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Coronavirus - 16th June


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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 16 2020, 05:42

Summary for Tuesday, 16th June

  • There have now been more than 8m confirmed virus cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University
  • The US has reported the most Covid-19 deaths followed by Brazil and the UK
  • NZ reports two new cases after a month without any, both recent arrivals from the UK
  • UK teachers say their students are doing far less work than normal while learning at home
  • Hospitals in the Indian capital Delhi are overwhelmed, but officials have ruled out a new lockdown
  • The US FDA withdraws hydroxychloroquine as a virus treatment, saying it is ineffective
  • An "invasive" contact tracing app in Gulf states puts users' privacy at risk, say rights groups
  • The 2021 Oscars and Bafta ceremony have both been pushed back because of the virus

Hello and welcome back to our live updates from around the world on the coronavirus pandemic. More than eight million people are now known to be infected globally.
Here are the latest developments:

  • New Zealand has reported two new cases after a month without any - both are recent arrivals from the UK
  • Teachers in the UK say students are doing much less work than normal while at home
  • The US FDA has withdrawn the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine as a virus treatment
  • And the 2021 Oscars as well as the Bafta awards ceremony have been delayed.

FDA U-turns on use of hydroxychloroquine

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn the use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus .
In March, the FDA granted the emergency use of the drug for some serious Covid-19 cases.
But it's now said new evidence from clinical trials meant that it was no longer reasonable to believe that the drug would produce an antiviral effect.
President Donald Trump has been a big fan of the drug - claiming last month that he was taking is as a preventative measure. On Monday he defended having promoting its use.
"I took it and I felt good about taking it," he told reporters. "I can't complain about it, I took it for two weeks, and I'm here, here we are."

Some states open up to each other in Australia

It's still a battle between Australian states over border closures at the moment.
South Australia has just announced that from midnight, it will open up to Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory (all regions which have had next to no cases in recent weeks).
But it's still banning people coming from Queensland, New South Wales (Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne) until next month.
Victoria- the second-most populous state- is still recording tiny numbers of community transmissions - although none were recorded in the nine new cases confirmed overnight.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been urging the states to reopen their borders - saying there's no medical reason to keep interstate travel off-limits.

NZ new cases were women attending a parent's funeral

New Zealand has revealed that the country's two latest virus cases were women aged in their 30s and 40s who were allowed to fly from the UK to New Zealand on compassionate grounds.
They arrived in Auckland on 7 June and immediately went into self-isolation.
One of them had been exhibiting "mild symptoms" but chalked this down to a pre-existing condition, said New Zealand's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield in a press conference on Tuesday.
They applied for an exemption on 12 June to visit their dying parent in Wellington - who died later on that day. On 13 June, they made the trip to Wellington in a private vehicle and did not have any contact with anyone on the journey.
They stayed with a single family member upon their arrival in Wellington. That family member has now gone into self-isolation.
Dr Bloomfield said he was "not nervous" that the women might have infected anyone else, adding that the women "did everything that was asked of them".

Alarm over 'invasive' Kuwait and Bahrain contact-tracing apps
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Users of the "BeAware Bahrain" app are required to register with a national ID number

Kuwait and Bahrain have rolled out some of the most invasive Covid-19 contact-tracing apps in the world, putting the privacy and security of their users at risk, Amnesty International says.
The rights group found the apps were carrying out live or near-live tracking of users' locations by uploading GPS co-ordinates to a central server.
It urged the Gulf states to stop using them in their current forms.
Norway has halted the roll-out of its app because of similar concerns.
The country's data protection authority said the app represented a disproportionate intrusion into users' privacy given the low rate of infection there.
Read more

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 16 2020, 11:57

Cases in India continue to spike

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India eased its lockdown last week

It's been just over a week since India eased out of its stringent lockdown and cases have been spiking. Earlier this week, India recorded more than 11,000 fresh infections daily for three days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
India has the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world now with more than 300,000 infections. And there's growing concern over rising cases in the national capital, Delhi, where hospitals are buckling under the pressure. Reports of patients being turned away at hospitals emerged last week.
There has been spurts of good news as well - Dharavi, India's largest slum, has seen infections drop recently, local media reported. Since April, officials have screened almost 700,000 people in the slum and set up fever clinics , reported local outlet NDTV. Daily infections have come down to a third of what they were in May, simultaneously bringing down the number of deaths too.
But it's clear that infections are growing by the day and experts are worried that the virus hasn't yet peaked in India, with some expecting the worst when monsoon season hits in July and August.

Entrepreneur's 'free rice ATMs' for Vietnam's poor

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A Vietnamese entrepreneur is installing "free rice ATMs" across the country to help those affected by the coronavirus.
Businessman Hoang Tuan Anh first built the rice-dispensing machines in Ho Chi Minh City to support those who had lost their jobs. The ATMs became so popular he is building more around Vietnam.
Mr Hoang told the BBC: "I wanted to invent a 24/7 automatic dispensing machine providing free rice for people out of work following an ongoing nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus."
Rice is stored in giant vats and funnelled through pipes to the dispenser. When a person presses a button on the "ATM", a volunteer gets an alert on their phone and releases the rice.
Read more here

Where are the world's current hotspots?

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As we've mentioned, eight million people worldwide have now been infected with the virus.
The US still remains the country hardest hit with more than 2 million cases and more than 100,000 deaths.
But the geographical location of the virus is shifting. The spotlight was once on China, then much of Europe, but Latin America now looks like the new centre of the virus.
Brazil has just under 889,000 confirmed cases, Peru is at 232,000 and Chile has 179,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Despite this, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has continued downplaying the virus, saying earlier this month that death was "everyone's destiny".
Eyes are also turning towards South Asia.
The virus is on the rise in countries like India - with cases rising despite lockdown efforts.
Over in Pakistan, authorities say they will re-impose localised lockdowns after a minister warned that cases could reach as high as 1.2 million by the end of July.
Pakistan had earlier lifted restrictions on 9 May citing economic stress - and has since seen infection rates rise quickly.

