Americans are advised to avoid 80% of countries worldwide because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a note to the media about the US state department’s updated travel guidance, it said the pandemic continued to “pose unprecedented risks to travelers”.
The current US “Do Not Travel” advisory covers 34 out of 200 countries.
Covid-19 has now claimed more than three million lives worldwide – more than half a million of them in the US.
The WHO warned the world was “approaching the highest rate of infection” so far, despite the global rollout of vaccination programs.
The state department said its decision to update its travel advisories was to bring it more in line with those from the CDC and “does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country”.
However, it said the move would “result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide”. Anyone planning to travel to a country in the remaining 20% is advised to reconsider before proceeding.
The state department has not revealed which countries will be added to Level 4 – the highest of its four risk levels. Guidance will be issued individually for each country in the next few days.
Currently, only three places in the world are assessed at the lowest tier – Level 1, which advises “Exercise normal precautions”. They are Macau, Taiwan and New Zealand.
Even Antarctica is at Level 2 – “Exercise increased caution”, an extra warning to exercise caution because of the risk of terrorism.
The CDC currently recommends all Americans refrain from travelling domestically until they have been fully vaccinated and warns that international travel “poses additional risks” even for those vaccinated.
In addition, all air passengers coming to the US, including US citizens, must have a negative Covid test result or documentation of recovery from the virus before they board a flight.
While more than 860 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in 165 countries worldwide, many countries are still struggling to contain the virus.
Brazil has recorded the third-highest number of cases and, at 368,749, the second-highest number of deaths in the world.
Canada has also reported a recent rise in cases and Papua New Guinea has been highlighted as a cause for concern.
While some countries – such as Israel and the UK – have secured and delivered doses to a large proportion of their population, many more countries are still waiting for their first shipments to arrive.
AstraZeneca has announced it downgraded the efficacy result of its coronavirus vaccine trial in the United States after health officials questioned the results.
The company adjusted the efficacy rate of its vaccine against Covid-19 symptoms from 79% to 76%, but said the trial results confirm it “is highly effective in adults”.
US health officials had been concerned the trial was using outdated data.
AstraZeneca said it now looked forward to getting US regulatory approval.
The US trials of the AstraZeneca jab had involved more than 32,000 volunteers, mostly in America, but also in Chile and Peru.
In the results announced on March 22, the company said the vaccine was found to be 79% effective at stopping symptomatic Covid-19 disease and was 100% effective at preventing people from falling seriously ill.
On March 23, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it had been informed by data and safety officials monitoring the trial that information may have been used that provided an “incomplete view of the efficacy data”.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s Chief Medical Advisor, then warned reporters the company would “likely come out with a modified statement”.
AstraZeneca’s revised results now put the vaccine’s overall efficacy at 76% instead of 79%. Among the over 65s, its efficacy rose from 80% to 85% and against severe disease it remains 100% effective.
On March 25, Mene Pangalos, an executive vice president at AstraZeneca, said: “We look forward to filing our regulatory submission for Emergency Use Authorization in the US and preparing for the rollout of millions of doses across America.”
The US had ordered 300 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine when it emerged as a frontrunner in the global race to immunize people against Covid-19.
However, delays and controversies have seen three other vaccines beat it to a US rollout.
Many people have what they refer to as the “Wintertime blues.” This is when a person feels sad for seemingly no reason, mostly during the winter season. However, there is a reason, and it is usually due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD.)
In 2020, SAD is made worse due to stresses from a pandemic. That’s why it’s important that you seek help now. Don’t wait for a vaccine or for the season to pass.
Why Does SAD Happen?
SAD is usually caused by a storm of several things. Let’s discuss what these are.
The biggest cause of SAD is the lack of sunlight. In some areas, the sun can set before 5 PM. For some people who have certain shifts, they may see little sunlight. Sunlight gives vitamin D, helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycles, and can be a natural antidepressant. It makes sense that someone may feel depression.
