Tag Archives: testing

President Alvi is slowly returning to his ‘normal routine’ after testing positive for the coronavirus | Instant News

President Arif Alvi is working in his office. Photo: Twitter / Awab Alvi

President Arif Alvi “is slowly returning to his normal routine” after testing positive for the coronavirus, about two weeks ago.

The president’s health update was shared on Twitter by his son, Awab Alvi. He also distributed photos of the president, sitting at his official table, pen in hand.

“It is great to share that Pakistani President Arif Alvi is slowly returning to his normal routine – with so much official work piling up he is eager to return,” his son wrote in a tweet on Monday.

“He is better, but keeps,” wrote Awab, thanking everyone for praying for Pakistan’s president.

Alvi had announced on March 29 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, days after receiving his first coronavirus shot.

“I tested positive for Covid-19. May Allah have mercy on all victims of Covid. Had the first dose of vaccine ، but antibodies began to develop after the 2nd dose due in a week. Please continue to be careful,” he tweeted.

On the same day, Defense Minister Pervaiz Khattak also contracted the virus.

President Alvi briefly said he received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on March 15, 2021, but added that immunity to new infections developed after receiving the second injection, which is scheduled for a week.

He also appealed to the masses to “continue to be careful” [and practice the government’s coronavirus standard operation procedures] to keep themselves safe.

On March 20, Prime Minister Imran Khan also tested positive for COVID-19 after which he went into self-isolation. The prime minister had also been inoculated on March 18 – two days before he tested positive for the virus.

Doctors, however, say the vaccine does not have enough time to become effective and PM Imran Khan may catch the virus several days before developing symptoms for it.


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Opinion: No solidarity on coronavirus policy | Opinion | DW | Instant News

If there is one thing we can count on during the Coronavirus pandemic in Germany, it is the willingness of the public to stand in solidarity, accept boundaries to protect the people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. It has unified society at a time when fighting the coronavirus has more to do with political election campaigns than with reason or scientific understanding.

Politicians have now given up on the concept. Health Minister Jens Spahn was the first to do so, saying those who have been fully vaccinated should be exempted from mandatory testing or quarantine. It didn’t take long before others stepped in, demanding the immediate restoration of basic rights to vaccinations – allowing them to travel, eat, attend concerts and head to the gym just as they did before the pandemic hit.

DW Editor Anja Brockmann

Fundamental rights are very valuable, and imposing limits on them should be an exception to this rule. And no, one cannot expect a population of over 80 million people to wait until we are the last ones vaccinated before them rights restored. But do we really want to talk about this now – in the midst of a third wave of infections and at a time when the country’s intensive care units are already overloaded? Should we have this discussion at a time – as a result of political decision making – nearly 6% of the population has been completely vaccinated? And didn’t Jens Spahn say late last year that those who are patient waiting to be vaccinated should also expect solidarity from the inoculated? In retrospect, one would suspect the statement was uttered more as a sedative to calm people’s nerves than it was made in political conviction.

A dangerous difference

Millions of people between the ages of 16 and 59 won’t even be able to get their first dose of the vaccine by July, and many may have to wait until at least September therefore. In general, these individuals – who are not prioritized, who are healthy, who are young – firmly accept the limits of personal freedom. They deal with home schooling or remote office jobs from kitchens across the country, they shop for groceries for elderly neighbors and wait in vain for internships that can’t be offered for a second straight year. And although the virus is comparatively less lethal to these people, they also keep running risk of long-term complications from an infection. And not only do they have to wait longer than everyone else for the jab, they are also forced to wait longer than others to regain their freedom.

In the best case scenario, that difference can be reduced by testing – but it’s insurmountable. And even then, that statement will only hold true if politicians end up providing free testing for everyone at any time. It is the same now. Currently, each resident can be tested for free once a week – allowing them to enjoy a few hours of freedom – but any test after that will cost, on average, around € 30 ($ 36). Not everyone can afford their basic rights every day, nor can they afford the long quarantine period when they return from vacation. That kind of social exclusion doesn’t create jealousy as most politicians believe – it creates inequality.

That said, there are other approaches that make sense in terms of solidarity and epidemiology. For example, if we follow Canada and UK example about extending the time between the first and second doses, we can ensure that everyone in Germany who wants to get vaccinated can get at least one shot by the end of July – giving us all even greater protection against the deadly virus. That approach will ease the burden on intensive care units, hinder the development of mutant strains and restore basic rights more quickly.

But it also takes political courage, and that’s not something people in Germany can hope for. However, young people will not soon forget who abandoned the concept of solidarity – and, in the worst case scenario, they will lose faith in politics altogether.

This article has been translated from German by Jon Shelton


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Covid 19 coronavirus: Fake foreign virus test results highlight a shortage of pre-departure testing, experts say | Instant News

New Zealanders have reportedly been offered a false negative Covid-19 test result certificate in an attempt to comply with the Government’s pre-departure testing regime.

