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Coronavirus - 13th August


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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 13 2020, 08:58

Summary for Thursday, 13th August

  • India registers more than 47,000 deaths, overtaking UK to become fourth-worst affected globally for fatalities
  • After more than 100 days infection-free, New Zealand city of Auckland, under lockdown, records 13 more cases
  • 60% of North Korea's population facing food insecurity, worsened by coronavirus, US says
  • Number of civilians killed in conflict falls during coronavirus, UK charity says
  • Globally, now nearly 20,622,000 cases and over 749,000 deaths - latest Johns Hopkins University tally

Hello and welcome to our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Our news teams are here to bring you the latest developments from the UK and around the world.
First, a summary of the top stories:

India’s death toll surpasses the UK’s

As mentioned in our opening summary, India has become the country with the fourth highest number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in the world. Its fatalities jumped by 942 on Thursday, taking its total to 47,033.
The rise in deaths pushed India’s toll past that of the UK, which had recorded 46,791 fatalities to date, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University .
The UK toll was revised down further on Wednesday to 41,329 due to a new method of counting being introduced.
India also recorded its biggest single-day spike in cases with 66,999 new infections on Thursday, pushing the total to nearly 2.4 million.
Experts say the virus has been spreading rapidly within communities across India. Because India is such a densely populated country, tracing the chain of transmission is difficult, they say.
India brought in Covid-19 restrictions in March. It stopped all international flights and entered a strict lockdown that lasted nearly two months.
But the restrictions came at a devastating economic and human cost, and after India reopened at the end of June and testing increased, case numbers soared.
Many states are continuing to enforce lockdowns in specific areas as clusters of the virus emerge.

New Zealand’s outbreak will ‘get worse’, PM says

New Zealand’s coronavirus outbreak will “get worse before it gets better”, the country’s prime minister has said, after 13 new locally transmitted infections were confirmed.
Jacinda Ardern ordered the country’s biggest city, Auckland, back into lockdown after four new cases, all family members, were found earlier this week.
The new infections have shocked a country that had recorded no locally transmitted cases for 102 days , a feat it was praised for internationally.
A three-day lockdown was imposed in Auckland on Wednesday.
"We can see the seriousness of the situation we are in," Ardern said in a news conference. "It’s being dealt with in an urgent but calm and methodical way."
Of the new cases, 13 have been linked back to this family, while one is an overseas arrival who was in quarantine.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health, said Covid-19 may have been circulating in Auckland for several weeks, as the original case started displaying symptoms as early as 31 July.

Victoria sees drop in new infections

The Australian state of Victoria has recorded 278 new coronavirus cases, its lowest daily increase in more than three weeks.
The state has also recorded eight more deaths, lower than the 21 seen on Wednesday, Australia’s deadliest day of the pandemic yet.
The Victorian government declared a state of disaster earlier this month after Covid-19 restrictions failed to curb a spike in new infections.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the decline in the number of new infections on Thursday showed that the state’s lockdown measures were working.
"What this shows you, not just today's numbers as a single day, but if you look at the trend over the last seven days or so, these stage 4 restrictions - as heartbreaking, as challenging as painful as they are - are working," he said.
"We would just caution against any Victorian thinking that we aren't in the midst of a real marathon."
tweet VicGovDHHS:
:Left Quotes: #Covid19VicData for 13 August 2020. 278 new cases of #coronavirus (#COVID19 ) detected in Victoria in the last 24 hours. Sadly, 8 lives have been lost. More detail will be provided this afternoon.
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Students braced for A-level results day

It’s A-level results day in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. That means joy for some, and disappointment for others.
There are always highs and lows on every results day, but this year, the Covid-19 pandemic has raised the stakes for those, mainly 18 year olds, finding out how they did.
This year, results have been estimated after exams were cancelled by the pandemic.
The exam watchdog has already announced a 2% rise in A* and A grades this year at A-level - close to record levels.
Controversy has surrounded how results have been decided - with head teachers angry at the use of grades from mock exams taken earlier.
Read more about A-level results day here , and watch the video below to see what students think about finishing college during a pandemic.

