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Canada

Montreal launches snow loading operation Sunday morning

A snow loading operation will be launched in Montreal as of Sunday, at 7 a.m., to pick up the quantities accumulated during the first winter storm of 2021.

• Read also: [IMAGES] Let’s go for the first storm of the year!

According to Mayor Valérie Plante, more than 18 centimeters have fallen to the ground on the island of Montreal since last night.

It is the hospitals, access to public transport networks and major arteries that will be cleared as a priority as part of this second full load operation of the 2020-2021 season.

“With a view to facilitating operations, I particularly invite motorists to stay on the lookout for signage and to be aware of the various measures put in place, in particular in connection with the curfew in force”, indicated Mayor Plante by press release.

“On the first winter load, when the majority of people were on vacation or telecommuting, we had about 15% less tows than a comparable load. Thank you to the citizens who understood the importance of respecting the signage, ”said the person in charge of citizen services, Jean-François Parenteau.

Move your vehicle before curfew

As you have to move your vehicle before the start of the curfew, in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., the City has had to adapt by installing parking prohibition signs before 7 p.m., instead of until 8 p.m., as it is. usually is.

“Citizens must ensure at all times that they comply with the applicable parking rules and move their vehicle in accordance with the decree,” the City said. In the exceptional situation where a citizen would be forced to move his vehicle because of the load after the curfew comes into effect, the SPVM will use its best judgment. “

It should be noted that nearly 3,000 parking spaces have been added, for a total of 8,400. They are all available free of charge in many facilities, the list of which is available online here.

Due to the curfew, it is possible to park your vehicle in an off-street parking lot run by the Agence de Mobilité durable, between 3 p.m. and 5 a.m., free of charge on snow loading days. But “parking bans for loading prevail for these parking spaces as well”, reminded the City.

Due to the curfew, snow removal vehicles will stop activating their sirens after 7:30 p.m. to alert people who forgot to move their car. “So be doubly vigilant”, we warned.

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Headline USA Sports USA

The accounts do not add up: “Operation Messi” is seriously complicated for Paris Saint-Germain | The State

Who is not going to want Leo Messi in his team? Evidently, the most media player in the world is a very appetizing prey for many European football clubs, however, the cost of having it in the ranks of any club it is practically impossible for anyone to assume. Yes, even for Paris Saint-Germain.

According to French journalist Julien Laurens, collaborator of Transfer Talk from Sky Sports, the painting of the City of Light stria trying to square the numbers to be able to face the salaries of Messi, Neymar and Mbappé, but honestly it looks more than difficult:

Let’s say, no matter how much Messi wants to go to PSG to play with his friends, your annual salary will not drop below $ 65 million annually; that must be added to the $ 35 Neymar earns, What is it the same thing that, at least, Kylian Mbappé intends to win in a potential new contract with the Parisian team.

We are talking about nearly $ 150 million annually in salaries for just three players, a figure that looks completely outside of the Financial Fair Play rules required by UEFA.

The aspirations of the Parisian team are supported: Messi would give a dimension never before seen to the team in terms of popularity and also, would immediately make him a strong favorite for the title of his great obsession, the Champions League, but being completely realistic, It doesn’t seem feasible, at least keeping its other two mega stars.

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UAE

Dubai Customs busts major drug trafficking operation following intelligence input

Dubai: Dubai Customs has busted a major drug trafficking operation, seizing 76.31kg of narcotics at Hamriya Port.

The Dh47.5 million worth of drugs, comprising 30.15kg of crystal meth and 46.16kg of hashish, were found stashed inside an inbound container shipment, said Ibrahim Kamali, acting executive director of Customs Inspection Division at Dubai Customs. “Upon analysis of intelligence data, our officers got suspicious over an inbound shipment to Hamriya Port that was flagged by the Risk Engine system as being high risk,” he added.

A task force was formed, comprising inspection officers at Hamriya Customs Centre and control room staff with direct support from Seyaj unit, to track down the movement of the shipment. The container was scanned from the outside and found to have abnormal density. With the help of K-9 sniffer dogs, the illegal substances were uncovered. The on-site mobile laboratory screened the recovered contraband and the test result turned out positive.

Ibrahim Kamali

“Dubai Customs has recently stepped up its efforts to better counter drug smuggling into the country by raising alertness levels of its teams and enhancing the efficiency of control and inspection operations at various points of entry. Our strong customs intelligence along with the use of advanced scanning equipment and inspection technologies have been instrumental to deterring several drug trafficking attempts,” said Kamali.

Sultan Sayf Al Suwaidi

The new seizure is part of a comprehensive ‘Safe Nation’ campaign launched by Dubai Customs’ Sea Customs Centres Management to crack down on drug smuggling. “The campaign has so far dealt severe blows to drug traffickers and smugglers in Dubai over recent months,” said Sultan Sayf Al Suwaidi, acting director of Sea Customs Centres Management.

In November 2020, Dubai Customs officers foiled an attempt to smuggle 662kg of drugs on-board a dhow at the Creek and Deira Wharfage Customs Centre — the biggest haul seized at the coastal borders.

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Headline USA Politics

US won’t approve AstraZeneca shot until APRIL, Operation Warp Speed chief says

The US has only administered about 10 percent – less than 2.6million – of the 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccine it promised to give to Americans by the end of 2020, despite having distributed more than 12million doses to states and territories.

CDC data reveal that as of 9am ET on Wednesday, fewer than 2.6million people had received their first doses of Moderna or Pfizer’s vaccines – both of which are difficult to ship and handle.

The bottleneck is caused by officials on state and federal level who have failed to create plans to get those shots into the arms of Americans according to a former FDA official who told DailyMail.com that the failure is akin to dropping the baton on the last leg of of the vaccine race.

While Americans continue to wait to be vaccinated, the UK on Wednesday authorized a vaccine by AstraZeneca that will almost certainly accelerate vaccine distribution there because it is cheaper, far easier to ship, handle and store than the Pfizer and Moderna alternatives.

Yet US regulators have no intention of approving the more efficient shot until April – two months after AstraZeneca’s US trial will have enough data to prove to the FDA that it works. Other trials have already shown that AstraZeneca’s $4 vaccine is safe and about 70 percent effective – well above the efficacy the FDA said it will require to approve a vaccine.  

