| |

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 24th Sep 2020

News Highlights

UK finally launches Covid-19 contact tracing app as Germany faces glitches with its own

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the launch of a coronavirus contact tracing app more than six months after the UK first entered lockdown. Meanwhile, Germany, which launched its own contact tracing app more than three months ago, has seen users reporting glitches and poor communication with laboratories. This is despite it being one of the more popular apps around, with more than 18 million downloads in Germany alone.

Mask rules eased in Belgium and New Zealand despite difference in case rise

Belgium and New Zealand both eased restrictions, despite the former seeing sharply rising numbers of new Covid-19 infections. Masks will no longer have to be worn outdoors in Belgium, although they will still have to be worn in shops, cinemas and public transport. In New Zealand, which has seen a drop in cases, face masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport and all pandemic restrictions have been eased in the country, except in Auckland, which was the heart of a recent outbreak.

President Trump says no new lockdown in the U.S. as deaths cross 200,000

More than 200,000 people have now died in the U.S. because of Covid-19, with the total number of infections crossing 6.8 million, far higher numbers than any other country in the world. However, President Donald Trump said in an interview that the U.S. would not be imposing new restrictions as the UK has just done, reiterating that such decisions are better left in the hands of the states.

Scotland reports record daily number of cases as UK cases rise significantly

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed concern about the 486 new infections recorded in Scotland, the biggest single day rise since mass testing began. However, she acknowledged that testing rates have increased significantly since the peak of the pandemic in April. Meanwhile in the UK, a day after tighter restrictions were imposed, the number of new daily Covid-19 cases has increased by almost 25% to 6,178 cases.

Lockdown Exit
France preparing fresh measures to stem spread of COVID-19
France is preparing to announce stricter measures in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases skyrocketed since a nationwide lockdown was ended, AFP news agency reported. Ministers will hold two meetings on Wednesday to analyse the latest surge, which has seen more than 10,000 cases and 78 deaths recorded as of Tuesday.
Britain finally launches COVID-19 app in England and Wales
The government had said the app would arrive in May, but early trials were dogged by problems, and developers abandoned home-grown technology in favour of Apple and Google’s model in June. The embarrassing U-turn followed warnings from tech experts that it would be less effective and that it should have switched to the Apple-Google software earlier. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the reworked tool was “an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer”.
Are Parisians really fleeing to the countryside since lockdown?
While the pandemic has shaken the entire world, lockdown was an opportunity for some to reflect on their way of life and to decide they wanted a new one out of the capital. The nationwide lockdown in the spring meant two months confined at home - and for many people in Paris that meant small apartments with no outdoor space. An exceptional situation that led many to reconsider their lives and even some to conclude they wanted to leave the French capital. Leaving Paris as soon as lockdown ended is what Félicitée and her husband Maxime decided to do - after being confined with their three boys in their 67 square metres appartement in the 10th arrondissement. “It was the quickest but also the best decision we have ever taken,” 36-year-old Félicitée told The Local.
Fourth-Largest U.S. School District to Allow Students Back in Classrooms
Students in Miami-Dade County, the fourth-largest district in the United States and the biggest school system in Florida, will be able to choose to return to their classrooms next month under a plan approved by the school board on Tuesday after a marathon two-day meeting. Students would attend classes five days a week, but families who prefer virtual learning could stick with that option. About half of the district’s families chose remote learning when selecting an option this summer
Social gatherings in Ecuador spike following end of lockdown
Crowds and gatherings in Ecuador have increased by 15 percent in the first week following the end of lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), an official source said on Tuesday. "The latent concern we continue to have is the issue of crowds, they are on the rise. At the national level we are growing by 15 percent and in (the capital) Quito, by 12 percent," Juan Zapata, director of the country's emergency service, ECU 911, told a local TV network. Since a state of emergency was lifted on Sept. 14 after some six months, authorities have reported 57,726 crowds or social gatherings, mainly in the three largest cities: Cuenca, Guayaquil and Quito. The impact of these social gatherings will be seen in 14 days, said Zapata, calling for continued social distancing.
Argentina: Provincial healthcare strained as COVID cases spread
From the capital city and into the provinces – the coronavirus makes its way relentlessly across Argentina. Even though Argentina was one of the first countries to impose a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, infections continue to rise. Recorded cases have passed 630,000 as COVID-19 spreads from the capital Buenos Aires into the provinces. Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo reports from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Exit Strategies
Glitches dent German enthusiasm for Covid contact-tracing app
As England and Wales prepare to unveil a coronavirus contact-tracing app, Germany is drawing less than enthusiastic first conclusions about the effectiveness of battling the pandemic with smartphones. A hundred days after its launch, German authorities conceded that IT glitches and poor communication channels with laboratories make the country’s Corona-Warn-App “one more tool of many” rather than a Covid-19 cure-all. The German app, which drew praise from as far as Westminster after it was launched on 16 July, had by the start of this week been downloaded 18.4m times in Germany and 400,000 times abroad – more than similar apps in all other EU member states combined.
Germany set to declare Dublin 'at risk' due to virus
The "region of Dublin" has now been designated a "risk area" by Germany, due to the recent increase in Covid-19 infections. This designation means passengers from Dublin landing at any German airport will be required to be tested for Covid-19 and isolate until the result is known. The risk assessment is based on seven day incidences, with an infection rate above 50 per 100,000 of population triggering a testing requirement. Ireland's 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 per 100,000 of the population has increased to 70.7.
Coronavirus UK: Wages could be 'topped up' when furlough ends
Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering replacing the furlough scheme with German-style wage subsidies to help businesses in the UK. As the furlough scheme is set to end on October 31, there are concerns companies may start cutting jobs as the country prepares for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The chancellor was set to announce an extension of Government-backed loan schemes for those struggling – but according to sources he decided to delay it at the last minute. The sources say he is using the delay to draw up a wider support package after Boris Johnson announced tougher new lockdown measures yesterday.
China's BGI wins 1.5 million coronavirus test kit order from Ethiopia
Ethiopia has agreed to purchase 1.5 million coronavirus testing kits that will be manufactured at a factory in the African country that has been newly built by China's BGI Group, China's state media agency Xinhua said late on Tuesday.
Covid-19 New Zealand: Mask rules eased as cases drop
Face masks are no longer mandatory on public transport in most of New Zealand as Covid-19 cases continue to drop. From midnight on Wednesday, they are required only in Auckland, the heart of a recent outbreak, and on planes. The rest of New Zealand lifted all pandemic restrictions on Monday. New Zealand was widely praised for its swift response to Covid-19 and everyday life largely went back to normal in June, but the virus reappeared in Auckland in August. The country's biggest city went back into lockdown, temporarily, as other curbs were re-imposed elsewhere. New Zealand has now recorded 1,468 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 25 deaths.
Belgium eases mask rules, cuts quarantine despite rising cases
Belgium is ending a requirement to wear masks outdoors and reducing the time people have to self-isolate, in a slight easing of coronavirus restrictions announced on Wednesday despite sharply rising numbers of COVID-19 infections. Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes told a news conference that, from Oct. 1, people who have had contact with an infected person would only have to quarantine for seven days. Masks would no longer be mandatory everywhere outside, as currently the case in the capital Brussels and some other cities, she said. Masks will still have to worn in shops, cinemas, on public transport and in crowded streets.
Partisan Exits
‘Bald face lie’: Pence aide turned Covid-whistleblower fires back after White House attack
A former Mike Pence staffer who played a key role in advising the government on its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has accused Keith Kellogg of "bald faced" lies, after the retired Gen. claimed he gave the ex-aide her marching orders from the White House.
Keir Starmer accuses Boris Johnson of losing control of Covid crisis
Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of “pretending there isn’t a problem” with the test-and-trace system, as he claimed the prime minister had lost control of the coronavirus crisis. In a clash focused entirely on the government’s response to Covid, the Labour leader posed a series of sometimes detailed queries on the testing system. Johnson generally ignored these, instead accusing Starmer of trying to “create political opportunity” out of the pandemic. One of the more confusing exchanges during prime minister’s questions came when Starmer quizzed Johnson on his insistence in the Commons on Tuesday that the performance of test and trace had no bearing on the coronavirus rate, contrasting this with Johnson’s previous insistence that the system would be “a real game-changer”.
Trump says U.S. will remain open as UK imposes coronavirus restrictions: 'We're not going to be doing that'
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that the United States would not impose a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus following additional new measures imposed on businesses in the U.K. “The U.K. just shut down again. They just announced that they’re going to do a shutdown, and we’re not going to be doing that,” Trump told Fox 2 Detroit during an interview at the White House. The federal government has largely left the decision to impose restrictions on businesses and gatherings to states, though the president has called on states to lift restrictions on residents and reopen the nation’s economy.
France's defense chief misled nation on troops' virus safety
France’s defense minister has admitted to misleading the nation about virus protections for air force personnel who evacuated French citizens from the hard-hit Chinese city of Wuhan in January
Australia could go herd immunity with 'Churchillian' bio-burn strategy
Australia should conduct controlled "bio-burn" and let coronavirus spread across Australia, state-by-state, with the goal of achieving herd immunity, an international security expert has suggested. Allan Orr, an Australian counter-terrorism specialist, said Australia's response to the coronavirus pandemic was not just wrong, but it had shown Canberra was woefully underprepared for a bio-terror attack. A cataclysmic bio-terror attack, using an agent like anthrax or botulism, is the doomsday scenario most feared by counter-terror agencies, Dr Orr told nine.com.au.
Victoria's supreme court to hear cafe owner's legal challenge to Covid lockdown measures
A legal challenge brought by a Victorian cafe owner who is arguing the state’s tough lockdown measures put her small business at risk and breached her human rights will be heard in a judge-only trial before the supreme court over two days from Monday. The suit was filed by Michelle Loielo, who owns a cafe on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne’s south-east. Her affidavit said that the state’s restrictions, including a curfew, had seen her lose the majority of business, with revenue dropping from up to $20,000 per week to $400 under stage four lockdown measures. Loielo, who is seeking preselection for the Liberal party, is specifically challenging the curfew, which was introduced in August and limited people in metropolitan Melbourne – which includes the Mornington Peninsula – from leaving their home between 8pm and 5am. On 14 September this changed from 9pm to 5am, and will remain in place until 28 October.
Pandemic exacerbates barriers to voting for homeless Americans
Now, instead of churchgoers and immigrants, the building acts as a haven for dozens of homeless men. Where pews once sat are long folding tables where the centre’s clients play crossword puzzles, read or simply relax. Other men sit in chairs spaced several feet apart and watch the news. Some wait in line to add their names to a list for a hot shower. Volunteers take down information about where each man stayed the night before. Offices and meeting spaces line the big room. And off to one side are four signs that serve as a gentle reminder of November’s general election and provide information on how to register to vote.
Continued Lockdown
People didn't follow the Covid rules out of fear. They did it for the common good
As the government lurches from U-turns to full-on pile-ups, and a second wave of Covid-19 looms large, it’s worth remembering something. For three months back in the spring, we – UK citizens – did what we needed to do. The government may have dozed at the wheel, but when it finally woke up, we acted collectively by staying at home to save lives. And with some notable exceptions, we stayed the course by locking down for longer and more willingly than some predicted.
Coronavirus Victoria: CNN vindicates Dan Andrews’ controversial lockdown
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has been heckled near and far as “Dictator Dan” and mocked in editorial cartoons for turning his state into a “gulag”. But vindication for imposing some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in the world is beginning to flow as new case numbers remain low and steady, while new polling reveals a groundswell of support for the Labor leader. And the world is beginning to notice as a CNN report declared Mr Andrews’ strict shutdown the blueprint to containing the deadly coronavirus.
Lockdown in numbers as the UK reaches the six-month mark
A look at lockdown in numbers, six months on from the evening of March 23, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide restrictions. The day lockdown began, the toll for those who died after contracting coronavirus had already reached quadruple figures. There had been 950 deaths in England and Wales, 43 in Scotland and seven in Northern Ireland, based on figures for death registrations. This has since risen to some 41,825 fatalities, with cumulative cases at 403,551, according to the latest Government figures.
Coronavirus: The numbers that help tell the story of six months since lockdown
A new wave of coronavirus restrictions are set to come into force six months after the the UK was placed under a national lockdown. The measures include closing pubs, restaurants and bars at 10pm and limiting weddings to 15 people. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new restrictions could be in place for another six months. As the country marks exactly six months since the national lockdown was imposed on 23 March, we take a look at some of the numbers that help to tell the story of the pandemic since then.
Australia's virus hotspot may speed up lifting curbs as cases fall
Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria is considering easing curbs sooner than previously flagged, the state’s premier said on Wednesday, as the two-week average of new infections in the city of Melbourne dropped below 30. Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, has been the epicentre of the country’s second wave of COVID-19. The city has been under a hard lockdown, including a nightly curfew, since Aug. 2. The state reported 15 new cases and five deaths on Wednesday. The 14-day average in Melbourne dropped below the 30-50 band which the state set as a precondition for allowing around 100,000 people to return to work in construction, manufacturing, warehouses and child care from Sept. 28.
Scientific Viewpoint
U.S. FDA head tells Senate hearing COVID-19 vaccine safety comes first
A top U.S. health official told a U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday that he expects COVID-19 vaccinations to take place over many months and that most Americans could be vaccinated by July of 2021 at the latest. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Robert Redfield said he expects there to be about 700 million doses of vaccines available by late March or April, enough for 350 million people. “I think that’s going to take us April, May, June, you know, possibly July, to get the entire American public completely vaccinated,” Redfield told the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Covid ban on care home visitors risks premature deaths, experts warn
Sweeping bans on visiting at thousands of care homes risk residents dying prematurely this winter as they give up hope in the absence of loved ones, experts in elderly care have warned. More than 2,700 care homes in England are either already shut or will be told to do so imminently by local public health officials, according to a Guardian analysis of new government rules announced to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19. Care groups are calling for the government to make limited visiting possible, including by designating selected family members as key workers. Since Friday any care homes in local authority areas named by Public Health England for wider anti-Covid interventions must immediately move to stop visiting, except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life. It also halts visits to windows and gardens and follows seven months of restrictions in many care homes that closed their doors to routine visits in March.
Covid: UK governments 'took eye off ball' on pandemic
Successive governments across the UK "took their eye off the ball" and failed to prepare for a global pandemic, despite being warned for years of the risks. That is the view of Wales' ex-chief medical officer, who led a review into the UK response to 2009's flu epidemic. Dame Deirdre Hine said there was of a "real danger" of a damaging second wave of coronavirus. Her warning comes six months after the first UK-wide lockdown was introduced. Cases are now rising again and new UK-wide restrictions are being considered, while the prospect of more local lockdowns in Wales is looming.
England's new Covid rules 'too little, too late' for the second time
Scientific advisers to the government have warned that pub curfews and other new measures in England will fail to stop the exponential spread of Covid-19, as sources confirmed that ministers have departed from their “follow the science” mantra. A member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), who did not wish to be named, told the Guardian that “the scientific advice is that stronger restrictions should apply overall”, but said a “delicate balance” had to be struck between tighter measures and achieving good compliance. The new rules, announced by Boris Johnson on Tuesday, urge people to work from home if they can, while pubs and restaurants will close at 10pm, weddings will be limited to 15 people and shop and hospitality staff will be required to wear face masks. While Scotland and Northern Ireland have banned different households from meeting indoors, England’s restrictions are more relaxed, banning only groups of more than six.
Coronavirus UK: UK doctors warn new rules 'don't go far enough'
The new Government crackdown does not go far enough to curb surging coronavirus rates, a major medical trade union has warned. People living in England were hit with a 10pm pub curfew, a return to working from home and harsher fines, among other rules, on Tuesday, while people in Scotland are banned from visiting each other’s homes from Friday – but the British Medical Association (BMA) has insisted more needs to be done to avoid a second peak. The union said it was ‘encouraging’ that the Government is facing up to accelerating transmission rates but criticised Boris Johnson for taking late action and failing to cut the number of people allowed to gather indoors, as the UK records nearly 5,000 new cases in 24 hours.
UK finally has contact-tracing app system six months after lockdown
A new Covid-19 contact-tracing app developed by NHSX will finally launch across England and Wales on 24 September, over six months after the UK first entered lockdown. Scotland launched its Protect Scotland contact-tracing app on 10 September, and Northern Ireland’s StopCOVID NI became available in late July, using the same platform as the Republic of Ireland’s app. Contact-tracing apps work via ‘digital handshakes’ between devices via Bluetooth. If a person tests positive for Covid-19, their close contacts can be traced through the app and given a notification informing them that they’ve encountered an infected person and need to self-isolate.
Coronavirus: First lockdown came 'too slow' so 'act quickly' if another needed, government urged
Ministers were "too slow" to announce the first coronavirus lockdown so must "act quickly" if another is needed, a government adviser says. Professor Peter Horby told Sky News fresh restrictions announced on Tuesday to stem the spread of COVID-19 were "really needed". He warned the number of people hospitalised and those who die with the virus will "inevitably" start growing now daily new infection numbers have shot back up to levels not seen since the start of May.
Children May Be Less Likely Than Adults to Have Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2
As schools reopen around the world, infectious diseases experts have focused on better understanding the risk of children being asymptomatic spreaders of SARS-CoV-2. A new research letter by investigators in Italy suggests that risk may not be as high as some have feared. The retrospective analysis, published in JAMA Pediatrics, looked at emergency department patients hospitalized during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown from March 1 to April 30 at one hospital in Milan.
Indian-origin academic leads criticism of UK’s COVID-19 lockdown approach
A prominent Indian-origin Oxford University academic leads a group of over 30 academics who have expressed their doubts over the UK government''s localised and national lockdown approach to tackling a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Professor Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, co-authored a letter addressed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland this week as a "constructive input" into the government''s policy response to the rising number of coronavirus infections. The Gupta-led group recommends more targeted measures that protect the groups most vulnerable to the deadly virus. "In summary, our view is that the existing policy path is inconsistent with the known risk-profile of COVID-19 and should be reconsidered,” notes the open letter.
WHO on a coronavirus second wave, lockdowns and how the world responded to the pandemic
Just over six months ago, the World Health Organization designated the coronavirus outbreak a "pandemic." Since then, our lives have changed beyond all recognition. Over half of the world's population has experienced some kind of lockdown, almost 1 million people have died, and countries around the globe are bracing for an unprecedented economic collapse. ABC News recently spoke to WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris to discuss the organization's response to the pandemic, whether countries took the novel coronavirus seriously enough, fears of a second wave and why lockdowns became the preferred means of dealing with the biggest public health emergency in a century.
Australian teenager to address UN about Covid hardship among young women
A 16-year-old Australian student, Mayela Dayeh, will address the United Nations general assembly on Wednesday night to present the findings of a survey that shows young women and girls are shouldering a greater economic, domestic and emotional load and working harder during the Covid-19 pandemic. The study, released by humanitarian organisation Plan International as part of a report called “Halting Lives – The impact of Covid019 on girls and young women”, surveyed more than 7,000 15-to-24 year-olds across 14 countries. “I think Covid has exacerbated issues we already knew were there, which we had either become complacent about or comfortable with, especially in terms of the gender divide,” Dayeh, a secondary school student, said.
Life in lockdown: health-wise, it's not as bad as you think
While Victorians continue to endure restrictions from a second wave of COVID-19, new research from the University of South Australia is providing much-needed good news about people’s overall health and wellbeing following lockdown. In preliminary findings from UniSA’s ongoing Annual Rhythms in Adults’ lifestyle and health (ARIA) study, researchers found that effect of lockdown on people’s lifestyle and wellbeing was not as bad as we might have expected. Assessing people’s sleep, physical activity, diet, weight and psychological wellbeing, the lockdown period showed that, on average people: slept 27 minutes longer - got up 38 mins later - did 50 mins less of light physical activity - drank a bit more alcohol (0.9 per cent energy intake, equivalent to two standard drinks a week) - ate a little less protein (0.8 per cent energy intake, equivalent to three eggs a week).
How close is a coronavirus vaccine?
In total there are more than 300 vaccine candidates, according to the World Health Organization: roughly 40 are being tested on humans, and only nine of those have reached the final stage before possible implementation — phase 3 trials. One of the nine vaccines is being developed in the UK by AstraZeneca at Oxford university; two of the most advanced US candidates come from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, and Moderna; four vaccines are being produced in China by Sinovac Biotech, CanSino Biologics and Sinopharm, which has two different shots in development; and one is being led by US multinational Johnson & Johnson. A Russian vaccine produced by the Gamaleya Research Institute entered phase 3 this month. All nine have already signed purchase agreements with governments around the world.
Covid-19: UK volunteers could be given virus to test vaccine
The UK could be the first country in the world to carry out Covid "challenge trials" - where healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to test possible vaccines. It is understood the studies - first reported by the Financial Times - would be conducted in London. The UK government said it was holding discussions about developing a vaccine through such "human challenge studies". No contracts have yet been signed, the BBC understands.
London coronavirus: Imperial College London scientist reveals when Covid-19 vaccine could be ready
A top London professor has revealed more information about when a coronavirus vaccination could be ready. Professor Robin Shattock, the lead for Imperial College London's Covid-19 vaccine, updated the European Parliament on Tuesday (September 22) on the progress of his team's vaccine. He said that human volunteers seem to be 'responding well' to the vaccine and they are aiming to launch a large 20,000 person trial by the end of this year.
Coronavirus: Imperial vaccine could be approved by mid-2021
A coronavirus vaccine being developed by Imperial College London could be approved for use by the middle of next year, an expert has said. Professor Robin Shattock, who is leading the university’s COVID-19 vaccine effort, told the European Parliament trials are showing promising results. He said human volunteers seem to be “responding well” to the vaccine and the aim is to launch a large 20,000-person trial before the end of the year.
One-dose COVID-19 vaccine tested as US experts say no corners cut
“We feel cautiously optimistic that we will be able to have a safe and effective vaccine, although there is never a guarantee of that,” Dr Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, told a Senate committee. But President Donald Trump is pushing for a shorter timeline than many experts say is adequate to fully test the candidates. On Wednesday he tweeted a link to news about the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine study and said the Food and Drug Administration “must move quickly!” “President Trump is still trying to sabotage the work of our scientists and public health experts for his own political ends,” Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, said before ticking off examples of pressure on the FDA. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said career scientists, not politicians, will decide whether any coronavirus vaccine meets clearly stated standards that it works and is safe.
Coronavirus Resurgence
As U.S. surpasses 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, Wisconsin sounds alarm over surges in cases
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday declared a new public health emergency and extended a face mask mandate into November to fight a coronavirus flareup in his state, as the number of people who have died across the United States since the pandemic began passed 200,000. In-person social gatherings have led to cases in Wisconsin skyrocketing among people aged 18 to 24, Evers said, as he pleaded with students who returned to colleges for the fall semester to stay out of bars and wear masks. “We are seeing an alarming increase in cases across our state, especially on campus,” the governor said in a statement announcing his decision.
Covid: US death toll passes 200,000
The US coronavirus death toll has passed 200,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). More than 6.8 million people are known to have been infected in the US, more than in any other country. The milestone comes amid an increase in cases in a number of states, including North Dakota and Utah. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the new death toll was a "horrible thing" and claimed China "should have stopped" the virus. He also defended his record, claiming that had the US not taken action, "you could have two million, 2.5 or three million" dead. JHU reported the new death toll of 200,005 on Tuesday. The university has been collecting US and global coronavirus data since the outbreak began late last year in China. The first case in the US was confirmed in January.
Covid-19: Health workers 'sick' with fear at thought of second wave
"The levels of anxiety amongst our staff that we may go back to what we saw in April is beyond anything I have ever experienced in over 30 years in the health service." Dr David Rosser, chief executive of the University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust, was talking to a weekly coronavirus briefing when he described seeing unprecedented levels of concern among his colleagues. And, although hospitals have outlined a number of measures put in place to support staff, some of those who worked through the first few months of the pandemic have told the BBC they felt worried, panicked and overwhelmed at the thought of facing a second wave.
Aid agencies warn of Covid-19 crisis in refugee camps as winter approaches
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic an abiding fear had stalked the world’s most vulnerable populations. Millions of people displaced by conflict in the Middle East watched with alarm as Europe and the west withered under a caseload that stretched first-world healthcare systems to their limits. They saw field hospitals being set up in capitals. Governments buckling under the strain. The developing world offering aid to the developed. It seemed inevitable that the contagion would reach those less able to absorb its impact. And now, as second and third waves of Covid-19 surge around the globe, worst fears are being realised. Several months into the crisis, the virus has crept into the populations of refugees and internally displaced people, where stopping its advance will be close to impossible. Up to 15 million people across the region, many of whom were already at risk of disease, now face a rampant spread through their communities.
