NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ health minister says a steady decrease in new coronavirus infections three weeks into a nationwide lockdown is allowing for the start of the gradual, targeted lifting of closures and restrictions. The minister said Wednesday that the first places to reopen as of Feb. 1 will be hair and beauty salons followed a week later by retail stores, shopping malls and elementary schools. Students in their final year of high school will also go back to classes on Feb. 8. The health minister said twice-a-day excursions requiring text message approval remain in effect for now because authorities want to avoid “hasty, high-risk actions” that would undermine efforts for a speedy return to normality.
Funds could be used to buy equipment to collect, store and test convalescent plasma, the document said, adding the money could come from the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), a European rainy-day fund.The use of the ESI could allow funds to be provided this year. Usually EU funding projects are planned years in advance.Money from the 2.7-billion-euro ($3 billion) ESI has so far only been used or committed for highly sensitive issues, such as buying scarce face masks at the peak of the pandemic in Europe and advance purchase of potential COVID-19 vaccines .Over 300 million euros have been spent and about 2 billion is penciled in to buy possible vaccines, EU officials told Reuters. This leaves some 400 million euros available. The European Union wants to fast-track funding to treat COVID-19 patients with blood plasma collected from survivors, an EU document seen by Reuters shows, in a sign of the bloc’s growing confidence in the experimental treatment.The move also highlights the more assertive approach being taken by the 27-nation union in the race to find effective drugs and vaccines against the new coronavirus, after the United States scooped up several promising candidates.The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has invited national blood authorities to apply for possible emergency funding by July 10 to boost their collection of convalescent plasma, which is obtained from people who have recovered from COVID-19, the document seen by Reuters said. The use of the ESI is still being considered, the Commission noted in its document. A Commission spokesman did not immediately reply to questions on the matter.Plasma rushSince the beginning of the pandemic, medics across the world have been transfusing convalescent plasma into critically ill COVID-19 patients, often with positive results, although its efficacy is still under investigation.People who survive an infectious disease like COVID-19 are left with blood plasma containing antibodies, or proteins made by the body’s immune system to fight off a virus, that can be transfused into newly infected patients to try to aid recovery.Plasma, which is the liquid component of blood, is also being tested by public authorities and companies to develop medicines against COVID-19, such as hyper-immune globulins.Separate research is underway on its possible use to prevent COVID-19 infections, as antibodies extracted from it could be transfused to boost immunity defenses of vulnerable people. That could be particularly important in the absence of a vaccine.The Commission has already funded research on convalescent plasma, but unblocking emergency funding to promote collection would be the boldest move so far.The EU is currently financing a project to develop a plasma-derived therapy against COVID-19 and has also set up a database to share results of treatments applied in European hospitals.It is also working to reduce its long-standing dependency on plasma imported from the United States to manufacture critical non-COVID medicines such as immunoglobulins and medication that helps control bleeding. Topics :
RelatedPosts Aguero could be out of action until November, Guardiola says UCL: Benfica kicked out by player who left club one week earlier + other results MultiChoice unveils sport channels, content line-up Paris Saint-Germain attacker Angel Di Maria has recalled how he tore up a letter from Real Madrid asking him not to play in the 2014 World Cup final. Di Maria was desperate to feature for the Albiceleste against Germany, but was short of full fitness after suffering an injury in the quarter-final win against Belgium. “The only three who know the truth are doctor Daniel Martinez, [coach] Alejandro Sabella and me,” he told Telefe. “I had a [muscle] tear in the game against Belgium, I was at about 90 per cent. The leg wasn’t totally right, but I wanted to play and I didn’t care at all if I never played football again. “It was one of the things I was told could happen, but for me it was the World Cup final, it was my final.” But Madrid were worried that their player, who had been Man of the Match in May as Real won the Champions League against Atletico in Lisbon, might suffer a serious injury. “I knew they wanted to sell me,” Di Maria said. “And so the letter arrived. Daniel told me it was from Real Madrid, but I didn’t even want to look at it and I tore it up. “I went to talk to Alejandro and I told him, crying, that I wasn’t at 100%. I knew he loved me and that he wanted me to play, but he sought the best for the team. “I was going to have an injection. I wanted to try. But after the meeting, he decided to play Enzo Perez in my place.” Di Maria did not even make it onto the pitch in the 1-0 defeat to Germany and was sold by Real Madrid to Manchester United later in the summer.Tags: AlbicelesteAlejandro SabellaArgentinAGermanyParis Saint-GermainUEFA Champions League