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Coronavirus - 21st August

Kitkat
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covidaug Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 11:08

Summary for Friday, 21st August

  • South Korea sees 324 new cases of coronavirus, its highest single day total since March, with most cases traced to churches
  • US Democratic White House nominee Joe Biden attacks Donald Trump's coronavirus response, saying "he failed to protect us"
  • UK holidaymakers race to return home before quarantine rules kick in for Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago
  • A ban on landlords evicting tenants in England and Wales ends this weekend, sparking concern from homelessness charities
  • Australia's PM hails "a week of increased hope" after its lowest increase in cases in five weeks

Hello and welcome back to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some of the main global headlines:

  • South Korea has seen its highest daily rise in coronavirus cases since early March, recording 324 new cases, as a cluster of cases in the capital Seoul are linked to churches
  • In a speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden criticised Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic, saying he “has failed in his most basic duty to the nation: he has failed to protect us"
  • The Australian state of Victoria has seen daily cases drop under 200 for the first time in over a month. Prime Minister Scott Morrison called it "a week of increased hope" - but officials said it was still too early to ease lockdown restrictions
  • Morocco has tightened restrictions on movement in Casablanca and Marrakesh, while the king has warned there could be a full lockdown if cases continue to surge.
  • More than 22.5 million cases have now been reported globally and there have been more than 790,000 deaths linked to Covid-19, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

UK morning summary

Here’s a quick summary of the main stories from the UK to bring you up to speed this morning:

Croatia calls for 'more nuanced approach' from UK

Croatia's ambassador to the UK, Igor Pokaz, has expressed "regret" over the government's decision to impose quarantine rules for tourists returning from Croatia.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme his country is in "constant dialogue" with the UK to "see whether it would be possible to have a more nuanced approach", such as imposing quarantine restrictions on a regional basis.
The ambassador says that Croatia's virus cases are concentrated in areas such as the capital, Zagreb, while popular tourist destinations for Britons, including Dubrovnik and the islands, have few infections.
This approach is already taken by Germany, Mr Pokaz said. Alternatively, he called for the UK to allow people to take tests before travelling so that people with negative results could avoid quarantine.
Croatia has 7,329 confirmed Covid-19 cases, and 168 deaths linked to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

'There is a case' for regional quarantine, says UK minister

Coronavirus - 21st August B0c95b10
The transport secretary said his wife had been called by the Border Force to check she was quarantining

More now on the story dominating UK headlines this morning - the government's decision to impose quarantine rules on tourists returning from Croatia, Austria, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tells BBC Breakfast the UK is investigating options such as targeting specific regions of foreign countries or airport testing to reduce the impact of mandatory self-isolation on travellers.
But these selective approaches were "not straightforward", he says, adding that evidence suggests a single test on entry to the UK would only catch 7% of asymptomatic cases.
There is "a case for regionalisation", and the UK would be interested in exempting islands, which are more geographically isolated - but the lack of access to detailed regional data could make it difficult to make more targeted decisions, he argues.
Asked about multiple people telling the BBC that quarantine rules were being flouted at airports, with arrivals "openly bragging about not filling in the forms”, Mr Shapps said it was not true that no one was checking, adding that his own wife had been called by Border Force officials to check she was quarantining.
He said some people had been penalised for breaking quarantine but said detailed figures were not yet available.
"You can end up with a criminal record by not doing the right thing here," he warned. "You’re putting other people’s lives at risk."

Why is Spain seeing a 'second wave'?

Things aren't looking good in Europe. France has reported a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases, while Spain, Germany and Italy have also recorded their highest numbers of cases since late April or May.
Spain had one of the most draconian Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe, so why is the virus now spreading faster than in any neighbouring country?
James Badcock tries to unravel the different factors leading to what's been described as Spain's "second wave".
You can read more here.

UK tourists: 'I feel safer here than I do at home'

Coronavirus - 21st August E1d6de10
British tourists in Croatia are trying to rush back before the new rules kick in

Some British travellers in Croatia have told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that they cannot return in time to beat the quarantine deadline and face missing work.
Chris Everson said it would cost more than £400 ($530) in flights and require a seven-hour coach journey to return home via Italy.
He said he could work his office job from home, but would be unable to work shifts in his second job in the emergency services.
"I feel absolutely more safe here than I do at home," he added, because he is currently in a remote area where people seem to observing social distancing well.
Catherine Bartlett, who is in the coastal town of Sibenik, said she also faced missing work at her job, which involves face to face contact with customers.
"I am by nature a cautious, and even anxious, person. I was monitoring all the news, all the travel advice. Croatia was highlighted by a lot of people as absolutely fine."
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was quizzed about whether Britons were less at risk in Croatia, compared to UK hotspots such as Oldham.
However, he argued that virus rates in Croatia had more than doubled in a week, rising from 10.5 cases per 100,000 people, close to the UK average, to 27.5 per 100,000 people - higher than other quarantine countries such as France.

