24.11.2022
3D scanners could AXE 100ml liquid limits in airports by 2024

Airport security is about to get a lot faster thanks to new ‘cutting-edge’ technology that scans your hand luggage.

The tech, now being trialled at Heathrow and Gatwick airports, uses computed tomography (CT), already used by hospitals to see inside bodies.

At security, the hand luggage goes along a conveyor belt and passes through advanced machines that are fitted with CT scanners to look inside the bags.

The scanners produce clear 3D images on-screen that can be rotated 360-degrees and zoomed in on by airport staff.

Detection algorithms call attention to any dubious items that may warrant further inspection, such as liquid explosives.

Set to be rolled out by 2024, the tech will mean passengers no longer have to take out liquids and electrical equipment such as laptops from hand luggage.

Currently, travelers having to remove these items and place them on big plastic trays is the biggest cause of delays at airport security.

Rules on how much liquid can be taken aboard planes will also be abolished to coincide with the completed rollout, according to The Times.

The new equipment scans passengers’ baggage in 3D, which provides a much more detailed image to security officials compared to the traditional X-ray scanners and resulting 2D images.

Heathrow wouldn’t reveal to MailOnline which firms are supplying the machines, although a firm called Analogic has already fitted them out in airports in the US.

According to The Times, the Department for Transport (DfT) has told the UK’s major airports that older screening technology must be replaced by the new CT system by summer 2024.

The UK government previously said the technology would be implemented across the country by the end of 2022, but these plans were delayed by the Covid pandemic.

An official announcement from the government about the rollout is now expected before Christmas.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, told The Times that the machines are slowly being rolled out across the airport.

‘We have just started the expansion of the security area in Terminal 3 which will have more CT scanners and have a deadline of mid-2024 from the DfT,’ he said.

‘By then the normal passenger experience will be that liquids stay in bags.’

Currently, liquids in hand luggage must be inside 100ml containers that have to fit inside a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag measuring approximately 8 inches by 8 inches.

When going through security, this plastic bag needs to be placed into a plastic tray as it goes along a conveyor belt through a 2D scanning machine.

The new CT scanning technology will mean travelers can keep their liquids inside their luggage, because the CT scans provide staff with better and more detailed images of what’s inside.

Once the tech is rolled out nationwide, the 100ml liquid limit may no longer apply, meaning passengers could potentially take liquids, like a bottle of water or a bottle of shampoo, through security.

The 100ml rule was introduced in 2006 after a planned Al-Qaeda terrorist attack against seven planes departing Heathrow — using peroxide-based liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks — was thwarted by authorities.

If successful, it would have been the largest Al-Qaeda attack against the West since 9/11.

The restrictions on the amount of liquids brought onto a plane’s cabin was only meant to be a temporary measure, until suitable technology to screen liquids for explosives became available.

Now, more than 15 years on, CT scanners have reduced in size to be able to practically fit in airports, while algorithms have been developed that can discern harmless liquid from liquid explosives.

The CT machines create a clear picture of a bag’s contents and the algorithms can automatically detect liquid explosives in containers, as well as solid explosives such as a tampered laptop containing a bomb.

The Times has been told that the 100ml rule will be abolished in 2024 to coincide with the completed rollout of the technology. MailOnline has contacted the DfT for confirmation.

Because the rollout of the CT technology will be relatively gradual, some experts are concerned that there will be different rules at security depending on the airport, leading to passenger confusion.

An unnamed aviation source warned The Times that passengers will be presented with ‘mixed messages’ in the run-up to 2024.

‘As the scanners become more commonplace it will be the case that in some lanes passengers are told not to take stuff out their bags while in other lanes they will still need to,’ the source said.

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  • 1 час, 39 минут назад 09.12.2022Science
    Do robot vacuums actually work? Proscenic 850t test

    SHOPPING: Products featured in this article are independently selected by our shopping writers. If you make a purchase using links on this page, MailOnline will earn an affiliate commission.

    If you wish you could delegate the tasks of vacuum cleaning and mopping your home to someone, or something, else, then we have some good news.

