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Coronavirus - 18th July

Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 10:41

Summary for Saturday, 18th July


  • President Trump rejects mandatory masks: "I want people to have a certain freedom"
  • Top US infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci says everyone should use them
  • UN Secretary General António Guterres has criticised the world’s biggest powers for failing to work together to tackle the pandemic
  • PM Boris Johnson gives English councils new powers to manage local outbreaks
  • Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is taken to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19
  • Iran's president says 25 million Iranians have already been infected by Covid-19
  • 4 million people in Barcelona in north-east Spain are urged to stay at home for 15 days
  • Globally there have been 14.1 million cases since the outbreak began, with 602,657 deaths


Good morning and welcome to our live updates of the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ll be bringing you news from the UK and around the world.
Here are the latest headlines:

  • US President Donald Trump has vowed not to make Americans wear masks. His remarks came as top disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said everyone should be using them.
  • Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter have been taken to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week . Aishwarya's husband Abhishek and father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan, both also famous actors, have been in hospital since Saturday with the virus
  • Councils in England now have new powers to close shops, cancel events and shut outdoor spaces to manage local outbreaks of the virus
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for an urgent review into covid death data in England after Public Health England confirmed reported deaths may have included people months before they died
  • Spain's second city, Barcelona, has urged four million residents to stay at home as the north-eastern region of Catalonia sees a surge in infections


Councils in England have new powers to manage local outbreaks

Councils in England have new powers to close shops, cancel events and shut outdoor public spaces in order to manage local outbreaks of the virus.
The Local Government Association (LGA) hopes the move will avoid the need for stricter local lockdown measures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the additional powers would allow local authorities to “act more quickly in response to outbreaks where speed is paramount” in what he called “lightning lockdowns”.
Leicester, the first city to see a localised lockdown, will see some easing in measures from 24 July.
Read more here

Trump says no to US mask mandate

President Donald Trump has vowed not to order Americans to wear masks to contain the spread of coronavirus.
He told Fox News on Friday that he didn’t agree with a national mask mandate, saying people should have a “certain freedom”.
His comments came after Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, urged state and local leaders to be “as forceful as possible” in getting people to wear masks.
A number of states, including those with Republican governors, have ordered the wearing of masks outdoors be mandatory.
Trump was pictured last weekend wearing a mask after previously resisting.
Read more here


UN secretary general criticises nations for not working together

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António Guterres criticised rich countries for not doing enough to help poorer nations during the pandemic

The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, has strongly criticised the world’s biggest powers for failing to work together to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, he said the relationship between the US, China and Russia had never been so dysfunctional. "We are now in a world that is no longer bi-polar but it is not yet multi-polar. It is chaotic in many aspects. Unfortunately this lack of mutual understanding, this competition among the largest powers, is a major fragility for the UN, but I would say for the world in general."
Guterres called for the Security Council to find solutions to ease conflicts taking place around the globe - in Libya, Syrian, Yemen and Afghanistan.
And he criticised rich countries for not doing enough to help out poorer nations during the pandemic.
He said the world’s nations should back a “people’s vaccine” made available and affordable to all. "We will not be safe in the pandemic if everybody is not safe."
Guterres was speaking ahead of a lecture for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Residents of Barcelona urged to stay home

Some 4 million people are being asked to stay home for the next 15 days across the capital of Catalonia in north-east Spain.
It's not a lockdown as such, as it's not mandatory, but it affects 13 cities in the Barcelona metropolitan area, as well as residents in La Noguera and Segrià.
The Catalan government reported 1,111 cases on Friday in the space of just 24 hours. The neighbouring city of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat was already under restrictions, including reduced access to bars and restaurants as the outbreak spread.
"We must take a step back to avoid returning in coming weeks to a total lockdown of the population," said regional government spokeswoman Meritxell Budo.

US continues to record high number of infections

The US has now recorded more than 3.6 million cases of the virus and more than 139,000 people have died.
Daily cases continue to remain high in the country, with confirmed infections on Friday surpassing 70,000.
Some of the worst-hit states include Texas, Florida and Arizona.
Texas recorded 174 deaths on Friday, the most in one day since the pandemic began there.
Officials on the Texas-Mexico state border say hotels in the area could be converted into medical units by next week.
Public schools in the state have been given permission to keep their campuses closed well into autumn.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced strict criteria for school reopenings which means it is very unlikely that many students will return to classrooms in autumn.

