Here is a round-up of the latest news in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, July 2.

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Confirmed worldwide cases:  10,809,998

Confirmed deaths:  519,050

Confirmed recoveries/discharges: 6,032,381.

In Wales, six more people have died after contracting coronavirus in Wales.

Public Health Wales confirmed that the total number of deaths since the outbreak began had now reached 1,516.

The number of lab-confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Wales has risen by 32 to bring the total to 15,775.

 

Welcome date for the hospitality sector

The hospitality sector will begin to re-open outdoors in Wales from July 13, if cases of coronavirus continue to fall.

The announcement will be made by the minister for international relations and Welsh language, Baroness Eluned Morgan said. She will set out the phased re-opening plan for bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants at the daily press conference on Thursday, July 2.

According to the Welsh Government, it follows a rapid review of the hospitality sector in Wales to look at how the industry can safely begin operating once more.

The first phase will see the re-opening of outdoor spaces owned by businesses and subject to existing licences. This Welsh Government has said this is only if the virus remains under control and is subject to the outcome of next week’s review of the regulations.

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Pressure mounts on UK government to release list of ‘air bridges’

Pressure is mounting on the government to release the list of countries British people can go on holiday to without having to quarantine for 14 days on their return.

As lockdown restrictions are eased, confusion remains among holidaymakers over which countries would be included in so-called ‘air bridges’ – some of which were supposed to be up and running by July 6.

There were mixed suggestions over when an announcement would be made, with No 10 indicating the details would be released later this week and briefings from other Whitehall departments suggesting it would be Wednesday or Thursday.

MPs have said holidaymakers need urgent clarity to avoid them making bookings that could leave them out of pocket.

Talks were ongoing on Wednesday night between the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, and the devolved nations about the proposals to exempt some countries from quarantine.

It comes a Ryanair ignored the Welsh Government to announce that flights to and from Spain and Portugal would resume at Cardiff Airport tomorrow.

September plan for schools in England to be revealed

Schools in England are expected to be told to overhaul the curriculum, stagger break times and group children into “bubbles” when they return to the classroom in September, according to guidelines to be published by the Government.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is due to announce the plans for getting all pupils back after the summer following up to six months at home.

There are reports that a draft of the official guidance also bans the mixing of year groups – such as in assemblies – as well as school choirs, and suggests teachers also stagger the start and end of the day.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson waits in line in the playground to wash his hands during a visit to a school

Contingency plans must also be in place in case of a local lockdown, the paper said, and schools will be required to liaise with their local health protection team if there are two or more confirmed coronavirus cases within a fortnight.

A general rise in sickness or absence where Covid-19 is a suspected cause could lead to a year group or the whole school being told to stay at home and self-isolate as a precaution.

Details are expected to be set out at a Downing Street press conference on Thursday – the first time one has been held since daily briefings were scrapped last week.

Email for passengers flying into Cardiff from Spain and Portugal

Passengers from Spain and Portugal who arrive at Cardiff Airport from Friday will get an email if they need to self isolate.

Budget airline Ryanair has confirmed it is beginning flights between Wales and the two European countries on Friday, despite being asked by the Welsh Government to cancel them.

And Public Health Wales has confirmed that there will not be any staff there to meet passengers.

A spokesman said: “Public Health Wales staff will not be at the airport, but all returning passengers who meet the criteria for self-isolation will receive an email from Public Health Wales advising them of the need to self-isolate.”

The Border Force will collect data from people returning to the UK. This data will include email addresses which will be subsequently passed on to Public Health Wales.

Ryanair flights are scheduled to Faro in Portugal and Malaga in Spain from the airport, which is wholly owned by the Welsh Government.

A flight from Malaga is due to land at the airport at 9.55am on Friday, and will depart for the return trip to Spain at 10.20am. The flight from Faro is due to land at 7pm, and depart at 7.25pm.

No obvious source for Leicester outbreak

The rapid rise of coronavirus cases in Leicester could have been driven by community transmission rather than caused by a specific outbreak, a report has found.

