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Coronavirus - 29th July


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:Covid-19: Coronavirus - 29th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 12:03

Summary for Wednesday, 29th July

  • Young people could be driving spikes in coronavirus cases across Europe, the World Health Organization warns
  • Several countries are seeing a higher proportion of new infections among the young, the health body says
  • Heathrow boss calls for tests at airports to avoid quarantine rules, but a UK minister says this is not a "silver bullet"
  • Almost 1,300 virus-related deaths were logged in the US on Tuesday, the biggest daily increase since May
  • UK government to fund studies to explain why ethnic minorities are at greater risk
  • Scaled back Hajj begins in Saudi Arabia with international visitors banned
  • Hong Kong government warns hospitals face "collapse" as it grapples with a rise in infections
  • There have been nearly 16.7 million confirmed cases globally, and around 660,000 deaths

Hello and welcome back to our live coverage about the coronavirus pandemic. Our teams from around the world are again ready to bring you the latest developments.
Let's kick off with a summary of the latest top stories.

  • Nearly 1,300 virus-related deaths were confirmed across the US on Tuesday - the biggest daily increase since May
  • US President Donald Trump has again defended the use of the malaria medication hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus, contradicting the advice of his own public health officials - there is no evidence the drug can fight the virus
  • Hong Kong's hospital system could face collapse because of a spike in coronavirus cases, the city's leader Carrie Lam has warned. Hong Kong is now regularly reporting more than 100 new cases daily whereas less than a month ago the average was fewer than 10
  • The annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia is under way with drastically reduced numbers because of the pandemic. More than two million pilgrims normally take part in the Hajj but this year only around 10,000 Saudi residents will perform the five-day ritual

Latest from UK

And if you're joining us in the UK, here’s a summary of the main headlines:

  • Scientists are to receive millions of pounds to fund six studies aimed at learning why ethnic minorities are at greater risk of Covid-19 . They will examine social circumstances, health, day-to-day activities and genetic factors and researchers say the studies are intended to allow rapid action to be taken to save lives
  • Financial experts say the UK faces a wave of business failures as "zombie companies" kept afloat during lockdown by temporary government support struggle with high debt and poor sales
  • Heathrow Airport's chief executive has called on the government to introduce Covid-19 tests on landing to allow quarantine restrictions for high-risk countries to be eased. John Holland-Kaye said testing could be up and running in a couple of weeks
  • The decision to discharge patients from hospitals to care homes without a test for Covid-19 has been criticised as "an appalling error" by a committee of MPs . The public accounts committee said 25,000 patients were discharged into care homes before guidance was "belatedly" changed in mid-April
  • Up to 60 million doses of a potential vaccine being developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have been ordered by the UK government. It is the fourth vaccine deal the UK has struck, with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy saying health and social care workers along with those at higher risk could be vaccinated in summer 2021 if it is shown to work in human studies
  • Fraudsters are impersonating organisations such as the NHS and HMRC to trick people out of their cash during the pandemic , banks have warned. Local authorities say there has been a 40% increase in reported scams

US states see record rise in infections

Six southern and western US states registered record numbers of new coronavirus infections on Tuesday - California, Arkansas, Florida, Montana, Oregon, and Texas.
Texas joined California and New York to register more than 400,000 cases.
President Donald Trump, who has come under widespread criticism for his handling of the crisis, insisted that large parts of the US were virus-free, even though federal data shows just one state, Vermont, doing well.
The US now has more than 4.3 million reported cases of Covid-19, and more than 149,000 deaths.
Our colleagues at the Visual and Data Journalism Team have been tracking the pandemic in the US and around the world.

HK hospitals 'risk collapse' as cases spike

Hong Kong's hospital system could face "collapse" as it grapples with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the city's leader Carrie Lam has warned.
She urged residents to stay indoors, saying the city was "on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak". New measures were introduced on Wednesday including mandatory face masks and the closure of dine-in restaurants.
Less than a month ago the average number of new daily cases in Hong Kong was fewer than 10 but the city is now regularly reporting more than 100 new infections every day. A record 145 cases were recorded on Monday.
On Tuesday the city reported its 23rd overall death. The patient had been a resident at a care home where at least 45 infections have been recorded.

Airport tests needed to avoid 'cliff-edge' in UK travel industry

As the UK faces criticism from Spain for reintroducing quarantine measures, Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye says the restrictions have already caused "a few more drop-outs" among people with flights booked.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the government needed to introduce an "alternative to the cliff-edge" of quarantine for free travel and said a testing system could be "up and running within the next couple of weeks".
He said it would likely involve people quarantining for eight days rather than 14, after which they could leave if they received a negative test result. Other countries such as France are testing similar approaches, Holland-Kaye said.
"We all have the same interests here. Nobody wants to have a second wave. We will always put the interests of health and safety first. But the government also has a responsibility to protect jobs and support the economy," he said.
The airport boss said that unless the country can find a "balance" between safety and getting the economy moving, the UK could face "a huge jobs epidemic" as well as a viral one.

Trump sticks by discredited use of hydroxychloroquine

More now from the US where President Donald Trump has again touted the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a way to prevent coronavirus, contradicting the advice of his own public health officials.
At a White House news conference on Tuesday he said the drug had only been rejected as a Covid-19 treatment because he suggested it. Scientists say there is no evidence the drug can fight the virus, and regulators warn it may cause heart problems.
"When I recommend something, they like to say 'don't use it'," he told reporters. Trump also grumbled that the top US infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, was more popular than him.
Earlier this week, President Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr, both shared a video on social media advocating hydroxychloroquine. Facebook and Twitter removed the content, flagging it as misinformation.

UK orders fourth potential vaccine with 60 million doses

The UK government has signed a fourth coronavirus vaccine deal, securing up to 60 million doses of an experimental treatment being developed by drug giants GSK and Sanofi.
Regulatory approval could be achieved by the first half of 2021 if trials are successful, according to Sanofi, which is leading the vaccine's clinical development.
The government has already signed up for 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca .
It has also secured another 90 million doses of two other promising vaccines .
However, it is still uncertain which - if any - of the vaccines will work.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 12:16

Queensland's tourism hit as border rules tighten

Simon Atkinson - BBC News, North Queensland
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Queensland's crocodiles are a popular tourist attraction

On the banks of the Daintree river, our tour guide pointed out crocodiles lazing in the early afternoon sun. Croc-spotting is one of the most touristy things you can do in north Queensland.
But while the boat operators can rely on finding the scaly reptiles, tourist numbers are less predictable. Australia has shut off its international borders for the foreseeable future, so visitors from Asia and Europe are few and far between.
For the past month, travellers from Victoria have not been welcome after the outbreak on Covid-19 cases there. Hotels, rainforest retreats and tour operators reckon that in what should be peak season they’re operating at about 20% capacity. Some have closed down altogether.
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Tourist numbers to the Great Barrier Reef are also down

Boats out to the Great Barrier Reef - perhaps Australia's biggest tourist attraction - are almost empty too. Keeping businesses just about going are Queenslanders who - unable to jet off to Bali - are exploring their own beautiful state instead.
And then there are people like me - Sydney-dwellers travelling to one of the few places they are allowed to go.
Well, were allowed to go. Queensland has announced that from this weekend, anyone who has been in Greater Sydney will no longer be allowed to visit the state (without two weeks of self-funded hotel quarantine).