Twenty-five million Iranians already infected - Rouhani

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that infections could spike in the next 150 days

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said 25 million Iranians have already been infected by coronavirus and another 35 million are at risk.
Basing his statistics on a health ministry report, he warned the country would need twice as many beds. Until now, the official number of infections was 269,440.
Rouhani said: “If today we base ourselves on this report, which says that 25 million of the population in our country have been infected and that presumably the rest of our population, about 30 to 35 million more will contract it in the coming months, the same report predicts that the number of those hospitalised in the coming months is expected to be double the number we have seen in the past 150 days.”
Rouhani said about 14,000 people had died from the virus and 200,000 had been admitted to hospital in the past 150 days, according to the report.

Australia delays opening of parliament

The opening of parliament in Australia has been delayed by several weeks due to the spread of the virus in the country’s two most populous states.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked the speaker of the parliament to cancel a two-week session which was due to begin on 4 August.
The next meeting is planned for 24 August.
In a written statement, Morrison said: “The government cannot ignore the risk to parliamentarians, their staff, the staff within the parliament and the broader community.”
Victoria and New South Wales are currently experiencing a surge in cases.
On Saturday New South Wales recorded 15 more cases while Victoria saw 217 new infections.
Kitkat
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 10:54

Restrictions in England to ease in 'significant return to normality' - PM

There's been a mixed business response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that restrictions in England will ease further under plans for a “significant return to normality” by Christmas.
Under the new guidelines, people may now use public transport for journeys.
From 1 August companies will have more discretion to bring staff back to workplaces if it is safe to do so.
According to the Financial Times, business groups have welcomed the intervention after days of mixed messages about home-working. But the Guardian says business leaders are unhappy the onus is being placed on employers to decide if their staff can safely return to the office.
Read more here

Return to pre-lockdown life 'a long way off' - UK epidemiologist

A member of the UK government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has told the BBC a return to pre-lockdown life is "a long way off".
On Friday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a "roadmap" for a return to "normality" by Christmas as part of an easing of the lockdown in England.
Mr Johnson said it was his "sincere hope" the remaining restrictions could be reviewed in November, at the earliest, and possibly dropped by Christmas.
But Prof John Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "If what you mean by normality is what we used to do until February and the middle of March this year - go to work normally, travel on the buses and trains, go on holiday without restrictions, meet friends, shake hands, hug each other and so on - that's a long way off, unfortunately."
"We won't be able to do that until we are immune to the virus, which means until we have a vaccine that is proven safe and effective," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"If we return to those sort of normal behaviours the virus will come back very fast."

'Social distancing rules remain in place on English transport'

Coronavirus - 18th July 51f49610

On Friday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrapped the advice for people to avoid public transport in England, as part of an easing of lockdown measures.
This morning, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said social distancing rules remained in force on public transport, but there was still capacity for more travellers.
"There's a lot of space on our public transport right now," he said.
"It's probably being used less than 20%, and there's capacity even with social distancing which is now, of course, one metre plus with mitigating factors like face coverings.
"We don't have, right now, an issue with capacity on our railway and we can take a lot more people than we are at the moment."
But is it safe to use public transport? Read our piece on the issue here .

Workplaces must be Covid-secure - UK transport secretary

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Grant Shapps said he expected employers and employees to "work sensibly together"

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said employers need to make sure workplaces are Covid-safe for employees to return to work.
He was responding to concerns people may have about returning to workplaces, particularly those who may have been shielding.
Shapps told BBC Breakfast: "We absolutely expect and ask employers and employees to work sensibly together - there's full employee protection in place.
"The Heath and Safety Executive would certainly have something to say if they are not using all of the guidelines.
"How do we get people to feel comfortable? And of course, the ultimate answer to that is to continue fighting this virus, and make sure that the reproduction rate continues to stay low and continues to decline so the issue is effectively resolved through fighting the virus."
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 11:12

Elbow bumps and bows: masked EU leaders start physically distanced summit
The Guardian
The leaders of EU27 countries wore face masks as they greeted each other with elbow bumps, nods, bows and some variations at a summit to thrash out a deal on a multibillion coronavirus recovery fund for the bloc's economies.
There were birthday gifts for the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who turned 66, and the Portuguese prime minister, António Costa, who turned 59



EU leaders discuss compromise on Covid recovery deal

And they're off. EU leaders are meeting in Brussels for a second day in an attempt to agree to a multi-billion euro recovery package.
Coronavirus - 18th July 15cba610
The leaders of (L-R) Germany, France, Sweden and Finland were locked in conversation as the summit resumed

The initial plan, on top of a 7-year EU budget of over €1 trillion, was to have a recovery fund of €750bn (£670bn) made up of grants and loans. And €500bn of it would be made up of financial grants. But a small group of so-called "frugal" states led by the Netherlands are unhappy with the scale of the grants and want them linked to major reforms.
So, the head of the European Council, Charles Michel - apparently backed by France and Germany - has come up with a compromise to lower the amount handed out in grants and subsidies from €500bn to €450bn, reports say. There are other sweeteners for the frugal states, such as increased rebates from the money they pay into the main budget, Reuters reports.
  tweet  Barend Leyts:
:Left Quotes:  Day 2 of #EUCO starts with meeting of @eucopresident with Chancellor Merkel @RegSprecher and @EmmanuelMacron @MinPres @sanchezcastejon @GiuseppeConteIT and @vonderleyen before plenary later today.
Coronavirus - 18th July Edmy_s10
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 11:18

Leeds fans celebrate promotion - despite plea to stay home

Leeds supporters gathered outside the club's stadium to celebrate their return to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years.
Leeds' owner Andrea Radrizzani and the police had urged fans to stay at home.
Under social distancing guidelines, people in England should keep a distance of at least 1m while observing precautions to reduce the risk of coronavirus .
Below are some images from the celebrations.
And you can read more here.
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New spike in cases in Belgium

Belgium has recorded 261 cases in the past 24 hours, as the country sees a new spike in cases.
The daily average, calculated over seven days has jumped to 127.4, an increase of 46% on the previous seven days, and the downward trend in hospital admissions appears to have stopped, public health officials say.
The reproduction rate between 11 July to 17, is between 0.84 and 1.3. Its value must remain below one for the pandemic to decrease. Elsewhere:

  • Russia has recorded 6,234 cases and 124 deaths over the past 24 hours, with Moscow reporting some of the highest numbers.The death toll in Russia now stands at 12,247 and the number of overall infections has reached more than 765,437 cases
  • Germany has recorded another 529 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 201,372 with 9,083 Covid-19-related deaths.


More than 140 released prisoners housed in hotels during lockdown

Danny Shaw - BBC Home Affairs Correspondent
More than 140 prisoners have been housed in hotels and B&Bs after being released during the Covid-19 lockdown.
They include six offenders who have been freed from their sentences early to relieve overcrowding and reduce the risk of infection in jails.
A letter to hotel owners, seen by BBC News, said they would not be told the crime the prisoner had committed, though the government insisted the offenders had been subject to "strict vetting".
The government said hotels were used only as a "last resort".
All offenders due for release are "thoroughly risk assessed", the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) added.
It said 304 former inmates let out on their scheduled release date have been provided with housing, 136 of whom have been put up in hotels or bed and breakfast accommodation.
Read more .
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 12:33

Reassurance for UK travellers over cancelled holiday refunds

Coronavirus - 18th July 05369110

Holidaymakers who were given refund credit notes, rather than cash, for their cancelled package holiday are being reassured their money is safe.
The authorities have clarified that these refund promises are guaranteed - even if the travel company which provided them goes bust.
They are distinct from holiday vouchers, which do not have the same protection.
The Civil Aviation Authority said the Department for Transport had provided "much-needed clarity" by confirming that such cases will be covered by the industry insurance fund Atol, which covers payments in the event of a firm failing.
The guarantee applies to Atol holders operating within the UK.
Anyone whose package holiday is cancelled has the right to a full cash refund.
Read more.

Chinese province launches emergency response after 16 new cases

Authorities in Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang province, have launched an emergency response plan after the city confirmed 16 new cases on Friday.
As of July, 17 coronavirus cases have been reported plus 11 asymptomatic cases. A further 269 people are under observation, according to Reuters news agency.
According to state-run Global Times, several residential areas were put under “sealed off management” at midnight on Thursday. It spoke with a resident who said people were free to move around the area but had to wear a mask.
The city’s subway system was also shut on Thursday.
More than 600 flights at Urumqi Diwopu International Airport were cancelled on Friday.
Rui Baoling, head of the disease control and prevention centre in Urumqi, told state media: “The epidemic situation is generally controllable.”

Hospital head warns of ‘tsunami’ of infections in Romania

Stephen McGrath, Romania
A hospital manager in Timisoara in western Romania has warned of a pending "tsunami" of infections as the country sees three record highs in a row.
Over the past three days Romania has confirmed 777, 799, and 889 new Covid-19 cases respectively - almost double that of pre-lockdown highs.
The situation may have been exacerbated by a controversial ruling by Romania’s Constitutional Court last month that authorities do not have the power to impose quarantine, hospitalisation, or isolation measures on individuals. That prompted some 900 people infected with Covid-19 to discharge themselves from hospital.
Coronavirus - 18th July E9a7ef10
Romanians have taken part in protests against Covid-19 restrictions but cases are surging

President Klaus Iohannis today signed an amended quarantine law that says infected people can be medically monitored for 48 hours maximum, after which a doctor will determine whether a patient can be discharged.
A strict lockdown in March helped prevent a dramatic spread of the virus. But as restrictions have been eased infections are rising rapidly.
Head of Emergency Situations,Raed Arafat has said some hospitals in the capital Bucharest have run out of intensive care beds. Almost 2,000 people have now died from coronavirus in Romania.

