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Coronavirus - 27th July


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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 10:53

Summary for Monday, 27th July

  • Covid-19 is "easily the most severe" global health emergency the World Health Organization (WHO) has ever declared, the agency has said
  • The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases reaches more than 16 million - up by a million in just four days
  • Hong Kong has reported 145 new cases, setting a new daily record - hours after announcing its toughest measures yet to contain the spread
  • A doctor who diagnosed early infections in China says local officials covered up the scale of the initial outbreak
  • Clusters in China lead to 61 new cases recorded on Monday - the highest daily figure since April
  • Australia also records its biggest daily spike, with more than 530 new cases in Victoria state
  • Vietnam has closed the city of Da Nang to tourists after four new locally transmitted coronavirus were recorded - the country's first since April
  • Spain insists it is a safe for tourists after the UK ordered people coming from the country to quarantine

Hello and welcome to our live coverage.
We'll be bringing you the latest from the UK and around the world throughout the day.
For our audience in the UK who are just waking up, have a look at what today's newspapers are reporting.
There's a lot of reaction to the announcement over the weekend that people coming to the UK from Spain will have to quarantine for 14 days.
Here are some of the latest developments from around the world:

  • In the UK, there have been calls for support for people returning from Spain to quarantine - where there is no guarantee their employers will allow them to work from home for two weeks
  • The total number of confirmed cases has now reached more than 16 million - up by a million in just four days
  • In the last 24 hours, there have been more than 55,000 new infections in Brazil, 53,000 in the US and 48,000 in India, Johns Hopkins University data shows
  • Australia has recorded its biggest daily spike, with more than 530 new cases in Victoria State
  • Vietnam has closed the city of Da Nang to tourists after four new locally transmitted coronavirus cases were recorded - the country's first since April
  • North Korea has reported what it describes as its first suspected case of coronavirus. State media said a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the demarcation line last week with symptoms
  • Israel, which had previously had a good record on limiting the spread, is also experiencing a spike with more than 1,700 new infections reported.

Spain insists infections under control after UK quarantine

One of the biggest stories in the UK this morning is on Spain. On Saturday evening, the UK government removed Spain from the list of travel destinations where you can come back from without self-isolating for 14 days.
It came after a spike in the number of new cases in Spain. The country says the outbreaks of new cases are isolated and under control, with its foreign minister saying Spain "is safe for Spaniards and tourists".
The change to the quarantine rule came into effect on Sunday, and travellers already in Spain – who went thinking they wouldn't have to return and self-isolate - have reacted in shock to the news. The airline industry also reacted with dismay, calling it a big blow.
Now Labour has said the short notice of the announcement has “created a sense of panic”. The party called for support for people who are arriving back, where there is no guarantee from their employers that they can work from home for two weeks.
The UK government has stood by its decision to put Spain back on the list.
(Also, it’s worth noting that the UK government’s list applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland had its own, slightly different list which didn’t include Spain for many weeks. Spain is now off both lists.)

Vietnam coma pilot warns people 'not to be blasé'

A Scottish pilot, who has returned to the UK after more than two months on a ventilator in Vietnam, has warned Britons "not to be blasé about coronavirus" as lockdown eases.
Stephen Cameron, 42, from Motherwell, was Vietnam's sickest patient and became known across the country as Patient 91.
"I'm a living example of what this virus can do and how serious it is," he told the BBC in an exclusive interview from his hospital bed at University Hospital Wishaw.
"I don't think the NHS could cope if there was a wave of people who needed the amount of care and life support that I needed."

Vietnam raises alarm after first cases in months

Vietnam has closed the city of Da Nang to tourists after four new locally transmitted coronavirus cases were recorded, the country's first since April.
No tourists can enter the city for 14 days and extra flights are being laid on to fly out up to 80,000 visitors.
Vietnam has been lauded as a success story after acting early to close borders and enforce quarantine and contact tracing. It has recorded just over 400 cases and no deaths.
But nearly 100 days after its last locally transmitted case, four new cases emerged in Da Nang, a central coastal city popular with domestic tourists.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday ordered Da Nang residents to re-implement social distancing and close all non-essential services.
He said the response had to be "decisive" but that he was not yet ordering a total lockdown of the city.
Read more here.

Australian state of Victoria hits new national case record

The virus-hit state of Victoria has reported six deaths and 532 new cases – surpassing the national daily high of 502 registered last week.
Melbourne, Victoria's state capital, is halfway through its six-week lockdown. But with 350-450 new cases being reported per day, officials warned lockdown may need to be extended.
Last week they noted that sick people going to work, or not isolating properly, were contributing to the virus' continued spread.
However, critics of the government say that the sheer spread shows authorities were too slow to realise the extent of the problem in the community back in June.
Authorities in neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) are also grappling to contain clusters around restaurants and a pub in Sydney. NSW reported 17 new cases today.

Australian hardware store customers refuse to wear masks

Several videos went viral in Australia over the weekend featuring women arguing with shop staff and police officers against having to wear a mask in Melbourne.
The virus-hit city is currently in lockdown and reporting hundreds of new cases a day. Last week, as part of efforts to halt the spread, officials ordered face coverings to be mandatory in public.
That has sparked altercations, with two women in separate incidents both filming their journeys to a Bunnings hardware store, where they harangued staff who requested they wear a face covering.

Swimming defector was not infected, says South Korea

The man suspected of being North Korea's first confirmed Covid-19 patient did not have the virus, South Korea says.
The man apparently defected from North to South three years ago, before seemingly deciding to return last week.
South Korea said the man reached the North by crawling through a drainpipe on a southern island, and then swimming around a mile.
At the weekend, North Korea reported its first suspected case of Covid-19.
It said the patient was a North Korean who had "re-defected" from the South.
Read more here.

