Patients with blood cancer have a much higher chance of developing severe illness if they contract coronavirus than people with other forms of cancer, a study has found.
The paper by researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham concluded that blood cancer patients admitted to hospital had 57 per cent higher odds of severe disease, and that cancer patients over the age of 80 had the highest frequency of fatality.
The findings, published in Lancet Oncology by the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project (UKCCMP), also showed that after accounting for age and gender, patients with blood cancers who had recent chemotherapy had an increased risk of death during Covid-19-associated hospital admission.
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UN says tourism impact of pandemic devastating
The United Nations chief says the tourist industry has been devastated by the pandemic, with $320 billion (£244 billion) lost in exports in the first five months of the year and over 120 million jobs at risk.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a policy briefing and video address released on Tuesday that tourism is the third-largest export sector, behind fuels and chemicals, and accounted for 7 per cent of trade last year.
“It employs one in every 10 people on Earth and provides livelihoods to hundreds of millions more,” he said. “It boosts economies. . It allows people to experience some of the world’s cultural and natural riches and brings people closer to each other, highlighting our common humanity.”
But the UN chief said that in the first five months of 2020, because of the pandemic, international tourist arrivals decreased by more than half.
Mr Guterres said the tourism impact of Covid-19 has been a “major shock” for richer developed nations “but for developing countries, it is an emergency, particularly for many small island developing states and African countries.”
Tourism for some of those countries represents over 20 per cent of their GDP, he said.
South Koreans indulge in extreme staycationing
This time last year Yoon Seok-min, his wife Kim Hyo-jung and their two children were holidaying in the Philippines, Vietnam and Guam. A trip to Hawaii was on the cards for this summer.
Instead, as the pandemic has stymied overseas travel, the family, like other South Koreans, has turned to a new and extreme form of staycation: transforming their home into their favourite vacation spots.
Now, Kim and Yoon’s five-bedroom apartment in Yongin city, south of Seoul, is decked out with potted palms and rattan furniture, bringing the breezy feel of the tropics indoors.
There are even different locales – the couple’s bedroom is meant to resemble a Bali resort, while the living room has been designed on the lines of Hawaii.
“Since we can’t travel abroad for some time because of the coronavirus, we tried to bring those vacation spots to our home,” Kim said.
Yoon and Kim’s elaborate home makeover cost them at least 80 million won (£51,463).
Read more: 10 luxury holiday houses to book for your summer staycation
Brazilian president says journalists ‘fat-asses’ at high risk
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out again at journalists on Monday.
Speaking at an event called “Brazil Beating COVID”, Mr Bolsonaro accused journalists of “malevolence” and “debauchery,” and added that they were “fat-asses” at high risk from the new coronavirus.
The far-right leader, who caught the virus himself in July, said he had recovered thanks to his past as an “athlete” in the army, where he served as captain.
“But when one of you fat-asses catches it, the chances of survival are far less. You only know how to use your pens malevolently,” he told journalists covering the event.
Known as the “Tropical Trump”, Mr Bolsonaro has had a tense relationship with the press since taking office in January 2019.
South Korean schools go online to battle outbreak
South Korea on Tuesday ordered all schools and kindergartens in the greater Seoul region – home to half the country’s 52 million population – to switch to online classes as they battle multiple coronavirus clusters.
The country’s “trace, test and treat” approach to curbing the virus has been held up as a global model, but it is now trying to contain several outbreaks, mostly linked to Protestant churches.
South Korea reported 280 new infections on Tuesday, taking the country’s total to 17,945.
The numbers are low in global terms but represent the South’s 12th consecutive day of triple-digit increases after several weeks with numbers generally in the 30s and 40s.
Infections spike in Argentina
Argentina confirmed a record 8,713 new cases on Monday and 381 resulting deaths in just 24 hours, as the Latin American nation battles a surge of contagions.
The country’s health ministry said that just weeks into a stricter quarantine in the capital Buenos Aires and its suburbs, cases were now springing up in other regions of the country.
It put the total caseload at over 350,000, with 7,366 deaths so far.
The announcement comes after thousands of Argentines participated in a march calling for the restrictions to be lifted and stalled economic activity restarted.
Colombia easing restrictions, participating in vaccine trails
Colombia will enter a period of “selective” quarantine when its five months of lockdown ends at the close of August, President Ivan Duque said on Monday, and will be part of Johnson & Johnson vaccine trials.
Restrictions on events and large crowds will continue during September while the government evaluates the spread of the virus, Mr Duque said, as more economic reactivation with safety protocols moves ahead.
“On Sept. 1 a new phase begins where we change the concept of preventative obligatory isolation with a large number of exceptions to a concept of selective isolation, of distancing, of individual responsibility,” Mr Duque said during his nightly television broadcast.
Confirmed and suspected coronavirus patients should still isolate, Health Minister Fernando Ruiz said during the broadcast.
The Andean country will also participate in phase three vaccine trials with Johnson & Johnson, Mr Duque said.
“Colombia today has signed a deal with (Johnson & Johnson) to carry out tests for phase three in the investigation of their vaccine.”
The trial will include 60,000 healthy volunteers worldwide between the ages of 18 and 60 who will receive a single dose of the vaccine, the health ministry said in a statement.
China reports slight drop in cases
China reported 14 new cases for Aug. 24, all of which were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, the country’s health authority said on Tuesday.
This compared with 16 new cases reported a day earlier, all imported as well, and marked the ninth consecutive day of no locally transmitted cases.
The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 84,981, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.
Teachers signal they won’t fine parents if children don’t return to school
Head teachers have signalled they will defy orders to fine parents who fail to send their children back to school next month, claiming such punishments would be “counterproductive”.
Downing Street insisted on Monday that education is “compulsory” and that parents should be aware they will be fined as a “last resort” if they keep their children at home without permission.
Boris Johnson acknowledged that parents “are genuinely still a bit worried” about their children contracting coronavirus, but stressed that the danger was tiny.
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Read more: PM facing pressure to introduce face masks in schools
Read more: Back to school? Government’s ‘awful and inconsistent’ message leaves parents fearful
Warning over US rushing through vaccine approval
The top US infectious diseases expert is warning that distributing a Covid-19 vaccine under special emergency use guidelines before it has been proved safe and effective in large trials is a bad idea that could have a chilling effect on the testing of other vaccines.
Scientists and health experts have expressed concern that President Donald Trump will apply pressure on the US Food and Drug Administration to deliver a vaccine before November to boost his chances of re-election.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, declined to comment on the president, but said there are risks in rushing out a vaccine despite the urgent need.
“The one thing that you would not want to see with a vaccine is getting an EUA (emergency use authorisation) before you have a signal of efficacy,” Dr Fauci told Reuters in a phone interview.
“One of the potential dangers if you prematurely let a vaccine out is that it would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other vaccines to enroll people in their trial,” he said.
Read more: Trump gives emergency authorisation for use of plasma to treat coronavirus