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Coronavirus - 29th September

Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 10:04

Summary for Tuesday, 29th September


  • The world's coronavirus death toll crosses one million, with the US, Brazil and India making up nearly half of the total, according to Johns Hopkins University
  • The UN secretary general calls it a "mind-numbing" figure and "an agonising milestone"
  • But the number is likely to be much higher as testing rates in many countries remain low, with virus-related deaths not being recorded
  • More than 33 million cases have been confirmed around the world, Johns Hopkins University says
  • The UK government reported 4,044 new cases on Monday, the third day in a row the daily total has fallen
  • Covid and the measures associated with it are putting the UK's health service under stress, its bosses warn
  • The WHO agrees a deal to provide a test that can diagnose Covid-19 in minutes to low- and middle-income countries
  • The Netherlands introduces new curbs, including working from home where possible, and limits on groups


One million deaths and a 'milestone' new test - The latest coronavirus news

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, on the day we learn the virus has now killed more than one million people around the globe. Covid-19 researchers at the University of Johns Hopkins now record a death toll of 1,001,646 with a total of 33,353,615 confirmed cases.
Stay with our live page to follow all the reaction, as well as other Covid-19 news and updates. You can find out more about how the virus spread across the world here .
The situation today:

  • The US remains the country with both the most reported infections and highest number of deaths. Brazil has the second highest number of recorded deaths, followed by India, Mexico and the UK
  • A $5 (£3.80) test that can detect Covid-19 in minutes will transform efforts to track the illness in less wealth countries, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. He hailed it as a major milestone
  • Scientists meanwhile continue to work towards a vaccine, with nine potential vaccines already in the final stage of testing. You can read more about the hunt here


Coronavirus - 29th September E3b91010

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 Europe, including the UK, cases initially peaked in Spring.
They have started to increase again, and many countries are now reintroducing restrictions.
Coronavirus - 29th September 692c6410

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.
Coronavirus - 29th September C04f1d10

And here in the UK - what's the situation like?

Amid sombre assessments as the one-million-death milestone is passed, here's a look at the coronavirus situation in the UK:

  • The NHS is facing a "triple whammy" of rising Covid-19 cases, a major backlog in treatment and reduced capacity due to infection-control measures, according to health bosses. The report, on NHS England, adds that more investment is desperately needed
  • On Monday, the UK government recorded 4,044 new cases and 13 new deaths - all in England, with no deaths reported in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales
  • About two million people in north-east England are facing tighter lockdown restrictions to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says mixing between households in any indoor setting, such as pubs and restaurants, will be against the law from tomorrow, in seven listed areas of the North East
  • And the government must choose between more austerity and permanently higher spending, experts are warning . The Institute for Fiscal Studies says some financial measures brought in to manage the pandemic could "swallow up huge amounts of money" and leave some public services facing another round of budget cuts.


North-east England facing stricter curbs

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.

Quick Covid-19 test to roll out in 133 nations

A test that can diagnose Covid-19 in minutes will dramatically expand the capacity to detect cases in low- and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
The $5 (£3.80) test could transform tracking of Covid-19 in less wealthy countries, which have shortages of healthcare workers and laboratories.
A deal with manufacturers will provide 120 million tests over six months.
The WHO's head called it a major milestone.

The hunt for a vaccine

Scientific research is progressing rapidly. As things stand there are about 240 potential vaccines in early development worldwide, with 40 in clinical trials and nine in the final stage of testing on thousands of people.
One being developed by the University of Oxford - already in an advanced stage of testing - has shown it can trigger an immune response and a deal has been signed with AstraZeneca to supply 100 million doses in the UK alone.
A potential vaccine has been show to produce antibodies in China, but there are concerns about the speed at which it's being made. Russian scientists also say early test of the Sputnik-V potential vaccine showed signs of an immune response , but again experts have questioned the speed and the small size of the earlier trials.
The WHO does not think there will be widespread vaccination until the middle of 2021, and has warned that the death toll could hit two million before on becomes widely available.

NHS faces 'triple whammy' over winter

The NHS is facing a "triple whammy" of rising Covid-19 cases, a major backlog in treatment and reduced capacity due to infection-control measures, according to health bosses.
The NHS Confederation report on the health service in England said more investment was desperately needed.
NHS bosses also called on ministers to be "honest and realistic" about waiting lists for treatment.
The government has promised an extra £3bn this winter, which is intended to help hospitals cope with the extra-infection control measures required and pay for patients to be treated privately for routine treatments, such as knee and hip replacements.
And services in other areas, such as cancer care, are running at about three-quarters capacity.
Read the full story here .

