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Coronavirus - 7th December


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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 09:56

Summary for Monday, 7th December

  • The UK will begin a mass vaccination on Tuesday, beginning with the elderly, health workers, and carers
  • The country was the first to approve use of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine
  • President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tests positive for Covid-19
  • Large parts of the US state of California are facing a strict new lockdown
  • The number of people shopping in England over the weekend falls to a quarter below 2019 levels
  • Six coronavirus patients die in a hospital in Pakistan after oxygen supplies ran too low
  • Globally there have been more than 67m confirmed cases and 1.5m virus-linked deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data

Hello and welcome to our coronavirus live page. We'll be bringing you the latest updates on the pandemic from the UK and around the world all day.

The latest UK headlines

Here's what's going on in the UK this morning:

The Guardian - key developments from the last few hours:

  • UK to administer first vaccine doses on Tuesday. Britain is set to administer the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, with the NHS giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be kept at -70C (-94F) and only lasts five days in a regular fridge. For that reason, it will first be administered in 50 hospitals. About 800,000 doses are expected to be available within the first week.
  • Giuliani in hospital – reports. Multiple news outlets are reporting that Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer to Donald Trump, has been admitted to hospital following the announcement by Trump on Twitter that Giuliani had tested positive for coronavirus. CNN, the New York Times and the ABC, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation, report that Giuliani has been admitted to Georgetown University Hospital.
  • President-elect Joe Biden has picked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be his health secretary, putting a defender of the Affordable Care Act in a leading role to oversee his administration’s coronavirus response. If confirmed by the Senate, Becerra, 62, will be the first Latino to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Biden expected to nominate Massachusetts General Hospital chief to run US CDC. US President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, to run the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reuters reports, citing a person familiar with the decision.
  • In Australia, the city of Melbourne has welcomed its first international passenger flight in five months, an arrival that will test the state of Victoria’s revamped hotel quarantine system. Australia has since March closed its borders to non-citizens, but airports serving Victoria’s capital stopped accepting any arrivals in late June after an outbreak of Covid-19 that began at two hotels where arrivals were quarantining.
  • South Korea expands testing. South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday ordered testing for the new coronavirus to be expanded by mobilizing the military and more people from the public service, as the country continued to report triple-digit daily new cases.
  • South Korea reported 615 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said, capping a month of triple-digit daily increases that have driven the nation’s largest wave of infections in nine months. Monday’s total was down slightly from Sunday, when the agency reported 631 new cases, the largest daily tally since a peak in February and early March.
  • Public support for Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has plummeted over the past month amid mounting criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. A new poll by the Kyodo news agency shows support for his cabinet at 50.3%, down 13 percentage points from a month earlier. Disapproval rose from 19.2% to 32.6%.
  • The Serum Institute of India has sought emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator for AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, according to several reports in Indian media, citing the Press Trust of India. It applied to the Drugs Controller General of India, citing unmet medical needs due to the pandemic and in the interest of the public at large, the agency report said, citing official sources. The Serum Institute was not immediately available to Reuters request for comment.
  • Japan is preparing to send nurses from the Self-Defence Forces to Osaka and Hokkaido to help treat a surge in coronavirus infections as soon as the two prefecture governments request it, chief government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said on Monday.
  • Indonesia receives first vaccine shipment from China. Indonesia received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine from China on Sunday, President Joko Widodo said, as the government prepares a mass inoculation programme.The vaccine still needs to be evaluated by the country’s food and drug agency while his administration prepares to distribute it across the vast archipelago of 270 million people, Jokowi said.
  • The Arizona Capitol Times reports that the Arizona state legislature will close for the whole of this coming week, “after at least 15 current or future Republican legislators may have been directly exposed to Covid-19 by meeting with Rudy Giuliani.”

