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Coronavirus - 6th October


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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 09:31

Summary for Tuesday, 6th October

  • US President Donald Trump is back in the White House after leaving hospital where he was being treated for coronavirus
  • Posing for pictures on the Truman balcony, he removed his mask and urged people not to be frightened by the disease
  • Questions remain about the seriousness of the president's illness after conflicting statements
  • Surgeons in England have warned there could be “tsunami” of cancelled NHS operations this winter
  • All bars in the French capital Paris will shut from Tuesday as the city's coronavirus alert is raised to maximum
  • More than 35.4 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed globally, with more than one million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

Good morning from the UK and thank you for joining our live coronavirus updates from around the world. Here’s a reminder of the top global stories today:

  • US President Donald Trump has returned to the White House after spending three days receiving hospital treatment for Covid-19
  • Peru has resumed international flights for the first time since March, although its land borders remain closed. The country has recorded one of the highest death rates in the world since the pandemic began
  • Ireland is re-introducing stricter coronavirus measures, including tighter limitations on gatherings and advising people to work from home unless absolutely necessary
  • Bars and cafés in Paris close for two weeks from today as the city’s coronavirus alert reaches the highest level
  • The World Health Organization has said that one in 10 people globally may have contracted coronavirus, meaning "the vast majority of the world remains at risk"

Latest around Europe

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has promised to help bars and restaurants which "have been hit very hard" by Covid-19 restrictions. Parisian bars and cafes will shut for two weeks but restaurants must keep to strict measures if they want to remain open. "We'll stay by your sides - there is a solidarity fund and we'll strengthen it," he's told France Info TV. Mr Le Maire is also talking of including graphic designers, photographers and florists in the solidarity fund.
Italy's government is not expected to close restaurants or bars or even shut them early. But its science technology committee wants ministers to order the wearing of masks almost everywhere, when the Covid state of emergency is extended either today or tomorrow. Only isolated places would be exempt, as well as people on bicycles and motorbikes, reports say.
Denmark’s Alzheimer’s Society says local authorities and many nursing homes went too far in depriving elderly people of seeing loved ones. Society head Nis Peter Nissen said it was a serious violation of the constitution.
Irish taoiseach (PM) Micheál Martin says people must act now to avoid an "immediate comprehensive lockdown", as so-called level-three restrictions come into force at midnight tonight. The government has rejected advice from the public health emergency team NPHET to go further - you can read more here . Opposition parties are set to question the decision in the Dáil (parliament) later. Level three means people should remain in their own county and work from home unless absolutely necessary.

What's happening in the UK?

Here are the main coronavirus headlines in the UK this Tuesday morning:

Almost 400 Queen's University students and staff self-isolating

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Almost 400 students and staff at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, are self-isolating after more than 160 people tested positive for Covid-19.
A university spokesperson said the safety and wellbeing of staff and students was the university's first priority.
They also said evidence gathered during contact tracing indicated that transmission was occurring "in social or accommodation settings as oppose to elsewhere on the campus".
More than 50 universities in the UK are now reported to have Covid cases, including Northumbria University which confirmed 770 students had tested positive since returning in mid-September.

Covid could cause 'tsunami of cancelled NHS operations'

Leading surgeons in England say there could be a "tsunami" of cancelled operations this winter, as the NHS copes with rising numbers of coronavirus patients.
The Royal College of Surgeons of England called it "a national crisis" and said it doubted that the NHS could meet targets to restore surgery back to near pre-pandemic levels.
Planned procedures such as hip replacements were paused to free up beds during lockdown in the spring, and hospitals have been dealing with a backlog since.
But an NHS spokesman said figures cited by the body underestimated the amount of surgery taking place.
Read more

UK will have to consider new Covid measures - Neil Ferguson

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
The UK government will have to consider new measures to contain coronavirus, epidemiologist Prof Neil Ferguson has warned.
Prof Ferguson, whose modelling of the way the disease spreads prompted the first lockdown, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the number of cases was increasing.
"We think that infections are probably increasing, doubling every two weeks or so, in some areas faster than that, maybe every seven days," he said.
The former government adviser said the "most important" measure to drive down infections was reducing contact between households.
He said schools should be kept open, but "we may have to give up more to keep them open".
Measures including extended half terms should be considered, he added.

