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Covid19: Isolation period extended from seven to 10 days

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Covid19: Isolation period extended from seven to 10 days
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People who test positive for coronavirus or show symptoms in the UK must now self-isolate for at least 10 days, rather than seven.

The change, announced by the UK’s chief medical officers , comes as ministers try to avoid a resurgence of the virus.

Until now, those showing key symptoms – a new continuous cough, a temperature or loss of taste or smell – have had to self-isolate for at least a week.

The new advice is in line with World Health Organization guidance.

The chief medical officers said the change is “particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission”.

Evidence shows that people with Covid-19 have “a low but real possibility of infectiousness” between seven and nine days after falling ill, they said.

People are most contagious just before they first display symptoms and for the first few days afterwards. But scientists say evidence that they could pass it on up to nine days later has “strengthened”.

Advice on the length of isolation varies between countries. For example, the Irish Republic says those who have symptoms should isolate for 14 days, while in the US those with symptoms are told to isolate for 10 days and can only leave isolation if they have had at least 24 hours without a fever.

It comes after the prime minister warned of signs of a “second wave” of the pandemic in parts of Europe.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast before the announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government wanted to “take a precautionary approach” and “protect people from that wave reaching our shores”.

Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales, said the change was “vital” and “nobody should be under the illusion that coronavirus has gone away”.

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The government has also confirmed that registered health and care professionals travelling to the UK from high-risk countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. An quarantine exemption for health professionals had been in place since June.

There have also been concerns about several local outbreaks across the UK, including in Oldham , Wrexham and Staffordshire .

Meanwhile, the government is expected on Friday to announce a decision on whether to ease restrictions in Leicester, a month after the city was put into extended lockdown following a spike in cases.

The mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, expressed frustration at the delayed decision, originally expected on Thursday.

“We haven’t got a clue what’s going on, we really haven’t,” he said.

Two or three weeks ago the message from the prime minister was that, hopefully, we would be back to near-normality by Christmas.

The direction of travel was one of lockdown easing, with pubs and restaurants reopening, as well as a feeling that we seemed to be getting through it.

Now, there’s a real sense of the brakes beginning to go on.

We saw it with the quick quarantine measures imposed on people returning from Spain. Luxembourg may well have similar restrictions soon and they’re keeping an eye on Belgium too.

We had restrictions imposed in Oldham to curb the virus there and now there’s been an extension of the self-isolation period.

The real apprehension is that what is happening in the rest of Europe may, in time, happen here.

To some extent, that has been the story of coronavirus: we have tended to follow what has emerged in mainland Europe.

Official figures published on Thursday showed that 43,119 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England had their cases transferred to NHS Test and Trace since its launch in May.

The tracing system successfully contacted just over 77% of these – but just over 23% were not reached.

The figures, from the Department of Health and Social Care, also showed that of 222,589 people identified as close contacts of those who tested positive, 83% had been reached and asked to self-isolate.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge – that by the end of June everyone tested in person would receive results within 24 hours – is still not being met, with about three-quarters (76.4%) of people getting results on time in the week up to July 22.

For those using home testing kits, 76.9% received results within 48 hours.

But the government is concerned that some people are not coming forward for testing, hampering its ability to track outbreaks, because they wrongly think they have to pay for it or that they are not eligible.

The UK requirement for people who test positive or show symptoms to isolate for seven days was always on the low side – plenty of other countries require 10 days or even longer.

As coronavirus is new, there is still a lack of certainty over how long someone remains infectious, which is why there are a variety of approaches.

UK health officials say there is enough evidence now to point to a “low, but tangible” risk of transmission from seven to 10 days, even for those with mild to moderate illness.

This is a decision that could have been taken weeks, even months, ago in truth.

But officials are describing it as a “value judgement” based on a variety of reasons.

For one thing the easing of restrictions means we have more social contacts than we did previously – so even with the low risk of transmission post seven days, the chances of passing it on increases.

The availability of widespread testing also means only those with a positively confirmed infection need to continue isolating – earlier in the pandemic the lack of testing meant a blanket approach had to be taken so anyone with symptoms was asked to isolate.

But it is about sending an important signal too. Levels of infection are low, but the message is clear: we can’t be complacent.

