Sunday 27 February 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 26th / 27th February 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 26th / 27th February 2022

There are no UK Daily Statistics today.
World: 435,315,212 reported cases and 5,965,853 losses of life.

There's very little COVID news that has made it's way through, and none of it is particularly urgent, exciting or important (although New Zealand really have cracked now - see the chart at the bottom). The entire world has it's focus on Ukraine, and Russia, including all Western governments and journalists.

Ukraine extension of all visas Priti Patel

Around 1.30pm GMT today Putin announced on Russian TV that because of aggressive statements made by NATO leaders, he was implementing "special mode of combat duty of the deterrence forces".
This refers to his nuclear capability, and is another threat to the West to back off, but according to Tass (Russian news agency) and anonymous online accounts, it hopefully doesn't mean anything else.
"Hard to tell with certainty, but most likely it means that the nuclear command and control system received what is known as a preliminary command"
Within minutes Ukraine's officials agreed to talks just over the border in Belarus. The Kyiv Independent:
"The Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko assured Zelensky that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory will remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks and return."
Tragically just after 5pm the Zhytomyr airport was bombed - and the bombs were launched from inside Belarus. That seems very likely to have broken the agreement as well as being the actual bombing of an airport, so sadly it doesn't bode well.

Obviously movement of people and conditions of war will have a massive effect locally on how COVID progresses, including testing, isolating, treatments, hospital availability. There are reports that Ukraine is struggling with oxygen supply (which really does seem increasingly likely).

Get vaxxed its best protection UK Gov

Wherever you are in the world, situations such as this can negatively affect your mental health...
If you are struggling with what is happening in Ukraine (or Syria, or Yemen, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan or anywhere else), remember the advice we were given for COVID. Don't overload yourself, don't get caught up in non-stop rolling news - it is exhausting, and incredibly stressful. Look and read, then take time away. You have that privilege, use it.

I believe all things about war are negative, but we are told to look for the heroes. I've collected some of the less awful stories from the last couple of days. We're all people, and we are definitely not all bad. 

People are sharing photos of Romania's border with Ukraine. There are piles of clothes, food and drinks for arrivals, and rows of people in their own cars reportedly waiting to pick up refugees. 

"We have captured around 200 Russian soldiers, some around 19 years old. Not trained at all. Badly equipped. We allow them to call their parents. Parents completely surprised."
Ukraninan Major General Borys Kremenetsky.
Humanity during war is a rare and precious thing - although this is also a great way to inform the villages back home exactly what is happening. I haven't seen official word, but rumours are rife that a lot of these young people believed they were going on training missions.  

Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation / Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Fedorov publicly asked Elon Musk to provide Starlink satellites to keep the Internet running even if infrastructure in Ukraine is destroyed.
11 hours later...
"Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route."
Elon Musk on Twitter.
That really is amazing. It is incredibly robust and powerful internet coverage, and it is now impossible for Russia to completely disable the Ukrainian internet access without cyber attacking foreign data centers. Nice one Elon (he also organised Starlink internet access for volcano-damaged Tonga this week).

The EU have banned Russian planes from their airspace

Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia have opened their borders (with exemptions) to allow Ukranians to cross with their pets, without pet passports. They have all said that veterinarians will be on hand.

Romania has offered sanctuary to half a million people. Poland has offered sanctuary to anyone who arrives at the border (although it appears Ukranian nationals are being given some priority,  and other people who happened to be working, living or studying in Ukraine are queueing for longer - they should contact their embassy to arrange emergency repatriation home)

BBC are reporting with Cryptocurrency analysts Elliptic, who say by teatime on Saturday at least $9m (£6.7m) had been donated to the Ukrainian war effort through anonymous Bitcoin donations. The official Ukranian Government Twitter account gave out wallet addresses and they collected $3m within 4 hours. One non-government organisation (NGO) received a single donation of $3m.
(NGOs tend to be non-profit organisations with a social or political cause e.g. Red Cross, Amnesty International, Save The Children, Children In Need. In these circumstances, some voluntary military groups may also fit into the category NGO )

