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Coronavirus - 12th June


Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 12th June Empty Coronavirus - 12th June

Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 12 2020, 10:09

Summary for Friday, 12th June

  • UK GDP fell by 20.4% in April, the largest fall since monthly records began in 1997
  • Asian financial markets have fallen following a US slump overnight over fears of a second wave
  • Attendees at Trump's election rally in Tulsa are asked to sign a waiver over the coronavirus
  • They are asked to promise they won't sue the president or organisers if they catch the virus by attending
  • Latin America has now recorded more than 1.5 million virus cases and 70,000 deaths
  • In India patients are being turned away from hospitals but officials warn the virus has not yet peaked
  • There have been 7.5m cases worldwide and more than 420,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University

Welcome back to our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. As usual, our journalists from across the globe will keep you up to date.
Here’s what you need to know this Friday morning.

  • Tickets to US President Donald Trump’s upcoming campaign rallies will include a liability waiver, so people can't sue if they catch the virus
  • US stock markets saw steep falls on Thursday, as several states report rising Covid-19 caseloads. But shutting the economy in response to a new surge was not an option, the US government said
  • Asian financial markets fell on Friday morning following the US slump
  • The number of confirmed cases in Russia has passed 500,000, the third-highest in the world, behind the US and Brazil
  • Europe could face a surge of new infections in the coming weeks following recent mass protests, warn politicians, European Union officials and experts

Trump rallies come with liability waiver

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US President Donald Trump has been eager to restart his large rallies and come next Friday, they are scheduled to get underway.
But tickets will come with a waiver - which means the organisers can't be held liable should anyone in the crowd catch the virus.
Trump's first campaign rally for the November election will be held next Friday in Oklahoma.
"By attending the rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19 and agree not to hold Donald J Trump for President, Inc; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury," the ticketing website says .
Health experts think large-scale public events could spark new virus clusters and increase the risk of a second wave.
The US has had more than two million confirmed infections since the outbreak began, and 113,000 deaths linked to Covid-19.

'The last gift you gave me was born today'

The wife of Chinese doctor Li Wenliang - who died of coronavirus - has reportedly given birth to their baby boy.
Dr Li was one of the whistleblowers from the Wuhan Central Hospital - the hospital at the epicentre of the city where the virus first emerged.
He raised the alarm to fellow doctors in December of an unknown respiratory illness. Screenshots from that chat group went viral online.
That prompted authorities to reprimand Dr Li and others for "spreading rumours", with online content then censored.
After his death there was intense anger towards authorities and an outpouring of grief.
He was later exonerated and since then, the official narrative in state media has hailed him a coronavirus hero.
Read more about how his death triggered online grief, rage and mistrust against the Chinese government.

  tweet Global Times:
"Are you seeing this in heaven? The last gift you gave me was born today. I will love and take care of them,” Li Wenliang's wife wrote on her WeChat moments after giving birth to their second child, a baby boy, on Friday, media reported.
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Li Wenliang's wife Fu Xuejie reportedly gave birth to a baby boy on Friday morning in #Wuhan , according to Lizhi News.
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Cuba announces gradual reopening

Will Grant - BBC News, Havana
Having registered no virus-related deaths for 12 consecutive days this month, the Cuban government is wary of giving up its gains.
As such, the three-phase plan it has unveiled for reopening was predictably gradual and conservative.
The first phase will begin next week or the start of the following week, said President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Tourism, on which a sizeable portion of the economy depends, will first only reopen to the domestic market – that is, Cuban tourism within the island.
Special measures will be in place for staff at hotels to work in week-long shifts, followed by a week of isolation to create a supposedly Covid-free bubble inside the resorts permitted to operate.
When international visitors do arrive in Cuba again, they will be given antigen tests and have their temperature taken at the airport. They will initially be limited to the cayos, the small islands off Cuba’s northern and southern coast.
However, there was no clear date on when that will happen.
Beaches will reopen again to the national population, but with a new force set up to ensure large groups don’t gather.

More than 900 new deaths in the US

The US has recorded 941 deaths linked to Covid-19 over the past day, taking the total to 113,803, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University .
The number of confirmed infections now stands at 2,022,488.
The country is the worst-hit globally in terms of deaths and confirmed cases, with almost three times as many fatalities as the UK or Brazil.
With US infection rates remaining high, there's increasing concern that the reopening of the economy will lead to a new surge of cases.

Sydney rally banned (again) due to health risks

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More Black Lives Matter rallies in Australia are planned for this weekend

Australian police have again secured a court ban on a protest supposed to take place tomorrow afternoon in Sydney's centre.
The rally for refugee rights - expected to attract up to 200 protesters - is now "prohibited" because of the risk it poses in spreading the virus.
Police have threatened to arrest those who turn up to that rally, plus a separate one tonight for the Black Lives Matter movement where about 1,000 people could attend.
It comes amid strong criticism from the Australian PM this week, who blasted the tens of thousands of people who joined nation-wide rallies last weekend.
Scott Morrison said "selfish" protesters should be charged. Some protest organisers have already been fined. But opposition lawmakers, some of whom attended the rallies, say the government is unwilling to engage in the racism issues being raised by protesters.
Critics have also questioned why some gatherings are allowed - such as at football matches - while protests are being outlawed.
So far just one protester in Melbourne has tested positive in the week since protests kicked off. Australia has recorded fewer than 40 new cases this week.

Fears of second virus outbreak hits global shares

Global stock markets have fallen amid fears that a second wave of coronavirus cases could cause more economic damage.
Stock markets in Asia were down in early Friday trading, with benchmark indexes losing ground in Japan, Hong Kong and China.
Those declines follow big losses for US stocks, with the three main share indexes in New York seeing their worst day in weeks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 7%.
The declines falls came after the US Federal Reserve warned that the American economy faces a long road to recovery - as several states that have moved to reopen see an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

Socially-distanced return for golf's PGA tour

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Justin Rose and his playing partners were trying to observe social distancing guidelines during their round

Golf's PGA Tour - the main tour in the men's game in North America - returned to action on Thursday with an event in Texas.
Gone were the spectator stands that frame many greens. That allowed television viewers to see more of the course - but they were also treated to some colourful language that may otherwise have been drowned out.
And while social distancing guidelines were in the main reasonably well followed, there were lapses, such as when Harold Varner III signed a ball after finishing his round and handed it to a woman who gingerly accepted it.

Brazil death toll tops 40,000

The number of virus-related deaths in Brazil now stands at 40,919, after another 1,239 over the past 24 hours.
More than 30,000 new confirmed cases were registered, taking the total to 802,828 - second only to the United States' more than two million.
Many experts warn Brazil's true numbers could be far greater - due to a lack of widespread testing.

Australia to allow 10,000-person gatherings in July

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has just announced the proposal - which will largely benefit sporting matches.
He said mid-sized stadiums would be able to have a quarter of their 40,000 seats filled - and the same goes for outdoor cultural events.
Crowds will be allowed if patrons are ticketed and seated, and maintain a 1.5m (4.9ft) distance. Australia's football codes have been lobbying hard in recent weeks for spectators to return to stadiums.
The allowance falls under Stage 3 - the final phase of the country's plan to come out of lockdown.
Authorities have also revised a 100-person cap for indoor spaces (workplaces, weddings, funerals) in favour of a four square metres per person rule
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In the past fortnight, football matches have been played out in front of "crowds" of cardboard dummies

China's new infections remain single-digit

China on Friday reported seven new virus infections and one asymptomatic case - which officials count in a separate tally.
Six of the new cases were people who had returned from abroad, leaving only one locally transmitted case.
Despite occasional clusters, China has so far managed to avoid a surge - let alone a second wave of the pandemic.
Overall, China has had 84,215 cases, although almost all have recovered. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,638.

