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Coronavirus - 8th July


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:Covid-19: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 10:15

Summary for Wednesday, 8th July

  • California and Texas report more than 10,000 new cases in a day - Reuters tally shows
  • President Trump says he thinks the US is "in a good place"
  • UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak set to announce £2bn ($2.5bn) to create jobs for young people
  • Serbs angered at the government's handling of the pandemic clash with police in Belgrade
  • WHO says there is emerging evidence the virus can spread through particles in the air
  • Melbourne is set to go back into a second lockdown after a surge in cases
  • There are now almost 11.8 million confirmed cases globally and more than 540,000 deaths

Welcome back to our rolling coverage of the pandemic. Here are the headlines:

  • The US states of California and Texas have each reported more than 10,000 new cases for the past day, a record for both
  • US President Trump said the US was "in a good place", disagreeing with the adviser Dr Anthony Fauci who said country was "knee deep" in the pandemic
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro - who was confirmed positive on Tuesday - said he wasn't surprised he got infected and insisted his symptoms were mild
  • In Australia, Melbourne will go back into a second lockdown later today. The decision came after the wider state of Victoria recorded a record number of cases on Tuesday

California and Texas see record cases

The 10,201 new cases reported in California took the state's total to nearly 284,000.
The surge led to the state last week rolling back the reopening of the economy, banning indoor restaurant dining, closing bars and stepping up social distancing.
Meanwhile, Texas reported 10,028 new infections on Tuesday.
Around 6,500 people have died in California while in Texas, just under 3,000 fatalities have been linked to the virus.
The death rate in California has been flat for weeks, but in Texas, there has been a recent increase to a rolling average of 47 a day.
In total, there have been almost 3 million positive cases recorded in the US - and more than 131,000 deaths have been linked to the virus.

Risk of virus spread from Melbourne 'extremely high'

The border closed overnight between virus-hit Victoria and New South Wales - and only permit-holders will be able to travel across state lines.
However the NSW government has also warned that it may isolate border towns and enforce quarantine of people returning from Melbourne to prevent the virus travelling further east.
"I do want to give a strong warning," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. "The probability of contagion in New South Wales, given what's happening in Victoria, is extremely high."
It comes after a case was found on the NSW side of Albury-Wodonga, one of the towns straddling the border.
NSW reported eight new cases on Wednesday, compared to 134 in Victoria.

WHO says virus may be airborne

Imogen Foulkes - BBC News, Geneva
For months, the WHO has insisted that Covid-19 is transmitted via droplets emitted when people cough or sneeze.
Droplets that do not linger in the air, but fall onto surfaces - that's why handwashing has been identified as a key prevention measure.
But 239 scientists from 32 countries don't agree: they say there is strong evidence to suggest the virus can also spread in the air: through much tinier particles that float around for hours after people talk, or breathe out.
Now the WHO says there is evidence to suggest this was possible in specific settings, such as enclosed and crowded spaces.
That evidence will have to be thoroughly evaluated, but if it is confirmed, the advice on how to prevent the virus spreading may have to change, and could lead to more widespread use of masks, and more rigorous distancing, especially in bars, restaurants, and on public transport.

City of five million braces for second lockdown

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The outbreak in Melbourne began just three weeks ago

From midnight (14:00 GMT), Melbourne will be plunged back into lockdown for six weeks after a second wave of cases emerged.
Residents have expressed their dismay and sadness about Lockdown 2.0, while small businesses wonder if they'll be able to survive another shutdown, which is estimated to cost the state A$1bn (£0.55bn; $0.8bn) a week.
"It will test you and it will strain. But you have done it once before and you will be able to do it again," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
"The nation is with you and we will be with you every day."
He said Victoria was essentially "self-isolating" from the rest of the nation, which has recorded very few infections recently.
Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews apologised for the renewed restrictions but said "simply, there's no other choice."
He confirmed 860 active cases in the state on Wednesday, and 134 new infections.

US cases rise past 3 million

More then 3 million coronavirus infections have been recorded across the US since the beginning of the pandemic, according to both the New York Times and NBC.
NBC reports that more than 46,500 new cases were added to the tally on Tuesday.
The US has by far the highest number of confirmed infections in the world.

Where are US cases rising and falling?

As California and Texas report record numbers of infections, where else in the US is the infection rate rising? And where is it falling?
According to New York Times data , the seven-day average of new infections has increased in the past two weeks in 37 states, including California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii.
New infections are flat in 12 states, including New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.
And they are falling in just one state - New Hampshire - as well as Washington DC.
It's worth pointing out that in some places - such as New York, New Jersey, and other north-eastern states - even though the infection rate is not falling, it is way down on the peak earlier in the year.

Bolsonaro: Catching virus like getting caught in rain

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has said he wasn't surprised he tested positive for coronavirus.
He compared the virus to the rain and said everyone would eventually get wet. He also pointed out his symptoms were mild and said he was now feeling fine.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the severity of Covid-19, which has been linked to the deaths of 67,000 Brazilians while nearly 1.7m infections have been recorded.
On Sunday the president was pictured without a face mask at an Independence Day celebration at the US embassy.
Several cabinet ministers are now self-isolating while they wait for the results of their tests.

