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Coronavirus - 16th August

Kitkat
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covidaug Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 11:02

Summary for Sunday, 16th August


  • The WHO says 294,237 cases have been recorded in 24 hours
  • New Zealand's deputy prime minister calls for an election delay as Covid-19 reappears in the country
  • South Korea records its biggest outbreak of new cases in five months
  • The UK exams regulator reviews guidance on how to appeal against exam grades issued after public exams were cancelled
  • South Africa's president says infections appear to have peaked in the country
  • More than 21.4 million cases and over 771,000 deaths are registered globally - latest Johns Hopkins University tally


We’re starting our coronavirus coverage for the day. Here is a round-up of the world’s most biggest new developments:

  • The World Health Organization has reported that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world has increased by more than 294,000 in 24 hours - the biggest figure so far
  • New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters called for a delay to the September general election due to the reappearance of coronavirus in the country
  • The country - which saw an outbreak this week after no new infections for 102 days - now has 69 active cases
  • South Korea has reported 279 new cases, its biggest outbreak of new cases in five months and more than double the 103 reported on Friday
  • The country’s health ministry has accused the leader of the Sarang Jeil Church religious sect of violating self-isolation rules and obstructing investigations
  • South Africa's president has said coronavirus infections appear to have peaked in the country , as he announced a sweeping relaxation of lockdown measures
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa said nearly all restrictions on the country's economy will be eased from Monday, including a controversial ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco
  • The UK exams regulator is reviewing its guidance on how to appeal against A-level and GCSE grades using mock exam results - hours after publishing it. Neither A-level nor GCSE students were able to sit public exams this year because of the coronavirus pandemic


South Korea points finger at religious sect amid new outbreak

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Religious groups were part of anti-government protests

South Korea has reported its biggest Covid-19 outbreak in five months and officials are pointing fingers at the leader of a religious sect for flouting restrictions.
A total of 279 new cases have been reported, more than double the 103 reported on Friday. Most of the new cases are in and around the capital Seoul.
The Sarang Jeil Church led by Reverend Jun Kwang-hoon, a controversial pastor and an outspoken government critic, accounts for 107 of the new cases.
The health ministry has accused Jun of violating restrictions by holding a rally on Saturday and failing to provide a full list of his congregation to allow tracking and testing.
More than 10,000 people took part in anti-government protests in the capital on Saturday.
President Moon Jae-in said there would be a stern response to members of the sect.
"It is a very senseless act that hampers efforts of the whole people to contain the spread of the new coronavirus," Moon wrote on Facebook.
"It is a clear challenge to the national disease control and prevention system, and an unforgivable act that threatens the lives of the people."
The government will take "very stern and strong measures,” he added.

Highest global increase in cases so far, WHO says

The World Health Organization has reported that the number of confirmed global coronavirus cases has increased by more than 294,000 in 24 hours - the highest figure so far.
More than 21 million people are known to have been infected with the virus globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
More than 771,000 people have lost their lives.
The highest death toll is far the United States at almost 170,000, out of more than 5 million cases.

South Africa eases lockdown as 'outbreak reaches peak'

South Africa's president has said coronavirus infections appear to have peaked in the country, as he announced a sweeping relaxation of lockdown measures.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said nearly all restrictions on the country's economy will be eased from Monday.
A controversial ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco will be lifted.
Domestic travel, small family gatherings and the reopening of businesses will be allowed.
In a TV address on Saturday, Ramaphosa said the easing of restrictions will help to revive the country's flagging economy after a period of great hardship for the country.
However, he called on South Africans not to let their guard down against Covid-19 despite "signs of hope", warning of difficult times ahead.
The country has recorded more than half of Africa's coronavirus infections, with more than 570,000 cases and 11,500 deaths to date.
Read more here.

NZ Deputy PM calls for election to be postponed due to new cases

The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand has said next month’s general election should be postponed because of the country’s new outbreak of coronavirus.
Winston Peters, who heads a junior coalition party, said the outbreak compromises the holding of a free and fair poll.
His intervention puts additional pressure on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She is expected to make an annoucement on the election plans on Monday morning.
The opposition National Party has said it would back a postponement.
A second lockdown was declared last week after four new cases were discovered in the city of Auckland, just after New Zealand had celebrated 100 days of being Covid free.
Thirteen new cases were reported on Sunday, bringing the total number to 69.
Critics have blamed problems in border controls and security at quarantine hotels, where people are alleged to have escaped regularly, paying visits to supermarkets and liquor stores.
Arden has said the new outbreak is being dealt with in “an urgent but calm and methodical way".

