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Ann Winblad, Managing Director Hummer Winblad Venture Partners on Covid-19 crisis for startups

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PEMO (00:00):

Yeah.

ANN (00:02):

And welcome, lovely to speak to you again after so long, I was wondering how you’re coping with this crisis.

Speaker 3 (00:11):

Well, one of the things that we’re doing is holding weekly meetings with all of our CEOs through optional meetings. So we get a basic view of what’s going on in our companies, large and small. And we also get a chance to really understand what the challenges are running a company during this crisis.

ANN (00:39):

And can you also just cover briefly what kind of investments you’re focused on?

Speaker 3 (00:46):

Well, we celebrated our 30th anniversary as a fund last September, so we’re in our 31st year with our same focus. We began as the first venture firm focused solely on software and enterprise software. So we are usually the first investor in a company, a venture investor. We start with the series a occasionally we’ll do a seed investment, and we always focus on enterprise software, which is business business software.

ANN (01:15):

Fantastic. Thanks for that. That’s just for those that don’t know what you’re, you’re focused on and how are you managing your current portfolio at the moment with what’s happened?

Speaker 3 (01:27):

Well, our job is much easier than our CEO’s job. The company’s came off a very strong Q1 which was pretty much the end of the old economy, as we know it. We were fortunate that our companies were all in a pretty strong position entering into this very challenging time. Also enterprise software has been a sector that has done pretty well all in all, given that the majority of corporations worldwide, we’re still early on in their digital transformations. And as one CEO described to me, digital transformations that were lagging suddenly went into hurry up mode. So everybody is really been very focused on looking at their pipelines with a strong reality lens managing their finances, very tightly. Most companies have frozen hiring but there have not been massive layoffs as you know, enterprise software companies are not ones that employ tens of thousands. So it, and they’ve all for the most part had distributed workforces to start with, although not a hundred percent distributed. So they’ve had to pivot to being virtual companies as has everyone else.

ANN (02:55):

Right. and you still looking at new investments and and if so, how are you doing that?

Speaker 3 (03:04):

Well, we had new investments in our pipeline. We recently closed a new investment in Canada, we fund North America based companies and that company is called smart access. And that, that was closed just in the last few weeks. However, I will say that the deals in the pipeline we’re actually in the pipeline before March, it does for early stage investing. We take, we give fast no’s and slow yeses. And what that means is that if we’re going to be involved in a company in the enterprise software space, a successful company like MuleSoft, which we funded at five people will be on those boards for 10 years. So we want to really understand the culture and composition of the teams. We really do a lot of due diligence on the marketplace, although we’re gazing into the future and that’s a little challenging to do so we still have a few deals and talk. We have three deals that are lined up to close in the next month or so. And those have gone through the pretty normal process of due diligence because they started on before the pandemic closing has always been something that’s done online and virtual. So that has not changed. So we’ll really see what happens when we started deal a fresh virtual we’re not in our offices because we’re based in San Francisco. So any auditions we’re doing, we’re doing virtually, but we were zoom users long before March.

ANN (04:47):

And so would you contemplate considering we don’t know how long this this effect self isolation and everything’s going to go on for it. Would you consider investing in a company just via virtual without any human contact?

Speaker 3 (05:06):

Well, we’ll see you know, software is really such a people intensive business intellectual capital in a software company trumps the financial capital at all times. For me personally, I’ve always made a habit of taking three lunches a week and meeting an entrepreneur I’ve never met before. Not necessarily someone who’s pitching to me, but just to really be looking ahead at who are the new innovators. And I have to say after 12 weeks, I really do miss that a company that we’re closing shortly each of us had one-on-one lunches with the two founders. And we really feel like we know those people and that they know us. It’s a two way street here. I think you have to ask the entrepreneurs, would they take money from a venture capitalist they’d never met in person and put them on their board and do business with them for 10 years.

