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Coronavirus - 28th September


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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:07

Summary for Monday, 28th September

  • The world's coronavirus death toll nears one million, with the US, Brazil and India making up nearly half of the total, according to Johns Hopkins University
  • But the number is likely to be much higher as testing rates in many countries remain low, with virus-related deaths not being recorded
  • It comes nearly 10 months after news began to emerge about mysterious cases of viral pneumonia in Wuhan, China
  • More than 33 million cases have been confirmed around the world, Johns Hopkins says
  • The UK has seen nearly 42,000 deaths, and cases have been rising by an average of more than 5,500 a day
  • Nearly two-thirds of Wales' population will be under lockdown when new restrictions are imposed in three more areas from 18:00 BST
  • The mayor of Greater Manchester has called for an "urgent review" of the 22:00 curfew for pubs and restaurants, saying it is "doing more harm than good"
  • Curbs on movement are being extended to cover one million people in the Spanish capital, Madrid, and its surrounding areas

Good morning if you are joining us here in the UK, and hello to all of you around the world. Welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, as the global death toll from the virus nears one million.
The Covid-19 tracking team at John Hopkins University says that the total number of deaths worldwide stands at 997,737 with more than 33 million confirmed cases.
Stay with us throughout the day for all the latest Covid-19 news and updates. You can find out more about how the virus spread across the world, and the current picture, here.

Global round-up

Here are some of the main coronavirus stories around the world:

  • Officials in India, the country with the world's second-highest number of confirmed cases, warn the country is facing a post-Covid care "emergency" as the caseload passed six million
  • Russia has recorded its highest daily rise in cases since July, registering 7,867 in the past 24 hours. There were 99 deaths
  • All bars and restaurants in France's second city Marseille closed last weekend as part of restrictions to try and stem the spike in coronavirus cases. But it has prompted anger from local officials
  • In Australia, the city of Melbourne has eased its lockdown restrictions, with primary school children set to return to school in October. A possible travel bubble with New Zealand that has been planned for months may start up before the end of the year, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said

Global confirmed cases pass 33 million

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has passed 33 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease globally.
The US has the highest number of confirmed infections, with 7.1 million, followed by India, with nearly 6.1 million, and Brazil, with 4.7 million.

Headlines from around UK

And here's a look at the headlines from around the UK:

  • Fines of up to £10,000 have been introduced in England to crackdown on those who do not self-isolate when they have symptoms or are asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The duty to isolate has become law as of Monday
  • The government has promised an "uninterrupted supply" of PPE for front-line workers over the winter. Four-month stockpiles of PPE - personal protective equipment such as masks, visors and gowns - will be available from November, the Department of Health has said
  • Nearly two-thirds of Wales' population will be under tight restrictions by Monday evening as new local lockdowns are introduced in three more counties. Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan are the latest areas to have stricter rules put in place
  • Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey will promise to "be the voice of nine million carers" when hegives his first conference speech as party leader. He will be speaking via video link with the conference held online for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Movers are becoming more likely to buy a home than first-time buyers, as the coronavirus pandemic hits the UK housing market. For more than a year, the highest proportion of sales were to people buying for the first time, according to property portal Zoopla . But the squeeze on mortgage lending and increased interest from movers will change the dynamic this year and next
  • The case backlog in Scottish courts could take up to 10 years to return to normal, a Holyroodcommittee has warned . The Scottish Parliament's justice committee said "unpalatable" steps were needed to address the lengthy delays in the criminal justice system caused by Covid-19

Spanish authorities battle with Madrid over restrictions

Cases have spiked across Spain in recent weeks. The latest data published on Friday reported 716,481 confirmed infections there - the highest recorded case total in western Europe.
More than a third of those infected are in and around the capital Madrid. Regional health authorities have imposed tight new restrictions on eight more zones around the city, affecting more than a million people. From Monday, people will not be able to leave their area unless to go to school or work, public parks will close and opening hours will be restricted.
But the Spanish government wants officials to go further. Health minister Salvador Illa said he had expected more ambitious measures from the city's authorities, arguing it was "time to act with determination" to control the outbreak.

Calls for education secretary to update parliament over students

Thousands of students are isolating at university accommodation in England and Scotland after several outbreaks of Covid-19.
Labour has called for Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to answer questions on the crisis on Monday.
The situation has been described as "entirely predictable" by scientists and the opposition has criticised the government and said it should consider pausing the return to university .
The Scottish government has changed its guidance and has said students can return home on a long-term basis, provided they socially distance.
Manchester Metropolitan University, where about 1,700 people are in isolation with reports of security and police preventing them from leaving accommodation blocks, has said the next two weeks of tuition will be entirely online following a string of positive tests.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:21

Crackdown on Covid rule-breakers in England

From Monday people in England who fail to self-isolate when they have Covid-19 symptoms or who do not seclude themselves when told to do so by NHS Test and Trace will face fines of £1,000 for first time offences. These could rise to £10,000 for repeat breaches.
Ministers hope Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will bring in similar penalties - although there is growing disquiet among MPs about how they have come about and there is a possible Commons rebellion looming later this week.
The crackdown comes after research found voluntary compliance with the rules was very low.
The government says Test and Trace is crucial to fighting the pandemic, but NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, is warning the system is not ready for the enormous demands of winter and capacity must be greatly increased.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson told BBC Breakfast that NHS Test and Trace "has now become as important in a sense as catching criminals, fighting fires and treating heart attacks". He added: "It's a key public service and when it doesn't work, then we all suffer."
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Two-thirds of Welsh population to be under local lockdown

