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Coronavirus - 18th September


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:Covid-19: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 10:24

Summary for Friday, 18th September

  • A short period of tight restrictions across England is being considered to slow the spread of the virus
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock says UK faces "very serious situation" and does not rule out another lockdown
  • Other European countries, including France and Spain, are also taking action as cases surge
  • It comes as the WHO warns of "alarming rates of transmission" across Europe, with fears death rates will rise significantly
  • Israel becomes the first country to start a second nationwide shutdown, with residents unable to stray far from their homes
  • Australia will now let in 6,000 citizens a week - some 24,000 stranded Australians have been waiting to return home
  • Confirmed cases worldwide pass 30 million, with more than 940,000 confirmed deaths of people who had Covid-19

Hello and thank you for joining us for another day of Covid-19 live coverage.
As confirmed coronavirus cases across the world pass 30 million, here are the main headlines:

  • The UK government is considering new measures for the whole of England - including closing hospitality venues – as cases rapidly rise. Schools and most workplaces would be kept open under the plan, but no final decision has been made
  • France and other European countries like Spain are also imposing new restrictions as the continent tries to halt a spike in infections amid fears hospitals could once again see huge numbers of seriously ill patients
  • US Democratic candidate Joe Biden has described President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic as “close to criminal”. Trump recently admitted to downplaying the scale of the coronavirus threat
  • Israel’s second nationwide lockdown comes into force later today. It’s the first rich country to implement another shutdown

England-wide 'circuit break' being considered

The UK government is considering new England-wide coronavirus measures that could see hospitality businesses being forced to close, or have their opening hours limited.
According to the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, a short period of national rules - a “circuit break” for a few weeks - could be announced soon.
During this time, schools and most workplaces would be kept open. No final decision has yet been made.
Meanwhile, new local lockdown rules are set to be brought in for Lancashire, with the exception of Blackpool, the BBC understands. And nearly two million people in north-east England are now living under tightened restrictions, which came into force today.
The government’s chief scientific adviser and medical officer warn there could be a significant number of deaths by the end of October without further interventions.

Europe tackles 'alarming' case rise

Many European countries are preparing to implement new measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, as the World Health Organization warns of a “very serious situation”.
Along with the UK, the governments of France, Spain and the Netherlands are all expected to announce new restrictions.
In the Spanish capital Madrid, where many of the country’s new cases have been reported, health officials have warned that the regional healthcare system is coming under serious pressure from Covid-19 patients.
France, meanwhile, is expected to bring in new measures for major cities, including Lyon and Nice.
On Thursday, the WHO’s Europe regional director Hans Kluge said 300,000 new infections were reported across Europe last week , with the numbers exceeding those seen during the first peak in March.
"Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region," he said.

New national lockdown 'last line of defence' - Hancock

Another national lockdown in England is the "last line of defence" but would happen if needed, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said, as he warned the UK was in a "very serious situation".
He told BBC Breakfast there had been an "acceleration" in cases in recent weeks and "we need to take action".
The virus is now understood to be doubling every seven to eight days, with more than 3,300 new cases in the UK reported on Thursday.
"It is absolutely critical that people follow the rules," he said, stressing the importance of the new "rule of six" in England, and the basics of wearing face coverings, washing hands and giving space to others.
If all of that is done, and if those who test positive isolate, "we can avoid having to take serious further measures", he added.
But, he stressed, national lockdowns can "keep people safe".
He said it was vitally important to have local lockdowns like the one that has come into force in the North East today - adding that he would be making an announcement about further action later. It's thought it could concern more measures for Lancashire.

Australia to let more citizens come home

Frances Mao - BBC News, Sydney
The Australian government says come mid-October it will allow 6,000 citizens a week - 2,000 more than currently allowed - to come home as Melbourne’s second wave comes under control.
PM Scott Morrison said more than 24,000 Australians stranded overseas had registered to return.
In July, the country capped the number of returnees to ease the strain on the mandatory hotel quarantine system. Mistakes in that system had led to the virus's re-emergence in June in the state of Victoria.
However, expats had complained this policy meant flights home were near impossible to secure - with the London to Sydney route for example taking only 30 passengers per flight.
“With the success we have had as a country in recent months… we can start helping Australians getting home again,” Mr Morrison said.

Singapore's 'pandemic of inequality'

Yvette Tan - BBC News
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Having already caught Covid-19, recovered, and gone back to work, Zakir Hossain Khokan thought his worst days were behind him.
But last month a new cluster developed at his dormitory, and like thousands of migrant workers in Singapore, he was ordered back into quarantine.
"Day and night, we are just inside one room," he says. "It's actually torturing our mind. It's like jail."
Singapore is home to more than 300,000 low-wage foreign workers from countries like India and Bangladesh, who mainly work in industries like construction and manufacturing.
Their right to live in Singapore is tied to their job and their employer must provide accommodation, at a cost.
They commute from their dorms in packed vans to building sites where they work and take breaks alongside men from other crowded dorms - perfect conditions for the virus to spread.
Read the full story here.

Czech cases in one day almost equal to whole of March

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
The 3,130 new infections recorded in the Czech Republic on Thursday are almost as many as for the whole month of March - and officials are warning of the risk of an exponential increase.
Face masks are mandatory in schools from today (20% of new infections are in school-aged children) and authorities warn new measures - due to be announced today - could be introduced quickly to flatten the curve.
A new version of the much-criticised contact tracing app e-Rouska is also being launched today. The original version didn't work on iPhones and drained battery life.
The government of PM Andrej Babis is facing severe criticism for watering down planned restrictions that were due to come into force on 1 September. In the end they were introduced anyway 10 days later, but critics say this was too late and these numbers are the result.

