A recovered Covid-19 patient donates blood plasma for people with the new coronavirus in Daegu, South Korea, 31 August 2020.

The scientist behind the Oxford coronavirus vaccine has warned of the rising risk of outbreaks of diseases that pass from animals to humans.

Professor Sarah Gilbert believes the spread of zoonotic diseases has become more likely because of our lifestyles – with growing population density, increased international travel and deforestation to blame in particular.

It comes as a mutated strain of coronavirus said to be “10 times more infectious” was found in Indonesia as well as neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.

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The government is backing away from suggestions of a mass return of workers to offices this week, with one cabinet minister acknowledging that employers will not have the capacity to accommodate all staff at their desks in a Covid-secure way, Andrew Woodcock reports.

Boris Johnson has been accused of “bullying” workers after a senior government source was quoted as saying that staff who continue to work from home may be “vulnerable” to the sack.

Senior Tory backbencher Robert Halfon insisted that it should be for employers not ministers to decide when it is safe for workers to return, warning that the Conservatives must not be seen to demand that “everyone must march from the suburbs to the cities in some sort of forced collectivisation”.

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 10:18


The infographic below shows the current uptick in UK Covid-19 cases

Graph showing uptick in UK Covid-19 cases (Statista)

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 10:12


Kylie Jenner has come under fire for posting pictures on holiday – with no mask on and away from the US, Sanjana Varghese writes for our sister website indy100.

During the last couple of months, most countries have closed their border to Americans because of the spread of Covid-19 within the country.

Many other countries have been imposing and lifting quarantine measures based on growing numbers of infections, but the US recently surpassed 6 million confirmed coronavirus cases.

Jenner posted a series of photos of herself around Paris, apparently on holiday. In several of the images, she’s also not wearing a mask.

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 10:00


Philippines reports 3,466 more infections and 38 deaths

The Philippines has reported a further 3,446 coronavirus infections and 38 deaths, taking its total caseload to 220,819 and fatalities to 3,558.

Five Philippine hospitals have been identified as candidates for potential clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by China-based Sinovac Biotech, the country’s health ministry added.

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 09:37


Zante flight linked to coronavirus cases ‘full of covidiots’

A flight from the Greek island of Zante on which almost 200 passengers were told to self-isolate after coronavirus cases were confirmed was “full of selfish ‘covidiots’ and an inept crew”, a traveller has said.

There have been 16 Covid-19 cases linked to people who took Tui flight 6215 to Cardiff on 25 August, and officials know seven of those cases were infectious or potentially infectious while on the flight, according to Dr Gwen Lowe, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales.

She said there have been about 30 cases in Wales in the last week that have come back from Zante, confirmed in people who were on different flights and staying in different locations.

Stephanie Whitfield was on the Tui flight to Cardiff and described how passengers were not wearing masks correctly and just seemed to “disregard the rules”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Lots of the people were wearing the masks underneath their noses or even underneath their chins.

“They were taking the masks off to talk to friends and they were going up and down the aisles to talk to their friends without their masks on.”

Ms Whitfield also told the BBC: the flight was “full of selfish ‘covidiots’ and an inept crew who couldn’t care less”.

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 09:17


India reports 78,512 new coronavirus infections day after record rise

India has reported 78,512 new coronavirus infections today, more than any other country but fewer than the previous day when it posted the world’s biggest single-day tally.

On Sunday, India’s total of 78,761 new cases exceeded the previous global record of 77,299 in the United States on 16 July, a Reuters tally of official data showed.

The world’s second-most populous country has been posting the highest single-day caseload in the world since 7 August.

At 3.62 million cases, India is fast catching up to the United States and Brazil in terms of total cases but has a lower death rate.

India’s coronavirus deaths went up by 971 in the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 64,469, the health ministry said.

The huge numbers have authorities worried, especially with people in rural areas largely abandoning rules aimed at stopping the spread, officials say.

Kumar Sanjay Krishna, the chief secretary of Assam, one of the worst-hit states, attributed the increasing cases to more testing, the opening of the economy and complacency.

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 09:02


“Hefty” tax rises will be needed to deal with the economic aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, but chancellor Rishi Sunak will have to delay as long as two years to introduce them to avoid choking off recovery, a respected thinktank has said.

And the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, said Mr Sunak will have to hike rates of the most high-profile taxes, like income tax, national insurance and VAT, in order to raise the “really serious amounts of money” needed to fill the black hole in state finances.

The Independent‘s political editor Andrew Woodcock has more on this below:

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 08:52


Paris to make free coronavirus tests available in city

The Paris local municipality has said it will look to make free Covid-19 testing available in all of the capital’s 20 districts (arrondissements), as authorities battle against signs of a re-emergence of the virus in France.

The Paris mayor’s office added in a statement that there will be three permanent laboratories set up to conduct free coronavirus tests from today, as well as two other mobile laboratories that would go around the capital.

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 08:42


Russia cases near 1 million

Russia has reported 4,993 new coronavirus cases, bringing its nationwide tally to 995,319, the fourth largest caseload in the world.

The country’s coronavirus taskforce said 83 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 17,176. 

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 08:35


Parents are being forced to spend child benefit on bills during the pandemic, prompting urgent calls for the payment to be increased, May Bulman reports.

Fourteen per cent of parents in a poll said they were spending the benefit on bills, up from 4 per cent in 2012.

And 28 per cent of the 1,000 parents in the survey said they use the money for day-to-day living expenses – up from just 2 per cent in 2012.

Chiara.Giordano31 August 2020 08:28

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