Nearly two thirds of Wales' population will be under local lockdown by this evening, when Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan are added to the list .
Those covered by the restrictions - including residents of the country's two biggest cities, Cardiff and Swansea - are banned from mixing with other households indoors and cannot leave their county except for a limited number of reasons.
In Vale of Glamorgan the rate of infection has risen to 34.4 people per 100,000 in the county borough. Currently the areas with highest rate of infection are Blaenau Gwent, 202 per 100,000, and Merthyr Tydfil, 169 per 100,000
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:24

Hard-hit India passes six million cases

As we told you earlier, India has now more than six million confirmed cases of coronavirus, after authorities announced a further 82,170 recorded cases.
India remains in the second spot worldwide for cases, and there are fears it could soon surpass the US, as new infections are rising there faster than anywhere else around the globe.
Some in fact believe the situation could be even worse than reported. Health experts believe that low testing rates are covering up the scale of infections in the country, and there are allegations that authorities are undercounting deaths.
But Dr Balgram Bhargava, the director-general of India's Council of Medical Research, told the Financial Times on Friday the country had done "exceedingly well in comparison to other developed countries until now, considering the vast and diverse population of the country".
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Minister defends pub curfew amid criticism

Care Minister Helen Whately has defended the government's 22:00 cut off time for pubs and restaurants in England amid criticism that it has led people to "bubble" out into the streets.
On Sunday, shadow justice secretary David Lammy said drinkers were "hanging around towns and they're potentially spreading the virus" and questioned the science.
But Whately told BBC Breakfast: "As people drink more they tend to socially distance less. So one approach to keeping people socially distancing is to limit the amount of time that people are in places where they're drinking and then this breaking down of compliance with the rules."
She added over the summer places with higher infection rates had seen bars linked to outbreaks which was part of the reason for the rule.
Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he thought the curfew was doing "more harm than good" and there needed to be an urgent review.
"It creates an incentive for people to gather in the streets or more probably gather in the home and that is the opposite of what our local restrictions are trying to do," he said.
Burnham said he thought supermarkets had been "packed out to the rafters" and lots of people had gathered after 22:00.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:28

In graphics: Where are cases still rising?

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases around the world has now passed 33 million. The virus is surging in many regions and some countries that had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks are also seeing infections rise again.
But the number of confirmed cases during the spring peak is likely to be an underestimate of the true level of infection, as widespread testing was not available in many countries earlier in the year.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:43

Cases continue to rise in Europe

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Cases continue to rise throughout Europe as infections return after authorities across the continent eased restrictions over the summer.
Spain is struggling with a fresh outbreak, and has more than 700,000 infections.
But the worst affected country in Europe is Russia, with more than 1.1 million recorded cases. On Monday authorities there reported 8,135 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 7,867 cases on Sunday. In total the country has recorded only around 20,000 deaths, but critics say the government is under-reporting the true toll.
Officials in neighbouring Ukraine meanwhile reported that the country had surpassed 200,000 Covid-19 cases on Monday.
In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute said the country had confirmed another 1,192 cases on Monday, compared with 1,411 on Sunday. Some have blamed returning holidaymakers for a fresh rise in infections.
On Friday, German authorities added neighbouring Czech Republic and Luxembourg to its so-called "red list" of travel destinations, to which officials warn against all but essential travel. Sometimes entire countries are on the list, as is the case with Spain, but in other cases it is only certain regions of a country.

Greece reports first Covid-19 asylum seeker death

A 61-year-old father of two has died of coronavirus in a Greek hospital, authorities said, marking the first death of an asylum seeker there since the pandemic began.
The Afghan national had lived in the Malakassa migrant camp near the Greek capital, Athens. Officials have placed the site in quarantine amid concerns about the spread of the virus.
More than 100,000 migrants live in Greek camps and there have been worries for months about what might happen if the illness took hold there.
The largest such facility on the island of Lesbos burned down earlier in September, leaving some 13,000 people without shelter. Hundreds of migrants have now tested positive on the island.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:47

New cases in Brazilian city dash herd immunity hopes

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Authorities have closed down the river beachfront in Manaus as cases rise again

Manaus is the largest city and capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, in the vast Amazon rainforest. After being hit hard by the outbreak in April and May - with cemeteries reportedly struggling to dig graves fast enough to bury the dead - deaths have dropped dramatically in the city.
A scientific study posted on the website medRxiv suggested that Manaus may have reached herd immunity, the point at which enough people have antibodies to the virus that it slows or stops the spread. Scientists estimated that up to 66% of the population there had antibodies to Covid-19.
"All signs indicate that it was the very fact of being so exposed to the virus that brought about the reduction in the number of new cases and deaths in Manaus," the study’s co-ordinator was quoted as saying.
But now cases are once more on the rise. After reopening quickly, authorities on Friday banned gatherings and parties for 30 days and restricted opening hours for shops and restaurants.
Mayor Arthur Virgilio told Reuters news agency that President Jair Bolsonaro was to blame. "The government must take this seriously and speak the truth," he said.
Critics of the president accused him of downplayed the risks of the virus throughout the pandemic, ignoring expert advice on social distancing and other measures.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:50

Students in Scotland can return home on long-term basis

Students in Scotland have been told they can return home from university accommodation on a long-term basis, as long as they follow rules on self-isolating.
Updated guidance from the Scottish government sets out what those who are studying higher education can do if they wish to change household. It also says students can visit parents if there is a "reasonable excuse" such as a family emergency.
But short stays without "reasonable excuse" are still an "offence".
The guidelines were issued after a flood of complaints from students who felt they were trapped in university or college accommodation.
You can read more about the updated guidelines here.

