Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

11.30 Coronavirus UK Live – Canary Islands shut beaches & latest on schools & Eat Out to Help Out as deaths hit 41,501

BORIS Johnson is facing pressure to add Greece to the quarantine list after Scotland and Wales removed the holiday hotspot from the safe travel list.

Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething warned that pressure was being put onto Boris Johnson's government to enforce the same rules.

Scottish justice secretary Humza Yousaf added that “regular discussions continue” between the governments, regarding travel restrictions for Greece.

It comes as Scotland said it would impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from Greece starting on Thursday due to the rising number of coronavirus infections.

There has been a “significant rise” in cases of COVID-19 cases being brought into Scotland from people who have been to Greece, the Scottish government said.

Meanwhile, half a million people in Glasgow will be BANNED from meeting other households from midnight tonight after a surge in coronavirus cases.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire have also been plunged into lockdown.

It comes as the UK death toll increased by two to total 41,501, and cases in hit 335,873.

Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • NON-COVID EXCESS DEATHS IN PRIVATE HOMES NOW OUTNUMBER VIRUS DEATHS – ONS

    The number of excess deaths in private homes in England and Wales not linked to coronavirus has overtaken the number of Covid-19 deaths in all settings per week, new analysis shows.

    Since the week ending June 26 there have been more non-coronavirus deaths registered above what would usually be expected in private homes than deaths registered involving Covid-19, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

    Private homes have also experienced the highest number of excess deaths not linked to Covid-19 out of all settings.

    This is despite overall non-coronavirus deaths falling to below average levels.

    The ONS analysed registrations of excess deaths which were not linked to Covid-19 up to July 10 in England and Wales.

  • COVID TEEN DEVELOPS DIABETES

    Scientists say the 19-year-old was diagnosed with the type 1 form of diabetes within about six weeks of being infected with Covid.

    It's believed to be the first case of its kind. The German youth is believed to have caught the virus off his parents when they returned from a ski break.

    Doctors can't say it triggered the serious metabolic disorder. But several recent studies have suggested links between the two illnesses.

    The virus enters the body by latching onto a protein known as ACE2. It's also found on beta cells in the pancreas that produce the glucose-controlling hormone insulin.

    Corresponding author Professor Matthias Laudes, of University Medical Centre Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, said Covid-19 could damage the organ.

  • CHINA WILL GRADUALLY RESUME DIRECT INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS TO BEIJING

    China's aviation regulator said on Wednesday it will resume direct flights to Beijing from eight countries including Thailand, Cambodia, Greece, Denmark, Sweden and Canada from Sept. 3.

    In March, Chinese authorities ordered all international flights to Beijing to be diverted to other airports as their first port of entry, as the capital stepped up measures to battle imported infections.

    The Civil Aviation Administration of China said it would reimpose such curbs if more than three passengers test positive for the coronavirus upon arrival and load factors on such flights would be strictly controlled.

  • OVER 57,000 COVID DEATHS REGISTERED IN UK

    Just over 57,300 deaths involving Covid-19 have now been registered in the UK.

    Figures published on Tuesday by the ONS show that 52,217 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in England and Wales up to August 21, and had been registered by August 29.

    Figures published last week by the National Records for Scotland showed that 4,222 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to August 23, while 871 deaths had occurred in Northern Ireland up to August 21 according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

    Together, these figures mean that so far 57,310 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

  • BUSINESS IMPACT OF VIRUS CRISIS WORSE IN UK THAN OTHER COUNTRIES, STUDY SUGGESTS

    The business impact of the coronavirus crisis is worse in the UK than other countries including France and Germany, a new study suggests.

    Research by recruiter Robert Half indicated that Brazil reported the greatest degree of negative impact, followed by the UK and Belgium.

    In contrast, most executives in France and Germany indicated that the business impact of the pandemic was largely neutral, said the report.

    Most of 1,500 executives surveyed in the five countries said they were pushing forward with opportunities post-lockdown, with digital transformation the top priority for many.

    Almost a third of respondents said they had redesigned job roles and adopted new business models in response to the virus crisis.

  • GYM GROUP REVENUES ALMOST HALVED AFTER VIRUS SHUTDOWN

    The Gym Group saw revenues for the past six months cut by almost half and swung to a loss after it was forced to close branches amid the pandemic.

    The company, which operates 183 gyms across the country, said it made “virtually no revenue” after shutting sites at the end of March.

    It reported that revenues fell by 49.6% to £37.2 million for the six months to July 30.

    The firm swung to a pre-tax loss of £26.9 million for the period, dropping from £5.5 million profit from the same period in 2019.

