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Coronavirus - 31st August

Kitkat
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covidaug Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:04

Summary for Monday, 31st August


  • The US nears six million cases of coronavirus, nearly a quarter of the world's total
  • Schools across Auckland reopen as New Zealand's largest city emerges from lockdown
  • Victoria, the epicentre of Australia's recent outbreak, records 73 new cases - its lowest total since 3 July
  • The UK government's month-long Eat Out to Help Out scheme to boost restaurant trade ends
  • Labour calls for next year's GCSE and A Level exams in England to be delayed to make up for missed teaching
  • Global cases of coronavirus have surpassed 25 million with more than 846,000 deaths


Hello and welcome back to our live reporting on the coronavirus pandemic around the world.
In the US nearly six million people have now been recorded as infected with the virus - we’ll be covering this and other stories as they happen. The main headlines on Monday:

  • The Australian state of Victoria reported its lowest rise in cases in nearly two months - with 73 new infections on Monday. A strict second lockdown was imposed in Melbourne in July to control a spike
  • India recorded 78,512 new infections, slightly fewer than on Sunday when it broke the global record for highest rise in cases in 24 hours
  • Authorities have sealed off a refugee camp in Gaza City and told people to stay indoors as Covid-19 cases spike. The densely-populated area has seen 171 infections in the past week
  • Lockdown has been lifted in Auckland, New Zealand, and schools allowed to re-open after restrictions were imposed on 12 August. Social gatherings remain limited to 10 and masks are mandatory nationwide on public transport
  • The head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said he would approve a drug before Stage 3 clinical trials were complete if it was “appropriate” - the agency has been under pressure from President Trump ahead of the presidential election in November
  • Venezuela will start using volunteers to test a vaccine Russia says it has developed - although international scientists say the drug has not passed all the required tests


UK breakfast round-up

Happy bank holiday Monday to readers coming from the UK .

  • GCSE and A-level exams next year should be pushed back to mid-summer to mitigate the impact of lost months of teaching, Labour says. The government has come under significant criticism this year over its handling of exam results and schools re-opening
  • This bank holiday sees the final day of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme that has given diners 50% of food and some drinks for sit-down meals between Monday and Wednesday in August. Some business owners want it to be extended after it brought an increased number of customers
  • All passengers on a flight from Greece to Wales have been told to self-isolate after seven people on board tested positive . The Tui flight from Zante to Cardiff landed on Tuesday
  • In Scotland gyms and pools re-open today after closing five months ago
  • The final day of the legendary Notting Hill Carnival takes place digitally today - fans can watch music and dance performances online through the carnival’s website


What's happening in the US?

The United States is approaching six million total coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. It currently shows 5,996,431 confirmed infections and 183,066 deaths - the world's highest death toll.
The milestone comes amid rising infections in some Midwestern states, including Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. However, across the US, the number of new cases to be reported daily has dropped since record levels in July.

Nearly 500,000 in Hong Kong sign up for free testing

Almost 500,000 people in Hong Kong have now signed up for a free mass testing programme that is due to begin on Tuesday.
The scheme comes as the city battles a third surge in infections, weeks after the virus appeared to be largely under control.
But the involvement of a medical team from Beijing in the testing programme has struck fear in some who say it will lead to widespread DNA collection - something authorities have denied.
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong called for a boycott, warning of "large-scale DNA collection paving way to China-style surveillance".
China recently imposed a controversial national security law in Hong Kong that many say impedes the city's freedoms.

Gaza City refugee camp sealed off

Coronavirus - 31st August 3e36c210

Hamas authorities have closed the Beach camp, the third largest Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Around 95,000 refugees live in an area of less than 1 km (0.6 miles).
Police have warned the camp residents via loudspeakers that the pandemic has taken a "dangerous turn" and they are forbidden from leave their homes.
Eyewitnesses said trucks had used cement blocks to seal off the entrances and exits of the camp, and hundreds of policemen had been deployed in the camp's alleys.
The outbreak has caused concern because of Gaza's weak healthcare system and shortage of ventilators and testing kits. A 55-year-old man died on Sunday after being infected with the virus, and 177 cases have been reported since the outbreak there began a week ago.

