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Coronavirus - 6th August

Kitkat
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covidaug Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 09:13

Summary for Thursday, 6th August


  • Germany says people returning from high-risk countries will be required to take a Covid-19 test
  • India becomes the third country to surpass two million coronavirus cases, after infections doubled in just 20 days
  • France, Spain and Greece record their highest number of new cases in weeks
  • Facebook and Twitter penalise Donald Trump and his campaign for posts showing "harmful Covid misinformation"
  • In the UK, 50m face masks bought by the government will not be used in hospitals because of safety concerns
  • A fire in a hospital in India kills eight coronavirus patients
  • Australia is set to introduce more travel restrictions as it battles a new wave of infections


Hello and welcome to our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks for joining us - it's Helier, Josh and Dulcie on the live page today.Our teams from around the world will be bringing you the latest developments. To start with, let's kick off with a summary of the latest top stories around the world.

  • As it stands there have been 18.8 million infections and 707,000 deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic globally, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University
  • Coronavirus cases increased markedly in Europe on Wednesday. France recorded its highest number of cases for more than two months , while Spain also saw its biggest post-lockdown rise
  • Lockdown restrictions on non-essential businesses took effect in the Australian state of Victoria, the epicentre of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will not impose a state of emergency, despite a worrying rise in infections in the country
  • Facebook and Twitter have penalised Donald Trump and his campaign for posts they said contained "harmful Covid misinformation" - where the president claimed children were "almost immune" to coronavirus
  • The coronavirus is highly transmissible, so it is unlikely the world will be able to eradicate the disease entirely, says the top infectious diseases expert in the US, Dr Anthony Fauci


Latest headlines from the UK

There have also been plenty of developments in the UK - let’s take a look at the latest headlines:


France, Spain and Greece see worrying rises in infections

France, Spain and Greece were among the European countries to record marked increases in new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, fuelling fears of a second spike in infections during the holiday season.
France added another 1,695 new cases within 24 hours, its highest number of daily coronavirus infections in more than two months , taking the total to 228,576.
In Spain, there were a further 1,772 infections during a 24-hour period, pushing the country’s total number of cases to 305,767.
Meanwhile in Greece, an additional 124 cases were detected in the last 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to 4,973.
Coronavirus cases have been on the rise since countries began to ease lockdown restrictions that sent the global economy into a tailspin.
As governments try to ease the economic damage caused by the pandemic, social-distancing measures designed to curb the virus are becoming harder to enforce.

Eight patients die after fire at Indian Covid-19 hospital

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The hospital in Ahmedabad was treating coronavirus patients

A fire has broken out at a hospital for coronavirus patients in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, killing eight people, officials say.
The blaze broke out inside a critical-care unit at 03:00 local time (21:30 GMT) on Thursday.
A staff member's PPE kit went up in flames due to a short circuit, a senior fire department official, Rajesh Bhatt, told the BBC.
"The staffer started running around the critical care unit in panic and the fire spread as a result," he said.
Police say they have detained one hospital director and begun an investigation.
Read the full story here

Facebook and Twitter penalise Trump over virus posts

Misinformation has been a huge concern for social media networks during the coronavirus pandemic, with Facebook, Twitter and others actively removing some content.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump fell foul of moderators on Facebook and Twitter.
Both websites sought to penalise Trump and his election campaign for posts in which the president claimed children were "almost immune" to coronavirus.
Facebook deleted the post - a clip from an interview Trump gave to Fox News - saying it contained "harmful Covid misinformation".
Twitter followed by saying it had frozen a Trump campaign account until a tweet of the same clip was removed.
US public health advice makes clear that children have no immunity to Covid-19.

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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 09:31

'Eerily quiet': Aberdeen's first night of local lockdown

In Scotland, Aberdeen had lockdown restrictions reimposed overnight after cases from a coronavirus cluster rose sharply.
Nicola Sturgeon announced the tightening of restrictions on Wednesday, saying the situation in Aberdeen should be "the biggest wake-up call" since the early days of the pandemic.
Bars, cafes and restaurants will remain shut for at least seven days.

More than 228,000 people living in the city were told they should not enter each other's homes or travel more than five miles.
A BBC reporter at the scene last night described the streets as "eerily quiet".
Read more here .

Melbourne’s lockdown begins as cases rise

Sweeping lockdown restrictions on non-essential businesses in Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, have come into effect, as authorities scramble to bring coronavirus infections under control.
Most businesses and shops were closed on Thursday, leaving streets virtually deserted in Victoria state’s capital, home to around five million people.
The six-week shut down was ordered by the government of Victoria after a new round of restrictions in early July failed to curb a rise in new Covid-19 infections.
In Melbourne, a night-time curfew has been imposed and residents have been told to stay at home, unless they have work or care commitments.
On Thursday Victoria recorded another 471 coronavirus cases, and eight new deaths.
Australia has now recorded about 20,000 Covid-19 cases and 255 fatalities, still far fewer than many other developed nations.
But the outbreak in Victoria is threatening to spill over into neighbouring states, putting authorities on the back foot after the country's initial success in mitigating the virus.