But in the US, federal government has punted distribution plans almost entirely to states, where health departments are already stretched thin by surging COVID-19 cases. The result is a helter-skelter patchwork of last minute plans that look vastly different from state to state, bumping drug addicts and prisoners to the front of the line in some places, while in others elderly Americans are camping out in lawn chairs overnight in a bid to get vaccinated. Others say essential workers and the aged are being told to ‘call around’ to see if they can get a vaccine. 

Even Operation Warp Speed’s chief scientist Dr Moncef Slaoui said on Wednesday that the US vaccine roll-out ‘should be better’ as anger mounts that fewer only about 230,000 Americans are getting vaccinated a day.

As of Wednesday morning, the US had distributed 12.4 million doses of vaccine and given out fewer than 2.6 million, according to CDC data updated Wednesday evening 

That means just 461,982 vaccines have been given in the past 48 hours – about 230,000 a day.  

‘We agreed that the number is lower than what we hoped for,’ said co-chief of Operation Warp Speed Dr Moncef Slaoui during a Wednesday briefing. 

WHAT’S THE HOLD UP WITH THE US VACCINE ROLL-OUT? 

More than 12 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been shipped to US states and territories. 

But fewer than 2.6 million vaccines have been given to Americans. 

A former FDA official, Peter Pitts says the US has dropped the baton on the final leg of the vaccine relay race. 

Shots were developed, manufactured and sent to states in record time. 

But the federal government did not create a national plan for where states should give out shots, or to whom these shots should go first. 

States were instructed to make their own plans – which is fairly typical, with a generalized set of national recommendations for vaccines against flu or measles, and programs made specifically by states. 

But now, millions of doses are stuck. 

They have been delivered at the state level, but there is an apparent bottleneck between getting them from receiving facilities to clinics and into people’s arms. 

‘We know that it should be better and we are working hard to make it better,’ he added, of the distribution process. 

At least 11.45 million doses have been distributed and the federal government has allocated just shy of 20 million doses to be distributed by the end of next week. 

But that has not translated to shots in arms. 

The vaccine rollout in the US lags behind other wealthy nations. In the 16 days since the U.S. began vaccinating people, 2,589,125 Americans have gotten their first dose.  

That means an average of about 40 out of every 100,000 people in the US are getting vaccinated a day, compared to 60 per capita in the UK, which approved the Oxford University-developed vaccine made by AstraZeneca on Wednesday. 

Dr Slaoui said that vaccine – which is more easily distributed because it can be shipped and stored at refrigerator temperatures – likely won’t be authorized until April. 

US regulators have faced broad criticism – including from President Trump – for dragging their feet on vaccine approvals while thousands of Americans die of COVID-19 each day. 

It seems that the harsh words have done little to hurry the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) up.  

AstraZeneca expects to have results from its ongoing US vaccine trial by February – yet Operation Warp Speed says it doesn’t expect the shot to get authorized for another two months thereafter. 

It remains unclear why. The vaccine was at least 70 percent effective in trials. Data published in the Lancet gave rise to no major concerns over side effects or safety (despite trials being paused in September after two participants developed neurological issues, both of which were ultimately deemed unrelated to the jab). 

The US has vaccinated fewer than 2.6 million Americans as of Wednesday morning, updated CDC figures showed that evening

The US has vaccinated fewer than 2.6 million Americans as of Wednesday morning, updated CDC figures showed that evening 

It remains unclear why. The vaccine was at least 70 percent effective in trials. Data published in the Lancet gave rise to no major concerns over side effects or safety (despite trials being paused in September after two participants developed neurological issues, both of which were ultimately deemed unrelated to the jab). 

With the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot, British officials hope to bump vaccinations up to two million a week – nearly as many as the US has administered in over two weeks. 

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is cheaper and easier to ship than the Pfizer or Moderna shots that have received emergency use authorization in the US. 

While Pfizer’s shot must be kept at ultracold temperatures and Moderna’s must be shipped and stored frozen, AstraZeneca’s could be sent across the world in regular refrigeration, which could be a major boon to faster distribution.

And distribution is moving painfully slowly in the U.S. Delays are literally deadly, with the US hitting a record high of more than 3,700 deaths on Tuesday. 

Trump took to Twitter to blame states for slow administration of vaccines on Wednesday

Trump took to Twitter to blame states for slow administration of vaccines on Wednesday 

Having enough doses, or even getting those doses to states, however, doesn’t seem to be the heart of the issue in the American rollout of vaccines. 

‘The problem with the rollout isn’t due to a lack of product – that’s at least a little piece of good news,’ Peter Pitts, a former FDA official told DailyMail.com. 

‘The bad news is that fighting covid has been from the beginning a relay race: everybody has to do their piece for everybody else to do their piece, and the baton has been dropped by the runner..handling it in the final leg.’  

In record time, scientists managed to develop vaccines, the FDA managed to approve two of them – although not fast enough, arguably – companies managed to ramp up production of millions of doses of vaccines and ship them across the country. 

And now some nine million doses are waiting to be administered. 

CDC’s latest figures show that more than 12.4 million doses have been shipped to US states and territories since Pfizer’s vaccine became the first to get emergency FDA approval on December 11. That includes 959,875 that were shipped in the past two days. 

Notably, the CDC’s public data documents only the number of vaccine doses that were shipped – not how many have arrived at their destinations.  

A little over 230,000 shots were injected in the past two days. 

While testing czar Admiral Brett Giroir assured Americans this week that the official tally of shots in arms is an underestimate, Dr Slaoui confirmed that the U.S. is nowhere near having 20 million people vaccinated. 

The problem, it seems, is happening sometime between shipments of vaccine going out, and health care workers injecting them into people’s arms. 

‘The frustration is that the logistics of getting people vaccinated is getting done at the last minute, which is shameful,’ Pitts said.  

‘This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody because we always knew that getting the vaccine was not the final victory, the final victory is herd immunity. 

‘This is a state level proposition [and]…you have 50 different plans all in different stages of development. Nobody took responsibility to develop the plans, and that’s just shameful.’  

President-elect Joe Biden criticized the Trump administration Tuesday for the pace of distributing COVID-19 vaccines and predicted that ‘things will get worse before they get better’ when it comes to the pandemic.

‘We need to be honest  – the next few weeks and months are going to be very tough, very tough for our nation. Maybe the toughest during this entire pandemic,’ Biden said during remarks in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday.

Biden also went after the Trump administration over its vaccination efforts, warning that the project, dubbed Operation Warp Speed, is moving at a slower pace than needed.

‘As I long feared and warned the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should,’ he said.

But Pitts says that political finger-pointing is as useless as it is common. 