Passenger on Tui quarantine flight criticises 'Covidiots'

Passengers who were on a flight to Wales from a Greek island have been told to self-isolate after some on board tested positive for coronavirus.
Seven people from three different parties on Tui flight 6215 from Zante to Cardiff on Tuesday have tested positive for Covid-19, health officials said.
Public Health Wales (PHW) is telling the 193 passengers and crew who were on board the flight to self-isolate for a fortnight.
They include Stephanie Whitfield, who claims Tui staff failed to enforce the company's own rules about wearing face coverings.
"As soon as the flight landed, a load of people took their masks off immediately,” Whitfield told the BBC. “The flight was full of selfish 'covidiots' and an inept crew who couldn't care less."
Tui said all the passengers had complied with Covid-19 protocols.
Read the full story
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:13

How to fly during a global pandemic

Jumping on a plane and going on holiday looks and feels very different to how it did at the start of 2020.
Airports and airlines have both been making changes to the way they work to get passengers flying again.
The UK government has released advice on what you can do to keep safe while flying. Here BBC Health and Science Correspondent, Laura Foster, has been to Southend Airport to show you what you need to do if you're thinking of catching a flight.



Ghana to resume international passenger flights

Thomas Naadi - BBC News, Accra
Ghana will resume international passenger flights on 1 September, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced on Sunday, citing a drop in active coronavirus cases.
Air, land and sea borders were closed in March to prevent the spread of the virus
President Akufo-Addo said all travellers arriving in Ghana must present proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test result done within 72 hours before departure.
They will also be tested on arrival at the airport with the result expected within 30 minutes. The passengers are to pay for the test.
Those who test positive will undergo further assessment and treatment. But children under five will not be tested.
Ghana has experienced a continued decrease in the number of Covid-19 active cases which are now just more than 1,000 out of over 44,205 confirmed cases.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:17

UK reports biggest single-day rise since 4 June

A further 1,715 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the UK on Sunday, the biggest single-day rise since 4 June, government figures showed.
One more person was confirmed dead with Covid-19 on Sunday, bringing the UK’s death toll to 41,499, the fifth-highest in the world.
Coronavirus infections have been rising steadily in the UK since the start of July , raising fears of a second spike as autumn approaches.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned of a return of nationwide lockdown measures if infections spiral out of control.
Though cases have been increasing, relatively few people have been admitted to hospital with the disease. As of Sunday, there were 764 people in hospital with the virus, including 60 in ventilator beds.

Wales rave organisers fined £10,000

The organisers behind a rural rave in south Wales have been fined £10,000 - days after tougher penalties for breaching Covid-19 regulations came into force.
Police criticised the "irresponsible" actions of those at the unlicensed and illegal rave at Banwen near the Brecon Beacons on Sunday.
They said officers would work through the night to move on the estimated 3,000 people who gathered for the rave from across the UK.
Gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors remain illegal.
South Wales Police issued fixed-penalty fines of £10,000 to two organisers of the rave.
Rave organisers face a conviction with an unlimited fine, or a fixed penalty of £10,000, under new rules that came into force on Friday in Wales

Australian man jailed for escaping quarantine through hotel window

An Australian man who used a ladder to repeatedly sneak out of his quarantine hotel to see his girlfriend has received a six-month jail sentence. He will spend one month in prison after the sentence was suspended.
Yusuf Karakaya returned to Perth after a visit to Sydney at the end of July to visit a sick uncle, according to Australian media reporting court documents.
He was ordered to quarantine for two weeks at the Mercure Hotel in Perth.
But over three days he repeatedly escaped out of his hotel window and met an accomplice nearby who drove him away.
CCTV showed the car had a ladder on its roof. At one point hotel staff had removed the ladder from the lane outside, but Karakaya and his friend replaced it with another.
Karakaya was arrested hiding in a bedroom cupboard at his girlfriend's house, and told police it was her birthday and he would have been in trouble if he hadn't see her.
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:23

Russia's infection tally approaches 1 million

A further 4,993 people in Russia have been confirmed to have coronavirus in the past 24 hours, authorities in the country say.
It brings the total number of cases to 995,319 - the fourth largest in the world.
Russian officials have reported 17,176 deaths with Covid-19.
Monday is the fifth day in a row that the country has reported a small increase in infections.

Venezuela asks for volunteers to test Russian vaccine

Coronavirus - 31st August 8e9d2010
Nicolás Maduro did not offer much detail about how the tests could be carried out

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro has announced he will be asking for volunteers to test the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia.
Russia was the first country to officially register a vaccine against the coronavirus on 11 August, but immunologists have raised concerns about the speed with which it has been developed and whether it has undergone the necessary testing.
The Venezuelan government, which has received billions of dollars in loans from Russia to prop up its troubled economy, said it would be willing to take part in clinical trials.
"In the coming days, we'll be asking for volunteers to get vaccinated," President Maduro announced on Sunday, while also saying that a nationwide lockdown would resume on Monday to curb the spread of the virus.
Venezuela has fewer than 50,000 registered cases of coronavirus and 381 deaths, a much lower toll than other countries in the region. But health experts say the true figure could be much higher as many Venezuelans don't get tested for fear of being stigmatised after the government blamed returning migrants for the spread of Covid-19.

How is Europe reopening schools?

Children across Europe are returning to school this week, but the reopening of classrooms after months of lockdown has already highlighted some issues. Here's how various countries are planning to welcome children back:

  • In France, schools will open nationwide on Tuesday for almost 13 million young people, despite a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Masks will be required for everyone aged over 11 - including teachers
  • In Germany, where schools in some areas have been reopening over the past three weeks, parents have complained that children are being packed too tightly into school buses
  • Meanwhile, Spain is planning to reopen most of its schools on Tuesday. Masks will be mandatory for those over the age of six and staff and children will have their temperatures taken before the day begins. Some schools have even created makeshift classrooms outside to increase space
  • But in Turkey, the new term will begin today in slightly different circumstances. Students there will learn remotely using a dedicated online platform. Face-to-face teaching will begin on 21 September but there are reports this may be postponed further

Read more: How are other countries getting children back to class?
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:27

Tui concerned about passenger’s Zante flight claims

Earlier on we reported that passengers on a flight from Greece to Wales had been told to self-isolate after some on board tested positive for coronavirus.
Now the operator of the flight, Tui, has issued a statement, saying it has launched an investigation into claims coronavirus rules were breached on board.
It comes after Stephanie Whitfield, a passenger on flight TOM6215 from Zante to Cardiff, told the BBC the aircraft was full of "covidiots" and an "inept crew who couldn't care less". She said passengers had not been wearing masks properly and had been wandering around the aircraft to talk to friends.
Tui said safety was a priority and it was concerned by Whitfield's claims.
It said passengers were informed prior to travel that they had to wear masks, which could only be removed when consuming food and drink.
“A full investigation is now underway as these concerns weren’t reported during the flight or before today,” the airline said.

'Do not wait for a vaccine' - White House virus head

Coronavirus - 31st August 4ff73b10

The coordinator of the White House coronavirus response has told Americans not to wait for a vaccine, as the country nears six million confirmed infections.
"Do the right thing today," Dr Deborah Birx said. "Because if we do the right thing today, we go into the fall with much fewer cases."
Birx said she was optimistic about the prospect of a vaccine for Covid-19 being developed by the end of 2020, but urged people to take action now.
"I’m also very convinced right now that we can stop community spread by wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding crowds.”

How badly affected is the US?

With close to six million cases, the US leads the world with the highest number of coronavirus infections. It also has the most deaths with more than 183,000 people killed by Covid-19.
But does that make it the worst-hit country? President Trump has claimed it has one of the lowest death rates, but some data shows it is among those worst-affected.
When the death rate is measured against the size of a country's population, the US remains in the top 10 countries worst-hit (as shown in the chart below).
Coronavirus - 31st August 6e798e10
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:30

Where are the world's coronavirus hotspots?

