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Coronavirus - 3rd August

Kitkat
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covidaug Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 07:26

Summary for Monday, 3rd August

  • Infections in the Australian state of Victoria are surging, with hundreds of new cases reported daily
  • The number of virus deaths in Iran is nearly triple what the government says, leaked data shows
  • New tests for Covid-19 and flu that can give results in 90 minutes are to be rolled out in the UK next week
  • Manchester, in northern England, declares a major incident after a rise in the infection rate
  • The US is said to be entering a "new phase", with rural and urban areas both affected
  • Diners at UK restaurants to get 50% off meals as "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme launches
  • Globally, more than 18 million infections and 689,000 deaths have been recorded - Johns Hopkins University


Good morning to our audience in the UK who are just waking up. Throughout the day we’ll be bringing you the latest coronavirus news from here and around the world.
The top story in the UK this morning is on a new type of coronavirus test that is being rolled out in care homes and labs from next week.
The “on-the-spot” 90-minute swab tests, which will test if someone currently has the virus, will also be able to differentiate between Covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses like flu, the government said.
The idea is that it will be beneficial over the winter, when flu cases could rise as well as the virus.
Currently, the majority of test results are returned within 24 hours, but a quarter can take up to two days. Read more here.
Also this morning:

What's the latest from around the world today?

Here are the top global stories this morning:

  • Health officials have arrived in Hong Kong from mainland China to carry out Covid-19 testing . The city is seeing a spike in cases
  • The number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is nearly triple what its government claims, a BBC Persian service investigation has found
  • Australia’s Victoria state has recorded 429 cases and 13 deaths over the past 24 hours. The state’s premier has just announced that non-essential services will shut in Melbourne for six weeks
  • One of President Trump’s top medical advisers has warned that the US is entering a new phase in its fight against the pandemic. Deborah Birx said the disease was “extraordinarily widespread” across the country and was now affecting rural areas
  • Poland’s Health Minister says checks in shops will start this week to see if people are following virus regulations
  • More than 27 million people in the Philippines will go back into lockdown on Tuesday after infections surpassed 100,000 on Monday

Singapore to monitor quarantine with tracker

Starting on Thursday next week, Singapore will use an electronic tracker to monitor the 14 days of quarantine for anyone allowed to spend the time at home rather than in a state-run facility.
So far, the quarantine has only been monitored with spot checks and phone calls. From 11 August, people will have to wear an electronic tracking device that will record their GPS location.
And given that it’s Singapore, enforcement will likely be strict and unforgiving. Tampering with the device or flouting quarantine will lead to high fines and up to six months in prison.

**READY** New measures in Melbourne announced

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Shops in Melbourne are set to close under stage four coronavirus measures

Retail will close in Melbourne under measures announced by Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews.
Under stage four restrictions, a number of industries including retail will close for at least six weeks from 23:59 (13:59 GMT) on Wednesday.
Other industries such as construction and manufacturing will have to reduce their operations and staffing levels.
Mr Andrews said the measures would affect 250,000 workers.
Supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will remain open.
Under the current regulations in Melbourne, only one person per household can go to the supermarket. It has to be a shop within 5km (3 miles) of your house and you're only allowed to leave your house for an hour.
Mr Andrews called on people to only buy the food they need and not “six weeks of groceries”.
“Today is a tough day and there are many more of those to come,” he said.
A curfew is already in place in the city from 20:00 to 05:00. Mr Andrews warned that the penalty for those not complying with the rules would increase. That measure is set to be announced on Tuesday.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 07:52

Major incident declared in area in northern England

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Out of the top 20 worst affected council areas in England, Greater Manchester boroughs make up more than a third of the list

On Sunday, authorities in Greater Manchester in the north of England declared a major incident following recent rises in virus infection rates.
Greater Manchester is one of the areas in the UK which is facing new lockdown measures. Along with east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, people are banned from visiting another household at home.
Police in Greater Manchester said the decision to declare a major incident meant agencies would be able to respond "as effectively as possible" and extra resources could be used.
The city council has said people "should not be alarmed" by the news.
It said it was "standard practice" and meant authorities could "ramp up" the work to tackle the virus.
There's more on this story here.

Philippines steps up lockdown again

The Philippines is bringing back strict quarantine measures in and around the capital Manila, to tackle a recent rise in virus cases.
The decision by President Rodrigo Duterte follows warnings from doctors and nurses the country was losing the fight against the disease and risking the collapse of its health system.
The measures are likely to include the shutdown of some businesses and public transport. They'll start on Tuesday and are to last two for weeks.
The government says it also wants to hire about 10,000 new health workers. Coronavirus infections have been rising in the Philippines despite one of the world's strictest and longest lockdowns, which began to ease in June.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 07:56

'We could have to go backwards' over lockdown - Scottish health official

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Prof Leitch said there was "no risk-free route" out of lockdown

Each of the four nations of the UK is responsible for its own lockdown restrictions and the rate at which they're eased.
In Scotland, the government is gradually relaxing measures - with children due to return to school for the new term full-time later this month.
But on Sunday, a cluster of 13 cases was linked to a pub in Aberdeen. It's being investigated by public health officials and contact tracing has begun.
Figures from the Scottish government on Sunday showed 31 new cases of coronavirus overall in Scotland in a 24-hour period. That is the highest daily tally for more than eight weeks.
Scotland's national clinical director has now warned there has to be a "reverse gear" over easing lockdown.
"I am worried about indoor hospitality. I have been since before and when we made that change," said Prof Jason Leitch.
"I don't think we should overreact, but equally, of course, we should pay attention to outbreaks in call centres, pharmacies and pubs.
"There could come a time when we have to go backwards, no question, if we began to see clusters developing or community transmission at a higher level around the country."
There's more here.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 07:58