Vaccine rollout 'marathon not a sprint'

Hundreds of thousands of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine are being distributed around the UK in time to begin the immunisation programme on Tuesday.
Hospitals in all four nations will serve as hubs, but NHS England's medical director warned the process would be a "marathon, not a sprint".
Prof Stephen Powis said it would take "many months" to vaccinate everybody who needs it.
Frontline health staff, those over 80, and care home workers will be first to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
In England, 50 hospitals have been initially chosen to serve as hubs for administering the vaccine.
Scotland , Wales , and Northern Ireland will also begin their vaccination programmes from hospitals on Tuesday.
Read the full story here.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 10:04

Most of California under strict new lockdown

Most parts of California are under a strict new lockdown, as Covid-19 cases surge across the state and the country.
The stay-at-home order was introduced after intensive care capacity in the US state shrank. Many businesses will be closed, and people will be banned from meeting anyone outside their household.
Around 85% of the state's 40 million residents will be affected by the new rules, which will be in place for at least three weeks and cover the Christmas holiday.
The US has seen a sharp rise in cases and Covid-related deaths in recent weeks. The surge could be partly down to last month's Thanksgiving holiday, when millions of Americans travelled around the US.
Find out more about the restrictions in California here .

Trump lawyer Giuliani tweets from hospital

As we reported earlier, US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is in hospital after developing Covid-19.
"Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!" the president wrote in a tweet on Sunday night.
Giuliani later tweeted to say he was "getting great care and feeling good ". "Recovering quickly and keeping up with everything," he added.
The 76-year-old has led the Trump campaign's legal challenges against the results of November's presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden.
It is unclear when or how Giuliani contracted Covid-19, but he is the latest person close to the president to test positive for the virus.
On Wednesday, Giuliani appeared at a hearing in Michigan without wearing a face covering, and asked a witness sitting next to him if she would "be comfortable" taking her mask off to speak.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 11:32

Don't miss your second dose, nurses warn

Making sure people get a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be a "key challenge", according to Helen Donovan, professional lead for public health at the Royal College of Nursing.
The vaccine is given as two injections, 21 days apart, with the second dose being a booster.
Immunity begins to kick in after the first dose but reaches its full effect seven days after the second dose.
"The key thing that we know from other vaccine programmes is actually making sure that people come back for that second dose," she told BBC Breakfast.
She said the 21-day gap must be factored into the appointments that people are given.
"I think that's the key challenge," she added.

Patients die amid oxygen shortage in Pakistan hospital

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Pakistan is struggling with a second wave of the virus

Six coronavirus patients have died in a hospital in northern Pakistan after a shortage of oxygen supplies.
Patients' relatives have described how they begged for help as panic engulfed the government-run hospital in the city of Peshawar.
More than 200 patients were left for hours on reduced oxygen following a delay in deliveries.
Hospital officials have blamed the shortage on the supply company, but several staff have been suspended.
Pakistan is currently fighting a new wave of coronavirus cases, with a total of more then 400,000 infections and over 8,000 deaths reported since the start of the outbreak.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 11:46

Army could be used to transport vaccine, minister says

The Army could be used to help transport further stocks of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from Belgium to the UK, a Foreign Office minister has said.
James Cleverly told BBC Breakfast the Covid-19 vaccine was a "top priority product".
Asked whether the armed forces would be used to help transport the vaccine if needed, Cleverly told BBC Breakfast: "Potentially - we are looking at non-commercial flight options."
In response to concerns that a no-deal Brexit could cause delays in getting the vaccine into the UK, he said: "This is such an important product, it's probably, perhaps the most important product, so we will look to ensure that those supplies are available in the UK in whatever circumstance."
Vaccinations are due to begin tomorrow.
Read the full story here.

