Krazy Kats

Welcome to Krazy Kats - a friendly informal online community discussing life issues that we care about. Open 24/7 for chat & chill. Come and join us!

CORONAVIRUS: All the latest LIVE worldwide updates - today's updates are also on our Portal page, here)
Message to all: Stay well, stay safe, stay at home - and stay in touch!

Coronavirus - 18th August

Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 09:40

Summary for Tuesday, 18th August


  • Australian senators question officials over the Ruby Princess cruise ship scandal in March
  • The ship that docked in Sydney is linked to at least 900 infections and 28 deaths
  • A minister admitted that protocols were not followed on the vessel
  • Marks & Spencer is cutting 7,000 jobs over the next three months across its stores and management
  • A-level and GCSE students in England are to have their results for cancelled exams based on teacher assessments following a U-turn by the regulator
  • All students in Wales and Northern Ireland are also to be given grades predicted by their teachers, after a similar decision in Scotland
  • Globally more than 774,000 people have died with Covid-19 and nearly 22m cases have been reported


Hello and thanks for joining our live coverage of the global pandemic. We’ll be following the latest stories and other things you need to know about coronavirus around the world. Here are the main stories on Tuesday:

  • Federal officials in Australia tell a parliamentary committee they failed to speak to the doctor on board a cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, in a scandal that fuelled the country's first wave of coronavirus cases in March
  • Universities prepare to deal with a rise in calls from students after ministers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales said A-level grades could now be based on teachers' assessments
  • Thousands of anti-government demonstrators march through cities across Argentina to criticise quarantine restrictions, as well as proposed judicial reform
  • Globally more than 774,000 people have died with Covid-19 and nearly 22 million cases have been reported


The latest from the UK

If you’re joining us from the UK here are the latest other stories this morning:


Australian officials did not speak to cruise ship doctor

Coronavirus - 18th August 7e5cf210
More than 2,500 passengers on Ruby Princess disembarked in Sydney in March

On Monday we reported that elected officials in Australia had apologised after an inquiry found “serious mistakes” were made when more than 2,500 passengers were allowed to disembark from a cruise ship in Sydney in March.
This was when cruise ships were a significant source of infections globally.
Passengers on the Ruby Princess were not tested, despite suspected cases, and until June it was the source of Australia’s largest outbreak, linked to 900 infections and 28 deaths.
A parliamentary committee has now heard that federal officials failed to speak to the doctor on board the ship.
The country's secretary for agriculture, water and the environment, Andrew Metcalfe, admitted to the Senate inquiry that protocols had not been followed on the vessel.

From silent streets to packed pools

Coronavirus - 18th August 4bc92a10

Thousands of people packed shoulder to shoulder with no face masks in sight, frolicking on rubber floats and cheering along to a music festival.
It's not a very 2020 image, but it was the scene this weekend in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where Covid-19 first emerged late last year.
Pictures of partygoers at the Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park - looking very much removed from the outbreak that the rest of the world continues to battle - have now gone, well, viral.
It's worlds apart from the images that came out of Wuhan when it had the world's first Covid-19 lockdown in January - a ghost town devoid of residents and vehicles.
The lockdown was lifted in April and there have been no domestically transmitted cases in Wuhan or Hubei province since mid-May.
See more images here

WHO warns against complacency among lower-risk groups

Coronavirus - 18th August 8e42ae10
People partied on a rooftop in New York City this month

People in their 20s, 30s and 40s unaware they are infected are driving the spread of coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.
The proportion of young people with Covid-19 has risen, officials said, putting the lives of those who are more vulnerable at risk if people socialise without realising they are carrying the virus.
"The epidemic is changing," the WHO Western Pacific regional director, Takeshi Kasai, also explained.
"What we are observing is not simply a resurgence. We believe it's a signal that we have entered a new phase of pandemic in the Asia-Pacific," he said.
Outbreaks have occured in recent weeks in countries like Vietnam where the virus had appeared to be under control.
Several European countries including France and Spain have seen case numbers rise significantly in the past two weeks, with some warning that young people are not following social distancing guidelines.

British retailer M&S to cut 7,000 jobs

The British household brand M&S will cut 7,000 jobs in the next three months following a fall in in-store sales.
During the pandemic a large amount of shopping has moved online, and the retailer said there had been a "material shift in trade".
In-store sales of clothing and home goods were "well below" 2019, although online and home deliveries were strong.
A "significant" number of positions will go through voluntary redundancy and early retirement, M&S said.
Last week figures revealed that Britain was experiencing its worst recession on record.

Exams U-turn too late for some students

Following days of anger from students and teachers, the government has changed the way A-level grades are calculated so pupils can use the grades predicted by their teachers rather than an algorithm designed to moderate them.
However, the U-turn came too late for some students, with some university courses already full.
A-level student Natasha Hounslow was predicted A*A*A by her teachers but was awarded A*BB by the standardisation system - meaning she missed both her university offers to study medicine.
Both universities have said she may have to defer her place to 2021 because they don't have the space to take her this year and there were no other medicine places available through clearing.
“I’m quite anxious to be honest because I don't want to take a year out because I think ideally I’d try and find a job but there’s not many opportunities this year, especially with coronavirus," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
You can read more reaction from students here .
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 09:45

University system left in ‘complete chaos’

The U-turn on how A-level grades were calculated should have been made earlier to avoid the “complete chaos” the university system has now been left in, Labour has said.
On Monday, ministers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales announced A-level grades could now be based on teachers’ assessments rather than an algorithm, following criticism from students, teachers and some Tory MPs.
Shadow universities minister Emma Hardy told BBC Breakfast it was “frustrating” the decision had not been made last week and the delay had caused “a massive headache” for universities.
Since results day on Thursday, she said some students had already accepted their second choice of university, while many courses had been filled up, meaning universities might not have the capacity to take more students, especially with social distancing in place.

