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Coronavirus - 25th November

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:05

Summary for Wednesday, 25th November

  • Millions of Americans are travelling home to celebrate Thanksgiving, despite warnings from health officials amid a surge of Covid-19
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has told Americans to stay at home and celebrate only with those they live with
  • Hard-hit regions have reimposed restrictions with El Paso, Texas announcing a night-time curfew
  • People across the UK are being urged to think carefully before they take advantage of the relaxation of restrictions on Christmas
  • Government adviser Prof Andrew Hayward says family gatherings are a "recipe for regret" for people
  • UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the UK's "economic emergency" has "only just begun" as he sets out spending plan
  • The number of unemployed people in the UK is expected to surge to 2.6 million by mid 2021
  • Nearly 60 million cases have been confirmed globally with around 1.4 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

Good morning and welcome as we begin Wednesday's live coverage of coronavirus developments. Stay with us for all the latest updates. Here's a look at the latest UK headlines:

The Papers: '12 rules of Christmas' and Sunak's 'New Deal'

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Wednesday's front pages are dominated by the announcement of special Christmas rules allowing families to meet up in the UK next month.
"Season's meetings" is the headline on the front page of the Daily Mirror as it reports on the easing of the coronavirus rules over Christmas.
The Daily Mail says the UK will "unite for festive cheer" - but points out that care home residents over the age of 65 won't be allowed to join their families.
Read our full review of today's papers here.

Thanksgiving travel and other world headlines

And here's a look at some of the top stories making the news around the world:

  • France is to begin easing restrictions from this weekend after President Emmanuel Macron said the peak of the second wave of virus infections had passed. People will be able to share "moments with the family" over the Christmas period, he said
  • Millions of Americans are already travelling home to celebrate Thanksgiving, despite warnings from health officials amid a significant wave of coronavirus cases and deaths. Thanksgiving, traditionally a large family get-together that rivals Christmas in size, is on Thursday
  • Tens of thousands of prisoners in California have defrauded the authorities of up to $1bn (£750m) in pandemic employment relief, an anti-fraud taskforce says. Unlike other US states, California did not cross-check the names of applicants seeking Covid-19 benefits

Warning over UK's Christmas mixing plan

The decision to allow up to three households to mix over five days at Christmas in the UK has prompted a government science adviser to warn the policy could make things worse.
Prof Andrew Hayward, director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, and a member of the government's Sage committee, told BBC Newsnight that allowing families to meet up over Christmas amounted to "throwing fuel on the Covid fire".
He said it would "definitely lead to increase[d] transmission and likely lead to third wave of infections with hospitals being overrun, and more unnecessary deaths."
Prof Hayward said while you cannot ban Christmas, he called for clearer messaging to families about the "dangers" of socialising and inter-generational mixing.

Explained: What is UK's new Christmas plan?

Christmas coronavirus restrictions are to be eased next month, allowing people to mix with a slightly wider circle of family and friends. But what are the details of the plan?
Across the UK, people will be able to form "bubbles" of three households over a five day period.
Between 23 and 27 December, the three households will be allowed to form a temporary "Christmas bubble". They can mix indoors and stay overnight.
Northern Ireland has been granted a longer window of 22 to 28 December, to allow time to travel between the nations.
Bubbles will be allowed to meet each other:

  • In each other's homes
  • At a place of worship
  • In an outdoor public space, or garden

We have more about the rules here.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:15

Biden team plans to meet White House task force to discuss vaccination

Meanwhile in the US President-elect Joe Biden has said outreach from the White House over the transition has been "sincere".
"It has not been begrudging so far, and I don't expect it to be," he told NBC News as he unveiled his choice of top officials for when he takes over from Donald Trump in January.
Trump finally agreed to allow the formal transition process to begin on Monday, nearly three weeks after the presidential election.
"It's a slow start but it's starting and there's two months left to go, so I'm feeling good about the ability to be able to get up to speed," Biden said.
There were, he said, plans for him to meet the Covid-19 task force in the White House about vaccine distribution and access.
The president-elect had criticised Trump's refusal to engage in a transition which meant also his team had been excluded from planning around a Covid-19 vaccination distribution strategy.
The US is the world's hardest-hit country and there are fears the Thanksgiving holiday could worsen the situation in many states as millions of people travel to spend the holiday with their families and friends.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:27

How will pandemic-hit US celebrate Thanksgiving?

The Thanksgiving weekend typically heralds the busiest week for travel in the US. This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging Americans to stay at home, and celebrate only with members of their household.
The warning comes as infections continue to soar across the US, with a million new cases in the past week alone. The nation's top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned even "innocent home gatherings" with wider family and friends could result in more outbreaks.
The Bidens and Trumps have made changes this year. President-elect Joe Biden revealed he and his wife, Dr Jill, will have just one guest at their Thanksgiving dinner, while outgoing President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania will remain at the White House for the weekend.
So how are other Americans planning to spend this weekend? We asked people around the country what changes they have made to their Thanksgiving plans and how they feel about 2020's pared-down holiday season.

Europe 'should be wary of easing restrictions too early'

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Ursula von der Leyen addressed the European Parliament this morning

Measures to deal with coronavirus outbreaks remain in place across Europe, but a reduction in daily reported cases in some areas - coupled with the reported success of a number of vaccines - has led countries to revisit their restrictions in recent days.
Several are planning - or have already decided - to relax their measures to allow people to celebrate Christmas with their families.
But easing measures too early could put countries at risk of a third wave of infections, the European Commission president warned this morning.
"I know that shop owners, bartenders and waiters in restaurants want an end to restrictions. But we must learn from the summer and not repeat the same mistakes," Ursula von der Leyen told the European parliament.
Despite the latest announcements, concerns remain. Officials seem to be particularly concerned over the situation in ski resorts, which were responsible for numerous outbreaks of Covid-19 cases across Europe in the early days of the pandemic.
Officials have warned tourists to call off skiing holidays this year while others have said resorts should be closed.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:29

Everything feels empty, say parents of boy, 10, who died with Covid

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The parents of a 10-year-old boy who died after contracting Covid-19 have spoken of their "indescribable" pain.
Fehzan Jamil, from Bradford, had a number of underlying health issues and is believed to be one of the youngest victims of the pandemic in the UK.
His mother and father, Tayyaba and Mohammed Jamil, said: "There were four of us, now there are only three. The pain is indescribable."
Speaking to Channel 4 News on Tuesday, his mother added: "I just can't describe our loss. Everything feels empty now."
Read more here.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:32

Asia round-up


  • Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, is easing lockdown restrictions after going nearly three weeks without a Covid-19 infection. Gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed outdoors and companies can bring employees back to the office from December.
  • Singapore has reported no live clusters of Covid-19 cases for the first time since the pandemic began in March. The city-state, which was one of the first to detect cases outside China but has had one of the lowest death rates from the virus, has gone two weeks with no locally-transmitted cases at all.
  • However, cases are spiking in Japan and bars and restaurants in the capital Tokyo are set to reduce their working hours, with residents urged to stay indoors as much as possible, in what the governor called "tough, concerted action" to tackle the rise.
  • Japan's spike in cases has not stopped it reaching agreement with China on resuming mutual business travel before the end of this month. Business travellers will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine period if they test negative upon arrival and submit an itinerary of their activities.


Venezuela leader 'tests' mask with birthday candle

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro rarely misses an opportunity to turn a personal event into a media happening. His 58th birthday celebration was no exception.
Even though it fell in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and a continuing economic crisis that has led more than five million Venezuelans to flee the country , a live broadcast from the presidential palace showed Maduro in high spirits, dancing merengue with his wife while being serenaded by Dominican singer Bonny Cepeda.
While there seemed to be little social distancing, most of the guests wore face masks and Maduro seized the opportunity to drive home the message of the effectiveness of masks by repeatedly trying - and failing - to extinguish the candle on his cake by blowing on it from behind his mask.
He eventually extinguished it with his fingers and to the applause of the guests said: "This shows that the mask works!"
Venezuela has confirmed 100,143 coronavirus cases and 873 deaths.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:38

Risks at Christmas could mean another lockdown - scientist

Speaking a little earlier, Prof Graham Medley, an expert in infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said individuals must assess the risks of socialising over Christmas - and ignoring them could lead to more people being in hospital and further lockdown measures in January.
"For other diseases like flu or hepatitis B, the government doesn't get involved in helping or determining what our risk is and it is really, I think, for this Christmas up to us as individuals and families to think about what our risks are and how we are going to mitigate them," Prof Medley, who is also part of the government's Sage committee of scientific advisers, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme
"I think it is inevitable that if a lot of people do take that risk, even if it is a small risk, then we will end up with a lot of people in hospital and potentially having to take measures in January to lock down again."
He advised people to isolate before visiting family, to think about how much time they will spend with them, to stick to social bubble arrangements and to weigh up the risk of spreading coronavirus to those most at risk.