Serbian protesters clash with police after curfew decision

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Thousands of protesters have clashed with riot police in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, after the government announced a weekend curfew in the city in response to a rise in coronavirus infections.
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They demanded the resignation of the president, accusing him of mishandling the crisis.
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The government lifted restrictions ahead of an election in June which was won by the president's party amid a boycott by an opposition alliance. Serbia recorded 13 virus-related deaths on Tuesday, its highest number so far.
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Shoppers flock to Melbourne supermarkets

Melbourne residents have flocked to supermarkets to stock up on supplies as they brace for a new six weeks of lockdown.
The restrictions follow a surge in coronavirus cases - and there have been reports of long queues, panic buying, and empty shelves - just like in the early days of the pandemic.
Coles and Woolworths, two major chains, have responded by reintroducing purchase limits on some products.
Coles chief executive Steven Cain said: "Our thoughts are with the many Victorians who will now be required to isolate at home, and we will continue to work with the state government to provide whatever assistance they need."
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Public areas are being sealed off for a second time during the pandemic

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 10:25

The latest news around the UK

If you're just joining us, here's a quick look at what's been going on around the UK.

Australia considering stopping people coming home

Scott Morrison says the government will consider limiting the number of people allowed to return to Australia in the coming weeks, as a second wave spreads across Melbourne.
Since March, more than 350,000 Australians have returned home - with a majority of these travellers undergoing mandatory quarantine in hotels in Sydney and Melbourne.
However, the system is currently "under pressure", said the PM, who suggested future arrivals may have to pay for their own quarantine.
At the weekend, Sydney Airport capped the number of international arrivals to 450 a day.
Yesterday New Zealand announced a pause on citizens booking flights home, as they are also nearing capacity in their quarantine system.

French economy 'will bounce back quickly'

The coronavirus pandemic pushed the French economy into a deep slump in the first half of the year, but the country looks set to recover quickly, according to France's national statistics agency.
The French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Study (Insee) estimates that the economy will contract by 9% over the year. While this still represents a significant recession, it's not as bad as the 11% slump forecast in the government's revised 2020 budget.
The European Commission recently forecast that among the eurozone economies, France, Italy and Spain would struggle the most in the wake of Covid-19.
France has reported more than 206,000 cases of coronavirus, with 29,936 confirmed deaths linked to Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Proving Covid-19 is real as cases rise in Africa

Coronavirus: The fight to prove Covid-19 is real as cases rise in Africa

Cases of coronavirus are on the rise across Africa. Yet in some countries, people don’t believe the pandemic is real.
The hospitals of Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, tell a different story, as the BBC's Yemisi Adegoke reports.
The country recorded the second-highest increase in deaths from Covid-19 after South Africa in the WHO report for 1 July. Nigeria has the third-highest number of confirmed infections after South Africa and Egypt.

WHO: US pulling out 'is not what the world's people need'

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organization's special envoy on Covid-19, has described President Trump's decision to take the US out of the global agency as "really sad".
"The world is facing a massive health crisis, it's been extremely bad for the last six months and I fear it's going to get much worse in the next six months.
"We've still got a lot to find out about this virus, and how to deal with it - and it just seems really unfortunate that the most important country, in terms of size of the WHO budget, has decided to pull out," he told the Today programme.
He added that he was sure the majority of American people "wanted to be part of the global response and will be a bit confused about why this has happened".
"All world leaders, all world nations must work together to deal with this virus. To have the US pulling out is not what the world's people need."
He said suggestions that the WHO chose to ignore warnings about coronavirus issued by Taiwan at the beginning of the year were false.
"Communications with the people of Taiwan and the institutions in Taiwan by the WHO are in no way affected. There has been regular correspondence between them."
"The people inside the WHO do not sit and have favourite countries - they deal with the issues as they come up, and as best they can".
Asked about the possibility of airborne spread of coronavirus, Dr Nabarro acknowledged that it was "part of the puzzle" but said it was "not the major means of transmission".

Mumbai is India's first city to allow testing for all

Mumbai, one of India's biggest coronavirus hotspots, has become the country's first city to open up testing to everyone.
Until now, complex rules have meant that testing was mostly restricted to those who have symptoms or are high-risk, and required a doctor's prescription.
But Mumbai - which has some 86,500 confirmed cases - has done away with that. It's also allowing all labs, including private ones, to do the test. The government has already fixed prices.
The move comes as India ramps up testing - case numbers have already surged in recent weeks as a result.
It now has more than 740,000 confirmed cases, the world's third largest tally.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 10:33

The latest from Europe

Protests raged in Belgrade as authorities reimposed a curfew in the Serbian capital amid a rise in cases. Here’s the rest of the news from Europe:

