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COVID-19: All the latest LIVE worldwide updates - today's updates are also on our Portal page, here)

Coronavirus - 22nd October


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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 22 2020, 10:46

Summary for Thursday, 22nd October

  • UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil new support for workers in parts of England under tier two restrictions
  • Spain records more than one million coronavirus cases - it is the first western European country to do so
  • The greater Covid risk for black and south Asian people in England is not explained by racism, says a scientist advising the government on the issue
  • Scotland's licensed trade faces a 'battle' to survive after restrictions were extended in the country, industry leaders say
  • BBC journalist Martin Bashir is seriously unwell with complications from coronavirus
  • Greater Manchester will enter tier three restrictions just after midnight
  • In the UK, 26,688 more coronavirus cases and 191 deaths were announced on Wednesday
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils "three further steps" to support for workers in parts of England under tier two restrictions
  • Stoke, Coventry and Slough to be moved into tier 2 Covid reestrictions
  • The new Job Support Scheme is tweaked so the government now funds 62% of the wages for people unable to work, with employer contributions reduced
  • Staff can now qualify for the scheme working fewer of their normal hours than what was previously announced
  • Firms in affected areas will also be eligible for cash grants of up to £2,100 a month
  • Chancellor confirms that grants can backdated to August to help in those areas that have had local lockdown measures since the summer

Good morning and welcome

Thanks for joining our live coverage of coronavirus developments in the UK and around the world. We’ll be bringing you updates throughout the day.

The latest from the UK

Businesses in England that have suffered a collapse in trade because of coronavirus restrictions are waiting to hear if they'll receive extra help.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce more support for workers in tier two - the second highest level of measures.
In other UK developments:

Latest from around the world

We'll be bringing you the latest from around the world today, as it happens.
There have now been over 41,228,181 coronavirus cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. Its data shows 1,131,339 recorded deaths.
In other global developments:

New lockdown and curfews: latest around Europe

Here's more on the picture in Europe today.
The Czech Republic has this morning gone into a second lockdown as 14,968 new infections are reported. Travel to work is allowed but most shops have been closed. Some areas have recorded rates above 800 infections for every 100,000 people.
New “level 5” rules have come into force in Ireland today - the highest level of Covid restrictions there.
Germany has announced a record 11,287 daily number of infections. That’s the first time it’s gone into five figures. The man leading the government’s fight against the virus, Health Minister Jens Spahn, has himself caught it. He took part in cabinet meetings yesterday, but officials say he wore a mask, and a big round table was used with spacing between ministers, so no-one else will need to self-isolate.
Sweden is removing special guidelines for over 70s – the same advice now applies to everyone in terms of hygiene, social distancing and avoiding large groups. If you go to a restaurant and it's too crowded, don’t go in, says Health Minister Lena Hallengren.
Italy’s Lazio region around Rome has joined two other Italian regions in declaring overnight curfews. Lombardy in the north starts its curfew at 23:00 tonight, Campania and Lazio follow suit tomorrow. Prof Walter Ricciardi, who advises the government on health, has warned that “some metropolitan areas like Milan, Naples and probably Rome are already out of control in terms of controlling the pandemic”. More here on how Italy’s restaurants are trying to reinvent themselves.
And some more on Spain, which is the first EU country to reach a million infections. The northern region of Navarre has imposed restrictions on movement from today and the Rioja wine region says it will do the same.

BBC's Bashir 'seriously unwell' with coronavirus complications

Coronavirus - 22nd October 818e2510

Veteran journalist Martin Bashir is "seriously unwell" with complications from coronavirus, the BBC has said.
The corporation's religion editor, 57, is perhaps best known for his 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana, in which she talked candidly about the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles.
He spent part of his career as a news anchor in the United States and also appeared on the celebrity version of The X Factor last year.
"We are sorry to say that Martin is seriously unwell with Covid-19 related complications," the BBC spokeswoman said.
"We'd ask that his privacy, and that of his family, is respected at this time."
Read more here .

