#AceNewsReport – July.30: Disinformation about the vaccines is certainly contributing to their slow uptake in various parts of the U.S. as well as other countries: This disinformation is spreading through a variety of ways: Local communities, family WhatsApp groups, FOX television hosts, and yes, Facebook.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says EFF REPORT: Disentangling Disinformation: Body bags claiming that “disinformation kills” line the streets today in front of Facebook’s Washington, D.C. headquarters….
A group of protesters, affiliated with “The Real Facebook Oversight Board” (an organization that is, confusingly, not affiliated with Facebook or its Oversight Board), is urging Facebook’s shareholders to ban so-called misinformation “superspreaders”—that is, a specific number of accounts that have been deemed responsible for the majority of disinformation about the #COVID19 vaccines Jillian C. York July. 28, 2021…..Here’s why?
The activists pushing for Facebook to remove these “superspreaders” are not wrong: while Facebook does currently ban some COVID-19 mis- and disinformation, urging the company to enforce its own rules more evenly is a tried-and-true tactic: But while disinformation “superspreaders” are easy to identify based on the sheer amount of information they disseminate, tackling disinformation at a systemic level is not an easy task, and some of the policy proposals we’re seeing have us concerned.
1. Disinformation is not always simple to identify.
In the United States, it was only a few decades ago that the medical community deemed homosexuality a mental illness. It took serious activism and societal debate for the medical community to come to an understanding that it was not. Had Facebook been around—and had we allowed it to be arbiter of truth—that debate might not have flourished.
Here’s a more recent example: There is much debate amongst the contemporary medical community as to the causes of ME/CFS, a chronic illness for which a definitive cause has not been determined—and which, just a few years ago, was thought by many not to be real. The Centers for Disease Control notes this and acknowledges that some healthcare providers may not take the illness seriously. Many sufferers of ME/CFS use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to discuss their illness and find community. If those platforms were to crack down on that discussion, relying on the views of the providers that deny the gravity of the illness, those who suffer from it would suffer more greatly.
2. Tasking an authority with determining disinfo has serious downsides.
As we’ve seen from the first example, there isn’t always agreement between authorities and society as to what is truthful—nor are authorities inherently correct.
In January, German newspaper Handelsblattpublished a report stating that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was not efficacious for older adults, citing an anonymous government source and claiming that the German government’s vaccination scheme was risky.
AstraZeneca denied the claims, and no evidence that the vaccine was ineffective for older adults was procured, but it didn’t matter: Handelsblatt’s reporting set off a series of events that led to AstraZeneca’s reputation in Germany suffering considerably.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that even the CDC itself—the authority tasked with providing information about COVID-19—has gotten a few things wrong, most recently in May when it lifted its recommendation that people wear masks indoors, an event that was followed by a surge in COVID-19 cases. That shift was met with rigorous debate on social media, including from epidemiologists and sociologists—debate that was important for many individuals seeking to understand what was best for their health. Had Facebook relied on the CDC to guide its misinformation policy, that debate may well have been stifled.
3. Enforcing rules around disinformation is not an easy task.
We know that enforcing terms of service and community standards is a difficult task even for the most resourced, even for those with the best of intentions—like, say, a well-respected, well-funded German newspaper. But if a newspaper, with layers of editors, doesn’t always get it right, how can content moderators—who by all accounts are low-wage workers who must moderate a certain amount of content per hour—be expected to do so? And more to the point, how can we expect automated technologies—which already make a staggering amount of errors in moderation—to get it right?
The fact is, moderation is hard at any level and impossible at scale. Certainly, companies could do better when it comes to repeat offenders like the disinformation “superspreaders,” but the majority of content, spread across hundreds of languages and jurisdictions, will be much more difficult to moderate—and as with nearly every category of expression, plenty of good content will get caught in the net.
#AceHealthReport – July.28: A review of the border rules is due by 31 July – the second date in the Department for Transport’s plan for a safe return to international travel.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says #COVID19 Travel: Fully jabbed from EU and US could avoid quarantine as ministers discuss with airlines on best way forward as U.S and E.U do not have an open border policy with rise in cases and lower vaccination rates than U.K. …as sources said the isolation exemption was likely to be discussed at the Covid Operations meeting on Wednesday over 31st July review of border rules….but todays cases are these below for 28/07/21 …
But they said a decision on whether to proceed will not necessarily be taken.
Currently, people who have been fully vaccinated in the UK do not have to quarantine when travelling from the US and EU, apart from France, because those places are on the amber list (and some EU countries are on the green list). But that exemption does not apply to people who have been vaccinated outside the UK.
Downing Street and the Department for Transport declined to comment on newspaper reports the government would go ahead with the plan to also exempt people vaccinated in the US and EU.
The travel industry has been pushing for this change in the rules so that people living abroad can more easily come to the UK for holidays or to visit loved ones.
“At the moment we’re in this slightly ridiculous situation where if I’m on a plane from Spain, because I’m lucky enough to have had two jabs, once we get to the UK I just wander off, no problem,” said travel expert Simon Calder.
“But the person sitting next to me, who happens to have had their vaccinations in Spain, not in the UK, has to go and sit in a room for 10 days. Doesn’t make sense.”
The aviation industry is also calling for a change after carrying out a 10-day trial of checking the vaccination status of passengers.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport wanted to demonstrate that vaccination status could be checked away from the border and allow safe entry to the UK from countries on the amber list.
The companies said 99% of documents were verified correctly during the trial, which involved about 250 fully-vaccinated participants from the US, the Caribbean and Europe, travelling to Heathrow.
Two passengers had their credentials rejected, the companies said: one because their vaccination was completed less than 14 days before travel, and the other because of a discrepancy between the name on the passport and on the vaccine card.
The relaxation of the quarantine rules for travellers into England from the EU and the US is backed by a broad coalition of government ministers, who see the benefits to the tourism industry and the economy in general. “There’s no reason not to do this,” said one advisor. Another warned that an airline could go bankrupt if it didn’t happen.
A decision may be imminent but it may take days or weeks to put it into practice. For example, airlines will need time to prepare because they’ll be the ones checking the documents.
And the recent creation of an “amber plus” category at the last minute and without the knowledge of some members of the government shows that sometimes the process doesn’t always go smoothly.
Then there’s travel in the other direction, with the US in no rush to allow in British travellers despite the high-profile launch of a transatlantic travel taskforce last month. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport said the UK was falling behind the EU in opening up to international travellers.
BA chief executive Sean Doyle said the trial provides the evidence that the government needs to allow fully vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries to come to the UK without self-isolating.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said there was “no reason to delay with rolling out the solution from July 31”, while the head of EasyJet told LBC such a change was “the right thing” but a “little bit too late”.Freddie Julius runs tour company Tourist England which puts on trips for overseas visitors. He said around 80% of his customers are from the US and EU and “over the last 18 months we’ve seen almost none”.
Tourist EnglandTourist England said a rule change was critical for the revival of the travel sectorHe said changing the rules to allow vaccinated tourists to visit without quarantining was “critical for the revival of the inbound tourism sector”.But he told the BBC any change needed to be lasting, adding: “
The constant easing and tightening of restrictions have made it almost impossible to plan ahead, both for tour companies and tourists.” However, even if the UK changed its rules for the US, its citizens have been urged not to travel to the UK by the country’s health protection agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the US border is currently closed to the UK, as well as many other countries, except for US citizens.
The vast majority of countries, including the US and many European countries including Spain, Italy and Germany, are on the amber list. Adults who have been fully vaccinated in the UK, and under-18s who are UK residents, no longer have to self-isolate after visiting any amber country apart from France. But anyone who was fully vaccinated outside the UK still has to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, or pay for the test-to-release scheme to shorten their quarantine.
#AceNewsReport – July.27: The warning has been issued to companies at the border, including port and airport operators, contractors, couriers and freight operators, as their furloughed staff return to work following the easing of #COVID19 restrictions.
#AceDailyNews reports that NCA warns furloughed port and airport workers could be exploited by organised criminal groups and as global restrictions on the movement of people and goods are further relaxed, the alert warns that staff who have a detailed knowledge of controls and processes around the border could be targeted….
NCA Borders Threat Lead Beki Wright said: Life has been difficult for everyone during the Covid 19 pandemic, including staff who work at the border, but organised criminals are alive to the opportunities this presents: The prospect of having your bills paid in exchange for disclosing knowledge about the UK border might seem appealing, but the people behind these offers are high-harm criminals responsible for drug smuggling, gun running, money laundering and people trafficking: Working with our partners at the Department for Transport and Border Force, we are determined to do all we can to combat corruption and dismantle the criminal networks responsible for it.”Beki Wright added: We are aware that staff can be contacted via social media channels and would urge anyone who has been approached in this or any other way to contact us immediately. Your actions could help prevent serious criminality.
Rob Allen, Deputy Director for the Border Force Insider Threat and Integrity Team, said: We are absolutely committed to tackling organised crime and doing whatever is necessary to protect the public from harm: We welcome opportunities such as working with the NCA to disrupt organised criminal networks.” In recent years NCA investigations and intelligence has identified examples of organised criminal networks targeting those working at ports and airports, parcel hubs and delivery centres. While the numbers are relatively low, the impact of such corrupt insiders can be extremely high.
