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Coronavirus - 4th August


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covidaug Coronavirus - 4th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 10:39

Summary for Tuesday, 4th August

  • India reports 803 deaths and more than 50,000 new cases, the highest total in any country on Monday
  • The world's second most populous country has the fifth highest death toll, and continues to try to reopen after lockdown
  • Australia is imposing strict on-the-spot fines for people who ignore orders to self-isolate
  • Current testing and tracing may not prevent new virus wave when UK schools reopen, scientists warn
  • Tens of millions of people in the Philippines are back in lockdown after warnings of a surge
  • There are now more than 18m confirmed cases across the world, and 693,000 deaths

Welcome to today’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be bringing you the latest news from around the world and the UK.
Here are some of the main world stories this morning:

  • Millions of people in the Philippines are back in lockdown . The country only just emerged from one of the strictest lockdowns in June
  • At least 41 passengers and crew have tested positive on a Norwegian cruise ship
  • US President Donald Trump said the country is beginning to see evidence of significant progress in the fight against coronavirus, claiming that it the virus receding
  • Australia’s state of Victoria has announced new penalties for people who ignore orders to self-isolate because of the virus. They will face an on the spot fine of about A$5,000 (£2,725; $3,561)
  • Thousands of children in parts of northern Germany have returned to school for the first time since March as virus restrictions continue to be relaxed

India tops world in daily deaths for first time

Yogita Limaye - Mumbai correspondent, BBC News
More than 800 people died of coronavirus in India on Monday, the highest number of new deaths in the world for that 24-hour period.
India has also seen more new infections than any other country on earth.
A prominent opposition leader from southern India, K Siddaramaiah has been confirmed to have the virus. He is the latest in a growing list of high-profile personalities to test positive for Covid-19, which includes India’s home affairs minister, Amit Shah.
India’s rising figures are an indicator of the country’s struggle with containing the virus as it continues to lift lockdown restrictions and open up its economy.
Heavy rainfall and flooding in some parts of the country are adding to the problems.

The latest headlines from the UK

Here are some of the top headlines in the UK this Tuesday morning:

Players can be red-carded for deliberately coughing, say Ifab and FA

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Players who deliberately cough at other players or match officials can be red-carded, say football's rule-makers and the Football Association.
The International Football Association Board (Ifab) said such an offence fell within "using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures".
It added: "As with all offences, the referee has to make a judgement about the true nature of the offence."
The guidance comes amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Tokyo uses database to record cases after relying on fax machines

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On Tuesday the Japanese capital reported 309 new cases

Japan’s capital Tokyo has begun using a central database to record cases in the country after relying for months on a fax machine.
According to reports, local health centres had been faxing in a case sheet per patient which was then counted up and announced as the day’s infection numbers.
Some critics said the method led to delays as faxes had to be sent in by 09:00 and patients could also be counted twice.
Many businesses and government offices still rely on fax machines, according to the Asahi Shimbun.
The new database aims to take pressure off public health officials and allows patients to self-report their symptoms.
On Tuesday, the Japanese capital reported 309 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 14,000. It is the eighth consecutive day that the city reported more than 200 infections.

Victoria announces new penalties for those avoiding quarantine

Australia’s state of Victoria has announced new penalties for people who ignore orders to self-isolate because of the virus.
Those who break the rules will face an on the spot fine of about A$5,000 (£2,725, $3,561) if they are caught.
There have been 800 instances of people not being at home when they were supposed to be.
Police have reported being assaulted by people breaking the rules and say they have had to smash car windows to pull out passengers who have refused to give their names and addresses.
On Tuesday, 439 new cases were reported in the state and 11 people died.
Read more about officials attempts to make people follow the rules here .

Passengers and crew on cruise ship test positive

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The MS Roald Amundsen is owned by the Norwegian firm Hurtigruten

At least 41 passengers and crew on a cruise ship in Norway have tested positive for the virus, according to officials.
Hundreds more passengers who travelled on the MS Roald Amundsen are in quarantine and waiting test results, Hurtigruten, the company that owns the ship said.
The ship docked in the port of Tromso in northern Norway on Friday.
Hurtigruten has halted all leisure cruises because of the outbreak.
Read more here

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 10:49

Philippines enforces new lockdown for millions

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Millions of people are now back under lockdown restrictions

Millions of people in the Philippines are back in lockdown over fears a surge in cases could push the healthcare system to collapse.
Stay-at-home orders are now in place in Manilla and four surrounding provinces on the island of Luzon for two weeks.
Under the restrictions, people are only allowed out to buy essential goods or exercise outdoors. Public transport has also been suspended and domestic flights are grounded, while restaurants are restricted to takeaways.
Read more here

UK testing and tracing ‘key to schools returning’, scientists say

Current testing and contact tracing is inadequate to prevent a second wave of coronavirus after schools in the UK reopen, scientists have warned.
Increased transmission would also result from parents not having to stay at home with their children, researchers from UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say.
They said getting pupils back to school was important - but more work was needed to keep the virus in check.
The government said plans were in place to ensure schools can fully reopen at the start of the new school year.
"Local health officials, using the latest data, will be able to determine the best action to take to help curb the spread of the virus should there be a rise in cases," a statement said.

