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Coronavirus - 20th July


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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 10:50

Summary for Monday, 20th July

  • Australia launches investigation into security breaches in Victoria's hotel quarantine programme
  • Outbreaks linked to errors in the programme have seen Melbourne put back under partial lockdown
  • EU leaders are meeting for a fourth day to try and agree a huge virus rescue plan
  • Early research suggests a new treatment involving a protein called interferon beta could significantly reduce deaths
  • Donald Trump has dismissed Johns Hopkins data showing the US has the seventh-highest mortality rate
  • Globally the number of confirmed infections has risen to more than 14.4 million and deaths to 605,000

Welcome to our coverage

Welcome back to our coverage on all things coronavirus. Here are the headlines as the week kicks off in Asia.

  • Hong Kong is stepping up its measures against the virus after a record new number of cases were recorded on Sunday
  • Authorities have announced a raft of new measures including the mandatory wearing of face masks in indoor public spaces
  • Health officials in Australia have warned the surge in Melbourne could take weeks to subside despite a new lockdown and orders to wear masks
  • Leaders in the EU have warned they may not be able to reach an agreement on an economic stimulus package to cushion the fallout from the pandemic
  • US President Trump has claimed the United States has one of the lowest mortality rates from the virus, although data suggests the claim is false
  • The number of confirmed infections worldwide is now just under 14.5 million while the death toll has risen above 600,000

Hong Kong situation 'really critical'

Officials in Hong Kong have warned the pandemic is out of control in the territory and are stepping up measures to fight the surge.
On Sunday, 108 new infections were recorded, taking the total to almost 1,900 cases.
"I think the situation is really critical and there is no sign the situation is being brought under control," Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said.
She announced new measures , including plans to make it mandatory to wear masks in public indoor venues and a new order for non-essential civil servants to work for home.
With daily cases on the rise, Hong Kong had already implemented measures last week which shuttered many businesses including bars, gyms and nightclubs, and made masks on public transport mandatory.
Lam said more measures would be announced should the number of daily infections not come down.

New South Wales at 'critical point'

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has recorded its two biggest days of new infections since April.
While neighbouring Victoria has almost 3,000 active cases, NSW has remained relatively virus-free in recent months. But concerns in Australia’s most populous state are growing due to several infection clusters. NSW has confirmed 38 new infections in the past 48 hours.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Monday’s additions were all from "known sources", but cautioned that NSW was at a "critical point".
Like the rest of Australia, NSW has already closed its borders to Victoria - which has seen a month-long outbreak in the state capital, Melbourne.
Victorian officials have warned the surge there could take weeks to subside despite a new lockdown and, for the first time in Australia, an order to wear masks.
Australia has recorded more than 11,000 cases and 123 deaths.

Daily cases hit all-time high in India

India recorded more than 40,000 infections on Sunday, the highest number of daily cases yet. Local media reported that the past week was the "deadliest" with more than 230,000 cases confirmed.
The country crossed the one million infections last week, making it the third country - after the US and Brazil - to do so.
With cases doubling every 20 days, India is now a global hotspot. Yet it's not all bad news - the mortality rate has reportedly dipped below 2.5% for the first time , according to Indian media quoting government data.
This puts it below the global average, and gives India "one of the lowest fatality rates in the world," the health ministry said.
Meanwhile, active cases are dropping in the national capital, Delhi, which a few weeks ago had dominated headlines for rising cases.
As of Monday, the city has around 16,000 active cases - approximately 13% of the more than 100,000 infections confirmed so far, reported The Indian Express newspaper.

Peru passes 13,000 deaths

Latin America remains badly hit by the pandemic, with countries struggling to control the spread of the virus. Here's a quick look at the region:

  • Peru has now passed 13,000 virus deaths - nevertheless it is going ahead with easing some restrictions. Restaurants can reopen from today but only to 40% of their capacity. Over the past 24 hours, 189 deaths and 4,090 new infections were recorded. Peru, with 33 million residents, has the second-highest number of cases in Latin America
  • Mexico, which has the fourth highest virus death toll in the world at 38,888, has now seen its president pledge to improve health standards in the region
  • But it's Brazil that remains the worst affected country in Latin America. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, a staggering 2 million people have been infected and more than 79,000 have died. And yet President Jair Bolsonaro - who himself was infected - has continued to criticise social distancing measures, saying they have "killed" the economy

Compulsory face masks and other news from around the world

Here are some of the latest updates as countries around the world try to cope with Covid-19:

  • An inquiry in Australia is trying to determine how security breaches may have undermined the Covid-19 hotel quarantine programme in the state of Victoria, where there's been a fresh wave of infections
  • Hong Kong is stepping up its measures against the virus after a record new number of cases were recorded on Sunday. Authorities have announced a series of new measures including the mandatory wearing of face masks in indoor public spaces
  • In France, masks are also now compulsory in indoor spaces such as shops, restaurants and banks. They were already required on public transport. People can be fined €135 (£122; $154) for failing to comply
  • An extended EU summit discussing a €750bn coronavirus recovery fund is due to resume later on Monday. The negotiations are now into their fourth day , with EU leaders so far unable to reach a deal over whether to attribute the money via payable loans or grants
  • The latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University show that more than 14.5 million cases have been confirmed around the world, and there have sadly been more than 606,000 deaths

EU leaders wrangle over huge recovery plan

Here's what's happening in Europe on Monday morning.

