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Coronavirus - 23rd July


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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 10:16

Summary for Thursday, 23rd July

  • Basic income would allow 2.7 billion people to stay at home, a UN Development Programme report says
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the pandemic shows "sheer might of the union"
  • A committee of UK MPs says it is "astonished" by the government's failure to plan an economic response to the pandemic
  • The cost of the pandemic has pushed Australia into its biggest budget deficit since World War Two
  • Brazil registers more than 67,000 new cases in 24 hours, another record amount
  • President Trump says he wants schools to reopen and would be "comfortable" sending his young son in
  • Globally there have been 15 million cases of Sars-Cov-2 and more than 622,000 deaths

Welcome back to our daily coverage of all things coronavirus. Here are the global headlines so far this Thursday:

  • Australia has announced its biggest deficit since World War Two as the country faces the economic fallout from the virus
  • The country is in the midst of a second wave and daily new numbers in Victoria have dropped only slightly to 403
  • Brazil has seen a record number of new infections, recording more than 67,000 new cases over the past day
  • US President Trump continues to push for schools to reopen and says he himself would be comfortable sending his young son to class
  • In the UK, a committee of MPs says it is “astonished” how the government failed to plan an economic response to the fallout from the pandemic

Australian economy in worst shape since WW2

The Australian government has revealed its largest budget deficit since World War Two – A$86bn (£47bn; $60bn). And that’s predicted to grow to A$184bn in the next financial year, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
"These deficits reveal the real cost to the budget of protecting lives and livelihoods as result of coronavirus," he told reporters today. Frydenberg said it would take “a number of years” to pay back.
Australia was sometimes hailed a “miracle” economy after avoiding recession during the GFC, but it is now entering its first in almost three decades .
Controversially, the current estimates only factor in Melbourne – the Australian city hit hardest by the virus - being in lockdown for another four weeks.
Yesterday, the state of Victoria – of which Melbourne is the capital – recorded its worst day yet, with 484 new infections. Experts have suggested it may need to implement additional measures.

South Korea in recession as exports at 57-year low

In another indication of how hard the coronavirus pandemic is hitting Asia’s economies, South Korea has fallen into recession.
Gross domestic product contracted in the second quarter by a worse-than-expected 2.9% in year-on-year terms, the steepest decline since 1998.
Exports, which account for nearly 40% of the economy, were the biggest drag as they fell by the most since 1963.
But the country’s finance minister remains optimistic that the economy will recover swiftly.
"It's possible for us to see China-style rebound in the third quarter as the pandemic slows and activity in overseas production, schools and hospitals resume," Hong Nam-ki said.

South Africa deaths hit daily record

South Africa on Wednesday said it recorded 572 new deaths over the past day, the highest number of daily fatalities so far.
It is the worst-hit country in Africa with almost 6,000 deaths and just under 400,000 confirmed infections.
Almost half of the overall number of deaths have been reported in the Western Cape province.
Yesterday, the World Health Organization said the surge in South Africa should be a warning for what’s in store for the rest of the continent which so far has managed to avoid becoming a hotspot of the pandemic.

Brazil sees record daily cases

Brazil has registered a record number of new coronavirus cases - more than 67,000 over the course of the past day.
The health ministry also reported almost 1,300 deaths for that period.
With more than 2.2 million confirmed infections, Brazil has the second-worst outbreak after the United States.
The virus is now affecting smaller towns and remote areas with fewer medical facilities in Brazil's huge interior, and indigenous groups are among those increasingly affected.
One prominent leader - Aritana Yawalapiti of the Upper Xingu people - fell ill at the weekend and underwent a 24-hour journey to hospital.

India infections cross 1.2 million

Infections in India have passed 1.2 million, according to data from the health ministry. The country has confirmed nearly 30,000 deaths so far.
India went into lockdown in March, when cases were hovering in the hundreds. It started to ease out of it in June, when infections had started to pick up pace - as cities jumped back into action alongside a rise in testing, cases began to go up rapidly.
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This prompted several states and cities to reimpose curbs and lockdowns. On Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir became the latest to do so, announcing a six-day lockdown.
And hotspots in southern India, like IT hub city Bangalore, which had managed to stave off rising numbers are now very much in the grip of the pandemic. The state the city is in, Karnataka, has now registered more than 75,000 infections.
But it's not all bad news. India's active cases remain low in comparison to the total tally at around 425,000. And its recovery rate continues to be high at over 63%

Australia's Victoria reports 403 more cases

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The Australian state of Victoria has reported 403 new cases, with most found in the locked-down city of Melbourne. It is now mandatory there to wear a mask when out in public, with few exceptions.
Today's increase follows on from the 484 infections found in the state yesterday - a daily record which saw Australia overall record its worst day in the pandemic so far.
Although the numbers are stabilising, they're not going down yet. Five people died overnight, while there are over 200 now in hospital. "The maths of this means people will die," said Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews.
A further 19 cases have also been recorded in neighboring New South Wales, where the state capital Sydney is bracing for further outbreaks.
On the whole, Australia has lower numbers than other nations, with 133 deaths and 13,300 cases. But the Melbourne outbreak has driven its virus curve back up.

The latest UK headlines

Good morning and welcome to those of you just joining. Here are the main headlines from the UK this morning:

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 10:25

California overtakes New York for virus cases

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California has overtaken New York as the worst-hit US state for cases of coronavirus.
The US' most populous state reported 12,807 new cases on Wednesday in its biggest single-day increase since the pandemic began.
In total, it has now recorded more than 413,000 cases, surpassing New York, which was the original epicentre of the outbreak in the US.
California also reported a record one-day rise in fatalities, along with Alabama, Nevada and Texas, Reuters news agency reports.
New York's death toll remains the highest in the US, at more than 32,000. However, the state has seen a big decline in numbers of new cases and deaths in the last two months.

Israel passes controversial new coronavirus law

Yolande Knell - BBC Middle East correspondent, Jerusalem
Israel has passed a controversial new law which allows the government to order new restrictions to deal with the coronavirus with limited parliamentary oversight.
The new “Grand Corona Law” will enable the cabinet to impose restrictions it sees as urgent – such as a new lockdown – allowing parliament to review such decisions only after 24 hours.
It’s been criticised by opposition figures who say it undermines democracy. The government says it needs to streamline its authority to deal with the crisis.
In recent weeks, Israel has been recording more than a thousand new coronavirus cases a day and unemployment has reached a record-high.
There’s been growing public anger at last-minute decisions on shut-downs and delays in economic support. Thousands of people have turned out for protests, some calling for the prime minister to resign.

