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Coronavirus - 28th October

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 12:13

Summary for Wednesday, 28th October

  • Coronavirus restrictions should be the same across all four UK nations this Christmas, say the Lib Dems and Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
  • Lib Dem leader Ed Davey says the UK government should take action now "so Christmas isn't cancelled"
  • Environment Secretary George Eustice says the government wants Christmas to be "as close to normal as possible" but it's "too early to say" what rules will be in place then
  • Young and ethnic minority workers were more likely to be made unemployed post-furlough, according to new report
  • Police in Scotland are breaking up hundreds of house parties every week despite the ongoing ban on home visits, data obtained by the BBC shows
  • The UK government announced 22,885 confirmed cases on Tuesday, and a further 367 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 45,365
  • Across the globe there have been more than 44 million coronavirus cases and more than 1.1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data


Welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and around the world.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the main headlines in the UK this Wednesday morning:

  • Coronavirus restrictions should be the same across all four UK nations this Christmas , the Lib Dems and Alliance Party of Northern Ireland have said. In a letter, the parties said travel between the nations was "inevitable" during the festive season and anti-Covid policies should acknowledge this. Different restrictions are in place across the UK, which, it is argued, could cause confusion when people move between the different nations during the holidays
  • Stores refusing to accept cash have left consumers unable to buy basic ssuch as groceries and medicine , according to Which? Some shops have refused payments with banknotes and coins during the coronavirus crisis due to social distancing concerns but the consumer group warns this approach risks excluding vulnerable people and called on businesses to show greater understanding and flexibility to customers who may only be able to pay with cash
  • Research suggests around one in five young people who were on the furlough scheme have since lost their jobs . The Resolution Foundation said a similar proportion of people from ethnic minority backgrounds have also been made unemployed, compared with 9% for the general population. The think tank says the "true nature" of Britain's jobs crisis is now "starting to reveal itself"


Germany and France to decide on limited lockdowns

Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a lunchtime video call with Germany’s 16 state premiers to decide on a "lockdown light" from next Wednesday throughout November. Under the reported draft plan, hotels, cinemas, leisure centres and bars would shut and restaurants would be limited to takeaways. Schools and shops would stay open and social contact would be limited to two households. Germany has recorded a new high of 14,964 infections in the past 24 hours.
President Emmanuel Macron will announce in a TV address tonight whether France is to move to a similar four-week lockdown as early as tomorrow night. The defence council and cabinet meet today - but schools are expected to stay open, online study will be encouraged for older children and universities, and there’ll be a further push towards working from home. France recorded 523 deaths on Tuesday, including 235 in residential homes.
Police in Rome used water cannon to disperse protesters last night. There were 16 arrests among the protesters, and police say they were mainly from the far right. Italy has seen a sharp 24-hour rise of 221 deaths, with 127 more patients in intensive care.
In other developments:

  • Night curfews start at 21:00 in the Czech Republic - except for working, walking the dog or urgent medical needs. Shops shut at 20:00
  • Belgium now has 5,554 Covid patients in hospital - that’s almost as many as it had during the peak in early April. The number of deaths has now surpassed 11,000
  • Spain has recorded 267 more deaths - the highest number since 1 May
  • Russians now have to wear masks in crowded public places and regional authorities are being advised to impose a 23:00 curfew on catering and entertainment.



South African president in quarantine after dinner guest tests positive

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has gone into quarantine after a guest at a dinner he attended tested positive for Covid-19, a statement from his office says .
The fundraising event, hosted by the Adopt-a-School Foundation, was attended by 35 guests at a Johannesburg hotel on Saturday.
The event "adhered stringently to Covid-19 protocols", according to Ramaphosa's office.
"The president is showing no symptoms at this time and will, in line with Covid-19 health advice, be tested should symptoms manifest," the statement added.
"The president will perform his duties remotely and will observe the guidelines that apply to self-quarantine."
You can read live updates from our colleagues in Africa, here.

Scotland police break up hundreds of parties every week

Police in Scotland are breaking up hundreds of house parties every week despite the ban on large gatherings at home because of Covid-19.
Data obtained by BBC Scotland through a freedom of information request reveals officers were called out to 3,052 illegal gatherings since 28 August, when police were [url=https://www.gov.scot/news/new-powers-to-protect-from-community-transmission/#:~:text=Police Scotland granted powers to,a large house party indoor]granted powers by the government[/url] to break up large social gatherings.
More than 420 fines have been issued and 83 arrests have been made.
A third of the reports on illegal gatherings occurred after nationwide restrictions were implemented on 23 September.
Two of the largest spikes since these measures took affect have occurred in Dundee and Lanarkshire - areas now being touted for harsher restrictions .
You can read more here .

'Shops refusing cash left me unable to buy basics'

Simon Read - Personal finance reporter
Stores refusing to accept cash have left consumers unable to buy basics such as groceries and medicine, according to consumer group Which?.
Which? warned the cash system is being threatened as shops have declined payments using banknotes and coins during the coronavirus crisis.
Thousands of people have been prevented from paying with cash in recent months - with vulnerable people at risk, the campaign group said.
Thomas Scobie of Stirling, who claims Universal Credit, said: "When shops started to accept only card payment it meant I couldn't buy the essentials I needed to feed myself."
Thomas has a chronic health condition and a mental health disorder, and found the process of finding places to shop that would accept his cash "a real struggle and depressing".
"The reason I don't use a card is because I worry about the people that are able to clone cards and scam people and being on a fixed income, I simply couldn't survive if I lost any of that money," he said.
Read the full story from Simon here.

What are European governments doing to tackle the virus?

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In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to decide with state leaders whether to shut bars, leisure centres and hotels next month - in a potential move being dubbed as "lockdown light".
A draft proposal of the measures seen by German media suggests a broad but limited lockdown from 4 November, which would allow schools to remain open but require cinemas, theatres, bars and leisure centres to shut.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron is to give further details later today of a planned four-week lockdown, with reports suggesting schools will stay open and online study will be encouraged for older children and universities.
Other countries have also taken measures to stem the spread of infection:

  • Ireland last week moved to its highest level of coronavirus restrictions - which include a ban on social gatherings indoors or in gardens - with the aim of reopening before Christmas
  • Italy shut cinemas, restaurants, bars and gyms this week, with protests following in some cities
  • In the Czech Republic, night curfews start at 21:00 - except for working, walking the dog or urgent medical needs
  • In Russia, people have to wear masks in crowded public places and regional authorities are being advised to impose a 23:00 curfew on catering and entertainment


Protests in Rome over new Covid restrictions

Police in Rome used water cannon last night to disperse demonstrators protesting against new coronavirus restrictions for a second night running.
Police say the protesters were mainly from the far right or were so-called "ultra" football fans, and that there were 16 arrests.
Tighter coronavirus restrictions have come into force in Italy amid a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections. The latest official figures show cases surged to almost 22,000 in a 24-hour period, while 221 deaths were recorded on Tuesday.
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Heathrow overtaken as Europe's busiest airport amid pandemic

Heathrow says it has been overtaken as Europe's busiest airport for the first time by Paris Charles de Gaulle because of a slump in demand for air travel during the coronavirus outbreak.
Heathrow said its passenger numbers were 84% down in the three months to September as the pandemic continued to ravage its business.
It expects 22.6 million passengers next year, a quarter of 2019 levels.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said Britain had been too slow to embrace passenger testing and was "falling behind".
He said Paris Charles De Gaulle and other rivals such as Amsterdam Schiphol had reopened faster because they had implemented testing regimes.
"European leaders acted quicker and now their economies are reaping the benefits," Holland-Kaye said.
He called for pre-departure Covid tests and a "pilot air bridge" with the US to "kickstart our economic recovery".
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said he wants to have post-arrivals testing up and running in the UK by 1 December.
This would reduce the amount of time arrivals had to spend in quarantine from 14 days - seen as a big deterrent to air travel - to a week.
But Holland-Kaye told the BBC the industry still needed a "commitment" it would happen.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 12:21

Welsh supermarket staff 'having to referee' new rules

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Some supermarket aisles have been closed off

Supermarket staff are being put at risk by having to "referee" what can be bought during Wales' firebreak lockdown, the Welsh Retail Consortium has said.
Stores can only sell essential items during the firebreak, which will last until 9 November.
The Welsh government has issued a list of what can be sold, but said customers could ask for non-essential items in exceptional circumstances.
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Sara Jones, head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said staff were being "placed in a very difficult position".
"They have the discretion to determine whether or not someone can or can't have what might be deemed a non-essential item and quite frankly it's not acceptable for our retail colleagues to have to determine that need," she told BBC Radio Wales.
"It feels to us that our staff have to referee this entire system."
Ms Jones added: "We know this policy will put them at risk."
Announcing the essential items list on Tuesday, the Welsh government said it could not "move away from the central principle that retailers must restrict the sale of non-essential goods for the duration of the firebreak".
"We continue to work closely with the sector and would stress that these restrictions are in place to stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives," a spokesman added.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 12:26

What new Covid rules could France be facing?