  • An extended EU summit discussing a huge coronavirus recovery fund has broken up after a night of talks and will resume later on Monday. The negotiations are now into their fourth day , with EU leaders so far unable to reach a deal. The wealthier states want to limit the overall size of the fund and would like to see it mainly consist of repayable loans, rather than grants
  • Spain's north-eastern Catalonia region has again recorded a daily Covid-19 infection figure of more than 1,000, as residents endure new restrictions
  • A German abattoir will continue work on Monday despite a coronavirus outbreak among its staff, officials have said. Some 66 of the 1,200 workers at a chicken slaughterhouse in Lohne, northern Germany, tested positive for coronavirus during routine checks, local officials said, as reported by Reuters. There have been a number of outbreaks at several German slaughterhouses which have put the spotlight on working practices in the meatpacking industry
  • In France, masks are now compulsory in public indoor spaces from Monday. They were already required on public transport

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 11:10

'When coffins lined the streets of my hometown'

The city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, found itself in the global spotlight when the city's health services began to collapse under the weight of Covid-19 deaths. Hospitals, morgues and cemeteries became overwhelmed.
The bodies of many victims of coronavirus were left uncollected, with people burying loved ones in back gardens or leaving coffins on the streets. Eventually they were picked up by the authorities - but some are still missing.
Journalist Blanca Moncada has been documenting the crisis and wants answers for families who are still looking for the bodies of their loved ones.
Watch the video HERE

Trump claims US has lowest mortality rate

US President Donald Trump has said in an interview that the US has had the lowest mortality rate during the pandemic, a claim that is not true.
The country's more than 140,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 put it among the top 10 highest mortality rates, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University .
Trump made the statements in a contentious interview on Fox News, where he also claimed that his country was "the envy of the world" on testing.
Over the past day, the US recorded almost 64,000 new infections. It now has 3,768,056 confirmed cases, by far the highest number worldwide.
tweet Fox News Sunday:
:Left Quotes: WATCH: President Trump on the current state of the virus. "When you talk about mortality rates, I think it's the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world." #FoxNewsSunday
Watch video here

China's cinemas start to reopen after shutdowns

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China's cinemas are reopening after being closed for six months to help slow the spread of the coronavirus - cinemas in "low-risk" areas can open their doors again starting this Monday.
As most of the country is now classified as low risk it is expected to be essentially a nationwide reopening.
Cinemas will be subject to a strict set of rules, including screenings being limited to 30% capacity and the number of movies shown at a venue capped at 50% of its previous volume.
Customers' temperatures will be taken, and masks will have to be worn at all times by both cinema goers and staff.
China, which was the first epicentre of the pandemic, is the world's second largest market for movies, with the country's box offices taking in $9.2bn (£7.4bn) in 2019.
But that figure is, unsurprisingly, expected to fall sharply due to cinema closures and domestic and Hollywood film releases being cancelled or moved online.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 11:23

Is South Asia testing enough?

Reality Check
South Asia has about a quarter of the world's population, but only 11% of total recorded infections are from this region.
"Total number of cases per million in India and the rest of South Asia are low, but so is the number of tests per million," virologist Dr Shahid Jameel told the BBC.
He says that while total numbers of tests in these countries seem high, when you compare it with the population size, the numbers have been "sub-optimal".
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India has now crossed the million mark and has the third largest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the US and Brazil.
Its smaller neighbours have also been hit hard by the virus.
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Japan exports drop further

Japan has just got a fresh indicator of how badly measures to slow the spread of coronavirus have hit its economy.
New figures show the country’s exports plummeted by 26.2% in June, the fourth month in a row to see a double-digit decline.
Japanese goods heading to America were hit particularly hard, plunging by 46.6%.
That’s as US-bound shipments of cars, car parts and plane engines fell by more than 50%.
The world’s third largest economy is now facing its worst recession since the end of World War Two.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 11:32

What's going on around the UK?

Good morning. If you are just joining us, here's a taste of what happening in the UK:

Number of young people on benefits doubles in lockdown

Paul Lynch - BBC Shared Data Unit
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The location of the highest proportion of out-of-work benefit claimants in the UK

More than one in six young people are now claiming out-of-work benefits in some parts of the UK, BBC analysis of official figures suggests .
The number of people aged 18-24 claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker's Allowance doubled in the UK in the last three months.
Parts of Liverpool and Blackpool have been worst hit, with closures of pubs, cafes and restaurants all contributing.
Earlier this month, the government announced a "kickstart scheme" to pay for six-month work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the plan was aimed at preventing an entire generation being "left behind".

Protein treatment trial 'a breakthrough'

Justin Rowlatt - Chief Environment correspondent
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Kaye Flitney is one of 75 people enrolled in the clinical trial

The preliminary results of a clinical trial suggests a new treatment for Covid-19 dramatically reduces the number of patients needing intensive care, according to the UK company that developed it.
The treatment from Southampton-based biotech firm Synairgen uses a protein called interferon beta, which the body produces when it gets a viral infection.
The protein is inhaled directly into the lungs of patients with coronavirus, using a nebuliser, with the aim of stimulating an immune response.
The initial findings suggest the treatment can cut the odds of a Covid-19 patient in hospital developing severe disease - such as requiring ventilation - by 79% .

Six 'types' of Covid-19 - King's College London

Scientists from King's College in London say they have found there are six distinct types of the disease, characterised by a specific cluster of symptoms. Their study was based on data from a Covid-19 symptom-tracking app.
The team found the six types corresponded to how severe the infection might be, and how likely a patient might be to need help with breathing.

  • 'Flu-like' with no fever: Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever
  • 'Flu-like' with fever: Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough
  • Severe level one, fatigue: Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue
  • Severe level two, confusion: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain
  • Severe level three, abdominal and respiratory: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, abdominal pain

The study was released online at the end of last week , but has not been peer-reviewed by independent scientists.

