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Coronavirus - 25th August

Kitkat
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covidaug Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 08:19

Summary for Tuesday, 25th August


  • Argentina registers a record 8,713 new cases and 381 deaths as Latin America struggles to contain the virus
  • A 48-hour lockdown is in force across the Gaza Strip after the first infections were recorded among the public
  • Head teachers in England want to know whether staff and pupils will be allowed to wear face coverings when schools re-open
  • In Scotland's secondary schools, face coverings will be used in corridors and shared areas
  • Hundreds of thousands of young people receive vocational BTec qualifications after results were delayed
  • Scientists in Hong Kong say they've seen the first confirmed case of re-infection
  • More than 23.6m cases of Covid-19 have been reported globally, and 813,000 deaths


Welcome to today's live updates on the coronavirus pandemic and thank you for joining us. Here are the main international headlines so far:

  • Argentina has confirmed a record 8,713 new cases of coronavirus and 381 more deaths in 24 hours. Cases have been rising rapidly in Argentina along with other countries in the region
  • Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US virus expert, has warned against rushing out a Covid-19 vaccine before it has been proven to be safe and effective. President Trump is reportedly mulling plans to put out a vaccine before it has been fully tested
  • World-record sprinter Usain Bolt has tested positive for the coronavirus, Jamaica's health ministry confirmed. The eight-time Olympic gold medalist is self-isolating at his home in Jamaica
  • Schools in and around the South Korean capital, Seoul, have been ordered to switch to online classes as authorities try to tackle an increase in coronavirus cases. The country was widely praised for controlling its initial outbreak but cases linked to a church have caused a new spike in infections
  • In Mexico, the new school year has begun with lessons for state school students taking place on television. Children haven't been allowed to enter classrooms since March. Although barely half of homes have access to the internet, more than 90% have a TV
  • The Gaza Strip has imposed an immediate 48-hour curfew after the first locally transmitted coronavirus infections were recorded. Four members of a family at a refugee camp tested positive
  • Hong Kong scientists have reported the first confirmed case of an apparently healthy patient being re-infected with Covid-19, four months after the first infection


UK morning summary

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


Argentina battles fresh outbreaks

More now from Argentina where health officials have confirmed a record 8,713 new cases of coronavirus and 381 more deaths over 24 hours.
The health ministry has warned that although quarantine measures have been tightened in the capital Buenos Aires and its suburbs, cases are now increasing in other regions.
The province of Buenos Aires saw 5,656 of the new infections with Jujuy province the next worst affected with 352. Santa Fe had 209, Córdoba 208, Mendoza 172 and Entre Ríos 124. In total, Argentina has seen more than 350,000 infections and 7,366 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Latin America and Asia are the regions that currently have the highest number of daily confirmed cases.
Argentina recently joined Peru, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates in moving forward with clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG).

Usain Bolt isolating after positive test

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The world-record sprinter Usain Bolt has tested positive for the coronavirus, Jamaica's health ministry confirmed.
It comes just days after the eight-time Olympic gold medalist celebrated his 34th birthday with a lavish party.
Bolt posted a short video message on Twitter in which he said he had taken a test on Saturday and that he was now self-isolating at his home in Jamaica. He said he would call his friends "and tell them once they came in contact with me to be safe, quarantine and take it easy".

One in eight virus patients 'infected in hospital'

A study of 10 UK hospitals and one in Italy found at least one in eight patients who were treated in hospital for coronavirus had been infected on-site .
The King's College London researchers said it was a relatively low rate of hospital-acquired infection and showed that effective infection controls were in place.
They analysed 1,500 cases up to 28 April, covering the peak of cases in the UK.
"The majority of these patients had already been in hospital for a long time," said lead author
"They were older, frailer and had pre-existing health conditions."
The patients who caught the virus in hospital also had better outcomes than those who were admitted with the virus, probably because they were diagnosed and treated more quickly.

Empty Kenya school fills classrooms with chickens

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The closure of all schools in Kenya until next January has left the owners of many private facilities struggling to survive, our colleagues Basillioh Mutahi and Mercy Juma report.
At Mwea Brethren School, owner Joseph Maina has filled the classrooms with chickens to bring in some much-needed income.
"We decided that we must do something [with the school] for survival," he told the BBC.
Roka Preparatory, another school in central Kenya, also converted its premises into a farm and is growing vegetables in the former playground.
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"Things have never been this bad," said James Kung'u, who founded the school 23 years ago.
You can read more on this story here .
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 08:58

Bali closed to foreign tourists until end of year

The Indonesian island of Bali will not open to foreign tourists again this year because of coronavirus concerns, officials have announced.
Authorities in the popular holiday destination had earlier said foreign visitors would be allowed to return from next month. But the plan has been scrapped over concerns about Indonesia's mounting Covid-19 cases.
Bali had reported 4,576 coronavirus infections and 52 deaths as of Monday. Nationwide, Indonesia has recorded more than 155,000 cases and at least 6,759 deaths - the highest number of fatalities in South East Asia.
"The situation in Indonesia is not conducive to allow international tourists to visit the country, including Bali", said the island's governor, Wayan Koster.
You can read more on this story here .

