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Online Survey for Health Professionals on a Healthy Recovery from COVID-19

Online Survey for Health Professionals on a Healthy Recovery from COVID-19

WHO invites health professionals globally to participate in a brief survey about their country’s – and the world’s – efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies.

This survey is being carried out by George Mason University on behalf of the World Health Organization-Civil Society Working Group on Climate Change and Health, and will inform the working group in their work around a healthy recovery from COVID-19.

The survey can be taken here. Participation in the survey should take a maximum of 3 minutes.


About the survey

Much of the world is currently experiencing both a public health crisis and an economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many nations are implementing economic recovery packages in response. What will happen to my answers?

Some health professionals are proposing that COVID-19 economic recovery packages should aim for a “healthy recovery” (where the nation seeks to become healthier and more resilient) rather than a “return to normal” (how things were before the pandemic). In addition to strengthening healthcare systems, this would involve producing much more clean renewable energy, embracing sustainable farming and food systems, and helping cities prioritize pedestrians, cyclists and public transportation over cars to improve people’s health and quality of life.


What will happen to my answers?

Submissions to this survey are anonymous and will be used to inform the World Health Organization-Civil Society Working Group on Climate Change and Health on the priorities of the health community, as well as inform the George Mason University in their research on effectively communicating the interconnections between climate change and human health.

The survey does not collect any personal information or contact details from participants.


If you have further questions or feedback about the survey you can contact carbonfootprint@who.int.

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Black light experiment shows how quickly a virus like Covid-19 can spread at a restaurant

Black light experiment shows how quickly a virus like Covid-19 can spread at a restaurant

The video shows 10 people coming into the restaurant, with one singled out as the “infected” person. Each participant goes about the buffet as they normally would, not considering a potential contamination.

At the end of the video, the participants are cast under black lights illuminating where the “infection” has spread.

The substance, used to signify the germs, can be seen on food, serving utensils and platters, and even on the faces of some of the participants.

Here’s what the experts have to say

While these kinds of experiments are not new, John Nicholls, a clinical professor in pathology at Hong Kong University, said they demonstrate how quickly a virus can spread, especially when hand washing is not performed.

“What the video demonstrated, is that it will spread to surfaces and to people very efficiently,” Nicholls told CNN, “and I think it really highlights the need of what people have been saying about hand hygiene to stop the spread of disease.”

However, Nicholls said that the situation is “artificial” because so much emphasis is placed on the touching alone.

Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease specialist at Kobe University, agreed.

“The experiment just described the possibility of the spread by contact, and that is not proof of what happened, so the distinction has to be clearly made between what could happen and what did happen,” Iwata told CNN.

But both experts said the experiment is a good way to show the importance of hand washing.

For the sake of science, Nicholls said it would be even more effective to see the experiment done after the “infected” person washes their hands for five and then ten seconds.

“So the general public gets some concept of the mechanism of how much the use of hand washing can actually reduce the transmission of potentially infectious material,” Nicholls said.

CNN’s Bex Wright contributed to this report.

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Coronavirus may “never go away,” WHO official says

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WHO health emergencies program director Michael Ryan speaks during a coronavirus news briefing in Geneva on March 11. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus may never go away and may just join the mix of viruses that kill people around the world every year, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization health emergencies program, said Wednesday.

“This virus just may become another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away. HIV hasn’t gone away,” Ryan said.

“I’m not comparing the two diseases but I think it is important that we’re realistic. I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear,” Ryan added.

With a vaccine, “we may have a shot at eliminating this virus but that vaccine will have to be available, it will have to be highly effective, it will have to be made available to everyone and we’ll have to use it,” Ryan said. “This disease may settle into a long-term problem or it may not be.”

Yet the future of coronavirus does not have to be all doom and gloom, according to WHO infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove.

“The trajectory of this outbreak is in our hands,” Van Kerkhove said during Wednesday’s briefing.

“The global community has come together to work in solidarity,” Van Kerkhove said. “We have seen countries bring this virus under control. We have seen countries use public health measures.”

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus echoed Van Kerkhove’s sentiments on Wednesday and added, “We should all contribute to stop this pandemic.”

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Biologist: Avoid these places to protect against Covid-19 – CNN Video

Biologist: Avoid these places to protect against Covid-19 - CNN Video

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Biology Professor Erin Bromage tells CNN’s John Berman which environments have an increased risk of spreading coronavirus.

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'Coronavirus slayer' puts Indian state in lead of Covid-19 fight

'Coronavirus slayer' puts Indian state in lead of Covid-19 fight

'Coronavirus slayer' puts Indian state in lead of Covid-19 fight

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Europe promises to reopen for summer tourism in wake of coronavirus

Europe promises to reopen for summer tourism in wake of coronavirus

(CNN) — The world’s biggest tourist playground has been roped off since it became a coronavirus epicenter, but as summer looms Europe is desperate to lift restrictions to get visitors pumping much needed cash into stricken economies.

Across the continent, various nations currently sitting behind the firewall of quarantines or sealed frontiers, are figuring out how they can once again welcome holidaymakers.

On Wednesday the European Union unveiled an action plan to get its internal borders reopening, safely fire up its hospitality sector and to revive rail, road, air and sea connections that have been strangled during the pandemic.

It’s a situation eagerly anticipated by millions of would-be travelers, desperate to enjoy a slice of European sunshine and culture after weeks or months being sequestered at home under lockdown.

“We all need a break, especially after this confinement,” Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, said. “We want to enjoy summer holidays, we would like to see our families and friends even if they live in another region, in another country.

“But we want to be able to so while staying healthy and safe because we know the virus will stay for us for some time.”

The EU currently has recommendations in place to all its member nations that they restrict all non-essential visitors from outside. But with infection rates dropping off in some countries, this looks set to change.