UK signs deals for 90 million virus vaccine doses

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
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There are now 23 coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials around the world - including at Oxford University

The UK government has signed deals for 90 million doses of promising coronavirus vaccines that are being developed.
The vaccines are being researched by an alliance between the pharmaceutical companies BioNtech and Pfizer as well as the firm Valneva.
The new deal is on top of 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca.
However, it is still uncertain which of the experimental vaccines may work.
A vaccine is widely seen as the best chance of getting our lives back to normal.
Research is taking place at an unprecedented scale - the world became aware of coronavirus at the beginning of the year, but already more than 20 vaccines are in clinical trials.
Some can provoke an immune response, but none have yet be proven to protect against infection.
Read more here.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 11:41

Australia inquiry examines Victoria quarantine breaches

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The inquiry was called last month after it emerged that breaches at Melbourne hotels led to outbreaks

An inquiry in Australia is looking into how security breaches may have undermined the Covid-19 hotel quarantine programme in the state of Victoria.
The investigation is to determine how infected passengers returning from overseas could have spread the disease, despite being required to be in mandatory isolation.
The inquiry's first public hearing, held on Monday, comes as the state grapples with a fresh wave of the virus, with hundreds of new infections reported every day in recent weeks.
Victoria has extended its state of emergency measures and put the state capital, Melbourne, back into partial lockdown to try to contain the spread. Cases are also rising in neighbouring New South Wales.
The inquiry was called last month after genomic sequencing linked recent outbreaks in the state to breaches in the state-run system in late May and early June, ABC reports.

'My 86 days in hospital fighting Covid-19'

By Kris Bramwell, BBC News
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Babak Khosrowshahi in Tuscany with his partner Mahtab Salahshourian before coronavirus struck

Babak Khosrowshahi was taken to hospital with coronavirus at 04:00 on 22 March. The 61-year-old was finally discharged 86 days later. Here is an extract from his tale of survival:
"It was a Friday, Friday the 13th actually. My partner was coming to see me and I had this feeling that something wasn't quite right.
"I was inherently trying to keep away from her because Covid was on my mind.
"I found an old thermometer and took my temperature. It was 38.5C. I saw that and thought 'this is happening and it's something serious'.
"At the hospital I was put in a side room and a nurse served me food - it was chicken - and I was struggling to eat it.
"That's all I remember. That room, that last meal. Three-and-a-half weeks later, I woke up in intensive care."
Read more.

Masks come off as tempers flare over EU recovery fund

Gavin Lee - BBC Europe reporter
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Talks are stretching now into the fourth day

This is now the longest European summit in 20 years.
The self-proclaimed 'frugal four' - Sweden, Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands - along with Finland, have been unwavering in their refusal to allow €500 billion (£456 billion) to be offered in the form of grants to countries hardest hit by the effects of Covid-19.
Led by the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, they now say that €375 billion is as far as they’ll go, plus conditions including the right to block requests. The others, including Spain and Italy, are refusing to go below €400 billion.
Tempers have flared here, and there has been some name calling too - mostly directed at the Dutch leader. Bulgaria’s leader Boyko Borissov accused Mr Rutte of “acting like the policeman of Europe”. The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said “it’s the Dutch guy who’s to blame... I don’t know why he dislikes us”.
French officials tell me that President Macron “banged his fists” on the table in the early hours of this morning, as he told the 'frugal four’ that he thought they were putting the European project in danger.
There was a notable show of social distancing etiquette when the leaders first arrived, faces covered by masks. But photos from yesterday evening show that the masks have slipped, along, it seems, with their approach to diplomacy.
You can read more about the summit here

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 11:44

Hopes half a million will sign up to UK vaccine trials by October

With at least eight large-scale coronavirus vaccine trials expected to take place in the UK, the public is being asked to sign up to trials - with the aim of getting half a million participants by October.
"We need to call again on the generosity of the public to help find out which potential vaccines are the most effective," said England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty.
It is possible a vaccine will be proven effective by the end of 2020, but wide-scale vaccination is still not expected until next year.
The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, told BBC Breakfast that vaccine development was "an incredibly long process and we are doing it at breakneck speed" but that we should only expect a Covid-19 vaccine "after winter".
"We obviously want vaccines available at the earliest possible stage," he said.
"The work that's being done at Oxford and Imperial, and many other centres, is absolutely world-leading, but we do need to ensure these vaccines are properly trialled."

How are indoor gyms and pools going to open?

Indoor gyms are open in Northern Ireland and they reopen in England from Saturday 25 July, along with indoor swimming pools, sports halls and leisure centres.
Gyms will have to follow strict social distancing guidelines, including:

  • Capacity limits, controlled by a timed booking system
  • Reduced class sizes
  • Equipment spaced out and improved ventilation
  • Temporary floor markings in dance studios where possible
  • Customers encouraged to shower and change at home

No reopening date for gyms has yet been set in Scotland or Wales.
Meanwhile, Swim England has published guidance for operators on how to reopen indoor pools, including:

  • Increasing the supply of outside air to pools
  • Implementing a one-way entry and exit system
  • Minimising the use of changing rooms

Read more here about changes to lockdown restrictions that will also mean more beauty services opening and live performances starting again.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 11:50

Nigerian foreign minister tests positive for Covid-19

Is’haq Khalid - BBC News, Abuja
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Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama has tested positive for Covid-19. He is a member of a presidential task force that is coordinating the country's response to the pandemic.
Onyeama announced in a tweet on Sunday that he would be isolating at a health facility.
‘’Did my fourth Covid-19 test yesterday at the first sign of a throat irritation and unfortunately this time it came back positive. That is life! Win some lose some. Heading for isolation in a health facility and praying for the best,’’ he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has wished him quick recovery.
tweet  Muhammadu Buhari:
:Left Quotes:  I wish @GeoffreyOnyeama speedy recovery from Covid-19. Nigeria is eternally grateful for his diligence in attracting international support to defeat the pandemic and boost the economy. He has been a tireless worker and strong pillar of our administration.
A number of senior politicians in Nigeria, including several state governors, have tested positive for the virus.
In April, President Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, died from the disease.
Nigeria has so far recorded about 36,000 cases of coronavirus, with around 15,000 recoveries and nearly 800 deaths.