Hugh Schofield - BBC News, Paris
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On Friday, the French government imposed a six week night curfew on two thirds of the country

The French government has been taken by surprise by the virulence of this second Covid wave.
Some 50,000 new cases a day are being reported and that's probably a big underestimate.
The proportion of critical beds occupied by Covid patients is now 70% in Paris.
So, at 20:00 (19:00 GMT) on Wednesday, President Macron is going to announce new restrictions - probably a new national lockdown, as in March, but with some key differences.
Schools for example will probably stay open.
For business, it's going to be another massive blow - especially for sectors like entertainment and events - though the president will doubtless also say that extra government aid to struggling companies can also now be expected.
After the economy picked up in the third quarter, it now looks inevitable that it'll contract again between now and the end of the year, and for the whole of 2020 the government's predicting a 10% fall in GDP.

Breaking News 

Dozens of Covid patients sent to Scottish care homes

Dozens of patients who tested positive for Covid-19 were transferred from Scottish hospitals to care homes during the first wave of coronavirus, a report has revealed.
Public Health Scotland said 78 such patients were discharged to care homes between 1 March and 21 April.
Their study found that in that time period, there were 3,599 discharges from hospital to a care home, the majority (81.9%) of which were not tested for Covid-19.
The Public Health Scotland report looks into why elderly patients in Scotland who'd tested positive for Covid-19 were allowed to be transferred from hospitals to care homes.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 12:28

What areas are now in Tier 3 and what does it mean?

Coronavirus rules differ across the UK's four nations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland .
In England, a tiered system of restrictions has been introduced where every area falls into one of three categories - medium (tier one), high (tier two) or very high (tier three) - depending on the local infection rate.
The rules under tier three include a ban on households mixing indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens, and pubs and bars must close, unless they serve substantial meals.
Casinos, bingo halls and betting shops, adult gaming centres and soft play areas must also shut.
You can still meet up in groups of up to six people from different households in parks, beaches, countryside or forests.
People are advised not to travel into or out of tier three areas, other than for work, education, youth services or caring responsibilities.
Extra measures can be introduced for individual areas.
Several areas in the North and Midlands have already been placed in tier three, including:

  • Warrington
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • South Yorkshire

As we said in our post a few minutes ago, Nottingham and parts of the surrounding county will move into tier three on Thursday , though specific details of the local measures have not yet been released .
Check the Covid rules that apply to you with our postcode look-up here .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 12:32

Delays in Nottingham Tier 3 details 'unacceptable'

Delays in announcing full details of tier three restrictions in Nottingham are "unacceptable", its city council leader has said.
Nottingham and the surrounding boroughs of Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe are due to move into England's "very high" tier three restrictions from midnight on Thursday.
Nottingham had the highest Covid infection rate in the UK earlier this month, but it dropped to the 26th-highest rate of infection per 100,000 people in England, at 439.8, in the week to the 24 October - down from 643.4 the previous week.
Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP for Nottingham South, said a full announcement on tier three rules had been expected on Tuesday but was delayed because ministers want to extend restrictions further afield.
"Once again this Govt are dithering & delaying - & our constituents, our hospitals & local businesses in our city are paying the price," she tweeted.
Councillor David Mellen tweeted : "Nottingham people and businesses deserve clarity in difficult times. This is not good enough for our city."

How busy are hospitals as the second wave rolls in?