England's exam board reviewing appeal guidance

England's exams regulator is reviewing its guidance on how to appeal against grades using mock exam results - hours after publishing it.
Neither A-level nor GCSE students were able to sit public exams this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This year's grades are being awarded using a controversial modelling system, with the key factors being the ranking order of pupils and the previous exam results of schools and colleges.
Almost 40% of A-level grades were marked down from teachers' predictions - with pupils, parents and schools expressing anger and dismay at the outcome. GCSE results are out this week.
On Saturday Ofqual set out what constituted a "valid" mock exam for students appealing against the results. But the regulator has now suspended that criteria, and further information will be published "in due course".
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:04

Highest daily increase in cases spells long road ahead

More than 294,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, according to the World Health Organization's figures. This is the highest daily increase of the pandemic so far.
Cases are continuing to surge in many countries, while others - which had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks - are now seeing infections rise again.
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Several countries across Europe have reported a recent rise in cases.
Spain, which was one of the worst-affected countries in the early months of the pandemic, has seen an increase in recent weeks and experts there say the country has once again reached a "critical situation".
France, another country that saw a large number of cases and deaths in March and April before managing to restrict the spread of the virus, is also seeing a surge in infections.
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WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the coronavirus pandemic is "easily the most severe" global health emergency the organisation has ever seen and that there may never be a vaccine - or "silver bullet" - to defeat the virus.
However, he has also pointed out that, though the virus has been detected in 188 countries, about half of all cases reported so far were from just three: the US, Brazil and India.
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Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:09

Parents told England's schools safe for September return

With schools in England due to reopen in September, the government is trying to persuade parents that it will be safe for their children to return to the classroom.
Under the #backtoschoolsafely slogan, the new campaign will highlight the various measures being implemented to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission.
It comes after Boris Johnson said there was a "moral duty" to get pupils back to the classroom.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also said it was the PM's "moral responsibility" to ensure that schools reopen.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday , Sir Keir said he expected children to be back in the classroom in September "no ifs, no buts, no equivocation".
Read more here

Why some UK businesses are opting out of restaurant discount scheme

Some restaurants and pubs say they are withdrawing from the UK government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme because of "hostility towards staff".
Under the scheme the government pays half of the bill on meals served from Monday to Wednesdays throughout August.
But some owners says a surge in demand on these days has led to staff being shouted at, and "physical and mental stress".
In tourist-heavy areas like south-west England, many say the scheme is not helping at an already busy time of year.
Some say fewer customers are dining on other weekdays as a result. However, the Treasury maintains the scheme is working.
You can read more about the businesses opting out here - and for details on how the scheme works see our explainer.
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:13

UK universities seek to reassure A-level students

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Some young people have protested against the grading system

UK universities are seeking to reassure thousands of students who have have been rejected for their chosen courses because their A-level exam results were downgraded.
Pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were unable to sit public exams this year because of the pandemic and this year's grades were awarded using a controversial modelling system.
Many students are preparing to launch appeals.
In the meantime, some universities are coming forward to offer possible solutions.
The University of Oxford's Worcester and Wadham colleges have said they will honour all the provisional offers they had made to UK students, irrespective of their final grades.
Other places - such as Leicester University - say they are willing to look at mock-exam results when allocating further course places.
Experts Eddie Playfair and Catherine Sezen, senior policy managers at the Association of Colleges have been answering some of your questions about the situation.

Kenya hospitals 'charging patients for staff PPE'

Public hospitals in Kenya have begun charging virus patients for Covid-19 tests and staff personal protective equipment (PPE), local media report.
The Daily Nation newspaper said charges began after the Kenyan government reneged on a promise to pay for tests and PPE - including masks, hazmat suits, gloves and other items.
The newspaper said this could be because the cost of PPE had risen, with a full PPE kit that cost about $70 (£53) in March now costing about $120.
"We are using our money to buy the protective gear and when the government says it will take care of the patients and it does not, we are left struggling," a source told the Daily Nation.
Some reports say patients in private hospitals with Covid-19 and other conditions are also being charged.
The Daily Star quoted relatives of a diabetes patient who spent 10 days in intensive care in a private hospital in Nairobi as saying that their final bill of $46,000 included up to 10 sets of full PPE a day and more than 80 masks on one day.
Wang’ombe Kariuki, director general of the Competition Authority of Kenya, advised against capping PPE prices.
"Price controls are counterproductive since they ultimately harm consumers, more so by facilitating proliferation of black markets. Quality and safety of goods is also not guaranteed," he told the Daily Star.
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:17

Home-working largely accepted while vaccine search goes on

Working from home will continue to be appealing to the UK public until a Covid-19 vaccine is found, research suggests.
King's College London has been tracking attitudes during the pandemic.
Results from its latest survey reveal that 86% of people believe that, until there is a vaccine, workers should be able to decide whether they returned to the office.
A total of 87% of the people questioned also said they would accept local lockdowns being imposed in the future, with 85% saying they would accept their own local area being subject to such limitations.
Experts said it shows people are prioritising public health over the economy and their social lives.