Experts warn of fresh bout of austerity for UK

The government must choose this autumn between more austerity and permanently higher spending, experts warn.
Although the Autumn Budget has been cancelled, the Treasury is still set to publish a Spending Review containing government expenditure plans.
Because of Covid-19, public spending is likely to rise to the highest share of national income in more than a decade, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
If not, another bout of austerity will hit many public services, it warns.
Read more here.

‘No sign of slowing death rate’

Roughly 10 months after the virus was first spotted in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the world has reported more than one million deaths. Health authorities have learnt a great deal about the virus since then, but officials fear that the rise in deaths is set to continue.
"We see no sign of slowing of the death rate," Nancy Baxter, an epidemiologist and head of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health, told the BBC.
"There's been over a thousand deaths per day worldwide since 18 March and what seems to happen is as Covid-19 becomes controlled in one jurisdiction it gets out of control elsewhere.
"So I think that unfortunately we are looking at a similar number of deaths before a vaccine is actually found and distributed."

New restrictions a 'bolt from the blue' for Newcastle

The leader of Newcastle City Council says new coronavirus measures for his area, put in place by central government, are a "bolt from the blue".
From midnight tonight, two million people in north-east England will see tougher measures as a result of a surge in cases.
Labour's Nick Forbes says he had been in the midst of discussions with central government about potentially introducing some localised restrictions - but that Health Secretary Matt Hancock's announcement "threw everything up in the air".
Forbes says the "knee-jerk" announcement was made without the right local messages being in place to back it up.
"As a result, confusion and chaos spreads, which actually undermines the very messages that we're trying to get across to the public," he tells BBC Breakfast.
He issues a "plea" to the government not to announce future measures until it has spoken to local authorities.
"My worry is we've had so many messages, it's so confusing, people are now scratching their heads and saying 'well, what does it mean for me?'"
He says messages to the public should be simplified to two main points: that people should maintain social distancing wherever they go, and should try not to come into contact with anyone unnecessarily.

Pandemic to push millions into poverty, World Bank warns

For 20 years, poverty has dramatically dropped throughout most of east Asia. But now, the US-based World Bank has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could keep or push up to 38 million people in the region into poverty.
Without rapid government action the “triple shock” of the virus, lockdown measures and the global recession could cause harm for years to come.
“Sickness, food insecurity, job losses and school closures could lead to the erosion of human capital and earning losses that last a lifetime,” the bank said in a release .
Of those 38 million, the bank said an additional five million who were not previously in poverty would fall into the bracket. They define poverty as anyone living on less than $5.50 (£4.28) a day.
In May, the World Bank warned that global growth could shrink by 5% and that up to 60 million people worldwide could be pushed into extremepoverty – meaning living on less than $1.90 (£1.48) a day.

State of emergency expected in two countries: Latest across Europe

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are set to declare states of emergency this week. Most big events will be banned in Slovakia from tomorrow and Czech Health Minister Roman Prymula will present proposals to the cabinet today. Czech infection rates are among the highest in Europe but have fallen in recent days.
Mein Schiff 6 was the first cruise ship to enter Greek waters since the pandemic lockdown – but it’s now arrived in the port of Piraeus for a health inspection after 12 crew members tested positive. The 922 passengers had to provide negative test certificates before boarding. Greek reports say those crew who tested positive have now tested negative.
Facemasks are being advised in the biggest Dutch cities, and cafes and restaurants will have to shut early, under new measures coming into force .
Fourteen players and staff have tested positive at Serie A club Genoa in an outbreak that Italy's top football league will be watching carefully. Genoa played Napoli on Sunday and their next match on Saturday is at risk – but there are fears for top club Napoli’s Sunday match against Juventus, too.
Moscow's mayor has extended the autumn school holiday in October from one week to two because of rising infections. Sergei Sobyanin has asked parents to tell children to avoid shopping centres and not use public transport.

Minister defends virus rules as 'really simple'

More now on the local coronavirus restrictions coming in for parts of north-east England.
Newcastle City Council says the "knee-jerk" way central government announced the further restrictions will leave people confused by what they can and can't do.
But Skills Minister Gillian Keegan says the government is trying to simplify the message as much as possible.
“There are some different rules for different areas, but by and large the main rules are really simple. Hands face space, rule of six, and be finished with your socialising before 10 (22:00)," Keegan told BBC Breakfast.
Here are some of our useful explainers if you want to check the rules:
Kitkat
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 10:18

More crew test positive in tanker off Australia

Coronavirus - 29th September 1ebd9110
Port Hedland is a major port in Western Australia (file photo)

