Summary for Saturday, 7th November
A summary of today's events so far:
- Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has tested positive for the coronavirus. It is not clear when he contracted the virus, but Meadows was present at the election night party in the White House, along with hundreds of people.
- In the United States, Texas is closing in on its one millionth case of Covid-19 . The US has also recorded more than 120,000 new daily infections, breaking a record set the day before.
- Europe has surged past 300,000 deaths, as countries wrestle to bring the virus under control. The region has become the new epicentre of the virus, with two-thirds of the tally coming from the UK, Italy, France, Spain and Russia.
- France recorded its highest one-day total since the pandemic began, recording more than 60,000 cases and 828 deaths in 24 hours. The country is in its second national lockdown, with restrictions expected to remain until December.
- Italy also recorded its highest ever total, registering more than 37,000 cases in 24 hours.
- Australia’s coronavirus numbers continue to decline, with Victoria recording its eighth straight day of zero infections and zero deaths. The state experienced a second wave of Covid-19 leading to hundreds of cases and dozens of deaths a day at its peak. More restrictions are expected to be eased tomorrow.
Travel to UK from Denmark banned amid worries over Covid in minkSimon Murphy and Peter Beaumont - The Guardian
All travel to the UK from Denmark is being banned amid mounting concern over an outbreak in the country of a mutation of coronavirus linked to mink, the government has announced.
Downing Street had already taken action to remove Denmark from the travel corridor, forcing arrivals to quarantine for two weeks from Friday at 4am.
But following a Covid committee meeting on Friday afternoon, the UK government is halting all inbound travel from Denmark.
All non-British national or resident travellers who have been in or transited through Denmark in the past 14 days will be denied entry into the UK.
The rule came into force as of 4am on Saturday.
Call for central NHS test and trace system to be scrappedAamna Mohdin - The Guardian
Sir John Oldham, adjunct professor in global health innovation at Imperial College London, has called for the central NHS test and trace system in England to be scrapped in favour of handing responsibility for contact tracing to local public health teams, PA Media reports.
It comes after the national tracing programme hit a new low, recording its worst weekly performance since being set up, with the latest figures showing 59.9% of close contacts of people who tested positive in England were reached through the system in the week ending 28 October.
Oldham, a former leader of large-scale change at the Department of Health, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
I think the lockdown will be a letdown unless we increase trust and there is radical reform of test and trace, led by public health.
I think this probably includes increasing the number of small labs to increase turnaround time and, crucially, the results to go to local directors of health and for them to have teams to undertake the contact tracing.
I’d probably get the resources for that by scrapping the failing central call centres.
I think they have demonstrated that they have the capability and effectiveness – they are running at 95% contact tracing, the national call centre is at 40%.
Hungary reported a record high of 107 daily Covid-19 deaths on Saturday while new cases rose by 5,318, according to Reuters.
Indonesia, the south-east Asian country hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, reported 4,262 new infections on Saturday, taking the total to 433,836, Reuters said.
There were 98 new deaths, bringing the total to 14,540.
Poland reported a record 27,875 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the total number of reported cases to more than 500,000.
Infections have risen sharply over the last month, with doctors telling Polish media that the country is running out of hospital beds, ventilators and medics.
On Friday, Poland saw a record 445 coronavirus-related deaths. On Saturday, the country recorded 349.
The restrictions in force in Poland include shutting most shops in shopping malls, theatres, museums and galleries from Saturday onwards, but the government has insisted it wants to avoid a total lockdown.
Poland has 20,249 occupied hospital beds out of 30,896 available for Covid-19 patients.
Some 1,813 of its 2,357 ventilators are in use, health ministry data showed.
On Friday, the government introduced new economic support measures amounting to 9-10 billion zloty (£1.8bn-£2bn) to help businesses weather the second wave of the pandemic.
Bosnia's prime minister, Zoran Tegeltija, has tested positive for Covid-19Tegeltija is is self-isolating at home, Reuters reports, citing a cabinet statement.
The prime minister is in a stable health condition with mild symptoms of the coronavirus, the statement said.
Donald Trump's chief of staff tests positive for Covid
Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, has tested positive for Covid-19. Photograph: Chris Kleponis/EPA
The US president Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has tested positive for Covid-19, along with at least one other aide to the president, sources have told multiple news organisations.
It is not immediately clear when or how Meadows was infected, but the chief of staff has frequently appeared at public events without wearing a mask. The reports came just days after Meadows appeared with Trump at a White House event along with numerous people who were not wearing masks.
The New York Times is reporting that as well as Meadows, four White House officials tested positive for the virus. Bloomberg News is also reporting that four other officials tested positive, including Cassidy Hutchinson, one of Meadows’s closest aides.
Another campaign aide, Nick Trainer, has also tested positive for the virus, according to Reuters’ source.
Neither Meadows nor the White House has commented or confirmed that he contracted the virus and little is known about when or if he has developed symptoms, but advisers told reporters on Friday night that he shared the news with others at the White House after Tuesday’s election, AP reports.
Meadows, a former North Carolina lawmaker, regularly accompanied Trump on the final, frenzied days of the campaign rallies leading up to the presidential election on Tuesday.
He is the latest official within Trump’s close circle to have contracted Covid-19, which has killed more than 236,000 Americans.
The president was briefly hospitalised after he was infected with the virus. His wife and son Barron also tested positive for the coronavirus in October. His national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, was also infected with the virus.