Russian opera diva Netrebko in hospital

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Anna Netrebko is internationally renowned

Russian opera star Anna Netrebko says she is in hospital with coronavirus-related pneumonia, but is expected to make a full recovery.
She fell ill after performing in the Bolshoi Theatre's post-lockdown opening show, Verdi’s Don Carlos, earlier this month.
Don Carlos has now been stopped, as another singer has coronavirus too.
“I don’t regret going back to performing because I strongly believe that we need culture, now as ever,” Netrebko tweeted.
The 48-year-old soprano is singing in hospital, her manager has said.
The Bolshoi in Moscow has social distancing rules for performances, and the audience wear masks.
St Petersburg’s famous Mariinsky Theatre was also hit by a Covid-19 outbreak last month, affecting about 30 performers, mostly ballet dancers.
Russia recorded 5,905 new cases in the past 24 hours – the highest daily tally since late July - and 134 deaths.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 10:43

New coronavirus test gives results in 90 minutes

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A rapid test can accurately diagnose a coronavirus infection within 90 minutes - without needing a specialist laboratory, say scientists from Imperial College London.
Their study showed the device gave comparable results to current tests.
The swab is placed inside a disposable blue cartridge which contains the chemicals needed for the test. This is then slotted into a shoebox-sized machine to perform the analysis.
But experts have warned that it’s not a solution to the problems and delays of the Test and Trace programme.
This is because each box can handle one test at a time. So during a day, one box could perform only around 16 tests.
Prof Graham Cooke, lead author of the Imperial study, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the test is fit for use, for example, in A&E or on a hospital ward.
The device is already being used in eight NHS hospitals to quickly identify patients who are carrying the virus.
The technology could in theory be used at home, but it’s not been designed for that purpose, he added.

UK demand for tests has 'gone through the roof'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says demand for coronavirus tests has gone "through the roof".
He was responding to a question on BBC Radio 4's Today programme asking if the number of tests being requested was higher than had been anticipated by government scientific advisors.
While it was known demand would go up, the "challenge" was it had gone up "incredibly high", he said, especially from those who do not have symptoms, who should not be applying for a test.
If you've come into contact with someone who has tested positive, you should not request a test, he stressed. That's because you need to self-isolate for two weeks in any case, because of the incubation period of the virus.
He also noted that people feel they are more likely to catch the virus from a stranger - "but most people get it from someone they know, and know well" due to closer contact, he said.
Read more about who should get a test, and how to do it, here.

US guidance published 'against scientists' objections'

Guidance issued last month by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was not written by CDC scientists and was published despite their objections, the New York Times reports.
The advice said it was not necessary to test people who were not displaying symptoms, even if they had been exposed to the virus - at a time when public health officials were pushing for increased testing.
Officials told the newspaper that the Department of Health and Human Services rewrote the guidance before posting it to the CDC's website, adding that the document contained "elementary errors".
The CDC's head said in a statement that the guidelines had "received appropriate attention, consultation and input from task force experts".
The US has recorded the world's highest numbers of cases and fatalities since the pandemic began, with deaths approaching 200,000.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 10:47

Free PPE for care homes until March

Care homes are to be given free personal protective equipment until March .
It’s part of a winter coronavirus plan for England's care homes that will be published later by the government.
A new chief nurse is also going to be appointed to provide more guidance for nurses working in the care home sector.
The government has already said care homes, which were hit very badly by the first peak of the virus, would get £546m to help battle Covid-19.
The money will help to pay care workers their full wages when they are self-isolating, and ensures carers only work in one care home, reducing the spread of the virus.
The BBC's social affairs correspondent Alison Holt said that for a sector still reeling from a very high number of deaths, "this plan is important".
But whilst welcoming the plan, some directors of council care services have said it does not address the need to pay care staff better.
It also does not provide the funding needed to meet the expected increase in demand, particularly for home care, over the winter, they say.

The latest changes to the 'quarantine-free' travel lists

People arriving in England and Scotland from Singapore and Thailand will not have to quarantine from Saturday morning, as the two nations have been added to the list of safe "travel corridor" countries.
But those arriving from Slovenia and Guadeloupe will now have to spend two weeks in self-isolation.
Both have also been added to Wales' quarantine list, while arrivals there from Gibraltar and Thailand will not need to self-isolate.
The latest changes come into force at 04:00 BST on Saturday.
Get all the details about travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

People with disabilities account for nearly 60% of deaths - ONS

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
People with health conditions that limit their activities count for nearly 60% of Covid-19 deaths - but just 16% of the population.
That's according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics covering deaths in England and Wales between March and July.
That definition of disability is based on responses to the 2011 census. People under the age of nine or those who have entered the country since 2011 were excluded from the analysis.
The ONS estimates that people whose daily activities are limited a lot or a little by health problems, which are expected to last for at least a year, accounted for almost six in 10 (59%) coronavirus deaths.
Analyses that adjusted for age, region and some measures of wealth/poverty showed that women whose activities are limited a lot by health conditions were 2.4 times more likely to die with Covid in the time period.
For men, the data suggested they were two times more likely to die.
For men and women whose daily activities are limited a little by a health condition, their risk was 1.6 times that of men and women without any such limitations.
For a more in-depth look at coronavirus and disabilities, read our feature here .

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 10:56

Madrid, Spain's worst-hit city, plans stricter controls

James Badcock - Madrid-based journalist
While Spain suffers the highest levels of Covid-19 transmission in Europe, its capital Madrid is the sickest city in Spain.
The regional government, which manages public healthcare, is poised to introduce draconian restrictions on social activity - possibly confining the capital’s worst-hit areas, three months after Spain’s national lockdown ended.
Accounting for a third of the new cases detected in Spain in recent weeks, Madrid’s cumulative number of Covid-19 cases over two weeks has now reached 659 confirmed positives per 100,000 inhabitants. Some of the most crowded neighbourhoods in the city’s poor south are double that. The Spanish national average is 260. In the UK the number is 59, according to the European CDC.
Madrid's hospitals are approaching the levels of saturation that saw disastrous scenes in the spring, when ambulances were not sent to care homes and a massive field hospital was set up in the capital’s main conference centre.
Health workers’ representatives say some intensive care units have already reached capacity. Of 500 intensive care beds available in public hospitals across the region, 400 are now occupied by Covid patients. But the regional government points to plans to extend that capacity to more than 900.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 11:43

Thailand records first death in 100 days

Thailand has reported its first death from Covid-19 in more than 100 days. The 54-year-old Thai citizen had returned from Saudi Arabia, where he worked, earlier this month, a health official said.
Here are some other headlines from Asia:

  • Confirmed cases in India rose by more than 96,000 on Friday to reach 5.2 million, according to official figures - the second highest number of infections in the world after the US. The figures are relatively small given India's 1.3bn population, but there are fears many cases may go undetected
  • The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began, is re-opening to international flights after eight months of closure
  • Officials in the South Korean capital Seoul are planning to sue a church they blame for a rise in infections for around $4m (£3m). Members of the Sarang Jeil congregation took part in large protests in the city in August and the church's leader is accused of disrupting efforts to track cases

What's the situation in Europe?

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As we've already reported today, a number of European countries are expected to announce new restrictions in response to rising cases.
Several places have announced record increases in daily infections, while others have seen their highest numbers in months.
Spain, France and the Czech Republic have seen some of the most dramatic spikes.
Most cases in Europe are currently being seen in younger people, but there are concerns they could spread the virus to more vulnerable older people.
And while testing capacity has grown since the early spring, the WHO has warned of "alarming rates of transmission across the region".
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London New Year's Eve fireworks cancelled

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The display at the London Eye last New Year's Eve

The traditional New Year's Eve fireworks display in London will not take place this year.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan confirmed the move in an interview with LBC. He said it was decided it would be too risky to have people gathering in the city centre in big numbers.
He said there would be an alternative televised event people could enjoy from their own homes, wherever they are in the UK.
Details are still being worked out, Mr Khan added.
Read more here

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 11:46

Argentina moves to centre of Latin American pandemic

There are signs in Latin America that the pandemic’s epicentre is moving to Argentina. The country broke its daily new infection record on Thursday, with almost 13,000 cases recorded - pushing the country’s total to more than 600,000 in total.
A nationwide lockdown introduced in March still remains in place, although from late August groups of 10 have been allowed meet outside and some restaurants able to operate. The measures had managed to control the spread of the virus, but on 5 September the country recorded more than 12,000 cases.
Meanwhile the virus appears to be stabilising or slowing down in hard-hit countries Brazil and Mexico. The latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show that of the three, Argentina is currently the worst-hit according to its population size. Its 14-day cumulative number of cases was 332 per 100,000 people on Thursday.
By contrast Brazil's was 199 cases per 100,000 people, down from a peak of 304 in early August. Mexico's number was 55.
More than 12,000 people have died in Argentina of Covid-19 since March.
Read more about coronavirus in Latin America .

Coronavirus - 18th September 0c7aa810

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 13:19

What's happening around the UK?

If you are just joining us here are the main coronavirus headlines you need to know so far on Friday:

Analysis: A small problem can quickly become a big one

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
Basic maths shows us how quickly coronavirus cases can, theoretically, soar.
Around 4,000 infections a day, doubling every eight days, would be nearly 130,000 new daily cases by the end of October.
That is not guaranteed to happen but it gives a sense of how quickly a small problem can become a big one.
And a change in our behaviour, the “rule of six” or restrictions like those in north-east England could improve the situation.
The point of a national “circuit break” would be to achieve a controlled drop in the levels of coronavirus without needing a full lockdown.
This does two things - obviously it helps avoid having very high levels of the virus that could overwhelm hospitals.
But it also gives us more options. Any contact tracing programme or system of local lockdowns is far easier to implement when levels of the virus are low.
The higher the number of cases, the fewer targeted measures the government has to use.
The problem is once the circuit break is over, cases would begin to rise again and it may take multiple circuit breaks to get us through winter.
It is only September and Spring is still a very long way away.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 13:23

'Major increase' in Covid cases in north-west England, Yorkshire and parts of the Midlands

The government says there has been "major increases" in Covid-19 cases in "large areas" of north-west England, Yorkshire and "small parts of the Midlands".
In Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester), from Tuesday 22 September:

  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens
  • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
  • Late night operating hours will be restricted, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs, and cinemas, required to close between 22:00 BST to 05:00.

