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Coronavirus: Europe now epicentre of the pandemic, says WHO – BBC News

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Europe is now the “epicentre” of the global coronavirus pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization says.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to use aggressive measures, community mobilisation and social distancing to save lives.

“Do not just let this fire burn,” he said.

His comments came as several European countries reported steep rises in infections and deaths. Italy has recorded its highest daily toll yet.

There were 250 deaths recorded over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1,266, with 17,660 infections overall.

Spain, the worst-affected European country after Italy, reported a 50% jump in fatalities to 120 on Friday. Infections increased to 4,231.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says a state of alert will come into effect there on Saturday for two weeks.

Controls are also being introduced at an increasing number of borders in Europe, in response to rapid spread of the virus.

Why is Europe the ‘epicentre’?

More than 132,500 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in 123 countries around the world, according to the WHO.

The total number of deaths has reached about 5,000 – a figure Dr Tedros described as “a tragic milestone”.

“Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China,” he said.

“More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.”

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As well as the increases in Spain and Italy, France has now confirmed 2,876 cases and 79 deaths, up from a total of 61 deaths on Thursday.

Germany has seen 3,062 cases and five deaths. There have been 798 confirmed infections in the UK and 11 deaths.

What are European countries doing about it?

Announcing the state of alert in Spain, Mr Sanchez said the government would “mobilise all the resources of state to better protect the health of all of its citizens”.

It will be able to limit movement, order evacuations, prohibit access to certain places and intervene in industry for up to 15 days.

“Victory depends on every single one of us,” Mr Sanchez said. “Heroism is also about washing your hands and staying at home.”

All but “essential travel” to parts of Spain should be avoided, says the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Italy has imposed a nationwide lockdown.

Meanwhile, at least 10 other countries in Europe are enforcing border closures, including:

  • Denmark: Closes borders to foreign visitors from Saturday
  • Czech Republic: Bans all foreigners from entering the country, except those with residence permits. Bans most of its own nationals from leaving
  • Slovakia: Closes borders to all foreigners except those with a residence permit.
  • Austria: Closes three land border crossings with Italy to all foreigners, except those with a medical certificate issued within four days. No restriction on Austrian nationals
  • Ukraine: Closes border crossings to foreigners (except diplomats) for two weeks
  • Hungary: Closes land borders with Austria and Slovenia
  • Poland: From Sunday will close borders to foreign visitors

Belgium, France, Switzerland and parts of Germany are among the latest countries to close schools.

There are also widespread curbs on large gatherings and measures to close theatres, restaurants and bars.

Germany’s Bundesliga, the only one of the big five European football leagues still being played, is to suspend games in the top two divisions from Tuesday.

Paris’s Louvre – the largest art museum in the world – announced it would close from Friday, as will the Eiffel Tower.

Why Europe could be worse off than China

The number of cases of coronavirus reported every day in Europe has surpassed China at its peak.

But Europe is in a worse position.

The overwhelming majority of China’s cases were in one place, Hubei province and those were largely concentrated in one city, Wuhan.

It was dealt with by an authoritarian government that imposed the biggest quarantine in human history.

While there are hotspots in Europe, this is an outbreak across a continent and different countries are adopting very different strategies for dealing with coronavirus.

All these figures are based on cases that have been detected, but scientists fear there could be large outbreaks going on unnoticed in countries that don’t have the tools to spot them.

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What are the developments elsewhere?

US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency, which allows the federal government to access up to $50bn (£40bn) in funds.

As the president spoke, the three main US indexes jumped more than 9%.

Later on Friday, President Trump said he did not need to self-isolate, despite meeting at least one person who had the coronavirus.

His travel ban on 26 European countries, which was met with anger and confusion this week, will go into effect at midnight EDT (0400 GMT).

Pakistan is shutting all of its land borders and limiting international flights for 15 days, its foreign minister says.

In Canada, MPs have voted to suspend parliament and health officials have advised against non-essential foreign travel.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began a 14-day self-isolation period on Friday after his wife tested positive.

Also on Friday, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was admitted to hospital after testing positive. He recently travelled to Washington and met President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka

Meanwhile, Iran announced another 85 deaths, the country’s highest toll in a 24-hour period, bringing the number of dead there to 514. The true figure is feared to be much higher.

The first cases were recorded in East Africa, in Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan, which has had the region’s first death.

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Here's what you should know about wearing cloth face masks – CollingwoodToday

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Medical officials are still stopping short of recommending the general public wear homemade masks, but they are suggesting a cloth mask could help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said today a homemade cloth mask could help someone who doesn’t know they have the virus keep from spreading it to others.

“People should be aware they’re not of proven value,” said Gardner. “If there is any value in them it’s more from the point of view of avoiding infecting others.”

A cloth mask could keep droplets from your nose and mouth from entering someone else’s airway or landing on and contaminating a surface.

“They have not been shown to prevent respiratory viruses from entering your airway,” said Gardner.

But it shouldn’t replace any of the other preventative measures being recommended by public health organizations in the province and country.

