US cases surge, vaccination apps coming: Virus world update

US cases surge, vaccination apps coming: Virus world update

A sign on the entrance to a pharmacy reads
A sign on the entrance to a pharmacy reads "Covid-19 Vaccine Not Yet Available" on Tuesday in Burbank, California.(AFP photo)

The latest on the novel coronavirus:

Mobile apps, vaccination to ease international travel

Global aviation body IATA, which represents many of the world's major airlines, is developing a set of mobile apps to help passengers to navigate Covid-19 travel restrictions and securely share test and vaccine certificates with airlines and governments, it said on Monday. IATA plans to pilot the Travel Pass platform by year-end and deploy it for Android and Apple iOS phones in the first half of next year.

Passenger health and other data are not stored centrally but authenticated with blockchain, leaving consumers in control of what they share, IATA said. A new "Contactless Travel" app will combine passport information with test and vaccination certificates received from participating labs. It will also draw on global registries of health requirements and testing and vaccination centres.

Separately, Australia's flagcarrier Qantas said it will insist in future that international travellers have a Covid-19 vaccination before they fly, describing the move as "a necessity".

As cases soar, Americans head home for holidays

Millions of Americans appeared to be disregarding public health warnings and travelling ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, likely fuelling an alarming surge in coronavirus infections before a series of promising new vaccines are expected to become widely available. Here are some holidays tips in the time of Covid-19.

Some 1 million passengers passed through airport security gates on Sunday, the highest number since March. It was the second time in three days US air travel screenings surpassed 1 million, though the numbers are down nearly 60% from the same time last year, the US Transportation Security Administration said.

At the same time, rates of coronavirus infections, deaths and hospitalizations are soaring. The seven-day rolling average number of US Covid-19 deaths climbed for a 12th straight day, reaching 1,500 as of Monday, according to a Reuters tally of official data, and coronavirus hospitalisations nationally have surged nearly 50% over the past two weeks.

Delirium may signal Covid-19 in elderly

Delirium is common among older patients with Covid-19 and may be their only symptom, US researchers warned on Thursday in JAMA Network Open. Among more than 800 Covid-19 patients over age 65 who showed up at emergency departments around the country, nearly 30% had delirium, they found.

Delirium is not on any official list of Covid-19 signs and symptoms, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should add it, said coauthor Dr. Maura Kennedy of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

"Sometimes delirium is the chief complaint when these patients arrive at the emergency department," Kennedy said. "But there can be a number of reasons they come, including falls that occurred because of the delirium. They may present without what we consider typical Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, shortness of breath and cough."

Workers test positive at world's top latex glove maker

Shares in Top Glove Corp plunged on Tuesday after Malaysia said it would close some factories of the world's biggest rubber glove maker as more than 2,000 of its workers had tested positive for Covid-19.

The company, which commands a quarter of the global latex glove market, has racked up record profits this year on sky-rocketing demand for its products and protective gear, thanks to the pandemic.

Last week, the government ordered 14-day curbs through Nov 30 in parts of a district about 40kms west of the capital Kuala Lumpur, where Top Glove factories and dormitories are located.

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