Archive For The “Topnews” Category

Indonesia anticipates third Covid wave

Jakarta, Oct 31 : Indonesia has so far managed to cope with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic triggered by the more contagious Delta variant but the country has not been completely relieved from the virus.

The Southeast Asian country is now still facing the threat of other coronavirus variants and anticipating a possible third wave.

In a recent virtual meeting with heads of local administrations throughout Indonesia, President Joko Widodo has called on them to do everything they can to prevent the third wave of the pandemic which is expected to occur during the Christmas and New Year holidays, reports Xinhua news agency.

During the same period of last year, increasing crowds and population mobility led to a spike in confirmed cases.

"We really have to anticipate this.

We should manage it well to make the Christmas and New Year holidays not an arena for transmission," Widodo said at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta.

A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Transportation showed that a total of 19.9 million people have planned to travel to their hometowns for the Christmas and New Year holidays with their families.

There has been an increase in the number of cases in 105 areas of 30 provinces, according to the Covid-19 Task Force.

Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the most appropriate way to prevent it is to abide by health protocols and carry out massive origins tracing in addition to expanding the vaccination coverage, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children.

"This method is more efficient...," Sadikin added.

Another way is to prevent massive population mobility in the long holiday season.

"We don't want to repeat the same mistakes, so don't be too euphoric," Sadikin said.

To prevent massive population mobility, the Christmas holiday on December 24, has been cancelled, and so there will not be a long weekend as people will have their holiday only on December 25.

An epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia, Tri Yunis Miko, predicted that the number of Covid-19 cases would surge again from January to February 2022 but it would not be as severe as the second wave.



Source: IANS

Read more »

Long-Covid symptoms may be caused by fatigue: Study

London, Oct 31 : Long-term cognitive problems after a Covid-19 diagnosis may be a result of fatigue rather than pathological changes in the brain, finds a new study.

An analysis of neuropsychological testing and 18F-FDG PET imaging showed that few or no objective impairments were observed in the cognition and brain pathology of long-covid patients; however, many of the group suffered from subjective complaints such as severe fatigue.

The term "long-Covid syndrome" is used to describe symptoms that arise in the aftermath of a Covid-19 infection (usually defined as being present later than 12 weeks after the infection), including cognitive deficits -- such as brain fog, memory loss and attention problems -- as well as fatigue and exhaustion.

The underlying cause of these symptoms is unknown, said the researcher, including Philipp T Meyer from the University of Freiburg in Germany.

Previously published studies showed that patients needing inpatient treatment because of newly diagnosed Covid-19 have reduced glucose metabolism in the brain, which is associated with impaired cognitive function.

For the study, published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, the researchers conducted neuropsychological testing and cerebral 18F-FDG PET imaging.

A small group of patients who sought counseling for persistent neurocognitive symptoms were included in the present study.

Patients participated in a battery of neuropsychological tests and the results were analysed to determine cognitive impairment levels.

Average group results of the testing showed no impairment.

Mild deficits were observed in some patients on the single-subject level, however, mainly in regard to visual memory.

18F-FDG PET imaging was recommended to all patients who received counseling.



Source: IANS

Read more »

Global Covid-19 caseload tops 246.3 mn

Washington, Oct 31 : The global coronavirus caseload has topped 246.3 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.99 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.94 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Sunday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number number of vaccine doses administered stood at 246,367,237, 4,994,637 and 6,947,883,074, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 45,949,951 and 745,665, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in the second place with 34,260,470 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (21,804,094), the UK (9,062,710), Russia (8,338,053), Turkey (8,009,010), France (7,262,178), Iran (5,916,211), Argentina (5,288,259), Spain (5,011,148), Colombia (5,000,677), Italy (4,767,440), Germany (4,594,059), Indonesia (4,243,835) and Mexico (3,802,287), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Brazil (607,694), India (457,740), Mexico (287,951), Russia (233,063), Peru (200,197), Indonesia (143,388), the UK (140,981), Italy (132,074), Colombia (127,258), Iran (126,126), France (118,612) and Argentina (115,942).



