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A day after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov tested positive for a coronavirus and a number of other government officials and high-ranking officers in the armed forces were being treated or isolated, Defense Minister Krassimir Karakachanov visited the Balkan Wall 2020 tactical military exercise - largest conducted by the Army in the last 20 years according to the Ministry of Defense. Previously he had also limited his contacts due to a meeting with the positive for COVID-19 commander of the Air Force.

 As it became clear from Karakachanov's words to Btv, the Deputy-Prime Minister was 10 days of isolation, meanwhile he took tests on the fourth and the ninth day. The Sofia Regional Health Inspectorate did not quarantine him, he specified in connection with the resignation of the head of the health inspectorate earlier today.

Today Karakachanov shook hands with servicemen without observing the obligatory distance and without wearing protective mask. When asked why he does not comply with the anti-epidemic measures, the Minister answered that it is a matter of respect when you talk to someone, not to wear a mask. Officers and soldiers present were wearing masks however.

 He also publicly put disinfectant on his hands, as he thought it was right to use it after contact, not before contact.

Toplofikacia Sofia EAD starts on Wednesday, October 28, the general switching on of the heating as public utilities in the capital, the company announced on its website. Kindergartens, schools and health facilities will be included in stages, then residential buildings in all areas, and finally - administrative and business users.

 The company reminds the customers to open the valves of their radiators as much as possible, so that there is no need for additional air removal  from the radiators after the start of the heating, as well as to check their electronic meter devices. In case their display is turned off, they should seek assistance from their service company  - so called "heat accountant".

Two teachers from Northeastern Bulgaria lost the battle with COVID-19. One is a 48-year-old teacher at the Nikola Vaptsarov Primary School in Razgrad. The other is a 49-year-old colleague of hers from the Vocational School of Clothing and Nutrition in Shumen. Both teachers have been in hospital for the past week and have had no contact with colleagues or students.

The teacher from Shumen felt bad 10 days ago. The next day, the coronavirus infection was confirmed. A little later, the 49-year-old woman was admitted to hospital. Her condition worsened and she was transferred to the intensive care unit, but died.

RHI inspectors have issued instructions for complete disinfection of the school. There, two children are in quarantine, but they are in contact with their relatives. There is another teacher with a positive sample.


In Vratsa and Ruse the planned operations and the planned admission to the hospitals have been stopped. All medical institutions in Vratsa prepare 10% of their beds for the reception of those infected with COVID-19. The University of Ruse is moving to entirely online education. In Haskovo, the masks on the market remain mandatory, regardless of whether there is a crowd or not.

327 are the new cases of COVID-19 in Bulgaria

Since October 30, the nightclubs in Varna will be closed for two weeks. Cultural events will be held at 30% capacity and with a distance of two meters. Weddings will not be canceled, but will also be held at reduced capacity.

Nightclubs in Sofia, Blagoevgrad, Gabrovo, Shumen and Sliven remain closed.

In the municipality of Mezdra, all personal events, cultural and indoor sports events are terminated. A market entry and exit regime is introduced. The restaurants will be open until 10 pm. Outdoor celebrations can be held at a distance of one and a half meters and the wearing of masks.

In Mezdra and Vratsa, all outdoor sports and cultural events have been suspended. The activity of the retirement clubs has also been suspended.

In Pernik restaurants and bars can work only until 10 PM.

The director of the Sofia Regional Health Inspectorate, Dr. Dancho Penchev, has resigned, NOVA has learned. The reasons for his decision are currently unknown.

We remind you that the capital's RHI lifted the quarantine of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov the day before he gave a positive test for coronavirus.

The Minister of Health Prof. Kostadin Angelov has accepted the resignation.

Schools can move to distance learning after permission from the Minister of Education and proposal by school principals, the Ministry of Education ordered, BTA has reported. 

The proposal to move to e-learning will be made by principals in areas with the complicated epidemic situation, falling into the red or orange zone. Also, when the school has an increasing number of absentees or under quarantine, an increasing number of positive tests for Covid-19 or many cases of influenza. It is also necessary that the proposal is taken by the pedagogical council and the opinion of the majority of parents is also taken into account, the order reads./BNR

Over 30 Turkish-backed rebels have been killed after Russian planes targeted their military training camp in north-western Syria with airstrikes, according to a monitoring group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the camp belonged to Faylaq al-Sham, an alliance of Sunni Islamist rebel groups that is aligned with Turkey.