  • In her first trip abroad since the pandemic began, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is heading to Brussels to discuss how the EU can best respond to the crisis. While the EU has proposed a 750 billion Euros rescue package for the bloc, a number of European nations – notably the Netherlands – oppose the plan
  • France’s director general of health Jérôme Salomon has told Le Figaro newspaper that the country must prepare for a second wave. “Each and every one of us must continue to respect barrier measures, hygiene measures, physical distancing and wearing a mask,” he said
  • Catalonia is expected to make face-mask use compulsory, even outdoors, on Wednesday as officials deal with a fresh outbreak in Lleida province. “We are seeing some relaxed attitudes,” said Catalan government spokesperson Meritxell Budó. “By making it mandatory, we will ensure that those attitudes do not exist”
  • Gatherings of up to 100 people are now allowed in Denmark as the country further eases its restrictions. The Nordic country was one of the first to go into lockdown in March and one of the first to lift measures, allowing hairdressers to reopen as early as April

Drones deployed on the New South Wales - Victoria border

Simon Atkinson - BBC News, Albury, New South Wales
Sometimes you find things when you least expect them.
We are in Albury, on the New South Wales side of the border with Victoria. The border closed on Wednesday in response to rising cases in Victoria.
And after taking a wrong turn, we stumbled across a back lane with two police officers flying drones.
They weren’t too keen to be filmed. But they are a more covert part of the operation to monitor this extremely long border.
There are 55 official crossing points between the two states. At least 30 of them have staffed police checkpoints, we’re told.
Add to that boats, surveillance planes, and the drones, and you get an idea how keen authorities are to make sure nobody is crossing the border who shouldn't be.
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Essential travel is permitted for permit holders between the two states. This photo shows drivers at a checkpoint to enter New South Wales on Wednesday

Home-schooling 'not sustainable' in future lockdowns

Katherine Sellgren - Family & Education reporter
A campaign group says the assumption that parents will readily resume home-schooling in the event of future lockdowns is "not sustainable".
The group, Sept for Schools, says it has heard from parents reduced to tears as they balance work with educating children at home.
Sept for Schools has written to Education Select Committee chairman Robert Halfon, urging him to "hold the government to account for delivering a clear, comprehensive and workable plan to make sure our children return safely to school in September".
It says any future plans must "ensure that the learning and wellbeing of all children are prioritised, wherever they live and whatever circumstances they live in".
The government says all pupils will be back in school in September in England. Schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland are also aiming for a full return for all pupils when the new term begins.
Ministers in Wales have said blended learning is likely to continue for some time to come.
Read more here.

Scientists warn of serious brain disorders

Scientists have warned that doctors may be failing to diagnose a potentially serious string of brain disorders linked to the coronavirus.
Severe neurological complications - including inflammation, psychosis and delirium - were discovered in 43 cases of patients with Covid-19 by researchers at University College London (UCL).
Individuals suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects , the study says.
"Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic - perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic - remains to be seen," Dr Michael Zandi, from UCL's Institute of Neurology, said.
The BBC's medical correspondent, Fergus Walsh, recently reported that it was becoming increasingly clear that coronavirus can trigger a huge range of neurological problems.

Virus leads Spanish islands to shake off party image

James Badcock - Madrid-based journalist
Normally, June would see the beaches of Majorca, Ibiza and the Spanish archipelago's smaller islands busy with international tourists, who made up the bulk of the more than 16 million visitors to the region last year.
This year only got started with a batch of just over 5,000 Germans, given special permission to stay in the Palma Beach resort on Majorca.
But as Spain scrambles to save its vital tourism industry from the threat of a blank year due to coronavirus, some sense an opportunity to change perceptions about Spanish holidays and start a move upmarket that has been long on the agenda.
Covid-19 looks likely to accelerate a tendency towards less nightlife and more daytime experiences.
"We had already started a process and it is irreversible," says Iago Negueruela, the Balearic minister for the economy, labour and tourism.
"The pubs won't open this year. We are no longer going to receive or tolerate that kind of tourist, who can be a risk for themselves and others."

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 10:47

China criticises US withdrawal from WHO

China has criticised US plans to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO), saying that the move will have graveimplications for developing countries.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged the international community to step up support for the UN agency.
President Trump has repeatedly condemned the WHO's handling of the pandemic, accusing it of being under China's control.
The president accused China of pressurising the WHO to "mislead the world" about the virus, without giving evidence for his allegations.
The US is the global health agency's largest single contributor, providing more than $400m (£324m; €360m) in 2019, around 15% of its total budget.
It was announced on Tuesday that the US will leave the global agency on 6 July 2021. Funding from Washington has already been suspended.
Presidential challenger Joe Biden, who is currently ahead in the polls, has said he will take the United States back into the WHO with immediate effect, if he wins November's election.
  tweet  Joe Biden:
:Left Quotes:  Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health. On my first day as President, I will rejoin the @WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage.

tweet  The Hill:
#BREAKING: Trump administration formally withdraws US from World Health Organization
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French PM rules out second national lockdown

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Jean Castex said France needed to be ready for a second wave, but ruled out another strict national lockdown

France's new Prime Minister Jean Castex has warned that a new major coronavirus outbreak in the country could prove irreversibly damaging.
"I have, in the sense of the mission entrusted to me, the will to prepare France for a possible second wave," Mr Castex said in a television interview.
He added, however, that any further measures to control the spread of Covid-19 would have to be balanced against the impact on the economy and what the French people would be able to cope with.
"We must be ready for a second wave, but we would not proceed to a general lockdown like in March... because economically and socially we would not be able to bear another general and absolute lockdown," he said.
The previous French government enforced a strict nationwide lockdown that lasted for about eight weeks, before cautiously lifting it on 11 May. Some restrictions on public gatherings remain in place.