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
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The second wave of Covid-19 is placing an ever greater toll on UK hospitals.
They have started cancelling routine treatments, as happened during the first peak, with hospitals in Leeds this week following others in announcing some treatments will have to stop.
Admissions are up - there are more than 1,000 Covid admissions a day, which is 10 times the rate at the end of summer.
But this is still nowhere near the numbers seen in the spring. At one point, more than 3,000 patients a day were being admitted.
Instead, we have seen a gradual rise - the numbers doubling every two weeks or so, compared with every four days at one stage of the first wave.
Read more about how busy the NHS is - and how much Covid it can handle.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 12:40

Doctor recovers after skin colour darkens during Covid infection


Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
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Yi Fan's skin colour change was reportedly down to "abnormal liver functions"

A Chinese doctor whose skin colour darkened during his months' long treatment for Covid-19 has made a full recovery from the virus.
Yi Fan, a cardiologist, became critically ill after catching coronavirus while treating patients in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in January.
In April, the story of Yi, along with that of another colleague, Hu Weifeng, went viral, after footage surfaced showing that their skin colour had completely changed during their treatment. The change was reportedly caused by "abnormal liver functions".
Yi was discharged in May, and social media users are now seeing that the colour of his skin has returned to normal. Many have welcomed his recovery, while others have said they are thinking of his colleagues who didn't survive. Yi works at the Wuhan Central Hospital, where "whistleblower" doctor Li Wenliang also worked. Li died in February, while Hu Weifeng died in June .

Scotland records 28 more deaths and 1,202 new cases

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, giving her daily briefing, says a further 1,202 people have tested positive for Covid-19. That is 6.8% of the total number of people tested.
It takes the total number of positive cases in Scotland to 60,403.
A further 28 people who tested positive have died, meaning there have been 2,754 deaths in Scotland by that measure.
National Records of Scotland statistics show 106 death certificates, between 19 and 25 October, mentioned Covid-19. The total deaths by that separate measure is now 4,482.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 13:09

Nottinghamshire to move into tier 3 on Friday

Nottinghamshire will move into tier three at 00:01 GMT on Friday and will include the whole county, the BBC understands.
Nottingham had the highest figures in the UK earlier this month, but its seven-day rate of infection has dropped again, according to the latest data.
The city had the 26th highest rate of infection per 100,000 people in England, at 439.8, in the week to the 24 October - down from 643.4 the previous week.
It comes after a council chief hit out at a delay in announcing details of Nottinghamshire moving into the top tier.
City council leader David Mellen tweeted earlier: "Nottingham people and businesses deserve clarity in difficult times. This is not good enough for our city."

Kim Kardashian West criticised for partying during the pandemic

Kim Kardashian West has been criticised after spending her 40th birthday on a private island with a large group of family and friends.
She said she it was a "surprise" for her "closest inner circle" after "two weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine".
Posting images of the event, the reality star said she was "humbly reminded of how privileged my life is".
But her posts prompted a backlash, saying it was insensitive to have such a party during a pandemic.
One Twitter user shared one of the photos in which a member of a catering team on the island was wearing a face covering - suggesting the ability to "pretend things were normal" at the party did not extend to workers.
It also sparked a huge number of memes, with people posting Kardashian West's words alongside images of the infamous Fyre Festival , a still from the Wicker Man and Father Ted's Craggy Island, among others.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 13:13

Shops and gyms to reopen at end of Wales firebreak

Shops and gyms will reopen on 9 November, when a short "firebreak" lockdown in Wales comes to an end, it has been confirmed.
The Welsh government's counsel general Jeremy Miles made the announcement, saying ministers were working on a new set of national rules to replace the firebreak restrictions.
At a Cardiff press conference he said churches and places of worship would also resume services, and bars and restaurants "will serve customers" - although it wasn't clear whether bars and restaurants will be able to fully reopen.
It comes as a further 37 coronavirus deaths were recorded in Wales in the past 24 hours , bringing the overall Welsh death toll to 1,827.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 13:54

Oxford students warned over breaching Covid guidelines

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Students at an Oxford University college have been leaving its premises despite testing positive for coronavirus.
St John's College has 30 confirmed cases. Its president, Maggie Snowling, said there had been "several infringements" to guidelines, with the mixing of households that were meant to be self-isolating. She also said people had not been social distancing at events.
In a letter sent to the BBC, Snowling said while several people had apologised, the behaviour caused "anxiety for staff and students" and was "very damaging for the college's reputation".
She said a decision had been made to restrict all visitors to the college in St Giles to those on "official business".
Annelise Dodds, Oxford East MP, said there was "absolutely no excuse whatsoever for breaking rules".
A total of 208 cases were confirmed in Oxford in the week to 23 October.
In a statement, St John's said action had been taken against those who had not complied with college and Public Health England rules.
Snowling said the college was "working hard" to ensure there was "no mixing between households and to reiterate the importance of hygiene procedures and social distancing".