Airport testing not a silver bullet, says UK minister

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Dowden said people needed to be aware of the risks when they book foreign holidays

Earlier we told you about calls to reduce the need for quarantine by introducing coronavirus tests at airports, as supported by the boss of Heathrow.
But UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said a test on landing would not provide the necessary reassurance that a traveller did not have the disease. He told BBC Breakfast: "[The virus] can incubate over a period of time, so there's not a silver bullet of just testing immediately at the border."
The government would "look at other measures to mitigate the impact of that and reduce the burden", he said, adding that the authorities needed to take action to keep the virus under control. "Look around the world, the disease is continuing to spread," he said.
Dowden did not go as far as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in suggesting that she would not book a foreign holiday at this time. Instead, he said people just needed to be aware of the risks.
But Conservative backbencher David Davis said Heathrow's chief executive is right to call for airport testing to reduce quarantine time. "Vienna has been doing this for months. I don't understand why we haven't," he said.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 12:26

Belarus president claims to have beaten virus 'on his feet'

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Alexander Lukashenko has ruled over Belarus since 1994

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has announced he caught and then recovered from the coronavirus "on his feet.
"This is what doctors concluded yesterday. Asymptomatic," he told military leaders. He offered no evidence to support his allegation, nor his claim that "97% of our population carry this infection asymptomatically". Johns Hopkins University says the country has recorded 67,366 cases and 543 deaths.
As the rest of Europe locked down in March in a bid to contain the outbreak, Belarus kept its borders open and football matches playing.
Lukashenko - who has been in power since 1994 and is often described as Europe's last dictator - has described coronavirus fears as a "psychosis", a response that has provoked rare public demonstrations against him ahead of a presidential election next Sunday.
The authorities have cracked down on dissent and arrested protesters around the country.

Inside Belarus, Europe’s 'last dictatorship': Snatched from the streets

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 12:33

Sending untested patients to care homes 'reckless', MPs say

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Care homes in England were hard hit by the virus

The decision to allow hospital patients in England to be discharged to care homes without Covid-19 tests at the start of the pandemic has been described as "reckless" by MPs.
The Public Accounts Committee said there had clearly been an "emerging problem" with official advice before it was "belatedly" changed in April.
The committee said around 25,000 patients were discharged into care homes in England between mid-March and mid-April to free up hospital beds. It accused ministers of being slow to support social care during the crisis.
In a highly critical report, the cross-party committee said the initial decision to allow untested patients into care homes was an "appalling error".
After initially saying a negative result was not required before discharging patients, the government later said on 15 April all patients would be tested .
The government said it had been "working closely" with the sector.

Watch: US v other countries - did it mess up its reopening?

We told you earlier that six US states - Arkansas, California, Florida, Montana, Oregon, and Texas - registered record numbers of new coronavirus infections on Tuesday.
Here our colleagues in the US ask whether the requirements to safely reopen were met.

Coronavirus: Did the US reopen faster than other countries?

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 12:45

Scaled-down Hajj gets under way

Hajj 2020: 'It would have been my solace'

The annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia is getting under way with drastically reduced numbers because of the pandemic.
More than two million pilgrims normally take part in the Hajj but this year only about 10,000 Saudi residents will perform the five-day ritual.
Pilgrims are required to wear face masks and observe social distancing during a series of religious rites in the holy city and its surroundings. All those taking part this year were given temperature checks and placed in quarantine as they began arriving in Mecca at the weekend.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam - mandatory things all Muslims must do during their lifetime, as long as they are physically and financially able to do so.

Why isn't the UK testing travellers on arrival?

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
Some countries, such as Iceland, offer travellers a choice on arrival if they have stayed in areas with high virus levels. Anyone entering must either self-quarantine for 14 days or get tested for Covid-19.
And Germany is planning compulsory tests at its airports for anyone arriving from a high-risk country.
At the moment, the UK says it has no plans to introduce testing at airports , saying it is not just logistically difficult but risks missing some cases of coronavirus.
Nose or throat swab tests are safe and accurate, but can sometimes give a false negative result.
"This is concerning as a negative test result may give people a false sense of security," said Dr Joshua Moon from the University of Sussex Business School.
Earlier, the boss of Heathrow told the BBC that airports should be allowed to test for coronavirus to avoid the "cliff edge" of quarantine. We have about what he had to say here.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 12:50

The island hoping to be festival hotspot amid pandemic

Annabel Rackham - Newsbeat reporter
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With festival season cancelled in most places, Malta sees a tourist opportunity

In a parallel universe, festival season is in full swing, while flights to Mallorca and Ibiza are filled with Brits ready to hit the clubs.
But most of those clubs are closed.
And while the coronavirus pandemic has ruined many plans for the summer, one country has spotted an opportunity.
Four music festivals are planned in Malta over the next few months.
The line-ups are full of British artists like Chase and Status, Aitch, AJ Tracey and Fatboy Slim, with their social media targeting people in the UK with information on flight prices.
But there are concerns about what might happen if loads of people pile onto the island. "Imagine how much corona Brits are going to take to those festivals in Malta," one DJ posted.

