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Coronavirus - 15th March

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 13:20

Summary for Thursday, 15th March


  • London will have tougher restrictions from Saturday, including a ban on households mixing
  • Essex, Elmbridge in Surrey, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield are to be placed in Tier 2
  • Discussions on further curbs in Greater Manchester and Lancashire are ongoing
  • The World Health Organization says rise of cases in European countries "raises great concern"
  • Officials in the US and Germany say the latest upsurge in infections is due to people not observing basic rules
  • France is awaiting details of how officials plan to enforce a new curfew and state of emergency
  • Restrictions are tightening across the continent - a partial lockdown has begun in the Netherlands
  • China has removed two senior officials in Qingdao - site of the latest outbreak
  • There are 38.4 million confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide, with 1.09 million deaths


Welcome to todays’ coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be bringing you the latest from around the world and the UK.
Here are the latest headlines:

  • Sernior health officials are warning people to observe basic rules. The German health minister and a top US infectious diseases expert say the current upsurge in infections is due to people flouting advice to wash their hands and keep at a safe distance
  • Talks are continuing between the UK government and local leaders over the expansion of the strictest coronavirus restrictions to more parts of England. Currently Liverpool is the only area in the top tier, with pubs and bars not serving meals closed.
  • France has announced a night-time curfew in Paris and eight other cities to try and curb the spread of the virus. The measure will come into effect from Saturday and last for at least four weeks
  • US President Donald Trump’s teenage son Barron contracted coronavirus but has since tested negative, First Lady Melania Trump revealed . Both the president and the first lady also tested positive for coronavirus – as well as other White House staff – but have since recovered
  • Two senior officials have been removed from their roles in the Chinese city of Qingdao after an outbreak of the virus there. The city is currently testing every one of its citizens this week – around five million people have been tested so far
  • Leading US virologist Dr Anthony Fauci said the US needs to double its efforts to contain the virus during autumn and winter. He told CBS News that cases are surging in 37 states, a rise affecting three-quarters of the country. He warned the surge could be worse due to cross country travel during Thanksgiving


Breaking News 

London will move to 'high alert'

London will move to the second tier of coronavirus restrictions - a ban on households mixing indoors - from 00:01 on Saturday, local MPs have been told

Germany and US call on people to stick to health guidelines

Germany has reported its highest number of cases since the pandemic began. More than 6,600 infections were reported on Wednesday.
It comes just hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned restrictions would be tightened in high-risk areas.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said more people needed to stick to the rules to keep infections at a manageable level.
"It's important to understand that we are not powerless against this virus. We can do something, we all can make a difference every day," Mr Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio on Thursday.
It comes as US virologist Anthony Fauci warned that people are not following basic health guidelines such as avoiding crowds, wearing masks and attempting to do things outdoors.
He warned that cases are rising in 37 states and said that Thanksgiving gatherings may be avoided this year to try and stop the spread.

Millions face new curbs in England

Local leaders in Greater Manchester and Lancashire are due to have talks with ministers this morning as millions more people face being included in the expansion of England’s strictest level of coronavirus measures .
So far, Liverpool is the only area to be placed on the “very high” alert level, where pubs and bars which do not serve meals are closed.
Greater Manchester and Lancashire have been under pressure to enter the top tier of restrictions, with Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham saying he is due to meet the prime minister’s team later.
Most of England is on medium alert, where indoor and outdoor gatherings are restricted to six people indoors pubs and restaurants must close at 22:00.
North-east England, much of the North West and parts of the Midlands, along with West and South Yorkshire are on high alert, which adds a ban on households mixing indoors.
Areas on very high alert face a ban on different households mixing indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens, pubs and bars are closed unless they serve substantial meals and there is guidance against travelling in and out of the area.

London 'to move to high alert', says mayor

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that the capital is on the brink of moving to "high alert" - England's second highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.
Khan said he expected the decision to be taken "very soon, possibly this week", adding that he would support the change, which would mean a ban on households mixing indoors.
But he has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the city needs more financial support for struggling businesses if it is to face further restrictions.
The city recorded 1,722 new confirmed cases yesterday and has an infection rate of more than 730 per 100,000 people - the sixth highest of the England's nine regions.

Cases around the world

Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world, with more than 38 million confirmed cases in 189 countries and more than one million deaths.
The virus is surging in many regions and some countries that had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks are also seeing infections rise again.
A reminder that you can check all the data here .

France awaits further curfew details

The government in France has announced a night-time curfew for Paris and its suburbs along with eight other cities.
People in Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Rouen, Toulouse, Grenoble and Montpellier will have to remain at home from 21:00 to 06:00.
The measure will come into effect from Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday.
It will be applied for four weeks to begin with and Mr Macron’s government will seek to extend it to six.
A press conference later on Thursday is set to explain how the measures will be enforced.
Residents will need a valid reason to be outside their homes during the hours of curfew, the president said, adding that he understood that a curfew was a "hard" thing to ask people to do.
Essential trips will be permitted. Anyone found breaking the curfew will be fined €135 (£121).

Record infection numbers as Europe tightens restrictions

France is digesting news of 21:00 to 06:00 curfews that start in nine cities on Saturday – and President Emmanuel Macron has called for a “rule of six” social bubble at home as well as in public. Paris region president Valérie Pécresse has urged the capital’s workers to switch to working from home “at least three days a week. That’ll really let us bring down the movement of people and the virus too”.
Tougher anti-Covid measures start in Portugal today after a “state of calamity” was declared. Public gatherings are limited to five people and weddings to 50. A record 2,072 cases was announced on Wednesday.
Czechs shut down schools and bars yesterday but infections are still soaring – with a record 9,544 new infections just declared. PM Andrej Babis says special Covid beds will be set up away from hospitals from this weekend,
Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed last night for young Germans “to do without a few parties now in order to have a good life tomorrow or the day after”. Now we hear of a daily record of 6,638 cases. Restrictions will now come in areas where infection rates hit 35 per 100,000 people, and even tighter rules where the rate hits 50. Latest figures suggest several districts in Berlin are among dozens of areas with very high infection rates.
Italy has also recorded its highest number of infections since the start of the pandemic - 7,332 cases. But testing is at least six times higher than in March. PM Giuseppe Conte has pleaded for a “great sense of responsibility”. “We must respect the more restrictive rules now."

Liverpool facing 'a dire situation' in a week

Hospitals in Liverpool have 90% of their intensive care capacity taken up by Covid patients and wards are almost at the level of occupancy at the peak of the epidemic, an expert in outbreak medicine has warned.
Prof Calum Semple from the University of Liverpool told BBC Breakfast that he was predicting "quite a dire situation within a week or so" for the city, because measures taken now will not have any effect for about 10 days.
"We’re not even into winter yet and the system is stressed by so many cases," he said. Many NHS staff are off work due to sickness and burnout and the region also faces pressure on other services such as education, fire services, food and fuel deliveries due to illness.
Prof Semple said that in his view Manchester also qualified for the "very high" alert measures, along with several other regions.
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson told the BBC that many business owners had been "moved to tears and are telling us they simply can’t cope", with some saying they will never reopen after being forced to close.
In addition to pubs and bars, betting shops, gyms, leisure centres and casinos are also closed in the region.
Mr Anderson said he was told "forget about it" when he asked for extra financial support. "It’s not acceptable," he said.