Poland and Russia report record deaths

Some more news from Europe:

Russia has reported its highest number of daily coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic - 507 - taking its national death toll to 37,538.
The country has seen a rapid surge in virus cases - it has confirmed more than 2.1 million cases - but the authorities have rejected the idea of imposing another national lockdown.
On Tuesday, the developers of Russia's main coronavirus vaccine - Sputnik V - said it was proving to be up to 95% effective. They want to make a billion doses available next year, at about $10 (£7) each, but there have been hints of problems with mass production. Some critics have suggested the vaccine is being rushed through, claims Moscow rejects.

Poland has also had a record daily death toll, 674, and the total number to 14,988. The country currently has the fourth-highest death rate in the EU, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Poland is still under a partial lockdown with most stores in shopping centres, museums, theatres and cinemas closed. Shopping centre stores are due to reopen from Saturday for the Christmas shopping period.

Meanwhile in Sweden, pharmacies are reporting a rapid increase in face mask sales, despite the country still not officially recommending general usage in public spaces. It follows the announcement of stricter social-distancing recommendations and rules in the country, which has never had a formal lockdown.
Public events of more than eight people were banned on Tuesday and the country introduced a ban on serving alcohol after 22:00 last week. There has been a rapid increase in reported deaths and hospital admissions related to Covid-19 in Sweden in recent weeks.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:43

In graphics: Global outbreak

Here's a look at the Covid-19 outbreak in graphics - and you can find out more on a special page put together by our Visual and Data Journalism team.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:45

Kent Police fine holidaymakers breaking lockdown to cross Channel

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More than 40 people have been fined after attempting to cross the English Channel since the weekend despite the current lockdown, Kent Police said.
Officers have stopped people who admitted to going on holiday and, despite being advised to return home by police, went on to make second attempts to cross to France.
The force said that, among those who received fixed penalty notices, were two men and two women from Barnsley, two men and a woman from Ipswich, a man from Preston, a man from Welling and several people from London, Coventry and Essex.
Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: "It is very worrying that despite the well-publicised national restrictions and advice, some people still aren’t getting the message."
Current guidelines state travel to foreign countries can only be for work, educational or other specific and essential reasons.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:53

Leo Varadkar has reportedly confirmed that the Irish government is planning to ease Ireland’s lockdown restrictions for two weeks over Christmas. 

Irish Post
According the Irish Mirror , the easing of restrictions will come as part of a phased reopening of businesses across the country. 
The Fine Gael leader told the news provider that the retail industry will be among the first to reopen along with gyms, hairdressers and businesses providing other personal services. 
He added that pubs serving food and restaurants may also reopen during the second week of December under the plans being discussed. 
Varadkar’s remarks come as the government continues to iron out details of Ireland’s planned exit from the Level 5 restrictions due to end at the start of next month. 
Under the plans, the current 5km limit on travel is set to be lifted while RTE News is reporting that officials are set to announce that up to three households will be allowed to gather over Christmas under the plans. 
The ban on non-essential travel outside your own county is expected to stay in place though it will be lifted during Christmas week.
A modified version of the Level 3 restrictions previously in place across large areas of Ireland is thought to be favoured by many inside the government including Taoiseach Micheál Martin. 
All such plans are subject to the final recommendations of NPHET, which is due to meet today before providing its final assessment to ministers. 
Dr Tony Holohan is due to meet with the likes of Dr Ronan Glynn and Professor Philip Nolan to discuss the current state of affairs with any recommendation expected to then be passed on to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly. 
The cabinet is expected to meet later this week, where a final plan will be signed off on and announced by Taoiseach Micheal Martin in an address to the nation expected to take place this coming Friday.