The watchdog said some 70 other people were wounded, adding that search operations were ongoing/Dpa 

Seven people were detained when military forces stormed a tanker suspected to have been hijacked off the Isle of Wight reported BBC.

Sixteen members of the Special Boat Service (SBS) ended a 10-hour standoff, which started when stowaways on board the Liberian-registered Nave Andromeda reportedly became violent. The stowaways, believed to be Nigerians seeking UK asylum, were handed over to Hampshire Police on Sunday night. British forces descended on to the vessel by rope from four Royal Navy helicopters after nightfall. The operation by Special Boat Service commandos is exactly what this elite and secretive unit trains intensively for. 

A team of Royal Navy divers was deployed in one of the Royal Navy helicopters in case the vessel had been mined - but it had not.

The 22 crew members were found safe. The ship later docked in Southampton.

The 748ft-long (228m) ship left Lagos on 5 October, and was heading to Fawley Oil Refinery near Southampton. As it approached its destination just east of the Isle of Wight on Sunday morning it was reported that seven stowaways on board had become violent.

Concerns over the crew's welfare were raised at 10:04 GMT when the vessel was six miles off Bembridge, police said.

The 22 crew members locked themselves in the ship's citadel - secure area - and were safe. A three-mile exclusion zone was put in place around the vessel.

Hampshire Constabulary said late on Sunday: "Police are investigating this incident and we have a number of inquiries to carry out to establish the full circumstances."/BBC


Crisis in the Emergency Service in Bulgaria's Capital Sofia. 

The spokesperson of the Center for Emergency Medical Aid - Sofia, Katya Sungarska commented for Nova TV its readiness and how it is working during the pandemic.

Between 15 and 20 are the teams that serve the entire capital. This is many times less than the minimum, said the unit's spokeswoman Katya Sungarska. Only yesterday 10 of the emergency medics were tested for COVID-19.

"Each ambulance is equipped with resuscitation equipment and everything that is set according to medical standards. Of course, we have resuscitation equipment in the ambulance, " commented the spokesperson.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been working in full combat readiness. There is an absolute mobilization. Holidays are prohibited. Doctors who have to rest after heavy shifts come to work on their weekends to help their colleagues, ”Sungarska said.

"Often citizens are not objective enough and even lie to us. When they call us for heart symptoms, the dispatchers ask if they have a fever or a cough. They are told "no", and it is established on the spot that they actually have. This puts medics at risk. I beg the citizens not to do that, "she added.

"According to the standard for Sofia, the teams of Emergency Aid should be at least 80, and the capital works only with 18-17 teams, and sometimes it goes down to 12 teams, because colleagues become infected" explained Katya Sungarska.

Italy:

With a new decree the Italian government imposed more restrictions in the battle against COVID-19 announced prime-minister Conte.

From today until November 24, sports halls, public swimming pools, gambling halls, cinemas, theaters and spas will close their doors in the country.In addition, all catering establishments - bars, restaurants and cafes will be open until 18:00. It is also planned that only four people will be able to sit at one table, instead of six, as it was before. Exceptions will be made when visitors are family members and live together. After 6 pm, restaurants can only make home deliveries.

Conte also advised Italian citizens to reduce to minimum their traveling and movements outside. So far, no curfew has been introduced throughout the country, but it already operates in a number of regions, including the capital region of Lazio. It is forbidden to go out after 11 pm, unless there is an urgent need.

Measures such as wearing a mask everywhere, measuring body temperature, self-isolation in case of infection or contact with an infected person remain unchanged. For now, schools remain open, although in many upper grades, education is moving online. Distance learning has been introduced in the universities.

In Italy, since the beginning of October, maximum daily increases have been registered every day for positive with Covid-19. On October 23, this figure exceeded 19,000. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of people infected with the new coronavirus is over half a million, of which more than 250,000 have been cured and more than 37,000 have died from complications of the infection.


France:

Last night, the National Assembly - the lower house of parliament, passed a bill at first reading to extend the state of emergency in the country due to the coronavirus until February 16. This happened on the day of a new record for the number of new cases of coronavirus in France in one day, as reported by Reuters. The total confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country exceeded 1 million.

France is only the seventh country in the world to cross this threshold and the second in the European Union after Spain.

The bill will be voted on by the Senate on Wednesday before it is finally approved by the National Assembly, as expected, early next month. The state of emergency in France was restored by decree a week ago. However, in order for the measure to be extended by more than a month, it is necessary for it to be stipulated by a law, notes AFP. The project provides opportunities to extend the restrictions until April 1.