London drive-through test motorist given parking fine  angry

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Geoff Pugh said he was only at the car park for 23 minutes

Parking fines are the scourge of motorists up and down the country, but one driver says he was “flabbergasted” to receive a £90 ticket after taking a drive-through coronavirus test at a car park .
Geoff Pugh, 52, was handed the penalty after taking his wife and two children for swabs at Edmonton Green Shopping Centre in north London on 7 July.
He said they were at the site in Enfield for 23 minutes and "didn't even leave the car the whole time".
His vehicle's details had been logged - by a camera using number plate recognition - when it entered the car park. Then when it left without a parking ticket being bought in the meantime, that automatically triggered the fine.
Highview Parking, which issued the fine said, any issued "incorrectly" will be cancelled.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 10:54

Mass testing must include those without symptoms - Blair

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Former UK prime minister Tony Blair said a mass coronavirus testing regime - covering people who are not showing symptoms - is essential to avoid the need for another lockdown.
He told Times Radio: "On some estimates, 70% of people with the disease are asymptomatic, so if you are only testing people with symptoms you are losing the majority of people from your testing strategy."
The former Labour PM said that until a vaccine or an effective treatment becomes available, mass testing is the only way to keep the virus' spread under control.
He added that mass testing "avoids the severity of the very blunt instrument of lockdown and gets you to a place where you can more or less get your economy moving whilst containing the disease".
He praised the government for increasing testing availability, but said more needs to be done - including making sure the existing capacity is actually used.
Mr Blair - UK prime minister from 1997 to 2007 - has previously said the virus would not be eliminated and people will have to learn to live with it .

India 'unlocks' further as cases soar

Gyms and yoga studios across the country are getting ready to open - even as case numbers in India continue to rise.
It added more new cases than any other country in the last 24 hours, taking its tally to about 1.85m.
The country has been steadily opening up since early June after a grinding lockdown that lasted nearly two months.
And while the coronavirus appeared to slow in those months, it was devastating for the economy. Joblessness rose and businesses suffered.
Soon, the country had no chance to but to reopen.
And once that happened, despite the price many paid during the lockdown, cases have been surging. However, while deaths too have been climbing - just more than 800 yesterday - they are still relatively low per capita in the world's second most populous country.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 10:57

German children return to school after months away

Damien McGuinness - BBC News, Berlin
Let's look at Germany now, where thousands of children have begun returning to school for the first time since March.
But - crucially - it’s not yet clear to what extent children may spread the virus.
So everything is not quite back to normal. The school day is shorter, class sizes are smaller and lessons times are staggered to reduced the risk of contact.
Outside of lessons, pupils will also be asked to keep their distance from children in other groups.
There's also a debate about face coverings and, because here in Germany the regions run education policy, things may be different in each state.
Some regions have decided that children should wear masks only once they leave the classroom. In other states they will have to be worn during lessons too.
The other big question is how to keep older or vulnerable teachers safe. One option being tried here is to teach some classes remotely.

UN warns of 'catastrophe' caused by school closures

The UN has warned that the world faces a “general catastrophe” due to school closures caused by the pandemic.
Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a video statement that getting students back to schools should be a “top priority” once the pandemic is under control.
More than 160 countries have closed schools, affecting more than one billion people.
Even before the pandemic began, 250 million children were out of school, according to Reuters news agency.
“Now we face a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities,” Mr Guterres said.

Scotland pupils get exam results as pass rates rise

Students in Scotland have been receiving their exam results today, with the pass rate increasing from last year .
The results were based on a combination of teacher estimates and national moderation after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus.
The pass rate for National 5 was 81.1%, while the Higher pass rate was 78.9% and the Advanced Higher rate was 84.9%.
In 2019, the National 5 pass rate was 78.2%, the Higher pass rate was 74.8% and the Advanced Higher rate was 79.4
Exams were cancelled across the UK as schools closed and the country went into lockdown in March.
Scottish school pupils traditionally find out their results earlier than those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who will receive their grades for A-levels on 13 August and GCSEs on 20 August.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 11:02

Obituary of Texas father goes viral after his family slam politicans and anti-maskers

An emotional obituary of a man in the US who died of coronavirus has gone viral after his family hit out at politicians for failing to take the pandemic seriously.
The obituary claims that politicians were more concerned “with their popularity and votes than lives”.
David W Nagy died aged 79 in Texas on 22 July. He was being treated in the intensive care unit of the Christus Good Shepherd Hospital.
His family members also hit out at “ignorant” people who refuse to follow medical advice and “believe in their right not to wear a mask”.
The obituary was fact checked by Scopes , who spoke with Nagy’s wife Stephanie. She confirmed she wrote the obituary, which was published in a local news outlet that does not appear to have a website.
More than 155,000 people have died in the US and more than 4.7m cases have been confirmed.
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Venezuelan medics allowed to work in Peru

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One hospital in Arequipa had to treat patients in the car park last month