‘There’s fault on the federal level, where nobody took responsibility, and there’s fault on the state level,’ he says. 

He says there has been a lot of ‘finger-pointing and blame-placing rather than accepting that these are problems that need to be solved collectively.’  

Categories
Sports UK

Operation Anfield explained after announcement during Liverpool vs West Brom

Liverpool were held by West Brom in a frustrating encounter for the champions at Anfield.

The Reds opened the scoring through Sadio Mane, but conceded a late Semi Ajayi header to ensure the spoils were shared.

On the pitch, Liverpool failed to click into second-gear as Sam Allardyce earned another impressive result on Merseyside.

However, away from the action on the field, fans were left bemused by an announcement made in the sparsely populated stadium.

Liverpool were left frustrated by West Brom at Anfield

With Liverpool in Tier 2, governmental guidelines allows them to have 2,000 supporters back in the stands, with the rest watching from their television screens.

In the first-half of the encounter, ‘Operation Anfield Exercise’ was heard being announced over the public address system.

Minutes after the initial announcement, the all-clear was given, with viewers on social media left baffled by the call.

A number of wild conspiracy theories were quickly attributed to the announcement, but it does play an important role in the game day experience at Anfield.

The announcement is an instruction to the stewards inside Anfield

‘Operation Anfield Exercise’ is actually an instruction to stewards, who must be ready to deal with an emergecy at a moment’s notice.

The announcement is to instruct all the stewards at Anfield to get in their correct position in the stadium.

As that is happening, the turnstiles are tested to ensure they could accommodate a mass exodus from the stadiums, making sure fans would be able to leave quickly and safely.

Anfield bosses carry out the practice several times in a season to test everything is working properly.

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Birmingham Headlines UK Liverpool London

Coronavirus UK: Operation Moonshot rapid lateral tests ‘inaccurate’

Number 10’s ambitious Operation Moonshot came under fire from top scientists today amid fears the rapid coronavirus tests being rolled out across the UK aren’t good enough as ministers shelved plans to open up mass testing centres over Christmas.

Moonshot has been slated as way to use the rapid kits – which cost a fraction of the price of gold-standard PCR tests – to test millions of people and help them get back onto flights abroad, into stadiums and venues, and to keep children in classrooms. 

Lateral flow swabs give results in minutes but miss around half of infections, by the Department of Health’s own admission. But damning evidence shows they may be effectively useless when self-administered, despite Downing Street’s current testing scheme relying on people taking their own swabs. 

French President Emmanuel Macron has even specifically called for lorry drivers travelling across the Channel from Britain to be tested using higher-quality PCR as the nations continue to clash over the roadblock in Kent.

If rapid tests miss huge proportions of cases they will trigger outbreaks caused by people who think they’ve got the all-clear but are actually infected, experts fear.

The tests are more accurate when swabs are carried out by trained professionals because they have to be pushed deep inside the nose or throat. But scientists fear Britain simply doesn’t have the money or enough spare medics to do this nationwide every day, with health chiefs instead accepting DIY swabs to save time.

Government departments have forked out hundreds of millions of pounds on different types of the lateral flow tests for use on the public and in hospitals, and they’re being trialled by councils across the country to try and weed out silent infections. 

But concerns about their accuracy have reportedly led to plans to open mass testing centres over Christmas being shelved, with public health directors raising fears that led to the programme being scaled back, The Guardian reported.

Firms making the three tests approved by the Department of Health claim they are between 95 and 99 per cent accurate at detecting cases in lab conditions, but early real-word trials suggest tests don’t live up to manufacturers’ accuracy claims. However, some companies insist their tests are for ‘medical professional use only’, meaning the Government is not using them in the right way.

Scientists warn they give a false sense of security because no test is good enough to rule out an infection in someone who doesn’t have symptoms, and they don’t prevent them picking up the virus on their way home from the test.

It comes as the UK’s medical devices regulator has approved lateral flow test for home use but said they must not be used to allow people to change their behaviour if they get a negative result. 

Another 36,804 positive coronavirus test results were confirmed in the UK today – double the number from last Tuesday – along with 691 deaths. 

And scientists confirmed today that the new, more infectious variant of the coronavirus has already been found in all regions of England but there is still no evidence it makes people any more sick or more likely to die than other strains.

The UK’s Operation Moonshot mass testing trials require members of the public to do their own swabs for coronavirus testing, but studies suggest tests perform much worse when trained medics don’t take the samples (Pictured: A woman doing her own swab in Liverpool in November)

Operation Moonshot could one day be used to help people get into busy venues or onto flights or ferries abroad, the Government has suggested - but there are concerns that inaccurate tests will give infected people a false sense of security (Pictured: People queuing for tests in Liverpool)

Operation Moonshot could one day be used to help people get into busy venues or onto flights or ferries abroad, the Government has suggested – but there are concerns that inaccurate tests will give infected people a false sense of security (Pictured: People queuing for tests in Liverpool)

WHICH LATERAL FLOW TESTS DOES THE UK GOVERNMENT USE? 

There are currently three lateral flow test devices on the Government’s approved list.

They are:  

SD Biosensor Standard Q Antigen Test

Manufacturer: SD Biosensor

When tested: August 

Claimed accuracy: 95.5%

Real-world accuracy:  Thought to be around 70% – source

Price: Unknown 

SD Biosensor's rapid coronavirus test

SD Biosensor’s rapid coronavirus test

Innova Tried & Tested Antigen Test

Manufacturer: Innova Tried & Tested

When tested: August 

Claimed accuracy: 99%

Real-world accuracy: ‘At least 50 per cent’, according to Dept Health

Price: £8.69 per test (bulk order)

Innova's rapid coronavirus test

Innova’s rapid coronavirus test

Healgen Rapid Covid-19 Antigen Test

Manufacturer: Healgen

When tested: September

Claimed accuracy: 97.3%

Real-world accuracy: Unknown

Price: Unknown

Healgen's rapid coronavirus test

Healgen’s rapid coronavirus test

Professor Jon Deeks, a testing expert at the University of Birmingham, told The Tab yesterday that lateral flow tests being used by the Government are ‘not fit for purpose’. 

Results from a trial at his university suggested that the rapid tests found two positives out of around 7,000 swabs but may have missed another 60 – a sensitivity of just three per cent – among students who did their own swabs.

The Department of Health said a trial of the same tests on members of the public in Liverpool found they detected ‘at least 50 per cent’ of infections.