Why Egypt has faced criticism over antibody tests

A swab test is the preferred way to test if someone has coronavirus, but Egypt is using antibody testing instead, when deciding if frontline staff are able to work.
This goes against international advice. The World Health Organization says the tests do not show whether a person currently has the virus.
Doctors say this may have helped spread the virus in Egypt. Watch our explainer below.


Coronavirus: Why Egypt has faced criticism over antibody tests
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:21

Ten African innovations to help tackle Covid-19

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Kenyan Stephen Wamukota with his handwashing machine

As Africa passes more than a million confirmed Covid-19 cases, people across the continent have been coming up with a creative inventions to stop the pandemic in its track.
In Kenya, a nine-year-old schoolboy has invented a wooden hand-washing machine to help users avoid touching surfaces.
And over in Nigeria, a 20-year-old engineering student has invented a portable respirator to help with a shortfall in the country.
Read more here.

UAE and Israel to cooperate on coronavirus research

The UAE and Israel have agreed to cooperate in coronavirus research, Emirati state news agency WAM says.
The announcement comes following an agreement between the two countries last week to normalise their relations.
Emirati company APEX National Investment and Israel's TeraGroup are seeking to develop a testing device to speed up the testing process with high accuracy, among other studies.
Telephone communications have also now been opened between the two countries. Until now, it hasn't been possible to call Israel from the UAE.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:25

'Baffling, mind-boggling, inadequate, shell-shocked'

Sean Coughlan - BBC News, education correspondent
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"Baffling, mind-boggling, inadequate, shell-shocked" - these are the politer responses from school leaders, trying to make sense of Ofqual's bizarre retraction of its own rules over A-level appeals.
On Saturday Ofqual set out what constituted a "valid" mock exam for students appealing against A-level results in England - but the regulator has now suspended those criteria, and further information will be published "in due course".

An early morning email from an otherwise respectable head teacher was titled: "WTF?"
Ofqual is meant to be an independent exams watchdog, but assuming it didn't overrule itself, who did pull the plug on what they'd announced for appeals over mock exams?
The non-decision still leaves students anxiously waiting to find out if they can appeal and claim their university places.
There is also irritation that ministers didn't head off this chaos in advance, or even when problems emerged in Scotland.
In the end, whether it's by Ofqual or the Department for Education or Number 10, a decision will have to be made.
Do they stick with the current grades and retro-fit them with a functioning appeals system? And will that withstand the unpicking of the fairness of results and legal challenges?
Or do they take the political hit - and the risk of creating other types of unfairness - by switching to teachers' predictions, as eventually happened in Scotland?
For ministers, it's time to turn over the exam paper and start their answers.

US approves new Yale saliva virus test

The US Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorisation to a new saliva diagnostic test developed at Yale University.
In a statement , the FDA said the new test, called SalivaDirect, does not need any special type of swab or collection device, and a saliva sample can be collected in any sterile container.
SalivaDirect is also unique because it doesn't require a separate step to extract nucleic acid, which holds people's key genetic information. Extraction kits used for this step in other tests have been prone to shortages in the past, the FDA said, so being able to perform a test without these kits enhances the capacity for increased testing.
It's the fifth test authorised by the FDA which uses saliva as a sample for testing. This method eliminates the need for invasive, uncomfortable nasopharyngeal swabs, which have also faced shortages during the pandemic, the FDA added. It also lowers risks to healthcare workers because saliva samples can be self-collected.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:29

Long Covid: 'Life might never be normal again'

Coronavirus patients who have lived with symptoms for up to five months have spoken about the huge impact it has had on their lives.
"Long Covid" support groups have appeared on social media, and the government says "tens of thousands" of people have long-term problems after catching the virus, such as extreme fatigue.
Daliah, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, said: "It's scary because we don't know how permanent this is. There are times where I feel like life will never be normal again, my body will never be normal again."
The NHS has launched a Your Covid Recovery website to offer support and advice to people affected.