HSBC's profits slump 65% amid coronavirus downturn

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HSBC has seen a larger-than-expected drop in its earnings as it copes with the coronavirus downturn.
The UK's biggest bank posted pre-tax profits of $4.3bn (£3.3bn), compared to $12.4bn for the same period last year.
The fall was much larger than analysts had forecast as HSBC was hit by loans turning bad and interest rates remaining low.
While HSBC is headquartered in London, more than half of its profits come from Hong Kong.
The bank is dealing with a number of challenges at the moment. It's not just the financial downturn caused by the coronavirus, but the bank is also embroiled in a political battle over its support for China's national security law in Hong Kong.
Read the full story here.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 08:11

AN IRISH pub has taken the surprising step of banning Neil Diamond’s classic sing-along hit ‘Sweet Caroline’ from the venue during the pandemic.
Jack Beresford - Irish Post
Murphy's Irish Bar in Corralejo, Spain, seemingly took the unusual decision as part of a wider effort to help stop the spread of coronavirus across the region.
Last month, the World Health Organization announced there was evidence Covid-19 might be being spread by tiny particles of moisture capable of hanging in the air in enclosed or unventilated spaces.
Most people expel these droplets through sneezing, coughing, talking and breathing and would need to be infected and in close proximity to someone else for this to be of harm.
There is a school of thought that says that singing not only also expels droplets and aerosols from the mouth and nose, but also expels a greater quantity of droplets, due to the volume of the human voice tending to be louder when singing.

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While karaoke isn’t prohibited, venues are required to take steps to ensure singers are at least three metres from any watching patrons while performing.
Sweet Caroline represents a slightly different problem though.
First released in 1969 by Neil Diamond and said to have been inspired by the daughter of US President John F. Kennedy, the song is a favourite of pub sing-alongs, karaoke or otherwise.
Pub goers in both the UK and Ireland have proven rather partial to Diamond’s dulcet tones on the familiar radio favourite.
Play it late into the night at any venue in either country and you are likely to get a vocal response from the intoxicated customers present.

Coronavirus - 3rd August Screen12

All of which goes some way to explaining the ban.
Ireland also has some previous history with this particular track.
In the early stages of the pandemic, a video surfaced on social media of a large crowd of people ignoring social distancing and other safety measures to gather together in a Dublin pub for a rousing rendition of the Diamond ditty.
It was widely condemned and prompted the government into action, with pubs across the country subsequently closed.
With lyrics like “touching you, touching me” it’s probably best the song doesn’t get an airing in the bold era of the “new normal” either.



Of course, the board warning of the song’s ban should be taken with a healthy dollop of salt. 
The Irish are known for their sense of humour, after all.
Still, other pubs could soon follow suit with other songs potentially banned too. 
Don McLean’s American Pie? Billy Joel’s Piano Man? Just leave The Pogues and Van Morrison alone.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 08:20

Germany enforces mandatory testing on arrivals from high-risk areas

Germany will conduct mandatory tests of travellers returning from areas with a high risk of Covid-19, according to the health ministry.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said: “We have first drafts. We want to co-ordinate this well with the states because they need to implement it at airports and train stations.”
Germany has been less badly affected by the pandemic than some European countries, but cases are rising.
On Monday, the number of confirmed cases in Germany rose by 509 to 210,402. The death toll rose by seven to 9,148, according to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease and control prevention agency.

Virus spreads through people 'mixing in their homes'

Parts of northern England - including Greater Manchester - are facing new lockdown restrictions, banning members of two different households visiting each other at home, in their gardens, or going out to restaurants together.
People can still go to pubs and restaurants - but only with people who they live with. They can't socialise with anyone else in any indoor public venue.
Business minister Nadhim Zahawi was challenged about the rules on BBC Breakfast. He's been asked why can people can go out and eat at a restaurant, while facing the other restrictions.
"The way we respond is we look at the data coming back," said Mr Zahawi.
"The data suggests that the virus is most prevalent in its spread through people coming into contact indoors in their homes with other people and so we respond to that.
"That doesn't mean that restaurants in Manchester, outdoor spaces, can't continue to serve if people follow the guidelines and act responsibly."
He said the decision to declare a major incident in Manchester was a "standard way" of allowing police and other agencies to get the support they needed.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:05

Iran deaths cover-up revealed

The number of coronavirus deaths in Iran is three times what the government claims, a BBC Persian service investigation has found.
The government’s own records appear to show almost 42,000 people died from Covid-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry.
Similarly, the number of infections is double official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827.
The data was sent to the BBC by an anonymous source.
There have been irregularities in data between national and regional levels. Some , local authorities have spoken out and statisticians have tried to give alternative estimates.
Read more about BBC Persian’s findings here

The hidden heroes of India’s Covid-19 wards

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Hospital assistants - or ward boys, as they are known - play a crucial role in India

When Vikas Pandey’s brother-in-law became sick with the virus, it was the hospital’s ward assistant who helped comfort his family.
With cases rising, India's ward assistants or ward boys have become messengers for family members desperate to know how their relatives are doing.
Hundreds of ward boys have been infected with the virus. Some have even died. But their contribution in the fight against coronavirus is rarely mentioned.
Read more here
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:09

How has easing lockdown changed the UK?

