Coronavirus - 20 August


• South Korea extends social distancing measures
• Blood supply shortage in France, Italy, South Korea & Vietnam
• Ho Chi Minh announces stay at home orders
• Sydney extends lockdown by one month
• England’s R number rose to 0.9 to 1.2 from 0.8 to 1.0 last week

World news

• Sri Lanka has announced a nationwide lockdown from 10pm today until 30 August.

• A curfew is being introduced in western Sydney while masks will be mandatory outdoors throughout New South Wales. Greater Sydney’s lockdown has been extended by a month until the end of September.

• Hospitalisations of people under the age of 50 with Covid-19 are now at the highest levels seen in the US since the start of the pandemic. The largest increases in hospitalisations was among those in their 30s and the under-18s, according to the CDC.

• The Spanish High Court of Justice has lifted a curfew imposed on most of Catalonia, including the capital Barcelona, leaving it in place in just a fraction of the north-eastern region, stating the measure was “not justified”.

• Israel makes people over 40 and teachers eligible for a third vaccine.

• US Customs and Border Protection agents in Anchorage, Alaska seized more than 3,000 counterfeit vaccination cards sent from China.

• South Korea has extended its social distancing measures for two weeks, including the ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6pm. As part of the extended restrictions, authorities will require restaurants and cafes in the metropolitan area to close an hour earlier at 9pm until 5 September.

• The MHRA has approved Ronapreve, the antibody developed by Roche and Regeneron, to prevent and treat Covid-19. Ronapreve is now licenced in the US, India, Switzerland, Canada and the EU.

• Ho Chi Minh City has announced that its residents will be prohibited from leaving their homes from Monday. Full details of the new restrictions are yet to be announced.

• Global blood donor shortage as many countries do not allow people who have recently been vaccinated to give blood and donors stay away:

• South Korea’s supply is down to just 3.2 days, as of Wednesday, from 6.5 days’ worth this time last year.
• France’s blood supply agency, EFA, said stocks were too tight for comfort. It said there are 85,000 red blood cell bags in reserve, below a comfortable level of 100,000 or more.
• In Italy, the National Blood Centre said there were worrying shortages in a number of regions, including Lazio, leading some hospitals to postpone planned operations to conserve stocks.
• In Vietnam, the country’s National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion said it could meet only 50-70% of demand.

• England’s R number rose to 0.9 to 1.2, according to the ONS, compared with 0.8 to 1.0 in last week’s figures.

• Hartpury University and Hartpury College in Gloucester have banned unvaccinated students from living on site, and said they may have limited access to social events and clubs.

• Police in Kenya used teargas and fired shots in the air to break up protests in Nairobi after a man was allegedly killed by officers for violating the country’s curfew.

Company news


 Apple – has delayed recalling staff to the office until January at the earliest. The company had previously called for staff to go back to the office by early September, before changing that to October.