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Coronavirus - 9th January

Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 12:28

Summary for Saturday, 9th January

  • The government launches a new advertising campaign to try to boost compliance with the lockdown restrictions in England
  • "Your compliance is now more vital than ever," PM Boris Johnson says amid record UK cases, deaths and admissions to hospital
  • Government sources say there is likely to be more focus from police on enforcing rather than explaining rules
  • The UK reported on Friday a record daily number of cases and deaths - 68,053 and 1,325 respectively
  • England, much of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to be under strict national measures
  • The World Health Organization accuses rich countries of buying up supplies of Covid vaccines at the expense of everyone else
  • US President-elect Joe Biden describes the rollout of coronavirus vaccines under the Trump administration as a "travesty"


Good morning and welcome to today’s live page. Here is a summary of the latest coronavirus news around the UK:

  • People in England are being told to "act like you've got" Covid as part of a government advertising campaign aimed at tackling the rise in infections
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the public that compliance with lockdown restrictions "is now more vital than ever"
  • It comes after 1,325 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test were recorded in the UK on Friday - the highest figure since the start of the pandemic. The number of cases also reached a record of 68,053
  • In light of soaring infection rates, government sources say there is likely to be more focus from police on enforcing rather than explaining lockdown rules.
  • A police force that was criticised for its "intimidating" approach to two walkers is to review its lockdown fines policy
  • The Duke of Cambridge has thanked NHS staff for "the hard work, the sleepless nights… and everything that you are doing". In a video call to London hospital staff, Prince William said he reminded his three young children every day of "the sacrifices" made by frontline workers during the pandemic
  • A nurse has described the "overwhelming fear" she felt as 13 ambulances queued at her hospital's A&E department in the Welsh region currently hardest hit by Covid deaths.


What is happening around the world today?

Here are some of the headlines from around the globe today:

  • The World Health Organization has accused rich countries of buying up supplies of Covid vaccines at the expense of everyone else. Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Covax - the global alliance for fair vaccine distribution - had secured contracts to buy two billion doses. However, it could not get them because of what he described as "vaccine nationalism"
  • People in the Chinese city of Shijiazhuang have been ordered to stay at home for the next seven days. It comes as the city banned the use of all public transport, including taxis, following an outbreak. All 10 million of the city’s residents have been tested with authorities finding more than 350 infections
  • The Australian city of Brisbane has started its three-day lockdown. Authorities introduced the restrictions after a case was confirmed in the city. The case was reported to be the new variant found in the UK
  • US President-elect Joe Biden has described the rollout of coronavirus vaccines under the Trump administration as a "travesty". He said the distribution of vaccines would be the greatest operational challenge the US would ever face


London hospitals working 'in disaster mode'


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London GP Sarah Jarvis has told BBC Breakfast that the situation in hospitals in England is "really scary".
A day after a major incident was called by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Dr Jarvis said some London hospitals had likened the situation to "working in disaster mode".
She said the Whittington hospital in north London had two-thirds of beds filled with Covid patients.
"And it's not, by any means, just London and the South East," Dr Jarvis stressed, adding that Hull currently had nearly four times as many Covid patients in hospital as there were during the previous peak last spring.
"One-third of hospitals [in England] have a third of their beds filled with Covid patients."
She said hospital admissions had risen by 35% in the past week, and death rates had risen almost 50% - amid suggestions England has yet to reach the peak.

WHO claims wealthy countries potentially pushing up price of vaccine

As we mentioned earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) has accused rich countries of buying up vaccine supplies.
Speaking in Geneva, director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claimed wealthier countries were potentially pushing up the price of vaccines by securing bilateral deals with manufacturers.
He said it "means high-risk people in the poorest and most marginalised countries don't get the vaccine".
According to Bruce Aylward, the WHO lead on Covax - the global alliance for fair vaccine distribution - about 50% of the high-income countries in the world are vaccinating.
"Zero percent of the low-income countries are vaccinating. That is not equitable," he said.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 12:40

'Unprecedented' numbers in intensive care in UK capital

More news from London, where a major incident has been declared by the mayor over rising cases.
Simon Walsh, an emergency care doctor in the UK capital and deputy chair of the British Medical Association consultants committee, called the number of patients needing intensive care in London "unprecedented".
"In my hospital, like all London hospitals, effectively we've been working in major incident mode for the last couple of weeks," he said.
He added: "The declaration of the major incident across London by the mayor is really a reflection of the fact that it's not just one hospital but all hospitals.”
"It really is unprecedented in terms of the numbers of patients that require intensive care being put on a ventilator at one time."
Dr Walsh told BBC Breakfast most hospitals had expanded the volume of intensive care patients to three times the normal capacity.
"Obviously we don't have three times the number of staff, so our staff are being spread more thinly in an effort to deliver... that vital care," he said.
And he said the epidemiology from the previous wave indicates the situation is likely to worsen over the next two to three weeks.
"I'm afraid all of us who are working on the front line believe, and this is based on the evidence I'm afraid, that it is going to get worse before it gets better," he said.

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'Your compliance is now more vital than ever'

People in England are being told to "act like you've got" Covid as part of a government advertising campaign aimed at tackling the rise in infections.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the public should "stay at home" and not get complacent.
"I know the last year has taken its toll - but your compliance is now more vital than ever," he said.
On Friday 1,325 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test were recorded in the UK - the highest daily figure yet - along with 68,053 new cases, also a record.
England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, says in an advert: "Vaccines give clear hope for the future, but for now we must all stay home, protect the NHS and save lives."
Tweet  Department of Health and Social Care:

A message from @CMO_England Professor Chris Whitty on #coronavirus #COVID19 is spreading across the country, putting many at risk and placing pressure on the #NHS As we roll out vaccines, it is vital that we all continue to stay at home to:
Protect the NHS
Save lives
Coronavirus - 9th January Watch_11
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 12:48

'I've seen two people die in beds either side of me'


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A mother on a ventilator battling coronavirus has warned how severely ill the virus can make young and healthy people.
Allie Sherlock spoke to BBC Breakfast from her hospital bed in Gloucestershire. Her whole family tested positive on Christmas Day.
She says: "I was fine, healthy, young family just getting on with my life and this has complete floored me.
"I was told two days ago if they didn't put me on a ventilator I would die.
"I've seen two people die in beds either side of me whilst I've been in this hospital."
Read more about her story here

'It is going to get a lot worse'

We heard one emergency care doctor earlier saying London hospitals are aleady working "in disaster mode" due to the number of Covid cases. Concern is also being expressed about the soaring numbers of Covid patients in hospitals elsewhere in England.
Justin Varney, director of public health in Birmingham, said he was "very worried" about the situation in the city - England's second largest city.
Hospital bosses in the region have warned they don't have enough intensive care nurses to deal with the growing case load.
"We still haven't seen the impact in the NHS of the rapid rise that we saw around the 28/29 December, after the Christmas bubble - and after we started to see the new variant arriving in the region," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"So it is going to get a lot, lot worse unless we really get this under control."
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 12:52

New variant has created 'a pandemic within a pandemic'

An epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has said the new variant should be treated as a "new pandemic within a pandemic".
Adam Kucharski told BBC Radio 4's Today that "early signals" suggesting there was more movement in the population currently than during the lockdown starting in March last year were "concerning".
"With this new variant, essentially each interaction we have has become riskier than it was before," said Dr Kucharski, who is a member of Sage, which advises the UK government.
He said new data from Public Health England suggested that that risk per contact is probably 40-50% higher than previously.
"To some extent we can think of this as a new pandemic within a pandemic," he said.
"Even if we went back to that last spring level of reduction in contacts, we couldn't be confident we would see the same effects as we saw last year because of the increased transmission."
The UK must "really face the possibility that this is much riskier and we're going to have to work much harder to reduce the impact", he said.
His comments come as the government launches an advertising campaign in England telling people to "stay at home" and not get complacent.

'1 in 20 have Covid in some parts of London'


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One in 20 people are infected with coronavirus in some parts of the UK capital, the London regional director of Public Health England says.
There has been a 27% increase in the numbers of people in hospital in London over the past week and a 47% increase in patients in intensive care unit beds, says Professor Kevin Fenton.
He says the more coronavirus patients the NHS has to deal with, the more difficult it is to keep other services open.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today: "This is the challenge with the Covid pandemic and why we have been asking the population to really reduce mixing, to stay at home, to reduce the number of Covid infections because of the knock-on impact of this disease.
"Not only do you put severe strain on the health system but you prevent other health conditions that may also need urgent or important treatment from being able to access those services at the time.
"That's why all messages to stay home at this time are so critical for us to get over this hump, to really keep this epidemic out and begin to get back to some normalcy as we approach the spring."
Prof Fenton says there were "things we could do better" to reduce the number of infections, including greater compliance with mask wearing and social distancing when using public transport and shopping for essential goods.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 12:56

Met Police officers to drive ambulances


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The Met Police is training staff to drive ambulances as a "major incident" is declared in London over the spread of coronavirus.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan says the virus is "out of control" in the capital.
The London Ambulance Service (LAS) is now taking up to 8,000 emergency calls a day, compared to 5,500 on a typical busy day, he says.
The coronavirus infection rate in London has exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 people, based on the latest figures from Public Health England.
The Met's deputy assistant commissioner, Matt Twist, says: "It is sobering to see the impact this virus has had on our health service colleagues across London, but we are proud to be able to offer support to the London Ambulance Service at this critical time.
"At the heart of policing is the drive to save lives and keep people safe and I know officers volunteering to support the LAS will do so with pride and upmost professionalism."
The Met will provide 75 officers to drive ambulances.
The London Fire Brigade says more than 100 firefighters have been drafted in to drive ambulances to help cope with the demand.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 13:00

Saudi King receives vaccine


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Saudi state media said King Salman bin Abdulaziz was vaccinated on Friday

Saudi Arabia's King Salman Bin Abdulaziz has received his first dose of the vaccine.
Minister of Health Tawfiq al-Rabiah said the king had the vaccine "out of his desire… to prevent this virus".
He added that it confirmed Saudi Arabia's "policy lies in prevention before cure".
The country launched a widespread vaccine campaign last month with the King’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, receiving the vaccine live on television on 25 December.
Saudi Arabia has recorded 363,582 cases and 6,282 deaths since the pandemic began.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 13:02

Headlines from around the UK

Here's a recap on some of the latest coronavirus news from around the UK.

  • People in England are being told to "act like you've got" Covid as part of a government advertising campaign aimed at tackling the rise in infections
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the public that compliance with lockdown restrictions "is now more vital than ever"
  • It comes after 1,325 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test were recorded in the UK on Friday - the highest figure since the start of the pandemic. The number of cases also reached a record of 68,053
  • Met Police officers will be drafted in to drive ambulances as London declares a "major incident" over the spread of coronavirus
  • A police force that was criticised for its "intimidating" approach to two walkers is to review its lockdown fines policy
  • Angling has been given the all-clear to continue in England despite lockdown
  • A nurse in Wales has described the "overwhelming fear" she felt as 13 ambulances queued at her hospital's A&E department in the region currently hardest hit by Covid deaths.
  • There will be no school meals for vulnerable children or children of key workers attending many schools in Northern Ireland until mid-February


Call for lockdown to be stricter

We have comments from another health expert critical of the current lockdown not being strict enough.
Earlier we heard from Susan Michie, professor of health psychology at University College London, who said the current rules were "too lax".
Now, Professor Robert West, also a professor of health psychology at University College London, urged the government to tighten the rules.
Asked if he thinks the lockdown rules should change, he told the BBC News Channel: "Yes, I do. Not just me. I think probably most of the people I talk to, epidemiologists, and medical scientists and virologists."
Prof West - a participant in the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours, which feeds into Sage - says more people are out and about than in the first lockdown.
"It's not that there is widespread flouting of the rules... but the rules themselves are still allowing for a lot of activity, which is spreading the virus," he said.
He said data showed "the stricter the measures, the better the adherence".
He said the government's "broader" definition of key workers meant schools, which he deemed "a very important seed of community infection", remained "largely open".
Prof West said the government was "fully aware" of the consequences of the different level of restrictions and was "making a political decision".
In addition, he criticised the government for failing to get on top of the Test and Trace system over the summer, saying it would have given them more control during the latest surge in virus infections, potentially avoiding further lockdowns.
He insisted the spike in infections and deaths seen over recent days was "always avoidable" and said it had been "a mistake" to reduce social distancing from 2m to 1m.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 13:40

Trump administration vaccine rollout 'a travesty'


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US President-elect Joe Biden has criticised the rollout of coronavirus vaccines under the Trump administration as a "travesty".
About 6.6 million people across the US have received the first dose of the vaccine. However, 22 million doses have been shipped.
Biden said the distribution of vaccines would be the greatest operational challenge the US would ever face.
“The president-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,” a spokesman for Biden's transition told Reuters news agency.
The US, is currently experiencing another surge in cases. More than 21 million cases have been confirmed and 368,908 people have died in the country since the pandemic began last year.

Residents in Chinese city ordered to remain at home for a week

Residents in the northern Chinese city of Shijiazhuang have been ordered to remain at home for the next week in order to control an outbreak in the city.
Authorities have tested all 11 million residents and found more than 350 cases.
Earlier this week people were banned from leaving the city in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
Public transport, including taxis, have stopped operating.
China has been able to contain outbreaks by immediately taking tough action. This has involved consistently using mass testing when new clusters of cases appear, even if they are relatively small.
Covid-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 before spiralling into a global pandemic.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 13:50

Australia's Northern Territory confirms case of UK variant


Coronavirus - 9th January Dff56410
The woman tested positive after arriving in Australia on a repatriation flight

Australia’s Northern Territory has confirmed a case of the new Covid-19 variant that first emerged in the UK.
A woman who was in a quarantine facility has tested positive after arriving on a repatriation flight from London to Darwin.
It is the first case of the strain in the territory , ABC News reports.
Australia has strict quarantine rules, with incoming passengers put in quarantine facilities upon arrival.
Health authorities say there have been no further positive cases from that flight.
Meanwhile, millions in the city of Brisbane are under a three-day lockdown after a Covid case was discovered there. The lockdown ends on Monday evening.
The ABC reports a second case of the UK variant has since been discovered in the city - a woman who flew in from Melbourne after clearing quarantine.
Australia has recorded 28,582 cases and 909 deaths since the pandemic began last year.

Police chief calls for more 'clarity' on lockdown rules


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The chair of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers in England and Wales, has called for greater "clarity" of the lockdown rules "for the public's benefit" as well as police.
John Apter said there was lots of pressure on police, with more people breaking the rules than during the spring 2020 lockdown, adding "because of that, there will have to be more enforcement".
He said regulations, under the tier system, had become "confusing" and indicated earlier "poorly timed" government announcements had made policing more challenging.
He told BBC News the public expected people who are willfully breaking the rules to be challenged and police were having to tread "a fine line" between keeping people on side and dealing with a "hard core" of rule-breakers.
Demonstrations, house parties and people refusing to wear face masks were particular areas of concern when it came to breaching the law.
Asked about an incident in Derbyshire, where two women were fined £200 each for going for a walk more than five miles from their home, he said policing guidance "should have come sooner".
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 14:14

Summary updates from The Guardian:

Here are the major developments from the last few hours:




Indonesia is reportedly planning to start vaccinations in the contested province of West Papua next week.




Most of you reading this would have been in a Covid-19 enforced lockdown at some point in the past year. But did you have to wear a mask while driving alone in your own car?
That’s the advice in Brisbane, Australia, which just started a snap three-day lockdown . This was sent earlier today by the state’s health minister:
Tweet Yvette D'Ath MP:

If anyone in the Greater Brisbane area is leaving their home they must wear a mask throughout the entire period they are out until they get home. This includes while driving.

Chinese city closes subway

China has reported 33 new cases of Covid-19 , mainly in Hebei province where authorities have suspended the subway service and announced tight new restrictions ahead of Lunar New year.
This report from Reuters:
Mainland China reported 33 new Covid-19 cases on 8 January, down from 53 reported a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Saturday.
The National Health Commission said in a statement that 14 of the 17 locally transmitted infections were in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing which entered a “wartime mode” this week as it battles a new cluster of coronavirus infections.
Shijiazhuang, Hebei’s capital, announced on Saturday it would suspend service on its subway. Earlier this week, authorities banned people from leaving the city in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.
Shijiazhuang is launching mass testing across its population of 11 million. On 8 January municipal authorities told residents they must stay home for at least seven days even after they complete a nucleic acid test.
The commission also reported 38 new asymptomatic cases, down from 57 a day earlier. China does not classify these patients, who have been infected by the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease but are not yet showing any Covid-19 symptoms, as confirmed cases.

Australians stranded overseas say slashing arrival caps makes returning home 'near impossible'

There has been a further tightening of the arrival cap for Australians stranded overseas, as the government seeks to control the spread of UK and South Africa variant Covid cases.
Read more here

Britain set for bitterly cold weekend with temperatures down to -9C

Forecasts of temperatures down to -9c in Britain. Good weather to be locked down in, if such a thing exists.
Read more

State of emergency could be extended to Japan's western cities

There are calls to expand the state of emergency in Japan to contain a fresh Covid-19 outbreak.
This report just in from Reuters:
Osaka and its surrounding prefectures asked Japan to expand a state of emergency to the western cities in an effort to contain the latest Covid-19 outbreak, while Tokyo’s new daily infections keep above 2,000 cases on Saturday.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, the country’s economy minister, told media the situation in the western cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo was severe and the declaration of a wider state of emergency was being considered after a request from the cities’ governors.
Japan declared a limited state of emergency in Tokyo and three prefectures neighbouring the capital on Thursday to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections, resisting calls from some medics for wider curbs due to the economic damage they would cause.
Tokyo reported 2,268 new daily coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to the public broadcaster NHK, the third straight day above 2,000.




Russia has reported 23,309 new Covid-19 cases and 470 deaths in the past 24 hours (it was 23,652 and 454 the previous day), according to Reuters.




Fraudsters are targeting elderly and vulnerable people with a fake vaccine, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCAA), has said.
Officers warned that the scammers are demanding bank details or cash payments for access to a jab – something the NHS would not do when administering a legitimate dose.
The National Economic Crime Centre is working with government and law enforcement to urge people to remain vigilant and follow basic advice in relation to the NHS Covid vaccination programme, which will always be free.
The NHS will never ask for payment for vaccines or bank details.
In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the NHS in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. At the appropriate time, people will be contacted directly by the NHS, their employer, a GP surgery or local pharmacy to receive the vaccine.
The vaccine is free of charge and at no point will people be asked to pay.
Graeme Biggar, the director general of the National Economic Crime Centre at the NCA, said:
“The current level of reported fraud in relation to the vaccine remains very low but is increasing. The advice is very simple. The vaccine is only available on the NHS, and you will never be asked to pay for it or to provide your bank details. Anything that suggests otherwise is a fraud.”
Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez said:
“I am sad to say that throughout the pandemic, we have seen fraudsters adapt their methods to take advantage of covid support schemes and exploit the fears of vulnerable people when they feel at their most anxious. This latest scam, which plays on people’s hopes for a vaccine, is one of the most callous and despicable so far, which is why we want to arm everyone with the knowledge that the NHS will never ask for cash or financial details to pay for the vaccine or verify a patient’s identity.”
Security minister James Brokenshire said:
“It’s a sad reality that scammers and fraudsters are using the pandemic to fleece innocent people out of their hard-earned cash. If you receive an email, text message or phone call claiming to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, or pay for the vaccine, this is a scam.”
The public are asked to remember that the NHS will never:
· Ask for bank account or card details;
· Ask for a PIN or banking password;
· Arrive unannounced at someone’s home to administer the vaccine;
· Demand proof of identity by sending copies of personal documents such as a passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.




Iran’s president has characterised a ban on vaccine imports from the US and Britain, imposed by the country’s’ supreme leader, as an effort to prevent foreign companies testing jabs on the Iranian people. Hassan Rouhani said:
Foreign companies wanted to give us vaccines so they would be tested on the Iranian people but the health ministry prevented it. Our people will not be a testing device for vaccine manufacturing companies. We shall purchase safe foreign vaccines.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority, said on Friday the US and Britain were “untrustworthy” and possibly sought to spread the infection to other countries.
Iran could obtain vaccines from other reliable places, he added, without giving details. China and Russia are both allies of Iran.
Khamenei repeated the accusations in a tweet that was removed by Twitter, along with a message saying it violated the platform’s rules against misinformation.
Iran launched human trials of its first domestic vaccine candidate late last month, saying it could help the country defeat the pandemic despite US sanctions that affect its ability to import vaccines.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been on the rise since 2018, when the US president Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions.




Brigitte Macron, the wife of the French president, tested positive towards the end of December, but resumed normal activities after a second test came back negative, French media have reported.
The Europe 1 radio station said she tested positive on 24 December. It reported that she presented no major symptoms and then had two further tests on 30 and 31 December that yielded negative results.
The president Emmanuel Macron tested positive on 17 December and was in self-isolation until his office said on 24 December that he was no longer showing symptoms and was eligible to end his quarantine period.




France is to extend its Covid-19 curfew to a further eight departments, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Saturday, citing a “tough and necessary” response as some opposed the restrictions in several cities.
France has been ramping up its anti-virus restrictions in the face of rising cases and imposed a post-New Year curfew on 15 of its 101 departments, Agence France-Presse reports.
Those 15 are deemed to be where the virus is spreading the most in a country which has seen some 67,000 deaths to date from some 2.7m cases and with a reproduction rate escalating.
The new departments likely to be subject to an earlier curfew are primarily in the east of the country, including Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Côte d’Or, as well as the central one of Cher.
Castex highlighted the southern port of Marseille, France’s second largest city, where local politicians of all stripes have voiced opposition to extending the partial lockdown, questioning its effectiveness.
“In reality we are applying the same criteria to Marseille as we apply elsewhere,” Castex said, confirming the earlier lockdown would be extended to eight departments including the Bouches-du-Rhone, which includes Marseille.
“Everybody is conscious of the epidemic not weakening or that on the contrary it is growing stronger in some areas,” Castex said.
He also defended the government’s vaccine rollout strategy, criticised in some quarters for its slow start. “The objective is to go quickly, [but] do it in absolutely irreproachable security conditions.”
Opinion polls show around half the French population are sceptical about having the jab, opposition notably higher than in neighbouring countries.




Turkey confirmed 11,749 new cases on Friday, including 1,291 asymptomatic patients, taking the tally of infections to 2.3 million.
186 further deaths were recorded, bringing the country’s total to 22,450, the Andalou Agency reported.
The figures represent a significant drop in the countrywide number of coronavirus cases from the 32,102 new infections reported on 15 December.
Health minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Twitter that there had been a 40% drop in the caseload of both Istanbul and the Aegean province Izmir, as well as a reduction of roughly 60% both in the capital Ankara and the northwestern Bursa province.
Koca added that discussions with public health authorities in four of Turkey’s biggest cities on preparations to start Turkey’s vaccination campaign were ongoing.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 14:20

Gym owners fined for breaching rules

The owners of a London gym have been fined for breaching Covid-19 rules by remaining open during lockdown.
Police were called to the fitness centre in Stean Street, Hackney, on Friday to reports of a regulation breach.
Three people were found inside the gym at 09:30 GMT. The owners were given a £1,000 fixed penalty notice.
Gyms were ordered to shut under lockdown rules in England which mean exercise must be done outdoors with your household, support bubble or one other person.
Ch Insp Pete Shaw says: "Nowhere in the legislation does it allow people to go to gyms to work out.
"Those found to be flouting the rules, as with this instance, should expect necessary enforcement action to be taken against them."

'Don't pick on footballers' over Covid breaches

Footballers "can get things wrong" and shouldn't be "picked on" over Covid breaches, a Premier League manager says.
More than 60 games in England have been called off because of coronavirus outbreaks at clubs .
West Ham manager David Moyes says: "We have to be careful that everybody isn't picking on football players."
Hammers midfielder Manuel Lanzini was one of numerous Premier League players to attend a party over Christmas .
Moyes says footballers are "like most human beings at times, they can get things wrong" and "a lot of people are throwing stones in glass houses".
"If you are going to take tough measures on players, then you might as well take on the government people as well who have broken the rules because it's certainly not just football players who have done it," he says.
We've got the full story here.

Company offers GP staff £5,000 for unused vaccines

A property investment firm has apologised for offering GP surgeries in England £5,000 for unused coronavirus vaccine doses.
The Hacking Trust's medical division approached surgeries in Bristol and Worthing offering to pay the money to charity "or the staff member directly".
Robyn Clark, from the Institute of General Practice Management, says the move was "just appalling" and she felt the company was "trying to jump the queue".
"The NHS is free at the point of access for everyone who needs it," said Clark.
A statement from the London-based company says: "We had heard that some vaccines were being unused due to missed appointments. We would apologise that our good intentions have been misinterpreted."
You can read the full story here.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 14:24

New figures reveal staggering number of people who flew into Ireland over Christmas

Jack Beresford - Irish Post
Over 54,000 people flew into Ireland over the course of the Christmas break, damning new figures have revealed. 
It comes despite Irish people living abroad being told they should avoid travelling back to Ireland over the festive period unless entirely necessary. 
Back at the start of December, Ireland had one of the lowest incidence rates for Covid-19 in Europe. 
At the time, health ministers warned that an influx of people arriving from infected areas would result in a drastic increase in case numbers. 
Those fears now appear to have come to fruition with a record number of cases recorded in Ireland over the past 24 hours. 
8,248 new infections were detected on Friday, January 8th, along with a further 20 coronavirus deaths. 
Those numbers look set to increase further still, with any potential increase in cases as a result of more mixing over Christmas yet to impact the daily totals. 
According to figures published by the Irish Times, 54,311 people travelled to Ireland between December 21 and January 3. 
The Department of Justice revealed that 52,638 of the new arrivals came through Dublin Airport with the remainder coming through Cork and Shannon. 
A further 1,444 people flew into Ireland from the UK despite the Government issuing a travel ban following the emergence of a new, more contagious, strain of coronavirus in Britain. 
These arrivals were attributed to a number of repatriation flights setup for those stranded in the UK following the implementation of the ban.

The Christmas travel figures were published just hours after Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, confirmed three cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 had been found in Ireland. 
Ireland is so far the only EU country where the variant had been found 
“Three cases of a new variant of COVID-19 recently identified in South Africa have been confirmed in Ireland today by whole genome sequencing. All of the cases identified are directly associated with recent travel from South Africa,” Dr Holohan said. 
“Anyone who has travelled from South Africa recently is advised to self-isolate for 14 days and identify themselves through a GP for testing as soon as possible.”

‘Speed is of the essence’ - Ireland to accelerate vaccination campaign

Ireland is set to accelerate its vaccination campaign amid rising cases of Covid-19 and the arrival of the South African variant of the virus on Irish shores. 
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly outlined the new plans which will see an increased number of nursing home staff and residents vaccinated over the next two weeks. 
“We had planned to vaccinate all 75,000 residents and staff with the first dose of the vaccine by the end of January,” Donnelly explained. 
"We’re now accelerating this plan to finish earlier, meaning that the first dose will be given to all residents and staff in the next two weeks.” 
“We’re mobilising 65 vaccination teams including hospital vaccinators, community vaccinators, school vaccinators and the National Ambulance Service. Vaccinations will take place seven days a week. 
“We’ve decided to use some of our one week buffer as our supply of vaccines has been constant and we’ve received solid reassurance from Pfizer that this will continue to be the case.” 
“Speed is of the essence and this is especially true for the most vulnerable people in our society." 
The announcement came on a day when 8,248 new cases of Covid-19 were announced in Ireland – the highest number of daily detections yet - along with 20 more coronavirus deaths. 
A total of 2,327 Covid-19 related deaths have now been recorded in Ireland along with 135,884 cases. 
Of the new cases recorded, 3,834 are men and 4,375 are women - with 61 per cent under 45 years of age and median age of 38 among cases recorded. 
The majority of cases came in Dublin (3,013), with Cork (1,374), Limerick (538), Kildare (314), and Donegal (310) with the remaining 2,699 cases spread across all the other counties. 
A total of 1,180 have been hospitalised with the virus with 109 in ICU.

It comes as Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan confirmed that the South African variant has now been discovered in Ireland with three cases confirmed  so far. 
“Three cases of a new variant of Covid-19 recently identified in South Africa have been confirmed in Ireland today by whole genome sequencing," he said. 
"All of the cases identified are directly associated with recent travel from South Africa. 
“Anyone who has travelled from South Africa recently is advised to self-isolate for 14 days and identify themselves through a GP for testing as soon as possible. 
“We are particularly advising healthcare workers travelling from South Africa, that it is essential that they self-isolate for 14 days before entering/re-entering the workplace. 
“While this variant has not yet been identified in many European countries we believe the identification here reflects the extent of genome sequencing surveillance in Ireland.”
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 14:45

Record number of Covid patients in Scotland's hospitals

The number of people being treated in Scotland's hospitals for coronavirus has reached another record daily high.
Latest Scottish government figures show a total of 1,596 people are in hospital with recently confirmed Covid, up from 1,530 patients recorded on Friday.
A further 93 people who had tested positive for the virus have died in the past 24 hours.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 14:54

What is happening around the world today?

Here are some of the latest headlines from the world today:

  • India will begin vaccinating its citizens next week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July
  • Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron caught the virus over Christmas, her office confirmed today, following reports in French media. She only showed light symptoms and tested negative six days later. Mr Macron tested positive on 17 December and went into isolation away from his wife
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz has received his first dose of the vaccine, state media confirmed
  • Residents in the Chinese city of Shijiazhuang have been told to remain at home for the next week following a rise in cases there. Authorities in the city have confirmed more than 350 cases
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 15:45

Queen and Prince Philip receive Covid vaccination

The Queen and Prince Philip have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
“The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have today received Covid-19 vaccinations," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed.
A royal source said the vaccines were administered by a household doctor at Windsor Castle.
Her Majesty decided that she would let it be known that she and Prince Philip had received the vaccination to prevent inaccuracies and further speculation, they said.

Iran's leader criticised over order to ban UK and US vaccines


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Human rights group Amnesty International has criticised an order by Iran's leader banning vaccines made in the UK and US.
On Friday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he told authorities not to import vaccines from the two countries as he did not trust them.
In a statement, Amnesty International said the move was “in step with authorities’ decades long contempt for human rights, including the right to life and health”.
Iran's Red Crescent society has announced it has paused the import of 150,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which it had organised.
It comes as Twitter removed a tweet from the Iranian leader criticising the UK and US vaccines.
Iran has recorded more than 1.2 million cases and 56,018 deaths.
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Post by Kitkat Sat Jan 09 2021, 16:39

Breaking News 

UK coronavirus death toll passes 80,000

More than 80,000 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid test since the start of the pandemic.
The number of daily deaths on Saturday was 1,035, taking the total to 80,868, according to data from the UK government.
A total of 59,937 people have tested positive for Covid in the past 24 hours.
Today's figures are slightly lower than yesterday's record number of deaths and cases - 1,325 and 68,053 respectively.


Police arrest 12 at London anti-lockdown protest


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Police battled to disperse the protestors gathering in Clapham Common

Twelve people have been arrested during an anti-lockdown protest in south London.
Police officers clashed with some of the mask-less protesters who arrived at Clapham Common, some shouting "take your freedom back".
Gathering for the purpose of a protest is not an exemption to the rules, the Met Police said.
Six police vans were deployed to the scene while officers moved crowds away from the area.
One woman shouted from her car at the protesters "there's a pandemic going".
You can read more and see pictures of the scenes here.

What are the lockdown rules across the UK?

England, Northern Ireland, Wales and much of Scotland are under lockdown as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise.
The main message across the UK is stay at home but if you're confused about the rules in your nation we've got them all here.

    Current date/time is Sat Feb 27 2021, 21:36