Opposition MP slams Ardern for 'lockdown lunacy'

New Zealand has been the envy of most countries for how well it managed to contain the virus. Since earlier this week, the country has no active cases, and all domestic restrictions have been lifted.
While much praise went to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, one opposition MP has released a book criticising her "lockdown lunacy".
Chris Penk, from the conservative main opposition National Party, argues the success was largely down to luck, and that the harsh lockdown was unnecessarily harmful to the economy.
"Whole industries have been led like so many lambs to a no-longer-non-essential slaughterhouse," he says. National's former leader Simon Bridges also criticised the country's virus response in April but was later replaced in May. New leader Todd Muller said the government's tactics were "overall impressive".
The country is headed for an election in just under 100 days.

Malaysia bars citizens from Hajj

Malaysia says it won't allow citizens to visit the sacred Muslim sites of Mecca and Medina for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in July.
Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country and many people wait for years for an opportunity to perform the Hajj.
Yet authorities said it was not safe for the more than 30,000 pilgrims who planned to go this year.
Indonesia, which has the largest number of Muslims worldwide, has already said it won't allow the pilgrimage.
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Mecca in 2019 - this year will be very different

Australia in a good place, says CMO

Australia's chief medical officer has just said: "It is fantastic that we have effectively achieved elimination at this time in many parts of the country."
The country had seen only "a tiny amount" of community transmission in recent weeks, said Dr Brendan Murphy, noting it was confined to Victoria, the second-most populous state.
New South Wales - the biggest state - has not recorded any local infections in over two weeks.
"We are in a good place," he said.
The nation has been praised for its quick action in closing its borders and enacting strict social distancing early in its fight. However, Australia also had time to prepare - and didn't see its cases escalate until March.

India has more confirmed cases than UK

New figures from India show the country now has the fourth most cases in the world, behind only Russia, Brazil, and the US.
According to the Ministry of Health , there have been 297,535 cases in India since the outbreak began. Of those:

  • 141,842 are active
  • 147,194 have been cured or discharged
  • 8,498 have died
  • 1 has left the country

South Korea extends distancing guidelines

South Korea says it will stick to its intensive prevention and sanitation guidelines until daily new infections drop to single digits.
The country, which did not have a lockdown, successfully restricted the virus, but has recently seen new clusters and around 50 new infections each day.
If cases did not drop, tougher social distancing could restart, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said.
South Korea was the first epicentre of the virus outside of China. The country's overall infections stand at just over 12,000 while around 1,000 of these remain active.

Virus forces UK to rethink EU import checks

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The new rules will apply to goods coming into the UK from the European Union

The UK government is expected to apply much less rigorous EU border checks on imports than it initially planned, after the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of this year.
The Financial Times reports that ministers have abandoned plans to introduce full checks after pressure from businesses.
A government source told the BBC it would take a "pragmatic and flexible approach" due to coronavirus.
The UK had committed to introduce import controls on EU goods in January.
But the source said ministers recognised the impact the virus was having on businesses, and so pragmatism and flexibility on imports made sense.
The UK left the European Union at the end of January, but is in a transition period until the end of this year.

No spitting please, as Premier League returns

Players and coaching staff will not be required to wear masks at stadiums when the English Premier League restarts on 17 June.
But players will be encouraged not to spit or clear their noses - and not to break social distancing during goal celebrations.
There will be no ball boys or girls - a system of sterilised replacement balls will be used instead.
In Germany, Bundesliga players and staff have been required to wear masks at all times, except for during play, and players have become adept at socially distanced celebrations.
Given all the matches there are currently behind closed doors, it's not like you can really run towards the fans either...

United Nations warns of spike in child labour

The global virus crisis has put millions of children at risk of being pushed into child labour, the United Nations warned on Friday.
This could mark the first rise of the practice in two decades.
"As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many could resort to child labour," the International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN agency, warned.
Economists predict the pandemic will lead to a serious economic recession around the globe.
The worldwide number of child labourers has dropped to 152 million from 246 million in 2000, according to the agency.

Where in the UK has the most furloughed workers?

Faisal Islam - BBC Economics Editor
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was created less than three months ago, but has already grown into perhaps the most expensive intervention by a British government to support the jobs market.
Just under nine million UK jobs are having their wages paid by the taxpayer through the pandemic shutdown.
And for the first time, the HMRC has produced breakdowns of precisely where and which employers are using the scheme.

Start UK Covid-19 inquiry now, say bereaved families

Relatives of 450 people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic in the UK are demanding an immediate public inquiry.
The families want an urgent review of "life and death" steps needed to minimise the continuing effects of the virus.
A full inquiry would take place later, says lawyer, Elkan Abrahamson, who is representing the families.
The government has said its current focus is on dealing with the pandemic.
But the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group say immediate lessons need to be learned to prevent more deaths, and that waiting for ministers to launch an inquiry will cost lives.

UK economy on pause

Katie Prescott - Today business presenter
The GDP fall shows just what happens when you essentially put an economy on a pause.
It also shows, as one economist put it to me earlier, the depth of the hole that we now have to get out of.

Sunak: Economic hit 'in line with other global economies'

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the "severe impact" of coronavirus in the UK's economy is "in line with many other economies around the world".
"The lifelines we’ve provided with our furlough scheme, grants, loans and tax cuts have protected thousands of businesses and millions of jobs – giving us the best chance of recovering quickly as the economy reopens," he says in a statement.
"We’ve set out our plan to gradually and safely reopen the economy. Next week, more shops on the high street will be able to open again as we start to get our lives a little bit more back to normal."

Liberal Democrats: No time to exit EU single market

Acting Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey says the figures showing that the UK's economy shrank by 20.4% in April "confirm we face the most serious economic challenge in generations".
Referring to Brexit and the UK government's intention to leave the EU's single market and customs union, he tweets that now is "not a time" for the UK "to exit the world’s largest market", to "increase trade barriers" or to "deny business skills they need with a damaging new immigration system".
The UK left the European Union at the end of January, but is in a transition period until the end of this year.

Analysis: 'Devastating impact' will add pressure to relax rules

Nick Eardley - Political correspondent
Today’s figures are a stark illustration of the economic challenge the government faces in the coming months.
The significant economic slump – combined with the huge extra spending to pay for unprecedented interventions in the job market – means the impact of this crisis is likely to be felt for some time.
The chancellor has said emergency schemes set up to respond to the crisis have given the UK the best chance of recovering quickly as the economy reopens.
But the devastating impact on sectors like hospitality will add to pressure from Tory MPs to relax the two-metre rule to give more pubs and restaurants a chance to recover when they reopen.
Labour, meanwhile, has repeated calls for the furlough scheme to be extended in particular sectors, warning that without such a move, the impact on jobs will be even more severe than is already likely.
In an attempt to avoid more pressure on struggling businesses, ministers are today expected to confirm the UK will apply less rigorous checks, initially, on goods coming into the UK than had been planned, when the Brexit transition ends in January.
A source said the government recognised the impact the virus was having on business and the need for pragmatism to help companies adjust to the changes.
There is still, however, the likelihood of checks on goods going from the UK into Europe, and uncertainty over whether a comprehensive trade deal can be agreed in the coming weeks.