Education secretary 'incredibly sorry' for exams U-turn distress

The UK's education secretary has defended the timing of his decision to change the way A-level results are calculated, following criticism that the U-turn meant some pupils had already missed out on university places, with some institutions unable to take any more students.
Gavin Williamson told BBC Breakfast that before results day there had been a cross-party consensus that standardising teacher-assessed grades was the right approach and the government had been confident the system it had put in place was robust.
However, on Monday the government said A-level grades could now be based on unstandardised teachers' assessment, rather than an algorithm.
Williamson said this decision had been taken because "there was mounting evidence there were flaws within that algorithm" which meant too many children had not got the grades they deserved.
He said he was "incredibly sorry for the distress this has caused" but refused to say whether he would resign.
Read more on this story here .

Universities will ‘bend over backwards’ to take students

While universities will be limited by capacity, they will “bend over backwards” to accept students if they can, after the government changed how A-level grades were awarded, the head of the UK’s university admissions service said.
In the U-turn announced on Monday, ministers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales said grades could now be based on teachers’ assessments rather than an algorithm, following widespread criticism.
Clare Marchant, chief executive of Ucas, said 69% of students had already got a place at their first choice university.
However, for others, she said universities would have to consider coronavirus safety measures and whether there was capacity on courses, when deciding whether to accept students whose grades now met the requirements after the government U-turn.
You can read more on the implications of the U-turn for universities here .
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 09:55

How many deaths is India missing?

Soutik Biswas - India Correspondent
India has registered more than 50,000 Covid-19 deaths, overtaking the UK to become the fourth-worst-affected country for fatalities.
But the number of deaths per million people stands at 34 - far lower than what has been reported in Europe or North America.
The case fatality rate or CFR, which measures deaths among Covid-19 patients, is just around 2%. Even in badly hit state like Maharashtra the number of deaths is doubling only in about 40 days. "The death rates have kept low all along, even as cases rose," K Srinath Reddy, president of the think tank, Public Health Foundation of India, told me.
Many epidemiologists attribute this relatively low fatality rate to a young population - the elderly are typically more vulnerable to the infection. It is not clear whether other factors like immunity deriving from previous infections from other coronaviruses, are also responsible. Also, they point to a pattern of low mortality in South Asian countries that share a similar demographic of a younger population: reported Covid-19 deaths per million are 22 in Bangladesh and 28 in Pakistan.
Clearly, corrected for population size, India is doing far better than Europe and America. Yet, as Kaushik Basu, a former chief economist of the World Bank, says: "It is irresponsible to treat this as consolation".
Read more

Hay bale superheroes keep the distance in Northern Ireland

Coronavirus - 18th August 613d7110
The hay bales have been erected in Newtownstewart, Northern Ireland

One community in Northern Ireland have built hay bale superheroes to remind themselves that "together we are a super power" in the fight against coronavirus, BBC News NI's Ali Gordon reports.
The 12ft (3.65m) high structures have been erected in a field near Newtownstewart, County Tyrone.
Spiderman, Batman, Iron Man, Captain America, Wonder Woman and Superwoman are attracting lots of visitors.
"We thought we'd use the bales as a message for Covid-19 - that superheroes represent us, the people, who are key weapons in the battle against coronavirus," said Shauneen Kilpatrick.
Read more about the superheroes here
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 10:46

Public health in England has seen 'constant reorganisation'

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to launch a new Health Protection Institute later today, which will merge some of Public Health England's pandemic response work with England's NHS Test and Trace system.
PHE has come under intense scrutiny over its response to the crisis and has been criticised for its decision in March to halt community testing and tracing of contacts.
However, Prof Sian Griffiths, associate board member for Public Health England and chair of its global health committee, defended the work of the body, although she acknowledged it had not got everything right.
Speaking in a personal capacity she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I would say that we need to take a cool look, share the lessons learnt and work out how to do this."
She added that the wider responsibilities of PHE, including environmental health, the country's obesity strategy and immunisation, should not be neglected, pointing out that public health had seen "constant reorganisation" in recent years.
Read more on this story here .

