News Portal Elephants without tusks evolve quickly due to ivory poachers

After war financed by ivory, half of females had no tusks, compared to 1/5 before, study finds
The Associated Press · Posted: Oct 22, 2021 9:34 AM ET | Last Updated: 9 hours ago
An October 2021 photo shows some of the tuskless elephants in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. A hefty set of tusks is usually an advantage for elephants, but during episodes of intense ivory poaching, those big incisors become a liability. (ElephantVoices/The Associated Press)

A hefty set of tusks is usually an advantage for elephants, allowing them to dig for water, strip bark for food and joust with other elephants. But during episodes of intense ivory poaching, those big incisors become a liability.

Now researchers have pinpointed how years of civil war and poaching in Mozambique have led to a greater proportion of elephants that will never develop tusks.

During the conflict from 1977 to 1992, fighters on both sides slaughtered elephants for ivory to finance war efforts. In the region that’s now Gorongosa National Park, around 90 per cent of the elephants were killed.
A shipment of African ivory seized in 2013, is displayed before they are destroyed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Jan. 26, 2016. The ivory was traced to northern Mozambique and Tanzania and was valued by Sri Lankan customs at 368 million rupees (more than $2.5 million US at the time). (Eranga Jayawardena/The Associated Press)

The survivors were likely to share a key characteristic: half the females were naturally tuskless — they simply never developed tusks — while before the war, less than a fifth lacked tusks.

Like eye colour in humans, genes are responsible for whether elephants inherit tusks from their parents. Although tusklessness was once rare in African savannah elephants, it’s become more common — like a rare eye colour becoming widespread.
After war, elephants had more female offspring, half of them tuskless

After the war, those tuskless surviving females passed on their genes with expected, as well as surprising, results. About half their daughters were tuskless. More perplexing, two-thirds of their offspring were female.

The years of unrest “changed the trajectory of evolution in that population,” said evolutionary biologist Shane Campbell-Staton, based at Princeton University.

With colleagues, he set out to understand how the pressure of the ivory trade had tipped the scale of natural selection. Their findings were published Thursday in the journal Science.
A tuskless elephant matriarch walks with her two calves in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. Following an ivory-funded war, half of females were born without tusks. (ElephantVoices/The Associated Press)

Researchers in Mozambique, including biologists Dominique Goncalves and Joyce Poole, observed the national park ‘s roughly 800 elephants over several years to create a catalogue of mothers and offspring.

“Female calves stay by their mothers, and so do males up to a certain age,” said Poole, who is scientific director and co-founder of the nonprofit ElephantVoices.
Gene on X chromosome suspected

Poole had previously seen other cases of elephant populations with a disproportionately large number of tuskless females after intense poaching, including in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.

“I’ve been puzzling over why it’s the females who are tuskless for a very long time,” said Poole, who is a co-author of the study.

In Gorongosa, the team collected blood samples from seven tusked and 11 tuskless female elephants, and then analyzed their DNA for differences.

The elephant survey data gave them an idea where to look: Because the tuskless elephants were female, they focused on the X chromosome. (Females have two X chromosomes; males have one X and one Y chromosome.)

They also suspected that the relevant gene was dominant — meaning that a female needs only one altered gene to become tuskless — and that when passed to male embryos, it may short-circuit their development.

“When mothers pass it on, we think the sons likely die early in development, a miscarriage,” said Brian Arnold, a co-author and evolutionary biologist at Princeton.

Their genetic analysis revealed two key parts of the elephants’ DNA that they think play a role in passing on the trait of tusklessness. The same genes are associated with the development of teeth in other mammals.

“They’ve produced the smoking-gun evidence for genetic changes,” said Chris Darimont, a conservation scientist at the University of Victoria in Canada, who was not involved in the research. The work “helps scientists and the public understand how our society can have a major influence on the evolution of other life forms.”