The NCA’s 2021 National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised crime states that OCG efforts to establish new insider contacts are likely to increase as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. The Amber Alert issued by the agency warns that OCGs frequently offer financial support in return for knowledge and access to restricted areas. This can be used to help smuggle illicit commodities such as firearms and drugs, or the movement of vulnerable people and children through organised immigration crime: OCGs may approach workers face-to-face or online, posing as recruiters or on some other legitimate pretext.
In February 2020, Ben Whitby was stopped by police on his way home from Killingholme Docks where he worked as a tug operator. The glove box of his car was found to contain a package of cocaine with a street value of £150,000 and £3,000 in cash.
Whitby was also found to have an active Encro-device, a mobile telephone handset specifically and exclusively used to send and receive sophisticated encrypted communications – much favoured by serious and organised criminals prior to Operation VENETIC as a means of preventing law enforcement interception of messages.
A subsequent search of Whitby’s home discovered a further £20,000 in cash and a collection of high value watches, indicative of an income far beyond what his work at the port paid.
In June 2020, Whitby was sentenced to a total of 6 years and 9 months imprisonment for possession of the cocaine and money laundering.
In April 2018 baggage handler Joysen Jhurry was among 11 defendants for their role in a plot to smuggler cannabis and cocaine ino the UK.
Jhurry was observed on CCTV moving suitcases that had arrived from Brazil onto the Domestic reclaim belt, where they would be collected by couriers.
A substantial quantity of Class A drugs was recovered and it transpired that over 100kg cocaine and 44kg cannabis had been imported into the UK using this method. Jhurry was jailed for 16 years for his role.
Port of Tilbury
In September 2019 a long-running and complex NCA investigation resulted in the conviction of Tilbury port worker, Michael Fowler, who was jailed for 14 years.
He was part of an OCG that moved “dirty” containers carrying drugs to areas of the port where they were more easily accessible, enabling the recovery of the drugs by outside gang members.
“ If you are or have been approached or you have information please contact Crimestoppers anonymously, either online or by phone on 0800 555 111. If you have the means to report it through your employer or access to a whistle-blowing scheme, you can use that.
#AceNewsReport – July.26: Ghannouchi, head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party which has played a role in successive coalitions, has come to personify Tunisian politics since the 2011 revolution when he returned in triumph from exile to craft a decade of compromises that averted civil strife but frustrated many…..
#AceDailyNews says #COVID19 takes its toll on Tunisia’s Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi head of moderate Islamist Party has quickly emerged as the main opponent of President Kais Saied’s efforts to reshape the country’s politics, branding his dismissal of the government a coup saying l am 80 years old and throughout my life I have fought against volatility,” he said accordingTelegram Reuters Wire News
It was a consensual version of democracy that as the economy stagnated and its leaders endlessly bickered, soured many Tunisians on the revolution that had brought them new freedoms of speech, assembly and representation.
As protests erupted in January, the government and old parties of parliament like Ennahda bore the brunt of the public’s wrath. That wave of anger finally broke last week as #COVID19 cases spiked.
On Sunday, hours before Saied’s dramatic escalation of his long-running dispute with the political elite, protesters attacked Ennahda offices around the country.
Seen by secular critics as a Trojan horse for hardline Islamism, but by some conservatives as abandoning their cause, Ghannouchi pragmatically steered the party to ensure it stayed a key player, earning the reputation of an ideological chameleon.
“We succeeded in a peaceful revolution. We succeeded in avoiding civil war. We achieved consensus,” he said after parliament approved a democratic constitution in 2014.
It was a far cry from Ghannouchi’s roots in a banned Islamist movement when he was imprisoned twice and then driven into two decades of exile in the West London suburb of Ealing accused of attempting a coup.
While there he honed his ideology, softening its harder edges with democratic ideas and befriending fellow Islamist leader Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.
When Tunisians rose up against president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, Ghannouchi flew home. He landed a week after the autocrat had fled, and was met by an exultant crowd.
Thousands of his supporters filled the terminal, climbed roofs and perched on signposts for a better view, chanting slogans of support, punching the air and sobbing with joy.
As the small greying figure in a red scarf left the building with the throng pressing around him, he took a loudspeaker to exhort them: “Continue your revolution”.
Ennahda won the most seats in Tunisia’s first free election nine months later, the prelude to tense manoeuvring among rival factions with Islamists and secularists increasingly at loggerheads.
As divisions deepened in 2013 and spilled over into the streets, many Tunisians feared the violence that had followed the revolt in neighbouring Libya would break out at home too.
Ghannouchi and secularist president Beji Caid Essebsi agreed a deal to calm the street. It allowed agreement on a new constitution that was greeted upon ratification in parliament with jubilation as rival politicians embraced, weeping, on the floor of the chamber.
But, for some, the compromises rankled.
Opponents of political Islam accused Ghannouchi of turning a blind eye towards the Tunisian jihadists who flocked to join Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and carried out assassinations at home, something he denied.
#AceHealthReport – July.25: We’ve had an oxygen shortage since July 14 and it’s getting critical by the day because of a surge in new cases,” Ketut Suarjaya, the head of Bali’s health agency, said as quoted by Antara state news agency as saying on Friday.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says there’s an oxygen crisis in Bali.” As Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, has had more than 3 million #COVID19 infections and 80,598 deaths according to official data the spread being driven by the Delta variant, has shown no sign of slowing acording to Telegram Reuters Wires…
Reuters Wire News, [Jul 24, 2021 at 09:19:
Research organisation Our World in Data said the country had a death rate three times higher than the global average.
The debate over coronavirus restrictions has pitted health experts, who say it is premature to ease curbs during the surge of infections, against employer groups that have warned of mass layoffs unless the curbs are relaxed.
Suarjaya said patients in Bali needed 113.3 tonnes of oxygen on Thursday, while hospitals only had 40.5 tonnes. He was not immediately available for comment on Saturday.
Oxygen shortages have also been seen on Java. The government has begun to import oxygen supplies from countries such as the United States and China.
#AceHealthReport – July.25: Infections are rising, particularly in Europe and the western Pacific region. Some Western countries have started to ease restrictions as death rates have dropped. But those without access to vaccines or with a slower vaccine rollout are facing a deadlier threat…
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – #Covid19 Delta variant spreads globally as cases soar across 124 terrortories worldwide and its expected to become the dominant variant globally in the coming months, with the WHO predicting that there could be more than 200 million confirmed cases within a matter of weeks Read More Here:
Reuters/BBC/Indonesia Media: Indonesia has seen cases soar in recent weeks after the Delta variant arrived in the country
Here, BBC journalists around the world give a sense of the toll the Delta variant is taking and what impact its spread could have:
Valdya Baraputri, BBC News Indonesia: Demand for funerals soars with more than 1,300 deaths in a day, Indonesia has become Asia’s new Covid epicentre. Hundreds of people have died in self-isolation – possibly because they could not get immediate treatment or were turned away by overwhelmed hospitals.Wirawan, a firefighter in the capital city of Jakarta, sees the worsening crisis first-hand. He and his team are tasked with picking up bodies from homes before finally delivering them for burial. Before the latest spike in cases, he arranged two or three funerals a day. Now, he gets calls for up to 24 funerals a day.That’s more than he can handle, so the bodies need to wait.
Dying alone in Indonesia’s grim battle with Covid-19 that is recording more than 50,000 new daily cases, and the government is keeping emergency restrictions until at least the end of this week. It is likely to extend the measures on Monday.As the new highly transmissible Delta variant, which was first detected in India, continues to ravage the country, Indonesia is racing to vaccine its people. From 208 million people eligible for vaccines, only around 16 million have received both doses.What is the Delta variant?
By Michelle Roberts, BBC Health Editor: First cases were identified in India, but it has been reported in lots of countries around the world It is a variant of concern, meaning it has undergone some genetic changes that are potentially worrying in terms of transmissibility and vaccine escapeIn some countries, including the UK, Delta has become the dominant type of Covid circulatingExperts say vaccines still work well to protect against severe disease caused by this variantTunisia – Pizza offers for vaccine registration.
By Rana Jawad, BBC North Africa correspondent: Tunisia is now witnessing the most devastating impact of Covid since the global pandemic took hold. It’s not known whether most of the new infections are the Delta variant specifically, but case numbers grew after its known arrival here. Hospitals across the country are completely overwhelmed, with some medics filmed crying over a shortage of oxygen concentrators as they are forced to decide who lives and who dies. Getty ImagesIn July a health ministry spokeswoman described the Covid situation in Tunisia as “catastrophic”Infection rates are soaring, and the vaccination campaign has been very slow with less than 8% of the population fully jabbed. Rights organisations have accused the government of mismanaging the crisis, and on Tuesday the health minister was sacked. In recent days, Tunisia’s national telecoms agency has offered 1GB of free internet for those who follow a mobile text prompt to register for a vaccine. At least one known pizza place in Tunis offered a 10% discount if customers showed proof of vaccine registration.The situation could turn a corner next month after Tunisia received donations of vaccines, oxygen tanks and other medical supplies from European and Arabic countries, with several countries pledging to deliver more aid.Mexico – People tire of the crisis.