This was dramatically lower than the 77 per cent Public Health England claimed was possible in its own studies, which found the tests were significantly less accurate when people carried them out on their own.

Nonetheless, officials went ahead with a pilot of Moonshot asking people to swab their own noses and then training Army personnel to run the samples. 

The Government has said the same sort of tests will be used in schools in the new year so that classes don’t all have to self-isolate if a pupil gets a positive result.

Instead, everyone in the class will be given regular tests and they will be allowed to stay at school if they keep testing negative.

Professor Deeks warned on BBC Radio 4 today: ‘We’ll be allowing teachers and students to stay in school who have Covid and we’ll be missing people who’ve got Covid… 

‘We’ll end up with outbreaks in the school which wouldn’t happen with our current policy of sending kids home’. 

Lateral flow tests are being brought in by the Government because it wants a rapid testing scheme to use to minimise the risk of virus transmission in public.

PCR testing, although far more accurate, is more expensive and it takes days from taking the swab to getting a result, which is useless for most applications except medical diagnosis.

Rapid tests that give a result in minutes could allow people to be more safe when going into large events, boarding a plane, going to school or crossing a border, for example, because they – in theory – weed out people likely to be spread the virus.

But the tests are only thought to be good when the swab has a relatively large amount of virus on it. 

This is less likely to be the case when people have done their own swabs, scientists say, even if they are infected.

The tests work using a swab sample from the person’s nose or throat which is then processed in a small cassette that tries to detect the coronavirus by mixing the sample with something the virus would react with.

If there is a reaction in the mixture it suggests that the person is carrying coronavirus. If not, they get a negative result. This process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.

In the UK’s community testing schemes people generally take their own swab and then a trained professional on site processes it and analyses the result. 

Results from trials have varied wildly and show the tests perform better when the swabs are done by trained medics and worse when people do them themselves.

The tests can cost around £15 per person.

The UK’s medical devices regulator the MHRA has now approved these types of test for home use, but with caveats on how they can be allowed to be used.

The MHRA said the test must not be used for people to rule out coronavirus infection so they could come out of isolation, the Financial Times reported.

The newspaper said regulators would only allow the tests to be used for people to go into isolation if they found out they had the virus.

This likely means that the tests could be offered to people who would have to continue to follow social distancing rules and lockdown guidelines if they tested negative, but would then have to self-isolate if they tested positive.

Experts have had concerns about what motive people would have for taking the tests if this is the case. 

Lateral flow tests are up against PCR tests, known as polymerase chain reaction, which can cost upwards of £180 per person with the swab needing to be processed in a lab and results taking hours at best, but usually days, to produce. 

REGULATOR APPROVES LIMITED HOME USE OF RAPID KITS – BUT PLANS TO OPEN MASS TESTING CENTRES HALTED

The UK’s medical devices regulator the MHRA has approved lateral flow coronavirus tests for home use, but with caveats on how they can be allowed to be used and only positive results taken into account.

But it comes as plans to open up mass testing centres over Christmas have been put on ice amid concerns about the accuracy of the tests. 

The MHRA said the tests must not be used for people to rule out coronavirus infection so they could come out of isolation, the Financial Times reported.

The newspaper reported that regulators would only allow the tests to be used to dig out positive results and for people to go into isolation if they found out they had the virus.

This likely means that the tests could be offered to people who would have to continue to follow social distancing rules and lockdown guidelines if they tested negative, but would then have to self-isolate if they tested positive.

Experts have had concerns about what motive people would have for taking the tests if this is the case. 

People are not likely to want to test themselves if the only possible outcome is that they would have to self-isolate, Oxford expert Sir John Bell told MPs earlier this year.  

Plans to open mass testing centres using the rapid swabs have been put on hold, The Guardian reports. 

Officials were planning to open up the walk-in test sites to cope with huge demand for swab tests, particularly as people mix with family and friends around Christmas, but will now not go ahead with the plans.

Public health directors are reported to have raised concerns about the quality of the tests and the Department of Health will now pilot the tests on smaller numbers of locations instead of a mass rollout like planned. 

PCR tests also use a swab but this is then processed using high-tech laboratory equipment to analyse the genetic sequence of the sample to see if any of it matches the genes of coronavirus.

This is a much more long-winded and expensive process, involving multiple types of trained staff, and the analysis process can take hours, with the whole process from swab to someone receiving their result taking days.

It is significantly more accurate, however. In ideal conditions the tests are almost 100 per cent accurate at spotting the virus, although this may be more like 70 per cent in the real world. 

Commenting on concerns about the tests, Professor Gary McLean, an immunologist at London Metropolitan University, said: ‘My feeling is these tests are of value but cannot be solely relied upon. Remember they are designed for asymptomatic people testing only and therefore it is not surprising the positive rate is low.’

And Professor Alex Edwards, a testing expert at the University of Reading, added: ‘There are two well-known weaknesses of this kind of lateral flow test. 

‘Firstly, they are best at detecting really abundant targets, where the marker being measured is present at high levels. When the level of virus is lower – which can often happen with swabs – they aren’t as effective. 

‘Secondly, because they are portable and rapid, they are suited to community testing. But community testing comes with an additional burden – the people operating the tests will be less experienced at diagnostic testing than technical staff in an approved laboratory, and the test results are recorded by eye.’

The tests will cause outbreaks in schools if the Government presses on with plans to roll them out nationally, Professor Deeks warned.

He said he was ‘surprised at how bad’ the Innova Tried & Tested lateral flow kits performed in the trial of more than 7,000 students at the University of Birmingham.

The 15-minute tests – which the UK has spent more than £600million on – picked up just three per cent of asymptomatic students infected with the virus.   

Asked what the outcome would be if the tests were used for schools, Professor Deeks told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: ‘We’ll be allowing teachers and students to stay in school who have Covid and we’ll be missing people who’ve got Covid. 

‘The worst thing is the proposal for students, when they’re in a class where one [other student] has Covid, that they stay in school and are tested with this test until they go positive.

‘We’ll end up with outbreaks in the school which wouldn’t happen with our current policy of sending kids home [if another pupil in their class has the virus].

‘I’ve got three kids myself I want them to be at school but I don’t want them to be getting Covid at school.

‘We’ve [with these tests] got a very low detection rate, it surprised us how bad it was. It might possibly be better in schools but the data are emerging these tests aren’t working anywhere in people who are asymptomatic who don’t have symptoms.’

