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A new deadly virus strikes India amidst the COVID pandemic

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NEW DELHI  — The southern Indian state of Kerala is quickly ramping up efforts to stop a potential outbreak of the deadly Nipah virus, even as the state continues to battle the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Kerala is on high alert after a 12-year-old boy died of the rare virus on Sunday, spurring health officials to start contact-tracing and isolating hundreds of people who came into contact with the boy, who died at a hospital in the coastal city of Kozhikode.

On Tuesday, the state health minister told reporters that the samples of eight primary contacts have come back negative.

“That these eight immediate contacts tested negative is a great relief,” Veena George said.

Nipah, which was first identified during a late 1990s outbreak in Malaysia, can be spread by fruit bats, pigs and through human-to-human contact. There is no vaccine for the virus, which can cause raging fevers, convulsions and vomiting. The only treatment is supportive care to control complications and keep patients comfortable.

The virus has an estimated fatality rate of between 40% and 75%, according to the WHO, making it far more deadly than the coronavirus.

George said that more samples will be tested on Tuesday and that a total of 48 contacts, including the eight that have tested negative, are being monitored at a hospital. Officials will also be carrying out door-to-door surveillance and identifying secondary contacts.

Over the weekend, the federal government sent a team of experts to Kozhikode to help local officials trace contacts. They also suggested a list of recommendations, including bolstering health infrastructure in case of more cases and alerting neighboring districts.

The state dealt with Nipah in 2018, when more than a dozen people died from the virus. This time around, the concern is compounded by the fact that the state has grabbed national headlines in recent weeks for seeing the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases across India.

On Monday, Kerala registered nearly 20,000 COVID-19 infections out of India’s daily total of 31,222. While cases across the country have declined after a devastating surge earlier this year, the situation in Kerala remains concerning, with experts warning that the state cannot let its guard down.

World

Effective healthcare for older people in UK

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Aster Healthcare offers remarkable and effective care for older people as well as alternative life to home care. This organisation also cares the future of older people with their dignity.

Aster Healthcare provides a home for life and care which is compassionate, treatment that is evidence based, effective and in an environment which is safe. It also owns and operates four care homes for people who require accommodation, personal and nursing care. It also provide care for people with dementia as well as people who may require treatment for disease, disorder and injury.
“We offer short term respite and long-term residency based on a need’s assessment. Full 24-hour nursing care is provided so that people can have a home for life. Our care homes are located in London, Surrey, Worcestershire and East Sussex. Our homes are fully furnished and decorated to a high standard. You can expect comfortable, self-contained bedrooms and a variety of sociable spaces. These includes large bright lounges, cosy quiet areas and pleasant accessible gardens for your enjoyment. You and your family are encouraged to personalise your room to make it feel as homely as possible.”
History
Under the helm of seasoned Registered Nurses with over 30 years of experience working with the elderly under their belt, Aster Healthcare is a family-run care home business that owns 4 nursing homes catering to the elderly and specialises in dementia care. Started in 2006, Aster Healthcare puts our clients’ wellbeing at the centre of our ethos. We understand it is no easy decision to place the lives of those you care for most under the wings of others, which is precisely why we ensure that we are passionate in delivering the highest quality care.
Moving forward – Scope
At Aster Healthcare there has been a large shift in our service delivery. A change in management, a change of policy, a change of safety systems and a most importantly a change of culture throughout the organisation.
Good will be our minimum standard.
With our new Aster Family continued improvements have been made which is evident with the increased good rating from CQC at The Willows, Birdscroft and additional improvements at our other homes noted in the latest inspections.
Vision
We want you to become an extended member of our Aster Family. We want family members to feel part of our home, to be actively engaged and always warmly welcomed. We provide homes for life, care which are compassionate, treatment that is evidence based, effective and in an environment which is safe.
We take the time to get to know each individual through the use of life history assessments and other techniques to understand everyone’s individuality. This helps us to create care plans to improve quality of life, build relationships and inspire an environment so we can all truly feel ‘at home’.
Our homes include large bright lounges, cosy quiet areas and pleasant accessible gardens for your enjoyment. You and your family are encouraged to personalise your room to make it feel as homely as possible.
We believe that people living in care can have inspirational lives. It’s important to us that our residents are provided with meaningful and purposeful activities, which reflect our individuality and embrace the past, present and future.
We provide care for people with dementia as well as people who may require nursing support. Full 24-hour nursing care is available so that people can have that home for life experience whilst supporting additional health needs.
We offer short term respite and long-term residency based on a need’s assessment. Our care homes are located in London, Surrey, Worcestershire and East Sussex.
People