Why is South Korea experiencing a spike in virus cases?

Let's dig deeper into our headline story this morning - South Korea reporting its biggest increase in Covid-19 cases since March.
The country managed to control the pandemic early on, and was viewed as one of the world's success stories. But a new spike in cases in and around the capital Seoul has led to fears the country could be on the brink of a major outbreak.
What's behind the spike?
One factor could be that some church members are reluctant to comply with Covid-19 measures - many new cases have been linked to Sarang Jeil Church, where members have attended rallies despite warnings from health officials.
It's also a reminder that the virus is hard to contain - many countries in the world are experiencing a second rise in cases.
Coronavirus - 21st August 8b548e10

South Korea added 324 cases on Friday, bringing it to a total of 16,670 confirmed cases.
It has already tightened restrictions by closing museums, nightclubs and karaoke bars. Now health officials are warning they may have to go further, limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people and closing school premises.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 11:22

UK government borrowing tops £2 trillion

UK government debt has exceeded £2 trillion for the first time , as the country counts the cost of the pandemic.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the crisis "has put the public finances under significant strain" as lockdown measures hit the economy and the government spent more on supporting businesses and individuals.
“Without that support things would have been far worse," he said, but added that the country faced "difficult decisions" to return public finances to a "sustainable footing over time".

New Zealand man jailed after hugging quarantining friend

A 33-year-old man has been sentenced to six weeks in jail after breaking quarantine rules, the New Zealand Herald reports .
Earlier this month, Jesse Courtney Welsh went into an isolation facility in Auckland to visit a friend who was quarantining after returning from Australia.
This was already a breach, but then Welsh, in the words of the judge, made "matters worse" by hugging his friend.
"This was not an example of people under severe stress because of a family death or some other reason. You knew full well about the quarantine rules and was not just content with talking to him, but hugged him as well," the judge said.
Welsh's lawyer said his client accepted full responsibility for his actions and admitted it was "a real dumb thing to do".
New Zealand had been credited with virtually eliminating the virus in the country earlier this year, following tough border restrictions and an early lockdown.
However, the country identified a new cluster earlier this month, ending a 102-day streak without any local infections.

What lockdown rules are changing in Wales?

First Minister Mark Drakeford is due to announce that some coronavirus restrictions will be relaxed further at a news conference this lunchtime. Here's a preview of what is expected to be changing:

  • Indoor visits to care homes will be allowed for the first time since March, with "strict" rules for safety
  • Up to four households will be able to join together in an exclusive arrangement allowing them to visit and stay overnight in each other's homes
  • A meal for up to 30 people can follow weddings, civil partnerships and funerals, where social distancing can be maintained

The first minister is expected to say that coronavirus is "effectively suppressed" in Wales, but that the nation must not depart from its "careful and cautious" approach.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 11:56

Europe round up: 'Things are not going well'

As alarm spreads at the increase in infections in several European countries, Spanish Health Minister Fernando Simón warned: "Let there be no mistake, things are not going well". For the past two days Spain has counted more than 3,000 new cases. The big concern right now is young people: "I understand people want to party, but there are ways of doing it," Mr Simón said. You can read more about the Spanish outbreak here .
France has seen an even more dramatic rise in cases - 4,771 infections and 35 new clusters in 24 hours - and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer says when schools go back in two weeks, pupils aged over 11 will have to wear face-coverings. Nursery teachers will also be asked to wear them.
In Italy, where cases are rising sharply too, the National Institute of Health says the median age for infections in the past week is as low as 30. The R rate of transmission is still below 1 but officials are warning that cases have been seen in all areas of Italy.
Lithuania has made the wearing of masks compulsory at all events, indoors and out, and also at all catering establishments.
While UK travellers to Croatia are having to return by 04:00 BST (03:00 GMT) on Saturday or face 14 days of quarantine, Germany has placed two Croatian regions on its "red list", and neighbouring Slovenia has given travellers to Croatia until Monday to come back if they want to avoid quarantine.

Has Pakistan's youthful population helped it on Covid?

With a weak healthcare system, large population and many poorer families living in crowded living conditions, Pakistan seemed in danger of a catastrophic toll from coronavirus.
But now - with around 6,000 coronavirus deaths in a population of approximately 230 million people, Pakistan appears to have fared far better than most Western countries.
Life in Pakistan is getting largely back to normal, with partial lockdown restrictions being lifted and restaurants reopening.
The BBC's Secunder Kermani looks at whether we can trust Pakistan's figures - and whether its relatively young population (the average age in Pakistan is 22) could have helped.
You can read more here.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 12:01

Irish minister resigns after attending 80-person event

Coronavirus - 21st August 33bd1b10
Dara Calleary earlier said he apologised "unreservedly" for attending the event

Irish Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary has resigned after attending an 80-person event, a day after the government announced it was restricting indoor gatherings.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said his attendance was "wrong and an error of judgement on his part".
“People all over the country have made very difficult, personal sacrifices in their family lives and in their businesses to comply with Covid regulations," the Irish prime minister said.
He said that the Oireachtas Golf Society event, held at a hotel in County Galway, "should not have gone ahead" in the way it did, after the government announced it was restricting indoor gatherings to six people.
The event is now under investigation for possible breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

Germ-busting 'elbow doorknob' on trial in Japan

Coronavirus - 21st August 60b56a10

How to open a door without the risk of touching a surface contaminated with the coronavirus is a dilemma facing most of us these days. Well, a Japanese airline has come up with one possible solution - the elbow doorknob.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) has been trialling the doorknob at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. It works by having two different components to the locking mechanism. One is a sliding lock, which enables the user to lock or unlock the door from the inside. A second door handle allows the user to then push the door open, so they can let themselves out.
ANA says it is at the very beginning of its testing phase and will collect feedback from users before deciding whether to roll out the system.
Read more on the story here .
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:07

Hong Kong offers free testing - but not everyone wants one

Hong Kong is to offer free coronavirus testing to all of its 7.4 million residents. Leader Carrie Lam said the mass testing would begin on 1 September and last for two weeks.
Although daily cases are falling, Ms Lam described the situation in Hong Kong as "critical" with "the number of cases remaining high".
But it is unclear how many might take part in tests which are being carried out with the help of a 60-person team from China.
Tensions are high between pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong and the Chinese government after Beijing imposed a new national security law in Hong Kong in June which critics say erodes freedoms.
Some local councillors have reportedly raised concerns that China may use the tests to collect DNA samples for surveillance purposes.
Ms Lam rejected this on Friday, calling it a "false accusation and smear". She said all the samples would be destroyed after testing.
More than 4,600 people have been infected in Hong Kong since January, with 75 deaths.
Last month, Ms Lam announced Hong Kong's parliamentary elections would be postponed by a year, due to the pandemic.
However, critics have argued that such a long delay is excessive, especially as the number of daily cases has trended down throughout August - on Friday, there were 27 new cases.

Croatia calls UK quarantine rules 'unfair but legitimate'

Gavin Lee - BBC Europe reporter
“It’s not fair. But it’s legitimate." That was the frank and downbeat assessment from Croatia’s State Secretary for Tourism, Frano Matusic. When I met with him in Zagreb this morning, he blamed the rise in cases on tourists and young people in Croatia’s party capital, Split.
Mr Matusic said an increase in the infection rate had originated from a lack of social distancing in nightclubs. He claimed that young people were not “taking Covid seriously”. Nightclubs here now have to close at midnight, but there are many critics who are calling for them to be closed altogether, until Covid cases stop rising.Meanwhile, the Croatian government has started lobbying the UK to be allowed back onto to their "safe travel" list, but there’s no expectation that things will change.The immediate issue for some of the estimated 17,000 British tourists here is how to beat the quarantine. It’s not easy to get home today, with few flights leaving from Croatian airports.
One family told me that the cost to book a new flight was eight times the original price they paid. Another tourist, Barbara, told me she had spent most of the night looking for an option to fly today, and said “it was simply unaffordable” to get home.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:14

What are the UK's quarantine rules now?