China doctor accuses Wuhan officials of cover-up

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A doctor who diagnosed early coronavirus cases in China has told the BBC he believes local officials covered up the scale of the initial outbreak.
Professor Kwok-Yung Yuen, who helped to investigate in Wuhan, says physical evidence was destroyed and the response to clinical findings was slow.
"When we went to the Huanan supermarket, of course, there was nothing to see because the market was clean already. So, you may say that the crime scene is already disturbed because the supermarket was cleared we cannot identify any host which is giving the virus to humans," said Professor Yuen.
"I do suspect that they have been doing some cover-up locally at Wuhan. The local officials who are supposed to immediately relay the information has not allowed this to be done as readily as it should," he added.
China has been criticised for its initial response to the outbreak, and for penalising a doctor who tried to warn colleagues about the virus in late December. In response, China has repeatedly denied accusations that it withheld information about the severity of its outbreak.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 11:09

UK keeping other holiday destinations under review

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France reported more than 1,100 new cases on Friday

A UK junior health minister has been speaking to the morning news programmes today about the latest changes to the quarantine rule.
Helen Whately told us that the government had to act "rapidly and decisively" to change the rules on Spain - and it was the "right thing to do" as the UK's virus rate must be kept "right down" to avoid a second spike.
On the Today programme, she was asked about whether the UK could expand the quarantine rules to Germany and France. Germany and France have both seen a rise in infections in recent days.
"What we are saying to people who are planning trips abroad is that you need to keep an eye on the Foreign Office guidance," Ms Whately said.
"Be mindful we are in a global pandemic, it is the right thing for us to do as a country to keep an eye on the rates in these countries. If we see something going on like we’ve seen in Spain, we would have to take action."
She was also asked why the quarantine applies to Spain's islands too where the infection rate is lower. Ms Whately said rates were "also rising quickly on the islands, albeit from a lower base".
She said the advice was that the “best thing to protect the United Kingdom was to do a blanket quarantine” for Spain.

UK to add five new countries to 'air bridge' from tomorrow

The government has been advising against all but essential travel since March, but this advice has been lifted for destinations that ''no longer pose an unacceptably high risk'' for British travellers.
Passengers from more than 50 countries and 14 British Overseas Territories no longer have to quarantine on arrival in the UK.
Five new countries will be added from 28 July. They are Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
But national governments have differing assessments of countries deemed safer for travel. Finland, in contrast to Britain, has placed Slovenia on its restricted list from today, and anyone travelling from there to Finland will have self-isolate for a fortnight.
Read more here.

Ryanair still flying from UK to Spain despite quarantine

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Airlines have called the quarantine rule for Spain a "big blow"

Budget airline Ryanair says it will continue running UK flights in and out of Spain as normal - despite a 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving in the UK from the country.
"The schedules remain in place," Neil Sorahan, Ryanair's chief financial officer, told the BBC.
You can read more about the quarantine rule for Spain here - but for many Britons it makes holidays to the popular destination more difficult.
Over the weekend, the UK's biggest tour operator, Tui, cancelled all mainland Spanish holidays until 9 August. But it said all those going to the Balearic and Canary Islands could still travel as planned from Monday.
British Airways is still operating flights, but said the move was "throwing thousands of Britons' travel plans into chaos".
EasyJet is also maintaining a full schedule, as is Jet2
Speaking on the BBC's Today programme this morning, Ryanair's Mr Sorahan said: "As things stand, the market remains open, the schedules remain in place and we continue to operate in and out of Spain as normal."
He added, however, that Ryanair was keeping its entire operation "under consideration" as it builds back its route network post-lockdown.

What exactly are the UK's rules for Spain?

Here are more details on the UK's quarantine rule for travellers from Spain.
People already in Spain can stay for the remainder of their holiday, but they will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return.
The rules apply to travellers arriving from anywhere in Spain - including the Canary and Balearic Islands.
And the government is now advising "against all but essential travel to mainland Spain".
The new guidance affects all travellers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
What does quarantining involve?
Travellers are asked to provide an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days. They can be fined £100 for failing to fill in a form with these details.
One in five eligible passengers will be called or texted to check they are following the rules.
People who do not self-isolate can be fined up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and those returning to Scotland could be fined £480, with fines up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.
Read more details here.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 11:12

What are my rights over UK's quarantine rule change?

We've brought you the latest on the news that Spain is back on the UK's quarantine list, meaning travellers coming back from the country will have to self-isolate for two weeks. (More on that here.)
But it raises many questions over holidaymakers' travel rights - including refunds or the issue of whether your insurance is valid.
Another question is this: What are my rights with my employer if I have to self-isolate?
Employees or workers are not automatically entitled to statutory sick pay if they are self-isolating after returning from holiday or business travel and they cannot work from home.
Sick pay only applies if they have the virus or symptoms of it, or if there are other medical reasons.
But to a certain extent, it is at your employer's discretion .
The industrial relations body, Acas, advises employees to check their workplace's policy to see whether their employer pays statutory sick pay or a higher rate of sick pay if anyone needs to self-isolate after returning to the UK.
Read our full piece on your travel rights here.

Hong Kong records new daily record

Hong Kong has today reported 145 new cases of coronavirus, setting a new daily record just hours after the city announced its toughest measures yet to curb the outbreak.
Of the new cases, 142 were locally transmitted, officials said.

New cases bring concern to 'virus-free' Vietnam

Anna Jones - BBC News, Singapore
Unlike many countries, Vietnam acted very early on the pandemic, before it even had confirmed cases. It recognised that it did not have the resources to tackle widespread infection so instead, did everything it could to keep the virus out altogether.
By late January it had closed its borders to almost all incoming travellers. Anyone entering the country since then has had to be quarantined in a government facility for two weeks.
Vietnam had essentially been virus-free for nearly 100 days and life had got back to normal, with people mixing and travelling without restrictions.
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Vietnam has been lauded as a success story after acting early to close borders and enforce quarantine and contact tracing

Vietnam has been incredibly proud of its success and has been praised by the likes of the World Health Organization (WHO), so the news that not one but four cases have been confirmed in Da Nang over the weekend is a huge blow. One patient is said to be terribly ill and there are more suspected cases and thousands of tests to now carry out.
The concern is that it's not yet clear how the four were infected, nor how they are connected.
That has raised fears that a full outbreak could already be under way in Da Nang, a city packed with tens of thousands of tourists from around the country who are now trying to go home.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 11:18

Hong Kong announces new lockdown measures amid outbreak

More now on those rising infection numbers in Hong Kong. The authorities have announced some of their toughest measures yet to contain a community outbreak.
Under the new rules, residents will no longer be allowed to gather in groups larger than two, while dining in restaurants will be banned.
Compulsory mask wearing has also been expanded to cover outdoor areas, with fines of up to 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($645; £502) for those who flout the rules. Only infants under the age of two are exempt, along with those with a "reasonable excuse" such as a medical condition.
The measures will be in place from 29 July for seven days.
Controls have already been stepped up over the weekend, with popular beaches sealed off and new limits on the movement of ship and flight crews.
Since January, more than 2,600 cases have been reported in Hong Kong, along with 20 deaths.