Speaker 3 (06:05):

So I think it’s going to be challenging and time will tell, but I think we’ll see the biggest pause in investing probably in the end of Q three Q four, but that has always been sort of a pause time. Anyway, if we look at years past and people may sort of wait until January of 2021 and see where we are, but for software investments, which are really, people-based not just invention based. We really do want to know who we’re investing in, not just what we’re investing in. And, and with that focus, I wonder what your own personal insight has come from this retreat. I call it of three months. Is there any like personal insights that you’ve come out of this with? Yeah, it’s been very interesting looking into people’s living rooms. And then I’ve had the opportunity to teach a couple of university classes over this period, which has been very revealing.

Speaker 3 (07:27):

I’ve spoken at an international to international conferences, which has also been very revealing. And it, there is an intimacy here which is refreshing and challenging at the same time. It’s you know, it’s a very, very different dynamic as time has gone on. I can see fatigue where people are, whether you’re a college professor, a CEO, a, a journalist no matter how much you love your spouse and children, 24 by seven is a lot in a recent conversation in a group of women board members. And these women have been on boards for a long time. And these are board members of fortune 500 companies. They say for the first time that childcare is really coming up at the board meeting and mostly male dominated boards. So I do think that we will see a much greater perspective on what it takes to not just run a business, but to raise a family teacher children, a greater appreciation for teachers.

Speaker 3 (08:54):

People have commented on how quickly everybody’s pivoted to online learning, but there is a real diversity of quality of the teachers and their ability to teach that way. I also think that it’s, it really is much more of a human connection in some ways to be looking into people’s homes and bedrooms Dan’s living but at the same time it makes leadership very challenging. As you have to extract yourself from this well, having an extraordinary amount of empathy, you still have a business to run, but you know, you’re in everyone’s homes. So it is really caused the bar to raise higher for a CEO during these times. And, you know, it’s not just about, you know, not seeing your team, but it is also about innovation and new ideas that happen when the team is together. Not just in plan meetings, it’s, it’s who walks by and sits down.

Speaker 3 (10:11):

And who, who in, in on plan meetings has these great ideas. It really is. Innovation requires people to be together, not just virtually, but in the sort of non predetermined set theory, meaning ideas can come from anywhere in a company, not in just preplanned virtual meetings, wonderful insights, thanks for sharing those. What what do you expect in the next 1224 months as regards investments generally in the Bay area? Well, if we look at the investment data over the last few years last year and the year before were huge numbers, and much of that money was invested in the Bay area. However, the number of startups receiving a first round of investment was slowly going down over the last 10 years. In fact, last year’s total number was about equal to what it was 10 years ago. 50% of all the deals last year were over $50 million rounds.

Speaker 3 (11:26):

A lot of the deals were done by non traditional venture capitalists, private equity, sovereign wealth funds corporations. And I don’t think that it has been easy for companies to get their first round of capital in the last few years and tell you’re a breakout company, and then there’s massive amounts of money. So there’s two questions here. What’ll happen at the starting line. And if you are a breaker company, will these mounds of money still be there? Will corporations still be investing? Will private equity be investing, will sovereign wealth funds be investing? And those are big questions. So I do think that companies can’t count on lots of money at the starting line or lots of money at the finish line, because there are a ton of companies now in the middle, there’s $120 billion of what we call powder fresh powder out there in the hands of venture capitalists in the U S however, if that was used, just to keep the current companies that are funding funded, it would be more than use job.

Speaker 3 (12:42):

So there will be a triage happening in the middle. You won’t see most of it. Companies, some companies will just slowly fade away. I do think that at the, at the high end, you can’t count on 5,000, $200 million rounds being readily available. And that means that companies will have to either figure out how to approach the public markets earlier than 10 years, or have a different model where profitability is valued higher than growth, which has not been the case in recent years at the starting line. There’s always been a challenge for companies that are not based in Silicon Valley or in New York city or Boston. So I do think that the center of the country will suffer here. And that was just beginning to be more populated with entrepreneurs. Those are smaller funds. Less capital is getting in airplanes and flying around, which is another another challenge here we fund across the U S we have investments in Minnesota and Canada in Boston and New York and Oregon and all over California, but we’re not getting an airplanes right now, either. That means that we’re looking around the corners. And we’re, we’re not, we definitely are not looking as far a fields we have before. Although I will say that our most recent investment that we made is in Edmonton Canada, very cold day. Wow.