By Marcos González Díaz, BBC Mundo correspondent: Mexico is facing its third wave of the pandemic. The number of infections has risen to more than 15,000 a day, reaching the peak we saw at the beginning of the year.Authorities are concerned about the advance of the Delta variant, which in the capital Mexico City already accounts for around 60% of cases.The government admitted that the spread of this variant in Mexico and the US is the reason they have extended the closure of the land border between the two countries to non-essential travel.Most of those affected in Mexico are young and unvaccinated people. Only one in four over 18 year-olds in the country are fully vaccinated: The Mexican villages refusing to vaccinate but with 65% of beds available, hospitals do not show for now the collapse seen in the worst moments of the pandemic.In the streets, the feeling is almost of apparent normality among a population exhausted by this crisis. Many of them must leave home daily to work selling food or in other informal jobs, in order to earn the money they need to survive.This is why the government does not plan to increase restrictive measures or shut down economic activities once again, despite the risk of Delta.
Samba Cyuzuzo, senior digital journalist for BBC Great Lakes recently, Rwanda had been praised for its swift and strong measures to contain the virus.But since mid-June, the virus has hit harder. Cases and deaths have spiked to record highs week after week. By early July, all Covid treatment centres were said to be full.”We have never been here before in this pandemic,” the health minister told the state broadcaster on 6 July. Two days later he confirmed the arrival of the faster spreading and deadlier Delta variant.On 17 July, the country announced a 10 day lockdown in the capital Kigali and eight districts to try to halt virus. Cases and casualties, however, remain relatively high.More than 400,000 people are fully vaccinated – around 3% of Rwanda’s population.
#AceNewsReport – July.25: This report was provided. By BBC Trending on the effort to use disinformation on vaccines with public, do what’s right in your heart always ….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that YouTubers who blew the whistle on an anti-vax plot and the The BBC reports they have made multiple attempts to contact AdNow by phone, email and even a letter couriered to their Moscow headquarters, but they have not responded.
By Charlie Haynes and Flora Carmichael BBC Trending
“It started with an email” says Mirko Drotschmann, a German YouTuber and journalist.
Mirko normally ignores offers from brands asking him to advertise their products to his more than 1.5 million subscribers. But the sponsorship offer he received in May this year was unlike any other.
An influencer marketing agency called Fazze offered to pay him to promote what it said was leaked information that suggested the death rate among people who had the Pfizer vaccine was almost three times that of the AstraZeneca jab.
The information provided wasn’t true.
It quickly became apparent to Mirko that he was being asked to spread disinformation to undermine public confidence in vaccines in the middle of a pandemic.
“I was shocked,” says Mirko “then I was curious, what’s behind all that?”
Mirko DrotschmannMirko Drotschmann was offered money to spread disinformation on his social media accounts
In France, science YouTuber Léo Grasset received a similar offer. The agency offered him 2000 euros if he would take part. Fazze said it was acting for a client who wished to remain anonymous.
“That’s a huge red flag” says Léo.
Both Léo and Mirko were appalled by the false claims.
They pretended to be interested in order to try to find out more and were provided with detailed instructions about what they should say in their videos.
In stilted English, the brief instructed them to “Act like you have the passion and interest in this topic.”
Léo GrassetLéo Grasset was horrified by the attempt to recruit him
It told them not to mention the video had a sponsor – and instead pretend they were spontaneously giving advice out of concern for their viewers.
Social media platforms have rules that ban not disclosing that content is sponsored. In France and Germany it’s also illegal.
Fazze’s brief told influencers to share a story in French newspaper Le Monde about a data leak from the European Medicines Agency.
The story was genuine, but didn’t include anything about vaccine deaths. But in this context it would give the false impression that the death rate statistics had come from the leak.
The data the influencers were asked to share had actually been cobbled together from different sources and taken out of context.
It presented the numbers of people who had died in several countries some time after receiving different Covid vaccines. But just because someone dies after having a vaccine doesn’t mean they died because they had the vaccine. They could have been killed in a car accident.
In the countries the statistics were from, greater numbers of people had received the Pfizer vaccine at that time, so a higher number of people dying after having a Pfizer jab was to be expected.
“If you don’t have any scientific training, you could just say, ‘oh, there are these numbers, they are really different. So there must be a link.’ But you can make any spurious correlation as you want really,” Léo says.
The influencers were also provided with a list of links to share – dubious articles which all used the same set of figures that supposedly showed the Pfzer vaccine was dangerous.
When Léo and Mirko exposed the Fazze campaign on Twitter all the articles, except the Le Monde story, disappeared from the web.
By any measure the disinformation campaign was bungled.
Since Léo and Mirko blew the whistle at least four other influencers in France and Germany have gone public to reveal they also rejected Fazze’s attempts to recruit them.
But German journalist, Daniel Laufer, has identified two influencers who may have taken up the offer.
Indian YouTuber Ashkar Techy usually makes jokey videos about cars and dating and Brazilian prankster Everson Zoio, has more than three million Instagram followers.
Each of them posted uncharacteristic videos in which they pushed the same message as the Fazze campaign and shared the fake news links from the agency’s brief. Both had also participated in previous Fazze promotions.
After Daniel Laufer contacted them, Everson Zoio and Ashkar Techy removed their videos but didn’t answer his questions. The BBC tried to contact both influencers, but they didn’t respond.
Ashkar TechyAshkar Techy shared the dubious data in his video
We tried emailing the people who approached Mirko and Léo. The emails bounced back, not from Fazze, but from the domain of a company called AdNow.
Fazze is a part of AdNow, which is a digital marketing company, registered in both Russia and the UK.
Eventually we managed to contact Ewan Tolladay, one of two directors of the British arm of AdNow – who lives in Durham.
Mr Tolladay said he had very little to do with Fazze – which he said was a joint venture between his fellow director – a Russian man called Stanislav Fesenko – and another person whose identity he didn’t know.
He said that he hadn’t been a part of the disinformation campaign. He said he hadn’t even known Fazze had taken on the contract before the story broke. He couldn’t enlighten us on who the mystery client was.
He said that in light of the scandal “we are doing the responsible thing and shutting down AdNow here in the UK”. He said Fazze was also being shut down.
We have tried to get Mr Fesenko to talk to us but had no success.
Both the French and German authorities have launched investigations into Fazze’s approaches to influencers.
But the identity of the agency’s mystery client remains unclear.
There has been speculation about the Russian connections to this scandal and the interests of the Russian state in promoting its own vaccine – Sputnik V.
Omid Nouripour, the foreign policy spokesman for the German Green party has suggested looking to Moscow for the motivation behind the Fazze campaign.
He said: “Bad-mouthing vaccines in the West undermines trust in our democracies and is supposed to increase trust in Russia’s vaccines, and there is only one side that benefits and that is the Kremlin.”
But in a statement the Russian embassy in London said: “We treat Covid-19 as a global threat and, thus, are not interested in undermining global efforts in the fight against it, with vaccinating people with the Pfizer vaccine as one of the ways to cope with the virus.”
While Fazze’s campaign was a flop, Léo Grasset believes it won’t be the last attempt to use the power of social influencers to spread disinformation.
“If you want to manipulate public opinion, especially for young people, you don’t go to TV” says French YouTuber Léo Grasset.
“Just spend the same money on TikTok creators, YouTube creators. The whole ecosystem is perfectly built for maximum efficiency of disinformation right now.”
#AceWeatherDesk says Monsoon rains flood Philippine villages, thousands evacuate as officials said they struggled to open more emergency shelters in order to allow social distancing among the displaced residents and prevent evacuation camps from turning into epicenters of #COVID19 infections. In the hard-hit city of Marikina in the capital region, nearly 15,000 residents were evacuated to safety overnight as waters rose alarmingly in a major river.
“This situation will be too difficult if there won’t be a permanent solution to flooding, especially now with the threat from the delta variant,” Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro told ABS CBN News, referring to the highly contagious COVID-19 viral strain that has been detected in the country.
Philippines Evacuates Thousands as Monsoon Rains and Tropical Storm Flood Manila, Provinces
Philippine authorities moved thousands of residents in the capital, Manila, out of low-lying communities on Saturday as heavy monsoon rains, compounded by a tropical storm, flooded the city and nearby provinces.
Reuters – Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Jay Ereno; Editing by Robert Birsel and Edmund Klamann Click here to read more.
Many of the residents were evacuated from flood-prone villages in Marikina overnight, depriving them of sleep, said Teodoro. He blamed years of illegal logging in nearby mountains and heavy siltation in Marikina River for constant flooding in his city.
In the mountainous northern city of Baguio, a resident died Friday afternoon after the taxi she was riding in was hit by a falling tree, police said, adding two other people in the taxi were injured. The northern Philippines has been swamped by days of monsoon rains that flooded low-lying villages and set off minor landslides.
Typhoon In-fa, which has churned off the country’s eastern coast and dumped rain on Taiwan before blowing toward China, intensified the seasonal downpours, forecasters said.
A cargo boat overturned after being lashed by strong waves Saturday close to a port in Pio Duran town in Albay province, southeast of Manila. Its 10 crewmen were rescued by police, firefighters and villagers, who used a long rope to pull the overturned boat closer to the coast, the coast guard said.
Coast guard personnel rescued several residents trapped in their houses by rising floodwaters Friday in Naujan town in Mindoro Oriental province south of Manila. As they carried the villagers through waist-high waters, the emergency crew held on to a rope to prevent themselves from being swept away by the current.
About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, aside from seasonal monsoon rains. The country also lies in the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone nations.
#AceHealthReport – July.23: He dismissed the lab leak idea as a rumour that runs counter to common sense and science….
#AceHealthDesk says WHO’s plan to probe Wuhan lab leak theory ‘impossible’ for China to accept, says Chinese health official ………Zeng Yixin, the vice-minister of the National Health Commission, said on Thursday he was “rather taken aback” that the plan includes further investigation of the theory that the virus might have leaked from a Chinese lab.