Latin America latest: Playtime for Buenos Aires kids

Latin America continues to be at the centre of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Figures collated by Brazil's main newspapers suggest that last week an average of 1,074 people died every day from coronavirus-related diseases. The South American country is the worst affected in the region with more than 2.4 million cases and 87,000 deaths.
  • Some good news for children in Buenos Aires. The lockdown in the capital of Argentina is being relaxed from Monday to allow children under the age of 16 to leave their homes for an hour every day, rather than just at weekends. Argentina imposed a strict quarantine in March. It was eased in May but when cases rose, many restrictions were reimposed.
  • There is also an easing of restrictions in Guatemala, where restaurants, churches and shopping centres will be allowed to reopen in areas with low infection rates. A weekday curfew remains in place from 21:00-04:00 and schools are staying closed.

Brazilians adapt as cases rise again in Campinas

Katy Watson - BBC South America correspondent
Brazil had its worst week of the pandemic last week – a record 319,653 contracted Covid-19 and 7,677 people died. The virus originally hit big cities like São Paulo but it's been going inland for some weeks now, heading towards smaller cities and towns in Brazil's vast interior.
Campinas, a city of 1.2 million people, has, in recent weeks, been pushed to its limits. Shops here started reopening in early June with authorities thinking the worst was behind them. But then hospital beds started filling up, so they closed again. This week, though, they’re starting to reopen once more – even though hospitals are still busy.
Doctor Marta Bandicioli, an intensive care doctor, is worn out. In recent weeks, every intensive care bed at her hospital has been occupied. She likens her life to swimming – she wonders when they will be able to come up for air, when things will start to ease?
"Only when they find it hard to breathe do people start to believe that this is real, and it's really sad to see these people short of breath, it’s distressing," she says. "That's when people start pleading, doctor, don’t let me die."
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Espaco Gero residents have been taking part in socially-distanced physio classes

Across town, residents at Espaco Gero, one of Campinas' many retirement homes, are having their weekly physio class. The home is separated from the street by pink metal railings. On the street the physiotherapist is giving instructions. On the other side, nine residents are sitting in their chairs, each with a polystyrene tube which is being used as a prop.
It's an extreme measure but it's paying off - unlike other residential homes that have been badly hit in the city, there haven't been any cases here.
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Staff at Espaco Gero prepare a plastic "hug sheet" for residents

The care home is also offering a compromise for families desperate to give their relatives some affection. On the railings, they've hung up a hug-sheet – a large piece of plastic with four arm holes – two for the patient in the home, and two for relatives on the street. It’s proving popular.
Brazil is, after all, the land of warm embraces – Brazilians thrive on affection – so even the care home staff take advantage while they can.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 11:21

Europe anxious about rising infection rates

New outbreaks in Spain, mostly clustered in north-eastern regions, have dealt a blow to the vital tourism industry.
Urgent talks are under way with the UK, after quarantine was imposed on Britons returning from holiday. Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya insisted that "Spain is a safe country". "Like other European countries, Spain has new outbreaks. It's not unusual."
Official data shows the Aragón region, in Spain’s north-east, topping the list of infection rates in Europe, at about 238 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The next high-risk region is Catalonia (112), then Navarre (110). But much of Spain – notably the Canaries and Balearic islands - has far lower rates, and the country as a whole is ranked sixth.
Belgium is also worried about a new surge in cases: nationally the infection rate is 26.9 per 100,000 people, but in Antwerp it is 67.9. Belgian officials are anxious to avoid reimposing a national lockdown, but tighter measures are expected in Antwerp and some other clusters.
In Austria attention is focused on the resort of St Wolfgang, after 56 people tested positive, nearly all of them hotel staff. Hundreds of tourists are on holiday now in the village of 3,000 residents, especially popular among Germans. They have been advised to get tested for coronavirus. It echoes a winter outbreak in Ischgl, a major ski resort, blamed for spreading the virus widely among tourists.

'We'll go through the quarantine to get out of this rain'

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Confirmed cases have been increasing in Spain

We've heard a lot this morning about the UK government changing the quarantine rules for Spain, meaning anyone arriving from the country will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
For many people who have booked holidays to Spain and its islands, they may not be able to go if they need to be back in work. But for others who can work from home, it's more of a dilemma. Should they still go, accepting the quarantine?
One woman told BBC Radio 5 Live that she and her family will still go ahead with her holiday.
"We booked our holiday last week after... gaining confidence from seeing news reports from people abroad saying how relatively normal it was, and the precautions people were taking," said Chloe from Wetherby.
"So we decided, we know the risks, we'll go ahead, we'll book it. If it changes, if they shut the borders or something then we'll get a refund.
"So yeah, we were and still are fairly relaxed about it and were prepared to go through the strict quarantine to get out of this rain."
Chloe said she's looked at the rules for self-isolating, adding: "It was a surprise that you're not allowed to literally go out your front door or take any exercise or anything like that, but I still think, do you know what, for 10 days away in the sun, let's do it."
And she said she appreciates she's in a really lucky situation as she and her partner work from home, and they have a garden.
Martin, in the town of Runcorn, is due to fly out to Alicante on Saturday. He also said it's not a problem for his family to quarantine on their return and that they were prepared to go away.
But he added: "The dilemma we have is because of the change in the [government] guidance, [meaning] our current insurance policy is rendered invalid."

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 11:28

Heathrow Airport hires disinfection robots

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Heathrow Airport is a lot quieter than usual - but that's good news for the airport's "disinfection robots".
The robots use ultraviolet (UV-C) light to kill viruses and stop them replicating. There's one per terminal and they disinfect high-risk areas like bathrooms or lifts.
But they must not operate near humans.
"For the first few seconds it's on, the room smells of burning skin," says reporter Lara Lewington - and that smell is just coming from anything that may be lying around.
To avoid any nasty burns the robot needs to get its work done when no-one is around. Its motion and vibration sensors double check that no-one has appeared unexpectedly.