Belgium's deputy PM in intensive care

Coronavirus - 22nd October 30ccdd10

Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès - who was prime minister until last month - has been admitted to intensive care with Covid-19. She is said to be in a stable condition.
Ms Wilmès, 45, revealed on 17 October that she had tested positive, and was probably infected by a member of her family as she had taken considerable precautions in her office.
She tweeted at the time that the steep rise in cases "unfortunately reminds us that no-one is immune - look after yourself and above all others too".
Belgium has seen a steep rise in hospital admissions in the past week - the deputy prime minister was among 421 people admitted on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo tweeted a few moments ago: "Speedy recovery @Sophie_Wilmes."

Minister defends England’s ‘complex’ Covid rules

Crime and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse has said it is important people inform themselves about coronavirus regulations in their area amid criticism of the confusing differences in England.
Mr Malthouse told BBC Breakfast different rules do bring some "complexity".
He added: "There's plenty of information out there on the internet where people can go and inform themselves about what the regulations are in their area and that fundamentally is what we would recommend everybody has to do.
"We all need to recognise we have an individual duty towards our collective health and that means informing ourselves about what the regulations are in our area and complying with the rules."
Check the rules where you live here .

Liverpool hospital ‘surpasses first Covid peak’

An NHS hospital in virus-hit Liverpool is now treating more Covid-19 patients than during the first wave of infections earlier this year, its medical director has said.
Writing on Twitter , Dr Tristan Cope said: "Sadly we are now treating more patients in hospital with Covid-19… than we did in April at the peak of the first wave and numbers continue to rise. [It's] so important that people in Liverpool… adhere to social distancing restrictions.
"Treating so many Covid patients in addition to usual acute and emergency care of patients with non-Covid conditions puts a huge strain on LivHospitals staff. Thank you to all our staff for their incredible hard work and dedication in dealing with this very difficult situation.”

Extra £10m for uni students in Wales

An extra £10m is being provided to help university students in Wales cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The money will support increased support services for students - particularly those focused on mental health - as well as student hardship funds, the Welsh Government said.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said it was a "priority" to "support our universities and students this year in particular".
The funding can also be used to provide foo for students self-isolating, and some cash has been set aside for vulnerable students, those with disabilities or those with caring responsibilities.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 22 2020, 11:42

Chancellor prepares to announce changes to Covid support

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce changes to the Jobs Support Scheme today to help companies in tier two areas, whose trade has collapsed without them being formally required to close.
Unions and business leaders say not enough has been done for firms in parts of the country where the second highest level of coronavirus restrictions apply - including London.
We'll have updates from 11:30 BST.

What else do we know is coming up today?

Alongside the update from Rishi Sunak, here is what else is happening in the UK today:

  • The mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region are appearing before MPs at the moment - it follows the striking of financial deals for the regions as they enter England's highest Covid alert level
  • Daily briefings from leaders in Wales and Scotland will take place as usual this lunchtime
  • At 12:30 BST, the government will set out its plans to tackle the disproportionate effect that coronavirus is having on ethnic minority groups
  • At 14:00 we'll receive the latest weekly coronavirus surveillance report from Public Health England
  • Latest UK coronavirus figures are due to be released later - after a record number of cases were reported on Wednesday

Northern leaders criticise Westminster's actions over virus rules

Greater Manchester metro mayor Andy Burnham has said England has "devolution in name but not in reality yet" following the imposition of tier three restrictions on his region by PM Boris Johnson.
Burnham and the Westminster government struggled for more than a week to secure agreement over financial support to help businesses and low-paid workers cope with the new rules, which will see sweeping closures to hospitality and spaces like betting shops from 00:01 on Friday.
He said the lesson of this week's events was that, if the government is proposing a lockdown of businesses, the terms cannot be dictated from 200 miles away.
"Ultimately that was a point of principle that needed to be made and a stand needed to be taken," he told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee.
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said northern communities need genuine economic progress to address entrenched inequalities.
"For far too long too many decisions have been taken with London centricity - not just the area of London - but the overall London culture that exists in Parliament and that has been hugely disadvantageous to areas like ours," he said.