“It is impossible for us to accept such an origin-tracing plan,” he said at a news conference called to address the COVID-19 origins issue.
The search for where the virus came from has become a diplomatic issue that has fuelled China’s deteriorating relations with the US and many American allies.
The US and others say that China has not been transparent about what happened in the early days of the pandemic.
China accuses critics of seeking to blame it for the pandemic and politicising an issue that should be left to scientists.
#AceNewsReport – July.22: The next morning, RGC agents working near La Grulla, Texas, encountered a large group of migrants walking north on a ranch road after illegally entering the United States. The group of 298 migrants included 60 unaccompanied children. This has been the largest group of migrants encountered by RGV agents this fiscal year. Within this group, a subject exhibiting COVID-19 related symptoms was transported to the hospital. At the hospital, the migrant tested positive for #COVID19 …..
#AceDailyNews reports that on Friday morning, RGC agents working in La Grulla, Texas, observed a large group of migrants make landfall in the United States. The group totaled 235 migrants consisting of 187 family members, 27 unaccompanied children, and 21 single adult migrants. More than half of the migrants are citizens of Guatemala. The remainder of the migrants are citizens of Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Nicaragua……
Sunday afternoon, RGC agents encountered another large group of migrants walking north on the same ranch road as the day prior. Of the 203 migrants, 127 are citizens of Honduras. The group consisted of 158 family members, 29 unaccompanied children, and 16 single adults.
Border Patrol processed the subjects accordingly.
Even with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, human smugglers continue to try these brazen attempts with zero regard for the lives they endanger nor to the health of the citizens of our great nation. The U.S. Border Patrol agents of the Rio Grande Valley Sector will continue to safeguard the nation and community against these criminal elements.
#AceHealthReport – July.21: A few months later the pandemic had engulfed Mexico and thousands of people were dying every week. But Coquilteel and many small, indigenous towns in the state of Chiapas were left relatively unscathed. This has been a blessing but it also presents a problem.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says cases have risen with men, women and children in this #pandemic and now Mexican villages refusing to vaccinate citizens with almost 30% of Mexicans have received one vaccine against #COVID19 so far but in the state of Chiapas the take-up rate is less than half of that. In Coquilteel, and many remote villages in the state, it’s likely to be closer to 2%. Last week Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador remarked on the low vaccination rate in Chiapas and said the government needed to do more according to BBC Latin News
By Stephanie Hegarty Population correspondent
In November Pascuala Vázquez Aguilar had a strange dream about her village Coquilteel, nestled among the trees in the mountains of southern Mexico.
A plague had come to the village and everyone ran to the forest. They hid in a hut under a tall canopy of oak trees.
“The plague couldn’t reach us there,” Pascuala says. “That’s what I saw in my dream.”
Pascuala is a community health leader for 364 communities in the area and she has been vaccinated. She travels in and out of the village and worries about bringing Covid back to her family and friends who, like most of their neighbours are not vaccinated.
They’re influenced by lies and rumours swirling around on WhatsApp. Pascuala has seen messages saying the vaccine will kill people after two years, that it’s a government plot to reduce the population or that it’s a sign of the devil that curses anyone who receives it.
AFPVaccination uptake in Chiapas state has been relatively low compared to other areas
This kind of disinformation is everywhere but in villages like Coquilteel, it can be particularly potent. “People don’t trust the government. They don’t see the government doing anything good, they just see a lot of corruption,” Pascuala says.
The community in Chilón are predominantly indigenous descendants of the Mayan civilisation. In Chiapas there are over 12 official traditional languages spoken. The first language in Coquilteel is Tzeltal and few people speak much Spanish.
The indigenous community in this part of Mexico has a history of resistance to the central authorities, culminating in the Zapatista uprising in 1994. “The government doesn’t consult people on how they want to be helped or how to govern,” says Pascuala. “The majority don’t believe that Covid exists.”
This isn’t just a problem in Mexico or in Latin America, it’s happening all over the world. In northern Nigeria in the early 2000s and later in parts of Pakistan, distrust of the authorities led to boycotts of the polio vaccine. Some of these communities believed a lie that the vaccine was sent by the US as part of the “War on Terror”, to cause infertility and reduce their Muslim population.
“There is fertile ground for rumours and misinformation where there’s already a lack of trust in authorities and maybe even in science,” says Lisa Menning, a social scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) who researches barriers to vaccine uptake. “There are information gaps and perhaps poorly designed communications campaigns that have targeted these communities historically.”
Gerardo GonzálezPascuala, a vaccinated health worker, worries her unvaccinated friends and family might catch Covid
Nicolasa Guzmán García spends much of her day in Coquilteel tending to her chickens and growing fresh vegetable for her family. She does believe Covid is real but doesn’t feel the need to be vaccinated. “I don’t leave my home very much. I don’t travel to the city, I’m focused on looking after my animals,” she says.
She also believes that their traditional lifestyle protects the community – they eat healthy, fresh food and get a lot of fresh air and exercise. And like a lot of indigenous communities across Latin America, the Tzeltal practise a mix of Catholicism and their ancient spiritual religion.
“I can’t say if this vaccine is bad or good because I don’t know how it was made, who made it and what’s in it,” says Nicolasa. “But I prepare my traditional medicine myself so I have more confidence in it.”
She uses a mixture of cured tobacco, home-made alcohol and garlic to help with breathing problems, and tinctures made from Mexican marigold flowers or water of the rue plant for fever.
Medical doctor Gerardo González Figueroa has been treating indigenous communities in Chiapas for 15 years and says trust in herbal medicine is not just out of tradition but necessity – because medical facilities are often far away.
He believes there are some protective benefits from traditional diet, lifestyle and healing practices but he is extremely worried about low vaccination rates.
“I don’t think the efforts of the Mexican government have been strong enough in getting all of society involved,” he says. “These institutions have been acting in a paternalistic manner. It’s ‘go and get your vaccines’.”
AFPThe indigenous community in this part of Mexico has a history of resistance to the government
The federal government has said its vaccination programme is a success, with mortality declining by 80% amidst the third wave of Covid sweeping across Mexico’s more densely populated urban areas.
Pascuala believes the authorities gave up too easily when they saw that people were rejecting getting vaccinated in the village.
“It’s a false binary to think of supply and demand as separate things,” says Lisa Menning of the WHO. She points to the US, where polling in March showed communities of colour had also been hesitant to get vaccinated until authorities put a major effort into making vaccination accessible. Vaccination rates in these communities are now much higher.
“Having easy, convenient and really affordable access to good services, where there’s a health worker who’s really well-trained and able to respond to any concerns and responds in a very caring and kind respectful way – that is what makes the difference.”
It can’t be a top-down approach, she says. “What works best is listening to communities, partnering with them, working with them.”
Coquilteel is one of millions of small, rural communities around the world where this is sorely lacking. For now, all Pascuala can do is keep trying to convince people to get vaccinated and she’s focusing her efforts on those who leave the village, like truck drivers. But until everyone is vaccinated, she can only put her trust in other powers.
“Thanks to God we live in a community where there are still trees, and where the air is still clean,” she says. “I think in some way, Mother Earth is protecting us.”
#AceNewsReport – July.20: Monday marked the long-anticipated reopening of England’s bars and clubs, and the dropping of most of the coronavirus restrictions that had been in place since last year. However, the government will soon make vaccination mandatory to enter these establishments, Zahawi announced on Monday.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says Booster shots coming, vaccines will be MANDATORY for nightclubs, UK govt announces today in Parliament …as cases like this rise and daily cases soar …..
“Vaccination holds the key for doing the things we love,” he told Parliament. “We plan to make full vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. Proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient.”
By September, Zahawi stated, every adult in the UK will have been given the opportunity to get fully vaccinated.
Zahawi had a different opinion on so-called ‘vaccine passports’ only a few months ago. Back in February he called such passes “discriminatory,” and told the BBC: “That’s not how we do things. We do them by consent.”
In a BBC appearance shortly after Zahawi’s speech, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the vaccination-only policy official, repeating the minister’s words verbatim.
“Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough”UK PM Boris Johnson says that after all over-18s have had the chance to get both Covid jabs, full vaccination will be required for entry into “nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather”https://t.co/EZJkjkCXF1pic.twitter.com/q0UpIP3Hmr— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 19, 2021
With the efficacy of vaccines against the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus being questioned in some countries, Zahawi also told lawmakers that the government is drawing up plans to administer vaccine booster shots. Trials for such shots are already underway, and before his resignation last month, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that a nationwide programme of booster jabs will likely be rolled out in autumn.
For the moment, children will be exempt from vaccination unless they suffer from pre-existing conditions, Zahawi said on Monday.
“We will be offering even more vulnerable people the protection that a vaccine brings and we will all be safer as a result,” he said, after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation released new guidance stating that only children with severe neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression, and profound and multiple learning disabilities will be given the jab.
#AceHealthReport – July.19: Over 100,000 people protested across France on Saturday against the government’s latest measures to push people to get vaccinated and curb rising infections by the delta variant of the #coronavirus…
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says PARIS: Thousands of people marched around France to protest mandatory vaccinations for health care workers and #COVID19 passes that will be required to enter restaurants and other venues acording to AP
ABC News By CONSTANTIN GOUVY Associated Press: 17 July 2021, 21:47
CDC director: COVID-19 spreading among unvaccinated
In Paris, separate protest marches by the far-right and the far-left wound through different parts of the city. Demonstrations were also held in Strasbourg in the east, Lille in the north, Montpellier in the south and elsewhere.