First results of Oxford University vaccine trial expected

The first results of the Oxford University vaccine trial are expected to be published today.
The vaccine, developed in conjunction with AstraZeneca, is already in large-scale human trials to assess whether it can protect against Covid-19.
However, its developers have yet to report the results of initial phase one testing, which would indicate if it is safe and whether it triggers an immune response. That data is expected to be published in The Lancet medical journal later.
Most experts think a vaccine is likely to become widely available by mid-2021. A vaccine would normally take years, if not decades, to develop - so that would be a huge scientific feat.
But there are no guarantees it will work. Four coronaviruses already circulate in human beings. They cause common cold symptoms and we don't have vaccines for any of them.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 12:04

'Frightening story' of Victoria hotel outbreak

We have some more detail for you now about the inquiry in Australia, and the suspicion that recent outbreaks in the state of Victoria are linked to security guards contracting the disease at the quarantine hotels where they work. The hotels in question house returning international travellers who are required to self-isolate as part of a government-run system.
"We've just seen this extraordinary escalation in cases, which happened when security guards became infected across two hotel sites," Prof Catherine Bennett, chair in epidemiology at Deakin University's faculty of health, told the BBC's Newsday programme.
"They seem to have taken it home to various parts of the community, and we developed simultaneously some very large clusters in well-connected parts of the community that have really led to a rapid rise in cases."
The state's capital Melbourne is in partial lockdown amid the surge in cases, with 275 new infections reported on Monday.
Prof Bennett said there were questions about how well the rules in place were understood and observed at the quarantine hotels, as well as training given to the security guards.
She said: "It's a frightening story about Covid, and how it works in clusters.
"Victoria was still quite limited in its mobility and the number of non-household contacts individuals had - and yet it could still take off in this manner, even with a very active contact-tracing process in place."
Read more on this story here (ABC News)

Israel nurses strike over staff shortages

Nurses in Israel are staging a general strike over staff shortages and poor conditions made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. These factors, they say, have made it impossible for them to work.
With more than 800 nurses in quarantine themselves, according to health ministry figures, and no-one to replace them, hospitals and health facilities are having to operate on reduced staffing and non-urgent operations have been cancelled.
"We have no choice but to take matters into our own hands and prevent a health system collapse this coming winter," the head of the nurses' union, Ilana Cohen, said .
Israel has experienced a resurgence of coronavirus cases in recent weeks after largely relaxing restrictions following a marked decline in infections.
This past weekend, the government reimposed limits on gatherings and said it would be closing some public spaces. It is considering a full lockdown if cases continue to rise.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 12:13

World-famous Beefeaters face redundancy in pandemic

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The Beefeaters, in their distinctive red and black uniform, are a popular attraction with visiting tourists

The Tower of London's famous Beefeater guards are facing redundancy for the first time in their 500-year history because of the coronavirus crisis.
The pandemic has seen the temporary closure of six sites run by Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) - including the Tower of London, its most popular attraction.The 37 Yeoman Warders, formed by Henry VII in 1485, guard the Crown Jewels. Two are understood to have already taken voluntary redundancy, but further, compulsory, redundancies are likely to follow.
HRP chief executive John Barnes said the organisation had "simply had no choice".
"Historic Royal Palaces is a self-funded charity. We depend on visitors for 80% of our income," he said.
"The closure of our six sites for almost four months has dealt a devastating blow to our finances.
"We have taken every possible measure to secure our financial position, but we need to do more to survive in the long term."We are heartbroken that it has come to this."
The Tower of London,which reopened on 10 July, normally attracts around three million visitors per year.

Kenyan senator to be charged with flouting Covid-19 curfew

Emmanuel Igunza - BBC News, Nairobi
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Johnson Sakaja, pictured here in 2019, is a senator for Nairobi

A top Kenyan politician has apologised for flouting a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja was over the weekend found drinking at a pub in the capital, Nairobi, hours past the 21:00 curfew.
He was briefly detained at a city police station before being released on free police bond. He is now due to appear in court on Tuesday but says he is ready to take responsibility for his actions.
He has also relinquished leadership of a key Senate committee that was overseeing the country’s response to Covid-19.
A video emerged Sunday on social media showing the young senator in a police cell arguing with police officers following his arrest.
Kenyans have complained that the strict restriction measures are being applied selectively, with politicians openly flouting them by holding large meetings which have been outlawed.
Police have also come in for criticism for beating, injuring and killing Kenyans during the enforcement of the regulations.
Some of the strict measures on religious gatherings and travel restrictions from main coronavirus hotspots have since been lifted despite cases surging across the country.
Kenya has so far registered about 13,000 Coronavirus cases with 234 deaths.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 12:22

NHS Covid-19 vaccine study sign-ups open

Rob England - BBC News
From today people can sign up to take part in approved studies working to develop a vaccine for coronavirus.
Those wishing to partake can register online and will be contacted by researchers.
There are currently two national coronavirus vaccine studies approved by the National Institute for Health Research in the UK, run by the University of Oxford and Imperial College London.
tweet  NHS UK:
:Left Quotes: From today you can sign up to be contacted about taking part in approved UK coronavirus vaccine studies.
#BePartOfResearch :arrow_down:…/coronavirus-covid-19/research/coronav…/

Coronavirus - 20th July Safe_i10
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Research Studies

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 12:27

India: 'Our neighbours made us Covid-19 pariahs'

Soutik Biswas - India Correspondent
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Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are being enforced by the police in India

With more than one million reported infections , India has the world's third largest number of Covid-19 cases. As the virus spreads, so do fear and stigma, affecting the rich and the poor, and pervading cities and villages.
At the receiving end of the phenomenon are people who have been infected and have recovered from the disease, as well as health workers and doctors.
"The virus is like a death sentence for many. They believe if the disease doesn't kill you, the stigma will," says Abhijit Chowdhury, a physician who runs Covid Care Network, comprising a group of volunteers and a helpline to tackle stigma.
The United Nations says "fears, rumours and stigma" are key challenges accompanying Covid-19 globally.
Read more here.