This elephant herd is wandering through China, causing chaos and capturing hearts

Older male elephants are important mentors, leaders, study finds

Most people think of evolution as something that proceeds slowly, but humans can hit the accelerator.

“When we think about natural selection, we think about it happening over hundreds, or thousands, of years,” said Samuel Wasser, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington, who was not involved in the research. “The fact that this dramatic selection for tusklessness happened over 15 years is one of the most astonishing findings.”

Now the scientists are studying what more tuskless elephants means for the species and its savannah environment. Their preliminary analysis of fecal samples suggests the Gorongosa elephants are shifting their diet, without long incisors to peel bark from trees.

“The tuskless females ate mostly grass, whereas the tusked animals ate more legumes and tough woody plants,” said Robert Pringle, a co-author and biologist at Princeton University. “These changes will last for at least multiple elephant generations.”

Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Friday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday a new COVID-19 lockdown is not in the cards, as advisers warned that acting early with lighter measures to cut rising case numbers would reduce the need for tougher restrictions later.

Johnson’s government has said there is no need yet to introduce a “Plan B” involving mask mandates, work from home orders and vaccine passports, though such measures could be introduced if more people do not come forward for COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.

Johnson scrapped England’s COVID-19 restrictions in the summer and said that, while case numbers were rising, the trend was in line with what was expected.

The U.K. on Friday reported 49,298 new cases of COVID-19, government data showed, down from more than 52,000 reported on Thursday, which was the highest figure since the previous wave of new cases in mid-July.

A further 180 people were reported as having died within 28 days of a positive test, also below a recent peak.Johnson said earlier that the widespread deployment of vaccines this year means the link between cases and deaths has been disrupted, in contrast with earlier stages of the pandemic.

Asked on Friday about the possibility of another lockdown this winter, the Conservative prime minister said, “at the moment … we see absolutely nothing to indicate that that is on the cards at all.”

While Johnson has scrapped the legal requirement to wear masks, he said they should still be worn in confined spaces, especially when meeting strangers.
Britain has recorded an average of 47,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day in the past week, up 18 per cent from the week before, according to figures released on Friday. There was an average of 135 deaths a day, a 16 per cent rise from the previous week.

“In the event of increasing case rates, earlier intervention would reduce the need for more stringent, disruptive and longer-lasting measures,” the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said in minutes from a Oct. 14 meeting, published Friday.

“SAGE advises that policy work on the potential reintroduction of measures should be undertaken now so that it can be ready for rapid deployment if required.”

The Government has revealed its new COVID Protection Framework to replace the alert level system.

The Government has revealed its new COVID Protection Framework to replace the alert level system.

The new framework includes three traffic lights – Green, Orange and Red – to replace the alert level system introduced in March 2020.

“The Red setting is what we’ll use when the virus is spreading in a way that means we need to take action to protect our most vulnerable and prevent too much pressure on our health system,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday.

“Here, while hospitality is open with vaccine certificates, and retail is also open with the usual public health measures, gathering limits and physical distancing will also be required. Education will be open but with public health measures in place. Working from home is encouraged. Masks will also be required in the same way we use them now.”

Auckland will move into Red once all of the Auckland District Health Boards (DHBs) hit the 90 percent double vaccination target. Nearly 90 percent of eligible Aucklanders have had at least one dose.

Vaccine certificates will also play a key role in the new framework allowing hospitality businesses to remain open in all settings.

Under Red, hospitality venues will be able to open with up to 100 people who are fully vaccinated, and gatherings of up to 100 fully vaccinated people will be allowed – events such as weddings and funerals.

Events could go ahead with up to 100 vaccinated people, gyms could open with up to 100 vaccinated people, and education – schools and universities – could reopen.

Covid-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection and illness from the delta variant among adolescents, according to data from Israel.

Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association Council, said: “The Westminster government said it would enact ‘Plan B’ to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed; as doctors working on the frontline, we can categorically say that time is now. By the health secretary’s own admission we could soon see 100,000 cases a day and we now have the same number of weekly covid deaths as we had during March, when the country was in lockdown. It is therefore incredibly concerning that he is not willing to take immediate action to save lives and to protect the NHS.