ANN (14:25):

Yeah, no huge changes and really hard to predict how it’s going to look, but thank you so much for all your insights, and you’re always very interesting and your experience in the industry goes way back, as you said. And it’s fascinating. So really appreciate your contribution today. Thank you so much.

ANN (14:46):

Thank you yourself. And thanks for all the focus that you give entrepreneurs. We can’t forget that entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, so we need them to be very successful. Nicely put, thank you. Bye. See you. Bye.

Source: https://www.fintechsv.com/blog/vc/ann-winblad-managing-director-hummer-winblad-venture-partners-on-covid-19-crisis-for-startups/

Covid19

AllStar Health Brands Announces Updates on Covid Testing Initiatives

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Miami, FL, April 2, 2021 – OTC PR WIRE — AllStar Health Brands Inc. (OTC Pink: ALST) (“AllStar Health” or the “Company”), a specialty pharmaceutical and nutritional supplements company, is pleased to update current and prospective shareholders on the status of the Company’s ON-Going Business Operations including Covid-19 testing Initiatives in several countries.

“As a Distributor for TPT Medtech, we are continuing to work in other countries including South Africa with the goal of introducing the ‘QuikPASS’ and ‘QuikLAB’ systems to offer definitive testing solutions in these countries,” stated Dr. Bagi, CEO of AllStar.

AllStar is a Distribution partner for TPT MedTech products and services in Jamaica. BayWest Wellness Center in Jamaica has contracted with TPT MedTech to utilize its “QuikPASS” and Check & Verify Passport technology systems at the Montego Bay Airport to verify that individuals have been tested to leave the county of Jamaica.  Baywest Wellness secured the Covid 19 testing contract with the Montego Bay Airport in February 2021 and executed its technology deal with TPT MedTech in February as well.

About AllStar Health Brands

AllStar Health Brands Inc. is a Nevada Corporation established in 2017, and headquartered in Miami, Florida. AllStar is a specialty HealthCare Products Company dedicated to improving health and quality of life by offering select, nutritional supplements, over the counter remedies, and medicines all across the Americas and Europe. AllStar’s goal is to bring additional products to the market and provide new, innovative options for better health and wellbeing.

For more information, please contact Investor Relations at (305) 423 7028.

Safe Harbor Statement

Statements about the Company’s future expectations and all other statements in this press release other than historical facts, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbors created thereby.

The above information contains information relating to the Company that is based on the beliefs of the Company and/or its management, as well as assumptions made by any information currently available to the Company or its management. When used in this document, the words “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plans,” “projects,” and similar expressions, as they relate to the Company or its management, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect the current view of the Company regarding future events and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, including the risks and uncertainties noted. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated, expected, intended or projected. In each instance, forward-looking information should be considered in light of the accompanying meaningful cautionary statements herein. Factors that could cause results to differ include, but are not limited to, successful performance of internal plans, the impact of competitive services and pricing and general economic risks and uncertainties.

SOURCE: AllStar Health Brands Inc.

Public Relations
EDM Media, LLC
https://edm.media
(800) 301-7883

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Source: https://otcprwire.com/allstar-health-brands-announces-updates-on-covid-testing-initiatives/

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Covid19

Enerkon Solar International (ENKS) Names New Board and Scientific Committee Members and Announces New FARA Filing in support of Commercial Aspirations

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New York, April 1, 2021 – OTC PR WIRE – Enerkon Solar International (OTC PINK: ENKS) Names New Board and Scientific Committee Members and Announces today New FARA Filing in support of Commercial Aspirations in North Africa and other Important Updates regarding the new SARS2-COVID 15 Second “Insta-Test”.