Outbreak closes contact tracing centre in Scotland

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Sitel said it was "urgently investigating" the outbreak at its Motherwell call centre

A contact tracing centre in Scotland has become the centre of a coronavirus outbreak after six workers tested positive .
Sitel, which operates the call centre for NHS England to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 south of the border, said it was aware of a "local outbreak" at its site in Motherwell.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland that the site had been closed.
He said "extensive contact tracing" was now under way – attempting to find who the contact tracers have been in contact with.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 13:39

How close is a vaccine?

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About 200 groups are working on potential vaccines – this one is from Imperial College in London

Later today, we're expecting to see the early-stage trial data on one of the most advanced coronavirus vaccines in development, from AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
The UK has already invested in 100m doses in the hope that it might stop the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as signing deals for 90m doses of other promising vaccines .
But why is a vaccine so important and how close are we to getting one? You can find out in this guide to the vaccine race .

What to look out for in the Oxford vaccine results

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
The first results of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford are expected today.
They will be the results of the “phase one” study involving around 1,000 volunteers. These are the earliest type of clinical trial in people.
Their primary purpose is to ensure the vaccine is safe enough to give to more people.
But we may also get insight into the type of immune response provoked by the jab – does it lead to the production of antibodies or stimulate other parts of the immune system?
What we won’t find out today is whether the vaccine “works” – can it stop you getting infected or at least lessen symptoms?
That will require trials involving far more people and in countries where there is far more coronavirus going around than there is currently in the UK.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 13:42

Latest news in the UK

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Covid cases in the Lancashire borough of Blackburn with Darwen have doubled in the past week

Just catching up with the day's news? Here's what's been happening in the UK:

Pub closes after 600 people turn up and staff assaulted

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A Devon family pub was forced to shut early at the weekend after crowds became uncontrollable and staff were assaulted, managers have said.
The Morley Arms in Plymstock had up to 600 people turn up on Saturday night and struggled to maintain social distancing. Staff said they had to shut more than an hour earlier than the planned closing time.
The pub has apologised and managers said they are due to meet with Devon and Cornwall Police on Monday to review the situation.
Assistant manager Lesley Inch said she was scared for herself and her staff as people refused to leave, including "big groups that had been drinking all day and came to us already intoxicated".
She said staff were "pushed, shoved, we were hit, drinks were thrown, and people were just unkind and just nasty".

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 20:42

EU leaders to reconvene and other world updates

If you're just joining us, this is the latest of what's happening around the world in the coronavirus crisis.

  • EU leaders are about to reconvene to try to agree a huge virus rescue plan . Member states are largely split between those hit hardest by the outbreak - and keen to revive their economies - and those more concerned about the cost of the recovery plan
  • After six months of closure, cinemas in China have reopened their doors. But cinema-going isn’t quite like it was before: customers must pre-book their tickets online and cinemas are limited on how many they can have in
  • Nurses in Israel are staging a general strike over staff shortages and poor working conditions made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. This, they say, is making it impossible for them to do their job
  • Australia has launched an investigation into security breaches in Victoria's hotel quarantine programme

Blackburn becomes England's latest coronavirus hotspot

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Most of the cases are among the densely-housed South Asian community, officials say

The Lancashire borough of Blackburn with Darwen is overtaking Leicester as the place with England's highest infection rate , official figures show.
Infections have doubled in the past week, with 79.2 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to 17 July, Public Health England said.
But its rise to the top of the list is prompted by the fall in infections since Leicester introduced its local lockdown. The city now has 77.7 cases per 100,000 people, down from 135 when the lockdown was imposed on 29 June.
New measures – including greater use of face coverings and restrictions on visitors from other households – have been introduced in Blackburn in an attempt to prevent the need for a local lockdown there.
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'Everyone should do it': French embrace new mask rule

As we reported earlier, masks have to be worn in public indoor spaces, such as shops, restaurants and banks, in France from today.
This is what people in a couple of towns in the west of the country had to say about the new regulation.
One person on the resort of La Baule in Britanny told Reuters news agency: "For me, it makes absolutely no difference because I have worn one in enclosed spaces since the end of lockdown. It's a very good thing and everyone should do it."
Another, Cyril, said: "I'm not against it, like I said. If someone tells me to put one on, I'll put one on, but I wouldn't do it of my own accord, that's for sure."
In a covered market in the seaside town of Le Pouliguen, a supermarket manager, Stéphane Huchet, said on the whole people were responding well to the requirement.
"We started three days ago to require everyone to wear masks. Aside from some people who are reluctant, or ones who don't have any masks with them, the rest of it has gone well."
Asked whether he was worried about the situation, he said: "In the area, yes, because there are a lot of cases, in Guérande, in restaurants, some revealed cases. So we've become a bit more careful, excessively, let's say."

'An agreement is possible' on EU recovery fund

The French president and the German chancellor say they're cautiously optimistic that the 27 EU leaders can reach an agreement on a coronavirus recovery package, on the fourth day of intense negotiations.
Discussions resumed with what France's Emmanuel Macron said was "the possible hopes of a compromise", but he added: "Nothing has been agreed yet, so I will remain extremely cautious".
"There's a spirit of compromise that's there, there have been some very tense moments and some moments that will no doubt be difficult again."
A key sticking point has been what part of the proposed €750bn (£680bn; $857bn) fund would be available to countries as non-repayable grants.
"Last night... we put in place a framework for a possible agreement," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.
"This is a step forward and it gives hope that an agreement can be reached today - or at least that an agreement is possible."

Oxford vaccine can train immune system

A coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears safe and trains the immune system .
Phase one trials involving about 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and white blood cells that can fight coronavirus.
The findings are hugely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are under way.
The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.