Some countries, such as Greece, are already naming specific dates. Others, such as Austria and Germany, are already lifting internal borders.

There’s even talk of permitting special “green corridors” or “travel bubbles” that would allow certain countries with low or sharply declining infection rates to open up to a select few destinations until borders are fully reopened.

Those moves have been backed in the EU plan which proposes lifting restrictions between member states of “sufficiently similar epidemiological situations,” in other words, the same rate of coronavirus infection.

Non-EU visitors could still face an indeterminate wait though.

The EU’s plan also sets out a roadmap for developing health and safety protocols for beaches, hotels, campsites, B&Bs, cafes and restaurants to protect guests and employees.

It also aims to strengthen rules giving travelers the right to choose between vouchers or cash reimbursement for canceled transport tickets or package trips.

EU member states have also agreed to protocols to ensure tracing apps work across borders so that citizens can be warned of a potential infection with coronavirus while traveling within the bloc.

“This is not going to be a normal summer, not for any of us,” said Margrethe Vestager, the vice-president of the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission.”But when we all work together and we all do our part in the ways the Commission is setting out today, then we don’t have to face a summer stuck at home or a completely lost summer for the European tourism industry.”

While these new measures will help impose some order on a somewhat chaotic travel situation across the continent, it remains a fluid situation.

For the time being, if you’re planning to travel to or within Europe in coming months, here’s what you need to know:


France is the world’s most visited country, but the coronvirus crisis has cripped tourism here.


Travelers with France at the top of their list of places to visit once the coronavirus crisis is abating should prepare themselves for a long wait.

Much like the rest of the EU, its borders have been shut to non-EU visitors for the last two months — with the EU recently recommending an extension to the ban until June 15, 2020.

From now until at least July 24, anyone who enters the country, with the exception of EU citizens or arrivals from the UK, will be subject to a compulsory 14-day coronavirus quarantine.

While its lockdown is slowly being lifted, with schools, restaurants and cafes in the country to reopen in the coming weeks, France’s interior minister, Christophe Castaner, has made it clear the country will not be adapting its border restrictions for the foreseeable future.

However, hotels may be given permission to resume business in the coming weeks.

French hotel chain Accor has closed nearly two-thirds of its hotels, while those that remain open are being used to support healthcare and frontline workers, as well as “vulnerable populations.”

“One piece of good news is the initial recovery of the Chinese hotel market, with mild improvements in occupancy and food & beverage activity: an encouraging tell-tale sign,” a spokesperson for Accor tells CNN.

While waiting for the green light from the government, workers have been “setting stringent safety standards and cleaning protocols,” in preparation for reopening.

Although they aren’t expecting many, if any, international visitors in the coming months, much of Accor’s revenue is from domestic travel, which seems likely to increase considerably if border restrictions stay in place while restrictions are relaxed.

“When the lockdown measures soften, French tourists are likely to want to stay close to home in the short term,” adds the spokesperson.

“It will be the moment for them to rediscover their own country and we will be there to welcome them.”


santorini pixabay-1

Greece hopes to wlelcome back visitors as early as June.

Russell Yan/Pixabay

Greece may end up becoming one of the first European destinations to open up to tourists again.

The Mediterranean nation has managed to keep its coronavirus death toll remarkably low, with only 150 Covid-19 deaths so far, by enforcing a strict lockdown early on.

However, any summer 2020 Greece vacations will be very different to those of past years for obvious reasons.

“The tourism experience this summer may be slightly different from what you’ve had in previous years,” Mitsotakis told CNN earlier this month.

“Maybe no bars may be open, or no tight crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece — provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path.”

Greece’s city hotels are scheduled to reopen on June 1 followed by seasonal hotels a month later.

At present, all international passengers must take a Covid-19 test upon arrival in Greece, but Mitsotakis suggests tourists will soon be required to undergo testing before their visit as a further precaution.

While the country may be priming itself to receive visitors again, getting there will prove to be a challenge for most.

At present, all non-EU citizens are banned from entering Greece until May 18, while the majority of low-cost carrier routes, which make up much of the country’s foreign air arrival, from neighboring countries are suspended.

However, Mitsotakis is banking on an influx of “more high-end tourists” to help re-energize the country’s tourism industry, which employs one in five Greeks.


Sanxenxo beach

New beach protocols in Spanih town Sanxenxo will involve allocating sunbathing spots on a “first come, first served” basis.

Courtesy Diario de Arousa

Spain’s lockdown proved to be one of the strictest in Europe — children were banned from leaving the house entirely at one stage.

But the popular destination, which welcomed a record 84 million visitors in 2019, is slowly easing restrictions, with beaches set to reopen in June and hotels in some parts of the country granted permission to resume business.

However, officials are understandably cautious about reopening the country, and it seems unlikely the current border restrictions, which ban non-essential travel to Spain for everyone other than Spanish citizens, residents and frontier workers, will change before the end of the summer season.

In addition, a 14-day quarantine has now been enforced for all travelers arriving in the country from May 15 to at least May 24, the date Spain’s state of emergency is due to end.
“We have to guarantee, when international tourism opens, that the person who comes to Spain is a safe person,” Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto recently told local newspaper El Pais.

“The issue of borders will be accompanied by the evolution of the health crisis,” he said.

“Therefore, I do not have the solution of when [they will be able to open]. On how you will be able to enjoy our beaches, we are defining different scenarios.”

One or two of these “scenarios” have already been announced, with a number of towns setting out new protocols to maintain social distancing measures on busy stretches of sand.

Canet d’en Berenguer, a Mediterranean town located just north of Valencia, will only allow 5,000 daily sunbathers on its local beach when it reopens, while Galicia’s Sanxenxo will allocate entry to its beach on a “first come, first served” basis.

