Schools close in Lombardy, Piedmont, Romagna and Calabria in Italy due to fresh #coronavirus variant outbreaks

In Lombardy, The president of the Lombardy Region said of his decision to order the immediate closure of schools. “this variant of the virus, which is now in the majority in Lombardy, is particularly aggressive, more rapid in spreading and also affects young people, who until a few months ago were almost unscathed

In Piedmont, 20 districts out of 38 will restart distance learning in schools.

In Romagna, the region will adopt a new ordinance tomorrow to deal with the spread of infections which continue to increase due to the new variants, even among young people. and very young and in light of the increase in hospitalizations in Covid wards and in intensive care

In Calabria, schools closed in Calabria starting from Monday and for two weeks. It is the decision of the acting president of the Calabria Region Nino Spirlì who underlined the need to suspend teaching in presence in all schools and in universities. report


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B.1.1.7 #coronavirus variant infections have the potential to cause substantial additional mortality

The mortality hazard ratio associated with infection with VOC-202012/1 [B.1.1.7] compared to infection with previously circulating variants is 1.64 in patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community. In this comparatively low risk group, this represents an increase from 2.5 to 4.1 deaths per 1000 detected cases.

Medrxiv Preprint  Increased hazard of mortality in cases compatible with SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern 202012/1 – a matched cohort study




#Czech hospitals in #coronavirus crisis “Each vacated bed fills up immediately”

Medical facilities in Prague are reaching the limit of their capacities – personal and inpatient. According to statistics, 1,171 covid patients were hospitalized in Prague on Wednesday, of which about a quarter are in serious condition.

“Every bed that is vacated is immediately occupied. We accept patients in an acute condition, but we must consider very carefully every free bed that occurs, “said Sulek.

Currently, the hospital is mainly looking for paramedics and general nurses, but they have been in short supply for a long time. “Every free hand fits. The duty to work would help us a lot,” says the spokesman. report


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#Denmark EPA: Contamination from the mink graves must be removed #coronavirus

Contamination from the mink graves must be removed

Substances from buried mink have been found under the mink graves, according to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s pollution investigation. The first step is now taken to collect and clean the pollution. The soil under the mink graves is being investigated in connection with the pollution investigation.

Water from the ground under the mink graves at Nørre Felding and Karup must be pumped up and cleaned. It must prevent substances such as ammonium and phenols – which are substances typically found in carcasses – from polluting the environment. When the minks are dug up to be burned at the end of May, contaminated soil under the mink graves must be removed at the same time.

This is the recommendation in a draft report on the pollution survey that COWI, Geo and Rambøll have made for the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

“Although we do not yet have the final report, a picture is now emerging of the pollution and how the groundwater is moving around the mink graves. It is important to emphasize that the advisors clearly point out that there is no risk to drinking water. And they point to well-proven treatment methods that can remove the pollution before it reaches lakes and streams, ”says Acting Office Manager Charlotte Moosdorf from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

Summary of pollution report for Nørre Felding

Summary of pollution report for Karup

In November, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency asked advisers from Cowi and Rambøll to carry out the pollution investigation after about four million mink had been dug into the military training grounds at Karup and Nørre Felding.

Good time to remove contamination

The pollution study shows that the degradation of the mink can be traced under the mink graves. But advisers also say it will take several years for the pollution to reach the nearest watercourse. So if remedial measures are put in place within one to one and a half years, the pollution will be curbed in good time. There is no risk of contamination of drinking water. At Karup, the drinking water is protected by thick layers of clay, and in both places the pollution moves away from the areas where drinking water is extracted.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency will now, as the responsible supervisory authority, check the results from the advisers and then send recommendations to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, which is the developer and responsible for the mink graves, to take measures to contain and remove the pollution at the mink graves.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency initiated the pollution investigation in December and has also made a so-called basic analysis of the environmental situation. Read the news: Environmental studies at the mink graves are in full swing

Recommends portable treatment plant

At the mink grave at Karup, pollution from mink has been found at three out of 32 boreholes at a depth of six meters at the graves. At the mink pit at Nørre Felding, pollution from mink has been found in one of a total of 26 boreholes at a depth of seven meters. The consultants recommend that groundwater be pumped up and treated in a transportable treatment plant that can stand in a container. It is a method that has been used, among other things, to purify groundwater under landfills. It is estimated that the cleaning must continue for a minimum of five years.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has sent excavation and transport for tender. Read the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration’s news about the tender

The advisers also recommend that contaminated soil be removed in connection with the excavation of the mink. The excavation will begin at the end of May, when the risk of infection from the minks is over.

The Environmental Management Service will continue to monitor the environment at the mink graves in the coming months.