    Chief executive Richard Darwin said member numbers and gym usage have grown since reopening “as member confidence increases” following the introduction of new safety measures and technology.

  • RAAB PLEDGES TO TACKLE CORONAVIRUS AND FAMINE AS HE TAKES OVER NEW DEPARTMENT

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has launched his controversial new department with a pledge to tackle famine and the coronavirus pandemic amid concerns of cuts to the aid budget.

    He announced a £119 million package to tackle extreme hunger in developing nations as he took the helm of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on Wednesday after the axing of the Department for International Development.

    The merger with the Foreign Office provoked widespread criticism, including from charities and three former prime ministers, that it would harm the world's poorest people.

    But Mr Raab is pledging to use diplomacy and the aid budget to alleviate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, conflict and climate change.

    “Global Britain, as a force for good in the world, is leading by example and bringing the international community together to tackle these deadly threats, because it's the right thing to do and it protects British interests,” he said in a statement.

    “We can only tackle these global challenges by combining our diplomatic strength with our world-leading aid expertise.”

  • SPAIN'S UNEMPLOYMENT RISES AMID NEW COVID OUTBREAKS, TOURISTS RESTRICTIONS

    The number of registered unemployed people in Spain rose in August as new outbreaks of the coronavirus and travel restrictions imposed by other countries began taking a toll after months of timid recovery from an initial lockdown.

    The number of jobless people rose by 0.79% in August, bringing the total of people out of work in Spain to 3.80 million people and bringing to a halt a positive trend that began in May when Spain began emerging from its strict lockdown.

    The pace of job creation in Spain stagnated in August, with only 6,822 more people with a formal working contract and contributing to social security in the month, down from 161,000 in July, the social security minister said on Wednesday.

  • RUSSIA REPORTS NEARLY 5,000 NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES

    Russia reported 4,952 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, pushing its national tally to 1,005,000, the fourth largest in the world.

    Authorities said 115 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,414.

  • HUNGARY COVID INFECTIONS HIT DAILY RECORD AS SCHOOL YEAR STARTS

    Hungary said on Wednesday it had registered 365 new COVID-19 infections, its highest daily tally on record, as people return from summer holidays and the school year starts up.

    Hungary, with around 10 million people, weathered the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year with fewer infections than many European countries.

    The total number of cases, as of Wednesday, stood at 6,622, with 619 deaths.

  • MORE THAN HALF OF STAFF BACK IN OFFICE AT DWP, MINISTER SAYS

    “More than half” of staff in one Government department are back in work, a minister has said, after pictures showed parts of the capital still empty of office workers.

    The claims come amid a push for civil servants to lead from the front and get back to their desks as Downing Street wants to encourage people back to the workplace.

    Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said “more than half” of staff are “fully back in the offices” at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she added: “But even then we have capacity on how many people can be in a Covid-safe environment within our workplace.”

    Ms Coffey said that 799 of the department's 804 sites are open, and hoped that children returning to school would give parents more opportunities to go back to the office.

  • UK GOVERNMENT TO BE PRESSED OVER GREECE QUARANTINE AS WALES AND SCOTLAND ACT

    England is facing pressure to reconsider quarantine rules for Greece after Scotland and Wales introduced new measures over concerns about rising coronavirus cases.

    The Scottish Government announced on Tuesday evening that travellers from Greece would have to self-isolate for 14 days from Thursday, while Wales also began asking arrivals from the island of Zante to begin the period of quarantine.

    The Department for Transport (DfT) said no change to its rules for England had been made, but Wales' health minister Vaughan Gething said he would be pressing the UK Government for an urgent meeting to consider the potential risk in Greece.

    The move came as holidaymakers scrambled to return from Portugal amid growing concerns restrictions could be reimposed to arrivals from there.

    Restrictions for Greece were lifted in England in July when international exemptions were first permitted.

  • GREEK TOURISM MINISTER SAID COUNTRY HAS LOWER INFECTIONS COMPARED TO OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

    Greece's tourism minister Harry Theoharis has said the country has “a much lower number of infections compared to most other countries in Europe”.

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “We're actually in the right direction. We're going down in terms of the average numbers.

    “We're taking specific targeted measures where we see specific concentrations of cases. Measures that have been successful and have been working in the past few days.

    “So I think we're doing everything in our power to ensure that every person that comes from the UK is kept safe in Greece.

    “Of course everybody should also have some restraint, understand that this is a different summer. You mentioned it before, it's not exactly the same like the past few years.