Another Indian cabinet minister tests positive

Indian cabinet minister Shripad Naik has tested positive for the coronavirus, he has announced on Twitter.
Naik, whose briefs include defence, said his vital signs were normal, adding he would isolate himself at home.
He is the latest of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ministers to test positive for Covid-19. Home Minister Amit Shah and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan are among those who have contracted the virus.
Naik’s positive test comes as India’s coronavirus deaths passed 47,000, the fourth-highest toll in the world.

Trump didn’t take pandemic seriously, Harris says

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Kamala Harris said President Trump was to blame for the scale of the coronavirus outbreak in the US

Kamala Harris, the US Democratic presidential candidate’s running mate, has blamed President Donald Trump for America’s mounting Covid-19 death toll, accusing him of failing to take the pandemic seriously.
Harris lambasted Trump at her first election campaign event with Joe Biden since being chosen as his running mate for November’s presidential election.
The California senator spoke in Wilmington, Delaware.
“This virus has impacted almost every country, but there’s a reason it has hit America worse than any other advanced nation. It’s because of Trump’s failure to take it seriously from the start,” Harris said.
She said Trump’s “refusal to get testing up and running" and “his delusional belief that he knows better than the experts” had cost American lives.
The White House is yet to respond to Harris’s accusations.

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President Maduro’s adviser tests positive

A close adviser to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has said he has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Jorge Rodríguez, Venezuela’s communications minister, said he felt well despite testing positive for the virus and would go into quarantine.
“Even though I am in good general condition, I must comply with the isolation measures and the necessary care in order to overcome the virus,” said Rodríguez .
He is latest high-ranking member of President Maduro’s government to contract the virus.
For years, the country has been battered by an economic crisis and mired in political chaos.
But figures suggest Venezuela has been spared the worst of the coronavirus crisis, faring better than many Latin American countries. The country has recorded just over 29,000 infections and 247 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

What's the latest in Europe?

If you're just joining our live coverage of the pandemic, welcome. These are the main headlines from around Europe:

  • A surge in cases in Spain has prompted the authorities in the north-western Galicia region to ban smoking in public places if social distancing is not possible. Experts say smoking increases the risk of transmission, partly because masks are not worn and smokers project droplets when they exhale
  • In Germany, where schools have been reopening in recent weeks, the environment agency has called for classrooms to be ventilated for 45 minutes after every lesson. It added that classrooms, offices and homes should also be ventilated with wide-open windows after every cough or sneeze
  • A nurse in France was assaulted on a bus after she asked a group of teenagers to wear masks, police say. The attack happened in Paris and two people have been arrested
  • Elsewhere, Ukraine has recorded a record daily jump of 1,592 cases. Infections have increased rapidly in recent months as lockdown measures have been eased

India’s deaths may rise for weeks, if not months, doctor says

The mounting death toll from India’s coronavirus outbreak may continue to rise for months if the government does not take action to curb infections, a doctor has told the BBC.
India reached a sobering new milestone on Thursday, becoming the country with fourth-highest Covid-19 death toll in the world.
On Thursday, India recorded 942 new deaths and 66,999 new cases - the highest single-day spike in infections yet.
Dr Srinivas Rajkum, general secretary of the Resident Doctors' Association in New Delhi, said the situation in India was very serious.
“The daily number of deaths is far ahead of any country in the world as of now and, tragically, this may continue for the next few weeks, if not months,” he said.
He said the Indian government's strategy for dealing with the outbreak was inadequate, blaming insufficient testing for compounding the crisis.
He said more investment in India's healthcare system was urgently needed.
Read more: Why won't India admit how Covid-19 is spreading?

