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Coronavirus - 15th September

Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 11:04

Summary for Tuesday, 15th September

  • A report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says the pandemic has pushed global development back by more than 20 years
  • Tens of millions of people have been exposed to the threat of more poverty, inequality and disease, it says
  • In the UK, a lack of coronavirus tests for NHS staff is leading to staff absences and services being put at risk, hospital bosses warn
  • Addiction services in England could struggle to cope with "soaring" numbers of people misusing alcohol, the Royal College of Psychiatrists says
  • France introduces new restrictions in the areas around Marseille and Bordeaux
  • Globally there have been more than 29 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 928,000 deaths, Johns Hopkins University data shows


Good morning from the UK and thanks for joining our live coverage of the latest coronavirus developments.
To get us started, here’s a look at some the top stories from around the world:

  • After the number of daily cases around the world reached a record high , the World Health Organization warned that Europe was likely to see a rise in deaths in October and November
  • A number of countries are seeing a surge in new infections, with India reporting more than 90,000 daily cases in recent days. On Monday, at least 25 MPs reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, while the country faces a shortage of oxygen
  • New restrictions have come into effect in the Marseille and Bordeaux areas in the south of France, amid fears that hospitals could be overwhelmed by a surge in cases
  • Jordan has also announced some renewed measures to come into effect from Thursday, including closing schools, mosques and restaurants. The decision came a day after neighbouring Israel announced its own three-week national lockdown starting this Friday
  • University, college and high school classes have resumed in Pakistan
  • China's economy has started to rebound from the negative impact of the pandemic, new figures show
  • In the US, a federal judge has ruled that some of the lockdown measures introduced by the Democratic governor of Pensylvania were undemocratic. The lawsuit is one of hundreds in the US against local coronavirus restrictions


Latest from Europe: French cities surge and Portugal restrictions

Intensive care capacity in the French city of Marseille is "close to saturation" amid a sharp spike in Covid-19 infections, its hospitals director Jean-Olivier Arnaud has warned.
New limits on gatherings are being introduced around Marseille and in the south-western city of Bordeaux.The two cities are the main new hotspots in a country that on Saturday recorded a big surge in cases .
Here's a round-up of some of the other big stories from around Europe.

  • In Portugal, Lisbon’s restrictions have spread to the whole country. Gatherings are now limited to 10 people and alcohol sales are banned after 20:00
  • Travellers arriving in Germany from a country that is not a Covid-19 high-risk area can no longer get a free test at the airport
  • Romania has reopened its schools for 2.8 million children, with face masks mandatory
  • Health officials in the Czech Republic have warned of an exponential rise in infections after the R number - the average number of people that an infected person will pass on the virus to - rose to 1.59
  • Slovakia will put the Czech Republic on its "red list". From Friday, travellers must produce a negative test or to go into five-day quarantine followed by a test


Latest UK headlines

Welcome to those of you joining us in the UK. Here are the key developments this morning:


New restrictions in place for parts of West Midlands

New lockdown measures have come into force in part of the West Midlands after the number of coronavirus cases rose.
People in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull are banned from meeting others who are not part of their household or support bubble in homes or gardens.
The restrictions affect about 1.6 million people and run alongside wider rules which came into force on Monday.
Some parents are unhappy that grandparents cannot look after their children any more , although they would be able to meet up in pubs or restaurants. Solihull MP Julian Knight has called for a relaxation in the rule.

India deaths pass 80,000

More than 80,000 people in India are now confirmed to have died with coronavirus.
The country has the third-highest death toll in the world, behind the US and Brazil, and its total number of infections is approaching five million.
While the figures seem high, it's worth bearing in mind that India is home to 1.3bn people, and so the number of infections as a percentage of the population remains relatively low.
However, the true numbers could be much higher, as many cases may go undetected.

India faces oxygen scarcity as cases surge

Soutik Biswas - India Correspondent
As India opens up its economy and people return to work, Covid-19 cases have been surging through small towns and cities.
With more than 4.8 million reported confirmed infections, India's caseload is the second highest in the world, after the US. Some 600,000 cases were added just last week, and more than 90,000 cases were reported just on Saturday.
One newspaper calls it a "scary, runaway phase" of infections. Not surprisingly, demand for oxygen has risen exponentially.
"If the government doesn't sort out this oxygen crisis quickly we will have a situation like Italy at the peak of the pandemic," Piyush Bhatt, who runs an oxygen refilling company, said.
Read the full story here .

Schools and universities reopen in Pakistan

M Ilyas Khan - BBC News, Islamabad
Universities, colleges and high school classes have resumed across Pakistan this morning after a six-month closure.
This is the first of a three-phase reopening of the educational institutions the government announced recently. Middle school classes will resume on 23 September, and if all goes well, nursery and primary school classes will resume on 30 September.
The government has issued a list of safety measures the schools need to adopt strictly, warning that any failure to comply may cause another spike in virus transmission.
The measures include face masks for students and school staff, regular sanitising of all premises, ensuring physical distance of two meters, and provision of hand sanitisers in classrooms.
Educational institutions in Pakistan were ordered closed on 15 March when Covid-19 was peaking.
But the curve has tapered off since July and the decision to reopen schools comes at a time when average daily deaths due to Covid-19 have fallen below 10 and the average daily incidence of infections has fallen below 500.
Wedding halls in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also been given the green light to re-open under a strict safety regime.

UAE approves vaccine for health workers

The United Arab Emirates has given emergency permission for the use of a coronavirus vaccine in front-line workers.
Stage three trials of the Chinese-made vaccine began in the country in July and are not yet complete.
"The vaccine will be available to our first line of defense heroes who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus," the UAE's national emergency crisis and disaster management authority said on Twitter.
The body said there had been no severe side effects from the vaccine, which has been tested in 31,000 volunteers.
About 140 vaccines are in early development around the world, and around two dozen are now being tested on people in clinical trials. An even smaller number have reached advanced, or stage three, trials, and none has so far been proven to be completely safe and effective.
Find out more about when we're likely to have a vaccine here .

The bogus 'viral blockers' worn by some politicians

As scientists around the world race to find treatments and a vaccine for coronavirus, dozens of unproven cures are being promoted on and offline.
Politicians in Nigeria and Sudan, as well as other countries outside Africa, have been spotted wearing so-called “protective badges”. They're being marketed as “virus blockers” or “virus stoppers" and are being sold around the world.
These badges claim to kill viruses and bacteria by releasing a type of bleaching agent, but experts say they do not work and could cause real harm.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 11:09

Bill Gates: Covid-19 'set development back two decades'

The spread of coronavirus has pushed global development back more than two decades, an annual report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has found.
Tens of millions of people face greater inequality, disease and poverty, according to the study, with many of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals negatively impacted.
Speaking to the BBC, Bill Gates said an effective vaccine was likely to be ready by early 2021.
However, he stressed that any vaccine must also be made accessible to poorer countries.

Young people hit hardest by rise in UK unemployment - ONS

The latest UK unemployment numbers are out and they continue to make gloomy reading. There has been another big drop in the number of workers on payrolls.
About 695,000 UK workers have now been removed from the payrolls of British companies since March, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It said those aged 16-24 saw the biggest drop in employment compared to other age groups . The number of young people in the UK without a job rose 156,000 in the three months to July.
Overall, the UK's unemployment rate grew to 4.1%.

NHS 'can't afford' to lose staff over lack of tests

Hospital bosses have warned that a lack of testing has led to staff absences , with hospitals in London, Bristol and Leeds raising concerns over the weekend.
NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, said staff were having to self-isolate rather than work because they could not get tests for themselves or family members.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, says hospitals have been kept in the dark about the scale of the problem but "it’s very striking that we’ve got people from that geographic spread telling us they’ve got problems".
He told BBC 4's Today programme: "Part of the problem here is that the government isn’t being as open as trusts would like about how big this problem is, how widespread it is, and how long it’s going to last."
He says the health service is “incredibly busy” dealing with treatments that had to be delayed because of the pandemic and "we simply can’t afford to have members of staff unnecessarily off".
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 11:13

Home secretary insists 'tests are available'

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended the government's record on coronavirus testing after criticism over a shortage of tests.
She told BBC Breakfast it was "wrong to say" that there were no tests available after she was asked about the long delays in trying to book a test in Bolton where the infection rate is the highest in England.
"Tests are available, you've heard me say, particularly in local lockdown areas, I've seen this myself."
She said book-in slots, mobile testing units and home-testing kits were being made available "every single day".
But Patel added: "I haven’t said there is not a shortage of tests, what I have said is we’re surging capacity in areas where we’ve had local lockdowns."
She said examples of people being unable to access tests were “unacceptable” and “clearly much more work needs to be undertaken with Public Health England”.

'Mingling' is breach of new rules - Patel

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel says the new "rule of six" means that a family should not stop on the street to talk to another family they know, as it is considered "mingling" and essentially breaks the rules.
Asked if two families of four stopping for a chat on the way to the park constituted "mingling", Patel told Radio 4's Today programme: "I think it is absolutely mingling.
"You have got to put this in the context of coronavirus and keeping distance, wearing masks.
"The rule of six is about making sure that people are being conscientious and not putting other people's health at risk. Mingling is people coming together. That is my definition of mingling."
She also said "it was right" to report people for breaking coronavirus restrictions to police.

Analysis: UK unemployment rise 'just the start'

Faisal Islam - BBC Economics Editor
Unfortunately, this is the start of the official unemployment numbers starting to go up, just ahead of the furlough scheme being phased out.
Previously, the official numbers had shown little change because of the government's wage subsidy scheme.
But in the three months to July, the unemployment rate went up to 4.1%.
While this is still low by historic and international standards, this is the start of what economists and academics expect will be a sustained rise.
The good news for now is that, so far, the vast bulk of previously furloughed workers appear to have gone back to their jobs.
The other very notable feature is that the overall three month average rise in unemployment, while still small, was in large part the result of young people losing their jobs.
Redundancies also went up to their highest level since the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Employment remained at a record, however, and hours worked and vacancies showed a small recovery from massive falls during lockdown.
The concern is exactly where this now goes.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 11:17

Grouse shooting 'similar to other outdoor sports'

Coronavirus - 15th September 0103e310

Grouse shooting being exempt from the new "rule of six" has made headlines in the UK this morning.
The new rule, introduced yesterday, restricts indoor and outdoor gatherings in England and Scotland to six people - but with some exceptions.
The Daily Mirror has described it as "unbelievable" that grouse shooting is one of the exemptions, alongside other organised sports.
Tom Orde-Powlett, land manager at Bolton Castle Estate in North Yorkshire, has defended the decision, saying that grouse shooting is comparable to "a lot of other outdoor exercises and sporting activities that are or can be organised in a way that’s compliant with Covid guidelines".
He told Radio 4's Today programme: "Shooting is fortunate in that usually it takes place over large open areas of countryside, where social distancing is relatively easy to maintain."
He said it was "part of our business as an estate" and was "absolutely crucial" to its economic recovery from coronavirus.

Leicester bowling alleys and casinos can reopen

Casinos, bowling alleys and soft play areas are allowed to reopen in Leicester from today in a further easing of lockdown restrictions.
Skating rinks, exhibition halls and conference centres have also received the green light to reopen by the government.
However the ban on multi-household gatherings in homes and gardens remains.
The city has been subject to tighter Covid-19 restrictions since 29 June.
The Department for Health and Security said the relaxation brought rules for businesses in Leicester in line with the majority of England.
Close-contact beauty treatments including eyebrow-threading and make-up application will also be allowed along with socially-distanced indoor performances and wedding receptions with up to 30 guests.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 11:23

School sends home entire year group after pupil tests positive

Nearly 300 pupils at a school in England have been sent home after one of them tested positive for coronavirus.
The 284 Year 9 students at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy in Wiltshire have been asked to self-isolate and take classes remotely for 14 days.
The school said all precautionary and "bubble" measures had been followed and the decision had been made to minimise any risk to others.
Many schools are putting entire year groups into bubbles as part of new coronavirus measures.

Tougher rules in place for parts of West Midlands

New lockdown measures have come into force in the West Midlands in England after the number of coronavirus cases rose.
People in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull are banned from meeting others who are not part of their household, or support bubble, indoors or in private gardens.
The new restrictions affect around 1.6 million people.
It is the latest in a number of areas around the UK to have local lockdowns introduced, although the measures vary in each place.
There is no set level of infection that triggers a local lockdown, but if an area posts more than 40 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, it is likely that extra restrictions will be considered.
Find out which areas are now under local lockdown.

20% of South Africans 'may have had Covid-19'

South Africa’s Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says new research estimates 12 million people - about 20% of the country’s population - could already have been infected with coronavirus.
This is much higher than the official cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases which is 650,749.
The research is based on examining seroprevalence - the amount of antibodies present in a patient’s bloodstream.
In a statement released on Monday night, Dr Mkhize said a decline in cases has raised questions of what level of immunity might exist in the country.
He explained initial samples had shown "seroprevalence of between 29 and 40%".
A national seroprevalence study is now underway.
The results of a similar study in England published in August found that 6% of people had antibodies to coronavirus. The prevalence was highest in London, where the number rose to 13%.
It is unclear how long immunity to coronavirus lasts, or whether being exposed to the virus means an individual is protected from being infected a second time.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 11:40

Bosnian Serb war criminal dies of coronavirus

Coronavirus - 15th September 41999310

A senior Bosnian Serb official, who was convicted by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague, has died of coronavirus at the age of 75.
Momcilo Krajisnik was a key ally of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, and was found guilty of persecuting and forcibly expelling non-Serbs. Around 110,000 people were killed during the 1992-1995 war.
Krajisnik was arrested in 2000 and later sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was released in 2013 after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

China locks down city on Myanmar border

Chinese authorities have introduced lockdown measures in the south-western city of Ruili after at least two coronavirus cases were identified.
Residents of the city, a major land border crossing with Myanmar, have been told to remain at home, and all movement in and out of the city has been banned. Officials now plan to test everyone living in the city.
According to Chinese newspaper The Global Times, the two cases were both found in Myanmar nationals.
Last week, Myanmar imposed new lockdown measures as it battled a second wave of infections. According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, the country has recorded almost 3,300 cases and 32 deaths since the pandemic began.
Coronavirus - 15th September 67d51610
The city of Yangon has become the centre of Myanmar's coronavirus outbreak
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 12:59

Lunchtime roundup of the latest headlines

If you're just joining us here's the latest stories to catch up on:
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 17:29

Dublin 'wet' pubs will remain closed as Government unveils 'Living With Covid' plan
Harry Brent - Irish Post
Wet pubs in Dublin won't be opening next Monday after the Government announced their new Living With Covid plan.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin, together with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly spoke to reporters this morning, detailing the new six-month framework for tackling coronavirus.
They confirmed that pubs across the country would be reopening as planned on September 21 - except for those in Dublin, because of the high level of Covid-19 cases in the city.
People in Dublin are also being advised to have no more than one other household invited into their homes, with a maximum of six people set.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said people are being asked to adhere to the four Ws: 1) Not to welcome any more than one other household to your home, 2) Wash your hands, 3) Watch your distance by staying at least two metres from others and 4) Wear a face mask when the two metre distance is not always possible.
These measures are due to stay in place for at least three weeks, and will be revised close to the end of that period.
After consulting with the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), the government officially revealed a five-level restriction system. Level 1 being the lowest and Level 5 being the highest.
The higher the rate of coronavirus cases in a particular area, the higher the level of restrictions will be imposed.
Martin said that every county barring Dublin was currently on Level 2, with Dublin considered to be on Level 2.5, due to the slightly tighter restrictions in place.
At Level 2, the majority of areas of economy and society, for example: schools, restaurants, pubs and gyms, are open.
The priority is to keep schools and childcare facilities open and minimise disruption in the work force. Sporting activities can continue, but with a higher level of restriction. People will also be asked to limit the number of people you meet at this level.

On Tuesday, the Irish Government unveiled the new 'Living With Covid' plan.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Taoiseach Micheal Martin, along with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly outlined the plan in detail and explained their vision for the next stage of the country's fight against coronavirus.

But what does it all mean, and how will it affect your day-to-day life?

What is the 'Living With Covid' Plan?
The 'Living With Covid' plan is essentially a short-term emergency response approach to managing the coronavirus pandemic in Ireland over the next six months.

How will it work?
A 'framework' for restrictive measures has been laid out which consists of five different levels. Each level represents a different magnitude of Covid-19 outbreak.
Higher levels will be activated when there is a high amount of Covid-19 cases, and subsequently, a higher amount of restrictions will need to be put in place.
Lower levels will be activated when case numbers are low, and restrictions will be subsequently lowered.
It works in a similar way to the colour-coded weather warning system in Ireland. As the level of danger changes, so does the categorisation.

What do each of the levels mean?
For detailed information on each of the levels, surrounding things like social gatherings, work, travel and schools, check out the Government's summary here .

Or, for information on Level 1 specifically, click here

For information on Level 2, click here

For information on Level 3, click here

For information on Level 4, click here

For information on Level 5, click here

What level is Ireland currently in?
Ireland is currently in Level 2 - the second lowest - except for Dublin, which is considered to be on level "2.5" according to Taoiseach Martin, due to the slightly stricter restrictions currently in place in the capital.

Can different counties be placed into different levels?
Yes. A county's level placement will depend on its management of the Covid-19 situation locally.

How long will this system be in place?
The level system will remain in place for at least six months, unless a vaccine is found and the disease eradicated. A review of the system will take place towards the end of the six month period, after which it could be extended.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 17:41

Concern over R number in Czech Republic

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
As daily numbers of new cases in the Czech Republic exceed 1,000, the Institute for Health Information and Statistics has warned that the R number has risen to 1.59, and there is a real threat that infections will spread exponentially.
Such a spread could also be nationwide, and not limited to outbreaks such as in Prague.
The Czech Republic now has the third highest number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Europe, after France and Spain.
There has also been a steady increase in the number of people in hospital, those in intensive care, and deaths.
The Czech authorities say hospital capacity is still not even near full, and Prime Minister Andrej Babis says the media is not reporting the positive statistics such as the low number of overall deaths per million.

England school figures show 88% of pupils attending

The first official figures for school attendance in England show 88% of pupils went back for the autumn term.
This is a higher absence rate than the usual figure of about 5% but it is not broken down to show whether pupils were at home because of Covid outbreaks.
The figures show attendance last Thursday - but about a quarter of schools did not supply information.
There had been speculation that some parents would keep their children at home, but the Department for Education figures show almost nine in 10 returned.
The department also estimates that 92% of all school state schools were fully open.
However, there have been repeated local cases of schools having to send home year groups of pupils, either because of infections or because of problems with getting Covid tests for staff or pupils, such as this school in Wilshire .

Can the UK testing shortage be solved?

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
Despite the health secretary's promises that the problem will be solved in a matter of weeks , there will be no easy solution to the shortages of tests in the UK.
All the expectations are that cases will go up. People are circulating more as society reopens and we are entering the period when respiratory viruses thrive.
As cases go up so will demands on the testing system. Even with the promise of more testing capacity in the coming weeks, the chances of shortages continuing remains a distinct possibility.
A new lab is due to open later this month which will be able to carry out 50,000 tests a day. But this could easily be swallowed up.
What it means is that testing will have to be prioritised where it is needed most. That will be in care homes, hospitals and among key workers as well as where there are local outbreaks.
The government's surveillance programme run by the Office for National Statistics will also be protected.
But this is not unique to the UK. Other countries are facing similar pressures. In fact, the UK is testing more people per head of population than Spain, France and Germany.
It promises to be a difficult winter across Europe.

How to get a test

An increase in demand for coronavirus tests has led to local shortages in parts of the UK, with some people being directed to test sites hundreds of miles from their homes.
Testing people and then tracing the contacts of those infected is considered vital to stop the disease from spreading.
So when should you get a test and how can you book one?
Health reporter Rachel Schraer explains everything you need to know about how the system works in the UK .
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 17:47

Frontline workers in France to be fast-tracked for citizenship

Foreign nationals who have worked on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic in France will be eligible to become citizens more quickly.
Applicants "who have actively contributed on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19, and in particular health personnel, will be able to see their processing accelerated and facilitated", Citizenship Minister Marlène Schiappa announced on Tuesday.
The directive has been sent to local officials.
Schiappa said she did not know how many people would be impacted by the decision, which is intended to recognise the contributions of foreign workers.
According to local media, the decision would see the residency requirement for those applying for citizenship reduced from five to two years.
In July, the French government approved pay rises worth a total of €8bn (£7.2bn; $9bn) to health workers, as it hailed their role in fighting coronavirus.
Coronavirus - 15th September 0001bc10
Health workers in France protested for better pay and conditions earlier this year

Marseille and Bordeaux bring in new rules

The French authorities have put in place new restrictions in the areas around the southern cities of Marseille and Bordeaux after the number of cases there shot up.
On Saturday, the country recorded a big surge in cases, with 10,561 new reported infections.
On the beaches around both Marseille and Bordeaux, groups of more than 10 people have been banned, and all gatherings of more than 1,000 people have also been cancelled in the worst hit areas.
Funfairs, school outings and flea markets have also been cancelled. In Bordeaux (pictured), it will no longer be possible to have a drink standing in bars and restaurants, which will have to stop playing music outside.
The health authorities in Marseille say hospitals in the country's second city are close to running out of beds.
Doctors believe the spike is linked to lower vigilance during the summer, when many French people opted for popular beach destinations at home, says the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Paris.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 17:52

The Netherlands 'sees record daily rise'

The Netherlands has recorded its highest number of daily infections, with 1,379 in the past 24 hours, local media quoted the country's health body as saying.
The previous record of 1,335 was recorded in April, although it is worth noting that testing in many countries has increased since the beginning of the pandemic.
The number of weekly infections has increased by 9,914 in a week - or 85% - since the first week of September, the Volkskrant newspaper reported.
Most cases have been reported in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Coronavirus - 15th September Breaki14

UK cases rise by 3,105

A further 3,105 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK, according to figures from the Department of Health .
The latest figures also showed 27 more people had died within 28 days of a positive test.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 17:56

Can the UK testing shortage be solved?

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
Despite the health secretary's promises that the problem will be solved in a matter of weeks , there will be no easy solution to the shortages of tests in the UK.
All the expectations are that cases will go up. People are circulating more as society reopens and we are entering the period when respiratory viruses thrive.
As cases go up so will demands on the testing system. Even with the promise of more testing capacity in the coming weeks, the chances of shortages continuing remains a distinct possibility.
A new lab is due to open later this month which will be able to carry out 50,000 tests a day. But this could easily be swallowed up.
What it means is that testing will have to be prioritised where it is needed most. That will be in care homes, hospitals and among key workers as well as where there are local outbreaks.
The government's surveillance programme run by the Office for National Statistics will also be protected.
But this is not unique to the UK. Other countries are facing similar pressures. In fact, the UK is testing more people per head of population than Spain, France and Germany.
It promises to be a difficult winter across Europe.

What’s the average journey to a Covid-19 test centre?

Ben Butcher - BBC Reality Check
Health Secretary Matt Hancock claims that the average distance travelled by people in England to a test centre is 5.8 miles.
Last week, he used a slightly different figure – 6.4 miles.
So, is this right? The problem is the government is not releasing the data on journey times – despite us asking for it repeatedly. The Department of Health says it plans to “at some point in the future”. This makes it very difficult to scrutinise the claims.
It has supplied a limited amount of information about the methodology, however.
The average distance refers to “as the crow flies”, so it doesn’t take into account that most roads are not a straight line between someone’s house and the testing site. This means the average distance actually travelled will be higher.
For example, if someone was to drive between the BBC London offices and the Wembley testing site, the exact distance between the two is 5.5 miles. However, once we take into account roads, this increases to around 8 miles.
Additionally, Hancock previously said 90% of people travel less than 22 miles, meaning 10% travelled further.
In the latest week, 199,000 tests were processed from regional testing facilities, meaning as many as 20,000 people travelled over 22 miles.
We also don’t know how many people asked for a testing slot but chose not to travel because the site they were offered was too far away.

