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Coronavirus - 1st April 20201


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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 01 2021, 20:57

Summary for Thursday, 1st April

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock says he is "very worried" about the impact of long Covid
  • His comment follows data suggesting 1.1 million people were affected by lingering symptoms in the UK
  • Fewer than one-in-five people request a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms, a large study has found
  • It also suggested the number who follow full self-isolation rules is low, and only half of people know the main Covid symptoms
  • Dr Jenny Harries says the UK was "not fully prepared" for Covid-19 pandemic
  • She heads the new UK Health Security Agency and says lessons will be learned from fighting Covid
  • Proportion of black or black British adults in Britain hesitant about taking Covid vaccine has halved, the ONS says
  • Europe's vaccine rollout has been "unacceptably slow", says the World Health Organization
  • Welsh government confirms next set of steps to ease lockdown will go ahead from 12 April
  • Brazil recorded over 60,000 Covid deaths during March as cases continue to rise there
  • There have been 128,895,644 global coronavirus cases and 2,816,081 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of coronavirus developments in the UK and around the world. We’ll bring you all the latest developments as they happen.

French pandemic peak 'days away': Latest across Europe

  • France is set to go under a limited lockdown for four weeks from Saturday night, with travel restrictions extended from 19 areas to the entire country. Non-essential shops will close and schools will close next week, previously seen as a last resort. Prime Minister Jean Castex has been addressing the National Assembly this morning and the health minister, Olivier Véran, says the peak of the epidemic is only seven to 10 days away. President Emmanuel Macron has said the vaccine provides a way out and some cultural venues and café terraces will reopen in mid-May.
  • Eurovision is to take place in Rotterdam’s Ahoy arena in May as well, and the Dutch government wants to use the event as a test with 3,500 spectators allowed for all the rehearsals and the three big shows. There’ll be extensive safety measures for the 39 countries taking part. The Dutch have already experimented with a World Cup qualifier against Latvia, by allowing 5,000 spectators into the stadium.
  • As infections surge in Belgium, a Brussels court has ruled that all the country’s Covid measures have to be lifted within 30 days because the legal basis isn’t good enough. The court backed a lawsuit from the League for Human Rights. Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden has appealed against the ruling.
  • Spain is seeing a new rise in cases with the average incidence up to 152 cases per 100,000 over the last two weeks. Madrid and Navarre in the north are among the areas seeing a spike. Cases are also rising in Germany, with 24,300 in the past 24 hours. Almost 90% of infections involve the UK (Kent) variant.
  • The Austrian capital, Vienna and two other provinces the east have imposed an Easter lockdown to help ease the pressure on hospitals. Austrians have been told to stay at home, except for necessary activities such as food shopping, work, exercise and helping their families.
  • A new German survey suggests only 25% of people have faith in the government’s vaccination strategy. The Oxford-AstraZeneca has been limited to over-60s in Germany and 40% of those surveyed said they did not want it.

Here is a quick recap of recent Covid-related events from around the world:

'You cannot do too much at once' - Wales FM

We've got more from Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford's interview on BBC Breakfast. He was asked why outdoor sport has returned in England but will not be allowed in Wales until 3 May at the earliest.
Mr Drakeford says: "Lots of outdoor sports here in Wales have already resumed and resumed well ahead of what was possible in England.
"People in Wales have had three weeks being able to play golf, to play tennis, to play other outdoor sports and we've resumed all outdoor organised activities for children and young people aged over 18 for a week already.
"What you can't do, what the advice from our chief medical officer and scientists is very clear, you cannot do too much at once.
"If you do that, then you risk reversing all the things that we have achieved together in Wales over the period since Christmas."
Here's a reminder of Wales' lockdown rules.

Lockdown rules ease in Northern Ireland

New rules on meeting up outdoors and the return of some sports are among the changes to lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland from Thursday.
Garden centres are also allowed to offer click-and-collect services.
The Department of Health has put forward a paper that could see the reopening of some retail in mid-April, BBC News NI understands.
The paper, which also proposes changes to funerals, will be discussed by the NI Executive on Thursday.
With the exception of some pupils returning to school in March, the changes on Thursday are the first since NI returned to full lockdown on 26 December.
However most of the rules which have been in force have not been altered, including the stay-at-home rule.
Read here for more details about the Northern Ireland lockdown .

Brazil: Hospitals risk collapse as deaths skyrocket

About 66,570 people in Brazil died of Covid-19 in March, more than double the previous monthly record, figures show.
The country's health service has been pushed to the brink as cases of the virus continue to climb.
President Jair Bolsonaro, who last month told Brazilians to "stop whining" about the pandemic, is facing intense criticism for his handling of the crisis .
But on Wednesday he again railed against lockdown measures imposed by local governors and mayors.
"We had, and we have, two enemies - the virus and unemployment! It is a reality! We are not going to solve this problem by staying at home," he said.
Brazil's daily deaths currently account for about a quarter of all coronavirus fatalities in the world.
Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 01 2021, 21:18

Brisbane lockdown ends just in time for Easter

A snap three-day lockdown in the Australian city of Brisbane has come to an end earlier than expected, after just one local case of Covid-19 was reported on Wednesday.
There are still restrictions in place across the state of Queensland, where Brisbane is the capital, but State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that “Easter is good to go” as lockdown was lifted on Thursday.
There was a total of 16 infections in this outbreak.
Cases are very low in Australia, and snap lockdowns have proved to be an effective health measure to help suppress outbreaks early on. But the unpredictable shutdowns have also left an economic toll, experts say.
Read more here .

Illegal ravers 'selfish' and 'dangerous'

Hundreds of people who ignored Covid rules to attend an illegal rave in a city centre have been condemned as "selfish and dangerous".
People were seen singing and dancing along to a DJ set at the Castlefield Bowl outdoor arena in Manchester on Wednesday evening.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers broke up the gathering and dispersed people.
Manchester City councillor Pat Karney tweeted: "Warning. If you play live music at any of these gatherings your equipment will be seized. This is selfish and dangerous behaviour by people who are letting Manchester down. The pandemic is still with us."
On Thursday morning, council workers could be seen clearing rubbish that had been left behind into large blue sacks.

Breaking News 

Wales to ease restrictions from 12 April

The Welsh government has confirmed the next set of steps to ease lockdown restrictions will go ahead from 12 April.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has told a coronavirus briefing the focus for the next three weeks will be to ensure all pupils return to schools and colleges by 12 April.
He says all shops will be able to reopen and travel in and out of Wales from the rest of the UK will resume.
The viewing of wedding venues and outdoor canvassing for May's elections can begin under strict guidelines.
He has also given the go-ahead for outdoor pilots of cultural and sporting events and is looking at plans to enable the Muslim community to celebrate Eid.
He says: "This is a significant package of measures, a series of steps forward in our journey back to normality and will give everybody a sense of life returning again."

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 01 2021, 21:25

Two households to meet indoors in Wales from 10 May

We've got more from the Welsh government's coronavirus briefing where First Minister Mark Drakeford says he wants to look ahead to further restrictions being eased "to help us all plan into the future".
He stresses that all dates are provisional and subject to the public health situation at the time.
He says outdoor attractions and hospitality including cafes, pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen outside from 26 April.
From 3 May, organised outdoor activities can restart with up to 30 people. Wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also be able to take place outdoors, he says.
And from 10 May gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will be able to reopen for individual or one-to-one training.
Two households will also be able to meet indoors, he says.

Stormont leaders debate Northern Ireland funeral row

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Northern Ireland Assembly members are debating a motion censuring Sinn Féin ministers after it was announced there would be no prosecutions in relation to the funeral last June of Bobby Storey.
That funeral attracted 2,000 mourners - including Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill - at a time when Covid restrictions were in place.
The actions of 24 Sinn Féin politicians were examined, including Ms O'Neill.
Mr Storey, 64, was a senior republican figure and had formerly been the head of intelligence for the IRA in the 1990s. The attendance of many senior Sinn Féin politicians at his funeral in west Belfast, at a time when strict limits on gatherings were in place, caused a political furore.
You can follow latest developments on that debate here .

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 01 2021, 21:31


Your lunchtime news briefing

Lunchtime in the UK, and here's a look at what's been happening here and around the world.

  • Half of people do not know the main coronavirus symptoms, according to a report published in the British Medical Journal
  • And fewer than one-in-five people request a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms, while the number who follow full self-isolation rules is low, the report says
  • Experts say the findings of this report suggests the impact of the £37bn NHS Test and Trace system is "limited"
  • The proportion of black or black British adults in Britain hesitant about taking Covid vaccine has halved to 22%, the ONS says
  • The UK was "not fully prepared" for coronavirus, says Dr Jenny Harries at the launch of the new UK Health Security Agency aimed at preventing future pandemics
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has criticised the rollout of Europe's vaccines as being "unacceptably slow".
  • French schools will close for at least three weeks as part of new national restrictions to fight rising Covid cases, President Emmanuel Macron says
  • And a snap three-day lockdown in the Australian city of Brisbane has come to an end earlier than expected, after just one local case of Covid-19 was reported today

Kenya approves Russian vaccine for emergency use

Russia's Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V , has been authorised for emergency use in Kenya, the Health Ministry has said.
It had earlier cautioned against the distribution of the vaccine, saying it was yet to meet "all the necessary regulatory approvals for use" in Kenya.
Kenya received 1.02 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the Covax scheme , but uptake of it has been low, at only 5% according to local media.
Kenya's vaccine rollout has been problematic, with hesitancy from healthcare workers, while some centres have run out of jabs or people who do not currently qualify to get the vaccine have shown up and been given the shot, AP reports.
Though Africa was not hit as hard as experts feared during the first year of the pandemic, some countries are in the middle of sharp increases in infections, including Kenya which has seen a 53% average weekly increase over the past month.
The capital, Nairobi, and four neighbouring counties are currently under a strict lockdown and curfew.

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 01 2021, 21:38

Breaking News

UK records 51 Covid deaths

There have been a further 51 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, the government's daily statistics show.
That brings the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test to 126,764.
There were also 4,479 new infections detected.

Surprise! Son visits 98-year-old mother in nursing home

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This is the wonderful moment 98-year-old Yoshia Uomoto was surprised by her son and niece in Seattle, Washington.
It was her first in-person visit from family in a year.
Mrs Uomoto lives at Nikkei Manor, a nursing home primarily for Japanese-American seniors. All the residents at the home have now been full vaccinated, allowing family, who have also had their jabs, to come inside to visit.
Mark Uomoto, 68, told America's TODAY show that before this moment, they had been talking to his mother through the window, which was difficult as she has trouble hearing.
"It was so wonderful to hear, see her expression of excitement that she had because we've not seen Mom, my cousin and I, for over a year," he told the programme. "So it was wonderful to see her and it was more heart warming for me to see her reaction and so happy to see us."

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Post by Kitkat Thu Apr 01 2021, 21:41

Sweden abandons Midsummer vaccine target

Maddy Savage - BBC News, Stockholm
Swedes have been told they can’t be guaranteed more than one Covid-19 vaccine dose before 15 August, with ministers formally abandoning a previous promise that all adults would be fully vaccinated during the first half of 2021.
It’s a major disappointment for many Swedes, who had, for months, been told they should get two jabs before Midsummer in June, the biggest public holiday in Sweden’s calendar, when locals dance around maypoles and dine on large buffets of herring and meatballs.
At a news conference on Thursday, Health Minister Lena Hallengren said a shortage of vaccine supplies from producers was to blame for the delay.
But Sweden’s vaccine co-ordinator Richard Bergstrom told Swedish public service television network SVT that he still viewed the overall situation as “a fantastic success story”, despite the country missing its target.
So far around 1.1 million people (14.3% of those eligible for a vaccination) have had at least one dose of the vaccine, in a country of 10 million.

What's been happening in the UK and beyond?

We are going to be bringing our coronavirus updates to a close soon so here's a recap of the day's news:

Goodbye for now

Updates from the BBC were brought to you by George Bowden, Jennifer Meierhans, Paul Gribben and Tiffany Werthheimer.
Thank you for joining us and we will be back on Friday morning.

Ontario, Canada to enter lockdown on Saturday

The Guardian
The Canadian province of Ontario will enter a lockdown for at least four weeks on Saturday due to Covid-19 cases and intensive care unit occupancy rises, Premier Doug Ford said.
This is the third lockdown in Canada’s most populous province and will see the closing of all indoor and outdoor dining. However, retailers will be allowed to remain open with capacity limits, and schools will remain open.

50,659 new cases reported in France

France reports 50,659 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, down from Wednesday’s figures of 59,038, the health ministry data showed. The country also recorded 308 new deaths in hospital, bringing the total tally to 69,904.
In seven to 10 days, France could hit its peak of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, with new restrictive measures announced on Wednesday by French President Emmanuel Macron, Health Minister Olivier Veran told France Inter radio, Reuters reports.
Since the pandemic began, the country’s third lockdown will see the closures of schools for three weeks to help ease the pressure on hospitals.

Mexico reports further 5,381 new confirmed cases

According to the health ministry, Mexico reports 5,381 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 454 more fatalities, bringing the country’s total to 2,244,268 infections and 203,664 deaths.
Reuters reports that the Mexican government has said that the actual case number is likely significantly higher, with separate data recently published by the health ministry suggesting that coronavirus’s actual death toll may be at least 60% higher than the confirmed figure.
As of Thursday, 8.8m people have now received a first vaccination dose.

US may be in early stages of fourth wave as Covid cases rise, reports say

Victoria Bekiempis - The Guardian
The U.S. could be in the early stages of a fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that is taking renewed hold across the country, with cases increasing in 25 states, according to reports.
On average, the US has tallied 63,000 new cases over the past week, an increase of 17% from the week prior, news website Axios reported. Only five states have recently seen declines in new cases. The third wave of the pandemic, which peaked in January, saw about 250,000 people daily testing positive for Covid-19, the Hill reported .
More on the U.S’s rising cases here .

Police in Brussels charge a group of up to 2,000 people for April Fool's Day concert prank

Police on horseback charged a crowd of up to 2,000 people gathered in a Brussels park on Friday for a fake concert announced on social media as an April Fool’s Day prank.
The police wore protective helmets as they moved in to enforce strict Covid-19 social distancing rules that prohibit gatherings of more than four people outdoors.
AFP reports:
Brussels law enforcement authorities on Wednesday had issued a warning that the announcement on social media of a “party” was illegal and that its organisers could be prosecuted.
Belgium on Saturday imposed tighter restrictions aimed at curbing surging Covid infection numbers.
They include closing schools, keeping borders closed, limiting access to non-essential shops and lowering the number of people able to meet outdoors to four.
One participant, Selim Jebira, told AFP that “we were tear-gassed for no reason at all”.
Brussels mayor, Philippe Close, tweeted that, while he could understand people wanting to go outside in the springtime weather, “we can’t tolerate such gatherings”.
He thanked the police “for the difficult job, and for people who have respected the rules for more than a year” since the start of the pandemic.

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Fake festival ‘La Boum’ in Brussels. Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/EPA

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