Welsh rail franchise nationalised due to virus downturn

The Transport for Wales rail franchise is to be brought under Welsh Government control from next February.
Ministers have confirmed the takeover from KeolisAmey. Day-to-day services will be run by a publicly-owned company.
It follows significant falls in passenger numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read more here .

'How am I going to get out of this?': The other world leaders infected by Covid

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Belgium's deputy PM and foreign minister, Sophie Wilmes, has been admitted to intensive care with coronavirus (see our post at 10:22 BST).
Ms Wilmes, 45, who was prime minister until last month, is said to be in a stable condition. But she is not the first senior politician to receive hospital care for Covid-19.
In the UK, PM Boris Johnson described how doctors at London's St Thomas' Hospital supplied him with "litres and litres" of oxygen after being taken to hospital in early April.
He'd been diagnosed with Covid-19 the week before and had been isolating in No 10.
Speaking to the Sun on Sunday in May , Mr Johnson said: "It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it. They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario."
“They gave me a face mask so I got litres and litres of oxygen and for a long time I had that and the little nose jobbie," he added.
Mr Johnson said he thought "how am I going to get out of this?" when he observed his vital signs and statistics "going in the wrong direction".
Heir to the throne Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus in March. The Prince of Wales said he "got away with it quite lightly".
Last month, US President Donald Trump was taken to the Walter Reed military medical facility after he tested positive, and he has praised medical staff for their help in his recovery.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Prince Albert of Monaco are among the other world leaders to catch Covid-19.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 22 2020, 15:46

Thousands of live sheep from Mongolia head to China’s Wuhan

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
More than 4,000 live sheep have today arrived in China from Mongolia, and are being transported some 1,000 miles to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where Covid-19 was first discovered.
In total, 30,000 live sheep will be making the long journey to the Chinese city hardest hit by the coronavirus between now and the middle of November.
They were gifted by Mongolia’s President Khaltmaa Battulga during a visit to China in late February, and a special $1 million fund was set up for their transportation and handling.
The official China Daily newspaper says that “sheep are a symbol of wealth and status in Mongolia” , and that the donation of sheep represented “the best wishes of the Mongolian people” during China’s Covid-19 crisis.
The city of Wuhan went into full lockdown for 76 days between 23 January and 8 April. Its local economy suffered huge losses as an impact.
Once the virus had been brought under control, the city’s agricultural sector then took another heavy hit in July, when China experienced some of its worst flooding in decades.
This led to fears of supply chain disruptions and food shortages ahead of the winter months.

Scots told to prepare for 'digital Christmas'

For many of us, Christmas is a time for food, family get-togethers and festive fun.
But Scots should not expect a "normal" Christmas this year and instead prepare for "digital" celebrations, Scotland's national clinical director has warned .
The Scottish government has insisted that the latest Covid-19 restrictions are having an impact on the spread of the virus.
Prof Jason Leitch told the BBC that there was "absolutely no question" of a "normal" Christmas being allowed.
Measures could be eased if case numbers fall, but Prof Leitch said people should "get their digital Christmas ready".
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the government was making "really tough" decisions and would not "tell people what they want to hear to make it easier in the here and now".
The current tight restrictions on the hospitality trade are to be replaced with a new five-tier system of alert levels from 2 November, although Ms Sturgeon has warned that this does not rule out "even tougher restrictions" being imposed if necessary.

People should 'inform themselves' on Covid rules, says minister

As coronavirus restrictions across the UK's four nations change rapidly in response to infection rates , it can be tricky to keep track of which rules you are supposed to follow.
But the UK government's crime and policing minister says people need to "inform themselves" and research which Covid-19 measures apply in their area - amid complaints that England's new tier system has caused confusion.
Kit Malthouse said England's three alert categories involves some "complexity" and recommended people go online to look up the measures, adding that everyone has an "individual duty" towards collective public health.
Mr Malthouse told the BBC that most people were complying with the new rules and the number of fines issued by police was "tiny".
However, police have said that the new system makes Covid rules harder to enforce.
Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill, one officer leading the response to the pandemic in England, said he has asked the government to simplify its messages to make them easier for the public to understand.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 22 2020, 15:52