ENKS Chairman Mr. Ballout stated that since the company Nominated a New Scientific Committee and Board Members this week, the company issue the first name selections today which are:

  • Senator Roberto Lario Rodriguez (Ret.) – (El Salvador) Advisory Bord Member for South and Central America
  • Dr Ibrahim El Nattar – (Egypt) Advisory Board Member for Renewable Energy in Africa
  • Dr Mark Schutz – Bioscience – (MD 0- USA), Graphene and Passive Immunity and Medical Advisory Board member
  • Michael Vishmidt (Israel/Ukraine) – Scientific Advisory Board Member for New Technology and Research
  • Dr Vasily Muraveynik, (Ukraine) – New Biomedical Science Advisory Board Member
  • Isaac Ray (Cal. USA) Special Scientific Advisor for Industrial Emission Suppression Technology
  • Nural KARAVELİOĞLU – (Turkey) – Consulting Board Member for Renewable Energy, Hydrogen and Government Relations”
  • Omar Mabruk Ilhayam (UK) – Advisory Board Member on Commerce and Energy for North Africa (Libya – Egypt – Algeria – Morocco – Tunisia) supporting Solar – Hydrogen – Energy Industry new Technology Transfer / Commercialization

Mr. Ballout Commented: “Our Great New Scientific and Regional Advisory Board will enhance Shareholder Value through supporting growth and expansion of ENKS and its Diverse Holdings – CVs and other information will be posted on the company website this week as well as other information on new opportunities and expansion plans.”

ENKS is comprised of 6 (Since the Sale of East Africa Unit to AL Fada Equity Holdings Last week)  -Companies, including corporate wholly or majority owned divisions – Corporate information for each will be posted on the company website for ease of search as some shareholders or investors have mentioned it was difficult to locate some of the data online, causing the possibility for others posting wrong or misleading information online –  therefore the company shall post additional legal documents and status information on line for all to have access”

Mr. Ballout Stated: “The company is proud of its New commercial relationship with companies and government personalities in Libya and Today, we have added an additional Statement of Registration with the US DOJ FARA National Security Division Agency for our work with the new, UNSMIL backed Government of Libya – This in support of our Compliance requirements for disclosure and in furtherance of our commercial aspirations in North Africa, related to Renewable Solar Energy, Hydrogen and other Commercial Interaction with the Region and in pre opposition to any Fake news, state clearly that the company has NO signed contracts with the government yet while we are hopeful that we will in the near future either via commercial entities or PPP structures we have for North Africa”.

“A technical call remains scheduled, with the new ChNPP director regarding the Chernobyl Special Exclusion Zone technical points and contents of this call which will be video recorded will explain better to the general public what Solar,  Co-Generation is (the use of Solar Power (about 500 MW or less to Power Electric Steam Boilers which in turn are planned to supply the pressure needed to drive the 3 Turbine Electric generators on the ChNPP Site whereby each generator has a tolerance of nearly 1 Gigawatt – and further auxiliary power from the solar array will power a 50 and later a 100MW Electrolysis Driven Green Hydrogen Plant to supply buyers of Green Hydrogen. The company, has already received expression of interest letters from German, Green Hydrogen Buyers and we shall post these letter(s) on the company website in coming days as well.”

Additional Support for the Modernization of the Ukraine Metals industry, will entail plans for Titanium Production and mining modernization – and Carbon Anode Sourcing for their Aluminum Industry – including Graphite Electrodes for their  Steel Industry modernization plans in the future (a letter from the Vice Prime minister of Ukraine regarding our cooperation on the Titanium Industry has already been received by the company some weeks ago – expressing appreciation and explaining the many jobs and social benefits of such cooperation to future development in Ukraine.

ENKS will Name a New Auditor Next Week once the File is Opened and Started for our last two years and current year Audit – in addition it is noted that this Auditor shall be retained on a continuous basis for all quarterly and Annual Reports in support of compliance requirements upon our planned up listing – this information will be added to the OTC Disclosures Site Page under Professional Service Providers (Auditor).

