Today's top stories
- Boris Johnson on Thursday night ordered swathes of the north of England back into partial lockdown as he warned of a “damaging second wave” hitting the UK
- Leicester residents remained in the dark on Thursday night after a decision on whether or not the government would extend the local lockdown was not announced
- Up to 150,000 people with no symptoms could be screened for Covid-19 every day in an attempt to stop symptomless spreading and cut quarantine for holidaymakers
A curious swell of panic is emerging in Britain, driven by fears that the country is about to experience a second wave of coronavirus, with Boris Johnson said to be "extremely concerned" about cases "bubbling up"
- Travellers from Italy brought Covid-19 to more than a quarter of the virus-hit countries outside mainland China, according to an analysis mapping the global spread of the disease
- British interest in emigrating to New Zealand increased 40 per cent during Covid-19, officials in Wellington have revealed.
Infection rates in areas affected by the new social-distancing measures
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, announced some late night changes to the coronavirus restrictions tonight. Here is the latest rolling seven-day rate of new cases of Covid-19 for some of the areas which are included in the new rules.
The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people. Data for the most recent three days (July 28-30) has been excluded as it is incomplete and likely to be revised.
- In Blackburn with Darwen, the rate has risen from 83.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 20 to 89.3 in the seven days to July 27. A total of 133 new cases have been recorded.
- Leicester is in second place, where the seven-day rate has fallen from 67.8 to 60.2, with 214 new cases.
- Oldham is up from 23.3 to 54.3, with 128 new cases.
- Pendle is up from 27.4 to 42.7, with 39 new cases.
- Trafford is up from 15.2 to 41.0, with 97 new cases.
- Calderdale is up from 20.9 to 33.8, with 71 new cases.
The figures, for the seven days to July 27, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government's testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).
Labour leader slams Government decision to announce lockdown via Twitter
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour Party leader, has said called for "urgent clarity and explanation" of the new lockdown rules for Northern England.
Sir Keir agreed putting the measures in place was correct to reduce the rate of infections but added: "announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis".
He tweeted: "When the government ended the daily press conferences, they said they would hold them for “significant announcements”, including local lockdowns. It’s hard to imagine what could be more significant than this.
"For all the bluster, government has failed to deliver a functioning track and trace system that would spot local flare ups like these.
"The people of Greater Manchester now need urgent clarity and explanation from the government - and there must be proper support for those businesses and people affected by any lockdown."
Brazil records nearly 60,000 new cases in 24 hours
Brazil has recorded 57,837 additional coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 1,129 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said today.
Brazil has registered more than 2.6 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 91,263, according to ministry data.
Still no official guidance on rule change
There is still no accompanying guidance to the Health Secretary's tweets announcing the new rules of Northern England, nor for the changes to Leicester.
Typically, the Department of Health and Social Care will provide a full statement via its website clarifying any restriction changes.
As we continue to await that document, here are the Health Secretary's tweets in full setting out the change in rules.
2/4 We've been working with local leaders across the region, and today I chaired a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee. Based on the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire & East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe.— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) July 30, 2020
4/4 We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is neccessary to keep people safe.— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) July 30, 2020
Manchester mayor tries to offer clarity
Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, responded to calls for clarity on the new rules for Northern England.
See his response below:
Lot of people asking for clarity on the Government’s announcement. Our understanding is:— Andy Burnham (@AndyBurnhamGM) July 30, 2020
▪️ no visitors to your home or garden from tonight
▪️you can go to the pub but stay within your household/bubble
▪️further openings planned for 1/8 on hold
Everything else remains as is.
Muslim Council of Britain confirms Mosques can remain open with social distancing
The Muslim Council of Britain has issued a statement confirming Eid prayers can go ahead tomorrow.
"Mosques, subject to the known restrictions including social distancing, are not affected by the lockdown measures announced. This has been confirmed by the Director of Public Health in Manchester and Number 10," MCB said via it's website.
The MCB has worked with the British Islamic Medical Association to produce guidance for Muslims to celebrate Eid safely, which can be found here.
Are coronavirus cases rising in your area? Use our postcode tool
Trump administration expected to run campaign to get Americans 'excited' about vaccines
We'll take a brief pause from UK Covid-19 news to bring you the latest from across the pond...
The Trump administration has said it will launch a far-reaching promotions campaign by November to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, a senior administration official said.
But hopes are pinned on whether a successful vaccine will be available by year end.
The campaign will likely run for around four to six weeks to eliminate any lag between when Americans are alerted to the vaccine and then they can get vaccinated, the official said during a press conference.
"The fine line we are walking is getting the American people very excited about vaccines and missing expectations versus having a bunch of vaccines in the warehouse and not as many people want to get it," the official said.
"You may not hear a lot about promoting vaccines over the airwaves in August and September but you'll be overwhelmed by it come November."
The official cautioned that there is still uncertainty around the timing of when a vaccine will actually be available. Doses could be available as early as October or as late as January, he said.
What we know so far
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, announced some late night changes to the coronavirus restrictions tonight. Here is everything we know so far:
- People from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight tonight. The areas include; Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees.
- The decision was taken following an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England, Mr Hancock said.
- In Leicester, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers can reopen following over a month of lockdown, but gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will remain closed, according to MPs who have spoken to government. Household mixing indoors is also banned in Leicester, it is understood.
- But people in the areas listed above can still visit public spaces where social distancing measures are in place, this includes places of worship.
Eid celebrations can go ahead in places of worship
We appear to have some more clarity on the issue of indoor public spaces from our previous post.
Claudia Webbe, Labour MP for Leicester East, has said that Eid celebrations can take place at places of worship as long as social distancing is observed, but not in private homes.
She tweeted: "So just finished a call with Govt Ministers and Health Officials. No Eid with others in private homes or gardens except 'single household bubbles' but places of worship allowed as long as strict social distancing in place in accordance with the regulations."
New Northern England rules apply to gardens, says MP
Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan and shadow foreign secretary, appears to have added some confusion to the new Northern England rules.
She tweeted that those living in the areas where the new rules apply can still visit public spaces where social distancing is in place. However, it is unclear if this relates to indoor or outdoor public spaces.
She tweeted: "Told tonight this applies to homes AND gardens but you can still visit public spaces where social distancing measures are in place.
"People will have a lot of questions and we are pressing for more information quickly. It is really hard but please follow advice and stay safe."
Liz Kendall slams Government's handling of Leicester lockdown as 'shambolic'
Liz Kendall, MP for Leicester West, said she has spoken to Government about the city's lockdown and also confirmed Mr Ashworth's comments below.
She added that people in Leicester can go on holiday with their own household.
"This has been an unbelievably difficult period for our city but peoples hard work and sacrifices have paid off," she tweeted.
"However the Govt’s handling of this lockdown has been totally shambolic and lessons must be learnt for the future to prevent others going through the same."
Leicester lockdown: Some businesses can reopen, but no household mixing
We have some long awaited clarity on the Leicester lockdown situation.
Jon Ashworth, the shadow health minister and MP for Leicester South, has said that some hospitality venues will reopen, including pubs, restaurants and hairdressers.
But gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will remain closed.
Additionally, as we reported earlier following Matt Hancock's announcement, household mixing will remained banned in Leicester - other than the mixing of social bubbles.
"People cannot stay overnight at another house or meet in private gardens," Mr Ashworth tweeted.
Yorkshire MP has had 'no further detail' from Government
Holly Lynch, MP for Halifax in West Yorkshire and shadow immigration minister, said she has had no further detail on Government's decision to reinstate some lockdown restrictions.
She tweeted: "I appreciate people will be apprehensive tonight about the renewed lockdown measures across Calderdale (and) other parts of the country.
"I am disappointed to say that like you, I have had no further detail at all from Government, but let's make this work (and) stay safe."
Where are UK cases rising?
Check out the map below to see where coronavirus cases are rising across the UK.
Leicester MP says parts of lockdown are lifted
Neil O'Brien, the MP for Harborough, Oadby and Wigston, said he has had confirmation that Oadby and Wigston will be removed from lockdown.
"Hurray!!! After much pushing and shoving I have just had it confirmed by the Department of Health that Oadby and Wigston is moving OUT of lockdown and will be the same as the rest of Leicestershire," he tweeted.
