The UK government has said that in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Sunday, there were a further 1,040 lab-confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Overall, a total of 318,484 cases have been confirmed in the UK.
As of Sunday, 41,366 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. This was up by five from the day before.
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, PA reports.
Travellers wearing face masks arriving in London from Paris on Saturday. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA
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Ireland’s health chiefs will meet on Monday to decide if further restrictions are needed to slow a sharp increase in the spread of coronavirus that the government and officials have described as deeply concerning.
Ireland has reopened its economy at a slower pace than most EU countries but that has not prevented a jump in cases over the last two weeks that led to the first localised reimposition of some restrictions last week.
After reporting the highest number of daily cases since the beginning of May on Saturday, 66 more on Sunday pushed the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 population to 23, the country’s acting chief medical officer, Ronan Glynn, said.
Ireland’s incidence rate is higher than those of the UK and Germany, having previously been among the lowest in Europe for a number of weeks.
“NPHET [Ireland’s public health team] has been monitoring this very closely and will meet formally tomorrow afternoon to consider if any additional recommendations need to be made to government,” Glynn told the national broadcaster RTÉ.
“We’ve seen cases all across the country in the past 14 days so we will need to consider what needs to be done in that context.”
Glynn, who discussed the situation with the prime minister, Micheál Martin, and senior ministers earlier on Sunday, urged people to avoid crowds and to reduce their social contacts.
He described footage shared widely on social media over the weekend of a bar in Dublin where customers crowding around the counter were shown having drinks poured into their mouths as reckless and said it could not be tolerated.
“This cannot continue. This pandemic isn’t over just because we are tired of living with it,” he said.
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Italy’s decision to shut discos and clubs and make it compulsory to wear a mask outdoors in some areas at night comes as cases of coronavirus pick up across the country, especially among younger people.
New infections in the past week were more than double those registered three weeks ago, and the median age of people contracting the virus has dropped below 40, Reuters reports.
The new rules will start on Monday, two days after an Italian holiday when many young Italians go out dancing, and will run until early September. Masks will be required between 6pm and 6am in areas close to bars and pubs and where gatherings are more likely.
“We cannot nullify the sacrifices made in past months. Our priority must be that of opening schools in September in full safety,” the health minister, Roberto Speranza, said on Facebook.
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The UN Palestinian refugee agency has confirmed four new Covid-19 deaths in camps in Lebanon, and called for vigilance in observing hygiene measures as infections rise across the country.
“During the past 24 hours, four deaths have been recorded among Palestine refugees” in Lebanon, UNRWA said.
It brings the total number of Palestinian refugees who have died from Covid-19 since Lebanon first recorded an outbreak of the virus in February to eight.
More than 200,000 Palestinian refugees reside in Lebanon, the majority living below the poverty line while their right to work and own property is restricted, according to UNRWA.
Lebanon has seen a spike in coronavirus-related cases and deaths, including 397 new infections on Saturday alone. That brought the total number of infections to 8,442, including 97 deaths.
A planned lockdown was abandoned in the wake of the massive explosion that ripped through large parts of the capital, Beirut, on 4 August.
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Mississippi’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, says the fact that residents of his state will have to vote in person during the Covid-19 pandemic is not a problem, my colleague Tom Lutz reports.
“We do not allow mail-in voting in the state of Mississippi. We think that our election process, which has been in place for many, many years, ensures that we have a fair process in which we have the opportunity to limit fraud,” Reeves told CBS on Sunday.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Mississippi has the highest positivity rate in the US, with 19.5% of coronavirus tests coming back positive over the last seven days. Again, Reeves does not see that as a concern.
“Every vote that is legally cast in the state of Mississippi will be counted in the November election and I’m confident that once all of those votes are counted that Donald J Trump is going to win Mississippi and many other states,” Reeves said.
Tate Reeves Photograph: Rogelio V Solis/AP
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France reports 3,015 new cases over 24 hours
France said on Sunday that 236 coronavirus infection clusters were being investigated in the country, as the daily number of new confirmed cases rose by 3,015.
It was the second day in a row that new infections surpassed the 3,000 mark. One further death was reported, taking the total official toll in hospitals and nursing homes to 30,410.
There were 4,860 people in hospital with Covid-19, including 376 in intensive care units.
People queue at a testing site in Paris. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters
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Michelle Bolsonaro, the wife of the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, said on Sunday she had tested negative for coronavirus, roughly two weeks after first contracting the disease, Reuters reports.
Several members of the Bolsonaro family have fallen sick with Covid-19. Brazil has the second highest number of cases in the world after the United States.
Michelle’s grandmother died from the disease this week, Jair himself was ill in July, and his fourth son, Jair Renan, has tested positive.
“Thank you for your prayers and for all your acts of love,” Michelle Bolsonaro said in a post on social media announcing her test result.
