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Coronavirus - 26th August

Kitkat
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covidaug Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 12:20

Summary for Wednesday, 26th August


  • Countries across Europe have been looking at different measures to allow students and teachers to return safely
  • Pupils in England’s secondary schools will have to wear masks in corridors in local lockdown areas
  • Spain is to use 2,000 soldiers trained in tracking to help areas identify people exposed to the virus
  • Cases in the US have been falling as a result of the adoption of face masks and lower testing rates, experts say
  • North Korea's Kim Jong-un has chaired a meeting to assess preparations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
  • Argentina reports a new record number of cases as the country prepares for the annual Tango World Championships
  • Germany has agreed to extend a scheme that tops up pay for workers affected by the pandemic by another year


7:45

Welcome back to our live coverage

Thanks for joining our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s early in the morning here in London, and a lot has happened while we were asleep.
To help you catch up, here are the main headlines:

  • The number of new cases of the virus continues to fall in the US - however, experts point to both an increase in mask-wearing, and a fall in the number of tests being carried out. More than 1,000 deaths are still being reported per day in the country
  • Meanwhile, US First Lady Melania Trump acknowledged the pain caused by the pandemic, and offered her sympathy to people who have lost loved ones at a speech at the Republican National Convention
  • In the UK, secondary school pupils in England will have to wear masks in school corridors in local lockdown areas, after the government reversed its guidance
  • Spain is going to call in the army to help identify people who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. The government says it will make 2,000 soldiers trained in tracking available to regions, which are responsible for healthcare
  • German coalition parties have agreed to extend measures to counter the economic impact of the pandemic, such as prolonging short-term work subsidies, and bridging aid for small and medium-sized companies. It was also announced yesterday that the German economy contracted by a record 9.7%
  • There have now been more than 23.9m confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, and almost 820,000 people have died, according to the tally kept by US-based Johns Hopkins University


Face coverings U-turn for England's secondary schools

The government has reversed its guidance so that secondary pupils – those aged from 11 to 16 – in England will have to wear masks in school corridors in local lockdown areas.
Head teachers in any secondary school will also have the "flexibility" to introduce masks in their schools.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says it follows updated advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Department for Education says that, for most areas of England, it is keeping its recommendation against using face coverings – but that schools will be able to make their own decision whether to ask pupils and staff to wear them.
This will be in "communal areas" of schools such as corridors, where it is difficult to have social distancing, and when schools "believe that is right in their particular circumstances".
Secondary school pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland will have to wear face coverings between lessons from Monday.
Read more on the guidance in England here.

What are the face covering rules in UK schools?

That depends on where you live.
In Scotland , all pupils over the age of 12 will have to wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas from 31 August. On school buses, everyone over the age of five will have to wear face coverings. They will not have to wear them in classrooms.
The advice is similar in Northern Ireland , with changes also coming into affect from Monday. Education Minister Peter Weir said guidance on face coverings would be updated to include wearing them in the corridors of post-primary schools.
The advice for secondary school pupils in England is that "schools will have the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas if they believe that is right in their particular circumstances".
However, in areas where transmission of the virus is high - and where government interventions such as local lockdowns are in place - face coverings will be mandatory for pupils in year 7 and above in parts of schools where social distancing is not possible. This will not include in classrooms during lessons, where the government says they could "inhibit learning".
The new guidance also applies to further education colleges, but not to primary schools.
In Wales , the use of face coverings is "advised in circumstances where it may be difficult to stay two metres away from others". A decision about whether they will be required for schoolchildren is expected today.

F1 millionaire Briatore in hospital: Latest from Europe

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Flavio Briatore has been involved in a row with a Sardinian mayor over Covid restrictions on nightclubs

Here are some of the latest key developments from across Europe:

  • Former Formula One boss Flavio Briatore is being treated in a Milan hospital amid an outbreak at his nightclub on the Italian island of Sardinia. The millionaire businessman helped lead Michael Schumacher to motor racing success - but this month he has been at the heart of a local row over early closures for nightclubs during the Covid pandemic. Reports say up to 63 staff at his Billionaire club have tested positive - Flavio Briatore's condition is said to be stable
  • German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz says the economy is doing a little better than was feared a few weeks ago - he believes Germany will return to pre-crisis levels at the end of 2021 or the start of 2022
  • The southern city of Munich will start banning alcohol sales after 21:00 if infections reach 35 per 100,000 people - the current rate is 28
  • France's second city Marseille will require the wearing of masks throughout the city from late tonight. Marseille has a rate of 177 cases per 100,000 - the national average is 33
  • Turkey is banning engagement ceremonies and limiting weddings to an hour in 14 provinces. It's reported 1,502 infections in 24 hours, the highest since June. But football fans will be able to see their teams play again from October. Stadiums can open at 30% capacity.


Spain to enlist 2,000 soldiers to track virus

Spain is going to enlist the help of the army to identify people who've been exposed to the coronavirus, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said.
About 2,000 soldiers who are trained in tracking are going to be sent to the regions.
Some experts have blamed a lack of virus trackers for a surge in cases in parts of the country, including Madrid and Catalonia.
Spain has more than 400,000 confirmed cases of the virus - the highest in western Europe - and one of the fastest infection rates on the continent. Almost 29,000 people have died.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 12:25

Marseille hopes to stop local surge with new restrictions

Lucy Williamson - BBC's Paris Correspondent
From 23:00 this evening, bars, restaurants and food shops in the Bouches-du-Rhône region of southern France will have to close under new rules designed to combat the rapid rise in coronavirus cases there.
Masks will also be compulsory throughout Marseille. City health authorities have registered 177 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people; in France as a whole that figure is 33.
The number of cases nationally is growing by 30-40%, with Paris also now considered a "red zone" where the virus is again actively circulating.
The government this week pushed back the launch of its Economic Recovery Plan to focus on the health situation as schools prepare to reopen, and workers return after the summer holiday.
The government is desperate to avoid another national lockdown, because of what President Emmanuel Macron called the "collateral damage" of bringing the country to a halt again.
France estimates that it will lose 11% from its economy this year. But both the president and the prime minister have talked up the possibility of "targeted confinements" if local situations demand it.

Kim Jong-un admits 'shortcomings' in North Korea's virus strategy

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Kim Jong-un has warned North Korean authorities to prepare for both the coronavirus pandemic and the looming Typhoon Bavi, according to state media.
Speaking at a meeting of the politburo on Tuesday, while smoking a cigarette, Mr Kim admitted there had been "some shortcomings" in the country's approach to the "malignant virus" - but didn't give any details.
North Korea has not confirmed any cases of Covid-19, although this is doubted by observers. Although officials insisted for a long time that there were no infections in the country, state media hasn't repeated that claim for weeks now.
It's thought that a large outbreak of the virus would devastate the already-impoverished nation. At the same time, the typhoon is expected to hit the country later this week.
Read more about this story here .
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 12:29

Spain works out plans for reopening schools

As Spain attempts to control surging cases in some regions - including by enlisting the army for help with virus tracking - the government is working out plans for pupils to return to school.
Some pupils in Spain have been back at school since late May, but until now it has been voluntary. The plan is currently for all pupils to return in September.
Education Minister Isabel Celaá told Spanish media that returning to school "has to be in person - we cannot burden families with more uncertainty".
"Taking temperatures at the entrance [to schools] can cause queues," she added. "There are other options: ask parents not to send children in if they have a fever, or to take [their temperatures] in class."
According to guidelines issued earlier by the government, pupils will have to maintain a distance of at least 1.5m from each other, while younger children will instead be allowed to form bubbles of 15 to 20 pupils without having to distance.