Germans told to avoid Paris and Côte d'Azur: Europe round-up

Germany has added the Paris region and southern French regions including the Côte d'Azur to its list of "at-risk" Covid-19 areas that should be avoided for non-essential travel. Here are some of the other main developments around Europe:

  • President Emmanuel Macron is holding a French defence council meeting this morning on the outbreak, which health officials say is most prevalent among young adults. Top epidemiologist Jean-François Delfraissy says that's why "the numbers going into intensive care and hospital haven't really gone up much"
  • Spain’s health minister is warning of possible “drastic measures” in Madrid if the situation worsens there. Many of Spain's latest infections are in the capital – and Fernando Simón says "I don't know if it has to be a confinement or other sorts of measures regarding people's internal movement"
  • A moving letter from a young student is published in this morning's Corriere della Sera newspaper in Italy. Martina, 20, says she spent most of her summer outdoors with friends but then celebrated a friend's birthday at a nightclub where she caught the virus. She ended up infecting two grandparents and her father, who is now in intensive care


KFC drops Finger Lickin' Good tag amid coronavirus

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Global fast-food giant KFC says it is dropping its "Finger Lickin' Good" slogan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It has prepared new packaging with the phrase obscured, albeit lightly.
"We find ourselves in a unique situation - having an iconic slogan that doesn't quite fit in the current environment," the company said.
KFC said the phrase would return when the time was right. The firm closed its sites temporarily in March amid the pandemic, but most have now reopened.
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 09:12

Scotland pupils to wear face coverings from Monday

Scottish secondary school pupils will have to wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas from next Monday (31 August), Education Secretary John Swinney has confirmed.

Masks in schools 'not a blanket intervention' - WHO

Scotland says its decision to mandate mask use in shared spaces in schools is driven by World Health Organization guidance, but in England there is no such advice to head teachers. So what does the WHO really recommend?
WHO spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris told BBC Breakfast that “different places need to negotiate what works for them and their community”.
She said that masks needed to be used "strategically” along with other measures such as social distancing, hygiene and ventilation. Children also needed to be shown how to use masks safely - to be taught to wash their hands before putting them on or removing them, and given a bag to keep them in.
While children aren't seen as a "major source of transmission", the data shows infections are increasingly being passed on between young people and in some places they have been the "drivers" of outbreaks.
As some parents' groups raise concerns about the impact of mandatory mask use on children with autism, hearing impairments or asthma, Dr Harris said these issues needed to be taken "very, very seriously" and were the reason face coverings were "not a blanket intervention".

Man who believed virus was hoax loses wife to Covid-19

Marianna Spring - Disinformation and social media reporter
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A Florida taxi driver, who believed false claims that coronavirus was a hoax, has lost his wife to Covid-19.
Brian Lee Hitchens and his wife, Erin, had read claims online that the virus was fabricated, linked to 5G or was similar to the flu. When they fell ill in early May, the couple didn't follow health guidance or seek help.
Brian recovered but Erin, 46, became critically ill and died this month from heart problems linked to the virus.
Brian told BBC News that he "wished [he'd] listened from the beginning" and hoped his wife would forgive him.
Read Marianna's full report here
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 09:45

Volunteers given experimental antibody treatment

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca says it has begun testing a new drug to help prevent and cure Covid-19 on its first set of volunteers.
About 48 healthy people in the UK aged 18 to 55 are being given the drug, known as AZD7442, which is intended to mimic and boost the body's natural defences against coronavirus.
It combines two monoclonal antibodies, discovered in infected patients while they fought off the virus. These have been boosted by the drug company to “afford at least six months of protection from Covid-19”.
The trial will will look at the safety of the treatment and the body’s reaction to the drug.
The company hopes it can be used as both a preventative measure and a treatment for people already infected.
But if the trial is successful, the drug will still need several further stages of testing to prove its safety and effectiveness.
You can read more about what progress we're making on coronavirus treatments here.

New study gives insight into attitudes towards tracing

Almost 60% of global respondents to a new study said that they would be likely to participate in contact tracing.
But the report by .pdf]Imperial College London found that around a third said they were not likely to take part in tracing initiatives.
Around a quarter said they would not be willing to share their details for contact tracing.
Globally, the most common reason for not wanting to provide contact information was “I would not want the government to track me”, at 30%. A total of 47% of respondents in the US who didn't want to share their information gave this reason.
Of the global respondents who said they might not share the names of the people they had been in contact with, 22% said this was because they did not trust the authorities. The share of respondents who said this was the highest in France (40%), followed by Mexico (37%), the UK (35%) and the US (33%).
Almost 20,000 people from 19 countries took part in the survey.

'Just possible' Oxford vaccine trials could be complete this year

About 50,000 people worldwide are to be given shots of the Oxford University vaccine to test its safety and effectiveness, says Prof Andrew Pollard, part of the group developing it.
The potential vaccine, which is being developed by Oxford University and drug company AstraZeneca and is thought to be the most advanced candidate in clinical trials, is being tested on 10,000 people in the UK, and a further 10,000 in Brazil and South Africa. They also hope to enrol 30,000 people in US trials.
Prof Pollard told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the number of new cases in the coming weeks and months would determine how quickly the researchers could prove the vaccine offered effective protection.
But he said it is "just possible that if the cases accrue rapidly, we could have that data to put before regulators this year".
Following reports that US President Donald Trump wants to speed up approval of the vaccine in time for the November election, AstraZeneca said it had not discussed any fast-tracking with regulators.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 09:48

Australia Masked Singer outbreak rises to 16

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The Masked Singer, a hit show in the US (pictured), launched in Australia last year