Australia welcomes first international flight in months

Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, has welcomed its first international passenger flight since June.
The country closed its borders to non-residents in March, but repatriation flights in Melbourne were halted a few months later after a coronavirus outbreak at two hotels where passengers were quarantined.
A new system has been put in place for international arrivals and those who arrived from Sri Lanka on Monday will not be allowed to leave their hotel rooms during the 14-day quarantine period - except for medical, health or compassionate reasons.
The news comes a day before the state of Western Australia is due to end restrictions on travellers from Victoria and New South Wales – meaning that almost all of the country's internal borders will be reopened.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 11:48

South Korea raises alert level as cases spike

South Korea is raising its Covid-19 alert levels as it battles a rise in infections.
Gatherings of more than 50 people will be banned in the capital Seoul and surrounding areas from Tuesday, while gyms and karaoke bars will be closed.
On Sunday, 631 new infections were reported in one day - the highest daily number in nine months.
The country was widely praised for its virus response earlier this year, with aggressive testing and contact tracing.
But the authorities have struggled in recent weeks. The number of active cases in South Korea now stands at 7,873, and there are concerns about rising numbers in hospitals.
There have been 37,546 confirmed cases in the country, and 545 Covid-related deaths.

Scottish care homes trial rapid tests for visitors

Rapid coronavirus testing is being made available in care homes in parts of Scotland to allow relatives to visit their loved ones.
Fourteen care homes in five areas are taking part in the trial.
Testing kits are due to be sent out to all care homes in Scotland from 14 December.
The lateral flow tests do not need to go to labs and can give results in under an hour.
But concern about the accuracy of these tests has prompted some homes in England to stop using them.
A pilot scheme in Liverpool showed they missed half of all cases.
Scotland's Health Minister Jeane Freeman said it was "a positive step", but other infection control measures, like wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), also remained vital to protect care home residents.
Read the full story here.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 12:00

South African students to isolate after 'super-spreader' parties

South Africa's health minister has asked all final-year students who attended parties over the weekend to quarantine for 10 days to avoid spreading coronavirus.
Zweli Mkhize identified the end-of-year gatherings as super-spreader events and said some positive cases had been identified among attendees.
"We also encourage parents to take their children who have attended rage events for testing as soon as possible," he said.
South Africa has recorded 814,565 cases and 22,206 deaths - the highest on the continent. President Cyril Ramaphosa last week urged people to follow the guidelines to curb the recent rise in infections.

Rita Ora apologises for second Covid lockdown breach

Mark Savage - Music reporter, BBC News
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Pop star Rita Ora has apologised for a second breach of the UK's Covid-19 restrictions, after failing to self-isolate following a trip to Egypt.
The 30-year-old flew to Egypt for a private performance on 21 November. On her return the following day, she should have isolated for two weeks.
Instead, she threw a birthday party in London, which was itself in violation of lockdown rules. The star apologised for the party last week , and offered to pay a fine.
Details of her trip to Egypt subsequently emerged in the Mail On Sunday .
The newspaper said the singer, whose hits include I Will Never Let You Down, Your Song and Let You Love Me, had played an exclusive set at Cairo's W Hotel for a six-figure sum.
In response, Ora said she "deserved criticism" for her actions, and would donate her fee from the concert to charity.
Read more on the story here .

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 12:06

Where will the vaccination in England begin?

In England, 50 hospital "hubs" are due to begin vaccinating tomorrow:
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust; Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; East Suffolk And North Essex NHS Foundation Trust; North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust; James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Great Yarmouth); Norfolk And Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust; Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust; Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (London); Croydon Health Services NHS Trust; St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (London); King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (London); Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust; Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; University Hospitals Coventry And Warwickshire NHS Trust; Royal Stoke Hospital; Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust; University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust; United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust; Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; Shrewsbury And Telford Hospital NHS Trust; Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust; Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust; The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust; South Tees NHS Trust; Wirral University Teaching Hospital; Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust; Stockport NHS Foundation Trust; Blackpool Teaching Hospital; Lancashire Teaching Hospital Trust; Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – Wexham Park Hospital; Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – William Harvey Hospital; Brighton And Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust – Royal Sussex County Hospital; Portsmouth University Hospitals Trust; Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust; Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust; Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Swindon); Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; North Bristol NHS Trust.
Hospitals in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will also vaccinate tomorrow - but full lists of hospitals have not been published.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 12:10