Will Greater Manchester be next on 'very high' alert?

The question took a new sense of urgency after Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi appeared to suggest in an interview this morning that the decision to put Greater Manchester in England's highest tier of coronavirus restrictions had already been taken, before clarifying that the decision would be made with local leaders.
He told Sky News that he hoped the region's MPs would "make time for that meeting so they can hear from the chief medical officer, from the deputy chief medical officer, as to why we’re having to take this action".
Asked to clarify if that meant the decision for Greater Manchester had already been taken, he said: "What I’m saying to you is they need to see the data and of course that decision will be made jointly with local leaders.”
Later, he said that he was "not going to speculate" about whether Greater Manchester and Lancashire would be placed on "very high" alert. "Matt Hancock is going to make a statement to Parliament as to where we are at but you can clearly see the numbers, the virus is rising," he said.

Which areas in England go on 'very high' alert and why?

Some areas with very high coronavirus rates are not on very high alert at the moment, while Liverpool is.
In the most recent week,
Manchester had the second highest rates in England, placing it ahead of all but one area (Knowsley) in the Liverpool City Region, but it is only high alert.
Similarly, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield currently rank higher in case rates than much of Liverpool, but aren't in the same tier as it.
Asked why earlier this week, the Department of Health said the reasons included:

  • Number and increase of coronavirus cases
  • The positivity rate (or the percentage of tests that come back positive)
  • Pressures on the NHS
  • Which age groups are being infected

The six local authorities that make up the Liverpool City Region collectively have very high case rates. Meanwhile, the areas that make up Greater Manchester do rank highly, but just a little below those of the Liverpool City Region. And in recent weeks, this case rate has increased quicker in Liverpool than Manchester.
Read the analysis in full here.

What's happening around the UK?



Hong Kong and Singapore announce travel bubble plans

Hong Kong and Singapore have announced plans for quarantine-free travel between the two locations.
Under the proposed plans, residents of both cities will be required show they have tested negative for the virus. Its thought passengers will be tested the day before travelling.
Passengers must travel on dedicated flights where no transit passengers will be allowed on board.
A date for the travel bubble’s launch has not yet been announced but Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said he hoped it would start in “weeks”.
Both locations have recorded low coronavirus transmission rates. But experts in Hong Kong have warned of a possible resurgence of the virus in winter.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 13:33

Trump's son Barron had Covid

US President Donald Trump's 14-year-old son Barron contracted coronavirus but has since tested negative, First Lady Melania Trump revealed.
Mrs Trump said her "fear came true" when Barron tested positive for Covid-19. But, she said, "luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms".
Both the president and first lady also tested positive for coronavirus - as well as other White House staff - but have since recovered.
Coronavirus - 15th March Fed74410

India cinemas set to reopen after seven months

Krutika Pathi - BBC News, Delhi
Cinema halls in some Indian states are set to open from today - the latest measure in the Indian government’s continued plan to reopen the country, which went into lockdown in March.
But the experience won’t be what it was - seating will be capped at 50%, show timings will be staggered, temperatures will be taken and social distancing will be enforced, according to the guidelines. Customers will also have to provide phone numbers for contact-tracing.
“Cinemas got the brunt - we were the first to shut and will be the last to re-open,” Alok Tandon, CEO of multiplex chain Inox, told the BBC last month. Even though ticket sales won’t rebound back to normal soon, it’s a sigh of relief for the industry, which has had to compete with streaming platforms as more and more Bollywood films skipped the traditional release in cinemas to stream online.
But two of the year’s biggest blockbusters held out. Sooryavanshi, an action-packed police drama, is set to release in early 2021 while ‘83, a tribute to India’s cricket World Cup victory in 1983, is slated for release at Christmas.
India has the second-highest caseload of coronavirus in the world with more than seven million cases. There appears to be a slowdown in infections, but experts say it should be interpreted with caution.

NHS staff missed out on testing

Staff at several NHS trusts were left unable to access testing after they stood down their in-house systems because they were assured that centralised national system could cope.
When the national system then came under strain earlier in the autumn, some healthcare staff - including in virus hotspots - could not get tested.
The government has since said it has increased testing capacity.
Dr Fiona McCann, a consultant at Northampton General - a medium-sized hospital - struggled to access a test for a her son in mid-September, meaning she had to cancel clinics.
"The problem is that both myself and my husband are key workers. If we can't go to work because we have to look after the children, that's taking away our ability to offer those services," she said.
Since then, her hospital has reinstated staff testing on site.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 13:40

What's happening around the UK?



Millions of Londoners to see tougher restrictions, MPs told

As we've already reported, millions of people in London will have tougher Covid restrictions from midnight on Friday.
The capital is moving from Tier 1 to Tier 2 , meaning it is on "high alert" for coronavirus and people must not socialise with others outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting.
These measures are in addition to the existing national restrictions on gatherings of more than six people and mandatory closing time for the hospitality industry of 22:00.

Breaking News

Police search home of French health minister

Police in France have searched the home of Health Minister Olivier Veran as part of an enquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic.
He is one of several current and former health ministers being investigated into their response to the pandemic. It also includes former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
Victims of Covid-19 accuse them of being too slow to act to check the spread of the virus.
The ministry of health said in a statement that Thursday morning's search operations had taken place “without difficulty”.
The legal proceedings are still ongoing.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 13:55

10:21

'We need action on a national scale' - London Mayor

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he expected ministers to make an announcement about the capital moving to "high alert" shortly.
He said he had made clear to the government that London needed more support for businesses, workers and public services as new restrictions come in.
And he said that the government's "complete failure to get a working test, trace and isolate system" meant the UK needed "action on a national scale".
Khan called for a "short national circuit-breaker", referring to a temporary period of lockdown, which he said "could save thousands of lives" and "drive the virus down to manageable levels".
"We experience the worst of Covid-19 back in the spring. Thousands of lives were lost and our economy was left reeling," he said. "We can’t afford the government to be slow to act again."
He said it was a "false" choice between protecting the economy and protecting lives. "Getting the virus under control is the only way we can protect lives and the economy," he said.
The mayor warned Londoners have "a difficult winter ahead" but said "we will get through this dark time by pulling together".

