To provide estimates of coronavirus (COVID-19) positivity over the Christmas period, we have published headline results in a shortened version of our usual release.
In England, the percentage of people testing positive continued to increase; we estimate that 2,024,700 people in England had coronavirus (COVID-19) (95% credible interval: 1,951,200 to 2,096,300), equating to around 1 in 25 people.
In Wales, the percentage of people testing positive continued to increase; we estimate that 76,500 people in Wales had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 65,100 to 89,200), equating to around 1 in 40 people.
In Northern Ireland, the percentage of people testing positive increased; we estimate that 47,500 people in Northern Ireland had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 37,800 to 58,600), equating to around 1 in 40 people.
In Scotland, the percentage of people testing positive continued to increase; we estimate that 135,400 people in Scotland had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 117,400 to 154,800), equating to around 1 in 40 people.
In England, COVID-19 infections increased across all age groups and were highest among those aged two years to school Year 6 and those aged 25 to 34 years; the high infections for those aged two years to school Year 6 are more likely to be compatible with the Delta variant, whereas the high infections for those aged 25 to 34 years are more likely to be compatible with the Omicron variant, as shown by separateanalysis.
COVID-19 infections increased across all regions of England, with the highest infection levels seen in London (1 in 15) and the lowest in the North East of England (1 in 45).
COVID-19 infections compatible with the Omicron variant continued to increase rapidly across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and Omicron is now the most common variant in England and Scotland.
Figure 1: COVID-19 infections compatible with the Omicron variant continued to increase rapidly across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland in the week ending 23 December 2021
Modelled percentage of positive cases compatible with the Delta variant, and compatible with the Omicron variant, based on nose and throat swabs, daily, 12 November to 23 December 2021, UK
All results are provisional and subject to revision.
These statistics refer to infections occurring in private households, and exclude infections reported in hospitals, care homes and/or other communal establishments.
Omicron variant-compatible positives are defined as those that are positive on the ORF1ab-gene and N-gene, but not the S-gene. Delta variant-compatible positives are defined as those that are positive on the ORF1ab, N-gene and S-gene, as well as gene patterns N+S and ORF1ab+S.
Data should be treated with caution. Not all cases positive on the S-gene will be the Delta variant, but some cases with pattern ORF1ab+N will also be the Delta variant where the S-gene was not detected for other reasons, such as low viral load.
#AceHealthReport – Dec.30: The number of people in hospital with the virus increased by 80 to 679 – the highest since the start of December – with 36 in intensive care.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says according to media news report #COVID19 in Scotland has recorded a high number of infections: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Omicron variant was spreading “rapidly” and now accounts for 80% of all cases.
She said further “steep increases” in infections are expected in the coming days and weeks.
However, no changes are to be made to restrictions in Scotland, with curbs expected to remain until 17 January.
Ms Sturgeon also said a decision about whether to reduce the 10-day self-isolation period would be made in the coming week.
Talks are also being held with the sports sector about the impact of the restrictions on large events like football matches.
Ms Sturgeon said: “There simply isn’t an easy trade-off between protecting health and protecting the economy.
“If Covid continues to spread rapidly, the economic impact in the form of staff absences and diminished consumer confidence will be severe. We’re already seeing those impacts. So doing nothing won’t help business.”
The data is jumping around a bit just now – in part because of reporting delays over Christmas but also strains in the system as more people come forward for tests.
Almost 16,000 daily positive cases is probably in tune with the central estimates of modellers but we could still see a sharp rise over the next few days as the data starts to catch up. It may be that the worst-case scenario has been avoided because people have adapted their behaviour even before restrictions were brought in.
For the first time in five days there is information on the numbers of people in hospital with Covid. It shows a small rise, but not a huge spike. Good news, but remember the early Omicron cases would largely be in young people who are less likely to become severely ill. We are still to see the impact of mixing across generations over Christmas.
Early data from London, which is a little ahead of the rest of UK, show hospital admissions with Omicron are lower – even in older age groups – and that the number of people needing intensive care is even less. It also appears that many cases are incidental, with patients admitted for something else and then testing positive.
But the experts continue to warn that even if Omicron is milder, a small proportion of a large number has the potential to cause major disruption for the NHS. Health and social care staff are exempt from 10-day isolation if they have a negative PCR test, but staff absences remain high, and it only takes a small increase in Covid patients for other care to be put on hold.
We still don’t know when the peak of this wave will hit, and how good boosters will be at protecting the most vulnerable. Scientists will say it is still too early to draw any firm conclusions from the data.
Ms Sturgeon also said ministers were “weighing the risks and benefits” of shortening the isolation period for Covid patients.
The first minister said consideration was being given to matching this, and to potentially easing the requirement for household contacts to isolate – something which is not required in England for double-vaccinated household contacts.
She said any decision would be made in the coming week, and come into effect from 5 January.
Nicola Sturgeon gave the Covid update to a virtual session of the Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly called for the rules to be changed, saying they are causing staff shortages for key services.
A total of 3,316 NHS staff were absent in the week to 28 December for Covid-related reasons, the highest level of absences since March and close to double the 1,771 recorded at the end of November.
At Holyrood, Tory leader Douglas Ross called for immediate action, saying that “the first minister’s message on these essential changes is yet again to tune in next week”.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.21: The implant can be read by any device using the near-field communication (NFC) protocol – technology used for contactless payments and keyless entry systems.
#AceDailyNews says according to Mail Online News Report: Epicenter say it is a small-sized ‘Microchip Implant That Stores Your Coronavirus Plague Vaccine Passport Under Your Skin’ and can be read for use of contactless payments and any other private data records in the future using NFC Protocol.