Reorganisation of Public Health England 'irresponsible'

Labour's shadow health secretary has described a planned reorganisation of Public Health England as "irresponsible" and "desperate blame-shifting".
A new Health Protection Institute is set to launch later today , which will merge some of PHE's pandemic response work with England's NHS Test and Trace system - although PHE will continue other responsibilities, such as combating obesity, for now.
In a tweet , Jonathan Ashworth said: "A structural reorganisation mid-pandemic is time consuming, energy sapping. It's risky indeed irresponsible.
"And what an insulting way to treat hardworking staff who heard about this from a pay walled Sunday newspaper leaving them with questions and worries about their jobs."
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 10:51

Thousands defy lockdown to join Argentina protests

Coronavirus - 18th August 08e1be10
Those marching voiced many grievances

Thousands of demonstrators defied the lockdown in force in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, to join anti-government protests on Monday. Marches were also held in other major Argentine cities.
The protesters' grievances were many with some voicing their opposition to the way the government has handled the pandemic while others turned out to oppose a planned judicial reform which would see the number of federal courts increased.
A nationwide lockdown in Argentina began on 20 March. It has since been eased in more rural regions but President Alberto Fernández has extended it until 30 August for Buenos Aires and the surrounding area.
“The only medicine we have found so far is to limit the movement of people and the face-to-face meeting of people as much as possible,” Fernández said.
Argentina has just under 300,000 confirmed cases, with the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires accounting for 90% of those.
Coronavirus - 18th August 8e9c3910
The march in Buenos Aires centred around the obelisk

Infections at OM overshadow new French football season

Football fixtures remain fragile and Spain has a worrying rise in cases.

  • Three coronavirus cases have been confirmed at Olympique de Marseille (OM), one of France’s top clubs. This jeopardises the start of the new Ligue 1 football season on Friday, when OM are due to play Saint Etienne. In total OM now has four cases – and four is the threshold for postponing a match
  • Spain's surge in cases is taking a big toll on its vital tourism sector. On Monday Spain reported 1,833 new Covid infections in the past 24 hours – more than three times last month’s average. Spain’s post-lockdown record for daily infections was on Friday, with 2,987 confirmed new cases.
  • Greece expects to receive a first batch of Covid-19 vaccines in December, under an EU deal envisaging three million doses in total for Greece. But the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca still has to pass phase four of clinical trials in November
  • Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, says she has mild respiratory symptoms and is self-isolating again – for the fourth time. She will continue teleworking and will have a new coronavirus test
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 10:59

'Brazilian people are not very disciplined'

Coronavirus - 18th August 11400310

Brazil has been one of the countries hit worst by the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 3.5 million cases and more than 100,000 deaths. President Jair Bolsonaro has played down the risks of the illness, calling it a "little flu".
In a BBC interview, his Vice-President, Hamilton Mourão, defended Brazil's response, saying although the government regretted the loss of life he thought they were doing a "good job".
He went on to say that a lack of discipline among Brazilians made social distancing difficult.

Cars to be banned from outside some schools in English town

Schools in one English town are being urged to join a scheme that would only permit pedestrians and cyclists to use nearby roads at drop-off and pick-up times.
The School Streets initiative will allow more space for social distancing, Reading Borough Council, in the south-east, said.
Council transport boss Tony Page said the return of schools in September presented a "considerable challenge" amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions and the scheme would make school journeys safer.
It will be funded through a £150,000 grant from the Department for Transport, which has allocated money to encourage walking and cycling during the pandemic.
Read more here .
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 11:49

Will BTec students have their grades changed?

While A-level students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been reassured the grades predicted by their teachers can be used, uncertainty still remains for pupils who took specialist work-related qualifications, including BTecs.
Currently, only A-level and GCSE students have been affected by changes announced on Monday and it is up to individual vocational exam bodies to decide how to mark students.
But Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said his department was working with awarding bodies to extend the changes to vocational qualifications and make sure there was no further delay for students receiving these results.
For BTec National students, grades are currently based on completed assessments and predicted results for those assessments that didn't happen. These will then be adapted, based on whether the predicted grades are higher than usual for a particular college.
This is similar to how A-level students were marked. However, BTec students do far more graded assessments throughout the year, meaning predicted grades were more similar to previous years, according to Pearson, the company which runs BTecs.
You can read more about what is happening with technical qualifications here .

Your exam grading questions answered

Can UK universities cope with the massive increase in students achieving top grades if teacher-predicted results are accepted? Is there not the possibility of teacher bias towards certain pupils when teacher estimates are used? Will they change the results for vocational students as well?
Just some of the questions answered here by experts Eddie Playfair and Catherine Sezen, senior policy managers at the Association of Colleges .
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 11:53

Analysis: Questions remain over reorganisation of Public Health England

Hugh Pym - BBC News Health Editor
A new Health Protection Institute for England is set to be launched this morning .
It will, we are told, be modelled on Germany's Robert Koch Institute which combats infectious diseases.
Expertise from Public Health England and the Test and Trace network will be pooled to form an organisation focussed on tackling the coronavirus threat and future pandemics. And therein lies the historic problem.
PHE was formed as part of government health reforms in 2012 with an ungainly merger of health protection and prevention initiatives such as obesity strategies. It was pulled in different directions and had to get by with successive annual budget cuts.
PHE has been blamed for the suspension of community testing and tracing in March but senior sources say it was not set up to run a mass diagnostic testing system and any decisions made then were in partnership with government advisers.
The centrepiece of the reforms is the creation of the new agency but there are still big questions over what will happen to PHE's vital work on prevention of ill health and tackling health inequalities.