Scottish cabinet to discuss tougher restrictions

The Scottish cabinet is due to meet later to discuss the possible reintroduction of tougher restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Some government advisers have backed the idea of a "circuit breaker" lockdown - a short, sharp period of tightened measures.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that further restrictions could be rolled out "in the near future".
The government has not indicated what sort of extra measures could be introduced.
Read more here

Nearly 500,000 UK redundancies planned since Covid crisis began

Coronavirus - 6th October Fd7e9c10
Figures obtained by the BBC show British employers planned 58,000 redundancies in August.
That's much lower than for the two previous months thanks to a degree of economic recovery, with more shoppers out spending and the "eat out to help out" scheme boosting restaurants.
It brings total potential job losses to 498,000 for the first five months of the pandemic.
"There was a sense of optimism in August, we were starting to see more spending and more activity, there were hopes for a quick recovery," said Rebecca McDonald, senior economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation think tank. "That seems a lot less likely now."
A number of big businesses from many of the hardest-hit sectors, such as retail and restaurants, have announced big redundancy plans, including Debenhams, DW Sports, Marks & Spencer, Pret a Manger, currency exchange company Travelex, and WH Smith.
Read more

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Maybe I'm immune - Trump

As we’ve already reported, President Trump left hospital on Monday night. Here’s more from that, plus some other US news:

  • Trump posed for cameras as he made his highly choreographed return to the White House, telling supporters in a message: “And now I’m better and maybe I’m immune”
  • He also downplayed fears over the virus, saying: “But don’t let it dominate your lives”
  • On Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany became the latest official to announce she had tested positive for coronavirus. She had interacted with the media without wearing a mask several times since the president’s own positive result emerged on Friday
  • New precautions have been introduced for the vice-presidential debate in Utah on Wednesday evening. Vice-President Mike Pence and his Democratic challenger Kamala Harris will be separated by plexiglass and sit at least 12ft (3.6m) apart to limit the risk from coronavirus
  • The US has recorded more than 7.4 million cases of coronavirus and 210,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University

Trump's Covid treatment explained

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
Since testing positive for coronavirus, US President Donald Trump has been receiving a number of different drugs, as revealed by his doctors.
It is unclear when the president contracted the virus, but there are two broad phases of a coronavirus infection - the first where the virus is the problem and the second, deadly phase, when our immune system goes into overdrive and starts causing massive collateral damage to other organs.
Treatments fall into two camps - those that directly attack the virus and are more likely to be useful in the first phase and drugs to calm the immune system which are more likely to work in the second.
Dexamethasone, remdesivir and Regeneron are among the drugs the president's received - but what are they and what do they tell us about his condition?
Find out more here .

Trump returns with almost messianic message

Anthony Zurcher - BBC North America reporter
Donald Trump says he has overcome the coronavirus - and you can, too.
In his video message from the White House, a mask-less Trump tells the American public: "Don't be afraid of it. You're going to beat it."
And so the president's message in the final weeks of his re-election campaign takes shape. He contracted the coronavirus because he was an out-front leader and he "had to do that".
"Nobody that's a leader would not do what I did," he said.
It is a message almost messianic in its undertones - one that the rest of his party is amplifying. The president has suffered and overcome, and will lead the nation to a promised land beyond the virus.
New York Post columnist Miranda Devine, quote-tweeted by the president, said Mr Trump would return to the campaign trail as an "invincible hero". Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler tweeted out a video of Mr Trump tackling a virus-headed antagonist.
There is political and personal risk for the president, of course. He could experience a relapse or long-term medical difficulties. Americans who have lost loved ones to the disease may find his words and actions ill-considered or offensive.
The president, however, seems determined to turn his recent weakness into a strength.

Trump not out of the woods yet

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
Considering we’re told President Trump tested positive on Thursday he seems to be making great progress - especially as he is a high risk patient, being 74, a man, overweight and living with a heart condition.
He’s received a cocktail of drugs normally reserved for the sickest of Covid patients who have been ill for weeks, not days, to aid and hasten his recovery.
It’s not clear when Mr Trump caught the virus or first started to feel unwell. Most people who develop symptoms do so on around day five. Some people have only mild symptoms that clear up after a week or so with some bed rest.
A turning point can be at around day seven, with some patients getting a more serious lung infection from the virus. These patients need to be in hospital because they can deteriorate quickly and need expert care. The body can go into overdrive fighting the virus, leading to respiratory failure, septic shock and multiple organ damage.
Mr Trump’s doctors say they remain cautiously optimistic about the president’s health but “on guard” for at least the coming week should things take a turn for the worse.

US updates guidance on indoor virus spread

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance to acknowledge the role of airborne transmission in the spread of coronavirus.
The CDC now says that while the virus most often spreads through close contact or when an infected person sneezes or coughs, droplets containing the virus "can remain suspended in the air over long distances (usually greater than 6ft) and time (typically hours)".
While it said the spread of the virus in this way was rare, the CDC said it was more likely to happen in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation or when shouting, singing or exercising.
Medical experts have been calling for the CDC to include airborne transmission in its pandemic guidance, although many dispute the CDC's view that it is rare for the virus to spread in this way.
In a letter published in the journal Science on Monday, six academics said "one is far more likely to inhale aerosols than be sprayed by a droplet, and so the balance of attention must be shifted to protecting against airborne transmission".

