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U.K. Declares Coronavirus ‘Imminent Threat’ as Europe Scrambles U.K. Declares Coronavirus ‘Imminent Threat’ as Europe Scrambles
(12 days later)
LONDON — Britain’s health department declared the new coronavirus an “imminent threat” to public health and announced a series of measures to combat the spread of the virus, a sign of the seriousness with which local health authorities are treating the fears of the epidemic.LONDON — Britain’s health department declared the new coronavirus an “imminent threat” to public health and announced a series of measures to combat the spread of the virus, a sign of the seriousness with which local health authorities are treating the fears of the epidemic.
The newly introduced measures — which apply only in England — are among the first in Europe to allow the health authorities to keep individuals in quarantine if public health professionals believe they may be at risk of spreading the virus.The newly introduced measures — which apply only in England — are among the first in Europe to allow the health authorities to keep individuals in quarantine if public health professionals believe they may be at risk of spreading the virus.
Four more people in Britain linked to a cluster of transmissions at a ski resort in France tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to eight, the health department announced Monday.Four more people in Britain linked to a cluster of transmissions at a ski resort in France tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to eight, the health department announced Monday.
The coronavirus has sickened more than 40,500 people, mostly in China, and at least 910 people have died since the virus first emerged in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in the central part of the country late last year. Since that time, the virus has also spread to at least 24 countries, triggering fears of a global pandemic.The coronavirus has sickened more than 40,500 people, mostly in China, and at least 910 people have died since the virus first emerged in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in the central part of the country late last year. Since that time, the virus has also spread to at least 24 countries, triggering fears of a global pandemic.
[Read: China says 1,700 health workers have contracted coronavirus.][Read: China says 1,700 health workers have contracted coronavirus.]
The Department of Health and Social Care emphasized that the risk of contracting the coronavirus in Britain remained “moderate,” even as the government empowered the health authorities to forcibly quarantine people. It also designated a hospital, near Liverpool, and a conference center, northwest of London, as isolation facilities for those placed under quarantine.The Department of Health and Social Care emphasized that the risk of contracting the coronavirus in Britain remained “moderate,” even as the government empowered the health authorities to forcibly quarantine people. It also designated a hospital, near Liverpool, and a conference center, northwest of London, as isolation facilities for those placed under quarantine.
“I will do everything in my power to keep people in this country safe,” Matt Hancock, Britain’s health secretary, said in a statement. “We are taking every possible step to control the outbreak of coronavirus.”“I will do everything in my power to keep people in this country safe,” Matt Hancock, Britain’s health secretary, said in a statement. “We are taking every possible step to control the outbreak of coronavirus.”
He added that it meant health care providers would be “supported with additional legal powers to keep people safe across the country,” noting transmission of the coronavirus would “constitute a serious threat.”He added that it meant health care providers would be “supported with additional legal powers to keep people safe across the country,” noting transmission of the coronavirus would “constitute a serious threat.”
The new measures were announced a day after a repatriation flight from Hubei Province — Wuhan is the largest city in the area — carrying about 200 citizens from Britain and elsewhere landed at an air force base in central England. British passengers were taken to the Kents Hill Park conference center, about 50 miles northwest of London, for 14 days of quarantine.The new measures were announced a day after a repatriation flight from Hubei Province — Wuhan is the largest city in the area — carrying about 200 citizens from Britain and elsewhere landed at an air force base in central England. British passengers were taken to the Kents Hill Park conference center, about 50 miles northwest of London, for 14 days of quarantine.
Twenty Germans who were on board the evacuation flight were brought to a Red Cross hospital in Berlin. Like 126 Germans who were picked up from Wuhan earlier this month, those who arrived at the weekend agreed to a quarantine time of two weeks. There are 14 known cases of the virus across Germany.Twenty Germans who were on board the evacuation flight were brought to a Red Cross hospital in Berlin. Like 126 Germans who were picked up from Wuhan earlier this month, those who arrived at the weekend agreed to a quarantine time of two weeks. There are 14 known cases of the virus across Germany.
[Read: U.K. businessman linked to coronavirus cluster comes forward.][Read: U.K. businessman linked to coronavirus cluster comes forward.]