Denmark’s Environmental Management Service Press Release



Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Israel #coronavirus chief Nachman Ash: “the possibility of a fourth lockdown before the election exists”

“We are concerned about the increase in infection in the coming days,” coronavirus czar Nachman Ash told 103FM Radio, adding that “the possibility of a fourth lockdown before the election exists.”

Ministry figures showed the virus’s basic reproduction number, or R-number, was at 1.01 Friday morning. The R-number is the number of new cases stemming from each coronavirus infection, or the number of people who caught the virus from each infected person. Any number lower than 1 means the pandemic is slowing down, while a number above 1 means it is expanding. The figures are based on new case numbers from 10 days earlier due to the virus’s incubation period.

Times of Israel report


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New #coronavirus variant with #E484K, #N501Y & #P681H mutations found in the Philippines, designated PHL-B.1.1.28

Here, we describe the emergence of a new SARS-CoV-2 lineage, mainly from the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. This emergent variant is characterized by 13 lineage-defining mutations, including the co-occurrence of the E484K, N501Y, and P681H mutations at the spike protein region, as well as three additional radical amino acid replacements towards the C-terminal end of the said protein. A three-amino acid deletion at positions 141 to 143 (LGV141_143del) in the spike protein was likewise seen in a region preceding the 144Y deletion found in the B.1.1.7 variant. A single amino acid replacement, K2Q, at the N-terminus of ORF8 was also shared by all 33 samples sequenced.

Medrxiv paper  Genome sequencing and analysis of an emergent SARS-CoV-2 variant characterized by multiple spike protein mutations detected from the Central Visayas Region of the Philippines



 Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay


WHO Investigators scrap plans for interim report on probe of #coronavirus origins

WSJ:  “The World Health Organization team investigating the origins of Covid-19 is planning to scrap an interim report on its recent mission to China amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington over the investigation and an appeal from one international group of scientists for a new probe. A group of two dozen scientists is calling in an open letter on Thursday for a new international inquiry. They say the WHO team that last month completed a mission to Wuhan—the Chinese city where the first known cases were found—had insufficient access to adequately investigate possible sources of the new coronavirus, including whether it slipped from a laboratory.”

Open Letter Link    “Call for a Full and Unrestricted International Forensic Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19”

WSJ full report



Orangutans at San Diego zoo receive first #coronavirus vaccine made for animals

“An orangutan named Karen, the first in the world to have open-heart surgery in 1994, has made medical history again: She’s among the first great apes to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

In February, Karen, three other orangutans, and five bonobos at the San Diego Zoo have received two doses each of an experimental vaccine for animals developed by a veterinary pharmaceutical company, says Nadine Lamberski, chief conservation and wildlife health officer at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.”

Full National Geographic article


 Image by Marcel Langthim from Pixabay

All Isle of Man schools to close today after a fresh #coronavirus outbreak

“Given a growing number of COVID-19 cases on the Island, particularly amongst children, all of the Island’s schools, nurseries and childminders will be closed tomorrow (Friday 5 March).

This difficult decision has been taken to create a firebreak to help stop the spread of the virus, particularly amongst the Island’s young people. The situation will be reviewed over the weekend as the situation becomes clearer.

The Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK, said: “As we know, the Kent variant of COVID-19 is particularly virulent and we are seeing it spreading rapidly amongst our community. The virus spreads when people mix and so we need to do all we can to minimise that mixing. We are currently seeing a strong level of transmission between our young people and we need to take every opportunity we have to interrupt this.

“Whilst much of the opportunity for transmission has been minimised through the circuit break, there are still a number of settings where children are moving around outside of the home. In the interests of children and broader society, we need to prevent children from mixing.

Manx Radio Report

“Manx outbreak will be ‘more difficult’ to eliminate”  BBC Report

More than 450 cases of the South African #coronavirus variant 501Y.V2 diagnosed in Israel

Over 450 cases of the South Africa coronavirus variant 501Y.V2 have been diagnosed in Israel so far, and health professionals estimate that dozens more are being infected each day.

The Israeli Health Ministry’s committees on vaccinations and the pandemic said two weeks ago that the B.1.351 or 501Y.V2 variant was spreading beyond control. full report


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Preliminary reports of four #stillbirths linked to #Covid19 #coronavirus

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer has said that NPHET has been made aware of four preliminary reports of stillbirths in Ireland, that could potentially be associated with a condition called Covid Placentitis.

Dr Ronan Glynn said that these reports should be interpreted with caution as the coroners have not concluded their findings.

Dr Glynn said the condition is a “concern”, but also stressed that is “very rare”.

RTE.IE Full report


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