Australia closing state borders 'like a submarine in distress'

Phil Mercer -BBC News Sydney
Like compartments on a submarine in distress, state borders in Australia are closing down to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Alarmed at a surge in infections, Queensland has already banned almost all residents from Victoria.
It will do the same for people from the national capital, Canberra, and New South Wales, which it has declared a coronavirus hotspot.
The government in New South Wales is imposing tough restrictions of its own. Travellers from Victoria will only be allowed into the state if they fly to Sydney, and go into mandatory isolation at a hotel for 14 days.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 11:21

Safety concerns halt use of 50 million NHS masks

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FFP2 respirator masks such as these are used by healthcare workers

Fifty million face masks bought by the UK government in April will not be used in the NHS because of safety concerns.
How did this start?
In the early weeks of the pandemic the NHS experienced severe shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The government says it had to find new suppliers quickly to meet demand and to compete with rising global competition.
On 29 April the Department of Health and Social Care signed the £252m contract with Ayanda Capital Limited to supply two types of face masks.
The most expensive part of the order consisted of 50 million FFP2 respirator masks.
What happened next?
According to legal papers seen by the BBC, the government says these masks will now not be used in the NHS because of a safety issue.
The government says the masks, which use ear-loop fastenings rather than head loops, may not fit tightly enough.
It is not clear what will happen now to the 50 million masks.
Ayanda says the masks meet the specifications the government had set out. The government says its safety standards process is "robust".
Read the full story here .

Japan marks Hiroshima anniversary in shadow of virus

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes - BBC Tokyo correspondent
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Most attendees were wearing masks at the memorial event

A memorial ceremony has been held in Hiroshima to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city during World War Two.
The solemn annual ceremony of remembrance in Hiroshima is normally attended by thousands of people from all over the world.
Today, because of Covid-19, there were just a handful of survivors, sitting 2m (6.5ft) apart and wearing black masks.
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More than 140,000 people were killed in the Hiroshima bombing

Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui used his speech to warn against a resurgence of the nationalism that led to World War Two.
He urged the world to come together to face global threats, like the coronavirus pandemic. "We must never allow this painful past to repeat itself,” he said.
One survivor told me she fears that once she and other survivors are gone, the world will forget the lessons of Hiroshima.
Read more about how Japan is marking the anniversary of Hiroshima here
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 11:27

Party houses may have utilities shut off, LA mayor says

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Eric Garcetti says he has given LA's city council powers to cut off utilities

In Los Angeles in the US, some people have been hosting large parties - in breach of Covid-19 regulations - and the authorities aren't happy.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has now given the city council the power to cut off water and power to residents in “egregious” cases, starting from Friday.
The mayor said utilities would be switched off within 48 hours if LA police established a large gathering had taken place.
The move comes after reports of a large party attended by about 200 people in the upmarket Beverly Crest area of LA's Santa Monica Mountains on Tuesday.
One woman was killed and two people were wounded after shots were fired at the mansion party, the BBC's US partner CBS reported .
Garcetti said the consequences of large parties during the pandemic “ripple far beyond just those parties".
“They ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread," he said.

UK city dwellers seek out country life as priorities shift in lockdown

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There has been a surge of interest in moving to the country due to city dwellers' priorities changing during the coronavirus lockdown, estate agents say.
People are looking for more outdoor space, and may have more flexibility to work from home, Rightmove says.
Across the UK, enquiries about buying a home in a village jumped by 126% in June and July compared to the same period last year, it adds.
In some cities, such as Liverpool and Edinburgh, searches more than doubled.
Read more here
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 11:33

What does the pandemic mean for the UK economy?

Dharshini David - Economics Correspondent
The economic damage may have been been less catastrophic than feared in recent months, but the Bank of England thinks the scars will remain for longer, both to activity and jobs.
The Bank believes it will take the economy until the end of 2021 to get back to pre-crisis activity. But that assumes a smooth recovery from here, and that the health risks from the virus and restrictions gradually recede, with no significant resumption of a widespread lockdown.
If not, there's a threat of a big setback for the economy.
What then? The key to our recovery is consumer spending - and the interest rates that might shape that are at record lows already.
Could we be heading into the uncharted territory of negative rates - where savers are effectively charged to deposit cash, to encourage them to spend rather than keep hold of the cash?
For now, it seems unlikely. The Bank has been taking a closer look at that tool and concludes it could be "less effective ...to stimulate the economy".
This is partly because those rates may not be passed on, but also as the idea of negative rates risks causing alarm about the health of the economy among consumers and businesses, rather than boosting confidence to spend.
Read our story on today's economic figures here .