Video of Dutch flouting rules raises debate

Footage showing drinkers violating social distancing rules in a bar close to the Dutch parliament has gone viral in the Netherlands.
The images, which I filmed last night, show people hugging, taking selfies and dancing on tables minutes before the partial lockdown came into force at 22:00.
The mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen described the behaviour as "completely irresponsible".
Police were walking and cycling nearby, some officers were filming from a distance. I asked one whether they would do anything, he told me they were there to ensure everyone left on time.
At times the DJ hyped the crowds shouting, "Two hands in the f****** air", "30 minutes til lockdown". When things got especially rowdy, he asked them to sit down. At one point, police went in to make sure the music as turned down.
Dirk Beljaarts who represents hospitality businesses in the Netherlands, responded with dismay, "It is unacceptable! It also detracts from the carefully built safe hospitality status that thousands of hospitality entrepreneurs and their staff have built up in recent months. The hospitality industry is crying tonight and has given everything in recent months to offer a safe place to go out."
The Netherlands currently has one of the most rapidly increasing infection rates in the world. At least 6,663 Dutch people have been killed by Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Tweet  Anna Holligan:
Countdown to partial lockdown. Scene in The Hague 25 mins before new rules kick in #COVID19
Coronavirus - 15th March Watch_10

At 2155 (five mins before partial lockdown rules apply). Images of this party almost literally on parliament’s doorstep were discussed in parliament tonight https://nu.nl/coronavirus/6084032/drukte-in-horeca-voor-sluiting-politie-legt-feest-in-den-haag-stil.html
#COVID19

Coronavirus - 15th March Watch_10
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 14:03

Breaking News

Greater Manchester to move into highest tier of restrictions

Downing Street has told Greater Manchester leaders that the region will go on to "very high" alert, the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions, a source tells the BBC.
But the source said no agreement has yet been reached on financial support.
Tweet  Laura Kuenssberg:

Source confirms No 10 has told Greater Manchester this morning it's going into Tier 3, but no agreement yet on financial support - feels like a re-run of Monday, when D St tried + failed to get agreement with Liverpool City region Mayor, but went ahead with a 'deal'
10:26 AM · Oct 15, 2020


Czech Republic searching for temporary hospital locations

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
The Czech Republic's Interior Minister Jan Hamacek says the army will begin building a 500-bed emergency field hospital at Prague's Letnany exhibition grounds on Saturday.
Mr Hamacek, who heads the government's crisis response team, said yesterday he'd asked local mayors, fire departments and the army to earmark buildings that could serve as temporary hospitals.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis has announced that the government will immediately purchase an extra 3,000 regular beds and 1,000 ICU beds in preparation for the hospitals becoming overrun.
Leaked official forecasts say that even in the best-case scenario, Czech hospitals will reach capacity within two weeks.
The health minister has called on everyone with medical training to volunteer their services, even those who are no longer working in medicine.
More than 9,540 cases were recorded on Wednesday, the country’s highest daily total so far.

Uganda reopens schools for final year students

Patience Atuhaire - BBC News, Kampala
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Learners are maintaining social distance in classrooms

Schools in Uganda have reopened for final year students, seven months after all education institutions in the country were closed.
The schools are required to put in place hand-washing and temperature-checking facilities, and also ensure that the students maintain physical distance while in class and around the schools.
But many schools across the country have not met these standards and will remain closed.
On Thursday, schoolchildren could be seen walking to schools early in the morning. Temperature checks, hand-washing, as well as recording of next of kin and residential area details were being carried out at the school premises the BBC visited.
Some of the children said that while they might be safe at school, they used public transport and therefore worried about being infected by travellers who did not adhere to Covid-19 prevention guidelines.
The country has so far confirmed 10,096 cases but the rate of infection has been steadily rising, averaging about 1,000 new cases a week.
But if this phase of reopening schools goes smoothly then the education sector is expected to fully reopen in early 2021.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 14:07

Ryanair cutting winter capacity by a third

Ryanair is cutting its winter capacity by more than a third due to travel restrictions, the airline said.
The low-cost airline said it expected to fly 40% of the capacity it flew last year.
This means 38 million passengers flying with the airline in the financial year ending on 31 March 2021, down from 149 million flown last year.
“Our focus in on maintaining as large a schedule as we can sensibly operate,” Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said.
New travel restrictions have come into effect in recent weeks in Europe.
The airline said bases would be closed in Cork and Shannon in Ireland with cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.
It warned that there would be some redundancies at cabin crew bases where pay cuts have been rejected.

Jordan resumes 48-hour lockdown

Coronavirus - 15th March 0caeb410
Jordan's first two-day lockdown was brought in last week

Jordan is to resume a two-day lockdown from midnight tonight, following a recent rise in coronavirus cases.
The restrictions will continue throughout the country's weekend, which runs from Friday to Saturday.
Travellers arriving from abroad and cancer and dialysis patients are among the exemptions to the rules. Pet shops will also be able to open for two hours on each day, as long as they carry a valid licence from the municipality and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Jordan began its first nationwide lockdown in mid-March and gradually eased measures over the following months. Last week, however, the government introduced the first in a series of ongoing weekly lockdowns to stop the renewed spread of the virus.
Figures released by Jordan on Wednesday showed there had been 2,423 new daily cases in the country of around 10 million people. More than 30,000 people have contracted the virus and 257 people have died in the country since the pandemic began.
Jordan is not the only country in the Middle East to re-introduce restrictions.
Israel introduced its second nationwide lockdown around a month ago following a period of record highs in the number of daily cases. The cabinet is now expected to relax measures after a consistent decline in infections.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 14:15

How does England's three tier system work?

Coronavirus - 15th March 1fd5d310
The Liverpool region became the first to be move onto "very high" alert yesterday

Every area of England now falls into three categories - medium (Tier One), high (Tier Two) or very high (Tier Three), depending on the local rate of infection.
Areas in Tier One are subject to the basic national rules previously in force.
You may not meet in a group of more than six people, indoors or outdoors, unless you're in a larger household or a support bubble.
Pubs, bars and restaurants in a Tier One area must close by 22:00.
The rules for Tier One also apply in Tier Two. In addition, you are not allowed to meet socially with people you do not live with indoors - this includes private homes, as well as pubs or restaurants.
People in support bubbles can go on meeting as before and informal childcare may also be provided.
You can still meet friends and family outdoors, but only in a group of up to six people.
Areas with the most rapidly rising transmission rates are placed in Tier Three.
You are not allowed to meet socially with anybody who is not part of your household or your support bubble indoors or in certain outdoor locations.
You cannot meet in private gardens or pub gardens, but can meet in parks, beaches, countryside or forests, as long as you are not in a group of more than six.
Pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals - alcohol can only be served as part of a meal.
People are being advised not to travel into or out of Tier Three areas, other than for work, education, youth services or because of caring responsibilities.

11:21

Matt Hancock due in Commons at 11:30 BST

We're expecting to hear from Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the House of Commons shortly to provide an update on which areas in England are changing their alert levels and tiers of restrictions.
Discussions with regional leaders have led to some early suggestions about what to expect: we understand that Greater Manchester is set to move to Tier 3 - very high alert - although concerns remain about the amount of financial support.
London and Essex are expected to move from the medium alert level to high alert - also known as Tier 2.