Tracking of samples of the new variant by COG-UK shows that cases have been found all over England, as well as in south and north Wales, and in Scotland. The green dots are not relative to the number of people infected and may only represent one person. Experts said 'by far the highest concentration' of cases is in London, the East and South East of England

Tracking of samples of the new variant by COG-UK shows that cases have been found all over England, as well as in south and north Wales, and in Scotland. The green dots are not relative to the number of people infected and may only represent one person. Experts said ‘by far the highest concentration’ of cases is in London, the East and South East of England

Simple laws of statistics mean even a highly accurate test will get huge numbers of results wrong when used on millions of people

Simple laws of statistics mean even a highly accurate test will get huge numbers of results wrong when used on millions of people

Professor Deeks’ trial found that the test picked up on two positive results out of 7,189 people, and may have missed 60 positives. 

Students did the nasal swabs on themselves and trained staff – in this case final year science students – analysed the sample. The same self-testing procedure is being used for people with no symptoms all over England, especially in high-risk areas. 

WHAT IS OPERATION MOONSHOT AND WHAT WAS TRIALLED IN LIVERPOOL? 

Operation Moonshot is the Government’s plan to get millions of people tested and given a result on the same day.

Tests would be routinely given to hospital staff, carers and swathes of the workforce to try and jump-start the economy. 

But there have been serious doubts about whether Number 10 is capable of pulling it off. 

Currently the Department of Health claims it has a testing capacity of around 540,000 swabs per day. 

Moonshot is seen as the only way out of the perpetual loosening and tightening of lockdown curbs without a viable vaccine.

LIVERPOOL

The city of 500,000 was used by officials as a pilot to see if it can pull off rapid testing on a mass scale.

Tests which give results in less than an hour will be used in the trial, as well as the normal PCR swab tests that are already used in centres across the country.

Hospitals in the city were originally supposed to have a 20-minute test at their disposal – to be used to routinely test all of their staff – but it emerged today the machines are less than 50 per cent accurate.

The tests will still be used in small a scheme on hospital staff in Liverpool but there are now worries that they aren’t good enough.

Results from trials have varied wildly and show the tests perform better when the swabs are done by trained medics and worse when people do them themselves. But the huge numbers of tests planned for Operation Moonshot would make it impossible to have healthcare professionals do them all. 

Lab experiments by Public Health England found the test to successfully pick up 77 per cent of cases. The Department of Health then dropped this to ‘at least 50 per cent’ after a real-world trial in Liverpool.

The company itself claims the test can detect 96 per cent of infections in lab conditions. It said it ‘does not recognise’ the result of Birmingham’s trial.

Birmingham University students were given the rapid tests as part of a nationwide drive to help young people get home to their families for the Christmas holidays.

To check how well the tests were working, experts at the university retested some of the students using a PCR machine, which is the proper test used by the Government.  

Retesting around one in 10 of the students in the trial (710 out of 7,189), they found that six of them had wrongly been given negative results and were actually infected. 

Multiplying this by 10 to take the whole group size into account suggested as many as 60 cases may have been missed, said

So the two genuine positives that were detected represented only three per cent of the estimated 62 positive results that would have been found with a better test.

Professor Deeks said on Twitter on Monday that the results ‘don’t make good reading’.

Although the results were not a perfect analysis of the test, Professor Deeks said they raised questions about how well it works that should have been answered definitively before the Department of Health spent so much money on them.

It has bought at least 20million of the tests from the US-based company without allowing other firms to compete for the contract, citing ‘extreme urgency’.

Professor Deeks said: ‘Most importantly is this a safe use of a test? Does it protect students and staff at school and University? Is it an efficient use of precious resources? (actually that isn’t a serious question) What should Universities do in January? What should happen in schools?

‘This shows how absolutely critical it is that evaluation precedes implementation – these are the only evaluations done in student populations – all done after Government implementation. 

‘Planning proper evaluations first is critical – more are needed. 

‘Not checking whether a test is fit for the purpose to which it is about to be put is madness and dangerous.’

Professor Francois Balloux, director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, was not involved with the study but said on Twitter: ‘This raises some serious questions about the value of mass-testing with lateral flow antigen tests.’ 

The University of Birmingham results are expected to be published in full in a scientific paper soon. 

Innova Tried & Tested said in a statement: ‘Innova is unaware of the data set that is being referenced in the tweet. 

‘The low level of efficacy being suggested is not something we recognize, suggesting a careful and considered examination of the methodology used would be advisable. 

‘When used properly the Innova test is a highly effective tool in detecting infectious people and allowing for proper response to assist in the reducing of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.’

The findings come after a report on the tests’ use on members of the public in Liverpool found they performed worse than expected.

In a report of the trial Department of Health officials tried to claim success, writing: ‘These tests still perform effectively and detect at least 50 per cent of all PCR positive individuals.’ 

But the scheme, which saw around half of the city’s 500,000 residents get tested over the course of a month, did not live up to the 77 per cent accuracy that Public Health England claimed the test was capable of.

The Department of Health wrote: ‘Frequently tests perform slightly less well in the field than in perfect laboratory testing condition… 

‘In field evaluations, such as Liverpool, these tests still perform effectively and detect at least 50 per cent of all PCR positive individuals and more than 70 per cent of individuals with higher viral loads in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.’

PCR vs lateral flow Covid tests: Chaos as UK and France clash over type of testing used for truckers

The French government is demanding that any travellers from the UK, including truckers, take PCR tests before arriving in the country, which can take up to three days to return a result.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PCR TEST AND A LATERAL FLOW? 

A PCR test can cost upwards of £180 per person, with the swab needing to be processed in a lab. 

The UK, on the other hand, favours faster tests which are not lab based and give a result within 15 minutes.

These rapid coronavirus tests, known as lateral flow tests, are ones that can be done on the spot using portable equipment.

They are faster and cheaper than lab-based PCR tests, which the government uses to diagnose people, but are less accurate. 

LATERAL FLOW TESTS ARE RAPID – BUT CAN SACRIFICE ACCURACY

In a lateral flow test a swab is used to get a sample from the person’s nose or throat and it is then processed in a small machine that tries to detect the coronavirus by mixing the sample with something the virus would react with.

If there is a reaction in the mixture it suggests that the person is carrying coronavirus. If not, they get a negative result. This process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.

You take your own swab though a professional on site processes it through the machine. 

Lateral flow miss up to half of cases, by the Department of Health’s own admission. 

But damning evidence shows they may be effectively useless when self-administered, despite Downing Street’s current testing scheme relying on people taking their own swabs. 