Colombia extends national lockdown as virus 'accelerates'

Colombia is extending its nationwide lockdown by more than two weeks after reported cases and deaths accelerated in several cities, President Iván Duque has said.
The measure, which was implemented in March, was due to be lifted on 15 July, but has now been pushed back to 1 August.
"Considering we have cities where the rate of cases has accelerated and grown, as well as the mortality rate, we have continued to work on preserving the mandatory preventive isolation as the general concept," Mr Duque said in a televised address on Tuesday.
More than 120,000 cases of Covid-19 and 4,452 deaths have been confirmed in Colombia.

NZ man 'escaped quarantine, went shopping and took selfies'

A Covid-19 patient who escaped quarantine at a hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, and then went shopping will face charges, officials say.
The 32-year-old reportedly left the isolated premises for about 70 minutes and took selfies in the health and beauty aisle of a nearby supermarket, the New Zealand Herald reports.
The man, who has tested positive for the virus, managed to escape the Stamford Plaza hotel through a fence.
Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the head of managed isolation and quarantine, said the patient was a New Zealand citizen who had recently returned from India, adding that his actions were "completely unacceptable".
The man could face a fine or up to six months in prison.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 14:28

'The masks you throw away could kill a whale'

As the world battles the pandemic, more and more protective equipment is ending up in the sea.
Some 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves are being placed into the environment every month, according to Ocean Conservancy.
Divers and observers are spotting more of this discarded waste floating and underwater, causing problems for wildlife and washing up on shorelines all over the world.

Sour mood in Serbia's capital

Guy De Launey, BBC Balkans Correspondent
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Protesters gather in front of the Serbian Parliament building in Belgrade

Small-scale protests are common in Belgrade. An atomised political opposition - and more recently an election boycott - means that citizens disgruntled with the leadership of President Aleksandar Vucic and his Progressive Party (SNS) have to take to the streets to make their voices heard.
But the protests don't normally feature police swinging batons and firing tear gas while protesters hurl stones and set fire to police vehicles. The scenes reflect a sour mood in Serbia's capital triggered by Mr Vucic's warning of a weekend lockdown.
Some protesters expressed anger at the government's rapid removal of restrictions to allow last month’s parliamentary election to go ahead. Tens of thousands attended football matches and nightclubs reopened, signalling that normal life had resumed.
The SNS gained the massive majority they wanted, but the Covid-19 infection rate has been rising ever since.
Prime Minister Ana Brnabic blamed opposition politicians for last night's violence. The authorities have placed barricades around the National Assembly to prevent a repeat this evening. But the protesters are likely to return.

'Almost half of UK employees' worked from home in April

A study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed almost half of all UK employees worked from home in April - at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
New figures reveal that 46.6% of employees did some work at home, mainly due to the lockdown.
Of those who did some work from home, typically a third worked fewer hours than usual while a similar number worked longer hours.
Women were slightly more likely to do work at home than men, while younger employees - those aged up to 24 - were less likely to work from home than older employees.
The study conclued there was less opportunity to work from home for manual occupations.

London hospital closed to emergencies after Covid-19 outbreak

Lauren Moss - Political editor, BBC South East
Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge, west London, has closed to emergencies after an outbreak of coronavirus.
Seventy members of staff went into isolation on Tuesday, including a number who tested positive for Covid-19. The outbreak was declared on Friday.
The hospital serves the prime minister's Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.
"The trust has taken the precautionary decision to close Hillingdon Hospital to emergency ambulances and emergency admissions," a Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said.
"The trust is managing the outbreak in line with Public Health England guidance."

US sees record 60,000 daily cases

The US reported a record of more than 60,000 daily confirmed cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The previous highest tally was 55,220, which the US recorded on 2 July.
The latest figures come as the states of California and Texas each reported more than 10,000 new daily cases.
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that America was "in a good place" regarding the pandemic.
But Dr Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert and adviser to the White House on coronavirus, said the country was still "knee-deep" in only its first coronavirus wave.
The US has had by far the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths of any nation.
More than three million infections have been recorded across the US since the beginning of the pandemic, according to both the New York Times and NBC.
Covid-19 has been linked to more than 131,000 deaths in the US.

Wearing a mask is a 'common courtesy'

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast's Your Call programme has been asking listeners how they feel about wearing masks, after actor Tom Hanks said he "has no respect" for people who refuse to wear a mask in public during the pandemic.
Caller Emma in Hertfordshire said she regularly wears a mask and feels "strongly" that other should too.
"Partly, I think I’ve got a vivid imagination," she said, "I can imagine these particles in the air even when people walk past you."
Emma thinks she had coronavirus in March, and said she still feels "exhausted" from it.
And next week she's going to see her 92-year-old mum for the first time in nearly four months.
"I’ll obviously have to wear a mask for seeing her, but I don’t want to risk anything, and I don’t want to pass on to other people.
“I’ve made my own mask, which has three layers, and I can put an extra piece of paper in there or something if necessary.
“Nobody is saying it’s risk free, but it’s also a courtesy to other people, it’s a common courtesy... you can feel people’s breath when they speak to you.”
Listen again to this morning's Your Call on BBC Sounds.

Pub bans under-25s in evenings for flouting virus measures

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Landlord David Haines says younger drinkers refused to adhere to social distancing rules

A pub in Oxfordshire has banned under-25s in the evenings after some drinkers refused to adhere to its coronavirus social distancing measures.
The Royal Standard in Wallingford said younger drinkers had been "impossible to control" since the pub reopened, putting staff and other customers at risk.
Landlord David Haines said: "They start off fine but then it goes out the window."
Under-25s will only be allowed in the pub before 20:00 BST.
Read more

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 14:37

4,173 deaths in Scotland now linked to Covid-19

A total of 4,173 Scots deaths have been linked to Covid-19 as of 5 July, official figures show.
The National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures indicate that is an increase of 17 deaths from the previous week.
From 29 June to 5 July, 40 fewer deaths from all causes were registered compared with the average number for this time of year.
New analysis of deaths registered up to 14 June shows that deaths among people from the South Asian ethnic group were almost twice as likely to involve Covid-19 than deaths in the White ethnic group, after accounting for age group, sex, area deprivation and urban/rural classification.
The NRS weekly figures are higher than the daily figure announced by Nicola Sturgeon because they include all cases where Covid-19 is mentioned on a death certificate, even if the patient had not been tested.

Catalonia makes face masks mandatory in public

Spain's Catalonia region has made it compulsory for all residents and visitors to wear face coverings in public at all times.
To help enforce the measure, which is due to come into effect on Thursday, masks and other protective equipment will be distributed across Catalonia, the region's President Quim Torra said today.
"Masks will be mandatory all over Catalonia, not just in the Segrià region... I think it's an important measure," Mr Torra said.
The region recently reimposed a number of coronavirus controls following a sharp rise in infections, including a local lockdown in Segrià, a district west of Barcelona.
Police checkpoints were installed to enforce the lockdown there.
Catalonia is one of the Spanish regions worst affected by coronavirus.

Travellers from Spain and Serbia must quarantine - Sturgeon

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that people returning to Scotland from Spain and Serbia will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Last week the UK government announced that quarantine in England would not be required for passengers returning from either Spain or Serbia.
But Ms Sturgeon said she would not lift the quarantine requirement while the prevalence of coronavirus in Spain and Serbia was higher than Scotland.
She stressed it would not be possible for travellers to avoid quarantine in Scotland by flying into an English airport and then travelling to Scotland, because Scottish health officials will have the details of those who are travelling back into the UK.
However, quarantine in Scotland will not be required for passengers travelling from 57 other countries and territories listed by the UK government.
The new arrangements will come into affect on Friday.

Any new lockdown will be targeted - French PM

Hugh Schofield - BBC News, Paris
We reported earlier that France's new Prime Minister Jean Castex had ruled out a new national lockdown in the event of a resurgence of coronavirus in the country.
Mr Castex, who before taking over as head of government last week was in charge of co-ordinating France's strategy of lifting the lockdown, said that the cost of another complete lockdown would be too high.
"Yes a [new lockdown] plan is ready," he told France's RMC radio, in answer to a question about a possible second wave.
"But we are not going to do it as we did it in March. For one thing we have learned a lot. But also, a total [lockdown] would have terrible consequences. So [any measures] will be targeted."
The latest weekly bulletin from the French health ministry described the virus as circulating at "low levels", with the number of new clusters stable and no sign of a resurgence.
The latest daily death count in hospitals is 13.
However, two overseas territories - French Guyana and the Indian ocean island of Mayotte - are still reporting high levels of circulation. Mr Castex said he will visit Guyana this weekend.

Bolsonaro's cabinet gets tested in Brazil

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US Ambassador Todd Chapman (left) and Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo have come into contact with Mr Bolsonaro

Ministers who have recently had contact with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro are being tested for coronavirus after he announced that he was infected.
Mr Bolsonaro, who had developed a high temperature and a cough, said on Tuesday that he was already feeling better.
He posted a video on social media of himself taking the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine - an anti-malarial treatment championed by US President Donald Trump.
Studies of the drug early in the pandemic raised hopes, but a subsequent larger trial showed it was ineffective.
He told reporters that he was feeling "very well" and removed his mask so they could "look at my face".

