Coronavirus map LIVE: What is REALLY going on? Disturbing report on UK crisis LEAKED
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The infection rate or R number represents the number of secondary infections from the virus. Keeping the number below one is crucial and according to a document from PHE, there is uncertainty over the number. Officials have stated the number has been reduced to between 0.7-0.9 thus allowing the Government to ease lockdown measures. However, in a document seen by the HuffPost, officials cannot rule out the number being above one in certain parts of the country. This comes the coronavirus antibody tests used by the UK are being rolled out without adequate assessment in a huge blow to Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 recovery plan, scientists have warned. In a letter in the British Medical Journal, 14 senior academics have warned the Prime Minister the tests could, in fact, place further burden on the NHS.
The antibody tests were once deemed as crucial due to the ability to identify if someone has had the virus or not. Due to this, the Government ordered 10 million antibody test kits.
However, the academics have insisted as the tests cannot prove whether a person has future immunity, they, therefore, offer no benefit to hospitals or care staff.
This comes as the Prime Minister relaxed further measures across England from July 4.
This week the Prime Minister revealed pubs, restaurants and cinemas would now be able to reopen from next week.
Although certain safety measures will be put in place such as wearing face masks, the news will be a huge boost to the UK economy after over three months in lockdown.
Two households will also be able to meet in any setting although social distancing is still advised.
Following a review, the Prime Minister also stated that where it is not possible, a distance of one metre plus must be kept.
He did add, however, that these measures would be under constant review and could be rescinded if the rate of infection rises.
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6.33am update: Liverpool supporters celebrate as police fear win could result in mass gatherings
Thousands of triumphant Liverpool supporters have spent the night celebrating the team’s first league title for 30 years, prompting warnings from police concerned about mass gatherings flouting social-distancing rules.
As a huge crowd sang songs and let off flares outside Anfield, Merseyside police Asst Chief Cons Rob Carden said the region had been “disproportionately affected” by the coronavirus pandemic and its residents had a responsibility to prevent further cases.
5.53am update: Australia plans to further ease curbs despite infections spike in Victoria
Australia will stick with plans to further ease coronavirus curbs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, despite a spike in infections in the second most populous state of Victoria.
“There will be outbreaks and what matters is that we continue to build our capability to deal with those outbreaks,” Morrison told a media briefing in Canberra, the capital.
Australia deployed ambulances and mobile test centres in a testing blitz across the southeastern state after a renewed outbreak of the respiratory disease there.
On Friday, the state reported its tenth straight day of new cases in double digits.
4.16am update: China reports 13 new cases, 11 in Beijing
China has reported a further decline in new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, with 13 cases.
Eleven were in Beijing, where mass testing has been carried out following an outbreak that appears to have been largely brought under control.
The other two cases were brought by Chinese travelers from overseas, according to the National Health Council.
No new deaths were reported and 389 people remained in treatment for Covid-19, with another 107 in isolation.
3.12am update: Donald Trump claims US cases have risen due to increased testing
Speaking at a town hall on Fox news, Trump claimed that cases in the US are high because the US is testing widely.
Germany and the US are testing roughly in the same bracket (though Germany’s figure is lower) in terms of tests per 1,000 people, according to Our World in data, which is run by Oxford University.
In the US, 8.2% of tests are returned positive, while in Germany that figure is 3.5% tests came back positive– which appears to indicate that a greater percentage of people in the US are infected.
The confirmed cases per million people in the US are 7,194.39 versus 2,292.55 in Germany.
In the US, 124,355 people have died so far. In Germany, 8,940 people have died.
2:22am update: UK health secretary Matt Hancock threatens to close beaches following major incident
A major incident was declared after tens of thousands of people defied pleas to stay away and descended in their droves on beaches in Bournemouth and other stretches of the Dorset coast.
The local authority, BCP council – covering Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – said it was forced to instigate a multi-agency emergency response to tackle issues ranging from overcrowding on the beaches, traffic gridlock and violence. Security guards had to be used to protect refuse collection teams.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said on TalkRadio that he had the power to close the beaches if people did not respect social-distancing rules.
He said he was “reluctant” to go down that route as “people have had a pretty tough lockdown”. But he added that if there was a spike in the number of coronavirus cases “then we will take action”.
1.16am update: US state halts next phase of reopening after major spike in cases
Texas has paused the next phase of reopening after seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases.
As US states reopen, the administration says it is up to governors and local officials to determine how to respond to the spikes.
Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott has now put a hold on any further steps to reopen and reimposed a ban on elective surgeries in some areas to preserve hospital space after the number of patients statewide more than doubled in two weeks.