Qantas' Boeing 747 says goodbye with 'flying kangaroo'

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Australian flagship carrier Qantas on Wednesday said goodbye to the last Boeing 747 carrier in its fleet with one final flourish - drawing a kangaroo into the sky off the Australian coast .
The plane was originally supposed to retire later this year, but the farewell was brought forward as a result of the virus bringing air travel to a virtual halt.
It was greeted with cheers at Sydney Airport, and is now on its way to the Mojave Desert in the US, where it will settle for its retirement.
"It's hard to overstate the impact the 747 had on aviation and a country as far away as Australia," said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. "[It] was well ahead of its time and extremely capable."

Latest updates from around Europe

France is to hand out millions of reusable masks to seven million people on the edge of poverty. Some 40 million masks will be sent out, says Health Minister Olivier Véran, because "France won't abandon people unable to get hold of masks". In other news:

  • A meat-processing company in Portugal has been closed after 34 workers tested positive. Broadcaster RTP reports that authorities in the town of Tomar are checking for further infections
  • One of Europe's biggest meat-processing plant outbreaks involved the German Tönnies factory in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Local health minister Karl-Josef Laumann has now said 2,119 cases were linked to the outbreak, although no-one died
  • Italy's government has approved a €25bn (£23bn; $29bn) stimulus package to shore up its coronavirus-battered economy. It's the Conte government's third Covid spending package and will keep the economy going until it gets an expected €209bn in grants and loans from the EU's recovery fund
  • Belgium's seen a 91% rise in daily infections on last week, health officials say - so any hope of restrictions being lifted further today is unlikely
  • And Spain is witnessing a rebound in infections with a transmission rate estimated at 1.3, reports say - 730 cases were reported on Wednesday, almost double the number of a week ago

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 10:42

China reports 22 new cases

China confirmed 22 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, 18 of those in Xinjiang province.
The province has seen a rise in cases in recent weeks and the city of Urumqi has introduced new measures to help curb the spread.
Another case was in the port city of Dalian. A man who worked at a seafood processing company tested positive for the virus.
Samples collected from inside the company including frozen food, processing workshop, a canteen and office building, also tested positive, according to state media.
China has confirmed 83,729 cases and reported 4,634 deaths.

The latest from Latin America: Patients being treated in cars

Latin America continues to be one of the worst-affected regions with more than four million confirmed cases.

  • Brazil is not the only South American country which registered a record number of new cases on Wednesday. Argentina, too, reached a new daily high with 5,782 confirmed cases in 24 hours. The majority of them were in the capital, Buenos Aires, and surrounding areas
  • In the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, there is a rotating lockdown in force. Residents living in seven neighbourhoods which have been under lockdown for the past two weeks will be allowed to resume their lives as normal on Thursday while those of five different neighbourhoods will go into lockdown for the coming two weeks. The system is aimed at keeping the city's economy going while curbing the spread of the virus
  • In Peru, the contagion hotspot has moved from the capital, Lima, to the southern city of Arequipa. Health services there are struggling to cope and some patients set up tents outside hospitals in desperation. Others were being given oxygen while sitting in their cars

Trump pushes for schools to reopen

US President Donald Trump has once again said he wants schools in the country to reopen, adding that he would be comfortable with his son, Barron, and grandchildren attending them.
Speaking during his latest coronavirus news conference, Trump acknowledged concerns about the risk of spreading infections in schools, but said the statistics showed the dangers to children were very small.
The president also reiterated the importance of people continuing to socially distance and wash their hands.
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Trump with his son Barron in pre-virus days

UN suggests hand outs to poorest people to stop virus spread

The UN has suggested that a temporary basic income for the world’s poorest people in developing countries could help stop the spread of coronavirus.
A report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said that the fund would allow 2.7 billion people in 132 developing countries to stay at home.
“Unprecedented times call for unprecedented social and economic measures. Introducing a temporary basic income for the world’s poorest people has emerged as one option. Bailouts and recovery plans cannot only focus on big markets and big business,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said.
The report gave three ways in which the pay-out could be done – by topping up existing average incomes, awarding lump sum transfers based on the differences in the median standard of living across a country or by transferring a lump sum despite a person’s location in a country.
The UN has warned that the pandemic could increase poverty worldwide.
More than 15m cases have been confirmed and more than 600,000 people have died.

PM says virus response shows 'might of UK union'

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the "sheer might" of the UK has been shown during the coronavirus pandemic, ahead of a visit to Scotland later.
Mr Johnson said he "pledged to be a prime minister for every corner of the United Kingdom", adding that the response to the pandemic had shown his government's commitment to the whole of the UK.
He will say on his visit - his first to Scotland since December's general election - that being part of the UK has saved nearly 900,000 thousand jobs in Scotland during the crisis.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had no plans to meet Mr Johnson, but that she would continue work with his government on the "immediate priority" of tackling coronavirus.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 10:53

Johnson's message 'will go down badly in Scotland'

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford says he does not think Boris Johnson's message about Scotland's dependence on the UK during coronavirus will be well received during his visit today.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think he's going to find that this message is going to go down particularly badly in Scotland.
"Is he really saying that any other small nation in Europe and any other part of the world doesn't have the capability to deal with the Covid crisis?”
The UK government has coordinated much of the UK's economic response to the virus, such as the job retention furlough scheme, but devolved governments have had control over most public health measures.
Mr Blackford added that over the past two months the “leadership that has been shown by our First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) is in sharp contrast with the bluster we have seen from Boris Johnson".

Newspaper review: Test and trace system 'failing to alert thousands'

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The government’s test and trace system is failing to contact thousands of people in areas with the highest infection rates in England, according to the Guardian.
Data obtained by the paper shows that the proportion of close contacts of infected people being reached is far below 80% - the level the government’s scientific advisers say is required for test and trace to be effective.
"We won't shop you" is the headline on the front of the Daily Mirror, as it reports the Association of Convenience Stores, which represents workers and owners, has advised its members not to challenge customers who aren't wearing face coverings when they become compulsory in shops in England on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that coverings will also be required in takeaways, and that buying food from a counter then sitting down to eat will be banned.
Read our full paper review here.