Delhi health minister admitted to hospital

Satyendar Jain, health minister for India's capital Delhi, has been admitted to a hospital in the city due to a "sudden drop in oxygen levels" and a high fever, he said in a tweet on Tuesday.
On Monday, Jain attended a meeting where India's Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were present. He is reportedly going to be tested for Covid-19 later on Tuesday.
Kejriwal tested negative for the virus last week after complaining of a fever and sore throat.
With more than 40,000 confirmed cases, Delhi is among the worst-affected areas in India.

Latest from the UK

Good morning and a very warm welcome if you're just joining us as the day gets under way here in the UK.
Here's a look at the latest coronavirus-related news from across the country.

  • Non-essential shops have now reopened in England, as lockdown restrictions are eased. If you're unsure about which ones are open, we have a full guide on what's up and running around the UK and what measures are in place to protect customers

Beijing tightens travel as cases rise

The Chinese capital of Beijing has banned high-risk people - such as close contacts of confirmed cases - from leaving the city.
It comes as a new cluster of cases has emerged - all linked to the city's largest wholesale market. The first market-linked case was recorded on Thursday and cases have been rising since then. Beijing had not seen any new cases for more than 50 days before this.
All outbound taxi and car-hailing services, as well as some long-distance bus routes have also been suspended.
And other parts of the country are also on high alert. Shanghai has now started to require arriving travellers from medium- to high-risk Covid-19 areas in China to be quarantined for 14 days

A third of pupils 'not engaging with work'

Katherine Sellgren - Family & Education reporter
A little more now on the study which found that nine in 10 teachers in England say their pupils are doing less or much less work than they would normally at this time of the year.
Head teachers think around a third of pupils are not engaging with the work set for home learning, according to a report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).
NFER raises particular concern about children from disadvantaged areas, saying pupil engagement is lower in schools with the highest levels of deprivation.
It comes as [url= Working Paper 67_0.pdf]a study[/url] finds pupils across the UK are studying for an average of 2.5 hours a day during lockdown - about half that indicated by a previous study .
Read more here

Government under pressure over free school meals

Pressure is mounting on the government to continue its voucher scheme for children who qualify for free school meals in England over the summer.
There is growing unease among some Tory MPs over the refusal to extend the support, as footballer Marcus Rashford continues to campaign on the issue.
In an emotional open letter to MPs, Manchester United forward Rashford drew on his own experience of relying on free school meals and food banks growing up. He said his story was "all too familiar for families in England".
While provision is to continue through the summer in Scotland and Wales, it will stop at the end of term in England and Northern Ireland.
Ministers say free school meals are not usually continued into the summer holidays.
Read more here

UK workers on payrolls fall by 612,000

The number of UK workers on payrolls fell by more than 600,000 between March and May as lockdown hit Britain's labour market, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
However, the unemployment rate remained broadly the same at 3.9% over the three months to April.
Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, explains the drop in the number of people on payrolls is an "early indicator" of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the labour market but says "we haven't quite seen the downturn feed through into unemployment yet".
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme he says data up to April shows a "dramatic drop" in the number of hours worked - down almost 9% in the latest period.
He says this is partly due to "a six million rise in people away from work, including those furloughed".
Read more here

Beijing introduces measures to deal with new Covid-19 outbreak

As we've been reporting, further restrictions on travel and extensive testing procedures are coming into force in China’s capital Beijing to try to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus outbreak.
Beijing had previously had 50 days without any local transmission. BBC Newsday’s Lawrence Pollard spoke to Ben Cowling, division head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Hong Kong University.

Ilhan Omar's father dies with virus

Somali-born US congresswoman Ilhan Omar has announced the death of her father with Covid-19.
Ms Omar and her father, Nur Mohamed, came to the US as refugees in 1995 during Somalia's civil war. She is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

  tweet Ilhan Omar:
:Left Quotes:  Surely we belong to God and to him shall we return.
It is with tremendous sadness and pain to say goodbye to my father, Nur Omar Mohamed. No words can describe what he meant to me and all who knew and loved him.
Coronavirus - 16th June Eamlff10

The scale of the pandemic

As we reported earlier, the number of global cases of Covid-19 infection has now reached 8m, and there have been more than 436,000 deaths, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University.
The US still predominates, according to the figures, with more than 2.1m cases and more than 116,000 deaths.
But the epicentre of the outbreak now seems to have shifted to Latin America. Brazil has reported nearly 890,000 confirmed cases, while other countries in the region, including Mexico, Chile and Peru, are struggling to contain major outbreaks.
Read more
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 16 2020, 13:01

Bangladesh fears crisis as case numbers rise

Rajini Vaidyanathan - BBC News
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As hospitals in Bangladesh turn patients away, and frontline workers bear the brunt of rising case numbers, there are fears the densely populated South Asian country could become a new global hotspot.
Bangladesh has one of the lowest ratios of hospital beds to patients in the world. There has been a shortage of intensive care unit beds during the coronavirus outbreak - figures vary but it is estimated that there are just over 1,000 beds for a population of more than 160 million.
And with limited beds, stories of patients being turned away from hospitals continue to emerge. Dr Moyeen Uddin tested positive for the virus at the end of March but was unable to get on to a ventilator at the very hospital he worked at, in his home city of Syhlet.
"At that time there were no ventilators dedicated to Covid patients," said Salahuddin Ahmed, another doctor who had been his friend for decades.
Dr Uddin was transferred to a hospital in Dhaka, more than 200km (124 miles) away, but he later died, leaving behind a wife and two young children.
Read more

Ukrainian president's wife in hospital with Covid-19

Jonah Fisher - BBC News, Kyiv
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The wife of Ukraine's president has been admitted to hospital with coronavirus.
It was announced last week that Olena Zelensky, 42, had tested positive for Covid-19 but that her husband Volodymyr and two children had not.
It was confirmed this morning that Mrs Zelensky had been moved to a hospital where she is said to be in a stable condition and not requiring supplementary oxygen.
"The president's wife is in isolation [and] doctors are observing her," the presidential office said in a statement.
The number of new Covid-19 cases in Ukraine has been rising for the past week after most quarantine restrictions were eased

Nigeria develops three-year Covid-19 response plan

Chris Ewokor - BBC News, Abuja
The Nigerian government says it is developing a three-year action plan for its response to the pandemic.
It also said it is not yet safe to reopen schools and other places where large gatherings could take place.
Health Minister Osagie Ehanire told journalists that the pandemic "will be with us for a long time and we shall keep learning as we go along".
He said the response plan covers the short, middle and long term effect of the pandemic.
Tracing, testing and case management will also be driven by data and evidence.
The minister decried what he described as an escalation in the level of non-compliance with social distancing and wearing of face masks especially in markets and motor parks.