Restrictions on daily life in many parts of the UK have been eased in recent weeks.
People can go back to work, and many pubs, shops and restaurants have reopened. But, overall, how has the easing of lockdown affected the UK?
Well, one thing is the number of coronavirus-related fines. The number of fines handed out has fallen significantly, as restrictions have started to ease.
Meanwhile, air pollution - which initially dropped compared to last year - was at times as high or higher than the equivalent day last year.
And while more people are returning to the workplace, these trips are still well below February levels.
Read the eight ways that the easing of lockdown has impacted the UK.

Vietnam races to contain spread

The health ministry in Vietnam now says there have been three more deaths linked to Covid-19 there, bringing the total number to six. The deaths, all of which have been recorded in just the past three days, are the first in Vietnam since the pandemic began.
Health authorities are also warning that the strain of the virus detected in the new outbreak around the city of Da Nang is a more contagious one than the first wave.
Vietnam has recorded only about 600 confirmed cases - a very low figure for a country bordering China.

Treat public as adults, says leading UK scientist

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Sir Paul shared a Nobel Prize for his work on the genes controlling the division of cancer cells

Nobel Prize-winning geneticist and cell biologist Sir Paul Nurse, who is director of the Francis Crick Institute research centre, has criticised the UK government's communication with the public.
Speaking to the BBC, he said the public should be treated like adults - with more transparency.
"I think we need greater openness in the decision-making. It sometimes seems somewhat shrouded in secrecy," he said.
"And not only that, but better communication of what's happening. Treat the public as adults.
"I'll give one example. At the height of the infection I was at a select committee in April and a public health person, I think it was - they may have been from the Department for Health and Social Care - was saying all the testing needed for the NHS was in place.
"Yet we showed at the Francis Crick, at that time, 45% of front-line healthcare staff were infected and they were not being tested because capacity was inadequate.
"Now, that isn't a way to earn trust from the public. We need openness, transparency, scrutiny, and a leadership of people taking responsibility for the decision-making, and we need it now."
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:12

Pubs reopen indoors and children can play together again in Wales

The lockdown is being eased further in parts of the UK today. Each of the nations is responsible for its own lockdown rules.
It's a big day in Wales, where pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors, and groups of up to 30 people can now meet outdoors.
Many young children will be able to play with their friends again, as children under 11 will no longer have to social distance.
Bingo halls and bowling alleys will also reopen on Monday. More from Wales here.
Meanwhile in Scotland, routine eye care, breast cancer screening and counselling support groups are among the services getting back up and running.
Rules will also be relaxed on outdoor sports coaching. More from Scotland here.

New Zealand preparing airport for travel bubble

Auckland International Airport in New Zealand is to be separated into two zones in preparation for a potential air corridor between the country and the Cook islands.
Zone A would be for countries that have a “bubble arrangement” with New Zealand and for people who have been in New Zealand for more than two weeks.
This zone would have restaurants,
Zone B would be for travellers from countries without a safe travel arrangement and for those who would have to go into quarantine, along with others transiting through the airport.
People in this zone would be completely closed off from the rest of the airport, according to Radio New Zealand .
The Aviation Council said plans were under way for similar moves at Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports.

Chinese help for Hong Kong’s new wave

The first members of a larger team of medical experts from mainland China have arrived in Hong Kong to help with the new wave of infections there.
The territory is in the midst of a serious surge in cases after it initially managed to keep the virus at bay. For almost two weeks, daily cases have been above 100, fuelling fears that containment and contact tracing are not working well.
On Monday, two more deaths were linked to Covid-19, taking the overall toll to 37. Authorities confirmed 80 new cases.
Local media are reporting there are now plans to test the entire population (about 7.5m people).
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:16

Why are masks with valves being banned in some areas?

A number of locations around the world are advising against the use of masks with valves in them.
In Australia’s state of Victoria, the chief health officer has warned people not to wear the masks with valves as they can still breathe out the virus.
Professor Brett Sutton said on Twitter that the valve allows the wearer to breathe out more easily and stops moisture build-up.
“But the problem is that it allows you to breathe out the virus if you’re infected. So although it might protect you, it won’t properly protect others if you are infected”.
According to Fast Company, the early masks were designed to be worn in factories and coal mines. These industrial masks had valves which kept the wearer comfortable during a long shift while also blocking harmful dust . These masks were then sold in hardware stores for people doing home improvement.

City under UK's first local lockdown begins to ease restrictions

It's a big day in Leicester in England. Restaurants, pubs and haidressers in the city - which saw the UK's first local lockdown - are allowed to open for the first time since March.
Businesses have spoken of their relief at finally being able to resume trading.
"Four-and-a-half months we have been shut. It is quite demoralising," said restaurant owner Dharmesh Lakhani.
"We are already one month behind the rest of the country. That was the toughest part. It made us feel inadequate."
Although he said he believed it would be a "slow start", Dharmesh said he was "really, really excited to finally get a chance to open the business and get into some sort of routine and normality".
Leicester was told it had to remain shut under a local lockdown at the end of June, as businesses elsewhere in England prepared to open.
Read more from Leicester here.