In Australia, nine new Covid-19 infections have been linked to the set of the hit reality TV show The Masked Singer, taking the total number of cases to 16.
Broadcaster Network 10 said all cast and crew would complete 14-days' self-isolation, including those who had already tested negative.
Production of the Australian version of the show was suspended at the weekend after several crew members tested positive for Covid-19.
The show is filmed in Melbourne, Victoria, which has been at the centre of a spike in coronavirus infections. Residents are subject to strict lockdown rules.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 10:56

Blow to Bali tourism industry

Resty Woro Yuniar - BBC News, Jakarta
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The decision by Bali's governor not to open to foreign tourists again this year is the latest blow to millions of Balinese, whose livelihood has been battered by the pandemic since March.
Tourism contributes about 80% to the province's economy. More than six million foreigners visited the island last year.
On a recent vacation to Bali, I saw firsthand the economic downturn. Kadek, a cheerful driver who picked me up from the airport, told me I was his "first passenger in five months".
Many shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels are closed, including the ones in the popular tourist areas of Seminyak and Kuta, which normally bustle with Australian, British, and European tourists in summer months like August.
Diving shops and yoga studios are also largely closed or empty, as well as fancy resorts along Nusa Dua beach.
Tour guide I Made Subrana told me: "I'm very concerned about this. International tourism has been the locomotive of Balinese economy. My income has declined because of the pandemic. Usually this is 'European season', from May till October."

Australian woman who broke quarantine rules is jailed

An Australian court has jailed a woman for six months for breaching coronavirus quarantine laws by sneaking across a state border in a truck.
Asher Faye Vander Sanden, 28, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a direction under Western Australia's Emergency Management Act, local media reported.
Perth Magistrates Court heard that she had an exemption to fly to Western Australia and quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at her own expense. Instead she concealed herself at the border with South Australia by hiding in a car that was being transported by the truck.
Australia has recorded 25,053 total cases of Covid-19 and 525 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Earlier this month, Victoria declared a state of disaster and imposed strict lockdown measures after a surge in infections. Other Australian states have imposed strict border restrictions to stop cases spreading.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 11:00

South Korea orders closure of schools in Seoul

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Classes will be held online in the greater Seoul area until 11 September

South Korea is closing all schools and kindergartens in the greater Seoul area following a rise in cases there.
Remote learning will continue until 11 September, the Ministry of Education said.
All students will now learn from home with the exception of high school students set to take the university entrance exam in December.
It’s a blow to a country that has been praised for its handling of the virus.
As cases began to fall by May, students returned to the classroom in stages.
But nearly 200 staff and students have been infected in the greater Seoul area over the past two weeks.
South Korea has reported 310 deaths and 17,945 cases since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Read more here

Gaza imposes lockdown as infections discovered

Yolande Knell - BBC Middle East correspondent, Jerusalem
A lockdown has been declared in the Gaza Strip after the first coronavirus cases were discovered outside its quarantine centres.
An outbreak in impoverished Gaza has been greatly feared because of its weak health care system.
Overnight, police moved quickly to clear people from the streets and impose a 48-hour curfew. Schools, mosques, businesses and the beach have all been closed.
Until now, the relative isolation of Gaza - which is kept under blockade by Israel and Egypt citing security concerns - and strict quarantine controls for those returning from outside meant that cases of the virus had not spread among the public.
Now a woman who travelled to Jerusalem for medical treatment and four of her relatives from one of Gaza’s densely populated refugee camps have tested positive. A spokesman for Hamas, which governs Gaza, said the situation was very dangerous due to the lack of medical supplies and Covid-19 testing kits.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 11:04

Covid restrictions 'hampering' S Asia flood relief

Navin Singh Khadka - Environment reporter, BBC World Service
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Relief workers have not been able to reach some of the impacted sites because of travel restrictions

Monsoon rains last from June to September and they bring misery for large number of people in South Asian countries every year.
Many parts of India this month have seen excess rainfall, some up to 60%, according to the Indian Meteorological Department. More than 1,300 people have died and around 25 million have been affected in the region, according to government and humanitarian agencies.
"People in my district are sleeping on highways and other higher grounds to remain safe from floodwaters for more than four weeks now," said volunteer humanitarian worker Anchal Kumari.
Humanitarian agencies say Covid-19 restrictions have severely hampered relief operations in many places. Relief workers have been restricted in their movements by localised lockdowns, while stocks of emergency supplies have been rendered inaccessible by strict containment zones.
"Most of our relief materials are stored in warehouses and if such warehouses happen to be in places declared as containment zones by authorities, then it becomes very difficult to get such materials," said Pankaj Anand, head of programmes for Oxfam India.
Read more here

Round-up of today's main headlines

If you are just joining us here is a quick round-up of the main stories so far today.

  • Secondary school pupils in Scotland will be required to wear face coverings in corridors and shared areas from Monday. Education Secretary John Swinney said the new guidance would be updated based on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Argentina has reported a record 8,713 new cases and 381 deaths. Health officials warned that although quarantine measures had been tightened in the capital Buenos Aires and its suburbs, cases were now increasing in other regions
  • About 50,000 people worldwide are to be given shots of the Oxford University vaccine to test its safety and effectiveness. Prof Andrew Pollard, part of the group developing it, said it was "just possible that if the cases accrue rapidly, we could have that data to put before regulators this year"
  • South Korea is closing all schools and kindergartens in the greater Seoul area following a rise in cases. Students will now learn from home apart from high school students due to take the university entrance exam in December
  • [url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-53802218?ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=twitter&ns_campaign=bbc_live&ns_linkname=5f44c1dace818c0663518ab2%26Gaza imposes lockdown as infections]The Gaza Strip is under a two-day lockdown [/url]after the first coronavirus cases were discovered outside its quarantine centres. An outbreak there could be catastrophic because of its fragile health care system
  • The Indonesian island of Bali will not open to foreign tourists again this year because of coronavirus concerns. The move is a blow to millions of Balinese who depend on the island's lucrative tourism industry
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 12:52

What are the face covering rules in schools?

