Coronavirus UK update live: Latest Covid news as country sees highest daily case rise since June | The Independent


Wednesday 12 August 2020 23:27

Hard times are here, says Rishi Sunak

The UK has recorded its highest one-day rise in coronavirus infections since June, at 1,148.

The grim figure came after Covid-19 officially dragged the UK into recession, with the economy contracting by a record 20.4 per cent between April and June.

Meanwhile, Oldham is facing a return to full lockdown after the infection rate there doubled in a week.

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Disney World actors reach agreement on return

Walt Disney World and the union for its actors and singers reached an agreement on Wednesday that will allow them to return to work, more than a month after they said they were locked out of the reopening of the theme park resort for publicly demanding coronavirus tests.

Actors’ Equity Association signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the actors, singers and stage managers to return to their jobs after Disney agreed to have a state-run drive-thru Covid-19 testing site for workers and others at the Florida theme park resort, according to the union, which represents 750 Disney World workers.

“We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I’m pleased to see that Disney World has agreed,” Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association, said in a statement.

Disney officials didn’t immediately respond to an email inquiry.


Revamped contact tracing app to begin trials Thursday – report

A revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app for England will begin its public trials on Thursday, it has been reported

The software will be modelled after Apple and Google’s privacy-centric method of one smartphone detecting another, the BBC said. Engineers were still trying to resolve issues with the Bluetooth-based tech wrongly flagging people as being within 2 meters of each other.

The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to log venue visits, as well as implementing Apple and Google’s method of detecting other smartphones.

The test-and-trace programme is key to reopening the economy but has been dogged by problems. A smartphone app developed by the National Health Service (NHS) was initially expected to be rolled out in May but did not materialise.

In June, the government pivoted away from a homegrown model for the app to use the Apple and Google system. 


Peru bans family gatherings, extends lockdowns

Peruvian President Marti­n Vizcarra has banned family gatherings and extended lockdowns to five more regions of the country amid a fresh spike in cases of the novel coronavirus.

Fifteen of Peru’s 25 regions were already covered by rolling lockdowns. Mr Vizcarra announced the return of a blanket Sunday curfew as figures revealed a 75 per cent surge in infections among children and adolescents.

“Now those who are infecting us are the people we know, the relatives who come to visit us, the friends who get together to kick a ball around or enjoy a barbecue,” Mr Vizcarra said in a speech broadcast from the Government Palace in Lima. “It is a problem that together we have to solve.”


Second consecutive day of over 1,000 new Covid cases in UK for first time since June

The UK has recorded a second consecutive day of over 1,000 new positive cases of coronavirus for the first time since late June.

In an update on Wednesday, the government official data said 46,706 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after contracting Covid-19 – up by 77 on the previous day.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) added that in the 24-hour period up to 9am, there had been a further 1,009 lab-confirmed cases. Overall, a total of 313,798 cases have been confirmed.

More below:


Trump calls for school reopenings while pressing for funds to be kept from those that disobey

Donald Trump is repeating his call to reopen the nation’s schools – while pressing congress to steer future coronavirus funding away from schools that do not reopen this fall.

Mr Trump made the remarks Wednesday at a White House discussion with parents, teachers and doctors who said they support a full return to the classroom.

Also joining Mr Trump were Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Vice President Mike Pence, who said the health risks tied to keeping children at home are greater than those associated with the coronavirus.

Most of the nation’s largest school districts are planning to start the year with remote instruction as virus cases continue to rise.

As Congress negotiates a new round of virus relief, Mr Trump has said school funding should go to parents if their local schools do not reopen for in-person instruction. Today he said that he wants money to follow students, while Democrats want it to follow unions.

Ms DeVos, a longtime proponent of school choice, added her support for Mr Trump’s proposal. She says families need “options that are going to work for their child and their child’s education.”


Italy expands list of countries where travellers will be tested

Italy has ordered travellers arriving from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain to be tested for Covid-19 and added Colombia to a list of countries under a complete travel ban amid growing concern over new infections.

Once the world’s worst-affected country, Italy has managed to bring down and contain the number of infections in recent weeks but officials are worried by a gradual resurgence.

Today authorities recorded 481 new cases and 10 deaths, twice the levels regularly seen in June when tough lockdown measures imposed from March were being eased.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced late on Wednesday he had signed an order requiring antibody or swab tests to be performed on all arrivals from the four countries and said there would be a ban on arrivals and transit passengers from Colombia.

“We must continue on a path of caution to defend the results we have obtained over the past months through sacrifices by everyone,” he said on Facebook.


Irish government told virus clusters at schools are ‘inevitable’

Coronavirus clusters in schools are “virtually inevitable”, Ireland’s acting chief medical officer has said.

Dr Ronan Glynn ruled out a blanket approach to closures if a case is diagnosed.

There has been one further death and 40 additional positive results for Covid-19, the Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday.

Dr Glynn said: “It is virtually inevitable there will be clusters when schools reopen, there is no zero risk so it is likely unfortunately.

“But we have to balance the risk of infection versus their needs as children to educational attainment.”


Brazilian state agrees to produce Russian vaccine

The Brazilian state of Parana has reached an agreement with Russia to produce a Covid-19 vaccine that Moscow has touted as ready to be brought to market, the state’s press office said.

The Russian vaccine has grabbed headlines for going to market without a full trial while other pharmaceutical companies are still carrying out mass testing.


Suspended Tory councillor loses job after blaming ‘BAME community’ for local lockdown

A Conservative councillor suspended by the party after he said black people, ethnic minorities and immigrants were partly to blame for local lockdown restrictions has lost his job on a housing association board.

Bob Allen said “illegal immigrants”, “the BAME community” and “morons that never obey the rules” were among those responsible for the spike in coronavirus cases across Greater Manchester in a Facebook message at the end of July.

The Tory politician will be stripped of his role on the board of Bolton at Home after discussions with Bolton Council, the local authority which recommended him for the role.

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Police warn students not to ‘spoil’ A-level results day with illegal house parties

Students have been warned by police not to “spoil” A-level results day celebrations by holding house parties or illegal gatherings which break coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey warned fixed penalty notices could be issued to anyone who ignores guidance after officers were called to more than 1,000 reports of lockdown breaches last weekend – up 25 per cent from the previous weekend.

“I understand that A-level results are coming out this week and people will rightly want to celebrate,” Mr Bailey said.

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   center no-repeat #999999;cursor:pointer;background-size: 9px 10px;top:-8px; border-radius: 2px;”>↵Father and son of renowned medical family die of coronavirus after being hospitalised on same day

A retired doctor and his son, who was also a doctor treating patients throughout the coronavirus pandemic, have died from coronavirus after being hospitalised with the disease on the same day.

Dr Jorge A Vallejo, 89, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, and one of his sons Dr Carlos Francisco Vallejo, both contracted coronavirus and were hospitalised in Miami, Florida, on the 22 June, The Miami Herald reported.

Jorge Vallejo, who has nine grandchildren, died six days after he was admitted to hospital on 27 June.

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Turkey pushes back phased return to schools

Turkish schools will start to reopen in late September in a gradual transition back to in-person education, Education Minister Ziya Selcuk said – delaying the reopening by three weeks after a rise in coronavirus cases.

In a news conference after a meeting of Turkey’s science board to discuss measures to combat the outbreak Mr, Selcuk said that distance learning would begin on 31 August, when schools had previously been set to open.

Ankara announced the initial closure of schools in mid-March after the emergence of the first coronavirus cases in Turkey.

Last week Turkey rolled out new inspection and enforcement rules after daily new coronavirus cases jumped above 1,000 for the first time in three weeks, in what the government called a grave rise during peak holiday season.


Greece introduces new restrictions as nation confirms highest daily case number so far

Greece reported 262 new cases of Covid-19, its highest daily tally since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The latest jump in cases brings the total number of infections in Greece to 6,177 since its first case surfaced in late February. There have been 216 deaths recorded.

Of the new cases, 85 were registered in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki and 66 in the capital Athens.

The increase in infections in recent weeks has prompted authorities to gradually introduce more restrictions during the peak of the tourism season.