New Beijing outbreak 'extremely severe'

Stephen McDonell - BBC News, China correspondent
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This new outbreak has been traced to Beijing's massive Xinfadi wholesale market

The new coronavirus outbreak in Beijing which we reported about earlier has been described as "extremely severe" by a Chinese official.
"Beijing will take the most resolute, decisive and strict measures to contain the outbreak," a spokesman for the Chinese capital's government said at a press conference.
Residents living in the district around the massive Xinfadi wholesale market, which has been linked to the new outbreak, have been told they can’t leave Beijing.
All taxis are also now banned from driving beyond the city limits.
In addition, tens of thousands of people who’ve been inside the market where the new infections appeared – as well as several other smaller markets – have been told to report to the authorities and then remain at home in quarantine.
Beijing is conducting mass testing for anyone who has had contact with these food distribution centres.
Even though the overall number of infections so far remains relatively low, officials are trying to control the virus outbreak so as to avoid having to shut down this city of 20 million people.

The people battling America's worst outbreak

Joshua Cheetham - BBC News
When coronavirus reached the Native American reservation on which she lived, Valentina warned her family to stay indoors and take precautions.
Weeks later her boyfriend Bobby fell ill and she tended to him at their home in Kayenta, a small town near the sandstone buttes of Arizona's Monument Valley.
Before long, she tested positive herself.
The next day, when Valentina's breathing got worse, Bobby rushed her to a health clinic. She died hours later, aged 28.
"She overcame a lot of things in her life," said her sister, Vanielle. "I thought she was strong enough to pull through."
Valentina was one of the youngest victims of coronavirus in the Navajo Nation, a Native American reservation grappling with what is America's worst outbreak.
Read the full story here

Deaths in England and Wales still above average

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
The number of people dying in England and Wales is still above normal – despite the falling number of fatalities linked to coronavirus.
The review of death certificates by the Office for National Statistics showed there were 10,700 deaths in the week ending 5 June – 7% above the five-year average for this time of year.
The figure represented a small rise on the week before, although this was put down to the previous week being artificially lower because it contained a bank holiday, which slows the recording of deaths.
Nearly 1,600 of the deaths were linked to the virus – the lowest since March.

'Twelve weeks on I can't kick Covid exhaustion'

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Callum, from Aberdeen, is still suffering severe fatigue months after first showing symptoms

Twelve weeks after his first Covid-19 symptoms, 28-year-old Callum O'Dwyer is still not better.
A fit and healthy young man, he had no underlying health conditions before he caught the virus.
But after five weeks of fighting the main symptoms, he could no longer look after himself and had to move in with his parents.
Recovery has taken much longer than he imagined and his ongoing symptoms mean he still can't live on his own or work.
Read Callum's full story here

Kenya investigates stolen coronavirus donation

Emmanuel Igunza - BBC News, Nairobi
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Donation from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma arrived in Nairobi on 24 March

The Kenyan authorities are investigating the disappearance of medical equipment donated to help stop the spread of Covid- 19.
The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the Chinese government included surgical masks, protective suits, isolation gowns and thermometers worth $2m (£1.6m).
An investigation by local TV station KTN News revealed how a private company working with government officials and Chinese businessmen in Kenya laid claim to the donation when it arrived in the country.
During the bizarre incident, the company went on to donate part of the stolen supplies to other Kenyan government ministries.
Kenya has received millions of dollars from countries and organisations around the world to help in the fight against coronavirus.
Some of the donors include Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and various European nations.
But the government has faced serious questions from Kenyans on how the donations have been used as health workers in the country complain of insufficient protective gear, testing kits and reagents.
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe has admitted that there are “rogue elements” at the ministry's headquarters and vowed to bring to justice all the perpetrators.
But Kenyans have reacted angrily online, saying the ministry is no stranger to corruption allegations. It’s previously been involved in allegations of misuse of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

UK sees 64,000 excess deaths

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The number of excess deaths in the UK since the coronavirus outbreak began has reached 64,402.
This morning's figures from the Office for National Statistics show 58,693 excess deaths in England and Wales between March 21 and June 5.
It follows the release of figures from Scotland and Northern Ireland last week. All these figures are based on death registrations.

The weekly death registrations in the UK have fallen closer to the five-year average after spiking in spring.

Health workers strike in France

Hugh Schofield - BBC News, Paris
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Health workers are demonstrating across the country like these staff in Montpellier

Doctors, nurses and carers are staging a rally outside the health ministry in Paris, and dozens of other demonstrations are planned across the country.
Unions say they’ve been delighted by the expressions of public support through the Covid-19 crisis but now they want action: specifically pay rises, a recruitment drive and more beds in hospitals.
The government of President Emmanuel Macron is actually three weeks into a major consultation on the health service, and they’ve also announced bonuses for hospital and care home staff who worked through the crisis.
But unions say Covid-19 exposed the weaknesses of the French system, and want a major boost in investment.

