7.48pm BST
19:48

France reports 12,565 new infections

France reported 12,565 new coronavirus cases on Sunday.

This is down from the record number of new infections registered on Saturday, which saw cases jump by 16,972 in one day.

The total number of infections since the start of the epidemic rose to 619,190 cases, the French health ministry said.

The health ministry said there had been a further 32 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the toll to 32,230.

Updated
at 7.49pm BST

7.22pm BST
19:22

Nine NYC neighbourhoods may be heading for lockdown, mayor says

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, said on Sunday he is moving to shut schools and non-essential businesses in nine neighbourhoods where coronavirus clusters have been identified from Wednesday.

He also said another 11 neighbourhoods in the city are on a “watch list” because of rising positivity rates.

The lockdown is dependent on state approval. If New York governor Andrew Cuomo approves the shutdown, about 100 public schools and 200 private schools would be closed for anywhere from two to four weeks, de Blasio said. Students will have to return to remote-only learning.

New York is one of only 18 states where cases have not risen over the past two weeks, according to a Reuters analysis.

Nine states have reported record increases in Covid-19 cases over the last seven days, mostly in the upper Midwest and West where colder weather is forcing more activities indoors.

Updated
at 7.22pm BST

6.38pm BST
18:38

Ireland reported 364 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, with no new deaths related to the condition, according to the Irish Times.

It brings the total number of cases in the country to 38,032, while deaths remain at 1,810.

Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team reportedly had a last-minute midday meeting on Sunday as concern grows over the rising numbers of infections, according to a report the same newspaper.

The meeting is understood to be the first weekend meeting since spring, reportedly triggered by increasing levels of hospitalisations alongside rising caseloads.

Updated
at 6.41pm BST

6.30pm BST
18:30

In the UK, a health minister has been urged to apologise after he said the country will look back at its response to the coronavirus pandemic “like the Olympics” and be “extremely proud”.

The UK has reported the fifth highest number of deaths globally, with 42,407 fatalities logged by the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.

Labour condemned Lord Bethell’s comments as “tasteless and offensive”.

The peer made the remarks at a Conservative Party conference fringe events, after being asked where the thought the UK would rank in regards to its tackling of the pandemic.

He said: “I think there have been some outstanding pieces of delivery that have not been fully appreciated.

“And I think it will be like the Olympics, that’s when it’s all over and we look back and reflect, we will actually be extremely proud of ourselves.”

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said: “We have witnessed a level of suffering from this virus that was incomprehensible at the start of the year.

“For a health minister to suggest we will look back with pride and compare it to a time of national celebration is tasteless and offensive. He should apologise.”

Updated
at 6.32pm BST

5.44pm BST
17:44

Greece reported 229 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 19,842. The country has registered a further four deaths, taking the toll up to 409.

Elena Becatoros
(@ElenaBec)

229 new #coronavirus cases in #Greece, 4 new deaths.

Total confirmed cases: 19,842
Total deaths: 409
Intubated in ICU: 82
Left ICU: 223
Total tests: 1,349,123
Rapid tests: 15,019#COVID19

October 4, 2020

5.34pm BST
17:34

Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada, better known as Kenzo, died Sunday from Covid-19, his spokesperson told several French media outlets.

Aged 81, Takada was at the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a residential suburb on the western outskirts of the French capital, the spokesperson said.

FILE: Fashion Designer Kenzo Takada Dies Aged 81 From Covid-19(Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images) Photograph: Richard Bord/Getty Images

Kenzo, the house he founded in the 1970s, is owned by LVMH , the world’s biggest luxury group. Takada brought a “gust of color and fresh creativity” to Paris in the 1970s, fashion news website WWD.com said.

“I was a fan of the brand in the Seventies when he started. I think he was a great designer,” WWD quoted Sidney Toledano, CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, as saying. “I’m very sad. He was a great guy.”

Reuters

Updated
at 5.35pm BST

5.21pm BST
17:21

As we wait for the government to publish Sunday’s UK coronavirus figures, a quick refresher on why Saturday’s stats were so alarmingly high, with 12,872 new infections reported.

This is from the government’s coronavirus dashboard:
“Due to a technical issue, which has now been resolved, there has been a delay in publishing a number of COVID-19 cases to the dashboard in England. This means the total reported over the coming days will include some additional cases from the period between 24 September and 1 October, increasing the number of cases reported.”

So it looks likely that Sunday’s figures will be higher than usual, as unreported cases from the past week will be added to the day’s tally.

This could have implications for the government’s ability to control the spread of the virus, according to Prof Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at Edinburgh University and an adviser on coronavirus to the Scottish government.

She said: “A lot of these results from yesterday were backdated and that means your tracing is not going to work rapidly enough because for the test, trace, isolate system to work, test results have to be returned within 24 hours.”

5.06pm BST
17:06

Over in the US, Donald Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, is giving an update about the president’s condition. There has been confusion surrounding the state of the president’s health, with conflicting reports emerging about his
condition. While Conley has been upbeat about Trump’s condition, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said there was a high-level of concern.

Here’s the gist of what we’ve heard so far today:

Conley said Trump’s condition has “continued to improve” from Saturday
The president was given supplemental oxygen for an hour on Friday – when asked if he has been given oxygen since, Conley said he’d “have to check with nurses” – despite being the White House physician
Another doctor, Sean Dooley, said Trump had not had a fever since Friday morning and may even “be discharged tomorrow”
Asked about the “confusion” around the conflicting reports – i.e. Conley vs. Meadows’ versions of events – Conley claimed Meadows was referring to Trump’s condition before his hospitalisation.

More as we get it over on the US blog:

Updated
at 5.06pm BST

4.40pm BST
16:40

Myanmar reports record number of fatalities

In Myanmar, volunteers are playing a crucial role in the country’s coronavirus response, with people stepping up to transport those with symptoms to quarantine centres and hospitals as the rate of increase in both cases and deaths spirals out of control.

Deaths hit a new record on Sunday, with 41 fatalities recorded – bringing the total up to 412, compared to just seven a month ago. Deaths and cases are doubling faster than anywhere in the world, according to Reuters figures.

Myanmar has one of the world’s weakest health systems, and thousands of volunteers play a vital supporting role in keeping the country afloat during the pandemic.

“Without the volunteers, I don’t think we could have survived,” Aye, a recovered patient who did not want to give her full name, told Reuters.

The country has only 1.1 critical care beds per 100,000 people, according to a study published in Critical Care Medicine Journal in January. For comparison, Thailand has nearly 10 times more.

More than 45,000 people, including Covid-19 patients, those yet to be tested, their close contacts and returning migrant workers, are being housed in buildings from schools and monasteries to government offices and tower blocks.

4.20pm BST
16:20

Paris was preparing to face a maximum coronavirus alert as France’s infection numbers hit 16,972 on Saturday – the highest daily number since the country began mass testing.

With cases surging, it looks like the government may have little choice but to clamp down on the city’s social life and businesses, with bars and cafes possibly facing complete closure from Monday.

The health minister, Olivier Veran, announced on Thursday that further restrictions could only be avoided if infection rates began to fall. Given Saturday’s striking figures, it looks likely that Veran’s warning of “no more family gatherings, no more evenings out, and a total closure of bars” may be imminent.

Statistics from the regional health agency ARS show new coronavirus cases remaining above 250 per 100,000 people in Paris – the limit for triggering the maximum alert protocol.

“There is no justification for denial,” said the ARS director for the Paris region, Aurelien Rousseau, on Sunday. “The numbers are what they are, and they are weighing heavily,” he tweeted.

The country’s total death toll from Covid-19 is 32,198 after recording 49 more fatalities on Saturday.

Updated
at 4.29pm BST

3.56pm BST
15:56

Summary

Here’s a summary of the key global coronavirus developments over the last few hours:

Global coronavirus cases are approaching 35 million. As of 4pm (GMT) on Sunday, global infections since the start of the pandemic stood at 34,963,965, according to a John Hopkins University tracker which monitors country’s official statistics.

Nine US states have reported record daily increases in new cases in the last week as cold weather forces more activities indoors. Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin saw record increases in infections on Saturday, while Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming also set new records for cases last week.

New daily cases in Russia have passed 10,000 for the first time since May. On Sunday, the country’s coronavirus crisis centre reported 10,499 new infections – the biggest daily tally since 15 May, when the outbreak was at its peak and lockdowns were in place.

Nearly 15,000 people in Iran’s capital Tehran have Covid-19 and 15% of them will die, according to World Health Organisation projections. Payam Tabarsi, head of infectious disease at Masih Daneshvari Hospital, who reported the projections, described the figures as a disaster.

The world’s second largest cinema operator, Cineworld, is to shut all of its screens in the US and UK. It comes after the release of the new James Bond film was pushed back for a second time during the pandemic, pushing the already badly-hit industry to the brink.

Updated
at 3.57pm BST

3.09pm BST
15:09

Nine US states reported record case increases in last seven days

Nine US states have reported record increases in coronavirus cases over the last week, mostly in the upper Midwest and West where cold weather is forcing more activities indoors.

On Saturday, four states – Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin – saw record increases in new cases and nationally nearly 49,000 new infections were reported, the highest for a Saturday in seven weeks, according to a Reuters analysis.

Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming also set new records for cases last week.

Daytime highs in many of these states are now in the 50s Fahrenheit (10 Celsius). Health experts have long warned that colder temperatures driving people inside could promote the spread of the virus.

Montana has reported record numbers of new cases for three out of the last four days and also has a record number of Covid-19 patients in its hospitals.

Wisconsin has set records for new cases two out of the last three days and also reported record hospitalisations on Saturday. On average 22% of tests are coming back positive, one of the highest rates in the country.

2.52pm BST
14:52

Two senior Israeli public figures have tested positive for the coronavirus, as the country endures a second lockdown to stall steeply-rising cases.

Gila Gamliel, Israel’s environmental protection minister and a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, announced she has the virus and was isolating.

A few hours later, Ayman Odeh, the country’s most prominent Arab lawmaker, said he was also infected and had a mild fever.

“I urge everyone to follow the rules – masks, distancing and hygiene,” Odeh said on Twitter.

Israel has recorded more than 264,000 cases and almost 1,700 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

2.42pm BST
14:42

Politicians have begun to sound the alarm about a second lockdown in southern Italy, which fared significantly better than the north in Spring, our Rome correspondent Angela Giuffrida reports.

In a characteristically stern but satirical video message last week, Vincenzo De Luca, the president of Campania, warned citizens in the southern Italian region that if the coronavirus infection rate continued to rise there would be another lockdown.

“There is no third way,” he said after announcing the mandatory wearing of face masks outside. “Masks must be worn on the face, not on the elbow. If the alternative is between having people dying on the street or taking a pleasant stroll, there will be no doubt … everything will close.”

Naples, the regional capital of Campania, where face mask wearing is mandatory in all public places. Photograph: Pasquale Gargano/Pacific Press/REX/Shutterstock

He struck a more serious tone on Saturday after Italy’s most densely populated region, and one of its poorest, registered the highest daily tally of new infections in the country. After showing images of a crowd without masks outside a college and revellers in a bar where there was an outbreak, he said: “We must return to the strict behaviour of February, March and April, otherwise we get sick.”

It was partly De Luca’s no-nonsense style that enabled Campania to declare itself “Covid-free” in June, and determined his recent re-election. But three months on, authorities are counting on citizens falling into line again after a dramatic rise in infections. The daily rate more than doubled in the last week to 401 on Saturday, putting the region slightly ahead of Lombardy, where Italy’s pandemic began.

You can read the full story here:

2.31pm BST
14:31

A French housing association employee has been fired for serious misconduct after returning to his office before receiving the result of a coronavirus test that came back positive.

Sébastien Klem, 41, insisted he had no idea he had the virus and only took a test because he was driving past a diagnostic centre and saw there was no queue. “Apart from a light cough, I didn’t have any other symptom,” Klem told France3 television.

“It was a case of seeing an opportunity while I was driving. All I did was follow the government’s recommendations. The advice to get tested was all over the media. I felt on fine form and the day before I even went running.”

Parisians queue at the Hotel de Ville to be tested for Covid-19 in September. Photograph: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

After taking the test in July, Klem returned to his office. That evening he received the positive result and immediately informed his employer HLM M2A, a social housing association, and self-isolated for 14 days with his four-year-old daughter.

However, a month later his employers, based at Mulhouse in eastern France, terminated his contract in a letter that read: “Despite carrying out a test on the morning of 16 July 2020, and despite the risk that you have put other colleagues in, you returned to you professional activity in the afternoon and mixed with work colleagues when you had doubts about your state of health in going and having a Covid-19 test. Your behaviour is totally irresponsible and constitutes a violation of your obligation towards safety.”

It added: “One does not get tested if one doesn’t have a suspicion [of having the virus].”

You can read the full report from our Paris correspondent, Kim Willsher, here:

Updated
at 2.33pm BST

1.57pm BST
13:57

India and South Africa want the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to waive intellectual property rules to make it easier for developing countries to produce or import Covid-19 drugs, a letter to the WTO shows.

In the letter dated 2 October, the two countries called on the global trade body to waive parts of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which governs patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property rules globally.

“As new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19 are developed, there are significant concerns (over) how these will be made available promptly, in sufficient quantities and at (an) affordable price to meet global demand,” it says.

The countries said developing nations were disproportionately affected by the pandemic and that intellectual property rights, including patents, could be a barrier to the provision of affordable medicine.

The letter asks that the WTO’s Council for TRIPS recommends a waiver to the General Council, the WTO’s top decision-making body in Geneva, “as early as possible”. It does not say how much support India and South Africa have from other countries.

A draft General Council decision text submitted with the letter says the waiver should last an as yet unspecified number of years and be reviewed annually.

12.56pm BST
12:56

Nearly 5,000 people in the Iranian capital Tehran have coronavirus and 15 % of them will die according to World Health Organisation projections, Payam Tabarsi, head of the infectious disease department at Masih Daneshvari Hospital, said at the weekend. He described the figures as a disaster.

A member of the Tehran city council also reported that 136 people had died in the capital in one day, a figure that jars with official claims that only 170 people are dying nationwide each day.

Tabarsi also said he did not believe in a second or third wave of the virus, arguing the first wave never went away.

A slowly building increase in the number of infections started in late August, reaching over 3,500 a day and has now spread across the country leading to calls for a complete 2 week shutdown, similar to the circuit break once proposed by some Downing Street advisers, but never adopted.

Officials are under criticism for not doing more to enforce restrictions in workplaces, schools, roads markets and public ceremonies. Many of the powers to act have been devolved to local provinces.

In a sign that patience is running out Ghafoor Ghasempour, the governor of Karaj, announced on Sunday that the “request and request” period for the people is over and those who do not follow the health protocols will be dealt with severely. He stressed that fines and penalties are among the new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.



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