UK holiday hotspot warning, herd immunity not ‘viable’: COVID-19 Daily Bulletin

Afghan refugees arriving in Albania are given masks and tested on arrival. /Gent Shkullaku/AFP

Afghan refugees arriving in Albania are given masks and tested on arrival. /Gent Shkullaku/AFP

TOP STORIES

· UK holiday destination Newquay, in Cornwall, has become the country’s COVID-19 hotspot and the local tourist board has asked holidaymakers to stay away. At least 5,000 cases have been linked to the Boardmasters music and surfing festival. 

· Denmark will lift all restrictions by September 10. Health officials said the virus no longer posed “a threat to society” as more than 70 percent of Danes are fully vaccinated.

· The best way to keep cases out of businesses and schools while maintaining staff and pupil attendance is to create two rotating groups, a French study shows. Two groups rotating weekly was the most effective solution to slow transmission, the study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology concluded.

· Catching COVID-19 is more dangerous than vaccination, according to a new study into the danger of blood clots from the Oxford University-Astra Zeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech jabs. The UK study used data of 29 million patients and found the risk of clots was far higher in patients infected by SARS-CoV-2. 

· Scientists are questioning whether herd immunity will be possible as the Delta variant continues its global surge. “If the question is ‘will vaccination alone allow us to dampen and control the pandemic?’ the answer is no,” said French epidemiologist Mircea Sofonea.

· Japan has suspended the use of the Moderna vaccine after a “metallic contaminant” was found in a batch. Moderna described it as “particulate matter” that did not pose a safety or efficacy problem.An investigation has been launched into the production of the vaccine. 

· The U.S. Supreme Court has ended the COVID-19 moratorium on evictions. The Biden administration had stopped people from being removed from their homes during the pandemic, but the Court said any extension needed a law to be passed by Congress. 

· New Zealand has extended its national lockdown into next week, as a further cluster of 70 cases as the latest outbreak in Auckland has now infected 347 people. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned restrictions would last two more weeks in the city where the cases have been identified.

AROUND EUROPE

Penelope Liersch in Budapest

Hungary is still slipping in the EU COVID-19 vaccination rankings. The average number of adults who’ve had a first dose of vaccine in EU countries is 75.5 percent, but in Hungary only 67.4 percent of adults have had their first jab. The average for second doses is 66.8 percent in the European Union and 64.8 percent in Hungary. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban based early decisions about reopening and lifting restrictions on vaccination rates. Hospitality, tourism and sporting events were given the green light earlier than other EU member states, based on people needing to show they’d had a first dose. In most settings the card is no longer a requirement, except for large-scale events. 

Based on the current vaccination rate, Greece, Czechia and Estonia will likely overtake Hungary in vaccination coverage next month. Hungary held the top spots for vaccine coverage for months, but rates have been stalling since the beginning of summer. 

Ryan Thompson in Frankfurt 

The pandemic is becoming less and less of a political issue for German voters, according to a new survey by the ZDF Politbarometer. For the first time since the country went into lockdown in March 2020, most respondents say it is not the most important problem. 

Instead, the topic of environmental and climate protection has become the main concern again, with 40 percent of people saying that the issue should be tackled urgently. The same survey polled for opinions on the current measures put in place to contain the virus, with 58 percent considering the current measures to be just right, while 19 percent said they were too lax.

Iolo ap Dafydd in London

As autumn approaches, COVID-19 cases are rising once more. As schools prepare to reopen for a new term, the number of cases in the UK are higher than last August. Infection rates are still high in 20- to 24-year-olds and teenagers. At least 63 percent of the population have now been vaccinated, with more than 42 million people double-jabbed. 

Officials have warned of a surge this weekend, which is the August Bank Holiday, as thousands of people head to music festivals, tourist hotspots and the beach. One famous event which has been canceled again due the pandemic is the Notting Hill Carnival in London. 

Ross Cullen in Paris

The French Health Minister said those who have been taken ill or who have died during the fourth wave of COVID-19 cases have “been the unvaccinated.”

Olivier Veran said that “if we had not had the vaccine, then the fourth wave of cases could have been worse.” He said that “tens of thousands of extra people would have been hospitalized” and “hospitals could have been overwhelmed in a few weeks”. 

The government will end its program of free PCR tests for everyone but children or unvaccinated teenagers. “The tests that we do in schools are free, that goes without saying,” the education minister said on Friday morning.

FROM OUR GLOBAL COLLEAGUES

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CGTN Europe has been providing in-depth coverage of the novel coronavirus story as it has unfolded. 

Source(s): AFP ,Reuters