UK coronavirus LIVE: Second wave fears when schools reopen as cities face quarantine blockades to stop spread

UK coronavirus LIVE: Second wave fears when schools reopen as cities face quarantine blockades to stop spread

UK coronavirus LIVE: Second wave fears when schools reopen as cities face quarantine blockades to stop spread

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A second wave of coronavirus could be twice as bad as the first if testing and contact tracing are not ramped up before schools reopen, researchers have warned.

The sobering analysis, published in The Lancet Child And Adolescent Health today, follows suggestions that pubs may need to be shut, or social freedoms curbed, to enable kids to return to the classroom while keeping the spread of Covid-19 down.

This morning, local Government minister Simon Clarke insisted that schools will reopen “in full” in the autumn whatever the challenges, and that the matter was “not up for debate”.

His comments came after Downing Street admitted it was prepared to quarantine towns and cities in UK hotspots to avoid another national lockdown. This would involve ministers imposing travel restrictions in areas suffering severe outbreaks to stop residents leaving.

In other developments, more than 56,000 deaths involving the virus have now been registered across the country, according to the latest Office For National Statistics figures.

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Live Updates


White House accuses Democrats of holding up Covid-19 relief fund

Democrats have rejected four offers from the White House in negotiations over another round of economic aid meant to blunt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and are making a mockery of the talks, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Tuesday.

“It is Democrats … that are making an absolute mockery of this process,” McEnany said at a briefing. “We’re still engaging with them, but this president has been clear: He is ready to act on this.”


Jordan postpones international flights

Jordan on Tuesday postponed a resumption of international flight services that was planned for Wednesday almost five months after they were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.

Civil Aviation Commission chief Haitham Misto had announced last month that Queen Alia International Airport outside the capital Amman would reopen on Aug. 5 for about 22 destinations on a so-called low risk “green” list of countries.

Officials are worried that large numbers of people arriving by air could reverse Jordan’s success in curbing the spread of COVID-19 – the few recorded daily cases over the last six weeks have been attributed mostly to people coming from abroad.

Concerns have been heightened in recent days by a spike in COFID-19 infections in neighbouring Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, all major travel destinations from Jordan.

The country has recorded 1,218 cases with 11 deaths – a much smaller known toll than in many other Middle East countries.


TFL launches new journey app

A new journey planning app has been released by Transport for London (TfL) to help passengers avoid crowds.

TfL Go provides real-time train times, information about when particular services are less busy, and offers alternative walking and cycling options.

The app, initially only available for the iPhone, also includes an accessible travel mode showing which stations allow step-free journeys.

New features to be added later in the year include live bus information, lift status updates and the location of toilets.

TfL intends to release an Android version in the autumn.


Lockdown laws for parts of Northern England to come into force at midnight

Laws enforcing lockdown restrictions in areas of the north of England including Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire will be effective from midnight.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions on Gatherings) (North of England) Regulations 2020 were published on Tuesday afternoon and come into force on Wednesday.

Ministers had said the rules – which ban people from different households meeting in a private home or garden following a spike in coronavirus cases – would apply from midnight on July 31.

Anyone found flouting the rules could be fined £100 up to a maximum of £3,200 for repeat offences.


Household mixing banned in parts of Northern England

People from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire will be banned from meeting each other inside their homes or their gardens from midnight, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

The new rules, which were introduced following a spike in virus cases, will also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, however these businesses will remain open for those visiting individually or from the same household.

The Government said it will give police forces and councils powers to enforce the new rules – adding that some exemptions will be put in place, including for the vulnerable.

Mr Hancock said “households gathering and not abiding by the social-distancing rules” was a reason for the stricter rules and it was in order to “keep the country safe”.

He said: “We take this action with a heavy heart but unfortunately it’s necessary because we’ve seen that households meeting up and a lack of social distancing is one of the causes of this rising rate of coronavirus and we’ll do whatever is necessary to keep the country safe.”


Pubs, cafes, and restaurants reopen in Leicester

Pubs, cafes and restaurants can reopen in Leicester from Monday after the announcement lockdown measures would be eased.

Liz Kendall, Labour MP for Leicester West, said that despite an “unbelievably difficult period” for the city, the hard work and sacrifice of residents had paid off.

The Department for Health and Social Care said social gathering restrictions would remain in place for the city – but leisure centres, gyms and public swimming pools will remain closed.

