ROUNDUP: Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating, says WHO
The coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen day-by-day, with more than 366,000 cases now reported globally. The rapid rise in cases has led to widespread shortages of vital medical equipment around the globe and the death toll has now surpassed 16,000. Here is a roundup of everything that happened today:
Cases have continued to surge in Spain, with a further 4,500 cases reported today – a cumulative increase of 15 per cent. At the time of publication, confirmed cases in the country stand at 33,089 – making it the second worst-hit country in Europe after Italy. However, Spanish authorities are expecting to reach the “peak” of the virus this week – where new cases still occur, but at a lower percentage increase than previous days.
WHO has warned the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating. According to WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, it took 67 days from the first reported case of coronavirus to reach the first 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases and just 4 days for the third 100,000 cases. Dr Tedros urged countries to “attack the coronavirus with aggressive and targeted tactics. ”
The US is scrambling to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak as cases in the country soared over the weekend, making the US now the third-worst affected nation in the world, following Italy and China.
New York is now the epicenter of the outbreak in America, with the Mayor, Bill De Blasio, warning today that medical supplies for hospitals will likely only last for the remainder of this week. The US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams also warned citizens that the worst of the outbreak is still yet to come: “This week, it’s going to get bad. We really need to come together as a nation,” he said.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are to be postponed to 2021, says a member of the International Olympics Committee. This comes after Australia and Canada both announced they would not be sending a team to the Olympics, and the IOC stated it had set a deadline of one month to decide if the games would go ahead this year.
Daily reported deaths in Italy have dropped for the second day in a row after the death toll reached its current apex on Saturday. Cases in the country now stand at more than 63,000, and over 6,000 people have now died from the virus.
Germany has tightened restrictions on social interaction in the country, announcing yesterday that all gatherings are now limited to two people. The measure came as the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, went into quarantine after it was discovered that a doctor who had administered a vaccination to her on Friday tested positive for Covid-19.
Citizens in the UK who ignored advice to stay at home and broke social distancing rules have been branded “selfish” by the UK Health Minister, Matt Hancock. This came as many images appeared online over the weekend of large groups of people gathering in community areas, markets, beaches, and national parks, disregarding advice from public health officials. The government has now warned that “nothing is off the table” as the government examines new restrictions to keep people at home. At time of publication, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was holding a Cobra meeting. Further measures are expected at the press briefing to be held at 8:30pm.
There has also been an updates to guidance been published by Digital Social Care, an NHS Digital sponsored initiative funding care sector organisations to promote digital transformation in social care. The guidance outlined has been taken from Digital Social Care and approved by NHSX.
UK Hospitals ramping up preparations
Also from the UK, millions more items of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline staff have been delivered to NHS services across the country in the last few days as part of the fight against coronavirus.
Hospitals, ambulance trusts, GP practices, pharmacists, care homes and hospices have all been receiving additional supplies over the past week, sourced by the Department of Health and Social Care and its suppliers, with the kit drops set to continue to match demand.
Over the last three days alone more than 200 organisations, including all NHS hospitals, received fresh supplies of facemasks and other PPE along with ambulance trusts and other NHS organisations.
From this week the army will play its part by offering service personnel to help to manage and offload supplies in busy NHS settings, helping to distribute and deliver urgent contractor PPE supplies to the frontline during the coronavirus epidemic.
Hospital trusts and other healthcare organisations are being told that while the aim is to deliver supplies in usual working hours, given the volume and scale of the operation, they will also receiving deliveries at evenings and weekends.
It follows on from the publication of new official guidance on the supply and use of PPE to the healthcare system, and the new dedicated PPE supply hotline which allows organisations to order more PPE 24 hours a day.