“It is wilfully negligent of the Westminster government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in high-risk settings, particularly indoor crowded spaces,” Nagpaul added. “These are measures that are the norm in many other nations.”

Other coronavirus news

The UK government has agreed deals with pharmaceutical companies to supply two new antiviral treatments for covid-19, subject to approval by the UK medicines regulator. The drugs would be aimed at those most at risk from the virus, including the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, either as treatments for infected people or to prevent infection in people exposed to the virus. The Department of Health and Social Care said it has secured 480,000 courses of Molnupiravir, made by Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), and 250,000 courses of Pfizer’s PF-07321332/ritonavir. Molnupiravir has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospital admission or death for at-risk adults with mild to moderate covid-19 by 50 per cent, while Pfizer’s antiviral is at the beginning of its phase three trials.

The Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection and illness from the delta variant among adolescents, according to data from Israel. The study included data on 94,354 young people aged 12 to 18 who had been given the vaccine and the same number of unvaccinated participants. The vaccine was estimated to be 90 per cent effective against covid-19 infection and 93 per cent effective against symptomatic covid-19 on days 7 to 21 after the second dose.

Dashboard: Use our covid-19 dashboard to stay up to date with deaths, cases, and vaccination rates around the world.

Covid-19 news The leader of the UK’s doctors’ union has accused UK ministers of being “wilfully negligent

The leader of the UK’s doctors’ union has accused UK ministers of being “wilfully negligent” after the health secretary ruled out immediately implementing the government’s coronavirus “Plan B”. Sajid Javid said people must get their covid-19 vaccines and any booster shots, as well as doing things like wearing masks in crowded places as he repeated a warning that cases could reach 100,000 a day. But he said the government will not be implementing its “Plan B” strategy at this point.

England’s autumn and winter coronavirus strategy includes “Plan B” as a contingency measure if the NHS comes under unsustainable pressure. That could include legally mandating face coverings in some settings, introducing mandatory vaccine-only covid status certification and asking people to work from home.

By Michael Le Page , Clare Wilson , Jessica Hamzelou , Sam Wong , Graham Lawton , Adam Vaughan , Conrad Quilty-Harper , Jason Arunn Murugesu and Layal Liverpool

New Scientist Default Image
UK health secretary Sajid Javid speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London.

Toby Melville/AP/Shutterstock

Latest coronavirus news as of 12pm on 21 October
‘Time is now’ for coronavirus Plan B, says leader of doctors’ union

Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association Council, said: “The Westminster government said it would enact ‘Plan B’ to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed; as doctors working on the frontline, we can categorically say that time is now. By the health secretary’s own admission we could soon see 100,000 cases a day and we now have the same number of weekly covid deaths as we had during March, when the country was in lockdown. It is therefore incredibly concerning that he is not willing to take immediate action to save lives and to protect the NHS.

“It is wilfully negligent of the Westminster government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in high-risk settings, particularly indoor crowded spaces,” Nagpaul added. “These are measures that are the norm in many other nations.”

Other coronavirus news

The UK government has agreed deals with pharmaceutical companies to supply two new antiviral treatments for covid-19, subject to approval by the UK medicines regulator. The drugs would be aimed at those most at risk from the virus, including the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, either as treatments for infected people or to prevent infection in people exposed to the virus. The Department of Health and Social Care said it has secured 480,000 courses of Molnupiravir, made by Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), and 250,000 courses of Pfizer’s PF-07321332/ritonavir. Molnupiravir has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospital admission or death for at-risk adults with mild to moderate covid-19 by 50 per cent, while Pfizer’s antiviral is at the beginning of its phase three trials.

The Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection and illness from the delta variant among adolescents, according to data from Israel. The study included data on 94,354 young people aged 12 to 18 who had been given the vaccine and the same number of unvaccinated participants. The vaccine was estimated to be 90 per cent effective against covid-19 infection and 93 per cent effective against symptomatic covid-19 on days 7 to 21 after the second dose.