Exercising can be a natural antidepressant, helping one to focus while releasing endorphins. Unless you are a gym rat or you like to run all year, you may be moving around a lot less. This can contribute to SAD.
In wintertime, we may oversleep. Getting sleep is good for the mind, but having too much sleep can be bad for us and increase our risk of depression. Alternatively, there are cases where a person may have difficulties falling asleep this time of year. Not to mention, you tend to produce more melatonin during the winter, which can make you sleepy.
While Mother Nature plays a big role in SAD, so does your personal life. We are living in a pandemic currently, and many of us are stressed, feel cooped up, or are dealing with other issues. This can certainly make your illness worse.
SAD has similar symptoms to depression. Obviously, the biggest depression symptom is when you are feeling sad all day for multiple days. However, irritability can be another symptom.
You may feel like you are less interested in what you used to love. You may have thoughts of dread. In some cases, it can be difficult for you to move or get out of bed. You may fall out of routine.
Overeating is another symptom of SAD. Combined with all the holiday foods, and you may see weight gain. This can lead to body issues and make your issues worse. You may also drink more, leading to other problems.
There are many reasons why SAD can be debilitating, and it’s important to seek help should you suspect that you have it. Symptoms tend to go away with the changing seasons, but do not think that will necessarily be the case. Besides that, it’s important for you to treat your symptoms whenever possible.
Treating SAD can involve several lifestyle changes, and in some cases seeking professional help.
It’s important for you to live a healthy lifestyle if you are afflicted with SAD. Work out at least a half hour a day. If you can’t go to a gym, do some crunches. Bundle up and run outside. Lifestyle changes can also include you eating a balanced meal and getting the correct amount of sleep.
Having a routine is also a good treatment for SAD. Make a schedule and stick to it. However, don’t beat yourself up too much if you mess up.
Finally, the sun plays a big part in treating SAD. Open your blinds and get some sun in, or spend some time outside. If you can’t do either, invest in a therapy lamp. This can give you artificial sunlight that mimics the light of the sun.
Seeking Professional Help
SAD is something that you may want to speak with a therapist about. In severe cases, a combination of therapy and medication can help you.
Medication can help alleviate symptoms, while therapy can help you get back on a routine. You can learn mindfulness strategies, learn how to plan goals, and have a treatment regimen that is tailored for your personality.
With everything going on, one solution you should look into is online therapy. You can speak to a therapist remotely and get the help you need that way. By talking to a therapist through video chat, you can get the right amount of care. For more information, click here.
SAD is not something to treat lightly. By getting help and helping yourself, you can survive the harshness of winter, guaranteed.
Truth be told, before Covid-19 many people want to stay back in their homes and relax after a long day at the office. One of the things you are afraid of is waking up early to evade looking unkempt and the need to rush on the train. Part of your budget is clothing because you must look your best, presentable, and decent every time.
Unexpectedly, the pandemic broke out, and graciously you did not lose your job. Nonetheless, you are expected to work from home. I believe you find this idea very exciting because all the inconvenience of rushing a train to get to work among many other people are no longer required.
Now, to the main question, Is this how you imagined it?
You need to bear in mind that working from home has disadvantages that may not be glaring to you. The idea of working from home in your pyjamas and working at your pace might be interesting, but endeavor to avoid the following financial issues.
First Problem: Excessive spending on Food Deliveries
We can’t deny the fact that we need to help food vendors and drivers earn a living. Likewise, we need to support small businesses at this trying time. Nonetheless, it would help if you were careful while spending. It would be best if you did not rely on food deliveries all the time.
It’s quite convenient, but you need to know that the delivery fees will accumulate in the long run, and you would be surprised to know how much you have spent on deliveries.
While you are working from home, you can prepare your food, be self-sufficient, and are on your way to saving more at the end.
Second Problem: Lack of Budget
Keep the excitement about working from home, although it gives you the chance to save more because you don’t have to spend on transportation fare, new clothes, and lunch-outs, which does not mean you can afford to spend more money on things you want.
