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Coronavirus - 7th October


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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 08:59

Summary for Wednesday, 7th October

  • Democrat Joe Biden says the next presidential debate on 15 October should not take place if the president still has Covid-19
  • Trump has given no indication he would bow out, saying in a tweet that he is "looking forward" to the debate
  • Stephen Miller is the latest White House adviser to test positive, along with a top military official
  • Scotland is set to announce new restrictions but this is not expected to be a second lockdown
  • The wealth of the world's billionaires grew by more than a quarter during the height of the pandemic, a study finds
  • A Kent hospital has been ordered to make "significant improvements" after staff were found failing to follow Covid-19 rules
  • More than 1 million people have died and 35.8 million people have caught Covid-19 around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University

Good morning if you're joining us in the UK, and hello to all of you around the world.
Welcome to our Iive coverage of all the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the main world headlines:

Stay with us, as we’ll be bringing you experts’ analysis, eyewitness accounts, and reports from BBC correspondents around the world.

Latest from the UK

If you’re joining us from the UK here are the main stories you need to know about this morning:

Latest from across Europe

Restrictions are coming into force around the continent as Covid-19 infections rise further:

  • More than 40% of intensive care beds are full in the French capital Paris, according to regional health officials, and the Pasteur Institute warns it could hit 100% by the end of October
  • The German capital Berlin has ordered a 23:00 to 06:00 curfew for restaurants and bars. Mayor Michael Müller says “if we don’t act now we’ll end up under lockdown again”
  • From tomorrow, Italians will have to carry a mask and wear it in most cases including outdoors – under a law to be signed today by PM Giuseppe Conte
  • From Friday, Belgians will have to limit close contacts to a maximum of three people outside the home
  • Finland has seen cases rise to 227 in a day and the government is planning earlier closing times for restaurant bars from this weekend
  • Elsewhere, the Czech Republic has recorded a new high of 4,457 new cases - with 13 more deaths and a sharp rise in hospital admissions. An appeal by three intensive care hospital directors has been widely shared on social media: “You have to listen to us,” they say
  • Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez presents a six-year economic recovery plan today with an unprecedented 53.7% increase in public spending planned

Irish police set up checkpoints to discourage non-essential travel

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Police have set up more than 132 checkpoints across the Republic of Ireland to encourage people to remain in their own counties and only undertake essential journeys.
The Garda checkpoints came into force as of midnight on Tuesday as the whole country was placed under level three coronavirus restrictions, following a rise in cases.
Although officers do not have the legal power to stop people breaking the restrictions, traffic will likely be delayed as they question motorists and ask some people to turn back.
On Tuesday, 432 new confirmed cases were recorded in the Republic of Ireland, along with one death.
Read more here .

New Scottish virus restrictions to be announced

Later today we'll be hearing from Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who will be announcing new restrictions following a rise in coronavirus cases.
She's already made clear the new rules will not signal a return to a full lockdown, even for a short period of time.
A nationwide travel ban or the possibility of people being told to stay at home has also been ruled out, and the first minister has pledged schools will only close for the duration of the October holidays.
But there has been speculation that local travel restrictions could be imposed in areas with higher levels of the virus, and some pubs, restaurants and other venues could see tighter controls - or even temporary closure.
Sturgeon will confirm the new measures in a speech to the Scottish Parliament at about 14:50 BST and we'll bring you the latest here.
The first minister said in June that she believe Scotland was "not far away" from eliminating the virus, but infections have increased sharply in recent weeks. About 730 cases are being recorded every day in Scotland on average - compared with 285 a fortnight ago - and the number of people dying or being admitted to hospital is also increasing.
Read more on this story

Joe Biden: No debate if Trump still infected

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Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden has said the second televised debate should not take place if President Donald Trump is still infected.
"I think if he still has Covid, we shouldn't have a debate," Biden said on Tuesday.
"I think we're gonna have to follow very strict guidelines. Too many people have been infected and it's a very serious problem."
The debate is scheduled for 15 October in Miami, Florida.
Trump tested positive on Thursday 1 October, but it's not clear when he caught the virus or began to feel unwell.
According to US public health guidelines, Trump should remain in isolation for up to 10 days after symptoms first appear.