Coronavirus - 21st August 47daec10
Travellers wait to board flights at Croatia's Split airport

British holidaymakers face a race to get back to the UK before 04:00 BST on Saturday when new coronavirus travel rules kick in.
While Portugal is to be added to the list of countries UK travellers can visit without having to quarantine on return, Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago are being taken off the list - this means anyone arriving in the UK from these countries after the deadline must self-isolate for 14 days.
Coronavirus - 21st August E232c910

People who do not quarantine can be fined up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and £480 in Scotland. There are fines up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.

Travellers from more than 50 countries deemed ''low risk'' do not have to quarantine, although some of these countries impose restrictions on travellers entering from the UK.
Coronavirus - 21st August C3a2c010
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:24

Lockdown rules in Wales are relaxed further

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced a further relaxing of coronavirus restrictions for the next three weeks in Wales.
Speaking at a news conference today, he said while Wales continues to see "local peaks" of coronavirus, these outbreaks have either been successfully ended or are under effective control.
The first minister said indoor visits to care homes would be allowed from Saturday 29 August with strict safety rules. Casinos are to reopen on the same date.
From tomorrow, 22 August, up to four households will be able to meet indoors and stay overnight in each other's homes.
Also from tomorrow, up to 30 people can gather for a meal following weddings, civil partnerships and funerals, where social distancing can be maintained.
Mr Drake also said they will run three different pilots of outdoor sports and arts events for up to 100 people.

New measures for parts of northern England - and Birmingham added to watch list

Additional measures to slow the spread of coronavirus will see people in Oldham, Blackburn and parts of Pendle told not to socialise with anyone from outside their household from midnight on Saturday.
While allowing businesses to stay open, the measures mean social activities indoors and outdoors can only be shared by people who live in the same home , the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
Residents will also be told to avoid using public transport except for essential travel.
The DHSC also said measures will be relaxed in Wigan, Rossendale and Darwen. Elsewhere in England, Birmingham is added to a watch list as an "area of enhanced support" and Northampton becomes an "area of intervention".
While there has been growing concern about a rise in coronavirus cases in Birmingham, cases are still well below areas such as Northampton and Oldham.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our approach is to make the action we take as targeted as possible, with the maximum possible local consensus.”
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:27

Poland records highest daily rise in Covid-19 cases

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland has reported 903 new Covid-19 cases and 13 deaths in the previous 24 hours - the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic.
Poland still plans to reopen its schools on 1 September, although local exceptions may be made in the worst affected areas, a health ministry spokesman said.
The recent rise in cases is a result of people returning from holidays and large family gatherings such as weddings, the spokesman said.
Poland has reintroduced restrictions in 19 of the country's 380 districts, including mandatory face mask wearing in public places. The capitals of the two worst affected regions, Krakow and Katowice, are close to being added to the list.
The total number of cases so far is 60,281 and 1,938 deaths, significantly lower than in many western European countries. The number of cases per one million inhabitants in Poland in three times lower than in the UK and the death rate is 12 times lower.

What's been happening in the UK today?

If you're just joining us, here's what's been happening in the UK so far today:
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:31

England's infection rate steady, figures suggest

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
The Office for National Statistics estimates that 24,600 people in homes in England – around 1 in 2,200 people - had coronavirus during the week to 13 August.
The figure has been hovering around this point since early July, sometimes creeping up, sometimes creeping down.
But any increases have only been a fraction of size of the gains seen since the height of the pandemic.
Coronavirus - 21st August 2951cd10

We have been seeing a rise in cases in England, but that could be due to more or better testing - or to more infections.
Since the ONS survey swabs people at random, instead of driving mobile testing units into hotspots, it gives a clearer picture of what’s going on with infections.
The downside is that it catches very few infections (about 10 a week) and so the study is going to be enlarged in the autumn.

Poultry factory outbreak drives rise in Scottish cases

An outbreak in a poultry factory has meant Scotland recorded its second highest number of coronavirus cases since May.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 71 positive tests were reported in the last 24 hours.
A total of 10 of these new cases are in the Grampian health board area - which includes Aberdeen, the subject of a local lockdown - 16 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, four in Lanarkshire and 31 in Tayside.
The Tayside cases are driven by an outbreak at the 2 Sisters poultry factory , where 59 employees of the plant and nine of their contacts have tested positive in recent days.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:34

What's happening around the world?

In case you're just joining us, here's a reminder of the top stories around the world:


US airlines and customers row over masks

US airlines are in the news today - after two high-profile stories involving customers who didn't wear face masks.
First, former US Navy Seal Robert O'Neill said he had been banned from Delta airlines after failing to wear a mask.
It came after he tweeted a photo of himself without a mask on a Delta flight earlier this week - adding in the tweet that he was not a wimp (although he used a more explicit word for "wimp").
O'Neill claims to be the Navy Seal who fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden, and sarcastically wrote: “Thank God it wasn’t @Delta flying us in when we killed bin Laden... we weren’t wearing masks...” - prompting a backlash from other Twitter users who noted that the raid against the al-Qaeda leader did not take place during a pandemic.
Separately, a mother from Brooklyn said she and her six children were forced off a JetBlue Airways flight on Wednesday after her two-year-old daughter refused to wear a face covering.
The airline's rules require all passengers aged two and above to use masks, but Chaya Bruck told ABC News that the incident was "extremely traumatising for me and my family".
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have urged all people above the age of two to wear masks in public settings, and when around people from other households.
One survey suggests that 86% of Americans would always, or frequently, wear a face mask outside of their home.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:40

The R rate has risen to between 0.9-1.1 in UK

The R number - the rate of reproduction - of coronavirus in the UK has risen to between 0.9-1.1, according to the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
The figures suggest there is a risk that the overall coronavirus epidemic in the UK is growing, government scientists say.
The latest growth rate for the whole of the UK is between minus 3% to plus 1%, a slight change from between minus 4% to minus 1% last week.
The growth rate of Covid-19 transmission reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day.

Pupils 'shouldn't use public transport for school unless they have to'

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Pupils are being asked to travel to school in the autumn without using public transport

Pupils shouldn’t use public transport to get to and from school unless they have to, according to new government guidance .
The Department for Education says this is to ensure there’s enough capacity on buses, trams and trains for those who have no other way of getting there.
The guidance says children and teenagers can share a car to school with someone outside of their support bubble or household, so long as they share with the same people each time, keep the windows open for ventilation and wear a face covering if they’re older than 11.
It also states that schools and colleges may need to stagger or adjust start and finish times to keep groups apart – but says this should not affect how long children spend in lessons.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:45

Your Questions Answered: Why is Croatia on the quarantine list?

With quarantine restrictions being placed on another set of countries, Your Questions Answered is tackling some of your queries about the dos and don'ts of travel in the pandemic .
Steve in Fareham asked about Croatia and quarantine measures.
Q: What does a country like Croatia have to do to be put back on the UK list of countries where two weeks' isolation on return is unnecessary?
A: It's not entirely clear. At the moment, the government does not publish the criteria for its decisions regarding quarantine, although it is thought to take into account a number of factors, such as the number of people affected, the number of deaths and the country's testing capacity.
Croatia was put on the list because it has recently seen a spike in infections.
There have been calls for more transparency about the process. Earlier this month, MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee urged the government to publish the analysis behind its decisions, saying: "It will build more support for the difficult balancing judgements it has to take if it is open about the evidence behind them."

Doctors strike and protesters teargassed in Kenya

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Protesters allege funds to fight Covid-19 have been stolen

The Kenyan capital has been hit by anti-corruption protests, and strikes by doctors, amid growing anger over the authorities' handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Police used tear gas to try and disperse a number of people protesting over the alleged misuse of funds to fight Covid-19. One of the protesters said 12 people were arrested at the rally in Nairobi's Uhuru Park.
The government has however denied misappropriating funds despite earlier saying it would investigate the allegations.
Meanwhile, some 300 doctors in the city's public hospitals have gone on strike calling for better pay and working conditions including personal protective equipment (PPE). One doctor said "we... will not play Russian roulette with the government anymore".
Out of the more than 30,000 cases in Kenya, close to 700 of those infected are healthcare workers, and several have died, the BBC's Rhoda Odhiambo in Nairobi reports.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:48

UK coronavirus death toll reaches 41,405

Two more people have died from coronavirus, down from six the previous day, according to the latest daily government figures.
It brings the total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus to 41,405. The actual death toll is believed to be higher.
Some 1,033 new positive cases of Covid-19 have been recorded as of today, down from 1,182 on Thursday, the figures also show.

