Monday 20 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 20th April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 20th April 2020.

The UK added 4,676 cases today and now has reported a total of 124,743 positive cases of COVID-19. We had all together tested 386,044 people as of 9am this morning.

As of 5pm yesterday, of those hospitalised in the UK, we have lost another 449 people to COVID-19. We now sadly have a total of 16,509 losses of life in hospitals. Losses of life in the community are reported by ONS with a 2 week delay.

Total cases and losses reported are:
England 93,030 / 14,828
Northern Ireland 2,728 / 194
Scotland 8,450 / 903
Wales 7,546 / 584
(The government haven't been reporting how many of the UK's positive testing cases have recovered.)

Rep. Of Ireland have 15,652 cases and 687 losses of life.

There have now been 2,449,380 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 168,134. Already 641,804 people have recovered.

"Don't use this virus to fight together or score political points, it's dangerous." Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation.

How to survive quarantine The World Health Organisation

Today's UK briefing was with Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
He started with PPE. They have appointed Lord Deighton to organise home-sourced PPE. Today we have unloaded 140,000 gowns from Myanmar.
The HMRC job retention scheme opened today. 140,000 firms had already applied by 4pm, representing over 1m employees. 
The Futures Fund was launched - loans for early stage UK based high growth companies, and small companies focussing on research and development will also be able to access other cash.
12,000 loans have now gone out to UK businesses.
The UK will provide 30,000 extra mortuary places.

To protect our economy we need to protect the health of our people. 17,971 people are in hospital. Less in total than yesterday for the 7th day running - it's all good stuff. We were reminded once again of the 5 points we need to meet before we can lift restrictions, and thanked us for following govt. advice and staying home.

Professor Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser did the charts. The number of people testing positive has stabilised. Around 1/3 of the people who tested positive in the last day are key workers. Hospital admissions are pretty much static, rising slightly outside London. London figures have stayed down. We are still tracking Italy almost exactly.

Prof Yvonne Doyle, Public Heath England answered several questions about PPE, including concerns from the NHS that gowns are at a critically low level. She said guidance hasn't changed, new advice has been issued (including re-using gowns), but care and medical staff should assess each situation individually for safety, it's impossible to impose blanket advice.

Dr Tedros of The WHO was a bit emotional today. He is getting a lot of abuse, especially since Donald Trump decided he didn't like him, and to be honest most of it isn't fair. He is an Ethiopian national:
"I know war, I know poverty, I know disease. I know a tragedy. I'm telling you from first hand experience. Let's not play with fire. This is a tragedy which is already affecting many families. Many are losing their loved ones. We don't hide information.... We have been warning from Day 1. This is a devil which everybody should be fighting."

On Sunday the first recovered patients were discharged from the Nightingale Hospital London.

Prince Philip (98 year old husband of the Queen) has thanked essential workers including binmen, everyone keeping food  on the table, postmen and delivery drivers. Thanks from me too.

Letter from Phil

Around 2,000 Israelis in Tel Aviv have protested what they see as erosion of democracy, including phone tracking, with coronavirus being used as a reason. They were all carefully spaced 6ft apart and wore masks.

In Denver protesters arranged a drive around to complain about the lockdown and demand restrictions be lifted. Two nurses in scrubs and masks staged a peaceful and incredibly poignant counter-protest by stepping onto the crossing during red lights and staring at the drivers. 

Russia are fantastic testers now. They have really worked super hard to contact trace and keep on top of COVID-19 and have now tested over 2 million people.

The UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) online service is now open for employers to make a claim for 80% of employees wages (up to £2.5kpm). Money should be with your boss in under 7 working days - fingers crossed no backlogs occur.

New Zealand are so strict on COVID-19 that they include 'probables' in their daily totals. Totals reported as of today: 1105 cases (+7), 335 probable (+2) and 12 losses of life.

Shares in 4D Pharma leapt this morning with the announcement that their live biotherapeutic Asthma treatment MRx-4DP0004 is going to be assessed for use in COVID-19 patients. It's currently only 9 months into trials for use with Asthma patients, so don't anyone get overly excited - we've seen how wrong that can go.

The Indonesian Doctor's Association has warned that they believe more than 1,000 people have succumbed to COVID-19. Official reports say the figure is 590 (+8), with 6,760 (+185) cases in total.

The University of Oxford team led by Sarah Gilbert believe they may have 2m doses of a vaccine ready by September. Fingers crossed it works.

Germany have begun lifting some restrictions. They've tested 1.7m people and have seemed to have good control over outbreaks from the start. They'll continue with restrictions on personal travel and high levels of testing, and encourage use of face masks and contact tracing apps. Small shops can re-open today, distancing rules relax 3rd May, schools start to re-open 4th May.

Poland have begun lifting restrictions. It will have 4 phases to occur when the science says the time is right. Phase 1 starts today with green spaces opening, children allowed out with adults, religious buildings re-opening with 1 person per 15m2.