Europe adapts to virus as pupils return to classrooms

It's "back to school" season in much of mainland Europe and we've already mentioned plans in Spain to record temperatures in classrooms, while officials have been urging parents not to send their children if they show signs of a fever.
Well other countries across the continent have also been looking at measures to allow schools to welcome back pupils in a safe, healthy way.
In France, for example, it's going to be mandatory for teachers and pupils over 11 to wear masks indoors - although limits on class sizes are going to be lifted, and social distancing will no longer be compulsory in all situations.
Germany's government is advising schools to take extra hygiene measures, such as frequent hand-washing, and for people to keep their hands off the banisters when going up and down the stairs - although masks are not mandatory. Schools have already reopened in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, but two schools have had to close after cases were confirmed there.
And in Italy, where schools have been closed since a strict lockdown was imposed in March, pupils will have to socially distance one metre apart and entry into schools will be staggered. Pupils will have to wear masks, while teachers will wear masks and face shields. Pupils who live with vulnerable family members will be able to take classes remotely.
You can read more here about how schools in Europe are preparing to welcome pupils back.

Face coverings a 'small help in schools'

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Prof Calum Semple, a specialist in children's health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool, said face coverings would be a "small help" in schools but hand washing and social distancing were still the most important things.
"We can't assume just because someone is wearing a mask that is going to take away all risk," he told BBC Breakfast.
He said he did not think face coverings were necessary for younger children in communal areas, adding: "Children are much better behaved in a classroom supervised by a teacher than adults are in a pub around a pint of beer."
He added that face coverings would become "part of the new normal" for children.
"It's going to be interesting seeing how children make these fashion items and personalise them," he said.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 12:35

What will happen to carnival in Brazil?

Katy Watson - BBC South America correspondent
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They call it the greatest spectacle on Earth - and for Brazil, carnival is everything.
While Rio de Janeiro's carnival is Brazil's most famous, cities such as São Paulo have in the past few years been starting to make a name for themselves.
With a spectacle of such proportions, preparation is everything and samba schools would normally already be getting ready for next year's carnival, due to be held in February 2021.
Currently, São Paulo's carnival parade - the highlight of the festivities - has already been delayed by eight months until October 2021. But depending on how the crisis unravels, there is no guarantee that it will not be delayed further.
There are question marks over what Rio's plans are, too.
At this point of the year, Imperio da Casa Verde, one of São Paulo's leading samba schools, would have already planned their storyline and started thinking about the costumes, ready to start the physical training in October.
But this year, the samba school's warehouse has fallen silent. The floats from February's revelries are yet to be fully dismantled. A massive furry tiger, the school's symbol, stands at the door, about seven metres (23ft) high and 15 metres long. A symbol, too, of how time has stood still for these past few months.
Read the full story here

Organiser of party that ended in deadly crush has Covid

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Thirteen people died in a crush during a police raid on the club in Lima

The man who organised a large party in Peru in contravention of coronavirus restrictions has tested positive for Covid-19.
Job Luque Ayala hired the Thomas Restobar in Lima for a birthday party, even though large gatherings are currently banned in Peru.
When police raided the premises, some of the revellers tried to get away and 12 women and one man were killed in a crush at the door .
The Peruvian government said police had been justified to raid the premises as the event was "a breeding ground for coronavirus". Forensic tests showed 11 of the 13 people killed had the virus.
Judicial officials said Mr Luque Ayala, 37, and his partner Yudith Yolanda Ortega Godoy, 34, would face murder charges. Mr Luque's lawyer called the charges "disproportionate".
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 12:51

Cases are still falling in the US

The number of new cases being recorded in the US is continuing to fall - and while experts say it's partly down to more people wearing masks, they also point to a fall in the numbers of tests being carried out.
The US still has the highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus and the highest total death toll in the world. It has had more than 5.7 million confirmed infections, and a death toll of more than 178,000.
To illustrate how the US outbreak has peaked and troughed since the start of the pandemic, we've put together these graphs.

