(LONDON) #Coronavirus New Rapid Testing NudgeBox Report: Rolled out that can detect #COVID19 in 90-minutes w ill enable machines that process the tests come in desktop and palm versions and will be used in ‘ c are homes and pop-up labs’ as well as in existing facilities to test DNA next week #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Aug.03: New rapid tests that can detect coronavirus in just 90 minutes will start to be used in care homes and labs from next week: The two new types of test do not require trained health staff to operate them and can also pick up other winter viruses: Currently most results from tests carried out in-person are returned the following day, while home kits take longer:

#Coronavirus Report: New LamPore tests which detect #COVID19 in 90 minutes to be rolled out next week

It comes after the prime minister said he wants 500,000 coronavirus tests to be available every day by October.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The fact these tests can detect flu as well as COVID-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others.”

Boris Johnson says he wants 500,000 coronavirus tests to be available every day by October amid fears of possible further waves in the winter: 450,000 LamPORE tests will be made available to care homes and labs in England from next week, with millions more to come later in the year: The machines that process the tests come in desktop and palm versions and will be used in ‘pop-up labs’ as well as in existing facilities.

A new DNA test will also be rolled out with 5,000 Nudgebox machines given to hospitals across the UK from September: Eight London hospitals are already using the machines which analyse DNA in nose swabs to detect the virus.

#AceHealthDesk report ……………Published: Aug.03: 2020:

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus Travel Report: Government due to announced that anyone travelling to Spain will have to ‘ Quarantine ‘ for two weeks on their return its being reported by @SkyNews on Saturday an d this is the latest advice from U.K. government and will be update later #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.25: The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted………This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance :

English holidaymakers in Spain will have to quarantine on return after surprise change of policy: Published: July.25: 2020:
http://news.sky.com/story/english-holidaymakers-in-spain-will-have-to-quarantine-on-return-after-surprise-change-of-policy-12036188

#Coronavirus Travel Report: Travellers retuning from Spain to U.K. will have to ‘ Quarantine ‘ for two weeks it was reported on Saturday official statement later here’s what we know so far: news.

From 4 July, Spain is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel: This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks: Public Health England are monitoring recent reports of substantial increases in cases of COVID-19 in the regions of Aragon and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza and Barcelona). See Coronavirus section

On arrival, travellers entering Spain from the UK will not be required to self-isolate: However, they will be subject to the following three requirements:

  • Provide the Spanish Ministry of Health with mandatory contact information and any history of exposure to COVID-19 48 hours prior to travel
  • Temperature check
  • Undergo a visual health assessment

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.

Preparing for your return journey to the UK

If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:

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(WORLDWIDE) #Coronavirus #WHO Report: New cases of #COVID19 increase to a record of 259,000 it was reported on Saturday with a global death toll of over 600,000 according to the latest tally by John Hopkins University (JHU) the highest jump observed in US, Brazil, India, Russia and now South Africa becoming the 5th most afflicted country #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.19: The highest jumps in new confirmed infections were observed in the US, Brazil, India and South Africa: The Americas remain the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for more than half of the world’s 14 million infections: The US and Brazil are the most severely-hit countries with Washington reporting a new record increase of more than 74,000 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to over 3.5 million. More than 140,000 people have also lost their lives to the virus in the US: Infections are soaring in U.S. states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, fuelled by the haphazard lifting of lockdowns and the resistance of some Americans to wearing masks: The virus has also accelerated in Brazil and India where more than 2 million and 1 million cases have been reported respectively:

#Coronavirus Report: #WHO reports record rise of more than 259,000 new cases and over 600,000 deaths

1./ A record 24-hour surge of 38,902 new cases has taken India’s coronavirus total to 1,077,618 with the Health Ministry on Sunday also reporting 543 additional deaths for a total of 26,816.

2./ South Africa is now the fifth most-afflicted country in the world with more than 350,800 cases, which accounts for more than half of the total infections recorded on the African continent.

According to the WHO, there has been a 27 per cent increase in the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the African region in the week ending July 14. The vast majority — 76 per cent — were reported in South Africa: “The simple fact is that many South Africans are sitting ducks because they cannot comply with World ./ Health Organization protocols on improved hygiene and social distancing,” the foundation of former South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, warned in a statement.

Several European countries have meanwhile imposed lockdown measures in some parts fo the country following localised surges: In Spain, four million people in the region of Catalonia have been asked to stay at home and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Neighbour Portugal has extended a local lockdown in parts of Lisbon.

#AceHealthDesk report ………..Published: July.19: 2020:

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#covid19

(LONDON) #Coronavirus Report: Secretary Matt Hancock today has called for an ‘ Urgent Review ‘ into how #COVID19 deaths have been reported by PHE may have included people who tested positive mo nths before they died #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.17: Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for an urgent review into how coronavirus deaths have been recorded in England: It follows confirmation from Public Health England that reported deaths may have included people who tested positive months before they died: The other UK nations only include those who die within 28 days of a positive test: There have been 40,528 deaths linked to the virus in England:

#Coronavirus Report: Hancock calls for urgent review into #COVID19 death data in England provided by PHE

Prof Carl Heneghan from University of Oxford, who spotted the issue with the data, told the BBC there was “huge variation” in the numbers of daily deaths reported in England by PHE: While NHS England currently reports 30-35 deaths per day, Public Health England (PHE) data often shows double that or more, he said: The reason is that anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus but then died at a later date of another cause would still be included in PHE’s Covid-19 death figures: “By this PHE definition, no one with Covid in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness,” Prof Heneghan says…………”We need correct and accurate statistics so we can really understand the trend – otherwise it’s very difficult to know what’s going on,” he added:

“As we go into the winter, it will get incredibly confusing and concerning if you have an increase in deaths while you are still counting and combining deaths from within the first phase,” Prof Heneghan said: “This means we might be unable to detect early trends in rising deaths if we put them down to historical deaths due to the inadequacies of the current system.”

Figures release from PHE today show that just under 10% of coronavirus deaths in England happened more than 28 days after a positive test: In almost half of those cases, Covid-19 was recorded as the main cause of death.

What does this mean for England’s virus death toll?

This could explain why the daily death toll in England has remained higher than in other UK nations: Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales only include deaths in their daily count if someone died within 28 days of a positive test: But it doesn’t mean that most of England’s coronavirus deaths are counting errors: Statisticians say it’s better to look at death registrations that pick up coronavirus cases that were never confirmed by a lab test: And when you look at those figures, or deaths from all causes, England still has one of the highest deaths tolls in Europe and leading developed economies in the pandemic, to date.

Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, said there was no agreed method of counting deaths from Covid-19: “In England, we count all those that have died who had a positive Covid-19 test at any point, to ensure our data is as complete as possible: “We must remember that this is a new and emerging infection and there is increasing evidence of long-term health problems for some of those affected.”………”Now is the right time to review how deaths are calculated,” Dr Hopkins said.

Prof David Spiegelhalter, professor of the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, has called for the same systems for collecting data on deaths to be used across the UK: There are also concerns over the impact on a potential second wave.

#AceHealthDesk report ………..Published: July.17: 2020:

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(JOHANNESBURG, S.A.) #Coronavirus Report: #COVID19 pandemic is reaching “full speed,” with over 500,000 cases the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention chief said Thursday, while an official who said a single province is preparing 1.5 million graves but officials flatly deny that saying the province has enough land for that many #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.11: Just a day after confirmed coronavirus cases across Africa surpassed the half-million milestone the total was over 522,000 and climbing, with more than 12,000 deaths: With testing levels low, the real numbers are unknown: South Africa has the most confirmed cases with over 224,000, and for the first time Gauteng province — home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria — has the country’s most cases with over 75,000, or 33%……………..Provincial official Bandile Masuku, a medical doctor, startled South Africans when he told reporters Wednesday that Gauteng is preparing over 1.5 million graves. “It’s a reality that we need to deal with,” he said, and it’s the public’s responsibility “to make sure that we don’t get there.

