COVID-19

OCTA Research recommends an additional week of ECQ

by Emily Manuel Contributor (Eagle News) — OCTA Research supports the position of the Department of Health to extend the lockdown in the NCR+ bubble for an additional week, from April 5 to 11, 2021. They say that “a one-week ECQ is insufficient to reverse the surge and will only further strain our hospital system.” OCTA also recommends extending the ECQ to an additional third week if the reproduction number does not dramatically drop in […]

New and more contagious “Super-CoVid” variants possibly driving Covid-19 surge in NCR

by Emily Manuel Contributor, Eagle News (Eagle News) — In a virtual press conference held on March 3, 2021, the OCTA Research Team, an independent and inter-disciplinary Philippine-based research group, shared its latest report which highlights a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in some local government units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region (NCR), including: Pasay, Quezon City, Manila, Makati, Malabon, Taguig, Paranaque, and Navotas. This surge is possibly being driven by […]

Deep-freeze case could help transport vaccines in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — A South African company is seeking to help solve the logistical nightmare of keeping Covid-19 vaccinations at the ultra-cold temperatures necessary as they are shipped across the continent. Johannesburg-based natural gas producer Renergen is developing an ultra-cold biologic transport freezer for the task as countries throughout Africa plan for rollouts of comprehensive vaccination programmes. The vaccines developed jointly by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech must be stored at […]

UN seeks $76 million in emergency aid for Madagascar

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The United Nations said Tuesday that $76 million was urgently needed to help over one million people in southern Madagascar facing potentially life-threating shortages of food, water and health assistance. The UN humanitarian agency OCHA issued its so-called flash appeal after the impoverished island country in eastern Africa saw its agricultural season ruined by the worst drought in a decade. At the same time, the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic […]

Mexico City plastic ban poses challenge for virus-hit firms

by Natalia Cano Agence France-Presse MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — Mexico’s ban on single-use plastic in its capital, one of the world’s most populous metropolises, has delighted environmentalists but dismayed some businesses struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Home to around nine million people, Mexico City generates about 13,000 tons of solid waste every day. The new rules, which are being phased in, ban the use of disposable plastic items such as cutlery, plates, […]

Virus hunters delve into Gabon forest in search for next threat

by Adrien MAROTTE Agence France-Presse ZADIE CAVES, Gabon (AFP) — The scene looks like something out of a science fiction movie, or maybe some dystopian TV series. Six men in yellow biohazard suits clamber in suffocating heat towards a cave in the heart of the Gabonese jungle. Their quest: to unlock new knowledge on how pathogens like coronavirus leap the species barrier to humans. In the cave is their goal — a colony of bats. […]

Climate change biggest threat to natural World Heritage sites

by Nina LARSON Agence France-Presse GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Climate change has become the biggest threat to UN-listed natural world heritage sites like glaciers and wetlands, and has pushed Australia’s Great Barrier Reef into “critical” condition, conservationists said Wednesday. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revealed in a new report that shifts due to the changing climate now imperil a full third of the 252 UNESCO-listed natural sites around the globe. Overall, 94 […]

Swiss urged to ‘hit the slopes’ to save ski season

by Agnès PEDRERO Agence France-Presse VERBIER, Switzerland (AFP) — The coronavirus crisis shuttered Switzerland’s ski resorts in the spring, but they are banking on tighter precautions and the Swiss love of the mountains to save them as the winter season kicks off. A cable car ride to the top of the slopes at Verbier, where staff wear plastic face shields, reveals the extent to which the pandemic has impacted even the furthest reaches of the […]

Frontrunners emerge in race for Covid-19 vaccine

PARIS, France (AFP) — Dozens of companies, from biotech start-ups to Big Pharma, are racing to develop a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, both to meet urgent medical need and for the potential payday. Here’s an update on the quest for a magic bullet against the coronavirus that has already killed more than a million people worldwide. How many in the pipeline? The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 42 “candidate vaccines” at the stage […]

Covid-19 vaccine ‘best science news’ of 2020

by Nina LARSON Agence France-Presse GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Data indicating that a vaccine being developed against Covid-19 is highly effective is the “best science news of the year”, a pharmaceutical industry association chief said, voicing hope that other vaccine candidates would show equally good results. “A vaccine that has 90 percent efficacy and is pretty safe, that is a historic breakthrough,” the head of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), Thomas […]

Coronavirus ‘can survive for 28 days on surfaces’: study

by Holly ROBERTSON Agence France-Presse BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) — The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can survive on items such as banknotes and phones for up to 28 days in cool, dark conditions, according to a study by Australia’s national science agency. Researchers at CSIRO’s disease preparedness centre tested the longevity of SARS-CoV-2 in the dark at three temperatures, showing survival rates decreased as conditions became hotter, the agency said Monday. The scientists found that at 20 […]

Chinese bus offers new evidence of airborne coronavirus spread: study

WASHINGTON D.C., United States (AFP) — A person on a poorly ventilated Chinese bus infected nearly two dozen other passengers with coronavirus even though many weren’t sitting close by, according to research published on Tuesday that offers fresh evidence the disease can spread in the air. Health authorities had initially discounted the possibility that simply breathing could send infectious micro-droplets into the air, but did a U-turn as experts piled on pressure and evidence mounted. […]