Virus lingers on skin
SARS-CoV-2 remains active on human skin for nine hours, researchers have found, in a discovery they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours by comparison, said the study published this month in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal. “The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV [influenza A virus], thus accelerating the pandemic,” it said. The researchers tested skin collected from autopsy specimens, about one day after death. Both viruses are inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol, which is used in hand sanitizers.
Soldiers die in landslide
Eleven soldiers are dead and a frantic search is under way for 11 others after a huge landslide hit central Quang Tri Province yesterday, as the country battles its worst flooding in years. Heavy rain has pounded the region for more than a week and at least 64 people have been killed in floods and landslides. Rocks rained down on the barracks of a military station in the province, with 22 soldiers believed to have been buried underneath thick mud.
Melbourne eases rules
Lockdown restrictions in Melbourne, the nation’s second-biggest city, were eased slightly yesterday following a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases, but officials stopped short of ending a controversial “stay-at-home” rule. Authorities said that as of midnight last night they were lifting a two-hour limit on the time people could spend outside their homes for permitted activities. They also extended from 5km to 25km the distance people could travel from their homes for several activities, including exercise, shopping for essentials, socializing and work in essential professions. However, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews rejected growing calls for an end to all limits on people being able to leave their homes and for a broader reopening of restaurants and other retail businesses. He said the stay-at-home rule could be lifted and other business restrictions eased on Nov. 1 if community transmission of the virus remains under control.
Ready for Bahrain relations
The government was to officially establish diplomatic relations with Bahrain last night at a ceremony in Manama, an official said. The two nations are to sign a “joint communique [that] is the establishment of full diplomatic relations,” an official in Manama told reporters. Once the text is signed, the two nations will be free to open embassies in each other’s countries, the official said. The governments are also expected to sign “six to eight” memorandums of understanding, including one on economic cooperation, the source said.
Early parole likely for hero
A convicted murderer who used a narwhal tusk to help stop a terror attack by a knife-wielding Muslim militant is likely to have his sentence reduced after Queen Elizabeth II intervened, media reports said on Saturday. Steven Gallant was on day release at an event at Fishmonger’s Hall in London in November last year when Usman Khan went on a knife rampage, killing two people and wounding three. Gallant and others helped tackle Khan with a 1.5m narwhal tusk and a fire extinguisher before police shot him dead.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
LONGSTANDING NEUTRALITY: The US request came as it vied for influence in Southeast Asia with China, but Indonesia has never let foreign militaries operate there Indonesia this year rejected a proposal by the US to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter have said. US officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defense and foreign ministers before Indonesian President Joko Widodo rebuffed the request, the officials said. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US Department of State’s Office of Press Relations and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defense and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said that he has no problem with being held responsible for the many killings under his crackdown on drugs, and that he is ready to face charges that could land him in jail, but not charges of crimes against humanity. Duterte’s televised remarks were among his clearest acknowledgement of the prospects that he could face a deluge of criminal charges for the bloody campaign he launched after taking office in the middle of 2016. Police have reported that at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since
WEIGHING THE RISKS: One biogeochemist said that the known risks of disease from not sterilizing baby bottles outweighed that of microplastics Bottle-fed babies might ingest more than 1 million pieces of microplastics each day, new research showed on Monday, highlighting the abundance of plastics in our food products. There is growing evidence that humans consume huge numbers of the tiny particles, formed when larger pieces of plastic break down, but very little is known about the knock-on health consequences. Researchers in Ireland looked at the rate of microplastic release in 10 types of baby bottles or accessories made from polypropylene, the most commonly used plastic for food containers. They followed official guidelines from the WHO on sterilization and formula preparation conditions. Over a 21-day