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Coronavirus - 25th June


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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 06:41

Summary for Thursday, 25th June

  • The Australian army is sending 1,000 army personnel to Victoria amid a surge in virus cases
  • Cases in the Australian state are low by global levels but raising concern about a new wave
  • New York, New Jersey and Connecticut ask people arriving from nine other US states to quarantine for 14 days
  • WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says global cases will soon reach 10 million
  • The WHO says the pandemic has not yet reached its peak in Central and South America
  • The International Monetary Fund has said the pandemic is a financial crisis "like no other"
  • The UK has begun human trials of a new potential coronavirus vaccine
  • Worldwide there have been 9.4 million cases and 482,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are the latest headlines:

  • More than 1,000 Australian troops are being sent to Melbourne to enforce quarantine and help with testing and logistics
  • The state of Victoria has seen a spike in infections, and "door-to-door" testing is now underway
  • New York, New Jersey and Connecticut ask people travelling from US states where infections are rising to self-isolate for 14 days
  • The WHO warns the pandemic has not peaked in Latin America
  • The Eiffel Tower reopens today - but visitors will need to take the stairs, and the top remains closed

Melbourne 'door-to-door' testing blitz begins

We’ve been reporting all week about a worrying rise in Australia’s cases - and while the figures are comparatively small on a global scale, authorities aren’t leaving anything to chance.
Over 1,300 officials are now combing “hotspot” suburbs in Melbourne to carry out a massive testing “blitz”.
The state capital of Victoria has been the only source of community transmissions in Australia for several weeks.
“Rather than waiting for an unsustainable number of community transmission to become known, we are going to go literally door-to-door, we are bringing the public health response to your doorstep,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.
The army has been drafted in to help with testing and other tasks.

Nationally, 34 new cases have been reported overnight - with 33 in Victoria.
This is the state's highest daily increase in three months, but community transmission has remained stable, and there are only seven people in hospital.

US states ask people to self-isolate

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have asked people travelling from states where virus cases are rising to go into self-isolation for 14 days.
Daily infections in those three states are way down on their peak in March and April - but in other parts of the US, the numbers are rising.
The self-isolation will apply to people coming from: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Utah.
But with numbers increasing in other states, that list could soon be expanded.
Read our full story here

How US cases increased again

Towards the end of May, it looked like the US crisis was easing, with the number of new infections falling steadily.
But since then, the number has increased sharply. According to New York Times data, the infection rate is increasing in 27 states , and falling in only 10, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico.
The number of people who die with Covid-19 each day in the US is on a downward curve, however.

Residents argue against masks before Florida vote

Before holding a vote this week on wearing masks in public places, Palm Beach County commissioners in Florida heard from residents.
Some accused the officials of obeying the devil, imposing a communist dictatorship, or dishonouring the American flag. Others backed the measure.
Despite the dissent, the measure was approved, and comes into force on Thursday. The emergency order can be read here .

India sees biggest jump in daily cases

With nearly 17,000 new infections, India has set another record for daily infections. The country has had more than 470,000 cases since the outbreak began, including 14,894 deaths.
On Wednesday, Delhi overtook Mumbai to become the worst-hit city in the country as it added 3,788 new cases, taking its total tally to more than 70,000.
Almost a third of cases in the city have been registered in the past week or so.
But the rise in cases could be down to increased testing in Delhi - the city conducted around 100,000 tests in the past week alone. In total, around 400,000 tests have been carried out in the capital so far.
The state government has been on high alert, announcing a new plan that would entail every house in Delhi to be screened starting this week.
The city is also building the largest "temporary hospital" in India, with 10,000 beds. It will be the size of roughly 22 football fields.
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Delhi is building a large temporary hospital to keep up with rising cases

Eiffel Tower reopens - but get ready to climb

The Eiffel Tower reopens at 10:00 local time on Thursday (08:00 GMT) - but visitors must take the stairs.
The lifts will remain closed until 1 July as a social distancing precaution. Understandably, that means the very top of the tower remains out of bounds

New 'saliva test' to be used in Melbourne blitz

Australian authorities will use a new "do it yourself" virus test from Monday, in their bid to track down every case in the Melbourne outbreaks.
Known as the "saliva test", it requires just a sample in a cup and is "much more pleasant" than the current nose swab, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Crucially, it will also speed up testing as health care workers aren't required to administer it.
"It won't completely replace the current test... but it will certainly reduce the time taken to take that sample," Mr Andrew said.
"It's not been rolled out anywhere else in the country, so it will be done here [in Melbourne] first."
A trial of the "no swab" test has also begun in the UK .

Second-biggest increase in Brazilian cases

Brazil recorded another 42,725 virus cases on Wednesday - the second-biggest increase in daily infections.
The highest increase - 54,771 - included a backlog of cases, making the latest figure seem even more stark.
Another 1,185 people with Covid-19 have died, Brazilian officials also announced, taking the total to 53,830.
But, although cases are increasing, the number of deaths is largely flat.

Girl, 10, calls on footballers to join keepy-uppies

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Ten-year-old Imogen Papworth-Heidel wants Britain to do 7.1m keepy-uppies – one for each key worker – to raise money for charities she’s dubbed ‘Covid Heroes’

A 10-year-old English footballer who is trying to do 7.1 million "keepy-uppies" to raise money for key workers has made a plea to Premier League footballers to help her reach her target.
Imogen Heidel-Papworth, from Hauxton, Cambridgeshire, was inspired to take on the challenge after seeing Captain Tom Moore raising millions for the health service, but calculated it would take 97 years by herself.
So far, England defender Lucy Bronze and broadcaster Alex Scott have both "donated" keepy-uppies, and Imogen is now calling on other footballers to join in, such as Harry Kane and Gary Lineker.
Each kick represents a key worker, and the money raised will go to multiple charities, including NHS charities.

Qantas cuts 6,000 jobs

Qantas will cut 6,000 jobs in a bid to stay afloat through the coronavirus pandemic, the airline says.
The cuts equate to about a fifth of the airline's workforce prior to the Covid-19 crisis. In March, it furloughed more than 80% of its staff.
Last week, the Australian government said its border would most likely remain closed into next year.
Read our full story here

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 07:23

Senegal's president self-isolates for 14 days

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Macky Sall has been president since 2012

Senegal's President Macky Sall has quarantined himself after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
The president tested negative but will self-isolate for two weeks as a precaution, his office said in a short televised statement.
A Senegalese lawmaker, Yeya Diallo, announced on Wednesday that she had tested positive for the virus.
Senegal has so far confirmed 6,129 cases including 93 deaths.