Face coverings 'will be needed if buying takeaways' in England

At midnight tonight, it will become compulsory in England to wear face coverings in shops. More details of the guidance will be announced later today.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis says the guidance will give clarity on what to do when you go into a shop selling takeaway food.
He told BBC Breakfast that if you go into a takeaway shop but you want to eat your food in that place "then that is like hospitality, you are eating, it's not practical to wear a face mask, we recognise that".
"But if you are going in to buy a product and then leave again then you're treating it like a shop and you should be wearing a face mask."
Read more about what the rules are in the UK for face coverings.

People 'missing vaccinations over Covid-19 fears'

Helier Cheung - BBC News
We may be waiting for a Covid-19 vaccine - but in the meantime, fear of catching the coronavirus has also stopped a lot of people from getting shots for other diseases.
A new report from Imperial College London , which surveyed more than 23,000 people from around the world, found that 9% of respondents said they, or someone in their household, had missed or delayed vaccinations due to Covid-19.
This is serious, because it could lead to "an increase in preventable diseases, that will further exacerbate strains on the global health system", says Sarah P Jones , a researcher at Imperial's Institute of Global Health Innovation.
The report also found that:

  • About half of those who had missed or had their vaccinations delayed were babies or children aged 17 and under
  • The most common reason for putting off vaccinations is the fear of catching Covid-19 at the clinic, or the vaccination clinic being closed
  • A majority of respondents felt that making face masks mandatory at the vaccination clinics would make them feel safe

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 11:01

South Africa death toll could be higher, says report

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South Africa reported 572 deaths over the last 24 hours

As we mentioned earlier, South Africa is seeing an increase in coronavirus related deaths. However a report by the South African Medical Research Council suggests the toll could be much higher.
The country’s overall number of natural deaths in recent weeks increased by almost 60%, according to the council’s report.
The report's author Professor Debbie Bradshaw said “the weekly death reports have revealed a huge discrepancy between the country’s confirmed Covid-19 deaths and number of excess natural deaths".
The council’s CEO Glenda Gray said the rise could in part be attributed to Covid-related deaths, but also to other diseases like HIV, as health services are adjusted in order to fight coronavirus.
South Africa is the worst hit country in Africa. More than 390,000 cases have been confirmed and 5,900 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Police issue dispersal order to clear Liverpool fans

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Police issued a dispersal order to clear Liverpool fans from outside their Anfield stadium last night where the team was presented with the Premier League trophy.
Despite pleas for supporters to stay away because of the risk of spreading coronavirus, thousands of supporters gathered in the streets, letting off flares and fireworks to celebrate the club's first top-flight title in 30 years.
Merseyside Police said the 48-hour order was to prevent potential disorder. The city council tweeted a reminder to fans celebrating to "keep social distancing in mind and avoid crowds".

Virus suspected of killing eight death row inmates at US jail

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More than 2,000 prisoners at San Quentin have tested positive for the virus

Another inmate on death row at San Quentin State prison in the US has died from suspected coronavirus, bringing the total to eight.
John Beames died on Tuesday from “what appears to be complications related to Covid-19”, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
He was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s 15-month-old daughter.
A total of 14 inmates have died from the virus and more than 2,000 have been infected.
California’s prisons are seeing a huge rise in cases. More than 7,000 cases have been confirmed so far, 1,012 of those were in the past two weeks.

Domestic abuse helpline sees lockdown surge

More than 40,000 calls and contacts were made to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline in the UK during the first three months of lockdown, mostly by women seeking help, new figures show.
In June, calls and contacts were nearly 80% higher than usual, says the charity Refuge, which runs the helpline.
And as restrictions ease, there is a surge in women seeking refuge places to escape their abusers, the charity says.
The government says it prioritised help for domestic-abuse victims in lockdown and focused on ensuring vital support services remained available.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 11:06

Chinese vaccine could be ready by end of year

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Trials of two Chinese vaccines are taking place in the UAE and Brazil

A vaccine developed by a Chinese pharmaceutical group could be ready by the end of this year, according to state media.
Liu Jingzhen, chairman of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), said human trials are expected to be completed within the next three months.
Sinopharm’s unit China National Biotec Group had warned that a vaccine might be delayed as a lack of infections in China made it difficult to find people to test it on. However it is now being trialled at a number of overseas sites, including the UAE.
Another vaccine by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech was tested on people in Brazil.

UK's pandemic planning an 'astonishing' failure, say MPs

The UK government's failure to plan for the economic impact of a pandemic is "astonishing", a committee of MPs has said.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the economic reaction to Covid-19 was rushed and the impact could be "long-term".
In its report, it said the Treasury waited until mid-March before deciding on the economic support schemes it would put in place.
The report added that the government needed to "learn lessons" to "ensure it doesn't repeat its mistakes again in the event of a second spike in infections".

The latest from Latin America: Patients being treated in cars

Latin America continues to be one of the worst-affected regions with more than four million confirmed cases.

  • Brazil is not the only South American country which registered a record number of new cases on Wednesday. Argentina, too, reached a new daily high with 5,782 confirmed cases in 24 hours. The majority of them were in the capital, Buenos Aires, and surrounding areas
  • In the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, there is a rotating lockdown in force. Residents living in seven neighbourhoods which have been under lockdown for the past two weeks will be allowed to resume their lives as normal on Thursday while those of five different neighbourhoods will go into lockdown for the coming two weeks. The system is aimed at keeping the city's economy going while curbing the spread of the virus
  • In Peru, the contagion hotspot has moved from the capital, Lima, to the southern city of Arequipa. Health services there are struggling to cope and some patients set up tents outside hospitals in desperation. Others were being given oxygen while sitting in their cars

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 11:12

Melbourne enforces mask policy

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Those who do not comply face a fine

Wearing face coverings outside the home is now mandatory in the Australian city of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
The move came into effect on Thursday after a surge in cases in the state of Victoria.
Those who do not comply with the rules will face a $200 fine (£112; $143).
Police have said they will use discretion during the first week.
Melbourne is currently under a lockdown which is expected to last six weeks.
On Thursday, Victoria reported 403 infections and five deaths.