Ibiza nightclubs 'have to be responsible'

This pandemic has hit the Spanish island of Ibiza hard, with much of its clubbing industry forced to close down.
And the UK's 14-day quarantine requirement for people returning from Spain has struck a further blow to tourism.
Nightclub owners in Ibiza have now resigned themselves to a lost summer season.
"I have to be responsible," Yann Pissenem, the co-owner of Hi Ibiza, one of the largest clubs on the island, told the AFP news agency.
If clubs opened, they would risk "creating clusters everywhere" which would "destroy the rest" of the island's economy, he said.
José Luis Benítez, the head of the Ibiza Leisure Association which represents the nightlife sector, believes social distancing and nightclubs are incompatible.
"When we shout, saliva can go as far as two metres," he says. "Who can keep distances inside a nightclub?"
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:21

Zimbabwe facing shortage of healthcare workers

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Zimbabwe has recorded almost 4,000 cases but doctors say that figure is much higher

Doctors in Zimbabwe say the country is facing a crisis from a shortage of healthcare workers as the number of coronavirus cases begin to rise.
Dr Rashida Ferrand, an epidemiologist at the main public hospital in the capital Harare, told the BBC that there are too few doctors and nurses because of a health workers’ strike, which began before the pandemic, and a shortage of protective equipment.
The hospital says it has had to turn away Covid-19 patients because it can only staff 30 beds for virus patients.
Zimbabwe has recorded almost 4,000 cases and 70 people have died. However, doctors say the figures are much higher.
Last week Zimbabwe's Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri died from the virus.

School's out in Bolivia, and other Latin American news

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Venezuelans migrants are returning in their thousands as many can't make a living abroad during lockdowns.

Five Latin American countries are now among the 10 most affected in the world, and cases are moving towards the five million mark in the region as a whole.

  • The past two days have seen a steep rise in cases in Colombia. It registered a new record daily high on Saturday with 10,673 new cases, only to surpass that figure on Sunday with 11,470 new cases in 24 hours.
  • Bolivia has declared the school year finished more than four months early. The cabinet chief said that rural areas just did not have enough access to the internet to make online studies feasible. All pupils will automatically pass to the higher year when classes resume. Teachers will continue to get paid, the government said. Bolivia has more than 80,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,100 Covid-related deaths.
  • More than 72,500 people who fled Venezuela's economic and political crisis have returned to their home country via its land borders since the pandemic started, according to UN figures. Many Venezuelan migrants rely on informal jobs which were heavily hit by strict lockdowns imposed in many countries in the region. Those returning face a mandatory quarantine in camps where conditions have been described as overcrowded and squalid.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:25

Cruise ships hit by Covid-19 again

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Another cruise ship, the Roald Amundsen, was hit by an outbreak last week

A crew member on a cruise ship in the Pacific has tested positive for Covid-19, according to local reports from French Polynesia.
The Paul Gauguin was forced to suspend its journey just weeks after resuming operations when the case was detected by the ship’s doctor.
Passengers were told to stay in their cabins as the ship turned back to Papeete on the island of Tahiti, where all on board are expected to be tested.
The cruise industry has found itself at the centre of the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of passengers were stranded at sea earlier this year as ships were hit by outbreaks of the virus.
Ahead of resuming operations, Ponant, the company that runs the Paul Gauguin, had reassured customers in a blog post that it had strict regulations in place that “go further than the international standards for the sector”.
The cruise ship was sailing between the islands of Bora Bora and Rangiroa when the case was detected.
A Norwegian cruise ship has also been struck by the virus. Four crew members tested positive on the MS Roald Amundsen last week. It had been on a journey to the Svalbard in the Arctic before it docked in Tromso, northern Norway. All 160 quarantined crew were to be tested and the 177 passengers, now disembarked, were urged to self-isolate.

Schools will be safe and ready to reopen in September, minister insists

In case you missed it, the plan to reopen schools in England made headlines at the weekend, after teaching unions called for clarity from the government.
Schools are due to open in England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland to all pupils at the start of next term. (That's in September, except in Scotland where it's later this month.)
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said reopening schools in September was an "absolute priority" for the government and it would be safe.
"We have to get children back to school in September," he told the BBC.
"We're working very closely with headteachers and the teaching unions to make sure that all the steps necessary are put in place over the summer so that the children can go back in September and it is an absolute priority for the government," he said.
Unions raised questions over the plans after England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty warned the country was "near the limit" for opening up society.
Catch up with the full story here.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:29

Ex-footballer Scholes spoken to by police

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Scholes has not commented on the report

Former England footballer Paul Scholes is in the news today, after police spoke to him over claims he flouted lockdown rules by staging a house party.
According to the Sun newspaper, a party was held at his Oldham home for his son's birthday on Friday evening, the day new rules kicked in in Greater Manchester.
The local restrictions ban social gatherings in people's homes and gardens.
Scholes, 45, who played for Manchester United, has not commented on the report.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said: "On Sunday we were made aware of allegations of an earlier breach of Covid-19 restrictions at a residential property in the Oldham area.
"In line with normal procedure and policing by consent, officers attended and engaged with an individual explaining the restrictions and encouraging them to be compliant."
Read our full story here.

How does the UK's 'eat out to help out scheme' work?

There's lots of interest this morning in our guide about how people in the UK can use the government's "eat out to help out" scheme.
Under the offer, diners can get 50% off their bill - although the discount is capped at £10 - on any Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August.
The idea is to boost the hospitality industry, which has been struggling since lockdown.
Here are some points to know about the scheme:

  • The discount is only available on food and (soft) drinks consumed on site
  • You can claim your 50% off as many times as you like during the month
  • There is no limit on how many people can use the discount in one party, and it includes children
  • Participating venues are supposed to offer the full 50% discount all day Monday to Wednesday and across the whole food and soft drink menu
  • There's no minimum spend and you don't have to order food to be eligible - for example, a £3 coffee would cost £1.50 under the scheme.

For more information, check out our guide here.
To search for your local restaurants taking part, click here.
Or for a list of the chains taking part, that's here.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:32

WHO warns there might not be a 'silver bullet'

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that there is a possibility that a “silver bullet” answer to defeating the virus might never happen.
Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference: “There is no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be”.
It comes just days after the WHO warned that the pandemic was likely to be “lengthy”.
A number of trials are taking place around the world to help try and find a vaccine to fight the virus.
Last month, an Oxford University announced that its vaccine appeared safe and triggered an immune response . More than 10,000 people will take part in the next stage of the trial.