Liverpool considers two-week break for schools

Liverpool schools could shut for two weeks over half-term to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, the city's mayor has said.
Joe Anderson said teachers were under "huge pressure" as more than 20,000 pupils and 1,300 teachers were isolating.
The plan, which is backed by the NASUWT teaching union, would mean pupils being taught remotely at home in the second week.
Liverpool has an infection rate of 2,566 per 100,000 people, one of the highest in England.

London on a 'steep upward path' - Hancock

Confirming that London will move to high alert, Tier 2 restrictions, Hancock says the city is on a "steep upward path".
Infections are doubling every 10 days, he says.
He thanks local leaders and Londoners for their co-operation. "We all need to play our part to do it once again," he said, referring to the action taken during the previous wave of infections.

More areas in England to move to high alert

The health secretary said that Essex, Elmbridge in Surrey, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield would all move to the high local alert level.
He said infection rates were rising "sharply" in these places and cases doubling in less than a fortnight.
The additional restrictions, which ban people meeting others outside their household or support bubble in indoor settings, will come into force from 00:01 on Saturday in all these areas.

'Unanimous fury' from Greater Manchester leaders

Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, says there was "unanimous fury" from the people on the call with ministers today to discuss putting the area into higher coronavirus restrictions.
Regional leaders criticised the process, the evidence base and the economic support package on offer, she said.
"We want action but it has to be the right action because we’ve lived in Tier 2 now for nearly three months and it’s not worked," she said in the House of Commons.
She said the chief medical officer has said Tier 3 measures would not make a "material difference" to the infection rate, but would mean tens of thousands of jobs lost and thousands of businesses closed.
It is "not good enough" that "meaningful conversations" about new measures in Manchester only began this morning, Powell said.
But the health secretary said discussions had been "going on for some time" and rejected her account of the chief medical officer's words, who said that local areas may need to agree more measures than the Tier 3 baseline restrictions.
"Action is needed fast" in Manchester, Hancock said.

More than half of England now under increased restrictions

Coronavirus - 15th March D87bb310
More than half of the population in England are living in high or very high alert areas

The BBC has calculated that with the new areas moving into the high level of alert, Tier 2, there will be 28.3 million people living under increased local restrictions.
That means over half of the population will be living under the high alert or very high alert when the new restrictions come into force at 00:01 on Saturday.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 14:19

Restrictions to remain in Scotland

Additional Covid restrictions on household gatherings in Scotland will not be lifted, amid a rise in cases, the first minister has said,
Addressing a virtual meeting of the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland was at a "critical moment" and "difficult decisions" had to be made.
Scotland recorded 13 deaths of coronavirus patients in the past 24 hours and another 1,351 people have tested positive, she said.
Residents of Scotland have been told not to travel to Blackpool after 180 confirmed cases were found to have links to the English seaside town. Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that this figure has now risen to 286.
She also announced new rules on face coverings.
They must be worn in workplace canteens when individuals are not seated at a table from Friday.
And from Monday, face coverings must be worn in other communal workplace areas, such as corridors.
But a rule requiring couples getting married to wear coverings will be lifted.

Tighter controls in Europe 'could save lives'

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says imposing tighter controls could prevent huge numbers of lives being lost in Europe.
Many countries in Europe are recording record high numbers of daily cases and are now enforcing stricter rules.
The WHO’s European Director Hans Kluge said: “It’s time to step up. The message to governments is: don’t hold back with relatively small actions to avoid the painful damaging actions we saw in the first round.”
Kluge said projections from “reliable epidemiological models” and said they were “not optimistic” for Europe.

Russia records record number of fatalities

Sarah Rainsford - BBC Moscow Correspondent
Russia has recorded 286 Covid deaths, the highest number of fatalities since the start of the epidemic.
Restrictions on movement remain limited: in Moscow, elderly and sick people are advised to stay at home; 30% of staff in companies must work from home – and companies have to prove their compliance – and school children in classes six and above will move to distance-learning from Monday, when an extended half term holiday ends.
In the latest move, the mayor of Moscow has announced that anyone who goes to a nightclub or bar working after midnight will need to register, leaving contact details so that they can be traced in case of an outbreak.
Sergei Sobyanin said that there was "every basis", given the rising number of Covid cases in Moscow, to close the bars and clubs again as happened in spring but he didn’t want to do that, as the sector accounts for thousands of jobs.
The authorities have been conducting regular raids of shops, theatres and other venues to check for violations of the rules – and issuing fines.
Hospitals continue to fill up – though not yet at the rate seen in spring.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 14:23

'Time is running out' - European Commission

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Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, spoke at a press conference earlier

The European Commission has called on member states to step up their preparations against coronavirus as cases surge around the continent.
The EU body has also said countries should co-ordinate contact tracing and the eventual deployment of vaccines, giving priority to vulnerable communities.
“Time is running out,” said Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. “Everyone’s first priority should be to do what it takes to avoid the devastating consequences of generalised lockdowns.”
Health policy is still a national prerogative in EU, and the Commission can only recommend common measures, not enforce them.
Similar calls have also been made by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“We know communities across Europe are craving a return to normality. But the figures confirm we are not out of the woods yet," said Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen, the IFRC's regional chief. "As we head towards winter it is more important than ever that we remain socially close while staying physically distant.”

Chinese say Liverpool revellers ‘a bunch of lunatics’

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
A major talking point on Chinese social media today is the crowds that gathered in Liverpool ahead of new Covid-19 restrictions coming into effect on Tuesday.
Millions of social media users in China today have been watching and commenting on footage of Brits gathering without wearing masks.It has shocked Chinese netizens, who call the gatherers “a bunch of lunatics”.
“People are going crazy,” one user of the popular Sina Weibo platform says, and another says the scenes in a city with high-rates of Covid-19 make them “scared to death”.
“If people want to die, you can’t persuade or stop them,” one user says. It’s becoming a common sentiment in China that, as one user puts it, “while Chinese lost two months of freedom” with quick and aggressive lockdown measures, “Westerners are only losing their lives”.
Some blame the government for these scenes. “European and American governments have no authority to implement policies at grassroots level to weaken [the virus’] implementation,” says one.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 14:26

Where are the cases in London and Greater Manchester?

More than half of England's population will be subject to high or very high-alert coronavirus restrictions from Saturday.
Millions of people in London are affected - and a final decision is being made whether Greater Manchester will move into the highest level.
So how many cases are there in these areas? Take a look at the following map and graphs.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 14:34

A ban on household visits will come into effect nationwide tonight as Ireland struggles to contain the spread of coronavirus.

From midnight tonight, all 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland will be unable to visit the home of a friend or family member, except in cases of compassionate exemption or childcare.

Meeting friends or family outdoors is also allowed only in the case that there are no more than six people from no more than two households.

Most areas remain on Level 3 restrictions with the addition of the ban on household mixing; however, three border counties are being moved to Level 4 restrictions.

From midnight tonight, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan will be under Level 4 restrictions until at least Tuesday, 10 November-- any weddings planned for this weekend can still go ahead under a 'grace' period.

The decision comes after Northern Ireland announced stringent new measures to contain the virus, including closing schools for two weeks from Friday.

Northern Ireland yesterday recorded four deaths and 1,217 new infections, breaking the previous record of both the north and the Republic; the Republic, meanwhile, yesterday confirmed a further 1,095 cases and five deaths.

Speaking at the announcement of further restrictions nationwide yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the country can beat the virus if people work together and adhere to the rules.

He admitted that Ireland had reached a difficult point in the pandemic, and said that until there is a vaccine, life cannot go back to normal.

People's behaviour must reflect that fact, he warned.



Source: The Irish Post
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 14:35

Latest headlines from around the world

Here’s the latest headlines from the UK and around the world:

  • A number of areas in England are facing extra restrictions. They include London, Esses, York and several other areas moving into tier two . Under this "high" alert level, there is a ban on households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants
  • In France, new details have been releasd by the authorities about monitoring and enforcing a curfew covering several areas, including Paris
  • It comes as Health Minister Olivier Veran had his house searched by police as part of an investigation into the handling of the virus
  • Russia has recorded 286 new deaths, the highest rise since the pandemic began
  • The Czech Republic is building make-shift hospitals to help cope with the rise in cases there.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 17:28

Breaking News 

Italy removed from UK travel corridor list

UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps has announced that Italy, San Marino and Vatican City have been removed from the UK's "travel corridor" list.
As a result, anyone travelling to the UK from any of the states must quarantine for 14 days.
The new measure will come into effect from 04:00 BST on Sunday 18 October.
Mr Shapps has also announced that anyone arriving in the UK from the Greek island of Crete will no longer need to follow the 14-day isolation rule.

France unveils further measures

As infection rates continue to rise across France, the government has declared a public health emergency and will be enforcing night-time curfews from Saturday.
The restriction will be in place across Paris and eight other cities, between 21:00 to 06:00, and last for at least four weeks. But there are some people who are exempt, including those who work during curfew hours.
Today Prime Minister Jean Castex has unveiled more steps the government is taking to curb infections and cushion the economy, including:

  • A six-month extension to government loans for businesses. The deadline has now been extended to 1 June 2021
  • A €150 ($175; £135) bonus for employment welfare recipients
  • Financial aid for businesses in curfew zones, with less than 50 employees, which have lost half their turnover compared to last year
  • A requirement that businesses allow a number of remote working days per week, for positions which allow it


US vice-presidential contender's aides test positive

Two individuals involved with the election campaign of US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have tested positive.
A statement by Biden's campaign manager said one was the communications director for Biden's running mate Kamala Harris and the other a non-staff flight crew member.
Senator Harris was not in close contact with them during the two days preceding their positive tests, and therefore - based on current US guidelines - did not need to quarantine, the statement said.
"Regardless, out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution, we are canceling Senator Harris’s travel through Sunday, October 18th," it added.
The US presidential election is on 3 November.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 17:32

'A masterclass in how not to do it': Why the Greater Manchester talks failed

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Oldham's council leader said the government threatened to impose Tier 3 restrictions without agreement

Greater Manchester was expected to be raised into Tier 3 restrictions today, just one day after the three-tier system came into force.
But after a morning of talks, no agreement was reached, with local politicians remaining concerned about the level of financial support in industries forced to close.
Some of the participants criticised the government's approach to the talks, with Sean Fielding, leader of Oldham Council in Greater Manchester, saying they were a "masterclass in how not to do it" .
He said the opening line was: “We either do Tier 3 with you or impose it.”
Bolton Council leader David Greenhalgh told the BBC there was a "stalemate" between the government and the local leaders and MPs who believe parts of Tier 3 restrictions such as the hospitality closures are unacceptable without more financial help.
BBC Newsnight policy editor Lewis Goodall said one council leader believed that the prime minister's aide Sir Eddie Lister was sent to impose the additional restrictions but backed off when he saw the unanimously hostile reception.
Another MP said that the reaction from Tory MPs and local council leaders surprised the government team, prompting them to wait for an agreement later.

'Extra patrols' for Wales travel ban

There will be extra police patrols on main roads into Wales for a travel ban on people coming from UK Covid hotspots, the first minister has said.
It is expected the ban from Friday 18:00 BST will cover residents of Northern Ireland, England's tier two and three areas and the Scottish central belt.
The Police Federation says the law will be "unenforceable". But the first minister said number plates could be used to identify people coming into Wales from other UK hotspots.
Mark Drakeford said police would act "as they did early in the pandemic when there were travel restrictions".
UK government Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said the plan was "unconstitutional".
Read more here
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 17:35

Are there any exemptions to France's new restrictions?

We've been reporting today on the night-time curfews that are rolling out in several French cities from Saturday, along with other restrictions to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Those who break the curfew face a fine of €135, rising to €7,500 and a six-month prison term for repeat offenders. Residents have also been asked to limit gatherings to no more than six people.
But France's government says there are some exemptions to the new measures:

  • People with written authorisation to be out during curfew hours, including those who need to work
  • People travelling in or out of curfew areas by train, bus or plane, after the start of curfew at 21:00 local time (20:00 BST)
  • The "rule of six" for private gatherings will also be waived for people with more than six individuals in their immediate family
  • While parties and other social gatherings are banned during the curfew, civil and religious wedding ceremonies can still go ahead, providing that attendees wear masks and maintain social distancing. Any celebrations after the ceremony must be limited to six people.


'No police action' by Met against MP who travelled with Covid

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The Metropolitan Police have said theywill not take action against the MP Margaret Ferrier, who travelled from London to Glasgow despite receiving a positive Covid test.
The force said regulations which legally require people to self-isolate were not applicable, because the test was taken before they came into effect.
The force said it is taking no further action but has referred the matter to Police Scotland for consideration.

EU 'needs to be common quarantine rules'

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has warned there needs to be common rules on quarantines and testing across the bloc.
Speaking at the start of a two-day meeting of EU leaders, she described the situation in Europe as “more worrisome”.
She made the remarks as EU countries agreed on a “traffic light” to help member states identify whether to require testing or quarantines for non-essential EU travellers such as tourists.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 17:40

15:40
Breaking News 

Ursula von der Leyen goes into isolation

European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen has left an EU summit in Brussels, under an hour after it began, after she found out she had been in contact with someone who tested positive.
She said that she had tested negative but was going into isolation as a precaution.
Tweet  Ursula von der Leyen:

I have just been informed that a member of my front office has tested positive to COVID-19 this morning. I myself have tested negative. However as a precaution I am immediately leaving the European Council to go into self-isolation.