Delhi doubles tests to 40,000 a day as cases surge

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that the number of coronavirus tests carried out there has doubled to 40,000 per day, as the Indian capital recorded more than 1,500 new cases on Tuesday - its highest total this month so far.
However, Kejriwal said the situation was "fully under control".
Nationally, India recorded more than 67,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total number of confirmed cases up to more than 3.2 million.
India has the third-highest number of cases, after the US and Brazil. However, its total death toll - 59,449 - is much lower than these two countries.
Coronavirus - 26th August 2017bd10
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 12:55

Bars and restaurants in Aberdeen reopen after lockdown

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Aberdeen is opening up again after three weeks

Bars, cafes and restaurants in Aberdeen are opening again for the first time in three weeks after a local lockdown was lifted.
Hospitality businesses shut on 5 August after a spike in Covid-19 cases linked to bars and nightlife in the city.
Venues are only able to open once they have passed a site inspection by environmental health officers.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was grateful to the people of Aberdeen for complying with the rules.
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Stuart McPhee said lessons had been learned

Stuart McPhee, who runs Siberia Bar and Hotel, predicted things would be "very different" this time around.
"I think we will have all learned lessons from the local lockdown, and I think we will all be operating in new ways.
"We are really looking to rebuild that confidence with the customer and just let them know it is safe to come back in to our environments and that we are doing everything that we can to keep them safe."
Read more here
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 13:00

Lockdown may have lasting effects on friendships

Victoria Gill - Science reporter, BBC News
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For some primates, life depends on being part of a stable group

"Friendships can deteriorate very quickly if you don't invest in them - it probably only takes about three months," says evolutionary psychologist Prof Robin Dunbar.
So the social strain of lockdown, while hopefully short-term, could have some long-term effects on some friendships, he says.
Prof Dunbar has delved into the ways in which our social connections will be changed by lockdown.
The University of Oxford academic's insight into those effects comes from a social world far from Zoom quizzes and Whatsapp groups. The roots of our friendships, he says, lie in the social lives of non-human primates.
For many of those primates, strong social bonds - being part of a "stable group" - means protection from predators and rivals.
Quizzed by the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire after readers said they had maintained friendships for years while far apart, Prof Dunbar says: "One has to make a distinction, really, between very close friendships, which will never die - I mean it takes something catastrophic to break it up - and more general relationships and friendships, that make up our social world and are still very important for us.
"They're actually the majority."
Read the full story here.

Scotland records first Covid deaths since 16 July

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirms the deaths of two patients who tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours - the first Covid-related deaths in Scotland in more than a month.
The deaths are the first to be newly registered of people who first tested positive in the previous 28 days since July 16, the first minister said, and take the toll to 2,494.
In all, 19,988 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 in Scotland, an increase of 67 from Tuesday.
Speaking at First Minister's questions, Ms Sturgeon said we have become used to no deaths in the daily figures but these remind us Covid has not gone away.
Read more here.
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 13:30

Scotland records first Covid deaths since 16 July

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirms the deaths of two patients who tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours - the first Covid-related deaths in Scotland in more than a month.
The deaths are the first to be newly registered of people who first tested positive in the previous 28 days since July 16, the first minister said, and take the toll to 2,494.
In all, 19,988 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 in Scotland, an increase of 67 from Tuesday.
Speaking at First Minister's questions, Ms Sturgeon said we have become used to no deaths in the daily figures but these remind us Covid has not gone away.
Read more here.

Berlin bans anti-Covid march

Some 20,000 protesters converged on the centre of Berlin at the start of August, complaining that anti-coronavirus measures such as wearing facemasks violated their rights and freedoms.



March organisers, who claimed at the time they had attracted up to 1.3 million people, decided to hold another on Saturday under the banner "Rally for freedom". But Berlin authorities have now ruled it out.
Welcoming the decision, Berlin interior senator Andreas Geisel said the 1 August marchers deliberately ignored rules that organisers had earlier agreed on social distancing guidelines and face coverings. "This is not a decision against the freedom of assembly, but a decision to protect against infection," he said.
He wasn't prepared to allow Berlin to be abused by "corona deniers" and far-right groups, he said.
Germany's Covid-19 pandemic has been less severe than in other countries in Western Europe, with 9,280 deaths recorded. But infections have risen in recent weeks and the government is extending travel warnings for 160 countries outside the EU until 14 September.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 13:32

Scotland influenced face coverings change - PM

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The prime minister has suggested the decision to make face coverings mandatory for secondary pupils in school corridors in local lockdown areas of England was influenced by the experience of pupils in Scotland, who have already started returning to lessons.
"What they found [in Scotland] was that it was raining outside, people were coming in and they were congregating in the corridors and the move to face coverings they thought was sensible," he said.
"What we are doing, following what the WHO (World Health Organization) have said, is we are saying, if you are in a hot spot area where there is a higher risk of transmission then face coverings in those types of areas outside the classroom."
He said wearing them in classrooms would be "nonsensical" because "you can't teach" or "expect people to learn with face coverings".
During a visit to Castle Rock school in Coalville, Leicestershire, he said: "We're being very clear - if you're in a hotspot area, which this place is not, then you should use face coverings in places outside the classrooms where it's a confined space.
"But those are few and far between. Here in Leicestershire, after all, you've seen the people of Leicester come together, make a huge effort in the whole area, to bear down on the virus because there was an outbreak in Leicester and they've done a fantastic job."
He added: "The numbers are down and the incidence in this area is well, well down so that's the way to do it - local measures to tackle the outbreaks, wash your hands and let's get all pupils back into school next week."
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 14:39

Pupils have 'lost too much time' from their education - Johnson

Also during his visit to Coalville, the prime minister said pupils had "lost too much time" from their education during the pandemic and encouraged parents to send their children back to lessons when schools reopen.
"School is safe, it is exciting, it is the place to learn," he said.
"[Children] have lost too much time out of school and I hope they will (return), and I'm sure they will."
Speaking to pupils at Castle Rock School, he said that in the classroom children could "experience things with an intensity and clarity... that is seldom repeated in your lives".
He told them they would be dealing with concepts such as nuclear fusion or "is Harry Potter sexist? Answer no, by the way" and "is it politically acceptable to sing Rule Britannia? Yes".

US public health body quietly changes testing guidance

The US public health body, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has quietly tweaked its testing guidance to say that people who've been in close contact with someone known to have Covid-19 now "do not necessarily" need to get tested.
Before, the CDC said anyone with recent or suspected exposure to the virus should be tested, even if they had no symptoms.
Now, the guidance says that in this situation "you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or state or local public health officials recommend you take one".
It comes as cases continue to fall in the US - a trend that experts say is at least partly due to a drop in the number of tests being carried out.

Public weekly audiences with Pope to resume

Pope Francis will resume limited public audiences "with the participation of the faithful" early next month, the Vatican has announced.
With hygiene measures in place, "anyone who wishes" to participate in the practice - beginning at 09:30 on Wednesday 2 September - will be permitted to gather in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace.
However, while the Vatican said that tickets were not necessary for the event, a maximum of 500 seats would be allocated.
Public in-person audiences for the Pope's weekly general address were halted six months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic, and have been live-streamed instead.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 14:42

UK passengers to be warned when trains are busy

Tom Burridge - Transport correspondent
Train companies in the UK will try to manage passenger flows by warning people if a particular service is busy.
Some modern trains can monitor the weight load in carriages, allowing them to estimate the number of people on board. Companies have said they will share the data with passengers so they can avoid a specific train.
Rail passenger numbers are currently back to about one third of pre-pandemic levels, with the number of services set to increase in England and Wales on 7 September - in order to ease overcrowding when most schools return.
"The expectation is that the gradual increase we've had should continue," said one insider.
But what happens beyond the next few weeks "is not certain at all", they added.
The rail industry and government have a delicate balance to strike, and must weigh the desire to see a boost to ticket revenues post-pandemic against the risk to public health of travelling en masse.
Read more from our transport correspondent.