The tests are more accurate when swabs are carried out by trained professionals because they have to be pushed deep inside the nose. 

But scientists fear Britain simply doesn’t have the money or enough spare medics to do this nationwide every day, with health chiefs instead accepting DIY swabs to save time. 

PCR TESTS CAN TAKE SEVERAL DAYS TO GET RESULTS – BUT ARE MORE ACCURATE 

These lateral flow tests differ from the gold standard PCR test – known scientifically as polymerase chain reaction testing. 

PCR tests also use a swab but this is then processed using high-tech laboratory equipment to analyse the genetic sequence of the sample to see if any of it matches the genes of coronavirus.

This is a much more long-winded and expensive process, involving multiple types of trained staff, and the analysis process can take hours, with the whole process from swab to someone receiving their result taking days.

It is significantly more accurate, however. In ideal conditions the tests are almost 100 per cent accurate at spotting the virus, although this may be more like 70 per cent in the real world.

This compares to a much lower sensitivity in lateral flow tests, with a trial of one type used in Liverpool suggesting they miss around 50 per cent of the people who would test positive with PCR.

SO, WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF LATERAL FLOW TESTING? 

Extreme accuracy may be a drawback for PCR now that so many people have been infected, however, with the tests able to detect shreds of the virus in people who recovered weeks ago and are no longer infectious, which may lead them to have to self-isolate unnecessarily.

Lateral flow tests are more likely to miss people who are carrying the virus but, experts say, do have value as a way of weeding out people carrying large amounts of the virus and therefore most likely to be spreading the disease.

Categories
Canada

Anti-drug operation in the Laurentians: two people arrested

Two people were arrested and drugs, a weapon and money were seized Monday in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, in the Laurentians, as part of a drug operation by the Sûreté du Québec.

Those arrested are a 62-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman. They were released on warning after their arrest. “They must subsequently appear at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse where they could face charges of production of cannabis, possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a prohibited weapon as well as careless storage of a weapon. fire, ”said the SQ in a press release on Tuesday.

As part of their operation, police seized more than a kilogram of cannabis, more than 400 grams of cannabis resin, a prohibited weapon, more than $ 3,900 and equipment used in drug trafficking.

Everything was found in a residence on rue Taillefer.

The Sûreté du Québec indicated that this investigation “has progressed in particular thanks to information received from the public”.

Categories
Headline USA Politics

Joe Biden gets his COVID vaccine and praises Trump’s operation Warp Speed for delivering shots

President-elect Joe Biden received his COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware on Monday, posing for the cameras as a local nurse administrated the shot and giving credit to President Donald Trump’s administration for its roll out of the cure. 

He thanked the medical staff and urged Americans to follow coronavirus restrictions during the holiday period, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. 

Biden, wearing a dark long-sleeved t-shirt, rolled up his left sleeve to receive the vaccine. He wore a black cloth face mask over a white N95 mask during his visit.

‘I’m ready,’ he told the nurse administrating the shot. 

‘You just go ahead any time you’re ready,’ he told her after she applied alcohol to his bicep. 

Biden had no visible reaction as he received the shot, which was dispensed by Tabe Masa, Nurse Practitioner and Head of Employee Health Services at ChristianaCare Hospital in Newark, Del.

He thanked Masa and elbow bumped her afterward. He also received his vaccine card.

President-elect Joe Biden receives his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine

Tabe Masa, Nurse Practitioner, hands Biden his vaccine paperwork

Tabe Masa, Nurse Practitioner, hands Biden his vaccine paperwork

Dr. Jill Biden received her vaccine shot earlier; her husband joked she 'loves' shots

Dr. Jill Biden received her vaccine shot earlier; her husband joked she ‘loves’ shots

Dr. Jill Biden, received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine – which requires two shots – earlier Monday, the office of the president-elect said without providing an explanation about why she did not receive a dose with her husband.

She was present, standing by the president-elect, as he received his shot. 

He joked his wife ‘loves’ shots.

‘I’m looking forward to the second shot, so is Jill. She’s had her shot earlier today. She loves shots, I know,’ he said.

Biden credit Trump’s administration with getting the Pfizer vaccine distributed. Moderna received FDA approval for its vaccine last week.

‘One of the things is I think the administration deserves some credit getting this off the ground with Operation Warp Speed,’ he said, giving kudos to his predecessor in the White House.

‘I also think that it’s worth saying that this is great hope. I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine. There is nothing to worry about,’ he said. 

Biden also reminded Americans to take care over the holidays and noted this was just the beginning of the vaccination stage. 

‘The important thing is that it’s worth stating that, you know, this is just the beginning. It’s one thing to get the vaccine out, and now Moderna is going to be on the road as well. But it’s going to take time. It’s going to take time,’ he said.

‘In the meantime, I know I don’t want to sound like a sour note here, but I hope people listen to all the experts and Dr. Fauci talking about the need to wear masks during this Christmas and new year’s holidays. Wear masks, socially distance, and if you don’t have to travel, don’t travel. Don’t travel. It’s really important,’ he said.

President-elect Joe Biden fist bumps nurse practitioner Tabe Masa after the President-elect received a COVID-19 Vaccination at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital

President-elect Joe Biden fist bumps nurse practitioner Tabe Masa after the President-elect received a COVID-19 Vaccination at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital

Joe Biden holds Jill's hand ahead of his shot

Joe Biden holds Jill’s hand ahead of his shot

Dr. Anthony Fauci will receive his vaccine on Tuesday. 

‘We’re still in the thick of this,’ Biden noted. ‘It’s one thing to have the vaccine show up at a hospital. It’s another thing to get the vaccine from that vial into a needle, into an arm. And there are millions of people out there that are going to need this. Front line workers first. But I just want to thank everyone for all that they’ve done. You’re some real heroes,’ he said.

The president-elect followed the lead of Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers in getting the shot publicly in order to show it’s safe.   

Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, told reporters last week that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff will be getting vaccinated the week after the Bidens, as healthcare advisers urged Biden and Harris to stagger their doses in case of unexpected side effects or a rare allergic reaction. 

Biden received his shot the day after his nominee for U.S. Surgeon General said the general public might not get a coronavirus vaccine until mid summer or early fall – months later than had previously been touted.

Earlier this year, officials from the Trump administration had suggested that an American who wants a vaccine could get one between April and June 2021.

However, Dr Vivek Murthy said that timeline is not practical. 