    An entry-level Proscenic 850T robot vacuum cleaner is available on Amazon for £229. This is less than half the cost of similar robot vacuum cleaners by Shark or iRoomba.

    The compact but powerful 850T can be operated via remote control, or you can connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi network to use it via an app on your phone or through smart devices like Amazon Alexa. Simply say, ‘Alexa, power on the Proscenic 850T vacuum cleaner, and it will be off on a dirt-busting mission.

    But can it cope with a three-bedroom house full to the brim with four children and parents that enjoy muddy outdoor activities such as cycling and running?

    We wanted to test whether a robot vacuum cleaned as well as a cordless or stick vacuum. To do this, we let it loose in each room of the house, to test how well it mapped out each room and reached under nooks and crannies, and followed up with a manual vacuum cleaner to see if that sucked up anything extra.

    We tested it on hardwood floors in the hallway and living room, as well as on vinyl in the kitchen and on the carpets upstairs. To try out its capacity to avoid stairs, we tested it on the landing and watched it closely, should we need to catch it from a fall.

    Opening the box, you’ll see the main vacuum cleaner unit, a charging dock, spare mop attachments, a remote control and a leaflet about how to connect the vacuum to my home’s WiFi network via the Proscenic Home app.

    If you’re in any way concerned about WiFi networks and passwords, you’ll be happy to hear that you can control the vacuum easily via the remote control.

    But if you want to set timers, schedule cleans, map out a room and other clever features, it’s very easy to connect the robot vacuum to the app following step-by-step instructions. To reach full connectivity via the app took me less than five minutes.

    A further step is to connect it to Amazon devices such as Echo dot speakers or the Amazon Alexa app on a smartphone. To do this is slightly more complicated as you need to download the Alexa app and check the Alexa icon on the Proscenic app to link accounts.

    For me, that wasn’t a seamless process, but it was worth doing, as my son was fascinated when I eventually got it to work using just the power of my voice.

    The Proscenic 850T robot vacuum is aesthetically pleasing, given the entry-level price point.

    Sleek and black, the circular robot moves stealth-like across a room, gently turning when it senses something in its path. I was fascinated by how it moved, rotating a small number of degrees to change its path if needed.

    Measuring just seven centimetres high, it easily fits under sofas, chairs, beds and other furniture and even finds its way back out again.

    In open spaces, this vacuum performs faultlessly. After dropping some cake crumbs on the floor, I watched as the Proscenic 850T gobbled up everything in its sight.

    It’s incredible to watch it slip under furniture, knowing that reaching those spots with my stick vacuum would usually be very tricky.

    It copes brilliantly with hair, making the carpets in my daughters’ room cleaner than ever. Other vacuum cleaners have previously struggled to pick up the long hair that the girls seem to shed.

    It tried its best to get into corners, but I have to admit that I finished off the job with the attachments of my trusty upright vacuum cleaner.

    It was also too narrow for my stairs. Saying that I was very impressed watching it on the landing as it got close to the edge of the flight of stairs but always sensed that it was heading towards a fall and changed direction.

    The Proscenic 850T has three adjustable mopping levels, equipped with an electronically controlled water pump, so you can control the water level with the app.

    According to the product description on Amazon, you can mop and vacuum at the same time. To test this, I dropped some cereal and milk.

    It did a better job of vacuuming up the cereal than it did wiping the milk. I did not sense the milk was cleared, even on the highest setting.

    If you are looking for a mop and vacuum cleaner in one, you may get better functionality with the mop if you go for a more expensive vacuum cleaner. But when it comes to sucking up dirt, crumbs and debris from a house with toddlers, babies and busy people, it more than does the job.