Russia nears 800,000 coronavirus cases

Russia has reported 5,848 new coronavirus cases and 147 deaths in the past 24 hours.
The new figures are a slight decline from the previous day when 5,862 cases and 165 deaths were recorded.
Russia’s death toll now stands at 12,892 with the overall number of infections reaching 795,038.

West Midlands factory temporarily closes over outbreak

A factory at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak in the West Midlands, in England, has closed voluntarily after 40% of its workforce tested positive.
Currently 49 out of 117 staff at CBS Packaging, in Sandwell, have tested positive and the company says it will close its doors for 14 days.
The borough of Sandwell is in the top 10 hotspots for the virus in England and the council has warned it will use emergency powers to close any businesses or premises which are a threat to public health.

Hong Kong sees new daily case record

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People have been advised to stay at home and only leave when necessary

A further 118 cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, marking another one day record in the city.
One person died from the virus over the past 24 hours.
Of the infections, 111 were local transmissions, the South China Morning Post said.
People have been advised to remain at home and only go out if necessary.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 13:19

App to show beachgoers crowd levels

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Many places around the world have seen people flock to beaches as lockdown restrictions are eased. The problem then can be how do you social distance?
An app has been launched in one part of the UK to help - by showing beachgoers which areas are crowded.
It comes after thousands of people flocked to Bournemouth, on the south coast of England, last month when restrictions were eased.
The free BCP Beach Check app, developed by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Tourism, provides real-time data to users and can be downloaded on Apple or Android devices.
It uses a traffic light system to code beaches green, amber or red to show congestion levels in the area based on a number of sources, including seafront rangers, CCTV and some footfall counters.
You can read more about the app here.

Poland cases hit highest level since June

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland recorded 418 new Covid-19 cases the health ministry said on Thursday, the highest daily rise in more than a month and up from 380 on Wednesday. Nine new deaths takes the country's total to 1,651.
The number of active cases, which has fallen steadily from a high of 14,665 on June 19, has started rising again in recent days, and was up to 8,388 on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 110 were recorded in Upper Silesia, while 104 were in Mazowsze, home to the capital Warsaw.
The spike in cases in Mazowsze may be due to an outbreak following a wedding.
Upper Silesia is where most of Poland’s coal mines are located, three of which have seen outbreaks this week. Coal miners account for 16% of all cases in Poland, although around 97% of those infected are asymptomatic, according to the health ministry.

Nine arrests after Liverpool fans gather at Anfield

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Fans lined the streets and cheered the players as it made its way to the ground

Nine people were arrested as Liverpool supporters ignored police advice and crowded the streets following the club's Premier League trophy-lifting final home game.
Thousands of fans gathered on Wednesday night outside the team's Anfield stadium despite being urged to stay away because of the risk of spreading coronavirus.
The arrests were made on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, drink and drug driving, affray and disorder.
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Meanwhile, Leeds United have defended the decision to parade the Championship trophy from an open-top bus in front of fans after previously telling people to stay away.
The move attracted criticism on social media, particularly from those who had heeded the original advice to stay away issued by the club.
Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police had also urged fans to stay away over concerns about coronavirus.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 13:26

Are coronavirus cases being missed in India’s capital?

Shruti Menon - BBC Reality Check
A top doctor and member of India’s pandemic monitoring team, Dr Randeep Guleria, has said Delhi might be past the peak of new coronavirus cases.
The number of confirmed cases in the capital has decreased by 23% in the week up to 22 July, as testing has been ramped up.
However, there are questions about the figures reliability because of a change in testing methods.
Rapid antigen tests now account for 70% of all tests carried out. They are cheaper and give results in less than an hour compared with other tests, which take six to eight hours to process.
But they may be less reliable, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.
The authorities have told those who test negative in a rapid antigen test should still take one of the other tests to rule out a false result. But Delhi's local government says less than 1% of residents who had had a negative result had a further test, with 18% of those turning out to be positive.
Questions about the extent of the virus in Delhi were highlighted recently by a government survey which looked for people who had already had the disease . It showed the prevalence of Covid-19 antibodies in nearly a quarter of Delhi’s 19.8 million residents. Officially, Delhi has so far recorded just 126,323 cases, equivalent to less than 1% of its population.

Rise in proportion of test and trace contacts reached

The proportion of the close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 being reached by England's test and trace system has risen, according to weekly figures.
The Department of Health figures said 77.9% of close contacts were reached in the week ending 15 July, up from 72% in the previous week, but down on the 90.7% reached in the first week.
Since the launch of test and trace seven weeks ago, almost 170,000 people have been told to self-isolate.
This is 83.6% of a total of 202,781 people identified as close contacts - but 33,235 people were not reached.

Tokyo announces 366 cases, breaking one day record

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Infections in Tokyo have risen since the lifting of a state of emergency

Tokyo confirmed a one-day record of 366 coronavirus cases on Thursday.
The city’s governor Yuriko Koike has advised people to stay at home during this week’s four day-long public holiday, which started on Thursday.
The current alert level in the capital is on level four, meaning “infections are spreading”.
There has been a surge in cases in recent weeks with infections reported in restaurants, nightclubs and workplaces.
According to news agency AP, Koike said the city is in the process of securing hotel rooms for less sick patients.
Japan recorded a total of 795 new cases on Wednesday.

More than 90% of UK firms now trading

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Around 92% of UK firms were trading in the two weeks to July 12 as more opened their doors to customers on the easing of lockdown restrictions, new figures show.
The proportion of active firms jumped from 86% in the first two weeks of June, as the economy got a boost from the reopening of non-essential shops and hospitality venues, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Firms currently trading said 7% of their total workforce had returned from furlough in the past two weeks and another 6% are expected to return in the next two weeks.
Guitar sales is one area that has seen a boost from the lockdown with a surge in amateur musicians and podcasters, says Gear4Music, the UK's biggest online retailer of instruments and sound equipment.
In the April-to-June period, it said the value of UK sales rise 80% on the same time last year to £21.2m.
And Unilever said it has seen ice cream sales soar while demand for personal hygiene items has fallen.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 13:33

PM arrives in Orkney

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The PM spoke to fishermen on the Carvela at Stromness Harbour

Boris Johnson has arrived in Orkney, Scotland, to meet members of the armed forces and their families.
It comes as the prime minister insisted his government's response to the coronavirus pandemic has shown the "sheer might" of the UK union .
He said troops had done "vital work" to support the NHS during the pandemic and praised Treasury job retention schemes.
But the SNP said his visit showed the PM was "in a panic" about rising support for Scottish independence.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had no plans to meet Mr Johnson, but stressed she would continue work with his government on the "immediate priority" of tackling coronavirus.

Ministers urged to end face coverings 'confusion'

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Cabinet minister Michael Gove wearing a face mask when buying takeaway food

The government has been accused of mixed messaging by trade bodies and opposition MPs over where people will have to wear face coverings when new rules come into force.
They will be compulsory in shops in England from Friday - with the full guidance expected to be published this afternoon.
Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis said face coverings would be mandatory when purchasing takeaway food and drink, but not if you are eating at the premises.
However, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said this contradicted what the industry had previously been told by the government and it was "very late in the day" for this to be confirmed.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week: "If there's table service, it is not necessary to have a mask. But in any shop, you do need a mask. So, if you're going up to the counter in Pret to buy takeaway that is a shop."
But that was later contradicted by the prime minister's spokesman, who said: "My understanding is that it wouldn't be mandatory if you went in, for example, to a sandwich shop in order to get a takeaway to wear a face covering."
Meanwhile, ministers in Northern Ireland are set to discuss how to significantly increase the wearing of face coverings inside shops
Confused about the rules on wearing mask? See our guide here.

Emirates to cover passengers' medical expenses

Emirates has become the first airline in the world to guarantee to cover customers' medical expenses if they are diagnosed with Covid-19.
The Dubai-based company said on Thursday that it would offer "free cover for Covid-19 medical expenses and quarantine costs", regardless of which class they travel in.
The new policy, which runs until 31 October, will offer travellers in any class up to €150,000 (£137,000 or $174,000) in medical costs, or €100 per day for up to two weeks if they are quarantined after testing positive.
The president of Emirates revealed earlier this month that the company planned to cut as many as 9,000 of its 60,000 staff due to the pandemic.

Shielding changes in Scotland

Just one death has been reported over the past 15 days in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said in the latest Scottish government briefing.
Some 287 patients are in hospital with confirmed Covid-19 infection, with two being treated in intensive care, she said.
No deaths were registered in the last 24 hours of people who tested positive, meaning the total remains at 2,491.
She also confirmed there are a total of 24 positive Covid cases associated with the Sitel call centre outbreak, an increase of four from yesterday .
Ms Sturgeon went on to announce that, from Friday, if you are shielding in Scotland you may:

  • meet with up to eight people indoors from up to two other households with physical distancing
  • meet outdoors with groups of up to 15 people from a maximum of four other households
  • use public transport with a face covering
  • go to outdoor spaces in pubs and restaurants
  • go to indoor shops, pharmacies and indoor markets
  • attend hairdressers, barbers, museums, galleries and cinemas
  • children who live with someone who is shielding can attend formal childcare providers

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Eswatini MPs test positive for Covid-19

Four members of parliament in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, have tested positive for Covid-19, according to local media.
The names of the MPs have not been made available.
It brings the number of MPs who have tested positive to six.
Over the past two weeks, all MPs and their staff have had to undergo tests.
Sources told the Swazi Observer that the four MPs were currently in quarantine.
The southern African country has recorded 25 deaths and 1,938 cases.

The UK's coronavirus rules and guidelines

Dominic Casciani - Home Affairs Correspondent
It will become compulsory to wear face coverings in shops in England from Friday.
But who is responsible for making sure people follow rules intended to tackle coronavirus?
Police have the biggest responsibility for enforcing coronavirus laws - the rules everyone must follow – but these differ across the UK's four nations.
And not everything you are asked to do is a legal requirement.
Read more here

NHS staff 'should get weekly virus tests'

NHS staff in England should be given at least weekly Covid-19 tests from September, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.
In a letter to the current Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the head of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens, Mr Hunt said nurses, doctors, cleaners and porters needed the reassurance of regular testing given fears of a second spike in virus cases in the winter.
Mr Hunt, the chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee, said: "NHS staff want to know they will get the weekly testing that has now been offered to care home staff so they can be confident they won't pass on infections to patients.
"The chief medical officer for England (Prof Chris Whitty) says he supports this in principle so there should be no further delays given the complicated logistics necessary to set it up ahead of winter."

Is Ghana testing enough people for coronavirus?

Ghana has resumed full coronavirus testing capacity after suffering a set back following a shortage of supplies.
The country's Covid-19 testing programme co-ordinator William Kwabena Ampofo told BBC Newsday that a shipment had been received that will enable the country to get back to its testing and tracking strategy.
:Left Quotes:  Our testing programme is back on track we had 10 centres doing PCR testing throughout the country we are looking at how we can provide other testing for people who are recovering."
Our testing programme is back on track we had 10 centres doing PCR testing throughout the country we are looking at how we can provide other testing for people who are recovering."

He said the ministry had managed to clear the backlog caused by the shortage of supplies.
:Left Quotes: We've taken a decision that samples older than two weeks will not be tested. We will focus on the active cases and then we will be able to push on in managing the outbreak."
We've taken a decision that samples older than two weeks will not be tested. We will focus on the active cases and then we will be able to push on in managing the outbreak."

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 17:44

Walk-in centres in England 'to help cope with winter'

A network of coronavirus-testing walk-in centres is to be set up across England in an attempt to persuade more people to come forward for testing.
Several hundred walk-in units will be up and running by the end of October, in time for winter, when there is concern cases could start to rise.
They will complement the existing drive-through centres, mobile testing units and home-ordering service.
It comes amid concern people are still not coming forward for testing. The government's weekly random test of 30,000 people, suggests there are about 1,700 new infections a day - but the testing service is picking up only about a third of those.

Covid-19 outbreak at Northern Ireland poultry site

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Affected staff at the site have been self-isolating, Moy Park said

Food firm Moy Park has said a "very small number of employees" have tested positive for coronavirus at its poultry production factory in Ballymena , Northern Ireland.
It said those affected have been self-isolating on full pay in line with its Covid-19 sick scheme.
The company said an average of about 1,400 people are employed at the site, including agency workers.
It is understood that fewer than 1% are affected.
It said it was working closely with the PHA and other government agencies, following their advice and protocols.