Manchester university students able to get tests, mayor says

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About 1,700 students are isolating at their flats

More now from Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, who was on BBC Radio 4's Today programme a bit earlier. He said students were able to leave their accommodation to get coronavirus tests amid a lockdown at Manchester Metropolitan University.
About 1,700 students are isolating at their flats in Birley and Cambridge Halls.
"I have spoken to the vice-chancellor and I am assured that people are able to leave if they have got good reason to do that," the mayor said.
"But what has happened over the weekend is that the university has been dealing with a very worrying situation. It obviously required a firm response when there are over a hundred cases. I have been assured there is a support package now in place for students."
Students have said they were given little warning about the lockdown and were not able to get food and other supplies.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:53

Festival season cause for concern in India

Vikas Pandey - BBC News, Delhi
India's Covid-19 caseload has crossed six million and it is yet another reminder that the virus is still raging in the country.
India has been consistently averaging around 95,000 cases per day. It is partly down to increased testing in many states and but what is crucial to remember that the country is gradually reopening - shopping centres, metro stations and markets are crowded again.
And that comes with the increased risk of infection spreading fast in new clusters. Experts say the situation may get worse because of the upcoming festive season especially during the festival of Diwali when people go out to shop.
If the government does not tighten safety rules, India may become the worst-affected country.

Tokyo announces Olympic torch relay start date

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Japan postponed the games to 2021 amid the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic put a halt to thousands of events worldwide in 2020, including the Olympic Games. Organisers were days away from the start of the famous torch relay when authorities announced a postponement to the games.
Now, officials say the torch relay will begin on 25 March 2021. Under the slogan "Hope Lights Our Way", the flame will start in the Fukushima region - site of the 2011 nuclear disaster - and travel to all 47 prefectures in Japan.
"In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will additionally symbolise the light at the end of the dark tunnel; a beacon of hope for the world," a statement read.
The new games are set to begin on 23 July 2021. Japan’s Olympics minister has said the rearranged event must go ahead "at any cost", as they look at way to best deal with Covid-19.
Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has already said the Games will be "simplified" and "not be done with grand splendour".

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 11:57

Aldi looks to move online as Covid changes shopping habits

Emma Simpson - Business correspondent
Discount supermarket Aldi is to dip its toe into the online shopping market by trialling click and collect and Deliveroo services.
For more than a decade, discounters have been the disruptors in the supermarket aisles, stealing customers from its bigger rivals and growing sales.
But this pandemic has been disruptive for them. They have missed out on the huge boom in online sales and increase in convenience store sales.
Aldi UK chief executive Giles Hurley said: "It's been an extraordinary six months, like nothing I've ever known in grocery.
"The business performance has been very, very solid... but we also recognise customer habits are changing and that we need to evolve our business to meet the new demands and we're actively doing that."
He said the chain would apply its "efficiency principles" to its online offer. The click and collect trial will soon expand to 15 stores.

Minister 'wouldn't rule out' further measures in northern England

Care Minister Helen Whately said she would not rule out further restrictions in northern England after newspaper reports that the government was considering a social lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.
When asked about the possibility of further restrictions and a report in the Times about plans to close pubs, restaurants and bars for two weeks she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I wouldn't rule it out because we need to get the Covid rates under control."
Whately also appeared on BBC Breakfast and said: "We know the impact [of restrictions] on livelihoods as well as lives. We don't bring in restrictions any more than we have to but we also know we mustn't have Covid out of control."
She added the government kept a constant eye on Covid rates and had seen upward trends in recent weeks: "This is the moment in time we have an opportunity, we have a choice as a country to get this back down under control."

World nears one million confirmed Covid deaths

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University , there have been almost one million confirmed deaths from Covid-19 in the world. That is nearly 10 months after news of the new virus began to emerge in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
But the figure is only an estimate. Different countries report deaths in different ways, and in some nations critics accuse health authorities of missing or even deliberately under-counting the true death toll.
Moreover, testing is far from universal. Countries around the world may well be missing deaths that were the direct result of the virus because officials did not know a person had contracted the illness.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 12:00

G20 summit, another event to be held virtually

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G20 events this year have all been held virtually

Add another event that is going to be held virtually to the list. Saudi Arabia currently holds the presidency of the G20 - an annual meeting of leaders from countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies, consisting of 19 nations plus the European Union.
Authorities in the country have announced that the planned November summit in the capital Riyadh would have to be held online due to the pandemic.
The kingdom's leaders hoped chairing the event would boost its international reputation. Saudi Arabia took the presidency of the G20 shortly after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Leaders in Riyadh say he was killed by a team of agents in a "rogue operation”, but the UN has said there was credible evidence that high-level officials, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were individually liable - an allegation the prince has denied.
You can find all you need to know about Jamal Khashoggi's death here.

David Attenborough spent lockdown 'listening to birds'

We all spent lockdown doing different things. Baking. Reading. Exercising (at least we tried, right?). Sir David Attenborough has now revealed he spent much of the time sitting in his garden and "listening to birds".
Forced to abandon his travels, the famous naturalist said lockdown offered "a vision of what life can be like when you've got more time to sit and stare".
He also had time to join Instagram, where he last week landed a million followers in record-breaking time.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast ahead of the release of a book and a Netflix documentary, both titled A Life On Our Planet, the 94-year-old broadcaster said: "Many people are having a much worse time than I am. I am lucky. I have a garden, I have a house... my daughter and I are surviving very well.
"I've certainly spent more time in my garden listening to birds, than I have for a very long time. A lot of people have been surprised by that - a lot of people have suddenly realised what deep, profound joy can come from witnessing the rest of the world - the natural world."
You can read more here or watch the entire interview .

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 12:04

Football structure at risk of collapse, government warned

Dan Roan - BBC Sports editor
Football is now at risk of "the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over 100 years", the government has been warned.
A group of prominent figures has written a joint letter urging ministers to help with a coronavirus crisis rescue package.
They said many English Football League and National League clubs are now preparing to "cease playing... and put their business into administration".
Sports have been told to prepare for several more months without gate receipts after plans for some fans to return to grounds from 1 October were scrapped last week because of the rising number of coronavirus cases.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Sunday's Andrew Marr programme that the government could agree a deal with Premier League clubs to support teams lower down the football pyramid "within weeks".

NHS contact tracing app downloaded 10 million times

The NHS Covid-19 app has been downloaded more than 10 million times since launching on Thursday.
The software uses bluetooth contact-tracing technology to tell a person to self-isolate if they have been near someone who has tested positive for the virus.
It also includes a venue check-in barcode scanner, a symptoms reporter tool and means to order a coronavirus test as well as other features.
You can download the app on Apple or Android devices.


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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 12:06

European countries where cases are rising

We told you earlier about several restrictions being expanded in the Spanish capital, Madrid, where authorities are trying to curb a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases.
Spain is not alone. Other European countries are also recording a rising number of daily cases amid fears of a resurgence of the virus, as the graphic below shows us. And you can find out more about the world's hotspots on our tracker.
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Beijing passes law to protect whistleblowers

Medical whistleblowers in the Chinese capital, Beijing, will receive greater protection under a new law passed on Sunday.
The city's government said health workers who directly report risks to local government would receive rewards and greater legal protection, AFP news agency reports. Similar guidelines have already been introduced in the city of Shenzhen.
The new rules follow the high-profile case of Dr Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist in the city of Wuhan, where coronavirus first emerged late last year.
In the early days of the city's outbreak he tried to warn fellow medical workers of the new virus, but was told to stop by police. He later died with Covid-19 after contracting the virus from a patient.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 12:09

Mexico's death toll may not be known for years, official says

The full extent of the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico may not be known for several years, a senior health official has said.
“When will the final statistics on deaths from Covid-19 be ready? Most likely a few years after the first year of the pandemic,” Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said on Sunday.
Mexico currently has the world's fourth-highest number of coronavirus fatalities, with 76,430 deaths. The country has also registered more than 730,000 cases, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
However, Mexico only counts people who died after receiving a positive result for coronavirus and testing figures in the country remain low, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Earlier this month, Amnesty International reported that more health workers had died in Mexico than any other country.

Online teaching should be the norm, universities union says

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to ensure online learning "becomes the norm", amid rising infections on university campuses. About 3,000 students are estimated to be in isolation in England and Scotland.
In a letter, the University and College Union (UCU) has claimed employers are "hiding behind" the government's sector guidance to require staff to work face-to-face with students.
"Whilst other sectors are being encouraged by the government to work from home to help control the spread of the virus, universities are requiring staff to travel across their local regions to work on-site and in-person with any number of students," it said.
"Considering the known risks associated with in-person teaching and students living in close quarters, why did the government not insist on minimising in-person teaching and students travelling to universities?"
Manchester Metropolitan University, where it is thought 1,700 students are in isolation, has said tuition will go completely online for the next two weeks.
There have also been significant outbreaks in Edinburgh and Glasgow and some students at Queen's University in Belfast have gone into isolation after a "small number of cases" were detected.

Parliament scraps alcohol sale exemption

Alcohol will no longer be sold in Parliament after 22:00, officials have announced, amid a row over the revelation that bars and restaurants used by MPs and Lords were exempt from the coronavirus restrictions.
Earlier the Times reported that venues in the parliamentary estate were not subject to the early closing time rule brought in this month because they were designated a "workplace canteen".
Labour's Dawn Butler described the situation as "outrageous... one rule for MPs one rule for everyone else", while Care Minister Helen Whately said "Parliament shouldn't be sitting round late at night drinking".
Within hours of the story emerging, a Parliament spokesperson issued a statement saying: "Alcohol will not be sold after 10pm anywhere on the parliamentary estate."
In line with the government’s guidance, catering facilities will remain open later than 22:00 when the house is sitting, to serve food for MPs and staff still working.
Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner reacted to the announcement, saying Parliament "must" follow the rules set for the rest of the population.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 13:55

Rising cases in Germany 'deeply concerning'

Germany's government sees the growing number of coronavirus infections as highly worrying, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman has said, adding that the country would not allow the virus to spread exponentially again.
"The development of infection numbers is of great concern to us," spokesman Steffen Seibert said. "We can see from some of our European friends where that could lead."
Earlier, German tabloid Bild reported that Merkel told her party's senior members that numbers could reach 19,200 per day by Christmas if current trends continue. Germany is currently seeing around 2,000 new cases per day.
While Germany has recorded more than 286,000 coronavirus cases so far, its death toll of 9,465 is far lower than figures seen in other major European countries, including the UK, France and Spain.

Analysis: Universities stuck in their own tight corner

Sean Coughlan - Education correspondent
There have been Covid outbreaks in about 40 universities across the UK so far - and there is every chance that number will rise as more universities get the term under way.
It is not exactly the university experience that students imagined.
First-years might be worried about going away from home, but they might now also be worried about not being able to get back - if they end up in an outbreak and are forced to self-isolate.
They were promised a mix of face-to-face and online teaching - but the balance seems to be shifting more towards online lessons.
This means even less in-person time with other students and staff and more hours cooped up in their room with online recordings and academic versions of Zoom meetings.
Universities are stuck in their own tight corner.
They are under pressure from lecturers to switch to all online teaching and get students home, rather than create a loop-tape of Covid outbreaks. But that would provoke angry demands for refunds over accommodation and fees.
Universities cherish their autonomy, but in this case it might feel as though they are waiting for someone else to make a decision for them.

New rules hit bars in Brussels

Cafes and bars in the Belgian capital Brussels will have to close by 23:00 from Monday evening, as authorities respond to a rise in cases. Other businesses selling food and drink will have to shut at 22:00, while eating at open-air markets will be completely banned.
The city eased a number of its coronavirus measures last week, including compulsory mask wearing - although masks must still be worn in busy areas or where social distancing is not possible.
Despite its small population of around 11.5 million people, Belgium has been badly hit by the pandemic, with more than 114,000 cases and almost 10,000 deaths.
The country has recorded more than 167 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, compared to 99.7 in the UK.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 13:57

New restrictions begin in Paris and other French cities

As we told you earlier, new restrictions are coming into force in both the Spanish and Belgian capitals - but they are not the only places in Europe facing a rise in cases.
Twelve French cities are also introducing new measures from Monday - including the capital Paris and its inner suburbs - after they were declared to be in a state of hightened alert.
In Paris, the restrictions include bars closing from 22:00, with the sale and consumption of alcohol - as well as playing music - in public places stopped from the same time. There has been some confusion, however, as restaurants are exempt from the rules.
New measures have also been introduced in the cities of Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Rennes, Rouen, Saint-Étienne and Toulouse.
The city of Marseille and the surrounding area have already entered a state of maximum alert under the government's coronavirus measures, with all restaurants and bars closed since Saturday.
Last week, France recorded its highest number of cases since lockdown restrictions were eased. But speaking a short time ago, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government had no plan to order a new nationwide lockdown to contain a resurgence in infections.

Restrictions expanded in several European cities: World round-up

If you are just joining us this lunchtime in the UK, here's a quick look at the main developments from around the world:

  • Tight restrictions have been expanded in the Spanish capital, Madrid, and its surrounding areas, affecting one million residents. From Monday, people will not be able to leave their area unless to go to school or work, public parks will close and opening hours will be restricted
  • In France, bars in Paris and 11 others areas will have to remain closed between 22:00-06:00 and there is a ban on festive or recreational events including wedding receptions, students parties and organised gatherings in hired locations
  • Cafes and bars in the Belgian capital Brussels will have to close by 23:00 while other businesses selling food and drink will have to shut at 22:00
  • In Germany, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said the growing number of new cases was "highly worrying"
  • The number of confirmed cases in India has surpassed six million, the health ministry says

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 16:53

Mayor: 22:00 curfew making things worse not better

Liverpool's mayor Joe Anderson has said the government's 22:00 cut off for bars, pubs and restaurants to close is making things "worse not better".
He tweeted pictures of people out in the city on Sunday night and said "a picture speaks a thousand words".
In a separate tweet Anderson said there had been 1,254 new infections of Covid-19 in Liverpool taking the overall number of people with the virus to about 5,000 in the city, warning "it is doubling every six days".
He also said there were 8,000 school children at home self isolating and more than 350 teachers and staff. "Please stay safe and take care," he said.
As we told you earlier, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham called for an urgent review of the curfew .

'Struggling' students can return home

Students in Scotland who are "struggling" while self-isolating in university accommodation following a series of Covid outbreaks have been told they can return home.
Updated guidance says if students return to their parents' home, all members of the household have to be in a quarantine for 14 days.
Shorter indoor home visits are permitted if there is a "reasonable excuse" such as a bereavement or family emergency - but visits without one are still deemed an "offence".
But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was "absolutely our priority" to make sure that students are able to return home for Christmas.
About 40 universities around the UK have now reported coronavirus cases and thousands of students are self-isolating as the new term begins.

Australian state's quarantine system 'caused 768 deaths'

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The Covid-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry held two months of hearings

The hotel quarantine system in Victoria, Australia, was responsible for the deaths of 768 people and 18,418 infections, an inquiry has been told.
The Covid-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry came to a close on Monday after two months of hearings.
The inquiry was also told that the scheme, which began on 29 March and was supposed to protect residents from the virus, was "hastily assembled" in less than two days.
Victoria's second wave, which led to the state being put back into lockdown, has been firmly blamed on the hotel quarantine programme.
Earlier, the inquiry heard security guards at the hotels had inadequate PPE, and that it was not being disposed of properly.
One nurse also told the inquiry that staff at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) were more concerned with keeping guests happy than following quarantine protocols.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 16:58

Worries in Tunisia that Covid-19 'getting out of control'

Rana Jawad - North Africa correspondent, Tunis
There is a real worry that infection rates of Covid-19 in Tunisia are getting out of control. Nearly 1,000 new cases are being recorded per day, and an increasing number of people are getting hospitalised.
The government has now issued new measures, with threats to shutdown businesses that flout the rules. Cafes and tea halls are now banned from serving hookahs, or water-pipe tobacco.
Restaurants and nightclubs must use natural ventilation by keeping windows and doors open, and apply physical distancing rules. Celebrations at home or in wedding halls may only use 30% of the space capacity.
The Tunisian authorities have also warned of the potential for special measures to be applied to high-risk areas with partial two-week lockdowns.
Tunisia was one of the first countries to go into a strict lockdown but life has largely returned to normal since June. But infection rates have increased in recent months.

Positive cases on cruise ship docked in Greece

A dozen crew members have tested positive for the virus on board the cruise ship Mein Schiff 6.
The cruise was the first to dock in Greece after the Covid-19 lockdown, and is currently moored off the Aegean island of Milos, AFP news agency reports.
Tests were carried out on 150 of the ship's 666 crew members. Those who tested positive have now been isolated on board.
The ship was heading towards Piraeus, near Athens, but is now waiting for instructions from the country's public health agency.

US not in a good place, Dr Fauci says

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US's top infectious diseases expert, says the country is "not in a good place" with its Covid-19 outbreak.
Speaking to ABC's Good Morning America, Dr Fauci says that community spread "should be as low as you possibly get it" as we approach autumn and winter, and the weather in the US gets colder.
"There's certainly parts of the country that are doing well," he adds. "But... there are states that are starting to show an uptick in cases, and even some increases in hospitalisations in some states. And, I hope not, but we very well might start seeing increases in deaths."
The US has reported more than seven million confirmed cases of the virus, and more than 200,000 deaths, the highest numbers in the world.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 17:02

Manchester Met students to get over one week's rent back

Students isolating after an outbreak at Manchester Metropolitan University will receive compensation worth more than a week's rent, the institution's vice-chancellor has said.
Prof Malcolm Press told Sky News "a significant amount of money" would be given to those students forced into seclusion on top of a care package which includes "basic food".
"Students will be receiving financial compensation to ensure that they feel protected and cared for during this period of self isolation," he said.
The move comes after Glasgow University said it will refund all students in halls of residence one month's rent, along with a £50 payment for food, amid an outbreak of coronavirus cases there.
We have more about what options students have here.

Scottish police break up 'at least' 300 house parties

Police broke up "at least" 300 house parties across Scotland over the weekend with 14 arrests made. More than 100 fines were issued between Friday and Sunday , with officers having to force entry to three households.
Police Scotland said its analysis suggested house parties were being held "in every community and age group". Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said most people were following the rules - but "decisive action" would be taken where necessary.
Livingstone said officers would "use good sense and exercise discretion", and that "the great majority of people are taking personal responsibility to do the right thing".
But he added: "There can be no excuse for arranging, attending, or hosting a house party."

Dutch PM to address nation as cases rise

The Netherlands has announced 2,914 new cases within the past 24 hours, slightly below Sunday's new record of 2,995 cases.
The country's health authorities are due to meet on Monday afternoon to discuss possible new restrictions. Dutch broadcaster NOS reports that the measures may include restricting travel to and from its biggest cities, according to Reuters news agency.
However, the prime minister - who is due to address the country later in the day - has already rejected harsher measures, such as a secondary lockdown or making face masks mandatory.
The Netherlands has recorded more than 170 cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control - the fifth-highest figure of EU and EEA countries.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 17:09

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Another 4,044 new UK cases

Another 4,044 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK.
This compares to 5,693 new cases announced on Sunday, figures from the Department of Health and Social Care show.
The government's coronavirus dashboard also shows 13 more people have died within 28 days of a positive test.
That's down from 17 deaths on Sunday.
The total number of UK deaths now stands at 41,988 while the number of people with a lab-confirmed positive coronavirus test is 439,013.

UK cases drop for third day in a row

The latest UK figures show the number of people testing positive for coronavirus has dropped for a third day in a row.
While there can be a lag in reporting figures over the weekend, the government's coronavirus dashboard shows there were 4,044 cases reported on Monday, compared to 5,693 cases in the previous 24 hours.
There were 6,042 on Saturday, down from 6,874 cases reported on Friday.
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US man given one year sentence for throwing parties

A man in the US state of Maryland has been sentenced to one year in prison for throwing two large parties at the beginning of the pandemic.
Shawn Marshall Myers, 42, was found guilty of two counts of failing to comply with the state's emergency order banning gatherings of more than 10 people.
Around 50 people attended a party at Myers' home on 22 March, which was later disbanded by police. A week later, police received a report of another large party and found more than 50 people at the property.
Myers was argumentative on both occasions, according to the state's attorney's office.
He faces three years' probation after his release.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 17:14

Where in the UK is under a 'local lockdown'?