'I took a pay cut but at least I kept my job’

When Nathaneal's employer told him in March he'd be getting a 20% pay cut he took it on the chin.
The 35-year-old software tester from York has a family to support and is still paying off loans and credit cards he took out when he returned to university as a mature student.
"I was more relieved that the company wanted to keep us on and make sure there were jobs to come back to," he says. "Usually I'm all over my workers' rights, but... it seemed like the company wanted to do the right thing by everyone."
Nearly a fifth of UK businesses have asked staff to take a pay cut to shore up the firm's finances and help stave off redundancies, according to a survey.
Nathaneal had to sign an amendment to his contract accepting the new lower salary and he still has no idea when it might go back up. In the meantime he has to manage on £400 less per month.
"Being able to live has to be the priority," he says.
Read more about how companies and their employees are riding out the pandemic.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 16:35

Ukraine to shut borders for a month

Ukraine is to close its borders for a month in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
From 29 August until 28 September, only foreigners with a residence permit would be permitted to enter the country, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.
Also exempt from the restrictions are members of international and humanitarian missions, those transiting through the country, heavy goods drivers, instructors of Nato member states, cultural figures invited by a cultural organisation and a number of other categories, he added.
"Considering the level of infections, we need to protect our citizens and show responsibility to our foreign partners," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.
As of Wednesday morning, Ukraine had reported some 1,670 cases of Covid-19 with 36 deaths and 584 recoveries, the Monitoring System for the Spread of the Coronavirus Epidemic of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) said.

Mexico school classes resume - on TV

School lessons have resumed in Mexico but with the number of coronavirus infections still high, children will not yet return to classrooms.
Schools were among the first institutions to close as the virus began to spread through the country in March.
As many Mexican families do not have access to the internet, classes will be broadcast on TV. Official figures suggest 93% of homes have access to TV.
Mexico has one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the world. Since the pandemic started, 61,450 people have died with Covid. Only the United States and Brazil have had higher death tolls.

Kenya may reopen schools later this year

Kenya's education minister has hinted at reopening schools earlier than his initial proposal of January 2021 - if coronavirus cases continue to fall.
George Magoha has said tertiary institutions may also reopen earlier than was planned. Kenya scrapped the entire 2020 academic year in March because of the pandemic.
The minister said it would be in the interest of learners to reopen schools early if the infection rate maintains its recent downward trend.
The ministry of health has been reporting lower numbers in its daily updates, with the director general saying the rate needs to be below 5% for a period of two weeks for the curve to be said to be flattening.
The World Health Organization and Unicef last week urged African countries to consider reopening schools but with strict guidelines. The agencies said children were being exposed to violence, teenage pregnancies and poor nutrition while at home during the pandemic.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 16:38

Head teachers need more virus data - Labour

Labour's shadow education secretary Kate Green says the government has not been clear in its guidance for schools and "constant chopping and changing and passing the buck" has not left parents or staff feeling very reassured.
She says it was right for the government to act on changed scientific and medical advice, but it needs to be clear, with discussions and guidance for those impacted.
Head teachers needed data like local infection rates and what sort of action they should take if a child was unwell at school or there was a local outbreak, she says - and heads have been pressing government for access to that data.
She said the stop-starting and confusion was "really damaging for students, for the confidence of their parents and their teachers".
"I am concerned that we shouldn't have to face the fact that these young people become a Covid generation whose long-term prospects are blighted by the effect of the lockdown and the education they've missed."

Wearing of face masks up to Welsh schools to decide

It will be up to schools and councils in Wales to decide if face coverings need to be worn by pupils in communal areas and on school transport, the Welsh government has said.
A government statement says the use of masks is recommended indoors for older pupils, where social distancing cannot be maintained.
But ministers are not mandating their use in schools, suggesting head teachers must take a decision based on "risk assessments" of school buildings.
Teaching union NAHT Cymru deemed the policy "unacceptable", saying "head teachers are not medical experts and the Welsh government should not put them in this position."
In England, the government has said secondary pupils will have to wear face coverings in school corridors where a local lockdown is in place , but elsewhere head teachers would have "flexibility" on the issue.
Pupils in secondary schools in both Scotland and Northern Ireland are recommending the use of face coverings in corridors and communal areas from next week.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 17:44

