Here are the key recent global developments:
- Russia suffered its worst day yet for new infections. Moscow reported 13,634 new cases in 24 hours; the worst such figure since the pandemic began.
- In the UK, the row between Westminster and local leaders carried on. Mayors in Manchester and Liverpool accused government minsters of handing down decisions on local lockdowns as faits accomplis and refusing to properly consult. The prime minister is due to set out his new plan to the Commons on Monday.
- Trump no longer ‘a transmission risk to others’, says White House doctor. White House physician Sean Conley said President Donald Trump took a Covid-19 test on Saturday that showed that he is no longer a “transmission risk to others”. Conley said in a statement that tests show there is no longer evidence “of actively replicating virus”. The White House had no immediate comment on whether Conley’s statement indicated that the president had tested negative for the virus.
- India cases pass 7m. India’s confirmed coronavirus toll crossed 7 million on Sunday with a number of new cases dipping in recent weeks. The health ministry reported another 74,383 infections in the past 24 hours. India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country in the coming weeks, surpassing the US, where more than 7.7 million infections have been reported.
- US president Donald Trump made his first public appearance since returning to the White House after a three-day hospital stay, an appearance seen as a first step toward a return to the election campaign trail next week .
- The number of new infections in France jumped to over 26,000 in one day for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
- The UK recorded 15,166 new daily cases of coronavirus on Saturday; a rise on the 13,864 cases reported the day before , bringing the total official death toll to 42,760.
- The Australian state of Victoria has reported 12 new cases and one death over the past 24 hours, while the 14 day rolling average has slightly dropped.
- Brazil surpassed the grim milestone of 150,000 coronavirus deathson Saturday.
- Iran made mask-wearing mandatory in public in Tehran on Saturday with violations punishable by fines, after the daily death toll from Covid-19 peaked at 239 this week.
- Ireland reported 1,012 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest daily figure since April and up from an average of 523 over the previous seven days.
- The number of people in New Yorkers hospitalised with the coronavirus continues to rise, state governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday.
Russia suffers worst day for casesMoscow has reported 13,634 new cases in the last 24 hours; the worst such figure since the pandemic began. That brings its nationwide tally to 1,298,718.
The country’s taskforce said 149 people had died overnight, pushing the death toll to 22,597. Russia, which has a total population of about 145 million people, has recorded the fourth highest number of infections in the world since the start of the pandemic.
UK at 'tipping point'
The UK is in a precarious position with rising case numbers, hospital admissions and deaths, according to a senior government adviser. The Universiity of Oxford’s Prof Peter Horby, who is also chairman of the government advisory group for new and emerging respiratory virus threats (Nervtag), said the risk of death for Covid-19 patients in hospitals was falling.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show he said:
Asked if the country faced a second national lockdown, he said: “I think that’s a possibility and we have to do what we can to avoid that at all costs.”We are already seeing in some parts of the north that some hospitals are starting to see the pressure.
We have a doubling time of about eight to 15 days so it is not long before those ICU (intensive care unit) beds could be full and we could be in a really difficult situation. So I am afraid we are going to have to make some very difficult choices and act very quickly.
Malaysia has reported 561 new cases – the bulk of them in Sabah state, which has already seen a large increase in infections over the past few weeks. The new cases raise Malaysia’s cumulative tally to 15,657 cases, according to the health ministry. There were two new deaths reported, raising the fatality toll to 157.
Turkey will start declaring the number of asymptomatic cases from 15 October, its health minister has said, following criticism that its disclosure of only symptomatic cases hid the extent of infections.
At the end of July, Turkey changed the wording of its daily report to show the number of “patients” instead of “cases” . And, on 30 September, the health minister Fahrettin Koca said the government was only sharing the number of positive cases with symptoms.
