The UK’s airline industry has been battered by eight months of on-off travel restrictions. The country’s biggest airport, Heathrow, on Wednesday criticised a “lack of government action” after it recorded a “catastrophic” 82% fall in passenger numbers last month.
Some 1.25 million people travelled through the London airport last month, compared with 7.06 million during October 2019. North American routes saw the biggest drop, down 95% year-on-year.
Heathrow said October was “the eighth consecutive month of catastrophic decline” and warned that England’s ban on leisure travel means “November is likely to be even worse”.
The Czech Republic has reported 9,016 new coronavirus cases, a drop of 3,072 from a week earlier.
The country of 10.7 million had one of Europe’s highest infection rates for several weeks and recorded a total of 429,880 infections.
Its health ministry ministry on Wednesday reported 249 new deaths, including 109 on Tuesday and adding in revisions to previous days. Overall, 5,323 people in the Czech Republic have died after testing positive for Covid-19.
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Officials in Japan have warned of an impending third wave of coronavirus infections amid a rise in cases blamed on colder weather and a government campaign to encourage domestic tourism.
As the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, vowed to secure enough vaccines to cover Japan’s entire population, the number of daily cases continued to rise after several weeks of staying relatively stable.
Japan reported 1,284 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, bringing its total to 111,222 according to a Kyodo news agency tally based on official data. The death toll stood at 1,864.
While Japan has avoided the large number of cases and deaths seen in the UK, US and other countries – with widespread mask wearing often cited as a factor – the decision to press ahead with a heavily subsidised tourism campaign in July appears to have contributed to a new wave of infections.
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Good morning/evening. Josh Halliday here in Manchester, England. I can’t promise you 100-year-old monkey faeces but I’ll try keep the news swinging. (I’ll also work on my puns).
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, on the day that will forever be known as the day I wrote this headline about a monkey called a Popa that was just discovered via its faeces. You are welcome.
For over half a century, a massive graveyard on the edge of Iran’s capital has provided a final resting place for this country’s war dead, its celebrities and artists, its thinkers and leaders and all those in between.
But Behesht-e-Zahra is now struggling to keep up with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging Iran, with double the usual number of bodies arriving each day and grave diggers excavating thousands of new plots, AP reports.
With 1.6 million people buried on its grounds, which stretch across more than 5 square kilometers, Behesht-e-Zahra is one of the world’s largest cemeteries and the primary one for Tehran’s 8.6 million people. The golden minarets of its Imam Khomeini Shrine, the burial site of the leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, are visible for kilometres.
But it was not big enough for the coronavirus, which roared into Iran early this year, seeding the region’s worst outbreak.
A cemetery worker prepares new graves at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery on the outskirts of the Iranian capital, Tehran, Iran, Sunday, 1 November 2020. Photograph: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP
Iran has reported over 700,000 infections and more than 39,000 deaths — and has set single-day death records 10 times over the past month. Almost half of the country’s reported virus fatalities have happened in Tehran, putting pressure on the cemetery.
Tehran’s leaders announced in June that they were preparing 15,000 new graves there — about 5,000 more than in a typical year.
Satellite pictures from September show the plots — deep enough to allow for as many as three bodies in each — newly dug, each separated by a layer of dirt and bricks.
While not all of the new graves are for coronavirus victims, most are.
A care home called the police when a woman who had been denied visits to her 83-year-old husband for eight months amid the Covid pandemic sneaked in to get him out.
Patricia Hodges, 75, used to visit her husband, Graham, daily at Wayside House in Bromsgrove, where he was being cared for with Lewy Body dementia. But her anguish at being prevented from seeing him from March to October, and a row over fees, sparked an attempt to move him to another home, she said.
The incident on 28 October followed a dispute between the Hodges and the care home, which began with requests for visits being denied. It ended with the home’s owner being accused of “holding” Graham Hodges over missing fees, which the home strongly denies:
Graduate recruitment suffered the biggest drop this year since the 2008 financial crash as employers cut back on hiring workers to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest survey by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) found that the number of graduate jobs declined by 12% and that the majority of employers anticipated a further decline next year.
