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Coronavirus - 8th October


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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 09:25

Summary for Thursday, 8th October

  • US President Donald Trump hails the experimental Covid-19 treatment he has taken as "cure", and says catching the virus was a "blessing from God" in disguise
  • Referring to a combination of antibodies still undergoing clinical trials, Trump says he wants all Americans to have access to the drugs he was given
  • Vice-presidential candidates Mike Pence and Kamala Harris clashed fiercely over the government's response to the pandemic in their only debate
  • Restrictions are to be further tightened in parts of England early next week, with the closure of bars and restaurants a possibility
  • In Scotland, leaders of the hospitality industry warn that tighter measures will "sound the death knell" for some businesses
  • Italy has made face masks compulsory in outdoor spaces as it fights a spike in cases
  • Nearly 37 million cases have been confirmed globally with more than 1.05 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

Good morning if you are 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.
We will be talking a lot about the live TV debate between the vice-presidential candidates in the US - Democrat Kamala Harris and Vice-President Mike Pence. Coronavirus, unsurprisingly, was one of their main topics. And there was also a fly. More on that later.
First, here are some other stories we are following:

  • President Donald Trump, who spent three days in hospital with Covid-19, has hailed the experimental treatment he was taken, saying he wanted all Americans to have access to the drugs he was given - a combination of antibodies still undergoing clinical trials
  • Trump, who has been widely criticised for his handling of the pandemic, has also said his infection was "a blessing from God" in disguise
  • In Italy, masks are now mandatory outdoors across the country
  • Bars and cafes in Belgium's capital Brussels are shut for one month from Thursday
  • Brazil's confirmed infections surpass five million, with more than 148,000 deaths

Stay with us as we bring you analysis and reports from BBC correspondents and experts. In the meantime, our data team has been tracking the global pandemic.

UK round-up

And here's a round-up of the main stories from around the UK:

Trump hails experimental treatment as 'cure'

Donald Trump has claimed his treatment with an experimental drug cocktail last week was a "cure" - rather than just a therapeutic. In video posted on Twitter, the US president said his infection "was a blessing from God" in disguise.
Trump, who spent three days in hospital with Covid-19, said he was feeling great, and wanted all Americans to have free access to the treatments he was given, a combination of antibodies still undergoing clinical trials.
He added that hundreds of thousands of doses were nearly ready. The president has been widely criticised for his handling of the pandemic, and critics say he has repeatedly downplayed the threat posed by the virus.

Dexamethasone, remdesivir, Regeneron: Trump's treatment explained

James Gallagher -Health and science correspondent
So, Trump was given a number of different medicines as part of his Covid-19 treatment.
Treatments fall into two camps - those that directly attack the virus and are more likely to be useful in the first phase, where the virus is the problem, and drugs to calm the immune system which are more likely to work in the second, deadly phase, when our immune system goes into overdrive and starts causing massive collateral damage to other organs.
Let's look at the drugs the president was given.
Monoclonal antibody therapy
This is a combination of antibodies, made by the company Regeneron, which mimic our own immune response. The antibodies physically stick to the coronavirus so they cannot get inside the body's cells and they make the virus more "visible" to the rest of the immune system.
The company published results on its website showing the cocktail reduced the amount of virus in the body as well as the time it took patients to recover. However, this was in people who did not need hospital treatment and the data has not been seen by scientists or doctors.
The evidence in patients is still very limited and these monoclonals are still classed as an experimental drug - clinical trials are ongoing. The president is one of only a handful of people outside those trials to undergo the treatment under what is known as "compassionate use".
This antiviral drug was first developed as a treatment for Ebola. It works by confusing the virus as it looks chemically similar to some of the raw materials the virus needs to replicate. This disrupts the virus's ability to make thousands of copies of itself.
However, there is no evidence that lives have been saved with remdesivir. Like monoclonal antibodies, remdesivir is likely to have its biggest impact early on in the course of an infection.
This steroid saves lives by calming the immune system, but it needs to be used at the right time. Give it too early and the drug could make things worse by impairing the body's ability to fight off the virus. This is not a drug you would usually give in the "mild" stage of the disease.

What are the new restrictions planned in England?

Latest in Europe

Germany has reported 4,058 new infections - its highest daily number since the start of April - and there have been 16 more deaths. But officials point out testing has also risen sharply since the end of September. A number of Germany's 16 states now want visitors from hot-spot areas in Germany itself to provide negative tests before coming.
Brussels closed bars, cafes and tea rooms for a month this morning - and it has banned alcohol in public areas too - in an attempt to bring down infection rates in all the Belgian capital's 19 municipal areas. For the first time since May Belgium has more than 1,000 of its 2,000 coronavirus hospital beds filled.
Five French cities will be classified this evening as maximum alert zones, France Inter radio reports: Lille, Lyon, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne et Toulouse all have infection rates over 250 per 100,000 people. Last night President Emmanuel Macron said more restrictions were necessary to counter the spread similar to those already imposed in Marseille and Paris, "particularly among the elderly"; 143 people have been admitted to intensive care in the past 24 hours.
In Italy you now have to wear a mask outdoors unless you can guarantee continuous isolation - read more about the new rules here . President Sergio Mattarella has extended Italy's state of emergency until the end of January.
Sweden's seeing more cases in nursing homes - Swedish TV says there have been four outbreaks in the city of Uppsala alone.