Greece has once again extended the ban on the free entry of foreigners into the country.

By November 8, everyone who wants to enter our southern neighbor must have a special QR code, as well as a negative PCR test done at least 72 hours before the trip. The test requirement does not apply to truck drivers.

The coronavirus cases worldwide have neared the 43 million cases mark, as per the latest updates by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), as of Sunday.

The total cases currently stand at 42,923,311 cases of which 1,152,978 patients globally have succumbed to the virus, according to the University's global tracker. JHU further stated that as many as 28,898,316 patients have recovered from the disease worldwide.

As per the tracker, India has the highest number of recovered patients in the world with the number of recovered patients in the country crossing the 7 million recoveries mark at 7,078,123.

The US continues to be the worst affected country from the pandemic with 8,633,194 cases across the country and 225,215 fatalities.

As many as 3,422,878 patients in the United States have recovered from the infection.

According to the tracker, India and Brazil are the second and third most affected country from COVID-19. India has reported 7,864,811 cases and 118,534 fatalities whereas Brazil on the other hand reported 5,380,635 cases and 156,903 deaths across the country.

Russia is the fourth worst-affected country from the virus with 1,503,652 COVID-19 cases and 25,875 deaths. France has 1,130,143 cases of COVID-19 with 34,673 fatalities.

Meanwhile, Argentina (1,090,589 cases and 28,896 deaths), Spain (1,046,132 cases and 34,752 fatalities) and Colombia (1,015,885 cases and 30,000 deaths) are the other three countries that have breached the 1 million cases mark, as per the university.

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 as a pandemic in March, this year. (ANI)

US President Donald Trump's Democratic challenger Joe Biden says he thinks the biggest security threat to America is Russia.
"I think the biggest threat to America right now in terms of breaking up our-- our security and our alliances is Russia.

Secondly, I think that the biggest competitor is China. And depending on how we handle that will determine whether we're competitors or we end up being in a more serious competition relating to force," Biden said in an interview with CBS's Norah O'Donnell. During the final round of the presidential debate, Trump claimed that Biden had received $3.5 million from Russia through Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump also said during the debate that Biden's son, Hunter, allegedly maintains business relations with Elena Baturina, the wife of former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

Biden rejected ever taking "a penny" from foreign sources and also expressed a belief that Russia did not want his victory in the November election.

Putin refused to comment on Trump's claims that Russia allegedly sponsored Biden. "No comment," the Russian leader said on Sunday, as aired by the Rossiya 1 broadcaster.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday commenting on the final US presidential debate that the contenders in the presidential race in the United States "compete for who dislikes Russia more."
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any attempts to meddle in the US domestic affairs. (ANI/Sputnik)

 

In the last 24 hours, 327 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Bulgaria. 2,257 tests were performed.

Most new cases are in Sofia - 125, followed by Blagoevgrad with 31 and Targovishte with 25.

2,036 people are already in hospitals across the country, 146 of whom need intensive care.

122 people were cured in the last 24 hours. 10 patients lost the battle with the disease.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church marks St Dimitar Day, believed to herald the beginning of winter, on Friday, October 26.

Orthodox Christians in Greece and other churches observing the Gregorian calendar are celebrating the holiday of St Demetrius.

St Demetrius of Thessaloniki, a Christian martyr who lived in the 4th century, is an important saint for Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, and Russians.

According to Christian mythology, St Dimitar, "master of frost and snow", rides a red horse and the year's first snowflakes fall from his white beard.

As a forerunner of winter, in popular beliefs St Dimitar is associated with the netherworld - the world of the dead and of the forefathers. The so-called Dimitrovska Zadushnitsa (All Souls' Day) is on the Saturday preceding the St Dimitar Day.

The church holiday is in honor of the Holy Martyr St Dimitar. Legend has it that he was born in the town of Thessaloniki. After the death of his father, he became a chief of town, accepted the Christian religion and started teaching the residents of Thessaloniki that they should not believe and pray to idols but that they should open their hearts to Jesus Christ.

That was why emperor Maximillian ordered that Dimitar was thrown in a dungeon. Even locked in prison, St. Dimitar continued spreading his faith among the people and because of that he was murdered - speared in the ribs. After some time, during the digging of a ditch, St. Dimitar's holy remains, which radiated healing and fragrant "miro", were discovered.

