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Coronavirus - 26th October

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 09:05

Summary for Monday, 26th October

  • Nottingham could become latest part of England where toughest tier three restrictions apply
  • UK PM defends refusal to fund free school meals for children over half-term holiday
  • Trial of vaccine produces 'similar' immune response between older and younger adults
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock says UK government would rule 'nothing out' when asked about a fourth tier of curbs
  • Younger people more than twice as likely as older workers to lose their job in pandemic, BBC research finds
  • Italy shuts gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theatres as part of tough new Covid restrictions
  • Senior aide to President Trump says the US is 'not going to control the pandemic'


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the day, we will be bringing you the latest developments from around the globe.
Here are some of the stories making the headlines this morning:


Hancock: Fourth tier of Covid restrictions 'not ruled out'

The health secretary has said the government will "rule nothing out" on the prospect of a new fourth tier of coronavirus restrictions for England.
The government's top scientists have said they're not confident that the base level of tier three restrictions - including pubs closing, but schools staying open - is not enough to bring the rate of infections down in areas with particularly high case numbers.
In response to a question about a fourth tier of restrictions, Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast: "We've always said all along that we take nothing off the table. Having said that, we have seen the rise in the number of cases has slowed a bit.
"The problem is it's still going up, and while it's still going up we've got to act to get it under control.
"We rule nothing out but at the moment the three-tier system is what we're working to and it's effective in slowing the growth of this virus but it hasn't brought this curve to a halt."

Hancock defends Test and Trace boss

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged his support for the head of England's Test and Trace system, Baroness Harding, amid criticism over its effectiveness.
The system last week hit a record low with just 59.6% of the contacts of people who tested positive for the disease being successfully contacted and told to self-isolate.
Asked on BBC Breakfast if Baroness Harding is the right person for the job, Mr Hancock replied: "Yes, of course."
He said he looks "at the whole system and how it's operating", adding that it is "constantly expanding, because as the number of cases go up, the number of people we need to contact goes up".
"Obviously, we are putting enormous amounts of support in, to try and help the system get in contact with everyone."

'Generation Covid' hit hard by pandemic

Young people in the UK, particularly those from deprived backgrounds, have had their earnings and job prospects hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, adding to fears for the long-term impact on their futures.
BBC Panorama found people aged 16-25 were more than twice as likely as older workers to have lost their job, while six in 10 saw their earnings fall, according to new research.
It also highlighted the impact of school closures on young people and added to growing evidence that students from poorer backgrounds have fallen behind their more privileged peers.
A quarter of pupils - some 2.5 million children - had no schooling or tutoring during lockdown, the survey by the London School of Economics (LSE) suggests.
But, the study adds, nearly three quarters of private school pupils had full days of teaching (74%) - almost twice the proportion of state school pupils (38%).

Boots to offer Covid swab test with results in 12 minutes

A Covid test that can provide a result in 12 minutes will be made available at high street pharmacy Boots.
The nasal swab test, which will cost £120, will be available in more than 50 stores across the UK to anyone who is not showing symptoms.
The test, which detects the presence of a Covid-19 antigen protein, is said to be considerably faster than other rapid tests currently being trialled, which produce results in an average time of 90 minutes.
The service is available as a private pre-flight testing service for customers who require a test before travelling abroad. It is also available for people seeking peace of mind before seeing friends and family.
Read our full story here.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 09:20

Summary from The Guardian

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

  • China has detected 137 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases in Kashgar in the north-western region of Xinjiang , after one person was found to have the virus the previous day – the first new local cases for 10 days in mainland China .All the cases detected on Sunday were linked to a garment factory where the parents of a 17-year-old girl who was found on Saturday to have the virus – but showed no symptoms – worked, a Xinjiang health commission official told a press briefing.
  • The United States saw 83,718 new cases reported nationally on Saturday , nearly matching the record 83,757 infections reported on Friday , as US Vice President Mike Pence announced that he will continue campaigning on Sunday, despite his chief of staff and four other top aides having tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, declared a new nationwide state of emergency on Sunday – including a curfew – in the hope of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections. The Socialist leader told the nation in a televised address that the extraordinary measure will go into effect on Sunday from 11pm to 6am.
  • Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria on Monday reported zero cases of coronavirus for the first time since June, and the premier, Daniel Andrews, announced that restrictions would be easyed – among these are that hospitality and beauty businesses could reopen.
  • Five aides to US Vice President Mike Pence tested positive. The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the White House itself, with the chief of staff to Mike Pence and four others in the vice-president’s inner circle having tested positive. Despite Pence being exposed to the disease, he planned to continue an aggressive campaign schedule in the final nine days of the race. The vice-president was scheduled to hold a rally on Sunday afternoon in Kinston, North Carolina.
  • India’s total coronavirus infections stood at 7.91 million on Monday, having risen by 45,148 cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed. India recorded its lowest death toll in about four months on Monday with 480 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 119,014.
  • Mexican health authorities acknowledged Sunday that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is far higher than thought, saying there were 193,170 “excess” deaths in the year up to 26 September, with 139,153 of those judged to be attributable to Covid-19. That is about 50,000 more deaths than Mexico’s official, test-confirmed death toll of about 89,000, and about 56% higher than the previous estimate of 103,882 pandemic deaths.
  • Malaysia’s king on Sunday rejected a proposal by embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to declare a state of emergency to fight a new outbreak of the coronavirus. The plan by Muhyiddin, which involves suspending Parliament, has sparked national outrage, with critics slamming the move as an undemocratic means for him to hang on to power amid challenges to his leadership.
  • Israel will begin its first clinical trials of a novel coronavirus vaccine next month, authorities said Sunday, as the country grapples with a second wave of infections.
  • The World Health Organization’s coronavirus dashboard showed a third consecutive daily record high in the number of new confirmed cases. Nearly half of Saturday’s new cases were registered in the WHO’s Europe region, which logged a one-day record high of 221,898 cases.
  • The WHO chief warned against “vaccine nationalism”, calling for global solidarity in the rollout of any future coronavirus vaccine, as the number of cases soared across the world. In a video address at the opening of the three-day World Health Summit in Berlin, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged leaders to choose to, “vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries.”
  • Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria on Monday reported zero cases of coronavirus for the first time since June,a day after the state delayed the easing of restrictions because of a fresh outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
  • France registered 52,010 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, following a record 45,422 on Saturday, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday. It also said that 116 people had died from coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours, compared to from 137 on Saturday, taking the total confirmed death toll to 34,761.
  • An official from China’s Xinjiang health commission said that 137 new asymptomatic cases have been detected in the region . All of the new cases were linked to a garment factory.
  • The prime minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte announced a raft of new restrictions and warned that the country’s escalating coronavirus infection rate was already having a worrying impact on hospitals. Italy reported a new daily record of 21,273 coronavirus cases with 128 deaths, health ministry figures showed on Sunday, up from the 19,644 new infections reported on Saturday.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 09:25