Germany requires arrivals to take tests after spike

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In Germany, people returning from hot spots can be tested for free

A coronavirus test will be mandatory for all arrivals to Germany from Saturday, the country’s health minister has said.
Jens Spahn made the announcement on Thursday after Germany reported 1,045 new coronavirus infections, the first daily jump above 1,000 cases in three months.
Spahn blamed the rise on the impact of travellers returning from abroad and increasingly complacent attitudes to social distancing.
As we reported earlier , numerous European countries - including Greece, France and Spain - have been reporting new spikes in infections, prompting fears of a second surge in cases.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 11:37

'No decision' made on adding Belgium to UK quarantine travel list

Tom Burridge - Transport correspondent
The Department for Transport has responded to reports that travellers returning from Belgium will be required to quarantine for 14 days, saying no change in the rules has been confirmed.
At the moment, Belgium is exempt from travel quarantine rules, but media reports this morning suggested the government was poised to reintroduce the rules following a rise in cases.
The government has been concerned about data coming out of Belgium, but a spokesperson said media reports that a decision had been finalised were premature.

Brazil indigenous chief dies and other Latin American news

Vanessa Buschschluter - Latin America and Caribbean Editor, BBC News
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Aritana Yawalapiti died in hospital in Goiania. The car journey there had taken nine hours

As our readers in the Americas wake up, here's a round up of some of the main Covid-19 developments in Latin America.

  • Aritana Yawalapiti, one of the most influential indigenous chiefs in Brazil, has died of respiratory complications caused by Covid-19. He was 71. Rights groups have warned that Amazonian indigenous groups are particularly vulnerable to dying from Covid-19 because they often live far away from hospitals and it can take days to get professional medical help. It took Aritana Yawalapiti a nine-hour car journey to get to hospital.
  • The former president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, says he has tested positive for coronavirus. Mr Uribe, who was elected as a senator after serving two terms as president, made the announcement a day after he was put under house arrest. He is being investigated for alleged witness tampering - Mr Uribe has denied any wrongdoing.
  • After registering 829 deaths on Wdnesday, Mexico looks set to pass the mark of 50,000 Covid-related fatalities later on Thursday. The country has the third highest number of deaths worldwide after the US and Brazil. Health officials have warned that in seven Mexican states, the average number of weekly cases is on the rise.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 11:44

These are not fulfilling times, Michelle Obama says

Coronavirus - 6th August F0c90e10
Michelle Obama spoke of her dismay at much of what is going on in the US

Michelle Obama, the former US first lady, has spoken candidly about her mental health during the coronavirus pandemic in the second episode of her podcast series.
Obama said she was suffering from "low-grade depression" because of the pandemic and other issues, including racial injustice and the "hypocrisy" of the Trump administration.
She said managing "emotional highs and lows" required "knowing yourself" and "the things that do bring you joy".
"These are not, they are not fulfilling times, spiritually," she added on the podcast .
The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, especially those already living with mental-health conditions.
Read our advice on how you can protect your mental health during the pandemic, or watch the video below.


Coronavirus: How to manage anxiety and OCD during the pandemic
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 12:13

Re-opening of pubs in Northern Ireland could be delayed

Jayne McCormack - BBC News NI political reporter
There is growing speculation that the reopening date for indoor pubs in Northern Ireland that only sell alcohol will be delayed.
The chief medical officer has advised that so-called "wet bars" should not reopen on Monday as planned, BBC News NI understands.
Executive ministers will consider the issue at Thursday's meeting.
At present, pubs and hotel bars in Northern Ireland can only open fully if they serve food - those that only sell alcohol are restricted to serving customers outdoors.
Last month, the executive announced an indicative date of 10 August for pubs to reopen fully, but said it would need to be signed off nearer the time depending on the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community.
Read more here

Serco defends contact tracing record

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
The boss of outsourcing company Serco has defended the fact that 10,000 contact tracers have only spoken to an average of 2.4 people each as part of the NHS Test and Trace system.
Rupert Soames, chief executive of Serco, which is among several companies that are recruiting, coaching and managing contact tracers, said the system had "more capacity than we need" but the government "had to start somewhere".
Mr Soames said 20% of contacts are untraceable, as those who tested positive don’t know them well enough to have their personal details.