But official guidance from the Department of Health is yet to be published.
What about Leicester?
We are still working to get clarity on what Mr Hancock's late announcement means for the people of Leicester, who have been on lockdown since June 29.
Today the Government were expected to announce whether restrictions would be lifted in the city and surrounding areas, but it was repeatedly pushed back.
Now, hidden away in the latest news about Northern England, the Health Secretary said the news rules banning people form meeting different households indoors also apply to the City of Leicester.
But whether that applies to all the areas which were locked down last month remains unclear.
We will bring you more as we get it.
Politicians react to latest restrictions
People from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight tonight.
Here are some reactions from local politicians to the news.
- Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham, in Greater Manchester, and shadow transport minister said there needs to be more clarity over what the Government is doing to support those in areas affected by new lockdown restrictions. He tweeted: "As well as publishing a list, I'm sure all of us would welcome the Government adding what more they will do to support us, jobs and our economy."
- Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central tweeted: "Trying to get further information about this but it seems two households can no longer meet indoors in GM. Particular concerns in certain boroughs but restrictions applying across GM."
Scottish First Minister supports new rules for Northern England
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said the decision to ban households in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire from meeting indoors is the "right" one.
She tweeted: "The UK government is right to act quickly if they think the situation warrants it.
"But this is a sharp reminder that the threat of this virus is still very real. Please abide by the all #FACTS advice and stay safe."
Manchester mayor appeals to 'young and old' to follow new rules
The rate of new cases has been rising in nine out of 10 Greater Manchester Boroughs, Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester said.
Mr Burnham said there has been a "marked change" across the area in recent days.
He said: "We have gone from a falling rate of cases in nearly all of our boroughs last week to a rising rate in nine out of 10 affecting communities across a much wider geography. In Rochdale, the one borough where cases have fallen, they are still too high.
"We have always said that we will remain vigilant and be ready to respond quickly should the need arise. In line with that approach, I have agreed with the Health Secretary that it is right to act on the precautionary principle and introduce modest measures now to bring down the rate of new infections."
Mr Burnham appealed to "young and old alike" to protect one another and observe the new rule.
He added the rules will be reviewed weekly.
Health Secretary consulted with Manchester mayor on decision
Mr Hancock says he consulted with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, on the decision.
The Health Secretary said: "We're constantly vigilant and we've been looking at the data and unfortunately we've seen across parts of Northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus.
"So today I held a meeting of the Government's Gold Committee and working with local leaders including for instance Andy Burnham the mayor of Greater Manchester, we've decided that we need to action across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire.
"So from midnight tonight (Friday) we are banning households meeting up indoors."
The Health Secretary's statement in full
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, has tweeted a list of the areas (see above) in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire where households are now banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight tonight.
He tweeted: "We're constantly looking at the latest data on the spread of coronavirus, and unfortunately we've seen an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England.
"We've been working with local leaders across the region, and today I chaired a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee. Based on the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire & East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe.
"The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing. So from midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas.
"We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is neccessary [sic] to keep people safe."
BREAKING: Parts of Northern England to be banned from meeting others indoors
People from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight tonight as part of "immediate action" to keep people safe, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Leicester mayor 'hasn't a clue' over lockdown decision
It's now over four hours since we were expecting to hear from the Government whether Leicester's lockdown restrictions would be lifted tonight.
It seems the city's mayor is just as much in the dark as us about the decision...
Responding to a resident on Twitter, Sir Peter Soulsby said: "Like you I haven’t a clue what’s going on. I don’t even know who’s taking the decision and they certainly don’t involve anybody who knows anything about our city #Leicester.
"Just hoping they decide to let us out of this crude city-wide lockdown."
FCO advises against all but essential travel to Luxembourg
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice for Luxembourg to advise against all but essential travel to the country.
The Department for Transport said: "Data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England has indicated a significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Luxembourg.
"There has been a consistent increase in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of the population in Luxembourg since the end of June, with over a tenfold increase in total cases over this time period.
"As a result, ministers took the decision to remove Luxembourg from the travel corridor list of countries from which people arriving in the UK do not have to self-isolate."
Grant Shapps confirms Luxembourg restrictions
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted about the change in travel restrictions regarding Luxembourg.
"Unfortunately the latest Luxembourg data shows an increase in £COVID19 cases meaning the country will be removed from the travel exemptions list," he said.
"Anyone arriving to any part of the UK from midnight tonight will therefore need to quarantine."
Travellers from Luxembourg must quarantine for 14 days
Luxembourg has officially been removed from the list of travel exemptions for the whole of the UK, following data showing a significant change in confirmed cases, the Department for Transport said.
Anyone arriving from Luxembourg after midnight tonight will need to self-isolate for two weeks.
The Scottish Government earlier on Thursday said Luxembourg had been taken off the list of countries exempt from quarantine.
UK records highest daily infection count since June
The UK has recorded its highest daily count of new coronavirus infections since June.
Today 846 new cases were announced, which were recorded in the 24-period up to 9am today.
The last time new cases were higher was June 28 with 901 cases.
It comes as the Government stuck by its decision to enforce mandatory quarantine for anyone returning from Spain. But how are the two countries faring? Check out the graphic below.
Jet2 asks holidaymakers to return early - or make their own way home
Jet2 has been contacting some customers in Spain to ask them to return to the UK earlier than planned, or risk having to make their own way home.
Customers have had flights back to the UK cancelled and been asked to return sooner than planned, with the airline telling them it has flights available until August 3.
David Jones, who has been touring Spain for two weeks with his partner Helen Rickard, was informed by text that their return flight had been cancelled.
Mr Jones said the company told him over the phone to "make our own arrangements" to get home if they did not want to accept a return flight a week early.
The couple were due to fly home from Alicante on August 8, and have also had a backup return flight with easyJet cancelled with no alternatives offered. They have now had to buy a return flight via Ryanair.
Jet2 said that it has taken the decision to suspend flights and holidays to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza up to and including August 9.
Flights to mainland Spain have already been cancelled and the company is operating empty outbound flights to pick customers up, until August 3.
- Determined to travel abroad this summer? Check this first Save
- Holiday quarantine: Which country will be next?
- Most Britons support Spain quarantine, poll reveals
- Is it safe to travel to Cyprus? Latest advice as Jet2 cancels flights
Mount Everest to reopen for Autumn seasons despite rising cases
Nepal will reopen its Himalayan mountains including Mount Everest to climbers for the autumn season, officials said today, to boost the tourism-dependent economy despite rising coronavirus infections.
Home to eight of the world’s 14 tallest mountains, Nepal shut down climbing and trekking in March to stem the spread of coronavirus, which has so far infected 19,547 people and caused 52 deaths in the country of 30 million.
"We have reopened mountaineering and will issue climbing permits for the autumn season," tourism department official Mira Acharya said, adding that climbers must follow health protocols issued by the government. The autumn climbing season in Nepal runs from September to November.
While infections in many Western nations are falling, South Asian countries including Nepal are still witnessing a steady rise in the caseload.
The absence of climbing in the popular April-May season caused Nepal millions of dollars in losses.
Travellers from Italy brought Covid-19 to one in four virus-hit countries outside China
Travellers from Italy brought Covid-19 to more than a quarter of the virus-hit countries outside mainland China, according to an analysis mapping the global spread of the disease.
In almost two thirds of the 99 nations affected in the first 11 weeks of the pandemic, the initial coronavirus cases were linked to travellers from just three countries: 27 per cent saw the virus arrive via Italy, 22 per cent from China and 11 per cent via Iran.
Read the full story, by Sarah Newey, here.
US reports additional 65,000 cases
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a rise of 65,935 coronavirus cases, bringing the country's total infections to 4,405,932.
The CDC said deaths had risen by 1,417 to 150,283.
The figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.
What's happened today?
Good evening, if you're just joining us, here is a run down of today's key developments:
- England had the highest level of excess mortality among countries in Europe by the middle of 2020, according to new ONS analysis.
- Boris Johnson said Covid-19 was now under some measure of control in the UK, but a resurgence in Europe means the pandemic is not over.