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  • 3 часа, 28 минут назад 09.12.2022Science
    NASA’s Artemis I Moon mission prepares to return to Earth this weekend — how to watch

    Bringing NASA’s Artemis I mission to a close, the crew module of the Orion spacecraft is set to make a triumphant return to Earth this weekend after more than 25 days in space. After evaluating weather forecasts, the space agency has selected a splashdown site near Guadalupe Island, in the Pacific Ocean, south of the primary landing area. The successful return of the Orion capsule, which was launched uncrewed yet bearing three radiation-measuring “phantoms”, will pave the way for a crewed test flight in early 2024 — and subsequently humanity’s triumphant return to the Moon after more than 50 years.

    Artemis I mission manager Mike Sarafin said: “At present, we are on track to have a fully successful mission, with some bonus objectives that we’ve achieved along the way.

    “On entry day, we will realise our priority one objective, which is to demonstrate the vehicle at lunar re-entry conditions, as well as our priority three objective, which is to retrieve the spacecraft.”

    Last night saw mission flight controllers conduct a final survey of Orion’s crew and service modules using cameras located on the end of each of the spacecraft’s four solar arrays.

    The focus of their examination was the capsule’s back shell — made up of a whopping 1,300 individual thermal protection system tiles — that insulates Orion from the cold of space and will protect it from the extreme heat of atmospheric re-entry. Engineers reported no concerns after reviewing the camera imagery.

    A NASA spokesperson said: “Just before re-entry, the crew module and service module will separate and only the crew module will return to Earth while the service module burns up in Earth’s atmosphere upon re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.

    “The Artemis I trajectory is designed to ensure any remaining parts do not pose a hazard to land, people, or shipping lanes.

    “After separating from the service module, the crew module will prepare to perform a skip entry technique that enables the spacecraft to accurately and consistently splash down at the selected landing site.

    “Orion will dip into the upper part of Earth’s atmosphere and use that atmosphere, along with the lift of the capsule, to skip back out of the atmosphere, then re-enter for final descent under parachutes and splash down.

    “This technique will allow a safe re-entry for future Artemis missions regardless of when and where they return from the Moon.”

    As of yesterday evening, the Orion spacecraft had left the lunar sphere of gravitational influence and was cruising back towards Earth at a speed of 1.415 miles per hour.

    On initial entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, the crew module will be decelerated to 325 miles per hour. Subsequent parachute deployment will bring the craft to a safe splashdown velocity over the course of around ten minutes.

    The first chutes to be released — at an altitude of around give miles — are three small ones used to pull the forward bay covers away.

    Following this, two so-called drogue parachutes will both stabilise the crew module and slow it down to a speed of 130 miles per hour, ready for the deployment of the main parachutes.

    These — which are made of nylon broadcloth and are each 116 feet in diameter — will decelerate the Orion capsule down to a splashdown speed of just 20 miles per hour.

    In total, a NASA spokesperson explained, “The parachute system includes 11 parachutes made of 36.000 square feet of canopy material.

    “The canopy is attached to the top of the spacecraft with more than 13 miles of Kevlar lines that are deployed in series using cannon-like mortars and pyrotechnic thrusters and bolt cutters.”

    NASA is providing livestreamed coverage of the Orion capsule’s return to Earth, beginning at 11.00am EST (4.00pm GMT) on Sunday December 11.

    The stream can be watched on either the NASA Live website, or via NASA’s YouTube channel. The space agency’s coverage of the launch can also be watched via the NASA app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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  • 13 часов, 39 минут назад 09.12.2022Science
    A 6ft heart and eyes the size of tennis balls… Meet the largest creature ever to walk the earth

    As the gentle giant grazed in the steamy humidity of a prehistoric forest, it must have sensed a fraction too late that it was being stalked by a bloodthirsty rival. Standing 26ft tall — almost twice the height of a London bus — and measuring 121ft from nose to tail, the Patagotitan mayorum weighed a ground-shaking 65 tons, which was as much as nine African bull elephants.

    But although its assailant, the deadly Tyrannotitan, was a third of its size, the 60 sharp teeth in its powerful jaws could rip through flesh within seconds. Suddenly it pounced, biting into its quarry’s tail.

    During that almighty encounter between these heavyweights of the dinosaur world, it seemed that the Tyrannotitan’s herbivorous victim might have nibbled its last leaf, but it had a secret weapon in that hugely powerful, 52ft-long tail.