Asked why tracers are only managing to get hold of half of people's contacts, Soames said: "If somebody rang you now and I said: 'Tell me everybody that you have met, been in contact with, in the last 48 hours, and tell me on the telephone, give me their contact details', how many do you think that you'd be able to reel off of the top of your head?”
NHS England's Test and Trace system relies on identifying people who have been in contact with a positive case and getting them to self-isolate.
Read more: How does test-and-trace work?
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 12:18

Italy threatens to ban Ryanair over virus ‘violations’

Coronavirus - 6th August 5f26b010
The ENAC has accused Ryanair of breaching Covid-19 rules

Ryanair flights to Italy may be suspended after “repeated violations of the Covid-19 health regulations” by the budget airline, the country’s civil aviation authority has said.
The ENAC said on Wednesday that "Ryanair systematically does not comply" with the Italian government’s coronavirus rules.
"Not only is the obligation to distance passengers not respected, but the conditions for making an exception to that rule are also being ignored", the ENAC said in a statement.
If Ryanair continued to break the rules the ENAC would "suspend all air transport activities at national airports, requiring the carrier to re-route all passengers already in possession of tickets".
Ryanair rejected the accusations as “factually inaccurate” and defended its practices, which it argued are compliant with Covid-19 regulations.
Italy had a severe outbreak early on in the pandemic, but its incidence of new cases is currently far below that of other European countries.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 13:19

As Lebanon mourns, virus cases rise

Coronavirus - 6th August C7774d11
The virus outbreak has been worsening in Lebanon

Lebanon is in mourning after a massive explosion ripped through a port in Beirut, killing at least 137 people and causing widespread destruction.
We have been covering the fallout from the disaster , but it is not Lebanon’s only concern at the moment.
Like most other countries, Lebanon is grappling with a coronavirus epidemic that has put the country’s health system under strain.
As it stands, there have been 5,417 infections and 68 deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic in Lebanon, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University .
Another 355 new infections were recorded in the country on Wednesday, the biggest rise in cases yet, data from the university showed.
Cases have been rising steadily since the end of June, a worrying sign for a country in economic crisis.
Read more: Why Lebanon is in crisis
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 13:22

UK downturn less severe than expected and other coronavirus news

Hello to those of you just joining us. Here's a round-up of some of the main coronavirus developments today.

  • The UK economic slump caused by Covid-19 will be less severe than expected, but the recovery will also take longer, the Bank of England has said
  • Fifty million face masks bought by the government in April will not be used in the NHS because of safety concerns. The government says the masks, which use ear-loop fastenings rather than head loops, may not fit tightly enough
  • In Scotland, Aberdeen has woken up to its first full day in local lockdown after cases from a coronavirus cluster rose sharply. But the Scottish health secretary says the "trigger case" which caused the city’s Covid cluster has yet to be identified
  • Elsewhere, France, Spain and Greece were among the European countries to record marked increases in new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, fuelling fears of a second spike in infections during the holiday season
  • Facebook and Twitter have penalised Donald Trump and his campaign for posts they said contained "harmful Covid misinformation", after the US president claimed children were "almost immune" to coronavirus
  • A fire has broken out at a hospital for coronavirus patients in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, killing eight people, officials say
  • Lockdown restrictions on non-essential businesses have taken effect in the Australian state of Victoria, the epicentre of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 13:27

Infections rise in Aberdeen, Scotland's first minister says

A further 67 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland, bringing the total to 18,847 cases, Nicola Strugeon has said.
Speaking at her daily briefing, Scotland’s first minister also said the R-number is now expected to be between 0.6 and 1 - a "slight increase" on the last estimate.
Some 270 patients are in hospital with a confirmed case - four of those are being treated in intensive care.
No deaths were registered in the last 24 hours of people who tested positive, meaning the total remains at 2,491, she said.
The first minister also confirmed 79 cases are now associated with a cluster in Aberdeen – up 25 from yesterday when lockdown restrictions were reimposed in the city – adding that she expects to report a further growth in cases tomorrow.

Germany makes tests mandatory for returnees from 'high-risk' countries

People returning from countries with a high risk of coronavirus will, from Saturday, have to undergo tests on arrival, unless they can provide a negative test result that’s less than two days old, the German health minister has said.
The tests - which are free - had been offered to such returnees on a voluntary basis since last week, but will now become mandatory.
"I appreciate that this is an infringement on individual freedom, but I think it is a justifiable one," health minister Jens Spahn told reporters on Thursday.
It comes after Germany reported 1,045 new coronavirus infections - the first daily jump above 1,000 cases in three months.
The rule includes travellers of all nationalities coming from most non-EU states (except the UK), as well as parts of Spain and Luxembourg.
The widespread provision of free testing is also in sharp contrast with some other countries where testing capacity is limited or expensive.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 14:07

Labour calls for inquiry into government's masks purchase

Earlier, we reported that 50 million face masks bought by the government in April will not be used in the NHS because of safety concerns.
Now, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for an inquiry into the government's purchase of the masks.
During a visit to north Wales, he told reporters: "For months we were told that the government was purchasing the right equipment for the front line. Yet again it hasn't happened.
"There needs now to be an investigation, an inquiry, into what went wrong with this particular contract because it's just not good enough to people who need that protective equipment that we find ourselves in this position."
The government said there was "a robust process" in place to ensure orders are of high quality and meet strict safety standards.
Read more on the story here

What's happening with cases around the world?

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Global cases are now approaching 20 million, with more than half the number coming from just three countries: The US, Brazil and India.
A number of countries are witnessing a rise in cases, including Brazil and Mexico.
Both Latin America and Asia are experiencing an uptick in the number of daily infections, while cases in Africa and the Middle East appear to be slowing.
Read more on how coronavirus is spreading here
Coronavirus - 6th August E6fa4e10
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 18:22

Thailand delays travel bubble plans

As a nation dependent on tourism, Thailand had hoped to form travel bubbles with a select number of territories to help revitalise its struggling economy.
But now the government has been forced to shelve the plan amid a rising number of cases in parts of Asia, Reuters news agency reports.
The move, which was announced in June, would have allowed travellers from countries with low infection rates to enter Thailand without being forced to quarantine.
"Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were among those considered because those areas had a low number of cases, but now they were in double-digits sodiscussions were put on hold," Thailand's coronavirus taskforce spokesman told Reuters.
Thailand itself has recorded just 3,300 cases of coronavirus and has gone 10 weeks without cases of local infection.

Canadian pastor jailed in Myanmar for defying virus law

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David Lah falsely told Christians they were immune to the virus

A Canadian pastor who contracted Covid-19 in Myanmar, after preaching that Christians were immune, has been jailed for three months with hard labour for breaching a coronavirus law.
David Lah was on Thursday convicted of violating coronavirus restrictions by holding a large prayer gathering in Yangon.
The 43-year-old preacher, who was born in Myanmar, held the event in early April, weeks after large gatherings were banned under the country’s Natural Disaster Management Law.
Lah and about 20 followers tested positive for the virus after the event, which has been blamed for one of Myanmar's biggest virus clusters.
On top of his gatherings, Lah has provoked outrage for making false claims about the coronavirus in sermons filmed and shared online.
In one sermon, Lah claimed that if Christians “have the whole of Christ in your heart, you will not get the disease”.
Myanmar currently has 357 confirmed cases and six deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:18

How Chinese media covers the pandemic in the US

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Today, Chinese media is dominated by articles and footage that criticises the Trump administration amid the US’ Covid-19 outbreak.
News outlets in mainland China operate under tight Communist Party control, and the reports appear to form part of an ongoing propaganda campaign to slam the country amid souring Sino-US ties.
The state news channel, CCTV, reports that one American is dying “every 80 seconds” of Covid-19 in the US, citing an NBC report.
Other reports are highlighting that four Americans have died and three have been blinded since May, after drinking hand sanitiser.
There are many factors behind the current tensions in US-China relations, but one is the fact that President Trump has blamed China for the global pandemic, and used phrases like "China virus" and "Kung Flu" - while China feels that Trump shoulders the blame for the number of cases in the US.
China’s media have consistently claimed that Trump is fuelling sinophobia in the States, making Chinese students hesitant about studying in the country.
The reality is a bit more complicated than that - Chinese students have told the BBC they feel put off by Sinophobia in the US - but also recognise some of the strengths of America's political system.
You can read more on that here .
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:23

Five more deaths in England, three in Wales, none in NI or Scotland

A further five people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, according to NHS England.
In Wales, another three people have died after testing positive, and 15 more cases were recorded.
There were 43 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland. No new deaths were reported.
Across Scotland, a further 67 positive tests were announced. Of these, 39 were in the Grampian health board area, which includes freshly locked down Aberdeen . However, no new deaths were recorded for the 21st consecutive day.
We'll bring you the full UK-wide figures when we get them a little later.

Local health teams outperforming call centres on contact tracing in England

Local health protection teams continue to be more successful than call centre workers at reaching close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the latest data.
For cases handled by local teams, 98.0% of close contacts of people who tested positive have been reached and asked to self-isolate, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.

But for those cases handled either online or by call centres, 56.1% of close contacts have been reached and asked to self-isolate.
The figures were released shortly after the boss of outsourcing company Serco, which one of several companies managing contact tracers, defended its record .
Senior officials insist the Test and Trace programme is not at odds with local systems, and is working in partnership with local authorities and their local health protection teams.