‘I think when it comes to the vaccine timeline, we all want the vaccine to be delivered as quickly, as fairly as possible, and you can be sure that every day and night, myself and others on the Biden team are working toward that,’ Murthy told NBC News’ Meet The Press on Sunday. 

‘But we also want to be realistic about the timeline’.

He added that it was possible that the vaccine – which is currently being given to high-risk individuals including frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents – could be available in the spring to those at lower risk of contracting COVID-19. 

However, for this to happen ‘that would really require everything to go exactly on schedule,’ Murthy said.

‘I think it’s more realistic to assume that it may be closer to mid-summer, early fall when this vaccine makes its way to the general population.’ 

This means the disruption to people’s lives – that many thought would be over by Easter – will continue for several more months.

In an interview on NBC on Sunday, Joe Biden's surgeon general nominee Dr Vivek Murthy said the majority of Americans may not be able to get a vaccine until midsummer or early fall. Pictured: Murthy on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday

In an interview on NBC on Sunday, Joe Biden’s surgeon general nominee Dr Vivek Murthy said the majority of Americans may not be able to get a vaccine until midsummer or early fall. Pictured: Murthy on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday

Murthy said an earlier timeline for widespread vaccination is not 'realistic' unless every step in the rollout goes smoothly. Pictured: Murthy and host Chuck Todd (left) NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday

Murthy said an earlier timeline for widespread vaccination is not ‘realistic’ unless every step in the rollout goes smoothly. Pictured: Murthy and host Chuck Todd (left) NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, has said on numerous occasions that he believes the general public will get vaccinate around March or April 2021.  

It could be ‘sometime by the end of March, the beginning of April, that the normal healthy man and woman in the street who has no underlying conditions would likely get it,’ the nation’s top infectious disease expert told MSNBC last week. 

He said he believes by late spring or early summer, the U.S. could reach potential herd immunity.

‘By the time that we get into the fall, we can start approaching some degree of relief where the level of infection will be so slow in society, we can start approaching some form of normality,’ Fauci said. 

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Paul Ostrowski, director of supply, production, and distribution for Operation Warp Speed, said last month that every American who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can get one by June. 

Adm Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has made similar comments.  

Meanwhile, Pence, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got vaccinated against the coronavirus Friday.   

They'll follow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who received Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Capitol Hill Friday

They’ll follow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Capitol Hill Friday 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) tweeted out a photo of Dr. Brian Monahan (right), the Capitol physician, handing the Kentucky Republican his proof of vaccination card

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) tweeted out a photo of Dr. Brian Monahan (right), the Capitol physician, handing the Kentucky Republican his proof of vaccination card 

Vice President Mike Pence became the highest-ranking government official to get the coronavirus vaccine, getting the first dose Friday morning in Washington, D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence became the highest-ranking government official to get the coronavirus vaccine, getting the first dose Friday morning in Washington, D.C. 

Pelosi is third in the line of succession for the presidency, after President Donald Trump and Pence. McConnell is not in the line of succession, but as majority leader, he is in charge of running the Senate.

In a statement Thursday, Pelosi said: ‘We must all continue to embrace testing, tracing, treatment, mask wearing and social distancing as the vaccine is being distributed. It is imperative that we ensure that the vaccine will be free and delivered in a fair, equitable manner to as many Americans as soon as possible and that we accelerate its manufacture, including by invoking the Defense Production Act.’

McConnell said that as a polio survivor, he is especially aware of the ‘extraordinary promise of hope’ vaccines offer. 

He said he’ll continue to wear a mask and follow other health guidelines.

Dr. Brian Monahan, the Capitol physician, sent a letter to lawmakers last week urging them to make appointments with his office to be vaccinated.

‘Once we have completed the vaccination of the Members, we will follow a process to identify the continuity-essential staff members,’ Monahan said, adding that his office would continue with appointments ‘until the small vaccine supply is exhausted.’ 

Monahan administered Pelosi’s shot.  

Pence became the highest-ranking U.S. official to get the vaccine, doing so at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building alongside his wife Karen and Surgeon General Jerome Adams Friday morning.  

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 in October and so aren’t slated to the get vaccine right away.

The first family  likely still has antibodies from his October infection, the U.S. Surgeon General has said, after questions were raised as to why the president had not taken the lead in getting the vaccination.

Dr. Jerome Adams said there was a good reason for Trump not to be vaccinated yet.

‘From a scientific point of view, I will remind people that the president has had COVID within the last 90 days,’ Adams told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday.

Trump also pushed back on reports that White House staff would be able to get some of the first vaccine doses in the U.S., as frontline medical workers, and then the elderly, are the top priorities. 

‘People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!’ Trump tweeted Sunday night. 

Categories
UAE

Good News: New Metro Route-2020 to Dubai Expo site to start operation on January 1

RTA announces to open new metro Route 2020 for passengers from January 1, 2021
Image Credit:

Dubai: Route-2020, the Dubai Metro extension on the Red Line to Expo 2020 Dubai, will be opened to passengers from January 1, 2021.

Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Saturday that Route 2020, the extension of the Dubai Metro line from Jabal Ali Station to Expo 2020 station, would start commercial operation on 01/01/2021.

“The initial operation phase would cover four stations, namely: Jebel Ali (interchange station), The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, and Al Furjan Stations, and the other remaining three stations would be opened later on,” said Al Tayer.

“RTA celebrates the New Year by starting the operation of Route 2020, which serves densely populated districts inhabited by 270k persons such as The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Real Estates, and the Dubai Investment Park as well as the site of Dubai Expo. The selection of stations for operation on the first of January was based on several perimeters namely the density of population nearby the station, anticipated number of riders, commercial activities in the area served by the stations, and the link with other public transit means at each station.

Mattar Al Tayer

“The opening of Route 2020 for the public follows the successful completion of four operational tests and trials that included the static test of metro carriages and systems, test of the rolling stock without passengers, the operational trial to check the system reliability and stability, and the operational trials carried out by the operator of the metro service to verify the readiness before the start of the commercial service,” explained Al Tayer.

Service Timing

“The first journey on Route 2020 will start from Jabal Ali Station to Al Furjan Station and in the opposite direction. Journeys will start at 05:00am and end at 12:00 (midnight) from Saturday to Wednesday. On Thursday, the first journey will start at 05:00am, and the last journey will start at 01:00am, (of the following day). On Friday, the first journey will start at 10:00am and the last one will be at 01:00am (of the following day). The journey between Jabal Ali and Al Furjan stations takes about six minutes. The service frequency (headway) will be 10 minutes at a rate of six trains per hour. The route can serve 4,176 riders per hour per direction,” noted Al Tayer.