Spike in sanitiser-related calls to Australia poison hotline

The number of calls to Australia's Poison Information Centre (PIC) relating to alcohol-based hand sanitiser has risen sharply, reports say.
Genevieve Adamo, a senior specialist in poisons information at the New South Wales PIC said more than 1,000 calls were received from February to the end of July.
“There have been occasional cases where some kids have gotten very sick,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper , adding that the majority of cases were accidental.
One six-year-old child needed intensive care treatment after ingesting four times the legal driving limit for an adult, said Dr Karen Zwi, a community paediatrician at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick.
The child started slurring her words and vomiting, and had to be put on a ventilator after being rushed to hospital.
"She is lucky to have survived,” Dr Zwi said.
Adamo told the paper that a small lick of sanitiser would not do serious harm, but bottles should be kept out of the reach of small children in case they ingest more.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:34

Scotland records 43 new Covid-19 cases

There have been 43 new cases of Covid-19 detected in Scotland in the last 24 hours.
Of these, 14 of are in the Grampian NHS area, which includes Aberdeen, where a local lockdown is in effect. The city's measures will be reviewed again on Wednesday.
Over the past 14 days there have been 418 confirmed cases. There were 51 new cases reported on Saturday, and 65 announced on Friday.
Although localised outbreaks are still occurring, the number of new confirmed cases in Scotland has been slowing.
For more than a month no deaths have been registered for anyone who tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 28 days.
Read more: Where are the latest cases?

Ex-India cricketer Chetan Chauhan dies after contracting Covid-19

Coronavirus - 16th August 4909e410

Former India cricketer Chetan Chauhan has died at the age of 73, a month after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
Chauhan was admitted to hospital on 12 July after testing positive. His health later deteriorated due to kidney-related ailments, and on Friday he suffered multiple organ failure, according to the Press Trust of India.
During his 12-year cricket career he played 40 Tests for India. Chauhan later entered politics and was a cabinet minister in his home state of Uttar Pradesh.
Many people have paid paid their respects to Mr Chauhan on social media, including India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
tweet  Narendra Modi:
:Left Quotes:  Shri Chetan Chauhan Ji distinguished himself as a wonderful cricketer and later as a diligent political leader. He made effective contributions to public service and strengthening the BJP in UP. Anguished by his passing away. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti.

Chauhan is the second minister from Uttar Pradesh to die after catching coronavirus. Earlier this month Kamla Rani Varun, the state's technical education minister, died aged 62.
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 16:40

Legal challenges over England exam results

The statistical model used by the exam regulator in England to determine grades this year is facing two legal challenges.
Students were unable to sit public exams this year because of the pandemic, and almost 40% of A-level grades were marked down from teachers' predictions after an algorithm was used by Ofqual.
Lawyers from Leigh Day and Foxglove believe Ofqual acted outside its statutory responsibilities in basing judgements on schools' prior performance not "individual achievement and attainment".
Six students are also being supported in a case by campaigning legal group the Good Law Project.
Meanwhile, the Conservative chairman of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon, said an Ofqual decision to review appeals guidance left students and schools in confusion, describing the situation as a "huge mess".
Emma Hardy, Labour's shadow further education and universities minister, told the BBC the government must "urgently agree" to take grades assessed by teachers as final results.
Read more about the legal cases and see our analysis on the way the algorithm worked here.

Students protest against exam grading

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We've brought you news throughout the day about the furore over exam results in England, after a government algorithim stepped in when A-levels were cancelled due to the pandemic, leaving many students disappointed with their results.
Some have been protesting outside the Department for Education in London.
Much of the anger has been directed at Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner has accused of presiding over a "complete and utter fiasco".
Read more here: 'Huge mess' as exams appeal guidance withdrawn
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 17:10

Rate of child virus infections 'increasing' in US

The rate of coronavirus infections in children has been rising in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The number and rate of cases in children in the United States have been steadily increasing from March to July 2020," the CDC's updated guidelines read.
The number of children infected with the virus is not known "due to lack of widespread testing and the prioritisation of testing for adults and those with severe illness", it adds.
While the virus is far less dangerous for children, they are still at risk of developing serious symptoms, according to the CDC.
It says: "The rate of hospitalization among children is low (8.0 per 100,000 population) compared with that in adults (164.5 per 100,000 population), but hospitalization rates in children are increasing."