Czech quarantine policy draws protest on Polish border

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
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Residents from both sides of the border took part in what was described as a "silent protest"

Czech and Polish citizens of the divided border town of Cesky Tesin/Cieszyn gathered on Friendship Bridge on Monday evening to highlight what they see as the absurdity of continuing border restrictions due to Covid-19.
Around 200 people from both sides of the Czech-Polish border gathered on the bridge for a silent protest against the ongoing restrictions put in place by the Czech authorities, Czech Radio reports. The event was attended by representatives of both the Czech and Polish town councils, including the mayor of Cieszyn on the Polish side.
The Czech government has designated the Polish province of Silesia as high-risk and requires all Czechs returning from there and all Poles crossing into the Czech Republic from there to provide a negative Covid certificate within 72 hours or self-isolate for 14 days. Local people say it is destroying business and family ties as they are used to crossing the river to visit the other side several times a day.
"We're one city. If you say the border's going to open, then it should be open on both sides. If you only open it on one side, then to me that's not opening it," the mayor of Cieszyn, Gabriela Staszkiewicz, told Czech Radio.

How the Premier League's return will be broadcast

BBC Sport
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The BBC will broadcast Bournemouth v Crystal Palace as the first of its four free-to-air games
Fans on big screens and specific cameras to celebrate towards are some of the "broadcast enhancements" that will be used when the Premier League football season restarts this week.
A number of innovations, including tunnel cameras and audio from the coin toss, have been developed.
Some viewers will also be given the option of listening to games with or without artificial crowd noise.
Players will not hear the audio effects in the behind-closed-doors games.
For goal celebrations, players should maintain distance from one another and "where feasible, broadcasters will identify a celebration camera which players can head to after scoring".


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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 16 2020, 13:38

UK bakery chain Greggs to reopen 800 stores

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Greggs, the British high street bakers, is planning to reopen about 800 shops for takeaways on Thursday - and the rest of its 2,050 or so outlets from early July.
It's been almost three months since Britons have been able to get their hands on the baker's steak bakes and vegan sausage rolls.
For the reopening, staff will wear protective equipment while customers can expect a limited menu, floor markings to help maintain social distancing and protective screens at the counter. They will be encouraged to make contactless payments.
The move by Greggs follows the reopening of non-essential shops across England this week, including clothes shops and book stores.

Jealousy or anxiety?

How do Scots feel about the return of shopping in England?
Mornings with Kaye Adams - BBC Radio Scotland
One newspaper headline this morning suggests people in Scotland looked on jealously as non-essential shops were allowed to open for the first time in three months in England. But is that true - and for all?
Comedian Jojo Sutherland certainly falls into that camp.
"I was even jealous of the queuing," she tells BBC Radio Scotland. "If all the shops were open, I would have queued at all of them I think.
"I'm in the camp that thinks, if this virus is going to kill me, I'd rather not spend the last weeks of it locked up - I would rather spend all my money before I pop my clogs."
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London's Oxford Street had a busy Monday

Climate change and environment specialist Zarina Ahmad says: "I'm on the opposite end of that. It just fills me with anxiety with all these people craving to get into the shops and queuing. It's been so nice during lockdown not to have all that hustle and bustle.
"I hate shopping anyway. It bores me, I dread it. On top of that, I've had Covid and that's why it fills me with anxiety to see all these people just dying to get out there and be in close proximity to one another.
"Spreading the disease is as much about how the NHS is able to cope with the number of infected people. It is unfair if you are a doctor or nurse having to make a choice about whether you live or die just because we decided to put ourselves at risk."

Peru economy sinks 40% in April amid lockdown

Peru's economy sank 40% in April on a year-on-year comparison, its worst-ever percentage drop, amid a lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, government figures show.
Mining makes up 60% of the country's exports, and production was drastically scaled back because of the restrictions. Full operations were allowed to resume in May, and economists believe some recovery is expected in the next few months.
President Martin Vizcarra has called it the "most serious crisis in our history", and announced a series of measures including large infrastructure projects to restart the economy.
Peru has reported nearly 233,000 cases and more than 6,500 deaths, the second-highest numbers in South America after Brazil.
The country of 32 million was one of the first in the region to impose a lockdown but experts say the measures have not worked properly because large numbers of people disrespect them.
Restrictions are being gradually lifted, but the lockdown imposed on 16 March has been extended until 30 June, making Peru's lockdown one of the longest in the world.

Pakistan enforces 'smart' lockdowns

M Ilyas Khan - BBC News, Islamabad
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Faced with a rising number of Covid-19 infections, Pakistan has decided to shut down multiple districts in 20 main cities across the country.
Officials say all areas with a higher infection rate will be completely sealed for two weeks, and restrictions will be relaxed only in those areas that show improvement.
Pakistan had largely lifted most lockdown restrictions ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid that fell on 23 May. The decision had come despite opposition from healthcare workers and some opposition groups.
They now say the recent spike in infections is mainly a result of that decision which saw markets being opened to crowds but provided no mechanisms to ensure safety rules were followed.
As a result, the number of known Covid-19 positive cases has grown almost fourfold in a month – from over 37,000 on 15 May to nearly 149,000 on Tuesday.
Last week, the World Health Organization told the Pakistani authorities they had lifted the lockdown before the peak in infections had arrived.
And on Sunday, federal minister Asad Umar sent shockwaves across the country when he warned that if safety measures were not followed, total infections were likely to spiral to up to 1.2 million by the end of July.

Latin America still seeing sharp rises

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Brazil has the world's second-highest number of coronavirus-related deaths after the US

Countries across Latin America are still seeing a sharp rise in the numbers of Covid-19 infections and deaths, and the region remains a cause for concern, says Mike Ryan, emergencies programme head at the World Health Organization:

  • Brazil has become the country with the world's second-highest number of infections - more than 888,000 - and deaths, nearly 44,000. Experts say the figures are likely to be higher because of insufficient testing while the outbreak is believed to be weeks away from its peak
  • In Mexico, there are more than 17,500 deaths and more than 150,000 confirmed cases, though authorities say the real number of infected people is also likely to be significantly higher
  • And Chile has extended a state of catastrophe by 90 days amid a surge in cases - in total, more than 180,000 infections have been confirmed with around 3,300 deaths

Speaking on Monday, Ryan said: "Brazil can't be singled out in the Americas - there are many other countries in the Americas like Mexico, Chile and others who have had significant number of cases and continue to have an upswinging epidemic."