'Dirty quarantine centres spreading virus' in Nepal

Quarantine centres are supposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but in Nepal, they have turned into infection hotspots, the country's National Human Rights Commission says. Around 170,000 people are currently in quarantine.
In a report, the commission criticises the government for failing to properly manage the centres to the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO advises that spacious and ventilated single rooms should be provided with hand hygiene and toilet facilities, or if a shared facility is the only option, beds should be placed at least one metre apart.
The report also says that Nepal's government is not testing enough people and is using rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) tests, which are not effective.
The country has had 4,614 confirmed cases and 14 deaths from Covid-19.

Thailand to end curfew and sell alcohol again

Thailand has said it will lift its nationwide curfew on 15 June and allow restaurants to sell alcohol again.
On Friday, there were only four new cases confirmed and no new deaths. All four cases were Thais returning home from abroad and are in quarantine, officials said.
The current overnight curfew and alcohol ban are intended to stop group gatherings that could lead to a spike in virus cases.
Overall, the country has just over 3,000 cases, while 58 deaths have been linked to Covid-19.
The number of remaining active infections stands at only 80.

Japan, Singapore and Azerbaijan Grand Prix races cancelled

The Japanese, Singapore and Azerbaijan Grand Prix races have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Formula 1 tried to find a way to hold the events in 2020 but has now announced it is not possible in the uncertain global situation.
The race at Suzuka is off as a result of Japan's ban on many international travellers. The Grand Prix cannot be held in Singapore or Baku because the street circuits cannot be built in the current climate.
The cancellations mean F1 has lost a further three key Grands Prix to the Covid-19 crisis, which has already claimed the season-opening race in Australia and the blue-riband Monaco event.
Read more

Airlines launch quarantine legal challenge

Theo Leggett - BBC International Business Correspondent
British Airways, Ryanair and Easyjet say they have filed a formal legal challenge to the UK government’s quarantine policy.
The airlines say the policy, which came into force this week, will have "a devastating effect on British tourism and the wider economy and destroy thousands of jobs".
They have applied for a judicial review at the High Court, and asked for it to be heard as soon as possible.
The challenge claims that:

  • the quarantine rules for travellers are more stringent than those applied to people who actually have Covid-19
  • there was no consultation and no scientific evidence provided to support the policy
  • weekly commuters from France or Germany can be exempted
  • the government is preventing people from travelling to and from countries with lower infection rates than the UK

In a statement, the three airlines said they had not seen any evidence on how and when so-called “air bridges” - allowing quarantine-free travel between the UK and other countries with low infection rates - could be implemented.
They have called on the government instead to re-adopt a previous policy, where quarantine was limited to travellers from high-risk countries.

What's the latest in Asia?

India is now reporting more than 297,000 cases of coronavirus, surpassing the UK as having the fourth highest number of infections in the world. Indian authorities reported 10,956 new cases on Friday, the nation's biggest single-day increase.
Here are some of the other biggest headlines from around Asia:

  • Twitter has removed more than 170,000 accounts it says were tied to an operation to spread pro-China messages. Some of the accounts posted about the coronavirus outbreak. The tech firm said the network of accounts, based in China, had links to an earlier state-backed operation it broke up last year
  • The wife of Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, who died after contracting the virus while treating patients in Wuhan, has reportedly given birth to their baby boy. Dr Li was a key whistleblower trying to warn about China's coronavirus outbreak
  • Asian stock markets have fallen, a day after Wall Street suffered its biggest slump since March
  • Hong Kong has enjoyed remarkable success in tackling coronavirus, despite anti-government protests that have rocked the territory. But now it faces another existential challenge from China's plan to impose a national security law, as Grace Tsoi reports

Distancing rule decision 'crucial' to UK economy

After this morning's news of a 20% drop in GDP in the UK economy Sir John Timpson - a shoe repair chain owner and the head of an expert panel looking at UK high streets - says he is not "not surprised" but the important thing is where "we are in September."
Speaking to the BBC, Sir John said the government was being cautious at the moment in reducing lockdown measures because of the fear of fresh spikes in infections.
"A second wave would be a complete and utter disaster," he said. "We’ve now got to the stage where we are getting our businesses up and running and we don’t want to go backwards again."
The government is under pressure from MPs and the hospitality industry to amend the 2m (6ft) rule for social distancing, to help businesses after they reopen.
“The distancing rule of one or two metres is a crucial decision,” Sir John said. “I am glad I am not the prime minister having to make it. But it is going to make a big difference to the economy.”

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 12th June Empty Re: Coronavirus - 12th June

Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 12 2020, 17:31

People 'didn't feel like answering the phone' to contact tracers

Health Minister Edward Argar has said many of the people who tested positive for coronavirus but were not successfully contacted by England's contact tracing system "simply didn't feel like answering the phone".
Tracers tried to contact 8,117 people who tested positive between 28 May and 3 June - the first week of the system. Of those, 5,407 (67%) were reached.
"Some people won't necessarily have answered their phone," Argar told BBC Breakfast.
"You and I know what it's like if you have flu, for example, and Covid-19 is a much much nastier disease than that - you sometimes simply don't feel like answering the phone or responding to much at all."
He said he thinks the scheme "has started off very, very well" and the government will "continue to chase up those who didn't respond".

Get contact tracing 'working properly' - shadow chancellor

The country must get contact tracing "working properly" to boost the economy, according to the shadow chancellor.
Anneliese Dodds told BBC Breakfast: “If we don't have it functioning as well as in other nations, then we risk seeing additional lockdowns and much slower reopening than would otherwise occur.
"And, of course, we're seeing a far lower consumer confidence - that's critically important now that we push demand up.”
One third of people who tested positive for coronavirus in England could not be reached by the NHS Test and Trace programme in its first week of operation or failed to provide details of their contacts.

Rugby team that set off 111 days ago finally home

Owen Amos - BBC News, Singapore
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The team at their compound in Auckland - where they had an unexpectedly long stay

A professional rugby union team that set off for an away match on 23 February has finally made it home.
Manuma Samoa left their Pacific island for an away match in Perth, Australia, 111 days ago.
But on their way home in March they were forced to quarantine in New Zealand - and then, while waiting for the quarantine to end, their home country closed its borders entirely.
In Auckland, while waiting for the border to reopen, the squad lived in a church compound for three months - with 20 players sharing one room.
They arrived back in Samoa two weeks ago, but were then forced into a 14-day quarantine away from their homes.
But at midday, the players and management - none of whom ever caught the virus - were finally allowed to see their families.
"It's the best feeling ever," team manager Tuala Pat Leota told the BBC.

What's the latest across Europe?