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India is turning to faster tests to meet targets

Reality Check
The news that India has climbed the rankings of those countries with the most fatalities - it is now fourth worst affected - comes soon after the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, pledged to sharply increase testing to one million per day.
But can he achieve this, and are the tests being used reliable?
How much testing is India doing now?
At the start of August, around half a million tests were being carried out each day across India on a week's average, according to the international comparison site, Our World in Data .
Daily figures released by the Indian government are slightly higher than this.
This is a large number but should be put in the context of the size of India's population.
It carries out around 36 tests each day for every 100,000 people. In comparison, the figure for South Africa is 69, for Pakistan it's eight, and for the United Kingdom it's 192.
Prime Minister Modi's ambition is to double this number to achieve a million tests each day for a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion.
See here for the kind of tests India is using and whether rapid tests are recommended globally.

Imported chicken wings test positive, China says

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The chicken wings were tested as part of routine screenings

The authorities in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen say that a surface sample taken from some frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil has tested positive for coronavirus.
The chicken wings were tested by local health authorities as part of routine screenings of food imports.
The Shenzhen local government said tests of every person who might have come into contact with the infected batch, as well as food products stored near it, had come back negative.
A day earlier, Chinese state media reported that coronavirus had been found in the eastern city of Wuhu on the packaging of frozen shrimps imported from Ecuador.
Both cases have raised fears that contaminated food shipments imported from abroad could cause new outbreaks of Covid-19.
Health authorities in Shenzhen said the public needed to take precautions to reduce infection risks from imported meat and seafood.
The first cluster of Covid-19 cases, found late last year, was linked to a seafood market in the city of Wuhan.

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Conflict casualties fell during pandemic, study shows

Jonathan Beale - BBC defence correspondent
There’s evidence of a significant fall in the number of civilians harmed in conflicts around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Data collected by the London-based research charity, Action on Armed Violence, showed a 58% decrease in the number of civilians killed and injured by explosives between April and July 2020, compared with the same period last year.
There’s been a drop in reported violent events in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. In Syria, the number of civilians killed or injured fell by 78%.
Libya is one of the few countries to have seen a rise in civilian harm in recent months, with 479 civilians being killed or injured over the four-month period in 2020, compared with 431 in 2019.
Iain Overton, director of Action on Armed Violence, said the global response to the pandemic appeared to “stay the hand” of militaries and extremist groups.

6% of England has been infected with virus, study says

An estimated 3.4 million people - or around 6% of the population - in England had already been infected with Covid-19 by mid-July, a new study suggests.
The number is far higher than previous estimates. The number of confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University running tally, is around 315,000.
The figure comes from a study by Imperial College London of more than 100,000 volunteers, in the world's largest home testing initiative.
Professor Graham Cooke, the research professor of infectious diseases and research lead at Imperial, said: "Clearly the numbers are still very big and that explains the high levels of mortality we've seen but as a proportion of the overall population it's still relatively small, except in some groups where the prevalence is higher such as for people of Asian and black ethnicity."
"But obviously it means that if we had relaxation of the lockdown completely, we wouldn't have a very protected population so we would expect the virus to return and so I think that has implications for decisions that are made," he added.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 13 2020, 18:25

Latest headlines in the UK

  • Head teachers are warning of "volatility" in the results of this year's A-level qualifications, as controversy engulfs the way in which results have been decided after exams were cancelled due to the pandemic
  • NHS Orkney says it is "profoundly concerned" that the virus is spreading "rapidly" across the islands in northeast Scotland, as health leaders say several people had developed symptoms and travelled to homes in the isles and the mainland
  • Travel firm Tui has seen a sharp jump in bookings for 2021 in the UK as customers make early plans for next year. It comes after the German company posted a €1.1bn (£995m) loss for the three months to June as lockdown brought the travel industry to a halt.
  • Boris Johnson will visit Northern Ireland later on Thursday for meetings with political leaders to discuss how Westminster and Stormont have tackled Covid-19

How will the world vaccinate seven billion?