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
Up until now, the use of face coverings in schools has been voluntary. However, some schools have started asking staff and pupils to wear them, to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
The Scottish government now says that all pupils over the age of 12 should wear them in corridors and communal areas and on school buses.
But pupils will not have to wear them in classrooms.
A government spokesman said pupils in England would not be required to wear face coverings and that there were "no plans" to change the guidance.
Asked whether pupils should wear masks in secondary schools in England, the country's deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said the evidence was "not strong".
Face coverings are "strongly encouraged" in NI schools if social distancing is not possible, but are "not generally recommended for routine use".
Wales does not recommend pupils wear face coverings in school.
Read more about the rules on face masks and coverings in the UK here.

Heatwave, not virus, leads to rise in deaths in UK

Deaths in the UK rose above average for the first time since mid-June, according to new figures. But the Office of National Statistics (ONS) said the increase was "likely due to the heatwave", as coronavirus deaths continued to fall.
There were 139 deaths recorded in the week up to 14 August that mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, down from 152 the previous week.
But overall, there were 10,580 deaths registered across the UK – 265 more than the five-year average and 370 more than the previous week.
“The increased number of deaths, and the rise above the five-year average, were likely due to the heatwave; the coronavirus did not drive the increase," said the ONS.
A total of 57,173 deaths have now been reported where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

UK students receiving delayed vocational BTec grades from today

All young people awaiting results of BTec vocational qualifications will receive them by the end of the week , exam board Pearson said. The first revised results are being given to students today.
BTec results became another casualty of the chaos caused by the cancellation of exams, after a flawed algorithm to calculate GCSEs and A-levels was scrapped and replaced with assessments by schools and colleges, leading to significantly higher grades.
Since BTecs are intended to be vocational equivalents to the academic GCSEs and A-levels, Pearson delayed results to "address concerns about unfairness". It said: "No grades will go down as part of this review."
Level three results - equivalent to A-levels - are being prioritised so young people can secure university places, the exam board said.
“It is right that Pearson recognised the oncoming chaos and played their part in rectifying the situation, but students and their families will not forget this results season in a hurry," said Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 12:59

Virgin Atlantic awaits fate of rescue plan

Warned that it could run out of cash by the end of September, Virgin Atlantic is awaiting the result of a key vote on a restructuring plan that is seen as vital for it to survive the coronavirus crisis.
The airline agreed a £1.2bn rescue deal in July, but this has to be approved by creditors at a High Court hearing today.
Lawyers for the firm said it is "fundamentally sound" - but a restructuring and fresh injection of cash is critical.

Background music ban spoils the mood for Scottish restaurateurs

"Ridiculous", "no logic to it" - that's the verdict of some restaurateurs and hoteliers on the ban on background music introduced in Scotland on 14 August.
The Scottish government introduced the ban on mood music to prevent people raising their voices to be heard, increasing the risk of Covid-19 spreading through droplets.
But many restaurants are calling for a change of heart.
"We need background music to kill the deathly hush as people feel they have to start whispering when a restaurant is quiet," said James Thomson, owner of The Witchery and the five-star Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
"Diners want to eat out in a place with atmosphere, not a library."
Dominic Crolla of La Locanda in Edinburgh said: "My customers come to hear classic Italian music while enjoying Italian food but now the atmosphere is ruined with this ban."

Were China's Xinjiang residents handcuffed and forced to take medicine?

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
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There has been widespread testing in Urumqi

Chinese media is full of praise for the north-west region of Xinjiang having no new cases of Covid-19 for the ninth consecutive day.
However, a lot of dissatisfaction is appearing on Chinese social media from residents in the city of Urumqi at the lockdown measures imposed on them.
Rumours have been circulating suggesting that people were chained to buildings as punishment for leaving their homes, and forced to inject themselves with traditional Chinese medicine.
It is difficult to verify these claims online. A search of the word “handcuff” on the popular Sina Weibo social media platform only brings up results from verified official or government media.
Ordinary Chinese voices have their posts filtered. And state media have actively been promoting the “therapeutic effect” of Lianhua Qingwen capsules as a safe way of alleviating Covid-19 symptoms.
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Streets in Urumqi have been disinfected during the lockdown

Some locals are posting on Weibo that they feel trapped in their homes and that "epidemic control volunteers" are limiting their movements and their access to food.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 13:04

'People here don't know how to prevent the disease'

Nyein Chan Aye - BBC News Burmese
There are growing fears about the local outbreak in conflict-torn Rakhine State in Myanmar, where hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas are living in crowded refugee camps and internet access is poor.
On Monday, Rakhine State reported 22 locally transmitted cases, the highest single-day number since its first confirmed case in May. Myanmar has seen 474 cases with only six deaths so far – but over one-fifth of the cases are in Rakhine.
Authorities have imposed a partial lockdown and a curfew in the state capital Sittwe. But critics say containing the spread is especially challenging in Rakhine because residents do not have direct access to information because of internet restrictions.
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Barricades block a street during the lockdown in Sittwe

Tun Aung Thein, a local MP from Butheeduang Township, told BBC News Burmese: “People here don't know how to prevent the disease. We need full access to the internet in order to keep updated.”
Myanmar’s government first shut down the internet in eight townships in Rakhine State in June 2019, saying rebels were spreading misinformation. Earlier this month, the internet was restored, but locals say the network is limited to 2G and they are unable to do anything online.

South Africa sees continued downward trend in cases

Nomsa Maseko - BBC News, Johannesburg
South Africa’s coronavirus cases have declined from a peak of about 15,000 daily infections in July to just over 1,600 in the past 24 hours.
Experts say the data shows a continued downward trend and that there’s currently no sign of a “second wave” of infections as lockdown restrictions have been eased countrywide.
But they’ve also warned that there’s still a risk and that people should stick to restrictions. One hundred fatalities were reported yesterday, bringing the total to just over 13,000, while the recovery rate has increased to more than 80%.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 16:04

Where are the world's coronavirus hotspots?

Latin America and Asia are the continents that currently have the highest number of daily confirmed cases.
In terms of individual countries, Brazil has the second highest number of cases in the world, after the US. Mexico has the second-highest death toll in Latin America with more than 60,000 deaths, and Argentina recorded its highest number of cases and deaths on Monday even as quarantine measures there were tightened.
India has recorded more than three million cases and has been averaging more than 60,000 new infections each day. So far more than 58,000 people have died, which amounts to the world's fourth highest death toll.
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Birmingham given new powers to close bars and restaurants

Businesses such as restaurants and bars which fail to manage the risk of coronavirus could be shut down under Birmingham City Council's new enforcement measures coming into force tomorrow.
The city was placed on a government watchlist last week over its infection rate, but that is now falling.
The "enhanced measures", agreed with the government, allow council officers and police to warn - or close - restaurants and bars which are not following the guidance on preventing the spread of Covid-19.
They also allow the council to ban events - including weddings and funerals - over a maximum size and to close outdoor spaces and parks in the interests of public health.
“By all working together to take action now, we can hopefully bring the numbers down, prevent further restrictions and protect the health and jobs of people across the city," said council leader Ian Ward.
At the weekend, police said they broke up 70 unlicensed gatherings , including a street party.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 16:08

Spain calls in army to help fight virus

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Mr Sanchez said the evolution of the epidemic in the country was "worrying"

Spain has said it will enlist the help of the army to fight a rise in the number of coronavirus cases.
Some 2,000 soldiers would be deployed to help regional governments in tracking cases, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said at a news conference.
He said the evolution of the epidemic in the country was "worrying", although he added it was still far from the situation of mid-March, when one of Europe's strictest lockdowns was imposed.
"We cannot allow the pandemic to start taking control of our lives again," he said, adding that: "We must take control, break this second curve."
He called on the country to ensure "fear does not paralyse us and prevent us from acting".
The country has now seen more than 405,000 cases of the virus and recorded more than 28,800 deaths.

Welsh government to review face coverings in schools

The Welsh government has said it will also review its position on face coverings in schools.
It comes after Scotland said they will become mandatory in communal areas such as corridors and on school buses from Monday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the guidance for England - which currently rejects the use of masks in school - could be altered if the evidence changed.
“On the issue of whether or not to wear masks in some contexts – you know, we’ll look at the the changing medical evidence as we go on," he said.
“If we need to change the advice then of course we will.”
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 16:11

Here is what is happening around the UK

If you are just catching up with us this lunchtime as you shelter from Storm Francis (if it's in your neck of the woods), here is what has been happening around the UK.

  • Scottish secondary school pupils will have to wear face coverings from Monday, it has been announced, after the government changed its guidance . Education Secretary John Swinney said the rules would apply to all students aged over 12 and will cover communal areas such as corridors and on buses
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reiterated that scientific advice says schools are safe without the use of face coverings. During a visit in the south-west of England he said: "On the issue of whether or not to wear masks in some contexts - you know, we'll look at the the changing medical evidence as we go on. If we need to change the advice then of course we will"
  • Covid-19 testing capacity in Scotland is to be increased after a spike in demand. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said three new mobile testing units would be deployed this week, with the first operational in Glasgow from today
  • One in eight coronavirus patients contracted the virus while they were in hospital, a study by King's College London has found . Researchers said that was a relatively low rate and showed there was effective infection control in place
  • Cruise operator Cunard has announced it is extending the suspension of its services until March, meaning its ships will not have sailed for a full year after the pandemic hit the UK
  • And in some potentially good news, it is just possible the Oxford University vaccine could be ready by the end of the year, according to Prof Andrew Pollard, part of the group developing it. The vaccine is being tested on 10,000 people in the UK, and a further 10,000 in Brazil and South Africa. They also hope to enrol 30,000 people in US trials


Norway falls into recession as virus-hit economy stalls

Figures from Norway show the economy has fallen into recession as a result of the coronavirus.
Gross domestic product (GDP), the measure of economic activity, contracted in the second quarter at the fastest pace ever recorded. The mainland economy, excluding oil and gas production, shrank by 6.3% in the April-June period.
“The decline in the Norwegian economy in the second quarter was the deepest ever recorded,” the national statistics office, SSB, said in a statement. “Quarterly national accounts are available back to 1978.”
Norway, however, fared comparatively better than the eurozone, where GDP declined by 12.1% in the second quarter, Reuters reported. It also did better than neighbouring Sweden’s 8.6% decline.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

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

Argentina's sombre day - and other world headlines

Coronavirus - 25th August B2063f10
Deaths from Covid-19 are increasing in Argentina

If you have just joined us, let us bring you up to speed with the main international stories so far.

  • Argentina has reported a record 8,713 new cases and 381 deaths over 24 hours. Health officials warned that although quarantine measures had been tightened up in the capital Buenos Aires and its suburbs, cases were now increasing in other regions
  • Norway has fallen into recession as a result of measures to tackle the pandemic. New figures showed economic activity declined sharply in the second quarter of the year - the fastest contraction ever recorded in the country
  • South Korea is closing all schools and kindergartens in the greater Seoul area following a rise in cases. Students will now learn from home apart from high school students due to take the university entrance exam in December
  • The Gaza Strip has ordered a lockdown after the first coronavirus cases were discovered outside its quarantine centres. An outbreak in Gaza could spell disaster because of its weak health care system
  • The Indonesian island of Bali will not open to foreign tourists again this year because of coronavirus concerns. The move is a blow to millions of Balinese who depend on the island's lucrative tourism industry


PM 'might have done things differently' on exams

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said in hindsight the government "might have done some things differently" over its handling of school results after the pandemic prevented pupils from sitting exams.
He was talking while on a visit to Appledore Shipyard in Devon, where he spoke to students from Petroc College.
He praised this year's GCSE pupils saying: "They've had to stay at home, which has been difficult, it has posed risks, as I say, to their health, to their mental health. They've done a fantastic job, they've protected the NHS, they've helped to save lives, to get us through this pandemic - and I'm just pleased that they now do have results that they can work with.
"And yes, you know if we had to do it again, we might have done some things differently, I'm certainly not going to deny that."
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 16:22

University of Alabama reports 500 cases after classes resume

Coronavirus - 25th August 2fe2be10

The University of Alabama (UA) in the US has reported hundreds of cases of the virus since classes resumed last week.
A total of 566 cases have been identified among students and staff since 19 August, university officials say.
“Our challenge is not the students,” local media quoted UA president Stuart Bell as saying on Monday.
“Our challenge is the virus and there’s a difference, folks. What we have to do is identify where does the virus thrive and where does the virus spread and how can we work together with our students, with our faculty and with our staff to make sure that we minimise those places, those incidents."
He added that the university was trying to add to the 450 beds it already had in place for students to quarantine after either testing positive or being exposed to the virus.
More than 20,000 students returned to the university, where in-person classes are held, in the past week for the first time since spring break in March.

Biden and Harris to be tested during US election campaign

US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, are set to be routinely tested for coronavirus during their election campaign.
“This announcement is another step demonstrating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ commitment to turn the page on [US President Donald] Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement during the worst public health crisis in 100 years,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement .
Biden, 77, Harris, 55, and key staff who interact with them would be tested “on a regular basis”, in line with the advice of medical advisers, a campaign aide told Reuters news agency.
Biden's deputy campaign manager and communications director, Kate Bedingfield, had previously said he had not yet been tested for Covid-19.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 16:24

Head of regulator Ofqual resigns over exams fiasco

The head of the exams regulator in England is to step down following the chaos of this year's A-level and GCSE results.
Ofqual said in statement that Sally Collier had agreed with the board that the regulator would be better overseen by new leadership.
Students protested earlier this month after thousands of their grades were downgraded by an algorithm. It led to a U-turn with teache- assessed grades being reinstated.

Fauci: Don't rush out a vaccine

Coronavirus - 25th August E9ca6210

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US virus expert, has warned against rushing out a Covid-19 vaccine before it has been proven to be safe and effective.
Speaking to Reuters news agency, he said doing so could hurt the development of other vaccines. It comes as US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering plans to put out a vaccine before it has been fully tested.
"The one thing that you would not want to see with a vaccine is getting an EUA [emergency use authorisation] before you have a signal of efficacy," Dr Fauci said.
"One of the potential dangers if you prematurely let a vaccine out is that it would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other vaccines to enrol people in their trial.
"To me, it's absolutely paramount that you definitively show that a vaccine is safe and effective," he added.
Read more on this story here .
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 17:41

Cruise operator suspends services until March

Coronavirus - 25th August B0eb4710
Cruises were abandoned in March as the coronavirus pandemic hit

A cruise operator has extended a suspension of its services until March amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It means Southampton-based Cunard, which is part of the Carnival group, will have paused operations for an entire year .
Its three ships began to sail back to Southampton in March when it halted all of its cruises.
Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: "We are so sorry to all those guests who were due to sail on any of the cancelled voyages and for the disappointment this news will cause.
"After very careful consideration and reviewing the latest guidance, we simply do not feel it would be sensible to start sailing again with our current schedule so we have reviewed future itineraries."
In May Carnival UK announced plans to cut 450 jobs across Cunard and P&O Cruises, to "ensure the future sustainability" of the business.
"Ghost" cruise ships have become something of a tourist attraction as they stand anchored off the coast. Read more here .