Prosecutors from northern Italy are to question Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte today after relatives of Covid-19 victims demanded an inquiry into alleged government negligence. Fifty legal complaints have been filed by a citizens' group of bereaved relatives. They say the Lombardy towns of Alzano and Nembro should have been declared "red zones". Read more here
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Partizan won the cup tie by a single goal

In Serbia, not everyone's as happy as Partizan's footballers and supporters after their cup semi-final victory over Red Star on Thursday night. Some health experts are worried that 25,000 fans were allowed to attend the derby. Belgrade medic Dejan Zujovic told Reuters it was "a huge, enormous, totally unjustified epidemiological risk".
Meanwhile, Sweden is being snubbed again by its neighbours. Finland said on Thursday it was lifting cross-border restrictions with all Nordic and Baltic countries, but Sweden's high infection rate means it's still excluded. Now Norway is set to maintain restrictions on Sweden too, public broadcaster NRK reports. Anyone visiting Sweden will be required to go into quarantine for 10 days when they return. Sweden didn't impose a formal lockdown and announced a record 1,474 new cases on Thursday.

Uber in the UK makes face coverings mandatory

Uber drivers and passengers in the UK will need to wear face coverings from Monday, the company has announced.
And it says it has introduced measures to "ensure that every driver can access the PPE (personal protective equipment) they need for free to help keep them safe".
Jamie Heywood, Uber's regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, says: "For months we've been urging people to stay home, for their safety and the safety of drivers who make essential trips.
"Now, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again, we're taking measures to help everyone stay safe and healthy every time they use Uber."

Extend furlough scheme - Scotland first minister

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says "hugely welcome" government economic interventions such as the furlough scheme should be extended.
"UK gov interventions - esp on wage subsidy - have been hugely welcome. But it's now time to signal further extension like some other countries have," she tweets.
"The alternative will be businesses either reopening before safe and risking virus surge, or laying workers off - neither acceptable."
Earlier the Labour party called for the furlough scheme to be extended for workers in certain sectors.

Risk of further lockdowns is moderate to high - EU health experts

The risk of a second wave of infections requiring European countries to reimpose full lockdowns is moderate to high, say EU health experts.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has warned that although transmission has now passed its peak in most European countries, limiting the spread of the disease will now depend on how well people adhere to rules as restrictions are gradually lifted.
"The pandemic is not over," said ECDC director Andrea Ammon.
“At the present time, just before the summer holiday period, as member states relax limitations, there is a risk that people will not adhere firmly to the recommended measures still in place due to 'isolation fatigue’.
"It is important to comply with recommendations regarding physical distancing and maintain high standards of hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Everyone's contribution makes a difference."

Republic of Ireland 'will not enter full lockdown again'

The Republic of Ireland will not enter full lockdown again even if there is a second wave of the virus, the country’s chief medical officer says - despite EU health experts warning that further lockdowns could be needed.
Dr Tony Holohan says that as the country knows more about Covid-19 than it did in March, when restrictions were first introduced, it will be able to take a different course.
“I wouldn’t be anticipating at this point in time that we would move back to blanket closures in the way we did in March,” he told Irish state broadcaster RTE.
“People understand more about the disease, the risks and how they can protect themselves when it comes to hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
“If a resurgence of the disease happened or a second wave, we would know what specific measures to take, having done our work proactively."
The Republic of Ireland, which has seen more than 25,000 cases and 1,703 fatalities, began the second phase of removing restrictions on Monday.

Pioneering double lung transplant for young US woman

A woman in her 20s whose lungs were destroyed by coronavirus is recovering from a successful double lung transplant, according to her hospital Northwestern Memorial in Chicago. It's thought to be the first such procedure performed on a Covid-19 patient in the US.
"If she didn't get the transplant, she would not be alive," Dr Ankit Bharat explained. The patient, who was healthy before contracting the virus, spent six weeks on a ventilator before the operation. She needed to clear the virus from her body before receiving the transplant, which took five weeks. During that time it was too dangerous to wake her up from an induced coma.
Doctors hope she will eventually make a full recovery, and added that she was now able to speak with her family. They hope it provides hope for other patients left with ravaged lungs after falling ill with Covid-19.
In late May, a woman with severe respiratory failure from coronavirus successfully received a double lung transplant at Medical University of Vienna hospital in Austria.

Part of Sheffield saw most Covid-19 deaths

Michael Buchanan - Social Affairs Correspondent, BBC News
An area of Sheffield has had the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales, according to new research.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 66 confirmed deaths from the virus in the three months to May in the Crabtree and Fir Vale district of the city.
The data shows that there were no deaths there from the virus in March, but 45 in April and a further 21 in May.
There are a number of care homes in the area, including a group that is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive after whistle-blowers claimed they were told not to wear face masks.
The number of deaths is almost twice that of the next highest area, Church End in the London Borough of Brent.
The data from the ONS confirms that death rates in areas with high levels of deprivation are twice as high as they are in the poorest districts.
The age-standardised rate of deaths involving Covid-19 in the most deprived areas of England was 128.3 per 100,000 population. In the least deprived areas, it was 58.8 per 100,000.
The figures for Wales are similar, with deaths in the poorest areas almost double that of the least deprived.

How Guernsey's test and trace system lifted the lockdown

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Pubs are open in Guernsey - but don't forget to leave your contact details

Two days after the UK entered lockdown, the Crown Dependency of Guernsey followed suit. The Channel Island has now seen no coronavirus cases for 42 days, a success public health authorities attribute to its test and trace programme.
Guernsey's 63,000 residents are able to go to the pub, get a haircut and meet up with friends and family. And on 20 June, the government will remove nearly all lockdown restrictions. So how did they manage it?
Currently, everyone who enters a "controlled environment", like a pub, restaurant or hairdressers, must leave their name and contact details - which are available at all times for the island's Public Health Services to access.
Dr Nicola Brink, Guernsey's public health director, says she began recruitment for contact tracers in January. They have now spoken to 1,757 people, or just under 3% of the population.
She says delays in tests carried out in the UK meant the island had to introduce a lockdown, but by the end of March Guernsey was carrying out its own tests for the equivalent of 160,000 people daily in UK terms.
Read the full story, by Adam Durbin, here

UK government sued over 'actively exposing' care home residents to harm

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Cathy Gardner says the death of her father, Michael Gibson, was part of a "national disgrace"

More than 14,000 people have died in care homes in England and Wales since the pandemic began. Now the daughter of one man who died is suing the government, saying it "actively exposed" him to serious harm.
Dr Cathy Gardner said the death of her father, Michael Gibson - who died at 88 in April from probable Covid-19-related causes - was part of a "national disgrace".
She is also demanding that Health Secretary Matt Hancock retract his claim that "a protective ring" was put in place around care homes, as her lawyers claim her father's home was pressured to take in a hospital patient who had tested positive.
The Department for Health and Social Care said it could not comment on a current legal case.
It comes as families of 450 people who died in the UK have demanded an immediate public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic to prevent more deaths.
Read the full story

Villagers detain engineers over false 5G Covid links

Villagers in the Huancavelica region of Peru have detained eight technicians who were repairing a wireless antenna, over fears their work would spread Covid-19.
The villagers mistakenly believed that the workers were installing 5G technology in the area.
False claims linking 5G to coronavirus have been widely shared online.
Scientists say a connection between the two is biologically impossible.
The workers have not been heard from since Wednesday evening and have not yet been released, their company says.
While Peru has recorded more than 6,000 deaths and almost 215,000 confirmed cases of the virus, its spread in the Huancavelica region has been limited.
Read more here

Mixed messages in Moscow ahead of public holidays

Vitaliy Shevchenko - BBC Monitoring
In a move that has caused confusion and ridicule, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin has urged residents of the Russian capital to stay at home during two major public holidays this month. It comes after the city's lockdown was unexpectedly lifted on Tuesday.
Sobyanin said Russia Day, celebrated today, and the upcoming Victory Day parade rescheduled for 24 June are best spent at home, even though major official events will be held in Moscow.
“I wouldn't recommend going anywhere. Yes, official events will be held both on 12 June and on the day of the parade. But it would be better to watch them on TV," Sobyanin told state-run Rossiya 24 TV.
Moscow continues to record a stubbornly high number of new Covid-19 cases each day.
President Vladimir Putin will take part in a flag-raising ceremony in Moscow today, before handing out state honours in the Kremlin.
On 24 June, a major parade will be held in Moscow, celebrating the USSR’s victory in World War Two. Moscow says 12 foreign leaders have confirmed their attendance, but has not named them.
Independent Russian media and social media users have linked Sobyanin's abrupt lifting of Moscow's restrictions to attempts to raise public morale ahead of Russia's upcoming vote on constitutional amendments.
They have suggested that the Kremlin pushed Sobyanin to lift the measures - something it has denied.
One of the changes to be put before voters will allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in office beyond 2024, when his current term runs out.

Life-saving programmes in jeopardy in Yemen - UN

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Civil war has been raging in Yemen since 2015

Yemen's conflict has not halted during the coronavirus pandemic, but now cuts to vital humanitarian programmes are putting lives at risk, the UN warns.
"More than 30 of the 41 UN-supported programmes in Yemen will close in the coming weeks if additional funds are not secured," UN human rights spokesperson Rupert Colville said in a briefing.
Coronavirus is spreading in the country and officials say the healthcare system has effectively collapsed.
Earlier this month, a fundraiser for aid fell short by $1bn (£810m). And the UN says less than half of the money that was pledged has been received.
Water, sanitation and hygiene services will start shutting down for four million people in July unless Unicef receives $30m (£24m) this month, a spokesperson said.
Watch: In May, the BBC gained access to hospitals in the capital, Sanaa, where medics were bracing for an outbreak with very few resources

Number of world's extreme poor 'could pass a billion'

Economic damage caused by the pandemic could plunge 400 million more people into extreme poverty, according to a new study, with those in south and east Asia worst affected.
The paper, published by the UN , lays out several scenarios to estimate the coronavirus impact on global earnings.
In the worst-case scenario - a 20% loss of per capita earnings - the number of those living on $1.90 (£1.50) a day could rise to more than a billion. More than 3.7 billion people, over half the world's population, could also see their earnings fall below $5.50 a day.
"The outlook for the world's poorest looks grim unless governments do more and do it quickly and make up the daily loss of income the poor face," said Andy Sumner, one of the report's authors, according to Reuters.
"Progress on poverty reduction could be set back 20 to 30 years, making the UN goal of ending poverty look like a pipe dream."

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Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 12 2020, 17:47


Your lunchtime catch-up

It was a busy morning. Here's what you need to know if you're checking in over lunch:

UK 'formally confirms' no Brexit extension

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UK cabinet minister Michael Gove has said the government has "formally confirmed" it will not extend the Brexit transition period.
The UK has left the EU, but will remain in both the bloc's customs union and single market until 31 December (more on that here ).
Downing Street has faced calls from some quarters to push back the date due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
But tweeting after a meeting with EU officials, Gove said that the "moment for extension has now passed".
His comments follow calls from Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, to extend the transition period.
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the pair said it "would be "extraordinarily reckless" to transition as scheduled.
Johnson is expected to hold crunch trade talks with EU leaders next week.

Three more deaths of Covid patients in Scotland

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirms 15,709 people have tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of 27 from yesterday.
There were 914 patients in hospital last night with either confirmed or suspected Covid-19, an increase of five overall, although the number of confirmed cases dropped by 20.
There are 23 patients in intensive care, an increase of two.
A further three people who tested positive have died, taking the total to 2,442 deaths in Scotland by that measure.
3,873 people have been discharged from hospital after receiving treatment for the virus since 5 March.

Child's birth renews mourning of China's 'martyr'

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
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China's government wants its people to remember Li Wenliang - the whistleblower doctor who shared concerns with his colleagues in December about the virus - as a “martyr” in the epidemic fight, the highest honour anybody can be granted posthumously.
Anyone who makes negative comments about a "martyr" can be held criminally accountable.
His widow has now given birth to his son, opening up again the floodgates for netizens to mourn him.
When he died in February, there was widespread anger across China. Furious comments poured in from social media users on Sina Weibo and WeChat criticising the state, on such a scale that government censors struggled to take them all offline.
Some have now noted the happy occasion of a newborn child, saying: “Your father is a hero”, others repeat earlier criticism of officials, saying: “More should have been done at the time”.
Others ask authorities to find a way to make amends by ensuring the safety and protection of his widow and his children. "It is all of our responsibility to educate future generations on Wenliang," wrote one.
Read more here

Johnson: 'It's going to be tough but we will get through'

The impact of the UK's coronavirus lockdown is "going to be tough for a few months but we will get through it", Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
The PM was speaking after new figures showed the country's economy had suffered its biggest fall in GDP on record.
But Johnson said the figures were "no surprise" because the UK economy is heavily dependent on services.
"We are also amazingly resilient and creative, we will bounce back," he added.
He highlighted the opening of shops from Monday, as well as the possible reopening of bars and restaurants from 4 July.
"What we will do now is take various steps to unlock the economy carefully whilst keeping our foot on the virus, as it were," he added.
Johnson has come under pressure from some Conservative MPs to reduce the 2m social distance rule to help businesses recover.
Asked about the 2m rule, he reiterated that it was "under review" and that the rates of infections and of hospital admissions would guide any future judgement.

Ukraine's First Lady Zelenska tests positive

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Volodymyr Zelensky (left) and his wife Olena Zelenska

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's wife, 42-year-old Olena Zelenska, has tested positive for Covid-19.
In a Facebook post, the president's office says the first lady is feeling well and has no symptoms. She is being treated in isolation from other family members.
President Zelensky, also 42, and the couple's two children have all tested negative.
Earlier this week, Zelensky revealed he had been fined for violating Ukraine's lockdown restrictions. This happened after he was pictured drinking coffee inside a cafe on 3 June - although a ban on catering services indoors was still in effect at the time.
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President Zelensky (second right) was pictured sipping coffee in a cafe

Putin makes first public appearance for weeks

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin went without a mask as he appeared at an open-air flag-raising ceremony in Moscow to mark Russia Day, a public holiday.
The 67-year-old, who has largely been working in his residence outside Moscow, praised the spirit of the Russian people as well their traditions and culture.
Russia, which at 511,423 has the world's third-largest number of virus cases, has gradually eased lockdown measures this month.
While infections have been declining, many doctors and Kremlin critics say restrictions have been lifted prematurely in Moscow, the epicentre of the Russian outbreak.
Opponents have accused Putin of trying to gain support before a 1 July vote on plans to change the constitution, which could extend his hold on power until 2036.
A concert will take place on Red Square on Friday evening, while a parade to celebrate the USSR’s victory in World War Two is scheduled for 24 June. Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin has discouraged people from attending either.
Russia has seen 6,715 virus deaths.