Wales to review lockdown ban on non-essential item sales

Coronavirus - 26th October 23e6c410
Homeware and bedding has been taped off in a Tesco store in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan

The Welsh government is due to discuss the ban on shops selling non-essential items during its 17-day lockdown.
Supermarkets have been told to close parts of their stores that sell items such as clothes, bedding and toys, but the policy has been heavily criticised over the weekend.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the implementation of the rules may be tweaked, but the ban would not be reversed.
Wales' Health Minister Vaughan Gething told Sky News: "We're looking to have that clarity so you don't see cards, for example, sealed up in one shop but available in another."
He added that supermarkets in the country could sell non-essential items in "exceptional circumstances".
The current national lockdown across Wales is due to be reviewed when it comes to an end on 9 November - with ministers warning a second short lockdown in the new year is looking increasingly likely .
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 09:45

Ireland (Eire) ranks among the strictest countries in the world for coronavirus lockdown restrictions
The Irish Post
Ireland has been ranked among the strictest countries in the world when it comes to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
According to data compiled by Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government [via Irish Mirror ], Ireland is seventh in the world when it comes to implementing the most stringent restrictions. 
In fact, the study found that the measures imposed by NPHET and the Irish Government are tougher than any seen in the whole of Europe, Asia, Australia, America, Canada and the majority of Africa. 
Only six other nations out of 186 countries assessed in the research had more severe lockdown measures in place. 
Those countries were Eritrea, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Honduras and Argentina. 
Using data on lockdowns since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, researchers from Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government were able to score countries out of 100 on their responses to the virus. 
Factors like restrictions on movement, social activity, work, travel and education affected the overall score with a 0 representing the least amount of restrictions and 100 the most. 
In the wake of Ireland's move to Level Five lockdown, the country boasts a score of 81.48, putting it among an elite group of seven countries to score over 80. 
Venezuela came out on top with the strictest level of lockdown measures with leader Nicolás Maduro’s tough measures helping the South American nation to a score of 87.96. 
That put it just ahead of Eritrea, which managed 86.11. 
The top seven ranking was as follows: 

  1. Venezuela 87.96
  2. Eritrea 86.11
  3. Honduras 84.26
  4. Chile 83.8
  5. Argentina 82.87
  6. Peru 82.41
  7. Ireland 81.48

Ireland could be set for an extended stay in upper echelons of this particular countdown with Level Five restrictions due to stay in place for the next six weeks and some already predicting more lockdowns further down the road.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 09:52

Trump's chief of staff admits US cannot control pandemic

A senior aide to President Donald Trump has conceded that the US is "not going to control the pandemic".
Mark Meadows, the White House's chief of staff, said Covid-19 could only be defeated by mitigating factors such as vaccines and therapeutics.
His remarks come as coronavirus cases surge in the US, nine days before the presidential election.
Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden said the White House was waving "the white flag of defeat".
About 225,000 Americans have died since the pandemic began, the highest figure of any country.
The US recorded 83,718 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University, just short of the record high of 83,757 reported on Friday.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 10:34

Protests as Italy tightens restrictions

Coronavirus - 26th October 47301910
Naples protest: Many small businesses now fear bankruptcy

A partial lockdown is taking effect in Italy to curb the rising infection rate, with restrictions similar to those in force now in Spain, France and Belgium.

  • Italian bars and restaurants now have to close at 18:00, and gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theatres will be shut until at least 24 November. Confirmed daily cases have risen above 21,000. There were protests in Naples, with businesses demanding compensation, and protests are planned today in Milan and Turin
  • Spain now has a curfew in force between 23:00 and 06:00, initially for 15 days, but it could be extended to six months. That’s tough in a country where people traditionally eat out at night. Spain has passed one million cases since the crisis began. Regions may now impose travel restrictions, and gatherings of different households are restricted to a maximum of six people
  • The French health authorities say the country may be getting 100,000 new cases daily - twice the official figure. Prof Jean-Francois Delfraissy said the estimated figure included undiagnosed and asymptomatic cases
  • The Czech Republic is among the hardest-hit countries in Europe and an emergency field hospital with 500 beds has just been set up on the edge of Prague. Table service has ended in all food outlets, schools have moved online and all non-essential shops have closed.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 10:47

How my mum became a Covid conspiracy theory influencer

Sebastian's mum has become one of the leaders of Britain's conspiracy community.
She has collected tens of thousands of followers with false claims – including denying coronavirus exists, blaming the symptoms of Covid-19 on 5G radio waves and likening the NHS to Nazi Germany.
Sebastian is worried about his mum's impact on public health and reasoned debate. And, closer to home, their relationship has broken down.