World facing 'staggering' jobs challenge - Microsoft president

Simon Jack - BBC Business Editor
The world is facing a staggering jobs challenge, with a quarter of a billion people set to lose their job this year, the president of Microsoft has said.
Brad Smith says millions will need to learn new skills to get jobs, or even to hang on to their old one, as the digitisation of economies races ahead.
read more here .

Australian clothing brand fined for 'anti-virus activewear'

Australian clothing company Lorna Jane has been fined more than $39,000 (£21,703, $27,276) for alleged unlawful advertising in relation to the coronavirus.
It had advertised “anti-virus activewear” that prevents against infectious diseases.
Lorna Jane said its products contained LJ Shield, a “chemical-free treatment that when applied to activewear, protects wearers against viruses and bacteria”.
Professor John Skerritt, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health, said: "This kind of advertising could have detrimental consequences for the Australian community, creating a false sense of security and leading people to be less vigilant about hygiene and social distancing."
A spokesperson for Lorna Jane said that they had not intended to mislead anyone.
“We are not trying to profiteer in any way on the fear around Covid-19 because we were developing this and working with our partners on this before the outbreak ,” they said in a statement.
"Our testing shows that LJ Shield is an important part of stopping the spread of both bacteria and viral infections and should be used in combination with other precautionary measures such as face masks and thorough and frequent hand washing."
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 14:18

Lunchtime UK round-up

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Boris Johnson has said it is his "sincere hope" remaining lockdown restrictions can be reviewed as early as November

Hello to those of you who are joining us this lunchtime in the UK. Here's a recap of some of the biggest UK coronavirus stories.


Panama extends suspension of international flights

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Panama has reported 51,408 total cases and 1,038 deaths

Panama’s civil aviation authority is extending its suspension of international flights by a month due to the virus.
The extension will begin from 22 July according to the civil aviation authority.
Flights were initially suspended in March.
Panama has reported 51,408 total cases and 1,038 deaths.

Is it safe to sing yet?

David Sillito - Media and Arts correspondent
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The spread of aerosols is being measured scientifically

You've heard of songs being catchy before - but never like this...
It is a strange sight. The room is a particle-free operating theatre, filled with computers and hi-tech sensors. Everyone is wearing medical scrubs, masks and protective equipment and in the middle is a man playing Happy Birthday on a trombone.
These are the scientists and musicians trying to work out how dangerous it is to allow singing and playing instruments in public in terms of the spread of coronavirus.
Read more.
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 14:26

Latest headlines from around the world

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said 25 million Iranians had been infected

Here are the latest headlines from around the world:

  • US President Trump has said he will not mandate the use of masks . Speaking to Fox News, he said “I want people to have a certain freedom” - top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci says "we should be using them, everyone"
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said 25 million Iranians have already been infected by coronavirus and warned another 35 million are at risk, citing a study by the health ministry
  • EU leaders are discussing a compromise deal on a €750bn Covid recovery fund - it would mean a lower amount in direct cash grants and the Dutch say it's a "serious step in the right direction"
  • Belgium has recorded 261 cases in the past 24 hours - that's an increase of 46% on the daily average during the previous week
  • Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been admitted to hospital , along with her daughter, after they both tested positive for the virus earlier this week
  • United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has strongly criticised the world’s biggest powers for failing to work together to tackle the coronavirus crisis


India sees new surge in cases

We've been reporting in the past few hours about Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan being admitted to hospital with her daughter, days after contracting Covid-19.
Their cases are part of a surge in infections across India, which has today recorded another 34,884 infections in the past 24 hours. In that one-day period alone, 671 deaths have been reported that are linked to coronavirus. This graphic shows how India is faring in comparison with other countries seeing a surge in infections.
Coronavirus - 18th July 08bad210

A number of states have placed high-risk areas under lockdown - including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.
As far as the Bachchan family are concerned, the PTI news agency reports that they are all responding well to treatment. As well as Aishwarya and her daughter being in hospital, the actress's husband Abhishek and father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan are also being treated.

Shapps becomes first UK minister to commit to holiday abroad

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Grant Shapps has become the first senior politician in the UK government to declare he is taking a summer holiday abroad this year.
The transport secretary told the BBC he and his wife, Belinda, had decided to take advantage of the relaxation of Foreign Office guidance on non-essential overseas travel.

Most California schools will not open for the new term

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A sign on a Los Angeles freeway reminds people to wash their hands

The governor of California has announced executive orders that will prohibit the majority of the state’s schools from holding in-person classes in autumn due to the pandemic.
When they do open, Gavin Newsom said, students and teachers will be required to wear masks and follow other safety measures.
Political battles are taking place across the US over whether schools should open again in August and September.
President Donald Trump has threatened to cut funding to schools that refuse to open their doors.
Meanwhile, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway refused to say on Friday whether Trump’s 14-year-old son, Barron, will return to school in Maryland in autumn.
“That’s a personal decision,” she told reporters. “I don’t know what Barron’s school has decided and I certainly do not know what the first couple has decided with respect to their teenage son who I believe is entering high school this year.”
The US is suffering a major surge in new cases of the coronavirus, with south-western states worst affected. Texas has just recorded its largest number of deaths from Covid-19 in a single day since the start of the pandemic - 174.
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 14:32

Scottish pub-goers warned not to 'drop their guard'

As Scotland enjoys its first weekend of indoor drinking in pubs since March, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a plea: "Let's not drop our guard now."
She said the nation's "collective sacrifices" have helped to get the virus under control and urged the public to "keep it up" .
Scotland has only recorded one death from coronavirus in the last 10 days, and yesterday only 17 new cases were recorded.
Pubs opened their beer gardens last weekend, but this is the first time they have been able to welcome customers inside since lockdown began.
Anti-virus precautions must be in place and customers are asked to provide their name and phone number for contact tracing.

EU leaders struggle to agree on Covid package

Gavin Lee - BBC Europe reporter
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EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have been trying to reach a deal

The mood in the room is said to have improved significantly today from the “crusty, tired and irritable“ atmosphere last night.
That’s according to the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who told reporters that he felt lonely with other leaders keener for compromise.
The rest walked out at midnight, masks on, without talking to the press.
The main issue is the plan to raise €500bn (£455bn, $571bn) to then be given out as grants for countries worst affected by Covid-19, such as Italy and Spain.
The Dutch want strict conditions attached, including the right for one country to veto a request for cash from another member state.
The Bulgarian prime minister Bokyo Borissov is said to have called Mark Rutte “the policeman of Europe”.
This afternoon a new plan is on the table, a proposal to reduce the total grants to €450bn (£409bn, $514bn) and allow countries to come forward if they have objections… but ruling out a veto.
The Dutch have described this as a serious step in the right direction.
One EU source said she expects leaders to go through plenty more “face masks and hand gel, if there’s to be any white smoke”.

What's happening with England's virus statistics?

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has ordered a review of England's coronavirus death statistics

Officials said yesterday that they were pausing publication of the coronavirus death statistics after Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered an urgent review into how they were calculated .
But Public Health England has just confirmed that the public will still be able to find out the daily numbers, just as before.
It says it will continue to update the coronavirus dashboard with the latest figures on the number of confirmed cases and the newly recorded deaths each day.
The Department for Health and Social Care will no longer link to the dashboard in social media posts when it is updated each day. And a page on the DHSC's website which used to carry the latest data now says "not available".
The review was prompted by confirmation that PHE may have included the deaths of people who died months after a positive Covid-19 test as coronavirus deaths. Other countries' statistics only include people who have died 28 days after a positive test.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 15:17

Further 13 hospital deaths in England, none in Scotland, Wales

A further 13 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,173.
Patients were aged between 49 and 96 years old and all had known underlying health conditions, NHS England said.
Scotland and Wales both reported no new deaths. Northern Ireland has not yet published its new figures.
Separate UK-wide figures - which are calculated differently - are expected to be released later.

Teachers protest against school openings in Arizona

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Teachers are protesting by writing slogans on their cars

Hundreds of teachers in the state of Arizona are protesting to demand that the beginning of face-to-face classes is pushed back until at least October.
Teachers wrote slogans on their cars such as “remote learning won’t kill us but Covid can” and drove around cities.
Arizona is one of the states that has seen a rise in cases in recent weeks. Latest data from Arizona’s Department of Public Health said hospitals’ intensive care capacity stood at 90% this week.
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Teachers are calling for in-person classes to begin in October

One teacher, who told Reuters her name was Brosius, said: “We don’t want any children to get this from us because, as a teacher, I don’t want to go to any of their funerals.”
She added that she was not prepared to send her own three children back to school.
Another motor march is planned for 22 July when protesters plan to drive around the state capitol and governor’s office.
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Arizona has seen a rise in cases in recent weeks



Paris Plages to look slightly different this year

It’s been running for 19 years but this year’s Paris Plages event is set to look a little different with masks recommended and no beach volleyball.
Usually, parts of the Seine are transformed into artificial beaches with lots of activities taking place.
However in a bid to avoid the spread of the virus, there will be no sand this year and individual sports such as Tai Chi will be on offer instead, according to Le Parisien.
Pétanque will be available but the balls will have to be disinfected after each use.
Mayor of Paris Anne Hildalgo has given a preview on her twitter page.
Paris Plages begins today and will last until 30 August.