Easyjet calls for government support as it faces £800m loss

EasyJet's chief executive has said the government "urgently needs to step up" with support for the aviation industry as the company warns it faces losses of more than £800m this year .
"Aviation continues to face the most severe threat in its history and the UK government urgently needs to step up with a bespoke package of measures to ensure airlines are able to support economic recovery when it comes," Johan Lundgren said.
The airline said it expects to fly at just 25% of normal capacity into next year and will be unable to report a profit for the first time in its 25-year history.
The carrier has already taken a £600m loan from the government, cut 4,500 jobs, raised £608m from selling aircraft and tapped shareholders for £419m.

Cafes and bars shut in Brussels amid stark situation

Gavin Lee - Europe reporter
Cafes and bars in the Belgian capital, Brussels, have been ordered to close this morning for at least a month, as authorities try to reduce the sharp rise in covid19 cases.
Belgian officials say Brussels is now in the top three most infected cities, second only to the Spanish capital Madrid.
The coronavirus situation is stark. According to the regional president, one person out of every seven tested, returns a positive result.
There is notable pressure on hospitals in the city, with one hospital transporting patients elsewhere to cope with the demand for ICU beds. Officials say it is because people have become complacent, fatigued by the rules.
Cafes and bars have been described as contamination hotspots. Restaurants are allowed to remain open. Since the announcement, most of the regional government has had to gone into isolation, after one of the ministers tested positive.

Germany warns: Virus could spread 'uncontrollably'

Some strong words coming from Germany, where the leading health official has warned the country could see 10,000 new infections per day unless people stick to hygiene and social distancing rules.
"The current situation worries me a lot. We don't know how things will develop over the next few weeks," said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
"It's possible that we will see more than 10,000 new cases a day. It's possible that the virus spreads uncontrollably."
Germany has reported a spike in daily infections, with confirmed cases rising by almost a third to 4,058.
Although lower than many other European countries, it is the highest number of cases in the past 24 hours since April.
Health Minister Jens Spahn has described the increase as worrying, telling Germans they must not become complacent.
"At the end of the day, it's us, the citizens who - through your prudent actions - have brought Germany through this crisis so far, not least because you've integrated the rules into your day-to-day life," he said.
"We must not gamble away this achievement. The situation in the capital shows how careless, sometimes ignorant actions on the pandemic can quickly lead to other developments."

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 09:51

Masks made mandatory outdoors across Italy

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Face masks are now mandatory in outdoor spaces in Italy

Italy has made it mandatory to wear face masks in outdoor spaces across the country in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Italians must also wear masks indoors everywhere except in private homes.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said tough measures were needed to avoid a return to an economically devastating lockdown. "From now on, masks and protective gear have to be brought with us when we leave our house and worn. We have to wear them all the time unless we are in a situation of continuous isolation," he said.
Masks must also be worn in shops, offices, on public transport, and in bars and restaurants when not seated at a table.
The measures have already been put in place in some parts of Italy that have seen an increase in infections, such as Rome, but the latest announcement makes them nationwide.
Italians were subject to some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world when the country became the first in Europe to be overwhelmed by the coronavirus earlier in the year.
Our correspondent Mark Lowen looks at how Italy has managed to keep the virus in check more successfully than many other European countries in recent months.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 10:02

In graphics: Covid-19 in Europe

As we told you a bit earlier, several European countries have seen record daily numbers of new cases in recent days.
A data processing issue in the UK meant nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus were added to the weekend's figures, and daily cases have continued to rise since then.
The graphics below gives us a better picture of the situation in different countries across the continent - and you can find out more on our tracker.

Coronavirus - 8th October 9d152310

A number of European countries have re-imposed lockdowns and other restrictions in their worst-affected regions, and there have been fresh appeals for people to wear face coverings and follow social distancing rules.

Coronavirus - 8th October 672d3910

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 11:00

Analysis: More action in England 'clearly on the way'

Laura Kuenssberg - Political editor
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 is 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 is No 10's job to worry about all of it, then reach a conclusion. But Boris Johnson also knows that his own MPs and the opposition parties are more and more sceptical as each day passes about what the government proposes.
A lot about the plans is unknown, but the discussions are serious. The Treasury is already looking at financial support for the different options, including not just closing pubs in the most affected areas, but potentially well beyond.
There is a lot yet to settle, and the next formal announcement is likely (as things stand) not to come until Monday.
But more action is clearly on the way.

Covid deaths 'three times higher' than pneumonia or flu

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
More than three times as many people died due to Covid-19 compared with deaths from flu or pneumonia in England and Wales in 2020 , according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.
There were 48,168 Covid-19 deaths between January and August 2020 in England and Wales compared with 14,013 from pneumonia or flu. Most of those deaths were due to pneumonia, with only 394 due to flu.
This is different to analyses published previously that looked at deaths that involved these conditions.
The analysis looked at deaths in England and Wales where the death certificate said that a condition was the underlying cause of death.
2020 has been a mild year for pneumonia/flu deaths, with the number each month below the average seen in the last five years. But in July and August, there were more deaths from pneumonia/flu than Covid-19 (928 vs 312 in August).

Young people driving virus spike in Germany, minister says

Here's a bit more of what Jens Spahn, the German health minister, had to say about the sharp rise in new Covid-19 infections in the country:
 :Left Quotes:  The number of coronavirus infections is on the rise and especially today, the increase is very high. At the same time we're seeing that the number of deaths and patients in intensive care and those who require ventilators is still comparably low and that the health system can handle the situation very well.
The number of coronavirus infections is on the rise and especially today, the increase is very high. At the same time we're seeing that the number of deaths and patients in intensive care and those who require ventilators is still comparably low and that the health system can handle the situation very well.
:Left Quotes:  It's mostly, not only, but mostly young people getting infected right now, partly because they want to party and travel and because they believe they're invulnerable. They are not. A [coronavirus] infection is and remains a serious illness.
:Left Quotes: We want to prevent an exponential rise, that we reach a point in this pandemic where we lose control. We aren't there yet.