Texas confirmed a record 5,996 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, just one day after beating its previous record with Wednesday’s 5,551 cases.
12.20am update: US coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than reported
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the number of Covid-19 cases in the US may be 10 times higher than reported.
By those measures, an estimated 20 million Americans have been infected by the virus, compared to the official number of 2.45 million infected.
The CDC released the new estimate based on testing for antibodies across the country.
11.32pm update: Scotland to resume visits to loved ones in care homes
From next week Scots can visit loved ones in coronavirus-free care homes for the first time since lockdown.
However, visitors will not be allowed to cuddle their family members.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said care homes will be allowed visitors from July 3 so long as the home has been virus-free for 28 hours.
Additional reporting by Paul Withers
10.00pm update: 24 hours to save Britain! Rishi Sunak will decide if UK thrives or dies post COVID-19
8.45pm update: ‘We are reopening the country’ – Irish PM Varadkar
Ireland will reopen almost all remaining businesses on Moinday in a major step towards easing lockdown measures.
From July 9, air bridges are being established between countries with similarly low infection rates, enabling people to travel without entering quarantine.
The government is restricting the number of people gathering indoors to 50, while up to 200 will be able to gather outdoors following social distancing rules.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “We are reopening the country.
“Businesses are going to reopen.
“People are going to get back to work.
“But we are not complacent about the fact that we are going to be playing cat and mouse with this virus for some time to come.”
8.03pm update: Ireland continues to ease lockdown measures
Families in Ireland will be able to meet each other while a list of countries for travel from which quarantining is not necessary will be published next month.
Face masks will also have to be worn on public transport, ministers have said.
7.30pm update: France reports 21 new deaths from coronavirus
The death toll in France from coronavirus has increased to 29,752 following 21 new fatalities from the disease, the country’s health department said on Thursday.
France still has the fifth-highest death toll from COVID-19 in the world, although the number of fatalities has steadily decreased from peaks reached in March and April.
7.15pm update: Germany coronavirus PANIC: Huge second wave warning after R value surge triggers lockdown
Germany could be hit by a huge second wave of coronavirus infections, a leading medical expert has warned, after new local outbreaks triggered a surge in the R value and forced several regions to be placed back into lockdown.
Fears of another wave of COVID-19 intensified after infection rates skyrocketed and caused two regions – Guetersloh and Warendorf – to return to lockdown.
These local outbreaks saw Germany’s reproduction number, referred to as R, triple to 2.88 on Sunday and well above the level at which the spread of the virus is accelerating.
The figure fell slightly on Monday to 2.76 and again rapidly to 0.72 on Wednesday, with experts stating the huge fluctuations in the R value are not surprising given the total number of cases in Germany is still relatively low.
Christian Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, said on his NDR podcast: “I am not optimistic that in a month’s time we will still have such a peaceful situation as we have now in terms of epidemic activity,” he said.
“In two months, I think we’re going to have a problem if we don’t turn on all the alarm sensors again now.”
6.10pm update: One metre social distancing rule for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is reducing social distancing requirements from two metres to one metre in the latest easing of lockdown measures across the country.
Parts of the hospitality sector are preparing to reopen on July 3 as the country’s rate of coronavirus spread remains below one.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “A minimum one-metre distance between individuals can be considered acceptable in circumstances where appropriate mitigations are made.”
5.30pm update: More than 160 people test positive for coronavirus following new outbreak
A total of 165 people have tested positive for coronavirus following an outbreak at the Kober meat processing plant in West Yorkshire.
The plant, which is owned by Asda, was closed after the new infections emerged.
Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Downing Street press briefing there had been a localised outbreak in the Kirklees area.
Kirklees Council said in a statement: “The whole workforce has been offered testing and 165 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19.
“The testing is likely to have identified people who had mild illness or even some not showing symptoms who may have otherwise gone undetected and could have infected others.”
5.10pm update: Jeremy Hunt says mistakes made in dealing with outbreak
Commons Health Committee chairman Jeremy Hunt has said mistakes were made in managing the coronavirus outbreak.
The former Health Secretary told Politico: “With the benefit of hindsight, for sure, we would have done lots of things differently.
“We would have locked down much earlier.
“We would have used face masks much earlier than we did.
“We would have ramped-up our testing capacity earlier than we did.
“And these aren’t just mistakes that were made here, they were made by governments all over the world.”
4.30pm update: England announces further 55 people have died in hospital from COVID-19
An additional 55 people have died in hospitals across England from coronavirus, or where COVID-19 was the direct or underlying cause, NHS England has said.