Employers in the retail and consumer goods sectors made the biggest cuts, slashing 45% of graduate jobs as the first coronavirus lockdown hit business income and clouded the outlook for employment:
Here are the key global developments from the last few hours:
Vanuatu, one of the last remaining countries to be free of Covid, confirms first case. One of the last remaining Covid-free countries in the world has announced its first positive test.Vanuatu Prime Minister Bob Loughman made the announcement in an address to the nation. Loughman told a press conference that the indigenous Ni-Vanuatu person had arrived from the USA, transiting through Sydney and Auckland.
Iran imposed a lockdown. Iran imposed a nightly curfew on businesses in Tehran and other cities on Tuesday, as it battles a major surge in coronavirus infections. Restaurants and nonessential businesses in Tehran and 30 other cities were ordered to close at 6pm for one month, to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and to slow the worsening outbreak, which has killed more than 39,000 — the highest toll in the Middle East.
Lebanon imposed a lockdown. In Lebanon, caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced a lockdown on on Tuesday night that will begin on Saturday and last until the end of the month. Lebanon has broken daily records in recent weeks, straining the country’s medical sector where intensive care units are almost full and cannot take more cases. The World Health Organization says 1,527 health workers have tested positive since the first case was reported in Lebanon in late February.
More than 15,000 mink in the United States have died of the coronavirus since August, and authorities are keeping about a dozen farms under quarantine while they investigate the cases, state agriculture officials said.
England’s students to get six-day window to get home before Christmas.
Students in England will be given a six-day window next month in which to travel home before Christmas, with mass testing carried out on campus before they are allowed to leave.
Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble to begin on 22 November. A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will begin on 22 November, Singapore’s airlines regulator announced on Wednesday, as the two cities move to re-establish overseas travel links and lift the hurdle of quarantine for visiting foreigners.
China reports 17 new cases, down from day before. Mainland China reported 17 new Covid-19 cases on 10 November, down from 22 reported a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Wednesday. The National Health Commission said one of the new cases was a local infection reported in Anhui, the first such infection in the eastern Chinese province since 27 February. The other 16 cases were imported infections originating from overseas, it said.
US sees record Covid hospitalisations. The Covid-Tracking project reports that the US on Tuesday saw its highest number of people hospitalises with coronavirus of the pandemic so far – a day after braking the record on Monday. The number of hospitalisations currently stands at 61,964.
New Zealand’s central bank introduced a new funding programme on Wednesday that would reduce costs for lenders, while holding its benchmark interest rate at record lows and signalling its readiness to shift to negative rates to support the economy, Reuters reports.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) held the official cash rate (OCR) steady at 0.25%, as markets expected, and re-iterated rates would stay there until March 2021.
That commitment and the new funding-for-lending programme (FLP) for banks led markets to pare chances of negative rates, sending the New Zealand dollar to the highest since March 2019 at $0.6884.
Government bonds sold off, too, with five-year yields up 10 basis points at 0.3% from Tuesday. The bank also retained its large scale asset purchase (LSAP) programme at NZ$100 billion ($66.32 billion).
The RBNZ said earlier on Wednesday that it would consult next month on whether to reintroduce limits on the amount of “high-risk lending” banks can make, amid growing concerns of a housing bubble.
New Zealand fell into its deepest recession on record in the second quarter, but markets now believe further stimulus may not be necessary as the government has reopened the economy after containing the coronavirus.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 18,487 to 705,687, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.
The reported death toll rose by 261 to 11,767, the tally showed.
A nurse is pictured next to a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit of the University hospital of Aachen, Germany, on 10 November 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images
Wales faces a wave of mental health problems in the wake of Covid-19 – with younger adults, women and people from deprived areas suffering the most, according to a study.