A statement says residents in these areas should only use public transport for "essential purposes" such as travelling to school or work and avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
Separate restrictions are already in place in Bolton and Greater Manchester.
Those who are shielding in parts of north-east Blackburn will no longer need to from 5 October, the statement says.

More detail on new England restrictions

We have some further detail for those in the Midlands and in West Yorkshire.
In Wolverhampton and Oadby and Wigston, residents will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens from Tuesday.
All parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale will also be subject to this restriction from Tuesday. Some wards in these areas had been exempt from restrictions on gatherings introduced at the start of August, but these wards will now also be subject to the ban, the UK government says.
Those who are shielding in Leicester City will no longer need to from 5 October.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says: “I know these restrictions will make everyday life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission."
Read more in our story here

Coronavirus infections increasing in England

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey estimates that 59,800 people in homes in England had coronavirus in the week to 10 September.
This (roughly 1 in 900 people) is up by about half on the figure reported the week before.
They say there is clear evidence of an increase in people under the age of 35 testing positive - particularly those aged two to 11 and 17-34 - and of higher infection rates in the North West and London.
The infection rate they see equates to about 6,000 new cases each day in England.
The figures for Wales are about one in 2,000 people with coronavirus in the week to 10 September.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 13:27

How far are people travelling to get a test?

Reality Check
The government has released some details of how far people are having to travel to get tested in England , following complaints that politicians were using the figures without publishing them.
The headline figure is that the median distance people had to travel to get a test (which means half the trips were shorter and half the trips were longer than this figure) was 6.4 miles in the first week in September and 5.8 miles in the second week. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has used both these figures. That’s distance one way, so presumably they had to travel back afterwards.
That includes people who registered for a test and didn’t turn up, but not those who were offered a test but turned it down because it was too far away. It covers regional, local and mobile testing sites.
Also, using the median reduces the effect of people who travelled extraordinary distances. We know in the second week in September that 5% of people travelled more than 47 miles to get a test. That’s a 94-mile round trip.
We don’t know exactly how many people that is (and some people will have needed more than one test) but from the most recent week we do have figures for we can estimate that that is about 18,000 people who had to travel more than 94 miles for a test.
Read more: Coronavirus testing – what is going wrong?
And colds, flu and Covid-19 are caused by different viruses, but can have similar symptoms – so how can you tell which one you may have?

French restrict social gatherings in Nice

The city of Nice is to ban social gatherings of more than 10 people in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus in that part of France.
Bernard Gonzalez, prefect for the Alpes-Maritimes, said that bars would also be closed from 00:30 to 06:00 and that the capacity at large events would be reduced from 5,000 to 1,000, according to Reuters news agency.
On Thursday, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said that Nice and another city, Lyon, would announce additional restrictions by Saturday to deal with a rise in cases.
New measures have already been implemented in Marseilles and Bordeaux.
France recorded its highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began on Thursday, with 10,593 new infections.
Measures to deal with new coronavirus outbreaks are being imposed across Europe. Read more here .

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:00

Virus cases may be hitting 6,000 a day in England

New cases of coronavirus could be hitting 6,000 a day in England, with "clear evidence" of a rise in positive tests in the under-35s, new figures suggest.
The Office for National Statistics found infection rates were higher in the North West and London, based on random testing of thousands of people in households.
The figures are for the week to 10 September and refer to people in private households, rather than in hospitals or care homes.
The rate is up from an average of 3,200 people a day for the period from 30 August to 5 September.
The ONS infection survey , which has been producing weekly estimates of virus cases since April, tests people whether they have symptoms or not.
You can read more about it here.

Sturgeon warns of greater restrictions to come

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that greater coronavirus restrictions are on the way for Scotland, to try to avoid a full lockdown.
"I'm giving people advance notice that we are likely to see some very difficult, but necessary, decisions over the coming days," she said.
She said coronavirus "could get out of our grip again" as Scotland faces the risk of "exponential growth" of Covid-19.
A further 203 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Scotland and one more death, the latest daily figures show.
Almost 10 million people in the UK - including 1.8 million in Scotland - are already living under extra coronavirus restrictions

New Jersey to adopt 'millionaire tax' amid virus hit to economy

The US state of New Jersey has agreed to raise taxes on millionaires, while also approving a rebate for lower and middle-class families.
The state's governor, Phil Murphy, announced on Thursday that the state tax rate on earnings over $1m (£770,000) would increase from 8.97% to 10.75%. Around 800,000 families who earn more modest sums will also receive a tax rebate of up to $500.
While Governor Murphy had tried to raise taxes on the wealthy before, he said the spread of coronavirus had made the changes more urgent.
"In this unprecedented time, when so many middle-class families and others have sacrificed a great deal, now is the time to ensure that the wealthiest among us are also called to make a modest sacrifice," he said.
New Jersey's Senate President Steve Sweeney said he had previously opposed Gov Murphy's plans to increase taxes on the wealthy, but added: "The pandemic hit and things have changed, and we have to face the reality that a lot of families are hurting here.”

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:03

Van Morrison song alludes to debunked conspiracy theory

Olga Robinson - Disinformation specialist, BBC Monitoring
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Sir Van Morrison refers to a debunked Covid-19 conspiracy theory in one of his new anti-lockdown songs .
The track As I Walked Out includes the lyrics “Well on the government website from the 21 March 2020 / It said Covid-19 was no longer high risk”.
It’s a reference to a UK government page that stated “Covid-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK".
That much is true - but that doesn’t mean that coronavirus is harmless.
The HCID designation is given for very fatal diseases: for example Ebola, which kills more than 50% of infected people.
Covid-19 was initially classified as HCID in January - when little was known about it.
By March, more information and testing prompted authorities to revise the classification.
It’s now thought the Covid-19 fatality rate is closer to 1%. The danger, scientists say, is that it is also highly infectious, and there is no proven vaccine or treatment.
The government message was widely shared on social media, largely by coronavirus denialists and opponents of restrictions, who have cited it as “evidence” that the lockdown was based on a “hoax”.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:08

'Don't have one more night out', warn leaders in North West

Leaders in England's North West have reacted to the news that their area is facing a tightening of coronavirus measures .
Councillor Paul Foster, Labour leader of South Ribble Borough Council, told BBC News: "The numbers are scary. It does appear that it's getting out of control. Clearly something has to be done - the numbers don't lie."
Meanwhile the leader of Sefton Council, in Merseyside, Labour councillor Ian Maher, welcomed the measures - but said he was disappointed and frustrated about the lack of testing in the area.
Councillor David Baines, Labour leader of St Helens Borough Council, criticised the timing of the announcement - saying: "It's not ideal that they have decided to announce these measures on a Friday but not introduce them until Tuesday."
In Liverpool, the council asked residents to start following new measures "immediately" and have a "safe and careful weekend".
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "We have warned for several weeks now that tougher restrictions would be on the way unless we started to see the number of infections coming under control.
Warrington Borough Council leader, Councillor Russ Bowden, also urged people not to have "one more big night out".
Lancashire County Council's director of public health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi said the restrictions came as daily cases of Covid-19 had doubled in the area and hospital admissions had started to rise.
He said: "If we don't act now we could be facing another lockdown. The situation really is that stark."

One more Covid death in Wales and 185 new cases

One further person has died with coronavirus in Wales and 185 more people have tested positive, the latest daily figures show.
It means 1,601 people have died in Wales and 20,048 have tested positive during the pandemic, according to Public Health Wales.
It comes a day after the first reports of deaths in Wales in more than two weeks.
The number of people who have been tested in Wales is 442,386, with 422,153 testing negative.
Read more about the situation in Wales here

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:10

Israel goes into second lockdown as new year begins

Yolande Knell - BBC Middle East correspondent, Jerusalem
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The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, is traditionally a time for big, festive get-togethers, but a new Covid-19 lockdown means celebrations in Israel will be muted. Under the new restrictions, Israelis must stay within 1km (0.6 miles) of their homes – but can commute to work, do essential shopping and exercise outdoors. Social distancing rules greatly restrict numbers allowed in synagogues.
"It’s a remarkable time of the year, the most exceptional time in the Jewish calendar," says Rabbi Yehoshua Pfeffer in Jerusalem. "But people are not going to be able to pray in their usual prayer areas. They won't be able to be with family."
With new Covid-19 cases in Israel reaching over 6,000 - a record high - on Thursday, it has one of the highest infection rates in the world.
Few dispute the need for a tougher approach, but there is frustration about how the government has handled the crisis. Unemployment has rocketed and many businesses are failing.
Moshe Shrefler’s popular restaurant in Mahane Yehuda market was empty just before the lockdown began. It has recently seen a 70% drop in business.
"In this closure I hope they’re going to end this story once and for all," he says.
But mum of baby twins, Shiran Ben Yossi, has just lost her job and is less optimistic.
"It’s going to be very hard," she says. "I’m afraid it didn’t work the first time and it won’t work the second time."

'Don't send people to the Isle of Wight for tests'

The leader of Isle of Wight Council says people are being sent to the island off the south coast of England to be tested for Covid-19 - and he wants it to stop.
Conservative councillor Dave Stewart said the arrival of people from the mainland created "unnecessary risks" for its residents.
He said the use of ferries to cross the Solent - the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the English mainland - goes against government guidance to avoid public transport when travelling for a test.
And he criticised the booking system, which has sent islanders 75 miles away to the mainland for tests.
Simon Bryant, the council's director of public health, said residents should be able to obtain tests on the island and should try again when booking or request a home test.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:16

R number indicates virus 'spreading widely'

It's estimated that the R number - which is the number of people that an infected person will pass the virus on to, on average - for the whole of the UK is now between 1.1 and 1.4 .
This means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 11 and 14 other people.
The estimated growth rate means the number of new infections is growing by between 2% and 7% every day.
Sage, the scientific body which advises the UK government on the epidemic, says the rise in the R number "shows that we are moving to wider spread growth in transmission at a faster rate".
Last week the R number was between 1 and 1.2 - the first time since March that the number had risen above one.
Pre-lockdown, the R number was around three and cases were doubling every three to four days.
Read more: What is the R number and how is it calculated?

