Men must step up and donate their blood plasma to help defeat coronavirus, the NHS has urged, as it is revealed that women make up almost two thirds of donors.
Female patients are far more willing to provide samples and represent 63 per cent of all volunteers (73,369), compared with 37 per cent of male patients (42,809).
However, women’s plasma is less valuable as men are three times more likely to produce a sample with a high quantity of antibodies, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
The health service is now urging men who have had the virus to come forward to donate ahead of a possible second wave in the autumn.
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India surpasses 4 million cases
India’s coronavirus cases crossed 4 million on Saturday, leading the world in new infections and closing in on Brazil’s total as the second-highest in the world.
The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to 4,023,179. Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections while the US has 6,200,186 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 1,089 deaths for a total of 69,561.
Initially, the virus ravaged India’s sprawling and often densely populated cities. It has since stretched to almost every state in India, spreading through villages and smaller cities where access to health care is crippled.
Australia’s hot spot continues to improve
The state of Victoria reported 76 new infections and 11 deaths on Saturday, as trends in Australia’s hot spot for the disease continued to gradually improve after nearly five weeks of a hard lockdown in the state’s capital Melbourne.
State premier Daniel Andrews is due to outline plans on Sunday for easing Melbourne’s stage 4 restrictions which shut large parts of the economy, required everyone to stay home except for essential business, and imposed a night time curfew.
Frustration with the prolonged lockdown has led to calls for protests in Melbourne on Saturday, which would be illegal under the stage 4 restrictions, and police were out in force.
Victoria’s daily new cases were below 100 on most days this week, down from a peak of 725 new infections on Aug. 5, but remain higher than health officials had hoped five weeks into a six-week hard lockdown.
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School closes due to single case of Covid
An academy in Staffordshire has become the first school to shut down this academic year after a single case of coronavirus.
The JCB Academy in Rocester, which welcomed pupils back at the end of last month, told pupils to stay at home on Friday following advice from public health officials.
It is believed to be the first time since schools reopened for the new term that an entire institution has closed its doors due to coronavirus.
JCB Academy’s principal said it closed to all students on Friday “as a precaution” after one pupil tested positive for Covid-19.
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South Korea’s caseload decreasing under restrictions
South Korea has reported 168 new cases, the third consecutive day the daily jump came below 200 in a possible sign the country is starting to see the effects of unprecedented social distancing restrictions.
The figures released on Saturday brought the national caseload to 21,010, including 333 deaths.
Officials say 115 of the new cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s 51 million population. Infections were also reported in other big cities, including Bunsan, Gwangju, Daejeon and Daegu.
Authorities have decided to extend for another week tougher social distancing restrictions in the Seoul area, saying the viral spread is still at risky levels.
Mexico tortilla shop gives free TV, internet for school kids
A tortilla shop has started giving free wifi and television access for kids in its Mexico City neighbourhood whose homes don’t have them, or whose brothers and sisters are already using the services for remote learning during the pandemic.
Mexico’s government schools started at-distance classes Aug. 24 using televised lessons due to the coronavirus, because 94 per cent of Mexican homes have TVs. But there are often many youngsters in a Mexican family and they all need to look up something online or watch classes at the same time.
That is where the “Rinconcito de Esperanza” – the Corner of Hope – comes in. The owners of Grandma’s Tortilla Shop in the southern borough of Tlalpan set up learning areas to offer free tutoring, TV and computer access.
The assemblage of space spills out of the store into a tent set up on the sidewalk outside, and continues into the bed of an old pickup truck parked at the curb. A true community effort, classes that need more room or quiet are held in neighbouring shops.
Indigenous Brazilians launch Covid tracing app
Indigenous and environmental organisations in Brazil launched an app on Friday aimed at alerting indigenous communities to the spread of the pandemic in their lands.
“The application maps and periodically updates the situation regarding the pandemic in cities within a 100 kilometer radius of indigenous lands,” said the Coordination of the Indigenous Organisations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in a joint statement.
The app, called “Covid-19 Indigenous Alert” aims to help indigenous people identify areas with high infection rates.
Provided free on the Android system, the app uses data from Brazil’s health ministry, people working in the indigenous health system, leaders from indigenous organisations and the COIAB network.
With four million cases and 125,000 deaths amongst its 212 million population, Brazil is the worst affected country in the world by the virus after the US.
Amongst the 900,000 indigenous people there have been 30,000 infections and 785 deaths, according to The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB.)