The viral rumours that were completely wrong

Marianna Spring - Specialist disinformation and social media reporter
Tanks never rolled down high streets, helicopters never sprayed the entire country with disinfectant – and there never was a giant lasagne baking in Wembley Stadium.
Those were just a few of the panicky viral messages you might have received via WhatsApp or Facebook at the start of the pandemic.
They may have come as a text, voice note or blurry picture forwarded by a "friend of a friend".
Some were spread by hoaxers, others by well-meaning people who were just wrong. Still others – like the one about the lasagne – were jokes.
We revisited the truth behind a few of the most heart-stopping coronavirus rumours that we debunked earlier this year.
It’s a reminder to stop and think before sharing messages online.
Read more here .
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:28

PM insists NHS Test and Trace is 'world beating'

Boris Johnson has repeated his claim that the NHS Test and Trace system is "world beating".
During a visit to a housing development in Warrington, Cheshire, the prime minister said: "If you look at what we are doing, actually I think it certainly is - it certainly does fit that description of 'world beating'.
"I think I'm right in saying that we are now testing more - per head of population - than virtually any other country in Europe, certainly, in America they are testing a huge number of people."
Figures from the business data platform Statista suggest the UK performs 250,000 tests per million of the population - more than most countries in Europe.
Meanwhile, Johnson said he was "very disappointed" that 50 million face masks bought by the government for the NHS as part of a £252m contract are unusable due to safety concerns because they have ear loops instead of head loops.
He said there were legal proceedings under way so he would not be drawn on the specific example, but added: "We have achieved a colossal race against time to produce billions of items of PPE, sourcing them from abroad but now increasingly making them here in the UK as well, and stockpiling them now in case we have a second wave in the autumn and the winter."
The PM also said there were "real signs of strength in the UK economy", adding: "Unquestionably it will require people to have the confidence to go back to work in a Covid-secure way."
Getting all pupils back in school by 1 September will be also “very, very important for getting our economy overall moving again”, he said.

Three ways the pandemic could end

When will the coronavirus pandemic be over? It’s the million-dollar question on everyone’s minds.
As you may have guessed, it won’t be easy.
In the video below, BBC Africa's Saidata Sesay explains three scenarios that could lead to the pandemic’s end.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:32

Analysis: Mask concerns follow 'wild west' PPE scramble

Hugh Pym - BBC News Health Editor
Coronavirus - 6th August 89a3a010

One procurement expert described the scramble for personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of the supply crisis as "like the wild west".
Every leading healthcare system was pressing to secure scarce supplies in the global market as coronavirus infections soared.
With fears that PPE might run out at some hospitals, the UK authorities looked everywhere for readily available masks, gowns and visors.
A Turkish consignment was found wanting in May and now details of contracts with little known companies signed by the Department of Health in England have emerged.
It is understandable that officials, finding themselves facing an unprecedented shortage of vital equipment, followed up any credible-looking offer.
But the government has to be held accountable for the spending of taxpayers' money and the Good Law project has highlighted deals which raise a number of questions about due process and transparency.

Bank of England boss backs ending furlough

The Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, has backed the government's decision to end its furlough scheme in October.
He told the BBC it was important that policymakers helped workers "move forward" and not keep them in unproductive jobs , but he said the pandemic would inevitably mean that some jobs became redundant.
The Bank also predicted the economic slump caused by coronavirus will be less severe than expected but warned the recovery will take longer.
More than nine million jobs have been furloughed under the government's job retention scheme, but the Bank expects most people to go back to work as the economy recovers.
Trade unions have urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the scheme, which pays a share of workers' wages, to avoid mass job losses.
Mr Bailey said: "It's been a very successful scheme, but he's right to say we have to look forward now," he said. "I don't think we should be locking the economy down in a state that it pre-existed in."
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:37

Tourism tensions rising in popular coastal areas of Wales

Coronavirus - 6th August Ad60ab10
Barmouth is one area locals say has been particularly busy

Popular coastal destinations in Gwynedd, Wales, are being overwhelmed by tourists , local MPs are warning.
Areas like Abersoch and Barmouth are reported to have been particularly busy since lockdown eased.
Plaid Cymru has written to First Minister Mark Drakeford to express concern, and locals say "tensions are building" as they try to maintain social distancing measures.
But businesses have argued they need the visitors in order to recoup lockdown losses.
A letter to Mr Drakeford, signed by four politicians as well as the leader and deputy leader of Gwynedd Council, said "unprecedented numbers" of visitors were making it difficult to observe social distancing in seaside towns and beaches.
"Unfortunately, the numbers flocking here are more than can be dealt with, which leads to a situation beyond the ability of the authorities to maintain order," the letter said.

Pandemic 'has widened the gender gap', says UN study

A study in Turkey by the United Nations has found that the coronavirus pandemic has seen some men devout more hours to household chores. However, women are still burdened more heavily.
The findings follow a survey of more than 1,500 men and women in late April , after Turkey had gone into lockdown to curb the virus.
The UN says the time allocated to home activities has “remarkably increased for both women and men” during the pandemic.
The majority of women - some 77.6% - said they had spent more time cleaning clothes and their homes, compared to 47% of men for the same household chores.
On the question of cooking and serving meals, 59.9% of women said they spent more time on this, compared to 23.9% of men.
This “reinforces the outcome that women experience an increased burden of the housework compared to men,” the UN report says.
Overall, the UN report said, the coronavirus crisis has widened the gender gap, not shrunk it.
Read more: Will women have to work harder after the pandemic?
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:40