Face masks on and bars closed as first students return to uni

The first students are beginning to return for face-to-face teaching on UK university campuses - and it's the first look at what student life could be like after the coronavirus lockdown.
Most students won't begin until the autumn, but veterinary students are now back at the University of Nottingham.
The first cohort going back in Nottingham are 150 trainee vets, some of whom will see a great deal of each other - as the university adopts the "bubble" system in which small groups will live as well as study together.
The university is calling it "households" rather than "bubbles", but it is the same principle of keeping people in small groups separate from each other.
The student bars are also closed and there are posters up for a pizza night that's going to be an online event.
Read more here.

Zambian MP with HIV tests positive for coronavirus

Kennedy Gondwe - BBC News, Lusaka
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Zambian MP Princess Kasune Zulu, who is living with HIV and is a prominent AIDS activist, has announced that she has tested positive for Covid-19.
Ms Zulu, a member of the opposition United Party for National Development, was tested last Thursday.
Ms Zulu told the BBC that she was not surprised by the results, partly because Zambia's parliament had initially continued holding sittings despite the rise in coronavirus numbers.
"I guess one saw it coming given the laissez-faire attitude we have in Zambia towards the health guidelines," she said.
She blamed a surge in Covid-19 in Zambia on "the lack of adhering to guidelines, the politicisation of issues and lack of leadership at a critical time".
She encouraged people with already existing health conditions to adhere to medication.
Zambia has to date reported 4,481 coronavirus cases since March and 139 deaths. Some 15 Zambian MPs have so far tested positive for Covid-19, according to Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya. Parliamentary sittings have now been indefinitely suspended.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 13:11

Nigeria doubles fares as train services set to resume

Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has announced the resumption of services on its Abuja-Kaduna route, four months after they were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi said fares had been increased because trains would carry fewer passengers.
He said the bump in price was "nothing compared to the risk of paying ransom to kidnappers" on the Abuja-Kaduna road.
Fares for economy class will rise to about 3,000 Naira ($8; £6), while first class could cost 6,000 Naira for the 187km (116 miles) trip, according to local media reports.
The services will resume on Wednesday with social distancing enforced to prevent the spread of the virus. The NRC has shared a video of the new sitting arrangement on Twitter.

Covid 'easily the most severe' emergency WHO has declared

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Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization (WHO)

Covid-19 is "easily the most severe" global health emergency the World Health Organization (WHO) has ever declared, the agency has said.
Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, the head of the WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said that almost 16 million cases have been reported to the UN body, along with 640,000 deaths.
"The pandemic continues to accelerate," he said, adding: "In the past six weeks the total number of cases has roughly doubled."

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 13:16

Lebanon 'on the brink of losing control' of outbreak

Martin Patience - BBC News, Middle East correspondent
The top health official leading Lebanon's fight against the coronavirus has warned that the country is "on the brink of losing control".
Dr Firass Abaid made the comments after Lebanon saw the number of daily infections rise to almost 170 on Sunday - a significant spike for the country.
According to Lebanon’s health ministry, if the current rate of admissions is maintained the country will run out of beds to treat patients with Covid-19 by the middle of next month.
Lebanon's fared relatively well compared with other countries in dealing with the coronavirus – with around 50 deaths recorded so far. But the reopening of Beirut airport last month has contributed to a rise in cases – and with the country now in a state of economic collapse, officials fear that early gains could start quickly unravelling.
Dr Abaid - the head of the main hospital treating Covid-19 - warned that Lebanon had won the battle but could now end up losing the war. The country’s government is effectively bankrupt and would be in no position to fund a massive emergency response.

UK economy 'could take four years to recover'

There have been many gloomy forecasts about the impact of the pandemic on the UK economy.
The latest analysis this morning suggests the economy might not bounce back to its pre-coronavirus size until 2024.
Forecasters from the EY Item Club - who use a similar economic model to the Treasury - suggest unemployment will rise to 9% from 3.9%.
They also estimate the economy will shrink by 11.5% this year, worse than the 8% they predicted only a month ago.
Consumers have been more cautious than expected, they said, while low business investment will dampen growth.
But the forecasters say it is early days and useful data has only recently been made available.
Read the full piece here.

Which UK restaurants are offering money off meals in August?

From the start of August, diners in the UK will be able to get money off their bill on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The idea behind the "eat out to help out" scheme is to encourage people to return to restaurants and cafes and give the economy a boost.
More than 32,000 venues have signed up to take part so far - and a list of restaurants have been published.
The government has launched a tool online where you can search for nearby restaurants taking part in the scheme, which offers up to 50% off food or non-alcoholic drinks with a discount of up to £10.
Some of the chains taking part have also been named - including Costa Coffee and Dishoom. Some fast food chains like KFC, McDonald's and Subway are also taking part.
Read our guide here.

Penguins visit care home in England

Many residents in care homes have gone months without seeing their families and it's been tough. Although visits are now allowed to resume in England, it depends on local authorities and public health directors saying it's safe.
So one care home near Chipping Norton decided to put some smiles on the residents' faces in an unlikely way - by bringing in a pair of penguins.
"They've been very frustrated," said Caroline Dyett, the manager of Enstone Care Home. "A lot of them not understanding why families can't visit so just to have something different in their day has made so much difference."

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 13:23

The Highland town where a record cruise season has been wiped out

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A record 106 cruise ships were due to dock at the port town of Invergordon in the Scottish Highlands this year - but due to the pandemic, all but three have been cancelled.
From there the passengers would have been ferried by coaches to landmarks like Loch Ness or Dunrobin Castle, and spent their money in the shops in the town and surrounding area.
Coach firm D&E Coaches said they will lose about £1.5m in turnover while Sandra Munro, who runs Tanstar Gifts in the town said the lack of cruise ships was "a big loss to... everybody".
"We are all in the same boat, pardon the pun, in that we all rely greatly on the tourist trade throughout the summer to give us that comfort through the winter," she said.
Read more here.

Mother and daughter sentenced over toilet roll brawl

A mother and daughter have been criticised by a judge in Australia over a toilet roll bust-up at a supermarket in March.
Treiza Bebawy, 61, and her daughter Meriam, a 23-year-old healthcare worker, got into an altercation with another woman at a Woolworths store in Chullora, west of Sydney.
A video of the incident, which went viral on social media , shows them yelling and exchanging blows amid widespread panic-buying.
Appearing in court, the pair argued that they had acted in self defence after shopper Tracey Hinckson snatched a pack from their trolley. But they were both found guilty of affray.
Daughter Meriam was given a criminal conviction, unlike her mother, and they were both placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond - the sentence requires offenders to obey the law during a set period, and in some cases to take counselling or rehabilitation, or face a further penalty.