Authorities in Western Australia say a further eight crew members have tested positive from the bulk carrier Patricia Oldendorff – bringing the number of infections to 17 of 21 total crew.
Seven remain on board to operate ship while the remaining 10 have been taken to a hotel in nearby Port Hedland for quarantine. Those still on the Patricia Oldendorff reportedly have mild symptoms or none at all. The vessel arrived from Manila last week, and Western Australian authorities said all crew were “in good spirits” and have been able to speak to their families back in the Philippines.
Australia saw a huge spike in cases over the last few months which only now have begun to fall after stringent lockdown measures. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that residents around Port Hedland – a major iron ore export terminal – are becoming increasingly concerned about the situation.
Port Hedland Ratepayers Association president Arnold Carter told ABC it was "amazing, shocking and disastrous", while Australian Medical Association local president Andrew Miller said more needed to be done to deal with ships.
“More and more and more of the ships that turn up in Western Australia are going to have Covid on them, and so we now need to fully understand how we are going to handle it when it happens in these regional areas that are very vulnerable,” he told the broadcaster.

US to send out millions of rapid tests

The US has recorded the most deaths and most infections anywhere in the world and is still reporting tens of thousands of new cases a day. On Monday, US President Donald Trump said the federal government would this week start sending out millions of rapid tests to states, and called on governors to place a priority on testing school children – though governors can use them as they choose.
Officials said 6.5 million tests will go out this week and a total of 100 million in the weeks to come. Numbers of tests per state are based on population. The US recently agreed to buy 150 million rapid tests from Abbott Laboratories in a $750 million (£583m) deal .
Trump's announcement comes just weeks before the US presidential election in November. The US president has faced strong criticism for how he has handled the pandemic, and is currently trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in national polls . The first presidential debate between the candidates is on Tuesday
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 10:22

Your tributes to those who have died

Coronavirus - 29th September 81ebc010

From nurses to shopkeepers, doctors to bus drivers, more than 40,000 people have died with coronavirus across the UK. People who were dearly loved, people who may have had many more years ahead of them had the pandemic not engulfed the world.
Every day, BBC News reports the statistics, and our teams seek out the stories.
Here we have gathered tributes from family, friends and colleagues to some of those who have died.

Belfast students latest to face self-isolation at uni halls

Students at Queen's University in Belfast are the latest to have to self-isolate at their halls of residence , as UK universities continue to struggle with outbreaks of coronavirus.
About 100 students have been told to self-isolate after 30 people tested positive for Covid-19 at Queen's.
A spokesperson for the university said "robust protocols" were in place to minimise further spread.
Coronavirus cases at about 40 universities mean thousands of students have already had to self-isolate in the first few weeks of the new academic year - leaving them unable to attend lectures or socialise.
This includes about 1,700 students at Manchester Metropolitan University , where some students said they were being prevented from leaving by security guards and police.
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 10:26

New York positive test rate climbs

New York was the early epicentre of the pandemic in the US. At one point in April the state had recorded more coronavirus cases than any single country, and it took authorities months to bring infection rates down.
On Monday, however, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the percentage of Covid-19 tests coming back positive has risen to 1.5% - a worrying trend for the state, where previously the number had hovered around 1%.
Health authorities said rates had risen at “an alarming rate” in some neighbourhoods, particularly in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Officials are still trying to find a reason for the clusters, Mr Cuomo told reporters on Monday.
It is part of a surge in cases throughout the US. Latest figures show the country is reporting around 45,000 cases a day, compared with 40,000 a week ago and 35,000 two weeks ago. New cases have risen for two weeks in a row in 27 out of the 50 US states, according to Reuters news agency.

Minister unable to clarify new rules for north-east England

A UK government minister has been unable to clarify parts of the new coronavirus restrictions coming into effect in north-east England.
People who break a new law against mixing socially in seven parts of the North East face a maximum £6,400 fine.
The tougher measures - which are coming into force on Wednesday amid a spike in Covid-19 cases - will affect about two million people.
Skills Minister Gillian Keegan was asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme whether the new restrictions apply to outside areas, such as pub and restaurant gardens.
"I'm sorry I can't clarify that. I don't know the answer to that question but I'm sure they can find out," she said.
Pressed on how people can be expected to keep up to date with the latest restrictions if a minister cannot, she said: "I'm sorry I can't answer that question. I'm sure there are many people who could. I don't represent the North East."
Labour's shadow health minister Alex Norris said Keegan's admission "will do little to inspire public confidence", adding government "incompetence" was hampering the UK's coronavirus response.