Pompidou Centre to reopen with Christo show

As the French government continues to ease its lockdown measures and Paris museums gradually reopen from mid-June, the French capital's Pompidou Centre is preparing to welcome back visitors from 1 July .
It will feature an exhibition of the works of Bulgarian-born artist Christo who died last month .
The museum was originally scheduled to open the exhibition in March but had to postpone it because of the coronavirus epidemic.
As for other top attractions in and around Paris, the Palace of Versailles has already reopened, while the Eiffel Tower is due to reopen on 25 June and the Louvre museum on 6 July.

Poland's coal miners at centre of outbreak

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland recorded 407 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, raising the total number of cases to 30,195. Sixteen new virus-related deaths were reported on Tuesday, taking the total to 1,272.
More than half of Tuesday’s new cases, 216, were recorded in Upper Silesia, where there is an ongoing outbreak among coal miners and their families. Mass testing of miners is taking place at 12 mines that suspended production at the end of last week.
About 20% of all Poland’s cases are among coal miners. However, 98% of the miners are asymptomatic and just 12% of them have spread the infection to their own families, according to the health ministry. As a result, there is ample capacity in Silesia’s hospitals for treating coronavirus patients.
Poland has recorded far fewer cases and deaths than in many western European countries – eight times fewer cases and 17 times fewer deaths per million inhabitants than in Spain for example - but because of such outbreaks, infections have not yet peaked and the country’s R rate is back above 1.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 16 2020, 17:47

Minister criticised over Rashford comment

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A British minister has become embroiled in a row with Marcus Rashford over his campaign to get the government to keep providing free meals for vulnerable children over the school summer holidays.
On Monday, the Manchester United and England striker wrote an emotional open letter to MPs drawing on his own experience of relying on free school meals and food banks growing up.
His call prompted people across England to lobby their MPs, who will debate the subject in Parliament later.
In a tweet, Rashford asked others to think about those who have had their "water turned off during lockdown" and children who woke up to empty shelves.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey replied that "water cannot be disconnected" - a comment that was widely criticised, with Labour calling it "snarky".
She later tweeted a more emollient response, saying she shared a passion with Rashford "to support children and the most vulnerable in society".
Rashford said that he was "concerned" she had only acknowledged his tweet about water being turned off and urged her to help "make a difference".
Provision for free meals for schoolchildren will stop at the end of the summer term in England and Northern Ireland, but will continue through summer in Scotland and Wales.

How to keep safe while shopping in England

Non-essential shops reopened in England on Monday as lockdown restrictions continued to ease.
Shop owners have been told to make changes to ensure people can continue to shop safely.
These include showing customers they are aware of safety measures, putting protective coverings on large items like beds or sofas and frequent cleaning of regularly touched surfaces.
Perspex screens at the tills and floor markings to keep shoppers 2m (6ft) apart are likely to be a regular fixture.
Read more: What shops are open?

No overtaking! Guidance published for safe swimming

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With no overtaking, no butterfly stroke and no post-swim shower, swimming is set to look pretty different as England's lockdown eases further.
Pools, like gyms, are not expected to open before 4 July.
In preparation for the government giving the green light for pools to reopen, Swim England has drawn up guidance for those keen to get back into the water.
As well as maintaining social distancing and not going swimming if you have Covid-19 symptoms, it recommends:

  • Arrive at the pool ready to swim. That could mean turning up with your costume beneath your clothes
  • Shower at home pre- and post-swimming
  • Avoid butterfly stroke or other wide strokes when lanes become busy

  • Don't overtake other swimmers

It also says to check with your local pool for specific guidance before you swim. Read the guidance in full here .

Dutch testing shows 1.7% positive

Anna Holligan - BBC News Hague correspondent
Since 1 June, everyone in the Netherlands with suspected Covid-19 symptoms has had the right to get tested.
Between 1 and 15 June, more than 113,800 tests were conducted at the GGD (local health authority) sites and 1.7% showed up positive.

Government U-turn on summer free school meals in England

The government has U-turned on a decision not to carry on the free school meal programme for poorer children into the summer.
The scheme had been extended over the Easter break in response to the coronavirus crisis, but was to be paused over the six weeks summer holiday.
Now, after a highly successful campaign from the England footballer Marcus Rashford , the government is setting up what it’s calling a “Covid summer school fund” to ensure all those in England eligible for free school meals will be get a six-week voucher to help them be fed over the summer.
Downing St said the prime minister "welcomed Marcus Rashford’s contribution to the debate around poverty".
Boris Johnson's spokesman said the voucher represented “a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the pandemic”.
The support amounts to around £15 a week per child.
Around 1.3m children in England claimed free school meals in 2019, meaning a similar number could be eligible for this summer support.

Dexamethasone first life-saving coronavirus drug

A cheap and widely available drug called dexamethasone can help save the lives of patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus, UK experts have said.
The low-dose steroid treatment is considered a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus.
It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators and, for those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.
The drug is part of the world's biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus.
Researchers estimate that if the drug had been available in the UK from the start of the coronavirus pandemic up to 5,000 lives could have been saved.
Because it is cheap, it could also be of huge benefit in poor countries struggling with high numbers of Covid-19 patients.

Can your water be cut off?

Reality Check
The footballer Marcus Rashford, who’s been - successfully - campaigning for the government to extend free school meal vouchers over the summer in England, tweeted this morning asking people to “take a second to think about parents who have had their water turned off during lockdown”.
As we've reported, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey replied: “Water cannot be disconnected though.”
So, what does the law say?
Since 1999, it has been illegal for domestic customers to have their water supplies cut off.
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) says in 2019 it helped 42,000 people in England who had trouble paying their water bills. It has estimated that, during lockdown, almost 7m people are expected to fall behind on water payments. It encourages people to work with water companies and apply for welfare schemes.
What about access to hot water if people are struggling to top up gas or electric prepayment meters?
Energy companies can disconnect supplies for debt reasons, but Ofgem, the energy regulator, says that this only happened six times in 2018.
However, half a million customers entered debt repayment schemes in the same period.