In the church songs, St. Dimitar is glorified as a martyr, keeper of kings, man who disapproved wars and a harbor for those seeking help. These last images of Saint Dimitar find their own place in the folklore rituals.

On that day people who bear the name Dimitar, Dimitrina, Mitko or Dimo traditionally host great parties and, joined by their friends, celebrate their Name's Day.

Tao Geoghegan Hart has won the 103rd edition of the Giro d'Italia. 

The 25-year-old from Ineos Grenadiers did better than his rival Hindley in the last time trial and won the pink jersey. No one in the history had ever won the Giro without ever wearing the pink jersey before the last stage (except Scarponi, winner in 2011).

Great revenge for Geoghegan Hart after his fall in the descent from Colle de Lys last year and consequent retirement from the competition. The Briton had arrived at the Giro thinking he had just to help Geraint Thomas, who was taken out of the race by a water bottle, then he earned the rank of captain on the hardest climbs (first in Piancavallo then Sestriere) and won the most important victory of his career. For the first time in the history of the Grand Tours, two riders reached the last stage with the same time, before the final time trial, in fact Jai Hindley was wearing the pink with 0,86 seconds ahead of his rival. A minimal advantage, which was not enough for the Australian.

In the final time trial from Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milan the 25-year-old British rider from Ineos team got the better of Hindley and took the Endless Trophy that belongs to the winner.

The two competitors for the trophy started last in the chronometer today, after shaking hands at the start. Geoghegan Hart immediately did better than Hindley. 12'06 " was the time of the British at the intermediate check-point, the Australian constantly was losing time, 22" behind at the intermediate check. At the finish line under the Duomo, the gap was definitive, 39 ", Geoghegan Hart  celebrated by kissing his girlfriend who was awaiting him at the finish.

THE FINAL STANDINGS— Geoghegan Hart wins the Giro, second Hindley at 39 ", third Kelderman at 1'29". Fourth Almeida at 2'57 "

The Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov tests positive for coronavirus. He announced that on his Facebook page.


"Although the RHI officially lifted my quarantine, on Friday I postponed all meetings and public events for the coming days. After two PCR tests today I am positive for COVID-19. In general, I have a general indisposition, at the moment, at the discretion of doctors, I stay on home treatment. All contacts with me have been submitted to RHI. I am sure that by following the measures, we will succeed together! "

 

Въпреки че РЗИ официално ми свали карантината, още в петък отложих всички срещи и публични прояви за предстоящите дни....

Публикувахте от Бойко Борисов в Неделя, 25 октомври 2020 г.

Protesters clashed with police in Rome after a far-right group called for action against the latest lockdown measures in Italy. Around 400 activists gathered in Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday evening reports the Guardian.

The protest came just 24 hours after violent riots took place in Naples when a curfew was imposed and the region's president threatened a full lockdown following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The protest started off peacefully, but turned violent when police told protesters to leave due to a midnight curfew put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

 Protesters threw firecrackers and smoke bombs at the police, Italian news agency Ansa reports.

When officers intervened to disperse the crowd, protesters simply moved towards a different area where further violent protests continued taking place.

Activists also set some rubbish bins alight in the street - similarly to what happened in Naples the previous night.

The protest was organised after Italian far-right political party Forza Nuova called for people to rebel against the curfews.

Ahead of the protest, Forza Nuova leader Giuliano Castellino had said they would hold a peaceful rally.

But just three minutes after midnight, the protest turned violent, with activists attacking police, Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reports.

Officers stopped eight protesters, according to local media, and eventually managed to disperse the crowd./Guardian

The prototype of the Bulgarian vaccine against COVID-19 will be ready by the end of the year, said the Institute of Microbiology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

"I think at the moment we are about 1/3 of the way to our final destination. It is a prototype vaccine that has been tested on laboratory animals. To make sure that this prototype is not harmful, it must first be tested on mice, "said to NOVA Dr. Ilian Manoilov from BAS.

He added that the animals in question are ordered from special kennels. It is also necessary for the Ethics Commission to allow such experiment in Bulgaria.

"We should start the active work with the animals in April-May," Manoilov said.

According to the expert, the public statements of Russia and the United States for several ready-made vaccines are political and they do not concern scientists.

"We have information that the vaccines in question may work. What Russia is doing, however, is not so ethical. "Prototypes of vaccines that have already been created for other viruses are being tested in the United States," Naidenov said.