By Monday morning, eight people in England had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from Professor Chris Whitty, the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer for England, doubling from a day earlier the known cases in the country.By Monday morning, eight people in England had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from Professor Chris Whitty, the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer for England, doubling from a day earlier the known cases in the country.
“The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed U.K. case, and the virus was passed on in France,” Professor Whitty said in a statement. “Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the U.K. cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.”“The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed U.K. case, and the virus was passed on in France,” Professor Whitty said in a statement. “Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the U.K. cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.”
The new cases in Britain are linked to cases in France, according to the French health authorities which all trace back to a group of British citizens staying in a chalet in the Alpine village of Les Contamines-Montjoie, near Switzerland, late last month.The new cases in Britain are linked to cases in France, according to the French health authorities which all trace back to a group of British citizens staying in a chalet in the Alpine village of Les Contamines-Montjoie, near Switzerland, late last month.
A British man at the center of the transmissions is believed to have contracted the coronavirus while attending a conference in Singapore, before flying to Geneva on Jan. 24, and from there the village, where he shared lodgings with a group of fellow Britons.A British man at the center of the transmissions is believed to have contracted the coronavirus while attending a conference in Singapore, before flying to Geneva on Jan. 24, and from there the village, where he shared lodgings with a group of fellow Britons.
The man then returned to Britain on Jan. 28 on an easyJet flight, the budget airline confirmed in an emailed statement. He is among the eight people in Britain who have tested positive for the virus.The man then returned to Britain on Jan. 28 on an easyJet flight, the budget airline confirmed in an emailed statement. He is among the eight people in Britain who have tested positive for the virus.
EasyJet said in an emailed statement that it had been notified by the public health authorities that a customer who had recently traveled on flight EZS8481 from Geneva to London Gatwick on Jan. 28 had since received a coronavirus diagnosis.EasyJet said in an emailed statement that it had been notified by the public health authorities that a customer who had recently traveled on flight EZS8481 from Geneva to London Gatwick on Jan. 28 had since received a coronavirus diagnosis.
“Public Health England is contacting all passengers who were seated in the vicinity of the customer,” the company said in a statement, but noted that since the man had not been experiencing any symptoms, the risk to others on board the flight was “very low.”“Public Health England is contacting all passengers who were seated in the vicinity of the customer,” the company said in a statement, but noted that since the man had not been experiencing any symptoms, the risk to others on board the flight was “very low.”
At least one of the people who tested positive for the virus was confirmed to be from Brighton, a seaside town on England’s south coast, and the BBC reported on Monday that the County Oak medical center there had to shut its doors after a member of staff tested positive for the virus.At least one of the people who tested positive for the virus was confirmed to be from Brighton, a seaside town on England’s south coast, and the BBC reported on Monday that the County Oak medical center there had to shut its doors after a member of staff tested positive for the virus.
A message on the center’s answering machine indicated it had been closed for an “urgent operational health and safety reason.”A message on the center’s answering machine indicated it had been closed for an “urgent operational health and safety reason.”
Public Health England confirmed that two of the cases of coronavirus in Britain were health care workers. Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England’s medical director, said in a statement that all of the new cases announced on Monday were “closely linked to one another.”Public Health England confirmed that two of the cases of coronavirus in Britain were health care workers. Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England’s medical director, said in a statement that all of the new cases announced on Monday were “closely linked to one another.”
“Our priority has been to speak to those who have close and sustained contact with confirmed cases, so we can advise them on what they can do to limit the spread of the virus,” she said. “We are now working urgently to identify all patients and other health care workers who may have come into close contact, and at this stage we believe this to be a relatively small number.”“Our priority has been to speak to those who have close and sustained contact with confirmed cases, so we can advise them on what they can do to limit the spread of the virus,” she said. “We are now working urgently to identify all patients and other health care workers who may have come into close contact, and at this stage we believe this to be a relatively small number.”
Updated June 30, 2020 Updated July 7, 2020
The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests. This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain super-spreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants. It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared with larger droplets that are expelled when a sick person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. Aerosols are released even when a person without symptoms exhales, talks or sings, according to Dr. Marr and more than 200 other experts, who have outlined the evidence in an open letter to the World Health Organization.
Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.
Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.
A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.
The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.
The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.
So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.
Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.
A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.
The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.