In a video shared by Epicenter, Hannes Sjöblad, chief distribution officer, has the chip in his arm and simply waves a smartphone over it to pull up his vaccination status.
‘Implants are very versatile technology that can be used for many different things, and right now it is very convenient to have #COVID19 passport always accessible on your implant, he said in a statement.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.17: The Met has received a significant amount of material in relation to the allegations reported in the media. All the material has been considered by detectives in detail and it does not provide evidence of a breach of the Health Protection Regulations, but restates allegations made in the media. In line with our policy where we do not normally investigate breaches of these regulations when they are reported long after they are said to have taken place, unless there is evidence from the Cabinet Office or other evidence comes to light, the Met will not at this time commence an investigation.
#AceDailyNews MET Investigation Allegations of gatherings in November and December 2020 The Cabinet Office is looking into staff gatherings at Number 10 Downing Street and the Department For Education in November and December, 2020. The Met is in contact with the Cabinet Office in relation to this. If any evidence emerges of behaviour that is potentially a criminal offence it will be passed to the Met for further consideration.
16 December 2021 18:13
The Met is also aware of a gathering at an address in Matthew Parker Street, SW1 on 14 December 2020.
Officers will be making contact with two people who attended in relation to alleged breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations.
Throughout the pandemic the Met has followed the national 4 Es approach of enforcing the Coronavirus Regulations. Where live ongoing breaches of the restrictions were identified, officers engaged with those present, explained the current restrictions, encouraged people to adhere to them, and only as a last resort moved to enforcement.
In line with the Met’s policy, officers do not normally investigate breaches of Coronavirus Regulations when they are reported long after they are said to have taken place. However, if significant evidence suggesting a breach of the regulations becomes available, officers may review and consider it.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.12: According to court documents, Joshua J. Bellamy, 32, of St. Petersburg, Florida, a former NFL player, pleaded guilty on June 9 in the Southern District of Florida to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of the fraud scheme, Bellamy obtained a PPP loan of $1,246,565 for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, using falsified documents and false information. Bellamy admitted to using the PPP loan proceeds on personal items, such as jewelry, and a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Bellamy also sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates. Bellamy further admitted that he paid more than $311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application. In addition to his prison sentence, Bellamy was ordered to serve three years of supervised released and pay $1,246,565 in restitution and $1,246,565 in forfeiture.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: Florida Woman Also Sentenced in Same Scheme: A former National Football League (NFL) player was sentenced today to 37 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining over $1.2 million through a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the #Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
In addition, a Florida woman was sentenced on Dec. 9 to two years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining a PPP loan as part of this criminal scheme. According to court documents, Yashica Bain, 38, of Miramar, Florida, pleaded guilty on Sept. 30 in the Southern District of Florida to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of the fraud scheme, Bain obtained a PPP loan of $415,232 for her company, Microblading Brow Studio LLC, using falsified documents and false information. Bain used the PPP loan proceeds to enrich herself and others who never worked for her company. She falsely described those payments as “payroll” and “wages” to perpetrate this fraud. Bain admitted that she paid more than $28,000 to Stote as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application. In addition to her prison sentence, Bain was ordered to serve three years of supervised released and pay $415,232 in restitution and $415,232 in forfeiture.
Stote was charged by complaint on June 24, 2020, with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. His case remains pending.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael J. De Palma of the IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Miami Field Office; Acting Assistant Director Jay Greenberg of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) Eastern Region made the announcement.
IRS-CI, the FBI, and SBA-OIG investigated the cases.
Trial Attorney Philip Trout of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Turken and Yisel Valdes of the Southern District of Florida prosecuted the cases.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP. Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases and has seized over $75 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Unvaccinated travellers are often given the option of self-isolating on arrival.
Ghana’s land and sea borders have been closed to passenger traffic since restrictions were first introduced at the start of the pandemic.
Alongside the new measures, Ghanaian authorities will also still insist that all arrivals present a negative PCR test.
All Ghanaians flying out of the country will also need to be fully vaccinated.
This means that a Ghanaian national who is not currently vaccinated but gets a jab at the airport would have to wait until getting a second dose before they were able to fly out, unless they got a Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an eight- to 12-week gap between the first and second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and a 21- to 28-day gap between the two Pfizer shots. The Moderna and Sputnik V also require two doses for maximum immunity.
Less than 10% of Ghana’s population have currently been vaccinated.
Ghana’s authorities have expressed concern about the low vaccination rates and they are particularly worried about the new Omicron variant among international arrivals.
“The expected increase during the festive season calls for urgent actions to prevent a major surge in Covid-19 cases in Ghana,” the head of the Ghana Health Service, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said in a statement.
He said that over the last two weeks, cases detected at Ghana’s main airport, Kotoka, accounted for about 60% of all confirmed Covid cases in the country.
The authorities plan to ramp up efforts to immunize the population in January, by making it compulsory for government employees, students and health workers to get the vaccine.
Vaccine passports will also be required to enter venues with large crowds like nightclubs and sports stadiums.
Since the start of the pandemic, Ghana has reported 131,246 cases and 1,228 Covid fatalities.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.07: Officers intercepted the van he was driving on 21 April 2020 on the A56 Chester Road in Manchester: They found blocks containing approximately two kilos of cocaine and £150,000 in cash hidden in a void in the floor of the vehicle.The drugs would have had a street value of almost £160,000 if cut and sold on the streets: NCA investigators later charged Grundy with possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and money laundering offences:
#AceDailyNews Court News Report: Cocaine and cash in van lands Barnsley man with 2 year 8 month sentence: After 50-year-old Darren Grundy from Birdwell in Barnsley was arrested during the height of the 2020 #Coronavirus lockdown, after information was passed by the NCA to Greater Manchester Police.
At Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday 3 November he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison on Thursday 3 December: A confiscation hearing will be held in May 2022 for the £150,000 in cash and a house in Barnsley.
NCA Branch Commander Martin Clarke said:
“Organised crime groups rely on people like Grundy to move their product and money around. He was obviously trusted by his criminal contacts to do this with large amounts of both cash and drugs.
“Through swift working with our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police, we were able to seize both, and prevent profits being re-invested in further criminality.”
#AceHealthReport – Nov.29: Pfizer & BioNTech is ready to adapt an existing vaccine from coronavirus to a new strain. The company is waiting for a large amount of laboratory test data no later than two weeks to confirm that the strain requires adjustments to the vaccine production technology.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna develop vaccines against new dangerous #COVID19 strain “OMICRON” PCR test does not detect any of the genes of the new strain: This was reported by CNBC .
The Johnson & Johnson; and AstraZeneca is already conducting research at the sites of the first Omicron outbreaks.
Moderna said Friday that the combination of mutations in the new strain “has a significant potential risk of accelerating the weakening of natural and vaccine-induced immunity.”
The company explained that the only way to somehow protect themselves from the risks of “omicron” while there is a third booster dose of injection. The Moderna study will involve volunteers who have received the third dose of the vaccine.
The new strain has a large number of mutations, some of which are of concern to the WHO. It was first reported by the World Health Organization in South Africa on November 24.
Preliminary data collected by experts indicate an increased risk of re-infection with this option compared to others. The number of cases of this option is increasing in almost all provinces of South Africa.
PCR test does not detect any of the genes of the new strain.
#AceHealthReport – Nov.29: The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.
The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) is an independent group of experts that periodically monitors and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assesses if specific mutations and combinations of mutations alter the behaviour of the virus.
26 November 2021
The TAG-VE was convened on 26 November 2021 to assess the SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529.
This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.
There are a number of studies underway and the TAG-VE will continue to evaluate this variant. WHO will communicate new findings with Member States and to the public as needed.
Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC, and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron.
As such, countries are asked to do the following:
enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.
submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database, such as GISAID.
report initial cases/clusters associated with VOC infection to WHO through the IHR mechanism.
where capacity exists and in coordination with the international community, perform field investigations and laboratory assessments to improve understanding of the potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19 epidemiology, severity, effectiveness of public health and social measures, diagnostic methods, immune responses, antibody neutralization, or other relevant characteristics.
Individuals are reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.
For reference,WHO has working definitions for SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Interest (VOI) and Variant of Concern (VOC).
A SARS-CoV-2 VOI is a SARS-CoV-2 variant:
with genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape; AND
that has been identified as causing significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time, or other apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health.
A SARS-CoV-2 VOC is a SARS-CoV-2 variant that meets the definition of a VOI (see above) and, through a comparative assessment, has been demonstrated to be associated with one or more of the following changes at a degree of global public health significance:
increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology; OR
increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation; OR
decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says here is the ONS Health News Report: This bulletin focuses on long-term international migration. For consistency, we have continued to use the UN definition of a long-term migrant: a person who moves to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for at least a year…..
Development of migration statistics
However, we acknowledge that the UN definition has its limits when applied to the extremely unusual circumstances of 2020, when it was very difficult for people to make definite plans. People may have wished to migrate to or from the UK but found themselves prevented from doing so by border restrictions.
Since the pandemic there is increasing interest in who is resident in the country at any given point in time. In a society where people are increasingly mobile, the definitions we currently use are becoming less useful for some purposes. Therefore, we are exploring how we can use alternative definitions of international migration alongside the UN definition in future. In 2022, we will consult users on which definitions would best meet their needs.
Impact of Brexit on international migration
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 and was in a “transition period” until 31 December 2020. During the transition period, the UK continued to be part of the customs union and the single market, and people could migrate between the UK and the EU without needing a visa.
The extent and nature of the impact of Brexit upon people’s migration decisions during 2020 is currently unknown.
Overview of migration statistics transformation
Traditionally, the International Passenger Survey (IPS) was the main source for estimating international migration to and from the UK. However, we had long acknowledged that the IPS had been stretched beyond its original purpose and that we needed to consider all available sources to understand international migration.
In March 2020, the IPS was suspended because of the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In response, we have accelerated our work to transform how migration is measured and are moving towards producing administrative data-based migration estimates, supported by statistical modelling. While the IPS resumed operation in January 2021, the decision was taken and announced in the August 2020 Migration Statistics Quarterly Report (MSQR) that going forward we would continue to focus on developing methods for measuring international migration using administrative data and statistical modelling, given the limitations of the IPS.
This bulletin forms part of a suite of international migration releases:
a blog explaining what can be interpreted from these experimental statistics, why they shouldn’t be compared to population figures and ongoing improvements to build and refine them
The results of Census 2021 will also be published next year. These will help us further understand the quality of the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS’) published migration estimates.!
These are the latest official estimates of international migration. However, they are derived from statistical modelling, entail a level of uncertainty, and are therefore badged as experimental. Back to table of contents
We continue to use a time series approach to model international migration during Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020. Detail on our original assumptions and methods is available in Section 8 of the Methodology Working Paper.
Modelled estimates for Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 2020 are provisional and subject to revision, as our models develop, and more data becomes available. Estimates for March and Quarter 2 2020 in this statistical bulletin have been revised in the light of data updates since April 2021.
As before, we used a Delphi approach to gather expert opinion on our model assumptions and modelled estimates. We invited experts to give their views on our assumptions and to provide any other evidence that we should consider in our models.