Berlin protest branded 'unacceptable'

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Marchers said that compulsory masks "violated their rights"

The German government has branded as "unacceptable" a protest against coronavirus measures in Berlin this weekend.
Thousands of people took part in the "day of freedom" protest, with demonstrators saying that wearing face coverings violated their rights and freedoms.
Ulrike Demmer, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman, said demonstrators who did not wear face coverings or keep to social distancing guidelines “exploited their right to demonstrate”.
The BBC's Damien McGuinness said some participants were from the far right and some were conspiracy theorists who do not believe Covid-19 exists, but others were ordinary people who simply object to the government's approach to the pandemic.
Police broke up the protest, saying organisers had not respected coronavirus hygiene regulations. Some 45 officers were injured.
Police made 133 arrests, according to AFP news agency.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said: “Yes, demonstrations should also be possible in times of coronavirus, but not like this.
“Distance, hygiene rules and masks serve to protect us all, so we treat each other with respect.”
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:36

New 90-minute tests could be expanded into schools - health secretary

One of the top stories in the UK this morning is on a new test for coronavirus that can return results within 90 minutes.
The swab tests, which are used to check if someone currently has the virus, can also detect flu. The tests will be rolled out from next week in care homes and labs.
At the moment, the majority of test results come back within 24 hours but a quarter take up to two days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been speaking about the tests, calling them a "big step forward".
He said a widening of testing would be achievable, and the aim was to look "across the community" and test people who might have coronavirus - but don't show any symptoms.
Mr Hancock also said that newspaper reports that the government plans to extend shielding to the over-50s this winter are "inaccurate and speculation".

Images of gatherings in bars 'made me want to cry' - Sturgeon

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that images of people meeting in bars and restaurants with little or no physical distancing "made her want to cry".
Ms Sturgeon was speaking after pictures emerged of Aberdeen city centre over the weekend, where 13 coronavirus cases were linked to the Hawthorn Bar .
She urged people to think carefully about how often they needed to go to a pub or restaurant, and said that the outbreak was "exactly what we feared" when the decision was taken to reopen the hospitality industry.
The first minister also highlighted that updated guidance has been published for essential call centres, following an outbreak at the Sitel call centre near Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, which was contact tracing for NHS England.
And she encouraged parents and carers to apply for the School Age Payment, a benefit from the Scottish government which offers £250 to cover school costs of children starting primary school. Schools in Scotland are due to go back full-time from next Monday.
There have been 18 more positive coronavirus cases in Scotland, and no further deaths, meaning the total remains at 2,491.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:38

Nice introduces outdoor mask policy

The southern French city of Nice has introduced an outdoor mask policy.
People will have to wear masks in many major areas of the city including the Promenade des Anglais, Mayor Christian Estrosi said.
It comes as a number of major French cities and regions make the wearing of masks outdoors compulsory. In the Mayenne region, it is compulsory for all people over the age of 11 to wear masks outdoors.
In Lille, authorities announced last week that masks would be compulsory in all pedestrianised areas of the town including parks and gardens.
Brittany has made masks compulsory in outdoor markets, including in the city of Brest. Popular tourist destination Saint-Malo has made face coverings compulsory in the old town area due to an increase in visitors.
Authorities in the country say the number of daily confirmed cases has jumped on the mainland in recent weeks.

Entries open for Virtual Great North Run

Coronavirus - 3rd August E30db110

Entries are open for the very first Virtual Great North Run, which will see runners complete the half marathon anywhere in the world via an app.
It's also the 40th anniversary of the event, which spans 13.1 miles (21km) between Newcastle and South Shields.
A record 60,000 people were due to take part on 13 September but it was cancelled due to coronavirus.
Organisers have stressed that runners in the free virtual event must follow government social distancing rules.
The app will highlight popular course features, use sounds from past events, motivational messages and provide distance updates.
However, the actual route of popular event is out of bounds, as it is held on closed roads which are not accessible to pedestrians at other times of the year.
Read more here.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 13:40

DW Sports chain collapse threatens 1,700 jobs

Another coronavirus business casualty: DW Sports, a gym and sports retailer, says it is going into administration, putting 1,700 jobs at risk.
Chief Executive Martin Long said the decision came after the company was forced to close down its retail store portfolio and gym chain.
DW Sports was founded by former Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan and operated 73 gyms and 75 stores across the UK.
All of its stores are to close, but DW said it would work with administrators to save as many gyms as possible.
Fitness First and its 43 gyms, which are part of the same group of companies, will not be affected, the firm said.

Schools in Mexico will not reopen at start of academic year

Schools in Mexico will not reopen at the start of the academic year on 24 August as the number of cases are too high, the country’s education minister has said.
Esteban Moctezuma said the decision was made to safeguard the health of students and teachers.
In response, the government has made a deal with major television networks to broadcast a nation-wide home schooling scheme.
More than 47,000 people have died in Mexico and more than 439,000 cases have been confirmed.
“The pandemic represents one of the greatest challenges of our time,” Mr Moctezuma said.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 15:58

Sewage tested for coronavirus in England

Coronavirus - 3rd August 1b510f10
Other countries, including Spain, have started monitoring their wastewater but there have been some early problems

We've heard a lot about coronavirus tests in the UK this morning - but mainly about the swab tests from the nose and mouth. But there's a lesser-known testing plan you may not have heard about.
Across England, testing is beginning on sewage, to survey the spread of the virus through wastewater.
Scientists discovered early in the pandemic that infected people "shed" the virus in their faeces.
Further research concluded wastewater sampling could provide an early warning of a coronavirus outbreak - up to a week earlier than medical testing.
The government says testing has now begun at 44 wastewater treatment sites.
There's more on this story here.

