy will impose a series of new restrictions on the coronavirus epidemic. These include restrictions on travel outside of one’s territory and tightening of criteria leading to local lockdowns.

Since November 2020, the state has implemented a system where areas are assigned different colors and boundaries according to a number of factors, largely depending on the level of pressure in hospitals and intensive care units.

With the latest government decree, above three red, orange and yellow zones, new The “white” zone will be introduced, namely for areas registering only 50 new cases per day more than 100,000 inhabitants. Currently, no region in Italy comes close to these figures, and it is estimated that it will take months before any region in the country can be deemed safe to that level. Italy currently records about 17,000 new cases and more than 500 deaths every day. The worsening regions are Lombardy, the Bolzano region and Sicily, but overall 15 regions out of 20 are in a critical state, between the orange and red zones.

“The color system doesn’t work, due to the misconception that it will reopen as soon as certain parameters are met, regardless of whether the situation is consolidated or not,” said Massimo Galli, chief infectious disease specialist at the Sacco hospital in Milan. “Before and during the Christmas holidays, the numbers that went down started to go up again,” he added. “For now we don’t have unbearable pressure on the hospital, but all indications to keep our guard up.”

According to the National Health Institute (ISS), “This week in general there is still a high risk of an uncontrolled and unmanageable epidemic”. However, regions like Lombardy are now protesting against the closure: “We do not share the decision to make Lombardy the red zone, so if it is made official, we will appeal,” said Attilio Fontana, the governor of the region.

Red zone rules include the closure of all non-essential services, closure of schools after sixth grade, restrictions on travel outside the city, and prohibitions on leaving the house without a valid reason. New rules in the latest decree allow the opening of the museum, albeit only on weekdays and only in the yellow zone, temporarily banning arrivals from Britain and Ireland. The good news is that all other tourists arriving from abroad do not need to quarantine, as long as a negative PCR test result is obtained within 48 hours of arrival. The ski resort, as well as swimming pools and gyms, will continue to be closed. Take-out from bars and restaurants will only be permitted until 6pm, while the general curfew between 10pm and 5am remains nationwide.

The Italian government decided to opt for new restrictions despite its efficient vaccine launch strategy: currently more than 1 million people have been vaccinated in the country, placing Italy among the best-performing member states in the EU, according to Our World in Data statistics. With a rate of 1.66% of people being vaccinated as of January 15, Italy scores higher than Germany (1.15%) and France (0.6%), although countries such as Denmark (2.54%) and the UK (5 , 42%) performed better. So far, Italy has inoculated 1,059,294 doses among its main targets (i.e. medical staff and fragile elderly), although special commissioner Domenico Arcuri, who is in charge of the vaccination plan, warned that Pfizer is already planning to deliver about 29% less doses. than previously announced, starting next week. Similar announcements were launched in all EU countries by the pharmaceutical company, explaining that the delays were due to efforts to increase production from 1.3 billion doses originally planned to 2 billion.

“Seeing how serious and untimely the communication was, the emergency commissioner sent a formal request to Pfizer Italy, reporting its disappointment, pointing out the potential consequences of a supply cut, and asking for immediate restoration of doses to be distributed in Italy,” the office commissioner announced. Before March 2021, Italy will receive nearly 9 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only type currently available in the EU along with the Moderna vaccine, which also started shipping in Italy this week. EU member states are also awaiting European Commission approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine. About 16 million doses of this final vaccine must be shipped in Italy by the end of March.

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Australia is pressing for response to cases of the British variant of the coronavirus | Instant News


By Donna Lu

A hiker walks past the deserted South Bank on the first day of Brisbane’s snap lockdown on January 9, 2021

AFP / AFP via Getty Images

Authorities in Australia have responded swiftly to contain a potential outbreak of the UK’s variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

On Thursday 7 January, cleaners for a hotel quarantine facility in Brisbane tested positive for the infection variant B.1.1.7 which is more contagious, first ordered in Britain in September, has now reached at least 45 countries.

The variant has previously been detected in international passengers returning to hotel quarantine, but this is the first time someone has been unknowingly in the Australian community and is potentially infectious.

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The following morning, with no further positive cases, Queensland state Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a short lockdown of the city-wide circuit breakers affecting an estimated 2 million residents.

The city, where life has been normal for months, has not been closed since the first wave in Australia in March.

“Doing three days now can avoid doing the next 30 days,” Palaszczuk said, Friday.

The lockdown began at 6pm on Friday, Brisbane time, and ended on Monday 11th January at the same time. That includes strict mask mandates for anyone leaving their home, including while driving and playing sports.

Within days, the contact tracer identified more than 150 regular and close contacts of the cleaners, all of whom had been quarantined.

The city recorded only one new case of community transmission during the lockdown period – the cleaning partners – but it is too early to rule out any unknown transmission.

“We have to wait two weeks from the last possible exposure for an index case,” said Raina MacIntyre, an infectious disease specialist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

A South African variant of SARS-CoV-2 has also been detected in Australia, with the first case seen in a hotel quarantine on 22 December. In response to the threat of the two variants, on January 8, the Australian National Cabinet imposed tighter restrictions on returning passengers.

Australia has imposed a mandatory hotel quarantine for passengers arriving in the country since March 28 last year, with only citizens, permanent residents and their immediate relatives allowed in, as well as people who have been in New Zealand for at least the past 14 days.

All passengers will now be required to test negative before boarding flights to Australia, and masks will be required at all airports and on all international and domestic flights.

Hotel quarantine staff, including cleaners and transportation workers, will be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis – they were previously tested weekly.

Other Australian states are rapidly closing their borders to those who were once in the Greater Brisbane area, leaving thousands of people returning or moving between states in limbo – including this reporter.

There is broad public support for this action: Australians across the country are eager to avoid the other Melbourne lockdown, which was once strict and longstanding, and was struck by the situation in Europe and the US.

Tests show that one in 85,000 people in Australia has Covid-19, compared to one in 50 in the UK.

Culturally, Australians are more willing to follow public orders than in the UK and the US, says MacIntyre.

“Cultural barriers to disease control can be overcome through good leadership, and we don’t see that in the US,” he said. “We also don’t really see it in England.”

Amid the new outbreak, the Australian government has continued its plan for a month-long mass vaccination. They will now start in February.

Preventing future cases of escaping to communities from hotel quarantine may require better protection for international border workers, said MacIntyre. Measures such as N95 breathing apparatus and ensuring that quarantine hotels are adequately ventilated will help minimize airborne transmission.

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