#Coronavirus Report: #COVID19 cases rise to more than 500,000 South Africa on Thursday with officials saying they are preparing many graves flatly denied by officials:

But the province in a statement Thursday sought to calm fears, saying it “does not have over a million already open dug graves” and clarified that the official was saying the province has enough space for that many: It also said six members of Gauteng’s COVID-19 War Room have tested positive for the virus:

Modelling has shown that South Africa will have nowhere close to that many deaths in the months ahead. Several models forecast between 40,000 and 80,000 by the end of the year: Asked about the graves, Africa CDC chief John Nkengasong said “there’s absolutely no harm to think ahead” and prepare for the “worst-case scenario.”’We’ve crossed a critical number here,” he said of the half-million milestone. “Our pandemic is getting full speed.”He called for more mask-wearing, saying “this battle will be won or lost at the community level.” He also called for more testing, as just 5.7 million tests for the new virus have been conducted across the continent of 1.3 billion people.With painful memories of many people dying in Africa while waiting for accessible HIV drugs years ago, the Africa CDC on Thursday launched a consortium aimed at securing more than 10 late-stage COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials on the continent as early as possible.“We want to be sure we don’t find ourselves in the 1996 scenario where HIV drugs were available but it took almost seven years for those drugs to be accessible on the continent,” Nkengasong said.With any COVID-19 vaccine, a “delay in Africa of even one year would be catastrophic,” he said.

He said the new consortium of African institutions will engage with the GAVI vaccine alliance and other entities outside the continent amid efforts to ensure that a vaccine is distributed equitably from the start: Those efforts are challenged by the United States and others assertively making deals with vaccine makers to secure supplies in advance.The African Union last month said governments around the world should “remove all obstacles” to swift and equitable distribution of any successful COVID-19 vaccine, including by making all intellectual property and technologies immediately available.Africa in recent days has begun taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trials in the face of increasing misinformation on the continent.

Trials have begun in South Africa and Egypt, but Nkengasong said a “continent of 1.3 billion people deserves more than just two countries participating.”A vaccine “is the only weapon to allow our lives to return to normal,” he said.Conducting clinical trials in Africa is crucial to see how a vaccine performs in a local context — “extremely important,” the World Health Organization’s Africa chief, Matshidiso Moeti, told reporters Thursday.

Many life-saving vaccines have lagged between five and 20 years from the time they become available in high-income countries to when they’re available in low-income ones: That’s in part because local data is lacking, said Shabir Madhi, principal investigator of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial in South Africa.Africa has some 17% of cases

#AceNewsDesk reports, [Jul 9, 2020 at 21:31] https://t.me/acenewsgroup/1022992

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(TEXAS) #Coronavirus Social Distancing Report: Texas Medical Association Report: Ranks activities of people that poses a much higher risk of contracting #COVID19 than opening the mail or getting takeout, according to a list of 1-10 ranked doctors #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.08: The Texas Medical Association, which is made up of 53,000 physicians and medical students across the state, released the list that ranks how risky an activity is regarding #COVID19 on a scale of one to 10:

Daily Mail: Click here to read more: Churches Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases

According to the list, going to a bar, attending a religious service with 500 plus people or going to a large music concert or sports event are the most high risk activities for exposure to #coronavirus

Visiting a movie theater, amusement park, a gym or eating at a buffet follow closely behind.

Hugging or shaking hands with a friend falls into the moderate-high risk category.

Also in that category is traveling on a plane, going to a wedding or funeral, visiting a hair salon or barber and eating inside a restaurant.

At the other end of the scale, opening the mail, getting takeout and pumping gas are considered low risk.

Grocery shopping, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, eating at an outdoor restaurant and spending an hour at a playground would be a low-moderate risk, according to the list.

The medical professionals who compiled the list ranked each activity based on the ability to social distance.

#AceHealthDesk report ………………Published: July.08: 2020:

(CAIRO, Egypt.) #Coronavirus FreeSpeech Report: Its not just journalists that have to fear el-Sisi rule in the country but EFF has been monitoring latest developments and since the #pandemic bloggers and activists trying to get the #truth have been harassed, detained, arrested and jailed without trial as Supreme Council for Media Regulation has banned the publishing of any data that contradicts the Ministry of Health’s official data #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.04: For years, EFF has been monitoring a dangerous situation in Egypt: journalists, bloggers, and activists have been harassed, detained, arrested, and jailed, sometimes without trial, in increasing numbers by the Sisi regime: Since the #COVID19 pandemic began, these incidents have skyrocketed, affecting free expression both online and offline: 

Egypt has confirmed 1,566 new coronavirus cases and 83 new deaths today, raising the country’s total to 66,754 with 2,872 confirmed deaths: DataTrackers Covid19 Coronavirus Updates, [Jun 30, 2020 at 06:09] https://t.me/datatrackers/19457: 

Despite the WHO’S dire warning of the Middle East’s “critical threshold”, Egypt has restarted international flights and reopened major tourist attractions including the Great Pyramids of Giza after more than three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic Reuters reports: 
The country closed its airports to scheduled international flights and shut famous historical sites in mid-March as the government looked to curb the spread of the virus 12.41am BST: The Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19, and is at a “critical threshold”, the World Health Organisation has warned: https://clck.ru/PPQUT 

#Coronavirus Report: Egypt’s    Crackdown on ‘ Free Expression Will Cost Lives ‘ during the #pandemic and revealing the #Truth including number of cases, deaths or situation is banned: 

As we’ve said before, this crisis means it is more important than ever for individuals to be able to speak out and share information with one another online: Free expression and access to information are particularly critical under authoritarian rulers and governments that dismiss or distort scientific data: But at a time when true information about the pandemic may save lives, instead, the Egyptian government has expelled journalists from the country for their reporting on the pandemic, and arrested otherson spurious charges for seeking information about prison conditions. Shortly after the coronavirus crisis began, a reporter for The Guardian was deported, while a reporter for the The New York Times was issued a warning.. Just last week the editor of Al Manassa, Nora Younis, was arrested on cybercrime charges (and later released). And the Committee to Protect Journalists reported today that at least four journalists arrested during the pandemic remain imprisoned. 

Social media is also being monitored more closely than ever, with disastrous results: the Supreme Council for Media Regulation has banned the publishing of any data that contradicts the Ministry of Health’s official data. It has sent warning letters to news websites and social networks’ accounts it claims are sharing false news, and has arrested individuals for posting about the virus. Claiming national security interests, the far-reaching ban, which also limits the use of pseudonyms by journalists and criminalizes discussion of other “sensitive” topics, such as Libya, is being seen (rightfully) as censorship across the country. At a moment when obtaining true information is extremely important, the fact that Egypt’s government is increasing its attack on free expression is especially dangerous.

The government’s attacks on expression aren’t only damaging free speech online: rather than limiting the number of individuals in prison who are potentially exposed to the virus, Egyptian police have made matters worse, by harassing, beating, and even arresting protestors who are demanding the release of prisoners in dangerously overcrowded cells or simply ask for information on their arrested loved ones. Just last week, the family of Alaa Abd El Fattah, a leading Egyptian coder, blogger and activist who we’ve profiled in our Offline campaignwas attacked by police while protesting in front of Tora Prison. The next day, Alaa’s sister, Sanaa Seif, was forced into an unmarked car in front of the Prosecutor-General’s office as she arrived to submit a complaint regarding the assault and Alaa’s detention. She is now being held in pre-trial detention on charges of “broadcast[ing] fake news and rumors about the country’s deteriorating health conditions and the spread of the coronavirus in prisons” on Facebook, among others—according to police, for a fifteen day period, though there is no way to know for sure that it will end then. 

All of these actions put the health and safety of the Egyptian population at risk: We join the international coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations demanding both Alaa and Sanaa be released, and asking Egypt’s government to immediately halt its assault on free speech and free expression. We must lift up the voices of those who are being silenced to ensure the safety of everyone throughout the country. 

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: July.04:2020: 

(LONDON) #Coronavirus Treatment Report: Drug widely available on ‘ pharmacy ‘ shelves ‘ Dexamethasone ‘ has been found to cut the risk of death by 1/3rd of people on ventilators and those on oxygen by 1/5th and could be helpful to poorer people as it been around PM Boris said since ear ly 60’s #AceHealthDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.17: A cheap and widely available drug can help save the lives of patients seriously ill with #coronavirus The low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say: The drug is part of the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus: It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth: Had the drug had been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved, researchers say: And it could be of huge benefit in poorer countries with high numbers of #Covid19 patients:

#Coronavirus Report: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug according to BBC Health News And Gov.UK on Tuesday:

About 19 out of 20 patients with coronavirus recover without being admitted to hospital: Of those who are admitted, most also recover but some may need oxygen or mechanical ventilation: And these are the high-risk patients dexamethasone appears to help………………….The drug is already used to reduce inflammation in a range of other conditions………………..And it appears to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus.

‘ This over-reaction, a cytokine storm, can be deadly ‘

In the trial, led by a team from Oxford University, about 2,000 hospital patients were given dexamethasone and compared with more than 4,000 who were not: For patients on ventilators, it cut the risk of death from 40% to 28%: For patients needing oxygen, it cut the risk of death from 25% to 20%.

