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When Britain removes free mass testing, Hong Kong will wipe out its entire population

Two years later, the advice remains the same, but not all governments are listening to it.

The plans were revealed by Johnson, who says the next phase is all about “incentivizing personal responsibility,” including ending Britain’s free coronavirus testing scheme. At the climax of the program, more than 2 million swabs every day taken and logged in the UK – yielding arguably the most powerful dataset in the world.

The UK’s move to free mass testing after March was met with backlash from public health experts, who fear it could have major consequences for global efforts. request to track Covid-19. The WHO’s special envoy for Covid, David Nabarro, said on BBC radio at the weekend that he was worried Britain’s decision to abandon all rules and adopt “a course that goes against the consensus on public health,” can “create a bit of a domino effect around the world.”

WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said in a meeting sessio online question and answern on Tuesday. Although the global infection rate has dropped by about 20% this week, compared with the previous week, she warned that the drop “may not be real” due to the drop in testing. “We are very concerned about the drop in testing around the world. We need to continue testing for SARS-CoV-2. We cannot give up on our testing activities,” Van Kerkhove added.

However, some countries and regions are still making testing a key part of their pandemic strategy.

A temporary Covid-19 testing site in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, announced a major wave of mandatory testing on Tuesday as the territory grapples with the worst coronavirus outbreak, spurred by Omicron. The entire population – nearly 7.5 million – will undergo three rounds of mandatory Covid-19 testing in March, and testing capacity is expected to grow to 1 million a day or more, according to Lam. Hong Kong remains largely deadlocked with mainland China’s “zero-Covid-19” policy, which means as other countries like Britain have changed their approach to treating the virus as an epidemic. Endemic, the city has been trapped in a never-ending cycle. lockdown to quell outbreaks.

The highly infectious variant of Omicron put a huge strain on testing programs around the world earlier this year, making rapid tests even more scarce. As cases soar, vaccinated and health-boosting people trying to make sure they don’t test positive before coming into contact with vulnerable people or participating in gatherings find themselves scrambling to find available test kits.

The United States has poured billions of dollars into expanding test production capacity, but has not been able to prevent shortages amid the Omicron spike. In one Brief report of the White House Covid-⁠19 response team Last week, Dr Tom Inglesby, senior adviser to the task force, said that the administration was looking to address supply chain challenges and expand testing capacity in the country, to be “ready if they are to be found”. I face a new variant or spike in the future.” The US government says it has secured 1 billion tests, 200 million of which have been shipped free to Americans around the country.

“Testing will remain an important part of our overall COVID response strategy,” said Inglesby. “We’re investing in whatever the virus has to offer right now.”

YOU ASKED. WE HAVE ANSWERED

Q: How can we keep children safe as the rules of Covid-19 change? Our experts weigh in

ONE: After two years of pandemic restrictions, several states have announced they will end the requirement to wear masks indoors, including at some schools. Against this backdrop, the US Food and Drug Administration said it would delay the licensing of a Covid-19 vaccine for children under the age of 5.

That leaves many parents wondering if it’s safe for their children to continue indoor activities such as going out, going to the movies, and participating in extracurricular activities.

“Just because restrictions are being lifted doesn’t mean things are suddenly safe. The level of Covid-19 infection is still quite high in many communities. Government-requested measures are ending, but that doesn’t mean individuals should make every risky choice,” CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen says.

But nearly everything we do carries some degree of risk in contracting Covid-19. The question families should be asking is: How much do we want to continue to avoid coronavirus? And what price are we willing to pay to do so?

Submit your question here. Are you a healthcare worker battling Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

READING OF THE WEEK

Queen Elizabeth experiences mild Covid symptoms

Buckingham Palace said Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II had canceled planned virtual engagements on Tuesday as she continued to suffer from mild Covid-19 symptoms. The palace announced on Sunday that the 95-year-old monarch had contracted the virus.

The palace said: “As Her Majesty is still experiencing mild cold-like symptoms, she has decided not to carry out the virtual skirmishes planned for today, but to continue with the light duty,” the palace said. Light duties may refer to her head of state responsibilities such as reading and responding to documents and correspondence she receives daily in her famous red dispatch boxes. , Max Foster and Lauren Said-Moorhouse explained.

The Queen’s diagnosis is the latest Covid case to hit the royal family. Her eldest son and heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, contracted the virus for the second time on February 10 and met his mother “recently”. A few days later, his wife, Camilla, also tested positive. Additionally, a royal source told CNN Sunday that there have been “several cases … diagnosed in the Windsor Castle team.” British media reported that the Queen is fully vaccinated.

As America looks to transition from Covid-19, high-risk and disabled Americans feel forgotten

Tasha Nelson’s 10-year-old son Jack, who has cystic fibrosis, a progressive genetic disease that causes a persistent, damaging lung infection, couldn’t hold back his tears when he heard the news. The two were in the car when the radio announced: The newly sworn-in governor of Virginia has signed an order banning face masks in schools. “My son looked at me and had tears in his eyes because he knew what that meant. He said, ‘Mom, does that mean I can’t go to school anymore?'” Nelson said. “He said, ‘Can’t we let the governor know about kids like me? I also want to go to school. “

As local and state leaders across the US scrap mask-wearing and vaccination rules, immunocompromised, disabled and chronically ill Americans say staying away from the measures protection makes them more vulnerable – especially when they, or family members, return to work or in-person school. And for some people, the Covid-19 vaccine isn’t effective at preventing a severe exacerbation of the virus. Christina Maxouris wrote.

The high-risk people CNN spoke to said as the country eagerly awaited to get through the pandemic, they felt forgotten – and worse, they didn’t matter to the rest of the American public. Some say they feel abandoned to adapt to a more dangerous reality, while others are now charting a lifestyle of permanent isolation.

Omicron adjuvants can be re-injected, but rare

A WHO advisory group met to discuss the latest evidence on Omicrons, including subvariables BA.1 and BA.2, on Tuesday, after it was reported that the latter evidence was not just contagion. faster than its distant cousins, which can also cause sicker. Based on currently available data on transmissibility, severity, reinfection and vaccine impact, the team advised that BA.2 should continue to be considered a variant of concern and remain classified. is Omicron.

WHO experts reviewed clinical severity data from Denmark, where BA.2 is currently the main cause of Covid-19. A new Danish study shows that reinfection with two different Omicron subvariables is possible, but this is rare, mostly affecting unvaccinated people and mostly non-vaccinated individuals. mild infections. The team also received a summary from Japanese scientists, who recently conducted laboratory and animal studies with BA.2. New laboratory experiments from Japan suggest that BA.2 may have features that make it as capable of causing serious illness as older variants of Covid-19, including Delta. And like Omicron, it seems to have largely escaped vaccine-generated immunity.

TOP TIPS

You may need a fourth scan. As the world nears the second anniversary of the WHO declaration of a Covid-19 pandemic, on March 11, many countries are deploying – or considering – a fourth dose of a coronavirus vaccine for vulnerable people. their best.

Israel was the first country to deploy a fourth dose, and Sweden and the UK recently said they would follow suit. In the United States, top public health officials say they are watching “very carefully” if or when a fourth dose may be needed, with indications that it may be recommended when they are needed. We entered the period of loss of revenue – coinciding with the flu shot.

This is why Dr. Anthony Fauci and other public health experts say Motivation will be very important.

LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST

Over the past two years, people around the world have experienced new levels of social isolation. But even before the pandemic, public health experts warned of a “lonely pandemic” lurking. CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta explores the potentially serious effects this can have on our health and the surprising power of small acts of kindness. Listen.

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