Ten Covid-19 scams to watch out for

Scammers are exploiting the pandemic to trick people out of their cash, UK banks have warned . Here is their list of some of the fraudulent schemes to watch out for:
1. Fake government emails offering grants of up to £7,500. Clicking on the links allows scammers to steal personal and financial information
2. Scam emails offering access to "Covid-19 relief funds"
3. Official-looking emails offering a "council tax reduction"
4. Benefit recipients are offered help in applying for universal credit, but fraudsters grab some of the payment as an advance for their "services"
5. Phishing emails claiming that the recipient has been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19
6. Fake adverts for non-existent coronavirus-related products
7. Fake emails and texts claiming to be from TV Licensing, offering six months free but asking people to update their payment information
8. Emails asking people to update their TV subscription services payment details by clicking on a link
9. Fake profiles on social media sites are used to manipulate victims into handing over their money
10. Fake investment opportunities are advertised on social media sites, encouraging victims to "take advantage of the financial downturn"

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 12:54

WHO warns of rising cases among young in Europe

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Crowds enjoying a beach in Barcelona before new measures were announced to curb a spike in cases

Dr Hans Kluge, Europe regional director for the World Health Organization (WHO), says increasing infections among young people could be driving recent spikes in cases across the continent.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that authorities needed to communicate better with younger members of society.
"An increasing number of countries are experiencing localised outbreaks and a resurge in cases. What we do know, is that it's a consequence of change in human behaviour," he said.
"We're receiving reports from several health authorities of a higher proportion of new infections among young people. So for me, the call is loud enough to rethink how to better involve young people."
Dr Kluge said that as a father of two daughters he understood that young people "do not want to miss the summer".
But he added: "They have a responsibility towards themselves, their parents, grandparents and their communities and we do know, now, how to adopt good healthy behaviours so let's take advantage of the knowledge."

Romania tightens restrictions as cases surge

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There have been more than 1,000 new infections a day in Romania the past week

Authorities in Romania plan to make masks compulsory in crowded outdoor places and to close bars by 23:00 local time in a bid to tackle a spike in infections.
In total the country has recorded 47,053 cases and 2,239 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. But numbers have been soaring recently, with the number of new confirmed cases rising by more than 1,000 every day for the past week.
Until July, the government hospitalised infected people by decree, and ordered those exposed to stay at home. But at the start of the month the Constitutional Court ruled this was not legal - meaning 972 positive patients were let out of hospital against medical advice, and some 3,680 infected people were not treated in hospital at all.
Since then a new law has been passed to allow the government to enforce isolation and hospitalisations. Health Minister Nelu Tataru warned however that their release could lead to a spike in new cases.
Officials also say people have not complied with hygiene and distancing rules, including an order to wear masks on public transport.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 12:59

Comply with social distancing to avoid new lockdown, France says

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Face masks are now compulsory in enclosed public spaces in France

France's health minister has insisted that the country is not experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections but urged people to comply with social distancing guidelines to avoid another lockdown.
Olivier Véran said the government was trying to protect the most vulnerable, break the chain of infection "and once again explain to the French that the battle is not over".
"We aren't in a second wave of the coronavirus," he told LCI television. "Some people do not respect the rules. We must not let down our guard. People must understand that we're going to live with this virus for a fairly long time."
French authorities reported 14 more virus-related deaths on Tuesday, a steep rise from the daily average over the previous week. More than 30,223 people have died from Covid-19 in France. The country made the wearing of face masks in enclosed public spaces mandatory on 20 July.

Madonna criticised for spreading vaccine conspiracy theory

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The pop singer has previously called coronavirus "the great equaliser"

Madonna's Instagram account has been flagged for spreading false conspiracy theories about coronavirus .
The pop star shared a conspiracy video which had also been promoted by US President Donald Trump . She claimed in a post that a vaccine for Covid-19 had already been found but was being hidden to "let the rich get richer".
Instagram blurred out the video, added a caption saying "false information" and directed users to a page debunking the video's claims, which noted that there is currently no vaccine.
The video was later deleted from Madonna's Instagram page, but not before followers protested at her spreading misinformation.
Among them was the singer Annie Lennox, who said: "This is utter madness!!! I can't believe that you are endorsing this dangerous quackery.
"Hopefully your site has been hacked and you're just about to explain it."

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 13:04

'More than half of Mumbai slum-dwellers had Covid-19'

Soutik Biswas - India Correspondent
More than half the residents of slums in three areas in India's commercial capital, Mumbai, tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, a new survey has found.
Only 16% of people living outside slums in the same areas were found to be exposed to the infection.
The results are from a random testing of some 7,000 people in three densely packed areas in early July.
Mumbai has reported more than 110,000 cases and 6,187 deaths as of 28 July.
The survey was carried out by the city's municipality, the government think-tank Niti Aayog and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
It found that 57% of the people tested in slum areas of Chembur, Matunga and Dahisar had been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
Scientists involved with the study told the BBC that the results pointed to a number of things about the prevalence of the infection in one of India's worst-hit cities.
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Health workers conducting checks in Mumbai's dense Dharavi slum

Europe urges caution as some countries see spike in infections

Back now to the situation in Europe.
Weeks after lockdowns began being eased across the continent, governments are urging greater caution and taking extra measures as infections start to rise again in some areas.
On Tuesday, the Italian Senate voted to extend a state of emergency. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said infections were rising in nearby countries - including France, Spain and the Balkans - and called for extra vigilance to prevent the virus making a comeback.
The head of Germany's public health agency has also said he is "very concerned" by rising infections. Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), told reporters on Tuesday that Germans had become "negligent" and urged people to wear face masks and respect social distancing and hygiene rules.
Germany weathered the initial outbreak well but in the past week it has recorded 3,611 new infections.
Greece - which also coped well in the early months of the pandemic - has said it is making masks compulsory again in shops and public services after a recent rise in infections.
As we reported earlier, French Health Minister Olivier Véran said he wanted to avoid another lockdown and called on people to "not let down our guard".
And in the UK, the government's sudden decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving from Spain threw the holiday plans of thousands of people into confusion. Spain has criticised the move as "unjust" saying that an increase in new infections there is largely confined to only two regions.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 13:09

UK tour operator stops Spanish island holidays until 4 August

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Britons have seen holiday plans disrupted by the reintroduction of quarantine requirements and warnings against travel

The UK's largest tour operator, Tui, has said it is extending its suspension of holidays to the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands until 4 August.
The decision comes after the Foreign Office warned against all but essential travel to Spain and its islands , amid rising coronavirus cases and the reintroduction of a 14-day quarantine requirement on return to the UK.
Tui had previously cancelled trips to the Spanish islands up to and including Friday, while holidays to mainland Spain remain cancelled until 10 August.
The tour operator is increasing its flights to Greece and Turkey this weekend, to enable more customers to switch destinations.

UK bike fixing scheme overwhelmed by demand

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Bike repairs are in high demand as people seek alternatives to public transport

A UK government website offering a £50 voucher to repair bikes crashed due to "extreme volumes of traffic" shortly after launch last night.
The vouchers were introduced as part of a government strategy to encourage exercise and healthy eating, amid growing evidence that obesity can increase the risk from Covid-19.
But with bikes in high demand as commuters seek an alternative to public transport , the Fix Your Bike website was quickly overwhelmed and the vouchers were no longer available by 09:00.
The Department for Transport said vouchers were being "released gradually" to reflect the capacity of repairers signed up to the scheme, but it promised more would be available soon.
One Twitter user joked that "cyclists finally know how it feels to be held up by too much traffic".