Chief investigator Prof Peter Horby said: “This is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality – and it reduces it significantly. It’s a major breakthrough.”

Lead researcher Prof Martin Landray said the findings suggested one life could be saved for:

  • every eight patients on a ventilator
  • every 20-25 treated with oxygen

“There is a clear, clear benefit,” he said.

“The treatment is up to 10 days of dexamethasone and it costs about £5 per patient………..“So essentially it costs £35 to save a life……………………..“This is a drug that is globally available.”

When appropriate, hospital patients should now be given it without delay, Prof Landray said: But people should not go out and buy it to take at home……………….Dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus who do not need help with their breathing.

The Recovery Trial, running since March, also looked at the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which has subsequently been ditched amid concerns it increases fatalities and heart problems: The antiviral drug remdesivir, meanwhile, which appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus, is already being made available on the NHS.

The first drug proven to cut deaths from Covid-19 is not some new, expensive medicine but an old, cheap-as-chips steroid: That is something to celebrate because it means patients across the world could benefit immediately……………..And that is why the top-line results of this trial have been rushed out – because the implications are so huge globally.

Dexamethasone has been used since the early 1960s to treat a wide range of conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma: Half of all Covid patients who require a ventilator do not survive, so cutting that risk by a third would have a huge impact……..The drug is given intravenously in intensive care and in tablet form for less seriously ill patients.

So far, the only other drug proven to benefit Covid patients is remdesivir, which has been used for Ebola: That has been shown to reduce the duration of coronavirus symptoms from 15 days to 11……………..But the evidence was not strong enough to show whether it reduced mortality………….Unlike dexamethasone, remdesivir is a new drug with limited supplies and a price has yet to be announced.

#AceHealthDesk report ………..Published: June.17: 2020:

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus DWP UC Report: Ten ways #pandemic has changed Universal Credit and what it means for you and what people can claim: #AceFinanceDesk says ………If you need help and guidance in claiming just leave a comment and an email address thank you:

#AceFinanceReport – June.13: Editor says ……….Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have applied for Universal Credit as a result of the ongoing pandemic: #Coronavirus has affected almost every aspect of our lives and it has changed Universal Credit in 10 major ways: Personal circumstances have continued to change as job losses and pay reductions become more common as the pandemic continues: Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have turned to Universal Credit for financial support during the difficult times: The impact of lockdown has driven many to seek help from benefits to pay their bills and feed their families: There were 1.5 million claims for Universal Credit between March 13 and April 9, over six times more than in the same period last year and the most in a single month since the welfare scheme was first introduced in April 2013: Up to May 19, there have been 2.9 million applications for the benefit……………………….For those who are new to the system, or for existing recipients who are still getting Universal Credit during the coronavirus pandemic, these are the 10 ways coronavirus has affected the scheme and how it affects you……………..

If you need help and guidance on how to claim please let me know by leaving your email address in a comment and l will not print it but send you a reply via a chosen email address: Regards Editor.

Universal Credit Claimants could be entitled to further benefit support:

1. Making a claim:

The first thing is to check you are eligible. For instance, if you have £16,000 or more in savings, you can’t get Universal Credit.

Bear in mind that your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit and not intending to apply for it. Don’t take any steps towards applying before checking the criteria or you could irreversibly affect existing benefits such as tax credits.

Claims for Universal Credit are made on the internet. You have to set up an online account and you also need a bank, building society or credit union account.

In a bid to ease pressure on the system during the pandemic, the DWP says people making new claims will no longer need to make a phone call as part of the process. The department said its staff will ring up claimants if they need to check anything and will also message via the online process to confirm details.

The DWP says its calls may show on your phone as an 0800 number or an unknown or private number and urges people to check their online accounts so they know when to pick up such calls.

2. Jobcentre visits:

During the claim process, you no longer need to arrange a face-to-face appointment and you do not have to go along to the jobcentre. The DWP says people receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months from March 19 2020. If coronavirus restrictions continue, this could be extended.

Claimants will be contacted to discuss alternatives such as telephone or paper-based assessments. You will continue to receive benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.

Don’t go to the jobcentre unless asked to do so “for an exceptional purpose”, the DWP said.

3. Temporary increase:

On March 20, 2020, the Chancellor announced a package of support for workers during the coronavirus pandemic. This included a £1,000 increase to the standard allowance for Universal Credit for one year.

It means the amount of Universal Credit went up twice – once in line with inflation as the benefits freeze came to an end, and then a further boost for the coronavirus increase.

Rates for Universal Credit are now as follows:

• Single and under 25 – £342.72

• Single and 25 or over – £409.89

• In a couple and both under 25 – £488.59 (for you both)

• In a couple and one of you is 25 or over – £594.04 (for you both)

But concerns have been raised about the £1,000 boost (about £90 a month) only being in place for 12 months.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “If the Government believes this level of support is necessary during lockdown, why do they believe people will need less money when the (lockdown) ends and the normal cost of living would apply? “Surely it is inconceivable that anyone still unemployed by March next year could see their benefits being cut?”

The DWP confirmed the one-year limit on the increase and has so far made no suggestion it could be maintained beyond then.

4. Looking for work:

Usually, going on to Universal Credit if you are unemployed means proving to the DWP you are still looking for a job. A formal agreement called a claimant commitment sets out what people are expected to do in return for benefits – and what happens if they fail to comply.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new benefits system that will eventually replace six seperate benefits.

They are:

• income support

• income-based jobseeker’s allowance

• income-related employment and support allowance

• housing benefit

• child tax credit

• working tax credit

Claimants will get one single payment to cover any and all of these benefits they are entitled to. Out of that single payment they will then have to cover their own costs directly, e.g. rent, rather than it being a deducted payment.

The brainchild of the Conservative Government, it is theoretically meant to make claiming benefits easier. But the policy has been bereft with problems since it started being rolled out across the country and has been blamed for pushing many vulnerable people into hardship and poverty.

Claimant commitments are normally agreed with a work coach when a person attends a local jobcentre and must be accepted in order to receive Universal Credit. However, because of the exceptional circumstances resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, people are not expected to accept claimant commitments before being entitled to Universal Credit.

In addition, requirements to prepare for work, search for work or be available for work are temporarily suspended. Most claims for Universal Credit begin on the date the claimant commitment is agreed but for applications received in the four weeks up to April 9, 2020, the date the claimant verifies their identity is taken as the start date.

5. Advance payments:

With more people going on to Universal Credit, there have been more requests for advance payments. This is like an upfront loan of the amount of your first expected UC payment and is repaid in instalments from future benefits.

From March 1 to May 19, 2020, there were 1,132,570 advance payments issued. Most were advances requested by new claimants but there has also been an increase in the number of advances given to those already on the benefit – these include budgeting advances to help people cover emergency expenses such as replacing a broken cooker.

You normally need to have been receiving Universal Credit for six months or more to qualify for a budgeting advance. In addition, you need to have earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 together for couples) in the past six months.

You can receive up to £348 if you’re single, £464 if you’re part of a couple or £812 if you have children.

The DWP runs a similar scheme called a budgeting loan for those on Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or Pension Credit.

The DWP says repayments on these loans have been temporarily stopped because of the impact of coronavirus. Repayments won’t restart until July 2020 at the earliest.

6. Maximum deductions:

Money can be taken out of your benefits by the DWP to repay anything you owe to the department or to other organisations. This includes rent arrears and other debts.

The maximum amount that can be deducted used to be 30 per cent of your Universal Credit standard allowance. This was lowered to 25 per cent from April 6, 2020, meaning UC recipients get more money per month.

In addition, deductions to pay off debts to housing providers, energy firms, water suppliers or the council were temporarily halted when the DWP was dealing with a massive surge of benefit claims at the start of the pandemic. These third party deductions resumed from May 10.

7. Sanctions:

The DWP says that if you fail to do what you have agreed in your claimant commitment without good reason, your Universal Credit payments can be reduced for a set period. This is called a sanction.

These financial penalties can be applied for failing to attend jobcentre appointments, job interviews or training courses.

This became an issue when the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold.

The DWP confirmed that such punishments won’t be applied if you break the rules because of coronavirus – such as if you are self-isolating and can’t leave the house.

Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “People will not be penalised for doing the right thing.

“I think it’s important that people do have that conversation with their work coach. As I’ve emphasised already, work coaches can exercise discretion but the important thing is that ongoing conversation which a claimant has with their work coach.”

8. Housing allowance:

Those on Universal Credit get money towards their housing costs included in their monthly payment.

Staff at the Government’s Valuation Office Agency set a Local Housing Allowance (LHA) which is used to work out how much is given to claimants renting from private landlords.