- Matt Hancock the pandemic has been "as close as you can get to fighting a war without actually fighting a war".
- AstraZeneca’s biopharma chief hopes the Covid-19 vaccination will ensure immunity for 12 months, but ideally, closer to two years.
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's wife and one of his ministers have tested positive for Covid-19.
- The Philippines confirms 3,954 new infections, the country's largest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases.
- Sweden is encouraging people to work from home when possible until next year, as the country passes 80,000 recorded cases.
- After almost three months of gradual easing of measures, Iceland announces it is backtracking after a new surge in infections.
Rise in Irish cases 'may be a blip', authorities say
Ireland reported its highest daily number of Covid-19 cases for two months today, with 85 cases confirmed compared to an average of around 20 per day during the past two weeks.
That was the highest daily number reported in Ireland since late May.
"Today may be a blip associated with a number of specific clusters or it may be a sign of something more significant," Acting Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn told a news conference. "I hope that this is a blip."
Britain expected to impose travel quarantine for Luxembourg
The UK Government is expected to follow a decision by the Scottish Government to impose a 14-day quarantine for passengers returning from Luxembourg, the BBC are reporting.
A formal announcement is expected later this evening.
WATCH: Has coronavirus helped tackle the climate crisis?
Prince of Wales makes personal donation to global Covid-19 fund
The Prince of Wales has made a personal donation to a global appeal to raise funds to fight coronavirus in some of the world's most vulnerable countries.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal, involving 14 of Britain's largest aid charities, has now raised over £18 million since its launch on July 14.
The funds will provide basic supplies such as clean water, handwashing facilities and hygiene kits to refugee camps and communities in war-torn countries such as Syria and Yemen.
Prince Charles contracted the virus in March but made a full recovery.
Rochdale's 'community strength' a double-edged sword in a pandemic
Rochdale authorities focused efforts to contain the spike in infections on the central area of the town, which has some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England.
Ms Fallon said the "fantastic strength" of Asian communities to look after family members could be a double-edged sword in a pandemic.
She said: "If you are poor you are more likely to rely on mutuality and social networks. You are very much relying on each other to get by.
"That's a fantastic strength when it's a non-communicable disease and we see that in south Asian communities, they have that, look after their own quite a lot and much less rely on the state.
"But when it's an infectious disease that increased reliance on mutuality, we are also finding this in Jewish communities, we are finding more people pass it on."
She added the towns housing situation, with many people living in close quarters with multiple generations under, meant there were "more people to infect".
Rochdale sees improvement after extra measures enforced
Rochdale has seen a "significant improvement" in coronavirus cases, public health officials have said.
The borough is on a watchlist by Public Health England as an "area of concern" after elevated rates of infection, centred like other nearby towns on its large Asian population.
Oldham, Blackburn and nearby Pendle are also on the list.
The infection rate per 100,000 of population, used as a benchmark, is hovering around 30 in the borough, home to 218,000 people.
Andrea Fallon, director of public health and wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "We have had quite a significant improvement, the issue is for us it does keep moving, we are keeping a really close eye on it."
Extra measures brought in by the council include bringing in the guidance on face coverings in shops a week earlier than nationally, face coverings recommended while out in public, keeping to the distance rule of two metres, getting tested and, if necessary, isolating.
Leicester MP says lockdown news looks 'positive'
Conservative MP Neil O'Brien said the news on Leicester lockdown looks "positive".
The MP for Oadby and Wigston said: "Sounding positive on #leicesterlockdown - hopefully Oadby and Wigston will soon be free to start getting back to normal."
AstraZeneca chief hopes its vaccine will give immunity for 12 months
AstraZeneca’s biopharma chief has said that the Covid-19 vaccination will hopefully ensure immunity for 12 months, but ideally it would be closer to two years.
Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President of BioPharmaceuticals Research and Development at AstraZeneca, told BBC Newscast: “Based on precedent, with other studies that the Oxford Group have run, we’re hoping that the immune response will last for at least 12 months but hopefully closer to 24 or longer.”
Sir Mene added that a 12 months of protection would be a "big step forward".
He added the most effective dose to build up an immune response appeared to be a two-dose, where patients would be vaccinated with one dose and then a second a few weeks later.
Scotland enforces quarantine for travellers from Luxembourg
Passengers travelling from Luxembourg to Scotland will be required to quarantine for 14 days, the Scottish government has said, citing an increased number of coronavirus cases.
"This decision is based on the latest available data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and it gives another clear indication that the virus is active and still spreading," Scotland's Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said in a statement.
The measures will come into force at midnight.
Leicester mayor frustrated over lockdown decision delay
The mayor of Leicester has expressed his frustration after the Government delayed its decision on whether to lift the city's lockdown restrictions.
Sir Peter Soulsby said: "We haven't got a clue what's going on, we really haven't. We've been messed about all day.
"They were going to make the announcement much earlier in the day, then they were going to make it around 4pm, then 5pm, and now we understand they're not even going to discuss it until 6pm.
"What a way to run a country."
Bolsonaro's wife and minister test positive for Covid-19
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's wife and one of his ministers have tested positive for Covid-19.
Just days after her husband said he had overcome the virus with a negative test following weeks in quarantine, Bolsonaro's wife Michelle has tested positive, the presidential office said in a statement.
"First lady Michelle Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. She is in good health and will follow all established protocols," it said.
Earlier on Thursday, Brazil's science and technology minister, Marcos Pontes, said his test had come back positive, becoming the fifth minister in Bolsonaro's government to be diagnosed with the disease.
The 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 additional deaths reported by the Health Ministry today, pushed the country past 2.5 million infections and 90,000 deaths.
Spain reports largest daily case rise since lockdown easing
Spain has reported 1,229 new coronavirus infections, topping 1,000 for the second day in a row and marking the biggest rise since a national lockdown was lifted on June 21, health ministry data showed.
The cumulative total rose to 285,430.
That figure was up 2,789 on the previous day and includes results from antibody tests on people who may have already recovered.
Young people 'letting their guard down' has resulted in spikes, says WHO
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said spikes in the number of new Covid-19 cases in some countries were driven partly by young people letting down their guard.
"We've said this before and we'll say it again: young people are not invincible," WHO director general Tedros told a news briefing in Geneva, adding recent "spikes have been driven by young people letting down their guard in the northern hemisphere summer."
Indoor pubs, restaurants and cafes to reopen in Wales
Indoor pubs, restaurants and cafes in Wales are expected to reopen from the start of next week.
First Minister Mark Drakeford told radio station Heart South Wales that he was "confident" the move would go ahead.
Outdoor hospitality venues have been allowed to reopen, but venues with no outdoor space have been closed since mid-March when lockdown came into force.
"We said a couple of weeks ago that, provided everything went according to plan, we would be able to reopen indoor hospitality - cafes, restaurants, bars and so on, on 3 August," Mr Drakeford told radio station Heart South Wales.
"It depended upon the state of the coronavirus. We've had the latest checks. We're confident now that we'll be able to go ahead."
Health workers no longer exempt from travel quarantines
Health and care workers will no longer be exempt from quarantine rules when arriving in England from overseas from Friday, the Government has announced.
The move brings them in line with the general public and officials said it would help protect the NHS and social care system from the spread of coronavirus from overseas.
Tourism workers brace for £37bn loss to Thailand's travel industry
The Thai island of Koh Samet, surrounded by sparkling clear waters and host to an abundance of seafood restaurants, has fully booked hotels for the first time in months, Jack Taylor reports.
Ferries packed with Thai nationals, each wearing face masks, arrive on the hour throughout the day. National Park rangers in camouflage overalls and matching facial coverings look on as long queues of travellers wait to have their temperatures scanned.
This small island is now eagerly welcoming domestic visitors following a three-month shutdown which has devastated the Kingdom’s tourism industry.
But despite a domestic tourism boost, the Kingdom’s borders remain shut to international travellers – and the outlook is bleak for businesses.
Read the full story here.
Former presidential candidate, Herman Cain, dies of coronavirus
Herman Cain, the businessman and former Republican presidential candidate, has died after being hospitalised for a month with the coronavirus, Josie Ensor reports.