Where security forces may be more deadly than coronavirus

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Members of the security forces have been enforcing the lockdown measures

At least 12 people in Uganda have allegedly been killed by security officers who were enforcing measures to restrict the spread of coronavirus.
No virus-related deaths have been confirmed in the country. More than 1,000 cases have been confirmed.
The BBC’s Patience Atuhaire has met some of those affected by the violence.
Read more here.

Flights resume in Iraq as cases pass 100,000

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More than 100,000 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Iraq, government figures published on Thursday showed.
The total number of infections reached 102,226, while 4,122 people have died so far.
The news comes as the country resumed commercial flights from the cities of Baghdad, Najaf and Basra for the first time in several months, with further airports expected to open from 1 August.
Neighbouring Iran remains the worst-affected country in the Middle East, with more than 284,000 cases and over 15,000 deaths.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 17:52

US jobless figures rise for first time in weeks

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has risen for the first time in 15 weeks.
Some 1.4 million people have applied in the last week. While the number is still under the peak of 6.9 million in late March, the data suggests that any recovery in the labour market may be running out of steam as coronavirus cases continue to climb and will add pressure on congress to pass another round of stimulus.
According to the BBC's North American business correspondent Michelle Fleury, the level of claims suggests many workers are being laid off, in some cases for a second time.
Efforts to reopen the economy after businesses shut down to help contain the pandemic have been bumpy, she says. Several states have imposed new restrictions on bars and restaurants as coronavirus cases have gone up.
And the tens of millions of jobless Americans making a claim may soon see a sharp drop in their benefits. If Congress doesn’t act, extra unemployment payments worth $600 (£473) a week will run out at the end of the month.

Coronavirus traces return to Paris sewers

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Samples of waste from sewers in the French capital have started showing traces of coronavirus again.
According to research by the city's water company Eau de Paris, the virus disappeared from the samples during the nationwide lockdown, but has been recorded again since late June.
The head of the laboratory told Reuters news agency that the findings on their own did not mean the virus was peaking again.
But Laurent Moulin added that, along with other data such as positive test results and the number of hospitalisations, the findings could help provide a fuller picture of how the virus is spreading.
More than 30,000 people have died with coronavirus in France since the pandemic began.

US nears four million virus cases

As America continues to grapple with the biggest outbreak in the world, infection numbers are nearing four million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Deaths resulting from the virus have also risen to more than 143,000.
A separate tally by Reuters suggests over 2,600 cases are being reported every hour on average, the highest rate globally.
New York, which was hit hardest at the onset of America's outbreak, continues to have the highest number of deaths in the country.
But infection rates have risen sharply during recent weeks in southern states like Florida and Texas. As we reported earlier, California - the most populous US state - has already overtaken New York in case numbers.

No need for public to report non-mask wearers - Number 10

Downing Street has said it does not expect members of the public to report people not wearing masks in shops from Friday due to voluntary take-up of the policy.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: "You've seen over the course of recent months the British public have voluntarily chosen to follow the guidance because they want to help slow the spread of the virus and I'm sure that will be the case with face coverings as well.
"With shops, we would expect them to give advice to customers and remind them that they should be wearing a face covering and I'm sure the overwhelming majority of the public will do so."
Those not wearing their masks properly over both mouth and nose will be "advised as to the right and safest way to wear a face mask" rather than be immediately fined up to £100 for non-compliance, he said, adding: "That would be the sensible approach.”

Belgium to tighten Covid measures after rise in cases

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Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes announced a tightening of coronavirus restrictions due to a rise in cases

Authorities in Belgium have announced they are tightening coronavirus measures after a spike in cases.
People will be required to use face masks in crowded outdoor public spaces and take part in tracing measures at restaurants and bars. Night shops will have to close at 10pm, according to Reuters news agency.
More than 9,800 people have died in the country since the pandemic began.
Last week Belgium saw an average of 184 new infections per day last week, up by 89% on the previous week.
The government had been planning to loosen its lockdown restrictions further today, however the spike in cases stopped this from happening.
Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said: “Announcing a strengthening of the rules is a hard blow for our morale, but we’d prefer to take these measures today than to regret it tomorrow."
“These measures are not advice, they are orders,” she added.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 18:05

More than 10,000 health workers positive in sub-Saharan Africa - WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 10,000 healthcare workers have tested positive for coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa since the beginning of the pandemic.
This accounts for 10% of all medics who've been infected worldwide, despite Africa reporting far fewer infections than other continents.
The WHO says the high rate is due to a shortage of personal protective equipment. The majority of those affected are nurses, who typically spend more time in wards than other medical staff.

Parents warned not to buy face masks for young children

Public Health England has warned parents not to buy face coverings for babies and young children due to the risk of choking and suffocation.
It made the move after becoming aware that masks and coverings are being sold in shops and online aimed at youngsters.
Face coverings become compulsory in supermarkets and shops in England on Friday, but children aged under 11 are exempt.
Prof Viv Bennett, chief nurse at the agency, said: "Guidance is clear that children under the age of three years should not wear face coverings or masks.
"These masks should not be used as they are potentially dangerous and can cause choking and suffocation."

China mockery at continued dithering by Trump at mask-wearing

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Coronavirus - 23rd July Da050410
People in China have mocked President Trump's resistance to wear a mask

In China, where mask-wearing has been common practice since the beginning of the year amid the coronavirus outbreak, there’s much mockery at what people see as President Donald Trump’s continued resistance to wearing a mask.
Today, Chinese outlets have picked up on a cafeteria worker at the White House testing positive and Washington DC issuing an executive order that requires people wear masks outdoors.
But nevertheless, as coronavirus daily briefings resume in the States, netizens in China are of the view the president is a hypocrite, urging Americans to wear a mask, yet consistently not wearing one himself.
On 11 July, more than 45,000 users of the popular Sina Weibo microblog commented on Trump wearing a mask for the first time in public. Many also recently mocked his 20 July tweet suggesting that people wear a mask out of patriotism, even though he often doesn’t wear one in public
In contrast, Chinese users today are seeing footage of their own president , Xi Jinping, in northeastern Jilin province, and are welcoming his move to wear a mask indoors.
You can read more about the different attitudes that different countries have to masks HERE .