Both are roping off small sections on the sands to ensure beachgoers can maintain a safe distance from each other, a move that may well indicate the future of beach visits.

Last week, a senior government official admitted the country’s tourism industry wouldn’t be able to get going again until all internal and external borders within the EU are reopened.

“A big part of our economy depends on the movements of international visitors and of Spaniards,” said the official.

“But we have to have a health system that can take care of anyone who’s in Spain. That’s the fundamental issue.”


A general view shows the Vatican's empty St Peter's Square and its main basilica on April 6, 2020,

Italy is slowly lifting restrictions after weeks in weeks in lockdown.


Italy has been one of the destinations worst hit by the pandemic, with a “very long” lockdown imposed back in March, but the Beautiful Country may not be off limits for much longer.

The Italian government has said it expects borders to be open to tourists by summertime, although a drop in numbers is predicted for obvious reasons.

At present, the country, along with the rest of the EU, currently has restrictions in place on all non-essential travel from outside the Schengen Zone (a grouping of 26 countries that normally have open borders) — apart from the UK.

In addition, nearby Austria and Switzerland have put heavy restrictions on traveling across the borders, while many airlines have canceled the majority of their flights to Italy, so reopening won’t be a straightforward process.

However, officials seem keen to get things moving.

“I have never spoken, nor ever thought, of closing the Italian borders to tourists for 2020,” Giorgio Palmucci, president of the Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT) told local reporters last month. “I am working on the exact opposite.”

All museums, including Rome’s Vatican Museums, are to slowly reopen throughout May. However, strict social-distancing rules will apply, with tickets bought in advance online.

The island of Sicily has already announced a scheme to entice travelers back, with subsidized holidays for both domestic and international visitors on offer.


Tourists stand near the Brandenburg Gate on March 13, 2020 in Berlin, Germany

Officials in Germany are in no rush to reopen its borders.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Germany has managed to contain its coronavirus fatality numbers somewhat due to substantial testing and contact tracing, but it seems officials are hesitant to let tourists back in just yet.

The fact that virus infections began rising in the country this week, just days after lockdown restrictions were eased, will have done little to ease concerns regarding reopening borders, although it was announced Wednesday that its frontier with neighboring Austria was being unlocked as of May 15.

A spokesman for the Austrian Tourism Ministry says the chancellors of the two countries agreed to open the border in a first step for day trippers and commuters. A second step would see a normalized reopening as of June 15.

Germany remains closed to non-EU visitors, while many of its border crossings to neighboring states such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland are either closed or guarded.

Hotels are currently prohibited from accommodating tourists, and the majority of flights to and from Germany remain grounded.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has previously expressed concerns about reopening destinations too swiftly, stressing that European countries should come together to decide the best course of action.

“A European race to see who will allow tourism travel first will lead to unacceptable risks,” he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

United Kingdom

Tourists stand near the Brandenburg Gate on March 13, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.

Visitors to the UK are required to go into quarantine for 14 days.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images

The UK government’s decision to introduce a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals just as it begun to ease restrictions for residents has dashed any lingering hopes of reviving international tourism here in the coming weeks.

It’s thought the move, introduced for an indeterminate amount of time, will dissuade airlines from restarting flight operations quickly and officials have warned Brits that their prospects of a summer foreign escape are slim.

Asked in a BBC television interview whether UK citizens should book flights in July, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said: “I’m saying, right now you can’t travel abroad. If you are booking it you are clearly by very nature taking a chance of where the direction of this virus goes and therefore where the travel advice is in the future.”

Under current plans, hotels are likely begin to open in early July, but as EU border restrictions are still in place, it’s expected the UK will focus on domestic travel before any further decisions are made.

“With nearly 40 million inbound visitors per year, International visitors play a hugely important part of the UK visitor economy and we look forward to welcoming visitors back when it is safe to do so,” Nigel Huddleston, UK tourism minister, said during a speech at the Extraordinary G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting on Covid-19.

Sadly, there’s absolutely no indication of when that’s likely to happen.


Portugal wild Algarve west beach

Portugal received 24 million tourists in 2019.

Regiao de Turismo do Algarve

Portugal has also begun to ease its lockdown restrictions, allowing hair salons, dry cleaners and repair shops to reopen.

While it seems doubtful international visitors will be able to return before 2021, the destination has already put measures in place to alleviate the effects.

Rita Marques, the country’s Secretary of State for Tourism, recently launched a “don’t cancel, postpone” scheme, which allows tourists to reschedule any pre-arranged holidays to Portugal until the close of 2021.

This applies to all bookings made through accredited travel agencies, as well as hotels or Airbnbs, for trips scheduled between March 13 and September 30, 2020.

Meanwhile, national tourism authority Turismo de Portugal has devised a free hygiene-certification stamp to distinguish “Clean & Safe” tourism enterprises in order to gain visitors’ confidence.

Businesses will need to comply with hygiene and cleaning requirements for the prevention and control of Covid-19, in order to receive the stamp, which is valid for one year.

The aim here is to boost the sector’s recovery by reassuring visitors that all efforts are being made to ensure they’re protected.

Raul Martins, President of the Association of Portuguese Hotels (AHP,) says he expects most hotels in the country to reopen in July.

But like most other European countries, Portugal will have to rely on business from domestic travelers while border restrictions remain in tact.

Eliderico Viegas, head of the Association of Algarve Hotels and Tourism Enterprises, recently told Bloomberg he’s not expecting any international tourists in Portugal’s Algarve region until next year.


A general view shows the Vatican's empty St Peter's Square and its main basilica on April 6, 202

Croatia suffered from overtourism previously, now the destination is keen to get travelers back.


But like many European destinations, Croatia is reliant on tourism, accounting for 20% of its GDP, and officials have suggested its borders may be opened to foreign tourists later this year.