Crisis has not peaked in Americas, warns WHO

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan has warned the crisis is yet to peak in much of the Americas.
"It's particularly intense in Central and South America," he said.
"We've seen a steady and worrying continuation of trend, with many countries experiencing between a 25 and 50% rise in cases over the last week."
Meanwhile, the head of the WHO said he expected the number of confirmed cases since the outbreak began to pass ten million soon.
"In the first month of this outbreak, less than 10,000 cases were reported to WHO. In the last month, almost four million cases have been reported," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Confirmed cases in Brazil passed one million last week.
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What's the latest in the UK?

Covid-19 antibodies tests for NHS and care staff are being rolled out without "adequate assessment", experts warn . The tests could place an unnecessary burden on the NHS, the 14 senior academics say in a letter in the British Medical Journal

There have been more than 306,000 confirmed cases in the UK since the outbreak began, and more than 43,000 people with Covid-19 have died, government figures show.

Beijing's 'spike' seems to be contained

Another 13 cases have been confirmed in Beijing, China's National Health Commission reported on Thursday.
After going 57 days without a locally transmitted case, an outbreak linked to a huge food market began in Beijing earlier this month.
The outbreak led to a surge in testing and various restrictions. People in 27 neighbourhoods were banned from leaving the city, while everyone else required a test.
Officials have said the outbreak seems to be "contained", and today's figures - while a slight increase on the day before - suggest the virus is not spreading quickly in the capital.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 13:11

Kyrgyzstan mulls state of emergency measures

Kyrgyzstan's government has said it will decide today whether to declare a state of emergency in the capital, Bishkek, and other regions of the country due to a renewed coronavirus outbreak.
Deputy Health Minister Madamin Karataev told reporters that "all factors need to be taken into account".
The central Asian country issued a state of emergency earlier this year, ending in May, which led to lockdowns and curfews in several cities.
Nearly 4,000 infections have been confirmed in Kyrgyzstan since its outbreak began - the majority of them in Bishkek.

UK antibody testing 'not very meaningful'

A group of scientists and doctors has written to the British Medical Journal to express concern about the roll-out of coronavirus antibody tests for medial staff.
The tests - which can show if someone has had the virus in the past - could burden the National Health Service, they say.
University of Nottingham virologist Will Irving told the BBC: “Laboratories are being asked to test healthcare workers in very large numbers at short notice seven days a week...
"The results of tests on these samples are not very meaningful: if a test comes back as antibody-positive it tells us an individual has been infected but it doesn’t tell us for sure that person is protected against further infection or, if there is protection, how long that might last.
"We don’t know what leads to immunity and the way antibody tests are being rolled out is taking up huge resources to produce results that do not alter behaviour or management of a patient.”

Royal Mail to cut 2,000 jobs

Royal Mail is to cut 2,000 management jobs as is struggles to deal with the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
The postal service had already been in serious financial difficulties before the pandemic, and saw a sharp fall in letter volumes after the UK introduced lockdown measures on 23 March.
Royal Mail has also faced criticism from its own staff over alleged shortages of gloves, masks and hand sanitiser during the UK's outbreak.

Brothels and local outbreaks – the latest from Europe

Prostitution is allowed in Austria again as Spain deals with another spike in cases. Here’s the latest from Europe:

  • Austria is reopening its brothels from 1 July, the latest European country to make the move – Greece reopened its brothels last Monday with strict social distancing and hygiene rules. The sex industry has been hit hard by the pandemic , and workers fear for their health and livelihoods
  • Lockdown restrictions are back in four districts of north-east Spain after an outbreak of the virus among fruit pickers
  • Growing case numbers in the Balkans have forced Croatia, the EU's newest member, to reimpose a 14-day quarantine on arrivals from Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia
  • Belgium is further easing its restrictions on Thursday, reopening swimming pools and cinemas and extending the size of a social bubble from 10 to 15
  • French Guiana, one of France's overseas territories located in South America, is experiencing a marked increase in cases. Annick Girardin, the Minister of Overseas France, warned lockdown measures could be brought back “if the signs of an acceleration of the virus persist”

Human trial of new vaccine begins in UK

About 300 volunteers are being injected with a Covid-19 vaccine over the coming weeks, as part of a trial led by Prof Robin Shattock and his colleagues at Imperial College London.

Secret Service agents quarantined after Trump rally

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Many Secret Service agents who attended President Trump's rally in Oklahoma last weekend have been quarantined as a precaution after some tested positive for coronavirus, US media report.
The story was first reported by the Washington Post, and an unnamed law enforcement official told CNN that the number of those in quarantine was in the "low" dozens.
Before the event, the president’s campaign team said six staffers - including two Secret Service agents - had tested positive after travelling to Tulsa, where the rally was held. Another two staffers tested positive afterwards.
An unnamed source told CNN that the recent decision to quarantine Secret Service agents was made after two tested positive - but it is unclear if they are the same pair whose infections were confirmed before the rally.
President Trump drew criticism after going ahead with the election rally despite rising cases in Oklahoma. Attendees were given temperature checks and hand sanitiser, but were not required to wear masks.
The campaign said it had received a million ticket requests, but only 6,200 people turned up at the 19,200-seat stadium.

Greece eager to welcome UK tourists

The UK government is seeking to agree travel corridors or “air bridges” with European countries with low infection rates, so travellers can avoid quarantine requirements.
At present, people arriving in the UK, including Britons returning home, must quarantine for 14 days.
Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis says he hopes an announcement “in the next few days” will allow tourists to travel freely between the UK and Greece from 1 July, as the popular holiday destination eases its border restrictions.
He told the BBC: “Greece is a safe country. We’ve proven that during this crisis and we feel that the risk of someone contracting the disease in Greece is much lower than in the rest of Europe and indeed the rest of the world.
“In the first few days that we have opened our borders we have had very few cases being imported to our country so this is a welcome sign, a good sign that we are not unduly increasing the risk."