Virus outbreak in Northern Ireland cancer ward

Coronavirus - 25th August _1141010
Craigavon Area Hospital treated the highest number of Covid-19 patients in NI during the height of the pandemic

Five patients in a cancer ward at Craigavon Hospital in Northern Ireland have tested positive for Covid-19 .
Infection control experts have been at the hospital site today and families of the patients are being contacted by the Southern Health Trust, which runs the hospital.
The ward has been closed to new admissions. A member of staff on the haematology ward is also affected and others have been sent home to self-isolate.
It is the second confirmed outbreak at the hospital, with staff in the respiratory emergency department also testing positive.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 17:49

First UK Covid-19 case was in Nottinghamshire

Scientists believe they have traced the first UK coronavirus case to a woman in Nottinghamshire.
Analysis of samples by the University of Nottingham showed a 75-year-old woman, from Nottinghamshire, tested positive on 21 February.
A Surrey resident was previously believed to have caught the virus first.
The woman is also understood to be first in the UK to die after contracting Covid-19.
News of the case has emerged only now, because samples were being analysed in retrospect by researchers as they investigated the origins of the UK pandemic.
Read more here .

More on Ofqual chief regulator's resignation

Here is some more on that breaking story we brought you earlier.
As we reported, Ofqual chief Sally Collier has resigned amid criticism for the part the exams regulator played in the A-levels and GCSEs results chaos.
Former chief regulator Dame Glenys Stacey has been asked to take up the role temporarily, having previously held the position between 2011 and 2016.
Ofqual said it had agreed temporary support arrangements with Ofsted to support ongoing work with GCSEs, A-levels and vocational qualifications, including autumn exams and the appeals process.
In a statement Ofqual said: "The chief regulator Sally Collier has decided that the next stage of the awarding process would be better overseen by new leadership. The Ofqual board supports Sally in this decision, and thanks her for her leadership and service over the past four years, which has included overseeing the successful introduction of an entirely new set of GCSEs and A-levels, and a new grading system."
Roger Taylor remains the chair of the watchdog and a new committee of the Ofqual board is being formed to oversee its work until the end of the year. This will be led by Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman, who previously worked at Ofqual.
"Taken together these arrangements will ensure that Ofqual has the extra capacity, support and oversight it needs both to tackle the remaining issues from this year's awarding process and to ensure that next year's arrangements command public confidence," the statement said.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 18:08

Pandemic financial silver lining for some - US poll

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and the economic crisis that followed, some Americans have managed to improve their finances, according to a new poll.
Some 45% of Americans said they had managed to set more money aside than usual, while 26% were paying back debt faster than they had been before the pandemic, the poll conducted by The Associated Press (AP)-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found.
In total, about half of Americans say they’ve either saved more or paid back debt since the outbreak began.
Health fears and compulsory closures meant many Americans have gone out less and as a result spent less on meals out, clothes and travel.
Meanwhile, nearly 13 million people have lost a job, AP reports, and more than 28 million people - nearly one fifth of the American workforce - were collecting some form of unemployment payment in the week ending 1 August.

India's capital sees sharp rise in coronavirus cases

Shruti Menon - BBC Reality Check
India’s capital Delhi has seen coronavirus cases rise by more than a quarter over the previous week, according to the latest data.
More than 9,000 positive cases were recorded in the week from 18 August to 24 August, up from just over 7,200 the previous week.
There’s been little change in testing numbers since the start of August so that would not account for the increase.
The proportion of positive cases has also risen - from 5.8% up to 7.8% over those two weeks.
This figure went as high as 31% in mid-June, and then dropped to 5.7% in July and is now seeing a rise again.
Delhi has one of the highest testing rates in India, and has done nearly 76,000 tests per million people, much higher than the national average of just under 27,000 per million.
There’s more about India’s testing programme here.

Labour calls for face coverings in communal school areas

Labour has called for face coverings to be used in communal areas of secondary schools in England.
Shadow education secretary Kate Green said: "There is a growing body of evidence that the use of face masks in communal areas in secondary schools helps protect students and staff and drive down transmission.
"The prime minister must listen to this evidence and act quickly to give certainty to parents and teachers who are just days away from schools reopening."
It comes after Scotland announced that pupils will have to cover their faces in corridors and on school transport from Monday .
In Wales, the government has said it will review the use of face coverings in school with a decision expected to be made on Wednesday.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it is important that any decisions are "proportionate" and "appropriate to their setting, and local population".
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

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

Virgin Atlantic wins backing for £1.2bn rescue deal

Virgin Atlantic has won backing from its creditors for a £1.2bn rescue plan that will secure its future for at least the next 18 months.
The airline said shareholders, banks, aircraft owners and suppliers owed money had approved the plan.
Virgin Atlantic said "this milestone" puts it in a position to "rebuild its balance sheet" and "welcome passengers back".
It had warned it would run out of cash by September without the deal.
Like other airlines, Virgin Atlantic's finances have been hit hard by the collapse in air travel due to the pandemic.
It is cutting 3,500 staff, but the airline has said the remaining 6,500 jobs should be secure.

Nearly 4,000 Swedes given false positive results

Some 3,700 Swedes were told they had Covid, but it then turned out the results were wrong .
Sweden's Public Health Agency said on Tuesday that faulty PCR test kits had returned some 3,700 false positive results back in March.
Mostly "people who had mild symptoms or who didn't feel any symptoms at the time of the test received false positive results", the agency said in a statement.
The agency added it would contact those affected this week and adjust Sweden's official number of cases.
The error was discovered by two laboratories during routine quality controls.
The agency said the kits were made by a company in China and had been distributed worldwide. It says it has alerted the World Health Organization.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 19:52

UK coronavirus figures show further 16 deaths

A further 16 deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19 within 28 days of dying have been recorded in the UK.
It takes the total number of deaths which have been linked to coronavirus in the country to 41,449.
There were a further 1,184 new cases reported in the previous 24 hours, official figures showed on Tuesday. It takes total cases to 327,798.