What are the latest global developments?

Thank you for reading our live coverage of the pandemic today, brought to you by our team of reporters in London and around the world.
If you're just joining us, welcome, and here are some of the latest global developments:

  • The number of confirmed infections has risen to over 16.2 million worldwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 648,000 virus-related deaths have also been reported
  • America remains at the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for around 20% of all cases
  • Hong Kong has reported a record daily rise in the number infections and rolled out some of its toughest lockdown measures yet to help contain community spread
  • Vietnam has closed the city of Da Nang to tourists after four new locally transmitted coronavirus cases were recorded - the country's first since April
  • Spain has insisted that recent outbreaks of new cases are isolated and under control, and that the country is safe for tourists to visit. It comes as the UK introduces new measures requiring visitors from Spain to quarantine for 14 days
  • North Korea has reported what it describes as its first suspected case of coronavirus. State media said a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the demarcation line last week with symptoms

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 13:27

'A long hard road ahead of us' - WHO

Imogen Foulkes - BBC News, Geneva
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says he will reconvene the agency's emergency committee this week to assess the pandemic.
The WHO first declared the spread of the virus to be an international health emergency in January, and there is no possibility that that status will be changed at this point.
Dr Tedros said that although the world had made a huge effort, there was "a long hard road ahead of us".
Asked about border closures and travel restrictions, the WHO's Dr Mike Ryan said they were not sustainable in the long term, and that there could be no "one size fits all" approach to controlling the virus.
Asked about the rise in cases in Spain, Dr Ryan described them as "a series of clusters" confined mainly to the north-east of the country.
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A rise in cases in Spain were described as "a series of clusters" confined mainly to the north-east of the country

He said Spain had a very sensitive surveillance system, adding that it would take some days - or weeks - to see how the situation developed, but that with an open approach, sustained testing, and the co-operation of the population, the outbreaks could hopefully be dealt with.
"Complacency is not an option and the government of Spain is certainly not being complacent," he said.
WHO officials acknowledged, however, that further lockdowns in countries experiencing renewed outbreaks may be necessary, but suggested they should be as short as possible, and confined to as small a geographic area as possible.
"The more we understand about the virus, the more surgical we can be in controlling it," Dr Ryan added.

What has happened in the UK today?

The fallout from the UK's decision to reimpose 14-day quarantine measures on people travelling from Spain has continued to lead the headlines in Britain.
The decision was made on Saturday and Health Minister Helen Whately said the government had moved "rapidly and decisively" - while the Labour Party has called for support for those forced to quarantine.

Elsewhere in the UK:

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 17:24

Czech authorities to create central 'smart quarantine' body

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek has said the government will create a new body to co-ordinate the country's much-criticised "smart quarantine" system.
Representatives of both the defence and health ministries will be represented in the body. Earlier calls for the system to be taken over by the army had been rejected by Health Minister Adam Vojtech.
"Smart quarantine" - involving a centralised database and contact tracing apps - was offered as a solution in the spring, but its introduction has been repeatedly delayed.
Meanwhile, authorities "audited" their Covid-19 figures over the weekend and found the number of recovered patients was actually 1,775 higher than previously reported. The total now stands at 15,324 cases, 11,429 of whom have recovered.
It came at the end of a week that saw new infections at well over 200 a day. Only 15 people across the country are in a serious condition or in intensive care. The vast majority of cases are asymptomatic or mild and coronavirus wards are about 10% full.
Prague has lifted incoming travel restrictions on Sweden from today, meaning all of Europe is now "green" on the Czech travel map.
Travel from the Czech Republic is currently being restricted by Estonia, Latvia and Cyprus, due to the increase in Czech cases.

Young ethnic minority men twice as likely to be fined

Danny Shaw - BBC Home Affairs Correspondent
Young men aged 18 to 34 from ethnic minority groups were twice as likely to be fined for breaching coronavirus laws as young white men, figures show.
The findings follow analysis by government statisticians of 17,039 fixed penalty notices imposed over a two-month period between March and May in England and Wales.
Overall, people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were 1.6 times more likely to be fined than white people - a far lower level of disproportionality than police stop-and-search rates and lower than some previous reports have suggested.
Senior police officers pointed out that high levels of ethnic disproportionality in some regions may be due to high numbers of visitors and tourists travelling to areas with proportionately low numbers of residents from black, Asian and ethnic minority groups.
Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), said while he was concerned about the ethnic disparity figures, policing of the lockdown in general had been done in a proportionate way.
Other data - from the NPCC - shows that the total number of fines issued to 20 July has risen to 18,669 across England and Wales, with only eight fines imposed in the previous two weeks, six of which were for people not wearing face coverings on public transport.

Pet cat first animal to test positive for Covid-19 in the UK

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File image of a cat wearing a visor

A pet cat has become the first animal to test positive for Covid-19 in the UK, the UK's chief veterinary officer has said.
Despite the result the government said there is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in transmission of the disease to its owners or that pets or other domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to people.
The test was confirmed on Wednesday at a laboratory in Weybridge.
Public Health England's advice is for people to wash their hands before and after contact with animals.
Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: "This is a very rare event with infected animals detected to date only showing mild clinical signs and recovering within in a few days.
"There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely."

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 17:30

Trump's national security adviser 'tests positive for Covid-19'

Robert O’Brien, national security adviser to US President Donald Trump, has tested positive for coronavirus, according to US media.
If confirmed, Mr O'Brien will be the highest profile White House official to catch the virus.

US coronavirus vaccine enters next stage of testing

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
Biotech company Moderna says it is beginning a phase three trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, after successful earlier safety trials.
In this next phase of testing, around 30,000 healthy volunteers will get two doses of the jab, 28 days apart, to see if it can protect against the pandemic virus.
The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and it contains a small section of genetic code from coronavirus.
It will not cause the disease itself but should hopefully train the body’s immune system to recognise and fight off coronavirus infection.
Half of the volunteers will be given the real vaccine, while the other half, chosen at random, will get two shots of a saline placebo. It will take months to know if the vaccine works.
Moderna’s vaccine is not the first to enter phase three trials - the last phase of testing of a vaccine before it can be submitted to a regulatory authority for evaluation and possible approval.
Phase three testing of a coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University in the UK is already under way. There are more than 120 coronavirus vaccines in various stages of development across the world.