France's Eiffel Tower reopens

France's iconic Eiffel Tower has opened again to guests after its longest closure since World War Two.
But the Paris monument isn't returning to normal operations just yet. Visitor numbers will be limited, face coverings mandatory for anyone aged over 11, and everywhere above the second floor will be closed to the public.
To soak in the sights of the capital, guests will also have to use the stairs since lifts are out of use until 1 July.
The tower, completed in 1889, hosts around seven million visitors every year - approximately three-quarters of them from abroad - according to its website.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 13:14

Alarm at crowded beaches as heatwave hits UK

As the UK looks forward to another day of temperatures over 30C (86F) in some places, images of packed beaches have been raising concerns about the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East in southern England, warns that the 2m (6ft) social distancing rule is still in place until 4 July and says that if the UK is to avoid a "second spike" people need to act responsibly when visiting places such as beaches.
"What we saw on Bournemouth beach was completely irresponsible," he said .
Meanwhile, Vikki Slade, leader of Bournemouth Council, pleaded yesterday for visitors to stay away until tourist facilities open early next month.
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Huge crowds flocked to Bournemouth beach on the south coast of England as temperatures exceeded 30C
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But other images of the same beach suggested people were trying to keep their distance
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Signs at Margate beach in Kent asked visitors to stay 2m apart from other groups

Hong Kong records seventh Covid-19 death

Hong Kong has recorded another Covid-19 death, taking its total to seven.
The 55-year-old man, who returned from the Philippines on Tuesday, suffered a stroke last month, tested positive on his return, and died after complications, the South China Morning Post reported. The city, which is a special administrative region of China, has largely kept the virus at bay, with just 1,179 confirmed cases.

Antibody tests not wasteful, UK adviser insists

A leading immunologist has defended the UK's use of antibody tests, following criticism that they waste resources.
Prof Sir John Bell from Oxford University, who has advised the government on the tests, said the 14 academics quoted in a letter to the British Medical Journal had “underestimated” their value.
He told the BBC: “We do need to know how many people out there have been infected and the only way to do that is antibody testing."
The information could be used by hospitals to manage their workforce and understand who had been affected by the virus, and to change the course of the epidemic by changing behaviour, he suggested.
But he acknowledged that it could not justify "immunity passports" for people who test positive. “You can’t advise an individual that they’re protected from the disease because we don’t have that data at the moment," he said.

'Communist dictatorship orders' - Florida residents argue against masks

Before holding a vote this week on wearing masks in public places, Palm Beach County commissioners in Florida heard from residents.
Some accused the officials of obeying the devil, imposing a communist dictatorship, or dishonouring the American flag. Others backed the measure.
Despite the dissent, the measure was approved, and comes into force on Thursday.

'Mass closure' warning for UK nurseries

Nursery schools in England have warned they are facing huge losses that could force "mass closures" because of coronavirus restrictions.
It could leave parents struggling to find childcare when they return to the workplace as lockdown restrictions ease.
Childcare providers were ordered to close until 1 June, but since then have only been able to operate at 37% of capacity, an analysis for the Early Years Alliance revealed.
There are predicted to be significant shortfalls if parents start to send their children back in greater numbers.
"Unless urgent action is taken, we are going to see many, many more settings forced to close their doors over the coming months," said the alliance's chief executive Neil Leitch.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 13:19

A sweaty 674-stair climb awaits Eiffel Tower visitors

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It's a hot summer's day in Paris, where the city's iconic Eiffel Tower is welcoming guests for the first time in three months.
If you're thinking of braving the heat and queuing for a visit, brace yourself for a workout. Elevators are closed off to the public until 1 July, so for now you'll have to take the stairs.
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It's 1,665 steps all the way to the top of the steel tower, but since everything above the second floor is closed to visitors, you only have 674 to climb.
The Eiffel Tower website says it takes about 30-45 minutes to reach the second floor, although "it depends on how fit you are!"
They're advising people with young children or babies, or anyone in poor health, to avoid giving it a go until operations return to normal.

Twenty-two police injured in clashes at London street party

Police in London say 22 officers were injured and their vehicles damaged after they tried to break up an illegal street party in the south of the capital.
Two of the officers were taken to hospital and four people were arrested after clashes as police responded to complaints of noise and violence at the "unlicensed music event" in Brixton.
Scenes of officers being chased and vehicles being vandalised were shared on social media, with Home Secretary Priti Patel describing them as "utterly vile".
A significant number of large parties have been held in defiance of coronavirus restrictions in the UK. Earlier this month, police in Manchester said it was "almost impossible" to stop illegal raves .
Read more about what happened in Brixton

Delhi to survey 29 million residents as cases surge

India's capital, Delhi, has announced that it will screen its nearly 30 million residents for Covid-19 symptoms.
The ambitious plan - which involves a door-to-door survey of every household - comes amid record daily rises in infections. Delhi has now overtaken Mumbai, India's business capital, to become the country's biggest hotspot, with more than 70,000 confirmed cases.
The city's hospitals are running out of beds, which has contributed to a relatively high death rate.
Delhi has also said it will test 20,000 random samples across the city to determine the extent of actual infections in the population.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 13:24

Airlines reel from virus impact

As the pandemic continues to weigh on the global economy, many airlines are feeling the pressure after months of lockdowns around the world.
Here are some of the biggest recent developments from the industry:

UK set to finalise 'air bridges' with western Europe

The British government is set to exempt travellers from most western European countries from having to spend 14 days in quarantine after arriving in the UK.
BBC transport correspondent Tom Burridge says ministers are planning to create so-called air bridges with nations including France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey and Finland.
Portugal is not yet included due to an outbreak of coronavirus in the Lisbon area, while Sweden is also expected to be left out as its infection rate is higher than the UK's.
The details are expected to be announced this weekend, our correspondent says. The travel industry has been highly critical of the quarantine plan, saying it will deter visitors and put jobs at risk.
You can read more about the UK's quarantine rules here

Glastonbury organiser promises 'amazing party' in 2021

The world-renowned Glastonbury Festival, held in Somerset in south-west England, should have been celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend - but the event was called off because of the pandemic.
But the organiser of the music and arts festival, Emily Eavis, has told the BBC that when it returns next year it will be an "amazing party" after "what we've been through".
More than 200,000 people were due to be at Worthy Farm this weekend to see headline acts Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar.
However, the BBC is bringing the spirit of the festival to people's living rooms in the UK with a series of classic sets on TV, radio and iPlayer