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 13:13

Babies die in 'overwhelmed' Zimbabwe hospital

Andrew Harding - BBC Africa correspondent
Seven babies have died in one night in a crowded maternity hospital in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, because of staffing issues related to Covid-19.
Two doctors with direct knowledge of the maternity ward, speaking anonymously, confirmed the deaths to the BBC. They said the babies - delivered stillborn by caesarean section on Monday - died because the maternity wards were overwhelmed. Both described it as "the tip of the iceberg".
The babies died because their mothers - two with ruptured uteruses - were left unattended for days in a hospital where nurses are on strike; medicine and personal protective equipment are in desperately short supply, and doctors are overwhelmed.
Many smaller clinics have closed in Harare because of concerns about Covid-19, a lack of safety equipment, and the broader effects of hyperinflation and an economic crisis.
That has forced pregnant women to crowd into the city’s larger state hospitals which are unable to cope. It is a dire situation, one doctor told me. Another said Monday's deaths were not isolated incidents.
Zimbabwe has confirmed around 2,800 coronavirus cases and 40 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

'Just birds chirping': Spanish businesses hit hard by UK quarantine

Flora Drury - BBC News
The bars and restaurants which line the square in Villamartin had begun to breathe a sigh of relief.
The coronavirus pandemic which had kept the tourists away for the first part of the summer seemed to be easing, and the - mainly British - visitors were returning to this little spot on Spain's Costa Blanca.
But the feeling of relief was far too short lived: on Saturday, the British government announced it was imposing a two-week quarantine on those returning from Spain amid rising case numbers in Spain.
The calls asking to cancel began to pour in almost immediately - after all, many holidaymakers cannot afford to take another two weeks off, especially with the potential of them being unpaid.
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Where have all the tourists gone?

For the businesses around the plaza though, the reality was the rule change was not just ruining their summer holidays. It has the potential to cripple their livelihoods too.
"Everybody here is just panicking - we were just getting back on our feet," Casey Shaddock, president of the Villamartin Plaza, told the BBC. "Normally, this square would be buzzing - we hold 1,400. On summer nights we do live music, we bring a lot of acts across from England.
"Now, it is just the birds chirping."
Read more about the Spanish businesses fearing for their futures.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 13:20

Socially distanced live music trial 'did not succeed'

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With a seated, socially distanced audience the Frank Turner show was not financially viable, the venue manager said

Folk rocker Frank Turner played one of the UK's first gigs with a socially-distanced audience at London's Clapham Grand last night.
Performing live for the first time in more than four months made for a "strange, emotional evening", the singer said.
But with just 200 people able to attend the 1,250 capacity venue, manager Ally Wolf said it did not make enough money to cover the operating costs , even before paying a fee to the performer.
"It can't be the future for live music, it can't be the future for venues,"he said.
The venue had to be reconfigured, with temperature checks on the door, tables and seats brought in and drinks ordered to the table.

Analysis: UK favours 'more intelligent' quarantine over airport tests

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
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The UK government is not convinced by airport testing, seen here at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris

The idea of introducing testing at airports is an attractive idea.
The theory being people could travel where they like and just get tested as they arrive back in the country, negating the need to self-isolate.
But the government is not convinced.
Why? Logistically, testing all the travellers who arrive every week will be difficult.
Testing capacity has increased, but this would stretch the system. Not to mention the practical difficulties of setting up testing facilities in busy airports.
But the other factor, which is perhaps more crucial, is that in the early stages of infection the test may not even pick up the infection.
Instead, officials are much more persuaded by a more intelligent, targeted approach to self-isolation.
That would involve asking only those coming from certain regions in a country - where the infection rates are highest - to self-isolate.
That could then be complemented by then asking them to get tested after a week, meaning that if they test negative, there would be no need for the full 14-day self-isolation.
All this and more is being discussed behind the scenes.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 13:24

Vietnam on alert after Danang outbreak

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The Danang outbreak threatens Vietnam's impressive record in controlling Covid-19

Vietnam's prime minister has warned the entire country to act swiftly after at least 30 new coronavirus cases were reported in the coastal city of Danang and neighbouring provinces.
Nguyen Xuan Phuc warned that every province was now at high risk of infection.
The outbreak in Danang was Vietnam's first local transmission in more than three months. The city is now under lockdown and all transport links to other cities have been cut.
It is not clear where the new infections originated. Few foreign visitors are allowed to enter Vietnam and those who do are subject to strict monitoring.
On Wednesday, new cases were reported in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands.

We want our employees back in the office, says Barclays

Barclays boss Jes Staley has signalled that he wants employees working from home during the pandemic to return to the office "over time" .
"It is important to get people back together in physical concentrations," he told Bloomberg TV.
He said 60,000 Barclays staff were working "from their kitchen tables", but stressed that another 20,000 were in offices, branches and call centres.
It marks a change from his comments in April, when Staley said big city offices "may be a thing of the past".

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 13:27

What else is happening in Europe?

  • In France, police have evacuated about 1,500 migrants from a makeshift camp which they said posed a high risk of coronavirus infection. The migrants - mostly men from Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa - had been living in tents next to a canal in a north-eastern suburb of Paris. They were given face masks as they boarded buses to be transferred to sports halls, hotels and other shelters
  • Poland has reported an increase in coronavirus cases with outbreaks at three Silesian coal mines and in several companies and a care home in the southern Malopolska region. On Wednesday officials reported 512 new infections in the past 24 hours, up from 502 on Tuesday. The number of new cases has been rising since 17 July. In total, the country has seen 44,416 cases and 1,694 deaths
  • Several European banks have reported a sharp drop in their financial performance due to the pandemic. Spanish lender Santander has taken the biggest hit, reporting a record net-loss of 11.1bn euros ($13bn; £10bn) in the second quarter of this year. Germany's Deutsche Bank, which also reported a loss in the second quarter, has increased its provisions for bad loans. Many banks have set aside large sums to help cover losses on loans

'Possible cluster' investigated in Glasgow area

A possible cluster of coronavirus cases is being investigated in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area of Scotland , Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Of the 22 new cases that were identified in Scotland on Tuesday, the first minister said provisional information showed that 14 were in that area.
Scotland has now gone 13 days in a row without any new deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus.
However, the National Records of Scotland - which includes deaths where coronavirus is suspected or probable - has recorded an increase in the number of Covid-19 deaths registered during the last week.
Between July 20 and 26, there were eight instances when Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, a rise from the six deaths registered in the previous week.