Peru is allowing thousands of medical workers who fled Venezuela to join the Peruvian health system during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Peruvian president, Martín Vizcarra, signed a decree which exempts qualified foreign doctors and nurses from having to validate their degrees.
Peru has more than 430,000 cases of coronavirus and its health service has been struggling.
More than 830,000 Venezuelans have arrived in the country in recent years, fleeing an ongoing political and economic crisis at home.
Some of them say they were met with xenophobia from Peruvians who fear that the Venezuelans are taking their jobs away.
Read more about the fears which have stoked a backlash against Venezuelans in Peru

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 11:05

EasyJet increases flights to cope with demand

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The aviation industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and airlines like EasyJet have criticised the government's "blanket approach" to quarantine rules for travellers from countries with high levels of Covid-19.
But the budget carrier is now adding more flights to cope with increasing demand from holidaymakers.
EasyJet had expected to operate at just 30% of its normal capacity, but chief executive Johan Lundgren said bookings for the remainder of the summer "are performing better than expected".
As a result, he said it has expanded its schedule over the July-to-September quarter to fly at around 40% of normal capacity.
It comes as the airline has launched a major restructuring programme which includes reducing its workforce by up to 30%. It plans to cut up to 4,500 jobs and close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports.

UK test and trace programme working well but will continue to improve - minister

BBC Breakfast
The NHS Test and Trace programme is "working" and will continue to mature and improve all the time, minister for regional growth and local government Simon Clarke has said.
He told BBC Breakfast that the system to track those with Covid-19 was delivering, adding that it will "allow schools to reopen safely in the autumn".
Responding to warnings from scientists of a second wave if the system is not improved , he insisted staff are reaching more than 80% of people who have tested positive for the virus and contacting over 75% of their close contacts.
He said the programme had made "massive progress" in contacting 184,000 people, allowing them to self-isolate and reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
Mr Clarke said the system was currently capable of testing more than 300,000 people a day, which would rise to 500,000 by the end of October.
He said the government is "confident" the system is "working" but there was "always more to learn" as it "continues to improve day by day, week by week".

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 11:56

Australia closes national park after locals block road

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Indigenous Australians are concerned that tourists could bring the virus to the area

Australia has closed the national park that is home to sacred site Uluru after members of the Aboriginal community blocked access to visitors.
They are concerned that people from hotspots could bring the virus to the area.
Indigenous Australians are seen at a greater risk of the virus as they have a higher incidence of other health issues.
The blockade started when a flight from Brisbane, considered a virus hotspot, landed on Saturday. About 39 of those onboard were taken to the tourist resort of Yulara – an area frequented by locals for shopping.
Jetstar says it has cancelled Thursday’s flight from Brisbane and further discussions will take place on whether flights will resume after that date, the Guardian reports .
A spokesperson for the park said it would remain closed during discussions with the group and Northern Territory officials.
More than 350 tourists have visited the park after state borders were reopened in July.

Malta music festivals cancelled due to rise in cases

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Four music festivals in Malta have been cancelled

Four festivals scheduled to take place in Malta this month have been cancelled 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.
Ticket holders, many from the UK, will receive a full refund.
A number of large events such as the Edinburgh Festival and Glastonbury have been cancelled this year due to the virus.
Read more here

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 12:01

France warns of second wave in autumn or winter

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France’s scientific committee has warned that a second wave of the virus in autumn or winter is “highly likely”.
It comes as cases in the country have risen over the past few weeks. About 3,376 cases were confirmed over the past three days and the number of people being treated in ICUs has started to increase, Reuters news agency reports.
“The short term future of the pandemic mainly lies in the hands of the population,” a statement from the scientific committee on the virus said in a statement.
The notice also called on large cities to prepare a plan for “more or less significant local containment depending on the epidemic”, Le Monde reports.
France isn’t the only European country to see a rise in cases in recent weeks – Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain have all seen a spike.

Number of furloughed workers rises to 9.6 million

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a number of measures to help struggling businesses

The UK government has so far covered the wages of 9.6 million jobs - and, as of 2 August, the number was continuing to increase, according to new figures.
HMRC data published today shows that 1.2 million employers have placed staff on furlough via the government's coronavirus job retention scheme , at a total cost of £33.8bn to the Treasury.
Self-employed workers have made 2.7 million claims for income support in total, at a cost of £7.8bn.
Meanwhile, 73,089 premises have so far signed up to the "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme - which allows diners to get 50% off their bill as the government encourages a return to cafes, pubs and restaurants .