One million deaths is 'mind-numbing': UN chief

More than one million people have died from Covid-19. UN Secretary General António Guterres has called that number "mind-numbing", and has stressed the need for all nations to work together against the virus.
"Responsible leadership matters, science matters, cooperation matters and misinformation kills," he said in a statement.
"As we remember so many lives lost, let us never forget that our future rests on solidarity -- as people united and as united nations."
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 10:29

New restrictions in Netherlands as cases soar

Anna Holligan - BBC News Hague correspondent
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte once described the Dutch approach to tackling Covid-19 as an "intelligent lockdown" and has been openly sceptical about the benefits of mask wearing. But as the Netherlands enters its second wave with some of the worst infection rates in Europe he had little choice but to tighten the rules.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, people in Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven and Rotterdam are being advised to wear face coverings in shops. Despite Mr Rutte's previous assertions that masks may even be counter-productive, this morning as I cycled by my local supermarket everyone I could see was abiding by the new guidance.
Restaurants and bars across the country must close by 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT). Fans are banned from attending sports events. Businesses such as hairdressers and dentists must log their clients contact details. People are encouraged to work from home and stay indoors if they have coronavirus-like symptoms.
This week the Netherlands broke its own daily infection record, and is expecting 5,000 new cases every day by next week. Hospital admissions have risen for the 26th consecutive day and ICU numbers are creeping up again.
Last night, standing alongside the prime minister, Health Minister Hugo de Jong said of the Dutch efforts, "We are doing our best, but the virus is doing better."
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UK mortgage approvals hit monthly high

Mortage approvals in the UK last month hit the highest levels since 2007, new data suggests, as the market continues to recover from the coronavirus lockdown.
The Bank of England says some 84,700 mortages were approved in August, up from 66,300 in July.
The Bank said the August figure, however, only partially offset weak numbers seen from March to June.
There have been a total of 418,000 approvals so far in 2020, compared with 524,000 in the same period in 2019.
Kitkat
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 13:44

Your heart and coronavirus

Today is World Heart Day, and the World Heart Federation (WHF) is raising awareness of the dangers coronavirus poses to heart health. Those who suffer from a cardiovascular disease or who have high blood pressure face a higher risk of complications from the virus.
"In the time of Covid-19, cardiovascular disease patients are faced with a double-edged threat. Not only are they more at risk of developing severe forms of the virus, but they may also be afraid to seek ongoing care for their hearts," the group said.
Tens of thousands of heart procedures have been delayed in the UK due to the pandemic.
According to the WHF, those at risk should not be afraid to seek in-person medical care. They should also follow social distancing and mask use advice, keep taking their medicines, and also try to secure a large supply of their medicine so they don't have to put themselves at risk too frequently.
Exercise, eating healthily and reducing stress are also important.
You can learn more on the World Heart Federation website

Tourist tax idea mooted for Snowdonia visitors

A tax on visitors to Snowdonia National Park has been suggested as a way of making tourism in the area sustainable.
It comes after crowds flocked to Snowdonia over the summer as coronavirus travel restrictions led people to holiday in the UK.
The park's engagement officer Helen Pye said there was an "opportunity for Wales to look at different ways of doing tourism".
The Welsh government said national parks had received an extra £800,000 to deal with the effects of Covid-19.

NI pubs and restaurants ordered to close early

Pubs, hotel bars and restaurants will have to close early in Northern Ireland under new coronavirus rules coming into force from midnight on Wednesday .
No alcohol or food will be served after 22:30 and all customers must leave by 23:00, First Minister Arlene Foster says.
She said there could be "no exceptions" to the rule, and it would also apply to weddings and other social events.
The rest of the UK has already imposed a 22:00 closing time on pubs and restaurants. It's led to some criticism as crowds of people have been seen gathering in city centres after closing time since the measures came in.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 13:51

What Boris Johnson said on north-east England rules

New rules for north-east England, which outlaw households mixing indoors, kick in tomorrow. This morning, Skills Minister Gillian Keegan admitted she didn't know whether the ban extended to - for example - beer gardens.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked the same question after giving a speech in Exeter.
"Outside the areas such as the North East where extra measures have been brought in, it’s six inside, six outside," he replied.
"In the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in you should follow the guidance of local authorities, but it’s six in a home or six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside."
The BBC has been told mixing with other households in pub gardens or outdoor restaurant spaces is not being made illegal but goes against advice.
Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "For the prime minister to not understand his own rules is grossly incompetent.
"These new restrictions are due to come into force across huge parts of the country tonight. The government needs to get a grip."

If you’re just joining us…

Welcome to the BBC’s coronavirus livepage, where we’re covering the number of world deaths from the virus passing one million.

  • UN Secretary General António Guterres called the figure “mind-numbing” and urged nations to pull together to beat the pandemic
  • World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris said the one million deaths was a “very sad milestone”, but said there was hope as “this virus is suppressible, it is not the flu”
  • New tighter lockdown restrictions in north-east England to combat a rise in cases are causing confusion. After one minister admitted she didn't know whether the rules applied to beer gardens, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unable to clear up the confusion
  • To boost the post-Covid economy, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to make “radical” changes to the education system in England, announcing adults without an A-level or equivalent qualification will be offered a full funded college course.