It’s based on average rents in the area where you’re living.

The Government increased the LHA from April when the benefit freeze came to an end.

People should now get more money towards their rent. It also means more rented properties are now affordable to tenants who need to move.

For instance, in Birmingham the LHA rose as follows from April 2020:

• Category A (tenant has exclusive use of one bedroom with shared use of other facilities) – increased from £57.34 to £67

• Category B (tenant has exclusive use of one bedroom with exclusive use of other facilities) – increased from £101.84 to £120.82

• Category C (tenant has use of two bedrooms) – increased from £127.62 to £143.84

• Category D (tenant has use of three bedrooms) – increased from £135.96 to £155.34

• Category E (tenant has use of four bedrooms) – increased from £173.41 to £195.62

9. Minimum income floor:

There was good news for self-employed people when the Minimum Income Floor was lifted. The MIF is an assumed level of income calculated by the DWP based on what it would expect an employed person to receive in similar circumstances.

It is used instead of a person’s actual earnings when working out how much Universal Credit they would get on top – even though self-employed people typically have income that goes up and down from month to month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed in the March 2020 budget that the MIF would be temporarily suspended to help the economy during the coronavirus outbreak. He did not state how long this would be in place but did say it was part of a package of measures to tackle the impact of the epidemic.

So the benefits received by a self-employed person will be based on their actual earnings. Those whose income is a lot less during the coronavirus crisis – lower than the previous MIF that would have been applied – will see a rise in their Universal Credit.

10.Benefit cap

The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of state help you can receive.

The benefit cap outside Greater London is:

• £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re in a couple

• £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re a single parent and your children live with you

• £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you’re a single adult

The benefit cap inside Greater London is:

• £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) if you’re in a couple

• £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) if you’re a single parent and your children live with you

• £296.35 per week (£15,410 a year) if you’re a single adult

The DWP said: “For some of those new to the benefits system, who have been employed for the previous 12 months, the benefit cap won’t apply for a nine month period.”………………..You will get this nine month grace period if you are claiming Universal Credit because you stopped working or your earnings went down; if you are now earning less than £604 a month; or if, in each of the 12 months before your earnings went down or you stopped working, you earned the same as or more than the earnings threshold (this was £569 up to March 31, 2020 and is £604 from April 1, 2020)

#AceFinanceDesk report …………Published: June.13: 2020:

(NEW YORK) #Coronavirus Latest Report: Mayor Bill Blasio Task Force On Racial Inclusion Announcing New Initiatives To Engage City’s Youth This Summer According Including to @CBSlocal #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.13: There has been trauma after trauma in this pandemic for our young people, and we have to help them find a way forward,” the mayor said Thursday: City Council leaders are pushing to save the Summer Youth Employment Program from coronavirus-related budget cuts: In the meantime, the mayor and his task force unveiled other initiatives Thursday:

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Delivers His Daily Briefing In NYC [anvplayer video=”4586770″ station=”CBS New York”] Click here for more information on how to apply for help.

Mayor’s Task Force Announces New Initiatives To Engage City’s Youth This Summer

The first program, called NeON (Neighborhood Opportunity Network) Summer, offers paid remote learning opportunities for teens and young adults in the communities that were hit the hardest by the pandemic. The goal is to reach 2,700 young people between the ages of 14 and 24: ” We’re going to focus on recruiting young people who are under probation, supervision, or are otherwise engaged with the family court,” Deputy Mayor J. Philip Thompson said. “So this is really reaching at-risk young people.”

The second initiative, called Each One Teach One, encourages participants to create media campaigns that promote social distancing. Thompson said 120 young people will be connected with mentors and receive stipends for their work: The Community Crisis Response Initiative will provide $220,000 to 22 community-based youth organizations to support their ongoing relief efforts and help young people develop leadership skills in response to the coronavirus crisis.

‘ Thompson said the programs are expected to reach a total of 3,300 youth

Finally, the NYPD and Cure Violence leaders will hold a series of town hall meetings, starting in Harlem as soon as in-person gatherings are allowed to take place. They will also be held in East New York and Brownsville, Brooklyn; Jamaica and Far Rockaway, Queens; the South Bronx and North Shore of Staten Island: We want an honest conversation. Look, the more we talk openly in this city, the better off we’ll be,” said de Blasio. “It’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes there will be emotion – to say the least — about the power of these issues. But the more we talk, the more we open it up, the more we air it out, the better off we’ll be.

“So we want to address these issues head-on: We don’t want to sweep them under the rug,” he added. “That will not help move us forward.”During Thursday’s briefing, the task force also shared a plan to revitalize restaurants, particularly in communities of color and immigrant neighborhoods.

#AceNewsDesk report ………………Published: June.13: 2020:

#coronavirus

(NEW DELHI, India.) #Coronavirus Report: Charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the chief of a Muslim seminary for holding a gathering last month that authorities say led to a big jump in coronavirus infections, police said on Thursday: Full list and infographic of cases @Reuters below #AceHealthDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.08: The headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat group in a cramped corner of Delhi were sealed and thousands of followers, including some from Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, were taken into quarantine after it emerged they had attended meetings there in mid-March: Police initially filed a case against Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi, the chief of the centre, for violating a ban on big gatherings but had now invoked the law against culpable homicide, a police spokesman said:

#Coronavirus Report: India charges Muslim leader with culpable homicide for #coronavirus surge after he violated a ban on gatherings: Reuters.Com/

“Delhi police had filed a first information report earlier against the Tablighi chief, now section 304 has been added,” the officer said, referring to culpable homicide in the penal code, which carries a maximum punishment of a 10-year prison term: A spokesman for the Tablighi Jamaat group, Mujeeb-ur Rehman, declined to comment saying they had not confirmed reports about the new charges.

The Tablighi is one of the world’s biggest Sunni Muslim proselytising organisations with followers in more than 80 countries, promoting a pure form of Islam: Authorities said at the beginning of the month that a third of the nearly 3,000 coronavirus cases at that time were either people who attended the Tablighi gathering or those who were later exposed to them.

India’s tally of coronavirus infections has since jumped to 12,380, including 414 deaths, as of Thursday: In the coronavirus hot spot of Delhi, 1,080 of its 1,561 cases were linked to the group’s gathering, according to the city government data on Wednesday………..The Tablighi administrators earlier said many of the followers who had visited its offices in a narrow, winding lane in Delhi’s historic Nizamuddin quarter were stranded after the government declared a three-week lockdown, and the centre had to offer them shelter.

Critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government have cautioned against fanning communal tension by laying the blame for the spread of the coronavirus on the Muslim group: Officials have rejected suggestions they were unfairly targeting the Muslim community, but said they had to rebuke the group because it had behaved irresponsibly by ignoring social-distancing rules………..The Tablighi was also linked to a surge of cases in neighbouring Pakistan where it cancelled a similar gathering, but only at the last minute when thousands had already arrived at a premises in the city of Lahore.

A gathering organised by the group in Malaysia also led to a surge of cases there and in several other Southeast Asian countries:

Pakistan has recorded 6,505 cases according to its latest data, a jump of 520 over the previous day: About 60 percent of Pakistan’s cases load was linked to the Tablighi or were people who had gone on religious pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia and Iran, officials said.

Here are official government figures on the spread of the coronavirus in South Asia:

  • India has 12,380 confirmed cases, including 414 deaths
  • Pakistan has 5,988 cases, including 107 deaths

  • Bangladesh has 803 cases, including 39 deaths

  • Afghanistan has 784 cases, including 29 deaths

  • Sri Lanka has 238 cases, including 7 deaths

  • Maldives has 21 cases and no deaths

  • Nepal has 16 cases and no deaths

  • Bhutan has five cases and no deaths

For an interactive graphic on global spread of coronavirus click : here

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: June.08: 2020: Reuters: Additional reporting by Nigam Prusty in Ndw Delhi, Gibran Peshimam in Islamabad, Writing by Sanjeev Miglani

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus GOVUK Charity Report: DOE Provides funding of £7-million to ‘ See Hear Respond ‘ a ‘ coalition of charities ‘ to provide help for vulnerable children and families during this #pandemic as part of this programme #AceFinanceDesk reports

#AceFinanceReport – June.08: A ‘coalition of charities’ will help vulnerable children most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic as part of a Department for Education programme: More than £7 million will fund the launch of the See, Hear, Respond service, to provide targeted help to vulnerable children, young people and their families affected by the virus and the measures put in place to stop its spread. The coalition, led by Barnardo’s will work alongside local authorities, schools and colleges, police forces, healthcare professionals and other vital services involved in protecting these children:

#Coronavirus Report: £7 million for new coalition of vulnerable children’s charities

Funding package for targeted help to young people and their families most affected by coronavirus

Department for Education

Funded by the Department for Education, the partnership will harness the role and reach of the charity sector: Barnardo’s will work in partnership with other national children’s charities as well as community-based organisations to provide solutions to the challenges facing children and families that may have been exacerbated by the unique circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

The launch of the programme comes as the Department for Education and Home Office prepare to open a new joint £7.6 million fund for national vulnerable children’s charities working in England and Wales on issues including child sexual abuse and child criminal exploitation: The money is aimed at those charities that have suffered financial harm as a result of the virus, helping them to stabilise and continue delivering for vulnerable children and young people.

Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said:

We all have a collective responsibility to protect children and young people who face challenges in their home lives, or who may not have the same support network keeping them safe outside of school or college as their peers. Many of them may be at additional risk from abuse, neglect or exploitation during these unprecedented times.

By working with charities directly supporting these young people on the front line, we can expand their reach to provide a much wider safety net to those in need of mental health support, counselling or protection from people trying to exploit them, as well as helping to get them safely back into education.

Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins said:

As a government, we have acted decisively and adapted our response to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable children during this pandemic. I’m delighted we can provide further funding to frontline charities so those most at risk can get the help they need.

See, Hear, Respond will provide support online to children and families who are struggling, street-based youth work to identify and support children at risk of harm outside of the home, including exploitation, and help vulnerable children to successfully reintegrate back into school or college if they have not been attending during the pandemic.

The programme will focus on finding and reaching out to children around the country who are experiencing negative impacts on their health and wellbeing, as well as those at risk of harm.

This funding will provide:

  • Access to an online support package to children and families ensuring they have readily available, accessible and interactive information;
  • Online and telephone referral service by trained professionals who can source further help and support from charity workers within the partnership;
  • Online counselling or therapy for those experiencing high levels of anxiety, trauma or other mental health issues that can be safely addressed through digital means;
  • Youth interventions and face-to-face crisis support, particularly for those at risk of or experiencing various forms of exploitation, including criminal exploitation;

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that vulnerable children and young people are increasingly hidden from support services. With the support of the Department for Education, Barnardo’s will bring together a coalition of national and local charities working together to identify and support those who need support at this time of crisis.

This initiative is a vital lifeline for the thousands of children and young people as we navigate the coronavirus crisis and its aftermath, helping to improve their long-term outcomes so they can have successful futures.

The announcement builds on the Government’s Hidden Harms Summit, held virtually on Thursday 21 May, which focused on support for people at risk from domestic abuse, wider harms and exploitation, including children: Children may be facing additional risks during the pandemic, including being less visible to safeguarding professionals and isolated from normal support structures: At the same time, reports of domestic abuse have been rising, with the charity Refuge reporting increased visits to its website and calls to its helpline:

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said:

The pandemic has clearly exposed deep inequalities in our society, with many groups disproportionately impacted and needing extra support. Children in particular are at risk of being left behind and their needs not met. We’re pleased to be supporting Barnardo’s and the Department for Education to ensure every child that is at risk and needs additional support receives this, particularly those in marginalised groups which may fall through the net. It is imperative we all work together to make sure no child is left behind.

The project will aim to reach those children and families who are not in contact with children’s services, and the support provided to them will aim to prevent their needs escalating. The project will prioritise those most at risk of harm either inside or outside the home, including very young children and adolescents.

The Department for Education has also provided funding to other charities working with vulnerable children, including Grandparents Plus, Family Rights Group, FosterTalk, the Care Leavers Association, Become, Drive Forward Foundation and Adoption UK. This adds to investment in the NSPCC’s Childline, while some £10 million has already been committed to the Family Fund, helping families with children that have complex needs and disabilities through grants for equipment that makes their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers, specialist equipment and educational toys.

Steven Stockley, Managing Director of FosterTalk said:

The last three months has seen unprecedented times for all our families, and none more so than our foster families. Foster parents are incredibly adaptable but COVID-19 has seen additional stresses, anxieties and pressures impact on their family lives. This funding provides an important opportunity to improve both the retention and recruitment of foster parents by extending the Fosterline service to provide additional and specific crisis support.

Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group said:

The crisis monies are extremely welcome, funding us to provide specialist legal advice to an additional 900 parents and kinship carers whose children are in need, deemed at risk or are in the care system. And significantly, enabling us to work in partnership with the charity Become so we together can provide legal and child welfare advice and follow up support to young, care experienced parents in order to enable, wherever possible, their children to be able to live safely within their care.

Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus said:

We’re delighted to receive a grant to support kinship carers who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. They are older, poorer and in worse health than other groups raising children, so they are especially vulnerable. We will be extending our services to offer tailored advice and information, intensive one-to-one and peer support, and digital skills support so carers can get online. As the lockdown has progressed, new issues are emerging for kinship families. We’re delighted to be able to offer more of them the holistic and responsive support they need at this time.

The project will aim to reach those children and families who are not in contact with children’s services, and the support provided to them will aim to prevent their needs escalating: The project will prioritise those most at risk of harm either inside or outside the home, including very young children and adolescents: All funding is provided as part of the £750 million package of support committed to charities by the Chancellor. The application process for the £7.6 million Department for Education and Home Office fund for national vulnerable children’s charities will open shortly……………………..Additional funding of £125,000 will be delivered to Fosterline to deliver free-to-access and specialist one-to-one support to foster families, in recognition of the additional support needed at this time to keep foster families together:

#AceFinanceDesk report ………..Published: June.08: 2020:

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(U.K.) #Coronavirus Care Homes Report: Residents in homes are being asked to pay over£100.00 extra in weekly fees after having thousands per week for years and then when this #pandemic hits they wont pay for PPE for their workers instead they want the taxpayers to pick up the bill ….disgraceful #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – June.08: Editor says this truly depends on individual homes and their management as such and my personal research as a carer provides a very different picture from here in West Midlands to North West as in ……One home has PPE and cares for its workers and another does not and these are Private homes and received huge fees in many cases and will not now payout and these are my findings and discussions with two care workers:
As regards other comments I have dealt with Age U.K. who both collect donations from the public purse as a corporation and also the public more widely and also charge up to £20.00 per hour for any care in the community such as shopping or even repairs to their home. This needs to be over hauled and an umbrella provided from the NHS to cover all aspects of social care in homes and also in the community and the sooner the better:

#Coronavirus Report: Residents of For-Profit Care Homes Foot £100 Extra in Weekly Fees to Cover Rising #Coronavirus Costs:

This is the report ………….Residents of some care homes in Britain are being asked to pay over £100 extra in weekly fees in order to cover rising costs of the #coronavirus #pandemic: According to Age UK, a leading charity for elderly people, residents who have been fronting their own fees have seen costs increase to pay for personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as rising staff costs:

One of the charity directors, Caroline Abrahams, said on Saturday that older people and their families have “been through the mill” during the pandemic as 1 in 3 care homes in the UK have seen coronavirus outbreaks:

“It is adding insult to injury that after going through so much, some residents who pay for their own care are now facing a big extra bill – on top of already expensive fees,” she said.

Abrahams called on the government to take action and cover the additional costs, warning that some homes are at a cliff-edge and risk having to close, leaving residents homeless: The government has so far given £600 million worth of funds to infection control in care homes, with an additional £3.2 billion for other council services.

Cos it’s the weekend it isn’t up on our website yet but will be Monday I expect. Meanwhile here’s an excerpt pic.twitter.com/NbttRQYXE9

— Caroline Abrahams (@Car_Abrahams) June 6, 2020

Those who self-fund their stay have had to pay extra costs than those being supported by local authorities, providing an effective subsidy to the system for years: According to Age UK, these residents pay around £850 a week on average. These already high costs have now surged by 15% as a result of spending introduced to combat the pandemic: Residential homes aren’t just facing rising costs due to the recruitment of extra agency staff when regular staff are off, but the increased spending on PPE and sanitising equipment.

The total number of homes experiencing rising costs of self-funding residents is currently not known: Of the 400,000 residents in England living in care homes, around 167,000 are self-funding, with an extra 45,000 partly-funding their stay.

A Private Problem?

Care homes in the United Kingdom have been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic: As of May, more than 20,000 residents have died as a result of the pandemic, according to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), while the national death tolls stand at 40,261 from Saturday.

Care homes in the United Kingdom do not fall under the country’s National Health Service (NHS) as a public provision but are instead owned privately:

In April, Age UK said that there was a “degree of hesitation” over who bears responsibility for the crisis due to their private status. Caroline Abrahams explained that while care homes fall outside of the NHS, they are not “part of the community” either………….Age UK has clarified that it does not blame individual care homes for the funding crisis, however.