Source: IANS

Read more »

Aussie scientists deliver new way to administer vaccines

Sydney, Oct 31 : Scientists from the University of Queensland (UQ) successfully developed a method that can deliver vaccines using a pain-free "patch" without needles.

The discovery, published in the Science Advances journal on Saturday, uses a "high-density microarray patch" (HD-MAP) that, after being applied to the recipient's skin, applies thousands of microscopic projections.

Lead researcher, David Muller from UQ's School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences said initial testing in mice using an American-made Covid-19 vaccine has shown a "better and faster immune responses," Xinhua news agency reported.

It also neutralizes multiple variants, including the variants first detected in Britain and South Africa, Muller added.

However, the main promise of the technology lies in its ability to be self-administered, vaccinate an individual in a single dose, and be stored at a range of temperatures.

"We've shown this vaccine, when dry-coated on a patch, is stable for at least 30 days at 25 degrees Celsius and one week at 40 degrees.

So it doesn't have the cold chain requirements of some of the current options," said Muller.

This could present a major boon in the global vaccination rollout, especially in developing countries where the availability of doctors and vaccine cooling facilities are scarce.

Beyond vaccinations for coronavirus, the patch technology could also be applied to vaccines for polio, dengue fever and influenza, he added.

"So basically, the patch is a platform technology, which you can pair with the vaccine you want to work on," Muller told Xinhua news agency.

He said once the technology comes out of trials and its production is scaled up, it is expected to have a cost comparable to a prefilled needle and syringe.

Muller has had no shortage of enthusiasm for the technology, especially among Australians who have a phobia of needles, otherwise known as Trypanophobia, which has presented a very real barrier for those wanting to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

"I get emails weekly, asking 'when will it be available,' 'can we participate in the trials.' The only thing they don't realize is that any clinical trial will involve blood draw."

"It's very innocuous.

So, I think for the end user, the experience wouldn't cause a lot of anxiety."



Source: IANS

Read more »

Australian state of Victoria reaches 80% vaccination rate

Sydney, Oct 31 : Australia's state of Victoria on Sunday officially passed the milestone of 80 per cent of the population above 16 years having been fully vaccinated, as daily case numbers in the state continued to drop.

Victoria reported 1,036 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 and 12 deaths in the 24 hours to midnight Saturday, an encouraging drop from 1,355 new cases reported on Saturday and 1,656 on Friday.

Currently 702 Covid-19 patients in the state are in hospital, with 128 in intensive care and 80 requiring ventilation, Xinhua news agency reported.

The state's death toll in its latest outbreak is 305.

Meanwhile, the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) recorded 177 new locally acquired cases and one death in the 24 hours to 8:00 p.m.

Saturday night.

Authorities have expressed optimism that the state's high vaccination rate has effectively kept case numbers and hospitalizations low.

"Our vaccination rate has been the key to our freedom.

We've opened up and as we've opened up, we have been able to do so

safely," said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, adding that the cases and hospitalization numbers are both below expectations.

The latest data showed that 93.5 per cent of NSW's above16 years' population have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 87.5 per cent have been fully vaccinated.



Source: IANS

Read more »

Uganda urges public not to mix Covid-19 vaccines

Kampala, Oct 31 : Ugandan Minister of Health, Ruth Aceng has urged the public not to mix Covid-19 vaccines.

"Do not mix Covid-19 vaccines.

When you get vaccinated with one type of vaccine, ensure you complete your dose with the same type of vaccine," Aceng said in a tweet on Saturday.

Uganda is scaling up vaccination of the priority population totaling about 5.5 million before fully opening up the economy in January 2022.

The priority population includes teachers, security personnel, the elderly, persons with comorbidity, health workers and bar workers.

Institutions of higher learning are scheduled to reopen on November 1 and students are required to show their vaccination cards before being allowed in school, Xinhua news agency reported.

Other schools are scheduled to be reopened in January after nearly 20 months of closure.

Figures provided by the Ministry of Health show that as of Thursday, over 3 million Covid-19 vaccine doses had been administered since the vaccination started in March 2021.



Source: IANS

Read more »

New Zealand reports 143 new cases of Covid-19

Wellington, Oct 31 : New Zealand reported 143 new Covid-19 infections with all of them being community cases, said the Ministry of Health in a statement on Sunday.