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Singapore offers 'pandemic baby bonus'

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Singapore is offering a one-off payment to encourage people to have babies during the coronavirus pandemic.
The worry is that citizens are putting off parenthood as they struggle with financial stress and job insecurity.
"We have received feedback that Covid-19 has caused some aspiring parents to postpone their parenthood plans," Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Monday.
Details of the amount that could be paid have yet to be released. It is in addition to several hefty baby bonuses offered by the government.
Singapore has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, which it has struggled to boost for decades.
Find out more here .

'Long Covid': Why are some people not recovering?

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
For most people Covid-19 is a brief and mild disease, but some are left struggling with symptoms including lasting fatigue, persistent pain and breathlessness for months.
The condition known as "long Covid" is having a debilitating effect on people's lives, and stories of being left exhausted after even a short walk are now common.
So far, the focus has been on saving lives during the pandemic, but there is now a growing recognition that people are facing long-term consequences of a Covid infection.
Yet even basic questions - such as why people get long Covid or whether everyone will fully recover - are riddled with uncertainty.
Read more from James
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Ireland to bring in stricter rules from Wednesday

Irish Taoiseach (PM) Micheál Martin says people must act now to avoid an "immediate comprehensive lockdown", as so-called level-three restrictions come into force on Wednesday.
Under the new rules people should remain in their own county and work from home unless absolutely necessary.
But the government has rejected advice from the public health emergency team NPHET to go further and impose the maximum level five restrictions.
Mr Martin said doing so could have "severe implications" and would put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.
"If we all act now we can stop the need to go further, with introducing level four and five restrictions," he continued.
The opposition is expected to question the government's decision not to act on the NPHET advice later on Tuesday.
Read more here .

Leo Varadkar has criticised the National Public Health Emergency Team's announcement that Ireland should be placed under Level 5 restrictions, stating the plan was "not thought through".

The Tánaiste was speaking last night on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live when he made the comments, which many have seen as a criticism of Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

Dr Holohan, who chairs the NPHET, wrote a letter to the Government which was publicised on Sunday night and which advised that a Level 5 'lockdown' was the correct route to take in order to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The restrictions would bring a return to the lockdown seen in March and April of this year, with all non-essential businesses closed, no household visits allowed and citizens unable to travel more than 5km from their homes except for essential reasons.

Following a meeting with NPHET, the Irish government decided to reject the advice, and instead the country will move to Level 3 restrictions from midnight tonight.

Currently, 24 counties are on Level 2 restrictions, and Dublin and Donegal are at level 3, due to a spike in cases in the areas.

Leo Varadkar, speaking to Claire Byrne yesterday, said he had spoken to CMO Dr Holohan and the doctor now accepted that there should have been prior consultation with the government before the advice was publicised.

Defending the government's decision to accept NPHET's advice, the Tánaiste said that while NPHET are experts in health, none of them would have faced "being on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment" should Level 5 be introduced, and "none of them would have to tell somebody they were losing their job".

"I think what happened the last couple of days wasn’t good for anyone," Mr Varadkar added.
"[It] wasn’t good for NPHET, isn’t good for Government, and really wasn’t good for the Irish people, many of whom were worried sick today wondering whether they had a job tomorrow, wondering whether they were shuttering their business for the last time."

Mr Varadkar said that what happened on Sunday night "came out of the  blue", as there had been no suggestion "whatsoever" the health team were considering a suggested move to Level 5.

Tweet  Claire Byrne Live:
'We didn’t feel #NPHET proposal had been thought through' - Tánaiste Leo Varadkar #cblive

Coronavirus - 6th October Click_11

"We considered it very carefully and we decided not to accept the advice at this time," he said.

"They're not proposing a zero-Covid strategy," he added. "They agree with us that it's not possible for Ireland because of the land border with Northern Ireland, because they have free travel with the UK."

Rather, NPHET were proposing a "circuit break" to disrupt the spread of the virus, but this had "never been tried in Europe" and "we didn't feel it had been thought through properly", the former Taoiseach continued.

The public health team were also unable to promise that the Level 5 lockdown would only last for four weeks, and also could not guarantee that it would be possible to keep schools open.

When the question was put to NPHET regarding the 400,000 people who could lose their jobs in Level 5, NPHET said "that was a political matter for us (the government)."

Mr Varadkar also rejected the health experts' claims that hospitals and ICU beds in Ireland were about to be overwhelmed by the virus, saying the HSE chief did not share those views.

He insisted, however, that he still had confidence in Dr Tony Holohan, saying he did not think the idea was "crazy" but "it was not thought through".

"I have confidence in NPHET to dispense public health advice. That’s what they do. They don’t advise the public, they advise the Government and the Government decided."