For non-EU migration the experts were in favour of our modelled approach for Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 and revisions to March and Quarter (Apr to June) 2 2020. For EU and British migration, in the absence of alternative timely data, we continue to model immigration and emigration using non-EU migration trends based on Home Office Exit Checks data. For EU we have incorporated an additional adjustment to the model using the ratio of EU and non-EU IPS data. For British we model immigration (repatriation) using non-EU departure data, and vice-versa.
For Quarter 2 2020 we applied a travel options adjustment to reflect the different travel behaviours of non-EU and EU migrants. This considered increased opportunities for EU migrants to come to the UK or return home than non-EU migrants, given the continued operation of cross-channel travel services when air travel was virtually halted from April 2020. We have implemented the experts’ suggestion to turn off this adjustment from July 2020, when the proportion of cross-Channel travel (rail and ferry) reduced as air travel resumed near normal proportions.
The figures published in this bulletin are based on experimental statistical modelling. We will continue to develop and update our models for international migration. We are currently exploring the use of Home Office data on European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and Department for Work and Pensions Registration and Population Interaction Database (RAPID) and other data sources. We aim to introduce RAPID data to improve modelled estimates of EU migration for provisional data covering 2021 Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 published by March 2022. At the same time, we anticipate revisions to 2020 Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 to account for this new data source. More information on our progress towards bringing together provisional modelled and observed estimates of migration using administrative data sources, and our future approach to revisions will be published in our statistical design article.Back to table of contents
#AceNewsReport – Oct.09: The incident occurred on a Eurostar service that was traveling from Paris Gare du Nord to St. Pancras on Thursday afternoon but was halted in Lille after a train manager reportedly got into an aggressive argument with a man over his face mask, according to passengers.
#AceDailyNews says according to a RT News report: Armed police drag passenger off Eurostar train after staff member accused him of wearing the ‘wrong type of mask’ and it turned into an aggressive argument ….
Following the confrontation, the manager stated that they would be informing the police at Lille for his failure to follow Covid regulations, with the train making an emergency, unscheduled stop at the station where eight officers forcibly removed the passenger. As he left the train, the passenger, thought to be in his 40s, claimed he had been accused of “not wearing the right type of mask” and would now “be left alone in France,”calling it “very cruel treatment.”
Train manager told the police to arrest the poor guy and when asked by the press why they arrested him they said “Je ne sais pas”https://t.co/w7wHOqbceu— Bones Terwilliger 🟨 🟥 (@DrStedx) October 8, 2021
A spokesperson for Eurostar defended the response to the situation, claiming that “the passenger became aggressive and intimidating toward the on-board team” after they reminded him of their rule on mask wearing and, as a result, he “was asked to leave the train at Lille station.”In accordance with the company’s “normal procedure” police officers were called “to attend and assist.”
French police confirmed the man had been arrested over the incident on the train but provided no further update on the situation.
Eurostar states on its website that all passengers must wear a face covering on its trains, even if they have been fully vaccinated, with those who fail to comply potentially being refused travel. The company’s guidelines don’t state what type of mask is required, only that it must cover the mouth and nose of passengers.
#AceHealthReport – Oct.05: Researchers determined that the waning immunity had to do with the amount of time since an individual was given the second shot rather than due to the highly infectious delta strain.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – The Pfizer-funded study found that Pfizer’s vaccine was 88 percent effective in the first month after full vaccination but dropped to 47 percent effectiveness at about six months: The vaccine was also found to be highly effective against the delta variant, which was found to be over 90 percent effective in the first months before dropping to 53 percent effectiveness after four months…
“Our results provide support for high effectiveness of [Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine] against hospital admissions up until around 6 months after being fully vaccinated, even in the face of widespread dissemination of the delta variant,” the researchers wrote. “Reduction in vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infections over time is probably primarily due to waning immunity with time rather than the delta variant escaping vaccine protection.”
Protection against hospital admission remained high throughout, being 93 percent effective up to six months after administration.
For the study, researchers looked at the electronic records of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) health care system, looking at all the system’s patients ages 12 and up. Researchers looked at 3.4 million people in the KPSC health care system that they studied from December 2020 to last August.
Researchers determined that individuals fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had an overall 73 percent effective protection against COVID-19 infection and a 90 percent effective protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization.
“Our results reiterate in a real-world US setting that vaccination with [the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine] remains an essential tool for preventing COVID-19, especially COVID-19-associated hospital admissions, caused by all current variants of concern,” they wrote.
The results of these studies reiterate findings from Pfizer and BioNTechthat were released in July. The preprint study found that the vaccine’s effectiveness reached a peak of 96.2 percent within two months after the second dose, with the shot’s effectiveness found at the time to decrease by about 6 percentage points every two months afterwards.
The results of this study come out just weeks after the Food and Drug Administration approved a booster dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for the elderly and those at high risk of infection, with the decision made in light of earlier data that suggested the vaccine efficacy fell after some months.
“We believe boosters have an important role to play in addressing the continued threat of this disease, alongside efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said at the time.
#AceNewsReport – Oct.01: Starting Friday, individuals in the city are asked to use 311 when reporting crimes that are either no longer in process, when the suspect is no longer on the scene, or when there is no immediate threat to life or property, according to the Austin Police Department.
#AceDailyNews says according to David Aaro of Fox News crimes that could be considered nonemergencies include, theft, and burglary of a residence, business, or vehicle, police said: Reports gathered by 311, or online at ireportaustin.com, will still be given to investigators – and detectives will follow up on them when they are able to do so, Chacon said in effort they say to reduce exposure to #Coronavirus
“Please understand, if somebody is in danger, we’re still going to send a marked unit and a uniformed officer to go handle it,” interim police chief Joseph Chacon explained Wednesday, according to KXAN-TV. “But for crimes that may have already happened and are now being reported, we are looking at alternative measures, and that’s what we’re working on now.”