However, the current limitations on foreign nationals are likely to remain in place until June 15.

Any non-nationals who are permitted entry may be ordered to self-isolate or spend 14 days in official government quarantine facilities “at the expense of the traveler.”

But officials are hoping to work around this by introducing a special “green corridor” between itself and the Czech Republic, another destination with a low number of coronavirus cases as early as this summer.

This would effectively mean any Czech tourists who can provide documentation to prove they’re not infected with the virus would be permitted to travel into Croatia.

“We have already discussed with the Czech Republic that they prepare their proposals and we will prepare ours,” Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said during an interview aired on the state-run HRT radio.


A picture taken on from Mont-Pelerin, western Switzerland, on November 20, 2016 shows the cities of Vevey (below) and Montreux (background) on Lake Geneva. / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI        (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture taken on from Mont-Pelerin, western Switzerland, on November 20, 2016 shows the cities of Vevey (below) and Montreux (background) on Lake Geneva. / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

By mid-May, the Swiss border crossings with Italy, France, Germany and Austria, will all have reopened, less than two months after they were shut by the Federal Council due to the pandemic.

But that doesn’t mean things have returned to normal when it come to traveling within the country.

Only Swiss citizens and permanent residents, as well as those who have to travel to Switzerland for professional reasons, are currently permitted to enter the country.

Plans to resume domestic tourism industry are moving ahead, with museums, bars and restaurants due to be reopened this week, followed by hotels towards the end of May.

Eastern Europe


The Czech Republic was one of the first European countries to close its borders back in March.

Pixabay/Creative Commons

Croatia isn’t the only country the Czech Republic is likely to share a “green corridor” with.

Proposals for a similar arrangement with Slovakia, one of the first European countries to ban international passenger travel, are apparently in the works.

Both countries have closed their borders to non-citizens and residents, along with Ukraine, Hungary and Poland, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine required for anyone coming from abroad.

While there’s been no clear indication from the governments of the aforementioned countries on when borders will be reopened, wearing a face mask in public spaces is now compulsory in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

As the likes of Czech Republic and Slovakia have expressed interest in solely opening up international tourism to less affected destinations, it’s fair to assume officials will be in no rush to welcome travelers from those destinations heavily affected, such as the UK and the US, as well as Spain and Italy.

Scandinavia and the Nordic region

Two ducks stand next to a couple as they enjoy the warm weather at the Kungstradgarden in Stockholm on May 8, 2020, amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

Sweden’s government opted not to issue a lockdown


As one of the only countries in Europe not to issue a lockdown, Sweden has few restrictions to lift.

However, its borders are still shut to countries outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, and these measures are set to remain in place for now.

Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin has admitted the country’s tourism sector has been hit “incredibly hard” by the absence of travelers.

Lovin said it was wrong to suggest the more relaxed approach meant it was business as usual in Sweden.

“The biggest myth and misconception is that life goes on as normal in Sweden,” she recently told multi-regional publication The Local. “It absolutely does not.”

“A lot of small businesses are on their knees because production is down or has decreased a lot.

“It is not business as usual in Sweden but the opposite, things are very, very tough.”

Nearby Austria is planning a gradual return to normality, with hotels reopening from May 29.

The Geniesserhotel “Die Forelle” in Carinthia, is one of several establishments gearing up to welcome domestic travelers months after being forced to close their doors.

“We would like to offer our guests a wonderfully relaxed stay and of course we make sure that all hygiene regulations are observed,” says Hannes Muller, who runs the hotel.

Meanwhile Denmark plans to lift its remaining lockdown restrictions by the second week of June.

The country’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen has previously spoken of the possibility of reopening borders warning this could move things into “a negative direction.”

“It may help to move the infection in a negative direction. Of course, the borders must also be seen in the context of what is happening in the countries around us.” Frederiksen went on to suggest Denmark would not reopen borders until “at least.”

Iceland brought temporary internal border controls last month, banning all foreign nationals, except EU/EEA, EFTA or UK nationals, while everyone arriving from outside the country has been required to complete a 14-day quarantine since April 24.

The Nordic country is now preparing to reopen in a bid to undo some of the damage caused by the closure.

However, this may take a while to implement according to Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson.

“In order to be able to open the door to some travel, all sorts of precautions must be taken, which we, as well as everyone else, are looking into.”

Baltic states

Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuania is set to join a “travel bubble” with fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia.


The borders for Baltic countries Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have been largely closed to foreign travelers due to the pandemic.

But as of May 15, each will lift restrictions for each other’s citizens, creating the European Union’s first official “green corridors” or “travel bubble.”

The new protocol, which is due to come into effect on May 15, was agreed after the states decided all three “had successfully managed the spread of Covid-19 and trust each other’s health care systems,” according to the Lithuanian government.

However, anyone traveling the countries from outside the “bubble” will be required to go into quarantine for two weeks.

“It’s a big step towards life as normal,” Jüri Ratas, prime minister of Estonia, tweeted earlier this month.

CNN’s James Frater, Max Ramsey, Al Goodman, Mick Krever and Elinda Labropoulou contributed to this report.

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Germany finds a unique way back to nightlife – CNN Video

Germany finds a unique way back to nightlife - CNN Video

Germany’s cultural institutions are making a comeback, but the way people visit museums and enjoy nightlife has been changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Business owners have adopted strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines in a bid to fend off the virus. CNN’s Fred Pleitgen reports.

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2020 is a catastrophe for tourism businesses. Here’s what the industry needs to get back on its feet

2020 is a catastrophe for tourism businesses. Here's what the industry needs to get back on its feet

Located a short distance from the Greek capital’s commercial center, Pi Athens ordinarily welcomes droves of American and Australian tourists this time of year.

