CategoryLockdown

Biggest Australian states reopen borders as coronavirus cases ease

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Australia’s two biggest states reunited in emotional scenes on Monday as the border – shut for only the second time in 101 years due to the coronavirus pandemic – reopened and the first flights since July landed in Sydney from Melbourne.

Friends, family and a musical duo in drag welcomed passengers as they disembarked Qantas flight QF401 at 7:20 a.m. (2020 GMT Sunday), the first of 26 flights scheduled between the two states on Monday.

“I can come and visit my father when I need to without having to worry about when I can get home,” one passenger said as she disembarked.

The border between New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria states closed in July due to an outbreak of COVID-19 around Melbourne – Australia’s second-largest city. It was the first such border closure since 1919 when Australia was battling the Spanish flu.

The outbreak in Victoria, which totalled more than 20,000 cases, was only contained after a stringent lockdown lasting more than 100 days.

But with Victoria going more than three weeks without detecting any COVID-19 infections, authorities made the decision to reopen the border much to the relief of separated families and the tourism and aviation sectors.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-australia/biggest-australian-states-reopen-borders-as-coronavirus-cases-ease-idUSKBN2820U9HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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France’s second wave of the coronavirus may have already reached its peak

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France may be past the worst of its second wave of coronavirus infections, the country’s health agency said Friday, warning however that protective measures should be kept in place.

Thanks to curfews and lockdowns, confirmed new infections dropped 40 percent last week, admissions to hospital fell 13 percent, and the number of new intensive care patients was down nine percent, Santé Publique France said.

The data provided fresh arguments for shop owners who have been lobbying to be allowed to reopen for the crucial Christmas period, while the government was trying to decide what to do about the coming Black Friday shopping splurge.

“Although indicators are still at high levels, they suggest that the peak of the second peak is behind us,” the agency said.

President Emmanuel Macron will talk about the country’s coronavirus crisis on Tuesday at 2000 CET (1900), a source at the presidential palace said on Friday.

The number of Covid deaths has stabilised after several weeks of increases, the agency said, with 3,756 recorded fatalities compared with 3,817 a week earlier.

French cities that imposed curfews earliest are now seeing the sharpest decreases in patient numbers, Santé Publique said.

https://www.france24.com/en/france/20201120-france-s-second-wave-of-the-coronavirus-may-have-already-reached-its-peakHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Following three weeks of zero community transmission, lockdown restrictions are being further eased in Victoria, Australia

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Face masks will no longer be required outside in Victoria from midnight, as long as physical distancing can be maintained.

Victorians will still need to wear face masks indoors, and carry them outdoors in case they cannot physically distance.

“If you go to Bunnings and you are inside the store, you are wearing a mask. If you are in the car park, you do not have to wear your mask,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“But if you are queueing up for a sausage, and you are with other people, and you are simply not keeping a distance — you are part of a crowd, you need to put the mask on.”

Masks remain mandatory on public transport.

Indoor venues like cinemas, art galleries and museums will be able to host up to 150 people indoors.

The number of patrons allowed indoors at large hospitality venues will increase to 150, with total venue capacity capped at 300 — subject to a density quota of one person per four square metres in larger venues.

But for smaller hospitality venues, the density limit has been relaxed to allow one person per two square metres, with a limit of 50 customers.

Adult contact and non-contact sport will also be allowed to start up again.

For indoor sports there will be a limit of 150 people and a group size of up to 20, while outdoor sports can have up to 500 people in groups of up to 50.

Mr Andrews has also announced that Victorians will be allowed to have up to 30 visitors to their home per day by Christmas.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-22/victoria-daniel-andrews-on-coronavirus-restrictions-changes/12907456HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Pfizer vaccine could be rolled out next month, Matt Hancock says

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Rollout of the Pfizer vaccine could begin in the UK as soon as next month, Matt Hancock has said, with the bulk of the rollout taking place in the New Year.

Mr Hancock also confirmed the Government has formally asked the UK’s independent regulator (MHRA) to assess the suitability of the vaccine.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this evening, the Health Secretary said: “We know that the manufacturing process for all vaccines is difficult and uncertain. So I’ve asked the NHS to be ready to deploy at the speed at which the vaccine can be produced.

“What I can say about timing is that if, and it still is an if, if the regulator approves a vaccine, we will be ready to start the vaccination next month, with the bulk of the rollout in the New Year.

“We’re heading in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. Coronavirus remains a grave danger right now.”

Mr Hancock also said that latest data appears to show that the UK is “clearly” near the peak of the second wave.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/coronavirus-news-oxford-vaccine-christmas-lockdown/HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Infection rates levelling off in England and Scotland

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Coronavirus infection rates are levelling off in England and Scotland and decreasing in Wales and Northern Ireland, latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests.

It shows rates in school-age children are still rising while falling in young adults.

The R number for the UK continues to fall and is now between 1 and 1.1.