And the regime is being questioned by experts, who agree that it is not functioning the way it should.

Health Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield said officials were checking the system, as more people tested positive for Covid-19 on their first day in managed isolation, even though it had produced negative results abroad.

Although the overhaul of the system may prove difficult, as it relies on the Covid-19 testing capabilities of other countries, this is “the most important measure for New Zealand,” according to one expert.


This was when University of Auckland microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles revealed that he had been notified of someone being offered a false negative pre-departure test certificate for a fee.

This led him and epidemiologist Dr Michael Baker to raise questions about the effectiveness of the pre-departure testing system.

The pre-departure rules, which came into effect in late January, aim to “better protect New Zealand from Covid-19,” said Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins at the time.

The rules mean a returnee must show a negative Covid-19 test certificate to come to New Zealand.

They were announced at the same time as the expansion of the managed isolation testing regime, under which nearly all returnees will receive a 0/1 day test.

According to Ministry of Health data, a large number of people who returned positive results for Covid-19 upon returning to New Zealand did so on day 0/1.

According to Wiles, this data tells two stories.

The first is that the Government is right to introduce the 0/1 day test rule.

“It’s clear from the number of positive 0/1 day tests we got that their introduction is a good idea,” said Wiles.

But the data also show that the pre-departure testing regime is not working as expected.

“For those who test negative, it just tells us they were negative at the time of testing,” said Wiles.

“That doesn’t mean they aren’t incubating the virus or won’t be infected in the time between their tests and arriving in New Zealand.”

And there’s another problem: fake test results.

“I’m sure unscrupulous people will also offer false negative pre-departure test certificates for a fee.

“Someone contacted me to inform me that their relative had been offered in France but was turned down.”

Baker said the government needed to do more work to improve the pre-departure system, given how important it was to New Zealand’s Covid-19 defense.

“Finding ways to manage this risk is perhaps the most important action for New Zealand, in terms of managing Covid.”

There are several ways that can be done, he said.

University of Auckland microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles revealed that he had been notified of someone being offered a false negative pre-departure test certificate for a fee.  Photos / Files
University of Auckland microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles revealed that he had been notified of someone being offered a false negative pre-departure test certificate for a fee. Photos / Files

For example, returnees could be asked to sign a statement saying that they had been in isolation for a week prior to their departure and that they had regularly worn a mask.

In announcing his policy of pre-departure testing, Hipkins said: “It is important to remember that this will not stop Covid-19 from entering New Zealand.

“We will still see people show up at the border who later test positive – our goal is to reduce the number of people arriving with Covid-19.”

Nonetheless, Bloomfield told reporters on Friday that the Government was examining a pre-departure testing regime.

Although “very few” people return to New Zealand without evidence of pre-departure testing, he said the nature and reliability of the tests vary around the world.

But it’s something that’s always assumed and, therefore, that’s why the 0/1 day test rule was enforced.

He said the Government did not specifically look at one country’s pre-departure testing regime because officials did not have all the information on different testing approaches.

“But we’re really taking, at face value, a valid certification from the fact that someone is undergoing a pre-departure test, which does require fairly specific information.”

Testing data shows some countries clearly have significantly worse pre-departure testing regimes than others.

India, for example, has a particularly poor track record with around 40 people testing positive for Covid-19 on day 0/1 upon their return to New Zealand since the pre-departure rules came into effect.

The figure was even higher when the 3rd day test was taken into account.

Unfortunately, there appears to be little New Zealand that can do about the flawed pre-departure system, said Wiles.

“In an ideal world, we would watch where people get tested so we know the results are reliable, and we have the facilities to isolate people before they board the plane to minimize the chance of getting infected in transit.”

But it is effectively moving the MIQ system offshore, Wiles said.

“We know how difficult it is to run the system here in New Zealand so the idea that we can outsource overseas is completely impractical.”


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ESR scientists will test vaping products for levels of nicotine, alcohol and illegal drugs | Instant News

Controlled substances, including THC, are found in products overseas. Photo / Bevan Conley

New Zealand scientists tested 150 vaping products on the market for the first time, to check levels of nicotine and ethanol, and after illegal drugs were discovered in some foreign liquids.

The study by ESR, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, will examine a wide variety of vaping liquid products sold in New Zealand.

Scientists are developing testing methodologies, and will analyze the liquid for levels of nicotine, drugs, ethanol (alcohol), color, endotoxins, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (harmful chemicals found in tobacco and tobacco smoke).

International studies have reported large variations between labeled and actual nicotine levels, and some have found the presence of controlled substances, including THC (a mind-altering substance found in marijuana), CBD (also found in cannabis, but which have few substances with no psychoactive properties). ) and some synthetic cannabinoids, in commercial and “homemade” vaping fluids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States have previously linked THC-containing vaping products with lung disease in some users.