Quality care is at the heart of everything we do. At Aster Healthcare our Aster family has compassionate care teams that celebrate individualisation, uniqueness, and cultural diversity so that our residents and employees can feel cared for, respected and safe.
Aster Senior Management Team provides leadership and direction to our homes.
Our staff are robustly recruited in line with best practice guidance and have the knowledge, skills and competence to fulfil their individual roles and responsibilities.
Our employees have regular supervisions, appraisals and training to identify personal development needs and ongoing support.
Our Care Home Managers are registered with the Care Quality Commission to ensure competence and fitness and have immense managerial experiences.
We are supported by Moorepay who offer 24 hour HR and health and safety advise to our staff.
IT – working towards paperless

We want to make sure our technology is right up to date, with free Wi-Fi for all residents and visitors, and smart systems for the residents to use to keep in contact with friends and family throughout the country and worldwide via social media, WhatsApp and Skype. We also have telephone points in all rooms and Sky channels and Netflix in all the lounges
Digital care planning can support staff to make their processes more efficient. This means that their time isn’t taken up by administrative work. Digital care plans and records can make information easier to access, quicker to share and safer when regarding data protection.
Reports, rotas and KPIs are all live and updated daily using digital systems to improve communication, planning and reduce waste.

Sustainability – eco-friendly

As Aster Healthcare move forward with technology to support our homes we hope to support the home we all live on Planet Earth.
Our care homes are a 24/365 business and Aster Healthcare hope to implement more green technologies to be more sustainable. We have replaced all boilers to be more energy efficient, use smart heating systems to control heating and digital care plans to reduce paper waste. We now look towards digital quality and compliance systems, auditing and E-MAR.

Charity work

Since its inception, Aster Healthcare has prided itself on giving back to the community. For over 25 years, the Directors of Aster Healthcare has sponsored various charitable organisations, such as Care International, Dignity in Care, Plan International, Action Aid, British Red Cross, and more recently Guildford Philanthropy,
Caring for others is at the heart and soul of Aster Healthcare. We pride ourselves in supporting organisations which embody the same values and principles which run throughout our organisation.
Over the years our companionate staff teams and residents are always looking to help raise funds for local and national charities including Children in Need, Macmillan Support and The Alzheimer’s Society

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World

Indonesia: 7.3 magnitude earthquake jolts eastern coast

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A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia’s eastern coast on Tuesday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), prompting people in nearby towns to run into the streets and seek higher ground.

The quake hit 112 kilometers (69 miles) north of Maumere, on Indonesia’s Flores Island. The USGS said it struck at a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11 miles) in the Flores Sea at 10:20 a.m. local time (10:20 p.m. ET).
Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, the US-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, “hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of the earthquake epicenter.”
The head of Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) Dwikorita Karnawati, later confirmed a tsunami warning had ended.
She said 15 aftershocks have been reported so far, the strongest of which was 5.6 magnitude.
Those living on the northern coastline should move to a higher place if they feel a strong tremor lasting more than 10 seconds, Dwikorita said.
Romanus Woga, Deputy Head of Sikka Regency, the district located closest to the earthquake epicenter, told CNN he felt four or five big shakes that prompted people in Maumere city to run out of their homes. He said people living close to the coastal areas had fled to higher ground.
Romanus, who is driving around the city to check the situation there, said no buildings or houses had been noticeably damaged so far.
Maumere is the capital city of Sikka and the second-largest town on Flores with a population of about 90,000 people.
Indonesia sits on the “Ring of Fire,” a band around the Pacific Ocean that sets off frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. One of the most seismically active zones on the planet, it stretches from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific all the way across to California and South America on the other.
In December 1992, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit Flores Island, killing more than 2,000 people.

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Entertainment

India’s Harnaaz Sandhu wins Miss Universe contest held in Israel

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Harnaaz Sandhu of India has been crowned the 70th Miss Universe, topping a field of some 80 contestants in a pageant that was touched by politics and the pandemic.

The previously reigning Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, crowned her successor, a 21-year-old model, early on Monday in the Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat.

The pageant was held in the middle of the night, wrapping up at 5am (0300 GMT) on Monday to accommodate the primetime schedule in the United States.

The pageant included traditional displays of national costumes, swimwear and a series of interview questions to test contestants’ public speaking skills. The top 10 showed off intricately bedazzled full-length gowns in either gold, silver or bronze.

The Philippines’s Beatrice Luigi Gomez wore an asymmetrical cut dress with one sleeve, highlighting a new tattoo she said “celebrates her womanhood”.

Before Sandhu, two Indians have won the Miss Universe title: Bollywood actresses Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.

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