Dr Fauci says he has received death threats over pandemic work

Top US virus expert Dr Anthony Fauci has spoken about how he has received death threats, and his daughters have been harassed, due to his public statements about tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
"Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean, it's amazing," Dr Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN.
"I wish that they did not have to go through that," he added. "I wouldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are pure public health principles are so set against it... that they actually threaten you."
Dr Fauci, who has become a household name during the pandemic, has been involved in a number of public disagreements with US President Donald Trump.
Find out more about Dr Fauci here

From Spain to Greece: Europe’s lockdowns explained

Restrictions to deal with new coronavirus outbreaks have been imposed in parts of Europe since lockdowns were eased.
So what are these measures and how do they compare in different countries?
Read our explainer for a country-by-country overview here

UK Covid-19 cases rise by 950

The number of coronavirus cases in the UK has risen by 950 since yesterday, according to the latest government figures , taking the total number of people who have tested positive for the virus to 308,134.
This is an increase in the number of cases reported yesterday, 892.
On Wednesday, the seven-day daily average of cases was 820.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:44

Airport testing shows German government's resolve

Damien McGuinness - BBC News, Berlin
Compulsory testing at airports is a remarkable step for a country that prides itself on personal freedoms, and Germany's health minister admitted as much.
But you just need to say the word “Ischgl” to most Germans to remind them of the risk posed by returning holidaymakers. Ischgl is the Austrian ski resort that hit the news in March, after young German skiers caught the virus while drinking in crowded bars. It’s thought that their return sparked some of the first major outbreaks in Germany.
The move shows how seriously the government is taking the risk of a second wave. Daily infection rates are rising again in Germany — 1,045 new infections in the last 24 hours, compared to between 300 and 500 at the beginning of July — although officials say that’s also because Germany is testing more than ever.
A bigger problem, though, is that the vast majority of new infections are transmitted within Germany.
Over the summer the feeling of urgency has faded, and families and friends are socialising again and infections are no longer confined to a couple of large hotspots.
Testing at airports will only be a small part of preventing a second wave.

Lebanon may see virus spike after blast, minister says

Lebanon may see a rise in coronavirus infections, as the fallout from a deadly explosion in Beirut further stretches medical resources, the country’s health minister says.
Concerns over Covid-19 are rising in Lebanon in the wake of the explosion that rocked the capital on Tuesday, killing at least 137 people.
“Aiding the wounded and the lack of protective supplies may have an impact on the number of coronavirus cases,” Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan told local media .
He promised that some of the field hospitals that will be set up in the coming days will be dedicated to Covid-19 patients.
On Wednesday evening, Lebanon-based newspaper The Daily Star reported that coronavirus testing had been halted in Beirut following the explosion.
"We are not able to mobilise field testing teams in Beirut as it stands - we need to assess our losses,” the head of Lebanon’s virus-monitoring unit, Nada Ghosn, told the paper.

Man thrown out of Ikea after 'secretly' shopping with wife

A man has been told to leave an Ikea store in Belgium after he was found to be secretly shopping with his wife.
Under Belgian rules, only one person from each household is allowed into a shop at any time, punishable by fines of up to €250 (£225, $296) for the offender and €750 for the business.
To enforce the rules, the store in Ghent gave out one bracelet per car, which Hendrik Wallijn gave to his wife.
Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reports that as Wallijn waited outside, a stranger who had finished shopping offered him a bracelet and so he too entered the shop.
"My wife and I kept our distance and pretended we didn’t know each other. At the department with the beds we exchanged three words, about the bed we were going to buy or not," he told the newspaper. He was asked to leave after a member of staff noticed they were together.
"I don't really see the problem," Wallijn said. "In Ostend, where we live, people are half a metre apart on the beach. I also think that you should be able to make such expensive purchases, such as a bed, together."
A number of European countries have added Belgium to their coronavirus quarantine list, meaning that travellers must self-isolate on arrival, following a rise in cases there.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:47

Reopening of pubs in Northern Ireland to be delayed

Emma Vardy - Ireland Correspondent
The reopening of pubs in Northern Ireland is to be delayed, the BBC understands.
Last month, the NI executive indicated that indoor pubs which do not serve food would be able to reopen from Monday 10 August.
However, ministers said it would depend on the rate of the virus at the time in the community.
It is understood the reopening of soft play areas due tomorrow has also been postponed.
It follows a similar decision this week taken by the Irish government to delay the easing of restrictions in the Republic of Ireland.