A report released in May by think-tank Common Weal outlined that privatisation of care facilities in Scotland – where more than half of Covid-19 deaths have been counted, has “minimised” the necessary medical services and led to a decline in capacity:

Director Robin McAlpine said the report “makes painful reading”.

“But the problem is more fundamental. Scotland’s care sector is almost all privatised and is run largely like a property speculation industry, which has minimised the more expensive medical services it provides”.

In a survey by Community Care in April 2011, two-thirds of adult social care workers said that the quality of adult care has declined since the widespread outsourcing since the 1990s to private providers:

#AceHealthDesk report ………….Published: June.08: 2020:

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(BIRMINGHAM, U.K.) NCA REPORT: Arrest of a man for allegedly selling fake #coronavirus testing kits on the dark and open webs, as part of their response against criminals trying to exploit the #Covid19 #pandemic he is believed to have sold the kits to customers in the U.K. and USA #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – June.07: The 38-year-old, who was arrested at his home in the city’s Jewellery Quarter, was taken into custody yesterday for alleged offences under the Fraud Act 2006. He is believed to have sold the kits to customers in the UK and United States: NCA officers seized small quantities of what is believed to be cocaine and heroin, and business records which are now being examined: A second property was searched in Edgbaston, Birmingham, where suspected fake Covid-19 testing kits were found: A 36-year-old being sought in connection with selling kits was not present, and officers are urging him to come forward:

NCA Report: Man arrested in jewellery quarter for allegedly selling over 500 fake #coronavirus testing kits on the dark web

Suspected false coronavirus testing kits 2Suspected false coronavirus testing kits 1

Matt Horne, Deputy Director of Investigations at the NCA, said: “Anyone thinking of trying to profit from the public’s fears about the pandemic should take note of this arrest.“Bringing offenders to justice and ceasing their activities is a key priority across law enforcement, the NCA will target criminals who pose a risk to our collective effort to tackle the pandemic……….“We are investigating a number of reports on the sale of counterfeit products relating to Covid-19, and will continue to work with partners to protect the public.”

Ben Russell, Deputy Director of the National Economic Crime Centre, said: “We know that criminals are trying to turn the pandemic to their advantage, but there are things you can do to help stay safe…….“Be even more cautious than usual when shopping online and always follow the Take Five To Stop Fraud advice: Stop, Challenge & Protect. If you believe you are a victim, please report it to your bank and Action Fraud immediately…………..“We are working together across law enforcement, the government and private sector to protect the public and combat these offenders.”

Andy Morling, Head of Enforcement at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said: “We work closely with the National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies to protect public health and prevent unlicensed medicines and non-compliant medical devices getting into circulation………..“No COVID-19 antibody self-testing kits have received CE mark status and there are no such testing kits available in the UK for home use. It is also illegal to supply these self-test kits for use by members of the public in the UK………………“Products that have not been tested to ensure they meet standards of safety, performance and quality cannot be guaranteed and this poses a risk to individuals’ health……………“We urge the public and healthcare professionals to report to us via our Yellow Card Scheme any website or social media post offering to sell these types of products: Casereferrals“Always make sure you are buying your medicines from a registered pharmacy or website and your medical devices from reputable retailers.”

James Mancuso, from Homeland Security Investigations, said: “We commend our National Crime Agency partners for their swift response during this global crisis: Homeland Security Investigations remains committed to our international partners in maintaining public safety, and holding persons attempting to profit in these uncertain times, accountable for their criminal and dangerous acts………..“Despite widespread illness and deaths caused by COVID-19, individuals and organizations operating around the globe are actively seeking to exploit and profit from the pandemic…………….“From financial fraud schemes targeting vulnerable populations, to the importation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to websites defrauding consumers, these illicit activities compromise legitimate trade and financial systems, threaten the integrity of international borders, and endanger the safety and security of the public………….“Utilising its unique and expansive authorities, strategic footprint and partnerships worldwide, and robust cyber capabilities, HSI is conducting Operation Stolen Promise to protect the public from the increasing and evolving threat posed by COVID-19-related fraud and criminal activity.”

#AceNewsDesk report …………..Published: June.07: 2020:

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus Latest Report: 9am on 1 June, there have been 4,484,340 tests, with 128,437 tests on 31 May: 276,332 people have tested positive: As of 5pm on 31 May, of those tested positive in the UK, 39,045 have died including all deaths in all settings not just in hospitals @DHSCgovuk June.02: @ONS reports lowest levels in England and Wales since March, figures show #AceHealthDesk reports

#AceHealthReport – June.02: Editor says as of June.01: these are the number of tests carried out and those that were tested positive and sadly the number of deaths up to and including 17:00hrs on 31:May: God Bless Friends, Followers & Readers 🙏’s 

#Coronavirus Report: Number of #COVID19 cases and risk in the UK: As of June.01:

The number of people dying each week linked to #coronavirus has dropped to its lowest levels in England and Wales since March, figures show: The Office for National Statistics review of death certificates showed 2,589 cases where the virus was mentioned in the week ending 22 May: Overall there were nearly 12,300 deaths in that week – 2,300 more than normal at this time of the year: At the peak of the #pandemic double the number were dying than expected.

Overall, there have been 286,700 deaths this year – 51,400 above what would be expected: Some 43,800 have been attributed to coronavirus.

Nick Stripe, of the ONS, said despite the number of overall deaths falling, we were effectively seeing the same number of deaths we would expect in winter: He also said there were considerable regional variations with the north east currently seeing the highest rates of excess deaths.

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: June.02: 2020: 

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus ONS Unemployment Report: A measure of the number of people claiming unemployment benef its in Britain leapt to its highest level since 1996 in April, the first full month of the government ’s #coronavirus lockdown, data published on Tuesday showed #AceFinanceDesk report

#AceFinanceReport – May.19: “The claimant count rose by 856,500 — the biggest ever month-on-month jump — to 2.097 million, a 69% increase, the Office for National Statistics said.” The surge would have been even sharper without a government programme to pay 80% of the wages of workers put on temporary leave by their employers, who do not count towards the unemployment total:

#Coronavirus ONS Unemployment Report: Claimant count rose by 856,500 to 2,097-million in first month of lockdown according to data provided on Tuesday:

https://t.co/51lAgp5zcv

” The ONS said emergency changes to Britain’s welfare system meant the claimant count number included more people who were still actually in work than normal, but the scale of the rise in claims showed the hit to the labour market.”

“ While only covering the first weeks of restrictions, our figures show COVID-19 is having a major impact on the labour market,” ONS Deputy National Statistician Jonathan Athow said “

“A Reuters poll of economists had produced a median forecast for a leap of 676,500 in the claimant count, with forecasts ranging widely from just over 56,000 to as high as 1.5 million.”

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said the government’s wage subsidy scheme was holding off some job losses for now but it was not clear how firms would react when they are required to help fund it from August.

““Many companies will still be in the middle of a cashflow crisis, and will struggle with any cost increases. Government faces an onerous task in winding down the scheme without causing too much pain,” he said.”

#AceFinanceDesk report ……………Published: May.19: 2020:

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(WORLDWIDE) FEATURED: #Coronavirus EFF Report: Governments Shouldn’t Use “Centralized” Proximity Tracking Technology As This Can Lead To Privacy & Exposure Of Data To Third Parties & Decentralised Apps Should Be Considered Looking Towards The Future Use Of Health Care Data #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – May.17: Companies and governments across the world are building and deploying a dizzying number of systems and apps to fight #COVID19 Many groups have converged on using Bluetooth-assisted proximity tracking for the purpose of exposure notification. Even so, there are many ways to approach the problem, and dozens of proposals have emerged:

 #Coronavirus Report: Centralised OR Decentralised Apps Used To Track & Trace Vary According To How Data Is Shared To Third-Parties Now & In The Future EFF.Org/

One way to categorize them is based on how much trust each proposal places in a central authority. In more “centralized” models, a single entity—like a health organization, a government, or a company—is given special responsibility for handling and distributing user information. This entity has privileged access to information that regular users and their devices do not. In “decentralized” models, on the other hand, the system doesn’t depend on a central authority with special access. A decentralized app may share data with a server, but that data is made available for everyone to see—not just whoever runs the server. 