Spanish islands quarantine talks ongoing

Tom Burridge - Transport correspondent
A UK government source has confirmed that talks are ongoing with Spain about introducing air bridges with Spain’s islands so people arriving from the Balearics and Canaries don’t have to quarantine.
The travel industry is lobbying the government and is hoping a decision is made by Friday.
One travel industry source said the government had told them it wanted to study more data from Spain’s islands before making a decision.
A government source indicated to the BBC that a decision on the matter would not be made in the immediate term.

No new virus deaths in Scotland for 11th day in row

The latest figures from the Scottish government show no new coronavirus deaths were recorded in Scotland in the last 24 hours - the 11th day in a row without any fatalities.
A total of 2,491 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19.
The number of new confirmed cases in Scotland rose by three from the day before, to a total of 18,554 people.
There are 270 people in hospital with confirmed coronavirus and two patients are in intensive care.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 17:36

Tui warns against blanket quarantine measures

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The UK's biggest tour operator, Tui, has urged the UK government not to slap blanket quarantines on whole countries.
The call came after it was announced that people arriving in the UK from Spain would be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK and Ireland, said the government should have a "regionalised" policy. That would mean only travellers returning from coronavirus hotspots should be forced to quarantine.
"Everything in life has risks, but it's about taking a proportionate risk-based approach," said Mr Flintham.
Tui has cancelled all mainland Spanish holidays until 9 August.
It has said that customers due to travel to all areas of Spain between 27 July and 9 August will be able to cancel or amend holidays. They will also be able to receive a full refund or the option to rebook their holiday with a booking incentive. People with holidays from 10 August will be updated on 31 July.
Meanwhile, airline Ryanair has said it will continue flights in and out of mainland pain despite the government's 14-day quarantine .
Neil Sorahan, Ryanair's chief financial officer, told the BBC "the schedules remain in place" but said the carrier was keeping its entire operation "under consideration".
Read more here.

Earlier lockdown 'would have saved lives of bus drivers'

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An earlier lockdown would "likely have saved" more lives of London bus drivers who died with coronavirus, a new study from University College London has suggested.
The UK has seen 34 London bus workers die after testing positive Covid-19 - including 29 drivers - 3.5 times the rate of other roles.
"Our review explicitly suggests that lockdown was the main factor that saved bus drivers' lives," said Professor Sir Michael Marmot, who led the study.
"Because London was an early centre of the pandemic, it is likely that the increased risk among London bus drivers is associated with exposure."
The report was commissioned by TfL amid major concerns over the deaths of bus drivers in the capital.
Read more here.

Transport secretary not exempt from UK quarantine

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will not be exempt from quarantine rules when he returns to the UK from his holiday in Spain, Number 10 has said.
"The same rules apply to ministers as they do anyone else," UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official spokesman said.
Downing Street said Mr Shapps remained in touch with his department and had been "involved in the decision-making process".
It added that it expected the vast majority of people to comply with quarantine rules - with just three fines issued at the border since the measures were first introduced in early June.

Cat with coronavirus had shortness of breath - No 10

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A small number of coronavirus cases in pets have been found in Europe, North America and Asia

Earlier we told you about the pet cat in the UK which has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Experts say it is the first confirmed case of infection in an animal in the UK, but does not mean the disease is being spread to people by their pets.
It's thought the cat caught coronavirus from its owner, who had previously tested positive for the virus. Both have now recovered.
Downing Street has now commented on the incident.
"The test was carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency laboratory having been referred by a private vet who the owners had taken the cat to see," said the prime minister's official spokesman.
"Its symptoms were a respiratory infection with a nasal discharge and some shortness of breath."
Read the full story here.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 17:42

UK coronavirus cases pass 300,000

The number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK has passed 300,000, official figures show.
The total number of deaths in the UK has risen by seven to 45,759 from 45,752 on Sunday.
The UK has now had 300,111 cases of coronavirus.

White House confirms national security adviser infected

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Robert O'Brien is the highest-ranking official in President Trump's administration known to have tested positive for Covid-19

US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, has tested positive for coronavirus, the White House has confirmed.
In a statement, the government said Mr O'Brien had "mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site.
"There is no risk of exposure to the president or the vice-president. The work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted," it added.
O'Brien, 54, is the highest-ranking official in Mr Trump's administration known to have tested positive.
A number of people in and around the administration have also caught the virus in the past, including a military member who works as a White House valet, Mr Pence's press secretary Katie Miller, and a helicopter squadron Marine.
O'Brien travelled to Paris this month to discuss foreign policy issues with European counterparts, and gave a speech in Arizona in June comparing Chinese President Xi Jinping with Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
Read more here.

Pakistan PM Khan hails government's virus response

M Ilyas Khan - BBC News, Islamabad
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Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan says his government has succeeded in bringing the spread of coronavirus under control in the country, and has called on people to consolidate these gains by following safety rules during the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid.
In an address to the nation, the prime minister said that if Pakistanis can safely go through Eid - scheduled over the weekend - and the Shia Muslims' traditional Muharram events that follow less than a month later, "we will have brought our lives back to normal".
He warned, however, that ignoring safety rules during the Eid festivities - such as wearing face masks and social distancing - may trigger another flare-up in cases.
He mentioned examples from Australia, Iran and elsewhere where the falling numbers of infections led to the easing of restrictions, which brought another spell of infections.
Khan said a sustained fall in infections in Pakistan has been the result of his government's policy of "smart lockdowns", instead of a full-blown curfew, which he said only rich countries could afford.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 17:47

UK the ninth country to pass 300,000 cases

The United Kingdom is the ninth country to pass the 300,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases mark, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Currently the US, Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Peru, Mexico and Chile all have had more cases.
With seven more confirmed deaths the UK has had its lowest daily rise since early March, although reporting on Mondays tends to be lower.
However, the UK is currently third for overall deaths in the world, according to Johns Hopkins, with only the US and Brazil having suffered more fatalities.

How do Spanish numbers compare with the UK?