COVID-19 restrictions extended to more time needed to stabilise situation MOH

MOH is doing whatever it can to “support and bolster” the hospitals, said the minister, adding that if necessary, more ICU beds will be opened up although that will be “at the expense of further degradation of normal service and normal medical care”.

Non-urgent and non-life-threatening care treatments have been reduced to alleviate the pressure on public hospital capacity and manpower. Manpower is also being beefed up and private hospitals have been mobilised.

“Our hospitals and healthcare workers will need the help from the rest of Singapore to keep caseload steady, not overwhelm the system, so that we can continue to do our best to give proper medical care to all patients COVID and non-COVID,” he said.

Related:

S$640 million support package for businesses, workers affected by extended COVID-19 restrictions
INFECTION NUMBERS STABILISING: ONG YE KUNG
Mr Ong said there has been progress in Singapore’s transition to living with COVID-19.

He highlighted three “positives”, including the number of cases stabilising over the last two weeks.

He said the figures on Tuesday – which included about 3,500 local community infections – showed the usual “post-weekend spike”. The latest figures for Wednesday are still being finalised, but “appear to have moderated” at “slightly above 3,000″ local community cases.

“So we have to monitor the trend over the next few days to understand where is the trajectory … of the transmission. The important thing is, it is no longer doubling every few days like what we have seen in late September and early October,” said Mr Ong.

The task force co-chair added that the top-line infection numbers are now less important. “What is critical is how the top line translates into the bottom line of how many patients fall seriously ill and need hospital or ICU care or die.”

This is where authorities are seeing a second positive – a higher percentage of infected people with no symptoms or mild symptoms.

This percentage used to be about 98 per cent and has now risen progressively over the last 28 days to 98.6 per cent. The remaining 1.1 per cent requires oxygen supplementation, with 0.1 per cent needing intensive care.

The third positive is that the number of infections among vaccinated seniors has been falling.

“At its peak which is early October, we get 1,000 vaccinated seniors being infected in a day. Yesterday, this has fallen to 279,” Mr Ong said.

He attributed this to several factors such as seniors cutting back on their social activities and receiving COVID-19 booster shots.

However, there are also three “negatives” in Singapore’s COVID-19 situation – there is no sign of cases falling, hospitals continue to be under pressure, and infections among unvaccinated seniors are still high.

“As more people get boosted, as individuals who are vaccinated catch the virus and experience only mild flu-like symptoms, the antibodies and the immunity in our society will build up over time. And when that happens, you will see cases falling, and then we can open up social-economic activities without cases rising very rapidly.

A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated

A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

‘MIXING AND MATCHING’

The FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were under pressure to authorize the additional shots after the White House announced plans in August for a widespread booster campaign.

The advisory panel meeting included a presentation of data on mixing vaccines from a U.S. National Institutes of Health study in which 458 participants received some combination of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and J&J shots.

The data showed that people who initially got J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine had a stronger immune response when boosted with either the Pfizer or Moderna shot, and that “mixing and matching” booster shots of different types was safe in adults.

Still, FDA officials said the data was not yet clear on whether any shot combination should be preferred.

“Because we don’t have those data right now, I think we just have to be noncommittal about what is the best,” Marks said.

Many countries including the UK have backed mix-and-match strategies for the widely used AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) vaccine, which is not authorized in the United States but is based on similar viral vector technology as J&J’s vaccine.

Reuters reported in June that infectious disease experts were weighing the need for booster shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine after the J&J shot.

U.S. FDA clears Moderna, J&J COVID-19 boosters, backs use of different vaccine for boost

Oct 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), and said Americans can choose a different shot from their original inoculation as a booster.

That means all three vaccines authorized in the United States can also be given as boosters to some groups.