India becomes third country to surpass two million cases

The number of coronavirus cases in India has passed two million, official figures show.
India reported 58,168 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 2,021,407.
Infections doubled in just 20 days - faster than either the US or Brazil, the only two countries with a higher number of cases.
More than 40,000 deaths have also been recorded in India. Although that is the world's fifth-highest death toll, the country has a massive population of 1.3 billion.
Read more here

Travellers to Wales from Belgium, Bahamas and Andorra to be made to quarantine

The Welsh government has announced that people returning from Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra will have to quarantine at home for a fortnight, from midnight tonight.
It is expected the rest of the UK will follow suit shortly.
Belgium currently has one of the highest coronavirus case rates in Europe, at 49.2 per 100,000 people, compared to 14.3 per 100,000 in the UK.
The three destinations will be removed from the list of countries which have been exempted from border health controls – Luxembourg, Spain and Serbia were all removed last month.
There are currently no direct commercial flights from any of the three locations to Wales, but air passengers can connect via Paris or Amsterdam.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:50

US registers 1.2 million new jobless claims

Almost 1.2 million Americans filed for initial jobless benefits last week, according to the US Department of Labor.
There were a total of 1,186,000 claims for the week ending 1 August, down from 1.4 million the previous week.
The figures have fallen since the early days of the pandemic - when weekly numbers reached 6.6 million in early April - but they have been rising again in recent weeks.
The US has recorded more than 158,000 coronavirus deaths and 4.8 million infections - more than any other country in the world.

Canada zoo struggles to return pandas to China

Coronavirus - 6th August F891f210
Er Shun (pictured) and Da Mao were loaned to Canada from China six years ago as a sign of goodwill

The spread of coronavirus has affected travel across the world. But the crisis has left two giant pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao, stranded in Canada and facing a shortage of food.
Pandas only eat fresh bamboo, which Calgary Zoo had been importing from China before the pandemic grounded most flights.
The zoo announced in May that it would relocate Er Shun and Da Mao back to China, where bamboo is local and in abundant supply, and has relied on trucking a limited Canadian bamboo supply in the meantime.
But this week the zoo said that, despite working with both the Canadian and Chinese governments, it has not yet been able to secure international travel permits to relocate the two animals.
"The continued delays in international permitting is putting the health and welfare of these two beautiful giant pandas in jeopardy," the zoo's president said.
Read the full story here
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:56

London marathon 2020 to be elite-only race

Coronavirus - 6th August A8856110
Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge won the race in 2019

The 2020 London Marathon will involve only elite athletes due to coronavirus concerns.
The 45,000 "mass-event" runners will not be allowed to take part and no spectators will attend, under rules for this year's competition.
However, the much-anticipated showdown between Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele will take place on a bio-secure closed course.
Reduced fields of 30-40 athletes will also compete for the elite women's and wheelchair titles on 4 October.
The 2021 race will also be moved to October, rather than the traditional April date, to maximise the chances of all runners being able to take part.
Read the full story here

Ohio governor tests positive before planned Trump meeting

The governor of the US state of Ohio has tested positive for coronavirus, shortly before he was scheduled to meet President Donald Trump.
Republican Governor Mike DeWine was tested as part of standard protocol for meeting the president, whom he was supposed to greet on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland.
A statement posted on his Twitter account said he had not shown any symptoms and would quarantine at home for the next 14 days.
tweet  Governor Mike DeWine:
:Left Quotes:  Governor DeWine has tested positive for #COVID19 . He has no symptoms at this time. Full statement below.
Coronavirus - 6th August Eeweyj10

5:35 PM Aug 6, 2020
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 19:59

Face coverings in shops in Northern Ireland to be mandatory from Monday

Wearing face coverings in shops and other enclosed public spaces will be compulsory in Northern Ireland from Monday , First Minister Arlene Foster has said.
She added indoor pubs which do not serve food will not be allowed to reopen on Monday, as planned.
Meanwhile, all schools will reopen full-time to all pupils from the start of term , the education minister said.
The NI Executive has said it would base its decisions on easing the lockdown on the rate of infection of the virus in the community.
The R-number in Northern Ireland is now estimated to be between 0.8 - 1.8, and infections have risen three-fold since early July, the health department said earlier.

England's contact-tracing app readies for launch

Coronavirus - 6th August B6d50d10

A second attempt at a Covid-19 contact-tracing app for England will soon be tested by members of the public.
Officials hope to confirm the date for the limited roll-out within a few days. It could be as soon as next week.
The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to log venue visits, as well as implementing Apple and Google's method of detecting other smartphones.
But efforts are still ongoing to deliver medical test results within the product.
Read more
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 6th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 06 2020, 20:02

Today’s main coronavirus developments

As we bring our live coverage of the pandemic to a close for today, here's a reminder of today’s main coronavirus developments from the UK and around the world:


That's it from us for today

We're now pausing our live page and will be back tomorrow.
Thanks for joining us.

The live page was edited today by Alex Therrien and Helier Cheung.
The writers were: Dulcie Lee, Joshua Nevett, Vanessa Buschschluter, Victoria Bisset and Jo Couzens.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 19:02