UK death toll rises by 202

A further 202 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK, the latest daily government figures show.
It brings the total number of deaths - in all settings - to 41,481.
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EU urges unity over vaccine purchases

The European Union has urged member states to work “together” after its executive branch was tasked with negotiating to buy coronavirus vaccines.
EU health official Stella Kyriakides said there was "overwhelming" support from EU governments for a European Commission plan to utilise a €2.4bn ($2.7bn; £2.15bn) fund to pay for vaccines.
Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands have already started talks with pharmaceutical companies to buy vaccines, a move that could weaken the EU's approach.
Kyriakides said the initiatives had the same goal, adding: "Both tracks should converge for the benefits of all 27. This is about working together and not in competition."

Twitter shuts 170,000 China 'disinformation' accounts

Twitter has removed more than 170,000 accounts it says were tied to an operation to spread a Chinese government disinformation campaign.
Some of those posts were about the coronavirus outbreak, the social media platform said.
The company said "a core network" of 23,750 highly active accounts had been deleted, along with another 150,000 "amplifier accounts".
A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said that Beijing itself was the victim of disinformation and called on Twitter to shut down accounts that were critical of China.
Twitter also revealed it had shut down more than 1,000 Russia-based misinformation accounts.

US lawmaker sacked as doctor after 'coloured population' question

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Ohio has seen Black Lives Matter protests

An Ohio state senator has been sacked from his job as an emergency doctor after asking whether “African Americans or the coloured population” have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus because they “do not wash their hands as well as other groups”.
Republican Steve Huffman had asked the question during a health hearing on whether to declare racism a public health crisis.
The US has seen massive Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the death in police custody of African American George Floyd.
Huffman asked: “Could it just be that African Americans or the coloured population do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear a mask? Or do not socially distance themselves? Could that be the explanation for why the higher incidence?"
He later apologised, saying: "Regrettably, I asked a question in an unintentionally awkward way that was perceived as hurtful and was exactly the opposite of what I meant."
However, he has since been sacked as an emergency room doctor by his employer TeamHealth.

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Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 12 2020, 18:02

Florida migrant communities 'virus hotspots'

The news agency Associated Press has published a report looking at how rural migrant communities in Florida are seeing outbreaks of coronavirus - despite the fact that Florida has a low number of cases compared to the rest of the country.
The tiny town of Immokalee has more infections (900) than Miami Beach, which is four times its size. Many families live in poverty and the majority-Hispanic community lacks medical resources to treat the sick.
Migrants from Guatemala, Mexico and other countries work in close proximity to each other in the area's tomato farms and travel on crowded buses.
They have also struggled to get access to testing. The international aid charity Doctors Without Borders sent a Covid-19 response team in April.
Now the state is broadcasting announcements from car loudspeakers in Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Mam, an ancient Maya language, to reach the isolated communities.

In southern and western US, cases rise

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Coronavirus testing in Arizona

In around a dozen states across the US south and west, Covid-19 cases have been on the rise following the Memorial Day holiday weekend at the end of May.
Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Utah, Alaska, California and Florida are among the states seeing an uptick.
While the higher numbers are partly due to more testing, the rise is concerning in states like Arizona, Texas and North Carolina that have a worrying positive case rate and are seeing more people sent to hospital .
In Arizona, the state's largest hospital system has warned it could soon reach peak intensive care capacity and urged residents to practise social distancing to prevent community spread.
The state's governor has said the rise is expected due to additional testing and that people's livelihoods must also be considered in the response.
In North Carolina, more than 800 people were in hospital for Covid-19 on Thursday, a new record high. Thursday was also the second-highest single-day increase of new cases - more than 1,300 - since the start of the pandemic.
The rising cases come as some states continue with reopening efforts.
Texas reported more than 2,500 new cases on Wednesday, but today will move into phase three, allowing restaurants to operate at 75% capacity.

Prosecutors quiz Italy PM over lockdown

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Bergamo: Bereaved relatives filed legal complaints

Prosecutors from northern Italy have questioned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for about three hours in Rome about the government’s response to coronavirus.
Italy’s ministers of the interior and health are also being questioned today.
Bereaved relatives of Covid-19 victims say the authorities were too slow to lock down virus hotspots in Lombardy, the epicentre of the crisis in Italy. The inquiry needs to address allegations of official negligence.
The focus is on two towns near Bergamo – Alzano and Nembro – where Covid-19 cases began soaring in late February.
Mr Conte argues that the Lombardy government – led by the opposition right-wing League – had the power to lock down hotspots.
Italy first imposed a quarantine on Codogno, a small Lombardy town, on 21 February. Most of northern Italy was locked down on 8 March, and the whole country two days later.

Round-up: The latest from the UK

As we wait for the Downing Street briefing - expected in the next 30 minutes or so - let’s take a look at the latest headlines from the UK.

  • The economy shrank by 20.4% in April - the largest monthly contraction on record, new figures show
  • A total of 41,481 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19, an increase of 202 from yesterday’s figure
  • The number of people testing positive in England is continuing to fall , an official testing survey says
  • Figures suggest the most deprived parts of England and Wales have been hit twice as hard by the virus as wealthier areas

EastEnders to return - but with shorter episodes

Eleven weeks after filming was halted due to lockdown, new episodes of British soaps EastEnders and Coronation Street are expected on TV soon.
EastEnders producers recently revealed that they had run out of fresh episodes , despite reducing the number of instalments shown each week.
But the BBC's London-based soap is now set to return with 20-minute episodes (instead of the usual 30) being filmed with social distancing.
No date has been announced for when the new instalments will be shown, but the last of the current batch will air next Tuesday, the BBC has announced.
Cameras on Coronation Street - the longest running soap in the world - have already begun rolling again. It means the ITV programme will not have fallen off air during the crisis.

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Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 12 2020, 20:52

What did we learn from today's UK briefing?

Today's government press conference was led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. He was joined by Prof Stephen Powis, the medical director of NHS England, and Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail.
Here's what they told us:

  • If you can work from home, you should. If you must go to work, you should walk, cycle or drive if you can. If you must use public transport, you should avoid peak times. Employers should help their employees to do this
  • When face coverings on public transport become compulsory on Monday, travel companies will be able to refuse travel for non-compliance, but will take a gentle approach. People could also be fined
  • People who live in more deprived areas are more likely to catch and become seriously ill with coronavirus because they are more likely to have other health issues
  • The government denies that Ruth May, the chief nursing officer, is refusing to appear at the daily press conference because of the Dominic Cummings story. Prof Powis said he always says what he thinks at the press conferences
  • The government is talking to various states about the possibility of travel corridors, where people coming to the UK could avoid the 14-day quarantine period. A review of the quarantine policy, which came into effect on 8 June, will come at the end of the month

'Exempt' Macron to travel to UK to meet Prince Charles

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French President Emmanuel Macron (left) and Britain's Prince Charles last met in January at the World Holocaust Forum in Israel

French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Prince Charles in London on 18 June, his first foreign visit since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, officials say.
The French leader will be exempt from a mandatory 14-day quarantine for most overseas visitors to the UK as a "representative of a foreign country on business".
Macron will be in the UK capital to commemorate the 80th anniversary of former French President Charles de Gaulle's appeal to his compatriots to resist the Nazi occupation during World War Two.
Macron will award the Legion of Honour to London, making it the seventh city to be decorated with France's highest order of merit.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will be the first members of the royal family to leave lockdown and attend a major event.
In March, Charles, 71, spent seven days self-isolating in Scotland after testing positive and displaying mild symptoms.