“The concern this summer is that those who will come — if and when they do — will skip the big cities and head directly to a beach location,” Gavriel told CNN Business. “The hotel is a rented property and there are many bills to pay. I have invested in it heavily. We are hoping for some revenue in the summer but we don’t know if this is going to happen.”

Gavriel’s story is playing out across the globe, as government restrictions designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic keep billions of people at home, bringing international travel and tourism to a standstill. The shutdown is affecting everything from small businesses like Gavriel’s to massive companies, such as Marriott International (MAR) and Carnival Corporation (CCL). TUI, the world’s biggest tour operator, said Wednesday that it could shed up to 8,000 jobs.

Travel and tourism accounts for some 10% of global GDP and one in 10 jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, an industry group. As many as a third of these jobs, or more than 100 million positions, and some $2.7 trillion in GDP could be at risk as a result of the current crisis, the council said last month.

Countries that rely most heavily on tourist dollars will be hardest hit. A 25% decline in tourism income will knock on average 7% off GDP among “small island developing states,” a contraction that could go as deep as 16% in places such as the Maldives and Seychelles, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

The situation is also dire in Europe, which boasts half the world’s international tourist arrivals. The European Parliament estimates that the bloc’s tourism industry is losing around €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in revenue per month, a devastating blow to the 27 million EU workers whose jobs are connected to the sector.

“The crisis in the tourism sector is deeper than we could imagine two months ago,” said Isabel Oliver, Spain’s secretary of state for tourism. “The sector was one of the first to suffer the consequences of the crisis and will be one of the last to recover,” she added.

While hotel owners such as Gavriel desperately need international visitors, reopening borders risks a surge in new coronavirus infections even if it could mean economic relief. Greece hopes to start welcoming tourists by July 1, but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis admits that “it’s a very tough trade off.”

“Nobody knows exactly how to do this,” he told CNN in an interview earlier this month.

Kickstarting tourism, while crucial for the global economy, will be especially complex. Reopening businesses and restarting factories is proving hard enough, but the return of travel will require an easing of border controls, international cooperation and, most crucially, travelers themselves.
Kuredu island, Maldives.
“The critical issue is to build confidence between countries that it is safe to reopen borders without risk of reinfection and to build confidence in the general public that it is safe to fly,” John Holland-Kaye, CEO of London’s Heathrow, the busiest airport in Europe, said last month.

Airports hold the key

But airlines are already downsizing, trimming fleets and slashing thousands of jobs, in expectation that people will fly less. British Airways parent IAG (ICAGY) said last week that it does not expect passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels before 2023. Princess Cruises, a division of Carnival Corporation, has canceled virtually all its summer sailings, citing limited flight availability and the closure of many popular cruise ports. And rival cruise line Norwegian has had to raise more than $2 billion in the capital markets to stay afloat.
Airports and hotels are trying to lure travelers back with health checks and enhanced cleaning protocols, all of which will add layers of cost at a time when the sector’s finances are in tatters because of the collapse in travel.

But such measures are necessary to restore confidence before a Covid-19 vaccine is widely available, said World Travel and Tourism Council CEO Gloria Guevara. “The most critical piece is the airports,” she told CNN Business.

The Dubai Health Authority carries out coronavirus screening on passengers heading to Tunisia on a repatriation flight.

The World Travel and Tourism Council is working with governments and travel organizations to agree on standardized health checks and cleaning protocols. It expects to issue guidelines for the hospitality industry this week with guidance for airports to follow.

Ryanair (RYAAY), which carries millions of tourists around Europe each year, on Tuesday announced new health measures to be implemented on board aircraft as part of plans to restore 40% of flights starting on July 1. The measures illustrate the daunting task facing airlines as they seek to resume flying.

“A quick and effective restart of travel will only happen if governments around the world agree to a common set of health protocols developed by the private sector,” Guevara said in a statement.

Even if that does happen, international tourist arrivals are predicted to be virtually nonexistent this year.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimates a decline of as much as 80% from 2019, depending on how long travel restrictions remain in place. That compares with a 0.4% decline during the SARS epidemic in 2003 and a 4% drop in 2009 following the global financial crisis.

“This is by far the worst crisis that international tourism has faced since records began [in 1950],” the UN body said in a statement last week. “The impact will be felt to varying degrees in the different global regions and at overlapping times, with Asia and the Pacific expected to rebound first.”

Domestic travel offers glimmer of hope

There are some early signs that domestic travel is gradually picking up again in certain countries, although it’s too soon to call a recovery.

China began to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions in March, after the country’s near complete shutdown in late January. More than 30% of domestic airline capacity has returned since March 1, according to aviation analytics company, Cirium.

“Green shoots in the Chinese domestic market … is a positive sign for short-haul travel recovery,” the company said in a research note. “It’s clear that, as some travel restrictions ease, it will be the domestic market which will start to return first.”

But flight cancellations remain elevated and the recovery has plateaued, suggesting consumer confidence has not yet been fully restored, Cirium added.

Marriott said Monday that occupancy at its hotels in Greater China reached 25% in April, up from less than 10% in mid February. Meituan Dianping, an app that allows consumers to shop, order food and book trips, recorded increased spending on local tourist attractions, and a pickup in hotel and bed and breakfast bookings last month.

Chinese tourists wear protective masks as they line up to enter the Forbidden City.
However, some tourist attractions in China were forced to shut shortly after reopening due to an influx of visitors. The country is now renewing restrictions in some areas after new cases of the virus were reported in two cities, including the pandemic’s epicenter Wuhan.
Elsewhere, Airbnb has observed a surge in domestic bookings in Denmark and the Netherlands, CEO Brian Chesky told the Financial Times recently. “People will want options that are closer to home, safer, and more affordable,” Chesky said in a letter to staff posted to the company’s website.
But that doesn’t mean a full recovery will be achieved anytime soon, and China’s experience could cause other countries to reopen with even greater caution. In the same letter, Chesky announced a 25% cut to the company’s workforce and said revenue in 2020 is expected to be less than half what it took in last year.