Reality Check
Speaking about quarantine rules, Spanish MEP Jose Ramon Bauza told the BBC's Today programme that Spanish coronavirus numbers were "far better than those in Britain".
He said: "Just two days ago, the UK had 2,356 new patients infected with Covid and, sadly, 146 [Britons] passed away, but the same day in Spain there were just 922 new infected and just three people died".
His numbers for Spain on 24 July are correct, but he's not right about the UK figures for that day - 123 deaths were reported and 768 new infections, according to government figures.
There are challenges with comparing countries (in terms of how countries count deaths and how they test for coronavirus) and just using the figures for a single day.
If you look over the last fortnight then, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Spain recorded 39 cases per 100,000 inhabitants - more than double that of the UK or France (both at 15 cases per 100,000 residents).
And the trend in Spain is a sharp increase in the number of infections recorded daily, which is not the case in the UK.

'I could be wandering around spreading Covid-19'

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One of the main talking points today has been the UK government's 14-day quarantine on travellers from Spain , which was brought in on Saturday after a spike in cases there.
BBC Radio 5 Live's Your Call has been asking for people's views on the matter and here is what some of you had to say.
Kirk lives in Spain’s Costa Blanca. His daughter and her family live in Scotland and booked a flight out to see him when Nicola Sturgeon lifted quarantine regulations on the 20 July. Now with the quarantine re-introduced, his daughter Claire and son-in-law Stephen won’t be able to return to work as planned - and as a result won’t be paid for two weeks.
“This is going to be quite devastating for them because it’s looking like they’ll both lose two weeks’ wages, which is a lot for a young family,” he said.
Elizabeth, from Sidcup, flew back from Tenerife yesterday and said the process of completing passenger contact forms on return was “a complete shambles”.
“When we got to Gatwick Airport, we still had these forms, nobody collected them. This is supposed to be a contact and trace for me, I still have the form in my bag. We were wandering around wondering who to give it to.”
She said her experience when arriving in Tenerife was “the complete opposite”.
“When we got to Tenerife we handed in our forms, they were stamped and kept, and they took temperatures.”
“The (UK) government don’t know where I am now so I could be wandering around spreading Covid-19 all over the country!”
Jenny from Surrey said her family had to take the hit and cancel their upcoming holiday to Majorca. Her son is due to start secondary school and she was worried about the impact a two-week quarantine would have on him.
“We’ve always said that was the one thing we wouldn’t do, was stop him from getting back to school on the first day.”
Instead she has booked “a very budget hotel trip” up and down England and Scotland, through Harrogate and Edinburgh.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 17:54

How bad will coronavirus in winter really be?

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
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There are fears that the coronavirus will surge during winter, which could lead to a second wave of the disease that is even bigger than the first.
But predicting what a Covid winter will look like is complex and uncertain. There are reasons both to be worried and to be reassured.
How bad a northern hemisphere winter will be is dependent not only on the coronavirus, but on what happens to all the other winter bugs, our own behaviour and the success, or failures, of government policy.
There is also the relatively new field of science showing one viral infection can potentially block another one, with still unknown implications for coronavirus.
The question of whether coronavirus will spread more in winter is unanswered, but the science leans towards yes.
This is largely based on what we know about other viruses. All viruses survive outside the body better when it is cold. The UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) says a temperature of 4C is a particular sweet spot for coronavirus. There is also less UV light, which deactivates the virus, from the sun in winter.
Read the full piece from James here.

The millions of Americans 'hanging by a thread'

Natalie Sherman & Zoe Thomas - Business reporters, New York
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Demand at food banks in the US has surged during the pandemic

In the US, the $600 (£465) a week additional payment that the government approved to top up unemployment benefits during the pandemic will expire on 31 July.
In many states, recipients have already received their last cheque.
"It's pretty dire," says Brandon Humberston, who worked as a cook at Mexican restaurant until the pandemic cost him his job. His benefits will be cut from $750 to $150. "My generation is hanging on by a thread."
Politicians in Washington have yet to act.
While Democrats have proposed another $3tn in spending, Republicans have rejected that plan and they are divided about how much more aid - if any - is warranted.
The fate of the unemployment benefits that Mr Humberston - and an estimated 30 million other Americans rely on - is giving the debate a sense of urgency.
You can read more here.

Call for Catholic Church to be penalised over mass

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The mass took place at the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona

The head of the regional government of Catalonia, in north-eastern Spain, has called for the Catholic Church to be penalised over a mass that breached coronavirus restrictions.
The gathering in Barcelona's famous Sagrada Familia basilica was held to commemorate victims of the pandemic on Sunday. Social distancing measures were in place, but the numbers attending exceeded the decreed maximum of ten.
Catalan President Quim Torra said a collective effort was needed to tackle the region's growing outbreak, which he described as "very worrying".
Spain's rate of infection has jumped in recent days. While the outbreak remains under control in many parts, certain areas - in particular Catalonia and the neighbouring region of Aragón - have seen a huge spike in infections.
Local authorities have issued stay-at-home orders for some four million residents in Catalonia, including in the regional capital Barcelona. Earlier today, Mr Torra said even stricter lockdown measures could be imposed if infection numbers did not improve in the next 10 days.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 17:59

Spain offers to pay for tourist tests

After the UK imposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from Spain, a Spanish tourism group has offered to pay for tourists to take coronavirus tests.
Jorge Marichal, head of Spain’s Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (CEHAT), has called for a Europe-wide programme of reciprocal visitor testing to help the embattled tourism sector.
Describing the UK government quarantine order as “a surprise and a disappointment”, he said decisions should be taken "at a European level” for the “maximum safety of tourists, workers and residents of tourist areas”.
A similar debate is brewing in Germany, where the government is coming under pressure to make testing mandatory for people returning from high-risk countries.
On Friday authorities made free tests available voluntarily for people coming back from countries like Brazil, Turkey and the US, but some politicians want it to be compulsory.

TV drama Holby City to return with special Covid episodes

BBC medical drama Holby City has resumed filming for the first time in four months, with a special episode that sees the hospital gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement , the BBC said the drama will be back on screens later this year with slightly shorter 40-minute episodes.
It added that, throughout the production, the Holby City team would practice social distancing and have other protocols in place to ensure workplace safety.

Will losing weight save the NHS £100m?

Reality Check
Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote in the Daily Telegraph this morning : “If everyone who is overweight lost five pounds it could save the NHS over £100 million over the next five years.”
That figure is based on the finding in this research , which looked at savings in treating things like cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and strokes if all overweight people lost 2.5kg.
What the government has done is to extend those findings across the 27.2 million overweight adults in the UK.
The result seems remarkably small. It’s a saving of less than £4 per person over five years.
In terms of the overall budget of the NHS it’s also a very small amount of money saved – about one hundredth of a percent.
The government has unveiled a range of measures amid growing evidence of a link between obesity and increased risk from Covid-19 .