What's happening in the sporting world?

A new global rugby union calendar will never come to fruition if it cannot be agreed now , with the sport stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic, says British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland.
A harmonised schedule of fixtures has been an ongoing issue in the sport and is set to be discussed at a World Rugby meeting on Monday.
"If they can't have a consensus when they've basically got a blank sheet of paper to start from, then there's never going to be agreement," said Gatland.
In other sporting news:

  • The Japanese, Singapore and Azerbaijan Grands Prix have been cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis
  • Former world number one Andy Murray will face Kyle Edmund on his return to tennis at this month's Battle of the Brits - the first tournament to take place in the UK since the pandemic
  • The English Football League has announced the dates of the League Two play-offs, with Wembley hosting the final on 13 July

Overcrowding halts Vietnamese football match

Vietnam was the first country to allow football fans back in to watch matches - and there has been a huge rush by supporters to get back on the terraces.
So much so that one Vietnamese top-flight match between Ha Tinh and Ha Noi had to be halted because of overcrowding.
Thankfully, no-one appeared to be hurt - according to Vietnamese football expert Bill George - and the game resumed with fans stood on the running track around the pitch.
Vietnam has had only 333 confirmed Covid-19 cases, recording no deaths.

  tweet Vietnam Football:
Play suspended. Overcrowding has led to gates being opened and fans spilling in the running track. Not good as kids being passed over the fences. Everyone seems calm though.
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  tweet Vietnam Football:
Huge number of fans packed in to see the home side steal a point late on.

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Football returns in Italy

It has been 96 days since the last top-level football match in Italy but tonight the sport finally returns, albeit behind closed doors.
It gets back under way after it was halted because of the pandemic on 9 March with a cup semi-final second leg between two of the country's biggest clubs - AC Milan and Juventus.
The second Coppa Italia semi-final, Napoli v Inter, will be on Saturday with the league - Serie A - resuming on 20 June.
The return in football in Italy follows the sport restarting in Germany last month, matches resuming again earlier this week in Spain and the English Premier League set to kick-off again on Wednesday as restrictions ease across Europe.
Follow tonight's game in Turin on the BBC Sport website from 19:30 BST

What will a UK night out be like after lockdown?

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In Japan, some customers have donned plastic facemasks in bars

When people in the UK were asked last month what they were most looking forward to post-lockdown, only seeing friends and family ranked higher than a night out.
The government has said the hospitality sector, which includes pubs and bars, could reopen "no earlier than 4 July".
But can nightlife in the UK ever conform to social distancing rules? And what would a Covid-safe evening out look like?

How will high street shopping change?

All non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen in England from Monday , and councils have been outlining their plans to facilitate social distancing.They include:

In Worcester, independent shops are being encouraged to operate on an appointment-only basis.
"You’ll also see hand sanitiser, one-way systems, social distancing signage as our stores get ready to open," said Samantha McCarthy the project and marketing manager for Worcester Business Improvement District.
Asked whether the pandemic might kill the high street, she said: “I don’t think it's the death. I think we were always going to evolve. The only thing this virus has done is push us to do it faster.”

Non-essential retailersin Northern Ireland have reopened today.
Michelle Greeves, manager of Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast, said stores had been planning how to open safely for weeks.
"We all live for retail and we've missed it so much, we've missed being able to do what we know we do well," she said.
The manager of Londonderry Derry's biggest shopping centre, Foyleside, said a number of public health measures were in place, including sneeze guards.

Latest death tolls for UK nations

As we've been reporting, another 202 people with coronavirus have died in the UK in a day.
Each UK nation also reports its own Covid-19 death tolls. These figures are collated differently to the UK-wide number.
The latest data shows:
In England, a further 70 people died in hospitals after testing positive for the disease, taking the total to 27,860.
In Wales, a further 10 people have died with Covid-19. It takes the total number of deaths to 1,435, according to Public Health Wales.
In Scotland, the latest total death toll is now 2,442 - an increase of three.
And Northern Ireland reported one new death for the second day running. It follows four days in a row earlier this week in which no deaths were recorded. The total death toll stands at 539.

French death toll increases by 28

The coronavirus death toll in France increased by 28 on Friday to a total of 29,374.
France has the fifth-highest death toll in the world and third-highest in Europe behind the UK and Italy.
But, it is the 10th day in a row France has reported fewer than 100 daily deaths.

How are family doctors changing?

Dominic Hughes - Health correspondent
Covid-19 has transformed how family doctors across the UK work.
GP Dr Debbie Noland, based in Liverpool, has been telling the BBC about how she has been adapting for a new reality.
In between each appointment, Dr Noland must clean her consulting room and change her personal protective equipment (PPE).
"It's definitely far more challenging - and the job is challenging enough without the extra stress," she says.
But the changes bring their own cost, with a much slower trickle of patients.
Read more here

Time running out for UK theatres - shadow culture secretary

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The London Coliseum, the largest theatre in the West End, is closed along with the rest of the UK capital's theatre district

Theatres are "running out" of time and need urgent help from the UK government to stop the industry collapsing, says shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens.
The Labour MP has written to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden asking for sector specific support, warning venues "are going under".
Theatres, gig and comedy venues were ordered to shut in mid-March. Stevens says many cannot afford to reopen when restrictions are eased because of social distancing measures.
She also says many actors, comedians and musicians have been excluded from Treasury support schemes, warning the prospect of no further income "means large scale redundancies".
In response, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said many organisations have "already benefited" from government support.
"The UK government is providing unprecedented financial support for the arts and culture through the job retention scheme, a years' business rates holiday and more than £200m emergency public funding," a DCMS spokesperson told BBC News.
The DCMS added it is committed to opening arts and cultural institutions "as soon as it is safe to do so". Earlier this week, Dowden said he would not "stand by and see our world-leading position in arts and culture destroyed".

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Post by Kitkat on Fri Jun 12 2020, 22:29

Lockdown baby boom in West Bank zoo

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A baby baboon is among the West Bank zoo's new inhabitants

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Staff have been feeding and caring for the animals during lockdown

There's been speculation that countries that have been under lockdown could see a baby boom over the next year as couples trapped at home together find ways to occupy the time. If so, humans wouldn't be the only ones.
A tiny Palestinian zoo in the West Bank has had a baby boom of its own. Fifteen animals have born at Qalqilya zoo in the two months since it shut its doors to visitors - three times more than the normal number of births.
One of the ostriches is rarely able to incubate her eggs, vet Sami Kahder explained, but this year she produced 11 eggs and built a nest. “Because there weren’t people around her, she was able to build a nest,” he told Reuters news agency.
The monkeys are normally prone to miscarriage, he added, but now one baboon has given birth.
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This ostrich is among the zoo's occupants who were active during lockdown

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The zoo hopes visitors will want to come to see the newborns now restrictions have eased

Brazil needs 'significant support' - WHO

Katy Watson - South America correspondent in Sao Palo
The World Health Organization has warned that in some parts of Brazil, intensive care units are at a critical stage because of the high number of Covid-19 patients.
Brazil is the second-worst affected country in the world, after the US, in terms of infections. It’s on the brink of surpassing the UK’s death toll too - more than 40,000 people have now died in Brazil.
There are clear hotspots in Brazil, especially in heavily populated areas. That’s according to Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO's health emergencies programme.
Ryan said that while most intensive care units in the country were no more than around 80% full – and the health system was coping - some places had seen occupancy exceed 90% and were critical.
He warned that Brazil still needed significant support to combat the virus.

