Covid-19

Health
Nearly 95% protection shown in Moderna Covid-19 vaccine
Covid-19 Vaccine Bottle Mockup
Covid-19 Vaccine Bottle Mockup Credit: Daniel Schludi

A new Covid-19 vaccine, from the US company Moderna, is nearly 95% effective, early data show. The trial involved 30,000 people in the US, with half being given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart.

"These effects are what we would expect with a vaccine that is working and inducing a good immune response," said Prof Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Boris Johnson self isolates after meeting with MP
Boris Johnson self isolates after meeting with MP
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is starting a period of self-isolating tonight (15/11/20) after meeting with Ashfield MP Lee Anderson who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Boris, who was hospitalised by COVID-19 in April 2020, is said to not be showing any symptoms currently.

The NHS Track & Trace system - that has faced backlash for not working fast enough in recent times - contacted the PM with the news he must self isolate.

Regional News • Europe
Italy: 33,979 Coronavirus cases and 546 deaths

Italy reported 33,979 Coronavirus cases and 546 deaths on Sunday, a slight decrease compared to Saturday. The Lombardy is one of the hardest hit regions of the country.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austrian government announces hard lockdown starting on Nov 17th, hopes for "mood of solidarity"
Closed café during lockdown in Vienna
Closed café during lockdown in Vienna Credit: Herzi Pinki, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Austrian government has announced a "hard lockdown" starting November 17th to contain rising numbers of Covid-19 infections. The country has seen an increase in cases in recent weeks, averaging over 7000 daily cases in the past seven days. Aa partial lockdown was introduced two weeks ago but was deemed ineffective in stopping the spread of the virus.

The new and stricter measures, which will be in effect until at least December 6th, include the closing of schools and all non-essential businesses as well as a 24-hour curfew. People are urged to stay inside their homes except for a few exceptions, e.g. for emergencies, job-related purposes, "necessary basic needs of daily life", help and care of family members and "physical and mental recovery". Restaurants, gyms and museums have already been closed since early November. 

Regional News • Americas • United States
US reports 184,000 new Covid-19 cases, highest daily record

The United States has reported over 184,000 new Covid-19 cases on Friday. Amid surging case numbers, Donald Trump promised imminent distribution of a vaccine - except to New York, which he threatened to leave out for political reasons - while the president-elect Joe Biden pleaded with Americans to follow basic mitigation measures.

Regional News • Europe
Italy reports record 40,902 daily coronavirus cases and 550 deaths
Italy reports record 40,902 daily coronavirus cases and 550 deaths
Credit: Adam Nieścioruk

The Italian health ministry said Friday the country has registered a record 40,902 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, up from 37,978 on Thursday. Infections in Italy since the disease first came to light in February total 1.107 million, while 44,139 people have now died because of the coronavirus.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area on Friday, reporting 10,634 new cases against 9,291 on Thursday.

Regional News • Oceania
Australia hits a week with no local COVID-19 cases
Australia hits a week with no local COVID-19 cases
Credit: unsplash.com / Dan Freeman

It has been seven days since Australia last recorded a local coronavirus case.

With the last recorded case originating in New South Wales a week ago, the country is on track to open most borders by Christmas.

Comparatively, it has been 224 days since the Northern Territory last had an active local case.

Sports • Soccer
Covid-19: Egypt, Liverpool star Mohamed Salah tests positive
Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah Credit: Анна Нэсси (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

A tweet from the Egyptian FA said that testing results showed "our international player and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah to be infected with coronavirus ... despite not having any symptoms."

Photographs and videos of Salah - in some of the images, without a face mask to protect against the virus - dancing among dozens of people at his brother's wedding, held earlier this week in Cairo, have gone viral on the social media over the past days.

Salah's positive test result comes ahead of Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match on Saturday against Togo.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Over 130 Secret Service officers in quarantine or infected with Covid-19 after traveling with Trump's campaign
Over 130 Secret Service officers in quarantine or infected with Covid-19 after traveling with Trump's campaign
Credit: Anthony Quintano from Westminster, United States / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

According to three people familiar with agency staffing, over 130 officers of the Secret Service that are tasked with protecting the White House and President Donald Trump have been ordered to quarantine. An undisclosed number of these officers have tested positive for Covid-19 or been in contact with co-workers who are infected.

Business • Economy
Deutsche Bank suggests a 5% tax on remote workers to help the world rebuild from Covid-19
Deutsche Bank suggests a 5% tax on remote workers to help the world rebuild from Covid-19
Credit: Chris Montgomery

In a report called “What we must do to rebuild”, Deutsche Bank suggests slapping a 5% daily tax on people who work from home and using the funds raised to subsidise the lowest-paid workers who are unable to work remotely.

Working from home meant that many people were saving on everyday costs such as travel, lunch, clothes and cleaning, as well as probably spending less on socializing. Subsidizing businesses that had no long-term future in this shift toward "human disconnection" made no sense for governments, Templeman said, but supporting workers who had been "displaced by forces out outside their control". At the same time, they retrain or figure out their next steps did.