Hospital waiting lists in England soar to 4.2 million people

Nick Triggle - Health correspondent
Thousands of patients are going without vital NHS treatment as hospitals are still struggling to get services back to normal, figures for England show.
Nearly two million patients have been waiting longer than the target time of 18 weeks for routine treatment and surgery. The numbers referred for cancer check-ups and starting treatment are also below levels seen a year ago.
But services are seeing more people than they were in the spring when the pandemic first hit.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 11:10

Israel's second lockdown slowing outbreak, data suggest

Coronavirus testing data from Israel suggest there has been a slowdown in the country’s outbreak, three weeks after a second nationwide lockdown was imposed.
The health ministry said 4,117 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Wednesday, marking a third day of declining figures. The rate of positive tests - 9% - was meanwhile the lowest recorded since 16 September. Officials said the statistics were cause for “cautious optimism”.
Israel has recorded more than 282,000 infections and 1,824 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
In recent weeks the country has experienced infection and mortality rates that have been among the highest in the world relative to population size. The daily number of new cases almost reached 9,000 at the end of September, and there were fears that hospitals would be overwhelmed.
The current lockdown restrictions require people to stay within 1km (0.6 miles) of their homes except for essential journeys. Protests and religious gatherings are also limited.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told local mayors in a video call that the lockdown would not be eased before next week. He asked for their co-operation in preventing large gatherings, following protests against the restrictions by his opponents and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 11:15

Two counties in Ireland now have higher Covid-19 incidence rates than Dublin.

According to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), counties Monaghan and Donegal have now surpassed the Irish capital in terms of coronavirus concerns.

Covid-19 incidence rates are measured by recording the number of people per 100,000 who test positive for the virus over a 14-day period.

Donegal has recorded a total of 293.36 cases per 100,000 people in the last fortnight, while Monaghan has recorded 226.44 cases per 100,000.

Co. Dublin has dropped to just 162.32 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people.

 Tweet  Gavin Reilly:
Slow increase of #Covid19ireland patients in hospitals continues - 156 in acute beds this morning, 25 in ICU.

Here's the latest incidence rates across the country:

Coronavirus - 8th October Ejup1p10

The news comes amid a concerning rise in the number of patients being admitted to hospital with coronavirus throughout the country.

As of Wednesday, 156 patients are in acute care beds across Ireland, with 25 patients in the ICU.

On Tuesday, Ireland imposed Level Three restrictions nationwide in effort to bring the infection rate down.

All counties will remain at Level Three for a at least three weeks until midnight on October 27, at which point the situation will be reviewed by the Government, based on the status of the virus and public health advice.

NPHET allegedly recommended that Ireland impose Level Five restrictions - effectively reimposing a national lockdown akin to the situation in March and April.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 13:02

Several European countries see record rise in cases

Here's a look at what is happening elsewhere in Europe:

  • Russia reported 11,493 new daily infections - just short of the most confirmed cases in a single day back in May. Officials say 191 people died in the past 24 hours, pushing the overall death toll to 22,056
  • In Ukraine, the authorities confirmed 5,397 new daily cases and 93 deaths - both record figures. The country has so far reported 4,690 deaths
  • Poland also had the biggest jumps in new cases (4,280) and deaths (76). Covid-19 has now claimed 2,867 lives in the country
  • In Slovakia, the daily tally of new infections rose to 1,037 - the highest since the outbreak began. The country has so far reported 57 deaths
  • The Czech Republic reported a record 5,335 new cases on Wednesday. New restrictions are due to be announced but the health minister has ruled out a lockdown in Prague or any other city, saying that measures would instead target free-time activities

England's Test and Trace at lowest percentage of contacts

Coronavirus - 8th October 14f03e10
As the number of positive tests surged, tracers reached few contacts of people infected

The latest figures from the Test and Trace service in England show that the close contacts of 68.6% of people who tested positive for Covid-19 were reached in the week ending 30 September.
That is down from 72.5% the previous week and is the lowest weekly percentage since Test and Trace began in May. It comes as the service faced its largest ever number of positive tests with 51,475 confirmed cases, a 56% increase on the previous week.
In cases handled by local health protection teams, 97.1% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate. But when cases were handled online or by call centres, only 62.4% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

Madrid lockdown order struck down

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Some 4.5 million people have been affected by the restrictions

Madrid's regional court has struck down an order that imposed a partial lockdown in the Spanish capital and nine nearby towns.
In a statement, the court backed an appeal by the local authorities, saying the order by the Spanish health ministry "impacted on the rights and fundamental freedoms" of some 4.5 million people affected by the restrictions.
The Madrid region had been forced to ban residents from leaving their houses without a valid reason from last Saturday.
The central government said at the time it had acted to try to control the second wave of coronavirus in the country.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 13:11

Lockdown led to 400 million fewer train journeys in Britain

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Going nowhere: restrictions on public transport were imposed during lockdown

Demand for rail travel in Britain fell between April and June compared with last year - with 400 million fewer journeys made, according to the industry's regulator.
Passenger revenue was just £184m in the period - down from £2.7bn in 2019.
The UK began its coronavirus lockdown at the end of March when non-essential journeys on public transport were not permitted. Restrictions on public transport eased in May before more areas of the economy reopened in July.
The Office for Rail and Road said passenger numbers were now beginning to "slowly increase".