Spain builds field hospital to tackle latest outbreak in scenes reminiscent of March

Coronavirus cases in Spain have jumped by nearly 1,700, part of a surge that has prompted the construction of a military field hospital in the hard-hit Aragon region and led authorities in Galicia to practically ban smoking in public places.

Health ministry data showed 1,690 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the 24 hours to Wednesday, up from the 1,418 reported on Tuesday and bringing the cumulative total to 329,784.

The new daily number excluded Madrid, which did not provide fresh data due to technical difficulties. Since lifting its strict lockdown around six weeks ago Spain has struggled to keep a lid on new infections, with average daily cases rising from less than 150 in June to more than 1,500 in the first 12 days of August.

In scenes reminiscent of the epidemic’s March-April peak, TV footage showed air force personnel setting up dark green tents to serve as a field hospital in Zaragoza, Aragon’s regional capital in northeastern Spain.

Set to open on Friday, the facility attached to Zaragoza’s University Clinic hospital will be used as a triage centre and temporary ward, the air force said in a statement.


UK coronavirus death toll revised down by 5,000

More than 5,000 people have been removed from the UK’s official coronavirus death toll after the government reviewed the way it records fatalities.

Ministers were forced to urgently review the methodology for reporting deaths in the UK after experts from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine exposed a flaw in Public Health England’s work which recorded any death in a person who had previously tested positive for the virus in the daily today, regardless of how long after the test they had died.

The four UK chief medical officers have now agreed to report the number of deaths which occur within 28 days of a positive lab test for the virus.

More from our own Shaun Lintern below:


Government drops 5,000 coronavirus deaths from official figures

The Department of Health and Social Care has reduced the coronavirus death toll by more than 5,000 following a review of how figures are calculated.

Officials said as of Wednesday August 12 the number of all deaths in patients testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK within 28 days was 41,329.

Earlier Government figures said 46,706 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, as of 5pm on Tuesday.

The DHSC said the change came after the UK Government and devolved administrations agreed to publish the number of deaths that have occurred within 28 days of a positive lab-confirmed Covid test result each day.

Previously deaths were included for anyone who had died following a positive coronavirus test at any point.

A new set of figures showing the number of deaths that occur within 60 days of a positive test will also be published in England, it added.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been 56,800 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.


Facebook blames coronavirus for failure to remove child nudity from Instagram

Facebook failed to remove child nudity and sexual exploitation content from Instagram due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its content moderation system, the tech giant has claimed.

The company sent content reviewers home in March as part of Covid-19 containment measures without adequate work-from-home systems in place, the firm revealed in its quarterly Community Standards Enforcement Report.

This forced Facebook to prioritise the reviewal of certain harmful content over others between April and June on its social network and Instagram.

More below:


Democrats and White House ‘miles apart’ on aid package agreement

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said Democrats and the Trump administration remain far apart regarding any agreement over further economic aid amid the pandemic, saying Republicans also seemed divided amongst themselves over relief efforts.

“We’re miles apart,” the US House of Representatives’ top Democrat told MSNBC in an interview, citing education funding in particular, among other needs.

“It’s a chasm … but as a practical matter, they’re going to have to come to the table.”


Record 30 million people sought help from NHS 111 during pandemic

Record numbers of people in England sought help through the NHS 111 website during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, NHS Digital has said.

The health body reported more than 30 million users visited NHS 111 online between 26 February and 11 August.

Over six million of these completed an online coronavirus assessment.

More below:


Coronavirus cluster linked to Scottish school

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has identified a coronavirus cluster which includes high school pupils.

The health board said the eight positive cases include pupils at Bannerman High School in Baillieston.

It comes after Westminster education secretary Gavin Williamson insisted there was “little evidence that the virus is transmitted at school”.

None of the cases are experiencing anything but mild symptoms, it said.

“The school reopened today but none have actually attended as they are self-isolating at home,” it said in a statement.

“Test and Protect staff are contacting anyone who may be affected and there is no current added risk to the wider community due to this cluster of cases.

“Health and local environmental health staff are working closely with the school and a number of other local businesses to contact trace any close contacts of the cases and appropriate advice is being advice given to these individuals.”

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