The latest from the UK this lunchtime

If you're just joining us in the UK, here's the latest stories to catch up on over your lunch break:

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 13:38

Lunching in the rain as Hong Kong measures kick in

Grace Tsoi - BBC World Service, Hong Kong
Social media in Hong Kong has been inundated with photos showing cleaners and construction workers having lunch outdoors in the heavy rain as new regulations kicked in on Wednesday.
No dining-in is allowed in restaurants for a week as part of new stringent social distancing measures. The city is battling a new wave that has seen more than 100 new cases for eight days in a row. In total, Hong Kong has recorded 3,002 cases with 24 deaths.
There is fresh anger against the government for exempting some 200,000 people, including seafarers and aircrew, from quarantine when they entered the city. Public health experts have said the latest outbreak was likely caused by such imported cases.
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No dining-in is allowed in restaurants for a week

Hong Kong's public hospitals have been stretched thin and more than 78% of isolation beds are occupied. An exhibition centre is being converted into a temporary hospital for patients with mild symptoms and it will open its doors from this Saturday at the soonest.

'I don't want to risk coming back with the disease'

BBC Radio 5 Live
As holidays are cancelled and rescheduled due to changing quarantine rules, BBC Radio 5 Live's Your Call asked listeners about how their plans for the summer were being affected.

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Pak is travelling to a small village in Brittany and says his family will be avoiding the crowds

Pak and his family are going to Brittany in France via the EuroTunnel. He told 5 Live’s Rachel Burden they’re travelling "door to door" to a private holiday home and are being safe at all times.
"EuroTunnel has told us to stay in the car during the journey, so we will.
"We won't be mixing with big crowds when we're in Brittany - we won't be irresponsible. The rules we're following in the UK will be the same ones we follow in France. We're going to be in a tiny rural hamlet, instead of our busy home city of Chelmsford."
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Jackie says she is holidaying in the UK to support the economy

Jackie, who runs her own engineering business in Nottingham, previously contracted coronavirus after a trip to Austria earlier this year. This summer she is opting for a holiday in Cornwall.
"I love going abroad every year, but I've made a very conscious decision to help the economy this year because I’m a business owner myself," she said.
"I don't want to risk coming back with the disease again and making my staff more vulnerable."
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Clair, who is quarantining, said people should consider whether a trip abroad is worth it

And international teacher Clair, who is quarantining at her home in Newcastle after returning from Kuwait last week, said it's important to think about whether a holiday is worth the disruption of 14 days' self-isolation.
"I’ve been trying to return since the beginning of June, but flights were all delayed or cancelled. I knew I’d have to quarantine," she said.
"My 13-year-old son is with his grandma so I can stay in his room. I'm not spending time with my husband and other son, and I'm obviously not leaving the house at all."

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 15:22

Bolivians protest, Colombia extends lockdown: Latin America round-up

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Sporting venues like this are now being used to treat coronavirus patients in Peru

Venues which only a year ago were hosting the Panamerican Games are now being used to treat coronavirus patients in Peru. The country is nearing 400,000 cases, the third-worst affected in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico.
In some cities, such as Arequipa, hospitals have been struggling to cope with demand and some patients were given oxygen in their cars.
In Colombia, President Iván Duque has extended the lockdown in the country for another month to the end of August. It is the eighth time it has been extended since it was first brought in at the end of March.
However, the president said shops and businesses in areas where there are no cases would be allowed to gradually reopen but that entertainment venues such as bars would remain closed. Colombia has more than 267,000 confirmed cases and there have been more than 9,000 Covid-related deaths.
Meanwhile, thousands of people in Bolivia have taken to the streets in protest at the postponement of the presidential election from September to October. Bolivia's electoral commission said the delay was necessary because of the coronavirus crisis.
But the opposition says the government of interim President Jeanine Áñez is using the pandemic as an excuse to extend its time in office. Áñez came to power last year after the long-term socialist president, Evo Morales, resigned following disputed elections.

Young people and coronavirus in Europe

Earlier we told you that Dr Hans Kluge, Europe regional director for the World Health Organization (WHO), said increasing infections among young people could be driving recent spikes in cases across the continent.
"We're receiving reports from several health authorities of a higher proportion of new infections among young people," he told he BBC.
Here is a look at some of the European countries where cases among the young have risen in recent weeks:

  • The Netherlands has reported higher infection rates among younger age groups than older age groups in recent weeks
  • In France, officials in Brittany blamed local outbreaks there on people aged between 18 and 25, saying they do not follow distancing measures as closely as others. "Young people spread the virus,"Anne-Briac Bili, head of the regional health authority, told broadcaster France3
  • In the Spanish capital Madrid, where authorities are trying to stop infections from rising, regional government head Isabel Díaz Ayuso sounded the alarm on Tuesday about "the behaviour of young people", saying: "They are endangering neighbours but also their academic and working future"

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 15:27

Airport-style queues and contactless payments - the car boot is back

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For those who love the thrill of finding a bargain a lockdown ban on car boot sales has been tough.
But bric-a-brac sales are back - now with airport-style queues, cashless payments and social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Arminghall car boot, held on 15 acres of Norfolk farmland, has been home to sales twice a week for more than 30 years and the punters are glad to have it back.
Mother-of-three Kelly Mallett is pleased with her haul - boxing gloves and pads, parasol lights, a pot plant and two placemats.
"That's the joy of a car boot - the random stuff. You won't get these placemats for that price in a shop. It's the little things. I even got a pair of flippers for free. I don't even need flippers."
Landowner and organiser Mark Sadd describe the queue as like a "miniature version of passport control".
"As soon as the government said we could restart, there was a lot of soul-searching on how we'd do it," he said.
We have the full story here.

Analysis: Smaller Hajj bad for pilgrims, very bad for Saudi Arabia

Jeremy Bowen - BBC Middle East editor
The radical downsizing of the Hajj is a huge disappointment to all those who were hoping to make the pilgrimage.
It is an economic catastrophe for the cities of Mecca and Medina. For centuries they have relied on the income from the Hajj, and this year amounts to a total loss. Two million pilgrims were expected.
But with Saudi Arabia hit hard by the pandemic, only 1,000 - all resident in the kingdom - will be able to fulfil their duty as Muslims to take part in the Hajj.
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This year's Hajj will not see international travellers because of the pandemic

The loss of income from pilgrims is another serious economic blow for Saudi Arabia. In the second half of the 20th Century its wealth seemed limitless.
Now it is struggling to adapt to a world that is looking for ways to stop using fossil fuels. The uncertainties about the course of the pandemic in the next 12 months mean that there is no guarantee that next year's Hajj will be back to normal.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 15:35

Have US protests led to a spike in cases?