UK aerospace firms to get £200m for Covid-19 recovery

Aerospace companies in the UK have been awarded grants worth £200m to support their recovery from coronavirus and invest in green technology.
The projects, which are receiving matching funding from the companies, include innovative wing designs from Airbus and an efficient UltraFan engine led by Rolls-Royce.
Airbus announced earlier this month that it is planning to cut 1,700 jobs in the UK while Rolls-Royce is slashing its workforce by a fifth, with 3,000 jobs going after the coronavirus led to a drastic fall in air travel.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 20:53

Six more deaths reported in England

The number of people who died in English hospitals after a positive coronavirus test has reached 29,187 after NHS England recorded six more deaths in the last 24 hours.
The patients were aged between 74 and 98 years old and all had underlying health conditions.
The Department for Health and Social Care said on Friday it was “pausing” publication of daily death figures for the whole of the UK over concerns that the data for England may have included people who died months after a positive coronavirus test.
But Public Health England is continuing to make these figures available on the coronavirus data dashboard , which is expected to be updated later.
PHE has said that about 4,000 of the UK's 45,000 reported deaths happened more than 28 days after a test, the cut-off point for coronavirus deaths in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of those, about 2,000 deaths were not blamed on coronavirus by the recording doctor.

No new deaths in Scotland and Wales

Scotland has recorded seven new cases of coronavirus, the first fall in the daily infection numbers for five days.
It comes after positive tests for 23 people were reported on Sunday, the highest increase for almost a month. The nation also saw an outbreak at a contact tracing centre in North Lanarkshire, which serves the NHS in England.
With no new deaths reported, leaving the toll at 2,941, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said all the latest cases would still be closely examined and contact tracing carried out where necessary.
In Wales, the toll remains at 1,547 after Public Health Wales said no additional deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours. There were 15 more cases confirmed by testing.

Bahamas closes borders to US tourists

The Bahamas has announced it will ban US visitors amid recent rises in Covid-19. The Caribbean nation had begun reopening its borders at the start of July.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said "Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy. It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders."
The Ministry of Health has confirmed a total of 153 Covid-19 cases, 49 of which happened after the borders opened on 1 July.
"Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus."
By Wednesday, the Bahamas will prohibit all international commercial flights and vessels - with exceptions for commercial flights from the UK, Canada and the EU.
All visitors - as well as any returning Bahamians - will be asked to show a negative Covid-19 test from an accredited laboratory upon arrival.
Americans who are currently on the islands will still be able to leave on outgoing flights, but no new tourists from the US will be allowed in.

Walt Disney World resort bans eating and drinking while walking

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has updated its safety guidelines to stop visitors from exploiting a loophole in its mask policy.
The resort opened earlier this month with strict rules on social distancing, masks, and a host of measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While the wearing of masks is mandatory for guests, until recently guests were able to take them off while eating and drinking.
The rules have now been changed and visitors can still eat on site while being "stationary and [maintaining] appropriate physical distancing".
Disney has been criticised for reopening as Florida grapples with one of America's largest outbreaks of Covid-19. But the entertainment giant has defended its decision.
"Covid is here, and we have a responsibility to figure out the best approach to safely operate in this new normal," said Josh D'Amaro, Disney's theme park chairman, in an interview with the New York Times.

South African settlements named Covid-19 and Sanitizer

Pumza Fihlani - BBC News, Johannesburg
A community in a newly formed informal settlement near the South African city of Cape Town has given the pandemic a new twist and named their area Covid-19.
The place is occupied by people who have lost their income due to the pandemic and cannot afford to pay rent.
It has different sections named Covid-1, Covid-2 etc all the way up to Covid-19.
Many of the homes there are made from corrugated iron.
Another informal settlement nearby has been named Sanitizer. It’s partly in jest but also reflects the effects that the virus is having on some communities.
Locals have said they are aware of the growing number of informal settlements, especially at this time, but managing them is difficult.
Land is a contentious issue in South Africa and Cape Town is often cited as a prime example of how structural apartheid forced black and marginalised communities to live on the peripheries of the city often needing to spend a lot of money to get to work.
More than three million South Africans have lost their jobs since the lockdown and as the country battles with a sharp rise in infections, putting strain on the health system – the economic effects of the pandemic are beginning to hit hard too.
Read more:

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 21:19

England's chief nurse on being 'dropped' after Cummings controversy

England's chief nursing officer Ruth May has told MPs she was "dropped" from the daily Downing Street briefings in the wake of Dominic Cummings' controversial trip to Durham.
She said she did not know why her appearance was cancelled, but said she was "of course" asked in a preparatory session for her views about lockdown rules, amid a public outcry about the apparent breach by the prime minister's adviser.
Ms May said: "In my view the rules were clear, they were there for everyone's safety and they applied to us all."
But she also said it was a "regular occurrence" for her colleagues to be stood down from the briefings and said she had been scheduled to appear at a subsequent briefing, but she was "stuck in traffic".

What are the next steps for Oxford's vaccine trials?

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
These results from the Oxford vaccine trial are exciting, but this is only the first hurdle. It is still not a vaccine we can say “works”.
It is great news the vaccine can induce an immune response , including both antibodies that attack the virus and T-cells, which hunt out and kill cells infected by the virus.
But we do not know what level of immune response is needed to protect people from coronavirus. That is why further research is still needed.
The answers at the moment are unlikely to come from the UK as there is not enough coronavirus doing the rounds to prove whether the vaccine is making a difference.
The Oxford team already has trials under way in South Africa and Brazil and there are plans for one in the US too.
However, it may yet require “challenge trials” in which people are vaccinated and deliberately infected with the virus to see how effective it is.
Read more here.

