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Global coronavirus caseload exceeds 58 mln - United News of Bangladesh
The globally confirmed coronavirus cases reached 58,095,887 on Sunda...
The globally confirmed coronavirus cases reached 58,095,887 on Sunday with 1,379,83 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).The US remains the worst-hit country with 12,088,409 cases, including 255,833 fatalities as of Sunday.Brazil registered 376 new deaths from Covid-19, bringing the national death toll to 168,989, the government said Saturday. The number of infections went up by 32,622, pushing the nationwide tally to 6,052,786.Neighbouring India's coronavirus tally reached 9,095,806 on Sunday as 45,209 new cases were registered in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.The country’s death toll mounted to 133,227 as 501 more patients died since Saturday morning.India currently has 440,962 active cases, while 8,521,617 patients have been discharged from hospitals. Also Read- Virus bears down on consumers and economy The government is ramping up Covid-19 testing facilities across the country. Till Saturday, a total of 131,733,134 tests were conducted, out of which 1,075,326 tests were conducted on Saturday alone, said the figures released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Sunday.Meanwhile, Covid vaccine Covaxin, which is being developed by India's biotechnology company "Bharat Biotech International Limited," entered the third phase of trial on Friday.Bangladesh’s coronavirus situation Bangladesh saw a rise in deaths from coronavirus infections as health authorities reported 28 more deaths in 24 hours until Saturday, taking the fatalities to 6,350 with a death rate of 1.43 percent.During this period, 1,848 new cases were detected, bringing the caseload to 445,281.So far, 360,352 patients – 80.93 percent – have recovered, including 1,921 in the last 24 hours.Bangladesh reported its first cases on March 8. The infection number reached the 300,000-mark on August 26. The first death was reported on March 18 and the death toll crossed 6,000 on November 4
Physicists awarded top Aussie science gong - Bunbury Mail
When a young David Blair arrived in the United States in the 1970s to help build a gravitational wave detector, he figured it would be a short-term project. "...
When a young David Blair arrived in the United States in the 1970s to help build a gravitational wave detector, he figured it would be a short-term project. "I thought I'd go there, spend a year or two, detect these waves then go on and do something else," the University of Western Australia physicist says wryly. "Never did I guess that I'd be hooked into this for the next four decades and we'd go struggling and struggling and struggling until finally we managed to detect these waves." That breakthrough finally came on September 14, 2015 - a date seared into Prof Blair's memory and one that came almost 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity. Emeritus Professor Blair and his colleagues, Adelaide University's Peter Veitch and Australian National University's David McClelland and Susan Scott, all made critical contributions towards the groundbreaking global discovery. The quartet has been jointly awarded the nation's top science gong, the 2020 Prime Minister's Prize for Science. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of time and space produced by merging black holes and exploding stars. They wash over the earth all the time, but our instruments have not been sensitive enough to detect them until recent years. Building equipment capable of honing in on the waves and blocking out everything else meant developing what Prof Blair describes as the quietest place in the universe. The process included hanging mirrors with devices called vibration isolators - "a bit like a car suspension but billions of times better". "People used to think that space was just empty and silent and that space was also something that was sort of rigid - matter didn't affect space and when you walk around the room, you're not changing the room," Prof Blair says. "But the reality is that you are ... all matter is intertwined with space and time. "It's completely different from all the stuff we learn in schools." It's for that reason Prof Blair is running an international program to change the way physics is taught. And it's not just about proving a theory. Prof Blair's invention of the first ultra-precise sapphire clock has been used to advance GPS navigation and radars, and vibration-suppressing technology has been used to help aircraft searching for minerals under the ground. Meanwhile, work on two key environmental issues, recycling processes for mixed plastics and low-cost battery technology for storing renewable energy saw Professor Thomas Maschmeyer from the University of Sydney awarded the $250,000 Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation. The awards come during a tough year for universities. A plunge in revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in massive job cuts and prompted calls for greater federal government support. "The fact that they're giving a prize for something which might seem a little bit esoteric shows that at some level, the government really recognises the importance of science," Prof Blair says. "But that recognition ... needs to go an awful lot further. And if the government doesn't increase its investment in universities, I think we're just cutting our own throats." Australian Associated Press
Virus cases up across Europe, South Korea - Bunbury Mail
Europe's infectious disease agency has warned that a regional spike in coronavirus cases "represents a major threat to public health" as South Korea recorded...