Burnham due to give update on Greater Manchester restrictions

In the next few minutes, we are expecting to hear from Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, one of the leading figures in opposing the region going into Tier 3 restrictions, also known as the "very high" alert level.
He has been resisting following the Liverpool City Region into Tier 3, which he has described as unfair and a threat to jobs and businesses.
MPs from Greater Manchester were briefed in the past hour by government ministers and it is understood no final decision has been taken to move the area in to Tier 3 restrictions. But Mr Burnham will give a press statement to provide the very latest update.

Government's strategy not working, says Burnham

Burnham adds that the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam said bringing infection rates down would "require widespread closures way beyond pubs".
"They are asking us to gamble our residents' jobs, homes and businesses and large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts say will not work," he said.

Mayor 'waiting for further engagement with ministers'

The Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham concludes his comments by revealing that government ministers suggested there is "no money left" for the kind of financial package the local leaders say is necessary before their areas are put into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.
Burnham, who spoke to health ministers earlier today, said he had been told "there is no money to put on the table".
He added: "To be honest with you, I don't believe that for one second. When I look today at some of the fees they are paying to consultants working on the failed test and trace scheme, when I look at the billions that is being thrown at a scheme that isn't working for Greater Manchester, money that has been found for other things this year.
"The argument I am making is... support people right now when they need it because by supporting people now you will save jobs and businesses that will be able to restart the minute we find a vaccine, the minute the recovery is on."
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 17:48

Trust in government is gradually ebbing away
Paul Donovan - Irish Post

The elected politicians of this country rule by the consent of the people.
Never has this been more obvious than during the time of the present pandemic.
The people have in the main done everything asked of them.
First, it was to stay at home and protect the NHS.
Next, it was stay alert, social distance and wash your hands.
Wearing masks and isolating on returning from holidays to countries with high Covid-19 rates was added.
When lockdown was lifted, people were told to go back to work, eat out to help out and go back to school - they dutifully did all of these things.
The problem has been that this has proved a one-sided bargain. The people have fulfilled their side, the government has not.
The deal has always been that people will do what they are told, just so long as the people doing the telling know what they are doing and stand by their own rules.
The confidence in the government has been palpably breaking down.
First, there was the failure to provide personal protective equipment for staff in hospitals, care homes and elsewhere.
Then the sending of people with the virus into care homes was an appallingly negligent act.
The next great failure was testing. We were promised a fully operating test and trace system. To date, this has still not materialised.
The government has stubbornly stuck to a centrally controlled system, run by private sector companies, with little experience in the area.
What they should have done was devolve this role to local authority and NHS networks, who have the knowledge to make it work.
Instead of addressing the basic logistical problems, the government has blundered on, seeking to cover one error, with further outlandish ideas - the latest being Boris Johnson's so called Moonshot plan for 10 million tests a day.
To date, the government struggles to reach 200,000 tests a day - a target promised to be reached many months ago.
Testing has always been vital because it tells administrators what is happening with the virus, where and why there are outbreaks.
A comprehensive set of data allows for local solutions to be applied, without resorting to the blunt instrument of lockdowns.
Lockdowns should be the act of final resort, only enacted when the health service is threatened with being overrun.
They cause incredible damage to the economy and other health issues - particularly mental health.
Government has tried to deflect from its own ineptitude by treating the people like naughty children.
They are warned - disobey and there will be even tougher sanctions.
Obey, and there will be sweeties from the jar in terms of a return of basic freedoms.
The untruth of people disobeying the rules has been spun up really as a cover for the government's own failings.
The people have obeyed the rules, done as they are told - from staying at home to eating out to help out. It is those in government who haven't.
Most notably, there was special advisor to the Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings, who palpably broke the rules, yet remained in office.
He bluffed it out, backed by the PM.
That action created a dangerous precedent, establishing that we are not all in it together, there is one rule for us and one rule for them.
And making matters worse, this individual continues to have a big say in how the crisis is handled.
Then, whilst telling people they can only gather in groups of six, the government makes an exception for grouse shooters – again, us and them.
The trust and confidence in government has been ebbing away, ever since the Cummings debacle.
The blundering over sending children back to school, students to University and the exam results fiasco have not helped instil confidence.
Government has much to do if it is to restore confidence and trust.
It could start by devolving test and trace to local level, through local authority and health networks.
It must also resource this work properly, not promise funding then renege on the deal.
It is no good trusting systems to people who see every crisis as a profit opportunity, rather than a call to act for the common good.
The rhetoric could also be toned down, less talk of lockdowns, waves, cancelling Christmas etc.
There has been too much use of fear to control people in this crisis.
In many ways, people need to be helped to live with this virus around because that is the way it will be until a vaccine is found.
People also need to have security going forward, with maybe a Universal Basic Income applied across society, so that no one is left behind.
The government has done well in supporting people with systems like furlough, but these need extending and unifying in one basic form of payment for all.
There also needs to be a focus on the collateral damage being done as a result of the often narrow focus on Covid.
The cancer and heart disease not being treated. The dementia cases. The mental health time bomb being created. The rises in domestic violence and other forms of abuse.
The effects of the damage being done to the economy.
It is not an easy path to tread and there are bound to be blips along the way.
However, trust and confidence in those making the decisions is vital - without it government will lose all authority and cannot operate.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 17:50

We're being used as 'canaries in the coalmine', says Burnham

Burnham says he and other Greater Manchester leaders were told by the deputy chief medical officer that the "only certain thing to work is a national lockdown".
But Burnham then points out the government was "unwilling to do that because of the harm it would do to the national economy".
"They are willing to sacrifice jobs and businesses here [in north-west England] to try and save them elsewhere," Burnham said, adding that they were being treated as "canaries in the coal mine" for an "experimental regional lockdown strategy".
He said the "very least" the government needed to do was to offer a furlough scheme with 80% of wages paid, support for the self-employed and help for businesses, the same as that offered to the general population during the first national lockdown from March.

No more money to be put on the table, Burnham says he was told

The Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham concludes his comments by revealing that government ministers suggested there is "no money left" for the kind of financial package the local leaders say is necessary before their areas are put into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.
Burnham, who spoke to health ministers earlier today, said he had been told "there is no money to put on the table".
He added: "To be honest with you, I don't believe that for one second. When I look today at some of the fees they are paying to consultants working on the failed test and trace scheme, when I look at the billions that is being thrown at a scheme that isn't working for Greater Manchester, money that has been found for other things this year.
"The argument I am making is... support people right now when they need it because by supporting people now you will save jobs and businesses that will be able to restart the minute we find a vaccine, the minute the recovery is on."

Circuit-breaker 'likely for Wales'

While Burnham was talking in Manchester, there was news of a likely development in Wales.
The BBC has been told that the Welsh Government is expected to announce a limited "circuit breaker" lockdown in the next few days .
A circuit-breaker a short period of time where tighter restrictions are brought in to break the trajectory of coronavirus cases rising.
It is not yet clear when the announcement will be made, for how long a limited shutdown would last, or which sectors would close.
But what is known is that Welsh Secretary Simon Hart has written to First Minister Mark Drakeford asking him to give businesses time to prepare for such a move.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 17:54

Italy reaches new high for cases for second consecutive day

Authorities in Italy have registered 8,804 new cases during the last 24 hours, beating the previous official high of 7,332 set yesterday.
Italy's health ministry also reported 83 coronavirus-related deaths, jumping from 43 on Wednesday, but far less than the peak of the country's outbreak in March and April, when daily death tolls reached more than 900.
It comes as infections continue to soar around Europe, prompting the rollout of restrictions in countries like neighbouring France.

