Entertainment 1-minute encounters may add up to spread COVID-19
NHS contact tracing app finally launched in England and Wales
The NHS coronavirus contact tracing app has finally been launched in England and Wales after months of delay and questions about its effectiveness. The app was trialled first on the Isle of Wight and in the London Borough of Newham and was used to send alerts to users after someone had tested positive.It uses an Apple and Google-developed system, using Bluetooth to keep an anonymous log of people a user has been close to.
Having "" with COVID-19 is usually defined as being near an infected person for at least 15 consecutive minutes. But a new report suggests that even very brief exposures — a minute or less — could spread the disease, if those exposures happen frequently.
The report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), describes a correctional officer in Vermont who caught COVID-19 after exposure to infected prisoners, even though he was never around the infected people for more than a minute at a time.
The exposure likely happened on July 28, when six inmates were transferred to the Vermont prison from an out-of-state facility, according to the report, published today in the CDC journal. None of the inmates showed , but all of them underwent routine upon arrival; and all six inmates received positive results the next day.
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After learning of the positive results, officials went back to see who had close contact with the inmates the day before. The team reviewed video footage and found one correctional officer who did come within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of the inmates, but was not considered a close contact because he was not around the infected people for 15 consecutive minutes.
The officer continued to work as usual, but on Aug. 4 (one week after the infected inmates arrived), he developed loss of smell and taste, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, headache and other symptoms of COVID-19, the report said. The next day, the officer tested positive for the disease.
As a result of this positive test, officials once again reviewed the video surveillance footage from July 28. Though the correctional officer never spent 15 minutes straight close to the infected inmates, he had multiple brief encounters with them. Specifically, during his 8-hour shift, the officer had 22 brief encounters (between 10 and 60 seconds each) with the inmates, totaling 17 minutes of cumulative exposure.
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Greggs has warned that trading will remain "below normal for the foreseeable future" as it plans cost-cutting measures that could see jobs go. The high street bakery chain said sales were recovering but were still almost 25% below last year's levels in recent weeks, following an even tougher August.It confirmed that it had launched a consultation with employee and union representatives, first revealed earlier this month, but would seek "minimise the risk of job losses" by instead reducing hours in shops. Coventry, UK - November 3, 2018: Greggs is the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom.
The correctional officer wore aand goggles during his encounters, but the inmates were not always masked. The officer had no other known contacts with COVID-19 and hadn't traveled outside of Vermont in the 2 weeks before his illness. In addition, the rate of new COVID-19 infections in Vermont was low at the time, meaning the officer was unlikely to catch the disease through community spread.
The findings suggest that "at least one of the asymptomatic [inmates] transmitted SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] during these brief encounters," the report authors said.
The findings have implications for, which usually defines "close contact" with a person infected with the novel coronavirus as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes.
Indeed, following publication of the report on Wednesday, the CDC updated its definition of a close contact, according to. The agency now defines close contact as "someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period," the says.
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Travellers returning from the Greek islands of Lesbos, Tinos, Serifos, Santorini and Zakynthos will no longer need to self-isolate. The relaxed measures will apply to people arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - but Scotland is yet to confirm whether it will follow suit.It follows a drop in new coronavirus infections in the popular tourist destinations, and will come into effect at 4am on Saturday.
Additional factors may also be considered, such as how close the individuals came to each other, whether the infected person was doing something like singing or exercising, which generates a lot ofand whether the environment was crowded or adequately ventilated, the report said.
In the current case, "although the initial assessment did not suggest that the officer had close contact exposures, detailed review of video footage identified that the cumulative duration of exposures exceeded 15 minutes," the authors wrote. In correctional settings, frequent close encounters between inmates and facility staff members are necessary, the authors said, and "public health officials should consider transmission-risk implications of cumulative exposure time within such settings," they concluded.
Editor's note: This article was updated on Thursday (Oct. 22) to include information on the CDC's expanded definition of a close contact.
Originally published on Live Science.
'Critical stage' with 96,000 a day getting COVID as tougher action needed, experts say .
The COVID-19 epidemic has reached a "critical stage" with almost 100,000 people a day in England being infected as the spread of the coronavirus rapidly increases, scientists have warned. Researchers from Imperial College London say existing measures to control the virus aren't working.And they argue more stringent action is needed nationwide "sooner rather than later".The latest round of testing for the widely-respected REACT-1 study suggests one in 78 people across England has the virus. And the epidemic is doubling in size every nine days.