Biden 'looking for an out' on debate - Trump adviser

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A Trump campaign adviser has told the BBC the president is “optimistic” he will be able to take part in the second televised debate with his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Jenna Ellis told the BBC’s Today programme that Trump was “doing really well” - but the final decision would be taken after consultations with the White House physicians.
Ellis said the president was “taking this virus seriously”, but added that “we shouldn’t live in fear of this virus”.
She also said that Joe Biden "didn’t’ do really well" in the first, chaotic debate last week.
"It's very clear Biden is looking for an out on this one".
You can read our correspondent Anthony Zurcher's assessment of the last debate here.

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Tighter local restrictions 'under review' in England

The government wants to avoid another national lockdown in England, the international trade secretary has said - but she did not rule out more local measures.
Asked whether ministers were meeting to discus tighter restrictions in some areas of the country, Liz Truss told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Ministers keep them under review, working very closely with the chief medical officer and the chief scientific officer, making sure that we are keeping the balance right between protecting lives and protecting livelihoods."
She also defended the effectiveness of local lockdowns, arguing they had allowed the economy to keep going and schools to stay open.
However, many areas under increased local restrictions have seen cases and hospital admissions continue to soar.
Read more on whether local lockdowns are working here .

What is the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed?

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
Hospitals in England have seen the number of new admissions jump by a quarter in just one day.
During the spring, the threat of the NHS being overwhelmed was one of the prime reasons the UK went into lockdown. So how well-prepared is the health service for the second wave?
The rise in infections in the community is now clearly translating into new cases being admitted to hospital. But we are still a long way from the peak.
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The increase in admissions means there are now nearly 3,000 patients in hospital with Covid. That represents about 3% of hospital beds.
But given the reduced amount of activity - latest figures suggest only about half the number of routine operations are being done than was the case before the pandemic - there is still plenty of available space.
Read more .

Hospital ordered to act over Covid safety failings

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Inspectors have demanded improvements from a hospital in south-east England after a report highlighted a number of failings over Covid-19 precautions.
The Care Quality Commission inspected the emergency department and medical wards at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, on 11 August.
Some staff were seen wearing masks incorrectly, not using hand sanitiser and not adhering to social distancing.
The East Kent Hospitals Trust said it acted immediately to address concerns.
Read more .

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 12:22

Archbishop hopes UK can celebrate Christmas with family

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he hopes the UK will have made enough progress in tackling coronavirus to celebrate Christmas with family.
"When Christmas comes I hope we will have made enough progress that we will be able to have a different sort of Christmas but one in which we can rejoice and celebrate in the birth of Christ and in each other’s company within family groups," Justin Welby told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
He said there was currently no sign churches were places where people were catching the virus, with measures including social distancing, masks and hand washing in place.

Paris region sees spike in intensive care patients

French officials say more than 40% of intensive care hospital beds in the Île-de-France region are now taken by Covid patients.
They say 449 people are being treated in hospitals in area, which includes the capital Paris. It is France's most populous region with more than 12 million inhabitants.
The officials warn that the occupancy rate could reach 50% in about two weeks.
Some hospitals have already started rescheduling planned surgeries.
France has been struggling to contain a rising rate of infection which started to grow exponentially in late August.

Record cases seen in several European countries

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine have all reported record numbers of daily infections.
Czech health officials said there were 4,457 cases in the past 24 hours. The country has reported the highest number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants (326.8) over the past 14 days in the EU, overtaking Spain.
Ukraine confirmed 4,753 new cases, including 219 infections in children, and 77 deaths.
Meanwhile in Poland, there were 3,003 new cases and 75 virus-related deaths. In comparison, the daily record for new cases in spring was 599. The number of deaths broke the previous record of 58 set yesterday.
In Bulgaria, there were 436 cases and eight deaths in the past 24 hours.