There have now been more than 25 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in 188 countries. More than 840,000 people have lost their lives.
Coronavirus - 31st August B726c110

Latin America and Asia are the continents that currently have the highest number of daily confirmed cases.
In Latin America, Brazil has recorded the highest number of deaths, with about 121,000 so far, and has the second highest number of cases in the world, after the US.
Newly confirmed cases in the region have also risen in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Argentina.
In Asia, India has recorded about 3.6 million cases and the country's death toll, at more than 64,000, is the world's third highest.
You can find more maps and charts explaining how the respiratory virus has spread around the world here.
Coronavirus - 31st August A1712b10
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:35

Chinese man recovers after 111 days on artificial lung machine

Coronavirus - 31st August 85135a10
An extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine acts as an artificial lung

A coronavirus patient in China has recovered after more than three months of treatment on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO), which takes over lung functions for the body, according to state media.
The 62-year-old man was admitted to hospital in Guangzhou in southeast China in January.
In February he was put on the ECMO - an invasive and expensive treatment that is often in short supply - for 111 days.
It's not the longest course of ECMO treatment. In the US, a seven-year-old girl was treated for 551 days with the machine, as reported in 2016 by Johns Hopkins university medical department.
ECMO treatment is extremely expensive. A US hospital last year charged $4.2 million (£3.15 million) for a 60-day course of treatment for a 19-year-old man with respiratory failure who did not survive, according to Kaiser Health news site.
Half of patients put on the machine, who are normally incredibly ill already, eventually die , the report said.
"For the sake of people's health and lives, we will do whatever it takes as long as there is a glimmer of hope," Dr Zhong Nanshan told Xinhua news agency from Guangzhou.

Disease threat from animals rising, Oxford professor says

Coronavirus - 31st August C92db110
Professor Sarah Gilbert's team is behind the UK's most promising attempt to develop a Covid-19 vaccine

The professor spearheading Oxford University’s effort to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus has warned of an increasing risk of animal-to-human disease outbreaks.
Prof Sarah Gilbert said human activity had heightened the threat of diseases being transmitted from animals to humans.
"Greater population density, greater travel, deforestation - all of these things make it more likely that these outbreaks will happen and then something will spread," she told the Independent .
"Because of the way things have been going in the world, it's more likely we'll have zoonotic [animal-to-human] infections causing outbreaks in the future."
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is believed to have originated in bats, before jumping to humans, possibly via another animal.
It is not clear where the virus came from exactly, but the first human infections were traced back to a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Other deadly diseases, such as Ebola, Sars and the West Nile Virus, also originated in animals.
Read more: Infectious coronaviruses 'circulating in bats for decades'
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:42

The surprises lurking inside Chinese students' dorm rooms

Kerry Allen, BBC Monitoring
Coronavirus - 31st August 721b4310
Students at one university in northern Hebei found a watermelon growing on their school running field

Students across China are returning to class this week, and for some, returning to the campus has apparently brought some unexpected surprises.
One student in central Henan province discovered a sweet potato she had left in her dorm had sprouted and grown vines in her eight-month absence. She told Pear Video that her friends had wrapped the vines around their beds for decoration , and they were looking forward to eating the vegetables they had accidentally grown.
Meanwhile, students at one university in northern Hebei returned to discover a full-size watermelon had grown on their school running field; they speculated it was from a discarded pip.
Another student in southern Guangdong returned to his dorm and discovered a bird’s nest in his wardrobe.
Coronavirus - 31st August 5a638710

China suspended classes after the Chinese New Year holiday in late January, and substituted online material in early February for students of all ages. It means many students have not studied in a classroom since the beginning of the year.
The government is still encouraging students to social distance, and refrain from eating together, despite the return to campus.
But for many, mask-wearing is no longer mandatory. Students returning to Wuhan University are able to go mask-free around campus.
Meanwhile, footage from northern Xi’an shows more than 500 primary school students lined up on a school sports field for their school’s opening ceremony, none of whom are wearing masks.
China has reported no new domestic cases for the past 15 days.
Coronavirus - 31st August 712a2610
Parents and pupils at a school in northern Xi’an took part in a special traditional tea offering ceremony where they dressed up in ancient costumes, but not masks
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 12:58

What's going on around the UK?