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 12:05

France's champagne industry goes flat

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Consumers have (unsurprisingly) found less reason to celebrate this year

It's fair to say that, for many people, 2020 hasn't been a year that lends itself to popping the champagne and celebrating.
With weddings cancelled and restaurants closed, the sparkling luxury wine has taken something of a back seat.
In fact, producers in France's eastern Champagne region say they've lost €1.7bn (£1.5bn; $2bn) in sales this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And in May, with France under lockdown, sales were down by 70%.
"We are experiencing a crisis that we evaluate to be even worse than the Great Depression," one industry leader told the Associated Press last week.
Now, with tens of millions of bottles likely to go to waste and huge amounts of grapes ready to be harvested, a crisis meeting has been called for 18 August.
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With sales plummeting, there is disagreement over how much champagne should be produced

There, the Champagne Committee, which represents more than 16,000 winemakers, will decide whether to destroy the excess grapes or send them to distilleries to make hand sanitser.
The situation has, unsurprisingly, led to some tension in the industry. One producer told Euronews that the prospect of the famous grapes being used to make hand sanitiser was "an insult to nature".
And there is also a reported rift over how much champagne should be bottled this year, with producers calling for a sharp reduction due to falling sales. Growers, on the other hand, say this will take a major toll on their revenue.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 12:11

Two foreigners escape from Korean quarantine centre

Two foreign nationals have attempted to escape from a South Korean quarantine facility in the space of two weeks according to police.
One Vietnamese national escaped from a hotel in Incheon on Monday and was detained in Seoul eight hours later. He was accused of leaving the facility without permission by descending from a fifth floor window.
An American man was detained by police on 21 July after escaping from the same hotel. He is due to be deported, according to Yonhap news agency.
Police in Incheon say they have increased the number of officers patrolling the hotel.
All people arriving in South Korea from overseas - including Koreans -must spend 14 days in government quarantine centres.

UK looking at 'physical follow-up' for test and trace

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
A little bit more detail from Simon Clarke, the UK's minister for regional growth and local government, who has been responding to warnings by scientists of a second wave of coronavirus if the current test and trace system isn't improved.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that, according to current data, the test and trace system is reaching 81% of positive cases and 75% of their closest contacts; but that No 10 "fully accept[s]...that we need to keep driving those numbers up" and it was looking at "whether there should be some physical follow-up" if people can't be traced by phone.
He added that schools are a "massive priority" for the government in its reopening of society, and that it was "confident" children would be back in classrooms "full-time, across the country, from the autumn".

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 13:36

Virus a 'constant presence' that is 'returning all the time'

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David Nabarro, the World Health Organization's special envoy on Covid-19, said the virus is "capable of surging back really quickly" and stressed the importance of being able to trace, test and isolate people.
"If we can do that, and do it well, then the surges are kept really small, they're dealt with quickly and life can go on," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"If, on the other hand, this testing and tracing and isolation just is not done properly, then you get very bad surges occurring and this will lead to economic challenges."
His comments come scientists warned the current testing and contact tracing is inadequate to prevent a second wave of coronavirus after schools in the UK reopen.
Dr Nabarro told the BBC that the virus is a "constant presence" that is "returning all the time", saying he tends to refer to it as "constant spikes and occasional surges" rather than a second wave.
He added that society will have to adjust to the new "reality of living with this virus", which could see businesses and schools temporarily to deal with local outbreaks.

Britain 'going to do really well' in Covid fight - WHO special envoy

We have further comments from David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy on Covid-19, on the coronavirus outbreak, including his assessment of the UK's response.
He told the BBC: "I’m saying that Britain is going to do really well because I'm seeing evidence that there is, firstly, really good attention to where the virus is locally, secondly, a lot of public engagement in getting on top of it and thirdly, wherever I am looking now, I am seeing evidence that different parts of society are pulling together and saying we are going to get on top of this."
He added that "nobody wants to go through further lockdowns".
"The economy has taken a big hit and we've got to make absolutely certain that economic recovery can happen, and that means getting ahead of the virus," he said.
He said countries that had a particularly good response to the dealing with the virus included Singapore, South Korea, China and Vietnam.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 13:39

The latest headlines from around the world

Hello to those of you just joining our live page. Here are the latest headlines from around the world:

  • The UN has warned that the world faces a "general catastrophe" due to school closures caused by the pandemic. It warned that getting students back to schools should be a "top priority" once the pandemic is under control
  • France's scientific committee has warned that a resurgence of the virus in autumn or winter is "highly likely"
  • Australia has closed the national park that is home to sacred site Uluru after members of the Aboriginal community blocked access to visitors. They are worried tourists could bring the virus to the local area

  • Millions of people in the Philippines are back in lockdown over fears a surge in cases could push the healthcare system to collapse
  • Japan's capital Tokyo has begun using a central database to record cases in the country after relying for months on a fax machine

Latest from the UK

If you're just joining us, here are the main stories from the UK:

23 new coronavirus cases reported in Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says there have been 23 additional positive coronavirus cases in Scotland, which accounts for 0.9% of people newly tested.
That takes the overall number of positive cases to 18,717.
Provisional information is that 15 of the 23 new cases are in the Grampian health board area, but the first minister cannot yet say if some or all of these are linked to the outbreak in Aberdeen , where there is a cluster of 27 cases.
There are 270 patients in hospital with a confirmed case, which is five more than yesterday, with four being treated in intensive care - up one.
No deaths were registered in the last 24 hours of people who tested positive - for the 19th day in a row - meaning the total by that measure remains at 2,491.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 13:43

McDonald's branch shuts as five staff test positive

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The fast food chain said it 'proactively decided' to temporarily close the affected branch

A branch of McDonald's has closed in northern England after five staff tested positive for Covid-19.
The fast food chain said the restaurant in Stockport, Greater Manchester, had been shut temporarily as a precautionary measure and that affected staff had been advised to self-isolate.
In a tweet , MP Navendu Mishra said he had been contacted by "worried" employees who worked at the Wellington Road South outlet.
Mr Mishra said he had contacted McDonald's management and also discussed the outbreak with the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union.
McDonald's said customer and staff safety was an "absolute priority", and that it had contacted all the restaurant employees, Public Health England, and the environmental health officer.
It said the branch would reopen "as soon as we feel we can".

Police attacked while enforcing Victoria curfew

As we mentioned earlier Victoria state in Australia has raised the fine for flouting quarantine rules to almost A$5,000 (£2,725, $3,561) .
It may seem a high amount but authorities have revealed the level of abuse police officers are facing while trying to enforce restrictions.
Police said there had been a dangerous rise in people resisting lockdown measures, sometimes violently.
In one case a woman repeatedly smashed a policewoman’s head into the ground, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said.
Read more here

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 17:14

Infections in Latin America pass five million

The number of coronavirus infections in Latin America has passed the five million mark, making it the world’s hardest hit region.
Brazil has continued to drive the regional surge with more than 2.7 million infections and close to half of the region’s more than 200,000 deaths.
Colombia, another hot spot, recorded 11,000 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Other nations, including Mexico, Peru and Chile, are struggling to contain the pandemic.
Health experts say the outbreak in Latin America has been hard to control due to the region’s poverty and densely populated cities.

'Small minority' not following face covering rules on London transport

Tom Edwards - Transport correspondent, BBC London
Transport for London (TfL) says there are "a small minority of people who refuse to comply" with the regulations about wearing face coverings on public transport in the capital.
Most people travelling on public transport in England must wear a face covering . Only those with certain health conditions, disabled people and children under the age of 11 are exempt from the rule.
According to TfL's latest figures, 53,900 people have been told to put a covering on, 4,888 have been asked to leave, and 244 fines of £100 have been issued to those who were not wearing one since the rule was introduced on 15 June.
Transport bosses said there was a "90-95% compliance" during peak hours "but that does dip over the course of the day".

Iran records biggest case rise in more than a month

Iran has reported more than 2,700 daily infections - the highest number in more than a month - as well as 212 deaths.
But while officials say Iran has seen a total of 314,786 cases and 17,617 fatalities, an investigation by BBC Persian found the country has significantly under-reported the impact of the pandemic.
Government records seen by the BBC appear to show almost 42,000 people had died with Covid-19 symptoms by 20 July, compared to the 14,405 reported by its health ministry. The number of infections was also double the official figures.
Even with the official numbers, Iran remains the worst-affected country in the Middle East and cases have continued to rise since lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Although masks are mandatory in enclosed spaces, the Iran’s deputy health minister is now calling for people to be fined if they fail to wear a face covering to ensure compliance with the rules.

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No plans for blanket restrictions if cases spike nationally - UK minister

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The UK government has "no plans for blanket restrictions" on businesses if cases begin to spike nationally, a minister has said.
Local Government Minister Robert Jenrick: "We want to pursue a local approach where we take decisive action where it is necessary, where the data shows we have to do that."
Jenrick said the approach taken in Leicester and the north-west of England - where local restrictions have been reintroduced in response to a rise in cases - works and is "supported by our emerging track and trace infrastructure".
It comes just days after he insisted the government had no intention of closing bars and pubs to facilitate the safe reopening of schools in September - despite some scientists suggesting this may be necessary .
Jenrick also said the government didn't have any plans to roll out the shielding programme again, but would "continue to monitor the situation".

WHO urges caution over Russia vaccine

The World Health Organization has urged Russia to follow international guidelines for producing a vaccine against Covid-19 after the country said it would begin vaccinations in October.
"Sometimes individual researchers claim they have found something, which is of course, as such, great news," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters on Tuesday.
"But between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big difference."
Last week, the Russian government announced it was preparing to begin mass vaccinations.
However, the Russian vaccine is not among the WHO's list of six vaccines that have reached phase three clinical trials, which involve more widespread testing in humans.

How close are we to a vaccine and who will get it?

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 17:29

GCSE students allowed to drop poetry in 2021 exams

GCSE students in England will be able to drop subject areas in English literature and history exams next year, following concern schools may not be able to cover all topics because of the pandemic.
Poetry is one of the topics that will become optional - but head teachers said it amounted to "tinkering at the edges" amid "widespread ongoing disruption".
Exams watchdog Ofqual has yet to decide if 2021 exams will be delayed, to give teachers more time to prepare students.
Read more on this story here .