Europe's infectious disease agency has warned that a regional spike in coronavirus cases "represents a major threat to public health" as South Korea recorded its highest increase in new infections in more than 40 days. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Friday that about two dozen European countries are now classified as having high epidemiological risk. Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Liechtenstein and Norway were the only exceptions with a "stable epidemiological situation," the ECDC said. Governments and health authorities were urged to ensure physical distancing between individuals, allow people to work remotely and limit the number of people at indoor or outdoor gatherings. The agency underlined that it was crucial "to re-motivate people to follow recommendations". Public health authorities should also "reinforce healthcare capacity to manage potentially high numbers of COVID-19 patients" and "minimise the risk of transmission in long-term care facilities". The head of the World Health Organisation said on Friday that the world was at a critical juncture and some countries are on a dangerous path, facing the prospect of health services collapsing under the strain of the pandemic. "We are at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the northern hemisphere," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. "The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track." "We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again." The latest ECDC assessment came as a number of countries and regions in Europe tightened anti-virus restrictions. In the Italian capital Rome, authorities said they would close a number of popular outdoor evening hangout locations on weekends. Similar curbs are in place in other Italian cities including Turin, Genoa and Palermo. Several Italian regions also switched to online lessons for high school students in a bid to reduce rush-hour crowds on public transport. Meanwhile Germany, which has been recording higher daily infection numbers than at the start of the pandemic in March, has extended mask rules. Night-time curfews have been introduced in a number of areas struggling to contain outbreaks, including the capital Berlin. Neighbouring Poland said restaurants were to close for a period of two weeks but would be able to offer take-out and delivery. In Greece, authorities have ordered a night-time curfew from Saturday in coronavirus hotspots including regions home to the country's two largest cities, Athens and Thessaloniki. Masks were also made mandatory in all public areas, the government said. Elsewhere, Slovenia said it will return to a partial, week-long lockdown on Saturday closing malls, restaurants, hotels, most shops and student dormitories. Over the past week, Slovenia banned all travel between the country's 12 regions, limited public gathering to six people and banned all events, including weddings and religious services. The Stockholm-based ECDC covers the European Union, Britain, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. From March 1 to October 18, the countries covered by the ECDC reported 4.8 million cases and 202,551 deaths due to COVID-19. This represented 12 per cent of all cases worldwide and almost a fifth of all globally reported deaths, the ECDC said. Other measures it listed included using face masks, avoiding non-essential travel and for travellers to quarantine upon returning home. The closure of public spaces and introducing "stay-at-home recommendations" were labelled "a last resort" but could also be used at local or regional level, the ECDC said. Globally, more than 41.82 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus and 1,138,727 have died. South Korea recorded its highest increase in coronavirus cases in more than 40 days on Friday as more infections were reported at hospitals and nursing homes. A nursing home in Namyangju, east of Seoul, was put under isolation after more than 30 workers and residents tested positive. About 120 infections have been linked to a hospital in nearby Gwangju. The 155 new cases announced on Friday by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the country's caseload to 25,698, including 455 deaths. The steady spread of the virus has caused concern in a country that eased its distancing restrictions just last week to cope with a weak economy. High-risk businesses such as nightclubs and karaoke bars have reopened while fans returned to the stands in professional sports. Australian Associated Press
France has another record virus case rise - Bunbury Mail
France has hit a record for daily coronavirus infections, with 26,896 positive cases diagnosed in 24 hours, up from the previous day's figure of 20,339 which...
France has hit a record for daily coronavirus infections, with 26,896 positive cases diagnosed in 24 hours, up from the previous day's figure of 20,339 which had also been a record high. Official daily figures on Saturday also showed 54 more deaths, taking the country's total COVID-19 death toll since the beginning of March to 32,684. The latest figures came as authorities closed bars in Lyon, Lille, Grenoble and Saint Etienne, which are now officially on "maximum alert". Restaurants in the maximum alert areas are also subject to strict health measures, including a limit of six guests per table who must remain masked until their food is placed in front of them. Paris has already been on maximum alert since Tuesday and Marseille since late last month, although Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday the situation was improving in the southern city and he hoped to be able to downgrade its alert level next week. France was one of the European countries hardest hit by the first wave of the virus and underwent a strict 55-day lockdown from mid-March to mid-May. Australian Associated Press
India develops paper-based Covid-19 test for fast results - United News of Bangladesh
A team of scientists in India has developed an inexpensive paper-bas...