Scotland's daily briefing round-up

Earlier, Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, held her daily briefing.
Here is a round-up of what was said in the news conference:

  • 1,712 more positive cases and 17 deaths were reported in Scotland
  • The reproduction rate of the virus - or R number - remains above one and is perhaps as high as 1.5 in Scotland, Sturgeon said
  • A new testing strategy for Scotland will be announced on Friday. Sturgeon said in the televised briefing that she wanted to increase Scotland's testing capacity to 65,000 a day by the end of the year
  • Sturgeon said the Office of National Statistics will be publishing the initial results of the Covid infection survey in Scotland on Friday - the results had not been expected until November

Breaking News 

Warrington nears Tier 3 restrictions - Hancock

Hancock says discussions are now formally under way with local leaders in Warrington about moving into tier three - or "very high" - the highest Covid alert level in England.
He said this was due to a continuing rise in cases there especially among the over-60s. He said that figure kept rising and that Warrington's local hospital is dealing with a large number of coronavirus patients.

Breaking News 

Stoke, Coventry and Slough to enter Tier 2

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announces that Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Slough will move to the "high" tier two restrictions, the second highest level, from 00:01 BST on Saturday.
"The central change is that people cannot now meeting other households indoors," he said.
As explained in the 14:34 post, Stoke made the request for the move itself.

What is happening in the UK today?

The news conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to start in roughly 15 minutes.
While we wait for that here is a look at what has been happening in the UK today:

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 22 2020, 16:18

:shamrock: The Irish Outlook today:

The Irish Post

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has reiterated that his Government is not planning for a border poll or a United Ireland in the next five years.

Speaking today at the launch of the Shared Island Unit, the Fianna Fáil leader insisted that the focus will be on ensuring "the views, values and traditions" of everyone on the island "are acknowledged and understood", particularly those who had been traditionally underrepresented, such as women, young people and new communities on the island.

This will be through ongoing, open dialogue at how north-south relations can be enhanced, rather than a border poll, which the Taoiseach has in the past described as "divisive".

Ireland and the UK had made "huge strides" since the Good Friday Agreement to "reconciliation, tolerance and mutual trust" and there is a "shared determination to see bilateral partnership grow", he said.

In a question put to him by solicitor Sarah Creighton, the Taoiseach was asked why unionists would engage with proposals from the Shared Island Unit, and what he could say to "provide confidence to unionists that this is not a way to engage in a united Ireland".

Mr Martin responded that he has "made it very clear that this [a United Ireland] is not on the agenda", and will not be on the agenda for the next five years at least.

He acknowledged that it in the past it has been "challenging" for unionists to engage in dialogue with the Republic, both before and after the Good Friday Agreement, "without any political fallout or repercussions" but said he hopes the Shared Island Unit will "hear from unionists' perspectives".

At the launch of the Shared Island Unit, Mr Martin announced a fund of over €500 million over 5 years which will be used to build a shared future between the Republic and the north through projects related to transport, greenways, education, health and climate change, all "underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson "sees the big picture" and will engage with the plan to embrace and fund a shared island, Mr Martin added, and said he had also discussed coordination regarding a plan for the coronavirus crisis with parties in Northern Ireland.

He went on to say that 1.3 million people have been born on the island since the landmark peace process of 1998, and encouraged them all to engage in shared dialogue, saying "their views and actions are fundamental to our shared future".

He added that the "persistence of identity politics" is hindering an improvement of relations between north and south, and while Brexit had exacerbated some issues, there was potential to "limit the negatives and maximise the opportunities" that the UK leaving the EU will bring.

Admitting Brexit has created further division, he said "I took a clear view from the outset that it should not be a catalyst for a border poll, which is divisive and would exacerbate tensions".

With regards to the coronavirus pandemic, he said "In non-political ways we can do very sensible things in regards to [an all-island approach] to health," Mr Martin said "We can make more progress. We can learn lessons from the pandemic."

"There's been a lot of engagement, we can do more and can do better."

Asked what success would look like with regards to the Shared Island Unit plans, the Taoiseach said a greater physical connectivity between the Republic and the north would contribute to greater interaction, dialogue and energy, which would contribute to a "far greater understanding between new generations" and a "non-contentious way of envisaging our future together".

"I look forward to a new era of engagement from new generations."

This is the astonishing moment a man starts vandalising a Tesco score in Co. Louth after supposedly getting upset at being asked to wear a face-mask.
In the footage, a man can be seen hurling dozens and dozens of spirit and wine bottles to the ground in the booze aisle of Tesco on West Street in Drogheda yesterday.
Once he realises he's being filmed, the man appears to throw the bottles down with more force.
Shocked on-lookers can only watch and flee for cover as the vandal sends glass and alcohol flying in all directions.
33-year-old Graham McCormack was arrested in connection to the incident, and appeared before Drogheda district court charged with causing criminal damage later that day.

Tweet  Adrian+Shane:
It’s all kicking off in Tesco, on West Street in Drogheda right now ...

Coronavirus - 22nd October Click_14

According to the Daily Mail , Mr McCormack told the court he would not agree to a bail condition to stay away from all Tesco outlets in Ireland and to remain sober.
Tesco confirmed the incident in a statement.
"We confirm there was an incident in our Drogheda West Street store on Wednesday. The store is operating as normal following the incident," the statement read.
"An investigation by An Garda Síochána is now underway and we apologise to any customers who were in the store when this happened."
Martin Quinn, who reportedly took the original video, summed the situation up perfectly: "A very sad day watching all the whiskey and wine gone to waste."
Too right, Martin.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 22 2020, 16:56

Updates from The Guardian today:

The Czech government is likely to ask parliament to extend state of emergency powers that are currently due to run out on 3 November, the health minister Roman Prymula said.
The government on Wednesday announced the closing of most retail shops along with further restrictions to cut social contact as it battles a surge in Covid-19 cases, which have grown at one of the fastest rates in the world over the last week.

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to miss Juventus’ Champions League clash against Barcelona next week after testing positive for coronavirus for a second time, according to reports .
The 35-year-old initially tested positive for Covid-19 on 13 October and was forced to withdraw from Portugal’s squad during the international break.
He subsequently returned to Italy for his quarantine period and had to miss Juventus’ last two matches against Crotone in Serie A and Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League.

Germany has issued travel warnings for popular ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland, scrambling to contain the spread of the coronavirus as new infection numbers rose above 10,000 a day for the first time.
While infection rates in Germany are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating, and the daily number of confirmed cases rose by 11,287 to 392,049. The death toll stands at 9,905.
“The situation has become very serious overall,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, said. “We still have a chance to slow the spread of the pandemic.” But he said people must stick to the rules and that Germany must prepare for an uncontrolled spread of the virus.
On Wednesday, the German health minister, Jens Spahn, became the latest prominent politician to test positive for the virus. His spokesman said he had symptoms of a cold but no fever. Government sources said he was fit for work.
Berlin issued new travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and some Italian regions including the popular skiing region of South Tyrol. The UK (not including the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the overseas territories) is also seen as a high-risk area.
Under the warnings, which take effect from Saturday, travellers returning to Germany must quarantine for 10 days. Quarantine can be lifted early if a test taken after five days comes back negative.
The move could significantly impact the Alpine countries’ ski season, especially Austria, which reported a record 2,435 new daily infections on Thursday and is a popular destination for Germans.
However, there was positive news for Spain’s Canary Islands as the RKI removed it from its risk list, lifting hopes there for German tourists over Christmas and new year.

Cyprus makes masks obligatory outdoors and imposes curfews

The wearing of face masks will become mandatory in all areas in Cyprus and a curfew will be imposed in two districts that have had a steep rise in Covid-19 cases, the Cyprus Mail reports .
The health minister Constantinos Ioannou said the use of masks will now be obligatory in all outdoor areas, except while exercising. They are already so in all indoor areas where two or more people are present.
He also announced an 11pm curfew in the Limassol and Paphos districts. Between 11pm and 5am, movement will be banned except for people going to work, visiting pharmacies or in the event of medical emergencies. People will be required to present proof of their reason for being outside.
Under the measures, hospitality venues must close by 10.30pm but can continue to deliver. All sports and social activities of children under 18 are suspended.
The measures will be in effect from Friday until 9 November.