    As the air filled with terrifying snarls and roars, it thrashed to and fro until eventually the Tyrannotitan was beaten away, leaving its intended victim dripping with blood but surviving to graze another day.

    Exactly when or how that Patagotitan, which was the biggest of all known dinosaurs, eventually died we don’t know.

    But now, some 100 million years later, a replica of its colossal skeleton is about to go on display at the Natural History Museum in London — complete with a dent in one of its vertebra, thought to have been a bite mark left by the Tyrannotitan.

    The largest known creature to have walked our planet, it will dwarf the museum’s other giant attractions — it’s more than four times heavier than Dippy the Diplodocus and 40ft longer than Hope, the blue whale.

    ‘It’s absolutely stupendous in terms of its scale,’ says the museum’s dinosaur expert Professor Paul Barrett.

    The exhibition, which opens next March, also includes the skull of a Tyrannotitan, the creature thought to have attacked the Patagotitan.

    Of course, we cannot be sure of this, but it seems the most likely contender in the hostile primeval environment they both inhabited.

    They lived during the Cretaceous Period between 66 and 100 million years ago in a region corresponding to modern-day Argentina.

    The story of the remarkable skeleton coming to the Natural History Museum began in 2014 when an Argentine shepherd looking for a lost member of his flock stumbled across a huge thigh bone sticking out of the earth.

    At 8 ft long, this cartoonishly large femur looked like something out of The Flintstones.

    The scientific name of this new species was inspired by the region where it was discovered, Patagonia, and its strength and large size, the Titans being the powerful Greek gods said to have ruled before the Olympians.

    Over the next two years, another 200 bones were discovered, revealing that at least six of these giants had died in what was once a flood plain near a river.

    The growth marks on the bones, which can be read much like the rings on trees, suggested these were young adults in their teens or early 20s. It’s not clear whether they were male or female.

    Since none of the skeletons was complete, the palaeontologists used fibre-glass replicas of the bones to construct a composite skeleton so large that it had to be pieced together in a cavernous warehouse.

    While the original fossils remain in Argentina, demand from museums around the world to exhibit replicas has been such that several copies of the skeleton have been made.

    When the Patagotitan makes its European debut next year, it will barely fit inside the Natural History Museum’s Waterson Gallery — despite its 30ft-high ceilings. In fact, the skeleton is so big that visitors will be able to walk underneath it.

    ‘You only come up to the ankles when you stand next to it,’ says Professor Barrett. ‘This is an animal that really towers above you and it’s quite humbling.’

    The dimensions of its bones were critical in estimating Patagotitan’s size and weight, suggesting it had reached the upper limits of how big land animals can get before their skeletons are unable to support them.

    Incredibly, these behemoths hatched from eggs that were only about 8 in in diameter — smaller than a football.

    The females laid as many as 40 of these at a time to increase the chances of at least some of them surviving, probably using rotting leaves to help with the incubation. Once hatched, the offspring were highly vulnerable to predators, including the pterosaurs, terrifying flying reptiles with huge wing spans which scanned the ground for prey to swoop on and devour.

    Apart from these and the Tyrannotitans, these youngsters would also have lived in fear of the Giganotosauruses, ten-ton carnivores which bared 8 in-long teeth, walked on two legs and could reach 30mph — far faster than the Patogotitan’s stately 5mph on all fours.

    To help evade detection, their scaly crocodile-like skin was likely brown or grey. ‘We can’t be sure of this, but if you think of the largest land animals around today, like elephants, they tend to be dull colours, which help them to blend into the landscape as a form of camouflage,’ says Professor Barrett.

    As the Patatogitans grew older, predators would have been intimidated by their huge size, and the fact they wandered in herds.

    They also enjoyed a lofty vantage point over the world. Stretching a mind-boggling 45ft, their necks were eight times longer than those of the average giraffe and made up of 15 huge vertebrae, some six or seven times longer than they were wide. And with eyes as big as tennis balls set into their small heads, they could see potential attackers coming, even if they couldn’t inflict much damage with their small, peg-like, teeth.

