Two million Australians in lockdown over one case
Pakistan receives 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine
Ten years after the rage and hope of the Arab spring filled the public spaces of Sana’a, Yemen’s capital has become a curiously quiet place.
Traders and customers alike shuffle through the streets of the old city, ground down by the repression of the Houthi rebel occupation and the economic hardship caused by the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition blockade.
The songs and poems of revolution that once echoed beneath the charming medieval architecture have faded away, replaced by the Houthi sarkha, or scream, daubed in red and green on almost every surface: “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, curses on the Jews, victory to Islam.”
On occasion, and always without warning, the tension is pierced by coalition airstrikes.
A decade since Yemenis dared to dream during the 2011 uprisings that swept across the Arab world, and six years after foreign actors piled in, unleashing a war of devastating proportions, Yemen resembles a jigsaw puzzle for which there is no simple solution.
Malnutrition, cholera, dengue fever, and now coronavirus stalk the young and the frail in what the UN has called the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world”:
Hong Kong “ambush lockdowns” on housing blocks continue
As Hong Kong continues to fight its widespread outbreak, authorities have employed a new tactic in response to clusters of infection in residential housing blocks. Since last week, police have launched four ambush-style lockdowns, arriving unannounced at buildings to immediately prevent anyone leaving and to run mandatory testing.
Residents are fined HK$5,000 if they refuse:
The lockdowns last for one or two nights, but have reportedly created anxiety in the community. The South China Morning Post said many residents at the recently ambushed block in North Point, only realised what was happening when they got home and found police ushering neighbours into a cordoned off area for registration and testing.The effectiveness of the operation is being debated.
Some of the 400 residents of two buildings locked down last night in Lam Tin said the ambush was unnecessary and “a mess”, while others said it gave them peace of mind to know no new cases had been found.Local politician Lee Yue-shun told RTHK residents were anxious and there were concerns about hygiene issues like garbage collection during the lockdowns. The areas targeted are home to older buildings, often overcrowded with numerous subdivided units, and lacking centralised management.
Infectious diseases expert Leung Chi-chiu told the outlet many residents had moved out of buildings once cases among their neighbours were reported, and the lockdowns should have started earlier. The lockdowns and testing programs are finding very few cases, prompting questions of cost effectiveness. The first operation, in the densely populated Kowloon neighbourhood of Jordan, found 13 infections amid 7,000 tests last weekend.
Secretary for food and health, Sophie Chan, said the rate matched that in the broader community, and the snap lockdowns allowed authorities to quickly identify and isolate cases and close contacts.
“We don’t think this put a heavy burden on people or was a waste of public money,” she said. Hong Kong has recorded 10,453 confirmed or probable cases, and 181 deaths.
Taiwan bans recent arrivals from banquets for seven days after quarantine finishes
Taiwan health authorities are still battling an outbreak centred around a Taoyuan hospital, which claimed the first Covid-related death almost nine months on Friday.
The woman in her eighties was a relative of another confirmed case. Authorities said she presented with Covid-like symptoms on Thursday and was taken to hospital. A test returned a negative result for Covid, but she passed away on Friday night. She had chronic kidney disease and other underlying health issues.
In response to the outbreak social distancing and quarantine rules have been further tightened. Hospitals in Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Taoyuan City have banned visitors until 9 February, and enacted screenings and sign-ins for all entrants.
The Central Epidemic Command Centre has now said any recent arrival who is in what’s called the self-monitoring phase of quarantine must not attend banquets, meetings, or large gatherings. The self-monitoring phase refers to the seven days after a person leaves their two-week quarantine (either at home or in a hotel), and while largely free to move around are required to maintain social distancing and extra hygiene measures.
The total number of cases linked to the hospital is now 19, clearly a very low number compared to other countries, but one that has sparked alarm in Taiwan. The island has kept the virus largely at bay since the beginning of the pandemic, recording 911 cases, the vast majority of which were overseas arrivals diagnosed while in quarantine.
Chicago schools postpone in-person classes over Covid safety plan
Captain Sir Tom Moore has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been admitted to hospital where he is being treated for pneumonia, his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore has said in a statement.
The 100-year-old, who raised millions of pounds for the NHS, was taken to Bedford hospital on Sunday, after being treated for pneumonia for some time and testing positive for Covid-19 last week.
In a statement posted on his Twitter page, Moore’s family said he had been treated at home until Sunday when he needed additional help with his breathing. The statement said he was being treated in a ward, not on the intensive care unit of the hospital:
Ghana tightens restrictions as virus cases climb
NHS has offered Covid jab to all older residents in care homes in England
The NHS has said official figures are expected to confirm on Monday that it has offered a coronavirus vaccine to every older care home resident across England.
In another milestone for the vaccine programme, coming after it set a new daily record of almost 600,000 people being inoculated against Covid-19 on Saturday, nurses, GPs and other NHS staff have offered the jab to people living at more than 10,000 care homes with older residents.
The small remainder have had their visits deferred by local directors of public health for safety reasons during a local outbreak. Those homes will be visited and jabbed as soon as NHS staff are allowed to do so: