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Coronavirus - 19th January 2021

Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 10085
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 10:41

Summary for Tuesday, 19th January

  • Criminal justice watchdogs have "grave concerns" about court backlogs
  • One in 10 people in the UK had antibodies against the virus by December, national statistics show
  • Campaigners take the UK government to court over claims support scheme discriminated against self-employed mothers
  • Unions call for tougher enforcement amid concerns bosses are breaking Covid safety rules
  • Stress, depression and anxiety among parents has increased with lockdown pressures, research suggests
  • Joe Biden's spokeswoman says the US will maintain travel bans on the UK, much of the EU and Brazil to mitigate spread of Covid-19
  • Two more Australian Open tennis players test positive


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the main headlines this morning:


Two players test positive at Australian Open

Two Australian Open tennis players have tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in the city of Melbourne, amid growing controversy over the event.
A third case involved a "non-playing participant", according to the state of Victoria's chief health officer.
Some 1,200 people, including players, staff and officials, have flown into Australia for the tournament, which begins on 8 February.
But a row over quarantine rules has cast a shadow over the upcoming event.
Read more here.

Latest across Europe


  • The Italian government faces a crunch Senate vote of confidence this morning, after ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pulled his ministers out of the cabinet in a row over how to spend EU Covid funding. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was backed by MPs last night but needs opposition support to survive in the Senate and he’s appealed for stability in the grip of the pandemic.
  • Germany is set to extend its lockdown today and probably tighten it too, when Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a video meeting with 16 state premiers. One possible measure, brought in by Bavaria yesterday, is the use of FFP2 masks in shops and on public transport. They’re safer but more expensive – Austria is bringing them in later this month too.
  • French officials have said this morning that home-made fabric masks don’t offer the “necessary guarantees” in public – but Health Minister Olivier Véran says most industrially made masks do provide up to 80% filter protection.
  • Spain has recorded the highest number of weekend infections – 84,287 – and now has an infection rate of 689 cases per 100,000 people. Top health official Fernando Simón believes the peak of Spain’s third Covid wave has either already been reached or is very close.
  • Norway says no link has been established between the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the deaths of 33 elderly people after vaccination. But it’s urged doctors to assess the health of those who are most frail before they are vaccinated.


Breaking News

Total number of registered UK deaths involving Covid at 96,000

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
ONS figures out this morning show a further 6,586 deaths involving Covid-19 were registered in UK in the week to 8 January, bringing the total registered so far close to 96,000.
The first week of January normally sees a spike because of deaths that happened but were not registered during the Christmas holidays.
In the week after Christmas, about 3,400 Covid deaths were registered.
The total number of deaths registered in the UK in the first week of January was 20,023, more than 40% above the average for that week – but again care needs to be taken.
The week 2-8 January did not include a bank holiday, so death registrations are inflated compared to the previous first-weeks-of-the-year that did.
There is likely a genuine rise, both in Covid deaths and overall deaths - but the headline figures can exaggerate the week-on-week rise.

UK Health Secretary self-isolating after app alert

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is self-isolating after being alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app that he had been in close contact with somebody who tested positive for the virus.
He said in a tweet that as a result he would be staying at home until Sunday.
"We all have a part to play in getting this virus under control," he added.
He had coronavirus in March last year .

Traveling salesman puts 3m people in China in lockdown

Waiyee Yip - BBC News, Singapore
Nearly three million people in China's northeastern Jilin province were put under lockdown on Monday after a salesman was reported to have infected more than 100 people with coronavirus.
According to Jilin's provincial health commission, the man - identified by his surname Lin - had attended four separate events at community health centres, where he promoted various health products to elderly residents.
He had travelled to the province from his neighbouring home of Heilongjiang province.
He was asymptomatic, but his movements, which have been published in detail by the authorities - down to the seat numbers of his train rides - reportedly resulted in 79 infections.
Those people then passed the virus to 23 of their close contacts.
The average age of those infected is 63, and the eldest is 87, the commission said.
Jilin's new lockdown measures bring the total number of people under lockdown in northeast China to more than 19 million, according to AFP.

UK deaths more than 40% above normal levels

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
The number of people who have died with Covid is now close to 96,000, according to an analysis of death certificates.
The figures come after a further 6,586 deaths involving Covid were registered in the UK in the week to 8 January.
The data from the Office for National Statistics - which looks at England and Wales - and its counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland is different from the daily totals given by the government, which look at deaths within 28 days of a positive test. Those figures show that up until Monday there had been nearly 90,000 deaths.
Overall, the total number of deaths reported are more than 40% above what is expected at this time of year, although delays registering deaths over the festive period are thought to have contributed to some of the rise.
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 11:02

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

The Guardian

  • Coronavirus deaths are rising in nearly two-thirds of US states as a winter surge pushes the overall toll toward 400,000 amid warnings that a new, highly contagious variant is taking hold.
  • California has become the first US state to record more than 3 million known infections , as it grapples with an unprecedented surge of cases that has left hospitals overwhelmed.
  • Germany mulls tighter shutdown as virus variants fuel fears. Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of Germany’s 16 states are expected Tuesday to extend and tighten a partial lockdown beyond January, as fears grow over virus variant strains believed to be more contagious.
  • China reported more than 100 new Covid-19 cases for a seventh day on Tuesday in the worst domestic outbreak since March last year, with one north-eastern province seeing a record daily increase. Mainland China posted 118 new cases on 18 January, up from 109 a day earlier, the national health authority said in a statement.
  • China and WHO made mistakes in containing Covid outbreak, says panel. An independent panel has said that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January 2020 to curb the initial Covid-19 outbreak, and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until 30 January.
  • In Hong Kong, chief executive Carrie Lam has telegraphed an extension of Covid-19 social distancing measures which were due to expire on Thursday. At a regular press briefing on Tuesday, Lam said she would leave the announcement of details to the secretary of health but “in light of the latest Covid-19 pandemic situation it is quite obvious there is no room yet for us to relax to social distancing measures put in place.”
  • The US called on China to grant greater access to the WHO team of investigators in China. The United States said China should allow the WHO team to interview “care givers, former patients and lab workers” in the central city of Wuhan. The team of WHO-led independent experts is holding teleconferences with Chinese counterparts during a two-week quarantine before starting work on the ground.
  • A political row is brewing after Donald Trump announced he would rescind Covid travel bans bans on most non-US citizens arriving from Brazil and much of Europe, including the UK, effective 26 January. A spokesperson for Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated as the new US president on Wednesday, said the new administration “does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26”. “In fact,” wrote Jen Psaki on Twitter, “we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”
  • New Zealand has imposed a blanket testing regime for all flights arriving internationally , with passengers now required to return a negative Covid test result before departure.
  • One in four UK young people have felt ‘unable to cope’ in pandemic. Young people are in danger of giving up on their futures and on themselves, with a quarter saying they feel unable to cope with life, one of the UK’s leading charities has said. The Prince’s Trust ’s long-running annual survey of young people’s happiness and confidence returned the worst findings in its 12-year history.
  • Colombia’s capital, Bogota, will impose nightly curfews for almost two weeks, Mayor Claudia Lopez said on Monday, while the whole city will enter yet another full quarantine this weekend. Nightly curfews first started last week and continued until Sunday. However, they will begin again from Tuesday and will run until 28 January. During this time citizens must remain in their homes from 8pm until 4am, Lopez said.
  • Kazakhstan plans to vaccinate about 6 million people, or almost a third of its population, against the coronavirus this year, healthcare minister Alexei Tsoy said on Tuesday. Vaccinations will begin on 1 February, with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine being offered to medical workers, he told a government meeting. Kazakhstan also aims to produce Sputnik V at home.
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 11:22

No lockdown for Dubai despite Covid cases having almost tripled

Daily case counts of Covid have nearly tripled in Dubai in the past month but in the face of a growing economic crisis, the city won’t lock down, Reuters is reporting.
“Dubai’s economy is a house of cards,” said Matthew Page, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Its competitive advantage is being a place where rules don’t apply.”
While most countries banned tourists from the UK over fears of the fast-spreading virus variant found there, Dubai - home to some 240,000 British expats - kept its doors open: Emirates flew five daily flights to London’s Heathrow Airport during the Christmas holidays and within days, the new virus strain had arrived in the emirates.
“People have had enough of this pandemic already,” said Iris Sabellano from Dubai’s Al Arabi Travel Agency. “With vaccines coming out, they feel it’s not the end of the world, they’re not going to die.”
But there are signs that the stampede is slowing. Israeli tourists have vanished due to new quarantine rules. Britain slammed shut its travel corridor with Dubai last week.
The UAE does not make public information about disease clusters or hospitalisations but the country has reported more than 256,000 cases and 751 deaths. Analysts speculate the UAE’s unique demographics — 90% expatriate, comprising mostly healthy, young labourers — have prevented well-staffed hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and kept the death rate low, at 0.3%.
But that hasn’t assuaged Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s more conservative neighbour and the country’s capital. Without explanation, Abu Dhabi has kept its border with Dubai shut, despite promises to reopen by Christmas. Anyone crossing into Abu Dhabi must present a negative coronavirus test.

Hospitals in Japan close to collapse as serious Covid cases soar

Hospitals in Covid-hit regions of Japan are on the brink of collapse, medical experts have warned, as the country battles a third wave of infections that has caused record numbers of people to fall seriously ill.
Japan reported more than 4,900 coronavirus infections on Monday, with serious cases rising to a record high of 973, local media reported.
Although Japan has avoided the huge caseloads and death tolls seen in some other countries, infections have doubled over the past six weeks to about 338,000, according to the public broadcaster NHK, with 4,623 deaths.
The increase, coupled with the discovery of the first recorded community transmissions of a fast-spreading strain of Covid-19 initially identified in Britain, is adding to pressure on the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, to move quickly to protect stretched medical services.
Read more
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 11:26

China marks seventh day with over 100 daily cases

China reported more than 100 new Covid-19 cases for a seventh day on Tuesday in the worst domestic outbreak since March last year, with one northeastern province seeing a record daily increase.
Reuters: Mainland China posted 118 new cases on Jan. 18, up from 109 a day earlier, the national health authority said in a statement.
Of those, 106 were local infections, with 43 reported in Jilin, a new daily record for the northeastern province, and 35 in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, the National Health Commission said.
The Chinese capital itself reported one new case, while Heilongjiang in the north reported 27 new infections.
Millions of people have been under lockdown in recent days as some northern cities undergo mass testing for the novel coronavirus amid worries that undetected infections could spread quickly during the Lunar New Year holiday, which is just weeks away.
Hundreds of millions of people travel during the holiday, due to kick off in mid-February this year, as migrant workers return home to see family.
Authorities have appealed to people to avoid travel in the run-up to the holiday and stay away from mass gatherings such as weddings.
The current outbreak in Jilin was caused by an infected salesman travelling to and from the neighbouring province of Heilongjiang, the site of a previous cluster of infections.
The overall number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed infections, fell to 91 from 115 a day earlier.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China is 89,454, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635.

Colombia's capital Bogota extends nightly curfew to curb coronavirus

Colombia’s capital Bogota will impose nightly curfews for almost two weeks, Mayor Claudia Lopez said on Monday, while the whole city will enter yet another full quarantine this weekend.
Reuters: Nightly curfews first started last week and continued until Sunday. However, they will begin again from Tuesday and will run until 28 January. During this time citizens must remain in their homes from 8pm until 4am, Lopez said.
Additionally, from 8 p.m. this Friday Bogota will enter a general quarantine with total restriction on movement in the city until Monday, 25 January at 4am, she added.
“I understand that young people are tired, that they are tired of using face masks, that it seems fun to meet up with their friends and then see their families,” Lopez said in a press conference.
“The risk is that they end up infecting their parents, or grandparents, or the parents and grandparents of others,” she said.
Colombia’s capital has imposed city-wide quarantines the past two weekends, during which people are largely confined to their homes, non-essential shops and businesses are closed, and with one person per household allowed to buy food or medicine.
Many of the city’s neighbourhoods have endured or are following strict two-week quarantines, which adhere to the same restrictions. During the city-wide and two-week neighbourhood quarantines, sales of alcohol are also prohibited.
Outside of general quarantines, restrictions on who can shop based on the number of people’s national identity cards will remain in place, Lopez said.
Colombia has reported more than 1.9 million coronavirus cases, as well as over 49,000 deaths.
In Bogota, which counts for more than 560,000 of the country’s cases, occupancy of intensive care units for coronavirus patients stands at 93.2%, according to local government figures.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 12:22

Lockdown 'a blessing' for family after cancer shock


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Owen was diagnosed with bowel cancer which has since spread

The family of a man who has terminal cancer has described how lockdown has been "a blessing" for them, as they have been able to spend more time together.
Owen Murray, from Warwickshire, and his fiancee Laura Dear welcomed their first baby - a daughter, Luna - on 15 December. Four days later, doctors told the couple they were "out of options" to treat Owen's illness.
Owen said he is trying to focus "on all the positives that are around rather than the one, albeit huge, negative that is in the middle of our lives at the moment".
His fiancee Laura added: "We have spent literally every day together and it has been lovely, we've been able to look after each other."
Read more here.

What are the rules if I'm asked to self-isolate?

Matt Hancock has said he is self-isolating after being alerted by the UK's NHS Covid-19 app.
The health secretary - who caught Covid and had symptoms in March last year - said self-isolation was "perhaps the most important part of all the social distancing" rules.
Mr Hancock will isolate until Sunday. The self-isolation period is currently 10 days. It was cut from 14 days last month.
Under the rules, you must stay at home and not go out - even to buy food, medicines or other essentials, or for exercise.
It means relying on online orders or friends and family to bring you groceries.
Read more on the rules here.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 16:42

Rwanda puts capital under 15-day lockdown to slow virus


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The capital, Kigali, was put under lockdown in March last year

Rwanda has imposed a 15-day lock down on its capital, Kigali, as the country battles a second wave of coronavirus cases that has resulted in "unprecedented deaths and transmission rates".
This is the capital's second lockdown since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The government had in March 2020 enacted a countrywide lockdown that lasted 45 days.
In a statement on Monday night , the government said all movements outside homes in the capital will require an approved permit from the police, except for essential service providers.
Travel between Kigali and other provinces and districts will not be permitted, except for essential services and tourism. Tourists must have Covid-19 negative certificates.
Public transport is also prohibited and all employees in the public and private sectors shall work from home except for those providing essential services.
Places of worship and learning institutions will also be closed.
The government has also increased the hours of a nationwide night-time curfew which will now start at 18:00 local time to 04:00.
Coronavirus cases are on the rise in the country. Officials said 61% of the new cases since the new year were recorded in Kigali.
The country has so far confirmed 11,259 cases and 146 deaths, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins university.

Trump decree on Covid visiting rules rebuffed


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Barred from Twitter, the president has been uncharacteristically quiet on his last full day

In his last days of office, US President Donald Trump has tried to end bans on travellers coming from much of Europe and Brazil because of Covid.
The US imposed travel restrictions on Europe last March and the Brazilian entry ban was put in place in May.
But on Monday the White House decreed that the entry ban would end on 26 January.
However the incoming President-elect Joe Biden has moved to dismiss Mr Trump's decree.
Mr Biden's spokeswoman said, now was not the time to be easing travel measures.
Today is Mr Trump's last day as president. Joe Biden will take office at around midday on Wednesday, although much of the spotlight is currently on Mr Trump's final moves, including presidential pardons.
Security is intense in Washington DC ahead of the inauguration ceremony.
Read the full story here.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 17:16

What's happening in the UK and around the world?

Here are the main coronavirus headlines this afternoon:



New restrictions in Portugal, days after lockdown imposed

Alison Roberts - Portugal Correspondent, Lisbon
New restrictions are being imposed across the whole of mainland Portugal - just four days after a lockdown was introduced for the first time since last spring.
Daily new coronavirus cases and deaths associated with Covid-19 have reached record levels in recent days, and health experts see both figures continuing to rise in the next week, despite the lockdown.
Under the new legislation, which was approved at an extraordinary cabinet meeting yesterday, and which takes effect the day after its publication in the official gazette, new checks are being introduced on remote working, which has been compulsory since Friday.
Among other measures, shop opening hours have also been curtailed, with all retailers having to close by 20:00 during the week and 13:00 at weekends - with the exception of food retailers.
A domestic travel ban will also be in place at weekends, with people barred from leaving their municipality of residence.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 17:22

Breaking News

Schools to stay closed as lockdown extended in Scotland

Scotland's Covid-19 lockdown has been extended until at least the middle of February, with most school pupils to continue learning from home.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that transmission of the virus appeared to be declining but was still too high to ease restrictions.

Covid deaths 'rising in nearly two-thirds of US states'

Coronavirus deaths are rising in nearly two-thirds of American states as a winter surge pushes the overall toll toward 400,000, the Associated Press reports.
The figures come amid warnings that a new, highly contagious variant is taking hold.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has pleaded with federal authorities to stop travel from countries where new variants are spreading.
Referring to new versions detected in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, Cuomo said: "Stop those people from coming here...
"Why are you allowing people to fly into this country and then it's too late?"
The US government has already curbed travel from some of the places where the new variants are spreading, such as Britain and Brazil, and recently announced that it would require proof of a negative Covid-19 test for anyone flying into the country.
But the new variant seen in the UK is already spreading in the US, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that it will probably become the dominant version in the country by March.

Lower than expected uptake for vaccines in India

Rajini Vaidyanathan - BBC News
India, which launched its coronavirus vaccination programme at the weekend, is seeing a lower than anticipated uptake for the jabs.
The country aims to inoculate 300 million people by the summer, with frontline and healthcare workers taking priority.
But while more than 450,000 people have been vaccinated against coronavirus since Saturday, it is far fewer than the government had been aiming for.
Officials have blamed “vaccine hesitancy” in some states.
Two vaccines are being administered - the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, and an Indian-developed jab from Bharat Biotech.
The government says both are safe, but there have been concerns over the latter, because it has yet to pass stage-3 trials for effectiveness.
The official app being used to administer vaccines has also led to delays in the rollout, forcing some states to temporarily halt the vaccinations.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 17:26

More than 1,000 quarantine rooms built in four days in China’s Shijiazhuang

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

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Over the last couple of weeks, cases of Covid-19 have been rising in the northeast of China, particularly in the city of Shijiazhuang.
And so, on 13 January, work began in the city to construct 3,000 prefabricated rooms to accommodate the growing numbers of people who need to quarantine.
China says that a third of these 18 sq metre rooms – a full 1,008 of them - have now been completed and will soon be in use. The task took 98 hours, just over four days. Twenty per cent of the workers were retired soldiers.
A journalist from state broadcaster CCTV visited the facilities today, and showed viewers inside one of the rooms, which has electricity, air conditioning, showers, and a wireless network.
She added that people at the site have confirmed that the number of rooms is going to be increased in the coming days from 3,000 to 4,200.
Shijiazhuang is one of three cities in northeastern China that is currently deemed high-risk because of growing infection . It has recorded more than 700 symptomatic cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the year and has a population of around 11 million.
But China has a track record of being able to construct massive facilities in a short space of time. This time last year, construction workers built two hospitals in under two weeks to provide thousands of extra beds for Covid-19 patients in Wuhan, and this helped bring the virus under control.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 17:31

Breaking News

UK daily deaths rise by 1,610

A further 1,610 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, the highest daily figure since the pandemic began.
There were also a further 33,355 cases, according to the latest government figures.
Yesterday 599 deaths and 37,535 cases were reported. The figures reported are often lower immediately following the weekend.


Breaking News

UK vaccinations top 4.2 millions

The daily coronavirus figures also show that the total number of UK vaccinations given has reached 4,266,577, up to and including 18 January.
That's an increase of 204,076 on yesterday's figures.
The daily coronavirus figures were tweeted by Public Health England, rather than published on the government's coronavirus data dashboard - which PHE said was having technical difficulties.

Investigation after rail staff 'hold lockdown baby shower at bakery'

Alice Evans - BBC News

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An Instagram post said the alleged baby shower was a "lovely surprise"

A rail company has begun an internal investigation after staff allegedly held a surprise baby shower in a closed Patisserie Valerie bakery at London's Marylebone station during lockdown.
A Chiltern Railways worker told me he was "shocked and alarmed" to see about 20 colleagues - including some who were on shift - gathered inside the patisserie on 23 November, with some hugging each other and most not wearing masks.
He and a colleague claim some party-goers then had positive Covid tests, forcing most of the team to self-isolate.
Chiltern said "appropriate action" would be taken after its investigation.
A national coronavirus lockdown was in place in England in November, so people were banned from meeting anyone indoors who was not part of their household.
A Patisserie Valerie spokesman said the company had not been informed of any such event and that none of its team members had access to the Marylebone station cafe, which has remained closed since March due to Covid restrictions. He added it was normal for a member of station staff to have keys to the premises for "security reasons".
Read the full story here.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 17:36