NEWS: Regarding the SARS2-COVID 15 Second “Insta-Test” device already produced for clinical trials and approvals (Owned by Graphene Leaders Canada and Distributed by KrowdX who has co sales agreements with the Coviklear International Holdings (UK) Unit Purchased before last week.

Mr. Ballout Stated:“ Great strides have been made in the development of the project supporting the commercialization of the SARS2-COVID Graphene Nanotech Based – 15 second “Insta-Test” – this being owned by GLC Canada and Distributed by KrowdX of Montreal – We are pleased to update that Pre Orders are due in very soon from ENKS /Coviklear partners abroad for the benefit of Krowdx and GLC to fulfill upon and after FDA Approval which is expected very soon (within just weeks as clinical trials of the already produced pre-production device is near completion during the next 10 days or so. – The Market for this device to Governments world wide cannot be understated, as it is the fastest test so far in the world and uses a much superior testing system, which takes only 15 seconds maximum time and uses a novel nanotech graphene biosensor to accomplish the amazing feat so fast, with such accuracy, (estimated at more than 97+ Percent) – Covillear Parent company  – ENKS also is in final talks with DGI in New York, for Financial Support to guarantee order fulfillment – supply chain management and other administrative support where needed, if asked to help, by the Owners and Distributors – This being our expression of confidence, as while we have already spent $5 Million USD to purchase Coviklear in a Debt Equity Swap before last week we are ready to engage much greater amounts of capital from our third party financial resources to support Factoring Order Fulfillment – Purchase order finance and other tools that may support the commercialization world wide for this groundbreaking disruptive Technology. It is noted that this is NOT a PCR test, and it does NOT use Reagents, or any chemicals whatsoever, its is based on electrical impedance using Nano Tech Graphene substrate, to send analysis to the device output at a very fast and high rate of efficacy – being far superior to PCR and similar tests, including all other DNS/RNA Tests – The test is NON-Invasive and safe.”

GLC Medical Inc. – Insta Test Initial Version

GLC Medical Inc. – Insta Test Updated Version

Governments and related PPPs / NGOs and others have expressed serious and immediate interest in ordering this new device which is now a reality, minus only its EUA (Emergency Use Application Green light at the FDA/HC and WHO) and this includes the KrowdX proprietary SES and STS solution for Airports – Sea Ports, Land Borders and other access and entry points between cities states provinces and otherwise to regain control of the Pandemic and free the world´s population again.

These details will be released by the Distributor KrowdX /Covikear, as they mutually agree, in the coming days/Week(s).

“Needless to say, the market value for this new device and technology is absolutely enormous, subject only to the contingencies mentioned above and we are absolutely excited about it all.”

“Stay Tuned for more updates on all of these new developments during the coming days and week(s)”

Lastly:

The Company expect to name an Auditor as previously mentioned above, during late next week if all goes well, in the company cost and – time – to – completion negotiations, going on now.

“Loyal ENKS Shareholders, are the ‘ENKS ARMY’, and the company will always support their best interests working to enhance shareholder value and steady growth.”

The foregoing statements are forward looking statements, and as such, they may or may not reflect the results which could transpire in the future which should be negative or not transpire at all due to circumstances or other reasons and investors, shareholders, or others should not rely on these forward-looking statements to ascertain any value if any of ENKS or to make any investment decisions and to take note that this is not an offer to buy or sell securities or an endorsement of ENKS for investment purposes as all investment carry a risk of loss sometimes a total loss of your investment in Micro cap shares markets or any market and therefore such statements or plans should not be relied upon for any business decisions of any kind – Approval and permissions required by federal regulations may or may not be approved and if not approved may result in the loss of all value and all investments in products requiring such regulatory permissions to market and sell. These statements are made as forward-looking statements for educational purposes only in accordance with the rules and regulations which pertain to the same.