Thousands of people answered calls to take to the streets by Florian Philippot, a fringe far-right politician and former right hand of Marine Le Pen who announced earlier this month that he would run in the 2022 presidential election. Gathered a stone’s throw away from the Louvre Museum, protesters chanted “Macron, clear off!”, “Freedom,” and banged metal spoons on saucepans.
While Philippot has organized small but regular protests against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, Saturday’s demonstration drew a larger and more diverse crowd of people broadly disaffected with politics: yellow vest activists angry over perceived economic injustice, far-right supporters, medical staff and royalists.
They denounced the government’s decision on Monday to make vaccinescompulsory for all health care workers, and to require a “health pass” proving people are fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative or recovered from the virus in order to access restaurants and other public venues. President Emmanuel Macron’s government is presenting a draft law Monday to enshrine the measures.
“I will never get vaccinated,” Bruno Auquier, a 53-year-old town councilor who lives on the outskirts of Paris. “People need to wake up,” he said, questioning the safety of the vaccine.
While France already requires several vaccinations to enter public school, Auquier pledged to take his two children out of school if the coronavirus vaccine became mandatory. “These new measures are the last straw,” Auquier said.
The government warned of the continued spread of the delta variant, which authorities fear could again put pressure on hospitals if not enough people are vaccinated against the virus. The pandemic has cost France more than 111,000 lives and deeply damaged the economy.
During a visit to a pop-up vaccination center in the southwest, Prime Minister Jean Castex exhorted the French to stick together in order to overcome the crisis.
“There is only one solution: vaccination,” he said, stressing it “protects us, and will make us freer.”
At the Paris protest, a manual worker in his sixties expressed bitterness about jobs in his sector sent offshore. A 24-year-old royalist said he was there to demand “the return of God and the King.”
Lucien, a 28-year-old retail shop manager, said he wasn’t anti-vaccine, but thought that everyone should be able to do as they please with their own body. “The government is going too far,” he said. His 26-year-old friend Elise said, “I am vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and polio. But the COVID vaccine is just too experimental.”
While a majority of French health care workers have had at least one vaccine dose, some are resisting the government’s decision to make vaccination compulsory for all staff in medical facilities.
At Saturday’s Paris protest, a 39-year-old green party supporter and hospital laboratory worker said she might resort to buying a fake vaccination certificate to avoid losing her job. A health care worker dressed as the Statue of Liberty called it “act of violence” to force people to get vaccinated.
In Montpellier, more than 1,000 people marched to the train station, chanting “Liberty!” and carrying signs reading “Our kids aren’t Guinea pigs.” Security officials closed the main entrance to travelers and a dozen police officers took posts in front.
The Interior Ministry said 114,000 people took part in protests nationwide.
Overnight on Friday, vandals ransacked a vaccination center in the southeast. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin asked prefects and police chiefs to reinforce security for elected officials, after several complained they had received threats in recent days over the latest anti-COVID measures.
Vaccine hesitancy is considered widespread in France, though appears to have faded somewhat as 36 million French people have gotten coronavirus vaccine doses in recent months. Millions more have gotten injected or signed up for vaccinations since Monday’s announcement.
French health care workers have until Sept. 15 to get vaccinated. The requirement for COVID passes for all restaurants, bars, hospitals, shopping malls, trains, planes and other venues is being introduced in stages starting Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the French government announced tightened border controls starting Sunday, but also said it would allow in travelers from anywhere in the world who have been fully vaccinated.
That now includes people who received AstraZeneca’s Indian-manufactured vaccine. The move came after a global outcry over the fact that the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate only recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Europe.
Elaine Ganley in Montpellier and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.
#AceHealthReport – July.19: Thousands of people suffering with long COVID will benefit from new research programmes backed by £19.6 million to help better understand the condition, improve diagnosis and find new treatments.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk reports that DHSC Statement on New research into treatment and diagnosis of long #COVID with an extensive programme of 15 new research studies, backed by government funding through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will allow researchers across the UK to draw together their expertise from analysing long COVID among those suffering long-term effects and the health and care professionals supporting them.
15 new studies across UK to expand research that will support thousands of vulnerable people
Nearly £20 million for research projects will help improve understanding of long COVID and identify effective treatments
Projects include the largest long COVID trial to date which will involve over 4,500 people
The latest research shows that although many people make a full recovery following COVID-19, a significant proportion of people continue to experience chronic symptoms for months. These ground breaking studies aim to help those people affected return to their normal lives.
The projects will focus on:
Better understanding the condition and identifying it
Evaluating the effectiveness of different care services
Better integrating specialist, hospital and community services for those suffering with long COVID
Identifying effective treatments, such as drugs, rehabilitation and recovery to treat people suffering from chronic symptoms
Improving home monitoring and self-management of symptoms, including looking at the impact of diet, and
Identifying and understanding the effect of particular symptoms of long COVID, such as breathlessness, reduced ability to exercise and brain fog
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:
Long COVID can have serious and debilitating long term effects for thousands of people across the UK which can make daily life extremely challenging.
This new research is absolutely essential to improve diagnosis and treatments and will be life-changing for those who are battling long-term symptoms of the virus.
It will build on our existing support with over 80 long COVID assessment services open across England as part of a £100 million expansion of care for those suffering from the condition and over £50 million invested in research to better understand the lasting effects of this condition.
Professor Nick Lemoine, Chair of NIHR’s long COVID funding committee and Medical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN), said:
This package of research will provide much needed hope to people with long-term health problems after COVID-19, accelerating development of new ways to diagnose and treat long COVID, as well as how to configure healthcare services to provide the absolute best care. Together with our earlier round of funding, NIHR has invested millions into research covering the full gamut of causes, mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of long COVID.
The selection process for this broad range of innovative studies into long COVID involved people with lived experience at every stage and their input has been invaluable in shaping the outcome of this call and the research projects which will receive funding.
The projects include:
STIMULATE-ICP at University College London which will be the largest long COVID trial to date, recruiting more than 4,500 people with the condition. With £6.8 million of funding, the project will test the effectiveness of existing drugs to treat long COVID by measuring the effects of 3 months’ treatment, including on people’s symptoms, mental health and outcomes such as returning to work. It will also assess the use of MRI scans to help diagnose potential organ damage, as well as enhanced rehabilitation through an app to track their symptoms.
The immunologic and virologic determinants of long COVID at Cardiff University with nearly £800,000, which will look at the role of the immune system in long-term disease and whether overactive or impaired immune responses could drive long COVID by causing widespread inflammation.
ReDIRECT at University of Glasgow backed by nearly £1 million, which will assess whether a weight management programme can reduce symptoms of long COVID in people who are overweight or obese.
LOCOMOTION at University of Leeds with £3.4 million, which focuses on identifying and promoting the most effective care, from accurate assessments in long COVID clinics to the best advice and treatment in surgeries, as well as home monitoring methods that can show flare-ups of symptoms. The research aims to establish a gold standard of care that can be shared across England and the rest of the UK.
EXPLAIN at University of Oxford backed by £1.8 million, which will seek to diagnose ongoing breathlessness in people with COVID-19 who were not admitted to hospital, using MRI scans to trace inhaled gas moving into and out of the lungs to assess their severity and whether they improve over time.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said:
Long Covid is a terrible illness affecting thousands of people across the UK, and as it’s such a new disease, there’s still a lot we don’t know about it.
This UK Government funding, which is supporting studies led by the University of Glasgow and University of the West of Scotland, will help us make progress in understanding long Covid and hopefully improve treatment and support for patients right across the UK.
UK Government Minister for Wales Simon Hart said:
The development and distribution of the vaccine means we can now see an end to the pandemic and Wales has played a significant part via Wrexham’s Wockhardt facility where the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continues to be produced.
Following this investment I hope Cardiff University can play a similarly important role in understanding and countering the long-term effects of the virus as we emerge from the pandemic.
Professor Amitava Banerjee, Associate Professor in Clinical Data Science and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, University College London, Chief investigator of the STIMULATE-ICP (Symptoms, trajectory, inequalities and management: understanding long COVID to address and transform existing integrated care pathways) trial, said:
Dr Dennis Chan, Principal Research Fellow, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, Chief investigator of the CICERO (Cognitive Impairment in long COVID: PhEnotyping and RehabilitatiOn) project, said:
Cognitive impairment, referred to informally as ‘brain fog’, is a major component of long COVID that compromises people’s daily activities and ability to return to work. The aim of this study is twofold; first, to understand better the nature of this ‘cognitive COVID’ in terms of the cognitive functions affected and the associated brain imaging changes, and second, to test whether neuropsychological rehabilitation can improve people’s outcomes. If this study is successful we will not only understand much better the way in which COVID affects the brain but also provide NHS services with new tools to help people recover from their cognitive difficulties.
Professor Fergus Gleeson, Professor of Radiology and Consultant Radiologist, Oxford University, Chief Investigator of EXPLAIN (HypErpolarised Xenon Magnetic Resonance PuLmonary Imaging in PAtIeNts with Long-COVID) project, said:
Following on from our earlier work using hyperpolarised xenon MRI in patients following hospitalisation with COVID-19 pneumonia, where we showed that their lungs may be damaged even when all other tests were normal, it is critical to determine how many patients with long COVID and breathlessness have damaged lungs, and if and how long it takes for their lungs to recover.