Coronavirus: How my mum became a conspiracy theory influencer
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 10:54

When will we have a vaccine?

Earlier, we highlighted comments from UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock about his expectations that a coronavirus vaccine would be ready in the first half of next year.
So how realistic is that?
Research is happening at breakneck speed around the world. About 240 vaccines are in early development, with 40 in clinical trials and nine already in the final stage of testing on thousands of people.
However, no-one knows how effective any of these vaccines will be.
Most experts think a vaccine is likely to become widely available by mid-2021, about 12-18 months after the new virus, known officially as Sars-CoV-2, first emerged.
Read more about the global progress on a vaccine here.
Meanwhile, in the UK, a trial of a new vaccine that appears to train the immune system to fight coronavirus began a month ago.
Early tests showed the jab, developed by US biotechnology company Novavax, leads to high levels of virus-fighting antibodies being produced.
The UK government has already ordered 60 million doses in case it proves successful.

China tests entire city for coronavirus

China is once again mass testing an entire city for the coronavirus amid a regional outbreak in Xinjiang province.
Around 4.7m people in Kashgar are being tested, with 138 asymptomatic cases found so far.
China has been largely successful in bringing infection rates down, but there continue to be small outbreaks.
Xinjiang is home to China's mostly-Muslim Uighur minority which rights groups say is being persecuted by the government in Beijing.
Schools in Kashgar have been closed and residents are not allowed to leave the city unless they have a negative test report.
Read more here on the story .
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 11:11

Ireland to crack down on shops continuing to sell 'non-essential' goods
Rory Carroll - The Guardian
Authorities in Ireland have vowed to crack down on shops that circumvent lockdown rules and continue to sell clothes, toys and other non-essential goods.
The government imposed a 5km travel limit and ordered non-essential retail to close on 21 October for six weeks in some of Europe’s severest restrictions.
However, some clothing stores have remained open, citing their stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE), and some supermarkets continue to sell clothes and toys along with food.
Retailers need to abide by the rules and spirit of the rules, Leo Varadkar, the deputy prime minister, told RTE . “If you are a mixed retailer, you should separate your stock and only sell items that are essential. If you are a supermarket or a big store that has groceries and clothes, you should separate off the clothes and not sell them. If [shops] are selling PPE that is one thing. But if they’re trying to use PPE in order to sell other products, that is a very different thing.”
The government had been in contact with the police and the rules will be enforced, Varadkar said.
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association said it opposed the closure of shops but that any restrictions should be applied fairly and across the board. “We either have a rule or we don’t,” said Neil McDonnell , the group’s chief executive.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 11:20

What's life like on a tiny, Covid-free, Indonesian island?

Coronavirus - 26th October 0a555010

Sian Williams, originally from the UK, has lived on Gili Trawangan - a tiny island in Indonesia - for the past eight years.
The island is still Covid-free because inhabitants were on a strict four-month lockdown where no-one was allowed to enter or leave (and return), reducing the risk of cases.
She works full-time for an environmental conservation organisation, the Gili Eco Trust. She says there has been a strange transition from working on one of Indonesia's busiest holiday destinations to what is now a near-empty island.
With no tourism, there are no jobs. And with a very uncertain future, she is just trying to spend as little as possible and is continuing to clean the island, working in waste management, sustainability and tree-planting projects.
Sian's salary has been halved, to around £400 a month, and it doesn't cover living expenses, but her rent is paid until February and she is able to use her savings.
Find out what a week in Sian's life is like during the pandemic, in the latest addition to our My Money series.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 11:32

Tesco 'sorry' after Wales shopper 'unable to buy period products'

Coronavirus - 26th October Dbba1210
A Tesco store in St Mellons, Cardiff, blocked off sanitary products

A shopper in Wales has complained that she has been unable to buy sanitary products from a supermarket due to a ban on the sale of "non-essential" items during the country's new lockdown.
In an exchange with a woman on Twitter, Tesco said it had been "told by the Welsh government not to sell these items" during the 17-day lockdown, known as a "firebreak".
Tesco has since deleted its tweet and apologised after the Welsh government corrected the supermarket.
"This is wrong - period products are essential," the Welsh government tweeted in response.
"Supermarkets can still sell items that can be sold in pharmacies. Only selling essential items during firebreak is to discourage spending more time than necessary in shops. It should not stop you accessing items that you need."
Ministers are set to review their controversial rule for supermarkets to close parts of their stores that sell items such as clothes, bedding and toys during Wales' 17-day lockdown, which started on Friday.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 12:57

Nottingham poised for tighter curbs as Tier 3 talks continue

An announcement could come this afternoon confirming that parts of Nottinghamshire are to be moved into the top tier of coronavirus restrictions this week.
Discussions between the government and council leaders continued over the weekend but local leaders have already indicated the strictest set of rules - known as tier three - will come into force in Nottingham City, Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe as early as Wednesday.
It is thought the latest talks have been focusing on potential additional restrictions that will apply to the "baseline" tier three rules set by the government for areas given a "very high" Covid alert level.
The council in Warrington, Cheshire, has also said it will be joining tier three this week.
It will mean hundreds of thousands more people will be under the toughest restrictions in England.
At the weekend South Yorkshire became the latest region to come under tier three, following Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
Use our look-up tool to check which Covid tier applies to your area.


Early indications Oxford vaccine could benefit older people

Rachel Schraer - BBC Health Reporter
Trials of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University have shown it produces a "similar" immune response between older and younger adults, and older people are less likely to have negative side effects, developers have said.
It comes after the Financial Times reported that the vaccine had produced a "robust immune response in elderly people".
An AstraZeneca spokesman said: "It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults."
He also said that older people have fewer Covid-like symptoms in reaction to the vaccine than younger people.
"The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine," he added.
The findings came in an updated statement on the second phase of the trial, which has involved a relatively small number of people.
Data from the next step, phase three, is what's needed to get approval for the vaccine.
We’re also not yet at the stage where developers can say how good the vaccine would be at shielding people from the virus. These early findings show people both old and young mount an immune response - the next step is to work out whether this is a response that will protect them from Covid-19.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 13:00

Breaking News

1,122 more positive cases recorded in Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirms a further 1,122 people have tested positive for Covid-19, 7.1% of those newly tested yesterday.
This takes the total number of positive cases in Scotland to 57,874.
One more person has died with the virus in the past 24 hours.
Our colleagues in Scotland are covering Ms Sturgeon's daily press conference.

Students in Scotland may not be allowed home for Christmas

Students could be told not to return home at Christmas if the spread of coronavirus has not been controlled, Scotland's deputy first minister has said.
John Swinney said it was a situation the government wanted to avoid but it was a "realistic possibility".
Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, he also said students may need to make a staggered return to university in January with more online learning for a longer period in the new year.
"We want students to be able to return home, but I have to be realistic with you, that if we have a situation where the virus has not been controlled, then we will have to look at other scenarios and other plans," he said.
We've taken a closer look at the issue of students going home for Christmas here .
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 13:02

Wales to review non-essential item sales ban, amid confusion

Supermarkets in Wales are to be given guidance on selling non-essential items to people genuinely in need, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said, amid complaints over the new rules being applied during the 17-day "firebreak" lockdown.
Mr Gething said the Welsh government would meet retailers to see if regulations and guidance are being applied fairly and consistently.
"We will make sure supermarkets have some discretion to sell to people genuinely in need," he added.
Speaking at the Welsh government's daily coronavirus briefing, he said public confusion over the issue had "taken the message away from the reality of the mounting death toll we are seeing and the fact we will see more harm over the next two weeks".
Supermarkets had been told to close parts of their stores that sell items such as clothes, bedding and toys.
But a shopper has complained after she was unable to buy period products from a supermarket due to a ban on the sale of "non-essential" items.
Referring to the case Mr Gething said: "It's an incorrect reading of the regulations and the guidance. I am very sorry that this woman was given this information."

Bereavement travel a 'reasonable measure' during Wales lockdown

Travelling to see friends or family because of a bereavement is a "reasonable measure" to take during the short lockdown period, Wales' health minister has said.
But Vaughan Gething said that people doing so should "respect the rules on social distancing".
Speaking at the Welsh government's press briefing, he added: "What I wouldn't want to see is people gathering to support each other - in circumstances where they've lost a loved one - potentially being a meeting where they spread coronavirus with that much greater harm.
"I don't want to see a further loss of life. That's why we've had to change the rules, that's why the firebreak is in place."
Here's our explainer on the various rules in place during Wales' 17-day lockdown.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 16:30

Breaking News

Warrington moves into top tier of restrictions

The UK government has confirmed Warrington, in north-west England, will move into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.
The new measures will come into force from tomorrow.


Nine positive tests in Ulster Hospital ward

Two patients and seven staff members in the coronary care ward in the Ulster Hospital in Belfast have tested positive for Covid-19, officials have confirmed.
Nine other patients in Ward 16 are self isolating and the ward has been closed to further admissions and visitors.
The South Eastern Trust said that staff members who have tested positive for the virus are self-isolating at home.
It added that additional measures are in place to limit further spread.
A new four-week lockdown for Northern Ireland began on 16 October, following a spike in cases. The rules mean schools are closing for an extra week at half-term, while pubs, restaurants and cafes across NI have closed their doors to sit-in customers.

Doctors with Covid-19 asked to keep working in Liege hospitals

Gavin Lee - BBC Europe reporter
Several hospitals in Belgium have requested that doctors and nurses who test positive for Covid-19, continue to work if they have no symptoms.
The decision has been made by 10 hospitals in Liege, which are dealing with a surge in coronavirus admissions.
The city is one of the worst affected areas of Europe and hospitals have started transferring patients elsewhere and cancelled all non-urgent surgery.
The situation is exacerbated by a lack of doctors and nurses available.
A quarter of medical staff in Liege are reported to be off work with Covid-19. But another 10% of staff who have tested positive but are asymptomic have been asked to continue working.
The president of the Belgian Association of Medical Unions, Dr Philippe Devos, acknowledged the obvious risk of transferring the virus to patients, but says they’ve been left with no choice in order to avoid the hospital system collapsing within days.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 16:32

Latest headlines from the UK

If you are just joining us, welcome, here is a round-up of the main developments so far today:

  • Talks are continuing over the terms of a deal that would see Nottingham and its surrounding areas move into England's top tier of coronavirus restrictions this week. An announcement could come later today
  • Boris Johnson has defended his refusal to extend free school meals for children in England over the half-term holiday, saying he was "very proud" of the government's support so far during the pandemic
  • The prime minister also said he had not spoken to Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford - who has been leading a high-profile campaign to extend free school meals into the holidays - since the summer
  • The Welsh government, which has faced criticism for banning the sale of non-essential items in supermarkets during the country's 17-day lockdown, has said supermarkets would now be able to use their "discretion"
  • In Scotland, the deputy first minister has said students could be told not to return home at Christmas if the spread of the coronavirus has not been controlled. John Swinney said it was a situation the government wanted to avoid but it was a "realistic possibility"
  • And a Covid test that can provide a result in 12 minutes will be made available at high street pharmacy Boots. The £120 nasal swab test will be available in selected stores in the UK to people who are not showing symptoms