Slight drop in Dutch cases, but many new cases from abroad

The Netherlands has seen a slight drop in the number of coronavirus cases in the past week - down by 425 from 4,013 to 3,588 compared with the previous week, according to the RIVM public health institute.
But a quarter of new cases involved people who had returned from abroad. Some 867 who returned tested positive in the past week, mainly from France (161) and Spain (278), Dutch media report.
Meanwhile, hospital admissions in the country have gone up sharply, from 50 last week to 84 in the past seven days, Dutch media report. The number of deaths has also doubled from 16 to 32.
At the beginning of the month, PM Mark Rutte said the virus was rising at a dangerous rate.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control , the Netherlands still has among the highest infection rates in Europe per 100,000 people (currently 45), reports the BBC's Anna Holligan in The Hague.

FDA chief apologises for 'overstating' plasma benefits

The top doctor at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has apologised for overstating the benefits of patients blood plasma in the treatment of Covid-19.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn came under fire after his agency on Sunday gave emergency authorisation to use convalescent plasma on coronavirus patients.
Echoing President Donald Trump, Mr Hahn touted the treatment as life-saving.
But scientists quickly questioned the data provided by Mr Hahn, who suggested plasma could reduce deaths by 35% - a claim which grossly exaggerated preliminary findings from a clinic at the Mayo Clinic.
Mr Hahn told CBS News he could have "done a better job" of explaining what the data shows.
He maintained that the decision to authorise the treatment for emergency use was made by FDA career scientists, "based upon sound science and data".
Mr Hahn has faced criticism for appearing to play politics, backing the Trump administration amid its push for a breakthrough treatment of Covid-19 in the run-up to the presidential election on 3 November.
The plasma announcement came a day after Mr Trump accused the FDA of impeding the rollout of vaccines and therapeutics for political reasons.
Read the full story here
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 19:56

EU trade commissioner: I broke no rules over golf trip

The EU's trade commissioner has said he broke no public health regulations while in Ireland despite attending a golf dinner with 80 other guests.
Phil Hogan has provided 20 pages of documents to the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen after she requested further details about his trip home earlier this month.
Mr Hogan was among the guests at a controversial golf dinner in the west of Ireland.
He returned to the Republic on 31 July and was required to restrict his movements for 14 days.
In a document published on the European Commission website , Mr Hogan said he tested negative for Covid-19 while in hospital for treatment on 5 August which he said "ended the self-restriction period".
Mr Hogan told Irish broadcaster RTÉ: "I am satisfied arising from the test that I did that proved it was negative that I was no risk to anybody."

What has been happening around the world today?

We'll be bringing our live coverage to a close shortly. Here are some of the headlines from around the world from the day:

  • The University of Alabama in the US has reported 566 cases of Covid-19 since classes resumed a week ago. More than 20,000 students returned to the university, where in-person classes are held, in the past week for the first time since spring break in March
  • There has been a sharp rise in cases in India’s capital Delhi, up by more than a quarter over the previous week, according to the latest data. More than 9,000 positive cases were recorded in the week from 18 August to 24 August, up from just over 7,200 the previous week
  • Argentina has reported a record 8,713 new cases and 381 deaths over 24 hours. While quarantine measures have been tightened in Buenos Aires, officials have warned cases were now increasing in other regions
  • A woman in Australia has been jailed for six months for breaching quarantine . The 28-year-old woman had been allowed to fly back to western Australia from the heavily affected Victoria region but failed to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days
  • In South Korea schools in Seoul have been closed until 11 September after a rise in Covid-19 cases. Nearly 200 pupils and staff have been infected in two weeks
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 25th August

Post by Kitkat on Tue Aug 25 2020, 19:59

UK round up: Exams fallout continues

And if you are just joining us in the UK here is what you may have missed.
The chief regulator of exams watchdog Ofqual has resigned following the chaos which surrounded this year's A-level, GCSE and BTec results.
Sally Collier quit after thousands of students were downgraded by a computer algorithm, which led to accusations of pupils in more deprived areas being treated unfairly. It also led to many A-level students losing university places they had been offered, and a crunch on degree places.
In other news:

  • Pressure is growing for the government to recommend face coverings in communal areas of schools when term time begins next month. Labour has called for England to follow Scotland's lead but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the government will follow the science and currently does not recommend their use
  • From Monday Scottish secondary pupils will have to wear coverings when they are in the corridors and in other shared spaces, the Education Minister John Swinney anounced. Wales is to make a decision on the matter on Wednesday
  • The Eat Out To Help Out scheme has contributed to the cost of 64 million meals since it was introduced at the beginning of August . Chancellor RIshi Sunak said it was helping to protect nearly two million jobs
  • And the first case of coronavirus in the UK may have been in Nottinghamshire rather than Surrey, scientists believe. The first person infected is thought to be a 75-year-old woman who had the disease on 21 February


That's all from us today

And that brings an end to our live page for the day.

The page has been edited by Jasmine Taylor-Coleman and Lauren Turner and written by Joseph Lee, David Walker, Sophie Williams, Alexandra Fouché and Doug Faulkner.


Thank you for joining us and we hope we will see you again on Wednesday morning.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:53