French holidaymakers seek to avoid number-plate stigma

Motorists from one of France's regions worst-affected by Covid-19, the north-western department of Mayenne, are flocking to garages to get their number plates purged of all geographical reference, French media report.
Le Midi Libre newspaper says they are doing so "to avoid reprisals" while on holiday.
Last week Mayenne was placed on "high vulnerability" alert following a surge in coronavirus cases.
Until 2009, number plates for French vehicles carried the two-digit code of the owner's home department. Those with older vehicles are allowed to request a new-format, geographically neutral plate.

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Did Joe Biden stop swine flu testing?

Christopher Giles - BBC Reality Check
Kayleigh McEnany, President Trump’s press secretary, has said that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stopped all testing during the swine flu epidemic in the US.
tweet  Kayleigh McEnany:
:Left Quotes:  Joe Biden refuses to take questions because he doesn’t want to answer-

  • Why did you STOP all Swine Flu testing?
  • Why are children dying in Democrat-run streets?
  • Why did you bring up Logan Act to use against Michael Flynn?
  • How are the police “the enemy,” as you said?

Miami increases penalties for mask mandate violators

The city of Miami, which has been seeing an average of over 2,500 new cases per day, is increasing penalties for those that violate the order to wear a mask in public.
Starting on Wednesday, first and second time offenders will be fined $100 (£78). Repeat offenders can be fined up to $500 and jailed.
Previously, people seen in public with no mask received a warning and a maximum $50 fine.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who tested positive for Covid-19 in March, said that 39 city police officers would be dedicated to enforcing the mandate and that the money from fines could go to help struggling small businesses.
"We’re seeing some early evidence that the mask in public rule is working, and we want to make sure it’s being adopted universally in our population,” Suarez told CNN on Thursday.

Scottish government apology over funfair advice

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Codona's in Aberdeen was told to close a week after reopening

The Scottish government has apologised for giving out the wrong advice on when funfairs could reopen.
Operators were originally told they would be able to start up from the 15 of July - but days later were told to close again.
Codona's Amusement Park in Aberdeen said it was "astounded" at the move which could jeopardise 180 jobs .
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said it was "unfortunate and regrettable" that conflicting advice had been given out.

Thousands protest Airbus cuts in Spain

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Thousands of Spanish employees of the multinational aerospace giant, Airbus, have protested against job cuts at several of the firm’s plants.
Airbus is laying off almost 900 of its workers in Spain, adding to 700 already announced in February. It says the unparalleled pandemic-related crisis facing global aviation has made the extra cuts necessary.
In total, Airbus is shedding about 15,000 staff from its global operation, including 5,000 in both France and Germany.
Protester Jose Luis Collado, who has worked at the company for 41 years, told Reuters news agency that Airbus was "taking advantage" of the pandemic to push through job cuts.
"This is a temporary situation. It's going to pass and we don't understand why around 1,700 people of Airbus Spain have to be fired," said Mr Collado.

Dyson cuts 900 jobs due to coronavirus impact

Dyson is cutting 600 jobs in the UK and a further 300 worldwide as the coronavirus impact speeds up the company's restructuring plans.
The firm, best known for the invention of the bag-less vacuum cleaner, said the pandemic was changing consumer habits as more people shopped online.
Founded by inventor Sir James Dyson, it has a global workforce of 14,000, with 4,000 in the UK, but most of its products are manufactured in Asia.
Most of the jobs will be lost in retail and customer service roles.
Earlier this year the company joined the fight to produce medical ventilators for the NHS, amid fears it would be overwhelmed by coronavirus. But Sir James later told employees these were no longer needed.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 18:24

Seven infected and nearly 200 quarantined at Swiss children's camp

At least seven children have tested positive for coronavirus at a summer camp in Switzerland's Graubünden region.
A further 196 people have been quarantined at the camp for 9-13 year olds, run by Christian youth organisation Adonia.
Health authorities say two people are in hospital care and that infections may rise when they get the test results of people in quarantine who have symptoms.
Around 33,500 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Switzerland since the country's outbreak began, and 2,000 have died. After peaking in March, new case numbers fell in June and the government began to ease lockdown measures.
But since then infections have been creeping up in different areas of the country. During the last two weeks, around 100 new cases have been reported every day on average.

Major League Baseball returns in the US

The season opener of Major League Baseball begins tonight - at game where all fans are barred.
The first game will begin when Dr Anthony Fauci, a top US disease expert who is widely respected for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and other viral outbreaks, will throw out the opening pitch of the game as the reigning champion Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees in Washington DC.
Hours later the Los Angeles Dodgers will face off against the San Francisco Giants in LA.
The baseball season will be shortened to only 60 games per team, and there are loads of new rules to prevent players from infected each other.
Spitting is banned. As is licking your fingers to better grip the ball.
Despite the lack of spectators, one network - Fox Sports - says they will be virtually added fans to bleachers during matches it airs. The computer-generated fans will cheer, wear team colours and boo.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays are officially homeless after the Canadian government nixed their plan to host American teams there, and health officials in Pennsylvania also rejected the team's bid to use the Pittsburgh stadium as their home field.

Sweden unemployment at 22-year high

The unemployment rate in Sweden has risen to its highest level in more than two decades, the country's statistics agency has said.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate among 16 to 64-year-olds reached 9.4% in June, up from 8.6% the previous month.
The figure is the highest since the late 1990s, when a severe economic crisis led to an all-time high of 11.7%.
The rate among young people is even higher, with 28% of 16-24 year olds out of work - a rise of more than 7% since January.
David Samuelsson, a statistician at Statistics Sweden, said the rise was mainly due to "those who have had temporary contracts and not gotten an extension", AFP news agency reported.
Young people, meanwhile, have been affected by a lower number of summer jobs, he added.

Baghdad Airport reopens after four months

Baghdad International Airport fully reopened on Thursday, four months after it was closed due to the pandemic.
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said all incoming passengers must take a test 48 hours before boarding their flight.
He added that some outbound passengers are required to take a test several days before their flights.
Passengers will have their temperature checked on arrival at the airport.
Earlier on Thursday, coronavirus cases in Iraq surpassed 100,000. More than 4,122 people have died since the outbreak began.