Satellite images used to estimate Yemen excess deaths

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Graves dug for victims of Covid-19 in the city of Taizz - which is not in the area analysed by researchers

A new study using satellite imagery has sought to shed light on the full impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Yemen, whose health system has been devastated by five years of civil war.
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) counted freshly-dug graves in identifiable cemeteries in the southern, government-controlled province of Aden.
They estimated there were 2,100 excess deaths - the difference between the actual number of deaths and the average number in the same time period in previous years - between April and September.
It is not possible to know how many were directly or indirectly attributable to Covid-19. But authorities in Yemen had recorded only 601 associated deaths nationwide as of 24 October.
The Yemeni government has not commented on the study, but it has previously said it reports figures daily from areas it controls and does not hide data.
The World Health Organization is concerned that the official figures underestimate the extent of Yemen’s outbreak, which it partly attributes to a lack of testing facilities.
The co-leader of the LSHTM study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, told Reuters news agency that having an accurate picture of Covid-19’s impact was “vital for effective government and humanitarian responses”.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 13:59

Care home discharges and improved app - what's happening in Scotland?

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Lanarkshire councils are arguing against a "level four" lockdown

Here's a recap of what Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in her daily coronavirus briefing a little earlier:

  • The government will formally confirm tomorrow which areas of Scotland will be in which level of the country's new framework of rules . Some councils are arguing against being put under the strictest rules
  • More detail will also be available tomorrow about what the levels mean for people shielding, and for children
  • The current restrictions are "really tough" and, Sturgeon said, "everyone is thoroughly sick of it"
  • There will be a briefing later about the Public Health Scotland report on the release of Covid patients into care homes . The report concludes that hospital discharges were not found to have contributed to a significantly higher risk of an outbreak
  • Further work and analysis into outbreaks in care homes will be done
  • And improvements have been made to the Protect Scotland app so it now works in Northern Ireland and Jersey. It will, in due course, be able to handle information from other apps from England and Wales
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 14:27

'No-one is safe until everyone is safe'

Kevin Connolly, BBC Europe Correspondent
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The European Commission is calling on member states of the EU to co-ordinate their coronavirus policies as infections continue to rise.
Commission president Ursula Von Der Leyen is proposing leaders of member states co-operate on quarantine rules and travel policies.
Von Der Leyen says the commission wants member states to agree a European Passenger Locator Form which would allow continent-wide contact tracing.
She’s also called for common policies on quarantine, self-isolation and travel rules and information sharing about hospital capacity.
The biggest test for EU solidarity will come when a vaccine becomes available and member states have to decide how to share it between their own populations and those of their neighbours.
In her call for solidarity, Von Der Leyen said: "No-one is safe until everyone is safe."
Brussels also wants EU governments to co-ordinate their testing strategies and make more use of rapid antigen tests.
It comes as Germany and France are set to enter new lockdowns .
Germany is expected to have a "lockdown light" in November while France is set to announce a four-week lockdown which would be less severe than that in spring.
Details of the measures to be introduced in each country are expected later.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 14:33

Warning over 'dramatic' rise in Kenya's cases

Peter Mwai - BBC Reality Check
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The World Health Organization (WHO) says Kenya has witnessed a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases in the last month.
It says the country reported 4,594 new cases in the past week - up 51% on the previous week.
That's the second-highest number of new weekly cases in the WHO's Africa region, excluding Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia.
Restrictions in Kenya were eased in late September, allowed bars and restaurants to reopen, and overnight curfew hours to be reduced.
Teaching in some school classes resumed in mid-October.
Across the whole of Africa there have been 1.7 million recorded Covid cases, and more than 41,000 deaths.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 15:30

Wales records highest daily death toll in six months

Wales has recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus deaths in more than six months, the Welsh first minister has said.
Mark Drakeford tweeted: "I am deeply saddened the number of coronavirus deaths in Wales reported over the past 24 hours is 37 - the highest number in more than 6 months."
There have also been a further 1,414 cases of Covid-19 recorded in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 46,459.
Public Health Wales said after the latest 37 deaths, the total number had risen to 1,827.
On Tuesday, the UK as a whole recorded its highest daily death toll since May, after another 367 people died within 28 days of a positive test.