Coronavirus - 29th September Breaki33

UK PM apologises for 'misspeaking'

Boris Johnson attempts to clear up the confusion ...
Tweet  Boris Johnson:
:Left Quotes:  Apologies, I misspoke today. In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home. You should also avoid socialising with other households outside. (1/2

Will household mixing be outlawed in other regions?

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
The new laws on households mixing indoors in north-east England send a strong message – even though there has been some initial confusion , including from the prime minister, about exactly how they will be applied.
But questions are also naturally being asked whether these rules will be applied elsewhere.
The North West has areas with higher rates of infection than the North East.
Only Newcastle from the North East is in the top 10 worst affected places currently, whereas several Greater Manchester and Merseyside areas feature.
The reason for this anomaly appears to be down to North East leaders being more enthusiastic for tougher measures.
Talks over the weekend between the government and officials in that region showed an appetite to go further.
Discussions are now being held behind the scenes with North West officials. An announcement could come in the next few days.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 13:53

'Making it up as you go has massive consequences'

Nick Forbes, Labour leader of Newcastle City Council, is among those to have reacted to PM Boris Johnson failing to clarify the rules about socialising in north-east England.
Writing on Twitter, he said: "You can't just bluster your way through situations like this - making it up as you go has massive consequences, confuses people and undermines the very public health goals both local and central government are trying to achieve."
Mr Johnson said he "misspoke" when answering a question earlier about the rules.
Mixing between households in pub gardens and outdoor restaurants spaces will be against advice from midnight. And in indoor spaces, it will be against the law.

Brussels bans prostitution to stem spike

The Belgian capital Brussels currently has the highest infection rate in Belgium, with about 10% of all those tested returning a positive result - more than double the national average for the previous week.
Authorities in the city on Monday announced a ban on prostitution until further notice to combat the spread. They also shut down three hotels hosting sex workers, and sent police out to inform prostitutes and ensure the ban was respected.
Sex workers have been badly affected by the pandemic, seeing their incomes disappear overnight.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 16:54

Boris Johnson 'a disgrace' for not knowing rules says MP

Kate Osborne, Labour MP for Jarrow, South Tyneside, has reacted to Boris Johnson's comments about the rules in place in north-east England - in which he initially seemed confused about how they were to be applied.
She said: "For the prime minister to not know the latest rules that his government set is an outright disgrace.
"He's not fit to be prime minister."

Russian cases rise again

Russia has the fourth highest case count in the world after the US, India and Brazil, and those numbers continue to climb.
On Tuesday the country recorded 8,232 new infections in the previous 24 hours - the highest number since June, and higher than the 8,135 reported on Monday.
Moscow remains the worst affected city, with more than 2,000 new cases. On Tuesday Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin extended a school holiday by a week after cases surged following the return to school.
"Today a significant proportion of the sick - who are often asymptomatic - are children," Mr Sobyanin reportedly said on his website. "When they come home, they easily transmit the virus to adults and elderly family members who get much more sick."
Last week the Kremlin announced it did not plan to bring back lockdown measures amid the rising infections. But on Monday President Vladimir Putin urged people to stay "vigilant" to avoid a return to "burdensome wide-ranging restrictions".

No, the Test and Trace app wasn’t made by Serco

Alistair Coleman - BBC Anti-Disinformation Unit
Posts on social media are encouraging a boycott of the NHS Test and Trace phone app on the incorrect grounds that it is run by private contractor, Serco.
Typical claims say that the app is “spyware” and has been “incorrectly” branded as an NHS product. Many express fears that their private health data is being harvested for commercial use.
While Serco supply half of the Tier 3 phone staff responsible for making contact tracing calls as part of the physical Test and Trace system featured on last night’s Panorama programme , the government has told the BBC it has not been involved in the development of the app. Serco also manages about a quarter of drive-through and walk-in testing centres.
The Department of Health said the project was led by the NHS, in conjunction with developers and support staff from Accenture, Alan Turing Institute, NHS Digital, NHSx, Oxford University, VMware Pivotal Lab and Zuhlke Engineering.
As with most large IT projects, it’s standard practice to involve experts from outside organisations. As tech journalist Ian Betteridge explains , "it’s not like the NHS has a big team of Android/iOS coders always on hand".


White House 'pressure officials' to relax school reopening rules

[url=https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/28/us/politics/white-house-cdc-coronavirus-schools.html?action=click&auth=login-email&login=email&module=Top stories&pgtype=Homepage]The New York Times reports[/url] that the White House pressured the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to play down the risk of sending children back to school amid the pandemic.
Documents seen by the newspaper reveal how the administration tried to force public health officials to support US President Donald Trump’s push to reopen schools and the economy.
Republican President Trump faces Democratic challenger Joe Biden in November’s presidential election in November.
The New York Times story comes just the day after NBC News overheard the CDC director Dr Robert Redfield attacking one of Mr Trump’s coronavirus task force members, Dr Scott Atlas – who has publicly called for the country to reopen, in line with the president.
“Everything he says is false,” Dr Redfield reportedly said. The broadcaster said he later acknowledged he had been speaking about Dr Atlas.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 17:00

Journalist 'empty chairs' Indonesian health minister

An Indonesian journalist was supposed to interview the country's health minister on the government's handling of the Covid-19 crisis - but she interviewed their empty chair instead.
Najwa Shihab, who presents the talk show Mata Najwa on Narasi TV, told viewers that she'd invited Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto to come on the show several times, but he never replied, Coconuts reports .
"Why have you disappeared, sir? You rarely appear in front of the public to explain about this pandemic," Najwa asked the empty chair.
"It seems like the only health minister in the world with this low a profile during the crisis is Indonesia's."



Earlier in the year, before Indonesia had registered any cases, Terawan suggested that prayer had shielded the country from the virus. After the virus started spreading, he stopped making public appearances.
Indonesia now has the highest death toll from the virus in South East Asia, and the second-highest number of total cases. It has recorded more than 282,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths.

The five countries with the highest death tolls

Coronavirus - 29th September 6d46f710

One million people have died worldwide from the coronavirus, just 10 months since it was first spotted in the Chinese city of Wuhan. More than half of all those confirmed dead come from the top five countries by death toll.

  • The US has recorded more than 205,000 deaths and over 7 million infections. Cases are once again rising; on average the country is reporting around 45,000 new cases each day. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly downplayed the risks of the virus, and critics accuse him of mishandling the pandemic
  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has also dismissed the threat of the virus, even after catching it himself. The country is second by death toll worldwide, with a tally of more than 142,000
  • With more than 96,000 deaths, India has reported the third highest toll. But critics fear the government is under-counting the true numbers , as cases rise by tens of thousands daily – the country soared from five million to more than six million infections in a matter of days
  • Mexico has recorded more than 76,000 deaths. Its authorities have already reopened much of its economy despite recording more than 700,000 infections – although the health ministry said the true number of cases is unknown due to limited testing
  • And the country with the fifth highest death toll is the UK. Daily infection numbers have shot up in September, from a few hundred to several thousand per day. The government is imposing strict lockdown conditions in different parts of the country in a bid to combat the spread and to stop daily deaths from rising again.


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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 17:06

Czech government to declare state of emergency

The Czech Republic says it's going to declare a new state of emergency, potentially within days, as cases surge.
Health Minister Roman Prymula laid out the details today, and will formally propose the state of emergency at a government session tomorrow. It will come into force on Monday.
This means the government will introduce emergency measures aimed mainly at schools and leisure activities. It also makes it easier for the government to redeploy health workers, as hospitals are starting to fill up with Covid patients again. Prymula said medical students might even be drafted in to help.
However, there wouldn't be any limits on incoming or outgoing travel, he said.
The country previously declared a state of emergency in March, and it was in place until May. Prymula reportedly earlier told MPs in a closed session that the country's hospitals could run out of ventilators within weeks if admissions keep rising at the current rate.
Meanwhile Igor Matovic, Prime Minister of neighbouring Slovakia, said they also needed to take "very bold decisions" in light of the "extremely serious" situation.
You can see the latest on lockdown measures in Europe here .

From first death to one million

More than one million people have officially died from coronavirus, although the true toll is likely far higher.
The new illness was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan roughly 10 months ago. The first death was reported on 11 January - authorities said a 61-year-old man had died two days earlier from the mysterious new illness.
The BBC has been following the spread of the virus since then. We've taken a look at how the world looked at major moments in the pandemic - after one death, 100, 1,000 - to see where the world was and where we are now in our efforts to tackle Covid-19.
You can read our look at the milestones of the pandemic here

Spain extends Covid furlough scheme

The Spanish government is extending its Covid furlough scheme until the end of January, after reaching a deal with union bosses and employers.
The scheme was launched in April and was due to end this Wednesday, after being extended twice. About 750,000 are still on the scheme.
Unemployment in Spain hit 15.3% at the end of June, and the government has warned this could rise to as high as 19% by the end of the year. The IMF meanwhile predicts it could be even higher, at 20.8%.
Spain is seeing a second wave of Covid-19, and has the highest infection rate in the EU. Tighter restrictions are in place in parts of Madrid, but officials are avoiding imposing a city-wide lockdown.
The country has had more than 748,000 confirmed cases, and more than 31,000 deaths.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 17:09

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Coronavirus - 29th September Breaki34

UK records 71 more deaths

There have been a further 71 deaths recorded in the UK of people who had had a positive coronavirus test in the previous 28 days.
It's the highest daily total for months, and brings the total to 42,072.

