That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, for today. Thanks for following along.
My colleague Archie Bland will take things from here.
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
The global death toll is nearing the devastating milestone of 1m. There are currently 996,084 deaths confirmed on the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The true toll is likely already over 1m however, due to differing definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries.
India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million cases on Monday, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases since the pandemic began. The Health Ministry on Monday reported 82,170 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the overall tally to 60,74,703. At least 1,039 deaths were also recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542 since the pandemic began.
South Korea confirms lowest cases since 11 August. South Korea on Monday reported 50 new coronavirus cases, the lowest since 11 August, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said. Of the new cases, 40 were domestic and 10 imported. The numbers were the lowest since a new wave of outbreaks emerged from a church whose members attended a large political rally in Seoul on 15 August, KDCA data showed.
Northern Britain and possibly London facing new lockdown. The UK government is planning to impose a total social lockdown across most of northern England and potentially London, to combat a second coronavirus wave, the Times reports. Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially, the report said, citing a senior government source. The report added that households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order.
There have been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK, according to government data, taking the total to 429,277. Government figures show a further 17 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus as of Sunday. This brings the official UK toll to 41,988.
Travel between New Zealand and some states of Australia is possible before the end of the year, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. Plans for a travel ‘bubble’ between Australia and New Zealand has been in discussions for months as both nations slowed the spread of the coronavirus, but they were disrupted after a resurgence of Covid-19 in Melbourne, Australia, followed by a second wave of infections in Auckland.With the virus largely contained in New Zealand, and as cases continue to decline in Australian regions, talks of a travel bubble with some states have been revived.
Greece has recorded its first coronavirus fatality among its large migrant community. Health authorities described the victim as a 61-year-old Afghan man, saying the father-of-two succumbed to Covid-19 in Athens’ Evangelismos hospital after being moved from Malakassa, a refugee camp east of the capital.
Over six months of the coronavirus crisis, community relations have been strained to the point that one concerned retiree in the south-west of England told the Guardian: “It’s like the English civil war.”
Now, with control measures ramping up once more and fears that a second wave is here, mediators who work to resolve disputes through the ceiling or over the garden fence say they are seeing a surge in requests for help – and expect a lockdown in winter to push tensions to a new high.
“The problems will get worse as people are home more,” said Julie Farrell, of Manchester-based mediator Solution Talk. “If the neighbours are being difficult and you can’t go out because of the weather, that’s going to cause a problem, whether it’s breaking lockdown rules or someone trimming your hedge. Your home is your castle, isn’t it?”
“There’s a feeling of, ‘Here we go again, another six months of these people,’” said Mike Talbot, psychotherapist and founder of UK Mediation. “A lot of us were able to hang on before, but now it’s going to continue, these problems are coming out of the woodwork”:
Charlotte Graham-McLay for the Guardian:
A man who had been deported to New Zealand from Australia, and who was in isolation at a government-run quarantine hotel, is under investigation by the police after he tied bed sheets together to escape the facility from a fourth-floor window.
All travellers returning to the country – only New Zealanders and their families, plus others with special exemptions are allowed to pass through its borders – must spend two weeks in mandatory isolation, during which they are tested twice for Covid-19.
Suspicion was aroused when security staff at an Auckland quarantine hotel found a number of sheets tied together hanging out of a window on Monday morning, New Zealand government officials said in a news release on Monday evening.
A few minutes after the sheets were found, the man who had fled the room presented himself at the front gate of the hotel. It was not known how long he had been missing from the facility.
He is in police custody, said Air Commodore Darryn Webb. The man had been deported from Australia and had spent 12 days in managed isolation, testing negative for Covid-19 twice.
The deportation of New Zealanders accused of crimes or criminal associations from Australia has been a bone of contention between the two countries. Australia’s deportation programme briefly halted during Covid-19 before resuming in July, with extra security personnel stationed at the facilities where deportees would complete their isolation.
Webb said the health risk to the public from the case was low, adding that of 55,000 people staying in managed isolation, 13 had absconded.
Players preparing for the Australian Open could be allowed to compete while in quarantine after arriving in the country, Tennis Australia (TA) boss Craig Tiley said.
International arrivals to Australia have to isolate for 14 days as part of strict Covid-19 protocols, Reuters reports.
Tiley said in a letter to players that TA was working with local authorities to ensure they would be able to train and prepare for the Australian Open and other local events in the lead-up during their two-week isolation.
“We will continue to keep you updated on any changes, including the possibility of being able to compete during the two-week period,” Tiley wrote.
“Australia is a safe place and the community has done a good job ensuring the infection rate remains very low by wearing masks, physically distancing and practising good hygiene,” Tiley told players.
TA plans to set up “quarantine hubs” across the country for arriving players and give them more opportunities to compete before the Australian Open.
Lead-up events include the men’s team-based ATP Cup and other warm-ups in Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart.