Top civil servant at UK education department sacked

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Jonathan Slater was permanent secretary at the Department for Education

Another head has rolled over the UK's exam results fiasco. The Department for Education announced its most senior civil servant, Jonathan Slater, would step down on 1 September, adding "the prime minister has concluded that there is a need for fresh official leadership".
Boris Johnson earlier blamed a "mutant algorithm" for creating a situation in which many students' A-level results were unfairly downgraded and they lost out on university and college places.
The National Education Union accused Mr Johnson of trying to "idly shrug away a disaster that his own government created".
Mr Slater's departure comes a day after the resignation of Sally Collier, head of the exams regulating body, Ofqual. Meanwhile Gavin Williamson, education secretary, stays in his job.

PM: 'Of course I will meet the bereaved'

Coronavirus - 26th August 7dd62110

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to meet with families who have lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group said it was the fifth time members had asked to meet the PM, but Mr Johnson said he was "not aware" of the group's previous letters.
"Of course I will meet the bereaved," the prime minister told Sky News on Wednesday. However, No 10 are yet to confirm that a meeting will take place.
The group of 1,600 families are calling for a statutory public inquiry into the government's handling of the pandemic.
Co-founder Jo Goodman, who lost her father to the virus, said: "We welcome Boris Johnson finally agreeing to meet with us.
"It shouldn't have taken him months to agree to it, and it should only be a matter of days before it happens.
"If the prime minister had replied to our first letter back in June, a rapid review could be reporting right now, giving crucial lessons on how to save lives as the virus spikes again, as we're seeing in locations across the country."
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 17:49

Gaza's health workers struggle to contain outbreak

Coronavirus - 26th August 4519f210
Security forces were deployed outside the hospital where the Palestinian man with Covid-19 died

There is growing concern about the spread of Covid-19 in the Gaza Strip after a 61-year-old man became the second person with the disease to die in the Palestinian territory, and several new cases were discovered outside its quarantine centres.
Early on Wednesday, the Hamas-run health ministry announced that two people had tested positive at the territory’s largest hospital - forcing it to close and causing locals to panic.
Police were posted at the gates of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and all its doctors and nurses were tested.
The BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the outbreak has caused alarm because of Gaza's weak healthcare system.
After five cases were confirmed in one family living in a refugee camp on Monday, a curfew was imposed across Gaza.
Previously, our correspondent adds, the relative isolation of the territory - kept under blockade by Israel and Egypt - and strict quarantine controls meant that Covid-19 had not spread among the general population.
The new infections were reported as an envoy from Qatar, which has been sending aid money to Gaza, arrived for meetings to try to ease rising tensions with Israel.
In recent nights, Israeli warplanes or tanks have struck what they say are militant targets in Gaza in retaliation for the launch of rockets and balloons with incendiary devices attached.

NHS Scotland to get 12-minute Covid test kit

Coronavirus - 26th August Ff1b7c10
The test has already been given approval in the US

The health service in Scotland has signed a deal for equipment which allows Covid-19 tests to be carried out in just 12 minutes.
NHS Scotland is to spend £6.76m on 300 rapid testing machines and at least 500,000 tests.
The deal with life sciences company LumiraDx will see the test strips made at its Stirling base.
The testing machines are said to be highly portable and can be used in local clinics or mobile units.
The test, which is going through the final stages of validation for use in Scotland and the rest of Europe, detects the Covid-19 antigen protein from a nasal swab in 12 minutes - considerably faster than the 90 minutes typically needed by other rapid tests which are currently being trialled.
Read more here.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 20:00

UK cases rise by more than 1,000 in 24 hours

There have been a further 1,048 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours.
Sixteen people have died, bringing the total death toll of those who died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 to 41,465, according to figures released by Public Health England.
Overall, 328,846 cases have been confirmed in the UK.