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Coronavirus - 29th September Breaki34

7,143 new cases recorded in UK

There have been 7,143 new cases recorded in the UK in a 24-hour period, according to new figures.
It's the highest number of new daily cases since mass testing began - although experts believe daily cases were far higher in the Spring.
It brings the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 446,156.

The UK figures in context

While the 7,143 lab-confirmed cases recorded in the UK is the highest since the outbreak began, experts have previously warned that describing the daily figure as a record could be "misleading".
That's because it is not clear how many people were actually infected at the height of the first wave due to a lack of mass testing in the community.
Coronavirus cases have been rising again since July, but the rate of growth has increased since the end of August.
Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been nearly 57,900 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 17:13

New Yorkers to be fined for not wearing masks

From today people in New York City will be fined if they refuse to wear masks, Mayor Bill de Blasio says.
Officials will first offer free masks to anyone not wearing one. If that person then refuses, then they will be fined. De Blasio didn't specify how much the fine would be.
He also says New York City's positive Covid-19 test rate was higher than 3% "for the first time in months".
"Obviously everyone is concerned about that," he says. "That is something we all have to work on together to address."
New York City was the original epicentre of the US outbreak, during the country's first wave of the virus in spring.

Indonesian burial site to have 6,000 extra graves

Coronavirus - 29th September 48027910

Officials in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, are preparing a burial site that will have 6,000 additional graves for people who've died of Covid-19.
Indonesia has the highest virus death toll in South East Asia, and is currently dealing with another surge in deaths. It has now had more than 280,000 reported infections, and more than 10,000 deaths.
The country has recorded more than 4,000 new cases of the virus each day for almost 10 days, despite limited testing.
Gravediggers have told local media that they've been rushing to bury as many bodies as possible during daylight hours. Cemeteries in the capital have been running out of space.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 17:35

How has the picture changed in the UK in the past week?

Last Tuesday, 22 September, there were 37 deaths recorded - which has now nearly doubled, to 71.
And the number of cases recorded that day was 4,926, whereas it is now over 7,000.
But it's important to note cases had dropped for the past three days, while deaths had dropped for the past two days.
Here's the overall picture of how things have changed in the past seven days.

  • 29 September: 7,143 cases, 71 deaths
  • 28 September: 4,044 cases, 13 deaths
  • 27 September: 5,693 cases, 17 deaths
  • 26 September: 6,042 cases, 34 deaths
  • 25 September: 6,874 cases, 35 deaths
  • 24 September: 6,634 cases, 40 deaths
  • 23 September: 6,178 cases, 37 deaths

There were lower numbers for deaths and cases at the weekend and on Monday - but that's usually the case, due to the fact more are recorded during the week.

Analysis: Hospital admissions more encouraging in England

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
While the number of new infections and deaths will cause alarm – both are up on previous days – the data on hospital admissions is more encouraging.
For the fourth day in a row, the numbers have come down in England.
On Sunday there were 241 admissions, down from 314 on Wednesday.
To put that in context, at the peak England was seeing 3,000 admissions a day.
This mirrors what has been seen in France and Spain – a gradual upward trend in serious Covid cases, but not the rapid increase that was seen in the spring.
Even the number of new daily cases – the highest on record at over 7,000 – is still below the doomsday trajectory the government’s senior advisers warned about last week when they said there could be 50,000 cases a day by mid October.
It all points to a second wave, but one that is more manageable than feared by some.
It is, though, still early days. The areas with the highest rates in the North West and North East are causing concern.
And we are just at the start of the autumn and winter season when respiratory viruses circulate more.
Another unknown is the impact the problems with testing are having on the ability of the system to pick up on cases.
Last week surveillance suggested perhaps less than half of cases were being picked up.
That is why, arguably, it is more important to pay close attention to hospital cases in the coming days and weeks to measure the true impact Covid’s second wave is having.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 20:19

Landlord sorry after 300 turn up for biker funeral

A pub landlord has apologised after 300 people turned up for a biker's funeral, "far exceeding" the number expected.
Police visited The Gate Hangs Well, in Syston, Leicestershire, on Friday where a service was being held in a marquee.
Publican Neil Henderson said it was set up to seat 30 people but he was "naive" to think numbers "would be manageable" and voluntarily closed when regulations were no longer met.
Police said the group was dispersed and a fixed penalty notice was issued.
Mr Henderson said he did not know how much the fine would be but Charnwood Police said in a tweet it could be "up to £10k".
Read more here

Village re-elects mayor who died of Covid

A village in southern Romania has re-elected a beloved local mayor, Ion Aliman, 10 days after his death of Covid-19.
His death was so close to the election that it was too late to remove his name from the ballot, Associated Press news agency reports. Because of this, residents of Deveselu village paid their respects by casting their votes for him anyway.
Aliman won 1,057 of the 1,600 votes cast in the village, which is home to just 3,000 people. His victory was a landslide, meaning that had he been alive he would have won an unprecedented third term.
The popular mayor would have celebrated his 57th birthday on election day.