London mayor writes to PM after 'surprise' at reports of M25 seal off plan

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Mr Khan criticised the government for "excluding local leaders"

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has written to the UK prime minister following a newspaper report over the weekend that the government could be planning to use the M25 to seal off London if there's a rise in cases.
The Times reported that Boris Johnson signed off measures which could be put in place in a worst case scenario. Among them, people would reportedly face a ban on travelling beyond the M25.
Mr Khan, in a letter to the government from him and the chair of London Councils, said he read the report with "great surprise".
"According to media reports, the plans included using the M25 as a quarantine ring - effectively sealing off the city.
"Our surprise is that such far-reaching contingency plans have been discussed and tested without the involvement or awareness of London's government.
"This is clearly totally unacceptable and an affront to London and Londoners."
Downing Street said its strategy for preventing the spread of coronavirus set out its ability to impose local travel restrictions.
"One of the steps within that potentially includes closing down local transport networks," said the PM's official spokesman said.
"It's there, it's contained in the document, it's not a new thing - we have informed the public and politicians of that being a potential action that we could take. But, to be clear, it's not something that is specific to London or anywhere else."
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 16:04

PM tells France 'not to let down guard'

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has called on the country “not to let down its guard” in the fight against coronavirus if it is to avoid a new national lockdown.
"The virus has not gone on holiday and neither have we," he said, as he urged everyone to “remain very vigilant.”
“The fight against the virus depends of course on the state, local communities, institutions, but also on each of us,” he added.
His comments came amid a spike in cases in recent weeks, prompting some areas to reintroduce local restrictions.
The prime minister was speaking in the northern city of Lille, where masks are compulsory in many pedestrian areas.
As we mentioned earlier, several French cities and regions have now made it compulsory to wear masks outdoors.
France has recorded more than 225,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 30,000 deaths, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

At least 40 crew and passengers on cruise ship test positive

Coronavirus - 3rd August 26586810
The MS Roald Amundsen is owned by the Norwegian firm Hurtigruten

At least 40 passengers and crew on a cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19.
Hundreds more passengers on the MS Roald Amundsen are in quarantine and awaiting test results, Norwegian firm Hurtigruten said.
The ship had been on a week-long voyage to Svalbard in the Arctic and was also reportedly scheduled to visit ports in England and Scotland in September.
Hurtigruten has now halted all leisure cruises because of the outbreak.
It comes as a crew member on a cruise ship in the Pacific tested positive for the virus on Sunday. The Paul Gaugin was forced to suspend its journey after the case was detected by the ship’s doctor.
Read more here
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 16:08

Ryanair refused to stop Cardiff flights to Europe, emails reveal

Coronavirus - 3rd August 9d1f7211
The emails were sent three days before the flights were scheduled to depart

For a while during lockdown, the Welsh Government had a rule in place called "stay local" - asking people to stay within five miles of home.
But despite this, Ryanair still ran some flights out of Cardiff Airport to European destinations Malaga and Faro.
Now, emails between the Welsh government - which owns Cardiff Airport - and the budget airline have been released. They show that Ryanair told ministers that if they wanted to stop the flights, they would have to shut the airport.
The emails - released thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request - show that the Welsh government asked the airline to cancel the flights on 3 July because it would flout the "stay local" travel law. The rule was lifted on 6 July.
But Ryanair refused. In a response, the airline's chief executive said: "Our flights from Malaga and Faro to Cardiff on Fri 3 July will operate, unless the Welsh Government closes Cardiff Airport to international flights.
"There are a considerable number of Welsh citizens who are already booked to travel home from Malaga and Faro, as well as a small number of Spanish and Portuguese citizens who are travelling on the outbound flights."
You can read the full story here.

Five more people die with coronavirus in England

As well as the UK's official figures of the number of people who have died with the virus - which have not yet been released today - the nations also record their own figures.
According to NHS England on Monday, a further five people have died in hospital in England after testing positive for Covid-19.
The patients were aged between 66 and 95 years old, and all had known underlying health conditions. One other death was reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgen said there have been no new deaths from the disease in Scotland for the 18th day in a row.
The figures from the UK government have not been released yet, but as of Sunday 46,201 people had died.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 16:14

Tour de France postpones Copenhagen departure

The Tour de France’s departure in Copenhagen has been pushed back a year to 2022.
The Grand Départ was scheduled for 2021 but has been moved to avoid a clash with Euro 2020 games which are being held in the city next year.
Euro 2020 was rescheduled to next year due to coronavirus.
Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen said: “Many of us have been looking forward to getting the Tour de France to Denmark next year, and now we unfortunately have to wait a little longer.
“On the other hand, Danes can look forward to an even bigger bang of a yellow folk festival in 2022, when the Tour start will not be squeezed by the European Championships and the Olympics and we have hopefully got the coronavirus at a greater distance”.
There were due to be three stages in Copenhagen – a 13km (8 mile) time trial and two road stages.