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 20:13

Foreign Office updates non-essential travel advice to include Spanish islands

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice for Spain, stating that people should not make non-essential journeys to any part of the country, including the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands.
Read the full advice here.

More from the Foreign Office

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson said: "We have considered the overall situation for British nationals travelling to and from the Balearic and Canary Islands, including the impact of the requirement to self-isolate on return to the UK, and concluded that we should advise British nationals against all non-essential travel to the whole of Spain."
The FCO added that while people currently in Spain will have to self-isolate upon their return they are not being advised to cut short their visits.

Jet2 cancels flights to mainland Spain and Portugal

Tour operator Jet2 has cancelled flights to Spain and Portugal following the latest UK government guidance.
The company said it was suspending routes to Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia from Tuesday up to and including August 16, as well as to Faro, in the Algarve region of Portugal.
A spokesperson said Jet2 would be monitoring the situation closely and that it would be proactively contacting customers already in the countries to inform them of their options.
Its announcement came before the Foreign Office updated its non-essential travel advice for Spain to include the Spanish islands.
On Saturday a 14-day quarantine was introduced for visitors returning from Spain after an increase in coronavirus cases there.

Fledgling baseball season hit by virus outbreaks

Less than a week after the Major League Baseball (MLB) season launched, two games have been postponed due to outbreaks of the virus.
Games between the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles in Florida, and the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees in Pennsylvania, had been scheduled for Monday but have now been cancelled.
The decision followed reports in US media that 10 members of the Marlins - eight players and two coaches - had tested positive for the virus. That would bring the total number of cases on the team to 14.
It comes just days after the MLB began its season, which was delayed for four months because of the pandemic
The MLB said in a statement that the games were postponed while it "conducts additional Covid-19 testing". It is expected to hold an emergency meeting in the coming days.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Jul 27 2020, 20:21

If you are just joining us...

Here are some of the main stories we've been covering today.

Hamilton issues statement after conspiracy theories post

Marianna Spring - Specialist disinformation and social media reporter
F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton has issued a statement to "clarify his thoughts" after sharing a video that fuels conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and a coronavirus vaccine.
He shared the original post on his Instagram story to over 18 million followers for 13 hours - but in a new post he's now said he "hadn’t seen the comment attached" and that he's "only human".
The video was from a large Instagram account that features Gates being interviewed on US television about progress being made on a coronavirus vaccine - with the caption "I remember when I told my first lie" (the caption was not written by Hamilton).
In the video, Gates addresses concerns about side effects reported during ongoing vaccine trials - and also dismisses unfounded rumours that the vaccines are a way of microchipping people (claims which Reality Check has debunked )
However, the caption suggests that both his dismissal and reassurances about the vaccine are untrue.
Hamilton has since said that he's "not against a vaccine" and that it "will be important in the fight against coronavirus".

Belgium tightens restrictions again amid spike

Belgium is tightening restrictions - but avoiding another lockdown - because of a worrying rise in Covid-19 cases.
From Wednesday, Belgians will be allowed to see a maximum of five people outside of their families. Currently a Belgian individual can meet 15 people in a "social bubble".
The rise in cases has been especially sharp in the city of Antwerp.
In the past week an average of 279 people daily have caught coronavirus in Belgium, compared with 163 a day the week before. The current death toll officially is 9,821.
"Until now, the 'social bubble' of each person was limited to 15 people per week. From Wednesday, it will be limited to five people, always the same ones, for the next four weeks, and this for an entire family," said PM Sophie Wilmès.
"So we are counting for the household and no longer per person. Children under the age of 12 do not count in those five people."
Belgium is also halving the numbers allowed at public gatherings - to 100 indoors, and 200 outdoors.

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

Japanese urged to take working holidays

In Japan, the government is urging people to take working holidays to boost the coronavirus-hit economy.
The Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said ministries would encourage tourist destinations to become more work-friendly with a new push for WiFi connectivity in hotels and traditional hot spring inns.
A government scheme providing financial incentives for domestic holidaymakers is already in force in Japan, where borders remain closed to foreign visitors.
But critics have pointed to the risks of encouraging people to move around the country with the number of infections increasing.
The tourism sector had been expecting a boost from the now delayed 2020 Olympic Games.

Brazil's healthcare workers call for ICC investigation

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President Jair Bolsonaro has described the virus as a "little flu"

Health workers in Brazil have urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to investigate President Jair Bolsonaro's government over its handling of the pandemic.
A group claiming to represent more than one million healthcare staff has handed over a dossier of evidence to the court. It alleges that government negligence has contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
The government has not responded to the complaint.
Mr Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the virus as a minor threat, ignoring social distancing and calling for lockdown measures to be suspended.
But Brazil has recorded nearly 2.5m infections and is second only to the United States in terms of cases and deaths from Covid-19.

A round-up of the day's global headlines

It's been another busy day of developments as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the lives of millions around the world. As we prepare to pause our live coverage, here are the main global headlines:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) said Covid-19 was "easily the most severe" global health emergency it had ever declared. The agency's head Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said almost 16 million cases had been reported to the UN body, along with 640,000 deaths
  • US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, tested positive for coronavirus. He is the highest-ranking official in the administration known to have tested positive
  • Hong Kong reported a record daily rise in the number infections and rolled out some of its toughest lockdown measures yet to help contain its spread
  • Meanwhile, Spain insisted that recent outbreaks of new cases were isolated and the country was safe for tourists to visit. It came as the UK introduced new measures requiring visitors from Spain to quarantine for 14 days
  • North Korea reported what it describe as its first suspected case of coronavirus. State media said a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the demarcation line last week with symptoms
  • And America remains at the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for around 20% of all cases

UK round-up: Spain quarantine and a sick cat

The news in the UK has been dominated by the decision to quarantine arrivals from Spain, which was made by the government at the weekend.

You can catch up with the day's news with our evening briefing here .

That's it from us for today

We will be back bringing you the latest stories from across the world on Tuesday morning.

Today's live page has been edited by Mal Sirat, Sean Fanning and Lauren Turner, and written by Josh Cheetham, Gareth Evans, Francesca Gillett and Doug Faulkner.

Thank you for reading and please join us again tomorrow.

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:36