Mr Cain, 74, first went to an Atlanta hospital for treatment on July 1, 11 days after he attended Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Mr Cain, a survivor of stage 4 colon cancer, passed away on Thursday, making him the highest-profile public figures in the US to have died from Covid-19.
His death was announced on his website: “Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away,” the blog post read.
He had been a business executive and the board chairman of a branch of Kansas City’s Federal Reserve Bank before moving into Republican politics and eventually becoming a presidential candidate.
Last year, the president briefly considered picking Mr Cain as his nominee to join the Federal Reserve Board. Mr Cain remained a vocal supporter of Mr Trump’s after his nomination was withdrawn.
Ellen Carmichael, his former campaign spokesperson, tweeted: “I’m very saddened to learn of the passing of my former boss, Herman Cain. I’m bracing for the cruelty online about how he deserved to get COVID and die because of his politics. We’re living in a dark time. But, they didn’t know him. I did.”
Care UK boss says staff are unable to access regular testing
One of Britain's largest care home providers has said the government is unable to meet its promise to regularly test staff and residents in care homes, after problems were discovered with coronavirus testing kits.
Earlier this month, the government announced that staff will be tested for the virus each week while residents will receive a test every 28 days.
But, Andrew Knight, chief executive of residential services at CareUK, said the government told him that a problem with a test from an unnamed supplier means that it may take five weeks before staff and residents can access regular testing.
"I am sure many of you will find this situation as disappointing as I do," Mr Knight said in a letter to relatives.
More than 20,000 care home residents have now died with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, according to ONs figures.
The Department of Health said the testing has not been paused but declined to provide further details.
Mexico GDP slumps record 17 per cent on virus impact
Mexico's economy suffered its worst recorded contraction in the second quarter of 2020 after being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, the national statistics institute said.
Latin America's second largest economy after Brazil's fell by 17.3 per cent, according to a preliminary estimate by the institute, which was created in 1983.
Mexico has the fourth-highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world, after the United States, Brazil and Britain, with over 45,000 recorded deaths since its first case was reported in late February.
It's nightlife, but not as we know it
Clubbers in Portugal eager to shake off the coronavirus blues will have to wait a little longer to dance the night away, as nightclubs were given the green light to reopen from Saturday but with early closing and no dancefloors allowed.
The Portuguese government announced that bars and nightclubs can reopen if they wish, but following the same rules applied to coffee shops and bakeries.
They will have to shut by 8 pm in Lisbon and 1 am elsewhere in the country.
Nightclubs, which were forced to close doors in March when a lockdown to fight the coronavirus was imposed, can use the dancefloor space for tables.
Worried about the future of the sector and the industry's capacity to maintain jobs, business owners were not happy with the decision.
"This cannot be true," Hugo Cardoso, the president of an association representing nightclubs and bars nationwide, told radio station Renancenca.
"A nightclub that closes at 8 pm? A nightclub that closes before people arrive?"
Florida has record increase in Covid-19 deaths for third day in a row
Florida reported a record increase in new Covid-19 deaths for a third day in a row, with 252 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department.
Florida also reported 9,956 new cases, bringing its total infections to over 461,000, the second highest in the country behind California.
Florida's total death toll rose to 6,709, the eighth highest in the nation, according to a Reuters tally.
California, Idaho, North Carolina, Texas and South Dakota yesterday also had their biggest one-day spikes in coronavirus fatalities since the pandemic started.
The chink of light in Spain’s care home catastrophe
Care home residents in Spain were particularly at risk when the pandemic tore through the country. James Badcock lifts the lid on what happened:
The television remained switched off at the San Jerónimo care home in northern Spain as the coronavirus pandemic cut through the country, unrelenting in its spread.
“They didn’t want us to watch the news on the TV, so we wouldn’t get sad,” a grateful Consuelo Jiménez, 83, told The Telegraph, recalling weeks of isolation.
“They didn’t let us think about that bug on the loose out there. It was the best month I’ve had for many years,” she added, listing bowls, dancing, theatre, gymnastics, tai chi and laughter therapy among the activities improvised by the 15 staff members who volunteered to form a human shield.
While unknown thousands of pensioners dropped like flies from Covid-19 in hundreds of other residences around the country, staff at San Jerónimo in the Navarre town of Estella took the extraordinary step of locking themselves in with their 61 residents for 35 days to protect them at the deadly height of the epidemic in Spain.
Others weren't so lucky.
You can read the full story here.
Africa closes in on one million Covid-19 cases
Coronavirus infections in Africa are likely to exceed one million cases in the coming days as the pandemic surges in several hotspot countries.
In a little more than three weeks, the number of cases on the continent almost doubled to 889 457, with 18 806 deaths.
Overall, the pandemic is accelerating with the number of new cases increasing by 50% during the last 14 days compared with the previous fortnight.
Five countries account for about 75% of the cumulative cases – Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.
South Africa alone accounts for around half of the continent’s total cases.
A total of 4376 new deaths were recorded during the last 14 days, representing a 22% increase from the previous two weeks.
“As Africa approaches one million cases, the continent is at a pivotal point,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.
“The virus has spilled out of major cities and spread into distant hinterlands. Countries need to keep apace and urgently decentralize their key response services. We can still stop Covid-19 from reaching full momentum, but the time to act is now.”
Watch: Boris Johnson warns Britons not to 'delude' themselves that pandemic is over
Boris Johnson has urged Britons not to "delude" themselves that the pandemic is over amid growing fears about a second wave in Europe.
The Prime Minister said it was "absolutely vital as a country that we continue to keep our focus and our discipline," adding: "Don't delude ourselves that we are out of the woods or that this is all over, because it isn't all over."
He said: "We've got it at the moment under some measure of control. The numbers of deaths are well, well down.
Two more deaths in Wales
Public Health Wales said a further two people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, taking its total number of deaths to 1,556.
The number of cases in Wales increased by nine, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 17,232.
Norway to imposes 10-day quarantine on arrivals from Belgium due to Covid-19
Norway will re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Belgium from 1 August after a rise in Covid-19 cases there, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Norway last week re-imposed restrictions on travel from Spain in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Iceland tightens restrictions after surge in virus cases
After almost three months of gradual easing of measures taken to stem the spread of coronavirus, Iceland announced it was backtracking after a new surge in infections.
For the past week, 28 of the 31 new cases of Covid-19 identified in the North Atlantic island have been linked to internal transmissions in the country.
Five separate sources of contamination have been identified in the southwest, about 50 kilometres from the capital Reykjavík.
The first hospitalisation since mid-May was also recorded on Wednesday.
"We have to react quickly," Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said at a press conference.
The government has tightened assembly restrictions, bringing the limit down from 500 people to 100, in line with the very first arrangements made on March 16 at the start of the epidemic.
Sweden encourages working from home until next year
Sweden, whose controversial softer approach to curbing Covid-19 has received worldwide attention, said it would keep encouraging people to work from home when possible, as the country passed 80,000 recorded cases.
The recommendation, which is directed at those "who have the possibility to work from home," will remain in place until the New Year.
Aimed in part at reducing crowding on public transport, the measure is designed to make things easier for those who need to physically go to work.
The announcement came as officials noted several positive trends in Sweden, with falling numbers of new cases, especially serious cases in need of intensive care.
But the country's Public Health Agency noted that "if our contacts go up again there is a considerable risk of a new spread during the autumn".
Watch: Coronavirus 'as close as you can get to fighting a war', says Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock pays tribute to the "great achievement" during the outbreak, but notes that "we all know we haven't got everything right".
The Health Secretary, giving a speech to the Royal College of Physicians said it has been "a moment of stark clarity which has suddenly and dramatically revealed our healthcare landscape".
The pandemic has been "as close as you can get to fighting a war without actually fighting a war", Matt Hancock has said.
Can animals catch and spread coronavirus? Latest advice for pet owners
As the first case of a cat catching coronavirus in Britain is reported, Sarah Rainey answer the questions on pet owners' lips:
Cat coughing up fur balls? Dog down in the dumps?
It might be worth keeping a closer eye on your furry friends, as what looks an ordinary dose of the sniffles may be something much more serious.
Pets, it seems, can catch coronavirus, too – according to the latest news from the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, who has confirmed the first case of Covid-19 in a British cat.
Fewer than 50 animals worldwide have been diagnosed with coronavirus, but pet-owners up and down the country now find themselves fearing for the health of their companions.
So what symptoms should you look out for? Can dogs, horses or hamsters catch the virus? And are owners at risk if their pet gets ill?
You can read the full piece here.
In pictures: Form an orderly queue for Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds' most famous figures led by example and formed a socially distanced queue outside the soon-to-be reopened wax museum, with the Queen leading the way followed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and musician Taylor Swift.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan followed, with US President Donald Trump behind them.
One of London's most popular tourist attractions, Madame Tussauds closed its doors on March 20 and will allow visitors again from Saturday, August 1.
We're not out of the woods yet, says PM
Boris Johnson said Covid-19 was now under some measure of control in the UK, but a resurgence of the coronavirus in some European countries made clear that the pandemic was not over.
"This country has had a massive success now in reducing the numbers of those tragic deaths, and we've got it at the moment under some measure of control," he said.
"But I have to tell you that we are looking at a resurgence of the virus in some other European countries and you can see what's been happening in the United States, and so it is absolutely vital as a country that we continue to keep our focus and our discipline, and that we don't delude ourselves that somehow we are out of the woods or that that is all over because it isn't all over."
England, Scotland and Wales all in Europe's top 5 for excess deaths
According to the ONS, England, Scotland and Wales are among the five countries with the most excess deaths across Europe.
Spain and Belgium also made up the top five.
We owe it to the dead and their families to keep driving the virus down, says Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the nation "has had a massive success" in reducing the number of deaths, when asked about figures showing England had the highest excess death rate in Europe.
Asked if he was ashamed over the Office for National Statistics analysis during a visit to North Yorkshire, he said: "We mourn every loss of life that we've had throughout the coronavirus epidemic.
"What I would say to them (families of the deceased) is that we really owe it to them to continue our work in driving the virus down.
"Clearly this country has had a massive success now in reducing the numbers of those tragic deaths.
"We've got it at the moment under some measure of control. The numbers of deaths are well, well down.
"But I have to tell you that we're looking at a resurgence of the virus in some other European countries. You can see what's been happening in the United States."
Scientists welcome 10 day isolation introduction
Scientists when questioned why the decision had only been taken now, six months into the pandemic, said that they welcomed the change of policy.
Dr Julian Tang, honorary associate professor in respiratory sciences, University of Leicester, said: “The evidence for this 10-day rather than 7-day cut-off has been around for some months already – and more and more studies confirm this.”
He highlighted a briefing published last month by the WHO explaining why it backed a 10 day cut-off.
Dr Tang said: “There have been concerns about the former seven-day isolation cut-off for sometime now – because it just didn’t tally with the evidence. Finally, now it does.”
Prof Paul Hunter, professor in medicine, University of East Anglia, said the previous recommendations had been insufficient.
He said: “The previous UK isolation period of seven days was too short and the news that UK advice has now been brought in line with WHO advice is to be welcomed.”
All Scottish pupils to return to school by August 18
Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed schools in Scotland will return on a full-time basis after the summer break.
But with pupils having been away from school for almost five months, she said some councils may adopt a phased approach to the return. The First Minister said:
"It is a moral and educational imperative that we get children back to school as soon as is safely possible.
"In fact, a key reason for our cautious approach to lockdown over the last two months and over the next few weeks, is a determination to drive the virus down and keep prevalence low, so that schools can reopen in August.
"I am therefore pleased to confirm today that schools will return from August 11.
"Given how long children have been out of school, some local authorities may opt for a phased return over the first few days.
"But we expect all pupils to be at school full-time from August 18 at the latest."
No Scotland coronavirus deaths
No confirmed coronavirus patients have died in Scotland for the past fortnight, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
A total of 2,491 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, no change since July 16.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said 18,597 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 17 from 18,580 the day before.
There are 260 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, no change in the past 24 hours.
AstraZeneca to be exempted from coronavirus vaccine liability claims in most countries
AstraZeneca has been granted protection from future product liability claims related to its Covid-19 vaccine hopeful by most of the countries it has so far struck supply agreements with, a senior executive told Reuters.
With 25 companies testing their vaccine candidates on humans and getting ready to immunize hundred millions of people once the products are shown to work, the question of who pays for any claims for damages in case of side effects has been a sticky point in supply negotiations.
"This is a unique situation where we as a company simply cannot take the risk if in ... four years the vaccine is showing side effects," Ruud Dobber, a member of Astra's senior executive team, told Reuters.
"In the contracts we have in place, we are asking for indemnification. For most countries it is acceptable to take that risk on their shoulders because it is in their national interest," he said, adding that Astra and regulators were making safety and tolerability a top priority.
Philippines confirms nearly 4,000 new coronavirus cases, highest single-day increase
The Philippine government's Covid-19 task force confirmed 3,954 new infections, the country's largest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases.
The information on the surge in infections, which was a sharp increase from the record 2,539 cases confirmed on July 8, was mentioned in a regular circular issued by the inter-agency task force.
McDonald's restaurant closed closed after five staff test positive for Covid
A McDonald's restaurant has shut its doors after five staff tested positive for Covid-19 in an area of the West Midlands where there has been a surge in infections.
The restaurant in Great Bridge, Sandwell, has been closed "as a precautionary measure following a rise of Covid-19 cases in the local area", McDonald's said.
People turning up at the branch off the main Black Country New Road were presented with a sign saying the restaurant has "temporarily closed for maintenance".
It comes after the borough of Sandwell recorded an increased seven-day infection rate amid a jump in cases.
EU warns of risk of syringe shortages for possible Covid-19 vaccine
The European Union has warned member states of the risk of shortages of syringes, wipes and protective gear needed for potential mass vaccinations against Covid-19 and urged them to consider joint procurement, according to an EU document.
The bloc has also asked EU governments to consider jointly buying more shots against influenza and increase the number of people vaccinated to reduce the risk of simultaneous flu and Covid-19 outbreaks in the autumn.
"Covid-19 vaccines, once developed, may come without syringes and other items," the EU Commission, the bloc's executive arm, told health experts from European countries at a meeting last week, according to a summary report on its website.
"There could be shortages," it warned, asking governments about their stocks of syringes, wipes, alcohol and personal protection equipment such as face masks.
Muslims take part in hajj pilgrimage under shadow of coronavirus
Masked pilgrims arrived Thursday at Mount Arafat, a desert hill near Islam's holiest site, to pray and repent on the most important day of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage in Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The global coronavirus pandemic has cast a shadow over every aspect of this year's pilgrimage, which last year drew 2.5 million Muslims from across the world to Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his final sermon nearly 1,400 years ago.
Only a very limited number of pilgrims were allowed to take part in the hajj amid numerous restrictions to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus.
The Saudi government has not released a final figure on the number of hajj pilgrims this year, but has said anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 would be taking part. All of this year's pilgrims are either residents or citizens of Saudi Arabia.
In past years, a sea of pilgrims dressed in white terrycloth garments would start to gather at Mount Arafat, or hill of mercy as it's known, before dawn and remain there until nightfall, spending the day in deep contemplation and worship.
International media were not allowed to cover the hajj from Mecca as was customary in past years. Instead, state-run Saudi TV has carried a live broadcast of some parts of the hajj, including Thursday's arrival of pilgrims to Namira Mosque in Arafat where a sermon will be delivered.
New potential vaccine starts human trials
Medical company Johnson & Johnson has kicked off US human safety trials for its Covid-19 vaccine after releasing details of a study in monkeys that showed its best-performing vaccine candidate offered strong protection in a single dose.
When exposed to the virus, six out of six animals who got the vaccine candidate were completely protected from lung disease and five out of six were protected from infection as measured by the presence of virus in nasal swabs, according to the study published in the journal Nature.
"This gives us confidence that we can test a single-shot vaccine in this epidemic and learn whether it has a protective effect in humans," Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J's chief scientific officer, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The drugmaker said it had started early-stage human trials in the United States and Belgium and would test its vaccine candidate in over 1,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as adults aged 65 years and older.
Over 180,000 contacts have been reached so far by Test and Trace
Since the launch of Test and Trace, 184,703 close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have been reached through the tracing system and asked to self-isolate.