Gaza imposes strict measures as cases surge

Tom Bateman - BBC Middle East correspondent
Strict new closures have been imposed in the Gaza Strip as coronavirus cases surge.
The Palestinian territory will be under total lockdown during the weekends, and a strict curfew has been imposed at night.
Concrete blocks have been in use for weeks now to seal off areas with high infection rates and checkpoints are in place on many roads.
A further 10 people died on Sunday, and nearly 500 new cases were recorded - almost half of those tested - in what the doctors say is a worrying trend.
At the main hospital treating Covid patients, only 13 beds remain available of the 170 for critical and severe cases.
Gaza's health ministry said on Sunday it had run out of test kits at its central lab. But the World Health Organization (WHO) told the BBC there was still capacity, and supplies to do thousands more tests were being delivered.
Gaza is blockaded by Israel - it says to stop weapons getting in - and is controlled by the militant group Hamas. Rounds of conflict with Israel, and Palestinian political divisions, have left its health system fragile and ill-resourced.

US vaccine chief sees 'light at end of the tunnel'

The scientist in charge of the US push for a Covid-19 vaccine says there is "light at the end of the tunnel".
Moncef Slaoui said he hoped the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could give the go-ahead to a vaccine when it meets this week.
But for life to get back to normal by the spring, Americans still needed to follow safety measures, he added.
The US has seen record infections in recent days, with a daily death toll of more than 2,000.


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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 12:14

What is the virus situation in the UK?

In the UK - which begins a mass vaccination programme tomorrow - the number of daily Covid case has fallen. The number of deaths is also down, but much less sharply.
There are varying levels of restrctions across the country. A national "lockdown" in England, which started on 5 November, ended on 2 December - it was replaced by a three-tier "alert" system. There's a UK overview of virus rules here.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 13:06

Indonesia gets 1.2m doses of Chinese vaccine

Callistasia Wijaya - BBC Indonesian
Indonesia, which has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia, has received the first shipment of 1.2 million doses of vaccine from China-based company Sinovac Biotech.
Indonesia's state-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma has already worked with Sinovac in phase 3 clinical trials of its vaccine. Since August, up to 1,620 volunteers in the city of Bandung have been participating in the trial that is set to be completed in January.
So far the efficacy and safety of the vaccine is still unknown, but China announced on Monday that it had secured $515m (£390m) to increase its production of the Sinovac vaccine.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said that mass vaccinations would only be conducted after the country's Food and Drug Control Agency (BPOM) issued an emergency use authorisation (EUA). Another 1.8 million doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in early January.
Besides Sinovac, the government has also planned to secure Covid-19 vaccines from other Chinese drug manufacturers, Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics, as wells as AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer/BioNtech.
Indonesia has recorded more than 575,000 infections and more than 17,700 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

The UK's vaccine shopping list

The rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is due to begin across the UK tomorrow.
So far, the government has ordered a total of 40 million doses. That's enough to vaccinate 20 million people, with two shots each, 21 days apart.
But it's just one of the vaccines that have been ordered. In total, the UK has ordered around 350 million doses from different developers, including:

  • 100 million doses - University of Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • 60 million doses - Novavax
  • 60 million doses - Valneva
  • 60 million doses - GSK/Sanofi Pasteur
  • 30 million doses - Janssen
  • Seven million doses - Moderna

Read more about when the other vaccines will be ready here.

Breaking News 

England's cricket tour of South Africa abandoned

England's tour of South Africa has been abandoned after two unnamed members of the touring party returned "unconfirmed positive tests" for coronavirus.
The tourists were tested on Saturday after two members of staff from their hotel returned positive tests.
That led to Sunday's one-day international being called off, just as a game on Friday was postponed after a positive test by a South Africa player.
Further games on Monday and Wednesday have been cancelled.


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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 18:52

Oxford vaccine seeks emergency authorisation in India

An Indian producer of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has applied for emergency use authorisation in the country.
"As promised, before the end of 2020, @SerumInstIndia has applied for emergency use authorisation for the first made-in-India vaccine, Covishield," the chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, tweeted on Monday.
The vaccine only needs to be kept between 2C and 8C, which gives it an advantage over some other candidates that require storage at much colder temperatures - a clear challenge given India's climate.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is the second to seek approval for use in India. Over the weekend, the makers of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine - which has already been approved for widespread use in the UK - applied for emergency authorisation in India.
India has recorded more than 9.6 million coronavirus cases and 140,573 deaths since the pandemic began.