Medics and opposition parties criticised the practice, saying it was aimed at hiding the real scale of the pandemic and was meant to keep the economy moving. On Sunday, the daily newspaper Hurriyet quoted Koca as saying:
We will start (releasing all the numbers) on 15th. We will share the cross sectional screening results even though they show no symptoms. We will report these to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
New restrictions in parts of Spain as cases rise
The Spanish regions of Catalonia and Navarre will bring in new restrictions on working and public gatherings after worrying rises in cases, local authorities have said.
Josep Maria Argimon, the Catalan health secretary, asked companies to tell employees to work from home for the next 15 days. He told the RAC1 radio station:
Madrid, where a state of emergency was imposed on Friday to halt soaring infection rates, is one of Europe’s hotspots.Without establishing measures, we could reach the situation in Madrid in two or three weeks. But we will not reach the situation in Madrid, because we are going to take mandatory measures that will be announced this week.
Catalonia reported 2,360 cases and 13 deaths in 24 hours, health authorities said on Sunday. In Navarre, which has a population of 650,000, the regional leader María Chivite announced new restrictions after 463 cases were reported on Sunday; the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.
From Tuesday, meetings will be limited to six people, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm and their capacity will be limited to 50%, while the capacity in children’s parks will be cut to 30%.
Iran sees worst one-day death tollIran has registered 251 deaths in 24 hours – its highest daily toll – the health ministry has said, as the total number of identified cases rose above 500,000 in the worst-hit country in the Middle East.
Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that the latest toll took the total death toll to 28,544. There were 3,822 new cases, with the total number of identified cases to date reaching 500,075, she added.
Czech government to announce stricter measures
The Czech government will announce stricter measures within days to curb soaring infections and hospitalisations, but will seek to avoid the kind of blanket lockdown imposed in the spring, a deputy prime minister has said.
The nation of 10.7 million people has recorded Europe’s fastest rate of growth in new cases per capita in recent weeks after authorities eased most restrictions during the summer following a tough lockdown when the pandemic began in March.
“It won’t be entirely (like in spring),” Alena Schillerová said in a debate broadcast on Czech television, adding that the government was likely to announce the measures within two days. “We don’t want to switch off the economy. We want to have it (the measures) more targeted … We will limit contacts and gatherings of people,” she said.
Her comments came ahead of the government’s planned security council meeting on Monday to assess possible measures, the cabinet’s press department said.
So far in October, the Czech Republic has reported more than 43,000 cases, the same number as for the whole of September. The number of hospitalised patients jumped by 76% to 2,085 in the past week, raising fears that hospitals may soon be overwhelmed.
Some hospitals have started postponing planned procedures to make space for Covid-19 patients, while the Czech medical chamber warned last Sunday that the number of infected doctors, nurses and other medical staff was rising rapidly.
Almost 170 Lebanese villages to go into lockdown next week
Almost 170 Lebanese villages and towns will go into lockdown for the next week as it grapples with record numbers of coronavirus cases, the news agency AFP is reporting.
Authorities in the Middle Eastern country have also ordered bars and nightclubs nationwide closed until further notice.
An interior ministry statement said 169 villages and towns across the country would be locked down for one week from 6am (3am GMT) on Monday. About half of those localities had already been placed in lockdown under measures announced earlier this month, including the closure of all public and private institutions excluding bakeries and pharmacies.
Lebanon, a Mediterranean country reeling from its worst economic crisis in decades, has recorded 52,558 novel coronavirus cases, including 455 deaths.
Infections rose sharply in the aftermath of a catastrophic explosion at Beirut’s port on 4 August that killed more than 200 people, injured thousands, damaged several hospitals and overwhelmed the capital’s health services.
Ireland to test arriving passengers at airports as alternative to quarantine
Ireland plans to introduce testing at airports as part of a possible alternative to quarantine for some arriving passengers, although it is not clear when the capacity will be ready, its health minister Stephen Donnelly has said.
The airlines Ryanair and Aer Lingus have heavily criticised the government for imposing some of the strictest travel restrictions in Europe, with 14-day quarantines advised for almost all incoming travellers.
Under an EU system to be signed off next week, travellers from regions with extremely low levels of the virus will be placed in a “green” category and allowed to travel without restriction, but very few regions in Europe now qualify.
Other regions would be listed as “amber” or “red” with governments to impose restrictions.
Donnelly said the default position would be to require travellers from “red” and “amber” regions to restrict their movements. But plans are being worked on by the government for testing that could allow some passengers to avoid quarantine.
Testing at airports “will happen because it is required as part of the protocol”, Donnelly said in an interview with RTÉ radio, though he declined to specify a timeframe.
One option being considered would be to allow passengers from some destinations to avoid a quarantine if they produce negative tests taken three days before travelling. Others might be required to take a second, rapid test before departing.
A further 32 people who tested positive have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 30,471, NHS England has said.
The patients were aged between 54 and 100 years old. All but one patient, aged 65, had known underlying health conditions. Seven other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
The UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson is holding a telephone conference with his cabinet members he prepares to bring in a new three-tier restrictions regime.
Johnson’s decision to brief ministers on a Sunday is a rare move and comes as some northern English leaders have expressed anger at what they see as a lack of consultation and a determination in Whitehall to push through restrictions in their areas without offering the support needed to deal with them.
The prime minister is set to detail the new system, with measures expected to force pubs and restaurants to shut across much of the north of England and see millions of people banned from mixing indoors and outdoors.
Reports suggest the top tier will see no household mixing allowed either, which could affect millions of people living in areas with high Covid-19 rates across England.
The empathy and community spirit created in the early days of the lockdown risks being destroyed by a backlash of declining trust in politicians and the government’s handling of the crisis, according to a Labour MP.
Jess Phillips has warned that the country would become more divided, saying:
I’m afraid to say that the way that it has been handled, the fact that there is trust is an incredibly low bar with those who are in charge, whether it’s public health, whether it’s the economy, whatever it is.
Trust has been actually worsened and degraded throughout the process that I actually think, I’m afraid to say, that you could sweep away the good community element of the beginning of it.[/quote]
Phillips, who was speaking at an event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival about transforming society in a post-Covid world, said she expected to see “very, very, very hard and divisive times”.
What worries me is that we’re about to see a downturn in the economy that is largely, partially unprecedented, but partially poor management and years of poor management that has meant that we haven’t ... we didn’t mind the gap.
And there is a growing gap that some people are going to fall into.
Instead of taking that on the chin and facing it down, like with the EU, like with the people in the boats, the government will allow it to become somebody else’s fault.
In places, like where I live, where we live in a local lockdown, very early on in places like Blackburn, in Oldham, it was very, very completely wrongly suggested that the virus was being largely spread by the Asian community.
Before too long when we go into further lockdowns in places like London and in places like Chelmsford, where they’re going to think Asian people in Oldham are the reason that their businesses going under and the government will allow them to think it.
We should all watch out for it now. This is the backlash that is coming. Spot it when it arrives and ignore it because it is not true.
French nurses 'tired and fed up'
A significant number of French nurses responding to a poll say they are tired and fed up, with 37% saying that the pandemic is making them want to change jobs. The poll published Sunday by the National Order of Nurses comes as infection rates soar across the nation.
Nearly 59,400 nurses responded to the poll on the impact of the health crisis on their working conditions, out of 350,000 in the Order of Nurses. The numbers painted a grim diagnosis of the profession and suggested that French medical facilities may not be keeping pace with the growing need, despite lessons that should have been learned from the height of the virus crisis last spring.
Of nurses in public establishments, 43% felt that “we are not better prepared collectively to respond to a new wave of infections,” according to the poll. The figure rises to 46% for nurses in the private domain. And about two-thirds of respondents say their working conditions have deteriorated since the start of the crisis.
Burnout looms, the poll suggests, with 57% of respondents saying they have been professionally exhausted since the start of pandemic, while nearly half saying there’s a strong risk that fatigue will impact the quality of care patients receive.
For 37% of the nurses responding, the crisis “makes them want to change jobs” and 43% “don’t know if they will still be nurses in five years”, according to the poll, which did not provide a margin of error.