If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)
If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
A pub near Brighton in Hove, The Grenadier, said in a statement on its Facebook page that a person confirmed to have the virus had visited the establishment, but that Public Health England had determined there was minimal risk, and it was following official advice to remain open.A pub near Brighton in Hove, The Grenadier, said in a statement on its Facebook page that a person confirmed to have the virus had visited the establishment, but that Public Health England had determined there was minimal risk, and it was following official advice to remain open.
At least five other Britons who stayed in the chalet and are still in France have tested positive for the coronavirus, said Agnès Buzyn, France’s health minister. They are among at least 11 people in France who have tested positive for the disease.At least five other Britons who stayed in the chalet and are still in France have tested positive for the coronavirus, said Agnès Buzyn, France’s health minister. They are among at least 11 people in France who have tested positive for the disease.
A 9-year-old boy was among the British people who contracted the virus in the ski village. According to a spokeswoman for the region, the child is a permanent resident of the village, where he lives with his father, who also contracted the virus, and two siblings. His mother is currently in Britain.A 9-year-old boy was among the British people who contracted the virus in the ski village. According to a spokeswoman for the region, the child is a permanent resident of the village, where he lives with his father, who also contracted the virus, and two siblings. His mother is currently in Britain.
He attended a local school in Les Contamines-Montjoie and took French lessons in two nearby schools in Saint-Gervais and Thonon-Les-Bains. As a precaution, the three schools have all been closed for the week and fellow students are being tested.He attended a local school in Les Contamines-Montjoie and took French lessons in two nearby schools in Saint-Gervais and Thonon-Les-Bains. As a precaution, the three schools have all been closed for the week and fellow students are being tested.
Six other British people staying in the chalet have all tested negative for the virus, according to the head of France’s national health agency, Jérome Salomon.Six other British people staying in the chalet have all tested negative for the virus, according to the head of France’s national health agency, Jérome Salomon.
The French health authorities said they were still in the process of determining exactly how many people were staying in the chalet and who may have come into contact with those carrying the coronavirus.The French health authorities said they were still in the process of determining exactly how many people were staying in the chalet and who may have come into contact with those carrying the coronavirus.
Ms. Buzyn, the health minister, visited the ski resort on Sunday.Ms. Buzyn, the health minister, visited the ski resort on Sunday.
“It is important to reassure the people of this village,” she said. “We have to tell them that there is no risk when you meet people on the street, it’s not the same as being in contact with an infected person.”“It is important to reassure the people of this village,” she said. “We have to tell them that there is no risk when you meet people on the street, it’s not the same as being in contact with an infected person.”
“It’s about close, sustained, face-to-face or physical contact,” she added.“It’s about close, sustained, face-to-face or physical contact,” she added.
A crisis unit has been opened in Les Contamines-Montjoie, where testing is underway to determine if there are further cases of the coronavirus.A crisis unit has been opened in Les Contamines-Montjoie, where testing is underway to determine if there are further cases of the coronavirus.
On Sunday night, Mr. Salomon, the head of the national health agency, announced that results from 21 samples had all tested negative and that 25 others were still being analyzed.On Sunday night, Mr. Salomon, the head of the national health agency, announced that results from 21 samples had all tested negative and that 25 others were still being analyzed.
“It’s already very good news,” he said.“It’s already very good news,” he said.
Etienne Jacquet, the mayor of Les Contamines-Montjoie, said in a phone interview that students who might have been in contact with the infected child underwent tests as a priority on Sunday. He said the precautionary measures made the village, in his opinion, the “most secure city in France” when it came to the coronavirus.Etienne Jacquet, the mayor of Les Contamines-Montjoie, said in a phone interview that students who might have been in contact with the infected child underwent tests as a priority on Sunday. He said the precautionary measures made the village, in his opinion, the “most secure city in France” when it came to the coronavirus.
“In Les Contamines-Montjoie life goes on normally,” Mr. Jacquet said. “For the moment there is absolutely no crisis.”“In Les Contamines-Montjoie life goes on normally,” Mr. Jacquet said. “For the moment there is absolutely no crisis.”
Megan Specia reported from London and Constant Méheut reported from Paris. Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting from Berlin.Megan Specia reported from London and Constant Méheut reported from Paris. Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting from Berlin.