Catalonia records 1,226 cases in 24 hours

The region of Catalonia in north-eastern Spain is seeing a sudden spike in cases. On Friday, four million people in Barcelona were asked to stay at home except for necessary trips.
Now, the region's health department says it has recorded another 1,226 cases over the last 24 hours.
Of those cases, 133 were in the Segrià region, 349 in the city of Barcelona, and 894 in the entire metropolitan area.
Earlier this month, Segrià, an agricultural area west of Barcelona with a population of 210,000 ,was put back under lockdown restrictions with people told they could not leave or enter.
The total number of cases in Catalonia since the pandemic began is now 81,932.
France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex said he was watching the situation in Spain very closely after being questioned on whether the borders could be closed again.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 16:29

How to 'eat out to help out' in the UK

The hospitality industry is starting to open up after 80% of venues closed in April
In just over two weeks, the UK government is offering a 50% discount on meals out to help revive the pub, restaurant and cafe trade.
The offer, up to a maximum of £10 off per person, runs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3 August until 31 August.
But how do you take advantage of the deal? You can find all the details – including where to find which places are participating once the details are published next week – in our guide here .

UN head: Pandemic reveals fragile skeleton of societies

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has given a lecture in London warning that Covid-19 is an "X-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built”.
He has called on world powers to work together towards a “new social contract” - and recognise that the fight against coronavirus isn’t over until all countries are free from it.
"We will not be safe in relation to the pandemic if everybody is not safe," he told the BBC earlier. If a successful vaccine was produced, he said it was essential it was made available to "everybody, everywhere" around the world.

Lockdown to go on in Greek migrant camps

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The refugee camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos will be on lockdown until 2 August

Greece has announced a further extension of a lockdown to its packed migrant camps as infections in the country increase.
The lockdown on camps began on 21 March and has been pushed back until 2 August "for the prevention of the dispersion of the coronavirus cases", the Migration ministry said.
There have been no reported deaths from Covid-19 in Greek migrant camps, which are currently home to more than 31,000 asylum seekers on five islands.
Meanwhile, across Greece, supermarket employees and customers must wear face masks as of Saturday.
Fines of €150 (£135) will be issued to those ignoring the rule.
With 194 coronavirus deaths, Greece has managed to avoid having any major outbreaks and reopened all its airports to international travel on 1 July, with UK flights resuming last Wednesday.
However, the average of new cases has risen to 35 per day, up from 25 earlier in the month.

Thai anti-government protesters defy ban on large gatherings

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Hundreds have defied a ban on large gatherings in Thailand to demand the resignation of the government and the dissolution of parliament.
Scuffles broke out between mainly young protesters and police in the capital Bangkok.
The Thai economy - which relies heavily on tourism and exports - is facing an unprecedented hit due to the pandemic.
This is adding to what was already rising anger towards the government of former army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha over a wide-range of issues.
These include the harassment and disappearance of government critics, as well as amendments to the constitution that critics say almost guaranteed victory for the ruling party in elections last year.
"The government doesn't care about us, so either we come out or we lose anyway," an 18-year-old student called Sang told the AFP news agency.
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New laws on local lockdowns next week, says UK PM

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The UK's first local lockdown, in Leicester, is due to be relaxed next week

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said new regulations allowing central government to impose local lockdowns will be published next week.
He said they will allow ministers, "where justified by the evidence", to close whole industries or types of business in an area, introduce local stay-at-home orders, stop people entering or leaving specific areas, reduce the maximum gathering size, or restrict local transport.
In a series of Twitter posts , Mr Johnson said the strategy of "targeted, local action" is "already working".
He pointed to outbreaks contained in Weston-super-Mare and Kirklees, work to tackle rising infections in Bradford and Blackburn, and the local lockdown in Leicester, which is due to be relaxed next week.
But he said new powers given to local councils today to rapidly tackle local outbreaks "will not always be sufficient".
The prime minister acknowledged that "it may seem unjust that people just a short distance away can live their lives closer to normal", but he said "there is no point shutting down a city in one part of the country to contain an outbreak in another part of the country".
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 18:33

Catalonia infections surge as Barcelona imposes restrictions

Spain's north-eastern region of Catalonia has seen another 1,226 cases of Covid-19 reported in the past 24 hours, as public health authorities try to halt the spread.
Restrictions on movement were brought back on Friday for four million people in the Barcelona area. They don't amount to a full lockdown, but residents are being urged to stay at home for the next 15 days.
This popular tourist city on the Med has now seen cinemas, theatres and nightclubs shut, with gatherings of more than 10 people banned.
The Catalan health department says in the past 24 hours 349 cases have been reported in Barcelona itself and 894 in the whole metropolitan area - the health regions of Barcelona north and south.
Asked whether France to the north was considering close the border, Prime Minister Jean Castex said he was monitoring the situation "very closely".