Mosques and other places of worship will be allowed to reopen from Monday, with Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth urging Muslims to celebrate Eid al Adha from Thursday “with your own household at home”.

All restrictions in neighbouring Oadby and Wigston will be lifted, the department added.


There are worse fates…

A couple who won a £1 million lottery scratchcard prize have been forced to trade in a world tour for campervan trips in Britain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew and Paula Hancock scooped their prize last year after buying a £5 Monopoly Millionaire scratchcard while rushing out to buy pet food for their pet cat, Shortcake.

Delighted by their luck, the pair, who live near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, had planned to take their son 13-year-old Xavier to the Tokyo Olympics with their winnings.

Read more…



The United Nations chief has said the coronavirus pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history.

School closures in more than 160 countries in mid-July have affected more than one billion students, it is claimed.

In addition, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that at least 40 million children worldwide have missed out on education “in their critical pre-school year”.

As a result, he warned that the world faces “a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities”.

“We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people,” Mr Guterres said in a video message and a 26-page policy briefing.

“The decisions that governments and partners take now will have lasting impact on hundreds of millions of young people, and on the development prospects of countries for decades to come.”

Mr Guterres called for the reopening of schools once the local transmission of the virus is under control.


World update:

Indonesia eyes production of 250 million doses a year of coronavirus vaccine  

Indonesia will have capacity to produce 250 million doses a year of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020 pending human trials, a minister has announced.

Indonesia has confirmed 115,056 cases of Covid-19 and 5,388 deaths since its first infections in March.

It has been reporting more than 1,000 new cases on most days since the start of June.

State-run pharmaceutical firm Bio Farma will begin phase three of clinical trials in humans this week using a vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac. If those are successful, Bio Farma has said would produce the vaccine itself.

Erick Thohir, Indonesia’s minister for state-owned enterprises, said Bio Farma would raise capacity in the coming months and by year-end would be ready to produce 250 million doses a year.

“Let’s trust the capability of our country. Don’t doubt Bio Farma which has been proven, either to produce vaccines that are produced with international partners or vaccines produced solely by (them),” Mr Thohir said in a statement.

The Indonesian trials will be conducted in West Java involving about 1,600 volunteers, according to the website of the West Java government.


Donald Trump’s Scotland golf resort accused of using coronavirus pandemic to ‘jack-up profits’

The RMT Union said US President Donald Trump’s venue, The Trump Turnberry golf resort, in Ayrshire has announced it is likely to axe up to 80 jobs and introduce other cuts to sick pay, working hours, pay enhancements, staff benefits and working conditions.

A consultation ends on August 16, with the RMT suggesting the resort is using the health crisis to make “savage cuts”.

RMT senior assistant general secretary Mick Lynch said: “RMT is stepping up the fight to protect our members’ jobs and working conditions at Trump’s flagship Scottish Turnberry operation as the close of the formal consultation looms large.

As all the talk is about UK staycations at the moment it is clear as day that these savage cuts at Trump Turnberry are nothing to do with Covid-19 and everything to do with casualising the workforce and kicking away their working conditions to jack up profits.

RMT is demanding that the axe to be lifted from above our members’ heads at Trump Turnberry and we are calling for public and political support for this campaign.”


Northern Ireland coronavirus death toll rises by eight

Eight more positive cases of coronavirus have been detected in Northern Ireland over the weekend, the Department of Health said.

The total number of people who have been infected is now 5,996.

No new deaths were recorded, leaving the total in the region at 556, according to official figures.


Business update:


Virgin Atlantic could run out of money by the end of September if creditors do not approve a £1.2 billion bailout package, a court has heard.

Without a restructuring and injection of new cash, it is projected that the airline’s cash flow would drop to “critical levels” by the middle of next month and it will “run out of money altogether” by the week beginning September 28.

The airline unveiled a restructuring plan to secure its future, involving only private funds, last month.

The proposal needs to secure approval from creditors under a court-sanction process.

At a High Court hearing today, David Allison QC, for Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, told Mr Justice Trower that the Virgin Atlantic Group has “a fundamentally sound business model which was not in any problems at all before the Covid-19 pandemic”.

In written submissions to the court, Mr Allison said: “The group’s financial position has been severely affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused unprecedented disruption to the global aviation industry.

“Passenger demand has plummeted to a level that would, until recently, have been unthinkable.”

He said: “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the group is now undergoing a liquidity crisis.