Hyperpolarised xenon MRI is a safe scanning test that requires the patient to lie in the MRI scanner and breathe in one litre of the inert gas xenon that has been hyperpolarised so that we can see it using MRI. The scan takes a few minutes and does not require radiation exposure, so it may be repeated over time to see lung changes. Using this technique, we can see the xenon – which behaves in a very similar way to oxygen – move from the lungs into the blood stream. In this way, we can see if there has been damage to the airways in the lungs, or to the areas where oxygen crosses into the blood stream, which appears to be the area damaged by COVID-19.
The projects were funded following a UK-wide research call for ambitious and comprehensive research into understanding and addressing the longer term physical and mental health effects of COVID-19 in non-hospitalised people and will build on the existing research already commissioned to look at long COVID.
In February 2021, 4 projects funded by NIHR and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) were announced, following the first research call.
The UK began the commissioning of long COVID research in 2020 and some projects are already producing results that are informing the understanding of long COVID. This research call adds to the existing investment of over £30 million of research funding taking the total investment to £50 million.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued official guidance on best practice for recognising, investigating and rehabilitating patients with long COVID. According to NICE guidance, ‘long COVID describes signs and symptoms that continue or develop after acute COVID-19. It includes both ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 (from 4 to 12 weeks) and post-COVID-19 syndrome (12 weeks or more).’
In October 2020, NHS England and Improvement launched a 5 point plan for long COVID. There are now 89 specialist post COVID-19 clinics operating in England.
On 15 June 2021, NHSEI published a new 10 point plan and announced an additional £100 million expansion of care for patients with long COVID.
Annex A: Study summaries
Developing and testing the best ways to diagnose, treat and provide rehabilitation for people with long COVID
Dr Amitava Bannerjee, University College of London – £6.8m The wide-ranging symptoms of long COVID are debilitating and need coordinated care from specialists, hospitals and community services. The STIMULATE-ICP (Symptoms, trajectory, inequalities and management: understanding long COVID to address and transform existing integrated care pathways) trial, developed with the help of patient organisations, will be the largest long COVID trial to date, recruiting more than 4,500 people with the condition. This project will test the efficacy of existing drugs to treat long COVID, and measure the different effects of three months’ treatment on patients with regards to their symptoms, mental health and outcomes such as returning to work. It will also assess the use of MRI scans to help diagnose potential organ damage in those recovering from the coronavirus, as well as enhanced rehabilitation – the provision of joined-up specialist care centred around an app for patients allowing them to track their symptoms.
Optimising standards of care for long COVID in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and at home
Dr Manoj Sivan, University of Leeds – £3.4m Although there are 83 long COVID clinics in England, most people have not had access to them, and face long waiting times to be seen. The LOCOMOTION (long COVID multidisciplinary consortium: optimising treatments and services across the NHS) project focuses on identifying and promoting the most effective care, ranging from accurate assessments in these clinics to the best advice and treatment in surgeries, as well as home monitoring methods that can show flare-ups of symptoms. Drawing from the experiences of current long COVID patients and NHS professionals, the research aims to establish a ‘gold standard’ of care that can be shared across England and the rest of the UK. Analysis will be conducted in 10 long COVID clinics, at home and in doctors’ surgeries, and the study will track referrals and evaluate different services through patient interviews to make sure they are efficient, accessible and cost-effective. Specialists in healthcare inequality will also ensure that views are sought and recorded from people who are not visiting clinics.
Explaining why long COVID patients experience breathlessness and a reduced ability to exercise
Professor Fergus Gleeson, University of Oxford – £1.8m One of the most prevalent and persistent symptoms among long COVID patients has been discomfort in breathing following physical activity. The EXPLAIN (Hyperpolarised xenon magnetic resonance pulmonary imaging in patients with Long-COVID) project will seek to diagnose ongoing breathlessness in coronavirus patients who were not admitted to hospital, using MRI scans to trace inhaled gas moving into and out of the lungs. A 15-minute scan using low levels of xenon gas will display lung function and – if abnormalities are found – comparisons of data across different groups of participants recruited from Oxford and Sheffield can help assess their severity and whether they improve over time. Some EXPLAIN patients will also have a separate scan to see if heart damage can be identified. If the MRI scans separate patients with and without lung disease, further CT scans can be analysed, using artificial intelligence and blood samples to identify associated conditions and inform the development of treatments.
Understanding and treating ‘brain fog’
Dr Dennis Chan, University College London – £1.2m Up to three quarters of people who experience long-term symptoms after COVID-19 report problems with memory, attention or other cognitive functions – symptoms known collectively as ‘brain fog’. The CICERO (Cognitive Impairment in long COVID: PhEnotyping and RehabilitatiOn) project will first determine which elements of brain function are most affected in people with long COVID. The relationship between brain function and other symptoms of long COVID, such as fatigue and anxiety, will be explored, and MRI scanning will be used to identify the affected brain networks. The researchers will then develop and test a new rehabilitation strategy to help people recover from the cognitive aspects of long COVID and return to normal life and working ability. This will support production of a freely available COVID-19 Cognitive Recovery Guide on how best to offer the new rehabilitation approach depending on the patient’s symptoms.
Co-designing personalised self-management for patients at home
Professor Fiona Jones, Kingston University – £1.1m Long COVID describes more than 200 different symptoms that can interact and fluctuate. Although fatigue and problems with brain function are the most common symptoms, each patient can experience a different set of symptoms. The LISTEN (Long COVID Personalised Self-managemenT support – co-design and EvaluatioN) project will work in partnership with people who have long COVID to design and evaluate a package of self-management support that can be personalised to individual needs. The researchers will first work with people living with or recovered from long COVID, plus a social enterprise with expertise in reaching seldom heard populations, to design the package and associated patient and training resources. The team will then test the self-management package alongside up to six one-to-one virtual coaching sessions from trained rehabilitation practitioners, to test whether the treatment improves how people with long COVID feel and how they cope with everyday activities. The researchers will also evaluate how the package could be implemented more widely, with the aim that self-management for people with long COVID can be delivered at scale.
ReDIRECT: Remote Diet Intervention to Reduce long Covid symptoms Trial
Dr David Blane, University of Glasgow – £999,679
The immunologic and virologic determinants of long COVID
Professor David Price, Cardiff University – £774,457
Quality-of-life in patients with long COVID: harnessing the scale of big data to quantify the health and economic costs
Dr Rosalind Eggo, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – £674,679
Percutaneous Auricular Nerve Stimulation for Treating Post-COVID Fatigue (PAuSing-Post-COVID Fatigue)
Dr Mark Baker, Newcastle University – £640,180
Immune analysis of long COVID to inform rational choices in diagnostic testing and therapeutics
Professor Daniel Altmann, Imperial College – £573,769
Understanding and using family experiences of managing long COVID to support self care and timely access to services
Professor Sue Ziebland, University of Oxford – £557,674
Development of a robust T cell assay to retrospectively diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection and IFN-γ release assay as diagnostic and monitoring assay in Long COVID patients
Dr Mark Wills, University of Cambridge – £372,864
Using Activity Tracking and Just-In-Time Messaging to Improve Adaptive Pacing: A Pragmatic Randomised Control Trial
Professor Nicholas Sculthorpe, University of the West of Scotland – £317,416
Impact of COVID-19 vaccination on preventing long COVID: a population-based cohort study using linked NHS data
Professor Daniel Prieto-Alhambra, University of Oxford – £224,344
Long COVID Core Outcome Set (LC-COS) project
Dr Tim Nicholson, King’s College London – £139,619
#AceNewsReport – July.17: Juli A. Mazi, 41, of Napa, is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters. The case is the first federal criminal fraud prosecution related to homeoprophylaxis immunizations and fraudulent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) #COVID19 vaccination record cards.
#AceDailyNews reports that a California-licensed homeopathic doctor was arrested today for her alleged scheme to sell homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets and to falsify COVID-19 vaccination cards by making it appear that customers had received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna vaccine.
“This defendant allegedly defrauded and endangered the public by preying on fears and spreading misinformation about FDA-authorized vaccinations, while also peddling fake treatments that put people’s lives at risk.
Even worse, the defendant allegedly created counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards and instructed her customers to falsely mark that they had received a vaccine, allowing them to circumvent efforts to contain the spread of the disease,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the American people from fraudsters during this national emergency. This commitment is evident in this prosecution as well as in the ongoing work of the Department and our agency partners in the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force established by the Attorney General earlier this year.”
According to court documents, in April 2021, an individual submitted a complaint to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) hotline stating that family members purchased from Mazi COVID-19 homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets. The complainant stated that the family members had told her/him that Mazi stated that the pellets contained the COVID-19 virus and would create an antibody response in the immune system. The complainant reported that her/his family did not receive injections of any of the three FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. However, in connection with the delivery of the homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets, Mazi sent COVID-19 Vaccination Record cards, with Moderna listed, to the complainant family. Mazi allegedly instructed the complainant family to mark the cards to falsely state that they received the Moderna vaccine on the date that they ingested the COVID-19 homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets.
“Steering through the challenges presented by COVID-19 requires trust and reliance on our medical professionals to provide sage information and guidance,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds for the Northern District of California. “According to the complaint, instead of disseminating valid remedies and information, Juli Mazi profited from unlawfully peddling unapproved remedies, stirring up false fears, and generating fake proof of vaccinations. We will act to protect trust in the medical developments that are enabling us to emerge from the problems presented by the pandemic.”