This is 83.0% out of a total of 222,589 people identified as close contacts.
Over 40,000 positive tests have been passed on through contact tracing
A total of 43,119 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England have had their cases transferred to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system since its launch, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.
Of this total, 33,472 people (77.6%) were reached and asked to provide details of recent contacts, while 8,228 (19.1%) were not reached.
A further 1,419 people (3.3%) could not be reached because their communication details had not been provided.
The figures cover the period May 28 to July 22.
The one place planning a 'feminist economic recovery' from Covid-19
Last month, a small collection of islands in Hawaii made history.
In a vote at its local government office on a Friday afternoon, Maui County became the first place in the world to explicitly commit to involving and prioritising women and gender equality in its Covid-19 recovery plan.
"I've never heard the word feminist over and over again - in such a positive way - at this level before," says Khara Jabola-Carolus, executive director of Hawaii's State Commission on the Status of Women. "It was surreal."
You can read the full piece here.
Czech coronavirus spike continues as cases top 16,000
Cases of the new coronavirus in the Czech Republic have surpassed 16,000 as a recent spike in infections continues, Health Ministry data showed.
The central European country of 10.7 million has faced a rise in cases in July in several hot spots, including in an eastern mining region and more recently in the capital Prague, which reported a daily record of 101 cases on Tuesday.
With the uptick in cases outpacing neighbours, government and health officials have sought to boost the country's "smart quarantine" programme to track and trace contacts of infected people.
On Thursday, the Health Ministry also unveiled plans to ramp up testing capacity, which Health Minister Adam Vojtech said was currently at around 17,000 daily.
The ministry recorded 278 cases nationwide yesterday the second highest daily rise in July. The seven-day average reached 216, the highest since April 10.
In total, the country has seen 16,093 cases since the outbreak started in March, with 11,429 recoveries so far and 374 deaths from the Covid-19 illness.
Belgium may impose curfews in cities following second wave
Belgium may have to impose curfews in more cities, including the capital Brussels, as its "worrying" second spike of coronavirus cases continues to grow.
The country of 10 million is looking at further tightening of restrictions after the number of positive tests leapt by 77 per cent in the past week to almost 350 per day.
Authorities in the northern city of Antwerp have already stopped people going out between 11pm and 6am and cracked down on house parties and weddings, which have been largely blamed for the resurgence of the virus.
Kenneth Coenye, chief doctor at the Clinique Saint-Jean hospital in Brussels, said the capital is "not far away" from similar restrictions because its residents are also flouting the rules.
He said: "They are people who often gather in large numbers under the same roof and people for whom life is largely spent on the streets. This means that in these population concentrations the virus spreads much more easily”.
Research by the University of Antwerp has revealed that one in 10 Belgians ignored "social bubble" rules stating they must not meet more than 15 other people per week. That number has now been cut to just five.
In the southern city of Charleroi the council has announced locals will have to wear masks every time they leave home from Saturday, except for under 12s and those doing intense exercise.
Number of coronavirus cases in Iran passes 300,000
The number of infections from the new coronavirus in Iran has reached 301,530, according to official Health Ministry figures.
Iran has the Middle East’s highest number of recorded Covid-19 cases and infections and deaths have risen sharply since restrictions on movement began to be eased in mid-April.
Spain had higher peak, but England has more cumulative deaths, says ONS data
The ONS said that while Spain recorded the highest peak of excess mortality, England had higher levels of cumulative excess mortality thanks to longer periods of time with mortality rates above the average.
Looking at major cities, the highest peak excess mortality was in Madrid, which saw levels of excess mortality in the week ending March 27 that were more than five times higher (or 432.7% higher) than the average expected mortality rate in 2015 to 2019.
In the UK, Birmingham was the city with the highest peak excess mortality (249.7% in the week ending April 17), followed by London (226.7% in the week ending April 17) and Manchester (198.4% in the week ending April 17).
Non-residents of China's Urumqi must test negative for virus before they can leave
Non-residents of Urumqi, the capital of China's western Xinjiang region which has been hit by a surge in coronavirus infections, need to test negative for the virus before they can leave, if they have been in the city for 14 days or more, an official has said.
The city has been at the centre of the new wave in coronavirus infections in mainland China, accounting for 96 of 105 confirmed cases reported as of July 29.
England has highest level of excess mortality in Europe
England had the highest level of excess mortality among countries in Europe by the middle of 2020, according to new analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
By the week ending May 29, the cumulative mortality rate in England was 7.55% higher than the average mortality rate in 2015 to 2019.
Spain ranked second at 6.65%, followed by Scotland (5.11%), Belgium (3.89%) and Wales (2.78%).
The ONS compared 23 countries where data was available.
By the week ending June 12, England's cumulative mortality rate was 7.61% higher than the five-year average, which was the highest among 18 countries where data was available.
Watch: 'Second wave clearly moving across Europe' says Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has warned that a second wave of coronavirus is 'clearly moving across Europe'.
Extension of self-isolation needed protect against infection after seven days , say chief medical officers
In a statement, the four UK chief medical officers said: “In symptomatic people Covid-19 is most infectious just before, and for the first few days after symptoms begin.
"It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing.
“Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with Covid-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 days after illness onset.
“We have considered how best to target interventions to reduce risk to the general population and consider that at this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result.
“This will help provide additional protection to others in the community. This is particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission.”
The statement comes from Prof Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Hong Kong reports record daily number of 149 new coronavirus cases
Hong Kong has reported 149 new coronavirus cases, a daily record, including 145 that were locally transmitted, as authorities said the global financial hub faced a critical period to curb the spread of the virus.
The Chinese territory reported 118 new cases on Wednesday. Since late January, more than 3,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 24 of whom have died
Isolation for 10 days for those with Covid symptoms or positive test
This just in from Laura Donnelly, our Health Editor:
Everyone with symptoms of Covid-19 or a positive test will now be told to stay home for 10 days under official advice from the UK's Chief Medical Officers.
Until now people have been told to self-isolate for seven days.
Health officials have reviewed the research and concluded that there is limited but strengthening evidence that the virus may be transmitted between seven and nine days after people develop symptoms.
However, there is no particular new evidence being cited in favour of the change.
Officials said the moves were being made now in the context of the stage Britain has reached in the epidemic, and the fact test and trace can be used to identify cases.
It comes amid growing concern that Britain could face a second wave of cases, and even be two weeks behind Spain, in seeing surges in cases.
The change brings Britain in line with the recommendations from the World Health Organisation, and changes introduced in the United States.
All those with symptoms of Covid are obliged to go for testing under the Government policy.
If people receive a negative test result, they will be freed from their confinement, unless symptoms continue.
You can read the full story here.
Poland reports highest daily rise in coronavirus cases
Poland reported its highest daily rise in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic on Thursday, with 615 new infections, according to the health ministry's Twitter account.
The health ministry also announced the deaths of a further 15 people.
Poland has reported a total of 45,031 infections and 1,709 deaths so far.
Furloughed workers to receive full redundancy payments under new law
Furloughed workers who lose their jobs will receive redundancy pay based on their normal wage under new laws being brought in on Thursday.
Ministers said the move will ensure that furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages rather than a reduced furlough rate.
The changes will mean those furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are not short-changed if they are made redundant, the Government said.
Ministers said the changes will also apply to statutory notice pay and other entitlements, providing some reassurance "during this difficult time".
The furlough scheme has protected the jobs of millions of workers, with the Government paying 80% of their salary, but it is being wound down from August and stopped altogether in October.
Tokyo asks restaurants, bars to shut early as virus spikes
Tokyo's governor has called for restaurants, bars and karaoke parlours to shut earlier to help contain the coronavirus as the Japanese capital reported a record new number of infections.
"The current situation (in Tokyo) is more serious than before," Yuriko Koike said, citing expert opinions.
"There were several clusters in Tokyo... We have no time to waste."
Japan has so far seen a comparatively small overall outbreak, with almost 32,500 infections and just over 1,000 deaths since the country detected its first Covid-19 case in January.
But the number of infections has been on the rise since the government lifted a state of emergency two months ago.