“What’s really important is that people do their physical distancing and their handwashing,” said Gardner.

He also recommends people stay home, think twice about whether or not they need to go out, and if they do, to focus on quick trips for essential items while still maintaining a two-metre separation with any other people.

“The more we do, the better we do this, the less that surge will be,” said Gardner. “April is a very key month for us in this outbreak. This month we’re going to see the extent to which the surge occurs. If we were very successful it will be a limited surge. If we were less successful it will be a bigger surge more likely to overwhelm our healthcare system.”

There are now 98 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region, more than 10 of those at Bradford Valley, a long-term care facility.

Gardner stressed members of the general public should not be wearing medical-grade masks.

“All of those we really need to retain for healthcare workers because of a limited supply,” he said.

Additionally, there are specific fits and protocols that make surgical masks and N95 masks effective PPE. Without following those specifications, a medical-grade mask will not offer effective protection.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 including coughing and sneezing, stay home, indoors, for at least 14 days.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer of health, said today people can use homemade cloth masks to prevent spreading the virus to others. She said there is increasing evidence people can transmit the virus before knowing they are sick, and keeping their mouth and nose covered while in public – in addition to frequent handwashing and physical distancing – could help reduce spread.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted some tips on its website on using cloth face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC says to use a mask that fits snugly, is secured with ties or ear loops, includes multiple layers of fabric, and can be laundered and machine dried without changing shape.

If you are using a cloth mask, put it on before you go out in public, and then don’t touch it or your face again. Once at home, remove the mask without touching your face, and put it in the laundry. Wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect surfaces you touched on the way in.

The CDC also states a cloth face mask is an additional, voluntary public health measure and should only be used with proper handwashing and physical distancing practices.

You can find sewing and no-sew instructions for cloth face masks on the CDC website.

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Homemade face masks can protect others, but not you: health officials – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
The increase in demand for personal protective equipment has led to an increase in demand for homemade face masks.

Monday both the Federal and Provincial Government said there’s a benefit to wearing homemade masks when in public.

Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer for Canada, said the Special Advisory Committee for COVID-19 concluded wearing a non-surgical mask can help protect those around you, but it doesn’t protect the person wearing it,

“Wearing a non-medical mask in the community does not mean you can back off of the public health measures that we know work to protect you,” said Tam.

She said we can’t “relax” any of our physical distancing efforts, but added people who want to wear masks as an extra precaution can make them out of household items.

”Simple things, not complicated,” said Tam. “If you can get a cotton material like a t-shirt, you cut up, fold it, (and) put elastic bands around it. Those are the kind of facial coverings we’re talking about.”

Some Manitobans have been pulling out the needle and thread to craft homemade face masks.

Grace Webb, the creator of the Facebook page Face Masks for Manitoba, said she got the idea to sew masks and donate them after reading a U.S. article.

She said the idea snowballed and she started the Facebook group so other mask makers could join her.

“From there it became apparent that people wanted to do this but didn’t have material,” said Webb. “So I thought, why don’t we (build) a kit we can send to people with everything they need to make mask.”

Webb said she’s donating the masks to care homes and people in the community.

Each mask comes with instructions on how to clean them properly, along with a reminder to practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer for Manitoba said wearing a non-surgical mask is like coughing into your sleeve.

He said he doesn’t want this information about homemade masks to distract from the most important message.

“If you were staying home before, stay home now,” said Roussin. “Don’t go out now because somebody has said we can use cloth or non medical masks.”

Webb said she’ll continue to sew homemade masks as long as there’s a need.

“I hope it gives them some comfort and a little bit more security,” Said Webb. “I would love to say that we did something to help slow the spread.”

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Erie County offers information on public face masks – Niagara Frontier Publications

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Mon, Apr 6th 2020 08:50 pm

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is making the following announcements.

COVID-19 Data Update

As of 5 p.m. Monday, we have received reports of 1,148 total positive lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Erie County residents. Of that, 30 Erie County residents have died, and 206 people have recovered. There are currently 912 people in isolation.

We reported 1,149 cases during our live video today. Through our contact tracing process, we discovered that one of those cases is outside Erie County. Our total is 1,148.

Online Case Map

The Erie County Online COVID-19 case mapping tool has been updated with a ZIP code layer. Access this map at www.erie.gov/covidmap.

Cloth Face Coverings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended cloth face coverings (masks) for individuals when spending time in public spaces, like stores, where keeping a six-foot distance from others is not easy or possible. These coverings should:

  • Fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape

Most people will be able to make these from materials around their home. There are no-sew methods described in detail on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

If someone is ill with respiratory symptoms, they should wear a cloth covering over the nose and mouth when around other people or in public spaces. Masks can also help people avoid touching their faces – which is another way to reduce the risk of infection.

An important note from CDC: Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Cloth face coverings are a risk reduction tool and should be used along with frequent hand washing, good respiratory etiquette and cleaning/disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.

Age and Gender Information

The following are tables that reflect the age and gender distribution for cases up to and including April 6.

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