    “We should all keep control of the situation, use our masks where it's required, follow the rules etc in order to ensure that everybody is kept safe.”

  • HOUSE PRICES SHRUG OFF COVID-19 WORRIES TO HIT ALL-TIME HIGH

    The cost of a house in the UK rose by a little over £3,000 in August as the property market hit new highs.

    House-buyers have shrugged off continued uncertainty in the economy and social distancing to send the average price of a home to £224,123.

    The 2% rise in August of £3,188 wiped out the losses made earlier this year as the pandemic tore through the country, according to data from building society Nationwide.

    It is also the highest rise in a single month since February 2004, when prices jumped 2.7%.

  • GREATER MANCHESTER MAYOR BRANDED EASING RESTRICTIONS IN BOLTON & TRAFFORD AS 'ILLOGICAL'

    Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said the easing of coronavirus restrictions in Bolton and Trafford was “completely illogical”.

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that people in Bolton and Trafford should “continue to follow the guidance” not to have social gatherings in their home.

    “We find ourselves at a completely unsustainable position this morning – that's the politest way I can put it.

    “Overnight we've had restrictions released in two boroughs where we've got a rising number of cases – in one case in the red zone.

    “And neighbouring boroughs are still under restrictions but with much lower numbers of cases.

    “These restrictions were always hard to explain to the public but they are completely illogical now.”

  • STRONG WINDS FORECAST TODAY

    Britain is bracing for possible flooding as heavy downpours and winds of over 50mph strike with the Met Office issuing a yellow warning.

    The first day of September was a dry one for most in the UK but that is set to change on Wednesday with rain spreading eastwards.

  • EAT OUT TO HELP OUT BOOSTED THE HIGH STREET

    Shopping areas have had their best week since lockdown started thanks to the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

    Footfall across all UK retail sites rose by 6 per cent last week, according to data firm Springboard. Shopping centres saw a 9.1 per cent increase in visitors week on week.

    High streets were up 4.8 per cent and retail parks up 5 per cent. But visits are still down a quarter on last year.

    Springboard’s Diane Wehrle, said: “The last full week of Eat Out to Help Out led to the most positive footfall result of any week so far.” Shop prices fell further in August as non-food retailers tried to tempt consumers back.

  • 44 IN 1M CHANCE OF CATCHING COVID

    The odds of catching Covid-19 in England are about 44 in a million a day, official figures show.

    There are between 1,200 and 4,200 new infections a day, testing figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest.

    And many of those infected will not even know they have it. Only about one person in 100 dies after being infected and another one in 100 suffer long-term effects.

    There is just a one in two million chance of dying from Covid-19 in England.

    That means coronavirus is as risky as taking a bath or skiing — and considerably less risky than scuba diving or sky diving.

    Economist Tim Harford examined the numbers collated by the ONS to assess the current risk.

  • PREGNANT WOMEN WITH COVID-19 MAY BE MORE LIKELY TO NEED INTENSIVE CARE
    Pregnant women seen in hospital with Covid-19 are less likely to show symptoms and may be at an increased risk of being admitted to intensive care, a study has suggested.

    Researchers also found that they are more likely to give birth early, with their newborns more likely to be admitted to a neonatal unit.

    An international team of researchers, including experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO), reviewed evidence from 77 studies involving more than 11,000 pregnant and recently pregnant women admitted to hospital and diagnosed with suspected or confirmed Covid-19.

    Their study found these women were less likely to report symptoms of fever and myalgia (muscle pain), but were more likely to need admission to an intensive care unit and need ventilation, when compared with non-pregnant women of reproductive age.

    Being older, overweight, and having pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes also appear to increase the risk of having severe Covid-19 in these women, the findings published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) show.

    The odds of giving birth prematurely were also higher in pregnant and recently pregnant women with Covid-19 compared to those without the disease.

    A quarter of all babies born to mothers with Covid-19 were admitted to a neonatal unit and were at increased risk of admission than those born to mothers without the illness.

  • WUHAN WOMAN SUES CHINESE GOVERNMENT AFTER DAD DIES FROM CORONAVIRUS

    A woman is suing the Chinese government after her father died as a result of coronavirus.

    The woman is also asking for the nation to render a public apology and claims the government covered up facts about the killer bug.

    Zhao Lei’s father was infected with the virus in January, according to Sky News.

    Due to emergency services being overwhelmed at the height of the outbreak in the country, there was no ambulance to take her father to the hospital.

    Her family had to brave the freezing weather to walk six miles before a local picked them up in a tuk tuk.

    As her father sat in the emergency room waiting for treatment, he died of respiratory failure as it had become too late for him.