'This is England' - Rashford responds over free meal U-turn

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Marcus Rashford has responded to the UK government's plans to extend a free meal scheme for families in England, following his campaign.
In a tweet, the Manchester United and England forward, 22, wrote: "Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has welcomed Mr Rashford's "contribution to the debate around poverty" after the U-turn was announced.

Analysis: World can benefit now from cheap steroid

Fergus Walsh - Medical correspondent
The first drug proven to cut deaths from Covid-19 is not some new, expensive medicine but an old, cheap-as-chips steroid.
That is something to celebrate because it means patients across the world could benefit immediately. That's why the topline results of this trial have been rushed out because the implications are so huge globally.
Dexamethasone has been used since the early 1960s to treat a wide range of conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Half of all Covid patients who require a ventilator do not survive, so cutting that risk by a third would have a huge impact.
The drug is given intravenously in intensive care, and in tablet form for less seriously ill patients. The only other drug proven to benefit Covid patients is remdesivir, an antiviral treatment that has been used for Ebola.
That has been shown to reduce the duration of coronavirus symptoms from 15 days to 11, but the evidence was not strong enough to show whether it reduced mortality. Unlike dexamethasone, remdesivir is a new drug with limited supplies and a price has yet to be announced.

Can community response prevent second Beijing wave?

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Now for more on the outbreak in Beijing, which on Tuesday confirmed an extra 27 people had tested positive for Covid-19, taking the number of confirmed cases in the past five days to 106.
Many people in urban China live in what are known as xiaoqu, which are micro-districts with a guarded entrance gate.
Representatives operate as a sort of neighbourhood watch: they act partly as security, but also ensure the safety and hygiene of residents by posting public notices and ensuring a degree of general upkeep, ie by monitoring when apartment lifts are cleaned.
This means that many will have help at hand as the city announces its return to “war-time status” amid the fresh outbreak.
More than 100,000 community workers and volunteers are being mobilised to ensure people in 29 locked-down communities and other vulnerable people can get food and other basic supplies, the Xinhua news agency says.
Designated drivers are also being arranged to take people to a specific hospital where all Covid-19 patients can be treated.
China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says that “the next three days will be critical and decisive".

Welcome if you are just joining us...

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People queue outside a bank to collect government aid bonuses in the Peruvian city of Iquitos

Follow our live updates on the Covid-19 pandemic - on the day UK researchers announced a breakthrough treatment: a low-dose steroid called dexamethasone that can cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators .
More than 437,000 people have died worldwide and more than 8m infections have been registered.
While economies in Western nations have been reopening after months of lockdown, there is concern about the rate of the spread in Latin America, with Peru reporting nearly 233,000 cases and more than 6,500 deaths , the second-highest numbers on the continent after Brazil.
But no country can lower its guard: New Zealand reported two imported cases , ending a 24-day run of no new infections, and the Chinese capital Beijing is trying to contain a new outbreak

Coronavirus cited as Dfid and Foreign Office merge

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been giving a Commons statement on "global Britain" and the lessons of the pandemic.
He says one of the key lessons is that aid and foreign policy are "one and the same", as saving lives abroad will save lives in the UK.
He says that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will merge with the Department for International Development (Dfid) to create a new department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
He says the foreign secretary and ambassadors to individual countries will be able to lead policy.
The pandemic is the right time for this decision, he says, because government is already working differently and because the taxpayer needs value for money.
Responding, leader of the Labour party Keir Starmer says this statement is intended as "a distraction" from the problems in the government's response to coronavirus, and says "it will not work".
He says Dfid is "one of the best performing government departments" and asks for its budget to be "ring-fenced".

Life-saving drug a 'huge breakthrough'

In the past hour we brought you news from the UK about dexamethasone - a life-saving drug in the treatment of coronavirus.
It's a cheap steroid that has been around since the 1960s, which means it could be used around the world, including in poorer countries where health systems face difficulties in managing outbreaks.
“This is a huge breakthrough in our search for new ways to successfully treat patients with Covid, both in the UK and across the world," the medical director of Britain's National Health Service Prof Stephen Powis says.
"From now, we are able to use this drug to dramatically improve Covid-19 survival for people in hospital who require oxygen or ventilation,” he adds.
Read more details about dexamethasone here.

Rise in children going to school in England but still less than one in 10

Daniel Wainwright - BBC England Data Unit
About 868,000 children in England went to school last Thursday, according to the latest data published this afternoon by the Department for Education.
Although this was up by a third on the previous Thursday, it still means only 9% of children in the country were in school.
When lockdown was imposed only vulnerable pupils and the children of keyworkers were allowed to go in.
Schools started to re-open to children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on 8 June.
Figures for this week, as some Year 10 and Year 12 pupils started to go back, should be shown in next week's data release.

'Quarantine-breaking' travellers agree to leave Hawaii

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People who visit the Aloha State must remain in quarantine for 14 days

To travel in Austria, bring a suitcase and common sense

Austria has reopened its border with Italy after weeks of closure following the coronavirus pandemic but a travel warning will be issued for the region of Lombardy, Italy's worst-affected region.
There will be no restrictions for most European Union countries. The country has already reopened its land borders with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic in a bid to revive the tourism industry.
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg urged travellers to behave responsibly.
"If you're packing your suitcase, please don't forget to take your common sense too," he told a press conference.
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Backlog of surgeries 'could take months, if not years'

It is "completely unrealistic" to catch up on the backlog of surgeries within weeks, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England has warned.
Prof Derek Alderson told the Commons health and social care committee that the public's confidence had to be restored in having safe operations "with excellent results, as they enjoyed before the Covid crisis" - and this would mean putting in place extra precautions.
"I think that dealing with the backlog is not something that's achievable simply in weeks," he said.
"This is certainly many months; it may take us a few years to catch up."
Previously, Prof Alderson had said the backlog in surgical work would be "gigantic", with more than 700,000 routine treatments a month affected.