Enerkon Solar International Inc.

www.enerkoninternational.com

info@enerkoninternational.com

New HQ Address in New York at:

Enerkon Solar International Inc

477 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10022 USA

Tel. +1 (877) 573-7797

Tel. +1 (718) 709-7889

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Source: https://otcprwire.com/enerkon-solar-international-enks-names-new-board-and-scientific-committee-members-and-announces-new-fara-filing-in-support-of-commercial-aspirations/

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Blockchain

Qtum Partners with Vaccine Forward to Boost Global COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

QTUM

The blockchain platform Qtum has announced the partnership with Vaccine Forward to help the fundraising initiative to raise vaccines for distribution to over 92 countries. The goal of the partnership is to raise $2 billion to speed the vaccination process through some of the world’s poorest countries, with the Qtum Chain Foundation committing to match […]

The post Qtum Partners with Vaccine Forward to Boost Global COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts appeared first on Blockonomi.

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The blockchain platform Qtum has announced the partnership with Vaccine Forward to help the fundraising initiative to raise vaccines for distribution to over 92 countries.

The goal of the partnership is to raise $2 billion to speed the vaccination process through some of the world’s poorest countries, with the Qtum Chain Foundation committing to match the total number of vaccines raised by Vaccine Forward.

Vaccine Forward is a Swedish-based initiative aiming to fight this inequality having raised over 12k vaccinations ever since its start and has now looked for the support of the blockchain and crypto industry in collaboration with Qtum Chain Foundation, which has provided half of the total vaccinations.

Elisabeth Thand Ringqvist, Vaccine Forward founder, referred to the partnership by stating:

“As a grass-roots organization, Vaccine Forward is proud to receive the biggest donation so far, effectively doubling the amount of raised vaccinations, from 6 000 to 12 000 with Qtum’s donation. We are also very happy for Qtum’s challenge to the Blockchain-space at large to do the same.”

The organization depends on private and corporate donations to make it possible to help countries who need the vaccines to ensure the health of their citizens, which are distributed via the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI).

Soon, donors will also be able to contribute to this mission by making donations using cryptocurrency directly on Vaccine Forward’s website, facilitating the process for people around the world who might not be able to donate with fiat otherwise.

Crypto As a Tool for Equality

While developed countries have moved forward with vaccination efforts, countries with poor economies and strong political relationships have struggled to vaccinate their citizens, creating a high level of inequality among a pandemic that affects all countries equally.

One of the pillars of the crypto movement on its inception and till this day has been to provide people around the world with access to financial services and platforms without the need for centralized authorities having power over them, which has made crypto a lifeline for residents of countries under extreme poverty, dictatorships, or economic sanctions.

Cryptocurrency has been used by organizations like AirTm to help citizens from countries like Venezuela to receive economic assistance from people abroad by bypassing legal sanctions and economic restrictions placed by their country and foreign governments, highlighting some of the benefits of decentralization.

Similarly, projects designed to allow charities to receive donations from interested parties have also become increasingly popular in the crypto ecosystem, which has proven to be invaluable for charities over the last years.

Qtum Co-Founder, Jordan Earl, referred to the potential the industry has to help the transition out o the pandemic by saying:

“We hope that we can inspire our industry to do the same and also match Vaccine Forwards fundraising to help in the effort of vaccinating people who need it the most. We at Qtum are global problem solvers with an open platform and therefore, I think the grass-roots organization Vaccine Forward is an amazing solution to a complex global problem.”

The Qtum Ecosystem Continues to Grow

Qtum has experienced increasing success over the past year, which has not only been reflected by its cryptocurrency’s gain in value but also by the expansion of its ecosystem.

The most recent news came in the form of an announcement of its commitment to provide Filecoin with smart contracts capabilities through the Qtum network, something that while not only benefits users of the platform but also Qtum itself as part of its portfolio controls about 10% of Filecoin’s mining power.

Great Options for New Markets

Qtum is also looking into launching NFT support to compete against networks like Ethereum by offering lower prices, which has been an increasing pain for projects running on the Ethereum network.

With major networks like Cardano, Polkadot, and Ethereum getting closer to the release of their next updates, Qtum is looking forward to becoming a major competitor in the growing crypto ecosystem.