Indonesia reports 1,904 new coronavirus cases, 83 deaths
Indonesia has reported 1,904 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country's total tally to 106,336 cases, Health Ministry data showed.
The number of deaths in the Southeast Asian nation related to Covid-19 rose by 83, bringing the total number of fatalities to 5,058.
UK coronavirus cases are flat "at best", says Hancock
The number of coronavirus cases in the UK is no longer falling and is at best flat, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said on Thursday, urging people to keep following social distancing rules.
"What we want to ensure doesn't happen is a second spike with it going up rapidly and consistently," he said in an interview on Talk Radio.
"It's true that the number of cases is at best flat whereas before it was falling, and that's because there's been more social contact," he said.
India hits 50,000 daily infections for first time
India has reported more than 50,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time, driven by a surge in infections in rural areas at a time when the government is further easing curbs on movement and commerce.
There were 52,123 new cases in the previous 24 hours, according to federal health data, taking the total number of infections to almost 1.6 million.
Some 775 people died of Covid-related conditions over the same period, raising total deaths now just under 35,000 - low compared to the total number of cases, but showing little sign of slowing.
While major cities like New Delhi and Mumbai have seen their cases ease, infections in rural areas are continuing to rise sharply, alarming experts who fear weak healthcare systems there will be unable to cope.
India has the third highest number of infections globally, behind the United States and Brazil. It has nearly twenty times the number of cases as China, which has a similar-sized population and where the virus was first recorded late last year.
Virus is most infectious when people develop symptoms, says government advisor
Professor Peter Openshaw, who advises the government on the threat posed by new and emerging respiratory viruses, told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme:
"It is clear that most of the transmission is happening at the time of symptoms developing, possibly for two days before symptoms.
"And the maximum infectivity is around the period where they first develop symptoms.
"We can certainly identify that people are still capable of transmission in rare cases up to nine days.
"So 10 days would be a safer margin. We don't know if there's very much transmission going on in those last couple of days.
"But in terms of generally trying to put pressure on the virus and keep the rates down at this critical stage I can understand why the Government wants to introduce these measures."
Russia reports more than 5,500 new coronavirus cases
Russia has reported 5,509 new cases of coronavirus, pushing its national tally to 834,499, the world's fourth largest caseload.
Officials said 129 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 13,802.
Testing people at the border may miss "incubating" cases, warns Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, told BBC Breakfast that the "big scientific challenge" with testing people at the border was that you "can incubate this disease for many days without displaying any symptoms, and that wouldn't show up in a test".
He added: "So if people get off a plane coming from somewhere that has a high degree of disease and therefore they have to quarantine, if you get the test, and the test result comes back negative, you could still have the disease, you're just incubating it."
Mr Hancock said he was not against testing people at the border but more work was needed on the timing of Covid-19 tests to make them effective.
Australia's deadliest day
Australia on Thursday reported a record number of new coronavirus infections and its deadliest day of the pandemic so far following a spike in cases at elderly care homes.
Days after authorities expressed hope that a Melbourne lockdown - now in its third week - was bringing persistent outbreaks under control, the surge is a potent warning that the country's initial success in managing COVID-19 can quickly unravel.
Thirteen deaths and 723 positive tests were reported in the southeastern state of Victoria alone, well beyond the previous nationwide record of 549 cases set on Monday.
Premier Daniel Andrews indicated the leap, was in part, linked to a surge in cases in aged care homes.
Most of those who died were aged in their 70s-90s.
All Wetherspoons pubs to take part in Eat Out to Help Out
Wetherspoons has announced that all its pubs will be taking part in the Government scheme to encourage people to eat out in a bid to boost the economic recovery from the virus crisis.
The company said hundreds of its outlets across the UK will be offering a selection of meals, with a drink, at a lower price than buying from most supermarkets.
Under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, a 50% discount will be available at participating restaurants and pubs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August, to a maximum of £10 per head.
Wetherspoons announced that, under the scheme in its pubs, here is how much meals will cost:
- Breakfasts - £2.24
- Pizza - £2.75
- Other main meals - £2.37
- Children's meal - £2.08
Health Secretary confirms reducing 14-day quarantine period 'being looked at'
As revealed earlier this week by The Telegraph, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said ministers were investigating ways to reduce the 14-day quarantine period for new arrivals to the UK from at-risk countries.
Asked about reports, he told Sky News: "We're always looking at how we can have the least-possible burden of the measures that we have to put into place so that is something on which we're doing some work but we'll only come forward with a proposal when we're confident that it is safe to do so.
"So again this is very much guided by the clinical science and the CMO (chief medical officer) will be speaking on it later today, but the broader point is that there's a serious concern about a second wave that's clearly now moving across Europe and we need to take action.
"If that means increasing the number of days that people who test positive have to self-isolate then so be it because these measures are necessary to keep people safe."
'I am worried about a second wave,' says Matt Hancock
Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that a "second wave" of coronavirus is "starting to roll across Europe".
He told Sky News: "I am worried about a second wave. I think you can see a second wave starting to roll across Europe and we've got to do everything we can to prevent it from reaching these shores and to tackle it.
"The measures that the chief medical officer will set out later are part of that but so too are the measures we're taking, for instance to ensure that we don't directly bring cases back to this country where there's a big spike in cases.
"So absolutely on a second wave it is something I worry about and I worry about it because we can see it happening."
Health Secretary hints at 10-day self-isolation increase
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hinted that the length of time people with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate for will be increased to 10 days in England, as revealed by The Telegraph.
Asked about the move, he told Sky News: "This is a decision that's clinically led. The chief medical officer will be setting out details later today.
"I can't steal his thunder but what I will say is we will always do what is necessary to protect people and we're guided by the clinical judgment, by the science in this."
Rapid test would be 'life-changer', says top WHO doctor
A rapid test that can detect coronavirus within minutes will be a "life-changer", and may be available before the end of the year, an expert has said.
The current tests being used in the UK are PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, and while most people get their results within 24 hours, it can take up to 72 hours.
But David Nabarro, who is one of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) special envoys on Covid-19, says a test that delivers results in minutes is essential in order to live with the virus.
He said lockdown is a "crude" way of dealing with the spread and more sophisticated measures are needed.
Today's front page
Here is your Daily Telegraph on Thursday, July 30.
Japan braces for a surge in infections after launch of tourism campaign
Japan is bracing for a surge in the number of infection after fresh cases exceeded the 1,000 mark for the first time, a week after the start of a national travel campaign to revive the tourism industry.
Tokyo confirmed 367 new infections on Thursday, national broadcaster NHK said, topping the previous record of 366 cases on July 23.
Japan had 1,264 new cases on Wednesday, according to NHK, surpassing the previous record of 981, with infections spreading rapidly not only in Tokyo, but also in other regions, including remote islands.
Northern Japan's Iwate prefecture, which had been the last-remaining prefecture free from infection, had its first cases on Wednesday, while the southern island of Okinawa had 44 infections, hitting a record for the third day in a row.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government launched a national travel campaign, dubbed "Go To Travel", on July 22 that aimed to revive a battered tourism industry despite a resurgence in infection.
PM faces Tory demand for airport testing to replace quarantine
Boris Johnson is facing a rebellion from up to 40 Tory MPs who are urging him to bring in airport testing to replace 14-day quarantine.
The MPs are set to write to the Prime Minister this week calling on him to bring in testing of holidaymakers and business travellers returning from “high risk” countries so they could reduce their 14 days in self-isolation by at least five or six days.
They are also urging the Government to introduce regional “air bridges” that could open holiday routes to the Spanish Balearic and Canary Islands and Portugal’s islands of Madeira and the Azores which are currently subject to UK quarantine under travel bans to the mainland.
Olympics could have a 'limited number of spectators'
Next year's coronavirus-postponed Olympics could be held in front of a "limited number of spectators" to prevent the spread of infection, Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has said.
The Tokyo 2020 games are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021. Mr Muto told BBC Sports that organisers were committed to holding the event in 2021, with no discussion of cancelling or postponing it further.
"Everyone should focus on holding the event next year - we're on the same page."
He said International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was "not looking for" a Games held without any fans, but acknowledged smaller audiences might be possible.