UK food factory to hold talks over staff safety concerns

A food factory in the UK that has seen 289 confirmed cases of coronavirus among its workers is meeting union representatives on Wednesday after staff said they did not feel safe.
Concerns were raised at the weekend when some workers at Rowan Foods in Wrexham told BBC Wales they had been working on site while they await their test results.
The Unite union's regional organiser, Dave Griffiths, said: "We are still being told by some of the workers that they are scared to go to work."
He added that the union wanted clarification on sick pay arrangements.
Rowan Foods has been paying statutory sick pay to workers who have had to self-isolate because of the virus, raising concerns that many were reluctant to take time off because they could not afford to lose the money.
The company previously said that from 1 June "no one will be financially disadvantaged by doing the responsible thing and isolating where required".

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 14:45

Harvard and MIT sue US government

Two prestigious universities in the US are taking legal action against the government over an immigration rule they say will force international students to leave the country.
Under the rule, introduced by the Trump administration, foreign students would be barred from staying in the country if their colleges don't hold in-person classes this autumn. Much university teaching is shifting online during the pandemic.
Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - two of the highest-ranking universities in the world - have now asked a federal court to block the rule.
Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said in an email to the Harvard community: "We will pursue this case vigorously so that our international students - and international students at institutions across the country - can continue their studies without the threat of deportation."
Read the full story here

Analysis: What did we know about asymptomatic transmission?

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
Boris Johnson told Prime Minister’s Questions earlier: “The one thing that nobody knew early on during this pandemic was that the virus was being passed asymptomatically from person to person.”
The PM made the claim after being accused of trying to shift the blame for coronavirus deaths onto care homes .
But the question of asymptomatic transmission has actually been a concern since the very beginning of the pandemic.
Chinese officials were talking about it on 26 January and I reported on it at the time.
This was big news, as it immediately meant coronavirus would be much harder to contain.
Documents from the UK government’s own science advisors on 4 February stated that “asymptomatic transmission cannot be ruled out” .
There are still uncertainties, as it is harder to study how the virus spreads when people are not obviously sick.
And there are likely differences between people who are pre-symptomatic (infected and still healthy, but about to become ill), pauci-symptomatic (technically ill, but with symptoms so mild they may think they’re fine) and true asymptomatic (people who have the virus, but never become ill).

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 15:53

Diners to be offered 50% discount on restaurant bills

Earlier, we mentioned the announcement that diners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August in an attempt to bolster the embattled sector.
Unveiling the deal, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the UK was facing a "unique moment" because of Covid-19, adding: "We need to be creative."
Pubs and restaurants reopened on Saturday after more than three months in lockdown.
The new deal means people can get up to £10 off per head if they eat out between Monday and Wednesday in August.
The discount will not apply to alcohol, but to food and soft drinks up to £10 per person.
The Confederation of British Industry welcomed the announcement, adding that restaurants and pubs have been especially hit by lockdown.
"Targeted support to drive demand, will help keep people in jobs and businesses alive," the group tweeted.
Read more.

Could the WHO face a funding crunch after US pullout?

Reality Check
More on the US move to start withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO).
David Nabarro, the WHO special envoy for Covid-19, says the US decision to leave will hit the body's finances.
Dr Nabarro told the BBC the WHO is "underfunded."
WHO gets its money from mandatory and voluntary contributions, paid both by member states and a wide range of private bodies.
The US was due to cover more than 20% of the organisation's mandatory contributions in 2020 - none of which has been paid.
The WHO has outstanding balances from many other member states too. As of 30 June, it had received less than 60% of its mandatory contributions for this year.
But it could be the voluntary contributions that really matter, as the figures for 2018 show they made up the vast majority of WHO funding.
These payments amounted to more than $2bn in that year. The US was the biggest contributor, paying around 12%. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made up another 10% of voluntary funding.
Voluntary contributions have become increasingly important over the years, and they could become more so as the US pulls out.

Death toll in England rises by 42

A further 42 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals in England to 28,969, NHS England has said.
Patients were aged between 22 and 100 years old. Six patients, aged between 60 and 94, had no known underlying health conditions.

If you're just joining us...

Good morning if you're reading this from the US, good afternoon to our readers in the UK and Europe, and good evening if you're joining us from Asia.
It's been a busy day so far. To help you catch up, here are the main headlines.

  • The US has registered more than 60,000 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours - a record high figure for the country. It comes as California and Texas each reported more than 10,000 new daily cases
  • Meanwhile, elite universities Harvard and MIT are suing the US government over an immigration rule that would force international students to leave the country if their colleges don't hold in-person classes in autumn
  • In the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a package of measures aimed at combating some of the economic damage caused by the virus. This includes a £2bn ($2.52bn) "kickstart scheme" to create jobs for young people, a six-month cut in Value Added Tax on hospitality and tourism from 20% to 5%, and discounts for diners when they eat out - branded the "Eat Out to Help Out" deal
  • Brazilian ministers who've recently come into contact with President Jair Bolsonaro are being tested for coronavirus, after he announced he had tested positive yesterday. Bolsonaro insisted he was already feeling "fine", and posted a video online of himself taking the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine
  • France's new Prime Minister Jean Castex has ruled out imposing another national lockdown if there's a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the country
  • Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, has now gone into lockdown again after a surge in cases
  • A 32-year-old man with Covid-19 is facing charges in New Zealand for escaping quarantine at a hotel in Auckland, going shopping and taking selfies in a nearby supermarket
  • China has criticised the US's withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the decision will have grave implications for developing countries
  • Mumbai has become the first city in India to open up coronavirus testing to everyone. It's one of the country's virus hotspots, with about 86,500 cases
  • There have now been more than 11.8m cases and almost 545,000 deaths worldwide, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University