Naomi Grimly, Global Affairs Correspondent
Teams across the world are working to develop a vaccine that will be effective against Covid-19.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called it "the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes".
But away from the high-tech science of finding a winning formula, what about the logistics of rolling out a vaccine to seven billion people worldwide?
In the UK, the heart of that effort is at the Harwell Science Campus, on an ex-RAF airbase in Oxfordshire.
It is going to be the UK's Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), plans for which have been brought forward by Covid-19.
"We've really compressed the timeline into almost half. So whereas we were expecting to have it ready at the end of 2022, we're now hoping to have it online in 2021," explains Matthew Duchars, chief executive of VMIC.
Read more here

Smoking banned in Spanish region

Smokers have been dealt a blow in the Spanish region of Galicia.
From Thursday, Galicia’s government has banned smoking in the street or in public spaces if social distancing cannot be observed.
The north-western region is the first to introduce such a measure, although others are considering following suit.
Experts recommended the ban to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the region, which currently has 827 active cases of the virus.
“We know that this is an unpopular measure for smokers," said Alberto Fernández Villar, a government adviser, according to the El País newspaper . "But I believe we are in an exceptional situation."
New coronavirus infections are rising once again in Spain, with more than 1,000 recorded a day since the start of August.

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Almost 60% of North Korea facing food insecurity, report says

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In North Korea, it is compulsory for people to wear masks in public places

Almost 60% of North Korea's population is facing food insecurity, worsened by coronavirus, the US says.
A report by the US Department of Agriculture puts the assessment at about 2% higher than last year, and cites the coronavirus pandemic as an aggravating factor.
It means that a further 700,000 North Koreans are suffering food insecurity.
The country often suffers chronic food shortages because of bad weather or drought.
Last month, North Korea reported what it described as the country's first suspected case of Covid-19.
State media said a person who defected to South Korea three years ago last week returned across the demarcation line with Covid-19 symptoms.
Leader Kim Jong-un held an emergency meeting with top officials, imposing a lockdown in the border city of Kaesong.
North Korea, a secretive state, had previously not reported any virus cases - but analysts said this was unlikely.
The US report notes that two other countries - Yemen and Afghanistan - are also struggling to raise consumption to a target of 2,000 hundred calories a day.

Primary school closes in Scotland after virus case

A primary school in Aberdeenshire in Scotland has been closed after a case of coronavirus was confirmed within the school team.
Aberdeenshire Council said several staff from Peterhead Central Primary School are self-isolating.
Parents have been informed and NHS Grampian says it is working to trace close contacts.
Children had not yet returned to the school, which was closed on Wednesday due to bad weather.
The first students returned to school in Scotland on Tuesday, with many councils opting for a phased return ahead of the 18 August deadline for all pupils to be back full-time.

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Why does India have a lower fatality rate?

Soutik Biswas - India Correspondent
India’s death count has risen in absolute numbers. But it has recorded 33 deaths per million of population, lower than in Europe or North America.
Many epidemiologists attribute this relatively low fatality to a young population – the elderly are typically more vulnerable to the infection. It is not clear whether other factors like cross-reactive immunity from other coronaviruses are also responsible.
But some experts believe the low fatality rate doesn’t tell the whole story.
They point to substantial undercounting because India is not adding suspected cases in the final death count, and some states are attributing Covid-19 deaths to the underlying conditions or co-morbidities of the patients.
Also, there have been discrepancies in the official death toll and counts gathered from crematoria and burial grounds in some cities. So it's not entirely clear how many deaths India may have missed.

Greece records first case in island migrant camp

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The Vial camp is hugely overcrowded

Greece has reported its first case of Covid-19 in one of its overcrowded island asylum seeker camps, officials say.
A 35-year-old man from Yemen in the Vial camp on the island of Chios has tested positive, a migration ministry official told the AFP news agency.
"The man has been quarantined at the local hospital. Another 30 people are undergoing tests," the official said.
More than 3,800 people are packed into the Vial camp, over three times its capacity.
Cases have surfaced in camps on the mainland, but this is the first case in an island camp, where the worst overcrowding occurs.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 13 2020, 18:38

Routine operations in English hospitals down 67%

The number of patients admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England was down 67% in June compared with the same time last year, NHS figures show.
The number of people going to accident and emergency units in England in July was also down on last year, by 30%.
The pandemic has caused disruption to many areas of the health service - but patients are being urged to seek help from the NHS when they need it.
Meanwhile, the number of people going to their GP with symptoms of cancer and being urgently referred to a specialist is rising but still nearly 20% lower than the same time last year.
Get more details here .

