COVID-19 current figures
Today's COVID-19 headlines
Pharmacists warn against malarial drugs as a cure for coronavirus
Pharmacy experts at the University of Huddersfield are urging caution over claims that widely-available antimalarial drugs could be a 'magic bullet' to prevent and cure Covid-19 as the medicines can have serious side effects.
The authors of a new article in the British Journal of Pharmacy say that although there have been some encouraging signs from small-scale preliminary trials of the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine when administered to coronavirus patients, the results are preliminary and should be treated with care.
As the evidence currently stands, they say chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine cannot be used as a general treatment for all Covid-19 patients and its use should be restricted for the treatment of Covid-19-associated pneumonia in severely-ill patients only under a trial or clinical supervision of a licenced practitioner and close cardiac monitoring.
New guide for supporting the mental health of frontline Covid-19 staff
Covid-19 healthcare workers will be psychologically impacted by their work during the pandemic and will require psychological support from multiple levels in their organisations, according to an academic review by researchers from Queen Mary University of London, London's Air Ambulance and Barts Health NHS Trust, and a London-based A&E doctor.
Published in the European Heart Journal, the review paper looks at the psychological wellbeing of medical staff, and includes pragmatic recommendations for individuals, teams and organisational leaders in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The paper highlights the increased pressure staff are under, while having to deal with fears of catching the illness themselves or passing it on to their families, working with new and frequently changing protocols, and caring for very sick and quickly deteriorating patients - all of which can result in acute stress reactions, burnout, depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and 'moral injury'.
BMA says second phase of Covid-19 response must include a national risk assessment framework
The British Medical Association have responded to a letter from NHSEI to all healthcare trusts advising that the NHS is now moving into the second phase of its response to Covid-19.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of BMA council, said that as the NHS begins to resume some normal services, it remains imperative that doctors and all health and care staff are given proper protection against infection from Covid-19 both for their own safety and crucially to prevent spread to other non-Covid patients as they increasingly access services and this means that the issues surrounding supply of adequate protective equipment must be resolved urgently in advance of this next phase.
He added that the letter makes no mention of how providers should assess risk, and the BMA has already called on NHS England to develop a national risk assessment framework so that this can be done with objectivity and consistency across the NHS. This would take into account ethnicity, age, sex, and other medical conditions, as well as nature of work, risk of exposure and other factors. Those at highest risk should be protected from working in infectious areas and redeployed to non-Covid care or work remotely.
Other news roundup
- In Spain, people are finally allowed to exercise and go for walks from Saturday
- Austria will reopen thousands of bigger shops as well as small businesses like hairdressers
- Premier League clubs will decide whether they will resume the season today
- UN has warned that millions of children are missing "life-saving" vaccines
- Royal Mail has unveiled five special postboxes across the UK that have been painted blue in support of NHS staff during the coronavirus crisis
- Coronavirus testing is to be extended in Scotland's care homes