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Train passengers left out of pocket by local lockdowns

Some train customers in the UK have found themselves unable to get refunds for tickets they can no longer use.
In some parts of the country people have recently been advised against all but essential travel due to coronavirus, but passengers with advance tickets to or from these areas have been told they're not entitled to their money back.
Refunds were given for advance tickets during the nationwide lockdown but the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said the government had decided not to do the same now.
Read more here

Americast: Trump on steroids

As US President Donald Trump leaves hospital, where he has been treated for Covid-19, Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel ask what this means for the presidential race.
You can listen to our Americast podcast here or wherever you normally find your podcasts.

Why creating a global vaccine is such a challenge

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The global quest to find a vaccine for Covid-19 has so far tended to focus on the clinical research.
But manufacture and distribution are also major issues in creating a vaccine.
Our colleagues at BBC Future take a look at the challenges in the quest to make a global vaccine in 12 months .

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Summary of some of the key developments in the last few hours
Kevin Rawlinson - The Guardian

  • Poland reported its worst daily death toll, as the country’s health ministry said 58 people had died. The official data showed sharp increases in the number of ventilators and hospital beds devoted to Covid-19 patients.China is in talks to have its locally produced vaccines assessed by the World Health Organization (WHO), an official from the body said. It marks a step towards making the vaccines available for international use.
  • Malaysia has reported 691 new cases; its biggest daily jump since the start of the pandemic. There were also four more deaths confirmed, taking total fatalities to 141, the health ministry said.
  • Donald Trump left Walter Reed hospital after three nights and returned to the White House. He wore a mask as he left but removed it to pose for photographs on the balcony of the White House.
  • Trump tweeted a video in which he said he felt well and told Americans: “Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it.” Coronavirus has already killed 210,117 Americans – or one in every 1,560 people in the country.
  • Trump’s personal physician said the president was “not entirely be out of the woods yet” although he met the discharge requirements. The president still has the virus and is still contagious. Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert, said Trump could have a “reversal” in his condition.
  • Mexico has record increase in deaths and daily cases on Monday jumping by 2,789 and 28,115 respectively. But the deputy health minister dismissed it as a one-off event caused by a new method of classifying infections.
  • Japan and South Korea plan to open business travel between the two countries this week. Papua New Guinea is opening its borders to people from four countries including Japan and Singapore.
  • MPs in Britain are expected to rebel this week during votes on controversial pandemic curbs such as the rule limiting gatherings to six people and the 10pm pub curfew. The votes come amid anger at a data blunder that has left officials scrambling to trace 50,000 Covid contacts.
  • Stock markets in Asia have recovered some lost ground after Trump’s positive comments about his health. The FTSE100 in London is expected to open up about 0.2%.

Russia’s daily tally of new cases rose on Monday to its worst since 11 May, as authorities reported 11,615 new infections nationwide; including 4,082 in Moscow.
Authorities said 188 people had died overnight, pushing the official death toll to 21,663. The total number of cases registered since the beginning of the outbreak stands at 1,237,504, they said.

China and 25 other nations have called for the immediate lifting of sanctions by the US and other western countries to ensure an effective response to the pandemic, the Associated Press (AP) has reported.
Speaking on behalf of the 26 countries at a meeting of the UN general assembly’s human rights committee, China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun said unilateral coercive measures violate the UN charter, multilateralism, and impede human rights by hindering the well-being of the population in the affected countries and undermining the right to health.
Global solidarity and international cooperation are the most powerful weapons in overcoming the pandemic, the joint statement said.
:Left Quotes:  We seize this opportunity to call for the complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures, in order to ensure the full, effective and efficient response of all members of the international community to Covid-19.
Among the countries that backed the statement were half a dozen that face sanctions by the US, European Union or other western nations, including Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Syria and Venezuela.
The statement notes that both the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and the body’s human rights chief Michelle Bachelet have called for the waiving of sanctions that undermine a country’s capacity to respond to the pandemic.
The AP said there was no immediate response to an email seeking comment from the US mission.
Germany’s UN ambassador, Christoph Heusgen, addressed the sanctions issue at a security council meeting on Syria in May saying EU sanctions do not affect the delivery of humanitarian aid or medical goods to limit the effects of Covid-19, citing specific EU guidance on ensuring aid gets to the Syrian people.

Workers were clearing undergrowth from wasteland on Tuesday to add 400 graves to the Indian capital’s oldest functioning cemetery beside the ruins of historic city walls, as the coronavirus death toll grows.
Reuters reports that, with more than 100,000 deaths nationwide, India’s tally of infections has passed 6.6m. But there is little sign of any sustained fall in daily numbers.
Since its first virus burial in April, the Islamic graveyard of Jadid Qabristan has had more than 700 funerals on a patch of adjoining wasteground designated for pandemic victims.
“We weren’t expecting that we will have to clear more land for the graves,” said the head gravedigger Mohammad Shameem, a 38-year-old in a pale green traditional tunic, who is the third generation of his family to work in cemeteries. “But bodies just keep arriving.”
A respite in infections has cut virus burials to about four a day, from 10 in the summer, but Shameem said the graveyard, founded in 1924, would soon be at capacity.
 :Left Quotes:  The way things are moving, I think we will clear the last remaining patch of land for graves in the coming months.
Hindus, who make up the majority of India’s population of about 1.4 billion, are typically cremated after death. But its estimated 200 million Muslims typically bury their dead.
Like the workers at a nearby crematorium for Hindus, Shameem said he often faced difficult conditions.
 :Left Quotes: We are doing so much work for the last eight months, but there has been hardly any help from the government, in terms of personal protective equipment.