'Patients dying in hospital car park' in Zimbabwe

Coronavirus - 3rd August 429ab510
Health workers in the country have been striking since before the pandemic began

As we mentioned earlier, Zimbabwe is struggling with a shortage of healthcare workers.
A number of medical staff have been on strike over their pay since before the pandemic began.
The shortage comes as the number of Covid-19 infections in the country begins to rise. Zimbabwe has nearly 4,000 confirmed cases and 70 recorded deaths. However doctors say the number is much higher.
Dr Rashida Ferrand, an epidemiologist at a public hospital in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare told the BBC’s Newsday programme: “Whilst we have the capacity, we’re currently relying on two volunteer doctors and a small group of nurses per shift.”
She said that they can only take a maximum of 30 patients due to staff shortages.
“We’ve had patients dying in the car park and unfortunately as soon as [we reach] the limit of 30 beds which I can cope with, given the staff I have, I have to say ‘no’ [to their admission] and that is a very gut wrenchingly difficult decision we’ve had to make over the last couple of weeks.”
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 16:19

SA president says profiting from pandemic 'like hyenas circling wounded prey'

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has issued a strong warning to people engaging in corruption during the pandemic.
The president said the country was "witnessing theft by individuals and companies with no conscience" at a time of a global health crisis.
"Corruption during a national disaster is a particularly heinous type of crime, and perpetrators are going to be dealt with decisively and harshly," he warned.
He cited examples of companies hiking the prices of essential items and officials diverting resources meant for vulnerable people.
"Attempting to profit from a disaster that is claiming the lives of our people every day is the action of scavengers. It is like a pack of hyenas circling wounded prey," he said.
South Africa announced on Saturday that it had surpassed half a million coronavirus cases .
It is the hardest-hit country on the continent and has the fifth-highest number of cases in the world.

Canada's tracing app faces criticism over accessibility

The Canadian government's new Covid-19 tracing app is facing early criticism for download requirements, which block some Canadians from access.
The free and voluntary app requires users to have either an Apple or Android phone made in the last five years, with a relatively new operating system.
Christopher Parsons, a researcher at the Munk School of GlobalAffairs and Policy told the Canadian Press that this will make the app especially inaccessible to older Canadians and marginalised groups.
"The worst affected by [the pandemic] are black, Indigenous, people of colour, [and] people who often have a lower socio-economic bracket. Who's not going to be able to install the application? That same group," he said.
The app, which became available on Friday, is designed to track the location of phones, notifying users if they are near someone who has registered a Covid infection.

Man shoots at shop worker after being told to wear mask

A man in Pennsylvania shot at a store worker after he was told to wear a mask in the shop, police said.
Adam Zaborowski attempted to enter a cigar shop in Bethlehem Township when he was asked to wear a face covering.
After a store worker insisted that he wear a face covering, Zaborowski allegedly stole two cigars . The worker followed him outside to get back the cigars when he was allegedly shot at by Zaborowski.
The following day, Zaborowski allegedly shot at police, resulting in a shootout with at least seven officers near his home. He was injured and arrested, the Washington Post reports .
Zaborowski's attorney said that he lost his job and had recently lost custody of his child.
“He just wasn’t dealing well with the loss of his job, the loss of his child, just not handling the pandemic well.”
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 20:55

Arrests made after New York party boat cruise

The captain and owners of The Liberty Belle riverboat were arrested by New York City deputy sheriffs on Saturday for holding a crowded cruise around the city, in defiance of coronavirus social distancing rules.
The boat, which boasts four bars, three outdoor decks and space for 600 guests, was used to host a party on the weekend with more than 170 guests on board.
Owners Ronny Vargas and Alex Suazo were arrested for violating local social distancing provisions and operating an unlicensed bar and bottle club, the sheriff's office said.
In New York - once the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak - new infections have plateaued, with an average of roughly 650 cases each day over the past week.

Cruise companies hopeful for 2021 despite setbacks

Earlier we told you about the outbreak on the MS Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian cruise ship where at least 41 passengers and crew have tested positive for Covid-19.
This is the latest blow to an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic, with shares in the major global operators falling dramatically since the start of March.
While the industry has restarted in recent times, there have already been setbacks.
A crew member on a ship in the Pacific tested positive for the virus on Sunday. The Paul Gauguin was forced to suspend its journey when the case was detected by the ship's doctor, local media report.
Passengers were then told to stay in their cabins as the ship turned back to Papeete on the island of Tahiti, where all on board are being tested.
Ahead of resuming its operations, Ponant, the company that runs the Paul Gauguin, had reassured customers in a blog post that it had strict regulations in place that "go further than the international standards for the sector".
But cruise companies are expecting strong bookings for 2021. They are reporting a combination of new bookings and people using vouchers they received for cancelled cruises this year.
"We absolutely believe when we come out of this we will lean into our repeat cruisers," Christine Duffy, the president of Carnival Cruise line, told Reuters news agency. "They really are the ambassadors for the cruise industry."
Find out more about what is happening with the MS Roald Amundsen
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 21:01

'One in 10' not wearing face coverings on public transport in Britain

One in 10 people on public transport in Britain are not wearing mandatory face coverings, the UK's transport secretary has said.
Grant Shapps tweeted that the compliance rate for following rules on face coverings was 90% as he urged people to "help keep each other safe" during the coronavirus pandemic.
Passengers caught not complying risk being fined £100 and removed from services.
Face coverings on public transport became mandatory in England on 15 June in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
Scotland followed seven days later, while Northern Ireland and Wales introduced the rule on 16 and 27 July respectively.
Shapps said figures from British Transport Police - the police force for the railways in England, Scotland and Wales - and Transport for London show:

  • 285 passengers have been issued with penalty notices for non-compliance
  • 6,275 have been asked to leave the transport network
  • and 80,294 have been reminded of the rules

Face coverings can be a scarf, piece of cloth or mask. We have more about the rules here.