The scientist said that nowadays economics is very much related to science.

"The fact that many countries buy vaccines without even producing them shows that money is increasingly interfering in our scientific work. This is not right".

Usual Saturday drop in the number of newly registered cases of COVID-19. Of 7,094 tests performed, 1,043 had a positive result, according to the Unified Information Portal. The number of active cases has increased to 18,246, of which 1976 are in hospital. 138 people are in serious condition and accommodated in intensive care units.

Nightclubs in Sofia are closing because of COVID-19

The highest number of registered cases is in Sofia - 393, over a third of the total number, followed by Plovdiv - 76 and Varna - 58.

7 people have died in the past 24 hours. 130 were cured.

On Sunday morning, traditionally, the number of tests performed - respectively positive for COVID-19 is smaller. However, there are tensions in the healthcare system - hospitals across the country are suffocating from a shortage of doctors and free beds. Such is the case in the capital's emergency "St. Anna".

Anti-epidemic measures are intensifying in Sofia. Mayor Yordanka Fandakova announced that the nightclubs will be closed for two weeks, and it is recommended that universities undergo permanent online training. The decision was made by the municipal crisis headquarters with the director of the Sofia Health Inspectorate, BNR reported.

"Even today we have an increase in the number of infected and, more importantly, an increase in the number of hospitalized and people in need of treatment in intensive care units. This poses a serious challenge to the health system of our city. We decided tomorrow to be The nightclubs in the city are closed, and at the same time we recommend to the employers to release for online work all the teams that have the opportunity to work from home.The universities, where there is an opportunity, also to go to online training.
Of course, we continue with the increased control over wearing masks and keeping distance in public transport, in commercial establishments, everywhere where people gather. We must do everything possible to reduce this pace, because Sofia has entered the red zone permanently. "

Yesterday The Minister of Health issued an order imposing ban on planned operations in Sofia and five other cities and ordered 10% of the capacity of each hospital in the cities with the most patients to be allocated for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

A complete ban on planned operations and scheduled admission to hospitals in regions with a morbidity of more than 120 people per 100,000 population is imposed by a new order of the Minister of Health Prof. Kostadin Angelov. This week in Bulgaria there are six regions with such morbidity - Blagoevgrad, Gabrovo, Sliven, Targovishte, Sofia and Shumen. The ban does not apply to transplantation, treatment and diagnosis of patients with cancer, assisted reproduction activities and births.

In addition, all hospitals in the respective regions will be required to disclose COVID structures with a minimum of 10% of the total number of beds available. In areas with an incidence between 60 and 119.9 people per 100,000 population, hospitals must set aside at least 5% of their beds for coronavirus treatment. The order takes effect on Sunday.

By order of the head of Sofia Regional Health Inspectorate total of 526 beds in Sofia to be designated for uncomplicated patients in the largest hospitals in Sofia and 97 beds for intensive care.

In addition, all possible medical establishments on the territory of Sofia - state, municipal and private are obliged to have a COVID-zone and not to return patients with COVID-19 symptoms. That includes many medical establishments which so far have not treated infectious diseases like gynecology clinics, oncology centers and the National Hematology Hospital.

In some of the hospitals, registration for volunteers has already started. In other it is still discussed how to carry out the order, given that ventilation is common, elevators are few, there are no two separate entrances to separate patients, nor there are doctors who can treat such diseases, for example - in the eye and obstetric clinics.

The Bulgarian Medical Association insists measures against the spread of the coronavirus to be strengthened instead of stopping the planned activities of hospitals.

This is stated in the position of the organization sent to the media. They add that the medics are on the verge of mental and physical exhaustion against the background of the increasing number of cases of infection among them, and 21 medics in Bulgaria have already lost their lives.

The Union does not want the economy to stop and the state “to close”, the organization said, but called for nightclubs to be closed and for restrictions to be held on sporting events where safeguards could not be controlled and ensured.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, presidential spokesperson Blazej Spychalski announced on Twitter on Saturday morning.

The president, 48, is feeling well, Spychalski wrote.

"We are in constant contact with medical services," the spokesperson wrote, without giving further details.

Poland reported a record-high number of coronavirus infections on Friday, at over 13,600 cases. New restrictions come into force across the country on Saturday aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus./DPA

More than 50 million Americans have cast ballots in the US presidential election with 11 days to go in the campaign, a pace that could lead to the highest voter turnout in over a century, according to data from the US Elections Project on Friday.