The Philippines
The Philippines’ health ministry has confirmed 2,093 new infections and 25 more deaths, the lowest number of fatalities reported in 15 days. The ministry said total confirmed cases in the Philippines have increased to 326,833, the highest in south-east Asia, while the number of deaths have reached 5,865.

Indonesia has reported 4,056 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 311,176, data from the country’s Covid-19 task force show. The number of deaths rose by 121, the highest daily increase since 30 September, to take the tally of fatalities to 11,374

Italy is considering making the use of masks outdoors mandatory nationwide, its health minister, Roberto Speranza, has said. He told a parliamentary hearing:
 :Left Quotes:  We are working on a proposal to make the use of masks nationwide compulsory.
After a steady decrease in daily cases during the summer, Italy reported new infections rising in the past weeks although its figures are still lower than those registered in other big European countries.

Poland suffers worst day

Poland reported its worst daily death toll on Tuesday, as the country’s health ministry said 58 people had died. The official data showed sharp increases in the number of ventilators and hospital beds devoted to Covid-19 patients.
The country reported 2,236 new cases on Tuesday, close to Saturday’s 2,367 – the worst daily total yet. With a population of 38 million, Poland has reported 104,316 cases overall and 2,717 deaths.
The ministry said that, as of Tuesday, there were 263 ventilators and 3,719 hospital beds devoted to Covid-19 patients, compared with 141 and 2,399 respectively a week ago.

Spain, one of the nations worst affected, with more than 32,000 deaths and more than 800,000 cases, is heading for its worst economic performance on record in 2020. A contraction of between 10.5% and 12.6% is expected, according to the Bank of Spain.

Malaysia reports most cases in one day

Malaysia has reported 691 new cases; its biggest daily jump since the start of the pandemic. There were four additional deaths confirmed, taking total fatalities to 141, the health ministry said. Total infections in the country stood at 13,504.

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Covid deaths rise for the third consecutive week

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
In the week of 25 September, 234 registered deaths involved Covid-19 in the UK, three times higher than the low point reached three weeks previously.
That level is well below the peak of 9,500 deaths in a week in mid-April and rising more slowly too, but the rate of rise is eerily familiar for a different reason.
We have been seeing hospitalisations double roughly every two weeks, and confirmed cases are currently rising at that rate (if you strip out all the issues with delayed reporting).
As we move towards the season of respiratory viruses, scientists advising the government say that we should expect these numbers to rise, since they do every year.
The main question will be whether current rising numbers of detected infections flows through to the same rate of growth in the number of deaths in the coming weeks.

WHO warns of 'pandemic fatigue' across Europe

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that "pandemic fatigue" is threatening Europe's ability to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The WHO's Europe director, Hans Kluge, said on Tuesday that the "huge sacrifices" made by people across Europe during the pandemic had "come at an extraordinary cost, which has exhausted all of us, regardless of where we live, or what we do".
"In such circumstances it is easy and natural to feel apathetic and demotivated, to experience fatigue."
Citing survey data from across the region, he said the levels of fatigue had reached 60% in some cases and called on countries to remain in touch with local communities to monitor people's responses to the pandemic and their developing needs.
He highlighted virtual celebrations during Ramadan or floating cinemas as successful new approaches that could help people adapt to the new conditions imposed by the pandemic.

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Poland reports record increase in deaths

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland reported a record number of Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours. The health ministry tweeted that 56 of the 58 people who died had underlying health issues, but Poland, like other countries in the region, is seeing a sharp increase in new infections.
Daily cases have been around 2,000 or more since the start of October compared to a high of 599 during the Spring. Health ministry officials are considering more heightened restrictions in localised areas - 51 of Poland’s 380 powiats - or districts - currently have limits on wedding party guests and an obligation to wear face masks outdoors
At the same time, hospitals are now seeing two worrying trends, a spike in the number of patients requiring intensive care treatment and a shortage of the anti-viral drug, remdesivir, used to disrupt the virus’s ability to copy itself and shorten the duration of symptoms.
“This is definitely a different course than in the spring," deputy health minister Waldemar Kraska told Polsat News. "More people are sent for hospital treatment, but also more and more people go to intensive care units because they require treatment with a ventilator. This is very disturbing.”
The number of patients requiring hospitalisation jumped by 561 in the previous 24 hours and those requiring a ventilator by 44. The health ministry has allocated about 9,000 hospital beds for Covid-19 patients nationwide and 3,719 are currently occupied. However, there are reports of shortages in individual hospitals.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 13:45

Nottingham mixing ban considered

Households could be banned from mixing in Nottingham after a surge in cases, a city health official has said.
Director of public health Alison Challenger said rules were likely to be similar to those already in place in parts of northern England.
This would mean people from different households no longer being able to meet each other.
There has been a surge in the city's Covid rate, which is now at 382.4 per 100,000 - the sixth highest rate in England.
Every area in England with a higher rate of positive tests already has restrictions in place.
Read more here .