Jake Horton - BBC Reality Check
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Studies have shown there to be no significant link between protests and a rise in coronavirus cases

At his news conference on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said his administration was tracking "a significant rise in cases" in Portland and Seattle "because of what's been going on".
He was referring to protests over racial inequality and police violence. These have spread across the US, but the president singled out two cities on the west coast.
Looking at the data for the counties that include Portland and Seattle, there has been an uptick in reported coronavirus cases but the evidence linking this to the protests is weak.
Seattle's King county has seen a relatively modest increase in reported cases over the last few weeks, but Portland's Multnomah county has seen significant rise this month.
This increase in Portland, however, is similar to the trends being experienced in other parts of the US where protests have not taken place.
Studies have shown there to be no significant link between the two.
Oregon's Health Officer, Dr Dean Sidelinger, said: "Protests and demonstrations may be a contributing factor, but evidence and case investigations just don't show that driving these large numbers." Plus, these protests are largely held outside where transmission is less likely.
We've also looked at the comment made by President Trump that "large portions" of the US are "corona-free".
There is not a single state that does not have a case of coronavirus and all states have registered new cases in the past week.
There are certainly parts of the country, particularly in rural areas, that have a much lower number of cases, but these are areas with very small populations.

Dr Fauci: This is no time for political infighting

Staying in the US, the country's top infectious disease expert has told the BBC that the height of a pandemic is not the time to be distracted by political infighting.
Dr Anthony Fauci's comments came shortly after President Trump questioned why he was not as popular as him - you can watch it above.
"The enemy here is the virus," he said. "This is no time to have political bickering and political fighting."
Dr Fauci blamed the recent surge in cases in the US on some states not following the recommendations of medical experts.
"I won't mention them, but some of the states... did not do the step-by-step progression as we recommended," he said.
But he added that he was hopeful an effective vaccine would be available soon.
"Hopefully in the next few months we will have more than one safe and effective vaccine which can complement the public health measures," he said.
You can read more about Dr Fauci here.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 15:39

Further 19 people die across England and Wales

A further 19 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in England and Wales, the latest figures show.
There were 14 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours by NHS England, taking the total who have died in hospital from the virus to 29,317. Nine of the deaths were recorded in the Midlands.
In Wales, there were five further deaths, according to Public Health Wales , taking the total there to 1,554.
Scotland recorded no new deaths for the 13th day in a row, while Northern Ireland also recorded no deaths from the virus.
The UK figures will be published separately and differ due to recording over a different time period and based on different criteria.

Tracking the global outbreak

Several countries across Europe have reported a rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
The World Health Organization has warned that increasing infections among young people may be behind the latest outbreaks, as lockdowns are eased.
Our colleagues on the BBC Visual and Data Journalism Team are monitoring the situation in Europe and elsewhere and have produced a series of regularly updated charts tracking the pandemic .
Coronavirus - 29th July Defeda10

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 15:45

Analysis: How scared should we be of 'second wave'?

Nick Triggle - Health correspondent
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned there are signs of a "second wave" of coronavirus cases in Europe, but what is the evidence for that?
Talk of a second wave is the stuff of nightmares. But many experts try to avoid the phrase altogether. Margaret Harris, from the World Health Organization, has made clear that what we have seen is "one big wave" that is making its way across the globe.
Some countries, such as South Korea and Singapore, have been better than others at flattening it from the start by stopping the virus spreading by using comprehensive testing and tracing regimes.
But others - and the UK, France, Spain and Italy are examples of this - have just managed to flatten it partway through the wave by introducing lockdowns. This was because they did not have such sophisticated infectious disease systems in place to control the virus.
Thanks to investment, they are in a much stronger position now and have been able to release lockdown, while still trying to suppress the virus wave through testing and tracing. But there are signs cases are picking up, especially in Spain.
Read the full analysis here.

'I'm entitled to travel' - Brits on Ibiza trips

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Shona Lille said she was "itching" to get away

The UK government is warning against all non-essential travel to Spain following a rise in coronavirus cases there. But that has not put off everyone from travelling.
Our reporters spoke to people travelling to Ibiza from East Midlands Airport.
Shona Lille, from Sheffield, said she was "itching" to get away. "I will stick to the guidelines, and wear my masks where I have to wear them so I'm doing everything. I just feel that I have the entitlement to travel and I will travel."
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Adam Spinos, said he was more worried about being on the plane

Kieron Brookes, from Liverpool, said: "We have booked it all and we have paid for the thing so we might as well go for a few days."
He said while his insurance would be invalid "we are just going to hope for the best".
Adam Spinos, from Long Eaton, Derbyshire, said he was more worried about being on the plane than at this destination. "I've checked everything that's happening over there and the situation, and it's fine," he said.
"I just want to see how the plane goes and the precautions staff take so people don't get too drunk and behave, which will make me feel more confident."

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 15:55

Coronavirus vaccine 'works on monkeys' following series of tests

By Harry Brent - Irish Post

A POTENTIAL Covid-19 vaccine currently being tested has worked on monkeys.
The vaccine made by Moderna, which is currently undergoing trials on animals, reportedly stopped the virus duplicating in the noses and lungs of the monkey subjects, and crucially stopped it from being transmitted onto others.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine released on Tuesday noted that the drug also caused an immune response in the animals which was very promising.
This is contrast to the University of Oxford's vaccine, also tested on monkeys, which failed to stop the virus from replicating the animals' nose.
In Moderna's test, scientists administered placebos or the vaccine among three lots of eight rhesus macaques to test its viability.
The monkeys who were given the vaccine were given either 10 micrograms or 100 micrograms of the vaccine, and all showed promising results.

Each monkey that was given the vaccine produced far more antibodies than even humans who had recovered from Covid-19.
National Institutes for Health, which also developed the vaccine said of the results: "This is the first time an experimental Covid-19 vaccine tested in non-human primates has been shown to produce such rapid viral control in the upper airway.
"Local adverse events, when present, were nearly all mild or moderate, and pain at the injection site was common.
"Across both vaccinations, solicited systemic and local adverse events that occurred in more than half the participants included fatigue, chills, headache, myalgia, and pain at the injection site.
"Evaluation of safety clinical laboratory values of grade 2 or higher and unsolicited adverse events revealed no patterns of concern."