Covid-19: Daily reported UK cases rise by a quarter
The number of daily reported Covid-19 cases has risen by a quarter, according to the latest UK government figures. There have been 6,178 coronavirus cases in the UK in the last 24 hours, up 1,252 since Tuesday, and 37 deaths. Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England's medical director, said it was "essential" the public followed the new measures brought in to curb the spread. Tighter restrictions were announced across the UK on Tuesday, including a 22:00 closing time for pubs in England. People are being told to work from home if they can, rules on face coverings have been expanded and the number of people allowed at weddings in England has been halved.
Covid: Scotland records highest number of new virus cases
Scotland recorded 486 new positive coronavirus tests which represented the biggest single day's number since mass testing began. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the figures were concerning, and underlined why new restrictions had been imposed. But she acknowledged many more people were being tested now than at the peak of the outbreak in mid-April. Ms Sturgeon said 224 of the new cases were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, with 107 in Lanarkshire and 57 in Lothian. The number of positive tests was 103 higher than the figure recorded on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in Scotland to 25,495.
As Covid-19 Fatigue Fuels Infections in Europe, Italy Resists Second Wave
Months after Italy’s lockdown against the coronavirus ended, Enrica Grazioli still sanitizes everything that comes into her Milan apartment, wears face masks diligently and limits interactions between her sons and their grandparents. Ms. Grazioli, a self-proclaimed social butterfly who loves to cook for guests, still hasn’t had friends over for dinner since the virus struck. “Am I overdoing it?” says Ms. Grazioli. “Maybe, but we had a national tragedy of epic proportions and you don’t quickly forget something like that.” Italy, the first nation outside Asia to suffer a major coronavirus outbreak, had one of the world’s worst death tolls this spring. Overflowing hospitals in parts of northern Italy had to choose which patients got the last intensive-care beds. The Italian army drove truckloads of victims out of the city of Bergamo, which couldn’t cope with the dead.
Why is Germany doing better than the UK at fighting a resurgence of Covid-19?
Boris Johnson's comments about why "freedom-loving" UK has higher coronavirus cases than Germany and Italy have sparked a heated debate and given us a reason to look at why Germany is coping better than the UK in the fight against a second wave. On Tuesday UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked by opposition Labour MP Ben Bradshaw if "the reason Germany and Italy have far lower Covid rates than us" is because their contact tracing and testing programmes work. Johnson rejected the argument, adding: "Actually there is an important difference between our country and many other countries around the world, that is that our country is a freedom-loving country.
As Covid cases rise again, how are countries in Europe reacting?
Tighter measures are being imposed, but they vary across the continent.....
Madrid pleads for more doctors, police as coronavirus cases surge
Spain’s Madrid region on Wednesday requested urgent help to hire hundreds of foreign doctors and reinforce police as they registered 1,290 new coronavirus infections and considered extending a partial lockdown to more areas. Representing over a quarter of Spain’s 4,143 new cases in the past 24 hours, the capital region has been hardest hit by a second wave of COVID-19, with the number of daily deaths and infections soaring to levels not seen since May. Madrid has already restricted movement between and within some districts where about 850,000 people live since midnight on Monday.
French business activity slows unexpectedly as COVID-19 cases spike -PMI
French business activity slowed to a four-month low in September, with services weaker than expected as France struggles to contain a surge in new COVID-19 cases, a monthly survey showed on Wednesday. Data compiler IHS Markit said its preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 48.5 in September from 51.6 in August, falling short of expectations for 51.9 in a Reuters poll of economists. That brought the index below the 50-point threshold demarcating growth in activity from a contraction and was the lowest since May, when France emerged from a two-month coronavirus lockdown that plunged the economy into recession.
Italy's harsh lessons help keep second wave at bay
When Covid-19 struck Europe, Lombardy’s flooded hospitals and spiralling death toll provided a grim template for Italy’s neighbours. In the past weeks, however, it is offering a more upbeat, alternative path: while Spain, France and the UK are experiencing a second surge in infections after loosening lockdown restrictions, Italy has kept the disease under control. New daily cases are on the rise to 1,535 from the low hundreds in June, when restrictions started easing. But this compares with more than 10,000 new cases in Spain and France. Life feels normal in most of Italy: restaurants and bars are open, people enjoy late-summer trips to the beach and children have returned to school.