What's happening with testing in India's capital?

Shruti Menon - BBC Reality Check
India’s capital city is witnessing a fresh spike in coronavirus cases, although overall numbers have been declining in the country since a peak in September.
On Tuesday, Delhi recorded 4,853 cases, the most detected so far in a single day since the pandemic hit India in March.
This spike in cases comes after a change in testing strategy, with the Delhi authorities moving to the gold standard PCR tests from less accurate (but faster) rapid antigen tests.
The city has re-tested about 85% of those who had tested negative in rapid antigen tests in October, but still had symptoms, compared with 10-15% in September.
Delhi is conducting nearly 60,000 tests a day - a number that’s been more or less constant for some months. The proportion of positive tests is going up steadily, which suggests the city needs a further ramping up of reliable testing.
Read more on India's testing strategies here.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 15:32

Inside one hospital's battle with Covid-19

Healthcare workers have been on the frontline of the pandemic for the last nine months, fighting to treat and save as many people infected with Covid-19 as possible.
With the second wave already here in the UK, the battle isn't over yet - as the BBC's Marie-Louise Connolly found out when she spent a day observing staff at Northern Ireland's Altnagelvin Hospital.
Many nurses there are working gruelling five-day stretches of 12-hour shifts to ensure colleagues and wards are not left understaffed.
They are supposed to work one week of four - the next week three. They say that rarely happens.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was talk of staff burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder and coping with depression.
But despite the tremendous pressure staff are under, the BBC found a strong sense of calm and order, with patients shown huge dignity and kindness.
You can read more here .

Drug firms make vaccine supply deal

Drug companies GSK and Sanofi are to supply 200 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine candidate to a global inoculation scheme.
The vaccine, going through the first stages of testing, will be supplied to the Covax scheme, which is backed by the World Health Organization.
Covax, which aims to deliver two billion vaccine doses around the world by the end of 2021, has already signed agreements this year with AstraZeneca and Novavax.
It aims to discourage national governments from hoarding Covid-19 vaccines and to focus on vaccinating high-risk people first in every country.
More than 180 nations, including China, have joined the plan, but some, including the US, have opted to stick with their own supply deals.
GSK and Sanofi hope to have the first results of its trial by December. If it is successful, they will move on to further trials by the end of the year.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 16:20

Germany 'to go into lockdown next week'

A broad but limited lockdown in Germany is going to take place from 2 November, reports say. An earlier draft plan, which we reported on, had the start date as two days later.
Under the proposals, as yet unconfirmed:

  • Schools would remain open
  • Social contacts would be limited to two households and tourism would be halted
  • Cinemas, theatres, leisure centres would be shut
  • Bars would close and restaurants would be limited to takeaways
  • Tattoo and massage parlours would shut but hairdressers would be allowed to stay open
  • Companies badly hit by the lockdown could be reimbursed with up to 75% of their November 2019 takings

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state premiers will reconvene on 11 November to reassess the situation, under those proposed measures.

Breaking News 

UK records a further 310 daily Covid deaths

Another 310 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, the latest government figures show .
It brings the total number of coronavirus deaths to 45,675, using that measure.
There have also been a further 24,701 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 09:00 on Wednesday, taking the total number of UK cases to 942,275.
On Tuesday, the UK recorded its highly daily death figure since May, after 367 people were reported to have died with the virus.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 17:51

Headlines in Russia: Hospitals struggle as daily Covid deaths rise

BBC Monitoring - The world through its media
For a second day running, Russia has reported its highest daily count of Covid-19 deaths with a total of 346.
It comes amid reports that the health ministry has banned doctors at state-run hospitals from making unauthorised comments on the pandemic. From now on, doctors and officials must agree comments with the ministry in advance to improve “the efficiency” of public information on Covid-19.
Russian media reports suggest that hospitals across the country are struggling to cope with the worsening pandemic.
Five days is the average amount of time patients in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk are having to wait for an ambulance, the popular Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid says. Local authorities point to a shortage of drivers and medics, saying that they hope to cut this to three days.
In Siberia’s Omsk, two ambulances carrying Covid-19 patients showed up outside the local health ministry having been turned away from the city’s hospitals due to overcrowding, local news site Gorod 55 reports.
A hospital in another Siberian city, Kuybyshev, is dealing with the problem of overcrowding by putting beds in its corridors, the local Tayga.info website reports. It published photos showing elderly patients curled up in makeshift beds in the hospital’s stairwells.
Meanwhile, Moscow's mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said it is “premature” to lift current Covid-19 restrictions as he today announced he was extending certain measures - including the wearing of masks and a requirement that 30% of staff work from home - until 29 November.
Secondary school pupils will continue to study online until 8 November, he said.