You presently need a budget to work on more than ever. You have to save your salary and spread it accordingly on rent, grocery, bills, and amortization. Don’t forget savings and investment when you have a budget you work with it gives you room to be frugal.
Third Problem: Lack of Savings
Many people don’t have the habit of saving, especially during this pandemic period. We can also say your chance of survival is dependent on savings.
Do not allow the pandemic to make you neglect saving habits; always try to place aside part of your salary as savings.
In case an emergency need arises, and you need the money more than anything. Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last, this is when the saying “saving for the rainy day” becomes essential, and it shows having savings is paramount.
Fourth Problem: Terrific Shopping Habits.
Many people are terrified because of the pandemic. You will always meet a lot of people at the grocery store, no matter the time. When it’s your turn to shop, endeavor to go easy on spending and cut out what you don’t need.
Always make sure you buy essential things, so you don’t run out of groceries and have to go back to get more often. Do not spend on snacks and sweets, it will only make you have more bills to pay. Also, they are not nourishing, and it could be harmful to your health. Remember to pay with cash and avoid paying with credit; it will save you the stress of paying outside.
Fifth Problem: Becoming Too Complacent
Working from the comfort of your home has its benefits, and at the same time, has its disadvantages, which include being complacent. You might feel too lazy and want to be in bed and watch movies all day.
This may sound like having the fun you have ever waited for long to have; you must never forget your responsibilities. You can plan your day by having a schedule for work and relaxation. Do not attempt to work in the bedroom to avoid the temptation of falling asleep on your bed. Mute your notifications on your phone to avoid checking your phone each time the phone chimes.
Urgent financial assistance if you are out of the budget
In case you have not been able to work with a budget during the pandemic and need money for emergency needs, do not worry, you have online lending company. Robocash gives 24 hour payday loan to people who need a money to meet urgent needs. Once you are ready, log on to their website robocash.ph to fill the form.
You may be wondering what you have to do to qualify for the loan. Here are the requirements:
Generate personal space on the Robocash website. The first thing you need to do is fill a form with personal data.
To do this, you need a valid ID and phone number. It takes a few minutes to do this.
Fill in how you want the loan transferred. Robocash works with significant partners in the Philippines for you to receive and pay back the loan in a convenient way.
You need to sign a contract with Robocash. You must consent to apply for a loan. You will receive confirmation code on your phone through a text message. You will receive the Robocash loan without any delay.
Here are some of the benefits of getting a loan from Robocash:
– You can request the loan amount from 1000 to 25000 pesos and its duration from 7 to 30 days.
– You can request a loan by filling out the form at any time of day, on holidays and weekends.
– You can apply for a loan without co-borrowers, collateral and references from work.
While working at home, do not forget to search for other means of earning money. Remember to be grateful for what you have as this time is challenging.
The US jobs growth slowed sharply in July as the country struggled to control the coronavirus pandemic.
1.8 million jobs have been added last month, down from a record 4.8 million in June.
The US unemployment rate fell to 10.2%, continuing to improve from the high of 14.7% seen in April.
The figures reignited calls for Washington to approve further economic stimulus, though the slowdown was not as bad as many economists had feared.
The US Labor Department report, “confirms that the resurgence in new virus cases caused the economic recovery to slow, but also underlines that it has not yet gone into reverse,” said Andrew Hunter, senior economist at Capital Economics.
The job gains in July came from many of the sectors hit hardest by shutdowns, including restaurants, bars and retail outlets.
Economists have said this kind of hiring, happening as states around the country allow establishments to reopen, represents the “easy” part of a long recovery ahead.
Since February, the US has lost more than 12 million jobs and seen unemployment spike from a roughly 50-year-low of 3.5%.
In Q2 of 2020, the US economy was hit by its sharpest quarterly contraction in more than 70 years of record-keeping, shrinking at an annual rate of 33% or nearly 10% year-on-year.
The 10.2% unemployment rate the Labor Department reported for July is higher than the worst of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when the jobless rate peaked at 10%.