Cruise passengers were let off without testing, inquiry hears

Coronavirus - 18th August Bb7b6510

More now on one of our main stories, an inquiry in Australia into the handling of a cruise ship in which hundreds of passengers were allowed to disembark despite suspected cases of Covid-19.
Protocol required the Department of Agriculture to complete checklists of passengers who were ill - but at the inquiry, the department secretary, Andrew Metcalfe, admitted that had not happened.
"In hindsight, the national protocol was not followed and the officers believed that they were exercising their responsibilities appropriately through the communication that did occur with the NSW [New South Wales] Health Department," he said, ABC reports.
About 2,650 passengers were allowed to leave when the ship docked in Sydney in March. The ship was ultimately linked to at least 900 infections and 28 deaths.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 14:31

Hancock announces new health agency for England

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced a new National Institute for Health Protection for England, to protect the public from external threats to health including biological weapons, pandemics and other infectious diseases.
The body will merge some of the work of Public Health England with the NHS Test and Trace programme.
Hancock said it would also work closely with devolved administrations and local officials to create a "stronger, more joined up response".

WHO warns against 'vaccine nationalism'

The pandemic is being exacerbated by countries putting their own interests ahead of others' in trying to secure supplies of apossible Covid-19 vaccine, the head of the World Health Organization says.
"[Acting] strategically and globally is actually in each country's national interest - no one is safe until everyone is safe," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.
"We need to prevent Covid-19 vaccine nationalism," he said.
He added that he had sent a letter to all WHO members asking them to join multilateral vaccine efforts.

Hancock: England's new health body aims to strengthen response

Coronavirus - 18th August 67d60f10

In a speech at London's Policy Exchange, a UK think tank, Matt Hancock said the country's public health officials had delivered "incredible work" during the pandemic, but the changes he was announcing were designed to strengthen its response.
The health secretary said the existing system in England did not "go into this crisis with the capacity for a response to a once in a century scale event".
For example, he said that while the country had some of the best labs available, it was unable to call upon the private diagnostics industry to increase capacity.
The Department of Health and Social Care said the new National Institute for Health Protection for England will operate from spring 2021.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 14:38

Head of England's Test and Trace system to lead new health body

Matt Hancock confirmed the new National Institute for Health Protection would be temporarily led by Baroness Dido Harding, who runs NHS Test and Trace in England, and would report directly to ministers.
The health secretary said he would consult on how Public Health England's responsibilities for health improvement would be embedded in the system and would be saying more on this over the coming weeks.
Lady Harding will run the new institute until a permanent appointment is made.

NZ PM calls Trump 'patently wrong' after 'big surge' comment

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hit back at US President Donald Trump, calling him "patently wrong" for comments he made about new cases in New Zealand.
Trump described a cluster as a "big surge" the US would do well to avoid. The numbers remain small - on Monday nine new cases were confirmed in New Zealand in the fresh outbreak. The cluster has though prompted a lockdown in the city of Auckland and the postponement of elections.
"Anyone who is following will quite easily see that New Zealand's nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States' tens of thousands," Ardern said.
"Obviously, it's patently wrong."

Australians made of 'tough stuff' - Prince Charles

Australians are made of "tough stuff", the Prince of Wales has said, in a message of support for people facing a resurgence of coronavirus in Victoria.
Prince Charles, who contracted coronavirus himself in March, said the increase in cases would have "heartbreaking consequences" for so many, but that the state would emerge stronger than ever.
"I just wanted to say, on behalf of my wife and myself, that you are so much in our special thoughts at what I can well imagine is a tremendously testing and frustrating time, and that we care deeply for what you are having to go through," he said.
Melbourne, Victoria's capital, has been in lockdown for more than a month, with strict measures now in place, including a night-time curfew.
The state still has 7,274 active cases and remains Australia's worst concern.
Read more here
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 14:42

South Korea tightens rules to fight surge in cases

South Korea, which has won praise for its handling of Covid-19, is tightening social distancing measures after a spike in cases.
Rules have already been tightened in the capital Seoul but they've been extended to the nearby port of Incheon. High-risk business venues such as karaoke bars and buffets are being ordered shut, and indoor gatherings of more than 50 people banned.
Authorities reported 246 new infections on Tuesday, the fifth straight day of triple-digit increases. Many of the cases have been linked to church gatherings.

France to make masks compulsory in shared workplaces

France is to make wearing masks in all "shared and enclosed" workplaces compulsory.
The Work Minister, Elisabeth Borne, confirmed the move after meeting unions for discussions, AFP news agency reports.
The measures are due to come in from 1 September, with individual offices exempt, according to French media.

English dessert factory cases rise to 72

Coronavirus cases at a dessert factory testing its entire workforce have risen to more than 70.
Some 1,600 employees at Bakkavor factory in Nottinghamshire, in the East Midlands region of England, are undergoing testing.
So far 701 have been checked, with 72 confirmed cases, Nottinghamshire County Council said, while 33 people have been able to return to work.
The company, which makes desserts for supermarket chains Waitrose and Tesco, said it had communicated to staff the dangers of car sharing and the need for social distancing.
Read more here .
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 14:49

Oxford University 'working to admit students this year or next'

Oxford University has said it is working to ensure everyone who has met their offer under the government's new grading system can be admitted either this year or next, on top of students who have already been awarded places.
However, with many more offer-holders now meeting their grades than in a normal year, the university said it faced "significant capacity constraints".
In a statement , the university said it was reviewing the capacity on its courses and within colleges and would confirm the position of offer-holders as soon as possible.
It added: "We will need to ensure we minimise the risk to the health of our staff and students caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also protecting the quality and the personalised nature of our teaching."