Public Health England 'to be replaced'

Public Health England is to be replaced by a new agency that will specifically deal with protecting the country from pandemics, according to a report.
The Sunday Telegraph claims Health Secretary Matt Hancock will this week announce a new body modelled on Germany's Robert Koch Institute.
Ministers have reportedly been unhappy with the way PHE has responded to the coronavirus crisis.
The government was contacted by the BBC but declined to comment on the report.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Public Health England have played an integral role in our national response to this unprecedented global pandemic.
"We have always been clear that we must learn the right lessons from this crisis to ensure that we are in the strongest possible position, both as we continue to deal with Covid-19 and to respond to any future public health threat."
The Telegraph reports that Mr Hancock will merge the NHS Test and Trace scheme with the pandemic response work of PHE.
Read more here

A 'new agency' for pandemic planning

Hugh Pym - BBC News Health Editor
There has been talk in the air at Westminster for a while about a major shake-up or even axing of Public Health England.
Blame for the controversial decision to halt community coronavirus testing and tracing in March has been laid at PHE's door.
The organisation crops up with others in the political crossfire over the handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Now it has emerged that its remaining responsibilities for virus testing and infection data surveillance in England will be transferred to a new body including NHS Test and Trace.
PHE will continue to be responsible for now for prevention issues such as anti-obesity measures.
It is easy to point the finger at PHE, but it is an executive agency accountable to the secretary of state, Matt Hancock.
Decisions in March were made in collaboration with ministers and the chief medical and scientific advisers. Sources point out that PHE was never set up to be a body responsible for mass community testing and that what's needed now is an organisation fully responsible for pandemic planning.
A full examination of who is responsible and culpable for which policies will have to wait for an independent inquiry - whenever that takes place.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 18:02

Germany locates most of infected travellers after testing delay

Authorities in the German state of Bavaria say they have tracked down the majority of people who tested positive for coronavirus after returning from abroad, following an outcry over delayed test results.
In a statement, Bavaria's government said it had found 903 of the 949 people who tested positive out of a total of 44,000 travellers. The remaining 46 have yet to be located due to a lack of "suitable personal data". But authorities did not elaborate on what the problems were, or how the remaining 46 would be found.
The tests were carried out at special centres - which have been open from late July - but some people have waited up to two weeks to receive their results, according to Reuters news agency. On Wednesday, Bavaria's Health Minister Melanie Huml said the main reason was that, until recently, data had been largely entered manually into spreadsheets.
State premier Markus Söder has since apologised for mishap, and promised to hire extra staff to speed up the testing process. He said he has also twice rejected resignation offers from Huml

UK cases above 1,000 for sixth day in row

The UK has recorded 1,040 new positive tests for Covid-19, according to government figures.
It is the sixth day in a row that there have been more than 1,000 infections reported.
A further five people were reported to have died within 28 days of testing positive.
UK-wide death figures may not match the totals for the four nations, as they cover a different time scale and cover deaths in all settings.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 18:21

Italy to close nightclubs over virus concerns

Italy has announced that nightclubs and dance halls will be forced to close around the country from Monday.
The wearing of face masks will also be mandatory, from 18:00 to 06:00 local time, in public spaces where social distancing is not possible.
The measures, part of a decree signed by Health Minister Roberto Speranza, and will remain in force until 7 September.
It comes as infections continue to rise in Italy, with more than 600 new cases reported yesterday. The latest measures were agreed following a meeting on Sunday between regional governors and Italy's ministers of health, regions and economic development.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 16th August

Post by Kitkat on Sun Aug 16 2020, 18:26

Thank you for joining us

We're pausing our live coverage for today, but you can still follow updates on the pandemic across the BBC News website.
Before we go, here is a round-up of some of the biggest global developments:

  • More than 21.5 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. At least 771,000 virus-related deaths have also been reported
  • The World Health Organisation said more than 294,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours - the highest daily increase of the pandemic so far.
  • Public Health England is set to be replaced by a new agency that will specifically deal with protecting the UK from pandemics, according to a report by the Sunday Telegraph
  • The UAE and Israel have agreed to cooperate in coronavirus research, following an agreement by the two countries earlier this week to normalise relations
  • Austria says it will introduce stricter border controls following a “worrying rise” in the number of coronavirus cases in the country
  • New Zealand's PM is expected to make an annoucement on the country's election, following calls to postpone it due to the reappearance of the virus
  • Students in England have been protesting as 40% of A-Level exams were marked down from teachers' predictions, after they were unable to sit their exams due to the pandemic


Our reporting today has been brought to you by: Vicky Baker, Thomas Spender, George Wright, Alex Kleiderman and Joshua Cheetham.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:12