Deaths 'may drop' next week, and other US stories

US coronavirus deaths could begin to slow in the next week, the head of the nation's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.
Dr Robert Redfield said the effects of increased adherence to social distancing and other preventative measures would begin to show soon.
“Interventions are going to have a lag of three or four weeks,” he told the Journal of the American Medical Association. “You and I are going to see the cases continue to drop. And then hopefully this week and next week, you’re going to start seeing the death rate really start to drop again.”
Other stories making the headlines in the US today:

  • Several hospital workers and their union have filed a lawsuit against the country's largest health-care chain, alleging the company and one of its Southern California hospitals failed to protect employees and patients from Covid-19
  • Hawaii is mulling changes to help rescue the key tourism industry. Under a proclamation from the state's governor, quarantining travellers would be allowed to visit the beach during their 14-day isolation period - as long as they agreed to have their movements tracked electronically - with details to be decided by local counties
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:51

Scotland may change mask guidelines for students

School pupils in Scotland may have to wear face coverings in future , Nicola Sturgeon has suggested.
The first minister said at her daily briefing scientific that advice was constantly under review, and there was a "possibility" rules would change.
She said the issue of face coverings would be discussed at a meeting of the education recovery group today.
However, she stressed there was no evidence that coronavirus among young people was being transmitted in schools.
Asked if it might become compulsory for pupils - particularly in secondary schools - to wear face coverings on the premises, she said: "I do think there is a possibility that our advice on that may change."

Can I catch coronavirus from food packaging?

Coronavirus - 21st August 4371cf10
Not finger-licking good: traces of coronavirus have been found on packs of frozen chicken wings

Traces of coronavirus have recently been found on frozen shrimp and frozen chicken wings from South America and packaging in China. But what is the risk of spreading the virus through food packaging ?
In theory, it may be possible, with lab-based studies showing the virus can survive for hours - or even days - on cardboard and types of plastic. Lower temperatures also help the virus.
But scientists say the experiment used a much larger sample of the virus than would occur in the real world, increasing the chances that some would survive.
Emanuel Goldman, professor of microbiology at Rutgers University, said the chance of transmission in this way was "very small".
Scientists do not now think that touching your eyes, nose and mouth after touching an infected surface is the main way for Covid-19 to spread.
Instead, droplets produced when an infected person coughs, laughs or talks during face-to-face contact are thought to be the biggest risk.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 18:57

US deaths could reach 205,000 by mid-September

As we've already reported, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the number of coronavirus deaths in the country looks set to fall in the coming weeks.
But the CDC's new forecast shows that the US could pass 200,000 deaths in the next four weeks.
The new figures, based on modelling from 33 groups, suggest that between 187,000 and 205,000 deaths could be reported by 12 September.
The number of fatalities is expected to increase in Minnesota, while states including Arizona, Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina are likely to see a decrease.
Almost 175,000 Americans have died and 5.5 million have been infected with coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

What's the situation in the UK?

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As parts of northern England prepare for renewed restrictions , here's a look at the situation across the UK.
While the number of daily cases have dipped, they're still higher than they were two weeks ago.
But there is good news, with deaths remaining low.
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Kitkat
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 19:00

Curfews introduced for two Tunisian towns

Two towns in the south of Tunisia face overnight curfews following a renewed spike in cases.
Hamma and Hamma Gharbia will face lockdowns from 1700 until 0500 every day until 27 August, the official news agency TAP said on Friday.
The governor of Gabes province said in a statement that the situation was "worrying", with 48 new cases recorded on Thursday.
The country has witnessed a rise in cases since it reopened its borders in later June, with more than 100 per day over the last two weeks, according to Reuters news agency.

Scale of outbreak in Mexico 'under-recognised', WHO says

The scale of the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico is "under-represented" and "under-recognised", the World Health Organization said on Friday.
According to Reuters news agency, Dr Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO's health emergencies programme, told a briefing in Geneva that the equivalent of around three people per 100,000 were being tested in Mexico.
The US, in comparison, tests around 150 per 100,000 people, he said.
Mexico has the third highest number of deaths in the world, with almost 60,000 fatalities recorded since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 19:02

What's happening to UK infection rates?