Both centralized and decentralised models can claim to make a slew of privacy guarantees: But centralized models all rest on a dangerous assumption: that a “trusted” authority will have access to vast amounts of sensitive data and choose not to misuse it. As we’ve seen, time and again, that kind of trust doesn’t often survive a collision with reality. Carefully constructed decentralized models are much less likely to harm civil liberties. This post will go into more detail about the distinctions between these two kinds of proposals, and weigh the benefits and pitfalls of each.

Centralized Models

There are many different proximity tracking proposals that can be considered “centralized,” but generally, it means a single “trusted” authority knows things that regular users don’t. Centralized proximity tracking proposals are favored by many governments and public health authorities. A central server usually stores private information on behalf of users, and makes decisions about who may have been exposed to infection. The central server can usually learn which devices have been in contact with the devices of infected people, and may be able to tie those devices to real-world identities. 

For example, a European group called PEPP-PT has released a proposal called NTK. In NTK, a central server generates a private key for each device, but keeps the keys to itself. This private key is used to generate a set of ephemeral IDs for each user. Users get their ephemeral IDs from the server, then exchange them with other users. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they upload the set of ephemeral IDs from other people they’ve been in contact with (plus a good deal of metadata). The authority links those IDs to the private keys of other people in its database, then decides whether to reach out to those users directly. The system is engineered to prevent users from linking ephemeral IDs to particular people, while allowing the central server to do exactly that.

Some proposals, like Inria’s ROBERT, go to a lot of trouble to be pseudonymous—that is, to keep users’ real identities out of the central database. This is laudable, but not sufficient, since pseudonymous IDs can often be tied back to real people with a little bit of effort. Many other centralized proposals, including NTK, don’t bother. Singapore’s TraceTogether and Australia’s COVIDSafe apps even require users to share their phone numbers with the government so that health authorities can call or text them directly. Centralized solutions may collect more than just contact data, too: some proposals have users upload the time and location of their contacts as well.

Decentralized Models

In a “decentralized” proximity tracking system, the role of a central authority is minimized. Again, there are a lot of different proposals under the “decentralized” umbrella. In general, decentralized models don’t trust any central actor with information that the rest of the world can’t also see. There are still privacy risks in decentralized systems, but in a well-designed proposal, those risks are greatly reduced.

EFF recommends the following characteristics in decentralized proximity tracking efforts:

The goal should be exposure notification. That is, an automated alert to the user that they may have been infected by proximity to a person with the virus, accompanied by advice to that user about how to obtain health services. The goal should not be automated delivery to the government or anyone else of information about the health or person-to-person contacts of individual people.

A user’s ephemeral IDs should be generated and stored on their own device. The ephemeral IDs can be shared with devices the user comes into contact with, but nobody should have a database mapping sets of IDs to particular people. 

When a user learns they are infected, as confirmed by a physician or health authority, it should be the user’s absolute prerogative to decide whether or not to provide any information to the system’s shared server. 

When a user reports ill, the system should transmit from the user’s device to the system’s shared server the minimum amount of data necessary for other users to learn their exposure risk. For example, they may share either the set of ephemeral IDs they broadcast, or the set of IDs they came into contact with, but not both.

No single entity should know the identities of the people who have been potentially exposed by proximity to an infected person. This means that the shared server should not be able to “push” warnings to at-risk users; rather, users’ apps must “pull” data from the central server without revealing their own status, and use it to determine whether to notify their user of risk. For example, in a system where ill users report their own ephemeral IDs to a shared server, other users’ apps should regularly pull from the shared server a complete set of the ephemeral IDs of ill users, and then compare that set to the ephemeral IDs already stored on the app because of proximity to other users.  

Ephemeral IDs should not be linkable to real people or to each other. Anyone who gathers lots of ephemeral IDs should not be able to tell whether they come from the same person.

Decentralized models don’t have to be completely decentralized. For example, public data about which ephemeral IDs correspond to devices that have reported ill may be hosted in a central database, as long as that database is accessible to everyone. No blockchains need to be involved. Furthermore, most models require users to get authorization from a physician or health authority before reporting that they have COVID-19. This kind of “centralization” is necessary to prevent trolls from flooding the system with fake positive reports.

Apple and Google’s exposure notification API is an example of a (mostly) decentralized system. Keys are generated on individual devices, and nearby phones exchange ephemeral IDs. When a user tests positive, they can upload their private keys—now called “diagnosis keys”—to a publicly accessible database. It doesn’t matter if the database is hosted by a health authority or on a peer-to-peer network; as long as everyone can access it, the contact tracing system functions effectively.

What Are the Trade-Offs?

There are benefits and risks associated with both models. However, for the most part, centralized models benefit governments, and the risks fall on users.

Centralized models make more data available to whoever sets themselves up as the controlling authority, and they could potentially use that data for far more than contact tracing. The authority has access to detailed logs of everyone that infected people came into contact with, and it can easily use those logs to construct detailed social graphs that reveal how people interact with one another. This is appealing to some health authorities, who would like to use the data gathered by these tools to do epidemiological research or measure the impact of interventions. But personal data collected for one purpose should not be used for another (no matter how righteous) without the specific consent of the data subjects. Some decentralized proposals, like DP-3T, include ways for users to opt-in to sharing certain kinds of data for epidemiological studies. The data shared in that way can be de-identified and aggregated to minimize risk.

More important, the data collected by proximity tracking apps isn’t just about COVID—it’s really about human interactions. A database that tracks who interacts with whom could be extremely valuable to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Governments might use it to track who interacts with dissidents, and employers might use it to track who interacts with union organizers. It would also make an attractive target for plain old hackers. And history has shown that, unfortunately, governments don’t tend to be the best stewards of personal data.

Centralization means that the authority can use contact data to reach out to exposed people directly. Proponents argue that notifications from public health authorities will be more effective than exposure notification from apps to users. But that claim is speculative. Indeed, more people may be willing to opt-in to a decentralized proximity tracking system than a centralized one. Moreover, the privacy intrusion of a centralized system is too high.

Even in an ideal, decentralized model, there’s some degree of unavoidable risk of infection unmasking: that when someone reports they are sick, everyone they’ve been in contact with (and anyone with enough Bluetooth beacons) can theoretically learn the fact that they are sick. This is because lists of infected ephemeral IDs are shared publicly. Anyone with a Bluetooth device can record the time and place they saw a particular ephemeral ID, and when that ID is marked as infected, they learn when and where they saw the ID. In some cases this may be enough information to determine who it belonged to. 

Some centralized models, like ROBERT, claim to eliminate this risk. In ROBERT’s model, users upload the list of IDs they have encountered to the central authority. If a user has been in contact with an infected person, the authority will tell them, “You have been potentially exposed,” but not when or where. This is similar to the way traditional contact tracing works, where health authorities interview infected people and then reach out directly to those they’ve been in contact with. In truth, ROBERT’s model makes it less convenient to learn who’s infected, but not impossible. 

Automatic systems are easy to game. If a bad actor only turns on Bluetooth when they’re near a particular person, they’ll be able to learn whether their target is infected. If they have multiple devices, they can target multiple people. Actors with more technical resources could more effectively  exploit the system. It’s impossible to solve the problem of infection unmasking completely—and users need to understand that before they choose to share their status with any proximity app. Meanwhile, it’s easy to avoid the privacy risks involved with granting a central authority privileged access to our data.

Conclusion

EFF remains wary of proximity tracking apps. It is unclear how much they will help; at best, they will supplement tried-and-tested disease-fighting techniques like widespread testing and manual contact tracing. We should not pin our hopes on a techno-solution. And with even the best-designed apps, there is always risk of misuse of personal information about who we’ve been in contact with as we go about our days.

One point is clear: governments and health authorities should not turn to centralized models for automatic exposure notification. Centralized systems are unlikely to be more effective than decentralized alternatives. They will create massive new databases of human behavior that are going to be difficult to secure, and more difficult to destroy once this crisis is over.

#AceHealthDesk report ……………..Published May 12, 2020 at 11:10PM

#acenewsdesk

(LONDON) #Coronavirus Report: Economy is unlikely to have a quick bounce back as it recovers from its #pandemic shutdown which could have wiped more than 30% off output last month, the head of the country’s b udget forecasting office said on Sunday but what protections do employers and employees have to adhere to in the workplace under change of law #AceHealthDesk reports

#AceHealthReport – May.17: “Robert Chote, chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), said April was probably the bottom of the crash as the government is now moving to gradually ease its lockdown restrictions.” Reuters Business reports: https://t.co/ev8JYUOhIE

#Coronavirus Report: Returning to work as lockdown lifted but after the law was changed to allow extra powers during the #pandemic what does this mean to employers and employees Now !

Published Monday, May 11, 2020: By House of Common Law

Has the law changed?