The network’s coin, QTUM, has gained over 700% in value over the last year according to Coingecko data, with a 90% over the last month which has seen most of the big projects in the crypto market go through a bearish trend.

1,274

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Source: https://blockonomi.com/qtum-partners-vaccine-forward/

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Covid19

France Imposes 3rd National Lockdown As COVID-19 Again Surges

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Young people gathered Wednesday by the Seine River in Paris, largely without masks and without social distancing. French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered the country into a third lockdown because of the continued spread of COVID-19. Eleanor Beardsley/NPR hide caption

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Eleanor Beardsley/NPR

PARIS – Calling the new, faster-spreading variants of the coronavirus “an epidemic within the epidemic,” French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday extended a lockdown to the entire country and closed schools through the end of April.

In a televised address to the nation, Macron said a “more dangerous, contagious and deadly” virus surging in France left him no choice.

“If we are choosing to close down the whole country it’s because no area of the country is spared,” Macron said. “Everywhere the virus is spreading faster and faster and everywhere, hospitalizations are rising.”

Gatherings inside and outside are also banned and people will not be allowed to travel more than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from their homes. Macron said unlike the first confinement last spring, people who leave their homes will not have to fill out a form with the time, date and purpose of their outing. “We are choosing to have confidence in people’s sense of responsibility,” he said.

“Everyone has to make sure not that they close themselves in, but that they limit, to the maximum, their contacts, meetings and time spent with others,” said Macron.

The president’s announcement was entirely anticipated. France’s intensive care units are at capacity with more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients health officials say, and hospitalizations have already surpassed the second wave of this past winter. They are on track to surpass even the first deadly wave of last spring.

Over the weekend, several dozen emergency room doctors signed an open letter in the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, warning that if something is not done, hospitals would soon have to begin choosing which patients receive treatment. “We cannot remain silent without betraying our Hippocratic oath,” they said.

Jacob Kirkegaard, who studies health care systems as a senior fellow with the German Marshall Fund, says the new strains of the virus are forcing countries to step up their public health measures. Britain, Germany and Italy are also in various forms of lockdown.

“When COVID cases in a country are suddenly much more contagious, the lockdowns need to be adjusted and made much tougher,” he said.

Kirkegaard said vaccinations in France have not yet increased to a level which would make a difference in transmission. Thirteen percent of the French have received one dose of a vaccine. Only 4% have been fully vaccinated. But Macron said the pace of vaccination would go faster very soon.

“We are putting all our means behind vaccinating, vaccinating, vaccinating,” he said, “on Saturday and Sunday just like during the week.” Macron said some 250,000 health professionals – doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians and fire fighters – will be involved in the massive vaccination effort across the country.

Over the last few warm, spring days, the banks of the Seine River in Paris have looked a lot like Venice Beach, Calif., with young people working-out and sunbathing, their masks under their chins. Macron said there will be patrols enforcing restrictions on alcohol consumption in public and plenty of fines given. Bars and restaurants have been closed since last fall.

Doctors say COVID-19 patients in France’s ICUs are younger and younger, often without any underlying health problems. Macron said 44% of patients in intensive care are younger than 65.

The country’s Scientific Council, which advises the government on measures to combat the virus, called for a strict lockdown in January. Macron defended his decision not to lock the country down then, saying people had benefitted from “precious weeks of liberty.”

But he said the accelerating pandemic propelled by new variants meant France had to set a new course for the coming months.

Writing of the gravity of the situation this week in the newspaper Libération, Patrick Bouet, president of the National Council of the Order of Doctors, called on Macron to institute stricter measures. “The virus is winning and we have lost control of the pandemic,” Bouet said.

France is now approaching 100,000 coronavirus deaths. “That’s the equivalent of wiping the city of Nancy from the map,” wrote Bouet.

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Source: https://www.npr.org/2021/03/31/983157525/france-imposes-3rd-national-lockdown-as-covid-19-again-surges

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