US 'sets new daily record' as virus surges in certain states

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As several US states take steps to ease lockdowns and reopen their economies, the country reported 36,880 new cases on Wednesday, according to a tally by the New York Times.
This would be the highest single-day increase since the pandemic began, breaking a record set in April. A similar tally by The Covid Tracking Project put the figure at 38,672 , which would also break its own records. Wednesday's figures have not yet been published by Johns Hopkins University, which has its own infection monitoring team.
Early in America's outbreak, infections were largely concentrated in New York and New Jersey. But the recent surge has hit southern and western states like Florida, California, Texas and Oklahoma.
The rise has been in part attributed to increased testing, though hospital admissions have also been rising in states like Florida, indicating the outbreak is worsening in parts of the country.
As of now, more than 3.8 million cases and nearly 122,000 deaths have been confirmed in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 13:30

114-year-old Ethiopian 'recovers from coronavirus'

A 114-year-old Ethiopian man has recovered from coronavirus, according to a Facebook post by Dr Yared Agidew, who runs the hospital in the capital, Addis Ababa, where the man was being treated.
People over the age of 80 are considered to be most vulnerable if they catch the virus.
He "is fully recovered," Dr Yared said in his post in Amharic. "He is now in good health. "Long life and health for our health workers!"
Ethiopia has recorded nearly 5,000 cases of the virus and 75 deaths.
The man is far from the only centenarian to have survived Covid-19 - we heard the stories of three in Britain, including 106-year-old Connie Titchen from Birmingham, thought to be the oldest British patient to have overcome coronavirus.
Read their stories here

Does anyone have a working contact-tracing app?

Reality Check
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At Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Boris Johnson said that no country has a working contact-tracing app.
While Germany - the example cited by UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during their exchange in the House of Commons - has launched an app that has been downloaded 13 million times, there are no figures yet for how many contacts it has traced.
India also has an app, which has been downloaded 131 million times and has contacted 900,000 users and told them to self-isolate.
Prof Martin Hibberd from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says it is true that a number of countries have a working app, but they are not reaching enough people to be the sole means of contact tracing.
So was Johnson right? Germany and India may disagree.
Read the full analysis here

Austria to reopen brothels

Bethany Bell - BBC News, Vienna
Brothels will be allowed to re-open in Austria on 1 July, in an easing of coronavirus restrictions.
The health ministry is working with groups representing the country's 8,000 registered sex workers to develop hygiene measures, according to the Austria Press Agency.
Earlier this month, Eva van Rahden, the head of “Sophie”, an advice centre run by the Volkshilfe charity, said many sex workers were struggling to survive as a result of the pandemic.
She said the crisis had led to an increase in calls to ban prostitution, something her organisation strongly opposed. She said making sex work illegal would lead to more violence, trafficking and exploitation.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands also plans to reopen brothels on 1 July.
Those in Greece opened last week. Rules brought in by the Greek government include card-only payments, a time limit of 15 minutes per customer, compulsory face masks and workers taking a list of clients' contact details in case they need to be traced.

Police in England fear 'countdown to party time'

The organisation representing rank-and-file police officers in England and Wales has warned of the dangers of people returning to pubs when they reopen on 4 July.
Police Federation chairman John Apter said he's worried that "a head of steam" is building up and that some people see it as "countdown to party time".
He said he fears "drunken and irresponsible behaviour" as well as conflicts likely to occur when some people can't get into pubs because of restrictions on numbers.
Apter said: “I would urge the public to be responsible, sensible, and mindful of the restrictions that are still in place. The public have shown support for their key workers during lockdown; they can continue to give support by behaving sensibly now that the restrictions are easing.”

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 13:33

WHO raises alarm on Europe case levels

Europe saw a rise in weekly cases for the first time in months last week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and a number of countries could see numbers hit dangerous levels if more isn't done to stop the spread.
At a weekly press briefing, WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said 30 European countries had seen a rise in cumulative cases over the past two weeks.
"In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe," he said.
The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has reimposed lockdowns in two districts after an outbreak at a meat processing plant, while Spain's northeastern province of Aragón is bringing back restrictions due to a surge in cases among fruit-pickers.
The WHO's Europe director praised the "rapid and targeted interventions" in these countries, and in Poland and Israel, to combat local spikes. He also applauded the growing use of face masks and social distancing, saying: "Bravo to the people!"
Digital technology - including track and trace apps - can be vital in tackling the virus, he added. But some societies cannot afford the best technology, and Kluge urged Europe to "address the digital gap" between richer and poorer nations.

Clapping for UK health workers to be annual event

For 10 weeks during the coronavirus outbreak people across the UK gathered on their doorsteps every Thursday evening to clap for NHS staff.
Now there are plans to honour those who worked on the front line during the pandemic with an annual event .
On Sunday 5 July - the 72nd anniversary of the NHS - people across the UK will be encouraged to applaud NHS staff at 17:00 BST (16:00 GMT). Many broadcasters will break away from normal programming to mark the moment.
On 4 July, people will be asked to put a light in their windows in remembrance of all those who died in the pandemic.
Major public buildings, including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, the Shard and the Wembley Arch, will be lit up in blue

Tracers ask more than 100,000 people in England to self-isolate

More than 100,000 people in England have been asked to self-isolate by contact tracers in an bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, data from the past three weeks shows.
The individuals have all had close contact with people who have tested positive for the virus.
The tracing service - launched at the end of May - has been passed the details of more than 20,000 people who have tested positive for Covid-19.
One in four did not engage with the service.
Those that did provided details for nearly 130,000 contacts. Nearly 114,000 of them - about nine in 10 - have been reached by the service and asked to self-isolate at home. Read the full story here .

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 17:28

US saw 1.4m new jobless claims in past week

The US Labor Department reports 1.4 million new unemployment claims were filed in the last week.
There are just over 19.5 million Americans currently collecting jobless benefits.
The number of new weekly claims has been on the decline for weeks, but has still been above the million-mark since the pandemic began ravaging the US economy in mid-March.
This week's unemployment data comes as states across the nation, including hard-hit New York, continue to reopen.
But Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in many parts of the country following a national holiday at the end of May, and surges in a number of states that were quick to reopen have renewed virus fears.

No 10 condemns 'appalling scenes' at illegal street party

The UK prime minister's official spokesman has condemned "appalling scenes" at an illegal street party in Brixton, south-west London, on Wednesday night, during which 22 police officers were hurt.
The prime minister's spokesman said: "These were appalling scenes, violence against the police will not be tolerated."
He added that "anyone who assaults police or emergency services workers should feel the full force of the law".
The government will soon begin a consultation on doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker, the spokesman confirmed.