Expert left red-faced after holiday warning

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
A Czech government adviser has been left red-faced after warning young holidaymakers in Croatia they risked bringing Covid-19 back home - only for it to be revealed he too was enjoying a visit to the popular tourist destination.
Chief epidemiologist Rastislav Madar tweeted out the warning regarding beach parties on Monday, with his own current location, Croatia, visible on the message.
He has since issued a robust defence, saying he had driven to Croatia and was staying in an apartment without coming into contact with anyone but his family, arguing his holiday was taking place in "ideal conditions" in terms of minimising the risk from travelling abroad.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis, meanwhile, has been criticised by the opposition after embarking on a holiday on Crete despite urging Czechs to stay at home and support the Czech tourist industry. His wife has also recently enjoyed a holiday in Croatia.
The Czech Republic has only had 17,008 confirmed cases and 386 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Wales reports one more death and 22 new cases

One more death has been reported in Wales, taking the total number of people who have died with the virus there to 1,566.
A further 22 new cases have also been reported by Public Health Wales .
UK-wide figures will be published later today.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 17:32

Doctor treated for Covid-19 in own ward

At the height of the pandemic in April, doctor Sarah Edwards did a video diary from the Accident and Emergency department where she works at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Almost three months later she was admitted to her own hospital with Covid-19 and pneumonia.
She is well again now and sent another diary of her first shift back at work to BBC health correspondent Catherine Burns.

Coronavirus: Journey from doctor to patient

Eight more cases in Northern Ireland

Eight more cases of coronavirus have been detected in Northern Ireland over the weekend, the Department of Health has said.
No new deaths were recorded, meaning the total number of people who have died with coronavirus there remains 556, according to official figures.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 17:43

Vietnam cases rise amid Da Nang outbreak

For three months, Vietnam earned praise for its fight against coronavirus and reported no new locally transmitted cases.
But a new outbreak last week in the resort city of Da Nang changed all that.
Last week, it recorded its first covid deaths. Today, the country announced 28 new cases and two more deaths, bringing the total numbers to 670 infections and eight fatalities since the pandemic began.
Authorities say most of the new cases are linked to Da Nang. The city was host to tens of thousands of domestic tourists when the outbreak was identified and has since been placed under lockdown.
Meanwhile, authorities in the capital, Hanoi, say they lack the rapid testing kits needed to continue mass screening, Reuters news agency reports.

Millions offered for nature conservation amid Covid-19

Coronavirus - 4th August Aaac7510

International bodies are to offer €6m (£5.3m, $6.9m) in emergency funding to help deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on conservation.
The money will be used to fund a number of projects, including helping local communities which depended on wildlife tourism before the pandemic and addressing the difficulties in accessing and managing protected sites during local lockdowns.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us just how vulnerable conservation initiatives are to major disruptions," said Dr Bruno Oberle , head of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is based in Switzerland.
"The pandemic has left local communities who protect wildlife struggling to make a living, and many threatened species increasingly exposed."
The funds are being made available by the IUCN, the European Commission and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 17:46

Aberdeen pub virus cluster cases 'expected to rise'

Coronavirus - 4th August 97ab6910
A total of 27 cases have so far been linked to the Hawthorn bar in Aberdeen

Scotland's first minister has warned the number of coronavirus cases linked to an Aberdeen pub is expected to rise from its current total of 27.
Nicola Sturgeon also revealed 15 of Scotland's new 23 positive cases were detected by NHS Grampian, which covers Aberdeen.
The cluster, linked to people who visited the Hawthorn Bar on 26 July, emerged on Sunday .
During her daily media briefing, Ms Sturgeon confirmed that 120 contacts have been identified through the test and protect system.
She said that anyone traced and linked to a virus cluster should regard it as "non-negotiable" that they self-isolate for 14 days.
Meanwhile, an Aberdeen hospitality firm has closed its bars with immediate effect after it was visited by a customer with the virus.
PB Devco owns a number of businesses in the city, including Soul Bar.
Owner and director Stuart Clarkson said his bars would close until "we feel safe to reopen".

Ghana footballers 'scared' to resume playing

A number of football players and coaches in Ghana say they are “scared” to resume playing and that football is "not ready”.
The country has had more than 32,000 confirmed cases of the virus but the government is keen for football to return.
It has approved a resumption in mid-August.
Matches were cancelled in March amid the pandemic. However many of those in the industry say they fear that players could contract the virus when sport resumes.
Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 17:50

Where are we with other vaccines?

As we've already reported, Russia is planning to go ahead with mass vaccinations in October - something the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concerns about.
But what is happening with the race to create vaccines across the world?
About 140 are in early development, and around two dozen are now being tested on people in clinical trials, including the Russian vaccine.
There are generally three main phases of human testing before a vaccine can be approved for general use. The final stage, phase 3, involves trials among a much larger group of volunteers.
Six potential vaccines have reached this third stage. One, developed by the University of Oxford , appears safe and triggers an immune response in humans.
Early results from two trials in the US , run by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and biotech company Moderna, also appear to produce a good immune response in volunteers.
However, they are all still under testing and none have received approval.
So where does this leave the Russian vaccine? According to a document release by the WHO last week, the jab, which has been developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute, remains far behind and is still in phase 1.