UK reports 40 new deaths amid concern over statistics

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The UK has recorded 40 new deaths in the last 24 hours and confirmed 827 new infections through Covid-19 testing.
The latest figures were published on the government's coronavirus dashboard despite concerns from Health Secretary Matt Hancock about the data from Public Health England.
Officials said the Department for Health and Social Care will no longer link to the dashboard on social media posts or update the figures on the department's own coronavirus webpage while it conducts a review.
PHE confirmed that it may be recording deaths from coronavirus even if people have died months after a positive test. Other UK nations only include those who died within 28 days of testing positive.
But PHE said it will continue to make the figures available and update the dashboard.

France monitoring situation in Spain 'very closely': PM

France is keeping a close eye on Spain as its southern neighbour experiences Covid-19 outbreaks just weeks after the border between the countries was reopened, French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said.
Spanish health officials are monitoring more than 150 outbreaks across the country. But it's the north-eastern region of Catalonia that is seeing the biggest number of infections.
Four million people in Barcelona have been asked to stay at home except for necessary trips for the next 15 days. Last weekend, residents in the district of Segrià in western Catalonia were told to stay indoors and the outbreak then spread to L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, a city just to the south-west of Barcelona.
"We are monitoring this very closely, here in particular, because it is a real issue that we also need to discuss with the Spanish authorities," Castex said in response to a question about the possible closure of borders.
The border was reopened to the public on 21 June.
More than 30,000 people have died of the coronavirus in France, while 28,420 have died in Spain.

Health chiefs keep calm as Scotland sees rise in cases

Scotland has recorded 21 new cases of Covid-19 – its largest daily increase in since 21 June.
It comes on a day that UK-wide infections also saw their largest daily rise since 1 July, with 827 new cases.
But Scotland's national clinical director, Jason Leitch, told the BBC the "day-to-day variation" was to be expected .
He said he didn't believe the cases were part of a cluster, adding that "21 in one small town would worry me much more than 21 spread around the country - and these 21 are spread around the country".
Eight of the cases are in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area and five are in NHS Lothian.

Deaths rise by 90 in Florida, cases up 10,328

Another 10,328 coronavirus cases have been reported in Florida, as well as a further 90 deaths, according to the state health department.
It brings the overall total of cases to 337,569 and the number of deaths to 5,002.
Current hospitalisations as of Saturday morning are 9,162 - up 194 in the past 24 hours, the state agency said.
Florida is fast becoming America's latest Covid-19 epicentre, with a surge in cases being linked, in part, to younger Americans.
You can read more here about how Florida became so badly affected by Covid-19.

France gives more details of mask rules

Masks or face coverings are becoming compulsory in all sorts of indoor settings across Europe. In England, face coverings become mandatory in shops and supermarkets on 24 July.
In France, new rules are coming in on Monday, but details so far have been vague - they referred only to closed public places. Health minister Olivier Véran has now explained that wearing a mask will be required in shops, public buildings, banks and covered markets.
The full list will be detailed in a decree on Monday or Tuesday.
Neighbouring Belgium made wearing masks in shops, libraries and cinemas compulsory on 11 July. Ireland has also made it compulsory in shops and shopping centres.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 18:41

Russia's answer to vaccine spy claims? 'I don't think so'

Russia's ambassador to the UK Andrey Kelin has denied claims that his country's spy agencies tried to steal research on coronavirus vaccines.
In an interview for tomorrow's Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, Mr Kelin was asked if Russia had been stealing British vaccine research. “I don’t think so, and I don’t believe this story at all," he said.
On Thursday, security services in the UK, Canada and the US warned that Russian spies were "almost certainly" behind hacking attacks on organisations trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
Mr Kelin also said his country wants to "turn the page" with the UK, more than two years after the Salisbury poisonings, in which a deadly nerve agent put five people in hospital and killed one.

'Wartime state' declared for Urumqi in Xinjiang

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A "wartime state" has been declared in Urumqi , the capital of China's western Xinjiang region, after a spike in cases of coronavirus.
On Saturday, officials said 17 new cases had been recorded and strict measures on movement had been imposed.
Although the figure appears low, China has recorded very few significant outbreaks since Covid-19 emerged in the city of Wuhan late last year.
China is now not in the top 20 in terms of either infections or deaths.
Xinjiang is home to the mainly Muslim Uighur people and other Turkic minorities and is subject to intense state control.
The latest lockdown measures in Urumqi include:

  • Mass screening in buildings where new cases have been detected, later expanding to the whole of Urumqi
  • Visits to other households are restricted, as are large gatherings
  • Residents urged not to leave the city unless absolutely necessary and must be tested if they do