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 16:25

Watch as scaled back Hajj pilgrimage begins

As we have been reporting, the annual Hajj pilgrimage performed by Muslims from around the world began today in Saudi Arabia.
But it has been dramatically scaled back because of the pandemic. Only 10,000 pilgrims are expected, as opposed to about two million usually.
You can watch video from the event below and see how it compares to previous years.

Coronavirus: Scaled back Hajj pilgrimage begins

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 16:31

Robot cleaners take to Leeds streets

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The robots identify areas which need cleaning and spray them with a disinfecting alcohol mist

Robots cleaners are being deployed in Leeds to sanitise public spaces and reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.
The move is part of a trial by the University of Leeds to see if the robots can disinfect places effectively, avoiding the dangers of Covid-19 spreading to cleaning staff or the public.
Originally designed to inspect and repair infrastructure such as bridges, the robots' new job is to use computer vision and artificial intelligence to find objects which need regular cleaning and to spray them with a mist of diluted alcohol.
They were built by researchers at the Self Repairing Cities project, a consortium involving the University of Leeds, the University of Birmingham and University College London.
Dr Bilal Kaddouh, assistant professor at the Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering, said the initial trials went well but the next stage would be for the robots to operate autonomously.
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The project aims to reduce to risk of human cleaners becoming infected

Dr Fauci: Some US deaths were preventable

More now from the man leading the effort to contain the virus in the US.
We earlier reported that Dr Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert, had warned against "political bickering" after President Trump questioned his popularity.
"The enemy here is the virus," he told the BBC. "This is no time to have political bickering and political fighting."
Dr Fauci also said some of the nearly 150,000 deaths in the US could have been prevented.
"I think they could have been prevented if, in fact, the public health measures had been followed," he said. "That's the reason why we need to continue... the public health messaging until we do get a vaccine."
He added: "What happened in some states is that they skipped over some of the checkpoints and went to the next stage [of easing lockdown measures] - which in fact led, unfortunately, to a surge in cases."

Latest UK figures show 83 more Covid-19 related deaths

A further 83 people have died from Covid-19 associated deaths in the UK, according to government figures.
It takes the total deaths associated with the pandemic to 45,961.
There have been 763 more lab-confirmed cases across the UK, taking the total number of cases to 301,455.
These figures use data from Public Health England, which is currently reviewing its methodology after it was found to be including people who tested positive months before they died.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 18:10

Swedes given more freedom to travel in Scandinavia

Maddy Savage - BBC News, Stockholm
Swedes have been told they can make non-essential trips to neighbouring Denmark and Norway again from 30 July, according to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The move follows both Denmark and Norway starting to allow tourism to and from a growing number of Swedish regions in recent weeks, having previously excluded Sweden when they opened their borders to one another in June due to their neighbour's high infection rate.
Sweden has seen a marked drop in daily recorded deaths and serious cases of Covid-19 this month. However, Swedes from areas with high local infection rates - including the capital Stockholm - are still being asked to stay away by the Danish and Norwegian governments, despite today's updated guidance by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sweden has also updated its advice to give the green light to Swedes holidaying in Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Swedish authorities have said their travel restrictions are guided by travel bans and restrictions in other countries, rather than the spread of infection, in order to avoid disruption to travellers.
Swedes are still advised against non-essential travel to countries outside the EU and some European countries including the UK, where travellers from Sweden currently have to quarantine for 14 days.
We have more about Sweden's coronavirus strategy.

Hajj curbs sap age-old source of income

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The scaled-down Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia has meant a drastic drop in income for many who provide services for the pilgims.
More than two million people from all over the world normally take part but because of coronavirus restictions, only about 1,000 Saudi residents will perform this year's five-day ritual.
BBC World Service business reporter Faarea Masud hears from some of those who have been badly affected .

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 18:15

Weather prompts Glasgow park alcohol ban

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Police and council staff will patrol the gates at a Glasgow park on Friday to prevent anyone entering with alcohol, in anticipation of high temperatures.
It comes after police were forced to disperse crowds at Kelvingrove Park during lockdown following antisocial behaviour.
Glasgow City Council said the decision had been made in anticipation of high temperatures forecast for Friday.
It said it expected the weather to draw large crowds to the area.
A possible coronavirus "cluster" in Glasgow is being investigated.

India moves to ease lockdown measures

Let's take a look at India now.
The government has further relaxed its coronavirus restrictions, despite a sharp increase in the number of cases over the past month.
A night-time curfew has been lifted and gyms will be allowed to open from next week.
But schools, colleges and cinema halls will remain closed until the end of August and restrictions will remain in force in designated containment zones.
India has registered more than 1.5m confirmed infections, the third highest tally in the world after the US and Brazil. More than 34,500 people have died in the country due to the virus so far.

Boeing to end 747 production and cut jobs

Aviation giant Boeing will stop making its classic 747 plane and is eyeing steeper job cuts than previously announced.
The firm said it is planning slow the production of many of its jets after disclosing a $2.4bn (£1.8bn) loss as the virus reduced demand for air travel .
This month British Airways became the latest to say it was retiring all of its 747 jets - about 10% of its fleet - citing the fall in passenger demand. Australian airline Qantas has also retired the jet, which marked its 50th anniversary last year.
"The reality is the pandemic's impact on the aviation sector continues to be severe," said Boeing boss Dave Calhoun.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 18:20

US attorney general to be tested for virus

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US Attorney General William Barr will be tested for coronavirus after he came into close contact with a member of Congress who later tested positive.
Barr met the Texan Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert when he was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
It's believed that Gohmert subsequently tested positive for the virus ahead of a flight back to Texas with President Donald Trump.
As we reported earlier, the US has seen another sharp rise in the number of coronavirus deaths.
Florida suffered a record number of fatalities for a second successive day and the US reported what's believed to be the fastest increase in deaths since the start of June.
The rise in infections has forced states to reverse reopening their economies and easing restrictions.

Transport secretary back from Spain holiday

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Among those who will now have to quarantine for 14 days after returning from Spain is Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
He spoke to reporters on his return home to the UK today and said that the blanket rule on Spain had been the right thing to do - but that he understood the frustration some might be feeling.
"I very much understand. It obviously had an impact on me and my family and I am very, very sorry and upset for the thousands of Brits who were either away, or perhaps haven’t even managed to go away this summer, as well to Spain," he said.
"But it is absolutely essential we acted when we did and that is why all four nations of the UK acted together and the figures have turned out to justify that action."
Mr Shapps said he could not discount quarantines being introduced on arrivals from other countries, adding that the Spanish islands had been included because Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty was very concerned by the figures.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 18:26

Infectious coronaviruses 'circulating in bats for decades'

Helen Briggs - BBC Environment correspondent
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Bats may harbour viruses, but should not be persecuted, say experts

Coronaviruses capable of infecting humans may have been circulating undetected in bats for decades.
Research suggests one of the closest known ancestors of the virus that causes Covid-19 emerged in bats between 40 and 70 years ago.
It has been poised for human crossover for some time, the scientists said.
And this casts further doubt on conspiracy theories that the virus causing Covid-19 was bioengineered or escaped from a laboratory, they added.
Prof David Robertson, of the University of Glasgow, worked on the study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
You can read more here.