This brings the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in the country to 28,490.
The latest patients to die were aged between 49 and 98 years old. Only one 70-year-old patient did not have an underlying health condition.
4.15pm update: Bournemouth major incident declared: Police urge public to ‘stay away’
A “major incident” has been declared in Bournemouth after tens of thousands of people ignored coronavirus lockdown warnings by descending on the south coast on the hottest day of the year, causing chaos for emergency services and the local council.
A multi-agency emergency response has been activated to co-ordinate resources in an attempt to clear huge crowds.
Thousands of visitors have arrived, resulting in numerous problems including illegal parking, excessive waste, anti-social behaviour, gridlock on roads and prohibited overnight camping.
The Bournemouth Echo has reported local services have received widespread abuse and intimidation as they attempted to empty overflowing bins on the seafront.
3.45pm update: Spain to extend furlough schemes by three months until September 30
Spain is set to extend national furlough schemes until September 30 under a Government agreement with labour unions and the main employers’ association.
The sectors hit most by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, such as hospitality, will receive the most support, though other industries not yet able to return to normal activity will also be included.
The current system of aide (ERTEs), which was due to end on June 30, had been linked to the country’s state of emergency, which ended on June 21.
The extension to the furlough schemes will be approved at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on Friday.
Nearly 3.5 million workers were supported by ERTEs at the height of Spain’s lockdown.
3.30pm update: UK coronavirus R value and growth rate remains unchanged
The R value and the rate of spread of COVID-19 infections across the UK have remained the same as last week.
The reproduction number, referred to as R, remains at 0.7 to 0.9, while the growth rate remains at minus four percent to minus two percent per day.
This means both figures are unchanged from when they were published by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies on Friday.
3.15pm update: UK reports 149 new deaths from COVID-19
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced a further 149 deaths from coronavirus in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday.
The death toll across these setting has now increased to 43,230, although the government figures do not include all deaths involving COVID-19 in the UK, which are thought to have passed 54,000.
In the 24-hour period up to 9am on Thursday, 167,023 tests were carried out or dispatched, with 1,118 positive results.
In total, 8,710,292 tests have been carried out and 307,980 cases have been confirmed positive.
3.10pm update: Northern Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths
No new deaths have been reported from coronavirus in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has said.
There were 850 new cases due to changes in how the data is recorded. This total now stands at 5,724.
3pm update: Labour warn latest Test and Trace figures raise ‘major concerns’
Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders told MPs in the House of Commons: “To have a quarter of those who test positive not contacted three weeks into the ‘world-beating’ system is not good enough and urgently needs to be addressed.
“Expert opinion shows that to defeat this virus we need a fully functioning test and trace system, so these latest figures still raise major concerns the week before lockdown measures are eased further, especially without a working app.
“It is staggering that hundreds of people are not submitting their details into the system in the first place. Surely that should be one simple thing that can be fixed.
“Ministers need to level with the public about how they are going to tackle these real and serious issues as a matter of urgency.”
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Bill McLoughlin.
2.48pm update: Scotland to allow visitors at virus-free care homes
People living in care homes in Scotland that are free from the virus will be able to welcome visitors from July 3.
If a care home has been coronavirus free for 28 days, residents will be able to have one key visitor.
2.13pm update: Wales records six further deaths
Public Health Wales has reported six further deaths in the country, taking the total to 1,497.
There have been 15,467 cases, an increase of 125 from yesterday.
2pm update: US unemployment rises
A further 1.4 unemployment claims were filed last week.
There are now 19.5 million Americans collecting unemployment benefits.
1.20pm update: “Uncertainty” over R-rate
Public Health England has stated the UK’s infection rate could be above in certain areas of the country.
The document, seen by the HuffPost said: “There is uncertainty around these numbers and thus we cannot preclude R being above 1.
“For the North West and South West, we estimate R to be around 1.”
12.47pm update: Scotland reports 2,482 deaths
Speaking today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reported a further two deaths from the virus.
A total of 18,196 people have tested positive, up from 18,191 the previous day.
12.16pm update: Indonesia records over 50,000 cases
The number of infections in the country has surpassed 50,000 cases.
Businesses began to reopen earlier this month with more scheduled to open up in July.
1.39pm update: UK public must adhere to Test and Trace programme
A No 10 spokesman insisted the public must cooperate with the programme in order to help defeat the virus.
He said: “We have always said it will improve over time.
“We have now reached more than 100,000 people who may have otherwise unknowingly spread the virus but the public must play their part by providing vital information we need to stop the spread of coronavirus, protect our families and communities and, ultimately, to save lives.