This week, nearly 1.2 million people filed new claims for unemployment. More than 31 million people – roughly 1 in 5 American workers – continue to collect the benefits.
Economists have said the loss of momentum last month is a sign of the peril facing the economy, as health concerns put a dampener on consumer spending and temporary measures passed in March, including bans on evictions and a $600 emergency boost to unemployment benefits, expire.
While Washington lawmakers have been trying to negotiate further stimulus, many Republicans oppose a deal of the size Democrats say is necessary.
“The most responsible thing we can do is to take proactive measures to allow people to return to work safely, instead of continuing to lock down the economy,” Republican Congressman Kevin Brady said after the report.
Republicans want a deal to include legal protections for employers against virus-related health claims from workers.
They are also pushing to reduce the $600 emergency supplement to unemployment benefits, which expired last month, and have proposed far less aid to local governments than Democrats want.
Their stance has presented a challenge for President Donald Trump, who had hoped to use a strong economy as his calling card to voters in his campaign for re-election in November. He has said he may act unilaterally to extend some aid.
Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, has begun a second lockdown in response to a spike in new coronavirus infections.
The five million Melbourne’s residents will be barred from leaving home for six weeks, except for essential reasons.
Police say they are setting up a “ring of steel” around the city, with “checkpoints anytime and anywhere” to enforce the measures.
Borders between Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, and neighboring states closed on July 7.
PM Scott Morrison paid tribute to Melbournians’ resilience on July 8.
“The rest of the country knows that the sacrifice that you’re going through right now is not just for you and your own family, but it’s for the broader Australian community,” the prime minister said during a news conference.
Scott Morrison also said he was proposing measures to slow the return of Australian nationals from overseas.
Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews announced the Melbourne lockdown on July 7 after the state saw 191 new infections, its highest daily number since the pandemic began.
The July 8 figure was down to 134, but still much higher than numbers in the rest of the country.
Australia has recorded almost 9,000 cases and 106 deaths from the virus.
Meanwhile, Australian media reported that passengers on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney disembarked on July 7 without being screened.
New South Wales state has banned travel from the greater Melbourne area except under exceptional circumstances, and the passengers should have been required to self-isolate for two weeks.
People will be kept to their homes and will only be able to leave for essential reasons, such as for work, exercise and shopping for food and other necessities.
The CBO said the majority of the loss was caused by the sharp contraction in economic activity this year, which it had not predicted in its last 10-year report, published in January.
CBO director Phillip Swagel wrote in response to an inquiry from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer: “Business closures and social distancing measures are expected to curtail consumer spending, while the recent drop in energy prices is projected to severely reduce US investment in the energy sector.”
“Recent legislation will, in CBO’s assessment, partially mitigate the deterioration in economic conditions,” he added.
Since the virus pandemic hit the US the government and the Fed have provided trillions of dollars of support for the world’s biggest economy.
Still, unemployment has soared to levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s as more than 40 million Americans have already been put out of work.
The US unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April and on June 5 the Labor Department is expected to confirm that it reached 20% in May. In March that figure stood at just 4.4% having risen from a 50-year low from the month before.
There is an ongoing debate in the Congress over a new $3 trillion a new stimulus plan as well as a proposal to renew several federal aid programs that would otherwise lapse, including a temporary increase to jobless benefits that is set to expire in July.
“On Monday, the director general
of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the Covid-19
pandemic is ‘accelerating’.
“There are more than 375,000
cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is
growing by the hour.
“In the present circumstances and
based on the information provided by the WHO today [Tuesday], the IOC president
and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII
Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than
summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the
Olympic Games and the international community.”
The IOC had given itself a deadline of four weeks to consider delaying the
Games but there had been mounting pressure from a host of Olympic committees
and athletes demanding a quicker decision.
On March 22, Canada became the first major country to withdraw from both
events, while USA Track and Field, athletics’ US governing body, had also
called for a postponement.