Florida sees fifth day of over 10,000 new cases

Florida has reported its fifth consecutive day of more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases.
On Sunday, an additional 12,478 people tested positive for coronavirus, according to the state health agency.
The total number of cases since March in the Sunshine State is now more than 350,000. The death toll is nearing 5,000, and hospitals across the state say bed space is filling up.
As officials try to contain the surge, some parts of South Florida have enacted curfews. On Saturday, Miami Beach set a curfew of 20:00 to 05:00. On Friday, Broward County ordered a curfew from 23:00 to 05:00, in place until 1 August.
Congresswoman Donna Shalala, a Democrat representing part of Miami-Dade county, told ABC News : "The residents here are terrified and I’m terrified, for the first time in my career, because there’s a lack of leadership."
About 23% of the total number of cases were reported in just the last week, the Tampa Bay Times reports .
In an interview aired on Sunday, US President Donald Trump told Fox News: "We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame-like, but it’s - it’s going to be under control."
More on Florida:

UK death toll rises by 11

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A further 11 deaths have been recorded in the UK, bringing the total number of people who died in hospital, care homes and the community after a positive coronavirus test to 45,312.
According to , there were also 580 new positive tests in the last 24 hours, continuing a trend in recent days when the fall in cases appears to have levelled out.
It comes after the Department of Health has ordered a review into the UK-wide daily death statistics, after concerns that figures contributed by England may include deaths which occur months after a positive test. Other UK nations have a 28-day cut-off point.
But Public Health England is continuing to make the figures available on the coronavirus data dashboard. It says that about 4,000 of the 45,000 deaths occurred after more than 28 days, and only 2,000 of those were not attributed by the recording doctor to Covid-19.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 21:26

Trump to resume Covid-19 briefings

US President Donald Trump has said that, from tomorrow he will resume regular public briefings about his administration's response to America's coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Trump gave 35 daily briefings with the White House's coronavirus task force in March and April, but frequently came under criticism for providing false or misleading statements. In turn, he accused the media of bias.
He said the revival of briefings would allow him to share "positive things" his administration is doing, and updates on vaccines and treatments.
"I think it’s a great way to get information out to the public," the president told reporters. "We had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television, and there’s never been anything like it."
His first briefing is scheduled for Tuesday at 17:00 local time (21:00 GMT).

WHO: Vaccine progress positive, but 'long way to go'

The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed today's progress towards a vaccine but says work still needs to be done to combat the spread of Covid-19.
At a briefing in Geneva, Dr Mike Ryan, director of the WHO emergencies programme, congratulated the scientists behind the Oxford vaccine , saying: "This is a positive result but again there is a long way to go."
He added that now, "real world" trials must be done on a larger scale. There are 23 potential vaccines in development thus far.
"But it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery."
WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also emphasised that any successful vaccines must be accessible to all.
He said many countries are seeing the advantages of making the vaccine "a global public good", but some are "going the reverse direction".
"When there is no consensus, it could be actually owned by those who have money and those who cannot afford it may not have access to the vaccines."
The director-general also said that while vaccine research continues, "we have to save lives now".
"We must continue to accelerate vaccine research while doing more with the tools we have at hand."

Zimbabwe investigative journalist arrested

Outspoken Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has been arrested by police, human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has confirmed.
He filmed his arrest before being told to put his phone down.
Chin’ono recently exposed an alleged Covid-19 procurement fraud within the health ministry. The story led to the arrest and sacking of Health Minister Obadiah Moyo
President Emmerson Mnangagwa fired Mr Moyo earlier this month for “inappropriate conduct” over the $60m (£47.5m) medicines supply scandal.

China netizens mock London anti-mask rally

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
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An anti-mask protest that took place in London’s Hyde Park over the weekend is being widely mocked in China today, a country where mandatory mask wearing because of Covid-19 has been part and parcel since the beginning of the year.
Thousands have taken to China’s Facebook-equivalent Sina Weibo, mocking resistance in England towards masks as a perceived restriction of freedom, even though wearing one will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July.
It comes at a time when relations between China and the UK are especially strained, with the UK terminating its agreement with Chinese tech giant Huawei for 5G infrastructure last week, and the UK government changing its extradition arrangements with Hong Kong.
“Let them watch the ‘freedom’ they value collapse,” one Weibo user says, and many speculate resistance could lead to a second wave in the country.
Others joke the English are being brainwashed by conspiracy theories. “No masks, no 5G, no vaccines = no lives,” one says. Some call the activists “apprentices of [US President] Trump”.
You can read more about the different attitudes countries have to masks here.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 21:37

Government responds to 'Honk for Hope' protest

Chris Mason - Political Correspondent
Dozens of coaches have spent the afternoon making themselves heard in Westminster.
They've been driving round in circles in Parliament Square blasting their horns - the industry says they have been forgotten by the government during the pandemic.
I asked the Department for Transport for its reaction earlier this afternoon.
A spokesman said the government has rovided a generous and wide-ranging package of support for businesses.
"Our job retention scheme has helped a million employers and protected more than nine million jobs across the U.K. We have extended it until October – meaning it will have been open for eight months and will continue to support businesses as the economy reopens and people return to work," they said.
They also highlighted other support measures like bounce back loans, tax deferrals, business rates holidays and more than £10 billion of grants.
“Last week the Chancellor announced the second part of our support for the economy through his Plan for Jobs, giving businesses the confidence to retain and hire, and providing people with the tools they need to get better jobs, including supporting jobs with a £1,000 Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus for employers.”
The coach industry wants help that is specifically tailored to them.
Today's demonstration will no doubt not be the last - loads of industries are hurting and hurting badly, in a recession without precedent in modern times.

New York City enters last phase of reopening

New York City, once the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, is now entering the last phase of reopening - albeit with some modifications.
It's the last region of the state to do so.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said indoor dining and drinking would still not be allowed to resume and indoor venues like museums would remain closed.
Other outdoor entertainment and sites, like professional sports, botanical gardens and zoos, can reopen with reduced capacity. Film and television production has also been given the go-ahead.
It is unclear when indoor-only facilities will be allowed to reopen. The city and state are also still working on a plan to restart schools.
Also on Monday, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo will visit the southern state of Georgia, one of the states seeing a recent rise in Covid-19.
Cuomo said he will meet with officials in Savannah, Georgia, to offer guidance and help with testing and tracing programmes as well as to deliver personal protective equipment.
Cuomo said that health workers from across the country offered help to New York when his state was in the thick of it, and promised to repay the generosity.
"Whatever they need from us they’re going to get."