Further 138 deaths in the UK

A further 18,980 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, according to the latest data.
The government's dashboard also show another 138 people have died within 28 days of a positive test.
The figures compare with 19,724 cases and 137 deaths recorded on Wednesday.

Scotland considers following Wales with travel ban

At an earlier virtual meeting of the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a Welsh-style ban on people travelling from Covid hotspots in other parts of the UK "is being considered".
"Although we have put in place tough measures, we cannot rule out having to go further in the future," she said.
The travel ban for Wales is expected to come into force at 18:00 BST tomorrow, and affects people living in Tier 2 and Tier 3 regions of England - which will cover half the population by the weekend - as well as the whole of Northern Ireland and the central belt of Scotland.

Breaking News 

Italy removed from UK travel corridor list

UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps has announced that Italy, San Marino and Vatican City have been removed from the UK's "travel corridor" list.
As a result, anyone travelling to the UK from any of the states must quarantine for 14 days.
The new measure will come into effect from 04:00 BST on Sunday 18 October.
Mr Shapps has also announced that anyone arriving in the UK from the Greek island of Crete will no longer need to follow the 14-day isolation rule.
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 17:58

What's the latest in Europe?

As cases and hospital admissions continue to rise across Europe, several countries are rolling out restrictions to ease the stress on healthcare systems and economies.
If you're just joining us, here are some of the biggest developments on the continent:

  • European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen has left an EU summit in Brussels after discovering she'd had been in contact with someone who's tested positive. Ms von der Leyen said she'd tested negative but, as a precaution, would be self-isolating
  • France has unveiled further details of its plan to introduce a night-time lockdown in several cities, including Paris, from Saturday
  • Italy has registered 8,804 new cases of coronavirus during the last 24 hours, beating a previous official high of 7,332 set yesterday
  • From Saturday, Slovenia's government has ordered bars, restaurants and sports facilities to close in seven of the country's 12 regions, including the capital Ljubljana. It follows two consecutive days of record official case numbers
  • Poland’s government has announced that new restrictions will be in place in several major cities, including the capital Warsaw, from Saturday. It comes as 8,099 new infections were reported since yesterday - also beating a previous official high


Rashford hits back as new child hunger appeal 'rejected'

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Footballer Marcus Rashford helped force a U-turn from the government on providing on free school meal vouchers for eligible pupils in England over the summer holidays - but his latest appeal to ministers appears to have been turned down.
During the coronavirus lockdown the government helped families whose children qualify for free meals. They insisted this would not continue outside of term time - but changed their mind after the England and Manchester United striker's campaign.
Now the footballer has launched a petition calling on ministers to go further in tackling child hunger - including providing meals over the Christmas break. It comes as meals are being made available during the breaks to eligible children in Wales.
But Downing Street has now indicated that free school meals will not be given to children in England during the holidays.
Rashford, who was made an MBE in last week's honours list on the back of his work for vulnerable children,, hit back on Twitter,
writing: "Merry Christmas kids... It's also not for food banks to feed millions of British children but here we are... This is not going away anytime soon and neither am I..."
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 19:06

The wedding that descended into chaos

Tom Bateman - BBC Middle East correspondent
Israeli police have made arrests at an ultra-Orthodox wedding which descended into chaos as guests were dragged away and officers said glass bottles of cooking oil were thrown at them.
The celebration broke Covid-19 rules as it involved “dozens” of guests, according to police. It took place in a private house in the settlement of Givat Ze’ev in the occupied West Bank.
Videos posted on social media showed scuffles between officers and guests. One man with a bloodied face was detained while another was shown bleeding on the ground. Israeli media reported that people slipped on the cooking oil and fell on broken glass. Family members accused police of attacking the bride’s brother.
The incident comes amid a growing row between secular and ultra-religious communities over the response to lockdown rules in Israel, which is starting to turn the tide on a dramatic surge in the virus. Some ultra-Orthodox politicians strongly criticised officers for heavy-handed tactics. But police slammed attacks on their officers saying they were stopping a “gross violation” of the rules.

UK cases and hospital admissions rising

The latest government figures show the total number of people to have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK has now reached 673,622. And the number of people dying within 28 days of testing positive stands at 43,293.
The graphs here show how cases have been rising again in recent weeks - with daily hospital admissions now at a seven-day average of 730.

What are the UK's quarantine rules?

Earlier we reported an announcement by Grant Shapps that Italy, San Marino and Vatican City have been removed from the UK's "travel corridor" list.
The transport secretary also said those returning from the Greek island of Crete will now not need to quarantine.
So where can you go without having to self-isolate on return?
Check our guide, here .
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Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 19:16