In hard-hit Brazil, life returning to normal

Katy Watson - South America correspondent
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Brazil have passed five million, officials say. It is another milestone but the picture is not as grim here as it was a few weeks ago.
The numbers of cases and deaths have been falling, although we are still talking around 5,000 fatalities a week - down from around 7,000 at the peak. The total number is now approaching 150,000,
The absolute numbers are still far worse than in Europe, but life here feels like it is returning to normal - shops, restaurants and some schools are starting to reopen.
Despite initial criticism over President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the crisis - his downplaying of the virus from the very start - his approval ratings have actually risen, thanks to generous government handouts to around 60 million informal workers.
The question is whether that support will continue as the government starts to reduce the payments while unemployment soars.

South Korea teacher jailed for lying to contact-tracing officials

A teacher in South Korea who tested positive for coronavirus has been sentenced to six months in prison after he was found guilty of lying to contract-tracing officials. About 80 people became infected because of the 24-year-old's failure to co-operate.
The court was told that after he found out he was carrying the virus, he had lied to the authorities, telling them he was unemployed and failing to mention he had taught at a private cram school in Incheon, west of Seoul, one day earlier.
In court, the teacher apologised and said he had no idea that something so serious could happen as a result of his actions.
South Korea is viewed as one of the world's success stories for its management of the disease. Its highly efficient track-and-trace system, paired with multiple testing facilities, has brought cluster outbreaks under control.
Officials on Thursday reported 69 new daily cases, most of them in the Seoul region. The country's death toll now stands at 427.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 13:16

World round-up

If you're just joining us, here's a recap of our main stories so far:

  • Germany has reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections since April, with confirmed cases up by almost a third to more than 4,000. Health Minister Jens Spahn described the increase as "worrying" and urged Germans not to gamble away one of Europe's more successful records in fighting the disease
  • Another country that has done relatively well so far - Poland - has reported a new daily record of 4,280 cases.
  • Record jumps have also been reported in Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which now has the highest number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days in the EU, overtaking Spain
  • New measures have come into force in the Belgian capital, Brussels, where cafes and bars - but not restaurants - have to remain closed for at least a month
  • Italy has brought in nationwide restrictions tightening the use of face masks. They are compulsory in all but a few situations, both indoors and outdoors

Breaking News 

Next Trump-Biden debate to be held virtually

The US Commission on Presidential Debates has just announced that the second debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, former Vice-President Joe Biden, will be held virtually next Thursday.
President Trump, who spent three days at a hospital where he was treated for Covid-19, will be at the White House. Biden will also appear remotely.

Latest from UK

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New restrictions are likely to be introduced to curb a rise in cases in somes areas of England

As we approach lunchtime in the UK, here's a quick round-up of all the latest coronavirus news:

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 13:18

Breaking News

Trump says no to virtual debate

We've just heard from US President Donald Trump who has said he will not join a virtual debate with his Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden.
In the last hour, the organisers of the presidential debates said next Thursday's event would be held virtually, after the president was diagnosed with Covid-19.
Speaking on Fox Business Network, Trump said the decision was not acceptable.

A cafe in Ireland has hilariously demonstrated the rather depressing reality of outdoor dining in Ireland, just as the country enters Level Three of Covid-19 restrictions.
PS Coffee Roasters cafe in Naas, Co. Kildare took to Facebook to poke fun at the new public health guidelines, as well as the delightful* Irish weather.
In the video, a woman is sitting outside their cafe enjoying a cup of coffee and a slice of cake in the pouring rain.
A grim sign of things to come?
Well, it doesn't seem to be dampening her spirits, nor the spirits of Facebook users up and down the country, with the video receiving hundreds of shares within the first few hours.
"This is brilliant. Fair play!" Wrote one Facebook user.
"Certainly made me smile," said another.
At midnight on Tuesday, every county in Ireland moved to Level Three restrictions.
Cafes, restaurants and bars will have to close their indoor dining areas, but outdoor dining is still allowed ... which is fabulous, just as the cold winds begin to whip up!
The hospitality sector has been put under massive strain since the pandemic began, with the majority of pubs and bars around the country remaining closed for almost seven months.
Anyway, it's good to see someone sees the funny side.


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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 13:49

Trump to hold rally instead of joining debate - statement

The Trump campaign has just issued a strongly-worded statement on the decision by the debates organisers to hold next week's event virtually, which has already been rejected by the president.
The statement says Trump will hold a rally instead. Here it is:
  :Left Quotes: For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate is pathetic. That’s not what debates are about or how they're done.

:Left Quotes:  Here are the facts: President Trump will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration. The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without cancelling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head. We'll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.

Trump: Virtual debate decision 'ridiculous'

As we reported a few minutes ago, President Trump has snubbed a virtual debate with his Democratic rival for the presidency Joe Biden.
Here is a bit more of his interview on Fox Business Network. The president said he was not going to "sit at a computer" to debate Biden, calling the virtual format "ridiculous”.
"They're trying to protect Biden," Trump said, without giving details. "Everybody is."
You may remember that the first debate in Ohio last week was a raucous, testy affair. Neither Trump nor Biden received overwhelmingly positive reviews for their performances.
Biden is currently ahead of Trump in national and many key state-level polls.