Mexico and Peru inch towards half a million cases each

Mexico and Peru, which are Latin America's worst-affected countries after Brazil, are both expected to surpass more than half a million confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday.
Mexico registered 6,686 new cases on Wednesday to reach 498,380. The capital, Mexico City, has the highest number of infections, followed by the surrounding Mexico state, Guanajuato and Tabasco.
The country has also seen its unemployment rate rise as a result of the pandemic. Official figures suggest that on average more than five jobs have been lost every minute between March and July.
Peru had a new daily record high with 8,875, reaching 498,555 on Wednesday. Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti said the number of children who've been infected has gone up since the lockdown was lifted. She said that in total 81 children had died of Covid-related diseases from the 23,000 children who had tested positive.
She also announced that a total lockdown would be in force on the next two Sundays to curb the spread of infections.

Workers test positive at UK food factory

A sandwich-making company in the UK says “a number” of its workers have tested positive for coronavirus at its factory in Northampton, in the East Midlands.
Greencore said in a statement that it had decided to "start proactively testing" all of its workers at its Northampton site after a rise of Covid-19 cases in the area.
"We can confirm that a number of colleagues have tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating," it said.
The director of public health at Northamptonshire County Council, Lucy Wightman, said the borough had been experiencing a "high number of cases over the last four weeks" and employers had been asked to "act now" to avoid a local lockdown.

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New Zealand’s outbreak 'could be linked to quarantine breach'

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New Zealand's deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, said he had "inside information" about the source of the new infections

The new outbreak of coronavirus cases in the New Zealand city of Auckland could be linked to a quarantine breach, the country’s deputy prime minister has suggested.
Four members of the same family tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week, with that cluster of local cases growing by 13 on Thursday .
In an interview with ABC News , Winston Peters said he had “inside information” about the suspected source of the cluster.
When asked to elaborate on what he knew, Peters said: "It wasn't an official, I found out from somewhere else, but I think there's been a breach inside our quarantine system.”
Later in the interview, Peters said he was given the information by a New Zealand journalist who was "usually very reliable".
People entering New Zealand must stay in managed isolation for at least 14 days and can only leave if they test negative for Covid-19.
In an earlier news conference, New Zealand's director of health said there was currently “no exact link” between the new locally transmitted cases and imported cases in managed-isolation facilities, adding that investigations were ongoing.

Could dogs sniff out Covid-19?

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Durham University in the UK is appealing for volunteers to help with its trial to see whether specialist sniffer dogs can detect coronavirus.
Researchers want to recruit thousands of people with mild Covid-19 symptoms in England who are due to have a swab test or have had a swab test in the last 24 hours.
The volunteers would provide samples of breath and body odour by wearing a mask for three hours, and nylon socks and a t-shirt for 12 hours.
The project is a collaboration between Durham University, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Medical Detection Dogs.
Should the trial be successful, the dogs could be deployed to airports in the UK within six months to assist with the potential of screening of up to 250 people per hour, the university said.

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South Korea’s local cases hit one-month high

South Korea has recorded more than 50 new coronavirus cases for the second day running, raising fears of another large outbreak driven by local infections.
Most of the new cases confirmed on Thursday, 47 of them, were locally transmitted infections, health authorities said.
It was the highest number of domestic infections since 3 July, when the country reported 49 local cases.
The country has been a success story in dealing with Covid-19, but since May, clusters of new cases have grown, including outbreaks at nightclubs in the capital, Seoul.
"The country's capital area is in a volatile situation," Kwon Jun-wook, a senior health official, said at a news conference.
"We are seeing simultaneous sporadic outbreaks in various areas, and if this situation combines with gatherings and trips in the vacation period, then things may go out of control."
Read more: How South Korean life changed to contain the virus

Where are cases and deaths rising?