Russia reports record number of daily cases

BBC Monitoring
The world through its media
Russia has reported a record number of daily new coronavirus cases.
Officials say 17,347 people have tested positive over the past 24 hours, binging the total tally in Russia to 1,531,224.
With 219 further deaths recorded, the total Covid-19 death toll now stands at 26,269.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "The pandemic is now hitting the regions east of Moscow. It is true that the situation is quite difficult... It requires incredibly energetic efforts on the part of the federal government and regional governments."
It come as the authorities across Russia have been introducing new, stricter measures, including:

  • Restaurants and cafes in St Petersburg must close at night
  • Students in the Kemerovo region have switched to distance learning
  • Schools in Voronezh and Magadan have started their autumn break early
  • And in Omsk, medical students are being told to work in Covid-19 isolation wards due to staffing shortages.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 16:38

Government 'had to take action' in Warrington

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said infection rates have been rising and it was time "to take action" in Warrington, which has been moved into England's top tier of coronavirus restrictions.
The area, in north-west England, will join Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Lancashire and Liverpool City region in tier three from tomorrow.
Under tier three rules, pubs and bars not serving substantial meals have to close, while household mixing is banned indoors and outdoors in hospitality settings and private gardens.
Betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres and soft play areas will also have to close in Warrington, while there is guidance against travelling in or out of the Cheshire town, which is home to about 210,000 people.
The restrictions will be reviewed in 28 days' time.
The government will provide a financial support package of £1.68m to Warrington, as well as £4.2m in business support funding.
Here's more detail about the different restrictions around the UK.

Fauci falsely accused of saying masks caused Spanish Flu deaths

Jack Goodman - BBC Reality Check
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In the closing days of the US election campaign, President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has become a major issue.
One significant point of contention has been the wearing of face coverings - something some supporters of the president have often been unwilling to do, notably at his rallies.
Posts shared thousands of times on Facebook are falsely claiming that Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert - who strongly recommends that people wear face coverings - once wrote a paper saying face masks led to mass deaths during the 1918 flu pandemic.
However, the posts cite a report co-authored by Dr Fauci in 2008 which makes absolutely no mention of masks.
The study found the majority of deaths during the 1918 pandemic were not caused by the virus alone but that most victims succumbed to bacterial pneumonia following the influenza infection.
Dr Fauci, who has frequently questioned President Trump's handling of the pandemic, has been targeted by misinformation campaigns before.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 16:42

How Czech Republic's Covid response went wrong

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
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Letnany, near Prague, is now home to a field hospital, built by the army in just seven days

The Czech Republic was praised for its swift response to the coronavirus crisis back in spring, but seven months on it's now recording 15,000 new cases a day and has the second highest per capita death rate over seven days in the world.
Colonel Ladislav Slechta, a commander in the Czech Army, has just overseen the building of a field hospital.
He is used to building such hospitals in Afghanistan or Iraq. Not on the outskirts of Prague.
"There's no time at this moment to think about emotions. But I'm sure they're coming, because it's really an unusual situation," he told me.
"We were discussing it, and going back in history, we think the last time this type of facility was deployed in this country was during the First World War." So what went wrong?
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Thousands of people celebrated the end of coronavirus in the city of Prague in the summer

Czech efforts to fight the virus haven't been helped by the man who wrote the rules being caught in the act of breaking them.
Czech Health Minister Roman Prymula says he will resign as soon as his successor is named, after the tabloid Blesk published a late-night photograph of him emerging maskless from a restaurant, holding his wallet.
All pubs and restaurants are supposed to be closed to customers, and can only provide hatch service until 8pm.
Read more from Rob here.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 17:02

What do Covid rules mean for your half-term holiday plans?

Normally at this time of year families will be making plans for a last holiday before winter grips the country but this year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, things are very different.
With England now split into three tiers it depends which category you are in as to whether you can travel for a holiday.
Until 9 November, Wales is under a "firebreak" lockdown. People have been told to stay at home and not travel, except for essential purposes. If you're coming from elsewhere in the UK you cannot travel to Wales during the 17-day lockdown.
Northern Ireland is currently under a four-week period of harsher restrictions, and residents have been advised against any unnecessary travel. You can still travel to Northern Ireland from elsewhere in the UK, but hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs are closed to tourists, as are campsites.
You can travel anywhere within Scotland, unless there are local restrictions in place advising you not to do so. The government has advised people not to travel into or out of the central belt region - which stretches from Glasgow to Edinburgh - until 1 November, if possible.
If you are hoping to get away you can read our explainer on the different rules across the UK .

Hospitals under pressure in South Yorkshire

Hospitals in South Yorkshire are coming under increasing pressure from a surge in coronavirus cases.
Rotherham Hospital has 96 patients who have tested positive for the virus, as of this morning, compared to 78 at the height of the first wave.
A spokesman for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said six in-patients are in critical care.
It comes after Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the number of patients with coronavirus admitted to its hospitals had doubled in a week .
It said if rates continued to rise then it would, in the next two weeks, have more patients than at any point during the pandemic.
Both Rotherham and Doncaster, along with Sheffield and Barnsley and other parts of South Yorkshire, entered the strictest tier of coronavirus restrictions at the weekend amid concerns over rising cases in the area.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 17:27

Some updates from The Guardian today:

Merkel: 'Germany on the verge of losing control of virus'

Kate Connolly
Angela Merkel has warned that Germany is on the verge of losing control of its fight against the coronavirus, reportedly telling colleagues from her Christian Democratic party this morning “the situation is threatening” and “every day counts”, writes Kate Connolly, the Guardian’s Berlin correspondent.
At the internal meeting of the CDU, details of which were leaked to the media by participants, the chancellor warned of “very, very difficult months ahead” and said that “every day counts” in terms of tackling the virus’s spread.
On Friday, she is due to hold a meeting with the leaders of the 16 states where it is expected they will agree on tougher nationwide restrictions than those currently in place.
Merkel used her weekly podcast at the weekend to renew her insistence that people were not powerless to control the virus, and to appeal to them to “reduce contacts” as this was the most convincing measure to tackle it.
She said even though “people expect politicians to come up with new words” her message had not changed, and so she would simply go ahead and repeat her podcast from the previous week. The old podcast was promptly blended in.




