Health

Roundup: Croatia toughens entry rules, Ireland to ease lockdown

Madrid Desk, 1 Dec (efe-epa).- Croatia implements stronger entry requirements to help contain the virus after the prime minister tests positive for Covid-19, while shoppers in Ireland are eager to spend as measures are relaxed ahead of the holiday period.

Elsewhere, top universities in the United Kingdom are working on studies to identify lung damage from coronavirus, and German authorities tighten measures limiting numbers for gatherings.

UNITED KINGDOM

Researchers from Oxford and Sheffield Universities say Covid-19 could cause lung abnormalities more than three months after infection, however conventional scanners can’t detect it.

For this study involving 10 patients aged 19-69, a novel scanning technique was used to identify damage that can’t be seen on conventional images.

The technique uses xenon gas, which patients must inhale during an MRI scan to reveal lung damage.

Eight of the ten patients showed signs of lung damage, and had experienced dyspnoea and fatigue three months after contracting coronavirus, but conventional scans had not observed problems in their lungs.

Expert Fergus Gleeson, who is leading the work, is planning a trial with about 100 people to see if the same is true for others who have not been hospitalised and had no severe symptoms of the disease.

Gleeson’s goal is to establish whether coronavirus causes lung damage and, if so, whether it is permanent or resolves over time.

CROATIA

Croatia is requiring from Tuesday onwards a negative Covid-19 test result or two weeks of quarantine for all nationals or foreigners entering the country.

The Balkan nation set a new record for deaths in the last 24 hours and is preparing stricter measures to mitigate the pandemic.

Diplomats, medical personnel, employees of international organisations, journalists and certain emergency cases are exempt from this requirement.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who tested positive for coronavirus Sunday, is experiencing only mild symptoms at present, according to his cabinet.

However, on Monday Plenkovic appointed the first deputy prime minister, Tomo Medved, as interim head of government in case the virus prevents him from exercising his duties as normal.

IRELAND

The Republic of Ireland begins on Tuesday to transition down from Phase 5 to Phase 3, de-escalating measures implemented six weeks ago to combat the pandemic, with the reopening of non-essential businesses.

Early on Tuesday morning queues were already forming in front of clothing stores, hairdressers and barber shops, while authorities increased public transport capacities from 25 to 50% to cope with the upsurge in activity over the holiday period.

Gyms, worship sites, museums and cinemas will also open on Tuesday, and hotels will resume activity under certain restrictions this Friday, although restrictions on home visits and mobility between some regions remain in place for three more weeks.

Citizens have to wait until 18 December to be able to move freely around the country and gather indoors with people from across three households.

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