South Africa loses 2.2m jobs in Covid lockdown

South Africa lost 2.2 million jobs during the country's coronavirus lockdown earlier this year - one of the strictest in the world.
This is the biggest fall in job numbers since 2008, when the country's employment survey began.
Most businesses were shut for five weeks from 27 March, and as a result the economy shrank at an unprecedented level.
Read the full story of South Africa's unemployment crisis here .
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 20:26

WHO releases rapid tests - here's why the UK won't have any

Rachel Schraer - BBC Health Reporter
On-the-spot coronavirus tests – 120 million of them – which give results within minutes are being made available to low- and middle-income countries by the World Health Organization.
One of the tests – the South Korean-made SD BioSensor – is already in use in Italy to screen people at airports.
But these speedy tests are not currently available in the UK.
That’s partly because different countries have different ways of approving tests, and hold them to different standards.
And the UK has generally erred on the side of caution in this arena.
Apart from a natural risk aversion, these very quick tests are considerably less sensitive than the standard test used in the NHS.
That means they pick up fewer cases and tell more people they’re negative when they do in fact have the virus.
For countries that don’t have the infrastructure to run big labs and currently have very little access to any testing at all, these kits could be a game-changer.
The UK is instead focusing its energy on two other rapid tests, which take more like 90 minutes to process than ten and are roughly as sensitive as the standard diagnostic test.

First local Covid restrictions for north Wales

Restrctions have already been tightened in other parts of Wales - and now four councils in north Wales are to go into "local lockdown".
The new measures for Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham come into effect at 18:00 BST on Thursday.
Vaughan Gething, Wales' health minister, made the announcement in the Welsh Parliament on Tuesday evening.
He said a similar pattern of transmission was being seen in the four areas as had happened in the south, but rates in neighbouring Gwynedd and Anglesey currently "remain low".
Travel to and from the areas will not be permitted unless people have a "reasonable excuse", such as work or for buying essentials.
It will be illegal to meet others indoors who are not within your immediate household.
You can read more about it here .

Analysis: Government accused of not being in control

Nick Eardley - Political correspondent
The rules people are being told to follow are becoming a lot more complicated and can vary significantly in different parts of the UK.
But at the same time the government is ramping up enforcement - creating criminal offences and introducing fines for those who don't follow them.
That's why it's so important that ministers can explain to the public what the rules are and the rationale behind them. On two occasions today, the prime minister and a junior minister have been unable to do so.
Opposition parties accuse the government of not being in control - and not understanding the rules it is enforcing.
But at the same time the PM is facing pressure from within his own party - with a significant bloc of Tory backbenchers demanding Parliament has more of a say when new restrictions are brought in.
They fear some of the decisions go too far - and perhaps don't make sense. The PM being unable to explain them won't help.

Canada's provinces react to country's second wave

Jessica Murphy, BBC News, Toronto
Covid-19 cases in parts of Canada have been rising at an alarming rate and last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned the country was experiencing a second wave.
Some regions are now further tightening restrictions.
Quebec will close bars and restaurants for 28 days, in three “red zones” across the country, including the city of Montreal. Indoor home gatherings will also be forbidden. The province saw 750 new cases on Monday, and 896 on Sunday, its highest tally since the spring.
In Ontario, where about 40% of the country’s population lives, new cases reached an all-time peak, with 700 new cases. That’s 60 cases higher than the previous high of 640 on 24 April.
The milestone renewed calls to scale back reopening – the Ontario Hospital Association urged the province to go back to Stage 2, which would shutter restaurants and bars except for outdoor dining, and other businesses like gyms.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford did not announce such measures on Monday, the same day casinos reopened across the province. Last week, with cases rising, the province issued an earlier closing time for bars and shut down strip clubs.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr David Williams said the province may consider further “targeted” closures as needed.
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:Covid-19: Re: Coronavirus - 29th September

Post by Kitkat on Tue Sep 29 2020, 20:28

The main headlines from the UK and around the world

We're closing our virus live page soon. Here are the main stories we've been covering, both here in the UK and around the world.



Thanks for reading

The virus live page is closing - but there will be live coverage of the US presidential debate here.

Our writers were Toby Luckhurst, Ashitha Nagesh, Alice Evans, and Lauren Turner. The editors were Paulin Kola and Owen Amos.

    Current date/time is Sun Oct 25 2020, 08:33