Third 'enhanced' lockdown in Ireland could be needed after Christmas, Varadkar warns

An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has warned the country may need a third lockdown in the new year to combat the likely spike in Covid numbers following the Christmas period.
The Government is currently in talks regarding a strategy on lifting Level 5 restrictions, which Ireland has been under for close to six weeks.
Level 5 is set to be lifted next Wednesday, but some restrictions will remain in order to continue to slow the growth of Covid-19 in Ireland, with a return to Level 3 looking most likely, according to Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Multiple sources have said there will be further easing of restrictions around the Christmas period, which could allow people to attend mass, cross county borders and some households to gather indoors in order to allow some semblance of normality for Christmas Day.
The Tánaiste has warned however that the easing of restrictions may lead to a spike in cases, which could require a third "enhanced" lockdown in January or February.
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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, said that while a third lockdown is likely he hopes it will be a short one

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Mr Varadkar said that while restrictions will be eased next week, they should not go so far as to see a return to the huge numbers of daily cases seen in October of this year.
He told fellow TDs and Ministers: "I believe we should seek to ease restrictions next week, but not so much that it requires us to return to Level 4 or 5 for a prolonged period in the new year.
"A short, third period of enhanced restrictions may well be necessary in January or February, but we should try to avoid it being a prolonged one.
"Our strategy of suppression is perhaps best described as one of delay and vaccinate, and I do not believe we are too far away from seeing it succeed."
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 14:03

Americans prepare for pandemic Thanksgiving

Let's leave the UK for a moment, and turn our attention overseas. Americans are preparing for Thanksgiving, the annual holiday that traditionally sees families gather together to enjoy meals, parades and other festivities.
But with coronavirus cases rising sharply across the country, health officials are urging people to stay put and celebrate only with members of their household.
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People walk near Macy's, decorated with a large turkey at the entrance, in New York

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Travellers wear protective face masks at Denver airport

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Heavy traffic was seen in Chicago on Tuesday as travellers hit the road

Despite the appeals to stay at home, one poll found that one in three Americans still planned to socialise with the same number of people as previous years, and millions were expected to travel for the festivities Thursday.
But some people are doing things differently this year.
This Mexican restaurant in California is preparing full Thanksgiving meals ready to take away and heat up for those who can't get together with their families.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 14:09

More than 100 test positive at Cornwall meat plant

Testing has uncovered 106 cases of Covid-19 at a meat processing factory. Cornwall Council said the employees of Kepak in Bodmin - of which 80-85% were asymptomatic - were now self-isolating at home.
In total, 271 staff members were tested over the past week after a small number initially reported positive tests.
Rachel Wigglesworth, the council's director of public health, said: "Outbreaks such as this are always tough for everyone involved, but we have worked with Kepak and our health service partners in taking quick and robust action to help stop the virus spreading."
The council said testing was continuing at the site and anyone identified as a close contact linked to the positive cases would be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
A spokesperson for The Kepak Group said it was providing support and advice for staff who needed to self-isolate and was working closely with public health teams.

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:


  • Global cases near 60m. There are currently 59,759,494 known coronavirus cases worldwide, according to hte Johns Hopkins University tracker, as the world nears another sad milestone: 60m cases.The virus has killed more than 1.4m people around the world.
  • Test and trace fails to contact 110,000 in English Covid hot spots . The British government’s £22bn test-and-trace system has failed to reach more than 100,000 people exposed to coronavirus in England’s worst-hit areas since the second wave began, official figures show, with four in 10 not asked to self-isolate.
  • Japan has withdrawn the cities of Osaka and Sapporo from its controversial Go To Travel campaign, which was launched in July to help the country’s Covid-hit economy. Pressure has been building on the government to rethink the scheme, which offers generous discounts on travel and accommodation, after experts said it was contributing to the recent rise in coronavirus infections in parts of Japan.
  • French president says lockdown to ease starting this weekend. In France, president Emmanuel Macron announced a three-stage easing of the country’s month-long lockdown, beginning this weekend with the reopening of “non-essential” businesses such as hairdressers and clothes shops, which will have to observe strict distancing rules and close at 9pm.
  • CDC may shorten quarantine period guidelines. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon shorten the length of self-quarantine period recommended after potential exposure to the coronavirus, a top official said on Tuesday. Health authorities currently recommend a 14-day quarantine in order to curb transmission of the virus but an official said Tuesday that there is evidence that the period could be shortened if patients are tested for the virus during their quarantine.
  • A senior leader of India’s Congress party died of coronavirus related complications on Wednesday, his family said, a second veteran from the opposition group to fall victim to the virus in recent days, as total cases in the country touched the 9.2 million mark. Ahmed Patel, a lawmaker who was party treasurer and was seen as close to the Gandhi family that leads the party, was detected with Covid-19 a month ago and died of multi-organ failure, his family said in a statement.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 14:17

Germany reports record covid-19 deaths

Germany has reported a record 410 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, Reuters reports.
It comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with 16 federal state leaders to discuss restrictions for the Christmas and new year holidays.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 18,633 to 961,320, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.
That was 1,072 cases more than the day before but 5,015 less than the record increase reported on Friday.