Switzerland’s health minister has said that health restrictions expected to be announced this week to contain the spread of coronavirus are likely to be in place for a long time.
Alain Berset told a news conference in Lausanne: “What we’re preparing now will likely last a long time. We’re not making decisions on Wednesday for Friday, we’re making decisions for the next weeks and months.”
Berset’s comments came as Switzerland’s health authorities announced 17,440 new infections, 259 new hospital admissions, and 37 Covid-related deaths. The figures include Saturday and Sunday, as no announcements are made over the weekend.
So far the Alpine country has recorded 121,093 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus, and a death toll of 1,914.



A partial lockdown on Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding state of Selangor has been extended for a further two weeks, according to Reuters, as Malaysia recorded its biggest increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
A two-week partial lockdown announced earlier this month will be extended until 9 November, the senior minister of security, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, told a news conference.
His announcement came as health ministry reported 1,240 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest daily rise on record. The total number of cases in the country has more than doubled in the past month.
The government has imposed curbs on movement, including the closure of schools and places of worship, though all other economic activities are allowed to operate normally.
Malaysia has reported a total of 27,805 infections, including 236 deaths.



Lockdown restrictions have been extended in Tehran and across Iran, where two-thirds of provinces are now on a coronavirus red alert.
Some hospitals had run out of beds to treat new patients, the head of the national coronavirus taskforce told state TV. “Our doctors and nurses are tired. I urge everyone to respect the protocols,” Alireza Zali was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The health ministry in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country reported 337 new deaths and 5,960 new cases over the past 24 hours. A banner on state TV said that amounted to a death every four minutes.
The closure of schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions in Tehran, which was due to end on Monday, will be extended until 20 November, state TV reported.
“Extreme measures and limitations” will be imposed for one week in at least 43 counties where the infection rates have been alarming, the TV report added, citing officials. Twenty-one one of Iran’s 31 provinces were on a coronavirus red alert.
Tehran has blamed US sanctions for hampering its efforts to tackle the outbreak.
Monday’s data took Iran’s total death toll to 32,953 and the number of identified cases to 574,856, the health ministry spokeswoman, Sima Sadat Lari, said.



The Netherlands has hit a new record for daily coronavirus infections, with 10,343 new confirmed cases announced on Monday.
The national institute for public health and the environment also reported 26 more Covid-related deaths.
A total of 301,597 cases of coronavirus have been counted in the country so far, and 7,072 deaths.



The coronavirus pandemic is starting to inflict a greater toll on areas of Russia beyond Moscow, the Kremlin has said.
“The situation is quite serious,” Dmitry Peskov, the Russian government spokesman, told reporters on a conference call on Monday. “The epidemic has stricken the regions, it has gone east of Moscow.”
Peskov was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency that “extremely energetic” efforts from both the federal and regional governments were now needed to cope with rising case numbers.
Authorities have said Russia has enough hospital beds and medication to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, but media reports suggest some regions are struggling to withstand the pressure on their health system.
In one indication of the crisis, Russia’s health watchdog said it was investigating after local media outlet 161.ru in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don reported that several Covid-19 patients had died in hospital when their oxygen supply ran out.
A city official denied the report.
Russia’s daily tally of new coronavirus cases surged to a record high of 17,347 on Monday, including 5,224 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 1,531,224.
Authorities said 219 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 26,269.



Singapore has temporarily withdrawn two flu vaccines after dozens of people in nearby South Korea died after receiving the shots, the South China Morning Post reports.
Forty-eight people had died in South Korea as of Saturday after receiving the vaccines; however, the South Korean health authorities said they would continue with the vaccination programme because they had found no direct link to the deaths.
Nonetheless, Singapore’s health ministry said late on Sunday that it would halt the use of SKYCellflu Quadrivalent, manufactured by South Korea’s SK Bioscience, and VaxigripTetra, made by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi. Two other vaccines would continue to be used.
Countries around the world have launched campaigns to encourage people to get flu jabs, over fears that a double pandemic of flu and Covid-19 could overrun health systems.



Angela Giuffrida
From ski resorts in the north to restaurants in the south, many Italians have been making their objections heard to the government’s latest measures to combat escalating coronavirus infections.
The prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said the restrictions, which include the 6pm closure of bars and restaurants and complete closure of gyms, swimming pools, cinemas, theatres and ski stations, were needed so that people could enjoy a “serene Christmas”.
But the holiday period will be far from serene for businesses already reeling from the impact of the country’s spring shutdown and that might never reopen. “A calm Christmas is impossible,” said Paolo Bianchini, a restaurant owner in the Lazio town of Viterbo and president of MIO, a hospitality sector association.
Bars and restaurants are the lifeblood of the economy for so many Italian cities and towns, particularly in the south. In Sicily, for example, the number of restaurants has grown by 50% over the last eight years, according to figures from Unioncamere-Infocamere, an agricultural union.
“It’s an injustice and a final blow that we didn’t deserve,” said Giada Penna, who owns Il Mirto e la Rosa restaurant in Palermo.
Bianchini estimates that 50% of restaurants, which were already operating at reduced capacity, will not open at all over the next month as the cost of doing so will far outweigh revenues.
Read more here



Norway will impose tougher measures to following a recent rise in the number of infections, including stricter rules on private gatherings, Reuters reports citing a press conference by prime minister Erna Solberg.
The government also said it would stop exceptions to quarantine rules that foreign workers coming to work in Norway enjoyed until now.
From Friday, all foreign workers arriving in the Nordic country from EU countries that are experiencing a high number cases must undergo a 10-day quarantine.
“We need to do more to control the spread of the infection,” Solberg told a news conference.
Indoor public gatherings will be limited to 50 people, reversing an earlier decision to allow up to 200 people, while the maximum number permitted to meet in a private setting will be cut from 20 to a household receiving no more than five guests.
While Norway has Europe’s lowest level of new infections, the government believes that a failure to impose targeted measures now could lead to a broader lockdown later, like those of several other countries.
Solberg in March invoked emergency powers to shut schools, restaurants, sporting events and a wide range of public and private institutions, before starting a gradual easing of restrictions in the months that followed.