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 12:28

Paris bars shut as city goes on maximum alert

The rising number of people in intensive care in the Paris region comes as cases increase exponentially and more restrictions come into force in the French capital as a result.
On Tuesday, Paris shut all bars and cafes completely after the French government raised the capital's coronavirus alert to maximum. Bars, gyms and swimming pools were closed for two weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, officials said.
But restaurants can remain open if strict hygiene rules are in place.
France's maximum alert level comes into force when the infection rate in a locality exceeds 250 cases per 100,000 people and at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients.
Overall, France has reported more than 675,000 cases, with more than 32,000 deaths.

Rule of four for Belgians under new restrictions

Kevin Connolly, BBC Europe Correspondent
Belgium’s new government is introducing tighter restrictions on bars and social gatherings in the hope of bringing infection rates down and avoiding more severe measures in the weeks to come.
Bars and cafes across the country will have to close at 23:00, copying a rule which is already in force in Brussels. The Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said the aim was to avoid following Paris in closing bars entirely.
There’s been some criticism in Belgium of the frequency with which rules have been tweaked, but Vandenbroucke said the important number all Belgians should remember was four. That’s now the maximum number of drinkers allowed to gather round a table in a bar and it’s also the new permitted size of a social bubble – previously it was five.
The incoming Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has also appointed a coronavirus commissioner to co-ordinate the public health efforts of the country’s multiple layers of local, regional and federal government. Pedro Facon’s first job is to establish a so-called corona-barometer designed to feed real time information about infection from doctors’ surgeries to government.

Saving lives in Afghanistan over the phone

Facing a new disease like Covid-19 is particularly difficult for healthcare workers in low-resource and war-torn countries.
The charity Teleheal is helping doctors in Afghanistan fight coronavirus via telemedicine.
Doctors around the world volunteer for the charity, offering life-saving advice on their smartphones and laptops to their colleagues in Afghanistan, Syria, South Africa and Uganda.

Fears over Covid test delays after warehouse failure

Key NHS tests - including for coronavirus - are under threat, after a supply chain failure at a major diagnostics company.
Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche said problems with a move to a new warehouse had led to a "very significant" drop in its processing capacity.
A spokesman said Covid-19 tests would be prioritised, but it could take two weeks to fix the issue.
The backlog could also affect tests for conditions including cancer and heart disease.
Read more .

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 12:32

Premiership Rugby match called off after positive tests

A Premiership Rugby match has been called off in England after six more players at Sale Sharks tested positive for Covid-19.
Their game against Worcester was originally due to take place on Sunday, but was postponed after the club reported 19 coronavirus cases.
It means Worcester are awarded a 20-0 win and Sale miss out on the play-offs.
Sale would have finished in the top four had they won - but Bath will now travel to Exeter in the semi-finals on Saturday, while Bristol go to Wasps.
Read more

Covid tests 'fill post box' in student area

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Royal Mail has had to increase collections from a post box in a popular student area after it was seemingly filled up with Covid test kits.
The box is in Ilkeston Road in Nottingham - where tighter restrictions are expected to be introduced following a "dramatic" raise in cases.
Royal Mail said the box was in an area of the city with a high student population and had received "larger than usual volumes of completed test kits in the last 24 hours following a recent spike in student cases".
On Monday, the University of Nottingham said more than 400 of its students had tested positive, with many of those living in private housing.
The city's infection rate - 440.1 per 100,000 - is the fifth highest in England. There have been 1,465 cases in the week up to 3 October, up from 237 the week before.
Read more .

Tesco profits surge as online orders double

Tesco has reported that its profits have soared over the past six months, despite the pandemic.
The supermarket giant said sales in the UK and Ireland rose more than 8% and it made a pre-tax profit of £551m, 28.7% up on 2019.
With more customers turning to online shopping, Tesco more than doubled delivery capacity to 1.5 million slots a week, including serving 674,000 vulnerable customers.
While demand for food rose, clothing fared less well, with sales down 17.2%.
Read more here.