PA: Researchers at Swansea and Cardiff universities examined the pandemic’s impact on the mental wellbeing of the Welsh population. The initial findings reveal around half of the 13,000 participants showed clinically significant psychological distress, with around 20% suffering severe effects.
Shoppers queue outside a Primark store on Queen Street on November 9, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Their responses were given during June and July, when the pandemic was seen to be having a dramatic effect on psychological wellbeing.
Professor Nicola Gray, from Swansea University, said: “We examined psychological wellbeing and the prevalence of clinically significant mental distress in a large sample 11 to 16 weeks into lockdown and compared this to population-based data collected pre-Covid-19.
“It showed a large decrease in wellbeing from pre-Covid-19 levels.”
Gray said the effects in Wales, and by implication those in the UK and beyond, are larger than previous studies had suggested.
In more cheerful news from the natural world:
They hatched six weeks ago, watched by thousands of Melburnians who were stuck inside under the coronavirus lockdown. Now, as life is beginning to return to the city below them, three peregrine falcon chicks roosting on a city centre skyscraper are also preparing to leave the nest.
The hatchlings – all female – have been obsessively monitored by cooped-up Victorians who turned to the Collins Street falcons livestream during lockdown.
By Friday they will be ready to take flight, says Victor Hurley, the founder of the Victorian Peregrine Project which monitors the birds in conjunction with Birdlife Australia. Then they will be made to move on – peregrines are fiercely territorial, and won’t tolerate their chicks remaining near home:
If you, like me, find that murder hornets help to take your mind off coronavirus for a moment, have I got the right story:
When scientists in Washington state destroyed the first nest of so-called murder hornets found in the US, they discovered about 500 live specimens in various stages of development, officials said Tuesday.
Among them were nearly 200 queens that had the potential to start their own nests, said Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist leading the fight to kill the hornets.
“We got there just in the nick of time,” he said.
Still, that didn’t end the threat from the giant insects that can deliver painful, though rarely deadly, stings to people and wipe out entire hives of honeybees.
Scientists think other nests already exist and say it’s impossible to know if any queens escaped before the first nest was destroyed.
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Faced with closures because of coronavirus measures and fierce competition from retail giant Amazon, 250 independent UK bookshops have banded together on a new online platform called Bookshop.org, which started in Britain on November 2 after being launched in the United States.
Its arrival could provide a lifeline to small bookshops, particularly as England has effectively gone into lockdown again for a month to cut virus infection rates.
Unlike other European nations such as Belgium, authorities in Britain, where more than 48,000 people have died in the outbreak, have deemed books non-essential items.
According to a report published in May by market research company Nielsen, two out of five adults said they read more during the first UK-wide lockdown, introduced in late March.
The average reading time in the country rose from 3.5 hours to six hours a week.
South Korea’s spy chief has proposed a summit of the leaders of the United States, Japan and the two Koreas during the Tokyo Olympics next year, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Reuters: Park Jie-won made the proposal in Japan, where he arrived on Sunday for his first trip as head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) aimed at improving relations strained by a feud over compensation for Koreans forced to work for Japanese firms during its 1910-45 colonial rule.
Park suggested the summit during a Tuesday meeting with new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, saying it could take up the issues of North Korea’s denuclearisation and the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents, the newspaper said.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service Director Park Jie-won is surrounded by journalists after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo Tuesday, 10 November, 2020. Photograph: Jun Hirata/AP
Japan’s relations with both North and South Korea have long been difficult, largely because of its colonisation of the Korean peninsula.
Park conveyed South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s willingness to normalise ties with Japan, for which he said there needed to be some Japanese apology or expression of regret for the wartime forced labour, the newspaper said.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that Park had suggested that Moon and Suga announce a new declaration to build on a 1998 joint pledge of a “future-oriented relationship”.
“Both leaders are strongly willing to resolve current issues,” the news agency quoted Park as saying.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s attendance at such a summit would be a landmark. The NIS declined to comment on the reports.
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