According to court documents, Mazi offered homeoprophylaxis immunizations for childhood illnesses that she falsely claimed would satisfy the immunization requirements for California schools, and falsified immunization cards that were submitted by parents to California schools. Homeoprophylaxis involves the exposure of an individual to dilute amounts of a disease, purportedly to stimulate the immune system and confer immunity. Mazi is alleged to have falsely claimed that orally ingesting pellets with small amounts of COVID-19 would result in full lifelong immunity from COVID-19.
“This doctor violated the all-important trust the public extends to healthcare professionals — at a time when integrity is needed the most,” said Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Ryan of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “Working closely with our law enforcement partners, our agency will continue to investigate such fraudsters who recklessly endanger the public’s health during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.”
The affidavit alleges that Mazi used the COVID-19 pandemic to expand the pre-existing immunization scheme by selling immunization pellets that she fraudulently claimed, in written documents and consensually monitored recordings, would provide “lifelong immunity to COVID-19.” Mazi explained that the pellets contained a “very minute amount of this [COVID-19] disease” that can result in “infectious symptoms” of COVID-19 or “automatically flag the immune system’s attention, inducing immunity.” To encourage customers to purchase the pellets, Mazi allegedly exploited disinformation and fear by falsely claiming that the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain “toxic ingredients.” Mazi further stated that her customers could provide the pellets to children for COVID-19 immunity, and that the “dose is actually the same for babies.”
“Spreading inaccurate or false medical information about COVID-19 for personal gain, as the complaint alleges, is dangerous and only seeds skepticism among the public,” said Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office. “As the government continues to work to provide current and accurate information to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the FBI will continue to pursue those who attempt to fraudulently profit from spreading misinformation and providing false documentation.”
Mazi also provided CDC COVID-19 vaccination record cards to her customers with instructions on how to fraudulently complete the cards to falsely make it appear as if a customer had received two doses of the Moderna vaccine. As part of her scheme, Mazi provided customers with specific Moderna vaccine lot numbers to enter onto the cards and with instruction on how to select the purported dates on which they had received the Moderna vaccines to evade suspicion.
HHS-OIG’s San Francisco Regional Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Sridhar Babu Kaza of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section’s National Rapid Response Strike Force and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christiaan Highsmith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California are prosecuting the case.
The case was brought in coordination with the Health Care Fraud Unit’s COVID-19 Interagency Working Group, which is chaired by the National Rapid Response Strike Force and organizes efforts to address illegal activity involving health care programs during the pandemic.
The Fraud Section leads the Health Care Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 federal districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
In May, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Measures for arrivals from France will remain in place from 19 July
Arrivals from France must continue to quarantine in their own accommodation for 10 days and complete a day 2 and day 8 test, regardless of vaccination status
From Monday 19 July, UK residents arriving from amber countries who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine, although they will still need to comply with necessary testing requirements. However, this will not apply to France following the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa.
Anyone who has been in France in the last 10 days will need to quarantine on arrival to England in their own accommodation and will need a Day 2 and Day 8 test, regardless of their vaccination status. This includes any fully vaccinated individual who transits through France from either a green or another amber country to reach England. The Test to Release scheme remains an option for travellers to shorten their quarantine period should they test negative after day 5.
Some operators may make specific arrangements compliant with the public health regulations that allow for transit without quarantine, for example those travelling by train from Belgium, so travellers should check with their operator.
Public health remains the government’s top priority. It has been clear that swift action will be taken on travel list allocations should the data show that a country’s risk to England has changed, including France.
While current cases of the Beta variant in France are not high enough to require arrivals to enter managed quarantine, it is important to consider the potential detection and transmission risk in light of the current situation in England. As a precautionary measure to protect the gains made in the UK’s vaccination programme, and as the country unlocks, anyone arriving from France to England will continue to quarantine for 10 days from early Monday morning, while we continue to assess the latest data and track prevalence of the Beta variant.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme.
With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
Travel will be different this year and whilst we are committed to continuing to open up international travel safely, our absolute priority is to protect public health here in the UK.
We urge everyone thinking about going abroad this summer to check their terms and conditions as well as the travel restrictions abroad before they go.
UK Health Security Agency Chief Executive Dr Jenny Harries said:
As we ease restrictions and begin making our way back to a normal life, it’s more vital than ever that we listen to the data and act decisively when it changes.
While vaccines are helping us turn the tables against this virus, we need to continue to proceed cautiously. That means maintaining our defences against new variants and protecting our hard won progress through the exceptional vaccination rollout.
For those without an exemption, these rules will continue to apply to all arrivals from France into England, including those who live and work overseas, diplomats, and participants in authorised UK COVID-19 vaccine trials, as well as those who are under the age of 18.
Before travelling to England, everyone needs to take a pre-departure test, and fill in a passenger locator form, regardless of where they are coming from. Anyone not complying with health measures could face a fine, and carriers will be required to ensure proper checks are carried out.
#AceNewsReport – July.15: The surging numbers came on the same day that International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach paid a courtesy call in Tokyo on Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Tokyo’s #COVID19 infections reach six-month high as athletes told to put on their own Olympic medals acording to Mr Suga and Mr Bach have both pledged that the Tokyo Olympics will be “safe and secure” despite the Games opening with Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures under a government-imposed state of emergency as Health Officials reported 1,149 new cases on Wednesday, the highest since 1,184 were reported almost six months ago on January 22.
The new fiures also marked the 25th straight day that cases were higher than they were a week earlier.
Mr Suga asked Mr Bach to ensure that the Olympics will be safe, particularly for the Japanese public, of which fewer than 20 per cent are fully vaccinated.
“To gain the understanding of our people, and also for the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games, it is absolutely necessary that all participants take appropriate actions and measures including countermeasures against the pandemic,” Mr Suga told Mr Bach.
“As the host of the Games, I do hope that the IOC will make the efforts so that all athletes and stakeholders will fully comply with these measures.”
Mr Bach replied: “We’d like to reaffirm all our commitment on the side of the Olympic community to do everything, that we do not bring any risks to the Japanese people.”
He said almost 100 per cent of IOC members and IOC staff were “vaccinated or immune.” The IOC also says between 70-80 per cent of international medical representatives were vaccinated.
The IOC and Tokyo organisers last week banned fans from all venues in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures. A few outlying venues will allow some spectators, and fans from abroad were banned month ago.
About 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of others will enter Japan for the Olympics. The Paralympics will add about 4,400 more athletes.
Japan has attributed about 15,000 deaths to COVID-19, a number low by many standards but not as good as most of its Asian neighbours.
The Olympic torch relay has also been pulled from Tokyo streets, with the Tokyo government fearing the relay would draw crowds and circulate the virus.
The opening ceremony is July 23 at Tokyo’s new $1.8 billion National Stadium.
Mr Bach is expected to travel Friday to Hiroshima, and his Australian vice-President John Coates to Nagasaki to use those two cities as backdrops for promoting the Games.
Olympics to be ‘well-appreciated’, IOC boss says
Mr Bach arrived in Tokyo last week and spent the first three days self-isolating in the five-star hotel that the IOC uses for its headquarters in Tokyo.
The IOC is pushing ahead with the Olympics, despite opposition in much of the Japanese medical community, partly because it is dependent for almost 75 per cent of its income on the sale of broadcasting rights.
“You have already seen in the last couple of weeks it’s changing slowly but surely,” the IOC leader told international media in a conference call.
“When the athletes finally compete this will be well-appreciated here by the Japanese people.”
Mr Bach also revealed he had doubts “every day” about the Games going ahead in the 15 months since they were postponed but to voice them would have disrupted athletes preparing to qualify and compete.
“The challenge was that you could not speak about this,” he said.
“This could or would have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. They (athletes) trusted us.”
Meanwhile, a coronavirus cluster emerged at a hotel where dozens of Brazilian Olympic team members are staying.
Seven staff at the hotel in Hamamatsu city, southwest of Tokyo, had tested positive for the coronavirus, an official said.
But a 31-strong Brazilian Olympic delegation, which includes judo athletes, are in a “bubble” in the hotel and separated from other guests and have not been infected.
The Russian women’s rugby sevens team were also in isolation after their masseur tested positive for COVID-19, the RIA news agency reported from Moscow — as was part of the South African men’s rugby team after a case on their inbound flight.
Participants to put on their own medals
In another measure aimed at preventing the the spread of COVID-19, athletes will put their medals around their own necks.
“The medals will not be given around the neck,” Mr Bach told international media on a conference call from Tokyo.
“They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself.”
“It will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on tray will do so only with disinfected gloves so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before,” Mr Bach added.
Mr Bach confirmed that “there will be no hand shakes and there will be no hugs there during the ceremony”.
Olympic medals are typically presented by an IOC member or a leading official in a sport’s governing body.
The IOC had previously said medalists and ceremony officials would have to wear masks.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – PM statement at coronavirus press conference: 12 July 2021 as he confirms ending England lockdown on July 19 with #COVID19 cases estimated to rise to 100,000 but are as of todays date 14th July standing at …..
Today's update to the #COVID19 Dashboard is experiencing a delay.
On 14 July 2021, 42,302 new cases and 49 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported across the UK.