New York museums and galleries begin to reopen

Some normality is returning to New York with the imminent reopening of many of its most famous museums and art galleries.
The Museum of Modern Art, Moma, opens its doors on Thursday with free timed tickets for those visiting over the next month. Director Glenn Lowry told ABC News that the museum was facing significant financial losses because of the coronavirus but deciding not to charge visitors for the first month "felt like the right gesture".
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is set to reopen on Saturday, and the American Museum of Natural History and 9/11 Memorial Museum will start welcoming back visitors in September

Inspectors in UK care homes 'need to be tested'

The National Care Forum (NCF) has written an open letter to England's Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for a reversal of the decision to allow inspectors into care homes without weekly testing.
The NCF, which represents 120 social care charities in the UK, called the decision to allow Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors to conduct on-site inspections of care homes without regular testing for Covid-19 "extraordinary".
“For months central government and the regulator have been requiring care homes to essentially eradicate the movement of staff and the flow of people, including close family relatives, into homes.
"Having done this, care homes are now being asked to let inspectors into homes without knowing whether or not they are Covid-positive. Understandably they are both shocked and hugely concerned," said Vic Rayner, executive director at the NCF.
"If inspectors are coming in, they need to be tested – there should be no further debate about this."
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 20:04

UK 'could lose £60m a day' as tourism slumps

The UK is set to lose up to £22bn in tourism revenues this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, an industry body has predicted.
Spending by visitors from overseas could fall by as much as 78% - equivalent to £60m a day, said the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The WTTC said tourists were "staying away from the UK in droves" because of uncertainty over travel restrictions and because it has the highest coronavirus death toll of any European country.
This summer's "staycation" boom has seen UK residents flocking to book holidays at home, but the WTTC thinks the lack of foreign visitors will still inflict significant economic damage - with London hit hardest by the collapse in visitor numbers.
WTTC President Gloria Guevara said domestic spending was "highly unlikely to offset the collapse of international travel".
"We urgently need to replace stop-start quarantine measures with rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programmes at departure points across the country," she added.

UK teenagers test positive after holiday in Greece

Health officials are saying that up to 30 young people in Plymouth, on the south coast of England, could be infected with coronavirus having returned from holiday in Greece.
Plymouth's public health team said the group of 18 and 19-year-olds returned from the island of Zante last week and so far 11 have tested positive. Many had minor symptoms or none at all, they added.
Greece is not currently on the list of countries with quarantine restrictions for UK travellers.
The city's director for public health Ruth Harrell said her team were working alongside national systems to contact and trace those thought to have been affected.
Read more here.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 26th August

Post by Kitkat on Wed Aug 26 2020, 20:06

What happened in the UK today?

As we near the end of today's coverage, here are the main headlines from around the UK:


Headlines from around the world

Now to the latest key global developments:

  • Spain is planning to train some 2,000 soldiers as trackers to identify people who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.
  • France makes it mandatory to wear masks indoors, while Germany implements extra hygiene measures, and Italy insists on social distancing and staggered starts at school.
  • In the US, case numbers are continuing to fall. Experts say it’s partly down to more people wearing masks, but also point to a fall in the number of tests being carried out. The US public health body, the CDC, has quietly tweaked its testing guidance to say that people who’ve been in close contact with someone known to have Covid-19 now “do not necessarily” need to get tested.
  • Ukraine is closing its borders for a month in a bid to try to contain the virus. Most foreigners will be barred from entering apart from a few exceptions, including those working for international humanitarian missions.
  • Pope Francis is to resume limited public audiences early next month but only 500 seats will be allocated in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace.
  • Good news for culture lovers in New York as museums begin to open with Moma preparing to open its doors on Thursday. But tango lovers in Argentina will only be able to catch the annual Tango World Championships virtually as cases of Covid-19 continue to surge. Samba schools in Brazil are also silent, raising fears that the country’s flamboyant carnivals will not go ahead as usual next February.


Goodbye - and thanks for joining us

And so our rolling coverage ends there.

Today's live page has been the work of Mal Siret, Ashitha Nagesh, Penny Spiller, Tori Lindrea, Hazel Shearing and Marie Jackson.


We'll be back with more on Thursday. Until then, stay well and thanks for joining us.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:38