Brazil’s Bolsonaro pill video goes viral

Olga Robinson - Disinformation specialist, BBC Monitoring
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he's treating his Covid-19 infection with an unproven drug - and even swallowed a pill in a Facebook video that's gone viral.
The president, who for months downplayed the risks of the illness, said he had tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.
In a Facebook video that has become one of the platform's most shared posts, he said he was treating his illness with hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that has been the subject of a lot of speculation - but so far has not been proven effective against the virus.

While admitting that the drug had not been scientifically proven, he said "with all certainty" that it was working for him, and that he was feeling better. There were no doctors or medical professionals present in the frame.
In March, Twitter and Facebook deleted a video of Bolsonaro endorsing hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment, saying it violated their misinformation policies. The anti-malarial drug received global attention after being championed by US President Donald Trump.
The BBC has contacted Facebook for comment.
Despite some early studies which raised hopes, one subsequent larger-scale trial indicated that it's not effective as a treatment.
The BBC’s Reality Check team has detailed what we know about the drug .

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 16:37

Romania hit with record new infections

Coronavirus - 8th July 5f695310
Romania's capital, Bucharest, is one of the country's worst affected cities

Romania has reported its highest daily number of infections since the country's first case of coronavirus was confirmed.
The record tally of 555 new cases over a 24-hour period brings Romania's total to 30,175 infections, the government said today.
The last time the number of confirmed daily infections breached 500 was on 11 April, when 523 cases were reported.
Since Romania's first infections were announced on 26 February, 1,817 people have died in the country.
It comes as the Netherlands and Austria adopt new coronavirus measures against countries in the Balkans in response to rising infections there.
The Dutch government shut the borders again to people from Serbia and Montenegro, while Austria has warned against travel to Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova.

2020 Ryder Cup postponed due to coronavirus

The Ryder Cup has become the latest sporting event to be postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The golf competition between the United States and Europe was due to take place this year at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, on 25-27 September.
It has now been rescheduled for 24-26 September 2021.
Professional men's golf in the US has resumed behind closed doors but players say the biennial event should not go ahead without fans .
The Olympics and Wimbledon are just some of the other sporting events that were unable to take place this year due to the pandemic.

Melbourne gets in last round before lockdown

Melbourne is now officially in lockdown, again, for six weeks, after a surge in cases of coronavirus.
People in the city, where it's now the early hours of 9 July, are barred from leaving their homes other than in very specific circumstances, such as work, exercise and shopping for food.
Schools will largely return to distance learning and restaurants will only be permitted to serve takeaway food, although hairdressers will remain open.
Before heading indoors for a month and a half, many Melburnians went out for dinner and drinks, while others had their friends over for a final hurrah.

South Africa records 10,000 new cases in 24 hours

Pumza Fihlani - BBC News, Johannesburg
South Africa now has the 14th highest number of Covid-19 infections globally and officials are concerned it is spreading rapidly.
More than 10,000 new infections and 192 deaths were recorded over the last 24 hours.
The Western Cape has the most cases currently, with just over 72,000 infections.
But Guateng, the country’s economic hub, is set to become the new epicentre of the disease in the next few days.
Prof Salim Abdool Karim, chairperson of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, said the virus was spreading fastest in Gauteng for two reasons:
The province has the highest traffic of foreign and domestic employees, and Gauteng also has the highest population density.
Although the re-opening of more industries is deemed necessary to save the economy, the government has asked South Africans to continue taking precautions to help slow down the spread of the virus.
At least 3,470 people in South Africa have died from the disease.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 8th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 08 2020, 20:15

Round-up of UK chancellor's statement

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered a statement to the Commons, announcing a package of measures aimed at combating the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Here is a brief overview of his announcements:

  • A plan to keep furloughed workers in their jobs when the scheme ends in October. If employers keep workers in their jobs until January 2021 they will get a £1,000 bonus per employee
  • A £2bn "kickstart scheme" to create more jobs for young people. The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment
  • A temporary stamp duty holiday, exempting the first £500,000 of all property sales from the tax
  • A temporary cut in VAT on hospitality and tourism, to 5% from 20%, for the next six months
  • Diners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August. The 'Eat Out to Help Out' deal means people can get up to £10 off per head if they eat out between Monday and Wednesday
  • A £3bn green package, with grants for homeowners and public buildings to improve energy efficiency
  • New payments for businesses hiring apprentices

UK coronavirus death toll rises by 126 to 44,517

The UK death toll for those who have tested positive for coronavirus has risen by 126 to 44,517, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.
The below charts show the figures - and trends in the numbers - in more detail.
Coronavirus - 8th July Cea19810

US passes 3m coronavirus cases

The number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the United States has officially passed 3 million, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
More than 131,000 people in the US have now died with Covid-19.