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
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There are three key sources of data when it comes to judging which direction the pandemic is going in the UK: the daily confirmed cases, the Office for National Statistics monitoring programme (which involves random sampling) and the R value modelled by government experts.
All show slightly different pictures. The latest ONS survey, published on Friday, suggests rises seen since June have levelled off. Meanwhile, the government advisory body Sage says it does not have confidence the R number is below one, suggesting the epidemic is growing.
If you look at the daily confirmed cases, it shows the number of new infections have nearly doubled over the past six weeks to more than 1,000 a day. But that has happened partly because the number of tests being done has increased.
Even with the increase in testing, it is clear that not everyone who is infected is being diagnosed – part of the problem is that people can have the virus but not show symptoms. The ONS survey suggests the number of new infections is actually double that being identified by the testing system.
Overall, it suggests there has probably been a steady, gradual increase over the past few weeks. But this needs to be put into context. At the peak, the UK was estimated to be seeing 100,000 new infections a day.
The focus now is ensuring those areas that are seeing the most cases are able to contain the spread.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 19:05

Driving test website crashes as tests resume in England and Wales

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Learner drivers in England and Wales trying to book a driving test today have been left disappointed after the website crashed due to "unprecedented demand" after several months of suspension during lockdown.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) started taking bookings again for England and Wales from 08:00 BST today.
It said it would release more test slots on Monday but will not be able to accept bookings for any more than six weeks in advance.
The DVSA said some 210,000 tests were cancelled and tens of thousands more were delayed because of the virus.
Driving tests in Scotland are set to restart from 14 September, but people are not yet able to book a slot.
Rod Dennis, spokesman for RAC, said: "The pandemic has put into sharp focus just how important the car is to so many people's lives, whether they are driving to see friends or family, having a day out or getting to a place of work."
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 20:29

Covid-19 sufferer leaves hospital after 110-day stay

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Mick Pickering's wife Patsy said: "At some points I thought he was going to die."

Mick Pickering has been discharged from hospital after 110 days battling coronavirus - he said he was "amazed" to discover he had been in an induced coma for seven weeks.
The 65-year-old left Nottingham City Hospital on Friday after being admitted on 4 April.
When he was woken up, he said: "I didn't realise I'd been there so long."
Staff at the hospital lined up and clapped as he left the hospital in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce.
A spokesperson for the hospital said: "He is much improved and now able to walk independently, talk, wash himself and make an all-important cup of tea."
Read more here

World could be over coronavirus in two years, says WHO chief

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Dr Tedros says Covid-19 could be tamed faster than the Spanish flu of 1918

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it hopes the planet will be over the coronavirus pandemic in less than two years.
Its head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted it should be possible to tame it faster than it took with the deadly 1918 Spanish flu.
He said "globalisation, closeness, connectedness" today has allowed Covid-19 to spread around the world at lightning speed but that we also now have the advantage of far better technology.
"It took three waves for [Spanish flu] to infect most of the susceptible individuals," WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan said.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 21st August

Post by Kitkat on Fri 21 Aug 2020, 20:32

Today’s main coronavirus developments

Soon we will be pausing our live coverage for today but, before we do, here's a reminder of today’s main headlines from the UK and around the world:

  • UK government debt has exceeded £2 trillion for the first time following heavy spending to support the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic
  • UK holidaymakers race to return home before quarantine rules kick in for Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago at 04:00 BST on Saturday
  • Extra restrictions are being brought in for parts of northern England from midnight on Saturday
  • Lebanon has begun a two-week partial lockdown, including a night-time curfew, following a spike in cases. Infections have doubled since a devastating blast in the capital Beirut killed hundreds and injured thousands more on 4 August, placing massive strain on medical facilities
  • Doctors in most public hospitals in the Kenyan capital Nairobi have gone on strike in protest against unpaid wages and a lack of protective equipment
  • South Korea, Poland and Slovakia are among the countries to record their highest single-day increase in new cases, with 324, 903 and 123 cases respectively. Other countries in Europe, including Spain and France, have also announced dramatic rises in recent days
  • More than 1,000 new deaths have been announced in the US, bringing the total number of fatalities to 173,490. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US deaths could reach between 187,000 and 205,000 deaths within the next four weeks
  • Hong Kong, meanwhile, is to offer free coronavirus testing to its 7.4 million residents from 1 September, although it is unclear how many people will take up the offer


Thanks for joining us

Thank you for joining us for our live coverage on the coronavirus pandemic.
Today, it's been edited by Helier Cheung and Lauren Turner, and written by Penny Spiller, Joseph Lee, Victoria Bisset and Jo Couzens.

    Current date/time is Tue 29 Sep 2020, 17:36