Archive | November 6, 2020

Update 6th November 2020 @ 23:30 hrs UTC: Coronavirus Confirmed Cases and Deaths by Country, Territory, or Conveyance Subject To Change








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17 Million mink to be killed ‘due to coronavirus’ in Denmark

Coronavirus Breaking News

Denmark will cull 17 million mink over fears the ferret-like animals are passing on a mutated strain of coronavirus to humans.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the drastic move on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT) as the death toll from Europe’s second wave climbed sharply in some hard-hit countries.

Frederiksen – who is self-isolating after a close contact tested positive – said authorities had detected coronavirus strains in humans and mink which showed decreased sensitivity against antibodies.

She ordered the national cull with a “heavy heart” but said mutations in the animals were a threat to the effectiveness of vaccines in development around the globe.

“The mutated virus – via mink – can carry the risk that the upcoming vaccine will not work as it should,” Frederiksen said in a press conference.

“We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well.”

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said about half of 783 infected people in northern Denmark, home to many mink farms, had been infected with a strain stemming from the farms.

Heunicke said the mutated virus had been detected in 12 humans and in five mink farms.

There are between 15 million and 17 million mink in Denmark – the world’s largest producer of mink fur. They are bred on nearly 1200 farms. The government has promised compensation to farmers.

It has shared its findings with the World Health Organisation, which was already investigating whether animals could transmit the disease to humans.

A targeted cull has been under way at some farms since July but the police, army and national guard will be deployed over the coming days to cull the entire population quickly. Mink have also been culled in some other countries, including the Netherlands and Spain.

However, Francois Balloux, the director of the University College London Genetics Institute and a professor of computational systems biology, cast doubt on the findings.

“There are thousands of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 arising constantly,” he said on Twitter. “The fact that a few have been observed in minks will not change the strains in circulation in humans. If they were beneficial for the virus to infect its human host, they would be at high frequency already.”

In Britain, a new month-long national lockdown came into force in England on Thursday night amid warnings a steadily rising rate of infections and hospitalisations threaten to overrun the National Health Service.

The United Kingdom recorded a further 492 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the death toll over the past fortnight to 3584.

The lockdown passed the House of Commons on Wednesday but 55 Conservative Party MPs opposed it or abstained from it.

“None of us came into politics to tell people once again to shutter their shops, to furlough their staff or stay away from their friends and family,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament.

Deaths also rose by 394 in France, 352 in Italy and 1623 in Spain after the government there revised its count.

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Thousands of dead fish and birds, ‘an ecological catastrophe’ in Lake Koroneia, Greece

Fish Kill Alert

The ecological catastrophe did not only concern the death of fish due to suffocation but also birds.

“More extensive than the initial estimate was the ecological destruction of Lake Koronia in September 2019, when there was a massive death of fish, while the risk of another collapse remains.” This was pointed out by Maria Moustaka, Professor of Hydro Botany – Hydroecology at the Department of Biology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, presenting a relevant study at the 7th Environmental Conference of Macedonia, in collaboration with members of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Thessaly.

“The research was based on a set of results – physico-chemical and biological parameters, satellite data and imaging – from March to September 2019, which do not leave much room for doubt about the cause of the observed phenomena,” he told APE. Ms. Moustaka clarified that the image of the lake is not only due to the climatic factor, such as the drought, which reduced the water level.

“The ecological catastrophe did not only concern the death of fish due to suffocation but also birds, while a significant reduction of biodiversity was observed, even in phytoplankton. “As for the birds, from the skeletons we found, we believe that their death is related to the poor ecological quality of the water”, says Ms. Moustaka.

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13,000 birds killed due to Bird Flu in Cheshire, England, UK

Bird Flu

Thirteen thousand birds are to be culled at farm in Cheshire after avian flu was confirmed there.

The H5N8 strain of bird flu was detected at a broiler breeders premises in Frodsham, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

It said it was not related to the H5N2 strain found at a small farm near Deal in Kent earlier.

Public Health England (PHE) said the risk to public health was “very low”.

All 13,000 birds at the farm, which produces hatching eggs, will be culled, said Defra.

Further testing is under way to determine if it is a highly pathogenic strain and whether it is related to the virus currently circulating in Europe.

The UK’s chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss, said: “Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

“This includes 3km and 10km temporary control zones around the infected site.

“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it.”

Dr Gavin Dabrera from PHE said: “There have never been any confirmed cases of H5N8 in humans and the risk to public health is considered very low.”

A Food Standards Agency spokesperson said: “On the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

“Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, remain safe to eat.”

Courtesy of BBC News

Hundreds of birds killed due to Bird Flu in Kent, England, UK

Bird Flu

Hundreds of birds are to be culled at a farm in Kent where an outbreak of avian influenza of the H5N2 strain has been detected.