"He may be thinking about a limited number of spectators with full consideration of social distancing," Mr Muto said.
"We must build an environment where people feel safe. Athletes and the IOC family may require testing before/after entering Japan and (we need) strong medical systems around accommodation and transportation plans," he added.
More restrictions in Vietnam as cases rise
Vietnam imposed more restrictions on Thursday as an outbreak that started in a popular beach resort grew with nine new cases.
Eight of the new infections were detected in the virus hot spot of Da Nang and another was confirmed in the capital Hanoi in a man who had returned from the coastal city, the health ministry said.
The outbreak has spread from Da Nang in central Vietnam to 5 other cities and provinces with 43 cases since the weekend, and Vietnam is intensifying protective measures across the country.
Hanoi city authorities have cancelled public events and will close down bars and clubs from Thursday. It also plans testing of some 21,000 people who returned from Da Nang before the locked down on Tuesday.
Tennis star's war of words over ill-fated Adria Tour tennis exhibition
Nick Kyrgios has slammed Borna Coric for having an "intellectual level of zero" after the Croat said he doesn't care about criticism from the Australian over Novak Djokovic's ill-fated Adria Tour tennis exhibition.
The combustible Kyrgios has been waging a social media battle with anyone who played in the tournament, branding the decision to hold it "boneheaded" while blasting those who took part for their "stupidity".
Coric, one of four players to test positive for coronavirus at the Balkans event last month, fired back this week, suggesting criticism from Kyrgios, who has a hot-headed reputation on court, was not credible.
"I read what he wrote, but I simply don't care since he likes to be a 'general after a battle'," Coric told the Jutarnji List newspaper.
"If someone else was teaching lessons I would have maybe understood, but Kyrgios ... It's somehow not realistic."
Kyrgios responded on Twitter late Wednesday.
You should care. Do you have rocks in your head? Again, you can stand up for your mates, I’m just trying to hold them accountable. When I said what I said, I didn’t intend to bother. They are tennis players, they aren’t special. Just as I thought Coric intellectual level = 0 (🍩) https://t.co/KNBa5mNG77— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) July 29, 2020
US surpasses grim milestone of 150,000 fatalities
The United States marked a grim milestone when its coronavirus deaths topped 150,000 - far exceeding the toll in any other pandemic-hit nation.
The country reported 1,267 new fatalities in 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University reported, and also notched 68,086 new daily cases, as of 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Thursday).
California, Florida and Texas all set one-day records for fatalities on Wednesday. An increase of 10,000 deaths over the last 11 days is the fastest in the US since early June, prompting heated debates between the American public and its leaders over the best course forward.
Overall the US has suffered 150,447 deaths out of more than 4.4 million total detected infections.
Brazil lifts ban on foreigners arriving by air
Brazil reopened on Wednesday to foreign visitors arriving by plane, hoping to revive its lockdown-devastated tourism industry despite the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country.
In a decree published in the government gazette, Brazil extended coronavirus-related bans on foreign travellers arriving by land or sea for another 30 days, but said the four-month-old restrictions "will no longer bar the entry of foreigners arriving by air".
S. Korean company gets UK approval for trial of experimental drug
South Korea's Celltrion Inc on Thursday said British regulators had given it regulatory approval for a phase I clinical trial of its experimental Covid-19 treatment drug.
The company will enrol participants for a clinical study in the UK after approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Celltrion said in a statement.
South Korean regulators on July 17 approved an early stage clinical trial for the drug, making it the country's first such antibody drug to be tested on humans.
Australia records worst day of pandemic
Australia recorded its worst day in the pandemic on Thursday as the country's second-most populous state reported more than 700 new infections and 13 deaths.
The previous national record of new cases was 518 but a second wave in Victoria centred on aged care facilities has forced authorities to lock down state capital Melbourne and other states to close their borders.
Social distancing restrictions would be extended, with residents in the state's south no longer allowed to have visitors to their homes from late on Thursday.
Costa Rica to begin economic reopening
The Costa Rican government will begin an economic reopening on Saturday in a bid to reverse a sharp coronavirus-induced slowdown, the president said, even though the official tally shows the virus caseload continuing to rise.
President Carlos Alvarado offered a plan for a staggered reopening of the Central American country's economy, which has been battered by the global pandemic since March.
The government will allow businesses and restaurants to reopen during the first nine days of August, but will then pause the effort for the following 12 days and resume restrictions, according to Mr Alvarado's plan, who added that the cycle was expected to be repeated.
"We're looking for the appropriate balance to keep protecting the health and at the same time resume productive activities that have been closed," he said.
"We are giving a certain time line so that companies can plan ahead."
China records more than 100 new cases
China is reporting 105 more confirmed cases, almost all of them in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Xinjiang accounted for 96 of the cases, with five others in the northeastern province of Liaoning and one in the capital of Beijing. The remaining three were brought by Chinese travellers arriving from outside the country.
No new deaths were reported, leaving China's official toll for the pandemic at 4,634, among 84,165 cases.
Almost two thirds of first cases linked to Italy travel
More than a quarter of coronavirus-hit countries outside mainland China reported their first Covid-19 case in people who had recently travelled to Italy, research suggests.
Of the 99 countries identified by researchers as being affected in the 11 weeks before the global pandemic was declared, almost two thirds of the first cases were linked to travel to Italy (27 per cent), China (22 per cent), or Iran (11 per cent), the study said.
The findings, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, suggest travel from a small number of countries with substantial transmission of the virus may have caused additional outbreaks around the world, one of the research leaders said.
The study, by researchers from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, identified cases reported between December 31 last year through to March 10 - the day before the World Health Organisation declared the pandemic.
Summary of news from around the world
- Guatemalan hospital officials say they've had to bury dozens of Covid-19 victims who have never been identified.
- Israel's parliament has passed a plan to give economic aid to every Israeli citizen to help the flagging economy.
- Spain has reported the highest daily number of infections in almost three months with 1,153.
- Italian lawmakers approved extending Italy's state of emergency for the coronavirus through Oct, 15.
- India will lift on Aug. 1 a night-time curfew that has been in force since late March to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
- Gambia's vice president has tested positive for the coronavirus and is going into quarantine for two weeks as a precaution.
- Brazil registered record daily numbers of infections and deaths on Wednesday, with 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 additional deaths.
- In the US, a Republican lawmaker who made a habit of walking around Congress without a mask tested positive as he prepared to leave for his native Texas with Donald Trump.
- Ecuador's capital of Quito has experienced an alarming surge in cases since the government reopened the economy last month with 82,300 confirmed infections in Ecuador and about 5,600 deaths.
Oscar-nominated writer turns his Covid-19 into a theatre piece
Oscar-nominated writer David Hare says he's turned his Covid-19 illness into a stage monologue about enduring "this quite extraordinary disease".
"Beat the Devil" will open in London as soon as officials deem it safe for theatres to get back into business, Hare said on Wednesday.
"I don't think anyone who has not had it (the virus) quite understands how extraordinarily unpredictable it is, not just on a daily but almost an hourly basis," said the Tony Award-nominated British playwright ("Plenty," "Racing Demon," "Skylight").
Hare, 73, said the one-actor play is "purely" about his experience with the disease, which he contracted early in the pandemic and while he was at work on a TV drama, "Roadkill".
The outspoken writer already aired an opinion on his country's response to the coronavirus. In an April UK radio interview, he slammed the government for its handling of the crisis and called on officials to own up to their errors and be honest with the public.
Today's top stories
- People with symptoms of coronavirus will be told to stay home for 10 days, amid fears that Britain is facing a second wave of the virus.
- Almost 2,700 people a week have died because of the effects of lockdown, analysis of official data suggests.
- Fears of a second wave in the UK have been raised by Cambridge University scientists, who have warned that the reproduction 'R' rate is now close to one in every part of the country.
- PM to launch a public sector recruitment drive as part of his vision to “build back better” after the coronavirus pandemic.
- Thousands of passengers running a temperature have been allowed to catch flights at Brussels' main airport as Britain prepares to impose new quarantine restrictions on Belgium.
- Madonna has had an Instagram post censored after she shared a video of a conspiracy theorist doctor and preacher claiming that hydroxychloroquine cures Covid-19.