Lifestyle • Cruises
First Caribbean cruise in months: Five passengers test positive for Covid-19
First Caribbean cruise in months: Five passengers test positive for Covid-19
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

At least five passengers of the SeaDream 1 have tested positive for Covid-19. It's the first cruise ship taking passengers on a cruise since Covid-19 shut down the cruise industry. The ship left Barbados on Saturday and had traveled to Saint Vincent, Canouan Island, and Tobago Cays, according to Gene Sloan from Points Guy.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
9,262 new Covid-19 infections in Austria

Austria has recorded 9,262 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, including late reports of new infections from the last few days due to technical problems in the reporting system.

Health Minister Rudolf Anschober appeals to operators and customers of shopping centers to adhere to Covid-19 regulations, after pictures of people crowded together in shopping centers surfaced.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU to buy 300 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
EU to buy 300 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: unsplash.com / GR Stocks

The European Union will sign a fourth contract with the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and their German lab partner BioNTech to procure up to 300 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, if proven to be safe and effective against the virus.

"As a company founded in the heart of Europe, we are looking forward to supplying millions of people upon regulatory approval," so BioNTech's CEO Ugur Sahin in a statement Wednesday. On Tuesday, Sahin said on a call with reporters that said BioNTech's goal is to ramp up production of their vaccine candidate in the hopes of manufacture up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany: Hotel violates Covid-19 measures
Germany: Hotel violates Covid-19 measures
Credit: unsplash.com / @felipepelaquim

After a police operation in a Cologne hotel due to fraud, the deployed officers had to find out that the Covid-19 measures had apparently been violated. In addition to the practice of prostitution (prohibited), rooms were probably also rented for tourist purposes (also prohibited). The police called in the public order office and made reports against hotel guests and the operator.

Health
UK first country within Europe to surpass 50,000 COVID-19 related deaths
UK first country within Europe to surpass 50,000 COVID-19 related deaths
Credit: unsplash.com / Chris Lawton

According to the latest Government figures, the UK has become the first country within Europe to pass the bleak mark of 50,000 deaths related to the coronavirus.

Passing this mark, the UK joins as the 5th member of the 'over 50,000' club with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

Since the coronavirus began, there have been over 1.2 million confirmed cases within the UK and more than 185,000 hospital admissions.

Reacting to the news, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we are not out of the woods". "Every death is a tragedy," he added, "I do think we have got now to a different phase in the way that we treat it."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Literature
Collins Dictionary Names Word of the Year 2020
Sign with the word "Lockdown"
Sign with the word "Lockdown" Credit: unsplash.com / Go to Matt Seymour's profile Matt Seymour

Collins Dictionary has revealed its word of the year for 2020, and you guessed it, it's coronavirus related!

The dictionary printer has named "Lockdown" as word of the year is they've seen a 6,000% increase in its use. Compared to 2019 where there were only 4,000 recorded instances of the word being used, 2020 has seen it already soar past the quarter of a million mark - and still with the rest of November and December to go.

Health
Study: One in five recovered Covid-19 patients develop cognitive deficits
Study: One in five recovered Covid-19 patients develop cognitive deficits
Credit: unsplash.com / Nik Shuliahin

Researchers from Britain’s Oxford University have found that 20% of Covid-19 patients are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days. The study analyzed over 62,000 cases of Covid-19 in the United States and has been published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

Mental health specialists not directly involved with the study evaluated the findings and stated that it adds to growing evidence that Covid-19 can increase the risk of a range of psychiatric illnesses as it can affect the brain and mind. People who had recovered, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits when controlling for age, gender, education level, income, racial-ethnic group and pre-existing medical disorders.

Health
Danish Government admit mink cull 'had no legal basis'
Danish Government admit mink cull 'had no legal basis'
Credit: Dzīvnieku brīvība / via Wikimedia Commons

In news that has angered many Animal activists, the Government of Denmark have admitted that their mink cull had no legal basis.

Denmark's Prime Minister, Mette Fredericksen, admitted to the Danish Parliament on Tuesday "Even if we were in a rush, it should have been completely clear to us that new legislation was required, and it was not. I apologise for that,".

With this news, the Government shall be putting forward legislation of their own to create the necessary legal basis to continue and 'back up' the mink culling.

The cull is expected to affect the mink fur market, with Denmark being the biggest producer of mink fur in the world.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU finalizes contract for Covid-19 vaccine
EU finalizes contract for Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: unsplash.com / Guillaume Périgois

The EU Commission has ended talks with the pharmaceutical companies Biontech and Pfizer on the supply of a corona vaccine. The vaccine developed by them prevents in more than 90 percent of cases a disease caused by the corona virus Covid-19, the pharmaceutical companies had announced.

According to the German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn, the EU has also already concluded agreements with the pharmaceutical companies Astra Zeneca and Sanofi, which are also working on corona vaccines.

Regional News • Europe
Portugal and Hungary impose partial lockdown

Portugal and Hungary are imposing stricter Covid-19 measures, including a night curfew. While Hungary's curfew will run from 8pm to 5am, Portugal's curfew is set to run from 11pm to 5am on weekdays and from 1pm to 5am on weekends.