After surge in COVID-19 cases, Spain reinstates restrictions

News Network
July 25, 2020

Madrid, Jul 25: Spain is witnessing a new surge in virus" coronavirus infections with nearly a thousand cases daily, a month after lifting the pandemic lockdown.

The country is reinstating both voluntary guidelines and mandatory restrictions that it had lifted on June 21, The Washington Post reported.

Spain on Wednesday reported over 224 outbreaks and 2,622 virus" coronavirus cases. According to a report in Washington Post, the new surge is attributed primarily to seasonal farmworkers, people attending family get-togethers and nightclub partyers.

On Thursday, the health ministry reported an additional 971 cases.

"The majority are related to fruit collection and also to the spaces where measures to avoid contact are relaxed," Spain Health Minister Salvador Illa told parliament. "We have to call on citizens to not lose respect for the virus not to be afraid of it, but not to lose respect for it either."

The government of Spain lifted all restrictions put in place to combat virus" coronavirus on June 21 and declared 'a new normal'. 

The virus" coronavirus pandemic till then had killed 24,000 people and infected more than 2,70,166.

Countries around the world are witnessing the second surge of virus" coronavirus. The resurgence could threaten the economic bounce Spain was hoping to get from vacationers eager for summer fun.

The surge in cases has been greatest in the northeastern region of Catalonia with more than 7,953 new confirmed cases since July 10.

Spain's National Epidemiological Survey has predicted that the rate of increase more than doubled in the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Catalan government reverted to pre-June 21 confinement rules in Barcelona and a dozen other municipalities in the metropolitan area, as well as in Figueras, Vilafant, La Noguera and Lleida.

Authorities have ordered bars and restaurants to limit indoor occupancy to 50 per cent, reduced sports to fewer than 10 people, closed night clubs and gyms and blocked some cultural activities.

The epidemiologist in charge of the region's biggest hospital warned in an interview last week with the Spanish daily El Pais that the situation in the agricultural hub of Lleida, located about 100 miles west of Barcelona, "had clearly gotten out of hand."

"Nobody foresaw that there would be a number of people coming from abroad to pick fruit in unfavourable conditions and that they might be infected," said epidemiologist Magda Campins of Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona. "And when the infections began to be detected, it was hard to keep tabs on the cases and their contacts because some of them, although they should have been in isolation, got away because they needed to earn money."

Catalonia's Department of Labour, Social Affairs and Family is using a hotel in Lleida to quarantine fruit workers who test positive for COVID-19 but are unable to isolate at home.

In the capital of Madrid, which was the epicentre during the pandemic's first wave in the spring, authorities reported 710 new cases in the past week. The use of face masks is widespread, but the region has shied away from making them mandatory in public.

Madrid's regional health secretary, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, defended that position while citing an uptick in infections in the under-40 age group. He told young people not to let down their guard.

"We can't take even one step backwards. Young people have to be aware of the responsibility they have," Ruiz Escudero said in a news conference Thursday. "I ask them to use the face mask and to maintain a safe distance."

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Tokyo, Sept 16: Japan's parliament on Wednesday elected Yoshihide Suga prime minister, with the former chief cabinet secretary expected to stick closely to policies championed by Shinzo Abe during his record-breaking tenure.

"According to the results, our house has decided to name Yoshihide Suga prime minister," lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima told parliament after the votes were counted.

Suga, 71, won an easy victory, taking 314 votes of 462 valid ballots cast in the lower house of parliament, where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds a commanding majority with its coalition partner.

He bowed deeply as lawmakers applauded following the announcement, but made no immediate comment.

He is expected to announce his cabinet later Wednesday, with local media reporting he will retain a number of ministers from Abe's government.

Suga has said he will prioritise keeping coronavirus infections under control and kickstarting Japan's economy, and has promised to continue Abe's key policy programmes.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Moscow, Sept 16: Russia's sovereign wealth fund has agreed to supply 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V, to Indian drug company Dr Reddy's Laboratories, the fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow speeds up plans to distribute its shot abroad.

The deal comes after the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine in India, which is a major consumer of Russian oil and arms.

Dr Reddy's, one of India's top pharmaceutical companies, will carry out Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine in India, pending regulatory approval, RDIF said in a statement.

Deliveries to India could begin in late 2020, it said, adding this was subject to the completion of trials and the vaccine's registration by regulatory authorities in India.

Russia was the first country to license a novel coronavirus vaccine before large-scale Phase III trials were complete, stirring concern among scientists and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the shot.

The Phase I and II results had shown promise, G V Prasad, co-chairman of Dr Reddy's, was cited in the RDIF statement as saying.

"Sputnik V vaccine could provide a credible option in our fight against COVID-19 in India," he said.

There was no detail about the price of the vaccine but RDIF has said previously it was not aiming at making a profit, just covering costs.

The agreement comes as India's coronavirus cases surged past 5 million on Wednesday, piling pressure on hospitals grappling with unreliable supplies of oxygen that they need to treat tens of thousands of critical patients.

India is only the second country in the world to cross the grim milestone and said this week it is considering granting an emergency authorisation for a vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces.

The RDIF has already reached vaccine supply deals with Kazakhstan, Brazil and Mexico. It has also signed a memorandum with the Saudi Chemical company.

Russia has billed Sputnik-V as the first vaccine against the coronavirus to be registered in the world. Phase III trials, involving at least 40,000 people, were launched in Russia on Aug. 26 but have yet to be completed.

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Agencies
September 26,2020

 

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Washington, Sept 27: The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 32.7 million, while the deaths have increased to more than 992,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Sunday morning, the total number of cases stood at 32,746,134 and the fatalities rose to 992,946, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 7,077,450 and 204,485, respectively, according to the CSSE.

ndia comes in the second place in terms of cases at 5,903,932, while the country's death toll soared to 93,379.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,717,991), Russia (1,138,509), Colombia (806,038), Peru (794,584), Mexico (726,431), Spain (716,481), Argentina (702,484), South Africa (669,498), France (552,454), Chile (455,979), Iran (443,086), the UK (431,816), Bangladesh (357,873), Iraq (345,969) and Saudi Arabia (332,790), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 141,406.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (76,243), the UK (42,060), Italy (35,818), Peru (32,037), France (31,675), Spain (31,232), Iran (25,394), Colombia (25,296), Russia (20,140), South Africa (16,376), Argentina (15,543), Chile (12,591), Ecuador (11,236) and Indonesia (10,308).

donesia (10,218).

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