“Absent a restructuring and an injection of new money, it is projected that the group’s cash flow would drop to a critical level by the week commencing 21 September 2020.”


Europe update:

Netherlands sees new coronavirus cases double in past week

New confirmed coronavirus cases nearly doubled in the Netherlands over the past week to 2,588, health authorities have said.

This continues a steady surge in new infections since lockdown measures were eased at the start of July.

The new cases registered in the week up to August 4 were up by 95 per cent from 1,329 the previous week, the National Institute for health said in its weekly report published today.


World update:

Official coronavirus deaths in Yemen hit 500


The number of people who have died in Yemen after contracting the new coronavirus has reached 500, according to a Reuters tally.

Although aid organisations say the death toll is probably much higher.

About 80 per cent of the population rely on humanitarian assistance in Yemen after years of war. The country is divided between the Saudi-backed government based in Aden in the south and the Houthi movement based in the capital Sanaa in the north

The Saudi-backed government has declared 1,740 coronavirus cases, including 499 deaths, the Reuters tally shows. The Houthis, who control most big urban centres, have not provided figures since May 16 when authorities said there were four cases, and one death.

The United Nations says the virus is circulating rapidly and undetected throughout the country and infections and deaths are probably much higher.

According to World Health Organisation data, there have been 1,738 Covid-19 infections, with 500 deaths, but the count does not include figures from Houthi authorities.

A government health ministry spokesman has said it reports figures daily and that “nothing was hidden”. Houthi authorities have not responded to requests for comment on coronavirus numbers.


‘Staying at home’ may have put some lives at risk…

The Government’s “Stay at Home” messaging may have led to an increase in the number of heart attack deaths, new research has implied.

The “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” slogan employed by the Government during the early part of the pandemic may have had the “unintended consequences” of people putting off seeking care for heart attack symptoms, researchers said.

Experts found that during lockdown, there was a “substantial decline in admissions” among acute heart attack patients.

Researchers examined data on hospital admissions for 99 hospitals in England comparing information from before lockdown and during lockdown.

Hospitals saw a substantial drop in the number of people with heart attacks.

There was also an increase in death rates for what is usually a lower risk heart attack, according to the study published in the European Heart Journal – Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes.

Dr Jianhua Wu, associate professor in biostatistics at the University of Leeds and lead author of the study, said: “Although patients were able to get access to high levels of care, the study suggests a lot of very ill people were not seeking emergency treatment and that may have been an unintended consequence of the ‘Stay at Home’ messaging.”


Self-isolation for traced contacts is ‘non-negotiable’ – Sturgeon

The First Minister told the briefing at St Andrews House that 120 contacts had been traced from the Aberdeen cluster which started in a bar in the city.

A total of 27 cases were confirmed as a result of the outbreak, although the First Minister said she expected that number would rise.

She said: “Investigations are ongoing and we will provide more details as and when they become available.”

Ms Sturgeon added that the outbreak shows the virus is still active in Scotland.

She also said that self-isolation is “non-negotiable” if someone is found to be a close contact, adding that – even if a test comes back negative – the person will still need to self-isolate for two weeks.

Ms Sturgeon also warned employers that testing staff who were found to be close contacts of a positive case is not an alternative to self-isolation.


Conspiracy theorists will continue to say otherwise but…

Officials from the World Health Organisation grilled scientists in Wuhan about the origins of coronavirus as the body launched an investigation into the start of the pandemic.

WHO researchers have so far had “extensive discussions” and exchanges with scientists in the city where the outbreak was first detected, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Read more…


The crisis continues in central London…

West End business leaders today issued a stark “four weeks to save the summer” plea for visitors to fill its shops, bars and restaurants, as figures revealed trading is still catastrophically down on last year.

New data seen by the Standard show that last week there were 63 per cent fewer people in the West End than last year, during what is normally the peak of the tourism season with central London full of visitors and office workers.

Read more…


No virus deaths in Scotland for 19th day running

There have been no coronavirus deaths in Scotland for the 19th day in a row, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The First Minister gave the latest figures at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh.

A total of 2,491 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19.

Ms Sturgeon said 18,717 people have tested positive for the virus – up by 23 from 18,694 the day before.

She said 15 of these cases are in the Grampian health board area but it is not clear if they are connected to a current outbreak in Aberdeen.

There were 270 people in hospital with confirmed Covid-19, up by five.

Of these, four were in intensive care, up by one.


Here’s our wrap of the main coronavirus action so far today:

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