A team of scientists in India has developed an inexpensive paper-based test for coronavirus that could give fast results similar to a pregnancy test, reports BBC. The test, named after a famous Indian fictional detective, is based on a gene-editing technology called Crispr. Scientists estimate that the kit - called Feluda - would return results in under an hour and cost 500 rupees (about $6.75; £5.25). Feluda will be made by a leading Indian conglomerate, Tata, and could be the world's first paper-based Covid-19 test available in the market. "This is a simple, precise, reliable, scalable and frugal test," Professor K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to the Indian government, told the BBC. Researchers at the Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), where Feluda was developed, as well as private labs, tried out the test on samples from about 2,000 patients, including ones who had already tested positive for the coronavirus. They found that the new test had 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity. The accuracy of a test is based on these two proportions. A test that's highly sensitive will detect almost everyone who has the disease; and a test that's has high-specificity will correctly rule out almost everyone who doesn't have the disease. The first ensures not too many false negative results; and the second not too many false positives. India's drug regulator has cleared the test for commercial use. With more than six million confirmed infections, India has the world's second-highest Covid-19 caseload. More than 100,000 people in the country have died of the disease so far. After a slow start, India is now testing about 100,000 samples a day in more than 1,200 laboratories across the country. It is using two tests. The first is the time-tested, gold standard polymerase chain reaction, or PCR swab tests, which uses chemicals to amplify the virus's genetic material in the laboratory. The second is the speedy antigen test, which works by detecting virus fragments in a sample. The Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology team behind the new test The PCR test is generally reliable and costs up to 2,400 rupees. It has low false positive and low false negative rates. The antigen tests are cheaper and use finger-prick blood samples to find signs of previous infection. They are more precise in detecting positive infections, but generate more false negatives than the PCR test. Scaling up testing in India hasn't meant easy availability yet, according to Dr Anant Bhan, a researcher in global health and health policy. "There are still long wait times and unavailability of kits. And we are doing a lot of rapid antigen testing which have problems with false negatives," Dr Bhan told the BBC. He believes the Feluda test could potentially replace the antigen tests because it could be comparatively cheaper - and more accurate. "The new test has the reliability of the PCR test, is quicker and can be done in smaller laboratories which don't have sophisticated machines," Dr Anurag Agarwal, director of IGIB, told the BBC. Sample collection for the Feluda test will be similar to the PCR test - a nasal swab inserted a few inches into the nose to check for coronavirus in the back of the nasal passage. India still doesn't allow Covid-19 tests from saliva samples. The new Feluda test uses Crispr - short form for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats - or a gene-editing technology to detect the virus. According to researchers, gene-editing works in a way similar to word processing - it's like using the cursor to correct a typo by removing an incorrect letter and inserting the correct one. The technique is so precise it can remove and add a single genome letter. Gene-editing is mainly used to prevent infections and treating ailments like sickle cell disease. When used as a diagnostic tool, like Feluda, the Crispr technology latches on to a set of letters of a gene carrying the signature of the novel coronavirus, highlights it, and gives a read-out on a piece of paper. Two blue lines indicate a positive result, while a single blue line means the test has returned negative. "Testing remains a limited resource and something that we need to do everything we can to improve its availability. So Feluda is an important step in that direction," said Dr Stephen Kissler, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. The Crispr-based tests are a part of a "third wave of tests" after the time consuming and labour intensive PCR and antigen tests, according to Dr Thomas Tsai of the Harvard Global Health Institute. In the US and the UK, several companies and research labs are developing similar paper strip tests which can be cheap and mass produced. One of the most talked-about has been a paper-based strip developed by Sherlock Bioscience which has been cleared for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The test claims to detect the "unique genetic fingerprints of virtually any DNA or RNA sequence in any organism or pathogen". DNA and RNA are sister molecules responsible for the storage of all genetic information that underpins life. "The ideal and ultimate test will be the one that is paper-based which you can do from home," said Dr Tsai. "But of course, there are some biological restrictions to the technology - we can't expect people to extract and amplify the RNA from home." This is where the Feluda test might end up making a huge difference to the way we look at gene-editing based diagnostic tests. Dr Debojyoti Chakraborty, a molecular scientist with IGBMR and a lead member of the team that developed Feluda, told the BBC that they were working on a prototype of a test where "you can extract and amplify the RNA using PCR at home". "We are trying for a simple, affordable, and truly point-of-care test so widespread testing is not limited by machines and manpower," Dr Chakraborty said. "India has the opportunity to show the value of this test, because it has such a big population and it's coming right at the time when it is needed," Dr Kissler said. "If their efficacy is demonstrated, it can have benefits that ripple around the world." A vaccine will be vital for fully recovering from the pandemic, but according to Dr Kissler, reliable, accessible testing is also key to achieve "a sense of normalcy". "In the ideal world I envision, taking a test will be as easy as brushing your teeth or making toast," he said. Read Also: No respite from Covid scourge; Global cases surpass 35 mn
Victoria's COVID-19 crisis by the numbers - Bunbury Mail
VICTORIA'S COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR SEPTEMBER 3 * 113 new cases - back up above 100 for the first time since Sunday * 15 more deaths, taking the state's virus tol...