Are more young people getting infected?

Reality Check
Dr Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Europe, was on the BBC’s Today programme this morning talking about some of the recent spikes in coronavirus cases.
“What's a bit different now, although still without final scientific evidence, is that we are receiving reports from civil and health authorities of a higher proportion of new infections among young people,” he said.
We asked the WHO for more details. It said it didn’t want to single out countries but pointed to these examples.
In Sweden, where there was a sharp increase in cases for those under the age of 49 in mid-June. Since then those cases have declined, but the 20 to 29 age group currently has more cases per 100,000 people than any other age group in the country.
In Ireland, as of 28 July, nearly 60% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases have occurred in people under 45.
In Israel , the recent increase in cases has been linked to outbreaks in schools. In the latest figures, about a fifth of cases occurred in people aged 10 to 19 and a fifth in the 20 to 29 group.

Cases rising in the UK

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
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The most recent seven-day average for cases in the UK is 726.
This is up by just under 25% since 15 July.
It is still too soon to know for sure whether this is due to more and better testing - or the early stages of a resurgence of the virus.
The ONS survey suggests that infections in homes in England are steady - no signal for rising or falling numbers.
Test and trace stats up until 15 July showed that testing was going up faster than case numbers, suggesting some of the rise could be due to testing.
And levels of infection are far below their peak.
But patterns across Europe show the possibilities for the virus to increase.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 18:31

'Mum died while we were at dad's funeral'

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John and Mary Boxer should have been celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary in the past week, their family had planned a big party. Instead they both died with Covid-19 within days of each other.
Daughter Elaine said the couple had been friends since childhood, growing up in the same part of Sunderland and they were married on 23 July 1960.
John fell ill on 10 April and was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, where Mary had worked as a dinner nanny.
Staff found nothing wrong and sent him home but two days later on Easter Sunday he returned and was tested for Covid-19. Seven days after he had fallen ill he died on 17 April.
Mary, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, found it hard to process what had happened.
"She stopped eating", Elaine said, but the family put that down to grief. A few days before her husband's funeral she was taken to hospital with a temperature, before testing positive for coronavirus.
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The family left John's funeral on 2 May only to find out that Mary had died.
They are planning to hold a joint memorial for the couple later in the year, when social distancing rules allow for it.
Elaine said: "We need some closure. The small comfort we have is that they are together again - they were always together."
Read the full story here.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 20:11

Travel bosses demand an end to blanket quarantine

Leading travel and airline industry figures have urged the UK prime minister to replace blanket quarantine measures with regional travel corridors.
In a letter to Boris Johnson , they said the 14-day quarantine for people returning from Spain had caused disruption.
It was "the latest significant blow to a sector which now risks being permanently scarred", they added.
They called for quarantine-free travel to areas unaffected by any spike in coronavirus cases. This would include not just Spain, but other key markets for trade and tourism, such as the US and Canada.
But as we told you a bit earlier, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said it was "essential" to introduce a quarantine to the entirety of Spain, while Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden previously said coronavirus testing at airports would not be a "silver bullet".

Shapps 'sorry' for lost Spanish holidays

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said he is "desperately sorry" to those who have lost holidays in Spain after the government announced new quarantine measures.
Speaking shortly after he arrived back from a Spanish holiday of his own, he said that he would have to go into quarantine for two weeks.
The government announced on 25 July that the measures would take effect for those coming back to the UK from anywhere in the European country.

'Hundreds' turn up for tests after pub outbreak

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"Hundreds" of people have turned up to a town's walk-in Covid-19 test centre after pub-goers were urged to get checked following confirmation of 10 cases.
Health chiefs asked people who had been working or drinking at the Crown & Anchor in Stone, Staffordshire , on 16, 17 and 18 July to get tested after an outbreak was linked to the premises.
Staffordshire County Council said one individual from the pub who has tested positive attended a private social gathering - further spreading the virus.
A post on the pub's Facebook page said it had temporarily closed and it is planning to review its risk assessment ahead of reopening at the weekend.
One resident described "hundreds of people" going to the centre this morning.
Dr Richard Harling, the county council's director for public health, said: "We also want people who have been in close contact with anyone drinking in the pub on that weekend to get themselves tested, as well as people who were out and about in the town and are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms - namely a high temperature, new persistent cough or loss of taste and smell.
"It is also crucial that people self-isolate if they are told to do so."

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th July

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jul 29 2020, 21:16

A round-up of the day's global headlines

Thank you for following our coverage of the pandemic, brought to you by our team of reporters in London and around the world. We're going to be pausing our coverage shortly.
Here are some of the biggest global developments of the day:

  • Europe's regional director for the World Health Organization said increasing infections among young people could be driving recent spikes in cases. Dr Hans Kluge told the BBC that authorities needed to communicate better with young people
  • Meanwhile, the top infectious disease expert in the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, told the BBC that the recent surge in cases can be attributed to some states not following expert advice. He also told the BBC that US President Donald Trump's tweets about face masks were "not helpful" (see video above)
  • Hong Kong's hospital system could face "collapse" as it grapples with a sharp rise in cases, the city's leader Carrie Lam warned. She urged residents to stay indoors, saying the city was "on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak"
  • The annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia began with drastically reduced numbers. More than two million pilgrims normally take part in the Hajj but this year only about 10,000 Saudi residents will perform the five-day ritual
  • There have been nearly 16.7 million confirmed cases of the virus globally, and around 660,000 deaths

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UK round-up: Here's what has happened today

Here is what has happened across the UK today.
We are about to pause our live coverage until Thursday morning - thanks for joining us.

And that's all from us for today

Thank you for joining us throughout the day, from wherever you are in the world.

Today's live page has been edited by Hugo Bachega and Lauren Turner, and written by Krutika Pathi, Toby Luckhurst, Vanessa Buschschluter, David Walker, Gareth Evans, Joseph Lee, Becky Morton and Doug Faulkner.

Please join us again tomorrow and enjoy the rest of your day.

    Current date/time is Sun Oct 25 2020, 08:04