Ireland to impose 5km travel limit in strict new Covid lockdown
The majority of residents at a nursing home in Galway, Ireland, have tested positive for Covid-19, Galway Daily reports .
Of the home’s 28 residents, 26 have tested positive and a number of staff have also contracted the virus.
A local doctor tweeted this morning:
Tweet  Dr Martin Daly:
Just received a phone call from Nursing Home . 26 out 28 residents #COVID + . Only one Nurse and Carer available in last 72 hrs as all other staff positive . 1 person has died and another very ill. Nursing Home Say no help available from @HSELive .
It comes as Ireland closed much of its economy and society in a second Covid-19 lockdown on Wednesday, which saw non-essential shops close and people asked to stay at home, with a 5km (3 mile) travel limit for exercise, to curb surging infection rates.
Read more

Medics in a Siberian city have confirmed that the corpses of dozens of coronavirus victims are lying in the basement of a local hospital because there are not enough doctors to perform autopsies on them.
Local officials have confirmed what was first shown in a ghastly video leaked onto social media from the city of Barnaul in Russia’s Altai region: more than 25 bodies wrapped in black plastic lying on gurneys in a windowless hospital corridor.
“We have bodies here, they all had Covid,” said the anonymous author of the video, who said he was filming on 17 October. Some of the bodies are lying on the floor. At one point during the video an arm is visible.
The video emerged as coronavirus deaths in Russia have risen to record highs with an unprecedented 317 deaths reported on Wednesday, and a further 290 deaths reported on Thursday. New diagnoses have risen to nearly 16,000 cases, the highest daily increase in the country since the outbreak began.
Barnaul has officially tallied less than 300 deaths from coronavirus since the outbreak began, a number that critics say is artificially low.
In a statement, health ministry officials said that 98 people had died at this hospital in Barnaul this month, which has been converted into a treatment point for coronavirus patients.
The bodies in the basement of Barnaul’s hospital number 12 may not appear in official Russian tallies because they had not yet been autopsied.
In a statement, officials cited a “significant increase in the number of deaths per day” and “the need for pathological and anatomical research in all cases”.

Ethiopia can jail people for up to two years if they deliberately violate restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, the attorney general’s office said, amid concern that citizens were becoming lax after a state of emergency was lifted.
The restrictions prohibit shaking hands, not wearing a mask in a public place, seating more than three people at a table or not keeping around six feet apart.
“Now it is as if Covid is no longer there, the public is not taking care,” the health minister Lia Tadesse tweeted on Thursday. “This will cause a possible increase in the spread of the disease and might be a threat to the nation.”
Africa’s second-most populous nation and regional powerhouse declared a state of emergency in April to curb the spread of the pandemic. It was lifted in September. The health ministry has recorded 91,118 Covid-19 cases, 1,384 deaths and 44,506 recoveries so far.
The disease peaked in Ethiopia toward the end of August, but testing has been also scaled back due to limited resources. At least 79 people died of Covid-19 in the past week, the health ministry said, but less than 2% of deaths are formally recorded.
The new law permits fines and imprisonment for up to two years for anyone who breaks the restrictions, the attorney general’s office said in a statement on its Facebook page on Wednesday.
Ethiopia also postponed its regional and parliamentary elections scheduled for August due to the outbreak. They are expected to be held next year.
Africa has mostly not seen the huge wave of infections and deaths that have swept across Europe and the Americas. Experts say a much younger population, immediate measures to contain the virus and having a more rural population have all helped keep cases down.
But many African leaders are urging vigilance, concerned that any surge in cases could overwhelm rickety public health systems.