Second lockdown could be needed if new restrictions don't work - Raab
A second national lockdown could be needed if the latest coronavirus restrictions do not work, the foreign secretary has told Sky News. Speaking to Kay Burley, Dominic Raab said "we can't rule it out", but stressed the government will "take every effort to avoid that". The foreign secretary was speaking after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restrictions to try and combat the rise in COVID-19 cases in England.
Europe surges past five million Covid-19 cases
Europe surged past five million cases of the new coronavirus as France and Spain prepared tighter restrictions in an attempt to curb rising levels of infections in their capital cities. Worldwide nearly 32 million people have been infected and more than 971,000 have died since the virus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and spread across the globe. After appearing to bring cases mostly under control with economically devastating lockdowns, Europe now faces a resurgence, forcing governments to consider reintroducing tough measures.
Ukraine expects COVID-19 to peak in winter with up to 5000 new daily cases
Ukraine can expect its domestic COVID-19 epidemic to peak in winter with up to 5,000 new COVID-19 cases registered daily, Oleh Ruban, the head of State Consumer Protection Service, said in an interview with the RBK-Ukraine news site. One of the roles of the State Consumer Protection Service is to enforce sanitary rules.
New Lockdown
Coronavirus: PM urged to explain plans for military to support police as new restrictions announced
Boris Johnson is facing demands from Labour to explain his proposal to use the Army to help support police amid the new coronavirus lockdown rules. He faces Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister's Questions just hours after his TV broadcast in which he warned of a tough crackdown if people continue to break the rules.
The UK's new lockdown rules are still failing BAME communities
Parth Patel was working as a junior doctor at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when he saw for himself how the outbreak was disproportionately hitting people from minority ethnic backgrounds. In June, a report from Public Health England confirmed what Patel and many others in the NHS already knew: people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of dying from Covid-19 while those from other minority ethnic backgrounds had between a ten and 50 per cent greater risk of dying than those from a white British background.
Coronavirus: Madrid in lockdown as doctor warns Britons to follow the new rules or pay the price
A front line doctor in Madrid has urged Britons to stay strong and obey the rules as the country faces a second wave of coronavirus. "We only have to do this for a few more weeks, not forever," Dr Moreno Santiago told Sky News. "Things like wearing a mask we only need to do for a few short weeks and in that time we can control the pandemic, if not we are going to pay for this. It will be very, very, very costly."
Coronavirus: Here's how the government could make lockdown measures even tougher
The prime minister has tightened lockdown rules and warned tougher measures could follow - but what other options could be on the table? Ban on home socialising - Mr Johnson could announce a ban on different households mixing together indoors. This may be the most likely next step as Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced the same move. If he follows suit it would likely involve exceptions; such as for extended households, couples not living together and for childcare reasons.
New lockdown rules: Curfews, work from home and fines doubled under new restrictions
Boris Johnson unveiled a new Government crackdown today, warning the UK has ‘reached a perilous turning point’ in the battle against coronavirus. Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, the Tory leader spelled out numerous new restrictions for England, the day after scientists warned the nation could face 50,000 new Covid-19 cases and 200 deaths a day by mid-October without action. New rules see pubs and restaurants hit with a 10pm curfew, weddings limited to just 15 people, harsher fines, a return to working from home and fresh guidelines on where to wear masks.
Israel returns to lockdown as COVID-19 cases mount
Israeli border police patrol the main market before Israel will enter a second nationwide lockdown amid a resurgence in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, forcing residents to stay mostly at home during the Jewish high-holiday season, in Jerusalem
UK's new COVID measures met with scepticism, confusion
The British government on Wednesday defended its new, stricter coronavirus measures against criticism that they did not got far enough, saying it was trying to balance supporting the economy while protecting health. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told citizens on Tuesday to work from home if possible and ordered restaurants and bars to close early, in an effort to slow a fast-spreading second wave of COVID-19, saying restrictions would likely last six months. Britain has the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe, with a total close to 42,000. New infections have been accelerating in recent weeks, leading scientists to say they could hit 50,000 per day by mid-October if left unchecked.
Israel reports highest ever daily spike in coronavirus infections
Several days after the start of a second nationwide lockdown in Israel, the number of coronavirus infections has reached a new record high with nearly 7,000 cases. According to the health ministry’s statement on Wednesday, 6,923 new patients were recorded the day before. The previous record was reached last week, when 5,533 new cases were confirmed on a single day.