As the rate of infection increases across the country it can be difficult to keep track of where new local restrictions have been put in place.
In Wales, Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan are the latest local authorities to impose extra measures , which come into force at 18:00 BST on Monday.
In total, at least 16.6 million people are under regional restrictions in the UK - about one in four people.
To make things easier we have compiled this handy guide .
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Virus cases surging again in 21 US states

Cases of coronavirus are surging in 21 different US states - almost half of the country - according to broadcaster CNN, which analysed data from Johns Hopkins University.
The number of cases in these states increased by at least 10% in the last week, compared to the week before.
Those states are: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The figures are sparking fears of a new wave in autumn and winter as temperatures fall.
The US has reported more than seven million confirmed cases of the virus so far, and more than 200,000 deaths.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 17:34

Pubs and restaurants could be closed across Britain in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19 it was revealed over the weekend.
Fiona Audley - Irish Post
A report by The Times claims new lockdown measures being considered by government ministers would see pubs, restaurants and bars ordered to shut for two weeks initially, to combat a second wave of the deadly virus in Britain.
The emergency lockdown plan would also ban households from meeting each other in any indoor location, The Times reports, however schools would stay open as well as shops, factories and offices at which staff could not work from home.
The report comes a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed new Covid-19 restrictions for England - which included extending the mandatory wearing of facemasks and imposing a 10pm closing time for all bars, pubs and restaurants – while stating he wanted to avoid a second national lockdown.
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Pubs, cafes and restaurants in England currently have to shut at 10pm every night under new measures to control the rising rate of coronavirus.

Announcing the latest restrictions on September 22, Mr Johnson said: “I am deeply, spiritually reluctant to make any of these impositions, or infringe anyone’s freedom, but unless we take action the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring.”
He added: “If we let this virus get out of control now, it would mean that our NHS had no space – once again – to deal with cancer patients and millions of other non-Covid medical needs.
“And if we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend.”
Those new measures, which have come into effect over the past seven days, include fines of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self-isolate when testing positive for Covid-19.
That law, which came into effect today (September 28) applies to people who have tested positive for coronavirus, or who have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with someone with the virus.
It also makes it illegal for anyone who tests positive to knowingly give false information about their close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
As of this week it is a punishable offence not to comply with an official instruction to self-isolate - with fines starting at £1,000 and rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 17:48

Kenya pubs to reopen but schools to stay shut

Ferdinand Omondi - BBC News, Nairobi
Pubs in Kenya will reopen on Tuesday, six months after they were shut to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Trading hours, however, have been restricted - they have to close at 22:00 local time.
The announcement was made by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who also extended a nationwide curfew for a further 60 days, but said it would start two hours later - now lasting from 23:00 to 04:00.
But an expected announcement on the reopening of schools did not happen. The ministry of education ordered teachers to report to school on Monday, but President Kenyatta said learning institutions could only open once the safety of students could be guaranteed.
Kenya has had more than 38,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Nine deaths were reported today, pushing the number of fatalities to above 700.
There has been a steady decline in the number of cases in recent weeks. Only 53 new cases were announced on Monday, although critics have noted a low testing rate.
Read more:

UK landowner fined £10k for wedding party

A landowner has been issued with a £10,000 fine for hosting a wedding party with 100 to 300 people in attendance, police said.
Police said they had received calls about the event taking place on land near New Farnley, Leeds at about 17:00 BST on Saturday.
The force said the group had been dispersed by 21:30.
One of the landowners, aged 49, was identified and issued a fine for breaching coronavirus legislation.
Ch Supt Damien Miller said it had been an "absolutely blatant breach" of the law, which limits the numbers of people able to attend a wedding.
On Saturday the limit was 30, but by Monday it had been reduced to 15 people.
Read more here

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 21:59

CDC boss overheard complaining about Trump task force member

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The head of the US public health body the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been overheard complaining about a new member of President Trump's coronavirus task force.
According to a report from NBC News, Dr Robert Redfield was heard saying that Dr Scott Atlas was giving Trump false and misleading data on the virus - including on whether masks work, and on herd immunity.
On a phone call, made in public on a flight from Atlanta to Washington DC, Redfield was heard saying: "Everything he says is false."
He later confirmed he was talking about Atlas, who joined the White House task force in August. Atlas's appointment has been criticised, because he doesn't have a background in infectious diseases or public health.

No singing or loud music? What new laws mean in England

As we reported earlier, as of Monday you can be fined £1,000 for failing to self-isolate for a first-time offence, rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders.
People who fail to tell their employer they have to self-isolate can be fined £50, while anyone considered to have acted recklessly, for example by going into a crowded place when they know they should self-isolate, can be fined £4,000.
But other rules have also come into law today which ban pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes from playing music which exceeds 85 decibels, although live performances are exempt.
The new laws also say that pub landlords or those who run other venues like hotel bars, restaurants and members clubs, must take "all reasonable measures" to stop singing on the premises by customers in groups of more than six, and dancing.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions are exempt from the rule.
The Department of Health said that while the NHS Covid-19 app can tell people to self-isolate, it is anonymous and cannot force people to or identify them.

What's the evidence for 10pm pub closing time?

Reality Check
The government's 10pm mandatory closing time for pubs, bars and restaurants in England has come under scrutiny, following videos posted on social media of crowds gathering outside venues after closing time.
Ministers have been defending the policy but the mayor of Greater Manchester has called for an "urgent review of the emerging evidence" of its impact.
Dr Julian Lang, a professor in respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester, says: "Wherever you get people crowded together, for example concert halls, cruise ships, house parties, bars and pubs, you risk spreading a virus."
However, speaking on the BBC Andrew Marr Show this weekend, the University of Edinburgh's Prof Mark Woolhouse , a member of the government's infection modelling team, said "there isn't a proven scientific basis for any of this".
So, why was the rule brought in and what is the science behind it?