“19 buses on four routes will serve Route 2020 stations to ease the mobility of riders from and to each station. Two of these routes will call at The Gardens Station, and the other two at Al Furjan Station. The taxi service will be available at the operating stations,” he added.

Four Stations

Jebel Ali Station

All the four operating stations are elevated stations. The first is the Jabal Ali Station, an interchange station with the Red Line. The station spans 8800 square metres in area and extends 150 metres in length. It can serve 17000 riders per hour during peak times and 320,000 riders per day. The station has four rail boarding platforms, four bus stands, 17 taxi stands and seven parking slots for people of determination. It also offers eight outlets of 388 square metres for commercial investment.

Gardens Station

The second is the Gardens station covering 8100 square metres in area and extending 168 metres in length. It can serve 6770 riders per hour during peak times and 125,000 riders per day. The station has two rail boarding platforms, four bus stands, 20 taxi stands and two parking slots for people of determination. It also offers five outlets of 161 square metres for commercial investment.

Discovery Gardens Station

The third is the Discovery Gardens which spans an area of 8600 square metres and extends 168 metres in length. It can serve 6770 riders per hour during peak times and 125,000 riders per day. The station has two rail boarding platforms, four bus stands, 20 taxi stands and two parking slots for people of determination. It also offers four outlets of 149 square metres for commercial investment.

Al Furjan Station

The fourth is Al Furjan station spanning 8400 square metres in area and extending 168 metres in length. It can serve 6770 riders per hour during peak times and 125,000 riders per day. The station has two rail boarding platforms, four bus stands, 20 taxi stands and two parking slots for people of determination. It also offers four outlets of 149 square metres for commercial investment.

Capacity

Route 2020 has a capacity of 46,000 riders per hour in both directions (23,000 riders per hour per direction). RTA’s studies anticipate the number of riders using Route 2020 to reach 125,000 riders per day in 2021, and increase to 275,000 riders per day by 2030. Studies also reveal that Expo Station is expected to serve about 35,000 daily visitors of Expo during weekdays, and the number to increase to 47,000 daily visitors during weekends. This number accounts for 29% of the total expected number of daily visitors to Expo.

Categories
UAE

Good News: Dubai Metro Route 2020 to Dubai Expo site to start operation on January 1

RTA announces to open new metro Route 2020 for passengers from January 1, 2021
Image Credit:

Dubai: Route-2020, the Dubai Metro extension on the Red Line to Expo 2020 Dubai, will be opened to passengers from January 1, 2021.

Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Saturday that Route 2020, the extension of the Dubai Metro line from Jebel Ali Station to Expo 2020 station, would start commercial operation on 01/01/2021.

“The initial operation phase would cover four stations, namely: Jebel Ali (interchange station), The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, and Al Furjan Stations, and the other remaining three stations would be opened later on,” said Al Tayer.

“RTA celebrates the New Year by starting the operation of Route 2020, which serves densely populated districts inhabited by 270k persons such as The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Real Estates, and the Dubai Investment Park as well as the site of Dubai Expo. The selection of stations for operation on the first of January was based on several perimeters namely the density of population nearby the station, anticipated number of riders, commercial activities in the area served by the stations, and the link with other public transit means at each station.

Route 2020 info
RTA will initially open four stations covering the densely populated communities when it starts passengers operation on January 1 on Route 2020.
Image Credit: RTA

Mattar Al Tayer

“The opening of Route 2020 for the public follows the successful completion of four operational tests and trials that included the static test of metro carriages and systems, test of the rolling stock without passengers, the operational trial to check the system reliability and stability, and the operational trials carried out by the operator of the metro service to verify the readiness before the start of the commercial service,” explained Al Tayer.

Service Timing

“The first journey on Route 2020 will start from Jabal Ali Station to Al Furjan Station and in the opposite direction. Journeys will start at 05:00am and end at 12:00 (midnight) from Saturday to Wednesday. On Thursday, the first journey will start at 05:00am, and the last journey will start at 01:00am, (of the following day). On Friday, the first journey will start at 10:00am and the last one will be at 01:00am (of the following day). The journey between Jabal Ali and Al Furjan stations takes about six minutes. The service frequency (headway) will be 10 minutes at a rate of six trains per hour. The route can serve 4,176 riders per hour per direction,” noted Al Tayer.

“19 buses on four routes will serve Route 2020 stations to ease the mobility of riders from and to each station. Two of these routes will call at The Gardens Station, and the other two at Al Furjan Station. The taxi service will be available at the operating stations,” he added.

Four Stations

Jebel Ali Station

All the four operating stations are elevated stations. The first is the Jebel Ali Station, an interchange station with the Red Line. The station spans 8800 square metres in area and extends 150 metres in length. It can serve 17000 riders per hour during peak times and 320,000 riders per day. The station has four rail boarding platforms, four bus stands, 17 taxi stands and seven parking slots for people of determination. It also offers eight outlets of 388 square metres for commercial investment.

Gardens Station

The second is the Gardens station covering 8100 square metres in area and extending 168 metres in length. It can serve 6770 riders per hour during peak times and 125,000 riders per day. The station has two rail boarding platforms, four bus stands, 20 taxi stands and two parking slots for people of determination. It also offers five outlets of 161 square metres for commercial investment.

Discovery Gardens Station

The third is the Discovery Gardens which spans an area of 8600 square metres and extends 168 metres in length. It can serve 6770 riders per hour during peak times and 125,000 riders per day. The station has two rail boarding platforms, four bus stands, 20 taxi stands and two parking slots for people of determination. It also offers four outlets of 149 square metres for commercial investment.

Al Furjan Station

The fourth is Al Furjan station spanning 8400 square metres in area and extending 168 metres in length. It can serve 6770 riders per hour during peak times and 125,000 riders per day. The station has two rail boarding platforms, four bus stands, 20 taxi stands and two parking slots for people of determination. It also offers four outlets of 149 square metres for commercial investment.

Capacity

Route 2020 has a capacity of 46,000 riders per hour in both directions (23,000 riders per hour per direction). RTA’s studies anticipate the number of riders using Route 2020 to reach 125,000 riders per day in 2021, and increase to 275,000 riders per day by 2030. Studies also reveal that Expo Station is expected to serve about 35,000 daily visitors of Expo during weekdays, and the number to increase to 47,000 daily visitors during weekends. This number accounts for 29% of the total expected number of daily visitors to Expo.