NEWS DIGEST 16.01.2021: Hope and friendship for the next generation

Good morning. Today’s stories are brought to you via Facebook. Animals can make the most surprising of friendships, even across species. Online magazine Epic Universe covers the tale of a gang of orangutans living at the Pairi Daiza Zoo in Brugelette, Belgium, who have become best buds with some otters. The apes and river mammals regularly play hide-and-seek with each other according to a zookeeper working at the privately owned zoological and botanical gardens. The otters will hide in large tree trunks and purpose-built wooden buildings, while the babies of the orangutan clan then go out looking for them. Pairi Daiza in fact believes strongly in encouraging interaction between its animal residents, with different species of animals occupying the same enclosures – Orangutans Secretly Make Beautiful Friendship With The Otters At The Zoo (Epic Universe)

An epidemic of ‘fake news’ often spread via social media and messaging apps is discouraging British South Asians from getting themselves immunised against coronavirus, the BBC has reported. Dr Harpreet Sood, a British Punjabi medical professional working with NHS England, told the BBC it was ‘a big concern’ and officials were working flat-out to ‘correct so much fake news’. He said that health officials were working with South Asian role models, influencers, community leaders and religious leaders to help debunk myths about the vaccine. Many in the South Asian community are refusing to accept the vaccines as they fear they contain animal products which the ingestion of is prohibited or frowned upon by their religious beliefs, for example, some Muslims have expressed concern that the new COVID vaccines contain traces of pig, which is forbidden to them – Covid: Fake news ‘causing UK South Asians to reject jab’ (BBC News UK)

Heroic footballer Marcus Rashford, who plays for the elite English team Manchester United, has made headlines recently with his ambition to have all school children in the UK being able to receive free meals during half-term holidays, and now he has inspired a wave of charitable deeds during the lockdown. Saul Suttie, a 21-year old Rashford fan and fishmonger from the northern English town of Clitheroe, decided to follow in his hero’s steps and immediately visited a local supermarket to buy food for parcels to be made up for struggling families in his hometown. He urged struggling families to come forward over social media. “I read about the meagre food parcels being delivered to families and I was shocked,” he said. “Some of the food delivered is an insult to people struggling. I am a huge Manchester United supporter and Marcus Rashford is my hero. I was moved by his campaign and decided to play my part to help. I went to the supermarket and bought essential items such as pasta, eggs, fruit, cereal, long life milk, canned food, biscuits, bread and created food parcels. I posted a message on Facebook offering the parcels and couldn’t believe the response” – Football hero Marcus Rashford inspires young Clitheroe man to help feed hungry children (Burnley Express)

Catching the coronavirus will give a person as much immunity as getting a vaccine for it, researchers have discovered. Many vaccines promise as much as eighty per cent immunity cover. A previous Covid-19 infection provides 83 per cent protection against future infection, according to news magazine Forbes – Covid infection shown to provide as much immunity as vaccines (Financial Times)

As the UK’s hospitals struggle to keep up with new infections of the coronavirus and rapidly filling wards, care homes that want to help ease the burden on health services are being held back by their insurance policies, preventing them from accepting COVID-19 patients, it was revealed. Sir David Behan, head of the UK’s largest care home company, HC-One, says insurance has become a major concern: The government says it is working to resolve the issue: ” We are aware the adult social care insurance market is changing in response to the pandemic, and recognise some care providers may encounter difficulties as their policies come up for renewal,” said a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson. Many care homes had to reduce or stop accepting patients due to their insurance policies reaching their expiration dates – (LONDON) #Coronavirus Report: Despite the huge need to free up space in hospitals, some care homes say insurance issues make it impossible for them to accept #Covid19 patients #AceHealthDesk report (Ace News Services)

Meanwhile Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford has formed an alliance with low-cost supermarket Aldi to fulfill an ambition to feed ten million hungry children. Aldi said it would donate meals to struggling families throughout this year and released a short charity campaign video which shows the experience of hunger through a child’s viewpoint, with Rashford narrating an emotional poem on the animated video. The poem is by Giles Andreae, with illustrator Lisa Stickley bringing the story to life via the animation – Marcus Rashford teams up with Aldi to provide 10 million meals to hungry kids (Proper MCR)

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