With “staycations” expected to spearhead the sector’s eventual revival, countries that rely more heavily on domestic and regional visitors will fare better.

80 million Chinese may already be out of work. 9 million more will soon be competing for jobs, too

At the top of this list are the United States, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, India, the Philippines, Germany and the United Kingdom, where domestic tourism accounts for more than 80% of total travel and tourism spending, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Asia Pacific has the largest regional travel market, which bodes well for some islands, such as the Maldives and Fiji, assuming tourists choose destinations that are closer to home. Countries such as Thailand and Cambodia, which both derive more than 20% of their GDP from travel and tourism, could also benefit. Visitors from Asia accounted for nearly 70% of all tourist arrivals in Thailand in 2018, according to Bangkok Bank.

Chinese tourists spend most on world travel, accounting for one fifth of international tourism spending in 2018, or $277 billion, according to the World Tourism Organization. Tourists from the United States follow at $144 billion.

With journeys to international destinations expected to recover last, small business owners like Gavriel, whose patrons travel long distances to come to Greece, face an uncertain future.

— Elinda Labropoulou, Laura Perez Maestro and Sherisse Pham contributed reporting.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Indian police break up citizenship protests as lockdown enforced


Police in New Delhi broke up the longest-running protest against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s citizenship law on Tuesday, citing a ban on public gatherings because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Dozens of people, many of them women, had been staging a sit-in protest since early December on a street in the Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood, which has become a focal point for opposition to the law seen as discriminating against Muslims.

Ahead of the government’s nationwide lockdown announced on Tuesday by Modi, Delhi had already been under lockdown until the end of the month to halt the spread of the virus and public gatherings of more than five people had been banned.

Elsewhere, police enforced lockdowns across large parts of the country on Tuesday, with curfews in some places.

India has so far reported 482 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nine deaths.

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Dozens of new coronavirus cases tracked to Beijing food market | DW News


China has reported the highest daily number of new coronavirus cases in two months, sparking fears that a new wave of infections could spread across China. Dozens of new cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours, representing an increase of more than 400% over previous days. China’s infection rate spiked in mid-February, and the country had flattened its curve significantly since then. Most of the new cases are linked to the Xinfadi meat and vegetable market in Beijing. Authorities have now placed 11 surrounding neighborhoods on lockdown.

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Italy's hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus as death toll soars


Italy overtook China to have the world’s highest coronavirus death toll, with more than 3,400 victims and over 41,000 infected. Hospitals in the hardest-hit parts of Northern Italy are approaching a breaking point as ICUs and Emergency Rooms are flooded with cases, straining resources and staff. Imtiaz Tyab reports on the extent of Italy’s battle with the disease.


Coronavirus: BJP leader Ram Kadam urges govt to lock down Mumbai, Pune


Following the death of a 64-year-old coronavirus patient in Mumbai, BJP’s Ram Kadam expressed his grief and advised the Maharashtra government to lockdown a few cities to contain coronavirus. Meanwhile, Maharashtra Health Minister held an urgent meeting on the deadly virus. Tope met leaders from corporate and health sector for precautionary measures. So far, India has reported over 120 cases of coronavirus. A total of 13 patients in the country have recovered successfully.


COVID-19 cases surge higher in Americas and African regions

COVID-19 cases surge higher in Americas and African regions

As the world neared 12 million COVID-19 cases, new infections are accelerating in at least two World Health Organization regions, with illnesses recently topping 6 million in the Americas and cases in Africa passing the 500,000 mark.

The global total today climbed to 11,910,220 cases, and 545,980 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

Americas cases surge, burden shows some shift

At a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) media briefing yesterday, director Carissa Etienne, MBBS, MSc, said cases increased 20% last week compared to the previous week, and about 100,000 cases a day are reported from the region. However, she noted that new patterns are emerging. Two months ago, the United States made up 75% of cases in the region, but this past week it reported under half of the cases, with cases in Latin America and the Caribbean area accounting for about 50% of cases.

Brazil alone accounts for 25% of the cases outside of the United States. Brazil yesterday reported more than 45,000 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University case list. Other Latin America countries such as Mexico, Peru, and Colombia also reported high daily totals yesterday.

Etienne said battling the COVID-19 threat requires strong coordination across the region, a deep understanding of epidemiological trends, clear guidance, and a steady supply of medical products. She said the region took early steps that kept cases low early, but now it faces persistent challenges.

Protecting healthcare workers with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is a top priority, she said, noting that it’s also important to prevent stigma so that people seek care as soon as they have symptoms, which enables earlier and better contact tracing. “This is our best hope for controlling the pandemic,” she said.

Leaders should allow evidence to guide their actions, with a focus on what works and uniting people around common goals, Etienne said.

Africa’s death numbers pass West Africa’s Ebola fatality total

In Africa, a growing number of countries are reporting sharp rises in cases, and in less than 5 months, the virus led to 11,959 deaths, which is more than the 11,308 reported in West Africa’s massive Ebola outbreak.

Cases in 22 countries have more than doubled over the last month. Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa make up about 71% of the continent’s cases, with South Africa as the hardest hit country, reporting 43% of all cases. Yesterday, it added more than 10,000 cases to its total, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard.

Matshidiso Moeti, MBBS, director of the WHO’s African regional office, said in a statement, “With more than a third of countries in Africa doubling their cases over the past month, the threat of COVID-19 overwhelming fragile health systems on the continent is escalating.” She added that so far, countries have avoided disaster scenarios, but they can slow the spread of the virus by shoring up key public health steps such as testing, tracing contacts, and isolating cases.

