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07 Dead, 300 Quarantined After Man With COVID Goes to Work in US; Community Devastated

New Delhi, Dec 24: As the world continues to grapple with the horrors of COVID-19, two coronavirus outbreaks recently devastated a community in south Oregon of the US, killing seven persons and forcing hundreds into quarantine, reported The Washington Post.

And guess what? These COVID-19 clusters did not spring from a “super spreader event.” Instead, public health officials say a single person who went to work sick sparked the spread through “super spreader actions.”

According to the report, Douglas County officials said last week that a person knowingly went to work while suffering symptoms and later tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Two recent outbreaks in the county, which were reported by the Oregonian on Tuesday, were traced back to that individual and the ensuing infections forced hundreds of county residents into self-quarantine.

“One of those outbreaks has resulted in seven deaths, and the other recent outbreak has placed over 300 people/families in quarantine,” Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said in a statement last Thursday. “We can’t even imagine the tremendous remorse these people are feeling right now, and we sympathize with them,” he said.

Public health officials did not disclose the name of the workplace where the outbreak began or the name of the individual who passed the virus on to others.

The county, which touches the Oregon coast and encompasses a large swath of the Umpqua National Forest, has reported 37 deaths and at least 1,315 cases since the start of the pandemic. The death toll from one of the outbreak sparked by the infected worker accounts for nearly one-fifth of the county’s reported deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Oregon has reported 1,347 deaths and 103,755 cases, with the number of new daily cases increasing over most of November and December. Last week, the state declared Douglas County and 28 other jurisdictions to be at an “extreme risk” due to the spread of the virus.

Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown recently extended a state-of-emergency order until March 3, 2021, which allows a number of executive orders to continue restrictions on indoor dining, large gatherings and many businesses. Oregonians must also wear masks in public under a statewide order. The restrictions put in place by the governor have drawn anti-lockdown protests, including one on Monday afternoon where demonstrators shattered a door and tried to force their way into the state capitol.

Community spread of the coronavirus, including inside workplaces, has been an ongoing problem across much of the US.

Many offices closed early in the pandemic and employees have been working from home for months to stem the spread of the coronavirus. But as the pandemic has dragged on, some workplaces have reopened and some people have not been able to avoid going to work, including essential workers.
To prevent the virus from spreading, companies that needed employees to return to in-person work put up plexiglass barriers, implemented daily temperature checks and required workers to wear masks while in close proximity to others.

Despite those efforts, the virus has still spread. Workplace outbreaks have hit meat-packing plants, warehouses, grocery stores, schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Courthouses and city halls have shut down as cases spread among government employees.

And while “superspreader” events, like large weddings and holiday parties, have captured headlines, public health officials warn that people who choose to go to work sick are also driving outbreaks in their communities.

“In addition to the super spreader events, we also have super spreader actions,” Dannenhoffer said in a statement. “The top of the list for super spreader actions are people who are unwittingly and unconsciously choosing to go to work when they are sick,” he added.(Agencies)

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COVID-19: Strict week-long Lockdown in Bangladesh from April 14

(Asian News Hub) – A strict 7-day lockdown is going to be enforced in Bangladesh, from April 14, allowing only emergency services to remain in operation, it was announced on Friday.

All government and private offices, and factories will remain closed during the week-long lockdown to curb the Covid-19 spread, Public Administration Farhad Hossain said.

A gazette notification in this regard will be issued soon, he added.


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Myanmar: 114 civilians killed in deadliest day since Coup

(Asian News Hub) – At least 114 civilians were killed across Myanmar on Saturday as the military junta continued to crackdown on peaceful protests, CNN reported citing Myanmar Now.

The killings in 44 towns and cities across the country would represent the bloodiest day of protests since a military coup last month.

Among those killed is a 13-year-old who was shot in her house after the junta’s armed forces opened fire in residential areas of Meikhtila.

State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot ‘in the head and back.’

Despite this, demonstrators against the February 1 coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns.

On February 1, Myanmar’s military overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency while detaining civilian leaders including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The coup triggered mass protests which were met by the junta’s deadly violence.

The United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres and the UN office in Myanmar spoke out against the violence.

‘The continuing military crackdown, which today resulted in the highest daily death toll since demonstrations against the coup began last month, is unacceptable and demands a firm, unified and resolute international response. It is critical to find an urgent solution to this crisis,’ said a statement issued by Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general.

‘The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the killing of dozens of civilians,’ Haq said.

The UN office in Myanmar said it ‘is horrified by the needless loss of life today with reports of dozens of people shot dead by the military across the country, in the bloodiest day since the coup.’

‘The violence is completely unacceptable and must stop immediately. Those responsible must be held to account,’ the UN office added.

‘As the Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener has said, ensuring peace and defending the people should be the responsibility of any military, but the Tatmadaw has turned against its own people,’ it added.

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Horrifying day of bloodshed in Myanmar

(Asian News Hub) – Security forces killed more than 90 people, including some children, across Myanmar on Saturday in one of the bloodiest days of protests since a military coup last month, news reports and witnesses said.

The lethal crackdown, which took place on Armed Forces Day, drew strong renewed criticism from Western countries. British Ambassador Dan Chugg said the security forces had “disgraced themselves” and the U.S. envoy called the violence horrifying.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, said during a parade to mark Armed Forces Day that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy.

State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot “in the head and back”. Despite this, demonstrators came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns, as they have done almost daily since the Feb. 1 coup that ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Myanmar Now news portal said 91 people were killed across the country by security forces.

At least 29 people, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed in Mandalay, and at least 24 people were killed in Yangon, Myanmar Now said. A boy as young as five was earlier reported among the dead in Mandalay but there were conflicting reports later that he may have survived.

Another 13-year-old was among the dead in the central Sagaing region.
“Today is a day of shame for the armed forces,” Dr. Sasa, a spokesman for CRPH, an anti-junta group set up by deposed lawmakers, told an online forum.

Meanwhile, one of Myanmar’s two dozen ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union, said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people – including a lieutenant colonel – and losing one of its own fighters.

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the killings by security forces or the insurgent attack on its post.

“They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes,” said Thu Ya Zaw in the central town of Myingyan, where at least two protesters were killed. “We will keep protesting regardless… We must fight until the junta falls.”

The deaths on Saturday would take the number of civilians reported killed since the coup to well over 400.


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