If you haven't managed to catch the headlines this morning, here's what's been happening in the UK.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 13:29

Piers Corbyn fined £10,000 over anti-lockdown rally

Coronavirus - 31st August Ce1db610
Piers Corbyn was a speaker at the anti-lockdown rally in central London on Saturday

Piers Corbyn, who helped organise an anti-lockdown rally in London, has said he has been fined £10,000 under new Covid-19 regulations that ban large outdoor gatherings.
Corbyn, the older brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said he had been arrested by police after Saturday’s Unite for Freedom protest in Trafalgar Square.
The 73-year-old, a climate change denier who set up a controversial weather forecasting business, said he planned to appeal the fine, one of the first issued under newly introduced coronavirus laws in England.
On Saturday, the Metropolitan Police said a 73-year-old man was arrested in Trafalgar Square on suspicion of breaking the new Health Protection Regulations 2020.
The Met said the man was informed on Sunday that a fixed penalty notice would be issued for £10,000 for the offence of holding a gathering of more than 30 people in an outdoor place.
Saturday’s anti-lockdown protests drew a diverse crowd of hundreds of people, some of whom were conspiracy theorists, coronavirus deniers and supporters of far-right movements.
They called for an end to restrictions that have damaged the economy but are designed to save lives and mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus, which has killed more than 41,000 people in the UK.

New Scotland infections 'undoubtedly a concern' - Sturgeon

Scotland has recorded a further 160 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the highest daily rise since mid-May.
Monday's rise - the highest since 14 May - takes the total number of cases in Scotland to 20,478, government data showed .
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the increase was "undoubtedly a concern" at her government's daily briefing.
Most of the new cases - some 69 of them - were detected in the greater Glasgow and Clyde area, while 27 were in Lanarkshire.
Sturgeon said these appeared to be small clusters rather than bigger outbreaks, but that the connections between cases were being closely examined to determine whether action was required.
Twenty-two cases are linked to a new cluster in Ayrshire and Arran, which the first minister said was related to indoor gatherings.
“It’s a reminder that the virus is still a very real risk and it’s a development which concerns me and one we’re taking very seriously,” she said.
No new coronavirus-related deaths were registered in Scotland during the last 24 hours, meaning the overall death toll remained at 2,494.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 13:46

Capita to close more than a third of UK offices

Coronavirus - 31st August Ff6b8f10
Capita manages London's congestion charge

Outsourcing firm Capita is to close more than a third of its offices in the UK permanently, the BBC understands.
The firm, which is a major government contractor, is to end its leases on almost 100 workplaces. So far, it has decided not to renew leases on 25 offices.
The BBC understands that Capita has been looking at various measures to help it simplify its business for some time.
The company said it was "mindful" of the impact of office closures on surrounding small businesses, but said employees had been "very clear" about their desire for more flexible working.
"Capita's 45,000 employees work in offices spread right across towns and cities in the UK - we are committed to that continuing both now and in the long term.
It comes as the government prepares to launch an advertising campaign encouraging more people to return to workplaces .
Read more.

India's economy records worst slump in decades

India's economy shrank by 23.9% in the quarter ending June 2020, official data shows.
The country recorded its sharpest contraction in decades on the heels of a grinding lockdown, which brought most economic activity to a halt for more than two months.
India's economy was already faltering from job losses, low demand and a mountain of debt when Covid-19 struck. The restrictions put in place to try to control the pandemic further increased unemployment and shuttered small businesses.
Experts fear that India is staring at a recession - although that will happen only if it reports contraction in the next quarter as well, which they say is likely.
Read more about India's latest GDP numbers here .
Kitkat
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 16:52

What's going on around the world?

For those of you just joining us, here are a few of the stories we have been covering on the live page this morning:

  • The coordinator of the White House coronavirus response has told Americans not to wait for a vaccine, as the country nears six million confirmed infections
  • Children across Europe are returning to schools this week, but the way each country is tackling the difficult issue varies
  • Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro has announced he will be asking for volunteers to test the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia
  • Palestinian authorities have closed the Beach camp, the third largest refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, saying the pandemic had taken a "dangerous turn" in the area
  • The Australian state of Victoria - the epicentre of the country's recent case resurgence - reported its lowest rise in cases in nearly two months
  • A coronavirus patient in China has recovered after 111 days of treatment on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO), according to state media
  • Lockdown has been lifted in Auckland, New Zealand, and schools allowed to re-open after restrictions were imposed on 12 August


Former India president dies after Covid diagnosis

India's former president Pranab Mukherjee has died of multiple organ failure, news agency AFP reports, 21 days after confirming that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
The 84-year-old was in hospital to remove a clot in his brain when he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Before serving as president between 2012 and 2017, Mr Mukherjee held several important portfolios during his 51-year political career.
His son Abhijit confirmed the the news in a tweet.
Mr Mukherjee was one of India's best-known politicians, and a veteran of the opposition Congress party.
Read more about his career here .

Health systems disrupted in 90% of countries - WHO

Coronavirus has disrupted health systems in almost all countries, according to a survey by the World Health Organization.
The data was collected between March and June.
Many routine appointments and screenings have been cancelled, while the pandemic has severely affected critical care including cancer treatment.
Middle and lower-income countries reported the most severe difficulties.
In more than half of countries, contraception and family planning was affected (68%) as well as treatment of mental health disorders (61%) and cancer treatment (55%).
Life-saving emergency services were affected in a quarter of countries.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 17:00

German anger at far-right aggression in Berlin

German politicians have expressed anger at far-right activists who overpowered police at the entrance to parliament – the Reichstag – in Berlin on Saturday.
The activists, some waving old imperial flags as symbols of the far right, were part of a bigger demonstration against coronavirus restrictions in Germany.
Police reinforcements dispersed the crowd on the steps ofthe Reichstag, using pepper spray, before they could storm the building.
Several politicians called the incident “shameful”, among them Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) leader Lars Klingbeil called the protesters’ action “an attack on our democracy”.
The Berlin police chief in charge on Saturday, Stephan Katte, said the 250 police deployed around the Reichstag were enough, Berlin broadcaster rbb24 reported.
But the crowd of several hundred had shoved police aside at the bottom of the steps, and there were only three police at the top, he said.

What's the latest in Scandinavia?

As Europe continues to grapple with infection rates, here are some of the biggest updates from the continent's Nordic region:

  • The Danish government has announced plans to dramatically increase spending next year - including a coronavirus "war chest" of 9.2bn Danish krone ($1.5bn; £1.1bn). It said the funding would be used to support the national healthcare system and struggling businesses, and to secure a Covid-19 vaccine once it is ready
  • Twenty-five people have been taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning after attending an illegal rave in a bunker in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. Earlier this month, Norway banned the serving of alcohol in bars after midnight after a rise in coronavirus infections
  • One of the World Health Organization’s six special envoys on coronavirus has said other countries should emulate Sweden’s virus response as a model for the long-term. Sweden has avoided introducing hard lockdown measures, and seen its case numbers fall in recent months - sparking a global debate about the efficacy of lockdowns
  • Meanwhile, no new coronavirus cases were reported in Iceland on Sunday, for the first time in three weeks. The country has also reported that no-one is being treated in hospital for the virus, although 900 people are quarantining and another 100 are in self-isolation


Coronavirus in Scotland: Where are the latest cases?

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed concern after 160 people tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours - the biggest daily rise since mid-May.
A total of 69 of the new cases were reported in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, with Sturgeon saying "particularly close attention" was being paid to this.
Another 27 cases were reported in Lanarkshire, 18 in Lothian, and eight in Ayrshire and Arran.
However, there were just four new cases in the Grampian area, suggesting the surge in Aberdeen - which led to a local lockdown - has been contained.
The number of new daily cases in Scotland has slowed drastically since the peak of the outbreak in April, but local clusters have been occurring since the end of July.
This chart below shows a breakdown by NHS health board of the last seven days of cases per 100,000 people.
You can find out more here .
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 17:09