Chacon said the changes come amid recent staffing challenges, reimagining public safety task force recommendations, and its review of its patrol COVID-19 mitigation protocols, which started May 2020.
The department said it was trying to reduce coronavirus exposure risk for the public and sworn police officers, who will no longer be responding to those nonemergency calls, FOX 7 Austin reported.
“I feel like, in many areas, not just obviously in our sworn officers on the street, but with our property crime technicians in forensics and in our Austin 311 call center, we are experiencing staffing shortages, and, so, I think that I’m going to ask for a little bit of patience. Many times people do have to wait on hold when they’re calling 311 in order to make that report,” the interim chief said.
“If an officer is not necessarily needed, in other words, this is a crime that obviously has already been committed, and we can still get a property crime technician there to take photos, to be able to gather the evidence and to provide a case number and a way to follow up to a victim of a crime, then that may be the most appropriate way, actually, to handle it so that I can free my officers up to keep answering the emergency calls for service where we have a violent crime and people that are actively engaged in criminal activity,” he added.
Crimes that could be considered nonemergencies include theft, suspicious person or vehicle, verbal disputes, prostitution, animal services, and burglary of a residence, business, or vehicle, police said.
“Again, if any on that list are still in progress, and there is an immediate threat to public safety, then a call to 911 is appropriate, and we will dispatch an officer,” Chacon noted.
Last month, a North Carolina man said his daughter was in Austin for a bachelorette party with friends when the home they were renting was burglarized, KXAN-TV reported.
“They proceeded to call the police and were referred to 311, who instructed them to start an online report. And no law enforcement official arrived at the location,” Darin Short explained.
After not hearing back for weeks, he said they received a call Wednesday afternoon saying an officer should contact them within 48 hours, according to the station.
He added that the nonemergency response could be reevaluated if the department is able to fill empty officer positions.
“We’re going to be seeking input into that area from our community stakeholders, from City Council, from community members at large in the coming months to see how they want those police services delivered, and then we’ll be able to determine how many officers we really need,” said Chacon.
If someone is unsure whether a specific call is an emergency, they should still call 911, the chief noted.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.11: Maura McGoldrick, 21, received her first dose in London and her second in Glasgow, where she lives: However, her vaccination record only shows her having received one dose: The fourth-year student at the University of Edinburgh is concerned others may be similarly affected: The Scottish government said it had been working to “align” vaccination data from across the UK.
With some saying they are double-vaccinated but can’t show the proof’ as a number of people including this woman who was vaccinated in England and Scotland says she cannot get an accurate vaccination certificate because of issues with data-sharing across health services.
It has only recently been made available in the form of a QR code – despite a digital passport being widely used across Europe for months.
While travelling to London over the summer, Ms McGoldrick said she heard news of the push for young people to visit drop-in vaccine clinics – and attended a local clinic the following day.
She said the medics at the centre were unable to find her NHS records, but took her name and address and gave her a card which stated the batch of the vaccine she had just received.
Maura McGoldrickNHS England issue patients with cards detailing the vaccine batch number
To be safe, Ms McGoldrick said she quickly phoned NHS Inform to let them know she had received her first jab outside of Scotland and was told her records would be updated.
However, when she received her second dose in Glasgow in August, she was told the first dose was missing from her medical records.
She requested her vaccine certificate by post and, again, the document showed one dose issued in Glasgow.
“Because there have been other things going on, it’s just compounded general stress and been emotionally draining,” said Ms McGoldrick.
“I know rationally it’s not the end of the world and I’m very privileged even to just have the vaccine.
“But I’m now at the stage where there is no-one else for me to call, no more leads for me to pursue – it’s a bit of a hopeless situation.”
Ms McGoldrick has spent more than two weeks calling NHS Inform and her GP in order to resolve the matter: She said her GP managed to acquire information on her vaccination in London.However, she said NHS Inform staff told her there was no data-sharing mechanism between them and NHS England and they would need to request the information from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.The Scottish government then refuted the claim about data sharing, saying it has worked to “align” vaccination records from different UK nations.A spokesperson said: “We are aware some people have encountered problems but it’s untrue to say there is no data-sharing and we are working closely with other nations to resolve the issue. “We have a process in place for sharing data between England and Scotland and continue to work with international stakeholders to improve the transfer of data across borders.”Updated NHS Inform guidance contains guidance on what to do if you have been vaccinated abroad or have been vaccinated in different parts of the UK.” What does the NHS say about vaccine status and the Common Travel Area?
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde gave the BBC contradictory information, saying that NHS Scotland certificates “can only contain information on vaccines administered in Scotland”.It has not responded to a further query.Ms McGoldrick is currently trying to get the health board to share her GP’s information with NHS Inform – but said other people in her position may not be able to chase it up.She said: “Selfishly speaking, I’m trying to sort this out for myself but I’m in the fortunate position where I have time to chase this up.”
But I know there are other people in the same position – NHS Inform said they had other people call about this but assumed they sorted it out: People have probably just given up as it will take more time and effort that they have to give right now.”
Vaccine certificates with QR codes are widely used across European countries: A a result of her vaccine status issue, Ms McGoldrick has postponed her October plans to travel to Copenhagen – partly for leisure, but also to do work experience related to her university course in international relations.She said she thought she was doing the right thing by getting her vaccine as quickly as possible, but the bureaucracy and cancelled plans that resulted had been a “bit of a blow”.”It’s the fact that we’ve been cooped up for so long,” she said. “I felt when I got two doses I had done everything I was supposed to do.”