The Spanish government is facing a backlash over its plans to put one of Europe’s worst Covid hotspots under a six-month state of emergency, Reuters reports .
Opposition parties said six months was too long, epidemiologists said this may be too little too late, and some citizens balked at nightly curfews.
“The curfew doesn’t make much sense. Does the virus only infect people between 2300 and 0600? No,” said Marta Aragoneses, a 36-year old schoolteacher, enjoying a cigarette outside a cafe in La Latina.
Nearby, Mariano Moreno de Guerra, a pharmacist on his way to work in La Latina, said what worried him was plans for a six-month state of emergency.
“I don’t like what they’ve done at all,” he said. “They are acquiring a taste for confining people and that could be dangerous. Extending it by six months is an absolute outrage. I see a lot of potential for abuse.”
Political wrangling between the central and regional governments and between the minority government and opposition has for months hampered the response to the pandemic in Spain.
This has in turn angered many Spaniards, with analysts saying that the uncertainty could eventually hurt willingness to comply with the measures.
The nationwide curfew is set to last until at least 9 November while the government said on Sunday it would seek parliament’s approval for the state of emergency to last six months and give each region the right to take its own measures to tackle the pandemic, including limiting people’s movements.
The curfew applies to all of Spain except the Canary Islands between 11 pm and 6 am - with regions having the authority to start the curfew an hour earlier or delay it to midnight.
People are not allowed to move around at those hours unless for specific reasons, including work or needing to go to the pharmacy
Both the main opposition party, the conservative People’s Party (PP), and the center-right Ciudadanos said on Monday they would back a state of emergency, but not for that long.
PP leader Pablo Casado said his party would agree to as much as eight weeks but no more, and with a set of conditions that would include modifying legislation to allow for limits on the movement of people to tackle the pandemic to be decided without needing to resort to a state of emergency.
“The measures in Spain are reactive, dragging our feet, with the feeling that there’s no evaluation of whether they work and that something is done only because others took those steps,” said Pablo Simon, a political science professor at Madrid’s Carlos III university.



Italians warned against travelling abroad

Italians have been advised against trips to other European countries because of surging coronavirus cases, with the foreign ministry warning they could get trapped overseas if travel bans became necessary.
A statement on the ministry’s website said:
In view of the worsening epidemiological situation in Europe, the foreign ministry recommends that all compatriots avoid travelling abroad except for strictly necessary reasons. It should also be noted that given the high number of infections in many European countries, further restrictions on travel in the future cannot be excluded, which would risk complicating any return to Italy.
The ministry further warned of the dangers of travelling beyond Europe.
Similar repatriation problems could occur, with much more serious consequences, in case of travel to non-EU destinations.
The Italian government helped repatriate almost 100,000 citizens earlier in the year after they were stranded abroad as borders were closed around the world amid coronavirus fears.
In a new record, almost half a million new coronavirus infections were recorded globally in a 24-hour period during the weekend, according to Reuters data.

Belgium records almost 12,500 cases a day for a week

An average of almost 12,500 new cases of coronavirus were reported every day in Belgium last week, compared with about 5,000 every 24 hours a week earlier, according to figures released on Monday
About one person in every five who is tested turns out to be positive, with the very elderly hardest hit, according to the Associated Press.
On average over the past week, 42 people died from the virus each day, bringing the death toll to 10,810, in a country with a population of around 11.5 million people.
Pressure is building on Belgium’s hospitals, where 467 people are being admitted on average each day, a rise of 85%. Almost 5,000 people are in hospitals, more than 750 of them in intensive care, according to the latest data.
“What we do now, what we will do in the next two weeks, will be decisive,” said Yves Van Laethem, a spokesman for Belgium’s Covid-19 crisis centre. If the figures don’t change, he said, “we are likely to reach 2,000 patients in intensive care in two weeks. That is, our maximum capacity.”
New lockdown measures were introduced on Monday, but the tightening of restrictions until 19 November, mainly in the cultural and sports sectors, were considered inadequate by two of Belgium’s three regions.
Wallonia and the Brussels capital region extended a night-time curfew from 10pm to 6am. In Brussels, masks must be worn outdoors at all times, while cinemas, theatres and sports centres were ordered to close. People must work from home when possible.
Next week’s school holiday has been extended, with high school students in Wallonia and Brussels working from home as of this Wednesday. Students in Flanders will have two extra days off after what normally would have been the end of the vacation period.

Belgium’s intensive care units at risk of being overrun

Belgium’s intensive care units will be overrun in a fortnight if the rate of infection continues, a spokesman for country’s Covid-19 crisis centre has said, writes Daniel Boffey, the Guardian’s Brussels bureau chief.
Dr Yves Van Laethem said the 2,000 intensive care beds would be full with patients without a change of course.
An average of 12,491 new coronavirus infections were recorded each day between 16 and 22 October, up 44% over the previous week.
Daily hospital admissions over the same period were up 85% week-on-week to 467.7 on average a day. There are 4,827 people being treated in hospital for Covid-19, including 757 people, in intensive care.
On Monday morning, new regulations came into force in Brussels, where the rate of infections has been particularly high. Sports centres and gyms have been forced to close. Shops have been told to shut by 8pm every day and the half-term school break next week will be extended by three days.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 17:31

Breaking News

Nottingham to move into Tier 3 virus rules

Nottingham, Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe council areas are to move to tier three coronavirus restrictions following discussions between government and council leaders.
The measures will come into force at 00:01 on Thursday and last 28 days.