The total case number of Covid-19 in the current Delta variant outbreak in New Zealand community reached 3,348, including 3,195 in Auckland, 118 in Waikato, 17 in Wellington, 12 in Northland, four in Canterbury and one in Nelson-Marlborough.

There were 56 Covid-19 patients in New Zealand hospitals, including two in intensive care units or high dependency units, Xinhua news agency reported.

New Zealand has so far recorded 6,068 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to the Ministry, 75 per cent of eligible New Zealanders have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and Auckland has reached 80 per cent fully vaccinated rate.

New Zealand's largest city Auckland and part of the Waikato region in the North Island are at Covid-19 Alert Level 3 restrictions.

The rest of the country is at Alert Level 2 restrictions with indoor activities limited to 100 people.



Source: IANS

Read more »

Turkey reports 23,096 daily Covid-19 cases, tally tops 8 mn

Ankara, Oct 31 : Turkey on Saturday confirmed 23,096 new Covid-19 cases, raising its tally of infections to 8,009,040, according to its Health Ministry.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 203 to 70,410, while 28,632 more people recovered in the last 24 hours, Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 344,163 tests were conducted over the past day, it said.

Turkey started mass Covid-19 vaccination on January 14 after the authorities approved the emergency use of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.

More than 55.37 million Turkish people have received their first doses of vaccines, while over 48.61 million had their second doses.

Turkey has so far administered over 116.21 million doses including the booster jabs.



Source: IANS

Read more »

UK’s coronavirus cases top 9 mn

London, Oct 31 : Another 41,278 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of infected cases in the country to 9,019,962, according to official figures released on Saturday.

The country reported a further 166 coronavirus-related deaths.

The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 140,558. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test, Xinhua news agency reported.

There are currently 8,983 patients in hospital with Covid-19.

The latest data came as coronavirus infections in England have increased to their highest level since the beginning of the year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Around one in 50 people had the virus in the week ending October 22, the highest level since January 2, the ONS reported.

The pandemic appears to be growing in England, as the coronavirus reproduction number, also known as the 'R number' in England is estimated to have risen to between 1.1 and 1.3.

The R number indicates the average number of people each Covid-positive person goes on to infect.

More than 86 per cent of people aged 12 and above in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine and more than 79 per cent have received both doses, the latest figures showed.

Meanwhile, more than 13 per cent have received booster jabs or third dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.



Source: IANS

Read more »

Roundup: G20 leaders uphold multilateralism, grapple with pandemic

Rome, Oct 31 : The leaders of the world's major economies and international organizations called for enhanced international cooperation on the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on the supply and distribution of vaccines, as multilateral talks kicked off at the Group of 20 (G20) Leaders' Summit on Saturday.

Even before the pandemic, "we faced protectionism, unilateralism and nationalism," Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in his opening remarks, stressing that "it is clear multinationalism is the best answer to the problems we face today."

Draghi praised the global vaccination effort that has almost met the World Health Organization's (WHO) target of vaccinating 40 per cent of the world's adult population by the end of this year, though he noted that vaccination campaigns in poor countries have lagged dramatically behind those in high-income countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Now we must do all we can to reach 70 per cent global vaccination rate by mid-2022," Draghi added.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said through a video link at the first session of the summit that the G20 countries should solve the problem of mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccines and vaccination certificates as soon as possible.

This issue combined with unfair competition and protectionism means not all countries have equal access to vaccines and other vital resources, he stressed.

He called on the G20 members to develop mechanisms for the systematic and prompt updating of vaccines, given that the coronavirus continues to mutate.

Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel tweeted during the summit: "We need to expand vaccine sharing and production in vulnerable countries, notably against Covid-19," adding that a treaty on pandemics will allow for better prevention, preparedness and global response.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, called on the G20 to quickly supply the vaccine donations that have been pledged to Africa, and support vaccine production there.

"Vaccine equity is not charity; it's in every country's best interests," he said.

The issues at the top of the agenda for the two-day summit under the Italian Presidency of the G20 include the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and economic recovery.



Source: IANS

Read more »