Nigeria resumes domestic flights

Ishaq Khalid - BBC News, Abuja
Domestic passenger flights have resumed in Nigeria more than three months after they were suspended as part of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Airports in the capital Abuja and the commercial hub Lagos have begun operating again, while other airports across the country will follow in the coming days.
A number of measures have been put in place to check the spread of the coronavirus - including disinfecting passengers‘ luggage and footwear, mandatory wearing of face mask at airports, washing of hands before entry into the terminal building and social distancing.
Authorities also say only passengers are allowed into the terminal building and they must arrive at least three hours before their flight.
The reopening of the airports for domestic flights is part of the gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions to help bring the economy back to life.
However, international flights remain suspended until further notice.
The number of coronavirus cases in Nigeria continues to rise sharply daily.
The country has recorded 29,879 cases of the virus, 12,108 recoveries and 669 deaths.

University to charter plane for Chinese students

Queen's University in Belfast has chartered a jumbo jet to take hundreds of students from China to Northern Ireland.
The September flight is strictly for Queen's students travelling to the university, with flights priced at £616 one way.
Chinese students offer a vital source of income at a time when Covid-19 has triggered fears about huge losses across the higher education sector.
"With international travel badly impacted by the pandemic, and with many people still wary of travelling via London and other major airports, flying students from China to Belfast is seen as reassuring to both students and their families, while helping reduce fuss and anxiety levels for those making the trip," the university said in a statement on its website. Students will have to take a Covid-19 test 48 hours before departure in order to board the Boeing 777. Depending on government guidance in September, students will be transported to Queen's accommodation for quarantine if required.
Read more.

Serb president backtracks on weekend curfew plans

Guy Delauney - BBC News, Belgrade
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says it is unlikely there will be a long-weekend curfew in Belgrade. It follows overnight protests in the capital after he announced a possible lockdown.
Mr Vucic says the final decision will be made tomorrow by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar.
He asked protesters to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus - and blamed right-wing extremists for the violent scenes at the National Assembly. Opposition parties had announced plans for another protest this evening.
Serbia has reported 341 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

The difference between droplet and airborne transmission

The Visual and Data Journalism Team
The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged there is "emerging evidence" that Covid-19 could be spread through particles in the air.
It comes after more than 200 scientists wrote an open letter to the agency urging officials to recognise the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus.
Current guidelines from the WHO focus on the virus being spread primarily through droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.
So what is the difference between droplet and airborne transmission? We've produced this graphic to show you.
Coronavirus - 8th July 5ba0c010

Texas set to resume executions amid pandemic

Texas is set to resume executions on Wednesday after a five month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the state.
Billy Joe Wardlow, 45, is to be put to death for the the robbery and murder of a 82-year-old man in 1993, when he was 18.
On Tuesday, Texas broke its single day record with over 10,000 new infections.
Texas is not the first state to resume executions after suspending them amid virus lockdowns across the country. Missouri executed a prisoner on 19 May.
Read the full story here .

A look back at today's main developments

We'll soon be suspending our live page coverage for the day.
Here is a round-up of today's biggest developments from the UK and around the globe:

  • UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures aimed at combating the economic damage caused by the coronavirus. He announced a cut in VAT on hospitality, a stamp duty holiday and a £1,000 bonus to employers who keep staff employed when the job retention scheme ends, among other things. Read more here

  • Those fancying a meal out also got a welcome boost in the chancellor's emergency plan, with diners set to get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August. The "eat out to help out" deal will allow people to get up to £10 off per head if they eat out between Monday and Wednesday
  • The US has passed three million confirmed cases of coronavirus, as infections continue to surge in a number of states. However, VP Mike Pence has said the latest wave of cases is flattening out
  • Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, has gone back into lockdown , after a surge in cases locally. Residents will now only be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, including food shopping and exercise, for six weeks
  • Ministers who have had contact with Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, over the past days are getting tested for coronavirus . Mr Bolsonaro announced on Tuesday that he had tested positive after developing a high temperature and a cough
  • The Ryder Cup has become the latest sporting event to be postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic
  • Dozens of police and protesters have been hurt in riots that broke out outside the National Assembly in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. The protests began peacefully on Tuesday evening and included students and families angered by a move to reimpose a weekend curfew because of a rise in coronavirus infections

That's it from us

We're now pausing our live coverage for the day and will be back tomorrow. Thanks for joining us.

Here's a list of those who contributed to the live page today.
Our writers included: Frances Mao, Aparna Allurri, Andreas Illmer, Mal Siret, Ashitha Nagesh, Victoria Lindrea, Toby Luckhurst and Alex Therrien.
The editors for the page throughout the day were Owen Amos, Paul Kirby, Sean Fanning, Sarah Collerton and Claudia Allen.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:47