No 10 confirms pub curfew vote amid 'significant' exposure

UK MPs will vote on Covid-19 restrictions governing pub closing times in England next week, the prime minister's official spokesman has said.
It follows calls from opposition politicians - and members of the governing Conservative Party - for a review of the 22:00 curfew for licenced venues after some crowded scenes among late-night revellers and questions about its impact.
Boris Johnson's spokesman said the vote on the measure would take place on Tuesday - risking a rebellion by backbench Tories, even as Labour's leader said his MPs would not be asked to vote against it, as we told you a bit earlier.
Asked about infections in hospitality venues, the spokesman said: "Early data does suggest that a significant proportion of exposure to the virus is seen in the hospitality sector and that is even more pronounced in younger age groups where we have been seeing the most rapid rise in infections.
"The data is new and we will continue to gather evidence and review it."
The prime minister's spokesman also confirmed Boris Johnson had spoken to Donald Trump by phone, and had wished the US president well in his recovery from Covid-19.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 16:12

Local leaders criticise 'irresponsible' leaks of England's virus plans

MPs from the north of England and the Midlands are being briefed by health ministers and chief medical officer Chris Whitty ahead of possible new regulations next week which could shut down hospitality venues in areas with the highest levels of infections.
It comes after local leaders reacted angrily at stories which suggested the media had been briefed before them on the changes under consideration .
Many of the worst-affected areas are in the north-east of England, the north-west and the Midlands. Leaked documents show that under the possible three-tier system of local coronavirus rules, Nottinghamshire will be placed in level two , for instance.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, whose city has the UK's highest infection rate, told BBC Radio 4's World At One that the government was "imposing not negotiating" and that it could cause "massive damage to people's lives" if restrictions are introduced without the necessary support for people affected.
"I said to the government 'involve us on this and it can be a reset moment' where the country comes back together. Two days later The Times lands and it says all of our bars and restaurants are to be shut. How do you deal with that?"
Dan Jarvis, Labour Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said it was "recklessly irresponsible to brief the papers but not leaders in the north who'll somehow have to make this work".
In the Commons yesterday Jake Berry, the Conservative MP for Rossendale and Darwen, also accused the prime minister of enjoying his emergency powers "a little bit too much" and of being "London-centric".

Iran sees record daily infections as pilgrimage curtailed

Iran has reported a record 4,392 new daily infections. The health ministry says 230 died in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall death toll to 27,888.
Iran, one of the hardest-hit nations in the Middle East, has struggled to cope with what officials call a "third wave" of its outbreak.
The spike in infections has now forced the authorities to drastically reduce ceremonies for Arbaeen - one of the holiest days for Shia Muslims.
The usually huge rallies that accompany Arbaeen have not been permitted, while the border between Iran and Iraq which normally sees millions of pilgrims crossing remains closed.
In Iraq, the traditional march to the city of Karbala has been curtailed, while the number of foreign pilgrims has been reduced to the tens of thousands rather than the tens of millions who normally attend.

How lockdown changed the UK's communication habits

People spent almost 50% longer talking on their mobile phones in the first weeks of lockdown , research by UK communications regulator Ofcom suggests.
City centres saw much less mobile phone use as people were no longer working in offices, but calls in green spaces rose, with exercise in the park one of the few permitted reasons to leave the house.
But about one in five people (22%) did not make a single "traditional" phone call using a mobile network in the first 11 weeks of 2020.
Ofcom said that could be explained by the popularity of apps like WhatsApp and new arrival Zoom, which use mobile data for calls.
Despite the extra usage, the analysis suggests most people were able to get online on their phones most of the time, with a 4G network connection available more than 80% of the time.
But generally, people spent more time on wi-fi networks, with mobile data use dropping from 35% of all use to 26% after lockdown.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 16:18

Schools tell teachers not to use NHS Covid app

Rory Cellan-Jones - Technology correspondent
The NHS Covid-19 app for England and Wales has more than 16 million downloads so far - but a range of employers are actively discouraging their staff from using it.
Earlier this week, both the pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline and a Hull-based fuel supplier told staff the app should be switched off at work - both said it was unnecessary in their "Covid-secure" workplaces.
And now, there are numerous reports teachers are being told they should not use the app in school.
A teacher in north-west England, who wants to remain anonymous, downloaded the app on the day it was released and then, last Monday, tested positive for coronavirus. It then triggered alerts telling three colleagues at the school to go into isolation.
But, according to the teacher, the secondary school's business manager told the three people involved to ignore the messages and delete the app if they felt they had not been within 2m (6ft) for at least 15 minutes.
"Too many schools want to keep staff in, even if it means breaking the law," the anonymous teacher said.

Latest from Europe

Some more news from Europe, where several countries are experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases.
One of them is the Czech Republic, where new restrictions have been announced in an effort to curb the rise. A few minutes ago, Health Minister Roman Prymula said the government would close indoor sports facilities and cultural venues for two weeks from Monday. Restaurants will have to close at 20:00 (19:00 GMT), and high-school pupils will alternate in-class and distance learning, Reuters reports.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, the number of confirmed infections has jumped by a record of more than 5,800 in 24 hours, according to health authorities' data.
And in Poland, the authorities are reintroducing compulsory face-mask wearing nationwide in public outdoor spaces from Saturday as cases spike there too. The country has reported record high daily increases in both new infections and deaths in the previous 24 hours.

Breaking News 

17,540 new UK coronavirus cases

A further 17,540 coronavirus cases have been recorded across the UK, data from the government's Covid-19 dashboard shows.
It means a total of 544,275 lab-confirmed cases have been recorded in the UK since the pandemic began.