Philippine city marks 104th day of military lockdown

Howard Johnson - Philippines Correspondent, BBC News
The Philippine city of Cebu has moved into its 104th day of an army-backed lockdown as Covid-19 infections continue to rise there.
More than 4,500 cases, including 100 deaths, have been recorded so far in the city of two million people.
The total is low compared with other hotspots around the world, but without mass testing the real extent of the outbreak in the Philippines remains unclear.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has sent his environment secretary and "problem-fixer", retired army general Roy Cimatu, to oversee Cebu's response to the situation.
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Some 250,000 quarantine passes, which allowed movement around the city, have been cancelled. Army patrols continue to enforce curfews and military helicopters have dropped Covid-19 information leaflets.
Marko Kasic, Director of the NGO Fundlife Philippines, says the hard lockdown is creating a “humanitarian disaster”, with many of the city’s poor in desperate need of aid.
“Local governments in Cebu are doing what they can, but are overwhelmed,” says Kasic. “Every day, thousands of displaced, vulnerable and jobless just wait to receive the scant help the government can give."

Scotland to allow visitors at virus-free care homes

People living in care homes in Scotland that are free of coronavirus will be able to welcome one visitor each from 3 July.
Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said that "significant progress" had been made in tackling the virus in care homes, where there have been more deaths than in hospitals in Scotland.
If a home has had no Covid-19 cases for 28 days, residents will be able to have a single named "key visitor" for an outdoor visit, at a distance and with both people wearing face masks.
Current figures suggest that 31% of care homes still have at least one suspected case of coronavirus.

WHO alarmed by 'very significant' resurgences in Europe

Europe has seen an increase in weekly cases of Covid-19 for the first time in months as virus-curbing restrictions are eased, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
In 11 countries, which have not been named, accelerated transmission has led to "very significant" resurgences, said Regional Director Dr Hans Henri Kluge.
"For weeks, I have spoken about the risk of resurgence as countries adjust measures," Dr Kluge told a virtual news conference on Thursday. "In several countries across Europe, this risk has now become a reality."
More than 2.6 million cases of Covid-19 and 195,000 deaths have been reported in the WHO's European region , which covers 54 countries and seven territories across Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Almost 20,000 new cases and more than 700 new deaths are being recorded daily.
Read more here

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 17:35

Another 149 deaths in UK

The latest figures from the Department of Health show a further 149 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, across all settings.
It takes the total number of deaths to 43,230.
Today's figure is five fewer deaths compared with 154 yesterday, while it's increased from the 137 announced a week ago.
There are also another 1,118 people who have tested positive for the virus, from 167,023 tests.

Disney delays reopening California park

Disney has announced it will not be reopening its Disneyland California theme park on 17 July, as planned.
On Wednesday, Disney said California officials were not releasing theme park-specific Covid-19 guidance until after 4 July.
"Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials."
Disney is still planning to reopen its Florida theme parks next month, however, despite calls for a delay as the state sees a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Major incident declared as thousands flock to beaches

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The seaside resort of Bournemouth in southern England has declared a major incident after thousands of people flocked to its beaches for the second day in a row.
The local council said visitors had "defied advice to stay away" from the town on one of the hottest days of the year - and it was now co-ordinating a "multi-agency emergency response" across the area.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council said its staff were abused as they attempted to empty over-flowing bins on the seafront. It said eight tonnes of waste was collected yesterday, with a further 33 tonnes of rubbish removed along the full stretch of coastline this morning.
Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood tweeted that he had asked the government's police minister to provide more officers if the Dorset force requested them.
Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya of Dorset Police said: "We are... reliant on people taking personal responsibility and strongly advise members of the public to think twice before heading to the area.
"Clearly we are still in a public health crisis, and such a significant volume of people heading to one area places a further strain on emergency services' resources."

First Covid-19 treatment endorsed by EU regulator

Europe’s healthcare regulator has endorsed the anti-viral drug Remdesivir as a treatment for Covid-19, putting it on track to be used in EU countries.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Thursday it had recommended the drug for use in adults and adolescents from 12 years of age with pneumonia who require oxygen support.
Remdesivir, which has been used against Ebola, is currently undergoing clinical trials around the world to better understand its effects.
UK regulators approved the drug for use in selected Covid-19 hospital patients at the end of May.
Remdesivir will need final approval from the European Commission before it can be prescribed in EU countries.

Driving lessons to resume in England from 4 July

Learner drivers in England will be able to resume lessons and take their test from 4 July , the UK government has confirmed.
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) was writing to instructors today to set out plans for how lessons could resume safely.
Lessons and tests have been suspended during the lockdown .
Rees-Mogg said the resumption of tests would be carried out in a phased way so that learners had time to practice.

Iran's true death figure 'could be five times higher'

The number of people who have died with Covid-19 in Iran could be five times higher than official figures, an investigation by the BBC's Persian service has found.
According to official statistics, there were over 6,400 cases of excess mortality (people dying above what would normally be expected) during winter - more than 5,000 higher than the confirmed coronavirus deaths in the same period.
The provinces of Qom, Gilan, Mazandaran, and Golestan - epicentres of the outbreak in February and March - had the highest rate of excess mortality.
The number of excess deaths in the same period in the capital, Tehran, was higher than the official figures for all the deaths in the country at the time.
Iran - the worst-hit country in the Middle East - is seeing another virus surge in its southern and western regions. Over 10,000 people are confirmed to have died with Covid-19, while over 215,000 cases have been recorded.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 17:40

Cold and poor ventilation blamed for meat-plant outbreak

Gavin Lee - BBC Europe reporter
More than 1,500 workers at a Tönnies meat processing factory in western Germany have contracted Covid-19.
The new cluster of infections has led to intense scrutiny of meat production factories, one of the most common sources of coronavirus outbreaks across the country.
Scientists believe cold temperatures and an insufficient air-filtration system allowed the pathogen to spread rapidly at the factory in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Professor Martin Exner, who's leading the task force studying the causes of the plant's outbreak, told reporters that the ventilation system, designed to keep temperatures between 6C and 10C, "continually recycled the same untreated air into the room".
He said it was "a newly discovered risk factor, and just one factor", adding that it "would have big consequences" for other slaughterhouses as well.
Read more: What went wrong at Germany's Gütersloh meat factory?