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Israeli PM's wife 'violated lockdown rules to get haircut'

Yolande Knell - BBC Middle East correspondent, Jerusalem
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Sara Netanyahu reportedly thought she was allowed to get a haircut as she was filming a public information video

Reports in Israel claim that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, broke the government’s Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to get her hair done.
According to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper , a hair stylist went to the prime minister’s official residence last week.
However, the lockdown rules imposed last month after a spike in infections don’t allow movement further than 1km (0.6 miles) from a person’s home, except for essential needs. These do not include beauty treatments for someone without an official role such as Mrs Netanyahu.
Visiting someone else’s house is also not permitted.
Sources representing Mrs Netanyahu said she thought she was allowed to get a haircut as she was filming a public information video about the need to wear a face mask.
They added that she and the hair stylist wore masks and gloves while they were together, and that she even asked the stylist to avoid conversation.
Mrs Netanyahu is the latest in a series of high-profile Israeli figures said to have broken lockdown restrictions, including a minister who later tested positive for the virus, and the head of the Shin Bet security service.

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Auckland restrictions lifted as NZ records no new infections

Shaimaa Khalil - BBC News, Sydney
Coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, which now joins the rest of the country at the lowest alert level.
New Zealand has recorded no new infections among the general population in the last 24-hour period.
In August, a local outbreak of the disease in Auckland prompted the closure of public spaces such as museums and playgrounds and a return to working from home.
The relaxation has taken effect 10 days before a general election in which New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to be rewarded by voters for her handling of the pandemic.

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White House infections spread

Four Covid rules broken by Trump and the White House

If you're just joining us, here's a quick recap on how coronavirus has spread further among those around US President Donald Trump:

  • White House adviser Stephen Miller on Tuesday confirmed he had tested positive. He has been self-isolating for the past five days
  • Several military leaders are also isolating after Coast Guard official Admiral Charles Ray tested positive on Monday. He is said to be experiencing mild symptoms
  • A number of other senior US officials were earlier confirmed as being infected

President Trump returned to work in the White House from hospital on Monday despite being diagnosed with the disease only last week.
While at Walter Reed Medical Center, he was treated with dexamethasone - a steroid medication usually given to severe and critical Covid-19 patients - and supplemental oxygen.
Read our full story

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 19:44

Residents confined to homes again under Jordan weekend curfew

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Jordan has announced that a 48-hour nationwide curfew will be imposed from Friday, following a spike in Covid-19 infections.
The director of the Coronavirus Crisis Management Cell, Mazen Faraya, said only critical workers would be allowed to leave their homes, according to state news agency Petra .
He added that the curfew would be repeated every weekend until further notice, and one already in place between 01:00 and 06:00 on weekdays would continue. Schools will also be shut from Friday.
Last week, the government stiffened penalties for those caught violating coronavirus-related restrictions. People now face up to a year in prison if they organise gatherings attended by more than 20 people.
Jordan enforced a tough lockdown at the start of the pandemic and saw some of the lowest numbers of infections in the region. But there has been an alarming rise in recent weeks.
Health Minister Saad Jaber said on Tuesday that 1,507 new cases had been recorded in the previous 24 hours, over half of them in the capital Amman, as well as 12 deaths. The kingdom has reported 19,000 cases and 122 deaths in total.

All bars and cafes in Brussels to close for a month

Kevin Connolly, BBC Europe Correspondent
As Belgium’s federal government moves to tighten restrictions at the national level – introducing an 23:00 closing time for bars – the regional government of Brussels has taken steps to ensure its local measures are tighter still.
From tomorrow morning all cafes and bars in the capital city and its surrounding region are being instructed to shut down for a month.
Drinking alcohol outdoors will also be banned.
The local rules come on top of new national rules, which limit the size of individual social bubbles to four people – it had been five until today.
The regional Minister-President Rudi Vervoort said: "One person in every seven tested in Brussels returns a positive result. The virus is everywhere in the region."
The Belgian government adviser Yves Van Laethem said Brussels was now in the top three most infected cities in Europe – still below Madrid but above Paris where a similar rule for bars has already been introduced.

