COVID-19 Informer: We're inching closer but it's not over yet

A wind surfer on Belfast Lough in Victoria. Picture: Mark Witte
A wind surfer on Belfast Lough in Victoria. Picture: Mark Witte

Did you visit a cafe today? What a novelty after so many weeks unable to do so. Maybe you went for a walk with friends, or your child got to slide down the slippery dip at a playground, or your dog enjoyed some off-leash time at the local dog park - all while maintaining social distancing, of course.

Whatever you were up to, it's important to remember we're not quite on the other side just yet.

As restrictions ease we're being reminded that the pandemic is not over, and there is still a significant risk to vulnerable people from COVID-19.

The repeated message from health authorities is to approach these new found freedoms with care for fear of sparking a second wave of the disease.

Worryingly, five sailors on the US aircraft carrier sidelined in Guam due to a COVID-19 outbreak have tested positive for the virus for the second time and have been taken off the ship, the navy says.

All five sailors had previously tested positive and had gone through at least two weeks of isolation. They all had to test negative twice in a row before they were allowed to go back to the ship.

The resurgence underscores the befuddling behaviour of the highly contagious virus.

Over in the Netherlands, a dog and three cats have been infected with coronavirus, the first confirmed cases involving house pets in the country. The dog, an eight-year-old American bulldog suffered severe breathing problems and was put down, but it is unknown if the virus caused that. The country's agricultural minister said COVID-19 patients who own house pets should, as a precaution, avoid contact with their animals.

Italy has been struck by one of the world's worst outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, though the rate of new infections has been falling for some time. As of Friday, it had reported more than 31,600 deaths and around 223,800 infections.

The epidemic has devastated the entire Italian economy, but tourism is likely to pay a heavier price than most other industries.

"We won't spend the summer on the balcony and the beauty of Italy will not remain in quarantine," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.

And just in case being in hospital with COVID-19 wasn't scary enough, a Colombian company has created a hospital bed from cardboard that can turn into a coffin if a patient dies.

The Bogota-based firm ABC Displays seeks to help address a shortage of hospital beds and facilitate the safe management of corpses.

The bed is biodegradable, costs about $198 (three times less than a normal one), and is apparently comfortably and functional. The company said it had not received any orders yet.

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This story We're inching closer but it's not over yet first appeared on The Canberra Times.