About 80% of all infections are in people younger than age 60, likely reflecting Africa’s younger population, Moeti said. However, the likelihood of death rises with age and underlying medical conditions.

Cases rise again in Central Asian countries

Health officials in Uzbekistan today announced they would impose another lockdown, to start on Jul 10 and last 3 weeks, following a surge in cases after initial measures were relaxed in May, Reuters reported. Kyrgyzstan also recently imposed a second lockdown.

In other global developments:

  • Serbia’s plans to reimpose a lockdown prompted protests in front of the parliament in Belgrade that drew thousands of people and injured police officers and protesters, Reuters
  • Romania today reported a record daily high of 555 cases, pushing its total past 30,000, though a state of alert is slated to end on July 15. The country’s main hot spots are the cities of Bucharest, Suceava, and Brasov.
  • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) today announced that it expanded its partnership with China-based Clover Pharmaceuticals to speed the development and manufacturing of its candidate protein-based S-trimer COVID-19 vaccine. In a statement, CEPI said the extra $66 million investment would support preclinical studies, phase 1 study, and preparing for an efficacy trial. Also, the deal would scale-up manufacturing capacity to produce hundreds of millions of doses per year. The initial agreement in April covered preparations for and the start of a phase 1 clinical trial that began enrolling participants on June 19.

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Coronavirus Chronicles: Tips on Social Distancing But Staying in Touch, Prevent Social Isolation

Coronavirus, Virus, Virus infection, Coronavirus symptoms, Ebola, H1N1, Zika virus, Parainfluenza, Viral fever, Corona disease, Airborne diseases, Viral diseases, H1n1 virus, Corona symptoms

It’s hard to escape news on the Coronavirus and get sucked in by the latest updates. We have gone into self-quarantine, canceled events, canceled travel, work from home, look suspiciously at anyone who sneezes or coughs. When I sneeze, I look up coronavirus symptoms on Google. Is it like Ebola, Zika virus, Parainfluenza, h1n1 virus?

It is a viral infection and an airborne disease that we need to take serious precautions. Social distancing is the number 1 thing we ALL need to do right now. But we also have to prevent social isolation. Many people are suffering from anxiety, depression, fear. And social isolation can exacerbate that feeling.

I share a few tips that might be helpful to you as we all navigate this new normal (for now). We need to come together as a community and not tear each other down and get all crazytown. Let’s take a deep breath, call a friend, relative or neighbor and find something fun to talk about that has nothing to do with COVID-19.

Come and be social with us!

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Hosted by Risa Morimoto


Pfizer Begins Human Trials Of Possible Coronavirus Vaccine | TODAY


Researchers at Pfizer say a new coronavirus vaccine trial now underway in the U.S. could lead to a vaccine for emergency use by as soon as September. The trial involves trying to alter the genetic code of the virus. NBC’s Tom Costello reports for TODAY from Washington, D.C.
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Pfizer Begins Human Trials Of Possible Coronavirus Vaccine | TODAY


With single-day case record, US COVID-19 total tops 3 million

With single-day case record, US COVID-19 total tops 3 million

Once again, the United States saw its highest daily total of COVID-19 cases yesterday, with 60,000 new cases recorded and more than 3 million total on the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker.

The previous record was more than 50,000 cases, which was set last week. The country now has 3,035,231 COVID-19 cases, including 132,041 deaths.

Three hard-hit states

This rise in cases began at the end of May, following the reopening of most states’ local economies. Florida, Texas, and Arizona continue to harbor some of the largest outbreaks.

In Texas yesterday, officials tallied more 10,000 new cases, a state record. Texas is the third state to report a single-day increase of more than 10,000 cases, after New York and Florida. As of yesterday, 9,200 Texans were hospitalized for the virus. Two counties, Hidalgo and Starr, have reported that hospitals are now at capacity.

In total, Texas has 210,585 cases of COVID-19, including 2,715 fatalities.

In Florida, 84% of the state’s intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied, as 1 in 100 residents are now infected with the novel virus. Out of the state’s 5,023 ICU beds, only 962 are still available.

To increase testing in the current hot spots, the federal government announced yesterday a 12-day testing campaign in n Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. Eight temporary testing sites will perform as many as 5,000 free tests a day, Bloomberg reported. Officials hope that an increase in testing in hot spots will give a clearer picture of who is getting sick, and how.

The federal testing sites will also combat testing shortages seen in hot spots. According to the New York Times, long lines and high case counts have led local officials to once again recommend that only symptomatic people seek testing.

Birx suggests return to phase 1 of reopening

Today Deborah Birx, MD, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said states experiencing a surge in cases should re-enter phase 1 of their coronavirus response.

Those recommendations are “asking the American people in those counties and in those states to not only use those face coverings, not going to bars, not going to indoor dining, but really not gathering in homes, either. And decreasing those gatherings back down to our phase 1 recommendation, which was 10 or less,” she said during coronavirus task force briefing today, according to CNN.

Also at the briefing, Vice President Mike Pence said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would issue new guidelines sometime next week on reopening schools in the fall. Yesterday and today, President Donald Trump called the CDC’s current guidelines too tough and expensive for most schools to meet.

“As the President made clear yesterday, it’s time. It’s time for us to get our kids back to school,” Pence said.

Trump threatens school aid over fall opening

The president took to Twitter this morning to voice his opinion on school reopening in the fall, a day after he spoke about the issue during a public roundtable meeting. Trump said he believed keeping schools closed was a political move for Democrats, and threatened to withdraw federal funding from public schools if they stay closed.

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!” Trump tweeted.

Yesterday Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told governors in a conference call that schools must be “fully operational” by the fall. 

“Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how. School must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders,” DeVos told the governors, according to a transcript obtained by the Associated Press.