Nottingham Tier 3 support package to be announced on Tuesday

More now on the move into tier three restrictions for Nottingham and surrounding areas.
The move was announced in a statement from council leaders and had been widely expected following days of talks.
Specific details of the measures will be formally announced on Tuesday and "have been agreed to achieve a sustained reduction in infection rates, especially to help protect our vulnerable residents, the NHS and social care services", the councils say.
They confirm there will be additional rules to the standard tier three baseline measures "specific to these areas of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire".
A package of financial support, similar to those secured in other areas of the country in tier three, has been agreed to help residents and businesses who will be impacted by the new restrictions.
Read more about the move here.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 17:33

Hospitals under pressure in South Yorkshire

Hospitals in South Yorkshire are coming under increasing pressure from a surge in coronavirus cases.
Rotherham Hospital has 96 patients who have tested positive for the virus, as of this morning, compared to 78 at the height of the first wave.
A spokesman for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said six in-patients are in critical care.
It comes after Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the number of patients with coronavirus admitted to its hospitals had doubled in a week .
It said if rates continued to rise then it would, in the next two weeks, have more patients than at any point during the pandemic.
Both Rotherham and Doncaster, along with Sheffield and Barnsley and other parts of South Yorkshire, entered the strictest tier of coronavirus restrictions at the weekend amid concerns over rising cases in the area.

Hopes of Ireland escaping Level 5 early given boost as positive Covid-19 test rate drops for 8th day in a row
The rate of positive Covid-19 tests in Ireland has dropped for the eighth day running, boosting hopes that the country can escape Level Five restrictions early.
The Government decided to plunged Ireland back into full-lockdown last week following advice from NPHET that moving to Level Five was the only way to prevent the virus from becoming unmanageable.
A move to Level Three in early October appeared to be insufficient, with coronavirus cases continuing to climb, but there's now evidence that those restrictions did in fact make a difference.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted as much on Sunday, saying that Level Three restrictions were "starting to have an effect".
He added that he is "increasingly optimistic" that a vaccine will be available in Ireland from early next year.
Meanwhile, the positivity rate of Covid-19 testing has fallen every day for the past eight days, according to the HSE.
"What we are seeing now is the majority of close contacts are generally household family contacts," said HSE chief executive Paul Reid, before adding that the average number of close contacts was now at three, which is down from 4.5.
This, Mr Reid insists, indicates that people are listening to the advice not to visit other homes.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly described the fall in close-contact numbers and positivity rates as a "beacon of hope" which he said "indicates that the sacrifices that many people have made are making a difference".
The news is reportedly increasing the likelihood of Ireland lifting Level Fie restrictions earlier the anticipated.
Restrictions are set to stay in place for another five weeks, but after three weeks there's to be a review of the situation.
Sources from the within the Government fear that lifting restrictions too early could give the virus time to regenerate and result in mass-shutdowns in the week before Christmas, according to the Irish Examiner .
Minister Donnelly also urged caution, saying: "Covid case numbers are still high, and we must not get complacent now. It is too early to see a reflection of the move to Level 5.
"We all have to stick to the public-health guidance over the next five weeks to get the case numbers low again. This will protect lives and livelihoods, and it will also allow our health service to continue caring for all patients," he added.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 18:24

The latest areas to face England's harshest Covid rules

Nottingham and the surrounding areas' move into the strictest level of Covid restrictions, tier three, comes after the city consistently recorded one of the highest infection rates in the country.
There are now 7.9 million people in England living in tier three - the "very high" alert level.
People living in Nottingham, as well as nearby Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe, will join Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Warrington in the highest tier.
The tier three rules mean pubs that do not serve substantial meals must close, and imposes strict limits on households mixing.
Read our explainer on the rules in place across the UK.

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Breaking News 

UK records a further 20,890 cases and 102 deaths

A further 20,890 coronavirus cases have been recorded across the UK in the past 24 hours, according to the latest government figures , bringing the total since the pandemic began to 894,690.
The government also announced a further 102 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test. It brings the total UK death toll to 44,998.
The figures compare to 19,790 cases and 151 deaths reported on Sunday.
After a steady decline since the first peak in April, confirmed cases started rising again in the UK in July, with the rate of growth increasing sharply from the end of August.
Track the spread of the virus across the country, and look-up cases in your area, here.
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Post by Kitkat on Mon Oct 26 2020, 18:34

Toughest restrictions considered for Lanarkshire

North and South Lanarkshire are being considered for the harshest coronavirus restrictions, according to the Scottish government, ahead of a parliamentary debate on Scotland's new five-tier Covid restrictions on Tuesday.
A letter to the umbrella body for Scotland's councils says ministers are considering implementing the toughest restrictions in the two council areas.
They are the only local authorities in the country where the "level of concern" is such that the highest level of restrictions could be imposed.
Read more here.

The top Covid headlines in the UK this evening

As we wrap up our coronavirus live page coverage for the day, here are some of the latest headlines from across the UK and around the world:

We'll be back tomorrow morning with more live updates on the coronavirus pandemic. See you then.

Thanks for joining us

We're pausing our live coronavirus coverage now, but we'll be back again on Tuesday morning.

Our live page writers were Katie Wright, Laurence Peter, Alex Kleiderman and Doug Faulkner, and our editors were Alice Evans and Paul Gribben.

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 04:03