“The availability of these authorized boosters is important for continued protection against COVID-19 disease,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement. She noted that data suggests vaccine effectiveness may wane over time in some fully vaccinated people.

The decision paves the way for millions in the United States to get the additional protection as the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus causes breakthrough infections among some who are fully vaccinated.

Sponsored by Yelp
Downey Plumbing
Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning/HVAC
See more
The agency previously authorized boosters of the Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine developed with German partner BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE) at least six months after the first round of shots to increase protection for people aged 65 and older, those at risk of severe disease and those who are exposed to the virus through their work.

Last week, an advisory panel to the FDA voted to recommend a third round of shots of the Moderna vaccine for the same groups. Moderna’s booster is half the strength of the shots administered for the company’s initial series of inoculations.

The panel also recommended a second shot of the J&J vaccine for all recipients of the one-dose inoculation at least two months after receiving their first.

FDA officials suggested last week they were considering lowering the recommended age for booster shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to as young as 40, based on data from Israel, where Pfizer booster shots have already been administered broadly.

Sponsored by Yelp
Bella Kitchen Bath Flooring
Contractors, Kitchen & Bath
See more
They did not lower the age range for the shots on Wednesday, but said they were assessing the benefits and risks of broader use of boosters and plan to update the public in the coming weeks.

“There is evidence that suggests potentially that lowering the age of those eligible for boosters may make sense in the future,” FDA official Peter Marks told a news conference. “It’s something we’re looking at closely.”

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines are seen at Northwell Health’s South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York, U.S., March 3, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo
A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines are seen at Northwell Health’s South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York, U.S., March 3, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

1/2
A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

‘MIXING AND MATCHING’

The FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were under pressure to authorize the additional shots after the White House announced plans in August for a widespread booster campaign.

The advisory panel meeting included a presentation of data on mixing vaccines from a U.S. National Institutes of Health study in which 458 participants received some combination of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and J&J shots.

The data showed that people who initially got J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine had a stronger immune response when boosted with either the Pfizer or Moderna shot, and that “mixing and matching” booster shots of different types was safe in adults.

Still, FDA officials said the data was not yet clear on whether any shot combination should be preferred.

“Because we don’t have those data right now, I think we just have to be noncommittal about what is the best,” Marks said.

Many countries including the UK have backed mix-and-match strategies for the widely used AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) vaccine, which is not authorized in the United States but is based on similar viral vector technology as J&J’s vaccine.

Reuters reported in June that infectious disease experts were weighing the need for booster shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine after the J&J shot.

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 21

Vaccines curb the spread of all variants of COVID-19 and go a long way toward avoiding deaths and hospitalizations, without offering total protection.

There’s federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.

Health leaders in the area generally say smaller Halloween gatherings are allowed with precautions for the unvaccinated and/or vulnerable. Guidance can be stricter in areas where COVID-19 is spreading more than others, such as Akwesasne.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who’ve been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length of self-isolation varies in Quebec and Ontario.

WATCH | The role of the flu shot in the coming months:

Doctors urging flu shots to prevent further health-care strain
21 hours ago
3:30
Canadians are being urged to get flu shots as soon as possible because doctors expect the flu season to be much worse than last year, when there were very few cases. They want to avoid further strain on the health-care system already struggling with COVID-19. 3:30
Travel

All would-be travellers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30 to board a plane, train or marine vessel in Canada.

Fully vaccinated, tested and pre-approved people can come to Canada.

The U.S. will require all travellers to be fully vaccinated as of Nov. 8. Some people with mixed doses will be allowed to cross the border.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he’s “very confident” countries around the world will accept Canadians’ provincial or territorial proof of vaccination.

Vaccines
Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada.

The two most common are approved for youth as young as 12. Trial data is being reviewed for the first shot for younger kids.

Canada’s vaccine task force says people can wait three to 16 weeks between first and second doses and it’s safe and effective to mix first and second doses.

Ontario and Quebec are giving certain groups third doses.