Trump campaign 'open' to moving rally outside

US Vice-President Mike Pence has said the Trump campaign is open to moving its campaign rally to an outdoor location, amid criticism that the large event, scheduled for Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, would put people at risk of coronavirus.
The move would mark a second change for the event - Trump's first rally since the coronavirus crisis triggered lockdowns in March - after it was moved back a day to avoid clashing with the Juneteenth holiday marking the end of slavery.
The governor of Oklahoma said on Monday that he was trying to get the event moved from the 19,000 seat BOK Center in central Tulsa to a larger outdoor venue to allow for more social distancing. At least 20 Trump supporters have already started lining up outside the BOK Center.
The public health director for Tulsa has repeatedly stressed the danger of attending, as coronavirus cases in the region continue to climb daily.
“Regardless who is hosting this rally, we would recommend you not attend large events,” Dr Bruce Dart told the Daily Beast. “If you want to stay safe, don’t go.
Campaign rallies are considered vital for Trump to energise his voters for the November presidential election. The campaign says it will provide temperature checks and face masks to attendees, who also must sign liability forms saying they will not sue the Trump campaign if they fall ill.

Hungary repeals special powers but PM still dominant

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Viktor Orban has increasingly concentrated power in his hands

In March, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban was given sweeping new powers to fight the coronavirus outbreak - measures to rule by decree, without a time limit. Opposition figures and international leaders condemned the move as a threat to democracy.
On Tuesday, the National Assembly in Budapest voted unanimously to revoke the special powers. The government has said it will end the state of emergency this week.
But, as BBC Budapest correspondent Nick Thorpe explains, it has left Mr Orban and his Fidesz party even more powerful than before the crisis.
A second bill passed on Tuesday allows the government to declare a "state of health emergency" in the future and rule by decree for as long as it likes.
You can read more here

Doctors call for action after BAME report

Recommendations of a report into the impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority groups in the UK should be implemented straight away, doctors have said.
The newly published report said racism could contribute to increased risks for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people and suggested actions to save lives in the coronavirus pandemic and any future health crises.
The British Medical Association said it was "critical" to carry out risk assessments of vulnerable groups and protect them at work.
Its chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, told the BBC: "It's important we now move forward and deliver those changes because it's the fair and right thing to do for our population."
Read more on this story

Americans with pre-existing conditions 12 times more likely to die

Americans with underlying health conditions are six times more likely to require hospital treatment and 12 times more likely to die after contracting Covid-19, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The most common health conditions that cause complications in treating the virus are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease, the report found after analysing 1.3 million Covid-19 cases.
The report also found that 15% of US patients with Covid-19 required hospital treatment and 5% died.
The overall fatality rate is expected to be significantly lower, since many Americans with moderate or no symptoms are not being tested.

West Virginia outbreaks linked to churches

There have been outbreaks of Covid-19 linked to five churches across the state of West Virginia, according to Governor Jim Justice, who directed the state's National Guard to help decontaminate one church where 28 people caught the virus.
“With this Covid-19 stuff, it absolutely is a mega-killer and mega-dangerous. What we have got to do, is we have got to continue to go to a knife-fight with a bazooka,” said Justice.
He urged church-goers to space out in every other pew and wear masks, and for clergy and singers to wear plastic shields over their faces during events.

Airline sorry for flying musician to concert

An airline in Nigeria has apologised to the aviation minister for flying musician Naira Marley on Saturday from the commercial hub, Lagos, to the capital, Abuja, to perform in a concert.
The Executive Jet Company was suspended by the minister for facilitating what was classed as non-essential travel and was against recommendations to fight the spread of coronavirus.
In its apology letter, the airline's CEO, Sam Iwuajoku, said he had approved the flight on Saturday after reviewing the passenger manifest and thought one was a government minister.
Nigerian artist Azzez Fashola, also known as Naira Marley, was among those who travelled. He has a huge fan base among young people in Nigeria.
The company's apology letter was shared by local media:
  tweet Pulse Nigeria:
:Left Quotes: Executive Jets Services Ltd says it airlifted rapper Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, from Lagos to Abuja for a concert, in error via an official letter to the Minister of Aviation
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 16 2020, 17:52

'Same as everyone': Guardiola on losing his mother to Covid-19

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has spoken about the death of his mother who contracted coronavirus.
Dolors Sala Carrio died, aged 82, in April - just weeks after Guardiola donated ‎€1m (£920,000; $1.1m) to help tackle the pandemic.
"What I live personally is the same as everyone lives. There is nothing different," said the football boss from Spain's Catalonia region.
"All the people we lost are important to their families. That is why we have the families to be together, to be strong."
Read more here

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 16 2020, 21:55

What did we learn from today's UK briefing?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led today’s government press conference.
He was accompanied by the government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health at the University of Oxford.

  • The government says that it has adequate supplies of a drug, dexamethasone, that has shown success in saving the lives of people who become seriously ill from coronavirus, including enough for any second peak of cases
  • The drug does not have an effect on patients who do not have breathing difficulties, but reduces the risk of death for those who require oxygen or ventilation
  • Treating eight intensive care coronavirus patients with the drug will cost £40 and on average save one life
  • Sir Patrick emphasised that the drug does not stop people catching the disease or going into hospital, so does not lessen the need for social distancing
  • Doctors can prescribe the drug from today, as it is already in stock in hospitals and can be quickly manufactured

What are the rules about funerals?

Reality Check
Boris Johnson was asked whether the rules on attendance at funerals in England would be relaxed.
At the moment the only mourners allowed to attend are members of the deceased person’s household and close family members or close friends if family members are unable to attend.
Numbers must be kept low enough to allow everybody to stay two metres apart.
Someone to conduct the service, a funeral director and other staff may also attend.
The guidance for England says that mourners who are self-isolating for 14 days but do not have symptoms should be helped to attend, as should those in vulnerable groups who are shielding. Anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus should not attend.
In Scotland the advice is slightly different, with those self-isolating or shielding encouraged to seriously consider not attending.
In Wales, those allowed to attend the funeral are the person organising it, people who have been invited and any carers, with numbers again limited by the requirements of social distancing.
The guidance for Northern Ireland includes a limit of 10 mourners and stresses that those who are self-isolating should not mix with other people attending.