A 1km restricted zone has been placed around the premises near Deal “to prevent the disease spreading”.

Public Health England (PHE) said the risk to the UK population was “very low” but it was “looking for evidence of spread to control and eliminate it”.

All 480 birds at the site are to be “humanely culled”.

The UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all remaining poultry and captive birds at the farm will be culled.”

There will be no impact on food supply as the farm does not supply poultry, meat or eggs commercially, she added.

Bird keepers have been told to remain alert for signs of disease and to report suspected cases immediately.

“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it,” Ms Middlemiss said.

Dr Gavin Dabrera, consultant in acute respiratory infections at PHE, said bird flu was an “uncommon infection” in humans.

But he advised people not to touch sick or dead birds and to wash hands thoroughly with soap after contact with any animal.

The Food Standards Agency said properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, were safe to eat.

Courtesy of BBC News

35,700 birds killed due to Bird Flu in the Netherlands. EU on Red Alert

Bird Flu

The detection of several cases of avian influenza in the Netherlands has set the EU on red alert for the possibility of spread elsewhere, leaving the country itself on ‘high alert’ and preparing a mass culling of animals.

Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease which occurs primarily in poultry and wild water birds. There are two strains of the virus; high or low pathogenic viruses, known as HPAI and LPAI, respectively.

According to media reports, it is this highly pathogenic strain of avian flu that was diagnosed at a poultry farm in the Netherlands on Thursday (29 October).

The diagnosis comes after the discovery of the virus in two wild mute swans last week.

A mass culling of 35,700 animals is now to be carried out by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus, according to a statement on the government website.

The statement adds that there are nine other poultry farms in the immediate vicinity of the farm, which are currently undergoing sampling and examination for avian flu.

In addition, there are also 25 other poultry farms in the 10-km zone around the farm, and that transport ban has been applied to this zone.

The risk for Dutch commercial poultry farming of becoming infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has now been rated as high, especially in areas with many wild waterfowl, according to an analysis by Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) this month.

Birthe Steenburg, secretary-general of AVEC, the voice of the EU’s poultry sector, told EURACTIV that this outbreak could have serious repercussions for trade.

“When highly pathogenic avian flu is found in a country, many third-country markets shut down for poultry meat,” she said, adding that the Netherlands is a large producer of poultry meat.

This is because of the bilateral agreement that member states have with third countries, which requires a veterinary certificate confirming the country of origin is free from avian influenza.

However, in accordance with EU laws, trade is still possible within the EU, provided that the meat comes from an area outside of a 10km radius of the outbreak.

She added that everyone is now on very high alert to the possibility of the spread of the virus.

In response to the news, a number of EU countries have issued statements over the risk and have started putting preventative measures in place.

In the UK, the avian influenza risk has been raised to medium by the department of environment and rural affairs (DEFRA), while Ireland and France have also sounded the alarm.

This is due to the fact that, at this time of year, wild birds that can carry avian influenza viruses traditionally migrate along the East Atlantic flyway from colder parts of Northern and Eastern Europe to Western European countries including Ireland.

As such, Ireland’s Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has emphasised the need to review biosecurity practises as we now move into a higher risk period for the bird flu.

France too has upped their surveillance and preventative measures in response to the news over fears it could spread.

The 2016/2017 epidemic of HPAI was the largest recorded outbreak to date in the EU in terms of the number of poultry outbreaks, geographical spread and number of dead wild birds.

There is no evidence to suggest that avian influenza can be transmitted to humans through the consumption of contaminated poultry products.

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50.2 TONS of fish dead after storm in Lake Buhi, Philippines

Fish Kill Alert

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Friday (Oct. 30) said the estimated loss in a fish kill in Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur province linked to Typhoon “Quinta” (International name Molave) has reached P52 million.

The Buhi Lake Development Authority (BLDA) report cited by the BFAR said the fish kill hit at least 18 fish cage operators who lost at least 50.2 metric tons of tilapia.

Nonie Enolva, BFAR Bicol spokesperson, said the fish kill was caused by “seiches” or waves whipped up by gusty winds from Quinta when it made landfall in Camarines Sur on Oct. 26.

Enolva, in a phone interview, said losses were being counted in the villages of Iraya, Ebayugan, Tambo, Cabatoan, Salvacion and Sta. Elena in Buhi town.

Enolva said water quality test conducted by fishery technicians indicated that the lake’s dissolved oxygen level had dropped and levels of ammonia nitrogen, from feeds, had gone up most probably because of the seiche. Tons of tilapia drowned as a result, she said.