#AceHealthReport – Sept.02: The plans will apply to indoor and outdoor events, and will need to be signed off by MSPs next week: Ms Sturgeon said the move was needed to help stem the recent surge in the number of cases…..
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that Nicola Sturgeon with support from Greens in their Power-Sharing have agreed to the need for vaccine passports for large events she said in Holyrood on Wednesday as a further 6,107 people have tested positive, with the number of people in hospital doubling in the past 10 days and several areas of Scotland are among the regions with the highest rates of the virus in Europe.
The new vaccine certification rules mean people over the age of 18 will need to show they have had both doses of the vaccine before they are allowed entry to:
Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues.
Unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience.
Unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience.
Any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance.
He added: “It’s not clear what IT infrastructure will be in place, what time-scales clubs will be asked to work to, or what can be done for those without smart phones.
“And it’s not clear if it’s going to cut across terms and conditions of seasons tickets already bought by people across the land.”
Ms Sturgeon said the hospitality industry as a whole would not be included in the certification scheme – although that decision would be kept under review.
And there are no plans to include key services or settings where people have no choice over attendance – such as shops, public transport, education and medical services.
Anyone who has good reasons for not getting fully vaccinated – including children and people with particular medical conditions – will be exempt.
People can already request a paper copy of their vaccination record to allow them to travel, and from Friday they will be provided with a QR code so they can download a copy of the record to keep on their phone.
Paper copies of vaccine certificates are already available for people who have been fully vaccinated
A similar scheme will be introduced in England at the end of this month, with people needing to have a “Covid pass” to access “higher risk” settings such as nightclubs.
Several other European countries – including France, Italy and Ireland – have already introduced certification.
Scotland’s health secretary, Humza Yousaf, said in July that he was “sceptical” about the case for vaccine passports, citing concerns that they “might increase the inequality gap, and there would be ethical issues”.
The country’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, also said he did not believe it was right to exclude people who do not want to be vaccinated after the UK government set out its plans to introduce passports in England.
In a statement at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that the certification scheme was now needed to “help protect individuals and the country as a whole and reduce the risk of further restrictions being necessary”.The first minister added: “Many of the events and venues that are covered by the certification scheme are important – they matter to our economy, and to our cultural and social life. “That’s why we want to enable them to stay open safely – but they are not essential services.”And the nature of them – which involves bringing many people together in relatively small areas – does mean that, despite their very best efforts, they can contribute significantly to the spread of the virus.”She also said it would be “grossly irresponsible” to rule out re-introducing further restrictions in the future.
The Scottish Greens are not keen on vaccine passports. The new minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, Patrick Harvie, has raised concerns about their introduction before.In July he argued vaccine certification “would deepen discrimination against those who have not yet been vaccinated”.
Today the party’s health spokesperson, Gillian Mackay, said it was essential the Scottish government ensures the introduction of vaccine certification doesn’t adversely affect disabled people, those with underlying health conditions and those from the global south who may not be able to access proof of vaccination. But the Greens are now in government. Vaccine certification isn’t specifically excluded in the co-operation agreement they signed with the SNP and so the Greens are bound by collective responsibility on this issue and will have to support it when it’s put to the vote at Holyrood.
The first minister said it was a “significant move” and would need to be signed off by MSPs, with a debate and vote to take place next week.However the SNP has a comfortable majority with the backing of the Scottish Greens – who have previously been opposed to the move – and the cooperation agreement between the two parties commits them to working together on Covid-related matters.
The Liberal Democrats were the only party to hit out directly against the plans following Ms Sturgeon’s statement, with leader Alex Cole-Hamilton saying vaccine passports were akin to “medical ID cards”, adding: “
This is an illiberal step”.Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the Scottish government had “wasted months” that could have been spent making preparations, and was now “introducing vaccine passports at the last minute”.He added: “It’s a striking u-turn from what John Swinney said last month, where he emphatically claimed vaccine passports were “the wrong way” to go. “We need businesses to get in-depth guidance around these certificates as soon as possible.
They should be involved in the process and the government needs to clarify whether they will be expected to police these new rules.”Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the virus was now out of control and Scotland – and claimed the government had no strategy to deal with it. Case levels in Scotland are 80% higher now than they were last week, and five times higher than they were four weeks ago.
The number of people in hospital has more than doubled since 20 August, from 312 to 629.Intensive care admissions have not risen as quickly, but have still gone up from 34 to 59 over the same timescale.Meanwhile 4,108,804 people have had a first dose of vaccine, and 3,691,066 have had two.That includes 95% of people over 40 who are now fully vaccinated, as well as 71% of 30 to 39-year-olds and 51% of 18 to 29-year-olds.The Federation of Small Businesses said the many affected firms would not welcome the certificate scheme – but would accept it as an alternative to stricter restrictions. But it said the system needed to be user-friendly for both businesses and the public, and warned against a “rush” to extend the scheme to other settings. The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said the scheme was a “threat hanging over the whole of the hospitality industry”, while the UK Hospitality Scotland said the move would “cause dismay amongst businesses” that had only recently been allowed to reopen.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.23: Anyone over 18 will be able to opt in when having a PCR test from Tuesday – of those who test positive, up to 8,000 will be sent two home antibody tests. ….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk reports #COVID19Antibody tests are to be widely offered to the UK public for the first time in a new programme that aims to find out more about how much natural protection people have after getting #coronavirus.
On Sunday the U.K. reported see below for latest figures after coming out of lockdown recently as U.K. prepares to end furlough and everyone can return to normal life ?