Belgian intensive care 'could be full by next Friday'

Danai Howard - BBC News
Belgium could reach its maximum capacity for Covid-19 patients in intensive care by next Friday if the current rate of infections continues, officials have warned.
[url=https://covid-19.sciensano.be/sites/default/files/Covid19/Derni%C3%A8re mise %C3%A0 jour de la situation %C3%A9pid%C3%A9miologique.pdf]There are currently 911 coronavirus patients in intensive care in Belgium[/url], with the number having been doubling every eight days. On average, 547 people have been admitted to hospital every day over the last week, which is already 85% higher than the week before.
“At this rate, we will reach 2,000 patients [the maximum capacity] by 6 November,” said Steven van Gucht, the spokesman for Belgium’s coronavirus taskforce.
It's been widely reported by local media that further restrictions will come into force on Friday in Belgium’s northern Flanders region, but van Gucht has urged people not to wait until then to limit social interactions.
“What we are doing now will have a huge impact on the expected November peak. It takes at least 10 days before each new measure has an effect on hospitals," he said.
Belgian authorities have been accused of being slow to introduce the new measures. On Tuesday, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon defended the decision to introduce the rules on Friday evening, telling Flemish radio : “Let it be clear: nobody is banned from applying the measures right away. It just takes a little time between political decision-making and implementing those things.”
Belgium is currently the second hardest-hit country in all of Europe, after the Czech Republic. Over the last two weeks, 1,424 new cases have been recorded per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the ECDC .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 17:57

Bristol's 'tier 1 plus' label for virus rules rejected

The UK's central government has rejected the local branding of Covid restrictions in Bristol as "tier one plus" measures.
The city - currently in tier one - is bringing in Covid marshals, conducting more analytic work, and boosting local contact tracing, to try to curb a recent rise in infections.
Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: "These actions are being called tier one plus. Any further actions will be based on what we're seeing locally and through discussion with our local partners across the city and central government."
But a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: "There are three local Covid alert levels which are enshrined in law and we are not considering the introduction of a 'plus' system."
She added that local leaders can bring in some additional measures, however.
Meanwhile, a senior council official has warned North Yorkshire's tier one status is "hanging by a thread" and that a decision on tougher restrictions could come within days.

Analysis: Growing urgency to reverse trend in Covid deaths

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
For the second day in a row more than 300 new Covid deaths have been reported.
Wednesday’s figure of 310 comes after 367 were reported on Tuesday.
A week before there were 191. The figures are in line with the current trajectory, as they're doubling every two weeks.
This is a much more gradual rise than we saw in the spring when the figures were doubling every four days at one point.
It suggests the UK’s current approach is still slowing the spread of the virus, but will it be enough?
We are only at the end of October and there are already nearly 10,000 patients in hospital – that is halfway to the peak seen in spring.
With winter ahead of us and cases continuing to rise, there is a growing sense within government that something must be done to reverse the trend.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Oct 28 2020, 17:59

The latest from the UK and around the world

We'll be pausing our live coverage in a few minutes, but if you're just joining us, here's a round-up of the main stories we've covered this Wednesday:

  • It's too early to say what rules will be in place this Christmas , environment secretary George Eustice has said - while warning that people "may not be able to get together in the larger groups that they normally would"
  • An apparent loophole in government rules has caused confusion over whether social clubs in England are subject to tier three Covid restrictions on the sale of alcohol. Some clubs are continuing to serve it to members - without a substantial meal - after local councils told them it was allowed
  • Nottinghamshire's move into tier three has been delayed until 00:01 on Friday and will now include the entire county, it's been confirmed . Nottingham city had the highest figures in the UK earlier this month, but its seven-day rate of infection has since dropped
  • Germany is to have a November lockdown , Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced - but schools and shops will stay open. Social contacts will be limited to two households, and bars, catering and leisure facilities will shut
  • People in France are also poised to hear about fresh lockdown measures, with President Emmanuel Macron outlining details at 20:00 (19:00 GMT)

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 04:31