Latin America is the current epicentre of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.
Brazil has the second highest number of cases in the world, after the US, and has recorded more than 100,000 deaths. Mexico, the second-most affected country in the region, has recorded more than 50,000 deaths.
Cases have also risen rapidly in Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Venezuela.
Outside Latin America, Iran is another country that has been badly hit. Official figures show cases on the rise again and a death toll of nearly 20,000 - but documents leaked to the BBC Persian service suggest the real number is actually more than double that.
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In Africa, South Africa and Egypt have seen the largest outbreaks so far, with South Africa becoming only the fifth country in the world to record more than 500,000 confirmed cases.
Across the continent, there have been more than a million confirmed cases, although the true extent of the pandemic there is not known. Testing rates are reported to be low, which could distort official estimates.

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England's revamped contact-tracing app begins new trials

England's revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app has begun public trials on the Isle of Wight, after months of delay.
As you may remember, the government abandoned plans to develop its own technology in June amid accuracy issues and concerns about privacy.
The new software will be based on Apple and Google's method of one smartphone detecting another.
The app will log the time and distance a user has spent near to anyone, even if they don't know them, so it can alert them if that person later tests positive for coronavirus.
But engineers are still trying to reduce how often the Bluetooth-based tech wrongly flags people as being within 2m (6.6ft) of each other.
Read more here

US sees highest daily death toll since May

The US has recorded almost 1,500 more deaths linked to the coronavirus pandemic, its biggest single-day increase in fatalities since mid-May, data has shown.
Wednesday’s rise brought the country’s death toll to at least 166,000 nationwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University .
Coronavirus infections are still on the rise too, with at least five million confirmed to date.
As the US edges towards 5.2 million cases, the Trump administration continues to push for children to return to schools, businesses to reopen and crowds to fill sports stadiums.
“We’ve got to open up our schools and open up our businesses,” Trump said at a White House briefing on Wednesday.
Since May, all 50 states have been lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions that curbed the spread of coronavirus, but damaged the economy.
When restrictions were loosened, infections spiked again, with southern and western states seeing the largest outbreaks.

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South Korea installs anti-virus bus shelters

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South Korea has launched new bus shelters in the capital Seoul, kitted out with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps.
Before entering the shelters, passengers must have their temperature checked by an automated thermal-imaging camera. The doors will not slide open for anyone with a temperature above 37.5C.
The shelters cost around 100m won ($84,000, £64,400) each.
Kim Ju-li, a 49-year-old housewife using the new bus stop for the first time, told the AFP news agency: “I feel really safe in here because I know others around me had their temperatures checked as well as me.”
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US unemployment claims drop below one million

The number of new claims for unemployment benefits in the US dropped below one million last week, the first time it has done so since the start of the pandemic.
There were 963,000 initial claims filed in the week ending 8 August, a drop of 228,000 from the previous week, US Labor Department figures showed .
That was the lowest figure since mid-March, when lockdown restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus came into effect.
Jobless claims still remain well above the pre-pandemic record set in 1982.
Unemployment has soared during the pandemic and the US economy shrank by 9.5% in the second quarter of 2020.
Read more: US jobs growth slows in July as pandemic takes toll.

How Ecuador's large shrimp industry has been hit


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Many shrimp farmers in Ecuador have been forced to close their businesses during the pandemic

Ecuador is one of the world’s biggest exporters of shrimp, but many farms have been forced to close down due to Covid-19.
Exports to China plummeted after traces of Covid-19 were found in a container of shrimp exported from the South American country.
BBC OS on World Service radio has been hearing from shrimp farmers in Ecuador.
Luis Francisco Burgos works in the port city of Guayaquil.
“We are mainly dependent on oil exports but after oil, the two big industries are bananas and shrimp,” he says. “In the last few years shrimp has gained more importance. Around 200,000 families depend on the industry.”
He says that there has been a drop in demand for shrimp, because a large percentage of consumption comes from restaurants:
“A lot of people are closing down their farms, because prices are so low that you cannot make money.”
Another farmer in Guayaquil, Rodrigo Laniado, has a packing plant:
“My farms are on small islands, so people leave there and go back home. So we had to make sure we isolated our employees.
“In the factories it was difficult because there are more people there, so we had to control the temperature, disinfect everyone and do blood tests.”