Latest world and UK headlines

It's lunchtime here in the UK, so let's take a look at the main developments in the UK and around the world in the past 24 hours:

  • Covid patients are now taking up more than 40% of intensive care beds in the Paris region, and the figure is expected to rise further
  • All bars and cafes in Belgium's capital Brussels are closing for a month from Thursday
  • Several other European countries - including Poland and Ukraine - have registered record daily infections
  • The Czech Republic now has the highest number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days in the EU, overtaking Spain
  • Scotland is set to announce new restrictions - but this is not expected to be a second lockdown
  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has asked British PM Boris Johnson to publish the scientific evidence for closing pubs and restaurants at 22:00, before MPs vote on it next week

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Pub giant Greene King plans to cut 800 jobs after curfew

UK pub giant Greene King plans to close dozens of pubs and cut around 800 jobs after trade slumped following the government's 22:00 hospitality curfew.
The company said "tightening of trading restrictions" and changes in government support meant it would be "a challenge" to reopen some of its pubs with 79 sites, including 11 Loch Fyne restaurants, to close.
"Around one-third will be closed permanently and we hope to be able to reopen the others in the future," a spokeswoman said.
She added: "We urgently need the government to step in and provide tailored support to help the sector get through to the spring and prevent further pub closures and job losses."
As we told you earlier, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the government to publish the evidence behind the 22:00 curfew at Prime Minister's Questions.

Are local lockdowns making a difference?

Reality Check
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has criticised the way local restrictions are being managed.
“Twenty local areas have been under restrictions for two months, in 19 of those 20 areas infections rates have gone up,” he said at Prime Minister's Questions.
Judging by the local authorities his party’s press release looks at, the increases are correct.
But they have also included areas which haven’t actually faced local restrictions for two complete months.
For example, Oadby and Wigston did face additional restrictions at the end of June, but these were lifted after a month. They were only placed under restrictions again on 22 September.
He also pointed out that many areas under long-term restrictions in the north of England began them when rates where lower than currently are in parts of London.
This is true: Bury, Tameside, Stockport and Wigan (to name a few) had case rates of between 20 and 30 per 100,000 people when they first went into lockdown.
This is compared to the most recent weekly rate in Hillingdon – the Prime Minister’s constituency – of 46 per 100,000, 57 in Redbridge and 53 in Barking and Dagenham.
Read more about local lockdowns here .

Paris not far from emergency measures as beds fill up

Hugh Schofield - BBC News, Paris
Doctors have begun pointing out a worrying rise in the number of critical beds dedicated to Covid patients in the French capital.
The 30% threshold helped tip Paris into a state of “maximum alert” on Monday - with the resultant closure of bars and cafes.
But on Tuesday the regional health agency for the Île-de-France (Paris and its inner suburbs) reported that the number of Covid sufferers in critical beds in the region had reached 449 - which equals just over 40% of available beds.
Worse, the agency predicted that in the next two weeks the proportion will go up to 50%, as the growing rate of infections translates into more hospitalisations.
The renowned Pasteur Institute even calculated that on current rates of increase, by the end of October all critical beds in the Île-de-France would be occupied by Covid cases.
That was before the extra health measures in Paris kicked in on Monday, so nothing is inevitable. However, what is undeniable is that patients with other critical conditions are already either being deferred treatment or moved to other hospitals outside the Paris region.
Under France’s classification system, there is a single benchmark for shifting a region from “maximum alert” into a state of health emergency. This is when 60% of its critical beds are occupied by Covid victims.
Not so far off then. And among measures that can then be implemented is another confinement of the population.