Concerns as celebrities entertain conspiracies online

Marianna Spring - Specialist disinformation and social media reporter
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In recent weeks a number of celebrities have engaged with conspiracies being spread online. That includes theories linking the pandemic to 5G networks and vaccines, as well as long-standing conspiracies. These have fuelled conversations in Facebook groups as well as on Instagram and Twitter.
Robbie Williams is the latest star to entertain conspiracies. During a recent YouTube interview, the singer suggested that the discredited Pizzagate theory, which linked Hillary Clinton’s US presidential campaign with a fictional human trafficking ring, had not been properly debunked.
His approach of “asking questions” is one adopted by a number of celebrities who have endorsed conspiracies. The head of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Rasmus Nielsen, warns that this trend is dangerous.
“Our research shows that public figures, including athletes, celebrities, businesspeople, and major politicians, unfortunately play an important role in amplifying conspiracy theories and other false and misleading information, especially on social media,” Nielsen says.
Earlier this week men's number-one tennis player Novak Djokovic tested positive for coronavirus, having fuelled conspiracies about mandatory vaccinations online.
Other public figures, such as singers M.I.A., Whiz Khalifa and Keri Hilson, have promoted claims falsely linking 5G to coronavirus to their millions of followers - including on Instagram, where many people get much of their news through influencers and celebrities.
The 2020 Reuters Institute Digital News report found that nearly a quarter of UK 18-24-year-olds used Instagram as a source of information about coronavirus.

WHO names 11 European countries with 'accelerated transmission'

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that there has been a weekly increase in cases in the region for the first time in months.
In 11 countries, “accelerated transmission" has caused a "significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe”, said WHO Europe director Dr Hans Kluge.
The nations have been named as Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Sweden and Ukraine.
EU ambassadors are meeting this week to discuss reopening the bloc’s external borders on 1 July. One of the options member states are considering is only allowing in travellers from certain countries, with those suffering high infection rates – including possibly the US, Russia and Brazil – left off the safe list.
You can find the WHO’s data on the coronavirus situation across Europe here

Two-metre distancing rule in Northern Ireland relaxed

Social distancing in Northern Ireland is to be reduced from 2m (6ft) to 1m, First Minister Arlene Foster has confirmed.
She said: "A minimum one-metre distance between individuals can be considered acceptable in circumstances where appropriate mitigations are made."
The move comes days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England would move to "1m plus" from 4 July, as its lockdown is eased.
Foster outlined a range of changes to the restrictions, which include:

  • Places of worship can reopen from 29 June
  • Hotels, pubs, restaurants and cafes can reopen on 3 July
  • Nail parlours, beauty salons and tattoo shops will wait until 6 July

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 17:46

The latest from North America

If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments from the US and Canada.

  • Johns Hopkins University reports the US has over 2.3 million confirmed virus cases and more than 122,000 deaths; Canada has 104,000 cases and just over 8,500 deaths
  • Over a million Covid-19 stimulus payments totalling close to $1.4bn (£1.1bn) were sent to deceased Americans by the end of April, a watchdog report to Congress said
  • The Centers for Disease Control now predicts the US could see as many as 150,000 deaths from Covid-19 by 18 July. The forecast comes as a number of states see case counts spike amid reopenings
  • Democrats are questioning why President Trump plans to send thousands of ventilators to some 40 countries without Congress approval, and asking how the White House is deciding which countries to help, NBC News reports
  • ; the administration has previously mentioned sending ventilators to allies in South America, Europe and Africa
  • Canada's federal government is launching a programme today to encourage students to volunteer with Covid-19 efforts by offering grants to support education costs
  • Working with indigenous organisations and local leaders, Ottawa health officials have published Covid-19 resources for Indigenous people in the Canadian capital, covering topics like handwashing when running water is scarce and using visuals to demonstrate distancing guidelines, CBC reports.

Germany and France pledge WHO funds

Germany and France have said they will increase their financial contributions to the World Health Organization (WHO), weeks after the US said it would withdraw funding.
Germany promised to give €500m (£452; $560m) to the agency this year, while France said it would provide €140m.
Both governments said the funding had nothing to do with President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend the United States' relationship with the WHO last month.
Instead, they stressed the importance of supporting the WHO, which they said had a crucial role in tackling the pandemic and other diseases.
"Germany remains a strong supporter and critical friend of the WHO," Health Minister Jens Spahn said at its headquarters on Thursday.
His French counterpart, Olivier Veran, said only the WHO was in a position to co-ordinate the global response to Covid-19.
Announcing the suspension of funding last month, President Trump accused the WHO of failing to hold China to account over the pandemic.

Eighteen in Texas family infected after birthday party

A family in Carrollton, Texas, has had 18 people test positive for Covid-19 after a single relative unknowingly infected others at a surprise birthday party.
The one infected individual - a young man who thought his cough was related to his construction job - was in contact with seven family members at the party, KENS5 News reports .
Those seven then spread the disease to 10 others in the family, including two young children. Three members are now in hospital because of the virus: two grandparents as well as a woman with breast cancer.
Ron Barbosa, whose nephew was the first infected person, said he and his wife did not attend the party due to virus fears.
"We knew this was going to happen," he told KENS5. "This whole time this has been going on we've been terrified."
The party that led to this family outbreak was technically allowed under Texas' reopening guidelines. The governor on Thursday paused reopening plans after the state saw two consecutive days of more than 5,000 new Covid-19 cases.

Texas pauses reopening amid 'massive outbreak'

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has put a pause on the state's reopening amid a serious spike in Covid-19 cases.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses," the Republican governor said.
"This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business."
Texas has seen two consecutive days of more than 5,000 new virus cases in what Abbott described to CBS News affiliate KFDA-TV as a "massive outbreak of Covid-19".
The state was one of the first in the US to ease coronavirus restrictions. Shops, movie theatres, restaurants and other businesses began reopening with limited capacity on 1 May.
Businesses currently allowed to operate may continue to do so under the new order. Abbott also asked Texans to wash their hands regularly, practice social distancing and wear a mask.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 20:40

New laws to ease drinking rules in England and Wales

Pubs and restaurants will more easily be able to turn pavements, terraces and even car parks into outdoor eating and drinking areas under proposals to boost the hospitality industry in England and Wales.
Under temporary laws, businesses would be able to apply for "pavement licences" more easily so they could put tables and chairs outside their premises.
Outdoor markets and summer fairs will also no longer need planning permission as rules are relaxed.
The government says it will make socialising safely outdoors easier when the hospitality industry reopens, which it is due to do in England from 4 July.
However, no date has yet been set for when pubs can reopen in Wales. It is the only one of the UK nations without a planned reopening date for the pub trade.