EU talks on Covid recovery fund 'going well'

It's not over until it's over, but Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has given an upbeat message on the EU summit in Brussels, where the 27 member states are trying to agree a deal on a €750bn (£670bn) recovery fund of grants, subsidies and loans.
"Things are moving in the right direction," Kurz has told reporters, but he won't say whether he thinks a deal will be reached by tomorrow, or whether there'll have to be another meeting.
The tricky part of the talks is how much of the money will be handed out as grants or subsidies - and then what conditions will be attached.
Mr Kurz, whose country is one of the so-called "frugal" states, says the money has to go towards green projects, digitisation and reforms. And then the big question is whether other countries can have final approval. A big concession has reportedly been made to the Netherlands for an "emergency brake", allowing one country to trigger a review of another country's spending plans.
These talks will go down to the wire, and quite possibly beyond.

'No indication' farm outbreak in England has spread

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Seasonal workers, mostly from overseas, are delivered supplies as they remain in isolation on the farm

England's strategy for this stage of the pandemic is to tackle outbreaks locally before they spread. One of those is a farm in Herefordshire, where seasonal workers are in self-isolation after 74 of them tested positive for the virus last week.
Further tests uncovered 19 more people were infected, but Herefordshire Council has now said there is "no indication" the outbreak had spread to the nearby community .
The council's chief executive, Alistair Neill, said health officials and council staff were scrutinising nearby areas on "an hour-by-hour, day-by-day basis".
He said there was still some way to go before the outbreak is over, but 70 workers at Rook Row Farm in Mathon had now recovered.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th July

Post by Kitkat on Sat Jul 18 2020, 21:35

A round-up from around the globe

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Four million residents of Barcelona have been urged to stay at home as cases rise

Here's a summary of the top coronavirus developments from around the globe this evening.

  • Spain's north-eastern region of Catalonia has seen another 1,226 cases reported in the past 24 hours. Residents in Barcelona are being urged to stay at home for the next 15 days
  • UN Secretary General António Guterres has strongly criticised the world’s biggest powers for failing to work together to tackle the pandemic. The relationship between the US, China and Russia has never been so dysfunctional, he said
  • US President Trump has said he will not mandate the use of masks . Speaking to Fox News, he said “I want people to have a certain freedom” - top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci says "we should be using them, everyone"
  • Indian superstar actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been taken to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said 25 million Iranians have already been infected by coronavirus and warned another 35 million are at risk, citing a study by the health ministry


Beaches temporarily shut on Germany's Baltic coast

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Bathers crowd on a beach on the Baltic Sea in Scharbeutz in 2018

Summer has arrived on Germany's Baltic coast, but with that has brought huge crowds.
This had an impact on the most popular areas in Scharbeutz and Haffkrug in the Bay of Lübeck.
The eight beaches in the area have been operating a traffic light system to keep the numbers down - and today some sections of beach and parking areas were temporarily closed because there was no longer enough free space for guests, the DPA news agency reports.
More than 9,000 people have died of coronavirus in Germany.

Iran's spring death toll stands 20K above usual figures

BBC Monitoring - The world through its media
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An Iranian woman stands next to a street bin in the capital Tehran

Iran has recorded around 20,000 more deaths this spring than previous years, according to government figures.
Iran's National Organisation for Civil Registration recorded 110,384 deaths in the spring - based on the Iranian calendar year from 20 March to 20 June - the ISNA news agency reports.
The deaths recorded in the spring of the preceding three years were 93,067, 90,214 and 91,742 respectively.
Iran says just under 14,000 have died of coronavirus, but some observers think the real tally could be far higher.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said 25 million Iranians have already been infected by coronavirus and another 35 million are at risk.
Basing his statistics on a health ministry report, he warned the country would need twice as many beds. Until now, the official number of infections was 269,440.

UK evening round-up

Here's a round-up of the main stories of the day in the UK:


Thanks for joining us

We're wrapping our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic for now and will return tomorrow.
To recap, some of the main developments we've reported on are:

  • Catalonia in north-eastern Spain has reported more than 1,200 new infections and France has said it's monitoring the situation across the border very closely
  • Russia's ambassador to the UK has denied his country's spy agencies tried to steal British research on coronavirus vaccines
  • Iran's President Rouhani has said an estimated 25 million Iranians have contracted Covid-19 and Iranians have to consider another 30-35 million may contract it
  • EU leaders have spent a second day in talks on a Covid recovery fund - Austria's chancellor says it's "going well"

Today's live page was written and edited by Lauren Turner, Paul Kirby, Sophie Williams, Alex Therrien, Joseph Lee and George Wright.

    Current date/time is Wed Aug 05 2020, 11:50