Mayor who banned indoor restaurant dining dines inside restaurant

The mayor of Philadelphia has been criticised for dining at an indoor restaurant in the neighbouring state of Maryland - despite introducing an indoor dining ban in his own city.
A picture of Mayor Jim Kenney has gone viral, sparking accusations of hypocrisy by Philadelphia restauranteurs like Marc Vetri.
Vetri has been railing against the closure of indoor dining.
tweet marcvetri:
:Left Quotes:  Hi @phillymayor !!! Glad you’re enjoying indoor dining with no social distancing or mask wearing in Maryland tonight while restaurants here in Philly close, suffer and fight for every nickel just to survive. I guess all your press briefings and your narr… https://instagr.am/p/CEiOJsPjtq1/

In a statement, Mayor Kenney's office defended his decision, saying he had been "[patronising] a restaurant owned by a friend of his".
"Of course we understand the frustrations of local restaurant owners who have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic," it added.
"But there are 782 total cases in the county the mayor briefly visited, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia. Drastically different circumstances.”

Government figures show case rise of 1,406 in the UK

The latest government figures show that there have been 1,406 positive cases of coronavirus reported in the UK over the past 24 hours - a drop of nearly 300 cases on the previous day's figures.
Sunday saw the number of daily recorded cases reach 1,715 - the highest since early June.
There were a further two deaths with coronavirus recorded on Monday.
Sunday saw just one death recorded in the previous 24 hours. Figures for Mondays tend to be lower however, due to a reporting lag over the weekend.
Experts have suggested the rising case numbers, which have been climbing in the UK since July, may be the result of an increase in testing over recent weeks - meaning more people with the virus are being detected.

What lies ahead as UK parliament reconvenes?

Nick Eardley - Political correspondent
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Parliament returns on Tuesday

Conservative MPs in the UK are expecting a fractious atmosphere when they return to parliament on Tuesday, following the summer recess.
When coronavirus hit, many of the government's plans went out the window.
Ministers were forced to react quickly to unprecedented challenges.
But the government has changed its mind a lot - and very publicly - in the last few months.
To name a few: the NHS health surcharge, the NHS bereavement scheme, the rollout of the "critical" track and trace app, getting all primary pupils back in school before the summer, free school meals during the summer, the results algorithm, face coverings in schools.
And there have been big changes in policy when it came to quarantine on arrival in the UK, which frustrated MPs too.
There is growing disquiet in the Conservative Party that the government is on the back foot and that policies keep "evolving".
U-turns are not always viewed as a bad thing - demonstrating, as they sometimes do, a government that is willing to listen.
The danger for the government is that the public loses faith that ministers are in control - and loses faith in their decisions.
With a new poll indicating that Labour has drawn level with the Tories, it suggests Boris Johnson may have his work cut out for him .
Read more from Nick.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 18:09

Face mask demand jumps in Sweden ahead of possible government U-turn

Several Swedish drug stores have reported a spike in demand for face masks, Reuters news agency reports, as authorities consider a change in policy on face coverings.
Unlike most other countries in Europe, Sweden hasn't recommended the use of masks, and has kept many businesses and schools open.
But Swedes have reportedly been stockpiling for the last two weeks, after the country's public health agency said it may issue new recommendations.
Online pharmacist Apotea said that, during the last few weeks, online sales of face masks have nearly tripled to around 400,000 a week, according to Reuters. Drug store Apoteket has also seen a 30% rise in recent weeks.
Par Svardson, Apotea's chief executive, told Reuters he expects a five to 10-fold increase in face mask sales, should government recommendations change.
Sweden's death toll relative to its population has been high compared with some European neighbours. But the figure is still lower than other countries like the UK and Spain which have adopted strict lockdowns.

Pupils 'should not be excluded' for having no mask

Pupils should not be sent home if they refuse to comply with new guidance making face coverings mandatory in Scotland's secondary schools, Education Secretary John Swinney has said.
New rules came into force on Monday, obliging all high school pupils to wear face coverings when moving about within Scotland's secondary schools.
The rules will also apply on school transport for all secondary pupils and primary pupils aged over five.
But Mr Swinney rejected the idea that pupils should be sent home if they fail to wear a face mask.
He said pupils should be "encouraged and motivated and required" to wear a face covering, which should be viewed as "a habitual part of school life".
"But it should not result in exclusion from school if they don't," he stressed.
Exclusion had been mooted by the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) at the government's coronavirus briefing on Monday.
Mr Swinney said face coverings were worn "to protect all of the school population - staff and pupils alike".