An MP's answer to social distancing in pubs? Very long glasses

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A yard of ale could be used to keep fellow drinkers at bay, suggests Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg

With pubs in England due to reopen on 4 July, there have been plenty of concerns about how drinkers will maintain social distancing.
But Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has an idea. He suggested pub-goers should "go back to drinking a yard of ale" – a traditional tall glass containing 2.5 pints (1.4 litres) and nowadays most associated with student drinking games.
Asked what could be done to support the reopening of pubs, the Leader of the House of Commons said: "If they drink a yard of ale they will maintain social distancing while enjoying an extra large drink to celebrate the fact that they are back in the pub.”
Social distancing rules are being reduced on the same date pubs reopen - to one metre, or just over a yard.
Read the full story

Can't say for sure we'll get a vaccine - WHO chief

There is no guarantee that scientists will be able to develop an effective vaccine against Covid-19, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus told the EU Parliament's health committee on Thursday that even if a vaccine was developed, it would probably not be available for at least a year.
"It would be very difficult to say for sure that we will have a vaccine," Dr Tedros told EU lawmakers via video link.
"We never had a vaccine for a coronavirus. So this will be, when discovered, hoping that it will be discovered, it will be the first one."
Vaccines help the body's immune system to recognise and fight pathogens like viruses. They are considered one of the most effective ways to prevent diseases such as Covid-19 from spreading, as they help communities build up immunity.
More than 100 trials of possible vaccines are under way across the world, including a human study led by Imperial College London in the UK .
Read more: How close to developing a vaccine are we?

Antibodies found in over 40% of Austrian ski resort's residents

More than 40% of residents in Ischgl, an Austrian ski resort village that was once at the heart of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, have developed antibodies against Covid-19, a study has found.
Thousands of people, many of them European tourists, were infected there in early March.
Researchers from the Medical University of Innsbruck conducted antibody tests on 1,473 people, about 79% of Ischgl's population.
The study found that 42.4% of those tested had antibodies for Covid-19.
Antibodies are tiny proteins that our immune systems produce in response to bacteria and viruses.
The director of the university's Institute of Virology, Dorothee von Laer, said Ischgl had the highest prevalence of antibodies “ever proven in a study”.
“Even though at that rate herd immunity cannot be assumed, Ischgl's population should be protected [from the virus] to a large extent," she said.
Austria has recorded more than 17,000 infections and almost 700 deaths to date, both relatively low numbers compared to its European neighbours.
Read more: Ischgl resort at heart of Europe’s outbreak reopens

New York City on track to reopen bars and salons

New York City is on track to enter its third phase of reopening by 6 July, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced.
The city only entered phase two this week, but a number of regions elsewhere in the state are moving into the final phase of reopening on Friday.
“The data is telling us ‘yes’ right now, so we want to start getting people ready for it,” de Blasio told reporters.
When the city enters phase three, outdoor athletic facilities like basketball and tennis courts will reopen. Restaurants will be allowed to have indoor dining at 50% capacity, and bars will also be allowed to operate as long as social distancing can be followed. Personal care businesses like nail salons will also be allowed to open.
The city saw thousands of deaths due to the virus, but now has one of the lowest transmission rates in the country.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday that the state had fewer than 1,000 people sent to hospital over the virus for the first time since mid-March.
On Wednesday Cuomo, along with the governors of neighbouring New Jersey and Connecticut, enacted a mandatory 14-day quarantine order for anyone visiting the region from hotspot states, like Florida, North Carolina and Texas.

Trump to visit New Jersey but won't quarantine

US President Donald Trump is to visit his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend, but the White House says he won't be following a regional travel advisory requiring visitors from hotspots to self-quarantine for 14 days.
On Tuesday Trump visited Arizona - a state experiencing a rise in Covid-19 cases that's on New Jersey's quarantine-needed list.
The quarantine requirement was announced by the governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut on Wednesday.
"The President of the United States is not a civilian," spokesman Judd Deere said, adding that anyone who is in close proximity to the president gets tested.
Deere said the White House had ensured Trump did not come into contact with symptomatic or untested individuals during his Arizona trip.
"Anyone travelling in support of the president this weekend will be closely monitored for symptoms and tested for Covid and therefore pose little to no risk to the local populations," he said.

Virginia votes to create work safety rules

Elsewhere in the US, Virginia has become the first state in the country to start creating new Covid-19 safety rules for the workplace.
Employers may soon be required to bar any employees with virus symptoms from coming to work, notify staff of potentially infected co-workers within 24 hours, and practice social distancing.
Some companies have already opposed the new rules, saying they will add to the burdens on a struggling business community.
A 14-member health and safety board voted 9-3 to move forward with finalising the rules on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.


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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 20:54

Starmer fears up to three million unemployed

The UK Labour Party leader has warned that up to three million people could lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus and is calling on the government to tackle unemployment "on a scale we haven't seen for a generation".
Sir Keir Starmer told the BBC the government should extend the furlough scheme for workers in the hospitality and travel sectors into next year.
Sir Keir also wants the government to hold a Budget next month so that it can bring forward infrastructure projects to boost the economy.
Sir Keir also told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg that he was looking forward to a pint and a haircut when lockdown restrictions are further eased in England on 4 July.

Analysis: Crucial juncture as restrictions eased

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
England's chief medical officer has tweeted to remind people to follow the rules on social distancing , hours after a major incident was declared in Bournemouth when thousands of people flocked to the Dorset coast.
Prof Chris Witty’s warning comes at an important point in our fight against the virus. The UK has been seeing infections fall despite the easing of restrictions.
Six weeks ago, when the prime minister announced the first steps out of lockdown, the number of newly diagnosed infections was about 4,000 a day.
Those numbers have fallen four-fold since with under 1,000 being recorded on average over the past week .
But a combination of warm weather and the prospect of further easing of restrictions in early July means we are at a crucial juncture.
Much is being left to the good judgement, common-sense and personal responsibility of people.
Government experts believe with the testing and tracing system in place the virus can continue to be suppressed – but only if the public plays its part.

UK government 'has powers to close beaches'

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Sun-seekers have flocked to UK beaches during the heatwave

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the UK government has powers to close public areas like beaches if social distancing rules are not being observed.
Earlier today, a major incident was declared in Bournemouth after thousands of people flocked to the Dorset coast.
Mr Hancock told TalkRadio he was "reluctant" to close public areas "because people have had a pretty tough lockdown", but he added: "We do have those powers - and if we see a spike in the number of cases, then we will take action."
He said: "Everybody should be able to enjoy the sunshine. The key is to do it with respect. Stay with your households. Stay a good distance from other households."