There have been more than 3.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region — combined first, second and third doses — which has about 2.3 million residents.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario is vaccinating anyone who will be age 12 or older in 2021.

People can look for provincial appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies and some family doctors offer vaccines through their own booking systems.

Local health units have flexibility, including for booking and third shots, so check their websites for details.

The Ottawa area’s weekly COVID-19 vaccination checkup: Oct. 21
Vaccination rates slowly improving in Cornwall
They offer doses on short notice as campaigns shift to fill gaps in vaccine coverage.

The province has recommended people age 18 to 24 get the Pfizer-BioNTech, or Comirnaty, vaccine because the Moderna or Spikevax vaccine brings a mild risk of a rare heart condition.

Western Quebec

Anyone 12 and older can make an appointment or visit a permanent or mobile walk-in clinic.

Symptoms and testing
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, runny nose, headache, vomiting and loss of taste or smell.

Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help.

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a COVID-19 test can make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.

Ontario says to only get tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.

People without symptoms but who are part of the province’s targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Rapid tests are available in some places, including some child-care settings when risk is high.

Travellers who need a test have a few local options to pay for one.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.

People can make an appointment or see what their walk-in options are online. They can also call 1-877-644-4545 with questions.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are available in all Quebec preschools and elementary schools.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.

Akwesasne has COVID-19 test and vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341.

People in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg can call the health centre at 819-449-5593 for a test or vaccine; email is another option for vaccine booking.

Tests are available in Pikwàkanagàn by calling 613-625-1175 and vaccines, at 613-625-2259 extension 225 or by email. Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.

Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

Singapore will extend its Covid-19 restrictions for another month after the city-state reported 18 new deaths from the disease on Wednesday, its highest number of the pandemic.

Singapore will extend its Covid-19 restrictions for another month after the city-state reported 18 new deaths from the disease on Wednesday, its highest number of the pandemic.

In a news release Thursday, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said current measures would be extended to November 21, to help contain case numbers, which rose by more than 3,800 on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, given the continuing pressures on our healthcare system, more time is needed for the situation to stabilise,” the ministry said in its statement, adding hospitals were braced for “a sustained, heavy patient load.”
“(The ministry) is doing whatever we can to support and bolster the hospitals,” the statement said.
Lawrence Wong, co-chair of Singapore’s Covid-19 taskforce, said Wednesday medical staff were “stretched and fatigued.”
“At the current situation, we face considerable risk of the healthcare system being overwhelmed,” he added.
Singapore had previously announced in June it would be abandoning its zero-Covid strategy in favor of a new plan to live with the virus. The shift was possible thanks to the country’s high vaccination rates, which are among the best in the world.
As of October 19, 84% of Singapore’s population had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and 85% had received at least one dose, according to the Ministry of Health.
However, in late September, Singapore was forced to postpone its relaxation of restrictions amid a surge of cases caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.
The new curbs, known as the “Stabilisation Phase”, came into effect on September 27 and were originally scheduled to end October 24. Under these measures, social gatherings are capped to a maximum of two, and workers are encouraged to stay at home.
Singapore prepares roadmap to ‘live normally’ with Covid-19

Singapore prepares roadmap to ‘live normally’ with Covid-19 01:47
The extended restrictions will be reviewed at the two-week mark, the Ministry of Health said, and will be adjusted based on the Covid-19 community situation.
Over the past 28 days, 98.7% of local infected cases were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, and just 0.1% had to go into intensive care (ICU), the news release said.
Of the 3,862 new coronavirus infections identified Wednesday, 630 were linked to migrant worker dormitories, the ministry said. The remaining cases were almost entirely among the local community.
Singapore’s overall death toll from the pandemic now stands at 264, the ministry said.
The ministry also warned there were still a high number of infections among unvaccinated citizens over age 60.
“Over the past 5 days, the number of infections amongst this group averaged 127 per day”, the ministry said, adding senior citizens over 60 accounted for two-thirds of the total patients in ICU