    These suggest they were rather well-mannered eaters — taking small bites rather than tearing at vegetation. Yet they got through around 440lb of food a day, and while they dined on conifers and ancient relatives of monkey-puzzle trees, they could also reach down to eat the ferns which predominated before grasslands evolved.

    Since this diet was very fibrous, their guts would have had to be extremely long, with food taking up to ten days to be digested and pass through it. As it fermented in their vast stomachs, huge amounts of methane would have been produced as a byproduct.

    ‘I strongly suspect the back end of a Patagotitan herd was not a place you would want to be,’ says Professor Barrett.

    Their long stomachs were just one of many extraordinary biological adaptions which helped the Patagotitans survive.

    Essentially the size of moving houses, one of their biggest challenges was getting oxygenated blood pumping around their huge bodies. To achieve this, the Patagotitans would have needed hearts at least 6 ft in circumference. Weighing three times as much as a grown man, these could have shifted around 158 pints of blood in a single beat.

    As with some birds, the dinosaur’s closest living relatives, the Patagotitans’ respiration is also thought to have been helped by huge air sacs which occupied much of their chests and ran the whole length of their bodies from the tailbone up through the very long neck to the head.

    Connected to their lungs, these helped them take in oxygen continuously, when breathing in and breathing out.

    To reduce that weight, their bones were full of holes — rather like a Swiss cheese. And, as they lumbered along on all fours, their huge, column-like legs splayed out slightly, supporting their bulk. Marks on their thigh bones where the muscles were attached suggest their back legs were connected to their tails, which brought the hind quarters up and forwards to help propel the Patagotitans along.

    These weird and wonderful miracles of bodily engineering are thought to have had a life span of about 50 years.

    There is one question the Natural History Museum exhibition will be unable to answer: why did the youngsters found near that watering-hole die prematurely? Some experts have suggested that they became isolated from their group and died of stress and hunger; others that a volcanic eruption blanketed the surrounding vegetation, resulting in their starvation.

    While we should count ourselves fortunate that we will never encounter a Tyrannotitan or a Gigantosaurus, the forthcoming exhibition in London will certainly bring us a step closer to imagining what it was when creatures such as the massive but meek Patagotitan roamed the earth.

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  • 15 часов, 39 минут назад 09.12.2022Science
    FBI is ‘deeply concerned’ about Apple’s new security protections, saying it will hurt agency’s work

    The FBI is ‘deeply concerned’ about Apple’s decision to add new security protections to its cloud storage system because it would hinder the agency’s ability to prevent a range of crimes.

    The company already uses end to end encryption for iMessages between Apple devices – which means the messages can only be read on the smartphones, not by Apple or law enforcement.

    With this update announced Wednesday, the tech giant will allow users to protect the vast majority of the data they upload to iCloud.

    ‘This hinders our ability to protect the American people from criminal acts ranging from cyber-attacks and violence against children to drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism,’ an FBI spokesperson told the Washington Post.

    The FBI added that it was ‘deeply concerned with the threat end-to-end and user-only-access encryption pose.’

    ‘In this age of cybersecurity and demands for ‘security by design,’ the FBI and law enforcement partners need “lawful access by design.”‘

    The new encryption option will be available for public software testers immediately, for all U.S. customers by the end of this year and for other countries starting next year, Apple said in its announcement – adding that it may not reach every country by the end of 2023.

    ‘Advanced Data Protection is Apple’s highest level of cloud data security, giving users the choice to protect the vast majority of their most sensitive iCloud data with end-to-end encryption so that it can only be decrypted on their trusted devices,’ Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture, said in a statement.

    According to security experts cited by Apple, the total number of data breaches more than tripled between 2013 and 2021, exposing 1.1 billion personal records across the globe in 2021 alone.

    This is not the first time that Apple has been in conflict with law enforcement over providing access to users’ data.

    In 2020, Apple decided to scale back plans to further encrypt iCloud data after receiving significant pushback from the FBI, multiple sources said at that time.