Falsehoods aimed at Fauci

Jack Goodman - BBC Reality Check
America's top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, has been the target of viral social media posts, falsely claiming that he is in favour of rolling out a coronavirus vaccine without "proper studies" to make sure it is safe and effective.
Widely shared on Instagram and Facebook, the post fabricates a quote saying these studies "can be performed later" after the vaccinations have been delivered to health care professionals for immediate use.
"This is completely made up," the BBC was told by his employer, the US National Institutes of Health. "Dr Fauci has never said anything like that."
Such fake news about Dr Fauci and others involved in fighting the pandemic have been shared widely on the internet.
This was just one of several misleading claims on US social media sites over the past few days that we’ve been fact-checking.
Have you seen a claim about the pandemic you’d like investigating? Get in touch.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 21:18

Turn the music down: Malta festivals cancelled due to rise in cases

Most music events have been cancelled around the world but four festivals were still going to take place in Malta this month. No longer. They have now been called off due to a rise in Covid-19 cases on the island.
Escape 2 The Island, Rhythm + Waves, BPM Festival: Malta and Mi Casa Festival have all been called off.
A statement from each festival says they are all "disappointed" not to be going ahead, after making a decision with the Maltese Tourism Authority.
Ticket holders, many who were from the UK, will receive a full refund.
Malta was hoping to be 2020's festival hotspot , with most clubs in Mallorca and Ibiza closed and festivals in the UK cancelled.
The line-ups were 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.
Read more here .

Stone 'like a ghost town' after outbreak

Trade in a town hit by a coronavirus outbreak is said to have taken a downturn over the weekend.
Some pubs had closed voluntarily following the outbreak in Stone, Staffordshire. Nineteen people there tested positive after cases were linked to the Crown and Anchor pub.
Ed Stant, secretary of traders' group Stone is Where the Heart is, said trade had been starting to pick up since lockdown but that "for the vast majority it's fallen like a stone".
He described Saturday night in the town as being "like a ghost town".
One restaurant said 17 of the 34 people who booked for a meal on Saturday evening did not show up.
Read more on the situation in Stone here .

Florida reports deadliest week since virus outbreak

US President Donald Trump has lashed out at one of his top medical advisers who warned on Sunday that the US was entering a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Deborah Birx told CNN the disease was "extraordinarily widespread" across the country and a greater threat than when the outbreak first began.
But on Twitter, Mr Trump described her interview as "pathetic".
He said Dr Birx had fallen into a trap set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has accused Mr Trump of spreading disinformation about the virus and Dr Birx of doing little to counter it.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 21:28

Trump hits out at top coronavirus adviser

BBC World Service
US President Donald Trump has lashed out at one of his top medical advisers who warned on Sunday that the US was entering a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Deborah Birx told CNN the disease was "extraordinarily widespread" across the country and a greater threat than when the outbreak first began.
But on Twitter, Mr Trump described her interview as "pathetic".
He said Dr Birx had fallen into a trap set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has accused Mr Trump of spreading disinformation about the virus and Dr Birx of doing little to counter it.
The president's outburst comes two days after he described as "wrong" an interview given by his other coronavirus expert, Dr Anthony Fauci. Dr Fauci had said the high rate of infection in the US stemmed from an inadequate response by the authorities.
Read more: Nancy Pelosi criticises Deborah Birx

Russia claims vaccine nearly ready to be registered

Radio 4 PM
Russia is pushing ahead with a coronavirus vaccine, working with manufacturers in Brazil and India to produce it in what it says is "very large amounts".
Kirill Dmitriyev, head of Russia's Direct Investment Fund, said it was expected to be registered in the next 10 days.
He said reports in the West that it may be unsafe were an example of "dishonest competition". Mass vaccine production in September is Russia's goal. They have more than one such vaccine in the pipeline.
But Dr Elisabetta Groppelli, a virologist and lecturer in global health at St George's, University of London, told BBC Radio 4's PM no data had yet been shared about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
"It's quite worrying that the claims have been made without showing data," she said.
The scientific community felt there has been an element of rushing - and the possibly of shortcuts having been taken - when it comes to a Russian vaccine, she added.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 3rd August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 03 2020, 21:32

Antibody tests suggest 1.5m Italians had virus

The results of nationwide antibody tests in Italy suggest that 1.48 million people, or 2.5% of the population, have had coronavirus.
The estimate is six times greater than the number of confirmed cases in the official virus tally.
The tests were conducted on almost 65,000 Italians as part of a campaign to see how widely the virus had spread.
The "provisional analysis" of the results was announced by health officials.
They stressed that the tests were not intended to determine whether Italians with antibodies were now safe from coronavirus.

What happened around the world today?

We're ending our live coverage here for now.
But we'll be back tomorrow with more updates on coronavirus around the world.
In the meantime here are the latest headlines:

  • The World Health Organization has warned there may never be a "silver bullet" in the fight against the pandemic
  • New 90-minute tests that can detect coronavirus and flu will be rolled out in UK hospitals and care homes from next week
  • The number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is nearly triple what Iran's government claims, a BBC Persian service investigation has found
  • Melbourne is shutting down shops, factories and other non-essential businesses as authorities fight a second wave of coronavirus
  • Diners across the UK can now enjoy half-price meals on Monday to Wednesday throughout August, as part of a government scheme
  • And there've been more job cuts in the UK, as the pandemic continues to impact on employment. Hays Travel, which bought Thomas Cook shops when it went bust last year, now says up to 878 employees - out of a total of 4,500 - may lose their jobs , and DW Sports - a gym and sports retailer - has collapsed, putting 1,700 jobs at risk

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:25