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Scotland: From possible 'elimination' to tougher restrictions

We'll be hearing from Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at 14:50 BST, with new measures aimed at slowing a surge in coronavirus cases expected.
Back in June she said her country was "not far away" from eliminating the virus, with the number of positive cases in single figures on some days - although she admitted it would be a "challenge" to keep things that way.
Now about 730 new cases are being recorded every day in Scotland on average - compared with 285 a fortnight ago - and the number of people dying or being admitted to hospital is also increasing.
People in Scotland already face tougher restrictions than many other parts of the UK, with a ban on social visits to private homes in place.
But there is now the prospect of more measures - with our political correspondent Nick Eardley saying a "significant crackdown" on the consumption of alcohol in hospitality venues is expected.
Sturgeon has ruled out a return to a full lockdown or nationwide travel ban - and it seems likely the new restrictions will primarily be targeted at the hospitality industry, and areas with high levels of the virus.

Scotland records more than 1,000 daily cases for first time

Scotland has recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the first time.
A further 1,054 people have tested positive for Covid-19, according to figures released by the Scottish government.
However, mass testing was not in place at the peak of the pandemic, so figures are likely to have been higher then.
One more death was also recorded, taking the total number of people who have died in Scotland within 28 days of testing positive to 2,533.
There are 319 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 57 in 24 hours. Of these patients, 28 were in intensive care, up by three.

Pubs and restaurants to close in central Scotland - Sturgeon

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes across central Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, will be forced to close for two weeks from Friday.
They will still be able to offer a takeaway service.
Those outside these areas will be unable to sell alcohol indoors for 16 days from Friday at 18:00, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
Indoor food sales will be allowed until 18:00.
Outdoor sales of alcohol will still be allowed until 22:00.
She said "none of this is easy" and added that she was aware that with every decision "lives and jobs are at stake".
Sturgeon said that with the rise of infections "we need to do more and we need to do it now".

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 20:07

Where pubs will close in Scotland - plus other restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon says that because of "significantly higher levels of infection in the central belt", stricter restrictions will be introduced in five health board areas: Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley.
In these areas all licensed premises, with the exempt of hotels for residents, will be required to close indoors and outdoors, Sturgeon says, though takeaways will be permitted.
Cafes that don’t have an alcohol licence will be able to stay open until 18:00.
Snooker and pool halls, bowling alleys and bingo halls will close for two weeks from 10 October.
Contact sports will be suspended for people aged 18 and over for two weeks, with an exception for professional sport.
Gyms can remain open, the first minister says.
Outdoor live events not permitted and residents should avoid public transport unless it is absolutely necessary, she says.

Recap: What are Scotland's new restrictions?

Here’s a recap of what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced this afternoon:

  • All pubs and restaurants across central Scotland - including in Glasgow and Edinburgh - are to be closed to all but takeaway customers
  • The five health board areas affected by the strictest rules are: Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran
  • People in these areas are also being asked to avoid public transport
  • In other areas, licensed premises will be able to open until 6pm - but can only serve alcohol outdoors
  • The rules come into force at 18:00 on Friday and will be in place until 25 October
  • Cafes which do not have an alcohol licence will be able to stay open until 18:00
  • Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will also close in the five health board areas for two weeks from 10 October
  • And contact sports for people aged 18 and over will be suspended for the next two weeks - with an exception for professional sports
  • Gyms can remain open for individual exercise

Read our story here

Analysis: A short, sharp, shock for Scottish hospitality

Andrew Kerr - Scottish political correspondent
A short, sharp, shock on Scottish hospitality from the first minister.
Nicola Sturgeon talked about a scientific paper to chart the worrying spread of the virus and this has been done to arrest that.
We were warned that there would be a return to the peak level of the virus if these type of restrictions were not put in place.
And hospitality was targeted for the simple reason that this is where households meet and with alcohol people relax a bit more, and perhaps do not obey the restrictions as much.
There is particular concern about that great swathe of central Scotland, with a local lockdown of pubs and restaurants in that area.
It is quite a shock for the hospitality industry.

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 20:15

Breaking News

Further 14,162 coronavirus cases in UK

A further 14,162 people have tested positive for coronavirus across the UK, the government has said.
It brings the total number of UK cases to 544,275.
A further 70 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test as of Wednesday. It brings the total deaths to 42,515.

