Health March 30, 2020
ROUNDUP: UK Covid-19 outbreak appears to be slowing

By Sarah Cartledge - World Healthcare Journal

Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London today told the BBC that the rate of hospital admissions have slowed down as a result of social distancing, but have not yet plateaued.  Professor Ferguson, who has self-isolated, co-authored the Imperial College modelling report that led to the current lockdown in the UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Chief Adviser Dominic Cummings is now also self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms, while the Prince of Wales has left quarantine following a 7-day isolation. At the time of publication, deaths in the UK stand at 1,408. In other developments from around the world: 

  • Italy and Spain have accessed emergency medical supplies from NATO ally Czechoslovakia, including protective equipment and respirators under NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Co-Ordination Centre.

  • Spain’s lockdown is having a positive effect, showing a 12 per cent increase in new cases compared to 20 per cent previously. Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez says the curve appears to be flattening at last.

  • However, in Italy lockdown is beginning to cause social unrest as people run out of food and money. Supermarkets are reporting shoplifting and raids, while in Sicily the mayor said criminal gangs are exploiting the situation.

  • Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban has been given unilateral powers to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Parliament is likely to be suspended and there will be heavy fines for flouting quarantine regulations with no time limit on the new measures.

  • In Japan, Tokyo reported its largest increase in positive cases on Sunday bringing the total to 430 in the capital and 1,800 across the country. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reported to be considering declaring a state of emergency, while two-week quarantine measures are now compulsory for all those travelling from listed countries. South Korea has also imposed a two-week quarantine on international travellers.

  • President Trump has extended social distancing guidelines until 30 April, acknowledging that original estimates of a lower impact of Covid-19 are now outdated. He added that by 1 June the USA will be well on the way to recovery from “this nightmare”.

  • Vietnam’s policy of contact tracing, isolating infected people and quarantining travellers for 14 days has resulted in a low number of positive Covid-19 cases, 203 at the latest count. It closed the country to flights from China on 1 February. Vinamilk, the country’s largest dairy producer, has donated nearly $430USD to the fight against coronavirus for the purchase of medical equipment and testing kits, along with a day’s salary from each employee and a further $430USD of milk and probiotic drinks to frontline healthcare staff.

  • Formula One team Mercedes has worked with University College London and UCLH to deliver a new respirator that delivers oxygen to the lungs and bypasses the need for patients to go to the ICU for ventilators. In another consortium, Airbus, Siemens, BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls-Royce are working to deliver new ventilators with production to begin next week, reports the BBC.

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