As of Saturday, Brazil had 107,232 deaths attributed to coronavirus and 3.3 million confirmed cases.
Jair Bolsonaro and his wife, Michelle. Photograph: Marco Bello/Reuters
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A deepening rift between the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and his finance minister about coronavirus spending is fuelled by disagreements over the scope and scale of proposed green initiatives, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Trudeau and his finance minister, Bill Morneau, are due to meet on Monday to try to sort out their differences, said a fourth source.
Morneau and his team have pushed back against other cabinet ministers about how much funding was needed, including to what extent the recovery could be helped by investing in environmental projects, the sources added.
Trudeau, who campaigned on a platform to tackle climate change, believes the 2021 budget should have an ambitious environmental element to start weaning the heavily oil-dependent economy off fossil fuels, and has recently hired the former Bank of England governor Mark Carney as an informal adviser, aides say.
Bill Morneau at a news conference with Justin Trudeau in March. Photograph: Blair Gable/Reuters
The appointment, coupled with a Globe and Mail report that Trudeau and Morneau had clashed over the amount of money Ottawa is spending to combat coronavirus, led to speculation about the future of the finance minister. Morneau, 57, has been in the job since the Liberals took power in late 2015.
Trudeau’s spokesman Cameron Ahmad said the prime minister had issued a statement on Tuesday saying he had “full confidence” in Morneau, who confidants say is alarmed by ballooning budget deficits.
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After a meeting on Sunday afternoon with regional authorities, the Italian government has decided to close all discos in the country and to make mandatory wearing masks in outdoor public spaces where it is not possible to practice social distancing.
The decision follows a rapid increase in coronavirus infections: for the first time since May and for three consecutive days, Italy registered more than 500 new coronavirus cases per day, most of which concern holidaymakers returning from Croatia, Spain, Greece and Malta.
The fear of a new lockdown has begun to spread among Italians as the country registered 479 new cases and four deaths on Sunday.
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The British government faces the threat of legal action and criticism from its own MPs after it sparked anger by mishandling English exam grades.
After a nationwide lockdown forced exams to be cancelled, the government used an algorithm to assess grade predictions made by teachers, and lowered grades for almost 40% of students taking their main school-leaving exams. That process led many students to lose places at universities they had previously been offered.
Results show that grades were less likely to be lowered for students who attended fee-paying private schools, while bright students at traditionally poorly performing schools have had results downgraded, often dramatically.
On Saturday night the exam regulator published guidance on an appeals process, only to withdraw it hours later because it needed further review.
The barrister Jo Maugham said his Good Law Project had appointed solicitors to pursue litigation on behalf of students, and urged the government to launch a suitable appeal system in time for students to go to college in September, Reuters reports.
Students receive their A-level results Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Robert Halfon, the Tory chair of the cross-party education select committee in parliament, described the removal of the appeal guidance as farcical. “It sows confusion among pupils, head teachers and school teachers, and it’s the last thing we need at this time,” he told the BBC.
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Over in Cyprus, more cases of coronavirus have been recorded today, with the health ministry in the island nation’s internationally recognised southern sector announcing seven new infections, bringing the total tally to 1,339.
Three of those who tested positive for the virus were tourists and repatriated Greek Cypriots, according to authorities.
The Mediterranean island has handled the pandemic better than other EU member states, but in recent weeks has seen a flare-up of cases, particularly around the marina of Limassol.
People enjoy the sea at Saint Rafael beach in southern coastal city of Limassol Photograph: Petros Karadjias/AP
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The head of a US House of Representatives committee has invited the Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, to appear on 24 August to testify about postal service changes that some suspect are aimed at holding up postal ballots in the 3 November election.
Democrats have accused Donald Trump of trying to hamstring the cash-strapped postal service to suppress mail-in voting. DeJoy has been donating to Trump’s campaign.
Trump said on Thursday he had held up talks with Congress over a fresh round of coronavirus stimulus funding to block Democrats from providing more funds for postal voting and election infrastructure.
“[DeJoy’s] testimony is particularly urgent given the troubling influx of reports of widespread delays at postal facilities across the country as well as President Trump’s explicit admission last week that he has been blocking critical coronavirus funding for the postal service in order to impair mail-in voting efforts for the upcoming elections,” the House oversight and reform committee chairwoman, Carolyn Maloney, said in a statement.
Protest in Kalorama Park against changes in the postal service Photograph: Cheriss May/Reuters
The pandemic has significantly affected the US election, with campaign rallies and convention speeches unable to go ahead as planned.
So far, the altered landscape appears to be hurting Trump and helping his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
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Conservative MPs have told the health secretary, Matt Hancock that businesses will suffer unless the government takes a more sophisticated approach to the blanket restrictions affecting 4.5 million people across northern England, my colleague Josh Halliday reports.
Ministers announced on Friday that people across large swaths of the north and the city of Leicester would remain under tighter restrictions for a third week as the coronavirus infection rate continued to rise in some areas.
The measures, introduced with a few hours’ notice on 31 July, ban people in the affected areas from visiting family and friends and from socialising with other households in pubs or restaurants.
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Hello, I’m taking over from my colleague Mattha for the next few hours. Feel free to flag any relevant updates to me, either via Twitter @JedySays or via email.
I won’t always be able to respond, but tips are always much appreciated.
Island nations have an advantage when it comes to stopping travellers importing disease, be it Covid or other infections.
Seas are usually harder to cross than land, and beaches are easier to police. There are no cross-border towns, and fewer ways to sneak over frontiers.
These advantages, combined with strict quarantine policies, have made island nations some of the most successful at containing Covid. But the ones that did best shut themselves off from the world to varying degrees. And a fresh outbreak of cases in New Zealand last week suggests coronavirus can evade even tight controls.
Experts say the lack of special border measures in the UK before lockdown was a “serious mistake” that significantly increased the pace and scale of the epidemic. Even now, the UK’s quarantine measures – for selected countries and with limited enforcement – appear to be nowhere near as comprehensive or effective as those used by other island nations.
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The Irish government has expressed “deep concern” at a rise in Covid-19 cases in the country. Ireland recorded 200 new cases on Saturday – the highest daily number since the start of May.
A government spokesman said:
The taoiseach, tanaiste, Green party leader, health minister and acting CMO met this morning to discuss the evolving Covid-19 situation and to examine the recent spike in cases.
They expressed deep concern at yesterday’s figures. There will be a further analysis of the situation ahead of the cabinet committee on Covid, which will meet again on Tuesday.
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The German state of Bavaria has said it has tracked down most of the people returning from abroad who tested positive for coronavirus but were not told about it, in a debacle that embarrassed a possible successor to chancellor Angela Merkel, Reuters reports.
Bavaria said it had found 903 of the 949 people who tested positive out of a total of 44,000 travellers returning to the country, but it could not locate personal data for 46 of the positive tests.
The tests were carried out up to two weeks ago at special centres that were opened with great fanfare in the southern state. Problems with data entry meant that the travellers were kept waiting for their test results for days.
The Bavarian state premier, Markus Soeder, apologised for the problems on Thursday, promising to fix the mistakes by adding extra staff. He also said he supported his health minister, who had offered to resign.
Some conservatives see Soeder as the best candidate to run for the chancellorship in next year’s election, succeeding Merkel who has said she will not stand for a fifth term. Soeder has so far said he will stay in Bavaria.
Germany has managed to keep the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths relatively low compared with other European countries but there are concerns about a possible second wave.
On Saturday Germany saw the biggest increase in confirmed coronavirus cases since late April, a rise of 1,415, but on Sunday the increase was just 625, although fewer cases are usually registered at the weekend.
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Firms from the United Arab Emirates and Israel have signed an agreement to jointly develop research and studies on coronavirus, UAE state media reported.
The business deal comes days after a surprise political agreement on Thursday between the UAE and Israel to normalise relations, a historic shift that will make the Gulf state only the third Arab country to establish full diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
The UAE’s Apex National Investment and Israel’s TeraGroup signed the “strategic commercial agreement” late on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, AFP reports.
“We are delighted with this cooperation with TeraGroup, which is considered the first business to inaugurate trade, economy and effective partnerships between the Emirati and Israeli business sectors,” said the Apex chairman, Khalifa Yousef Khouri.
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Dozens of students have sat down on the floor at the front door of the Department of Education in London, UK, as hundreds filled the street.
They are protesting against the downgrading of thousands of students’ A-levels by an algorithim that accounted for schools’ historical performance, effectively discriminating against high-achieving children at schools that have had low performance.
Exams were cancelled in the UK due to the pandemic, though they went ahead in some countries such as Germany.
The protesters chanted “vote them out”, “fuck Eton” and “come out Gavin” (in reference to the education secretary, Gavin Williamson), with many demonstrators holding signs referencing the next election.
Maya Szollosy, 18, from London, said:
We’re voting age now, most of us, and we’re young. We’re going to remember this for many years until the general election and I don’t think many students are going to vote for the Conservative party after what they did to us.
A science teacher who did not wish to give her name, said:
I think this is the biggest attack on the working class probably since Thatcher, or at least the most brazen. This is going to be devastating, particularly for the working class, including black and minority ethnic students. I’ve seen that up to 2 million GCSE kids are going to get downgraded potentially, so I’m so scared for them, my heart is breaking for these kids.
A student holds a placard featuring Boris Johnson, who went to Eton, as she protests outside the Department for Education. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
Students protest outside the Department for Education. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
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