Venezuela traders keep working despite outbreak

Coronavirus - 4th August C78af110
The Coche wholesale market is at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak

Traders at a busy market hit by a Covid-19 outbreak in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, have refused to stop working, arguing they are desperate for cash.
Venezuela is gripped by an economic crisis that has lasted six years so far.
“Caracas depends on this market,” administrator Walter Rivera said.
In a bid to curb the spread of the outbreak, the Coche Wholesale market - from where produce is transported to the city’s supermarkets - has been operating three days a week, down from six.
Authorities have also limited opening hours to between dawn and 14:00.
Moises Rojas, who sells vegetables in the market, told Reuters: “If you don’t go out every day you don’t eat.”
Venezuela has recorded 174 deaths and 20,206 cases. However, experts warn that the true figure could be higher.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 17:53

More than 4,000 sign letter against job cuts at London's Southbank Centre

More than 4,000 people have signed an open letter against sweeping changes to London's Southbank Centre, which they say will result in "irrevocable damage" to its future.
Last month the venue, which is the UK's largest arts and culture organisation, began a consultation on plans to make 365 people redundant - more than 60% of its workforce.
The letter says the job losses will disproportionately affect lowest-paid staff, which include a high proportion of young people, people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and people with disabilities.
According to the letter, staff have been told that when it reopens the centre's programme of contemporary art exhibitions, music and literature events will be allocated just 10% of capacity, with 90% reserved for rental space.
The Hayward Gallery, which is based at the centre, reopened earlier this month, but the rest of its venues, including the Royal Festival Hall and the National Poetry Library, remain closed.

Interpol warns of 'alarming' cyber threat

The international police body Interpol has warned of the "alarming" threat posed by cyber criminals since the coronavirus crisis began earlier this year.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, criminals have begun to shift their focus from individuals and small businesses to governments and critical infrastructure, Interpol said in a new report.
The shift to working from home has also left businesses more vulnerable to attacks, as criminals exploit "increased security vulnerabilities to steal data, generate profits and cause disruption".
The nature of scams has also evolved to take advantage of the pandemic, with an increase in Covid-19 themed phishing emails, often impersonating health authorities, the report found.
Other threats involve the use of deliberately misleading domain names and the use of malicious software (known as malware) and ransomware, which blocks a user's access until a sum of of money is paid.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 17:57

Fauci: US must get daily cases down to 10,000 by September

The US top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, has warned of a "really bad situation" if the country does not bring its daily coronavirus case count down to 10,000 by September.
The US is currently recording roughly 50,000 to 60,000 cases each day, Dr Fauci said to NBC News, suggesting the country is "right in the middle of the first wave".
"If we don't get them down, then we're going to have a really bad situation in the fall," Dr Fauci said.
Getting the virus under control will be complicated by the onset of colder temperatures and the typical flu season, he said.
There have been more than 4.7 million cases recorded in the US so far, with 155,515 deaths. While some former hot spots have begun to curb infection rates, case numbers continue to surge throughout the country.

France to pay carers up €1,000

Carers in France will each receive a payment of up to €1,000 (£900; $1,177), President Emmanuel Macron has announced.
Speaking during a visit to the city of Toulon on Tuesday, Macron paid tribute to the contribution of carers working with the elderly and disabled during the pandemic.
Last month the government approved pay rises for health workers worth €8bn (£7.2bn; $9bn).
France has been among the worst-affected countries in Europe, with more than 30,000 deaths and almost 230,000 infections.

Madrid Open cancelled as Spain virus cases rise

Coronavirus - 4th August C4605610
World number two Rafael Nadal was among those who planned to take part

The Madrid Open has been cancelled as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Spain.
Spain's healthy ministry had advised the organisers aganst proceeding with the tournment , which was due to begin on 12 September, because of the city's "deteriorating" coronavirus situation.
"We have no choice but to cancel the tournament due to the complex situation that Covid-19 continues to generate in every regard," the organisers said.
Spain has recorded more than 302,000 cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, and 28,498 deaths, figures released on Tuesday show, with the rate of infection rising rapidly in the country.
The Madrid Open is not the only major sporting event to face disruption amid the pandemic, with a range of events - including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - either postponed or cancelled this year. Find out more here .

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 19:17

Dozens of medics test positive in South Sudan

Nichola Mandil - BBC News, Juba
South Sudan's health ministry says about 78 frontline healthcare workers have tested positive for Covid-19.
One male healthcare worker has died, according to a health official.
"It is very unfortunate to mention that we have lost one of the healthcare workers. He used to work at Juba Teaching Hospital, he is one of the people that were affected by the virus and this is the only record we have as a fatality amongst healthcare workers," Dr Matthew Tut told journalists in the capital, Juba.
Last month, eight health workers resigned because of pressure from their families, who expressed concerns that they might bring the virus home and infect their relatives.