Tempers flare at coronavirus testing site

People in Oldham have told the BBC of their frustration after being turned away from a walk-in test centre because there was no capacity.
The town in Greater Manchester, north-west England, is subject to additional restrictions, including a ban on mixing with other households, because of the high number of coronavirus cases there.
An increase in demand for tests across the country has led to local shortages , with some people being directed to test sites hundreds of miles from their homes.

How quickly are care home tests processed?

Reality Check
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told the House of Commons the government will continue to prioritise testing according to need.
He said “the top priority is and always has been acute clinical care” and the “next priority is social care where we’re now sending over 100,000 tests a day".
Responding, Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said that care home residents are waiting “an average of 83 hours for their result".
This number is taken from the weekly NHS Test and Trace statistics - the latest data available is for 27 August to 2 September.
Ashworth is referring to turnaround times for "satellite test centres" where the median time taken to receive a test result has increased from a low of 28 hours in mid-June to 83 hours in the latest week.
The government uses the term satellite centres to refer to test kits provided directly "to places like hospitals and care homes that have a particularly urgent or significant need".
The government says these satellite tests are predominantly used by care homes, who need greater control and flexibility over when test kits are collected and that "tests may be conducted over multiple days with a collection scheduled a few days later". As a consequence, they say, a low proportion of satellite test results will be available within 24 hours of the test being taken.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 18:01

Syria only reporting 1.25% of Covid-19 deaths in Damascus - study

The official number of coronavirus deaths in the Syrian capital Damascus is likely to have been vastly underreported, a new study has found.
The report by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team concluded that authorities in the city may only be counting 1.25% of actual coronavirus fatalities.
The Syrian government has officially recorded just 109 deaths, but the researchers found that an estimated 4,380 coronavirus deaths may have gone uncounted by 2 September. Syrian doctors, health officials, epidemiologists and academics contributed to the report anonymously.
"Given that Damascus is likely to have the most robust surveillance in Syria, these findings suggest that other regions of the country could have experienced similar or worse mortality rates due to Covid-19," the report said.
The country's healthcare system is already under massive strain due to the nine-year-long civil war, which has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

Copenhagen nightlife curbed after spike

Another European country seeing a spike in coronavirus cases is Denmark, with an increase in cases mainly in the Greater Copenhagen area and the city of Odense.
The R rate is currently at 1.5 across the country, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told a news conference.
New restrictions include:

  • Mandatory face masks in restaurants, bars and cafes in 17 municipalities in the Greater Copenhagen area
  • Nightlife in the area must end at 22:00 (20:00 GMT), as must private parties
  • Weddings can go ahead if they follow health guidelines and finish by 22:00
  • Measures are effective from Thursday for a preliminary 14 days

"We are giving a clear message to the entire population: reduce social contacts over the autumn. If we do nothing now, we risk being on the brink of something that could develop into another wave," Mr Heunicke said.
Denmark, one of the first European countries to announce a lockdown, started to ease restrictions in mid-April , and life had mostly returned to normal since May - with most businesses open and people back at work, correspondents say.

Hundreds of Hasidic Jews held up at Ukraine-Belarus border

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Jewish pilgrims sleep at the border point

Hundreds of Hasidic Jews who set off on a pilgrimage to Ukraine are stranded on the Ukraine-Belarus border because of coronavirus restrictions.
They want to get to the central Ukrainian town of Uman for the Jewish New Year, which is being celebrated at the weekend, and visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman, who revived the Hasidic movement in the 19th Century.
One described the conditions at the border:
"I spent the night on the bus, but most of them [other pilgrims] spent the night right on the road, some gathered branches in the forest and lit fires," he told Reuters news agency.
"We have no food or water, we have children with us, about 100 children," he added.
Ukraine has imposed a ban on the entry of foreigners from the end of August till the end of September because of the pandemic.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 18:05

More than 100 UK patients on ventilation for first time since July

The number of patients in mechanical ventilation beds across the UK has passed 100 for the first time in nearly two months
There were 106 patients on ventilation in the UK on Monday - the first time the figure has been over 100 since 24 July.
UK-wide figures for today are yet to be published but there were 101 patients on ventilation in England on Tuesday.