Village made famous by Harry Potter 'busy as summertime'


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Residents of a village made famous by the Harry Potter films have said the area is as busy as summertime - despite lockdown.
Lacock, in the English county of Wiltshire, was used as a filming location for six of the Harry Potter films.
On Sunday, police were on patrol to deter tourists from visiting. They said most people were following rules but they had seen "terrible examples" of breaches.
Resident Kelly Orner said one group "openly admitted they'd come from Wales and just wanted to enjoy a day out".
Another local, Nathan Todd, added: "You get people coming out with maps and backpacks on. They've got their whole family there having picnics."
There's more from Lacock here.

Covid 'success story' Taiwan cancels festival after four cases

Celia Hatton - BBC Asia Pacific Regional Editor

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Taiwanese soldiers take part in a Lunar New Year military exercise in Hsinchu

A major festival to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in Taiwan has been cancelled after four new coronavirus cases were discovered.
A giant, undulating light sculpture had already been constructed in this year's host city, Hsinchu, to welcome hundreds of thousands of expected visitors.
But now Taiwanese health officials are worried about a relatively small outbreak of Covid-19 on the island.
Taiwan is one of the only places in the world which managed to keep the spread of the virus under control for most of last year, without imposing severe lockdown restrictions.
However, the discovery of four locally-transmitted cases in one day - the biggest daily rise in eleven months - has lead officials to conclude that the lantern festival cannot go ahead.
Taiwan has been one of the most successful places in the world in dealing with Covid-19. Read more about how it's been dealing with the virus here.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 17:39

HSBC to close 82 branches this year

HSBC has announced it is to close 82 branches in the UK between April and September this year, claiming customers are turning to digital banking.
The company said the coronavirus pandemic "emphasised the need for the changes" it was making.
It said the number of customers using branches had fallen by a third in the past five years, and 90% of all customer contact was over the phone, internet or smartphone, in addition to contacts on social media.
Managers said they did not expect to make any redundancies, with staff moved to nearby branches instead.
HSBC will have 511 remaining branches across the country.
Read more here

Emirati airlines first to use app to log tests and vaccines

Emirates and Etihad have announced that they will be among the first airlines in the world to test a mobile app for passengers to record their coronavirus test results and vaccine records.
The two companies, which are both based in the UAE, said in separate statements on Tuesday that they were working together with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to test the IATA Travel Pass in the first quarter of 2021.
The app will initially be tested on limited routes in the first quarter of this year, with Emirates offering the app to passengers from Dubai to verify their coronavirus test results before travel. The app will also provide information about travel and entry restrictions across various countries.
It will also let labs and test centres "securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers" Emirates' said.
Many countries and a number of airlines currently require passengers to provide a negative PCR result in the days before departure.
The pandemic has negatively affected airlines across the world, with figures from Eurocontrol showing that UK flights were down 82% yesterday compared to the equivalent day in 2019.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 17:45

Hospital staff fulfil patient's dying wish - to drink one last pint of Guinness

A man on his deathbed was granted his dying wish after staff at a hospital allowed him to enjoy one final pint of Guinness before he passed over the weekend.
Although hospitals all over the country are currently overwhelmed with patients due to the Covid-19 crisis, kind-hearted staff at a facility in the North West of England made sure to fulfil one man's unique request.
The unnamed patient had reportedly stopped responding to treatment, and staff wanted to help him however they could.
It's understood that he asked them if he could have a pint of the black stuff, to enjoy one last time.
Currently, hospitals are unable to allow patient's family members to come and go as they please, and many people sadly die without their loved ones beside them.
Critical care consultant Dr Shondipon Laha said the gesture was just one of thousands of little ways exhausted staff make a difference to their patients.
"We're frequently seeing patients where you're holding their hands, playing music they want to hear," Dr Laha said.
"One patient, over the weekend, we went to sort a pint of Guinness for him before he died.
"We think that's as important as all the other stuff we do. But it's emotionally draining."
She went on to say that because family members don't have the access to patients they did before the pandemic, staff members are also spending a lot of time video-calling relatives to keep them informed and update them on treatment.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 21:14

When will Scottish school pupils return to the classrooms?

Glenn Campbell - BBC Scotland Political Editor
Scotland's lockdown has been extended for at least another two weeks.
Not only will schools remain closed to most pupils until at least mid-February, they are unlikely to return to normal at that point.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has indicated that her aim is to begin a phased return for pupils, if coronavirus allows. So what might that mean?
The groups that will get back into class first are likely to include secondary school exam year pupils, the youngest primary school children, and those in the final year of primary school getting ready to move to high school. For others, online learning is likely to last a bit longer.
Both the return to school and the continuation of the wider lockdown will be reviewed again in a fortnight on 2 February.

Which areas of Scotland are in lockdown?

Scotland extended its lockdown this afternoon - the mainland and most of the islands remain in those most severe restrictions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added the islands of Barra and Vatersay to the top tier of restrictions.
Otherwise the Scottish places still in level three are Orkney, Shetland, Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles); and the following islands within Argyll and Bute: Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, and Ulva;
Finally, all highland authority islands remain in level 3 – except for Skye which comes within the national restrictions

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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 21:16

Temporary mortuary being set up in Hampshire

A temporary mortuary is being set up in Hampshire to provide extra capacity, following an increase in deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new facility is being set up in Winklebury, Basingstoke, and will become operational on Thursday to support the four major NHS hospital mortuaries across the county.
John Coughlan, chief executive of Hampshire County Council, said: "While our hospitals and funeral sector are currently coping, we are regrettably seeing significant pressures within the system.
"We have therefore decided that it is prudent now to open the temporary mortuary to ensure that we are able to carefully manage and respond to any increase in demand for additional capacity.
"I would like to reassure the families and friends of those who may be accommodated temporarily at this facility that their loved ones will be afforded every possible care, dignity and respect, and that we have been liaising closely with faith leaders to ensure required customs and practices are observed."

Wales 'could receive larger share of vaccine'

Wales could receive a larger share of coronavirus vaccines in future because of its older population, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.
He told the Welsh Parliament that "actions are being taken" by the UK Government to make sure Wales' higher median age is taken into account.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Wales has the highest proportion of older people in the UK, ranking highest with the number of over-65s and over-85s.
Drakeford said the Welsh Government was focused on "making the fastest and most efficient use of every drop of vaccine that comes here in Wales", and they were "on track" to vaccinate the four priority groups by mid-February.
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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 21:20

Military medics sent in to help hospitals in London and Midlands

Four-hundred military personnel are now working alongside doctors and nurses in hospitals across London and the Midlands, NHS England has said.
They are a mix of combat medical technicians and soldiers performing general duties, including helping on wards, operating as family liaisons between clinical teams and patients' relatives, as well as taking on estates and porter duties.
It comes as hospitals across the UK struggle to cope with the number of patients coming in, with 10 hospital trusts across England reporting they had no spare adult critical care beds.
You can read more here about military personnel being drafted in to help hospitals in Shropshire.
They will fill in for healthcare assistants at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, who are either sick, shielding or self-isolating.

Vaccinations begin in Brazil against famous backdrop


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As Brazil started rolling out vaccinations, some Rio de Janeiro residents were able to receive their first injection at one of the world's most famous landmarks.
Medical staff administered the jabs at the foot of the Christ the Redeemer statue on Monday evening after regulator Anvisa gave the green light to vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca and China's Sinovac .
Brazil has the world's second-highest death toll from Covid-19 and infections are rising again across the country.
Over 8.5 million cases have been recorded and more than 210,000 people have died since the pandemic began.

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Post by Kitkat Tue Jan 19 2021, 21:22

France reports a further 23,608 cases and 656 deaths

France has reported 23,608 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, according to health ministry data.
The figure is up from 3,736 on Monday and from 19,752 last Tuesday.
A further 656 Covid deaths in hospitals were also recorded - up from 403 on Monday.
The number of people in intensive care rose by 26 to 2,839, while the total number of patients hospitalised for the disease was down 52 over 24 hours at 25,567.

We are pausing our live page coverage

We are pausing our live page coverage for now. Here are the main coronavirus headlines this Tuesday evening:


Updates were brought to you today by Alex Therrien, Becky Morton, Claire Heald, Emma Harrison, Francesca Gillett, Julian Joyce, Paul Kirby and Victoria Bisset.

    Current date/time is Sat Feb 27 2021, 22:29