Chinese firm says vaccine ready by the end of the year

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
A Chinese pharmaceutical company has announced that it is expecting to have a vaccine by the end of the year.
The chairman of Sinopharm, Liu Jingzhen, has told media that one of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine candidates, currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials on humans in the United Arab Emirates, is expected to be on the market by the end of December.
Mr Liu himself has been injected with two doses of the vaccine, and told Global Times he has so far felt “no side effects” .
China has workshops in the cities of Beijing and Wuhan that are able to produce 120 million and 100 million doses a year respectively, and the vaccine is expected to be priced under 1,000 yuan ($144; £110) for two doses.
There are some concerns in the mainland at the price, with many on the Sina Weibo social media platform saying that it would be unaffordable to rural Chinese. However, given China is currently reporting no domestic cases, only imports, there is limited concern an outbreak would reach smaller, rural communities.
There are more than 200 vaccine candidates currently in development around the world, and more than 20 are at the stage of being used in human clinical trials.

Sturgeon: 220 cases linked to pubs in Aberdeen

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says 220 cases have now been linked to the outbreak in pubs in Aberdeen - with 1,125 contacts identified.
A local lockdown was imposed in Aberdeen earlier this month after a rise in cases - and the restrictions are due to be reviewed on Wednesday.
Sturgeon said new cases across the Grampian area were now declining, suggesting the restrictions “are having an impact”, but warned it was too early to say if measures would be lifted.
Nine new cases have now been tied to a food processing plant in Coupar Angus , she said. The factory has been closed and all 900 workers there will be tested today.
Sturgeon also said the clusters identified in Lanarkshire and north-east Glasgow were "community clusters with impact on schools" - it’s not thought the virus was transmitted within schools.
The first minister said no further deaths were recorded in Scotland in the last 24 hours. A further 49 cases had been confirmed, she said.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 14:52

Depression levels 'double' in Great Britain during pandemic

Twice as many adults across England, Scotland and Wales are now experiencing some level of depression compared with before the pandemic, figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest.
The data shows that nearly one in 10 (9.7%) British adults suffered some sort of depression between July 2019 and March 2020.
But when the same group of 3,500 participants were assessed again in June, the figure had risen to 19.2% - nearly one in five.
Adults under 40, women, people with a disability and those with strained finances were most likely to show symptoms of depression, the survey found.
Read more here .

US university reports cases among residential halls and fraternity

A university in North Carolina has moved its undergraduate classes online after a rise in cases during the first week of teaching.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said 177 students were in isolation and 349 were in quarantine.
It said most students who had tested positive had mild symptoms.
According to CNN, there are clusters at residence halls, a student apartment complex and one cluster among members of a fraternity .
The residence halls are currently under 60% capacity.
Orange County, where the university is located, is also reporting a rise in cases.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 14:55

Five deaths in England, one in NI, none in Scotland or Wales

A further five people who have tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospitals in England.
The patients were aged between 64 and 86, and all had known underlying health conditions, NHS England said.
One more person has died after testing positive in Northern Ireland and the number of confirmed cases rose by 41.
No further deaths have been reported in Wales and the total number of cases increased by 24, according to Public Health Wales.
As we reported earlier, Scotland recorded no new deaths and confirmed a further 49 cases.
We'll bring you the UK-wide figures, which are calculated slightly differently, later on.

Arizona teachers protest against going back to school

BBC OS
As schools in the US begin to reopen, teachers and parents are still divided on whether it is safe enough to go back.
In the state of Arizona, a public school district has been forced to cancel plans to restart in-person classes, after more than 100 teachers called in sick to protest against unsafe working conditions during the pandemic.
Kelley Fisher, who teaches kindergarten, has been leading the protests. "I probably will resign," she told BBC OS on World Service radio.
"I love the classroom, I love being face to face with my students, and you are probably not going to find a teacher that would say they love teaching online.
"But if I were told to go back to school, where our numbers are, I would probably have to make the very tough decision to at least sit out the rest of this school year."
There have been more than 190,000 Covid-19 cases in the state, and about 4,500 deaths.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 15:14

Almost quarter of new French clusters linked to non-medical workplaces

Lucy Williamson - BBC Paris Correspondent
As we reported earlier, France is planning to make face masks compulsory in shared office spaces from 1 September.
Work Minister Elisabeth Borne told AFP news agency the “systematic” wearing of masks would be necessary in all enclosed workspaces that were shared by staff, including corridors, open-plan offices and meeting rooms.
A statement from the Ministry of Work and Employment said the measures used to manage the end of lockdown needed to be replaced by more durable plans to protect workers.
It follows weeks of rising coronavirus cases in France, and updated advice on the risk of aerosol infections.
Health authority figures suggest that almost a quarter of new clusters here have been linked to workplaces outside the medical professions.
France is managing this spike in new infections while also encouraging the country back to work, in order to claw back an 11% hole in its budget this year left by coronavirus.
Until now, the government has advised the wearing of masks at work only when social distancing is impossible. It is still advising people to work from home where they can.