Washington DC police report spike in delivery vehicle theft

Police in Washington DC are warning of an increase in vehicle thefts targeting delivery drivers across the city.
The citywide notice follows jumps in car thefts across the US since the start of the country's coronavirus outbreak as residents are staying home more and using their cars less.
This year, car theft surged by 63% in New York and nearly 17% in Los Angeles from 1 January through mid-May, compared with the same period last year, according to the Associated Press.
Police have said the rise is also linked to increased reliance on food delivery by residents staying inside amid the pandemic.
Worldwide Google searches for “food delivery” and “local food” reached all-time highs in April.

Contact tracing in England 'not a failure'

The head of England's contact tracing service has insisted it is "extremely effective", after a study warned it may be inadequate to prevent a second wave of coronavirus after schools reopen .
Challenged over whether the fact individual local authorities such as Blackburn and Sandwell had set up their own contact tracing system represented a failure of the national service, Dido Harding said: "I absolutely don't accept that this is failure, it's the opposite."
She added that local approaches were "entirely complementary" to the national system.
"What NHS Test and Trace is doing is allowing us to identify areas where the virus is spreading more freely where we do need to take targeted local action," she said.
Asked when England's contact tracing app - which was originally expected months ago - would be available, she said it would be launched "soon".

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 19:28

89 coronavirus deaths in the UK

A further 89 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in the UK, taking the total number of people who have died with coronavirus to 46,299.
The latest government figures also show 670 new cases have been recorded.

Six more deaths in hospitals in England

A further six coronavirus deaths have been recorded by NHS England, bringing the total number of people who have died in hospitals in England with the virus to 29,358.
Another five deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
UK-wide figures cover deaths across all settings, including in care homes and the community, and use a different time frame.

Trump campaign email asks supporters to don masks

US President Donald Trump's campaign sent an email to his supporters, encouraging them to don face masks, as case numbers surge across the country.
"We are all in this together, and while I know there has been some confusion surrounding the usage of face masks, I think it's something we should all try to do when we are not able to be socially distanced from others," said the email, sent on Monday and signed by Trump.
"I don't love wearing them either," he wrote, but they may help get the US back on track faster.
The Republican president wore a mask in public for the first time in July, after resisting wearing one.
Donning facial coverings amid the outbreak has become highly politicised in the US. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters are about twice as likely as Republicans and Republican leaners to say that masks should be worn all the time.

How does contact tracing work?

NHS contact tracing: How does it stop coronavirus?

Contact tracing aims to stop the spread of coronavirus as lockdown measures are lifted.
There are separate systems in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but the principles are broadly the same:

  • People with symptoms of cough, fever or loss of sense of smell or taste are tested
  • If they test positive for coronavirus they will be contacted by text, email or phone and asked to give the names and contact details of people they have recently been in close contact with, as well as places they have recently visited
  • The individual will be told to isolate for 10 days
  • Their close contacts will be told to spend 14 days in quarantine, even if they don't have symptoms

You can read more about contact tracing here .

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 19:35

Jails can spread virus to nearby communities, study finds

Coronavirus - 4th August 5a2add10

Across the US, prisons have become Covid-19 hotspots. Overcrowding, cramped quarters and antiquated facilities make social distancing extremely difficult, and curbing an outbreak nearly impossible.
And outbreaks in prisons can also lead to infections in neighbouring communities, according to a new study in Health Affairs.
In Illinois, researchers from Harvard University's Department of Anthropology and the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris found that more than 4,700 coronavirus cases up until mid-April were associated with 2,129 individuals going through Chicago's Cook County Jail in March.
The jail may be linked with more than 15% of all documented cases in the city and state, the researchers said.
"Existing conditions in jails and penitentiaries make infection control particularly difficult, putting inmates at unconscionable and perhaps unconstitutional risk," they wrote.
The Chicago jail was the largest recorded source of spread of the coronavirus before it was surpassed by an Ohio state prison, according to the researchers.
Read more about the spread of Covid in US prisons , and how one California institution went from zero cases in May to one of the worst outbreaks in the country.

Zimbabwe appoints new health minister after scandal

Zimbabwe's Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has been named as the country's new health minister, a month after his predecessor, Obadiah Moyo, was ousted over a scandal involving coronavirus medical supplies.
Moyo was arrested in late June on charges of corruption over a $20m (£16m) contract awarded to a Hungary-registered firm, allegedly without going through proper processes.
Zimbabwe as seen a relatively low number of coronavirus cases, but doctors say the real number is higher.
The country is facing a number of crises and international criticism over its response to anti-corruption protests.
Last month, meanwhile, the UN food agency said nearly two-thirds of the population would need food aid by the end of the year because of a poor harvest, rampant inflation and a growing coronavirus problem.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 04 2020, 19:38

The latest headlines from the UK

We'll be pausing our live coverage of Covid-19-related news shortly but here's a quick recap of the main stories from the UK today:

The latest headlines from around the world

And here are today's top stories from around the world:

And that's all from us today

Thanks for joining our live coverage today - we'll be back again tomorrow with all the latest coronavirus news from around the world.

Today's live page was edited by Flora Dury and Sarah Collerton, and written by Sophie Williams, Vicky Bisset, Mary O'Connor, Becky Morton and Holly Honderich.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:05