“Test and Trace are working to make the service more efficient and accessible by doing things like opening walk-in local testing centres, increasing translation services and concentrating calls at times that work best for the public.
“If we do find that significant numbers aren’t following isolation instructions we will consider whether further measures are required.”
1.38pm update: Iran death toll reaches 10,000
The Islamic Republic announced 134 new deaths from coronavirus, taking the overall number past 10,000.
11.51am update: Further details on Test and Trace
Over the three week period since the programme went live on May 28, 28 percent of those on the system weren’t reached and therefore did not provide contact details.
A further 113,925 were identified as recent close contacts and were reached through the contact tracing system out of 128,566 people reported.
11.08am update: NHS Test and Trace data revealed
The Department for Health and Social Care has released the latest figures for the Test and Trace programme.
A reported 6,923 people had their cases transferred to the system, of these, 70 percent were reached to provide contacts.
Of the 30,286 contacts identified, 82 percent were asked to self-isolate.
This data ranges from June 11 to June 17.
11.02am update: Last ‘clap for carers’
Britain will pause for a final round of applause on Sunday, July 5.
Broadcasters will suspend normal transmission at 5pm.
10.52am update: Hong Kong reports seventh death
Hong Kong has recorded another death from COVID-19, taking the total to seven.
The region has only reported 1,179 cases.
10.41am update: Czech Republic reports rise in cases
The Czech Republic has recorded 127 new cases of coronavirus today.
As of this morning, there 10,780 cases with 344 deaths.
10.39am update: Greece ready for British tourists
Greece’s tourism minister, Haris Theoharis said the country was ready to welcome British tourists.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The final decision, from the UK and our point of view, will be in place in the next few days and I’m hoping the announcement will be positive from both sides.
“The point is that Greece is a safe country – we have proven that during this crisis and we will continue proving this in the exit stages of the health situation.”
10.28am update: Infections in Gulf states passes 400,000
The amount of coronavirus cases in the six Gulf states has doubled to more than 400,000.
According to statistics from Reuters, the region now has 403,163.
9.33am update: Australia reports biggest rise in two months
The second-largest state in the country, Victoria has recorded 33 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours.
This is now the ninth consecutive day of double-digit figures.
The state also has 200 of the country’s 270 cases.
8.59am update: Air bridges list revealed
The list of low-risk holiday destinations is set to be released by the Government at the weekend.
According to The Daily Telegraph, France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany are to be on the list from July 4.
This means tourists will not need to quarantine on their return to the UK.
8.41am update: Crisis in the Americas hasn’t peaked
The World Health Organisation has warned the pandemic has not peaked in much of the Americas yet.
Emergencies director, Michael Ryan said: “It’s particularly intense in Central and South America.
“We’ve seen a steady and worrying continuation of trend, with many countries experiencing between a 25 and 50% rise in cases over the last week.”
This comes after Brazil passed one million confirmed cases of the virus last week.
8.31am update: Royal Mail cuts jobs
The Royal Mail is to cut 2,000 management jobs as it struggles to deal with the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
7.55am update: UK Government plans for all pupils to return by September
Social distancing will not be applied in schools and the bubbles will be expanded to allow or pupils to return to full-time classes in September.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the two-metre social distancing rule will not be expected within school buildings.
As per primary schools, children will be placed into bubbles although schools will be asked to limit the extent pupils mix.
7.43am update: UK council fear bankruptcy
Five councils across the UK have asked for emergency funding from the Government or they could face a huge budget black hole the BBC has reported.
Nearly 150 councils have forecast a combined budget shortfall of £3.2billion.
Five English councils have demanded emergency spending controls will be needed to survive.
The Government has already issued £3.2billion in funding to all English council to soften the blow from the virus.
7.35am update: Boris Johnson given antibody test warning
Despite being hailed as a crucial element of the Government’s recovery plan, academics have penned a joint letter in the British Medical Journal insisting there may be no use for the tests.
In the letter, the test cannot show future immunity to the virus and thus is no use for medical and care staff.
They said: “The concept of ‘immune passports,’ allowing healthcare workers or others to work, has not been established.
“Those with a positive antibody test should still consider themselves at risk and follow infection control policies designed to prevent [in-hospital] spread and risk of infection.
“There is, therefore, no benefit to healthcare organisations or to others in knowing the status of employees at present.”
The Department for Health and Social Care said: “We do not currently know how long an antibody response to the virus lasts, nor whether having antibodies means a person cannot transmit it to others.
“But they reiterated that antibody testing “will play an increasingly important role as we move into the next phase of our response to this pandemic.”
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