The 1,800-hectare lake in Buhi town supplies the fish needs of the four mainland Bicol provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and also the National Capital Region (NCR).

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100 TONS of fish suddenly die in Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia

Fish Kill Alert

100 tons of fish died suddenly in Lake Toba , North Sumatra (North Sumatra) some time ago. The water quality in Lake Toba is also one of the highlights.

Rusdi Leidonald, an academic at the Aquatic Resources Management Study Program at the University of North Sumatra (USU), said the sudden death of fish could be triggered by a decrease in water quality. According to him, the decline in water quality can be triggered by many factors.

“There are many things that can cause a decrease in water quality,” said Rusdi.

He said one of the triggers for the decline in water quality is the weather factor. According to him, the explanation of the Samosir Agricultural Service about the strong winds that triggered the water to rotate so that turbid water rose to the top of the lake could be the cause of the decline in water quality.

“Theoretically it can cause it,” said Rusdi.

However, Rusdi said the problem of decreasing water quality must be further analyzed. Rusdi said that his party does not have the latest data on the water quality of Lake Toba.

“We at USU do not yet have the latest data regarding the current state of Lake Toba and I am sure that the response of the regency and municipal government around Lake Toba and the provincial government also has competence in this field,” he said.

Rusdi explained that strong winds are not only disturbing the water quality in Lake Toba . He said that strong winds had also disturbed the quality of water in several lakes in Indonesia.

“This also often happens in other lakes, such as Lake Singkarak in West Sumatra,” said Rusdi.

Research related to water quality in Lake Toba was conducted in 2014. The Director General of Pollution and Environmental Damage Control at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry at that time, Karliansyah, said that the lake which was a tourist attraction was contaminated with fish feed.

“So in Lake Toba there are many floating cages from companies and indigenous people. From these cages a lot of fish feed is deposited,” said Karliansyah during a conversation.

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Schools of dead fish washing up in the Bronx, New York, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Everywhere you look, dead fish: On the rocks, tangled in trash bags—lifeless and limp. It’s just the latest school of fish to meet their demise in the Bronx.

“So you would have a plume of polluted water, which would have a lot of sewage and would have very little oxygen. That would create a fish die-off like this,” explained Tracy Brown of Save the Sound, an environmental advocacy group that researches the water quality of the Long Island Sound.

“So you would have like a plume of polluted water, which would have a lot of sewage and would have very little oxygen. That would create a fish die-off lie this,” said environmental activist Tracy Brown.

She told NY1 that the sewage pipes in the Westchester County city of Mount Vernon are in such a state of disrepair, sewage spills into the Hutchinson river.

“[It’s] creating unhealthy conditions for the wildlife clearly, and also for people,” said Brown.

Scientists say the sewage starts in Mount Vernon, but it doesn’t stay there. It makes its way down stream to the Eastchester Bay in the Bronx.

The environmentalists say Mount Vernons sewage also spills into the Bronx River, which courses through the Bronx to the East River, and the Long Island Sound.

Mount Vernon has ignored several state and federal court orders to fix it’s broken system, but last month a federal judge issued a court order requiring it to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

We spoke with the communications director for Mount Vernon mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, who told NY1 that COVID has “seriously impacted city operations and services overall,” adding that, despite this shortfall, DPW has completed six of the seven mandatory repairs in the past three months.

According to New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, the New York Harbor is cleaner today than it has been since the Civil War. But there are smaller rivers and streams like those in the Bronx that do not meet federal water quality standards.

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3 dead whales found on the coast of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Whale Alert

Because it affected a tourist area, the Environmental Management Directorate and the Necochea Fish Farming and Hydrobiological Stations decided to bury the body in a dune located 150 meters from the place where it was found.

“We organized an operation to have it in the best possible place and we succeeded,” said the director of the area, Isabel Génova. The use of machinery was needed to make the well and move the animal.

For her part, Carina Arias from the Quequén Hydrobiological Station assured: “We take samples from the animal, both skin and cirripedia, parasites, muscle and fat, which will be placed in the freezer some and others in alcohol to later carry out different studies ”.

This Thursday another dead whale was found stranded on the breakwater of the Miramar Yacht Club and another in the Chapadmalal area.

“It is an absolutely novel phenomenon because it is very rare to find dead adults on the coast. And in this case it was not one, but three . Due to the context of the pandemic in which we are living, which makes it impossible for us, among other things, to be able to move to other locations, we find it necessary to take samples for research, but we are working on that, ”said the specialist, Diego Rodríguez , director of the Group of Marine Mammals of the National University of Mar del Plata and Conicet.

“At the moment we do not have any reason or hypothesis that allows us to know what happened. It’s kind of strange. The animals are physically well, they do not show signs of some kind of collision, “added the specialist.

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