The government scheme will offer tests to thousands of adults each day.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it would be quick and easy to take part.
The first of the finger-prick tests would have to be done as soon as possible after the positive result, so the body would not have time to generate a detectable antibody response to the infection.
The second would be taken 28 days later and measure antibodies generated in response to the infection.
The UK Health Security Agency is to run the programme and will work alongside NHS test and trace services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to use results to monitor levels of antibodies in positive cases.
Its chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said the scheme would help the UK gain “vital insight” into the impact of the vaccination programme and immune responses to different variants.
Mr Javid said it would build on the “massive wall of defence” that was the vaccination programme and getting involved would help “strengthen our understanding of Covid-19 as we cautiously return to a more normal life”.
The Department of Health said as well as helping it improve understanding about antibody protection, the scheme could give information about any groups of people who did not develop an immune response after getting coronavirus.
Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed news of the study, saying: “It is vital that we have the fullest understanding possible of vaccine effectiveness and the immune response of the broader population.
“The rollout of this antibody testing study will help us achieve this and could play an important role in the battle to keep the virus under control.”
Antibody tests have been used previously in the UK during the pandemic but in limited numbers, largely on people involved in studies or surveys.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.22: Scammers are impersonating FTC Chair Lina Khan in a new phishing scheme. The email says the FTC wants to send you Coronavirus relief funds and tells you to send some personal information, like your name, address, and date of birth. The FTC is not distributing Coronavirus economic stimulus or relief money to people.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.13: Experts agree on several reasons why such a goal — where overall immunity in a population is reached and the spread of the virus is stopped — is not likely.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that Sir Andrew Pollard Head of Oxford Vaccine Group has said that ‘Herd Immunity’ from the #Coronavirus Plague’ is not possible with the Delta Variant according to CNBC and Holly Ellyatt
Sir Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told British lawmakers Tuesday that as Covid vaccines did not stop the spread of the virus entirely — with vaccinated people still able to be infected and transmit the virus — the idea of achieving herd immunity was “mythical.”
“I think we are in a situation here with this current variant where herd immunity is not a possibility because it still infects vaccinated individuals,” said Pollard, one of the lead researchers in the creation of the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine.
“And that does mean that anyone who’s still unvaccinated, at some point, will meet the virus. That might not be this month or next month, it might be next year, but at some point they will meet the virus and we don’t have anything that will stop that transmission.”
#AceHealthReport – Aug.08: Even people who have recovered from #COVID19 are being urged to get vaccinated, especially as the extra-contagious Delta variant surges, with a new study showing survivors who ignore the advice are more than twice as likely to get reinfected…..
The CDC recommends full vaccination, meaning both doses of two-dose vaccines for everyone: Cases & DataCases in US Last 30 DaysTotal Cases in US35,665,877Total Vaccines Administered350,627,188Deaths in US Last 30 DaysTotal Deaths in US614,291COVID DATA TRACKER
A report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds to growing laboratory evidence that people who have had one bout of COVID-19 get a dramatic boost in virus-fighting immune cells — and a bonus of broader protection against new mutants — when they’re vaccinated.
“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
“Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country.”
According to a new Gallup survey, one of the main reasons Americans cite for not planning to get vaccinated is the belief that they’re protected since they already had COVID-19.
From the beginning, health authorities have urged survivors to get the broader protection vaccination promises.
Scientists say infection does generally leave survivors protected against a serious reinfection, at least with a similar version of the virus, but blood tests have signalled that protection drops against worrisome variants.
The CDC study offers some real-world evidence.
Researchers studied Kentucky residents with a lab-confirmed coronavirus infection in 2020, the vast majority of them between October and December.
They compared 246 people who got reinfected in May or June of this year with 492 similar survivors who stayed healthy.
The survivors who never got vaccinated had a significantly higher risk of reinfection than those who were fully vaccinated, even though most had their first bout of COVID-19 just six to nine months ago.
A different variant of the coronavirus caused most illnesses in 2020, while the newer Alpha version was predominant in Kentucky in May and June, said study lead author Alyson Cavanaugh, a CDC disease detective working with that state’s health department.
That suggests natural immunity from earlier infection isn’t as strong as the boost those people can get from vaccination while the virus evolves, she said.
Scientists highlight ‘hybrid immunity’
There’s little information yet on reinfections with the newer delta variant.
But US health officials point to early data from Britain that the reinfection risk appears greater with delta than with the once-common Alpha variant, once people are six months past their prior infection.
“There’s no doubt” that vaccinating a COVID-19 survivor enhances both the amount and breadth of immunity “so that you cover not only the original (virus) but the variants,” Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, said at a recent White House briefing.
But in a separate study published Friday in JAMA Network Open, Rush University researchers reported just one vaccine dose gave the previously infected people a dramatic boost in virus-fighting immune cells, more than those who had never been infected got from two shots.
Other recent studies published in Science and Nature show the combination of a prior infection and vaccination also broadens the strength of people’s immunity against a changing virus.
It’s what virologist Shane Crotty of California’s La Jolla Institute for Immunology calls “hybrid immunity”.
Vaccinated survivors “can make antibodies that can recognise all kinds of variants, even if you were never exposed to the variant,” Dr Crotty said.
One warning for anyone thinking of skipping vaccination if they had a prior infection: the amount of natural immunity can vary from person to person, possibly depending on how sick they were to begin with.
The Rush University study found four of 29 previously infected people had no detectable antibodies before they were vaccinated and the vaccines worked for them just like they work for people who never had COVID-19.
Why do many of the previously infected have such a robust response to vaccination? It has to do with how the immune system develops multiple layers of protection.
