Among the many changes that phase two of the lockdown is bringing, Italian Prime Minister Conte announced is that the government is studying a plan to ensure that the “Esame di Stato” (end-of-year exams) for all college students will be held.
In the small town of Nogales, Mexico some dental clinics are struggling to maintain open despite orders to keep them closed until 1 June.
However, some dentists are defying the restrictions by opening their clinics only for emergency appointments. Despite health advice from the health secretary, dentists are at risk in being infected if they keep their facilities open.
This is what we heard from Dr. Ivan Gonzalez who has reopened his dental clinic and the challenges that the dental community is facing.
By Karina Corral
Image source: Dr. Gonzales. Photograph by Patty Lopez
Yesterday May 6th 2020, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had a crisis meeting with the Minister Presidents of the 16 federal states in Germany about easing lockdown restrictions and how individual states should deal with it.
In the following press conference, the Federal Chancellor announced, that the following easing measures had been adopted by the government:
1. All shops are allowed to open again from next week under strict hygiene conditions and social distancing. Until now, only shops with a floor space of less than 800 square metres had been allowed to do so.
2. The ban against social contact will remain until the 5th of June at the least, to prevent the meeting of groups in a private area.
3. Outdoor sports, such as tennis or football should be possible from next week under strict condition. It is still unclear when gyms and other sports clubs that offer indoor sports can reopen. According to Merkel “the risk is too high.”
4. Restaurants and bars can look forward to open their doors again. But there are also conditions here. Only half of the tables may be occupied due to social distancing and mask obligation applies. In order to be prepared in the event of a second wave, costumers are required to provide their contact details, so that the government are able to trace an infection chain.
5. Restrictions have also been eased in the area of culture. Galleries and museums can now show their exhibitions again. Zoos and playgrounds can also rejoice life.
6. Social contacts are also being considered. From now on you can meet with people from a second household
7. The responsibility for new easing and how to proceed with the pandemic will now be in the hands of the federal states.
Merkel named the positive development but on the same time warned for caution.
She furthermore assured if Germany is close to a second wave, the easing would be withdrawn again.
China has published a new policy regarding COVID-19. They have banned all foreign visitors after imported cases rise. Many foreign people are still living in China, they have chosen to stay there instead of going back to their home country.
This is what we have heard from an American pilot, Kevin Moore, who is currently living in Chengdu, Wuhan:
(Image by Fusion Medical Animation and Vivian Qiu)
In the midst of war, Yemen has reported its first two deaths and new cases bringing the total to six. International organizations fear that if the outbreak worsens, the healthcare system will not be able to cope as it has been run down by the ongoing conflict that has led to the worst humanitarian crisis.
Meat across US grocery stores are suffering shortages after US President Donald Trump ordered manufacturers to stay open as COVID-19 spreads.
President Trump issued an Executive Order on the 28th of April to keep meat manufacturing plants open and follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines after many plants had closed due to Coronavirus spreading among its workers in a tight processing factory.
The order states that due to many meat and poultry processors concentrated in close facilities the closure of any of these plants could detrimentally harm the food supply chain in the US and impact farmers. A single large beef manufacturing plant closure could impact just the American diet staple of beef by a loss of over 10 million servings in one day.
Many meat processing plants closed in early April. On the 12th of April, Smithfield Foods closed its factory in South Dakota, one of the largest facilities to produce pork in the US, after reporting 238 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19 of its total 3,700 workers, according to their press release.
Smithfield is not alone in closures. Tyson Foods, Cargill and JBS are just a few more large meat manufacturers that closed their processing plants due to the spread of COVID-19 and will now have to reopen and continue processing meat with enhanced safety precautions due to Trump’s executive order.
Union representatives are speaking out on what the executive order means for the front line workers attempting to pack meat for grocery stores across America.
“With hundreds of thousands of Teamsters working as essential workers in the food supply chain, our members are on the front lines of national efforts to keep grocery stores supplied during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President.
