International lineage with variants of biological significance E484K, Q677H, F888L and a similar suite of deletions to B.1.1.7.
Countries reported 2
Countries with sequences 10
Sequence count 102
Countries: Denmark 35, United Kingdom 32, Nigeria 12, United States of America 7, France 5, Ghana 4, Australia 2, Canada 2, Jordan 2, Spain 1
The global case fatality rate, which fell consistently from May 1st 2020 until January 18th 2021, is now rising steadily and currently stands at 2.21%
The global Covid-19 case rate (those who have tested positive for sars-cov-2 by testing) has fallen recently, but the case fatality rate (those who have died of Covid-19 following a confirmed test) has not fallen in step with the case reduction.
The most obvious conclusion is that the Covid-19 fatality rate is just lagging the case rate by some weeks. Alternatively, the recent bad weather across much of Europe may have affected testing capacity.
There are other possible explanations though:
- More aggressive Sars-cov-2 variants are leading to an increase in the mortality rate without a corresponding increase in case rates – see here
- Sars-cov-2 variants may be evading testing?
Air New Zealand has stopped offering food and drinks on domestic flights following news today that a woman who tested positive for Covid-19 works for an airline catering company.
There are three community Covid-19 cases in South Auckland – a mother, father and daughter from Papatoetoe.
Chris Hipkins, NZ Covid-19 Response Minister: “The policy was to try and keep planeloads of people together in managed isolation because transmission within planes has been a problem.
“If you were isolating out the people who came from the US, the UK or South Africa and then separated them out from others you might potentially increase the risk.
“The safest thing to do is to keep each planeload together because we know that is one of sources of infection is the plane journey itself.”
John Hopkins University figures for 24th January 2021:
The new case of Covid-19 in the NZ community is a 56-year-old woman. She travelled to Spain and the Netherlands late last year before returning to NZ on December 30.
She went through MIQ at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel and was released on January 13 after testing negative.
She then travelled around the southern part of Northland, to about 30 different locations in areas around Mangawhai, Dargaville and Helensville, and became symptomatic on January 15.
The strain is unknown but officials are acting on the assumption it is one of the new, more transmissible strains. She has four close contacts who have been tested and are isolating.
Evidence of in-flight transmission on a flight from the United Arab Emirates to New Zealand is strongly supported by the epidemiologic data, in-flight seating plan, symptom onset dates, and genomic data for this group of travelers who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (passengers A–G). Among the 7 passengers, 2 (A and B) were probably index case-patients infected before the flight, 4 (C, D, E, and F) were probably infected during the flight, and the remaining passenger (G) was probably infected while in MIQ. All 7 passengers were seated in aisle seats within 2 rows of where the presumed index case-patient(s) were seated.
Combined, these data present a likely scenario of >4 SARS-CoV-2 transmission events during a long-haul flight from Dubai to Auckland. These transmission events occurred despite reported in-flight use of masks and gloves. Further transmission between travel companions then occurred after the flight, in an MIQ facility.
These conclusions are supported by genome sequencing, an in-flight seating plan, and dates of disease onset. These data do not definitively exclude an alternative exposure event, such as virus transmission at the Dubai airport before boarding (e.g., during check-in or in boarding queues). However, the close proximity of the relevant passengers on board suggests that in-flight transmission is plausible.
“Schools are a Covid19 pandemic driver; there is a consensus on that in literature.
And experience from various countries confirms it. But children and schools are still overlooked and at risk.
In general, children with COVID-19 are less likely to have severe symptoms than adults, but severe forms and consequences occur. Additionally, increasing cases of children with lingering fatigue and other chronic problems, not linked to the severity of initial symptoms, are reported.
Thus, children should be protected for their present and future health.
At the same time, school safety is not up to standards. When there’s uncontrolled community transmission, in-person school attendance is risky and should be replaced by virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
When levels of community transmission decrease, schools have to be reopened, but only by implementing appropriate measures to protect students, teachers, administrators, and other staff.
We are parents from countries all around the world, united in our concern over the safety of our children.
We actively promote awareness and we ask for child protection through adequate covid-19 school policy. Schools are crowded, indoor spaces, with many interactions throughout the day. It is necessary to adopt and diligently implement strong actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 inside the school and out in the community.
Children, when infected with the coronavirus, often experience an asymptomatic infection. Thus, mask wearing for all children over 6 year old and school personnel, testing students (and staff) and quarantining positive cases is the only possibility to prevent the spread. We ask our governments to urgently adopt adequate measures for schools.”
“Three samples of ice cream made from New Zealand-sourced milk powder and Ukrainian dried whey tested positive for COVID-19 in North China’s Tianjin, authorities announced Thursday. The company has been cordoned off and tracking of the sold products is ongoing.
The positive samples were discovered after they were sent for testing on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the ingredients include milk powder from New Zealand and dried whey from Ukraine.”
“The governments of Australia, Italy and the Netherlands say they detected cases of the new strain. It was identified in the Netherlands in early December.
A few cases of COVID-19 with the new variant have also been reported to the ECDC, Europe’s disease monitoring agency, by Iceland and Denmark. Media reports in Belgium say cases have also been detected there.”
UK regulators urge people with history of ‘significant’ allergies NOT to have Pfizer vaccine injection – just 24 hours after Britain’s mass inoculation kicked off.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said: ‘As is common with new vaccines the MHRA have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday. Both are recovering well.’