UK GOv consider wearing a face covering

A bloke went back into the block of flats which was bombed on Saturday morning to rescue a pet cat and a pet fish.
(Emotional support animals for the win.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy used to be an actor and comedian, and was incredibly popular. He also has a law degree. He created his own TV production company, and devised and wrote TV programmes.
One of the most popular TV shows he created was a political satire called Servant Of The People. He starred in it, playing a bloke who became the Ukrainian President almost by accident, after ranting about government corruption. Fast forward a couple of years and he became that character in real life.
Another 4 years further on and he's proving a comedian can be very serious indeed. 

The online hacker collective Anonymous officially declared cyber war on Russia on Saturday. They had been warming up by shutting down Russian websites and releasing government and military documents for a couple of days beforehand. After the announcement it really ramped up. Lots of Russian websites are being hacked, disabled or hijacked, including the Kremlin and the Russian military, and military communications are being openly shared online. Anonymous' own 8am GMT announcement this morning was:
"Anonymous takes down more than 300+ Russian government, state media & banks websites in the last 48 hrs, with most of them currently offline."
In a move that reads like a Despicable Me movie plot, almost all of the main Russian TV stations began playing rousing Ukrainian music yesterday lunchtime, followed later in the afternoon by video footage showing what is actually happening in Ukraine (Russia has cracked down on media, including barring use of words like 'invasion' or 'assault', and blocking Twitter for the whole country). 

Romania has offered to host all of Ukraine's home games at any national team level for the time being.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy won Ukrainian Dancing With The Stars in 2006 (back when he was still a comedian and actor). 

Ukraine has a hotline for Russian parents and other relatives to ring if they are concerned about the whereabouts of loved ones, and want to know if they've been captured. It's called "Come back alive from Ukraine". 

Baby born in Ukraine Metro 25th or 26 Feb 2022
Baby Mia

According to the Ukrainian health ministry. 6 babies have been born in Ukraine’s bomb shelters in 3 days. Although it's still beyond anything I can imagine, not quite as bad as it first appeared:
"Due to air raid alerts, women have to give birth in the maternity hospitals' basements, serving as bomb shelters." One didn't quite make it to hospital - a baby girl called Mia was born 2 nights ago at a Kyiv metro station. We are informed that Mum and baby are both fit and well. 

Independent Russian monitoring organisation OVD-info says over 5,500 people have been arrested in Russia for protesting the war, since the invasion of Ukraine began. Ordinary people being brave, and making their feelings known. Thank you to all of you.

I'll be back with the regular COVID news on Tuesday... Stay sensible.

Some people. They look like numbers here, but I don't have room to tell you all of their names.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life to COVID (since midnight GMT. In larger countries, such as the USA and India, some states /provinces might not have reported yet today):

S. Korea 2,994,841 (+163,558) 7,944 (+49)

Russia 16,291,116 (+116,093) 350,927 (+769)

Japan 4,885,353 (+69,661) 23,270 (+259)

Indonesia 5,539,394 (+34,976) 148,073 (+229)

Netherlands 6,332,772 (+27,383) 21,548 (+3)

Thailand 2,869,616 (+24,719) 22,894 (+42)

Chile 3,041,400 (+23,821) 42,200 (+130)

Austria 2,659,532 (+23,274) 14,787 (+25)

Australia 3,191,986 (+18,474) 5,159 (+27)

Germany 14,649,897 (+16,386) 123,297 (+14)

Denmark 2,618,025 (+15,588) 4,584 (+46)

New Zealand 86,138 (+15,016) 56

Mexico 5,502,586 (+13,459) 318,014 (+331)

Iran 7,040,467 (+9,524) 136,631 (+241) 





Anonymous Video:

Anonymous declares war with Russia amid state TV and Kremlin website hack

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