Covid MP 'went to church after having symptoms'

Coronavirus - 6th October A1ee2310

Margaret Ferrier, the MP who has breached Covid guidance, is believed to have attended Mass at a Glasgow church after showing symptoms of the virus.
She has been condemned for travelling to London after experiencing symptoms and having a test - then returning home to Scotland after testing positive.
The Daily Record has now reported that the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West gave a reading at St Mungo's RC church in Townhead on Sunday 27 September.
That was the day after she said she experienced "mild symptoms" and the day before her train trip.
The Catholic Church in Scotland said it could not confirm whether Ms Ferrier, or anyone else, attended the Mass due to data protection laws.
She has been suspended by the SNP and has faced calls to quit as an MP for risking the health of others in Parliament and on public transport.
Read more here .

Scotland at 'most difficult decision point' - Sturgeon

Any decisions on further restrictions for Scotland will not be revealed until tomorrow, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says .
A statement to parliament will follow a cabinet meeting, she said.
"In many ways, this is probably the most difficult decision point we have faced so far," the first minister said, with a sharply rising rate of infection in the country.
Some government advisers have backed the idea of a "circuit breaker" lockdown for a relatively brief time, possibly two weeks, as a "short, sharp shock".
It could include travel limits and the closure of bars and restaurants.You can find out more about what a circuit-breaker would mean here .
Industry leaders have warned that some tourism and hospitality businesses may never recover from the effects of further lockdown restrictions.
Ms Sturgeon said today that there would not be a lockdown similar to that which began at the end of March however. She also indicated that schools would not shut beyond normal holiday dates and there would be no travel restrictions affecting the "whole of the country".
It comes as a further two people who tested positive have died, taking the total to 2,532 deaths in Scotland by that measure.
The first minister also confirmed a further 800 people had tested positive for Covid-19 - 13.2% of those newly tested yesterday.
Our Scotland live page can be found here .

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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 13:51

Trump returns 'in true Hollywood style'

BBC Monitoring - The world through its media
Donald Trump’s return to the White House from hospital was dubbed a "show for the cameras" by some foreign media, in an apparent reference to the president’s reality TV past.
Russia’s NTV channel observed it was done “in true Hollywood style”.
"Donald Trump returned spectacularly to the White House… at the end of the day, at the time of the television news," wrote France’s centre-left Le Monde newspaper.
"Monday's staging does not resolve all the questions,” the paper added. “First of all, regarding his real condition, as, according to his doctors, he was receiving a cocktail of drugs including steroids, which could fuel a feeling of euphoria."
The timing of the president’s discharge from hospital raised eyebrows elsewhere. Spain’s rightist ABC said it happened despite the president “not being out of danger from Covid-19”.
In Iran, rolling TV news channel IRINN stressed that Mr Trump, "in his latest unhygienic move", delivered a speech without a mask upon his return to the White House.
Iranian media expressed the view that Mr Trump has started to use his infection for political purposes. Hardline Javan newspaper called the move "political manoeuvring" while pro-reform Aftab-eYazd dubbed it "Trump's show".
Mr Trump’s disregard of social distancing measures started drawing widespread criticism in China after he left the hospital in a car over the weekend to greet supporters in what the state-run Global Times called a “joyride”.
“Observers believe that Trump's attempt to project strength and rally support for his election amid his illness could backfire because he ignored standard Covid-19 treatment procedures, and put people around him at risk,” wrote the paper.

In graphics: The picture around the world

Our latest graphics show the increase of cases - both in Europe and across the world.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 16:24

What's happening around the world?