VICTORIA'S COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR SEPTEMBER 3 * 113 new cases - back up above 100 for the first time since Sunday * 15 more deaths, taking the state's virus toll to 591 and the national figure to 678. * Nine of the deaths occurred prior to the past 24 hours. * The latest deaths include four men and three women in their 80s and two men and six women in their 90s - 14 are related to aged care * 2295 active cases in Victoria, including 126 in regional areas * 4361 "mystery" cases, an increase of 10 from Wednesday * 361 people in hospital, with 20 in intensive care and 15 of those on ventilators * 1121 active cases among aged care facilities * 337 active cases among healthcare workers * 34 active cases in disability care, including 22 staff * Total of 2,331,261 tests conducted, an increase of 17,098 in the past 24 hours KEY AGED CARE OUTBREAKS * 214 cases linked to Epping Gardens Aged Care in Epping * 213 BaptCare Wyndham Lodge Community in Werribee * 205 St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Fawkner * 162 Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer * 139 Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth * 127 Twin Parks Aged Care in Reservoir * 123 Cumberland Manor Aged Care Facility in Sunshine North * 118 Estia Aged Care Facility in Heidelberg * 117 Japara Goonawarra Aged Care Facility in Sunbury * 115 Outlook Gardens Aged Care Facility in Dandenong North OTHER KEY OUTBREAKS * 48 Vawdrey Australia Truck Manufacturer * 19 St Vincent's Private Hospital * The department is also investigating cases linked to Morwell's Mitchell House aged care facility, Melbourne's Albert Road Clinic, West Melbourne's Melbourne Seafood Centre, Cranbourne's Wagstaff abattoirs, Truganina's NewCold cold storage facility and Broadmeadows' Fresh Cheese Company. VICTORIA POLICE FINES * 143 fines, including 24 for failing to wear a face covering and 46 for curfew breaches * 11 fines from 20,156 vehicle checks * 4335 spot checks, total of 374,540 RESTRICTIONS * Stage four in metropolitan Melbourne including an 8pm-5am curfew, 5km travel limit from home, one-hour outdoor exercise limit and widespread workforce shutdowns including child care. In place until September 13. * Stage three for regional Victoria. Sources: Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police. Australian Associated Press
Tuberculosis cases linked to NSW hospital - Bunbury Mail
A Sydney hospital is working to identify staff, patients and members of the public who may have been exposed to tuberculosis after identifying a small cluster...
A Sydney hospital is working to identify staff, patients and members of the public who may have been exposed to tuberculosis after identifying a small cluster of cases at the facility. Genomic sequencing recently found that five cases of tuberculosis in Sydney were the same strain and genetically identical, with four of them overlapping at St Vincent's Hospital. A statement from St Vincent's on Friday said it was likely one person had transmitted the infection to two other patients and one staff member while in hospital. The person was not known to have tuberculosis at the time they were potentially infectious. The hospital is working with NSW Health and clinical experts to identify a "very targeted" group of staff, patients and members of the public who may have been exposed, and is organising testing as a precaution. "It's important to know that the risk of infection to those that we have identified as potentially being at risk is low," St Vincent's respiratory physician and tuberculosis specialist Anthony Byrne said. "It's also important to note that if infection with TB does occur, most (90 per cent) people will never get sick and cannot infect other people." The potentially serious bacterial disease most commonly affects the lungs and can be spread when infected people cough and sneeze. The hospital has set up a hotline - 1800 943 123 - and further information is available at www.svhs.org.au It said those who had been infected were receiving support and treatment. Australian Associated Press
SA hospital numbers down amid COVID-19 - Bunbury Mail
South Australia has recorded no new cases of coronavirus for the fourth consecutive day, as the state government urged people with other serious medical issue...
South Australia has recorded no new cases of coronavirus for the fourth consecutive day, as the state government urged people with other serious medical issues to not let the pandemic stop them seeking help. The state has confirmed a total of 438 cases, but only 23 remain active. Four people are at Royal Adelaide Hospital, including two in intensive care. Health minister Stephen Wade said there were concerns about a significant reduction in emergency department presentations, ambulance call-outs and GP visits. He said it was vital that people did not delay seeking treatment for other serious medical conditions out of fear of contracting COVID-19. "It was never a risk for a South Australian to present at one of our health sites," he told reporters on Sunday. "It was an understandable anxiety, but we are anxious that that reluctance may well mean that people are not having their broader health concerns attended to." In the first two weeks of April, South Australia's major metropolitan hospitals saw about 8000 emergency department presentations - a 32 per cent decrease compared to the same time last year. Meanwhile, there were about 8400 hospital inpatient admissions, which represented a 25 per cent decrease. The South Australian Ambulance Service has also experienced a drop in demand and April is tracking to be their quietest month this year. Mr Wade has also urged South Australians to download a contact tracing app, saying the information will only be shared with authorities after a person tests positive and gives their consent. But he said the government was not looking at easing restrictions "any time soon" despite other states such as Western Australia relaxing their rules. "South Australia is taking a very cautious, patient approach to our restrictions," he said. "Our restrictions are actually not as severe in some respects as other states and territories. "So, in some ways, some of the easing you're seeing in other states and territories is just returning to what we believe is an appropriate level of restrictions." Australian Associated Press