Summary of the latest updates

The Guardian


  • Europe has recorded its highest ever weekly number of new Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organization has said, warning that without effective countermeasures daily death rates could reach four or five times their April peak within months.
  • More than half of countries in the EU, plus the UK, were on Thursday labelled red in a new map issued by the bloc’s disease control agency aimed at guiding decisions on travel restrictions. The map was issued after EU member states decided on Tuesday to coordinate their approach to travel restrictions on other countries in response to Covid-19 outbreaks.
  • As Switzerland sees record high Covid-19 infection numbers on a daily basis, the health minister warned Thursday that the situation is “deteriorating” at an alarming rate.
  • US president Donald Trump on Thursday said he is willing to raise his offer of $1.8 trillion for a Covid-19 relief package to get a deal with House of Representatives Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a move likely to raise concern among his fellow Republicans in the Senate.
  • Italy’s coronavirus infections reached 8,804 on Thursday, up by almost 1,500 in a day, while deaths almost doubled to 83. Daily records were registered in Lombardy, where there were over 2,000 new cases, Campania and Piedmont. Cases in the southern Campania region, which was relatively unscathed by the first wave of the pandemic, eclipsed 1,000 in a day for the first time.
  • The Czech Republic will start building capacity for Covid-19 patients outside of hospitals, officials said on Thursday, as the country faces the fastest rate of infections in Europe .
  • The president of the European Commission says she is going into self-isolation with immediate effect after a colleague tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Germany’s foreign ministry has warned against non-essential travel to France, the Netherlands, Malta and Slovakia from Saturday due to high coronavirus infection rates.
  • French health authorities have reported 30,621 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, up on Wednesday’s 22,591, while hospitalisations and deaths linked to the disease also rose.
    The number of people in France who have died from Covid-19 infections rose by 88 to 33,125, versus 104 on Wednesday. The cumulative number of cases now totals 809,684.
    The French president Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered a nightly curfew in Paris and eight other big cities where the coronavirus is actively spreading.
  • In Bulgaria, Roma communities were sprayed with disinfectant from crop dusters this spring as coronavirus cases surged in the country. In Slovakia, their villages were the only ones where the army conducted testing. And across Central and Eastern Europe , reports of police using excessive force against Roma spiked as officers were deployed to enforce lockdowns in their towns.
    Human rights activists and experts say local officials in several countries with significant Roma populations have used the pandemic to unlawfully target the minority group, which is Europe’s largest and has faced centuries of severe discrimination. With Covid-19 cases now resurging across the continent, some experts fear the repression will return, too.
    To make matters worse, activists say such discrimination often draws little opposition from other Europeans and the Roma are reluctant to speak about it, fearing repercussions.
  • Three Jewish congregations on Thursday filed a lawsuit claiming that New York’s coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings violate their First Amendment religious rights under the US Constitution.
    The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Manhattan by Congregations Oholei Shem D’nitra, Netzach Yisroel and Yesheos Yakov asks the state’s measures, which restrict religious gatherings to as few as 10 people, be overturned.
  • Spain’s cumulative tally of coronavirus infections rose by over 13,300 to 921,374 in a slight acceleration from the previous few days, as Catalonia prepared to shut down bars and restaurants in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
    Data from the health ministry, which includes new cases and deaths in the past 24 hours and adds to the total retroactively, also showed the death toll rising by 140 to 33,553.
    Still, the number of daily infections in the pandemic’s hotspot in western Europe has come down somewhat from a peak of over 16,000 on 18 September, according to health ministry charts.
    Catalonia, which includes Spain’s second-largest city of Barcelona, has ordered bars and restaurants to close for 15 days to try to curb a surge in coronavirus cases and the region’s top court on Thursday gave its go-ahead to the new restrictions from 1 a.m. on Friday.
    Hospitality sector workers have called a protest rally for Friday.
    The capital Madrid and nearby suburbs were put into partial lockdown last week , and residents feared any further drastic measures would kill off the economy.
    “The economy will go backwards,” health worker Victoria Maria told Reuters, expressing her fear of more restrictive measures
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Coronavirus - 15th March Empty Coronavirus Ireland

Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 19:30

Four Irish toddlers rushed to hospital due to Covid-19 in space of a week
Four children under the age of four have been rushed to hospitals in Ireland due to Covid-19 complications over the past week.
At the start of October, statistics released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that 34 toddlers had been hospitalised with Covid-19 over the course of the pandemic.
That figure rose to 38 as of Monday, October 12.
The locations, exact ages and details of the toddlers' conditions haven't been released by health officials due to patient's right to privacy.
Statistics also show that 141 further children under four have tested positive for the bug in the last week.
So far in Ireland, 45,243 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded, while 1,835 people have died as a result of the virus.
3,877 people have been hospitalised by the virus, the vast majority of which have been in the 65+ age bracket.
Since the outbreak began, 747 cases of the virus have been confirmed in children under the age of four.





What will happen if Ireland is under Level 4 restrictions this Christmas?
Right now, most of the country remains under 'enhanced' Level 3 restrictions, which is Level 3 in the government's Living With Covid Plan in addition to a ban on visiting people's homes.
Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, however, have been moved to Level 4 following a spike in cases in Northern Ireland and some surrounding border counties.
Cases continue to rise across Ireland, and counties could be moved to higher levels if the number of cases does not stabilise or drop.
So, what happens if we are under Level 4 restrictions this Christmas?
 
What will happen this Christmas under the current coronavirus restrictions?

Visiting family in Ireland
Under Level 4-- and 'enhanced' Level 3-- household visits are banned; this includes visits held in someone's garden and other public settings such as a park. This means, should we be under Level 4 restrictions, Christmas dinner will be very different for many of us.

Christmas Markets
Under Level 4, 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.
 
Mass
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 and Level 4 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 pen 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 your county remain in Level 3 or be in Level 4 restrictions, 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.
Under Level 4 however, unless the premises is largely outdoors-- such as gardening centres-- non-essential retail shouldclose.
This includes toy shops, jewellery stores, hairdressers and barbers.
 
The outlook for Level 4 restrictions in Ireland this Christmas looks bleak, but it isn't inevitable-- politicians and health experts have said we can have a relatively normal Christmas if we tackle the virus numbers now.
 
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.
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 the hoped " the most liberal visiting regime that we could have safely is brought in."
 
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," Dr Holohan said. "We all live in this country, we know what it's like here."
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.
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Coronavirus - 15th March Empty Re: Coronavirus - 15th March

Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 15 2020, 19:43

What's been happening around the UK?

It's been a day of fast-moving developments in the UK as the government imposed additional restrictions on some regions to control a rise in cases.

  • Increased measures have been announced across the whole of London - and other areas, including Essex and parts of Cumbria, Surrey and Yorkshire
  • But there's been a backlash from local leaders in the North West where plans to introduce the highest Covid restrictions have been rejected again, amid a row over the level of financial support
  • Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the nation is at a "critical and precarious point" and further measures could not be ruled out - including a tiered alert system similar to England
  • In Northern Ireland, businesses forced to close due to new coronavirus restrictions will be able to access additional financial support, the executive has confirmed
  • And in Wales it looks like the government will announce a limited circuit-breaker lockdown in the next few days
  • Travellers returning to the UK from Italy, Vatican City and San Marino as of 04:00 BST on Sunday must now self-isolate, the government has announced
  • England's NHS Test and Trace service has announced its worst performance figures since late June - with just over 62% per cent of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 being reached in the week to 7 October
  • Another 18,980 people have tested positive for Covid in the UK and there have been a further 138 deaths


What are the latest global developments?

Hello and thanks for following our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, brought to you by our team of reporters in London and around the world.

The page was written by Joseph Lee, Sophie Williams, Joshua Cheetham and Alex Kleiderman, and edited by Paulin Kola, Emma Owen and John Hand.


We're wrapping our coverage up now, but here are some of today's biggest global developments:

  • More than 38.6 million cases have been reported worldwide, along with 1.09 million coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University
  • America remains the worst-affected country, with 7.9 million infections, followed by India and Brazil with 7.3 million and 5.1 million cases respectively
  • New restrictions have been announced in areas of Poland and Slovenia, as France prepares for the start of curfews in several major cities from Saturday
  • French police have also searched the home of Health Minister Olivier Veran as part of an enquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic. He is one of several current and former health ministers being investigated, including former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe
  • US vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris has said she will halt campaign travel until Monday after two members of her staff tested positive for coronavirus
  • Jordan is to resume a two-day lockdown, following a recent rise in coronavirus cases. The restrictions will continue throughout the country's weekend, which runs from Friday to Saturday
  • Meanwhile schools in Uganda have reopened for final year students, seven months after all education institutions in the country were closed.

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:21