WHO urges infected mothers to continue breastfeeding

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged mothers who contract Covid-19 to continue breastfeeding their babies.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus said the WHO had studied the issue and the benefits of breastfeeding outweighed any risks of passing on the virus.
"We know that children are at relatively low risk of Covid-19, but are at high risk of numerous other diseases and conditions that breastfeeding prevents," he said at a briefing in Geneva.
"Based on the available evidence, the WHO's advice is that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of Covid-19.
"Mothers with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 should be encouraged to initiate and continue breastfeeding and not be separated from their infants unless the mother is too unwell," he said.
Read more about breastfeeding and other questions asked by our readers and answered by BBC News

Mother and daughter doctors make historic journey

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The bond between mother and daughter is strong for many around the world - but none are thought to have graduated from medical school at the same time.
And now, Cynthia Kudji and her daughter Jasmine are tackling the coronavirus pandemic together on the front line at the same hospital.
The Ghanian-American doctors graduated a few weeks ago and have both been placed at LSU Health in Louisiana.
"It is like a dream come true," Cynthia told BBC Focus on Africa.
"My inspiration came from Jasmine. When you have a young child you aspire for them to be better than yourself.
"It meant so much having my daughter by my side as we went through this journey together."

Ohio health director quits amid backlash

Ohio Health Director Dr Amy Acton, a key official responsible for the state's often-praised pandemic response, has resigned.
Governor Mike DeWine has relied heavily on Acton's expertise. It was on her guidance that Ohio imposed early restrictions and became the first state to close schools.
While Acton saw national praise for Ohio's quick response to the crisis, she also saw criticism from Ohio Republicans, who tried to limit her authority, and protesters who felt the lockdown measures were too strict.
Her decision to close gyms was deemed to have violated the state's constitution, and a judge wrote that she "acted in an impermissibly arbitrary, unreasonable, and oppressive manner".
DeWine, a Republican, has continued to defend Acton and the state's actions.
He said on Thursday: "I will always believe and know that many lives were saved because of her wise advice."
Acton - who was appointed in February - will stay on as chief health adviser.
Read more about DeWine, Acton and Ohio's lauded response to the pandemic here .
tweet :Left Quotes: Governor Mike DeWine:
In her new role, she will take a comprehensive and holistic approach to address health and well-being for all Ohioans. In addition to advising on health issues, she will continue to focus on the #COVID19 crisis, while remaining committed to the vision of @OHdeptofhealth .

tweet :Left Quotes: Governor Mike DeWine:
It’s true, not all heroes wear capes. Some of them wear a white coat embossed with the name Dr. Amy Acton.
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US air travel on the rise

US airports have seen the highest number of travellers this week since the start of the pandemic, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reported.
In April, airports saw a record low of just over 87,000 travellers in one day - compared to over two million at the same time last year.
But on Monday, more than 430,000 people went through TSA checkpoints. Yesterday, that number surpassed 500,000 for the first time since March.
The rise in US air travel comes while Covid-19 case counts are also on the rise in states across the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still advises people to stay home and limit travel to prevent the spread of the virus.
tweet TSAmedia LisaF:
:Left Quotes: BREAKING NEWS: On Thursday, June 11th, 502,209 people came through @TSA security checkpoints nationwide. It marked the first time the traveler count surpassed a half million since March 21st. One year ago, 2,675,686 travelers were screened at checkpoints across the country.

Film and TV production can resume in California

Film and television production can begin in California as early as today, officials have said, as long as local Covid-19 protocols are followed.
It's unlikely that production will restart immediately. The Hollywood Reporter said crews are expected to get back to work by July or August. But what might the new Covid-19 workplace look like?
An industry paper on protocols agreed upon by unions, guilds and employers listed masks, regular testing and staggered meal times as part of the new guidelines.
Director Tyler Perry's studios had earlier released a proposal, which called for cast testing and self-isolation before turning up on set, as well as travelling on private jets to minimise risk and tests after any such travel, according to the Reporter

How not to get Covid - the US guide

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released new guidelines for Americans as restrictions around the country ease and people return to daily life.
Director Dr Robert Redfield said the "common sense" guidance was meant to help people stay safe "as communities open up and they begin to re-engage in daily life".
The recommendations include:

  • Continue to use face coverings
  • Use hand sanitiser after visiting stores, and if you use a shopping cart, make sure to disinfect it before touching
  • When dining out, try sitting outside and keep tables apart
  • Don't share items that can't be sanitised after use - at the gym or during gatherings
  • No high-fives or elbow bumps
  • If you want to have friends over for a meal, use single-serve options and remind everyone to wash their hands

There are other guidelines for large gatherings - like protests, rallies and concerts - as well. But the CDC guidance remains to social distance, practise good hand hygiene and follow local rules.
Covid-19 response manager Dr Jay Butler told reporters: "It's not intended to endorse any particular type of event but to be applicable to any type of event that might occur."
The new tips come as Covid-19 cases are on the rise in a number of states, though re-openings are underway nationwide.
"We know the pandemic is not over," Dr Butler said. "The vast majority of Americans still have not been exposed to this virus."

Newborn with Covid-19 defies giant odds

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Raees Hassain is now back at home and getting to know his three-year-old brother Ayaan

Aged just six weeks, Raees Hassain, from the UK, was given only a "remote" chance of survival.
After being diagnosed with a rare heart defect, his family were dealt another blow when he tested positive for Covid-19.
But five weeks after being rushed to hospital, Raees is back at home and getting to know his three-year-old brother Ayaan.
"It was a life or death situation. Even the doctors said the odds were against us," said Farah, who couldn't touch her son without wearing full protective kit.
Read Raees' remarkable story - and find out how he's getting on now.


We're pausing our live coverage

That's it from us for today - thanks for staying with us!
We will be resuming our coronavirus live coverage soon. Just to recap, here are some of today's key developments:

Our journalists around the world produce this live coverage, the contributors today were: Owen Amos, Andreas Illmer, Saira Asher, Frances Mao, Anna Jones, Hazel Shearing, Thomas Spender, Georgina Rannard, Steven Sutcliffe, Jasmine Taylor-Coleman, Robert Corp, Joseph Lee, Matthew Henry, Matt Cannon, Gary Kitchener, Yaroslav Lukov, Ritu Prasad, Jonathan Jurejko and Mal Siret.

Like many of you, we are often working from home because of lockdown restrictions. Jonathan sent this selfie from his desk in England.
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    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 17:42