Biden hits out at Barr 'slavery' comments - plus other US news

US presidential candidate Joe Biden has hit out at Attorney General William Barr for remarks he made comparing lockdown orders to slavery.Mr Barr drew condemnation for his remarks on Wednesday, in which he criticised stay-at-home orders. “Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, it’s the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” he said.Mr Biden, addressing a CNN "Town Hall" gathering outside his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, called the comments "outrageous" and "sick".In other US news:

  • Outgoing US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad criticised Beijing's handling of the initial outbreak. "They covered it up and even penalised the doctors who pointed it out at the beginning," he told CNN
  • The US House of Representatives passed a resolution denouncing anti-Asian rhetoric related to Covid-19. The resolution says the use of terms such as "Chinese Virus" and "China virus" - often used by President Trump - has "perpetuated anti-Asian stigma”
  • The US is nearing the milestone of 200,000 deaths linked to Covid-19. It has the highest number of confirmed cases globally, with more than 6.6 million infections

Wales' leader has had 'one phone call' with UK PM since May

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The First Minister of Wales has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to offer "proper engagement with the devolved governments" in the UK.
Mark Drakeford said he had only had "one brief phone call" with Johnson since 28 May, which he described as as "simply unacceptable".
He said the new restrictions introduced in England today and the possibility of England-wide measures were matters that needed to be discussed "at a UK level by the four governments, working together".
He told a press conference that at the start of the week, he had urged for a Cobra emergency committee meeting to be called.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also asked Mr Johnson to convene a Cobra meeting this weekend.
She said she had met a group of senior Scottish government officials to assess the situation and that discussions would take place with the four UK nations in the coming days.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:19

Denmark limits public gatherings

Denmark has become the latest European country to introduce new restrictions following a rise in infections.
The numbers allowed to attend public gatherings will be lowered from 100 to 50, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced on Friday.
Bars and restaurants will also be ordered to close early.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the cumulative number of cases per 100,000 people in Denmark over the past two weeks has risen to 69.2 - far higher than its neighbours Germany (24.3) and Sweden (30.3).

Dutch cases reach record high for fourth day in a row

The Netherlands has seen its fourth consecutive day of record coronavirus case numbers, data published by the country's health authorities shows.
More than 1,970 new infections were recorded on Friday, up from 1,753 the previous day.
The Dutch government is expected to announce new coronavirus measures later, including restrictions on the numbers allowed to attend social gatherings and limits to the opening times of bars and cafes.
The country has recorded a total of 90.2 cases per 100,000, compared to 61.8 in the UK, in the last 14 days.

Coronavirus - 18th September Breaki21

UK records further 4,322 coronavirus cases

A further 4,322 coronavirus cases and 27 deaths have been reported in the UK, according to the government's daily figures.
This is the highest number of cases reported since 8 May, when there were 4,649 cases.

Analysis: Coronavirus is no longer a local problem in the UK

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
The government's scientific advisers are clear coronavirus is no longer a local problem contained to hotspots.
Instead the rise in cases is now "widespread" across the UK.
Cases may be doubling every week, but they were quadrupling every week before lockdown and cases are currently at much lower levels than at the peak.
But the concern is where we are heading - it's a question of trajectory.
If cases continue to double every week then the situation can rapidly get out of hand, that is why the government is contemplating a "circuit break" to control the spread.
But this is not just a question of government action, there is a responsibility on all of us.
Sage documents also say only one in five people are fully self-isolating at home when they get symptoms.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:24

Hasidic Jews appear to end Ukraine pilgrimage attempt

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Hundreds of Hasidic Jews who were stopped at the Belarusian border and prevented from entering Ukraine due to coronavirus measures have begun to leave the area.
The group - which includes many Israelis, as well as a number of French and US citizens - were hoping to travel to the central Ukrainian town of Uman as part of an annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Nahman, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.
Every year thousands make the journey to mark the Jewish new year, or Rosh Hashanah.
But the group was left stranded for days after they were stopped by Ukranian border guards, who refused to allow them to enter because of the pandemic. Both the Ukrainian and Israeli governments had appealed to the pilgrims to avoid the journey.
Ukraine has restricted entry to foreigners from 28 August to 28 September to curb the spread of coronavirus, while Israel has introduced a three-week national lockdown beginning today.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:29

Iran on red alert amid fears of 'third wave'

Iran appeared to be heading towards a "third wave" of coronavirus infections on Friday, as a senior health official declared a red alert across the whole country.
The health ministry said that new daily cases had risen by 3,049 to 416,198 and the death toll was up by 144 to 23,952.
Deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi said on TV that the system of dividing regions into white, orange/yellow and red categories based on the number of cases and deaths "doesn't make sense any more", adding: "We no longer have orange and yellow. The entire country is red."
"If the current course continues the death toll will reach 45,000," he warned, without saying when that might happen.
Earlier this week, Alireza Zali, who heads the national headquarters for coronavirus control, warned that the country was heading towards a "third wave" of the outbreak, and that the capital Tehran would be hit first.
Iran saw one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the early stages of the pandemic and suffered a second peak at the start of June.

Portugal heading towards 1,000 daily cases - PM

Alison Roberts - Portugal Correspondent, Lisbon
Portugal is on course to reach 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day by next week if current trends continue, its prime minister warned on Friday after the first meeting of the government's Covid-19 crisis group in almost three months.
The national health authority, the DGS, reported 780 new cases, up from 770 on Thursday and the highest daily figure since the 10 April peak of 1,516.
"In line with the general trend in Europe we are seeing strong growth in new cases daily," Prime Minister António Costa told journalists in Lisbon. "If this trend is maintained, next week we shall reach 1,000 new cases per day."
Mr Costa declined to answer journalists' questions about what was discussed by the ministers and secretaries of state who attended the crisis group's meeting.
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PM António Costa (centre) chaired the crisis meeting on Friday

No fresh measures were announced but the prime minister confirmed that next week the DGS is to unveil a plan for the autumn and winter that is expected to contain specific proposals, while calling on the public to act responsibly to help keep the virus in check.
"If we all observe the basic rules, we can control the pandemic," he said. He reiterated that Portugal cannot afford a second lockdown, adding: "It would be unthinkable to have a Christmas as we had Easter."
Portugal has so far had 67,176 confirmed cases and 1,894 deaths associated with Covid-19, six of them reported on Friday.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:33

Worried about new measures? Beware misinformation!