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 22:05

Knowsley records highest number of new cases in England

Knowsley in Merseyside, north-west England, currently has the highest weekly rate of new cases of Covid-19 in England, new data shows.
A total of 422 cases were recorded in the area in the seven days to 25 September - the equivalent of 279.7 cases per 100,000, up sharply from 152.5 in the previous week.
Eight other areas of England now have weekly rates above 200 cases per 100,000 people - including Liverpool where the rate has jumped from 165.4 to 262.2 with 1,306 new cases recorded.
How many coronavirus cases are there in your area?

Lockdown guidance turns to law for north-east England

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Newcastle is one of the areas subject to the new law

A law prohibiting households from mixing in any indoor setting is to be introduced in the most populous parts of north-east England from 00:01 BST on Wednesday.
The Department of Health said existing local lockdown measures for Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland are being tightened at the request of the local councils in response to high and increasing infection rates.
Current guidance only advises residents not to mix with people outside their household or bubble in indoor settings, such as pubs and restaurants.
The DoH says the guidance will now be enforceable and subject to fines, although the law will not apply to Covid-secure schools and workplaces.
A funding package is being agreed with councils to support the measures and the rising infection rate.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 22:11

Police told not to download NHS Covid-19 app

Rory Cellan-Jones - Technology correspondent
The National Police Chiefs Council has confirmed officers are being told not to install the NHS Covid-19 app for England on their work smartphones.
The app detects when users have been in proximity to someone with the virus.
Some officers have also been told they may not need to obey self-isolate alerts generated by the app when downloaded to their personal phones.
Lancashire Constabulary has told staff to call the force's own Covid-19 helpline instead.
A Lancashire Constabulary spokeswoman told the BBC its guidance remains in line with the national NPCC position.
The NPCC confirmed the work-phones policy was common to all forces, but said it was carrying out an urgent review of the matter.
Read more here.

Where in the world are cases rising?

Many countries are seeing a surge in cases right now.
For some this is a second surge, after an initial peak in spring. For others, cases have been rising steadily through the year.
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In the US, which still has the highest number of infections and deaths, the virus has surged in different states at different times throughout the year.
At the start the outbreak was centred on northern states such as Washington and New York, and in the summer cases were concentrated in southern states. Now, cases are surging in the mid-west.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 22:19

New virus measures in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is bringing in new restrictions to try to curb a surge in Covid cases, which will come into force tomorrow at 18:00 local time (17:00 BST).
According to the new rules, people should:

  • Work from home when possible
  • Only travel to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague for essential reasons
  • Wear masks in shops, and shop alone
  • Not attend sports events
  • Only have a maximum of three adult guests at home
  • Bars, restaurants and other professions where there is close contact must register any visitors

Although the new rules are only in place for three weeks for now, they may be extended.
The Netherlands has recorded more than 115,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and more than 6,400 deaths.

NHS Covid-19 app downloaded 12.4m times

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The coronavirus contact tracing app for England and Wales has now been downloaded more than 12.4 million times, the government has said.
The app, launched on Thursday, uses Bluetooth technology to keep tabs on encounters with other people and informs them if one subsequently tests positive for Covid.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs it was "the fastest download of an app in British history".
Our technology correspondents have been answering your questions about how the app works.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 28 2020, 22:22

The latest from around the world

If you're joining us from the Americas, good morning or good afternoon - and if you're in Asia, you'll be settling in to sleep. We're heading into the evening here in the UK.
A lot has happened today. To summarise, here are some of the main global headlines.

  • Almost one million people have died of coronavirus, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The current death toll is 999,202 - with the US, Brazil and India making up almost half of that
  • Experts say the true number is likely to be much higher than this, as testing rates in many countries remain low
  • The number of confirmed cases in India surpassed six million, the health ministry announced
  • Curbs on movement, aimed at controlling the virus, have been extended in the Spanish capital of Madrid
  • Meanwhile, new restrictions have come into force in Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium
  • In the Netherlands, new measures to control the virus are coming into force tomorrow
  • In the US, the virus is now surging in 21 states - almost half of the entire country. Dr Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert, has warned that the US is "not in a good place"
  • It was the final day of an inquiry into the Australian state of Victoria's hotel quarantine system, which has had two months of hearings. The inquiry heard that the botched programme caused 768 deaths
  • And pubs are reopening in Kenya, after being closed for six months - but schools are going to stay closed

What's been happening in the UK on Monday?

We're about to bring our live coverage to an end - here's a round-up of what's been happening in the UK today.

  • The government is rejecting calls to bring an end to the 10pm pub curfew in England. The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is among those demanding an urgent review of the policy, saying it encouraged people to gather in homes
  • As of Wednesday, it will be illegal for people in parts of north-east England to meet anyone from another household in any indoor setting, amid a rise in cases
  • Thousands of university students are self-isolating as the new term begins - about 40 universities are now reporting Covid cases, although new rules means students in Scotland can return home
  • The NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app for England and Wales has been downloaded more than 12.4 million times
  • The UK reported another 4,044 coronavirus cases, with a further 13 people having died within 28 days of a positive test. It is the third day in a row recorded cases have fallen

Thanks for reading

The coronavirus live page is now closing, but will resume tomorrow morning in the UK.

Our writers were Toby Luckhurst, Victoria Bisset, Ashitha Nagesh, Doug Faulkner, and Alex Kleiderman. The editors were Hugo Bachega and Owen Amos.

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:34