An ESR spokesperson told the Herald on Sunday that studies on several products in New Zealand have pointed to quality control issues, including nicotine levels and general vaping base ingredient ratios. Ethanol (alcohol) was also detected, and is not listed as an ingredient.

Testing will be carried out over the next few months at various ESR laboratories, with the aim of completing most of it by May, when the Ministry of Health’s regulations on vaping products containing color come into effect.

“The initial stage of this study is to collect market data to determine the range of products, both nicotine and non-nicotine, that is available,” said an ESR spokesperson.

“This survey will be run every month looking at significant product trends, product availability, and changes as Ministry of Health regulations come into effect and the vaping market develops.”

Vaping is the term for using an electronic device to heat a liquid into vapor, which the user inhales.

Nearly a quarter of New Zealanders have tried vaping, up from 16 percent in 2015/16. About half of people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to report vaping.

Last November Constitution It was enforced to control a fast-growing industry, banning sales to the age of 18, prohibiting advertising, and limiting the sale of some flavors to specialty stores.

Testing will run every month, and appear as new regulations take effect.  Photo / 123rf.com
Testing will run every month, and appear as new regulations take effect. Photo / 123rf.com

The law changes also introduced a security system that would allow the Ministry of Health to recall or suspend products, and issue warnings.

Ministry officials are in consultation on proposed and related regulations, including those that would change the way smoke-free and vaping “internal areas” in hospitality venues are defined.

Currently, smoking is not permitted in an area if, when all doors, windows and other openings that can be closed are closed, completely or substantially covered by a ceiling, roof or similar upper surface, and by walls, sides or screens.

The ministry said this definition was not always clear enough and, when tested through court action, the rulings were inconsistent.

They have already filed four options, includes the preferred option of defining it as a wholly or partially enclosed area with a roof or overhead structure of any kind, whether permanent or temporary.

That means if there is a roof or overhead structure of any kind, regardless of how much cover is provided, the area should be smoke-free.

Submissions will close on Monday, with proposals then submitted to the Cabinet, and regulations expected to be in place by August.


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Brazil’s COVID-19 testing is shrinking as cases and deaths accelerate | Instant News

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil has reduced coronavirus testing in recent months even as infections spiked and recorded the world’s most COVID-19 deaths over the past week, according to Health Ministry data.

FILE PHOTO: A member of the “Vidas Indigenas Importam” (Indigenous Living Materials) volunteer group wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) carries out a rapid test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on a resident in the Igarapes do Diuna indigenous community, at the Negro river bank in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil, 6 February 2021. REUTERS / Bruno Kelly / Photo Files

The result is a nation moving in the dark, experts say, without the ability to track and contain contagion, let alone trace the real time spread of a dangerous new variant of the virus.

Brazil’s public health system and major private laboratories conducted around 44,000 daily PCR tests – the gold standard for identifying the new coronavirus – in the last week of February, the latest public Health Ministry data show.

That’s down nearly a third from Brazil’s peak for testing: more than 65,000 per day in the third week of December.

In comparison, the United States, the only country with more total COVID-19 deaths, has averaged more than one million tests per day in the past nine months.

Brazil’s Ministry of Health did not answer questions about the drop in testing. A ministry note recently cited investment to increase testing capacity.

“There is no justification,” said Diego Xavier, public health researcher for the Fiocruz biomedical institute. “We have processed more tests before. So the only explanation is the reduction in the test program at a time when we need to increase it. “

One in three tests in Brazil was positive at the end of February, ministry data showed, well above the benchmark 5% positivity level cited by the World Health Organization for countries containing their outbreaks.

“The high rate of positivity is another indicator of the collapse we are facing,” said Xavier. “Our situation is completely out of control and the trend of transmission is increasing.”

New confirmed cases have doubled since the start of the year in Brazil to an average of more than 69,000 per day in the past week, surpassing about 56,000 daily cases in the United States to become the world’s largest active outbreak.

COVID-19 deaths in Brazil have risen sharply to 10,000 in the past week, also surging past the weekly US death toll, which has declined in recent weeks as vaccination launches gather momentum.

“It’s our worst time, but we haven’t reached the peak yet,” said Alexandre Naime Barbosa, head of the immunology department at Sao Paulo State University, estimating about 3,000 deaths in Brazil per day by the end of the month.

With only 2% of Brazilians fully vaccinated and a new, more infectious variant of the Amazon region circulating across the country, health experts say the country’s daily death toll could easily double by the end of the month.

For scientists trying to trace a worrying variant, the lack of data is even scarier.

Brazil has sequenced more than 4,500 virus samples since the start of the pandemic, out of 11 million confirmed cases.

In contrast, the UK has sequenced more than 336,000 samples as it races to analyze its own local variants among the confirmed caseload of 4.2 million patients.

“This precaution is costly,” said immunologist Ester Sabino of the University of Sao Paulo, who is leading Brazil’s first coronavirus sequencing effort. “We need more people to do it.”

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Edited by Brad Haynes and Bill Berkrot


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