Sweden’s government said on Thursday it would tighten rules for nightclubs to force them to limit the number of partygoers to 50 amid a rise in cases in recent weeks.
“The parties at the nightclubs are over now,” the prime minister, Stefan Löfven, told reporters at a news conference.
At the same time, the government said it would ease rules for sporting and other events where the public could be seated at a safe distance from each other, allowing up to 300 spectators from the current maximum of 50.
The change in rules for public events will come into force from 1 November.

Denmark has recorded a further 760 coronavirus cases, its highest ever 24-hour figure, according to the latest health authority figures .
Wednesday saw 630 new cases of the virus, the country’s second-highest ever daily total. The previous record of 678 was set on 25 September .
The health minister Magnus Heunicke has already warned that the country will see new restrictions if Covid-19 infections do not slow this week. Earlier on Thursday, he said:
The next two to three days will be decisive. I will not rule out any tightened restrictions or rules at all. We are following closely and authorities have increased alert levels.

Portugal imposes partial lockdown on three northern municipalities

The Portuguese government announced on Thursday that three municipalities in the northern region will be put under a partial lockdown to contain a surge in coronavirus cases there.
From Friday, around 161,000 residents in the municipalities of Felgueiras, Lousada and Pacos de Ferreira will only be able to leave home for work, school or other essential activities such as buying food and medicine.
“These measures are due to the evolution of the pandemic in these three municipalities,” Cabinet Minister Mariana Viera da Silva told a news conference.
Portugal, with just over 10 million people, has recorded a comparatively low 106,271 cases and 2,229 deaths. But, like in most European countries, infection have risen in recent weeks.
A so-called state of calamity is in place across the country, meaning gatherings are limited to five people, weddings and baptisms can be attended by a maximum of 50 and university parties are banned.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party promised free doses of any future Covid-19 vaccine for the residents of eastern Bihar state if it wins local elections there, drawing accusations of playing politics with the pandemic.
Reuters reports that the federal finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, said that Modi’s BJP would ensure that “everyone in Bihar will get a vaccine for free, that’s our first manifesto promise.”

After Poland’s deputy health minister warned earlier that the country could pass 10,000 new infections for the second day running, more than 12,100 cases and 170 new deaths have been announced.
The Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, suggested that starting on Saturday, he would like all Poland to be placed under the highest level of restrictions short of a full lockdown.
That would include mandatory use of masks in all open public spaces, limits on the number of people allowed in shops and public transport, and closing gyms and swimming pools.

Italy registers 16,079 new infections, highest daily case load since outbreak began

Italy has registered 16,079 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday, the highest daily tally since the start of the country’s outbreak and up from the previous record of 15,199 posted on Wednesday.
The ministry also reported a further 136 deaths on Thursday, up from 127 the day before, but still far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April, when a daily peak of more than 900 fatalities was reached.
So far, a total 36,968 deaths have been confirmed in Italy, while 465,726 cases of the disease have been registered.
After declining over the summer, infections have accelerated in the last few weeks. They are now far more widely distributed around the country than during Italy’s first wave, but the hardest hit region is once again Lombardy, around the financial capital Milan.
On Thursday, Lombardy accounted for 4,125 of the country’s new cases. The neighbouring region of Piedmont was the second-worst hit with 1,550 infections.

France extends curfew to more regions as cases surge

The French prime minister Jean Castex has announced that Covid-19 curfew measures will be extended to a further 38 departments for six weeks because of the rapid spread of the virus across the country.
“The second wave is here” and “the situation is grave”, Castex told a news conference as he announced the curfew would now affect 46 million people - two-thirds of the French population - and would include some overseas territories.
Taking affect from midnight on Friday, people in the affected areas will have to stay at home between 9pm and 6am. Certain activities like travelling for work or seeking medical attention will be permitted, and those who don’t comply with the rules face a fine of €135.
With the R rate now at 1.35 in France, Castex said November would be a tough month regarding Covid-19, adding that the situation would be evaluated next week and more strict curfew measures may be imposed if necessary.
A second wave of the coronavirus epidemic is now under way in France and Europe. The situation is very serious. The coming weeks will be hard and the number of deaths will continue to rise.
Six days ago, the country declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in Paris and eight other major cities , impacting around 20 million French citizens, after daily new infections reached record levels.
Speaking with the prime minister at the news conference, the health minister Olivier Veran said he was hoping to see next week the first positive signs of the curfew put in place almost a week ago in those nine cities. Restrictive measures generally take two to three weeks to produce some effects, health experts say.
France has reported more a seven-day average of more than 20,000 new cases over the past six days and the total number of confirmed infections is now over 957,000. More than 34,000 people have died.