    Still, the new privacy policy is likely to throw a wrench into an especially effective law enforcement tool.

    During a six-month period covered in Apple’s recent transparency report, the company said it had turned over users’ content for legal reasons 3,980 times, mostly in the United States and Brazil.

    Privacy experts were very pleased with Apple’s announcement.

    ‘This is great,’ Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, an encrypted chat app, told the Post. ‘There’s been enough pressure and enough narrative work that they see the side of history forming. It’s really incredible.’

    The tech giant also said it was making iPhones compatible with physical security keys that connect to the phone so that users can require them to access their device. This would prevent attackers who steal passwords and user names from breaking into phones.

    ‘At Apple, we are unwavering in our commitment to provide our users with the best data security in the world. We constantly identify and mitigate emerging threats to their personal data on device and in the cloud,’ said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

    ‘Our security teams work tirelessly to keep users’ data safe, and with iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, users will have three powerful new tools to further protect their most sensitive data and communications.’

    Despite Apple’s reputation for being pro-privacy, two developers recently put out a report that found the company is collecting data on its customers while they use pre-installed apps – such as App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books and Stocks – even when they have turned off analytics sharing.

    These apps sent Apple requests that include what apps a user looked at, including those relating to sexual preference and religion, the stocks they are watching and what advertisements they saw.

    The data collection also includes ID numbers and the type of device used, which is enough for device fingerprinting.

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  • 15 часов, 39 минут назад 09.12.2022Science
    Man holding his penis in 10,000-year-old carving is the world’s oldest narrative

    Ancient carvings featuring five figures, including a man holding his penis, tell a tale of man versus beast in the world’s oldest narrative.

    A 10,000-year-old stone slab on a wall unearthed in Turkey shows two males and three animals engaging in separate but related ‘scenes.’

    The etchings depict a story of two men being attacked by animals, with both engaged in some self-defense position against attacks from leopards and bull.

    The discovery was made by archaeologists from Istanbul University, who uncovered the menacing tale within the ruins of a Neolithic building found beneath a modern village.

    Not only is this the oldest of its kind, but the study notes the carvings ‘reflect the complex relationship between humans, the natural world and the animal life that surrounded them during the transition to a sedentary lifestyle.’

    Archaeologist Dr Eylem Özdoğan, from Istanbul University, said in a statement: ‘These figures, engraved together to depict a narrative, are the first known examples of such a holistic scene.

    ‘This was a picture of the stories that formed the ideology of the people of that period.’

    Archaeologists have been working in the Turkish village of Sayburç since 2021, pulling away layers of dirt to reveal ancient Neolithic secrets.

    This work uncovered two communal and a set of residential buildings about 230 feet apart.

    The excavations revealed the site was inhabited during the Neolithic period, in the 9th millennium BC.

    ‘This period saw an important transition, with people shifting from a mobile hunter-gatherer lifestyle to farming and living in long-term settlements like Sayburç,’ according to the researchers.

    The wall with the narrative was found in one of the communal buildings, which measures 36 feet in diameter and was carved into the limestone bedrock, with stone-built walls resting on a bench that rises from the floor.

    The images are etched on the inner face of the bench, forming a two-foot-high panel that stretches around 12 feet.

    ‘The direction and stance of the figures imply that two related scenes are present. While the other figures are facing one another, only the male figure—in high relief—faces into the room, staring into the interior,’ according to the study published in the journal Antiquity

    ‘This principal human figure holds its phallus in its right hand.’

    The figure has been damaged over time, but researchers said it is a male figure between two leopards that look ready to pounce.

    The leopard’s mouths are open, the teeth visible and the long tails are curled towards the body.

    The other male figure is shown in a squatting position, with his back turned toward the other man, holding a snake in one hand with six fingers.

    A bull is a feature in this scene is carved to have exaggerated horns like the leopard’s teeth.

    This distorted perspective is comparable to that seen at other prehistoric sites and must have been deliberately chosen to emphasize the horns, which are exaggerated like the leopards’ teeth in the previous scene,’ the researchers wrote in the study.