Wales 'only part of UK without falling Covid rates'

Wales' Health Minister Vaughan Gething has been speaking at the government's daily briefing.
One of the first things he said was that Wales was the only part of the UK where Covid infection rates were not falling at the end of November.
If there is not a drop in Covid hospital admissions "we will need to consider what action we can take", he said.
Gething also confirmed he's been in meetings today with Pfizer and officials about the vaccine.
He is clear that vaccines will not be rolled out into Welsh care homes tomorrow - which is when the UK's mass vaccination programme is set to begin in hospitals.
Gething says other parts of the UK have suggested they will be able to get the vaccine to care homes before Christmas - but he wants to wait before he has a definitive date to make such assertions.
He's also asked about potential disruption to the supply of medicines - including the Covid vaccine - at ports following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.
For medicines that are time-limited and could become ineffective by delays - such as the Covid vaccine - the UK government has made an arrangement to fly those in to different parts of the UK, he said.
It would be "unacceptable" to have Covid vaccines held up at ports, he added.
There are more live updates from Wales here - or read the latest story here.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 18:54

Which other countries have begun vaccinating?

Tomorrow the UK is set to begun rolling out mass vaccinations against coronavirus using the injection created by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Many of the vaccines which have been developed have been tested among thousands of volunteers in various countries, but which other governments have begun offering vaccines to the public?

  • Russia began offering large-scale vaccinations for at-risk groups on Saturday. But while the Sputnik V vaccine received emergency approval from the government in August, clinical trials to test its safety and efficacy have not yet been completed
  • China also appears to have begun offering vaccines to the public, with hundreds queueing for an experimental vaccine that has not yet completed clinical trials in the city of Yiwu in October
  • In the UAE, thousands of frontline staff and even the ruler of Dubai have already been given a vaccine developed by China's Sinopharm
  • In the US, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to meet on 10 December to discuss emergency approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, while a decision on the Moderna vaccine is expected the following week
  • The EU is expected to make a decision on whether to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of December, although it is unlikely that member states will begin offering vaccines before January

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 18:57

Areas in Scotland's top level of rules will move down on Friday

In the past hour, Scotland's first minister has led the government's daily briefing.
Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland has received its first supplies of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine over the weekend - and those supplies have been delivered across the country.
But she said the news about the vaccine "does not remove the need for caution" over the winter.
Ms Sturgeon also spoke about the different levels of coronavirus restrictions. In Scotland, there are four levels (similar to England's three tiers), with 11 local authorities placed in the toughest level - level four.
Ms Sturgeon has previously suggested those areas would be able to come out of level four on Friday, and she said she "can confirm that that remains the case".
More details will be announced tomorrow, when the government reveals the outcome of its weekly review into coronavirus rules and which areas might be moving up and down.
"The national situation is clear and positive, the number of new cases has been falling now for the last few weeks," she said.
There are more live updates from Scotland here, or for a reminder of the coronavirus rules click here.

Pope to make first visit to Iraq in March

Pope Francis is set to travel to Iraq early next year, in what would be his first trip abroad since before the pandemic began.
The pontiff will spend four days in the country, becoming the first pope to visit Iraq.
Pope Francis, who turns 84 later this month, is expected to visit Baghdad, Irbil, Mosul and Qaraqosh, as well as the “plains of Ur, linked to the memory of [the prophet] Abraham”, according to a Vatican spokesman.
“The programme of the journey will be made known in due course, and will take into consideration the evolution of the worldwide health emergency,” Matteo Bruni said on Monday, adding that the Francis had accepted invitations from the Iraqi government and the local Catholic church.
Iraq's President Barham Salih said in a tweet that the visit would be "a message of peace to Iraqis of all religions & serve to affirm our common values of justice & dignity".