'We had to use Aberdeen postcode to get test in London'

BBC Radio 5 Live
There are a lot of reports of people struggling to get a coronavirus test. Gaynor Hope in south west London got her 16-year-old son a test after four days of trying. But test site workers were only able to grant him one by using a postcode from over 500 miles away.
“We drove up to the test centre, no queue, two other cars… but the steward said we had to use an Aberdeen postcode to get a QR code for a test”, she told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“They were on their handheld devices, searching for any postcode they could use… it’s just so frustrating.”
Gaynor’s MP, Liberal Democrat Munira Wilson, asked the health secretary about this issue in Parliament this afternoon.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 18:09

China to offer counselling to former Covid-19 patients

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
As China celebrates 30 days without any domestic cases of Covid-19, China’s top health body says it is now going to roll out counselling to people who have recovered from Covid-19.
According to the official China Daily, social workers, volunteers and therapists will be made available to former patients , to help understand any physical, mental or financial help they might need.
Their data will be held on local medical databases, under a system that “emphasises the importance of protecting their privacy”.
Local health centres will also offer mental health assessments “based on informed consent and voluntary participation”.
In China, more than 80,000 people have recovered from Covid-19 since the beginning of the year. Mental health hotlines have been open since as early as January .
But mental health is a major concern in China. The official Xinhua news agency estimated last year that one in 10 Chinese people had mental health problems . That is 140 million people.
People on Chinese social media have spoken often in recent months about how they have struggled as a result of strict lockdown procedures, working/studying at home, and finding work.
The government is particularly concerned that those who have recovered have experienced work and social stigma. However, it has urged people to be transparent if they have any ailments rather than hide their symptoms and risk the event of another localised outbreak.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

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

Coronavirus - 15th September Breaki10

Entire Irish cabinet self-isolating

Chris Page - BBC News Ireland correspondent
The Speaker of the Irish parliament has announced that all members of the cabinet in Dublin have to self-isolate.
The Irish national broadcaster RTÉ is reporting that Health Minister Stephen Donnelly contacted his GP for a coronavirus test after feeling unwell this afternoon.
The Speaker told parliament that following "very serious information arising out of events today, the cabinet must now self-isolate".
Parliamentary proceedings have been adjourned.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 18:15

New cases in all but one area of England

New Covid 19 cases were recorded in all but one of England’s 315 local authority areas in the seven days to 12 September.
Babergh in Suffolk was the only area to not record a new case, according to the latest Public Health England data.
It also shows that 510 new cases were recorded in Bradford in the week up to 12 September. That’s the equivalent of 94.5 cases per 100,000 people - up from 77.6 in the previous week.
Other cities recording sharp increases in their weekly rate include:
Liverpool (up from 51.2 to 91.4, with 455 new cases)
Leicester (up from 56.7 to 86.4, with 306 new cases)
Sunderland (up from 61.9 to 82.5, with 229 new cases)
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 18:59

Testing problems leaving families in limbo

Schools are back, businesses are reopening and winter bugs are starting to spread - meaning more and more people are asking for a coronavirus test.
Scott Vining's daughter fell ill with a temperature on Saturday. By Sunday, the rest of the family, who live near Dunstable, in Bedfordshire, had also developed symptoms.
"We've tried hundreds of times," he told the BBC about trying to book a test. "We started to try and book tests for my daughter on Sunday, to no avail, and then we started at 08:00 on Monday morning for us all."
At one point Scott was offered a test in Warwickshire, 65 miles away from his home, through the government website. But by the time he'd entered the details of his family of four, the spaces had disappeared.
Scott eventually managed to secure a test for his wife today in Luton. He has since managed to book tests for himself and his children at a separate testing centre, in Bedford.
Read more about Scott and other families' experiences here .

Labour leader to miss PMQs as family member awaits test result

Another person awaiting test results is Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who will not take part in Prime Minister's Quesions tomorrow as he is "still awaiting" a coronavirus test result for a member of his family, a spokesman said.
The spokesman said he would remain in self-isolation and deputy leader Angela Rayner would take his place.
The Labour leader has been self-isolating since Monday , after a member of his household showed symptoms. They were tested the same day.
Starmer is not reported to have shown any symptoms himself.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 19:29

Coronavirus cases in India pass 5m

Yogita Limaye - Mumbai correspondent, BBC News
India has now recorded more than five million confirmed cases of coronavirus.
It is the second worst affected country in the world, but the virus is spreading much faster there than in the US, which is in the top spot.
More than 82,000 people have died with the virus in India, with more than 1,000 dying each day.
Hospitals in many cities are running out of intensive care beds and oxygen supplies .
But the government has been pointing out that the number of Indians dying with Covid-19 relative to the size of its population is a lot lower than in other badly hit countries.