Russia reports a record 507 covid-19 deaths

Russia has reported a record 507 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours on, taking its national death toll to 37,538 since the pandemic began.
Authorities confirmed 23,675 new cases of the virus, including 4,685 in Moscow, taking the total number of infections to 2,162,503 since the start of the outbreak.

Indonesia reports record daily rise in covid-19 infections in last 24 hours

Indonesia has reported a record daily rise in coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, with 5,534 new cases, bringing the total to 511,836, according to its Covid-19 taskforce.
The taskforce’s data also showed 114 new Covid-19 deaths, bringing total fatalities to 16,225.
South-east Asia’s biggest country has the region’s highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths.

Iran reports worst day for cases

Iran has recorded its worst daily caseload, with the health ministry reporting 13,843 new infections. That pushes the national tally to 894,385 in the Middle East’s worst-hit country.
The ministry’s spokeswoman, Sima Sadat Lari, has told state TV that the death toll rose by 469 in the past 24 hours to 46,207.
Iran’s health officials have voiced alarm over a surge in infections, urging the nation to adhere to the health protocols, including wearing face masks and social distancing. On Saturday, the nation introduced tougher restrictions for two weeks to stem a third wave; including closing non-essential businesses and travel curbs.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 14:22

Sicily asks Cuba to send doctors and nurses

Lorenzo Tondo - The Guardian
Authorities in Sicily have asked Cuba’s government to send to the region about 60 health operators, including doctors and nurses, as hospitals are struggling with a shortage of medical personnel during the second wave.
The request was filed this week to the Italian embassy in Cuba and consists of intensive care specialists, nurses, anaesthetists, resuscitators, virologists and pneumologists, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica has reported .
On 4 November, Rome designated Sicily as an “orange zone” , at high risk, mainly because of the lack of health facilities and beds in intensive care units.
On Monday, Italy’s government asked health inspectors to investigate whether Sicily attempted to avoid going into the high-contagion-risk red zone by inflating ICU bed numbers.
There were a further 48 deaths on the island on Tuesday; the highest daily toll since the beginning of the pandemic.

Badly-hit El Paso imposes curfew over Thanksgiving

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El Paso has become a Covid-19 hotspot in the US

The Texas county of El Paso has ordered a curfew over the Thanksgiving weekend as it battles with one of the worst outbreaks of Covid-19 in the US .
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego described the curfew, running from Wednesday to Monday 30 November, as a "shelter at home order".
"Residents are strongly urged to shelter at home," he said. "If leaving home to obtain essential or nonessential service, this order strongly recommends that only one person per family participate in obtaining goods and services."
El Paso, on the border with Mexico, has had to bring in 10 temporary morgue units and an additional 1,500 medical professionals as well as the National Guard to help. Even prison inmates have been enlisted to help.
As of Tuesday, the county - with a population of 680,000 - had reported 81,511 cases and 862 deaths .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 15:49

The latest UK headlines

It's been a busy day. If you're just catching up, these are the main UK headlines:
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 15:54

US sees deadliest day in more than six months

The US recorded nearly 2,100 virus deaths on Tuesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project - the highest single-day total since May.
As cases and hospital admissions surge across the country, experts have warned that deaths will follow. The daily caseload has not dipped below 100,000 in three weeks, and the US on Tuesday hit a record high in hospital admissions for the 15th consecutive day.
The concerning upward trend is expected to worsen in coming days with the US Thanksgiving holiday, which typically heralds the busiest week for travel in the US.
And while fewer Americans are travelling this year, the holiday typically calls for congregating and eating indoors with large groups - risky activities for Covid spread.