No, and the Prime Minister’s announcement does not indicate that there will be fundamental changes to the law at this stage.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, and the equivalent devolved legislation, make it an offence for a person to leave or be out of their home without a “reasonable excuse”. It is already a reasonable excuse to go to work if work cannot be done from home. This is not limited to ‘key workers’.

The Regulations also require businesses in certain sectors to close their premises except for certain activities. The Prime Minister did not suggest any immediate lifting of these restrictions, although he said shops may open in June and parts of the hospitality industry may open in July 2020.

What health and safety measures must employers take?

Employers already have a range of health and safety obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and secondary legislation.

The Government guidance will not take the place of legislation. It would simply give guidance to employers on how they can fulfil their health and safety obligations in the context of Covid-19. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) notes that employers who follow guidance will “normally be doing enough to comply with the law.” However, it is ultimately for employers to assess and comply with their legal duties.

Health and safety legislation sets out a range of obligations that are relevant in the context of Covid-19. These include:

  • Carrying out risk assessments for coronavirus-related risks;
  • Setting up safe systems of work, informed by the risk assessment;
  • Providing information about health and safety risks;
  • Cleaning and ventilating the workplace;
  • Preventing, or adequately controlling, exposure to infectious diseases or, failing that, providing suitable PPE.

A number of organisations have published guidance on health and safety and returning to work, including Cloisters chambers and the TUC. Maternity Action has also published guidance on the specific protections for pregnant workers.

Can workers refuse to go to work?

All workers have an obligation to follow lawful and reasonable instructions given by their employers. However, under Employment Rights Act 1996an employee cannot suffer a detriment (e.g. loss of pay) or be dismissed if they leave or refuse to attend the workplace because they believe that there is a serious and imminent danger that they cannot reasonably avoid. Employees are also protected if they take reasonable steps to protect themselves or others from imminent danger.

The term ‘danger’ has been interpreted broadly. What matters is whether the employee reasonably believed there was a danger, regardless of whether the employer disagreed. An employee’s right to take steps to protect ‘others’ is not limited to other workers.

Whether, in the current context, an employee could refuse to attend the workplace will depend on the facts. An Employment Tribunal would be likely to give due weight to an employer complying with Government health and safety guidance. It is also possible that other factors, such the risk from taking public transport or a worker living with clinically vulnerable people, could be relevant.

Barristers including Schona Jolly QC, Stuart Brittenden and Gus Bakerhave written about how these rules could apply in the context of Covid-19.

What about workers with caring responsibilities?

The Prime Minister said that pupils might be able to begin returning to school from June. He suggested the process will be phased, with certain year groups restarting school before others.

There is no statutory right for workers to refuse to go to work because of caring responsibilities. While employees do have a right to a ‘reasonable amount’ of time off for dependents, this is only available for unexpected emergencies and is unpaid. It may be possible for workers in this position to ask to be furloughed or to take annual leave. As childcare responsibilities disproportionately fall on women, there may also be questions about indirect sex discrimination.

Barrister Rachel Crasnow QC has written about what considerations may need to be made for working parents.

Can employers keep workers on furlough?

While the Prime Minister has said that workers should be “encouraged” to go to work he did not suggest that the rules on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have changed. Under the CJRS, employers can furlough workers and claim for 80% of their wages (up to £2,500 per month) from HMRC. The Scheme is set to last until at least the end of June 2020. Employers can furlough employees because of a “circumstance arising as a result of coronavirus”.

Employers whose work has reduced may choose to keep some or all of its workforce on furlough. However, this is a decision for the employer. An employer can instruct a worker to return to work provided it is in accordance with the employment contract and any furlough agreement.

#AceHealthDesk report ………….Published: May.17: 2020:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports are provided at https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, links can be found at here Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

(CINCINNATI) CBP Report: Agents seized a shipment of ‘ disinfecting wipes ‘ from Canada to a doctor to Barbados that smugglers that contained Marijuana #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – May.11: As the #Coronavirus continues to affect people’s lives, more and more people are purchasing cleaning supplies online: However, smugglers are using this #pandemic to conceal nefarious activities:

CBP Report: Officers in Cincinnati Seize Disinfecting Wipes Containing 4Lbs of Marijuana

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati seized a shipment of disinfecting wipes that contained a little bit more than what you can find on your store shelf: On May 6, 2020 CBP Officers inspected a shipment arriving from Canada and heading to a doctor in Barbados: Officers held the package for inspection based on their experience, x-ray anomalies and a drug detector canine alerted to the parcel. Inside officers found disinfecting wipe canisters and other cleaning products. However, inside those canisters and other packages was four pounds of Marijuana:

“The dedication and vigilance of our officers at our express consignment facilities continues to prevent a substantial amount of drugs from reaching their destination,” said Richard Gillespie, Port Director, Cincinnati: “This is another excellent example of what U.S. Customs and Border Protection does each and every day.”

CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality:

CBP seized an average of 3,707 pounds of illicit narcotics every day during 2019 across the United States:

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: May.11: 2020:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports are provided at https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, links can be found at here Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

(WORLDWIDE) #Coronavirus Vaccine Trials Report: Scientists across the world in a search for a vaccine are looking at deliberately infecting people with #COVID19 as an answer in vaccine development and calling it ethically justified despite the potential risks to volunteers according to new #WHO guidance #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – May.09: Controversial trials in which volunteers are intentionally infected with Covid-19 could accelerate vaccine development, according to the World Health Organization, which has released new guidance on how the approach could be ethically justified despite the potential dangers for participants: So-called challenge trials are a mainstream approach in vaccine development and have been used in malaria, typhoid and flu, but there are treatments available for these diseases if a volunteer becomes severely ill. For #Covid19 , a safe dose of the virus has not been established and there are no failsafe treatments if things go wrong:

#Coronavirus Report: #WHO conditionally backs #Covid19 vaccine trials that infect people ‘ Challenge’ studies would deliberately give #coronavirus to healthy volunteers Hannah Devlin – Last modified on Fri 8 May 2020 20.30 BST: Guardian.Com/

Scientists, however, increasingly agree that such trials should be considered, and the WHO is the latest body to indicate conditional support for the idea: “There’s this emerging consensus among everyone who has thought about this seriously,” said Prof Nir Eyal, the director of Rutgers University’s Center for Population-Level Bioethics in the US.

The prospect of infecting healthy individuals with a potentially deadly pathogen may sound counterintuitive, but according to Eyal the risk of death from Covid-19 for someone in their 20s is around one in 3,000 – similar to the risk for live kidney donation: In this case, the potential benefits would extend not to a single individual, but to thousands or millions who could be protected by a vaccine………………..“Once you give it thought, it is surprisingly easier to approve than dispatching volunteers as part-time medical workers and other practices that we’ve already accepted,” he said.

In new guidance issued this week, the WHO said that well-designed challenge studies could accelerate Covid-19 vaccine development and also make it more likely that the vaccines ultimately deployed will be effective: The WHO lists eight criteria that would need to be met for the approach to be ethically justified, including restricting participation to healthy people aged 18-30 and fully informed consent. Strikingly, the guidelines do not rule out challenge trials in the absence of an effective treatment, instead stating that the risk could fall “within acceptable upper limits” for such research: “The big news is that WHO doesn’t say challenge trials are forbidden. It specifies reasonable steps on how they can be deployed,” said Eyal.

Vaccines are typically tested using a large group of people whose infection rates are compared with a separate group of unvaccinated controls: Waiting for enough people to be exposed to an illness, however, can take months and require thousands of participants. In a fast-moving pandemic situation, there is a risk of trials grinding to a standstill as infection rates fall in some regions. Challenge trials sidestep this problem, allowing efficacy to be established within weeks using just 100 or so volunteers.

A safe dose for Covid-19 would need to be established – enough to cause illness, but not severe illness, which could be a very fine line – through initial dose escalation studies: Such studies would need to be conducted in secure facilities to avoid unintentionally infecting anyone outside the trial and would pose uncertain levels of risk to participants.

Prof Andrew Pollard, who is leading the trial of the vaccine developed by the team at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, said there is “huge interest” in the possibility of challenge trials among those working on vaccines against coronavirus: “At the moment, because we don’t have a rescue therapy we have to approach challenge studies extremely cautiously,” said Pollard. “But I don’t think it should be ruled out because, particularly in a situation where it’s very difficult to assess some of the new vaccines coming along because there’s not much disease around, it could be one of the ways we could get that answer more quickly.”

Others are more cautious and say it would be impossible to launch such a trial in the absence of robust treatments…..

#AceHealthDesk report …………Published: May.09: 2020:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports are provided at https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, links can be found at here Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com