After either vaccination or infection, the body develops antibodies that can fend off the coronavirus the next time it tries to invade. Those naturally wane over time.
If an infection sneaks past them, T cells help prevent serious illness by killing virus-infected cells — and memory B cells jump into action to make lots of new antibodies.
Those memory B cells don’t just make copies of the original antibodies.
In immune system boot camps called germinal centres, they also mutate antibody-producing genes to test out a range of those virus fighters, explained University of Pennsylvania immunologist John Wherry.
The result is essentially a library of antibody recipes that the body can choose from after future exposures — and that process is stronger when vaccination triggers the immune system’s original memory of fighting the actual virus.
With the Delta variant’s super infectiousness, getting vaccinated despite a prior infection “is more important now than it was before to be sure,” Dr Crotty said.
“The breadth of your antibodies and potency against variants is going to be far better than what you have right now.”
Johns Hopkins Doctor says #COVID19 vaccines ‘should not be required for all Americans’ as Unvaccinated people “pose no public health threat to those already immune.”
A professor at Johns Hopkins University is arguing that the one-size-fits-all approach to universal vaccination being pushed in the U.S. is misguided and based on bad science.
Marty Makary, a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, said in U.S. News and World Reports that “the notion that we have to vaccinate every living, walking American – and eventually every newborn – in order to control the pandemic is based on the false assumption that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is equally distributed in the population.”
“It’s not,” he continued. “We have always known that it’s very hard for the virus to hurt someone who is young and healthy. And that’s still the case. While vaccine requirements for health care workers make sense, we would never extend those requirements outside of health care for, say, the flu shot.”
Makary further pointed out that at least some individuals have already acquired natural immunity to COVID.
“Requiring the vaccine in people who are already immune with natural immunity has no scientific support,” he argued. “While vaccinating those people may be beneficial – and it’s a reasonable hypothesis that vaccination may bolster the longevity of their immunity – to argue dogmatically that they must get vaccinated has zero clinical outcome data to back it.”
“The goal of our pandemic response should be to reduce death, illness and disability,” he said, “but instead what you’re seeing is a movement that has morphed from being pro-vaccine to vaccine fanaticism at all costs.”
Malaysia: Has now become one of the hotspots in Asia, and saw a record of 17,786 new cases on 31 July and daily deaths at a record high of 219 on 2 August.The country has been experiencing shortages of beds, ventilators and oxygen.Despite being in lockdown, some citizens have taken to the streets to protest at the government’s handling of the pandemic.At the end of June, around 70% of the samples sequenced in Malaysia were linked to the Delta variant, according to Our World in Data………The proportion of Malaysians fully vaccinated is higher than in some of its neighbours – but is still at only 21% of the population.
Bangladesh: which has a long border with India, has experienced an upward trend in cases since mid-May.The Delta variant was detected in 100% of the tests sequenced in the country up to 12 July.Amid rising cases, the country had lifted curbs and lockdown ahead of a major religious festival in July.It re-imposed a stricter lockdown after the festivities, but has relaxed it again.July saw the highest number of cases and deaths since the pandemic began.Although it was earlier than many other countries in starting vaccinations, the rollout in Bangladesh has generally been slow: return to the capital, Dhaka, as restrictions easeIn April, Bangladesh was forced to suspend vaccinations because exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India were halted.The rollout has now resumed with supplies of China’s Sinopharm and the Pfizer vaccine provided through the global Covax vaccine sharing scheme.Less than 3% of the population of Bangladesh had been fully vaccinated as of 1 August.
Thailand: The country’s daily cases and deaths were at a record high on 31 July. The recent rise in cases and deaths in Thailand has been attributed in part to the Delta variant.The Thai government recently said that 60% of cases were linked to the Delta variant with the figure as high as 80% in the capital, Bangkok. The country had recently opened up to tourists, but the government has now announced strict curbs which will be imposed from 3 to 19 August in 29 provinces……………Health officials have said that 90% of hospital beds in Bangkok and 80% of beds nationwide are occupied, and the authorities are keeping increasing numbers of people in isolation at home if they have mild or no symptoms: Hospitals in Thailand are overwhelmed: Vaccinations rates have also remained low with at least 25 vaccination centres shutting due to shortages of vaccine supplies: Only a little over 5% of the population was fully vaccinated as of 25 July.
Pakistan: Case numbers have been rising sharply as the country undergoes another coronavirus surge, fuelled in part by the Delta variant.At the end of May, about a third of cases sequenced during the previous two weeks were recorded as being the Delta variant.The exact spread of the variant is difficult to map as Pakistan does not have the capacity to do lots of sequencing of coronavirus tests.The UK is offering support to Pakistan and other countries so that they can carry out more sequencing……..Some parts of the country have imposed lockdowns, but Pakistan has low levels of vaccination, allowing the virus to spread more easily.Less than 3% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Vietnam: The country had managed to keep Covid-19 under control through testing, effective contact tracing and border restrictions until April this year when the Delta variant was detected.Until early July, Vietnam had reported less than 100 deaths since the start of the pandemic in 2020, but that had risen to more than 1,300 by 1 August: Reuters: Vietnam has put restrictions in place in Ho Chi Minh and other citiesAround 85% of total coronavirus cases were reported in just the last month. The health minister recently said that that the Delta variant was “destroying all anti-pandemic achievements” – but it is unclear how many cases are linked to the Delta variant: Despite restrictions in place, cases continue to rise, with Ho Chi Minh City the worst affected area…..
The vaccination programme has moved very slowly with only 0.68% of the population fully vaccinated as of 1 August: Read more from Reality Check