If you're just joining us, here's a reminder of the day's top global stories:

  • US President Donald Trump has returned to the White House after spending three days receiving hospital treatment for Covid-19
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance to acknowledge the role of airborne transmission in the spread of coronavirus
  • Iran has seen a new record high in daily cases for the second day in a row. On Monday, the number of deaths in Iran equalled the previous record set in July
  • As cases continue to rise in many parts of Europe, the WHO has warned of growing apathy, or "pandemic fatigue" across the continent
  • The news comes as Poland announced a record number of daily fatalities, with 58 deaths in the past 24 hours
  • Ireland is re-introducing stricter coronavirus measures from Wednesday, including tighter limitations on gatherings and advising people to work from home unless absolutely necessary. However, the measures did not go as far as health officials had advised
  • Bars and cafés in Paris close for two weeks from today as the city’s coronavirus alert reaches the highest level

Local UK leaders tell Hancock: 'Existing restrictions not working'

Council leaders from cities in the north of England have written to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, urging him to improve local coronavirus measures.
They said they were "extremely concerned about the sharp increase in new Covid-19 cases" in their areas and the national responses.
The four leaders said: "The existing restrictions are not working, confusing for the public and some, like the 10pm rule, are counter-productive.
"Instead, local measures, developed jointly across police, council enforcement and public health services, should be deployed to address rising infection rates based on local knowledge."
Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese and leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes told Mr Hancock:

  • They do not support further economic lockdowns
  • They want further powers to address non-compliance
  • They want an improved business support package
  • There should be local decision-making about additional lockdowns before they happen
  • There should be a locally-controlled test and trace system
  • There should be financial support for everyone who needs to self-isolate
  • They want improved monitoring of the impacts of local restrictions.

"It is critical to the future of our local - and therefore the nation’s - economic well-being that we look to work together," they told him.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 16:28

What's happening in the UK?

Here are the main UK coronavirus headlines this afternoon:

Further coronavirus deaths reported in England and Wales

A further 50 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, NHS England says.
In Wales, a further 10 people have died and 425 people have tested positive for coronavirus, according to Public Health Wales.
It comes as Welsh tourism businesses say proposals to quarantine visitors from Covid hotspots in England could "induce more cancellations and more uncertainty" .
So far, 15 of Wales' 22 counties have seen local lockdown restrictions put in place affecting more than two million people.
UK-wide coronavirus figures are expected to be published by the government later.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 16:31

More restrictions to come for Northern Ireland

Further restrictions are on the way for Northern Ireland, the deputy first minister, Michelle O'Neill, has said.
The timing will be discussed later this week.
"All options" are on the table, she said, adding that ministers face tough decisions.
Along with First Minister Arlene Foster, she has written an open letter urging people in the north west to stick to tougher Covid-19 rules brought in there.
It comes as one further death was recorded by the Department of Health on Tuesday. It means 585 people in Northern Ireland have now died with the virus.
A further 669 cases of Covid-19 were also recorded since Monday.

Covid-19 crisis takes its toll on Australia's finances

The Australian government has vowed to slash taxes and increase spending to shore up the country’s coronavirus-ravaged economy, in a move that would see the deficit swell to a record level.
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a package of measures to help reduce unemployment and stimulate the economy in his budget on Tuesday.
Those measures included A$17.8bn (£9.8bn; $12.6bn) in personal tax cuts and A$5.2bn in employment programmes.
This spending is forecast to increase Australia’s deficit to a record A$213 billion, or 11% of gross domestic product (GDP), this financial year.
The deficit is the difference between government spending and revenue over the course of a financial year.
"This is a heavy burden, but a necessary one to responsibly deal with the greatest challenge of our time," said Mr Frydenberg.
With lockdowns closing businesses, the pandemic has sent the global economy into a tailspin. Australia’s economy shrank by 7% in the three months to June, the most since records began in 1959.
Read more: A visual guide to the economic impact of the pandemic

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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 16:38

UK records 76 more coronavirus deaths

A further 76 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. It brings the total number of deaths to 42,369.
And there have been 14,542 positive coronavirus cases recorded in the UK in a 24-hour period, according to government data .
It brings the total number of cases to 530,113.

WHO chief: Hope of vaccine by year’s end

There is hope that an effective vaccine against the coronavirus will be ready by the end of this year, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world needs to use “all the tools at hand” to end the pandemic, including - but not limited to - vaccines.
“There is hope by the end of this year that we may have a vaccine. There is hope,” Dr Tedros said on Tuesday at the end of a two-day meeting of the WHO’s executive board.
Currently, there are about 40 different vaccines in clinical trials - including one being developed by the University of Oxford that is already in an advanced stage of testing.
But Dr Tedros did not elaborate on which vaccine he thought would be available by the end of the year.
A WHO initiative is aiming to give countries worldwide equitable access to nine vaccines , once they are licensed and approved.
However, scientists have warned that an effective vaccine will not suddenly return life to normal , as it could take months for it to be produced, distributed and administered on a large scale.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 18:38

New UK cases come after technical glitch

The UK coronavirus death figure is a sharp increase from Monday - when there were 19 deaths recorded, and 12,594 new cases.
And they come after a technical glitch which led to there being a high number of cases recorded over the weekend.
It emerged that nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus had gone unreported, delaying efforts to trace contacts of people who tested positive.
Public Health England said 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were left out of the UK daily case figures.
They were then added to reach Saturday's figure of 12,872 new cases and Sunday's figure of 22,961.
PHE said all those who tested positive had been informed. But it means others in close contact with them were not.
Read more about the missing cases here .