Drug export ban PM 'unaware' of is on government website

Reality Check
Boris Johnson was asked if the UK had banned the export of dexamethasone at today's Downing Street briefing. It’s a cheap and widely available drug which a trial at Oxford University has shown can save the lives of patients who are severely ill with Covid-19 and need oxygen treatment.
The prime minister said he wasn’t aware of the ban.
On 24 April, dexamethasone, in the form of tablets and capsules, was added to a list of medicines that cannot be exported from the UK or hoarded .
And today dexamethasone, in the form of oral solutions and injections, was also added to the list.
According to the government’s website, “exporting a medicine on the list is considered a breach of regulation 43(2) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 and a contravention… may lead to regulatory action by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which could include immediate suspension of the wholesale dealer licence".
There’s more detail on the trial of dexamethasone here

Tennis: US Open confirmed for 31 August

Governor Andrew Cuomo has confirmed that the US Open will take place in New York City's Queens borough but without any spectators.
The US Tennis Association's (USTA) signature Grand Slam event is due to run from 31 August to 13 September.
In a tweet, Cuomo said that organisers would "take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing & transportation".
Some players have already expressed concerns about playing in the tournament.
The US Open is normally the fourth and final Grand Slam, but will be only the second this year.
The French Open could now start just one week after the end of the US.
Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since 1945.

Sweden denies virus is taking hold again

Sweden took a different approach to managing coronavirus than most countries - it avoided lockdown and kept many workplaces and social spaces open.
Now there is an uptick in cases again in the Scandinavian country - a further 15,000 confirmed infections since the beginning of June, bringing the country's total to 53,000.
The leading health official, Anders Tegnell, denied that it was a sign the virus was taking hold again. He put the rise down to an increase in testing.
Nonetheless, he urged Swedes to minimise socialising during the upcoming midsummer celebrations.
His critics accused him of arrogance for resisting a lockdown, but the country's death rate is better than some countries that introduced serious restrictions, including the UK, Spain and Italy.
Nearly 5,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Sweden.

A&E appointments 'may become permanent' in UK

Earlier today, the head of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine told MPs that requiring patients to have an appointment before attending hospital casualty departments may be necessary in the UK following the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Katherine Henderson told the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee that older people were those usually most in need of emergency treatment but they were also the age group most at risk from Covid-19.
She said that emergency wards were used to having "elastic walls" and an "infinite number of patients" but that they now needed to know who was coming into A&E.
Henderson told MPs that NHS 111 could be the first port of call for those in urgent need who could then be given an appointment to attend hospital.
She told the committee that is was "just impossible" to have an 80-year-old with a hip fracture left waiting in a corridor alongside a patient with suspected Covid-19.

Beijing schools close again amid 'severe' new outbreak

Earlier we reported that a cluster of new cases connected to a Beijing market in China is causing serious concern.
Now all schools have been ordered to close in an effort to contain the outbreak.
The first case, linked to a market, was recorded on Thursday and cases have been rising since then. Beijing had not seen any new cases for more than 50 days before this.
Schools and universities reopened just a few weeks ago, but now classes will once again go online. Entertainment venues will also close, and people must be tested before they will be permitted to leave the capital.

French health workers' protest draws thousands

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Health workers protested in French cities including Paris, Strasbourg and Nice

Thousands of doctors, nurses and hospital staff in France have been protesting to demand more investment in the health system.
Like in many countries, the French public expressed their significant gratitude and support to medics during the pandemic - now health workers want this to be followed with more resources.
Around 18,000 people attended the protests in Paris, which ended with violent action by a small group who threw stones and overturned a car. Police made 20 arrests.
Unions are asking for pay rises, a recruitment drive and more beds in hospitals, and say Covid-19 exposed the weaknesses of the French health service.
President Emmanuel Macron says his government is three weeks into a consultation and has announced bonuses for staff who worked through the crisis.

How to avoid infecting your pet

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a new video explaining the risks of passing the coronavirus to your household pet.
The video, which is spliced with cute cats and dogs around their mask-wearing owners, advises that the chance of catching Covid-19 from a pet is "considered low".
"But it does appear that people can give the virus to animals," it continues, adding that cats and ferrets are most likely to get infected.
Cats should be kept indoors and dogs should be walked on a leash, according to the FDA guidance. Pets should only be allowed to interact with members of their own households.
If you do become infected, the FDA advises that you find someone else to watch your pet until you are better. If that isn't possible, then you should wear a mask around your pet, and wash your hands both before and after playing with them.

Crunch talks loom on Champions League and Europa League

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London club Chelsea are 0-3 down to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last-16

European football chiefs look set to finalise plans to finish this season's Champions League and Europa League over the next 24 hours.
Uefa's executive committee is expected to announce that Portugal and Germany will host a "final eight" knockout tournament for each competition.
However, there has been disagreement about how the outstanding last-16 ties in the competitions are to be resolved.
BBC Sport have been previewing the plans ahead of the committee's crunch meeting on Wednesday. Read more here

Here's the round-up of today's world news

As our live page draws to a close, here are the major world events linked to coronavirus for Tuesday:
The top story was really a UK story - the breakthrough in the medical world with the drug dexamethasone, which can save the lives of seriously ill coronavirus patients. But the other top stories globally have been:

  • The number of confirmed cases globally has passed eight million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins university
  • New Zealand's run of 24 days virus-free was brought to an end by the arrival of an infected woman from the UK
  • In China, officials are concerned about a "severe outbreak" linked to a market in Beijing - schools must now close and residents cannot leave the city without testing negative
  • In France, thousands of doctors, nurses and hospital staff took part in protests to demand more investment in the health system. Some 18,000 people attended the protest in Paris, which ended with violent action by a small group
  • Peru's President Martín Vizcarra called Covid-19 the "most serious crisis in our history" amid 6,500 deaths and a fall in the economy of more than 40% year-on-year
  • On the day Germany rolled out its smartphone app to try to break the chain of infections, Amnesty International said the contact-tracing apps being used in Kuwait and Bahrain were some of the most invasive in the world

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 04:40