Breaking News 

Scottish National 5 exams to be cancelled in 2021

National 5 exams are to be cancelled in Scotland in 2021 and replaced with teacher assessments and coursework.
Education Secretary John Swinney said a full exam diet during the continuing Covid-19 pandemic was "too big a risk".
The move came as new restrictions were imposed across Scotland in response to a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases.
Schools are to remain open, but Mr Swinney said it was likely students would still face disruption - meaning an "alternative approach" was needed.
Read the full story here

Plexiglass prepared for Pence-Harris debate

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Pence's team had resisted the installation of plexiglass panels

Anticipation is building for the first and only vice-presidential debate between Vice-President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday night.
When the pair lock horns on stage, there’ll be more than just political divisions on display.
Wearing masks, Harris and Pence will be seated more than 3.7m (12ft) apart, each with a plexiglass screen in front of them to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Event staff were seen erecting the plexiglass partitions on the debate stage.
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Harris requested for there to be panels between her and Pence

Pence's team had opposed the barriers, deeming them unnecessary, but on Tuesday night agreed to have them installed.
The dispute came amid a growing number of positive cases among the inner circle of President Trump , who is continuing his recovery from Covid-19 at the White House.
Both Pence and Harris have tested negative for coronavirus in recent days.
At their debate, guests will be required to wear masks at all times and undergo coronavirus checks upon entry to the venue.
The BBC will be running a live page of tonight's debate, so check back in with the website a few hours from now if you want live coverage of all the twists and turns.
Read more: Who has Trump met and who's tested positive?

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 20:20

Italy sees highest daily spike since full lockdown

Italy has recorded 3,678 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the biggest daily rise since mid-April when the country was under a national lockdown.
It was the steepest 24-hour rise since 17 April, when 3,786 new infections were reported, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) .
In recent weeks, coronavirus infections have been rising at a steadier rate than during the first wave of the pandemic, when the Italian government imposed one of the strictest nationwide lockdowns in the world.
That lockdown inflicted heavy economic costs, but brought contagion under control by the summer, allowing the government to reopen restaurants, bars and shops.
Now, as winter approaches and indoor gatherings become more common, the virus is spreading once again, a trend seen across Europe.
However, there are still far fewer daily infections in Italy than elsewhere in Europe, with France, Spain and the UK all registering thousands more cases per day.

Czech 'penalty king' in serious condition

Coronavirus - 7th October 57463410
Antonin Panenka's cheeky winning penalty technique has been copied by some of the game's greats

Czech football legend Antonin Panenka, who scored an audacious winning penalty to see Czechoslovakia win the 1976 European Championships, has been admitted to hospital with Covid-19, his former club has announced.
In a tweet, Czech club Bohemians Praha 1905 said the former attacking midfielder was in intensive care, describing his condition as "serious".
Bohemians said the 71-year-old had been connected to a machine but did not specify whether it was a mechanical ventilator or life support machine.
Panenka's penalty against West Germany - a cheeky, slow chip as the goalkeeper went the wrong way - has since been emulated by numerous players, and is now known simply as a "Panenka".

Iran sees record daily increase in deaths

The daily coronavirus death toll is on the worrying trajectory in Iran, where a record 239 died with Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.
That increase brings Iran’s overall death toll to 27,658 since the pandemic began, the country’s health ministry reported on Wednesday. It has the highest official death toll and confirmed number of infections in the Middle East, according to Johns Hopkins University.
A further 4,019 cases were also registered on 7 October, pushing the total number of people who have officially tested positive in the country to 483,844. Today's rise in infections is the second highest since the outbreak began, the highest being 4,151 a day earlier.
Authorities have attributed the rise in cases to an increase in testing and people flouting social-distancing rules, but analysis by BBC Reality Check reveals a more nuanced picture.
Iran has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the Middle East.