Brazil's ex-health minister: Why I quit after less than a month

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 53,000 people have died and there are over 1.1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in Brazil.
Two health ministers have left over his strategy - the first was fired after publicly disagreeing with Bolsonaro’s attitude. The second, Nelson Teich, quit after less than a month. He told the BBC why:

How to avoid a new pandemic, according to wildlife experts

Naomi Grimley - BBC News
Most scientific evidence so far suggests that Covid-19 started in bats but jumped to humans via an intermediate host.
In response, a group of 25 veterinary and wildlife experts - led by Cambridge University's Zoology Department - have devised a list of 161 actions to change how humans interact with animals . It's hoped these will help to prevent a similar outbreak in future.
Their recommendations include:

  • Encouraging smallholder farmers to keep chickens or ducks away from people
  • Better veterinary and hygiene standards for farmed animals
  • More consumption of plant-based foods

Danish PM postpones wedding for EU virus summit

The Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, has delayed her wedding to attend a summit about the EU’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Frederiksen said the wedding clashed with an in-person meeting of EU leaders on 17-18 July, the first since the start of the crisis.
"I am really looking forward to marrying this fantastic man," she wrote on Instagram, sharing a photo of herself and her fiancé Bo.
"But obviously it can't be that easy, and now there is a council meeting in Brussels called, exactly on that Saturday in July when we had planned to marry.”
At the meeting, EU leaders are expected to discuss proposals for a Covid-19 recovery fund and a new budget.
Denmark is part of a group of nations that oppose offering grants to other EU member states badly affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Frederiksen said she had to do her “job and protect Denmark’s interests”, adding that thankfully for her, her partner was “very patient”

More than 20 million could be infected in US - CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now estimates the number of infected Americans could be over 20 million, based on antibody tests.
The agency's director Dr Robert Redfield told reporters on Thursday: "Our best estimate right now is that for every case that's reported, there actually are 10 other infections."
The CDC also says that the pandemic is affecting younger groups across most of the country.
The shift could mean fewer instances of serious illness and death, officials said.
"It is obvious that we are seeing right now infections that are targeting younger individuals," Dr Redfield said.
This may partly be because young people are not taking the pandemic as seriously as older Americans, even though they are still at some risk of severe illness, according to CDC infectious disease expert Dr Jay Butler.
"We may need to get out the message that young people are not somehow naturally immune to this virus, although they may be at lower risk of severe infection," Dr Butler said.
He said the agency is looking into using the social media platform TikTok to reach young people and educate them about social distancing, covering their faces, and staying away from large gatherings.

Rising Covid-19 cases prompt fears for US economy

Samira Hussain - New York business correspondent
Nearly 1.5 million more Americans applied for unemployment benefits this past week - just slightly lower than a week earlier. The historic job losses come as the US recorded the highest one-day total of new Covid-19 cases.
As some businesses in America continue reopening, the job losses carry on. For the fourteenth straight week, weekly job losses have topped one million.
Until the coronavirus crisis, the most new claims in a single week had been 695,000, back in 1982.
On Wednesday, US financial markets plunged more than 700 points as the country sees a surge in new coronavirus cases.
The increased number of people being infected has some economists worried about the strength and pace of the economic recovery.
The American economy fell into a recession in February of this year.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 25 2020, 21:06

Mexico's finance minister tests positive

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Arturo Herrera said he was experiencing "mile symptoms"

Mexico’s Finance Minister Arturo Herrera has announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a tweet , Herrera said he had “very minor symptoms”, but gave no further details.
“From this moment I will be in quarantine, and I will continue to work from home,” he wrote.
Herrera has reportedly attended events alongside Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in recent days.
Mexico started removing some restrictions imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19 last week, despite the continued rise of cases and deaths in one of Latin America's worst-hit countries.
Mexico has recorded more than 196,000 infections and 24,000 deaths to date, among the highest in the world on both counts.

What happened in the UK today?

We will shortly be pausing our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. But before we leave for the day, here's a chance to catch up on Thursday's events in the UK:

  • The UK's chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, has warned people to follow social distancing guidance while enjoying the sun, or Covid-19 cases "will rise again"
  • His remarks come after a major incident was declared in Bournemouth where thousands of people flocked to the Dorset coast
  • Social distancing in Northern Ireland is to be reduced from 2m (6ft) to 1m with restrictions from Monday. The move was announced by First Minister Arlene Foster, along with a series of other indicative dates for easing the lockdown further
  • New temporary laws will allow pubs and restaurants in England and Wales to more easily be able to get "pavement licences". The proposals designed to boost the hospitality industry mean businesses could turn pavements, terraces and even car parks into outdoor areas
  • Driving lessons are to resume in England from 4 July. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will write to driving instructors setting out plans to restart driving tests and resume lessons safely
  • And the UK government is finalising details of "travel corridors" so some people arriving in the country will not need to quarantine. Participating countries could include France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey and Finland - but not Portugal

WHO warns of virus comeback, and other global developments

As lockdown measures are relaxed across Europe, coronavirus cases are on the rise again in some areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern and some countries have already reimposed restrictions.
In case you missed them, here are some of the latest developments:

  • The head of the WHO has said coronavirus infections are expected to pass 10 million this week. He said there's no guarantee a vaccine against the virus will be developed - and if it is, it may not be available until next year
  • In Europe, there has been a "very significant resurgence" of Covid-19 for the first time in months, the WHO’s director for the region said
  • Europe’s healthcare regulator has endorsed the anti-viral drug Remdesivir as a treatment for Covid-19, putting it on track to be used in EU countries
  • The Eiffel Tower in Paris has partially reopened to sightseers more than three months after France went into lockdown
  • The Portuguese government has extended lockdown measures until mid-July in parts of Greater Lisbon
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott has paused the state's reopening amid a serious spike in Covid-19 cases. Texas is among several southern and western US states seeing a resurgence of cases
  • India has said it plans to carry out a coronavirus survey of every household in the capital Delhi, a city of 29 million people


Goodbye for now

We're going to pause our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak now, but we'll be back with the latest updates on Friday.

Today's live page writers were Owen Amos, Krutika Pathi, Frances Mao, Josh Cheetham, Henri Astier, Rebecca Seales, Josh Nevett, Ritu Prasad, Joseph Lee, Katie Wright and Rob Corp. The editors were Kevin Ponniah and Chris Clayton.

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