Merkel opposes further easing of restrictions

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said there should be no further easing of coronavirus restrictions in Germany after cases in the country doubled over the past three weeks.
She put the increase down to rising mobility and closer contact among people during the course of the summer.
"We are in the midst of the pandemic. The virus is here even though it's not visible. There is no vaccine yet and no medication either. That's why we are seeing that rising mobility and more contacts among people lead to increasing numbers of cases. In Germany, cases have doubled in the past three weeks. That's a development which should not continue like that and which we must stop."
There have been 226,804 cases and 9,240 deaths in the country, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 17:31

Analysis: Critics question timing of public health shake-up

Pallab Ghosh - Science correspondent, BBC News
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced details of a major shake-up of the government bodies tackling the spread of coronavirus in England.
The pandemic response work of Public Health England will be merged with NHS Test and Trace to form a new body called the National Institute for Health Protection.
It is to start work immediately under the interim leadership of Lady Harding, who is the head of Test and Trace.
The reorganisation of two Covid-19 response bodies into one makes sense. But some have questioned whether it makes sense right now – just weeks away from a possible surge in cases, when children return to school and people go back to work.
Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said he was worried that a structural reorganisation mid-pandemic would be “time consuming, energy-sapping and risky”. He described the move as “irresponsible”.
The appointment of the former mobile phone company chief executive, Dido Harding, as interim leader of the National Institute is also controversial.
NHS Test and Trace has not yet been able to identify enough potentially infected people fast enough to stamp out possible outbreaks.
Some in the public health sector would prefer to see a scientist leading the new organisation.
One described Lady Harding’s appointment as making as much sense as giving England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, the job of “Vodafone’s head of branding and corporate image".

Creation of new health body in England 'highly irresponsible'

The Lib Dems have criticised a decision to create a new body responsible for England's coronavirus response in the middle of the pandemic.
The opposition party's health spokewoman, Munira Wilson, said ministers were trying to "deflect responsibility" for some of the decisions made on issues such as Personal Protective Equipment and the Test and Trace strategy.
She accused the government of attempting to "scapegoat" Public Health England (PHE), which will hand over some of its responsibilities to the new National Institute for Health Protection.
Wilson told the BBC there might be a case for streamlining the agency but doing so in the middle of a pandemic was "highly irresponsible".
She also questioned what would happen to PHE's other responsibilities including for immunisation and tackling obesity.
Read more on this story here .
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 17:39

School leaders association calls for independent review into grading 'debacle'

The Association of School and College Leaders in the UK is formally writing to the education secretary to request an immediate independent review of the government's handling of exam grades.
The organisation's general secretary, Geoff Barton, said: "It seems to be clear that the statistical model for moderating centre-assessed grades was flawed and that it produced many anomalous results.
"But how did this happen, why were the problems not foreseen, and why were ministers not on top of this? Most importantly, what lessons can we learn for the future?"
He added that there was currently no "plan B" if further disruption prevented students from sitting GCSEs and A-levels next year and the government and exams regulator Ofqual "should be putting in place a robust contingency plan, drawing on the lessons from this summer's debacle".
Read more on this story here .

How have universities responded to exam results U-turn?

A government U-turn on how A-level grades were calculated has led to a scramble for university places in the UK, as many students now have the results needed to secure their original offers.
Since Monday's announcement, many universities have said they will honour offers if students now have the required results under the new grading system - but not all courses have space to take more students this year.
Here are some of the approaches taken by different universities:

  • Oxford and Cambridge University and Imperial College London have said students who now meet the conditions of their offer will be admitted - but they may have to defer their place until next year because of capacity constraints
  • The University of Edinburgh said it would confirm places for applicants who had met their conditions but capacity issues may mean individuals are offered an alternative programme or to defer their place until next year
  • Queen Mary University of London has pledged to honour all offers for students with revised grades that mean they now meet the selection criteria for their courses and said a further 500 places had been made available through clearing
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 17:47

UK records a further 12 deaths

Another 12 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus, the Department for Health and Social Care has confirmed.
It takes the total number of UK deaths to 41,381.
A further 1,089 people have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 320,286.

Moroccan beaches closed as cases surge

Coronavirus - 18th August YH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7Several beaches near the Moroccan capital, Rabat, were closed on Tuesday due to a surge in the number of new cases in the country.
The measures come ahead of a long bank holiday weekend. The beaches in the capital and in Salé, a neighbouring town, were already closed, according to local officials cited by AFP news agency.
At the end of last month, Morocco announced a fresh lockdown in some major cities as new cases hit a record high.
Since the end of July, there have been more than 1,000 new cases recorded every day, AFP reports.
Official ministry of health figures put the number of cases at 43,558 and deaths at 681 deaths.
Last week, the World Health Organization warned of an "upward trend" in cases in the country since the lifting of a very strict three-month lockdown in June, AFP reports.