Public Health England found “no explanatory outbreaks in care homes, hospital settings, or industrial processes” after the rise in infections led to the UK’s first local lockdown.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tightened restrictions on parts of the city and nearby suburbs on Monday, ordering non-essential shops to close and urging people not to travel in or out of the area.

The PHE report found an increase in the number of people aged under 19 who had been infected in the East Midlands city, from 5% of all cases in mid-May to 15% in June, and a similar increase in infections among working-age people.

“If an excess of infections has occurred then it is occurring in young and middle-aged people,” the report said.

It added that there was no “analytical link” between the reopening of schools to more pupils in June and the increased infection rate, but that further investigation would be “sensible”.

Staycation winners revealed

Plymouth and the Isle of Wight are set to be two of the UK’s big winners from the boom in staycations amid the coronavirus pandemic, while visits from foreign travellers continue to dry up.

New research from Colliers International has revealed that the hotel sector in Plymouth is expected to recover at a faster rate than any other in the UK as holidaymakers flock to the South West.

However, it said that some traditional tourist hotspots, such as London, will be hard hit by the dearth of visitors from abroad due to travel restrictions.

Colliers’ inaugural Covid-19 Recovery Hotels Index also said that a strong rebound in domestic tourism was particularly likely to help the economy of the Isle of Wight.

Exeter, Norwich, Blackpool and Cornwall are also expected to recover more quickly, according to experts at the commercial real estate specialists.

Marc Finney, head of hotels and resort consulting at Colliers, said he believes that UK leisure destinations are less likely to feel large impact from dwindling overseas visitors and large events.

Legal action against ‘extreme lockdown’ reaches High Court

A businessman’s legal challenge against “extreme” Covid-19 lockdown rules in England has reached the High Court.

Simon Dolan, who according to the Sunday Times Rich List is worth £200 million, is pursuing a claim against Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson over the regulations, which he has described as “some of the most extreme restrictions imposed on fundamental freedoms in the modern era”.

He claims the rules – first introduced by the Government in March – are costing the economy billions of pounds each day, and are a “disproportionate breach of fundamental rights and freedoms” protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Dolan, who has raised almost £200,000 from more than 6,400 pledges so far through crowdfunding, is also challenging the decision to close schools across the country for most children.

At a remote hearing on Thursday, Mr Dolan will ask Mr Justice Lewis to grant permission for a full hearing of his challenge.

First cinemas in England to re-open

The first cinemas to reopen their doors will start showing films on July 4 after months of darkened screens.

All Showcase cinemas and 10 Odeon cinemas around England will open after closing in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a mixture of recent releases and older offerings available to draw film fans back to theatres.

The Odeon cinema at Manchester’s Trafford Centre will screen Sonic The Hedgehog, Birds Of Prey and Bad Boys For Life, which were all released earlier this year, as well as The Hangover from 2009 and Batman Begins from 2005.

Other films directed by Christopher Nolan, including The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Dunkirk and Interstellar, will also be available later in the month, ahead of the release of his latest offering Tenet, which has already had its release date moved twice. No date has been given for cinemas in Wales to open.

‘Urgent need’ for more research on antibody test

There is an “urgent need” for better quality studies assessing the effectiveness of Covid-19 antibody tests, experts have said.

Researchers said caution is “warranted” if using antibody tests for clinical decision-making or surveillance in the population.

The examination, published in The BMJ, looked at evidence on tests published before April 30.

Antibody tests – also known as serological tests – look for antibodies in a person’s blood.

This says whether they have had an illness in the past.

An international team of researchers, led by academics from the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Canada, examined data on all studies which measured the sensitivity and specificity of Covid-19 antibody tests.

The authors examined 40 studies and raised concerns over “important weaknesses” in the evidence behind the tests.

How pubs will look very different in England this weekend

And finally, we have caught up with the landlords of two pubs that sit a mile apart – but only one can open this weekend.

(Image: WalesOnline/ Rob Browne)

Wales and England are taking increasingly different approaches to the lockdown, with restrictions being lifted at different paces. From July 4, pubs across England can re-open but those in Wales will only be able to open outdoors from July 13.

The Bridge Inn and the Angel Inn are only separated by the River Monnow. Find out about the different approaches  here.



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