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 19:00

Sports fans return to stadiums for weekend fixtures

This past weekend was the first that sports fans in England could return to stadiums in nearly nine months.
Up to 2,000 spectators are now allowed into stadiums in England for matches in tier two - with 4,000 permitted in tier one areas.
On Sunday evening, Liverpool fans returned to Anfield and belted out You'll Never Walk Alone - 271 days since it was last sung in the stadium.

Elderly French woman fined for lockdown error

A French court has ruled that an elderly woman diagnosed with dementia must pay a fine of €166 (£151; $201) for having put the wrong date on her form for leaving home during lockdown.
Her daughter had appealed against the fine imposed during a police check in April.
In France's coronavirus lockdown, a downloadable form has to be filled in whenever a person wants to leave home.
France Bleu news says the woman, 73, was stopped while out shopping in Luxeuil, eastern France.
Since late October France has been in a second lockdown - and the forms are still necessary. Most shops are open, but there are tight travel restrictions.
The daily infection rate is more than double the 5,000 daily cases set as the target for easing restrictions in a week's time.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 19:02

Europe restrictions tightened again

Much of Europe still has worryingly high infection rates and restrictions are being tightened again in some countries.

  • From Wednesday, Denmark will impose a partial lockdown in the main cities – Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense – and dozens of other areas. The government says the infection rate is rising exponentially. Denmark will close eating places, sports and entertainment facilities until 3 January. Many school pupils will be sent home, to study online
  • Bavaria, one of Germany’s most powerful regions, will tighten its “lockdown light” from Wednesday, imposing curfews in hotspot areas and further limiting travel to and from the neighbouring Czech Republic. Many German officials are now expressing concern about the plan to ease restrictions over the Christmas holiday
  • Greece has extended its lockdown until 7 January: schools, restaurants and sports venues are among places remaining shut. Travel between regions is also generally banned.
  • France, Belgium and Austria plan to start vaccinating in January, putting the most vulnerable groups first
  • France’s daily infection rate went above 11,000 on Sunday – well above the target of 5,000 set for a planned easing of the lockdown on 15 December

US Covid rules objector 'hits policeman with car'

A US bar owner opposed to coronavirus restrictions has been charged after allegedly hitting a policeman with his car while fleeing arrest.
Daniel Presti, 34, was arrested during a raid on Mac's Public House, in New York City, which was allegedly serving patrons despite closure orders.
He has been released without a bond, according to the Washington Post, but faces 10 charges including assault.
The police officer allegedly struck by Presti was released from hospital on Sunday with two fractured shinbones.
The US has seen a sharp rise in Covid-related infections in recent weeks, a surge that could be partly due to last month's Thanksgiving holiday, when millions of Americans travelled around the country.
Read more on this story here .

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 19:05

Paris Air Show cancelled

The Paris Air Show has been cancelled for 2021 because of the "uncertainty" caused by the coronavirus pandemic, its organisers have said.
The event is held on alternate years with the UK's Farnborough International Airshow, which was also cancelled in 2020 due to the spread of the virus.
The two shows represent the aviation industry's largest events in Europe.
Organisers said the Paris show, which attracts over 300,000 people every other year, would not go ahead because of the pandemic's "unprecedented impact" on aerospace.
The industry has been badly affected by measures to control the virus and the economic repercussions of imposed restrictions.

Portugal closes restaurants early ahead of national holiday

Alison Roberts - Portugal Correspondent, Lisbon
Restaurants and most shops in Portugal were ordered to close early today on what is the eve of a national holiday as the government attempts to curb the spread of the virus over the second long weekend in two weeks.
Traders were obliged to close by 15:00 and the government gave employees the day off in addition to tomorrow's holiday - as it did a week ago, on the eve of the 1 December national holiday.
A domestic travel ban has been in place since 23:00 Friday, and runs to 05:00 Wednesday, with people barred from leaving their municipality of residence except for work or emergencies.
Remote working is mandatory - where feasible - in areas deemed to be at high, very high, or extremely high risk of transmission of the virus - affecting the vast majority of Portugal's population.
In most of these areas - those deemed at very high or extremely high risk, which include Lisbon and Porto - there is also a 13:00 curfew tomorrow. The restrictions are in place under the state of emergency that parliament on Friday voted to renew until 23 December.
Portugal yesterday reported 3,834 new confirmed coronavirus cases - well down from the 19 November peak of 6,994 - and 87 deaths associated with Covid. Since the start of the epidemic, the country has reported 322,474 confirmed cases and 4,963 Covid-19 deaths.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 19:44