A town welcoming back tourists it begged to stay away

As the UK went into lockdown, the seaside town of Southwold was pleading with visitors to stay away from its pier, golden sands and promenade lined with candy-coloured beach huts.
Banners around town said that trips to the seaside or to second homes were not essential travel. "Please respect us - don't infect us," they said.
Now they're trying to encourage visitors back . At ice cream shop Beaches and Cream, Lynda Walker said the banners could not have been made by a business owner. "We want to see holidaymakers - they're our bread and butter and we are glad they are back."
Some said the town already has "that busy summer feeling" but others like market stallholder Darren Crane worry that "we haven't got many weeks left to make the money to get through the winter."
Meanwhile, officials in Wales say beauty spots are experiencing the opposite problem – they're so overrun by visitors enjoying their restored freedom that the crowds of parked cars are "putting lives at risk" .

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 21:44

No locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in Cuba

Will Grant - BBC News, Havana
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The Cuban health ministry has announced there has been no local transmission of coronavirus on the island for the first time in more than four months.
There was just one case of Covid-19 registered in the past 24-hours - however, the government said the patient had travelled into Cuba from abroad.
The Cuban government has been praised by the Pan American Health Organization for its robust response to the pandemic. Face masks are mandatory in most settings and the island is only very cautiously reopening under a gradual three-phased approach.
Havana is currently in phase one with many economic and social activities suspended. Inter-province travel can begin again under phase two and children will only return to classes once phase three has been declared.

Texas religious schools exempt from health restrictions

In Texas - one of America's virus hotspots, with over 335,000 cases - the state attorney general has said that religious schools are exempt from local health restrictions.
On Friday, Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in an open letter that it would be unconstitutional to require religious schools to close under any government orders.
He cited the First Amendment, which protects religious freedoms, as well as the Texas governor's, which prohibits local governments "from closing religious institutions or dictating mitigation strategies to those institutions".
"Religious private schools may continue to determine when it is safe for their communities to resume in-person instruction free from any government mandate or interference," Paxton said.
"Religious private schools therefore need not comply with local public health orders to the contrary."
The guidance comes as schools across the US's second most populous state are trying to determine how to reopen amid a Covid-19 surge, with many educators saying they are afraid to resume in-person classes.
Days after the attorney general's letter, and after five consecutive days of more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said US Navy medical teams have been deployed in the state to assist with battling the virus.

NFL players ask for Covid policy clarity

As cases surge in a number of US states, more than a dozen National Football League (NFL) players have taken to social media to demand clarification of Covid-19 policies to keep players and their families safe.
Stars including Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Houston Texans player JJ Watt used the Twitter hashtag #WeWantToPlay to question the NFL's safety plan as players are told to report for training camps across the country.
Wilson tweeted on Sunday: "My wife is pregnant. NFL training camp is about to start.. And there's still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety."
Infectious disease experts have put together response plans for the league's 32 teams, according to USA Today Sports. Protocols negotiated by the league and players' association include mask requirements, hand sanitising and minimising shared equipment.
But players say they still have not been told how the league will handle a positive Covid-19 test among teammates, whether they can opt-out of high-risk situations, or if there will be access to daily testing, among other concerns.
At least 72 NFL players have tested positive for the virus thus far, according to the players' association.
So far, the NFL plans for teams to begin training camps for the next few weeks before the season begins in September. Teams will travel as they normally did, but there will be limits on the number of fans in the stadiums.

UK has 'clawed back' half of fall in output

The UK economy has "clawed back" about half the fall in output it saw during the peak of the coronavirus lockdown in March and April, according to the Bank of England's chief economist.
Andy Haldane told MPs there had been a "V" shaped "bounceback".
Last month, Mr Haldane said the economy was "on track for a quick recovery" - the so-called "V" shape.
However, other economists have expressed doubts about the potential for such a swift recovery in activity.
"Roughly half of the roughly 25% fall in activity during March and April has been clawed back over the period since," Mr Haldane told members of the Treasury Select Committee. The economy had grown by about 1% per week, he said.
"We have seen a bounceback. So far, it has been a 'V'. That of course doesn't tell us about where we might go next," he added.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 20 2020, 21:53

What's happened in the UK today?

We're wrapping up today's live page shortly. But here's a quick recap of some of the main stories:

What are the latest global developments?

Thanks for following our coverage of the pandemic today, where the biggest developments were:

  • More than 14.5 million cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed worldwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University - the total death toll has also risen to 607,000
  • America continues to be the worst-affected country, with 3.7m cases, followed by Brazil, India and Russia
  • A coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears safe and triggers an immune response . A technique similar to the Oxford one, developed in China, also seems promising . In total there are 23 vaccines in clinical trials around the world and another 140 in early stage development
  • French and German leaders say they're cautiously optimistic that the 27 European Union leaders can reach an agreement on a coronavirus recovery package, on the fourth day of intense negotiations. A key sticking point has been what part of the proposed €750bn (£680bn; $857bn) fund would be available to countries as non-repayable grants
  • Nurses in Israel have been staging a general strike over staff shortages and poor working conditions made worse by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Hong Kong is stepping up its measures against the virus after a record new number of cases were recorded on Sunday. Authorities have announced a series of new measures including the mandatory wearing of face masks in indoor public spaces
  • France has become the latest country to make the wearing masks compulsory in indoor spaces such as shops, restaurants and banks. They were already required on public transport. People can be fined €135 (£122; $154) for failing to comply.

Thanks for joining us

We will pause our coronavirus coverage for the day shortly.

Today's updates were brought to you by: Krutika Pathi, Anna Jones, Andreas Illmer, Yvette Tan, Jasmine Taylor-Coleman, Toby Luckhurst, Alexandra Fouché, Victoria Lindrea, Joseph Lee, Joshua Cheetham, Ritu Prasad, Max Matza and Claire Heald.

Do join us again tomorrow.

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 03:35