46,037,090 people have now received the 1st dose of a #vaccine. 35,155,767 have received a 2nd dose.
On July 19 a raft of #Coronavirus restrictions are set to be lifted including legal requirements on wearing masks and the ‘rule of six’ for meeting indoors and signatories said in the statement that the planned relaxation ‘involves recklessly exposing millions to the acute and long-term impacts of mass infection.’
A ban on nightclubs opening is also set to be scrapped.
It comes amid a surge in new infections with the highest daily rate seen since January, when the nation was once again plunged into lockdown.
With just days to go before the relaxation of more restrictions a group of doctors and health experts wrote to medical journal The Lancet to raise their concerns over the planned changes.Most lockdown restrictions will end on Monday(
The group said: “We believe this is a terrible mistake.
“This strategy is already putting intense pressure on struggling healthcare services and will lead to many avoidable deaths and long-term illness.
“The narrative of ‘caution, vigilance and personal responsibility’ is an abdication of the government’s fundamental duty to protect public health.
“‘Personal responsibility’ does not work in the face of an airborne, highly-contagious infectious disease.The group warned easing restrictions now was ‘a mistake'(Image: Getty Images)
“Infectious diseases are a matter of collective, rather than individual responsibility.”
More than 1,200 scientists have signed a letter to the Lancet setting out why they believe allowing mass infection in the summer is a ‘dangerous and unethical experiment’.
Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, called a strategy of letting infection spread through a population “moral emptiness and epidemiological stupidity”.
Latest government figures reveal that more than 36,000 new cases were recorded on Tuesday, with daily cases numbers topping 30,000 every day over the last week.
It’s the highest tally since January. There were 50 deaths recorded yesterday, which is a relatively lower figure than from earlier this year.
Confirming the planned relaxation earlier Health Secretary Sajid Javidtold MPs there will “never be a perfect time” to lift the restrictions, and added: “To those who say ‘why take this step now’ I say ‘if not now, when?'”
Despite admitting cases could soar to 100,000 per day later in the summer, Mr Javid said the vaccine programme would prevent a surge in deaths and hospitalisations.
Nearly 46 million first doses of a Covid vaccine have so far been administered, as well as nearly 35 million second shots.
#AceHealthReport – July.11: Starting on Monday, #coronavirus curbs will be tightened to the strictest level possible in Seoul and neighbouring regions for the first time:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that Seoul is preparing for strictest measures and lockdown starting on Monday after the country reported 1,378 new #COVID19 cases as of midnight on Friday, up from Thursday’s record of 1,316 and rising for the first time in neighbouring regions with about 11% of 52 million people having completed vaccination, including receiving both shots for vaccines requiring two doses, while 30% have received one dose, KDCA said in a statement according to Telegram Reuters Wire report
People wait in line for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a testing site which is temporarily set up at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2021. REUTERS/ Heo Ran
South Korea has so far fared better than many industrialised nations in infections and deaths, with a mortality rate of 1.22% and the number of severe cases at 148 as of Friday, which is much lower than the previous peak in late December.
However the rising trend has prompted a warning that new case numbers may nearly double by the end of July.
That has led to tougher curbs by the government including people being advised to stay home as much as possible and social gatherings restricted to two people after 6pm from four earlier in the day.
The country aims to reach herd immunity before November by inoculating 70% of the public with at least one shot by September.
South Korea’s total Covid-19 infections to date stand at 166,722 with 2,038 deaths.
#AceNewsReport – July.10: Editor says …l am not a killjoy but see both sides of every eventually as either vaccine + or Football – this is not say dont enjoy winning England but every action has a consequence and has always done so and this pandemic has taught some not all a valuable lesson and that is ‘common sense’ in all things even ‘football’ or having fun …..
#AceDailyNews reports on the Marked increase in #COVID19 infections across UK as roadmap reaches step 4 and two viruses will meet head on in glory or defeat which one will win well only 7-days wait will tell us the answer to that one ….I pray 🙏for the vaccine doing what it promised and that people are safe and praying for England to win since 1966 only God knows the answer to that one Amen
Calls grow for extra bank holiday if England win
19 hours ago
By Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News
Prime minister Boris Johnson is coming under pressure to give workers a one-off bank holiday if England win their final Euro 2020 championship on Sunday.
Mr Johnson said granting a bank holiday now would be “tempting fate”.
The Trades Union Congress also urged firms to be flexible, if possible, and allow workers to start later on Monday.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Bosses should talk to their staff about flexible working arrangements ahead of Monday morning – perhaps allowing them to start later and claim back their time afterwards.”
Some stores are changing their hours to accommodate the big event.
The Co-op is closing its stores at 7.45pm on Sunday, rather than its normal closing time of between 10-11pm, in order to give staff the chance to watch the match.
Tesco will also close its Express stores in England at 7:45pm on Sunday evening.
Supermarket chain Lidl will alter its opening hours on Monday if England wins to allow staff an additional hour to “kick back and relax in the morning”.
Shoppers and staff alike were likely to appreciate the extra time first thing, the supermarket said.
The petition calls for a bank holiday this coming Monday, but arranging a bank holiday at such short notice would not be possible. The government also said it did not want to pre-empt the outcome of Sunday’s match.
“Clearly we want England to go all the way and win the final, and then we will set out our plans in due course,” it added.
Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate.
How are bank holidays created? There are eight bank holidays a year in England and Wales, nine in Scotland, and ten in Northern Ireland.Bank holidays are created under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, or are created by royal proclamation – that is, by the Queen, who acts on government advice. The department responsible for bank holidays is the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.Bank holidays are not actually statutory holidays, although most workers do get the day off……………………..Nine things you might not know about bank holidays a petition, which was started by marketing manager Lee Jones, says: “English people would naturally want to continue to enjoy the win, giving the retail and leisure industry a much-needed opportunity to make up lost revenues.
A win for England over Italy on Sunday night would be the first major triumph for the country since 1966 saw it win the World Cup. The match is set to end at 10pm, but if it goes to extra time it could finish closer to 11pm, the semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday was not over until 10.45pm.’
We’ll try to give drivers later shifts’Boss of Stagefreight Ian Uttley is trying to be flexible with his driversSome firms are already working on the assumption there will be some sort of hangover effect on their workforce and are trying to work around it.Ian Uttley director at transport firm Stagefreight, told the BBC’s Wake Up to Money Programme he had been doing his best to give drivers a later start: “We do have a lot of England fans but it’s very difficult. We try to give them later shifts but at the end of the day they are professional drivers doing a professional job.”We are trying to give them time off. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience but we do work seven days a week and there’ll always be someone in a truck somewhere who will need to drive the next day.
Someone has to get the food to the supermarket shelves and into the shops.”He said there were strict checks in place to ensure no-one was tempted to over celebrate: “We expect them to limit alcohol limits and we expect them to be under the limit when they start driving – and we do conduct checks.” Late pub openingDowning Street supports the idea, saying employers who are able to should be flexible about allowing staff to go in to work late on Monday or take the day off if England win.Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “We would want businesses who feel able to consider it if they can, but we recognise it will vary depending on the business and company.”
Mr Johnson has already said pubs can stay open until 11.15pm this Sunday to reduce the risk of customers being told to leave before the match ends.Downing Street has said it will set out any celebrations such as a victory parade for the England team “in due course”, but has not confirmed whether plans for a potential bank holiday are in motion behind the scenes.
But then there is this still taking place with ever rising cases of #COVID19hitting an all time high each day
Around two-thirds of adults have now been double jabbed against the virus, and experts say this is helping prevent very big rises in Covid hospitalisations, although admissions are increasing.
Many of the infections being seen are among teenagers and young adults.
An estimated 400,000 people in the UK are thought to have been positive in the week to 3 July.
The final step of unlocking is expected to go ahead as planned on 19 July in England. It will be confirmed on 12 July after a review of data.
On Friday the latest government figures showed an increase of 35,707 Covid cases across the UK – the highest daily figure since 22 January. A further 29 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were also recorded.
According to the ONS Infection Survey findings for the week to July 3:
In England, one in 160 people had the virus – up from one in 260 in the previous week and the highest level since the week to 19 February
In Scotland, it was one in 100 people – up from one in 150 and the highest level since the week to 16 January
For Wales, it was one in 340 people – up from one in 450 and the highest level since the week to 27 February
In Northern Ireland it was one in 300 people – up from one in 670 and the highest since the week to 3 April
England’s coronavirus R number has risen slightly to between 1.2 and 1.5, which means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 15 other people. Last week R was between 1.1 and 1.3.Sarah Crofts from the ONS said: “We are seeing marked increases in infections across all four UK countries driven by the Delta variant, which continues to be the most common across the UK.”As the vaccine rollout continues and restrictions are further lifted, it is crucial that we continue to closely monitor the data.”
We have published updated case numbers for all Variants Under Investigation and Variants of Concern in the UK.
Delta cases have risen by 54,268 since last week, a 32% increase
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said the sharp increase in cases being seen had not been followed by a similar increase in hospitalisation and death, suggesting the vaccines were working well. “Two doses of the available vaccines offer a high level of protection against the Delta variant. “Getting both jabs is the best way to ensure you and the people you love remain safe, so we once again urge everyone to come forward as soon as they are eligible.”As we approach the planned end of restrictions, we must remain cautious and careful. Cases are rising across the country, and whilst the vaccines offer excellent protection, they do not offer 100% protection. “Be sensible, and follow ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times and make sure to get tested if required.”The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.