The government is launching a TV and online advertising campaign on Thursday night stressing that anyone with symptoms should get tested, which is free and available to all.

Only about a third of people infected are thought to come forward for tests, although some of the untested cases may be people who do not have any symptoms.

Those in a household with anyone who tests positive or shows symptoms are told to self-isolate for 14 days.

Graphic showing how a household should isolate when a member shows symptoms of coronavirus
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And people returning to the UK from certain countries are also being asked to quarantine for 14 days – a move that has sparked complaints from travellers.

Ministers are also looking for a way to reduce the current 14-day quarantine period for arrivals to the UK, meaning that quarantine and self-isolation time periods could be standardised at 10 days.

Mr Hancock told Today that the government is looking at using testing to reduce the length of the quarantine period – but there would be no imminent changes.

On Thursday evening, Luxembourg was removed from the quarantine-free list, meaning people arriving in the UK from the small land-locked country from midnight will need to self-isolate for two weeks.

A senior government source told the BBC that Belgium would stay off the list – for the moment – but case numbers would continue to be monitored.

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Leading travel and airline industry figures called on Wednesday for coronavirus testing at airports in the UK but the source said that “any new system had to be workable and at the moment it isn’t”.

Mr Hancock told Breakfast that the “big scientific challenge” with testing arrivals at the border is that people “can incubate this disease for many days without displaying any symptoms, and that wouldn’t show up in a test”.

What are the rules on self-isolating?
Self-isolating means staying at home and not leaving it.

Anyone who has either tested positive for coronavirus or shown symptoms should isolate themselves for at least 10 days, and those who show symptoms should arrange to get tested.

Symptoms include:

a new continuous cough
a high temperature
a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
They should continue to self-isolate if they still feel unwell after that initial period.

Other members of their household should isolate for 14 days and not leave their homes.

If you test positive you will be contacted by contact tracers, who will establish who else you might have passed on the infection to.

Anybody they deem to be at risk will have to isolate themselves for 14 days from the point of contact.

Bbc.com


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40-Year-Old Pharmacist Dies While Having Sεx With A Prostitute In Lagos Brothel.

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40-Year-Old Pharmacist Dies While Having Sεx With A Prostitute In Lagos Brothel.
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A 40-year-old Pharmacist, Bassey Asuquo has died while having s*x with a prostitute in a brothel along Akesan road, Egan area of Lagos State .

The lifeless body of the pharmacist was found on Friday after visiting the brothel at about 10pm the previous night with a s*x worker.

It was gathered that policemen from Igando division were alerted by the management of the brothel, after a crowd had gathered to have a glimpse of Bassey’s lifeless body.

When police stormed the scene, a packet of cigarette, an inhaler and a stained boxer were found in the room while the commercial s*x worker had escaped.

According to reports, the fleeing commercial s*x worker had contacted the hotel manager on phone, explaining how late Bassey was gasping for breath and attempted to reach out for his inhaler when he gave up the ghost.

Attempt to lure her back to explain further, failed as she reportedly told the manager on the phone that she was about crossing the nation’s border, in her bid to evade arrest.

We learnt that the police arrested two staff of the brothel and evacuated the corpse. The family of the deceased are making efforts to retrieve the corpse for burial.


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We must develop, modernize Blood Transfusion Service in Nigeria says Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

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We must develop, modernize Blood Transfusion Service in Nigeria says Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
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FMOH Press Release,

7th August, 2020

The Honourable Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire has restated the need for a modernized blood transfusion service in Nigeria stating that “the importance of blood transfusion service in the health system of a country is not something that we need to emphasize again”, in our country here, apart from a very high mortality rate, a large portion of which is very high, is ascribed to blood loss.”

The Minister of Health, made this statement when a visiting team from the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) led by its National Coordinator, Dr. Joseph Amedu paid him a courtesy visit to update him on the progress and challenges faced by the NBTS.

The Minister said “with a high portion of mortality rate in Nigeria, ascribed to blood loss especially around delivery – postpartum haemorrhage with large amount of blood required for routine surgery, accidents, in trauma cases, chronic diseases like sickle cell anaemia which has a high prevalence in Nigeria, justify very well the need for the modernization and creation of a Blood Service Commission.”