Marianna Spring - Specialist disinformation and social media reporter
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With the introduction of new local restrictions and reports that the government is considering tighter rules in England, rumours are understandably spreading online.
Many of us are worried, frustrated and confused - about the changes and about the future.
That means it’s a fertile time for misinformation. Here are some ways you can stop bad information going viral:
1) Interrogate the source - and pause before you share. Where has the information come from? Is it really from a reliable source – or a copied and pasted message from a “friend of a friend”?
2) Ask yourself how a post makes you feel. Misleading information and conspiracy theories often play on worry, frustration and anger.
3) Think about bias. Many people share false claims because they confirm their existing political opinions.
Criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic, general confusion about what’s next and opposition to restrictions are all legitimate, debatable viewpoints.
But false claims that the virus is a “hoax” or overheated panicky posts are much less useful.

'What might a UK 'circuit break' look like?

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At least 13.5 million people are now facing or living under local coronavirus restrictions in the UK.
It follows Friday’s announcement that parts of north-west England, the Midlands and West Yorkshire will have new measures from Tuesday .
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says "a national lockdown is the last line of defence".
Instead, the government is considering England-wide restrictions to slow a surge in coronavirus cases.
A short period of tighter restrictions - lasting a few weeks - could be announced in the next week, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says.
The possible measures being discussed - described by the government as a "circuit-break" – include:

  • Asking some hospitality businesses to close
  • Limiting the opening hours of some pubs and restaurants nationwide
  • But schools and most workplaces would be kept open during those weeks

Read more here

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:38

Madrid orders partial lockdown as cases soar

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Madrid's healthcare system has been under growing pressure

The Spanish capital, Madrid, has announced a partial lockdown affecting hundreds of thousands of citizens as authorities try to bring a surge of coronavirus cases under control.
From Monday, more than 855,000 people living in 26 areas of the city will only be allowed in or out of their zones for essential reasons such as work, school, or to care for dependants, city chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso told reporters. Eleven other municipalities in the Madrid region are also affected.
Social gatherings will be limited to six people, down from 10, and public parks will remain closed.
"Reports indicate that most contagions are occurring in private settings, in personal relationships between families and friends," Ms Diaz Ayuso said.
"We are obliged to take these measures in these specific areas. If we did not do so, we run the risk of it being spread to the whole of Madrid. We have time to avoid it."
Madrid is the epicentre of the latest outbreak affecting Spain. Latest figures show 659 cases per 100,000 people in the Madrid region - more than double the national average of 260 infections.

Coronavirus - 18th September Breaki22

Boris Johnson: UK 'seeing start of second wave'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK is "seeing the start of a second wave coming in" of Covid-19 infections.
Speaking in Oxfordshire, Mr Johnson said it had been "inevitable" the UK would see a rise in cases.
"I don't want to go into bigger lockdown measures at all," he said, but added: "Clearly when you look at what is happening you've got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in."
The UK PM said a second lockdown is the "last thing anybody wants" but said the current measures would need to be kept "under review".
His comments come after the government's scientific advisers said there is now widespread growth of the virus across the UK .

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:44

Johnson: I don't want bigger lockdown measures

Speaking at the Jenner Institute in Oxford
The UK prime minister continued: "I don't want to go into bigger lockdown measures at all, we want to keep schools open and it is fantastic the schools have gone back in the way they have.
"What I can certainly say about parents and schools is we want to keep the schools open, that is going to happen
"We want to try and keep all parts of the economy open as far as we possibly can."
He said his government was "looking at what we can do to intensify things that help bring the rate of infection down".
"What I will say is, as we go forward, we will be explaining in great detail to people what the scientific background is, what the epidemiology is saying and really how we propose to do it," he added.

UK PM suggests discipline on distancing has slipped

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Boris Johnson, asked if the government had eased lockdown too quickly, suggested discipline in adhering to social distancing restrictions had slipped.
"If you look at what's happened over the last few months, I think the British people have done a amazing job," he said.
"They got that peak under control, they brought it right down, they brought the number of infections right down by discipline and everybody adjusting our behaviours and the way we go about our lives - hands, face, space.
"And I think probably, truth to tell, what's happened here and what alas has happened in so many other countries is that people find it difficult to keep this up."
He said it was "very difficult to maintain that kind of discipline for a long time".
And if the "rule of six" in England or the tighter restrictions in parts of the UK do not work in curbing the spread of the virus, "then of course we are going to have to take further measures", the prime minister said.
"But be in no doubt that we will want to be explaining what we are doing, taking people with us as we go and what I don't want to do is go into a second national lockdown of the kind we had in March, April - I don't want to do that again."