Breaking News 

Further 77 UK deaths recorded

Another 77 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test have been recorded in the UK.
The total number of deaths with coronavirus on the death certificate in the UK is now 57,347.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 16:25

Huge numbers of Shia pilgrims mark Arbaeen in Iraq

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Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims have been marking Arbaeen, the end of the 40-day mourning period for the Imam Hussein, in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala.
Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was killed in battle at Karbala in the 7th Century on a day that is known as Ashura. His martyrdom is considered a defining event in in the schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims.
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In a normal year Arbaeen attracts up to 20 million people to Karbala
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Few pilgrims appeared to be following Iraq's hygiene guidelines

Few pilgrims appeared to be following the Iraqi health ministry’s hygiene and social-distancing guidelines. Some said the Imam Hussein would protect them; others that wearing face masks would be irreverent in the shrine where he is believed to buried.
"We shouldn't be afraid of coronavirus. Coronavirus should be afraid of Imam Hussein," Hussein Rahim told Reuters news agency.
The huge religious gathering - which in a normal year attracts up to 20 million people - was permitted despite a concerning increase in the number of Covid-19 infections in Iraq, with a regular average of more than 4,000 new daily cases being reported.
The country has recorded more than 391,000 cases and 9,604 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
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Hussein, the third Shia imam, is believed to be buried in Karbala

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Coronavirus - 8th October Empty Coronavirus Ireland: What happens if we are under Level 3 restrictions this Christmas?

Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 16:46

Ireland is currently under nationwide Level 3 restrictions following a spike in coronavirus cases across the country.
The new measures are in effect in every county in the Republic for at least three weeks, but could be extended if the number of cases do not stabilise.
Ireland's Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, has already warned that Ireland is facing Covid-19 restrictions for at least a further six to nine months, and the public have been urged to plan for Christmas and Halloween "within a Covid-19 environment ".
So, what happens if we are still under Level 3 restrictions this Christmas?
What have politicians said about Christmas in Ireland this year?
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government hope to allow people to travel abroad to see family this Christmas.
He acknowledged that Ireland has some of the strictest coronavirus rules in Europe, but said if we want to live with the virus long-term that means allowing more air travel and giving more travel options for the public.
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Leo Varadkar said he hopes we will be able to visit family abroad this Christmas

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he would love to see the virus suppressed so that family members will be able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes this Christmas.
He said restrictions were "heartbreaking" for residents, family, and staff and said by Christmas he hoped " the most liberal visiting regime that we could have safely is brought in."
Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu, welcomed the news that Ireland's largest indoor Christmas festival 'Mistletown' is set to go ahead in Dublin despite coronavirus restrictions.
She said: "Mistletown is a fantastic initiative, and presents an opportunity for attendees to enjoy a festive event in a safe and socially distant manner."
What have health experts said about Christmas in Ireland in 2020?
Former Acting Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn said the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has no plans to  prevent public celebrations of Christmas, but admitted that final decisions would likely be made closer to the time.
He said, "The single greatest predictor of how safe it will be to participate in activities, either at Halloween or Christmas or any other time, is the underlying circulating levels of the virus."
Professor Pete Lunn, head of the Economic and Social Research Institute's Behavioural Research Unit said we should "Plan for the milestones such as ... Christmas and New Year's Eve within a Covid-19 environment.
"Be innovative in how you can celebrate safely with loved ones."
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the country could get through Christmas "very well" if cases drop to around 50 cases per day by mid-December.
"It's in our minds, we haven't had an expressed conversation about Christmas, but each of us is conscious-- we all live in this country, we know what it's like here."
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He warned that the R number could rise during Christmas as people will want to gather with friends and family, and acknowledged that as a country, we may "not be as adherent to some of the rules as we should be".
"Christmas will be a challenging time, what we have to try and ensure is we get the disease as low as possible before that," he concluded.
Professor Philip Nolan agreed that "we can still save Christmas, I presume, if we do the right thing over the next three weeks".
It is the responsibility of each individual to follow public health advice and Level 3 restrictions in order to get the numbers of cases to stabilise and subsequently drop, he advised.
What will happen this Christmas under the current coronavirus restrictions?
Visiting family in Ireland
The Government have introduced a ban on household gatherings unless it is from just one other household and the number of people is under six.
This means, should Level 3 restrictions still be in place on Christmas day, you will be able to hold a Christmas dinner with one other household so long as there is no more than six people present.
Christmas Markets
Under Level 3, no organised indoor or outdoor gatherings can take place-- this includes audiences at conferences, training events and sports events.
A maximum of 15 people can attend organised outdoor events. This means Christmas markets might go ahead, but with pre-booked timeslots with just 15 people allowed in at one time.
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Attending Christmas Day or Midnight Mass is the most important Christmas traditions for countless people in Ireland-- but will it take place in person or will we be watching online?
Under Level 3 of the Government's Living With Covid Plan, religious services must move online, so if the restrictions continue we could be watching our local Christmas Day mass on Facebook or Youtube. Churches and other places of worship will remain open for private prayer, however.
12 Pubs of Christmas
A relatively new, but quickly popular tradition, the 12 Pubs of Christmas sees groups of friends travelling to 12 different pubs in one night, with different rules-- such as no swearing allowed-- in place for each one.
Should Ireland remain in Level 3 by Christmas time, all pubs will only be able to serve up to 15 customers in total, and only outdoors-- which won't be fun in the middle of winter.
Christmas Shopping
Essential retail outlets have remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and this will continue even if Ireland goes into lockdown again.
And when it comes to shopping for Christmas presents, such as toys, jewellery and clothes, under Level 3 all retail outlets will remain open, so you can shop local for your loved ones.
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Visiting family abroad at Christmas
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government hope to allow people to travel abroad to see family this Christmas.
He acknowledged that Ireland has some of the strictest coronavirus rules in Europe, but said if we want to live with the virus long-term that means allowing more air travel and giving more travel options for the public.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 17:54

Minimum fine for Covid law breach to rise to £200 in NI

People in Northern Ireland caught breaching coronavirus regulations will now face a minimum fine of £200 under plans agreed by the executive.
It is understood ministers have signed off on proposals brought by Justice Minister Naomi Long.
At present, fixed penalty notices start at £60, but can rise to £960 for repeat offenders.
There are also changes planned around mandatory face coverings. Read more here .