He further highlighted the importance, potentials and benefits of the Blood Service Commission to include; fulfilling all the needs of the country in the areas mentioned, the idea of having One million strategic blood reserve for the country, sighting the explosion that rocked Lebanon with a large number of people requiring blood transfusion, in a case where one is faced with such, with a reserve you have somewhere you reach into to take care of mass catastrophe and disasters, he said is a “good idea.”

The Minister also spoke of commercializing the blood service industry, “with a huge population of 200 million with majority young people, which is a pool of donors more than Europe’s. We have the materials right here, the masses. With a global high demand for blood products, parts and proper blood fractionation, the Commission will not only be self sustaining but highly revenue generating, this is a goldmine if explored”, he stated.

Dr. Ehanire said that the Ministry has noted the challenges faced by the NBTS, and will set up an appointment for the team to speak with the Joint Health Committees on Health of the National Assembly who are responsible for appropriation to have the opportunity to put forward the thoughts and vision of the NBTS Team to enable the NASS members join in appreciating the value of blood transfusion service and blood transfusion development in Nigeria which is also the vision of the President. He advised the team to articulate its thoughts into a document to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health.
He noted the huge potential of blood transfusion service and is happy that the team has been able to articulate everything and put it on the table and let those who have the technology come up with suggestions and partnership, because “Government, the Minister said will not have all the money; the idea of private partnership is highly recommended and welcomed. With South Africa being the most advanced country in Africa when it comes to transfusion science at the moment, a visit to learn from them will be worthwhile to know how it is organized and how to streamline blood testing and increase the parameters that are tested, to add more parameters.”

Earlier, National Coordinator informed the Minister of the NBTS proposal of a bill for a Commission which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2018. He disclosed that this has just gone through public hearing on the 23rd of July, 2020 and awaiting passage by the 9th National Assembly. He highlighted some of the progress made so far by the NBTS to include re-establishing relationships with partners and stakeholders for effectiveness and efficiency, with the NBTS prepared for active advocacy, enlightenment and sensitization to communities and Nigerians on the importance and need for voluntary non-remunerated blood donation, while working on different strategies to attract and convince donors even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He further said that the re-organization of the administrative and functional structures, to pave way for carrying out its mandate, concentrating energy and resources on having functional zonal centres, letting States take over their centres and those without, to establish one, while providing technical support to them. He added that while awaiting the passage of the bill, they have started discussions with partners and the private sector for investors to indicate interest in the move to commence the commercialization through production of blood components and plasma derivative medicinal products.

Not leaving out some of the challenges faced to include; lack of enabling legislation required to carry out regulatory function on blood safety practices, though it is being addressed, he said, lack of adequate office accommodation, lack of sufficient funds for the NBTS’ operational activities, late release of budgetary appropriation for program implementation during the period under review resulting to low blood collection and late implementation and execution of scheduled activities; low public awareness and deep cultural myths and misconceptions on voluntary blood donation by the public were some of the challenges he listed.

The National Coordinator of NBTS also listed insufficient and outdated laboratory screening equipment which he said is hindering quality screening processes nationwide; continued insurgency and security challenges experienced across the country, which has greatly reduced blood collection activities in the affected zones, among others.

Dr. Joseph Amedu further appealed for financial intervention from the Ministry of Finance through the Office of the Honourable Minister of Health to enable the Service move forward “because the annual budget envelope may not be very reliable”. He also requested that the Minister gives NBSC a special consideration during the bilateral budget discussion with the Budget Office for 2021 appropriation.

The NBTS is charged with the responsibility of providing safe, quality blood and blood products for transfusion in a cost-effective manner to all who may require it in Nigeria.

Blessing Efem
For: The Director, Information, Media & Public Relations,
FMOH.


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Aisha Buhari seriously ill, flown to Dubai for medical treatments

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Aisha Buhari seriously ill, flown to Dubai for medical treatments
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The First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, has been flown to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for medical treatment over a neck pain.

It was gathered that the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari travelled out of the country recently due to persistent neck pain after returning to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, from Lagos.

The first lady was said to have undergone self-isolation for 14 days after the Lagos trip because of the neck pain that refused to stop for close to one month after the condolence journey.

The frightening scenario shortly after the self-isolation safety protocol was said to have prompted the decision to move her to Dubai for immediate medical attention.


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