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 20:25

German hotels off limits to people from virus hotspots

Jenny Hill - BBC Berlin correspondent
People living in parts of Berlin and other coronavirus hotspots in Germany will be prohibited from staying in hotels in the rest of the country from Thursday.
Senior politicians from each of the 16 German states met online today to discuss rising number of infections in the country.
Nationwide, there were 2,828 new cases and 16 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. Infections have been rising steadily since August in Germany, increasing by more than 2,000 a day recently, World Health Organization (WHO) data shows .
The capital Berlin announced a late-night curfew on restaurants and bars on Tuesday.
Four districts of Berlin are particularly badly affected and are among at least seven so-called hotspots, where cases exceed 50 per 100,000 people for seven days.

Where in the UK are hospital admissions highest?

As the charts show, the number of people with Covid-19 needing hospital treatment is highest in the north of England.
Coronavirus - 7th October Dac3e010

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 20:27

Kuenssberg: England's pubs could follow in Scotland's steps

Laura Kuenssberg - Political editor
However you look at the blizzard of statistics about the coronavirus, the disease is still spreading - despite town after town being placed under extra limits.
Even before Nicola Sturgeon's moves on Wednesday to try to break the spread in Scotland, ministers in Westminster were looking at the next steps they would need to take to stop the acceleration of the virus.
As we've reported , the government is likely to introduce a tiered approach to put different parts of the country with different spreads of the diseases into different categories.
But the exact nature of the strictest form of restrictions are yet to be set in stone.
It's a complicated equation. The Department of Health is worried about the spread of the disease, as well as other patients losing out on other treatments because of the focus on Covid.
No 11 is fearful about the impact on the economy, which has already had a profound shock.
And it's No 10's job to worry about all of it, then reach a conclusion.
It's clear that shutting pubs and restaurants is a possibility - the "circuit breaker" that we have talked about on here lots of times.
But there are many questions still to be settled.
Read more from Laura here

Newcastle universities take teaching online

All teaching at Newcastle and Northumbria universities will switch online from Thursday for a minimum of three weeks after hundreds of students tested positive for Covid-19.
More than 750 Northumbria University students have tested positive for the virus as have more than 100 students and staff at Newcastle University.
They join the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Sheffield which have switched to online learning to protect the health of students and staff.
Sheffield Hallam University has also decided to increase the number of online lessons it offers over the next two weeks after it recorded 373 cases of Covid-19 among students and staff.
The Newcastle universities said they made the decision in consultation with the area's director of public health and the city council.
Staff at Northumbria had called on vice-chancellor Andrew Wathey to resign as University and College Union (UCU) members agreed to ballot for industrial action over safety concerns .

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Post by Kitkat Wed Oct 07 2020, 20:30

Iran sees record daily deaths - and other global headlines

We’re pausing our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic soon.
In case you missed them, here are some of the main developments from around the world today.

  • White House adviser Stephen Miller and a top military official were the latest positive cases around President Donald Trump, who continued his recovery and has told his doctor: "I feel great!"
  • Meanwhile, Vice-President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris are preparing to debate each other from behind plexiglass barriers on Wednesday night
  • Iran reported a record daily number of new coronavirus deaths , as it struggles with what officials have called a "third wave" of its outbreak
  • Italy recorded 3,678 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the biggest daily rise since mid-April when the country was under lockdown
  • Other European countries have registered record daily increases in new coronavirus cases - Poland and Ukraine among them
  • The organisers of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics said they were cutting $280m (£217m) from the budget for a scaled back, less flashy Games next year
  • The World Bank said extreme poverty is set to rise this year for the first time in more than two decades, with coronavirus expected to push up to 115 million people into that category

UK round up: Pubs shut and exams cancelled in Scotland

As our live page draws to a close, here are some of the headlines from across the UK today:

Thanks for reading

We're now closing our live coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, but will be back on Thursday morning in the UK.

Our writers were Becky Morton, Emma Harrison, Doug Faulkner, Joshua Nevett, and Yaroslav Lukov. The editors were Jasmine Taylor-Coleman, Helier Cheung, and Owen Amos.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 13:55