Eight fined following 'rave' in Wales

Eight people have been fined up to £10,000, following an illegal rave in Wales which attracted 3,000 people.
It follows new legislation introduced by the Welsh Government last week to stop gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The unlicensed event at Banwen , on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, started on Saturday night - but there were still 400 people at the site on Monday morning.
Police described organisers as "really irresponsible".
Niamh, a student from Cardiff who attended, admitted she was surprised by the scale of the event - likening it to a festival.
But she said the words "illegal rave" conjured images of "a bunch of crazy people breaking the rules", when, in reality, "it was a very relaxed atmosphere and everyone was being as safe as they possibly could".
Read more.

Two people charged over illegal Oslo rave

We've also been reporting on an illegal event in Norway .
Norwegian police have charged two people with breaking into an underground bunker in Oslo and using it to host a party on Saturday where several people suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The so-called "Rave Cave" event, attended by some 200 people, was discovered by chance when a police patrol met a group of confused young people. Several more then emerged from the bunker and asked for an ambulance.
Twenty seven people are being treated in hospital for inhaling carbon monoxide - six of them are in serious condition, and three are in intensive care. Police said the gas was being emitted from a generator which was being used to power the party's music systems.
The bunker had only one entrance during the party, raising concerns that there could have been many fatalities.
“Just think how 200 people would have needed to evacuate through that in case of fire,” Lars Magne Hovtun of the Oslo fire brigade told NRK. “It would have been an even bigger catastrophe, with dozens, if not hundreds dead.”
Police had been tipped off about the party, which broke national measures aimed at stop the spread of coronavirus. But on Monday police said they'd lacked capacity to check on it.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 18:13

Spain reports more than 23,000 new infections

Spain has reported more than 23,000 new coronavirus cases since Friday - suggesting the national infection rate has dropped slightly from a peak reached in the previous week.
The country's cumulative total now stands at 462,858 - among some of the highest numbers in the world. Five deaths have also been reported since yesterday, bringing the national tally to 29,094.
Health authorities said the latest figures could be modified in the future as Spain retroactively adjusts its daily data.
Read more about why Spain is witnessing a second wave of the virus.

WHO warns over emergency authorisation of vaccines

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the emergency authorisation of vaccines requires a “great deal of seriousness and reflection”.
The UN body's chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, told reporters that every country had the right to approve drugs without full trial, but it was “not something that you do lightly”.
Thirty three vaccine candidates are currently up for clinical trials, according to the WHO , and a further 143 are in pre-clinical evaluation.
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covidaug Re: Coronavirus - 31st August

Post by Kitkat on Mon Aug 31 2020, 18:37

The main stories from today

We're pausing our live coverage for now - we hope you've enjoyed reading. The main coronavirus stories on Monday are:

  • More than six million cases of coronavirus have been reported in the US - the highest of any country in the world. The White House coronavirus lead warned Americans not to wait for a vaccine and to remain vigilant
  • Coronavirus has disrupted health systems in almost all countries and threatens major health advances, the World Health Organization has found
  • India's former president Pranab Mukherjee has died of multiple organ failure after falling ill with Covid-19
  • In the UK, the government's month-long Eat Out to Help Out scheme to boost restaurant trade ends tonight
  • Meanwhile in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has voiced concerns after 160 more people tested positive for coronavirus. The latest increase in new cases follows 123 reported on Sunday , with a number of "clusters" across Scotland.
  • Meanwhile, India's economy shrank by 23.9% in the quarter ending June 2020, official data shows
  • The Australian state of Victoria - the epicentre of the country's recent case resurgence - reported its lowest rise in cases in nearly two months
  • Preparations to open schools in most of Europe this week are under way but many countries face challenges in doing so safely
  • France has reported 3,082 new infections, sharply down from a caseload of more than 5,000 on each of the two previous days. But the national total has reached 281,025 - up 50% from what was reported on 31 July.

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Thanks for joining us


Today's coverage was edited by Jasmine Taylor-Coleman, Lauren Turner and Flora Drury, and written by Joshua Cheetham, Victoria Lindrea, Joshua Nevett and Georgina Rannard.

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