Aerospace firm Bombardier to cut 95 jobs in Northern Ireland

Clodagh Rice - BBC News NI business correspondent
Aerospace firm Bombardier has said a further 95 jobs are at risk of redundancy at its aircraft manufacturing plant in Belfast.
It comes after the firm already announced a reduction to its worldwide workforce in June due "extraordinary industry interruptions and challenges caused by Covid-19".
At the time, Bombardier revealed plans for 2,500 redundancies worldwide, citing an anticipated 30% drop in sales of its jets.
In a statement this afternoon, the company said: "We deeply regret the impact this will have on our workforce and their families, but it is essential we align our business with current market realities to ensure we have a sustainable long-term future."
Read more here .
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 17:49

Cases reach 11.5m in Americas region

Coronavirus cases in the Americas region have reached almost 11.5 million and more than 400,000 people have died as a result of the virus, the World Health Organization has said.
The biggest drivers of the case counts are the United States and Brazil, regional director Carissa Etienne is quoted as saying by Reuters news agency, during a virtual briefing on the situation in the region.
"This virus is unrelenting and requires the same from us: we must stay vigilant and keep transmission under control," she said.
The region continues to carry the highest burden of the disease, with 64% of officially reported global deaths despite having 13% of the world's population, she added.

Latest news from the US

Here are some of the main headlines from the US:

  • Universities across the US are finding that they are becoming epicentres of local coronavirus outbreaks, as pupils begin returning to campuses
  • Schools are also facing a crisis, as some reopen only to be quickly closed again by new infections. Miami's school district said on Tuesday that nearly 600 employees have tested positive so far
  • The political row over mail-in voting continues, as critics of US President Donald Trump accuse him of starving the postal service of funds needed to process absentee ballots - a record number of which are expected to be sent in November's presidential election
  • The Democratic National Party on Monday held its first day of a socially distanced party convention, in which most participants appeared remotely to endorse Joe Biden for president
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 17:52

Restaurant closed down after holding wedding reception

A restaurant in Lancashire that hosted a wedding reception for more than 100 people has been closed down for breaching coronavirus restrictions.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council said Waheed's Buffet and Banqueting Hall was shut down on Monday under new powers to tackle premises that are clearly not adhering to restrictions.
It follows a spike in local cases last month which saw extra measures introduced in the area to try to avoid a Leicester-style local lockdown.
Police in Blackburn, who broke up the wedding reception on Sunday evening , said the closure would last for a month, but would be reviewed weekly and the restaurant could reopen if it was able to show it was Covid-safe.

Latest headlines in the UK

Let's take a look at how things are shaping up this evening:

  • Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says he is "incredibly sorry for the distress" caused to pupils after having to make a U-turn in how A-level and GCSE qualifications are graded
  • Twice as many adults in Britain are reporting symptoms of depression now compared with this time last year, official figures suggest
  • Beauty salons and nail bars are among businesses in Leicester allowed to reopen from Wednesday in a further easing of local lockdown restrictions
  • Another 12 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus and a further 1,089 people have tested positive for the virus
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed Public Health England (PHE) will be replaced by a new body focused on preparing for external threats like pandemics, as critics say ministers have used PHE as a scapegoat for coronavirus failings
  • Diners used the Eat Out to Help Out scheme more than 35 million times in its first two weeks, the latest Treasury figures show
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 17:58

India misses target for food handouts to unregistered migrants

Shruti Menon - BBC Reality Check
Less than a third of India's 80 million unregistered migrant workers who were hit by the country’s lengthy coronavirus lockdown received government food aid, official figures show.
In May, India announced a food aid programme for these unregistered workers , who had begun returning home during the lockdown that started in late March and lasted for more than two months.
This involved distributing 800,000 tonnes of emergency food relief during May and June. But as of 5 August, official figures show that only 246,000 tonnes had been distributed to about 25 million migrants - that’s just 31% of the estimated total amount that was promised.
The programme was aimed at those who are not registered for India’s national food ration scheme because they keep moving around to find work.
According to media reports, Indian government officials have complained at internal meetings that there were bottlenecks at the state government level which had slowed down the process of food distribution to this group of migrant workers.

What's the latest from around the world?

This is what is happening around the world in the coronavirus crisis as the working day draws to a close here in London.

  • France announced it was making masks compulsory in most shared workplaces. The measures are due to come in from 1 September, with individual offices exempt
  • People in their 20s, 30s and 40s unaware they are infected are driving the spread of coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned earlier. The WHO also said cases in the Americas region had reached almost 11.5 million and that more than 400,000 people had died because of the virus
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel said there should be no further easing of coronavirus restrictions in Germany after cases in the country doubled over the past three weeks
  • A Chinese pharmaceutical company announced it was expecting to have a vaccine by the end of the year. The chairman of Sinopharm said one of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine candidates is expected to be on the market by the end of December
  • Tonight is day two of this year's socially distanced, but mostly virtual Democratic Convention in the US, kicking off at 21:00 ET (01:00 GMT on Wednesday) - here's what day one looked liked in the year of coronavirus
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 18:50

How coronavirus testing works in the US capital

Max Matza - BBC News, Washington
Coronavirus - 18th August C98fce10
Testing is being done on the streets of Washington

Washington DC is one of several US cities offering free testing to residents - with or without Covid-19 symptoms - as the city nears its 600th coronavirus death.
Throughout the summer, the city has managed to test about 1,000 people per day, says the city's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency director Chris Rodriguez.
But 13 times this summer, outdoor testing facilities have been forced to shut due to extreme weather, including lightning storms and temperatures rising to 110F (44C).
Washington DC health officials on Monday warned that cases of community transmission have recently risen to the highest level since May. The R rate is currently 1.07, meaning each person who gets the virus is passing it to 1.07 people.
"We want to see that number below one," Mr Rodriguez told BBC News on Tuesday, adding that it had averaged below that number for months previously.
"But when we get above one for a sustained period of time, that's when we start getting a little bit concerned about the rate of community spread and transmission."
Meanwhile, Washington DC leaders are still furious that a financial stimulus bill passed by Congress, which awarded at least $1.25bn to each state, shortchanged the city.
Because DC is not a state, it was forced to divide the bailout money with other territories, such as Puerto Rico and Guam, meaning that they only received $500m, despite having more residents and paying more in federal taxes than several other states.