But that doesn’t yet reflect the impact of the second lockdown in England, introduced on 5 November.

The government’s scientific advisers, Sage, say the epidemic in the north-west of England is now shrinking, although infection levels in the region still remain high.

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Australia may see first week of no local COVID-19 transmissions

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Australia’s three most populous states on Saturday recorded at least a week with no local transmissions of the new coronavirus, boding well for the country’s recovery from the pandemic after a flare-up marred an impressive early response.

Victoria, the epicentre of the resurgence of the virus in recent months, recorded its 15th consecutive day of no new infections and no related deaths, two weeks after the state emerged from one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.

The second-most populous state’s deputy chief health officer, Allen Cheng, told a news conference that the run of zero cases was “about as good as it can get”.

Neighbouring New South Wales, the most populous state, saw seven days without local transmissions, while Queensland has had no new community infections for two months. Both states saw a handful of new cases in managed quarantine among travellers from overseas.

This latest data may mean Australia can record its first week of no local transmissions since the start of the pandemic as the rest of the country has not seen any cases for weeks or months.

https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN27U084HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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R number for UK has fallen to between 1 and 1.2

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The R number for the UK has fallen to between 1 and 1.2, the closest it’s been to 1 since early September.

It comes as the Office for National Statistics says the number of people infected with coronavirus is slowing down.

Data up to 6 November, the day after England’s second lockdown began, shows infections falling in the north west but rising in the south and Midlands.

In Northern Ireland, infection rates were levelling off, the ONS says.

But in Wales rising infection levels were still continuing.

And it’s too early to say if they were stabilising a week ago in Scotland.

Although growth may be slowing in some parts of the country, the government’s scientific advisers say “significant levels of healthcare demand and mortality will persist until R is reduced to and remains well below 1 for an extended period of time”.

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Oxford professor says normal life to return by Spring after vaccine breakthrough

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Oxford professor Sir John Bell has predicted that life will return to “normal” by spring following the vaccine breakthrough.

The success of the latest coronavirus vaccine trials by Pfizer and BioNTech could pave the way for the rollout of a least one vaccine in the UK early in the new year, a scientist advising the Government has said. Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and a member of the Government’s vaccine taskforce, said that other vaccines were now likely to become available in the near future. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, he said: “I am really delighted with this result – it shows that you can make a vaccine against this little critter. Ninety percent is an amazing level of efficacy.

“It rolls the pitch for other vaccines because I can’t see any reason now why we shouldn’t have a handful of good vaccines.”

Asked if people could look forward to a return to normal life by the spring, Sir John replied: “Yes, yes, yes, yes. I am probably the first guy to say that but I will say that with some confidence.”

The UK expects to have 10 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s candidate COVID-19 vaccine available by the end of the year if regulators approve it, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday, following positive clinical trial results.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1358049/oxford-coronavirus-vaccine-uk-latest-lockdown-end-spring-2021-Pfizer-BioNTech-VNHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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UK – Raab insists second lockdown WILL end on December 2 as mass testing to begin in 3 more towns

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Dominic Raab has insisted that England’s second lockdown WILL end on December 2.

It comes as a mass testing programme trialled in Liverpool is set to be rolled out in three further English towns, which will be announced this week.

Meanwhile, doctors could hand out Covid vaccines on Christmas and Boxing Day under plans to protect millions of Brits quickly.

Family doctors are preparing to be able to offer the jab seven days a week between 8am and 8pm – while every major city will also get a dedicated mass Covid vaccination centre to speed up the roll-out.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/13051326/coronavirus-uk-news-update-live-lockdown-death-graphs-wrong-live/HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Coronavirus could disappear in Australia if NSW and Victoria maintain control over next few weeks, experts say

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Coronavirus could “die out” in Australia entirely if New South Wales and Victoria stay on their current trajectory of low infections, according to two leading epidemiologists.

The two states are responsible for 90 per cent of the country’s COVID-19 cases and 96 per cent of deaths.

But as new infections flatline in Victoria after a months-long lockdown, and cases dwindle in NSW amid rampant contact tracing, some experts have now admitted COVID-19 could be eliminated in Australia, despite the fact it has never been the national strategy.

Yesterday Victoria recorded its seventh straight day of no new cases and NSW has recorded nine cases since Monday.

Hassan Vally, an epidemiologist from La Trobe University, said new infections should continue to be contained.

“NSW is the model, we have a low number of cases, the public health response stamps on any clusters and you keep everything under control,” he said.

“No-one knows what will happen over the next week in Victoria, but it’s not outside the bounds of possibility that we will see zero cases for another week or so and then technically we’ve eliminated the virus.”

Suppression, rather than elimination, was the goal of Victoria’s stage-four lockdown, while NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has long maintained residents must learn to live with COVID-19 until a vaccine is found.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-07/coronavirus-could-be-eliminated-in-australia-epidemiologists-say/12851152HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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