Norway has started easing restrictions. Pre-schools are re-opening, physiotherapists and psychologists are also allowed to return to work, hairdressers and dermatologists also opening this week. Younger children in primary schools will start returning to classrooms next Monday April 27.

A preliminary study of 3,300 random Santa Clara residents estimated 2.5-4.2% of residents tested positive. If this translated it would imply a fatality rate of only 0.12 - 0.2, considerably lower than current estimates. However, the study is a brilliant example of why you shouldn't base decisions on pre-print studies, as it's being slated in peer-reviews. Not least for the fact they studied volunteers picked from Facebook ads - who probably wouldn't have volunteered if they thought they were safe at home and had no chance of catching COVID-19, or didn't want to go out anyway.

Water safety week don't drown

The NHS Louisa Jordan temporary overspill hospital, at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, is ready to receive patients if needed.

New Zealand will lift lockdown restrictions to Level 3 in 1 week. Some non-essential businesses, online trading & drive-thrus can reopen.

Denmark and Poland are refusing to bail out companies registered in offshore tax havens. The Danish Law Ministry said:
"...companies seeking compensation after the extension of the schemes must pay the tax to which they are liable under international agreements and national rules. This means that companies based on tax havens in accordance with EU guidelines cannot receive compensation, insofar as it is possible to cut them off under EU law and any other international obligations."

Iran is extending the leave of 100,000 temporarily released prisoners for another month, to prevent prisons becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19.

Luxury cruise news:
Trumpets and a drum roll! The final 3 cruise liners with passengers were all due to dock today - yeeeeeay! Finally!
The Pacific Princess in Los Angeles. They last docked in Australia on March 21st. 115 passengers who couldn't fly due to medical reasons had to remain on board
The Costa Deliziosa in Barcelona (and Genoa on Wednesday). They set sail on an 87-day round world voyage from Venice on January 5th.
The MSC Magnifica in Marseille. They left Europe in January, and the 1,760 passengers last were on shore 6 weeks ago.
You'd think that would be it wouldn't you? Wrong. The cruise ships now docked in random and unexpected places are full of tens of thousands of crew from around the world.
According to ABC News on Friday 17th April, the U.S. Coast Guard alone was monitoring 46 cruise ships (33,800 crew) in U.S. waters, 36 cruise ships (24,300 crew) in U.S. ports, and 42 cruise ships (36,500 crew) underway in U.S. waters.
Some crew will be flown home from where they are docked, some aren't so lucky.
Holland America Line Group plans to use 8 cruise ships in order to repatriate crew across the world.
Five Carnival ships will be used to return their crew home.
Five Royal Caribbean ships in Australia will repatriate Indonesian, Filipino, Chinese and Indian crew members.

The One World: Together raised more than US $127M to support several organizations responding to COVID19, including $55M for WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund. All together the fund has now raised more than $194M from more than 270,000 individuals, corporations & foundations.

Pakistan has extended the ban on all domestic and international flights until April 30th.

Quarantine loneliness

The UK are going to trial blood transfusions from recovered patients as a therapeutic. This has already been used in several countries, including China and the US. Taking advantage of antibodies in the recovered patient's blood isn't a new thing at all - they used it as a treatment for the Spanish Flu 100 years ago...

The National Fire Chiefs council remind us to Be Water Aware. The weather is getting warmer, the water looks great, but really it's blooming freezing. Don't use your exercise time to drown yourself, especially when there is even less chance of someone spotting you and leaping to your rescue.

It is #VolunteerRecognitionDay. Sheesh, where do we even start. Thank you sooooooo much to everyone doing stuff for other people and all living things, for reasons other than money. We truly need you. Without volunteers we are far less than complete. Thank you all.

Some numbers. Numbers with friends and family. People who love them:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (some states yet to report):

USA 771,197 (+6,561) 41,356 (+781)
Spain 200,210 (+1,536) 20,852 (+399)
Italy 181,228 (+2,256) 24,114 (+454)
France 155,383 (+2,489) 20,265 (+547)
Germany 146,293 (+551) 4,683 (+41)
UK 124,743 (+4,676) 16,509 (+449)
Turkey 90,980 +4,674) 2,140 (+123)
Iran 83,505 (+1,294) 5,209 (+91)
China 82,747 (+12) 4,632
Russia 47,121 (+4,268) 405 (+44)
Belgium 39,983 (+1,487) 5,828 (+145)
Brazil 39,548 (+894) 2,507 (+45)
Canada 35,708 (+652) 1,618 (+31)
Netherlands 33,405 (+750) 3,751 (+67)
Switzerland 27,944 (+204) 1,427 (+34)
Portugal 20,863 (+657) 735 (+21)
Austria 14,795 (+46) 470 (+18)
Sweden 14,777 (+392) 1,580 (+40)
Israel 13,654 (+163) 173 (+1)


Luxury Cruise News:

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