Military personnel building vaccination centres

The UK's Ministry of Defence has provided details on the role the armed forces are playing in the country's vaccine rollout.
It said 60 military planners are working with the government's vaccine task force - with a further 56 Armed Forces personnel now helping to construct vaccination centres.
The minister for the armed forces, James Heappey, said around 13,500 military personnel were on high readiness - with just over 2,000 deployed so far to help with testing and the government's Covid response.

Breaking News 

Further 189 people die with coronavirus in UK

The UK government has just updated its daily coronavirus figures, and has announced 14,718 new confirmed cases.
A further 189 people have died with coronavirus, the government added. That measure refers to people who have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test.
It takes the total number of deaths, as recorded by the government by that measure, to 61,434.
For more information on the stats and to check how many coronavirus cases are in your area, head here.

House party with 'up to 150 guests' raided by police

A house party with up to 150 guests has been broken up by police in the English city of Nottingham.
The 20-year-old organiser of the illegal gathering, in Lace Street, is facing a fine of up to £10,000 after officers arrived at about 00:30 GMT.
Several guests were given £200 penalties for breaking Covid-19 rules and a 19-year-old man was charged with obstructing a police officer.
The charged 19-year-old was also fined £200 and bailed to appear at Nottingham Magistrates' Court on 26 January.
The party host has been reported for summons and could be given the maximum fine under Covid-19 regulations.
Nottingham is subject to tier three restrictions, which bans different households mixing indoors.
Insp Amy English, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "The very last thing we want to be doing as police officers is to be punishing people for gathering together and having fun but there really are no excuses for this kind of behaviour where people are blatantly ignoring rules in such large numbers."
Read the full story here.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 19:48

Canada to get 250,000 doses of vaccine by end of year

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says about 250,000 doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine will be available by the end of the year.
These early doses will be prioritised for long-term care workers and people in care homes.
The vaccine will be distributed across the country on a per-capita basis, he said, which means that provinces with higher populations will get more doses.
The government could approve the vaccine as early as this week, and doses could be ready for distribution next week, Mr Trudeau added.

Top global headlines

Here's a reminder of the day's top global stories:

  • Most of California - the largest state in the US - is under a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of coronavirus. The rules, which affect around 85% of the state's 40 million people and will remain in place over Christmas, will force many businesses to close and prevent the mixing of different households
  • US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is in hospital after developing Covid-19. The 76-year-old has been criticised for shunning face masks
  • A number of patients have died in a hospital in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar after an oxygen shortage
  • The Paris Air Show has been cancelled for 2021 because of the "uncertainty" caused by the pandemic. Organisers said the event, which usually attracts over 300,000 people, would not go ahead because of the pandemic's "unprecedented impact" on aerospace
  • Denmark has announced a partial lockdown of the country's main cities from Wednesday, amid a sharp rise in infections
  • Greece, meanwhile, has extended its lockdown until 7 January
  • France, Belgium and Austria have said they plan to begin vaccinations from January, starting with the most vulnerable groups

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Post by Kitkat Mon Dec 07 2020, 19:50

The latest UK headlines

We're about to wrap up for the day. Before we do, here's the latest virus news from the UK:

That's it from us

See you tomorrow, when we'll be bringing you the latest updates as the first coronavirus vaccines are administered in the UK.

Today's live page was written by Hazel Shearing, Francesca Gillett and Victoria Bisset. It was edited by Owen Amos and Mal Siret.

    Current date/time is Sat Feb 27 2021, 22:23