Sharp rise in England's Covid hospital admissions

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
The number of new Covid cases admitted to hospital has jumped by a quarter in England in a day .
There were 478 hospitalisations on Sunday, up from 386 the day before.
It is the largest daily figure since early June. There were no admissions in Northern Ireland, while the data for Scotland is not yet available for Sunday - and Wales counts cases differently.
There are now nearly 2,800 patients in hospital in England with Covid. At the peak, it topped 17,000.

New York City closes hundreds of schools in hot spots

New York is forcing hundreds of schools in Queens and Brooklyn to shut for in-person teaching amid persistently high positive rates in nine neighbourhoods with large populations of Orthodox Jews.
The city's mayor had asked the governor for permission to close non-essential businesses as well, but the mayor declined. According to the local media, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have a longstanding political feud.
On Monday, Cuomo threatened: "I have to say to the Orthodox community tomorrow, if you're not willing to live with these rules, then I'm going to close the synagogues."
The order affects about 200 private schools and 100 public schools for two weeks. It represents the first major reversal to the city's rollback of virus mitigation measures.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 18:45

White House blocked proposal that would delay vaccine until after election

The White House shot down a proposed rule from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would have required vaccines be tested on patients for at least two months before they can be approved for public use.
The rule would have effectively made it impossible for a vaccine to hit the market before the 3 November presidential election.
Trump has said a vaccine could be released any day now, and that it could be available before election day.
Polls show that growing numbers of Americans fear that a vaccine may be released too early under less-stringent "emergency use authorisation" and will not be deemed safe by medical experts.
According to a CNN poll released on Tuesday, 51% of Americans say they would receive a vaccine once one becomes available.
Seven former FDA commissioners last week penned a Washington Post article in which they attacked the Trump administration for “undermining the credibility” of the regulatory agency.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has warned of a vaccine being released too early and before it can be properly studied. The position has led Republicans to attack him as "anti-vax," - a term for people opposed to vaccinations.

Facebook removes President Trump’s flu post

Facebook has removed one of President Trump’s posts for breaching its rules on coronavirus misinformation.
In the post, President Trump falsely claimed that Covid-19 is less deadly than the seasonal flu.
“We remove incorrect information about the severity of Covid-19, and have now removed this post,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC .
Trump has routinely played down the threat of the virus, telling Americans on Monday they had nothing to fear, after he spent time in hospital with Covid-19.
The president shared a similar post about the flu to his Twitter account on Tuesday. The tweet remains accessible, but Twitter has flagged it for violating its rules about “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19”.
Experts say the mortality rate of Covid-19 it is thought to be far higher than that of most strains of the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 22,000 people in the US died from the flu during the last flu season from late 2019 into 2020. By comparison, the coronavirus outbreak in the US has killed more than 210,000 people so far this year alone, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

Top US general Mark Milley quarantining

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Mark Milley oversees the US Joint Chiefs of Staff

Top US General Mark Milley, who oversees the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in quarantine after a military aide to President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.
Several other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which runs the US military branches, are also self-isolating and working from home.
One of the five military aides that travels with the president - (it’s their job to carry the suitcase containing the nuclear launch codes known as “the football”) - tested positive earlier today.
The newly infected military aide is reportedly a member of the Coast Guard. The Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard, Admiral Charles Ray tested positive, according to a statement released today.
Over the weekend, one of Trump’s military valets also tested positive, US media reported on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, the Washington Post confirmed New York Times reports that said White House housekeeping staff who tested positive for the virus weeks ago were told to use "discretion" when publicly discussing their diagnosis.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Oct 06 2020, 20:02

What's been happening in the UK today?

It's been another busy day of news in the UK. Here's what's been happening so far:

  • Boris Johnson vowed to defeat Covid and build a better country over the next decade in his leader's speech to the Conservative conference, which happened online. He warned the UK could not return to normal after the pandemic, instead, it would be a "catalyst" for major change
  • The number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus has jumped by a quarter in England in a day. There were 478 people admitted to hospital on Sunday - the largest daily figure since early June - up from 386
  • The UK recorded 76 more deaths of people, within 28 days of them testing positive for coronavirus. There were also 14,542 new cases recorded
  • New coronavirus restrictions for Scotland will be announced on Wednesday - but it will not be another full lockdown , First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. But she did not rule out local travel restrictions or the possible closure of pubs and restaurants in some areas
  • Households could be banned from mixing in Nottingham after a surge in cases. Director of public health Alison Challenger said rules were likely to be similar to those already in place in parts of northern England
  • A group of 400 freelance musicians has played outside Parliament to highlight the plight of the music industry , with a concurrent protest outside Birmingham's Symphony Hall.

Today's global headlines
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In case you missed them, here are some of today’s major developments from around the world:

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