The eye-popping figure is a sign of intense interest in the contest between Republican Donald Trump and Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger, as well as Americans’ desire to reduce their risk of exposure to Covid-19, which has killed more than 221,000 people across the United States.

Many states have expanded in-person early voting and mail-in ballots ahead of election day on 3 November, as a safer way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.

The high level of early voting has led Michael McDonald, the University of Florida professor who administers the US Elections Project, to predict a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65% of eligible voters, the highest rate since 1908.

In Texas, the level of voting has already surpassed 70% of the total turnout in 2016. In Georgia, some have waited in line for more than 10 hours to cast their ballots. And Wisconsin has seen a record number of early votes, with 1.1 million people having returned their ballots as of this week. Voters in Virginia, Ohio and Georgia have also seen long lines at early voting sites.

The pandemic has upended campaign traditions and its effects are still being felt. Americans may find themselves waiting days or weeks to know who won as election officials count tens of millions of mail-in votes. Democrats are encouraging supporters to vote early – either in person or by mail – amid fears that the United States Postal Service (USPS) may not have the capacity to deliver mail-in ballots to election officials on time.

Ongoing Republican efforts to restrict which votes are counted and how have also worried voting rights advocates. This week, the supreme court allowed Alabama officials to ban curbside voting. The Iowa supreme court also upheld a Republican-backed law that could prevent election officials from sending thousands of mail-in ballots, by making it more difficult for auditors to correct voter applications with omitted information.

Trump and Biden met on Thursday night for a final debate ahead of election day, with Snap polls taken afterwards showing a majority of viewers believed Biden had the better showing.

Lagging in national polls, the president has been keeping a busy schedule of rallies, although with many voters having cast their ballots already, it’s unclear what effect the push will have.

On Friday, the president held events in the battleground state of Florida, where opinion polls show a tight race and over 4 million votes have already been cast, approaching half the total four years ago.

When Trump asked the crowd how many had voted, “nearly every hand” went up, reported NBC’s Shannon Pettypiece, who was at the event.

Next week Trump will head to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and, somewhat surprisingly, Nebraska. He won Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by less than 1 point in 2016, and recent polls show Biden pulling several points ahead in the battleground states.

Biden, meanwhile, delivered a speech in his home state of Delaware on his plans for leading a recovery from the pandemic. Biden’s speech comes as the US has hit its highest single-day coronavirus case count since late July, reporting 71,671 new cases yesterday.

“This president still doesn’t have a plan,” Biden said. “He’s given up. He’s quit on you. He’s quit on America.”

Echoing his comments during Thursday night’s debate, Biden said he would not shut down the country in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m not going to shut down the country. I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m going to shut down the virus,” Biden said in Wilmington./The Guardian

 

The clinical trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine -- AZD1222 -- have resumed in the United States after approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the company said on Friday (local time).

According to an official statement issued by AstraZeneca, "The FDA has authorised the restart in the US, following the resumption of trials in other countries in recent weeks. The FDA reviewed all safety data from trials globally and concluded it was safe to resume the trial." "Clinical trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine, AZD1222, have resumed across the world with regulators in the US, UK, Brazil, South Africa and Japan confirming that it was safe to do so," the statement added.

AstraZeneca's US trial was paused since September 6 after the UK-based biopharma giant had announced that the phase 3 testing of its COVID-19 vaccine has been put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant in the United Kingdom.
The trials of the third phase of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine had resumed in the UK in September.
The company said in its statement, "It is not unusual that in large scale vaccine trials, some participants will become unwell, and every case has to be evaluated to ensure the careful assessment of safety."

AstraZeneca is working with the UK's University of Oxford to develop the coronavirus vaccine, one of four that started late-stage, Phase 3 trials in the US, CNN said.

According to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University, globally 42,020,333 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 1,140,953 deaths have been reported so far. (ANI)

 

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that coronavirus-related social restrictions will remain in force at least until this December.

"We will be accessing the effectiveness of the made decisions ... At least until the beginning of December, everything that was announced by the government will remain in place. These measures -- I can say this to your for sure -- will not be reduced and they may even be reinforced if we find them not effective enough," Macron said during a press conference. The President argued that it would not be possible to get rid of the coronavirus "by chance" or due to "herd immunity."

Macron also suggested, citing scientific data, that the coronavirus will remain something that the society will have to deal with "until summer in the best-case scenario."