Sturgeon urged to allow return of Scottish football fans

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Ross County are one of the few SPFL clubs permitted to have up to 300 fans in attendance

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) is calling for an emergency meeting with Nicola Sturgeon to discuss a return of fans to Scottish football.
The league body, which represents the top four leagues in Scottish football, wants the first minister to follow the UK government, which has outlined plans to allow up to 4,000 spectators into grounds in areas in England where coronavirus levels are low.
As it stands, the number allowed in Scotland is 300 - and that is only for clubs in tier one. The SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster says if that continues, it will sound "the death knell" for some clubs in Scotland.
He added: "We are now calling on the first minister to do the right thing by Scotland's hard-pressed football supporters. If it's good enough for English fans, it must be good enough for Scottish fans."
However, Sturgeon has responded, saying football cannot be treated "in isolation".
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 16:52

'Don't pass the gravy' and 'stick grandpa by an open window' - bizarre expert advice to stay safe at Christmas revealed 

Harry Brent - Irish Post
The Irish public have been given some frankly astonishing advice on how to stay safe from Covid-19 during Christmas this year.
Trinity College immunologist Professor Luke O'Neill has insisted that there should be no passing of gravy during Christmas dinner, that everyone should bring their own plates and cutlery, and that vulnerable people should be sat beside an open window.
Speaking on RTE's Today with Claire Byrne, Prof O'Neill stressed the importance of adhering to health guidelines, such as social distancing and keeping indoor areas well ventilated, but also insisted on other, more bizarre measures.
"First of all bring your own dinnerware, then there's less touching of things," he said.
"Have a single person in the kitchen doing all the serving, because the more people you have, the more chances it's going to spread.
"Don't pass the gravy boat.
"Stagger around the table. Don't sit opposite someone, have someone diagonal and a bit of distance between you."
He went on to say that it was important to reduce the amount of time a large number of people spend together in the same room, indicating that playing games with each other all evening was ill-advised.
"Keep it down to a minimum at a time basically," Prof O'Neill said.
"We can't be having 10 hours in a stuffy room together playing family games, that's not going to work.
He then insisted that vulnerable people should be placed in well-ventilated areas, such as near an open window.
"Open the window, stick grandpa by the window, and [have a] good breeze blowing through it.
"You can have a heater in your house if you get cold," he added.
The immunologist cited guidance from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for Thanksgiving, adding that by following these rules, any potential spread of Covid-19 will be reduced.
"It's possible to have a Christmas together, that is the important thing," he said.

Coronavirus - 25th November Kitkat11 lol, Harry - here's the same [American-based] advice being passed on to people living in the UK: 

How to keep the virus at bay this Christmas

Cosy rooms packed with people, chatting, laughing, even singing, and sharing food and drink for hours are the norm for the festive season.
But unfortunately, almost everything that's great for lifting our spirits at Christmas is also ideal for fuelling the pandemic.
Here are a couple of things to think about when you're planning get-togethers.
Are you sharing food and drink?
Covid-19 can survive on surfaces, possibly for several hours, so plates and cutlery can become contaminated, which means you could be handing round the virus as well as the sprouts.
In the US, the official advice for this year's Thanksgiving dinners is to break totally with tradition by asking guests to bring their own food and drinks.
It's also recommended that you control who's allowed in the kitchen, with one lucky person doing all the serving.
Are the windows open?
The obvious answer is: "Of course not, it's too cold outside." But fresh air dilutes any virus that might be lingering in a crowded room.
A report by government scientific advisers says infection risks can be increased by four times without proper ventilation.
And if people feel too cold? Wear another layer.
Read our full list of tips for reducing the risk here.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 17:04

Chinese state media: WHO team will be able to investigate Covid origins

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
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Wuhan's Huanan Seafood market was one of the first places to close as virus cases began to emerge in January

China's official CGTN broadcaster says China has given assurances to the World Health Organization
(WHO) that the body will be able to send a team to investigate the origins of the coronavirus "as soon as possible".
Many experts think Covid-19 likely originated in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, which has been linked to early confirmed cases. While not a wet market in the strictest sense, reports suggest the market was selling wildlife, including snakes, porcupine and deer.
After an initial cluster of cases connected to the market, the virus began spreading dramatically inside China, before reaching much of the world. The origins of the novel virus are unknown , but it most likely emerged in a bat, then made the leap to humans via another wild animal host.
But Chinese media have increasingly been amplifying suggestions that the virus might have been in other countries
before reaching China.
The country has sought to deflect blame for the outbreak from countries like the US, and has often shared a message that the WHO views China as taking an "active response" in handling Covid-19.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 19:06

Crisis has made exercising harder

Coronavirus - 25th November D2361710

England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty says that being active is "central to health" but many people have reduced their levels of exercise during the pandemic.
He said some people had done more exercise during the crisis but for many, coronavirus has made it harder.
Speaking at a summit for ukactive, which represents many in the fitness industry, he said: "It is very important that we get people who have got out of the habit of regular exercise back in the situation where they are doing so, and encourage others who have taken up exercise in a way they previously hadn't, to continue to do so.
"We need to think this through because exercise is so central. Exercise is the single simplest and most important thing people can do to improve their physical and mental health."