US judge rules Pennsylvania's restrictions unconstitutional

Coronavirus - 15th September 01907110
"Non-life-sustaining” businesses were ordered to shut down in Pennsylvania

Some of the lockdown provisions put in place by Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor Tom Wolf are unconstitutional, a US federal judge has ruled.
Judge William Stickman found in favour of two Republican politicians and several business owners, who said ongoing restrictions threatened livelihoods.
He said Governor Wolf did not have the right to infringe civil liberties, even if he was acting with good intentions.
Mr Wolf had already lifted some restrictions after infections in Pennsylvania began to fall. They had required people to stay at home , placed limits on the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down.
The lawsuit is one of hundreds brought across America challenging local lockdown rules.
The Wolf administration said it would appeal: “The actions taken by the administration were mirrored by governors across the country and saved, and continue to save lives in the absence of federal action," a spokeswoman for Mr Wolf said.
"This decision is especially worrying as Pennsylvania and the rest of the country are likely to face a challenging time with the possible resurgence of Covid-19 and the flu in the fall and winter,” she added
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 19:33

Government testing claims fact-checked

Ben Butcher - BBC Reality Check
The government is facing criticism over its "world-beating" coronavirus testing system after people reported struggles to get tests.
Ministers have been defending the NHS Test and Trace system for England and have claimed testing capacity is increasing.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "The government has been consistently increasing testing capacity, but also laboratory capacity."
She is correct that government data shows that both testing capacity and laboratory capacity have increased considerably since the beginning of the pandemic.
However, there has been a sizeable gap between how many tests labs are able to process ("capacity") and the number of tests actually processed.
Read more on this and other claims made by the government here .

Why it could be a 'lonely time' for Jewish families

Mary O'Connor - BBC News
Jewish communities around the world will celebrate the holy festival of Rosh Hashanah this weekend. With Yom Kippur to follow on Monday week, how will the UK's new coronavirus restrictions affect Jewish celebrations?
For Dr Katrina Lester, who is due to give birth in eight weeks, this year will be a "very lonely time", spent away from relatives and the synagogue.
Like millions of others, her family has been looking forward to the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah - which marks the Jewish new year - and Yom Kippur - a solemn day of atonement, involving a 25-hour fast and continuous prayer throughout the day.
But this year, certain rituals and customs will have to be adapted to meet Covid-19 guidelines.
The government has issued highly detailed guidance for the Jewish community as they observe the festivals, with measures including the removal of communal items, such as prayer books, in synagogues; and the use of microphones for devotions or sermons to avoid shouting .
Read more .
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 20:01

Pilots allowing fans in football stadiums to continue

Dan Roan - BBC Sports editor
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Premier League games continue to be played behind closed doors

The English Football League will continue to stage pilots with up to 1,000 fans at matches this weekend, following approval from the government.
EFL clubs were asked to put in requests by Tuesday in order for their plans to be signed off in time.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden will meet with sports bodies later this week to discuss the planned return of spectators to sport from 1 October.
Last week, the government restricted pilot events to 1,000 spectators after a rise in coronavirus cases, and said plans for grounds to be up to a third full from 1 October would be reviewed.
The Premier League says around £100m per month will be lost by clubs across the leagues while matches continue behind closed doors and it is one of a number of sports bodies to have voiced concerns at the financial impact of an extended period with empty venues.
Read more

Analysis: A testing time for ministers

Laura Kuenssberg - Political editor
No government wants scenes like this.
Families in Oldham , where there has been particular concern about the spread of coronavirus, are boiling over with frustration that they can't access tests.
Not least a government that promised the public its testing system would be better than any other country's.
Not least a government that believes a properly functioning testing system is vital to keeping kids back in school and climbing out of recession as quickly as possible.
Not least a government that knows testing is a crucial way to monitor and control the virus that saw such a terrible loss of life in the grim spring that we have all just lived through.
Read more .
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 20:05

Irish cabinet 'restricting movements'

Coronavirus - 15th September F4447410

Earlier we heard the speaker of the Irish parliament had announced that all members of the cabinet in Dublin would have to self-isolate, after the health minister reported feeling unwell.
Stephen Donnelly has contacted his GP for a Covid-19 test, Irish broadcaster RTÉ reports.
Initially it was believed that the Dáil (Irish parliament) would be adjourned indefinitely, after Speaker Sean O Fearghail said "the possibility of proceeding with business does not arise and the house stands adjourned, I suspect, until Tuesday next".
However, Irish prime minister Micheál Martin later told RTÉ that the Dáil would be reconvened at 20:00 IST and the cabinet were restricting their movements due to "an abundance of caution".
Read more .
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 15th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 15 2020, 20:09

Key developments of the day

There have been many developments today, including:

  • The UK government faced questions over the lack of available coronavirus tests
  • The number of patients in mechanical ventilation beds across the UK passed 100 for the first time in nearly two months, and a further 3,105 people tested positive for Covid-19
  • The entire Irish cabinet were told to restrict their movements after the country's Health Minister Stephen Donnelly reported feeling unwell
  • A number of European countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark and France, are seeing surges in cases and some are imposing new restrictions as a result
  • Cases in India passed the five million mark
  • Globally, there have been more than 29 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 930,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University


That's all for now

We're pausing our Live coverage for the day. Thank you for joining us - coverage will resume Wednesday morning.
Today's writers were Katie Wright, Becky Morton, Victoria Bisset and Alexandra Fouché; the page was edited by Jasmine Taylor-Coleman and Suzanne Leigh.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 19:05