France has been hit by a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, which has been regaining pace since July. The country has registered over 1 million coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic and has been among the worst-hit nations. On Thursday, the authorities introduced a curfew in 54 departments across France, affecting a total of 46 million people. (ANI/Sputnik)

 

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, announced today a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19. 

The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts. 

Through the collaboration, people everywhere will be able to access and share WHO infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia. 

With these new freely-licensed resources, Wikipedia’s more than 250,000 volunteer editors can also build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage, which currently offers more than 5,200 coronavirus-related articles in 175 languages. This WHO content will also be translated across national and regional languages through Wikipedia’s vast network of global volunteers.

“Equitable access to trusted health information is critical to keeping people safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. "Our new collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation will increase access to reliable health information from WHO across multiple countries, languages, and devices."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO has taken steps to prevent an “infodemic”— defined by the organization as “an overabundance of information and the rapid spread of misleading or fabricated news, images, and videos.” 

Wikipedia editors have similarly been on the frontlines of preventing the spread of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus, ensuring information about the pandemic is based on reliable sources and updated regularly on Wikipedia. 

By making verified information about the pandemic available to more people on one of the world’s most-visited knowledge resources, the organizations aim to help curb this infodemic and ensure everyone can access critical public health information.

“Access to information is essential to healthy communities and should be treated as such,” said Katherine Maher, CEO at the Wikimedia Foundation. “This becomes even more clear in times of global health crises when information can have life-changing consequences. All institutions, from governments to international health agencies, scientific bodies to Wikipedia, must do our part to ensure everyone has equitable and trusted access to knowledge about public health, regardless of where you live or the language you speak.”

WHO has served as the leading international health agency spearheading the global response to the coronavirus outbreak. Since the beginning, WHO has worked to rapidly establish international coordination, scale up country readiness and response, and accelerate research and innovation. Today, as information on the transmission and epidemiology of the virus evolves, WHO continues to provide essential guidance and public health recommendations to governments, communities and individuals everywhere.

At the same time, Wikipedia volunteer editors, many of whom are from the medical community, have been creating, updating, and translating Wikipedia articles with information from reliable sources about the pandemic. As one of the top ten sites in the world, studies have shown that Wikipedia is one of the most frequently viewed sources for health information. 

At the moment, readers can access WHO’s mythbusting series of infographics on Wikimedia Commons. The infographics, which focus on addressing common misconceptions about COVID-19, are also available for Wikipedia editors to incorporate into Wikipedia articles. 

In the coming months, the Wikimedia Foundation and WHO will continue uploading resources to Wikimedia Commons and collaborating with Wikipedia volunteer editors to better understand gaps in information needs on Wikipedia articles related to COVID-19 and how WHO resources can help fill these gaps. 

Additionally, under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, other organizations, individuals, and websites can more easily share these materials on their own platforms without having to address stricter copyright restrictions. 

1,589 are the new cases of coronavirus in Bulgaria for the last 24 hours. This is 16.2 percent of the total number surveyed in the last 24 hours. 9831 PCR tests were performed, the National Information System announced.

In first place in terms of the number of newly infected is Sofia with 594 positive samples, followed by Plovdiv with 147 and Blagoevgrad with 109.

13 people have died in the last 24 hours. The hospital accommodates 1,886 people, 127 of whom are in intensive care units.

269 people were cured in the last 24 hours.

Sofia Regional Health Inspectorate on October 23 imposed quarantine on all close contact persons of Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Nikolai Nankov, who has tested positive for coronavirus.

They have been identified, informed and will be given prescriptions.

Among the contacts are Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Petya Avramova, Minister of Finance Kiril Ananiev, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Desislava Taneva, and Sevdelina Arnaudova from the GERB party headquarters.

Today, after a positive test for COVID-19, the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works was imposed isolation at home.

In compliance with the order of the Minister of Health, all close contact persons of Deputy Minister Nankov are subject to quarantine.

Earlier, PM Borissov wrote on his Facebok profile that a PCR test done on him that morning had been negative.

He said that he was self-isolating, pending instructions from the regional health inspectorate, after he was informed that Deputy Regional Development Minister Nikolai Nankov had tested positive for coronavirus.

In line with safety requirements, he was tested before all international meetings and travel, he said.

"I was informed by Nankov at 16:00 on Friday that he had tested positive for Covid-19," Borissov added.

He said that he had last been in contact with Nankov five days ago./BNT








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