    “After Wuhan locked down, he got ill so suddenly. I can't accept it. Someone just suddenly died. I cannot accept the fact,” she said.

    She blames the government for not being transparent about the disease and how it is transmitted from one person to the other.

  • ENGLAND YET TO ADD GREECE TO QUARANTINE LIST AS SCOTLAND AND WALES ACT

    England is continuing to allow travellers to arrive from Greece without quarantining despite Scotland and Wales acting over concerns of rising coronavirus cases.

    The Department for Transport said no change to its rules for England had been made on Tuesday after the Scottish Government told new arrivals to enter 14 days of isolation from Thursday.

    Wales also began asking arrivals from the Greek island of Zante to begin the period of quarantine, with health minister Vaughan Gething pressing for a meeting with the UK Government to reconsider the rules for Greece.

    Restrictions for Greece were lifted in England in July when international exemptions were first permitted.

  • COVID-19 ANTIBODIES PRESENT IN PATIENTS FOUR MONTHS AFTER RECOVERY – STUDY

    Antibody levels against the novel coronavirus rose and then held steady for up to four months in more than 90 per cent of recovered COVID-19 patients in Iceland, according to a study published on Tuesday.

    In previous studies, antibody levels dropped sharply within a few months after COVID-19, raising questions about the duration of immunity that infection may provide.

    The new finding may have implications for reinfection risks and vaccine durability, said Kari Stefansson, chief executive of deCode Genetics, which conducted the study.

    Among the 1,215 people with an infection confirmed by PCR, 91 per cent had antibody levels that rose during the first two months after diagnosis and then plateaued, researchers reported.

    The results, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, focused on a homogeneous population from a single country, so the findings may not be the same in other parts of the world with diverse populations.

  • PM ACCUSED OF 'U-TURN FOLLOWED BY U-TURN' AFTER DECLINING TO MEET BEREAVED GROUP

    Boris Johnson has been accused of a fresh U-turn after declining to meet campaigners representing families bereaved during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Prime Minister said “of course I will meet the bereaved” when questioned last week in an interview about attempts by the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group to secure a meeting.

    But the campaigners trying to secure a swift public inquiry into the Government's handling of the crisis shared a letter from Mr Johnson in which he “regrettably” declined to meet with the group.

    “It's a U-turn followed by a U-turn,” said campaign co-founder Jo Goodman, who lost her father Stuart to the virus.

    “The Prime Minister has done a 360: dodging five letters, then agreeing on live TV to meet with us, and now quietly telling us he's too busy. It's heartless.”

  • GOVERNMENT 'SHOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD LIMITS OF COVID-19 SCIENTIFIC ADVICE'

    Following the science on coronavirus was not enough to ensure the right decisions were made at the right time and the Government should have better understood the limits of advice, a think tank has said.

    A report by the Institute for Government into the first responses to the pandemic concluded that ministers should have been prepared to act in the “absence of scientific certainty”.

    The IfG also criticised the Government's ambition to reach 100,000 tests per day by the end of April, saying it had not been well thought through as the diagnostics industry and the NHS were not consulted before the decision was made.

    It said the Government “lacked a wider sense of strategy” at times, and accused Health Secretary Matt Hancock of making the testing commitment “without a strong enough sense of how the Government would use additional capacity”.

    A Government spokesman defended the response to the crisis, saying ministers “make no apology for being guided by the best scientific advice”.

  • GREATER MANCHESTER LEADERS ASK FOR DELAY IN LOCAL LOCKDOWN LIFTING

    Leaders in Greater Manchester have urged the Government to postpone the easing of lockdown restrictions in Bolton and Trafford just hours before measures are due to be lifted.

    Social gatherings between two homes were due to resume for the first time in weeks from Wednesday in the areas, along with other parts of northern England, but a sharp increase in the local infection rate has led to officials asking the Government for a delay.

    The rate of new Covid-19 cases in Bolton has jumped from 18.4 per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 22 to 59.1 in the seven days to August 29, with 170 new cases.

    The rate in Trafford has risen from 19.4 to 35.4, with 84 new cases.

    Analysis showed that new cases in Bolton were spread across the borough and not limited to a single area, community, or place of work, said the town's council.

    Infections between different households appear to be the main cause of the spike with people aged 18-49 representing the overwhelming majority of new cases, it added.

    Conservative leader of Bolton Council, Councillor David Greenhalgh, said: “We urged the Government to lift Bolton out of the additional restrictions at a time when infection rates were low.

    “However, there has been a sudden and unforeseeable rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Bolton.”

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