Northern Ireland contact tracing app to launch next week

Louise Cullen - BBC News Northern Ireland
Coronavirus - 23rd July 153e0110

A coronavirus contact tracing app for Northern Ireland will be launched next week, the health committee has been told.
Dan West from the Department of Health said the release of Stop Covid NI was supported by the executive.
The app will supplement the phone-based contact tracing programme already in place.
Northern Ireland will be the first part of the UK to have a contact tracing app.
Read more here.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 18:31

Shed of the Year entries inspired by lockdown

Coronavirus - 23rd July Fdfacc10
Sarah McGoldrick used her shed in Sheffield to make visors for front-line NHS staff

The impact of Covid-19 has proved to be an unlikely inspiration to a handful of imaginative people shortlisted for the UK's annual Shed of the Year awards.
New categories for sheds built or transformed during lockdown have been added to the competition this year.
Hundreds of entries have been whittled down to a shortlist of 27 across nine categories, with a public vote deciding the winners for each category and a panel of experts picking the overall shed of the year.
Head judge and founder of the competition Andrew Wilcox said: "More than ever, the events of recent months have shown us what a valuable role sheds can play in our lives."
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Joe Melton built a bar after his family's "once in a lifetime" holiday was cancelled

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Ashley Bates' Shed School is an online tutoring platform providing maths and English tutoring for children

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Tim Kerridge's shed in Dorset, built from an old grain silo, is also on the shortlist

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jul 23 2020, 18:37

More than 50 new deaths reported in UK

The UK government says that 53 more people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus - bringing the national total to 45,554.
More than 297,000 cases have also been confirmed after 760 new infections were confirmed.

Sniffer dogs able to detect coronavirus, study finds

Researchers in Germany say they have succesfully managed to train sniffer dogs to detect Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
A study by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, in co-operation with the German army, found that after a week of training, eight dogs were able to correctly differentiate infected samples from control samples in 94% of cases.
The researchers say the findings could be used to help identify the spread of the infection at public areas such as airports and sports events.
Other countries have also begun investigating the potential of sniffer dogs to detect the virus, including the UK.

Jersey delays next phase of lockdown easing

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Jersey has delayed a further relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
The government says "until early August" the island will remain at level two of its coronavirus lockdown safe exit framework, which has been in place since 12 June.
The move follows advice from an expert panel that Covid-19 activity should be monitored for a further two weeks.
Level one is due to ease restrictions on gatherings and allow pubs and bars that do not serve food to reopen.
It is due to be introduced in stages, said the minister of health and social services.
Read more here.

Northern Ireland pools, spas and bowling alleys can reopen from Friday

Swimming pools, spas, funfairs, bowling alleys and community centres can all reopen in Northern Ireland from Friday as more lockdown restrictions are eased.
Spectators can also be present at outdoor sporting venues where access can be controlled and social distancing maintained, the Stormont Executive announced.
The number of people who can gather indoors in a home is increasing from six to 10, and a ban on overnight stays in other people’s homes is being lifted.
And from 1 August, ministers have the power to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory in shops but they said they will wait until 20 August before making a decision.
Read more on the changes to Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland here

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'There is no plan for how our country will get out of this crisis’

Coronavirus - 23rd July 53c9d510

Thousands of people have been protesting in Israel over the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Demonstrations have been growing over the economic crisis and growing unemployment caused by restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. It follows the passing of a law giving the government new powers to impose coronavirus restrictions.
Israel has seen more than 1,000 new infections a day in recent weeks. The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said that in hindsight his government re-opened the economy too soon.
Shikma Schwartzman is a leader of the Black Flag movement leading the protests.
“It’s a complete mess, and there is no plan for how our country will get out of this crisis," she told BBC OS on World Service radio.
Listen to the full interview here.

Uganda reports first virus-related death

Patricia Oyella - BBC Africa, Uganda
Uganda has recorded the country's first coronavirus death, according to a tweet by the country's ministry of health.
The ministry said the 34-year-old woman died in hospital on Tuesday after being admitted for pneumonia. Thirty people who potentially came into contact with her have been placed under quarantine and the contact tracing is underway for others who may have interacted with her.
Uganda has recorded 1,079 cases of coronavirus. The country began a phased easing of lockdown restrictions in May and on Wednesday allowed traders in one of the most congested areas of the capital, Kampala, to return to reopen their shops.
The country’s World Health Organization representative, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam, told reporters that the death does not indicate that Uganda should reinstate total lockdown as it will depend on various issues, including the number of infections and the capacity of health facilities.

Two more areas added to coronavirus watchlist in England

Luton and Blackburn with Darwen have both been added to a list of areas of concern by Public Health England, following a rise in Covid-19 infections.
They join Leicester and the neighbouring area of Oadby & Wigston, where local lockdowns are in place, on the list.
But health officials in Blackburn have said a local lockdown there will only happen as a very last resort.
According to PHE figures, the 10 local authorities with the highest rates of infection in the week to 19 July are:

  • Blackburn (just under 80 cases per 100,000 people, up by 60% on last week)
  • Leicester (just over 70 cases per 100,000 people, down by just over 35% on last week)
  • Rochdale (just under 50 cases per 100,000 people, up by just over 40% on last week)
  • Bradford (40 cases per 100,000 people, stable compared to previous week)
  • Kirklees, Luton, Herefordshire, Rotherham, Sandwell and Calderdale all had between 20 and 30 cases per 100,000; among these, Herefordshire has fallen substantially, Sandwell has risen and the rest are stable)

Police able to 'use force' in England under new mask law

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Police in England will be able to “use reasonable force” to remove customers from shops if they do not wear face coverings when the law comes into effect on Friday.
The new legislation means people will have to cover their mouth and nose in shops, post offices, banks, transport hubs and enclosed shopping centres.
Children under the age of 11, shop workers and those who have a “reasonable excuse” will be exempt.
The College of Policing says officers should be “professionally curious” to ensure that someone without a covering has a good reason for not wearing one.
But the guidance urges officers to only as a “last resort” issue a fixed penalty of £100 or make an arrest.

Thanks for joining us

We're closing our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic for today but we’ll be back tomorrow.
In the meantime, here's a look back at some of the biggest developments we've been bringing you from the UK and around the world:

You can follow all the latest news on the BBC News website , or for coronavirus news head here .

Today's live page was written and edited by Andreas Illmer, Sophie Williams, Flora Drury, Katie Wright, Alex Kleiderman, Jo Couzens, Victoria Bisset, Joshua Cheetham and Max Matza

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 04:00