More on today's UK coronavirus figures

Thursday's number of new coronavirus cases in the UK, 17,540, is an increase of more than 3,000 on Wednesday, when 14,162 were recorded.
There were also a further 77 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, seven more than the day before.
Hospitalisations across the UK rose by nearly 100 on Sunday 4 October, meaning they are now doubling roughly every two weeks, according to BBC News head of statistics Robert Cuffe.
In England, 368 people with Covid-19 were recorded as being on a ventilator in hospital on Wednesday. On the previous Wednesday, 285 people were recorded as needing ventilation in England.

In 1960, Nixon and Kennedy held debate in format snubbed by Trump

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Kennedy and Nixon debated with 4,828km (3,000 miles) between them in 1960

As we reported earlier, US presidential debate organisers have decided to change the format of the next TV clash between President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, opting for a virtual rather than an in-person event.
Trump has scoffed at the proposal, dismissing the idea of a virtual debate as “ridiculous”.
However, the format was acceptable to two former presidents, Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy, when they were vying for the White House in 1960. There was no coronavirus then, of course.
But in their third debate of the campaign, Nixon and Kennedy went head-to-head, albeit via video link from different cities on the west and east coasts of the US.
"The two candidates will not be sharing the same platform," moderator Bill Shadel said when opening the debate. "In New York, the Democratic presidential nominee Senator John F Kennedy. Separated by 3,000 miles, in a Los Angeles studio, the Republican presidential nominee Vice-President Richard M Nixon."
American TV network C-SPAN has a recording of the debate on its websit

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 17:58

Breaking News

Greek islands added to England's travel corridors

People arriving in England from the Greek islands of Lesvos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days from Saturday, the government has announced.
The islands have been added to the list of travel corridors for England having been assessed by the Joint Biosecurity Centre as posing a lower infection risk.
The quarantine rule for the islands will be lifted at 04:00 on 10 October.
Zakynthos was the subject of controversy in August following reports of outbreaks in resorts popular with British tourists and after several clusters of Covid-19 infections were traced to UK-bound flights from the island.

Italy records biggest daily rise in cases since 12 April

Italy has recorded 4,458 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the biggest daily rise since mid-April when the country was under a national lockdown.
It is the steepest 24-hour rise since 12 April, when 4,694 new infections were reported, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) .
The Italian government managed to bring its coronavirus epidemic under control by imposing one of the strictest nationwide lockdowns in the world from March.
That lockdown inflicted heavy economic costs, but allowed the government to reopen restaurants, bars and shops by summer.
But the virus is spreading once again, albeit at a steadier rate than during the first wave of the pandemic. On Thursday, the government made it mandatory to wear face masks in outdoor spaces to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The latest from the UK this Thursday

It's early evening in the UK. Here are the latest coronavirus news updates

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 18:02

Breaking News

Four French cities raised to maximum alert level

The French cities of Lyon, Lille, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne will become maximum-alert zones for coronavirus from Saturday, French Health Minister Olivier Veran has announced.
The coronavirus alert level was raised to maximum in Paris earlier this week and Marseille last month, leading to the closure of bars and restaurants.
"The situation has deteriorated in several metropolises in recent days," Veran said at a news conference on Thursday. “Every day, more and more people are infected.”
He said the alert level could soon be raised to maximum in Toulouse and Montpellier, which are seeing worrying spikes in infections.
France's maximum alert level comes into force when the infection rate in a locality exceeds 250 infections per 100,000 people and at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients.
Minutes before Vernan made his announcement, French health authorities reported 18,129 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, slightly lower than Wednesday's all-time high of 18,746 daily cases.
Infections have risen rapidly since the end of summer in France, a trend seen across Europe as winter approaches.

Brit teens' 22 days of quarantine and counting

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When Millie, Lily, Lily Rose and Rachel finished their A-levels this year, they just wanted to get away for a few days.
They flew to Sicily, Italy, on 8 September (it was on the UK's safe list at the time) and had a pretty good trip until they were ready to fly home.
On 14 September all four experienced coronavirus symptoms - they'd lost their sense of smell.
They were transported by ambulance to a coronavirus quarantine centre at a hotel - 22 days later, three of the girls are still there in solitary confinement. They cannot leave until testing negative twice in succession.
Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 20:16

Closed schools and protests amid NYC virus surge

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Amid a new surge in coronavirus cases, New York City will close an additional 61 public schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday, bringing the total of newly shuttered schools to 169. They will remain closed until at least 21 October, the mayor said.
City and state officials are now scrambling to respond to climbing cases, largely concentrated in the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs, imposing strict attendance limits on schools, businesses and places of worship in virus hotspots.
This recent crackdown - led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo - has been met with outrage among Orthodox Jewish communities, who make up a large proportion of these hard-hit neighbourhoods.
On Wednesday, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men took to the streets for a second night of protests. Many without face coverings, those gathered clashed with police and burned face masks.
Over the past week, the city has reported an average of some 566 cases a day - an increase of 61% from the average two weeks earlier, according to data from the New York Times.