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 18:47

Dublin faces tighter restrictions

Chris Page - BBC News Ireland correspondent
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The Irish Cabinet has agreed to tighten restrictions in Dublin because of rising levels of Covid-19.
From midnight tonight for the next three weeks, people are discouraged from leaving the city unless for essential reasons.
They are again being asked to work from home where possible and only to make essential journeys on public transport. Restaurants and pubs that serve food will for the next three weeks only be allowed to have guests outdoors or provide a take-away service.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 19:18

UK officials consider 'three tier' approach to virus restrictions

A new “three tier” approach to coronavirus restrictions has been discussed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and government officials, the BBC understands.
The system would involve three tiers - the first of which is the level of measures in most places across England now, with social distancing the primary key aspect.
The second tier would involve what is currently imposed in the North East of England - curfews on hospitality venues and a ban on meeting with other households.
The final third tier would involve stricter lockdown measures.
It’s thought it is likely “tier two” may be put in place across the UK - albeit framed in a region-by-region basis rather than as a “national curfew".
The system was discussed at a meeting chaired by the health secretary, and attended by England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty, his two deputy chief medical officers, the head of the Test and Trace programme, Dido Harding, and local public health officials.

UK's shielding policy 'being actively reviewed'

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Here's some more detail of what is understood to have been discussed in the meeting chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and attended by health officials.
The account of the meeting shared with the BBC says the government’s shielding policy is "being actively reviewed", and a decision could come soon on further measures to protect the vulnerable.
Any further shielding decisions are expected to take a much more tailored approach than before.
With the virus expected to be more severe over the winter, officials are looking at bringing in measures that could last until the spring.
Government sources confirmed discussions have been had, but nothing has yet been signed off or agreed.

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 19:23

'We are now seeing a second wave in the UK' - PM

UK prime minister Boris Johnson says he does not want further lockdown measures, but "when you look at what is happening you've got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in".
On Friday, the UK recorded a further 4,322 confirmed cases of coronavirus and the government's scientific advisers say there is widespread growth of the epidemic across the country.
The PM spoke to reporters at the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre construction site in Harwell, Oxfordshire

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 19:29

Quebec police to patrol bars as Canada cases surge

The Quebec government will now have police patrol bars and restaurants to ensure coronavirus regulations are being followed.
Police will be sent to 1,000 establishments across the province, concentrating on hotspots like the city of Montreal.
Bars and restaurants reopened for indoor dining in the city of Montreal in late June, when cases were declining.
But cases have been surging in Quebec and across the country this week.
Quebec had 297 new cases on Friday, up from 251 Thursday, making the weekly average 312. On Friday, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, who heads up Quebec's nationalist federal party, tested positive for Covid-19.
In Ontario, the most populous province, there were 401 new cases on Friday, up from 293 the day before, its single biggest day-of spike since June.

Fact-checking Trump's claims about 'blue state' deaths

Christopher Giles - BBC Reality Check
US President Donald Trump has said that Democratic-run states - known as blue states - are to blame for America's high coronavirus death toll.
“If you take the blue states out,” Mr Trump said at a White House briefing earlier this week, “we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level.”
He repeated a similar claim at a rally in Wisconsin on Thursday.
“Take New York and some of these other Democrat-run states out of it, you’ll see numbers that are unbelievable.”
The Democratic National Committee tweeted in response: “Covid isn't a red state or blue state issue.”
Out of the five states that have the largest numbers of coronavirus deaths two are Republican-run "red states" - Texas and Florida.
It's true that in the early stage of the outbreak states run by the Democrats like New York and New Jersey were the worst hit.
But as the pandemic has progressed, Republican-led states have contributed a greater proportion of fatalities.
The Washington Post has calculated that so far, 53% of deaths have occurred in blue states and 47% in red ones.
It’s also difficult to compare states, because they've taken different approaches to locking down, and they have different demographic breakdowns, including on age, race and social class.
Coronavirus - 18th September 6bbc9910

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 20:05

Prague Zoo shuts exhibit to protect primates

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
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Prague Zoo has announced it is closing its popular "Indonesian Jungle" exhibit from Saturday as there is a risk of the orangutan and the macaque monkeys catching Covid-19 from visitors.
In the exhibit, which this correspondent knows well, visitors first walk through a mock cave where bats fly overhead, before emerging into an Indonesian rainforest with various animals including an orangutan and several macaques.
The exhibit housing the lemurs will also be closed.
Zoo director Miroslav Bobek said that as primates, the animals were at risk of contracting Covid-19 from visitors, who are not separated from the animals by glass.
The Czech Republic has so far recorded 45,228 coronavirus infections and 494 related deaths.

Guatemalan president tests positive for Covid-19

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Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei says he has tested positive for coronavirus.
Speaking to a local radio station on Friday, Mr Giammattei, 64, said he had taken a test - his sixth - and the results had come back positive, the Republica newspaper reported.
Mr Giammattei did not say if he was suffering any symptoms.
It was later announced that the entire cabinet would be tested and would work from home.
Guatemala has recorded more than 83,600 infections and just over 3,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University

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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 18th September

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 18 2020, 20:11

Friday's live page was brought to you by...

We will be wrapping up our live page shortly. The coverage has been brought to you by: Kevin Ponniah, Paul Gribben, Victoria Bisset, Lauren Turner, Emma Harrison and David Walker.

A look back at Friday’s main developments

We're pausing the coronavirus live page for now but will be back on Saturday morning.
We leave you with a round-up of Friday's biggest developments from around the globe.

    Current date/time is Sun Oct 25 2020, 07:53