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Monkeypox: The answers to the most asked questions

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With at least 71 confirmed cases in the UK, and several more worldwide, monkeypox is grabbing headlines and causing some concern among governments and experts.

But despite community transmissions rising in countries where the virus is not usually seen, the science community has urged caution. While so much is yet unknown about the virus, which comes at the tail end of the Covid pandemic, people are still looking for answers.

Here’s some useful questions and answers to help learn more about and identify monkeypox:

 

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection most common in remote parts of central and west Africa. The disease, first found in monkeys, does not tend to spread easily between people but can be transmitted through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse.

 

How many cases of monkeypox are there?

As of May 24, UK cases stand at 71, including, on Monday, the first case in Scotland.

 

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

It usually takes between five and 21 days for the first symptoms of the infection to appear.

The first symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • a high temperature

  • a headache

  • muscle aches

  • backache

  • swollen glands

  • shivering (chills)

  • exhaustion

A rash, which often begins on the face before spreading, usually appears one to five days after the first symptoms.

For more on the symptoms, see Monkeypox: What is the rare infection and what are the symptoms?

 

What should you do if you contract the disease?

Anyone at the highest risk of having caught monkeypox should isolate for 21 days, official guidance says.

The UK Health Security Agency advice is for anyone who has direct or household contact with a confirmed case.

Contacts are advised to provide their details for contact tracing, forgo travel, and avoid contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, and children under 12.

 

Is monkeypox deadly?

The disease is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.

Virologists recognise two strains of monkeypox virus; the Congo Basin strain can be fatal in as many as 10% of cases, while the West African strain (which is the one currently in the UK) is less transmissible and causes less severe disease and fewer deaths (its mortality rate is about 1%).

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “As things stand the judgement is that it’s rare. I think we’re looking very carefully at the circumstances of transmission.

“It hasn’t yet proved fatal in any case that we know of, certainly not in this country.

“The UK Health Security Agency – a new body – is obviously following it very closely.”

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Ex F1 chief executive would “take a bullet” for “friend” Vladimir Putin

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Bernie Ecclestone Putin

Formula 1 have issued a statement following comments by their former chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, in an interview with Good Morning Britain on Thursday morning, in which he praised “sensible” Vladimir Putin who he would “still take a bullet for”.

 

The 91-year-old businessman said that “unfortunately he’s like a lot of business people, certainly like me, that we make mistakes from time to time and when you make the mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it.”

 

These comments come amidst the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine following President Putin’s authorisation of a “special military operation” in the east, after intense diplomacy and the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia failed to deter him.

 

Ecclestone simultaneously criticised the Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy for not making a “big enough effort to speak to Putin”, whom he described as a “sensible person” who “would have listened to him and could have probably done something about it.”

 

He went on to confirm that he believed that if Zelenskyy had done more to avert war, as opposed to any change in Putin’s actions, the conflict that has taken the lives of thousands of innocent Ukrainian people could have been averted. “I’m quite sure Ukraine, if they’d wanted to get out of it properly, could have done.”

 

A Formula One spokesman has said: “The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport.”

 

What are your thoughts – Join us on Facebook to join in the conversation..

 

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British Airways staff to strike over summer holidays

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A total of 700 British Airways workers at Heathrow Airport have voted in favour of and are set to go on a strike during the summer holidays in a dispute over pay, where demand is at its highest.

 

Unite and GMB union members have backed industrial action due to a 10% pay cut which was imposed at the peak of the pandemic, and is not to be reinstated. 94.7% of Unite members and 95% of GMB members voted in favour of the walkouts.

 

It is understood that these proposed strikes will only be undertaken by fewer than 50% of British Airways staff at Heathrow Airport. Nevertheless, if these strikes go ahead, there will no doubt be disruption for passengers and possible cancellations of flights.

 

Some members of BA staff, such as ground operations and engineers, have had their pay cuts reversed, however the GMB claim that check-in staff “have had nothing”. Unite have called this an insult. BA have issued a statement claiming that they are “extremely disappointed” with the decision made and are committed to finding a solution with the unions.

 

The exact strike dates are to be confirmed in the next few days.

 

What are your thoughts on the strikes, join us on Facebook to join the conversation…

 

Follow us at @GBToday for updates.

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Biggest Rail Strikes in 30 years to go ahead as talks fail

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Britain is braced for the biggest rail strikes in 30 years after last-ditch talks failed to resolve a row over pay and conditions.

Thousands of staff affiliated to the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Network Rail and 13 other train operators will walk out tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday.

The RMT says plans by Network Rail – the body which owns stations, track and signals – to cut 2,500 jobs, will put safety at risk. But the industry says it has to modernise and safety will not be compromised.

The Rail Delivery Group – which represents train firms – says the Covid pandemic has led to a decline in passenger numbers and while it wants to offer a pay rise to staff, the way the network operates has to change. But the RMT says it is prepared to take industrial action “for as long as it takes to get a settlement” and warned strikes could take place for the next six months.

It says train operators have now made an offer, but there is no further offer from Network Rail, after one was rejected last Friday. General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, whose department oversees the operation of the network, described calls by the RMT for ministers to intervene as a “stunt” and accused the union of “gunning” for industrial action. He said the strike was orchestrated by “union barons” and will cause misery and chaos to millions of commuters.

Services have begun to be affected this evening, and are likely to be disrupted throughout this week as the impact of the staggered stops cause an impact even on non-strike days.  Talks had continued this afternoon, but the two sides could not reach a deal.

Sources close to the negotiations said Network Rail was prepared to offer striking unions a five per cent pay rise to settle the dispute.

Use this tool to see if trains will run from your station.

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