TA is yet to confirm the summer schedule but Tiley urged players to arrive before 14 December to get quarantine done before week one of competition.
at 6.03am BST
India passes 6m cases
India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million cases on Monday, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases since the pandemic began, AP reports.
The Health Ministry on Monday reported 82,170 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the overall tally to 60,74,703. At least 1,039 deaths were also recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542 since the pandemic began.
An Indian Health worker sanitizes an ambulance in Mendhar area of Poonch district, 26 September 2020. Photograph: INA Photo Agency/REX/Shutterstock
New infections are in India are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world. The worlds second-most populous country is expected to become the pandemics worst-hit country in coming weeks, surpassing the US, where more than 7 million infections have been reported.
Even as infections mount, India has the highest number of recovered patients in the world. More than 5 million people have recovered from Covid-19 in India and the country’s recovery rate stands at 82%, according to the Health Ministry.
at 6.53am BST
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has poured cold water on the All Blacks’ hopes of avoiding Christmas in quarantine after the Rugby Championship, saying the team would be “uncomfortable” with being given special treatment, Reuters reports.
The All Blacks will need to quarantine for 14 days when they return to New Zealand as part of Covid-19 protocols following their final match of the Rugby Championship on 12 December against Australia in Sydney.
Rugby Australia deny foul play over Rugby Championship scheduleRead more
New Zealand Rugby have complained that tournament organisers backflipped on an agreement that the All Blacks would finish a week earlier. NZR said they were working on solutions to the All Blacks’ dilemma but Ardern offered no government help on Monday:
Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory said on Monday that a nasal spray it is developing to improve the human immune system to fight common cold and flu significantly reduced the growth of the coronavirus in a recent study on animals, Reuters reports.
A study on ferrets showed the product dubbed INNA-051, which could be used complementary to vaccines, lowered the levels of the virus that causes Covid-19 by up to 96%, the company said. The study was led by British government agency Public Health England.
Ferrets (not those used in the experiment). Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images
Ena Respiratory said it would be ready to test INNA-051 in human trials in less than four months, subject to successful toxicity studies and regulatory approval.
The company has raised A$11.7 million ($8.24 million) for the development of the spray. Investors include venture capital firm Brandon Capital Ltd, the Australian federal government, pension funds and biotech giant CSL Ltd.
Several companies across the world are in the pursuit of developing a coronavirus vaccine. Australia has entered into agreements with some drug companies investing billions to secure potential vaccines for Covid-19, which has killed over 992,000 people worldwide.
South Korea confirms lowest cases since 11 August
South Korea on Monday reported 50 new coronavirus cases, the lowest since 11 August, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
Of the new cases, 40 were domestic and 10 imported. The numbers were the lowest since a new wave of outbreaks emerged from a church whose members attended a large political rally in Seoul on 15 August, KDCA data showed.
Members of the Seongbuk-gu Saemaul Leaders’ Council spray disinfectant as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, on a street in Seoul, South Korea, 24 September 2020. Photograph: Kim Hee-Chul/EPA
In Australia, as Melburnians were released from curfew restrictions on Monday, just five new cases of coronavirus were announced – the lowest number of daily new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria since 11 June. There were three deaths overnight.
But metropolitan Melbourne remains under strict travel and outdoor exercise restrictions, with people unable to move beyond a 5km radius of their suburb unless they have a work permit.
The premier, Daniel Andrews, on Monday urged people to continue to come forward for testing as case numbers dropped and some restrictions eased. “If you’ve put off getting a test over the course of this weekend, and you’ve got symptoms, or you had symptoms, please go and get a test today,” he said:
Mexico’s top coronavirus official said Sunday that definitive data on the country’s death toll from Covid-19 wont be available for a couple of years, AP reports.
The statement by Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell is likely to revive debate about Mexicos death toll, currently at 76,430, the fourth-highest in the world.
“When will the final statistics on deaths from Covid-19 be ready? Certainly, a couple of years after the first year of the pandemic,” López-Gatell said, adding that work would be left to the country’s statistics institute.
Graves are decorated with crosses and grass in a section of the Valle de Chalco Municipal Cemetery which opened early in the coronavirus pandemic to accommodate the surge in deaths, on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tuesday, 22 September 2020. Photograph: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Officials have acknowledged in the past that the figure is a significant undercount, because it includes only those who died after a positive test result, almost always at a hospital. Mexico does very little testing, and many people die without a test.
But the Mexican government has avoided adjusting its death toll upward to account for people who died at home or weren’t tested.
Some parts of the country like Mexico City have begun conducting their own recalculations, finding excess deaths likely caused by coronavirus were at least double official figures.
Podcast: Did the NHS Covid helpline fail hundreds of families?
Hundreds of people believe the 111 helpline failed their relatives. Now the Guardian’s David Conn reports that they are demanding a full inquiry into the service: