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China on alert over holiday week, doctors question Turkey govt & other global Covid news

As the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up, ThePrint highlights the most important stories on the crisis from across the globe.

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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count being over 3.1 crore cases and more than 9.6 lakh deaths.

Healthcare workers in Australia struggle for PPE gear. Politicians and doctors play blame game over Covid situation in Turkey and new Covid swab test collecting robot in Singapore offers a safer alternative.

ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.

Healthcare workers in Australia struggle for PPE

A new study has revealed that healthcare workers in Australia are having a difficult time getting personal protective equipment (PPE) for themselves, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

This study looked at over 400 doctors, nurses, paramedics and aged care workers. “The stories, contributed by healthcare workers signing a petition last month calling on federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to upgrade national mask guidelines, claim a slow managerial response to escalating concerns about inadequate equipment as Covid-19 spread,” says the report.

The report quoted a Victorian nurse who said, “After arranging our own PPE, we were told we were causing hysteria. Sadly, these people got it wrong and now over 1,000 healthcare workers are infected with COVID.”

Australia has recorded 26,912 cases of Covid-19 and 851 deaths.

Covid situation in Turkey turns doctors against politicians

The increase in coronavirus cases again in Turkey has led to tensions between doctors and politicians. The former allege that official figures are underreporting the magnitude of the infection, while political leaders have accused the medical association of undermining efforts to contain it, reports Reuters.

“Many doctors question the official Covid-19 numbers, saying that although they don’t have their own independent nationwide data, the scale of cases they see at a local level does not tally with the bigger picture presented by the government,” says the report.

It adds that: “Doctors across Turkey wore black ribbons this week to commemorate colleagues who have died, part of protests which also included a social media campaign with a message for the government: ‘You can’t manage it; we are exhausted’.”

Turkey has reported 3,02,867 cases of Covid-19 and 7,506 deaths.

Also read: These countries think their govt did a good job of dealing with the Covid pandemic

Singapore develops SwabBot to collect nasal samples

Clinicians in Singapore have developed a robot, called SwabBot, that takes nasal samples from patients being tested for Covid-19, reports The Straits Times. Experts maintain that this procedure is “safer, faster and more comfortable in comparison with manual swab tests”.

“Although other countries have developed similar robots, the clinicians said the made-in-Singapore bot is the first that allows patients to fully control the swab process so they are more comfortable,” explains the report.

“SwabBot is equipped with a built-in feature that withdraws the swab stick if there is resistance when it is moved deeper into the nasal cavity. If patients feel uncomfortable at any point, they can stop the process by moving their head away from the robot,” it adds.

Singapore has recorded 57,576 cases of Covid-19 and 27 deaths.

China on alert due to upcoming holiday season

The Chinese authorities are on alert given the upcoming week-long holiday starting 1 October. This is the biggest holiday after the country brought its coronavirus infections under control, reports the South China Morning Post.

The authorities have recommended that citizens must avoid “unnecessary” travel abroad.

“Large parts of the country went into lockdown during the Lunar New Year holiday, but weak domestic consumption is expected to rebound during the so-called Golden Week, usually the peak season for tourism and entertainment industries,” says the report.

China has reported 85,291 cases of Covid-19 and 4,634 deaths.

Also read: Girls are quitting school to work in Covid-hit rural India, Nepal, other Asian countries

UK calls on experts to tell public pandemic at a critical point

On Monday, the seniormost government scientists in the UK will make an appeal to the public to exercise even greater caution as the country’s coronavirus trajectory is “heading in the wrong direction” and a “critical point has been reached”, reports The Guardian.

“With the disease on the rise across the UK in all age groups, and with cases doubling each week, ministers hope the scientists’ broadcast will help hammer home the message that tough new restrictions will be unavoidable if the situation fails to improve,” says the report.

UK has reported 3,94,257 cases of Covid-19 and 41,777 deaths.

South American countries to join COVAX vaccine facility

Countries in South America like Brazil, Argentina and other Latin American nations had sought time to affirm whether they will be joining the global vaccine facility called COVAX, but have now confirmed they will join, reports Reuters.

“Peru’s foreign ministry said on Saturday it managed to sign the binding agreement on Friday and will get access to 12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, a scheme for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of eventual vaccines,” says the report.

After missing the deadline on Friday, Brazil and Argentina also said that they intend on joining as soon as possible.

“A dozen Central and Latin American countries had informed the WHO they would request more time to sign up after the midnight on Friday deadline to formalise legally-binding documents,” says the report.

What else we are reading:

Saudi Arabia records less than 500 new Covid-19 cases for first time in 5 months: Arab News

With flags, crosses and photos, mourning 2,00,000 dead: The New York Times

Also read: What virus? With packed bars & beaches, Latin America behaves like Covid is gone


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