“Our members are proud to keep America running but they shouldn’t be subjected to unsafe working conditions in order to do so.”
Teamsters, a workers union representing over 1.4 million employees across North America wants meatpacking workers to have the highest level of protective gear, ensuring daily testing for workers and their communities.
Social distancing, paid sick leave, emergency premium pay are all considered essential too.
Image by Pexels
Across the US grocery store customers can already see meat and poultry shortages on shelves, an impact from before the executive order went into effect and meat processing plants began to close.
“I got to Costco an hour after it opened and there was no more fresh chicken of any kind and all other meats were really low in stock,” Viviana Riveros said, a grocery store customer in Florida. “It was surprising to see how quickly the closing of plants impacted the availability of meat at grocery stores.”
Some agricultural experts predict that the meat shortages could improve by June while others believe that COVID-19 could impact supplies for over a year as meat plants learn to deal with the slower working process due to a decrease in staff infected by Coronavirus.
“I think the average purchaser’s going to notice it,” David Anderson, professor and extension economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University, told Time magazine. “I suspect that consumers will note that in the meat case in their store, there won’t be as much as normal, or as they used to see. You’ll see parts of the meat case where there’s less there, you’ll see parts of the meat case, probably, where they spread out the product — so it looks full.”
Experts believe that grocery store customers could also see a rise in price in meat, particularly popular American favourites such as ground beef and bacon. Price increase at a time when over 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits could mean grocery customers are looking for ways to reduce spending and ease shopping.
The plant-based meat market around the world is set to expand from 2.8 billion pounds ($3.6 billion USD) to 3.35 billion pounds ($4.2 USD) in 2021 with North America bringing in the biggest jump in consumption, according to a Reportlinker press release.
Now more than ever people are trying to stay as healthy as possible to avoid getting sick or infected with COVID-19 so a switch to plant protein instead of meat may be beneficial to Americans trying to cut down on the monetary and health expense of meat.
Apart from Italy, Denmark was the first European country to announce a lockdown and now the first to re-open.
It has now been a few weeks since the Danish government reopened several institutions such as kindergartens, schools from class 0-5 and businesses like barbershops. However, parents remain worried about the risks of their children contracting the virus.
Local kindergarten in Aalborg, Denmark Tiziana is one of the kindergartens that had to adjust to the new rules.
In efforts to stop the virus from spreading, all toys and equipment have to be sanitised twice a day, resulting in extra staff being employed for maintaining the standards. Furthermore, the kids have to spend most of the days outside, including their lunch.
“I was very concerned about how this was going to work in the beginning, as we are dealing with children. It is still hard for some children to really understand the importance of social distance, even to the staff. But we are taking it day by day, and it comforts me we have some safety guidelines to maintain.”
-says Ninna Bøg who works in the kindergarten Tiziana.
video by Yasmin Sakki
However, several parents argue that it is too early to reopen public places, especially among adolescents. There is still a large number of children who are not attending the institutions, even though they are registered as absent at schools.
“Many of the parents are still scared of sending their kids to kindergartens. Therefore, we still see around 20% of the parents having their children at home. I feel very safe working here, as everyone respects the rules, we keep everything clean, it is justifiable that we are open.”
Since March 17th, when Spain pronounced its lockdown, children of all ages were not allowed outside of their homes, causing distress and a lot of boredom both for parents and the young ones. However, after many discussions, on Sunday the 19th of May, they were finally given some freedom.
South Korea’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported no new domestic Coronavirus cases for the first time since February.
Out of the total 10,765 cases recorded, four new imported infections were reported – all of which were tested and tracked in the airport. Overall, 1,065 were imported cases. Among these cases, 9,059 have been discharged with a total of 247 deaths so far.
The health authorities also revealed that no local transmission of the infection occurred during the parliamentary election this month – where strict safety measures were in place for voters.
So, what makes South Korea’s COVID-19 exit strategy more efficient?
Watch our video to find out how the nation has tackled the pandemic.