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Virus spike has chilling effect on US recovery

Samira Hussain - New York business correspondent
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell below one million last week for the first time since March.
But the number of people out of work remains exceptionally high.
At the beginning of the crisis, many of the job losses were temporary, but economists believe the newer ones are likely to be permanent.
The recent surge in coronavirus cases has had a chilling effect on the country’s job recovery as many businesses were forced to review their reopening plans.
Last month, the US economy added 1.8 million jobs, bringing the monthly unemployment rate to 10.2%.
The figures reignited calls for Washington to approve further economic stimulus.

Kamala Harris’s sister takes hydroxychloroquine - why?

Alistair Coleman - BBC anti-disinformation unit
Coronavirus - 13th August Fb8a1710
Kamala Harris is the is the democratic candidate for vice-president

A right-wing commentator in the UK has attempted to make an issue out of the fact that the sister of Kamala Harris - US presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s newly-announced running mate - takes the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).
His tweets, now shared over 13,000 times are factually true - Maya Harris does take the drug, but it's to treat lupus and not for either the prevention or treatment of Covid-19.
Maya Harris revealed in April that she had been diagnosed with the condition as a student, but had kept her illness private until President Trump urged HCQ’s use for coronavirus.
HCQ has been frequently touted by Donald Trump as a treatment for Covid-19, but there is no clear evidence that it is effective, and there are concerns that self-medicating with the drug could be harmful.
Its use is tightly controlled for sufferers of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis because of its potential side effects, which can include heart rhythm problems, kidney injuries, and liver failure, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
Writing in The Atlantic in April , Maya Harris said stockpiling HCQ to treat coronavirus would lead to sufferers finding the drug both scarce and too expensive.
Noting that [url= is two to three,537 young African American women]people of colour are more likely to suffer from lupus[/url] she said she considered it to be an equality matter. “If the supply shortages continue, those of us whose well-being depends on the drug have plenty to lose,” she wrote.
Find out more about hydroxychloroquine here

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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 13th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 13 2020, 19:04

Price cap plan for UK funerals shelved

Kevin Peachey - Personal finance reporter
Plans to cap the cost of funerals in the UK have been shelved because of the pandemic.
It comes after a long-running investigation by the UK's competition authority concluded the sector was not working well for grieving families.
It found rising costs and difficulties for people in comparing prices.
A report earlier this year by insurer SunLife suggested the average cost of a basic funeral has risen by more than 9% in a year in some regions, with the cost typically £4,417.
Read more and get advice on paying for a funeral in advance here .

Did Indian men do more housework during lockdown?

Geeta Pandey - BBC News, Delhi
Did Indian men do more housework during the Covid-19 lockdown? Preliminary data suggests they did, but is it enough to say that Indian homes are becoming more gender equal?
Dr Rahul Nagar, a Delhi-based dermatologist, says there's always been "a very clear division of labour" in his home.
His wife, also a doctor, did the cooking and was the primary carer for their child. Like most middle-class Indians, they employed a part-time help who did the cleaning and dishes, while Dr Nagar did little bits and pieces.
But then came the pandemic - and as Covid-19 cases began to rise, India went into a strict lockdown and their domestic helper was unable to come to work.
"Pre-lockdown, for every five hours of work my wife did, I did one hour. But this pandemic has been a bolt from the blue," says Dr Nagar.
Read more here.