Drive-through flu jabs launched at Asda

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Asda says it hopes the drive-through service will appeal to people worried about visiting their GP or pharmacy

The supermarket Asda has launched a free NHS drive-through flu vaccination service for eligible people at 13 UK stores. Anyone entitled to free jabs - including elderly people, frontline NHS staff and pregnant women - can use the service.
People who do not qualify for the free vaccine can get it for £8, which Asda claims is the cheapest on the market.
It comes after the government said up to 30 million people in England can be vaccinated against flu this year, in an effort to reduce the winter pressure on the NHS as Covid-19 cases rise.
Pharmacies have said they face "unprecedented demand" and some suspended bookings for anyone outside the vulnerable groups who qualify for a free jab.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 20:19

Antibody therapy may have helped Trump, says Fauci

There is a “reasonably good chance” that an experimental antibody therapy helped President Donald Trump during his treatment for Covid-19, the top infectious diseases expert in the US has said.
Dr Anthony Fauci was referring to a drug cocktail made by the company Regeneron. You can read more about this therapy, which mimics the body's immune response to fight the virus, here .
In an interview with MSNBC, Dr Fauci said the therapy may have made a “significant difference” to Trump’s condition, but warned against calling it a “cure”, as the president has done.
Dr Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also addressed claims President Trump made about the lethality of the flu compared with Covid-19.
The health expert said the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 210,000 people in the US, is far more serious than seasonal flu.
"There is no doubt about that," Fauci said. On Wednesday Facebook removed a post in which Trump made claims to the contrary .

Canada Covid-19 cases up 40% ahead of holiday weekend

The number of daily Covid-19 cases reported across Canada increased 40% in the last week compared with last, the country's top health official has announced, with the average daily case count hovering at some 2,000 infections.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last month that most of the country had entered its second wave. Canadians are now being encouraged to hunker down and stay home as this next wave worsens.
The vast majority of new cases are concentrated in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. On Thursday, Ontario reported 797 cases of the virus - the highest single day total since the start of the pandemic.
The surge in cases comes just days before Canada's Thanksgiving weekend, typically a time for large, indoor family gatherings.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has encouraged residents to celebrate with just your own household this year.
"We're all going to make sacrifices... I know this will be very, very tough," he said.

Night curfew reinstated in Tunisia's capital

Rana Jawad - North Africa correspondent, Tunis
The mayor of Tunisia's capital, Tunis, has said a night-time curfew will be reinstated for two weeks in a series of restrictions intended to control the spread of coronavirus, which has significantly risen in recent weeks.
Since July there were only a few soft measures in place to control the rate of infection in Tunisia. But in the past month alone, more than 20,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19.
The curfew will start on Thursday and run from 21:00 to 05:00 local time on weekdays, and 19:00 to 05:00 local time on weekends. Weekly markets and Friday prayers have also been banned, and cafes and restaurants can no longer have seated areas.
The curfew will also be imposed in the neighbouring provinces of Manouba, Ariana, and Ben Arous. Four other cities, which have also seen a significant rise in Covid-19 cases, had already imposed a night curfew.
There is a real worry that the country’s health sector could significantly struggle if the infection rate does not slow down. But the Tunisian government has so far ruled out a return to a nationwide lockdown that was imposed earlier this year.

Headlines from The Guardian:

Distance learning to continue in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s minister of education, Dr Hamad bin Mohammed Al Shaikh, announced distance learning will continue until the end of the first term of the educational year after evaluating the situation in the past weeks.
In August, the minister said pupils would be educated via distance learning for the first seven weeks of the new term, which started on 30 August, as a precaution against the coronavirus.

Singapore launches Covid-secure luxury cruises ... to nowhere
Singapore has approved Covid-secure cruise holidays to nowhere, in the latest attempt to offer a long-distance travel experience, albeit with no stops.
Australian airline Qantas drew criticism from environmental groups last month after advertising a seven-hour round trip from Sydney including fly-pasts of famous sights including Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.
Now the Singapore government has given approval for cruises to nowhere in a bid to help a tourism sector battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Residents of the city-state will from November be allowed to board the cruises, during which they will be confined to the ships for the entire time.
The Singapore Tourism Board on Thursday announced that Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream would be the first ship to welcome passengers aboard on 6 November. Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas will begin sailing in December.
The ships launching from Singapore will only be allowed to carry half their full capacity, with extra cleaning schedules and mandatory masks “at all times”.

453 Covid-19 cases recorded in Bosnia
Bosnia has recorded a record 453 daily Covid-19 infections, the Balkan country’s health authorities said.
The previous daily record of 409 was reported on 31 July.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Bosnia has reported 29,528 cases with 913 fatalities. It has 165.9 average active daily cases per 100,000 people and recorded 41.68 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week.
There are 5,676 active cases currently.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 08 2020, 20:25

Breaking News 

WHO reports record 24-hour rise in cases globally

A rise of 338,779 new coronavirus infections have been reported globally in the previous 24 hours, the biggest one-day increase since the pandemic began, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data .
India registered the highest number of new cases with 78,524, followed by 41,906 in Brazil, and 38,904 in the US.
The daily global increase in cases breaks the previous record of 330,340, set on 2 October.
There were also an extra 5,514 deaths reported worldwide on Thursday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 1.05 million, the WHO reports.

What's been happening around the UK?

We're going to be bringing today's live coverage to an end soon. Here's what has been happening around the UK this Thursday:

Today's global headlines

We’re ending our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic for the day now. Thanks for joining us as we try and make sense of things for you.If you’re catching up with the news, here are some of the headlines from around the world today:

That's all for today

Our live reporting of the pandemic is now finished for the day. Thanks again for tuning in.

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