LONDON – Britain is planning a strategy to bring hundreds of thousands of college students home for Christmas without triggering a new wave of coronavirus cases.
Scientists say students traveling from their hometowns to colleges in September was one of the engines of the current wave of COVID-19 in the UK. There have been multiple outbreaks on campuses, with students confined to residences and group activities deleted.
The UK government said Wednesday it plans to stagger student departures at the end of the term to avoid a mass exodus. They want universities in England to send students home for a nine-day period after the current four-week lockdown in England ends on December 2nd.
As many students as possible will get quick results on COVID-19 tests before traveling, the government said, although it wasn’t clear exactly how many would be tested.
Deputy Medical Director Jenny Harries said “the mass movement of students across the country at the end of their term represents a truly significant challenge within the COVID-19 response,” but that the measures will reduce the risk.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to introduce similar measures.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VIRUS EFFECTIVENESS:
– One of the largest cemeteries in the world is fighting for the Iranian coronavirus toll
– Business travel may never be the same in the wake of the coronavirus
– Texas becomes the first US state with over 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19
– During the early days of the coronavirus, top scientists from the World Health Organization described some countries’ approaches as “an unfortunate laboratory to study the virus” and a “macabre” opportunity to see what worked, the records obtained from The Associated Press s like. However, in public, the UN health agency has praised governments for their responses.
Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS:
NAIROBI, Kenya – Ethiopia now has more than 100,000 confirmed coronavirus infections, joining a handful of countries across Africa that have passed that milestone as cases of COVID-19 begin to creep in more places again.
The regional powerhouse of the Horn of Africa faces multiple humanitarian crises and now has a growing deadly conflict in its northern Tigray region between federal and regional forces.
The United Nations is demanding humanitarian access to Tigray as trucks with medical and other supplies are blocked outside the regional border.
Other African nations with over 100,000 confirmed cases of the virus Wednesday are Egypt with over 109,000; Morocco with over 265,000 and South Africa with over 740,000. The African continent of 54 nations is closing on 2 million confirmed cases, with just over 1.9 million.
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Ethiopia has more than 1,500 deaths from COVID-19.
HONG KONG – Hong Kong and Singapore will start an air travel bubble later this month, allowing travelers from each city to visit the other without going into quarantine.
Travelers must test coronavirus negative before they leave, when they arrive, and before they return. The bubble begins on November 22 with one designated flight per day for each city carrying a maximum of 200 travelers each. It will expand to two flights on 7 December.
The bubble will be suspended for two weeks if Hong Kong or Singapore report a seven-day moving average of more than five untraceable coronavirus infections, according to the Hong Kong government.
“Hong Kong and Singapore are similar in terms of epidemic control. Both are regional aviation hubs and international cities, which enjoy strong trade, investment, finance, tourism and interpersonal links, “said Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Trade and Economic Development.” The revival of air travel cross-border between the two places is of utmost importance. “
He said he hopes aviation, tourism, hotels and retail businesses will benefit from the bubble and gradually help Hong Kong’s economy recover.
BEIJING – A leading Chinese health official has expressed confidence the country could avoid a second wave of coronavirus infections this winter if it maintains current precautions.
Feng Zijian, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the leading financial magazine Caixin that China “most likely will prevent” a new round of infections given current trends.
China has largely eliminated new local outbreaks by requiring masks inside and on public transport, requiring two weeks of quarantine for those entering the country, and completely banning some foreign travelers.
Authorities quickly moved to address local outbreaks by tracing potential contacts, conducting widespread testing, and sometimes blocking entire communities.
Although China was initially accused of suppressing the information, its recent figures were not seriously contested and local authorities moved quickly to reveal new cases. This has allowed the world’s second largest economy to recover widely.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The Pacific nation of Vanuatu recorded its first case of coronavirus after a citizen who had been repatriated from the United States tested positive during quarantine.
Vanuatu was among the last countries to avoid the virus.
Health authorities say the 23-year-old man was asymptomatic when he returned home on November 4. His infection was confirmed on Tuesday after routine tests.
Officials say they plan to keep everyone in quarantine from the same flight and trace the man’s close contacts, but they don’t intend to impose larger measures in the nation of 300,000 people.