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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 13th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 13 2020, 19:08

Global deaths pass 750,000

The number of people globally who have died from coronavirus has today passed 750,000, according Johns Hopkins University.
The sombre milestone has been reached nine months after the first cases were reported in China in December. As the pandemic has accelerated, so has the death toll - doubling since 2 June, with 100,000 deaths in the past 17 days alone.
Almost half of those killed were living in just four countries - the US (166,083), Brazil (104,201), Mexico (54,666) and India (47,033).
Latin America, currently the epicentre of the pandemic, remains the hardest hit region with more than 228,000 losses.
Our visual journalism team have been tracking the pandemic - see more here.

Wales and Scotland record no further deaths

Wales has reported no further deaths of people who have tested positive for coronavirus, Public Health Wales says.
The total number of cases in the country has increased by 15.
No further deaths were recorded in Scotland but there were 47 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says.
Figures for England and Northern Ireland, as well as UK-wide figures, will come in later.

US facing greatest crisis in 100 years, health chief says

As the US registers its worst daily toll of new coronavirus deaths since mid-May, a stark warning from a top health official.
The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest public health crisis to affect the US in a century, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Dr Robert Redfield said.
The pandemic had hindered the progress of other programmes to improve health in the US.
“There are thousands and thousands of people working 24/7 on this pandemic,” Redfield told the WebMD website . “The fact is that, really, all of our focus is on this pandemic right now.”
In a candid admission, Dr Redfield said the country had not invested enough “in the core capabilities of public health” before the pandemic.
He said investment had been made over the years, but “when the big one came - and this is not a minor one, this is the greatest public health crisis to hit this nation in a century - we were under-prepared”.
Redfield said we owe it to our children and grandchildren to make sure the nation is never this unprepared for a public health crisis again.

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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 13th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 13 2020, 19:12

Virus making it harder for Wayuu to survive, HRW finds

Coronavirus - 13th August F3f43710
The majority of the Wayuu live in La Guajira, a poor region in the north of the country

The pandemic is putting the lives of indigenous Wayuu people in Colombia in danger and is putting children at risk of malnutrition, according to Human Rights Watch.
With a population of at least 270,000, the Wayuu are Colombia’s largest group of indigenous people. The majority of the Wayuu live in La Guajira, a poor region in the north of the country.
Lockdown measures - in particular travel restrictions - have seriously limited access to food for Wayuu, HRW said in a report with the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health.
“Rural indigenous communities in La Guajira can’t get sufficient food or enough water for basic hygiene, such as handwashing, and access to health care and information is very poor,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.
“This situation has for years contributed to one of the highest levels of child malnutrition in Colombia, and it raises critical concerns in the current context of Covid-19.”
Indigenous peoples tend to be at higher risk from emerging infectious diseases and Covid-19 is no exception.
Amazonian indigenous groups are particularly vulnerable to dying from Covid-19 because they often live days away from professional medical help.
As of 28 July , the disease had killed 1,108 indigenous people and there had been 27,517 recorded cases, with the majority in Brazil, according to data published by Red Eclesial Panamazonia.

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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 13th August

Post by Kitkat on Thu Aug 13 2020, 19:15

Thanks for joining us...

We're pausing our live coronavirus coverage for now. But you can continue to follow all the major developments at Here's a round-up of the main stories from the UK and around the world.

  • The US saw 1,500 deaths from Covid-related causes on Wednesday - the highest number in a single day since mid-May
  • At least 166,000 people have now died of coronavirus in the US and infections are still on the rise
  • Globally, three quarters of a million people have now died with coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University
  • In England, 36% of A-level entries had a lower grade than teachers predicted and 3% were down two grades , in results in place of exams cancelled by the pandemic
  • India has registered more than 47,000 deaths, overtaking the UK to become fourth-worst affected globally for fatalities
  • The number of patients admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England was down 67% in June compared with the same time last year, NHS figures show
  • New Zealand has reported 14 new Covid-19 cases , a day after its biggest city, Auckland, went back into lockdown
  • The Spanish region of Galicia has effectively banned smoking in public places over concerns it increases the risk of Covid-19 transmission

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:58