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British PM and Scientists clash on Christmas liberties, Omicron now surging in UK  

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, December 31, 2021  – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the face of threats from the omicron variant last week decided not to institute any further restrictions on UK residents for Christmas.

A few days before Christmas Johnson said, “In view of the continuing uncertainty about several things – the severity of Omicron, uncertainty about the hospitalisation rate or the impact of the vaccine rollout or the boosters, we don’t think today that there is enough evidence to justify any tougher measures before Christmas.”

There were celebrations from some but others including scientists had doubts about the lax approach.

Virologist, Professor Lawrence Young spoke to the Guardian newspaper about what the lack of new restrictions might cause. He said, “Waiting for case numbers and hospitalisations to increase is likely to be too late to suppress the spread … A short circuit break now would have prevented more people from getting infected and from having to isolate which is now impacting many essential services.”

Other scientists were also wary of the seeming lack of response, one in particular Trish Greenhalgh, a professor of primary care health services at the University of Oxford warned against the heavy dependence on booster shots to prevent the spread when simple preventive measures were being ignored.

She told The Guardian,“There are strong scientific arguments for people to immediately cease the activities that are known to cause transmission of this exceptionally contagious variant”

Cases in the UK were trending down at the time of the announcement with about 90, 000 cases per day on the 21st and 22nd of December. There has however been a sharp increase with more than 318, 000 cases recorded on the 27th of December. The case numbers fell to about 128, 000 on the 28th but have been trending upwards of 120 since then.

Johnson has not yet revealed whether or not more stringent measures will be implemented in the New Year.

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Bahamas News

WHO says COVID deaths THREE TIMES higher

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

May 14, 2022 – Weeks ago the world marked an awful milestone 6 million COVID-19 deaths now the WHO says the real number may be almost three times higher.

In a recent press release the organization said new estimates from its data show that the full death toll or excess mortality associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021 was approximately 14.9 million but might be as high as 16.6 million.

The organization explained that,  “Excess mortality is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years.”

Basically the excess mortality rate tells us how many people will be alive were it not for COVID. It is important to know what that figures including spikes associated with omicron are not included in this data set so the number could very well be higher.

“These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of the organization.

South-east Asia and the Americas were the worst hit by the pandemic in terms of death toll.

WHO data shows 20 countries, containing approximately 50% of the global population, account for over 80% of the estimated global excess mortality for the January 2020 to December 2021 period.

These countries are: Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States of America (USA).

 

WHO COVID DEATHS Photo caption:  File photo in Jakarta;  at a time when there were fears about running out of space to bury its dead.

(Supplied: Arbain Rambey)

 

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Bahamas News

Two Babies die from toxic Similac, TCI Ministry of Health asks stores to pull bad batches off Shelves

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 14, 2022 – Two infants have died as a result of bad baby food, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Health renewed calls to stay away from Similac and several other baby formulas.

The warning for parents over fears of contaminated baby food came in a press release on Monday and advised all local suppliers, healthcare facilities and parents to read the labels and check for a list of brands and batches.

“Discontinue the sale and/or use of certain batches of powdered infant formulas manufactured by Abbott, namely: Similac, Alimentum and EleCare.”

The products were recalled by the US Food and Drug Administration after consumers complained of illness in infants from Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport.

The TCI Health Ministry advises that the bacteria can cause rare bloodstream and central nervous system infections and has been associated with severe intestinal infection and blood poisoning, especially in newborns.

In the worse cases, two babies in the US have died.

The ministry statement said: “Consumers are advised not to use the recalled products if the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37 and the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2 and has an expiration date of April 2022 or later.”

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Bahamas News

Pineapple Fest Makes Return this June         

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#TheBahamas, May 13, 2022 –  The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (BMOTIA) is excited to announce  the return of the  Annual Pineapple Festival following a twoyear hiatus due to Covid-19.  Deemed by organisers as the “sweetest” festival in The Bahamas, the 33rd Pineapple Festival will take place 3 – 4 June  in charming Gregory Town, Eleuthera.

The annual Pineapple Festival, created in 1987 to honour pineapple farmers of Gregory Town and their contribution to the farming industry, would have marked 35 years if not for the pandemic. Agriculture heritage, in the settlement often referred to as “Pineapple City”, is the focal point of the weekend festival where locals invite visitors to indulge with them in  the naturally sweet like sugar, tropical taste of pineapples.

Festivalgoers will experience lots of food, lots of fun,  interactive games and musical entertainment  for people of all ages to enjoy. For the kids, there will be “Kids World” filled with fun games and sports to enjoy all day long.  Fierce culinary competitions, pineapple eating contest, plaiting of the pineapple pole are just a few of the activities persons can take part in at at this sweet island festival.

The two-day concert segment of the festival begins on Friday, 3 June,  and will be headlined by

Eleuthera’s very own in-house band, Team Blue Waters, with exciting performances by Ebony, Puzzle, Stileet and many more popular local performing artists. On Saturday, 4 June, the final day of the concert, musical entertainment will continue with a second performance by Team Blue Waters,  and new performances by Sweet Emily, Funky D and Cupid.

This years 33rd Pineapple Festival is sponsored by Disney Cruise Line, Aliv, Team Bluewaters,

Daddy Joe’s, The Cove Eleuthera, Kalik and The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources.

For more information, contact the Eleuthera Tourism Office at 242-332-2142 or visit

tourismtoday.com or bahamas.com

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