First US outbreak at mink farm reported

Coronavirus - 18th August 8a549710

Officials have confirmed coronavirus outbreaks at two mink farms in the western US state of Utah.
These are the first outbreaks among the semi-aquatic animals detected in the US so far, according to officials.
It comes after thousands of minks, which are raised for their soft fur, were culled on farms in Spain and Holland after significant outbreaks there.
The farms in Utah are currently being quarantined, officials say.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 18:56

Ireland reverses relaxation measures

Chris Page - BBC News Ireland correspondent
Coronavirus - 18th August F1d00710
People are being urged to work from home and not use public transport

The Republic of Ireland has re-imposed some restrictions in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19 .
The number of people allowed to gather indoors has been reduced from 50 to six – except for religious services and businesses such as shops and restaurants, which are subject to separate rules.
Weddings are exempt, meaning up to 50 people can still attend.
The number of people allowed to get together outdoors has been cut from 200 to 15. That means spectators will be banned from attending sporting events.
Police are being given new powers to enforce restrictions on social gatherings. People are being advised to work from home and only use public transport if absolutely necessary.
It is understood that people over 70 will be advised to limit social interactions to a small number of people and only shop during designated hours. Taoiseach Michéal Martin said the country was at “another critical moment”. The restrictions will be in place until at least 13 September.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 21:21

Launch review into exam results 'fiasco' - school leaders

Coronavirus - 18th August Caf75510

The education secretary has been urged to launch a review into the handling of A-level and GCSE results in England after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) says it will write to Gavin Williamson over the "fiasco".
Mr Williamson apologised to pupils on Monday after reversing how A-levels and GCSEs were graded following widespread uproar.
After the U-turn, the Joint Council for Qualifications said pupils will get GCSE results on Thursday as planned.
Meanwhile, Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams has also apologised "directly and unreservedly" for the way A-level results were handled last week, after 42% of grades were downgraded in Wales.
They too abandoned the system used to calculate the results, instead using assessments made by teachers.
Read more: What happens next?

Social media platforms act to stall misinformation video

Alistair Coleman - BBC Anti-Disinformation Unit
The release today of a video pushing conspiracy theories that the Covid-19 outbreak was planned by governments, the World Health Organization and billionaires to push a so-called “vaccine agenda” has spurred major social media platforms to take measures to prevent its spread.
After criticism that they allowed the original so-called “Plandemic” conspiracy video to be viewed millions of times, it appears that they are - this time - better prepared to warn their members that they may be attempting to access controversial content if they try to view the new film from the same producers.
On Twitter, attempting to click through to sites hosting the new “Indoctornation” film leads to a page warning that the link “may be unsafe” and could contain “misleading content that could lead to real-world harm”.
Facebook has also moved quickly to warn its members, labelling the video as containing “partly false information - checked by independent fact-checkers” in the hour before its release, before actively removing links to the film once it went live.
The original 26-minute documentary-style video was published in May and was filled with medical misinformation about where the virus came from.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 18th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 18 2020, 21:25

We are pausing our live coverage

That's all from us for today. Thanks for joining our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
We'll be back tomorrow with more updates from the UK and around the world.
Before we go, let's take a look at today's headlines.
In the UK:

  • The education secretary has been urged to launch a review into the handling of A-level and GCSE results after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus. Earlier, he said he was "incredibly sorry for the distress" caused to pupils
  • Beauty salons and nail bars are among businesses in Leicester allowed to reopen from Wednesday in a further easing of local lockdown restrictions
  • Twice as many adults in Britain are reporting symptoms of depression now compared with this time last year, official figures suggest
  • Another 12 people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus and a further 1,089 people have tested positive for the virus
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed Public Health England (PHE) will be replaced by a new body focused on preparing for external threats like pandemics, as critics say ministers have used PHE as a scapegoat for coronavirus failings
  • Aerospace firm Bombardier has said a further 95 jobs are at risk of redundancy at its aircraft manufacturing plant in Belfast.

Around the world:

  • France announced it was making masks compulsory in most shared workplaces from 1 September, with individual offices exempt
  • People in their 20s, 30s and 40s unaware they are infected are driving the spread of coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned
  • The WHO also said cases in the Americas region had reached almost 11.5 million and that more than 400,000 people had died because of the virus
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel said there should be no further easing of coronavirus restrictions in Germany after cases in the country doubled over the past three weeks
  • Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm announced it was expecting to have a vaccine by the end of the year


Tuesday's live page was brought to you by Becky Morton, Georgina Rannard, Patrick Jackson, Vanessa Buschschluter, Laurence Peter, Emma Harrison, Sophie Williams, Alexandra Fouché, Dulcie Lee, and Max Matza.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:46