The talk about school reopening occurs on the same day New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced 1.1 million kids enrolled in New York City public schools will most likely be returning to the classrooms for just 2 to 3 days per week in September as a way to ensure physical distancing recommendations.

In 48 states, schools closed in March and April as the nation first saw COVID-19 infections rise. Most governors have set the end of July as a deadline for school districts to propose plans on how, if, and when to reopen elementary and high schools.

Many colleges and universities have already revealed their reopening plans, and now Harvard University and MIT, schools that have said most instruction will remain online in the fall, have announced they are suing the Trump administration over new orders that would force international students to leave American campuses if classes are not held in person.

The new rule falls under the jurisdiction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and would affect thousands of foreign students across the country.

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Coronavirus on June 23, Covid-19 cases in India stand at 4,40,215


India Tuesday reported 14,933 new cases of the novel coronavirus. This takes the country’s Covid-19 tally to 4,40,215, including 1,78,014 active cases, 2,48,190 recoveries.

#Covid19India #CoronaUpdate #Covid19Update

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COVID-19 Scan for Jul 08, 2020

COVID-19 Scan for May 08, 2020

Korean nightclub-goers linked to 246-person COVID-19 outbreak

At least 246 COVID-19 cases have been tied to reopened nightclubs in Seoul, South Korea, after the Apr 30 to May 5 Golden Week holiday, with 61% among contacts of nightclub revelers, according to a research letter published yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Coronavirus cases in South Korea had plateaued in April, and nightclubs reopened on Apr 30. People from around the country visited the Itaewon neighborhood, known for its diversity and home to a US Army base and several embassies, in downtown Seoul over the holiday. On May 6, several COVID-19 cases were confirmed among nightclub visitors.

Researchers with the Seoul government and a university medical center conducted large-scale testing to find contacts of the young adult nightclub visitors using data from mobile devices, credit card payment history, GPS, drug use review, public transportation pass records, and closed-circuit cameras. They also offered anonymous testing after media outlets reported that the bars at the epicenter of the outbreak were gay nightclubs, and gay men in South Korea are often subject to stigma and discrimination.

Of 41,612 tests conducted by May 25, 35,827 (86.1%) were among nightclub visitors, 5,785 (13.9%) among their contacts, and 1,627 (3.9%) among anonymous people. Prevalence of positive tests in nightclub visitors was 0.19% (67 of 35,827), 0.88% (51/5,785) in their contacts, and 0.06% (1/1,627) in anonymous people.

Ninety-six of 246 cases (39%) were primary cases, while 150 (61%) were secondary cases. Among nightclub visitors, estimated attack rate was 1.74% (96/5,517). Of all confirmed cases, 118 positive cases (47.9%) lived in Seoul.

Infections related to the nightclubs continued to spread in the community, and nightclubs were temporarily closed on May 9 to limit transmission. In Seoul, coronavirus cases tied to the nightclubs were found in nine workplaces, including the US Army base and a hospital, and six multiuse facilities such as pubs, coin karaoke facilities, and a gym. Seven cases of household transmission were also found.

“Despite the low incidence of COVID-19 in the postpeak period of the pandemic, superspreading related to visiting nightclubs in Seoul has the potential to spark a resurgence of cases in South Korea,” the authors wrote.
Jul 7 Emerg Infect Dis research letter

Deferred state-level COVID-19 public health measures tied to lives lost

An observational study published today in Clinical Infectious Diseases found that each day’s delay in ordering statewide public health measures such as emergency declarations ordering physical distancing and school closures in the United States was associated with a 5% to 6% hike in the risk of COVID-19 death.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia obtained state-level data of 55,146 people who died of the novel coronavirus from Jan 21 to Apr 29 from the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Resource Center and analyzed their association with timing of emergency declarations and school closures.

Thirty-seven of 50 states had reported at least 10 deaths and 28 follow-up days by the time of analysis on Apr 29. Delays in emergency declaration (adjusted mortality rate ratio [aMRR], 1.05 per day’s delay; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 1.09; P = 0.040) and school closures (aMRR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.09; P = 0.008) were associated with more deaths by day 28 of the state’s epidemic.

When the researchers considered day 1 to be the date a state recorded its first COVID-19 death, waiting to declare an emergency (aMRR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.09; P = 0.020) or close schools (aMRR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.09; P < 0.001) was also associated with higher death rates. When New Jersey and New York were excluded, results were unchanged.

This translates to a 5% higher death rate for every day emergency declarations were delayed and a 6% higher death rate per each day’s delay in closing schools.

The authors noted that states that delayed emergency declarations and school closures were more populous, including the early hot spots of California, New York, and Washington. “To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of an association between statewide social distancing orders and mortality during COVID-19,” they wrote. “Our results support early social distancing as a nonpharmaceutical intervention for reducing mortality.”
Jul 8 Clin Infect Dis study


Study details neurologic complications in COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 patients may be at an increased risk for delirium, brain inflammation, stroke, and nerve damage, according to a study published today in Brain. Though the study included only 29 COVID-19 patients, the findings suggest neurologic conditions may be the only presenting symptoms in some infected people.

Of 43 patients with neurologic symptoms studied at the University College London, 29 tested positive for COVID-19, 8 with probable infections and 6 with possible infections. Ten of the 43 patients presented with delirium or psychosis, and 12 had inflammatory central nervous system (CNS) syndromes. Eight patients had strokes, and eight others had nerve damage, mostly caused by Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Of the 12 patients with inflammatory CNS syndromes, 9 had acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a rare and sometimes fatal condition. The patients ranged in age from 16 to 85 years.

“We should be vigilant and look out for these complications in people who have had Covid-19. Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic— perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic—remains to be seen,” said senior author Michael Zandi, PhD, in a university press release.
Jul 8 Brain study
Jul 8 University College London press release

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