International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons said the
postponement was “the only logical option”.
Andrew Parsons added: “The health
and wellbeing of human life must always be our number-one priority and staging
a sporting event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible.
“Sport is not the most important
thing right now, preserving human life is. It is essential, therefore, that all
steps are taken to try to limit the spread of this disease.
“By taking this decision now, everyone
involved in the Paralympic movement, including all Para-athletes, can fully
focus on their own health and wellbeing and staying safe during this
unprecedented and difficult time.”
The Olympics have never been delayed in their 124-year modern history,
though they were canceled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during World War
One and World War Two.
Major Cold War boycotts disrupted the Moscow and Los Angeles summer Games in
1980 and 1984.
The Tokyo 2020-IOC joint statement continued: “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.
“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
In Italy, where there are 12,447 confirmed cases, PM Giuseppe Conte has
announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues
across the country.
On March 11, Italian health officials said the death toll there had risen to
827 from 631. Nearly 900 people with the virus in Italy were in intensive care,
the WHO’s emergencies head Michael Ryan said.
Dr. Ryan said the situation in Iran – where there were 354 deaths among
9,000 cases – was “very serious”. The WHO had sent 40,000 testing
kits to Iran but there was still a shortage of ventilators and oxygen.
He said: “Iran and Italy are
suffering now but I guarantee you other countries will be in that situation
France said there had been 48 deaths in the country, an increase of 15 from
March 10. There are 2,281 confirmed cases. Coronavirus-linked restrictions have
been extended to two more areas, France’s health minister said.
In the western US, Washington state is banning some large gatherings in
certain areas and has told all school districts to prepare for possible
closures in the coming days. The governor of Seattle’s King County said he
expected a serious coronavirus outbreak within weeks.
In the eastern US, New York’s governor announced that troops would be sent
into New Rochelle, in an attempt to contain an outbreak of the virus, as the
total number of US cases passed 1,000 on March 11.
A one-mile containment zone was in force around the town north of Manhattan.
Some individuals have been quarantined.
A number of countries have imposed sweeping travel restrictions. India has
suspended most visas for foreigners until April 15. Guatemala is banning
European citizens from entering from March 12.
Music festivals and other major events in the US, including Coachella
festival in California, have been canceled or postponed. The E3 gaming show set
for Los Angeles in June is among those canceled.
Thousands of flights have been canceled worldwide as airlines struggle to
cope with a slump in demand.
UK health minister Nadine Dorries announced she had tested positive for
coronavirus and was self-isolating at home.
Several countries – including Sweden and Bulgaria, as well as the Republic
of Ireland – have recorded their first deaths, while the number of confirmed
cases in Qatar jumped from 24 to 262.
China – where the virus was first detected – has seen a total of 80,754
confirmed cases and 3,136 deaths. However, China recorded its lowest number of
new infections, just 19, on March 10.
Worldwide stock markets saw sharp falls because of concerns about the
economic impact of the virus.
China said it would postpone the annual meeting of the National People’s
Congress in March, to “continue the efforts” against the coronavirus.
The meeting, which approves decisions made by the Communist Party, has taken
place every year since 1978.
The proportion of infected people who die from Covid-19 appears to be
between 1% and 2%, although the WHO cautions that the mortality rate is not
On February 24, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain reported their
first cases, all involving people who had come from Iran. Officials in Bahrain
said the patient infected there was a school bus driver, and several schools
had been closed as a result.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief of the WHO, told reporters on February 24
that the number of new cases in recent days in Iran, Italy and South Korea was
However he added: “For the moment
we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are
not witnessing large scale severe disease or deaths.
“Does this virus have pandemic potential?
Absolutely, it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet.”
“The key message that should give
all countries hope, courage and confidence is that this virus can be contained,
indeed there are many countries that have done exactly that,” he added.
“Using the word ‘pandemic’ now
does not fit the facts but may certainly cause fear.”
However, Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies program, said now was
the time to make “do everything you would do to prepare for a
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