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Coronavirus - 22nd October Empty Re: Coronavirus - 22nd October

Post by Kitkat Thu Oct 22 2020, 18:07

Canary Islands, Maldives and Denmark added to UK safe list

The Spanish Canary Islands, the Maldives, Denmark and the Greek island of Mykonos have been added to the UK's list of travel corridors, the transport secretary has announced.
Writing on Twitter, Grant Shapps said people returning from these destinations from 04.00 BST on Sunday will no longer need to self-isolate for two weeks.
However, Liechtenstein has become the only country to lose its exemption this week, meaning people returning from the country will need to quarantine on their return.

UK records 189 more deaths and 21,242 positive cases

A timely reminder as to the reason why you are seeing the prime minister and the chanellor together addressing BBC One viewers in the afternoon. The latest daily update shows the UK recorded another 21,242 coronavirus cases according to the government's dashboard , while a further 189 people were reported to have died within 28 days of a positive test.

Leeds Council 'not expecting' imminent tier change

Responding to questions about whether West Yorkshire could move into tier three, a statement just issued by Leeds City Council says: “We are awaiting further talks with government regarding restrictions that are in place to tackle coronavirus in Leeds.
"At this current time we are not expecting tier status to change in Leeds this week.”
Earlier today the government said discussions with West Yorkshire (Bradford, Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield) about moving to the very high alert level were ongoing.

Lockdown made life worse for two in five children, report says

Two in five children aged 11 to 16 in England feel the coronavirus lockdown has made their lives worse, an NHS report on mental health suggests.
They said their biggest anxieties were about missing school and family and friends contracting Covid-19.
Mental disorders have risen across both genders since 2017. In boys, they rose from 11% to 16% and in girls from 10% to 15%, the report found.
Anne Longfield, the children's commissioner for England, described the increase as "extremely alarming" and called for a properly-funded children's mental health service and for every school to have its own NHS-funded counsellor.
The report is based on a survey of 3,570 children and young people up to the age of 22 who were interviewed in 2017 and followed up online in July during the coronavirus pandemic.

Further drop for Nottingham's Covid-19 infection rate

Gavin Bevis - BBC News
Nottingham's seven-day coronavirus infection rate has fallen again.
The latest figure - reflecting cases for the week to 19 October - is 561.4 per 100,000 people, down from 604.5 yesterday.
Nottingham now has the fifth highest rate in England, behind Knowsley, Blackburn with Darwen, Rossendale and Liverpool.

What has happened in the UK today?

As we bring our live coverage to a close, here's a final roundup of today's key developments in the UK:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a Downing Street briefing earlier alongside Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government's chief scientific adviser. The three men were questioned on issues including the extra support announced by the chancellor for workers and businesses hit by Covid restrictions ; the latest on a potential vaccine and the government's localised approach to fighting the virus
  • The UK recorded another 21,242 coronavirus cases, while a further 189 people have died within 28 days of a positive test, according to the latest government figures
  • The Spanish Canary Islands, the Maldives, Denmark and the Greek island of Mykonos have been added to the UK's list of travel corridors . People returning from these countries from 04.00 BST on Sunday will no longer need to self-isolate for two weeks. But people arriving from Liechtenstein after this time will need to self-isolate after its exemption was removed
  • Stoke, Coventry and Slough are to move into tier two restrictions on Saturday. Meanwhile discussions are now formally under way with local leaders in Warrington about moving into tier three - the highest Covid alert level in England. But Leeds Council say that, although talks about a similar move for West Yorkshire are ongoing, it does not expect any immindent change in its status

Thank you and goodbye

We are pausing our live coverage for today, thank you for joining us.
We will resume our coverage tomorrow morning.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 14:23