Protests in Madrid and Croatian hospitals using tents: Europe round-up


  • Hundreds of taxi drivers have staged a go-slow protest through the Spanish capital Madrid. They accuse the local government of failing to support them throughout the pandemic as demand for their services has plunged, they say, by 80%-90%
  • Austria says it expects to start vaccinating the population against Covid-19 in January, with the elderly, at-risk groups and healthcare workers first in line. Health officials say the country will acquire more than 16 million doses of the vaccine through the European Union. "Our goal is to vaccinate at least 50% of the population," Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said
  • Croatian hospitals are having to use tents to house patients infected with Covid-19 because of a lack of beds, local media report. Some 3,603 infections were recorded on Wednesday, along with 56 deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 111,617 and 1,501 deaths
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 19:10

Another member of Trump campaign legal team tests positive

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Boris Epshteyn (R) is pictured with Rudy Giuliani at a press conference last week

Another member of President Donald Trump's legal team, Boris Epshteyn, has tested positive for coronavirus.
"I am experiencing mild symptoms and am following all appropriate protocols, including quarantining and contact tracing," Epshteyn wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Epshteyn was seen at a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters last week with White House aide Andrew Giuliani, son of Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Andrew announced last week he had tested positive.
Epshteyn has also spent time with the elder Giuliani, who is now leading efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Dozens of people close to President Donald Trump - including First Lady Melania Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The president himself tested positive in October.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 19:13

The show must go on - and other US headlines

While Americans prepare for their Thanksgiving holiday, cases, hospital admissions and virus deaths tick up across the country. As of Wednesday afternoon, the US has recorded more than 12.6 million infections and more than 260,000 deaths.
Here's what else you need you know:

  • Amid a virus surge in Minnesota, the state's national guard has been sent to some nursing homes to help with staffing shortages. According to the state's health department, 90% of its nursing homes currently have active virus outbreaks
  • In Illinois, officials have launched a probe into a virus outbreak at a veterans home, which has infected nearly 200 residents and staff members, and killed 27 veterans. The state has reported more than 10,000 new infections every day for the past two weeks
  • Facing overwhelming case loads, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new guidance on contact tracing, asking health departments to focus efforts on those who tested positive within the past six days. Previous guidance had called for tracing within a 14-day window
  • Still, in New York the show's still going on: Macy's is hosting its annual Thanksgiving day parade on Thursday. The famed holiday event has not been cancelled once in its 96-year history


Preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas: World update


  • As Americans gear up to celebrate Thanksgiving, health officials are urging them to stay at home as coronavirus cases continue to rise sharply.
  • But millions appear to be ignoring the warning and are travelling anyway, though many families have adapted this year's celebrations to follow the restrictions brought by the pandemic
  • Meanwhile, countries in Europe are setting out their plans for the Christmas period with many easing restrictions to allow people to enjoy some festivities
  • Chinese state media reports that China has given assurances to the World Health Organization that it can send in a team to investigate the origins of the coronavirus - widely believed to have emanated from a Wuhan seafood market - "as soon as possible"
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 25 2020, 19:19

Breaking News

Another 696 UK deaths

The government has recorded another 696 UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test, an increase of 88 on yesterday’s daily figure.
It is the highest daily figure reported since 5 May.
The government also recorded a further 18,213 cases of the virus, up 6,914 on Tuesday’s daily figure.

Latest UK headlines

It's been a big day of news and we're almost done for the day. Before we go though, here's what the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said about coronavirus in his Spending Review:

And, in other coronavirus news:


Good evening and thanks for joining us

That's all for now.

Today's live updates were the work of Penny Spiller, George Bowden, Hazel Shearing, Katie Wright, John Hand, Hugo Bachega and Marie Jackson.


Thanks for joining us. We'll be back on Thursday with all the very latest.

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 04:23