    ‘Archaeological evidence can provide some insight into the traditions of past societies, but clearer evidence rarely survives, so this discovery is exciting. Sayburç has very clear evidence in this respect and has the potential to tell us a lot about the Neolithic,’ concluded Dr Özdoğan.

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  • 17 часов, 28 минут назад 09.12.2022Science
    Mpox elimination plan outlined by UK Government in eight-point roadmap

    The Government has today published plans to continue to reduce the incidence of mpox in the UK over the course of the year next — with the ultimate goal of eliminating transmission. Initial symptoms of mpox infection can include chills, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches — with more severe cases often presenting with a rash on the face and genitals that can spread elsewhere on the body before scabbing over. According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), case numbers have dropped from around 350 per week in July to only 5 per week as of the start of this month. There have been no reported deaths from mpox in the UK — and only a small number internationally linked to the present outbreak. The improvement in case numbers has been attributed to high vaccination rates among the most vulnerable groups and the rapid identification of cases that have emerged.

    Building on these successes, the new strategy — which has been agreed by the UKHSA, Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales and the Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland — outlines eight key actions to reduce the threat posed by the virus.

    These include continuing to offer pre- and post-exposure vaccination to those at the highest risk of contracting mpox; rapid and accurate case finding, including exploring the possibility of introducing testing of asymptomatic individuals; and following that robust contract tracing.

    This will be complemented by the continuation of population-level surveillance; global collaboration with international organisations like the WHO, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Furthermore, the Government will also be continuing to engage vulnerable groups with the dangers posed by mpox; enable infection prevention and control arrangements in healthcare settings; and support cutting-edge research to evaluate potential changes in the virus and the protection afforded by vaccination over time.

    Epidemiologist and UKHSA Head of Sexually Transmitted Infections Dr Katy Sinka: “Now the emergency phase of this outbreak has passed, we can move into to second phase of our outbreak management strategy.

    “Through our new strategy we hope to maintain the low number of identified cases we are currently seeing and move toward our ultimate goal of eliminating transmission of the disease in the UK.

    “But this will take time and maintaining awareness is crucial. It is vital that people remain alert to the risk mpox poses and seek advice if they have symptoms, to protect themselves and others. Vaccination plays a crucial role in this, so I would encourage those at highest risk to come forward.”

    According to the UKHSA, mpox continues to be transmitted primarily in interconnected sexual networks of gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. They added: “There is no robust evidence of sustained transmission outside these networks.”

    Public Health Scotland’s Medical Director, Dr Nick Phin, said: “Mpox has been of significant concern to those at highest risk across the UK, and so we are delighted that all four UK nations are now able to enter into the second phase of the response.

    “Vaccination has been key to getting us to this next stage and so we extend our thanks to those eligible who have taken the opportunity to protect themselves and others against the virus, as well as our NHS colleagues and partners within the third sector who have supported delivery of the vaccination programme.

    “Although this is welcome news, mpox has not gone away and so we encourage those who are yet to accept their invitation for a first dose to do so. If you’ve received a first dose, then please complete your course and maximise your protection by getting your second dose.

    “We continue to work with our colleagues across the UK to provide protection against mpox and all other infections that put people at risk.”

    Public Health Wales’ Consultant in Health Protection, Richard Firth, said: “Even though Wales has only had a small number of mpox cases up to now, the infection has not gone away and it is vital that we remain vigilant.

    “We have worked closely with our Health Board colleagues to put robust systems in place around surveillance and vaccination, in line with the strategy.”

    Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland) Consultant Service Development and Screening Dr Rachel Coyle added: “There has already been considerable progress made to reduce transmission of mpox and this document will support the ongoing action needed to achieve the goal of stopping transmission in the UK.

    “Our public health response is committed to reducing the risk of transmission of mpox in our community. Our sexual health services continue to offer vaccination and we would encourage all those at risk to take up the offer.”

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Science 3D scanners could AXE 100ml liquid limits in airports by 2024